Breakfast at Daphne’s Place by B. B. Wright

Road
Breakfast at Daphne’s Place

by

B. B. Wright

“The walk down to my favorite watering hole this morning somehow doesn’t feel the same. I can see that you are concerned. Don’t be. I’m neither unwell nor unable to do this downhill trek and the more challenging return trek uphill later. As you know, I’ve been blessed with good genes and good fortune. My life has been relatively successful and unscathed by health concerns or misfortune. Sure, some may say it has more to do with blind luck and, in a way, they may be right. But, I’d like to think there’s more to it than that. I see it as having more to do with attitude and being attentive to life’s details. Yes, lineage can be and is a factor but life, I believe, is about how you deal with it and how you deal with it, in my opinion, is what makes all the difference. In other words, it’s about attitude. That’s why the adage I chose to live by is: attitude, attitude, attitude.

Still, with all that having been said, today my life has somehow changed. Not in a seismic shift sort of way—though eventually that may be the case—but through the gentle opening and closing of a door that set me in a different room. To me, life is all about entering and leaving rooms. Sometimes I would linger, sometimes I would not. However long I wanted to stay, I knew I had no choice, I had to move on. What I decided to take with me from one room into the next shaped who I became.

In reflection, I know I wasn’t always too selective or critical in my choices while in my youth; I was too preoccupied with adventure, anticipation and playing the game to win. In a cornucopia of firsts, I greedily ingested without compromise and often without thought. My cup was always half full never half empty; I always saw my cup rising to overflowing with all my dreams and possibilities that were endless and not yet realized. Time had no boundaries, only lessons and those lessons twisted my focus to a much sharper perspective and an introspective journey of self to understand the difference between wants and needs.

The air smells fresh, don’t you think? And the sun, doesn’t it feel warm against the skin? Once there was a time I was too busy to notice. Now time presses differently. I can feel it. My cup now looks half empty in the autumn of my life.

I’ll always have regrets. Heaven knows the multitude of mistakes I’ve made along the way. But even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing because that’s how I became me. It’s the history of my book. And, I can honestly say, I am okay with who I have become. Are you?

Do you see it? Look more closely. Follow along my arm to where the smoke rises. That’s Daphne’s Place. The same gang should be there or just about arriving—some for the all-day breakfast like me, others for lunch. It’s always filled with a nice cross section of ages at this time. That’s why I’ve chosen to arrive about now. Every day for twenty-years I’ve been coming. It started on this very day. I can see you’re wondering how I know that. Your mother—God rest her soul—has been gone twenty years today. That’s how I know. Yes… time does fly. Did I ever tell you that you look like her, especially around the eyes? There, now I have.

Please come in and stay awhile. Within, there are no pretenses or posturing. At least there’s none that I have ever discerned. Inside, you just are. The talk is tangible and real and the greetings are what I call unconditionally warm and huggable. It feels like home to me and goes a long way to fill the constant loneliness I have felt since your mother’s passing.

Did you know it took time for them to fully accept me? A fault more mine than theirs. Back then, I had trust and anger issues. I’ve been told that Buddha once said: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” Wise and true words to hold on to, don’t you think? Have you let go? Can you? All I can say is: ‘I’m sorry.’

I’ve waxed poetic enough for today. So what do you say? Will you linger a while? It is my birthday. And there is birthday cake waiting inside. Don’t hurry off.

Oh…I see…You’ve no time to linger? I…understand.
Thank you for coming.
Give my love to the grand-kids.
Maybe someday, you’ll make room to stay.
Don’t wait too long.
There’s much to say to each other.
It’s never too…
Maybe…Bye… son.”

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A Father to His Son

For what is a poem but a hazardous attempt at self-understanding; it is the deepest part of autobiography. -Robert Penn Warren

fathers and sonsI gave this selection of poetry to my son on the occasion of his birthday two years ago.

Words and thoughts which are so often inaccessible are made accessible through the clarity and insights of Carl Sandburg. The reader is welcomed to be part of an intimate place and time that is bridged by a father’s love for his son. It is difficult not to be honored by the invitation.

It is with great pleasure that I share this poem with you.

A Father To His Son by Carl Sandburg

A father sees his son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son?
‘Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.’
And this might stand him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum monotony
and guide him among sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
‘Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.’
And this too might serve him.
Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
The growth of a frail flower in a path up
has sometimes shattered and split a rock.
A tough will counts. So does desire.
So does a rich soft wanting.
Without rich wanting nothing arrives.
Tell him too much money has killed men
and left them dead years before burial:
the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
has twisted good enough men
sometimes into dry thwarted worms.
Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
Tell him to be a fool every so often
and to have no shame over having been a fool
yet learning something out of every folly
hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies
thus arriving at intimate understanding
of a world numbering many fools.
Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use against other people.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.