Tag: Life

Do You Know This Man?

Do You Know This Man?

No? I knew him, not so well, some forty years ago…he was a habitue, a devotee, of the Phoenix neon night life, searching for parts of himself he lost along the emotional road from Appalachia: lost in an abusive and disoriented childhood; lost in a flawed and impetuous marriage; lost in the glittering promise of booze and women. Yes, I knew him, not so well, as he made all his stumbles along the way, losing not only himself but the connections to family and friends, to the people who loved him.

Yes, of course, I’m the man in the photo, and there’s a lot more to the story…hope you’ll read THE CRACKED MIRROR, Reflections of an Appalachian Son, by Billy Ray Chitwood.

Excerpts from “The Cracked Mirror…”

***

In the end, my story must be like so many others, a story of a simple kid who grew up eating emotional soup and spending a lifetime trying to digest it. There are no spectacular or heroic moments. I’ve been in the United States Navy, but I’ve never fought a war—except the one I’ve declared within myself. So I know not the pain of holding a bleeding comrade to my bosom as he or she gasps the final breaths. I know not the anguish of a parent losing a child in an accident, or, in war—unless losing a child to drugs can be comparable. I’ve loved and been in love, but I’ve never stepped far enough from myself to know the true and natural profundity of its happiness and joy. I’ve been born but never died—unless the demon of the past is segmented death. The prospect of dying scares the hell out of me—not so much the prospect itself, but the pitiful legacy that is left behind. I’ve known insecurity and fear, along with self-confidence, loyalty, and pride. There have been the sins, small enough, I hope, to keep me at least somewhere in the thoughts of those I’ve loved. At times I’ve longed for ‘Nepenthe,’ the drug mentioned in ‘The Odyssey’ as a remedy for grief, the potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain and sorrow. But, then, without some pain, can the soul truly seek refuge when the long journey is over?

***

The jail cell brought back sobriety and a stark reality. Sitting on a hard dirty ‘bed thing’ in the dimly lit, tiny barred enclosure, the demon thoughts came and possessed me. My world was disintegrating around me! The claustrophobic cell was my coffin of contriteness, a veritable symbol of my languishing life. There again was the ‘dark closet’ feeling within me, an anxious and suffocating hell! Grabbing at the bars I pitifully called out to the jailer, but no one came. Within the limited space I paced, stopped at the ugly stained wall, splayed my body against it, and tapped my forehead against its roughness. The jailer eventually came. He showed me a smile of compassion and told me that morning would come soon; then, I would be arraigned. The fitful night would pass.

***

It is Time that wears down the acts and deeds of man into something forgettable, mundane, heroic, noble, historical, and unforgettable. It is Time that leads us warily toward the greatest secret of all: That which lies beyond the dark veil!

***

“…There are men like you in the world, Prentice, through whatever kind of intervention, divine or otherwise, who must make us cry and laugh, who record for us the stirrings of the soul which we might otherwise never know.”

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Okay, here I am today, no longer chasing those windmills, still trying to figure out this ‘one foot in front of the other’ thing. There are times when it seems I’m pretty close to figuring out this grand production, but those times are little teaser moments to stir something in the soul…sort of like a dreaded visit to a doctor or dentist, getting the car repaired – feels great when you find out the blood pressure is normal (thanks to a little round pill), the teeth cleaning and exam present no new cavities, and the car now carries no shameful dent.

All in all, the rolling bluegrass hills of Kentucky, a good wife, an aging, lovable cat, great daughters and sons, have given me happiness and joy. The past still gets in my way at times in inscrutable ways…a misty longing or something valuable I’ve left behind. I’ve never abandoned my faith, though fragile it might be, and there are many more good days than bad,

With all this said, I’m still writing, still searching…guess that only stops when mortal time gives up on me…

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 14, 2019 ( From archives, May 22, 2015)

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Life

Life

Life cannot begin

Lest you live it!

