Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My butterfly

My Butterfly
By William H. White, Jr.
Schmetterling, papillon, farfalla, borboleta, mariposa, butterfly - no matter what language you choose it is the name of one of the most beautiful and delicate creatures on earth. She captivates even the hardest of hearts and eases the stoniest of stares. This fragile creature brings joy to every eye that lights upon it, and adds color to the most barren of landscapes. She is coveted for her beauty, and revered the brightness she brings to our lives. She can be seen everywhere, but is hard to capture. And when captured her beauty is lessened, for part of her mystique is her freedom. Like the flowers she frequents, she is more lustrous when left to the wild. She can be held, but is lovelier when she is free. She is better beheld from afar while flitting through the sunlit fields in the summer’s breezes. If something must be chased or hunted then it must be captured or killed. If she comes to you on her own then her beauty is yours to freely enjoy. If she chooses, she may honor one with her soft touch and lightness of presence, but to try and cage her is an affront to her beauty. She is not to be caged. She is to be shared, by all, enjoyed by all, loved by all, and seen by all.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The view from my desk

The View from My Desk
By William H. White, Jr.

On my computer this collection of my thoughts and ramblings is in a folder called “ The View from My Desk.” While you may think that my desk is near a window nothing, in fact, could be further from the truth. My desk sits in the corner of my living room and the only view from there is a beige wall. So if you are sitting where I am now there is no view. Oh, you can see the TV from here, but that is about all. No view of outside, but there is plenty to see from here. On this wall there reside many memories.
There is a drawing of a waterfowl of some sort with a frog hanging out of it beak. The frog is grasping the throat of the bird trying to keep from getting swallowed. The caption under it reads, “ Never give up.” I remember showing it to a roommate in college and he laughed at it for almost an hour wondering out loud who if the bird would pass out first or would the frog loose his grip. Close by is a computer printout of Noah’s ark and two snails, there is a quote under the picture by C.H. Spurgeon, “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” There is also a drawing I made of my truck the way I wish it looked.
On a shelf above my head there are two bird nests. I have no idea what kind they are, but I have had them since I was a kid. I found both if them in my grandparent’s yard many, many years ago. I can remember the day I found each of them. Both times I was cutting their grass. They had a huge yard, and I got to use the riding mower when I cut it. Gran died a long time ago but Mema is still alive. She sold the old house Gran built and now lives with my aunt and uncle. I have so many memories of that house.
There is a reproduction of an old RC bottle on that shelf too. I got it when the Shelby Star had a contest where you had to go into downtown stores and try to find a stuffed pig. I went with a friend, Jenifer Perrell, and we found the pig two different times. The first time we got a gift certificate and went out to eat on it, the second time we got the RC bottle. I remember it rained both times as we walked around town.
The best things in my view are the pictures. There is a picture of Angela, a good friend who helped me through one of the worst periods of my life. I have never met her in person since she lives in Oregon, but I cherish her friendship as if she lived next door. There is a picture of a group of teenagers standing under a Southwest airline sign. It is my graduating class. It was a small class; there were only seven of us. I was the only guy. We were just getting to the airport to board a plane for California. That was a great trip. I miss those girls. There is a picture of a young lady I chat with occasionally. Her name is Emily, she lives in New Zealand. She is like a daughter to me. There are pictures of a good friend of mine and two of his children. I haven’t seen him in years. There are pictures of both of my sisters children. I have only seen my nieces and nephews once. I would love to be able to see them more, but they love in different states. There is a picture of my family at my youngest sisters wedding. It is the last picture we took as a family. It is at least 8 years old.
Then there are my favorite things to see - the pictures of my children. The oldest two are pictures of my son. In the first he is with my parents dog, Max. In the second he and I are on my Dads tractor. I remember that day well. It was close to Christmas and it was cold. Jared is all bundled up I am not. I was freezing to death. My dad was going to ride him around, but Jared wouldn’t have it. He wanted me to drive. I asked for someone to bring my jacket, but no one ever did. I was glad to get off then, now however, I would ride until I fell off frozen solid. There is a picture of Jared all dressed in camouflage and a sheriff’s badge. He has the biggest grin on his face. He was so proud of that outfit. Next to that are he and his sister, Emily. They look so sweet. Then there is the masterpiece. Right in the middle of them all is a picture of all three of my children - Jared, Emily, and Allison. They are all dressed up in Christmas clothes. I want to reach into the picture and squeeze them every time I see the picture.
There may not be a beautiful mountain scene outside my window. But with all the memories around me - I kinda like the view from here.


