REMEMBERING WALTER

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Remembering Walter who passed away three years ago:

April 1939 – March 2014

Junior was his childhood name, which he disliked immensely. But this fact only became known to me as an adult. Growing up together “Junior” taught this boy how to net butterflies, assemble an aquarium and catch sunfish naming only a few. He was more than a cousin; he was my friend. He was a multi-talented man with the greenest of thumbs. He could plant any seed, any time of the year and have it grow into something beautiful. My sister Ruth and I were his childhood actors. Walter would write and direct plays staring us. This included costumes but never an audience. We would happily rehearse our parts over and over until they met with the director’s approval. I must admit he tried, unsuccessfully, to teach maturity to me, but my alcoholism would not allow it. I admired him immensely and never shared that fact. I cried today when hearing of his passing. Walter Szczublewski was a gift to this world, and we will see each other again when I go to my mansion in the sky. We shall net butterflies, build aquariums, and I will call him Walter.

DANCING IN THE DARK

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Through the eyes of alcoholics reality is not seen

Casting down a glass

They choose instead to drink from the bottle

Brightness is sought in the dead of night

Darkness arrives in the morn

When liquid hell permeates the brain

The alcoholic’s intellect mirrors insight

Truth speaks otherwise

 

Unceasing rain batters the windshield making it near impossible to see. The road is dirt, dropping off into ditches on both sides. These trenches are waterways deep enough to swallow any vehicle leaving the road. Darkness is having a dinner party, and the guest list includes disaster; I pray it does not show.

I am awash in fear, voices yell in my head in cadence with water flinging wipers. I am a drunk in need of a drink. The need is three weeks old. Thoughts lurch through brain cells like angry fire flies, they blink, they scold. You desensitized all your relationships, such a fool you are! If you had pictures on the mantle they would only be of you. Your daily life makes nightmares seem like a very peaceful place. Loser is what you are!

His name is Jordan, the man I am driving to see. Jordan has somehow remained sober for thirty-six years and I want what he has. I was given his name at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. AA members tell me sobriety heals the mind. Continuing to drink will insure death, sheer spurning guaranties lunacy. Wild bees begin to swarm inside my psyche, and voices yell in the darkness. Jordan’s log cabin appears between wiper swipes. Pulling in to the drive, I sense something in the back seat and quickly leave the car slamming the door. Walking onto the porch, the door opens without knocking.

“You do know there are two kinds of dry Bobby, and you’re mighty wet; welcome to the cabin, I’m Jordan. Let me take your jacket. Go sit by the fire, I’ll pour us coffee. Nasty night to be driving, did you have any trouble getting here?”

“Never bothered me a bit Jordan, they call me Mr. Tough.”

“A rough dude I see, coffee black?”

“Yeah black is fine.” My shaking hands spill coffee. I set the cup on the barn wood table.

“When was your last drink Bobby?”

“Three weeks ago.”

“You do not need coffee, Mr. Shaky, you need sugar. I keep a jug of orange juice with Karo syrup in the fridge; I’ll pour you a glass.”

“Fine, and don’t call me Mr. Shaky.”

“If you want me to be your sponsor I’ll call you what I damn well please. If you really want to get sober, the first word to learn is acceptance, a day at a time. Now chug down the juice, I’ll pour you another.”

The warmth of the cabin and several glasses of Jordan’s super juice calm me. “Jordan I did not mean to be nasty but it’s the way I am.”

“I was the same way Bobby, took me seven to ten years to unravel the spaghetti in my head.”

“That long! Are you telling me ten years? I’ll be dead in ten years.”

“I’m telling you how long it took me to be completely sober. That does not mean your quality of life lags behind. When I first started attending AA meetings I was completely insane.”

Are you calling me crazy? Don’t you think insane is a bit much?”

“No Mr. shaky, insane is what we are. Consider this; you are in a room with two doors. Behind door one is a three hundred pound guy with a ball bat. Behind door two is a blonde in a Corvette. A drunk will choose door one, get beaten by that bat, over and over and over. That is what we do, every time we take another drink, and yes, it is insanity. How many years have you been drinking?”

