Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seasonal Shifts

Do the solar seasons we experience, as an entire year consumes us, have anything to do with the dictates of our life?  I mean, yes it does in regards to the farmer who spends his winter planning for the spring planting.  He prays for strength to bear the long hot days of summer and for rain to sustain the labors of spring until harvest.  So as the coming harvest season shortens the length of day and distills the heat of summer, we continue to pray for the opportunity to take from the field, our bounty, before the dread storms spawned from our life sustaining Gulf of Mexico lay them flat. 


Let me start with the winter of this year, 2013/2014.  What have I experienced and what is the season preparing me for?  I have not heard the comfort of my Mockingbird since before Thanksgiving.  In the dog days of summer I notice he is quiet, so too, has he not remained silent in the short days of winter as well?  I see him often in his pursuit to sustain life, but he is not sharing with me the comfort his existence provides me.  Although I know it will come soon, why am I missing his song more with each passing day?  What is it with this particular winter?  I do not recall it ever being this cold for such an extended time for this part of Central Louisiana.  Since I have no fields to plant what change might this particular cold winter be preparing me for?  What I have noticed in the absence of my vocal Mockingbird is the chatter of little sparrows as their gathered excitement in the Loquat tree welcomes me to work.  It seems they are even more vocal on the coldest of mornings as I arrive to open city hall where my office is located.  I am reminded of the verse, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing, yet not one shall fall to the ground?” Let me see if I can make sense out of this as I reflect upon my thoughts.


For the past several years I quietly struggled emotionally with the safety of my only son as he went back and forth into harm's way as part of our military.  No one but those closest to me or those that have been in my position would understand the quiet disturbance that exists in the mind of a concerned parent.  On the occasion he did ask how I was doing, my answer was always the same, “As long as I can get in and out of my Corvette and throw my leg over my motorcycle, I will be doing fine.”  I was hoping he would understand what my meaning was at this age of my life, but what about those who do not know me as intimately?   Might this lead one to think my sole reason for existing is fast cars and motorcycles?  In actuality it was the enjoyment of shifting through the gears of my Corvette and the freedom and exhilaration I feel on the back of my Goldwing motorcycle.  What would I do without one or the other? 


My 1986 grey Corvette 4x3 transmission has been my heart ever since I flew to California and drove her home after I bought her on Ebay in 2000.   She had her bumps and scars but I didn’t care.  She was mine to pamper, abuse, repair, drive, and enjoy!  I loved taking her hard top off and going places when the temperature was balanced and comfortable.  Wearing a baseball cap to keep my shaved head from getting sunburned was just part of the necessary preparations to enhance the fun.  Just last year I put new shoes and socks on her which “set off”  her curb appeal to me and did some cosmetic repairs on the inside which made both of us happy.  Then the inevitable occurred.  I passed by this one car lot and lust possessed my heart.  There it sat like a prostitute in business.  If I had the money, she would be mine.  I have seen many of these temptations in my life, but this one caused me to make a big mistake.  I took a second look and the second sin engaged, Covetousness!  


I turned off the main highway and parked my marked city Code Enforcement car as best I could to mask my presence there.  As I sat in my car just staring with my mouth open, I took in the curves and every contour of her beautiful body.  I knew she was out of my price range, but how much I simply didn’t know as I sat there in my desiring state of mind.  I had to know.  I exited my car and approached her.  She introduced herself as Mercedes C300 and told me she was everything I ever desired right down to her glossy black exterior and leather buckskin bucket seats.  If any automobile I ever saw had blue eyes, this one did.  I could not be seen with her in public, much less sit in the confines of her temptuous embrace. So, I hastily returned back to the safe confines of my unit and left her to advertise her allure to some other passing soul.  Later that day I did return without the marked car and uniform.


We did embrace.  She caressed my posterior and prompted me to test her abilities at pleasing me as we entered the tested yet unprotected roadways of which she so aptly preformed.  And I was not disappointed as our relationship instantly bonded.  How easy it was for her to convince me I preferred four doors as compared to the two my Corvette had.  Then she teased me with the assets of her rear end as another need I could possess as well, in the form of a self contained trunk.  As our quick tryst came to an end, I refused one last request of her, I did not choose to look under her hood at what really made her soul complete.  I was consumed with the outward beauty alone and as with all affairs, refused to get involved with her “under the hood” soul.  We parted ways six or so months ago.  When I did return a couple of days later to resume our acquaintance, I was informed she had been purchased in full by a lady just as attractive as she was.


Seasons do provide and help us prepare for the approaching season or so it appears to me.  My interest in getting on my Goldwing and riding cross country with a handful of friends lost its allure three or four years ago.  On the Goldwing I could communicate by radio with several other riders and friends as we cruised the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas or screamed at 100 mph across the ups and downs of the Three Sisters in West Texas.  I moved away from the organized chaos of these rides to the more peaceful solitude of solitary jaunts to where ever my heart would lead me.  I will never forget my first cross country ride to visit my son in Fayetteville, NC where he was stationed.  All I knew was that I wanted to ride what is known in the motorcycle world as the “Tail of the Dragon” that stretched between Tennessee and North Carolina.  Imagine my surprise when I unwittingly rode into the city limits of a place called Pigeon Forge and then encountered a sign that said Great Smokey Mountain National Park!  How many times have I looked for an excuse to “just ride” anywhere I could go and return in just a few days.  So many countless times I can’t remember them all.


My Goldwing...  I told Linda when I was 48 years old there were three things I wanted, another Corvette, a motorcycle, and a motor home.  She was flexible to a point on the Corvette request, so much so, that it turned into three over a few short months.  The motorcycle started with a Yamaha 1300 fully dressed, followed by a White Honda Goldwing 1500.  I stopped with and still possess my third and final motorcycle which is an Illusion Blue Goldwing 1800.  Beautiful then and still is!  When you walk around her she appears blue and then transforms into that deep LSU purple!  With this, she put her foot down on the motor home.  I am somewhat glad she did.  She gave me all the rope I needed to “not” be able to hang myself, yet indeed, I still tried my best. 

 For 15 years I have enjoyed the peace and freedom this powerful vehicle has provided me.  Only those who have stretched one of her kind out across the landscape of our endless Interstate system, would one possibly understand the exhilaration you feel while sitting astride such a fine tuned machine wearing boots, leather, gloves and helmet as the world passes by at 75+ mph.   And haven’t each of us, who has ever participated in such cross country sorties, tingled with excitement as we experienced the intense summer storms laced with lightning and unrelenting rain?  We would just push through the heat cell that captured us with an increased adrenaline rush, knowing a scant few minutes/miles down the road we would exit from the intense soaking encounter unscathed.  It was times like these, as we watched the storm cell that we just exited disappear in our rearview mirrors and start to focus on the next one approaching.  Imagine how something like this stimulated our desire to never get off of these fine machines.  Oh yes as we called it, "the slicing of the storm!" And who amongst us reading this would not deny the urge to just “twist” the throttle on those occasions we might find ourselves on a solo cross country?  If I live to be 125 years of age, I will never forget this temptation urging the mind to JUST DO IT!  Gazing as far as I could see across the vast landscape of openness for anything remotely resembling a police car, this foolish recklessness trips in my mind all too often and the thrill is on!  How can I describe this feeling of unrestrained torque as I accelerate from a cruising speed of 75 mph up through 100 to the max speed of the 124 mph limits of a fully dressed Honda Goldwing!  All the time being pushed back into the seat still desiring more speed!  No, a flat tire, passing raccoon, skunk or armadillo never crossed my mind, but the idea I was properly dressed did insure the possibility of an open casket funeral, even at that speed.  However…  Let it be known, the need for speed still exists in the depths of my aging soul as some unknown caged demon is still begging to be set free once again, somewhere, on or in something!


