Saturday, August 29, 2009
I did something this morning that some people would find crazy. Okay, I admit. I am a little crazy, but I saw what I did this morning as something of a necessity. And, it is all about my car. I have a 1989 Nissan Sentra that I should have shot and put out of its misery a long time ago. In the last couple of days, it has been leaking oil in quarts instead of drips. I took it to a mechanic yesterday, and he said that the drive chain is about to break, and there is a hole in my motor that can't be fixed without putting in a new motor. I had been driving my car for some time like this, but he told me that if the chain broke, my car would be finished. And, it is going to cost a lot to fix it. Money that I don't have. So, I have been walking a lot, like to the grocery store which is about a half mile away from the motel. I have always been a walker. I walked to school, when I was old enough to. I walked to stores in college, because I didn't have a car. It was not unusual for me to walk 3-4 miles a day back then. After all, I was also a runner, and I was in fantastic shape. When I got a car to go to Texas, I still walked to save on gas. About the only time I would drive would be to go to work or church, or maybe the occasional trip to downtown Fort Worth or over to Dallas. But, mainly I walked. I stopped walking, when I moved back to Columbia. I still exercised, but mainly it was at work walking to the stockroom and back. If it was a busy day, I could put in 3 miles inside the store, but it was stop and go. So, today I decided to test myself. I had been walking along the river about 2-3 times a week in the last few months and averaging 2 miles a day, but today was different. Because my car is scary to drive, and I needed to check my mail at the post office downtown, I decided to set out and walk there. It is about 4 miles there and 4 miles back. It took me a little over 2 hours to make the roundtrip. I did stop for a few minutes at McDonald's to get a bottled water, because it was a hot and humid day. As I have gotten older, I am prone to sweat more. Some say perspire, but I sweat. I got to the post office and picked up my mail, and then I set out to walk back to the motel. Going to the post office, there was a lot of hills I had to climb. Going back, I thankfully had some downhills. But, I discovered some things from my trip. First, there are a lot of interesting historical markers along the way that I had never read before today. Second, there are a lot of businesses that I didn't no existed until today. Third, Columbia needs more sidewalks on major roads, because I had to dodge some cars and had a fear I might be hit. Fourth, I was one of a handful of people out walking. And, maybe the most important thing I learned was my stamina. I had not walked a long distance like this in 30 years. I found that at the 7-mile mark this morning, my muscles in my legs started to get a little twinge. I was breathing heavy, and I didn't know if I could go on. From a runner's perspective, it was as if I had "hit the wall". You runners know what I mean. But, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and carrying on, until I got back to the motel. I will probably have some pain tomorrow from this. But, I found out I could do it. I may even do it again next week. I hear it is going to be a little cooler next week. I don't know what next week will bring for me. Quite frankly, I am pretty scared about my immediate future. But, at least today, I proved to myself that I could do it. Yes, I'm crazy. But, you should try it sometime. You will be amazed what you will see.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
When I was growing up, my Mother used to tell me that there were magic words. These words would open doors for me, and make me a better person. They had power, and they also showed that I was polite. Kids growing up today may not know these magic words. They expect things to be delivered to them without question. So, what are these magic words? Should I tell the secret? Well, okay. The words are "please" and "thank you". You hear "thank you" a lot from people who say it without thinking. But, you don't hear "please" as much. Why is that? Have we become so complacent in our speech that "please" doesn't mean as much? It should. I must say that I have been guilty of saying "please" a lot lately. I think that some people are tired of me saying "please". Or, they think I am using the word "please" as some sort of scam. Or, they don't want to be bothered by my saying "please". Whatever the reason, I apologize. I am just trying to survive one more day. And, if I say "please", it is coming from the heart, as my Mother instructed me those many years ago. For me, "please" is a powerful word. It is a word that I use not lightly. It is a word that I use, because I have no where else to turn. I pray to God--please help me. Give me strength to carry on. And, please put it in the heart of someone to help me. Sometimes, He does. Other times, I feel like some people are not tuned in to the right frequency. I know I am not the only person with problems. I know the world does not revolve around me. Although, I know some people that it does, and they know it. But, I also know that there is goodness out there in this world. And, just as I feel it is time to give up, something happens. Tears come to my eyes, as I realize once again that God loves me. So, again I say "please". Please help me. And, God, thank you for the lessons you continue to show me. I may not be perfect. But, I am a child of God. As an aside, I was going to write this blog today as something of a farewell speech. But, I think I will not do that today. I can't say what tomorrow will bring, but I thank Him for bringing me here today. May God bless you.
