January 6, 2007

Our house is a very, very, very fine house...

"Hello, neighbor!"

Every night I like to take what I have come to think of as a walk through the neighborhood. I begin with the first link in my favorites and I continue on down the street until I have visited the home of each and every one of my good friends.

Sometimes I pause to say nothing more than a simple hello. I just want my friends to know I’m thinking about them and that I have not forgotten them. It is a neighborly thing to do. To me it is an important part of building a community.

Community has always been important to me. I remember living in a small town in Indiana as a child; Jeffersonville to be exact. It was next to Clarksville, the place the musical group The Monkeys made famous with the song, Take the last train to Clarksville. My family lived in what was called a court.

A court was a circle of houses at the end of a gravel path that ran off of the main road. There was an island of grass in the middle of the complex where the mailboxes lined up on a two by four wooden plank. This made it easy on the small white mail truck to deliver the mail each day.

We were pretty isolated and sometimes days would go by without an automobile whizzing by on the main road outside our little community. Town was something miles up the road from us and an all day journey on a bicycle to get to and from. For all the isolation of where we lived the one feeling I never knew was loneliness.

What I have always remembered about those years is the closeness I felt to everyone who lived around me. In those days you knew everything about your neighbors. You knew when they were fighting, when they were drunk and when a parent was whipping his child. You could take a walk out to the mailboxes and tell what every family was having for dinner just by the smells carried by the breeze. There were no secrets in our little Court.

I remember the quiet time just after the supper dishes were washed and put away. All the children would be playing in the yard as women sat in small groups talking on the evening’s chosen front porch. The men would be performing various tasks in whatever garage they were gathered in listening to baseball on the radio. It was a congregation of neighbors sharing the daily moments of their lives. It was a time of community.

The blogosphere is the closet thing I’ve felt to those moments in a very long time. There is an intimacy to what we share here. You know when someone is feuding and you know when someone is loving. It is hard to keep secrets in this place when every word you type is right there in black and white for the entire world to see.

There are two options in this community we share; either you learn to be tolerant and forgiving or you wind up alone and unread with nobody interested in linking to your blog. It reminds me of those long ago days in Jeffersonville, Indiana where you knew everyone’s business but you never held it against them. After all, if you isolated yourself from your neighbors you had no friends, and if you had no friends you had no place in the community. That was when you knew what lonely felt like and nobody in his right mind wanted to experience something like that.

I believe we are rediscovering an important set of values here. We are learning how to be neighbors again. We are learning how to be tolerant and forgiving. We are learning to be accepting of our differences and our imperfections. We are rediscovering our humanity in every aspect of its expression. We are reawakening to the goodness of community.

I am hopeful that this experience will begin to carry over into the real world we are a part of too. In a world so filled with anger and violence I believe it is a healing from which we can all benefit.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have an evening walk to take. There are neighbors I need to visit and perhaps a new friend or two to make. I believe a community is waiting to be built and I’d very much like to be a part of it.

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January 4, 2007

Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

This has proven to be quite the day so far. I awoke to discover I’d been presented with a Bob Award and then when I opened my email someone let me know I’ve also been nominated for a bloggie.

I started this blog to have a little fun. Now, I've wound up meeting some amazing people and that is what makes this blog so much fun for me.

I nominated some of you for bloggies and I hope you don’t mind.

You can go here and nominate some of your friends too.

Keep, me in mind?

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Oh my little soldier boy, I'll be true to you...

"A real man answers the call of duty."

Because of my blog a few important things in my life have gone neglected lately. Oh I tried to ignore the reality of the situation and pretend that I had the addiction under control, but I was a fool. There are friends and people that depend on me and I’ve been letting them down. By the time I came to my senses it was almost too late...

By the time I rejoined my squad the Helgons had us pinned down with heavy machine gun fire from a snipers nest up on the ridge above the river. Several of my squad had taken hits and were in no condition to continue the fight. As the hail of bullets fell around us like a storm of death I panicked for a moment.

Like a coward I hunkered up into the cleft of a rock and prayed that the virtual death would not come to me. Then I heard one of my men cry out into the maelstrom...

“Dirk_Star, you’re a white man, you’ve got to help us!”

