re: A poem on the passage of life – my friend asked me to post this …so here you go…LIFE:

t isn’t irony, that an act of procreation, is the art of re creation
most of us are born in the dark, by the light of a love, no matter how fragile that moment may have been
it brought us here…life.

The first part of life, is the joy of firsts. Even before we know what a smile is, we do. Even before we know how to gaze, we do. Every sound, every sight, every look, every touch, is new…a first. For more than a year, we have nothing but firsts, and until much later, we remember none of them, another first.
We are not blind, but cannot see, we are not deaf, but cannot hear, we are not dumb, but cannot speak, we are not immobile, but cannot move, we spend that first year learning to hear, to see, to touch to walk, to be more than we were…and that gift continues until we die.
The second phase is longer, as long as six or seven, or even more years than that…a mysterious time of life, closed to our adult brains and thoughts. It is a timeless playground, where we invent how we want to feel, and can be anything we want to be, we understand little, but want to know everything. Rules do not apply, but they are being applied. We can draw purple horses at this age, until we are told horses are not purple. We can color outside the lines, a skill most of us lose for decades. We have simple needs, and no need for money, or bills, or things. We just want to play, and the days and our minds are long enough where days, especially in summer, last a lifetime.
Oh, and then we become young men, and women, almost over night, the other sex is revealed to us, or the potential for sex is, and we mistake it for love, for commitment, and for passion, for it has all three, but isn’t any of them.
We aren’t done yet, and most of our half baked schemes, and life long scars, and things that change us, happen in these years…but the joy of youth, the certainty, the smoothness of our skin, and the healing power of our emotions as they bang wildly out of our control, make us long for sweet sixteen, even though it wasn’t. Second only to the first year of life, are the firsts in this time of ours. First kisses, first friends, first dreams of adult success, first taste of freedom, or rebellion- of stating: “I am here. I am me. Get ready world.” Oh, yes, these years lay down memories that last, until the last.
Then the blur begins, as more and more of you, is lost in the demands of others. Torn between being the individual hermit with no regard for anything but self, and being the man, or woman, who people count on, or lean on, or want on. It is a war that will last 30 to 40 years, before a balance is found. Or a truce with society is made. Or, in rare cases, you begin again with firsts.
Then, the peace of old age, the gift of patterns of life exposed to you. The smile that comes with no hidden strings. Joy, in the single moment of taking another breath. At this point in life, you love life, because it is. You see youth for what it is, without any remorse for having spent yours, nor any inclination to join theirs. All babies are grand babies to you now. Anyone who takes the time to be with you, is cherished. It comes with a price, friends find a way off the mortal coil, before you. Your bones tell the weather, and your health tells you if you can visit that day. Parts of your senses close down …slowly, so that you can shift more and more of your focus back to those first years of life, and you see that the circle is almost complete, and it may begin again.
Soon, the peace of release, the earned goodbye, the final thought of a job well done, will tickle your fancy, and you will make the choice to leave for what is next.
Before you go, you will smile, and then you will glow…and shortly after, you will go. The smile will linger in the hearts you knew, and many years later, you shall finally be gone.
Then, the smile will be complete.
By Kevin Hughes

RE: A very short post…don’t bring the past, into your future….

Hey Gang,

I ran into a little spot of hurt feelings today, over a conversation that happened more than seven years ago. I brought it up as an example, just an intellectual debate point, unfortunately, the person I brought it up to, took it personally, and soon, so did I. Hurt feeling, bad memories, along with poorly chosen words- and timing, and voila- one of the prettiest days in weeks, destroyed by something that was done, dealt with, and over. Now, a fresh wound on an innocent soul.

Your past, or your reasons for your past- are over. Leave them there. Unless they are good things, or happy things, or things where you need to recall the experience to help you handle, or understand a present concern. There is no reason to rehash a past “fight”, disagreement, or misunderstanding, to make it reach the same end result now, today.

Keep the foundation of good things growing, and throw out the garbage. Bear in mind, it is impossible to change your past, only your present, which then changes your future, which becomes then, a better past! Whew. Did you follow that? LOL

Kevin who made up, and will remember the healing – hopefully, not the hurt.

