Tuesday, November 25, 2008
From my Journal entry of July 30, 2000:
A book listed in "A Common Reader," August 2000 catalog, is They Have a Word for It by Howard Rheingold. It is a gathering of foreign words that have no equivalent in our tongue. One mentioned is the Japanese hari kuyo which is "a shrine where broken sewing needles are put to rest after a life of service." That's incredible! We just toss things. What if we had shrines composed of faithful objects that had served us well? What if we just developed a profound sense of appreciation for things we take for granted? Say ink pens -- old shoes -- car keys -- etc. We need a shrine dedicated to "all things taken for granted!"
Monday, November 24, 2008
This morning in church, my grandson, David, was playing with crayons, and he dropped several on the floor. He bent down to pick up the crayons, and I saw my daughter put her hand under the hymnal rack anticipating David would lift his head oblivious to the danger. Sure enough, David lifted his head, but instead of hitting it on the sharp corner of the hymnal rack, his head met the soft, loving hand of his mother.
This was a simple scene, but to me it was so tender and touching, and it seemed to be a moment where something remarkable had been shown to me. Perhaps, I thought, this is how God’s hand works. He anticipates a danger and puts his hand there to protect us. There are two moments which came to mind, one recent and the other which happened a couple of summers ago.
It was opening night of Baldwin High School’s production of The Wiz, and my son Patrick had several roles in the play. After the play was over, a couple of judges from state who were in the audience to evaluate the play’s potential at state competition, went back with the cast to talk about the performance. It took a while, and afterwards we were hungry, and since it was so late, we decided to go eat somewhere. Trying to decide where was not easy, since choices at this hour were limited to a few fast food places. I reluctantly agreed on Kentucky Fried Chicken.
When we pulled up in the parking lot of KFC, we weren’t sure if the place was still open. There were no customers in the store, but when we walked in, a girl welcomed us and asked for our order. No sooner had we begun placing our orders than there was a loud pop from the back, and a girl began screaming, “Fire!” She added some other colorful language I’ll omit, since I try to keep the blog at least GP rated. Another young lady, apparently the manager, came into view from the back and shouted to us there was an emergency and we’d have to leave, that they were now closed. In all the frantic commotion we decided to stay to make sure everyone was all right. The staff consisted of three girls, a couple of them probably high school age. They couldn’t get the fire extinguisher off the wall and were all panicking. The girl who was waiting on us began filling a large pitcher with water. As she headed in the direction of the fire, I screamed, “No! Don’t throw water on a grease fire!” She turned around and questioned, “No?” I explained quickly what throwing cold water on a vat of flaming grease would do. It would most likely have exploded and thrown hot grease over everyone nearby, and the fire would spread as the flaming grease floated on the water.
They were eventually able to get the fire extinguisher off the wall and got the fire put out, but that was a close call. As we left, I was suddenly aware that we had come to KFC for one reason – I had to be there to keep that young girl from throwing water on that fire. She probably would have been severely burned. As I slipped into the car, the realization of this made me weak for a few seconds. There was “The Hand”.
Two summers ago, we took a group of high school and middle school kids from our church to Brunswick, Georgia. The mother of one of our college students had opened her home to us so we could go to the beach. We left in the afternoon to get there in time to have supper at a popular sea food restaurant on St. Simons Island, then returned to the house where we spread blankets and sleeping bags on the floor in several rooms. The trip over the causeway to St. Simons had whetted our appetite for the beach the next day.
The next day, we loaded up and headed back to St. Simons. After a bit of shopping in some of the interesting stores on the island, we headed to the beach. It was a sunny day and very hot. It was a pleasure to get into the water. Being one of the adults in charge, I kept my eyes open, constantly scanning the water to keep up with our kids. I noticed my youngest son Patrick floating on a football had gotten a good distance from the shore, so I waded out as far as I could stand up and yelled for him to come back closer to the shore. He yelled back that he couldn’t – he was caught on a current. I can’t tell you the shock of watching my child in the ocean well out of reach and heading for deeper water. Immediately I started swimming out till I reached him, but when I I turned around and tried taking us back to shore, I realized two things: 1) we were further out than I thought, and 2) we were both caught in a current taking us even further out. I tried swimming with all my might, but I wasn’t making any progress. The beach and all the people looked so far away, but I started screaming. No one heard. I can’t remember being as scared. I noticed a man with a boogey board and a couple of girls that were a little closer in playing with a Frisbee. I screamed as loudly as I could, and the man finally heard me. As soon as he realized we were in trouble, he headed out to us. He was able to pull us back in, and finally I was able to stand on the bottom. Fortunately, not only was he equipped with a plastic flotation device, but he was also a trained lifeguard who just happened to be within hearing range of my screams. There it was – “The Hand”. I still shudder when I remember that afternoon.
