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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Before a Winter's Eve

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C878670472/E20071025215141

Bone, Heart, Thought, Deed, and Spirit, I choose to honor these people this season

Back in January, I talked about some of my Befores, the "ancestors" I choose to honor because of how they inspired me. Well, that's really a Winter's Eve thing, so I think every year this time I will set down a handful and why they are important to me.

This time around, the Before of Bone is my biological father, a man I have not seen since just before my first birthday. I cannot condone his abandoning the family, but I can't deny that those actions pushed my mother into becoming a remarkable person. I have no idea if he is living or dead and no real desire to meet him, although I have googled his name in the odd moment. Besides his emotional and spiritual impact on my mother, his only real contribution to me was purely biological. Still, he deserves credit for that and at least mention somewhere. Consider him mentioned. But nameless.

The Before of Heart is a former lover who passed not so long ago. Her real gift to me was that I did not have to be the person that I thought I was. That was pretty amazing, considering that I was not a nice person in those days. She also helped me take several steps back from the suicide temptation. Wise woman that she was, she knew I wasn't what she was looking for in "marriageable material" and she let me go. After she discovered she was dying, she invited me into her life again as a companion against the wishes of her adult relatives. Her husband and I will never be close friends, but we get along for her memory. And I helped her children deal with her death.

Samuel Clemens is a Before of Thought. Long before I studied logic or philosophy, the writings of Mark Twain taught me that there was ALWAYS another way of looking at the world. Long before I discovered Monty Python or Jack Benny, there was a celebrated frog. Long before I understood about politicos wrapping themselves in holy books, there was a war prayer. And Huckleberry Finn taught me about slavery and the fundamental worth of a man. I think he prepared me to meet Coyote.

The Before of Deeds is a man that most of you have never heard of, Ladimir Kwiatkowski, better known as Ladmo of The Wallace & Ladmo Show. Strictly speaking, it was a "kid's show." It was also THE show that any notable celebrity passing through Arizona had to appear on. Arguably, Wallace and Ladmo (and Gerald) were more famous than almost anyone else in the state. But anyone can be famous, especially if they are on television for thirty-five years. No, what made Ladmo special was that he used that fame to do something for the kids. He helped start all sorts of sports teams for kids, he helped the various Boys & Girls Clubs, and many charities and good causes. I was privileged to meet him twice, once when I appeared as a winner on the show as a child and once decades later at an awards dinner. But then, probably a third of the state can say they met him.

My Before of Spirit this time around is Thomas Jefferson for this one quote and a life that convinces me that he chose to live as he spoke.

Why should I care whether my neighbor believes in one god, or twenty, or none at all? It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

You may not be able to choose your relatives, but you can choose your inspiration.

Posted: Thu - October 25, 2007 at 09:51 PM

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