As The Cookie…

I love takeout! Or as they say in London, “takeaway”. Hunan Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein have become comfort foods for me. Just as the Beatles sang, “When I find myself in times of trouble, delivery comes to me. Bringing Chinese takeaway. Just for me.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still a hometown American boy and nothing will ever replace a bowl of mashed potatoes and noodles as my main comfort food. But still those soggy cartons of chicken, rice, and noodles not only fill my belly with deliciousness but also my soul with a warm feeling of peace and tranquility.

Or maybe it’s the fortune cookie that brings me comfort. Question for you. Do you read the fortune before eating the cookie or the other way around? Or maybe at the same time? Or not at all? Chinese legend tells us it’s bad luck to eat the cookie before reading the fortune. Not sure that’s true but I’m not taking any chances. Read first, eat second.

Have you ever taken that little slip of paper in the cookie seriously? Ever had it actually pertain to a situation you were currently in? Ever made a change in your life because of it? Sounds crazy doesn’t it. To make a change because of a message you received from an unexpected source.

I’m starting to think that the world, karma, cookies, and God are sending us unexpected messages all the time. It’s just most times we go on with what we want to do, eat the cookie, without reading the message first. We may even throw away the message without reading it. We’re looking for immediate comfort and some vague message, we feel, won’t bring the comfort we are looking for.

Life is full of messages. Some we hear or read which we take seriously and act upon. Others we dismiss as just funny little sayings or something that doesn’t apply to us. I’m learning that every message we receive is worthy of consideration. Something to think about. Sure many may not seem to be for us but perhaps the intent is for us to pass it on to someone else. Don’t we pass around the table the fortunes from our cookies?

I’m trying to watch and listen each day for those unique, surprising, and even somewhat weird messages that come to me. No, I don’t have voices inside my head. Well maybe sometimes I do but that’s another story. What I mean right now is that I’ve learned what I thought would bring me comfort is not necessarily what really will. I need to look beyond the temporary satisfaction to find what will give me a lasting fullness. To find what will really comfort my soul.

So the next time you crack open that real or metaphoric fortune cookie, don’t just crumble up the paper but take a moment to read it and think about it. It just may be the message you’ve been waiting for.

And remember, “Wise person never try to get even. Wise person get odder.”

See you down the road….

January 1, 2020

Welcome to the 1st day of the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Seems like we were just partying like it was 1999. Do you remember where you were that New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1999? How can it be 2020 already?

As the Doodle and I begin this new year, I’m thinking back over the past 20 years. So many happy times with friends and family. So many sad times as well.

There are days the happy memories are strong. The good old days. Births, weddings, reunions, kitchen table laughs, parties, camping, vacations, holidays at the Lonsingers. These are the memories that put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.

Then there are days the sad memories are in control. Fights with friends, family conflict, children struggles, loss of a job, breakups, deaths of those I love. These are the memories that darken the day and open again the anguish in my heart.

But it’s with strength and sincerity I can say that I’m thankful for everything and everyone that have been a part of my life. The good and the bad. The yin and the yang.

The Ancient Chinese concept of Yin and Yang can be described as follows:

“yin and yang is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.”

Man has this been true in my life! An endless cycle of good and bad times. Ups and downs. Hope and despair. I’ve tried my best to live in the good but the bad always seems to creep back in. The yin and the yang.

‘It is what it is’ was what my late wife said through her journey with cancer. She had accepted the truth of her illness, the bad, and had decided to live out her days in the good. She understood that human life is a constant cycle of yin and yang. And through her example I too now understand.

So, as I roll along in the 61st year of my life, I’m at peace with the past and the future. Both the good and bad that has been and is to come. I know the past and do not know the future but today and each day, I will do my best to live in both the yin and the yang. To the fullest. And with an assurance that both are okay and I will be too.

Exciting good and bad days are ahead in 2020. I’m ready to get going.

See you down the road….

Tell Me Christmas Are We Wise

 

Merry Christmas! Yes I know it’s the day after Christmas. It’s time to firm up our plans for New Year’s Eve and start putting away the Christmas decorations. Christmas 2019 was great but Father Time keeps moving on and so must we. In just a few nights we’ll be welcoming in the 3rd decade of the 21st century. Can you believe it? It seems like just last year we were all partying like it was 1999. Time does indeed move on. And quickly.

