Opening My Eyes

Life is a journey. It’s more so about the trip, and not so much the destination. So I’ve been heard and have been told many times… There seems to be a lot of truth in this.

I’ve spent the last few years mainly in what I’ll call “Empty Places”. Much of the time, I spend alone. There are times when I would relish some company, some conversation. But most of the time is spent just being alone, yet not in loneliness. I’m grateful for my peaceful spaces, physically and emotionally, and I spend as much time there as is possible.

It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve spent enough time digging down inside, getting as close to the bottom of “why” as I possibly can. A journey of discovery in a way, and that is seeing things, recalling things, and understanding things, in hindsight. The roots of many things that have troubled me in life, and still do in some ways, run deep. I was a child at one time, but it didn’t last very long. By the time I began grade school, I was already operating on “another level”, much different than my peers. I can cite probable causes, but that may sound like me assigning blame and responsibility to people. In fact, it was a much larger set of circumstances, a true comedy of errors, and there were many characters and players in those circumstances. Adults and other children, the times being the 50’s and early 60’s, and myself already being so disconnected because my journey had already begun without my realization.

Always on the outside looking in. That’s the best way I am able to describe it. Never fitting in, never feeling accepted, never feeling a true bond (except with dogs and other animals). I understood what loyalty was, but at best that can be a fleeting thing. A change in circumstances beyond your control, and loyalties can change greatly and suddenly. That’s how people are. That’s not a bond. A true bond endures changes, good times, bad times, and ages gracefully. I’ve never felt that. That is, a real bond. Except with a dog.

I’ve been told I have PTSD and a major depressive disorder. Great… At least I have a label and somewhat of a definition of what’s been going on all along now. Gaining some understanding of ones self, is well… Progress? But towards what?

So many things have happened on this path of my long journey through life… People are quick to remember your mistakes, short comings, misdeeds, failures, etc. Especially when you’re someone on a path like mine. And I don’t kid myself. I know I’m not the only one out here. In that respect, I’m not alone, never alone. There are many of us. Too many…

Instead of trying to cure us, fix us, judge us, shut us away… I’d suggest recognizing the good in us, the things of value from our unique perspectives and experiences? Take an inventory of our good qualities, and of the benefits we have brought in to this world. There is much understanding, compassion, kindness, to be had because we tend to transmit just what we’d like to receive. We just don’t do very well in circumstances filled with conflict, anger, and meanness, especially when we get blamed for it being that way. Look beyond the end of your noses… See the person inside, and you might find something special.

My path, my journey, has lead me to a place where my history only exists in the minds of others. They recall just what they want, and interpret everything to suit their own needs. My history just vanished one day, along with everyone that I ever thought I meant anything to, or that I though meant anything to me. Loyalties change… It’s not much different now from when I was about 5. I feel like… No, I know I don’t belong here any more now than I did then, or much of the time in between. If you took away all those years in between then and now, for me it’s just “same shit, different day”. Why? Because I can’t see how anything I did, or did not do, made any difference at all. It’s like there was just a lot of “filler” in between now and then. Just busy work. Things to do to fill those times…

I look back now, and I have hard time seeing myself at all. Except that I’ve been in survival mode much longer than I ever realized. I guess, if anything, I have the one accomplishment of not having succumbed to life’s BS and letting it snuff me out? Maybe I’ve always been meant to be just a “place holder”? A thing to keep other things from bumping in to one another? I don’t know… That’s the best I can do to describe it.

What’s up ahead for me now, hearing 62 coming up the walk towards me? I’m hoping it won’t be more of the same of what I’ve been living all along. But, statistically speaking, and in spite of holding on to some faint glimmers of hope, I’m not expecting much.

Some day, this will all be done. Finally. The lights will go out for the last time, and I’ll be on my way to whatever, if anything, awaits in the hereafter. Most people, many people, live their lives in fear if dying. I don’t fear it at all. In fact, it will be a welcome change of pace. I’m in no hurry to get here though! So please don’t get the wrong idea. I’m just saying that if anything, being as I am and have been, You can’t loose nor miss what you’ve never had.

PTSD and major depressive disorder, etc etc, what fun…

To any kindred spirits who may wander by… Hang in there! If nothing else, just enjoy the fact that we can be anything from a pain in the ass to a real conundrum for those who don’t get it and never will. And don’t be in a hurry! Sooner or later life has a way of tapping everyone on the shoulder when it’s time to get off the roller coaster, even if you’re not like us. So if nothing else, just enjoy the ride and whatever scenery there may be…

~ Mike

Almost 62 going on 12….

and yeah, this is much closer to real life these days than you’d believe…

Special Thanks to : R.E.M., YouTube, and REMVEVO

 

 

 

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The leaps and bounds of March 2017

March is a very busy and eventful month! Holy crap Batman! Break out the Bat Calendar!

