Sugar Makes Me Sad

Sugar makes me sad, and I’ve had WAY too much today. I know I shouldn’t do it, but I do it anyway.

I’m not a diabetic, which is serious, but I… have found I can depress myself with just a slice of pie. Sometimes, to fritter time, I’ll eat a thing I should not eat; I’ll think it’s just a morsel, just a little something sweet…

And hour later: crash, and I am worried and dejected. It’s stupid, it’s my own damn self from whom I need protected! It’s sad to choose wrong things, and end up like Rehoboam — like trying to write an essay, and then finding its… a poem.

To A Future that Never Was…

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Here’s to the future that never was:
From a wide-eyed boy by the shining sea,
And a place of forgotten expectancy,
Where miles to travel were galleries seen,
Like a page from a modernist magazine.

With an unfolded map in the passenger seat,
Down on Union or Lincoln or Jefferson Street,
In a town that would grow till it reached the moon,
Like our astronauts would on a day pretty soon.
We would all of us join in exploring, because…

We would, in that future
That never


All photos from : Pleasant Family Shopping

Her Name Was Grace

I’m in my bed, reading, about 10:30 at night, when my twenty-three year old daughter pops her head in. She’s so beautiful, in her glasses, smiling to see me still awake.

“Has it been a long day, Dad?”

“Yes. What about you?”

She grows a little more animated as she starts to tell me about how the work day went. Her image and her voice grow blurry within my dream, as I desperately try to hold on to what she is saying, what she looks like. But I can’t – she’s fading.

She’s gone.

Her name was Grace. She died six months into term more than twenty-three years ago. But she still visits me in my dreams, some nights.

I always know it’s her.

My ex-wife and I had a son after that; the doctor figured out why it happened and we got a baby to term. We then split up about three and a half years later. I remarried a couple of years later, to a woman who had three daughters, ages 10 to 16. That was eighteen years ago.

But still she makes these visits. Because every child we have, and every child we don’t have, aren’t just part of us, they are us.

The best part of us.

The eternal part of us.

I wish I could have held her once, and told her that her Daddy loved her.

So I tell her in dreams, and in whispered prayers before I go to bed at night. Even after all these years.

Her name was Grace, you know, and she was my beautiful daughter.

And she always will be.

Seal Lullaby

Rudyard Kipling is one of those poets almost every literate English speaking adult has heard of, even if they know very few of his poems. The poem “If” is probably his most often-quoted one, in my lifetime. I don’t know that many people could name more off the top of their heads. Here, however, is one I read for the first time today, from “The Grey Seal”:

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.

It’s a lovely poem, really, but it was the following choral setting of it that had me absolutely transfixed. It’s worth a listen to with headphones if you have them.

Beautiful choral music had a way of bringing tears to my father’s eyes, I remember, and it does mine as well. This certainly did.

A Decent Guy

I was 16. I was riding in the backseat of a friend’s car. I reached for her hand. She pulled it away.

My life changed.

Nothing had happened. Well, except this: I violently agreed with her. Why would anyone want me to touch them? Of course I had been wrong to do it, I should have known better. She reacted as all girls would, and as I knew, or should have known, she would.

I was beyond angry, but I was not angry with her. I was angry at myself. Because I had wanted something I was not built to ever get. I was filled with self loathing, because of what I was.

Girls have their own problems of course. Many of them have to face violence, violence from guys who don’t react to rejection the way I did. The psychology of male decency requires consistent application of principles, the leading one of which is this: to never attempt to take what is not yours.

Even enraged as I was, I had no thoughts of wanting to cause anyone harm. But I hated myself with an almost unbearable intensity. I was repulsive. How could I not know that?

The end result of this was a strong desire not to ever have that feeling ever again. So, I became completely unwilling to initiate any kind of physical contact or relations, even with women I was dating, or, ultimately, married to. Bluntly, the joy of acceptance (and sex) paled compared to the agony of rejection.

Another result of this, completely unforeseen, is that I have hundreds of female friends, all of whom love the fact that I never come on to them.

Because I’m such a decent guy, they think.

Date Night

Since 2001, The Beautiful One and I have had a “Date Night” every Thursday night. Although there have been occasional work-related interruptions, a little rough calculation puts us at about 800 plus date nights so far.

Since the real her spends half her day or more with one, two, or three grandchildren, she is typically ready for adult company come Thursday night, as evidenced by the text message affixed to this post.

Before I was married, I would hear people say things like “don’t stop dating after you are married,” and I was puzzled. What exactly did that mean? Was it about spending money? Dressing up? I didn’t really get it, and I’m guessing more than one guy out there has (or has had) similar thoughts. “Date Night” sounds like a gimmick.

Then I got married, a man with a son and stepson, marrying a woman with three daughters (4 of those kids in their teens at the time) and I realized within the first year how difficult it was going to be for us to really spend any time focusing on each other.

When you get no time to focus on each other, many things go unsaid, and many stories go untold, and much laughter goes unlaughed. Marriages (especially new ones with multiple teenagers) need all the laughter laughed they can get.

In addition, for at least one night a week and to the degree possible, the tasks of cooking and cleaning are nice to forego.

We’ve gone in phases over the years: restaurants (many now closed) that we favored, or long stretches of seeing movies. Thursday night is a great movie night, as it is often not terribly crowded.

It is hard these days to get the early start required for a movie, as we are usually waiting for one or more of our daughters to pick up their children. So, our tendency now is to eat out, maybe take a walk, then come back and watch an hour or so of a TV show together before getting ready for bed. Which we did last night: I came home and played with our grandson (taking over the Star Wars themed duty she mentioned earlier) until his mother and father came to get him. We then headed to a very informal local Italian restaurant (her preference last night was not to go anywhere dressy), walking around the neighborhood the restaurant is located in immediately after. We came home and watched two episodes of the old British series As Time Goes By, then each got ready for bed, where we spent the rest of the night.

Over the course of the evening, our conversation strayed all over the place.

We talked some about her work and some about mine.

We talked about two of the kids, and where they are in their lives.

We talked about a friend of mine who is having a very difficult time right now.

We talked about the grandkids, of course, and how the new baby is doing.

We talked about a guy from the local gym (a few doors down from the Italian place we ate at) who likes to walk around after working out, shirtless. I believe my wife’s exact comment about him was “Dude, grow up.” The manager of the restaurant laughed (we had been discussing it at the checkout register) and said they wanted to keep a spray bottle for him there for “glistening purposes”.

She tried to get me to interpret a dream she’d had that a prominent political figure was her stepfather. I had nothing.

I told her, later in the evening, and in reference to her text message of the afternoon, that I had never actually played “spin the bottle”. She said she got her first kiss that way, and it was apparently disgusting. I remember going to one party as a teen where the game was being played, but I wasn’t having it.

Her: Why not?

Me: I was very misunderstood as a teen.

Her: I don’t understand. How is that relevant?

Me: When you are misunderstood, you don’t dare try anything you might enjoy. That totally ruins the effect.

Her: Ah, I see. I think all teens are misunderstood.

Me: Plus, I was worried I’d be bad at it. If you are going to suck at something, you want to keep your viewing audience to a minimum.

Much of what brings us real joy in this life is decidedly non-dramatic.

Closeness. A meal. A walk. Laughter.


It’s not fancy, or impressive. It’s just… good.

It’s just… love.