The Meaning of Life

This is but one installment of Grandmother Julie’s

 responses to Granddaughter MacKenzie Orchowski’s series of questions from ‘Storyworth’

The Meaning of Life

By Julie Anne Chitwood

The meaning of life for me is being surrounded by loved ones.

My parents brought me up that what counts in someone is their character – not race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, etc. I have tried to follow that all my life. And I’ve been lucky to have wonderful family and friends. And, like quite a few of our tribe, I have met a lot of people that have added to my life – sometimes just a moment of time by a smile or a quick hello in passing.

Another rule of life drilled into me from the beginning is that we are responsible for the critters in our life. Seeing to their needs and wants always comes first. You do not sit down to dinner until their bowls have been filled. Baby Cat used to sit on my Mom’s lap and the family would have to wait on Mom so that Baby Cat was not disturbed! It was funny watching Dad jump up to refill Mom’s coffee cup so that the cat did not lose her comfortable ‘lap’.

One time I was talking to Butch McBride and he recounted when he had destroyed a cactus on a picnic when he was a young kid. He said my Dad just looked at him and shook his head and in his low voice that he used when you were in trouble commented, ‘Butch, I’m so disappointed in you’. Butch said he even had problems killing weeds after that. The earth was to be respected. That wasn’t a big deal – no bragging rights – you simply picked up after yourself. And in Arizona you sure watched where you walked and placed your hands and feet. Snakes, Gila Monsters, critters, had first rights as we were visiting their home ground. One time in Kentucky Shelley had me remove a spider that she didn’t want to share the bathroom with but also didn’t want to be the cause of it’s death.

Another fact of life drilled into me was to give people the benefit of the doubt, as it was impossible to know what bad moments they were going through. I’ve watched our tribe follow this as they are not quick to judge. More likely to give an understanding smile than taking offence. And it is amazing what a smile can accomplish. I’ve been with Robin when we’ve passed someone and she had commented to them what a pretty dress they are wearing or stunning hair. The person will first show surprise and then a smile will cross their face – their day just got better.

Small things add up to big things. The challenge is to make those good things rather than downers.

A child giving you their trust as they hold up their arms. An animal showing you their belly, knowing you won’t hurt them. A friend being able to unload, sure that you will not betray their trust. Your mate is always sure that you have their back.

The gift of laughter and love. For me those are all the meaning of life.

Your loving Grandmother,

Julie Anne (Gehrandt) Chitwood

PS: How life NOT be a GIFT with this little fellow and wonderful parents?

Images:

Proud Grandparents AND Great Grandparent

Meet Owen Orchowski – YES! He is and will be FAMOUS!
Great Grandma Chitwood (Quite a few months back!)
Beautiful Proud Mom, MacKenzie!
Pretty Mom and Owen Shopping!
Proud Grandpa Craig and Owen!
Owen with Uncle Dixon!
Meet Owen’s Mom and Dad: Tyler & MacKenzie Orchowski

Sorry for quality of image BUT they are all beautiful!!! Take my word!

Do You Know This Man?

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Do You Know This Man?

By BR Chitwood

Do You Know This Man?

No? I knew him, not so well, some forty years ago…he was a habitue, a devotee, of the Phoenix neon night life, searching for parts of himself he lost along a long emotional road from the hills of Appalachia: lost in an abusive and disoriented childhood; lost in a flawed and impetuous marriage; lost in the glittering promise of booze and women. Yes, I knew him, not so well, as he made all his stumbles along the way, losing not only himself but the connections to family and friends, to the people who loved him.

Yes, of course, I’m the man in the photo, and there’s a lot more to the story…hope you’ll read THE CRACKED MIRROR, Reflections of an Appalachian Son, by Billy Ray Chitwood.

