Life’s Great Conundrum
Remember when the concept of dying didn’t quite register with you and your life? Somehow, we were able to relegate dying to people much older than we. Death was all around us, but we never allowed the possibility for ourselves…dying was simply alien to our ‘think and act’ thoughts.
Now, here in the ‘Twilight’ years, I often consider more seriously the metaphysical aspects of death and dying. The ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ ends at death, or, much of the world believes that is the case. Most of the time I end up muttering dumbly to myself, ‘I don’t know what I believe’! Many people accept on ‘Faith’ that when death comes for them their essence, their spirit, will go to a place where souls will live eternally, without worries. That’s a lovely thought and I want to believe that is the case.
The only evidence of ‘life after death’ comes from people who will claim they experienced a vivid vision of themselves as their spirit hovered above their death-bed, saw a bright light far-off in the black void, beckoning them to come into the light. Then, suddenly, the vision voids and they find that they are still of flesh and bone and heart-beat.
There are also accounts from some who have had Déjà vu moments, generally when some extraordinary event has taken place. For some seconds these people feel as though they have lived those moments before.
Here’s my take on death and dying.
My take is, you really were not expecting me to give some amazing new updates! One thing I’m not! I’m not an Atheist, for being an Atheist, one has to be first and foremost an arrogant ass if not an intellectual bore! Agnostic at times, I’ll grant, but no darned atheist.
I was born in Appalachia with the preacher pleading with the big congregation to come and denounce their sinful ways…this, during the heart-wrenching hymns, “JUST AS I AM” and “LET’S ALL GATHER AT THE RIVER.” Now, I was a little boy, maybe eight-years-old, and my little heart was telling me I was a terrible sinner and needed to get up and walk down that long aisle to the front of the church and allow the preacher to bless me and see me cry.
Well, as mentioned, now in ‘Twilight’, that ‘easy God’ may be gone but there is still a vestige of faith that has stayed with me through all my sins of a lifetime. The way I figure it, I’m not giving up a ‘vestige’ of Faith that maybe has in store for me a really nice eternal home, or, another chance down here on this orbiting craft of earth. Hey, if I’m right about an ‘After-Event’ of some kind, then, I made the right choice. If I’m wrong, well, hell, I’m not going to know it. Now, am I?
So, maybe a little ‘doubting Thomas’ at times, I’m going to believe those meticulous nine-months of a precision birth came from a divine and intelligent source and NOT A BIG BANG. I’ll just let pass the aggravating conundrum of ‘First Cause’, and believe I’m going to see again all those people I loved – just, maybe in a new form…this form I’m carrying to death with me has been fun at times, but I’m happy to trade it in for a new model.
Right about now, old Mark Twain would have a really funny come-back for what I’ve been trying to write here…oh, I don’t know, maybe: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
Hey, you reckon old ‘Mark’ could be in this body and mind of mine writing all this good stuff for me?
Well, Sam Clemons was a damned good writer, and, if he’s in my body and mind and writing my eighteen books, you sure ought to be buying them… Just saying…
Billy Ray Chitwood – February 5, 2019
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Sought and Fought for Naught
-Nine Haikus All in a Row, with a Theme-
It was never clear
That dream-set inside of me
Along each new day…
The abstract nature
Of my humble beginnings
Ever in my way…
On the lonely trek
Were stark ugly mementos
To echo my past…
Then, into Twilight
Doubts and fears were soon to pass
As my mind could fast…
At last it did seem
That olden days meant little
To a now dull mind…
Ahead comes darkness
Morphing to eternal light
Perhaps, to happily dream.
But, if not to dream,
Then, perchance, darkness alone,
Shakespeare did foretell.
Demons come and go
Through dark eternal passages
Shadowed walls of Hell.
Doth Fate have in store
This horror scene, prithee tell,
What is heaven for?
-Nine Haikus with which to explain a Life-
By Billy Ray Chitwood – 01/26/19
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The Fool I Came To Be
It wasn’t all that difficult becoming the fool I am today. Well, it wasn’t and it was. It was possible that I become a bigger fool than I am today. All the ingredients were there. In fact, there were many times along the way when anyone looking for the fool in me would have easily found him.
Dwelling on all those wasteful habits and motions that portrayed my life during the critical years would be time wasted and to no one’s benefit, very likely just another ‘pine and whine session’ unworthy of the print. The stories have been written about the young man and/or young woman who was abused in one way or another in childhood.
There are the ‘positive’ stories of the young man and young woman who escaped their childhood’s abusive environment and went on to succeed in her/his chosen field of work and in the development of their own children.
