Where Did That Dream Go?

Where Did That Dream Go?

(So I asked  a Shrink!)

By BR Chitwood

Where did that dream go, you ask?

Beyond your grasp, sadly…

You had it, but you let it go…

You did not pursue it to the end…

Other diversions caught your fancy…

The phrase is: ‘wine, women, song’…

Sound familiar? ‘wine, women, song’?

WWS slowed and finally ended your dream…

But they were part of the dream…

Too many working dreams spoil the broth!

You’re mixing metaphors, Doctor…

But you have no trouble grasping meaning?

Grasped, Doctor. So, you’re saying, ‘no chance for me’?

There’s always a chance, but youth is gone. Maybe your next life chances will come again…

Whoa, Doc, you believe we get to come back?

That’s not so crazy an idea. A colleague of mine, a hypnotist, has written about taking some patients back to former lives, even having some patients talk about their time while in training units between lives. He has done ‘case studies’… Go to a library, book store, and look under hypnosis, case studies, psychiatrists, former lives…you can find them if you’re interested.

Oh, I’m interested. I just find it so hard to believe.

You wouldn’t be human if you took it at face value. Remember, most of us are ‘doubting Thomas’…many did not believe we would put a man in space, go to the moon, have ‘space stations’, diseases cured, knowledge re-doubling every few months, and all of these life-changing events are being challenged, joined by nefarious rioting groups trying to destroy our cherished freedom and liberty. It is a crazy and wild time for the history of the world… I just hope our kids in the future will be able to read and know of this history… Sorry about the digression, but, in your case, from what you’ve shared with me today, you have had a comparatively good life. You have accomplished many of your goals – which a lot of folks would die for. I really cannot find any major anomalies in your life. Keep your dreams alive. That’s a good thing. The large news I would give you is: be happy in your life – you’ve got more living to do.

Thanks, Doc. You’ve got me feeling better about things… I’m going to find the book or books you were talking about. When I absorb them, I’ll call you for another session.

*

BR Chitwood – August 12, 2020

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Somewhere A Lesson

Somewhere A Lesson

By BR Chitwood

By 10:00AM I was sated with Jenny’s steak and eggs  and ready for some serious beach time across the road from her sidewalk café in Santa Monica…it became a ‘ritual thing’ some six months back when I moved into Marina del Rey a few blocks east to taste the merry and often contrary life of a divorced male, still lying awake at night much too long evaluating those years brought by an insecure and troubled child and young-adult childhood. It was likely even seasoned psychiatrists would feign a ‘too busy’ schedule to ‘work me in’.

A ‘thought’ that tip-toed often into my emotional network, ‘I was loving every damned minute of my new freedom’…well, not every minute, but enough so that the ‘old me’ of my thirty years of living would not give one selfish minute to considering another legal ‘I do’ affair.

So, sated, along with some time-worn good jesting with familiar customers – mostly, over my casual attire (swim suit, jazzy tee-shirt, and white tennis shoes) – plus, some ‘life of the idle’ remarks that were good-natured and jokingly sent, I left the café.

As I crossed the street westward toward the sand and Pacific Ocean, I noticed a group of four kids in their early teens in some sort of lively debate and shoving action. When I stepped onto the sidewalk one of the youngsters accidentally crashed into me. Actually, shoved into me by one of the teens.

“Whoa,” says I, “what’s the ruckus, guys?”

I noticed the smaller kid who fell into me was the smaller of the group…it took me only a tick or two to notice the leader of this pack – you know the type: half-closed eyes, twisting his face into what he considered a menacing position, stood in a defiant stance, legs parted, hands rolled into fists, trying for all the world to look mad and mean.

I put my hand on the smaller kid’s shoulder, looked at the ‘defiant one’, and asked: “What’s your name, fellow?”

“What’s it to you? This is none of your business. Butt out.”

I took my own defiant stance. “I should slap the crap out of you, kid, so keep your mouth shut while I talk…”

The big kid started to open his mouth, and I moved forward one step closer to him. He did not speak.

“Okay, guys, what’s going on? Why is this kid being shoved around?”

The big kid started again to talk, and I moved within two feet of him with my eyes wide and glaring. He looked to the ground and did not speak.

Again, I asked, “What’s going on? Why the shoving. It looks like all three of you are against this kid. Why? Give me your names.” My cold stare reached them all.

The two smaller kids gave me their names – Danny and Sol. The shoved kid offered his name as well – Chaney.

“What’s your name, big guy?”

“I don’t have to give you my name. You’re not the police…”

“You know that for sure? Give me your name, ‘Big Shot’, or you just might find yourself in a lot of trouble.”

The big kid lowered his head, looked off toward the ocean just as a police siren was heard off in the distance.

He lowered his eyes and spoke: “My name is Oscar, okay?”

