First, a hearty ‘thanks’ to all you people who read my A.A. birthday-BlogPost, and responded; I REALLY appreciate it; seriously.
Second, now you’re going to find this a little bit hard to believe, because *I* find it hard to believe. — I’m not going to ‘tease’ you about this; I’ll just straight up tell you… one year ago TODAY, I gave up sugar! – That’s right, on May the 18th, of 2019; I made a decision to give up “the drug”, SUGAR. I call it a drug because it ‘fits’ the category. — To me, at least… sugar is addictive, it has noticeable withdrawal symptoms, it takes “more and more” sugar to satisfy the craving for sugar… and “I also believe” that sugar is a toxin to the body, (much like alcohol.)
Okay, so what was going on to make me WANT to give up sugar? Right?… “Everything”… I weighed 262 pounds; I felt like I had a ‘gray-fog’ over my mental processes; my sugar-consumption was out of control; – for instance, I would go to Winchell’s DoNuts, on purpose, because they give you a ‘bakers-dozen’ of donuts; that’s 13, instead of 12. THEN… I would eat them in my truck so I didn’t have to share them with anybody. – When I went to the grocery store, I bought THREE half-gallons of Breyer’s Ice Cream. One was to eat immediately, the second one was ‘to have on hand’; the third one was the ‘mental-satisfaction’ of knowing I had a ‘stash’ laid away; hey, that ‘stash-business’ is a BIG DEAL in the ‘drug-world’.
PLUS… I’m convinced that sugar is a “gateway-drug” to other drugs. Drugs like ‘fast-food’, ‘processed-food’, ‘industrialized-food’ (hot dogs, bologna, boxed-cereal). – ‘Sugar’ dulled my senses making it okay to eat too much: pizza / Italian food / pasta / bread / butter / mayonnaise / and PEANUT BUTTER. My peanut butter consumption was out of control too. It might as well have been, “Breyer’s Peanut Butter” (I always bought three jars.) — — Uh… fade in: cookies, candy, chips, dip, and “special-occasion” foods like: “Peeps” (Easter); “popcorn” (movies); Crazy-Dave’s sugary ribs (July 4th); “Candy-Corn” (Halloween)… and LIQUID-SUGAR (egg-nog) all through the ‘holiday season’; (it was one of the main reasons I looked forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.)
So, “what happened” to cause me to do it? Right?? – WELLLLLLLLL… On Saturday, May 18th, of last year, I came home from the gym, after doing ‘BodyCombat”. ‘Who cares, right?’ – Well, B-C wipes me out; then that VERY SAME AFTERNOON, my diverticulosis kicked in. Trust me; if you have a problem with your ‘plumbing’, it’s a BIG deal. THEN… (as Johnny Carson used to say, “I kid you not”); I started coughing, and (because I’d had it earlier in the spring, and knew what it was), I developed “walking-pneumonia”, coughing, hacking, sputtering all over the place. ALL THREE OF THOSE, started on the same afternoon, and continued deep into the following Monday. –
Now, you may not believe this, but in A.A., we don’t think one can get truly sober without a ‘spiritual-experience’. – TO ME… all three of those maladies occurring on the same afternoon, seemed like the “Hammer-of-God” banging me on the head. On Monday morning, I was “sick and tired” of being sick and tired all the time because of my out-of-control sugar-madness. So, I ‘really did’, ‘no joke’, drop down to my knees and asked God for guidance, (I learned that in A.A., doncha know) – And I swear to you that the ‘whisper’ that came to me was (very similar to “Overeater’s Anonymous”) – “I admitted I was powerless over ‘sugar’, and my life had become unmanageable because of it.”
So, ‘just like A.A.’… I gave up sugar “one day at a time”. Actually, it was more like fifteen minutes at a time on that first morning, and then, maybe 30 minutes at a time for the afternoon and evening. THE NEXT DAY, I really DID have ‘the jitters’, from the beginnings of ‘Sugar-Withdrawal’, every bit as obvious as withdrawing from a drug-habit. It literally took me about ten days to ‘get off’ the sugar, to where I wasn’t ‘focused’ on it all the time.
What freedom!… on that 10th day, what ‘elation!’… literal “joy” at being free of the drug, ‘sugar’, and the consequences (ill health, shorter life-span, lethargy; associated illnesses – diabetes, muscle / joint-pain, more ‘interest’ in (ahem…) the joys of ‘self-expression’… ALL OF IT… my life literally changed. When I got to my ’30-days without sugar’, I made myself a ‘reminder-chip’ to carry in my pocket. Then, 60 / 90 / 120 days later, I did the same thing. I now have 12 ‘chips’ I hand-made, commemorating my journey. I’m actually going to have them ‘mounted’ so I can hang them on the wall in my office, (to serve as a reminder that I’m only “one day away” from going back to an addiction that was trying to kill me.)
So, ‘what’s it like now?’ Hey… I got down to a stable 196 pounds, which is 66 pounds down from last year!. I “feel” good, actually, ‘GREAT”. My mind is clear, (no more ‘sugar-fog’), most of the ‘aches and pains’ in my body are gone (I always thought it was age-related ‘arthritis’). My ‘pre-diabetic’ days are gone (AC-1 at 5), – I CAN TIE MY SHOES!! (hey, it’s a big deal when your belly’s too big to allow you to do that. – Most importantly, ‘The ‘Sugar-Blues’ are gone… Like Patti LaBelle once sang, “I’ve got a new attitude” (I’ve got it playing in the background, as I write this.)
I’ll say this, at least, “I seem to have a new: body / outlook / enthusiasm / and ‘sense-of-adventure’” ALL because I gave up sugar, and it’s associated ‘demons’, one year ago TODAY!!
And, I just wanted to share it with you.
Las Vegas Slim…
(PS- I welcome all calls and emails on this, don’t be shy, if you’ve got ‘sugar-questions’, feel free to get in touch with me, I’ll share my ‘sugar-free-world’ with you.)
Let me tell you about one. – I met my A.A. sponsor back in 1978. His name was Dal K., and he was 43 years sober; interestingly, he looked amazingly like George Burns, when he was in his 80’s. – I was in my first month of sobriety. I (and others) were SO in awe of Dal that he was considered an “A.A. God”. – EVERYBODY wanted Dal to be their sponsor, including me. When I first approached him to see if he would agree to sponsor me, he turned me down FLAT, “Find somebody else, I already sponsor too many people.” Then, he just turned and walked away.