I’m sure the handful of you that have engaged this story thus far might be wondering by now, “Rod, where are you going with this senseless babble?” Let me bring you up to speed with where exactly I find myself precariously teetering in this present winter season of 2013/14 while navigating the early winter season of my life.  Well, if you are familiar with my work, you might entertain my blog entry in Facebook Quotes of 2013 dated July 18.  This was a scant six (6) months ago, yet light years ago collectively speaking.  My encounter with the Mercedes saw me fall victim to yet another temptation as the season(s) prompted me to “change perspectives” in preparation for what?  I was simply tending to city business when just recently on the same street corner she caught my eyes.  I did not look the second time as I did just six months prior.  I yielded immediately to her tempting call.  Even more did she offer than Mercedes C300, the one that led me astray a short few months ago.  This one was so confident in herself that my need to test her ability on the roadway was not even desired of me.  Navigation, heated seats with lumbar control, blue tooth, moon roof, DVD and DVR accented of course in the most beautiful Pearl White color enticed me without question to actually look under her hood into her soul.  Scant approval by my executive officer was questioned with how do I intend to pay for this and the next day, I took her home with me.  Her name?  Cadillac STS with that bad Northstar engine!


My gray Corvette is still tentatively a part of my life as she is up for sale.   I guess I am saying goodbye to a wonderful season of my life as I prepare to give her away for a proper price.  She is being pampered by an accomplished mechanic so the new owner can experience her passion without fear of something going wrong because of her age.  Who knows, maybe she can teach her new owner what she enjoyed so much from the years we spent together…   Whoever wants her can make those new memories for himself.  As for me, I continue to answer my executive officer's question, “how do I intend to pay for my transition into this next season?"    As this cold winter has kept me somewhat restricted from active participation with a certain Illusion Blue Goldwing 1800, I am strongly considering severing my last tie with this diminishing season I watch fading in my rearview mirror.  Can I do it?  Really say good bye to my Goldwing and all of those memories we made together since I started riding 15 years ago?  Well, I’ve typed myself into this corner and I sit here with an aching heart as I alone drug up the past in preparation for my final push to my destiny.  I will make the right choice, I’m sure.


What is out there?  What is it that motivates me?  I guess to stay as healthy as I can until my health tells me its time.  In the mean time, a couple of things have excited me recently.  Sitting in the most comfortable settings of Ms. Cadillac STS she surprises me with an exciting taunt!  A message tripped across the driver information screen.  In clear print, with more than enough time to read it was this message:  DO NOT EXCEED 142 MPH.  Breaking out in a controlled grin, I felt that suppressed demon stir as that Id vs. Super Ego began to parry deep inside of me as I almost broke out in a laugh just thinking about that stretch of interstate highway just waiting for me yet once again to JUST DO IT yet one more time???  I knew she was perfect for me.  Now, as if to find stability, I must remind myself there is that classroom and pistol range I desire to complete at my old nursery site where I can train students in basic pistol and concealed carry protocol.  After all, even in a wheelchair I can teach people desiring this training how to shoot and take care of themselves.  What qualifies me?  I’ve shot two people including myself and there is that Volkswagen in Alaska that made me Alaskan folklore…  


Rod Ferguson
January 23, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dawning Truth

           Sometimes an impromptu picture of something as casual as an iPhone  “selfie” taken on my patio can speak to my heart like a Bible verse when the Holy Spirit wants to get my attention.  It was the afternoon of Martin Luther King holiday of 2014 when I asked my oldest granddaughter to come sit with me on my glider swing on my patio.  I have spent many hours on this swing the last few years as I listened to the songs of my mockingbird and watched the contrails of commercial aircraft pass miles over head. So many, have I watched pass over my home during their comings and goings usually in the same direction that I simply extrapolated from where I was in central Louisiana, they must be traveling to and from Atlanta, GA and Houston, TX.   The full moons and planets I have witnessed from this very spot or sanctuary, as memories, have found root in my normally placid mind.  How could I be so remiss as not to mention the sunrises that always spoke to my heart while sitting there before my river found favor?  It was here that I was sitting with my 13 year old granddaughter, invited by none other than myself to my hallowed place where I bronze my past and debate my future.  Conversation gave way to playfulness as I took 10 pictures promising to put the iPhone away if I could just get that right one.  Eventually, her mother, Lindsay, arrived as she too joined us on the patio just a few minutes before Linda arrived home from work.  There were too many people to entertain, so I charcoaled the grill and joined in pieces of their conversation until that “time” was gone forever.


          Hours later, as I looked through my iPhone at the pictures I had taken, one stood out.  I kept going back to it for some reason.  Enlarging the picture, I could not help but wonder with a sort of teary eyed softness, “where did the past go?” That beautiful little child now replaced by the young lady who is trying to hide behind her hand while resting her head on my shoulder. Sorting through the other “selfies” I snapped of the two of us, it was this one that touched me the most.  And because of this one picture, I felt the need to reflect. 


          She came into my life with the designed intent of an omnipotent God to help me become a man of compassion and understanding.  To help me throw off the chains of racial stereotyping I suffered from simply because of the era in which I was raised.  You see, this little pregnancy accident was in fact, no accident at all.  In the mind of the Religious Man, the only substantiated reason for this  unplanned baby who was born out of wedlock was simply that she was a sinful mistake!  At that time, I must confess, I fell for that too.  Social conditioning so to speak.  You see, actually this was my second trip down this unexpected pregnancy road, as my first experience was given in adoption a short couple of years earlier.  Was this because I could not raise a bi-racial child?  God knows I struggled with that, but no!  That was NOT the reason.  Looking back, it was not my prejudice that forced that child into adoption, but simply the Holy Spirits work in the heart of my daughter alone.  My wife and I were prepared to do what we needed to do as we allowed our precious daughter to make that decision herself.   We simply supported her decision even though she was only 14 at the time finding comfort in knowing the word abortion NEVER was considered as an alternative solution.   We did not know it then but God was answering the prayers of a couple in Texas and if I ever feel led to unfold the truths of that story on paper, you would understand it as clearly as I do now... I was there for the first birth, as I was there for this one.  I saw this child take her first breath in this life as the Doctor handed me the scissors and said, “Grandfather, would you like the honor?”  With that one snip, I released this child from the protective bonds of her mother to begin her ministry.  McKinzi Blair came to be, as my lessons on life shifted into another gear…


           When I looked at this picture, I did think of the past.  My, how this child has changed my life and what lessons God was able to teach me because of her!  If I told you a quarter of everything we experienced together, this short story would become a thick, fine print novel.  So let me make it as simple as I can in just a few short paragraphs.  She practically lived with Mawmaw and Pawpaw, and where the first two years of her life went, I can’t actually recall.  It might be because I suppressed the memories of those dirty diaper days!  I just know for years upon years her place was in my lap or sleeping between Mawmaw and me…  I discovered the birth experience was extremely tough on McKinzi because she could not walk or talk for a long time after she first came home.  In fact, if I remember correctly, it took almost two years for her to walk decently and that was about the time I could begin to understand “a bit” of the gibberish language she used to communicate.  I do know that somewhere around this time I was always encouraging her to say the words Pawpaw.  Guessed that would work.  It sounded good to me anyway. Yet somehow, someway, that child was determined to tell me who I was going to be.  As clear as what I can say it today, she looked at me and said the word “Poppy.”  That was it, and as her vocabulary grew, Poppy stuck and McKinzi became Kinzi, which evolved into Kinzi Bear.  Because of her bi-racial existence, I adopted a Lion King theme.  I was Poppy Mufasa and she was Kinzi Bear, and that is where the song found its beginning:


Kinzi Bear, Kinzi Bear;
                                                You are Poppy Mufasa’s Kinzi Bear.
                                                I love you, yes I do;
                                               You have changed my life completely, Kinzi Bear.