So what did you do this day after Christmas? Did you do some gift returning or exchanging? Did you stock up on sale items for Christmas 2020? Did you spend one more day with family before heading out tomorrow? Did you binge-watch the final day of Christmas movies on Hallmark, Ion, Lifetime, and Netflix? Or did you spend this day sitting at home, doing pretty much what you do every day, spending it alone?

This afternoon a friend and I went to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra (TSO) performance of Christmas Eve and Other Stories. Let me tell you the rock and roll road show still exists and man was it fantastic! Awesome guitar licks. Glass shattering vocals. Music that really did rock my socks off. And a light and pyrotechnics show that was better than anything I saw in the 70s. The TSO musicians are true rockers and they made this 60-year-old guy feel like he was 20 again this afternoon. Yes, we went to the matinee performance – I am 60 you know.

You can google the history of TSO to see how Paul O’Neill and his collaborators brought great rock musicians together in the late 1990s to create an entertainment explosion of song and stage. I get goosebumps whenever I hear their music and think about how they took classical music compositions we pretty much all know and rocked them out to reach into another genre. If you haven’t heard them before you should give them a listen. And if you have never seen them on stage, you really need to. Get ready to see the longest hair you’ve seen since Cher in the 60s. And that’s just the guys in the group!

Christmas Eve and Other Stories is the weaving of basically three stories. The original Christmas story of our Savior coming to the earth. The story of God sending an angel today to see if the spirit of Christmas still exists in the hearts of humankind. And the story of a run-away young girl trying to get home to her father who longs for her return. The music that brings all these stories together is beautiful. Each song tells a story within itself and when the songs are put together it’s very moving

There’s one song that always moves me. It’s called Old City Bar. That’s right, in the midst of a Christmas performance there is a song about a bar. Remember this is rock music.

This song tells the story of the run-away girl trying to find a way to get back home on Christmas Eve. It’s sad and inspiring at the same time. It’s a song about how we’re all connected, especially on Christmas Eve, and how we all share the same hope for love and belonging. I’ll include a link to the song at the end of this post. Maybe it will talk to you and maybe it won’t. Maybe this style of music isn’t for you. But the central message of Old City Bar, as well as the entire Christmas Eve and Other Stories performance, is a message for all of us to think about not just on Christmas Eve but every day of the year.

That message is pretty much summarized by this one verse:
If you want to arrange it
This world, you can change it
If we could somehow
Make this Christmas thing last
By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger
To know who needs help,
You need only just ask.

Change the world. We all have ideas on how to change the world to make it better. But better for whom? For a neighbor? For a stranger? For ourselves? The story of Christmas is perhaps the greatest story about change that has ever been told. You can choose to believe it or not. That’s your right and privilege. But I suggest to you that no greater change for a better future has ever been given to humankind than that which occurred on that first Christmas. If we want to make this Christmas thing last, this spirit of Christmas, of peace and goodwill towards men, then perhaps it is as simple as just asking if someone needs help. Even if that someone is ourselves.

The other song that always moves me is called This Christmas Day. It’s the song the father sings once he learns his daughter is on her way home after receiving the help of the bartender of the Old City Bar. If you’ve ever had a child or other loved one that’s been struggling away from home, you will relate to the father’s words.

Here is the first verse:
“So tell me Christmas are we wise
To believe in things we never see
Are Prayers just wishes in disguise
And are these wishes being granted me
For now I see the answering
To every prayer I’ve prayed
She’s coming home this Christmas Day”

Just as this father saw his wish, his prayer, being granted, I think we too will see the answering to our prayers for those we love. To believe in things we never see. I believe we are wise to place our hope in Christmas and to live out that hope every day of our lives. Think of the joy that would give our Father and the peace we will experience.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year friends! I hope you give a look and listen to the Old City Bar link below. Check out the entire Christmas Eve and Other Stories if you can. It will rock your socks off and more than likely bring you the peace of Christmas in a light show pyro-technic sort of way.

I’ll see you down the road in 2020….

Home For Christmas

“The sun is shining, the grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway
There’s never been such a day
In Beverly Hills, L.A.”

“But it’s December the 24th
And I am longing to be up north….”

Okay I know it’s only December the 13th and I’m in Frostproof, Florida, not L.A., but the lyrics above have been stuck in my head all day. Thank you FM radio stations!

Do you know which Christmas song these lyrics are from?

When I was a kid, one of my favorite Christmas albums had the song White Christmas on it. Not by Bing Crosby but sung by Robert Goulet. If you’re under the age of 50 you probably don’t know who he was but as an adolescent boy going through the voice change of puberty, I envied Mr. Goulet’s deep resonating voice. Especially on his version of White Christmas. I still prefer his version over Bing’s.