Monday, August 24, 2009
A friend told me last week that he never thought of me as a quitter. I have tried not to be, despite things around me. I have quit at a couple of things in my life, but I have always seen another door open. That's the thing about creative people. We have to move on to the next great adventure. When I came back to Columbia in May, I was looking for the next great adventure. It was going to be a time of getting reacquainted with old friends. It was going to be a time of finding new challenges. It was going to be a time to once again be a success. So, here's what has happened so far. I have been able to connect with old friends. Maybe not as often as I would like, but it has been fun when I had. I have been able to find new challenges. Whether it be with selling some things on the internet, or establishing an exercise program. But, the success part has not come. The sad part about all of this is that most folks are out there for themselves, and they don't really care about others. Yes, they say they will pray for you. Now, I am not saying no to their prayers. After all, I am a firm believer in prayer. But, prayer by itself will not put food in one's stomach or pay for a roof over one's head. There needs to be action behind the prayers. Now, don't get me wrong. I haven't just been sitting back and watching the world go by. I have tried to find a decent job. Unfortunately with no success. I don't know if it is my age, sex, race, or ability level, but I have slipped through the cracks. I have enjoyed the volunteering for Andre, although I was hoping it would develop into a paid gig. Apparently not. There is a job fair here in Columbia on Wednesday, and my motel is paid up until Thursday morning. After that, who knows what might happen? I have been thinking maybe going back to Greenville for a while. Where would I live? No clue. I still have my stuff in storage here, and that isn't going anywhere. I do have my post office box here in Columbia. I think that is up in December. But, I don't have any more money to live anywhere. And, unless I can find someone who can take me in for a while, I guess I will be homeless. Or, I will just quit. Not a happy thought. My friend Joni keeps telling me to be positive. I am trying, Joni. I am trying. So, if anyone can spare a few dollars, my PayPal acct. is firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, my mailing address is: PO Box 1464, Columbia SC 29202. I need help, and I need it fast. Thanks.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I know I should be writing this blog every day, but I really haven't felt like it. Why? Well, I just haven't felt like myself. What is it that I am supposed to feel? Happiness (whatever that is) and Contentment (like those cows). In reality, I have not felt either of those feelings. As a matter of fact, I have been feeling increasingly depressed. Things are not going well. I am about out of money. I would have been a couple of weeks ago, but I sold a couple of things on the internet. I don't know, at this moment, if I will be able to afford another week at the motel. Probably not. The bill is due tomorrow. And, then there is the matter of my storage facility. It isn't due for 2 more weeks, but I just hope I will be able to pay that. And, then there is the matter of food. How can I afford to eat? I can't cook here at the motel, unless it microwaves. I eat $1 meals I get from the store. They are designed for children, but that is all I can afford. So, then I come to asking people for help. The short answer is that no one will. I guess I am not high up on their list, after vacations and other expenses. And, I can't find anyone who will take me in. And, then we come to looking for a job. I have applied to places, but no one will hire me. Why? I have a lot of good qualities. I can bring something to the table. But, maybe it is my age, or my sex, or my race. Who knows? So, I have been hearing the demons again. I have a lot of people praying for me, and I appreciate that. Prayer gives one strength. I believe that God cares about me. And, that's a good thing. But, unless I can find some money from somewhere fast, prayer is not going to be enough. No, I am not going to rob a bank. I am not going to knock