Monday, December 8, 2008

Who said retirement was gonna be easy?

I haven't posted lately. I know why. I've been feeling really low-down rotten for a couple weeks. Thanksgiving came and went and I hardly noticed it. We had a quiet dinner, just the three of us. Like always, Shirley prepared a fine meal (except for that turkey - which I really don't like.) Still, I can fill up on her great dressing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Who needs fowl (it's "foul" as far as I'm concerned.

I think my problem is from our tile floors. I've been crawling on hands and knees around our tile floors for more than a week. What happened was; I always thought the grout between the tiles was kind of a brown color. That is, until I took a closer look and realized the brown was really fourteen years accumulation of dirt. Frankly, all that filth made me sick. I had to start cleaning right away.

The problem is our house has around six hundred square feet of tile! That's a lot of crawling and cleaning, with only a stiff bristle brush and several jugs of special grout cleaner. I'll admit it! I hated every minute of it. But I did it. I faithfully crawled around our foyer, the bathrooms, the back hallway, cleaning tile floors. Every night I went to bed with sore knees, a bad temper and a worn out body (easy for a seventy-one year old fool to wear out.) After about forty hours or so I had the grout looking good. It was only then I realized I also had to go back all over it again, this time to SEAL the grout. It made me want to break down in tears but I did it, reluctantly, hesitatingly, I did it and now, a couple weeks later, the tile AND the grout look almost new.

Me? I don't look or feel anything like new. In fact, I look and feel older than the dirt I'd just cleaned out of that grout. I tell you - I'm worn out! My only solace is, by the time that grout gets that dirty again, I'll be gone - off to meet my maker - hopefully in a place where we won't even have to think about cleaning floors!

Then, right after the floors were finished, our water heater went belly up! That's right! It started leaking all over the washroom floor. So, I had to drain the tank, turn off the water and wait for a plumber (seeing as how it was late Saturday when we discovered the leak) just knowing he was going to kill me with his bill. He didn't disappoint!

So! Like I said at the start - I'm flat wore out! On the plus side I have nice, clean tile grout and a fine new water heater. Shirley tells me her big old whirlpool baths have never been so hot and luxurious ( I guess that's a plus.) As for me - I'm beaten down physically and mentally. And, by the way, I'm about $1,000 poorer!

My son, Daniel, is right now in his room with a raging case of bronchitis. My wife, Shirley, is in our bed, nursing a raging head cold. Me? I'm sitting here just knowing I'm gonna come down with something too. A man feels this lousy he should expect the flu or a virus to come along - knock him off his feed for a couple days?

Okay - I hear Shirley stirring in there so I'm gonna go in and see what I can do for her. Then I'm gonna go sit in a corner and sulk, maybe feel sorry for myself for a while.

Nice talking to you and stay well.


"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been." - Madeleine L'Engle

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A warm blanket around my shoulders

Today Shirley decided we should have medical insurance beyond Medicare. I didn't like the sound of it. I reckoned the government and their co-conspirators, Big Insurance, have likely confused health care programs to a point where most older folks just sign up - give up - after reviewing the vast dizzying of plans. I figured it would be something like trying to figure out those cell phone plans (go ahead! I dare you to tell me you understand yours.)

I was right.

I dutifully went to the site and spent the better part of four hours studying the various plans. I called and talked to an insurance agent (you know - like talking to the fox about how to safeguard the hen house.) Shirley called a woman in the business office at one of our doctors offices and asked her opinion. This was the woman, I might add, who'd recommended the insurance guy in the first place (thus, I'm thinking she's getting a finder's fee.)

The bottom-line is: I'm even more confused than usual. That's saying a lot.

Let's see? There's regular Medicare, Part A and Part B. Part B cost us $94 each and that's plain - simple - easy to understand. Even I understand it.

There's Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs and it too should be easy. It's not. There's so many different plans offering so many different options and prices that a shyster (oops! I meant lawyer) could figure them out.

