Category: My Thoughts on Life

Remembering My Grandfather

Remembering My Grandfather

The phone rang at 6:02 on Tuesday morning.  Before I could even open my eyes I thought, “It’s not good news”.  It’s never good news when the phone rings that early in the morning. As I struggled to come fully awake, I heard my Mom’s voice telling me my grandfather had passed away.  He had lost his battle with liver cancer.  They say, sometimes, when you know it’s coming, bad news like this is easier to hear and process.  They’re wrong.

 

My grandfather was Kenneth Bailey, although he was always Papa (“pa-paw”) to me.  He was born in 1928 and lived his entire life in Buford, Ga.  He was married to my grandmother (Mema) for 61 years.  He has two daughters, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.  And while all of those things are true, they really don’t get to the heart of the man that Papa was.

 

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A message as relevant today as it was 60+ years ago

A message as relevant today as it was 60+ years ago

There was a time in this country when patriotism and love of freedom was something to be proud of – not something to be derided and mocked by the elite.  There was a time when success was lauded and put forth as something to aspire to – not something to be punished and taxed into extinction.  There was a time when freedom was cherished – not traded for the soft tyranny of “safety”.

I recently came across a cartoon from 1948 (thanks to the Thorum at bradthor.com), that is a relevant today as it was when it was made 63 years ago – perhaps even more so.  It’s a cartoon that puts forth a persuasive argument for the American way of life.  It’s a cartoon that tells you everything you need to know about the financial and jobs crisis we are currently in, and what the path back to prosperity looks like.  And, unfortunately – it’s a cartoon than would most likely never be made in today’s America:

When anybody preaches disunity – tries to pit one of us against the other through class warfare, race hatred, or religious intolerance – you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and to destroy our very lives.



Watch it.  Think about it.  Discuss it.  Pass it on.


Happy 30th Birthday MTV

Happy 30th Birthday MTV

30 years ago today, on August 1, 1981 – MTV made it’s debut on the country’s cable systems.  It was destined to change the face of popular music.  I was a spry ten years old at the time and had the fortune to spend the entirety of my musically formative years as part of the first MTV generation.  I don’t watch much MTV these days (have segued as so many others into the VH1 and/or CMT generation), but it still holds a special place in my life.  So – to celebrate its 30th birthday (just a month after my 40th), I thought I would take a few moments to look back at a few of my favorite MTV memories.

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“Les Miserables” – 25 Years Young

“Les Miserables” – 25 Years Young

There’s a reason the music of your youth is the music that follows you throughout your life.  When you’re stumbling through the transition from adolescence to adulthood you make strong, immediate connections to things around you.  It’s the reason your first love is always so intense.  It’s the reason you feel invincible when you’re out with your friends.  It’s the foundation that leads to that nostalgic look back at “the good old days” in later years.  Those moments and memories that surround you during that time of your life become an integral part of who you are.  For me, one of those moments was with “Les Miserables”.

I came of musical age during the 80’s – hair metal, the birth of MTV, The King of Pop, and the advent of the “mega” Broadway musical.  For my money (and with no apology to “Phantom of the Opera” fans – I just never liked that show), there was none bigger than “Les Miserables”.  Debuting on Broadway in 1986, it became one of the most successful musicals of all time.

During my senior year in high school, we did a musical review.  The closing number was a medley of songs from “Les Miserables”.  I played the part of Marius.  We defended the barricades, Eponine died in my arms, and everyone dreamed of one day more.  It was the perfect exclamation point to that year and, in many ways, it was a much larger, if more subtle, metaphor for my entire high school experience (but that’s a story for another day).  It made a deep impression on me, and the music from the show would follow me and continue to fill me with wonder for the next 20 plus years.

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My First 40 Trips Around The Sun

My First 40 Trips Around The Sun

Birthdays are a time for celebration.  Once a year your family and friends come together to celebrate the simple fact that you exist.  Gifts are given, food is eaten, candles are lit and blown out, and of course, there is cake.  It’s a special day, no matter who you are or how old.

For me, birthdays are also a time of reflection, a time to think about the prior year and speculate on the year to come.  This year is no different, but it also marks a milestone for me.  This is the year I complete my 40th trip around the sun.  As the old saying goes, “40 is just a number”, and it’s true; but society still places a premium on each decade we mark off on this earth, so I feel I should, at least in some small way, do the same.

I am, by no means, a wise man.  I’ve made my way through these 40 years the best I could.  I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but I’ve also had my fair share of moments in the sun.  Through it all, I’ve learned a lot of things – many, the hard way.  To mark today’s passing, I’ve decided to share some of those things with you – the 40 most important lessons in my life.  I can only hope they help my children navigate the way through their first 40 trips around the sun, to a place as good as I have.

  1. Your first love is not the same as your true love.  Both will linger with you your entire life, but true love is the only thing capable of filling the hole in your heart.

  2. Mascara doesn’t come easily out of hair that’s been teased and shellacked with Aquanet hairspray.

  3. Process is the last refuge of a weak mind.  It has its place and purpose, but action with thought is wasteful and lazy.

  4. Family is forever – no matter where you go; they’re always with you.

  5. Any man who can’t share his love of “Star Wars” with his children is a poor parent.

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