Tuesday, September 30, 2008
One thing you will find from reading this blog, especially if you have been following along over these few months, my life is somewhat complicated. A lot of stuff have happened to me, and hopefully more is to come. One thing that I have to deal with is nose bleeds. When I was a kid, my next door neighbor was Phil Savitz. He was swinging a golf club and caught me along the side of the nose. I think it broke my nose. My nose bled. I also inherited thin membranes from my Mother's side of the family. So, if the air is dry enough, my nose will bleed. This situation manifested itself, when I was a student at Anderson. I woke up one morning in the dorm to find my sheets full of blood. It looked like the dead horse scene in "The Godfather". I suppose that I could have choked on my blood, but thankfully didn't. I was a little weak, but otherwise okay. Then, a couple of years ago on the day after Thanksgiving, I had a bad episode. I was at work. It was the busiest day of the year. My supervisor told me to take a break from being at the register non-stop. I went into the stockroom to sit down and get something to drink, and it happened again. I was bleeding and couldn't get it to stop. I used the phone in the stockroom to call my supervisor and told her that I was in trouble. She called the asst. store manager Sylvia, who came to try and help me. She called Joni, who was our security manager and she worked on me for about an hour. They finally got it stopped, but I had lost a lot of blood. My clothes were bloody. Walking out of the store without many people seeing me was tough. I had gauze up my nose and blood on my clothes. Yes, I am a poet. I went home and rested. I wasn't able to go to work the next day, because I was pretty weak. The next day was Sunday. I went to the doctor about an ear problem, and my nose started bleeding badly in the waiting room. My doctor told me how to control the nose bleeds. If I am going to be in a dry air situation, such as the store, put Vaseline up my nose with a tissue, and it will lubricate the inside of my nose. That worked. I still have nose bleeds, but not so often. So, get some Vaseline. It is good for all that ails you.
Monday, September 29, 2008
There is a golf tournament today in Columbia to benefit the Richland County Sheriff's Foundation. My friend Joni is president of the foundation, and thus in charge of the tournament. Another friend named Jonathon (wink, wink) is on the board. Joni has just started a new job. She is a very busy person. She works in the community on projects. She cares for her father. She also cares for her ailing dog. She goes to all the USC football games, and she loves to travel. She has a very full life, and I am glad to call her a dear friend. Last year, Joni came in to Macy's very stressed. She had to get some prizes for the golfers, and I helped her choose the right gifts. I was telling her to take deep breaths and try to chill. I knew that wasn't going to work for her, but it was good to say. I hope that sometime today she will be able to just sit for a minute. But, if she is anything like me, she will want to have everything to go perfectly. We are both perfectionists. It is hard to live upto that expectation. But then, after all is said and done, you can look back on your work and know you did a good job. So Joni? Enjoy your day. I wish I was there with you today. Say a prayer. Take a deep breath. You'll be okay.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
When an actor dies, especially one from films, you can miss the person but visit them in their work. Paul Newman died on Friday. There is a lot one can say about his work and his life, and many people have already done so. I liked Paul's movies. Many of them are my favorites, which is a monumental statement, since I have seen so many movies. I counted them once, and estimated that it was over 3000. Some were really good, while others were really bad. But, I love movies. Newman understood the number one rule of a great actor--never take yourself too seriously. He had an understated talent. He also cared about the world around him without wanting to take the credit. I wish I could have worked with him. He just seemed to be cool but not overbearing. I am not going to name names, but I have worked with actors who were so full of themselves that it affected their work. They were personalities. Some even assumed their roles in real life. They were fake people. Newman was a real person. I have written here before how much I gravitate to real people. People who do not put on a front. People who are comfortable in their own skin, or at least pretend that they are. One thing that I really liked about Paul Newman was that he used his celebrity name to help others but not wanting credit. He also was not consumed by his fame. He wanted to make the world a better place. So, Butch? You did some good thinking. That is what you were good at. We will miss you.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The political landscape in this country is heating up. It won't be long before we vote for a new President. In South Carolina, you can vote for a Governor and Lieutenant Governor separately. The Governor hates the idea, because he wants somebody that he likes. The Lieutenant Governor likes it, because he can be in office and do stuff without necessarily liking the Governor. It makes for a fun time in state government. But, in the Federal government, the Presidential nominee chooses who they want to be their running mate, and thus their Vice President. What if a candidate chooses someone who just doesn't quite cut it? Such is the situation this year. I wish I could vote for individuals rather than tickets. Usually, I have decided by now who I am going to vote for. It usually comes down as to who I trust. Someone who will make a good leader. Someone who will make the right decisions. But, let's face it. A President cannot do all that they promise they can do. They can make suggestions, but it is the Congress that gets things done. The President can help get more things done, if his party runs Congress. If not, then he just sits in the White House and complains. That is kind of what is happening now, because Bush is in the White House, and Democrats control Congress. A President is kind of like the country's PR guy. He wants to make us all feel good. If we aren't feeling good, he tries to put on a good face. Reagan was a master at making us feel good. So, if the election was held today, and if we could vote on the individual rather than the ticket, I would probably vote for McCain and Biden. I could be comfortable with that. But, I won't be able to vote that way, so I may just have to close my eyes; take a deep breath; and pick a ticket that will be the best for our country. Don't vote for someone just because you think he or she is cute. Don't vote for someone because you think SNL will have someone that can imitate them. Don't vote for someone because you think he or she is a good speaker. It is time to vote for someone that you think speaks to your lot in life. Someone who will make the decisions to keep you safe at night. Because here is something for you to think about. There are people out there who want you dead. Some of them live outside the country, and some live right here in the good old U. S of A. We call them terrorists. So, my friends, vote for someone who will fight to keep us safe from harm. And for goodness sake--VOTE! The next month will be fun to watch. Let's keep it clean, and no punching below the belt.