There's Medicare Advantage Plans, most of which seem to offer no more than the usual Medicare, only at a higher price.

Then there's Medicare Supplement Insurance, which offers to cover that which Medicare doesn't cover. Sounds like a good deal until you see the rates.

Finally, I read dozens of sites that said that you'd probably die (or at least go broke) if you bought into one of the Medicare Advantage Plans. These sites scared the wits out of me until I realized they were the same people who sold the Advantage Plans. That's right! They sold both the Advantage Plans and the Medicare Supplement Plans and they were pushing one over the other!?! Now why would they do that? Maybe because one plan was far more profitable than the other? That would be my guess.

I also read that Medicare (our fine government) payed these companies on average 16% more for services than they payed providers (our doctors, hospitals, etc.) So it would appear that the health care insurance companies are playing both ends against the middle. Pushing their Medicare Supplement Plans because they're more profitable and, at the same time, pushing the Medicare Advantage Plans because they can pick up an additional 16% gross from our good old government. Man! That's a win-win situation in anyone's book!

We called a few doctor's offices to see if they were disposed to taking:

New Medicare patients.

New Medicare Advantage patients

New Medicare Supplement patients

The unscientific survey concluded that doctors love Medicare Supplement Plans (must have a huge profit margin. Maybe they can bill as they choose,) they will take Medicare patients but only grudgingly (as an affectionate gesture to old codgers I suppose,) and they absolutely will not take Medicare Advantage Plans (they don't seem to care if you have a life-threatening illness or not.)

Now! Where does this all leave me? It leaves me more confused than ever! And, now, I'm mad at Shirley! If she hadn't started all this I wouldn't be sitting here hating the government (well, actually I would be hating the government, but for many other reasons,) hating the medical profession and mad at her. The way I figure it is - we were doing fine just using Medicare when we went to the doctor. Yeah, it cost us a little money but really not that much in the end.

So! Here's the deal! We're gonna stay with Medicare! We're gonna forget about buying into all the hype about supplemental insurance plans and do the best we can.

And who knows? Maybe in the not too distant future our new President will sign into law the new National Health Care Act. Maybe then we'll all get free health care and won't have to worry about things like this.

Who knows? Maybe? NOT!


As I understand President Bush's Medicare plan, it provides for unlimited coverage for anyone over 72 whose parents can pass the physical.
Mark Russell

Monday, November 3, 2008

Voting with a Broken Heart

I'm going to vote tomorrow. Why have I waited until tomorrow when folks have been voting for over two weeks? Why did I wait until the last day to go down to the polls and vote when I truly believe everyone I know has voted already? Yet I sit here, casually waiting for......for what.....FOR ELECTION DAY!

I've been voting since I was twenty one. I've voted Democrat and I've voted Republican. I've voted for candidates I really liked and I've voted for candidates I didn't like. But still....I voted! Still, this election, most folks I know are shocked that I'm waiting until Election Day to vote! Why? Because I vote on ELECTION DAY!

I admit that I could have voted at the county library or I could have voted over at the Second Baptist Church. It was my choice - it was convenient. But, if I waited until Election Day (the caps are deliberate) I'd, of course, had to vote over at my polling place, the Don Owens Sports Center. That's what I'm going to do!

Why is this such a big deal to me? Why would I care when or where folks voted? A vote is a vote, isn't it?

Well....maybe it is and maybe it isn't.

Back in the old days of crooked politics in New York, Chicago, (Little Rock?) and most other cities around the country, a few honest people tried to stop devious voters from voting "early and often." There was also an attempt to stop the "bosses" from trading booze for votes. Hence there was no consumption of alcohol on Election Day.

Well.....forget all that. With voting going on for weeks before Election Day, at alternate polling places around the country, opportunities for corruption abound. Drinking during "Election Month" is now legal (except on Election Day???? I find that strange?) and I'd bet a dollar against a donut we're back to the days of the boys down at Tammany Hall (okay, Tammany Hall is gone but the philosophy remains) trading booze for votes. Electronic voting machine error is now a fact of life, leading to the real likelyhood of rampant voting fraud at many of those alternate polling places.

