New Dubuque - Northern Arkansas, where the hills reminded David of Dubuque Iowa. David took several wonderful self-portraits and numerous other photos. We hope to post them here soon.
Ant Colony 01, Arkansas, Pine Bluff - Pine Bluff, where my Dad helped David collect his first ant colony of the season. Dad rushed out to greet us and shook David's hand. David's first word to Dad, "I hear you have some fire ants. I have been waiting 40 years for this."
Wonderland - Texarkana, Texas, where David saw prickly pear cacti growing outdoors for the first time and where we got some of the best Barbeque ever at Ramage Farms Country Store. Shoutouts to Pam (thanks for the shirts) and Brent (thanks for your patience!) Best quote of the day from Brent as he watched our motley crew invade his store, "You see a lot of strange things in this life...and this sure is one of 'em."
Christmas Town - Dallas, Texas, where David, Joe and I ate dinner with Carol and Rich longtime friends going all the way back to my high school days in Clinton, Iowa. David did not get a chance to talk with Rich but told me that he thought Carol was, "...a really nice person." David does not dole out compliments readily so I was amazed to hear one given after such a brief meeting. There must be something to the years of challenging training and hard work Carol has put in to become a world leader in her field of psychiatry.
Abilene has yet to be named. David said he would have to "sleep on it." And so our little journey cross this wide and wonderful land continues.
Before I slept I spoke with Rejeanne. As always, our talk helped calmed the old familiar fears. The Itty Bitty Shitty Committee in my head has a huge laundry list of fears they raise when I take on something new and perhaps a bit risky:
"What in the hell were you thinking? What makes you think you can do something like this? Don't you know that it is a huge waste of money? Don't you know the money could have fed thousands of children for months? You realize the whole thing is simply a big ego trip don't you? You really are something, you know that? Silly, wasteful, shameful..."
On and on into the night. And sometimes all night and day. But not to worry. I now have tools to root out the committee. Tools that work like the water Dorothy used to melt the wicked witch. One tool is the magic of Rejeanne's voice and calming touch. They wilt the committee; turning it from a fearsome council of judges into a group of mewling infants whining to be changed. And there are many other tools I call on...Walter, Bob, Erik, Larry, Scott, Doug, Bill, Mike, Caroline, Carol, Sue, Suzanne...their number is vast and one or more is always available. With my bag of tools I have the power to continue this journey.
Journey's have always been very special to me. They help me to sort what is and what is not important.
Once I had a career at a large multinational corporation. Once I was a photographer at a newspaper. Once I was a professional student. Once I was a drug addict and alcoholic. Once I had my left kidney removed. All these things are an inextricable part of me. They are part of the warp and woof of my life's fabric but none of them is important in any cosmic sense. They are simply scenes I play as one tiny actor on a vast and wonderful stage. David's excitement and joy in this journey reminds me of the simple fact that all I have had, all I now have, and all I ever will have can be boiled down to this moment...this one...right here and right now. Will I stop and take a moment to feel, touch, smell and taste this instant of life or will I let it slip away as I return to battle with fears of the future and regrets about the past? I hope to remain aware of the moment today.
A friend once said, "If you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future then you are pissing on today." Let anger, fear, judgment and guilt leave me this day. May I be alive to life. I thank this journey. I thank Rejeanne. I thank David, Joe, and all those we have thus far met and hope to meet. May we share together our instant of joy. May we laugh and hug each other on our little planet as it whirls through a vast and magnificent universe.