Sometimes words fail.

It is at the same time unbelievable and absolutely horrifying to me that I’m even typing this. Obviously it goes without saying it’s not something anyone should ever have to deal with. But they are. In a way we all are.

By They I mean neighbors of ours. They also includes Frank and his classmates. One of Frank’s neighborhood friends and elementary school classmates has been diagnosed with cancer. The fight will be long and exhausting. When we heard we all breathed deep and now secretly hope but… Words just escape me.

This is Lucas.


By We I mean our neighborhood. Lucas is in what we in the neighborhood affectionately call the Sac Gang. A group of kids that roam our neighborhood and our cul-de-sac and our yards in-particular due to a rare East Tennessee characteristic. They’re flat. When our house was finally finished in the fall of 2004 we met Diego, Lucas’ older brother. Lucas would not be born for 5 more years. Diego was part of the original Sac Gang. He’s in high-school now and is a great young man. But Lucas’ Sac crew is bigger and more active. They are running the streets, making up games, and being kids whenever the weather permits.

Frank lights up and drops me like a hot rock when Lucas and the Sac Gang comes rolling through. Running for hours on end, using sticks as light sabers, and playing games unknown to me, apparently is much more fun than hanging with dad. Lucas is a big reason Frank gets to run with the Sac Gang.

We haven’t told Frank yet. Not really sure how to. Sometimes words fail.

If you know me at all you know what’s coming. Click the link. Do what you can.

Lucas’ Fight Against Child Cancer

Preciate ya.


One Year Gone: If I could make it to 30.



A rare mid-week post for me. I’m usually way too tired or too busy for posts during the week. Hell I can barely get one out on the weekend. But today is different. Today, March 1st, is one year gone.

When I was a kid I remember contemplating death and how that would be when someone I knew passed away. When my grandmother, my mom’s mom, died I think I was 11 or 12. I remember thinking what my mother must be going through. But she was older, in her 50s, so it couldn’t be that bad. I mean fear and all that was supposed to go away when you’re an adult.

So I figured if I could make it to 30 before my parents died I wouldn’t be afraid. I might still be sad but I could survive sad. It was the fear that gripped me. For some reason or another I got it in my head that 30 years of age was the line of demarcation. No clue why, other than I was 12 and that seemed like a long way off. But yeah, make it to 30 and life without my parents won’t be so scary.

Well I was lucky. I was 47 1/2 when my father died last year. A year ago today as a matter of fact. And my mom is still a spry 82. So I’m doubly lucky in that regard. But I was wrong in another.

Apparently there is no age a person can reach, no level of maturity, no amount of worldly experience that can assuage the fear of losing a parent. The sadness is strong as I figured it would be. But the fear of it all is there too. Fear of what? I don’t know. I guess if I did know I wouldn’t be afraid of it. What’s the old saying, I’m not afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of what’s in it.

But there was one thing I never counted on when I was morbidly calculating all this way back when I was 12. Memories. It never dawned on me how vivid my memories of my father would become. Even more remarkable, the farther along I get from the day he died the more vivid the memories become and the more impact they have on me.

Francis John and Francis Allen. Two Franks 80yrs apart.

Francis John and Francis Allen. Two Franks 80yrs apart.

When I was young I would fight tears, fight them hard. Now, as a softened 48 year old retiree with two kids, a good plot from Doc McStuffins can send me over the edge. So even though these vivid memories get the waterworks started, it’s good. It’s good. As it turns out this particular weirdness runs in the family.

Frank has been doing some mortal calculations on his own. He has figured out that when he’s 20 years old I’ll turn 62 a few months later. I know what he’s doing. What I don’t know is what age has he picked out as his line of demarcation. What age has he figured it will be safe for him to deal with my passing. I won’t ask him and I won’t tell him it’s folly.

That’s for his own piece piece of mind right now. And I’m absolutely not going to attempt to reassure him. The minute I tell Frank not to worry cause I’ll be around for a long time, I’ll drop deader than a hammer the next day. That’s an absolute, like the firmness of the earth.

Not much I can do about it anyway besides get regular check ups and eat better (working on it), and give up diet coke (done, yes I have gone cold turkey on that magic elixir).

Poolin and coolin!

Poolin and coolin!

Most of all, be sure he has memories. Just like my dad did for me.