Saturday, May 03, 2008

photo by © rel

This week has seen a paltry amount of writing from this author. Oh, I did put up a post on Monday and Thursday, but in reality, I've neglected my writing, reading and posting for the week. The fact that it is also the second week of vacation makes it seem worse to me since I should have had a surplus of time, time to attend to those things, such as writing, that I savor. I deplore excuses. They are poor apologies for not doing something you should have done and didn't and now your looking for absolution.

I've been in one of those doggedly unambitious moods and I just didn't feel like applying myself to too much that was constructive or required much mental exercise. Partly, this state of mind was brought about in concert with a melancholia precipitated by the deaths of two men my age, and the mid-week class and test I need to pass to maintain my certification and thereby my privileges to work at the hospital.

My Wife's recent retirement has fostered a resurgence of energy and zest for life in her that has had her busting her butt in the yard and flower gardens to get the manor spruced up. She has started a diet and kick started her exercise regime to include a start at some running. At this juncture I must say that she has not been a nag nor has she pushed me to do anything more than a few menial tasks. Of course her example did create a sense guilt enough so that I did keep up my exercise regime, welcomed the new diet regime and I did infact get some household tasks completed, but be assured that except for an 11 mile run, I did not bust my ass around here.

But, I digress:
This post is really about two deaths and a test. The test was anxiety producing only because I'm a professional procrastinator. In fact, if procrastinators got paid for their level of procrastination I'd be buying out Warren Buffet. Since I passed the test with flying colors I'll leave that as is.

On April 27th, 2008 Mike St. Andrews died. That would be last Sunday. Because he'd lived most of his adult life in Illinois his obit didn't appear in the local paper here until Wednesday. Mike was 61 years of age.

Mike was a year behind me in high school and therefore a year younger. We weren't friends in the traditional sense; we hung around with different people, came from opposite sides of the tracks, and lived in different worlds even in the same town. But in a greater sense we were family. We were siblings in the brotherhood of sports. Mike was a pitcher for our varsity baseball team....I was the catcher for that team. Mike was a quarterback for our football team. I was a guard and a linebacker on that team. That special commonality made us family.
I graduated and left for the military life. Mike had one year left 'til graduation. Things change and life moves on. It's the natural flow of things, and so you would be right to think that that was the end of our siblingry (-neologism-) so to speak.

February 16, 1966 I was waiting in the DaNang, South Vietnam airport to catch my flight back to CONUS (continental U.S.). I was goin' home from the war. As I watched the incoming soldiers and sailors deplaning I recognized one of the sailors...Mike St. Andrews.
We talked in the usual banalities. He was envious of my departure and I wished him all safety and good luck. And you know; hey man how are ya? And holy shit man it's good to see ya and yada yada yada. That was the last time I saw my bother; brother in sports, brother in arms. Mike with the calm, lamb like personnality and rel the boisterous, ferocious, lion.

The time is soon to be upon me Mike and I'll join you on the tarmac beyond this world.

Thursday last, David "Gordie" Warren died from complications from a stroke. He was sixty-two years old, same age as me. Gordie and I were siblings in the family of community. We live in the same town, his home town, my Dad's home town and my adopted home time. Gordie and I interacted countless times. Gordie was a smart, industrious, savvy guy. He could be everybody's friend but at the same time he brooked no bull shit. He embraced life and lived it to the fullest and he left us too soon....Gone, like a member of this extended family we call community.

Might as well get the third prompt in here while we're at it; identity.
Mike and I identified with each other on one plane. Same with Gordie and I. Each of us has many identities: son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, father, friend, worker and so on and on.
But in the end we will all share the same identity;


I penned a little to poem to express my feelings iterated above, and if you've read down this far I hope you finish up with this.


As turbulent times
Are wont to be,
This past week had
Ups and downs
For me.

A test to garner
My recert.,
On Wednesday I did spend.
Without success
Would my identity thereby end?

Bracketing the week
Front to back
Were two friends deaths.
One friend from long ago,
Just last week, the second said hello.

My friend from long times past
Was a meek and mild
Kind of guy.
While the other had a
Ferociousness from time to time.

Now they lay side by side
This lion and the lamb.
These two,
Members of
The family of man.

Sadly, over time
Their identities
Will be
On a stone.

