Tuesday, June 24, 2008

there goes another one...

damn, one week after my old elementary school burned down comes the news that my old employer us sugar is selling its thousands of acres of sugar cane fields to the federal/state consortium that is restoring the everglades; a worthwhile project if the corps of engineers can pull off the restoration of the region from lake okeechobee south through the glades and into the keys...that remains to be seen, in the meantime i will still mourn the loss of one of the largest agricultural producers in the nation, along with 1700 jobs and the certain death of several small towns whose only industry is "uncle sugar"...

just another icon of my youth slipping away; i went to work in the bryant mill of us sugar when i was 18 and worked there for five years...by nineteen i was making the average wage of a college graduate, and though i'm glad i moved on, many people in that region work their whole lives for a single company for good pay and benefits...those jobs will be gone and they're not coming back...sad.

"David Guest, a lawyer with the environmental group Earthjustice and a longtime foe of U.S. Sugar, gloated over the announcement. "In the old days, you didn't just beat your opponent, you also ate them," he said. "Today, we're eating U.S. Sugar.""

any wonder i hate most lawyers and treehuggers?...eat this, you cold, heartless, smarmy, self-righteous bastard...

jtc

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

up in smoke...

the little rural two-story stucco canal point, fl elementary school where i attended 3rd-6th grades in the early '60s is burning to the ground at this moment...

i had recently written about my dad and mentioned the old school and its library; here's part of that...


..."so we kids were dad's hobby, and my interest in shooting, sparked by a gem of a canal point elementary school library book (i started there toward the end of third grade, there was just one class for each of grades one through eight in that old schoolhouse, and coming from a city school i was shocked and delighted that half the kids went barefoot, and the other half was barefoot too after recess), the book was "a boy and his gun"; reading it, feeling it, loving it resulted in my badgering dad unmercifully as i progressed through the bb gun phase until on Christmas morning when i was nine, the most beautiful little marlin single shot .22 appeared beneath the tree"...


abandoned for years, the school caught fire this morning about 2 a.m. and firefighters are letting it burn out while containing it and protecting power lines...what's left of the tiny lake okeechobee farming community of canal point is only about two hours from my home in sebring; i drove through there alone recently and stopped at the old school; at the time i didn't know why...now i guess i do.

my mom left a voicemail for me this morning to let me know about the fire; she had a pretty sad sound as she told me i didn't need to call her back...and i didn't because i don't really want to talk about it right now...but maybe the old school deserves a post of it's own later on...i'll think about it.

jtc

Sunday, June 15, 2008

a dad's dad...

the 15th anniversary of my dad's passing was this past march, and i wrote a little tribute to him then...there's not much to add except, happy father's day, Dad...i love you and i miss you!

http://poetnthepawnbroker.blogspot.com/2008/03/i-cant-believe-its-been-fifteen-years.html

jtc

Saturday, June 14, 2008

tonight on cops...

tonight's 8pm episode of cops has a bunch of freshfaced deputies tracking down (with a copter and a dog) a guy who had just robbed an old couple at gunpoint...in the used car lot next to my old west palm beach pawn shop...

i wrote about that car lot in a post about my first negligent discharge in 1978 as a twentysomething new pawnshop manager...

funny, in the cops episode it's nighttime and the stores are closed but the old ihop across the busy road shows up like a beacon; had many omelets there while i waited to open the store at 9; i also walked out one day without my "manbag", yeah that was the day of curly perms and handbags for guys and i had both...that damn bag had an naa minirevolver, a vintage ladies rolex watch worth a thousand or so, and $700 in cash in it...never saw it again (neither did anyone else, winkwink eddy the manager), and i never carried one again...can't believe i ever did, but disco and a little dope had its effects.

that was thirty years ago and that strip hasn't changed much, don't know exactly when the cops episode was shot but looked pretty recent...the old couple was okay and id'd the lowlife who held a gun to her neck and his forehead; the old guy said he thought he would be shot and he'd been shot at before...in the war...and probably about the time that barrel was vibrating on his forehead he wished he weren't the antigun nyc liberal transplant retiree fron the giant century village conclave down the road that he almost certainly was...what went through his mind when he was sitting there waiting to be dispatched like dog by a lifeless scum right in front of his wife of how many years? and was she next? i wonder if he changed his attitude and voting habits after that little incident?

jtc

boomboom!

11:15 this a.m., standing on the front porch with wifey discussing her landscaping when a sharp double boom lifted me off my feet...i had known the shuttle was due back in fla today but feeling that sonic thump always catches me by surprise; it really seems like a physical force, like a roofer throwing a square of shingles down on the roof.

and that shuttle might be just a bus, but it's an f'n space bus, and it impresses the hell out of me...the future of earth has to involve unearthly exploits and all this experience has got to be a good thing for our kids and grandkids to build on.

jtc

Friday, June 13, 2008

nurse and nurture...protect and provide...

munchkin wrangler's chafing from ignorant assumptions about his chosen parental role...

no need for that, though...

nurse and nurture...protect and provide...
there’s a lot of depth and meaning in those four words when it comes to the functions of a real parent…culture mostly attaches the more obvious implications of the two former to mothers and the two latter to fathers, and so do i.

thank God, men and women are different and differently equipped, so i have no problem acknowledging that some of the literal meanings of nursing and nurturing are best left to women, and vice versa that some natural and/or archaic functions of protecting and providing are the chosen/assigned domain of most men.