“Look, guys, I spent a lot of my childhood around bullies who liked to tell others what to do and get them into a lot of trouble. I’ve got a feeling Oscar here is a bully – he’s bigger, feels that buys him special rights, like, picking on smaller guys and being known as the ‘big wheel’. It’s a matter of time when these ‘bully-guys’ will not be around to torment others…they go on to become criminals and spend years in dark prisons, away from anyone who could or would love them.

“So, look, guys, don’t treat people like you would not like to be treated…here’s the plan: Oscar, you take off, think about what I’ve said here – it’s just as easy, Oscar, to win friends with kindness as with ‘bully behavior’. I just hope you get that sooner than later. Your life will be much better…go on, take off, but don’t bother these guys again. I live here and will be looking out for any troublemakers.”

Oscar turned and walked away, went a short way, then ran full speed southward down the sidewalk.

“You guys okay now?” I asked.

Each in turn seemed relieved and would eventually head eastward and home.

After the boys left, I stood watching them while they were still in sight, and, for some reason a memory I own from my own teenage life came to me.

*

[NOTE: one of my fictional novels – Hammer’s Holy Grail – which, like most of my fictional books, contain some factually accurate content…brought to my mind the scene below…

The scene in the book deals with an encounter where my Mom, a cousin, his sister, and I are visiting my Dad in his hotel room to tell him about my sister, age sixteen, eloping with an Army Corporal. Mom and Dad, divorced for some years, with Dad an absentee father we seldom saw for the most part… Suffice it here, but that was a scene I shall never forget. If you want to read more, the book is available on Amazon Kindle and Paperback.]

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I did live in Marina del Rey, did have breakfast at a small café in Santa Monica, and the following aforementioned scene did occur – both, really, and in Hammer’s Holy Grail.

*

Dad’s hotel room was large but there was not enough chair-seating for all of us. My club-footed Cousin sat in a chair, and his sister sat in a matching chair next to him. Mom sat on the big king-sized bed, and I sat on an uncomfortable radiator by a window some ten feet across from my Mom.

Dad finished his phone call, walked around the room, smiling, looking us over. He knew something was amiss.

“Something’s going on, so let me in on it.”

Dad came to the big dresser and mirror across from the bed and leaned against the top.

Mom was cowed at the pillow-end of the bed, her hands wrapped into each other, her face a pitiful chalky white looking very nervous and scared…she had known a number of times of Dad’s beatings of her and my sister…

Finally, Mom spoke in a soft, terse voice: “Bobbie Jean ran off and married an Army fellow…” Tears came and poured down her face, and her lips tried to form words but could not. She bent her head to her bosom, her hands shaking with terrible stress.

All was quiet in the hotel room for some few seconds.

Dad’s eyes turned into squinted monster eyes. He walked one way, then, another, finally walked to Mom, hovered above her for some seconds, then, with an open hand slapped her so hard on her left cheek, the force of his blow throwing her into the headboard of the bed.

On my uncomfortable radiator grills I was a jumble of nerves, frightened as I had always been in those tense moments when Mom and Sis were beaten, but, not this time. Oh, there was the usual partial paralysis, but also a sudden mix of anger as I looked at my trembling mother on the bed.

As terrified as I was, something moved me, and I dashed with tears streaming from my eyes off the radiator and tackled my Dad onto the lower part of the bed, and swung my fists at him as hard as I could…

For whatever reason, my tackle and my blows had an immediate effect on Dad…surely, they could not have hurt him so very much – although I was then much bigger, playing football, and much stronger than when he beat her years before.

Dad calmed down so quickly that I thought I really might have hurt him…but it was his eyes that told me differently. He looked into my face with a sorrow I cannot describe, like, maybe he had destroyed a part of something most important in his life.

That was the ending of hostility, and I don’t remember when my breathing came back to normalcy, but I was happy that day was over and my Mom was calm again.

We all knew there would be no more rage and spousal abuse.

There were always reasons behind actions taken by someone…I loved my Mom. I loved my Dad. However, there were times when reality could place you smack in the middle of a scary and ugly movie.

Such is life – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

*

BR Chitwood – August 11, 2020

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Freedom, Liberty, and Other Observations

©Freedom, Liberty and Other Observations

-Fact or Fiction-

By BR Chitwood

Only a few of us know and it once seemed there was no earthly reason for anyone to know, not that large numbers of people during these evil days would believe, or, maybe care to believe.

However, having been years in the military, attending Classified and Non-Classified Briefings, all the way up to apersonal clearance’ of Top Secret data I shall ask for your patience while I give you here in these few pages one of those aforementioned Briefings that will serve you better in understanding the world of Large Governments, the reasons behind their operations.

Who am I?

Why am I writing all of this down for the world to read? Back there in those young titillating years of youth, it was all so mysterious, so fulfilling to be part of ‘something’ monumental, so important, so necessary for  our country’s readiness and safety, so incredibly ‘cloak and dagger’ that those of us participating had to sign some scary ‘legal do not do this and that’ documents that, violated, promised fines and long prison terms for infidelity, if not the possibility of death.

 With the details I write about here, all true, certainly scary enough, you can understand my great pride in serving this wonderful country.

Beautiful and Wonderful, but with some of its parts needing replaced, oiled, and repaired!

Why?

Why, indeed?

Because it is time for the world to know some of the truths and fictions under which they live.

Who am I to tell you these truths? Just a patriot, and, it is ‘my truth as I see it’!

Part of me is a kid who grew up in poverty-stricken Appalachia, somehow surviving a bitter, harsh, and ugly home environment and the aftermath of The Great Depression.

Another part of me? A man hungry for family, love, some stability, and a few pieces of the American Dream. Some of that part I partially fulfilled, family, few pieces of the Dream: college degree, kids to love and cherish, some small, modest business successes.

Finally, in the Military World, with a myriad of testing, I would be placed bewilderingly into a position that would involve USA National Security, and, after months of FBI ‘life-checks’, I achieved a coveted Top- Secret Clearance and began a second phase of schooling.

Without sharing with the readers details of my varied duties in several duty locations, I was privy to some very interesting covert projects, educational and nefarious programs that whetted my appetite and excitement.

This is the extent of personal background information. Now follows what I consider the meat of this thesis.

This small exposé will only focus on one aspect of a government educational program that in some ways staggered me, the Causes and Effects ramifications entailed therein, and the C&E of street violence.

***

No one needs from me history lessons, so let me be as succinct as I can without stretching believability too far.

You watch your televisions, and, if you watch the best channel for news, Fox News (now, you really know me, and hate me if you must!), you know what is happening in our own United States of America… Some of our ‘Lib brothers and sisters of Congress’ say it’s all made up.

A trio of policemen in Minneapolis, Minnesota arrests a man, cuffs him, and one of the cops puts him on the ground and keeps pumping his knee into a most vulnerable part of the man’s neck. The other two cops are busy doing other odd duties while the handcuffed man dies from the knee-pumping cop. (While it might not matter to anyone reading this, I’m still angry as hell with those cops. There is simply no valid excuse for their behavior.)

We are all seeing the after effects of these errant cops, but, then, loonies need very little reason to act otherwise – likely because they’re being paid good money by some big benefactors to cause all the beatings, riots, killings, lootings our televisions entertain us with each night, those ‘big money’ people who  want a different USA.

Some of our citizens do not want our old used-up Democracy, Freedom and Liberty, The Rule of Law, Bill of Rights, et al… all beautifully framed by some of the greatest patriots this country has known, men and women whose spilled blood is mixed with the ink on the documents. ‘They want to venture into the Socialist-way, a la Venezuela, Cuba, negating the price paid by millions of America’s youth that never had a chance at their American Dreams… For most Americans there is disbelief that some of our elected ‘public servants’ have opened wide our democracy doors to ‘big money interests’ who see better and faster ways to rip our country apart.

There are times when the world has a surreal feel to it…like, “Where did my country go? Why are we giving way to the anarchists, the looters, the killers, the haters?

It is an election year, and election years bring out the ‘looney left’ haters of President Donald J. Trump. Sure, like many Movers and Shakers, people who can get things done, our President can say too much at times, open mouth and insert foot, but he has also done more for our country than any other president in our history. A businessman, he came at a time when a prior two-term president changed the face of our democracy and bowed and curtsied to every leader in the world. Yes, I’ll take your poll: Barack Obama was the worst president in our history.

For this old hillbilly cast-off, the world is made up of people with different levels of intelligence and common sense. I am not the so-called ‘brightest light in the room’, nor am I the dimmest. There is so much I do not know and wished I knew, and, with the years adding up it will not get a lot better for me.

What I do know is this: the world is made up of ‘Governments’ – most of which are not democracies, but some form of ‘Authoritarian President’ (a la Venezuela-Socialism), Kings Queens, Despots, Ministers, Absolute Ruler (a la N. Korea).

What I do know is that nations of the world have their low IQs, high IQs, Rich, Poor.

What I do know is that nations of the world have their criminals and law-abiding citizens.

Diversity is everywhere. How do the nations of the world stop crime, get rid of poverty, handle all the diversity?

When I was in the military I heard of a ‘Smart Pill’ to make the Low-IQs smarter, pills to control raging sexual desires, pills to control all kinds of crime and diseases.

Perhaps to the extent these ‘pills’ and other scientific and technological advances can prove to establish some major controls, and/or have made a difference in some of our areas where crime emanates and destroys, there is so much we cannot know.

We also know there are those who enjoy their lives as they are – the doctors along with the criminals and evil-doers, so it most likely will become that our categorical areas of crime, evil doers, and/or quality leadership of nations will be on the fringe of our understanding.

At this moment in our American History, we face a crucial election in 90+ days. My hope is that we in America can remember the tens of millions of lives given for the causes of freedom, liberty, and belief systems which are given to us by a Higher Power! The price for what we are and can be is and was Steep.

We will soon beat the Covid-19 Evil, and, hopefully fill our nation with happy dwellers of peace and prosperity…and I am proud to say I shall be voting once again for Donald J. Trump in November.

BR Chitwood – August 1, 2020

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No Trade-Offs for Truth

No Trade-Offs for Truth

How does a crippled mind filled with hate, ugly memories, so little room for intelligent debate find some modicum of purpose?

Not to worry!

The power brokers know who you are and have a lengthy and sustaining list of your millions of brothers and sisters who fit the first paragraph’s twenty-one words.

Again, not to worry!

Those PB’s are all over the country, and they will sooner or later get to you. They need you and can make some magic with the words they convey – and offer some attractive money inducements to make you all atwitter with some offers they already know you likely will not turn down.   

Did I hear someone whisper: ‘What’s that guy talking about’?

Well, I guess there might be a few in that ‘first paragraph group’ who have not been ‘indoctrinated’ – informed – about the program.

Okay, now I’m hearing so many whispers, I need to break it all down for some of you. God help me! Maybe I can reach some of you before you make a leap into the madness I’m about to describe. Hopefully, some of you will not be part of this ‘whatever movement’ history decides to call it.

In fact, HISTORY and FUTURE HISTORY is the reason for this little parade of what is hopefully meaningful words and phrases.

Other than to write that US Education costs are higher than any country on the planet…we are talking trillions. That is bad enough but the real issue for many in our country – parents, some politicians, and many members of education ‘Brain Tanks’ – is Teaching Methodology… and, this is perhaps the biggest problem our children face in the classrooms today – mainly, on college and university campuses across the United States.

It is held by many in the educational ranks that our children are being brain-washed with ‘Liberal – Leftist’ philosophical thought and teaching methods, students not given a balanced education but a ‘one-way’ view of how they are supposed to think on the important issues of the day.

For the past weeks, our televisions have been focused on street riots, looting, killing, lunatic behavior that has ‘big money’ and powerful organizational support…this all started with a ‘bad cop’ lethally restraining a handcuffed black man – an incident which made the country angry and wanting the ‘bad cop’ arrested and tried for murder. The cop had other cops with him to assist him, so why did he use such tactics? (It still angers and bothers me when I remember the TV scenes with this cop constantly using his knee, pumping it incessantly into the black man’s neck – eventually, causing his death.)

Yes, that was a terrible abuse of on-duty policemen performing what should have been a simple arrest.

Here is the gist of this entire post… I know of no sane person who would condone behavior patterns displayed by the Minnesota cop mentioned above, but the riots and all those nights of tyranny have led to a madness that is most difficult to explain…except for…

Except for those ‘Power Brokers’ mentioned at the beginning of this post.

The ‘cop incident’, the riots, I believe, should bring sound minds to the conclusion that this aftermath of a cop’s behavior, plus the destruction of historical monuments, memorable, notable heroes from our past, the senseless hatred of so many. It all brings an odorous reality for me that the ‘Power Players’ of the Left have reached out, put their smelly money in the hands of groups hell-bent on Anarchy and Mayhem to destroy our great country.

Imagine, all the millions of patriots who died to protect our freedom and liberty, whose cause was bigger than their own lives, and, now, the monuments depicting our amazing History now being destroyed by the mindless bastards of the mindless super-rich.

I pray our nation gets through this ugly chapter of our history’s pages. We did very well for a time with our new President, and, certainly, Joe Biden has shown us nothing for forty years.

BR Chitwood – July 7, 2020

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©Imagine

©Imagine

Imagine your day beginning with blaring

New orders and bleak sameness…

Imagine new restrictions of a totalitarian

Regime, darkly, rigidly enforced…

Imagine new demands from a deep-state, a

Pledge of allegiance to the ‘Party’…

Imagine night-time curfews with electric

Blackouts and roaming patrols…

Imagine a new History without noble

Heroes and Patriots to honor…

Imagine your country with no borders

And angry demanding mobs…

Imagine the air you breathe filled with

Pestilent and toxic fumes of death…

Imagine no Libraries, no book stores to

Honor loves and happiness of living…

Imagine no memories of our brave millions of

Fallen Heroes Who sacrificed lives in Wars…

Imagine the Bigotry and Hatred in the Minds of

Fools who killed our dreams, Our Freedom and Liberty.

©Imagine

By BR Chitwood

MEMORIAL DAY –  May25, 2020

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The Truth of Kay – ‘aka Kate’ –

Image Art by: Christian Holzinger – Unsplash.com

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©The Truth of Kay

AKA Kate’

by BR Chitwood

*

In a post a few days ago I wrote a post entitiled, ‘A Pimple on Her Cheek’. While the short story was all that I wished it to be, a lingering nostalgia occupied my mind…there was indeed more to that story from a past that will stay active in my oft wandering mind until the end of my time.

There was indeed a beautiful raven-haired lady named, ‘Kate’, her real name was ‘Kay’, an actual name, an actual person, with whom I shared in a past time some happy, sad, confused and affecting weeks and months, drinking the nectar of love which I had never ever really known…

I had just left a marriage and three children after ten swirling years of Appalachian Mind Control, that is to say, a mind unable at the time to catalog and make sense of the world around me, a mind too young to make reasoned choices and decisions, a mind too eager to go to the next moronic level.

With the divorce, I began my odd California wandering. Bakersfield was a favorite spot so I decided to settle there for a while in morose mind-handling, feeling sorry for myself, sipping my cocktails, in and out of sorrow with my thoughts about my beautiful kids, when…

Kay Bruce came into my life, and she was a wonderful elixir to my grieving soul, that prior Appalachian Mind Control thing. Not only was she a needed and wonderful tonic, she was also beautiful, so delightfully English, a smart lady with a refined accent, long dark hair, and a sympathetic cushion for my cluttered head filled with bible belt guilt, remorse, and self-serving melancholy.

Kay and I were together for a time and she pampered me with her love and her good cooking, tried to assuage my mind and soul quakes. We went to nice restaurants, even met the great Hoagy Carmichael’s son, Randy, he a pianist of the first order, and we had a few pal-around weeks…even met his father, Hoagy, at an Airport dinner. Hoagy was between stops.

Beautiful Kay, for whom I did care so much, loved me, fed me her wonderfully prepared meals, and I fear I might have broken her heart. Too unsettled, at a crossroad in my life at which I could not emotionally deal or maturely understand. Hmm, perhaps that is still so.

Beautiful Kay, a singer with a lovely voice, while singing a wistful song of love and loss, all the while sadly and steadily looking at me as I sat solemn at the lounge bar of the nightclub. With tears about to come from a place of pain and poignancy on both our faces, I left the lounge and drove off into the night – where the tears did fall and I felt as small as a man could ever be.

That was the last time I saw the lady of beauty and love, but the haunt of her memory is there in the darkness as I try to sleep with all the crowded days and nights of yesterday.

Beautiful Kay, so many years have passed and yet your memory will never leave me.

I pray your life has found much happiness in it… Shortly after our time together I wrote a ballad for you. Were it possible, I would, together with Randy Carmichael, hop the first Time Machine to where you are, and I would sing it for you.

Here are the words…sing them softly, Kay. Bless you, dear Lady…

*

©Eyes That Dance

So beautiful the night

So beautiful and bright

So wrapped up in delight

Am I…

With you here near to me

Then heaven cannot be

So very far away,

Just but a kiss away,

Oh, you,

With the eyes that dance.

Eyes that dance,

Eyes that dance,

Put me in a trance,

I don’t stand a chance –

I’m in love with the night

So beautiful,

And, you,

With the eyes that dance.

©by BR Chitwood

May 22. 2020

[Please forgive my huge Romantic, generational leap back!]

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World View – ‘Mystery Castle’

World View – ‘Mystery Castle’

“There are times when life comes at you with ‘smoke and mirrors’ in a bold challenge to your carefully crafted World View.

“It is okay for you to raise your eyebrows and think, ‘Oh, my! another philosophical genius to enlighten our day and persuade it to go south’.

“However, with that thinking, you will close your ears and mind to a remarkable story that summons all your emotions…”

“Okay, enough with the preface. Get on with it, Milton – after you serve us another round of drinks.”

“You, Brett, and your three juveniles know the rules… I serve the first round, then, you are on your own. There’s my humble bar with beverage choices and mixes. Go for it, then settle in for enlightenment.”

With the noise of ice bouncing around inside the cocktail glasses, the jolly jokesters humming along with the background music of Paolo Mantovani, the guys reseated in the recliners, Bradley holds up his glass and speaks: “Okay, Miltie, lay it on us…it is your turn this week for ‘Most Remarkable Story of the Week’. Just, please, don’t be so pedantic and professorial in your spiel. We all know of your illustrious credentials…”

“How gracious of you, my once-good buddies…

“Okay, every claim I mention here can be verified on your laptops. In my humble…yes, humble…opinion, this is one of the great Human-Interest stories of our collective lifetimes…

“Bennet R. Chasen lived happily in San Francisco with his wife, Helene, and young daughter, Gabriela – nick-named, Gabbie. They were a close-knit family, took trips, went to the ocean, Bennet spending joyful time with Gabbie building ‘Sand-Castles’ on the beach. Not particularly rich in worldly goods, they loved and enjoyed their togetherness…

“The time was the 1930’s, and this loving father went privately for a medical examination for a condition he could not identify himself. That examination was to change the course of his and his family’s lives…

“Bennet  was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) and given a short time to live. The doctor wanted to place him in ‘Isolation/Quarantine’, but the husband/father spent many hours in his own ‘mind-isolation’, emotions and tears colliding, so many ponderous thoughts turning his heart and mind into a maelstrom of grief and self-pity, into a kaleidoscope of pain and sadness. For days, he stayed away from his wife and daughter, fearful that any contact might transport the TB to them.