And I would bet, most folks don’t know that White Christmas included the opening lyrics above. There’s debate where the song was written. Some feel it was started in Southern California and then finished perhaps in the New York Catskills mountains where Irving Berlin’s family had a home. If that’s the case then including lines about orange and palm trees make sense. Plus I don’t remember seeing any of those trees swaying at the Pine Tree Lodge in Vermont in the movie White Christmas.

Honestly, I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas at all this year. In fact I’m trying to avoid the snow as much as possible. But if old man Winter decides to drop a few inches in Ohio while I’m home for Christmas that will be okay. I have grandkids to play with in the snow now and they make everything more fun. Except for maybe driving in the muck and slush. And certainly not in a one horse open sleigh. The shuttle craft is AWD and stays much warmer.

This will be the first time in my sixty years of living, that I have ‘gone home’ for Christmas. I’ve always been at home for Christmas as well as most holidays, so this year is a bit different for me.

I’ve been on the road, fulltime RV living, for almost five months now. Hard to believe that much time has past by already. And to be honest, with the holidays, especially Christmas, coming up very soon, I’m feeling a little distant from my home, friends, and kids. Both in miles and even in spirit a little. It was just today that the Christmas spirit kicked in for me. I stopped playing Hits from the 70s and made the switch to Christmas music. Most of that Christmas music is also from the 70s or before but it’s music that I’ve heard many, many times and always brings a smile to my face and a lift in my mood.

So on one of the local FM stations down here, I heard the Robert Goulet version of White Christmas. I was singing loud and clear for all to hear while driving down US27 today and received a thumbs up from another driver while at a stop light. At least I think it was his thumb. As we pulled away from the light, White Christmas finished and another of my favorite Christmas songs came on…

“I’m dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you”

Ah, Johnny Mathis! His version of I’ll Be Home For Christmas is a classic and I think it too is the best version of the song. It was also on that Christmas album from my youth. I think I’m becoming that old man that thinks the only good music comes from the 60s and 70s. Maybe early 80s too. Today’s music just ain’t got the same soul. Name that tune if you can.

I love the opening lyrics to I’ll Be Home and this year they are a perfect fit for me. It will be great to celebrate my favorite holiday with the kids and grands. Our Christmas for the past two years has become quite different from the previous couple of decades. Without Barb, the holidays especially Christmas, just aren’t the same. But don’t misunderstand me. Things are different but still good. The love that Barb built within our family has remained intact and even grown stronger as we miss her. That’s part of her legacy and I plan on continuing that over the years ahead.

I remember the first time I heard I’ll Be Home for Christmas that first Christmas in 2017 without Barb. I was again in my car, driving home from work, when the song came on the radio. I had to pull over until the song finished. The words took on a new meaning for me. I couldn’t sing along. I couldn’t drive.

Barb was home for Christmas. Did she have snow and mistletoe? I don’t really know but I knew then and know still today that she is most definitely home. Sure, not at home with me and the kids but she had made it to her ultimate home. Can you imagine what Christmas is like in heaven? I try to but I’m sure I don’t come close to comprehending the beauty of it. The joy in celebrating His birthday with Him. What a party that must be. The true White Christ Mass.

Today I could sing along with Johnny and even tried to harmonize a little with him. Music brings peace to the soul and I’m thankful it does. Songs bring back memories of loved ones we miss and gives us the encouragement to keep going. To dream about the good times in the past and the good times to come. Until I, we all, are home for Christmas.

Friends, may all your days be merry and bright this Christmas season.

See you down the road….

Just Look At Them And Sigh

Howdy! It’s been a while since I last entered a post from along the road. You’d think now that I’m retired and traveling the country in my condo on wheels I’d have plenty of time to write. Well, I have had the time just not the motivation these past few weeks. When I started this blog my plan was to only post/write when I felt the stirring to do so. Haven’t felt that much since the last entry but this week, getting back on the road after visiting with family and friends in Ohio, I’m feeling energized and eager to get back into it.
So here goes….

Have you ever noticed that you don’t really notice things around you until those things have meaning in your life? Like, for example, the way birds space themselves when sitting on a powerline. There must be some genetic avian programming then naturally causes them to sit equal distance from each other. Or have you noticed that people stopping at interstate rest areas are not very talkative? They all seem to jump out of their cars, walk as fast as they can to the restroom, and then return to their cars at a slightly slower pace. I’ve tried to strike up conversions with folks at almost every rest area but I get little response. I do wait until we’ve washed our hands so to not interfere with their main task at hand, per se.

