Us

 

In my world, multi-tasking is necessary evil, but let’s not forget that it’s still evil. I used to think something was wrong with me when I had trouble jumping from one project to another. If I have ten pots on the stove, most of them will turn out “okay”, you know what I mean? But if I have one or two…they usually turn out great. That’s why I only paid attention to about two subjects in school…those ones usually turned out great, heh.

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A few people called me names like lazy or unmotivated. One teacher in a particularly evil class thought comparing me to my older, high achieving brother would help get me interested in his class. Every. Day. In order to cope, I ignored that teacher for the rest of the year, accepting a lower grade so he would just leave me alone. Thankfully, most of my feelings about being different were assuaged when I became a writer. We study personalities, psychology, and culture in order to write accurately and as many of us will tell you, finding out how many ways people are wired is like holding a homemade chocolate cake in your hands—it all suddenly makes sense.

Just to be clear how unwise it is to pressure people to fit in the same mold, here’s an illustration: In one of my classes, we were told if we didn’t achieve higher rankings in the subjects we struggled with, we’d be scrubbing toilets at McDonald’s. I have two things to say to that.
1. I’m not, even after burning a certain textbook from a certain class.
2. Why do we continuously demean the blue collar class with comments like that when we know we couldn’t survive without them?

Maybe lessons from unwise leaders are the rocks in the hands of protesters—I’m not talking about the peaceful protests about civil rights—I’m talking about protesting issues and/or methods that are less normal—things that seem unjust to those who have never seen the beauty of a homemade chocolate cake. We know this type of protest when it does nothing but divide people further.
These are people who think those two odd pots on the end of the stove are useless, never fully tasting them to see how much they could complete a meal.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
 Matthew 5:9

 

Traveling with the Birds

Childhood summers were often spent with my grandparents, touring the roads of the western United States. Sometimes my brothers joined us and away we went, walking through the Redwood forest, looking for Ewoks and Storm Troopers; playing in the endless ocean or roasting marshmallows to the tune of crickets and busy highways that embraced America.

 

It was on these youthful adventures where bluegrass/gospel music rooted inside, becoming threads of fond memories. I might have made fun of that genre of music 100_0093back on the playground where everything was separated by “cool” and “uncool”, but inside, I was reliving the inner slideshow back by the campfire, listening to my grandparents harmonize their way into hearts of their grandchildren.

 

America. I can still smell the ocean where I first saw starfish, watching them for hours. I visited swap meets where people sold cool stuff like ballet shoes, antiques and books. And, of course, there was McDonalds. “The steering wheel automatically turns into McDonalds, no matter how tightly I hold it”, my Grandpa would say. A giant grin would creep across his face as he spoiled us with endless boxes of chicken nuggets with honey mustard sauce; a child’s gourmet meal.

 

One memory made when dining under the golden arches was the meeting of the Birds. Not the tweeting kind, but those that shared the same surname as my Grandparents. By the time we had finished our Egg McMuffins, and absorbed the smell of coffee into our clothes, we were invited to park the motor home in any Bird driveway available on our travels. After all, if we went back far enough, we could be related. And what says family like those named after the creatures that travel freely and sing love songs to America?

Back home, my brothers and I would enjoy the Arizona sunsets once again on My Grandparents front porch, shelling pecans and getting bit by mosquitoes before they became harbingers of this or that disease.

 

My grandparents may make their way into the pages of my book, singing their love of our country into the restless hearts of my characters. If you read about Earl and Geneva, sit down and enjoy the legacy they leave. They will be singing, “I’ll fly away” and watching a family in search of what they already know: Faith in America.