Tag Archives: art

New Artwork For A Saturday Morning

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New Artwork

It’s 2:27 am on a Saturday morning and while the kids and my wife are asleep I’m up finishing new art and blogging…..

For me it’s passion that keeps me awake, it’s a passion to create, and I enjoy coming up with new artwork whenever I can.

By day I’m a blogger and I have my own business, but at night after my kids are in bed, and I have some quiet time,I’m an artist, and it’s something that I’ve loved since the day when I first picked up a brush and moved some paint on a canvas, I hope I will still be passionate about art and other things like music, movies and life as I grow older.

Lately I’ve had the sneaky feeling that life is speeding by very fast. Has this ever happened to you?

Days blend into weeks, and weeks blend into months then before I know it, it’s fall again, my kids are getting older and another year is almost over.

These are all reminders that life is gift and it’s time to really focus on if I’m doing the things that I was sent to earth to do because, nobody is guaranteed any time on this earth so we better figure it out and make sure we’re heading down the right path, doing what were supposed to be doing with our lives before they are over.

Over the last couple of years I’ve had relatives die, a parent get cancer, family members moving in different directions and I realize more and more every day that I have to make the moments that I have on earth count, do the best that I can at raising my kids, be a great husband and live the life that I was meant to live all within 24 hours per day.

Sometimes it’s hard to live a full life when you have 3 children in the home and a family that needs your attention but I keep on staying dedicated to my passions because I don’t want to wake up one morning regretting that I haven’t painted or written a word in years and now I’m just too old to do it.

I’m not up until 3 am every Saturday morning because there’s some Friday nights when I’m dead tired by 11:30 pm but when everything lines up just right, and I have a little caffeine in me, I find myself creating.

Picasso once said that artists live so long because they leave their bodies outside the door and I can relate to that because when I create art or write time stands still and the hours fly by fast.

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I recently saw a great movie called “The Shift”, it’s about following your life’s purpose and realizing that if life isn’t working out the way that you thought it should then maybe you’re not living a life that’s aligned with your souls purpose. If you haven’t seen this movie yet I highly recommend it! You can watch it for free on YouTube. 🙂

Stay passionate about whatever it is that moves you and don’t give up on it!

 

 

 

 

Jeremy

 

Give Up On Your Dreams Or Keep Moving?

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When is it time for you to give up on your dreams? If the answer is never, you would be right…..

Over 20 years ago I fell in love with artwork and my passion for it has continued all these years later in spite of getting married, starting a business and having 3 children. Thankfully I still find time to create new artwork, even if it’s a night of drawing, because it’s important to me, and I can’t think of giving up on it in favor of just wasting time.

How do I do it? I find time to create when I could be doing other things like watching TV, or maybe playing a game on the computer. Not that I don’t love computer games, because I also am a Half Life fan, but for me art is more important to me than movies, TV and games especially as I grow older because I have the desire to spend my time doing things that really matter to me.

Sadly, I know many people who have given up on their dreams, including my old friend and mentor Joe who no longer paints and has settled into a life of just surviving. 

What’s your passion? Find time to keep it alive. Don’t settle for just existing, especially if people tell you that your life has to be the way it is. Keep it going, you will find time for it in spite of how busy your life is. 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Passion For Art Doesn’t Die

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Fish School

Fish School

It’s 3:00 am on Saturday morning and after creating a new painting, I’m still awake buzzing with energy, creative energy that is. 🙂

Since turning 40 in May I’ve stayed productive and continued creating art in spite of growing kids, a great marriage and a good business because I love art and wouldn’t have the heart to stop painting or drawing no matter how old I get.

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For me art literally is a form of time travel because I still feel the same inside like I did at 18 anytime I create art and now that I’m 40 I want to create even more but where does a busy dad with responsibilities fit the time to create art in?

The answer is to create smaller paintings and lately I’ve been knocking out art 8 1/2 x 11 in size, mostly on paper and it’s going great. I’ve even done some work in crayon too and had a great time.

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Where to from here? Hopefully soon I can show a few paintings in a gallery somewhere and maybe even sell a few, who knows?

 

Living on the edge

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During my first month at Cashwave I worked hard and was hopeful that my job at Cashwave would last for more than a year and slowly became optimistic that I would be able to get financially stable enough to have a social life and invest money into my art and start selling the artwork I had made over the previous years.

My job at Cashwave was very easy, all I was required to do every day was call businesses in the area where Cashwave ATM’s were located and sell them low cost advertising that appeared on the ATM screen when the customer transaction was being processed and on the ATM receipt after the customer finished their transaction. It was an easy sell and I quickly caught on and became very successful at it.

I enjoyed making easy money at Cashwave and looked forward to going to work every day when one day the easy money stopped and the company future didn’t look very bright. 

I arrived for work one morning to find all of the employees up in the conference room for an emergency meeting that Andy had called. Everyone was over anxious because Andy hadn’t heard from or seen Andy in weeks and we weren’t sure why he called the meeting and what his important news was going to be.

Andy arrived to the meeting looking tired and more worn out than usual and all of the employees became silent with dread as we sensed that he had bad news to tell us.

“How’s everyone doing?” Andy said casually.

“Doing a lot better than you, are you sick or something?” Mike asked.

“It’s nothing that a bottle of Scotch can’t cure,” Andy said with a wry grin.

Everyone in the room laughed.

“Anyway, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I’m here to tell everyone today that Cashwave is going out of business,” Andy said.

The room fell deadly silent as the employees around the room began to contemplate Andy’s announcement and what it meant to their financial futures.

“As everyone knows after 911 Cashwave lost a lot of business due to several of our big customers going out of business and the domination of the ATM market by companies like E-Trade Financial. I’ve also lost millions in costly lawsuits and protracted litigation and my finances are severely drained.” Andy said.

“You’ve been living on the financial edge for to long now Andy. You can’t afford to keep it up much longer.” Howard, the accountant said.

“What are you saying Andy?” Mike asked.

“I’m saying that all employees of Cashwave are going to be laid off immediately until further notice,” Andy said.

“What about the ATMS that we still own? Who is going to service those machines?” Mike asked.

“I’m in the process of selling off those contracts to E-Trade so I can save what assets I have left like this office building.” Andy replied.

“What am I going to do? My husband is laid off and I can’t loose this job,” The secretary said.

“I’m so sorry. If I don’t reorganize my business now I won’t have any opportunity left to rise from the ashes in the future,” Andy said.

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Andy liked to think of himself as a mythical Phoenix that rose from the ashes after it burst into flames. This wasn’t the first time one of his business ventures had gone down in flames and it wouldn’t be the last.

The meeting continued for several more minutes as Andy answered questions from the employees until everyone was allowed to leave to clean out their desks and go home.

As I left the room Andy called Mike and Steve, the outside sales manager back into the conference room and he closed the door.

I didn’t think anything of their private meeting because I was depressed like everyone else at the prospect of losing another job and I walked back to the sales office to clean out my desk of one month and go home. I quickly cleaned out my desk and talked with Herb and Lupe about what they were going to do for work next when Mike walked back in the office looking grim and more stressed out than usual.

“Did Frank already go home?” Mike asked.

“Yeah he’s gone, it’s not like there’s anything for us to do here,” Lupe said.

“I’m sorry guys, I didn’t see this coming,” Mike said with sadness.

“What are you going to do now?” Herb asked.

“I don’t know, probably cash out all of my credit cards, sell my Corvette and spend the next 20 years on an island somewhere,” Mike said.

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“Sounds nice, can you take me with you?” Herb asked.

“I’ll send you a postcard,” Mike said.

“I can’t believe I have to find another stupid job again! I hoped that this job would at least last me for one year and it’s barely lasted me for a month,” I said.

“Well everyone, Andy asked me to close up the sales office so I got to lock things up,” Mike said.

“So you’re kicking us out too?” Lupe asked in mock surprise.

“No Lupe, it’s not like that. I love you guys.” Mike said.

“Come on guys, let’s get out of here and let Mike close up the office,” Lupe said.

As I prepared to leave the office with everyone Mike stopped me from leaving the office, closed the door and locked it.

“What’s going on Mike?” I asked, surprised.

“Jeremy, how do you feel about staying with the company for a little longer?” Mike asked.

“Doing what? We can’t sell ATM advertising anymore because Andy has sold all of the ATM’s,” I replied.

“The reason why Andy had that private meeting with Steve and I upstairs is because he’s going to start a website company and wants us to stay on and help him run it,” Mike said,

“What does that mean for me?” I asked.