By William H. White, Jr.

Do you remember your first kiss? Not kissing your sister’s friend on a dare, but the first truly romantic kiss you ever experienced. That moment when your eyes met hers and you know something great was about to take place. Your heart fluttered. Your mind raced. You thought, “ What if I do it wrong?” or “ What if she doesn’t like it?” so many thoughts. Do you remember the anticipation coupled with fear? You were totally focused on kissing your love.
There was the moment that your lips were so close you could feel her warmth. You could feel her sweet breath on your face. Your noses touched and then wonder of wonders, your lips met. The sweet taste of her lips filled you throughout. Birds ceased to sing. Time stood still. Your heart beat so loudly that you were sure everyone in two miles would hear it.
And then, all too soon, your lips parted. Your breath came in short gasps. Your eyes still locked on hers; you sat silently for a few seconds. Then that word escaped your lips - words spoken the world over in a multitude of languages after every first kiss - “ Wow”. You could think of nothing else to say. Wow summed up the whole of your feelings.
From where I sit there is a kind of sadness associated with that first kiss - something that I will never experience again. First kisses, first love, first many things have all been passed, and they leave behind a longing for the time before they were discovered, yet with the longing is a gladness for having discovered those firsts. The sadness is tempered with pride of accomplishments.
For me many firsts are behind me. I have owned my first car. I have flown in my first plane – both a small prop and a large jet. I have had my first kiss. I have gone on my first date. I have known the ecstasy of the first time I slept with a woman. I have seen the birth of my first child. I have experienced the first time he called me, ”Daddy”. I have seen the first death of a friend. I have had my first drink. I have smoked my first cigar. I have felt the devastation of my first divorce. I have known many firsts already.
Yet, I don’t feel that I am finished with my firsts. Hopefully, before too much longer, go on a first date with someone new. I will own my first home. I will hear myself called, “Grandpa” for the first time – but not any time soon on that. I will have my first new truck. I will make my first large sum of money. I will visit my first foreign country. (That fifteen minutes in a van in Mexico doesn’t really count since I never got out.) There are many firsts yet to experience.
While it is true that I cannot go back and re-experience all the firsts in my life. I have so many more to look forward too. So with the sadness of things past comes the excitement of things ahead. As someone said, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why I Like Books

Why I like Books
By William H. White, Jr.

