Add yet another entry onto my very long list of failures over the past 60 years that I have been on Earth. Once again my world is turning upside down.
After nearly 10 and a half years, in the immortal song by BB King, "The Thrill Is Gone".
I am at a loss. I have already lost so much control of my own life. Now what little I had left to hold on to is being taken away.
How am I to survive?
How am I to manage when I have nothing left?
What am I to do?
What am I to say?
Perhaps the secret lies in another song - "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late".
Today we stop and celebrate motherhood and those women who brought each of us into the world and the nuturing, love and direction those women we call Mothers have provided. The spotlight is turned on the maternal instinct that gives protection, training and acceptance of those whom our Moms have birthed.
I join in this celebration of Moms. I offer this to my own Mom, my daughter-in-law Anna - who gave me my sweet granddaughters: Dlyan, Alaina, Amelia - my sister Leticia, my ex-wives Luann and Cathie who gave me my two great sons, my aunts, my grandmother and to all Moms in the world: Happy Mother's Day! May your day be filled with love, joy and peace.
My own Mom became a mother at 17 with my birth. She struggled and did her best to be that woman who could make her children proud to call her Mom and to have the respect and appreciation of her three sons and daughter all these decades since.
She was determined not to be the mother she had had, who was not that maternal and viewed child rearing as a hands-off necessity. Over the years, Mom evolved, grew and developed her mothering abilities. Between the time I was born and 20 years after when my sister was born, her views and how she met the challenges of motherhood changed. She learned from her trial and error with me and my brothers.
Moms and Dads are not given training manuals. It is truly an on-the-job learning process. Some succeed. Some fail. Most have a combination of both success stories and those stories they would rather forget.
Some Moms work outside the home. Some Moms ply their trade never leaving the homefires even for short periods of the day. Both types of Moms are burdened and at the same time readily embrace the ups and downs that motherhood brings. Whether Homemakers or working Mom, there is joy, there is pain, there is pride, there is shame. Being a Mom is most of the time a thankless and yet so rewarding proposition.
The value of a Mom can never be fully assessed or appreciated. Yes, there are those Mothers who fail in being maternal. But on this day, it is those Moms full of maternalism we celebrate. We don't look at those who do not live up to their responsibilities and privilege of knowing the joy of motherhood, it is the billions of Moms who embrace motherhood and who, for good or bad, shape the man or woman their young charges become.
To every Mom, whoever you are, where ever you are, may you feel the love and know you are special. May you know that the writer was right that it's the hand that rocks the cradle who truly is in control of the world in which we live.
From Mark's Den and the Cornfield, again may I offer Happy Mother's Day!
In one of His most human moments, Jesus is reported to have lamented, "A prophet is not without honor save in his own country."
Now, I am not claiming to be a prophet, far from it, but I can relate to what He was saying. He had the world at His feet, so to speak, but to the folk of Nazareth where He grew up, Jesus was simply the son of the carpenter Joseph and Mary.
Perhaps I am in a sentimental mood today and the last several days. The words keep crossing my mind over and over as images of the past few years come into view.
To my neighbors here in the Cornfield and to my family, it comes as a surprise each time someone learns that my opinion From the Cornfield is requested by national and international media.
"YOU???? Were on CNN? Really?"
That is a typical response.
People around here are taken back that CNN would reach out to someone on disability and living in a rented duplex struggling to make it. People in the Cornfield are not use to one of their own being contacted on hot political issues.
To my family, I am the disappointing father, the sick son, the embarrassing brother, the weird uncle.
While Iohn and I made history on December 16, 2014 being the first same-gender couple to proudly share equality under the law in our county, local media and most area residents are clueless to our first status - if they even know we have a license from Sullivan County, Indiana.
A few short weeks ago, I had a telephone interview with a CNN reporter about Indiana's religious freedom law that had stirred up such controversy. Around the Cornfield, people were unaware of Ashley Fantz's article on the CNN website.
Following the Supreme Court ruling which brought equaltiy to same-gender couples on the federal level, I was again interviewd by CNN. HLN also did a telephone interview with me on the Supremes decision.
A series of articles I did last year as Iohn and I migrated through the process of signing up for health insurance for him on the Federal Marketplace Exchange garnered an interview via Skype for CNN.
HLN contacted me by phone following the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act aka obamacare as did CNN.
Prior to that ruling, I was interviewed live by Randi Kay for CNN Saturday Morning. This was shortly after I had my lung surgery in 2012. CNN sent a limousine to pick me up and take me to a PBS television station in Indianapolis for the interview.
Throughout the 2012 and 2014 election seasons, the perspective From the Cornfield was sought out by CNN. But the local media - television and newspapers - knew not of my existence. WTWO and WAVW, the local NBC and ABC affiliates are located on the edge of Farmersburg and were clueless.
In my other life I had been a reporter and editor for a daily newspaper, The Linton Daily Citizen, a few miles away. I was often contacted and worked at times as a "stringer" for The Terre Haute Tribune Star, Channel 2 and WTHI. Today, I am an old man no one knows.
Doesn't seem to matter that I worked with former Indiana First Lady Susan Bayh on literacy. I was a founding member and vice president of the Greene County Literacy Coalition.
Probably it will come as a surprise to those online environmentalist I know, I was appointed by Governor Evan Bayh and the Secretary of the Navy as a member of the Hazardous Waste Oversight Committee at Crane Naval Air Station.
Forgotten is I was the media representative of the Governor's Regional Task Force for a Drug Free Indiana. Also a part of ancient history is serving on the Emergency Planning Committee, the Prison Search Committee, the Greene Couny Economic Development Committee and scooping journalists all over the state more than once with breaking political news.
