As life chugs steadily along it never ceases to amaze me
how many small pieces of our lives get shoved away like so many broken summer fans,
once treasured baseball cards and small gifts and such that meant so much at the time of the giving.
From the books we once started and never finished, to the phone calls we were supposed to make but never did,
to all the relationships we took for granted,
we get caught up with life; be it day to day, night by night, or dawn to sunset.
We are all guilty of this innocent abandonment of connection with the things we once considered ‘golden’.
What amazes me is that this purely human phenomenon happens without our consent or recognition.
I become aware of it when and old friend calls me out of the blue or I hear a particular old song on the radio.
My mind is jarred and my brain gets pickled in a way that makes me realize that I have all but forgotten ‘the old me’.
So, here I am looking at a new beginning of sorts with the love of my life.
We will be picking up from where we left port so many oceans ago.
Our rare romantic dinners were filled with conversations about our three girls, their dreams,
wishes and ultimately our plans to try like hell to help them get there.
Those numerous transient conversations were never about us,
never about Michael and Pamela and how ‘they’ were doing.
I like to think that we were confident enough to know that nothing was being lost in talking about the girls.
I loved her.
She loved me.
It was an unspoken thing.
And I bought dinner. (always)
I don’t say all this in a dark and stormy ‘my-daughters-took-my-wife-away-from-me’ kind of way.
Children are born.
And more children are born.
Priorities are established and life continues on . . . in a different way.
I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that I was blessed to be married to a woman
that could see the same pictures of life as me.
That doesn’t happen to many people, hence the alarming divorce rate, perhaps.
Our priorities were exactly the same.
Maybe that’s why my Pamela is still the best friend I could ever hope for.
I may even go so far as to say that she still ‘melts my butter’ and truth be told she heals the tattered soul in me.
Although she doesn’t even know it.
That is the beauty of ‘her’.
She just doesn’t know, never has, never will.
I want her to run away with me very soon because I want to tell her how much I have missed ‘us‘.
I think we have succeeded in raising three incredibly awesome daughters.
But now it’s time for M&P.
Destiny is a crazyass thing and what’s done is done and I pray we‘ve done right.
But maybe now is the beginning of the best part of our lives.
As long as I have my true companion, I think I’m gonna be alright.
Actually, I know I’m going to be alright. . .
In a little while from now our youngest daughter, Hannah, will be heading off to college.
My wife and I will be staring at something of an empty nest;
a new frontier and previously distant horizon for the two of us.
While we’re incredibly excited for her to embark on this wonderful journey our hearts are a wee bit melancholy.
It’s almost like this time in our lives was so far off in the distance that we needn’t give it a second thought.
The days of the Murphy family all living under one roof has all too rapidly come to an end.
That we would always be together was an illusion I unconsciously chose to create.
It’s what father’s do, I guess.
Little girls turn into teenagers and teenagers turn into young women and the time comes when they ultimately fly away.
Thank God it’s not forever.
There will be one less bell to answer and much less laundry never mind the savings on the water and electric bill.
(each daughter took at least 3 showers a day, or so it seemed)
I should be happy.
Somehow, I am not.
I will now be cooking for me and Pamela (more savings?)
This house chef is seriously jonesing his favorite customers, the ones who always said the meal was great
(even if it moderately sucked).
Change is an inevitable fact of life and nothing can alter that,
not the weather,
not even American Idol with Steven Tyler.
When change does happen in a major way as it will this coming September,
I will still scratch my cueball noggin and wonder where the hell the last 25 years of my life went.
I do have much to show for it though in three exceptional, vibrant, creative and beautiful young women ready to change the face of the world for the better.
They are all destined for great things.
Lofty, but heartfelt.
Like the Wally Lamb book title says, ‘I know this much is true’ (Not the Spandau Ballet song!)
They all managed to somehow find their wings
and my wife and I are so very thankful and ultimately blessed that they did.
To my little Hannah(shine)-
Dad’s going to miss having you around.
Who else would leave a friend’s house on a Saturday night @10PM
to get their father a head of garlic and a can of chick peas because he wanted to make hummus?
To see you begin this incredible journey in your life makes my heart swell with pride because you have worked so hard and are so deserving of it.
I will also tell you that with being away from my cooking for a time,
Thanksgiving Dinner will be the very best you have ever had in your life.
Truth. (yes, you can pick the bacon off of the turkey)
And although my heart will break a little when we get back to an ‘all too quiet’ house,
I know that you’re but a heartbeat away.
As will I be.
So shine, Hannah . . .
Close your eyes,
don’t take any shit from anybody and shine
just shine . . .
