Monday, June 22, 2009

Chance of showers

You should be warned before you begin that in writing this post, I will probably be crying. I have not started yet, but I can feel the tears threatening. This is gonna be a hard one. A personal one in many ways as it tells a story that isn't mine, but it really is. 

It began with a sob. I was 17. She doesn't know that I heard. But through the door to my mother's bathroom I could hear her crying. I didn't know why. I still don't. Times were happy for the most part, and although I knew we struggled financially, as far as I knew, we were making it okay. 

But I'm a fixer. A healer. It's what I do. It's part of the reason I have such crappy taste in men, because I want to heal their wounds because I know they are good people and even if it doesn't work out for us, maybe it will for the next girl. That is not the point of this story though. This story is about my mom.

I didn't know what was bothering my mom that day but there was something in her world that I wanted to fix. With singular purpose, I pulled out her phone book, the little white one with the gold writing on the front that had been around forever and I found the address I was looking for. 

Dear Mr Namehasbeenchanged...

And so began a correspondence with a man I had never met. A man who preferred that I call him Rat Fink rather than Mr. Suchandsuch. A man who held a quiet, yet invisible place in our lives. Who had never met my mother yet she had his address.

My Mother's father.

Jack was my Grandmother's first husband. He was her brother's best friend. They had two children. She was 15 maybe 16 when they got married, and 17 when my uncle was born. My mom came along when she was 18 and then the marriage was over. 

Jack was in the military. That's what men did back then, you know, in the early 50's when college was not the only option schools pushed. Most of the details that I know about Jack are encased in letters I pray that I saved. Hand written correspondence that started with the first one I sent, and I'm not sure when they ended.

In that first letter, I berated him for not being a part of our lives. I told him about my family, how he had missed out not only on his children but his grandchildren. Looking back, I was probably pretty harsh. But all I knew was that he had never met his two eldest children.

I learned a lot about Jack from those letters. His time overseas. How he once held the world's record in the javelin throw. The invitation to the Olympics in Rome, turned down if I remember correctly, for his military obligations. 

I learned how when he received the divorce papers, he went, in his grief, to his priest who told him to walk away and forget the family he had started and to start over. He met his "new" wife and began again. They had 4 boys together and were married, well, they never stopped being married. He told me that he never missed a child support payment. And that he regretted taking the advice of the priest.

The summer after I graduated from High School, I arranged a meeting between my mother and her father. We all gathered at an uncle's house oddly close to my mom's older brother, who declined the invite to meet him. I met Jack, and Jan, his wife along with a couple of uncles who's names I have forgotten. After that day, Jack and I continued to correspond for awhile and I learned about his love for Ham Radio which I find similar in spirit to my need for reaching out on the internet. Same concept, different technology. He might also be why I like throwing things... hmm. 

You know how it gets as you get older. Life takes over and you forget who's turn it is to respond. The "I really should drop a note" thought takes over but when you have time, somehow, you have forgotten. 

I wish I hadn't forgotten for so many years because I learned this evening that I can't drop Jack any more notes. We, all of us, learned today that Jack died back in December. Oddly, on Uncle Mike's birthday. I didn't know he was sick. A lame excuse, I know, I knew he wasn't a spring chicken, a comparison I know would have made him smile. But in my mind, just as I have not been aging, neither had he. He was 70 when I met him which makes him what? 75? Or something... Somehow, I lost a lot of years in the shuffle of working and trying to survive. Wrapped up in my own dramas and learning life's lessons. I know he understood. 

I am so glad I wrote that first letter. 

We never really became one big happy extended family. My mom still hardly knows her other 4 brothers and Uncle Mike never was interested in the idea of meeting his father. I never started calling Jack "Grandpa", and he never expected that I should. He will always be Jack. He needs no other title in my mind.

Jack holds a special place in my heart. We spoke the same language, he and I and I will treasure his letters and stories always. Maybe one day Jan will send me my half of the letters. Those would be a great treasure as well. I'm sure he kept them. We're sentimental people like that. 

I wish there was more to say. He believed in Heaven, but I'm sure there is no need for Ham Radio there. Perhaps he is young again, competing in track and field events. Perhaps he is Roller Skating with Uncle Bob, Uncle Bill and Aunt Carla. I like to think that the next time I bout he'll be cheering me on. Roller Derby seems like it would have been his kind of adventure.  I wish I could have shared that with him. 

