Old friends fit like comfortable shoes

Searching for my old school buddy, Wayne, I moved through the ballroom and the New Year’s Eve party crowd. I hadn’t seen him in twenty years, not since high school graduation.

Then three weeks ago he’d called me out of the blue. Said over the phone that he’d like to see me, had something to tell me, and he’d be here at this party tonight. He’d leave a ticket for me at the front door if I’d come.

I told him I’d be here and hung up. Over the days that followed, I debated. Did I want to see him again? After all, I ‘ve changed a lot since I was no longer that seventeen-year-old kid he’d hung with. We’d both been on the football team. I was a quarterback and he my receiver, and we’d done everything together. Chased the cheerleaders. Cruised in the bright red Mustang we’d fixed up. Fought in the same fights, always standing up for each other. Gone to the best parties, seeing who could out chug-a-lug the other. We were the Boomer Brothers, the toughest dudes around. Everybody said so.

Then high school was over and Wayne left town. I never found out why. I only knew that he was the restless sort, always looking for a change. The last I heard he’d gone off and joined the Army.

Finally New Year’s Eve morning, I decided I’d come to the party tonight. I made my way through the crowd, checking out the features in each face, trying to figure out if it was really him. I looked across the room and saw someone who could be Wayne. I hesitated, then headed towards the guy. A few feet away I realized that it wasn’t him.

He isn’t here. Why don’t I just leave? Though I wanted to see him, I wasn’t sure how he’d take me these days. But, over the phone, he’d sounded like he really wanted to see me. I decided to keep looking. I guess I’ll find out real soon. If he’s here, that is. I’ve looked everywhere. Where could he be?

I started moving through the sea of faces again, glancing at each one, giving each a quick once-over. Still no Wayne. I looked at my watch. It was almost midnight.

Then, a foot or so away, I saw a face, his face. I would recognize those intense, dark blue eyes anywhere. They were his eyes alright. But that couldn’t be Wayne.

I took another look at his face as I got closer to him. It was definitely my old buddy. But what had happened?

Over the phone, I hadn’t recognized his voice at first. It had changed that much. And now I understood why. But how could I ever have guessed that he had gone and done what I had done?

I ran up to him and hugged him.

“Wayne, you’re a woman too,” I said, releasing him from my hug and acknowledging our sex change operations.

“My God, John, these shoes are killing me,” he said. “When I made the change, I never realized how hard it was going to be to get decent shoes.”

A Wish for Y’all’s New Year

Here’s what I am hoping for all of you out there.

“This Year” by the Steel Wheels.

May you and your family and your loved ones have a beautiful, prosperous and wonderful year in 2020. And may the world finally find “Peace on earth, goodwill toward all.”

And here’s another from The Steel Wheels for your enjoyment.

 

10 Resolutions I’m Making For the New Year

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful New Year. Party like it’s 1999 but don’t drive while drinking. Remember there are a lot of amateur drunks on the highway. Better yet, stay home and invite your friends over. Let them face the amateurs. Isn’t that what friends are for? Anyway here is my list of New Year’s Resolutions.

1.Remind people that I am not dead yet. But Elvis is.

2.Start a Bucket List, and make sure the bucket ain’t leaking.

3.Turn on the light at 3 a.m., so I don’t break another toe stumbling around in the dark.

4.Quit throwing the alarm clock across the room. Alarm clocks are like hearts. They break easily.

5.Give up dancing. I have no rhythm. At all.

6.Quit imagining I am a bullfighter. Those bulls have horns, and they hurt.

7.Don’t play with guns. I will shoot my eye out. Ouch!

8.Next Halloween I shall not go as a pumpkin. At least, not without cleaning out the insides.

9.Betting on the horses is no retirement plan.

10.Gotta give up singing “In-a-gadda-da-vida” in the shower. The shower is getting sick of my singing.

A Brand New Year

Hip hip hooray! We made it through 2016. Now there’s a whole new year on the horizon. I am not saying it will be better or it will be worse. All I am saying is there’s 365 days ahead of us and we get a new start. It’s my hope that one of your New Year’s Goals is to continue to check out Uncle Bardie’s Stories & Such.

Before I go into my hashing and rehashing, I just want all of you, my friends, to know how much I appreciate all that you do. Blogging for me is like being a member of a large circle of a community.

I try to keep up with the posts in my Reader. In addition, late at night when moi has a case of the insomnias, I go roving through the posts of people who have given me a like or a comment. That’s a great way to find new blogs. I may not follow you or make comments on your latest blog posts but I am grateful for the posts. And for your generosity.

Only another blogger would understand how much work and thought goes into each post. We send them out into the world with hope that they will find a friend or two and touch someone with a blessing. Your generosity and your hard work is much appreciated from this end of the galaxy.

Now for some hashing and rehashing. Over the past two and a half years, I have had the great pleasure of giving you Stories & Such. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have making them.

For the last year or so, Uncle Bardie posted five posts a week. Sundays have been a free-for-all anything-goes kind of post. Mondays a weekly movie. Wednesdays an on-going novel called “Politics in America” and the Man from Weazel Sneeze. Thursdays a weekly music selection. And Fridays a Creative Artist.