Friday, September 26, 2008
As I have stated before, I love football. Mainly college football. But, there is one pro team that is on my radar, and that is (drum roll) The Dallas Cowboys!!! When I lived out there in the mid to late 1970's, the Cowboys ruled. We had a baseball team, but football was king. It was an obsession. Everything in the stores concerned the Cowboys. They were a class act. Tom Landry was the coach. The players included Roger Staubach, Danny White, Tony Dorsett, Too Tall Jones, Hollywood Henderson, and so many more. When they went to the Super Bowl, churches would bring in TV's, and the members could watch the game rather than having a service. My Mother also loved the Cowboys. I wrote to Tom Landry, after she had her stroke, and he sent her an autographed picture, and he sent me some Cowboys memorabilia. The team went through some changes. America's team had a series of coaches. Some of the players got into trouble, but they were still my team. Now, they are flying high once again. One of the serious rivalries is the Cowboys versus the Washington Redskins which comes up this weekend. I know there is a lot of history there. But, the Skins better get ready for the Boys. It won't be pretty. Maybe those fans should think about where they are going to go to drown their sorrows after the game. The Cowboys fans will be gloating once again. Let the game begin.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
There are some people out there who think that I lost consciousness a long time ago. I would be standing in a store, just sort of staring off into space, when somebody would come by and say, "Wake up Walter". I would be sitting in class and somebody would say, "Wake up Walter". My mind is constantly working. That is what creative people do. We are thinking. But to some, we are just off there somewhere. This bit is not about being creative. It is about fainting. There have been four times in my life that I have fainted. The first was when I was a child. My father took me to North Greenville Baptist College for something he was doing. We were waiting for lunch and standing outside in the heat, and I was very hungry. I just sat down on the sidewalk and fainted. They got something for me to eat, and I was okay. The second was when I was playing football. There was a group of us from church who were playing at Hand Middle School one Sunday afternoon. I went out for a pass, and suddenly I couldn't see. The quarterback threw it to me, and the ball hit me in the head, because I couldn't see. I just sat down and waited until my vision came back. I think I was dehydrated. The third time was at work at JB White's. I had a bad cold, and I took 3 Co-Tylenol pills. I got sick while working at the register and felt I needed to get to the stockroom. My legs stopped working and things went black. I remember the women saying that I just left them and went away. But, I couldn't walk. I crawled back to the stockroom, as I knew where it was. They sent me home that night, and I never got hours again to work, but I was never let go. The fourth time was when I was judging a speech contest at a school in Dalzell, SC. It was a rainy and cold day, and I had the flu. I wanted to do the judging, because I had committed to do it. I took some Robitussin and rode in a car with a woman named Mrs. Baille. She had the heat turned up, and it was very hot in her car. I got overheated. Just before our first judging was to start, I turned to the other judge and told her that I needed to get to the restroom. I got up and took two steps, and I fell backwards, hitting my head on the floor. I think I was out cold for just a few seconds, but when I woke up, there were people around me. They got me up and to the teacher's lounge. I didn't do any judging that day. They gave me orange juice and doughnuts, which was about all they had. While I was sitting in the lounge, I heard some kids talking about me fainting in their room. They thought it was cool. I just had a big bump on my head. At the end of the day, Mrs. Baille drove me back to Columbia. She was so scared that she drove all over the road. I was okay, but she thought I was dying. I guess that is what losing consciousness does to people. The doctor said that it was a reaction to the medicine. My advice to all is to take the dose that they say to do. Don't take more, if you think your symptoms are severe. So, that is the message today from the Doctor.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I spent about 9 hours yesterday with an old friend of mine from college named Mary. When I knew her, her last name was DuPuy, but she got married to a guy we knew in college named Bill. After a lot of years of marriage, they went their separate ways. Mary was hurt in a lot of ways, but now she seems to be in a better place in her life. It was really good to catch up on old times with Mary. We just talked and talked and talked, and then we talked some more. I must admit that I don't have much voice this morning, but it was well worth it. As I have said many times in this blog that friends mean the world to me. I would have been dead long ago without them. It does my sould good to know that there are people out there who care about me. No strings attached. With some folks in my life who don't speak to me anymore, it means way more to me that others care enough about me to keep me going. I don't know what the future holds. It bothers me that psychics are out there who claim they can tell the future. If they can, why aren't they playing the lottery and getting wealthy? But, I digress. All I know is that there is still a reason to stick around, and there are people out there to help me continue my journey. Have a good day everyone, and don't get your hand too close to the snake's mouth.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I have a confession to make. Uh oh. Another confession. Is this one going to be juicy? No, but it is a character flaw I have. I have a very short memory. How can that be? After all, I remember a lot of stuff from the old days. Yes, but if you tell me your name, I won't remember it 2 seconds later. I have a selective memory, I guess. It is especially a problem if I am stressed. I also have a very difficult time memorizing lines from plays. That's why I do much better with stuff that I write. So, I wanted to write a bit about when I was in management at Belk. I was a buyer for several departments--Stationery, Cards, Gifts, Luggage, Candy, Housewares, Small Electrics, Toys, and Music. For a short time, I had Bedding, Bath, Window Coverings and Rugs. It was impossible to keep up with everything. I was also supervising upwards to 35 people between 3 stores. That was the thing about Belk. You wore a lot of hats. I was a buyer, supervisor, ad writer, visual producer, loss prevention assistant, and whatever else came up. So, I had to have an assistant. A right hand. Someone who could tell me what I had done the day before. Someone who could remember what I had said. So, there could be some consistency. There were two people that I depended on--Vicki Fortner and Paige Keene. Vicki and Paige helped me get through days and not look like an idiot. There were many days where they reminded me what I had done the day before. They also kept me grounded. After all, if I got recognized by my boss for buying something that sold through the roof, like Tummy Toners, and I got a lot of praise, Vicki or Paige would let me know that it wasn't me that made Tummy Toners successful. It was them--the sales people and the customers. They both went on to other things. Paige got married and has two beautiful children. Vicki is successful in finance. Thanks guys. I couldn't have done it without you.