“I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”  – Oscar Wilde

Cue this music up before reading further:

And so here we are at the end of another year…  Tomorrow night’s party scene is still up for grabs, we haven’t booked any seats at any shows, so the what have you is mightily up in the air.  New Year’s Eve…  and standing on the doorstep to another whole DIFF decade.  As my dad would say:  after we figured we’d lived through the war we started watching our step a bit more in detail.

Well I’m not in where the bullets are flying and the bombs are going off, but I’m out here alone, my 3 older brothers are dead, my 3 younger ones missing.  I would have liked to have spent at least an hour with them over the holiday season but none of that came to pass.  Instead I’m alone here in my crib.

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Bright eyed and bushy tailed: but a castle aint no home when you’re always in it alone.

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I always wonder where they are: in heaven or in hell.  I’m not a christian like them so I don’t know nothing much about it.  All I know is I joined the resistance when I was age 13 and I’d like to entertain them here at my place, all these years later.

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They always said I’d likely go far, after we were reintroduced, all of us, in our very early 20’s or late teens, I was only 18 at the time and hadn’t seen any of them since 1969, or was it 1971?  All I know is when I saw them again, I knew I didn’t want to be like them.  I’d been away far too long and after sitting with them, I knew I’d likely never be going back.  Little did I know, at that time, they were all trauma survivors with this thing they call in mod times:  PTSD.  They didn’t get the special jungle training that I got and they didn’t have a Major like I had.

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I’ve sat here alone for quite some time, wondering about that shack in the woods, back on the blacker side of the rez, back in the mid to late 60’s.  I know we had a wood stove in there because I remember hauling wood back to the house and I have this vague memory of my mom standing there with an arm load of poplar, cut yes, but not split.  When was my dad planning on doing that?

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In the past decade I’ve been there myself, on my own paradise on the range: hauling wood, poplar too, but doing it the old fashioned way, bringing it out one load at time, using a wheelbarrow, and getting a pretty decent work out along the way.  Of course the road out of the back woods was a 2% decline back to the house, so it was easy rolling out those 12 cords.

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In mod times, like here and now, I wonder, how warm those rooms could have been at night, back in 68: who was up tending the fire?  If memory serves, the upstairs had 2 little bedrooms with old mattresses that were falling apart and coming undone and who knows what kind of hell went on up there…  I was going to ask my older brother about it.  I came up with the idea in a July, a few days later he fell over dead and took the stories with him. He’s been dead now, has it been 5 years?

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When I was in university ages ago, an old Indian man sat us down and he said you boys have nothing to worry about right now, but if you have the good fortune of getting as old as me, down the road in those days you’ll be visited by many an old memory, things you’d left alone up until now, as an old man.  I silently and invisibly scoffed at the idea, I was only 22 at the time.  Pretty soon an Anishnabe Kwe walked in and she gave us the Sweetgrass teaching.  She was working on a braid and explaining things to us and she looked at me and said:  if you reach the age you’ll find yourself going through some strange times and maybe seeing some strange things, either here or over there.  Once again I, to myself, scoffed at the idea and I remember it well:  It won’t happen to me.  That is what I said, back when I was 22, when I was as terrible as an army poised for battle.

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But here we are, like they said, at that time, the empty nest looming like never before.  And all of the brothers now long gone.  I have no idea where the survivors are, how they’re doing, what is going on south of us.  South of me.  There is no “us” anymore.

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Me too, chief.  We’re starting to get there!  I see young whippersnappers all the time and I know I am no longer them!  No middle age either!  Nope.  We’re off to another place, if all goes well, with a wee spot of wisdom or a splash of education, maybe we can get through this.  My dad has been gone a long time but I sure do hear his voice these days, telling me what to watch out for, to watch my step, and above all, what to be thankful for.

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I’m not much of a Christmas person, like I said, I’m not a christian, and I don’t buy into how they sell it: that long ago story from overseas.  It makes for a great cash grab yes, in these mod times, but I’d rather give them the cash than to some corporate who ever and so that is what we do.  I’ve never been one for standing in a line over there at the mall.

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Xmas eve has come and gone.  Xmas day is here and been.  Boxing Day I was in the car, alone, and coming back to here.  And through those days I never heard from any of them.  The survivors I mean.

We haven’t booked any seats at any shows for tomorrow night but I hear it and see it all around:  2020:  The Roaring Twenties!  I guess they are.  And they surely were!  I don’t plan on wandering around these empty rooms on such a night, so if you don’t hear from me between now and then:  Best wishes and I hope you have a happy new year, and I hope this time, 12 months from now, we’ll be sharing a few more stories!