After a long hiatus I am back in the proverbial saddle. Or at least writing again. 
I have purposely stepped back over the last few months and tried to take stock of a number of things. Simple stuff like family, my own life and what is going on in the world. Here is some of what has percolated up through the mush that is my mind. For those who have encouraged me to write again, ya asked for it.
This Monday, August 13th, marked a number of milestones, the most important of which was the seventh anniversary of my daughter Buffy's  marriage to Ben Kelly and the sixth birthday of their daughter Kodi. 
A man should be so lucky. I am to be blessed with a growing family of children, and grandchildren, some of whom I hope will be able some day to support me in the style to which I would like to become accustomed. 
I am writing this on the second birthday of Buffy and Ben's second daughter Jimmie. A wild Montana girl who is trying to reinvent ways to say "No!". While Kodi is remarkably gentile and easy, Jimmie (aka James Celia Kelly, aka Atilla the baby) has brought all the considerable talents of her Irish, Native American and Scottish nature to bare on the entire clan. I love it. Revenge is sweet for any grandparent who remembers the early conduct of their now adult children. It is not that Buffy was a difficult child, but, with the inclusion of Kacey, Jedediah and Zachary, the four of them combined for many memories of child rearing that I am still taking treatments for. Usually in the form of a 12 oz. can of Pabst.
Jimmie in "Safe Mode".
During a recent trip north to upstate New York Nancy and I were also introduced to our newest Grandbaby Tajny Rose Burakowski. Taj, as she is rapidly becoming known, is the daughter of Kacey, my oldest daughter and her husband Brian Burakowski. She is much too new, having come into the world in early June, for us to know how she is going to progress but, being Kacey's daughter, we know it will be interesting. Buffy, Ben and the kids live outside of Superior, Montana and Kacey, Brian and Taj live outside of Stowe, Vermont.
Taj with momma Kacey.
And, then there is Miss Olive Jeffrey, our granddaughter by Nancy's son Brian (lots of Brians) and Penny Jeffrey. Olive and her parents, who Olive tries to keep in line with her way of thinking, live in Durham, North Carolina. Olive is another blessing we are trying to figure out ways to spoil. 
Miss Olive Mae Jeffrey, The Ice Cream Queen
That makes four female grandchildren. Now I am blessed to have four beautiful young ladies to spoil, but could someone please have a boy... please. Thankfully I still have Jed and Zack as a backup plan and my nephew Taylor Sweeney and his wife Katie are scheduled to have a boy out on the Left Coast fairly soon. If I am going to have any male grandbaby companionship (yes that is a mouthful) it has yet to be revealed. And, we are faced with a travel schedule for the future that just about covers the lower 48. 
Anyway, on with the show. 
While the Grandbaby report may be interesting to me, and the folks directly involved in the Smith, Kelly, Burokowski, Jeffrey and Sweeney clans, there is more to this story.
The other event that took place on August 13th is the one year anniversary of my following in the footsteps of one of my heroes, the late great George Carlin. Like George, who was arrested in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for saying the seven words you can't say on TV, on August 13th, 2011, during the last Guitars and Glasspacks concert in Wise, Virginia, and during a particularly stressful period of time getting ready for the show, I uttered "Don't %&#$ With Me," or so I was told later. Ya know, ya really shouldn't say that to a town councilman, even if he is being a jerk. Especially where people who are more than willing to exercise what they think of as their power and moral right to change your life can hear you. I now know that. Actually I knew that then but was pushed a bit too far that day.
The Fatal Day, Guitars and Glasspacks, 2011
Without going into detail, it cost me my job, much to the delight of my boss. That is how it goes. I was given the opportunity to resign. I wouldn't so I was fired and told to get out of the office by the end of the day by a supervisor who I believe was acting to further his own ends. He also made sure I did not get unemployment. It has been a really tight year financially.
The loss of a job that I had created and loved was a surprising blow. The way it was handled and the way I was treated has caused me to spend this last year thinking about a lot of things. In dealing with a certain amount of depression, reassessing where I am at 60 years old and dealing with a large amount of anger with myself and others, I am coming to terms with some things. And some things I realize that I will never come to terms with. 
First, and foremost, I am truly sorry that it happened. I let myself and others down by reverting to saying something that was more appropriate in another place and time. I have watched as my program has been dismantled and the job has gone unfilled. We were making progress and I derailed that by my actions. There is much more I could say but have erased it because I just do not want to go further with it. All I do is get angry.
That is not a solution.
The anger is useless. All it has done is make me bitter toward a place that I love and have worked very hard at trying to improve. I am working on that one. I am still not there but working on it. 
My heritage, even though I was not born here in Southwest Virginia, is Scots-Irish. We are a race that does not do well when pushed by unthinking authority. I come from a family that hates bullies, has a basic distrust of people who think they are "special" and usually responds fairly directly when pushed over the line. 
I am proud of that heritage. 
It can also get you in a lot of trouble, and has. 