           I remember when my wife, Linda and I went to Branson, MO, with our youngest daughter, Paige and took Linda’s mom with us.  We were gone for four long days and three nights!  Short trip for us, but for Kinzi Bear, it was forever.  We came in rather late on a Sunday night and were rather tired.  Well, guess who shows up on that rather late night accompanied by her mother?  You got that right!  I was already on my side of the bed and I could hear Linda talking in the kitchen with Lindsay and Paige when little Miss Kinzi Bear walks in and looks at me.  Off came the shoes, socks, pants and then shirt.  I held my breath wondering if that diaper she had on was loaded and hoped that wasn’t coming off next!  As she finished with the last piece of clothing, up into the bed she climbed.  Not a word was said to me.  She crawled across that king sized bed, pulled the covers back, and scooted that little body right next to me pulling the covers up to her neck.  I looked at her as if to ask, “and what do you think you’re doing in here,” when she just looked at me and puckered up for a kiss.  Linda and Kinzi Bear’s mom walked in about this time, and her mother said, “Girl, get out of that bed.  We have to go home.”  As soon as these words were spoken, the stage was set for some sort of rebuttal coming in the form of a pitched hissy fit.  Just wasn’t sure at that point if it was to be pitched by McKinzi or me.  What both of us knew was the only piece missing to this puzzle was Mawmaw.  She needed to hurry up and get into bed to secure the night.  I can still see the look in Lindsay’s eyes when she broke out into a smile knowing she would have a better chance of dragging a mad pit bull out of that bed than she would have McKinzi…  Three nights was long enough for that baby, and she knew there was no better place in the world than between Mawmaw and Poppy.


          Chocky milk.  Anyone know what that is?  That is the cold stuff you keep by the gallon in the refrigerator to make kids happy.  Let me define kids as it relates to the Ferguson household, my youngest daughter Paige, Kinzi Bear, and yours truly.  Every night Kinzi Bear went to sleep with her sippy cup filled with chocky milk and a serenade from my heart as she nursed away slipping further and further toward unconsciousness;



I love hugs and kisses in the night time too;
I hold you close and tell you that I love you so
And then we hold each other tight;
And then we go to sleep;
That’s when we share a pillow and our dreams. 

Kinzi Bear, Kinzi Bear;
You are Poppy Mufasa’s Kinzi Bear.
I love you, yes I do;
You have changed my life completely, Kinzi Bear.



And every morning before I left for work, I would kiss her good bye and without opening her eyes she would reach up onto the head board of the bed and feel around with those precious little hands until she found that sippy cup, magically again filled with Chocky milk.  Usually in the morning time, I took the time to make it a little special.  It was more than chocky milk.  It was warm chocky milk!  Yes.  This went on for what seemed years!  But it did “went on” so fast… So very fast!


          Linda and I had a successful nursery and landscape business that occupied our every waking moment.  Our customers knew of our older kids as they grew up at our nursery.   After the older kids left home, only my youngest daughter remained, along with a hand full of cats that earned their keep babysitting the younger children of our customers.  Kinzi Bear became a regular there as well.   Don’t know what my customers thought and didn’t care.  Linda had a way of letting them know this was our granddaughter and not our youngest child.  Yes, we probably had a few that would assess this picture and draw a conclusion that the bull jumped the fence somewhere but we didn’t care.  Kinzi Bear was dropped off one day at the nursery by her mom and gravitated to my desk where she handed me a $1 dollar bill.  I asked her, “What do you want Poppy to do with this money?”  She had no concept of the value of money, yet.  She just knew when you gave it to people you could get some pretty good stuff in return.  


          As I sat there trying to put some kind of bid together for a customer, Kinzi Bear sat patiently beside me observing the world pass by.  A customer had come into the office and needed a tractor scoop of bark mulch at his home not five houses from the nursery.  I told him to just take the tractor and get a scoop and drive it up the street to his house to save him and I both time.  As he drove out of the driveway to cross the street, Kinzi Bear said, “Poppy, Poppy, somebody takin’ you ‘tetak!”  I stood up and picked her up and said, “Oh no! Kinzi, what is Poppy going to do!  Someone took my tractor,” I chided as we watched it disappear a short distance down the road into the customer’s yard.  I could tell she was extremely concerned that someone had taken her Poppy’s tractor!  She knew where that tractor belonged and was beside herself.   That sweet baby grabbed my face, turned my head toward hers, to look into my eyes and told me very matter-of-factly, “Go get ouh another tetak, Poppy!”  I could not help but notice her intensity.  The last time I had seen her that intense was when she came running into the bedroom after Linda got a piece of her butt for something, and she demanded of me, “Poppy, go fuss at Mawmaw!”  The fuss was of course pronounced with a P as the “f” sound was more difficult.  You know.  Feets were peets kinda thing?  Anyway, I told this precious child as honestly as I could muster without laughing, “Baby, Poppy can’t afford to buy a new tractor, because that would cost way too much money!”  With those words, her world stopped and because I was in her world, so did mine.  It was the look she gave me as that sweet hand still rested on my cheek.  Staring intensely into my eyes she spoke these words directly to my heart with such conviction as if she were trying to understand (I have misty tears as I type her answer),  “But Poppy, I gave you all my money!!”  You see, in her mind, I had all the money in the world because she gave it to me.  What that one dollar bought, was my heart and soul in one big package.


          Some of my fondest memories of this baby, as with most all of my kids and grandkids as well, were Sunday’s.  I would think as long as these children are remotely dependent on the family core for any of their basic needs, they know what will happen on Sunday mornings...  Church.  And that includes Sunday school as well.  To this very day, I have grandkids that spend the night at my house on Saturday’s because we take them to Church with us on Sunday mornings.  And goodness, was my Kinzi Bear a precious little sight when she was dressed up for Sunday in those pretty dresses and that dark curly hair...  This particular Sunday was special.  It was a transition Sunday in my Kinzi Bear's life.  As Mawmaw prepared her for church on this Sunday, the suggestion was made by Mawmaw and generally agreed to by Kinzi that she would venture into the public venue for the first time in her "Big Girl Panties."  I was so proud of her!   I removed her from the car seat and stood her on the parking lot and adjusted her dress and frilly socks.   I told her how pretty she was and how very proud Poppy was of her because she was wearing her big girl panties.  She was just as proud as she held my hand crossing the parking lot to her nursery/Sunday School class.  As we approached the church, several of my friends and the pastor were standing there greeting other members.  We were a sight to behold now, and I could not suppress this big smile on my face as I pointed out to these close “spiritual” acquaintances, this was our first day in "BGP’s."  Looking down, I saw that sweet child avoiding eye contact with these people as she stared at the asphalt parking lot.  She did not say or react in anyway other than to appear bashful.  Was this not how little girl’s act?  The message I was clearly being sent by this not yet three year old child was more, Poppy, if I were old enough, I would bite a hole in your neck!  Ok, maybe I should not have announced to God and all of his disciples on this Sunday morning that this was her first time out in big girl panties, but I didn’t say that.  I said BGP’s.  She understood very well exactly what I said because when I came to pick her up a scant hour and a half later, she greeted me with a big smile as I took her hand in mine while at the same time I was handed a baggie containing soaking wet big girl panties complete with a pair of frilly socks.  This time it was her smiling as we walked back across the parking lot to the car as I escorted her hand in hand back to where it all began as we prepared to go home. Surely this child was not gloating?   Seriously.  You think?


