Thursday, February 28, 2013


The phone rang insistently at 10:30 pm, not a good time to be receiving ordinary calls.  It was a friend, who had just learned from an acquaintance that she'd lost her close friend from another life and another job decades earlier. 

Her pain was palpable.  He had died alone in his apartment, keeled over at his computer, and no one knew how long he'd been there like that because he lived alone.

Once upon a time when life was full of fresh promises this person had taken my friend all the way up the California coast on his Harley, and to Italy also. To me, that's a beautiful series of memories.

She hadn't spoken to him in many, many years.  My friend was appalled he'd died like that, alone and undiscovered for days. 

We all die alone, just like we all come into the world alone, although our mother is with us within moments of our delivery, and perhaps that gratifies us.  Perhaps the thought that Jesus will be with us moments after we die gratifies us of the Christian faith.

I live alone, with my nearest family hundreds of miles away, and I expect it'd be days before anyone noticed I was gone if I died in my house.  But then, I would be dead and it wouldn't matter.

After my life-altering divorce that took all of my savings and consumed much of the last decade, I no longer think that men and women are compatible after the child bearing and rearing years have passed.  That life-wrecking process also cost me my three children to estrangement in our Mother-knows-best legal culture, and how could I get close to another person after that painful ordeal?

In Japan they have a phrase to describe a lonely death, kodokushi, which basically connotates to a bothersome stain upon a carpet which might necessitate its replacement.  But perhaps some long-lost lover somewhere might grieve for that departed person, too.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Running at Bluemont

A few Saturdays ago I ran with H at Bluemont on the W&OD Trail, a mostly-flat 40-mile slash of a blacktop bike trail across Northern Virginia that runs from the Potomac at National Airport to out past Leesburg.  This paved-over rail bed runs right past my backyard at milepost 7 near the bicycle bridge over Leesburg Pike, Bluemont is at milepost 3.5 near the trail's juncture with the hilly Custis Trail.

We got underway at the parking lot by the tennis courts on the south side of Wilson Boulevard and headed westbound for two miles.  There are two hills going that way, the short but sharp rise at the Brandymore Castle rock outcrop about a mile out and then the longer climb up from where the trail parallels the Four Mile Run creekbed to the trail's continuation west of the East Falls Church Metro Station.

The height above the station achieved, it was time to turn around at the midway point of our four mile run and head back.  Going downhill is always welcome on the second half of a run, as I had sold H on the flatness of the trail when we had set up the weekend run and she had no doubt been thinking that I was less than truthful.

After the run we retired to a coffee shop in Arlington for half an hour.  That part of the morning was kind of boring actually, as it annoys me to have to pay for parking on a Saturday and the shop was filled with so many people doing absolutely nothing except staring intently at open laptops or studying the tiny screens of I-Phones being cradled lovingly in their palms.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Running in Fairfax

Yesterday was a cold, rainy day but I got four miles of running in with my weekend running buddy, J.  He lives next to the Government Center in Fairfax and you'd be surprised at the extent of trails and wooded patches out that way.

It's a little hilly out there too, it seemed that no matter which direction we were running it was always uphill, even when we doubled back after two miles.  There were other runners out and about as well, despite the challenging elements.

Layering is the answer on such days, wicking clothes next to the skin and fleece on top of it all.  In about forty minutes we'd done our appointed distance and by mid-morning on Saturday we each had our weekend still stretching out ahead of us. 

Afterwards, cold and sodden, we retired to a nearby Starbucks for Vanilla Blonde Roast coffee and a little girl watching.  I love the current style of boots that women wear these days and I watched an interesting and stylish procession of women walk in and out of the store in towering high heeled zippered suede boots, low-cut multi-buckled biker boots, rumpled buccaneer boots, boots with a flair over the knees, flat-soled black boots, Ugg boots, hush puppy style boots, high snow-pak boots, fleece lined boots, anklet high heel boots, French poodle boots, boots with a split back and old-style high lace up boots as J hummed the Nancy Sinatra tune, These boots are made for walking...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Free at last!