The other posts I was appointed, the tasks called upon to complete voluntarily, have less interest than a tweet about a zit on Twitter.
While all the TV and radio stations as well as newspapers throughout the Cornfield were ringing my phone off the hook after Kuwait was invaded by Iraq in the early 1990s, memories are short. My aunt and uncle, who was working for an oil company at the time, made a daring late night escape out of the country as the Iraqi forces closed in. My articles in The Daily Citizen were in high demand at that time.
Today, I am, but a faint memory, if remembered at all.
Though not a prophet, honor is fleeting at best.
While my online acquaintances and fellow iReporters from across the nation and around the world participate in discussions and viewing, at home I am a man locked away out-of-sight and out-of-mind. While online requests that I resume my daily recap of the news, Kernels From the Cornfield, in Sullivan County and the rest of the Cornfield, I am an unknown.
Yes, it is true. Today is a day of melancholy and questioning.
Wonder if anyone will recall me when I move across the Great Divide?
For the past couple of days during my waking moments, my mind has turned to the morbid. Thoughts of what to leave to my sons, Dave and Kev, along with how my spouse, Iohn, will fare once I am no longer part of this world have filled my mind.
I am not sure if these are premonitions preparing me for what is to come or if can be classified as daymares. Definitely this is not content for daydreams and revelry.
I have been remiss lately in making any entry into Inside My Mind, From the Cornfield or recapping the daily news at Kernels From the Cornfield. My interest is not there. The idea that anything I write will have any import or momentary effect has passed into oblivion.
Perhaps I am once more realizing my mortality. Perhaps I am seeing clearly that my life has been without impact. Perhaps it is too late now to proffer anything of substance.
I mentioned my waking moments earlier. As has become common during the spring and the summer months, I tend to doze off quickly and for at least an hour at a time. If I sit at my computer desk, write or play games I can fend off the slumbers. It is when I sit in my recliner that I find myself sawing the proverbial logs.
Iohn has the day off from Ryan's. But he is not here with me. For company I have Frankie and Gizmo. Iohn has gone for a free haircut at a new establishment next to Ryan's. He is also picking up one of my medications at the pharmacy.
Plans are for barbecued pulled pork topped with cole slaw on buns tonight. Fried potatoes and oninon or seasoned french fries will compliment our dinner at home.
So many times lately I have sensed that I am within a stone's throw of the bridge between this existence and the great beyond. I sleep soundly, at ease with my Maker. There is no turmoil, no trepidation at what comes to all sooner or later.
As I asked in my title: Is this shades of what is to come?
Easter is a day of hope. Easter is a time we pause to take heart in our belief and faith that life triumphs over death. It is a time to reaffirm our belief that death is but a shadow leading to an eternal life without pain, sickness, heartache or grief.
This Easter Sunday is a time for reflection and reaffirmation that while we may not know what lies beyond the bend and in the great tomorrow, we do know who holds that tomorrow and we do know who holds our hand.
We may, like Thomas, at times be plagued by pesky flies of doubt, but we swat these times away staying rooted, planted with our feet on the Rock. We recognize that trials, tribulations and temptations are a part of the trying of our faith like fire purifying gold.
It ain't easy, but in the end even as Christ rose from the grave triumphant over death, we too shall pass through the upcoming valleys to arrive at the base of the mountain ready to climb and reach the exhilaration and thrill of the mountain top.
So for all my friends, my enemies, those I have not met nor ever will, this April Sunday, I extend a heartfelt "Happy Easter!"
The sun was shining brightly this last day of March. The sky was a lovely blue with a few white, fluffy clouds adding texture. The first robin was seen a few days ago. Sitting on the fence were a cardinal, sparrows and finch or two.
Iohn's shift at Ryan's Buffet ended shortly after 2 p.m.
Such a beautiful spring day there was only one thing to do - have a cookout!
Iohn fired up the grill after I was "forced" to drive to Save-a-Lot in Sullivan and pick up another package of ground beef, hamburger buns and cheese. Gizmo and Frankie watched from "their chair" on the porch in anticipation of maybe getting a nibble or two.
Along with our burgers grilled to perfection, Iohn fixed baked beans and brought home cole slaw and potato salad from work. It was delish for sure.
Yes, friends, eat your hearts out. This was a true sign of spring.
And how was your last day of March?
Six months have passed since my last visit to my urologist. Yesterday, I had my follow-up with Dr. Brave. The news was good.
The urinalysis and proctal examine revealed nothing remarkable. I am continuing to do well and improve. My next visit is not scheduled until another six months have passed.
Spring is in hiding again. No, there is no snow, but the cold rain continues to fall as the mercury dropped into the upper 20s overnight. Hoping a warm-up is on the way.
Breathing is improving. Activities, however, are still limited.
Indiana's General Assembly and Governor Mike Pence, with the state's checkered past on civil rights, has pulled another wrong-headed move. I am talking about new legislation in the disguise of "religious freedom", but with the effect of legalizing discrimination against people like Iohn and me.
Look for my thoughts on the issue later today at From the Cornfield. I am hoping I am able to do a video, but if not it will be text based.
The state is also facing an epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Scott County. The outbreak is attributed to intravenous drug use of prescription medication.
I have been relatively silent since Sunday. My interest in sharing and even in catching up on CNN's iReport and Facebook has been sorely lacking. I cannot motivate myself to activity.
Besides going to the doctor or picking up medication, all I want to do is sleep or play Free Cell. I am currently on a run to reach 5,000 games without a loss. Currently I am nearing the 4,000 mark.
While the Cornfield remains wet with warnings of flooding, I sit this Friday morning waiting to nap or go back to bed. Iohn was called into open Ryan's on his day off.
That's the way it is this Friday in Mark's Den.
And how is your Friday going?