I am currently in the midst of a reformation, or perhaps a recalibration. I let a lot of things go to pot over the last year – the yard, my weight, my language. During the course of Cyndi’s illness I became something of a short fuse, and could spew forth curse words at the slightest provocation, not at Cyndi mind you, nor the girls, but certainly within their hearing. I was circumspect enough to hold my tongue in public, but it was an effort.

Dropping a knife on the floor while loading the dishwasher would garner a few muttered choice words. Breaking the pull ties on a trash bag would generate a brief, though quite vocal, soliloquy. More serious matters would likely result in a regular diatribe of profanity.

I always apologized to those around me after one of these outbursts, and I felt bad for losing my temper, still the cursing went on.

After Cyndi died the cursing did not stop, nor noticeably decline all that much, despite the lower stress levels. Until one day, after apologizing to Em for going off on some insignificant matter within her hearing she said to me, “It’s like you don’t have a filter anymore.”

That really gave me pause.

That is not the person I want to be.

So, I have been making a concerted effort to cut down on my cussing. It had turned into a bad habit, and one I need to break.

Breaking bad habits is not easy, but I am making steady improvement. As silly as it sounds I try to give myself positive reinforcement simply by saying, out loud to myself, “I didn’t cuss.” It seems to be working.

Know what? I actually feel better about myself now. I only wish I had seen the light sooner, so my wife did not have to listen to my foul language in her final months. But regrets get one nowhere. All I can do now is continue to try to improve.

I am making steady improvements on those other fronts as well. I am slowly losing weight, and the yard looks much better.

I think Cyndi would be pleased.



The front of Webster Groves High SchoolWell, it’s happened. I’ve gotten the dreaded letter. Well, technically it’s an email. Seems it is time for our high school class reunion, this one marking the 40th year since graduation. That fact alone is more than I care to admit. Yes, I am that old. Hard to believe it has been 40 years since I walked the hallowed halls of Webster Groves High School as a student.

I received this news with mixed emotions. I did not have a particularly dreadful high school experience. I had close friends that I remember fondly to this day. I was not bullied, nor the class goat. I enjoyed most of my courses (with the notable exceptions of gym class and shop) and had teachers I liked and admired. All in all, I was just a typical high school kid trying to make it to college. No, my high school memories are not the cause of my dread.

So why the mixed emotions?

Well, there is the fact that I weigh more than any two people ought to, and I have less hair on my head than a Trappist Monk. And then there’s that age old problem that I have yet to have any of my novels published. You see, the whole point of going back to one of these things is to brag about what you have done with your life, and my main goal has always been to be a published author.

Yes, I have a few things published here and there, small pieces in non-paying markets. While I’m proud of each and every one of those, they hardly merit bragging rights. No one from my class will likely have read them, much less heard of them. Where is the epic novel? Where is the magnum opus?

Sadly, if they exist at all, they are still on my computer in various states of completion.

Will I go to my high school reunion? Probably. There really are some people I would like to see again. Maybe, just maybe, it will be the impetus I need to really crack down and finish my latest rewrite. It just might be better than a new year resolution.


Photo by J. M. Strother





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