“The Tale Of Two First Ladies”

Have you ever played a game like Bridge, Spades or even Basketball or gone Bowling; where you had the keep score and at the top of the page you write, Us vs Them? You and I both know that there is no neutral third party keeping score. Someone from either team is watching the numbers and there’s always a debate if it’s correct. Generally it’s the losers that start questioning the tally, even before the final count. That’s what it was like watching the 2020 political conventions. For the first time it consisted of pre-recorded videos and Zoom calls, you know, Skype’s replacement for video chats. It was painfully boring at times, and some keen eyes were able to catch doubles in Democrat’s Zoom. There are elections every year though the mainstream media, alternative media, the candidates and the general public tend to overlook that fact. There are races for Governor, Senate, City Council, Police Chief, Sheriff, and a whole host of others. Each election just like in high school, the candidates try to convince you/us that they’re the best person for the job. Having been part of student government myself, I know the art of  campaigning for office.

First Lady Mrs. Melania Trump 2020 RNC Convention

   I started out as an Honor Corps member in Job Corps. I held every office, starting with Sergeant of arms in the dormitory. In my two years there I worked my way up to president of the Dorms and finally president of the student body. Elections and re-election are hard. The first time you want people to know you, the second time you have a record of achievements to work with. At all times it’s a delicate walk between you and the people you govern. Striking a balance between what they want and what’s needed. They never know the whole picture, they only know what they want and get frustrated and angry when they don’t get it.

    Knowing what it’s like to have that power in your hands is what has frustrated me most about current elections. Especially recent presidential elections! The rhetoric (not a bad word) has shot pass policies and track records over the moon to identify politics. The ugliness of carving us up in tiny pieces, placing us in boxes with labels according to what we are others, identify us as. It’s so bad that the US vs Them score keeping is bizarrely skewed. This brings me to why you’re reading this and the point of the title.

Former First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama 2020 DNC convention

I’ve lost the patience to sit for hours and watch the pre-game events. I’ll watch a little the first day then catch up the next day on YouTube. I watched Michelle’s Obama speech the night it aired. Then again the next day, each time there was something that irritated me. I learned in college that when you say things like, always, your argument is already wrong. “Brenda you always say that!” It’s a  false statement, Brenda can’t say that every time, every day, for life. Yes, it may seem simple to you but the implication of such a statement when referring to “racial violence” has far more reaching damage and does not bring about “unity”. So imagine my surprise and disgust when about five minutes in she says “…and a never ending list of innocent people of color continue to be murdered…” she goes on and adds that it’s met with  “Derision…” from the white house, causing division. If you didn’t know, it’s a $20 word for ridicule. I’m not sure where she gets that from. Is it because as people keep saying “the president won’t say black lives matter”? I don’t even say that, I never have and won’t ever. Honestly, saying “I love you” to me means absolutely nothing. If you show me than when you otter the words it will have meaning. Likewise, saying the phrase whose name is derived from the organization, is nothing. The organization itself gets a big pat on the back and tons of air time. Look where that’s gotten us.

      I stumbled onto an article from the LA Times, where celebrity after celebrity praise Michelle’s speech. Not shocking since the Obamas were awarded celebrity status shortly after entering the public’s view. However in contrast; the First lady, Melanie Trump has been met snarls and scorn, from day one. In fact, I recall designers refusing to make dresses for her. Quite ridiculous considering she is a former model. But many were offering Michelle there services. And with regard to their speeches few celebrities if any were negative towards Obama. While It didn’t take long for the likes of Bette Midler to say something negative about Melania. Like “Oh God she still can’t speak English”. I am all for people’s rights too free speech. But this proves the point I made earlier, That things have gone so far that there’s skewed results. From political correctness to tribalism to that new phrase cancel culture.

This week the RNC started it’s convention. The difference was clear. A lot less boring too. Kimberly Guilfoyle delivered the heat the first night, everytime she said “America!” I giggled expecting her to break out in a song, like in musicals. I have no idea why she spoke like she was in a packed arena but it was fun to watch. But after watching Michelle’s speech I was eager hear First lady Melania Trump’s speech. When I did I was in awesome of now she handled the subject of “unrest” in the country. I have would added a quote but there was to much to cut out a piece. But starting at about 14:40 she began by say how great this country is and though we dislike some of our past, it’s still good. She moves into the need to focus on the future while still learning from the past. There was no name calling or finger pointing… then, she made an appeal to all Americans, not to destroy the cities but work towards solutions and unity. Although I was not move to tears I turned to my 17 year old daughter and said “That’s how you do it!”. I had an immediate flashback to Michelle Obama’s words. Both discussing the same subject matter, one called for unity via responsibility and understanding. The other called for “unity” via a constant reminder of the past and current tragedies. One towards frustration, the other towards peace.

Remember when I said that when you govern it has to be a delicate balance. At one point I was president of both the dorm and student body, eventually I was asked to choose, but I was in the middle of a negotiation between the self and the student body. The staff knew the budget, the money and the viability of the list of demands from the student body. The student body was clueless, they were angry and they just wanted to things that they wanted. Air-conditioning in every room, vending machines one all dorms. That’s just a few. The Air-conditioning would not happen until years later when left Job Corps. But compromises, middle ground was made. Though I disliked a lot of staff members, it wasn’t my job to voice my dislike, it was to work deals that were beneficial to the students. I went back to the dorms, I chose take care of my guys. We got some new paint, plants, TV and new furniture for all the dormitory lounges. They didn’t get everything they wanted but I got a lot of their needs taken care of. Yep… Friday or Saturday nights you’d find me, dorm president, sitting in the lounge watch TV with a needle and tread in hand fixing my pants or peeking out the lounge window; keeping an eye on the laundry room where my clothes were washing.

I can not understand the need to drum up negative “political issues”, working on people’s emotions just win. Yes, I understand the art of campaigning but this new style of politics is borderline insanity. To think that conventions are about rallying your troops, your base. So how is boring speeches, depressing content, rallying enthusiasm? Patriotism and unity? And just a plain joy of loving and living and the United States of America. How do talk about an economy being down and people unable to pay bills, right after talking about Covid-19 and blame another human being for it. Where is the hope in that message that makes me feel overjoyed and wanting to run out and vote for your candidate?

The current cultural environment has done away with the old somewhat playful, US vs Them. It has been replaced with labels, identity politics and “cancel culture”. I don’t know what needs shift to bring about change but it needs to happen some. Even sports sucks!! Well, what do you think, dear reader? Until next time…


“The world of Podcasting”

The Whitebeard and TK Podcast (Trailer) episode of The Whitebeard and TK Podcast https://open.spotify.com/episode/17XuJ231P7PY5m4IjE5xkd?si=xiJl64fzRUaHC-y7qlTbCA

We have been traveling, camping, hiking and just enjoying the Outdoor adventure life for three years now. I’ve been wanting to do a podcast and YouTube channel for at least two of those years. My daughter, more so the YouTube channel. I always thought that the conversations we have in the car, while driving to those adventures, would make and interesting show.

After two years we finally did it. Between episodes 1 and 20 many changes have happened, lol. The name change from The “Whitebeard and The Kid Adventures” to “The Whitebeard and TK Podcast” The idea was to talk about our outdoor life, while that is still a big part of our show, I quickly realized that it was based off of our travel conversations. And we talk about a lot of things, we talk about everything. So, we dropped the “Adventures” as we cover a lot of different subjects or thoughts.

In fact we’ll be going through another change as we add a monthly book club type episode called, “The Book Nook”. Which allows my daughter to host on her own and our monthly political/current events show, I’ll do solo as well. That started as a weekly pet peeve during our regular episodes. But as you know, news in this 24 hour cycle changes fast and is quite annoying. For me, it kept taking up more time, energy and could be stressful. My 17 year daughter didn’t have much to say as the subject didn’t excite her. We moved it to a monthly Special to solely focus on just those subjects. Since it ended up more of a rant and my partner didn’t engage much, I split the team up. I’d take the Special Edition and she’d take the easy/fun episode that followed. It was her idea to do something light after the heavy (I called it) episode.

Another new addition to our show starting in September is, a weekly movie review. Debuting on the first Friday. I’ve love movies since I was a child. I’d stay up late, run home after school to catch the after school special and I’d head down to 42nd street as a teenager, to catch the early show and stay all day. Sometimes I would go from one theater to the next. A few years ago I had a Hubpages blog where I did movie reviews. My daughter also loves movies and binges watching TV shows… soooooo, now we’re adding this weekly soft show, just for us to have fun and hopefully you’ll love it too.

