Thursday, October 28, 2004

Five days until the election....

It is hard to believe, but five days from now we will be crowding the voting booths to decide who is going to lead this great country of ours for the next four years. You can either go with the incumbent....

Or you can go with the challenger....

Who are you going to vote for?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Daydreaming about money....

I want to be rich. I don't mean rich so that I could be on MTV cribs giving a tour of some gaudy South Beach dwelling. I want to be wealthy. Wealth that makes your name famous in the old money circles. I want to be romantically wealthy, you know, the cocky, arrogant, Thomas Crown sort of wealth. The kind of wealth that makes the irritating things I do seem like romantic eccentricities. I want to be wealthy so that the only thing that keeps me from indulging my children's every whim is the desire that they not be COMPLETE spoiled brats. The kind of wealthy that would let me take my wife to the Carribean for two weeks on a day's notice.

I want to be the kind of wealthy that affords me anonymity. The kind of wealthy that lets everyone know your name, but not know what you look like. I want to have inexplicable tastes that most people cannot pronounce. I want the sort of wealth that educates me and makes me understand what the other half does. I want to have the wealth that will allow me to do things for a number of people. I want to be able to reach out and do something to help the kid whose parents can't afford a life-saving medical procedure. I want to be the wealthy that builds schools, libraries, and gymnasiums and names them for whomever I choose. I want to be the wealthy that is admired not simply envied.

I want to be wealthy in spirit.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Atmore, Alabama...

My parents were born and raised in Atmore, Alabama as obsure as that locality may be to most people who read this weblog, it is as equally difficult to convey to you what the name means to me. Atmore. As a child I would visit this place once, twice, perhaps three times a year to visit my Grandmother, (Mommie Essie), my Grandfather, and my other family. Being a military brat afforded me the opportunity to travel across the country and throughout Europe as a child. But, it kept me from having constant contact with any relatives outside of my immediate family. For me, visiting Atmore was the bridge that connected me to a sense of self. I had access to cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents. But, as I grew older Atmore came to have a new meaning for me. Atmore was no longer the place where I went to visit those special people who knew everything about me. Atmore was the place where I came to attend their funerals.

Last Thanksgiving I went to Atmore to visit my grandmother, and at the end of the trip I felt a pain like I never felt before. When it came time to leave, she said, "I'm not gonna cry", even though she did anyway. She cried, and I cried as well. It was the first time I ever did that. In years past as a child I never wanted to leave, but I can remember telling her that I loved her and I would see her soon. But.... as I loaded my family into the car and backed out of her driveway I can't help but recall seeing her wiping her eyes. I knew...and somehow I think that she knew, that it would be the last time that we ever saw one another. I can still recall stooping down and hugging her as she sat in her wheel chair. The feeling of her cheek against mine as I hugged her. The sound of her saying, "Mommie Essie loves you, baby." I play that over and over in my mind.

When I went down for her funeral, I thought something was wrong with Atmore. The town was still in ruins from Hurricane Ivan. The town was in ruins.

What was worse than that, was the fact that Mommie Essie's house was in bad shape. When I pulled into the driveway something seemed oddly out of place.

Mommie Essie's carport had been ripped off of the right-hand side of the house, and had been lifted into the air, and slammed down onto the fence on the left-hand side of the house.

But, as time went on, the thing that was most wrong about Alabama was the fact that Mommie Essie was no longer there. That is what I will never forget.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A glimpse of beauty....

I just took an impromptu picture of Renee, and I thought it was beautiful even though you cannot see her entire face. This is the way she looks after a long day on the road traveling with the family, cleaning house, cooking dinner, and settling down on the couch to watch television. Though it may not seem like a glamour shot to some, this is the beauty that I appreciate the most.

I'll appreciate it for many years to come.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

June 24th, 1907 - October 15th, 2004...

My Grandmother died....I don't have words today. The span of four generations is in this picture, that is about all I can do.

(I love you Mommie Essie)

UPDATED: October 23rd, 2004

I am working from my laptop in a hotel room in Indianapolis. Renee and I are up here for her cousin's wedding. It was really nice, the whole time I thought that it was so much nicer to get together with family for a wedding or child birth, than what it is to get together for a funeral. Mommie Essie's funeral wasn't the gut-wrenching experience that I thought it was going to be. I was sad, but I was happy in the fact that she lived 97 years of relative health and happiness.

It was not surprising that there were so many people at the funeral. I have to admit that I was a little jealous to hear that so many people called her, "Mama Essie", of course that is a cheap takeoff of the real thing, "Mommie Essie" that my sisters and cousins called her. She was so many things to so many people, but it seemed that I had tunnel vision my entire life. I knew that she was wonderful, but I never looked far beyond my own relationship with her. She made me feel so special, so wonderful, so loved, that I never dreamed that she had energy to devote to other people. I should have known though. Mommie Essie was wonderful.

Monday, October 11, 2004

War of Words.....
In the magazine article, a largely analytical cover story by Matt Bai, Kerry is asked "what it would take for Americans to feel safe again." (Special Report: America Votes 2004)

''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' the article states as the Massachusetts senator's reply.

''As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''

Though this was not a completely innocuous statement or a lightweight subject, I am not sure that his statement is tantamount to not knowing the severity of the terrorist threat. This issue, and arguably many issues that were brought up by the Kerry campaign have really become exasperating as this Presidential race has moved along. Whether it was Halliburton, or the Swift Boat Vets, DD 214's, or the justification for purple hearts, this race has not addressed a lot of the issues I am concerned about. The situation in Iraq notwithstanding, I have no clue what the future holds for Energy, Prescription Drugs, Taxes, Health Care, or the economy. I think that we as American people have not done our part because we have not demanded that the incumbent President, or any of the challengers state what their future plans are, and why they would be good for all Americans. Instead, we have been placated by watching a battle of snide comments and derisive commentary.

I am not going to pitch for a certain candidate, or put up hyperlinks to a campaign site. I just hope that anybody out there that reads this will make sure and make an "informed' decision on election day.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Well damn.....

I wouldn't want anyone to think that I had become motivated and changed my blog layout. A bug wrecked my other scheme, and blogger support said that this is all that they can do for me. Oh well, maybe I will work some images and a better layout up this weekend. Take care.