Post Secret purloin: surprise, shock

plenty of time

surpriseThe final part of the PostSecret purloin.

What is the last thing you changed your mind about?

I was going to say the failure of ethanol, but I have another one. The use of they as a singular pronoun. For the longest time, the Sting song title, If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free bugged me. Now it does not. Now it makes so much sense. This, BTW, did not keep me from buying the 12″ single of the track.

What things helped you get through a difficult time in your life?

Ya gotta have Friends.

Over the course of your life what trip or place was most special? Why?

Running out of gas in Speculator, NY with my dad. I thought he’d be mad, because I was supposed to be the navigator, but he was surprisingly cool about it.

What would you like to re-experience again because you did not appreciate it enough the first time?

I’m hard-pressed to think of anything. To every thing, there is a season…

Can you tell me something about yourself that I don’t know that you think would surprise, shock or delight me?

Surprise? Shock? Probably, but all in good time, my pretties, all in good time. Delight? I’m always fascinated that there are stories I tell my daughter that delight her. I’m not sure why they do. One is the bathroom mirror story, which I should tell at length sometime.

How to be lazy

What habits served you the most through life?

I like to work ahead, not waiting for the last minute. That most assuredly applies to writing this blog. There’s been maybe twice since 2008 that I got up and wrote something that was published that day. Writing ahead allows me to be tired or sick or just lazy.

It’s true: if I have something due in a month, I’m most likely to do it in the first week. This doesn’t always work when you’re dependent on other people. “We have plenty of time,” they say, until we don’t.

What is the best mistake you have made, and why?

Probably moving into my grandmother’s house in the cold of early 1975. If I could survive THAT, I could survive anything.

What do you hope my siblings and I have learned from you?

From my father, I learned from my father is that you don’t have to be book smart to be successful. What I learned from my mother is patience – OK, I’m working on it – and kindness.

How are you doing right now? Is there anything on your mind right now that you’d like to talk about?

I could spend forever doing genealogy. It’s something, I realize, I do in part for my sister and my daughter. My wife’s family, the Olins, can trace their back to the late 1600s. Thanks to the new relatives I’ve discovered only in the last six months, I can go back to the 15th century. That’s about 300 years further back than I was ever able to go on the extant bloodlines I’d known about for decades.

PostSecret: teach something

AskHere are some more of those PostSecret questions I stole.

If there was a biography of you, how would you want to be described?

As improbable and episodic.

What choice are you thankful that you did not make?

This is difficult, actually, because what usually comes to mind I are decisions I made that I’ve regretted. I suppose not saying something hurtful to people when they had hurt me first.

What is the best advice you remember from your father?

He bought me a wallet in Savannah, which was way better than having loose bills in my pocket.

Is there anything you wish you had said to someone but didn’t have the chance?

My sisters and I have talked about this at length. We wished, at some level, that we had asked our father about his growing up. But we didn’t want to embarrass him or cause him pain, so we never did. The weird thing is that we knew some details indirectly, from his wife and even his mother-in-law.

Can you teach me something?

Probably. At some level, the intention of this blog is to teach something. There are only 14 ways a calendar is presently devised. Estelle Axton belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here’s one thing at least three of my interns did not know. Use Ctrl-F to Find specific text in a document. I was shocked that they were not aware of that.

What is something you would like me to ask you?

Almost anything. I’ll let you know when you’ve overstepped.

What do you wish you would have spent less time worrying about?

Money, and the lack thereof.

What is something you deliberately did not tell me as a child and why?

Maybe I still haven’t…

What is the best part of your day? What makes you feel most alive?

Sometimes it’s when I wake up in the middle of the night, and the house is asleep except for the male cat. I check my email, and he puts his front paws on my left leg. He wants me to scratch him under his chin. Then he goes away, usually.

PostSecret questions: Genesis

GenesisThe PostSecret guy asked his followers on Facebook for once-in-a-lifetime questions to ask his “dad for an unforgettable interview. Over 700 replies with more than 1,000 questions came back.”

I liked them so much that I purloined them to answer myself. Some of them aren’t suited to this format, but I made most of them work. And the piece became so long that I’ve broken it down into three sections. That means three blog posts, because the blogger is basically lazy. And because I don’t want you to have to read a 1200-word post. See how nice I am to you.

Can you tell me about your best friend when you were a kid and one of your adventures.

That would be Ray. We were in Cub Scouts together, and his mom was our Den Mother. One time when I was about nine, I had a birthday party at my house. I had intended to invite a lot of people. But only Ray and my late pal Bernie showed up. I felt terrible, but they made me feel less bad.

Bernie Massar, Barnyard (1953-2019)

In junior high, sometimes, walking home, I’d go to the houses of Bill, Lois and Karen on Mygatt Street, Carol on Cypress, then Ray, at 7 1/2 Cypress. I’d walk through his yard, walk down the stairs through the Canny’s trucking company lot on Spring Forest Avenue, then down Oak to Gaines Street.

For some obscure reason, I remember this. In a reflection on Penny Lane, he wondered if the line was “standing in the English reign,” as opposed to “rain” and that the Beatles were having a play on words. Her Majesty IS a pretty nice girl.

What is the oldest story you know about our ancestors?

I reckon that would be James Archer, who fought in the Civil War.

Civil War & great (X2) grandfather James Archer

Can you describe a favorite memory about a family member?

My favorite recollection of my dad was when I was at a conference in Savannah, GA in 1998, and my dad drove down from Charlotte, NC for the weekend. He hung out with me and my friends Mary, Donna. and Kellie. We had key lime pie.

Random Memory of My Father: Savannah, GA

If this was to be our very last conversation, is there anything you would want to say to me?

When in doubt, be kind.

Do you have a favorite snack, song, television show, recipe, comedy?

Snack: spinach dip. Song: Bein’ Green. Television show: The Dick Van Dyke Show. Recipe: lasagna. Comedy: Young Frankenstein.

A song that reminds me of myself

What is your first memory?

Augmented by a photo, it was sitting in a plastic pumpkin at the Catskill Game Farm when I was about three.

Did you ever get into trouble as a kid? What happened?

I once threw a snowball at my friend Carol. It was icy, and it really hurt her. I felt terrible. But I don’t think I actually got into trouble. I was an annoying good kid.

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