“Eleven years old is when I had my first drunk, and now I’m thirty-six, do the math; I cant think.”

“Twenty-five years, twenty-five years of door number one, qualifies as being insane. Bobby, what drove you to AA?”

“I discovered I drank when I did not want to drink. My life is like living in a trash can! I’ve lost my job, wife, kids…but I, I still wanted… no needed to drink.”

“You are powerless over alcohol Bobby; powerless! Your life is unmanageable. If you do not stop drinking, you will die; understand? There is only one way. Make a decision to turn your will and life over to the care of God. If the word God pushes you away from AA, the bottle will push you back. Are you are an alcoholic Bobby?”

“Yes I am I am.”

I begin sobbing, and time seems to stand still. I can feel hate, and resentments clawing their way out. All of the despicable things I have done were flashing through my mind. Seeing the real me without a fake facade is crushing my ego. Pain shaking hands with joy is the most awkward feeling wounding yet healing.

“Go ahead and cry Bobby, just let it out. Everything inside this home stays here.”

For the next hour and a half I pour out my sordid past. Every horrid happening, never divulged to a living soul, lay bare. I had lied about much of the past. The real truth plus lies, having been spun in minds blender, leaving me unable to distinguish between reality and make believe.

“That is all Jordan, the garbage truck is empty; I am ashamed.”

“Don’t be. I’ve heard worse. Now bury it right here, covering it with a shovel; then break the shovel handle so it will never be dug up.” Jordan, pausing for a moment, continues.Have you ever wondered why rear view mirrors are smaller than windshields?”

Never thought about it.”

They allow only a glimpse of what is behind you. Windshields offer a panoramic view of what is in front of you. The point is this; do not dwell in the past live in the present.”

“Is this the meaning of a day at a time?”

“Yes, yesterday is history tomorrow a mystery, just live today. It is going to take sometime but if you stick with me you will have a life that will be beyond belief.”

“How did you stay sober for so long?”

“I keep repeating a quote from the poet Dorothy Parker, which I have turned around; I’d rather have a frontal lobotomy then a bottle in front of me.”

Jordan, reaching into a drawer, retrieves a copy of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is yours Bobby, take it home and read Chapter five. If you feel like taking a drink call me first, I will answer twenty-four seven. Today is Tuesday, I’ll see you at my home group Wednesday at eight PM. Walk slow, and drink lots of orange juice with Karo syrup.”

“Thanks Jordan, will you be my sponsor?”

“Yes, Mr. Shaky, I will.”

As I drive away, I soon realize an unusual feeling is present. One not felt in such a long time I cannot describe it. What is this, this sensation? I begin to cry again, as I identify the lost feeling; it is peace. Smiling with wet eyes I turn on the radio for the first time in years. The song is Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark, and I think; I can make it; I can make it a day at a time.

Winds of change in sobriety become puffs

Pouring down from mountains of hope

Storm clouds form not and

Pain no longer travels on currents of regret

ICICLES

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Icicles

By

D. Edwin Burbee

It is a wintery evening as people leave work to start and brush snow from cars. Laughter seasoned with see you tomorrow blends and fades into darkness. One man remains walking first left then right and stops, his mind races. I do not know where I parked my car. Budding fear soon blossoms into terror as he checks his pockets. No keys, no wallet, My God help me, where am I? The streets are empty he is completely alone. I must get home I have been gone for weeks. He begins to run aimlessly, cold air burns his lungs with tears freezing to his face.

Icicles captured by a clothesline tinkle lightly, softly, played by unseen fingers of breeze. Translucent piano keys, suspended necklace-like from the once taunt line, perform micro symphonic music. A high-pitched clinking, much like the sound glass objects make when they knock against each other, creates a grouping of sounds; a tune. The melody attracts, captivates, and hypnotizes the man rapt by this mellow music, and he wonders is this the key that unlocks my memory?