Starts of with the “jump ahead an hour”, Daylight Savings Time, event at 2:00 a.m. local time for most people. This used to be AWE-SOME!!! When I was working the graveyard shift in a Major Casino in Reno, just a few years ago. Our first “15 minute” break was at 1:00 a.m. and then we set the clocks ahead an hour at 2:00 a.m., which then became 3:00 a. m. Whoop! Just an hour between first break and lunch? dinner? past midnight snack? what you called it, it was our BIG break for the night. Also, the best part was that even though we only worked an actual 7 hours, we got paid for 8. Cool… 🙂 In the fall, fall back was almost as good. Got the 8 hours on the clock, plus the extra actual hour. so for the year we were 1 hour ahead if you worked both days. Also, at 2:00 a.m., when it became 1:00 a.m., we of course took our offical 1:00 a.m. 15 minute break AGAIN!!!! Buhwahahaha  🙂

Then just about a week later, it’s St Patty’s Day! woo-Hoo!!! No extra pay or extra breaks, but usually there was at least a few “patrons” that provided some impromptu entertainment of some sort. Which was usually related to a high BAC rather than how Irish they were. Always at least a few laughs.

Then just one more week later, spring in to spring! The Equinox, First Day of Spring, big holiday for the druids and others of course. The best part was that by that time, I was usually driving home in  the sunshine now, with the shift ending early in the morning. The bad part was driving east… Sunshine in your eyes. That’s also when windshields got cleaned, inside and out, because with the sun glare it was worse than fog… Complete “white out”. Like trying to drive with your windshield covered in white paper.

And what would be March, if you didn’t keep Marching On?…  🙂   hahaha

The Gothard Sisters ~ Marching On

 

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You want it darker?~ Leonard Cohen

Not having a TV for over a year, and having slim choices on the number of stations I could get on my vintage 70’s clock radio with the FM band, I spent a lot of time listening to  central Wisconsin NPR. I heard about Leonard Cohen’s release “You Want It Darker?” that way, and immediately it became a favorite of mine. Not very long afterwards, Mr Cohen passed away, God bless him. You can look him up easily, and you may be surprised about how much this musical legend gave us. That’s up to you, but I sincerely recommend it.

Before you watch the following video, just a short bit of information that should make the video more understandable and enjoyable, as there is a “context” necessary to understand and appreciate the word “Hineni” used throughout the song. Not understanding what this word is and it’s meaning would be like going to see “2001: A Space Odyssey” without reading the book first. Yeah it’s like that… Take the time for a short lesson, and you’ll probably really enjoy the song and video SO much more!

“Hineni”:

https://www.hineni.org/rebbetzin/rebbetzins-column/true-meaning-compassion-part-one

https://www.hineni.org/

Hineini means, “I am here for you fully, with the trust and vulnerability to do whatever it is you ask of me.” except from article- http://www.stljewishlight.com/opinion/dvar_torah/article_802594b2-3708-11e1-b672-001871e3ce6c.html

and now the song and video….

You Want It Darker? from VEVO at https://youtu.be/YD6fvzGIBfQ

 

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January 2017

Halfway through 61 now. Well almost… Now that I can do things again because I can, I have no clue on what it may be, that I would like to do. Thought about building a time machine. Same old, same old. Even if I had a time machine, where, or rather when, would I go to? Sure nowhere, nowhen, in the past. Been there, done that. I’d probably just hit some random date, at least many decades in to the future, and see what’s there when I got there. Hopefully, they’d still have coffee.

What is a body to do when the opportunity comes along to begin anew with a “clean slate”? No baggage, except for a dog for now and she’s old now too… No whining needy kids, or backstabbing relatives of any kind to speak of. No one from high school, or any other school, lurking in the wings. I haven’t had to mail out, or been able to mail out, a single Christmas card for years. No birthday cards going out, none coming in. No anniversaries to remember.

Only recently got reconnected to the internet, cable TV, and a landline phone too. I was feeling “disconnected” after going without for about a year and a half. Now I’m connected again. A very few friends, a bio brother, a bio nephew, couple of cousins, and that’s about it. Talk with my brother the most. The rest, well they know I’m here and I know they’re there. Everyone has something going on, a life, so they’re pretty busy. That’s OK. A few minutes on a phone, or a message here and there, isn’t much but it’s better than zero. I can’t complain, because it’s about all I can handle anyhow. Too much company, too much connection time, just makes the loneliness darker and deeper in between.