          She eventually graduated from Kindergarten, and moved into the first grade and practically lived with Mawmaw and Poppy.  Where the next ten years went was exactly where the rest of my life continues to go...  Quickly away. It was at this same church she grew and matured and I had the honor of baptizing her along with my grandson into the family of He who sent her to me in the first place.  She is now my KBear.   Next year she will be in high school and from there who knows what direction this story might take.  She taught me that any notion of social conditioning that I possessed because I was ignorant, she was more than willing to show me the truth simply by loving me unconditionally.  Not intended of course, just the fact that if I could love her with the love I felt, then obviously I was wrong about a lot of things simply because my ignorance had not been tempered with the lessons of life that only a child could teach me.  And so my education continues even beyond this reading…


          We can debate what sin is according to the laurels of man as defined by his interpretation of “The Word.”   We can call sin a mistake or give it any name that the giver or accuser is comfortable with but here is what I know to be an absolute truth: Our ways will never be God's way as God's way will never be our way.  Without a resounding doubt in my heart, the reason for her existence was for her to help me become the kind of man I should have been from the start.  God sent KBear here just for me…  And there in a captured “selfie” taken on a holiday that will be debated forever by ignorant men, I recognized she was that one link that God sent to help me become more of the man He chose for me to be all along if I would just get out of the way.  How does it go?  He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it??  That pretty much says it all, don’t you think?   And it was just a picture… 

Rod Ferguson
January 22, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Attention Deficit, What?

To my readers
Some months after posting this story, a friend of mine posted the attached article on facebook.  As I read through the "truth" of where we are as a society today, I could not help but think of the correlated twist of this revealed truth as it related to my life experiences.  Take the time to click on this link before you engage my story.  Just might help give wise council to your children!  Please take the time to look at my most recent link posted April 12, 2017.

          On November 14, 2014 another article on facebook prompted this addition to this short story. I
          do think this substantiates a lot of what I am talking about as I reflect on my early childhood. 
          Take the time to click on this link and explore my concerns after you read my story.

          As I moved to edit this article on April 12, 2017, I noticed the above referenced   address may not be working.  As we stumble forward in our determined efforts to de-legitimize what "we" desire vs what God desired for us, please take the time to click on this link.

Actually, here is yet another facebook post that continues to substantiate the entire story!  I hope you enjoy.

          I ran across a post on Facebook today that made my mind start to wonder.  It said that Liberals do everything they can to politicize medicine.  It went on to give an example of a little boy that was restless in school.  He was taken to a doctor and of course diagnosed with ADD and as is the norm of modern medicine was placed on drugs to help him suppress normal boy behavior.  Today’s medical society goes one step further as they see it necessary to question what we grew up thinking was normal behavior.  If a boy child thinks he wants to be a girl, then they take it upon themselves to respect that and help him become a girl.

          Let me see how that worked when I was little... I had a serious Attention Deficit Disorder along with an even stronger Hyperactive Disorder of which the “you will be like God” medical community was not even aware of, much less coined an acronym for.  No one knew my behavior was “abnormal” except for my parents, siblings and school teachers to include every other parent that had little boys they trusted their family linage too… Here was a reality!  Strange as it may seem and as memory recalls, every other little boy in my neighborhood and elementary school seemed to suffer from this same play disorder.  Most treatment therapy for this anomaly was simple.  Our mothers tossed us outside to play and cause mayhem.   As birds of a feather tend to flock together, it seemed that as soon as the neighborhood boys found ourselves banished to the tundra outside of the home, some type of magnetic collective bonding force was activated and all of us sort of found each other at what time we commenced to medicate our hyperactive disorders with intense activity.   We had an entire neighborhood to terrorize and we did it with such intensity, no rock was left unturned.  In the course of scant hours, we all knew which houses Mr. and Mrs. whatever their last name was, to avoid and stay away from.  The collective energies we expired in our attention deficit disorders found us up and down the Sycamore tree in my back yard on Georgia Street as many as 10 times by as many as five of my buddies!  Nope, don’t remember even one us ever falling.  But there were stories we were told by the old people we interacted with of such horrid things happening to someone else!  Walk?  What was that?  We knew two speeds.  Fast and faster!  We actually ran as fast as we could from here to there because our attention span was loosely interlaced with “what could we get into next before we forgot!”   Might I mention this was before parents could afford bicycles?

           Social discord was part of our daily lifestyle.  Bloody noses were a badge of honor if we were about the same size and age.  As our “alpha dog” mentality was being honed by trial and error upon each other, we discovered fighting was a common interaction as we tried to establish dominance in our group!  With time the pecking order had a calming affect on us as we discovered the choice of pain or compromise was as simple and just as honorable as one of us being chicken while the other one was glad of it!  Collectively now, we hated bullies and simply avoided them to the best of our abilities...  Bullies to us were usually someone's older brother and his friend(s) or the boyfriend of one of our older sisters.  We generally hated them all.

          Hide and seek was the norm, especially when it became overcast or started getting dark, and do you have any idea how many Indians, Japs and Germans I killed as a child?  This was accomplished with cowboy and army guns given to us by our parents!!  During these “wars” I hated to get shot in the head by one of my buddies!  “Bang, Bang!!  I SHOT YOU IN THE HEAD!”  Then I would scream back, “No you didn’t.  You got me in the heart!”  Unbeknown to me and my boyhood pals, these Indian fights and war games were significant.  These war games were the only time we let girls with cooties interact with us for any reason.  Every cowboy, Indian, and soldier that got wounded in these horrid battles had to have a nurse to care for them.  Didn't we?  It just seemed these “stupid girls” appeared by happenstance from the insides of their momma’s houses every time a war game was fought during our unorganized and disorderly hyperactive day.  I of course seemed to like the attention as I would be nursed back to health from a heart wound with a sip of play medicine from a plastic teacup painted with lead paint!  As soon as I felt my heart wound was healed, I was eager to re-engage the battle that was ever so important to continue if in fact we were still engaged in that particular activity...  These stupid girls… Looking back, I would never admit, but I liked them being around. Had no idea why but I sure am glad I didn’t have a doctor question me as to why I liked tea cups painted with lead paint! 

          These endless mornings of terrorism found groups of us totaling from 2 to 4 easing stealthily through selected homes to devour left over biscuits, jelly, and bacon still left on the table from breakfast.  I wonder today if that food was left out by moms of little boys on purpose?  All I do know was that as soon as whatever we could find to eat was devoured, our then unknown Hyperactive Disorders propelled us again into the wild unknown with a renewed source of sugar replenishment to stimulate us along.  It was in the open range of the neighborhood that we continued to expend this adrenalin driven hyperactivity everyone recognized but had not yet been diagnosed.  Then as the heat of the afternoon began to stifle and attic fans everywhere cooled the inside of urban homes; moms would call their little soldiers and tyrants into the house for a nap.  STAB US ALL IN THE NECK!  A Nap!  Mother!!!! 

          You see, every seasoned mother as the keeper of the nuclear family’s home knew this undiagnosed medical disorder all too well.  As we entered the “peaceful” surroundings of this dwelling that was absent the authority “Dad figure,” because he was “at work,” it was difficult for us adrenalin pumped "chaps" to, lets say, unwind from what we knew as the norm.   In my particular circumstance, as I’m sure was also played out in the homes of my buddies as well, I was escorted rather firmly toward the only bathroom in our two bedroom home where a more than likely cold wash cloth was applied firmly to my face.  The intended purpose was to remove what dirt, blood and snot had managed to accumulate in this general vicinity of what my mother knew was my face.  Next was the bare chest and back followed by the legs…  Oh yes, I remember these moments well…  A snatch here and a correct posture positioning snatch there by my mother to keep me still and to shut me up.  I now recognize this today, as a strong suggestion for me to settle down to HER standards and to let go of what SHE wanted left out side.  This cool down wash and scrub session, to most mothers, was nothing more than what we would call a “sedative” today.  What was going on in my mind was “nap resistance!”  Yes, I do recall a rather bloodied fight with one of my buddies who boldly announced to all of my gathered friends that my mother kissed me on the butt!  I was livid and proceeded to punch his lights out!  Sometime later in life, I in fact asked mom if she ever did, by chance, kiss me on the butt?  Without hesitation, she simply replied, "That was the only clean place I could find on you!"  With that one answer, the scrubbings seemed to mentally fall right into place. 