In a few days it'll be my youngest child's birthday.  He's in his mid-twenties and I haven't seen him since he was fourteen, even though I provided for payment of 100% of his college tuition and fees. 

I do know he went to an in-state school; otherwise I have no idea where or how he is, as his Mother, who works as a first-grade school teacher less than a mile away from my house (on my local "hill" running route), refuses to provide me with any information whatsoever about him.  Divorce in Western society, which tolerates and enables the purposeful overbearing of the will of children by the most wickedly scheming parent, is absolutely unbelievable.

On Danny's birthday I'll have dinner at the Lost Dog Cafe in Westover in Arlington, Virginia starting at 8 pm and I invite any of my sons to join me.  We could start catching up on the lost last decade. 

For Danny I'm bringing along a book I recently read, Night by Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.  It's a chilling tale about a boy and his father, two Jews amidst the holocaust, each of whom is struggling to survive overwhelming societal forces.

"All around me, there was silence now, broken only by moaning.  In front of the block, the SS were giving orders.  An officer passed between the bunks.  My father was pleading:  'My son, water...I'm burning insides...'
'Silence over there!' barked the officer.
'Eliezer,' continued my father.  'Water...'
The officer came closer and shouted to him to be silent.  But my father did not hear.  He continued to call me.  The officer wielded his club and dealt him a violent blow to the head. 
I didn't move.  I was afraid, my body was afraid of another blow, this time to my head.  My father groaned once more, I heard:  'Eliezer...'
I could see that he was still breathing--in gasps.  I didn't move."

The son's broken father was taken away that night, to the crematorium.

"No prayers were said over his tomb.  No candle lit in his memory.  His last word had been my name.  He had called out to me and I had not answered. 
I did not weep, and it pained me that I did not weep.  But I was out of tears.  And deep inside of me, if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like:  Free at last!..."

Have a happy birthday Danny, and I hope to see you then.

Friday, February 22, 2013


A few days ago I had lunch at noon at the Lost Dog Cafe, hoping my oldest son would show up on his birthday and join me.  He didn't, the last time I had any contact with him whatsoever was over six years ago on the phone. 

His Mother refuses to give me his address or even tell me if he is well, so every holiday for years I have gone at noon to the same restaurant after inviting him on the Internet to join me.  This time I brought along a book that my parents gave to me long ago when I was a child, to give to him if he came.

The solitary lunch over, with a heavy heart I picked up the book I had read over half a century ago and, because the tabletop where I had laid it was sticky, the tattered book cover tore in half as I lifted the hardback.  I was shocked at the complete rending of the old book covering.

It symbolized to me the complete break I've had in my life from my children due to my ex-wife's unbelievable manipulations of the then-minors during the our divorce.  When I got home I slipped the book, its worn cover hanging in two pieces, into Jimmy's box in the basement, sad that I would henceforth never go to the restaurant on his birthday again.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy happy, Jim.

My mother, who died in 1999, once observed that the birthdays in my house came fast and furious.  She always sent presents for my three sons, of course, and on the heels of a bountiful Christmas she laid in birthday presents for the middle child in January and the oldest and youngest in February.  None of the three lads has spoken to a Lamberton relative  since 2003 because of the divorce--that's a hallmark of the Western phenomenon called Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS.

Half a century ago, long before such unnaturalness was visited upon our society by "advanced" thought about the role and voice of genders in our familes, I read a book I received from my parents called Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody.  It was about a lad growing up on a hardscrabble ranch just outside Denver around the turn of the last century, a boy who came to appreciate his ailing father as his dad, a fount of wisdom, capability and morality, approached the end of his life.

I never forgot the scene near the end where the boy's father died. "Father looked so bad it frightened me when I went into the room.  I couldn't think of a thing to say, and I guess Father was so sick he couldn't either.  I had found a coil of inch rope [on my walk].  I could only think to tell Father about the rope.  He raised his hand up a little, and I took it.  His voice was almost a whisper, and he said, 'You take care of it, partner, you may need it.'  That was the last thing I ever heard him say."