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I used to dread Mondays. It was the first day of the work week, and it seemed like Friday was a long way away. Mondays seemed dark. It was a hard day to get up for. Now that I am not really working, all of the days generally run together. Except for the weekend, the days seem to all be the same. I have calendars to tell me what day it is, but it is hard to remember the date of the day. I have certain goals that I have to remember to do, such as paying bills. I write the date that they are due on the front of the envelopes, and then I have to remember to pay them. When I go to the post office, and I have to date a form, I mostly have to guess as to what the date is. Why is this? I used to be on top of what the date was, but I have found that my priorities have changed. Maybe if I went back to work, my priorities would change again. I would know the date. I want to go back to work. Is there someone out there who is willing to let me share in their Mondays? What can I bring to the table? I am fiercely loyal. I can work with others or by myself with little supervision. I care about others. I have some creative talents. I have a bizarre sense of humor. So, if there is something out there, preferably in Columbia, please let me know. I want to dread Mondays again.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I used to be the king of self-pity. After all, the world revolved around me. I was the most important person in the world. Everybody knew that. If they didn't, I would tell them. There were a few people who were understanding, but for the most part, most folks couldn't care less. They had their own lives to worry about. Not mine. So, I wallowed in self-pity. As I grew older, I found that it didn't accomplish anything to complain about my lot in life. When my Mother was suffering from the ravages of a massive stroke, which took away her ability to have a quality life, she would sit in a chair and smile. If you asked her how she was, she would say "Oh, fine". You knew she wasn't fine, but she had a positive outlook on life. I have tried to take that position of being positive. There must be a light at the end of the tunnel. I could tell you about not having a job; not having money; not having love; not having someone to hug me... The list is endless, but it is also pointless to dwell on the problems. I say all of this, because apparently my roommate is going through the same things that I went through. Unfortunately, I am not sensitive to this. I can't be sensitive. It is a hard thing to do. I am sorry if I seem insensitive of others' problems. But, if he accepted my advice, maybe things would be different, but he won't listen. He just goes about his moaning. I can't take it anymore. Maybe he needs help. I don't know if I am the one to give it to him. He drowns his sorrows in other means. I went through that process many years ago. I know I can't go back there. It was a time of escape with drugs and alcohol. If I did that stuff again, I would die. I have a friend who escaped with heroin. He is dead now. I have a friend who escaped with cocaine. He is dead now. I have a friend who escaped with suicide. She is dead now. You see the pattern? Oh, I can handle it. That's what a lot of people would say. Maybe you can. I can't. I can't deal with others wallowing in self-pity. Maybe it was a mistake moving here. Maybe I need to go somewhere, where I have friends who will love me and hug me and make me feel worthwhile. If you look for a song by The Village People called "My Roommate", you will see what I am feeling now. I am sorry. I can't feel your pain.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
One of my favorite songs is "American Pie" by Don Maclean. The song is about the day the music died, when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash following a concert. The three guys who were killed were very big in the music world at that time. Some radio stations wouldn't play it, because of some religious symbolism, and some churches wanted it banned. But, the song is a classic. Last night in Columbia, there was a free concert in Five Points. It was a show that excited Columbia. The music could be described as alternative, but it was very big for the community, especially being so close to USC. I probably wouldn't have gone to the show, since I am not a fan of that music, but a lot of people did, judging from the reports on the news. The only one I had heard of that was performing was Perry Ferrell of Jane's Addiction. So, I wake up this morning to the news that a plane crash in Columbia happened around midnight at the airport. As it develops, two of the performers survived in critical condition at the Augusta Burn Center. There were four others who died, including the two pilots. As of right now, they are not saying who the other two were who died. The plane was heading to California. If Perry and another musician were on the plane, they are now gone to rock n roll heaven, where you know they got a helluva band. Anytime an artist dies, there is a hole in our collective hearts, especially if it is an accident. We pray for the families. Bye bye miss American Pie.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I grew up in the 1960's. I also grew up with music. Mostly thanks to my Mother. She loved music and gave that love to me. She loved show tunes and The Beatles. We watched Perry Como on TV early on. Later, it was Tom Jones. We watched "The Ed Sullivan Show" every Sunday night. It was a musical time. So, it would be a natural progression for me to play in a band. I couldn't really play an instrument, but I could sing pretty well. My first band was in the Boy Scouts. We met at St. Martin's in the Fields Episcopal Church in Columbia. Our group consisted of 7 boys. We didn't have a name, but we played during our meetings. I played the harmonica, but I didn't know how to play and breathe at the same time. We were playing the song "Flowers on the Wall", and I hyperventilated and passed out. That was the end of my harmonica playing. My next stab at a band was in a youth group at First Baptist Church. It was around 1967. There were 3 guys in the group--Dick Edwards, Jimmy Coleman, and me. Dick (later Richard) played guitar. Jimmy played drums. And, I sang. We formed the group at a youth social at Mr. Cloyd's Lake Murray lake house. He was our Sunday School teacher. There was a band on the top 40 called Dino, Desi and Billy. We decided to name our group--Dickie, Dirty and Jimmy. I was Dirty. We took a couple of publicity shots at Lake Murray that I have. Our biggest song was "Twist and Shout". We practiced it in Mr. Cloyd's car, coming back to Columbia. I don't think he cared for the music. We did some rehearsing and were actually booked to play at a skating rink, but it never happened. We broke up. I don't know whatever happened to the other two. I think Dickie went to work in television in Colorado. But, that was sometime ago. So, if anybody knows, let me know. My parents bought an acoustic guitar for me. I tried to learn how to play, and I actually did okay. After all, I could play the Davy Crockett theme with a ukelele which was color coded. One thing happened with the guitar. I broke two strings and didn't know how to restring them, so the guitar sat in the corner of my room, never to be picked up again. I gave it to my songwriting partner Chris years later. It was made in Poland. Our youth group at Kilbourne Park had a choir. We had a lot of talented people in that group. I wanted to form a group called the Principal Voices. It was designed to be like Chicago or Blood Sweat & Tears. Sort of a big band feel with male and female singers. The idea was to have a set of songs to sing, and then take requests from the audience. The tag with the band was that we could sing anything. And with 20 people in the group, someone was bound to know a song, even if it was a few lines. Unfortunately, that secular group never really got off the ground, but we did do religious songs through the choir. Our last production was a musical called "Life". I had gone to college during rehearsals, so I recorded the rehearsals on cassette and played them while I was in school, so I could learn the music. It was performed in the fall, and we did great. I have a tape of the performance. I hope to convert it to cd at some point to save it. That was a good time. When I went to First Baptist, and we formed the One Voice choir, we did do some secular music at some venues, but nothing too rock n roll. I also did a terrifying solo in a play at Columbia College, which I won an award for. I think they gave it to me out of pity. After my experience being in the freezer, and blowing out my voice, I never could really sing very well anymore. But, if you catch me at an unguarded moment, you may hear some notes and be surprised. Rock on.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
