December 21, 2009

Don't Worry About What You Can't Control

About 38 minutes ago I heard my grandfather calling my name. In theory that sounds innocuous, grandpa was a night owl and so am I. But the thing is, he is gone. Grandpa passed away, he died, he left this place 3.5 years ago.

And yet I heard him calling my name. It came from somewhere in the dark recesses of the house or perhaps my mind. I suppose that he heard me talking about him last night. Last night I smoked a cigar. I smoked a cigar and drank some scotch.

I smoke a cigar, drank some scotch and talked about women.

I smoked a cigar, drank some scotch and talked about women while sitting outside. It was on the balcony of my friend's condo. He is single, my friend. Never been married, childless and happy about both conditions.

We sat outside and caught up on life. As we talked he handed me the cigar and a lighter.I said no thanks and he suggested that I reconsider. So I smelled that cigar and it took me back decades. I smelled grandpa and for the first time in 11 years I smoked a cigar.

Out there on the patio I smoked a cigar and thought about grandpa, drank some scotch and talked about women. And then we got serious and talked about life. The old man is going to turn 40 in a short time. He and my son share the same birthday.

The old man looked at me and asked the same question that so many of us have been asking. We're 40 years old and what do we have to show for it. He is an attorney with his own practice and I am a father. And while I admit to having struggled this year with a variety of things, I do have my children. Among all other things I have very happy, well adjusted children.

And that is priceless.

But still we trudged through the mud and the muck of the roads not taken and the missed opportunities. We talked about things that could have been and what should have been. We toasted each other and agreed that 2010- The Year of Jack will be better because we are taking control.

It was a fine evening.

And now it is a bit after 1 A.M. and I am wide awake. Wide awake and at the computer wondering about how I am going to keep making it all happen. The house requires my attention. A number of issues have crept up as they do for all homeowners and decisions must be made.

I am a man. I am handy. And at times I combine the two and become the handy man. I like working with my hands, but some tasks are better left to professionals. They can do it better and faster than I can. So I look at these projects and try to figure out is it worth my time and if not, can I afford to hire someone to do it. And if I can't, can I afford to let it sit for a while.

And as I sit here thinking about these things my mind starts to race and I think that I have to begin figuring out what the kids will do for summer camp. I have to figure out whether I can keep them at their private school for another year. I have to figure out how to do 1,298,893 things and they all cost money. And while my brain is processing all that I have to figure out what I am going to do if there is some sort of emergency, how will I pay for that.

Maybe I imagined it, but I heard my grandfather tell me not to worry about what I can't control. I heard him clear his throat, felt his blue eyes staring out at me. The room is dark, but I stared out into the darkness anyway. Could he be there, somehow.

Nah, it doesn't make sense. I don't believe in ghosts but if I had to be haunted by one than grandpa is a good choice.

I am probably just over tired and a bit stressed out. Maybe that is all it was or is, I don't know.

Last night I smoke a cigar, drank some scotch and talked about women.

5 comments:

3 Men and a Lady said...

I believe in ghosts (I saw one once) and I do believe God allows us messages from loved ones passed. Your grandpa gave you great advice. I'm a worrier myself, and I try to remember to only worry about things that I CAN control.

john cave osborne said...

reminds me of the serenity prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

you don't believe in ghosts? i think i do. it's incredible how we all take stock of our lives during the holidays. it's even more incredible that we always think of what we haven't done vs. what we have. here's to 2010 being the year of jack. (i've declared it to be my year, too, though. so i guess we'll have to share!)

Happy Holidays, brother.

Jack said...

3 Men & A Lady,

Grampa always had great advice. I suppose that is one of the many reasons why I miss him.

John,

I don't know about ghosts. I guess my belief there is similar to horoscopes. If I read a horoscope I like than I believe. If I don't like it then it is malarkey.

Happy to share 2010 with you, the more people enjoy it, the better it will be.

Mama Kat said...

I share many of those worries. I think our kids need to get jobs...help out with the bills. Is four too young to deliver papers? Do people still read papers?

And you're right, your Grampa does give good advice.

Listen to it.

Jack said...

Mama Kat- I read the paper. Can't imagine life without it.