          Immediately as the cleaning subsided, I was then firmly directed to the master bedroom my youngest sister and I shared with my mom and dad.  It was in fact nap time but was also time for indoctrinational propaganda that was introduced in story form from this big red book of Bible stories complete with some of the neatest pictures.  As you have heard countless times, my two oldest sisters along with my baby sister and I had a serious drug problem that thousands of other children across the country suffered from as well.  In our case, we were drug to some Baptist Church every Sunday morning and evening and occasionally on Wednesday nights by our parents.  And here again, nap time found more of this religious stuff being forced into my little hyperactive mind.  Reflecting back, it was nothing more than God Himself protecting me from potential maternal disfigurement as the stories of David and Goliath along with countless others would lull me into a catatonic state of submissiveness which protected me from physical harm.  In the heat of any given summer day, I find it totally amazing by today’s standards, how we could actually sleep with nothing more than an attic fan drawing a rather warm breeze across our sleeping souls.

          Now, I would be remiss if I did not address the purpose of this entire story.  I  vividly recall the interaction between the mental disorder, known today as ADHD, of the then “touched” son and his Nuclear Mother which would bridge yet another gap in the process of Childhood Development.  I must have drifted off to sleep way too early during one of her stories from that big red story book that talked about “sparing the Rod and spoiling the child."  Remember now, just because I had this mental disorder that was yet diagnosed by the medical community, did not mean my mother was not aware of my inclination to test the boundaries of a mother/child relationship.  She came to realize early on, that if I insisted on learning things the hard way, she was more than willing to accommodate whatever bonding method best suited my budding personality!  Let me explain something here.  My mother was the middle child of nine brothers and sisters from a sharecropper family in Amite County Mississippi.  After losing her mother during the depression, she found herself functioning as a maid to the older siblings and caretaker to the younger ones.  She developed a pro-active resistance to attempted abuse from older brothers at a tender age and well knew how to address any “disorder” when just the thought of insurrection reared its ugly head in my brain damaged mind!  This was good medicine folks, and an effective cure with no after effects other than a few red marks when strategically applied by a master’s hand on exposed body parts...  Let us revisit the definition of the Nuclear family?  Totally different concept from what social scientist intended, but from what little I knew of atomic bombs, I came to fear my mother more than any other thing that existed.

          This mental disorder that existed in me then is medicated in today’s youth, but still I pushed that envelop more than one time too many knowing what was to become of my all to soon future!  The first warning was menial.  “Wait until your Daddy gets home, boy!”  Well now, Daddy coming home from work was like waiting for Christmas in my under developed mind.  Besides, by this point, I had this primitive understanding of how I thought this "trump card" should be played!  “Please don’t tell Daddy, Momma.  Please!”  I would scream with begging sobs!  She eventually learned way to quickly that a loving father just coming home from work was not going to rip his belt from has pants and beat the life out of his only son simply because his distraught wife implored him to!  I also knew that if I could delay this “corrective measure,” and if daddy was the one to administer the only medicine known to work on this unknown ADHD problem, it would not be nearly as bad as what a provoked Mother would do left unrestrained.  I was too brain damaged to realize the concept that moms do have a tendency to eat their young. As a result of this phenomenon, the honor of my abused past belonged exclusively to my Mother. 

          It always came as a total surprise like most predator attacks on unsuspecting prey.  This unknown hyperactive disease tempered with my inability to focus my attention on my immediate surroundings, meant I never saw the attack coming.  When on rare occasions, I was left to “mark territory” inside of her modest home, the only thing I would stumble upon to terrorize was my older sisters!  Upon entering there sanctuary, they scrambled to the middle reaches of their bed to escape my approach while alerting the entire jungle of my presence.  Their screams and taunts immediately alerted the predator senses in my mother, who obviously had failed to direct me properly to the nap bed.    Agitating my sisters was like scattering a litter of soft fuzzy kittens until "momma cat" focused her eyes and ears along with every other sensory power upon this act.  It was positioning she desired as I moved through her lair seemingly unrestrained.  It would be only scant moments before my hyperactive disorder put me within "pouncing distance!"   And as surely as light defines day, there came that moment when everything turned into a slow motion, black and white blur as I was snatched up and became the helpless victim of a very intense feeding frenzy surprisingly absent of the actual blood letting!  With my older sisters' taunts of encouragement, what would be known as child abuse today,  was simply one form of behavior modification for abnormal behavior courtesy of private homes.  This medical treatment, administered by hand with anything that she could grab, was acknowledged at this time in the late 50's as the most widely used treatment method on children like me.  This prescription was recognized then, by the same name it is today, an old fashioned ass whoopin!   Through a process known as trial and error, I came to find this was a very effective treatment method once I realized I was going to actually survive!   This medical application always resulted in an attitude adjustment as I slowly recovered while checking my aching body to see if both arms and legs were still intact.  During this recovery period, I never thought about anything other than total submissiveness.  On the occasional checks by my Mother to see if I was still breathing, I noticed "that look" communicating a chilling reminder that I was lucky to be alive.  I knew this look!  It was not a spoken or implied threat.  It clearly registered in my present state of existence as a promise that I could have all of that I wanted.  You see, mental disorder or not, when my Daddy whipped me, I knew he would whip me until I had enough.  Mom?  She whipped my ass until SHE had enough and I KNEW I didn’t want any more of that!  At least for a couple of days… Now you tell me if I wasn’t brain damaged?

           As the Facebook post mentions, modern medicine deems it necessary to diagnose current day parents' inabilities to deal with the hyperactive disorders of their children.  It isn’t the child mind you, it is the parents inability to deal with the children so the children become medicated?  Now, with this the norm, what in the world makes the medical community feel the need to address our sexual orientation?   Oh my word.  Haven’t we all experimented in some form or fashion with our sexuality?  I had a pretty mom and two pretty older sisters.  I don’t know why they were pretty to me and had no idea what pretty meant, but hey, I thought they were pretty. So when they asked me if I wanted to be pretty too, I thought, why the heck not!   With Daddy off at work and the academia community yet to discover unexplored Freudian theories of sexual deviances, why would I not allow them to dress little brother up complete with make up and pretty dresses?  I was game.  I must have enjoyed the attention because there is photographic proof still in existence from the days of my early sexual orientation…  I can only thank God I never told my doctor I thought I might like being a girl!   My sisters along with mom’s encouragement helped me to experience my feminine side before nature actually told me I was a boy.  As long as I was a closet case being experimented with, I was not offended.  There came that day when they thought they would walk me down the street for others to see!  My sisters discovered the difference that little brothers possessed other than sharing clothing and make up…  Oh, raising four boys of my own, I distinctly remember one of them “getting in touch” with his feminine side by strutting around the house in a girls swimsuit.  After several warnings for him to get ready for baseball practice, my wife snatched him up to take him to ball practice just like he was dressed.  I just happened to drive up to find him bouncing off the insides of the van like a caged squirrel screaming to the top of his lungs.  He realized his feminine side was going to be discovered by an existing boy verses girl world.  Now, just what would we have done had a “doctor” thought it was his obligation to help either myself or my son transition into a girl?  Well, needless to say that son would not have been here and you would not be reading these words.

