Trick or Treat

Yeah, I know I’m getting up in the years now and our country is struggling, but things weren’t always this way.

Usually, about this time of year, I am harkened back to my youth and a world that no longer exists… Hyde Park Elementary School in Hyde Park, NY, and three of the best years of my life… 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. Hyde Park is a sleepy little village on the Hudson River about 70 miles north of NYC bordered on the south by the Franklin Roosevelt estate and the north by the Vanderbilt estate.

In those days (the ’50s) during Halloween, kids from the grade school were allowed to file down to the village where we could paint, on store windows, goblins, ghosts, cats, and anything Halloween that came to mind. Upstate New York was getting rather chilly about this time of year, but never enough to keep kids from trick or treating. There were no store-bought costumes available then, so we had to make our own… with the help from Mom, of course. Each of those years, I dressed as Captain Hook, a character from my favorite Disney story, Peter Pan. Mom and I would get cardboard and cut out the hook from several pieces which we taped together and I would wear an old jacket of hers that was big on me, but it buttoned in the middle and I could raise the collar around my neck. Then we would make the big buckles that we would somehow attach to my boots. I think I wore a top hat or a bandanna and an eye patch as well. That’s when I learned to say “Arg” with the intensity and integrity that I now do so well. And then… that fabulous night when about fifteen of us would meet up at Billy and Bobby Tripp’s house and begin our crusade. Back then, there weren’t prepared bags of candy that folks could buy, so much of our loot was homemade goodies like, cookies and things… even money.

The crispness of the air, the joy in my heart, the sweetness of folks during that timeframe reiterates over and again how wonderful my life was and the loving parents that made it all happen. Sadly, leaving Hyde Park as I began the 4th grade left a hole in my heart that has never been filled. Only the memory and fleeting moments of those days gone by coupled with the spirit of the holiday bring it all back to me again.

 

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Radio Interview

Well, it’s about time I got back into blogging. Did you know that I was interviewed on the radio this past Saturday. Quint Tatro had me on his show. This was his exact Facebook post. Thank you so much, Quint.

My new favorite author, who you’ve not heard of….yet!

Most would assume my passion is finance, stocks or maybe even money. In reality, I would classify what I love to do is discover greatness. As a child I dug for buried treasure in the back yard, was infatuated with the Goonies and searched far and wide for unique baseball cards that I could parlay into vast riches. Well, vast riches for a 10 year old. As I grew I learned that my detective work and passion for forensics was best suited for the investment world where I could dig in and find unique opportunities that rewarded hard work with real currency. In truth, I get as excited about discovering a new food, recipe, shop, movie or book as I do when I find our next great investment.

It is for this reason when I stumbled upon a relatively unknown author who happened to be the most exceptional historical fiction writers I’ve ever read, I had to bring him in for a chat and share his goodness with the world!

This week’s radio show features Kentucky local, Robert Monahan who has spent the last several decades evolving from a love struck poet to the creator of the Kentucky Chronicles. (Hear the show before it airs here) http://tinyurl.com/yd9gp4jp

In full disclosure, Robert became a client a while back and during our very first meeting, relayed his passion for writing. Working with many folks over the years, it is not uncommon to learn of unique hobbies and passions my clients have. Often, these passions for artwork, crafts, or sculpting are simply for fun and not quite at the level of commercial enterprise. Upon learning that I am a ferocious reader, Robert sent me a copy of Thoroughbred Conspiracy which, sadly, I may have taken a few months to get to. I’m embarrassed to admit that when I finally picked it up, I figured it would be one that I had to struggle through and forcefully finish. Oh my, was I wrong. I pushed through book 1 that very evening and ordered 2 and 3 immediately the next day. I’m excited to now be starting book 4, Coal Dust.

If you like to read, and enjoy the occasional fiction thriller, these books are for you and you’ll love this in-depth interview with the man behind Tucker Flannery and Dr. Gardot. Check out the podcast and then do yourself a favor and get all the books HERE. http://tinyurl.com/yad7jzcx

Announcing Coal Dust

coaldust Cover 2

Hello and welcome back. I have been away for quite some time, but I am back and doing well. I am announcing today, the availability of my latest novel, Coal Dust, on Amazon. The direct link is…

This is my first who-done-it; one that reads fast and ends surprisingly. I sincerely hope you enjoy the story, and please let me know if you do.

 

Book Signing Tonight

I will be at the Thoroughbred Restaurant on Leestown Road tonight starting at 5:00 PM.
I would love to see you there!

The Garden

With Easter just a few days away, I thought I would share with you one of the poems I will be publishing later this year. It’s called The Garden, and it deals with all the things running through Jesus’ mind just prior to His arrest. I hope you like it.

The Garden

Roses blooming near a fence
Where earthen brick lay close against
A floral song of rainbow’s tender hue.

While climbing ivory’s free cascade
Flows around the colonnade
Timeless there before young lilies grew.

Where once upon a time He’d rest
In silent peace He’d so loved best
To castigate His mortal, dreadful fears.

Deep within His conscience there
In meditation and in prayer
He’d bathe the tiny petals with His tears.

Could He sweat this blood, bear this pain
Accept His closest friend’s refrain
To ask if this but only pass Him by?

My heart has grown to understand
I worship Him, but love the man
Who gave His life to rescue you and I.

