Sunday, January 19, 2020

My Sunday Feeling

The "holidays" are over.  School has cranked back up.  The last quarterly taxes for 2019 have been paid.  

I praise God for all of this.  Time to get on with the new year.  

I don't really know what that means exactly because I don't typically make resolutions for the new year.  Weak vessel that I am, I know that I wouldn't keep many if I did.  Why set myself up for failure right from the get-go?

But I do have some intentions for the new year.  "Intentions" are little more than hopes. And hopes get routinely dashed sometimes for reasons that have nothing to do with the indiscipline of the intender.  So I got an out.  

Anyway, here are some of my intentions.  Not that you asked.  

It is my intention to take more pictures this year.  And I plan to start when Oaklawn Park cranks back up in a couple of weeks.  Hot Springs is an aging madam of a town.  It's as seedy as all get out in places and that makes for interesting photography.  And you can't beat being among the railbirds if you need to see a cross section of what passes for humanity.  I'm also going to sneak off to Shiloh Battlefield in the spring.  It's just the other side of Memphis and it's way heavy.  

It is my intention to get back in shape.  The last year has been a blur to tell you the truth.  But the Deacon and I seem to have a routine down now.  Everything is no longer totally new.   Now is as good a time as any to get back into an exercise routine.  And golf is not exercise other than an exercise in futility.

Further in that regard, it is my intention to start playing guitar again.  I tried to stick with it after my friend and teacher Lucas Murray left for bigger and better things in the Big Apple.  But what with planning a wedding, looking at houses,ponying up money, fixing my old house up for sale and nailing down logistics there was just no time to work on music.  Or anything else to speak of.

Come to think of it, is my intention never to go through anything like the Spring and Summer of 2018 again.  

It is my intention to be a better vegan cook.  I've tried my hand at some things, mainly so the Deacon won't have to cook after her meetings and/or school stuff.  So far it hasn't been bad although nothing as good as what she cranks out on a routine basis.  Having said that I made a vegan tortilla soup the other night that was pretty damn good.  I could eat that every week.  And most likely will.  

It is my intention to actually familiarize myself with the Probate Code since I seem to be doing, well, probate work.  So far so good.  Some guys are "put it together" lawyers.  I am a "take it apart' kind of lawyer and I have been associated in on cases where I have been required to take stuff apart.  Mercifully, probate is sufficiently like bankruptcy in that I could intuit my way around it with adult supervision from guys who are competent in the field.  But God forbid I ever have to give estate planning advice.  At least at my stage of development right now.

Speaking of which, it is my intention to update the Last Will and Testament I wrote 20 years ago.  I mean, my God.  I have a wife.  And stepchildren.  And assets and stuff. Things that were inconceivable back in those halcyon days of yesteryear when I had maybe 3 grand available post-mortem. That and the bequest I made in my earlier Will to "Sam's Roundup Lounge" in the French Quarter (the one with a rig ax stuck in the bar) would likely be considered unseemly for a gentleman of my age and station.  Need to rewrite.  

It is my intention to keep a close eye on whatever the hell it is the Methodists wind up doing to ourselves in May.  It may be time to expose my basic cynicism to other belief systems.  The former Senior Pastor at my church once told a Baptist preacher buddy of ours that I would turn Orthodox Druid before I ever became a Baptist.  So what the hell?  Why not give the Orthodox Druids a look?  They couldn't be any more dysfunctional. 

It is my intention to avoid crazy people.  Or continue that practice I should say.  I have avoided crazy for at least the last ten or eleven years.  Indeed the Deacon is one of the sanest people I know.  People that have known me for a long time don't know whether to attribute her presence in my life to a stroke of luck on my part or to a lack of sense on hers.  I'm not going to worry my pretty little head about it as is I refuse to get drawn into theological discussions.  Suffice it to say I lucked out for once.  In any event, people that are feet-in-the-air nuts, while not without their discrete charms, are more trouble than they are worth at this point in my walk on this Earth.  

It is my intention to avoid Valentine's Day.  Yeah. I know. Good luck.  

And it is my very strong intention to avoid social media and all of the incessant emails during this election year.  In fact, my goal will be to limit my iPhone and iPad use to once an hour.  If possible.  Things are going to be exceedingly crazy this year.  And, like I said, I want to avoid crazy.

That's all I can think of for now.  I know that I will be doing to good to keep a third of these intentions.  But that's OK.

We all know what the road to hell is paved with.  

