Monthly Archives: April 2021

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

I recently received my second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The first round was inconsequential, and I’m sure that emboldened me to believe that I would have no ill effects.

I also brought all of my visualization skills to bear, seeing myself as perky and good-natured in the days that followed the shot.

I also bet my daughter ten dollars that I would be perfectly fine, a bet she took immediately, scoffing at the arrogance of my remark. Taylor went through headaches, chills and night sweats as a result of her second vaccine, which she received a couple of days before my girlfriend and I had ours.

After the event, we went to work as usual and neither one of us felt unusual. That was some sort of cruel joke perpetrated by Mother Nature, because by that night I was becoming tired. I went to bed early and wound up sleeping until the following afternoon, leaving just enough time to get ready for work.

Brenda felt the same way. Tired, warm and listless with a slight headache. But here’s the difference. She can be much more realistic than I am, more meat-and-potatoes, if you will.

Neither one of us were looking forward to our shifts at the cigar shop. Myrtle Beach is starting to become a very busy place, with an influx of tourists for what we call “the season.” But it was a Thursday, and we both knew we could get through the day. Thankfully, the crowds were not nearly as large as they had been for the several weekends before.

We made a stop at Chick-fil-A before we headed to the shop and ordered soup and sandwiches. If ever there was a time for chicken soup, it was then. Never mind the soul, we were thinking in far more corporeal terms.

When we arrived, my sister-in-law and brother said they would be happy to work our shifts for us. We thanked them and said we could handle it, but it was nice to know they would come back if we needed them.

We made it through, and it took days for us to fully feel better, but we are heartened to now be fully vaccinated.

My daughter, observing all of this, offered me her Gatorade and dutifully checked on us.

She also told me I owed her ten bucks.

I paid up, of course.

Photo by Alex Andrews on

As the old saw goes, “A stitch in time saves nine…”

My father used to say that, and it makes sense. If you take care of a problem immediately, you will likely save undue time, effort and trouble later.

It’s like a homespun way of asserting that being proactive beats procrastination any day.

Have your air conditioner checked before it peters out in the middle of a sweltering summer or a subarctic winter. Check your oil before your engine seizes up, leaving you stranded at the side of the road in rush hour traffic.

If something is not right in your personal life, speak up. You might not need to “forever hold your peace,” but speaking now is infinitely better than bottling up your feelings until they turn into resentment and anger.

Take care of yourself. Stop kicking the can down the road when it comes to your well-being.

Do you really need a crisis of any kind? Sure, crises can be calls to action, but a little vigilance goes a long way – and small, preemptive measures can help you correct course in the present.

Take action. Show up at the gym. Throw on your running shoes and go outside.

Politely decline an invitation to some event you have no interest in attending. Call your mother. Show appreciation for the kindness of others.

Call somebody on their bullshit, or they will continue to lie to you because they think you believe them. Do you really have time for that?

By taking small and positive actions, you will reap dividends of peace of mind and of clarity.

Say no when you want to say no.

Extract yourself from toxic situations, people and conversations.

Say yes to the simple steps that lead to a life free from drama, fear, worry and anxiety.

By you I mean me.

Photo by Markus Spiske on

This blog post is about an altogether different sort of flow from my previous post.

Recently, I took a trip with my girlfriend to the mountains of Southwest Virginia. I wrote about this area a while back. It’s where I had a brush with Mountain Music Royalty. Click HERE for more.

Brenda grew up in those mountains – the Blue Ridge Mountains – in Independence, Virginia, not far from where we stayed in the decidedly bigger burg of Wytheville.

Wytheville is on the I-81 Corridor, which follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains and is a major trucking route spanning the Southeastern states into the North. Every time I am in or around Wytheville, I am almost overwhelmed by the sheer number of big rigs on the road. I am also impressed by the generous sprinkling of truck stops with clean restrooms.

Before I take a road trip, I try not to overdo the coffee or other fluids because I don’t want to stop every five minutes for a bathroom break. Still, I am ever-vigilant about my options because it’s only a matter of time before I need to make a visit. Truck stops are always a welcome sight. Any McDonald’s is a good option, too.

I have been on these trips numerous times – and sometimes they seem like a urinal tour. I begin to notice the brand names of the urinals I visit – American Standard, Sloan, Zurn – each with their different personalities and shapes. Some you still have to flush, others flush when you step away because of the sensors attached to them.

Some spots have privacy partitions. I like those. When I was younger, I used to get stage fright if another guy was doing his business even remotely close to where I was doing mine. The older I get, the less I care – but I’m still no fan of the open troughs like they used to have in some ballparks. No thank you.

Dignity is important, at least to me.

If I was in the urinal business, I might understand the frequent stops, if only to check out the competition. But I find that if I can dehydrate a bit, I get to my intended destination that much quicker.