Luck of the Damned

woman by the Rio Grande

Watching the Rio Grande rolling toward the sea

A lot of things are coming into clearer focus these days. What’s important, you might say. A healthy dose of universal truth, accepting that I’m part of something greater than myself and finally relaxing a little bit. I certainly didn’t get this far on my own power, did I? We always think we do, as if we sit around and tell our hearts to beat.

Family melodramas recede into the past. My own are more current but still sideshows. No one knows how to drive this thing, yet the wind is in my face, even while I sleep.

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  • Rita December 5, 2014, 1:39 PM

    I returned to Arkansas for a big (42 people) Thanksgiving, in spite of the dread, and praying for a major snowstorm to prevent my going. It was the first time all 11 cousins were ever together. Luckily the photo was taken at such a distance that we don’t look too bad. Three are obese, three are mentally ill (not sure about if I should be in this slot) and three are seriously in pain, perhaps near death. Who knows. I used to worry but if someone is over forty and still eating crap, what can you do?

    It would have been a lot more interesting but Mom (now the family matriarch) forbade any discussion of politics or religion. Oldest Cousin did call younger wealthy cousin a JAP (she married a Jew, thank God), after she paid for the food and a lot of the rooms, but he is already mostly shunned for outrageous behavior two years ago at our uncle’s funeral, where he completely commandeered it at the end and told off-color jokes.

    Myself, I worked 5 jigsaw puzzles with the 20-somethings and had a pretty good time. I do not expect to see any of them again until the next funeral, and I have a history of ignoring the whole family, for the most part, but still they seem to love me.

    • JHF December 5, 2014, 6:48 PM

      Good Lord, Rita! Do you write about this stuff? Besides here, I mean. Oh man. After reading that, my ribs feel a little sore. It’s probably the lasso.

      • Rita December 5, 2014, 9:43 PM

        I thought you should hear why this particular reader of The Helen Chronicles feels loosely related to you (distant cousin?), in case you were feeling abnormal. Your stories sound so familiar. Visions of Wall-E.

        They are nearly all Babtist Republicans and mostly work for oil companies or doctors. I wonder if I was switched at birth.

  • Bob December 5, 2014, 1:49 PM

    This, John, is why I love your books. Very profound.

    • JHF December 5, 2014, 6:49 PM

      Thanks! Let’s hope I write a whole lot more.

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