And you seems like no one really cares. It makes me feel more than a little ashamed of our wonderful country. Still, tomorrow at around ten I'm going to drive over to Don Owens Sports Center. I'll wait in line (that is, if everyone hasn't voted already) and I'll pull some of those levers (oh yeah, we don't do that any more, what with electronics and all.)

I know....I just know, that I'll walk out to my car afterward wondering what has happened to the country I love. Something terribly wrong has happened and I honestly don't think it's repairable. Sadly I believe there are too many citizens who are willing to paraphrase the great words of John F. Kennedy. Their mantra now is:

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what your country can do for you."

And that hurts my heart.


In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant. Charles de Gaulle

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One of my "Special Folks"

I was just sitting here reading some blogs and had to spend extra time over at the "grammyof13" journal of my friend, Doris. To tell you the truth, I can't get enough of her writing, her reminiscences. For instance; her dad just turned one hundred and the family went home to celebrate his centennial. On top of that one of her nieces was married with the wedding to coincide with her dad's celebration. Doris posted many photographs and it was a joy to visit with her family, if only though a virtual web visit.

Doris has written about her dad in the past. I've always been deeply moved by her ability to capture images of him and her life back on the family farm. I can't recall any writer, famous or otherwise, who can conjure up such wonderful scenes. I see her dad, sweating behind a mule as he plows a field, sitting on his porch in old age, looking out over the land, wishing he could once again be out there working the soil. Wow! I'm getting those goose bumps again so off I go.

Thank you Dee!

Love ya, Dan

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Genealogist's Life

My wife, my sisters and my little brother got me into this. I spent most of my life going along, blithely unaware of who my ancestors were and that was fine at the time. My older sister though, nearly made a profession of it, at least it seemed that way to me. She was forever traveling to libraries, courthouses, the homes of relatives and such, endlessly copying old photographs, deeds, wills, and military records. Then she'd spend whatever time she had left meticulously entering everything by hand into her file system.

Me? Hey! I was a working stiff. I was busy on the job or I was even busier doing what guys do when they're not working. I was fishing, riding my motorcycles, or just getting together with the guys. You know....having fun. I had a great interest in the Civil War but it was nothing to do with my ancestors. I just loved to study that war and I loved visiting those old battlefields around Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. By the time I became interested in genealogy I was in my late fifties. I finally started noticing my wife's efforts to document her family and I took a closer look. My sister showed me some family photos and old records and that interested me even more. My kid brother showed me his computer database and that sealed it. I was hooked.

The thing that got me most interested though was when I learned that my grandfather, old Ben Barham himself, fought for the Confederacy in the War of Northern Aggression (I now use that term rather than Civil War.) It excited me that I was a Southerner. That's right! Almost a Virginian, since that's where Ben was born. Being born in Maryland I'd always assumed I was a Damned Yankee but, Thank the Lord!, turns out I'm not.

Now, not many people can say their grandfather fought in the Civil War, mostly it would have been their great-grandfather. I can say that because my dad was born in 1903 and his dad was born in 1844. That puts Benjamin Franklin Barham at 59, an offical old guy, when dad was born. When my sister showed me a photo of Ben in his Confederate uniform I was hooked. I wanted to learn all I could about him.

Well, that's where it started but not where it stopped. I've been chasing ancestors ever since. My wife and I now visit as many relatives, as many old towns and courthouses, as many old homeplaces as we can. I love walking where "they" walked, reading documents that "they" wrote or signed. And every time I find a new family member, living or dead, I get excited all over again. I even have a website dedicated to my ancestors, and it goes all the way back to the 11th century and my 23rd, great-grandfather. I love to communicate with cousins, no matter how distant, from all over the world (well, mostly in the USA, the UK or Canada.)

And, since we moved to Arkansas I've found a bunch more relatives, descendents of Barhams who migrated west long ago. We've met new relatives and made new friends, all because of our family connections.

