Archive for the ‘Milemarkers’ category

Words of Endearment…

WORDS… it is said, have launched ships, made and brought down nations and have inspired all, from kings to the common man. They are the currency of communication. As the old saw says, “Clothes make the man.”, similarly words make the character of any person. For how we speak is more important that what we speak. Because what we speak is constructed of the How.

In my life words are a most important commodity. They are, after all one part of my biotope of creativity. I do enjoy creating imagery with the combination of words.  Thus, there are sources of words which are especially important … even dear to me.

My family is a source of such words.  My wife is my dearest friend and most invested colleague in life. She and I also share in the delights of being permanent partners in – post-parenting – for a fabulously wonderful young man.  His offspring are the combination of his efforts and the woman whom he married and has become his best friend and colleague and our daughter. From their committed friendship have sprung two (thus far) children; the apples of all our eyes.  Those two darling offspring are our most treasured treasures.  They are Brooklyn and Wyatt.BBW or, Before Brooklyn ‘n Wyatt, there were many words, along with their connected moments, for which my wife and I consider as most treasured moments.

Such things as the first ‘I love you’; and the “Yes!” to an engagement request; and the “I do.” promissory of a life-long commitment of love and devotion.  Then as parents, the first words of our son, “Mommy”, “Daddy”.

To a lessor extent for us – but monumental to both sets for grandparents – hearing his first terms of ‘grand’ applied to them and the follow-up whimsies he sent forth.  As he grew and expressed his mind; even in the times of disagreement; we saw in his words, the character of the man he would become.

The vocabulary he grew up with was not tainted in words that bring embarrassment and shame. But, rather with words that uplift, encourage and speak to a higher focus.  He has, in life thus far, mirrored the pictures painted by those words.

The pleasure we as parents derive from this, flows in an unspoken, yet not wordless, vocabulary of love and respect.  For a parent, it truly – doesn’t get any better than this! Over the past 8 1/2 years – the time since Brooklyn came on the scene – my wife and I have been adding an entire lexicon of words we use to bring smiles, tears, warm-fuzzies, and moments of pure joy to our lives. Then 2 1/2 years later, our family increased by one, when Master Wyatt came along.  He has been a remarkably wonderful addition; both to life and the now expanding B&W Lexicon.

Utterly astounding, it is, how a simple phrase such as, “That’s not right!”; or a word like “Grandpa?”; can usher in both a concrete point of how to live a treasured life, or just warm the cockles of the heart. All the while bringing a smile – that heartily competes with the brightest of sunrises – on our faces.  But it happens: daily!

Our B & W Lexicon of Endearing Words and Phrases is filling up with such treasures as:

  • “Oh Grandpa…”
  • “One time…”
  • “I do!”
  • “Will it hurt you?”
  • “She’s over me.”
  • “I don’t like cauliflower!”
  • “Keep it in your mind.”
  • “Are you pulling my leg?”
  • “It’s just my ‘magination’.”

With many more to come.

To you, the reader, there is little emotion stirred from the list above – unless you have a direct connection of your own.  For me however, it’s a world of metaphor. Each word and phrase telling an entire story.  One which each time I see – I am taken back-in-time to the moment the memory was made.  This is the power of words.  Ad a series of musical notes to the mix and the memory is encased in neural concrete.

The name of our granddaughter, Brooklyn, for me conjures an entire book; literally. The story came to mind the minute I heard what her name would be. It has nothing to do with an urban landscape, nor the bridge so associated.

The scenic memory takes root in the first five letters of her beautiful name: BROOK.  As an avid fly-fisher, I am also a lover of the colder water fish known to the fraternity of trout lovers as (Salvelinus fontinalis). Or more commonly known as the Brook Trout. Not actually a trout, but a member of the char family, the brook trout is to the cold water fishes, what the wood duck is to waterfowl: shear unadulterated beauty.  A magnificent array of color and beauty. My granddaughter is well named.

Within a few days of Brooklyn’s birth I began fantasizing non-stop about a time in the not-too-distant future, when she would begin asking me to take her fishing; to teach her to fly-fish; and the days upon days of joy and excitement the two of us would share in pursuit of the finer, more artistic part of the wonderful event called fly-fishing.