“After hours and days of isolation, the tears of sadness, his eddy of emotions, he made a fateful decision…he would, simply, disappear, lose himself in the world, notifying no one of his destination – including, his beloved wife and daughter. What, after all, could words possibly be worth in the final accounting? He knew he was to die. It was better to disappear than to introduce the concept of his immediate death to his wife and daughter. Let them think…he, just, disappeared, wary of his family life. That would be better than allowing them the truth of his decision. All the turbulence of his mind led him to the only solution he could make.

“The family would think what they would…he could not make it better for them with the truth. So, Bennet left San Francisco and would end up in Phoenix, Arizona

“In Phoenix, this incredible husband/father would ‘homestead’ a lovely piece of property in the South Mountain area, and, sand bucket by sand bucket, rock by rock, cacti by cacti, wood pieces by wood pieces, any item he could find on the desert floor, at a construction site to be thrown away. There was an old covered-wagon left on the property that he built into a bar, until, some years later, he had built a huge ‘sand-castle’ for his daughter that would become hers at this death…that event occurred some seven years after his TB diagnosis…

“So, you ‘malcontents’, what say you now? Except for the names I’ve lent them, this story can be verified and proven beyond any doubt. The daughter would live on this incredible land and in this awesome home until her death, known by the guns strapped to her waist she wore daily in this wild and beautiful desert…”

In unison and wide-eyed, the buddies went to the bar and fixed more drinks. Back in their seats, incredulous, Milton met their eyes, and spoke again.

“If you guys can afford a small ‘tour fee’, you can visit this incredible tribute to a man who weighed all his evidence, made the only decision he could make, and created what is now called, THE MYSTERY CASTLE.”

BR Chitwood – January 19, 2020

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In the Dark of Night

-Image by Mathew McQuarrie on Unsplash-

In the Dark of Night

Sleep eludes me on a nightly basis, the tossing and turning a much too familiar motif, the lyrics seemingly a ritual that has haunted me for so many years, I can almost hear the imagined violin’s soft, undulating rhythm.

This malady stretches long into the night. Hours pass, and my body seems to be rejecting me, near an imploding crescendo, until, in a mad tossing of bed covering, I rise and take a long shower.

I allow the harsh shower stream to pound my body as I sit curled on the tiled seating shelf assessing for the millionth time my life, my brief brush with some modicum of fame and glory, but, more self-indulgingly, my southern heritage and the early bucolic years of my existence.

This midnight maudlinism, this mushiness of a grown man, is captured by a wry grin of acknowledgement and a mere nod of the head in the darkness.

It is a large 8’x8’ steam shower, but I only use the shower’s sharp thrusting streams to quell my mawkish musing, and, to some small extent, it is quelled.

I open the glass shower door, turn the light off, and sit for some moments in the humid enclosure. My manic mind is still active as I consider once again the chance for sleep.

It is in those ultra-quiet moments that an epiphany comes…write…write about your feelings, your thoughts. Let that be your saving coup.

I’m about to rise when the sound reaches me – a sound that resembles a weak roar of a power drill. No, not a drill. Just a metronomic sound like an energy of some sort being applied to a part of the house…OMG, like, someone trying to break open a door.

Still wet and dripping, I almost slip on the tiled shower floor getting out of the enclosure. I don my pajama bottoms and stand at the large opening into my master bedroom.

The sound comes again, a bit louder this time…

It’s difficult to isolate the area of the house from which the noise is coming. Is it the cellar? The back door? The front door?

There is an abatement to the noise.

I sit on the edge of the bed, lost in listening.

Tippie won’t be home until Sunday. She flew to Arizona for a family wedding. I begged off going and stayed home. My body cannot withstand the hustle and cacophony of crowds of people in an airport, some rushing, bouncing into others to catch a flight they’re late for ‘check-in’. Arthur and I cannot abide too well crowds of people…another issue of my manic mind.

I sit on the edge of the bed for several minutes, take some deep breaths of the cool air. The sound does not come…has it simply been an anomaly of sounds in the night?

I return to my ‘undercover’ sanctuary for sleep but more often ‘for distressful thoughts’, turn on my right side to try again for Sandman’s visit , adjust my head to the pillow, and try to direct my thoughts to Paradise Island in Nassau – a memorable trip for Tippie and me early on in our marriage. Atlantis has become one of our favorite memories – along with an NCL cruise with our kids.

