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Daily Archives: April 3, 2012

In response to “Six degrees of separation” . . .

Some nine months ago one of my daughters—the middle one in age, the one that lives, loves, laughs and labors in Northern Virginia, blogged about her work as the designer and producer of a bimonthly magazine for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I made a long-winded comment on her posting, and for nearly a year my comment has languished in the Stygian depths of blog comments.

I thrive on comments for my own blog, as do most bloggers. You can read her posting here, and you’ll have the opportunity to check our my original comment on her post. However, just in case you skip the comments, I will generously post the original comment below for your enjoyment., but please do not skip the original posting. If you skip it you’ll miss the last paragraph, the one in which my daughter gives me a really nice shout-out for assisting the publication. For your convenience I have extracted that paragraph:

I wrote to Ulf and asked if he would be interested in sharing his story with Hearing Loss Magazine readers. With editing and compilation assistance from The King of Texas   (who also moonlights as my father, Hershel M. Dyer) and beautiful photos by Anne K. Haga, Ulf’s story—From Silence to Sound: My Quest to Hear Again—is now in print.

And finally, here is my original comment on her Six Degrees of separation, moved out of the darkness and into the bright light of day—enjoy!

A beautiful magazine, professional in every respect, and I am very pleased to have been part of its creation—a part perhaps no bigger than a mustard seed as your grandmother Hester might say, but still a part of the whole.

Moonlighting as your father? Moonlighting?

Being your father has always been and will always be a full time job. All those years since you stubbornly insisted at birth in presenting the soles of your feet to the world first instead of your head, have been a full time job. I will admit, however, although presented last instead of first, your head was beautifully rounded, and certain features such as the temporarily flat noses that were presented by your siblings at birth were absent in your case. The flat noses were caused by the long slide, of course, and soon rebounded.

My moonlighting since then has consisted of incidental tasks such as making a living to keep food on the table and shoes on everybody’s feet, assisting my country in losing two wars—Korea and Vietnam—working overtime to staunch the flow of illegal narcotics and illegal aliens into the US, detouring harmful plants, animals and vegetables away from our fields, cities and tables and controlling the outflow and inflow of people, vehicles and merchandise entering and exiting the United States..

I had a part-time job just trying to keep up with you, an effort in which I failed miserably. Six degrees of separation? That leaves some 354 degrees of separation between your mastery of so many varied skills and my success in trying to emulate them, so much separation that I officially surrender.

I give up, but I am exhilarated by the fact that you could not have done any of them without me. I take full credit for your creation—okay, half the credit—okay, okay, let’s just say that I suggested to your mother that we should have a second child—I guess one could say that I planted the seed, so to speak. Of course, I only suggested that to her after she announced that she was again in the family way—folks didn’t use the word pregnancy back in those days—they referred to it as being “in the family way.”

Nice work—kudos to you and Barbara for an outstanding publication.

Postscript: I took the liberty of extracting the following paragraph from a recent posting by Barbara, the lady mentioned above. You can find her home page here, and be prepared to begin experiencing hunger pains. She is a talented writer and a chef extraordinaire—oh, and she has really good hair and a marvelous smile.

These are her words:

When I’m not welcoming people to our home in the Washington, D.C., area, or writing this blog, I am deputy executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America. I am also editor-in-chief of Hearing Loss Magazine. I don’t have a hearing loss myself but with one in ten Americans having a hearing loss, I have family and friends who do.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Anatomy of loneliness . . .

At any time I am out and about and anywhere near a Half-price Book store, I park and enter and browse and usually find something I cannot do without—oops, I ended that sentence with a preposition. It should read “. . . something without which I cannot do.” Such was the case recently when I found a copy of McGuffey’s  First Eclectic Reader, a revised edition copyrighted 1907 and 1920 by H. H. Vall—yes, my copy is of the $5 variety, not one of the $1,000-plus revisions. My imagination is not strong enough to speculate on how much an original first issue might be worth.

I paid the princely Kingly price of $5 plus tax for my copy, primarily because its browned pages sheltered a newspaper clipping, torn and tattered and darkened by the years and held together with Scotch tape. The clipping also showed a brief statement labeled Lone Star Steel Company Drops. The statement dates the clipping at sometime during 1949 or 1950—probably in early 1950. The author, Nat Lamb or perhaps Nathan Lamb would now, if still living, be somewhere on the north side of eighty years in longevity. Dallas has more than its fair share of Lambs, both Nat and Nathan, and I could not pin one of them down as to age, gender or occupation.

As an aside, I have heard and seen the term fair share used in conversations and on radio, television and  in print so often that I now cringe when it appears, whether through sight or sound. Enough, I say—enough, enough, ENOUGH!

The complete article follows:

THE PIED TYPER
by
NAT LAMB

Loneliness is a babbling hunch-back soul, lost on the way to tomorrow, groping its way through the misery of unending space, forever looking back . . . seeing nothing.

This is the anatomy of loneliness . . . the deformed bones of its being, the wasted flesh of its twisted body . . . this is the shape of loneliness.

A wispy scent of forgotten fragrance, jerking the mind back to memories of a dead first love . . . the uneasy stirrings of gardenia leaves, discarded, dropping onto the ash heap of a burned out love . . .

Soft murmured phrases, whispering through the corridors of time, breathing the glory of an undying love in days long dead . . . raising the gray and misty ghost of a forgotten romance.

The haunting lilt of music swirling through the night . . . a tune played on a harp with half the strings missing, a melody heard in a dim-lit cafe over wine glasses on a checkered table . . . music of the past, intruding unwanted into the present.

The half-remembered warmth of a caress, mingled with a vision of time-withered flesh, creased and wrinkled with the passage of years . . . the creeping death of marching time. . . the slaughter of youth and the mangled dreams strewn over the years . . .

The crackling pages of a lavender-scented letter, yellow with age . . . faded ink blurred with tears except for a signed name under the words “Yours forever.”

Loneliness is the day after forever . . . the waking moments after a dream . . . memories forgotten until the midnight hour.

Loneliness is the throbbing moan of a half-heard train whistle wandering through the night to nowhere . . . a wild ride on a runaway nightmare with no beginning and no ending . . . the muted throbbing of an aching heart.

It is a compound fracture of the mind . . .a creeping paralysis of the soul . . . a gust of cold wind over the emotions . . . this is the anatomy of loneliness . . .

Pity the poor heart.

Postscript: In my first reading this post I considered it a sophomoric attempt at humor, or perhaps a tongue-in-cheek satirical analysis of loneliness. It reminded me of the time a college professor noted that my writing was somewhat turgid. It that is indeed a fault, I cannot continue claiming that I am sans faults in every respect. I confess my guilt to the accusation of turgidity—in fact, I embrace the fault, if in fact it be a fault.

Just one more serious afterthought: With subsequent readings I realized that the article on loneliness mirrored many of my own thoughts and feelings, and even now after those readings I still find mirrored emotions that parallel the author’s thoughts, and if that means I am sophomoric, or of a satirical bent, so be it.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized