Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bits & Pieces

This morning we have heavy gray clouds which I believe will burn off well before noon. Yesterday's forecast called for heavy rains. The weatherman lied to us. Either way, it was dark this morning as I took Little Bit to school.

After breakfast and as we're walking back to my truck she asked, "Papa, why do people live in heaven?"

I hate these sort of questions. She, it seems lately, is obsessed with the concept of death and those that have passed on to the other side. It confuses her, and for the record, I'm far from an expert on the subject.

I threw together a quick answer, "Because God wants company, Sweetheart." Flash of brilliance, don't you agree.

"Then he gets lonely too?"

Now think of her comeback. Dig around in it and take a long sniff. Am I the only one concerned with the 'lonely too' part...

Now understand I had no desire, at all, to continue this conversation. It's early, I'd only one cup of coffee in my system, I had a low grade headache, and other concerns that itched my mind. Yet, she is my heart. I took the dive headfirst.

"Are you lonely, Sweetheart?"

If I remember correctly she replied, "Not now."

Again, "Do you get lonely during the day or while you're at Daddy's house?"


She released my hand and began to skip towards the truck. She bounced along as carefree as any child you're likely to see in a parking lot. Just before she reached my ride she stopped and glanced up at flock of birds, crows. She turned and smiled. She loves birds.

I allowed the subject to rest until another day. Why spoil it.

Late last night while I was dinking around near the back of our house I could hear a train far across the river. I love trains. It seems to me the sound of a train whistle holds its clear notes for a far greater distance, during winter, than during the hot humid months of summer. It also evokes memories of my childhood. Very fond memories.

My childhood home held close to a set of train tracks. Me and my friends considered the local railroad trestle our property. It was a war zone.

We'd gather in groups of ten, sometimes less, and take positions on either side of the railroad bed. We'd then gather piles of flint rock. Each boy would then consider the merits of individual rocks for battle. Then we'd hunker down. We'd select one boy for the countdown. At the signal, we'd all fire. I'm amazed we're still alive.

We'd throw rocks at each other as hard as humanly possible. I liked the side arm sling. My buddy, Willie Lee, a gifted short stop at twelve, used the overhand method. Many a boy walked away with a black eye from Willie Lee's hard and fast throws. One night we found ourselves on opposite sides of the track bed.

Before we took positions, "Willie Lee, I'm gonna bust your butt."

"We'll see."

He made one mistake. He stood to out flank me. He took one of my best shots to the groin, and dropped as if he'd been pole axed. Or, so I thought. Turns out Willie Lee was also a gifted actor. Ever been hit with a nice sparkly gray piece of hurts. When he hit the dirt I stood and walked over to take possession of my kill. In my childish mind I'd already picked the spot on the living room wall for his head. I strutted over ready to count coup, claim my prize, take a scalp.

Remember, he was my best friend, my buddy for life. When I was less than five foot away, and mentally removing my coup knife, he sprang back to life like some dark Ninja, and with a graceful overhead throw, hit me square in the chin with a chunk of flint. I went down, for real, like a side of beef. I swear stars danced in my head for days.

I still wear the scar, and still love the night music of trains.



  1. If I may be so bold as to answer Little Bit's question: "God isn't lonely. He just loves us so much that he wants to keep us close by."

    Great childhood story, by the way. I had a similar experience, but without the point-blank injury. Thanks for the memories your post inspired.

  2. Stephen - you kill me with these kinds of posts! i should not be crying and laughing and crying in the middle of the day - the hubby is going to start asking questions!

    as for Little Bit - ugh! heartbreaking! but she is never lonely with her Papa and your Sweet Wife so that is something. and we'll leave the rest of this conversation for another day.

    as for your memories - you are so funny! she is going to love this online diary that you are leaving for her. and your readers love it too...we know that you are writing it for her, but we enjoy getting to know "Papa" as well.

