Tuesday, October 26, 2010


If you have read yesterday's blog then you should understand that this is the first part of that blog. Both of these, I suppose essay's, were born during that dinner. I wasn't going to post this because it is extremely personal but I feel it needs to be said. I hope you like it and if you get something out of it, all the more better. Thanks for reading.

It’s no secret that the Church that I attend and am a member of has suffered some great losses over the past two years. I could easily blame the state of Pennsylvania but that wouldn’t be fair to the great people who live in that fine state. Why? Is that your question? Do you really want to know? Why would I or could I blame the Keystone state when they have offered us some of the great inventions, statesmen and geniuses in American history… Simple, whenever I go to that state something happens that lets out a deep, dark, repressed secret that others in my church hold against God, our leaders or whatever Pastor or Preacher that is sitting in the role of teacher at the very moment when the storm of lies, hate, arrogance, ego, and pride hits them like a 1994 Mike Tyson punch to the face.




This really started off wrong, I wanted to start off with a nice quaint tale of a double date I had this past week. But something was said during that brief respite of life’s stress and worries. A comment made in passing as a matter of fact just to emphasize a point in the conversation, a comment that has been on my mind since I heard the words, something that I suspected but never voiced and it’s something that I have worried about and I know that others have made comments about. Now, it’s no secret that in my church our old Pastor fell from grace, hard. I’m telling ya,it was like watching King Kong fall off of the Empire State Building, it was horrific to watch even from the sidelines of standing on the camera box that I’ve been assigned. And his fall affected more people than I will ever know. And, just the few dozen stories that I’ve heard and witnessed firsthand make me nauseas just thinking of them. The variety of tales from people of all walks of life, the wealthy woman who comes from an affluent family who is so hurt by the lies and deceit of one person that she now refuses to ever step foot in any church for the rest of her life. The young, inner city youth who would wake up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning just so he could get a ride to church in the church van so he could play in the band who now has put his instrument up for sale on Craigslist because he can’t stand the thought of using his music to make people happy anymore just so another person can profit from the talent that God gave him. The ordained Pastor who sits alone at night now, crying and praying for the strength to forgive the betrayal against him, his God and his family. Always trying to do the right thing, be the penitent man and forgiving man that walks through the extremely thin pages of his tear stained Bible. The man who felt so distraught that it’s speculated that maybe the betrayal by his old friend, confidant and Pastor was too much for him to handle so he decided he couldn’t take living one more day. The proud waiter who has to field questions of the lies and betrayal to the church and it’s congregation to unknown customers who claim they know more about what’s going on without ever having stepped foot into the church they’ve now decided is a cult.

Come to think of it…

There does seem to be some truth to that, not what it is now but what it was then and what has been born of the ashes of the fallen leader. The rebirth, the birth, the Geneses and Exodus of the old leading to the new cult of personality.

People who only come to listen to the man on the alter and not what he’s saying, not what he’s teaching, not what he’s hiding. They only know that they want to be near him. His personality, his charisma, to be recognized and picked out by name while he stands on his alter that has been twisted, wrecked, torn and bastardized to not reflect the Word and its teaching but is only there to elevate him in the eyes of his parishioners so that his ego, his pride and his arrogance is fed and satiated for just a few moments but it never lasts, because those demons can never be fed enough even when there is nothing left they still hunger for more. These are the demons that will not just topple one man but all that follow him, believe in the man and put your faith in him and you will be devoured by those same demons.

No one person, in my opinion, is infallible, has all the answers, nor can any man be my Savior, my Salvation or my Lord. It upsets me when I see that people refuse to understand that. That some people would rather just point out all the bad, all the hate, the deceit and lies of Man and refuse to listen to the Truth, the love, the honesty and the joy of the forgiveness, grace and understanding of the teachings that come from the one place that seems incorruptible. Man sins, it’s a fact. Man makes mistakes, it’s a fact. Man is a victim of his own desires, it’s a fact. But… Man can forgive and be forgiven, man can hate and be hated, man can love and be loved, man can be sad or saddened, man can hurt and be hurt, man can heal or be healed, man can do what is right or he can do what is wrong. Man can follow the truth or he can follow the lies.

So, here is the truth, as I see it;

The man who helped build my church and then tore it down due to his arrogance, ego, and pride is gone. We are rebuilding. We are holding things together with duct tape, zip ties and faith. We are the hard-core trying to rise above what has happened by always being available and open to whatever may come down the pike. We are using all of our energy and resources to make a better place not for us but for our children. We are trying to set an example and not be an example. We are fighting the odds the naysayers and hate-mongers that refuse to remove the blinders from their eyes and see that “YES! we have been hurt, but we aren’t letting that get the best of us. We will persevere. We will rebuild and we will be here next week, next month, next year, next decade…

We are…

Monday, October 25, 2010

Broken Bread

I went to dinner last week with my wife, my pastor and his wife. We ate, we talked and we had a very nice time. The conversation never lagged and the food that we ate was quite good. Now, to some people this may seem a normal, everyday occurrence and to some they just might find it odd, but to me, well, I find it just downright peculiar.


