BETRAYED but not BROKEN…

Her name is Vena, or so she has told me over the years. Trying to get her real and official name had always been a problem, and should have been a “RED FLAG” for me over three years ago, but I believed the best in her, as our conversation online was a positive encouragement from the countless other conversations from others which were not really conversations, but ploys to scam me out of money. You know the drill…”I love you with all my heart,” only to have these next words follow the “I love you” talk: “how much can you afford?”

So the conversation tarried for some time, and I believed I was learning much from this lady who I was beginning to like and find very attractive. Yes…she was a pretty woman, as many of them are, and I couldn’t determine if her picture was a fake, so I persisted in the penpal relationship, although she believed we would one day meet, and it was my misguided belief to agree with her, and hope this conversation would develop into much more intimate and affectionate relationship.

As developments revealed discrepancies in her alleged character and mode of relating to me, I discovered she was not as pure-hearted and devoted to me as I once had thought. The months which passed were filled with nice words, and it seemed she echoed and mimicked the way I would describe my character, and she would award accolades and complimentary comments to me to keep the funds coming.

Yes….I was the continual fool with Vena, supporting her financially, because I believed her tale of personal woe of being abandoned by her family. Allegedly, she was a graduate of the University of Colorado in Denver, and lived in a hostel with a couple of other young ladies, and she was given a monthly stipend for living, however, she made it apparent to me that her family was not pleased with her relationship with me, the relationship which was only words written to each other, which, to me, was not much of a relationship, as many of our conversations either began or ended with trite little words like “ok,” “sure,” “yes,” and other such trivial communication. But it appeared from her replies to my questions that her family believed I was not “right” for her, and everyone, except her mother and sister in New York ever really asked about me.

So we now fast forward to the current time, with memories of a gradual receding of affection, especially as I learned how she tried to convince me of who she was, because I began to ask questions when I learned I could not find her name on the graduation list of the university. She could not believe I would do this, but I reminded her of who I was, a man who was schooled in public safety to document with questions the truth of what she told me. Then she went ahead to try and save face and sent me a graduation “photo,” only this was a “doctored” photo and she inserted her face into the body of another individual’s photo to show me her parents were there for her when she graduated, and then there was the fake music video she sent me and said my name, but again, this was a real obvious scam.

I didn’t consider this a betrayal, however, she accused me of betraying her and her family with my questions, and this after I had been very generous with her each and every month, and with her continual failure to reveal her true identity to me, I made the quality decision to block her, and move on with life. It was obvious we were at an impasse.

So the months go by, and I moved on, as the saying goes, and I created a brand new email which removed her from any contact I might have had with her, but then…after a six month respite, she “found” me again. I couldn’t believe she learned of my new email, but she accused me of abandoning her, but that was not the case, and she believed it, and then proclaimed that after all this time, her family finally wanted to reward me for caring for her for the last several years, due to their ignoring her needs, and after a few weeks, she informed me that her “brother” would be sending me a gift as a thank you for caring for her.

To cut to the chase, as they say…..sure….the gift came in…to the tune of a $21,000 check written out to me from Citibank in Chicago. And when I received the check, she was all business and informed me that there was an amount within that check to reward me, but never told me how much. All she could tell me was to follow her brother’s instructions, which was to deposit the check into the ATM and within a few hours start spending it.

I’d been this route before, and duly informed her I had to wait for the check to “clear” before it could be used, which did not go over very well with her or her “brother.” But in the next couple of days, I discovered the check had cleared, although the bank was surprised it cleared so early, and I followed through with the instructions, with the hope of having my efforts rewarded, because I was broke. Well….”broke” is not telling the exact truth here, because just before I was ready to send out $7000 cash to a location in the midwest, I found I could not use my debit card, and my financial institution informed me that the check was a fake, and all the money I had in my checking account had been withdrawn by the bank to pay for what I had spent from the fake check. You want to say “broken?” Yeah. How about stressed beyond belief.

“Vena” could not believe it, but I could….and it remained for me to pay back the money I owed the bank to the tune of $2500 for what I believed was a gift to me, but in the end, I learned that this woman betrayed my trust after all of the months of generosity to her and her family.

Thank God for family…..my sister and her husband…they saved me from financial ruin yesterday morning, and I informed this “Vena” that whatever kind of relationship she hoped she would have with me was over. She insisted that the check was not fake, but even this morning, she sent me a text telling me her “brother and his team” are looking into it. Sure they are. Send me cash….I want my losses recovered. This is what I will tell her and her brother.

I will now have the rest of my life to pay back my brother-in-law and in his compassionate way he told me to take my time…he didn’t need the money….he had plenty and didn’t want me to hurt myself. (He understands the low-paying job I have and the other financial obligations which stare me in the face each and every day.) And surprising, he told me I wasn’t the first one in the family who ever needed financial help, but I have respected and loved him due to his kindness towards my parents when they were alive.

