The way we were

Now I wind up staring at an empty glass                                                                                  Because it’s so easy to say that you’ll forget your past...

Another Valentine’s Day being spent on my own.  And truthfully, that’s pretty much the way I choose to be.  But it weren’t always so.  And it seems there is always something there to remind me when I wasn’t alone.

Delving through my old posts on the Philippines information board I frequent, I came across something I wrote back in August 2009 called “My Dilemma”:

So next month marks an anniversary. One year since my last visit to the PI. You guys with PPD (post Philippines Depression) can imagine how much worse it is when you don’t know when, or if, you will return to paradise.

See, next August I am eligible to retire and can draw a generous (and well earned I might add) government pension. I could live comfortably almost anywhere, but in the PI I could live like a rich man. And that has a certain appeal to me.

What’s the problem then? Well, as the old Elvin Bishop song says “I fooled around and fell in love”. With a Korean woman.

Now, this woman is 93% perfect. She takes care of all my needs in a way that is beyond anything I ever imagined. And I’m a man who likes to be taken care of. She does everything for me down to the smallest detail without complaint. In fact, she tells me it is “her pleasure”. She is an amazing lover and an old fashioned good hearted woman. I go to the bars about three nights a week for darts, and she never complains. She comes along and has actually become a pretty big fan of the game. All my friends think she is great and her family seems to have taken a liking to me as well. When I got sick last year, she was at my side in the hospital 24/7. Hell, to reference another old song, she’s like the gal The Band sang about: “up on cripple creek she sends me/if I spring a leak/she mends me/I don’t have to speak/she defends me/a drunkards dream if I ever did see one…”

Yep, I’d have a hard time finding anyone better for me in this world than her.

So, you may be thinking, “what’s the dilemma?”. The 7% of the GF that is not perfect is that she is extraordinarily jealous. Almost to the point of being insane about it.

And she found my collection of photos from previous trips to the Philippines. She says seeing me with those “young girls” just makes her sick to her stomach. She deleted them all.

Now, even hearing the word Philippines enrages her. And whenever there’s a Filipina in a bar she accuses me of staring at her and tells me “I love Filipino women too much!”.

She accessed my email and found communications with a platonic friend in the PI and went nuts.

If I go to a filipino bar I like here in Seoul she gets pissed.

She checks the messages/call history on my cell phone.

She checks the stamps in my passport when I travel.

She counts the frickin’ money in my wallet to make sure I’m not spending money on others.

In other words, that 7% is getting to be a real pain in the ass.

But damn, she does love me, and you know, there is something to be said for being loved.

But any future I might have with her, means there is no Philippines in my future.

And she is right about one thing–I truly do love the Pinays.

Hence my dilemma. One year out from retirement and I need to be firming up plans. If I stay in Korea with her, it means getting married (will need a visa). If I’m going to the PI to retire, well, I need to be going there and making some decisions.

I’m stuck at 50-50 on the pros and cons. I mean, I could pay someone  in the PI to take care of all those nice things my GF gives me free. But as the Beatles so astutely noted, “Money can’t buy me love”.

I guess it’s a good thing to have choices in life. But it feels pretty fucked up right now.

Well, of course regular readers know that I chose love over the Philippines.  And as it turned out, I chose wrong.  I’m still not really over it and I definitely don’t understand it.  But there is of course no going back.  I can only lament the wasted time.

But as Facebook reminds me today, there were moments of love.  I even made a movie about it, circa 2013.

Painful to watch now.  And for those who say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, I call bullshit.

One thing is for sure, I am bound and determined to never love again.  Don’t need it, don’t want it.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Mem’ries,
Light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures,
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? Could we?
Mem’ries, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember…
The way we were…
The way we were…

Glory days

When I was a freshman in high school I ran on the cross country team.  Back then, the course was two miles long (by the time my kids competed it was 3 miles).  I was not the top runner on the team by far, but my best time of 10.56 minutes was fairly respectable, especially for a 9th grader.  Our star varsity runner was somewhere in the mid-nine minute range.  So, I think it is fair to say I had potential and I did work hard, never missing practice and the like.

So, it was pretty shocking when near the end of the season Coach Hedges told me get a haircut or I was off the team.  The truth of the matter is that my hair was not even that long (certainly not over my ears or in my eyes or anything).  And what I found especially irksome was my hair was every bit as short as the aforementioned star varsity player.  I mentioned that fact to the coach and then I was off the team.  And thus began my rebellious phase.

I mention this now after all these years because I didn’t realize at the time that my Constitutional rights had been violated.   The 7th Circuit Court says a short hair requirement for boys that doesn’t apply to girls is a violation of the equal protection clause and constitutes sex discrimination.

I just figured Coach Hedges was an asshole. Instead, I was a victim of government oppression and didn’t even know it.  No big deal, just one of those bumps along the road of life that cause a change of direction.  But of course, that changes everything.

Hat Tip: Althouse

Slip slidin’ away

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Me on X-country skis in the White Mountains of Arizona, circa 1981.  It’s been 30 years.  That blows me away…

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,

Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold,

Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,

Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten

Long and long ago,

As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall

In a long forgotten snow.

                                                       —Sara Teasdale

Blast from the Past–Walter Lee

In honor of Father’s Day, some snaps of my dad…

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This is from Dad’s prospecting days.  He’d drive the ol’ Bullfrog (Jeep) out into the desert and search for precious minerals.  I do believe that would be a Geiger counter on his lap…

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Back in those days his day job was managing a fast food joint called The Rite Spot.  He also manned the grill and was a master at cooking and flipping dozens of burgers simultaneously.   I guess he had to be because burgers were like a dime each or 12 for a dollar.   Popular hangout for the local teenagers in Westminster, California until the McDonalds opened up directly across the street.

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Dad also always enjoyed doing the yard work.  If he couldn’t find the rake, he’d give a clean sweep with the push broom.

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Evening relaxation was a beer, a smoke, and some Marty Robbins on the record player…

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During the war Dad served in the merchant marine as a 16 year old and later enlisted in the Army…

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And finally, here’s one of Dad (back row, 3rd from left) with his chums in Memphis, Tennessee…
Happy Father’s Day!

Blast from the Past–Ringwraiths

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My first softball team, The Ringwraiths.  I was a fanatic for the game for a dozen years of so, until my travel schedule at work made team sports unrealistic.  I had a nice run though, playing on some championship winning teams in far flung venues from Southern Cal, to Arizona, to Arkansas.  Truth be told, I still miss those glory days…

Of those pictured I can only recall the names of Jim Meehan (66), Rod Headlee (13), Larry Raemakers (6), Doug Price (35) and my brother Keith (22).  I’m wearing #7.  Photo was taken in 1973 or 1974.

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Blast from the Past–Bad Ass

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I reckon this to be sometime in the fall of 1974.  It was during the Barstow to Las Vegas dirt bike race in which my pal Rod Headlee was competing.  This was at a gas stop in some desolate desert burg after the race had started. We were on our way to meet the riders at the finish line in Vegas.  The handsome dude in shades and hat would be me, the guy in the middle with the wild hair is my brother Greg.  The rude guy with his finger extended?  A friend of a friend whose name is lost to history.  I also have no idea who snapped the photo, but it was with my 110 Instamatic Kodak…