If you’re keeping up that’s from one show weekly to two shows weekly and three shows at the top of the month. Phew!!! In addition to that, we’re trying our best to upgrade our equipment. That will take a bit but so far we went using the bare mic on the cell to putting it a box(lol), to a box with towels and very recently, a box with sound proofing. I did purchase a mic so we could use the laptop, but that will take some time figuring it out. For now we’re using the Anchor FM’s app on the cell. It’s been a long process but the uniqueness of a father and daughter team, just like our hiking, I believe adds to the fun. We can be a bit goofy but we have fun, even if she hates hearing her own voice, Just like when we’re driving. The difference is recreating the atmosphere of the car. At first I tried really hard. But in reality we are standing in front of a microphone not sitting in the car with the windows down. I had to learn to relax, not easy for me, and picture myself behind the wheel. Sometimes I’d close my eyes, lol. Later, I just thought about us discussing the things we always talk about then just let it flow. For me, then it became us talking and others listening in on our conversation. You know what’s funny and frustrating?! Driving to the supermarket having a really really good conversation and thinking dang it! I should have turned on the mic!!! Yep, every single time.

Another cool thing is our age difference. We view things the same most times but also see things differently. Add the that, the male and female differences and anything can happen or go wrong, lol. You can catch us here or wherever podcast are available. Yes that includes all the major spots. Anyway, dear reader, that’s it for now. I hope you’ll join us and I am working on doing more writing too, but my brain can only focus on one thing at a time.

Until next time…

“Finding God In The Wild”


I started this journey 4 years ago, honestly I didn’t know it then, all I knew was my wife of 19 years took her last breath in front of me while on my knees and her head in my hands. I did not know what I felt then… I know more now. There was pure panic watching her die in front of me, then came a numbness. Numb to the world, God and life. I wasn’t sure I was alive nor was I sure I wanted to be. When the paramedics took her away I stared at the floor, it felt an hour but it was only seconds. I snapped back when when my then 13 year old daughter came to me with my wallet and bag.

I hindsight I felt a bit abandoned, not by Sharol though I felt alone, but by God. I believed in eternal life and in heaven, I believed if either one of us died while Christians we’d go to heaven and be with Jesus. I believed I would die first and Sharol would be holding my hand as I looked up into her eyes in fear of that death. I believed she would have comforted me and strengthened my faith in those final moments. I was wrong! I was robbed of all of that, our old age together, enjoying old people sex, an empty nest, traveling, camping, working out together, changing our diet in our golden years… most importantly, I was robbed of that faith affirming belief in God. Belief in eternity. What no one tells you is that, watching someone die like that wakes you up to a reality. Life my friend isn’t just “short”, it passes quickly and some times with indescribable sounds. You learn life is finite… and perhaps… perhaps… so is faith, so is belief, so is heaven. It all ends in that passing moment. Everything you’ve ever held on to as truth, taught your children, whether it’s God, love, family, eternal life, it all goes out the window. POOF!!! Just like that! I’ve had my beliefs challenged in college, with hypocrisy in church, raising children, lost of money and job… but this was someone different. The empty side of the bed was a daily reminder of all that was lost that day. My prayer partner… my warrior wife… her daily presence encourage my everything. There was no way of getting it back! And it was a suffering I endured alone…

It wasn’t long before my mind and body switched to autopilot. Wake up, wake my daughter up, go to work, school, church and so on. But inside, everything screamed one word. RUN!!! But I never did. When my first relationship failed I stayed and raised my 2 children as a single dad. When my sister left home when we were kids, I stayed behind. When marriage got rough, unlike some husbands I stayed. It never felt natural to me, in a way I always felt I had to do the “right thing” be “good”. But inside I was like everyone else I wanted to leave too. If there was one word to describe it I’d say, stuck. I’ve written about it before. The difference now is I’m starting to understand now. When my daughter and I bought the SUV in 2017, almost a year after losing my wife I had no idea the freedom it would bring. She’d been telling me “We should just leave!” for months. I sat quaking in my boots in that Nissan dealership. “Is this the right thing… is this the right time… this is more than I expected to pay… what if I made a mistake..?” Question after crippling question. I was raised in a “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” atmosphere. Second question every move in life, a perpetual state of petrification. I physically felt that once while on our first hiking trail, it wasn’t planned but since we were in the neighborhood we took a detour onto the AT (Appalachian Trial) in Virginia. An older couple invited my daughter and I down to the Overlook, I was quite fine where we were but curiosity pushed pass my comfort zone. It wasn’t long before we were standing at the edge of the mountain. At the very least, it was 10,000 feet above sea level with nothing to hold onto. No safety rope, trekking poles, walkie talkies, no map, no chance of survival if either of us fell, no way for “my little girl” to get back home or contact her big sister who meeting us in town later. A beautiful breeze and view with about a boot’s length between us and death. We had to come down from where were to the couple… which was to edge of the cliff.

My legs were like noodles every step of the way, looking out over the mountain was… it was… indescribable. I’d never seen anything like it outside of a movie. But here I was… then I made the mistake of looking down. I was petrified!!! My daughter was talking to me but it only my me more afraid. She touch me but my feet could not move. The few minutes it took to move me felt decades! I had never experienced that before and it was unpleasant. Or had I…? I had been living in this state all my life! Never coloring outside the lines, walking a thin line between bad boy and good boy. Not picking a side. Afraid to take chances, live the adventures I’d seen on TV, in books and learned about in school. Speaking of which I discovered old report cards some years back. The teachers all seem to say the same thing “He stares out the classroom window”. I was always imagining myself somewhere else, a cowboy riding along my ranch, acting on stage, sailing the seas. The edge of that cliff was scary as heck but knowing we could have fallen to our death was oddly exciting. It wasn’t a death wish, it was something else. The salesmen came back with the papers for me to sign. I prayed over and over and over in my head. I asked Sharol if it was okay… if it was the right thing to do… Luckily it was all in my head and no I didn’t expect my wife to answer me. But I was used to having her with me while making decisions. I was now on my own. I signed the papers, got the insurance, the plates, the title and the keys and the embarrassing cheer from the entire dealership. My daughter and I walked out, looked at the SUV… got in and drove away. I almost immediately felt remorse, guilt and if I made the worse decision ever. I did’t have a parking permit for our lot, I had to get up everyday to find a place to park, I worried every minute about the car, I found a shady garage not too far that only took cash and even that kept me up at night. Mentally I was paralyzed! I couldn’t even enjoy the car… this was my life. Then came the feeling of obligation. You know, when you’re the one with four wheels and an engine, you become the taxi driver. You hate it and are made to feel guilty if you don’t say yes. Once again I was trapped… stuck. It was all a mistake.

img_20190211_161348_0139144892191485434186.jpg    From February to May of that year we traveled to visit family, church and Walmart, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling. I slowing discovered that we both like the driving part but once we landed where we were going, we were eager to get going again and the closer to our home we got we both become down. When May hit I wanted to keep my promise of camping. Something I wanted to do with Sharol alone and as a family. I purchased a ton of equipment; most of which we still use today. Found a site way upstate by Lake George. It was freezing, bug infested (I swear there were Scarabs) and rainy. But I started My own fire! That moment, right there; we were hooked. Me on the wilderness and open sky, her on the travel and quiet. I didn’t know it then but we never looked back…

img_20181022_1357422657361020063908063.jpg   Something about being in nature in natural surroundings. I hope that I can explain it but I fear my words will not do it justice. The Hiking community says that hiking is healing for the soul and that doing it can bring healing in other areas. The same thing can be said of writing, in fact after the death of my wife my writer friends told me to write about it as it would help in the healing process. They were right and I did, you can find the whole “With And Without Her” series right here. How can both things be true? For me it’s easy, I see writing as a solitary expression of thoughts and feelings put on paper or in this new world, text. In other words, I’m alone with my thoughts while writing. During that solitude I’m with God as well… whether crafting a story, journal or public journal like this. In that moment the lord has time to deal with my heart. Ah, but you must be willing to be still, spend that quiet time alone. Hiking is similar to fasting, you’re putting your body through pain to reach a goal. Fasting is denying yourself food for period of time to focus on prayer, reading and God. Anyone who’s done this knows, your stomach starts calling out for food halfway in but you must persevere. Like writing, when you’re hiking; even though you might be with someone else, you’re still alone in your thoughts. The drum of your heartbeat crashing into your ears, louder than your thoughts but in those moments you commune with God.


The goal of the hike is to reach the peak, to summit, sometimes it comes with fantastic views other times it’s just the highest point of that mountain. However in order to reach it you must go up hills, down hills, walk on, climb on, crawl over and squeeze through rocks. You will twist your ankles, knees, your back and you will fall. You will push your lungs to their limits and them some. You will want to quit, cuss on your partner, and you will question your sanity. You will be hungry, tired, thirsty, dizzy, cramped, mentally exhausted, and sometimes there’ll be nowhere to sit or pee! Nausea will want to claim what little you have in your belly. You will sweat like never before even in the winter. After you’ve reach the top with everything in you totally and completely wrecked… you have to come back down. Some don’t make through, many have fallen to their deaths, stranded due to injuries, and so much more.  I’ve had my share of falls, bruises and cuts. Then why do it?! You may be asking. Because it and the challenge is fun. Hard but fun and the air of danger is exhilarating. It’s been said that pain reminds you that you’re alive. It’s a fascinating thing to push your body and yourself to it’s breaking point.