Awaken your dreams

Get out of the pit!

Find value in you

Don’t seek it in me!

Look inward/outward

Set yourself free!

Awaken to sunlight

Though dawn be gray!

Expand your horizon

Give in to the day!

Create your mantra

To repeat on the go!

Steady your rhythm

Go with the flow!

Walk with sublimity

At a joyous gait!

Reach for the stars

Therein lies your fate!

At day’s end

Rejoice in your worth!

Finding love heralds

Your peace on Earth.

 *

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 9, 2019

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The Wonder of It All

-Art work by: Marcela Laskoski – Unsplash-

The Wonder of It All

There are many times in my life when that fickle finger of fate has poked me in both eyes, blind-sided me with its perfidious promises of ecstasy, left me with helpless despair and loneliness, leaving me to learn that each subliminal moment must be offset by its presence.

Exceptions to that neat little summary?

Of course!

It’s all there in the gene pool which we all cast our ‘wonder’ at its origin.

For some it will be a life of great achievements along with the countering obstacles that must come calling. For this group of blessed mortal beings they are capable of humbly dismissing the vagaries of their lives, able to accept treachery and deceitful moments. This group is also able to accept, acknowledge, and with humility thank the ‘origin’ for the blessings.

This group passes through those dark and light dualities with dignity and honor. They live their lives with a blessed and most generous blend of gene pooling.

For some it will be a life of second-guessing, a balancing of dark and light shades of their existence, chasing their windmills in the darkness, waking to grim awareness in the light, and cursing the very nature of their mock-up. This group can also with varying degrees reluctantly acknowledge and perhaps not so humbly thank the ‘origin’ for their existence.

This group passes through the dark and light dualities with not so much dignity, honor, and order.

Identify the first Group as ‘A’.

Identify the second Group as ‘B’.

Which group do you think will be the poets, the writers, and the dreamers among us?

Which group do you think will be the ‘Movers and the Shakers’, the Architects, the barons of business, the politicians among us?

The ‘Origin’ is known by some, believed known by others, not so much by many.

Ah, ‘The Wonder of It All’!

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 31, 2019

 

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All That I Am

All that I am

+

All that I shall ever be

Was gifted by an Intelligent Force

Known to me by many Names.

I choose to believe God is my Creator

A name given through the ages

By far-reaching tribes and Kings.

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Through generations our experts

Plan and Experiment with the toys

Of my Creator, my God.

Each generation forms their initials

On the great book of records

With repetition and yearning.

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Reaching ever out for the Stars

Seeking a nebulous wisdom

Of the unknown and forbidden.

Some with Generosity and Grace

Some with Furtive Motives and Guile

To suddenly come to History’s Coincidence.

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Repeating Righteous Rituals of Fools

Only to find Doubled Knowledge in

Mainframe Madness for Space and Beyond.

Whose flags will be stuck in the aeonian

Mud of Mars and other Galactic outposts

To begin Civilization all Anew.

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Deities and Desires freshly grown

Ideas and Mockery of Spoils left

On a Cold and Deserted Mother Earth.

When doth come the final planet?

When doth all of Life not matter?

In the Great Collosus of Death, Perhaps!

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Then, again, perhaps I return

In yet another Incarnation to amuse

And Confound my brothers and sisters.

Ah, but that is not so bad, methinks

If love is there as well to greet me

In the Piano Bar of my mind.

***

Billy Ray Chitwood – September 1, 2019

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The Mind – A Great Odyssey

The Mind – A Great Odyssey

 An octogenarian mind has a plethora of experiences to share, bemoan and cherish. The dips and sways during a lifetime are one great roller coaster ride. Some mind choices along the way will chastise and haunt. Some will make you weep. Some will make you smile with joy.

