Complaining-Man…Letters to My Grandchildren…Barney Beard

Go-Cart Man

My Dear Grandchildren,

I was in a big retail store yesterday doing a little shopping. As I looked for the item I wanted, I pushed my big shopping cart down a long, narrow aisle. About halfway down the aisle a large man riding an in-store go-cart was asking an employee the location of an item. The two of them completely blocked traffic. I couldn’t get by but that wasn’t a problem. I waited and listened a few feet away. I wasn’t in a hurry.

The older, large man on the go-cart was complaining to the young employee that he couldn’t find the item he needed. He told her he had been buying his certain item in this store for ten years. In the past it was always in the same place. Today his item wasn’t where it was supposed to be.

It was inconceivable to go-cart man that the store would suddenly discontinue stocking the thing he wanted and needed. How could the store be so insensitive to his needs. Go-cart man complained. The young employee and I listened.

I heard the polite young lady inform go-cart man she had no idea where his item was located. Perhaps it had been moved or discontinued.

I couldn’t get past the two of them in the narrow aisle so I listened and waited a few feet away from go-cart man with both my hands on the handle of my shopping cart. Go-cart man was not happy and becoming increasingly more unhappy by the minute.

He continued complaining and the patient employee continued to listen. He informed the polite employee in no uncertain terms he was going to take his complaint to the manager.

The well trained employee was kind to go-cart man. She gave him her full attention and politely suggested he go to customer service. Perhaps his item was temporarily out of stock. Perhaps the item he wanted was now stocked in a different part of the store. If the item he wanted was discontinued perhaps customer service could explain why.  Perhaps, if it was discontinued, customer service would order the item specifically for go-cart man.

The employee was quite thorough and polite with her answers to his complaints. I noticed she never once interrupted the man while he was talking.

I felt sorry for the young, female employee who did everything short of giving go-cart man a massage and a kiss on the forehead. Go-cart man wasn’t happy with her explanation, advice, massage or kiss on the forehead. He didn’t have what he had come for and he would not be happy until he went home satisfied.

As I watched I imagined go-cart man as a little child with his mother in the grocery story. I could see little go-cart man demanding something and being denied by his mother. I could see little go-cart man lying down in the aisle at the grocery store screaming as he ‘pitched a fit’. Little go-cart man had become a grown-up but hadn’t changed much.

The polite young female employee finished her explanation to the unsatisfied go-cart man and went about her business. I now had room to pass complaining-man on his little four wheel go-cart and find the thing I was looking for.

As I passed go-cart man, he looked up at me and began to explain the unfairness of his situation.

He wanted to share his displeasure with someone, anyone. He chose me because I was the nearest someone.

It was obvious to go-cart man that anyone hearing his case would commiserate. Everyone and anyone would agree he had been most egregiously treated by the insensitive store,  a store that had inhumanly discontinued the item he so desperately needed. How could they be so callous?

He wanted me to share in his displeasure. He wanted me to know how dreadful it was that this store would dare to discontinue such an important item for his continued happiness. He needed affirmation. He needed affirmation now. If he had been in a rowboat, he would have asked me to get in and help him row.

I knew better than to stop and listen. I had no desire to help him row. I pushed my cart passed the stationary go-cart man without stopping. As I passed go-cart man I politely nodded my head towards him and continued walking. I didn’t dare stop. As I passed, he continued to complain to my back as if I had stopped to listen.   He continued to complain until I turned the corner. He wanted what he wanted. He continued to be unhappy.

I turned and came back down the next aisle looking for my item. As I went down the adjacent aisle, I could hear go-cart man on the other side presenting his case to a new victim.

I found my item, put it in my shopping cart and headed towards check-out. As I got to the end of the aisle I could hear go-cart man, now fifty feet behind me, continuing to complain to the poor soul who had stopped to listen.

I have noticed there have been quite a few occasions when I have behaved much like go-cart man to some innocent bank clerk, government employee or wait staff.

I am embarrassed to say there have been times when I have wanted everyone around me to acknowledge that I have been treated unfairly. I have had moments when I wanted the world to stop and make everything right with my life.

The truth is life isn’t like that. Hard as we try, we’re not going to have everything the way we want it.

There is something about getting older that lends itself to complaining. Perhaps when we get older we think we have the right to have everything go our way. Perhaps when we get older we think we have the right to lie down in the aisle at the grocery story and pitch our fit.

No, complaining isn’t the privilege of age.

Well, it ain’t so and it ain’t never goin’ to be so.

My advice? As you get older learn to enjoy the life you have. Learn to live within your means. Learn to take the good with the bad without complaining. You’ll never have everything you want and none of your friends and family will have everything they want.

If you get into the habit of complaining, you’ll end up like go-cart man and every time you state your case, the person you’re talking to will walk on by and you’ll find yourself alone.

I love you all and I promise not to complain if you come and see me.

Your grandfather,

Barney

xoxoxoxoxo

Written by: Barney Beard for his grandchildren

All my books are available on Amazon-Click Here.

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The Ordinary Man and the Book Dragon…by: Barney Beard

The Ordinary Man and the Book Dragon

© 2019 by Barney Beard

My Dear Grandchildren,

Before you read my book, I want to tell you something. I like to read books. I like to write books. I like to give books to my grandchildren. I like to have books under my bed, in the closet and under my chair. I like to have books everywhere. I found this marvelous quote by C. S. Lewis. I must confess, the growing number of folks who think books and bookshelves a nuisance, disturbs me.

“I am a product of endless books. My father bought all the books he read and never got rid of any of them. There were books two deep in the study, books two deep in the drawing room, books in the cloakroom, books two deep in the great bookcase on the landing, books in the bedroom, books piled as high as my shoulder in the cistern attic. In the seemingly endless rainy afternoons, I took volume after volume from the shelves. I had the certainty of finding a book that was new to me as a man who walks into a field has of finding a new blade of grass.” C. S. Lewis

Chapter One   The Ordinary Man

Once upon a time there was an ordinary man who had an ordinary family. He lived in an ordinary house and drove an ordinary car to his ordinary work. If you were to pass this ordinary man in the aisle at the grocery store or if you were to walk past him on the sidewalk in your town, you wouldn’t notice him. He was ordinary.