Hiking is covering terrain with nothing but your body as the machine to get you there. As I said earlier we started out camping then quickly  fell in love with the fresh air, open sky, quiet, trees and everything that comes from being in the wild. No one likes bugs, but to see a deer stand a few feet away is awesome. Seeing unfamiliar birds, snakes, rabbits, waterfalls, mountain ranges, smell pine trees and flowers, who can resist that? Traveling the road to get to such places is great. Hearing the tires on various paved and unpaved roads makes the heart leap with joy, because it knows an adventure is on the way. The more we drove the closer to Sharol I felt. As the years have rolled on, I’ve found the open road and time with nature to be relaxing, comforting a place to draw nearer to God. I have felt my lungs exploding and in the next instant felt a cool breeze and the peace of God silence my thoughts. I’ve been surrounded by nothing but trees for hours, tripping over rocks and suddenly a worship song comes to mind…

About two weeks ago my daughter and I  hiked in the sweltering heat… she looked sick, I didn’t say anything to her I also didn’t let her quit. I did take her pack and carried up the next hill to lighten her load. A few days later we watched The Pilgrim’s Progress an animation I rented. I’ve heard of the book but never read it, so I didn’t know what to expect but it was perfectly timed. Christian leaves The City Of Destruction on a journey and it’s a hard one. What he goes though is was what we go through when we hike. More importantly what I’ve been going through as I have had to contend with my faith in God. I started out saying everything came to an end when my wife died but I have been finding God more and more in the mountains, valleys, fresh air, on the road, in the flowers and in the hikes. Not only have I rediscovered my adventurous maverick side, I have found strength, I have found a life for myself. It’s funny, I’m fearful of making some decisions but not scared at all about hiking through the mountains.  Yes, in my older age, I’m still working on ridding myself of the bonds of “Counting chickens” and I never want to return to that mental slave hold. I may not completely rid myself of that thinking because it’s been my whole life. But my daughter will have no such the boundaries on her life. Seeing the lord at work in nature and the people she’s met along the way, should give  her an interesting perspective on life.


So, what does this all mean? Has anything change…? Has the pandemic made me more distant from God..? After all even though the title leaves room for hope, after losing ones spouse, struggling for years and then a pandemic hits. How much more can a person take before calling it “quits”?


I might be incline to say… “I’m done!” too. And most may say I have a right to walk away. But what about my grand children? My daughter? Do I owe it to them to hold on to my faith…? I’ll say it like this.


If I came to faith after being married it might be bleaker than it seems. But I knew God before I met my wife. I was alone when I grew in my faith and I’m alone now. The difference is, the pleasant gap in between when she was in my life. The past few years on the road and in the wild, in my solitude, I have slowly rediscovered a God I thought to be far from me. I’ve discovered a passion for living unchained to anything else. Being able to finally “leave” has allow me to live and love the Lord and all that he has created. Maybe for some this period in my life seems foolish but this is where life has turned at the moment, much like the pandemic shifted the culture and world. Because everything is widely accessible online the world experienced mortality all at once for the first time. Some went running to God… until the churches were shutdown. Now what? For me nothing changed, I had already been going through massive changes and if I wasn’t and I relied on a “building” to be close to the lord I’d be in trouble.

It’s a little weird but being outdoors, hiking, traveling, is like being a monk. I get to experience God in the still of the quiet mountains. And I’m loving every minute of it, every minute reminds me of him as well as increase the faith I loss on my knees in that hallway. Am I completely whole? Well, I don’t believe we ever really are, we just adjust to the new life… What about you dear reader…?

Until next time…

With And Without Her: “Abandoned”

A few days away

Hello dear reader, it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to you. I tend to wait until I have something to say. And when it comes to this subject, grief that is, I thought I was done writing about it. Though it is the backdrop today it isn’t the main subject…

I spent the past few days away on a self imposed retreat. I needed time away to pray and hear what God had to say. I’ve been out of work since January 4th, it wasn’t stunning. But it has left me with quite a dilemma… loss of income, health insurance and so on. So there has been a lot on my mind. So much so, that the stress has caused me to have somewhat of a scatter brain. Lack of focus and forgetfulness, the lack of a daily routine hasn’t helped much either. So… I escaped New York in search of quietness. I found it and an answer to a question I didn’t ask. Sometimes the Lord drives me crazy with that. I pray about something, don’t get an answer and he answers something I wasn’t thinking about. Or at least I don’t think I was.

I threw on some quiet piano worship music, I set for a while, then laid back on the loveseat. Fully immersed in the melody flowing throughout the house, I suddenly drifted away. A sobering worship, I felt tears of joy forming but then stopped. One word came to mind, Abandoned. It went from my mind to my heart. So I started to pray “lord… speak, I’m listening” then I read a few verses, pray some more and continued to wait. Once more abandoned can to mind. Mind you, dear reader, I was asking for direction in the many things I need to do. So now I had to ask why “abandoned”. There was no audible voice, no hand writing on the wall, no scroll from heaven. Nope, just a flood of emotions, images and instances of feeling and being abandoned.

The beginning

Now, believe it or not, I’m not talking about me waning “Why is everyone leaving me”. It’s something far deeper. I suspect some of you know what I mean.

I was about 7 when my grandmother died. It was an odd time, she died around the age of 55 or so. Pretty young. I strangely believed, because little kids believe a lot of things, that my family was plagued to die early. A few other family members died in succession after she did, naturally the clan splintered. We moved to the Bronx after that. I was raised by a single mother and a dad that visited on the weekends. It was a really rough time,I didn’t know we were poor (because schools didn’t tell us like they do now) but I knew something was odd and my embarrassment while shopping with plastic money proved it. Yes! In those days public assistance “welfare”, didn’t come in the form of bank like, debit card. It was plastic coins and monopoly like, paper money. But food was always on the table and in our bellies. Clothes on our backs… even if it was borrowed. If there was no more toilet paper and no money, we sometimes used my mother’s Pattern paper,it was made of tissuepaper. She made clothes.

Most mornings she was there when I left for school but not there when got home because she worked. So there was no checking or helping me with my homework. Fast forward… I was about 11 or 12 when my sister left home. Meaning I was now an only child. It also meant there was no buffer when the stress of single motherhood, came home to roost. In my mind my sister left me behind. The flip side was, I stayed. I took it! She was off living the adventure(not true it was hard for her too) and I was stuck dealing with my mother, project and school bullies, massive failing grades, no one to talk to and what I would later come to realize, were panic attacks during my high school years.

Later years

Many things happened to me between child and adulthood, including a failed marriage. I believed marriage was forever and no matter how hard it was, I would stick it out. In other words, I stayed. The other party came and went and I gave chase to work it out. Eventually, like my retreat, I was in the house alone and heard a still voice…”leave this place” just like that. Just like Abraham! It came with a price, shortly before I was seeing a therapist because I suddenly developed Anxiety Attacks. Apparently the stress of the relationship was too much for me or should I say, my body to handle. And my body was fighting back to survive the blows I was unaware I was taking. I would later learn the seriousness of not taking care of yourself…

Dear reader, I developed a very bad habit, of holding things in, fighting back anger. And when I did push back I’d explode with frustration. Kind of like, I needed to be a “good boy” and not start trouble.


When Sharol and I got married there was a lot of love, that was evident to all who knew us. But there was also marital stressors. We would battle like two proud and stubborn Klingon Warriors. Our biggest augments were over the kids, see we had a blended family, though we raised them as Christians we made the mistake of not choosing one system of discipline early on. The tension between us in the early years took a toll on me mentally and emotionally. Apparently. I thought it was normal… just like the high stress job I had. What wasn’t normal was my aforementioned way of handling things. Not only did I suffer from severe anxiety attacks I became an agoraphobic. Eventually I couldn’t go out, get to work or ride the train. Nothing! My wife couldn’t hug me, simple tasks like brushing my teeth were agonizing, sitting at the table with all the kids was unbearable. I would have panic attacks a few times a day, sometimes multiples in an hour. As I’ve written before, I lost a year and a half of my life to them.

So what does this have to do with abandoned? Well, it’s not as simple as I thought. But as set on the loveseat I had an urge to kneel so I did. That’s when all this came to mind. The feeling that I have always “stayed” while others found freedom to leave or let their emotions go or take over. I’ve never felt such freedom. I was left to “hold the bag”. That’s when anger crept in during prayer… “when do I get to say ef you?!” When do I have the chance or freedom to say this or that pisses me off, without feeling guilty or the need to apologize for my actions… this sort of abandonment Is more like betrayal or dissertion. When Sharol died I didn’t want to get angry at God. How could I? Death is part of life, right?. But there was a day…I was on a street corner talking on the phone. I started crying then got really mad. I was mad that my wife left me alone. Alone to bury her… it was a strange feeling. I forgot I was on the phone. I can’t remember what I told the person but I hung up then went upstairs. I wanted to run as far and fast as I could after her passing. I never did I stayed to picked up the pieces as best I could. Immediately going back to work to keep my sanity. Wouldn’t know…? As deaths does… the family split down the middle. The kids are older with families. Each moved on and away. But I stayed, at the same job, in the same apartment, looking at her clothes and so on. Never angry… but apparently my heart had been speaking to God, what my mind and mouth failed to realize. Or was willing to say. Like the panic attacks were my body’s way of recognizing what I didn’t. Weird huh…?