but if nurturing also means being allowed the honor helping my children grow their souls, and nursing means holding them through the night to take away their pain, then count me in on that…those experiences were among the most gratifying of my life.

and if protecting means my wife’s vigilance over our kids like a lionness, (do not get between her and her kids!), and providing means imbuing to them the love, hope, devotion, courage, and strength that she is made of, then that is her role as well.

external expectations aside, who does what doesn’t matter much, but that it gets done…for the children as well as for ourselves, because it's really the same thing; there's not a me, you, and them in a family but just an us...

and fulfillment will come naturally from within…it is wonderful, you will miss it when it is gone but the rewards will last you and your children a lifetime.

jtc

a lucky day...

i've had some of my best days on friday the thirteenth...
happy birthday to my grandson j.r at age nineteen...

Monday, June 9, 2008

happy birthday to the best woman in the world!


today is mybaby's fifty fourth birthday....for about three months she'll be a year older than me, a fact i point out a lot as i look like i'm twenty years older...

how can she look like this after thirty six years of putting up with me and raising three good kids who now have four kids of their own? beats me...but i thank God every day that she stuck around.

she's down at the florida house after attending kindergarten graduation for Grace (that's her with Nana on facepaint day) and i'm getting my son ready to move back down there after three years here in north georgia; i'll be heading down t0morrow and we'll have a nice birthday cookout for her then.

i miss you baby, and i'll see you soon...love, me.

Friday, June 6, 2008

norman d day...

-------------

blessed are they
who came here to lay
down their lives to entreat us.

their crosses may've stayed
but their souls flew 'way
with God to keep us and greet us.

and come our own day,
we'll be able to say...
we thank you! we love you! you freed us!

jtc

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

so, it looks like bo or mac...sigh...

well, it looks like it's down to obama or mccain...and while i can't say that mccain inspires me or impresses me, obama does...just listen to him talk and you'll believe he is the chosen one!

but i'll tell you this, and nothing else really matters...

i have to think that iraq is (was) more of a vacuum than a sieve, and that our mission there, while p.c. couched in humanitarianism, is the chosen stage to draw, divert, and deplete the resources, concentration, and planning of the region’s terrorists, who would much rather be suicide-bombing sites in dc, nyc, london, and tel aviv…

judgement and criticism of this endeavor is above my need-to-know…at some point we must trust in the good intentions and expertise of those we have chosen to (at least for now) guide our ship…and while the captain and crew are employed by us the paying passengers, what we are paying for, it is hoped, is knowledge and experience and they should not be micromanaged by their employers. history will arbit the place of ghwb in its archives, as it also will for bho if and when he reaches the end of his term…

but if it is knowledge and experience we pay our “figurehead” for, i can’t see the bang for the buck with bo…if it is good intentions we value most, we need look no further than 1976-1980 to realize how worthless they can be on the world stage without also commanding the respect and at least the perception of willingness and capability to use force to protect us and ours,… and it is those very military and intelligence agencies you reference which failed on such a monumental, top-down scale until the reagan adminstration turned that perception around.

and while i am no bush apologist and remain unconvinced that the chosen theater will prove to have been the correct strategy (the actual costs in all guises will not be known for a generation), i am convinced that if “change” in our worldwide vision, strategy, and presence is required, i would like a “figurehead” who can do more than say it, howevery earnestly, and convincingly, he may do so.

jtc

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my melancholy babies...

marko at the munchkin wrangler has a post extolling the simple, wondrous pleasures of fatherhood, of sharing the innocence that is your flesh and blood experiencing the world for the very first time.

that quickly took me back and before you know it, my response had become it's own bittersweet post...

marko:

my son, my youngest child with two older sisters, is now 24 years old and a business owner.

20 years ago when he was four, i sold my pawn store and took a year off before starting a new one…i spent that year almost fulltime with my son, and that time is now one of the most cherished memories of my life.

in 1988 video cameras were a cutting-edge novelty, and i took one home from the pawnshop, about the size of a small suitcase…and during the year that i spent with eric, the last year before school took over as his main focus and influence, i took snippets of video of my beautiful son and me…

he amazed me with his depth of understanding, of love, of empathy...i had some of the deepest and most soulful conversations of my life with a four year old child.

a few minutes of video driving our little suzuki samurai around the sand trails near our home…eric shooting my old childhood .22 with me filming and doing dumbass olympics competition commentary…him learning to ride a bike without training wheels around the baseball diamond…us swimming and talking in nearby lake jackson and throwing a tennis ball for our two loyal cur dogs…watching a wading bird spear and swallow a good-sized water snake…and eric steering the little samurai along the lakeshore all by himself, with the suzuki creeping along in double-low 4×4 and me walking alongside, again doing dopey voiceovers…

how could i have known that this one vhs videotape, which also includes footage of my sweet daughters at Christmastime that same year…would be the only one we ever made?…the camcorder is a pain to carry around and ends up sitting on the shelf, you’ll always film the next event or get together, and before you know it…

before you know it and in the blink of an eye…twenty years have passed, and you sit with your wife now and then, and watch that old video, and feel the most awesome sense of love, and melancholy, and sadness…and pride.

it sounds corny...but my friend, embrace, and cherish,...and record...the moment and the feeling...it's gone before you can turn around, and it's never coming back.

jtc