If you did happen to glance at him, you wouldn’t remember him, for he was quite ordinary.

Day after day after day the ordinary man worked in an ordinary factory at his ordinary job. He worked for years and years and years and years doing the same ordinary thing all day, every day.

The ordinary man always worked. He was never lazy. The ordinary man worked because he loved his family.

He believed what his father told him when he was a boy, “If you can put both feet on the floor in the morning, you can go to work,” and that’s what he did. He worked. The ordinary man always went to work. The ordinary man was reliable. He never missed a day of school or a day of work in his life.

Because he was ordinary and loved his family, he made certain his children had shoes on their feet, tasty food on the table and a safe, warm, dry, snuggly place to sleep at night.

It was a good thing the ordinary man worked hard at his ordinary job because he had eight children. The ordinary man loved his children, every one of them.

Each evening as the ordinary man arrived home after his ordinary work, his children would greet him merrily at the door and squeeze him with multitudes of hugs and cover his face with soft kisses and tell him how glad they were he had come home.

Every evening the ordinary man and his ordinary family would eat together. After their wonderful, nutritious meal of ordinary food, his entire ordinary family would sit by the fire and listen to the ordinary man read aloud.

The ordinary house was warm and made a great deal warmer by the marvelous stories, the exciting tales of adventure and the multitudes of sagas, narratives, fables and yarns the ordinary man would read aloud to his children.

This man was quite ordinary. He lived in an ordinary part of the country on an ordinary street with dozens and dozens of ordinary houses occupied by ordinary people who lived ordinary lives much like his, but there was one extraordinary thing about this ordinary man. He loved books and he loved to read.

Chapter two  Extraordinary on the Inside

The ordinary man was ordinary on the outside, but extra-ordinary on the inside, extra-ordinary indeed because he loved to read books. He loved to read. He didn’t watch television. He liked to use his thinker when he was reading. He liked to read the thinks that other people were thinking. In a book, the ordinary man could read the thinks of people who lived long ago.

While reading, his extraordinary thinker was busy thinking about all kinds of thinks. He used his thinker. His thinker was always full of thinks.

He didn’t watch the news or weather. In fact, he didn’t watch television at all. He didn’t listen to radio talk shows or allow his mind to be anesthetized by constant background music.

The ordinary man liked to think. He would think all day and half the night about the things he had been reading. He would read books written by people who wrote about what went on inside of their thinker.

The ordinary man understood that reading is television in reverse. The ordinary man understood that reading activated his own imagination and intelligence. Reading gave his own ideas reality and helped him see the world in a new way.

The ordinary man had learned that those who watch television have someone else’s imagination pumped into their brain with visual images. He knew when a person stares at the dumb television, somebody else’s ideas are going into that person’s head. His father had told him:

The television puts things in, It tells you what to think,

It hypnotizes and paralyzes, It makes your brain shrink.

People who watch television never write about what they see or think. The ordinary man knew books filled his thinker with his own ideas and imagination and made him, and anyone who takes the time to read, bigger, brighter and bolder.

Reading, the ordinary man knew, was like a magnifying glass for his imagination and intelligence, allowing his thinker and his imagination to roam the world or even the universe.

Watching television, the ordinary man knew, makes a person want to go to bed late and makes them tired in the morning. The ordinary man knew that reading caused him to use his imagination and think, it made him want to get up while it’s still dark and read more and write about the adventures that came into his thinker, exciting adventures that took him everywhere.

The ordinary man knew when a person views a television program someone else is using their mind. When a person watches television, that person becomes a passive receiver of other people’s visual ideas. Over time, the television watcher’s mind becomes like an old storage unit stuffed full of someone else’s visual junk with no accompanying words.

The ordinary man had decided long ago he would rather use his own mind. I’ll put my own things in my own storage unit, he said to himself. He understood clearly they don’t call the things people watch on TV ‘programs’ for nothing.

The ordinary man loved books and loved to read. Every evening he would read to his children. He would read to them by the fire and every night in their room at bedtime. After he tucked each of his children into their cozy bed under the warm quilts and blankets, he would read a bedtime story.

After the children were tucked in and their story had been read, the ordinary man would whisper into each child’s ear just before he left them, “You’re my favorite.” The ordinary man loved his children. He loved all his children.

When the ordinary man read to his children, he never skipped pages or bits of the story. The ordinary man loved to read. Every night after his children were tucked in their beds, he would read by the fire.

When it came time for the ordinary man to go to his bed, he would lean back again his pillow and read some more by his bedside light.

He would get up before dawn and put on an ordinary fire before he went to work. The ordinary man always got up early because he didn’t watch television at night, play video games or text on his phone. He always had a good night’s sleep because he never stayed up watching television.

When the ordinary man walked through his house he walked slowly. He would reach to his left and to his right and touch each bookshelf as he passed, allowing his hands to softly brush past his treasures. He had an affection for his books as if they were a part of his family, which they were.

He was an ordinarily good man with an extra-ordinary thinker. He was an ordinary man living in an ordinary neighborhood with ordinary neighbors with an extraordinary love of books and reading.

Chapter Three   His Ordinary Bookshelves

The children in the neighborhood would come to his house and look through the books he had on his many bookshelves. The ordinary man had lots of ordinary bookshelves and some extraordinary bookshelves. He had bookshelves in the living room. He had bookshelves in the dining room. He built bookshelves in the kitchen and in the hallway. He had bookshelves in all the bedrooms. He had bookshelves on the landing and at the top of the stairs. Each of his children had their own bookshelf.

