Stumble, Fumble….

I despise the New Year. My birth year ends in a zero so it’s easy to figure out your age and realize the path behind you is significantly longer than the path ahead. I’m not concerned about my age…well…maybe I am since I’m posting about it. Okay, I’m not concerned about my death…unless it is lingering and painful. Okay, okay! So, I’m concerned.

I despise the New Year because of the resolutions I make that I know I’m going to break or stumble over…” stumble, bumble, fart, and fall….” Odd things that stick in your head. It’s the fourth and I’m already stumbling…and I’m always smelly.

I made simple resolutions. Easy to accomplish even if a few roadblocks arise. Maintain or, notice the “or”, improve my fitness. Maintain my 2016 weight which I was unable to maintain in 2017. That means losing the ten pounds from last year that I picked up when I was supposed to be maintaining. Just walk a little more…we got this.

I wish I had told my wife. Obviously, her New Year’s resolution is to cook this year. The veggie and beef homemade soup, following the traditional greens, peas and pork roast on New Year’s Day. Would have been healthy…maybe…but she had to make cornbread. I love her cornbread…did I have to have the second piece? Yes, I did…and the third. I just forgot about her tomato pie…oh my.

Well, I expect her to break her resolution soon, “I’m not cooking anymore this year!”

“But….”

“But nothing!”

My second resolution was also a simple, easy to accomplish, I want to be a better person and make a difference. You know, better for the wife, daughter, grandkids, asshole brother…sorry, non-asshole brother. Not best…just better.

My beloved has thrown a roadblock in front of that too. Thirty-one years together and I still find a way to not be able to get out of my own way.

“I need for you to…” fill in the blank.

A “better person” would simply go do it. A “better person” would not wait until he forgot what she asked him to do in the first place. A “better person” wouldn’t want to hear, “I asked you six months ago to…” fill in the blank. So, with a hand driver, I jumped on it! Bam!

“What are you doing?”

“You asked me to….”

“I didn’t mean now. You are in my way. Go do something else.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Don’t ask me questions now, can’t you see I’m busy?”

A “better person” won’t use the hand driver as a weapon. Great, resolution accomplished! Maybe this isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

For more of Don Miller’s musings, try the following link: https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

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END OF THE LINE…AGAIN

I never intended to be that kind of teacher. You have had them. Angry all the time, lips turned downward or run out in front of their noses. Sour on life or why life was picking on them. As refreshing as a glassful of salted, warm dill pickle juice. Hanging on by their toenails, not for the sake of the kids they teach but for the paycheck they receive. I stepped away from corrupting young minds three years ago and coaching a year later for that very reason. It was my third “failed” attempt at retirement. Better to retire a year too early than a year too late and I could hear the sucking sounds of my patience reserves going dry. It was hammered home five or six months later when a teaching peer begged me to take her classes during her maternity leave…I am a sucker for a pretty face, even a pregnant one. It didn’t hurt that the district teacher of the year was doing the begging. Nine weeks later I found myself hanging on by my toenails not to be THAT KIND of teacher as we broke for Christmas and she returned.

Three months ago, she called again…pregnant again…begging again…and I’m still a sucker for a pretty face. I might have been a bit bored too. She might have played to my vanity. This wonderful, award-winning teacher wants LITTLE OLE ME to take her classes? I am unworthy…no really…I am unworthy. Yep, I’d say she played to my vanity. I also needed new tires for the truck and a hydraulic cylinder for my tractor. I didn’t need to work to pay for them, I could have written a check from savings. Next time I will. Did I mention it was half-time? Every other day, always with a long weekend. Twenty-two or three teaching dates. I could do this standing on my head…maybe.

I’m a two-day week away from the joyous end. One day is a half day. One and one-half days from heaven. Walking into a classroom hasn’t been any harder. The kids are no more difficult today than ten years ago. School staff and administration have been wonderful. It’s just me. The tank has run dry. I can’t do the job anymore as I once did. I have hit the end of my line.

Sciatica and the shingles haven’t helped. Limping into classes the first week of my tenure with sciatica, my scalp crawling and face blistering from shingles the last three weeks. No that’s just an excuse. A DAMN GOOD EXCUSE, but an excuse none the less. There comes a time when it is over and a wise man will recognize it. My friend Hawk, sometimes a wise man, has said often. “We can’t do this forever. I’m not going from an athletic field to the grave.” How many times have you retired and gone back Mr. “Do as I say and not as I do?” I have not been a wise man but I have gained wisdom. Who says an old dog…ahhhhhhhhh!

I had a wonderful puppy. She was a throw away that just appeared outside the front gate one day waiting for my beloved to feed her. Miss Sassy decided not to leave…until thirteen years later. Sick and old, she knew her time was near and went off to die alone. I like to think she didn’t want to burden us with the memories of her death. I want to be like her. I don’t want to keep hanging on…and to be clear, I’m just talking about my career…today.

I am thinking about the kids. Some are making me smile. I just didn’t have the time to develop the relationships except for a handful. Three or four from each class. It’s about the relationships. South Carolina history is important. So is culture and geography. It’s just not as important as the relationships for an old fart like me.

Anne, thanks for the opportunity but between us, don’t get pregnant again. Tie a knot, I’m not falling for it again, or if you do get pregnant, I’m not falling for it again.

To quote the Traveling Wilburys,
“Maybe somewhere down the road aways (end of the line)
You’ll think of me, wonder where I am these days (end of the line)
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays (end of the line)
Purple haze.” It is the end of that line.

“Looking for answers to questions that bothered him so.” Find more musings and other reflections at https://goo.gl/pL9bpP