I love to read. Not just staring at the cereal box in the mornings or a perusal of the morning funnies, but to read. I love to digest books. Any kind of book - classical literature, murder mysteries, biographies, histories – I love them all. Not tawdry novels that require no thought or imagination to go through, but a book that make you think, make you imagine, make you learn, and sometimes make you grab the your trusty dictionary to find out what the words mean.
I realize that instant information is at our command with the Internet, but there is not substitute for the solid feel of a well-made book. The smell of the leather, the feel of the onion skin pages, the weight of the volume in your hand all combine to make the reading an experience. There is nothing to compare with its presence. No computer screen will ever diminish their value.
Throughout history books have been banned, burned, and buried, yet they still remain as a testament to others who share my love of them. They contain knowledge and that knowledge is power. For centuries despotic rulers have attempted to maintain command by keeping their subjects ignorant and needy. Religious fanatics have invented religions by banning Bibles and other books from their parishioners. Books have a power that is feared by the unjust rulers of the world. Hitler burned millions of copies of volumes, some priceless and irreplaceable. His thirst for power was fueled by the ignorance of his followers.
Since time began men have chronicled events and stories. From cave drawings to the elaborate printing process used today, books have been around. They exist as carvings, tablets, scrolls, and bound volumes. They show us our development as a society. They immortalize our heroes and villains, our best and our worst, our triumphs and tragedies.
Movies can show you a story, but a book makes you a part of the adventure. I have seen movies about Jimmy Doolittle’s raid against Japan during World War II, but through books I have flown with him. I have smelled the fuel, felt the shaking of the airframe, heard the drone of the engines, and tasted the fear of those brave men as they flew against their enemy.
I have sailed with the oceans in search of treasure with pirates, flown to Paris with Charles Lindbergh, felt Hester Prynnes humiliation as she wore the scarlet letter, and stepped on the moon with the astronauts. I have charted new frontiers across the west, searched for Moby Dick with Captain Ahab fought alongside Audie Murphy, and stood shoulder to shoulder with Wyatt Eyrp. I have woven clothes with Silas Marner, felt the weight of the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner, and spied on our countries enemies with Jack Ryan. All this without ever leaving my chair. My earliest memories of books are of solving mysteries with the Hardy boys and Encyclopedia Brown. My childhood held many unpleasant experiences and trials. Yet, no matter how bad things got, I could always retreat to my books and regain control of things. I could sail off in command of the Pacific Fleet to fight against Japan. Or, I could strap into the cockpit of a P-51 Mustang and take flight against the ME-109’s of the German Lufftwaffe in the struggle for freedom. I have donned my armor, mounted my trusted steed, slain the dragon and rescued the beautiful damsel in distress. I have climbed the beanstalk with Jack and stolen the golden goose. Books gave me freedom to escape the unpleasant realities of my life and go anywhere I wanted to be
There is no greater door to the unknown than the one opened by a book. Within the confines of its pages there are no boundaries and no limitations other than those of the readers imagination. Inside those pages the reader can experience the mind of the writer. He can insert himself as an observer or as the hero in a way that cannot be duplicated by television or film.
To me the library has always been greater than Fort Knox. Full of unlimited wealth and value. More valuable than gold, for with the knowledge contained in a book I can fill many vaults of great size.
Unlike computers, books are totally portable. They don’t require charging or telephone lines. They don’t interfere with electronic equipment, so they can be taken anywhere you want to go. Some are small enough to carry in a pocket. They aren’t too adversely affected by being dropped or having things spilled on them, and you don’t have to have years of training to operate one. Even better yet, they never crash or get viruses, you never have to upgrade them, they can interface with anyone, and they are never obsolete.
When I was young my father brought home a set of 11th edition Encyclopedia Brittianica’s. They are large beautifully leather bound masterpieces. They feel important. Holding one in your hand is like wielding Excalibur. Holding something precious in your hand that cannot be replaced. The articles contained in them are fascinating. Most of the information is so out of date it is amusing, but they are rich in information and history.
In my mind no computer, PDA, or other electronic device will ever replace the old dog- eared, well read book. Poetry can be read on a computer and even by a computer, but there is no substitute for holding the Sonnets from the Portuguese in your hand and reading the pages. Touching the paper. Smelling the musty aroma of time. No computer can simulate that.
I love books. They offer unlimited travel, unconditional love, irreplaceable knowledge, and unending adventure. They cannot be expunged from existence. They will continue with us as long as man exists. So, if you will excuse me, I am going to go level my couch with my laptop.

God Answers Prayer

A poem a good friend gave me many years ago. I don’t know who wrote it but I like it.

God Answers Prayers

I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know God answers prayer.
I know that he has given his word
That tells our prayers are always heard,
And will be answered soon or late,
And so I pray and calmly wait

I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought,
But leave my prayer with him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that he will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest.

Old Songs

Give me an Old Song Anyday
By William H. White, Jr.

My mom has always told me that I was born forty years too late. You see, I love old music. The older the better. Classical, big bands, swing, blues whatever it is I love the old stuff better. They contain such beauty and power that they cannot be replaced. The passion of these old songs ignites my soul. There is a simple purity to them that transcends time and place. There is nothing quite like hearing an old torch song and knowing the feeling behind the lyrics.
Today’s singers have no soul for the most part. They only sing for the money with very few exceptions. While I have nothing against money I feel that we have lost a connection to our feeling in today’s music. No new song has the emotion of Etta James singing At Last in her soulful voice, or Louis Armstrong belting out What a Wonderful World in his gravely tones. No pop or rock group of today can come near the meaning of those songs.
We recently lost one of the great singers of all time when Ray Charles died. He wrote and sang songs with depth and beauty. When he sang Georgia tears came to my eyes and time stopped. Born to Loose has lyrics to melt a heart of stone. The combination of his voice and playing will never be seen or heard again.
When I was a kid there was a radio station, WAMB, that only played music from the 30's and 40’s. My radio was locked on that signal. I learned songs like Am I Blue, The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, and Someone to Watch Over Me. My mother would just laugh and tell me I was too old too young. When I began to drive, my first car only had an AM radio, but that was fine because I only listened to one station. My friends would get into my car and make fun of my music, but I didn’t care. I was enthralled with the songs played over the one speaker in the dash.
My tape collection consisted of the Mills Brothers, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, and other great old singers. I took a lot of kidding about that too. I learned that too many people had no appreciation for good music. Songs with words that made sense and could be understood. Soulful, sultry deliveries that were and still are unmatched by modern singers. Today all some people know of this great old music is through movies like Sleepless in Seattle that used Jimmy Durante and others as the soundtrack.
Not all the old singers had great voices, but their delivery and timing made them more than their abilities. No one will ever say that Jimmy Durante had a great voice but when he belted out a tune it was intoxicating. He could phrase a song perfectly as could Bing Crosby, Satchmo and many others. The meanings of the song were made clear and have endured the test of time.
There are only a few remaining singers who can equal the old ones. Willie Nelson can still hold the standard. When he is gone it will be hard to find another. Hopefully there will be someone to fill the void. Someone who loves good music more than the almighty dollar.