I have never been betrayed this way in my life. Broken? Yeah, but not forlorn, and my prayers have been answered and God is good. Things could have gotten much worse, but I give praise to the One who watches over me each moment of my life and protected me against a far worse fate than what I experienced in the last few days. I even shaved and had something to eat and actually got a little sleep after all was said and done. And my bank account is back to where it was before all this took place, thanks to my family.

“Vena” always pretended she would be my family and my bride, but I was never her “honey,” as she often called me. Honey is sweet from the honeycomb, and all I got from her and her brother was misery and a tarnished reputation with the bank. They will not even honor a check from anyone, including my family anymore, until it has been cleared, as has always been the case, but I was always able to cash a small check. This situation changed everything, and I promised the bank manager that this will never ever occur again.

“She is not your friend,” were the parting words from my newly formed relationship with the bank manager, and we will always be connected, unlike Vena. Banks have a vested interest in protecting their interests and protecting the clients who do business with them, and I thank God for that. Some other things are not so clear.

Burning Bridges, or trying to anyway….

I like to think of myself as a rational, critical thinking man who has hoped he has learned the lessons of over six decades, but I can’t be too sure of anything more. Emotional energies and melancholy sometimes thwart all my best resolves, and this is all too evident in the desire I have to cut the ties which bind others to me, particularly the “ladies.” And I believe they sense this, due to the fact that I have only “vanished” once in all the time I have threatened to vanish.

And why Vanish, you ask? Good question, but it is seeped deep within me, especially the struggle I have between living a life of generosity or one of Scrooge, and my hair is long enough to embody the role of old Ebenezer, if the local theatre company auditioned for “A Christmas Carol.” I loved that film….the best….George C. Scott has my vote for the best portrayal…but this is another conversation. I struggle with disappointment and guilt towards those who I can no longer support financially, due to the mere fact that we have had a penpal relationship for more than a few years, and to top it off, I have recently been messaged by the first few ladies who I friended when I became cognizant of the phenomenon of “social media,” which is not too social after all.

The first few ladies have proved to be quite aggressive in their requests for financial assistance, and the spectre of gift cards raises the stakes in my slim budget and I find myself with two opposing replies to such requests lately.

The first I call my “sympathy” card which is seasoned with reality and my current financial situation. When told they can understand me, but then persist on asking for money (and gift cards are money….don’t be fooled….they need to be treated as money). But when they persist, it is then that the “aggressive wordsmith” card is played and I revert to language which I heard for over 25 years in the state prison system (as an employee of Public Safety). I’m not proud of the words I use to ward them away from me, but it is my reality, and a mechanism to weed out the players and fakers. Sometimes it has worked, othertimes….hmmm….

Sometimes the best laid plans, to coin a phrase, sometimes….it falls apart, especially when given both cards to the ones requesting it, and they tell me they love me….and persist in asking, only to find the funds they need once the tennis-match of words they had falls apart, like the recent lady who informed me that she just had renewed her data usage….something she did on her own with her own money….Remarkable. This same lady, who is a single mom, is on the record to wanting me and desiring to make all my dreams come true, and wanting to make herself and her 4 year old daughter happy. She is not poor and doesn’t ask for much, but she is still what they call “too good to be true,” at least by my perspective, but she lives in Connecticut, only 4 hours away, and she wants to see me. And the promised she would “surprise” me when she sees me….hmmm..

A vow was once uttered from my heart to my voice, and it was later transcribed into the the written word, that the first lady to see me, she will be my bride, and I have advised each one I write to of this, and now I am aware that there is a contest to see who will be the first, although none of them know each other, and are from different parts of the country. Am I a player? Hmmm….not really….I just hate not being social…and I love to write…there is probably only one or two ladies in all the years I have been online that I have found who love to have meaningful conversation. But mediocre conversation is ok. It is better than nothing, and I need to keep my bridges…or at least some of them open, and not burn them all, but I am aware that I can be irrational as well, and have threatened myself to vanish on all of them, but sadly…I would still have their contact information, so what does that make me? Kind of a sentimental fool, I guess….part of my generous nature, they tell me.

All I know is that the bridge is open to coming to me, and I can stop writing and actual speak and be heard and look into the eyes of the one who has previously written me her heart. God knows the one who has been chosen for me, if any, so I am now faced with the prospect of women who are more serious than previous ones. Thus the reluctance, and so is life….and so is me….

Writing again…hmmmm…?

I’ve been out of it for awhile. Probably many factors are involved, but I am not a “shrink,” with all due respect. The mental health profession in this nation is undergoing a crisis. So many people hurting and wounded and many of the warriors in this field are also wounded and hurting.