The wiring is likely the most important part of the mind – a well-engineered mind that keeps the mind focused on its chosen field and/or fields of interest…that DNA stuff that a relatively few can talk about. There are people who can stay their course, who have minds that stay focused on ultimate goals they wish to reach. There are those of us who are like moths to light, forever longing for some elusive Nirvana, some peaceful way station along the way where life yields pleasure and forever love. Often, we, those people are referred to as ‘Romantics’.

The environment can alter choices and deeds surely, but it is the mind that in its uncanny ability and unique engineering can wipe away most of its ‘carrier’s’ ugly parts and proceed with its eventual destiny. It is with joyous envy that I sprinkle dashes of remembrance to a few people of history that have given me small fractions of wisdom, hope, and pleasure, people who had those mind attributes that I covet and wish to have possessed.

My mind conjures up people like Arnold Palmer, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates. What could a golfer, a couple of scientists, and a group of philosophers really have in common?

At the Phoenix Open PGA Golf Tournament some years ago, I met and spent a delightful afternoon with Arnie Palmer and a small group of admirers. Arnie shared with us some of his experiences after leaving his Pennsylvania farm. Golf had been his obsession, and he knew early on that he wanted to compete and win major golf tournaments. He stayed true to that single-minded dream, and he became one of the most adored man in the sport. His ‘simple man’ of the land image endeared him to millions of fans, and the phrase, ‘Arnie’s Army’ became a television staple when talking about the great golfer’s fans. Arnie was simply a man who could walk among Kings, Presidents, and the common man. He knew where he was in his journey. Meeting Arnie, sharing space with this man who was my idol, was one of the singular events of my life. I loved the man.

Comparing Arnold Palmer’s mind with the minds of Einstein, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Marie Curie would perhaps seem frivolous, but there is commonality. Each had enquiring minds, single-minded interests.

Albert Einstein, of course, brought our eager world into Science in monumental ways, his mind touching so much of what today we take for granted, in sophisticated manufacturing principles to household products. A German-born theoretical physicist, his mind was magnificently wired for Science, he would amaze his contemporaries with his scientific knowledge, would develop his ‘Theory of Relativity’ and win the Nobel Prize in 1921…and, he was also ‘human’, married, had two sons, divorced, lived a life lush with fame, alerted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the potential development of ‘extremely powerful bombs’ – which led to the ‘Manhattan Project’.

Marie Sklodowska Curie was a Polish French Physicist and Chemist who conducted pioneering research on the study of radioactivity, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice. She was also the only woman to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. She was the first woman professor at the University of Paris…an amazing lady who contributed greatly to the world of Science.

With the great philosophers, their single-minded queries into the knowledge and thinking of their time would forever be a part of our educational system, and pass through the halls of colleges and universities…’Aristotelian Logic, Socratic Method, Platonic Theory’, all phrases heard daily in classrooms across the land. In his famous ‘Dialogues’, Plato discussed not only the physical world, but the metaphysical as well – immortality, the mind, Man. These were ‘Mind-Giants’ who led the way to logical thinking.

The lives of these few great people among so many that could be mentioned were astounding and serve as role models for those who tenaciously hold onto their dreams, their love of a specific subject, be it arts, industry, science, sports, those who have the minds and the wills to achieve.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste’, it has been said.

On a personal level, my mind was put ‘oh hold’ for much of my younger life by a chaotic Appalachian youth and a sojourn of ‘lotus-eating’ – then, in those early years of manhood, would have been the time to begin my serious writing. Something was missing in my life, a vague wispy dream of family and love, and the path I took to finding those most genuine realities were laden with ‘lotus flowers’ and ‘Mr. Bacchus’. I was blind to a sure path that would lead me to writing. One path was left to follow yet another.

In short, my mind in so many ways I’ve wasted.

The latter part of this life that is left to me is taken up with writing. I call it my therapy. I love to write… Nineteen books, some 400+ blog posts, and some poetry thrown into the mix. There is no Nobel, no Pulitzer, no award I can imagine coming to me. I’ll be satisfied with some of my books being read and enjoyed – with, hopefully, some Amazon reviews thrown in.