Simple… ok, maybe not so simple.

Allow me to explain:

First of all, I don’t really like to go out too much, as anyone who knows me can attest to. And, when I do go out it is usually for an event that has the words “Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary” attached to it. Also, I mostly just like to spend my time at my house for the simple fact that I am paying my mortgage and bills so that I have a place to hang out. I am what is known as a “Home Body.” If I’m not at work then I am at home. No ifs, no ands and no buts’. I like my porch, I like my couch, I like my kitchen and I like my bed, so I don’t want to leave them alone.

So, when the invitation came to me through my wife that we were to meet our Pastor and his wife to break bread at a restaurant of our choice I was a little surprised. Not because they knew who we were, our church has a small congregation and it is nearly impossible to not know someone who attends and worships there. Also, my wife is involved in the music department and I am involved in the audio and visual department (I play with the cameras).

Second, I know that my Pastor and his wife have had a very turbulent summer, ok, it’s really been an INSANE YEAR for them but this past summer they pretty much spent it living in a camper at one of the local campgrounds. A very nice campground but if you had to spend 5 or 6 weeks living out of a camper and trying to run a church while you look for a house you nerves and temper would be a bit strained. So, just 2 weeks ago they finally moved out of the camper and into a new home. (Not newly built just new to them.)

And, in my way of thinking at least, a person or persons who’ve just moved into a house would not want to go to dinner in Portsmouth on a Thursday night at a restaurant they’ve never heard of and try to enjoy a meal at a table where I am one of the two guests. But they did. This really speaks to their mental facilities in these golden memory years that seem to be approaching them. (Maybe I will call the number of a good Psychiatrist for them) Heck, I have friends I’ve known for almost 20 years that would rather have bamboo shoots shoved in their eye sockets before spending time with me on an adult level. And I consider them GOOD friends too.

But I went, and I arrived about 30 minutes early, found a quiet table where I could sit with my back against a wall and see the entrance. The waiter was barely conscious of my arrival and my request for my water so I had to chase him down to place that order. He was hiding under the bar when I found him. Seriously, he was literally squatting under the bar. I gave him my order and headed back towards the table only to see my Pastor and his bride come through the door. I motioned to the table we were to sit at and after the initial greeting of handshakes and hellos we sat. The waiter arrived, slammed my water down and turned to leave. He was sweating, red in the face and looked like the mafia had just threatened to kill his family. He didn’t ask the new arrivals if they were thirsty or if they needed anything. He just turned and headed for the bar.

We called him back. Placed some drink orders and he left. What would you have done? He came back with their drinks and I ordered some appetizers just so I would not have to talk too much. This is a good thing in most cases. Which, looking back now, I should not have worried too much about. I mean, c’mon, I was dining with a Pastor and his wife! They make their living talking. And that’s what they did. I actually enjoyed listening to them and the stories they shared. When I was asked a question I answered it to the best of my ability and made a mental effort to not use the more colorful of language I have been known to use. We spoke of cars, books, fishing, and bike riding and camping. We also spoke of the direction our church is moving in and all the garbage we as a Christian Body have been through over the past couple of years.

Then my wife arrived and I was off the hook! She loves to talk and loves to tell stories. God, I love her. Once she sat down the waiter showed up looking a bit calmer and took our dinner orders and it seemed a bubble of healthy conversation and safety enveloped us. I relaxed.

Dinner arrived and there was no respite in the flow of tales that were being told. Dishes were cleared and still more conversation. Dessert arrived and stories were revealed. Those dishes were cleared and the bill prepared. Still more was said. Laughter ensued and our bubble of happiness grew. The restaurant closed down, the barmaid was vacuuming and we still sat and talked. Eventually we rose from our table and made the way outside where we stood on High street and spoke for another half an hour. Something that none of us would have done 25 years ago.

Eventually, we said our goodbyes, hugs were traded, an invitation to have dinner again was offered and we went our separate ways.

I drove home in silence, following my wife, knowing it had been a good night all around. My nervousness about making a complete buffoon of myself had been waylaid against the rocky shore of my fears.

Will we ever dine again in that bubble of safety and love? I don’t know. I hope so.

Thank you Dr. Jim and Lynnette for a great evening.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Once a Year

If any of you, my dear readers, read my blog last week then you know that on Wednesday my daughter celebrated her birthday. She turned 11. Hard to believe that she is 11 but I have come to accept that nothing in life or on earth stays stagnant. So, her birthday was Wednesday, we had a small get together of family members and even a friend or two showed up to celebrate her birthday. It was nice, pleasant, cordial even. Everyone ate and had good conversation and walked away from the meal full and satiated. Even me, who did not have the opportunity to fully enjoy the madness and mayhem of all the company.

