This is one of my favorite photographs of my beloved father, in his older years. My dad often read, thought deeply about his life, and reflected upon his guidance that he received from the good Lord.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Many of you will recognize that I based this title on the title of Alan Stilltoe’s book, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. The book was published in 1959 and is a great read. It’s a little bit hard to find these days. In 1962 it was made into a film.
There is a certain loneliness in being a long distance writer. Being a short distance writer is a cinch. You write a feature article, an essay, an editorial or a news story. It may take three to four hours to write. Perhaps longer, if a lot of research is needed. But the time from completed works to publication, is generally fairly short in time.
Reflecting upon my yet-to-be-published book, I Remember Dad, it is an entirely different ball game. It’s been an uphill battle to find a publisher, still I have not gotten the stamp of approval from a book publishing firm. It’s a bit embarrassing. It is a terribly lonely feeling.
I Remember Dad is basically a simple story, it is wholesome in nature, it doesn’t take any cheap shots, and it is a true story. The theme is simply this: one man’s firm belief in the principle that it is better to teach a boy the moral way, then to try to rehabilitate a wayward man. And then in conjunction to this theme, the story of one man’s dedication to help boys become productive citizens through the scouting program.
My story isn’t a page turner. There is no espionage. There is no crime to solve. It isn’t racy. It doesn’t have a complicated plot line. It’s not controversial. And, it doesn’t lend itself to have one of those covers of one of those books that Gordon Lightfoot referred to as “the kind that the drug store sells.” I think you get the idea.
I have to confess that I’ve hit a valley. I have to confess that I’m tired and worn and weary. I feel as though I am standing in a low valley, looking at this very high mountain, digging deep within my heart and soul to find the inspiration to climb this mountain; once again!
Today, I remembered one of one of my dad’s Scoutmaster’s Minutes. The Scoutmaster’s Minute was a little three to five minute inspirational talk that my dad would give to the scouts at the end of the scout meeting. I know it may sound corny, but we would all form a circle in the church hall and hold hands, Dad would give his Scoutmaster’s Minute and then all the scouts and scout leaders would close their eyes and bow their heads and say these words: “may the great Scoutmaster of all scouts be with us till we meet again. Goodnight scouts!”
This is the theme of the Scoutmaster’s Minute that I remembered to day. It is rather simple, but inspiring. After the scouts and scout leaders formed a circle, Dad tied an overhand knot at the end of a small piece of manila rope. There was such a sincerity in my dad’s eyes that night. There was such an earnest quality in Dad’s voice. I remember Dad telling the boys, “scouts, when you reach the end of your rope, tie and knot and hang on.” Then Dad gave a few examples of people who overcame incredible odds to become successful in life.
As I write this blog, it is night time. Tonight, I’ll pray for the good Lord to refill my heart with courage and inspiration. For when you are in the valley, looking up at the incredibly tall mountain, the climb may look impossible. Somehow and someway, I know deep in my heart that I Remember Dad will find a ways and means to become published. Somehow and someway, it will.
And, I know deep in my heart, that I cannot give up.
Whatever be your mountain that you face right now in life, please dig deep within. Whatever your belief system may be about how the universe was created, dig deep into your heart. Dig deep into the fiber of your marrow. It may look bleak right now. But there is one thing certain, if you stay in the valley, set up camp in the valley, turn your back on the mountain; one day you will regret that you did not make that one more try.
I know, tonight, that I must follow my own advice. I must. The path of completing a major goal in life is not always filled with roses. Sometimes the path is filled with big rocks, muddy soil, thistle stalks, poison ivy, and poisonous snakes. Still, a person needs to continue the hike and not give up.
Peace and harmony,