Of course, some will be quick to point out that there are many times when “The Hand” doesn’t seem to be there. I constantly question why bad things have to happen – earthquakes, floods, the terrible tsunami of December, 2004. Why do children get sick and die? My first son never came home from the hospital, but died in my arms at 9 days old. Why? I just don’t understand. However, this doesn’t keep me from seeing “The Hand” so many times, just like my daughter’s loving hand stretched out to protect her son from harm. And for that, I am thankful.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Here is a sampling of what's going on in the studio these days: from the magic of chips of paper, to the creatures arising out of them.
It all begins here...with paper. Big sheets torn repeatedly, or cut into tiny pieces with scissors, until I have the raw material to begin shaping into what my head visualizes (but not entirely...the paper has a will of its own and comprimises must continually be made).
Monday, September 22, 2008
- James O. Bohannon, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Alpha Company, Parris Islcand, South Carolina, graduated 22 September 1976.
- The yellow footprints that greet every new recruit to Parris Island.
- The Slide for Life (I notice now there is a "net" -- we were over water the entire time).
Friday, September 5, 2008
Do you miss the way things used to be?
Last fast food you ate?
What's the most fun you've had lately?
When you drive, do you use your rear view mirrors?
Do you miss anyone?
[Mama & me in 1993]
A pretty good one...but I'm sort of frustrated at all I need to get done.
Are you tan?
Some places yes...most places no.
Have you held hands with anyone in the past three days?
Of course I have...my wife, and my grandson
What do you think your best friend is doing right now?
I haven't the foggiest idea.
What is your favorite thing to eat?
Yogurt and raw spinich salads (not necessarily together), from a sheer nutritional standpoint, but one of my all-time favorite meals is fried salmon patties, mashed potatoes, and English peas.
Have you kissed anyone in the past three days?
I sure have...I kissed a girl, and I liked it! :)
Do you like your hair?
It's okay. Sometimes I look like Einstein, but it's okay -- I like Einstein. All of us geniuses have to have weird hair!
Is there someone on your mind that shouldn't be?
Yes...probably...oh, I don't know...it's my mind, why shouldn't somebody be there if I want them to be!
What do you think of people who smoke?
They're human beings just like the rest of us -- they just don't smell as good.
Do you prefer warm or cold weather?
Nice crisp autumn weather, or the first hint of spring in the air after a cold winter.
What was the last thing you laughed really hard about?
Something funny my grandson, David, did -- I can't remember what it was...he's so amazing, he's always doing things to make me laugh.
Could you go a day without eating?
Sure...but I wouldn't like it. And you wouldn't want to be around me!
Have you ever kissed someone and never saw them again?
Yep...and that's all I'm gonna say about that!
Are you still best friends with the same person as the beginning of the year?
Of course I am! Why wouldn't I be? I'm a fantastic friend.
Do you think a lot of people think bad things about you?
I'd like to think not, but I'm sure some people do, but they probably have no reason to. There's a lady at church who for years refuses to speak to me, treats me very rudely whenever I see her there or elsewhere, and generally acts like I'm invisible to her. It hurts, and I've racked my brain trying to remember if there was anything I ever did to her to make her hate me so...but there's nothing I can think of. And if there was...there's no way it was intentional. This has gone on for years, and it always hurts just as badly -- and there have even been times I considered leaving our church because of it. It's a very private pain.
What are you excited about?
Several things: being a grandfather several times over, sculpting and writing projects, getting re-aquainted with some old friends on FaceBook, and making lots of new friends.
What was the first thing you said when you woke up today?
I am exhausted! I barely slept at all last night!
Have you ever had a best friend who was of the opposite sex?
Most of my best friends are and have been of the opposite sex. For some reason I have always been more comfortable relating to females.
Was your morning good and why?
No...I slept like crap and was exhausted -- the house smelled like something dead was under it (and I didn't have a chance to go under there and check till tonight -- and sure enough, there was...a very dead cat!). Tomorrow's got to be better!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Some things I plan to talk about:
1) My Uncle Brooks (Garland Brooks Turner), a World War I veteran who lived to tell about his own funeral.