Which brings me to yesterday…

Yesterday was her “Official Party”. There were over 30 people invited, that includes parents of children that were invited and not everyone showed up. To which I say “Thank you Lord for that small blessing!” In all actuality, like with most people in this day and age, schedules of soccer practice, baseball practice, football practice, dance recitals and even wisdom tooth extractions take precedence over cake, pizza, soda pop and gift bags. Can’t say as I blame them. I would have tried to have gotten out of it if I could but I was tasked with being the photographer as well as being the father of the birthday girl.

Oh? You want to know more about the party? Less about me? Ok, well I will try to give you the short narrative on it. How’s that sound?

Ok, at the Mega-Mall in Norfolk there is a store, it’s a store for girls and women alike. The name of the store is “Charming Charlie’s” Now, whoever thought up this store also thought about men shopping for gifts for their women because the places is sectioned off into colors. There’s a blue section, a red section, a yellow section, a black and white section and even a green section. I am sure I am missing some colors but you know, it’s not important. The thing that is important though is that if a man, woman or child goes into the store and wants say a purple purse all they would have to do is go to the purple section of the store and low and behold there is a purple purse and any accessory a person could possibly think of to go with that purse. From boots to hats, watches and bracelets to scarves and leggings. It’s nutty, but makes perfect economic sense in a capitalistic economy such as ours. (Hmm, I wonder if I could open up a franchise in the Middle East. Let those women over there put the rich sheiks in the poor house.)


So, this store is set up so that any idiot with 2 brain cells that are still in viable working order can just hang out in a section and pretty much spend the mortgage payment on articles of clothing and gifts for themselves or loved ones. Pretty cool… if you’re shopping by yourself. When you have 8 pre-teens and 15 women shopping and you’re only one of two folks in the store with testosterone it pretty much sucks. Forget going to the bathroom, forget having an opinion, and forget that all you wanted to do was watch some football while sitting on the couch reminiscing of the glory days when your favorite team was on the road to the Super-Stanley-Cup-World-Championship-Bowl. Nope, now you find yourself in a store where women are sporting fedoras, boas, necklaces and 5 or 6 purses of varying shades of the same color and asking your opinion as to which purse/fedora/boa/necklace “Defines” them as a person. To which one of those last two brain cells you had immediately pulls out a gun and blows it’s little nucleus away leaving you with just one brain cell and a smoldering gun.


Ok, all I was tasked to do was shoot pictures… Oh, look two preteen girls trying on 5 inch spiked heel boots… CLICK. Oh, and look a woman with 4 pairs of sunglasses in her hand… CLICK. And see that? The 3 women all tugging on the same scarf while the brothers and sisters of said scarf is sitting on a rack behind the semi-cage fighting women… CLICK. Ooo See that 11 year old with 3 cup cakes in her mouth, devouring them as if she was just released from a concentration camp in World War II… CLICK CLICK! And oh so many more wonderful little gems of digital photography. Some I am sure that will never be released to the general public. Simply because I fear the wrath of these women and children.

So, what else happened… My daughter smiled, she laughed, she cried, she ate too much pizza, too much candy, too many cup cakes and she spent too much money on accessories and clothes. She received gifts from loved ones and she felt cherished, loved and valued by all the people that came out to celebrate with her.

At one point she even led a small parade of her friends around the mall going from one store to the next. Once inside a store they would break up, conquer and divide like a swarm of locusts in a corn field in Nebraska. It was a joy to watch and a nightmare to experience and I can’t wait for the next one.

My daughter slept like the angel she is last night. The exhaustion of the day wore her out. Wore me out and wore my Bride out. Thank God we only have one child because I don’t think I could do this more than once a year. The heartbreak that I experience while I watch my daughter grow slowly into a woman is something that I know I share with all parents out there. But this is my pain and joy to watch and experience and I am going to savor these horrific/joyful moments for as long as I can.

Have a great week.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Life Changed

There are so many themes that I can write about today that I am almost at a loss for words, today is my daughters birthday, I have the day off from my primary source of income and I have had an excellent week since we last spoke. I have watched my family play and grow in ways that fills me with a source of pride and happiness that most fathers and husbands feel in those fleeting moments of perfection that have become so rare in this day and age of lightspeed communication, errands and chores.

Fall is here and so begins my busy season of work. There are old exhibits to be torn down only to be replaced with the new. We have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and then the ever so popular New Years Eve festivities on the horizon for us all to enjoy, fret, and stress over. Ahh, good times indeed.

Sidetracked. I seem to have started to think about all that needs to be done instead of focusing on what it is I am here to do. Relax, enjoy and write this message to you all.

