Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chapter 72 – Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

As March of 2015 comes to a close, I think about the future as well as the past. In the last month, I have visited Florida twice, one for SleuthFest in Deerfield Beach and the other a family vacation in Miramar Beach. It was a miracle the Sienna made it to the white sands of the Gulf Coast and back with the check engine light on. The van has 238,000 miles on it. Miracles and wonderment!

Jonathan missed that vacation. I miss him terribly. We haven’t seen him in person since he left for Hangzhou, China in September of 2013. That’s two of his birthdays, two Christmas/Chanukah’s, two New Year’s come and gone without him here. Yes, we are planning for the future, when my niece, Emily is getting married in L.A. and my nephew, Max and his wife, Amy, are expecting their first child. This is all supposed to happen in mid-July—the same week. Jonathan is planning to join us there and, hopefully he will decide to stay in Tennessee after that, and finish his schooling. On the other hand, he may decide to go back to China and finish things up there. Daniel will graduate high school in May with honors, and will soon be going off to college at UT Chattanooga. Morgan, our youngest, is going to be a junior in high school soon, and is well on his way to being a film editor. He is so talented—movies are his blood. You should see him do what he calls “tricking”. It is basically extreme martial arts mixed with gymnastics. He can flip (what he calls a dub) with the best of ‘em. In two years we will be empty-nesters. But, as always, the future is uncertain.
When I was at SleuthFest, I had a pitch session with an agent from ICM in New York about my new book, Champion of Lost Causes. The novel is a fictionalization of my band, Silverspoon, wrapping around another story of Blake Lilly, a talented but troubled recording engineer who looks me up on Facebook after forty years. The Blake Lilly character is based on a true story. This guy actually contacted me on Facebook. He said he listened to my music and wanted to hire me, even pay me double scale, to play guitar on some tracks for a band he was producing. I had the feeling he was blowing smoke up my wazoo, and Donna thought he had trouble with the truth. She told me to ignore the guy. It was going to lead to trouble or, at best, disappointment.
The guy would call me up and tell me to meet him at SIR rehearsal studios the next day. Just as I was getting ready to leave, he would tell me the session was canceled. This went on for weeks. Then he give me this hard luck story of how his briefcase with all of his money, ID and a very expensive microphone had been stolen. I felt bad for the guy. It seemed like he had no friends. I offered to lend him some money to get him through the hard times. I just wanted to do something altruistic—like I did when I was younger before the harsh realities of life began to beat me down. It was only a hundred bucks. I wired him the money. Two days later, he told me his roommate was going to throw his ass out on the street if he didn’t come up with another seventy-five dollars. I knew I shouldn’t have done the first hundred, but now another, seventy-five? I told him all I could do was fifty and would wire it directly to his roommate. After that he was on his own.
When I finally made it down to meet him and the band. He was a no-show. I went out to lunch with the band’s manager and some of the musicians and they told me some of this guy’s war stories. The guy finally gave up and moved back to L.A. To this day, more than a year later, I haven’t even met the guy. But he did send me a check for $170 a few months ago. I guess I guilted him into it. Unfortunately, the check didn’t clear. I called him back to tell him this and he said it was a bank error. I tried it again. It still didn’t clear. His local branch manager of Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles figured out that when the guy had changed to an interest checking account, it was a different account number. What a numb-nut. The manager finally okayed the check and I cashed it.
This led to my book. Since I never met the guy, I had to make up his backstory. That was the fun part. Since the agent at ICM passed (it only took her a week to send me a very nice rejection letter), I have decided to spruce and tighten up the novel. I met a very informed and experienced writer at SleuthFest (in fact she is one of the founding members) who is helping me to get the book in what she calls “ready for prime time” shape. Thanks, Victoria. It should be finished by summer. I hope.
So, is this going to be the final chapter of Life After Silverspoon? I’m actually not sure about that either. Life continues, and I’m sure there will be stories to convey. Jonathan’s return to America, Max and Amy’s baby, Emily and Max (yes, her fiancée’s name is also Max) wedding and who know what else. It has been a long and winding road, as Sir Paul would say, and I have enjoyed writing it (most of it anyway). I appreciate all the support along the way from readers like you, and especially my wife, Donna. She has been a saint to put up with, not only this blog, but my retelling the story of Justin Goodman, Blake Lilly and the colorful cast of characters in my newest novel. I will let everyone know when it’s finished. If it every really gets finished. Writing books is hard work.
I haven’t written a song in over a year. Maybe when the book is done, I’ll get back to it. I hope so. I miss recording, but I will have to buy a new Mac since my older workhorse finally took a dump. I hope my Protools will load up and all my files are safe on my back up.
If nothing else, my life had been interesting. I never made a million or two. I did sell a couple of songs, some to major recording artists, but never had a hit. I do have four solo CDs that I am very proud of. Now, I rarely play guitar, and when I do, it’s with my middle boy Daniel, who is extremely talented—smart too. Smart enough not to go into the music business.
I’d like to leave you all with a song.
Life is just a bowl of cherries
Don't take it serious, 
Life's too mysterious
You work, 
You save,
You worry so
But you can't take your dough 
When you go, go, go

So keep repeating "It's the berries."
The strongest oak must fall
The sweet things in life 
To you were just loaned
So how can you lose 
What you've never owned

Life is just a bowl of cherries
So live and laugh, aha! 
Laugh and love 
Live and laugh,
Laugh and love,
Live and laugh at it all!

When I look over at the face of an angel next to me in repose, the woman I had asked to share my life-book— together through each chapter, each page, each sentence, each word and even the spaces in between the words, I feel lucky, truly blessed. And my kids, Jonathan, Daniel and Morgan. I couldn’t have asked for three better sons. God, I love them all so much! I couldn’t imagine any other life as sweet. Why not end with another song? One that I wrote called Song for My Sons. It’s the last track on my Timing is Everything CD. You can also find it on my Reverb Nation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/jameswesleyhaymer

The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, it dropped straight down and hit you on the knee,
So if you want to grow up and be like me, you’ve got to learn to play your song.

I’m your dad, so take my advice, go lead yourself an honest life.
Don’t burn the candle at both ends, be good to yourself and all of your friends.

You don’t fortune, you don’t need fame, all you got to do is play the game.
Find a good partner to be your mate, give a little more back, son, then you take.

Oh, I love you so,
I take you with me wherever I go.

Find someone to be there when you’re down, and tell you the truth when there’s no one around.
So listen when she talks, at least for awhile, you’ll make it through the smiles and crying times.
Do what you love, and love what you see, and try not to live beyond your means.
Stand up for the week and keep the land free, have compassion, strength and dignity.

Oh, I love you so,
I take you with me wherever I go.

Sometimes you feel like giving up when your best shot isn’t good enough.
But remember that failures need apply only to the ones who fails to try.

This is what I’m leaving to you, you don’t need to listen, don’t need to approve.
Just do what you love, and love what you do, and let God’s true light pull you through.

I love you more than I love the sky, and all the planets passing by,
Be kind to your brothers, and treat ’em like gold,
Might be all that’s left when you get old.

Oh, I love you so,
I take you with me wherever I go.

Now I got a good home (wife) and family, I love my babies one and two and three.
And you don’t need eyes to clearly see, true love will last an eternity.

Take it for what it is, judge for yourself, but I found fortune beyond any wealth.
I eat when I’m hungry, and sleep when I’m tired, and most of the time I’m satisfied.

Oh, I love you so,
I you’ll take me with you wherever you go.

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