over a liquor store. I am going to be a good boy. And, if I have to live out of my car, I guess I will. But, what if I was just to show up at someone's doorstep? Would they take me in? Yeah, we will see. After all, when I was in college, my debate partner and I showed up at a stranger's house out in the country and told them we were their long lost cousins. They fed us, and then we left. I think people were more trusting back then. Now, I don't know. So, if anyone is reading this, and can spare a couple of dollars, my PayPal account is email@example.com. Or, if you don't have PayPal, drop me a note via email, and I'll tell you my mailing address. I am not interested in publicizing any gift. I am just trying to survive a while longer. You know? Thanks for reading and say a prayer. Not just for me, but also for all of those out there who are falling through the cracks.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
There has been a lot of talk and debates over the new health care plan. I haven't quite decided where I stand on this issue, but things need to change. It has disturbed me though about these people inciting others by spreading rumors and making up scenarios. And, there are so many followers who will listen to them. If I was to say that the health plan had a provision in it for people to get guns for free, and the guns could only be used to kill yourself with, I am afraid that there would be people hearing that who would repeat it, and then there would be someone at a town hall meeting who would be screaming at a politician about the government proposing suicide for its citizens. That is how stupid these things have become. If you need to make a decision about a parent's continuing suffering with no hope of them getting better, like my brother and I had to make about Daddy, we didn't go to a death panel. We consulted a doctor. Did the doctor sit on a death panel? No, he was just doing his job. But, if someone uses the words "death panel", it conjures up a whole host of bad things, and others just flip out. I fear that insurance companies are just laughing about how stupid we have become. When I was needing oral surgery several years ago, I called my insurance company for a list of oral surgeons that my plan covered. I was in Columbia. There was one guy in Orangeburg, some 50 miles away. And, then the next closest was Atlanta, some 250 miles away. Columbia is a city with a lot of oral surgeons, but my policy didn't cover anyone in Columbia, so I couldn't afford the surgery. Consequently, I didn't have it. So, my feeling about health care reform is that all doctors need to be covered for everything for everybody. And, stop talking about socialism and nazis. Oh, and stop talking about the House plan that they aren't going to vote on anyway. That's another thing about Washington. They have a lot of plans. Usually, the plan that becomes law is one that is a compromise from lots of different plans. A committee takes ideas from several sources and puts them together into one plan. So, until that happens, just sit back and wait for it. Then, you can get in a Senator's face and yell at him. Hey, did you hear that the new health care plan has a provision in it for monkeys to parachute from the sky and are going to invade your personal space and give you hay fever? It's true, because I just made it up.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in 1969 was much more than just the music. It was a happening. It was a place for peaceful people to get together. It was a life-changer. I have already discussed how that event changed me. But, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the music. If anybody has listened to the soundtracks, you will have heard some of the music that was played at Woodstock. But, there were a lot of artists that were there that didn't make the soundtracks. Some of that music has showed up on the DVD's. I have tried to see as many acts as I could who were there in 1969. Some of the artists aren't around anymore. Here is my list:
Canned Heat, Mountain, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Who, Richie Havens, Johnny Winter, Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), and Tim Hardin. Let me know if you have a larger list. Rock on.