So, today instead of sitting on my front porch swing and pounding away on my keyboard, I have decided to take a journey to one of the last peaceful bastions of intelligent conversation, quiet introspective thought and excellent company. I am at Emerson’s in Norfolk, Virginia, sitting in a leather chair and enjoying a great cigar. No 65 degree cool weather and soft Autumnal breeze with singing birds for me today, I have traded it all for polished wood, soft aromas and pleasant conversation. And it seems to be working, this little experiment of mine. I am enjoying myself in a way I don’t normally get to.

This past Monday, Labor Day, my offspring and her friend took it upon themselves to use the long forgotten, dust covered sidewalk chalk that had been sitting lonely in the corner of a room somewhere and tattooed the sidewalk in front of our home. I sat on the porch swing in awe at the artwork that came from them with a grace and ease of well practiced artists of a forgotten time. Manet, Van Gogh, Monet and Cezzane could not have done a better job. I know I sat there staring at them with a look of amazed gratification on my face.

I remember the day my daughter was born and the look of wide eyed wonder on her face as the nurse handed her to me all swaddled up in a white receiving blanket with pale blue and pink stripes. I can only imagine that the look on my face was just as amazed. I have been told that I started to talk to her then and did not stop talking to her until my Father-in-Law took her out of my arms. Then, he started to speak to her with the same fascination and wonder that I had been doing just a moment before. Our wives forgotten, the sterility of the room forgotten, our focus was strictly on the future of our family. The future, the hope and the joy all wrapped up in a 6 pound 8 ounce package that just stared at us with a look of wonderment at the surroundings she was now in.

From that day to this moment, 11 years later, my daughter still brings with her wherever she goes a peace and happiness that seems to rub off on whoever is around her like a virus of tranquility. I hope that never changes.

Happy Birthday Goose.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October Updates

Welcome back!

Let’s see, how would you all like a quick update this week? Hmm? Ok. I like that idea, no long, drawn out stories of my past or present, no fun filled psychological trauma caused by an overactive imagination, no limericks, no deep insight, just an update.

Cool. I think I can handle that, besides, I am sure some of you are pretty tired of me droning on and on and on. So, let’s go to the races.

On your mark,

Get set,


Last week I got my first rejection letter from a magazine. That was pretty sweet, but to be honest I couldn't really remember the details of the story I sent so I went back and re-read it. Man did it SUCK! So, now I am in the midst of re-writing it in the hopes of being able to submit it to another periodical. I am liking the changes so far and it is actually going to be lengthier than what it previously was.

Civil servitude is going well and I now have two interns to do all of my evil bidding! Mwahahahahahaha!!!! We are currently getting ready to move a small portion of the collection I am in charge of as well as get ready for “Winter Wonderland” installation. Quick side-note; first let me say I love winter and Christmas, but damn, I hate getting ready for it even before Halloween is here. While all my friends and enemies are getting ready for some killer costume parties, myself and three other Exhibit Technicians are building Christmas sets, putting up twinkle lights, dissecting and disemboweling the guts of non working animatronic elves only to replace the worn out 30 year old parts with new motors and gears to get them working for the joy and laughter of 10,000 visitors that course through the museum between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve.

It is worth it, I know it is. But sometimes I would just like to enjoy a little paganism of the Autumnal Season and all the spookiness that comes with it. The fascination of the dying of the earth and the joy and sorrow it brings to each and every one of us. I have missed out on one of my favorite seasons for the past seven years and I don’t foresee any participation in the festivities in the near or distant future for me.

Sidetracked. I would say I am sorry for that rant but I can’t, simply because I really do enjoy Fall and I wanted to share that with you. (See, you just learned a little bit more about me.)

October is here and with it brings Football and Birthdays, at least in my part of the world. I grew up in Green Bay and I have at least four people in my immediate family that have birthdays this month. If you’re a Yankee like me then you fully understand why this is so. If not, then you need to go get your calender and ask yourself what goes on in the North when your snowed in and cable is out.

In other news, my daughter is adjusting well to public school but I question the schools academic syllabus. Nothing wrong with public school mind you, I am a product of public and a little private school but that was before the 4th revisionist history of the world took place. (Not gonna go any further on that right now.)

In more local Southern news, there seems to be a Mayoral election coming up in the City of Portsmouth and at last count we had six candidates. Hmm, talk about indecision 2010. All the candidates seem to cater to one or more minority or other here and it has been a blast to observe the mudslinging in the papers and local news. As of this posting I really don’t know who to vote for, the local sports hero, female business woman, unemployed entrepreneur, the city watchdog, or one of the two minorities that are cutting each other to ribbons. Heady times in the world of Southern Politics.

Well, that is about it for now, I am gonna take off and continue my re-write and finish this tasty cigar. Have a great week.