Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I looked out the windows of our rented chevy malibu for well over 7 hours. And not just the one window in front of me- the one to my left, to my right, behind me- basically any transparent surface that allowed me to see my surroundings outside of the tattered gold rental car. This is a grand deviation from the norm- or my norm, anyway. I have been subject in the past to various bouts of motion sickness and a very short attention span, so normally I'm looking forward or not looking around at all. This time, however, the two things that keep me from enjoying the scenery were superbly overshadowed by the magnificent landscape that is Colorado.

As a kid, my parents always traveled primarly north or south of our stomping grounds in Southern Kentucky. My first trip westward was to Las Vegas a couple of years ago- and although it does offer some nice desert-esque mountains as an almost apologetic backdrop to the glitz and blinking greed from the strip- it pales in comparison to what I saw and experienced this past week.

The Telluride Bluegrass Festival housed more than just music for me, although the music was my primary draw... the enviornment of the festival soon became a foundation for my extreme enjoyment and constant feelings of inspiration and bewilderment. Listening to the various voices and instruments reverberate off those snow covered mountains combined with the energy and genuine kindness of those around me was indeed what I had come there for and what I needed. As we rode up the mountain one afternoon on a gondola ( of which i was a little weary of at first) my friend Patrick- after looking out all the windows available to him- concluded that " coming to a place like this just makes you wonder what the hell is wrong with the rest of the world."

It was then that I realized that those mountains I had been returning to, day after day, providing me with the same awesome backdrop to the music that I love, were becoming symbols of sorts .Life is way too short to be staring out of one bug filled greasy window. You end up only seeing things coming into that particular view. One of the awesome folks we camped next to put it best during a late night campfire at our campsite. " Ya only go round once", he said. " Make sure ya get a good look at everything."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day ( a nod to the honorable Michael R. Moore)

" the first thing the word home brings to mind is a place, then the next and perhaps most crucial thing thing is people and maybe ultimately a single person." - Frederick Buechner, The Longing for Home

I can see him now( assuming that he reads this), getting up from the rickety old antique shaker chair in the kitchen, dog at his heels, meandering up to the spare bedroom that houses all of his books to find the one that I took the above quote from. " Well hell", i can hear him say, " where is it?" After a couple of minutes he will no doubt continue his quest into the other spare bedroom, ( the dog still in tow) -- the one that still houses some of my books-- but mostly his-- that i, no doubt, have neglected to carry back to their proper place. He will find, after a couple of minutes, that it is not there.

It is, in fact, nestled comfortably on my bookshelf here in Cincinnati, keeping company next to a battered old paperback of Hamlet and an Anthony Bourdain book about life on the road as a chef.

This is one of the many list of things i have inherited from my father-- I'm not the best at returning books. whether they are from the library or on loan from someone who has obviously never lent me a book before- i have a hard time returning them. it's like I'm having to give back the time in which i spent reading it- the time in which i was transported into some other place- and for some reason, that bothers me.

But, as usual, I digress.

I can honestly say that I have the greatest dad. I know about a billion other people say this, but i truly mean it.

Sappy? Of course.

Cliched... well, yes. But what isn't these days?

Forced? absolutely not.

I love my father because he encompasses all that I hope to be one day. He is uncommonly kind. He is gracious and humble. He has a brilliant mind and and a superbly keen sense of others and the world around him. He is the herald of truth to many-- a truth that, to be honest, isn't always easy to swallow-- but his gentle words and loving heart make it easy to bear.

I can't deny that when i was an angst ridden/ rebel of a teenager/dorky college student that we never had our differences. we most surely did. There were some rough waters there... waters that had been present for many, many years before my birth. and i didn't understand it at 15, or 18, or even 20. But i look back now with eyes that can understand that my father did the best he could with what he had. and that's enough for me. he pushed me because he loved me. he wanted the best for me.

he has many accolades to his name and has played many a part on this stage of life... but the one i think that stands out the most for me happened just last year. He wrote a play that was performed at a festival in louisville, and i can honestly say that i have never been so proud. He had just written a piece for my wedding which was beyond words-- but that was about me. This time, it was about him. He was doing what he loves to do- what he is passionate about - and he was sharing with people he truly loved. He was finally living the dream he so often talked about. I distinctly remember watching him watch the play that HE had written come to life- the words written by hand, painstakingly over many years, many revisions, many let downs-- and thinking to myself that this moment, this second was one of the best moments i can ever remember having. That one split millisecond when i looked at him and saw nothing but pure joy and happiness-- well, it's hard to describe in words. I remember watching him answer questions after the show-- and, i know it sounds goofy-- but there was sort of an "orb" around him. There he was, sitting in his hawiaian shirt, looking at my grandfather ( who the play was based on)-- carefully eyeing my mother from time to time-- as the rest of the audience, which included many of his closest friends, looked on, watching, smiling, listening to him speak in that heartfelt, eloquent manner that he has about him, and probably thinking along the same lines as I was. He has been, and always will be my hero. But more importantly, he is my home.

I love you, dad.
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