The clock that stopped a long time ago..

Dear Fellow Journalers,

A perspective piece from G. Enjoy!


I recently stopped by to see an acquaintance of mine. (I can’t call him a friend because this guy doesn’t make friends) Now this guy, for reasons all his own, has become a bit of a hermit as he’s gotten older. You hardly ever see this guy in public, and he only goes out to buy the necessities of life.

I think that’s why a few of us stop by occasionally to see him. We just want to be sure he’s OK. He begrudgingly allows us in his house, and frankly, we wonder how long this is going to last. He seems to withdraw more and more each time I see him. I understand that this is common among certain older people, who “have no one.”

When I was there the other day, I noticed, for the first time, this beautiful old clock. It was a magnificent old thing, beautifully carved from a fine wood. But I also noticed it wasn’t running.

When I asked him about it, he said “That clock stopped a long time ago.” I asked him if he was going to get it fixed. NO! I asked him if I could get it fixed for him. NO!

I then pleaded that it was much too beautiful to leave just sitting, not fulfilling its’ intended purpose. I said a piece like that should be running and on display, so its’ beauty could be appreciated.

He stared at me, giving me the most quizzical look. ‘I told you, that clock stopped running a long time ago!”

Long moments of silence passed between us. I wondered if I was about to be thrown out. But suddenly he decided to explain himself.

“You see, that clock is kinda like my life. It had its’ place, time and function for years. It worked perfectly, and did its’ job. Then one day, it just got old and tired and stopped, kinda like my life.”

I protested. “Yes, it is like your life. But in a different way than you’ve come to believe. Just like you, that clock is still very much alive! All it needs is a few adjustments, and it’ll be fully functional again! Just like your life! It’s too beautiful to just sit there, half buried by junk, when it could be restored to its’ former glory!”

The look on his face was like a little boy who had been caught being bad. More moments of uneasy silence.

“WHO ASKED YOU ANYWAY! Just because we worked together for a few years doesn’t give you the right to come into my house and tell me what’s wrong with my life, or my clock!! Get out!”

My drive home was a long one.

As I sit here relaying this story to you, I’m thinking about that old man, sitting there alone in his house, doing who knows what. I’m thinking about that old clock too. Both are beautiful things, easily fixed, but choosing instead to just remain where they are, not fulfilling their potential. What a shame.

(P.S. Yes, I’m going to try to visit him again, after a time, giving things a chance to “cool” Wish me luck—I’d really like to see both back up and running.)



Wednesday words to live by


On living life

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Another amazing and thought-provoking piece from G.


Have you ever noticed that while we all live on the same planet, we all live in our OWN universe?!? Our universe is of course, ourselves, and all the people we come in contact with. Some days that may mean over 100 people, and some days it may be just yourself and your thoughts. Doesn’t matter— it’s YOUR personal universe. An old saying I REALLY like is: “Be kind to everyone you meet, you never know what terrible things happened in their universe today.” Good advice. But have you ever really considered what effect YOUR universe had on people around you, and, in fact, on you yourself?

Makes you stop and think doesn’t it? Some people enter our universe for mere seconds, like those who take our order at the burger joint. Some enter our universe and become a permanent fixture in it. But believe it or not, those people (even at the burger joint) have SOME effect on our lives, and our universe.

About a month ago I was at a burger place and encountered a young man who reminded me of the importance of personal appearance and hygiene. He smelled badly and had “ring around the collar”. Even though we were in contact for a mere minute, he reminded me to always remember that people judge you by such things. Likewise, we all have people who have had a PROFOUND effect on our lives—our universe. And whether we spent a minute or a lifetime with them, they touched us for the good. And our universe will NEVER be the same.

Let’s not forget that OUR actions and treatment of others may have a permanent and lasting effect on those whose universe WE invade! But no matter what or who comes crashing into our universe, everyone who does has SOME effect. (I’d like to personally thank that beautiful young woman who simply passed me at the supermarket the other day. You made me smile!  I’d also like to thank Sister Marie Blanche, my eighth grade teacher who made me realize that if you really want something, it’s yours, IF you work for it.

So, PLEASE, get ready! Sometime in the next few seconds, minutes, days, years—-someone / thing will enter your universe. Will YOU be ready to think about what effect this will have on your life?

What happened to my life?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

A perspective post from G.


WHAT HAPPENED TO MY LIFE ? Subtitle: How did it go by so fast ?