A few months short of the one year anniversary of my wife’s passing, I purchased a Nissan Murano. It was intended for more than just two people but as I mentioned earlier, life does it’s thing. My youngest daughter and I have taking to the road. Camping, short east coast roadtrip and last year we add hiking to our adventures. Yes, it’s time spent together before she starts her own life…but more than that, it’s my chance and time to leave. To go anywhere and everywhere. It’s a bit late in life and I don’t expect anyone to understand. But I feel alive and free out there, unrestricted. No sir, I’m not dragging the kid along she’s the one that suggested we drive across country. “Let’s go to the states no one else goes to… all the places no one else heard of”. It is entirely possible that, wanderers and outdoor enthusiast are running from death, pain, life changing events, but we are all running towards something too. Life! We are enjoying life as much as possible, with as little strings attached to us like puppets. Healing is also part of the process and adventure. I know many who have become healthier because of the great outdoors. If I didn’t subconsciously feel abandoned I would have never left, nor saw the beauty of God’s hand in nature. The beauty that draws me closer to him and what I needed to help in my process of grief. If Sharol didn’t live, I would have never written a book. If she didn’t die… let’s just say, her death changed me as much as her life with me did.

You see, dear reader, God didn’t answer my pray about a job or at least not at that moment. He answered the cry of my heart. I was left with, “I haven’t abandoned you” the other thought…”come to me and I will give you rest” Still in need of a job, but I’ll take a God answer in any form any day. What about you, dear reader, anything you haven’t realized about yourself?

Until next time…

“With and Without Her: Twilight”

Hike 14/52 Sachuest Rhode Island. Oct. 20, 2018

I was sitting on a bench up the hill from the rocky shoreline… the sun setting, the chilly sea breeze whispering across my face and a heavy scent of sea water in the air. My daughter, the youngest, sat on my right side…

I don’t know what she was thinking about. The last time we went hiking, she was about 12 feet behind me, walking slow in deep thought. She said she was thinking about life. I half smiled, because I was thinking; like all parents of teenagers, what life?. It’s funny how the reach a certain age and suddenly “life” becomes serious. But we know better, teenage issues are no match for adult problems. Yep, and that’s why we try to prolong the process of them dealing with such things and force them to enjoy living. Anyway, dear reader, I was in deep thought that day. My daughter wanted to go back to the Rhode Island trail since the Spring. I had planned to hike up in Hudson County but hurt my knee, which was swollen and in pain, during a staff meeting. Can you believe that?! I moved my chair to let someone pass by and banged my knee into the corner of the desk. Yes, OUCH! and these 55 year old arthritic knees don’t bounce back from injuries like they use to. So, I was hesitant about putting stress on them. It was a good choice to do a lower Impact and low grade hike. It was also a chance to just relax although I wasn’t, because we there rather late. The office was closed, so no bathroom run before hitting the trail. This time I wasn’t the one that needed to go. So we kind of rushed through as we were fighting against the loss of day light. The sun was now setting. Like my life….

Hike 14/52 Sachuest Rhode Island. Oct. 20, 2018

So… we set on the beach staring out at the wavy sea water. My daughter sitting where her mother often sat. It was then that my mind drifted out like the waves underneath the yellow glow of the setting sun…

It’s like the sun, a quick thought wiz by. Our life together, our marriage…the sun of my marriage has set. As I have written many times, my wife and I loved being by or on the water. This was a fitting spot to experience both her presence in mind and her loss in heart. Even an augment… I thought as I stared at the picture preparing to write this. No, no one wants the pounding heart beat or echoing loud angry words that fly through the air during an augment. No one wants to come humbly to the other and ask for forgiveness. Though we all love making up afterwards. No, no one wants the stress of “What did I say…?” But we, I, wanted her presence in the room, on the bench, in that moment. Feeling her head resting heavily on my shoulder(why do woman do that?). Feeling her locs, scratchy, against my face. Her arm wrapped around mine… making me uncomfortable, because Sharol was tall. We were nearly the same height, her shoulders slightly higher than mine. It was always an odd struggle to fit together. I was used to short girls growing up. So we always held hands or standing together, my arms around her full waist and her head on my chest. That meant her scrunching down,Lol. Hey, we made it work for 19 years! So you see, she was sorely missed during that sunset. She wrote to me once, concerning her operation: “I feel confident that God will awaken me to you and if He doesn’t I will see you one day again. But I am sure that no matter what you’ll always feel my love with you” Unfortunately this was proven to be true.

The child that now sat next to me, who once was a tiny baby I held and whose eyes first saw me, is a constant reminder of her love. I didn’t want more children I already had two. But shortly before we were married, I dreamed of a son. Soon after God warmed my heart to the idea. After the baby’s birth and a few years later we thought of another child. We tried for over a year and after being discouraged, we were blessed with a baby girl. But I’ve told that story before…

Hike 14/52 Sachuest Rhode Island. Oct. 20, 2018(rocky shoreline)

We left the sunset bench behind us and continued on the trail. The temperature was dropping, my daughter needed a rest room and I was anxious to get back to the spot where I stacked a small pile of memorial stones for my late wife; on the coastline. We walk and walk and every so often I’d look over the hill at the shore to see if we were there. The entire 3+ hour’s ride up, I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a Sharpie anywhere. When I started the 52 Hike Challenge in April, I planned to place a stone at each summit with her name on it as though she hiked with me. Sadly the marker I had dried up. The last time I was able to do it was on my solo hike.

Hunters Island. Solo hike 10/52 Aug. 26, 2018

I chose a spot at the opening of the woods, just a few yards away from the river’s edge because I couldn’t get close enough. There wasn’t a high peak and I thought it was a beautiful place for the stone. I started to write her name and I only got out Sha before the marker started to die. I rubbed and rubbed until I got the name out. It was done when I wrote the date…

Finally! We found the right spot! I creeped down the side of the cliff, trying not to trip on the giant rocks. I made it down to the stone beach and started my search. I found my pile or what was left of it. At least the base stone was still there. I turned to my daughter not realizing she never came down. So I looked for another stone that resembled my original top stone. Woo hoo, I found one! Set it up on a bolder, then snapped a photo! I bent down to set my angle… Oh snap! I thought. The moon was out… and in my shot! The next thought was Twilight.

Hike 14/52 Sachuest Rhode Island. Oct. 20, 2018

It was a sad feeling, a bewildered feeling, a feeling of loss and love, staring up at the stone. The moon marked the ending of the day. And for me personally, a reminder of the ending of part of life. The beginning of another. Over the past two years since my wife passed almost every TV show we watched together or I alone, has experienced death. The death of the wives! I started watching CBS’s Seal Team last year. This year, three episodes in, Jason’s wife/ex-wife died unexpectedly. And it shocked the crudd out of me! I wasn’t expecting it, there was nothing leading up to it. No tip off by the writers of the show. No sad music. Nothing! I set in my chair with my mouth hanging open… tears creeping up.. in total shock. Jason as expected, fell apart. I knew what he felt all too well. One minute you’re talking to your wife and the next, she gone. No “I love you” like in the movies. No, last look in the eyes… nothing. One scene, Jason was found by his friend and teammate; at the scene where the car crash happened. He’d been sitting for hours counting the cars going by. Even the hardest of men would not have watched with a dry eye. I did something similar. For weeks when I went out or took out the trash I’d look back before entering my apartment. I’d stare at the place where my wife laid. Sometimes for a second sometimes longer. I’d even walk down the hallway and look down the other end… as if in a movie, I could see her walking toward me again. My eyes would trace her steps, flashes of her face and the tubing and gloves the Paramedics left behind. It took a while for it to stop. Every once in a while when I see two ambulances parked I remember that night…

All of these men from Nashville, Longmire, Blue Bloods and now Seal Team(and others), now mirror my own life. I’ve watched these characters go through the twilight of their lives. After 10,15, 24 years of marriage now navigating, like myself, through a new world. One they were not prepared to walk through alone. Dealing with suddenly becoming single parents, single, widowers. Having the gteat debate about seeing another woman. The weird guilt some feel. Some ready or at least think so but have a hard time. It’s not so much about letting go as it is in some cases, it’s about how. How do you begin a relationship. For many like me, it was a less complicated time when we met our wives. Men and women were less confused about who and what they were. The awkwardness of starting a conversation. And then there’s the one I feel myself in these days. I’ve gotten pass the silence, I keep busy. I’m functioning in my loneliness. I constantly struggle with the absence of a physical touch. I’ve gotten used to the empty bed. But I’m staving for long intellectual conversation. Talking about any and everything! Talking over one another, interrupting, laughing, all of it. But things like that take a lifetime. That’s what many of the characters are dealing with. And I don’t think I have another lifetime to know someone. It’s funny but not funny, the older I get, the older women get. Many my age are jaded, some bitter and broken. The younger ones are just that, younger. They’re post internet, steeped in the segregated mindset of the political correctness dogma and so many find offence in a casted shadow. It’s not just them it’s everywhere. So, these old fashioned guys have a dilemma. So do I…

Hike 14/52 Sachuest Rhode Island. Oct. 20, 2018

The deer were moving around in the shadows like ghost. It was like children quietly talking, every so often you’d hear a twig snap or the bush move. If you turned your head fast enough you would see one dead in its tracks, staring at you. The birds of prey vanished and now the bats were circling above and the rabbits were hopping arcoss the path…

The sun had finally left the sky and It was completely pitch in the space of time it took to get from across the parking lot and start the engine. As we walked to the car I kept thinking of the moon and how I’m moving into that strange twilight of life. I’m at a good point in my life though, all but one of my kids are out of the house. Grown and with their own families. The house is quiet, no children arguing or fighting. No diapers to change, no more waking up at to a cry. No need to plan a vacation around an amusement park. Now I can do things I enjoy doing. Go where I want to go and when I want to. And if we had to buy takeout or wanted to go out for dinner, it’s less expensive and easier to buy for two people.