Moral to the story here? To the extent there is one, if writing is your ‘dream’ and you feel you can do it well, begin and grow with each new Blog post, Book, and Poem. You will get better with each new stroke of your pen, or, sadly, you will become someday an octogenarian loving soft vanilla ice cream…

Two scoops on my cone, please!

BR Chitwood – June 22, 2019

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Living in the Moment

Living in the Moment

Are you living in the moment!

Well, sure, I must be. I’m still breathing. I just crammed a bunch of almonds in my mouth to crunch up – you know, like baseball players in a dugout cram those little pistachios in their mouths, or, whatever they are.

No, no, what I mean is, what is meant by the phrase, living in the moment?

My moments are solidly predictable. At this exact moment and for the rest of the moments during this day, I’m sitting in my comfy recliner writing a blog post and/or writing in my WIP…a new genre for me – a paranormal piece that I absolutely don’t know where it is leading me.

Now, if you’re after the philosophical living in the moment, I need to explain some not so healthy, not so philanthropic, some wacky and wild truths about myself. One truth is, I’ve already written a lot in blog posts and books about my living in the moments, and I am not taking a huge risk here of overamplifying just who the hell I really am. Nobody knows me anyhow.

Living in the moments of Childhood was psychologically conflictive in terms of inharmonious family situations where ugly behavior was pretty much the norm. My wonderful Mom tried very hard to make life good and wholesome, but she was a child of her times, as was an itinerant Dad, and the latter and former would argue, the latter placing thug emphasis on his side of any argument and beat my Mom. Now, I won’t dwell on those bruising one-sided bouts that left two siblings collectively traumatized ‘big time’, except to note that, well, they were children of their times.

Living in the moments of Adulthood was so much like those little wedges of vanilla fudge I would buy for a penny at the local grocery store – delicious, sweet moments…actually, I allowed my taste buds to rule my existence – that is, my moments. I joined the Navy and saw ‘the world’ of Adak in the Aleutian Islandsnot living in the moments of frivolity and fun, just a barren wasteland where booze, jokes, and dreams of naked women helped us 150 dit-dah-dit boys in what was called ‘Radio City’ get through eighteen months of isolation, snow, and gray skies.

Ah, but back in the states, the country boy came alive to the neon glitter, California, and gorgeous ladies. Now, those of you who have read my blog posts know of my use of the words, lotus eaters…if you have read Homer’s Odyssey, Book IX when the Greek hero, Odysseus, was on his return from Troy, he encountered a tribe of people who ate of the lotus fruits and flowers because they were the only food source, and because of their narcotic value. Today, lotus eaters are the figurative euphemism for people who spend their time indulging in pleasurable pursuits in lieu of dealing with the practical concerns of their lives.

That was I for a long spell, drank, loved the ladies, and slept until mid-morning, neglecting my work. I did manage, after a time, to get a college degree in English, taught school for a while, started books that never got finished, did a little acting, some commercials, and continued living in those moments, until I met, married Julie Anne and started writing for real. I’m currently working on my 20th book, and I just throw them out there and see if they might sell. I surely don’t live in the moments marketing the books I’ve written and cannot tell if they are indeed marketable. Do I think they are? Darn tooting, I live in those moments. My books meet my standards, and, yes, that might seem foolish, but that’s who I am – I write them, I edit them, I publish them, and truly believe people would like them. Julie Anne likes them, and she’s, people.

Maybe the bigger question on readers’ minds at this point is, why did I write this post?

Well, dagnab it, I knew a minute ago when I was in those moments…

BR Chitwood – June 20, 2019

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Brotherly Love

 

Brotherly Love

“So, what’s up, big guy?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“Okay, I know what’s next. My ‘You’re right, I don’t want to know,’ is not going to mean a twit to you, and you’re going to spend the next unquantifiable seconds telling me anyhow. So, again, what’s up, big guy?”