The ordinary man built bookshelves in the attic and in his garage. All of his ordinary bookshelves went from the floor to the ceiling and there were books behind books.

The ordinary man taught his children that when a person opened a book and began reading it was like having a private cinema inside your head.

The ordinary man knew those who read books learn how to use their thinker. He knew using one’s thinker is important.

The ordinary man knew people who watched television all the time and talked about other people, were not thinking. They weren’t using their thinker. Those who only go to the movies and stare for hours and hours at the images they see on television are like the animals and the birds. The images people watch on their television bypass their thinker.

Animals observe and react. Animals don’t read or write or think. The ordinary man wanted to think about things. He wanted to use his thinker and he did.

The ordinary man had books in the cupboards and books in the closet. He had books under the bed.

You should have seen the happy children reading all kinds of interesting books in his ordinary house. They read books about places, books about things, books about puzzles and books about pigs. There were books about kings and queens and books about adventures of every kind.

There were books about dragons and books about knights. There were adventure books about handsome princes who rescued beautiful damsels in distress.

There were books about travel and books about far-away lands. There were books about whales and eagles. There were books about birds and flowers. There were books about the stars and how to get there from here.

There were books about everything that had happened in the past. There were books about things that were happening now and books about things that were going to happen.

The ordinary man had story books and picture books. On his many bookshelves were adventure books so exciting they would make your spine tingle and your liver quiver.

There were frightening books that would make you cover your head when you turned the light off at night and wonder what was lurking in the closet or behind the curtains or under your bed.

There were science books that explained all kinds of things about our world. On the bookshelves were books about how to have fun with numbers.

There were books about words and language. There were books about writing and paper and pens. There were books about calligraphy and books about printing.

The ordinary man would bring new books home almost every day and he never got rid of any books, except those books he gave to his children.

There were books about music and books about birds.

There were books about everything.

Chapter Four   Things Change

One day his oldest child became an adult and moved far away and began a family of his own. It was a sad day but the ordinary man knew that was the way things are. Things change. This ordinary world continues to be ordinary.

The ordinary man continued to read.

Then his next oldest child moved away and began a family in the ordinary way.

The ordinary man continued to read.

Soon the rest of his children became ordinary grownups and moved far away and lived in ordinary houses on an ordinary street and had ordinary jobs.

The ordinary man’s house was lonely.

The ordinary man’s house was lonely except for one thing.

The ordinary man continued to read.

Chapter Five   The Book Dragon

The ordinary man’s children moved far away. His ordinary children soon had ordinary children of their own. Like their father they lived in ordinary houses and had ordinary jobs.

Then, as it always does in every ordinary land, the book dragon came. The book dragon hates adults and hates children even more. The book dragon hates books, bookshelves, libraries, writers and thinkers.

The book dragon loves animals that fuss and fight and squabble and quarrel. The book dragon wants children to use their eyes and not their thinker.

The book dragon gets great pleasure when humans behave like the animals and argue and bicker and don’t use their thinker.

The ordinary man had read about the wicked dragon and how he had destroyed whole cultures by teaching them to stop reading.

The ordinary man knew all the old legends about the book dragon’s coming. The ordinary man understood how the book hating serpent deceived people and persuaded them to get rid of their books and their bookshelves and watch television instead. The old deceiver wanted people to stop using their thinker.

The ordinary man knew the book dragon passionately hated children who were learning to think. The book dragon hated them with every cold drop of his black blood. The book dragon hated books, bookshelves, libraries, writers and reading.

When the ordinary man’s children moved away the book dragon came. He began to lure the children away from books and reading. He smiled to himself as he taught them the empty pleasure of watching moving images without using their thinker. There was nothing the book dragon loved more than a home without books.

All the of the ordinary man’s children who moved away had telephones, televisions, tablets, watches and other devices. They sent text after text. They watched show after show. They read less and less. They never went to the library or bought a book. Instead of thinking they would talk about what everyone was doing and why they didn’t like their neighbors.

They watched their shows in the evening. They went to bed much too late and then had to get up before they were finished sleeping so they could go to their work.

They had children of their own and were busy. They gave away all their books. When they were tired in the evening they would lean back on a soft couch and mindlessly watch television. They didn’t read to their children. They let the children stay up later and watch television. Their thinkers began to get dusty and rusty.

Every morning the grown-up children would wake up tired. Every morning on their way to work they would say to themselves that when they got home in the evening after their work they would go to bed earlier to get enough sleep, but every evening after they had supper they would relax on the couch and turn on their television and let their mind go numb. They would watch and watch and watch and think not at all. In the morning there was nothing they could recall.

Like electricity and water, the ordinary man’s children were following the path of least resistance, the path laid out for them by the book dragon who wanted to control their empty minds by supplying endless amounts of meaningless visual trivia.

Every day the ordinary man’s ordinary children would let the fluffy, furry, frothy, foamy, feathery images from the television stuff the corners of their mind until their thinker was numb and they began to nod off and they would trundle up the stairs to their bed and begin sleeping fast because they had gone to bed much too late once again.

Chapter Six   His Grand Idea

Every evening the ordinary man would come home from his work and read books. He would go to the bookshops and thrift stores and buy books.

Then he had a magnificent idea. He would send books to his darlings.

He decided he would send books to his grandchildren. The ordinary man loved books. He wanted his grandchildren to love books more than they loved their phones, tablets or television. Above all he wanted his grandchildren to use their thinker. He wanted his grandchildren to be happy, literate adults and not be like the animals that lived by what they saw without thinking.

The ordinary man sent books to his grandchildren. When he would send a book to his grandchildren, he would tuck a dollar bill inside the pages of each book. The book dragon hated the ordinary man for sending books.

Despite the book dragon’s hatred, the ordinary man sent his grandchildren books for their birthday. He sent his grandchildren books for Christmas. He would send his grandchildren books in the springtime and in the autumn.

The next year the ordinary man sent books to his grandchildren and also to his children. He always put a dollar inside of each book he would send.