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Blogger Granny Smith said...

My husband is 90 years old and I am eighty-six. Hardly a week goes by but what we read of the death of a friend or colleague, most of whom, at this point, are younger than we are.

It certainly doesn't sound to me as though who have been slacking off at anything this week. An eleven mile run? Its been a long time since either of us has even contemplated such a thing!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I'm so sorry Rel! I hope that you did get to enjoy some of your time off. Congrats on the test!

Tell your wife she rocks!

HUGS for you bud! Beautiful poem but the grave stone was creepy. ;)

3:02 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

'But in the end we will all share the same identity;


Holy Cow.. You are feeling gloomy aren't you??
I am so sorrry about your two friends. Their death is difficult enough, but any time someone our own age passes, It is too much to absorb. I've experienced this type of shock and It does put you in a slump and makes you feel 'doggedly unambitious' to say the least.
This time is NOT soon to be upon you! People die in there 20's, 30's, 40's... and MANY live well past 90! I am rooting for you to be one of those Rel.. An old geezer with Lot's of ambition and always that big heart.
Loved your poem and FIRST photo, the tombstone creeped me out as well. ♥

4:51 PM  
Blogger Remiman said...

I'm planning to live into geezerhood too. Everytime a friend or close acquaintance passes on it makes me face my immortality and motivates me to grab today by the trunk and shake all the living I can out of life.

5:07 PM  
Blogger paisley said...

well,, as an aspiring poet,,, i would think thee was something better you could get put on your tombstone.... but the rest is honest sad and true... sorry for you losses and the reality check that they left behind.....

6:04 PM  
Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

Isn't it irony that death finally unites us all?

I have been thinking about it a lot lately..

7:41 PM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

Sorry to hear about your losses, but you've done them proud - which should make you proud, too.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Rambler said...

"Sadly, over time
Their identities
Will be
On a stone."
its really sad isn't it

8:46 AM  
Blogger jadey said...


First I am so sorry to hear of the losses of your two friends. It is very sad. Second congrats on the recert going well. This is a great post. It does make us come more aware when we see people our own age or someone we just spoke to and then read the obits. I just pray each and every day for another one. Those that we haven't seen for awhile you always wonder what did they do with their lives did they have family what were their identities? I think you covered everything excellently.

11:22 AM  
Blogger PEA said...

Dearest Rel,

I am so sorry for the loss of your two friends, they were both young yet. It truly hits too close to home when you start having friends dying at the age you are now!! Your poem is beautiful and says it all.

Hey, you are allowed to sometimes be in unambitious moods:-) You're usually so busy, it's no wonder that sometimes it just catches up to you. Please take care of YOU!! xox

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Fenny said...

First of all I'm so sorry for your loss ...from a certain age on tragedies like that make us more aware of our own mortality ... not a plaesant reminder and not something we want to be reminded of

but this is so beautiful ...

"Now they lay side by side
This lion and the lamb.
These two,
Members of
The family of man."

and a nice tribute to old friends

6:10 AM  
Blogger Greyscale Territory said...

Quite a poignant posting.

Life "rocks" at times in ways we don't quite expect.

And yet, shock sometimes has a habit of shaking out cobwebs and doing a bit of fresh weaving.

Quite a moving post!


7:12 AM  
Blogger jadey said...

Hey there Rel,

Just wanted to let you know that part two is up.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Ah! The tug of war.

I laughed; I too am a Princess of Procrastination - among other things; and I am in excellent company. Lions of Procrastination. ;o)

My heart was heavy for your losses, they always make time stop for a bit and make us look around, carefully, at our own lives.

and I scoffed adoringly, a bit... "-except for an 11 mile run"

Rel, if I ran 11 miles, I would need you there in a medical capacity before I was even half way through.

You're such a humble man, and so inspiring.

The photo is peaceful, and heart-touching.

Thank you.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

5:56 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

I'm sorry to hear about your friends. Because my grandmother was a mortician and I was an orphan by the age of 10, I've always been very aware of my own mortality. I feel lucky in that sense, because i've tried not to waste any time doing what other people thought I should do. Knowing we will all die is kind of freeing.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Mélanie said...

Touching post , Rel. I guess even if it hard to hear it : It is part of LIFe

6:31 AM  

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