Ernie wakes drenched in a cold sweat. “It is the same awful nightmare,” he mumbles, “identical situation every night for weeks; ever since I was hit by that Acura, and ate an air-bag.”

A ringing phone shatters thoughts. Ernie picks up the receiver with a moist shaking hand; “hello.”

“Mr. Savage this is Coastal Neuropsychology, Doctor Sweeney’s office, calling to confirm the appointment you made last week. It is for tomorrow.”

“Thank you, it’s at one correct?”

“Yes, at one.”

“I’ll be there.”

As Ernie thumbs through magazines in DR. Sweeney’s waiting room, a nurse beckons him in. “Good afternoon Mr. Savage I’m Doctor Sweeney.”

“You can call me Ernie.”

“Alright its Ernie then, what is troubling you?”

“Nightmares, actually singular as in nightmare every night it is exactly the same.”

“Can you tell me the basic content?”

“I dream I have amnesia it is real, petrifying. I need to go home but I do not know where I am”

“Do you know where home is?”

“No, but the need to quickly get there is overpowering.”

“Ernie I’ve gone over tests from your accident and no physical damage is indicated. It appears the emotional component may be the reason for this nightmare. What do you see?”

“A frozen clothes line with icicles hanging and the wind causes them to chime musically. I become enchanted by the sound believing it holds a solution to my amnesia. Yet, all the while, my brain is in turmoil trying to think where I am. Every time I sleep the nightmare returns, the same. I believe that soon I will not wake up; I can not take much more of this!” Ernie begins sobbing, rocking back and forth in the chair.

“Easy Mr. Savage, relax. I have a few more questions, are you up to it?” Breathing deeply

Ernie calms, “I am fine go ahead doctor.”

“During this dream are you cold?”

“No, I realize it is cold but I do not feel cold.”

“Any background, can you see anything else?”

“It appears to be white all around me.”

“Go home and take these sedatives. You need rest. Relax Ernie; we will find the underlying cause of this. Call me if anything changes.”

“Thank you Doctor.”

Ernie leaves Doctor Sweeny’s office and returns home. Washing down pills with water, he collapses on the sofa, falling asleep immediately. He comes to hours later, trembling violently. A riveting thought shocks; I must see Dr. Sweeney, the nightmare changed.

Ernie returns to the Doctor’s office. His appearance conveying the condition within.

Wearing the same clothing from the last visit, he is also wearing a vacant stare.

“Sit here Mr. Savage; I’ll have my nurse bring a glass of water. Your phone call suggests the nightmare has changed?”

“Yes, as I stare at the icicles I hear a voice calling my name.

“Do you recognize the voice?”

“No but it sounds like a women.”

“Ernie, are your parents alive?”

“No, I’m adopted”

“At what age were you adopted?”

“My earliest memory is being nine years old.”

“And you have no recollection of an earlier time?”

“No, not at all.” My adopted parents are both deceased, killed in a fire while I was in college. A

social worker told me that my mother lost her life in a plane crash, however I have no knowledge of my father.”

“Go home and attempt to rest. I will research records using your Social Security number to shed some light on your past. If I discover any relevant information, I will call you. Feel free to call if your condition worsens.”

“Yes Doctor.”

Upon returning home, Ernie lays down on his couch. Within minutes, he is

asleep. Seeing the icicles once again, their charismatic tinkle bewitchingly freezing his stare.

“Ernest, come inside honey it is too cold and everyone is waiting for the birthday boy.

How that boy loves the outdoors, why he would live out there if I didn’t call him in.”

“Let him play awhile Millie, he’s well dressed.”

“I know, but he is all I have. When I fly to New York next week just make sure, he wears his leggings when outdoors.”

“Aunt Alice will be in charge, now how about a glass of port on the rocks?”

Glasses are filled with ice and wine while Alice lights the five candles on Ernie’s cake. The two women sing happy birthday. Ernie blows out the candles everyone claps and cheers.

“Open your present Ernest, your mother can’t wait.”

