December 28, 2021

Of Course I Talk To Myself


Of Course I Talk To Myself 

By John R. Greenwood

It’s been three years since I released a quote emblazoned bottle back into the wild. I began my ‘bottle release program’ in February 2018. I believe this evenings release will be #9. I’m only aware of the whereabouts of one or two of the eight that I set free three years ago. 

“Of course I talk to myself. I like a good speaker, and I appreciate an intelligent audience.” 

— Dorothy Parker 

I stole the quote above from the blog of artist Austin Kleon. I felt Kleon’s own book title “Steal Like An Artist,” gave me guilt-free permission to use Dorothy’s great quote for my own personal entertainment. I highly recommend you sign up for Austin’s weekly newsletter. They show up every Friday like clockwork and I have yet to receive one that didn’t lead me to a gold mine. 

I’m not sure what the impetus was that reignited the three-year-old bottle release program. I do remember having a lot of fun doing it; especially the day I got a message from a friend of mine who lived in Clifton Park. She’d seen the photo of the bottle when I released it and recognized the location. I’m not sure where she was at the time but she later told me she was ecstatic to discover it was still perched stoically in it’s temporary home in Congress Park when she got there. 

One of my releases had to be replaced. It met an early demise when it was knocked off a table at Caffe Lena. I delivered a replica to friend Joe Deuel, who promised to “have and to hold till death do us part.”

If you’re new here and I’ve peaked your curiosity you will find a label on my blog titled “Bottle Stories.” There are a handful of similar posts related to this random act of insignificance. For some crazy reason in today’s world this somehow seems like a good way to stay sane. Or, maybe it’s proof of the opposite. Either way, a bottle will hopefully find a new loving home tonight. If you’re the lucky one, get in touch, I like to know the kids are safe and being well cared for.

Happy hunting! 

December 28, 2021

December 25, 2021

Bury The Skunk
By John R. Greenwood 

Bury the skunk is not a title you’d normally attach to a nostalgic Christmas story, but then again, normal is a word that doesn’t seem to fit anything these days. Using Christmas story to describe it is also a stretch. A better explanation is that I found this little note just a few days before Christmas 2021. I was straightening up my tool bench when I opened an old tobacco tin filled with my father’s memorabilia. The note above was folded in half and tucked in the bottom. As I unfolded it I was reminded of the day I found it under my windshield wiper at work. I had probably just returned from a twelve hour day delivering a tractor trailer full of Stewart’s product somewhere in the far reaches of New York State. I was in my forties and probably looking like they say, “rode hard and put away wet.” Dad’s health was not great at the time. He could still drive and mow the lawn on his John Deere riding mower, but digging a hole to bury a deceased yard-skunk was not something he could manage. By this point in his life he’d  realized some tasks were best left to his dutiful son. By this point in my life, I’d realized it wasn’t worth questioning dad’s requests, you simply nodded and complied. That roof over my head for the first eighteen years didn’t pay for itself. 

I don’t remember the details of the skunks demise or the funeral proceedings, but I do remember why I saved this little scrap of paper. I saved it for moments like this. Those little pauses in life where you reflect on all the tiny scraps that combined to make a life worth living. The simple joys, the tearful losses, the cherished memories that weaved a giant patchwork quilt bursting with good people and laughter. The pauses you hold dear to your heart. The ‘bury the skunk’ notes and the Pharaoh Lake fishing trips. I miss my parents. I even miss the not-so-great times that were mixed in the middle. Those are the ones that help you embrace the isn’t-life-grand moments.

I’ve been a lucky man. My Christmas shows up 24/7/365 in all shapes and sizes. As I placed dad’s little note back in the bottom of the tobacco tin I realized that sometimes burying a skunk can smell like a bed of roses.

Merry Christmas.
May your 2022 be filled with notes of joy!