Still living rough, I guess because I’ve gotten so used to that it’s become normal now. I could easily spend some time traveling around the country once the weather gets warmer. Getting stuck in snow storms, or having roads get shut down, just isn’t much fun. I could make some further improvements to this house, like maybe getting a few windows fixed, a stove to cook on, or even a window A/C or two. But why? Making my self-imposed sanctuary more comfortable would be a little counter productive. There would go much of my motivation to just go out the door and in to the great outside`on most days.

I have my moments of hopefulness. I just don’t let myself become to excited over them these days. Hopefulness is too often just the prelude to more disappointment, which refuels and resupplies my depression. Status Quo is a safe place. You may not go up, but you really don’t go lower either. It’s safe, and fairly consistent. If I was going to snap, to break, to give up, it would have happened by now. At least that’s what I believe and hold on to during the worst days. Maybe someday, I’ll get lucky? I doubt it. At least in the meantime I play this game that my life has become, it’s called “Survival”. And for now, it’s all I got.

This is going to be a more interesting year at least, I hope. Maybe a road trip or two? I have time to think about it. I have time, and I at least know that. I just have to think of a destination or two.

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December 2016

Cold and getting colder. Snowed in just a little.

Back from a several year long trek, well almost back, through some dark and empty places. When close to 40 years of your life just disappears, becomes as meaningless as if it never happened, but you still paid your dues for it…

About all I have left is hope and a mile wide streak of stubbornness. Dauntless.

Depression is not fun, but sometimes it’s the only company you’ll have.

Maybe some day… Hopefully, I’ll be ready to be ready.

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Happy 40th Birthday

The headline really says it all.

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Christmas 2014

Where do I begin…

To the ones who’ve left themselves behind.

To the younger one, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I really do hope that you’re doing well. Maybe you’ve learned to set aside the meanness and the anger? Maybe you’ve learned to be as honest, as truthful, and as fair, to others as much as you always wanted everyone to be that way with you?  Maybe you’ve learned to live within your own strengths, your own true value, and on the merit of your own person? Maybe like a cripple that’s miraculously able to walk on their own, then throws away their crutches, maybe you no longer need to open doors or get your way by using your victim card? Maybe you’ve learned to take responsibility for what’s yours instead of burdening and trashing other people and their lives? Maybe you’ve gotten some straight eyes, the kind of eyes that don’t have the built-in hate and anger biases? Maybe someday you’ll realize that you had so many wonderful things come your way, only to lose them because the only thing you ever held on to was yourself? Maybe someday you’ll realize all the generous and loving things that were done for you by people who really cared about you? Maybe one day you’ll realize that you were never perfect either, and you can forgive others for their imperfections and mean it? Maybe one day you’ll realize that love has its costs, both obvious and hidden, and that so many gave all they had without any expectations of a return? Maybe one day you’ll figure out what is real and what is not, and the value of those things sincere and real? Maybe one day you’ll change, maybe you won’t ever. I really hope you’re doing well.

To the older one, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I really hope that you’re doing well. Maybe you’ve learned to exist beyond your fear and anger? Maybe life has dealt you enough curve balls by now to realize that it can happen to anyone? Maybe you’ve figured out that so many times when you needed me to be there for you, I was? Maybe you figured out that I often admired how much better you had done, and how much better of a person and parent you had become? Maybe sometimes if you noticed me giving you credit, you knew that it was sincere? Maybe you realized that the last time I turned to you, it was because you were all that I had left? Maybe some day down the road, when you’re as old and beat up as I am now, you’ll figure out that I had a lot of value that you just abandoned? Maybe one day, you’ll learn to trust your own heart instead of listening to everyone else? Maybe one day, you’ll realize that there was so much more to be grateful for rather than things that needed to be forgiven? Maybe one day you’ll understand that everyone gets just one chance at life. Some blow it. Some screw up. The only difference anyone can make is to try to do better, become a better person. Maybe some day you’ll realize that people only become someone better because they care? Maybe in some mysterious way, you’ll find that you threw away the best times, the best years, that you could have spent by not shutting someone out of your life? I really hope you are doing well.