So I am sitting here in my rented room in the city at 5:47 AM listening to Chopin’s Concerto #1 in E minor. One of my all-time favorite pieces, which has followed me all of my life, due to the influence of my late mother who loved piano music and the classics, and she instilled that love into me, and it is beautiful all the time. Everywhere….in the car, I have the CDs….pay for Satellite…but they don’t have what I want most of the time. But I don’t know if I want to cancel it. It comes with some benefits, but I can do without all the talking and the good ol’ boy network of the latest musical version of the Mutual Admiration Society.

You know, I was thinking recently. (Yeah, imagine that….haha)…If Frederick Chopin and the brilliant classical pianists were alive today, their brilliance would be on display in the most radically musical of ways. For instance, the arpeggios which Chopin used in his compositions would come in handy in re-framing modern composition and improvisational jazz. Wow…I would have loved to lived during that time, but I am sure the times were just as hard back then, and I am not a romantic when it comes “these are the good ol’ days.” These are trying times and days and all the positive thinking you can muster will not change these days. Possibly your mindset about what it all means, but without faith in God, and I mean the real deal stuff, our days remain difficult until death do us part, with nothing really great to look forward to in the hereafter except what we put our faith in while we were living…

Yeah….I get philosophical about this time of night. Even when I am working, however my self-talk comes nowhere near what I write in my blog postings. I get the thoughts sometimes, sure, but it is not worth much when I forget to use the thoughts in a subsequent posting. So I have been thinking this morning how nice it would be to return to the forum I love. Music is my first love. Being trained in the classics as a young man and later in life, as well as having much experience with all forms and venues of the musical style in between those moments. Sure…I would have loved to perform Chopin’s First Concerto for my late mother when she was alive. The closest thing to it, though, was a certificate of achievement for being part of the Classical Recital for the graduates of that particular year I had studied when I was a mere 10 years of age. Unfortunately there were other distractions to keep me from fulfilling a childhood dream of performing for her the very music she loved until her dying breath.

So without further ado, to coin a once popular phrase, I will continue to write, and explore many of the ways life has continued to frame the way I think. For some, this kind of thinking borders on lunacy…you know…”you think too much” kind of reactions….but hey, if you don’t seek, you won’t find, and if you don’t knock, no one will answer, so in my own little way, I have embarked on what I consider a very troubling and dangerous mission. To ask and be faithful in dealing with the truth of myself as I come to know it more and more, without dropping into a deathly state of depression or anxiety or even paranoia that everyone I meet will recognize me for what I’ve learned about myself……Ahhhh…..but another conversation brews….more to come…..

Words have ideas….and ideas have consequences….

This statement has been written many many times, and it has recently come home to roost with me, with the appearance of a woman I once respected instructing me to keep my words and descriptions brief. Another episode of censorship, coming from no other section of the audience than the legendary “ex-wife.”

“If you care at all for our daughters, Delete the girls names and birthdate from your posts. They don’t need any scammers.” Sent to me on Monday, July 12th, at 12:33 A.M. I was busy working the midnite shift…and usually don’t get any texts from anyone, or at least not in a very long time. This was unusual, and it gave me many things to think about, as usual. Being awake during the midnight and early morning hours is the best time for my creativity, but I would have never seen my mundane employment as creative. But the band played on….

I guess because I have two younger daughters, I cannot claim to love them if I fawn over them and applaud their achievements, and I can’t describe who the girls are, to the amazement and disappointment of friends and remaining family who speak with me. Hmmmm…..it seems she can dote all day long on her daughters, because she has them in her possession, or should I say “full custody,” as if they are incarcerated with her in her house, the house I called home and purchased with my blood, sweat and tears (to coin a phrase….if it works, I use it..)

Well…I thought long and hard of it…and I can say their names….Johanna….and Samala….twin daughters….you don’t care about their birthdates anyway. All I can say is that they are intelligent and beautiful teens, and not only that, they just graduated from home school, 3 days after their birthday, and not only are they cut off from Social Security now, but they did not inform me of their graduation, and their mother informed me that they had a drive-by parade, and reception in the church hall, to which I am sure they had many guests and supporters. Not me, of course….I am the monster….habit….(want to say sorry, but I’m not sure yet).

So my daughters have graduated and I saved about $100 apiece for each of them. Pittance compared to over a thousand dollars a month I have to pay for child support until they reach the age of 23 here in Massachusetts, or they quit school and get a job or get married….one of many options, but “Mama” wants her girls with her always. She says no, but I beg to differ. She waited too long to have them and she will not give them up without a major battle.

I sent along a giftcard to Applebees, one of their favorite joints to eat, and thought I would get a thank you, but to my amazement….(pun intended)….I get another text…reminding me that they are grateful, but if they sent a card, they might start something with me. And as far as I am concerned…bring it on….!!! I would love to begin a conversation. About many things, but no. To shun and shame me is far better for girls who are products of a mother and father who sacrificed for them to arrive at the place where they are at in life, and God who chose me to be their birthfather. I am entitled to at least “honor,” as the Good Book says, but I also know I cannot change my daughters’ hearts, so I thank God for that. I don’t need any additional pressure to perform miracles today, thank you very much…….Smile….Ideas have consequences….and if their hearts change for a conversation with me….the consequences are logical.