Maybe in another space,
another silly rhyme
we would gently collide,
in a dance of serendipitous destiny and fate;
and all that the blessed heavens could cast in our way
Falling stars, like ethereal butterflies touching our lives without us even knowing,
with whispers of ‘meant to be’,
transforming the colours of life that we once took for granted
When the tired and crimson sun sets on another distant horizon,
know that chance and coincidence are sometimes pure and beautiful random happenings . . .
meant to give our lives an oh, so deeper meaning and understanding
but for the biggest part, they give us love
from a place that’s not so mysterious after all; the heart.
And yours answered.
But that 1 click ultimately took us on a long and still unforgettable journey home . . .
the echoes of goodbye,
cross a yawning chasm of fog and thought
find me sitting in this Darkroom,
the pictures of my life, languid and swirling above me
familiar fingers of blacklight penetrate me,
violating my inner walls of thought,
a fortress once impervious yet fragile, yes, once like me
galaxies of sotto voce secrets, skeletons in my locked closet
seem to drip like candle wax from the hanging pictures
the memories of my sweet by and by
they were prints I lost so damn long ago
souvenirs, as lost as I
this Darkroom embraces its secrets,
never letting go of the subtleties of the ‘why’
some things just simply refuse to let go of me
like the distant echoes of goodbye . . .
*repost of a dark angel
I was doing some work on my blog last Sunday and found a new template that I loved.
It’s the one you’re looking at right now.
It’s called ‘Absynthe’.
I wanted to make sure everything worked and entered some text in the ‘search box’ in the upper right hand corner of the site.
As I scrolled through the search results, I came across a post called ‘Empty House’.
Hmmm, I thought, and I clicked on it.
I wrote this post in late August of 2008 before Jenna went off to college.
I always wax philosophical whenever a daughter leaves the homestead.
Although I can’t for the life of me remember writing it
(1200+ posts will do that to you, I guess)
I read it with the eyes of a new reader, a wonderful and incredibly insightful moment for me.
As I read the post, I felt warm tears forming.
Since the death of my father, life looks a bit different to me these days.
I read my own words and got blown away.
I felt weird.
I’m not supposed to be that jazzed by something I wrote, am I?
Yet, I was.
I am not blowing my own horn here just saying that the craft of writing is a magical thing.
Sometimes it gives you back something totally unexpected.
Check out ‘Empty House’.
After checking Google, it looks like I did write this.
And I did check Google, several times.
If these old walls could speak,
I wonder just what they’d be saying
the comings and goings of life; the hellos, the goodbyes
tears of the restless nights, memories of suppers shared, stories told
time shuffles his feet like that of an old man
that just can’t help but grow older,
he’s now quiet as a mouse
listening to the days gone by in this almost empty house
Sunny days and skies of blue, little girls saying, “I love you”
echoes from a heart that breaks
Simply because it knows,
that nothing can ever stay the same,
life is ever changing and the tiny souls once held in gentle hands,
aren’t meant to be held forever
But it’s so damn hard to understand and accept ‘temporary’
Take them to the edge and tell them to “fly”;
towards all that makes their hearts happy,
all their souls desire,
every dream they could ever hope to find
just fly . . .
We’ll watch you walk away embracing this wonderful thing called life
but inside we’re still calling out your name
Although you can’t hear it, we want it that way
maybe we just needed to tell you
in everything you do, know that this almost empty house will always wait for you
Doesn’t matter how long or how far away you’ve been, it remembers,
like we remember . . .
that whenever you’re here, you are truly home.
I thought I was going to put up a Facebook page and go anonymous but I was wrong.
It didn’t work out that way at all.
In the past 24 hours, I’ve changed my name three times and received over 60
emails regarding changes in my status.
I’ve also managed to piss off someone already and have been told to, “Go fry ice.”
In a nice way, of course.
That must be the Facebook way or something.
Jesus Krispies, some people really take their FB seriously.
I am getting a kick out of the people I’ve already run across though.
It’s like old home week.
My daughter Sarah has ‘friended’ me but I’m currently experiencing the heartache of being ‘blocked’ for the first time.
Ouch that hurts, SG. (cue the violins, please)
Who knows, Pamela may have her own Facebook page before the end of the day.
I’ll tell her, “It’s just like Twitter. Except different. Kinda.”
She’ll shake her head and say, “Whatever.”
That means, “Go ahead. Sign me up. Even though I won’t know what the hell I’m doing.”
I’ll tell her, “Hey, that’s what we have the kids for.”
For now maybe we’ll wait on a Facebook page for rumswizzle.
She’s just started getting good at Twitter.
Click on the picture above for a gander at my profile page.
Special dedication tonight as I recall a smoky dive from the 50’s called the ‘Waltz Club’ . . .
Long story and definitely not one for this blog.
I knew of one of the patron saints of the place, from what I’ve heard.
Sweet dreams, lady, sweet and smoky dreams
Maybe I’ll see you in them . . .