To the one who shared my life, I wish you a Merry Christmas too. I really hope that you’re also doing well. Maybe one day you’ll realize that everything I did for us, I was doing for you? Maybe one day the meanness, anger, and hate will go away? Maybe one day, you’ll realize that in spite of all of your imperfections, I could only see the parts of you that I was in love with? Maybe one day you’ll realize that I had feelings too? Maybe one day, you’ll figure out how much, and how often, you also hurt and wronged me? Maybe one day you’ll know that if you ever felt alone, it was because you had shut yourself away and closed the door behind you? Maybe one day, you’ll figure out that it was just as lonely and hurtful on the other side of that closed door for me? Maybe one day, you’ll notice how much I had done and what I went through to do it? Maybe one day, you’ll realize that all I ever wanted was for the doors to never close between us? Maybe one day, you’ll figure out that you sent away the one person that would have never abandoned you? Maybe one day, you’ll figure out that so many things that were put upon me were only there because you forced them or just let them be paced there, because that was the easy way out for you? Maybe one day, you’ll have to make more hard choices, and you’ll know that you can’t blame anyone for a choice being hard, but you still have to make it? Maybe one day you’ll learn that sometimes you can’t have it all, but holding on to what you have is worth any price that you have to pay? Maybe one day you’ll day you’ll figure out that if you’re not happy, you should go have a talk with that face you see in the mirror everyday? Maybe one day, you’ll stop being an account, throw away your scales and balance sheets, and figure out that the only way to measure true love is by how much your own heart can hold? One day, maybe you’ll understand that it’s all about give and take, but not the measuring of it? Maybe one day, you’ll realize that you have to share responsibility? Maybe one day, you’ll figure out that you were a mess too, and that any craziness or insanity was a product of us both? Maybe one day, you’ll figure out what you had lost, what you had abandoned too? Maybe one day, you’ll figure out that you’ll benefit more from being generous with forgiveness of yourself and others, rather than being proficient at placing blame? Maybe someday, you’ll see that much blame you’ve placed on others was really only yours? Maybe someday, you’ll hear exactly what the words say to you and listen to them, instead of imagining some meaning that you wrongly impose on them? Maybe someday, you’ll realize that the day I left you was the hardest and most hurtful day of my life. Not because I was leaving you. But because I was leaving behind my life, my hopes, and my dreams. I was leaving behind everything that ever meant anything to me. I was leaving behind my hope and my love. You never knew this then, and you may never know it at all. Your door is closed, as it was so much, so often, and for so long when we were together. I could never get past those doors, built of fear, anger, meanness, and coldness. Maybe one day you’ll realize that with as many times as you wished pain and hurt on me, caused it to be so as often as you could, scorched me with me hate then slammed your door shut… I never once said that I hated you. Not to this day. Maybe one day you’ll understand that no one can forgive anyone through a closed door? Maybe one day, you’ll know that you needed me to forgive you, as much as I needed forgiveness? Maybe one day, you’ll understand that I needed be loved and to be valued, just as much as I tried to love and value you. Maybe one day you’ll figure out, that if you didn’t feel yourself being loved and valued, it’s because you’re door was closed, and it was reinforced with your hate and anger? Now all I can do is hope for the best for you, and that you’re doing well too.

I gave myself a gift this year, because none of you are in my life any longer. Even though all of you may feel righteous, and completely without fault, I forgive you. The day slowly came when I realized that I had done all that I could do. Right or wrong, I did my best and I had done it with my heart. All of you were the most loved, valued, and trusted people in my life. I saw all of your faults with my eyes. But, I felt only the value of each of you in my heart. When you needed me, I did my best to be there. When you screwed up, I walked right along with you through it. I was told a few times what a great husband I was, that I had become. I was told a few times what a great dad I was, that I had become. I was told a few times what a great grandfather I was, that I had become. Some people are lucky because they’re born perfect. I wasn’t. I had a long and difficult road, a treacherous path, and dark places to get through. I did that. Made it. And all of you had acknowledged my accomplishments at least in some way. I had great hopes that we’d always be married. I had great hopes that even though I was a terrible father at times, my kids would have kept track of the things I got right here and there. I had great hopes that one day a closed door would open, and you would walk through it with an open and loving heart. I had great hopes that one day, while I was sitting alone crying with my pain, that comfort and compassion would come to sooth me. I had great hopes that one day I’d hear some words of encouragement, and hear some recognition for being dauntless in my battles of life. I never gave up. I never quit. I never backed down. The only thing I could never do, would not do, was to force open any doors once they were closed. If love comes, it should only come from its own volition. Not because of its need, want, or obligation regarding anyone. When I made promises, I did my best to keep them. When I said I love you, it came from my heart. When I was needed, I tried to be there no matter what the conditions or circumstances were. I meant everything I said and did. But now, looking back on this some day kind of day, I can see I was mistaken. I can’t tell if I was lied to with malice or intention, but that doesn’t really matter. Where I believed love was, where I believed my love was going, now I can only see a hungry beast of meanness and anger that must have devoured it. The doors are all closed, but some times I can still hear its distant laughter. The beast, the anger, the hatred, the meanness, they all think they’ve won. Maybe some day, it will be realized that a hollow victory is no victory at all? Maybe some day, it will be realized that nothing of value was taken from anyone, that no one was cheated, because that can’t be when those things are cast away and abandoned?

