(I’m sharing some posts my father did when he blogged for a couple of years. His blog was called “I Heard It at the Icehouse.” In the introduction, he explained than an icehouse “had a bar, served beer, and had domino tables, pool tables and served both men and women. It was a social center where the gossip of the day prevailed and recreation was offered.” He posted this philosophical piece early in his blogging career, shortly after the 2008 presidential election.)
My younger daughter called from New York and asked: “How are you, Daddy?” I replied that I was just fine. This was not really true. I lie awake nights wondering about the big question: WHY?
Why is one of the questions I have been unable to answer during a long life of seeking answers. Sometimes I think about Mr. Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Cassius worried if he and his friends were doing the right thing when they killed Caesar. Brutus, on the other hand, had no doubts about it being the right thing.
I grew up with the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I am not sure that Mr. Jefferson was a happy man.
Why do I go to the Icehouse? is it to stifle my conscience with a beer? No, it is to listen to the conversation. Sometimes even a truck driver comes up with a grain of wisdom.
Mr. Schulz, the cartoonist, created Charlie Brown, who never came up with the answer. Lucy, on the other hand, never doubted that she was right. Franklin Roosevelt, who nearly got me killed during World War II, said that the only thing we need to fear is fear itself. FDR jerked me out of a pastoral existence into a world of turmoil. I came back from the war opposed to slavery.
It has taken a long time, but we seem to be on the verge of abolishing slavery here in the United States. President-elect Barack Obama, who has a bright wife and two daughters, is an honor graduate of Harvard Law School. Yet he turned down a well paying job with a corporate law firm to go into community action in Chicago. Maybe he knows why.
My New York daughter is a poet. My older daughter, in Austin, is an attorney. They want to know why. My grandson, who is teaching English in the schools in Korea, wants to know why. Maybe he will find some ancient wisdom in Asia.
The answer is that we are here to help create a better way of life in which to live. Sounds simple? Join me at the Icehouse to help me find some answers.
Writing runs in the family, obviously. Flashes of Illumination, a collection of my short-short fiction, is now available here from Book View Cafe. This 52-story ebook collects the flash fiction I published weekly during the first year of Book View Cafe, and adds in a few later stories as well.
My novella Changeling remains available as an ebook through Book View Cafe. It’s a coming of age story.
Both books are $2.99 and available in four DRM-free formats: mobi, epub, prc, and pdf.