Before you go any further…consider this as a disclaimer.
I am a Christian and have been all of my life. Lots of years of Catholic education brought me to a state known commonly as faith. Faith that there is a supreme being, God, the one who died for me on the cross. I believe that with all my heart.
Recently I heard a commencement speech by former ESPN analyst and Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz at the College of Steubenville. Holtz is always worth watching because he never fails to make you think and laugh and think again. He struck many chords but none so haunting as his take on faith. “Faith is believing in something that you cannot see.” Huh…I never thought of that before. That’s it! I have agnostic friends who challenge that if he were the one true god (caps deleted for obvious reasons) then show his face. If he said in the Bible that he will come again…then just do it. Admittedly I have wondered the same thing myself. Why doesn’t he just do it? That, my friends and neighbors is called a lack of faith on my part. Remember…faith is believing in something you cannot see.
I fly quite a bit and have logged a million miles in my life…think about my faith in flying. I enter the steel tube, strap myself in and believe that the faceless pilot behind that sealed door will get me magically to my destination. I don’t understand the dynamics of flight nor the vagaries of weather yet I have faith and believe with all my heart, since my first flight at 16, that I will be safe. I never talk to the pilot before or after the flight and 9 out of 10 times I never see him upon deplaning, yet I put my future existence and the hopes and dreams of all who love me in the pilots hands. I have supreme faith that I will be saved.
Yet…those who are non-believers find my faith in God to be on some other level than their faith in pilots.
Curious-er and curious-er.
….I just think about this stuff!
Every spring here in Pittsburgh it is the same old thing; man v. nature. Who will win this year man or Robin?
This exercise has been waged for many years on my patio outside the kitchen. Mamma Robin is desperate to create a nest and settles over the speakers above the grill and begins to make a terrible mess of the outdoor kitchen. pieces of wood, leaves and dead plants are meticulously formed into a nest which I judiciously destroy as soon as it is started. Year after year it is the same tango and I always come out victorious. Shameful isn’t it?
Last year I preempted this tradition by putting spikes on the speakers so that there was no comfortable spot to build. It worked and the summer of 2014 was blissfully clean and calm. As the early spring pushed away the cold and snow of 2015 “She who has no clothes” (except for those in five closets in two states) began to watch silently and unbeknownst to me while Mamma was indeed back again but more the wiser, building in a window box in plain site of the breakfast table. “She who” had a straight line of site to the growing nest just over my shoulder as we sat at the breakfast table. One day the nest was complete and I was stuck because Mamma deposited three little blue eggs. I do not have Manson-like tendencies so I let them all live…but I was not happy about it.
We both watched intently as Mamma flew off to do what Robin’s do all day as they hatch their eggs. Struck by the absences and the length of them we questions often where that harlot was all day. Asking ourselves why she would abandon her eggs; then nature began its steady march to birth. She began hanging in there more as the days went on only leaving the nest for an occasional stretch of her wings or for a terrified escape when we opened the door. Fearing that it was hurting the nesting we took to going outside through another door so as not to interrupt the process.
“She who” grew up on a farm, I in the city, nature was an unseen thing for me. We became very curious about the process and extremely involved in these births. The curiosity part was fun until the stress started. Not only were we anxious about the births but also concerned that the Ferrell cats in the neighborhood might sniff out the nest. Then one day I found two of the hatched chicks unceremoniously dead on the patio floor in all their gangling pinkness. Good thing that I married a farm girl who had no problem picking up the corpses. Two down one to go!
We opined that the nest might not have been big enough for three chicks so Mamma did the survival of the fittest thing and 86ed the weak links. Now it was her chosen chick that began growing in the nest. Baby Robins are not oil paintings, quite possibly the ugliest creatures I have ever seen. The growing up process is amazingly fast. One day there were wings flapping in the nest and then some semblance of feathers and an insatiable appetite. Feeding trips were constant leaving precious time with me and the chick. He was not afraid of me as his Mamma was. He would just stare at me when I got close to his nest. Mamma screeched from afar but the baby just looked.
“Man are you ugly” I heard myself say aloud one day. Baby had somehow gotten himself off the floor of the nest to the back edge where he just perched and stared. More stress…what if he were to tumble out, who would pick him up? “She who” was out of town and I was not about to rescue that sucker.
And then it was all over. Gone!
Mother and chick checked out of the window box hotel, walked the check and disappeared. The very neat bed was disposed of promptly and the adventure was over. The only thing left is the STRESS AND CURIOSITY and these 700 words.
…I just think about this stuff!
Some things I think I think I think…I guess
My home phone rings all day from unknown sources trying to sell me magazines, reduce the interest rate on my credit cards or pummel my senses with political robocalls. Friday I got ” the last straw” call and just exploded. I asked the caller why he was calling me and then proceeded to answer for him. “You are going to try selling me some junk or service…well buddy you are barking up the wrong tree.” Every time he tried to talk I ranted over him and finally I stopped and asked who he was (that was a personal question) hoping to get the perpetrators name. He meekly uttered that he was Carl from the furniture store and we had an appointment to have him repair some delivery scratches. Color me embarrassed…Thinking a lot about my mentor Joe Haley the Welsh Buddha, Boss Hogg. Joe’s influence on me has been so overwhelming that now some 20 years after his death I am beginning to see what a gift he was. He taught me that the least of us it greater than the best of us. He completely changed my style of dress from 70’s bell bottomed leisure suits to adult boardroom. He always said that good taste never goes out of style. I learned to shoot crap in Vegas from him and also how to negotiate a contract with organized labor. Never one to be interested in smoking, I developed an interest in fine cigars because his cigar was ever present. Cheap shoes were the only ones I could afford way back then but he convinced me that spending a couple hundred bucks on a good pair would last me a lifetime. He was right, I still have three pairs of Allen-Edmond’s shoes, purchased in the 70’s in my closet.
…I just think about this stuff!
I was once on a roll and then it happened.
In January of 2012 I decided it was time to forget I was an executive only. My world had become a maze of meetings and assorted crap. My career was coming to a conclusion, of my own doings and it was time to begin the next chapter of life…which I decided would be a redo of a short lived chapter from 1972, writing. Sports to be exact, for a small newspaper and my beat was hockey and assorted other sports such as golf, sandlot baseball, professional baseball and football but primarily high school sports. Ah, lets face it I was the rookie and got all the assignments everybody else ignored, including the readers. An itch developed in 2012…it needed to be scratched.
There has been this nagging idea that I was going to be published one day, not that I was harboring the next great novel in my subconscious but more to the point that I thought a lot about things and needed a place to park them. So, where to start; a blog of course. My webmaster son arranged for a Go Daddy site and off and running was my mantra. At first the ideas just gushed out of me and as every writer, master or novice will attest…soon the ideas stopped as did the regularity. I was producing about one piece a month throughout 2013, the year I retired and then I really hit the wall. Retirement got a hold of me and the fire inside went out.
After a year or so of nothings from my head it was time. More stuff was ready for prime time and the search for an outlet became strong. To my surprise the blog site ceased to exist. A frantic call to my webmaster yielded the fateful news…it was indeed gone. A series of mistakes had been made by Go Daddy and poof…all of my work was gone. As much my fault as the site managers because I didn’t keep hard copies of everything…somethings but not all.
The sad thing is that I don’t even remember all of the topics, let alone the anger, confusion and longing for answers that were the catalyst for each posting in the first place. Apparently there is a need inside to write about things that perplex me and once it is in print a healing takes place and all is forgotten. Of course all would be right with the world if I could go back and read the blog…but nooooo.
“Well Daddy it’s gone” he said, and the time has come to get over it. Today is that day.