Finally, there comes that roar-sound, this time much more prominent than before in the shower. It sounds like it’s coming from the upstairs guest bedrooms…not the basement.

Again, I leave my bed, grab a flashlight from the bedside table and slowly move to the hallway, into the front foyer, and softly climb the winding steps of the ancient and beautiful staircase…circa 1800’s.

The sound stops upon my rising from the bed. Certainly, my quiet movements cannot  be overheard by a potential burglar.

My gosh! Do we have ghosts who can discern our moves?

Okay, not rational, but with age comes the return to childhood where realities are not always so real.

I make my way quietly up the stairs…no squeaking of the stair steps. At the top of the stairs I turn on the flashlight. We have five bedrooms for family and guests on our large home’s second floor.

No sound.

I go quietly on bare feet down the hallways and shine my flashlight into every room, bath, closet, and there is nothing. No sounds. No evil of any kind awaits me.

Downstairs again, I inspect the den, the parlor, the sunroom, the dining room, the kitchen, and every inch of our master bedroom, closets, and bath. I also check all our back and front doors…locked, secured.

I am stymied.

The sound has not returned.

Just a dumb oddity? It must be. The house is thoroughly inspected in my own Detective Clouseau way.

Back in my King-size bed, my sanctuary, I again reach that point of drowsiness where sleep comes.

The damned roar-sound comes again, like feet stomping down the upstairs hallway.

“What the hell is going on?” I mutter to myself.

I take a few more deep breaths.

The roar-sound stops.

I wait…

The sound returns.

I take a few more deep breaths.

The sound stops.

As I sit on the edge of the bed, the thought comes to me: It’s your own heartbeat you are hearing.

Okay, I have MES, the acronym for Musical Ear Syndrome. My ear doctor informs me that little is known about MES, but I am not to worry… His diagnosis failed to report that a loud roaring of one’s heart is heard quite often in the wee hours.

It begins to make some sense to me. When my music isn’t playing in my ear, my heartbeat can entertain me.

Well, it was some sort of relief. Thankfully, there were no thieves in the night…

Then, again, it’s kind of scary to hear your very own heart roaring loud and clear like hoof-beats in the dark of night!

What a great life! All these wonderful little anomalies I’m learning about.

BR Chitwood – November 14, 2019

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When Dreams Collide

-Image by: Johannes Plenio – Unsplash-

When Dreams Collide

It was early AM. Darkness still ruled the night, and the dream I was having collided with an aberration, a rather obediant traitor to my sleep on occasion.

Many of my dreams are bleak and dark, depicting scenes of me trying to reach my kids, my mother, my wife for some urgent reason…an example might help me here:

My aged and infirm mother, having finished her day job for the day, is walking laboriously with bags of groceries up a sidewalk in a big city. She is also caring for my children, and I’m rushing to reach her, to help her with her bags of groceries. I’m also worried about my young children, arriving home from school and finding no one home…

So, I’m harried in a hasty rush to reach my Mom and help her with the bags of groceries, but I keep finding my way blocked by some crazy twist in the dream – I’m on the wrong street… I’m out on the outskirts of town, trying desperately to find my way back to the city, and a speeding train is coming toward space that I must cover to reach the city… There are also scenes of the kids, about to end the school day, but it is a bizarre dream laced with anxiety, fear, and desperation. 

This sort of dream comes to me here in Twilight, and I can make a certain deductive reasoning for the dreams, to remind me of something, to make me feel guilty, to mostly agonize about the grayish tone of the dreams…

So, I awake. I’m all fuzzy in my head. My cat, Lady Gray, is at my side in the darkness, obviously concerned about me, with either talking in my sleep or my movements. (I’m thinking she’s prescient, in my life her form but an embodiment of my Mom…) Okay, call me loco en la cabeza.

Anyway, I stroke Lady Gray’s soft furry back and whisper, “It’s okay, Sweetheart.” As my eyes venture in the dark toward the end of the bed, I think I see Julie’s face in the deep gray darkness. “Julie!” I yell.

I hear a weak reply. “Are you alright?” I yell.

“Yes,” she replies.

Then, it occurs to me to pat my side of our kingsize bed and I feel the lump, the lump that is Julie already back into her sleep… Julie can sleep with the best of sleepers – even, standing up, she has informed me.

A few minutes pass and I decide to get up and dressed. I want to see if I can capture this nighttime episode in a blog…you’re reading it.

While alone with my laptop I’m wondering if Julie might be worried that I’m… Well, I’m not, but I did cry a little when I read an ‘I Love You’ card she sent to me before we retired for bed last night.

Thanks for the audience. I had to get this out of my mind.

Who the hell needs ‘reminding’ they are getting older?

They know.

They feel.

Into the ‘knowing and feeling’ creeps memories and a life not all bad, but, certainly, the edges are frayed.

