Friday Wisdom – Cars

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather.. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

With the rise of self-driving vehicles, sooner or later we’ll get a country song where a guy’s truck leaves him too.

A dad is washing the car with his son. After awhile, the son asks, “Do you think we could use a sponge instead?”

I gave up my seat to a blind person in the bus. That is how I lost my job as a bus driver.

What’s worse than raining cats and dogs? Hailing Taxi.

The worst thing about parallel parking is witnesses.

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In this pandemic world we seem to be increasingly focusing inward – the risk to us, the inconvenience, the job losses, and annoying rules.  It’s a strange time as the world adopts new habits – new ways of thinking.  The narrative is shifting.

But there are things I hope we never lose.  Monday Memorial Day.  Many Americans just treat it as a day off.  This year it means I won’t be logging into the office so it will seem odd to have a holiday.

Sadly, I’m not seeing many people discussing Memorial Day.  Our usual activities won’t be happening.  There will be no gathering at the cemeteries, no bands, no flags, and I fear no remembrance of the price paid by so many of our sons and daughters.

My father served in WWII as did many others. He never saw combat and lived well into his 70’s.  When he died at the VA, they sent me an American Flag that has sat in a case on my bookshelf for 19 years.  Monday my thoughts will be for all those families who only have a flag left.

A conversation on a company chat this week reminded me of a trip I took in 1982 to Washington D.C.  I’d gone back to hear Issac Asimov speak (I wrote about it a few years ago see: Memorial Day Remembering The Vietnam Veterans Memorial  ).  My coworkers were impressed that I’d had a chance to hear Dr. Asimov, but the strongest memory I have of that trip was going to see the Tomb of the Unknown and seeing the Vietnam Memorial just after it opened.

I’ve been to the Arlington National Cemetery three times.

Three times I’ve watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown.

Once I stood looking at the Korean War Memorial at night, in a light snow.  Spot lights casting a ghostly shadow across the steel statues – a ghost platoon wearing ponchos crossing a field in the cold night.

How easy it is for us to forget the price of war.

How easy it is for us to fall into the trap of only thinking of our own comfort and forgetting the price of battle.

On Monday, for just one day, let’s set aside the virus and remember those who traded their life for a flag.

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Friday Wisdom – Cats

Definition: Cat, noun, small furry mammal that’s always on the wrong side of the door.

Dogs have owners.  Cats have staff.

Cats are proof that the world is round.  If it was flat the cats would have pushed everything off by now.

Why don’t cats play poker in the jungle? Too many cheetahs.

What’s smarter than a talking cat? A spelling bee.

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The bite of cigarette smoke gently wafts past
threatening to close my throat,
just before a gentle rain starts to fall.

Smell of life
rising from the grey sky
as I sweep the dust out of my workshop.

A dog drags a woman along the sidewalk.

The boom-boom bass blasts from
a car racing down the street.

Sweet skunk aroma from the house next door
briefly intrudes before a leaf sails
past my door to the world.

My eyes drift upwards.
Trees bend as the wind
carries the burning past
to the east.

Dust, smoke, rain and fire
combine and rewrite
the stories we tell.

Stories are on my mind today. The narratives of our lives. How we tell them. When we tell them and who we tell them to. This year a new shared story is being written in to our collective conciseness. A powerful new story with measures of loss, fear, doubt, and hope.

In 2001 we added, “Where were you on 9/11.” I was at home, getting ready to go to work. I’d just cast my father’s ashes at sea while preparing to marry the love of my life. Back then I wondered how much can a person take in – how much change will we endure in a life time?

Nothing is static. Life is an unending parade of change. Just about the time you have a nice routine going – something changes. A birth. A death. An illness. A job loss. A new job … All conspire to push you into places you don’t want to go.

The more we fight to keep things the same, the more change is thrust at us.

The only constant is that we have stories to tell.

Stories of how we faced the inevitable change.

At the end of the world, the only currency that will remain will be the stories we tell, and are told about us.

What story are you writing with your life?

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