When I was a little kid, we were encouraged to go outside and play. We used our imaginations to invent games. We didn't have Nintendo or DVD's. When we rode in the car for long trips, we played games to pass the time. Games like counting cows or the alphabet. They were fun games. When we played outside, we played army and used sticks for guns. We ate mud. We played on jungle jims. We fell and got back up. When I was in 4th grade, I played football with the neighborhood kids. I was the quarterback. I fell down and broke my thumb. My parents took me to the hospital, and I got a cast. It was part of being a kid. A neighborhood girl was climbing a tree and fell. She broke her arm. She got a cast. It was part of being a kid. We ate mud. We ate dirt. We ate snow. So what? We were kids. Our parents didn't have hand wipes nearby. We weren't kept in plastic bubbles. Our parents didn't worry about us getting cancer. There were no stories on the news about all the stuff in our environment that could hurt us. We just had fun. Now, everyone is so paranoid about artificial sweeteners or plastic bottles. And it's not just kids. There is so much bad news for adults. You almost feel like you just need to shut the door and lock it. Don't let anything get to you, as you are going to die. Oh, and heaven forbid if a kid acts up in school. They have ADD. No more Class Clowns. And, don't even think about being disciplined by the teacher, or he/she will be jailed. I suppose one could make the case that science has progressed so much that it is protecting the public from disease and harm. But, guess what people? The folks in my generation are basically okay. The ones since then, after all of the worries began, are the ones with the problems. A lot of kids are overweight. Why? You could say they are not eating right, and they may be, but also they are sitting inside playing video games or watching TV. I watched a lot of TV growing up, but I also went outside and ran around. I guess if I started out now, I would weigh 300 pounds.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Yesterday, we looked at how each person has their own life, which is made up of what happens to us through our lives. We are all in a community, but at the same time, our community decides who we are. Today, we look at our choices in life. I have made many choices. Some good. Some not so good. Some just plain awful. Looking back on it, I cannot apologize to any choice I have made. Do I regret any? Of course. That is what life is all about. But, you make the choices and go on. I chose to major in Drama and Speech. A lot of friends were majoring in economics. They are wealthy now. Although, maybe not so much since the stock market has been dropping, but they are doing okay. Yes, I did achieve a measure of fame in movies and TV, but that was fleeting. I went to other things. It really was not my fault that I couldn't get a teaching job, since my school wasn't going to recommend me, but I guess it was my choice not to pursue it. So, I moved on. I chose to go into retail. It was not a high-paying gig, but it seemed like something I was good at. But the business changed. It became more cut-throat at the expense of its employees and customers. It was killing me. I made the choice to leave. I made the choice not to get married. I wanted to, mind you, but the event never happened. Maybe one day. That is a work in progress. I now want to make a choice to get working again. I want to do something that will help others. To make this world a better place. Maybe one day. I hope it is sooner than later. Is anyone listening? One thing that I have learned since leaving Macy's is that there is a world out there. There is responsibility. I think I have become a better person. My faith has become stronger. I still do stupid things, but hopefully not as many as I have done in the past. There must be a future for me. I just have to find it. Can you help me find it?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This blog is called "My World". I talk about me and the things around me. Some people say I have lived an interesting life. I suppose so. After all, I have been in movies and TV. I have acted on the stage. I have written some songs and other stuff. I have met some famous people, and people who think they are famous. I have been to some interesting places. I have loved some beautiful people. But, I was thinking about other people's lives. When we were all born, it was pretty much the same way. Whether you were born in a hospital, a car, at home, or wherever, the process is pretty much the same. Our mothers brought us into the world. Hopefully in the early years, it was a world of love. Then came kindergarten or day care. We were exposed to other kids from other families, and suddenly we started to absorb others' quirks. That is how a community starts. And for some reason, we are different and try to be the same at the same time. It manifests itself in how we dress; what music we listen to; and how we talk. So, somewhere between being born and being in the community, we became individuals. In my case, I grew up in a home, where my father was a preacher, and my mother was a homemaker. He was gone a lot, and she stressed the Arts. He wanted me to clean my plate, and she said to eat as much as I wanted. There was a lot of conflict in my life. The music was show tunes, rock n roll, and easy listening. The movies were musicals, James Bond, and cartoons. My home was big on politics and world awareness. I guess there are other homes out there that had a different emphasis in their lives. But, that was my world. There are those out there who say that their lives are similar to yours. Those people become your friends and lovers. But, how is it that some people whose lives aren't so similar can be friends or lovers? How is it that cousins can be so different in their lives despite being related? I don't have the answer to that, other than to say they were brought up different. Their roads were separate, and maybe now they are moving closer. That's where maturity comes into play. I was much more liberal, when I was younger than I am now. No, I am not right wing, but a little more centrist. I cannot be all things to all people. You can get into trouble, if you do that. But, I find that more people gravitate to me than in the old days. So, think about your life. How did you get here? Why do you like me? I like you.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I hope I don't embarass her, but today is my friend Talula's birthday. I am not going to tell you how old she is, but I met her in college. You do the math. She is a wonderful person. When I talk about the fact that I like real people, Talula is the epitome of being real. She is a country girl. She grew up tending cows. In fact, the town in SC has cows on their street signs. She came to Anderson College as a freshman and got involved in our drama program. She played a wife of mine in "Blithe Spirit". We all had a tough time doing British accents, but I think Talula did a great attempt at it. She, Sandra and I worked in Mr. Vivian's office and became very close friends. We later went to Europe together. She was in the Miss Orangeburg County Pageant, and was named Miss Congeniality. It suited her. Talula and I have kept in contact over the years. When I was going through some tough times a couple of years ago, she kept me going. She seems to be a very centered person. Her kids and husband keep her centered, and she was able to tell me things were going to be all right. She lives in NC now. So, have a happy birthday, Talula. Thanks for being my friend. You are a special person.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