The next year he sent books to his grandchildren, his children and also to his sisters and brothers. He always put a dollar inside of each book.

The next year he sent more books. He sent books to his grandchildren, his children, his brothers and sisters and to his nieces and nephews. The ordinary man loved books.

The next year he sent books to his grandchildren, his children, his brothers and sisters and to his nieces and nephews and also to his cousins.

The next year he sent even more books. He sent books to his grandchildren, his children, his brothers and sisters, his nieces and nephews, his cousins and also to the children of his nieces and nephews and cousins.

That was a lot of books and a lot of dollar bills, for the ordinary old man put a dollar bill in every book.

He loved to read books. He loved to think about books. He loved to read about the wonderful things other women and men had written since the world began. He loved to read what other people had thought inside their thinker and written in a book. It was thrilling that the ordinary man could read precisely what people were thinking who had lived many centuries in the past.

The ordinary man had a birthday.

Then he had another birthday.

Then he had several more birthdays.

Every year he sent more and more books. Each with a dollar bill tucked inside. He wanted his family to know that there is treasure inside of a book.

The years passed. The ordinary man had become an old, ordinary man. The ordinary man became an old, lonely, ordinary man, an ordinary man who extraordinarily loved books and wanted others to love books, too.

Chapter Seven    The Ordinary Old Man

The ordinary man retired from his work. The ordinary man decided he would save money. He didn’t buy a new razor. He didn’t go to the barber. He let his hair and beard grow. He wanted to save his dollars for important things, like putting them inside of books he would send to his loved ones so they could use their thinker.

The ordinary man was neat and clean. He no longer had lovely brown hair. His hair had turned white as snow. The old man was an ordinary, old man.

He sold his house in his ordinary town and bought a little ordinary cottage towards the north out in the country. He had a table and chairs. He had a lamp. He had bookshelves. He had bookshelves in every room on every wall, floor to ceiling.

Every morning the ordinary old man would take the bus into the big city and visit all the libraries to buy the old books they didn’t want. Since the book dragon had come, it had become fashionable to get rid of books. There were lots of people who didn’t like books.

The book dragon went to the library. Even the library threw old, unwanted books into their big dumpster. The big green dumpster behind the library had a picture of a smiling book dragon on the front.

The book dragon loved that dumpster.

The ordinary old man with the white hair and the long white beard would visit all the thrift stores and buy books. He would buy all the books he could carry. Almost single handedly he fought the influence of the book dragon.

The ordinary old man would visit all the shops in town that sold books. He would buy all the books that people no longer wanted, all the books he could carry home.

Every morning and every evening the old, ordinary man would read his books and think about his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and cousins.

He would send them all books. He would put a dollar in every book he sent to his relatives. They hardly every thanked him. He wondered if they ever read the books but he knew they liked dollars. He knew his grandchildren would always remember there was treasure inside of a book. Even if they took the dollar and gave the book away or put it out in the musty shed instead of on a proper bookshelf, that was alright.

The old ordinary man knew his family would know, at least in a small way, that there was treasure inside the pages of a book.

Sometimes the old, lonely, ordinary man would make new friends. If they were young, they would become his ‘e’ grandchildren, his ‘extra’ grandchildren and the old, ordinary man would add them to his book-sending list.

The old, lonely, ordinary man sent lots of books.

One day he would go to town on the bus and buy books. The next day he would go to the post office and send books.

His hair became whiter. His beard grew longer. Because he was retired and an old, ordinary, lonely man he became rounder.

Every year he would get rounder and rounder.

Every year he would send more books.

Every year his beard would get whiter and longer and he would buy and send more books and become shorter and rounder.

The ordinary, old, round man was happy reading books. He was happy thinking about the things he had read. He was happy reading the words that women and men had written in the distant past. He loved to think. He loved to read the things people had written. He loved to read what people had thought on the inside of their thinker.

The old, ordinary, round man never watched television. He hadn’t watched the news or weather in fifty years. He preferred to read and think.

The old ordinary man didn’t want his thinker filled with meaningless visual images and conflicting emotions. He wanted to reserve his thinker for thinking.

Chapter Eight   The Northern Visitor

Then one day there was a knock at the old, ordinary, round man’s door. A man was there. He was a short man, shorter than the ordinary, old man. The visitor at the door had clear, friendly eyes and he looked at the old, ordinary man with kindness.

He asked if the old, ordinary man would like a job, an important job.

What was the job, the ordinary man asked.

You’ll be traveling all over the world gathering books and giving books to children and their families.

I’m an old man, he said. I’m an ordinary, old man. How can I possible travel the world giving away books.

The visitor looked at the old man with affection. You have been giving away books for many years. You are good at acquiring books and giving them away. You are not selfish. You give away dollars to everyone. There are children all over the world who would love to read books. We have a job for a person just like you.

I think about that sometimes, the old, ordinary man said to his visitor standing in the doorway. I wonder what is going to happen when all the children stop reading and only stare at the television and quit using their thinker and become like the animals.

We think about those things, too, the short man at the door said to the ordinary, old man. You are the person we want. You can be trusted. You care about children and what goes into their minds. You know the value of books.

The old, ordinary, round man with the long white hair and the long white beard smiled. He liked the idea the short man at the door was putting into his thinker.

He cared about what was going into children’s thinkers and what was not going into their thinkers. He cared. He cared a great deal.

We want to give you even more power to give books and help those young thinkers grow into the literate, happy adults you wish them to be. We want to help you stop the advance of the treacherous book dragon.

What will I be required to do?

You will leave here.

I must leave my house? The old man asked.

Yes, you will be required to leave this cottage. You will be given another residence conducive to the distribution of books to promote the growth of thinking in children.

Where will I go?

If you decide to do this work, you’ll be taken to a place where you can continue the work you are doing now, the work you love. You will be given helpers, many helpers. You will be able to give away many more books than you can imagine.

