Michael Munas' Journal|
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|Thursday, November 14th, 2013|
|Everything is as it should be
Yes, it is a commercial selling something, but in its depiction of life, there is a message of something greater.
It reminds me of the wonderful string of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents -- of which, only one aunt remains. It reminds me of the times Marie and I would go 'home' to them and how that place is now gone, except in memory.
Of all of the losses and the gains we experience in this immense sea of joy and sadness, everything IS as it should be. And in many inevitable ways, we all will sit down one more and one last time
|Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013|
|The Smell and Texture of Burlap and Walnuts
Whenever I see black walnuts on the ground, it reminds me of when my dad would take us out to his friend Steve's farm. Each year, we would fill several burlap sacks with unhusked nuts and bring them home. Steve contracted ALS as a younger man and I remember feeling dad's overwhelming hurt. He didn't talk about it much but still...
It was love when he fashioned his close friend a wire cigarette holding device so that this dying man could smoke in the weeks before he passed.
|Thursday, September 19th, 2013|
Our pasture is where coal and railroads once ran. Black smoke belched productively from engines but poured delicately from stoves in shops and bars that no longer stand. The cows no nothing of this account but graze here to die for someone's table -- unbothered and curious by our presence. For the Monday midnight shift: Rose Valley #1 will work, Franklin #2 will work, Powhatan #6 will work, Saginaw will not work.
The random treats your dad left in his dinner bucket traveled underground but were lucky enough to see the light in your small hand. I tell you that I love you and the unwritten history we share.
|Friday, September 13th, 2013|
|Tractors and Girls
A few years ago my eldest daughter said, "Dad you like two things -- tractors and girls". While it may not be in that order, it certainly rings true.
|Friday, August 16th, 2013|
|Friday, July 26th, 2013|
This maple tree has a dying vine wrapped into it. We cut the base of the vine because while it would be nice to see both thrive, the vine will eventually bring the tree down and neither will survive.
It seems that in staying young and healthy we must continually let go of stuff in our lives – tangible and otherwise.
|Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013|
|The Lucky Man
There are parts of me, I find in you -- unyielding as they may be, I embrace and shun them knowing there is little sense in trying to change what is.
I look for your weakness but realize that I am only finding myself over and over again as I am overwhelmed by your gentle heart, with an affirmation that there must be some piece of the same in me.
In this steady and unwinding march of breath, I know that I could not not love you, even if I knew why or how.
|Thursday, June 27th, 2013|
|No wonder, I’m strange
Whereupon you give your parents the evil-eye for dressing you in really weird looking clothes.
|Thursday, June 20th, 2013|
|The smoke, it sank into my skin
I was probably in my single-digits when I began to think about my parents being older parents and having those fears that I might lose them before I was ready. Sometimes, in my bed at night, I would fret.
The truth is, I was never ready – few people are – but I survived this loss and even thrived. When I was young, I was so afraid to face a dying face and I wanted to run from it all. Now I know that everything is still there right where it should be, beating away inside the drum of my chest. There is recompense in knowing this, so why look away?
And my parents --I wanted to make them proud of me, and I still do, even through all of my failures.
|Wednesday, June 5th, 2013|
|As I slowly start to toss my collection of Blitz cans
I have ranted about CARB (California Air Resource Board)-Compliant gasoline containers before and in the past few months, I have leaked and spilled more gasoline from the cheap spouts on these cans, and in turn polluted the environment far more than I ever would have with any conventional gasoline container. This is clearly a case of a negative result from a poorly conceived regulation.
Ostensibly, these containers were designed to exchange the gasoline in the can for an equal volume of air in the receiving tank. The vent is no longer a separate opening but is contained within the spout itself. The failure of the system, is that most of these overly-complicated spouts are built so cheaply that they fail to operate properly and require more than two hands to operate in any reasonable manner.
So I recently spent $65 on a 5-gallon Eagle Type II Safety can. This can is a brute and doesn’t have any poorly-engineered CARB-compliant features. These are made in Wellsburg, WV – only a few miles from where I was raised. They are powder-coated galvanized steel and are seamless around the circumference. I haven’t put the new can to the test yet, but I think I’m going to like this one with its heavy-duty flexible metal spout and separate vent.
I also purchased a No-Spill brand plastic 5-gallon can for $33. While this is still pricier than the types you find at the local discount house, it seems well-designed, is CARB-compliant, US made and has a dispensing spout that appears rugged and well-engineered.
