Thursday, February 23, 2012


            It has been six months and 40 entries since I started down this new path.  I have shared a little bit of me with each post.  I hope you have found some of my rantings worth sharing with others.  Now I ask that you share a little too and let me know what you think, what you'd like to hear, or where you'd like me to go.  Just drop me a note, leave a comment, and let me know how I'm doing.  Thanks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thinking Day

            The awkwardness of the touch.  Those first exploring caresses inching ever closer to the unknown, not knowing when, or if, they will be halted.  Legs and arms intertwined, trying desperately to feel through the barrier of cloth between them.  Breath hot against the skin.  The intoxicating mix of fruity sweet perfume and clinging hairspray fills the nostrils.  The taste of cotton candy or bubblegum lip gloss as mouths search hungrily for each other.  Every move is electric, as dormant hormones begin their chaotic journey of youth.  Barely blooming bodies, just now wrestling within the throes of puberty, press ever harder against each other, groping, feeling, throbbing...

            Feel uncomfortable yet?  I do.  The uncomfortable feeling I get each time I steer the remote toward the new Disney Channel, for "tween", filled with music videos and rock star witches.  The awkwardness I contend with every time I find Facebook open on the laptop, filled with people parading their children's trials and tribulations in a scary, up-to-the-minute reality show filled with teenage angst and inappropriately dressed children.  The bewilderment at the gym-addicted parents incessantly striving to fit into a smaller size and recapture their youthful bodies in order to show off their wares in the schoolyard or grind along with the younger crowd at the clubs, draping themselves in muscle shirts and skirts that require a second "haircut".  And the somewhat comical confusion of listening to 30 & 40-something moms gush about pasty teenage vampires as if they were trying to hold on to the last fraying threads of their middle school lives.
            Do not misunderstand me, I am completely aware of the pitfalls that lie ahead for my children and I do not intend to shelter them from the realities of growing up.   However, I do not intend to paste their lives on a billboard for the whole world to view.  I will guide them as a parent, not as a locker room buddy.  I will not actively conspire with them in the art of seduction.  I will expect them to carry themselves with the respect and dignity that has been instilled in them through the years.  At middle-age, I can not afford to swoon over the TV screen at a "teenage heart throb" as if I were a pimply-faced boy.  What messages do we send?  What examples do we set?
             I know the days of innocence and modesty are behind us.  And, within every Ozzie and Harriet closet there are skeletons.  But we need not go galloping into hedonism or live without a modicum of modesty.  Children should not be victims of body image and enslaved by flaunting, erotic fashion.  They should grow into young, confident adults empowered by their own sexuality through guidance and example, not peer pressure (some pressure, of which, comes from parental friends afraid of losing the children because of much needed discipline).  I would much rather grow up Brady than in Twilight. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grilling Away

            The smoke rode heavy on the crisp evening air.  Big, wet flakes were dropping from the ominous grey sky.  The wind had begun to swirl and brought with it that special kind of chill that sweeps down the mountain, rattling the bare tree branches.  The half-light of dusk conspired with the glow of the grille's flame to throw shadows across the snowy patchwork background.  And I was hiding my smile behind the half-hearted complaints about the nasty weather flowing between swigs of beer.
            I love a good, wintry stand at the bar-b-cue grill.  There is something euphoric about standing in the cold, snow blowing, basking in the heat of the fire as all types of protein darkens with flavor.  Both my wife and Mother Nature were more than willing to oblige my curious indulgence.  My wife had marinated a couple of salmon steaks earlier and then prepared some homemade cheese sauce for steaks that would accompany the fish.  She had thrown together a surf and turf of sorts, made up of cheese steaks and salmon, with candied carrots for color.  And, as the grill came up to temperature, Mother Nature good-heartedly whispered to the clouds and provided me with a wonderful, passing snow squall.
            It lasted just long enough for the meats to cook, for the beer to be savored, the deck to be coated in white, and the kids to frolic through catching flakes on their tongues.  A fleeting moment to be sure, but one to last.  It was enough to recharge the soul, to blow away some of the cloying nonsense that builds up over time.  A simple meal made simply, and well worth the stinging cold that pinkens the ears.  A taste of summer out in the frozen forest.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Be My Valentine