You have to understand that in A.A., “sponsorship” is the key to successful recovery from active (drinking) alcoholism. And, the ‘better’ sponsor one has; well, the more likely one is to ‘recover’. – Uh… ya see… I had a REALLY BAD ‘alcohol problem’, and I knew I was going to actually die, if I didn’t stop drinking. (And pretty soon, too. Period.) Consequently, I REALLY wanted to/HAD to… recover. So, TO ME… Dal was the key to my success. SOoooo… for the next week or so, I pursued Dal, with repeated requests to sponsor me. “No”, “no”, “no”, he said… and then FINALLY… he angrily agreed. He said, “Okay, I’ll be your blanking sponsor, but ANY push-back on your end, and I’ll walk away; got it??” – “Got it, ‘no problemo’, I said.
The reason Dal was practically an A.A. God was that he, and his fellow alcoholic-buddy, “Frenchy”, started A.A. in California… They were ‘skid-row’ alcoholics, sleeping in some obscure wine-orchard at the time. WHY? – Because they could use the five cents they panhandled the previous day to buy a pint of “dregs” wine from the winery; – which was the way they started each day.
Bill W. one of the co-founders of A.A., originated the program in 1937. Back then, it was brand new. In one of ‘the oddities of life’, Dal had fallen asleep (read ‘passed out’ here) on a magazine article about the founding of A.A. by some dude in Cleveland named Bill W. — As he ‘came to’, his eyes fell onto the “12-Steps” of Alcoholics Anonymous. – The program is designed to go progressively from step one, to step 12. Dal immediately glommed onto the 12th step: “…Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics…” “Hmmmm…” he thought, ‘Carry the message to other alcoholics”… – SOOooo… he went to see a Judge-friend of his (who he had been in front of numerous times) and asked him to ‘give’ him another alcoholic to work with. Can you imagine the astonishment of the next guy in line, who was coming before the Judge? – “One year in jail,” says the Judge. “But”, he added… “If you stay sober for the next 30 days, ALONG WITH these other two alkys; “I’ll suspend the sentence.” (“Bang”, gavel down)
The three of them literally watched each other “four hours on / four hours off” for the next 30 days. And guess what, that was the first time they were sober for 30 consecutive days, in their adult life. Then, the ‘holy-three’ started “The California Club” in California. When I met Dal in 1978, he was retired, and living in Atlanta with his daughter. He was 83 years old, and STILL active in A.A.
Now, (as Paul Harvey used to say,) “Here’s the rest of the story.” The California Club grew in membership and effectiveness and it was 41 years later. The ‘Club’ thought it would be a good idea to bring back the ‘founder’ of The California Club, and ask him to be a guest speaker. As a side-note here, ALL alcoholics ‘touch’ about 14 other lives, in the course of their alcoholism. So IMAGINE how many people were ‘touched’ in some way or other over the previous 41 years.
The Club sent out announcements / invites / ‘P-R’… and SO many people responded… that they had to consider a bigger (and bigger) place to hold the event. In the end, they engaged a college stadium; and 50,000 people turned out to hear the founder of ‘The California Club’, Dal K., share his story. Think about that, “FIFTY THOUSAND PEOPLE” were “touched” in some way or other by a little old man who used to beg for pennies; so he could buy five-cent dregs of wine, so he could pass out on a magazine. – While Dal was in The California Club, he not only helped start it; he also started “Al-Anon”, “Al-a-Teen”; PLUS, he led the way to start OTHER A.A. clubs, IN California, and also in other states. These days, membership in A.A. is over two million world-wide. Now, multiply that number by 14… because that’s how many people are affected by A.A. – OR… 24 million people. — A LOT of those members can trace their sobriety back to two grizzled old alcoholics who ‘kept an eye on each other’ for 30 days. It actually gives me “the shivers” to think about
So what’s that got to do with me, right?? — Welp, TODAY… May 15th… is my 42nd year in Alcoholics Anonymous; and I wanted to share it with you. There’s another thing too… If you have an alcoholic in your life, or know the spouse / sibling / children / of even a friend of an active (drinking) alcoholic… Share this story with them. Tell them “There’s hope”… TAKE them to an A.A. meeting, it’s the most wonderful place in the world; and the finest people I’ve ever met are in A.A.
“Happy birthday to me… Happy birthday to me… Happy birthday, happy birthday…. Happy birthday to me.” (I bet you didn’t know I could sing that well.)
May 15th, 2020
So it’s been awhile, right? – Well, as Mark Twain once famously said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
I’m not a big fan of “Christmas letters”, on the other hand, I DO see the usefulness of them; so I’ll bring you up to date a bit. It all started back in 1945, ‘just joking’, I wanted to see if I could make you groan. But seriously, I REALLY DID make some major changes this past year; the biggest one is… I actually gave up sugar back in the middle of last May. I mean like an alcoholic gives up wine, I gave up sugar… AND… it’s related gateway-drugs: ‘fast-food’, ‘processed-food’, and ‘industrialized-food’ (wieners, bologna, cold-cuts, etc.) — l’ll say this, “Giving up sugar ain’t easy to do”, but… it’s also NOT the most difficult thing in the world, either.
My sugar intake was out of control, I mean, like I would intentionally go to Winchell’s and get a ‘baker’s dozen’ of doughnuts, (because you get 13)… AND, I’d eat ‘em in the car so I wouldn’t have to share them with anyone. I consumed, pies / cakes / jam / jellies / torts / ’P&B’ sandwiches / DQ / Baskin-Robbins / Breyer’s / you-name-it… on a regular basis, VERY regular. By the way, BECAUSE of the sugar over-consumption, I also went to Burger King, In-n-Out, Dominoes, Taco Hell, and Wienerschnitzel’s on a regular basis. The result of all that was that I ballooned up to 256 pounds.
So what happened, right?? I don’t know for sure, I had… kinda like… and ‘epiphany’ back on May 18th… I’ll tell you what it was; it’s actually hard to believe. The 18th was on a Saturday, and I had just returned from the hardest exercise class I do, “BodyCombat”; it wipes me out. Period. That afternoon, I had a flare up of diverticulosis (VERY painful), WHILE AT THE SAME TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!; I had a mild recurrence of the pneumonia I had earlier in the spring. That’s hard to believe, right??? Well, I was miserable, for sure… and somehow or other I associated my ‘trifecta-of-discomfort’ to the consumption of sugar. Now, I don’t think there’s a literal “cause ‘n effect”, at all… it was either my mind putting it together… OR… perhaps I was being influenced by an outside force… Hmmmm…
Hey, I have ZERO ‘will-power’; if you think my ‘force-of-will’, or innate ‘character’ had anything to do with it, you’re VERY mistaken. I have come to believe we ALL have some sort of mystical relationship with our… “guardian angels” (for lack of better words). How many times have you been ‘close’ to a car accident, and somehow or other, it didn’t happen; what about falling down some stairs, or tripping at a precarious place… and yet YOU DIDN’T. How does that work?