“Thanks Mommy.” Ernie rips off the wrapping paper revealing a glass globe music box. Inside is a winter scene, a washerwomen is hanging clothes on a line; Icicles hang among clothing. Ernie turns the box on and a tinkling chime-like melody plays.

Jesus loves me, this I know For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong They are weak, but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so


A hospital loudspeaker blares; Code Blue room 234…Code Blue room 234….

At lunch, a nurse asks an intern, “What was your Code Blue for?”

“For Ernest Savage, the guy who was in a car wreck and has been in a coma since he was

admitted last week; he passed away.”

“I often wonder if a person in a comatose condition has the ability to think.”

“There is no answer to your question but he died with the most pleasant expression on his face.”

CLOWNS STILL HAVE JOBS

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Most folks recall Nancy Pelosi telling the local elected officials assembled that Congress “[has] to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy.” Although Democrats claim, her statement was taken out of context, the framework of the entire comment drips with Demo-speak.
Last night, and into today, Democrats stalled voting on a new healthcare bill by making a clerk read the entire bill, page by page.
The best writers of satire could not have contrived the absolute irony of this request. The hypocrisy of the Democratic Party glows brighter than a carbon arc light at a Wal-Mart opening. Ringling Brothers may have taken down their tent but clowns still have jobs as members of the Democratic Congress…

MEN’S BEST SHORT STORIES

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AVAILABLE TODAY AT AMAZON.COM AND BARNES & NOBLE

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http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mens-best-short-stories-larry-parr/1125515108?ean=9781612968223

PELOSI PIFFLE

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To quote a recent comment by Nancy Pelosi:”We don’t wear our religion on our sleeve” is an interesting remark from a Roman Catholic who supports abortion and same-sex marriage…To wear on one’s sleeve means to express an emotion, belief, or stance overtly and make it an important part of one’s public life…This seems perfectly normal for Christians…She also said; “Democrats are people of faith and Republicans prey on the American people”…First of all this women plays the same word game taught to other Liberals, the inclusive ALL…When you make a naked reference to 100 million folks, without quantifying it you have said all…The remark, all Republicans prey on the American people, teeters on the insane…Judge not in the Biblical sense requires the component of condemnation, and let me be very clear; I am judging her…She is a public figure demeaning Christianity via hypocrisy…”The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.” (Psa. 37:30)… As to Republicans duping the American people Pelosi shines a very bright light on her hypocrisy…”You can keep your doctor” is the poster expression of preying on the American people…”You must sign Obama care without reading it” runs a close second…Folks, the depth of moral depravity that the existing leaders of the Democratic party (yes i mean all) have sunk to is unprecedented in my lifetime and for that matter in American history…Enter President Trump; drain the swamp!

THE SHIP OF MADNESS

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THE SHIP OF MADNESS

 

Obama has left a trail, which a Boy Scout could follow, of data proving his disdain, and hatred for Israel. If and when all the latent underhanded knowledge of his administration becomes known prepare to be lighting struck. There is a strong under current, yet present, to convert our beloved Republic to Socialism. Democrat leaders, in my opinion, illustrate successful brainwashing enhanced by money lots of money. This solves their usage of insane commentary, which is so obviously contradictory. Hired gangs conduct the campus riots, rioting protesters are hired thugs. Do you not see this? Anarchy is contrived now in an attempt by Democrats to create havoc. They lost, therefore foot stomping until shoes wear out is not enough. We are now merely seeing the tip of an iceberg, and it is going to get worse. Dynamic leadership of Americans, who no longer accept the attempted destruction of this great nation, will sink their ship of madness …Be strong America, and place your faith in Our Lord Jesus

 

 

John Has a Church Nearby

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John Has a Church Nearby

By

D. Edwin Burbee

The road stretching in front of me, its distance grinding down the will to continue is causing hypnotic staring. A plume of red dust, with hues of brown, flour like in texture arrive in my face curbing the distant gaze. Thick wooded pines, like soldiers at attention, stand guard on my right. To the left, fields of weeds appearing as uncombed hair wandering to the horizon speak words inside my head. This is desolation. But this is what you were longing for, isn’t it? Yes it is. I am an alcoholic with 3 months of sobriety. Backpacking in the Adirondack Mountains, retreating from everyone and everything is crucial. Without calluses on my feelings, once numbed with whiskey, being alone keeps sanity tight and close. My name is Ernie.

