You and Me, Yin and Yang

Who is yin, and who is yang,

My protest is muted, yours is bang,

Look before leap, for this I’m renown,

You figure it out on the way down.

 

Is someone wrong, anyone right?

Is someone day, anyone night?

I know exactly what I said,

I didn’t ask you, before going to bed.

 

I’ll not be mad later this night,

Love will turn wrong to right.

This will not just go away,

And will return another day.

 

-Wint

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Unmaking of a Man

A man may not consider what makes him such. And, at least in part, is thereby made.

A man may consider what makes him such. And, at least in part, is thereby thwarted from being made man.

A man looking outward, judging what is felt inward, will be empirically disabled by lack of emotional insight into what he thinks he sees.

Men, by and large, do not consider what makes them so. Rather, innately, they behave as men.

Men are in general solitary, and congregate by happenstance. Men thrive on companionship, yet rarely look for it.

Man, like a knife’s edge, dulls in time. Unlike an edge, an aging man may not be sharpened.

When old, man is a honorary title. Man, when old, is boy-like, each being scared by experience. Man is scared due to experience, and boy is scared by lack thereof. For each, topping a tall ladder and turning loose is scary. One for what might be, and one for what has been. It is for this reason, old men should refrain from topping tall ladders, lest they be unmade.

So says Wint

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You and Me, Yin and Yang

Who is yin, and who is yang,

My protest is muted, yours is bang,

Look before leap, for this I’m renown,

You figure it out on the way down.

 

Is someone wrong, anyone right?

Is someone day, anyone night?

I know exactly what I said,

I didn’t ask you, before going to bed.

 

I’ll not be mad later this night,

Love will turn wrong to right.

This will not just go away,

And will return another day.

Wint

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Sick and Tired, One Day At a Time

While his tortured mind could not grasp the actuality of it, Lee was, in all actuality, sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, one day at a time.

Being sick and tired is devastatingly disabling. While it may seem these are awfully big words for such a short sentence, these are powerful topics due sober and insightful attention. One does not get to be “sick and tired” by being either physically sick, or tired. Being sick and tired is a combination spiritual and mental condition. Perhaps I would go even as far as to say it is a spiritual or mental disorder. No one drives another to being sick and tired and no one is capable of recovering another form this condition, excepting the person who is sick and tired. And they, of course, must first become sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Hindsight, as they say, is twenty-twenty, and Lee’s had become so over the last thirty or so years. On a day he went to an NA meeting, cognizant of the fact no one knew he was going to any meeting, he was now in hindsight able to see he had grown sick and tired of being sick and tired. At the time, he was confused as to why, he actively internalized and considered his confusion, and he went anyway. The import and significance of this step was not lost on Lee. Recognizing the inherent self-commitment in his act, he went. This was a standout, “leave a mark” kind of moment in Lee’s life.

When on a journey, with a goal in mind, a person is in constant motion, metaphorically speaking. They are either moving towards their goal , or they are moving away from it. There is no pause button as life is being recorded, which it obviously always is. It is not recorded one day, one hour, one second at a time; no, it is recorded real-time! All the time!

As Lee stepped from a borrowed car, being acutely aware of that his outward actions were reflecting of an inward commitment, he strode with confidence to the door of the “Keep It Simple Stupid” NA club and was prepared for the consequences.

Saying “we make our own luck” is an argument against luck to begin with, right? Well, for brevity’s sake, Lee claims luck that Danny was there that day. For it was Danny’s acceptance and attention that he needed, and it was what Lee got. One might say it was Lee’s six foot two, two hundred pound, body frame that drew Danny’s Excited attention, and he gave it with enthusiasm. “Do you like to play softball?” Danny asked. Having received affirmation that Lee did indeed like play, “Want to?”, he ask with a smile. So started the next leg in recovering a life, which was, up until then, being wasted.

Suddenly, I … I mean Lee, no longer felt sick and tired, but rather felt pumped and ready to run life’s bases. Over the coming months and some years, no home runs were hit, but some triples and doubles, and lots and lots of singles, were. It was only after a “chance” encounter with my future wife, that Lee, I mean Wint, hit a home run. I’ll leave that story for later.

