Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Henry Feeling

Dear Henry:

How old were you in this picture then?  6?  White hair from your Dad and his Grandfather.  Long arms and legs from somewhere.  And a brain that, mercifully for you,.was never overly influenced by me.

You don't get me.  I know.  That's cool.  You don't have to.  For example, you were disturbed by the story of me throwing the door-to-door salesman off my porch a month or so ago.  We all have different gifts, Hen.  That sort of thing works for me.

Flashback: I got the call about your arrival around 11 pm the night before or so as I recall. I'm certain that your Mom can provide the details in acute detail.  Moms, they do that.  Guys, we just show up.

Anyway, I threw stuff in a bag and headed for Conway.  I called Uncle John en route and said, "Here we go."

I let myself in your house.  Well, it wasn't your house yet.  You were en route to the hospital.  Anyway, the next day your brother Eli asked me over breakfast how I got in the house without him knowing anything about it.

" I'm good at stuff like this E."

He nodded as he crunched the cereal that I had fixed for him.  No change in expression.  True Story.

Flashback # 2:  There you were.  Laying there on your Mom's body.  10 minutes into the world you were.  You were hungry.  "Tock, tock, tock," your empty bird mouth went.  Eli was there.  He was scared.  Your Mom took his hand.  I pulled him to me.  "This is how we look when we are born," me being the expert that I was and still am about these matters.

And here you today are as tall as me although in my my mind's eye you're still the little boy in the picture above.  Going off to Fayetteville to get your start in the world.  Wow.

You didn't ask for advice.  But here it comes anyway.

The most important lesson about money I learned was from Uncle Howard who told me when my father died that "You have to pay yourself first."  Which means putting $ away as soon as you earn your first check.  It ain't high finance.  And I'm hardly a wealthy man.  But it's worked out for me.

Here's another thing.  Money is important but you can't purchase your self-esteem.  Really you can't.

My buddy Pat tells young folks that if you treat college as seriously as you treat a job you will be OK.  That makes sense to me although neither he nor I actually did that.

This just occurred to me.  You should avoid the temptation to try to make God do what the Bible says.  The Good Book contains much wisdom and it will profit you to continue to study it.  But it will also profit you to remember that it doesn't say a damn thing about financial planning, natural science or who you should vote for.

I could go on and on.  You know that.  It's part of my discrete charm.

But I won't.  You will have to figure out most of this stuff on your own.  Especially when it comes to women.  For God's sake don't ask me.

You're a good Methodist kid.  So let's end this sermon with some words of wisdom that are commonly attributed to John Wesley although there is no evidence that he actually wrote them.  Oh.  Another bit of advice.  History sometimes lies like that.  Check that.  History lies like hell. Especially on the Internet.  When I practiced law I used to say that facts are troublesome things.  Always have a command of your facts.  So few people do anymore.  Really.  Facts are not what feel right to you.  Facts are, well, empirically provable shit that really happened.

Anyway, you would do well to commend the words that Mr. Wesley should have said to your memory.

"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."

Do all the good you can, Hen.  That seems to be a pretty good prescription for life.  If you do all the good you can you will be less likely to feel the need to purchase your self-esteem.  See above about the relative importance of money to the grand scheme.

You don't get me, Son.  That's OK.  But you will always know where to find me.

Congratulations. I am so proud of you.


Uncle Paul

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