Thirty-one is too young for a drunkard, I told myself. It is not really a problem, I told myself…Lies, all lies! I took my first drink at six never stopping until May of this year. Every member of my immediate family was alcoholic; may they rest in peace. It is not their fault; “in the blood” says my AA sponsor. The search for an answer brings my distortion to this empty yet beautiful place. What am I looking for? That is mysterious. Pushing me forward is a compelling power, seeking insight just around a distant curve of path. I am a living puzzle, the 1,000 piece size, born containing 999.

The Tongue Mountain Range trail was my choice with lean-tos for overnight camping. The down side is timber rattlers; these are large snakes some approaching five feet. The upside is they are a great source of protein; The Ruger SP101, on my belt, is loaded with snake shot for that purpose. Seeing an unoccupied lean-to in the distance, I stop to set up camp.

Removing my backpack, I hear the sound of footsteps, the voice of a women behind shouts “stopping for a break”.

“Yes, where did you come from”?

I’ve been following you for miles”, she replied. Odd, I thought; wonder why I never saw her? “Are you heading for Brown Mountain, My names Vicky”?

“I’m Ernie; Vicky was my mother’s name, what are the chances”?

“Must be karma”, she quipped.

“Actually, I don’t know where I’m headed, how about you? She did not reply, only smiled.

Then she spoke, “The look on your face plus tone of voice tells me your walking away from somewhere, not to; am I correct”?

“Look, I’m just on a hike are you some kind of seer”?

“Never been called that before, but that’s fairly close” she responded.

“Close, close to what?”

“Ernie lets start a fire and I’ll brew up some tea”.

“OK Ms. Seer, but watch out for snakes”.

“Snakes stay away from me Ernie”.

Fire started and water set to boil we sat down on a log, she spoke first.

“What are you searching for”? Her voice is melodic and when she speaks, a profound peace overwhelms.

“A solution to a problem Vicky, I’m a drunk, been dry since May, seeking a cure or a way to live without booze; make sense?” She poked at the fire. Sparks winking in darkness compliment the unusual feeling of peace.

Pausing a moment, her tuneful voice plays; “inside of everyone’s soul is a door without a knob. Behind that door is a closet with a cloak hanging on a hook. Most think past this door an entire lifetime”.

“Vicky, how do I open this door”?

“You knock and it opens, then you put on the robe. To tap on the door is accomplished by praying the sinner’s prayer”.

“Vicky, what are you some sort of minister”? Again, no reply just a smile.

Alright, what is the robe or cloak for”?

“It is the robe of forgiveness, a complete pardon awaits anyone who knocks and asks the Almighty One to forgive all past sins. Donning the robe marks you as His, gifting eternal life. But the road to life forever is strait not impassable; The Great Spirit will guide you, for you are no longer alone”. Reaching out she placed a stone in my hand. “What is this”, I inquire, and “it feels warm”.

“Ernie this is for you, it is syenite a form of granite. Keep it forever as a reminder of this moment. John has a church nearby, all your answers are there”.

“John, John who”?

She stood placing her hand on my shoulder, “John the Baptist”.

“This Church, how do I find it”?

“Just walk you’ll see…just walk”.

Opening the side flap on my backpack I placed the stone inside. “Thank you Vicky, would you like another cup of tea? Vicky”? She was gone! Looking up and down the trail there was no sign of her; vanishing almost instantly without a sound.

Sitting back down on the log, I begin to cry. Flowing tears of sorrow breach the dam of resentment. Manacles of memories melt instilling peace. The queen of sleep reintroduces herself; drifting, drifting then suddenly sunrise.