“You have the most experience in the sales office with computers and the Internet, you pick up new concepts easily and I don’t think you will have any problem selling Andy’s website product,” Mike said.

“How much will the position pay?” I asked.

“Same as now except you will have the opportunity to earn more commission after the new company has been afloat for more than 90 days,” Mike said.

“Did Andy say he wanted me to be a part of the new company?” I asked.

“I’m the sales manager and can hire anyone I want.” Mike replied.

“What about Herb, Frank and Lupe? Don’t you want to keep one of them aboard because they’ve been with the company longer?” I asked.

“Jeremy, I want you because you have the youth and energy that they don’t have and most important of all you have the computer and Internet skills to help us launch the new company,” Mike said.

I sat down in my chair acting like I was seriously thinking about Mike’s offer when in reality I would jump at the chance to help start a new company.

“What do you say?” Mike inquired.

“I’ll do it if he gives me a raise to $13.00 per hour plus commission,” I said.

“You’ve only been with the company for over a month, you can’t ask for a raise already,” Mike said.

“It’s a new company and it’s going to require a lot of time and commitment,” I replied, smugly.

“Alright, alright I’ll talk to Andy and make sure he gives you a pay raise to $13.00 per hour plus commission,” Mike said.

I got up and shook Mike’s hand with a big smile on my face.

“If you use half the skills that you used to work me over for a pay raise you’re going to be very successful selling websites,” Mike said with a laugh.

“When do we get started?” I asked.

“Tomorrow morning, 8 a.m. We’re going to have a meeting in the conference room so don’t be late,” Mike said

“I won’t be late!” I said.

I put my things back in my desk and left the office unsure of what the next day would bring and was optimistic and excited at the thought of being a part of the new company and a bright future.

 Click here to read the next chapter!

 

The Journey

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Christmas arrived quickly for me and on what was supposed to be one of the most wonderful times of the year; I was worried sick about the journey that awaited me. The planning and all of the little details involved took weeks to finalize, and as my relatives and friends learned about my plan I gained wide spread support especially after everyone learned the true about who Becky’s father really was and how he treated her.

On Christmas morning my parents drove me to the airport, gave me hugs and kisses, and watched me board the plane. And as I traversed the terminal I mentally went through every last detail of my trip and prepared myself emotionally for what it would be like once Becky and I would finally be together as husband and wife.

It had now weeks since we had spent real time together and yet I could still remember what it felt like to hold her hand in mine, to smell the scent of her hair as she sat next to me, to look into her eyes and have her know my desire for her without saying it. It was those things about her that kept me going during the long weeks that had passed since we were last separated. and it was every other thing about her that made me hunger to return to her once again.

The plane ride to Portland, Oregon only, lasted a couple of hours and before I knew it, I was searching for the next gate where I would sit and wait once again before boarding another small airplane that would take me to a small county airport in La Grande, Oregon, which was very close to Becky’s home.

I felt like a spy on a secret mission to retrieve a priceless jewel from my enemy.

I was on a long journey to an unfamiliar city where I had to navigate my way in the dead of winter through snow and ice to rescue my wife from her vengeful father. By 3 p.m. the next plane was ready for me and the other passengers. We boarded the plane and sat there for a few minutes before the pilots voice announced on the intercom that our plane would be delayed for one hour because of snow and ice. We would stay on the plane and wait it out, hoping that the plane wouldn’t be grounded for the night. I began to grow nervous.

We waited on the plane until 4 p.m. when the pilot announced that the weather had cleared and he’d been given go ahead to fly. I began to relax and wondered about what I would have for dinner that night.

The plane took off. It felt like it was flying smoothly for a few minutes when it began to shake and the pilot advised us to buckle up due to turbulence.

“Shit!” One of the passengers next to me said.

I started to freak out and pictured the plane crashing into a small field, with my parents learning about it the next morning from an early phone call from the F.A.A.

“This can’t be happening!” I thought as the plane was tossed back and forth like a flimsy trashcan.

The other passengers on the plane were also visibly shaken and holding hands. Some were even saying prayers when the pilot’s voice came on the intercom again.

“Folks, as you can see, we’ve hit some bad weather this afternoon and will have to divert to Washington for the night.”

“No shit!” Said the passenger sitting next to me.

“Please keep your seat belts buckled because we will be landing in a few minutes.”

Washington?

After more shaking and rolling, the plane finally touched down in Washington. We exited the plane and were greeted by a heavy snowstorm that blanketed the area with snow and ice. I walked inside the terminal with the other passengers and stopped to look out of the windows facing the runway. There were dozens of other planes that were grounded by the heavy winter storm. When the pilots and flight attendants walked into the terminal I went over to ask them if they thought we would be able to fly to Oregon the next day.

“I don’t think so, sir. The weather report is saying that this is the worst winter storm up here in 20 years.”

“We might be grounded tomorrow,” The pilot said.

My plans were falling apart, again.


Feeling depressed, I went to look for my bags unsure of my next move. Airports were typically happy places for me, full of people eagerly coming and going to different destinations and cities but on that afternoon, the airport in Washington was full of displaced people who all had a glazed-over look in their eyes as they sat around waiting for welcomed news of departures. After searching and grabbing for my bags I found a corner of the airport and decided to lie down and rest. It was going to be a long night. So I accepted my fate and fell asleep.

I slept for a few minutes when someone started to shake me awake. “Son, you better get up.”

I opened my eyes and was greeted by an elderly looking cowboy who was holding his hand out to help me up.

“The airlines chartered a bus to take everyone to the hotel up the street where we can stay for the night,” He said.

I got up, rubbed my eyes and remembered that it wasn’t a dream, and that I was really one 1,000 away from home in the middle of nowhere.

“You look like a man on a mission,” The man said.

“You’re right.” I said.

“I can always judge a man by the look in his eyes,” he said.

“My name’s Angel Johnson,” he said as he positioned his hand for a handshake.

“My mother named me Angel in the hopes that I would stay out of trouble as a kid, he said, laughing.

Angel looked like the classic 1970’s T.V. character, “McCloud”. He was dressed in faded blue jeans, rough-looking boots, a long winter jacket, and a cowboy hat.

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“Let me help you with your bags,” Angel said.

“Thank you,” I said, feeling at ease.

“Where you heading?” Angel asked.

“Lostine, Oregon. My plane was supposed to land in an airport in La Grande, Oregon, but it was diverted here because of this winter storm,” I said.

“You have family in Lostine?” Angel asked.

“Yes,” I said.

What I didn’t tell him was that I was on a secret mission to save my wife from the hands of her psycho parents who forced her to accompany them.

“So you’re far away from home?” Angel asked.

“Yes. I’m from California.” I said.

“How about you?” I asked.

“I’m from La Grande, Oregon.”

“I’m heading back from a yearly fishing trip that I go on with old friends,” Angel said.

We walked over to the bus that was waiting for us and were driven to the hotel that was conveniently right up the street from the airport. Once we arrived at the hotel I was feeling more exhausted than ever, and walked over to the front desk and paid for a room for the night. As I walked to my room, Angel came up behind me pulling his luggage and said, “Son, the hotel manager just informed everyone that the airline is going to make another attempt to fly to Bend tomorrow, so everyone is supposed to meet at the front desk by 7 a.m. for our 8 a.m. flight.”

“That’s great news!” I said.

“Just thought I’d let you know,” Angel said as he opened his door.

“See you tomorrow!” He said.

I found my room and once inside, called my parents to brief them on where I was and what had happened that day.

“What’s the weather like at home?” I asked as I looked out the window at the heavily falling snow landing outside.

“Santa Ana, It was 80 degrees in the shade today,” my dad said.

“Save some warm weather for me, okay?” I asked.

“You got it. See you soon, son,” my dad said.

I hung up the phone and wanted to go home that night, but instead, I stuck to my plan and kept assuring myself that it was going to work.

The next morning, I woke up early, showered, and ate breakfast in the hotel lobby. I went over the remaining details of the trip in my head.

Step 1 – Arrive in La Grande, Oregon.

Step 2 – Drive to Lostine, Oregon.

Step 3 – Arrange a meeting point with Becky.

Step 4 – Get Becky and drive like a madman back to the airport to wait for the flight back to San Diego.

“It’s going to work, it’s going to work,” I kept telling myself.

After I finished breakfast, I went over to the hotel lobby, checked out, and was greeted by my new friend, Angel.