2) Reflections on the presidential campaign and my feelings about some of the issues (including "climate change", terrorism and the hunt for Bin Laden, health care, the war in Iraq, etc.). Should be fun!
3) Flannery O'Connor -- world renowned author and local Milledgeville resident, who died much too young of complications from lupus. I want to talk about the author personally and analyze some of her work I think will interest you.
4) An update on my journey of working out, eating right, losing weight and getting back into shape nearly 10 months in. If I can do it, you probably can too.
5) My renewed determination to establish myself (or, I guess I should say, re-establish myself) as an artist.
6) My fascination with the world of online audio sources, from podcasts to Pandora, from audiobooks for purchase at Audible.com to free audiobooks at Librivox and Podiobooks.
These and many other interesting topics will be showing up here at the blog very soon. So...stay tuned!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Actually we've owned two or three aquariums over the years, nothing approaching even in miniature the fantastic dreams I nursed in my youth. After a while the aquariums became the visual equivalent of white noise at best -- or worse, a tedious chore. Too many things in real life competed for money, time and energy, and it seemed like the only fish we had any success with were plain-colored danios.
I want to share some of the pictures of our day at the Georgia Aquarium, and if you're ever in the area -- I highly recommend a visit there.
This South African penguin enjoyed watching us as we watched back from a glass enclosure inside its habitat.
I can't remember the species of fish, but this pretty specimen is indicative of the beauty housed in this aquarium.
I couldn't leave without giving a hug to Deepo, the Georgia Aquarium mascot. Boy, I love fish!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Playing in the yard early one afternoon, I noticed the flower. Knowing how Mama seemed to enjoy flowers, I thought she would love to have this one in the house, so…I picked it. Mama must have been at her post staring out the window, because she met me at the door as I rushed in to present the gift. I couldn’t wait to see how happy Mama would be, so I was completely unprepared when she began scolding me for picking her flower. When I started sobbing hysterically, Mama was immediately repentant and took me in her arms trying to console me and apologizing for scolding me, because she realized I was only trying to make her happy. But the episode left a shadow on my early childhood that led to an event which my daddy enjoyed telling with a chuckle for years.
I was riding in the car with Daddy down a country road. In those days seatbelts and child restraints were unknown, and I always traveled standing in the center of the front bench seat with my arms spread across the back of the seat for balance. We came to a field that seemed literally to explode in color with wildflowers. Daddy pulled the car over and started to get out. He said, “Let’s get your mama a bunch of flowers.” With a serious look, I shook my head and said, “No, Daddy. Mama don’t like flowers.”
He couldn’t coax me out of the car, so he climbed back in and we went home. He told Mama about the flowers and what I’d said, and she explained about the tulip. It was something Mama always regretted. I remember once when we were sitting around the table at Mama’s house sharing this story with my children, Mama laughed, but she came over and kissed me lightly on the back of the neck, hugged me and said, “He just wanted to give his mama a flower, and I should’ve just taken it.”
In my teens, I fell in love with growing things – flowers and plants of every kind. I started a compost pile and took cuttings, seeds, and bulbs from all my elderly aunts whose houses lined the street across the field from our house. Eventually I worked some good topsoil and compost into that sorry patch of earth across from Mama’s kitchen window and planted cannas which had been struggling to grow in another part of the yard. They performed magnificently, reaching seven feet in height and blooming profusely. I told mama I had finally made up for picking her tulip. She just laughed and hugged me and said she loved looking out that window more than ever. I was wrong, Daddy – Mama really did like flowers.
Monday, May 26, 2008
We Americans are a privileged people. Although we are continuously reminded these days of the proliferation of anti-American sentiment by various people around the world (and even some in this country), we are heirs to a heritage of freedom, hope, and optimism that much of the world can only dream of. With tremendous privilege comes tremendous responsibility. Today we remember and honor those who have borne that responsibility with their lives.