FAIR WARNING: I really don’t know if this piece is inspired by my recent illness, but writing and reading it, it’s a pretty good piece for anyone, regardless of age or health, to read. If not, hit delete. Also, like my life, it’s a little long. **************************************************************** It’s amazing to me. It REALLY is amazing. It feels like I’m 18, but my recent birthday a few weeks ago, firmly cements my place as an “official old man.” Now I don’t know if it’s common to all “old timers”, but in the last year or so I’ve had a flood, no, make that deluge, or tidal wave, of memories. Whether inspired by a simple, unexpected, “trigger” or a subconscious dream, they charge me like the Light Brigade at Sevastopol. And like it or not, I must deal with them. Another thing about these memories, some from 70 years ago, or seven years ago, or seven days ago, is that I really and truly don’t know if it’s Gods’ way of having me prepare to say goodbye to life, or preparing me for things yet to come ahead. Frankly, either way, I can’t wait to find out which. Another thing: all these things sometimes make no sense. I may have some sparked memory from say, 60 years ago, that was such a minor thing I can’t believe I remembered it. Other memories, I have absolute certainty why I remember it. Oh well, what the hell. The most positive thing about these memories is that they force you to look back at your life with either happiness, or unhappiness. For me, there’s no in between. Frankly, I’m glad about that. Makes thinking clearer. Some of these memories are JOYOUS !

Do you remember the first time you were really in love? I do— I was seventeen, and a junior in high school. She was smart, personable, pretty, and perfect. I was gonzo ! It was doomed to failure of course. She was off to college in New York, me off to college in Indiana, then the Marines, then Vietnam. But THANK YOU my wonderful first love. You gave me memories and taught me things about life I can never, ever forget. God Bless and keep you, where ever you are.

Then there are the memories that are HORRENDOUS ! I fought in the battle of Khe Shan in Vietnam. It was truly hell on earth. Death and destruction were EVERYWHERE. Funny thing— it was bad enough while it happened, but the other night I had a very detailed dream about it. (over 50 years later) It was like a childhood dream where you are being chased by monsters, aliens, and all things bad. I woke up in a cold, raw sweat, drenched from head to foot, and shaking. But this horrible experience WAS a part of my life, and helped shape it just like all the good memories.

All of us have memories at any age. Like me, some are good, some bad. But it seems to me that as you pass the “golden mark” (What the hell is golden about it? You get old, you get sick, and then you die) that memories become increasingly more significant. You get to question the content, character, purpose, and value of the life you’ve lived. Sometimes, you’re happy with the result, other times, not so much. Intelligent people call this “LIFE.” My favorite aunt (long since departed) had a favorite saying: Life is life, UNTIL life becomes what YOU make it. A good saying, even after so, so many years. God Bless and keep you Lady, wherever you are. Remember the old Barbara Streisand song ‘Memories?” “Memories, like the corners of our mind, misty watercolor memories of the way we were.” Reminds me of another saying of a favored teacher, and later mentor: What you WERE is ne’er as important as what you are NOW.

I’m also a very lucky man. I confess to having a “man cave”, plus the Jerry Goodwin study, filled with the mementoes of my life. Pics of family and friends, especially Carla, Laur-Laur, and K-K are everywhere. These never fail to bring a huge smile to my face. Momentos of Marine days, and of civilian job are there too. Two of my favorites are from my years at the printing company when I had to fire a particularly bad employee everybody hated. When I told him he was fired, he took a swing at me. I was forced to put him down. The employees gave me a photoshopped picture of Godzilla wearing boxing gloves, with the inscription: “In memory of the stupid son of a bitch who took on Godzilla”. My other favorite is a simple frame with a red felt background, upon which are nine black Marine emblems. It symbolizes the nine Marines who died under my command. I NEVER want to forget them, because the sacrifice of their lives means I HAVE TO make the most of mine. In order to get from my bedroom to the bathroom each morning, I have to pass the Goodwin study. As I do, I touch the door jamb and pat it. After so many years, it has a slight indentation from this practice. God bless, love and keep you my cherished friend, wherever you are. You taught me what true friendship is. Also throughout the house are momentos, citations, awards, medals etc. Some of them were presented to me by some of you reading this. THANK YOU ! They mean a lot, and when on days the world seems cold and dark, they remind me that at least on some days my life had meaning and purpose. That somehow I accomplished some good for my fellow-man. Believe me, an old man (or woman) really needs that. My personal religious beliefs are that someday I will be brought before God for a “final judgment.” God will say “Account for your life !” I hope, I really really hope, that the first words out of my mouth are : THANK YOU GOD FOR GIVING ME SUCH A FABULOUS LIFE ! If I can do that, I’ll take my chances from there. So as I began this over long piece, “What happened to my life?” Answer is Life happened to my Life ! The good, the bad, the ugly, the heartfelt and the heartbreak, the tried, the true, the false and the bullshit. And one morning, wearing the disguise of an old man, I saw it all for what it was / is— MY LIFE.

I close (finally !) with a request for a favor: When you have time, grab your favorite beverage, find your favorite spot, put your feet up, and regardless of your age, cherish the memories of YOUR LIFE ! Until next time, and more ramblings of an old man———


Word Ghosts and life


” Your life isn’t some pre-recorded movie where, no matter how many times you watch it, the ending remains the same. Your life is a book in progress, and you are the author. So, if you don’t care for the main character or the gloomy scenery or how the twisted plot is unfolding, then do something to change it. Your write your own story.”

Rachel E. Goodrich (Making Wishes)

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