Like the men I mentioned, we’re in a place in life (depending on age) where we can do what we love. For those characters, it’s their job. They love what they do for a living. I, do not! So, I’m not only balancing life after loss but feeling stuck in a meaningless job. I’m enjoying my time on the road. I love hiking and camping, heck, I’m even beginning to love going to the gym. If I could make a living writing books, blog, and traveling, I’d quit my job today. But… here I’m, in this place. For some, too old for a young man’s job and too old to hire because retirement is close at hand. So, I find my solace out here in the open, with nothing but God and the sky above me, with woodland creatures running around spying on me. I find peace on the road meeting new people exchanging smiles and laughter and getting tips on equipment to use and take with us. I sit frustrated at my desk, waiting for lunch time to get out of the office and go to the gym and work out for a few minutes. I get impatient sitting at my desk everyday staring at the calendar and the clock waiting for the weekend so that I can escape. Escape the chatter from 20 different conversations, escape the noise of the city, escape the stench of my neighbor who insist on smoking in the hallway and it seeps to my apartment. Escape from the thing I call… my fake life, because out there, that’s where my real life is. Writing…being a writer, that’s who I really am. It is whom, I will strive to be for the remainder of my life. It’s not an alter ego, it’s who I’ve always been, but life happens and sometimes the core of your personality or maybe even your dreams get caught up in what you need to do to live life. My oldest child it’s similar to me, but he was born to a different generation. I grew up understanding that my life must be sacrificed, my dreams must be put aside because once you begin your family they come first. The following Generations want to start out doing what they want to do and do it regardless of anything else. Not saying my child has a deficiency, I was raised by those who would be called The Silent generation they were raised by, the Greatest Generation, that meant working hard and at the end of the day you get to relax and enjoy yourself. We late Boomers and Xers have that same ethnic. Without my wife by my side and raising the last child I can now go back to those things that I enjoy doing. I long to have someone to enjoy this part of life with but if God chooses to leave me as I am, then I must accept that. It’s no easy thing hiking solo at my age, I say that because many things can go wrong and you’ll be on the side of a mountain by yourself. It could take hours it can take days before you get help. But if that’s the way my life ends, then I rather do that; I’d rather die doing what I truly love than the alternative. Chained to my desk.

The first thing my wife said to me when I showed my secret I’d been hiding… “you have to write”. She had always been the cutman in my corner. Patch me up and send me back out. She was one of only two people that said I should continue writing. My sister as I have mentioned many times was the other person. My college professors were the other group of people to encourage me to do so. The rest of the people in my world and in my life, not so much. The same can be said about hiking and anything in the outdoors. There’s no real encouragement in it some don’t understand the commitment and why one would put their life at risk to do such a thing. honestly I think mountain climbers are crazy but then again, they are and I admire them and wish I had the upper body strength to do what they do…

You see, dear reader, I’m down to one child now, I’ve asked her to join me on this adventurous 52 hike challenge. most likely I’ll end up just finishing this by myself. But again I’m down to raisng just one child, I’m no longer young man with a young wife and a young family depending upon me to be around forever. The very last Great Adventure, the unknown Galaxy that has yet to be explored is death. But before I get there I want to enjoy what God has created and for me, that means spending time in His creation. The wilderness, the wild Outdoors. During a hiking trip this summer an idea for a story popped into my head, so you see it’s all connected. The ideas for my stories come from the life I live. If I don’t live then what’s the point? And what would I write about…?

That moon and stone…? It was a reminder that “she’s not here” to enjoy this time with me. That was our plan. But what about you, dear reader, where are you in life today? I’ve long since, passed the sunrise days. Sunset is here… and now before me is…


Until next time…

“The Road To 52”

Hiking at Dekorte Park Meadowland Trail. Lyndhurst, NJ June 9, 2018

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I believe December 2017 was the last time I posted. Well put on your seatbelts boys and girls, I have a lot to tell you…

As my thumbs tap on the screen, Darlene Zschech’s Your Presence Is Heaven is fading away into the background of my thoughts. I was listening to it as I walked into my office this morning. It is quickly being replaced by an inconsequential discussion about dogs and food, a loud conversation is Spanish, my boss yelling from her office for a coworker to bring her something because picking up the phone is far too hard for her to do. There’s also frustrating talks about problems and mistakes, created by miscommunication and poor management. The only thing missing today, is the co-worker who is usually speaking on the phone in Russian. What is not missing, is the loud mouth know -It -all, who sits next to me. With only 4 feet of space between us. As you can see, I’m in a ridiculously noisy environment. Thus the reason, dear reader, I haven’t been able to write… my office used be a quiet place to think, read and write during down times. Since the Loud mouth came up and was assigned to the desk next to me, I have slowly loss the freedom of concentration, read, think or write. Over the course of the year, I have become that employee that stares at their phone and plays games. Anything and everything to drown out the background noise! It’s so bad that my off time thoughts are flooded by the day’s words, discussions and pointless stories. So what does this have to with 52? You may be asking, we’ll get there… remember the title? Road to…

Atlantic City. August 2015

June 14th marked 2 years since my wife died. I spent the day extremely tired as I have been fighting off a cold this week. I ended the day by picking up some camping equipment from REI and grabbing dinner at a Japanese restaurant. As my daughter and I sat down “See You Again” from Fast and Furious 7 started playing. For those of you, who haven’t followed me or read any previous blogs, Sharol and I loved those movies. Each for different reasons and for the same reasons. We were a team and loved the undying love and devotion of Letty and Dom, Brian and Mia and the brotherhood of Dom and Brian. I was a fan of Paul Walker before his FF days, she came along later. When Paul died it hit us hard… when we saw FF7 we both teared up and eventually cried. We stayed in the theater long after the credits were done… it was Paul’s last FF film and our last one together. Essentially, our last ride together as well. So when my 15 year old mentioned that the song was playing, I strained my ears and took that emotional ride. Minutes before that, my other daughter text me that her son was a scooper like his Nana. I cracked up!!! They were eating chips and dip(a Bland family staple). Okay… here’s the backstory, Sharol and I used to fight over the dip. I would dip my chips, she would scoop! Dragging the dip into a heap on her chips. This caused me to constantly turn the bowl around to keep an even amount… or else! No more dip. Go ahead, you can laugh, you know you do it too.

Dekorte Park Meadowland Trail. Lyndhurst, NJ June 9, 2018

So as we were driving back home after dinner, The Kid found the song on YouTube for me. I cranked it up and drove off. I ended the night by kissing my late wife’s picture, thanking her for being my wife and saying goodbye…

“But didn’t you say goodbye two years ago?” I can hear your thoughts as I write this. Yes, I did say goodbye but I never left. The world around me has changed(we’re not getting into the crazies today) people have moved on, yet I remained stagnant. Most of my family is spread out across America. My immediate family is split between New Rochelle, Westchester county. The older kids have move on and made frightening new strides for their families. Moving to The Bronx, Brooklyn and now two to New Jersey. A dear friend of mines will be moving to the west coast. Former classmates are getting their PhD’s this summer, my middle daughter is getting married… and I have a granddaughter that I’m watching grow up in pictures. Even the church has changed. You know, Sharol used to say, the part about dying she didn’t like was that life and the world would continue “as if I wasn’t here”. I’ve learned you don’t have to die for the world to leave you behind. I’m alive watching it happen to me, it feels really weird too. It’s like watching a time travel sci-fi movie. Where the guy is watching his life on a screen and trying to figure out what point he wants to go back in time to…

Hiking at Sachuest Point national wildlife refuge. 3 mile loop. Middletown, RI. April 2018

The 52 Hike Challenge

While the entire family has been evolving into something different, something new for each person, my progression has been slow and at times no movement at all. I’m kind of settled into this widower’s life style. Meaning, there’s no partner to walk through life with. Over the past two years, dear reader, I have found my wanderlust again. As a child in school I spent hours staring out of the classroom Windows. Bored I guess, but whatever it was, I wanted to be out there. Out of school I spent my time playing in street, riding my bike, running through the building or at a friend’s house. As a teen, I traveled on the train from the Bronx to Harlem and Suger Hill where my cousins lived. Often times ridding my bike over the Macombs Dam bridge then back to my sister’s house in the Bronx. I’d sneak into Clubs with friends, just to dance all night and ride the train alone in the wee hours back to the Bronx. Whatever it was in me, I’d always wanted to go. Never stop just move forward…

Last year my daughter aka The Kid,and I went camping. She hated the bugs but loved the road trip and being away. This year I wanted to add to that. I joined a gym because I saw my strength diminishing. As we worked out together, I said I wanted to go hiking this year. It became my new obsession! Searching and searching, discovering that my busted knees and back may not make it. If you haven’t noticed I’m no longer on Facebook. I’ve just been on Instagram exclusively. While looking at pictures of travelers from around the world, I found the @52hikechallenge. Reading the story of the founders inpired me to go. I got my daughter to join me in this insane quest to hike once a week for 52 weeks. Yes! One whole year of hiking in all weather conditions. Feel free to follow our progress and cheer us on. The IG hashtag is #whitebeardandthekid So, going to the gym begin to take shape with a new purpose in mind. To train and condition the body, bad knees and all, to hike as high as it can go. I told her I may not have good working knees in the next few years and in a few years she’ll be college age. So hey, let’s go on this adventure. Let’s document it. She has gotten so used to travelling now, she wants to drive to Canada and hike The Appalachia trail…

Roadtrip to Pa. May 2018, pulled over in a truck stop to rest.