© Robert Monahan

www.facebook.com/robert.monahan.author

The Kentucky Chronicles

Don’t forget that I will be signing copies of the three stories which comprise The Kentucky Chronicles in Lexington at Bakery, Blessings and Bookstore at the Bar this Saturday from 12 to 3 p.m. It’s at the corner of Lane Allen Rd. and Harrodsburgh Rd. Hope to see y’all.

“Ask not what your country can do for you

Ask what you can do for your country.”

I was 13 years old and a freshman in high school when I heard John F. Kennedy say this at his inaugural address January 20, 1961. I didn’t realize how true his words would continue ringing in my ears and for how long. Today more than half of our society is on the dole, supported by an administration protected by a liberal ‘yellow’ press that constantly wants to blame the wealthy for the problems of the poor while demonizing Capitalism. As far as I know, it is not a sin to be wealthy, and it is not wrong to expect fair payment for one’s efforts and talent.

Somehow, our leftist brethren wants us to believe certain people have too much money, either through their inheritance or their investments, and our president seems hell bent on its redistribution so that everyone can share in the wealth. The only problem with that is that it’s not everyone’s wealth. It does not belong to society. If it did, we would be a Socialist state, much akin to Communism.

Is there a ceiling as to how much wealth a person can accrue? Should actors and professional ball players make as much as they do? Of course they should, this is a free society, is it not? I fully agree that certain folks do not have enough money, but not to the point where I would allow them to buy houses they can’t afford. I also agree that our tax codes might need to be adjusted, but I can’t understand why our president hasn’t done anything about it? He talked about this three years ago, but so far he’s done nothing. The left would have you believe that every citizen must share in the American dream. In a perfect world I would agree, however ours is not a perfect world… far from it.

For the better part of my career I was fortunate to work for one of the best corporations ever developed in the United Stated, IBM. There were many, many days that 14 hours did not allow enough time to get my job done, but I didn’t mind the long hours because there were so many leaders I knew who were working 16 hour days, seven days a week. My immediate Project Manager used to work while on vacation. That’s called leadership. Why is it that every McDonald’s store is looking for people to hire, yet there are so many Americans out of work? It’s because people who are getting paid to stay home won’t work. Why should they?

This country is in dire need of a leader who can change the mindset of the country. One who wants to shrink government, as well as our economic debt while instilling in our youth a mindset whereby they understand and accept the notion that developing a strong work ethic would be the best friend they could ever have.

I was in a senior when JFK was assassinated. During his tenure, I felt, as did my family that our country was in good hands mostly because of his leadership qualities. Today I feel that our country has no leader and is on the verge of an economic meltdown the likes of which none of us has ever witnessed. I will not blame our president for all the problems our country faces, but I will admit that he should never have been elected in the first place. Isn’t it about time we asked ourselves, what we can do for our country? What I’m going to do is vote Obama out!

The Blue in Elizabeth’s Eyes

33 years ago today, at five in the morning, on a bitter cold day, my life was changed dramatically when my only child, Elizabeth came into this world.  She was five weeks early and weighed five pounds and five ounces, and I Immediately began to wonder what my first 32 years on this earth were all about, because nothing else seemed to have mattered. Now I wonder how she ever learned to walk, because I don’t remember ever having put her down. Last month she graduated from the University of Kentucky at the top of her class while working full time and raising two children, one of whom is a special needs child. Today I thought it appropriate to honor her on her birthday.

When I was on the road with IBM early in my career, I was aboard a flight to New York one morning in May when I was inspired to write a song about her. As the plane lifted off from Bluegrass field, I noticed puffs of clouds that appeared to be hanging on the greenery below, contrasted with the azure blue of the sky and these are the words I wrote. It’s sung as a slow Irish lullaby.

Oh the soft cloudy vapor that hangs on the heather
And blends with the bonnie blue skies
Are so pretty and fair – so crystal and clear
Like the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes

Many are the miles her magical smiles
Have carried my heart by and by
And I’d crawl everyone – all over again
Just to gaze in those beautiful eyes

When I am gone to the stones and the sun
And I’m laying deep down in the rise
You will still hear my song – I’ll be playing along
Through the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes

As I enter heaven – the angels all singin’
“Glory to you goes the prize”
Don’t you know I’ll believe it – I’ll have already seen it
Through the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes

Today we are growing – our happiness flowing
Expanding the binds and the ties
May the world always see – the love within me
Through the blue in Elizabeth’s eyes

I Was There!

This past weekend, Judy and I went to see the move, The Help. I didn’t really think I would enjoy it because I’d heard it was a “chick flick” but went along anyway to enjoy the time with my wife. How wrong I was to find out that this movie was so much more than anything I’d imagined – it was entertaining as well as thought provoking. I had lived through that time period and remember well the “white only” signs of the past and how disrespectfully humiliating people of color were treated. But I never really saw how the better half of our society felt about and treated the people who cooked their food, washed their clothes, and cleaned their houses, and just how superior they felt to them.

Reconnecting with feelings I’d once held about those days, I marveled at how the times have changed and how much better I feel about those changes. But somehow my conscience still haunts me about why it took so long, and whether we are truly all that much better: Whether those who were forced to ride in the back of the bus, and were forbidden to eat in restaurants have forgiven those who trespassed against  them: And, whether those who bullied others have made the acts of contrition necessary to be forgiven well enough to finally forgive themselves.

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