          Eventually, puberty opened my eyes.  Much to my demise, I discovered that those cooties girls actually possessed were in fact an infectious disease that I would reckon with the rest of my life.  I did interact as a willing participant of course, but oh my soul, had I possessed feathers like some male bird species, I would have in fact made a total fool of myself.  Looking back, I have come to grips with the fact that I have spent my entire life trying to impress the feminine gender of our species.  This was done mostly by overtly exercising my hyperactive disorder enabling me to discover what I wanted to be.   According to societal norms discussed in liberal institutions known as Colleges and Universities, I have been defined as an abnormal adult male.  I was raised with toy guns and have a propensity towards violence.  Because I am a veteran, I am also a threat to our governments control over its subjects and even worse, I do not hate my deceased mother and dad for “abusing” me when I needed it.  Toss in the fact that I was also sexually perverted at the hands of my older sisters and not given a chance to express my suppressed sexuality.  It is even more difficult for them to grasp any remote reason why I would still love my older sisters?   I guess somewhere something went wrong because I still have a passion for silky, clingy things, especially the undergarments designed specifically with the feminine chassis in mind.  Except for one interesting detail, instead of wanting to wear them for myself except for on my head, I find it enchantingly wonderful to look upon such items with a Christmas like mentality.  I relish removing them slowly from the package they adorn.  Stimulating thoughts still today, I might add, but more of a fond memory than actual event.  Memories still alive, well, enough for me to take with me to my grave.   The liberal mindset, despite my un-medicated childhood onset, probably finds it amazing that I also find the ladies still as pretty today as I did my Mother and sisters as a child and admire them accordingly.  Strangely all of this has occurred without some Doctor trying to convince me my early interest in maybe wanting to be a girl went untreated.  To me it was nothing more than me growing up as a heterosexual species of the male gender.  Read that last sentence one more time least you stumble on my intended meaning.
            Let me further inform you that the spiritual indoctrination I was subjected as a child did in fact take root.  Yes, as many of us grew into our teens and young adult years, we did depart the ways of our parents and tried to function in what I am continually discovering is an unreal liberal world.  I was raised up as a child in the Word and find as an adult I do not want to be separated again from my foundation.  I struggle to throw off religious man-made doctrines that have made me stumble as an adult.  Liberal man continually tries to force on me his knowledge of God.  It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph that my heart yearns for and as the old covenant gave way to the new covenant, I embrace the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit to guide me as a child of "The Way."  Yes, all of this without help from the medical community.  I am who I am, and I am comfortable with it.  I have fought many battles with sin and continue that struggle daily only to discover  that I "Am Worn."  Still yet I know redemption will win…
          So as I close my spin on the questions posed earlier in this short story, let me remind you of this.  I am a conservative that believes in God.  I am a concealed carry permit holder and I do carry, yet I have never come close to killing anyone.  So as this modern society finds me abnormal as defined by liberal standards then let us allow someone besides you and I the task of comparing and contrasting the two.  On one end of the spectrum is this baby boomer generation I come from and on the other is this prescription minded, unisexual generation that rejects the very God who created them who further defies the laws of our fathers as they reach out to embrace social medicine and socialism itself... Only thing that bothers me about this is the fact that when I am dead I will be voting democrat.

Rod Ferguson
January 8, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Facebook Quotes for January 2014

My Facebook post from 2013 started in January and ran through the entire year for twelve long months.  Friends trying to keep up with it told me it was difficult  to start at the beginning of the only "true blog" I keep and arrow down to the last post.   This year, I will post my blog from one month to the next as a separate story throughout the 2014 calendar year?  If you find yourself remotely interested in what goes on in my thoughts and mind, please take the time to join and let me know you are here.  I personally enjoy every fingerprint that is left here and appreciate your comments even more.  There are occasional short stories I do post along with my Facebook Quotes Blog so if you have the time to join, again, please do,  I am still trying to figure out who my favorite fan actually is.  Their name is Anonymous! No last name.  Imagine that.


          As I closed out my Facebook Quotes of 2013 just last night before 2300 hours, I mentioned that my sister Diane was yet once again in the hospital.  Before the pending midnight hour gave her permission for 2014 to begin and after closing my final post for 2013, I received a text from my niece Lori, informing me that her mom was in congestive heart failure and seemed to be getting much worse since entering the hospital last Friday.  Linda had already gone to bed before the midnight hour and I had to go pick up my granddaughter from a new years party she was attending so I suppressed any attempts to ascertain any further information.  As the 1st day of the new year dawned, I gathered myself together along with my laptop and moved to the media room to exist peacefully on this New Year's Day and my 29th wedding anniversary. Linda stirred in the kitchen preparing cabbage and blackeyed peas.  As I opened up Facebook for the first time this year, I discovered that Lori had posted a picture of my oldest sister's legs on her wall.  My heart simply broke.  I remembered how diabetes and congestive heart failure presented its horrible presence on the human body as I recalled  my own mother in the final stage of the winter of her life.  This digital photo caused a flashback reaction of what I remember from my mother's final days, what I was seeing of my own sister, and possibly a snapshot of my own future.  Left alone to sift through the memories, present truth and future possibilities, it caused my heart to ache.  I asked myself, just how much can a person stand?  How much pain and discomfort is humanly possible before one "gives up?"  This is not the first time our family has been here with Diane, yet every time she found herself totally dependent on the care of others, she maintained her optimistic attitude toward life regardless of her present situation.  Why can't I feel this optimism as I look at these pictures?  

          I will not be posting this on Facebook for casual friends to stumble across.  I don't even know why I feel the need to express my feelings on this first day of a new year.  I guess I am sharing theses thoughts on my blog as I know that only those that really care for and about me will actually make the time to come here as to contemplate the highs and lows of my shared moment(s).  You know as I know that death in and of itself is as important in the cycle of life as is birth.  Those of us "of faith" embrace the final step of life with the knowledge we will once again "see" that person in where we know our resurrected Christ went to prepare for us a place to worship Him again.  I don't understand it nor can I explain it in the simplicity of a story.  I just believe it in my heart as much as I believe the fact I love people.  It is that real.  What interferes in this moment  of "turning loose" of someone we love is the fact we are simply selfish and do not want to give up the one we love to eternal peace.

          Regardless, when the time comes, we somehow accept the inevitable.  We want what is best for the one we have loved for so many years.  It is still not "our" desire for this event to occur, we just accept it and condition our hearts for whatever is to come.  We then participate in the formalities of cultural goodbyes and move into the next phase we define as the healing process.  I know these are morbid thoughts, but that is exactly where I am as I sit in the media room of my home and share my feelings on this 1st day of 2014.  It is still my 29th anniversary and  the smell of cabbage and black eyed peas along with other traditional foods tease my olfactory senses as I complete my first thoughts for this beginning year.  Nothing will stop the unknown yet anticipated events of our near and distant future. As for me I have a heavy heart on this day and struggle with the uncertainty of driving to Monroe and visiting with my sister, where at anytime,  I am expecting my grown kids and assorted grand kids to burst unannounced through the well worn doors of my home.  This event signals the beginning of festivities and encourages Meggie La Mew to seek a hiding place to protect herself from constant muddling...  My mood will be distracted for a while until I receive yet another update on Diane's condition and from that source of information will I decide what the coming evening of the 1st day of January 2014 urges me to do... 

          I am fine.  It is part of the ups and downs of life and today just happens to be one of those down times accented with periods of highs.  I also know there are others reading these very words that are experiencing similar circumstances in their present lives.  Some of these downs may parallel those of my own while others may be living a more protracted expression of love played out over a greater period of time.  So as spouses, children, and extended family set aside yet another holiday to care for a dependent soul we love, only one conclusion can be drawn.  "Has to go up from here, huh?"  I do thank God for my close friends.  Your prayers and just knowing you are out there in my world validates the truth that this too, shall pass.  Now, what treasures will I glean from this experience?