I would like that, the old, ordinary, round man said. I would like that more than I can say.

Books are a gift, the man at the door said. You understand the value of books as no other. You are to be given this gift because you understand giving. The only thing one can ever keep is that which one gives away. You have understood that for many years. You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.

I understand, the old, round, ordinary man with the white hair and long white beard said, but I’m worried about the book dragon. He seems to be getting stronger. I’m afraid.

I wouldn’t be too afraid of the book dragon, if I were you, the short man at the door said. The pendulum will swing. There are powers much stronger than that evil black thing with his cold blood.

Should I hope?

Of course you should hope. Books will live. You shall live. Your mind and your thoughts shall live. The pendulum will swing. Be not afraid.

I believe you. I’m ready. Where shall I go to begin this work?

North.

The End

 

Written by: Barney Beard for his grandchildren

All my books are available on Amazon-Click Here.

If you want to receive, “Letters To My Grandchildren” in your email, click the icon that says ‘follow’.  Then type in your email address and every time I write a new blog it will come straight to you.

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Copyright 2019 by Barney Beard.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Horatio Nelson…Waste Not an Hour…Letters to My Grandchildren…Barney Beard

Waste Not an Hour

 

“I owe all my success in life to having been always a quarter of an hour before my time.” Horatio Nelson

 

I was introduced to the writings of C.S. Forester by my father when I was a freshman in high school. The Gun, The African Queen, The Good Shepherd, The General and my favorite, the Hornblower saga, are just some of Mr. Forester’s books, many of which have become movies.

The eleven volume Hornblower saga follows the naval career of a seventeen-year-old who enters the British navy as an ensign at the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars. In the series, Mr. Forester chronicles young Hornblower’s rise through the ranks, eventually to become an admiral.

I was, and still am, fascinated by C.S. Forester’s books, although I’m not thrilled about how much I enjoyed the battle scenes.

Lord Nelson was the admiral in charge of the English fleet at the critical battle of Trafalgar which took place on 21 October 1805. The defeat of the combined Spanish and French fleet ensured Napoleon would not invade England.

Although Lord Horatio Nelson died during the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, I learned something from him that has become important in my life. Through these books by C. S. Forester, the Nelsonian mantra, ‘Waste not an hour’, has become embedded in my mind, a part of me.

Horatio Nelson, like all good sea captains, understood the changeableness of the weather.  In a single hour a fair wind may unexpectedly turn foul, causing a sailing ship to be landlocked, thus preventing the ship’s departure from harbor for days or even weeks. A wise captain will get his ship under weigh at the first possible moment to avoid being landlocked by a contrary wind.

And so it is with life. You will experience many adverse winds which will attempt to blow you off course and landlock you inside an unfavorable, disagreeable harbor, nasty winds that blow on you with the intention of thwarting your growth into the happy, industrious, literate and successful adult I wish you to be.

The sooner you learn to live by Horatio Nelson’s old adage, the more you will learn, the neater you’ll be, the more organized your mind, the more you’ll read, the more you’ll do, the greater things you’ll accomplish, the more money you’ll have in the bank, the more your friends and neighbors will trust you, the more valuable you’ll be to your employer and the better you will sleep.

Do it now, and you will manage life. Life will not manage you.

The opposite is ‘Mañana’.

Some, like fun-loving grasshopper, fiddle away their summer, daily squandering their opportunities in a carefree, self-indulgent pursuit of personal amusement.

Disregarding the wise counsel of others, fun-loving grasshoppers fiddle on, expecting summer to be eternal.

One day those benighted fiddlers wake to a cold, winter landscape. Those who live like grasshopper unexpectedly find their world covered by a white, killing frost. In that moment they realize they have wasted a lifetime of opportunities. They are unprepared, undone.

Summer has ended, winter is upon them and they are lost.

No matter how insignificant, never put off till later what you can do now.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today or your life will be like the self-serving young man, whose life and mind mirrored his apartment, small, unkept, cluttered, with a sink full of dirty dishes.

Remember C. S. Forester and Horatio Nelson. Waste not an hour.

You’ll never regret doing it now.

I love you dearly,

Your grandfather,

Barney

All my books are available on Amazon-Click Here.

If you want to receive, “Letters To My Grandchildren” in your email, click the icon that says ‘follow’.  Then type in your email address and every time I write a new blog it will come straight to you.

I write a golf instructional blog.  I tell stories there. You might enjoy them.  If want to check it out CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2019 by Barney Beard.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

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Journal Writing…Letters to my Grandchildren…Barney Beard

New Book – 366 page Writer’s Journal

I’ve written a new book. It’s a 366 page writer’s journal. As with all my writing, my primary audience is my grandchildren. In the time I have left I want to leave a useful legacy for those who follow. I want to do something to make up for misspent years watching mindless television and selfishly entertaining myself. If you go to Amazon and look at my books available there, you’ll see what I’ve been doing in the pre-dawn darkness for the last few years. The following is a letter written as a foreword to that journal which I dedicated to my eleven grandchildren. Let me know what you think.

My Dear Grandchildren,

I’ve written a book to help you write about your life. It’s called a journal. It’s a 366 page book with quotes at the top of each page written by and for writers. Under each quote the page is blank with lines to help you write.

In the olden days people bound blank paper into bundles called a book. Thoughtful folk would write on the blank pages with pen and ink to remember new ideas and record the unfolding of their lives. They wanted to remember. They didn’t have computers or keyboards. They wrote by hand. Imagine that? There’s something magical about writing on real paper with a real pen with real ink. This book is like that.

If you write on these pages, one day you, your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be able to think about your past with clarity. It’s your story. That’s cool, isn’t it? You’ll be able to communicate with them as if you were there in person.

At the beginning of each day I’ve placed a seed thought to encourage you to write. Perhaps over time those tiny ideas may germinate in your wonderful mind, take root and help you grow into a better writer, deeper thinker and help you mature into the knowledgeable, happy, literate adult I wish you to be.

