Category Archives: A Pocket of Resistance

A potpourri of posts on a variety of topics, in other words, what’s currently on my mind.

Yesteryear: In My Dreams

Some History for Sam

Folks, i gotta tell you i had a glorious year back between 1957 and 1958. It was my eighth grade year. Then, things got off track. i had it all planned out, but the plans centered around my making it to 6-2 and topping out at 180. That didn’t happen.

i finally reached 180 but considering that part of the dream was 65 years ago, this is not a good thing. Although all of my friends kept growing, i stopped at 5-7. Good bye, dreams. Things got a bit off track, not bad, just off track.

But certainly those twelve months were as good as it ever got for me. i had played Babe Ruth baseball that summer of ’57 and caught Mike Gannaway, which continued on and off for another five years. He was a phenomenal pitcher, being awarded a baseball scholarship to Georgia Tech. When i wasn’t catching, i played shortstop, third base, and left field. i was a respectable fielder except for high fly balls hit straight at me. i was a banjo hitter but competed with Bobby Lannom for the batting average crown. He won and later went to Tennessee on a baseball scholarship where he captained the Vols.

Then came Lebanon Junior High School. Ahh, the stuff dreams are made of. i was co-captain of the Colts along with Jimmy Gamble, played fullback, and due to a misprint scored my one touchdown via a 447-yard punt return. We lost one game. i cried.

In basketball, i was the co-captain of the Blue Devils (Coach Jimmy Allen had changed the football team name, but Miles McMillan kept the high school moniker) along with Clinton Matthews. i quickly learned who was the star, and at point guard, i consistently fed Clint for those amazing layups. We lost one game. The lost was the final game of the year-ending tournament to a team we had beaten twice in the season.

i had a major role in the eighth grade operetta and the eighth grade play. i was in the glee club. i played piano (my last year of lessons) at a competition at George Peabody College in Nashville. The piece i played was something by Bach that sounded like a bumble bee to me. i didn’t win. Mrs. Gwaltney, one of my favorite people from my past and the piano teacher said most of her students would stop and start again when they made a mistake, but i just kept on playing like nothing had happened. i don’t remember that, but it sounds like a pattern was developing in more than piano.

Oh yeh, believe it or not, i made pretty good grades.

What happened? The football star’s growth was halted by genes. His parents, despite his kicking and screaming, sent him up on the Hill to Castle Heights Military Academy where post-graduates were bigger and faster. That by the way, was the right decision.

i certainly did all right, but that pattern of making mistakes and just keeping on chooglin’ kicked in big time.

Now, looking back, i wouldn’t change a thing. Even the things that didn’t work out kept teaching me about life. i have met some marvelous, marvelous people, and made incredible friends out the gumpstump. They still are my friends. i was married to two wonderful women who couldn’t abide my goofy ways for an extended period of time, but i loved them and still do.

All of this allowed me to go to sea, and eventually meet the most wonderful woman who is almost surely the only woman who could put up with me. i have two wonderful daughters and a great grandson. Approaching 80 (138 days to go to be exact…if i added right, which is a challenge), i have had a grand adventure.

But every once in a while, like when i start and restart organizing all of this stuff, i run across an envelope of photos that brings back yesteryear, like the one i discovered Friday in a shoe box on which i had written “Lebanon Junior High.” Memories explode like bottle rockets with Roman Candles. And i am in my dreams.

i hope you enjoy a snippet of that year:

Mike Gannaway and the goofy guy.
Henry Harding; Mrs. Burton, principal; Clinton Matthews; Brenda Hankins; the goofy guy with the school newspaper. Notice that this was one of the few days, Henry and i didn’t wear the same outfit.
Goofy guy, Sassy Ward, Mike Gannaway, Beverly Hughes.
The eighth grade play, “The Sunshine Twins.” Sassy and i were the twins. Henry played our father.
The twins with Laurene Smith, who played a talent scout.
The Sunshine Twins
Ginny Askew and Patricia Gillespie with the goofy guy.
El Grande Goofy, or Gabby Robinson.
A double exposure, but it is the only one i have of me with these two beautiful and wonderful women, Sharry Baird and Beverly Hughes.
The Junior High graduate.

i hope i haven’t bored you with my trip down memory lane, way down memory lane. All of these people remain dear to me.