    Little Bit - if i was given a wish for you, it would be that you have a man as awesome as Stephen as your Papa. and you already have him.

    thanks Stephen. i really enjoy these kinds of posts.

    your friend,

  3. Seems like childhood memories either bring smiles or nightmares, we tend to forget everything in between.

  4. Rev. Paul, what a wonderful answer, and I shall remember it. Thank you. See, this why I need consultation before any session with Little Bit.

    kymber, I'm sorry I made you cry. It was not my intention. Thank you for the kind comments. Sometimes, even though I write these notes for her, I feel I'm letting many readers down, those that wish subjects dealing with guns and such. Then, I remember, it's for her...

    Duke, isn't it a fact. And sad too. Thanks, my good friend.

  5. Stephen - don't be sorry buddy - i didn't mean it in a bad way - just that your love for her touches me. and i think even your hardest-nosed-gun-loving-ammunition-stocking-bunker-building maniac readers love these kinds of posts too.

    but in the end it IS for Her! and i really like that!

    your friend,

  6. Mermaid, bless you for it...I haven't mentioned the BB gun wars....

    kymber, no sweat. Thank you so much for your friendship. She'll remember you.

  7. We have a steam train out here in CO. I love the summers when it runs and I can hear the lonely steam loco whistle cry in the distance.

    Oddly enough, it reminds me of the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, much happier memories of childhood.

  8. Mudbug, you're lucky, I haven't seen nor heard a steam locomotive in years. Thank you.

  9. Remember this?

    "Hear the lonesome whippoorwill
    He sounds too blue to fly
    The midnight train is whining low
    I'm so lonesome I could cry."

    A favorite song by a favorite singer, and the sounds of both whippoorwills and trains are still fine, fine things.

  10. ProudHillbilly, I do indeed remember the song and love it. My friends and I, last year, late at night, using headlights, watched a Whippoorwill sit on a fence post. For a good five minutes we stood silent as it made music...rare sight. I'll never forget it.

  11. Lille Bit will always have questions. I love to hear train horns in the distance coming closer. I think about where they are coming from and where they are going to. The same with planes, some coming from far away. Back home I knew the 5pm 747 was going to London, And the 9am 747 just came from Tokyo.

  12. There is nothing like the sound, smell, or sight of and old steamer. We try to ride the George Town Loop every summer here in CO.

    As a kid, we use to have dirt clod fights. Same result, bumps and lumps. And every now and then, some blood.

    And, for them questions that little ones come up with. Take a moment, search your heart. And you will have an answer.

  13. Thank you always for sharing these stories :)

    The 10 minutes or so I spend reading these beats the shit out of 24 hours of network crap ! ( which I barely watch anyway)

    One of the things on my "bucket list" is to tour the country in a RV and stop and have a coffee or beer or water with some of the great bloggers I have met on the webz.

    If that ever comes to fruition, Ill stop by and say HI
    in person :)

    1. Bug has moments where she is so deep and wise. I worry a lot about leaving her too soon, my health being so annoying but it kills me when she worries. Out of the blue some days she has told me that she knows God needs good angels but Mama has to stay with her for a lot longer. I think as they hit the age to become more aware of just life in general they begin to think of mortality. Such a heavy subject but you did great. It breaks my heart though to know she feels like that so I am sending lots of hugs her way. She and Bug should become pen pals.

  14. Rob, very true...thank you.

    Flier389, I search my heart for much when it comes to her. Seems you and I had similar I've said, it's amazing we're still alive. Thank you.

    Pissed, my pleasure and thanks for reading them...when you get that RV, we're ready. I'll get all the guys together and we'll have some fun.

    Lila, I too worry about leaving Little Bit...I've taken the guardian job in her life. Not sure I feel good about her 'parents' taking my place. I'm sure you'll be in Bug's life for a very long time. Take care Sweet Lady. Oh, I'll ask Little Bit if she'd like to be pen pals with Bug. Thanks.

  15. LB is naturally curious about the kinds of things we all wonder about. I do hesitate at the word "too". I think you handled it quite well.

    Ahhh, rock fights. I remember having those. I grew up on quite a bit of land, so I'm pretty well covered in scars from burns to knife wounds. I can tell a story for every one.

  16. 45er, thanks, we agree on that 'too.' What is it with kids and rocks...guess we've all experienced a rock fight in our lives. Thank you.