*I find it intensely gratifying (for very personal reasons)
to give you the list of the players on this archaic recording:
Johnny Hartman, vocal
John Coltrane, tenor sax
McCoy Tyner, piano
Jimmy Garrison, bass
Elvin Jones, drums
God must have been engineering.
I hate wearing new shoes and I’m willing to bet that 99.999% of the male population does too.
They never feel right and by the end of the day you’re walking like Donald Duck after
sniffing glue and eating one too many Skittles.
Taste the rainbow of discomfort.
The only footwear that feels right to me the first time I wear them has been (and always will be) sneakers.
I didn’t wear sneakers today.
I wore shoes. New shoes.
Uncomfortable and unbroken-in shoes.
Evil, nasty monster shoes that should be thrown into the footwear abyss where all the bad shoes go.
Actually, they were a pair of Timberland casuals, a gift from my mother-in-law that can’t say no to anything 70% off, although sometimes I wish she would.
I love her anyway.
But my feet felt like two squishy blisters about to pop as I walked to the train.
Even the people driving on Boylston looked at me, concerned, as if to say,
“Hey, man, you look like you gotta take a crap or something!”
As I limped to South Station, I began thinking about walking in my father’s shoes,
not theoretically but realistically.
I would put on his oxblood wingtips that were 6 sizes too big
and waddle around the living room tripping on things while making believe I was him.
Everyone would get their chuckle and it would be bedtime for Mick.
I liked going into my father’s closet in the hallway.
It had all of his ‘stuff’ in it and I could get lost for hours.
In the back of my mind I can see the large glass pickle jar filled with change.
It was in the shape of an actual pickle barrel and it weighed about 200 lbs
(or 90.718474 kilos)
I wonder when he cashed those coins in?
It was probably after I’d lost interest in the closet and moved on to collecting
pollywogs in a rusty pail underneath the back deck.
There was all kinds of stuff in that closet: old army boots, belts that had fallen off their hooks that he forgot he even had, an empty ‘Tootsie Roll’ bank that served no purpose whatsoever and a shoebox filled with brushes, polish and stained rags.
If I could have bottled the smell of his closet, I would have.
The thing I liked best about my father’s closet was the feeling of comfort that it gave me as I sat there surrounded by his stuff. My world was safe as I sat there on the closet floor even when he wasn’t home.
These days I find myself missing the ‘safety’ that was him.
When my mother and father were well I always felt I had that net stretched out below me should ever I fall, not that I would ever use it.
I just liked knowing it was there.
The net disappeared many years ago and I really miss the feeling of calm that it gave to me.
For now, I’ll choose to cherish the memories of that special closet in the hallway that seems light years away.
Maybe it’s not that far away after all.
As I finish writing this post I can see snow falling outside the dark kitchen windows and it’s only October 15th.
Maybe it’s my mother and father’s way of telling me that I now have my own net to tend to.
They always had a way with words . . .
For me this post signifies many things:
truth . . .
Cryptic, I know and I apologize for my strange and mysterious ways.
The following poem has been used for many purposes over the years,
based on its various interpretations.
Methinks, that’s why it’s such a great piece of literature.
It spoke multitudes to me tonight.
If you’ve read it, read it again.
If you haven’t, you are in for a real treat.
I’ll be off in the distance chasing away the endless cumulonimbus clouds
again . . .
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler , long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t, we are afraid.”
“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t, we will fall.”
“Come to the edge.”
And they came.
And He pushed them.
And they flew.
Graduation ’09 is done and dusted but the torrential rain of emotions put Pamela and I through the proverbial ringer.
As we both sat outside the other night mesmerized by the roaring firepit she quietly said,
“Things are changing again.”
When things change, a subtle discomfort settles in.
For as happy and proud as we were for Sarah, we also share her sense of trepidation, a subject not many people talk about.
But it’s there in every single family attending a graduation.
After the ceremony we had an old fashioned BBQ back at the house with burgers, hot dogs and salads galore.
There was laughter and music, beer and cigars, goodbyes and tears when roommates and friends had to leave.
Later that day, Pamela, myself and the girls went to move the remainder of Sarah’s belongings from her room and let her say goodbye to her college high atop Mt. Saint James.
As I waited by my truck for Sarah to come out of her dorm for the last time,
I looked around at the ivy-covered buildings that had occasionally surrounded me over the past 4 years.
My own sadness at saying goodbye leaving the comfort of this place surprised me.
Thank God for sunglasses.
It was quiet in the car on the way home with everyone lost in their own thoughts.
I thought about a large Monarch butterfly I’d seen in the air that morning as I listened to the list of graduates being read.
It flew gracefully down towards the moving sea of black mortarboards below disappearing amidst the caps and gowns; almost like it was going home.
For Sarah, another class has already started as of tonight.
She must want stronger wings . . .