“Mornin, I thought you might need this,” Angel said as he handed me a large cup of coffee to go from the hotels restaurant.

“You read my mind,” I said, smiling.

As we sat there talking, the other passengers from the night before began to walk up to the check out counter. Everyone waited anxiously for the bus to arrive and take us back to the airport. Angel and I chatted with ease like two old friends about everything, from bass fishing and country music, to politics and religion, when the bus arrived and we boarded it with the other passengers and to head back to the airport.

“Looks like were on our way now.” Angel said.

“Thank God,” I said in relief.

The bus quickly drove us through the deserted streets and made it back to the airport in minutes. I looked out at the town, wondering where everyone was.

“It’s Christmas day. Nobody will be out today especially in this weather.” Angel said.

“It sure is cold,” I said.

“Bet it’s not like this in San Diego,” he then said.

“How’d you know I’m from San Diego?” I asked, feeling like Angel knew everything about me.

Angel smiled and said, “We better get goin.”

We walked into the airport and were greeted by dozens of angry passengers who were shouting and screaming at airline officials.

“Damn! I’ve got a business meeting today at 3 p.m.,” a businessman said.

“I have to get home to feed my dog,” and elderly woman declared.

“You bastards are always screwing us around,” claimed a young snowboarder.

“Yeah, man, typical bullshit from the Man!” said another snowboarder.

“Screw it bro, let’s go find a bar and get drunk!” another  snowboarder said.

“Must have beer!” They all said in unison as they went looking for the airport lounge.

“I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen, but the airline has informed us that there won’t be any planes coming or going for the next few hours because of ice on the runway,” the airline official said. “For those of you who can’t wait, we have car rental facilities inside the airport that can rent you a car for anywhere you need to go. For those of you who are going to stay and wait you will find our facilities comfortable. We have a Starbucks and McDonald’s in the terminal.”

“When is the earliest that we can get in the air?” I asked the airline rep.

“Probably not until 3 p.m. today,” he said.

That would screw up my plans and I wouldn’t be able to get to Becky’s in time.

“But that’s hours from now!” I exclaimed.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he said as he squirmed out of my way.

“I’m never going to get to Oregon,” I said.

Suddenly, Angel appeared out of nowhere and said, “Looks like everyone is in the same boat.”

“No kidding,” I said.

“I got an idea. Why don’t you and me rent ourselves a car and you can drop me off in La Grande on your way to Lostine, Oregon. I’ve got plenty of cash and can pay for half of it,” He said.

I thought about it for a minute and once again, my overactive imagination pictured Angel murdering me and dumping me on the side of a country road.

I was prepared to say no, but realized that he was probably a lot older than my dad was and couldn’t possibly pull a fast one on me. Besides, I was out in the middle of nowhere, with no friends or family, and decided that having Angel, as my travel companion and guide on this trip was probably the best decision I could make.

“That sounds like a great idea to me,” gleefully.

“Good, because I sure don’t feel like hitch-hiking my way home today,” Angel said.

We walked over to the rental counter, rented a brand-new Ford Focus and quickly got on the road. During the first few minutes in the car, Angel instructed me on how to drive in the winter weather and navigate through the completely foreign weather conditions I had never driven through. Angel really was my guide that day and made me feel completely at ease behind the wheel, even though it was snowing again outside and we continued to pass cars that had gone off the road every few miles, reminding me how dangerous the driving conditions were.

After driving for a while, I started to relax.

“What kind of hobbies do you have, Son?” Angel asked.

“I’m an artist,” I said.

Even though I said it, I didn’t really feel like one because I hadn’t painted or made anything new in over a year because of my relationship with Becky and everything that came with it.

I just didn’t have the heart to touch my art supplies or create anything new.

“An artist, huh?” Angel grinned.

“What kind of work do you do?” He asked.

I told him about my love of modern, abstract art and artists like Picasso, Matisse and Braque and how some day, I wanted to follow in their footsteps.

“Sounds like you have a lot of talent, Son.” Angel said. “Have you produced anything lately?”

I sighed and said, “no”.

“Why not?” He asked.

This gave me a natural opening to talk about my story. I talked for over an hour with my new friend and told him everything about my relationship with Becky and why I was really in Oregon.

Angel sat quietly for a minute and finally said, “son, I got one question for you. Why the hell are you going after this girl after everything she’s done to you? Especially with all your of talents and gifts, it sounds like you can have any girl you want.

I thought it over and said, “I have to try and make it work one last time. All of my life I’ve given up on things when the going got rough and I don’t want to give up on my relationship with Becky, especially if there is any hope left,” I said.

“Well, I don’t envy you with the path you’re walking because you sound like you face a great deal of opposition from her parents and that’s not easy to deal with, especially now that you two are married. You know that what you want to do might not work out right?” He asked.

“I know,” I said.

“It might not work out,” had been one of the main topics of conversation in my family lately. Nobody wanted to see me fail and witness my hopes and dreams fall flat, even though at that particular time my dream seemed like just that: a dream.

“Can I give you a word of advice, Son?” Angel asked.

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what to expect.

“Don’t give up on your other hopes and dreams after your journey is over. Even if your plans with her don’t work out, don’t give up on your art when you get back home. God gave you those artistic gifts for a reason, and I don’t think he’d want you to waste them. Take it from a guy who’s walked in your shoes and seen it all, okay?” Angel said.

“I appreciate the advice, but I’ve got to see this journey through and give it my best shot.” I said.

“I know you do, I just don’t want you to come home a broken man if your plans here don’t work out,” he remarked.

“You sound like you’re speaking from experience,” I said.

“Son, it would take me a few days and lots of beer to tell you all of my stories. Unfortunately I can’t drink anymore and we don’t have a lot of time left together.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Look,” Angel said, pointing out the window to a sign that read, “Welcome to La Grande Oregon.”

I looked at the clock and realized that we had been on the road for hours. It was already 1 p.m. and time seemed to fly by quickly while we drove on the empty, icy roads.

“Why don’t you drop me off at the town hall? Then I can get you a map and show you how to get to Lostine,” Angel promised.

“That sounds great.”

“I can’t believe that we’ve been on the road for this long!” I said.

“Well, the Good Lord has been looking out for us,” Angel said.

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La Grande Oregon

 

La Grande, Oregon, looked like Mayberry and with the prevalent snow-capped rooftops it looked inviting to a tired homesick traveler like me. Once we found the town hall, Angel and I got out of the car and entered the warm town hall building and were greeted by friendly, cordial faces.

“Welcome to La Grande!” A girl behind a nearby desk said to me.

“Ma’am, this young man needs a map of Oregon so he can route out his trip to Lostine to see his family.”

“Well, you’re in luck! I just happen to have one right here!” The girl said.

She opened her desk drawer and pulled out a well-worn map of Oregon. She then proceeded to highlight the easiest route into Lostine. Things were now going exceptionally well and I was developing confidence in my plans once again. While she highlighted, Angel stood calmly next to me and when she was done, we thanked her and walked back outside.

 

We outside looking at the snowy day for several minutes when Angel said, “Son I better get home because I’m dogged tired and, besides you got a long drive ahead of you.”

“You want to go get some lunch or something?” I asked.

“No. I appreciate the offer, but I think it’s time we get going,” Angel said.

Once again, the kind old cowboy and I shook hands like old friends.

“Son, it was great meeting you. Don’t forget what I said about not giving up on your goals or dreams if your plan doesn’t work out okay?”

“I promise,” I said.

“And if I’m ever back here, I promise that I will look you up and take you out for a steak,” I said.

Angel chuckled and said; “I’d take you up on your offer if my doctor would let me eat red meat. Those hippie doctors won’t let old folks like me touch that stuff anymore.”

We laughed and stood there for a few more seconds before Angel said, “You better get goin.”

I thanked him again and we parted ways. I walked back to the car while Angel started up the street towards the direction of an old hotel in town. I got into the car, rolled down the window, and looked up the street for him, but he was gone. “Thanks again Angel,” I said into the wind and continued on my way.

The drive into Oregon could have been a lot worse if I didn’t have an experienced traveler like Angel to guide me on the roads, and give comfort to me after I told him my story.

I was in La Grande, Oregon, only a few hours away from my wife, a few miles away from seeing her again. I was getting excited, so I raced along the snowy roads anticipating our reunion.