In October, about a year ago, (2018)… I was going home from the gym on my motorcycle… I was turning left, legally, on a green arrow; slowly following the car in front of me… and a guy RAN the red-light and came within six inches of hitting me… HE WAS TEXTING, for crissakes… he looked up at the last possible second and swerved around me, even rocking his car a bit from the abrupt changeof motion… I thought I was a goner, for sure. It scared me so bad, that as I finished getting around the turn, and went a half block; I actually wet my pants. My wife was two cars behind where I turned, and she was actually crying when we both pulled up into our driveway… Her first words were, “I thought you were going to be killed.”
So again, I ask… how does that work? Was I ‘lucky’? – OR… did my ‘guardian angels’ steer ME and THE CAR that was aimed directly at me? I don’t know… but I DO KNOW that ‘something’ interfered with me (and maybe the other guy) that afternoon. It sort of changed my life. I didn’t get back on my bike for a month or so… even then, I was a little ‘shaky’ when I started riding it.
So my question is… “could it be” that we all are influenced by… “forces unknown”? I’m thinking, “Maybe that’s true”… how does one account for the triple threat of BodyCombat / Diverticulosis / and Pneumonia… ALL in the same afternoon… and relating that to a sugar-addiction?? – To me, it was conclusive evidence that ‘somebody’, or some ‘thing’ was screaming at me, trying to tell me something. Sooooo… it got my attention (it takes a lot, I ain’t the smartest guy in the world.)
So what happened, right? Well, I literally gave up sugar on May 18th and began the withdrawal process. It took seven to ten days to get over the cravings and the shakes (small trembles, no joke)… but after two weeks, max… the craving for sugar, and the associations with fast-foods and processed-foods were gone.
Today is my 240th day without sugar; to be honest; it’s been ‘easy-peasy’. I’m down to 200 pounds (from 256), and I have no intention of ‘going back’ to my old way of life. I don’t actually have a goal-weight in mind. If you do some easy math on my ‘rate-of-loss’, it looks like I lose about a quarter of a pound a day… Well, in 365 days that will put me at: 171 pounds… 85 pounds down, just because I gave up sugar.
Here’s another interesting little tidbit; the average male in America consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. If you do some more easy math, I HAVN’T HAD about 220 pounds of sugar since I started this. It’s NO WONDER the weight practically fell off… WHO in the world could sit down in their living room, and look at a 200lb bag of sugar, and decide to eat it? And yet, (collectively) we all do to some degree.
There’s another side-benefit… I feel REALLY good. – I’ll be 75 on January 30th, and… because of the weight loss, and the sugar abstinence, I feel… what?? Maybe ‘young again’; not 16 or 26… but definitely in my 40s or 50s. In fact, I feel so good that I signed up for “Ragbrai” (the bicycle ride across Iowa) for this summer. It’s +/- 500 miles long, and is held in the last week in July (hot and humid)… Will I be the only 75 year old out there? Probably not… But, I’ll definitely be one of the few.
This longish ‘update’ actually brings me back to the title of my post, “What if…” – I have ‘come to believe…’, ‘concluded…’, ‘am convinced that…’ – ‘MAYBE…’ just MAYBE we don’t have to get progressively old. Before you call the cops and have me locked up, hear me out. Suppose, we all had wholesomely nutritious nourishment; / suppose we combined that with an ‘authoritative’ exercise plan; / THEN, suppose we combined those two elements with THE OUTLOOK that “old” isn’t in the 70s, it’s in the 100s’… What would happen to us?
Suppose we got off the couch, quit watching daytime television and just went outside, maybe for a walk, a hike, or (wait for it…) maybe a bicycle ride. What if we rode our bikes in Ragbrai every year, or maybe the Nebraska ride, the Georgia ride… the Natchez Trace, the Blue Ridge Parkway…
I’m just wondering, “What if…” — ‘What if’ we put aside the “old-rules” of what it means to be old. What if we picked out an age in our past, (say 43), and pretended we really ARE 43, and we acted that way? Do you think our life would change? Do you think we would be healthier, and have a more positive outlook? – Do you think being healthier, more energetic, more ‘positive’ toward life-extension would have the effect of actually achieving it?
Naturally, I don’t know, no one knows. But what we all DO KNOW is that ‘sugar’ (et al) / ‘inactivity’ / negative ‘life-views’ / accepting ‘the inevitable’… will literally lead one to unhappiness and an early grave.
So, I decided to “s**t-can” all that negative junk and focus on the good side of life and living longer and happier. My new goal is to live deeply into the 90s, maybe into my 100s. So what if I don’t? What if I’m wrong?; – what if my ‘theory’ is wrong? – I DON’T CARE. – Even if I only live to my mid-90s, and I have to give up bike riding when I’m 92… I STILL won. I was 74 this past year, so (after giving up sugar) I got into ‘Kayaking’; I seemed to be the only 74 year old guy on the river… on another front, I PLAN to hike/climb Mt. Charleston (here in Nevada) this spring, (that’s 12,000 feet, little mister…) I’m going to kayak the Salmon River up in Idaho, the ‘Big Blackfoot’ river in Montana… Crater Lake, and Lake Tahoe. (And… I’m gonna take my bike with me too.)
So “What if…” – — ‘What if’ I’m right? – Well the point is… it ain’t just me who can win here… WE ALL can do “What if” experiments on ourselves too… What if, we all gave up sugar?, what if we all went to the gym?, what if we all rode our bikes?… What if we literally focused our mind on the magical year where we were in our ‘prime’? — Do you think our life would change? Mine did/does…. I bet you anything, yours will too.
I recently told a friend of mine, “Buy a bike and start riding it; it will change your life.” / “Buy a kayak and learn how to stay upright in it.” / “Get some hiking shoes and climb the highest mountain you can find” — “It will change your life”. — Btw, if any of you decide to take me up on my suggestions, I’d be interested in hearing about it. Here’s my email address – firstname.lastname@example.org –
So, Enjoy ‘2020’…
I plan to post updates on my Ragbrai prep / plans / and the actual event itself via my blog. Here’s the riding group I plan to ride with (http://lfadventures.com/) — They aren’t just a ‘riding-group’, they are ALSO the charter-company that provides transportation TO the beginning of the ride / then, they take our camping gear up-ahead to each successive riding-day’s camp-site / then, they bring us back to Omaha when the ride is over.