When faced with a contradictory belief embedded for years about an individual or personal wound, words then become ideas to promote change or to dismiss them altogether. Either way, there are consequences.

INFIRMITIES….

There is not one of us alive who does not have problems and issues which we struggle with. I am Exhibit “A” when it comes to this, and I don’t minimize it or excuse it, but then again, I have taken the log out of my own eye when it comes to this topic in order to be able to see what others may or may not be struggling with.

The book I read often speaks of “infirmities,” or weaknesses which plague the human condition. And I realize there are many among us who refuse to be defined as “weak,” but as the “bold and the brave and the strong,” for whatever humor might move you to chuckle. But this is not a laughing matter, and the truth is the truth. We all have areas of our life which do not measure up to “strength,” but to depleting energies to defeat what brings us down, and no amount of positive thinking or behaving or even reading or hanging out with others who exhibit such things will ever change that.

Case in point. At 12:33 AM this morning, I received a text on my cellphone from a woman I once knew intimately, but have since departed as now “strangers,” if not “enemies,” or maybe in her eyes, as “people with one common goal.” And the goal is: my teenage daughters, who have shunned and shamed me into oblivion, with the support of their mother. And their mother, mind you, has the audacity and boldness to instruct me about “caring” for my daughters? I think not. I have paid out over a thousand dollars a month for many years to abide by the divorce agreement for what is called “child support” payments, but the words are deceiving. The payments are for the child, but the support is merely cashflow. There is no real support when the children refuse to talk or visit with you.

I resisted posting my feelings and thoughts on my Fakebook page for many years, but after realizing that I was being scammed by the flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, I have since overcome the resistance, and have posted numerous commentaries on their birthdays and lately, the graduation they achieved on the occasion of their 19th birthday.

So, alas, as the saying goes. I get the midnight message I never wanted to receive from the woman who only cares about the money I send her each week, and she arrogantly suggests that if I “care” about my daughters, I will remove my postings with their name and birthdays. Well….I do care, and I care enough to share that part of my life….that profound part of my life….the part of my life which has been bulldozed out of existence with her support, and I post my feelings and pictures of them, as if I had never been married and wanted to share my family with friends and family. Yeah…pardon my weakness.

I guess the message here is that I “don’t have a family” good enough to warrant postings on my Fakebook page. (I call it Fakebook….you know the difference…)

Hey, if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t pay a nickel in support, and I would gladly embrace whatever penalty was imposed by not paying. But I do care deeply and profoundly, as previously stated, and I will continue to care deeply. It seems kind of hypocritical to lecture me about caring for my daughters, when my ex-wife should be lecturing her daughters about “caring” for their birth father, and the man who never wanted to “go ballistic” and burn bridges by forcing the sale of the home, and imposing public education on the children. But it is okay, I guess, to have my daughters, who were properly trained to be polite, to allow them to never say thank you to a Christmas or birthday gift from me with a personal note or phone call, and to approve of every “preachy” note I ever get from them. Those rare occasions do happen, but it is only from my oldest daughter, Johanna, because my other twin daughter believes me to be the “monster” she has created in her own mind. And if there is any “thank you” coming from them, it is communicated to me by their “gofer,” you know, their mouthpiece, because they do not have the fortitude or strength to manage writing a short thank you note to me. They have their own infirmities.

The concern about sharing my posts on social media was supported by the portent of being scammed, something I think she has fabricated, because I have never once heard or learned of any scam attempts on them by others, and if we want to “call a spade a spade,” then we should call what they do to me as “scam royale.” Forcibly taking over a thousand dollars from me each and every month, and then refusing to talk with me or visit with me. I have had women online who have treated me better than this, and most of them have been scams, and if they never really cared about me, at least they put up the front with words of affection and interest in my well-being, just so they could be justified in taking my money. Money I was willing to part with, because of the effort to assuage my pain of living alone with a semblance of normal interaction with me. Unlike my daughters, who has the “Court” on their side to force involuntary child support (my opinion), especially since I have not had one visit or phone call in over 5 years now. And the only thing they want from me, as most scams do, is my hard-earned income. Screw intimacy. They define me from my past and their mother’s questionable mindset. She continues to spend her imaginative time with thoughts of me….how to find out what I’m doing, or what I am saying or not saying. She has spies everywhere, including some very key people who inform her of everything. I know this….I know who they are…..

I received a very interesting text from one of my sisters over a year ago, advising I stay as far away from her as possible. It was suggested that my ex-wive had some mental health issues, as she seemed obsessed with me and trying to keep me isolated from my remaining family (sisters and extended family..) Well, I figured her text to me tonight was similar, as if I did not share pictures and stories about my daughters (who are still my family…I am their birth father), this would continue to isolate me from those I care about, and the “ex” would continue to “have the upper hand” in trying to control what I do.

