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Paul Schweer 08-29-2017 10:48 AM

Down One Road But Not The Other
 
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Cheryl punched the Easter Bunny. He had it coming.

Been bugging her for years, that bunny. Sitting in her favorite spot on the couch. Perching on her pillow at bed time. Waiting in ambush at the top of the stairs. Sneaky bunny.

Twenty years ago he was a baby bunny, big bunny feet and pink plastic fur. Now his arms are floppy, and he often topples over if not propped up properly.

~~~

After Parris Island, I did thirty days TAD at my local recruiting station. I'd hang around for the walk-ins to see. Sometimes a recruiter would take me along and walk me through the high school.

One day at the office, an old man walked in and started chatting up the Staff Sergeant who sat near the door.

"Time traveler," I heard somebody say.

~~~

Last year I met up with Michael Hacker in Phoenix. We went to the dojo, sat together and talked some while the class went on. They did their practice. We sat and watched.

He's injured. I'm stubborn.

Michael and I know each other from the Aikido-L days. His teacher left town a few years ago. My teacher is dead. We email each other sometimes. We sorta keep in touch.

We sit and watch.

~~~

There's a rat in the kitchen. He's caught in a mouse trap, but he's not dead. He's watching me make coffee.

Not what I want first thing in the morning.

Walking away from the coffee to where he is on the floor, his eyes follow me. Bulging and blood red.

I get a golf club from the garage, return to the kitchen, and put an end to it.

~~~

The old barn is mostly not there anymore, weeds and small trees growing up through where it used to be. The fence is still serviceable. The grass waist high. Hunting is mostly what happens here now. No cattle grazing. No farmer's kid out chasing strays.

"I don't remember," Dad says, "that chicken house being so far down the grade."

He tells me he thinks it's very strange, that he doesn't understand. We make our decisions, he tells me. We go down one road but not the other. And how it turns out? We don't ever know how it will turn out, do we?

"How is it", he says to me, "how did what you decided so long ago, how could that have possibly led to where you are now? Because you didn't always make the best decisions," he says. "Some of what you did," he says, "was unwise."

"Isn't it strange", he says, "isn't it strange how things turn out."

Which is just his way of telling me, just his way of saying that I may have disappointed him when I was young. But that it worked out. That I've done okay. That he is proud of me. His way of saying those things, I'm sure.
Paul Schweer is a student at Shindai Aikikai in Orlando, Florida. More about Paul can be found here.

Janet Rosen 08-30-2017 12:50 AM

Re: Down One Road But Not The Other
 
I miss reading your writing. Sometimes I find myself calling up your voice, when my more pedantic one doesn't suit the style of the Mirror column I'm working on, and it generally serves me well when I do. But it isn't you. Wish you'd do more writing here.

SeiserL 09-16-2017 06:45 AM

Re: Down One Road But Not The Other
 
Yes agreed.
Didn't Robert Frost write about the road taken?
Sometimes, its not a road but a path that few travel.
Perhaps the martial arts are like that.
But the people we meet on that road ... yes, its about the people.
Thanks for being a part of that path chosen and followed.
Looking forward to sharing space and time at Shindai ...

Susan Dalton 09-17-2017 08:40 AM

Re: Down One Road But Not The Other
 
I agree with Janet that I'd like to see more of your writing, Paul. It always gut punches me (in a good way.)


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