In the wake of a very, very… very hard year, complete with two floods and two sibling deaths and more recently, a long bout with a lingering lung infection, I have learned first hand how easy it is for a hero to let you down. I let down one of my precious students just this week. (Even now, here at my keyboard, I am still hacking up a lung.)
Karla darling, I understand, one of my Hero’s died today too!
In the summer of 1974 I was thirteen. It was that nothing age when you know nothing. I was such a single celled organism I can not even entirely remember the details of that summer, but I do recall this;
I had a friend from grade school at Meador Elementary named Andy Rife. Some how or another Andy and I ended up in the back seat of his older brother’s car. Andy’s brother and his best friend, who’s names I fail to recall now, had been muscled by Andy’s aunt into taking us along to an event called a “Music Festival.” I remember practically nothing from the event except it was really rowdy, really muddy, really hot and the mosquitoes were brutal. And of course, as usual, I had no money whatsoever. So the event was really miserable and thirsty for me.
But that evening, the ride home changed my life… forever!
Andy’s brother wanted to cruise, so to keep us happy he pulled into the Beverly Hills Super Market on Kingspoint Road. We were whisked inside and allowed to choose a drink. In retrospect I highly suspect cold frosty adult beverages were also bought, but I can neither confirm nor deny that. At that age I was not fully human yet.
Back in the car we eased through the gas pull through, filled and pulled out headed south on Sabo Road. That was when I heard it. I heard this album; Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Viva Terlingua.” As we eased down Sabo, passed Sam Mills place, headed toward Fuqua I heard “London Homesick Blues.” for the very first time.
I did not know it at the time, but this single album was to guide, direct and provide endless comfort for the entire rest of my life. I learned something about myself that day that I didn’t previously know. I realized, I was living in Texas. I was a native Texan. I had a name that seemed to impress the two high school boys in the front seat. Andy’s friend leaned over the back seat, took a drag off his Marloro and said, “No shit?! William Travis… Dang dude, you should be a singer or something. You wouldn’t even have to change your name.”
“We were friends, me and this old man.”
To my current recollection, Viva Terlingua was the very first album I purchased with my own money. I remember buying it. I bought it at Disc Records at Almeda Mall for just under $7.00. Owning this LP altered my consciousness. It gave me a sense of self. It is a benchmark of where my self awareness really began. I was alive. I was Texan… I was living in Texas… and my name was William Travis. How do I use that? How do maximize the potential in that? I need to be a singer or something… I need to be something… anything… everything… I wore the grooves off that LP. Unlike many other things in my life, I still have it…
I learned every word. I memorized the liner notes. Who played what, when, where was it recorded… who produced… who wrote the songs.
“As soon as I could walk he’d take me with him…”
Desperadoes Waiting for a Train. For some unknown reason, this song always reminded of my maternal grandfather… of Texas… of Wheelock… of watermelons split with my cousins outside the smoke house… of sitting on the ice creme churn while we cranked by hand… of chickens… rain barrels… the field pump… milking the cows… the smell of the hay barn… cow pies… rectangular parcels of summer stacked to the trusses. Tin roofs… rain… trips to Matdka’s General Mercantile in the back of grandaddys 1949 Chevy pickup… past Love’s Store and the post office. The smell of the forge… the pinging of the hammer… straightening nails… tugging at the grinding wheel…
These days I have a new job working campus level IT for a middle school. This on the tail of a catastrophic flood last May has left me with little or no time for upkeep and maintenance for my website.
It would seem that in their attempt to be helpful, my web host Powweb has been systematically shutting down portions of my website for weeks now.
Please bear with me as it cannot be helped… I will get to it at soon as I possibly can.
It is my experience that the very best reason to work at Seguin High School is the people, friends all. In many cases that extends into the ranks of the students both past and present. Let us insure that there is always enough compassionate faculty at SHS that our common bond of friendship covers all.
This weekend marks a hinge point in my restoration of my 1982 Honda GL1100 Interstate. Tonight it was rendered into a naked frame. I coaxed Carrie out to help me lift it off of the lift and onto a roll about outdoor table. Weather permitting I intend to go at it with a nylon brush and hand triggered doses of Simple Green.