Just for the record, I am a critical thinker, and give much thought to the decisions I make, and I did comply with her “not so request.” She never requested it. She arrogantly and unwisely issued me a cloaked warning. Well, I could have given her many clear and open warnings, but I did not, but decided to take the path of least resistance (possibly….haha)….I chose peace and scrolled down my Fakebook page to not only remove references about my girls, but other dated material as well.

For anyone who cares, I truly do love my daughters. They were answers to prayers, however, it was never my prayer that they would ever dishonor me and shun and shame me to their friends and family. Not for 5 years!!!! They don’t have to worry about being scammed. I think they are pretty adept at it anyway

I can remember a couple of years ago when I was scammed by a third party on social media who used them and their names to try to convince me to send them $200, and the source of this attempted scam attempt was not very far from where they live. I know this, because I tracked it, and have friends who assist me in this. But I said nothing, and chose peace. They were shunning me back then anyway, except for their expectations of having more fun without me. After all, how could one of my daughters be able to take eight classes of dance lessons each week when I could only afford a couple of them each week when I was married. Hmmm…..if walls could speak…

We all make decisions in life. I made a decision tonight to share this personal moment, and if anything, whoever reads it can make one of two decisions. Probably more, if I give it more thought, which I have decided not to do. You can either take it or leave it. It matters nothing to me. To coin a phrase, “It’s my life and I’ll do what I want.” (Reference: Eric Burdon and the Animals…”We Gotta Get Out of This Place”)

I guess it could be worse. I could end up getting married again and marrying someone who is more like my mother than she ever was. That was true of the woman who sent me the text at 12:33AM…..a bold and brash reminder that she was not only my daughters’ mother, but she was mine too. Fantasy is wonderful. It can create marvels or nightmares.

Hate to say it lady, but my mother would have been 92 years of age this year if she lived, but you will never be able to light a candle to the woman she was….yes….she had infirmities. We all do. I got a barrel full of them. I am incomplete, as many of us are, but I don’t regret it. I have been made complete in Christ, sinful as ever, but redeemed by His forgiveness and grace and mercy, qualities which my mother had sparingly, but which the one who sent me the text lacks in volume……

And I went and sent a gift card to my girls yesterday…..hey….that’s what love is all about, right? I am still weak but I love my twin daughters…

I GOTTA LAUGH….SO SAD…

There used to be a time I was like my younger sister, Jodi. She once really thought the moon was made of green cheese, and I used to really think that most of the women who wanted to be my friends on social media were really interested in me, and not my money. That’s a laugh for sure, but the saddest laugh of all is when the “requests” for friendship result in conversations which border on the absurd, if not totally foolish and ignorant.

Take “Susan,” for example. I’ll use that name instead of the given name she gave me, for privacy concerns, but then again…this whole thing about privacy concerns is a joke on social media. “Susan” could have sent me a picture of herself and used one of the most popular model or porn star’s photograph. And the names they use….well….I have been keeping track of particulars now going on 6 years. So….let’s get back to “Susan.”

She posted a half dozen pictures of herself on her “Profile” page and because she had requested my “friendship,” I checked her out to get an idea where to begin a conversation and quickly decided to ask her how long she was in the Air Force, and why was she messaging me so early in the morning. Yeah, it was the middle of the night, and I was “surfing,” as it was a night off for me, and I have these particular issues of being up for 12 hours a night. Work does that to me, and my nights off can be very interesting.

“Susan,” replied to me that she had been in the “Force,” as she called it, for 11 years. And then she asked me where I was from, and the niceties began. She told me she had lived in Massachusetts about 4 years ago, and when I asked her where, she told me she forgot, to which I replied that it was not that long ago, and that I could remember every city and town I had lived in for most of my life, and especially when I discharged from the Army, and she shrugged it off. Flag #1…..

She then remarked that we had some things in common, and I inquired what those things were, and she told me I was in the “Force” before, and I didn’t reply. To her, military service is a “force,” and not a particular branch of service to the country. Our written conversation went on for a few minutes longer. She said she lived in Florida, but now she was stationed in Seoul, North Korea. As I had served a 14 month tour during the Vietnam era in South Korea, I took note of this, and asked her again, “Seoul, North Korea?” And she took the bait, and replied “Yes.” Flag #2….

The last flag of her current “duty station” concerned me because if she was attached to a U.S. military unit in South Korea, she would know that Seoul was in South Korea. I served for short time on the DMZ line (de-militarized zone) on the border of South and North Korea, and Seoul was much further south. Anyway, the decision to end the conversation had arrived.