So I spent an outlandish $100 dollars for two 5-gallon cans.
Soon I will be testing both of these -- the cats have already been in the lab for hours testing the shipping boxes and I’m waiting for their report before I proceed.
|Friday, May 31st, 2013|
|Friday, May 24th, 2013|
Everything about you in my heart, will be safe there, always.
|Tuesday, May 7th, 2013|
Cinderella let me know that they planned on putting Gema down today because her spinal stenosis has progressed so dramatically. I loved her and she made me feel so less alone. Wyler loved her too and used to jump and hang around her neck when she would stroll through the basement door.
Wyler and I will miss you, gentle sweet girl.
She used to do an awesome "Downward Dog" and this song always reminds me of her:
|Tuesday, April 30th, 2013|
When I half wake up at night, I usually stumble into the kitchen to get a drink. Sometimes the moon is bright enough that I clearly see the two cars in the driveway and it makes me glad. It’s all so quiet and settled and I feel so fortunate for having you and harmony in my life.
|Wednesday, March 13th, 2013|
|Just like the sound of your clearing throat or rattle of your newspaper
It would be a night when I was awake at 4am and felt afraid until I heard you snoring in the next room. One of the things that irritate most folks, was always to me, a source of great comfort. Even though you were older than many, I knew you were still on this earth and you made the decisions that I only thought I wanted to make. You gladly took them from my hands and for this, I am grateful.
At your gray-painted workbench, you had a spicy smell which I thought a father should have -- sweat, sawdust, and soil. When I work on projects alone, I still crave what is now part of my heart and hands. We tore apart telephones, made wooden boxes and even wired a battery to a light and a bell just for fun.
And how you loved to harmonize...
|Friday, March 8th, 2013|
|Black Cows and the World’s Greatest Rock
All they taught me, I’ve nearly forgotten in my pocket
Love me if you must, because once I was sure I knew everything
Yet now with age, I know at least enough to see it isn’t so.
We both stood in a crick which cried much bigger than both of us
-- for you and for me and the short years we might have together
In this valley is everything which I still don’t know but surely need.
|Tuesday, February 26th, 2013|
|Playing checkers backwards in 1995
It was the last few months of his life and my dad had been in the VA care facility for much longer than he probably ever would have wanted. His rational thinking, memory and motor skills were nearly gone as a result of several strokes, yet his humor, among all those failing clinical and quantifiable qualities, managed to hang on enough to allow us to still have a sustaining window into his personality.
In the activity room, they kept a checkerboard and my son Andy set it up so they could play a game. At first, it all seemed to be going well. Dad moved, Andy moved, and so on -- but then dad decided to rewrite the game and began moving checkers in various random directions on the board. I remember how puzzled Andy looked at first, but then he just kind of went with it and we all laughed with the both of them. Of course, I missed the bright and educated art professor but this was a gift and it was a good day.
Just a few months ago, Laurie's dad was sitting at the dinner table and was sneaking an inordinate number of sweet treats (well, really being helped to them by an unnamed family member), and it reminded me of my own father. He knew he was getting away with something but what did it matter more than his infectious smile and laughter?
I frequently see this sort of interaction at the hospital and it reminds me of how hard it is for anyone to lose a family member but how precious and nourishing humor can be in the wake of dying. It makes it all seem just a bit more fair to know this is one of many ways life can unfold and end without having to lose everything at once.
|Thursday, February 14th, 2013|
|The Good Man of Snow
It was ten years ago today, that we lost Marie. The kids and I have been through a few rough patches since then, but I’d like to think we are all better for the time we had her in our lives and that through loss we learn some very valuable lessons about appreciating our own fragile lives.
We love you too and you will always be a part of our hearts. You left with us with a wonderous and beautiful snowstorm.
* * *
Yesterday was perfect snowman snow, so without hesitation, I proudly present le bonhomme de neige:
|Tuesday, January 29th, 2013|
|Monday, January 14th, 2013|
|Where houses used to be
There are so many things in the world that we have no ability or even a way to change.
To purloin an immutable part of life seems senseless and surely fruitless but, in weakness, we sometimes stumble and often try.
What I learn from you is bigger than me or you and wraps itself around the pounding in my chest.
I cannot re-write history or even a now -- so it is best to hold your hand and listen with the great fortune I've found in you until my heart stops coursing.
It's just our lives that are short and testified to, by flowers that grow in places where houses used to be.