My sister must look at me now and wonder why I wasted all those years ignoring my heritage. The truth is; I wonder the same thing. There's so many people I could have talked to who are gone now. when they passed away they took so much great family lore with them. God love them, I'm sorry I missed them.

Anyway, enough about genealogy. Gotta go. I think I'll take a break now. I'll close this journal and do something else for a while. You know what? I think I'll open my Legacy genealogy program and find me some new family members.

Talk to you later,


"He who has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family was begot by a flash of lightning."

Old English proverb

Monday, October 13, 2008

We have nothing to fear but........???

Our men's Bible study group met yesterday and the subject was fear. We covered the usual; fear of the Lord, fear for our families and fear that we'll lose our resources. Then a couple guys talked about fear of dying, saying they think about it as they get older. Being the oldest guy in the room I had to jump in.

I'm 71. That's not old, not if you're 75 or 80, but if you take a look at the actuarial tables (is that right?) you'll see that I'm now at the age where I could go at any time. Don't get me wrong. It's truly not a big deal to me - on a couple levels.

First: I'm now a Christian. When I leave this life I'll go to a far better place. Even though, when I think about my life before I became a Christian I'm amazed that the Lord will let me in but I know he will.

Second: Maybe some of you know what I mean. I hurt! The older I get the more I hurt! Sometimes I feel like that old Ford I owned fifty years ago. Parts are wearing out and there's not much I can do about it. I mean, there's no parts stores where I can go to get a new set of fingers, shoulders, elbows. Okay! I'll admit, we can get new knees and hips if our's get too worn but, frankly, I'd rather hurt than go through those long rehabilitations.

So, I told those young whippersnappers in my Bible study group to forget about the fear of dying. I assured them that their fear would be gone by the time they reached my age. There are problems, situations, that come flying our way in the course of our lives that scare the wits out of us. We just can't help it. Hopefully, we can remember we're Christians and get past those perceived crises, and turn them over to the Lord. They're never as bad as we think at the moment.

Most of all, I said to remember that dying is nothing more than a part of living. When our time comes we should rejoice! We're going to the Lord and we're not going to hurt anymore. At 71 I'm happy with that.


"At my age flowers scare me."
George Burns

Friday, October 10, 2008

One more day on the water

There was a time when I went bass fishing every chance I got. I mean, I'd be at work and get a phone call from my partner, Fred, and we'd be heading for Maryland's eastern shore with a boat in tow faster than you can say, "I got my limit today!"

Fishing back in Maryland wasn't what I'd call great fishing. Maryland isn't good for most anything, except maybe voting for liberal candidates to the house, the senate, the Presidency. But that's another story. I'm talking Bass Fishing here!

Like I said; Fred and I spent far too much time in the pursuit of Bass. I'm not even going to mention the boats Fred owned. Me? My boats were:

A 1969 Ouchita (built right here in Arkansas, but the way)
A 1975 Hydra-Sports with a 140HP Evinrude (a fast boat!)
A 1984 Hydra-Sports with a 150 HP Mariner (a faster boat!)
A 1995 Gambler with a 150 HP Mercury (faster still!!!)
A 1998 Gambler with a 200 HP Mercury (the fastest, best boat I ever owned!!!)

Fred and I roamed all over Maryland, Delaware and Virginia for more years than I can remember. We fished such places as:

Currituck Sound and Back Bay, Virginia (the greatest fishing hole ever!!!)
The tidal rivers of Maryland's eastern shore (the Choptank, the Nanticoke, the Marshy Hope, the Transquaking,) we fished all over Forida on water like the Withlacoochee River, Lake Ockeechobee, the Kissimmee River, the Stick marsh and Farm 13, and on and on and on.

I think back to all those years and.......Lord! I do miss those days!

Now, I live in Arkansas! I now live among some of the best bass fishing lakes and rivers anywhere and, guess what, I rarely go out anymore.

