I DID IT MY WAY

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I am not sure of the real source of the problem. I admit that I am hearing impaired, but I think there are times that the General mumbles. She doesn’t have a tendency to be passive aggressive, so I’m not suggesting she purposefully blotches communication. Who knows, it may have had some relationship to the fact that I was dozing. Late night television is always a challenge for me.

 

Seriously, when you get up at 4:00 a.m. on a regular basis, the body is ready for sleep about 9:00 p.m. Truth be told, I am not always awake at 9:00 p.m.; however, I am never in bed that early. I could just as easily be sitting on the sofa and appear semi-comatose in terms of being attentive to the sound of HGTV. Sometimes I am startled by the sound of the General ordering me to stand up. By the time I’m on my feet following the instructions I’ve been given, I cognitively process the fact that I’m not hearing the sound of the Star Spangled Banner. So why am I standing?

 

I’m standing because the General wants me to be more attentive. I think she sometimes personalizes my inability to stay awake. Of course she does! I can fall asleep watching anything on television, but I’m as wide-eyed as I can be when I sitting in front of a computer screen. She’s made that observation on more that one occasion and I’d be hard-pressed to refute it.

 

It is almost as though the hand movements on the keyboard and the thought processes involved in communicating to my fingers what to type are the causative effect of my alertness. Maybe it’s the opportunity for creativity? When it comes to real talent, I’m at the end of the line. I can sit down at a piano and effectively find “Middle C”, but when it comes to crafting a tune, knowing where to find “Middle C” doesn’t help much.

 

I also couldn’t carry a tune if my life depended upon it. However, I love the sound of music. The same is true of art. I couldn’t put anything on a canvas that anyone would want to see. I remember the “paint-by-numbers” painting attempts during childhood. When it comes to art, I’m a dud.

 

For the past several weeks, I’ve been gifted with the friendship of a man who shared a hooch with my brother in Nam Phong, Thailand. In case you’re not familiar with the term “hooch”, it is not does not mean “cheap or illegal alcohol or marijuana”. It is a term descriptive of troop’s quarters in SE Asia. Though we’ve not yet met in person, we’ve shared a lot of electronic communication. The man is amazingly resourceful and I have the sense that he is always a step ahead of his game. Honestly, he falls into the “gifted and talented” category.

 

In yesterday’s mail, I received a really kind and thoughtful letter from Bob. Of course, he signed it “Semper Fi & best regards”. That notation highlights the fact that inauguration into the U.S. Marine Corps is a life-changing and permanent induction into a camaraderie of a “few good men and women”. He added a postscript at the end of his letter: “Enclosed is a ‘surprise’ for you and Treva. I never told you Sally is a professional singer that decided not to follow her dream of Broadway…” She, too, clearly falls into the gifted and talented category. “Reminisce” is the name of the C.D. included with his correspondence and the music is amazing! In addition, every song tells a story.

 

My son telephoned early evening. He wanted to know what I was doing. When I said, I’m in my office, he responded: “Don’t forget to spend some time with Mom.” So I invited the General to ride with me to Dripping Springs to pick up my laundry. I know, it sounds like a big night out doesn’t it? Actually, the cleaners sent me a text message: “Your cleaning order is ready. Total due $85.39”.

 

Surely the total due amount couldn’t be right? I had dropped my laundry off earlier that morning. I counted the shirts as I put them in the orange bag. There were twenty-one shirts and three pair of pants to be washed and ironed. I also included one pair of slacks to be dry-cleaned so I could get the discount. As it turned out, the amount provided me in the text was incorrect. I saved $10 with the discount. If I ever stop working, I’ll iron my own shirts.  If you’re wondering why the General doesn’t do them, don’t ask.

 

While we were out an about, I suggested we go out for dinner. She declined.  She had already prepared homemade soup, so we went back home instead. One of the nice things about the “clean out your closet” regime the General has embraced, it gave me a little more room in the closet. My encroachment of what she considers her half was purposefully subtle, but I moved a few things over and pray to God she doesn’t make the discovery.

 

So how did we spend the remainder of the evening? Last night was different kind of night for us. The General wanted to watch the Inaugural Ball. Why? You tell me! I am sixty-nine years old going on a thousand and three and I don’t recall ever watching an Inaugural Ball. I would have been much more “at home” watching HGTV. I guess you could say that “I’m a creature of habit.”

 

Like I said: “Late night television is always a challenge for me”. I don’t know if I was dozing, but with the same level of intensity that, “Stand Up” carries when I hear it from the General, she got my full attention. So what did she say? “Where’s you phone?” It was a strange question. Obviously, I was dozing. I didn’t even hear the phone ring. I jumped up from the sofa to look for my phone. I still didn’t hear it ringing. I asked: “What did you say?” Once again she responded: “Where’s your phone.”

 

I found my phone. It was in the pocket of my robe. “My phone isn’t ringing”, I asserted. She looked at me as though I had lost reason of my senses and replied: “I didn’t say anything about your phone. I said: ‘There’s your song’. I will let you figure out what I missed, but she’s right. What’s true for me, could possible be true for you.

 

“And now, the end is near

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I’ll say it clear

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full

I traveled each and every highway

And more, much more than this, I did it my way”

 

The challenge we all face is the opportunity we’ve been given to “Do it His way” rather than “our way”.

 

All My Best!

Don

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