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The Embodiment of Cool February 11, 2016

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Blogging.
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Charles BeldArgue all you want, but there has never been a man who embodied more cool than my Uncle Charles. He could fix almost anything, almost always wore a smile, and had a joy for life that was downright contagious.

Yes, the glasses in the pic look a bit dorky today. So?

I think his handwriting, which Mom told me was always beautiful (even on letters written in a foxhole during WWII), is the only characteristic of Charles that I haven’t tried to emulate at some point during my life. (I even took up smoking, albeit briefly, in spite of it certainly leading to his death.

Summer vacations at their house were filled with trips to the nearest store (whichever one sold the latest Revell plastic car kit, some Testor’s glue, and as much paint as they dared allow us to play with), playing football in the Zoysia-grass yard, helping him cut some roses from his garden for his wife, and hopefully eating homemade biscuits with sliced tomatoes (picked just before dinner). As dusk settled in, we would sit on the front stoop and drink Coke from little bottles and listen to the race cars a few miles away at Ohio Valley Raceway.

Before bedtime, if we were lucky, we would mix up some “dog’s mess” (an ice cream float in a bowl). That probably explains some of my weakness for sweets.

After he died, my Aunt Lorraine (who died last Monday) gave me his collection of Popular Electronics magazines, which covered a span from the late 60’s through ’72. Since I could no longer talk to Charles, or go visit him every Summer, I read these magazines cover-to-cover, imagining Charles reading them a few years before I did.

I soaked up everything I could, and by the time I decided to study electronics in high school, I already had a very solid foundation. I knew Charles had used what he learned from these magazines to build his own stereo system and speakers, and so I built the same kinds of things from the plans I found in those pages.

When I began driving, I wanted a fast car like Charles’ ’57 Bel Air. I wanted to drive like he did (I tend to drive too fast), fix my own car like he did (I generally can), and look as cool as he looked when he would take the wheel and let Tom and I accompany him on a trip to the store. When we returned, he would pause after we crossed the railroad tracks and see how fast we could go on the (nearly private) two-lane road that led to their house.

He always made us promise, with a grin, to not tell Aunt Lorraine about this. (When I asked her about it a few years ago, she said she knew, and that Charles knew that she knew, because it was impossible to not hear the sound of the Bel Air racing down the road.) I always felt bad for keeping a secret from her, so it makes me smile she knew, all along.

This week, in saying goodbye to Lorraine, I realized that I’m saying goodbye to Charles, again, 44 years later.

He’s still cool.

Ode to Tuesday’s Awakening February 2, 2016

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Blogging.
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Behold! The sound in the distance! It draws near!
Upright I sit in bed, no longer beholden to fantasies of my slumber.
I must awaken with haste!

The behemoth, I hear it. He snarls and coughs the cough of a diesel and cries with the scream of grinding gears. He approaches, even now! (more…)

Penny and the Whispering Pines January 18, 2016

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Poetry.
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Against the pale blue sky stood a whispering Pine
Majestic and proud with its height
Distracted by thoughts and cares of the day
I confess that I noticed it not

But amidst the crackle of dead winter leaves
Discovered with every step
The voice of the Pine gently whispered to us
As wind through its needles was caught

The look in your eyes told me you heard it too
Lifting your face to the sun
In silence we sat as the Pine told its tale
And the history of every knot

The Maple and Oak nearby quietly sleep
Perhaps they have nothing to say
But in stillness the voice of the whispering Pine
Shares the solace of win’try thought

  

A Long Walk January 2, 2016

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in death, Family, life, Love.
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It’s about 3:00 AM, and my sister and I just finished helping our 94 year-old aunt make the trip to and from the bathroom. My aunt awoke around 2:15, needed help getting out of the recliner she now sleeps in, needed some help using her walker to navigate the 30′ trip (she’s fallen several times recently), and required both help and a bit of coaching to complete the return trip.

As you might surmise from the starting and ending times, we didn’t set any speed records on our trip. However, this isn’t written to complain about the early hour, the duration of the trip, or any inconvenience this represents to me.
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Fiction: Good Help is Hard to Find June 1, 2014

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Fiction, Horror.
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Ed Note: This story contains some strong language as well as horrific imagery.

“Tickets! Have your tickets ready!”

The voice roused Scott. He wondered how long he’d been out. That was some nap.

He checked his watch… but it wasn’t there. Neither was his phone.

Now he was wide awake.

“I’ve been robbed!” he said aloud.

As soon as he spoke, he regretted doing so. He wasn’t on his train.

train

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