Friday, August 30, 2013

The Back Row

                   I don't mind that I am standing and the back row isn't bad

                         And I will not complain about the kind of life I've had

                         My sons have always made me proud, my grand kids make me beam

                         And obstacles aren't near as bad as sometimes they may seem

                         Just do the best that you can do in each and every day

                         You make the world a better place by acting just that way

Most people would say that the view from the front row is the best seat in the house. While that might be true in many instances, it is not always the case. You see it all comes down to who or what you are watching. This time I am talking about concentrating on the people standing and seated in front of you. I am talking about a family portrait.

I remember my first family portrait being taken in Glen Ferris, West Virginia. I remember sitting in the front row and wondering why this picture was such a big deal. What was going to change? Why was it so important that I smile and sit still? Those questions have long since been answered. It seems that the older I got, the more intelligent my parents and grandparents became
I remember going back for a visit and having another picture of the family taken. I was holding my older son Michael, who was less than a year old. I was still in the first row, but I was only there as a needed guest. My place in the photograph was a couple of feet back and possibly kneeling.

I can still see myself turning around and looking at my grandmother. She was standing two rows back and it seemed like there was a glow coming from her face. I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time. She was older so I had no frame of reference. I did not understand.

Now, I am at the age where I do understand the glow. I understand the look of satisfaction that I saw on grandmama’s face. I understand that sometimes the back row is the best seat in the house. Anytime you have the chance to look at the blessings you have been given and know that they make the world a better place by their actions, you can’t conceal you joy. That back row ain't bad at all. As a matter of fact, I prefer it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Walking With a Friend

     I went walking with a friend today, few words were even spoken

     He seemed to know my every thought, the silence wasn't broken

     He's someone I have learned to love and someone I'm  forgiving

     We try our best, but make mistakes as long as we are living

     He has judged himself too harshly and has never understood

     The fact that he has always done the best job that he could

     And I looked down upon the ground, one shadow did I see

     The friend that I was making had turned out to be me.


            I can't imagine many people wanting to remember and talk about all of the major decisions they have made. I can't see anyone volunteering to "Monday morning quarterback" their life. What possesses someone to share so many stories that were kept secret for so many years.

I can only speak for myself on this topic. I thought my story might help people to realize that you never lose hope. I thought that by reading about someone else who has shared your problem, you could realize that nothing is insurmountable.

Mr. Joe: Tales From a Haunted Life will be published next week and be available on September 1. Am I nervous about how people will respond to my story? Of course I am. But, I feel that it needs to be told.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


                              We need a place to rest our feet, a place where we can talk
                               A place where all are welcomed at the end of our sidewalk 
                               For friends to stop and visit, and pass the time of day
                               Where someone always listens to the things you have to say.

Over the past few years Jane and I have been enjoying “porch time”. It is nothing more than the name suggests, but it is some of the best time we spend together. A few times we have been fortunate to add our trainer and close friend, Anita to our small group. Johanna, a friend from West Virginia, has also spent time on the porch as have our children and grandchildren.

We have talked about anything and everything on the porch. In my opinion, the world would be a better place if more people spent time talking on their porch. Andy and Barney had many hours of porch time on the Andy Griffith Show. Many of Mayberry’s problems were solved while spending their off hours sitting out in the fresh air.

Some of my best memories come from the time I spent on the front porch of my grandmother’s home. We would sit out there and string green beans by the hour. Occasionally, we would get to see a train go by and I would try to get the engineer to wave to me. It didn’t seem like work to me because it was time with grandmama. I hope the time she spent with me helped make the job easier for her as well.

When I was in grade school I learned to love magic. I would practice for hours in front of the bedroom mirror. I would then give magic shows with my friend on his porch. We would advertise by making posters and placing them around the neighborhood. I’m not sure how much we charged for admission to those shows, but a nickel comes to mind. Back in those days we rarely carried that much cash on us so most of the time we performed for free.

It seems that people rush around and leave themselves too little time to stop and smell the roses. They are too busy trying to “get ahead” and lose sight of what is valuable. So many people are trying to have a rich life and too few are trying for an enriched one. If I ever buy another home it will have a large porch with a swing hanging from the ceiling. Friends and family will always know that they are welcome to join me on the porch. I still have many memories to make i