Sunday, October 31, 2010

KUBRICK AND STRANGELOVE - DID WE LEARN?

The Bay of Pigs, the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis were all indications that the Cold War was heating up.  Stanley Kubrick was very aware of what could happen and began studying on his own the effects of thermo-nuclear war.  Kubrick began making one of his three masterpieces, 'Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned Not To Worry And To Love the Bomb'. It is still recognized as one of the best films in history today.  It was a satire film designed to make the American people aware of how foreign countries can effect our way of living and how events can lead to a nuclear war that could end life on the planet.

The film is based on a rogue general who begins a nuclear attack on the Russians because they are putting fluoride in our water compromising our precious bodily fluids.  The Russians never drink water opting instead for round after round of vodka.  Kubrick describes how all the fail safes designed to prevent an nuclear attack can actually work against the prevention of such an attack by the fail safes being used to prevent the recall of such an attack.

Was Kubrick successful?  Did we learn the lesson that Kubrick was trying to teach us?  In the film, one plane, piloted by Slim Pickens makes it through the barriers because it is damaged by a Russian missile during its flight.  The plane is forced to fly below the radar and thus makes it past the Russian defense that has been given approval by the President of the United States for the Russians to destroy any American planes not obeying the recall of the attack.  Pickens runs into all kinds of problems with his plane because of the missile attack.  The final problem is that the bomb bay doors will not open so Pickens goes down to the belly of the aircraft and while sitting on one of the bombs, fixes the problem and the doors open.  Shortly thereafter the plane releases the bomb and we see Pickens riding the bomb down until it detonates.  This sets off a Russian "doomsday machine" which is designed to destroy all life on the planet.

Meanwhile back in Washington, a Nazi like adviser to the President, Dr. Strangelove, develops a plan and presents it to the president on how the American civilization can survive by going underground for one hundred years and develop a master race of Americans during the underground period.  Sharp satire indeed comparing the American war machine to Nazi Germany just twenty years after the end of World War Two.

The film was released in late January of 1964 and Kubrick's film began trying to educate the American public.  Did Stanly Kubrick succeed?


Over the history of our country, numerous artists, writers, and film makers have tried to warn us that our position and power can bring about our destruction if we are not alert and aware of the dangers presented to us.  As many before him tried to do, Kubrick sent a message that has largely been ignored by the American public and Government since 1964.

What is the indicator that we did not receive Kubrick's message and warning to us?  We still allow the Russians to covertly fluoridate our water supply sapping and compromising all of America's precious bodily fluids.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Grandfather - Harry Chapin

"My grandfather was a painter. He died at age eighty-eight, he illustrated Robert Frost's first two books of poetry and he was looking at me and he said, 'Harry, there are two kinds of tired: there's good-tired, and there's bad-tired.' He said, 'Ironically enough, bad-tired can be a day that you won. But you won other people's battles, you lived other people's days, other peoples agendas, other people's dreams and when it was all over there was very little "you" in there, and when you hit the hay at night, somehow you toss and turn--you don't settle easy.' He said, 'Good-tired, ironically enough, can be a day that you lost. But you don't have to tell yourself, 'cause you knew you fought your battles, you chased your dreams, you lived your days, and when you hit the hay at night, you settle easy--you sleep the sleep of the just, and you can say "take me away."' He said, 'Harry, all my life I've painted. God, I would've loved to be more successful, but I painted and I painted, and I am good-tired and they can take me away.'

Now, if there is a process in your and my lives in the insecurity that we have about a prior life or an afterlife and God--I hope there is a God. If He is-- if He does exist He's got a rather weird sense of humor, however. But let's just-- But if there's a process that will allow us to live our days and will allow us that degree of equanimity towards the end, looking at that black, implaccable wall of death, to allow us that degree of peace, that degree of non-fear, I want in."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbpoUWO3kA8

Thursday, October 28, 2010

ON MY FORTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY ... A POEM OF SORTS

FORTY-FIVE YEARS
October 13, 2001

Forty-five years is long enough to live
after all that time, nothing left to give
except trouble and bother and stupid thoughts
that no one cares and that no one sought
The nothingness that awaits us all
is sitting there waiting for me to fall
i think i am ready to take that final plunge
and my life and waste of space will be expunged
Forty-five years is dragging it out too long
after all that time, it is tough to be strong
the trouble and the bother to make another day
is almost impossible with the walls that are in the way
my mind is empty now, more so than before
i cant remember anything and it chills me to the core
so many things i saw before i was even thirty-five
i've added ten more years that i shouldn't be alive
forty-five years, maybe it really is time to go
i can't feel nothing. not even a little sorrow
forty-five years, it takes strength to make a life
now i can only wonder if it was worth the strife
now i realize that it also takes strength to die
the big question now is if i have it and why
forty-five years and i realize i don't have enough
strength to do the one thing, i ain't tough enough.
i don't have it in me to take that final stride
i guess i have no choice but to live and to abide.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

George Carlin Quote 4

You can't fight City Hall..... but you sure can blow it up.

The Little Boy and the Old Man ... Poem by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that too."

The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.

Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."

"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."

And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2yc04fGXqo

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THE RED TRUCK

It was not the most pleasant junk yard in the area.  It was mostly made of mud where the old cars and trucks were not piled upon each other.  The rusting vehicles would groan and creak when ever it rained or a strong breeze would filter through.  Piled on top of each other were old Fords, Chevys, Dodges even an old Rambler or two could be found with in the piles and piles of rust.

Off in the northwest corner of this tremendous junkyard sat an old red truck. It had been protected from other piles of rust for many years so it sat with no burden upon it's back.  It was a moderate sized Chevy from the late nineteen seventies.  You could tell it had been red because rust had not gotten to all parts of it yet.  The bench seat that was loosely sitting within it was dark red plastic.  It had been scavenged over the years so was missing many of it critical organs that use to make it work its way down the old country roads of southern Missouri.

It had been a beautiful proud truck that took on every task that its owners assigned to it.  It had been stuck in the mud four times, stuck in snow a modest six times.  It had originally been purchased by an old farmer who was humble and a hard worker.  He had expected the same hard work from his new truck.  He would load the bed of it with rock or dirt and haul it to various parts of the farm.  In the fall the trucks main duty was to carry hay bales from the fields to the troughs where the cows ate and the rest of the hay way off into the barn.

The farmer took very good care of the truck because he loved it.  He did more than the required maintenance on it and washed it at least once a week.  Even though he had a nice sedan sitting up next to his house, he always took the truck when taking his wife into town for dinner or shopping.  This was a special truck to the farmer and he had imagined it would be with him until the day he died.

That wasn't to be though.  The truck developed a problem that would not stop it from moving along, but did lessen its ability to haul large amounts of weight.  When the farmer would load it up with dirt, the truck would struggle to pick up speed or make it over the rough terrain of the fields of the farm.  The farmer had owned the truck for ten years at this point and decided it was time for a new one so he put an old for sale sign in the window of the truck with his phone number on it and continued to drive it into town on Saturday nights.

One day a young man, a boy actually, came to talk to the farmer about the truck.  The boy was just looking for some transportation and the truck seemed to fit his budget as well as his need.  The farmer made the deal with the young man and arranged for it to picked up the next weekend.  He spent a lot of time with the truck the rest of that week, washing it, doing still more maintenance on it wanting to know that when the truck left the farm, it was in as good of shape as it could be.  A new life for the truck was about to happen, a liife the truck had never known before.

It was about ten o'clock Saturday morning when the boy showed up to take the red truck home with him.  As the keys were passed from one generation to another the farmer found himself fighting back a tear or two.  The boy promised the farmer to take good care of the red truck and drove down the dirt driveway and off the farm in a slow and gentle manner.  It would be the last time the truck was driven with such care.

As soon as the boy and the truck hit the two lane highway, the boy decided it was time to see how fast the truck would go and so he pressed as hard as he could on the pedal.  The two lane was hilly with a lot of curves and trees on either side.  He quickly sped over to his girlfriends house to take he for he initial ride in the red truck.  When he arrived at her house, he pulled into the gravel driveway and hots the brakes as hard as he could causing the red truck to skid to a stop and put little gravel pits on its fenders. He jumped out and slammed the door hard.  The red truck was missing the farm already and as it sat waiting for the boy to return, there were visions of sunny lazy days on the farm with the gentle farmer driving slowly across the fields to save the suspension on the red truck.

They boy eventually came out of the house with his girlfriend in tow.  They jumped in and she slid over to the middle of the seat to sit next to him as he started the red trucks motor up and raced the engine.  As he entered onto the highway once again, he pushed the pedal as hard as he could go.  The wheels were squealing in pain every time they went around a sharp curve in the road.  The truck was traveling so fast that at the top of hills, the tires would leave the ground momentarily before landing roughly back on the highway.  The boy and girl seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely as they cam upon a logging truck on the highway threatening to slow them down.

It was on a curve when the boy finally lost patience with the crawling logging truck and pressed hard on the pedal making the red truck jump and then increase its speed once again.  The last thing the boy and the girl and the red truck saw was another logging truck coming at them around the curve.  The impact was fast and hard.  The girl flew out of the seat and through the windshield, he body smashing against the logging truck hood before continuing on through the windshield of the larger truck.  The steering wheel of the red truck and collapsed into the body of the boy holding him inside.  As the logging truck continued to push the red truck in the opposite direction it had been going, the steering wheel began to dig deep into his body eventually coming close to slicing the boy in half.

Suddenly it was quiet.  Both the logging truck and the red truck sat still among all the twisted metal.  The drivers of the two logging trucks were hoping that the two kids who had been driving so crazily could somehow be okay, but it was a wish that had no possibility of coming true.  Both the boy and the girl were dead with their bodies and faces so ripped apart they hardly looked human any more.

