The Miracle of birth, and because you were born, you are a miracle. Life is the first gift. Living is the second. Loving is the third, and lasting Gift.

Today I became a Grandpa for the second time in two years. When we went in to see my new grandson, and held him for the first time, he went right to sleep. Why? Because I am warm, and that hospital room was chilly. It seems that Warmth is one of my biggest contributions, as my wife has been using me as a heater, for more than thirty years…except when hot flashes turn her to ashes, and me exiled to my own side of the bed.  Warm loving arms, and this baby had two sets of Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles, and a Mother and Father, waiting to hold him, and welcome him to the world. What a gift to bring to a baby, a family that wants you. Another overlooked miracle. Not every baby comes to this earth wanted. Today, well, today, like every day of his life, there will be people who love him, cherish him , and wish him well.

When I looked at his little feet, and hands- knowing he was healthy- it takes your breath away to realize how much has to go right , for a baby to be born healthy- luckily, most are born that way. He has big hands for a baby, maybe he will grow into them. That is another quiet miracle, he will grow. At one time, we were all just moments away from our mother’s, and whatever happened after that, was because of the gift of life. Who knows what he may become, or might be? Nobody. Family will be there for him, and at some point, he will make his own way. Because he was loved, from the moment he got here, he will probably love a lot in his life. He will trust, and believe, and rely on his parents and sister, because they will be there for him. What a gift that young family has.

When I was younger, luckily, big families were not uncommon, and no one gave us grief for having double digit siblings. Nowadays, I have seen young mothers treated callously by strangers, for having four children. I don’t think people realize how powerful life is. Every person on this earth, has a chance, and that chance exists as long as they are alive. Sure, some have tremendous things to overcome, and they do. Others, well, life was just to much for them, or they were overwhelmed by it. You never know what person is going to contribute, or when. I mean if you tried to write a horrible life history, well, Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon Hill, Booker T. Washington, Maya Angelou, Oprah, and Nelson Mandella, Ghandi, and Mother Teresa – might be some folks you  might want to find out about their lives. Or think about what they did with the life they were handed. Maybe you can see what someone like Judy Meisel, or  Viktor Frankel did with their lives, after the horrors of war. Or maybe Grandma Moses, who became famous after seventy. You never know what your life meant to others. Or, for most of us, what it even means to ourselves. Because of Kathy and I meeting all those years ago, two young people got the miracle of life. Now, two more people are here because of them. The world is a slightly better place because of those folks being here.

If you could go back and see me as a small child on West 30th street, in no way, shape, or form, could you have laid out my future life. It was an ordinary life, in so many ways, which makes it an extraordinary life. I got to live it, share it, make mistakes, and be forgiven. I have had to forgive, or rather, I learned to forgive. I have experienced the different roles that love puts in your life: Son, brother, brother in law, son in law, husband, father, man, grandpa, friend, lover, father, uncle, cousin, sibling, toddler, child, teen, adult, old person(lol). Yep. Life is a miracle. Today, another miracle happened. I wish him a life of his own. Miracles don’t need to be miraculous.

Smiles, Kevin

Happy prose, in rows and rows…

I saw a happy sparkle,

it was in the eyes of a child, a child who didn’t know what a puppy was

the puppy sparkled happy back at her, maybe because they were both small and cute

and when you are little you don’t know that.

I saw a happy glimmer

it was in the thoughts a friend shared with me

of a time in our youth, when we ate cotton candy

think wisps of sugar threads, that only taste good under gaudy carnival lights

and the the hand, or arm, of someone you like, or loved, pulling you close

for a cotton candy kiss.

Sticky, wet, sweet, and it needs a few more smooches, to lick off stray strands

cotton candy kisses, have all of the sensuality, with none of the sexuality, just love as a lick

I saw a happy today.

It was a vision of my Mom. Sitting in her rocker, with me at her feet

She was lost in a world of her own forgotten (mostly) youth. She giggled at the girl she was

who, she assured me, giggled a lot.