At daylight, I leave the lean-to and begin to walk, following an off-shoot path. There is not a thought as to direction, walking excitedly, and just placing one foot in front of the other. When the sun is high, a church steeple comes into view. Reaching the building I read the name, “Fellowship Baptist“.

The Minister greets me at the door. “What can I do for you”?

“I want to pray the sinner’s prayer and be saved” The words come out without thinking.

“At this time, you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, follow me”, he directed.

That was 34 years ago. Sobriety and the Great Spirit live within. The syenite rock is still in my pocket. I now know that Vicky is my Guardian Angel and one day we will meet again, only this time I will be wearing the cloak of forgiveness.

A SATANIC IDEOLOGY

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A SATANIC IDEOLOGY

Last night, in the state of Maryland, a young mother was shot to death in a liquor store. A twenty-three year old man was found shot to death in his car. Two dead and several wounded at a dance studio; every victim was Black. Why am I posting these murders? Simple stated no one appears to be outraged. Where are all those floor sitters?. You know the undignified Democrats who broke to feed their faces.

I am singling out the four dead from last night to make a point. Liberal’s have great difficulty grasping the meaning of “Assault Rifle”. This unveils a perceived lack of knowledge. I do not believe they lack the meaning of the phrase Assault rifle.I am convinced that the loudest Liberals are keenly aware of the difference between Automatic, Semi-Automatic, and that Assault rifles have a selector switch allowing a choice between the two.

My point is this; Black youth is being murdered via gunshot night after night after night without one word from those floor-sitters. In 2013 11,419 people were killed by gun fire. A few data-points. Of the 11,419 people who died from guns in 2013, 84% were male, and nearly half (48%) were under 30. Most were killed with a handgun, and the majority were Black. Elizabeth Warren remarked, “We lose 8 children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing 8 of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not so with gun violence”.

Ms. Warren is fixated on Assault Rifles. Does she actually believe the weapon of choice were Assault Rifles in the deaths of 11,419 people?  Of course not, she is very aware of the facts. So why do we constantly hear the opposite? The issue runs much deeper than an AR-15.  It runs past guns as a whole and shines a light on the real reason; disarm Americans. Not all Americans just Conservatives to keep the opposition armed. A loud clamor will erupt if you make this charge, but truth has a way of pushing back soil like a seedling; you cannot hide truth.In the past decade twenty-four Americans were killed by terrorist gun fire while 280,000 were killed by guns.

Does anyone reading this understand that you can pick a street in any major city where the hood is and with the proper cash purchase a gun? The serial numbers will be missing, which should wake you up. Not one of those Black Congressmen and women, not one of those Black leaders, no Liberal Senators are interested. NO ONE SEEMS TO GIVE A RIP AS BLACK KIDS DIE. Here is why, they want to disarm Conservative Americans. Addressing the enormous flow of every type of handgun, rifle, or shotgun illegally in the street would ruin their quest to add gun law upon gun law eventually reaching their goal. Folks, it isn’t about the hundreds of thousands of firearms easily trading hands every night in the street, it is not about the incredible number of Black kids that die each night. If it were, their agenda would dissolve; it is the satanic ideology of Liberal leaders; deftly orchestrated yet no longer hidden.

 

BRING BACK THE LIGHT

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Ever walk into a darkened restaurant on a bright sunny day? It takes awhile for your eyes to adjust…You need to get “use to it;”and that is what happened to many people; they became used to darkness…The darkness of Satan becomes normal over time…In the black ink of iniquity anything is acceptable…All matters of normal are altered to meet your lifestyle…If you have been saved, and accepted Jesus Christ as your savior then you have nothing to do with the new normal; nothing…PC is the roof over new normal…Inside is evil, where all forms of depravity hide…It is the complete absence of Jesus…America has gotten use to darkness…It wallows in sin…It is modern-day Sodom…Step out of the darkness into the waiting arms of Our Lord…A complete pardon awaits…Stop and define eternity, then ask yourself where would you rather spend it….