I had put aside my adventurous wanderlust years ago. The first life changing event was when I became a parent. I would still run off to a movie alone from to time to time. But Sharol tamed such lust in my heart. I no longer wanted to run or go, I found someone that I just wanted to stop for. No need to run off, but, I found that she too had a traveller’s heart and enjoyed the times we rented a car and hit the road. The excitement of packing for a trip or family vacation. Always finding a moment to be alone together. Before she died we had a couple of chances to get away alone. Gosh those were great and quiet times. Since her death and being on the road, it’s the only thing I want to. When I get to work Monday morning, I’m already planning where the next weekend’s adventure will be.

The hiking challenge has made it easy to go because every week there’s somewhere to be. Photos of other hikers and travellers and folks camping constantly encourage me to go out and experience the world around me. But in the beginning, I was uncomfortable enjoying myself, that survivor’s guilt kicked in again. How could I enjoy life without her? Was it okay to enjoy living? Then I found this…

From another hiker and a widow, who like me, loss her spouse unexpectedly. It took a month to settle in my heart. Mostly because I know Sharol would’ve enjoyed travelling, that was the plan after the children were gone. My daughter’s feet on the dashboard reminded me of her mother’s, who put her feet up as we drove down Lincoln Highway in Lancaster Pa. We had left the kids in the hotel and took a drive. Every time I leave the city I remember days like that and I feel such a freedom and joy…

So as I embark on this challenge and purpose to travel across this country, get outside and meet people. Most likely I will be writing about it. Will you follow along, dear reader? You were by my side when all I could think about and write about was the process of grief that first year. If you have an IG account will you follow the hashtag #whitebeardandthekid and virtually raise your pom poms to be our cheerleaders? I look forward to hearing from you. Psst! I haven’t forgotten about writing, as I stated earlier it’s been difficult.

Until next time…

“Management From Hell”

A week ago I sat in a gathering of young and seasoned minds, all working in the communication field. Most were in Public Relations,it was a PR meet, greet and mentor. So many different areas of the field was represented. Some were in Crisis Management, Brand management, many employed by global agencies and much more. A small group of us sat and discussed issues such as the latest fall from grace in the world of media and corporate culture, I found myself intrigued. I missed that world… I missed academia… I had missed sitting amongst great thinkers and dreamers and creators. I felt normal as if I was in my element. I went home and started thinking about the past 3 years of my life. Had I learned anything? Indeed I did. I must admit I had forgotten how to be observant and how to think critically.

Communication: The text books will tell you that, communication is not a one or two directional thing, it’s cyclical. What I have found to the point of utter frustration, is that there are far too many holes in lines of communication. Many of which start with one person not liking their counterparts. Unfortunately, this is also counterproductive, because the staff is often confused as to whom to go to for help. Adding to that, is getting two different answers for the managers. The very same managers that demand that you communicate with them, with clarity. Even more damaging is when that poor information sharing doesn’t make it to your boss’s meeting… and somehow it’s someone else’s fault. Was it not his or her job to check on the progress long before the meeting?

Management: Nothing frustrates me more than poor or bad management. In fact, it frustrates and destroys the work environment, poisoning the staff that is supposed to be guided or trained a new skill. What does it mean for the future of that agency or company? You be the judge…

Organizational Culture: This is a system, if you will, of beliefs, values and mindset that governs the people of the organization. It’s the reason why they dress the way they do. The culture dictates, how people act, interact and do their jobs. It’s a reproduction factory.

The Leaders from the pit:

Manager A: The Exo, the Tyrant commander. Shortly before Christmas this manager, displeased with something begins yelling at the top of their lungs. Cursing and berating the department’s head in front of the entire department. It wasn’t long before the Exo turned and went after the rest of the staff. Hovering over them, demanding that the promptly answer her! The staff scrambled to their prospective keyboards. Each one pulling up something on their screens, to prove the worth of their lowly existence. One stuttered out of fear, when explaining the project to the Tyrant commander. The “leader” went around the room barking out “what are working on!” No one deared to challenge this behavior. Unfortunately this is common place.

Manager B: A department head, a Tumbleweed leader. This one like it’s codename, seems to just muddle along the road of leadership. Uncertain about the staff’s strengths or weaknesses. Lacking the ability to teach, train or inspire the staff to greatness. This manager is also known for yelling. The Tumbleweed is also disliked by staff, other managers and the brass. The department, functions in a perpetual state of flux. The manager’s own insecurity is projected on to and leaks from the pores of the staff.

Manager C: This is a team of Supervisors, Absentee parents. The pair have about 30 staff they’re responsible for training. It’s a customer service department, so it’s not rocket science. However, the staff is divided and often times fight amongst themselves, much like siblings. This is fitting, since the department is run like a junior high school classroom with a loud teacher who’s always yelling at their students to “keep it down”. The “supervisors” lack supervisory skills, were never taught how to manage people, don’t like each other, don’t communicate with each and are known for back biting. More than likely… were never handed a single book on management. The poor management has given birth to disengaged staff. It’s the same phenomenon that happens when parents are missing from their children’s lives.

Manager D: Apathetic Leadership, this is truly a sad state. This manager has probably been in their position for far too long. He has seen it all, the corruption, the abuse of power and of staff but does nothing to change the system or circumstance. When questioned about the ongoing abuse and berating of a staff member. The manager’s response was “I know”. And claimed nothing could be done because the person wasn’t under his direct management. Truly sad that, that young man had to endure years of abuse! Thankfully, his tormentor, after about 10 years, was fired. No thanks to the Apathetic Leader.

Manager E: The Stalworth, this individual is not the manager but by all accounts should be. This is the “go to guy”, he knows where everything is, where the bodies are buried, he is the phantom manager. When Tumbleweed needs something done, the Stalworth gets in done. When the Tyrant commander wants answers… the Stalworth is thrown under the truck and served up on a platter by the Tumbleweed….

It has been my displeasure to witness these managers first-hand. Would you believe they all work in the same agency?

Over 20 years ago I heard a pastor peach a sermon on Genesis 30:25-31:16. If you’re not familiar with the story, fear not, I’ll explain it, but I want you CEOs and managers to truly listen. Jacob’s father-in-law tried to cheat him. After many deals to win his daughter’s hand. Jacob made a deal, give him the spotted sheep. In his brilliance he took reeds and laid them in the water in front of the spotted sheep. The water was speckled and drew the spotted sheep and they multiplied exponentially. The pastor said that, what you put before the congregation is what your church will be… sounds familiar?

From the top, down, your company’s or agency’s culture will reflect you. In the above case, the organizational culture is one of fear, stress and intimidation. It is a highly toxic atmosphere. The leadership demands better performance but fails to lead by example. They fail to serve, to teach and to train. The results, is not only a culture of fear, but massive mistakes.

It is not too late for a change in your organization or in the above one. But it means seriously restructuring things, including firing key people if need be. Well, if you want a success story that is…

“The Resistance”

libertySitting at home today; I wasn’t feeling well, I started reading things on Facebook and in the news as well as other places across the internet. I’ve actually been doing this for the past few months, taking notice of a trend, a band of Freedom Fighters, fighting for Social Justice. You’ve seen them on YouTube, Smart TV, your Smart phones, talk shows and any and every social media platform or stage that will have them. They march with pink hats, they scream at the top of their lungs, They cry and have other public emotional outbursts, they have counted the number of genders and have deemed it worthy of scholarly learning. They champion for segregated safe spaces for black students on college campuses. Because of their work we now know it’s not okay; for a black man to buy a Wok and make Chinese food, for a white man to sell tacos, for a white woman to have dread Locs, for Koreans to sell Indian hair, for Puerto Ricans to make oxtails… and it is not okay, for a Mexican to wear a Bob Marley t shirt and have beef patties for dinner. Because of Cultural Appropriation, we now know that borrowing from other people is wrong. Because courageous woman marched, we have a greater understanding that masculinity is toxic.

