My poor Mom spent years agonizing -trying to discern if her one-and-only firstborn was actually some sort of egg-head rocket scientist in the making, or just plain too dumb to run a bar of soap.
Despite suspicions, I wasn't stupid (back then - yet), quite the contrary. I was just busy. About half the time I would be out in the barn or down at the creek or hiding out in the lilac bushes behind the house with my nose stuck in a book - just happy as a clam. (The other half of the time I was usually up to getting my little butt paddled on what seemed to me an altogether too-regular basis. I was an inquisitive and imaginative child as well as studious, but not too good at not getting caught:-)
I learned to read well by the time I was 5. I read Grandmas "True Crime" and "Old West" magazines, and all the Superman, Classics Illustrated and Archies comic books I could get my hands on. Those comic books were chock full of good ideas. They inspired me.
I can't tell you how many times I tied up and blindfolded my old dog Sport, just so I could ride up in a cloud of dust, pulling a Radio Flyer behind my bad-ass stingray bicycle and rescue him from "bandidos". He was always incredibly gracious about the blindfold and so grateful for the nick-of-time rescue.
Grandma used to clean the library in Sidney twice a week and she got me my first library card when I turned 5. I could check out 17 books at a whack every 2 weeks. Most of the time they didn't last long enough.
When I was 6, I grabbed Herman Melvilles' "Moby Dick" off the library shelf and tore into it. (That sounds completely different coming from a transvestite in county lockup??) I dug the picture of the whale and the crazy looking guy with the harpoon. I knew a book like that was going to last at least two weeks to get through. My Mom's drunk-assed husband-du-jour said I wasn't ever gonna read a book like that. "Hell..he cain't hardly carry it - let alone read it"
Bitter you say? :-) Not really. Everything happens for a reason and my distaste for violence and drunken lunacy was born early. That brand of shitstorm has no place in a childs world, or in anyones' for that matter. In the words of Forrest Gump "That's all I got to say about that" - "for now"
Gratitude. It's the foundational principle behind overwhelming abundance and wealth that I live inside of almost daily. Despite the irrelevant opinion of the IRS and 3 major credit-reporting agencies, I am L-O-A-D-E-D.
If you think for a minute that money is what makes you rich then I can't begin to convey how sorry I feel for you. Grandma was as wise as they come, and this is what she had to say about that. Her question that she posed to me so many years ago was in regard to what sort of person I might become.
A "rich" man is just hungry. He'll always be hungry and his belly will never be full. He'll bleed all the love and compassion and respect and dignity, out of every nickel he ever touches - and still rage for more
Grandmas eyes were deep and sweet - sad and serious. Warm brown with flecks of green, looking right into my little soul. Her breath hard with the odor of Lark cigarettes and Hamm's beer, elbows propped on the table with cigarette smoke circling around her tired loving face. The old womens' question still rests with me every minute of every day. "Son, which one are you going to be?"
"Don't take any wooden nickels"