Cogito Ergo Sum

What is Real?

by

BR Chitwood

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‘Cogito Ergo Sum’!

You think, therefore, you are!

Or:

‘I think, therefore, I am’!

In the day when Philosophy might have had a more urgent importance and significance, I wonder if Descartes’ singular ‘Cogito’ utterance and treatise would be one of the most recognized phrases in school rooms around the world, particularly those rooms where hungry minds were more inquisitive about their world and their existence in it.

In my Appalachian world of youth, it would never have occurred to me to question my existence…there were enough ‘negatives’ in my early life to keep my mind swirling with confusion and doubts – no intention to gain sympathy, just depicting my early life when our country was going through some ‘trying times’…well, kind of like, NOW!

I can say with certainty that my mind has no problem accepting the fact that I ‘think’ and I ‘exist’! Those days still linger, still bring occasional thought-demons and over-think. Decisions, mistakes have been made in my life, but, overall, there has been happiness and love to offset the bad stuff.

Descartes had some important influence in my college education, made me more aware of my lack of knowledge.

The tiny thesis I am putting forth in this post is that my

problem these days is that I ‘think’ too much in lieu of looking at the beautiful Arizona sky, writing, enjoying life with wife, home, and our wonderful children. So, Descartes brought back to me some simplicity to my life.

Hopefully, I can pass on some of this trivial verbiage to those who can embrace this sequitur nonsense.

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BR Chitwood – December 2, 2021

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Memory Shadows

Memory Shadows

By BR Chitwood

“Billy, go round-up ‘Bessie’ – it’s milking time.”

Grandma gave me a hug, and I went rushing out the old rickety screen door in the side-room of the kitchen.

Grandma yelled after me, “If you’re going barefooted, you watch where you’re walking, ‘little man’.”

“I’ll be watching, Grandma. Don’t worry. I’ll stay on the lane ‘til I get to Bessie and her cow-buddies.”

I waved and was on my way.

The sunshine and clear blue sky was perfect, Grasshoppers and butterflies were flitting here and there, birds tweeting, and this was my favorite part of the day. Rounding up Bessie was the best part of my day. Truth is, I loved Bessie, and she was the nearest thing to a pet I had. We spent a lot of each day together, mornings before she went to pasture, during milking, and times not even grandma and grandpa knew about. I loved Bessie.

When I reached the pasture area Bessie now favored, she walked to me with a head wave and tacit ‘see you tomorrow, guys’ to the remaining cows. She nuzzled me gently while I put the rope around her neck with the copper bell. She bowed downward to me so I could give my own nuzzling to her blond and brown fur.

Guess my mind was too confused and young when I came to live with Grandma and Grandpa. My Dad and Mom had money problems, finally divorced, Dad taking a job out of state because jobs were not available, and my sister was sent to my Mom’s folks during that time.

When I first went up to Bessie, she lifted her head and looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and softly ’mooed’. For reasons I could not understand in those moments, I wrapped my small arms around her big neck, kissed her, and my tears fell on her as she gently nudged me. Also, I could not understand in those precious moments, I loved Bessie.

Bessie and I walked the lane, and Grandma was waiting outside the kitchen door at our arrival home. She grinned happily when she saw the great friendship we had.

After leaving Bessie in her special area, Grandma took my hand, led me inside the clapboard farmhouse and treated me with watermelon. She spoke to me while I ate the melon pieces, trying in her way to let me know that I was loved.

After the watermelon treat, Grandma took my hand and led me to her old stuffed chair in the living room, put me on her lap, and told me stories about my Dad and the family history. She would stop occasionally to reach her spittle can on the floor to deposit some of her ‘snuff’. Her stories were told from the heart in a solemn tone, and, at times, I could see her eyes getting watery…it was like she wanted me to know the history of my family, the tough times of our history along with the good. Most likely, the tough times would beat out the good

When the time was right, we looked out the south-facing window and down the lane that led to the nearby mountain, waiting to see Grandpa walking home from his day on the railroad hauling logs from the other side of the mountain to our hamlet’s sawmill. Grandpa was the old train’s engineer.

When we saw him his metal lunch pail was swinging with each step he took, and a grin would break on his face when he saw me running down the lane to meet him…he always had a surprise for me in the lunch pail, candy bar, bubble gum, a toy.