I guess there are a lot of things I will wish over the years I had shared with him. No use in mourning them now. So instead I will say,

Goodnight, Jack. Sleep well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An answer

Answers to life's questions rarely are as clear as the time I was going through a hard time and a voice said to me as I lay in bed wondering what would come next in the hell that was my job at the time, "Everything is going to be okay". Call it God, Goddess, or my own mind; it calmed me and comforted me and everything was, and is, okay.

I've looked to that source many times over the last many years and usually I found that I had the answer all along. Or that the original message still applied.  Last night was no different. Sleep was slow in arriving as I tried to calm my mind and heart and listen.

There was no voice.  Thankfully there was sleep.

The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning was how NG dug through the trash in the fruitless search for my keys despite having an aversion to bacteria and germs with the hope that he might come out the hero of the day.

I'm pretty sure that assholes don't do that.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I am in a spot. again. It's personal this time. 

This weekend's camping trip was loads of fun and I enjoyed getting to know some people, including NG, better. The only downer was that I have completely lost my keys. All of them. Car keys, house keys, work keys. Everything. Missing. completely. Thank goodness my car was unlocked and that my valet key was in attendance. 

I returned home on cloud nine. 

Then the phone call. The one that pulled me off of cloud nine and back into reality. The one that said that drunkin things happened on Friday night before I arrived on Saturday. 

Tehnically, it's none of my business. None. But I called NG anyway. Because he and I are interested in each other. And there is possibility between us. And drunkin things can cast a shadow over that possibility. 

He assured me that nothing happened. That attempts were made but rebuked and everything was fine and discussed and settled. As far as I know the record has been set strait on his end of the grapevine, and I know it has been set strait on mine. 

The boys at work tell me I should believe him. I want to. I have no reason not to.

But I have no reason to trust him either. And I hate that he has to earn my trust when I would give it to "just a friend" without question. 

But the voice is back, and it's screaming. Last time, I told it to shut up. I ignored my instincts and trusted. I believed. I was wrong. 

Thus we find the fallout from B. I tried to explain to NG that my last relationship ended in lies. I didn't go into detail.  I don't think he wants to hear about the past. I can understand but I also know that it is the building blocks upon which I have created my present.

My present doesn't know what to think. I don't want to run from roadblocks and rumors. I would take a step back and observe, but there is no back, I'm at the beginning. 

The rumor is based on a perception. Perception is so much. And yet is can be nothing. I can't ask the woman involved, she has been embarrassed enough. Goodness knows, I have made drunk advances and been denied; I tend to leave that part out of that story when I tell it. Plus, she and I are not friends. Perhaps we can be. But I met her on Saturday. And Saturday night she had to share a tent with us, with me sleeping between them, ignorant. She kept offering to find another tent to sleep in. I only now realize how awkward it must have been for her. To see us wander off for long walks. To end up sleeping on the same air mattress with me.

Regardless of what is true, it must have been torment. And don't I know how that feels too. All too well. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. 

I have faith though, that the truth will come to the surface. Maybe I will learn to trust NG and discover that my worries were for nothing. They usually are, after all. Maybe she will support his story and I can continue forward happy and merry the way you should when something is new. 

Maybe the universe will remind me again that the mistake I keep making is in not listening to the voice in my head. 

Only time will tell.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Another Saturday night

It's nearly nine and I am pretty much ready for bed. 

Last night's date went nicely, we grabbed some Chinese food and watched Greg London's Icons show. It was... Interesting. He nailed some and not so much some. His Louis Armstrong was on the nail and the backup singers were talented (if not a little too skinny, but they translated well on stage) I laughed out loud, which is rare during a show for me and enjoyed the unhindered antics of my date who was not at all afraid to sing and dance around. The other patrons also had a wonderful time and the people watching opportunities were many. All in all, a great experience. At one point I realized that Greg gets to do what he loves, and that he enjoys his work is obvious. This made the show even better. 

The date ended with a hug on my doorstep. 

I'm not entirely sure why I think that one man will behave any different from any other, but despite a few text messages I haven't heard much from him today. I left the ball in his court; I don't know when I will see him again but I would like to. 

In the meantime, I am doing the usual. At one point today I gave my phone to Wifey so I would stop checking it. I'm keeping myself busy this evening and will likely go to bed early as I am tired despite a two hour nap this afternoon. 

I hate dating.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Happy HNT Red Riding Hood Edition

Some friends of mine were in a Rock Band competition. They won, of course. And I,  have a date with Little Red Riding Hood tomorrow.