RE: Love letter to my wife….”Why don’t you say those things to my face?”

I wrote a love letter to my wife. I love doing that. I also tell her several times a day, that I love her. Yet, many times she has ” selective hearing.” When she read my letter today, she told me it made her feel: “…all squiggly inside, and warm.” Then she wrote: “Next time say these things to my face.”
We talked. I do say them. I do say them often, and pointed out two examples of just the night before, where I called her the Village Wise Woman, as she gave some advice to a grieving friend …advice he could not only use, but brought him some small measure of relief. She remembered that, and how when I wrote the email, and changed her words (just slightly) , it came across like she was truly Wise. She thanked me for that.
Then, I brought up a conversation in the truck the other day, where I pointed out that the entire course of my adult life started when I met her. Then I reminded her of all the times I told her I was content. An emotion foreign to me, and one I never expected to experience. I gave her credit for that too.
She sometimes block me out, because I talk too much for her…well, for anybody actually. So, along with all the stuff she filtered out…she filtered out most of the compliments, love snuggles, and gracious elegant esteem that I hold her in.
So, the love letter became a conversation. I wonder how many couples, or spouses, tune out the love coming towards them, because it is so constant, as to become a drone. Only when it stops, or it is missing, do some folks realize they were being actively loved. Not just with words. Sometimes, people show they love by always being there, or by keeping food on the table, and a roof over your head, sometimes, by not throwing things back at the other person. I don’t mean actual things…although I have seen a few dishes thrown at homes I have visited . No, I mean not throwing past mistakes, intimate knowledge, and precious buttons – revealed to few- back at them. I mean if you once had an affair with a chicken, and you were young, hey, everyone makes mistakes. LOL
I met a guy who was married to a former porn star. Sometimes she gets recognized and people say some fairly cruel things. He says: “First of all, she enjoyed her body, and loved Acting. Secondly, it took her a long time to understand the difference between love and sex. Luckily, I was the guy she chose to learn how to love. ” She says: ” I never believed in love, until I met him…and he is my man. ” Yep.
Sometimes, when you love someone you have to bite your tongue. I have bitten my tongue so often, they are going to put it on the menu.
So, if you love someone, and want them to know it. Make sure they are listening, really listening. Then, tell them. Or, write a love letter to your spouse, and let them say: “Well, why didn’t you tell me?” Then you get three chances to get it through to them! LOL
Kevin second only to Don Juan…or Valentino, but who even remembers him anymore…except as a red nosed reindeer?
Kevin at home

RE: I wouldn’t want an empty chair…by Kevin Hughes

It is late at night, or early in the morning, depending on your viewpoint. I sit at the kitchen table reading a book and sipping my tea, across from me, a chair. Kathy’s chair. It is empty. She is sleeping, so it is a safe empty. I read a bit more, and I look up. The chair is empty, and it scares me. Then…I cry. How many people have to look at an empty chair? A chair that used to hold a life that was dear to them?
I have the rocker that my Mother used to rock in. It was filled with life and love when she rocked in it. She loved that rocker. I gave it to my daughter, when she got pregnant – the first time; she is pregnant again, and the rocker, well, it loves that feeling of family, of Mothers, and Grandmothers, and small infants…it belongs there, and it is no longer empty.
I look at the empty chair across from me, it is a simple wooden chair. A table meant for folks with a working class budget, but with a touch of style. Functional, pretty in a plain way. The kind of chair and table you might see for sale at a thrift store. We like it. Like a friend or family member, it has some rough edges, it can be uncomfortable after a few hours. Perfect. I look at her chair, and with my eyes open, she is there. The soft smile, the more than thirty years of overlapping memories that seem to layer her so that one minute she is 23 and slim, sexy, and bright. The next she is a young mother, and then a grandmother, with grace, elegance, joy…the glow of loving shining across her face.
I wouldn’t want to have an empty chair. Someday, mine will be the empty chair. For some reason, that does not bother me. I guess, because if it is your chair that is empty, you cannot look at the other chairs. Unless there is something next, and you sit at a different table, waiting for the empty chair to be filled.
Kevin Hughes

re: Music, Art, and Love, in two sentence stories….