Masculinity must be erased so that the true men may rise. This man will be in touch with and in full sync with his femininity. The old feminist began the work of shaping today’s new man and his new shaved and manicured masculinity. fem1 The new feminist are putting the finishing touches on what some may call, the emasculated effeminate, new man. fem2Which seems to be widely accepted as the far superior alternative to the traditional bravado man. These fighters have shown us that the bear haired chested man with dirty nails from building homes all day, is no longer acceptable. fem5 He exudes strength and domination. This can only be feared and removed, because this show of strength is destructive to all humans. fem4 In short, gone are the days when men knew what men were. When burly men walked through the door; sweaty and smelly from a day’s work and kissed his wife who longed to feel his strong arms around her waist. Men like my dad who smelled like motor oil and violet candy. Mothers knew what was expected of their sons and the men of their lives. Today, these women enjoy their freedoms and confusion passed down to them from three generations of feministfem3.jpgThese warriors… freedom fighters for social justice have also given us a litany of crimes and discriminatory Acts done to our follow humans. I read how it is not okay for straight men to over look transgender “women” who are finding hard to find men. It’s discrimination. One person said that we (straight men) should “move past it”. Joining their ranks in ever growing numbers are well paid celebrities and other wealthy people. Their laundry list of offences range from unacceptable words and phrases to micro aggression and longing gazes. From the brand of bottle water you drink to the amount of money in your bank account. Most of them also have atheistic Progressive Socialist Communist political beliefs as well. Though their ranks are splinted and each group’s numbers are growing, more and more I read and hear of them coming under the banner and calling themselves the resistance(This puzzles me). They’ve called for us to resist, resist the new president, resist discrimination and so on…

“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”- Star trek; First Contact

The Borg’s approach to life has always troubled me, I like being a maverick. I love my freedom and my liberty. Check out the true meaning. Resistance: the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument. The more I read and hear and see on TV, the more I am frightened of what is becoming of the country I hold so dear. Black is White, Up is Down… and… those calling us to resist or else, are forcing conformity upon us! They say they are the resistance, that they want freedom and equality for all. But each day an internal gong rings louder and louder within me and I hear these words “I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” these words were uttered by Patrick Henry on march 23, 1775. The context was breaking away from England’s subjugation and deciding whether or not to go to war. Also, getting away from a king and a government that was over seas, that was forcing upon them rules. But they wanted to be free to own land and profit from the goods they sold. But the king wanted them to pay taxes to England when they lived in a different country. Patrick Henry and the others fighting for independence and liberty were the Rebels, the true resistance. fem6.jpg

The Borg wanted to force assimilation. They wanted to force people from other planets and their culture into submission. But first… their protective shields had to be lowered. They’d say that resisting them would be futile. Imagine that, it would be pointless to fight back. You should just lay down your sword and your will to live and thrive, in order for someone else to force conformity on you. In their eyes you have already loss. Men will be allowed in the women’s bathroom, just because they feel like a woman. The word Sex has been replaced by Gender in order to have what we now know as “multiple genders” including the ever confusing fluidity. So give up and give in.

Just like the Borg’s philosophy or as Jesus said in Mark 3:27 no one can rob a strong man’s house. First, you have to tie him up…. then you’ll have the run of the house. So, you need to get Americans to let down their guard, then you can slip in whatever you want. It wouldn’t matter because they’ll be asleep. The entertainment industry is the easiest access point. Get the people laughing and giggling at alternative life styles, then add a measure of soft porn, sprinkle it with half witted manboys, with an added measure of teenagers are starter than their parents. What’s left, is a pliable mind ready to be programmed to accept an agenda that will ultimately destroy them… listen dear reader, how else can you explain two and a half to three generations later, young black college kids fighting for segregation. Senseless isn’t it? Understand this, when your freedom  infringes upon my liberty we have a problem. I don’t care if a man wants to suck another man’s face. I don’t need to see it no more than I need to or want to see any other couple, as my parent’s generation used to say “Get a room!” And you can not pass laws forcing people to like it or like you. You can’t force me or others to love or respect you. NO amount of hair coloring or foot stooping is going to change that. The so-called warriors may get an unconstitutional law passed or even stack the deck with government officials willing to push such legislation… but they will never make/force anyone to like them or their cause. Why? because it’s a heart and personal thing. You can’t make a woman love you, you can’t make a man love you it’s not something that can be forced… or else that’s rape or some other abuse. This is the sort of thing these SJW’s claim people are doing to them, forcing “themselves” and “their morality” on them…

Dear reader, when I started penning this, over a month ago now, I had heard of a woman and mother who told her sons that they essentially rapist and part of  the “Rape Culture”  I posted a video on fb of a woman who express my same view of the subject. My oldest son commented with  commonsense and was attack for his views, I told him I wasn’t going to get into a pointless social media  fight. Here’s the thing, he said that there was nothing wrong with masculinity and nothing wrong with men being rough or strong or aggressive, because it’s part of our nature. He also expressed that a rapist is just that and it has nothing to do with a man’s masculinity. He’s correct. The person told him that those things, especially for black men, can be dangerous and get you killed. In fact the person that the young woman in video would “change her rhetoric if she found herself with a “dangerous” black male” Of course my son was pissed at the mention of ethnicity and questioned why “race” had to be brought into the discussion. Gosh, I love it when people tell me how life is for me as a black man and I always enjoy the soft bigotry of low expectations. Of course revel in the thought of people who don’t live in this country but have soooooo much to say about our issues, especially on immigration! Anyway, since I started this the lunatics have turn it up a notch and have move to tear down statues, those folks that say black lives matter to them, have made a list of demands for white people, White folks are stepping over themselves with self hate, a cornucopia of anti-american loonies descended upon Charlottesville. And no, I don’t care what their acronyms are, they don’t not have the best interest of this nation in mind. In fact their purpose is the tear down our country. Everyone, is clamoring about freedom but they keep stepping on the freedom of the rest of us. Things like this is going on in public schools. Why? Because according to media and social media it’s the new In thing to do. To indoctrinate our kids in set of morals… forcing it on them. It’s so ridiculous now, that a woman I read about said that her child was “Transgender”. At 3 years old?! Parents have lost their minds…

All of these antics have only served to be fodder for anger. Just like before the 2016 election, people were getting tried of having things forced on them. The 8 years before had made many allowances for this so-called resistance, meanwhile the nation was getting weary of it. on election day much to the chagrin of the media, celebrities and other talking heads, the country pimp slapped them…. Here’s why.

Their maybe legitimate concerns within the gay community, legitimate concerns facing poverty, the black community, immigrants, energy, terrorism whether foreign or domestic and so on. But when you allow the crazies, the co-called “Activist”, the rich movie stars, the Beta males, the man haters and so on to take control of your cause, no one is listening anymore. Seriously what woman does Ashley Judd represent? None that I know of. I went to a restaurant one morning for my tea; I’d give you the name but some petty person would go after them, anyway the young woman called me “Hun” then as I was leaving said “have a nice day sweetie…” I left the store feeling odd. I couldn’t figure out why, then it hit me! I should be offended! But I wasn’t, it felt good to hear those words. Heck, my late wife called me Hun all the time. It was odd because we as a Society have come accustomed to finding offences, in everything! We don’t speak to each other like we use to, we don’t compliment anymore… out of fear we’ve broken some unwritten or written law we didn’t know existed. We don’t appreciate much anymore, Americans are walking around all tensed and bounded up. As my co-worker said “Everyone needs an enema!” But this is not who we are, to prove it I shut down that small world called facebook for a month and concentrated on the world around me.

I’ve been travelling up and down the east coast with my 14 year old daughter. For the purpose of this I’ll disclose our ethnicity. Be ready to gasp! We are… black, brown, colored Lol, we are non-white Americans. Yep. Guess what we found? Americans are not what the talking heads say they are. We actually care about one another. The problem is as our president said the other day, the media is dividing us. He wasn’t the first to think of that… remember, I stayed away from fb for that very reason. The internet hasn’t brought us closer it has pulled us apart. Each social media is divided by friends and likes. If your friends are just like you, think like you, chances are that same “fight video” is going to travel in a circle, a small circle at that. The media, news and fake news and social media are set up according to their biases, they lean Left, Right or Middle. However about 90% of the media outlets are Left leaning. This mean we hardly ever get balance information. Now, if your not going to go outside of your small circle to find balanced info what do you think your intake is…? Think about it, how is that the gay community, which is about 3 or 4% of the population gets so much media coverage? How about the screaming crazies? When your circle is small, you will think that this all that is happening in the world. Clearly you’re not seeing any good things. The knuckleheads on cable and other networks spent years and hours telling the world HRC was going to win. The people in closed circled social media believed it. They didn’t think of the real people who knew HRC and who were tired of what was happening around them… America chose someone else. These people are not the resistance!