Also, here’s the web-link to the bike-ride itself: (https://ragbrai.com) / – Take a look at some of the pages and peeps there… it’s kinda interesting. — Plus, Iowa has a ‘corn-cam’ (so you can watch the corn grow, doncha know); be careful here, don’t get too excited… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouoho7exRVg
I was pretty sure I’d make it to today; once you do something for 41 years; it becomes part of your life. – So, what’s so fundamental to me today? Right?…. Well, it’s my 41st “birfday” in A.A. — Can you imagine?? Better yet, can I imagine….
Let’s see, it all started about nine months earlier than I was born, in 1945… “Just joking” here; – I’m not going to bore you with that. ALSO, I’m not going to bore you with how I got from my very last drink to 41years sober… I WILL say this… it’s been a strange / wonderful / weird / joyful… (I’m sure you get the picture here) journey.
My A.A. birthday always makes me ponder… it’s like a “bell-shaped” curve; it leads up to a peak… say, 30 days on either side… There’s WAY more thoughtfulness / contemplation that goes into my A.A. birthday… than my natal birthday. To us in A.A., one’s natal birthday is an ‘accident’ of biology, opportunity, and a HOST of other factors. — On the other hand, our A.A. birthday is INTENTIONAL! — It’s hard to say which one is more important. I’ll put it this way; I wouldn’t trade my A.A. “experience”… from overt uncontrollable drinking, to overt peacefulness… for anything I can think of. I’ve told many, many people over the years that A.A. is about 10% on how to stop drinking, and about 90% on how to live a “good, orderly” life.
In A.A., we’re non-religious, and non-denominational. — — (Ahem…) However we are VERY “spiritual”; in fact we don’t even use the word: “God”… (in a sneaky sort of way.) — Instead of using the term “God”, we use the ‘acronym’: “G-O-D” in its place. – To us, “G-O-D”… stands for “Good Orderly Direction”. We call it (literally) the “gift” of A.A. – Yeah, yeah… I know… you hear all the public “PR” about A.A. (and other programs) helping you END your addiction to alcohol and drugs (alcohol is a ‘drug’, btw)… But what you NEVER hear (unless you go to A.A. meetings, get a sponsor, and “immerse” yourself in A.A.) – is the raw “BEAUTY” of A.A.; the “transcendence” of A.A.
I have also stated “many, many” times that I wish EVERYONE could be an alcoholic, – just so they could experience the “magic” of being a RECOVERING ‘alcoholic”. The “gift of A.A.” is a profound, unexplainable, majestic, “shared” experience. – “Rebirth” is referenced frequently in biblical scripture… Trust me, GENUINE “re-birth” is experienced by millions of people, every day, throughout the world, in A.A. – Look around you sometime, even if you’re NOT an alcoholic… Here’s the test: if your own life is in conflict and turmoil, pick up “the Big-Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous and read it. They’re not hard to find.— I’ve recommended the principles of A.A. to more NON-alcoholics than I have to “alkys” —- If you want to sincerely change your life… buy one from Amazon and read it. — I say this kindly and respectfully, “Your life will change; you’ll never be the same.”
Welp, once again, I’ve gotten “preachy”. I promise myself every year that I won’t do that. I guess the overwhelming “peace and understanding” of A.A. is… just too compelling… I always want to share ‘the gift of A.A.’ with everyone. — And, over these past 41 years, I guess I have.
Now that the preaching is over, I want to pay tribute to a man I knew for more than a half-century. His name is Tommy Ellis… He was the first person I ever got an adult-job with. It was in the investment business, “stocks and bonds.” — Tommy took flight and began exploring the wonders of the Universe this past March 22nd , 2019. Tommy lived in Vero Beach, Florida. I rode my bike (motorcycle) to specifically see him in 2016. I was pretty sure he was in his ‘end-of-life’ cycle; and I wanted to tell him how much he had meant to me over the years. Tommy served as an “Airman”, in the Air Force and worked on his ‘birds’, (that’s what he called the planes) the brave pilots flew. He told me there was a ‘special’ connection between mechanic and pilot, and I knew he meant it. – He told me he felt “responsible” for their safety; and he wasn’t joking.
There was also a ‘special connection’ to me and Tommy. —- Tommy was the Municipal Bond Manager at the investment firm of Norris & Hirshberg, in Atlanta when I met him. I was barely literate, and had ZERO knowledge of investments, ESPECIALLY municipal bonds. – Tommy, very patiently taught me how the investment business worked. – AND… he became my friend. The ‘war-stories’ I could tell you about our “investment-adventures” would fill a book…. IN FACT, there IS a book that relates to it… it’s called “Liar’s Poker”, by Michael Lewis (the same guy who wrote: “Money Ball”)
Tommy Ellis was the nicest guy I’ve ever known (it’s an underrated quality.) He was also one of the most respected. He was known by his peers in the investment community as “the one guy” you could always count on to tell you the truth. (That’s a rare commodity in the investment arena.)
Tommy taught me everything I know about the investment business… and I taught HIM everything I knew about the ‘sales-aspect’. He told me one time that I was ‘THE best’ he had ever seen. I responded in kind, “Tommy, you were my ‘professor’; you (sometimes) kept me on the ‘straight ‘n narrow’… and I ALWAYS respected you in ALL your life-endeavors.
So, as “Airman”, Thomas H. Ellis takes flight one more time…. Join me in a silent moment to whisper a prayer of “safe-passage” to Tommy… “Tommy, my friend, how I miss you, – what great times we had; – we knew and loved each other for a half-century; – you really were THE BEST!”
Tom Adair May 15th , 2019
Welp, to be honest, it’s like being in a time-warp (cue in: “Rocky Horror Picture Show”) – I recently read a book about ‘Time’, (Carlo Ravolli), and the author makes several points about the ‘fluidity’ of time… Put another simpler way, “Time is strange” — That’s the same way it is turning 74. – I can barely say it… We’ve all known “old people”, especially when we were young. But now, BEING seriously one of those ‘old people’ is difficult for me to comprehend; to put in its proper place.
