Memorial Day


Hey there.

How was your week? Did you enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend? Did it even register as a holiday? I have to admit that with this new lifestyle workdays and weekends and holidays all kind of blend in together in this slurry of work and non-work.

My oldest daughter, Madeline, came home for the weekend with her husband, Leonard, and two dogs, the grand-puppies. I really enjoy having the kids home. It makes me nostalgic for when they were younger, but I really enjoy seeing what adults they have become. That comes with its own form of anxiety as now more than ever any problems they have are their own and I’m entirely helpless to do anything about them. That’s true for any relationship. Your capacity to do anything for another person’s pain and struggle is so incredibly limited. All you can really do is just be there with them. With your children that is SO very hard. The desire to do something is overwhelming and you can easily lose sight of what is helpful in your desire to be helpful.

We had a great visit. We spent time at the river with the dogs. I smoked a pork shoulder and some chicken thighs. Leonard contributed his family’s mopping sauce to the barbecue and an epic meal was had. I’m stealing that recipe.

smoked meat

Of course, no family gathering of adults is possible without some kind of incident. Madie’s French Pittie, Remy, jumped the fence to go “play” with the goats. Remy is a mess. He’s a dynamic bundle of energy and muscle that’s either going ninety to nothing or he’s a complete puddle, cozied up against you, usually with a light snore. There was blood. Remy got a hold of Honey, our three legged goat. I didn’t see the incident, but knowing Remy and his temperament I envision a misunderstanding along species’ lines. One animal’s play is viewed as a fight for survival by the other. Honey ended up with a few cuts on her face and more than a little trauma. She’s recovered, but she also spent two full days in her barn refusing to come out. Harriet, not much of a help in a fight did make a decent nursemaid and kept vigil while she recovered.

Memorial Day, itself, may well go on record as one of the best days of my life. First, it was my anniversary. Samantha and I have been married for 26 years. I can’t even begin to express how significant this marriage is. This blog, not just this post but the blog entire, the gym, and all of my life’s work is a testimony to the influence Samantha has had in my life. I would not be the man I am without her in my life.

Having said this, it may be a surprise that I didn’t spend a lazy holiday morning in bed cuddled up, sipping coffee, reflecting on our years together and pontificating on our future. In fact, I was out of bed by 6. I did make the coffee, but I was meeting another dude for a job.

I am launching a new project. A change in my career that I think will prove quite significant. It stands to improve my ability to be both a provider for and a participant in my family and my ability to have a more positive influence in the world. It’s too soon to reveal much detail about this project, but suffice to say, phase 1 began Monday with the felling of three trees on my property.

So I spent the first part of my anniversary with this guy. His name is Rainman. Yep, that’s right. Rainman. He’s a climber. He works climbing trees for a local tree service. On his off days he works climbing and taking down trees for himself.
When he came out to give me an estimate it was so much better than I anticipated I couldn’t balk over the date he offered to come do the work. Luckily for me, Samantha didn’t either.

To say I had fun is quite the understatement. It was truly inspiring to watch this man, who I later learned is my age, work with such strength, skill, and vigor. I assisted as best I could, learning much and realizing that perhaps I had unwittingly imposed limits on my own physical potential. Limits I am now looking forward to pushing and expanding. Given the wisdom of experience and age I feel better equipped to address those limits in an intelligent and much more beneficial way than ever before. Everyone should have someone to look up to.

Taking down all three trees was originally predicted to be a 10 hour job, but was done in eight. We finished by three. Rainman got his check and promptly headed home to his own wife and new baby. Funny, anyone else having a baby at almost 50, I’d consider crazy or stupid. Babies require a tremendous amount of energy. Raising children is work. Lots and lots of work. That’s why for generations most of us did it while we were young. By the time you’re 40 most of us are too tired. We don’t have the stamina required for sleepless nights, feeding, and fevers of early childhood. It’s best to have your children when you are young, when you have the energy and stamina, and not enough sense to know any better. But Rainman? he just might have the stamina to pull it off.

Big Tree

When Rainman left, I grabbed a beer and a sandwich (Oh yeah, left over barbecue from Sunday? You betcha.) and my bride and I headed off with our dogs for the river. It was good to just let the current of the Cahaba wash over my tired muscles and rinse away the sweat and sawdust. Back at the house I cooked us a quick dinner of pan seared salmon over rice with garden greens quick dressed in a soy and rice wine vinaigrette. Samantha surprised me with an anniversary gift of my favorite whiskey, Pikesville, and was practical enough to get a bottle of Green Spot for herself. maybe one day I’ll get this whole gift giving thing. It’s definitely not my love language.

We finished the evening listening to music on the front porch until it got too buggy and then cuddled in our study until my eyelids go too heavy. Like I said, best day ever,

Stay Strong.
Keep Moving.
Stay Healthy

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