Archive for November, 2013

12 Things About Me

November 17, 2013

OK, so over on Zuckerberg’s revenge toy, the rage this week has been to assign a number randomly (five and eight seem to be the prevalent requests) to reveal yourself even more than you already have on the interboobs.

Most people have put up mundane stuff, but some have been very interesting. So, last night, my friend Ken Story put up his eight things. And then he assigned me a number -12 – which seemed a bit unfair at first but the more I thought about it, it would be a challenge for me to mention 12 things about me that most people don’t know.

1. I was born at least nine weeks early. I should have died, my mother thought I was stillborn. Nah, I was just stubborn. I decided to stick around and have some fun.

2. I wore full-length leg braces that were heavier than me until I was at least 10. I remember crying when my mother would put them on me. They hurt like hell.

3. The last thing I remember doing with my parents before they got divorced was driving from Detroit to Jamestown, North Dakota to enroll me in the Crippled Children’s School. We stopped at “Paul Bunyan Land” in Brainerd, Minnesota. We entered the Park and there was this huge voice that came out of no where that said “Hello, Kent, welcome to Paul Bunyan Land.” Scared the crap out of me, but it was fun. It wasn’t Bob-Lo, but then, this is Minnesota we’re talking about.

4. I still have a great-aunt who’s alive. I think.

5. I once rolled my chair down the left turn lane on 6 Mile Road for nearly two miles getting home from school. No one stooped me, offered a ride or the Livonia police show up to assist. Life in the 1970’s.

6. I am the oldest of three. I have a younger sister and brother and we are 55, 53 and 51, yet aren’t close. I have four step-siblings that I haven’t seen in decades.

7. I made out with Mackenzie Phillips. Yes, I know, who didn’t?

8. I interviewed Dick Vitale on the day he resigned from the University of Detroit. For my high school paper. We won awards for that year.

9. I haven’t been in the hospital since I was 13.

10. After all the traveling I’ve done, the best part is waking up in your own bed.

11. I wish I could say “I love you,” to my Grandma Franks one last time. She died when I was 9.

12. I am still here.

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The Cruelest Month

November 1, 2013

November.  The cruelest month. A reminder of how quickly things can change.  The days get shorter, winds start to get stronger, things get shut down.  Pools get drained and covered, patios closed, baseball is done, temperatures go up and down like a pogo stick.  The warmth of the summer, gone. The color of Autumn, fallen and crumpled to the ground.  Cold rain falls from the sky, chilling the bones. Snow comes.  Hunters hunt for deer, with rifles. Sometimes, they hunt for more than just Bambi.

“We interrupt this program…”

I was five.

November.  It is where life and legacy intersect, where families gather for Thanksgiving and feast on turkey and all the trimmings, where generations interact and feelings, jealousies and hard feelings are put aside, if just for that one day.  

One day.  In November.

It is the last time I saw my grandfather alive, in 2007.  He was 93.  He died the following April a month after turning 94.

“Shots at the President’s motorcade in downtown Dallas”

He was a young man. He never saw his children grow up, never got to grow old like his brother. His other brother ran for President and never got out of the hotel after winning the California Primary. He had, in two-and-a-half years, set this country on a course that, had he lived, would have looked a lot different than the country we live in today.  

November. The cruelest month. Relationships end, lives altered.  The fates intervene.  

“You can’t say the people of Dallas don’t love you.”

It was the last time a President rode in a motorcade topless.  No President since has ever ridden in a crowd of people without a bullet-proof car.  

“The flash, apparently official. President Kennedy died at 1 pm Central Standard Time. Some 38 minutes ago.”

The cruelest month. November.  Abrupt and sudden, like a cold front coming down from Canada. Or shots coming from the Texas Book Depository on Elm Street, Dallas, Texas.

“I’m just a pasty.”

Maybe, maybe not.  We’ll never know. Movies, books, novels have been written. Fifty years later, no one knows the facts or the truth.

The fates intervened that day. A marriage ended.  Two children lost their father. A country lost its way. 

A few years ago, a friend was part of a focus group. They were each asked “What day changed America?” Almost in unison they said “September 11, 2001.”  My friend said “November 22, 1963.”

He was right.