It’s NOT that I want to go back, necessarily (since my time-machine isn’t close by); its not that I missed anything along the way. I intentionally took a full swing at the plate, and have enjoyed the ride. — So what’s my ‘bitch’, right? – I’m not sure Hunny-Bunny. – I don’t have any apparent fear of dying… On the living front, I’ve got most of the toys I want (I tried to get my wife to buy me a Walther PPK at Christmas, but she wouldn’t do it.) – I’ve been to enough places here and there… so that the only thing I think I’m missing is Devil’s Tower in Wyoming… AND… I’m riding my motor-sickle there this summer.
So what IS this thing called love… oops, I mean, what IS this thing called, ‘turning 74’? I Don’t know for sure. I think it has to do with ‘relevance’; or the lack thereof. Nobody’s very much interested in my sage advice / comment / observation… AND… I agree with them. I was much the same way when I was young man marching forward. I think the only ‘old’ person I ever paid any mind to was this guy sitting on a porch one time out in bum-blank, Nebraska. I didn’t even know him. I was riding through Bum-blank one bleak winter day… and saw him sitting up on his front porch, ‘rockin’ (mind you, this was in the winter-time.) I looked through my windshield and saw him wave to me. I stopped the car, got out, and went up on the porch to visit with him.
We really DID ‘sit for a spell’ (it’s a southern term), I told him all my perceived troubles, and in the end, he said “It really will all just work out fine.” – Which, if you think about it… is universally true. An interesting thing about that visit was that I went out to see him the following spring; I wanted to tell him that things really were getting better. I went up to knock on his door.. an old ‘farm-wife’ in an apron came to the door, quizzically… I told her I talked to her husband, (I guessed) back the previous winter. She graciously invited me inside, we sat down, she went into the kitchen to fix us some tea, and sure enough, there was her husband’s picture, in a small frame, on the top of an upright piano, along with several others.
When she came back, I motioned to the picture, and said,”That’s a flattering picture of your husband, ma’am.” She said, “Oh, he’s been dead for going on 15 years now.” (I crap you not) – I gulped and turned a bit pale. Then she said, “You know, several people have stopped by over the years and said they talked to him.” – I asked her if she had ever had any vague feeling he was still around. She said, “Sometimes, in odd ways; maybe a tool out of place in the barn… a strange humming bird looking at me, and not moving… sometimes, an old dog will mosey up on the porch and stay a bit, then move on.” – She told me these things, and seemed very lucid in the recollection.
So, maybe that’s what happens when you turn 74/84/94… Maybe you just go on living; and aren’t encumbered by the perceived concepts of time. According to ol’ Carlo up above… “All time (past, present, future) is happening all at the same time, all over the Universe.” – As I turn 74, I don’t ‘Get’ being 74… What I DO “get” is that it’s a strange number that doesn’t apply to me. In math, there are ‘imaginary’ numbers; — well, to me, 74 is an imaginary number. Also, ol’ Carlo said: “Time is different for all of us (it’s provable), and the way we see time is personalized. — I think, guess, hope he is right. – The ‘Blue-Grass’ singer, Ralph Stanly, wrote a song one time called: “Oh, Death”…. In the refrain, he wrote, “Oh Death… oh death… won’t you ‘spar’ me over just another ‘yar’” (it’s hard to write blue-grass) – So, that’s what I’m thinking, Death has spar’d me over another year. I’m actually going to play that song right after this post.
So, how’s everything on my end? A ‘report’ you might say? – Well, I still go to the gym, still ride my motor-sickle, still go “shootin’”, gamblin’, and knocking up run-away teenage girls…
So, as much as I’m surprised to still be here… “Hey, life’s good”
Y’all come out to Las Vegas sometime, ya heah?”
Peace and out.
Las Vegas Slim…
…40 years ago today.
At about 10:00 o’clock in the morning, I got into a disagreement with “Atlanta’s Finest”. – After a lengthy discussion, (and a little physicality), I finally got into their police cruiser, and they took me to Atlanta City Jail. THEN… they REALLY ‘splaind’ it to me, Lucy… That was a Friday, and coincidentally, the day I took my last drink of alcohol.
On the following TUESDAY, I came out of my baton-induced coma, in a jail cell… and realized (it helps your ‘clearer thinking’ to be without alcohol for 4 or 5 days), that I was probably going to die, (from alcoholism.) This is no joke, I REALLY DID get down on my knees in that jail cell and ENTREATED (begged) God to help me. (There’s a difference between ‘asking’ and ‘begging’.)
As Johnny Carson used to say, “I kid you not”… while I was still begging, a ‘white-mist’ came into that jail cell; a lot like what you see when you open the door to a ‘steam-room’. That mist… whirled around… then “presto-snappo”; hey, I knew I was different. It could have been the “D-Ts”, right? – I agree… maybe… I DID have them on and off; (if you’ve never seen snakes crawling on your ceiling, or out of the phone, you haven’t lived.) But somehow or other, when you’re in the presence of a ‘Deity’, you almost always know it. Even to a still drunk brain like mine, I somehow or other heard that old refrain, “Amazing Grace”, – ‘When He reached down and saved a wretch like me.” (It’s STILL one of my favorite songs, I’m actually humming it right now as my eyes get blurry.)
Okay, so I got out of that jail cell, and started going to A.A. – I went to two meetings a day for the first five years. I celebrated my 1st A.A. birthday back in Atlanta, and thought it was the grandest thing that ever happened to me. Number ‘2’, came next, then 3 thru 4, and so on. – When I got to my 10th, I ‘took note’… that was the first time I was ever sober longer than I was drunk (which was 9 years.)
15 years came, so did 20, 30 (it was VERY memorable), then 35… and now today. “Who would have thunk?” “Right?” — Just so you know, only 20% of alcoholics actually recover. That means the other 80% DIE! (or become ‘institutionalized’, like prison, or asylums.) – Alcoholism claims 500 doctors a year, 30% of the airline pilots who take off… are legally drunk when they do it. – Alcohol, itself, as a drug… is a toxin to the body. That beer, that casual glass of wine… you drink on a pleasant afternoon contains more than an ounce of ETHANOL. – You can run cars on ethanol. That’s what they put in ‘dragsters’ at the drag-strip. – The point being here is that you don’t have to actually become a roaring drunk to feel the debilitating effects of alcohol on the body. That’s worth thinking about.
So what happened, right? – Hey, I haven’t had any form of alcohol in 40 years. But, you know what’s even more important?, — “A.A.” teaches the alcoholic how to have a successful life. Not just financially, but on every plain; health / serenity / ‘wholesomeness’, good-humor, ‘gratitude’, having a ‘spirit-filled-life’, joy, mirth, serenity… I could go on and on about the ‘gifts’ of A.A. – I’ve summed it up before by saying: A.A. is about 10% of how to stop drinking, and about 90% of how to live a successful life.