… Wint

P.S. When I say this, for gosh sakes don’t presume I have a clue as to the reality of, well … most anything, and certainly not God. But, let us “Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow”! For, even in my ignorance, I know there is a God, no matter the inanity of my expression. I know well Grace when I experience it, and when I see it in, and from, others. It is by such that I have my wife, and my life.

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Reflections

The blue Ford F-150 like an anchor was heling drown him in debt. An ache in his belly was real enough, though not nearly as deadly as it felt. With no prospect change, he was driven by only one thing, getting the sick off. Heroin being a stern task master would be served, and there was no substitute, excepting dilaudid. Each were dear, in both cost and desire.

Lee had always found puzzles entertaining, but this puzzle was tiresome in its routine. Finding money, perhaps the hardest, was but the first piece. Once forty dollars was managed, the price of a paper or a dilaudid, connecting was the next. Having picked up, getting fixed was near immediate and euphoric. The respite in getting fixed was, while brief at best, faciliatory to effective next steps in a meager existence. It allowed clarity of thought and grand planning. This temporal lucidity was by its nature short lived, but nonetheless nurturing. In this ephemeral state, Lee was able to effect circumstances towards actions that proceeded to the next fix. So was his life consumed by this repeated pattern, with no prospect of change.

It was in this state that Lee was drawn to an ATM location that he had been casing for some days. Having never before in his life stolen anything, today he was contemplating the only avenue seemingly left to him for acquiring the cash needed to next get the sick off. Having taken a parking place well suited for surveilling patrons as they extracted cash, he set to his task. The task at hand was to steal money for some unsuspecting easy touch of a victim. As the parade of patrons passed, his resolve and conviction to his plan ebbed. The guttural shame of what he was about became oppressive. The picture of the consequences of his actions were inescapable. The shame he would bring to his family, the accompanying scorn, the likelihood of jail, the consequence to his victim, none of these were of sufficient detriment to stop him. What stopped him dead in his tracks? He was too self-aware to be a thief. He was a son, a brother, a child of God. He was by nature a gentle loving human being and being overtly hurtful was simply not in his make-up. His emotions in that moment were emasculating. He felt a total failure. He felt incapable of successful actions, whether wholesome or crooked. So by, he became defeated by self-infliction.

It would take some years more before Lee became a sane and productive member of society, and this was but a brief moment in his life. It was however one that left its mark. For the entirety of his remaining years, this moment in time would be a beacon of hope for him, bringing light into an otherwise dark outlook for prospects. At least he could say he not a thief. While he might have caused untold damage in the lives of many, he either paid his way, or made up for it. When you have nothing, maybe because you nothing, even this is something.

1981_lee

Lee (Wint)

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When love was young, and yours was mine

Love was young and yours was mine, 

Nascent marriage was a well of hope,

Though many hills we’d have to climb,

Our passion was sufficient to the slope.

 

Passion indeed! Soon we were parents,

Though worn at the edges, we sensed we were young,

Yet youthfulness fled when the child was present,

Life’s a tasty feast, like salt on the tongue.

 

Though raising a child is no easy feat,

Your mothering force seemed never to tire,

By days end though you might have looked beat,

Energy soared as the crying went higher.

 

Grown now, challenges come with fury and pace,

Reasoned arguments abound, gone is the whine,

Cheek to cheek, each is met as though one face,

Ah, love still feels young, and yours is still mine.

 

– For my fair Katherine … Wint

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The Fair Drew Gets a Shot

When Wint was just a little fella, he had more friends than you can count using all the fingers and toes on both hands and feet. There were of course his four siblings, who were mostly friendly. Then there were the nine Maher kids who lived on one side, and the thirteen Markee kids living on the other. Having run out of fingers and toes to count with, that’s twenty seven kids, I think. As it were, when you have that many kids in so small an area, the little kids mostly only watch as the older kids play. This, if you were not previously aware, is how little kids learn stuff. One thing I learned watching the older kids was “playing doctor”. By all evidence, it seemed very grown up to Wint, and not like playing at all! Wint however, seemed always to be a patient in this game.