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Amazon Worldwide

https://www.brchitwood.com

Excerpts from “The Cracked Mirror…”

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In the end, my story must be like so many others, a story of a simple kid who grew up eating emotional soup and spending a lifetime trying to digest it. There are no spectacular or heroic moments. I’ve been in the United States Navy, but I’ve never fought a war—except the one I’ve declared within myself. So I know not the pain of holding a bleeding comrade to my bosom as he or she gasps the final breaths. I know not the anguish of a parent losing a child in an accident, or, in war—unless losing a child to drugs can be comparable. I’ve loved and been in love, but I’ve never stepped far enough from myself to know the true and natural profundity of its happiness and joy. I’ve been born but never died—unless the demon of the past is segmented death. The prospect of dying scares the hell out of me—not so much the prospect itself, but the pitiful legacy that is left behind. I’ve known insecurity and fear, along with self-confidence, loyalty, and pride. There have been the sins, small enough, I hope, to keep me at least somewhere in the thoughts of those I’ve loved. At times I’ve longed for ‘Nepenthe,’ the drug mentioned in ‘The Odyssey’ as a remedy for grief, the potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain and sorrow. But, then, without some pain, can the soul truly seek refuge when the long journey is over?

***

The jail cell brought back sobriety and a stark reality. Sitting on a hard dirty ‘bed thing’ in the dimly lit, tiny barred enclosure, the demon thoughts came and possessed me. My world was disintegrating around me! The claustrophobic cell was my coffin of contriteness, a veritable symbol of my languishing life. There again was the ‘dark closet’ feeling within me, an anxious and suffocating hell! Grabbing at the bars I pitifully called out to the jailer, but no one came. Within the limited space I paced, stopped at the ugly stained wall, splayed my body against it, and tapped my forehead against its roughness. The jailer eventually came. He showed me a smile of compassion and told me that morning would come soon; then, I would be arraigned. The fitful night would pass.

***

It is Time that wears down the acts and deeds of man into something forgettable, mundane, heroic, noble, historical, and unforgettable. It is Time that leads us warily toward the greatest secret of all: That which lies beyond the dark veil!

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“…There are men like you in the world, Prentice, through whatever kind of intervention, divine or otherwise, who must make us cry and laugh, who record for us the stirrings of the soul which we might otherwise never know.”

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BR Chitwood

Okay, here I am today, no longer chasing those windmills, still trying to figure out this ‘one foot in front of the other’ thing. There are times when it seems I’m pretty close to figuring out this grand production, but those times are little teaser moments to stir something in the soul — sort of like a dreaded visit to a doctor or dentist, getting the car repaired – feels great when you find out the blood pressure is normal (thanks to a little round pill taken each day), the teeth cleaning and exam present no new cavities, and the car now carries no shameful dent.

All in all, living for some years on the rolling bluegrass hills of lovely Kentucky, a good wife, an aging, lovable cat, great daughters and sons, have given me happiness and joy. Back in Arizona the past still gets in my way at times in inscrutable ways, like a misty longing for something valuable I’ve left behind. I’ve never abandoned my faith, though fragile it might be, and there are many more good days than bad,

With all this said, I’m still writing, still searching…guess that only stops when mortal time gives up on me…

 BR Chitwood – April 6, 2022

If you like books of mystery, suspense, action, romance, many of which are inspired by true events, please visit my website at  https://www.brchitwood.com – after a short bio, just scroll down the ‘home’ page to preview the books and synopses of each.

More: It’s all here: https://www.brchitwood.com

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Nine of the author’s 20 books shown below…  Go to https://www.brchitwood – Website with synopses of all 20 books, over 375 blog posts, short stories, poetry, songs, author info, and BUY SITES AT YOUR AMAZON SITE…

Please visit! You will find some good reading with ‘BUY SITES’, book reviews, et al!

BR Chitwood – Author

April 6, 2022

NOTE:

All books below have 5-STAR REVIEWS on AMAZON!

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If you like books of mystery, suspense, action, romance, many of which are inspired by true events, please visit my website at  https://www.brchitwood.com – after a short bio, just scroll down the ‘home’ page to preview the books and synopses of each.

More: It’s all here: https://www.brchitwood.com

*

***

Nine of the author’s 20 books shown above…  Go to https://www.brchitwood – Website with synopses of all 20 books, over 375 blog posts, short stories, poetry, songs, author info, and BUY SITES…

Please visit! You will find some good reading with ‘BUY SITES’, book reviews, et al!

BR Chitwood – Author

April 6, 2022

The Year My 20+ Books Sell 100,000 Copies

https://www.brchitwood.com

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This will require only a few seconds of your time, but just imagine the joy you are providing for yourself and, of course, for me!