My story belongs somewhere, maybe in the ‘positive’ column, but not without some serious editing. It is true that my childhood witnessed too much abuse and trauma in the family disconnect, too much detritus in the emotional play-by-play that I could never fully fill-out my adult world with the talents that were left to me. Oh, there were successes here and there, but never the ‘big hit’ that scored storybook success.
It seems I was too busy as a young man trying to find some nebulous ‘white buffalo’, my silly euphemism for ‘home, picket fence, family’. That search for the WB found me in gin mills wooing, or, trying to woo the women, and, if keeping a ‘batting average’, it was likely in the above average range. Blessed with decent looks and, with a few libations that gave me courage, I scored often. In fact, I found it relatively easy to fall in love and marry…several times! Thank the good Lord, that search is over. Julie Anne and I have been together for thirty-five wonderful years. Love is there, and life is steady…
That more or less covers the ‘bad-boy’ imagery. In work, I cheated my employers by not giving them all I had to give. Otherwise, I would no doubt have ended up a president of a large company. As it was, with my cheating, I made it as far as a National Sales Manager. Again, that ‘gift of gab’ led to a modicum of success – even managed some acting in film and commercials along the way. So, yes, there were small victories here and there.
I’ve written about most of this in my memoirs, but, during this holiday season, I felt the urge to regurgitate for the few fans that I have gained through my writing efforts (and, for me). In those efforts I’ve managed some eighteen books – and, counting…most of the novels are in the genres of mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, strong women, many inspired by true criminal cases (some now ‘cold cases’ unsolved).
This is my ‘Holiday Card’ to all who might be passing by the site where this shows up. https://brchitwood.com
There, I feel a bit better about myself this holiday season.
If I didn’t add cheer to your good seasonal fun, at least, have a libation and, with me, let’s celebrate a great new 2019.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, ONE AND ALL!
Billy Ray Chitwood – December 31, 2018
Life With Some Luxuries
It is supposed that most of us have heard the expression, ‘I felt sorry for the man without shoes until I met the man with no feet’.
It is supposed that one living in the proverbial lap of luxury, say, in a penthouse on a lovely sea, has the world by the ying-yang! That is, perhaps knowing the ‘dark negative side’ and knowing the ‘bright positive side’ of life. Or, not.
It’s doubtful that anyone ‘has the world by the ying yang’, but so many do know and can clearly distinguish between the two. My friends are farmers, pest-control people, and some wealthy folks as well. You can find that kind of living quite often in the small town scenario. Everyone is treated equally, though the register might show some big deficits in terms of wealth.
Take me, for example, I was born in Appalachian poverty and remember so well the kerosene lamps, bed chambers, and the occasional trip in dark of night to the outhouse.
Now, that doesn’t buy me a ticket anywhere, but those memories surely make me duly appreciate of a nice home with some luxury features. Those memories are always with me and they provide a ‘stop’ measure if there comes a time when I so easily ‘wear’ luxuries and forget how life can be in the lower rent districts…I’ve lived there, know them well.
In fact, I can track my memories and remember some lovely simple moments of youth, like, when my grandmother held me on her lap in an old stuffed chair, her spittle can on the floor next to her. She would cut a big red apple in two halves and with that knife ‘mush’ that apple up it into her version of apple sauce, then fed it to me…
I can remember when my Mom was a boarding house cook, when we had a room across from the kitchen, and, as I sat listening to a radio broadcast of a baseball game she brought me a plate of her wonderful cooking – kissing me on the cheek and saying her love words to me…
I can remember my club-footed cousin JD and I playing ‘cowboys and indians’ on those old country roads, exploring around the old sawmill watching for copperheads…
I can remember my grandpa coming around the mountain on an old railroad track tooting the old steam engine’s whistle, announcing the arrival of another bunch of logs from the other side of the mountain.
Well, I grew through those early days and experienced the comraderie of my football and basketball buddies in a gated historic city there the ‘Atomic Bomb’ was built, and on the periphery, watching my Mom struggle still with the rent payments and a sister that was growing too fast, age fifteen, going on twenty-one.
So, why all this rummaging through the past, the ‘ying and yang’ of living? Here in ‘Twilight’ there is time to reflect likely too much on the past and the present, how people make their adjustments as they play out their lives. Compared to those long-ago days I’ve fared very well in the pre-twilight years, not a ‘fat-cat’ by any stretch but will likely be buried with a bit of legacy for the kids. I’m envious of no one, but I still have my dreams as an author of a ‘best-selling’ book. My 17th novel, “The Pickett Factor” is being launched in a couple of weeks, and I like its chances…if I get some help from my friends.
As I ramble here, I’m just hopeful that people can understand that where they are on any kind of measuring chart, financial or otherwise, it’s basically where your heart and mind are that truly matters.
Billy Ray Chitwood – October 30, 2018
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