Sermons…

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I figured you could all use a break from mine for a change, and instead simply take some time to enjoy a little ditty Bobby Darin didn’t make famous, way back when he first recorded it.

Kick it, B.D…

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Today’s impromptu post is brought to you by Daily Prompt‘s call for an Opposite Day. So against my usual grain, I posted impromptu-ishly, I refrained from any and all pontification or “fiction,” and I posted not (1), but (2) pictures of me. Here’s the second:

20130505_133134Happy Sunday!

Little Things

There has been something I’ve been struggling with about telling you. It’s a subject that those of you who have been following along for a while now, will know everything about. And those of you who have been following along since around 3/21/13, will not. I was still on the fence about discussing this subject, until The Daily Post begged us today to talk about Little Things.

You see, as a result of the recent life changes that have been tossing me about (again, if you’ve begun following only since late March, you’ll just have ask the person seated next to you what I’m speaking of, because you’ll no longer find any mention of it here), there was one final – and heartbreaking – decision that had to be made.

The children we were tasked with caring for, while their mother got back on her feet, were no longer best served by living in our house. We – I – had to let them go. As was the case before we initially brought them in, I once again asked my kids their opinion, and ensured that we were all first in agreement. The little ones were slated to be reunited with their mom in June anyway, but that in no way made the decision – nor the subsequent call to Child Protective Services – any easier.

I explained the current situation, and broke down slightly, apologizing while saying we were going to have to back out. The case worker was very kind in thanking us for everything we had already done (especially considering there was no kinship involved), and said that she would be happy to try to get the children relocated promptly.

As fate would have it, of all the life tossing going on just now, this solitary item may have turned out to be the one blessing in disguise; as it was determined that instead of placing them anew, the children would simply be reunited with their mom (who is doing well) earlier than anticipated.

So they are gone now, and out of my life. Most likely forever.

After we had packed their lives into the over-sized pickup truck that their mother’s friend trundled into our driveway and had seen them on their way, Ian (my youngest) and I retreated to the house where I, in an extraordinary feat of extreme manhood, fell to the bed weeping. Ian, being just about one of the most empathetic people I know, softly patted my back and in response to my moan of being sorry that I was failing everyone, said simply and calmly, “daddy, you are not failing anyone.”

I hope he’s right. And I hope that these two little things – these two precious and beautiful little things who invaded my life for almost a year, and opened my eyes to a whole different world – will never be overlooked again. Not by their mother nor the system sworn to protect them.

I still don’t know what it was all about – us taking them in, that is – or if it helped in the least that we did. And please don’t tell me blindly that it will all just be worth it in the end. There hasn’t been one soul yet who has been able to make me buy that line. I have a sort of a “Now just what were You thinking?” finger wag list that I’m compiling, and when I do meet God, “whatever became of these two little things” will be one of the questions pretty damned high up on that list.

Yamil and Delilah, I know you’ll never see this. But I want you to know that I hope you have fond memories of your time with us. I hope that God continues to bless you on your journey, and I hope – I pray – that whatever it was I was supposed to do for you, I did.

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I will miss you Little Things. You crazy, obnoxious, pains-in-the-ass and simply beautiful little things. Please, go in peace.

Ode to Christ The King

“Fond” wouldn’t be the word to describe it, really.

No, “despised” would most likely be a better fit. But still, as a place, it became firmly enmeshed in my soul as the years wore on. My experiences within it built upon themselves to create in my mind, not only a place, but also a metaphorical landscape for all my nightmares to play out. A stage, so to speak, for my mind to desperately sift through all its fears, anxiety and desires.

As such, it is fond to me. Or it was, at any rate.

Years of physically attending both the church and the school, I was well acquainted with each nook and corner by the time I graduated from the 8th grade and altar boy servitude. I knew of every hidden closet, every community-less community room, every darkened corner behind the school gymnasium stage. In short, I knew every portion of both buildings where an overtly shy little boy could go to get lost from the rest of the large, loud and scary world. A world that would surely eat such a boy who was so weak, demure and unsubstantial, destroying him well before it would ever accept him.

True, that boy did grow, becoming a man. Maybe not a strong man, but a man none the less. And while he left that place, the place never left him. No, the place returned every night, serving as the previously mentioned backdrop to his annoyingly trivial nightmares. Every. Damned. Night.