She told me of flapper dresses, and speakeasies, of pretend secret knocks

she told me of DELCO batter plants to light your home, with wall after wall of batteries,

all in the basement. If not vented, your house lit up the neighborhood, and that wasn’t a Happy.

I had another happy, writing an email that I posted earlier, because it gave me a string of happies withKathy

Her smile when the joy came from within, and not from without, while both are joyfull

they are not the same, not in context, nor in expression.

It is a big difference between getting the gift of your life

and the gift of your life.

I had a Happy today. Did you?

re: An email from a friend…and it brings up so many things. To me, this is the opening to a great conversation…with donuts! LOL

 

Kevin of Carolina,

X has always been a complainer.

Not that X wasn’t correct about complaints.

The world is an awful place…filled with loathsome people.

And, let’s face it, life isn’t fair.

Not by a long shot.

I knew X would never be happy—no matter how good things got. X doesn’t even exist, X is a composite of stories over the years.

I think we’re all at least a little bit this way.

We seek greener grass and more clement climes.

But we have to recognize that no place is perfect.

No situation will be wholly blissful.

As Marcel Proust put it:  The only true paradise…is paradise lost.

I kick myself for not becoming “a man of science.”

Really, that was my dream…when I got a Gilbert microscope set at the age of eleven.

I wanted to cure cancer, the common cold, and male-pattern baldness (not necessarily in that order).

But I came to realize that no matter how much I accomplished, it would never be enough.

X is the same way.

When X complains, I listen and nod.

But I don’t make suggestions.

I do ask questions, such as, “Would you rather be doing something else?”

Long ago, I learned that there are many things to run from.

But there are precious few things to run to.

Every once in a while, in the silly stories I write, I talk about a perfect place to be.

But even if you could find such a place, you’d never know what was coming around the corner.

There’s always someone ready with a monkey wrench.

My idea of Heaven for you is a round table, at which are sitting four of the wittiest and finest minds in the universe.

Atop the table would be a never-ending selection of doughnuts.

A waiter would be on-hand to keep delivering hot chocolates (with whipped cream toppings, of course).

But I might be all wrong about that.

This might not be your version of Heaven.

I do know you like talking to people.

I know you love to read.

I know you love to exercise your mind and body.

I know you love Kathy.

I know you love your family.

But how do you roll all of those “loves” together to make the perfect recipe for happiness?

And what are the best amounts and combinations?

Much of ancient Greek philosophy concerns the search for happiness (“happiness” being “the highest good”).

If we assume this to be true, how do we go about finding happiness?

Do we simply do what feels good—and let the chips fall where they may?

Obviously not; that’s too simple.

And what if the Greeks were wrong.

What if “having a purpose” is the highest good?

What if “serving humankind” is the highest good?

What if “eating doughnuts” is the highest good?

It could be, you know.

In the best of all possible worlds, it would be.

Perhaps all we can best do is “live in the moment.”

And live each moment to the fullest.

And be a decent human being in the process.

I’m just saying.

 

“How do you live without TV?” Really? HOW DO I LIVE? A short rant in G minor (my speaking voice when befuddled)…

“How do you live, without TV?”
I stared for a few moments, then realized that the three people talking with me, two men and a woman, were serious. Genuinely curious.
“Well, I live. I eat, read, talk, go for long walks, takes courses on the Internet in a variety of subjects, take several Great Courses, on DVD (no grade, no pressure, no time limit). I go for long walks both by myself, and with Kathy. I help out with an old restored WW II bomber. I get into conversations as often as I can. I listen to music, and even watch YouTube for instructions on certain things, or to watch video of people flying the kinds of plane I do, to airports I want to go. I write…a lot, to a lot of different folks. I think quite often. I laugh, I cry, I have mostly wonderful days, long delicious days with lots of solitude, and company when I need it. I clean house, do dishes, sweep floors, make the bed, so Kathy only has to work at her job.
I play with cats, and dogs, and often watch squirrels, trees, or bodies of water. I walk on the beach. I stare at the night sky. I reminisce about my life, my times, my past.
I enjoy my day. I guess, I live my life, my way, every day.”
“Oh, how boring. You don’t even know about the Duck people. Nor do you keep up with current events. You are not living, you are hiding.”
I smiled.
“Yep.”

re: Happy Mother’s Day. A tale of Six Mothers….