Till you Love me too

I wrote this song round 15 years ago. There was a third verse to it but time has erased it. Perhaps one day I will remember it and be able to share it as well.

Till you love me too
By William H. White, Jr.

When I look into your eyes I can see the brightest star and when I hear your voice I know the angel that you are and when I touch your hand, how I want to stay with you and tell you all these things until you love me too

Oh I don’t have a lot to offer. Just my heart, my love I give. And I promise I will be yours fro as long as I live. For I would give you anything that I have oh yes its true For to me its not worth anything. Until you love me too

Your fair face possesses all the beauty of a rose that grows out in the garden where summers breezes blows Just stay and let me tell you of all you mean to me. Sweet words of love I’ll whisper. Please give your love to me.

Morning reflections

Morning Reflections
By William H. White, Jr.

I grew up in the country. My favorite time of day there is early morning. It is a time of quiet and reflection few will ever know outside of the fields and streams of my home. I remember well the springtime mornings as I went about my chores.
Early morning is so quiet that you can hear the breath of sleeping animals, the distant murmuring of the stream, and the darkness of night slowly giving way to the brilliance of day.
Slowly towards the east the hills begin to take shape out of the dark. Orange fingers outline them and begin to push back the gloom of night. The stars begin to vanish as the horizon turns a light pink, then orange, then purple. The palate of sunrise brings a beauty and expectancy to the new day. Then almost imperceptibly the black canvas is painted blue as the yellow orb of the sun makes it first appearance.
In the distance roosters crow, cattle begin to low, calves begin to suckle, and horses stamp the ground shaking off sleep. From somewhere the bleating of sheep wafts across the scene. Dewdrops drip softly from newly blossomed rosebuds and fall noiselessly the ground. Morning glories stretch and open to take in the warmth of the suns first rays.
Overhead, a sparrow takes to wing in search of food for her young. In the distance a red-tailed hawk climbs into the sky looking for his breakfast. A profusion of color bursts to the skies as blue jays, cardinals, mocking birds and many more join in the hunt. On the power lines the first gathering of crows begins to form.
Occasionally, out in the field, deer can be seen. The mighty buck standing proud with his antlers on display for the world to see, while the quiet doe begins to eat. Soon the small fawns will join the family and perpetuate the herd.
Dogs and cats lazily make their way to eat. They stretch and yawn and walk stiffly to their bowls to wait for food. Small brightly colored lizards dart about to find a good place to sun themselves and hopefully be safe from predators.
As the mist burns away and leaves the damp grass glistening lime stalks of diamonds reflected in the new light of day, I stand in silence drinking in the beauty of the morning. Yet all this beauty pales in comparison to the beauty of your smile.

I am sick of love

I am Sick of Love
By William H. White, Jr.

In the Song of Solomon, Solomon writes, “ I am sick of love.” While I understand his point in the passage. I can say that I too am sick of love. I am sick of not having it. I am sick of wanting it. I am sick of needing it. I am sick of love. My life is filled with the emptiness of loneliness and not joy. I am truly sick of love.
With my whole heart I pine for it. I yearn for a soft touch to comfort my torments. I reach each morning for warmth in my bed but my hand finds only finds cold nothingness. My heart has a void that needs to be filled, a great chasm waiting to be bridged. I am not whole. I am less than half. I am sick of love.
At each turn I see others experiencing love. Holding one another. Touching softly the others hand. Yet I sit alone. All alone in a crowded room; an orphan from intimacy. Unknown and uncared for, needy yet having no relief, I cry in the darkness with no comfort. I am sick of love.
My soul sings songs that no ear will ever hear, no heart will ever receive, and no joy will ever bring. My solitude of suffering brings me nearer to the brink of destruction. I have no desire, no motivation, and no drive. I have only myself. My only company is my thought. My imagining love brings only a larger emptiness. My dreaming of comfort only brings greater pain. My longing brings only greater longing. I am sick of love.
I watch my dreams fade and disappear. I see no refuge for my heart. I find no salve for my wounds. I find only emptiness, darkness, unfulfilled longings, and shattered hopes. My every waking thought is of wanting someone to share my life with. My every dream is that someone is there. The sunrise brings only shallow longings – broken dreams. I am sick of love.
My soul yearns for release. My heart yearns for love. My mind yearns for intimacy. My longings unfulfilled, I continue my life. One dreary, empty, lonely day after another. I am sick of love.

Nothing but Junk

Nothing but Junk
By William H. White, Jr.

Sometimes in the course of conversation we hear something that stays with us. Just one little bit of wisdom that hangs in front of our minds. Something of rare substance and value that we can learn from and better ourselves. When these jewels are cast before us we can either ignore them or learn from them. Such a pearl was cast before me today.
While I was out driving back from a job I took a wrong turn and wound up in front of an old mans house that I had done some work for a couple of years ago. He was old then. In fact he had told me that if I waited till he died his sons would probably have more work for me. So, when I got to the house today I noted the cleaned front porch and front yard, and I assumed that he had passed away. I decided to go and leave a business card on the front door just to see if I got a call back from it. I was shocked to hear the old man tell me to come in when I got to the door.
We sat and talked for about two hours. You see I love elderly people. They have seen so much and have so much wisdom to share if we will only listen. He told me all about being in World War II and landing on the beaches in France while under enemy fire. We talked about his Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He spoke about the evils of alcohol – how that on leave the other soldiers got drunk, and since he didn’t he was responsible to get them back to base. He talked about going from a buck sergeant to company commander because all the higher ranked soldiers were killed in action. Then he began to talk about his wife. She had died many years before. He talked about what a wonderful woman she was and how she kept him straight. Tears formed in his eyes as he talked. I could tell that he loved her and missed her dearly.
Since he is 92 years old I paid careful attention to every word he said. I hung on his words as he expounded her virtues to me, and how to make a marriage last. Then he said that something that hit me like a lightning bolt. He paused in his discourse and looked around his house and said, “Without a woman a man ain’t nothing. Without a woman house ain’t nothing but a pile of junk.” I have heard many men talk about the virtues of having a woman present, but never had I heard it put so poignantly.
I have written essays on the joys of knowing a truly beautiful woman and on the sorrows of living a life alone, but never in my ramblings have I come close to being as on the mark as he was. He sat there a man who had seen the world in its worst time, came home to America to see this country at it best time, seen, and don’t things that I can only imagine. And yet, in the final analysis the greatest thing he had experienced was the love of a beautiful woman. Since I live alone it was particularly succinct.
I thought of all the things I had accumulated. My truck, tools, furniture, electronics, and books. And yet I agreed with him that it was all nothing with no one to share it with. An empty house, an empty bed, an empty heart. All nothing, worthless, and fleeting without love to make it a home.
“Without a woman a man ain’t nothing. Without a woman house ain’t nothing but a pile of junk.”

A Tribute to beauty

A Tribute to Beauty
By William H. White, Jr.

What can be said about a beautiful woman that has not been said before? Mountains of poetry have been written about her. Wars have been fought over her. She has been immortalized in paintings and sculptures since time began. She has captured the imagination of man since the Garden of Eden. Yet in all those years and writings the true essence of a beautiful woman has never been captured
The affect that a beautiful woman can have on a man is a strange and wondrous thing. She can push him to places he never knew existed or take him to where he wished he had never been. She can take an otherwise intelligent and eloquent man and turn him into a jabbering idiot. In short she can make him or break him.
The more of these angelic creatures I meet the more I am aware of the frailty of manhood. Woman may be considered to be the weaker sex, but that is an entirely incorrect assumption. Women, far from being weaker, are able to inspire or destroy those of us who are men. We have little or no defense from her wiles. Our willingness as men to be blinded by these fair beings leads us to heights of previously unknown ecstasy, or blundering into one difficulty to another. The trappings of external beauty are, by far, the most treacherous waters for a man to tread. After all the years since the Garden of Eden you would think that we males would have learned out lesson, but we haven’t.
In the Bible, King David was brought to ruin by Bathsheeba. Samson was defeated by Delilah’s treachery. All of Greek mythology is filled with beautiful sirens, mermaids, princesses and goddesses causing the ruination of the men around them. Yet still we fall again and again for these angels on earth. But is external attraction the defining point of beauty, or is true beauty something more than that?
Someone said that, “Beauty is only skin deep”, and however true that is – it is the skin that first causes mans pulse to race and mind to fog. But if we go past the surface, if we delve into what makes a woman truly beautiful, what will we find? Too many physically beautiful women are shallow and only wanting to use their looks for their benefit. However, a truly beautiful woman has no real idea as to her beauty. She is more than the sum of her looks. Not a trophy to be held up and admired, but a woman of true strength and intellect. She can hold he own in any situation. She doesn’t crumble in the face of adversity.
She may not be the strongest of creatures physically, but underneath that physical frailty is a person of substance. She has fears and shortcomings, but she never stops trying to overcome them. Her goal in life is not to have things, but to be something, to make something of herself beyond her looks. She can guide those around her and make decisions correctly. She may allow herself to be held by a man, but never held back by him. She may submit to him, but she never stops being herself because if him.
To that lucky man she is everything. She is the reason he exists. His job is only a means to support her and show her his affection. She makes him better at every thing he does and supports him even when he falls. She is not a crutch for him to lean on, but a springboard for action.
A truly beautiful woman can cause a man to achieve things he never thought possible. He never ceases to be proud of her. She may falter and fail at times, but she never quits going forward. She gives him reason to support her and never leave her. She is the world in a wondrous wrapper, the best of all things and the worst of some things. She doesn’t need a man to carry her, but her world is better for it when a man correctly treats her and loves her.
In our world of superficial displays and selfish personalities we have lost sight of what true beauty is. Physical attraction fades with age. Looks leave and only the true essence of a person remains, and a truly beautiful woman still is beautiful. She stands the test of time and surpasses all others. In the Bible her price is said to be, “far above rubies.” She is that priceless pearl that makes the world a better place to live. Nothing can detract from her beauty. Her lasting impact on her surrounds makes even those who don’t know her to love her.
These truly beautiful women are few and far between in modern times, but if we search hard enough, and in the right places, she can still be found. And when she is discovered she is the most precious discovery ever. They say that behind every successful man there is a woman, but I say that in front of every truly happy man there is a truly beautiful woman.

A Little People Watching

By William H. White, Jr.

People are odd creatures. Coming from a odd creature that is saying a lot. I am constantly amused at the actions of people who would consider themselves to be “ normal” human beings. I understand that we all have our own idiosyncrasies and oddities, but lets face it some folks are just way out there. I love to go to the mall, gas station, park, or anywhere else people are gathered and watch them. I love laundry mats. Aside from leaving with clean clothes I get to watch people stripped bare and in the raw. Lets face it no one can be very pretentious while folding their underwear in public. Libraries aren’t too bad, but when you can’t talk above a whisper you really can’t be yourself.
Some people are very private and it shows in their actions and their dress. Others have no inhibitions whatsoever and their actions and clothes yell it at the top of their lungs. It is always interesting to see these two personalities come together. There at some public place will be a woman dressed from her chin to her toes, her arms close by her side, her face turned down, and her voice very low - standing in line next to a teenage girl who is wearing about the same amount of material that is used in most handkerchiefs, flailing her arms around, and talking on her cell phone loud enough that deaf people are complaining about the noise. Yet to themselves their behavior is perfectly normal and the other person is odd.
Some folks want nothing more than to make a statement. They have enough metal hanging out of their face to make it dangerous for them to get near moving objects, while others wear no jewelry at all. Both make a statement about themselves. One may be a statement of rebellion and self will, while the other may be a statement of religious faith and dedication.
The thing I love to watch the most is a couple. You can sit and watch a couple and tell what their feelings are toward one another. Recently, while I was stopped at a red light, I noticed in the car next to me a young couple. The man was in the passenger’s seat. He wore dark sunglasses, had no expression on his face, and only turned his head to the right or looked straight ahead. The woman, who was driving, had her arms crossed, and spent the entire time that I observed them looking out the driver’s side window. No words were spoken by either, but yet by their body language I could tell that some very heated words had been spoken a short time earlier. I can’t imagine that the rest of the ride was very pleasant for either unless someone issued an apology. I was glad I was only next to them and not riding with them.
On the flip side of the coin, I was driving down the highway no too long ago and an elderly couple passed me in a small car. Again the woman was driving and the man was in the passenger’s seat. This time, however, the couple had the sweetest smile on their faces and was holding hands. I only saw them for a brief second, but it made me wish I could have a relationship like theirs. I have already had one of the “stare out the opposite side of the car” relationships.
I enjoy watching young lovers stand and talk. They lean towards each other. They hold each other’s gaze intently. They hang on every word. They would stand in the rain for hours just to look at each other. After a couple has been together for a while they tend to take each others presence for granted. They hardly speak at all let alone savor every word.
The world is full of interesting things to see. All you have to do is look.