En route to Lostine I drove through the remaining little towns with ease until I finally reached Becky’s new home. The town wasn’t much to look at. With no major stores, buildings, developments, stoplights, or civilization around for miles, I could see why this town appealed to her father’s nature. He didn’t move his family up here because of the great weather and atmosphere. Fred moved his family to Lostine because he wanted to hide them from the real world, keeping them locked up in his own little world until the day he died.

Nobody knew who he was, people would easily fall for his deception, and neighbors would welcome him into their lives, appointing him their new religious leader. I pitied the people in this town and couldn’t wait to get Becky and leave immediately. I was already sick of the constant snow, cold, and steel grey skies. I wanted to see sunshine again; I wanted to get back to the blue skies and warm weather of San Diego with my wife by my side.

Once I pulled into town, I drove around for a few minutes and surveyed the scene to make sure that I knew all the towns’ roads and was familiar with the major intersections. I knew that if Becky’s family saw me outside their house, they would call the police to arrest me. Or even chase after Becky and I in the rental car. I didn’t want either scenario to happen and prepared myself emotionally for whatever was in store for me.

I found the old, beat-up house where Becky’s family now lived and slowly drove past her kitchen window, catching a glimpse of her inside doing the dishes. It was around 3 p.m. and I knew that her parents had asked Becky and her other sister to get things ready for dinner at 5 p.m. As I drove past her window, I waved, turned a corner, parked the car up the street from her house and waited. After a few minutes, she slowly came out of her house, walked up to my car, and got inside. She wasn’t excited to see me.

There wasn’t a passionate embrace or speedy exit like in the movies. Becky was indecisive again and giving me the cold shoulder. I grabbed her and kissed her, but she was like kissing a cold fish.

“Are you ready to go?” I asked, sensing what she was thinking.

“Becky? Hello?” I said, waving my hand in front of her face.

She just sat there, thinking over what to say.

“Jeremy, I don’t know if this was the right idea,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“We broke my parent’s laws and God’s laws.” She said.

“Becky, I’ve just come 1,000 miles to get you because you asked me to. We’ve had this conversation again and again about what the right decision is, but the question isn’t what your parents want, it’s what you want. What do you want, Becky? The dream we had is now a reality and we can make it happen if you leave with me right now.” I said.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Becky kept saying, acting like she was doped up.

“Becky, what’s wrong with you?” You begged me to come and rescue you, and now that I’m here, you don’t want to go?” I said.

“I’m sorry, Jeremy,” she said.

“I’m sorry to,” I said.

“Can you give me until tomorrow?” She asked.

I laughed and said, “What’s a few more hours going to do? If your mind is already made up, I can’t change it for you in a few hours,” I said.

She looked at me clearly and said, “I don’t have a bag ready and will need one more day to get prepared,” she said.

“Alright, if I come and get you tomorrow morning, do you promise that you will leave with me?” I asked.

“I promise,” she said.

Suddenly, Becky’s parents pulled into their driveway in their old beat up station wagon.

“Oh no!” She screamed.

We slid down into the rental car seats and waited until they went inside.

“Alright, I’ll come back for you in the morning at 6 a.m. and you better be ready!” I said.

Becky agreed and we kissed quickly, and she exited the car and ran back inside her house. The plan wasn’t working out like it was supposed to, but plans often changed. And since I was here in her town, I didn’t plan on leaving without her. Once I was certain all of her family members were inside their house, having dinner I started up the car and quickly drove away in search of a motel.

Because Lostine had no major developments and no hotels, I was forced to drive to the next town a few miles away, where I found a nasty rat trap hotel that I could stay in for the night. The room smelled like cat piss and cigarette smoke, but it was a roof over my head, and once inside, I slumped down in an old chair and immediately fell asleep for the next few hours. I awoke around 11 p.m. that night hungry because I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. I decided to get in the car and go looking for the nearest restaurant. I couldn’t find any restaurants, fast food joints, all-night gas stations or any place to buy food late at night. Evidently, Oregon shutdown early, every night at and everyone was tucked away safely in their comfy beds. I was tired, hungry and homesick.

Lostine Oregon

Lostine Oregon

 

I didn’t know what else to do that night but drive so I stepped on the gas to see how fast the rental car would go.

Since the streets were deserted and there were no stoplights or other traffic for miles I went faster and faster until the car reached 100 miles per hour. After a few miles of driving at race car speeds I slowed down and was doing about 55 miles per hour along the country roads when a police officer pulled out from nowhere with it’s lights flashing.

“Shit!” I said laughing at the situation.

Here I was racing the car at 100 miles per hour a few minutes ago, through the deserted roads of Oregon and now this cop was going to give me a speeding ticket for driving at a measly 55 miles per hour? I hated getting a ticket but laughed at the irony and rolled down my windows as the cop walked up.

“You’re out here kind of late, aren’t you?” He asked.

“Yes, sir,” I replied.

“You know how fast you were going?” He asked.

“No, I’m from out of town,” I said, ready to laugh in his face.

“Don’t get smart with me, Son, you were doing 55 in a 35 zone.”

“Officer, it’s midnight. Unless there are cows out walking the streets at night, I don’t think anyone was in danger,” I said.

“Give me your license and registration, Smart Ass,” he said.

I handed it to him and he walked back to his car, never failing to keep his spotlight flashed through my back window while he checked my license.

Finally, he returned and handed me his notepad for me to sign his ticket.

“You’ll get your ticket mailed to you in 30 days,” He smiled.

“Excuse me, Officer Johnson; is there a McDonalds in this area? Because I’m starved,” I said.

“My name is Officer Smith,” He grunted.

“I advise you to go back to wherever your hotel is and stay there before you get into more trouble,” He said.

I mock saluted him, rolled up my window and drove away, leaving him standing out in the cold. When I got back to the crappy hotel I looked at my watch and it was 1 a.m. In a few hours, I knew there would be a final resolution: she would either come with me to the airport and we would go home together, or I would leave her in Oregon and never see her again. I didn’t want to think about what would happen if she changed her mind on me again, so I tried to keep such thoughts out of my head as I drifted off to sleep.

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The phone call

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A few days after everything happened and with no word from Becky or her psycho parents I started to feel at ease once again.

A police officer served the divorce papers that her dictator mother had made her sign one afternoon and I knew that it was time to officially end this catastrophe, sign the papers, and move on.

I started to look at all the baggage in my life and realized that since Becky, I had given up on all my art, goals, talents, friends, and dreams for the sake of our relationship.

I was mad at letting a big part of myself slip away, all for her, and prepared to start chasing old dreams once again.

The week went by and I was approaching a sense of internal peace about myself when that Saturday, I heard the phone ringing early in the morning and wondered who would be calling so early on a Saturday? My mom answered the phone and after a few seconds, opened the door to tell me that I had a phone call.

“Hello?” I answered as I looked at the clock and realized that it was a mere 5 a.m.

“Jeremy? Jeremy? It’s Becky.”

“Oh nooooooo,” I thought to myself.

“I can’t talk long,” she said.

“You will never believe where I am.”

“Where?” I asked, interested.

“Utah,” she said.

I immediately awoke.

“What? Did you say Utah?”

“I thought you guys were moving to Oregon next week?” I asked.

“We were, but our plans changed the night that the police came to our house.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“After the police left, Poppa flew into a rage, accused me of shaming the family, threw me on the bed, beat me, and locked me in the closet for the entire night,” She said.

“Oh my God,” I said flabbergasted.

“The next morning, when he finally let me out of my temporary cell, my bags with the other bags, sitting on the front porch, ready to go. My father thought you were going to continue to come after me so he decided to send my mother, sisters, and I away early to avoid any further incident if you asked the police to come back again.” She said.

I couldn’t say anything because I was shocked and outraged, once again.

“Poppa was angry with me so he had my brother escort me to the car, saying that it was for my own good. He also said that I had better behave or he’d make it even worse for me” She said.

I was appalled. I wanted to go over to Fred’s house with a baseball bat and give him a Louisville Tan.

“Becky, what do you want me to do about it?” I asked.

“You served me with divorce papers a few days ago and told the police officers that night that you didn’t want to leave your house.”

“I wanted to leave, but I was afraid for my life!” She pleaded with me.

“My father was on the other side of the door, muttering threats to get me to get rid of the Police.” She said.

“What about the divorce papers?” I asked.

“My mother forced me to sign them. She had my brother there to report back to my father in case I didn’t follow through and I was afraid.” She said.

“Becky, I don’t know. You really hurt me and I don’t know if I can go after you again.” I said.