Meanwhile I cleared the lift, swept up the debris, wiped it clean and laid out the front forks, the rear end and the swing arm sub assembly. Hopefully, I can get Tyler to come by and help me get the engine up onto the lift. From there I should be free to roll the motor around while cleaning it. Having a go at all the nooks and crannies, with things eventually ending up with the engine upright on blocks with me bolting the frame back onto it.
At this point, that’s the plan…
By today’s standards, I am not very bright!
I was not raised in a media saturated world which deifies sarcasm. I did not grow up where the gold standard of intelligence is measured by how quick one can deliver a smart-assed response or how quickly I can kill zombies online. In the world I live in, I have learned at least one great Truth. Life events which happen to me quickly or I feel strongly about are almost ALWAYS bad. As a result, I have learned not to form opinions quickly… or based entirely on how I feel.
I have to take things away and dwell on them for awhile… ruminate on their meanings… before I can determine their value. Much to my own self protection, in my youth this same characteristic of “slow thoughtfulness” made me VERY unsuccessful with women in most social settings. As a result I have been spared from literally boat loads of drama and heartbreak on that front.
Here awhile back a good friend of mine, Terri Hamiter, posted this meme on FaceBook:
For me, this is hitting pretty close to the mark. It was one of those rare things on FaceBook that tickled my mind… made me take pause for a moment. (Yes, I said that, I took… pause!) This means like a squirrel, I carried this item away and hid it. Then in due course, I returned to it… thought about it… and pondered it’s meanings and how to streamline these notions into what I have already found to be true.
Based upon my experience, I would postulate some subtle changes and a overt addition here:
- If you disagree with someone’s belief structure, you must fear or hate them.
- Loving someone means you automatically condone everything they say or do.
- If you hold to your own core values, you are somehow repressing those around you.
In my case, (as slow witted as I usually am,) all three of these statements are overtly false.
Thank you Terri…
I teach high school architecture.
Teaching architecture is very similar to teaching art or music in that architecture seems to be a medium through which human beings express themselves creatively. Perhaps it is because of this creative license that topics of conversation in my room often range widely on a variety of subjects. Invariably the subject will turn to love, relationships and sex. Not in a gross or obtuse way, I do not allow those sorts of discussions, but teenagers are naturally curious about these things. Eventually they always want to know what I think. I always advise caution, to be careful… because sex is superglue.
This will always illicit a few giggles and piques their interest. I have their full attention. In the teaching profession, we call this “the teachable moment.” I reiterate my point. I advise them to be careful because sex is just like superglue! Then I seize the moment and leap…
Ya see, superglue (Cyanoacrylate) is a very powerful adhesive… a bonding agent. Unlike caulk which has a lot of body but no real adhesive value, you cannot fill a gap with superglue. In its natural form superglue is really quite thin and runny, there isn’t really much substance to it. So, if there is a missing part or a gap between the parts you are trying to bond together, you cannot fill that void with superglue.
But superglue does have some pretty spectacular uses. Not the least of which is that it has a wide variety of household, medical and industrial uses. How cool is that? But as with any revolutionary tool, device or material… we as a species have found so many other creative uses for this material. We all eventually use superglue… but not all of us, use use it wisely or with the required skill this amazing substance requires.
I like to give the example of broken china, where the parts fit together tightly, well mated, clean, without gaps. In these cases, superglue can give a clean, strong, permanent bond. So if the parts are well mated to start with, superglue is some totally awesome stuff. In the hands of an expert craftsman… marvelous stuff that provides a superior permanent bond. Yet in the hands of the young, the inept, ignorant or unskilled, superglue is quite dangerous.
The important thing is to know where and how to use it… and in what measure.
At this point, I like to point out that if you try to use superglue to adhere pieces that don’t really fit together well in the first place, you’ll probably have less than spectacular result. You’ll have mess on your hands… literally. In unskilled or inexperienced hands, or in applications for which superglue was not intended, you are likely to find yourself unpleasantly and unexpectedly glued to something you had not anticipated.
The effect of which is often quite messy… and permanent.
By this time the room is dead silent, you can almost smell the thoughts like burning rubber at a drag race.
I drive home my point… “Ya gotta be careful with sex and superglue.”