By nightfall the little red truck was towed to the junk yard and placed in the corner, a memorial of sorts to the kids that had so much fun in the red truck on the last day of their lives.

So here the red truck sits still today.  Silently bearing witness to two lives that tore it to pieces after being taken such good care of by the old farmer.  The old farmer comes by about once a month to look over the at the truck and he cries.  He cries for the two lives that he had put into that truck and he cries for the red truck, which will never move again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Man Who Couldn't Cry as performed by Johnny Cash


Written by Loudon Wainwright III

There once was a man who just couldn't cry
He hadn't cried for years and for years
Napalmed babies and the movie love story
For instance could not produce tears

As a child he had cried as all children will
Then at some point his tear ducts ran dry
He grew to be a man, the feces hit the fan
Things got bad, but he couldn't cry

His dog was run over, his wife up and left him
And after that he got sacked from his job
Lost his arm in the war, was laughed at by a whore
Ah, but sill not a sniffle or sob

His novel was refused, his movie was panned
And his big Broadway show was a flop
He got sent off to jail; you guessed it, no bail
Oh, but still not a dribble or drop

In jail he was beaten, bullied and buggered
And made to make license plates
Water and bread was all he was fed
But not once did a tear stain his face

Doctors were called in, scientists, too
Theologians were last and practically least
They all agreed sure enough; this was sure no cream puff
But in fact an insensitive beast

He was removed from jail and placed in a place
For the insensitive and the insane
He played lots of chess and made lots of friends
And he wept every time it would rain

Once it rained forty days and it rained forty nights
And he cried and he cried and he cried and he cried
On the forty-first day, he passed away
He just dehydrated and died

Well, he went up to heaven, located his dog
Not only that, but he rejoined his arm
Down below, all the critics, they loot it all back
Cancer robbed the whore of her charm

His ex-wife died of stretch marks, his ex-employer went broke
The theologians were finally found out
Right down to the ground, that old jail house burned down
The earth suffered perpetual drought

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QnjJUBHZD4

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bill Hicks Quote 1

If you don't believe drugs have had a positive effect on society do me a favor.  Go home and take all your albums and cd's..... and burn them.  Because all of those musicians who made that great music that enriched and enhanced your lives.... were  REALLY high.   The Beatles were so high, they let Ringo sing a couple of songs.

CHANGE OF SEASONS

One of the reasons I love living in Missouri so much is the slow and yet dramatic change of seasons.   Fall started a few weeks ago and slowly but surely trees started to change the color of their leaves.  Some leaves turn a brilliant yellow, others a dark red while still others prefer changing to a burnt orange.  The less imaginative trees change into brown leaves.  Even the dull brown leaves, when mixed with the yellows, red, and oranges add to the pallet of color that rounds out the picture as a whole.  The added bonus is that not all trees change at the same time so you can still see plenty of different shades of green mixed in with the other colors.  Soon the trees that change early begin to drop their leaves making a beautiful crunchy carpet upon the ground while the rest of the trees are beginning or continuing to change.  Eventually as the winds shift a little to the north and pick up a chill that makes them blow a little harder, all the trees will drop their leaves and this massive thick luxurious carpet that is thick and noisy is complete.  The days continue to shorten as winter nears.  The night air feels fresh and cool and occasionally a rainstorm will pass through the area quieting the carpet of leaves for a few days.

The first signs of winter start to arrive in the middle of December.  The air and the winds become colder, penetrating your skin and sending chills all up and down your body.  The jackets and coats are brought from the closets where they have been resting since last winter.  The occasional rainstorms start to carry little bits of ice with them once in a while as a reminder of what is to come.  Every now and then the rain will be completely ice, making the tires of cars and the sneakers of people like ice skates without the blades on the bottom.  Some trees break under the pressure of the ice but the trees that are strong and hold the ice upon their limbs look like they were carved from crystal the next morning when the sun shines down on them.  By mid January and into February, the temperatures turn cold and stay that way.  The rain which had enough cold to turn to ice now turns into snow and that is when the fun of winter begins.  There is work to do before the fun like getting a big shovel and cleaning the snow from driveways, sidewalks and streets but after the chores are done the snow makes like a white, cold fluffy sandbox that covers everywhere.  Playing in the snow wears you out quickly though as the cold grabs the energy from your body so you go inside to a warm house and have a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and let the warmth of it all slide over you and in you until you can not keep your eyes open and fall into a restful slumber.

Along about the first week or so of March winter begins to loosen it's grip on the land and it's people.  The days are getting longer and they are getting warmer. It gets very messy along this time as the snow begins to melt and turn into this dirty slush that paints all the cars the same color.  The winds warm a little and shift from the north to the southwest.  It becomes warm enough for rain to return and help clean the leftovers of winter off the streets.  As it gets closer to the month of May, the weather becomes dangerous as cold fronts and warm fronts collide over the plains, throwing the rain storms in all different directions and spawning the terror of the mid-west.  The funnel clouds that drop from the sky go by different names depending upon where you live.  In Texas they are twisters while in Missouri they are called tornadoes.  These products of nature in the spring are powerful enough to destroy whole towns in their path.  Their course of travel is unpredictable and their appearance is mostly a surprise as well.  When the tornadoes aren't terrorizing the plains beautiful things happen.  Soft spring showers of rain that leave the air fresh and clean.  Rainbows arc across the horizons and the sun's warmth feels very comforting.  The trees begin to come back to life first pushing out little buds on their limbs that soon become brilliant green leaves.. Flowers start to crawl out from under the dirt and then bloom in a festival of colors along a landscape that has been barren white for too long.  Baseball bats and gloves come out and windows are broken by over anxious young batters that swing just a little too hard yet are lucky enough to make contact with that white ball with red stitching.  Neighbors reacquaint themselves with each other after keeping warm indoors all winter. The temperatures are pleasant and just a hint of coolness at night.  Spring is what people in Missouri really wait for every year.  Celebrations of Easter and graduations fill the weekends and a trip to the stadium for a ball game is long over due.

When all is going along just fine the month of July hits like a slap across the face.  Summer is here and it is sure to make its presence known to everyone.  The humidity in the air increases to where there is more moisture in the air than air.  The heat begins to climb and continues to climb into August.  It becomes a chore to walk around behind a lawnmower to keep the lawn looking as decent as possible under these conditions.  The heat continues to build and when September arrives and school begins, the people of Missouri are fooled into thinking that fall has returned.  September has a difficult time knocking down the heat though and the summer seems like it has lasted forever.  People begin to spend more time indoors to keep cool just as they had stayed indoors in February to keep warm.  The days are long giving the heat more time to slightly scorch the land.  Then comes the first sign of fall returning as the baseball playoffs begin for that means October has arrived and October has the power to slap down the heat that September did not have.  Days begin to shorten again and the night air begins to cool.  The leaves watch each other to see which one will be the first to start to change into their fall outfits of orange, red, or yellow as the cycle of seasons begins to repeat itself once again for another year.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy 1

I bet the main reason the police keep people away from a plane crash is they don't want anybody walking in and lying down in the crash stuff, then, when somebody comes up, act like they just woke up and go, "What was THAT?!"

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

If God dwells inside us like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that's what He's getting

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

Instead of studying for finals, what about just going to the Bahamas and catching some rays? Maybe you'll flunk, but you might have flunked anyway; that's my point.


All Those Years Ago - George Harrison

I'm shouting all about love
While they treated you like a dog
When you were the one who had made it so clear
All those years ago.

I'm talking all about how to give
They don't act with much honesty
But you point the way to the truth when you say
All you need is love.

Living with good and bad
I always look up to you
Now we're left cold and sad
By someone the devil's best friend
Someone who offended all.

We're living in a bad dream
They've forgotten all about mankind
And you were the one they backed up to the wall
All those years ago
You were the one who Imagined it all
All those years ago.

Deep in the darkest night
I send out a prayer to you
Now in the world of light
Where the spirit free of the lies
And all else that we despised.

They've forgotten all about God
He's the only reason we exist
Yet you were the one that they said was so weird
All those years ago
You said it all though not many had ears
All those years ago
You had control of our smiles and our tears
All those years ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZJjo_FnpPc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-uLzq8lv6U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6QBGTS7-x4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7bBLE1EAIw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85Smw33PKJA

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

George Carlin Quote 3

Do you ever fall asleep in the late afternoon and wake up after dark, and for a moment you can't figure out what day it is?  You actually find yourself thinking, Could this be yesterday?

THE SOLDIER

It was dark and it was quiet.  Crickets chirped once in a while to break the silence.  He was focused.  He could see nothing in the dark but kept his eyes alert for any movement at all.  The clouds obscured the moon and brought with them a cool breeze from the northwest.  He tried to figure out how he got into this mess he found himself in.

It was a hitchhiker on the previous day.  The weather was turning colder and he spotted a soldier walking backwards with his thumb stuck out begging to have someone gives his feet a rest as he went to his destination.  He had always admired  the men and women of the military for putting it all on the line for a country that had shown in the past that it didn't appreciate the sacrifices of these men and women.  Men and women?  They were more like kids.  Kids that were playing a game when they went to basic then found out about life and death in strange countries as they fought to survive.