One thing that really irritates me about Americans is when they say that they really don't know anything about what is going on in the news. They don't know about politics. They don't care about the hurricane in Texas. They haven't heard about the train wreck in California. They just go about their daily life. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Go to sleep. It is very foreign to me of anyone thinking that, but I know there are those out there like that. I know people like that. We are a community, whether they like it or not. If they want to live like that, give them an island and enjoy living there. So, here we are. A hurricane has destroyed portions of Texas. It will be a long time before they get up and running again. Maybe it wasn't New Orleans, but it is going to affect a lot of people. And for the people who didn't get out, were they the ones who didn't pay attention to the warnings? They may have paid for their ignorance with their lives. Then, we come to the train wreck in California. They still don't know how many people died there. But, it is a horrible event. And then, we hear about a terrible plane crash in Russia. Events where innocent people die. No fault of their own. Then, there is the Presidential race. I wish I could vote for President and Vice President separately. I am not convinced for who I am going to vote for, but I am going to vote. It is my duty as an American and a citizen. So, you may want to stick your head in the sand and not see what is going on around you. But, the truth is that the things that go on around you affect you. Next time that you go get gas, think about it.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
We have talked about gas prices before. Speculators have caused prices to raise, so they can make more money at the expense of consumers. It was kind of funny to me that, shortly after I wrote about speculators, the news started talking about these people. They were called out, and the price started to go down. If you threaten someone with a lawsuit, they will usually blink. Now, the gas prices are going up again because of Hurricane Ike. Forget accessing damage. Let's raise the prices before the storm hits. Let's speculate how much damage there will be. Are these people psychics? Can they tell me who my love will be? Can they tell me when I will get a good job? Can they tell me who will win "Big Brother"? Can they tell me who will win the Presidential election? They seem to be really good at predicting what else will happen. Yesterday, I had to pay $4.09 for a gallon of regular gas. The day before, it was $3.49. People went crazy. I heard of $5.00 a gallon. Just an excuse to make some more money. Oh, I know. The gas station operators were saying that the wholesale price caused them for just breaking even. If the wholesale price was that much, why in the world were they losing so much money before? The Attorney General said anyone caught price gouging would be prosecuted. How can you prove anything like that? What is the criteria? I remember that with Hurricane Hugo, people were charging $20 for a bag of ice. That was price gouging. But, an operator is going to say they are just making a dime for a gallon, then is that price gouging? I think it is, if they raised the price so quickly, and were continuing to raise it over the course of the day. And, think about this. There are other refineries in this country besides the Gulf Coast. We import fuel from other countries. Why are the prices rising from those areas? Because people are taking advantage of others. President Bush says he is concerned. But guess what? He is an oilman. So, he is making money too at the expense of others. We have to all take a deep breath. Pray for the folks in Texas. Meanwhile, find me one of those psychics. I need to put money down on a football game this weekend, and the power ball lottery drawing is tonight.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I connected with an old friend via Facebook. His name is Jim Ferguson. His father was the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in Columbia, when I was a kid. His son was a little older than me, but he was very talented. He went on to be a musician in Nashville. So, I got to thinking about stages in life. Forget getting more mature. Think about are we the same as when we were kids? I hope not. My life is full of stages. I was not very good in my teen years. I got in trouble with "the law". I did stuff that I should have gone to jail for. Maybe it was because I was under 18. Or maybe I talked my way out of it. But, I learned and moved on. Then, I became very self-destructive. Thankfully, my life changed in 1970. I found a reason to live. I learned and moved on. Then came my college life and drama experiences. I found creativity and self-worth. I learned and moved on. Then came my "adult" life. I don't like to think of me as an adult. In my mind, I am still a little kid. Despite all of my success in my creative life and my working life, in many ways I am still a little kid. When I look in a mirror, I have a little shock. Is that me? No, it is someone else who inhabits the mirror. Do I live in a fantasy life? I suppose so. I have hopes and dreams. I wish others would allow me to fulfill my hopes and dreams. Maybe that is the ultimate hope and dream. So, where am I now? You tell me. I am in my dream mode right now.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Today is September 11. It is a day to remember. A day that over 3000 of our fellow citizens died. They got up that day with no idea that they were going to die. They went to work, or they were on a plane. They thought they were safe. Our world changed on that day in 2001. It was as if we went from the world of Beaver Cleaver to the world of Marilyn Manson. That day started for me at work. We had opened early for a sale. I was working in Lamps. My department was one of the success stories in Rich's. The year before, I had won the award for the best selling Lamp department in the entire company. My friend Thom, who worked in Rugs came into work and told me that he had heard on the radio that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York. The information was sketchy, and we all thought it was a private plane, much like the incident many years before at the Empire State Building. I had visited the WTC in 1980, when our mission trip went to New York. We went to the top of the tower and stood at the railing to look down at the ants that were cars. It was a beautiful place. So, I went to the store's break room to see the news on TV. We weren't busy. I cut on the TV just in time to see the second plane go into the tower. It was shocking, and I knew immediately that we were under attack. I was just standing there in that room, by myself, with the TV. I then ran out of the room and back to Thom. He was watching a small TV. Our mouths were open. We just couldn't comprehend it. I then ran to the store manager's office and told him to turn on the TV. He had just gotten the news via the computer. Could this be happening in America? A few customers came in and had not heard what was happening. When they heard it, they left to go home. We finally closed at 4pm with no business. I went home and became glued to the TV. Some people went to the Red Cross Blood Bank to give blood. Folks had on their headlights. Strangers waved. We were all Americans, and we were a family. We didn't know who or what had attacked us, but it didn't matter. We were going to get even. The next day, I was off. I went to the post office. There was a clerk there, who I knew. She asked me if there was any new news, and I told her what I knew. We then just looked at one another, and the tears began to flow. We both just stood there and cried. No words needed to be said. Flags were flown. We wore them on our clothing. It was a good time to be an American. President Bush brought us all together, when he visited the WTC site. We wanted revenge. We found out who did it. So, what has changed. It is a lot harder to fly. There is a lot of security. You are searched, if you go into most federal or state office buildings. You are searched, if you go into most athletic events and some concerts. It is harder to get to see some officials. There is more prejudice of people from Arab countries. We attacked Iraq and are still there. We attacked Afghanistan and are still there. Osama is still alive. We can send a man to the moon, but we can't find a guy over 6 feet tall in the midst of all shorter people? It boggles the mind. Remember when the Iranians didn't release the American hostages until Reagan took office in 1981? It was a slap in the face to Carter, who was President during that crisis. So, will Osama be captured or killed after Bush leaves office? Everything is political. So, there are still a lot of things in this country that are unresolved after 9/11. I didn't know anyone on the planes or in the buildings. I did know someone who was killed in the federal building that McVeigh bombed in Oklahoma City years before. We caught him a few hours after that event. He was executed. We busted his conspirators. They are in prison. So what that Osama is overseas? So what that he is in a country that we are afraid about, because they have nuclear weapons. Let's just get him. Okay, you might be able to see that I am a little frustrated about this. We have gotten sidetracked by Iraq. Let's focus on what they did to us on 9/11. Let's give the CIA the ability to kill those who need to be killed. Forget about being politically correct. Have we forgotten how we felt on that day 7 years ago? We need that feeling back again. Let's go get 'em.