Bessie mooed when she saw us nearing the old farm house – her milking would be coming in short order…plus, feeding hogs, Old Fred, the mule, plus spreading Chickens feed, gathering eggs from hens’ nests, and there would be acres of corn to be hoed, potatoes, turnips, and other farm jobs – not all jobs done by Grandpa but by my uncles. Even, I hoed some corn (hating it).

When dinner was finished, Grandpa turned on the floor model radio and listened to HV Kavelborn. If wintry, Grandpa would shave wood for the living room’s large ‘belly stove’ for the next morning’s heat.

When first darkness began Grandma would call me from my time with Bessie for a bath and bed. She would read me stories from the bible.

Some things in life are hard to explain. I loved a cow named Bessie, and, I know Bessie loved me. I loved my grandparents (paternal and maternal), and I know they loved me. They are connected in loving ways to my heart and mind.

I would eventually return to my mother and sister in a home setting, and it was wonderful being with my Mom and Sis. The time with my grandparents and Bessie is one of the most compellingly beautiful memories I have.

But, then, there are so many.

BR Chitwood – Feb. 5, 2021

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©️Filter Me

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©️Filter Me

By BR Chitwood  

Filter from me the sad, weak spots of this Orb’s Voyage – filter away those memories that only reawaken strife, suffering, and thousands of stinging tears…  

The journey began on a lonely bucolic spot in Appalachia, its soil rich with it offerings, its mountains and green space alive with  snakes and wild beasts of prey whose nomadic nights of stealth searching were cut short by gunshots from the peasants who tilled the soil and raised their families with a roiling mixture of nascent anger and distrust both the displaced Cherokee and the stalwart, distrusting immigrants carried in their blood. 

These daring  immigrants who crossed the seas from England for better lives in a land that held the only promise open to them met the disgruntled red men and women and somehow forged a bond of sorts until the massive and deadly ‘Trail of Tears’ march forced by a government of questionable intent would bring the ultimate end of the Cherokee Nation.

That bit of history was important to me as it would be ultimately followed by ‘The Great Depression’ that would mark its time on my generation as it would on my parents. Because of the giant Economic impact of ‘The Great Depression’, no jobs, no stimulus plans in place, families were uprooted. A husband and father would often need to go into another state to find work to sustain his family, often in the process bringing divorces, suicides, crime waves and a societal near-collapse… The wealthy survived this period in our history, but this group was not without the awful tempo of the times.

My life began in the frantic after-period of the depression, a sad mistake I’m sure – not that a loving mother and an absent father would make that admission. I remember some of our living areas being in run-down neighborhoods in Knoxville, Tennessee and some of the terror moments when my Dad beat my Mom or my sister. I remember sitting in a paralytic fear, body trembling, my mind only able to stare catatonically straight ahead in fear. 

My parents were divorced, but my Dad came frequently to visit, and these were the times to dread and to fear. My Dad did not like my Mom’s family, felt they had caused a lot of the problems in the marriage, so he embedded those thoughts inside his head. I loved my Dad, and he never hurt me, but he did beat my Mom and my Sis…he was a product of the times, working out of state at times, always wanting to work for one of the rail carriers – which he did ultimately.

During the depression, I was sent to live with my Dad’s folks, and my sister, to Mom’s folks. It would not be too long until my Mom was able to bring my sister and me into a family environment. Mom worked as a telephone operator, in war assembly plants during WW2, and as a Boarding House Cook.

As one might easily conclude from this ‘Filter Piece’, life does indeed shape us. I have had a full life, so much for which to be thankful, beautiful ladies, love, acting, serving my country in the US Navy, and I’ve written twenty-one+ books. There, in that story-land world I find my ultimate peace and full satisfaction. Being fascinated by how life shapes us all, I have a fetish for fictionalizing true crimes, getting inside the heads of people who walk down those perilous roads.

My latest book, THE POWER MERCHANTS, was just released in May, 2020. It is a novel for our times, complete with the World Pandemic, Political Crises, Love, Murder, and a Billionaire’s evil penchant for ‘underage girls’ and currying favor from top-level politicians in the Federal Government.  

