Recent Tweets in the eMotion Cafe

Friday, May 20, 2005

Cracked Sidewalk

how do you know it's time
to move beyond that line
we drew together on that cracked
sidewalk in our minds

how do you know it's time
to talk about what's not fine
seeing your footprints clearly
left far beyond that line

do we deny that you
weren't there
do we keep arguing what's fair
and then pretend that neither cares

there beyond that line
that's been crossed too many times
there's just this game that we define
each day to ease our minds
to make this pass as easy time
with rules that evolve
to the sublime
allowing neither to shine

because when left
with what's yours
and what's mine
on seperate sidewalks with no lines
without a hope to hold us true
I can't play this game

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Time of Death

Samuel Clyde passed from ThisPlace to the NextPlace at May 11, 2005 at 9:39pm. He was surrounded by four of us who watched him breathe his last breath. He was listening to Johnny Cash's CD: "My Mother's Hymn Book", as he often loved to do. He passed while listening to "In The Garden," his most favorite hymn.

The words he heard were these:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And he walks with me
And he talks with me
And he tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And he walks with me
And he talks with me
And he tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I'd stay in the garden with Him
'Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

| Johnny Cash | "In the Garden" |

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

While The Rest of the World Sleeps

I have no story to tell today, either.

But, I can tell you that I flew home from Minneapolis today after my nephew's baptism at a Methodist Church on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. I'm not sure that that's all that entertaining or important, unlike today's Mother's Day sermon where the PastorPriestFather compared Desperate Housewives to Ruth in the bible. But, I digress. So, after the service

He's sewing now. The needle and thread are nowhere to be seen.

my brother had a GetTogetherEvent and he totally jacked up the hamburgers on the grill for the whole freakin family.

Question: how do you jack up hamburgers on a freakin gas grill?
Answer: Ask my brother.

He's riding a bike now, but the bikes hanging from the roof of the carport.

So, anyways, I'm trying to help my brother very politely by cutting open the hamburgers and showing him the raw insides that are still mushy and red and cold..but.. he knows better. And besides, I'm from Kansas (he won't admit it in his Diesel jeans and Kenneth Cole shirt, but he's from Kansas, too) and I don't live in a million dollar home in Edina, MN. What do I know?

But, when he thinks I'm not looking, he sneaks in and grabs the second batch of burgers and puts them back on the grill.

He's sleeping again now.

So, later, while everyone is gorging on some chef prepared $200 cake and some CrapAssFakeVanilla Healthy Choice ice cream, one of the guests on his NotWifeButMotherOfHisOnlyChild side of the "party" declares to the table that the hamburgers were "disgusting" and

He's reaching out and holding the hand of someone who isn't there.

everyone agrees that the hamburgers were raw and then I try to make light of the situation and avoid the awkward silence after I looked at her and she said "Oops, I didn't know anyone was listening", so I say "You know, I tried to tell him that they weren't cooked, but men don't like to be told two things: 1. how to cook a hamburger on a grill and 2. how to make love to a woman -because all men were born with those innate skills - much like women are born with ability to suck the life out of a man," but I digress. Ok, so I didn't say the "women were born with the innate ability to suck the life out of a man part", but I thought it. I admit it.

He's twisting the fleece blanket in his hands now.

So, anyways, why exactly do you pay like hundreds of dollars on a cake and then spend 3 dollars on a gallon of vanilla ice cream? I mean, at least get a gallon of RealVanillaHandmade ice cream from the little joint down the street for 10 bucks. I mean, for 7 more dollars, you complete the illusion that you live in a perfect little world and people won't remember that the cops were at your house earlier in the week breaking up a dispute over my 9 month old nephew because the NotWifeButMotherOfHisOnlyChild decided to go out till 4am and party up with some Coke and Weed and GodKnowsWhatElse and then try and breastfeed my nephew because She just lost her other child to the guy who founded your local Best Buy's Geek Squad, her ExHusband, who she talks about ceaselessly as the AssWhoRuinedHerLife because she can't shoulder

He's talking now. He says he's ok and doesn't want any water. And now he's mumbling again and slipping back into InBetween.

any blame for doing drugs cause she's rich and a model and addicts just don't look like that and the rehab was for the family.