Canned Heat, Mountain, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Who, Richie Havens, Johnny Winter, Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), and Tim Hardin. Let me know if you have a larger list. Rock on.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Contrary to popular opinion, I am not very savvy with new technological procedures. I am a quick learner, but I really need to be shown how to do something, and then I am a wiz in doing it. So, this morning, I had another test. I was going out for groceries, and I got my phone to take with me. I always check the phone first thing to see if I have any messages, especially after being in the bathroom, where I can't hear it ring. When I looked at the phone, there was a message that said something about battery failure. I am always recharging the battery, so I knew that it wasn't that the battery had died, but rather there was something wrong with the phone itself. We had a storm last night, so maybe the line surged. At any rate, there is no way to change the battery, as it is a cheap phone, so I needed to go to the store to get another one. My first stop was K-Mart, but they didn't have what I wanted. So, I went to Walmart. I found the phone that I needed and paid $15 for it. I use prepaid phones for reasons that are obvious to any regular reader of my blogs. I got back to the motel (I am getting VERY tired of staying here, but there is nowhere I can go seemingly) and opened the package. I must say that, as a guy, I don't like reading directions. Since the phone was from the same company as my old one, I knew something about how to get it started, but I had to read the directions on where to plug in the battery charger. Guess what? It wasn't in there. You know what else? The instructions didn't cover how to put in numbers in the address book or how to change ring styles. About the only thing in the instructions was how to turn it on and make a call. I had to figure the rest out. Hopefully, I did. At any rate, I think they make phones for folks who are technically savvy. Or else, the ones that aren't have a child or grandchild who is. I am just lucky that God gave me a brain to reason stuff out. As for my finances, I will probably have enough to stay here one more week, barring any terrible expenses. I am thankfully selling some stuff today on eBay. If they pay me on time, I should be okay for one more week. But, if there is anybody out there who would be willing for me to stay with them for a while, please let me know. I am pretty quiet and won't get in anyone's way. Thanks. And, how about this cooler weather? The rain is wonderful. Oh, I could go on and on, but I am washing clothes right now, and I need to move them to a dryer.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Alot has been said over the last couple of weeks about 1969. After all, it was the year of the first moon landing; Woodstock; the Sharon Tate killing; and Nixon becoming President. So, I wanted to take a few minutes and write about 1969. As you know, our trip to Europe in 1973 was a pivotal time in my life. A lot of things changed about me because of that trip. A close second was 1969. I was in high school. In History class, my teacher had us debate the Vietnam War. Due to where I was sitting, my half of the room had to support the anti-war movement. The other half took the pro-war stance. I had not been too concerned with the war prior to that time. I was more concerned with surviving getting beaten up, and trying not to get caught for doing stuff I shouldn't have been doing. So, if you believe in karma or fate, that moment in class was a moment of karma. I was destined to be debating the good things of the anti-war movement. It forced me to study it, and I found a lot of truth. 1969 was the year I became politically aware. It was the year I became what I called myself--"a short-haired hippie". My parents would not let me grow my hair long. But, I had the mindset of a hippie. My friends were hippies, or at least politically conscious people. I became a debater. When the astronauts landed on the moon, I realized that our planet was small, and anything was possible. When Sharon Tate was killed, I wrote in a movie magazine next to her picture that she had been killed by "a maniac". I knew nothing of the Manson family then. I just knew of the slaughter, and it affected me. Then, there was Woodstock. As I have written before, my hippie name became "The Woodstock Kid". Peace and Love. My parents gave me the soundtrack to the film for Christmas. I played it at a church social that we had at our house. The kids wanted to listen to side 2, but that had bad words on it, so we played the other sides. Later in my hippie experience, I joined the anti-war movement in college. My hair got longer. Many of the hippies were also in Theatre, so we fit right in, especially at PC. The philosophies of the day were many. Some dropped out mentally. Some did major drugs and liquor. Some wanted to change the face of politics or stop the war. But, whatever road we took on any given day, the idea of making a difference was very strong in my life. Despite some people not understanding, or criticizing me, I became a stronger person. And, I would like to think a gentler person. Peace and Love are powerful forces, and we need to get back to that mentality somehow. Who knows what I would think now had I been sitting on the other side of that room in History class in 1969. It was karma. It was fate. It was beautiful. I may not have been at Woodstock in August of 1969. And, if everyone was there who said they were there, it would have been much bigger than it was. But, Woodstock became me. The force surrounded me. And, I was never the same. Higher.