“Please, Jeremy, I still love you, I’ve been held against my will, and now that I’m a thousand miles away, the pain is just to much for me to bear,” she said.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Please, Jeremy, don’t leave me with them! If we can’t be together, I’ll kill myself,” she said.

“Becky, don’t say that!” I pleaded with her.

“I’ll do it, I’ll swallow a bunch of pills or drive our car off a mountain and it will be all over with,” she said.

“Becky, please stop!” I said.

“Jeremy, I still love you and promise to fight to make our relationship work, just like you’ve been fighting all along,” she said.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

“When do you guys get to Oregon?” I asked.

 “In two days. We plan on getting the new house set up just in time for Poppa and the boys to arrive.”

Call me stupid, dumb, or ignorant, but I couldn’t give up on our relationship until the last page had been turned and with her call I sensed that there was still hope.

“Becky, if I come to Oregon to get you, do you promise to leave with me??” I asked.

“I promise,” she said.


 

“And do you promise that once you’re back home with me, you will talk to a counselor about your problems?” I asked.

“I promise,” she said.

“Alright, Becky, I will come after you, but you better live up to your promises and your vows as my wife. Or our relationship is over, and I will give up for good,” I said.

“Jeremy, I promise to spend the rest of my life making up for what I’ve done to you. And I promise to love you as my husband. I’ve got to go because I hear my Mother coming back to our room.”

“I’ll write you with all the details and let you know our new address once we get to Oregon.” She said.

“I love you, Jeremy.”

“I love you to,” I said and then hung up the phone, realizing that I had thrown myself back into the fire once again.

Then my door opened and my mom and dad walked in, looking worried.

“Want to talk?” my dad asked.

Both of my parents were still dressed in their pajamas and looked like they hadn’t slept at all through the night.

They sat down and I, once again, told them another part of my story, starring Becky’s unstable family. They were left visibly shocked when I told them what Fred had done to his daughter.

“You should call child protective services and have him arrested,” My dad said.

“I should, except it would be his word against mine and Becky is 1,000 miles away. And she wouldn’t be able to back up her side of the story.”

Sigh.

My parents and I sat in my room for a few more minutes when finally, my mom asked.

“What are you going to do honey?”

“I have to go after her,” I said in disbelief.

“Where are they going to live?” My dad asked.

“They’re moving to a house in Oregon in a few days.”

“When do you think you will go up after her?” My dad asked.

“I think Christmas time might be my best option because Thanksgiving is too soon. By Christmas, they will be completely moved in and any action from me will be completely unexpected,” I said.

“Well, God help you, Son.”

“Fred has broken God’s laws, man’s laws, and will pay for what he’s done,” dad said.

He then looked at the clock, then at my mom, and said, “Let’s have breakfast.”

“Now? It’s only a little after Five a.m.” She said.

“I know, but won’t be able to get back to sleep now so let’s have breakfast,” he said again, smiling.

We all got up and headed to the kitchen, all the while talking about Becky’s phone call and the big journey that awaited me. In just a few weeks, I would get on a plane for Oregon and drive to her new home in the early morning hours to rescue her and bring her back to California. I didn’t know if my plans would work or if they would fail again. All I knew was that if she was still making the effort to reach out to me, then I had to give our relationship one more try. I just couldn’t bear the thought of living my life without her or leaving her under Fred’s roof.

The next few weeks, I received letters from Becky and learned more about her family’s goings on in Oregon and their struggle due to her father’s poor decisions. By Christmas day, the day of my journey, I was ready to depart on my first long-journey, alone, after the woman I love, uncertain of what awaited me.

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It wasn’t over

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The next day, I woke up, and knew that I had to pull myself together and go to work.

I felt like a semi truck had just run me over and I didn’t think I could go back to my normal, daily life after what just happened.

For the next week, I alternated between hope, grief, sadness, anger, and back to hope again.

My old friends came around and comforted me trying to pull me out of my depression but nothing worked.

The following Saturday morning, my mom opened my bedroom door and woke me up to say that Becky was on the phone and that she wanted to talk.

I ran to the phone and said, “Hello,” without quite believing that it was her.

I had tried to call her every day over the past week only to have her mother yell at me and tell me to stop calling their house.

They eventually changed their number.

“Becky?” I said.

“It’s me, they finally let me out of the house to go shopping and I drove to the first pay phone I could find. Becky said.

“Becky, I didn’t mean for any of this to happen!” I exclaimed.

“I know. That’s why I didn’t want you to talk with my father, because I knew what he would do,” She said.

 “That night, after everything happened, we had a family meeting to discuss what had happened and my father said that you’re evil; a deceiver who only wanted to marry me with the ulterior motive of taking me away from them.”

“That’s not true! I told you many times what my plans were and I promised your parents that I had honorable intentions. I said.

“They have my brothers on the lookout for you, and told them to beat you up, if you get to close to the house,” she said.

I couldn’t believe it.

Two weeks previous, her parents and siblings were my close friends and now, they were my arch enemies ready to hurt me if I tried to rescue Becky from them.

“Whom do you believe, Becky? Them or me?”

“Tell me to go away and I will leave you alone, and never speak to you again. You know I never wanted to hurt you.” I said.

“Of course I believe you,” She replied.

“Do you still love me?” she asked

“Yes,” I said.

Even though I knew that her family was seriously screwed up and that her father was an absolute psycho, I still loved her and was prepared to fight for her.

“So, what do we do now?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said with a sigh.

“Becky, we have to talk face to face.” I said.

“I know,” She replied.

“I can’t call you, and you can’t call me from your house, so how can we communicate?” I asked.

“Letters,” She said.

“You know the bird of paradise plant under the garage door window?” she asked.

“I remember,” I said.

“Every morning, I get up before everyone else and do chores around the house.”

“I will leave you a letter buried under the rock next to that plant.”

“When can I get it?” I asked.

“At night because it’s too dangerous for you now that they are on the lookout for you,” she said.

“You better not come until at least 1 a.m. when everyone is asleep.”

“In my letter, I will let you know when we can meet and talk.”

“I will leave the first letter for you tomorrow and you can pick it up by 1 a.m. Monday morning. I better get back home before they send someone after me.” She said.

“Becky why don’t you just run away?” I asked.

“Because, my little brother and sister need me and if I run away, my parents will find me.’ She said.

“Becky, I still love you and I’ll fight for you,” I said.

“I still love you too,” she said right before she said goodbye and hung up the phone.

After our conversation, I felt renewed.

I could get her back; our relationship still stood a chance even though I would have to fight for her.

I was ready for the fight and suddenly, I felt like I was preparing myself for battle.

I told my parents what happened and they tried to talk me out of pursuing her, but seeing that I wasn’t going to back down they told me that they supported me.

The next day, Sunday, I was filled with nervous energy as I planned out my moves to retrieve her letter by 1 a.m. Monday morning.

I couldn’t do anything but think about what awaited me in the early morning hours of Monday, I pictured her father running out of the house with a gun, or her brothers holding me down while her father beat the “evil spirits” out of me.

The hours flew by until it was finally the clock struck midnight and I drove to her house to pick up her letter by 1 a.m.

Once I got there, I parked far up the street and ran to her house, dressed in black.

I made it to her darkened house and ran up to her garage and dug next to the bird of paradise plant, and found her letter buried right where she said it was.

Success!

Suddenly somebody coughed inside the house and the garage lights came on, lighting up the area where I was hiding as if her father, the warden knew what I was doing and was coming out to stop me.

I didn’t wait around to say hello and ran like hell.

I felt like I was a jewel thief, running from museum security.

I got into my car, stepped on the gas, and floored it until I was out of the area. Once I calmed down, I pulled over to a gas station and began to read what her letter had to say.

It was chaos in her house.

After my blowout with her father, everyone there was on edge and her father didn’t trust anyone on the outside anymore. Her letter also said that they had to drug her and tie her down after I left because she couldn’t stop crying and trying to run away from them. She wanted to see me and suggested that we meet Friday morning to talk about what to do.

She said that she could meet me in my car a few blocks away by a school at 6 a.m. as she was going on her morning walk.

If I agreed to the plan, she asked me to write her back and leave my letter in the same spot the following morning.

When I got home, I immediately sat down and wrote my letter to her, agreeing to meet her early Friday morning to talk about what to do.

 My parents thought I was crazy to pursue her after what her father did to me, but they could see that I was still in love and knew they couldn’t stop me, so they continued their support.