He had slowed his car and gently pulled to the shoulder of the road.  He saw the soldier walk up to his car in his mirror and noticed that he was a very serious looking young man.  The soldier had leaned his head in the window and asked if he could get a ride to White Point.  He had told that young serious face that coincidentally he was heading to White Point himself.  The soldier set his bag on the front floor board, got into the car setting his feet on either side of the bag.  He pulled back out onto the road and brought the car up to speed as the soldier sat silently staring out the window at the soft landscape of Indiana.  He tried a little small talk but received very little response from the soldier.  He noticed the patch on his uniform search that indicated his name was Delmar.  Private Delmar was not going to talk and he so accepted the fact that it would be a quiet ride into White Point for the next two hours.

It was about five miles outside of White Point when the situation began to unfold.  Private Delmar reached down between his legs into his bag and pulled a bright silver handgun and and looked it over while rubbing his hand on it.  The Private then ordered him to pull over next to a grove of woods.  He looked nervously at Delmar and asked him what was up.  Delmar explained that the country had been invaded slowly but surely by terrorists since the September eleventh terror even in New York City and Washington D.C.  Delmar looked at him and rubbed the barrel of the gun against his top lip staring at him and seemingly deep in thought.

Then Delmar began to talk quietly with a steady cadence, explaining that his driver looked an awful lot like one of those terrorists he had seen on television.  Those terrorists that had placed him in a desert halfway around the world where he had seen six of his best friends killed without warning.  It was payback time.  It was time to truly protect the country by getting rid of the terrorists already in the United States instead of killing hundreds of terrorists in the desert.  Delmar leaned forward a bit and told him that he didn't really look like he was from Chicago.  Delmar then lowered the gun from his lip and pointed it in the general direction of his driver.

He was instructed to drive into town to the Burger King that was on the main road.  He nodded his head and began to drive into the small town of White point, Indiana.  Private Delmar began thinking aloud to himself.  Thinking about how those terrorists who owned and ran the Burger King in White Point were going to pay for their treason of the United States.  Terrorists in the very town where Delmar had grown up and went to school.  The terrorists were not going to get Delmar's home town, he was going to make sure of that.

As he drove into town and came closer to the Burger King sweat began to dampen the collar of his shirt and he noticed that his hands were shaking.  He pulled his car into the parking lot of the Burger King and came to a stop.  Delmar got out of the car very deliberative and slow.  He watched Delmar walk up to the doors with his handgun down at his side.  As Delmar stepped into the establishment he raised his arm and began to fire again and again.  He could hear screams between the popping of the guns.  His self survival kicked in and he threw open his car door and ran as fast as he could into the little clump of trees off to the side of the parking lot and held his breath, trying to make as little sound as possible.

He saw Private Delmar walk out of the doors and head to his car and raise the gun at the windshield.  Delmar stopped and looked around realizing that the head of the cell and main witness to the act of war he had just committed was gone.  He watched as Delmar walked across the parking lot slightly away from him and disappear into the dark. He let out a small sigh of relief and then began to stare into the darkness of the woods around him, listening for any twig that cracked or any noise that would serve as a warning sign.  It had been about a half hour when he heard the twig snap behind him.  He froze and he heard a split second of a gunshot as he drifted off into nothingness.

Delmar stood and stared at the body that had brought him home to save his town while he himself was destroying the town of White Point from the inside.  Delmar turned slowly and walked off into the direction of the high school where he had graduated.  Delmar walked out onto the football field and dropped on his knees around the thirty yard line.  He looked around at the darkness and listened to the silence.  His mission had been completed.

Mrs. Clancy was lying in bed trying her best to fall asleep when she heard the shot.  Her house was on the back side of the school on the other side of the football field.  She walked quickly to her window and saw the form of a body lying curled up on the field  With shaking hands she dialed the police to come investigate.

Over the next two days the police had searched Private Delmar's home as well as all of the Victim's homes that he had defended the country from.  There was no sign of terrorists activity at any of the locations.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's Not Dark Yet - Bob Dylan

Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/sy-1728000430/no_dark_yet_bob_dylan/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKi69T6AsUU&list=QL&feature=BF

Friday, October 15, 2010

George Carlin Quote 2

If this is the best God can do, I'm not impressed.  Results like this do not belong on the resume of a supreme being.  This is the kind of stuff you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude.

THE COLONOSCOPY

A lot of people think of a colonoscopy as a messy event in a person's life.  Actually the colonoscopy itself is not messy at all.  As a matter of fact it is quite clean and sterile.  It is the preparing for the colonoscopy that is messy and it can get extremely messy.

The objective of preparing for the procedure is to clean out your colon and bowels.  Not just get them clean but squeaky clean.  This preparation involves drinking gallons upon gallons of fluids, taking more laxative than is recommended by the drug companies followed by more gallons of liquid and another huge dose of laxative and rounding it out by drinking more liquids and then sitting on the toilet for 18 hours with one good long book or two to three shorter books.  Do not attempt this with a magazine.  The magazine will not last long enough and you will end up using the pages of the magazine for a purpose they were never intended to be used for and could clog the pipes of your toilet in the process.  Two cans of air freshener is another idea that should be put to use during this preparation time.  You know when the preparation is finished when you sit on the toilet and drink some clear fluid and it immediately comes out into the toilet with the same consistency that it entered your body.

I could write pages upon pages of the messy stuff involved in a colonoscopy but let's move on to the story that I wanted to tell.  It happened two colonoscopies ago meaning about six years.  When the Doctor does the colonoscopy, you are put under anesthesia so that you don't feel what the doctor is actually doing to you, something that I would guess the majority of the population does not want to happen to them although I am sure there are a few of you out there who might not mind it too much, which is disturbing in and of itself.

The story begins during the procedure while I was fast asleep dreaming of who knows what.  Something went wrong and I ended up with a little pocket of air lodged in my colon that they could not remove without my help.  As I awoke slowly from the anesthesia I began to become aware of something strange.  I was still pretty groggy so I wasn't sure if I was dreaming or it was really happening to me but I remember thinking that everyone should have a bottle of this anesthesia at home.

I was in a little enclosed room laying on my side in a fetal position on a nice padded table and I was feeling the pain associated with gas in the intestinal area.  It was a bad pain and did not hurt as much if I just lay still and not move.  Then I noticed the audience that was surrounding me in that little room.  My wife along with three nurses were rubbing my back, my arms, even my leg.  I think it was my wife doing the leg rubbing but this was turning into a fantasy pretty quick so I mentally placed one of the nurses as the leg rubber.

Then I started hearing their voices.  They were asking me, no begging me to"toot", to "relax and let the air out", to "give a little puff" of air, once I could swear I even heard one of them use the word "fart".  Was this for real?  I was in a room with four fine ladies actually begging me to fart.  This was one thing I never would have imagined happening to me.

Now I imagine that on the male fantasy list, women begging you to fart is probably not in the top ten or twenty for that matter, but surely it has to be in the top fifty somewhere.  So on that cold winter day, in a small room in a hospital, a fantasy was fulfilled.  I am not quite sure if it really was one of my fantasies, but surely it was someone's fantasy, which is why I decided to share it.  To give a glimmer of hope to someone out there that it is possible to be in a room full of women begging you to fart.

It is things like this that make America great.  Next week I have colonoscopy number three and I wonder if I will experience yet another fantasy, hopefully one closer to the top of the list.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Out, Out... Poem by Robert Frost

The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside them in her apron
To tell them 'Supper'. At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap--
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh.
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all--
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man's work, though a child at heart--
He saw all spoiled. 'Don't let him cut my hand off
The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!'
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then -- the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little -- less -- nothing! -- and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhcOF_Ifsns&feature=related

DON'T CALL ME "CRACKER"

I have always believed and stated that "words mean things".  I tried to teach this to my son as he was growing up.  Certain words are made to intentionally knock a person down based on race, sexual orientation, religion, and even where a person may live.

Calling someone an Okie is not necessarily a term to describe someone as intelligent with a moral lifestyle.Identifying a polygamist as a plyg-farmer is not exactly an endearing term.  Several terms for sexual orientation of a homosexual lifestyle can be terribly hurtful and of course the terms used to describe someone's race can be downright hateful.

Now I am not going to waste time trying to argue that the term "nigger" is no worse than other terms for other races.  This word is probably the ugliest word in the English language.  It does have a history of hate and violence behind it that no other race description can come close to.  I firmly believe that the word nigger should never be used, especially to describe someone of the black community.

There are other words that have come out of our ignorance as a people to describe those different from ourselves.  Raghead, camel jockey, chief, redskin, slant eyes, are but a few among many other words that can cause hurt and anger, including the word cracker to describe one of anglo descent.

Respect is the key here.  I believe we should respect our fellow human beings no matter what their race, religion or sexual orientation may be.  I believe this to be a truth for all people, no matter what their race may be.  I can't understand how a black person feels when someone calls him a nigger.  No doubt there is pain and a lot of anger.  Anytime you are called a disparaging term because of your race, a person will feel a certain level of hurt and anger.

Personally, I don't use words to describe people in that manner.  I try not to anyway for I can not say I am perfect.  I try to respect a person's heritage and race by not digging into the murk and mud for those words that will cause the most pain.  It is a simple way I can show respect to one of my fellow humans.  At the same time, I expect to be respected in the same manner and the word cracker has become a disrespectful term for a Caucasian person.  I do not like to be called a cracker.  For some reason though, the word has been accepted by society as being an acceptable way to describe white people.  I do not agree with this.  The word is used as a put down much the same way other words that are unacceptable do.

My proposal is this.  We are all one large community broken into smaller sub communities to be sure.  But being members of the larger community, respect is one way to advance healing that needs to be done between the races.  I'll respect you as a person and your race by not using those vile words and all I expect in return is the same.