My cheeks burned with crimson shame at the way I was playing the game. I knew I was letting the team down and that brought me out of my temporary paralysis. That’s when I asked myself the one question that always brings the game into focus; what would James Bond do? The panic in my mind began to still and everything started to fall into place.

My nerves stopped jangling and even though I'd been away from the game for far too long the old reflexes quickly returned.

God I do love the thrill of combat.

Keeping my profile low to the ground I sneaked a quick glance in the direction of the Helgon position and rapidly assessed the situation. This was going to be rough. If I was going to make up the hill and into the next level sacrifices were going to be required. Some of my squad wouldn’t be coming home tonight. I took a deep breath and began issuing orders.

“Rico, you’re the only minority member I’ve got left, you take point!”

“Carla, I’m probably going to need those spandex covered breasts, you stay close to me!”

“Alright everyone, on the count of three let’s do it!”

Well, I wish I had more time to let you know what is happening, but I’ve left the men alone long enough as it is. They need me and I’m mighty proud to be their Sergeant.

As God is my witness, I’ll never let this damn blog come between us again...

I hope everyone enjoys this Bob Award winning post!

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January 1, 2007

It's my little Duece Coupe...

Giddy up, giddy up 409...

I’m not really sure what this new thing I just assembled is supposed to be. It looks like some sort of paramilitary-all-terrain-Mars-roving-Cadillac-land speeder. This thing looks so cool I just may have to start driving it around town instead of the P.T. Cruiser.

It has a cup holder in the tray up front so I’m guessing the mother pushes me around in this when I get tired from holding the baby? Or is she supposed to push me around in this while I’m holding the baby? Man oh man this is going to be so sweet.

Check out the basket doodad underneath the seat. Tell me that’s not the perfect size for an Igloo cooler and a six pack of the amber colored cold ones? If I’m any judge of storage space I think there’s even room for a large bag of Doritos.

Wait until the ladies see me cruising around in this primo ride. Once I get the stereo system installed, and replace the stock rims with some spinners, this ride will be totally pimped.

D.N.R. eat your heart out!

Well, I’m awfully tired and I think it is time for me to head off to bed. I can hardly wait to wake the wife up tomorrow morning and have her take me out for the inaugural ride. Won’t she be so proud to be seen with her man riding around in this vehicle?

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December 31, 2006

There's an island way out in the sea...

Phase one; empty the room.

Since the Christmas holiday was going to be the one time my wife and I would have the opportunity to work together on the nursery we rolled up our sleeves and got started. This used to be the computer room before I condensed this one and the game room into Eddie central. The walls were scrubbed and every inch of visible surface area was sanitized and disinfected to the best of our abilities.

Phase two; begin the cleaning and painting process.

Now begins the painting process. The room you see is about to be transformed into a light blue baby nursery with white trimaround the baseboards and windows. The finishing touch will be a ceiling border depicting frolicking dinosaurs. I think my boy will be quite happy in his new digs.

Phase three; assemble the crib.

This was the toughest part of the process for me. Assembling a baby crib is a lot like trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube. Nothing functions correctly until all the pieces are in the right position. After the use of much language, most of which I am glad my son was not here to hear, I stepped back and admired my handiwork.

This was perhaps one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever undertaken. It is also the most fulfilling task I’ve ever completed. This crib where my son will sleep is love made visible. I hope he always knows how much I’ve loved him from the moment he was conceived.

When 2006 began I never dreamt it would end with a child in my future. I have a wonderful wife and together we have been living an incredible life. For nearly three years we have shared adventures and a love the likes of which I never imagined possible.

2007 is filled with such promise. Felicia and I are moving from the state of being a happily married couple into the realm of marital completion. We are going to be a family. This is the miracle of marriage. It begins with love, matures into commitment and finally produces offspring.

Love perpetuating life’s longing for itself. How could a year end on any finer note?

I look forward to sharing so much with my new blogging buddies in the upcoming year. You have all become an important part of my circle of friends. Jay, Wizard, Whim, Pepper, Cinderella, Pixie, Skeet, Midnight Oil and so many others who have made me a part of your lives, I truly wish you the very fullest of blessings and the very best of a new year.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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