My fantasy melded into the story of a little girl’s journey along a stream in which a little brook trout emerges from it’s egg sack learning to fend for itself; growing into a young parr and making it’s way in the watery world of the stream, regularly visited by the little girl and her family.

The opening scene has the little girl riding in her car seat, along the winding road that parallels the mountain stream in which the little brook trout has just emerged.  As the family car passes over the bridge spanning the soon-to-be-home of the tiny trout, the little girl; unable yet to speak or know the world about her, sees the colors of the newly emerged leaves and the light as it gently filters down from the blue sky above and she smiles.  She has no idea why, but a feeling of comfort, warmth, belonging and home come over her.  She’s far too young to understand any of this beyond the sense of comfort and it makes her smile.  Interestingly, this same feeling washes over her every time their family car passes over this bridge. No other. Just this bridge.

Three years later as she and her daddy walk along the stream, just down from the bridge, the fly her daddy had just dropped into a feeding lane vanishes. A few minutes later, the little girl and the now 3 year old brook trout meet.  Immediately she falls in love with the brook trout; she wants to take it home. Her daddy tells her about the value of being selective and letting the trout go back to the water and live; to make more trout and maybe she’ll visit again by taking another of daddy’s flies. The trout, knowing nothing of love, but a lot about fear of predators, does not – when looking at the little human – feel the fear she has of the warm thing gripping her.  The moment is brief, but forever in the minds of both entities.

The story continues to tell the interaction of the brook trout and the little girl, culminating in the day, 3 years later, when the little girl catches the little brook trout and the little girl must make her first life and death decision.  You will have to read the book (and I will have to finish writing it) to find out the answer.

All of this washed over me -again and again – like an ocean wave.  Each time bringing in more information, idea and energy. Somehow, I just knew Brooklyn would become my fishing companion.  And now in her 8th year, she is beginning to make a move in that direction.

I was greeted with a phone call a few weeks back with a request from Miss Brooklyn. “Grandpa?” she asked.

“Yes, Miss Brooklyn, what can I do for my precious little lady?”

“Grandpa, would you take me fly-fishing?”

At that moment, somewhere in the realms of my heaven, angelic choirs lit off into a mighty Reggae line and the steel drums echoed among the mountain tops!  Music to my ears!  Bingo! I’d hit the lottery!!  All of this and a thousand times more.

“Why, sure thing princess. When do we go?”, I was able to gasp out.

“Oh, Grandpa, it’s still too cold. But I want to go as soon as we can.”, she intoned.

“We’ll do it fist time we have opportunity. Maybe when you and Wyatt come stay with us this summer. How about that?”, I added.

“Oh, can’t we do it sooner? I really want to go fly-fishing.”, she pleaded unnecessarily; I was totally sold!

“We will go fly-fishing at the very first opportunity and we’ll do it as often as we can and you want to continue. How’s that?”, I committed.

“OK. That sounds great. I hope it’s really soon.”, she said with great plans and hope.

“Me, too, sweetie. Me too!”, I said concretely.

Unlike the verse that greeted me, when I would take the final drink from my favorite Donald Duck whistle cup as a kid, “All Gone”.  This story, instead winds into another word phrase of memorable importance.  I hear the musical refrain, the song which ushered my wife and I from our marriage ceremony, courtesy of Karen and Richard Carpenter, and remember –“We’ve Only Just Begun”.

Oh! Have we ever …just begun.


The Human 50-Yard Line


Have you begun to notice a change?

IF, you’re a new member of the 50-plus crowd, you’re likely seeing the world from a new perspective. No, I don’t mean just in your peers. I mean in – YOUR OWN – perception of life.

If we are lucky enough to live to the ripe young age of 50, we will experience with good fortune what I have come to know as, the indelible opportunity, to trip over what I am calling, The Human 50-Yard Line.

For years people have made, much adieu – or is it ado? – about what many feel is the near-death-sentence of stepping into the world beyond 50-years of age. Many feel this arrival begins a series of conclaves, held right on the door steps to the magic line of Age-50, that lead to a steep downhill slide into oblivion. In some minds this timeline is synonymous with a, ‘Stairway to Heaven”, for others, it’s more a, “Straight to Hell” venue.

But, since the average age is now pushed well into the 70s, for both men and women, 50, has become the doorway to Departures Unknown. And we’re not talking the need for the quick acquisition of ailerons or asbestos, either.