Me, Old Me

Mind you, i am in pretty decent shape for an old man. My friends, family, doc (yeh, yeh, now all of you folks are likely aware health insurance concerns need to make it more technically for legal purposes so they can charge exorbitant prices to keep me safe and them financially independent), and the specialists say, “You are in great shape for someone about to turn 80, but let’s make sure in my specialty,” so i go through incredible tests that some make a small fortune off of me and my insurance, and they all seem to point out i have something that could kill me tomorrow but i shouldn’t worry.

So i feel old, wondering if giving up a bunch of stuff i like in lifestyle, diet, physical regimen, and on and on and on would be worth it.

Then i played golf, Friday Morning Golf, which i’ve been playing with military friends since 1991, and played like…er, like i am damn near 80, and got home and felt old.

After a long nap and a shower, i sat down at this infernal machine. But i shuffled my music from my library, not all that stuff that some computer thinks i should like, and a perfect song for me pops up.

Thank you, Don Williams and the Pozo Seco Singers. i feel better now.


The juggernaut of photo organization continues. i’m too stubborn to get a professional to do it, and i’m damn sure they couldn’t express what i feel about these. So, even if it isn’t possible to get these completed before 2384 when i will be 140 years old, i’m doing it my way, that is, haphazardly, the privilege of being an old curmudgeon. These two are special:

My buddy Ray with me and his daughter, my wife, in our first home on Red Oak Place, circa 1986-87. Man, i miss him.

And this one is an extra special memory, Maureen and i in my and JD Waits’ condo on Antigua Court in the Coronado Cays. JD’s 25-foot Cal sailboat sits outside in our boat slip. My shirt was likely a tee given to runners in a 10K somewhere. From our expressions, i could be attempting to get Maureen to watch Midget Wrestling reruns. It was 1982. We were not yet engaged.

Oh Lord, what a wonderful time in my life over the rainbow:

just past first light

just past first light,
been a while;
even the early riser
rarely catches first light
in the summer
when first light is earlier
than rising;
looking east nor’ east
Mount San Miguel,
which we intruders shorten
to Mount Miguel,
is resplendent with its backdrop
of the first light bringing gray,
then pink with the continuing
Sol rising,
then almost white, the sky
before becoming
blue, blue sky
of the Southwest corner;

didn’t notice her first;
too busy standing there,
looking at mountain and sky;
it is silent at first light,
cool, even refreshing,
reminding me of late August
back home in Tennessee
years ago:
blazing hot mornings
yielding to preview autumn
coolness bringing a sigh of relief, gladness;
her gleam caught my eye,
the lone gleam in the sky’s vastness;
she was dead east about twenty degrees
above the horizon in azure,
a perfect display of the Morning Star
bringing understanding why the ancients
named her Venus.

the world is silent as first light
grows to dawning
bringing contemplation
of how the Kumeyaay took it all in
before the intruders came
from the south then east,
taking the land,
turning it to easier habitation,
concrete, steel, towers;
draining a great deal
of what it used to be
down the drain, gone;
comprehending, perhaps,
how the ancients came to believe,
create their vision of god,
as others have elsewhere and before
with codes for living;
after all, such a god
would make sense of it all
give the ancients and us
a purpose for living
that makes sense
with Venus, the mountain, and dawn assuring
all is right;
standing there in modernity alone, silent,
taking in the vastness
of Mount San Miguel,
Venus in her glory, the Morning Star;

in a near silent murmur,
repeating the Lord’s Prayer to myself,
the Lord God of my forbears,
seeking purpose, solace
in the vastness of the morning
just past first light

A Few Thoughts on Stuff

While Maureen was away, i once again demonstrated an incredible talent for procrastination. As i often do, i sought out another pile of photos to sort and organize rather than something important with an actual chance of completing in the next hundred years.

But, you know what, i enjoy such dalliances. Memories are a treasure chest for old men.

Like the photo on the left. Ray Boggs, my father-in-law and one of my best friends is shown here. He is in the basement workshop of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, his version of heaven. He is creating the pilot seat of a World War II cargo plane. Plans and specifications had been lost over the years. The museum was creating a replica. Ray drew up the blueprints, researched other planes of the era and came up with the plans. Then, he built the seat, which was installed in the replica. The plane was flown once and then lowered through the roof and hung as an exhibit in the museum.

Ray, being Ray, did not brag about it, but it was obvious he was proud of his contribution.

The photo on the right is precious to me. We opted for Sarah to attend a Montesorri school for preschool and kindergarten before first grade. As Mister Mom, i got to take her and pick her up most of the time. Here she is on graduation day. There was one proud dad ther

The quest for more procrastination continues.