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 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.
She asked her dad, ‘What color am I’? He said, ‘Honey, you’re white’. She 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 did that for a year in several cities
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.