Well, there have certainly been “the vicissitudes of life” along the way. Was it a 45-degree, straight ‘trend-line’? – No. On the other hand, it WAS an upward trend-line. In A.A. we don’t claim perfection; we try to make ‘progress’ each day. Progress on all fronts, health, wealth, happiness, serenity.
Anyway, I know I’m ‘preaching’ here, and I’m gonna stop. I just wanted to reach out to you-all today and share my happiness with you. I also wanted to help you understand that if you have a problem with alcohol (or drugs) — OR… if you have a family-member, friend, ‘associate’, even an ‘acquaintance’… let them know…. that YOU KNOW… at least one alcoholic who was pretty sure he was gonna die from alcohol. And then, add this: “Ya know, BECAUSE OF A.A., he hasn’t had a drink in 40 years… then, put in… “Maybe you can find some help in A.A. too.”
(Preaching again, Right?, I know, I know… I’ll stop)
Hey, “Joy and goodwill to you folks today”, — forty years ago today the Universe change for me, and I’m better off for it. (You are too, by the way.)
“Long time, no hear”, right? – Sorry about that. “Been busy”, does that work? (No, I didn’t think so)
Well, let’s see… I’ve been refining my work on my anti-gravity boots invention; I wrote a screen-play for Brad Pitt; consulted on the Raider’s move to Las Vegas (Go Raiders) – mostly boring.
I DID take a little trip to a bed ‘n breakfast in Bishop, California. It’s called: “Rainbow Tarns” (here’s the link) – In case you don’t know, a “Tarn” is a small pond, (I know, I didn’t know that either.) It was unusually good, highly recommended, in fact.
What else? Well, the most interesting thing I’ve done in 2017 is take up a new hobby; “Ham-Radio”. My wife gave me a book over the winter called “Brain Power”, and one of its suggestions, especially for… uh… (ahem…) “older-folk” (yikes!) is to learn something new. The author stressed it can’t be just a new crossword puzzle. He suggested that one should consider learning a new language, say like Russian, or maybe Japanese. His point is… if you learn something REALLY new, you make new connections (dendrites) in your brain. He compared it to exercising the body. The phrase he used was: “If you’re going to exercise your bicep, you might as well exercise your brain.” –
I thought that was good advice to ‘seniors’, ‘the mature’, maybe including “the middle-aged”. And.. I thought it was excellent advice to me. So, since I can’t even spell ‘Japaneese’, and I thought “Rushia” was a verb… I took up “Amateur Radio”… (ham radio) — or, “radidio” as we call it in the So-uth.
I was pretty sure I didn’t know what an electron was… so my ‘non-knowledge’ would be perfect for: “learning something new.” – I took my first class back on January 25th and got my “Technician” designation. I progressed to the “General” course about a month later, and got my ticket in March. What the hell, I figured: “In for a penny, in for a pound” — and I started studying for the final designation on March 13th. It’s called “Amateur-Extra”, and with that license, one has ALL the privileges the FCC bestows on the public. – I got that sucker on May 6th. (HooRay!) – It’s actually a pretty big deal in “Ham-World”, — 50 random questions pulled from a pool of 700. The questions are written so that ANY of them are at least plausible. (Point being, you actually have to KNOW the subject (electronic THEORY) – just ‘guessing’ won’t work.
Let’s see… what else… Oh yeah, there’s one more thing, today… May 15th… 39 years ago, I had my last drink of alcohol (on the advice of the Atlanta Police Dept.) – Turns out, alcohol impairs your judgment. “Who’d a thunk?”
It’s been a long journey, on my last day of drinking, 39 years ago, I weighed 168 pounds, drank 12 ounces of vodka every two hours, and had “the shakes” so bad, I couldn’t lift the glass to my lips (I used a straw.) – I’m a HUGE advocate for A.A. – Millions of people have gotten sober, and stay sober through the miracle of A.A. – The tragic thing is how deadly alcoholism and drug-abuse is. Only 20% survive. Put another way, the death-rate for alcoholism / drug abuse is 80%. Remember “alcohol” is a drug… There are other drugs out there that are just as deadly as alcohol.
As a matter of fact, a close friend of mine lost a family member to drugs very recently. If you get a chance today, say a prayer for “D”, the universe will know who it is… When you get through with that prayer, – say another one for “D’s” family. They’re heart-broken.
There’s a tenet in A.A. I like a lot: “There but for the grace of God, goes I.” — I always re-phrase it to state: “There but for the grace of God, goes YOU!” – Think about it, and count your blessings if you haven’t had to deal with the ravages of alcohol and drug abuse.
(And don’t forget that prayer, either)
‘The Rubber Duck’
(KI7KGP) — by god…
Hey, take a look at my “Tweet” buttons on my blog. Just like Donald Trump, I’ve decided to ‘tweet’. I was actually encouraged to do this by a friend of mine up in Ottawa, Canada. He said I was funny and amusing (Is that a compliment??) and I ought to share some of my ‘horse sh…’ – uh… share some of my humor with my readers. So here ya go… hit the “Follow@Tom_Adair” button over on the right, and I’ll share some (non-presidential) thoughts with you.
Now, back to my blog… — guess what, I went over to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR) the other day
to ‘check out’ my dirt bike. You may recall, I had the ‘top-end’ rebuilt, and I wanted to see how it ran.
Oh by the way, do any of you recall me telling you MANY MANY times in the past to ALWAYS top off your gas tank BEFORE you leave on a ride? Huh? Well, motorcycles are just like airplanes without wings… they run on FUEL… GAS… not air. — AND… the only time they run out of gas is in the most inconvenient place. Now if you’re in an airplane, ya kinda ‘stall / spin / turn / auger / and hit the ground with great force. Same with motor-sickles… when they run out of gas, you’re usually on the freeway, between TWO FedEx trucks that are pulling trip-trailers; (most of the time in the rain.)
Well, that actually DIDN’T happen to me… but, I DID run out of blanking gas. Had to pull over to the side of a (major) road… cold, windy, pissed (and embarrassed.) After I pulled over, it WOULD NOT crank. Period. Which brings up my “btw” above. If I have told you peeps once, I’ve told you a thousand times: “Always, always… top off your tank.” Got it? Yeah well, ‘familiarity breeds contempt, right?” – It is almost a ‘tenant-of-life’. For instance, modestly put, I’m pretty ‘gun-familiar’. I was in the military, fired zillions of shots, TAUGHT gun-safety, was many times “Firing-range Sergeant”, blah/blah/blah… and would you believe I’ve had TWO accidental ‘discharges’ from guns I KNEW were NOT loaded? I mean, I knew like gravity, they weren’t loaded. Like I said, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’ (Let me know if you folks want to hear the corresponding stories.)