So, here is my Christmas gift to myself… I forgive all of you. You don’t need to be the winner or the loser to forgive. All you need is a true and feeling heart, because there are no sides when it comes to forgiving, and that’s all. Rock on… Dokkodo

~ Mike

 

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The wayward child

During the middle and later 90’s, I was driving a semi for a scrap metal company in Chicago. Most of my runs were to neighboring states, like Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. I also had few runs that took me to the other end of Illinois, which was also a long way to go. Our trucks were “day cabs”, meaning that they didn’t have sleepers. We didn’t make any trips that required a sleeper, plus having less weight on the tractor meant more hauling capacity. Scrap metals are always heavy, maxed out loads. Generally, you leave empty and come back with a gross weight as close to 80,000 lbs as you can get.

I had one stop that I’d make when it was my turn through the rotation. It was in Mt Vernon, Illinois. Very near where two interstates crossed in southern Illinois, and of course the was also a reasonably large truck stop nearby. We rotated through making this stop as we did with others that were at the limits of a”day trip”. I’d usually go to my company between 11:00 p.m. and 12 midnight to exchange my car for my tractor, both kept in a secure garage during off hours. Hook up to the designated empty trailer, and head out. Some drivers ran it straight through. I liked leaving a little early so that I had time to make a stop at a rest area, most of the way there, and grab a 30 to 60 minute power nap slumped over the steering wheel. It was close to 5 hours each way. The first person to arrive at the plant, where we’d get loaded with scrap metal, usually showed up around 6:30 a.m., and he was always happy to see one of us already set up in a dock waiting to get loaded. First in, first out.

One morning, when I was within CB range of the truck stop, I was hearing the usual “truck driver chatter”. That can be pretty colorful, and maybe somewhat offensive if you’re not used to it. Today, I was hearing a driver put out a call for someone “going north that needed a ride to their home town”. Of course, anyone interested in doing that wanted to know about who needed that ride. When the driver trying to get this person a ride mentioned that it was a “young lady”, the wolves came out in droves of course. I was listening to this go on while I waited for the plant person to arrive and to get loaded.

When I was nearly loaded and had thought about it, I called back to the driver and asked him what town or nearby town she had to get to, to see how far “off route” it might take me, should I decide to do this. He told me the name of a town not far east of Starved Rock, Illinois. I did some quick math, and saw that I’d have an extra two and one half hours and ensuing mileage added to my trip, plus a truck scale on an interstate that I had no business normally being on. Generally, these loads were close and seldom caused an overweight issue. But, once in a great while they did. If I did get stopped and written up at that scale, I’d risk being out of a job. My boss was a good guy and did have a compassionate side, but I didn’t want to have to test that if possible. If I gave this kid a ride, it was going to be a gamble, no matter how I sliced it, I’d be getting back way later than usual too and I couldn’t “bury” that anyplace. Stopped at a rest area and took a nap longer than I expected on the way back. That would be my only “out”, if needed.

Just after 7:00 a.m., I was loaded, paperwork done, and ready to roll. I called that driver at the truck stop and told him I was heading over there. Once in the lot, I told him what I was driving, the colors, and the company name on the door to look for. It didn’t take long to spot him and his young son standing by his road rig, along with the young gal that needed a ride. I swung around and pulled in next to him. He told me that he’d picked her up in Arkansas some place, as she was trying to get back home after running away with her “boyfriend”. She was lucky this guy had picked her up, as he had his son, maybe 10 years old with him, and obviously a family guy, not a road wolf. He was also somewhat relieved to see that I had a company truck, and it was a day cab. No where for any shenanigans, and like a fish bowl. I told him I had kids about that same age, and would hope they’d be as safe if in a similar situation. The girl was about 15 I’d guess. She put her duffel bag and back pack in the cab of my truck and climbed in to the passenger seat. Before we drove away, the other driver got all of my info and I got his, as we wanted to play it safe. I got the exact name of the town that this girl called home, and mapped out a route to the location where she would call her mom to come and pick her up. We rolled out…