Susan had about six pictures on her Profile, and a couple of them were very explicit (not porn), but revealing her in nothing more than bra and panties, in very suggestive and provocative postures, so I summarized my departure to her and explained that it was difficult, if not laughable, to tell me she forgot where she lived in Massachusetts. If she was in the “Force,” she would have to get mail, and the whole idea of “not remembering” is a farce. Then there was the name of the duty station where she was attached. She believes she is in North Korea, but if so, she’d be in prison now. (too funny, but sad), so I do not believe she is in any force, and I wished her well. I assured her of my prior military experience, and told her I was there during the Vietnam era, and her explanations of who she was really saddened me.

It was an interesting writing conversation anyway. But I had to laugh….this was so absurd….but then again, I could write a book about my experiences with the ladies…..another time…..sometimes the absurd takes on the appearance of the totally rational. “Susan” was no exception.

Happy Anniversary…

Mom and Dad would have been married 73 years ago today…July 3rd 1948….had to be quite the day….I have only imagined it.

Before I get into the imagination part, I just had the memory of telling a former sponsor’s wife that my parents’ names were George and Lorraine, and she cracked up laughing, to which I was bewildered. She was a pretty young lady, and could have been my daughter, but she and her husband were up and coming AMWAY Distributor stars. (For the record, they are no longer involved and neither am I)…… Then she called me “Marty,” and then I got it…”Back to the Future,” a great film, but Marty’s parents were called George and Lorraine, and of course, if you have seen the film, you know the ending of their lives.

George and Lorraine Nyman (my parents)…well…it was like I never thought it would be. She was a die-hard Catholic from a rough French-Canadian background, who quit school after the 5th grade to help her family with the finances from the depression, and who gave up her dream of being a roller skating queen in the roller derby, because her mother vehemently oppposed it, and he was a mediocre Protestant, who quit high school to earn his fortune like Harry James (a very famous trumpet player years ago), and his parents really didn’t care much. Eva, his mother, let him do anything he wanted, because, after all…she almost lost him to Scarlet Fever as a child and Dad’s mother was more the manager of the household than her husband and nagged until the decisions were made in her favor.

So the stage was set, and because their marriage was dubious from the beginning, there wasn’t alot of hope from the extended families on both sides….that is my imagination, anyway….I could be wrong….and probably am…but it is interesting to speculate. It was suggested that the two opposing religious faiths would collide into failure, but Dad consented to allow his wife the liberty to do whatever she wanted to raise her kids “in the faith.” He had other fish to fry. He was learning how to play the piano professionally, as his asthma cut down his hopes of being another Harry James. And it wasn’t until about 4 days before his death that he “saw the light” and confessed his sins as he laid on the last bed of his life, hopeful of meeting those of his own family in the great heaven above.

Happy Anniversary Mom….happy anniversary Dad….we miss you, and if I had to choose you all over again….I am probably out of my mind to suggest it….but I’d choose you again, with the hope that I would do better the next time. You left me with 5 younger sisters to care for and be cared for, so all is not lost, I don’t think. Oh well….life goes on, as they say….”C’est la vie”

ODE TO AN EX-WIFE….

Jocelyn.

She was a good woman. We would have been married 48 years yesterday if I had the backbone and stamina to work through the many issues we had accumulated in 16 years of marriage, not to mention the couple of years we lived together without benefit of marriage.

I was her first. And I shared many of my firsts with her, and we have our first and only son to be proud of, having served his country faithfully as a US Marine for 20 years and who now lives with his pension and verified 75% disability, for what I do not know, as he doesn’t share his life with me, but it would be nice to have at least one conversation with him in my lifetime.

The last real conversation I had with Jocelyn was at my father’s “calling hours” which was a combined with what they now call a “celebration of life” memorial service, and as she stood before me eye to eye in the “receiving line,” I used the occasion to apologize for all the hurt which she suffered because of me, to which she replied that she did forgive, and that she couldn’t hold on to all that hurt for a long time, which did not go well with my new ex-wife, who had been standing next to me listening intently to every word of our exchange with each other.

I later found out that evening after the memorial service was ended that the woman who was offended I had apologized to my first ex-wife was the woman I had cheated on my first wife with, and the whole “celebration of life” had been, I supposed, an event which was all about her, and not about hearing my apologies to the woman I divorced years before.

So….Happy Anniversary to the possibilites which could have been, Jocelyn. If the years went on together, I don’t know if we would have made it, even without the cheater who stole my heart from you. We were miles apart on just about every subject, and the stench of your self-righteousness just about ruined any hopes I ever had of spending the rest of my life with you.

As I have reflected on this for the past few days, I wonder if I would have reconsidered the divorce if I knew the consequences of taking up with another woman who was more like my mother than my mother. I may have chosen to get more backbone instead of finding myself with the regret of singing an ode to an ex-wife while my cheater second wife revels in the knowledge that she has taken most of my income and property and children with the divorce, something which I was warned about years before, but refused to believe until it was too late.