Get this… when I headed out on my bike to the ‘DNWR’, I actually RODE past THREE different places to gas up. The reason I didn’t???????????????????????????? Because I KNEW I had plenty of gas. ELSE… I would have gassed up. Did I ever mention anything to you guys about, uh… “Familiarity?” – So, I ran outta gas. Bummer. — Now there I was, sitting forlornly beside the road, – cold, disgusted, shaking my fist toward the sky, cursing the ‘motor-sickle gods’. – THEN… out of the blue… I had an idea!! … “THE RESERVE”… Ah yes, turn the fuel valve on the gas-tank to the ‘reserve’ position. (Pant-pant…) – Well, I did, (and held my breath for good measure) then, pressed the start-button… and by god, (literally) – it cranked. I immediately apologized to the motor-sickle gods, and swore I’d go to church on Sunday. (This time, I really mean it.)
Ya know, I have to admit, after I got back on 95, I WAS kinda holding my breath a little. But, it ran… perhaps a little s-l-o-w-l-y, I mean it IS only a ‘thumper’ (one-cylinder), and it’s 200ccs at that; but it ran. — So, in several more miles, I got to the ‘DNWR’ and dismounted.
— NO ONE… I mean NOOOO-ONE was there; for MILES! Hey, ‘who cares?’ Right? So, I took some pics, walked around the place a bit… “tagged it” with some spray paint (just kidding) and called my wife to tell her the ‘shake-down’ ride went unusually well; “no problems.” Like all wives, she knows when I’m lying, and asked me “What’s wrong?” — I actually wonder how wives do that. I know they’re smarter than guys for sure; better judgment, clearer insight… it’s just the silent ‘haughtiness’ that bugs me. Kinda like “we guys” are to be “put up with”…. AND… she’s probably right.
So, on the way back, I made a MAJOR decision. I WILL NOT FAIL TO TOP OFF MY TANK AGAIN!!… I said it three times. — I mean it this time, really. Also, I decided to “jet” my carb.
To you non-motor-sicklists out there… that means to modify it so it sends more gas to the engine, THUS… more horsepower. It’s kind of a big deal, really. Motorcycles are very similar to (wait for it…) violins. You heard me. Violins. — They have to be ‘tuned’… tuned to the terrain, the rider, the altitude, the anticipated speed, (slow OR fast) etc., etc., etc. – and MINE needs more gas… (So I can run outta gas quicker, right?) – No, smarty pants… ya see pilgrim, since I KNOW I’m prone towards poor judgment in the gas-department… I ALWAYS carry some extra “Few-ell” with me.
Note the red, extra gallon of gas strapped to my bike when I was riding out to the DNWR, (Just in case…) – Gotcha!
So that’s what I plan to do with my re-jetted, gas-using bike… I’m gonna carry extra fuel on the bike, and also in my ‘twuck’. I’ll outwit those motor-sickle gremlins yet. –
Now, depending on the W-E-A-T-H-E-R, (it’s cold out here, like 56 degrees, brrr…) I might go up to Death Valley next week for a REAL shakedown ride. It’s ca, ca, COLD in Death Valley… already down to 51 degrees, (brrrrr…) – Well, anyway, you get my point, if the ol’ weather-gods smile on me next week, and I can remember to top off my gas-tank… I’ll likely go take a peek.
Till then, “Over and out”
The Desert Fox
PS – here’s my “Tracking-Page” (http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0seJseUF8nps5v94ORZolubfWN1AosNFO)
So, it’s been a while, huh? –
Yeah, I know, nothing since May 29th… Am I still alive, or whut?
Yes, I am… — DAMNNNN…. It was hot this summer, wasn’t it?? Geez – 119 degrees on July 3rd –
So, here’s the deal. While I was out on my Can-Am this past May, I decided I needed to ‘do’ something “motor-cycly” during the ‘off-season.’ I already know my big ride for next year is up the California coast on the Pacific Coast Highway; also called California Highway 1.
I mean, if you’re a motor-sickle person… you’ve got to see this thing; — here… take a look: Pacific Coast Highway
I’ll be starting from just north of LA and going up to see my former motorcycle-mechanic, who moved to Vancouver Island. The ‘PCH’ is about 1,300 miles up the coast and goes up thru all the famous names; check this out: ‘Marina Del Rey’ / ‘Santa Monica’ / ‘Big Sur’ / ‘Monterey’ / ‘Frisco’ / ‘Portland’/ ‘Seattle’ — Who wouldn’t want to cruise thru there?, huh…
Buttttttt… that’s NEXT year, prolly some time in May/June. – in the MEAN TIME… I bought a 2005 Yamaha TW200 (200-cc) dirt bike to ride around / thru / all-over Death Valley.
The deal on the “Tee-Dub” (that’s what they call it) is that it’s kind of a goat. Not too fast on asphalt, (like ‘55’), but it’ll climb a tree.
I’m kind of a ‘geology-geek’, and ‘picking-around’ in DV is sort of appealing to me. Also, you never know who you’ll meet in DV… You wouldn’t believe the famous people who have moseyed through there… and NOT just Charles Manson, either. (He used to have a run-down ranch on the edge of DV)
One of the several places to ride on your bike is “Titus Canyon”:
Another is “The Racetrack”… they call it that for the “slow-moving” ROCKS there…
“Ubehebe-Crater” is another famous landmark in DV
Anyway, there’s a bunch of sights to see, and I’m looking forward to seeing them all. I’m going to use “Beatty, Nevada” as my ‘head-quarters’, and then mosey out on ‘day-trips’, kinda like spokes in a wheel. I’m WAY ‘geared-up’… it’s called “DEATH-Valley” for a reason, you know… I even have fresh batteries in my ‘spot-device’, so you’ll be able to track me on my daily runs.
All in all… I plan to do several “three-or-four-day” tours to various point in DV between now and next May. Gonna take lots of pics… write lots of “exposes”, Gonna camp next to “Area-51” and see if I can spot some UFOs.
I “think” my first sojourn will be in the first week after Thanksgiving. I just had the ‘top-end’ of my dirt bike rebuilt,
…and I need to check it out over in a desert park near me called: “Desert National Wildlife Refuge”
It’s pretty similar to DV, but is only 17 miles away from where I live. – If my ‘shake-down’ goes well in the Wildlife Refuge, then I’m off to DV.
