Twenty years or more in Texas wouldn’t make me feel any better about a particular situation that cropped up the other day but it is fair to say three years hasn’t made me any less angry or optimistic than twenty years would.
At least that is what I say to myself, in the quiet of the night as I replay all that happened and all I know and ask a million questions.
Am I more concerned because of current circumstances and recent events or is the fire in my belly burning brighter because of who is involved here.
Maybe both, maybe neither but personal history provides some smidgen of insight.
A thousand years ago I complained to my mother about my dad’s behavior and she told me that when he was worried about my sisters and I it always gave an edge to his voice that had nothing to do with us.
I can’t remember the who, what, where and why of that situation, but I know a teenage girl who was cautious about speaking with me because she didn’t want me burning down bridges and salting the earth.
Of Better Things
“What is the point of writing something if people don’t understand what you are saying or why?”
“People understood it. Lots of people told me they liked hearing about Israel and or asked why I picked my parents’ time in Cleveland to write about. People grab onto bits and pieces and then they run with it.”
“Josh, that is not an answer.”
“It is an answer and I am not bothered by your lack of understanding. You are and you really shouldn’t be. These aren’t stories that have beginning, middles and ends. They are fragments and ideas, some memories, some dreams with a dash of hope and sometimes an ounce of despair.”
I got an angry response and followed up with my own zinger, “you would make a great ex-wife.”
“That might be one of the meanest things you said to me.”
“Not really, you don’t have a ring on your finger or any claim upon me. No one makes you read this. And even if you shared a bed with me I wouldn’t spend any more time trying to explain this because if you need me to explain laughter, love, hate and or a broken heart I can’t do that for you.”
An older cousin of mine and by older I mean in his nineties told me that antisemitism has always been around probably always will be.
“It hasn’t gone away. You guys might have to fight like we did. You kick their asses and they think twice about messing with you, but don’t think the hate is gone because it isn’t. It is there festering, except they realize it is better to sit in hate than to be dead or crippled.
The hard part about seeing 50 coming up over the horizon is the realization that I can carry a spear and swing a sword with as much skill as I ever had but not with the same strength or stamina.
If I have to put someone d0wn it has to be faster than once upon a time because I can’t do it all with the same ease. The part that sticks in my throat a bit is knowing I can only hold off the years for so long.
Eventually there will be a bigger and noticeable deterioration in my physical skills and I am not ready to accept that…yet.
Be The Wise Man
I found a few more flecks of gray in my beard today or should I say the lady at Nordstrom did. She caught me looking at some Jack Black products and asked me what I was doing.
I said I was thinking of my dad and that is true, I was.
I recognized a few things from his counter and wandered over. Nordstrom isn’t a place I spend much time in, although I did buy a suit there for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.
The counter lady told me I have beautiful skin and called me handsome. I said thank you and that I was just looking.
She followed up with another compliment and said I should treat myself. I told her I would be happy to let her treat me to some samples and she laughed.
We bantered back and forth for a few and I told her I had to get back to my daughter’s soccer tournament. Before I walked away and prepared myself for the onslaught of what was to come we went back and forth some more and she tried one last sales pitch.
Something about trying to keep more lines in my face and forehead from developing and I laughed.
“I earned these and I’ll a few more before I am done.
Decisions Not Made
A few minutes into the third game of the day another girl cut my daughter’s legs out from under her and I watched her go down hard.
She bounced back up and a few plays later she gave it back to the other girl and some of the parents on the other side went nuts.
I walked over to where I could I hear what was being said to make sure they weren’t trying to plan any nastiness and discovered a barrel of harpies and jackasses.
They were some of the nastiest parents I have encountered in 14 years of wandering the sidelines as a soccer parent or coach.
I won’t bore you with the particulars other than to say I found out that one of the dads yelled at my daughter. I didn’t hear anything he said, but I was there when he was doing so and when I caught his eye he stopped.
Perhaps it is a good thing I didn’t hear him because if I had I would have walked over and politely explained that I could help pull his head out of his ass and or he could immediately cease and desist.
I am probably a hair edgier because of the situation I am working on, but maybe not. Twenty years in Texas wouldn’t make this any easier and at best might provide a little clarity about best ways to manage it, but probably not.