What am I capable of?
I didn’t know I was capable of being more at home with dogs than with people. For about 20 years I lived with canines, exclusively. Exclusively with people after Vietnam (hmmm . . . had to open some dusty folders), six or 7 years.
I didn’t know I could travel out of the country for 3+ years, with a backpack, and stay with families in Germany, Greece, in Istanbul during Ramadan, Paris and Bali. I lived with folks in Taiwan and Perth, where I met my future wife. Didn’t know I’d make friends easily wherever I traveled.
I didn’t know I was capable of inducing a child to ask about her ethnicity. I was working on a small farm in Carnarvon, on the west coast of Australia. The farmer had hired two of us, me and a Kiwi I was traveling with. After a few days, he let my companion go. Said I was a better worker. I picked beans and other crops, ate lunch in the house and slept in the barn.
The farmer had three young children, two sons and a 6 year young blonde daughter. Whenever I grabbed lunch, the girl asked me to read a child’s picture book to her, and I did.
Was heading to eat one day and the two sons were laying under the house. One said to the other, ‘Here comes the nigger.’
In the house I made myself a sandwich. The parents had gone out. The girl bought a book and asked me to read. I was reading and stopping to ask her(S) to identify colors of objects in the book. She then asked me what my color was. I said brown. I asked her the same question. She said white. This was Western Australia, in the summer. She was darker than me, even though I had traveled in Asia a long while. We placed our arms side by side. She said, ‘I am darker than you’. I pointed to a blank page in the book. What color is this? White, she said. I got up to go into the field, just as her parents entered with another couple.
S asked her dad, ‘What color am I’? He said, ‘Honey, you’re white’. S responded, ‘I am darker than Fred. How can I be white?’ A tangible silence invaded the room. I was closing the door as he told her to go upstairs and watch TV.
A few minutes later he appeared and said, ‘Leave! You’re done here’, and so I was.
I didn’t know I was capable of initiating creative projects without taking classes or workshops first. A mentor said, ‘Fred, go write’ and I did. A friend asked what I was giving others for Christmas. I blurted out ‘chocolate truffles’ and here they are. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=324136818246&set=a.324136143246&type=3&theater
I created the first collage for my wife, after we separated, and created others, until the tremors prevented staying the course. Here is one of them. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=322209013246&set=a.322208143246&type=3&theater
Now that I sit here and reflect, I have created several projects for me and with others. I initiated the Great NW Potato Gun Shootout for men and boys, with the help of the men’s team I led.
I didn’t know I could teach ESL to kids and adults and have fun doing it.
I didn’t know I’d become one of the top sales persons at the Boxlight Corporation (telephone sales to be more precise) and wind up in the President’s Club for two consecutive years. A head-on auto collision altered that course.
I didn’t know I was capable of coming back from major injuries, mental and physical, but I have done so, several times. I had a lengthy hospital stay from getting shot in the face, during a taxi holdup. I was the driver. When I was leaving, a hospital orderly said, ‘Yo bro, we thought you died.’ I laughed. ‘Not this time.’
I have never assessed all I have done and these few notes are far from all. Even now I am culling through my personal achievements (completed with the help of others mostly) and am smilingly surprised.
OK. I have tired of this one, so it stops here.