So please, don't call me a cracker.  I am a person the same as you with the same feelings and pride.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BIRTHDAY

Today, October thirteenth, is my birthday.  I have turned fifty four years old and am finding it hard to find a reason to celebrate.  I have a good wife, a good son and a great dog.  I know that this is much more than a lot of people can look to in their lives.  I have had my job for decades and probably will retire from the business when I come of age.  If I can get myself to stand back and look at my life overall, I can see the good things.  But I seldom get out there far enough to see all the good in my life.  I wish I knew why I think this way.

I don't remember any of my birthdays that were spent with my family while I do remember birthdays that were spent with friends and acquaintances. Birthdays have never been important to me.  Birthdays have been just another day to me my whole life.The one good thing about my birthdays I suppose is that I don't remember taking the blame for something I didn't do on those particular days.

I do not look forward to birthdays, I don't enjoy birthdays, I would prefer to never have another birthday.

I Am A Rock - Paul Simon

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don't talk of love,
But I've heard the words before;
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

George Carlin Quote 1

"The older I get, the more certain I am that I won't spend the rest of my life in prison."

HEIGHTS

George Carlin once said “I ain’t scared of heights; I am scared of falling from heights.”  This was probably very true for Carlin.  There once was a picture in Life magazine of a young woman who had jumped from a window high in a building and had landed on top of a car.  The car had bent, folding around her body like a warm blanket as she lay there with a calm, restful expression on her face and her arms folded.  She looked asleep, not dead.  He had thought it was very ironic that this picture a woman serenely entering death was published in a magazine called Life.

He remembered that picture as he started to climb the steps of City Hall.  There were twenty nine floors to climb and it would take awhile.  He had planned this intentionally to give him plenty of thinking time on his way to the open observation deck at the top of the cold cement building.  The building was built during the great depression to create jobs for those who needed to work to survive.  It was a living building, built by living souls who would live to see it completed and see the country out of economic despair.  The building had outlived those lives that had given it life, and would continue to live for many years to come.

He came to a landing with a door that had a black number eight painted on it and sat down to rest for a moment.  Yes, this building was still alive.  One word popped into his mind. “Entropy” he thought.  Carlin had also spoke about entropy and how entropy insured the end of every living thing.  This included buildings, because they were alive as much as anything else.  Living things die at the hands of living things.  Buildings die by the hands of living humans, or insects, or bacteria.  Eventually, he thought, this building would come crashing down and die one way or the other.  People were the same way.  If it wasn’t for other living things, we would have to live forever.  People kill people.  Cancer kills people.  Germs kill people. Sometimes, people kill themselves like the lady in Life magazine.  Everything comes to an end.  The only thing left to chance is how that end will come.  This building in which he sat on that landing would probably die at the hands of a demolition team to make room for a new living City Hall off in the future.

He pulled himself up and gazed at the stairs that rose before him.  The thought entered his mind that if he was going to turn back, this would be a good place to do so.  Then he slowly raised his foot and placed it on the next step and began to climb upwards once again.  A picture of the tower on the quad at the University of Texas popped into his head.  That was a pretty tall building but he wasn’t sure how tall.  It was high enough for a man to walk up to the top carrying guns and munitions then still have the strength to let out his anger at the world on all those people walking the streets.  Must not have been as tall as City Hall because he would be too tired to lift a sniper rifle up and take careful aim.  He eventually died at the height of his life by the hands of police officers.  Everything, everyone dies eventually.

Once, when he was a little boy, the family had taken a trip to Colorado.  The family wanted to climb the Seven Falls but he was too scared to.  He was too scared of falling from that height.  That same vacation they had gone to the Garden of the Gods where he had climbed up on a rock called Steamboat Rock.   Once he got to the top of the rock he looked around and noticed how high he was from the ground.  It scared him so bad he became sick vomiting off the edge of the rock down to the ground below.  It could have been him taking that trip instead of his vomit.  People were always trying to get him to go up onto high places; not understanding his fear, which he thought was a rational fear.  He had taken a trip to St. Louis and found him at that stainless steel monstrosity that they call The Arch.  If ever fear of heights was to be rationalized, it was fear of going to the top of that arch.  Thankfully, his niece had an aversion to heights as well, so he volunteered to stay on the ground with her while all the others took that suicidal chance by going to the top.  Even though everyone made it back to ground level ok, he was not ashamed or did not think himself wrong for making the decision he had made on that day.

His thinking stopped for a moment as he looked at the black number twenty painted on the door.  Just nine more floors to go and he would be at a height no one thought him capable of achieving.  He would show them that even though he did have this fear of heights, he could do it if he put his mind to it.  Right now he was 20 stories up from the ground and though there were no windows in this stairwell, he could feel his stomach starting to tell him he was pretty high up in the air, so he sat to rest once again.

He felt tired as he sat on the landing facing the door with the big black twenty painted on it.  His knees were aching and his feet were tired and sore.  Even his mind was showing signs of exhaustion.  He had been thinking and talking to himself the whole time he had been climbing the stairs.  He wondered what time it was.  He had not worn his watch on this day because he did not want to break.  Someone might want it later on.  He had no means of identification on his body at all.  No one would know who he was when they found him.  He would be like the lady in Life, anonymous and at rest finally.  He needed the rest so bad.  It wasn’t rest for his legs or his back or his feet that he needed but rather rest for his mind and his soul.  Life had worn him out. 

The only way to get to that restful stage was to get up and do some more climbing of stairs.  As he began once again placing each foot on its own step, one after the other he began to see visions in his mind.  First there was a vision of the restful lady in Life with the car blanketing her in warmth and care.  He saw the visions of people falling from the upper floors of the World Trade Center, escaping the hell of the jet fuel to the peacefulness of a New York street.  While those people knew what the end of the fall would be, they at least had the sensation of floating in air, the wind on their faces, the coolness of the air compared to the heat inside the building and then the suddenly rested for all time.  This was what he was waiting for.  He wanted that sudden peace that would let his soul finally rest.  The troubles of the office would melt away.  His wife would at last have a break from his eccentricities.  No one would be pointing their finger at him when anything went wrong again.  His therapist could stop losing patience with him as she tried to explain proper thinking that he could never understand.  At last the world would be a better place and he would be the one making it better.

Suddenly he was face to face with another door.  The black letters on this door did not have a number painted on it.  Instead it had two words printed on its face. “EXIT” and “ROOF”.  This was it.  This was what the whole day had been leading up to.  Actually when he thought of it, this point in time had been approaching for two years.  He took a deep breath and placed his hand on the bar that would open the door.  He searched his mind on what his feelings were at this moment.  He was not afraid.  He was not nervous or anxious.  He was peaceful and ready and so he exhaled and pushed on the door bar.

The door opened and he felt a strong breeze slam into his face.  It was a nice cool air and the air forced itself into his nostrils and filled his lungs with fresh oxygen.  He opened the door a little more and looked out at the horizon and saw nothing.  He was on top of the tallest point in the city.  Slowly he placed one foot outside the door. He shuffled his other foot to the edge of the door.  He felt his hands sweating on the bar of the door and he noticed that his grip was so tight he could feel his hands starting to cramp.  He looked down at his hands and noticed that his knuckles were white from the death grip he had on the bar.  He tried to let go of the bar and walk out onto the walkway that was surrounded by that short wall.  This was going to be easy he thought.  All he had to do was let go of that door and walk over to the wall and climb up on it but his hands would not release the bar.  He tried to mentally force those hands loose but they would not.  He was stuck on top of his world and had no place to go.

He sighed and felt his heart pounding in his chest.  He realized that suddenly he could not breathe.  He pulled his feet back behind the door and released the grip on the door and fell with his back to the wall of the stairwell.  He felt the tears start to run down his cheeks and he realized he had failed at something else once again.  His whole life had been one failure after another and this was the worst failure he had endured.

He sat for about an hour thinking about his failure and what it meant for his remaining time on earth.  This failure did not mean anything good as far as he could detect.  His life was now over but he had to continue making his way through life everyday once again.

As he descended the stairs, he felt a certain jealousy towards the woman in Life magazine snuggled up on top of that car, resting so peacefully.

Bill Clark
10-12-10

Funeral Tango - Jacques Brel

Ah, I can see them now
Clutching a handkerchief
And blowing me a kiss
Discreetly asking how
How come he died so young
Or was he very old
Is the body still warm
Is it already cold
All doors are open wide
They poke around inside
My desk, my drawers, my trunk
There's nothing left to hide
Some love letters are there
And an old photograph
They've l aid my poor soul bare
And all they do is laugh
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha - ha, ha, ha!
Ah, I can see them all
So formal and so stiff
Like a sergeant-at-arms
At the policeman's ball
And everybody's pushing
To be the first in line
Their hearts upon their sleeves
Like a ten-cent valentine
The old women are there
Too old to give a damn
They even brought the kids
Who don't know who I am
They're thinking about the price
Of my funeral bouquet
What they're thinking isn't nice
'Cause now they'll have to pay
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha - ha, ha, ha
Ah, I see all of you
All of my phony friends
Who can't wait till it ends
Who can't wait till it's through
Oh, I see all of you
You've been laughing all these years
And now all that you have le ft
Are a few crocodile tears

Ah, you don't even know
That you're entering your hell
As you leave my cemetery
And you think you're doing well
With that one who's at your side
You're as proud as you can be
Ah, she's going to make you cry
But not the way you cried for me
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha - ha, ha, ha
Ah, I can see me now
So cold and so alone
As the flowers slowly die
In my field of little bones
Ah, I can see me now
I can see me at the end
Of this voyage that I' m on
Without a love, without a friend
Now all this that I see
Is not what I deserve
They really have a nerve
To say these things to me
No, girls, just bread and water
All your money you must save
Or there'll be nothing left for us
When you're dead and in your grave
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha - ha, ha, ha

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9nnGoLPlag&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMzmL4ZyU04

ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF SHAME

This is a short post just to get out some frustration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  It has become a joke over the last few years and a sampling of who is "in" and who is "out" should explain why I feel this way.

