Another treasure hunt day yesterday, going through things – a clutch of items, collectively worth a couple of dollars or less. Invaluable treasures, connections to him. Among them, something I’m sure he would be happy for me to write about now.
He was very private about a significant part of his life – drinking – and told very few people his full story. Most would have no idea.
The background:when I was 5, my dad quit drinking. He got AA. And AA got him. He was sober for almost 57 years. He left AA in 1968 when we moved to Calgary from Red Deer. He never re-joined, he never wanted or needed to – just lived a sober life. His ability to get and stay sober were inspiration to me when I quit drinking in1986. We celebrated each other’s sober-birthdays each year, April 3rd (his) and Dec. 7th (mine) as milestones along our life’s journey.
The find:I found them yesterday. In a small old cabinet, in his walk in closet, under clothes and nestled in the back under decades of old Christmas cards, bank statements, drug store receipts and pictures of kids lurked those little boxes. Cuff links. Tie tacks. His buttons and ribbons from his air force service ribbons. I box, two medallions. Given to him, his 1 year AA medallion, April 3rd, 1957. Tarnished, the inscription barely legible. The second, his 10 year AA medallion, April 1967.
How I feel:there is an old story about two kids given challenges by their dad. I can’t recall the misadventures of the first kid, but he had a shovel and a pipe of manure. He was digging furiously – and when asked, he said, “with this much horse-__it, there has to be a pony in here somewhere!”. We live our lives bombarded by buckets of it. We need to keep digging. Some people heap on a little more, not because it’s fair or kind, but because they can. Sometimes they are cogs on some bureaucratic wheel, sometimes they are friend. Sometimes foe. We can cast it aside, wade through it – or just keep digging, and never ever give up.
The lesson:sometimes it takes only 2 little pieces of loonie-size metal to drive home the importance and value of turning his life around, of turning mine around. Sometimes it takes far less but no message is more powerful to me right now that those to lumps of steel.
Forecasting today or tomorrow, forecasting weather, like forecasting people – we get close sometimes, but no exactness to it and in the case of people, no science either.
So many ways to second-guess anyone – their motives, their truth-telling, their actions and reactions. Easier still – to second-guess our own. Getting things wrong is far more normal than we would like to think.
Getting it right, in anything, is just shy of miraculous. But success, happy, accomplishments, learning, understanding – all these things wrapped, and rapt, together must be possible. Otherwise, what would life’s value be? And how could we measure one thing against another.
There is day after today, called tomorrow.
Something’s coming … around the corner?
… just out of reach, down the block, on a beach.
This week I’ve had my share of horse-pucky from several government departments, several people – and to a large degree – piled some upon myself. Self-deluded, foolish and regrettable miss-steps. Sticky icky. Hard to clean up.
I’ve turned some kind of corner.
Not my last, just another corner. I’m not the only one. People in my life – past, present and future turning their own corners with me. Some without me. But corners we turned …
Mark, you are so right and true this morning. After a death of a loved one, life does not go BINGO and return to normal. I, over a period of years lost both parents and one sister. For me, a year seemed to be the point where it got easier. Not normal, just easier to live with, deal with. There will be those unexpected times when grief returns. You will reach a point when the wound heals, the scar & sense of loss remain. Sometimes I look at old pictures and enjoy the good memories. The holidays can be hard, ever are we haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past. Time does help to find your inner peace and energy again. You will be better in time, MLD, Memphis, TN
Congratulations on 11 years Mark! This action is truly inspiring to me. Thanks for persevering and for being there, MMP, Toronto, ON
Can't' believe it's that long since you started writing musings.....so much time passing so quickly and so may changes along with that time. But it seems to have become a gift you give to yourself now rather than a challenge. Going now to find the notice you wrote for your dad for the paper.... FAA as always, SC, Fredericton, NB
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