YankeeJim back to business of trailblazing
I am getting ready to get back to my roots in writing and that will change the focus of my stories at NowPublic.com. Hopefully, it will be more interesting reading than politics and the daily grind.
Excerpt from Patchwork And So Forth, © 2000 James A. George, Webook.com.
I was destined to have a simple life to be lived normally without making waves. How do I know this? My parents could have had modest expectations as life was comfortable in Mt. Gilead Ohio, a sleepy farm-town in Morrow County located smack in the middle of the state. Taking an uncomplicated path would have been easy for all of us. Yet, from the beginning, fueled with anticipation, I was rarely comfortable. I did not want to take naps, or to be left in a room alone. I wanted to be in the midst of the action, and would climb from my crib to find it.
"He's out again. Where's Jimmy?" Mother would announce. "There you are, and just where do you think you are going? Too early to say words, I believe that I was formulating a reply that included my intent to pursue the location of the scene I saw from the bedroom window, just out of reach.
Growing up as a child, I yearned to explore what I imagined lay beyond. "Beyond" began out of the yard, down Elm Street hill to the Whetstone Creek, the dam at the state park, and the natural spring where people watered horses in the buggy days. I lived at a time and place where I could touch old American history with one hand and feel the new modern America tugging forward with the other. The slowness of the farm town preserved many older qualities, giving me the opportunity to revel in the way things might have been. Yet, with lightening speed, along one man's lifecycle, I would feel the cold war get hot, and would witness tragedies that broke the pristine images that I first had of my home and country. My fellow Americans share the same backdrop of time and history, yet how often do we take time to contemplate details that are intimate reflections about "truth, justice, and the American way?"
How does the weight of my experience and tragedies compare with that of my parents and their parents, and ancestors before them? I think about this a lot; no, more, it is an obsession. Researching about some ancestors of the 1800s who were Ohio pioneers, I observe from descriptions their struggles to make farms from the woods that were occupied by nomadic Native Americans and by bears and wolves that posed very real danger to their existence. I recall a story about the young boy of a George family settler who mocked howling wolves, only to discover that his mocking brought a pack to their remaining pigs that were lost in the slaughter as a result. The consequence was no food for the winter, and that was tragic.
Life is a moving target. My premise is that discovering and experiencing things is that for which humankind is made. Experience is everything, though there are distinctions.
Experiences are gauged along a continuum of fortune and tragedy measured by the potential for value and propensity for reward, versus the intensity of pain and void from loss. Everything must be taken in context. The challenge is that context changes with viewpoint, perspective, scope, scale, and time.
This is a story from my viewpoint as a boy from the country who became an urban man. Surely it is autobiographical, but is much more. It is told from the perspective of one who uses all that he can muster to share contrasts in values, ideas, and beliefs with words, poetry, prose, painting and musings. Believe me when I tell you that as confident and determined as I might be inclined, I was not prepared for all that I would find.
"Jim is an individual who moves with great confidence though at times may be lacking in needed competence," says Maureen my brutally honest wife and lifelong companion. I believe courage and refinement are products from this challenge and constant guidance. From this life is dicey and spicy.
While I tell stories in a very rough chronology, beginning with boyhood, be certain that I will eventually get to such things as my wedding in 1971 that featured my folk band and fourteen bridesmaids in red pant suits. I sometimes go back and forth in time as that is how memory works, a patchwork of ideas and experiences. By the time that I conclude, we all may all be exhausted from curiosity.
I am a commoner, and my kind is best at struggling. Probably most of we Americans are commoners, people in the middle, motivated by hope to advance our station in life. My grandparents struggled as did my parents. Against the odds, we discovered and created an existence that for many allowed more happiness than sadness.
In a sentence, I just glossed over an intense period of life that includes recovering from wars, going into more wars, nuclear brinksmanship, and the push for equality, the anti-war and peace movement, flower children, rock and roll, etc. Enduring through all of this is a quest for tolerance as that is how I may find peace.
This story recalls many details. Some things grow faint with love and marriage, and eventual childbirth and parenthood. Responsibility becomes a filter and constraint. There are things about which we dreamed that we surely intended to try or to accomplish, though were put aside for more practical needs.
Oh sure, rock and roll came back when my daughter graduated from college and declared that she was going to London to become an artist and rock star. Sometimes our dreams are born again in our offspring.
We installed plush red carpet in our first apartment in Olentangy Village in Columbus Ohio. Our new vacuum cleaner couldn’t handle the plushness as it clogged the sweeper. Maureen suggested a solution. “Honey, why don’t you run out and get a broom?” she asked.
“Surely dear,” I replied.
“Is it going to be red?” she asked as I was leaving.
I pondered. The answer is in the question. The broom must have a red handle. I must listen carefully as the questions will most likely hold the correct responses. This lesson has served me well.
How important is one man's reflection? It could be significant because very few of us share what we are really thinking. Sharing is intimate and private, or it may be open and forthright, and like everything, it is self-regulating and it takes time. For me, living and loving relationships are essential. Our experience is measured in context. Our memories come and go in flashes, thunderstorms of observations, ideas, and perspective.
What is our capacity for change and improvement as individuals? How much elasticity lies within our systems to reach balance between extremes? Humankind is built to withstand an onslaught of various threats and conditions, though we are living organisms who need a reasonable opportunity to adapt. Adaptability determines our capacity to realize robustness from living, I think.”:
I write at NowPublic as YankeeJim, my adopted pen name. YankeeJim was another real person who came from the same part of Ohio as I did and traveled west on a journey that I will describe. In the meantime, check the YouTube video of a biker crossing the American River via YankeeJim’s trail. It is an all-American story.