These are just two of the many deep thoughts and amusing experiences I’ve had while traveling in the Terra these past four months. Hard to believe it’s already been four months living on the road but I’m here to tell ya I really like it. The two plus weeks I spent back in Ohio over the Thanksgiving holiday were nice and I loved being with friends and my kids, but getting back on the road has brought me a new energy that sort of confirms I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing at this time in my life. Have you ever felt that sort of confirmation that what you’re doing is exactly what you should be doing? It’s a fantastic feeling of peace and strength.

Today while cleaning the Terra and getting it ready to roll on down the highway tomorrow, I asked Alexa to play some mellow 70s and 80s music. She happily complied and started playing songs from James Taylor, Jim Croce, Carole King, and Dan Fogelberg among others. Fogelberg has always been one of my favorite singers. His song “Leader of the Band” is a touching tribute to his father and pulls at my heart strings every time I hear it. He also recorded “Same Old Lang Syne” which we hear quite frequently this time of year. It’s another song that gets to me and brings a smile to my face while listening and thinking about friends from my past. Both are songs I love to sing along with. Just ask the Doodle.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young also popped up today on Alexa’s playlist. I was never much of a fan of their music when I was younger because I thought all their songs sounded the same. And while this is mostly true, over the years I’ve really come to appreciate their lyrics and harmonies. Their song “Teach Your Children” played today and even though I’ve heard and sang along to that songs hundreds of times, today I heard more in the lyrics and I’ve been thinking about it all day.

The song is mostly known as a war protest song released in 1970 to counteract the Vietnam War. But today when I was listening and not singing along I really focused in on the two verse/chorus combinations. Here’s the first:

“You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.”

Did you hear the song in your mind as you read this? The thought that came to me today had nothing to do with a war protest but instead I thought about my life. How I’m on the road, in many ways I have been my whole life, and how my experiences, choices, and actions have impacted my kids. While trying to become myself I’ve made a number of mistakes. Okay more like a lot of mistakes which have sort of created my own ‘father’s hell‘ as the lyrics state. Troubles and hard times I’ve caused in my children’s lives mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing as a parent. I feel regret because of those times but like the verse continues, I also feel hope.

The lyrics continue with ‘feed them on your dreams’. I think the wish of every parent is that the dreams you have for your children come true for them. I really like the words ‘the one they picks, the one you’ll know by’. Kind of broken English I guess but to me this is saying let your children decide for themselves what dreams they want to dream and achieve. Not easy for a lot of we parents to do but I’ve found that my kids are pretty good dreamers on their own and are quite good at achieving their dreams if I just let them and support them in ways they want me to support them. The second part of the lyrics go like this:

“And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.”

I love the words ‘of tender years’. I think as parents we do see our children as tender in years. Even when they are parents themselves. But notice how the lyrics continue by telling the children to try to understand what their parents have been through. What they grew by. I really believe now, at this time in my life, that my kids are helping me with their youth. Feeding me by their dreams. Each one in their own way is showing me the truth that I’ve perhaps missed or misunderstood while trying to be a good parent. It’s humbling to realize that your kids can do this for you even though you are older and supposedly wiser.

I guess, for me, the bottom line in all this is each one of us has been a child and many of us are a parent. We may not always understand each other, the parent and the child, but we need to give each other the freedom to make our own dreams come true and decide for ourselves how we should live. Our ways and choices in life may be different but the song makes a lot of sense with the ending lyrics:

“The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

Parents trust you children. Children trust your parents. And all of us show respect towards one another. And as often as we can, “just look at them and sigh and know they love you”.

Here’s a link to the song on YouTube if you would like to listen: https://youtu.be/ztVaqZajq-I

See you down the road….

Time for Dinner Y’all

Well I’ve been south of the Ohio River long enough now that I’m starting to talk like the folk down here. Actually I have Missouri Ozark Hillbilly blood in my veins so it doesn’t take long for my speech to slide into that southern dialect. I figure by the time we pull the Terra into Florida in December I’ll sound like a life long resident from south of the Mason Dixon line. Just where is that line anyway? I’ll have to ask Alexa, Siri, and Google since I have all three travel’n with us. Stowaways that need to earn their keep.

This first week at the Mayberry Campground has been really nice. Great campground with nice views of the Blue Ridge Mountains just to the North. Really nice people too that the Doodle and I are being blessed in meeting both here at the campground and in Mt. Airy. Southern hospitality and friendliness is still alive and well around these parts. All you have to do is just be kind and hospitable like yourself.