The symphony played on, the music filling her ears, like tiny porcelain china, exquisitely filled to the brim, the notes poured, raced, tumbled, until her ears, like the china cups, could hold no more. The sound dribbled from her ears to mingle with the tears of joy running down her face, in a sublime counter point to her moving soul.

The walls themselves were art. Some of the floors, parquet and hand carved, would have been just as beautiful, as a ceiling, or a wall. The feet that used to glide over them belonged to the Royalty of Europe and Russia; and for that reason, many would not visit, because the beauty surrounding them came from the sufferings of untold thousands. Still, the floor shone, beckoned, and paraded itself beneath the feet of every visitor. The wounds of time, having no effect on the floor.

He loved her. It was a simple love. Built  on trust. Communication. Laughter. It was the kind of love that never loses it kindness or respect. It shivers if left unattended for even a moment, for like a faberge egg, the love he had for her was rare, polished, and pretty. She thanked him for it, by staying by his side for more than sixty years. At the end of his life, the stone covering her, simply said:

“He loved her.”

The colors screamed by, electric blues, horizontal reds, and not quite fuzzy pinks and yellows. Some whites, trying to look stunningly like snow, leaped into the foreground, and slashes of blue velvet tried to turn them into diamond colors of white, blazing, multifaceted, shining. At last the purples settled into the fame , leaving the painting, the viewer and the artist, as one- bewildered, bedeviled, and besides themselves. So, they just looked.

re: Some things I learned in 2013

So what did I learn this last year?

1) It was time to retire…so, I did! LOL
2) Eat your fruits, and juice your vegetables. Fruit juice is bad for you, pure juice, that is. The Harvard Study shows that eating whole fruits is better for you, especially if you are a type II diabetic. Juicing vegetables is okay. But, eat your fruit!
3) For over all health, and brain strength; absolutely nothing beats walking fast enough where you can talk to a companion, but you couldn’t sing if you tried. It is cumulative for Health Benefits (not training benefits) so, if you can only manage a minute or two- then do the minute or two, several times a day. But walk, and briskly.
4) Learning is fun.
5 I learned that the word “Boast”, in Ancient Greece, meant: To tell the Truth, strongly. It was an honest word. A word that meant you knew the truth, you lived the truth, and you could tell the truth. We turned it into a negative word in our modern world. Yet, isn’t it funny, we never came up with a replacement word that means: To Tell The Truth Strongly.
6) I learned that there are more than a trillion ionic reactions in a single micrometer of Neuronal Cells. If all the ions of one species gathered on the same side, the energy released would be the equivalent of several thousand lightening bolts. You would vaporize and turn into a blinding brilliant glowing plasma. Be glad you have counter ions. LOL (Thanks Doc David and Doc Wan for those : “back of the envelope equations.”
7) I learned that my daughter is a great and wonderful Mother.
8) I learned that my Kathy, is a great and wonderful Grandmother.
9) I learned that my younger daughter, is a great and wonderful Aunt.
10) And, yes, I learned that my Son-in-Law , is a great and wonderful father.
11) I learned that I am about the right age to be a Grandfather. LOL
12) I learned that forgiveness does not mean forgetting, but, if you hang onto not forgetting to much, you really haven’t forgiven.
13) I learned from the actions of one Lady on board the ship, how many lives are affected by one person, and maybe, a person you don’t even know, and never met. Every single person – counts.
14) I learned that work, or a job, for some people, brings their mind back into full gear, and gives them a reason to wake up in the morning. Work, it turns out, isn’t all bad.
15) I learned how badly TV is killing culture, communication, and conversation. Especially watching News. Turn it off, except for entertainment. ‘Nuff said.
16) I learned that no matter how old you are, it is scary to make new friends, or lose an old one.
17) It always hurts to break up with someone you loved, or liked, not matter if you are six years old, or seventy. Breaking up, as the song goes: “…is so very hard to do.”
18) Love can, and often does, last a lifetime. Even Romantic Love! LOL
19) I learned that part of Oceania ( The Island Kingdom of Kiribati) is underwater, and almost half the population is looking for a place to live.
20) I learned that the three fastest and most powerful computers in the world are in: China, Japan, and The United States. And only one of those countries has dedicated it to spying on its population- and that one is us.
21) I learned that no matter how hard core a business, a government, or a science is- it isn’t about logic, it is about people. Relationships, surprisingly enough, are the real backbone of any human activity.
22) Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and supper like a pauper.
23) Make time for yourself.
24) Get your sleep.
25) Smile.
And that is what I have learned this year. See you next Year. Kevin at home