It took six Mothers, to fill all the needs of my family. Without the Mom’s that make future husband’s and wives, our family tree would have never sprouted the wonderful branches it has.
I never knew who my Mother’s favorite child was, she had ten to choose from, and never did. We were all her children. A Mother’s love can never be divided. It is infinite, and each love, is its own Universe. My mother loved me like Kevin- because that is who I was.
Kathy’s Mother had eight children. She loved every one of them, and they knew that. What a gift, to know that your Mom, loves you, no matter what, no matter when, no matter how your life goes. Mother’s just love you. You are their creation.
My Son -in – Laws, came from Mother’s that loved them too. Teaching them the things they need to know to love another human being. Creation myths always make the Male the powerful creator, I disagree. Most males are only necessary at the beginning, and for the road to independence. Women are there for the duration. The Big Bang, may be male, but the infinite beauty of the Universe , is female.
That balance is understood by most, as Mother’s Day is the most chocolate filled, phone call overloaded, flower filled, going out to eat, and now- texted: day of the year. Father’s Day isn’t even in the top ten. Because we all know where the real deep, constant, uncontested love come from: Mothers.
I had the privilege, once, of watching my two teenage daughter’s tell my Kathy, their Mom, how much different their lives would be, if she hadn’t been their Mom. Precious.
I got to sit with my Mom, in the last year of her life, and share ice cream, as she told me about her childhood. I should have taped it for my whole family, but, I didn’t want to move and disturb her memories. I sat at the foot of her rocker, ice cream eaten and forgotten, as she told me what life was like, 40 years before I was born.
My Kathy had a similar experience with her Mother- about Deer Lodge Montana, and winter snowstorms, and life in the true country. My kids have had the same experiences in little doses. So have my Son-in Laws. Mother’s histories are filled with their wisdom, and their dreams both found, and lost. As children , we listen.
I had a great mother. Kathy is a great mother, and reaching legendary, mythological proportions amongst the newest mother’s that surround our daughter, and her daughter.
I get to watch two Mom’s learn and grow from each other. And I think back to the Mom’s that came before that, and the Grandmother’s.
The chain is long, and unbroken, and goes back to Adam and Eve in a Biblical sense- and maybe to “Ung”, and “Mmeh”, in an Evolutionary sense. Without Mother’s , either story would not be possible.
Mother’s, to me, are love. And that is why we love them.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mother’s I know out there, and to the ones that gave my family partners to journey through life with.
We love you all!
Kevin a son, a husband, a father, and a grandfather- the roles that women granted me.

re: So what do six memories from your childhood, have to do with life at sixty? You might be surprised!

Okay, Kathy and I are headed out the door, after our long bike ride on a very pretty day. She has to work. Most of my work has been on myself. And here is the little exercise you can do to, to find the patterns that have left tracks in your life!
Okay, start at age five or six…up to age 16. Now, remember back to about a half dozen memories spread out over that decade or so. Not horrendous memories, just “my brother stole my bike.” Or, ” I got cut from the little league team.” Or, “I didn’t get a single valentine on my desk.” Not horrible, but slightly negative memories. Pleasant ones don’t count! Save those for later – you will need them.
OKay, not sit back and look at the six memories you picked. Any connections? Can you see a pattern? Probably so. I did. And, it made me cry. How did I miss it?
So, first comes a kind of euphoria, as you find out – at least partially, how you came to be , well, you. Then it makes you sad, or at least it did me. Then, you can chose to change those patterns. That is what the course I am taking is all about. This exercise has been the most powerful tool for change, I have ever come across. Here is the key thing I have learned: Change is not an Event. It is a process. You may be changing now, and not even know it. So, hang in there. Smiles, Kevin

re: What’s left in life? What’s more important than sex?

I had two talks today, one with a guy who was seventy years old. He said to me:

“What do I have to offer anyone, except for a lifetime of experiences? Who wants hard earned complex understanding in a world of instant information parading as knowledge?”