The girl closest in age to Wint was Drew Markee. She was beautiful, to Wint at least, and very accomplished. One way in which she was accomplished was in shoe tying. Wint leveraged Drew’s shoe tying talent to his own good by having Drew retie his shoes at the corner where they parted ways on their paths to kindergarten. You see, they had to part ways because Drew went to the Catholic school and Wint went to public school, his being a heathen Protestant and all. Wint would put his foot up on a brick planter box at the corner house where they parted ways, for Drew to re-tie his shoes. Wint’s request for this service was spurred by the fact he was yet unable to tie his own shoes and he felt self-conscious when they came loose during the school day. This self-consciousness was no doubt a result of embarrassment at tripping over his own shoe laces, on more than one occasion! Wint would never forget, throughout his life, the graciousness that the fair Drew showed him in this service. Without self-awareness of it, she was his girl, and his best friend. So it was, when thoughts turned to playing doctor, Drew leapt to mind immediately for Wint!

Locating a popsicle stick in the vicinity of the three aforementioned househos would never have been a drawn out ordeal, no matter the amount of “picking up” a father might do. Picking up being a “dad deal” by natural law, during those times. Thereby, in short order Wint was provisioned to treat his patient, the fair Drew, with a shot.

Wint’s heart was all a patter as he sought out the fair Drew, because as anyone would know, you get shots in the butt! Wint knew not why he was excited, but indeed excited was he! Again, this was very adult stuff.

You might be wondering how old Wint, and Drew might be. You might also wonder, with so many kids around, where would “Dr. Wint” treat his patient. Both answers lie in this one piece of information; there were very few other kids around. This places their age at pre-school, and the time of year when the older kids were in school. So, we’ll say it is late spring, or early fall. This is known because when Wint found the fair Drew, she was wearing a dress, which girls only wore in mild weather. Oh my, something in the ease of access proffered by a dress caused Wint’s pulse to quicken to near hysterical excitement!

Grabbing the fair Drew’s hand, whilst brandishing the popsicle syringe, Wint led her to her parent’s side yard. Being a dead end area where no one ever played, with bushes along the fence, the “treatment room” was quite private. Or so it seemed.

Once in the treatment room, with the patient, the fair Drew, prostrate on her stomach, with heart all a flutter and thoughts blurring his mind, Wint began treatment. After raising the dress and lowering the panties, the shot was given.

For the remainder of his years, Wint would ever carry with him the sight of the fair Drew post treatment prep. Just before giving the shot, Wint targeted the treatment site with his eye and the vision was seared in his synapses. To this day, Wint … , well … (best leave that to the readers mind).

Wint, quite satisfied with the results of his treatment administration, sat back and looked about himself. Glancing at the window, immediately adjacent to the treatment room, there stood Mrs. Markee, just inside the glass looking aghast! Dropping the “syringe”, Wint burst from the side yard on a dead run for his house! He abandoned the fair Drew to the ire of her mother!

Crying, Wint ran all the way to his house, to his room and finally to his closet, where he waited for certain trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble in which Mom tells Dad. The kind of trouble for which Dad gives spankings. The kind of spankings that hurt like the dickens. The kind of spankings with which Wint was all too familiar.

Wint lived within his fear all the rest of that day, dreading the arrival of his father. It was long after his father’s arrival home that he began to suspect he might have been spared, which in the end he indeed was.

Wint having been sparred discipline for his actions may have come by way of a silent Mrs. Markey, but in retrospect, Wint believes it was his mom who covered him. Wint’s belief was based on subsequent times in his life where his mom covered him with grace. Wint’s father was a strict disciplinarian who meted out severe punishment, with seeming relish, underserved by any boy. Or a child of any age, for that matter. No mother, well … no loving mother, would knowingly subject her baby boy to such. And that my friends is what I am. Mama’s baby boy, Wint.

Wint

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