A Bear, Tim, and Harry

As the joke goes: A bear walks into a bar, places his arms on the counter, and says, “I’d like to …….. order a beer.” The bartender asks, “Why the long paws?”

This is a pun-unpleasantry I’ve read over and over during my years delving into books and magazines attracting my fancy. I love word play.

Granted, there are jokes – like this one – so over-used and worn I’d rather they never be spoken out loud again. Alas, however, I will most likely see it reappear in printed form, or, orally – both irritatingly so. Human nature dictates it. Bad jokes don’t die.

I can explain why this joke has been unbearably attached to my brain lately. Writing has been on pause lately and it’s as irritating to me as hearing a grizzled mammal swing open a tavern door – not that I even know what that sounds like. I don’t drink or frequent watering holes let alone hang out with alcoholic bears that talk.

Life is busy. That’s my excuse and I don’t appreciate it sometimes. Gosh, that sounds so ungrateful, doesn’t it? I’m healthy – save a few mid-fifty issues – and shouldn’t be complaining. My business is hectic with go-here’s and do that’s at odd hours with expenses due a few days before incomes. My legs beg for reclination time above my torso instead of continuously supporting a creaky, cranky back. This is 19/7 with 5 hours melted in for sleep.

At this very moment, I’m sitting in my wind-sheltered van waiting for customers to visit a welcoming food cart. It’s 55-degrees outside. Inside, I’m drinking a peach iced tea … hoping to wash down the rather kind ham and cheese hoagie I hastily purchased from the grocery store earlier. That was my noon breakfast. Life in the food truck fast-lane.

Yesterday was 70-degrees and sunny. Up is down with the weather in late October here in western-Pa. The small crack I must leave open in the door allows a cool breeze to flow in while there’s no sun to be found. Such a contrast from yesterday and the day before when we had even better weather. Close to 80-degrees and incredible skies. The day started out with this:

A soupy mess. I took this picture that morning hoping to write of the fog settling in my brain. A mist of quasi-frustration continuing into today …. a day when I actually have the time to write.

Those of us who love to write, but get off schedule because of life’s more important have to’s, eventually find time to put words down. We have to. Silence can stay silent only so long.

During my few minutes here, I’ve waited on two customers. Folks I didn’t see out of my peripheral vision for a few seconds as a result of this very breaking of my silence. They were very understanding. I blamed my inattention on you, my readers. I had to. It’s because of you – and my days long absence from this wonderful space – awareness was not paid.

… and, of course, that is mild sarcasm topped with a spoonful of thankfulness. No matter the circumstances in life, I am grateful. Yes, busy-ness is so closely tied to business. Life is to be lived out and outlived. We need to get every drop of yum extracted from the years we have.

My 7th grade Geography teacher said it best: “More than the years of your life … is the life in your years”. I don’t know if he came up with that or not, but it stuck. Mr. Hooper … what a guy.

A bear walks into a bar with his friend Tim, the termite. Tim asks “Is the Bar Tender?”. Tim has a friend, Harry the horse. The bartender asks Harry, “Why the long face?” ….Want me to continue?

I can’t. I just can’t. Maybe next time. For now, we’ll hit the pause button. Until we meet again.

… Since Then

It’s been almost two weeks – if not more – since I’ve managed to find the time. Life has been very busy lately. If you only knew how difficult the hidden the moments have been to find. Those wonderful, cherished times to sit down and simply use the muscles in my mind and not the ones tired from over use – with little rest from bending, arching, twisting, and turning. Yes, life is a strange experiment.

A good and great experiment. Don’t mistake my weariness for complaining. My previous two weeks have been filled with excitement as a new chapter opened up. The long awaited bigger, better concession trailer has officially started its journey down the Doug’s Dawgs path after a two year’s argh-full process of torchery. Well, that word may be a bit harsh. Let’s just say if a hurdle needed placing, in my way seemed to be the location. After tripping over the last of these, I pushed my way toward that wonderful tape last week and 85% finished the race … at the very least sputtered to a soft opening with 15% more improvements to go. Today is for reflection and rest. And writing.

Glad to be back.

Also, happy to see not much has changed in the world. With all the goings on in my life, I haven’t seen much around in yours … and by extension, our country. So this morning I felt the need to get caught up on Facebook. Why not, right? If there’s a place where all opinions live and breathe, there it is! Certainly I haven’t the time (or, energy) to click around the tv channels gathering sputtering blather from biased newscasts, so settling into my most comfortable worn leather office chair is preferred. While doing so, this beautiful letter popped up. I’ve seen if before. Somehow, today, it means so much more than ever before to me. To all of us, perhaps.

Maybe I’m just tired from all the extended, tired major muscle groups still clinging to my clothes, or my overly-red eyes are too swollen? … I don’t know; however, when I started to whisper these words to myself during this morning in September, the mist over my eyes began to match the fog beginning to lift off the early lawn outside my office. I am a pianist, musician, sentimental type – excuses meant, of course, but there’s something sweet in George Bush’s words to Bill Clinton. An urging of civility and kindness missing today from the most respected office in America.

This isn’t a post taking sides. I don’t care about politics anymore, really. I care about people. When a human being says, “I wish you well … I wish your family well…”, it means as much to the giver as the receiver. One heart to another. One American to another. One of us passing on politeness and good manners on to another of us. Respect.

Since then, right? 2021 will be twenty-eight years. George Bush died in November of 2018 and shadows of Presidential courtesy still proudly blanket his grave at College Station, Texas. Bill Clinton lives on with a legacy – agree or disagree with any of his attached problems or successes. In regard to the current occupant, he’ll either leave a note to himself on January 20th, 2021 if re-elected, or a newly elected president will most likely find a very stark, empty unwelcoming, no note oval office upon entering. Provided, of course, the Supreme court upholds .. the … oh, wait, I promised no politics.

In ending, I do wish you well. When I walked into MY office this morning, I also felt a sense of wonder and excitement because – after two weeks – I saw an empty white screen once again in front of me. Granted, I’m not the President of the United States. Whew! on that note, and I know you feel that, too! … Go do your thing today and be brave. Accept the words George H.W. gave us and don’t be afraid to be a giver.

If it was good enough for him, it should be for us as well.