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In Sunlight or In Sorrow

January 15th, 2010 § 23 comments § permalink

It’s been almost 20 years since I have seen my Mama.

Except in dreams.

I often dream about her.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. For all my alpha-male posturing, deep down I am a Mama’s boy.

She was in a dream I had last night, along with others in my family.

I dreamed about a painting a big white farm house. It wasn’t the big white house I actually live in, but in the dream it felt like it was home.

It was early morning in the dream, just as dew was burning off the grass.

My favorite time of day.

The house sat high on a high spot in the mountains. The sun was at my back, and nothing but  valley below. That means that I was probably on the North Carolina side of the Smokies.

Believe it or not, it is different from the Tennessee side.  Tennessee is rougher, where on the Carolina side, the hills seem to roll more gently.

A gravel road let up to the house and in the distance, I could see there was a car coming.

I came down off the ladder and found Granny standing on the porch.  She wasn’t herself.  Well, she wasn’t her current 92 year old self.  She was Granny of my childhood.  The way she was when I first knew her.  In her late 60′s.

“Kept us waiting long enough,” she said, looking over the valley toward the approaching car.

“Who is it?” I asked.

She didn’t answer me.  She just walked back into the house where I heard her call my mother’s name then announced, “He’s here.”

I had a sense in the dream of someone important arriving, so I decided to clean myself up from my work.  I went around the house to a hose, but my Grandaddy was already there, in his underpants, showering himself off with it.

“I saved the inside for you,” he told me.

I had to hurry, so I raced around to the front of the house.  But before I could get inside and head for the bathroom, the car arrived.  The Attorney stepped out and grinned that big mouthy grin of his.

I didn’t know who he was in the dream, but for some reason I ran into his arms.

He held me close and whispered, “You forgot about me, didn’t you?”

I don’t remember what I said back, or even if I did say anything.  But suddenly I knew exactly who he was. And was so glad to have him there.

My Mama (pre-illness) came from inside and said to him, “You thirsty after your trip?  I’ve got some Sprite.”

Sprite was my Mama’s favorite thing in the world.

I turned back to the house to look at Mama, behind her were my Grandparents.

With beaming smiles, they all motioned us to come into the house. My father never showed his face, but it just felt like he was there, too.

Everybody in my family was there but my brother.

In other words, it was everyone who has passed away.

I think I’m going to die before The Attorney.

{ fin }

ADDENDUM – 1/16/2010: A comment from David made me realize that I may have led some of you to believe that Granny has passed in real life.  Please forgive me if I have alarmed anyone.  Granny is still with us.  I guess I had decided that if, in the dream,we were with my parents and grandfather, then Granny and I had passed as well.  So, maybe the others of you are right.  The dream is not so much about death.

Forever Knox

January 12th, 2010 § 12 comments § permalink

I know the facts of this post will not interest the most of you, but maybe the spirit of it will.

As the rappers say, “people were blowing up my cellie” tonight.  I’d be on a call when another would beep in.  I’d let one go, and another would beep through.  I stopped answering the others once The Attorney got in.

His call referenced the same thing as all the others.  But, I could tell he figured I had already heard the news.

“Okay, I guess you were right.”

That’s all he said.

It’s not so much that I am “right,” but I had never been able to quite warm up to Lane Kiffen in his first year as the football coach at the University of Tennessee.   For some reason, which I could never really explain, I had trouble getting behind him.  Something in my gut just didn’t feel good about him.

Based on Kiffen’s announcement tonight that he is leaving Tennessee to take the open head coach position at University of Southern California, my gut instincts were correct.

I get why he wants to go to USC.  It’s one of the most storied programs in the nation.  Rose Bowl and everything.  Plus, he had been an assistant there during at least one of their recent National Championship years, serving under the very man he is replacing.  So, there is a sense of home about the place for him.  It’s his dream job.1

But what about the recruits that were set to sign with Tennessee three weeks from now? 2 What about the players who came to Tennessee already to play for him? What about coaching staff that he will not be taking with him and find themselves wondering if they will be replaced when we get a new coach?  Where do we find a good coach who will come into a program with no time left to recruit?

What about the fact that Kiffen in his first press conference a little more than a year ago, he was emphatic about how he was at Tennessee for the long haul so that he could rebuild our suffering program.