Besides all the usual tourist attractions to see like Floyd’s Barber Shop, Snappy Lunch, and Barney’s Café, I’ve also visited Pages Books and Coffee three or four times now. Nice place ran by really nice people and they have a Chia Latte with almond milk and Ghirardelli chocolate. This drink has quickly become my favorite! The coffee drinks smell great but this Chia tea concoction is the best drink I have ever tasted. I’m hooked and yes I know I have a problem. I’m going back Friday!

Today after checking in at Floyd’s to see if the barber was in (tomorrow for sure), I moseyed on up Main Street to Pages to get my Chia Chocolate fix. While there I looked through the shelf of local books and came across “Out and About in the Blue Ridge (Yesterday and Today)” written by lifelong local resident H. Wayne Easter.

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This is a book of short stories and memories Mr. Easter has written over his lifetime living in the Surry County area. I’m only twenty-five pages in but this book of local narrative is a gem! Most of the stories are just two or three pages in length so they are quick reads but I am forcing myself to read each one slowly. One to better understand the native mountain dialect and secondly to also absorb the humor, insight, and truth from each story.

Mr. Easter may never see this post and my appreciative heartfelt comments about his book but his words have caused me to reflect and admit that for the last thirty-five plus years I was wrong about one thing. Lunch. Or more correctly, Dinner.

For these past many years I thought my father-in-law was a little off. I know most son-in-laws probably think that about their wife’s dad but I was pretty sure, within a very short amount of time, that Bill was, how do they say it down here, ‘just not right in the head’. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. He had sayings and songs that he would share with those around him that usually made little sense and didn’t seem to have much to do at all with what we were talking about or doing. In reflection, I bet my kids think this about me these days.

From the first time I had Sunday lunch with the family, Bill referred to the meal as dinner. I have spent years, snidely at times, remarking to Bill that the mid-day meal is called lunch and dinner is the evening meal. I knew I was right about this because I grew up in the city and not down some country dirt road like Bill had. Nothing wrong with a country dirt road mind you but just that all that dust seemed to have mixed up in Bill’s head which meal was called what.

Today I discovered I was wrong. In the very first story in Mr. Easter’s book, on page 2, he sets me straight on lunch vs. dinner. While sharing about livin’ in the hollers of the mountains, he writes:

‘We have got some problems and one of them is: livin’ back in here like this, we don’t git no sunshine til’ dinnertime, (which is “lunch” to our up-north friends.) Their dinnertime is our suppertime and it don’t take no genius to know that ain’t right. Anyway, about the time the sun gets up good and we get things going good, there she goes, right back down behind that mountain again and our day is done.’

So with y’all as my witness, I here by look up to Heaven and say ‘Bill, you were right and I was wrong. My humble apology to you sir’. Indeed, mid-day meal is dinner and evening meal is supper. I pledge to do my best for the rest of my days in calling these meals correctly. Bill 1, Jon 0.

As I continue to read ‘Out and About…’ I won’t be surprised to find that Bill was perhaps correct with some of his other sayings as well. As my wife would often say, ‘There’s a lesson in that’ and I guess my lesson to learn is that being from the city ain’t that much different and ain’t any better than comin’ from the country. We’re all sayin’ (most times) the same thing, just sayin’ it different like. Tain’t nothin’ wrong with that now is there.

So with that, ‘It’s time for the tall pines to pine and the peepaws to pee, as gently the old cow slips away’. My apologies to Ben King but I bet Bill was right about this one too.

See you down the road my friends….

And I’m Doing This Why?

Greetings from Mayberry R.F.D.!

This past weekend, the Doodle and I piloted the Terra, that’s our almost 38′ Class A Motorhome, down Interstates 71, 75, and 81 to the Mayberry campground in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. This is the beginning of our journey out of our home state of Ohio living in the Terra, on the road, for at least the next six months.

If this sounds sort of crazy to you, that’s okay. It still does to me sometimes even though it’s something I’ve wanted to do for many years. Life events, many good and one horrible, have led me to this time and this way of living and I’m optimistic about the adventure before me. And just a little anxious as well.

For those of you new to Posts From Along The Road, I want to backup to four years ago so you have perhaps a better understanding of why this almost 60 year guy is becoming a nomad. I prefer the term gypsy as it seems more adventurous and mystical than nomad but simply put, I’ve become a full time RVer. Here’s how I got to this point and why.