The "INS":

The Coasters, Eddie Cochran, Ricky Nelson,  The Drifters, Bobby Darin, The Platters, The Byrds, Dion, Sam and Dave, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, Sly and the Family Stone, Martha and the Vandellas, Frank Zappa, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jefferson Airplane, Buffalo Springfield, Parliament Funkadelic, Del Shannon, Staple Singers, Earth Wind and Fire, Flamingos, Ritchie Valens, Isaac Hayes, Talking Heads, AC/DC, Clash, Elvis Costello, Police, Dells, Black Sabbath, Blondie, Lynyrd Skynyrd, grandmaster flash and the furious five, REM, Van Halen, John Mellencamp, Metallica, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Genesis, The Stooges.... and the WORST case of being inducted for no reason... Run DMC.

While all of those borderline members or just plain undeserving members bask in the sunlight, these are some that have been left out over the yearsto allow those listed above to be there for some reason....

The "OUTS"
Yes, Chicago, Doobie Brothers, Moody Blues, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, Neil Diamond, Heart, Electric Light Orchestra, Carole King, Peter Gabriel, Jim Croce, Guess Who, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Cat Stevens, Hall and Oates, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, Warren Zevon, Three Dog Night, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Steppenwolf, Todd Rundgren, Gordon Lightfoot, Leon Russell, Connie Francis, Joe Cocker, Linda Ronstandt, Joe Walsh, Willie Nelson, Peter Paul and Mary, Blood Sweat and Tears, Tommy James, Nilsson, Carly Simon, Robert Palmer, Stevie Nicks, Neil Sedacka, Joan Baez, Boz Skaggs, Johnny Winter, Bread, Albert King, John Mayall, Peter Frampton, 5th dimension, Paul Butterfield, Laura Nyro, Robin Trower, Ten Years After, Loggins and Messina, JJ Cale, Emmylou Harris, Lou Reed, John Denver, Tom Waites, Patsy Cline, Rare Earth, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Al Kooper, Herbie Hancock, Sparks, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Kinsgton Trio, Janis Ian


Something is terribly wrong with the RRHOF.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Crossroads - Don McLean

I've got nothing on my mind: Nothing to remember,
Nothing to forget. And I've got nothing to regret,
But I'm all tied up on the inside,
No one knows quite what I've got;
And I know that on the outside
What I used to be, I'm not anymore.

You know I've heard about people like me,
But I never made the connection.
They walk one road to set them free
And find they've gone the wrong direction.

But there's no need for turning back
'Cause all roads lead to where I stand.
And I believe I'll walk them all
No matter what I may have planned.

Can you remember who I was? Can you still feel it?
Can you find my pain? Can you heal it?
Then lay your hands upon me now
And cast this darkness from my soul.
You alone can light my way.
You alone can make me whole once again.

We've walked both sides of every street
Through all kinds of windy weather.
But that was never our defeat
As long as we could walk together.

So there's no need for turning back
'Cause all roads lead to where we stand.
And I believe we'll walk them all
No matter what we may have planned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1yTrF4OYwU

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

DANIAL HILL EULOGY

Before I begin, I wanted to, on behalf of Dan's family, thank all of those that helped us take care of Dan over the last several months.  I hesitate to list names because I know I will forget quite a few.  Members from his high school class, bowling league, his friends and neighbors who loved Dan were there when the help was needed. I know there was Beth, Shirley, Kay, Rick , Dan, Carol, Becky, Crash and Julie and many many more.  Friends from the northwest flew to Kansas city to help ease the stress and to take care of Dan. Chris, Sharon and Rogers, Carol, Pam, Sandi and Mooch and Brian.  The people at the hospice house were extremely sensitive and helpful during those final days and hours as well.  And then there was Dr. Lee.  He especially was grateful to Dr. Lee for taking the time to discuss things with him and for knowing that he could always count on her being a straight shooter with him, and that he truly appreciated.

This has been a rather emotional weekend for the Hill family.  Yesterday we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of my grandmother, Dan's mother. Dan was looking forward to that day and had planned most of the celebration before going into hospice.  And now,today, we look back and remember the life of Dan, a great brother and a great Uncle. The thing that really ties these two events together, is that Dan passed on grandma's 100th birthday, May the 6th.

Dan had some prerequisites for his death as he did for everything.  We were instructed not to let him die unless it was raining outside, he loved the rain so very much.  Pete and I had told him not to worry, if it wasn't raining, we would get a couple of hoses and spray the windows with water to simulate rain. THAT, Dan said, would not be good enough.  After Dan died that night, I went outside to clear my head and get my thoughts about Dan's death together and you know what?  It was raining.

A few weeks before he entered hospice, we were talking late one night and I asked him, "you know how at memorial services they just always say the good things about people and not the negative?  he said yes.  I asked him what he thought if I were to list the bad things about him as well as the good.  He answered "sure, and after a short pause, "if you can find any."

Well, Dan did have some characteristics that some might think are not so  good.  He was stubborn,inflexible and very opinionated.  But as we all know, everyone has small faults like that and as I recalled the Dan that I knew, the good characteristics far outweighed any that might be considered not so admirable.  Besides, If I told dan he was inflexible, he would turn it around with his mastery of the English language and his special brand of logic so that by the time he was done, you would think he was the most flexible person in the world.

He use to say that he was one of the few people who were qualified to criticize parents on the raising of their children because he didn't have any thing to fog his objectivity on the matter.  That was Dan.  Logical to a fault.

As I thought about Dan and all the things he was to so many people, one characteristic kept coming to the forefront.  Dan was a passionate man.  He was passionate about everything he saw, said, thought or did.  There is no way we have time to cover all the things he was passionate about today but I would like to touch on a few of the things that Dan was truly passionate about that helped make him who he was.

First off, Dan was passionate about football.  Now a lot of you may think this to be a minor thing to be passionate about, but Dan loved the game.  College or pro, it didn't matter.  He would follow Mizzou and be giddy when they won and keep an eye on Kansas and be giddy when KU lost.  He rooted for the Chiefs and the Seahawks and always kept a close eye on how the Rams were doing.  If the Rams were having a particularly bad day, Dan would laugh and clap his hands once or twice and then think aloud, I wonder what kind of day Jack is having??

Dan was passionate about the theatre.  He loved thought provoking plays as well as strange strange plays.  Very off the wall strange plays. He enjoyed Musicals and the music from them. Often You would hear him singing tunes from them while showering in the morning or while he was walking around the house attending to his chores..  A trip to the theatre was more than just going to the theatre.  It was an event with an agenda that had to be followed closely.  First, you go out to dinner and have a good meal and socializing.  After an hour and half of that, it was off to the theatre for a play that would often last a couple of hours.  After the play was over, it was off to have coffee and pie at a local resteraunt AND discuss the play in detail, all the different twists, what the author was trying to get across, how the actors did and share a few favorite parts of the play.  By the time the evening was over, you had spent anywhere from 6 to 8 hours with Dan on a good theatre night.  And it was fun!

He was passionate about his art.  He wanted to try everything from water color to pastels and acrylic and then into sculpture with any kind of medium he could.  Some of his art is on display here and if you didn't get a chance to see them before, I encourage you to take time to see them afterwards.  He was a perfectionist with his art and every piece he did, whether it was a painting or a sculpture, he  had a reasoning behind it, a message he was trying to get across.  He never thought he was very good at it, but I disagree with that.  I think he got his messages across very well.  He use to say "it is art if the artist says it is art." and he was right.  And these pieces up here on display, are Art and not just because Dan said they were.

He was passionate about life.  He had to be.  This man, who lived to the age of 73, had diphtheria when he was 3, polio when he was 18, and in the early 80's, he contracted hiv/aids.  When he contracted the virus, the average survival time of those infected with it was a little more than 2 years.  He fought it and he won.  Aids never got him.  Cancer did.  But he did not succumb to cancer easily.  He fought it as long as he could and then chose quality of life over treatment and he took advantage of every second of life that was given to him.

And finally, Dan was passionate about family.  Dan had a different definition of family than most people.  I remember Dr Lee visiting Dan at the hospice house and as I was walking her to the door she said something about not wanting to interfere with the family time with Dan.  I remember saying, "Sharon, ( I know I should have been more respectful and addressed her as doctor but I was tired) I said Sharon, you have to understand what family was to Dan.  Family was blood relatives of course but it went far beyond that.  His friends, his close friends, he considered family.  People he could trust were family.  People who accepted Dan for Dan was family.  I said Sharon, you ARE a part of that family.  We are all glad you came to visit him."

Dan had a blood family.  Dan had a Chicago family.  Dan had a pacific northwest family, Dan had a bowling family, Dan had a high school class family, and Dan had the clinic family.  Dan was extremely passionate and caring about all of these families and towards the end of his life, he managed to pull all of these families together, to meet each other and to join in that family experience with him.

Dan lived life as well as he could til the end.  He was able to see some of his artwork on public display at the clinic, which really thrilled him.  He was able to go and see one last play.  The night of that last play as we sat waiting for it to begin, I asked him how it felt to be back in the theatre once again. after looking around the Unicorn Theatre, he said "it feels sad".