Normally, I’d be on I-57 all the way back up to Chicago. Today, I’d have to switch interstates at Champaign-Urbana to swing west, the head north and pick up I-80. One of the first things this kid said was that the other driver and his son were nice, but that the boy never shut up. He liked to talk and did a lot. Understandable I think. But, she said she was very tired because she didn’t get much sleep because of boy talking constantly to her. I told her that it may not be comfortable, but to go ahead and doze if she could because I knew where we had to go. After we were on the road about 45 minutes, the kid dozed off. For the next few hours, she’d wake up and look around at where we were at, then doze off again. I kept the CB turned down, my mouth shut, and just drove as gently as possible.

When we were about a half hour from our destination, I turned the CB back up. Not excessively loud, just normally loud. When she woke up, she was looking out at familiar scenery now. I could tell she was happy to back, yet pretty apprehensive about the consequences she might be facing too. We talked for a little bit. Being a parent, I gave her my best advice. Told her that her mom would probably be upset at some point, angry, but to do her best to just let that pass. Told her that I was pretty sure that the bottom line would be that her mom would be happy that for he to be home, and that the rest of anything else would just have to work itself out over time. I asked her if she thought she’d ever do this again? Run away or off with a boyfriend? She said no way, and I believed her. Not sure what this kid may have gone through, but I was sure that it had taught her something and that she’d grown up some because of it too. I told her that her mom would know that too, even if she didn’t say it or act like it. I told her everything would probably be OK, but just like her “road trip” you never really know what will happen.

We got in to the town by a 7-11 convenience store that she wanted to be at. I circled the block and was able to park on the road side next to it. Of course, she was broke. I gave her a handful of change and a five dollar bill, so that she could go call her mom and pick up something to eat or drink if she wanted to. She got out and went straight to the pay-phone there. She was on there for several minutes, and I could see her face going through the emotions that one has when making a call like that. I could just imagine what the person on the other end of that call was going through too. After the call, she went inside, bought a sandwich and a soda, and who knows what else. I didn’t ask for change back. She came back to the truck and climbed in, while we waited for her mom to show up.

About 15 minutes later, a lady pulls in to the 7-11 lot, parks, then gets out and is looking around instead of going in to the store. Little gal was pretty involved eating her sandwich when I told her that I thought her mom was here. When she did look, it took about 2 seconds to set her sandwich down, jump out of the truck and run over to her mom. They hugged. Talking, they hugged a lot. It looked like a happy reunion to me, which was a relief, but what I was expecting. Little gal and her mom come over to the truck and they get her duffel bag and back pack. They both just say Thank You and walk back to their car. Happy to be back home, happy to have her back home, they were so wrapped up in that moment, that made me smile and feel pretty good. They drove away, and I headed back up to the interstate.

I had figured out ways to bury the extra mileage in my log book over a little time. I went through the scale I was worried about, and got through it without incident. I got back up to my company, docked my loaded trailer, and dealt with the razzing I expected for getting back so much later than normal. I also found out that my boss, the owner of the company, happened to be out making a business call in his car and was traveling the same interstate that I was on around the same time. he had gotten back to the company just minutes before I had arrived. I don’t know if he may have seen me out there or not. But if he had, he never said anything about it.

Sometimes, to do a good deed, to be a good Samaritan, you have to stick your neck out. Sometimes there can be a cost, as the old adage “No good deed goes unpunished” refers to. Sometimes, you’re just the only one who can possibly make a difference. Then you ask yourself, if I turn a blind eye, walk away or past someone truly in need, how good will I be able to sleep tonight? How am I going to look at myself in the mirror tomorrow? No one knows, except those you’ve helped and maybe any other good Samaritans who were involved. Your only reward is that you know what you did, the risk you took, the cost you paid, and why you did it. For some of us, that’s enough. ~ Mike

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Ghostrider

Yeah… Some days… It’s just like that…

 

and I can’t pass up not adding the tune Ghostrider by Spiderbait

 

Happy Halloween

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Bachelor’s Grove ~ The Adventure

I’ve added a recent article from FOX 32 NEWS here, and recommend reading that, or just follow this link if it works….

http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/26696650/chicago-home-to-north-americas-most-haunted-cemetery