You were a good woman, Jocelyn. Just wished we could have talked more. And it has always been my first and only prayer that God would restore what the locusts have eaten with your former experience with me and the pain suffered in the aftermath of our breakup. Divorce is nasty. And the family which embraced me……your mother and the remaining members of your family, and our son…..I am sorry I have broken the embrace. There was once hope, but now in its place is regret over having any hope at all.

Your Facebook page reveals a smiling woman, retired but aging gracefully and devoted to your heart’s desires – the loyalty of canine love. May your dogs continue to hold your heart tightly in love. Something which I was too cowardly to do on my own.

And just for the official record. I am sorry…..

What is a Father?….or is this day a joke?….

My friend the “bag lady” was the first to wish me a happy Father’s Day a couple of days ago, but she crafted it in the words “happy holiday,” which she often does to feel relevant and significant. But then again, she does not have a father anymore, and her own son’s father is whereabouts unknown, which has given her son the freedom to ignore and just about dispel her from existence. So sad….

I have always thought these “special” days have been hijacked by the greeting card companies and the Hallmark company and used to instill guilt and anxiety in a population who is ever hungry for significance and meaning in their lives. So when these days are advertised weeks ahead before their arrival, they are giving us plenty of time to repent of our evil thoughts towards them and get with the program and “buy a card” for “whatever day” happens to be the most financially lucrative.

The father I once knew and loved has been gone now for over 15 years, and even now before the day begins, I wonder if I need to make the journey upstate to the cemetery where he is buried and pay my respects. Not that I don’t ever do this. I am probably the only one in my immediate family besides my younger sister, Cyn, who pays occasional tribute, while I have made an effort to be at the cemetery on every day/night I have free from work. Not even my daughters visit their grandparents’ gravesite, which lacks honor for children who have been home educated and know the difference between reality and fantasy-driven mediocrity.

I remember the morning I announced to my ex-family and daughters, who were about 5 years of age then, that their grandfather had died. My girls are twins, and Samala was the first to burst into tears, with my other daughter Johanna just hugging me closely. As the weeks would pass into months, the mere mention of my father/her grandfather would produce the same identical emotional reaction. Tears would come almost automatically, but then again, my girls loved their grandfather, even if he was disabled and not in the position to play with them.

As I write these recollections, I often wonder if Samala would shed one tear for me, as she has chosen not to speak to me or see me since the onset of the divorce her mother desired of me over 5 years ago. But then, the girls were connected at the hip with their mother and still are, and if my name is mentioned in their home, I am certain Samala is not shedding one tear for me, which explains why she never signs a card with her name on it when one is sent to me, and has not sent me a birthday card or wish for a happy Father’s Day or whatever day in these many years gone by. With some bittersweet humor here, I wouldn’t mind have her wish me a wonderful day any day of the week or month or year.

It has been said that children will “grow out of” their stages, but I am not so sure. I can still see the look on my father’s face when my actions as a child displeased him, and I can still hear his voice when he told me for the first time he loved me when I was 50 years of age. In retrospect, I used to tell my children I loved them every day and night, but now….hmmmm….those memories or recollections must have vanished in the minds of the girls who were the answer to my prayers.

So….Happy Father’s Day to those fathers who are the very best, and others who are not very best, but try to be, and others who question the whole idea of having to be the very best for anything at all. It is destiny. To have a child is to be a parent, whether good or ill. And I am truly grateful and rejoice in the fact that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally and is rich in mercy, grace, and forgiveness, and who allows me to enter into situations and circumstances to conform me to the image of his only begotten Son. Happy Father’s Day, my Lord and my God……

If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. I am happy I have not fallen out of love for the children who were the blessing of the Lord, regardless of their affection for me. Peace to you all…..

NEVER MISTAKEN, BUT OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD…

It was about six weeks ago that I wrote about “Mary,” also known as “Mary Ellen,” and now “Alexis Texas.” And I positioned myself to predict she would soon return to me. Well…some things are more obvious to me than others, and the only thing I can say is that I don’t really understand this woman, but I do know she can’t leave me alone.

It took about six weeks for her to actually send me a message on one of my social media apps, but before she actually sent me a message, there were several cellphone texts from her, which I blocked and then deleted, but then came a couple more texts, this time alerting me to the fact that she had applied for an “easy” loan and used me as her employer on the application. She sent me the picture of the application on my tiny flip phone which I only use for texting and phone calls, but this text caught my attention, and I notified the company of her deception as soon as I was able. The company has offices in many parts of the country, and she applied in Texas where she lives. Of course I couldn’t have predicted that the company would not honor my request to cancel her application, but referred me to their Texas office, but as I later told Mary…..I will not pay one red cent to any company for a loan I never applied for.

