Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nobody Knows The Troubles I Have Seen

“My head is sometimes heavy and often it burns and my thoughts are confused – I am beginning to consider madness a disease like any other.” Vincent Van Gough

After his Bar Mitzvah, Sam’s behavior changes FAST – as fast as the flip of a switch. Sam just up and quits everything that he used to love. He quits karate, piano lessons, school orchestra and football. He severs relations with most of his friends from religious school. On one level I don’t understand but maybe because we transferred him to a high school closer to home – maybe that’s it.

He finds a new friend in the neighborhood that seems like a nice kid. But soon, I’m seeing red flags. My younger son tells me he and some of the other neighborhood kids have seen Sam smoking cigarettes and drinking beer from a bottle. So, I confront Sam and he denies my accusations. Over the summer months, my parents come out to visit from California. Sam is signed up for summer camp in Wisconsin. My mom and dad want to come see the kids and come along on the drive to be with us and see the camp. We plan to tow our travel trailer so we can stay near Sam’s camp a few days before his session begins. The camp sits in the North Woods of Wisconsin in a little town called Minocqua I have made reservations at the Chain of Lakes campground which sits on a lake.

Something simple turns into a big fight. When it’s time to go, Sam refuses to get in the car. He decided not to go to camp. Our RV is behind our Durango and everyone is inside, seat belts fastened. After trying to reason with him, I lose my cool; I grab him and put him in the car – not so easy anymore because he has suddenly morphed from a boy into a tall and lanky young man. He is now pretty strong. Like a powerful fish on the line, he resists and fights back. Finally, I get him inside the truck and we get underway. It’s a tense and quiet ride for all.

In Wisconsin, we stop for a break and to gas up. Beside the gas station is a large store selling fireworks. It is close to July 4th and the boys want to buy fireworks. I give the boys twenty-five dollars each. Zach, our younger one quickly finds his allotment of fireworks. Sam decides he wants an assortment that costs fifty dollars. When I tell him to put some of the fireworks back he gets mad and starts demanding more money. After more arguing, he decides to not get anything. When all of us are ready to get back on the road, Sam refuses to get in the truck. Shoot - another face-off. I tell him one last time to go get his allotment of fireworks so we can get going but he is still resolute about getting more than what I offer him. Finally, my patience runs out. I lose my cool. I physically try to put him in the car. This time he wriggles away from my hold on him and starts running into an adjacent forest. He keeps on running until I lose sight of him. Channa blows a fuse and starts frantically pleading for him to come back. My mom and dad are being good sports but stunned at Sam’s behavior. I run after him and after awhile, he decides to join us. But because he doesn’t get what he wants he gives up on wanting any fireworks. It’s all or nothing – no middle ground, no compromising.

We make it to the campsite, without incident. Sam has settled down. Sam helps set up the camper. He is mechanically inclined and knows just what to do. In no time, he has set up the beds, barbeque, hooks up the water, electricity and lights the water heater. He arranges the chairs around the campfire so Grandma and Grandpa can get comfortable Despite all the fighting, now here, it looks like he is having a good time. He is being polite to my parents and is quite helpful and present. He takes walks with Grandma, hangs out with us and goofs around with his brother. When it’s time to take him to his summer camp, he seems happy to go. Go figure!

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