Dear Winn – 10 September 2016

Dear Winn:
I knew last night when I went to bed that it was going to get chilly overnight. Sure enough, I woke to frost on the grass and rooftops. Unless I missed it, and I don’t miss such things, that’s the first frost for this season. I must say it looks beautiful sitting atop our still rich, green grass. It’ll burn off quick, old Helios is already rising hot. But I’m always thrilled the first time Jack Frost sings.
HA! Jack Frost, who even talks that way anymore? I guess I do, me and other old fashioned farts. I read something this week that tagged me a part of the last generation to remember life before the internet. I stopped for a minute to ponder that. Interesting, huh? And humbling. I also read this week where folks are up in arms because the new iPhone doesn’t have a headphone jack. I thought what in the jiminy christmas hell? But I guess if you’ve grown up with an iPhone as an extension of yourself, then a missing headphone jack is like a missing limb or something. Except that its not a missing limb, its a headphone jack for pete’s sake. Spoken like a true old fashioned fart, huh?
Will and Sarah are both off at college doing college stuff, which I do pray includes studying. Abbey is adjusting fairly well to being an only child. She quickly moved all of Sarah’s stuff out of her room and arranged things the way she wanted them, with her own decorative flair. She bought a little plant, the cool kids these days call ’em succulents, which is biologically correct but I just call ’em plants. Anyway, she named her succulent Elvin. Yeah, somebody else to keep alive in this house. My lord.
I hear you’ve got snakes in your basement, or had snakes, or found a snake hole or something. Any way you slice that sounds no bueno, amigo. Vipers. Grief, that gives me the shivvies. I did see your picture on Facebook with a caulk gun in one hand and a hoe in the other. You looked formidable, pal, like you meant business, old school style. Good on ya. Stand your ground. Eye of the tiger.
I just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Its an appeal to answer the question “What are the things you love?” and then live according to your answers, for as I say, time zips. And it especially zips coupled with a cancer diagnosis. I’ve always had an awareness of death, sorta my melanchological makeup I suppose. But I do think about it more lately, which I guess is yet another whiff of being an old fashioned fart. You know what, Winn? The god-honest truth is that I don’t want to ever die, ever. I want to stay alive on this good earth forfreakingever. I want to keep hearing Jack Frost’s song and sending kids to college and trying to keep succulents alive and praying for friends with snake troubles and reading sad books and drinking orange juice with so much pulp in it you almost choke and watching the Broncos beat Cam Newton and chuckling at youngsters with where’s-my-headphone-jack anxiety and trying to write memorable poems. Yep, I suppose I just answered “What are things you love?” The rub is my list there was just getting started. Some days I think I love it all, my friend, every damn stitch. Dr. Kalanithi would tell me, “Then live it today like you love it, all of it.” That’s what I’m gonna try and do. I pray you will too.
Oh, I forgot to mention Justin’s peanut butter, and western movies like Unforgiven, and driving home from the grocery store at dusk while listening to Tony Bennett, and…

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  1. thereforeencourage on September 10, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Oh John, you’re just such a gift. You stir my autumn poet’s heart.

  2. Renee Johnson on September 10, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Love every time you write, moves me to tears which I admit is not difficult. Cheers!

  3. Jacky on September 10, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    John, I try to read all your posts ( only occasionally missing some ); your words open up countless doors in my mind, inviting me to come in and ponder, wander and linger a while. You give me another view, a stretch out, that I’ve come to look forward to.

    Thank you for keeping on — for us old and them young farts!

  4. eyesseetoo on September 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    As always, your words bless my heart but Somehow this also made me sad. I think it is because of the passing of time- so very rapidly. My middle grandson is going off to the Marine Corp. But to me, he was just a baby the other day! I still have his baby picture on my refrigerator for Pete’s Sake! Time passing much too quickly.

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