Throughout my working career I have taken stands that, while I would not change them, have not been beneficial. So it goes. I have learned a lot, started over a lot and have gained a perspective that at times puts me in harm's way.
So be it.
There will always be people who think that their position in life gives them some kind of power to do, and say, what they want. They believe that they are beyond being questioned and that they are right no matter what. They also will bend the truth when that suits their goals or covers their butt. There are flags flying a lot these days that say "Don't Tread on Me." I said about the same thing... only I used a four letter word instead of Tread. Funny how that one more letter makes everything OK. Again I hear George Carlin in my head.
So why write all this.
Like I said, I have been thinking... an always dangerous thing. 

I have watched as the Presidential, Senatorial and House campaigns have increasingly careened out of control. The mean spirit that pervades the advertising is beyond anything I have seen in the 50 or so years I have been interested in politics and government. No it is not new, it is just worse. And I wish I could say that it is only the side I am not on that is doing it. 
Not so. All are to blame.
But, who is really to blame? I great part of me believes that the American people have lost much more than their civility. If we ever had it. We have ceased to understand how our system of government works. If we ever did. 
Now we can be swayed by speeches and ads that spout complete untruths. We watch ads and listen to politicians blame individual officials, aka governors, congressmen, senators, and yes, the President, for spending funds they can't spend, doing things they can't do and for making supposed "promises" that are wholly taken out of context.
We are ever so eager to believe the side we support and ever so eager to denigrate those we oppose. 
Does anyone else see a slippery slope here?
We, the people, have abdicated our ability to think, make reasoned decisions and work toward solutions that actually make our lives better.
We do not even know how our governmental process work. I listen to how much one governmental official has spent knowing that chief executives only propose budgets. They do not pass them. It is bodies of people from both parties who make our laws and spend our money. But that has become too complicated to talk about. So we listen to attacks and platitudes, misinformation and distortions, and many of us conveniently suspend reality (not the shows) to believe what we want  as long as it suits our already decided minds.
I thought we were smarter than that. 

The debate should be about what is best for the country. Unfortunately, I believe it is now about how to gain, and hold, power, the welfare of the country be damned.
Yes I know that money and power are at stake. I have seen that everywhere from the lowest levels of public life to the highest. I know that acquiring perceived power is a very human goal. I have watched as those in power got rid of qualified, bright potential leaders at all levels because they were inconvenient or not of their political stripe. I have watched it happen to me (not that I am of any real consequence in this). A person would have to be out of their mind to try and participate in public service. And yet some of us still hope that this will change. I still see people of courage who stand up for what they believe and believe what they say. 

What has happened to making sure that the least of us are taken care of. What has happened to our better natures. Are we so self centered as a people that we make up lies to justify our actions. I am starting to think so. I hope I am wrong.
I have also studied history.
George Washington was the most powerful man in America after leading us to independence. He could have been President for life, had riches beyond measure and about anything else he wanted from the American people.
Instead he retired. 
He left the Presidency and power for his home in Virginia. He had honor, character and the good sense to know that power is a given thing. You can't take it, demand it or use it for your own ends for too long before it is taken back by those who gave it in the first place. Ask Hitler, Saddam or Osama Bin Ladin. 
So, after this year of reflection I have come to the conclusion that while I may have been taken out of the game in Wise County I am still willing to try to make a difference. Now I just do so out of this area, some of the time in Washington D.C.. Believe it or not I still believe that this is the greatest system of government in the world. 

I will be writing more about what I am currently involved in as things develop. I will also not give up my right to think, consider issues and make decisions based on what I believe to be true. 
Let the Silly Season Begin.


08/15/2012 18:33

I agree with you. And, I LOVE the photo of Kacey and Taj. Talk with you soon.

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08/15/2012 19:32

I agree with you. Glad to have you back buddy


It’s a good feeling that you are coming back to your home town. The old friends are waiting and they are very happy to see you once again. Spending time with your family is the best gift, I actually felt that when I was coming from a long vacation to my friends and when I got home, I feel so happy, yes I’m happy with my friends in their place, but nothing compares with the happiness with your own family. But of course treasure those days at least you have a great time with them.

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I'm happy that you are back in the proverbial saddle!))

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I think this was a great time spent with a family!

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    A Twisted Trail,
    A Blog
    By H W. "Bill" Smith

    Writing is something that I have always loved doing and anyone  who knows me knows that I have more than my share of opinions on a variety of subjects. 
    My goal is to write about the history, music, culture, life and events that shape the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains where I live... and anything else that tickles my fancy. Join me on this ride down "A Twisted Trail."


    November 2012
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    March 2012
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    January 2012
    December 2011
    November 2011