It didn’t take me too long before I realized, in order for the nightmares to end, the buildings had to end first. Of course! They needed to be removed from this world all together. Hell, maybe it was even a mission from God, a way that I could help other shy little boys to also escape.

So I burned them down.

Right down to the very last kneeler. Right down till every stage drape and Formica-covered desk top were mere bubbling puddles. Right down till the roof above the pass-through between the two buildings was lying forlorn between two dead piles of ash and soot.

I burned those mothers all the way down.

Sadly, the nightmares haven’t stopped yet. And now, their backdrop is new; one of smoke and ash, instead of brick and mortar. One where my little mind no longer has anywhere to hide. Outside of my dream world, I too now have a new backdrop. I’m not sure why, but it never once dawned on me that what I was doing would be deemed in any way wrong or illegal. I mean, I was just saving myself and other scared boys from suffering through years of dreams of dread.

As it turns out, the Roman Catholic Church and the State of New York disagree.

I’m not very fond of this new place either. A place I guess I’ll be spending quite a number of years at. A place, I fear, that won’t come down nearly as easily as the first one did.

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Quickly spying Daily Prompt’s “Ode to a Playground,” the above story came about in short order. It wasn’t until I went back to the prompt to create a link, that I realized the instructions asked for a memorial to be written. As such, I was getting ready to dump this altogether. But reading it once again, it occurred to me, I like it. And much like “fondness” can have several definitions, I suppose “memorial” can as well.

Briefly… The Daily Post Daily Prompt edition

So I never even realized that there was such a thing as “The Daily Post” until I stumbled upon it one day not too far back.

They offer a daily prompt on a – well – daily basis, to help writers who may be struggling with a bit of blockage. Here was yesterdays nudge:

Invent a holiday! Explain how and why everyone should celebrate.

It sounded cool. And then I remembered that I had already done just that years ago, and then I even wrote a school paper about it. You can find it in the “stuff i have to write for school” tab, along with a whole bunch of other goodies, or you can simply scroll down and continue to read it from here…

They never performed together while alive, and it has been noted that they weren’t even particularly fond of each other, but fate has ensured that Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra will forever more be linked in our cultural history.

For those who care*, May 14th is celebrated annually as “Bobby/Frank Day” due to the fact that both Bobby Darin’s birthday and the anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s death fall on this date.  Celebrations can vary, but certain time-honored traditions seem to span across all walks of life.

Being awoken by the radio alarm that boldly announces the anniversary of both events is a joy experienced in almost every household, and in addition to being a gentle reminder as to the reason behind the holiday; much like the lighting of the advent wreath, it also harkens its “official” beginning. Other traditions and customs, while not being as universal, are also held dear to those who practice them. These can include Sinatra and/or Darin Film Marathons, playing the music of Bobby and Frank exclusively throughout the day or even exchanging discs of either artist with loved ones. Due to the somewhat limited output of each, this tradition has seen a downturn as of late, but record companies are working diligently to increase volume by packaging previously unreleased sides with almost every sound a recording session ever captured, including sound checks, banter, and in the case of Sinatra, fist fights with members of the orchestra.

A more recent phenomenon has been the occurrence of people clogging the internet in an effort to post Darin or Sinatra videos from YouTube onto social networking sites such as facebook, while others perform online searches for the “perfect” quote from either performer to be used as a status update for the day.

Sadly, like many other major holidays, Bobby/Frank Day has also seen a recent push to become more secular in nature. While certain groups try to argue for inclusion of additional artists such as Martin, Bennett, Torme and Davis, Jr.; based solely on these types of performers being “close enough”; others go so far as to open up the holiday in honor of all “musicians”.  This second group in particular seems to be involved in a poorly veiled plan to only increase the cash flow associated with this holiday.

While groups and motives such as these can be seen as spoilers to an otherwise beloved and enjoyable holiday, it is felt by most that fate will once again intervene, and work alongside believers to ensure that the true spirit of Bobby/Frank Day will remain in tact, and hopefully, until the end of our cultural history, Bobby and Frank will be swingin’ together.

* Including the author, there are approximately 3 people in the world currently who care.

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What? You didn’t think it was going to be a Sinatra track, did you?