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I have written creatively since I was 5, when I wrote a commercial for OK Cereal. I typed it out on my father's Royal manual typewriter. It took me awhile, obviously, but I thought it was pretty good. My parents sent it to an advertiser, who said they couldn't use it, but come back in 18 years. OK Cereal went away, but my creativity didn't. I continued writing off and on. I wrote my first song, when I was in the 4th grade. It was called "People". I wrote it 3 months before "Listen People" came out by Herman's Hermits, but it was remarkably similar. I didn't know I could sue, but it wasn't copyrighted. I told Peter Noone about it years later, and he said he was relieved. When I was in high school, my friend Richard Owen and I started a writer's club. We had a few people in it, and we all wrote weird stuff. My personal favorite was "The End of a Moon". It was a parody of something another kid wrote called "The End of the Sun". It was a science fiction piece. Mine was just weird. I also started a novel called "Carson Falls", which was a sci-fi story of the end of the world. I never finished it. Richard and I would take magazines and newspapers in the library and write funny captions to the pictures. During this time, I wrote a lot of essays on topical issues and used many of them for speeches in our model Congress tournaments. I also wrote a lot of poetry, which was mostly therapy for my mental issues. Moving on to college, I got more interested in doing good poetry. James Dickey was a big influence for that. I also wrote more songs, many of which have become recorded by The Cobbwebs. And, I wrote plays. I have a big Pepsi box with all of this stuff that I have written over the years. The box is overflowing. I was thinking last night that I probably need to save them to the computer. If there was a fire or something, all of that stuff would be lost, which would be a real shame. It will be a big chore to type all of this stuff. It will be a big temptation to edit them or change the words to make them better, but if I write them as they actually are, they will show the way I have transformed over the years. So, here's hoping I get around to doing it, without going more crazy than I am now. Good luck to me.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
In the late 1980's, I began trading audio and video tapes with people around the world. They were mostly Beatles tapes, but there were other artists too. It was amazing how many collectors were out there, and the material that they had. Of course, you couldn't sell this stuff, since it was not commercially available. Most of the stuff out there were live shows or TV broadcasts. In the case of The Beatles, much of that were studio outtakes or TV appearances. So, I traded with several people, but one stood out--Chris Taras from NYC. I had the second largest Beatles video collection in the world, and he wanted it. In trade, he had other artists and old TV. He was a big fan of Howard Stern. I didn't know who Howard was, when I started trading with Chris, but I became a fan too. Chris sent me all of the Stern WWOR TV shows and many radio shows on cassette. I also got a lot of the Stern video specials and later the "E" shows. Chris also sent me videos of other artists like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Van Halen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and so much more. Chris was about 10 years younger than me, but it was amazing how much he and I were alike in tastes. His father wrote for Billboard Magazine. Chris told me stories of how artists would come over to his house, when he was a kid. Artists like Stevie Wonder, The Monkees and Neil Diamond. His father died of cancer years ago. Chris lived in Maspeth, which was a portion of Queens. He could look out of his kitchen window and see the city. On 9/11, he was looking out and saw the planes fly into the World Trade Center. He was deeply affected by that moment. He invited me several times to come visit and stay with him. I never did. He had a boa constrictor as a pet. He sent me videos of him feeding his snake. He sent me videos of him partying with friends, and I felt like part of his inner circle. He had a friend who was a NYC policeman. His friend committed suicide over the stress of being a cop. Chris never really got over that. He turned to heroin. Chris got AIDS from sharing needles. He had a tough time with the disease. Chris died not long ago. I found out yesterday. He was a truly funny person with a love of life. The world is not as funny today. Rock on, Chris.
Monday, September 8, 2008
They say that Bill Clinton has a reputation for being long winded. He speaks for a long time. I heard him speak once in Columbia, but he only spoke for about 30 minutes. I understand he has been known to go longer than an hour. Audiences get a little tired after a while. They told us seminary students never to preach longer than 20 minutes. The listeners tend to nod off after that. Some before. It depends on the delivery. Of course, if you are a great orator, it is possible to keep your audience riveted, no matter how long you go. In my speech history, I think I haven't gone longer than 25 minutes. The secret to giving a speech is: you open with a joke or some catchy item to get their attention; then you have three points, each one building on the last; and then you conclude with something that summarizes your speech. You even thank your audience for hanging with you. Thanks to Mr. Vivian and Anderson College (University), I learned how to make a speech. Preachers use the same technique. You want to have some logic in your speech so that your audience will stay with you. If you just get up there and talk, without any path, people will let their minds wander. Which brings me to Edna Rostow. She was invited by Presbyterian College to come and speak during convocation. She was a feminist. The husband to a State Department advisor to Presidents. A psychology major. A smart woman. And the most boring speaker you could imagine. Thankfully, she has passed on, so I won't be sued. Whether she was a bad speaker, or she had a tough audience, one will never really know. But, after 30 minutes passed, she was still speaking. Then came an hour, and she was still speaking. It would have been rude to just get up and leave. We had classes to go to. We had lunch to eat. And still she spoke. We began to figure out ways to get her to stop. Some guys started rolling candy down the aisles, thinking that the noise would get her to stop. I guess she was somewhat deaf too, because she continued on. Then, the coughing began. I guess she thought that some people had colds, because she continued. After 90 minutes, I don't know who was listening. Maybe that one brainless girl who thought it was cool being kept out of class. And then, she said something that everyone heard, "Well, I guess I have talked long enough". She got cheered and a standing ovation. I kind of felt bad for Edna at that point. There is a picture of her in our college yearbook of her looking out over the crowd, during the ovation, and she has a surprised and smiling look on her face. I don't think she had a clue why we were cheering. The speech was finally over. Don't ask me what she actually talked about. Maybe ask the brainless girl who probably heard everything. The moral of the story is make your speech short and sweet. People will like you much more.