Christmas was a strange time for Dan. Bill had been a lover of Christmas, celebrating it to its fullest extent.  After Bill died, Christmas just wasn't the same for Dan.  He would take some copper tubing, twist it around in to a strange shape so it looked like a little copper two foot tall charlie brown Christmas tree.  He would hang a couple of those ornaments he sold for the clinic on it and he would call that his Christmas tree.  That was the only decorating he did for Christmas.

On this past Christmas though, he did it up right.  I believe he was sensing it was to be his last Christmas and he caught the old desire that bill use to have at Christmas.  He actually went out and bought a Christmas tree.  We had a Christmas tree trimming party which rick and dan catered food in for. He pulled out all of the old Christmas ornaments and decorations and had the house looking like a home where Christmas was truly celebrated.  And Christmas was truly celebrated in that home this last Christmas. Dan loved every second of it.

I know some of you are thinking, "what about his passion for politics?"  Well, Dan did have a great passion for politics and loved to discuss the topic.  The only trouble was he thought, for some reason that I was wrong a lot of the time when in reality, it was him who wasn't seeing things clearly.  Of course that is my own observation.  One night we got into a rather spirited debate and then and there, we decided that our friendship that had developed was far more important than anything political.  We decided to stop discussing politics because it wasn't worth it.  And so now, I continue with that agreement and let his passion for politics slide on by.

Dan was a complicated man with many complicated thoughts.  Philosophy was often the subject of our talks and they were very interesting moments.  I, of course, would explain the philosophy of George Carlin to him and he seemed to enjoy that a lot.  We did discuss classical philosophies at times but a lot of the time was discussing song lyrics.  We both agreed that the songwriters over the last 50 years were the new philosophers and we use to share lyrics with each other and discuss them and their meaning.  One of those songwriting philosophers was a man named Harry Chapin.  Long ago, before Chapin died in a car accident in the early 80's, Harry gave an interview on the tonight show.  During that interview, Chapin gave this story about his grandfather and I wanted to share it with you today.

Chapin said, "My grandfather was a painter. He died at age 88.  He illustrated Robert Frost's first two books of poetry.

And he was looking at me and he said, "Harry, there's two kinds of tired.  There's good tired and there's bad tired.  He said, Ironically enough bad tired can be a day that you won. But you  Won other people's battles, you lived other peoples days,other people's agendas, other peoples dreams, and when it was all over, there was very little you in there and when you hit the hay at night, somehow you toss and turn, you don't settle easy.

He said, "Good tired, ironically enough can be a day that you lost. But you don't even have to tell yourself because you knew you fought your battles, You chased your dreams, you lived your days. And when you hit the hay at night you settle easy, you sleep the sleep of the just, and you can say 'take me away.'

He said, "Harry, all my life I wanted to be a painter and I painted.  God I would have loved have been more successful, but I painted and I painted and I am good tired and they can take me away."

As I think of that story, I remember Dan's finals hours.  How he finally calmed down and began to breathe easier. I remember how he rested and passed on calmly in a quiet darkened room in the middle of a rainy night in Kansas City.

I think if Dan could have talked during those final hours, he might have said, I am good tired, take me away.

Finally , I wanted to share these words that were some of the last that Dan wrote in his life.  They reflect very well how he felt about all of us, his big family in his final months.

He wrote:  "This undoubtedly will be the last you hear from me.  I thank you for all the kindnesses and love you have shown.  They have been among the bright spots of my life.  I love you very much.

Do not grieve overly.  I have lived a long life, with much happiness.  I have done pretty much what I wanted to do.  And at the risk of sounding like Sinatra, I did most of it the way I wanted to.  There are few regrets.  The major one being that Bill did not live as long as I did, so that we could have those years together.  Overall, it has been good, and I am glad I was here!!"

Bill Clark

FOR ELAINE RENFROE'S STUDENTS AT BERRY

At this time of Christmas, perhaps it is fitting that we look at a very personal part of the life of Elaine Renfroe.  Her religious beliefs.
(Realizing I am sending this to a public school, i trust that open minds will prevail in the release of this document to the students.  They deserve to know exactly who or what is teaching them.)

To the world outside her home, Elaine puts on the show of being a Southern Baptist.  She does this very well and has most of the people she comes into contact with fooled completely.  She was raised a southern Baptist, so she knows all the details of the faith and can explain in great detail what the beliefs are.  Beware, this is only a front as i have recently discovered, for there is a darker side to Elaine Renfroe.  A side that is darker than black.

Elaine has been involved with cults since she was young.  Her first dealings in the cult was with the cher church.  RELIGIOUSLY, Elaine would watch the sonny and cher show on a weekly basis, soaking in the hidden meanings in the mantra's of the lyrics of the song.  Indeed, the phrase "I got you babe" had a totally different and sinister meaning to the young elaine.  She further ingrained herself in the house of Cher by purchasing albums with hidden messages behind the songs.  "Gypsies, Tramps and thieves" became her motto, living each of those life styles to its fullest.

Her second cult involvement was a cult involving the hippie movement.
She became one of those hippies one night a week, sniffing incense and planning the over throw of the government based on the "evilness" of the vietnam war.  She painted flowers on her cheeks and wore flowers in her hair every sunday night.  This cult still has somewhat of a hold on her, evidenced by the fact that she still can't accept Richard Nixon as one of the greatest world leaders of this century.

Finally, the current cult she finds herself being held captive to, is the one that worships duct tape.  Evidence of this involvement is everywhere.  She decorated her car in duct tape, she carries a roll of the evil sticky stuff in her trunk at all times.  She has a duct tape coffee mug that praises the uses of duct tape, and last but definitely not least, she has a daily devotional calender that helps her praise duct tape and its uses on a daily basis.  She begins everyday by getting inspirational words from other users of duct tape.  It is not a pretty cult and one that could undermine the whole US economy eventually.

As you deal with Ms Renfroe on a daily basis, and soak in the words of wisdom she tries to force upon you, keep these facts in mind.  Remember what her true agenda is... and beware.

TO MS. RENFROE'S SOPHOMORES

First off, I would like to thank my dear dear sister for allowing me to visit your class last week.  If it hadn't been for the car race, that hour would have ranked right up at the top of my weekend in Alabama.

I would like to thank the students as well.  Elaine said that if you all hadn't said it was okay for me to be there, then i wouldn't have been.
So thank you for allowing me to watch my sister in action so that I can have new things to make fun of her about.  That means a lot.

Since my dear sister didn't trust me enough to talk to you in person, Ii will have to tell you a little about myself from a remote distance.  I am in the engineering field designing printed circuit boards.  I live in Kansas City and have been here my whole life.  Now contrary to what my sister MAY have told you, I am not a smart aleck at all.  I just like to look at things from a different perspective and point out the flaws of the conventional wisdoms that float around.  Teachers will not do this because part of the requirement to become a teacher is to actually believe socialist ideas and have a willingness to teach our young minds these liberal ideas that threaten to tear down our society.

Having said that, remember when you get your grades from Ms Renfroe, that regardless of what she thinks, you did your best and your speeches were great.  English teachers, above all others, have power over their students because their grading is always dependent upon the mood they are in or if they like you or not.  Who is she to say whether your speech was good or not?  She doesn't like it so it isn't?  Personally, I didn't think too much of Kennedy's inaugural speech, but it is still considered one of the greatest of all time.  Good thing I wasn't Kennedy's English teacher I guess.  It could be a great speech to a thousand other people but if SHE doesn't like it, you are sunk.  So don't take her opinion of how you do in her class to hard.  You only have to deal with her for a few more months, then you can move on to the realities of life.

ANYWAY,  I really did enjoy my time in your class, and really enjoyed meeting all of you and hearing you make up lies to make my sister feel good about her teaching abilities (or inability's depending on your point of view).

Thanks again, and good luck in the future.

Bill Clark

RETIREMENT

It was a flat gray sky and a cool light breeze that still carried the smell of the fresh rain that came overnight.  The day he had waited for all of his life was finally here.  He had waited a long time for this moment and had worked hard to get to this point in his life where he felt good about it.

He made his way down the wet street not bothering to sidestep the puddles that were left from the over night's rain.  He could feel a little dampness seep into the old shoe but he wasn't going to let that bother him now, not today.  Nothing would have the power to bother him today. 

His thoughts began to drift back to the beginnings of this career and all the troubles he had been through.  He doted on the problems he had caused over the years and the lessons from his mistakes that he never seemed to learn.  Promotions had been few and very far between.  A couple of times he had actually been brought back down for mistakes that were made.  No connection ever seemed to be made with people that he had to deal with for some reason.  Maybe it was because he was withdrawn and shy or possibly because he was just scared to make any kind of connections.  Besides, people that he did make a small contact with would turn on him eventually.

Yes it had been a long time coming, this retirement day, but it was finally here.  From now on, everything would be in his hands and he wouldn't have to get up every morning only to march to the beating drums of society.

He was retiring early, not even close to retirement age.  He knew that after today, people would forget he was retired and go about their daily affairs.  They would still get up every morning at the same time and head out on the streets toward whatever they had to do.  He was done with that now.  He felt he had earned this early retirement and he was ready to have a relaxing time in it.

The clouds started breaking up and bits of sunshine peeked through the clouds, highlighting the yellows of the color changing trees and drifting on down to light up the water still sitting on the leaves of glistening grass.  He turned off of the street and headed off onto a muddy little path in the trees.  His feet began to slip a bit as his shoes muddied but he paid no mind.  There would be no more worrying about muddied shoes.  He had not even bothered to shave his face earlier in the day.  Now that he was retiring, he would never shave again he thought. 

The clouds were almost completely gone now and as he walked down the path, the sunlight sent little spotlights of light onto the path, like the end of a Jimmy Durante show he thought.  He could picture Durante getting up from that piano, tip his hat, turn and start walking down the path of spotlights on the stage.  Classic exit that he was duplicating in his retirement.

