151 Band

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Let the Carnage Begin

Going back to the first Thanksgiving I can recall, the atmosphere was festive and vibrant with a lot of turkey zombies walking around, drooling on themselves until they got fed.  In the background you could hear the announcers on television giving play-by-play of the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins football game.  My little brother would be hanging out in the kitchen with mom and whomever else was helping out in the kitchen.  It was one of the coveted locations in the house because mom always let us sneak a taste or two.

Dinner itself always started out orderly and pleasant, but about the time folks were ready for seconds, the carnage had begun to take shape.  Slowly but surely, the warm turkey began to do its magic and some would get sleepy.  Now, where I'm from, you can't eat if you're asleep so the struggle to stay awake was real; as was the grouchiness.  Mom could sense it rising and she put a stop to it because on Thanksgiving Day, she was the last one you wanted to anger.  After all, she may not let us have pie.  And we have to have pie.

I suppose what I miss the most is how close we all seemed to feel on that one day.  It was about giving thanks and celebrating the family and how far we'd come over the previous year.  My son Matt and oldest daughter, Heather were always a hoot to have around during the holiday.  When my youngest son, Mason, and my youngest daughter, Madison, were baptized into the Gluttony Family, we had it down to a science and timing was everything.  Now, we're all spread out across the doggone country and it stinks.  My oldest has his own family now; starting his own traditions with his wife Kristina and my grandson, Rylan.  

I remember the carnage like yesterday and one time being freaked out over what the turkey looked like when it was stripped of its yummy meat.  It was a skeleton and I remember saying, "What the hell is that?"  

After I had my mouth washed out with soap, my mother explained the process in detail.  I think I can still taste that soap.

The devouring of food is particularly delightful, however, it pales in comparison to the memories made and the experience of family.  Though my memory continues to give me fits, the feeling of love and passion permeates the fabric of my being.  I hope that is the case for you too.  Take a look around today while you're eating and just watch everyone.  Soak it up and let it overcome you.  Food will come and go, but memories of life are eternal.

Of course, that's just my gluttonous opinion and I could be wrong...but I seriously doubt it.

Your Thanksgiving Gorilla

Monday, November 23, 2015

We Took A Wrong Turn

I can remember back in my Navy days when a handful of my shipmates and I would hop in the car and just drive.  One summer morning, we decided that driving from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona would be a lot of fun and we would see some sights along the way.  We didn't really plan too far in advance, you see, because we were driving in a 1972 Camaro with no air conditioning.  We did, however, manage to pack an ice chest with ice and soft drinks.  About a third into the drive, we were using the ice on our heads.

Did you know that between San Diego and Yuma, there really isn't much at the temperatures can get over 110 degrees?  We didn't either, but we know now.

There was a stretch just before Yuma where there were signs for a lake and we were so hot, all we could think about was jumping into the lake to cool off.  We took a road where the sign said the lake was supposed to be and it became very clear very shortly that the Camaro was just not designed to handle rough, rocky, and sandy roads.  Finally, we could see the lake and let loose with a roar of approval and excitement.  We were able to drive right down to the small, rock-surrounded beach and that was what we did exactly.  My friend shut off the car and left his wallet and keys behind and ran to the lake and jumped in; yelling with joy the whole way.

I opened my passenger door and put my foot in the sand and that is when I saw it.  

Right under my feet was a shed snake skin that was the size of a Buick.  I was frozen and my mind immediately considered that there is a possibility that a snake that large could very well be hanging around, waiting to make me its dinner.  Then, I realized that the weather was super hot but snakes need water too, so there were probably snakes IN the water with my friend.  I screamed out some extremely colorful and descriptive expletives which drew the attention of my friend who ran up the beach, certain that I was having some sort of mental breakdown.

I explained to him the eminent threat we were under and it was time to go do DEFCON 2.  

He reached down and picked up the snake skin and I noticed that it wasn't quite as big as I thought it was.  He laughed, I didn't.

As we tried to leave we realized that we could not because the car was, you guessed it, stuck in the sand.  Fortunately for us, a park ranger lady came by and broke protocol and helped us get out of that dire mess.  She got back into her truck and smiled at us and said, "I think you boys took a wrong turn because the beach with parking is about 1/2 of a mile east of us."

We eventually made it to Yuma, and found nothing there so we drove on to Phoenix.  And no; no more wrong turns.

There were times on that trip when we was sure that we wouldn't make it and were going to have to go full commando to survive because we didn't have a map and they didn't have GPS readily available then.  Somehow we made it.  There are many who would call it Divine providence, while others would call it dumb luck; it was a warning shot over our bow, I think.  It was the Creator telling us that the events of that day were symbolic of many days like that in the future.  My friend seemed to be paying attention more than I was because I keep on making wrong turns.  Even so, I still seem to make it back on track.  

I've gone through some changes in my life and some of them were phenomenal while others scared the crap out of me.  Even in the midst of changes or revelations and lessons learned, there will always be skeptics who will try to devalue what you're experiencing and wrestling with.  If we remain vigilant however, the naysayers will be silenced and left only to question whether or not they should be experiencing something similar themselves.  

Of course, that is just my opinion and I hope I'm wrong.