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I have a cell phone. I fought it for years. Then, my friends Thom and Mary Ann gave me one for Christmas one year. I had it, but lost it. Then, I got another one. I use it for emergencies. After all, my car is not the best in the world, and I have it in case I break down. I got a flat tire once outside Joanna SC, and I didn't have a cell phone. Fortunately, I had the problem in front of a house, and someone was home that let me use his phone to call AAA. So, with a cell phone, I don't feel I need to impose on someone to use their phone. My father hit a deer one time. He went to a farm house to use their phone. The farmer left my father in the house and went running outside with his gun to search for the deer. Some people can be very trusting. But, our country has become very dependent on cell phones. It is a billion dollar business. I still have a land based phone, but will probably do away with it, when I do away with my dial-up internet service (Webtv). I also use it, when the wireless internet isn't working, which isn't often. Because I haven't used a cell phone much, it is hard for me to remember to carry my phone. I am also trying to learn how to use it. I know it has features that I don't know what they are, much less how to use them. Kind of like a computer. There is an impression by some that I am a computer whiz. Maybe because I wear glasses. Maybe because I use it to sell stuff. But, here's a secret for you. I don't know everything about computers. I wish I did, but I don't. Now, my roommate has lost his cell phone. It is somewhere in the condo. Somehow, the phone has been switched to voicemail, so you can't call it. It won't ring. He is lost without it. He has become dependent on it. It will turn up one day. I suggested he put all of his pocket stuff together like wallet, keys and phone on a table. But for now, the phone is missing. I guess I am old fashioned. We need to go back to bulky CB radios. Whatever happened to them? Probably next to the 8-track tape player.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I was thinking yesterday about the teachers that I have had in school, and the influence that they had on my life. I suppose everyone has had good teachers. They may have known their subjects, but they were also good people. I have had several teachers from elementary school through graduate school who were really very good. To teach is a very noble profession, and there is also a lot of responsibility. After all, they are molding the lives of their students. I have heard that school today is much different. The teachers can't discipline their students like they could, when I was a student. So, some students take advantage of that and run around like crazy. I had once wanted to be a teacher. I don't think I would do it now. I am not good at disciplining children, and I care too much about the subject I would teach. So, I wanted to write a little about some of my teachers. In my elementary years, all of my teachers stood out for one reason or another, but one especially was Mrs. Kirk. She was a short, older woman. And tough. Her big thing was memorizing poetry. Each one of us had to memorize a classic poem once every 6 weeks. If we messed up, there would be trouble. The stress was incredible, but you got through it. In junior high, there was Mrs. Brown. She taught music. I remember that she was short with brown curly hair. She was tough, too. She also encouraged us to be better. In high school, there was Mrs. Lupold who was my debate coach. She really cared about the success of her students in speech tournaments. There was also Mrs. Green who exposed me to writing and drama. Later at Anderson College, there was Mr. Vivian. He taught speech and drama and believed that I had talent. I appreciate him for that. At Presbyterian College, there was Skelly Warren. He was only there a year, but he taught me a lot about concentration in acting. The character was the most important issue as an actor. At Southwestern, there was Paula Brooks who taught Communications. She helped develop my talents and cared for me as a person. I have a lot of respect for my teachers. Some have passed on. I went to Mr. Vivian's grave yesterday and got a little teary. I realized that I would not have done much in drama without his influence. I was supposed to major in English, but he encouraged me to follow my real talent. He changed my life. He was a little quirky, but so was I. Thanks, Mr. Vivian. You were quite unique. And, a shout out to Mrs. Lanier, Miss Barrett, Mrs. Southern, Mrs. McCuen, and Mrs. Ellsworth for being my other elementary school teachers. That was a good time. Thanks to all.
Friday, September 5, 2008
I bet you are wondering what I think of the actors who have played James Bond. No? Well, I am going to tell you anyway. It may tell you something about me. You see? I am not real big on change. Okay. First was Barry Nelson. Who? Well, he played in a early TV play of "Casino Royale". Imagine an American actor playing a British spy without an English accent. Now, let's move on. The first film actor, and for my money the best to play the role, was Sean Connery. He was suave. He had a dry sense of humor. And, he was good. Sean Connery was James Bond. Case closed. For one film was George Lazenby. He did a good job, although he had an Australian accent. I still cry at the end of "OHMSS". Then came Roger Moore. At the beginning, he did a good job. But, the Bond films became more of a comic strip. The plots were more fantastic. "Moonraker" is a really good example. It was a good film, but how many people believe that Bond could fly a space shuttle? Roger was getting long in the tooth toward the end of his run. And, it was obvious he used way to many stunt doubles. Then came Timothy Dalton. He is my other favorite next to Connery. He went back to a more gritty Bond than we were used to with Roger, Unfortunately, he was only in two films. I liked him a lot. Then came Mr. Brosnan. The Bond that most younger people know. He started off slow, but grew into the part. There was good and bad in his portrayal. He had the suave part, as well as being able to deliver to funny lines. He couldn't run very well. I also didn't like the Irish accent, but that's because I am a purist. Now, there is Daniel Craig. Talk about gritty. I had a hard time understanding him the first time I saw "Casino Royale", but I liked the action. The jury is still out, but he may do a good job. And, if we are really going to examine all of the actors who have played Bond, there is another group from the "Casino Royale" spoof--David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, and a couple more. But, that's another story. No one can deliver the famous line, "My name is Bond, James Bond" better than Sean Connery.