Then this one with a woman almost the same age :

“You know all that crap about sex? Well, that is for reproductive age people. For me (age sixty something): Just hold me. Make me laugh. Listen to me. Cuddle. Smile, and be kind. Even when I had a period, the only time I was “horny” like males, was when I was ovulating. As far as I am concerned, have sex with me as much as you want during those three days, the rest of the month: well, just hold me. Make me laugh. Listen to me. Cuddle. Smile, and be kind. Save that sex stuff for when the hormones, and your body can handle it.”

Well, there you go. What do you folks think? Smiles, Kevin

RE: A Christmas Poem, but , not one like you have ever read before…

It was the night before Christmas when I heard a scream,
It wasn’t from the hallway, from a room, or even a dream

No, what I heard on that fateful night, was the soul scream from things not being right.

” We need money for almost every dream, we need money for almost every thing, we have started to think, mistakenly so, that money is the thing we need.

You can’t pay your electric bill, with hope and a prayer,
When the electric bill gets paid, the money better be there,

If you are sick and can’t think, or sleep, into your car to a Doctor, a pharmacy, or a clinic you must creep,

Even with a fever, a stupor, or pain in your ear, You’d better keep money, or credit card near

It is money we want, and money we need, and we , even in Christmas follow this creed.

They say it is the thought that counts, giving that completes,
so how come with the gifts we give, it is the prices that compete?

If you got socks you can use, or perfume that you can’t, you think the smile, the companionship, the love that it shows, would be enough,

But you can’t compete with an Ipad, or cash, or even a car, for none is enough…

So in the season of Heavenly cheer, realize the world that Scrooge admired is already here…open up your window, let the Spirits appear,

Just visit for good will, the food, and good cheer, with nary a gift within sight, or even very near,

Find out about the life of someone you cherish, or hold dear
And have a glass of water, or maybe a beer, be pleasant, and fun, and thoughtfully appear, to have been glad to be invited, and that you hold that dear, to your heart,

Without any gifts, of the mercantile kind, you can leave from door with a smile as wide as your behind, because as you left, and went to depart, you left no money, no gifts, no rewards, just a bit of yourself that you didn’t hoard.

So Merry Chistmas this year, and stay out of the store, tell a story of your past, and then tell one more, regale the children with hidden glee, of the way their Dad and their Mommy used to be,

Then giggle and chuckle as you eat the food, one dish per person brought to the hood, no one person cooking from dawn until dusk, so sweaty from cooking and hoping it comes our right, that she has only stress and overwhelm in her stocking that night

So, one dish a piece, bring your own beer, be prepared to smile, to listen, to hear, and what a Christmas you will have….this year.

Merry Xmas, Kevin

re: Fat man, Fat man, what you gonna do? The story of letting go…maybe!

Aloha All,
Three weeks. That is all I have been retired. I put on 11 pounds…in three weeks. Already, after the first week, I noticed I wasn’t moving around as much, and on the ship, I took 7 flights of stairs (fourteen if you count going down too) at least six times a day, to go get water, or eat, or workout. There are no stairs in my home, and only one tiny step by the front door. The ship is 1,000 feet long, food was at the back, my cabin in the front- so, just to go eat, once- I would cover more than half a mile- plus the seven flights of stairs.
One time, a Magician bought us all those little pedometers- and we all covered more than 40,000 steps a day. The lowest total I recorded was 23,000. I would be willing to bet, I am just at 10,000 steps while I am at home, and combine that with no stairs and junk food, and well, you get the ten pounds I didn’t need to put on. I am over 200lbs for the first time in more than three years.
Okay, so do I want pleasure or happiness? Donuts are pleasure. Health is happiness.
I am not sure what decision I am going to make. I already upped my moving around quite a bit, that part was easy, because I have always like moving around. Now though, the other part of the equation, eating correctly and well; is what I need to really decide on. I have the information, I understand the basics, and I even know when to eat, and how to chew ( something a lots of folks overlook), and how to wait for your brain to get the “I am full” signal from your stomach.
So, why don’t I take advantage of my knowledge? I think, I am finding out, that wisdom is actually just using the knowledge you have. If I am wise, I shall make the small, but effective changes I need for Happiness. If I am not wise, I shall choose pleasure and the donuts will be the death of me. Did I retire just to kill myself with being overweight and inactive? Stay tuned, the jury is not only out, it isn’t even in the room yet.
Kevin the rotund.