Early the next morning, I took my reply letter to her house and buried it in the same spot.

In a few days, we would meet again.

It had been almost three weeks since we last held each other.

Before that we had never been apart for more than a few days. I couldn’t wait to see her again, hold her in my arms, comfort her, and plan for the future.

What were we going to do?

I knew that I still wanted to marry her, but since her parents now hated me, that couldn’t happen like we planned.

I also knew that her parents had found a home in Oregon and planed to move in a few weeks and they would take Becky with them and any opportunities for us to be together.

Was I making the right decisions?

Was it really worth it?

Why couldn’t I just walk away?

What would her parents do to her if they found out?

These questions raced around in my mind as I thought about what I was going to say to her on Friday, and what I would recommend that we do.

I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was prepared to do everything I could do to make it work. Because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone else but her.

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The good times and the bad

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Falling in love for the first time with a young, passionate woman who loved me back was a wonderful, new phase of my life.

Before falling in love, I constantly witnessed the closeness of couples around me on a regular basis but I never understood what they had.

But when it finally happened, I at last understood what it was all about. And I gave myself to it completely.

During the first few months of our relationship, we were white hot lovers who couldn’t bear to spend one moment apart; the yearning for each other was just too much to bear.

She was my North Star and every night after work, I followed her warm light home.

We even wrote letters to one another on days we couldn’t see each other, and our relationship blossomed more than ever.

Then came another big change.

My parents decided that they were ready to move from our home of 13 years in Spring Valley to a smaller, cozier home in nearby Chula Vista. It was closer to my dad’s job and was conclusive to taking care of my Grandma Hyatt, who was in her early 80’s and ready to leave the responsibility of her old home and move in with them.

I loved living in our house in Spring Valley because I had grown up there and it was the only home I had ever known.

That house was where I developed my love for gardening from our large flower garden, developed my passion for art from the wonderful sunsets I watched from our patio and fed my desire for knowledge in my room, my safe haven, I had known and loved since childhood.

It was extremely hard to leave for another home, in a different area, away from everything I knew and loved.

On my final night there, as we packed the final box and drove away from the cold dark shell that was our old house, my Mom and I cried because it was almost as if, symbolically one phase of life was closing, and another was opening.

But it didn’t take long to move beyond the sadness of moving from my old house and old life, to a new house and a new life because of my engagement to Becky and future wedding.

By this time I had already told my parents that I loved Becky and that we wanted to get married. They supported me in anything I did and told me that they were eager to welcome her into the family.

Our wedding plans sped up quickly as Becky and her mother were making wedding plans, trying on wedding dresses, contacting caterers, sending out invitations, making travel plans with relatives while all I had to do was buy the rings, rent a tux and show up for the ceremony.

Every day, the first things I was asked from Becky and her mother when I went over to her house was what I thought about this cake and that cake, how many people I wanted to invite and did I rent a tux?

I quickly realized that Becky, like most young women, had planned for her wedding all of her life and she wanted every detail like the flowers, brides maids gowns, wedding dress and cake to be very special.

I was ready for marriage but at the same time began to feel rushed by her parents who were pushing for an early wedding, even though I originally wanted for us to be engaged for one year.

Her parent’s philosophy was, “If two people really love each other, why should they wait to get married when God wants them to be together?”

When we got engaged I wanted our engagement to be for one year because I wanted to really wanted to fell confident about my job, find an apartment and save money for our future so that I could have a life ready for her once we were together.

Her parents told us that they were married after only dating for a few short months and even though they had little to no money throughout their lives and been on the verge of homelessness at times they always had their love to keep them together.

I felt differently than her parents and wanted to make sure I was ready financially for marriage and feeling rushed into marriage became very unsettling to me.

My relationship with Becky and her family was good, but their relationship with my parents and other people in the church quickly fell apart within a few months after Fred took over as pastor of the church.

Fred, was a pastor with a very “old fashioned” world view and demanded that all aspects of life should follow the Bible. This included how women dressed, wore their hair, did their makeup, performed jobs, treated their children, and handled their family life etc. This was something that the church elders claimed they didn’t know about him before he started as pastor.

His beliefs caused everyone in the church to get upset because Fred wanted to change every aspect of the congregation’s life to follow his world view.

Fred was turning into a cult leader before my very eyes but I couldn’t see it because I was in love with his daughter. And being an idealist, I though all of the problems Fred was causing wouldn’t affect Becky and I once we were married.

How wrong I was.

I quickly realized that Becky would follow her father with blind devotion and never question him on anything. No matter how hard I tried to convince her that she could make up her own mind and do what she wanted with her life she never agreed with me.

Becky’s beliefs included sex without birth control, having many children like her mother, residing in a rural area and shunning modern society.

“That’s not what I want in life,” I told her one night when we were talking, outside, alone.

“I’m from California, my family is here and our life is going to be here. I want to live here, build a life and raise a family.” I said.

Fred was contemplating what would happen if he was forced to leave the church because of his radical beliefs and Becky wanted us to follow her parents like sheep once we were married.

She didn’t agree with my goals and ambitions and we started to fight about what each of us wanted and we explored our core values to see if they matched the vision we had for our life together.

We both had the same faith, love of God, devotion to family but she wanted the traditions her father raised her on while I craved modernity.

I almost ended our relationship a few times but she always drew me back. Then after making up with her we felt like we could conquer any barrier in our relationship if we were together.

We were in our own little world and oblivious to what Fred was doing to destroy the church and ruin people’s lives.

My parents were not happy with what Fred was doing to destroy the church and they became increasingly concerned as I spent more time with Becky at her house. They wondered if I was getting brainwashed by Fred’s way of thinking while I was deeply in love with his daughter.

I assured my parents and everyone who cared to listen that, “I’m my own man! And nobody is going to brainwash me!” Even though I said this I didn’t realize that the power of love that I had for Becky and the desire I had to be with her would make me turn my back on everything I had known and loved.

As things got worse in the church Fred and his family began to “shun” or turn their backs on members of the congregation that he was supposed to be the spiritual leader of. My parents were also “shunned” by Fred and his family because my mom and dad didn’t want to adhere to Fred’s backward way of thinking. They told me what was Fred was doing in the church, and how they were being treated by him and his family and I didn’t want to believe it.

After a few months as pastor, the elders asked Fred to leave the church because the congregation was preparing to split up and the elders didn’t want that to happen.

One night after I had dinner with his family, I was talking with Becky about our marriage plans, in her living room, when Fred came in and told us the news that he would no longer be pastor of the church.

He made it sound like he was fired from his job and left with nothing to live on, when in reality, the elders had agreed to pay him his salary for the remainder of the year, and continue to let him live in the home that they had bought for his family only a few months before, while Fred looked for work and decided what he wanted to do next.

Fred had no desire to look for work and get a real world job while he was living off the salary the church was paying him. His desire was to start his own “church” right from the comfort of his own home and hopefully attract people who believed like him.

What I didn’t realize was, now that Fred would have his own “church” and didn’t have to answer to elders or have anyone question his authority he essentially became a full blown cult leader.

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Jim Jones

 

Of course I didn’t see him as a cult leader at the time because I was in love with his daughter and my rationality was clouded so I decided to leave the only church I had ever known and follow Fred’s leadership.

This disappointed my parents because I had always followed in their footsteps and for the first time, I went in a different direction then them.

My parents, friends and relatives tried to get me to see that I was following a blatant cult leader and that I was slowly being brainwashed by him but I didn’t see it that way.

This was a scary decision for me. But it was also a very liberating one because I was making a real “grownup” decision and hoped that it was the right one to make.

Despite the tribulation surrounding us, my relationship with Becky only got more intense. I experienced first hand how trying times bring couples together. So naturally our hunger for each other became hotter than ever and we made love whenever we could be alone from her parents prying eyes.

As I fell for her more and more and became part of her family, I slowly gave up on my own dreams and artistic endeavors because I didn’t have any time for art or writing because I was always with her and I didn’t see how my artistic goals would fit in to our plans once we were married.

Becky wanted to get pregnant and have children right after we were married and I couldn’t see how I could pursue my creative goals when I would have a wife and family of my own to support.

Although our relationship was heating up our marriage plans were slowing down.

Fred’s “church” wasn’t getting any interest or support from anyone in San Diego and as his salary from his brief stint as pastor was coming to an end he and his wife began to search for homes in cheaper parts of the country. Their plans took precedence over our marriage plans and we were left in “limbo” as they decided what they wanted to do next.