Uncle Bardie’s been doing a heap of thinking lately. That means that he’s been ramming his head against the wall to shake his brain loose. Long time ago Uncle Bardie started with three posts a week. Beginning this week, he will return to three posts a week.

Why cut back? Doing five posts a week consumes a lot of seconds and minutes and hours. I have come to realize that it’s time to get on with some longer writing projects. I have several long stories and a novel that needs serious editing. Only by cutting back on the posting can I get to those projects.

So here’s the plan. Sundays will continue to be a free-for-all. Fridays will combine three weekly posts–Friday’s Creator Corner, the Weekly Music Pick and the Movie of the Week–into one and retitle the new post “Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight”. Each week will feature one of the three on a rotating basis with an occasional re-ordering to honor someone or something specific or just because I want to be ornery that week.

Wednesdays are for an on-going project. In 2014, I spent a year of Wednesdays creating short stories in response to a series of short story prompts. Fifty-five to be exact. 2015’s Wednesdays were a humorous look at “Hamlet”. 2016 brought y’all “Politics in America”, a satirical response to the presidential campaign. Come February 1 of the new year that will sink over the horizon Titanic-style.

But Wednesday’s comedy will not be over. On top of that, it will not end. There will be more comedy. As Zero Mostel sang in “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum”, there will continue to be comedy.

That comedy will come in the form of a very loosely based historical humorous novel called “The Absolutely Unbelievable Extraordinary of Lady Wimpleseed Prissypotte”.

The Adventures take place at the end of the nineteenth century. The daughter of a rich American is pressured into marrying a British Lord. Momsie wants a title in the fam. The Lord the daughter marries has one foot in the cemetery and one in the grave. In chapter three, her new hubby croaks in a bowl of soup. Suddenly the heroine doesn’t know what to do with herself, so she goes in pursuit of True Love. Or at least a good orgasm.

The novel has bandits, Mata Hari, Tarzan, big game hunters, Queen Victoria and three of the nicest ghosts ever to haunt a British manor house. If that wasn’t enough, it has mud pies, steamboats, and Istanbul. Loosely based on the old serial, “The Perils of Pauline”, it was a lot of fun to write. I hope it’s as much fun to read.

I want to close out this post by wishing you a Happy New Year for 2017. And leave you with the wonderful Renee Fleming singing Cesar Franck’s “Panis Angelicus”.

 

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: John Houston’s Last Movie

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Dead” (1987).

Like so many of you, I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. Come Thursday night this year, I plan on the same ritual I have performed the past ten years or so.

No, it’s not going out drinking with all the amateurs. I stay off the streets ’cause there’s danger out there, Will Robinson. If I am taking to the bottle on New Year’s Eve, I do it at home. But mostly I stay off the booze, except for a little of the bubbly.

I don’t sacrifice a chicken or howl at the moon either. Although the howling-at-the-moon has occurred to me. It would give some competition to those blasting firecrackers away all night because they can. They scare the whatchamacallit out of my cats. At least, my cats would appreciate the howling.

I am not into watching three hours of programming crawling up to the countdown to the ball dropping. (I kinda wonder what you do in that crowd when you have to pee, and you have to pee bad. Where do you go?)

All the twerking by artists, mouthing their latest fifteen-minutes-of-fame plastic, bores me. I’m not ever sure who they are, but they’re not for moi. They are not Dylan or Sinatra or Elvis or the Beatles or the Supremes. Those guys didn’t have to twerk their way to greatness. Well, maybe Elvis did.

If I hear Paul McCartney do one more performance of “Yesterday”, I think I’ll scream. You were great once, Sir Paul, but you’re beginning to wear out your welcome. Mostly I’m thinking it’s been a while since Guy Lombardi did the Auld Lang Syne thing, and I kinda miss it. Don’t worry I haven’t gone Lawrence Welk on you. Yet.

My tradition? I sit down and watch John Huston’s last movie, “The Dead”. And before you even think it, it’s not about zombies. Rather it is based on James Joyce’s great story. If the man wrote no other work, “The Dead” would establish him as one of the greats. It takes place in 1904 Dublin. A group of friends gather at the home of the Morkan sisters and their niece to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, that memorial to the Three Magi who came to visit the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Outside there is snow. Inside there is cheer and music and dinner and memories of the past. It is these memories of the dead that call to mind all who have passed my way. Old friends, childhood buddies, and family, Some passed on and some not, some nearby and some in faraway places, some in places known and some in places unknown.

Like the story, the final scene of the movie calls to mind the most bittersweet of memories. All those who left, leaving only their footprints in the snow behind. All those wayfarers who came my way and left their mark on my life in an unforgettable manner. For a moment, tears well up in my eyes and I raise a glass to the wonder of who they were.

Soon it will be time to move on, what with a new year coming. This brief time I give to those who have passed over to a new world. I miss their words. I miss their smiles. I miss their voices. I miss the music that was their lives. So I shed a few tears. Not for them, but for myself. That I could have been a better friend. A better brother. A better son.

For these few moments, I am thankful to James Joyce and to John Huston for their extraordinary works of art.

Where will you be this New Year’s Eve?