This is a chapter of my story, “Two Brothers.” It appeared regularly in the Lincoln Park Journal in 1987. It is the true story of my grandfather, Watson Mabey; his brother, Earl; and their father, William. The story was the basis for the stage play, “Beyond the North Star,” which I wrote with my friend Bill Anderson. The play was produced in 1989.
Reflections of “Two Brothers”
By Richard Mabey Jr.
At 61, I have begun the process of reflecting upon my life. One of the writing projects that was very dear to my heart was writing the continuing story, “Two Brothers.” It was a regular feature of The Lincoln Park Journal newspaper, during the year of 1987.
I’m going through the boxes and boxes of my writings that I still have. Most of my life, I’ve worked two jobs. For the most part I’ve worked my entire life as a wordsmith. I use the term wordsmith because I have worked for newspapers, corporate public relations departments, ad agencies, book publishers, cable television stations, and wrote and edited company newsletters. Over the years, I’ve worked as a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor.
All my working life, I usually worked a second part-time job. I’m very much a workaholic. I’ve sold high-end barbecue grills at a home and garden center, worked in a hotel, taught creative writing classes at adult night school, photographed people’s pets, worked in a grocery store, worked on a farm, and sold Christmas trees. From all of it, I learned a lot about people. All of it, every moment, made for a valuable education of the workings of the hearts and minds of a lot of different types of people.
Walking down the hallway to the room of old age is a tough walk. The gears in the mind begin to slip. Then there are the aches and pains in the joints. And, no longer is it feasible to go on a long, carry everything on your back, three-day long hike. The other day, I found myself struggling to remember the fourth Monkees’ name. I won’t say which one of the Monkees’ name that I forgot. It may seem like a long shot, but he may actually be reading my blog and I would hate to hurt his feelings.
I can identify with what Merle Haggard said in song and interview. Merle said that he just wasn’t ready to sit by the fireplace in an old rocking chair. I hope that my boss isn’t reading this blog. But if he is, I know he’ll understand. I’m kind of at the end of my rope with Florida, the gated community thing and with working as a Security Guard. Oh, I’ll still give the job 110% and do my absolute best at my job. It’s just that I can hear the whisper of my father’s voice, calling me to get back on the horse. For me, getting back on the saddle means sitting at desk with a pen and paper, giving my all at putting words down on paper.
Today, rereading the story of “Two Brothers,” hit me hard. It was fun playing golf a couple of times a week with my neighbor. It was a great experience to work as a Security Guard. It was fun to attend all the pot luck dinners. But as crazy as it sounds, I miss the burnt red leaves of a maple tree in Autumn. Even crazier, I miss the sight of icicles hanging from the branches of a pine tree. Still even crazier, I miss the snow. In short, I miss my old Mayberry in New Jersey.
So, for me the time has come to go the old stable and saddle up my horse. I’ve got to buy an old mechanical typewriter. I threw away my old one several years ago, it was beyond repair. I love the sound of old typewriter keys clicking away. The time has come to inwardly tell all the phony intellectuals who rejected my writings, which exit to get off of.
My days of taking a week-long hike on the Appalachian Trail are behind me. My days of canoeing down the Delaware River for four or five days, have faded away in life’s rear view mirror. For alas, I am watching the sunrise of the dawn of old age. Yet still, I have to dig deep into the chambers of my heart and soul. I’ve got to ignore the mean critics, take a very deep breath, find an old telephone booth and change into Super Writer.
In the remaining time that I do have, before they bury me beneath the ground, I’ve got to give it my all to see “I Remember Dad,” become a published book.
Peace and harmony,