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday, January 05, 2020

My Sunday Feeling

One of the most gratifying, if not the most gratifying, aspect of being an occasional teacher is hearing from the guys that have endured me in the past.  D was one of my "History Boys" from American History for Juniors.  D sent me a message out of the blue a month or so ago.  He said that he was thinking about law school and wanted to get some lunch and bounce some stuff off of me.   I loved those guys.  Well, most of them.  D was one of my good ones.  

I told him I would be happy to discuss law school with him.  I actually felt an obligation to do so.  After all, we're talking law school. There's a soul in the balance.

"Can you believe that I'm a junior in college?" he said, shaking his head as we walked to the restaurant. "And that we're in a new decade."

" And 3 days into it we have tossed a missile into Iraq killing the #2 guy in the government of Iran. And the United Methodist Church has announced it is splitting up. That's a lot of action for 3 days," I replied in my typically wise and pedantic fashion dispensing perspective when none has been asked for..

This deal with the Methodists has been looming for 20 years easy.  The former Senior Pastor at my church predicted a schism 15 years ago over lunch.  I thought that he was exaggerating.  To my mind the word "schism" connotes standing in the snow while nailing stuff to the door of a church or executing an Archbishop or something.  

I guess technically schisms are what Baptist churches have always done whenever half of First Baptist leaves to form Second Baptist. (You ever notice that there are no Third Baptist Churches? Or Third But Who's Counting Baptist Churches?)   They just never referred to it in those terms.  I guess I deluded myself into thinking that the Methodists weren't capable of something that, well, unpleasant.  Besides, Frank Zappa once said that WWIII would never start in Los Angeles because "there's too much real estate involved."  Same deal with the Methodists.  I mean, who would wind up with the Perkins School of Theology? And that's just one example.  

I guess we are fixing to find out.

I have never been anything but a Methodist in my entire life. I was baptized in the Mabelvale United Methodist Church along with my parents and brothers.  Even my Baptist Mom.  I attended a Methodist college.  My father checked out my Senior year at Hendrix.  If it weren't for the Methodist Student Loan Program I couldn't have paid for law school.  I got married in Greene Chapel at Hendrix.  To a Deacon in the United Methodist Church.

You get my drift.

So why are the Wesleyans splitting the sheets?  Over the status of folks that engage in what the Book of Discipline inanely refers to as "the practice of homosexuality."  Basically.  As I appreciate it, it's a little more complicated than that if no reason other than the fact that Methodists can't do anything except by committee which takes awhile.  But it's not much more complicated than that as a matter of etiology.  

One of my more theologically inclined Catholic friends is watching all of this with interest.  His message today was " My condolences, friend.  Divorce is hard, even if both parties deem it the only positive step."

There's no doubt about that.  And there's also no doubt that the old Methodist church that pretty much raised me my whole life, the one in which reason and doing "all the good you can" prevailed, the one that married me and buried my parents, stands an outside chance of being no more. Or at least has been gravely wounded.  That's hard and that's sad.  

And so I don't know what I'm going to do. As far as I can glean from what little I've read, the "conservatives"-conservative schismatics, right?- get to leave and form their own club along with a parting gift of 25 million bucks.  

Fine with me.  Trust me on this one. Their music is really gonna suck. 

The final vote on who lands where and who gets what isn't scheduled until May or so. So there's plenty of time to get this situation wrapped around the axle even worse than it is. It's almost enough to put a fellow off religion.  

D and I had a good talk over lunch.  He said that he got together with some of the other History Boys while he was in town this Christmas.  They pretty much viewed the highlight of my time with them to be the entire day I spent on Aaron Burr. Hey, you got to admire anybody that almost got away with fixing a Presidential election, survived a duel and tried to take over the State of Louisiana.   As for myself I am partial to the time I sang the "Star Spangled Banner" in class using the original dirty (for those times) text.  

The History Boys' parents sure got their tuition money's worth with me, huh?

D will be fine.  He only knows what he knows.  And he knows that he doesn't know much.  Which is pretty good insight for any young person starting out.

As we left I told him that I hoped that the next decade finds him happily practicing law.  Or whatever he winds up doing.  And I hope that I'm still around to see how he and all of the History Boys turn out.  

"I just hope there is another decade," he said.

"That's all you can do," I said.

His face betrayed no expression as he held up his crossed fingers.

"How's that?" he asked.

"I'll take it. Planning is overrated."

After all, we haven't gotten a solid week behind us in this new decade and the United States has whacked a member of a foreign government while the Methodists whacked themselves.

What the hell. I'm keeping mine crossed too.