What I’m Looking For – Line 3

Only to be with you

The Wenatchee Seventh Day Adventist Church was pink. I’m sure the original name for the color was “rose” or “soft magenta” or somesuch; but let us be frank, it was pink. Not the outside of the church, which was painted a soft cream color that tended more towards yellow in the baking central Washington summer sun, but the sanctuary itself: the carpets, the fabric of the pew cushions, the tint in the wall color – all pink.

I know that it was the first church I was ever in. It was the sanctuary where I was dedicated in the summer of 1976. And it is the place where all of my early memories of church were made. It is also the proto-typical image I have when I think “church”…right down to the pink pews.

And when holidays would come, my entire family would gather in this church, practically filling the right-hand side with Knutsons and Brodys, Millers and Pershalls, Rogers and Peets. We’d listen to Uncle Charlie give the sermon, sing hymns off-key (because singing didn’t seem to be “our gift” by and large) and then join together in the Fellowship Hall for potluck and stories; followed by a chance for all the cousins to get our church clothes dirty playing on the school playground next door as the afternoon would fade into evening while the grownups talked and talked and talked.

Church was family. It was a holiday every weekend. It was sitting on aunt Pat’s lap through the sermon, even though she had two boys of her own. It was singing hymns with gusto with “uncle” Bob Brody (who WAS given the gift of song) until we were hoarse and spent and ready to nap under the pew. It was “here is the church, here is the steeple, open up the doors, and see all the people!” (with requisite hand motions and finger wiggling) while aunts and cousins laughed softly and smiled at all the kids gathered like chicks between patient mother hens.

Church was where I learned “Jesus Loves Me” and “Amazing Grace” and that true grace is loving everybody because Jesus loves them, so we should too. No exceptions.

Church was where cousin Jeff gave me his “wheat thin” communion cracker because I was sad that I didn’t get a tiny glass of grape juice and “he didn’t mind sharing” with a precocious little cousin on the brink of tears from being left out. The lesson I carried with me for years and years was that communion was a gift, and gifts are shared with love and without reservation.

For me, church was family, and love, and something to look forward to; and pink.

[Word Count: 451]

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What I’m Looking For – Line 2

I have run through the fields

The light was filtering down through the leaves and creating the most incredible patterns on the grass between the rows of apple trees in the orchard. Row after row of trees, and passing between them was like moving between the columns of some great arboreal cathedral. Each one a long sanctuary of light and scent and breeze.

I was six, and I knew that I could run forever and never reach the end of these rows of trees. I couldn’t see the end, I didn’t even know if there was an end. They went on beyond eyesight, and sound, and even time.

If I went to my left far enough, across the rows of trees instead of down them, I could find the cliff. The great edge of the world. Well, at least to my mind anyway. There, where the Columbia River had carved a great scar into the very foundation of the world, I could look out across the valley and see the cliff on the other side; and beyond it, an orchard up on it’s high ridge exactly like the one I was standing in. Like some kind of parallel world separated by thousands of feet of empty space.

I turned back towards the farmhouse up the rows of trees above me, spread my arms out wide, and ran. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, my body leaning into the wind, the air rushing past my ears and flowing between my outstretched fingers.

And then I crashed, giggling and deliriously happy, into a patch of tall grass and last autumn’s leaves.

“Nicky, what on earth are you doing?” asked my cousin from the seat of his motorcycle.

“I’m catching sunbeams!” I squealed in reply, still giggling more than breathing.

“Well come over here and I’ll give you a ride. We’ll catch them faster this way.”

And we did.

