During the summer before we worked at odd jobs, as a kid growing up in the country by the river and not having much in terms of toys, my brothers and I could let our imaginations run wild. The big green apple tree in the backyard was everything from a WWII bomber to a pirate ship to a haunted house to a fort and more. We would climb as high as we could and play. The branches worn to something more comfortable. Hours upon hours. Went into the house for meals or a potty break and finally to bed. The routine would begin the next day.
One side was the good guys, while the other side was the bad guys. Whichever flavor of good and bad fit us at the moment. Cowboys over the Indians. The Union over the Confederates. The US over the Germans or Japanese. Remember, we were little, and it was the late fifties and early sixties, so political niceties were unknown to us. Now, even as I write the above, I cringe. This paragraph came close to not existing because I didn’t and don’t want to offend anyone.
As I grew older, I discovered not all were friends. Sometimes, for whatever reason, some didn’t like me. Generally, I stayed away from them and went about my business and they to their own. Mostly, it worked. I remember a fistfight or two, but even they were rare.
Later came organized sports. Teams. Of course, the team we were on were the good guys, and the other team were the bad guys, the enemy. We had to beat them. The higher the margin, the better. Records were kept. Statistics written down, letting us know just how good we did.
It carried on into my adult life as I became a coach. A state consolation championship, a state runner-up, and a state championship in my first three years of coaching. A 56 and 17 record earned in those three years. We were at or near the top and other teams and coaches gunned for us and me.
Later, as I coached another team, my record wasn’t so stellar. But it was fun, and we had our share of success. Some fond memories.
As a teacher, a coach, a counselor, and as an administrator, I developed my share of supporters and my share of detractors. Some loved everything I did, while others, not so much. As the old saying goes, “If everyone agrees with you, you’re probably doing something wrong.” and “Can’t please everyone.” I made some decisions I’d like to take back, while others I knew in my heart were for the best. Still, not everyone agreed with me.
In today’s world, especially in politics, you are friend or foe. If you carry one label, you can’t and you shouldn’t side with those carrying a different label. Unheard of. Impossible. We can’t agree with the other side, because then we will never keep or get the majority. In fact, we need to do all we can to make the other guys look stupid, look weak, and look ineffective. Such is the world of politics today.
When President Obama was elected, he requested a photograph of the living presidents all together. George W. Bush arranged for that to happen. In one candid shot, they were laughing at something and it seemed so genuine, so honest, so sincere. No labels. No winners or losers. Just a group of men enjoying each other’s company and enjoying a laugh. I remember George W. Bush handing a mint to Mrs. Obama at a solemn ceremony. Touching. They are friends still.
I’m on the backside of the mountain of life. A lot of miles on my tread. Missing some hair, and what hair I have is mostly gray. I’m thicker in the middle. I’ve shrunk at least an inch. (I’m afraid if I keep shrinking, I’ll be moved to someone’s flower bed with a pointy hat on my head and a garden tool in my hand and wearing bib overalls.) I don’t move so quickly anymore. Sometimes, it takes me a moment to remember things.
I remember the little, sometimes the big, hurts others caused me or members of my family. I remember the time and place and in some of those memories, I remember the circumstances and situations. However, what has left me was the anger I felt. Sometimes the hurt has lingered, but the anger, not so much. I think it’s better that way, don’t you?
We’re taught to forgive and forget. Sometimes, not the easiest thing to do. But I’ve come to realize that if I hold on to that hurt and anger, I’m weighed down. I’m burdened by it. Simply remembering it changes my mood and my day.
I think I’ve learned to forgive, but sometimes the forgetting is harder to do. But I’m older. Maybe not wiser, but I know I’m older. I’m not going to carry around that baggage any longer. Most all of it has been tossed to the side. Time and distance does that. Age does that. I find I’d rather enjoy the moment, the present, rather than the past. More meaningful that way.
Some memories I will always cherish. Others? Not so much. I think when you realize there isn’t as much time left as there once was, a lot of it becomes small and meaningless. I’d rather remember the good times, those memories that I’ve kept tucked away in my heart. I’d rather keep those. Maybe for you too? I hope so. Something to think about. . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
My ninth book, Fan Mail, has been accepted by my publisher, Black Rose Writing. The publication date is March 30, 2023. I am so pleased with this book. It differs from my other work in that it is a coming-of-age story embedded in a tight thriller. More to come on that- I promise!
While you wait for Fan Mail to hit, I hope you take the time to enjoy my other work. The last four have won ten awards, while my Lives Trilogy has won two awards.
And, if you have read one of my books, I would like to ask a favor. If you could go online and write a review or, at the least, give a rating on the book, it would be of great help. Both a review and a rating would be wonderful. The review could be one or two lines. It doesn’t have to be long. Just let others know you read it and hopefully, enjoyed it. Obviously, 4s and 5s are the best. Thanks for this consideration.
Connect with me on Social Media:
Author Website: www.jrlewisauthor.blog/
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Amazon at: www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /
Blaze In, Blaze Out: A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read! A BestThriller’s Editor’s Pick!
Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko, the head of a Ukrainian crime family, meant the end. It was only the beginning. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. Andruko hired contract killers to go after and kill O’Connor and Eiselmann. The killers can be anyone and be anywhere. They can strike at any time. They care nothing of collateral damage. Andruko believes a target is a target, and in the end, the target must die. https://amzn.to/34lNllP
Betrayed: A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!
Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS
late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking.
A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old
boy. Greed can be all-consuming, and seeing is not believing. No one can be
trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. So far, he has murdered eight people. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of
heroin and fentanyl. A violent gang, MS-13, controls the drug trade along the
I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo Fuentes to find out who is cutting
in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an
ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay. Detectives
Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the
drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards!
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and death? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives
Photo of GR Stocks and Unsplash.