Hustle,
More important than talent?

Hustle,
More valuable than being right?

Hustle,
A super usuable skill for leaders?

Hustle.

You guys need to hurry up,

Make some decisions,

Show why we elected you,

Demonstrate some moxy,

Hustle.

I.

Even with COVID
Education never stops
Learning is the way

II.

Life requires effort
All habits require tending
Practice mindfulness

III.

Keep finding nuggets
Even outside of buildings
To learn is to live

It was probably around 1982 when I was in high school. The car I was sitting in was being driven by my driver’s ed partner and she was pretty unsure of how to tame the big block that was in the retired police car donated to my school for our class. We were looking at the cones, that didn’t seem spread out enough for our car to pass through and certainly not with my friend behind the wheel.

I decided to break the rules because starting and stopping the way that we were had lost it’s novelty. I reached over and turned on the radio. Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” played and the car started moving with more confidence. I suppose my partner needed a distraction to keep her foot from mashing the break. We began passing through the cones without any fear. She was doing a great job. All things end, though, and it was all good until the wrestling coach, our instructor, yelled on the walkie-talkie from his ground control tower to turn the radio off.

We went right back to the herky-jerky ride as before.

Tonight, I was sitting at the computer and struggling to come up with ideas. I’m so far gone that I’ve resorted to trying to figure out what is going to happen with the start of school and there is still a month for the most recent plans to be amended. I’ve lost it.

Then, a couple of things happened. First, my wife shared some great stories from her family that were passed on to her by her aunt and uncle. They were new to both of us and we could only smile because they seemed so unbelievable in our lifetimes. It seems that even though we grew up many states apart, it is entirely reasonable to believe that our families have been paralleling each other for a couple of hundred years. Crazy, huh?

The second was “Dirty Laundry” coming through my little JBL speaker. The coincidence of the song, matched with the myths and facts of a family history was too much for me to ignore. My mind is racing and the floodgates will be open for the next couple of days.

Lovely.

Those ancestry sites are cool,
Somewhat impersonal, though,
For it’s in knowing the family
That truth and myth become one.

What of time travel?
Could I have been married to my wife before?
The paper from the 18th century makes it seem possible,
Or at least our families came together then.

What of happenstance?
Could I have grown up with my wife’s relatives,
Chasing horn toads on the rural dust bowl of Granbury
When Nixon was on trial and the lake was just getting started?

What of blood?
The type that is real, making the donor a king,
Making the vampires drool.
Is that the key to cities in Virginia and Texas?

Conversations, that’s what makes families tick,
Learning about the past, sometimes strokes of luck,
Sometimes arranged at the altar,
The happenings even too much for television writers.

Imagine though, the things in your family, like
A Texas football legend losing it all in a basketball game
Becoming a roofer and finding a light in his mid-twenties
And marring a seventeen year old min the oil fields of west Texas.

Whatcha got, the things in your family, like
A young lawyer getting too old to not be married
Being fixed up for good with a younger beauty
Who sunbathed topless well into her eighties.

You don’t got that, but I’m sure the stories are there,
Just get with your peeps and write them down,
Find out the dirt, the joys, and keep the going,
That’s what families are about.

Note: A few weeks ago, I cleaned out a box of photographs. In the mix were photos from way back. Digging them out has unleashed the memories and conversations about our family. I’m loving it!

I’ve grown weary,
Some might call me old,
My daughter did the other day
After we rode sixteen miles and
I changed my shirt in the parking lot
Next to the trail,
All proud of my fitness gains
When she said,
“White chest hairs, you’re old.”

That’s not why I’m weary,
I’ve just grown tired of uncertainty.
We’re open, we’re not, you’re teaching this way,
You’re not, he said, she said, guidance, no guidance.
It’s too much waffling,
Too much dodging,
Way too many chestnuts…see Goggins.
I’m just soooo,
Tired.

When I was a kid, I didn’t think adults knew anything,
They talked about their hard upbringings,
The lessons they had learned,
I thought they were dumb.
Now I’m an old guy, tasked with teaching the yutes,
And I still think the adults are lacking.
I’m not sure where that leaves me
Probably in the old grumpy guy zone,
With wisps of white chest hair.

We walked today,
First, me with my imagination,
Doing math problems in my head
That most would find simple,
But I found a bit difficult
Since the humidity and a snake distracted me.

Later, I went out with my dog,
Out of our neighborhood and he was smiling,
Even trotting a bit, he can be a bit of a show off,
Until we got about half way out
When he realized that this was a proper walk,
Not a stop and stiff every five or six steps.

Either way, the arithmetic folly or the pit bull pull,
I loved being out,
Sticky tropical air spun around with a gathering wind,
Early morning ambitious sun
Followed by the golden hour light.
Walks allow a mind to rest and a soul to sense.

Today, it happened twice.