re: ” Have someone to go home to on Christmas, who you are nuts about.” Ralph Cramden – The Honeymooners.

Yes, having someone to go home to at Christmas who you are “nuts” about. Oh, yeah, sometimes a spouse, sometimes a girlfriend, or boyfriend, sometimes a child, or a Mom or Dad, or a great friend. You can be, if you are lucky, “nuts” about a lot of people in your life at Christmas. Some people even “nuts” about Christmas, and like Scrooge, they keep it everyday of the year, in every way.
I think though, Ralph was talking about the one you love. That special love. I sure hope you have one in your life at Christmas. I have my Kathy, and for 34 years, every single Christmas, I have had a reason to be “nuts,” at Christmas.

There were a few years in my life, where there was no one at Christmas, no one to go nuts over, or drive me nuts to be with. Funny how it goes in stages.
When I was a little tike, Christmas itself, the mood, the lights, the snow, the toys…well, they made you “nuts” for Christmas. Then the food, and visiting relatives – I had a large family, and many relatives, so we quite often travelled to four or more homes, in the days after Christmas. Just to chat and play. That was fun.

Then, sometime in High School, you get your first love, and your first Christmas with someone that makes you “nuts” about getting home from Christmas, and when you come home from the Army, and that person is there with your family, well, you and Ralph feel the same way. When that person moves on, and you are back to just family, well, it isn’t the same. Still Christmas, still visits with the family and friends, but you go out to a disco and dance on Xmas night…there is no one to go “nuts” about, or over. Those Christmases hit hard.
Then, if you are lucky, and most of us are, you get another Love, the one that will last 20,30,40, 50, or more years…and you have that someone that makes you “nuts” about Christmas again. And you start to realize, that what really makes Christmas is LOVE. Love is what makes you “nuts.” That my friends, is what old Ralph Cramden was saying in the Honeymooners- if you are in love at Christmas, it is a nutty time!
Merry Christmas ! Kevin Hughes

Miracle on West 30th Street…kind of,

It was cold. The kind of cold that would scare a dog away from a fire hydrant. The kind of cold that made leaving your bed to go pee, a major decision. The kind of cold that made freezing look warm. And Christmas was just days away.

The house on West 30th street was old. It was drafty, like hospital gowns and old people’s robes. With seven children and two adults scattered around in different rooms and assorted bunk beds, it still was roomy enough for all.

It had old fashioned floor vents. And on cold nights, like this night, brightly colored mushrooms existed on all the vents, as the kids would sneak from their beds to find an open vent: pin their blankets around their tiny bodies, and let the heat inflate the blanket around them, looking like bright pink , blue, or yellow, mushrooms growing will nilly from room to room. I was one of those mushrooms. I was eight years old.

Christmas came as it does, after sleep had defeated your young child’s will power to cling to the moment Santa arrived with your gifts. With seven children, and another six or seven nephews and nieces coming over later..well, the poor tree was overwhelmed with gifts. The star at the top bravely shining over the glistening gift wrapped treasures. With two or three gifts per child, and more than ten or twelve for Mom and Dad…it looked like something out of a Christmas Play.