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I love James Bond movies. My Mother introduced me to them. We used to go to the movies together. The first one we saw was "Goldfinger". It was 1964, and there were a bunch of soldiers in the theatre, so they all laughed when Honor Blackman said "My name is Pussy Galore". I didn't understand why they were laughing, and Mother didn't explain. We went to every Bond movie through "Live and Let Die". Then, I went onto college and moved away, but we did see others on video together. I saw the films multiple times. Even before video came out, I would go to the movie theatre to watch Bond. When "The Man With the Golden Gun" came out, I was at PC and went to the theatre every night for a week. I was home one summer, when there was a triple feature at a drive-in of James Bond movies. Of course, I went. When the movies came out on video, the first format was CED Videodiscs. I bought a player and all of the movies. I think they may be collectible now, since that format isn't made anymore. Then, I got all of the videotapes. I bought all of the movie posters. I still have a few of those. In fact, I almost got kicked out of seminary for having a "The Spy Who Loved Me" poster in my dorm room. They couldn't deal with Barbara Bach wearing a low-cut black dress. I got the James Bond games and toys. I collected autographs of actors and actresses who appeared in the movies. I still have most of those. Having seen all of the movies multiple times, my brain is full of trivia from the films. Ask me anything, except for the Daniel Craig movies. I am not totally sure about that one, but just give me time. I am now looking forward to "Quantum of Solace". It starts in November. And now, I am going to tell you something that I never have told anyone before. When I am driving, I watch my odometer. When the last three numbers are "007", I hum the theme from "The Man With the Golden Gun", until it turns to "008". If I am at a red light, I may have to hum the theme twice. If I am on the freeway, the humming won't last too long. Why do I do this? Because, I got my first car, when the movie was popular. I have been doing it ever since. I know it is weird, but that is part of my world. Now you know.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I have a confession to make. I know some of you will think badly of me, and if you do, I will just have to live with it. The deal is that I have road rage. It is not totally out of control, but God help you, if I am behind you in traffic, and you do something incredibly awful. Yes, I know. The world does not revolve around me. I am not a better driver than everyone else. But, it makes me angry when someone does something that is beyond explanation. I have discussed previously about my pet peeve of not using directional signals. After all, I am not psychic. If you don't use your blinker, I don't know you are turning. I have to know this to know if I need to apply the brake or go around you. If you want to change lanes, I need to know that in case I want to do the same. The last time I checked, cars still had signals made for them, and they were included on all cars. Another thing that irks me is when someone stops at a light, but then doesn't go, when the light changes to green. Hello? Green means go. "What, are you waiting for Christmas?" And then, when they finally go, the light changes to red by the time I get to the intersection. If they had gone when it changed to green, I could have made the light. Or, the person in front of me stops at the light with a big space between them and the car in front of them. Do they have a depth perception problem? Or the driver who talks to his passenger rather than looking at the road. My response to this is "That's all very interesting, but can you dance?" Oh, the list is endless. When I started driving, I must admit I had a lead foot. I drove fast. After all, I think I have the speed record for driving between Charlotte and Columbia. I did it in just over an hour. But, I have gotten older and have slowed down. I know I make others mad for driving the speed limit, so I probably spawn road rage for others. I am sorry to all of those who have been behind me, but I was probably yelling at someone else ahead of me. Several years ago, I had been at work at Belk downtown Columbia. It had been an awful day. I had to let off some steam. I was driving down Forest Drive heading toward home, and there was a woman in front of me going very slow. I wanted her to speed up and was yelling at her. She finally turned off, and I kept on going, glad that she was no longer in front of me. The next day, my co-worker asked me what did she do in traffic the night before that made me mad. She explained that she was driving in front of me. I was very embarrassed. Another time, I was driving down Forest Drive, and there was a man in a Jaguar who had to drive very slow. I yelled at him, gave him a dirty look while going around him. I went to the grocery store and parked. And, then he pulled into the parking lot and parked near me. I thought he was going to do me harm. I saw him in the store. He gave me a dirty look, and I just smiled, pretending it wasn't me. I didn't go back to that store for a long time. So, I know it is a character flaw. I am sorry for yelling at everyone I am around. Just know that I am out there. Straighten up.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I was pleasantly surprised yesterday, when I went back to the hospital to visit Peggy. She was smiling and laughing, so I guess the shock of hearing she had a stroke had worn off. I asked her if she was on drugs, and she said no. She was just having a good day. She needs to have better days than bad days. She needs to do her rehab and not give up. She is feisty, so she should do okay. The therapist came by as I was leaving. I think I knew him, but didn't get to see for sure. I got to talk to Konnie and Joni, but didn't get to see either one this time. I plan to go back next week to see how Peggy is doing, among other things. My friends mean the world to me. You already know that. I have talked about it enough, but in a way, not enough. Without much in the way of family, my friends ARE my family. Maybe they get tired of me, but I would be nothing without my friends. Okay, I am getting mushy. Guys aren't supposed to be mushy. We are supposed to be strong. I don't know who decided that, but okay. I won't get mushy. Just give me my dreams. One of my favorite movies, believe it or not, is "Swamp Thing". When Adrienne Barbeau sees Swamp Thing for the first time, she says: "Am I dreaming?" Swamp Thing says: "Dreams are what you have when you're alone." I love that line. I am alone a lot. I have dreams. I am dreaming now...
Monday, September 1, 2008
Last Friday, I got an email from a girl named Megan who was worried about her grandmother Peggy, who is a friend of mine. She said that Peggy fell and was put in the hospital for tests. That was all I knew. Peggy is 72, and she and I are friends from Macy's. She and I have done some stuff together. She went with me to visit my Mother in Laurens in the nursing home. She thought Mother was nice. I went with Peggy to the mountains to get apples. I have visited Peggy many times at her house, and we have gone out to eat a lot. She is a very feisty woman. She has a pacemaker and a replaced knee. Her husband passed away a few years ago, and she has gone through a lot of family problems. A few hours later after the email from Megan, I got another email from a guy named Ron from Macy's that Peggy was at Baptist Hospital room 312. I thought that was a little strange, because Peggy lives close to Lexington Hospital. It turned out later that Baptist takes her insurance better than Lexington. Saturday night, I got a phone call from my friend Ne'cole, who also works at Macy's. She and a friend named Kelly went to visit Peggy after work Saturday, and she said that they were very worried about Peggy and thought she had a stroke. I asked her if she thought I needed to come down from Greenville, and she said yes, so I did. I drove down yesterday and went to the hospital, not knowing what I would find. Peggy seemed okay, but she was really mad at her doctor and the food. Not really unusual, but then I found that she had indeed had a stroke. Her ability to comprehend words and being able to write was affected. She also leaned to the right. But, she can talk and see, which are two things my Mother couldn't do. She is going to need some therapy, and she will need to learn how to read and write again. I told her that she will need to channel her anger into getting better. Pray for Peggy. I spent some time with friends here. And visited the hospital again last night with our friend Mary, who later took me out to eat. I'll go there again this morning to see if Peggy has calmed down some, but I doubt it. She has a lot of responsibilities at home with Megan and Megan's baby, but some others in her family are going to have to step up and take responsibility, because Peggy is going to have to work to get better herself. I hope to have a little time with Joni this afternoon. My priorities have changed since leaving Macy's. Friends are very important. God bless us all.