That boy's parting from his father always haunted me all my life.  I was there when my ailing father died in 1986, and I could only think to say to him as he breathed his last, "God bless you, Dad."  That was the last thing he ever heard me say.

I read Little Britches again last year and remain haunted still at the thought of a father passing and a son not being able to think of a thing to say beyond, "Look at the rope I found," or "God bless you, Dad." 

My oldest son, who enters his late twenties on his birthday next week, hasn't spoken to me since the day the superstar quarterback Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl.  Since then Peyton's little brother Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls.  I no longer use this blog to invite Jimmy to join me for lunch at a restaurant on his birthday, or Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or Easter, or July 4th or Memorial Day ... you get the idea.  Jimmy was a minor. a mere child, when his will was overborne by the grotesque manipulations of his Mother and her coterie of "professionals" and he ceased communicating with me or any of my relatives, but now he is a fully mature adult (I have to suppose).

Jimmy knows where I live, at least for the foreseeable future (he pointedly dropped in to see a neighbor, but not me, a few years ago), and my work number hasn't changed in over two decades (just call the FTC and ask for me).  He can contact me if he wants.

I'm placing my copy of Little Britches in Jimmy's box in the basement for him.  Happy birthday, son.  I love you and wish you a long and happy life.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be Mine!

Happy Valentine's Day, Jimmy,
I would love to see you anon.
You're a victim of childhood's robbery,
Tis truly a current phenomenon.

I miss you always, Johnny,
My most straight and sober son.
The most like me, she once said,
Before she stole your childhood's fun.

I hope you are well, Danny,
You who were the one who would.
I'm so sorry I couldn't protect you,
From those who took your fragile childhood.

(circa 1999)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'll See You There

The call came in on my land line last night, too late for solicitor calls, so I answered it.  It was my sister, who hasn't called me in years.  I waited for the bad news I knew was coming.

Her stepson died the previous night at age 21.  I knew he had been used as a lifelong pawn by his biological mother against the father, my sister's husband, in the interminable warfare certain parents wage in their endless quest to get back at spouses who have "failed" them.  Now the boy is free and those left behind are utterly devastated.

I know whereof I speak.  My three children, now adults, haven't spoken to me in years because of their mother's use of them "up to their armpits" in our divorce proceeding.  I hope they are all alright, but I have no idea whether they are even alive.

My ex-wife surely believes in her never ending rage that I will go to hell.  If so, I will see every single mother or father or "professional" who has ever involved a minor child in a mindless pursuit to utterly destroy the other parent.  Meanwhile, rest in peace, sweet troubled young man whose childhood was stolen away.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Goodbye my loves

It's so hard to say goodbye.  The ravages of time and hard living took their toll and now the lifeless bodies rested on the ground, worn and tattered.

Brooks A. was one used up life.  A. Foundation was another dearly departed sole.

I played with Brooks all of 2011.  In 2012 I played with another Brooks but that particular Brooks still had life so Foundation, who had expired years earlier, took that Brooks' place at the burial.

My 2011 playmate, Brooks Addiction 4 running shoes, were coming apart at the seams, with the tread all gone and the front lip of the sole separating from the shoe and hanging down, threatening to trip me with every stride.  I threw those shoes away in January even though we'd been through so much together upon my return to running after a year-long layoff that it was hard to give the shoes up.  I buried them in the kitchen garbage bag which I set out on trash day and then immediately hurried off to work.  They were gone forever when I got back at the end of the day.

My 2012 playmate, Brooks Addiction 6 shoes, still had the front of the sole adhering to the shoe, although the tread was mostly gone and my little toes stuck out through the fabric on each side, exposed to the elements.  But I couldn't part with them yet, we'd had such good times together, so in February I threw out a better preserved, long retired pair of Asics Foundation 3 shoes instead.  Those shoes had taken me through the Marine Corps Marathon in 2002 but were size 12s and I could no longer wear them even casually as after a decade of running I am now a size 13.

The Brooks Addiction 6 pair still lives on, although its heel area is starting to separate from the shoe so perhaps that pair will be March's casualty.  We runners love our shoes so.