Some folks would call this ‘begging’ – me, I call it a polite plea to give a great writer his due! Well, at least, it is sincere and not a bit awkward! AND, I am a great writer! I’ve written almost 400 blog posts, short stories, flash fiction, and many poems and songs.

The genres are: Mystery-Romance-Memoirs-Fiction taken from true crimes-Non-Fiction- Sci-Fi… Will you find some typos and errors? Even after hours and hours of rewrite? Sure, it is not a perfect world! But, what you read, I can almost promise you will enjoy!  

Just go to the Website above and find the books and information all about me (that part is FREE! – I’ve had an interesting life: Acting, stage, screen, film, teaching, et al.) A hipster, I’m not!

  1. BR Chitwood – March 30, 2022

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Author: BR Chitwood

https://www.brchitwood.com

You Are Your Moods

You Are Your Moods

BR Chitwood

You are your moods…just sharing some of mine…

My mother was a gentle, generous, and kind woman from a large loving family of four boys and four girls, the matriarch of the brood fervently involved in her Protestant Faith. The father was a quiet, gentle, corpulent man, a railroad foreman for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company, a most pleasant person who seldom interfered with the demands of his pious wife who each day offered a loud, long, tearful, prayer to her Father in Heaven, with all present kneeling for her long wailing wishes for blessings and forgiveness of sins committed by her and her brood. Despite the parental toughness of her ways and the seriousness of her moods, she was a kind and gentle person.

Two of the four boys would serve their country in World War Two, one ferrying our brave warriors to the shore at Omaha Beach. The youngest of the brothers was murdered as he was closing down his ‘Filling Station’ late at night in Knoxville, Tennessee. Stanley was his name and a most wonderful Uncle. Uncle Stanley saw me through some difficult times in my early life. I loved this good man and think of him often through all these years.

Uncle Stanley and my mother were so much alike, both holy of heart, soul, and honorable in their daily living…

My Mom was a boarding house cook and a Bell Telephone Operator/Supervisor. Because of economic conditions at the time my mother had to rely on the state of Tennessee and my grandparents for boarding and financial help – it was a necessary procedure for many families at the time.

My most memorable years came when my mother brought my sister and me to live in a lovely home across from a beautiful college where I played tennis with some of the students and attended elementary school. Times got better for our small family. My sister blossomed early and wanted all that went with a pretty face and desirable body…problems, yes, but the family worked through it.

Much of my life was molded from those early days, still given to thoughts of a past with too little good and a lot of ugliness. I served my country, got through college, taught writing to high school seniors, did some acting, commercials and film, married a few times, sired three beautiful kids who constantly amaze me with their goodness, settled at last with a lovely lady who is all a man could possibly want.

Oh, and I have written twenty books, many based on true crimes, mystery and romance, a couple of memoirs, some 375 blog posts, many ‘flash fiction’ pieces, short stories, and poetry.

Okay, had this quiet afternoon of reflection, felt like writing some of it down, and I feel better…and, I just felt like sharing it with people who might be reading my posts.

All of my books are on: https://brchitwood.com

Hope you can read some of my books…and perhaps leave an Amazon review if so inclined…

Too Much to Absorb

BR Chitwood

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A better person than I can parse and understandthe confounding nature of our world, how we arrive at a multitude of decisions as a disjointed group of politicians handle affairs of our nation from a position of power, personal goals, anger, and disassociation from a particular item of high importance to the people for whom they represent.

 It is my belief that our government handlers are anything but centered to their life-long political biases and hatred for their counter-parts, many so paralyzed by their animosity they would deny their nation responsible representation.

An Appalachian transplant, who am I to have such thoughts?

I saw it at recess on the grounds of my elementary and high schools, in the classrooms, in the halls stalked by bullies… Unlike today, we young people were taught ‘Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic’ so we were spared today’s wide-spread indoctrination of blame, of how and who to hate for society’s slide into racial issues, kept alive and more viable to our youth by an almighty ‘National Association of Teachers Union’.

Okay, sure, we must allow for environmental differences, low IQs, high IQs, parental inability to carefully cultivate and fine-tune tolerance and care for a multitude of beliefs. We are built in our early years and that inculcation en masse make for the world we build.

So, we migrate, spread our selective fine-tuning to other cities, other countries, and the centuries roll on with our human sacrifices, wars, famine, and ultimate destruction and re-building…until!

What?