It was five AM, the sun had not yet risen, having no place to get warm, it decided to stay in for a while, postponing the dawn to a decent hour. Snow had fallen, and now the icicles hanging from the roof, looked more like diamond tipped spears, nestled in cotton candy made of snow, and crystals. It was indeed Christmas morning. The adults duly noted the beauty,as sleepy eyed kids were awakened and brought to the altar of gifts!

Eyes sparking beyond the glare of sunlight on ice, wide eyed kids, spurred on by hopes and dreams, tore open package after package in a frenzy matched only by hungry hyaenas after a long hunt. Bows flew like brightly colored song birds, and socks would almost always draw a slight discord, and a thank you without weight.

As the moments dragged on, the little red headed boy searched for tags with his name. Pushing through the crowd at the base of the tree, he searched fruitlessly under the tree. The adults grew quiet, some sharp words were whispered. The kids themselves grew quieter , and quieter, gifts piled at their feet. A dark and smothering awe , as it dawned on everyone; the small red head, had no gifts. None. His pile was emptier than the sound of truth at a political rally, or a used car lot.

Some few adults searched in vain, muttering impossibilities under their breathe. An older sister started to cry. The red head stood quietly stunned , in the midst of plenty, he had none. He didn’t cry. For a child, this was a moment beyond pain. He satisfied himself with second looks at the bright paper, and many toys around him…and he thought : “Well, maybe I will get two pieces of apple pie, and extra ice cream later.” And he smiled.

Then something extraordinary happened. Not from a movie, though it could have been. Not from a play, although it could have been. Not from a sermon, though it should have been. No, from the simple spirit of Christmas, the only power to hold sway over children and their toys and gifts, came a miracle.

Started first by an older brother- who looking at the plight of nothingness in the pile at his red headed little brother ; looked over and said: ” I got five model airplanes and three matchbox cars (made out of metal, they were highly prized in my day as a collector items amongst the more astute 10 year olds- that they could be played with and were almost indestructible- was a bonus); pick one of the cars, and two of the models, they are for you. ”

Then a little brother said: “You can have my playdo. Just don’t eat it all.” Then a sister said: ” I got some ponies, you can use them for your calvary officers” . Then an older brother said: ” I got ten dollars. You can have two bucks!” Soon, the tiny red head had more gifts than anyone.

Word got out, as it often did in the tight inner city neighborhoods of my era. “Forgotten on Xmas morning…can you imagine that? I don’t know how he managed to stop himself from crying.”

The word spread. The little red head went to church, sitting in the pew , with frozen wet feet, he marveled at the folks piling gift, after gift, like a Department Store Holiday display meant to win awards, as well as customers. Some folks he knew, most he didn’t. Some kids were classmates, some just went to the same school. It seemed to the little red head that Santa had gone crazy, and the tiny red head was the benefactor of an error in the: “Naughty or Nice”- book.

He got bags of Army men, jeeps, rockets, Tonka Trucks; a treasured item, usually reserved for rich or spoiled children. He got watches, sweaters, socks (yech). even superman pajamas (Way cool!), he had to slide over in the pew to make room, and still they came, like the crazed buckets and mops in the Walt Disney short. This time the tiny red head did cry.

In the end, an adult had to fill an entire car, and the trunk to bring home all the gifts, and he had to make two trips!

The tiny red head brought all the gifts to the room with the tree – he cleared out a big space, and laid out all the stuff he had been given. Oh, it was a fine display, a big display, a grand display in the manner  only seen in French Aristocracy. He then asked his Mom and Dad, if he could invite over a few friends, and admonished everyone to leave his pile alone until they got here. They said : “Certainly.”

When his three best friends arrived, he got all of his brothers and sisters, his nephews and nieces, and his three friends in front of his “loot” .

” Dig in! Whatever you want, is yours. Merry Xmas ..HO, HO , HO!! ” And dig they did, no badger ever dug deeper or harder, no mole dug a deeper tunnel. They burrowed, and scampered, and dug with delight. Trucks, and soldiers, and forts, and even socks, flung into little self contained piles of joy. The tiny red head smiled, and laughed, and even shouted with glee when someone of his friends or relatives found a particular important toy for themselves. “Merry Christmas! : he shouted with power. “Merry Christmas! Was shouted back by all, adults and children alike, and even a few angels on the tree seemed to join in.