The question they asked me one night was, “would Becky and I go with them if they moved to another state to start a new life?”

I didn’t want to say no to them if going with them was their only condition to letting me marry Becky so I told them that once we were married we would move with them wherever they went.

This excited Becky’s parents and drew Fred closer to me as a friend and confidant than ever before because after he lost his job as pastor at the church he had no friends in California he trusted.

As Fred’s salary from his job at the church began to dwindle and his home church drew no interest from the community he became increasingly withdrawn and manic depressive around his family.

Fred blamed my parents and everyone who was still worshiping at the church that had kicked him out for his problems and imminent financial troubles. On a nightly basis he lashed out at the world around him and called anyone evil, who didn’t agree with his way of seeing the world or teaching from the Bible.

I became increasingly alarmed with Fred’s psychotic behavior and cult leader view points and began to question the choice I was making to follow him and marry his daughter.

My inner turmoil was horrible because, every day, as I fought with my own inbred desire to be independent and free of Fred’s dominating behavior I was still deeply in love with Becky and my love for her stopped any actions to exercise my independent personality.

I wanted to stand up to Fred and tell him how I really felt about him but I also feared that if I did stand up to him he would end my relationship with Becky and forbid us from seeing each other ever again.

Even though Becky was 21 years old and I was 24, legal adults and able to make our own decisions, she was essentially “owned” by Fred and if I wanted a life with her I had to be his, “yes man” and “whipping boy” until we were married.

I thought that once Becky and I were married I would speak up for myself and not let Fred dominate me or control what Becky and I did with our lives.

My parents were deeply concerned about me and made their feelings known whenever I was around them at home. I told them that once Becky and I were married I would assert myself and we would live our own lives, separate from Fred and his family.

I wanted to be optimistic with my parents and project my usual aura of confidence around them but inwardly I didn’t believe my confidence or think that Fred would let Becky and I go, once we were married.

I knew that if I wanted to be true to myself, to be my own person and have a life with Becky, away from Fred and his dominating ways, I would have to fight for what I wanted……….

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Top Art Destinations – San Diego, CA

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Top Art Destinations – San Diego, CA

San-Diego-California

By Jeremy Raglin

As an artist I’ve had many cities and towns across the United States which have inspired me over the years but no city continues to inspire me more than my home town of San Diego, California.

San Diego is not just a “pretty” place to live since the city gets close to 365 days of sunshine per year, it’s also a great city for artists and a great destination if you’re searching for inspiration for your next paintings.

Top Art Destinations – Chicano Park

One of the first places in San Diego I became inspired as an artist is Chicano Park.

Located in the Barrio Logan area of San Diego, Chicano Park has an awesome history which has been documented by murals painted by local and nationwide artists over the last 40 years.

I first visited Chicano Park when I was in my late teens and was hooked by the artwork, colors and designs which make the highway bridges appear to be abstract sculptures.

Even though I was a white boy painting in the Barrio nobody messed with me thanks to my friend Jose Cervantes who was a legend at Chicano Park and instrumental in helping the park to become what it is today.

Balboa Park

My second great love in San Diego is Balboa Park.

I’ve been visiting here since I was a baby and know every path, tree and museum like the back of my hand.

One of my fondest memories was attending an MC Escher show at the Museum of Art with Joe Cervantes and leaving the show so inspired by Escher’s art that we drew on the sidewalk after we left the museum.

Harbor Area

Last of all, but most important, another great spot for me to paint and be inspired in San Diego is the harbor area.

I love painting down there because I can always count on a steady stream of people walking by who will take the time to express an interest in my artwork.

I’ll never forget painting down there in my early 20’s when all I wanted to do was paint and nothing else.

Like most artists in their 20’s who live in Paris I grabbed some wine, cheese and my art stuff then took the journey by trolley downtown to the waterfront where I spent the day painting a harbor scene.

To view my work visit my Instagram page here: http://instagram.com/jeremyraglin/

Hear No Evil (C) 2012 Jeremy Raglin

Click here to connect with me on Facebook

Two Years Later

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two years later

 

Shortly after showing my art at the Del Mar Fair and going to the Picasso exhibition I started seriously searching for another job and applied for a position as a plumber trainee with a plumbing and drain cleaning company in San Diego called Drain Patrol.

 

Drain Patrol promised to pay me a base salary, bonuses, and offered the opportunity for me to learn a trade that was in high demand. Best of all, I would be working normal, 9 to 5 hours every day and I could have my evenings free to work on my art and pursue a social life.

 

The decision to leave PEC and to start working at Drain Patrol wasn’t a hard one to make because I knew that after working at PEC for almost two years I would never be able to move beyond the mundane work, low pay and little opportunity for advancement that the company offered.

 

Even though I was burnt out, working for PEC I would miss the people I worked with every night and the friendships I had made with Dave and Gill. I felt that my time working there had been well spent and that I would use what I had learned from them to move my life and artistic goals and aspirations to the next level.

 

After sad good byes to Dave, Gill, Mike, Orion and the other friends I had made I started my job at Drain Patrol and was excited and energized to begin building a better life for myself.

 

Gill and Dave approved of my decision to get into plumbing and were unanimous when they said, “Shit flows downhill and the world will always need someone to clean it up.”

 

My choice to quit my job at PEC and start working for Drain Patrol didn’t pay off. I quickly regretted my decision to go into plumbing when instead of training me to be a plumber, the company sent me on every dirty, smelly, slimy job in the city doing grunt work totally unrelated to plumbing.

 

“I thought you were going to train me to be a plumber?” I asked my boss one day.

 

“Your job is better than a plumber, you’re a ‘drain cleaning technician’,” My boss said with a laugh.

 

Commercial_DrainCleaning

 

“But that wasn’t in the job description when you hired me,” I said.

 

“Why don’t you want to be a drain cleaner? It’s the best job in the world! Hasn’t anyone told you about the perks yet?” He asked.

 

“What perks?” I asked.

 

“Eighty percent of my calls are from ‘desperate housewives’ in San Diego who want a lot more than their drains unclogged, if you know what I mean.” My boss said and then stood up and demonstrated his humping action to the applause of everyone in his office.

 

I never saw the ‘perks’ of the job that my boss described, because all I was ever sent on were the hard, nasty jobs like cleaning out septic tanks or main lines in commercial buildings. And so as I spent my 23rd birthday knee deep in shit, cleaning another blocked mainline, I realized that it was time for me to move on and look for another job once again.

 

In my personal relationships, life was changing for my loved ones and I had to deal with the pain of loss.

 

My beloved grandpa Raglin’s health started going downhill quickly after his 80th birthday due to the affects of Alzheimer’s and heart problems.

 

That damn disease robbed him of his mind, his personality, freedom and the things that he loved like his classic 1960’s Buick, home in Chula Vista and freedom for he and my grandmother to live their own lives.

 

Shortly after grandpa and grandma’s 60th wedding anniversary, grandpa’s heart began to fail and with his heart failing, Alzheimer’s took the remaining pieces of his mind so that all that was left was a shell of a man who resembled my grandpa but on the inside he was already gone.

 

The doctor’s and his care provider told us to prepare for the end because his health was failing fast and we should say our goodbyes.

 

I felt so helpless during those days not being able to do anything to help this man who I loved so much.

 

During his final days we were basically on call 24-7 waiting to get the call for us to come after we learned that Grandpa had passed away.

 

Those final days were amazing because the family pulled together one last time for Grandpa and all of my relatives were in town to say goodbye to him before he passed.

 

I wanted to be there for my family as much as possible and didn’t want to miss any moments with my Grandpa before he passed away.

 

I tired to keep a positive attitude at work and with my painting but my mind was always focused on what was going on in my family.

 

The call finally came, on a warm Saturday evening in September 1998, after a perfect day of working outside in my parent’s garden and on my artwork, my Dad came downstairs to my room to tell me the news I didn’t want to hear, my Grandpa had passed away.

 

I was crushed with this loss. It was something that I had anticipated and was expecting since his health started going downhill, and even though I was expecting it, I wasn’t ready for it.

 

My dad and I got in the family car and drove to my aunt’s house where my Grandparents has been living since selling their house and car after Alzheimer’s stole their ability to take care of themselves.

 

We arrived to find a small group of family members and friends, all who had loved my grandpa dearly, sitting around my aunt’s living room, sharing tears and laughter as they remembered him.

