Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

So I crawled out from under my rock yesterday and took my wife to a fancy restaurant. Okay, so we had sandwiches at Tumbleweed. Anyway, I heard Brad Paisley's "Old Alabama" on the radio and remembered the good ol' days when I was just a country boy at heart, but in mind already a stranger in my own country. I just watched the video, but Jeff Gordon ruined it for me. Seriously? I grew up in the land of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, among many others. Jeff Gordon...country boy? Wow. Anyway...just reminiscing...enjoy...or don't:


I know, I know...they look alike, and it was kinda funny, but still...why doesn't Paisley look more like Little E?

In the mid '80s I spent a day working on Dale Earnhardt's neighbor's water system. He was a taxidermist who often went hunting with Earnhardt. Freakiest basement EVER! Nothing like being stared down by dead critters at every turn. Beautiful place on Lake Norman, though.

I wasn't a fan of Earnhardt, actually, but he was a driver you had to respect...like the Steelers in the Chuck Noll era. Never pulled for them, but you had to respect them.

My brother was a great driver back in the day, but then again, a lot of those boys were. My ear was accustomed to the roar of big-block Dodge engines. I mean, those kids really knew how to drive...not just fast, but how to race on their own terms. Tim's bad wrecks were due to equipment failure, not driver error.

Me? I dreamed of being the next Bart Starr...the clean-cut, precise field general. Yeah, that dream died a painful death. No amount of work was going to make a professional athlete out of this body. Sigh.

It took me a long time to reconcile my dreams with my realities, to understand that I could be an accomplished egghead, with the rewards that being a teacher and scholar can bring. But those rewards have come with a price: estrangement from my culture and people, along with distance, despite my efforts to get a job closer to them, from my family.

And so I know something of pining for the good ol' days, even though they weren't all that good...something of longing for simplicity, even though life for me has always been far from simple. I understand loss, hopelessness, indeed, death and resurrection. I have risen from my own ashes before, and I will do so again, but I am no phoenix.

Along with being the next Bart Starr, I also wanted to be a writer. I am pretty good at it, and yet I have struggled for many months now to find my voice, to create...heck, even to edit and revise that which I've already written. This is not the year I saw unfolding before me. Nonetheless, in a few short weeks it will be the year that was, and I will be very thankful to have survived it.

And so I wish you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving! May this be a time of reflection, renewal, indeed, rebirth. There will be empty chairs at the table, hard goodbyes, but also new faces, new hope. May we all see many bright tomorrows! Phoenixes we may not be, but, each in our own way, we can soar, can we not? I think we can...

7 comments:

The Bug said...

I'm ready to soar with you babe...

altar ego said...

You and I seem to be singing from the same sheet of music. I relate to the hard-won victories achieved at the cost of pain, and understand the bittersweet longing for a time that was.

Our thanksgiving has been thrown into the blender, so to speak, so no matter how it resolves there will be pain and difficulty. I, too, will welcome the new year born on wings of hope and perpetual promise. I think that when all is said and done, that is what faith is. Jesus may love me/us, but that doesn't alter the hardscrabble landscape over which we scrape our knees.

Yes, we rise. Wanna take my hand?

Kimberly Mason said...

Much love to you, my friend. I love watching you and Dana soar each and every day. You lift me up with you as I watch.

Lowandslow said...

"Everything happens for a reason."

Beautifully said. And a Happy Thnaksgiving to you and Dana, too. :)

S

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh, yes we can! Nice post and Happy Thanksgiving!

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

Happy thanksgiving, Dr. M. The best to you and Dana as you forge forward toward 2013.

Jayne said...

"May this be a time of reflection, renewal, indeed, rebirth. There will be empty chairs at the table, hard goodbyes, but also new faces, new hope. May we all see many bright tomorrows! Phoenixes we may not be, but, each in our own way, we can soar, can we not? I think we can..."

Indeed, we can. And, just for the record, you ARE quite the writer my friend. :c)