How to Procrastinate

How to Procrastinate
A last minute guide to Successful Dawdling
By William H. White, Jr.

Procrastination is a wonderful thing – if done properly done. The rank amateur thinks he can procrastinate, but when it comes down to it, how good is he really? Can he bear the strain and stress of knowing that a deadline is fast approaching and he has nothing done? And, speaking of doing nothing, what does he do when he is procrastinating? Has he really learned to master the art of staying busy and still not accomplishing his task? My quick guide will get you started on your way to being a true last minute person. You too can sit and say, “ I’ll get to it in a minute.” like a professional. All you need to do is apply yourself at not applying yourself.
If you study history, procrastinators have made many great achievements. These brave men and women who waited until it was almost too late to even start the job have left an indelible mark on our world. Take for example, the great Napoleon. Do you really think he planned and planned for success? No, he just kept waiting until he had to go to Waterloo, and we all know how that great victory turned out. (OK, so I am not real sure about that fact, but I didn’t have time to research and find accurate examples, and I could also probably cite countless examples, but like a true procrastinator, I have waited too late to look up these accomplishments too. You will have to take my work for it, my fellow put-it-offer. Or you can look it up yourself……..someday.)
While you are waiting to get started you cannot just sit around and stare at a wall. No, my friend if you are to be a truly great procrastinator you must apply yourself to the art. No mere sitting and lazing about cannot be allowed. (Although, sometimes a nap is needed to prepare yourself for the grueling task ahead.) You must rest well, young warrior, if you are to be truly great. You must stock up, whenever you have the time, on time expending quests, ever careful not to be distracted and tempted to do the job you are putting off.
After you have rested, you must eat. Food is a staple of procrastination. I’m not talking about a quick sandwich here. If you are to be a great procrastinator you must put the word “quick” out of your mind. Remember that the object here is to avoid the responsibility you have been saddled within the most time consuming manner possible. Many courses – perhaps a turkey dinner – that might keep you really busy. The problem with this approach is that it leaves you with more work to do and more things to put off. Things such as washing the dishes, storing the leftovers, cleaning the stove, and letting out the waist of your trousers; these all get in the way of your procrastination. They will cloud your mind and sway you from your goal. To avoid this, you must go to a restaurant. No mere fast food (yet another word that needs to be stricken from your vocabulary – “fast”) is going to take up the needed time. What you are going to need is a meal at a sit down restaurant. You should preferable choose one that requires a reservation. No, do not call for the reservations, just show up and demand a table. This will be perfect for your schedule
Once you return home from this ordeal you will probably require another nap. Never be ashamed to take a nap or two or five while you are procrastinating. This is hard work, and you have to be physically prepared to do it. When you have awakened, you may what to go and sit on the couch and watch television. You must not do this. You must keep looking like you are doing something. This retards the guilt and paranoia that accompanies the defeat of most beginners. You must delude the part of your brain that wants to pull you to the task at hand into thinking it is busy. A mere night of “must see TV” will not accomplish this. Get up and go outside. There is a whole world waiting to keep you busy.
Just look at that filthy vehicle you are driving. It needs attention. It needs to be washed, waxed, vacuumed, shampooed, painted, re-chromed, and polished. The oil needs to be changed, and the spark plugs need to be re-gapped, the entire engine may need to be rebuilt, but I only suggest the more time consuming projects for those extra- short deadlines. During those, you will need something extra to keep that pesky conscience of yours occupied. I have found that during these short deadlines, when the boss, teacher, or parent of yours is breathing down your neck, it is comforting to look them right in the eye and say, “I will get to the project just as soon as I have put the transmission back together and have it in the truck.” Surely none can argue with such a statement. Be sure when everything is back in running order that you go immediately inside and take a nap.
While just sitting and watching the new fall television schedule, or even worse – reruns is undesirable in a procrastinator, a good movie is not. A trip to the theater is a great thing. It gets you away from the project and puts you in a dark room and in a comfortable chair, which is a great place to catch a few winks – after all, standing in that ticket line took a lot out of you. If you cannot make it to a theater there is always the video rental store. They are a great way to spend a few hours looking for the perfect movie. Maybe you will get a new release that you have been dying to see, or perhaps you will select an old classic. Either way, you are sure to, “go home happy”. Just keep in mind that when you get home you will need time for a catnap before your watch your flick. You cannot be falling asleep during the main feature.
After the movie (and a nap of course), get on your computer. You can while away countless hours surfing the net, chatting with friends, or playing games. Probably one of the greatest procrastinator’s tools ever invented is computer solitaire. It is one of those, “I’ll just play until I win” games – and when you win you thing, “ well that was easy, I’m sure I’ll win again” and the whole process begins again. Of course don’t feel limited to just that. Feel free to pick your favorite game and play. I personally find that Command and Conquer provides hours of mindless distraction, and has the added benefit of honing your leadership skills. These skills will be invaluable should your home ever be over run by tiny men in bright red uniforms wielding such instruments of death and destruction as the Tesla coil.
Now that you have procrastinated, I mean really procrastinated, (I am talking about straightening the wires on your stereo, making sure all the clocks in your house are synchronized, and all the buttons on yours shirts in your closet are facing the same direction) you may have to actually have to begin your assignment, job, or project. The sheer rush of adrenaline and creativity is what makes all of the work of putting it off a pure joy. The high excitement and fear pushes you to do great things. You can achieve anything if you can just figure out what you can do in the thirty-seven minutes you have left. I would help you get started on that, but I have put of too many things too long, and now I have to be running. I am starting to feel the adrenaline myself.