The Mother of the red headed boy pulled him to the side, as the group broke up into individual islands of greed and play. ” I can’t believe you gave away all the toys, and things you got. I am so proud of you!” She hugged him, in that way that only Mother’s proud of their sons can. He went all soft and squishy inside. But, a small voice nibbled at him, telling him about his secret. “Tell your Mom the truth.”

“Mom, I didn’t put all the toys out. Just most of them. I kept the things my brother’s and sisters gave me from their own gifts. I am not going to play with those, I am going to save them. I also kept two bags of Army men, a tank, and two Tonka Trucks. I know it is selfish, but, I kept those things.”

The mother looked at him with wonder. Two car loads of toys given away , and he only kept a few things to play with, and the gifts from his siblings, he kept not to play with, but to remember how much love is in a home, on Christmas Day. She cried , and hugged him again. The little red headed boy had no idea why she was crying, so he did to.

She let go of him, he turned and scampered to his own pile, and soon, army men were riding bright pink ponies, with purple mains , into battle. Along side two dump trucks, used as troop transports, and pairs of socks used as rolled up bombs, to bombard the enemy troops with. It was, a Merry Christmas, indeed.
Merry Christmas all, from Kevin Hughes


re: I heard this young lady sing this song: “Tea and Toast,” about a year ago, and well, if Christmas and Love go together, listen to the song.

Here is the link, her name is lucy, and she is simply a talented song writer. I let the tears flow every time I listen to this song. So, here is the link, and enjoy her talent, and let the lyrics take you where they may. Merry Christmas , Kevin

re: Thirty years old …Time to become a Man! Hmm……

My Son – in – law, who is a gift to our whole family, not just my daughter: turned thirty today. When I spoke with him the other day on the phone, I said to him: “You are a lucky man. You adore your wife, and she adores you. You have a child, and one on the way, and are a good dad. You have a job that brings you joy. A motorcycle, a house, and a yard, and good friends.” He said:
‘Yeah I guess I am adult now.”
I thought about that last statement for a while after we hung up. When are you an adult? Women and Men seem to reach that “adult” label at different times. Women seem to hit the “responsibility button” much earlier, say 22 years old or so. Not so for most men. I would think 30′sh would be about right.
I remember thinking I was a Man- at 19. 19! Yikes. Then at 22, I was sure I was a man. Then at 25 , well, I wasn’t so sure anymore. Then came 30 years of age, or very close to it. I married Kathy two days before I turned 29. The next year- I found Comedy. Two years later, I became a Dad (and luckily enough , another 18 months after that, a Dad for the second time!) so within a year or so of 30, on either side, I had found my adult responsibilities, and my life’s work and partner. I became a Man.
I now know why the real warriors in life, are all around 30. They still have most of the quickness and physical skills of a late teen, or 20 something, but the experience factor is much higher. The “think before you act” gene kicks in. The 30 year old warrior has: “been there, done that.” Experience has wizened him up. I think you have to be close to 30 years old before you go:
“No. That’s enough beer for me. I have had my limit.”
“We are going home now.” And you realize you aren’t going home because you have too, but , because you WANT to. The party was fun, now, we need our time.
I sat in the corner of the party, just sucking up the youthful vigor, the sheen of new fatherhood, was over most of the men there, and the young mothers, with their tiny tots scattered at their feet, both male and female eyes, tracking the little tykes as they crawled, or scooted, or walked – depending on their abilities. The single members of the 30 year olds, or the childless couples, lovingly tolerant of their friends with children. But no less the adults for not having had kids. In their own way, both groups of 30 year olds, were happy for the other group.
I had a smile plastered on my face for the whole time, as I remembered being 30…and how fast time would fly now. In a blink of an eye, I went from being thirty, and young, and strong, and supple, to sixty plus, content to be in the corner, and let the Adults party!
Merry Christmas Kevin