Posted January 1, 2014 from my home

          Folkses, before weather satellites and mass media existed, people dwelled in cities all along coastal waters. Without much warning, Category 2, 3 and 4 hurricanes swept upon them and in one swift move destroyed thousands. Fast forward to the 21st century! Thank goodness we have everything we need to prepare ourselves for catastrophic events! With every event in the entire world a push button away because of electronic media, we can all safely live in the shadows of Pompeii knowing all we have to do is pay our sacrifices in the form of taxes to our government and never EVER FEAR of anything...

  Now, let me see if I can finish this in a more clear and intended way.  We as a collective nation sat one day in the shadow of Pompeii and watched as our attorney general, Janet Reno under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, slaughter 150 men, women, and children in Waco, TX.  As these events unfolded across the United States compliments of the electronic media, not one patriot moved to help protect the innocent from the hell we eventually saw released upon those poor people by the Federal Government we elected to protect us.  That was before the Department of Homeland Security was even formed!  And everything that happened that led up to the tragic murder of these people had nothing to do with national defense.  Well...  It doesn't matter.  Now we have a progressive democratic party in charge of this country.  Progressive, progressive... Oh yes... Socialist...

Posted January 5 from my home. 

          It is 16 degrees here at my river on this very cold January morning. As I arrived I noticed the Alexandria side has turned off their Christmas lights, yet here on the Pineville side our Peace on Earth still greets those coming into our city. Since the first of the year my river has been  noticeably higher than normal. The water presents herself with that murky red color of disturbed silt like clay which is characteristic of  her free run when the locks are opened.  This morning reflective lighting across the way makes her inky surface glimmer before the gates of dawn baths her color. It does not reflect anger or discontent. Just beckons me to notice her and become entranced once again in her beauty and what she reveals to me. That makes it so easy  for me to relax my mind in preparation for the remaining day. 

Here is the only comment I received with what I thought was a more accurate answer:
Linda Pittman DavidsonYou definitely have an affinity with the river.
Rod Ferguson: Linda, I would say my affinity with my river is more like an affair. Has been going on for a while and as long as her beauty seduces my thoughts and stills my sometimes restless mind, I don't see it ending anytime soon...
 Posted January 7 from my river.

          The locks have been closed and my river is staging. She sits below me quiet yet moving in different directions as if to call my attention to something?? Maybe she realizes that the last signs of Christmas have been removed from our meeting place? Christmas of 2013. Was it that long ago? Looking one more time at her surface and I'm still amazed. What is she trying to tell me??

Posted January 9 from my river.

          Beautiful post birthday morning here at my river. So different than yesterday's start of heavy rains, she is like a mirror reflecting her soul to me. How do you say thanks to so many of my friends who took the time to acknowledge my 4th year of my 7th decade. I didn't realize how comforting it is to know so many are with me on any particular day. Did not know what road my day would take with such a dismal start, but because of all of you reading this it simply turned out wonderful! May we all engage what is here before us.  A most beautiful, promising day. 

Posted January 14 from my river

          My soul, what a beautiful morning here at my river! At 4:30 I pulled to a stop at my favorite place and just breathed in the picture before me. The wind was blowing out of the northeast at a pretty fair clip as my 60x30 foot flag was at full extension.  Blowing down river, the wind rippled the surface waters reflecting an image that she was moving rapidly down stream when actually she is in pool stage and peaceful. The full moon hangs above my drawbridge displayed in complete roundness accented by the planet Jupiter, just off her left shoulder.  Common as it might appear, it is difficult to remind yourself that separation between the moon and Jupiter exist by millions of miles?  The surface water of  my river constantly entertains interference of urban lighting across the way as is her reflective nature, however this morning, the moon factors into the dancing surface reminding me of my many blessings.  Sometimes as I sit patiently by her side only silence bids her passing, but this morning her message was spoken to me with a clear understanding. She said, "It appears to you that I am moving rapidly with deliberant precision toward my destiny.  I want you to understand that with age it will appear that you are moving seemingly faster to your destiny as well.  Due to this reality that your end is closer to you than that of your distant beginning, I wish for you to enjoy the gifts I present for your eyes to see and for your mind to contemplate."  Then she told me to try and understand one last thing, "I follow the path of least resistance from my beginning to my end because I have no choice. The heart of mankind though is unlike the beauty of any river.  Tell me someday the real meaning of free will as defined by the consequences of your choices."  And my affair with my river continues...

          As I have said many times in these early morning Facebook post, my river speaks to me often.  It just seemed this morning was especially clear.  Could it possibly be because my oldest sister is still in the hospital?  Not to mention that with each passing year the knocking on my door is louder and comes around faster than it did last year?   Maybe that is why I was awakened at 3:30 am and drove to my river's side an hour earlier than ever before.  Regardless, it is becoming obvious that I am posting way too much as the message I intended to convey was totally side stepped by posts from assorted friends.   I was becoming somewhat frustrated that what I intended to say was left untouched by their comments until I posted this:

Rod Ferguson:  Well! It made sense to me! Rivers can talk ya know...

          It seemed then the gate opened, and confirmation came to me in printed words.  I became somewhat  overwhelmed as this was forwarded to my post:
Pam Turner Nations:   Oh yes, rivers can talk. Listen, you'll be told. Watch, you'll be shown. Be still, and you will know.

Rod Ferguson:   Whew! I thought I was the only one that knew that. I will cancel my prescription...

Pam Turner Nations:  Ok, truth time! The river doesn't actually speak. However, it does enhance your spirit's ability to commune with the Creator of said river.

Rod Ferguson:  Balaam knows well of what you speak, Sister Pam... Words wisely spoken...

Pat Hall Carruth:  I am right there with you!!! I figured out that my lil riva(Cane River) allows me the environment of deeper soul searching!!! It does enhance my spirit's ability to commune with my creator!!! And when the spirit says, "you might want to throw that in the River" I do it!!! No harmful voices in my head!!! Lol. And I haven't thrown any persons in the River, yet!!! Lol. I am glad I live where I live, but if I didn't, I would commute!! It is good for my soul!!! 
Posted January 15 from my river

          Almost a week has past since I've visited my blog.  I just finished my third short story this month alone and don't know if I'm going to post it or not.  I find that incredibly amazing since I've barely written that many stories in the last three years! I feel the last vestiges of drag may have slipped behind me as I move back into what I once knew as warp speed.  Maybe it is because my sister Diane has slipped the grasp of death yet again and knowing my son is safe from the crossed swords of war.  I just know the thought of losing someone when I needed them the most has finally removed itself from my everyday "coping mechanism!" So what stands out on this day?  A wintry mix of snow and sleet has accumulated on the ground and in keeping with the knee jerk reactions of the southland, everything is being or has been closed down.  I just wrapped my arms around my brand new 8 year old grandson, Ashton and told him happy birthday.  Same old agonizing thought as I wonder again where this last year has slipped away too.  He asked me if I could go easy on his ribs as I love to bite him there.  Told me his neck hurts so I focused all of my attention there with the same results.  What is it about little boy sugar?  You folkses be careful in this weather!  There is still a projected high of 62 degrees, Saturday...