I hope you will buy a copy at your Amazon Location and leave a book review. The following AMAZON BUY LINK should take you to your own Amazon BUY location:

The Power Merchants (5)

YOUR AMAZON BUY SITE: mybook.to/thepowermerchants

BR Chitwood – June 5, 2020

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Autumn and The Muse

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Autumn And The Muse

 

It was all so different these many years later…

 

The clapboard houses were all gone, replaced by small brick and hardwood homes with indoor plumbing. The dirt and gravel lanes were now paved although still isolated and rural. The old white church with its high steeple, now freshly painted, was the marker that let me know I was really home again.

 

It was like time had abbreviated everything I looked upon. The distance from church to Mama’s and Papa’s old house was hardly a quarter mile. The lanes that branched off the short stretch of road to the old sawmill and the railroad tracks were now unrecognizable, overgrown with brush, trees, and weeds… I could not even determine where the old sawmill and train tracks had been. Where so many years ago there had been Papa’s rows of corn, potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, and scallions was now tall green grass for a few grazing cows.

 

I smiled and pointed out to my wife Julie and son Scott where the old out-house had once stood, where Papa had once castrated the squealing hogs. I pointed out where old ‘Fred’ the mule used to lead the plow through the fields with a few ‘gees and haws’ from Papa. The little hamlet of Wooldridge was now all condensed for my memory but the thoughts, good and bad, raced through my aging brain…

 

It was here where some of the first memories were built of my displaced youth, where fear of the unknown and new experiences collided to make me a docile and disturbed little boy. It was here where my microcosmic world was filled with dreams and dark ugly shadows. Here was the nexus that was the foundation for all that I would become – the nomadic drifter in search of illusive dreams, the uncertain master of a fate always to be determined.

 

The tears were not seen through the smiles as I passed on to my son and wife the wisps of yesterday, but they were there…tears for Mama and Papa, their hard lives, yet their devotion to me…tears for the parents who fought, who loved and tried, but were unable to make things right for their family…tears for a life that could have been better in some ways but did, through all the wanderlust, bring me to wife Julie who personifies family, love and patience…tears for my beautiful children of whom I am so proud and love so deeply.

 

This day trip from my middle Tennessee home to the east Tennessee hamlet of my youth inspires this post. While there has to be some sadness – that’s the way I’m put together – it is likely one of the best days to go into my still active memory pages. The day serves to point out for me that, indeed, ‘everyone has to be from somewhere.’

Billy Ray Chitwood – February, 2018 (REV)

 

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When We We Were Young – A Dual Sword

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When We Were Young – A Dual Sword

When we were young so many dreams occupied our time and thoughts: some with vivid pictorial views of white sands and soft blue waters of the Caribbean; some with the cowboy West and Johnny Mack Brown; some with heroic gallantry and deeds framed in our minds with technicolor brilliance. Our youth was dappled with the colors of our high school football, basketball, and track colors, young and pretty ladies wearing their ‘steady beau’s’ sweater with the school letters. There were hamburgers, French fries, and milk shakes at the local drive-ins with our pals and sweethearts, filtering through the rumors of the day and week.

A happy home with loving family members made the journey through youth joyous and unforgettable… For some…

When we were young so many dreams came in dark and gray flashes of angry parents, or, an itinerant alcohol-laced father visiting over a weekend, serving up ugly fights with Mom, spanking the kids with a hickory switch, and leaving indelible black holes of terror in the memory cells. Yet, there were the moments for wakeful dreaming about those heroic deeds and pretty damsels waiting for their hero to come and save the day.

When we were young there were friends to envy and respect, friends who somehow intelligently knew the difference in cultural divides and stood by the emotionally anguished and made youth enjoyable and still a viable part of life. There was a football mate, a school-skipping pal who ran all the laps the next day at practice that they knew would come from their absence the previous day. There were the summer pool plunges and competitive dives off the highest board.

And, there were some when we were young who just couldn’t make it through youth, through some corruptible lawless channel, an anger that could not be subdued, or an awful vengeance curse.

So, ‘when we were young’ was similar for many of us on several levels, and, while we cannot forgive those who are born of bad DNA seed, we might be mindful of that old and now tired bromide, ‘We all have to be from some place’!

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 14, 2017

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