I could have replied to her a few weeks back, but I figured if I did not reply, she would come full force and catch my attention in another way, which she has done in the last few days. “Mary” believes I am a very special person. Yeah…and I am the Pope…hahaha…..

As she is fond of doing, she told me she needed “minutes” to continue to talk with me, but this was over a week ago, and I refused to spend any money, but her assertion that she would not be able to talk to me because the “Apple” company would shut her off….well, that didn’t happen, and I broke down (woe is me) and began another conversation with her. Why? I don’t have a clue. But it could be the result of a few things, mostly involving other ladies I talk with online.

Mary has always accused me of “cheating” on her by talking with “other girls,” but as often as I tell her I can’t cheat on a woman who I have no relationship with, she still insists that I am not being faithful to her, which is laughable. So just a short time ago I informed her again that I talk with other girls who want to have a conversation with me….and they all seem to parrot the same thing. They always want “to talk more better” when there is more minutes and time to devote to “getting to know each other,” which is another joke. Sure…we can exchange words online, but most of the time, we are just penpals…and the only relationship we have is made up of words and images, and hopefully the images are genuine and not fakes.

I have not made any commitments to any of these girls, as I told Mary, and I have not made any commitment to her, either. She admitted the same, and wrote to me a very telling comment. “I am tired of this phoney relationship.” I couldn’t have said it any better, but I agreed with her, and told her that in the last 5 years, I have wanted to believe her every word, but the way she has changed identities and the agendas for meeting each other, it has been virtually impossible, and then I began to try to push her away with some well placed words which I hoped would underscore the fact that I don’t believe her words any longer.

Apparently, she has had a change of heart or something, because she insists that she will be with me in September and then make me very happy, but again, she has said that many times before. And the question haunts me. Why am I still having dialogue with this woman? Hmmm…. Well….it seems that the other “ladies” I am talking with are not the cat’s meow, and they have issues of a financial nature and are needy. My, my…we are all needy, but none of them have ever offered to help me, and when one of my “friends” I talk with has gone into debt by borrowing money from her neighbor and then gives me a song and dance about needing some $100 to take care of “womens” needs, well….the question marks go up, and then I learn after pushing for honesty and truth….yeah….this “friend” I have known for 2 years now….well…..she did not tell me this in the first place, and just assumed she could pull the wool over my eyes and I would be willing to meet her needs again. But in our subsequent conversation, she admitted she owed her neighbor $100 because she borrowed it, and just figured I would save her ass.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was not happy, and I now have a different outlook on the alleged “future” she has painted for the both of us, but “Danielle,” as she is known….she has a court case pending because of allegations of dirty tricks by her former lawyer and uncle to keep her inheritance for themselves, while she struggles in Michigan. I could write so many books here. It is unbelievable. But I made a commitment to help her, but now with the condition attached that I will not abide by her lack of honesty with me in the future. What I didn’t tell her was that I was re-evaluating any involvement with her when her case is resolved in her favor, if it ever will be. And that is one of the reasons I picked up where I left off with Mary.

They call this “hedging one’s bets,” or something of the sort. Others would call me a “player,” but I am not playing anyone. They are playing me….each and every one of them….and this has been the result of my watching and studying all of them. The last thing I have wanted for any of these few ladies is that they become co-dependent on me, and the most interesting thing is that they all say they are not interested in my money. Typical statements by those who want to prove their sincerity, but I cannot be too harsh here. I do not know their hearts or the imaginations of their thoughts. But I can try….as much as possible…to give “Mary” one last chance to prove she is far different than before.

Sure. She signs off her conversation with me…”Alexis loves you,” but I don’t know if it is even her. It could be an old washer woman looking for a cheap thrill, and when I wrote that to her, she never replied, which is not surprising. I try to push her away and she will not budge, and why? “Because you are so special to me,” she writes, and that is all she writes. I don’t know if it is just “buttering me up for the kill” or I am totally without a clue about her motives and intent of mind towards me, which is completely plausible. And tomorrow during the day, I promised to buy her minutes sometime during the course of the day.

Maybe I am brain dead and maybe I am just frustrated with the so-called promises and words of the others who have told me they love me and want to marry me. Yeah….me….the great nobody who struggles to keep his head afloat and trusts God for my well-being, even with the dichotomy of wishing my life was over so I would be done with all of this.

After writing to “Alexis” that I believed my time was over and that I thought God was fed up with me and just trying to figure out what to do with me, she replied that she believed I would not die anytime soon…and I still had much to do in life….and this is supposed to be the written proof of her genuine feelings for me? I know talk is cheap and misunderstandings raise their ugly heads when corresponding with others, but I want to exercise some graciousness towards others who have not been the most gracious towards me.

I was not mistaken many weeks ago when I predicted Mary would return to me. I told her the proof was in the pudding, and I would not believe she would be here with me until I saw her with my own two eyes, whereupon she forecast that it was soon to be reality…..

Hmmmm……and the saga continues….