It’s the steady patter of rain. Both kids going to bed tonight without incident or issue. It’s S.B. downstairs putting color into the world. And it is this small room in our old house where I am alone but with everyone I’ve ever known. Chasing Mark and Jim and Jamie on recess. Hiding with Carleen and Gary in the fort behind their house. Riding with Joel along the backroads. With Mulhauser and Borroughs in and out of bars. And drinking two-for-ones with Lunde and Holt, exploring depths I never realized I’d actually be in.
Tonight, I sit again in my Grandpa’s old, wooden chair, tapping the keys. Stringing together letters to recognize my good fortune, give thanks, and provide a simple, clear reminder. To myself above all others.
If a man can hold his tongue, be patient, and learn to love, he can defeat anything. He doesn’t need rage. He isn’t fueled by fear. And he certainly doesn’t need a gun. What brings a man the most peace and success and satisfaction in this world is remembering his past, respecting his roots, and rising to every opportunity, not to prove his strength, his manhood, or his allegiance to some set of scripted beliefs bound in a book, but so he grows from the steady patter of rain. Putting his kids to bed at night. And seeing his wife’s art, the colors so honest and true that all at once on a Wednesday night he remembers all of the friends he’s made in this life and how each of them has helped him get here. Forty-three years along, living the good life in Alpena, Michigan.