The little courtyard, just outside my front porch, is plain and simple. In its simplicity lies the statement of the value of finding truth in simplicity.
Failure Is Not An Option
By Richard Mabey Jr.
My life, here in Central Florida, is quiet these days. I write three or four hours a day. Sometimes more. Mostly I work on my book, “I Remember Dad.” I do rewrites. I take chapters out. I reconstruct chapters. I do a lot of new writing for my book.
Mostly all of the writing that I do now for my book, is done while sitting on my front porch. It is a screened-in porch. There are palm trees, up and down the street, standing proudly on neighbors’ yards. The palm branches sway in the breeze as I write, write, and write some more.
This is the very rocking chair, on my porch, where I sit for hours writing and writing and writing new chapters of my book, “I Remember Dad.”
Writing is hard work. It’s painfully hard work. I sit on this great old rocking chair and pour my heart out, of my remembrances of my dear old Dad, onto blue-lined white notebook paper. There is a little electric grill beside my rocking chair. Sometimes, I’ll cook grilled cheese sandwiches or hamburgers or hot dogs for lunch or supper, while I’m writing. I’m 63 now, time is precious. So, I write even while cooking lunch or supper. Life is short.
Figaro in her clubhouse. It sets right next to my old rocking chair on the porch.
Figaro loves to be with me when I write. Her clubhouse sets right next to my old rocking chair. Figaro is so smart. I’ll be writing and she will want me to pick her up and pet her. I try to ignore her and keep writing, but Figaro won’t give up. So, then Figaro will come over by my feet and butt her head against my legs and look up to me and meow. I just can’t refuse her. So, I put my pad and pen down and pick her up and pet her. Figaro then purrs, as if to say, “I got my way!”
Figaro atop her clubhouse. She thinks she is a watchdog.
A lot of times, Figaro will jump on top of her little clubhouse and play watchdog, while I write. It is the cutest thing in the world. I think she learned the fine art of being a watchdog, from our dear, sweet Sheltie, Foxy. Foxy passed away, a little over two years ago. I still miss her dearly. I know that Figaro does too.
If someone walks by the house, Figaro will jump off the roof of her clubhouse and run over to the screen door. She then fixates her eyes on the passerby. Sometimes she lets out a little hiss. Especially if the person walking by, is walking a dog. And, if the person walking their dog, lets the dog do its business on our lawn, Figaro will begin hissing even louder. Figaro is quite a smart cat.
My birdbath is a favorite resting place for the birds in my neighborhood.
To the right hand side of the front porch, is a simple bird bath. Often times birds will land on the edge of the birdbath and get a fresh drink of water. Sometimes, they will be so bold as to jump in the water and flutter their wings all around. When this happens, Figaro really starts hissing. I know that Figaro would love to catch one of those birds. I think that birds know that there is a screen between them and Figaro. Because, sometimes they just keep splashing around in the water, in spite of Figaro’s protests.
Dad standing beside the wing of a B-25 Bomber Plane at Hickam Field, during World War II.
Sometimes, my heart fills with self doubts. I question my talent as a writer. I wonder if my dream to see “I Remember Dad” published is just a pipe dream. Then, as I am sitting on that old rocking chair, I take a look at that great old picture of my Dad standing beside the propeller of a B-25 Bomber Plane, in his Army Air Corps uniform. Determination then burns brightly in my heart. And I remind myself of this simple statement, “failure is not an option!”