In late August of 2015 by wife of 30 years, Barbara, was diagnosed with a Glio Blastoma brain tumor. She had been having symptoms of nausea and headaches for a few months and one night after work we decided to go to the emergency room. Not expecting anything like cancer, we and our children were devastated with the diagnosis. It had only been one and half years earlier that we lost Barb’s younger brother Greg to a brain tumor as well. A train had just hit us head on. Again.

If you knew Barb, you wouldn’t be surprised by her attitude about becoming a cancer patient. She had a number of sayings and “it is what it is” became sort of a mantra for us as she bravely persevered through two brain surgeries, two types of chemo treatment, and radiation. Through it all, she rarely complained. She showed great strength to the kids and I. She knew what the outcome would be if a miracle did not occur but that did not cause her to fear as her faith was strong and her love of God was great. We were told the average life span of someone her age was around 15 months. We were blessed to have her with us, post diagnosis, for almost 19 months. She finished her journey with cancer in early March of 2017 on her brother Greg’s birthday.

During her battle with cancer, I started journaling about what she and we were experiencing as a way to help me cope with all the emotions I was encountering. I began writing on Facebook as I would sit on our front porch while she was resting. I called those entries “Front Porch Sit’n”. As Barb’s battle continued I found that my writings helped me and a number of others that were either our friends or folks also dealing with their own cancer journey in someway.

Because of that feedback and encouragement, I decided to start this blog about two years ago and have continued writing about life experiences living now on my own. You see you never really get over losing someone that was your other half. You just get through it. You hold on to hope and have faith that life will go on for you. Not the same life but still a life worth living. I’ve found that to be true.

Prior to her cancer showing up, I had been working on convincing Barb that an RV would be great to have for weekend getaways and longer vacations. We could take the kids and their kids with us on some adventures. After nearly twenty years of convincing her, she started to warm to the idea but only for trips, not full time. We went to a couple RV shows and she was really starting to come around to the idea. Especially when the term ‘glamping’ became popular. You see she liked the idea of seeing the country at our own pace and in our own ‘hotel room on wheels’ but she did not like the idea of a ‘dump station’. Yes, she had watched the movie RV.

As this world would have it, Barb never got to join me on RV adventures. And honestly with her passing I had pretty much given up on the idea completely. But a little over a year ago, the thought started coming back to me. I had started noticing RVs on the highways again. So many different styles, sizes, and options. I wondered if it was something I should go ahead and do.

I must have looked at twenty or thirty RVs over the past year before finding the Terra and deciding to go for it. Since late July of this year, the Doodle and I have been living in the Terra full time. I have no apartment or house to go back to although my kids have offered their sofas. For a short time. If it’s an extreme situation. I love my kids! 

 

So, it’s just the Doodle and I and our essential possessions in the RV and whole bunch of other stuff left in Ohio in a rather large storage unit. As George Carlin once said, ‘And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff.’ Truth!

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So here we are today October 16, 2019, parked on a hill overlooking the rather scenic Mayberry campground. We’ll be enjoying this view for the next month before heading further down the road to South Carolina during the month of November and then Florida in December. I have us planned and booked through mid January. Then we’ll head west around the Gulf of Mexico and through Texas, New Mexico, and into Phoenix, Arizona, by late February. Just in time to spend a month enjoying Spring Baseball games. After that I’m not sure yet where the Terra will take us but that’s part of the fun of full time RV living. You make plans but keep them flexible. Kind of like life in general don’t you think?

Barb had another saying that has become a favorite for myself and our closest friends. “There’s a lesson in that”. Barb always thought of others first and even as she was going through her cancer, she kept that focus. While others were doing all they could to give her comfort and strength, she was passing it along to everyone she encountered. She gave it to me, our kids, our family, our friends, and even the staff at the hospital. She believed in not worrying about the future but trusting that at the end she would be okay. She lived her journey to the fullest and I believe there is indeed a lesson in that for all of us.

So if you are new to Posts From Along The Road, you now have the background on why I write and why I’m doing this whole RV thing. I have planned out the journey for the next few months but I’m not tied to it. I’m asking God to lead me on this adventure to see the places and meet the people I’m supposed to encounter. To experience life to the fullest on the roads I travel. To accept that it is what it is. And of course, to learn the lessons from it all.

It would be great if you would join the Doodle and I on our journey so please like and follow the blog and our social media for Posts From Along The Road. And please feel free to leave your comments on what I share and more importantly what you have experienced on your life journey. It would be a great encouragement to me to hear your stories.