I chose this quote by A.A. Milne especially for you before you begin your journal writing:

If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together,

There is something you must always remember.

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart,

I’ll always be with you.

A.A. Milne

In case you don’t remember, I want you to know I’ve always thought of you as my favorite.

Your grandfather,

Barney

xooxoxoxoxox

 

All my books on Amazon-Click Here.

If you want to receive, “Letters To My Grandchildren” in your email, click the icon that says ‘follow’.  Then type in your email address and every time I write a new blog it will come straight to you.

I write a golf instructional blog.  I tell stories there. You might enjoy them.  If want to check it out CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2019 by Barney Beard.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

 

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The Street That Goes Nowhere…The Bow Window…Imagination…Barney Beard

The Street that Goes Nowhere

 

This is one of the beginning chapters from my book, The Bow Window. I wrote it for my grandson, Jack. You would like Jack. He would like you. He’s a remarkably good boy and the smartest boy in his school and even in his state. I’m sure you would agree. Let me know what you think about this chapter from his book.

 

My beautiful bow window faces south towards our little side street that doesn’t go anywhere. That’s a silly thing to say about a street, isn’t it?

If you get on my little side street that doesn’t go anywhere and go east about fifty paces, you’ll come to another street. If you turn left there, you’ll come to a road. Turn onto that road and keep going and keep making turns and you can get anywhere in this world.

That’s the way roads are, aren’t they? Roads that don’t seem to go anywhere really go everywhere if you’re the curious sort and want to see where they go.

Books are like roads. Open the cover and begin to read. Books can take you anywhere and everywhere.

My bow window is like a road or a book. At first glance no one would think my window special. Jack and I discovered otherwise. My bow window is magical, really magical. There, I’ve said it.

Folks who don’t believe in magic have never read Mary Poppins or Peter Pan. They’ve never heard of Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, P.L. Travers, Dr. Seuss, A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter, Robert Louis Stevenson or James Barrie. Oh well. They don’t know what they’re missing, do they?

The point is, I believe my bow window is exactly like the little street in front of my house that doesn’t look like it goes anywhere when actually it goes everywhere. Would you believe that my little street that doesn’t go anywhere is the most exciting street in the world? It’s exciting because it can take me anywhere and everywhere, can’t it?

A year ago I was dull and boring. I couldn’t see past the end of my nose. Now I believe in the bow window. What caused the change? You’re about to find out.

I’ve discovered that through my bow window I can climb Mount Everest, sail the Seven Seas, live in the High Sierras or explore Alaska. Through my bow window I can travel to the moon, dive to the ocean floor, sail majestic square-riggers out of the past or travel in space ships faster than the speed of light to explore distant galaxies and their exciting new worlds.

I can pretty much do anything and go anywhere because of my bow window—past, present or future. Isn’t that amazing?

Well, if you keep reading this book, you’ll probably want to come over one morning and sit with me while I’m writing and have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with marshmallows like I do and see my bow window for yourself. You’ll soon learn that everything I’m saying is true.

A cynical person might say it’s impossible for a window to do all that. Has that skeptical person who doesn’t believe in the bow window ever watched television?

What the viewer sees on the television is staged by actors but the viewer believes it to be real. If you didn’t believe television was real, you wouldn’t watch it, would you? We don’t like fake stuff, do we? No one likes fake ice cream or fake soft drinks with artificial sugar, do they?

The bow window is different from your TV. The bow window is television in reverse. The bow window doesn’t entertain me by putting other people’s ideas into my head the way television does, of course not. The bow window takes what’s going on inside of me and brings it out. The bow window uses my own imagination and my own ideas to make things real and help me see the world in a new way. And, of course, the window wants me to write. The bow window wants me to write about what I think and what I see.

People who watch television have someone else’s imagination pumped into their brain. When you stare at the dumb television, somebody else’s ideas are going into your head.

 

The television puts things in,

It tells you what to think,

It hypnotizes and paralyzes,

It makes your brain shrink.

 

People who watch television never write about what they see or think, do they? The bow window is the opposite. The bow window takes my mind, ideas and imagination and makes me bigger, brighter and bolder. The bow window is kinda like a magnifying glass for my imagination. The bow window allows my mind and my imagination to roam the world or even the universe. That’s exciting, isn’t it?

Watching television makes you want to go to bed late and makes you tired in the morning.

When I look out my bow window and use my imagination and think, it makes me want to get up while it’s still dark and write about the adventures that come out of my own mind, exciting adventures that take me anywhere and everywhere. What could be better than that?

When you view a television program someone else uses your mind. Watching television is like allowing a stranger to hack into your computer. When a person watches television, that person becomes a passive receiver of other people’s ideas and thoughts. Over time, the television watcher’s mind becomes like an old storage unit stuffed full of someone else’s junk.

I had rather use my own mind. I’ll put my own things in my own storage unit, thank you. They don’t call the things you watch on TV ‘programs’ for nothing.

Yes, the bow window is a magical window to the universe and beyond. After you read this book, I’m sure you’ll agree. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Excerpt from The Bow Window, by Barney Beard–Click Here

 

All my books are on Amazon-Click Here.

If you want to receive, “Letters To My Grandchildren” in your email, click the icon that says ‘follow’.  Then type in your email address and every time I write a new blog it will immediately come straight to you.

I write a golf instructional blog.  I tell stories there. You might enjoy them.  If want to check it out CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2019 by Barney Beard.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

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Writer’s Journal…366 Days of Quotes by writers…Barney Beard

366 Day Writer’s Journal

 Excellent for non-grandchildren-Click Here

My Dear Grandchildren,

In the olden days people bound blank paper into bundles. They called the bundles a book. Thoughtful folk would write on the blank pages most every day with pen and ink to remember new ideas and record the unfolding of their lives. In the olden days they didn’t have computers or keyboards. Folks wrote on paper with a pen they held in their fingers. Imagine that. There’s something magical about writing on real paper with a real pen and with real ink.