Life is still great here in Twilight.

BR Chitwood – November 2, 2019

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The Mind – A Great Odyssey

The Mind – A Great Odyssey

 An octogenarian mind has a plethora of experiences to share, bemoan and cherish. The dips and sways during a lifetime are one great roller coaster ride. Some mind choices along the way will chastise and haunt. Some will make you weep. Some will make you smile with joy.

The wiring is likely the most important part of the mind – a well-engineered mind that keeps the mind focused on its chosen field and/or fields of interest…that DNA stuff that a relatively few can talk about. There are people who can stay their course, who have minds that stay focused on ultimate goals they wish to reach. There are those of us who are like moths to light, forever longing for some elusive Nirvana, some peaceful way station along the way where life yields pleasure and forever love. Often, we, those people are referred to as ‘Romantics’.

The environment can alter choices and deeds surely, but it is the mind that in its uncanny ability and unique engineering can wipe away most of its ‘carrier’s’ ugly parts and proceed with its eventual destiny. It is with joyous envy that I sprinkle dashes of remembrance to a few people of history that have given me small fractions of wisdom, hope, and pleasure, people who had those mind attributes that I covet and wish to have possessed.

My mind conjures up people like Arnold Palmer, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates. What could a golfer, a couple of scientists, and a group of philosophers really have in common?

At the Phoenix Open PGA Golf Tournament some years ago, I met and spent a delightful afternoon with Arnie Palmer and a small group of admirers. Arnie shared with us some of his experiences after leaving his Pennsylvania farm. Golf had been his obsession, and he knew early on that he wanted to compete and win major golf tournaments. He stayed true to that single-minded dream, and he became one of the most adored man in the sport. His ‘simple man’ of the land image endeared him to millions of fans, and the phrase, ‘Arnie’s Army’ became a television staple when talking about the great golfer’s fans. Arnie was simply a man who could walk among Kings, Presidents, and the common man. He knew where he was in his journey. Meeting Arnie, sharing space with this man who was my idol, was one of the singular events of my life. I loved the man.

Comparing Arnold Palmer’s mind with the minds of Einstein, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Marie Curie would perhaps seem frivolous, but there is commonality. Each had enquiring minds, single-minded interests.

Albert Einstein, of course, brought our eager world into Science in monumental ways, his mind touching so much of what today we take for granted, in sophisticated manufacturing principles to household products. A German-born theoretical physicist, his mind was magnificently wired for Science, he would amaze his contemporaries with his scientific knowledge, would develop his ‘Theory of Relativity’ and win the Nobel Prize in 1921…and, he was also ‘human’, married, had two sons, divorced, lived a life lush with fame, alerted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the potential development of ‘extremely powerful bombs’ – which led to the ‘Manhattan Project’.

Marie Sklodowska Curie was a Polish French Physicist and Chemist who conducted pioneering research on the study of radioactivity, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice. She was also the only woman to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. She was the first woman professor at the University of Paris…an amazing lady who contributed greatly to the world of Science.

With the great philosophers, their single-minded queries into the knowledge and thinking of their time would forever be a part of our educational system, and pass through the halls of colleges and universities…’Aristotelian Logic, Socratic Method, Platonic Theory’, all phrases heard daily in classrooms across the land. In his famous ‘Dialogues’, Plato discussed not only the physical world, but the metaphysical as well – immortality, the mind, Man. These were ‘Mind-Giants’ who led the way to logical thinking.

The lives of these few great people among so many that could be mentioned were astounding and serve as role models for those who tenaciously hold onto their dreams, their love of a specific subject, be it arts, industry, science, sports, those who have the minds and the wills to achieve.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste’, it has been said.

On a personal level, my mind was put ‘oh hold’ for much of my younger life by a chaotic Appalachian youth and a sojourn of ‘lotus-eating’ – then, in those early years of manhood, would have been the time to begin my serious writing. Something was missing in my life, a vague wispy dream of family and love, and the path I took to finding those most genuine realities were laden with ‘lotus flowers’ and ‘Mr. Bacchus’. I was blind to a sure path that would lead me to writing. One path was left to follow yet another.

In short, my mind in so many ways I’ve wasted.

The latter part of this life that is left to me is taken up with writing. I call it my therapy. I love to write… Nineteen books, some 400+ blog posts, and some poetry thrown into the mix. There is no Nobel, no Pulitzer, no award I can imagine coming to me. I’ll be satisfied with some of my books being read and enjoyed – with, hopefully, some Amazon reviews thrown in.

Moral to the story here? To the extent there is one, if writing is your ‘dream’ and you feel you can do it well, begin and grow with each new Blog post, Book, and Poem. You will get better with each new stroke of your pen, or, sadly, you will become someday an octogenarian loving soft vanilla ice cream…

Two scoops on my cone, please!

BR Chitwood – June 22, 2019

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