Here is some ‘folk-lore’ about DV, (ghosts and all)
Who wouldn’t want to go there, huh?
Just so you know… among my OTHER surveil-gear is a .44 magnum, a .38 ‘back up’, a “Bear Grylls” survival knife, and my personal “Ernest Emerson Combat Folder” knife. (Gonna leave the grenade-launcher at home.)
I’m sure I’ll be fine… I’ve got several people watching me on my “Spot-Device” – I just told ‘em “If the spot stops moving, take note.” — (Actually, it has an “S.O.S” feature on it, just in case)
I’ll be sending updates and pics from the ‘Valley” soon… I’ve got a ‘low-light’ camera, a ‘low-light video-cam’ and ‘low-lite’ binocs to see what the deal is on those moving rocks. (AND… Area-51)
If I get abducted by a flying saucer, I’ll wave at you as we fly by.
PS – here’s my “Tracking-Page” (http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0seJseUF8nps5v94ORZolubfWN1AosNFO)
692 miles in eleven hours, flat… not bad, not bad at all…
See, I told you I wasn’t very smart, NO ONE should do a ride like that. If you were watching my “tracker” (thanks to all of you who were ‘riding’ with me… I felt your presence), there were a LOT of times I was over 90… particularly on the ‘down-hill’ stretch.
My ‘boyz’ greeted me when I got in… check out their bandannas (they say: “Welcome” – “Home”)
I left Santa Rosa at about 6:30ish… blasted outta there and immediately started ‘crusin’, you know… my favorite speed: 87. I blew thru the New Mexico low-lands ridin’ easy. Everything was coo’ till I got to Albuquerque. I rolled onto a HELLACIOUS accident on their downtown connecter. Six lanes of traffic (just on one side), ALL backed up and snarled. I’m embarrassed to say – I’m one of those motorcycle riders you hate. You know, the ones who dart between lanes & lines, disobey the ‘rules’… get in between spaces where cars can’t go. (Just so you know, I always ask for forgiveness and pray for redemption when I get home.)
So what about the wreck, right? – Hey, it was a first-class mess. As I wound my way around, (with people giving me the finger), I saw an older GoldWing motorcycle lying on its side. Not 200 feet further was a flatbed truck with its industrial equipment all over the place. Maybe 10 cop-cars channeling traffic, and bunches of officers screaming and yelling at people. (You KNOW it’s tuff to be a cop.)
Thankfully, the GoldWing rider was seated in the grass with some EMT-guys gathered around him. — SOooo… while everyone was banging about, taking care of ‘bidness’, — *I* snuck past and around some slightly ‘out of place’ (with the aid of my boot) police barriers. I looked over at one cop, as if to say, “Is this okay?” – He just nodded, annoyingly, and I could hear his mind-talk, (You smart-alec asshole, git your ass outta here.) – So, I accommodated him. Hey one less motorcycle rider was probably an advantage. — “Good Luck to you, GoldWing rider; riding a motorcycle is a lot like flying; any time you can walk away from a landing, it was a GOOD landing. (You needed a new bike, anyway.) — Get a Can-Am.
Upon departing Albuquerque, rapidly… I cruised past Grants, NM.. and on into Gallup. That was my dilemma… (hear that music?) “Should I stay, or should I go.” It was early in the morning… I was ‘feeling good / looking good’. Easy to stay in Gallup, nice town… eastern Arizona was just over the horizon… Hell, Winslow is only 50 miles from Flagstaff… bet I could get a room there… speaking of which, Flagstaff is only 300 miles from Lost Wages… Don’t you just LOVE how ‘rationalization’ works?? – “Honey (husband to wife AFTER buying Corvette), I was already in the Chevy dealership, the nice receptionist was so cute and helpful, the car is VERY utilitarian, we can BOTH drive it, Hunny, they made me a great deal.”
Just so you know, I really DID pull over in Gallup and have a cup of coffee out of my thermos… think, think, think… Finally, “What the f**k; I’m going to ‘Vegas.” I spun a wheel when I cranked up and roared out, (thinking: “I bet this is the same way people got on the Titanic”)
I roared past Flagstaff (you know, the place where I could probably get a room); whizzed past Williams, Seligman, and finally to Kingman, AZ. I stopped at my favorite gas-place, “Love’s”… gassed up, left a specimen, and flew out of Kingman. What you do is go slightly past Kingman and take a right on highway 93 to ‘Vegas. It’s almost a straight shot.
This black Cadillac had been horsing around with me on the way to Kingman, him passing me, me passing him, that sort of thing. So when I got on the stretch, just past Kingman that leads to the dam, I decided to give him an old-fashioned ‘testicle-check’, “We’re gonna find out if you have any, Cadillac-Jack. I bet you’ve got more car than you have skill… AND… nerve too. — Guess who won?
Hey, – Cadillac-Jack backed off just before we got to the dam… Musta been too nerve-wracking for him… “Get yourseff a Can-Am, Jack,” I said as I bulleted on toward the dam. (People are SO afraid of the Highway Patrol)…
My wife had been watching me on the “tracker” and even ran out to open the gate to our little village when I pulled up.
Safe, sound, tired (exhausted), exhilarated…. “all the above”
692 miles, – what a ride!!
So whad I learn? Right?
#1…America, this amazing place we live… it’s under-appreciated. The people, the places, the “good hearts” of most everyone… is incredible.
#2…I kinda ate my way across America, and I had grits / greens / hot-dogs (I LOVE a good, cheap hot dog from “Loves”), fish, seafood, fried biscuits, gravy-covered-chicken, “steak-by-a-lake”, with chocolate ice cream for dessert. – I saw a true American hero growing a garden in Alabama; nekkid ladies in New Orleans, another beautiful garden in Mobile… and the most important part: I saw “Friends of a lifetime”.
#3…I learned that I’ve been a VERY lucky guy. — I love you: Rob Coats / Bob Summerlin / Corky “by god” Harris / Jerry ‘Bull’ Dozier / Cathy Harris (you go win those Senior Olympics, girl!) / Tommy Ellis, (you living legend) / Ted and ClaraSue (hugs to you both) / Jon “B.G.” Jeffries, (I’m so proud of you!), and all my NEW buds and GFs I met along the way…
“Salut!” to you all… All of you made my trip a terrific event and an even better memory. – I love you all….
PS – here’s my “Tracking-Page” (http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0seJseUF8nps5v94ORZolubfWN1AosNFO)