This new book I’ve written for you is like that. Your new book is called a writer’s journal.

‘Journal’ comes from an Old French word which means ‘daily’. Jour is the French word for day. If you were to order lunch in a French restaurant, you might see ‘soup du jour’ on the menu. That would be ‘soup of the day’.

Go here to see your new book on Amazon: Click Here.

If you write about yourself and your life on the pages of your new book, one day you, your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to read what you have written and think about your past with clarity. It’s your story. That’s cool, isn’t it? When you’re all grown up like me, you’ll be able to read about what was in your mind when you were young. Oh, do I wish I had done more writing when I was your age. Well, there’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer like me. I suppose anyone who blooms at all is lucky, aren’t they?

In your new book, your Writer’s Journal, there are 366 pages. There’s one page for each day of the year. I’ve placed a seed thought at the top of each blank page to encourage you to write. The seed thought is a quote about writing. Many of the quotes are by famous writers. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing this book for you. I can’t tell you how important it is to think, read and write.

When you read, the writer is allowing you inside of her/his mind. The writer is inviting you in to sit in a big comfortable chair beside them in front of the fire with a nice cup of tea and listen to the deepest musing of their heart. There’s nothing like reading a book, is there? There’s nothing like writing!!!!

Perhaps over time those tiny ideas at the top of each page in your new book may find fertile soil in your mind. Those tiny seeds might germinate and take root, growing into a grand shade tree that will provide for those who wish to pause in it’s cool shadow and read because of your forethought.

Perhaps these little quotes might help you grow into a better writer, deeper thinker and help you mature into the knowledgeable, happy, literate adult I wish you to be.

I do hope you’ll write as you grow. There are ever so many things you can write about. You can write about frogs and rabbits. You can write about airplanes and trees. You can record the funny stories you hear at school. You can put together a little book of jokes and riddles. You can write stories to make you laugh or make you cry. You can write stories that will frighten your socks off or you can write stories about your best friend. I do hope you’ll write.

I have a friend down the street. JR lives at the end of my little road that doesn’t go anywhere. He is the funniest story teller you have ever listened to. When I sit with him on his back porch I laugh until my sides hurt. I must begin writing down his stories.

This is one of my favorite quotes in your new book:

I know I was writing when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that, just loafed, I suppose. P.G. Wodehouse

When you get your new book, you’ll notice I have included a beginning thought for you:

If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.

A.A. Milne

Aren’t you glad A. A. Milne decided to write? I’m so glad he did and so is Christopher Robin. I do hope you’ll write, too. Lot’s of people will be glad you did.

Oh, by the way, in case you don’t remember, I want you to know I’ve always thought of you as my favorite.

Your grandfather,

Barney

oxoxxoxoxoxoxo

All my books are on Amazon-Click Here.

If you want to receive, “Letters To My Grandchildren” in your email, click the icon that says ‘follow’.  Then type in your email address and every time I write a new blog it will immediately come straight to you.

I write a golf instructional blog.  I tell stories there. You might enjoy them.  If want to check it out CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2019 by Barney Beard.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

 

 

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An English Teacher’s Advice…Letters to My Grandchildren…by Barney Beard


An English Teacher’s Advice

I’m getting ready to publish my second volume of ‘Letters to My Grandchildren’. As I was reviewing and polishing my manuscript, I read this letter with nostalgia. I enjoyed reading my own material so much I thought I would share it with you. What do you think? Here it is:

 

My Dear Grandchildren,

I love to read real books, all kinds of books. This is a real book with paper pages, with numbers at the bottom of each page, a proper binding, a table of contents and a lovely cover. It’s a book you can hold in your hand.  I’m told it won’t be long before books like these are extinct, dead as the Dodo. I’m told it won’t be long until we’re all riding in self-driven cars and all the books we read will be digital. In the near future old-fashioned paper books like this one will only exist under a hermetically sealed glass case in the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian or the vaults of the most wealthy private collectors. My word, how things change. In any case, here is the gist of this letter to you, my dear grandchildren.

This is going to be a most unusual letter. It’s going to be a letter about a letter.

I received an anonymous email letter yesterday from a retired English teacher. The letter was one of encouragement, advice and gentle criticism in response to a post on my Letters to My Grandchildren blog.

The letter the English teacher wrote to me was responding to the letter I wrote about another letter written to me by a well-educated person being critical of my writing, which led to my discussion in my blog post of the word ‘meander’. The word meander means to wander aimlessly, like I often do both in life and in my writing.

Here’s the text of the letter I received yesterday from the well-meaning English teacher:

 

Barney,

While reading one of your golf tips online, I stumbled upon these letters to your grandchildren. Kudos for this. I did read the one about how and why you were unable to find a publisher for this book of letters to your grandchildren. I was going to offer advice, but after reading your letter about meandering, I think you are comfortable writing the way you do. If I had any additional advice, I would suggest you keep your topics condensed and succinct instead of trying to write about so many multiple ideas in one document. The letters you wrote that were focused are better, probably because you did not meander.

Signed, An English Teacher (retired)

 

I loved that letter. I decided to answer it. Here is the text of my reply sent to the retired English teacher.

 

Dear Retired English Teacher,

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to encourage me in my writing. Thanks for the time you took to share your thoughts and give advice. As I continue to write for my grandchildren, I am becoming painfully aware of my literary shortcomings. I feel like the 90 lb. weakling on the beach whose scholarly muscles can no longer be concealed under skimpy academic clothing.

Since I have begun to write, it seems never a day passes when I don’t get a little scholastic sand kicked in my face. Oh well. I love it here on the beach under my umbrella with my pad and dull pencil.

There isn’t a week goes by when I do not receive much needed advice about my muddled writing style. However, one must take into consideration that my writing is a race against time. I’m a late bloomer, a very late bloomer indeed. Winter is approaching rapidly and I have no idea when that final killing frost will arrive. On that cold morning the partially matured fruit on my skinny, struggling vine will wither and fall to the ground to once again return to the soil from whence it came.