Finally he came to the open place in the small wooded area.  The grass was not too high, but was wet.  The sun shone brightly and the breeze touched his cheek cooling it a bit against the sunshine. 

Walking out to the middle of the field, he began digging his hands into his pocket and found the bottle he was looking for and clutched it tightly.  Sitting down on the ground, in the grass he took a look around.  He saw the trees, mostly green with just a hint of yellow with the blue of the sky and the gray clouds off in the distance painting a background for them.  He opened the bottle of pills and tilted his head back and swallowed several times until they all had worked their way down his throat. 

He laid his head back on the damp grass and feeling the warm sun on his face, closed his eyes and began his retirement.

Bill Clark   10-04-02

WEATHER MIND

WEATHER MIND
Bill Clark    04-14-05

At all times
It is like my mind is a world
It is like my emotions are weather systems
The systems move in and across the world
The systems move in slow or fast
The weather changes in my mind
New fronts, Cold or Warm
New pressures, High or Low

At my youngest times
It was like my mind was a world
It was like my emotions were weather systems
Memory fades but it seems the weather was good
Sunshine filled my mind
Clouds moved in once a while
Small showers sprung up when I hungered
They never lasted and the sunshine would return

At my child like times
It was like my mind was a world
It was like my emotions were weather systems
The sunshine became less frequent
More days were overcast with more showers
Showers turned into storms as independence began to set in
Conflicts between authority and independence turned off the sun
After the storms, the sunshine somehow always found its way back

In my teenage times
It was like my mind was a world
It was like my emotions were weather systems
Storms were frequent and violent.
The sun shone on the basketball courts, inside and out
The sun shone in her eyes and calmed me in a storm.
The storms always came back instead of the sunshine
The storms increased in their violence.

In my early adult times
It was like my mind was a world
It was like my emotions were weather systems
Space between independence and authority had calmed the storms
Skies were overcast though with the sun showing rarely
Then sun became son and son blued my skies
Weather became partly cloudy and sun and son became one
The weather had seemed to stabilize for the first time.

Now my middle adult times
And it is like my mind is a world
And it is like my emotions are weather systems
Then one day without warning the sky turned black
Lightning hit all around me and I could not dodge it
It struck me hard and the worst storm I have ever known began
The bolts pinned me to the ground and the world was ending
The waters from the storm rose and I was sure I would drown

Today in the present times
It is like my mind is a world
It is like my emotions are weather systems
That storm is slowly moving out and the skies are overcast
I stand and with all my might try to blow the clouds away
I see a speck of sunshine once in awhile but not often enough
I don’t give up and continue to search for that sun
And once or twice it has shown down on me giving me warmth

Until comes my death time
My mind will be like a world
My emotions will be like weather systems
And I will find that sun and clear weather
One day I will look my face to the sun and smile
One day there may be no clouds in sight
One day I will wake up to sun and look forward to tomorrow
And one day I will die under sunny skies.

THE PHILOSOPHER

He always considered himself as a hobby philosopher.  That was why he never wrote any of it down because philosophy to him was just a thinking exercise.  Many nights he would see the moon and just stare at it, wondering.  He knew exactly where the Sea of Tranquility was on the moon, he had memorized that many years ago when the first moon landing occurred.  He would stare and try to pinpoint where the Eagle had landed and try to find maybe any kind of dark spot or mark indicating where it was.  He had never found it but every once in a while, he would resume the futile search.

Everything was related in one way or another was one of his bastions of philosophy in his mind.  Everything is relative to something else.  Music, mathematics, history, science, literature, social science, art, religion and politics were all ingredients that went into each human being’s personal philosophy.  The less of these ingredients incorporated into an individuals thinking or knowledge, the less precise the resulting philosophy would be.  He reasoned that a lot of people thought so little of these ingredients during their normal day to day lives, and ignored the relative aspect that each had to another that some people had no philosophy at all.  That isn’t quite correct, surely they had a philosophy, but it was so lost and watered down that these people did not realize they had a philosophy or when asked to define their philosophy, it came out very disjointed and illogical.  He knew people of both kinds, people who had a solid foundation for how they thought and those that seemed to know what they thought about an issue but could not come close to telling you why they thought the way they did.

How exciting it must have been to be able to hear the debates taking place in the old Roman Senate or to hear Aristotle reason his way through problems.  To hear a man thinking thoughts that had never been thought before and follow through on whether it is truth or not must been equivalent to being an explorer stepping on lands where no man had stepped before.  Of course, he had very much the same experience as sitting in the Roman senate when he was growing up.  At least once a year, that being Christmas, all the family would gather together.  It would be crowded and hot, with a few cigarettes smoking here and a beer or so over there, and his uncles would gather with their father in a corner and start to quietly discuss things of the world.  The topic could go anywhere from politics to football and baseball or basketball.  This was his baptism into philosophical arguing for it would shortly become arguing and loud arguing at that.  Before it was over they would not even be listening to each other, just shouting out their own philosophies on the topic at hand, or sometimes not on the topic at hand, it didn’t really matter.  The important thing to each of the uncles was that they were making their thoughts, their beliefs known, and even if the person it was directed at was not listening, it was loud enough that somebody within a three block area would hear their views on whatever topic it would be.  He loved to sit and listen to these mean that he respected and admired go about this exercise in thinking every year.  Sitting as close as he could to them he would be very silent and sit and try to gather in all the words he could.  If he was lucky, he would find himself sitting in the middle of the verbiage with words flying straight over his head from all directions.
He had learned much in this manner.  He always felt that this was where he got the skill of listening.  Not a lot of people have that skill he had found out as he grew older.  Most people, he discovered, were able to hear someone else’s words, but to listen went much deeper than the vibrations that came to rest inside an ear.  Listening involved eye contact, it involved trying to understand things from a different perspective than the one implanted in your brain at the time.  Listening requires processing these words so that the speakers thought, though it may very well not be presented very well, could be understood.  Listening involved understanding enough what was being said to acknowledge that maybe there were merits to the argument being made and possibly, if it is good enough and logical enough, admit to changing your own thoughts on the topic.
Listening is indeed a rare skill that needs to be learned and is never perfected to a point where it can’t be perfected anymore.  Even the best listener can still listen better.  Too many people perfect hearing and forget to learn to listen.  That is where a lot of communication breakdowns come from.  He was convinced he was a good listener, and a couple of his uncles were as well while at the same time noticing that his parents were not listeners at all. This was where he first noticed the difference between hearing and listening. 

Off in the distance he heard the ending of a song coming to a close on somebody’s radio.  “… The day the music died….”.  The music died.  So much music had died robbing the world of more ideas, more art, and more words than we will ever realize.  He hated it when another part of the music died.  The idea of a voice being silenced prematurely made him wince inside.  The songwriters were the new philosophers and he believed this without question.  He wondered if in two hundred years there would be classes on Bob Dylan, a class on Bruce Springsteen or Paul Simon.  Perhaps a class to study the works of Neil Young, Harry Chapin or John Lennon would be offered.  He thought of John Lennon then and how his music and voice had been shot down and silenced on that cold December night in New York City, the center of the country’s, if not the world’s culture.  John Lennon’s silence had affected and hurt more than any of the other voices and words that were cut short during his lifetime.

OSCAR LACLEDE HILL

In honor of OSCAR LaCLEDE HILL on the one hundredth anniversary of his birth.
July 1, 1908 to July1 2008

By William Howard Clark


Oscar Hill was my grandfather.  Very few people have the honor of having a grandfather like mine was.  There are many stories to tell, many quotes to repeat, and many events that happened during my time with him.  I imagine others in this volume of remembrances will tell most of the same ones I recall and do a much better job of it.  Because of that, I am going to try to keep this short and tell of things I recall when it was just him and I alone.  There will also be a few special times I shared with Sue, my aunt, as we spent a few hours together growing up.

In telling of the influence my grandfather had on me, I must include another special person in my life.  That person is my father, Howard.  Grandpa had great respect and admiration for my dad and I believe my dad deserved that from grandpa.  In return, my dad had great respect and admiration for my grandpa that was deserved as well.  Both of them grew up under similar situations and grew to learn from one another.  The combination of watching these two men, together and alone gave me lessons in intangible qualities.  I have tried to live up to these examples as best as I can, but have fallen far short of what these two men accomplished and taught me.  These intangibles include honesty, trustworthiness, spirituality, caring for others, a work ethic second to none, a love that is held in high regard for wife and family as well as other people, and a life that would reflect all of these things and be respected by others for the lives that they led.  It was both of these strong men together that gave me these lessons on how to live life.  I realize I fall far short of what grandpa and daddy did, but I always had that those intangibles to try and achieve.

Looking back on times spent with grandpa, a few moments stand out rather strongly.   One time we were working in the garden, doing some hoeing or some such chore when he suddenly stopped working.  This was extremely odd for grandpa to just stop, but he did.  He look up into the hot afternoon sun that day, and gazed across the sky, then to the trees surrounding his land and back up to the sky.  He then let out a heavy sigh and looked me straight in the eye and seemed to study me, his grandson.  Then he turned his eyes back to the sky and said thoughtfully and quietly, “You know Bill, even if I could I would not have picked another time in history in which to live.  I have been extremely lucky.  My life has gone from the horse and buggy, to jet planes, to seeing a man walk on the moon.  No sir, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Been extremely lucky.”  Looking back on that day, I realized that he hadn’t mentioned anything about steam engines or the changing over to diesel, or the rise of the labor unions, or even witnessing the great administration of Franklin Roosevelt.  He had thought, looked at the big picture, and gave the best example of how times had changed so drastically during his lifetime.  He had a gift for getting a thought or a point across in a few words instead of an entire lecture, especially when he was in the garden with a chore that needed to be done.