            It is the day after that special day.  The most romantic of days, devoted to flowers and candy and fine dining.  It is a day that sees weddings and proposals, babies born and babies conceived, and overflowing happiness.  This special day also sees it's fair share of arguments and disappointment, mostly from the forgetfulness of one of the contributing parties.  Lovely gestures and words abound, however, to ultimately win the day.
            What makes this day so special, the thought, the meaning, the emotion?  Does not the day come down to the person we celebrate it with?  And, if that person is truly worth celebrating, then should Valentine's Day not be everyday?
            I do not hold this most lovely of days in very high esteem.  I feel everyday you have with the people that you hold dear in your life is a day worth celebrating.  You should never allow the time with those special people to slip by.  Your feelings cost nothing but are worth the world, do not hold them close.  Shout the words to the sky, to the heart, to your love.  Your time is worth even more than that.  Time can not be caught.  It marches forever forward.  It is the most precious commodity of all and to waste it is criminal.  Spend it dearly with those held in your heart.
            Every day should be Valentine's Day.  True love does not need to be marked on the calendar.   The heart does not need an alarm clock to be reminded of it's feelings.  Each chance to say "I love you" or "I care" should be a special moment and should happen always.  If the heart needs to be reminded, if the words need to be scheduled, if a person needs to be told when to feel, can it truly be love?
            The day I said "Will you marry me?" is the day I asked my wife to "Be my Valentine", not just on February 14th but always.   That day was nearly 15 years ago and I still have not forgotten Valentine's Day.  It is every day and it should be.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


            I haven't written in a while.  I have been a little sour or dour or maybe it's just the winter blues. Perhaps it is the incessant bombardment of horror stories that make up the news.  Or maybe it is the childish, selfish behavior of co-workers.  Either way, I try not to let the doldrums last and I try not to write too often during these times. I realize some of my views are polarizing but I also believe that stringing a bunch of negative subjects together only serves to entrench the bad attitude.  And so to combat this downward spiral, I turn to hay season.
            With hesitant winter not really gripping the Northeast, we have, on the farm, already started our preparations for the coming warmth and the need to once again harvest hay for the wintering animals.  Servicing the old tractors and individually servicing the machinery keeps the homestead busy.  Planning the strategies for the coming warm months' labor keeps the blues at bay.  Searching for parts or perhaps that "last" needed tractor implement even keeps sessions at the computer away from boredom.  Grandpa is the mainstay on our farm, performing most of the maintenance by himself.  When he is not battling the snow, he is keeping warm by making ready for the growing grass.  I provide the muscle, for the most part.  I am the farmhand, the laborer, the walk-beside-the-tractor-and-throw-the-bales guy.  And, I am happy.
            I look forward to the weekends filled with riding the tractor through the fields under the summer sun.  I do not mind the sweat on my brow and the sun on my back.  The hum and rumble of the tractor drowns out the whines and whimpers of the work week.  My labor is for the farm and is rewarded in fresh eggs and happy horses and a brimming garden made thick by manure as fertilizer.  Throwing bales onto the hay rack is more a test of strength and endurance than a true chore, a sick, macho game of counting.  The work is not weighed down by cubicle politics or cry-baby antics.  It is merely a man in a field with his mind on the work at hand and, possibly, a few moments to enjoy the blue of the sky or the kiss of the warm afternoon breeze.  It is a cold beer in the shade of an old maple tree when the work is done.  It is the satisfaction measured by the weight of the hay wagon pulled by the tractor.  It is knowing that my labor is for me, my family, and my farm and is paid out in self-sustaining richness contained in mason jars and egg cartons.
            To fight away the winter blues and the other ever-increasing surrounding negativity, all I need to do is open a summer-filled mason jar, crack some eggs (maybe some fresh bacon to go with them), and light the grill.  A wintertime bar-b-cue to bring summer around, riding on the grill's smoke.........