These Departures Unknown are new pathways, to new opportunities, not yet experienced. The likes of which, none of us, nor generations before us, could have imagined; back even, as little as 10 years ago. Amazing events and heights of accomplishment await all age brackets, as never before; especially those with the experiences gained through age.

There is, however, another element involved here. One with a much larger part-to-play than we could have ever imagined: The Human 50 Yard Line.

Take note of the discussions you now have among those of your peers; those whom you know to have – tripped over – The Human 50 Yard Line (H50YL).

This trip has become an important life-moment. It would seem this tripping event; quite unlike the tripping event(s) too many of our generation experienced back in the ’60s and ’70s; causes a curious sense of reassessment.  This reassessment, may be just enough to allow an unfamiliar ray-of-light into our consciousness, allowing us to peer through the cobwebs-of-time, into our library of personal experiences.

The trip, for many, is a  first time in our lives event. One that affords a fresh look at, “…what IS important in life.”

So, you may be asking:

  • “What is this ‘trip’, thing?”
  • “What is the Human 50-Yard Line?”

Easily enough the trip – is a life event. It’s likely a life-changing event. Such as

  • The loss or change of a long-held job;
  • News of a potentially lethal health problem;
  • Death of a mate, partner, spouse, close-family member;
  • Divorce;
  • Traumatic event in close-relationships;
  • Shattering of Life Held Beliefs;

Bottom line: the trip is something that rocks our world to its inner core and leaves us wondering, ‘What just happened to me?’ And when we gather our presence about us, we wonder again, ‘Where am I, now?’ We feel as if we’ve been dropped into a new and unfamiliar, hostile environment. One for which we had no concept of, or how to maneuver within.

What we don’t realize yet, is this: There is NO ESCAPE. We are now in a totally new realm, that has opened up in the midst of our previous world.

We are now unwitting; for some, very unwilling, members of – The world beyond 50.

The Human 50-Yard Line, is a timeline.

It is a period of time in ones life, taking place around the age of 50-years old. In the past we’ve heard it referred to as the ‘mid-life-crisis’. But it is far more than that. It truly is a period of sudden change in how life appears and flows for each person who lives to this age of life.

The timeline itself is a sliding point.  For some it can actually occur before they reach 50. But for most it falls between 50 and 53.  It’s a curious time in which our life experiences and our body’s mechanics reach a sort of, Nexus Point; a point of convergence; the intersection called, The Human 50-Yard Line. No, this one did NOT show up on our GPS map and it comes with little indication of which way to go.

For some it’s a discombobulating roll-to-a-stop at the Intersection. For others it’s more of a head-on collision with LIFE at the same Intersection.

Whichever outcome we encounter, is largely determined by HOW we lived life up to this point.  We do – for the most part – reap what we sow.  Another of those important guide-posts we ignored on the way to The Human 50-Yard Line.

One can try to hide, but there is no ignoring the reality of The Human 50-Yard Line. It will get your attention, one way or another.

My mother’s favorite saying, attributed to the famous author/humorist, George Bernard Shaw,

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

Every time she said this, and it was often, I wondered what in the world she meant! I always took this pronouncement as an indictment on the empty-headedness of youth. A term I earned the-hearing-of when growing up; though not always necessarily in those exact words. I just figured it was a comment of desperation being made by an older person who was regretting their own loss of youth.

I was wrong.

After tripping over my own Human 50 Yard Line, it became clearer to me. Like a sweet muster of soothing oil, the light went on, and for the first time in my life I understood.

Now, I know what mom meant.

Many of us have said, are saying or will be saying, the line that directly refers to this sense of understanding:

“If I knew then what I know now….”


Though still very physically active and outdoors oriented, I found an odd thing occurring. Unexpectedly, in moments of clarity, my take on life events, changed. New perspectives, I’d never noticed in such reactive manner before, began popping up.

I am a former avid and very aggressive MTB rider. I’ve had many spills in my riding career leading to injuries. I can remember the pain of getting up and continuing on with the ride. Only later finding, abrasions, cuts, breaks and dislocations. But, I was young, dumb and all guts, no brains and gung-ho for the glory of the ride. I didn’t think about the pain. Let alone the results of such body bludgeoning … down the road-of-life.