When we moved here I told my wife I'd have to get another boat, though maybe something more modest. I bought a "tin" boat, an aluminum 17-foot Lowe bass boat from a guy in Georgia. I bought it on eBay (of all places)and trailered it back to Arkansas a weeklater. I supposed, since I was surrounded by great fishing water, that I'd spend my twilight years catching and releasing bass (did I mention I don't keep fish?) I was wrong.

Last year I went fishing a total of four days! On those four days I fished a total of around three hours each. Now, I don't know about you but, for me, that's tantamount to not fishing at all. I mean, when I go fishing I go for the duration, bell to bell, sunrise to sunset (into the night!) But, I haven't gone - not at all! This year? I've gone out on the water exactly "0" times! That's ZERO! I haven't had the boat out once! It's sitting in the garage, piled high with "garage stuff!"

You know what? It breaks my heart. I'm out here in God's Great Fishing Factory and I don't go fishing!?! I even called Fred and told him to come on out and we can go catch some bass. Fred, who's now an old guy like me, screamed, "Drive 1,200 miles to go fishing? ARE YOU CRAZY?!" And you know, I don't blame him.

The deal is; I'm seventy one (that's 71!!!!!) I don't feel like getting the boat ready, dragging it out to one of our great fishing lakes. I mean, I just don't feel like it! The truth has finally hit me. I'm an old guy. Old guys finally know when it's time to put away childish things (to paraphrase the Bible.) They know when lifetime pursuits are finally finished.

I looked outside today and it was a perfect fishing day. The temperature was around 75, the barometer was rising and the sky was filled with fantastic cumulous clouds. It made me think back to those days long ago, Fred and I sitting in my boat on some obscure Maryland lake, pulling in an occasional largemouth bass (and releasing it of course.) Those were wonderful days and I'll never forget them.

Still, I realize I have my creative writing group today at 2:00. I realize I'd rather spend two or three hours with my fellow writers than go out fishing. I guess that's something we all have to face and reconcile ourselves to. We have to understand; that was then, a wonderful time of our life but.....that was then. This? This is now. This is what we do when we're "getting on in years." This is what we love now and we have to leave those past pursuits behind us - they were for another time.

So, right now it's 1:35 PM - the Conway Creative Writers group starts at 2:00 PM and I'm rushing to get this posted before I leave. I'm excited! I can't wait to see everybody! The day will be filled with new stories, new friends, new discoveries.

who knows? Maybe tomorrow? Maybe tomorrow I'll drag the boat out and head for a lake. You know. Just one last time

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.
- Jean Giraudoux


Thursday, October 9, 2008

We have met the enemy - and it's us!

So I'm watching TV the other evening and a commercial comes on. Now, I would ordinarily turn off the sound until the show returned but, for some reason, I left it on and listened. A guy was standing there saying,

"Do you owe a credit card company $5,000? $10,000" Even $20,000 or more. Do you know that you have a legal right to settle that debt for pennies on the dollar? That's something the credit card companies don't want you to know. Call today and we'll help you settle for far less than you actually owe. And, it's your legal right."

I sat there amazed that anyone would believe this guy's nonsense but, in truth, I knew that thousands would respond. That's where we are today. Buy it now and worry later. And, based on that commercial, maybe you can buy it now and not pay at all! Tens of thousands of people out there are piling up debt that they can't possibly repay and along comes an opportunity to "weasel" out of honoring their obligation, their responsibility. I'll bet that company is swamped with calls.

Now don't get me wrong. A long time ago, way back in my distant youth, I did nearly the same thing, running up charge cards to get things I couldn't afford. But, in the end, I had to repay those debts and it hurt - it hurt for a very long time. Still, I never considered that I might be able to repay "pennies on the dollar" or not pay at all. I had borrowed (foolishly I have to add,) I owed the money and I had to repay it. It was that simple.