Now, for my story…

Having grown up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, I was familiar with many of the stories and legends about local hauntings and scary places. Resurrection Mary, Monk’s Castle, and a few others as well. This was the very early 70’s, and any pursuit of anything paranormal was not as popular, nor as main stream, in those days. Not sure why I had always been son interested in such things? Maybe I had just watched too many episodes of The Twilight Zone, One Step Beyond, The Outer Limits, and Karl Kolchak: The Night Stalker, back in those days? Then again, maybe the experiences I had also had something to do with it? Another “mystery” for another day, another time…

We, being myself, my girl fiend, and my best friend, found ourselves together and on the road to quite an adventure one night. It was very late. So foggy that visibility was down to just a few feet in most spots. And it was the night before Halloween, making it Halloween Eve. Perfect…

I had a 70 something Toyota LandCruiser, jeep type vehicle, and it was set up for plowing snow. It had extra lights on the front, so I had everything turned on because of the thick fog. The three of us didn’t plan on going to Bachelors Grove that night, but it was along some of the roads we often cruised anyhow. Away from the main roads mostly, and normally not much traffic in those days and at the late hour. Being a foggy and spooky feeling Halloween Eve to begin with, we were talking about many of the local stories and legends we were familiar with. And then some genius in the jeep says, “Hey! Tonight would be perfect to drive back in to Bachelors Grove and look around, eh?” Off we went.

In those days, the cemetery looked “abandoned”, as it had been vandalized, graffitied, and neglected up to that point. We had explored it during the day, driven past it may times, and somehow I knew we’d end up in there on just a night like this. We were just kids, but we had respect for places like this, and the souls that called it home.

The small unpaved road that lead back to the cemetery wasn’t maintained then, and there was no gate or signage that we’d ever seen. If you didn’t know it was there, you’d pass right by it. The trees in there were thick, and had many low hanging branches. The branches clunked against the roof of the jeep and dragged along the top and sides as we made our way down that old road. Once we got far enough back, adjacent to the graves, there was an area large enough to turn around, which I did. I wanted the jeep already pointing the right way, for a quick exit if need be. I always try to be setup when possible to get out of trouble even faster than I got in to it, if you get my drift.

In the cemetery itself, the fog was still very thick. You could only see about 10 feet at most with the flashlights we had. We started walking around, to see what we could see… Very old grave stones, 1800’s and early 1900’s -ish. Many were knocked over,  had been vandalized in some way. The weathering had taken most of the dates, making them difficult to read. Many names were also somewhat worn away.

As we walked amongst the graves, I spotted a small round hole in the ground. It was maybe 5 or 6 inches across, and I could see something “white” inside of it from where I was. My girl and best friend came over quickly to see what I’d found. Looking in to that hole, several inches across and deep, we saw a few “white bones that looked like fingers. finger bones…!” Yikes! While hearing suggestions about getting the @!*&%! out of there, I inspected “the bones” more closely… Those finger bones were in fact onions. The way that they’d grown, having a small bulb in just the right spot, which appeared to be human knuckle at first sight. Wild onions, which that area of Illinois is well known for. Being past that discovery, we continued our exploration.

That cemetery has quite a history, as well as the surrounding area. This was an experience we weren’t going to be easily spooked away from, so to speak. We were in there a long time, and walked around as much as we could find to see. The three of us had flashlights of course, and we weren’t trying to be sneaky of hide because we honestly didn’t think we were doing anything wrong. Like I said, we were just kids. More on that later…

We had seen just about everything there was to see in there. We had walked back up near the road that led back out, and were just about ready to go over to my jeep and leave. That’s when we heard “it” rustling through the brush and trees just feet away from us, unseen. At first, we thought it best to just walk slowly to the jeep and leave, so we did. As we did, what ever it was, walked along with us. Very close, clearly heard but unseen. We stopped, and walked back the other way a short distance. It followed. Stopped when we did, walked when we did. Something was definitely there, watching us, and very close. The most unsettling part was that it was clearly something that was “two legged”, so not a deer, a dog, or anything like that. I had an idea, and had us huddle and whispered explaining my plan.

“All three of us shut our lights off… you two count slowly to five, then turn them back on… Just stand here for about a minute, or unless you feel the need to run. Otherwise, just start walking back to the jeep, and get in to it when you get there… I’m going dark and am going to get in to the woods and get in behind this thing… OK?”