However, while watching a downhill mountain bike racer involved in an accident referred to, in mountain bike lingo, as an, endo; short for end-over-end. I suddenly – and for the first time in my life – found it very PAINFUL just to WATCH! It was if all of my collective memories were brought to an immediate realization: “OH! That’s gonna hurt!” Digging into my inner memory bank, suddenly releasing, for a full-on, virtual pain-filled-experience!

I had never experienced this level of awareness before.

I remember the pain, but there never seemed to be that nagging ‘memory’ residual. The one that would normally keep a sane person from repeating such insane actions.

Then, it was all about, “If you take a tumble and get thrown, get back up; get on the horse; and ride on.” True this was generally good advice when dealing with adversity. However, there was no real thought; at least in the shallow-end of that advice; for picking a ‘better horse’ the next go ’round. Or, learning to become a better rider, in order to avoid getting bucked off.

Now, I began looking at this same actions and wonder out loud: “What on earth was I thinking? I could have gotten hurt, really bad! Even killed.”

It was then, while watching the pain-filled falls, I finally heard the tiny voice.

The one, when younger we suppressed into the deep recesses of ignorance. The one that we heard, but conveniently ignored. Now I suddenly realized, why the term, recesses-of-ignorance, is used to describe this most unfortunate of choice-paths.

THIS, is what the crossing or collision with The Human 50 Yard Line, brings to a brilliant forefront in life. For the first time, for most of us, these revelations make sense and no longer trigger the – need to be ignored – reaction in our youth.

Oh, so much sense – that it’s now painful to see.

Then another amazing thing happens.

I won’t lie. The learning curve is a bit steep when The Human 50 Yard Line is met. But in a shorter time frame than we’d have though possible, the clarity takes hold and we develop in to the next phase of this new era of life.

Grasping it is one thing. Believing it is still another. Dealing with it… well that’s an on-going-life-lesson … still in play.

Yet, despite our greatest fears of getting old, and becoming afraid of life-in-general, we actually find that we don’t go all over protectionist at this revelation. No, quite uncharacteristically, one finds him or herself, actually feeling energized, if not liberated.

Suddenly, life forces us to slow-down. To look longer and think deeper. To consider our ways. And it’s not at all what we thought – or feared – in youth.  It’s actually pleasant, productive and peaceful.

Gently coming over you, becomes a wash of enlightenment. It’s like an envelope of genuine understanding, that we can actually learn from mistakes. We don’t have to get beat-up-first and then avoid the fist-of-fate.

No! We can take that other turn on the highway of life and avoid that painful crash altogether.  Life can be more about learning and being productive and less about, picking-up-the-pieces.

Amazing! Liberating!

Well! Talk about a “V-8 Moment”!!

There is one sad note here.  It’s not like we didn’t already know this stuff. We heard it; chances are many, many times; but we turned a ‘deaf-ear’ and ignored it. To our own detriment.

Yes, we sure didn’t act like we knew it. Did we?

Which gives even more credence to the saying,

“Never complain about growing old, it is a privilege denied to many.”

For, if we aren’t around to trip over The Human 50-Yard Line, look at what amazing opportunities we’d miss.

Well worth keeping in mind, passing down and reminding the kids about, every now and then.

Whether they pay attention or not, now, the Intersection of LIFE and The Human 50-Yard Line, WILL remind them.

Merci … Thank You!


There is no finer action one can take, when beginning anything, than to express THANKS for the opportunity to be a part of the event.  Letting all who are a part of your efforts and life involved with the event, that you are Thankful for their involvement.

There is no finer ending to an event than to express gratitude and thankfulness for the efforts of all who were involved and make the outcome a success.

Thus, in keeping with this spirit, I take this opportunity to THANK YOU for being a part of the readership of this blog and the efforts found on other online and Social Networking outlets.

I do hope you will enjoy the reading of the stories and information presented here.  As well, even more so, I do hope you will find this publication to be a source of influence and inspiration to begin your journey into publishing your own Gratitude Journal.

I will be speaking more about this and much more.

Now grab a pen or pencil and a notebook, or if you prefer (as I do) your favorite keyboard and start writing down the details of your daily life in an effort to have a detailed record to afford you full details on what to be thankful for; whom to thank; when to offer that thanks and how to be more appreciative as life goes on.

From the mists of memory, set free with your pen, the ephemeral moments you live – and remember – to become the fortified guideposts of your life.     … memdecoeur

Best speed possible..