That’s it for now and we’ll see you down the road….

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The Road Most Traveled

Robert Frost wrote ‘The Road Not Taken’ many years ago but its poetic message holds meaning across all time. It’s one of the very few poems I remember from my high school literature classes and I think I’m beginning to understand why it has stayed in my mind for these some 40 years.

A traveler is faced with two paths. A choice is to be made between two options. One path looks to be well traveled while the other appears to be hardly a path at all. The first has well worn tracks from those that have walked it before. The second is grass covered with barely a trace of steps being taken down it. Which to choose? Where does each go?

Coming out of high school, I had decided to go to The Ohio State University to obtain a degree in secondary education. I wanted to be a high school history teacher. It seemed like a good choice for someone just starting out in adult life. I had been a student of a couple really excellent history teachers and they had inspired me to take that path.

But after just one quarter at Ohio State, I determined that four years of undergraduate and a couple more years of graduate studies were simply to long. I wanted to get going with a career and living life much sooner. So I switched to Computer Science at the two year tech college and received my associates degree.

I spent over thirty seven years in the I.T. field, leveraging that two year degree, working my way across many positions and levels of responsibility. Some of the work was tough while some was pretty easy but all of the programs, systems, and teams I worked on have helped make me who I am today. And have also brought me to where I am today.

I do wonder some days how being a history teacher would have gone for me. Would I have been successful reaching young minds and making dusty events from years ago relevant in their lives? I like to think I would have been. My teachers did that for me.

And I also had the example of Mr. Gower from the 1984 classic movie Teachers. If you have not watched the movie give it a shot. From the first time I saw Mr. Gower stumble into the high school history class as a substitute teacher, I wanted to be like him. You see Mr. Gower, not being a real teacher at all, was a little looney and had wandered away from a mental institution. He brought a different way of teaching history to the classroom.

When he came to class dressed as George Washington and re-enacted the crossing of the Delaware with his students, I thought that’s exactly how I would do it. I too would take the looney path if for no other reason than it was different and just might lead me to something really special.

Richard Mulligan as Mr. Gower in Teachers

The line most folks remember from the Robert Frost poem is probably this, ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by.’ But it’s the last line that has stuck with me all these years of choosing different paths.

‘And that has made all the difference.’

At times I have taken the road most traveled and at other times I’ve chosen the one traveled less. Every one of those choices were the correct ones to make. Some were easy to walk and others brought me difficulties. But I now understand that it’s not choosing the right path to the right destination that is important. It’s simply the journey that makes life worthwhile.

Tomorrow, the Doodle and I start down our next path. After a couple months of getting used to living in our RV, the Terra, we begin our journey out of Ohio. For the next six months we will be choosing paths and roads that many have traveled and some that few have gone down. But as Robert Frost penned, I know that each choice, including the little looney one of living in a RV, will make all the difference.

I hope you join us as we travel by following our blog posts. We’re going to use the blog as a daily journal for the most part. Some entries will be short while some longer in thought and some will even be shared by the Doodle from her perspective. Those will probably be the most entertaining.

So again, I hope you join us on our adventure. And please contribute your thoughts and comments on our postings. I’d love to hear your stories on the paths you have taken.

See you down the road….

The Seasons Change

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Always has been and always will be. It seems to connect with my soul in a way that the others simply do not. Are you like that? Which season connects best with you? Why do you think that is?

Each brings its own uniqueness and beauty to our world. Winter’s beautiful snow falls and long restful nights. Spring’s reemergence of life and the lengthening of daylight. Summer’s thrill of thunderstorms and the longer hours of warm sunshine. And Autumn’s transition of beautiful colors and the glow of bonfires at the end of the shortening days. Each in its own way is special. Each brings its own joys and challenges. Each shows us that our world is at constant change.

And so are our lives. Over my nearly 60 years or 240 seasonal transitions, I’ve experienced many changes. Moving from one season of my life to the next. Many seasons were fantastic times in my life while others were horrible. Most memories I cherish while others I dread recalling. And a few I wish to never experience again.

But I can honestly say each season of my life brought to me something special. Something to learn from. Something to share with others and something to experience just by myself. Something that has become a part of me and has helped shaped me into the person I am today.

I’ve experienced the long nights of darkness and cold with the passing of those I’ve loved. I’ve enjoyed the birth of new life through my children and grandchildren. I’ve thrilled in the times of family vacations and road trips with friends. And I have found great joy that I can now look back to and see that what I experienced, as easy or difficult it may have been, was just part of the transitions that must occur in life.