Grandpa firmly believed in the Democratic Party and the values for which it stood for.  It wasn’t just an idle belief in those ideals. He could back up his political stances with precision and good reasoning, even though I thought he was wrong some of the time.  He took time to study issues, to read about them, to watch television and listen to radio to get an understanding of issues, and always come out on the liberal side of the issue.   He never held my conservative leanings against me.  As a matter of fact, sometimes it seemed like a game to him to try to get me to back off of what I sincerely thought was the proper stance on an issue.  I have to admit, there were more than a few times in which he was able to sway me just a bit and just a bit of a sway was a victory as far as he was concerned.  In his later years, when he was more or less limited to his chair, he would cut out articles from the paper and save them in the pouch in the side of his chair.  When I would come over to see them at lunch or after work, he would immediately start digging through that pile of articles, pull one out and handing it to me say, “Here, read this.”  I would read the article, he would ask me what I thought about it, and proceed to lecture me on why I was wrong while grandma made herself busy in the kitchen fixing a sandwich for me to get through the duration of the lecture.

This scenario varied a little from time to time but there are two occasions when he caught me off guard.  The first one was when I walked through the door, he already had the article in hand and quickly snapped, “Did you read what your buddy Pat Buchanan wrote in this mornings paper?”  The second time that surprised me was after I explained what I thought of a particular article he asked me, “Are you sure?”  I answered that of course I was sure, I am always sure.  Then he squinted those sparkly eyes, pulled his pipe down and rested it on his leg and asked. “Are you positive?”  I could feel a trap being placed but went ahead and answered in the affirmative.  With this he leaned back, his eyes smiled and he let out a “huh” replacing his pipe back in his mouth and shook his head slightly.  He then turned to me and while pointing that stub of a finger at me said matter of factly, “Positive people are fools.” He then proceeded to explain that philosophy to me which I later discovered he had lifted from the musical “Guys and Dolls.”

Then finally one day, after one of these “teach Bill a lesson” sessions, he gently explained to me that he wasn’t worried about me.  He had seen a lot of young men go down that wrong path of conservatism but when they aged a bit and got a little wisdom under their belts, they soon enough came around to the proper way of thinking.  Sorry grandpa, but I still have a ways to go to get to that “proper way of thinking.”

Barbara had given me a dog one year soon after we had married.  It was my first pet ever and I named him Milhous after former President Nixon.  I was very proud of that dog and knowing how grandpa liked dogs, I took Milhous in to see grandpa one day.  He held that dog up and looked into his eyes and asked, “What did you say his name was?”  After I told him Milhous grandpa gave a chuckle and said, “Huh, you know that when this dog finds out what you have done to him, he is going to turn on you.”  Grandpa had a big smile on and was enjoying his own wit.

The biggest day of all with grandma and grandpa though was the day we took Brett over to meet them for the first time.  They both fell in love with Brett and grandpa couldn’t seem to keep his hands off of him.  Grandpa held Brett, talked baby talk to him, played with Brett’s shoes, and generally gave him a huge royal welcome to the family.  Brett was always treated as one of the family, just like all the other grandkids and this was so special to both Barbara and I.

Grandpa had a way of letting anyone know that they were welcome in his house and that they were special.  He treated everyone the same whether you be a family member, a guest of a family member or just someone who walked in off the street.  Everyone was equally special in grandpa’s eyes (except for grandma of course and probably Sue who just had a leg up on being special than the rest of us).

There were other times that were special that I’ll just make a quick mention of here.  There was the time he talked one of his friends at the Frisco to let Sue and I drive one of the yard engines about a quarter of a mile out and back.  One time he shot a rabbit in the back yard with his rifle which scared me to death but he was proud of it.  He put Sue and I on a train to Springfield to visit great grandma Hill, gave the porter five dollars and told him to take care of us, then met us at the station in south Missouri. One time we were at the dinner table and discussing the music of the day compared to the music of his day.  His music was better of course and to prove it, he jumped into a rousing chorus of “Hound Dog” only to be told by grandma, “Oscar, please.  We are at the table now.” Sue and I laughed for days about that.  There was the time I visited them after work.  By this time Grandma could not hear and grandpa could not get up out of his chair.  I knocked on the door and heard grandpa yell at grandma there was someone at the door.  Grandma denied it, after all she hadn’t heard a thing.  I would knock again and hear grandpa say “See?  There is someone at the door.”  Once again grandma would deny it.  I finally went over and tapped on the window next to grandpa’s chair and he twisted around and saw me in the window.  He looked at grandma and point out the window said “It’s Bill.  I told you someone was a the door.”  They were such a cute couple together all the way to the end.

There are so many little things that I remember.  I remember watching him listen to an album that was nothing but steam engine whistles.  At the time, I found that a little odd.  Now I find myself listening to that same album at times and thinking how strange it was the first time I saw him listening to it.  He loved to watch college football. The first New Years Day that he had a color television set, I walked into his house during the Sugar Bowl and he said proudly, “Look!  I got green grass!”

The best sound I remember from the days of being a kid and spending the night at that old house was lying in the back bedroom with the window open, a breeze flowing over me and the mixed sound of grandpa snoring from down the hall and a train whistle piercing the summer night from the Union Pacific tracks.

Grandpa never claimed to be perfect even though that was how I always saw him.  We spent one summer talking about stories of his life.  On the second occasion of sharing stories the first thing he said was, “I want you to understand something.  You will never know everything about me because I won’t tell you.  There are things in my life that I am ashamed of and wouldn’t want to tell anyone.  A lot of things I did that I shouldn’t have.  No sir, I won’t be sharing those with you.”  A proud man admitting faults.  Another lesson learned from my grandfather.

The last time I saw grandpa was over at the house on 54th Terrace.  He was still up to his great sense of humor.  Only one spot was left to sit in the living room when we arrived and, being the gentleman that I am, I quickly took it leaving Barb to stand next to the piano.  Grandpa began to talk about this great coat Dan had bought and I should go see it.  He was pretty sure it was in the dining room.  Well, I got up and went to find this “fantastic” coat of Dan’s and when I did, grandpa patted the couch telling Barb, “Come on Barb, you can sit here now.”  Yes, another lessoned learned from grandpa.

When Barb and I got out to the car that night to go home I told her, “That will be the last time we see the old man.”  I was right.

The last memory I have of my grandfather is a casket, sitting under a green tent, over a hole in the ground.  Everyone was leaving to go back to Parkway Church for lunch.  I sat in my car with my wife next to me, my son and sister behind me.  Grandpa looked so lonely out there.  My mind started to think.  He had lived his life unselfishly, for others and here he was, being left all alone at the end.  I wanted to get out of the car and go stand by that casket until he was finally, totally at rest.  I wanted to be there at that moment so he wouldn’t be by himself.

I didn’t though.  I started the car and began the drive to lunch with everyone else.

Bill Clark



PART 2 – GRANDPA IN HIS OWN WORDS

"We'll be close enough to spit in ol' Danny Thomas' eye."
 
(singing) "She loves you yeah, yeah yeah." (talking) "that's music?"
 
(singing) "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog." (talking)  "hehe, and 
they say it's music"
 
"Go get a hoe and meet me in the garden."
 
"Feel that forearm.  Solid, eh?"
 
"Twas the night before Christmas....."
 
"Mom, don't forget your place in this house now."
 
"This must be the juciest watermelon I have ever tasted"  (every year)
 
"I got something for you.  Here, read this"
 
"... and this horse, he got spooked by this elephant ..."
 
"Look it here, I got green grass on my TV.  What you think?"
 
"ah mom, that isn't the way it happened you know."
 
"We eloped.  Her father was shooting at us all the way down the
 street."
 
"I pointed it at her once to often, and she bit it off.  She's a mean
 one."
 
"Larry Bird is better than that Johnson kid... lot's better."
 
"We looked at that first diesel pull in and we all laughed.  'That is 
gonna take the place of the steam?'  well, it did."
 
"Make sure you cut over here.... and here..... and over here..."
 
"I saw President Roosevelt once.  yes sir, I saw him.  He was quite a
 man."
 
"Only one vote that I regret.  I voted Nixon in '60.  Ashamed of myself 
for that one. It was because Kennedy was Catholic.  That was wrong."
 
"Yes sir, your grandma is a pretty lady"
 
"Mom, you got some salt for these tomatoes?"
 
"You need to get to Monterey.  Me and Mom went and cannery row was just 
like Steinbeck described it."
 
"John L. Lewis was a great great man.  yes sir, a great man.  You
 should read some of his speeches."
 
"The railroad had their own preacher.  He always wore a black suit and a black hat.  held the hat in his hand.  I remember the day he walked up to our house.  Mother knew why he was there."
 
"There ya go.... now you're railroading"
 
"Been watching that spider for a week now.  Been keeping the flies off 
the porch..."
 
"Paint your wagon is a great movie (laughs) ol' Lee Marvin is quite a 
character in that movie."
 
"The scenery in "Sound of Music" is so beautiful..."
 
"Fiddler on the roof is probably the best movie ever.... ever."
 
"This is only a phase you are going through.  You'll be a Democrat 
before you are through.  They all come back.  I've seen it lot's of times."
 
"You leaving?  Well, take care of yourself Bill.  Bye Barb.  See you
 all later."
 
Goodbye Grandpa.  I miss you and still love you.  Thank you for sharing 
your wisdom with me over the years.