Anyways, as soon as I touched down in KC from Minneapolis, I got a phone call. "Hours Left." So, I speed back to the airport, leaving my kids with my Grandparents (first time they've been away from my wife and I for more than an hour or two), race to Southwest Airlines and get my ticket and I'm back in Chicago in only a few hours and a couple hundred dollars. I secretly wish they accepted overpriced white baptism cake and cheap ice cream for payment. It cost the same amount. That's Irony in Economy. Anyways, I digress again...

The girls are back to watch over GrandDad. My short watch is over. I'm not sure that watching a 94 year old man slip out of this world is any kind of "watch", but call it what you will.

And here I am, now, with 3 others sitting in this tiny room, watching GrandDad drift between two worlds and watching him talk to people in both at 2am on a Tuesday while the rest of the world sleeps and life goes on.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The eMotion Cafe has been busy lately. Between trips to Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, and Minneapolis, I've had little time to sip my IS2PWM (Iced Soy 2Pump White Mocha) and reflect on the people that wander in and out of this little joint.

I have come to realize, however, that those little metal chairs with the curved backs that are often found in coffee shops throughout the country are remarkably comfortable, compared to the wood, straight back chairs in this, my favorite, coffee shop. A relatively small and insignificant realization, I realize.

Anyways, today I walked in and ordered my drink after getting the usual "NORM!" response from the baristas, and while waiting I got a head's up from one of them.

Molly, my favorite barista, whispered to me: "Hope..Someones been looking for you. He's been in and out of here several times in the past few weeks. He's always asking for you and if we've seen you lately. We're not quite sure how to -"

She stopped cold and looked over my shoulder and there he was.

As I turned, I knew who it was, instinctively. Warm and welcoming, yet cold and forever distant. My eyes wanted to tear up and my stomach was knotted and yet I was strangely aware of little things like the coldness of the air conditioning vent over my head and the Jeff Buckley song wandering through the background via the eMotion cafe XM feed and the smell of coffee grounds in the planters. My senses were alive, so it had to be him.


"Long time, no see. How are you" I say.

So, it's instinct for me to try to warm up conversations with those that intimidate me. Death intimidates me.

Then, Death gets this sad look on his face and simply whispers "We need to talk. I've been looking for you."

This means one of two things.. as it's been years since we last talked. Death isn't one to make casual visits or engage in small talk just to pass the time. Something tells me he has a full plate most of the time.

So, as my IS2PWM is delivered up, Death wanders over to one of those wood straight back chairs, even though there are several of those plush, maroon wing chairs waiting for a warm body.

Molly, still speechless, handed me my drink and confirmed "That's him"

"No worries," I say to poor Molly, who's obviously shaken and hasn't seen much of him but thinks its best to just stay unknown to him for as long as possible. Some simple reassurance might help, I figure, so I offer up "Moll.. we talk every once in a while.. it's ok. Death isn't the bad guy everyone makes him out to be.. think of him as a tour guide or travel agent who simply arranges your vacations and trips to the Next Place." She's still a little shaken. I'd like to think she's worried about why he's here at all and if it's for me, so I leave her with this: "We, Death and I, have an agreement.. when the time's coming for me or for someone else, if I can help in any way he contacts me. That's all. Everything will be ok."

I guess in the end, that's the Truth. In the end, it always ends. Life goes on with or without you.

What is really remarkable to me is that more people don't Live each day they're given. Death may have arranged the flight, but the plane doesn't take off for hours, days, months, and years for most.

Maybe it's easier to wait for the inevitable. Maybe that's why I like to shop. All I know is that I'm gonna engage everything and everyone until it's my turn to go. I'm not sitting in any airport lobby if I don't have to. And if I do, I want an iPod, Media Player, Laptop, an IS2PWM, and lots of other gadgets to pass the time with. Hey, maybe that is why I like to shop. But, I digress.

So, in that split second while I'm thinking those thoughts, I'm already turned and heading to the table. I sit down and scoot my chair over to face him. Havin his job, he sincerely deserves that kind of respect and attention.

"I'm sorry, but I will be helping someone you know move on, soon," he tells me. "Your wife's GrandDad, he has lived a beautiful and full life. I have sat with him and talked to him and we have shared many stories of So Many Things Long Ago. I want you to know that I'll be taking him somewhere where there are many Others waiting for him. I want you to be able to reassure the Family that all will be ok, that Everything Will Be Ok."