“Oh, you think you know me so well, but you don’t. Unquantifiable? Really! What does that mean? Never mind, I don’t want to know. I have a pretty good idea what it means. Look, this will take only a minute…I need to borrow $500 so I can get this remarkable deal on a laptop that has all the ‘goodies’ and the mega high numbers on everything – it’s got mega-bytes up the grommet.”

“So, why the hell are you asking me to give you $500. It would be, giving you, $500, because you would never pay it back. We’ve been there, done that before.”

“Aw, come on, you’re my big brother. You’re a handsome dude with a wife ‘to die for’ and you love me. You want to see me succeed, and, with this web puppy, I will succeed. I’ll pay you back when I get my income tax ‘money-back’ check…stop laughing, I mean it, I will pay you back.”

“Listen to you. You are insulting me, little brother…Elaine has gone grocery shopping so it’s a good time to have my chat with you. Sit and let’s allow me to give you some facts…

“Mom and Dad have been gone for a while, and I admit I’ve been over-accommodating you and your spurious needs. Elaine was the vote that got you living here with us, but there is a time-limit for you, Axel. I know you had tough emotional times, but so have I, and you need to put your life back together quickly. Elaine and I are not your mom and pop. God bless them, they’re gone. I love you and want you to succeed in your writing. However, your job at the tire factory pays you enough to be on your own, but you prefer living with us and partying way too much. Elaine must clean your messy room, pick up food droppings, do your maid duties for you, and that stops NOW! No more eating in your room for the remainder of your stay with us. No more messy room. No more mooching money.

“So, Axel, you get no more money from me or Elaine, and you have thirty days to find your own place and be out of here. As for your request for $500, that is a non-negotiable, NO! You’re my brother and I do love you, but your stay here is over in thirty days. If you are not out of here in thirty days, you will find all your meager belongings gone, given to Goodwill.

“Do you understand the ‘program’ I’ve described, Axel?”

“You really would do all that, Matthew?”

“Yes, and I might and will add, at twenty-four, a college drop-out, and a real presumptuous ass, I’ve put up, we’ve, Elaine and I, have put up with you too damned long. The thirty days can and will be moved up based on your attitude. We have simply had it, Axel. You are a brother I don’t recognize anymore. Mom and Dad would be so ashamed of you during these months you’ve been with us. I doubt if you would have left on your own terms, so I’m making that decision for you. You have taken advantage of us and our home for too long. Family love is important, but not so much under these circumstances. Please understand, I mean every word.”

“Wow! Why don’t you tell me what you really think, Matt! Damn, I never knew you felt like this. I just assumed, you know, family and stuff… Suddenly, I feel sort of dirty, you know, like a homeless bum. But, yeah, I understand. I thought you were grumpy at times, but I never thought the grumpiness was about me… Well, my being sorry won’t hack it, but I’ll say, I’m sorry, very sorry, for the way I’ve acted. I’ll be out of here before using up those thirty days. A buddy has been wanting me to move in with him. That suddenly sounds like a winning offer. Don’t misunderstand, Matt, I’ve heard you loud and clear. I will change – for the better, I promise. I needed this ‘Big Brother’ session. Believe me, it all makes perfect sense to me. I really have been an intolerable ass. Thanks, Matt, good ‘Bro’, I’ll surprise you. Wait and see. I love you, big guy. Is it okay if I hug you, Matt?”

“Sure, it’s okay. You’re still my brother. I just played Dad for a few moments, but I still meant everything I said.”

“I know, Matt…guess this is not the right time to mention my affair with Elaine, huh?”

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 17, 2019

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‘A Meeting With The Shrink in Silly-Town’

[Image by Macela Laskoski]

‘A Meeting With The Shrink in Silly-Town’

The Psychiatrist asks, what’s the problem? to the fink.

I’m apathetic, brain-drained, and want a drink!