I don't believe today's youth have that personal ethic - that their word is their bond. They borrow money and then cry when they're asked to repay it, thus the commercial I mentioned above. They borrow money for college and then cry when they're expected to repay the loan. I've personally heard these words, "It's not fair! I get out of college and I'm broke for the first three or four years afterward, paying back that loan!" Hard to believe. Once again, no acceptance of responsibility.

All this got me to thinking about our current "Government Bailout." It makes me think of the members of our sorry congress and how over the past decades they spent billions pressuring the banking industry into making extremely risky loans because everyone in American was entitiled to a house - a home. Sounds great if you ignore the type of people who would respond to that commercial above. The banking industry was pressured by the Barney Franks on the hill and they gladly responded, putting extremely risky people into houses they couldn't afford and, ultimately, wouldn't pay for. And they didn't. Look at the news during the past year. Tens of thousands of homes sit empty while the banks wonder what to do with them.

I'm not talking about lower-income folks who are trying hard to do better, to climb the ladder. My heart goes out to them. I'm talking about those who have good incomes but wanted, actually demanded, a mini-mansion in the suburbs and everything, I mean everything, that goes with it. I'm talking about people who wanted it all now and borrowed $500,000 - $1,000,000 for that "dream home." You know, the same ones who cried about repaying their student loans. Now, like those lower-incomed folks, they're crying for help and, you know, they'll probably get it.

Would they do what we did? Stuggle to get into that first little starter home and slowly, carefully, move up to a better house when we could afford it? Accept responsibility for our mistakes? Fat chance! All they have to do is make that phone call above! Can't afford that million dollar house? Not to worry! Our fine congress will see that your mortgage is "renegotiated" and save you a ton of money. Still owe that student loan? Not to worry! Our fine congress guaranteed the loan. They'll pay it off and forgive your debt. See, it's a win-win situation. Nobody loses. Well, not exactly. We all lose, all because of those few million who don't understand about personal responsibility.

In the end the old adage, "We have met the enemy - and it is us!" rings as true, as always. We have allowed, taught actually, a generation that nothing is their fault. If something goes wrong they can simply blame someone else. It's society - it's us.

Wow! I started out to write something far more soft and cuddly. Well, I had to get it off my chest. I'll try to do better tomorrow. Sorry. It wasn't my fault.


I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Out of Touch!

Yeah, I'm definitely out of touch. I don't want to be out of touch....but I can't seem to help myself. It's not something I'm proud of. I look around and everywhere I see people walking, talking, driving and running while keeping constantly in touch. Me? I walk along with my hands in my pockets, oblicious to what my friends are doing, wherever they are. I drive my car with both hands on the wheel with the radio turned off, knowing the highway needs my fullest attention. There are times, times when I look around and find everyone in sight chattering away into their left or right palm, I think I must be the most isolated, uncommunicative person on earth.

I spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing my situation. Maybe it's because I'm a 71 year old coot who just doesn't want to talk to folks. No, I really can't accept that. I like to meet with family and friends and have stimulating conversations about things relevant, even irrelevant. Nope! I don't think I'm an island and I don't think I avoid conversations. I just try to avoid meaningless conversations, in being "connected" all the time.

So....I reason I'm not an argumentative, uncommunicative old geezer and I'm not anti-social. So...why do I object so vehemently to those gadgets that most people carry with them, day in and day out. You should know by now I'm talking about those infernal cell phones, contraptions I consider to be the biggest waster of time ever known to mankind and clearly a dvice of the devil.

First, let me say I never want to hear such sorry excuses as, "I got one so my wife would be safe if she breaks down on the highway" or "I got one so I'll know where my kids are and that they're safe." I don't believe either of these excuses for a minute but the second one really borders on insanity. How will a cell phone tell you where your kid is unless it has a GPS built-in? As for the first. Be honest. How many times has your wife called saying, "My car's broken down. Please come and help me." I'll bet you a dollar against a donut she never has.