Posted January 23 from my home

          It was around noon on Saturday, January 25, 2014, during a concealed carry class at Doyle’s house that I felt it first.  Didn’t pay much attention to it other than when I pursed my lips it was awkward.  I felt no headache or experienced any other surprise announcement that things were suddenly going to change for me just 12 days after turning 63.  I was experiencing no stress other than spending the night at my mother-in-law’s house.  I was doing what I enjoy doing, teaching firearms training and concealed carry.  I told my friend Doyle, who is also a NRA Pistol Instructor, (whose house we were all at) that something was wrong and that I should leave.  My students, also defined as personal friends and family, noticed a change in my smile as we moved to the range part of the instruction.  By this time I could not even whistle.   Called Linda and told her.  After I finished the entire class I went back to West Monroe, picked up Linda from her moms, and let her drive back to Alexandria.  On the trip from West Monroe to Alexandria, I was able to talk to my friends in the medical community from Arlington to Jackson, along with several lay folks that know a friend of a friend and my diagnoses of Bells Palsy vs. stroke was settled in my mind.  Had it not been for Linda’s insistence, I may not have even gone to the hospital.  Fast forward to the assessment evaluation:  Arrived at the emergency room at 7:45PM Saturday, avoided folks with flu until 12 midnight, and then I tell them I think I’m just gonna go home.  A male nurse asked me to smile.  Then he strongly suggests that I stay and see a doctor.  Wasn’t long before I’m called from the masses gathered beside the pool at Bethsaida to the place where blood is drawn and an IV is placed in my arm.  Linda told me they had me now.  At 2 AM a cat scan was ordered.  Back into the gathered masses beside the pool I went.  Linda gave up the spirit and went to the car to sleep while awaiting a final decision on whether or not I was staying or going.  At 4:45 I was called by name to enter the temple sanctuary of the emergency facility.  I was escorted to my own treatment room as to be prepared for sacrifice.  At 5:30 the ER physician examined me and asked if I had insurance or obamacare and when I said Blue Cross Blue Shield, lights and sirens went off in the hallowed sanctuary and I was accepted for the sacrificial cleansing that I curse before the actual letting of blood.  He told me besides the obvious presentation of Bells Palsy there were indicators of stroke and he admitted me for further test.  I awakened Linda from her rest in the car for her to come and collect my .45 and take it home so she could rest.  I stayed in this room from about 4am until they moved me to a private room around 6pm Sunday afternoon. From here an MRI was done along with a carotid scan and something else as I can't remember. As 9 pm approached I had not slept for almost 40 hours. I told my attending nurse I was tired but still for some reason adrenalin pumped because of my still yet undefined reason for being here other than a paralyzed face. She finally got approval for some sort of sleep aid and the last thing I remember was someone asking me  "are you drugged?" I awakened at 7 am Monday morning and slipped to the mirror to look closely at what was reflecting back at me. Maybe 48 or more hours after the initial uninvited assault upon my face, this malady had finally defined the damage I must now condition my mind to recover from.  The left side of my face is totally paralyzed and rest noticibly drooped. My eye cannot be totally closed and when not blurred my vision is doubled. I see two of whatever, not side by side but on top of one another. Friends call and visit which encourages my resolve and this morning a physical therapist said the MRI was negative. Now I must visit with me and decide how quickly I choose to respond to my recovery and just how. I mean really. I already know what those that love me have asked of God on my behalf? They tell me and in many cases actually prayed for me their desires and request. As I stare at what is still me in the mirror, I feel this Omnipotent whisper in my head. "I know. I think you look funny too!  Now. When are you ready to get started?" Thanks all of you for your fingerprints in my life.
I was just informed "NO Stroke"!  They are letting me go home for a week of rest and recuperation before I attempt to return to work.

Posted January 27 from room 652 in Cabrini Hospital

          My sister, Diane Panzico Coleman, passed away at 12:15 or so on this day.  It was not an unexpected passing, but a passing still the same.  She is where nothing can ever take her away from us again.

Posted January 28 with a very heavy heart

          And as with the rest of my life, as I sit here alone in the confines of my warm home, I am reminded yet once again of the promise made when my Dad passed in 1996.  As I read the last words I typed for my sister's eulogy, I lean back in my chair with tears in my eyes and look outside at the melting snow that remains in my back yard.  With that picture in my head, my mockingbird sings to me for the first time since before thanksgiving.  I've got a grip on this now.  With all of the memories flooding back, I needed this cleansing of my spirit.  Things are right where they need to be at this moment in time.  I am reminded that I still have life to live!

And of Course, Comments from friends and family:

Carolyn W. Gresham:   He speaks when you need it most and perhaps the length of time since you last heard Him makes this all the more precious. God knew!

Pam Turner Nations:  2 Corinthians 4:7-9 "but we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed , but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed."
Prayers are with your family.

Karen Gauthier:   yep, you do, Rod.... you know all the pep talks you've had with me, buddy.... and i won't lie, it has been a long road, but for the most part, it has gotten better.... i think, finally, my doc has gotten my meds right too, that helps a lot!! You hang in there buddy, it will get better, and you know i don't just say that "in one of those phrases everybody says and don't really have a CLUE", i truly mean it from the bottom of my heart!!

Sandi Shannon Woods:   Glad you felt like writing .. Glad we talked .. Glad the world will be right cause you still have a lot of life yet to be seen!!
Hilton Frizell:   Grief can only be handled through Gods hands

Betty Green Martin:  It's good that you know that The Lord is your strength and comforter. Love you, Bro

Barry R. McCain:   well said Rod.

Leona Price Cagle:   There surely is a lot more life to live. Think of Linda. Those grand kids and the other sisters. They only have one brother, husband and poppy. It's time to get on with

Nona Lee Ledford:   You will ALWAYS be my handsome brother! I WILL kiss your face and make it better, too. Come home and be with us.
Sandra Borden:   Yes, Brother! We love what's inside. Just hope my inside is loved as much as yours. See you soon!


Lori Panzico Smith:   Uncle Rod , you are always saying the sweetest things. I know this is hard for you too as for all of us. I Appreciate all the encouragement . I also have tears running down my face that wont stop today. She was the best mother anyone could have and always loved us no matter what. I am gonna miss her so much !

Posted January 29 from my home

          So my precious friends, the last day of January begins with the same theme the first entry on my blog of Facebook Quotes of 2014 also began. I guess my question "just how much can a person can take" resolved itself as we say our goodbyes and lay my oldest sister, Diane Ferguson Panzico Coleman to rest tomorrow on the 1st day of February. I will say no more as that Peace that passes all understanding has consoled the hearts of those that love her and we take the time to bid her farewell at her wake this afternoon. The lessons she taught us that will remain in out hearts and actions as we pass them on to generations yet unseen is why I say that nothing will ever take her away from us again. My heart felt thanks to all of my friends, extended friends and every person who lifted prayers to help sustain our families in our loss. All of us have struggled with saying goodbye to a loved one and have been exactly where we are today, some more recently than others.  Many of us are destined to be experiencing this yet again sooner than we may desire. My prayer is that I can be to you in your time of grief what you have been to me personally. Oh how our God interacts in the hearts of his children. And it came to pass... And Pass it surely will...
For they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Posted January 31 from my home

          Wanted to share this with my friends.  LeeAnn is my sister's youngest daughter.  She posted on her wall yesterday a reflection of her mother.  Please read the comments.  At the funeral today, two of LeeAnn's friends approached me and thanked me for what I said below.  Not for me to be given praise for simple words, but because the knew my niece LeeAnn well enough to know it comforted her heart.

Posted on the wall of LeeAnn Panzico Shows:
  • What an AMAZiNG mom, wife, sister, aunt, daughter, and grandmother she was! She was the most tender hearted woman,with the sweetest spirit, I have ever known! She blessed the hearts of everyone that knew her and will be forever missed!!!
    Rod Ferguson:   My sweet Lee Ann. Do your mother's brother a favor. Go look into a mirror and take a long look. Look past the reflection that is you. I love you because there you will find her.
  • LeeAnn Panzico Shows:   Uncle Rod, i have no words. You warm my heart more than you realize! I love you!!
Posted 1 Febuary from my home as I celebrate my sisters life.