I am, the Resistance!. Why? Because I refuse to let a few or even many knuckleheads tell me what to think or feel. I refuse to think that all cops are out to kill black men, I refuse to put a skirt on a two boy just because he’s playing with his sister’s doll, I refuse to through Jesus under the bus and put my complexion in the forefront of my beliefs. I resist! I refuse to teach my children that there is something wrong with them, other than a poor attitude. I refuse to raise victims that will demand something from others that they didn’t earn. I will stand for liberty, for freedom, I will resist anyone that tries to take it from me and mine. I will resist the enemy of my soul who wishes to destroy it… and I most definitely will resist the enemies of this nation both inside and out that seek to tear us apart.  I urge you dear reader, to join the real Resistance and resist regurgitating the videos and negative content that divides our country. But spend more time building it up. Tell the good and great stories that the ratings and following hungry folks won’t tell. Stop listening to the talking heads and wealthy movie stars, who constantly rail against other rich people then tell you to hate them. Stop listening to the boneheads, that tell you that your “race” is better than someone else’s. You know the truth! A poor Mexican and a poor white American or any other ethnic group, are all still poor. No one enough to eat and please do yourself a favor, shut down the electronic world once in a while and go out into the real world.


I will pray on my knee and I will fight on my feet… I will not be Assimilated. I will resist…. I amThe Resistance!

“I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Until next time…


I started watching a new Netflix series “Friends From College” this is not a highly intellectual show and like all things Netflix sex is at the top of it’s list. So the show opens with a couple passionately engaged in sex and an affair. Then… Something goes wrong. It is rated TV-M, which is basically an R- rated show. I watched another episode and then it hit me, how many married couples experienced a misfire in the bedroom? How did they handle it? Then I debated about writing about it. But… then I thought, why not?…

This will NOT contain graphic material of any kind nor is this a how to. Just simply a thought that some may feel uncomfortable about. Don’t worry I’ll go first, with an embarrassing personal story but first…

I did a quick search on sexual accidents. Boy, were there some doies (is that a word?). But somehow the quotes below were a running theme for young, dear I say, insecure men. Any man married for more then 3 years and upwards of 10+ knows all sorts of things happen in the bed. Most of which… you just have to let go. And a mature wife/woman will do the same. Anyway, read the quotes and I’ll be right back.

“Girl laughing during sex: good or bad thing”- Body Building. Com

Poor thing, here is one person’s response


if started laughing when you took your pants off -bad thing
if shes a virgin-nothing really, she just seen if for first time

if she started during sex- bad thing, it means you suck

if she started after sex-can also be a bad thing.

Have you ever burst out in laughter? I mean, really, sex is a serious thing. Absolutely no laughing matter. Yet…. it happens! So do accidents, sometimes the kind you don’t tell others. “Hey, Harold what happened to your arm?” Harold looks like a deer in headlights, smiles slightly, then gets serious. “I was helping my wife move the dresser”. The truth is, Harold and Sadie got a little ambitious. Harold tried lifting up his wife on the dresser… she was heavier than their earlier days. His weaker arms wavered, his foot slipped, his back twisted, Sadie gasped, hit the top, fell forward on top of Harold. Harold attempted to break the fall but twisted his arm under him… and Sadie plopped down on top of him. Both layed naked on the floor laughing. Then agreed, not the tell the doctor how the arm got busted.

How about, you’ve missed each other ALL day… and the foreplay began at breakfast. It was, the look, you know the day at work will suck beyond compare. You reach for the tea cup and get a whiff of her floral perfume and it sends your body into overdrive. She shifts her eyes inquisitively. Oh! Runs through her mind… she moves her hair behind her ears then leans in for a kiss. “I’ll see you later honey…”. Then she slips out the front door.

You text all day, for the more adventurous you sext all day. The day sucks as you thought so you plan to meet after work. The kids will be fine, let them open a can of that famous chef, Boyardee. He makes ravioli too. The clock on the office wall signals your release! 5 o’clock! So one last text “Hey sweet lady. I’m on my way to”. The entire train ride you’re singing The Four Tops song “Working My Way Back to You” ….. the movie was great, you laughed so hard you had a headache. But you hold hands and cuddle in the corner of the oddly late night crowded train.

Yes! The kids are asleep! You close the windows to drown out the noise, the bedroom is alas quiet. She makes her approach… giving you the look… your head hits the pillow, she lays on top of you… and you start laughing uncomfortably. She rolls over to the side “what’s so funny…?” She asks. You just got the joke you missed in the movie. After repeating the line, both of you laugh… for hours! You end up talking until you fall asleep. So, how many of you, dear readers, have done that one? Hey, I slipped off the bed once, darn near broke my neck. After the initial “Oh! Are you okay…?” Laughter followed. Loud and hard. By the way, though it was not the case, might I say that, satin and silk sheets look good. Even great in movies and on television… But in real life. Meh. When you are tired or in pain, it’s no fun sliding all over the place.

One morning my wife and I woke up in pain. Her back, my back and knees hurt. I went into work the next morning. Someone asked how I was doing. I said, I was fine except for the pain. Then… “my wife and I both woke up with our backs hurting…” an older coworker looked up at me “Well… what were you two during last night?” Nope she didn’t miss a beat. Everybody laughed at me. I don’t remember what we did the night before, but love making wasn’t involved. It was just the pains of getting older and arthritis. But… I let them go on believing what a stud! When I got home I told my wife the story while we were going to bed. After rubbing Tiger Balm on her back and putting a Salonpas patch on my knee. Yep, we laughed and…. received an awesome reputation to boot.

I must caution you, dear reader, about the dangers of eating spicy food, raw vegetables or carbonated drinks before meeting you spouse bedroom playtime. Now, some of you are laughing out loud right now. But some of you are shaking your head in agreement. BECAUSE … you know the truth and it’s happened to you. For you younger and insecure ones, get over yourselves. Sex is not like it is in the movies. No one takes off their clothes and sticks a perfect landing. Nope, its messy and often times unpredictable. Unless of course, you have the above mentioned combination. We all know the results. Gas must be released! And usually when you don’t want it to. Indeed it can be hilarious

Now, for you younger couples… enjoy your misspent youth and the reckless imitations of on screen romance. A cold hard kitchen floor looks good on screen, it sounds good in your 20’s. But no one in their right mind at 40+ years, certainly not in their 60+ years, is going to crawl down on a COLD floor, especially facing the fact that they aren’t getting back up without help. It ain’t happening! In fact, many older couples will probably tell you, if you ask, that they’ve become more creative in their older years. Yep. Couples enjoy awesome sex in their golden years. Its all about being in decent health. This might shock your tender ears or in this case, your eyes, but if they were freaks in youth odds are they’re still are. Psst… the body gets old not the mind. In most cases, again, it’s about how healthy the couples are.

In my search for weird and funny sex accidents I came across some of the strangest things. One involved a couple under water. Under water! Really?! People are crazy. The things that happen on a normal day is enough. Like, tripping over the clothes you just took off and bumping you head. The results, 8 stitches. That, you can get away with when explaining it to the triage nurse. But… try explaining, scuba gear, flares and jello. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Okay, just one more. “Cindy. Hey girl, what’s that on your back? Don’t tell me he put his hands on you” Cindy’s eyes searches the room for an invisible fly as her mind searches for last nights events. Oh shoot! She remembers. “Oh, it’s nothing. I slipped in the shower and rubbed up against the wall”… “oh, no girl, that’s a bite mark…” Cindy looks straight ahead “Um….”

Well, unfortunately Cindy is not as good of a story teller as her husband Zac, when it comes to spinning the tales of their sexual misfires. Lord knows, sweet little church usher, Cindy couldn’t say what really happened. Cindy got caught up in the pop frenzy over the latest accepted soft porn author. Lola Spankastein’s “25 Pleasant Surprises For Him” intrigued her, so she secretly read the book at night while Zac snored. She wanted to spice up their 10 year marriage. Well, she sure surprised Zac when in the middle of their passionate night, she whispered “bite me…” Zac thought about it but all good husbands do as their wives ask…

Um…” “Hey, Cindy I need your help on this report. You got a minute”? Saved by the boss she thought. Then walked off touching her shoulder with a smile. Go on, raised you hands if this one is you. Well, go on there’s no one in the room but you, dear reader. Ha! I knew it. Like I said all sorts of things mishaps happen in the bedroom. How about a cramp?! Have you ever caught a cramp and yelled, but it wasn’t because your spouse was awesome. But because a sharp pain just shot through your hip, leg, neck or toe. Now, that, can end the fun in an instant. Wait! Then you have to sit still in that awkward position, naked, until the pain subsides. Man oh man, the stories we can never tell…

Well, dear reader, the poor kid who sought out an online forum for his answers didn’t get, in my opinion, good advice. A young single man obsessed with his size would feel humiliated if laughter broke out. The same with an overly self-conscious young woman. In fact, I’d say that the ladies, because of current culture, would be more humiliated if you laughed. Many of them are wonder if they look acceptable to you. Anyway, married folks know that blank happens. And over the years we’ve seen it all. Including and not limited to, dysfunction. Just take it in stride. I hope that, that young man finds someone like your spouse, dear reader, and the two of them can share and laugh at inside jokes… or should I say, misfires like you.

Until next time…

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