[Word Count: 320]

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What I’m Looking For – Line 1

I have climbed highest mountains

We’d been hiking for five hours. Well, “hiking” is a rather serious understatement. Gaining more than four thousand feet over five miles of distance (five miles as the crow flies, NOT as trail winds, believe me) implied more than a simple hike. As did the half mile wide rockslide field littered with boulders larger than the SUV that brought us to base camp, the two serious thickets that could have hidden an army of mountain lions or bigfoot or an entire lost civilization including pyramids, or the three times we crossed the creek where there might have been something that passed for a crossing back when the world was in black-and-white and dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

They didn’t call this the Frank Church WILDERNESS Area for nothing.  This was the boonies.  Through the heart of the Sawtooth Range of the Rocky Mountains and out on it’s uninhabited back porch.  The only things that got here on purpose were Bears (according to the warning signs at the trail head), big horn sheep, mountain lions, and tenderfoots up from Boise for a weekend camping excursion with a topographical map and “a neat idea” to find that little unnamed lake where the creek through our favorite campground started.

Guess which ones we were.

What you find at the top of the world…

In Defense of the March Hare

This is the second of my “Things I Like” posts and I’ll admit that the topic isn’t something I’ve always been comfortable with.  Let me go on record as saying that I’m a fan of Playboy magazine.  Specifically, Playboy magazine from before about 1975.  I was a subscriber in the mid-to-late 90’s and I have nothing against the more recent generation of the publication, but I vastly prefer the era before airbrushing, cosmetic surgery and full frontal nudity.  But my preference actually has very little to do with the photos and a lot to do with the fiction, the interviews and the journalism that defeated McCarthyism and ushered in a new era where adults took control of their own pursuit of personal, and cultural, pleasure.

A couple of things make it uncomfortable for me to talk about Playboy magazine:

First, I grew up in a conservative world with a lot of focus on “moral values” and “pure thoughts” being pushed pretty much from kindergarten until I graduated from high-school and entered the real world.  Any of the secular things that might have been seen as salacious or risqué were not only prohibited, they were generally treated as though they didn’t exist at all.  I doubt I had an educator or pastor from K through 12 who would admit to having ever seen a movie in a theater, as “theaters were the devil’s playground” according to Ellen White.

Second, I consider myself a feminist.  An actual, “equality for the sexes” true believer.  While I accept that there are some (physical) activities that are inherently more well suited for the average member of a particular gender’s physical build, muscle mass, and bone density; I’ve met women who could do any physical job a man could do including roughneck, work cattle, shoot things, and play american football.

More about feminism, porn and why 1975 was “The year of the bush”…

Things I Like

Recently I’ve been writing a lot in two categories:

  1. Emails, whitepapers, SQL and Perl for my “day job” for about 12 hours a day.  Now that the other Core Technical Resource has left our group, I’m the Lone Ranger, and the Lone Ranger is BUSY.
  2. Ten chapters of a new “post-steampunk-proto-rocket-age” novel.  I’ve actually rewritten and re-plotted and redone these chapters 2-3 times.  I hope to get them out to my pre-readers later this week.  We’ll see. There will be more details about this over on serialstoryteller.com in the coming days as I start to ramp that up again.

What I haven’t been writing is a lot of blog posts.  Ok, any blog posts.  Or comments.  Or even very many tweets. You know you’re busy when you’re too busy to tweet…It’s funny how that sentence works equally well if you substitute “lazy” for “busy” as the verb pair.

I spent today re-reading every blog post I’ve ever written.  Both for missedher and deadcharming as well as everything I’ve written here.  A lot of my stuff for here kinda sucks.  I used to write because I had something to say about myself.  Sort of a review and analysis.  Then I became afraid of analysis and I stopped writing self review.  Then, what I was writing got so bland that I stopped writing all together.

I actually started this blog to be a sort of family story/essay collection.  Divided up into real chapters and essentially ready to be some sort of family record of tales I’d heard as a kid and always wanted to tell about the people and places I’d come from.  A record of things genetic and environmental.  That’s actually why I picked “my bad pants” as a title.  I spoke to exactly the kind of stories my family tells, stories that are as much about who we come from as where we come from.  As much about the genes I come from as the jeans I wear, and about the shoes I try to fill and the miles I’ve walked in them.

More about Writing, Movies, and the prophecies of Nora Ephron…