The world and our lives were not made to stay the same. Everything around us and in us is constantly changing. Growing, dying, and coming back to new life. Just as we see nature shine and dim through the seasons, we too experience the same shining and dimming in our lives. The world goes on and so do we.

There may be seasons where we feel it’s our last and eventually that season will come for each of us but until then I say let’s roll with the changes. Let’s make the most of each season. Experience it. Take it in. Let it change you. Let it become a part of you that is special and unique.

At the end of November, I will turn 60. Just another number and actually I’m way more excited than apprehensive about this change. Just like yours, my life has not always been easy but transitioning into my seventh decade, I’ve accepted the fact that I cannot control much if anything in this world. So I choose to accept what comes and live both in the current season and look forward to the next.

As Autumn comes to me, I’ll be admiring the beautiful colors of my surroundings in both nature and in the people I’ll meet. And I’ll be enjoying the warmth and light of the bonfires where ever I find them over these days ahead. And probably some roasted marshmallows as well.

Live well during your season my friends and see you down the road….

Waiting For The Fog To Clear

‘As I stand atop this cliff

I look out to the sea

And as I gaze I wonder

Will this fog ever lift

So the ocean I will see.

All around me is a mist

With shapes like shadows hide

But now the dawn does break

The things that were uncertain

Now revealed by the light.’

A few years ago, our family took a trip to the California coast to move our youngest, our son, to his first year of college at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. For my wife and I it was a trip of mixed emotions saying goodbye to our son while enjoying the beauty of the area. As parents, we were very proud of him for having the courage to move so far from home but we knew we would miss him greatly. We had confidence that he would do well but we also felt some fear from thinking about the trials he most likely would encounter. On his own, away from home. Away from us.

After spending a couple days in SLO with him, my wife and I, along with his two older sisters, gave our goodbye hugs and kisses and started our journey up the coast back to San Francisco. Driving Highway 1 north we saw the most spectacular scenery. I honestly can’t remember how many times we pulled off the road to just stand and gaze from the cliffs to the sea. It was breathtaking how the light cascaded down the cliffs to dance upon the waters. It was spectacular.

One morning back in San Francisco there was a very heavy fog over the bay. From the hilltop near our hotel, I could see the early sun glistening of the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge. But about a third of the way down the steel beams disappeared and further down the road was completely hidden by the fog. It was a very surreal sight. In the same instant there was the clarity of the light and the uncertainty of the unseen. That vision and feeling comes back to me every time I think about our trip.

Fog. We’ve all seen it. Been in it. Felt it on our skin. We’ve breathed in the damp coolness. In a way it’s refreshing. There’s a stillness to it as well. Sort of peaceful although somewhat uncomfortable or unnerving. You know there are things hidden beyond what your eye can perceive. You know they are there because you’ve seen them before but now, in this moment, they’re cloaked by a mist. And you may question if they truly do exist. You wait for the fog to lift. For the world around you to be as it was before.

An earthly cloud is just one type of fog I’ve experienced in my life. There have been times, more than I wished, when I lived in a fog. Uncertain of where I was and what was going on around me. I couldn’t see beyond the next step and sometimes even that wasn’t very clear. I felt lost and alone with no certainty of what I would see next. Afraid to move forward. I wondered if the fog would ever clear.

And then it did. Slowly shapes became sharper and I could see what was ahead of me. What was around me. The light began to burn away the curtain my world had been wrapped in. Soon the uncertainty that surrounded me was vanishing. Disappearing into the sky. The fog I was living in had lifted and I was again living in the light.

I’ve come to understand that in those times of being in a fog, there really is very little I can do to make it go away. I’ve learned two things though that I can do. One, is to be faithful in the knowledge that this current fog, no matter how thick it may seem, will also eventually lift. And two, be brave enough to wait in the midst of it until I can take that next step. Not easy things to do but things I still need to do.

Over the past month living in the Terra, there have been many mornings where there was a fog in or around the campsite. The Doodle and I would venture out into it and take in all that our senses could manage. We would walk through it just a few steps at a time and stand to look around. Surprisingly we often saw, heard, or felt something we probably would have missed had the fog not been there. A hidden experience the fog revealed. Unexpected. Thankful.

Both clear and foggy days lie ahead for all of us in this life. And when the fog comes again I know I will be okay. It will lift and the light will make things clear. It always has and always will if I am brave and have faith.

See you down the road my friends….