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Cameron’s Start

The day has finally come. Even as I type these words, you have arrived at Independence High School for your final instructions. In a couple of hours, you’ll make the long walk, shake a hand or three, and receive your diploma. Tassels will move and caps thrown toward the sky. We’ll be cheering and crying with love and pride for you.

And then it’ll be over. You’ll have graduated to the next level, taken a step into what life holds for you. It will be time to commence.

You’ll hear much today about life and plans and goals and dreams. Some of it will be cliche but a nugget or two will stick with you. All of it is good.

All I have to say is you’ve planned and prepared and now it’s just more doing until the next phase or level or whatever you want to call it. That’s just life.

Plans can change. Dreams can be attained or not. Much will happen after your cap falls from the sky and comes down to earth.

Remember to trust your heart.

I love you. I’m proud of you. Life is waiting for you.

Dad

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A Day Will Come…?

Remembering lost words…

“A Day Will Come…?”

It has been weeks or years
Since last I held music in my arms
Cradling the wood against me
Feeling the bite of steel in flesh
Caressed by a minor key
And lost in the magic of tone and rhythm
The tools of my trade are locked away
Safe in the prison of their cases
Free from broken chords
And halting melodies of despair or hope
Will a day come when I reopen the book of spells
Trying to remember lost chords
So now the rocks must cry out
And sing the songs of gladness

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“Cold Today”

It’s cold outside today.

An overriding grey hugs the tree line and neutralizes the sun and shadows.
It’s not a crisp and invigorating cold;
It’s a bitter and numbing iciness that leaves a hollow in your bones and turns your heart lonely.

Fire doesn’t seem to get past your skin in this kind of cold.
It’s enough to make the lost want to be found…
Even if just to feel warmth again
Even just the memory of it.

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“Opened to Wonder”

Do you remember the first time you found wonder?

I do. I’ve been remembering each one of them.

Curious George Goes to the Hospital, the last book in this beloved series and the first favorite of Forrest Gump and yours truly. It is the first book I remember loving, and it opened the door for all the rest.

Thuvia, Maid of Mars by the great Edgar Rice Burroughs. Holding and reading the near crumbling remains of what I know now to have been a first edition hardcover from 1920.
I found it lost and alone in our family bookcase, right above all the endless volumes of green bound Encyclopedia Brittanica. I discovered treasure that day indeed.

A childish first grade cartoon about Robin Hood scrawled by me (complete with dialogue), winning the attention of Mrs. Bankston and a trip to the principals office for kudos. I thought I had done something wrong and was in trouble…

The Letter, by the Box Tops, a song all but unknown to the rest of my second grade classmates, much to my bewilderment. They most certainly didn’t have a clue about the Beatles.

Many years later it was the first time my newly teenaged finger raked across the strings of my brothers Alvarez 12-string guitar, filling the room with glory and sealing my fate for life.

When Mr. Widener, the Erwin HS band director defended one of my feeble bass solo attempts from the derision of an upper classman by declaring me to have “more music in my little finger” than the heckling senior. Humbling to be sure (it was a bass solo after all).

The moment when a room full of your peers goes silent at the end of one of your songs, only to erupt with applause.

These are the moments when your eyes are opened to wonder, to creativity. When the spark inside erupts into flame, a fire that consumes doubt and fear.

Yet doubt and fear are never far. Creativity comes at a cost. Even remembering requires a heavy price.

There is a verse that says we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but “powers and principalities” and all manner of spiritual adversaries. While I know and believe that to be true, there are battles that are waged here in what passes for the real world. And for me the powers and principalities I war against are cowardice and fear and despair.
In every battle there are the fallen and forgotten. I have been lost in the ruin of myself, a victim of wounds both physical and spiritual. But there is strength in remembering, a spark of flame in the distance of memory, a reward worthy of risk at any cost.

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Tabula Rasa

I am a slate scraped clean
Waiting on new words
I’ve been wandering for years
There’s no time left for dreaming

Now left behind and moving on
Live within the same sad song
My heart beats in the space between
These words will never mean a thing
It’s so cold in the silence

I am an empty page
Waiting on memory
Wondering for years
If there’s hope left in dreaming

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The Rhythm in My Head

There’s a rhythm in my head
In my head, in my head
There’s a rhythm in my head
And it won’t go away

The tempo is persistent
The backbeat for my pain
It’s icy and insistent
Like this cold October rain
Inside the pressure’s building
Tight as the band around my arm
The numbers tell the story
And fear cries in alarm

There’s a rhythm in my head
In my head, in my head
There’s a rhythm in my head
And it won’t go away

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The Show Must Go On

It has been said that ‘some things are too broken to ever be fixed.’

Faith whispers just the opposite, but my heart and life sing a different song. Today I feel every part of broken. ‘All my choices have gone awry’ as Strider admits at the end of a tragic journey that ends in fire and despair.

In music, a horrible final rehearsal usually denotes a great performance to come, and it’s also said that life is a dress rehearsal for something glorious.

If that is the case, then the rehearsal of my life promises Glory beyond the circles of this world.

I am tired of rehearsing. Open the curtain and bring on the show…

Falling together 911

The Choice

Everyone has a memory from the day the towers fell.

Close your eyes and you can still see the haunting images from that horrible day: planes colliding with glass and steel, smoke and dust and panic in the streets…tales of valor and heroism, and the heartbreak stories of loved ones left behind.

All this and more will be recounted tomorrow as our country remembers the deep wounds inflicted upon us. Cries of vengeance will once again fill the air, yet retribution will not return those lost that day.

The image seared upon my soul from 911 is of those who leapt from the burning towers. Death was a certainty, and their only choice was how to meet it.

What must they have felt? Fear, most certainly. And from the unasked-for choice thrust upon them, despair and hopelessness. Most fell alone, but some met their end hand in hand.

I will remember the hopeless, and honor the memory of those brave souls who faced and entered eternity by the fall and not the flames.

I remember and will never forget.