Consequently, we are reminded of the service of every man and woman who takes the oath of military service. In November of 1975, with my heart pounding and goosebumps rushing to cover my body, I raised my right hand and repeated these words as I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps:
I, James Oscar Bohannon, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
Today I salute all my brothers and sisters in arms who’ve shared that oath (or one very similar) and who bear those arms not for malicious purposes, but who bear them to stand guard over my freedom and yours, and to keep safe the country that, despite its many flaws and shortcomings, stands as the greatest beacon of hope to the world. To those who’ve paid the ultimate price for freedom and honor, and for those who’ve been willing to face the possibility of paying that price, may God bless you always – and, indeed, may God bless America!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
So much has happened since the last time I spoke to you. My brother went into the hospital again with congestive heart failure and almost died again (but he's back home, on regular dialysis, and better be watching his diet). A good friend of mine got very sick, and my wife and I took her to the emergency room with a fever of 104 degrees, and we were waited on by a medical team that obviously either trained with the Three Stooges or got their credentials from Clown College. But...she survived and recovered after lots of tender, loving care. I celebrated my 51st birthday (on March 28th), but I haven't felt younger in years (probably in great part because I'm still working out regularly...yay!). Cris and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, but we didn't get to go to the bed and breakfast in the mountains like we'd planned, because the transmission went out in the car and sucked nearly $2000.00 out of savings, and this just after paying nearly $400.00 for repairs on the van. This left roughly enough in our bank account for us to stay in bed here and have a bowl of cereal for breakfast (not the bed & breakfast we'd envisioned for a milestone...but we're gonna make up for it as soon as school's out!).
I have lots of notes about subjects I want to write about, like how my writing has not been going well at all. Heck, it hasn't even been going badly. It just hasn't been going...but that's changing. I'm also working on sculpting using a new technique -- more on that later (when something is finished and I can show you). There is a presidential campaign going on -- in case you haven't noticed -- and I have some thoughts. Boy, do I have some thoughts. Oh...my one year old grandson lost his Medicaid, and we've been unable to get it back, and we can't apply for the children's health insurance, because he qualifies for Medicaid (go figure!). Soooo...my toddler grandson is uninsured. Meanwhile, my oldest son lost his job (painting houses) weeks ago and has run out of unemployment (and has a second child on the way). That means I have two grown children and their families with no health insurance and inadequate incomes. Don't you just love the American Dream!
Ahhh...yes, there is so much to talk about, but for now, I just wanted you to know I'm still around. So, kill the fatted calf, bring the best garments and the family ring, and stir up the merriment -- the Prodigal has returned!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
FELIZ PRIMERO CUMPLEAÑOS!!! Mi Davidito, ¡te amo mucho!
~ Tu Papa
Friday, January 11, 2008
Getting in Shape
It's about time to check the classifieds -- I want a treadmill. This may be the time when all those good intentions are wearing thin, and those people who splurged on fancy exercise equipment have decided to cut their loses. Don't know where I'm going to put it, but after taking a run on a chilly afternoon it's taken days to shake the cough (actually, I still haven't shaken it). I'd love to be able to run in my office with some good, inspiring music blasting from my Bose speakers. Fortunately, we do have a new exercise bike -- the kind with the pedals out front -- that I got for my wife, who recently had knee surgery. We are putting it to good use.
I'd bought a new weight bench a few months back, and immediately hurt my back and was in such pain I couldn't even assemble it. Then my oldest son came over and put it together -- but we had no weights. We finally went to Academy Sports & Outdoors and got a set of steel free weights, and I was like a child at Christmas (even though we got them a few weeks before Christmas). It still took a couple of weeks to get going, but thanks to my youngest son -- who has been using them -- I worked out one afternoon, and I've been doing it ever since.
I've lost about 15 pounds, dropped two pants sizes, and my musculature is re-appearing with surprising definition. And I'm feeling good (except for the tendinitis in my left arm). I'm not eating nearly as much, and I don't miss it. A couple of weekends ago, we had to go shopping. I needed new clothes! From size 40 to size 38, and I'm on the way to 36! Pardon me if I sound a little boastful, but I feel I deserve it. This has taken weeks of hard work and determination -- and I am a little proud.
I've been writing for years, but I've never had the focus to stick with a project longer than a modest poem -- not counting journal entries and the occasional blog. Now, however, I am actively working on my first novel. I've enlisted a bakers dozen of some of the most intelligent and wonderful people I know to be readers for my book, and I plan to be ready to shop for an agent by April. Now I feel like I can really call myself a writer.
In case any of you were wondering why my blog hasn't been updated in nearly a month -- now you know. But...I hope to do better with posting. I started this blog as an outlet to share my writing and ideas, and I don't plan to abandon it.
Best Wishes to My Blog Readers
To all of you who've been faithful readers, and to those who stop by from time to time -- and to those of you who may have just now discovered my little home on the Internet -- I wish a very blessed, peaceful, and successful 2008.