It doesn't matter how many times, we talk. There's something about anything he says that creates this aching, black hole in a Person's stomach. A curse, it must be, to have all of your words spoken bring so much pain to People, regardless of the message you share.

"I understand" is about all could bring myself to say.

Death continued: "GrandDad is InBetween right now. He will be passing, very soon. I want you to know that even when you or The Family is with him, he has Family with him from TheOtherPlace with him, even now. Regardless of where he is, he's asked me to tell you to make sure that The Family knows that he is not Alone."

Perhaps, this explains the conversations he was having last week with empty chairs and him reaching out to hold a hand that wasn't there and the smiles as he looked next to him at an empty couch.

And then Death leaned over and whispered: "He also wanted me to tell you that he is not Afraid."

Now, I just left Chicago and said my "GoodBye" to my wife's GrandDad. This man of 94 years told me of many things over the past 8 years I have known him. GrandDad told me of how he was raised in a simple ranch in rural Kentucky in a home with a dirt floor and two horses and a garden and some hogs. He told me of his Father who was a minister and man of great faith. He even showed me, once, the trail he walked when he went to school, between harvests and winters. There are the bibles from his Father still on his night stand. There are the walls that surround his bed and couch and tv in the simple room he lives in, now, that are covered with pictures of a Long Life. Many of those pictured have passed. His wife passed decades ago. There are the stories of how he worked in a brick factory for a day (which was the best job in town) and passed out because of the heat and realized he'd be best off moving from Kentucky to Chicago to make his life as an Accountant. He built his entire house in Chicago with his wife with hand tools, none of them powered. Those tools sit beneath a layer of dust outside his room, still - some of them on his wall as trophies of Great Things Done in this life.

GrandDad raised my wife, who never knew her BiologicalFather, as his daughter in that very house he built with his own two hands. He was her Father at all those school events where "Parents are Invited". He was a man who hated confrontation and Fighting and was the rock that TheFamily clung to through divorces and deaths and breakups and failures. In all honesty, in eight years of knowing him, I've never heard him yell or get angry or speak an ill-word of anyone. He smiled a lot though and always went to the Grocery store on Tuesdays to shop. He liked one particular brand of Sauerkraut. This I remember after looking for it at several grocery stores, once, willingly and joyfully.

Most of all, he was my wife's rock. And he left her with these words, just hours ago: "You'll always be my little girl".

The words he left me with were simpler. He smiled his Smile and told me I was blessed with two miracles (Esa and Edison, our children and his Great Grandchildren). I told him I had 3 miracles (and I looked at my wife). And he smiled his Smile again, and he simply replied "I think you are 4". He told me to always "be safe". I told him I'd try to take care of them the way he would want. His eyes teared, and I had to pull away before I melted into him.

Yes, Death saw this, too. He's seen every goodbye a millions times over.

Ok. So I have to admit that in the quiet silence between Death and I, at that moment, with that memory in my mind, I was angry for the slightest second. But, then, I tried to think of Death's job. Imagine having to watch every person in this world die. Imagine having to watch every Mother, Father, Son, and Daughter all have to say goodbye to everyone they Love for Eternity. Imagine being at every Passing... forever, watching people leave ThisPlace without wanting to go or not knowing where they were going. One after another after another after another...

"Thank You" is all I could bring myself to say.

Death's eyes aren't cold. They're sad.

He simply stood up and turned to walk away. Then, he stopped, and he walked back to me and said: "You will all pass from ThisPlace to the NextPlace. I won't. This is my existence. Live your life. Love each other. But, more than anything, just know that Everything will be OK."

And with that he was gone. And the silence was gone. And the music crept back into the background and people started appearing.. moving from place to place. And I heard laughter and the sound of the coffee bean grinder. And I smelled the perfume of Sabrina as she walked past with her laptop, on her way to some appointment. And I looked up and saw Lane reading his newspaper and drinking his Double Espresso. And the world started back up again, the same as it was before I walked into the eMotion cafe.

And it hit me. Everything will be ok.

But, the world will need another Rock.