They shut off their lights and gave me just enough time to get in to the brush and trees, back up the road a short way. When they turned their lights back on and started walking, I couldn’t see their lights, but I could hear them walking and talking softly. Then I heard “it” moving again, between myself and them. I tried to close in on it, and I swear I was less than 10 feet from it a few times. But, it seemed that it had detected that I was there, and that I was tracking it now. 10 minutes can be a very long time… They had gotten back to my jeep and were waiting near it for me. What ever I had been so close to seemed to have just disappeared, as I never heard it again. My eyes had adjusted to the dark, and I could see fairly well. I went to where I’d last heard “it”, scanned and listened for a bit. But, I just felt that what ever had been there was now gone.

I came out of the woods silently, just a few feet away from where my girl friend and best friend were standing, waiting for me. They were both facing away from me and I couldn’t resist being a smart-ass… I snuck up behind my buddy, and put a hand on his shoulder. As he whipped around, already shaking with terror, I put my flashlight up against the bottom of my chin, turned it on, and let out a bellowing, “BUHHWHAHAHAAHAAAA!” I had never seen anyone shake that hard before, unless they were getting electrocuted! After the cussing stopped, we all had a pretty good laugh. We got in to my jeep and started to slowly drive out on the old tree and brush covered road. We thought that our “adventure” was over, and were trying to decide whether we’d go to a McD’s or a B-king for food now…

Just short of the entrance, when the road started to widen out back in to civilization, the fog light up with many colors… Red, Yellow, Blue, and White… “MARS” lights and high beams on several Cook County police cars will do that. Ruh-roh…

There were at least 4 or 5 squad cars there, and as many police officers blocking the road! Of course, a very long talk and a search of us and my vehicle ensued… They found a regulation “night stick”, a police baton, that I kept tucked behind my seat, and they confiscated that. I gladly gave it up, as I was hoping for leniencey for us all. They had patted me down, and never said a word about the large Bowie type knife that I had on in an upside down, under arm, shoulder holster type sheath I had made. He hit it at least 3 times during my ‘pat down’, so I figured it didn’t matter to him. After all, they all had guns and we didn’t. Anyhow… When the same ‘pat down’ officer that had found my night stick, had found the stick, then proceeded to explain to me “how illegal” the possession of that stick was, and that he was going to confiscate it… It occurred to me that maybe he hadn’t noticed the large knife concealed under my outer shirt that he had hit 3 times during said ‘pat down’… I thought honesty would be the best policy, and I should gently point it out him now? You know, to put him at ease, and hope it wouldn’t confiscate it too…

He stood facing me, and explained about the night stick and that he was going to take it. When he was done talking, I said, “Officer? If that night stick is illegal, then I hope that this maybe illegal too?” Facing him, I raised my left arm slightly out to the side, slowly reached across my chest and took hold of my shirt with two fingers… Then raised my shirt off to the side so that my Bowie knife rig was clearly visible to him… He stood there watching me, and when he saw my knife, he just said, “A huh… Yep… That’s illegal too… Take it of slowly…”

I took of my outer shirt first, then carefully undid my shoulder holster knife rig, and handed it too him. As I was doing that, I explained to him that I didn’t care about the night stick, but that this knife was a ‘family heirloom”, belonging to my dad, and that I’d rather he just took me to jail if he was going to take it too, because I wouldn’t want to face my dad if it was gone. The officer gave me a real break, hopefully because I deserved it. He had me roll it up and put it in the only locking compartment on my jeep, which was a tool compartment under the drivers seat. He told me, “You go straight home and leave that knife there. Don’t let me catch you out here again, as it’s illegal to be in any cemetery after sundown, especially this one.” We told him we understood and would gladly comply, so we caught a break and they let us go. Whew…

Did I go straight home with that knife like he told me to do? Hell no… We were hungry teens, and we decided to go to a particular McD’s that was some distance away from here. Eat first, THEN go home… We passed by several other McD’s before getting to the one we had decided on, and we pulled in to the U-shaped parking lot which went around the building. As we got to the back of the lot driving through, there were the same cops making a bust! As we slowly drove through, that same cop and I even made eye contact! Pretty sure that I looked shocked and surprised when he saw us… I just kept going and didn’t look back. Rolled right out of that McD’s and went to another one several more miles away. Hey! We were hungry!

Eventually, we did go home and I put that knife away. Dropped off my best buddy at his house. And a little later on, I dropped off my girl at her house… What a night!

There are and have been several websites and articles About Bachelor’s Grove of course. It’s easy to look up because it’s so well known and documented now. But, you might just want to bring along a good flashlight and a Bowie knife, just in case…

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