Flash Fiction: Stories in a few sentences….

Spring stood in the door way, sweaty and cool at the same time: unable to decide if it should enter and stay, or step aside to let Winter have a last breath.

Love stumbled into her heart, tripping over lost loves, and old broken promises. She reached her hand out to help balance Love, until it could find its bearings.

The child was held. The child was loved. The child knew this. The child didn’t remember any of that, but the child inside- did.

In his anger, words poured out that would come back to wound him. And here, he thought, he had hurled those word to hurt her.

The Alien stood on Earth, looking at the edge of the jungle and the beginning of the sand. “What an Alien landscape!” thought the Alien. And isn’t that what anyone thinks who hasn’t been here before?

She leaned against her husband. She knew his smell. She knew his heart. She knew he loved her. So what if he was short, fat, and old? She was young in his heart, and that was what mattered.

The stone sang. “Marvelous!” Said the brook, and danced over another stone to hear its song.

“Are you coming out?” Asked the Sun.

He couldn’t make his little tricycle go any faster. The little streamers: pink, green, blue, yellow and red, fluttered in a hurry to keep up.

The young mother held her baby. It was a quiet moment, as both leaned lightly on the other. Only their breath gently brushed up against each other.

He made it. He was five years old. The bucket of sand turned upside down, was the greatest castle ever made, even though only two thirds of it withstood his tiny fist on the little pail. He leaned back and smiled. I made it.

The snail couldn’t stop. It was on a side walk. Every snail knew the dangers. The green grass was only a foot a way, but the sun was trying to find him. He didn’t know they were hands, but the snail found himself in the grass, and heard the giggling of a small child- fade.

The bird looked through the window, as it often did. It liked the smiling face looking back at it. Often, the bird brought friends to watch the humans; they are so cute.

She let her robe slip to the floor. She tested the water with her hand, and again with her foot. As she slid into the soft water, a moment before her head surrendered to the bubbles: “This is what it means to be free.” came unbidden into her thoughts.

He was big. Burly. Hard. Only his heart was kind. Only she noticed, and for that , he would kill.

He looked at the car, the way most men look at women; with a look of longing, and a determination to own it. The car, like wise women, ignored him.

“You are my sister, would you like a flower?” “Oh! Boy! It is sure pretty.” And they kept playing.

The Church squirmed. It didn’t like the crowds at Easter, the pretty clothes, and fancy hats. No. Not at all. It much preferred the lone person, hat in hand, humble, asking in words that no poet could match: “I need help.”

The smile was plastered on her face. Her three year old hands could barely hold the ice cream. Most of her face took the first lick, but the smile held.

I had something to say once, but because I didn’t do it, it wasn’t heard.

Water calls to some people: “Come. Live near me.” Mountains call to some people: “Come. Live near me.” Even the Desert calls to some people: “Come. Live near me. ” But only people call: “Come. Live with me.”

The hamster was dead. The three children, tears reaching all the way to the floor, stared at the towel where he lay. Mom and Dad, were quiet, letting the children say goodbye. It was a chance to be a Mom and a Dad – and they took it. “Goodbye,” they said: as someday they would too.

The Sun packed up its Golden Rays, and gathered some purples and pinks too. The earth squealed with delight. “The sun is in a good mood today, this ought to be grand!” Even the night, usually disappointed by the appearance of the sun, wanted to linger a little longer to see this one.

The boy’s shoe lay on the floor, half a sock hanging from his foot. His other hand held a toy, which just moments ago was a rocket, a plane, and a monster: which only the toys of four year olds can be. His sweater bunched up a bit, so you could see his tiny ribs breath. His mom closed the door, and smiled.