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Okay, boys and girls, it is time for a test. Say "Pelion Peanut Parade" very fast 10 times. Ready? Go! I'll wait until you get done...What? Can't do it? Well, I can't either, but that's where I went today. As I discussed last week at Little Mountain, there is nothing like a small town parade. There were bands and floats. There were animals and little cars. There were motorcycles and tractors. And, the Andre Army was there. That's what we call us. The people who show up to promote Andre Bauer. My job, as usual, was to pass out stickers, mostly to kids. We have found through on the spot research that kids love stickers. They may not be able to read yet, much less vote, but they will wear a sticker, and that's free advertising for us. I gave them to some adults too. One thing about Pelion is that they have a nudist camp nearby. I was kind of hoping for those folks to have a float in the parade, but unfortunately they didn't. However, I did see one woman on the crowd who was wearing practically nothing. She took a sticker, but I have no idea where she put it. As for the political participants, Andre's Army was the only ones there. We did see one House member and the county sheriff, but no other candidates for governor. I think some folks might have felt slighted. Several of the floats had people on them throwing candy to the kids. Some girls on one float seemed to be aiming for my head. I tried to walk faster than the float to keep from getting hit, but would get it anyway. So, then I tried walking slower to let them get ahead, but then they stopped to do something, and we met up again. I had to warn the spectators about them. We heard even the sheriff hit someone with candy. It was all in good fun though. For those of you not familiar with South Carolina, the boiled peanut is recognized as our state's official nut. That is what this celebration was all about. I didn't eat any nuts, but I saw a lot of them. But, one thing that Pelion has more of than nuts is gnats. They were all over the place. I guess the residents are used to them, but us city people had a tough time with gnats. So, it was a good time in Pelion.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Over the past few months, I have been trying to find a job with no luck. I know times are tough. You don't have to tell me that. Many people have said they are praying for me. And, I appreciate that. But, as I have looked around for someone to let me stay with them, I have come up empty. I have been staying at a motel in town, but I am about to run out of money and will no longer be able to afford it. So, what is the alternative? I don't know. I do have my car, but I do not want to have to live in it. In this blog, over the last few weeks, I have tried not to get negative. For one reason, it takes too much energy. For another, I am trying to stay positive. And for another reason, I didn't know if any employer might read my blog and think badly of me. So, I have tried to keep putting a positive spin on things. But, it is time for a reality check. So, here is the reality. I don't have enough money to make it through the end of this week. I am sinking back into a depressed state. I really don't want to be at the point I was around Christmas. That was just too horrible. I am back to a day to day existence. It would help if someone believed in me financially. I don't mind criticism, but right now, I need someone to pat me on the back and tell me that I am okay. A hug to tell me that I am all right. Something. I know that there are people out there who are in bad shape. I am not the only one. But, I hate to say what I am about to, but let's just lay it all out. When I attended the funeral last week, I had thoughts as to me being in that casket. I thought how wonderful it would be for people to say nice things about me. I thought how interesting it would be for people to cry over me. For people to care. I am missing that right now. Sorry to have to say that. I know I need to snap at of it, and I will. I always do. It is us creative types. Sorry if I brought you down. Okay, back to me. If anybody has a PayPal acct., please go on and send me some money. My acct. is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. God has a plan for me. He is teaching me things every day. I just wish I could graduate from my lessons.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
There is a town in South Carolina called Little Mountain. It is called that, because there is a little mountain in the town. In fact, it is the highest point east of the mountains. The area is relatively flat around the mountain. I don't know why it is there. So, every year they have a reunion. Folks come from miles around to enjoy a weekend with family and friends. Some folks come from out of state for this annual gathering. On Friday night, they had a dance. Today, they had a big parade and party. I was asked to be in the parade to support Andre Bauer. I would guess that there was around 5000 people there today, and I gave out a bunch of stickers and notepads. And, it was hot. I am not really sure how far I walked today, but I would say at least 2 miles. Little Mountain is a little town, but we went up and down the main road at least twice. I met the mayor of the town and also got to see Joe Pinner, who is the honorary mayor of the town. And, we ran into some opposition to Andre, but I just tried to be as nice as possible. On my many trips through Little Mountain over the years, I have found them to be pretty nice people, and they didn't disappoint me today. There really isn't anything like small town America. Bands, floats, tractors, motorcycles, beauty queens, cheerleaders, politicans, old cars, and other things. We left, but there was barbecue being served and a concert cranking up. They had rides for the kids. All in all, a good time this morning. If I am still around, there is a Peanut Festival next weekend in Pelion. I have to look forward to it, as my life is so depressing now. If I don't run out of money by then. Please help me. My PayPal acct. is email@example.com. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.