Two Heroes

Blog life comes and goes.  There are days when I can’t get enough of looking, reading, learning, meeting new bloggers…  Sharing the thoughts I have with the unknown world.  Sharing thoughts I have with others that may be going through similar situations or experiences.

Then there are days that I am full.  Days that my “regular” life is happy.  Days that I don’t need to share because I can share with loved ones personally.

There is a happy medium that I must find.  That we all must find.  Where is this medium?

Life on March 13, 2015 is one of ups and downs.  Refer to the post about this being the first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Years Eve without my ex-wife.  Well, as some of you may recall, I am an educator.  Being an educator means I have spring break off from work.  This is my first spring break without my ex-wife.

A blessing and a curse.  I only left town for a few days with my father to attempt a 3-day golf excursion with my uncle (father’s brother).  It snowed.  It rained, it froze.  Golf was not played.  But what was played were the memories shared between two 70-ish something brothers.  One fought in the Korean War and then raised a family by working for a major oil company.  The other was a First Lieutenant going off to Vietnam in 1968 but was miraculously called to Germany for the duration of the war.  He then came back and raised a family by working for a different major oil company.  Both men are modern day warriors.  Both men are Heroes. Both men are role models of the last of the Great Generation.  They believe in God… They believe in what is fundamentally right… They believe in conservative values… They believe in helping those that can not help themselves…  They both believe in love.  They believe in integrity.

I followed behind them most of the trip.  I took pictures from the background.  These two fine gentleman sharing their stories, drinking Bourbon and wine, eating fine food, and enjoying the life they have created.

Each one has experienced tragedy.  Each man has lived.  Each man passes their knowledge to a 44 year old educator who struggles to follow in their footsteps.  I try and pick up any morsel of wisdom that drops from their lips.  It comes in the image of a joke, a thought, a statement, or a question.

I will remember Spring Break of 2015 for the rest of my life.  I walked with giants.

God give me strength to become at least half of the man these two brothers are before I lay my head down for the final time.

Learning from those around me

Learning from those around me

Yesterday an old high school buddy of mine (divorced too) and I went out on what would best be described as a “Pup Crawl”.  This adventure started at 10:30 AM and continued until about 8 PM.  This was to be an all-day jaunt around the area.  My buddy invited some others to join us along the way. But each of those individuals were like characters in my new chapter of life.

In the past I would go out in order to laugh, to act foolish, to have a good time.  Lately I am not as interested at this.  It is not that I didn’t have fun… Everyone knows I laughed and even acted foolish at times.  My focus has just shifted.

I was watching people and observing how they interact with those around us.  I want to learn why people do what they do.  I tried to learn why things happen the way they do.  The people I interacted with I truly wanted to know their story.  I asked questions that would make people pause.  The frankness the openness and honesty that I approached them was unique.  I think I am living life differently because I want to learn what is next for me in the second half of my life?

It might just be as simple as I care more about the people around me.

I say this but then I remember what my buddy at work always says.  “Name someone other than a family member that you actually like.”  He probably knows me more than anyone at work.  We talk about everything together.  He is completely different than me in his race, religion, politics, economic level, etc… But he knows me well.  He is correct in the fact that for the first 3 years we knew each other I was married.  I did not allow people to get close to me.  I have always been friendly but aloof.  Why bother?  I had everything I needed.  Everyone thinks I like them because I act like I do.  I just was not really interested in their true being.

I can’t hold this against my buddy.  He sees me only at work.  I am the “boss” so I have a belief system that you do not mix play with work.  So, I purposely put a wall up between myself and everyone.

But lately I have been wondering if my buddy is correct.  Maybe I do this outside of work too?

That leads us back to the ‘Pup Crawl’

Late in the afternoon the owner of the last pub we visit brings an older gentleman into the sitting area we had taken over.  I instantly become interested in learning everything I can about this gentleman.  I will call him Bob for simplicity sake.

Bob and I hit it off splendidly.  I start to learn about Bob’s life, job, belief systems, etc…  Bob is a “seaman”.  He has a home base in Houston and one in Prog, Czechoslovakia.   He has been divorced for over 30 years.  He was married for almost as many.  His kids are grown and older than me.  Bob is 72 years old.

I do digress in the story a moment and start to think about that country song, People are Crazy by Billy Currington.

It fit exactly what was happening with Bob and I.  I was waiting for Bob to give me a great nugget of wisdom like Currington sang, “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”

What I did learn is that Bob highly recommended a few books.  One is Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up, by James Hollis.  Bob said this book will put everything I am seeking into perspective.

So maybe my “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy” has yet to be found?  Maybe I will find it in the words of Hollis?

I have a feeling that Hollis will not have as large of an impact on me as Bob the seaman did.

A few other nuggets Bob passed on to me:

  • Create a budget and look at it daily. Keep every receipt and know exactly to the penny what you have at all times. (I have this one covered)
  • Be selfish. Don’t be so American. Take care of you first. Imagine your drowning in the water along with another. If you don’t save yourself first you can’t save the others. (I think I’m good here)
  • Embrace being alone. Solitude is good (Im learning)
  • Write (I have been doing this)
  • Create two homes in different parts of the world. This will allow you to flip your perspective (need to think about this. Maybe North Dakota? Lol)
  • Don’t get remarried (disagree)
  • Buy a sports car for fun and a regular car for daily activity. (ok, I’ll start working on this)
  • Think before you talk. Pause and slow down. (Need to work on this)

What was interesting to learn, is that talking to an older guy drew the interests of a few ladies.  The table next to us was a lady in her 40s and another in her early 30s/late 20s.  The younger one kept smiling at me the entire time.  I can see the desperation in those eyes.  The loneliness, self doubt, and hurt… a longing for happiness.   She was a very pretty girl that finds herself eating cake on her birthday at a bar.   I had to walk past her table once to go to the restroom.  Really, cake??  Like the nice guy I am I paused and asked, “Is it your birthday?”  She laughed and offered me a bite.  I declined (cake and beer have never been a good mix for me…. Just saying).  But here I am more interested in talking to my new friend Bob than any one night stand.  I have changed…  As I leave the bar with Bob, I see the sadness in her dark circled eyes as I walk past telling her to order ice cream too.  I’m not here to fix the sadness in those around me.  Poor girl.  I’m sure she is waking up in some strangers bed right now (as I type this blog entry) hoping that he will call her in the next day or two knowing he will not.  Amazing how much hurt is in the world.

Bob also gave me his email and asked me to keep in contact with him once I read the book by Hollis.  I will and then I will give Bob the link to this post.

Bob….If you are reading this… I was honored to meet you.  Safe journeys my friend.