Second, I can name days and dates where I've seen people, young and old, walking through a store or down a street, chatting mindlessly to some other lost soul at the other end of that connection. I've been in theaters with the guy or girl behind me talked mindlessly to someone at the other end, about the show they're about to watch or some other drivel. I've been in restaurants where a person, sitting with other people, ignored them and talked to some other person who was probably sitting at some other restaurant ignoring another group of people.

I actually followed a young couple into the Olive Garden last month and, believe it or not, they were both talking on their cell phones as they walked, together but ignoring each other. You might say, "Maybe they were on business calls." NO! I'm an eavesdropper. I overheard they conversations. It was more of the same mindless pap that I hear every time I listen in. Yeah, yeah, I know. I shouldn't listen in to other people's calls. Nuts! They shouldn't be walking along with another person, or sitting at a table with another person, chatting on their phone with someone else.

I meet with a friend for breakfast every week. He carries one of those infernal gadgets and had the habit of taking every call, wherever we were in a conversation. I finally had enough. I told him that the caller was being rude, calling him at their convenience, without regard for what he might be doing. I also said it was rude of him to take the call, leaving me sitting there trying to ignore the conversation. The conversations ( I couild only hear his end) usually went something like this:

"Hey! How you doing?"

"Oh, nothing much. Having breakfast with Dan."

"Really? You just got up, huh? What're you gonna do today?"

"I dunno. I'm gonna work for a couple hours, then go home."

"Breakfast? Some eggs and grits. What about you?"

"Pancakes! Boy, you're gonna get fat eating those."

You gotta go, huh? Okay, Call me when I get home."

"Yeah, right, see ya."

That it! Now that, my friend, was an essential conversation, and I've heard it time and time again, coming from all you who carry those things, whether you're walking on the street, through Walmart or sitting in a restaurant. Then again, maybe you no longer realize how meaningless your conversations have become. Maybe you feel a deep need to stay connected. If you do, know that I don't mind and I don't care. I'll continue to chuckle to myself and resist the urge to go down to AT&T and price the latest and greatest plan.

You should know though; that day in the not too distant future when you're sitting in Chiles', chattering away on you phone, ignoring your friend seated across from you, look around. You'll see me sitting nearby, listening to your mindless, childish conversation and laughing hysterically while my wife tries to constrain me.


Cell phones are the latest invention in rudeness. ~D.H. Mondfleur

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You can't get there from here!

This is my first day of blogging. Let's see: I've setup a profile (but it needs editing,) I've poked around Blogger to find a suitable name and url (but already feel like changing it,) I've added all sorts of information to my profile (all the while wondering if Google is going to sell my data to devious people around the internet who will bombard me with emails offering such things as lewd sexual devices, chemicals to increase my sexual prowess, nearly free drugs and easy money from widows in the middle east.)

I'm taking a shot at blogging because a dear friend, Doris, tells me it's therapeutic. After following her wonderful blog for several months I suspect she's right so .... here I am.

I love creative writing. Around 2002 I joined a writing group back in our old community of Heritage Harbour, a retirement community in Annapolis, Maryland. From the start I loved writing although I'd never written anything other than technicial material in my job with General Motors. I found I loved the writing group and, to tell you the truth, I feel I blossomed into what I would have to call a mediocre writer (I don't really believe that. I believe I'm a better than average amateur writer.)

After moving to Arkansas I found myself a little adrift and searching for additions to my lifestyle. My all-knowing, all-seeing wife, God love her, recognized my malaise and quickly organized the Conway Creative Writer group, just so I'd have my beloved writing available to me again. Wonder of wonders; the group has grown into a fine roundtable (actually rectangular) of members who's common bond is a love of writing and journaling. It's fair to say that our bond is now more than simply writing. We are a group of diverse folks who truly care about each other. Our two sessions each Friday are the highpoints of our week.

Okay! Enough of this sorry initial effort. I suppose I'll start tomorrow pouring out my darkest, innermost secrets and exposing my warts - my flaws - to everyone. Well.....that's not going to happen! Still, in the meantime, I'll think of something.

Talk to you later, arkiedan