Our ‘Religions’ speak in different tongues, views that see ‘life and death, heaven, hell’ in totally sharp contrast…

Life goes on.

Death goes on.

Zealots go on.

Will freedom and liberty go on?

Can love conquer all?

Can a ‘Cosmic Wave’ pass over the world, instilling in each of us a predominant theme for living?

Does this ‘Cosmic Wave’ erase all of the frailties of the world?

Does Jesus return to make all things right?

Does another planet in another Solar System come to create a true Eloi?

Are we a ‘Lab Experiment’ that has gone wildly awry?

There is so much good in the world – can it not be an unbreakable bond for humanity?

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BR Chitwood

https://brchitwood.com

http://twitter.com (@brchitwood)

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Really, Why Wars?

BR Chitwood

Really, Why Wars?

BR Chitwood

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Why would someone far away from the bomb bursts, flying bullets, and so much human suffering dwell on a Putin-pressed war in Ukraine…for that matter, why so many in the world dwell on this manic and corrupt event?

While pedestrian and immediately naïve, I need to put my words down because it is Sunday… Why, Sunday? A holy day for most of us, a day to dwell on our sins/transgressions, a day to pray for hope, for personal salvation, and for entire World Peace.

Of course, we have enough fret and worry of the ‘Infidel Killers’ and other groups who love to hate and kill.

With’ Putin’s War’, the ‘fret’ becomes more fierce, more difficult to calculate actions and reactions. Much of the world views Putin as a ‘Mad Man’, capable of actions leaders of nobility would never consider. The worst descriptive words for this beast of humanity have been used up by people of the world who follow his atrocities…it is difficult to imagine him long for this world. His sly eyes and demeanor, all that he is, there for the world to see. A reasonable person would assume this cold and distant Satanic collaborator could not be long for this global pool of humanity.

I pretend no great expertise on this Russian dictator and only rely on the years of ‘News Reports’ for this deeds and death tolls, like those being registered in Ukraine today and throughout his tenure in this world. I am just a man, imperfect in many ways with sins I must ultimately account for, sins far below the standards of this leader of a great nation.

So, I’m but an American Patriot who has served his country in our armed services, compelled in this modest monologue mostly by anger and by empathy and sympathy for the savagery being done to a Ukrainian nation of people of simple lives and loving families…

Shall I say, I just needed to vent my emotions and at least convey my humble and best wishes to those good and humble people subjected to this ‘Power and Ego-fed’ dictator.

I pray for the Ukrainian people a quick end to these hostilities and a return to normalcy – if it can ever be so…my heart grieves with yours.

BR Chitwood – March 7, 2022

https://brchitwood.com

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The Author’s Mission

For Me, I Write

BR Chitwood

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Since my mobile and turbulent childhood my head fills with the events and movements of the days, the emotions that come and stay with me until I write about them from some subliminal heart/mind connection the words flow onto the screen of my laptop. I accept them and allow them entry on the page – as though they were destined to be there, an outlet for the subtle joy and pain of the soul…it is my belief that all artistic endeavors come from that similar sort of tingling.

As some subscribers to my blog posts might allow, most of my writing has a ‘Romantic’ cant, from my murder mysteries (some taken from actual crimes) to genres with historical essence, love, poetry, murder, and current events. My writing heroes of the past are many – …Hemingway, Steinbeck, Crane, DeMille, Grisham, to name a few. For Poetry, my favorite is an ex-Priest named James Kavanaugh.

I have written twenty books, their ‘buy sites’, 375 blog posts written over the years, plus poetry and tribute pieces to Arnold Palmer and other notables. That Website/Blog site address is:

https://brchitwood.com

 I hope you will visit my website/blog, look over some of the book synopses, posts, poetry…perhaps you will find something you would like to read…

At least, I can hope!

Wishing all writers and readers my best wishes.