As you can see, I must get a move on. Ready or not, here I come, pen and paper in hand. I’ll just have to do my best with the outdated Charles Atlas literary course I have and write to the best of my 90 lbs. worth of ability and ignore the learned muscle-bound bullies wandering up and down the beach.

I must confess I am thoroughly enjoying writing to my grandchildren. Sometimes I giggle uncontrollably when I consider how much pleasure I have received by writing these letters to the greatest kids in the world. To be honest, I wish I had begun writing years ago.

My daily thoughts of my grandchildren remind me of the traditional family dog. When I think of my grandchildren, the thought of them is always happy and ready to bound up into my mental lap and show me great affection at every moment of the night or day.

Therefore, if I write to my grandchildren I can be certain of a friendly, non-critical audience. None of my grandchildren have read Strunk and White and not one has a degree in English literature, at least not yet.

I try my best when I write, but it seems some unseen, nefarious influence causes my mind to meander uncontrollably when I feel those welcoming keys under my fingertips. Perhaps my writing will become more cohesive and readable as I gain experience. One would hope so. But then, how tall will a plant grow that was planted in December, suffers the deprivations of short days and has only the dim winter sun for sustenance?

Perhaps one day, if I live that long, someone who appreciates good writing will read my material and say to themselves, “My word, what a readable and concise writer he is. How well tied together are his succinct paragraphs. I do enjoy reading his books.”

To tell you the truth, I’m ashamed I didn’t begin these letters years ago when I had a stronger mind and my grandchildren were just beginning to appear. In those days I could remember appointments without a diary, recall multiple telephone numbers with ease and never forget a birthday or anniversary. If I had written then I could have given these letters much more energy and attention. Alas, we don’t always make the best of decisions and life doesn’t come to us in season, does it?

I was considering hiring a professional editor to help me get my books published and when she finished her sample editing, I felt as if I were reading someone else’s work.

I decided against hiring her as my editor. I made the decision to write and be me. I’m going to take Oscar Wilde’s advice and be myself, since everyone else is already taken. I didn’t want a ghost writer. I’m going to be a ghost soon enough, thank you. She can write for her grandchildren and I’ll write for mine. I’ll write out of my own mind and my own pool of memories, or more probably, my own meandering river of memories, as it may be in my case.

If my writing is higgledy-piggledy, then I guess that’s the way it’s going to be. I’ll just have to be jumbled and chaotic. I guess that’s who I am.

I was watching an old black and white movie starring Gary Cooper. In the movie, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, it was decided by some who knew him best, that Gary Cooper was pixelated, confused and totally unfit to make personal decisions. It was decided Mr. Cooper should be instutionalized immediately for his own good. His relatives believed they should be allowed to take care of his financial affairs, especially since he had inherited a few million dollars. Perhaps I, like Mr. Cooper, am pixelated and totally unfit to write and should be placed in a literary institution where I can learn the rules of proper composition and structure and be properly homogenized.

If my grandkids don’t like my writing because I meander, they can put my book on a high shelf in the back room and occasionally look at the spine on cleaning day and reflect that they had a grandfather who at least bothered.

I would be honored if this book should sit beside the dusty unread volumes of Samuel Clements collected essays, the complete works of Shakespeare in tiny print and two old copies of Oliver Twist and Great Expectations.

I shall have good company next to the dusty Mr. Clements and Mr. Dickens. In his day, Mr. Clements was the prince of American literature. He is now no more than an American literary footnote.

Please, forgive me. I am not comparing myself to Mark Twain, but I do hope to have a conversation with him one day after that last frost about how much fun he had writing and speaking. Perhaps the anniversary of the return of Haley’s Comet would be an appropriate day for that? I’m sure Mr. Clements is much more engaging in person than on paper.

Thank you again, sir, for taking your time to compose and send me your thoughts concerning my attempts at creative writing. I’m certain you are correct. I do meander, don’t I, and this letter proves it to the nth.

Perhaps I shall, in a day or two, take a long, hot, literary bubble-bath and spend the day at the literary spa being refreshed and get rid of that dirty old river water odor that clings to my clothing, fingers and infects my computer keyboard.

Perhaps I shall get my hair cut nicely and combed with a straight part down the middle. I’ll purchase some expensive clothing with matching shoes and socks. I’ll buy some of that wonderful fragrant literary deodorant. I will, as encouraged to do by the media, clean up my thinking and make certain none of those politically, morally and ethically incorrect words or thoughts come out of my mouth or pen ever again.

Then, when you see the new, improved and homogenized me at the mall or read me in print, I’ll be wholly indistinguishable from anyone else and will have no need whatsoever for an editor.

You are special for taking the time to write to me. I love you for it. Do it again any time you wish and I promise a response.

 

Have a wonderful day,

Sincerely,

Barney Beard

 

The above is the text of the letter I wrote back to my friend, the anonymous retired English teacher. I do love my grandchildren and I shall continue to write and share my mind with you without apology. I want you to know, I’m becoming more determined than ever to put my thoughts and memories on paper so that one rainy Sunday afternoon, when the power is off and you have nothing to do, you can reach down that old dusty volume tucked neatly next to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon and pass the time by flipping through the yellowed pages of my old book. Perhaps you’ll read a convoluted story that will make you smile and affectionally remind you of me in my demented, meandering state of mind. I love each of you dearly and think of you more and more often.

 

Your winding, circuitous, meandering grandfather who loves you,

Barney

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

 

If you want to receive, “Letters To My Grandchildren” in your email, click the icon that says ‘follow’.  Then type in your email address and every time I write a new blog it will immediately come straight to you.

I write a golf instructional blog.  I tell stories there. You might enjoy them.  If want to check it out CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2019 by Barney Beard.  All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

 

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