The Gift

I received this today from my Dad, Bob Reed Sr.  I don’t think he’ll mind that I share it.  Thanks Dad.

Been thinking about two of our kids and their spouses, and their adjustment to the empty-nest syndrome. They each have their only child off to college, so for the first time in eighteen years, they are alone.

And they are trying to adjust to the vacant bed, unoccupied chair, and silence. There is no mess to pick up. No one to admonish. No one to argue back. No one to bug.

And they can pretty much do what they want. The freedom is sort of scary. Every night can be a date night.

They worry about their kids and their new experiences. And they envy them in many ways. For they have released them like new kites into a new world—a world they themselves once occupied.

But it all reminds me of similar times with those parents way back when. And the ache and joy we experienced when they went off to higher adolescent education.

We consoled ourselves with the thought that is was inevitable, necessary, and desired. And we tried to justify it all by reminding ourselves that our kids were a temporary gift.

Marvin Hamlisch said it best in the musical Chorus Line in the song “What I Did for Love.” One line stands out: “The gift was ours to borrow.”

Of course, he was referring to the talent that was the special part of a dancer’s brief life. But we interpreted the phrase as the wonderful gift of our children that we enjoyed on borrowed time, as they were growing and making our lives so full.

As I’ve noted before, they were only on loan. And perhaps remembering the joys of that long-ago gift of their kids will now help our kids through this time of adjustment and transition.

That gift was—and  is—a  once-in-a-lifetime blessing. May they remember and cherish that special experience.  And may it help them now.

Grandpa Reed

Fall getaway to Long Point

Almost forgot to write this one up.  Its a couple of weeks ago already, I took advantage of the cancellation of my Wednesday class due to an odd weekday football game, and scheduled 4 nights camping and fishing at Long Point Park  (Oct 5 – 9.)    Its my go-to annual getaway.  I’ve learned that weekdays are blessedly quiet and uncrowded, and the mullet run is usually in pretty high form in October.

Unfortunately, I was greeted by a couple days of very high and consistent winds, which kept me off the water for much of the first days.   The good news: the water was unusually high, making access to some mangrove shorelines I had never fished before real easy.   Those shorelines were also protected from the wind.  On the second day I tried those backwaters and found redfish.   Using a gulp swimbait I caught 3 juvie’s and one healthy upper slot fish which I kept for the cooler.  On the following afternoon I got another upper slot red in the same place, and the following day, I caught a third bruiser redfish on a live finger mullet drifted behind the boat.    Additionally, I caught ladyfish, some cats,  and dozens and dozens of sea trout including one trophy sized trout on a 6 in. purple plastic shad

Redfish caught on gulp bait along mangrove shorelines trophy sea trout caught near St. Sebastian river off spoil island

The windy weather curtailed my usual outdoor culinary pursuits, so I’ve got no enticing cookery photos this time.  But I did fire grill some of the redfish and on my final night a boneless ribeye steak.  In the  evenings after dinner, I would set up coffee for the next morning, then retire to the tent and watch  archived episodes of Freaks and Geeks (1999) on my netbook.    Sunrise that week was not until 7am, so I could sleep in until 6, brew the coffee, grab some food and easily be out on the water at first light.    Heck, I get up earlier than that most weekdays at home.

By the end of the week, the winds had calmed down and water levels returned to normal.   The St. Sebastian river across the lagoon is under controlled release from the Upper St. Johns watershed, and I suspect there was a big release around the start of the week, which takes a few days to fully drain out through the Sebastian inlet.   On Thursday afternoon, I had to enlist some muscle assistance from friendly campers to push my beached boat back in the water.  I forgot to raise my outboard motor, and it was stuck in the mud by the falling tide.

On Friday night, the partying crowds  and weekenders arrived and every waterfront campsite was filled, mostly with RV’s.   My novice tent-camping neighbor was a friendly enough young tattooed guy, but he started drinking early, and by nightfall, he was out of control and engaged in off and on abusive arguing with his girlfriend.   He also played thrashing rap/rock too loudly.   He didn’t cause me any trouble other than annoyance, and to his credit he extended apologies the next morning.    But like I said, weekdays are the way to go down there.

Saturday night, back home, unpacked, shaved and showered, I grilled up the rest of the redfish which Linda and I enjoyed out in our patio twilight.

era of technology

Note the year of this citation:

It is an extraordinary era in which we live. It is altogether new. The world has seen nothing like it before. I will not pretend, no one can pretend, to discern the end; but every body knows that the age is remarkable for scientific research into the heavens, the earth, and what is beneath the earth; and perhaps more remarkable still for the application of this scientific research to the pursuits of life.  The ancients saw nothing like it. The moderns have seen nothing like it till the present generation. . . . We see the ocean navigated and the solid land traversed by steam power, and intelligence communicated by electricity.  Truly this is almost a miraculous era. What is before us no one can say, what is upon us no one can hardly realize. The progress of the age has almost outstripped human belief; the future is known only to Omniscience.

Daniel Webster, 1847

Bob Dylan in concert

It was on Sunday evening 10/11/10 at the UCF arena.  Linda and I figured we should take advantage and see him in person while we have the chance.  The price was excellent, and I secured two mid-floor seats in the three year old 9,000+ seat facility.

Dylan and his band came on stage about 20 minutes after the published start time of 8pm.  He had a slick looking electric boogie blues band dressed in seersucker suits and black shirts.  Guitarist/frontman Charlie Sexton had all the stage swagger and style of Robbie Robertson.   Dylan played guitar, keyboards and harmonica and moved nearly seamlessly from song to song for the nearly 2 hour set.  Dylan had the only vocal microphone; no harmonies expected in this show.

There were no acoustic versions of any songs, it was all wall-of-sound rock/blues, with some radical style changes to his well-known tunes such as Tangled up in Blue, and Just Like a Woman.   In fact, I completely failed to recognize Tangled, although Linda bopped along and cited it as her favorite Dylan song.   To me, the sound mix was loud and muddied, made even more indistinct because  Dylan is hardly known for his diction and annunciation.   Perhaps if I had caught any of the lyrics to Tangled, I might have been able to recognize it.

Many people ignored the fact that it was posted throughout the arena that photography and recording were forbidden.   I took advantage and whipped out my casio cell phone for a few pictures, but I was wrong place and time.  As facebook readers may know, a plainclothes security guy promptly escorted me out of the hall and requested I take my camera and leave it in my car.  I promised to be good, and he relented and allowed me back in to the concert and even became somewhat apologetic saying he was just doing his job, and it was Dylan’s rule anyway.    I didn’t attempt anymore photos, and regretfully, the ones I took had the image stabilization turned off so they are very unsharp.

After 1 hour and 45 minutes, the band wrapped up with a cursory encore performance of Like a Rolling Stone, then they took a bow and were off the stage and gone.   Altogether a very worthwhile time was had, and I’m really glad for the opportunity.  I was not bored, although it was nowhere near the thrill or excitement of other icons we’ve seen in concert like Sinatra (late 80’s) or Paul McCartney (1991-ish).    In fact, Carlos Santana in the UCF arena back in 2008 was a whole lot bigger and better concert experience for me.  Santana was at least as loud as the Dylan band, but his sound mix was crisp and clean – you could hear every single instrument.

Sentinel review is here.