Well, what’s your problem, do you think?

You hard of hearing, or, what? I didn’t blink!

But that’s what I do, dumb-ass! I get paid to think!

Well, why am I here, almighty Shrink?

You already gave the reason. Is there more to the link?

You, guys! All you do is ask questions that stink!

Well, what exactly should happen, do you think?

Know what? Your questions drive me to that drink!

Then, we’ve accomplished something here, I think.

Yeah, sure, you made $150 bucks in an eye’s blink!

Now, now, relax. How ‘bout that amount with a chink?

How much of a chink, do you think?

Ah, what the heck, I’ll give a 5% chink.

You’re a loon! 5%? You belong in the clink!

You’re testing my good nature, I think.

You think, you dink? I’m gone for a drink.

But, wait, my fee with a 10% chink?

Up yours, shrink, with a chink, to the clink, I think.

Your truly, Billy Ray Chitwink

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Appalachia and Me

Appalachia and Me

Standing at the window I could see her working in the earth, planting her garden, a plot of ground she alone had created on the hard prairie soil of our eighty-acre ‘Lazy Rabbit Ranch’

My emotions were trade-mark soft and tender with no discernable reason. Tears welled and fell down my cheeks. It was at that time when gout attacks were frequent in my life, had me limping in painful, short steps. I wanted to be there in the garden with my wife, sharing the joy of her moments. The tears lasted for a brief period until I turned them off, returned to the library to render time typing on my Star Writer Word processor.

Time and again my mind slipped away from the characters and plot lines of the book I was writing on the Star Writer, slipping back to my wife in the garden, then, into assessing the emotional source of my tears. Of course, I quickly rid my mind of the gout pain being the root cause of sob-time…it was so much more than that.

My life at the Lazy Rabbit Ranch was rather rich with melodramatic episodic introspections, likely sufficient enough to abundantly satisfy any reclining position taken on a psychiatrist’s sofa. Plus, it would surely be a dead give-away to mention that, yes, I was also born in Appalachia…well, of course, dear boy, that is what Appalachian lads do so very well. How else can history explain our cornball evocative ‘country music’, honky-tonk romances ‘on the fly’, and those multiple divorce court appearances?

Well, sure, I could laugh at myself along with my agents of disregard. However, were my copious life tears simply ‘crocodile’ in nature? Were my myriad emotional tendencies, my basic earthly and inherent needs, so easily explained away?

My hasty conclusion would not necessarily surprise anyone, but I said at the time – and, I say now – No, they were not… they are not.

This may be fundamental to many people, but, hey, I was just getting it – right then, ‘after all those tear-years’, right then, at the Lazy Rabbit Ranch ‘cry episode’.

The ‘gout attack’ was not the sole reason for the crying.

Pardon my flippancy, but it was the south where all those degenerate, debt-owing, thieves in the night were deposited when they arrived from across the pond from Europe. I’m guessing that after a while we had some sweet and pure genteel groups coming into Appalachia mixing with our chromosomic/genetic machinery, getting us all ‘cornfused’ about proper etiquette, language, books, and stuff. Shucks, we could have had our own country by now, just wheeling, dealing, killing, and dying way too young…if the ‘genteel groups’ had just stayed away.

Sitting there that day at my lovely mahogany desk the way I figured it was: with so many low IQ folks, mixing their vulgarities with the stealing and killing, their mindless behaviors, by the time I came out of my Mom’s womb, I was doomed to be a sort of half-breed…that is, part of me got some of that ‘rough and tumble’ stuff, and the other part got some of those genteel qualities.

Just like then, I can’t figure out why I’m crying now.

Hmm, I’m wondering… My wife is outside, working on another darn flower garden. Is she trying to tell me something?

Guess I better get to writing another book.

Billy Ray Chitwood – April 3, 2019

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Life’s Great Conundrum

Life’s Great Conundrum

‘Time flies’!

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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