Simply 6 Minutes: Eternal Life

Rope Swing

I got a call from my mother one Saturday night: her aunt Cash, who I had known all my life, had died. I got the message that I was needed at home and arranged it with my manager at the time to be gone for a couple of days to attend the wake and funeral.

I flew into Chicago and my youngest brother and his father (my stepfather) met me at the plane (remember the days when you could do that?) and brought me home. The next evening was the wake. I had a chance to catch up with a few cousins and my aunts and uncles.

And it hit me: Cash was there. Not just the body lying in the casket, because right now that wasn’t her: that was just the 90 pounds of flesh, bone and blood that she had dragged around for 84 years. It was more than that. Her spirit was there, in every person that I talked to. It was a very real presence.

It made me think about the whole concept of eternal life. I had heard about eternal life from the nuns in grammar school, and remember the line from the Bible where Jesus said "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He (or she) who believes in me, even though he dies, will have eternal life." But, until that moment, I didn’t realize what that meant. I knew people I never met, because to the people they loved, they were still alive. They weren’t walking around, of course, but still alive in their minds, and maybe more importantly, in their hearts and souls.

Christine runs Simply 6 Minutes, and the the pingbacks are at her site.

Simply 6 Minutes: I Knew Him When

Hmm… looks like a misprint… let’s try this…

Back in the days when Saturday Night Live was actually funny, they did a sketch which I think was called "Dork, Geek, or Spaz?" It was a panel of high school students who would watch as various misfits would come out on stage, then they would decide whether the misfit was a dork, a geek, or a spaz. Kind of like the old TV show What’s My Line? where Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis, and Bennett Cerf were replaced by high school snobs. The last contestant to come out was (I think) played by Emilio Estevez, who was a new kid in the school and to all outward appearances was a pretty cool guy. Then, of course, the moderator (if you’re keeping score, John Charles Daly) pulls out the yearbook from his old school and reveals that the kid was the Dungeonmaster of the Dungeons and Dragons Club.

It’s bad enough when other people subject you to this sort of humiliation. It’s far worse when you do it to yourself. Your brain holds memories of everything that’s ever gone on in your life, the good stuff as well as the bad. It’s usually in the dead of night, when you wake up at 3 AM and can’t get back to sleep, that you’re reminded of the really bad stuff…

My stroke damaged an area of my brain and rerouted everything around it so that I could continue to function, and sometimes I think it routed things through the areas in my brain that hold the bad memories of things I did that I’m ashamed of, or things that I was shamed for. On the other hand, I have some really great dreams. Those might be a result of all the stuff I take to keep my blood pressure under control (so I don’t have another stroke), the antidepressant I take (just because), and/or the naproxen sodium I take way too much of to control the pain in my knees.

One things for certain: I’ll never go into politics. There are too many people with too much to blackmail me with.

I’m sure no one will mind my taking a moment to announce that this post #4000 on The Sound of One Hand Typing.

Christine over at Stine Writing makes Simply 6 Minutes happen.

Simply 6 Minutes: Missing People

Think of your best friend from grammar school, and ask yourself, "if I was in a jam, could I get on the phone and call that person to help?"

My guess is that better than half of you wouldn’t be able to. You might not even remember who your best friend in grammar school was, let alone how to get in touch with them. You might find some of your old classmates on Facebook, but if you remember them, will they remember you?

My mother was different. She met her best friend when she was ten, and they remained friends until Mom died. She showed me a picture from her 40th high school reunion and could recite the names of all the women. But they were acquaintances, except for her best friend. Still, she remembered everyone in that picture.

Mary (my wife) talks about seasons in friendships. You’re together with someone for a season, then you go your separate ways, not hating each other, maybe quite fond of the other person, but life somehow intervenes. And, except for the occasional memory, you hardly think of the other person. They’re out of season…

Written for Simply 6 Minutes

Simply Six Minutes: Helps Build Strong Bodies 12 Ways

You probably recognize, at least if you were a kid growing up in the US during the ’60’s, the title of this piece as the marketing slogan for Wonder Bread, which I haven’t seen in years, probably because I haven’t looked for it. I saw a commercial for it from the ’50’s and the slogan was "helps build strong bodies 8 ways." I guess technical advancements in the bread-making industry allowed the makers to increase the number of ways it builds strong bodies by 50%.

Almost 3 years ago, I wrote a blog post for Just Jot It January on a day when the prompt was boisterous. I drew a little heat for suggesting that it should be spelled boysterous, because the definition reads like the job description of a boy. Not that girls can’t be boisterous, as several of my fellow bloggers pointed out (no doubt thinking I was suggesting that they couldn’t), but boys seem to have a greater need for roughhousing and generally getting into trouble than girls do.

There was more that I was going to write, but the alarm just rang…

Christine at Stine Writing runs Simply Six Minutes. She has the rules over there, so follow the link…

Simply Six Minutes: Spider Dan

Christine over at Stine Writing invited me to be part of her blog hop, Simply Six Minutes, where we set a timer for six minutes and write, then post it. Sounds like my kind of thing, so my six minutes starts….NOW!

Mary and I were passing through downtown Chicago on our way to the Northwestern train to get me out to my folks’ house on Memorial Day, 1981. As we rode past the Sears Tower, Mary said "Is that a man climbing up the Sears Tower (at the time, the tallest building in the world at 1,450 feet/442 meters)?" I was skeptical, but a newscast later confirmed that there was a man named Dan Goodwin who was indeed climbing the Sears Tower. He had witnessed the MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas and saw where the Clark County Fire Department couldn’t save the lives of some of the people in the upper floors. He thought of a way to save those people and brought it up with the chief the next day, and the chief said he needed to climb a building that high to understand what the difficulties were. So he did. And got arrested, naturally.

He was back in Chicago in November to climb the John Hancock Building. When the fire chief learned this, he ordered several men to go up to an upper floor and block him from climbing any further. In doing so, the firefighters nearly knocked him off the building. Knowing this would be a PR nightmare, the mayor got hold of the old chief and told him to let Goodwin pass, then talked the chief into retiring. He had, after all, been the chief for a very long time, long enough that, when the White Sox won the American League pennant in 1959, he set off the air raid sirens to celebrate, putting everyone in the city in a Red Scare-induced panic…