 

My aunts hugged my dad and I before they ushered us into my grandpa’s bedroom where he lied on the bed looking peaceful, like he was only taking a nap.

 

It was the first time I experienced death up close and personal like this.

 

It was surreal, almost like a dream that I was observing but not part of. I had lost my other Grandpa when I was only 10 years old and didn’t have a chance to get to know him as a man. But with my Grandpa Raglin, I had grown up and had the privilege of getting to know this man and sharing many of my birthdays, family dinners and holidays with him.

 

It was hard being in there with him after he died. It wasn’t the same, the body was still warm, but my grandpa’s spirit was gone.

 

I cried with everyone else in the bedroom, hugged him one last time, and joined the group out in the living room.

 

There were people there that I hadn’t seen in years, like my Uncle Gary, from Michigan, a big burly man who loved to give bear hugs and tell dirty jokes.

 

“Hey Kiddo how are ya?” Uncle Gary asked as he gave me a bear hug and asked me if I had heard the joke about the two gay rabbits.

 

“Gary! Save the jokes for another time, okay? Mom is talking with the pastor about the funeral arrangements for Dad.”

 

My Aunt Susie said, smiling while trying to keep a stern look on her face.

 

“I guess I will have to tell you that one later okay? I better go sit down before I fall over. My old bones are killing me!” Uncle Gary jovially said.

 

After that, Uncle Gary went and stood with my other aunts and uncles in the doorway of my grandpa’s bedroom as they shared memories and argued about if a person should be cremated like my grandpa wanted or as they put it, “get stuck in the ground.”

 

Uncle Bob, Aunt Ramona, my Dad and I all stood in Grandpas bedroom or out in the hall voicing our opinions.

 

“I don’t care what anyone thinks. I just don’t think Dad should be cremated! It goes against what the bible says and it’s just not natural,” Aunt Ramona claimed.

 

Aunt Ramona is the organizer, businessperson, and the trooper in our family who took care of my grandpa and grandma during their final years after they couldn’t take care of themselves.

 

“Ramona, I think we should grant Dad his wish and let him rest in peace. I don’t think its right to change the last request of a dying man and mess up what he wanted,” Uncle Bob said.

 

I couldn’t help but smile at their argument. I knew Grandpa was probably shaking his head in good humor at their conversation, knowing that life would eventually go on as normal after we mourned his passing.

 

At his memorial, I really learned what type of man he was and what he meant to everyone in his life that he touched.

 

Grandpa Raglin was a simple, yet intense, man who touched many lives in different ways.

 

He was the type of guy you could count on for his helping hand, therapeutic ear, advice-giving ways or something as simple as sitting with you on your front porch to enjoy a glass of lemonade after a hot day.

 

Just knowing that he was there when needed was always a comfort. He was like the team player you could always count on to help win the game.

 

Even when he was in his early 80’s and in declining health, he still helped friends and family in any way possible.

 

I could see from the overwhelming display of emotion at his memorial service that he would be deeply missed.

 

I also learned that day what it really means to be a hero. A hero is not someone who is a celebrity or sports star; a hero is an average person who produces noteworthy results everyday in little ways that add up over time.

 

What this hero does may never be felt directly during their life because in most cases they will operate behind the scenes in a silent way but when that person is gone the void they leave behind can be felt in a very big way every day.

 

That was my Grandpa, to me, he was a real hero.

 

While my family life was changing I kept looking for the right job but couldn’t find anything that satisfied me or had any promise of long-term success.

 

I felt lost, it was like I kept hitting brick walls and couldn’t seem to find the right path.

 

In my sisters life, her marriage to my “good friend” Joe quickly fell apart. After they were married, Joe’s personality changed over night and the man that we knew and loved disappeared, and was replaced with a selfish, arrogant bastard who treated my sister like garbage on the sidewalk.

 

Their marriage fell apart when Joe agreed to participate in an art show in San Diego that was supposed to be the major vehicle to re-launch his career.

 

Once Joe agreed to participate in the art show he devoted all of his time, money and energy to the show while ignoring his new wife, not even trying to play the loving, caring husband. He looked to Becky more as a helpful assistant than his wife.

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The art show was an unorganized, pathetic disaster and since it had no publicity, attracted little to no interest from the art community nationwide and the artists in the show sold little to none of their artwork. Joe’s financial commitment to the show ended up driving him into personal bankruptcy and one day he packed up all of his belongings from the apartment that he shared with Becky and walked out, leaving her broke, penniless, and pregnant with my nephew Caleb.

 

My parents stepped in and moved Becky back home and helped her during her pregnancy and my beloved nephew, Caleb was born nine months later.

 

While I was still struggling and searching for the right job, and dealing with the changing dynamic of my family life, I fell in love for the first time, and was sucked into my own real life soap opera.

 

Her name was Becky; she was an attractive twenty one year old woman with a mane of long, curly dark hair, gorgeous body and dynamic personality.

 

She was the daughter of the new pastor of our church and had recently moved from Virginia to California with her family to begin a new life

 

Becky’s family had 12 brothers and sisters ranging in age from age one to 21. All of them, including Becky, were home-schooled by their mother, Mary and were raised with very traditional values.

 

Part of me liked the traditional values, aspect of their family, maybe because I went to public schools my whole life, and had to deal with the ups and downs of the modern school system.

 

Having just moved to California, her family felt like fishes out of water, alone and homesick.

 

Since her parents saw that their daughter and I had immediately fallen for each other, they extended a permanent invitation for me to come to their home for dinner every night and spend as much time as I wanted, getting to know Becky under their watchful eyes.

 

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Lakeside, CA

 

Since her family came from a rural part of Virginia where they bred and raised goats they continued that traditional ways in California when they moved into their new home in the county of Lakeside.

 

Every time I went to her house there was never a shortage of things for us to do together and during our first weeks together she taught me more about her traditional way of life while I brought over board games and videos for our entertainment in the evenings.

 

My love for Becky grew quickly because of a shared physical attraction, that developed quickly and also our shared interests in religion, politics, family life and the future.

 

I also became the confident and friend to her father Fred, who came to me every night with questions about California because, being from Virginia, and the new pastor, his sensibilities were challenged daily as he had to deal with how different his new home was compared to where he came from.

 

Fred, to me, became a friend and spiritual leader and I quickly began to look up to during his first few weeks in town.

 

I felt very much at home with his family and for the first time in my life, I knew what it was to be part of a big family and I enjoyed every second of it.

 

The big negative during these times was that I turned my back on my hopes, artistic dreams, and my family while I was enraptured with the first love of my life.

 

Gratefully I discovered that everything I had heard about real love was true.

 

When you fall in love with the person with whom you’re meant to be, it’s like there’s only the two of you on the planet with nobody else around.

 

Unfortunately, this also means that everything else in your life goes to out the door because you’re consumed with that other person.

 

When Becky and I first met, our eyes locked and, that was it. I was hooked and I couldn’t get away.

 

Our love also had a “soul-mate” quality to it. There was something about her that drew me to her and put my heart at ease. It was almost like I had known her 100 years ago, lost her. And finally found her again.

 

Her father, even though he had 12 children abhorred the thought of us even kissing each other before marriage because he viewed intimate, unmarried physical contact as a sin.

 

We abided to her fathers wishes, for one day, because when two people are attracted to each other it’s only a matter of time before that attraction becomes physical. We discovered each others bodies and made love in secret, behind closed doors and in the shadows, away from the watchful eyes of her parents.

 

After a very short time, I knew that I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. And nothing was going to hinder that from happening. Even though I didn’t have a good job, little money in the bank and decent car to drive, I knew that I wanted her to be my wife and I was ready to make that happen.

 

I “popped the question” one night when, after another night of dinner, conversation and fun with Becky and her family, I took her outside after everyone else had gone to bed, and asked her to marry me.

 

After wiping away her tears, she said yes, and we passionately kissed before deciding how we were going to tell her parents the news. I chose to follow tradition and officially ask her father for his Becky’s hand in marriage.

 

If was around 10:30 p.m. on a cold Monday night in February 2000 when we went into her parent’s bedroom to tell them our big news and ask her father.

 

I told Fred how I felt about his daughter by expressing my love for her and asked him for her hand in marriage.

 

He smiled and embraced me like a son, and said of course. I could marry his daughter.

 

For the rest of the night we talked excitedly with her parents, about wedding ideas and the future, and even though it was a blissful moment I had no idea that I would have to put up the fight of my life to marry her……

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