*

BR Chitwood – February 28, 2022

https://brchitwood.com

Author BR Chitwood’s Writing

By BR Chitwood

PLEASE VIEW

  1. You sleep while riding a ‘mare’ or ‘dreaming peacefully’. You awake in a ‘bad mood’, snack on quick and easy ‘coffee and toast’ (too much coffee!), and drive to your job – while your kidneys insist on your quick attention…
  2. You sit at your desk, work menial tasks and have your fanciful day dreams and ‘Romantic Thoughts’…
  3. You think of where you and your soulmate will vacation… perhaps a great resort in Aruba or an Ocean Cruise…
  4. Work ends for the day, and you go for cocktails at your favorite pub with your favorite lady…
  5. At home, feeling guilty, you open your laptop and resume writing the manuscript for your new novel…
  6. You take a break, check your E-Mail. There is your new blog message: “5-Star Reads in most genres – 20 books, some based on true crime, Short Stories, Flash Fiction – some books are related to true criminal events: https://brchitwood.com – Also, Romance and Suspense…”
  7. Ah, c’mon! Take a ‘tour’! There are some great books and writing at this website…
  8. If you are a reader, avid or not, you will enjoy the books’ synopses, blog posts, short stories, flash fiction, poetry.  
  9. ‘Thank you’ from the author – and good reading!

BR Chitwood – February 24, 2022

https://brchitwood.com

https://twitter.com@brchitwood

https://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

So – Will Sanity Come?

So – Will Sanity Come?

BR Chitwood

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         So Many variable Genes and Hiding Places!

         So Many ‘Wiring Distinctions’ in the Brain!

         So Many Insatiable Appetites for Pleasures!

         So Many Idiots in High Government Places!

         So Many People Shocked by Sexual Change!

         So Unacceptable are our Leaders’ Response!

         So Many Selfish leaders serve their purpose!

         So Many Splinter Groups erupt in Madness!

         So Much Chaos and Madness Follow Globally!

         So When Will We Ever Learn? When Do We End?

         So, When Does True Wisdom Finally Come?

So, Does Death Bring Us the Ultimate Truth?

         So, Is This Life I Truly Love Really Simple?

So, Do People Insist on Making Life Difficult?

BR Chitwood – February 21, 2022

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Visit my Website/Blog to view my 20 books, 375 blog posts, short stories, and Flash Fiction.

https://brchitwood.com

https://twitter.com @brchitwood

https://facebook.com/Billyray/chitwood

Killing Machines

Actress Brutally Murdered! Unsolved in Phoenix, Arizona

Killing Machines?

BR Chitwood

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Not so fast!

Killing someone with a gun, hammer, fists, eyes blazing with sadistic, satanic glee must be the most despicable human trait. Yet, somehow, in a hostile war between countries, our warriors are trained to blow their enemies to bloody fragments in many number of ways, and, in the process, find reason to celebrate their victories…it is the essential nature of the warriors – their training includes film, hand-to-hand combat, all numbers of ways to destroy their enemies.

Most of us cannot fathom the beasts within those of us who hate so fervently and vindictively that we cannot control the terrible urges that possess us. Real war builds those elements within us, particularly those of us who live a sheltered life in our religious groups and our private ways of life.

Being a veteran of one of our wars and having lived up close and personally with a good lady friend of my wife and me. That lovely young lady was a secretary for two attorney friends of mine, an actress/model who shared living quarters with my wife briefly before our marriage.

 During one record-hot summer day of a Phoenix, Arizona August evening this lovely lady was savagely murdered in the Northeast desert of Phoenix and left there by the killer for two record-heat weeks to be ravaged by desert denizens and her body unrecognizable… She was found by two terrified young boys during their rock-hunting hobby and rushed to tell police of their find.

My wife, I, and friends of this lady were devastated with the news and mad as hell when we were finally told by the newspapers of the method of her murder. The killer’s method of murdering her, the newspaper told us…the bastard dragged her through the desert, stopping every few yards to slam large rocks down upon her head. The case is now closed, and the beast is still out there somewhere, his crime unsolved.

This case, so far as I know, is still an ‘Unsolved Closed Case’ in the Phoenix PD files. Please, if you have any information about this case, please contact the Phoenix Police Department. Thank you…

Being an author, I ultimately wrote a fictional novel of my friend’s homicide, using library microfiche for the only facts available about the case. That book became the first book of my ‘Bailey Crane Six-Book Mystery Series’. The title of the book: “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” (Book 1). You can find it on Amazon or the ‘buy site’ at my blogsite/Website:

https://brchitwood.com under ‘Books by BR Chiwood’.

 Thank you and always, good reading…

https://twitter.com  @brchitwood

https://facebook.com/billyray.chitwoodC

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