No Greater Beauty

No Greater Beauty
By William H. White, Jr.

I recently as I drove in the mountains, I was treated to a smorgasbord of extraordinary beauty. My soul was stirred to witness the wonder of creation around me. As the road wound it way beside a river I glimpsed deer feeding with their young. I spotted a black bear coming to drink. Waterfalls on both sides of the road took my breath away as they roared and sprayed.
People dotted the waterway too. I saw men standing the water dressed in hip waders trying to catch the elusive trout that lived there. Nearby, small animals did the same. The raccoons were having more luck. Some people just sat beside the waters and rested, while others took shelter from the heat in the cool waters.
Delicate flowers hung from branches and sprouted from fields, giving color and depth to their surroundings. Once, a hawk dove down to a still pool, dipped into the water, and flew off with a small fish in his talons. The beauty and grace of his movements was inspiring. He came in without a sound and left with only the rippling of the water and flapping of his wings.
At places great boulders defied the water and stood proudly in their midst. Great sprays of white foam swirled around the dark stones as the water charged down its course. In quieter places the water gave way to delicate reeds and vegetation. The tall stalks swayed slowly and rhythmically as the waters rippled past. Here in these placid waters waterfowl rested and fed.
As darkness fell, the sky changed from blue to a spectrum of vivid colors such as can only be seen in the mountains at dusk. The hills were cloaked in brilliant hues of red, orange, yellow, and pink. The kaleidoscopic effect made it hard to concentrate on the road ahead.
As I swung the overloaded truck around the many curves (I doubt that there was a place three feet long that was straight) I drank in the beauty surrounding me. My heart yearned to stop and partake of the surroundings. My feet wanted to wade into the cooling waters, but time pushed me onward. Still I wanted to linger. The beauty tempted me to stay my journey and delay my arrival.
However, when I returned and laid my weary eyes on you, the beauty the drive faded away in the glow of the perfect beauty of your face. My soul wanted to linger with you. My feet wanted to follow you wherever you went. Time no longer pushed, but yet flew. No beauty on earth can compare to the beauty of you.