Where is his conscience?

In his final press conference tonight, which lasted less than one minute, he refused to take questions, and tried to deny TV cameras.  Those are not the actions of a man who is struggling with the consequences of a tough decision.  Those are not the actions of a man with a heavy heart.

Those are the actions of a man3 without a conscience, without class, and without a backbone.

Could he not display even the smallest expression of regret or sorrow.  That’s all it would have taken.  Even if he didn’t mean it.  I’m not saying people would have liked it any better, but I think more would have accepted the news.

“You’re pissing on us, Lane, but we understand.”

Instead, he chose to tell us that without a doubt in the fourteen month he was here, he is leaving us in a better place than we he arrived.

I assume he is not referring to the series of NCAA recruiting violations, mouthing off in the press, yet another bowl game loss, four team members going to jail for armed robbery and shop-lifting, nor the Halloween uniforms.4

Stupid ungrateful punk.

Interestingly, the USC fans, for the most part, don’t seem much happier with the news5 than our fans.  No one seems to be looking at it as the return of the prodigal son.   My gut now tells me that he is going to have a rough time of it out there.

That is if he makes it there.  There’s a lot of drunk rednecks out there right who have had their football messed with.  That’s worse than messing with their women.  There were reports that on campus, students were rioting outside the athletic center and demanding that Kiffen be brought out to them.

You reap what you sow.  One good turn deserves another.  Karma sucks.

Kind of ironic, but the Kiffens have a boy that was born not long after he took the job in Knoxville.  In honor of the new position, they named the baby “Knox.”  As much as I’m sure he wants to, Lane Kiffen will never be able to forget Knoxville, because forever he will be feeding it, changing it, and it will be asking him for money.

Karma is a bitch.  An evil, evil bitch.

{ fin }

  1. No doubt they are offering him more money too. []
  2. And will be penalized a year of playing if the decide to go somewhere else? []
  3. and I use the term lightly []
  4. I know black jerseys are all the rage in modern sports, but when your primary team color is orange, you just have to let that fad go. Especially if the game is on Halloween night. []
  5. for different reasons []

Twenty Ten

January 5th, 2010 § 25 comments § permalink

A buddy and I were wishing each other Happy New year the other day.  He said he was so glad to say goodbye to 2009 because it had bee such a rough year for him.  I told him I felt the same way.

About 370 days ago, I started this blog, the gentler offspring of my somewhat racier blog that had run its course a few months earlier.

I started up this one because I missed writing and wanted to offer more of myself than a plus-sized pecker.

Then I failed.  I ended up making only 46 posts the entire year.

I blamed it on 2009.

But, how can I do that?  The pages of a calendar are no more responsible for a year that I would love to forget any more than the turn of the page on January 1 would suddenly make everything better.

Sure, there are things that happen that are beyond my control, but it’s not those things that effect my happiness, it’s how I manage to deal with them.

Granny’s health and faculties are in serious decline, but I’m the one who let the increased responsibilities frustrate me.

It was me (and the Attorney) who let the limitations created by the realities of our relationship get to me.  Not a two, a couple or zeros, and a nine.

So, it’s me who has the power to make it better in Twenty Ten.

I think maybe, without realizing it, I took a big step toward that already.

The Attorney visited with Granny and me on New Year’s Eve.  He gave up an invitation to a fancy party for a pretty uneventful evening watching the countdown on TV with us.  Granny fell asleep in her chair long before midnight and the Attorney took the opportunity to lay his head in my lap and steal few moments of private affection.

I normally wouldn’t go for anything like that right under Granny’s nose,1 but there was a comfort there that was…well, comforting.

I wanted it to just be us.  If only for a few minutes, just us.

So, a few minutes before twelve, with Granny snoozing, he and I grabbed the bottle of champagne that the Attorney brought up, hopped into the truck and drove a little deeper into the mountains to a spot where we parked overlooking a ridge and waited for 2010 to arrive.

At the final tick, we toasted, drinking straight from the bottle, and steamed the windows with the year’s first kiss.

In all we were gone maybe half an hour and I honestly felt a little guilty about sneaking out on Granny.  But I also honestly felt happier than I had in a while.

Because I chose to make myself happy.

And that’s how it will go in 2010.

Happy 2010 to you, too.

{ fin }

  1. mostly out of respect []

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