It is Manners to Issue a Statement as to What I Got Out of It All

Listen to Jim’s Podcast:

or read on…


Now that I have your attention, it seems appropriate to inform you as to why I called you here in the first place.

I just realized that I as a writer have this magical ability to look before and after.

Apparently, humans may be the only animals able to do this.

The curse of being human is that I can imagine things that are not, never were and never will be. I can magnify and endlessly repeat in my imagination events that happened or did not happen, to my heart’s content. I can conjure up soothing thoughts to carry myself through harsh times. I can toss and turn and fret over things that have no significance to anyone else.

You and I are the Dreaming Animals. And our species may be alone in this ability to dream up or magnify stuff.

As the Dreaming Animal, what have I learned from life that seems to be true and wise?

1. I am travelling forward through time and cannot go back for even one minute and re-live any of what has passed. As the Dreaming Animal, I can pretend to do this. And that can be fun. And useful.

2. I am hopelessly trapped inside a pink body bag—my skin—and will spend the rest of my time incarcerated therein. As the Dreaming Animal, I can play-like this is not the case.

3. I am not in control of my destiny, whatever that is. DNA will determine my limitations. Environment will take cold and uncalculated action whether I want it to or not.

4. I am the sum total of a thousand gaffs, errors, omissions, and impulsive acts. I cannot make corrections, though here and there, I can take the opportunity to apologize for offences enacted. I have reasons for all my mistakes, but I have no excuses worthy of entertaining.

5.  I have ingested countless joys and eureka moments, countless epiphanies and realizations, countless insights and discoveries. I am grateful for these happenings and cherish them mightily.

6. I have learned that, to survive knowledge of the world’s wrongs and horrors and calamities and monstrous injustices, I must do what I can, then distract myself just enough to maintain sanity and purpose. If I do not find some exhilaration each day to control the Negatives, I won’t find the energy to do what good I can do.

That’s about it for now. I’m so happy you responded to my call and gathered to listen.

Maybe you can filch a thought or two for your own purposes. Maybe you can share a thought or two to assist me in my journey.

Let’s be Dreaming Animals together and make the most of what good there is left to do in a crazed but beautiful world


© Jim Reed 2015 A.D.

Twitter and Facebook


Way Back When We Knew More Than We Know Now

Listen to today’s podcast:

or read Jim’s story below:

Way Back When We Knew More Than We Know Now

I go fishing for books now and then. I just rev up the old bookmobile, pop open what we down here call a Soft Drink, turn on the radio, and head Thataway, never knowing what adventures will impose themselves upon me.

My routine treks among the hilly byways of rural Alabama give me time to ponder and think and reminisce and wonder.

Sometimes, I have to switch the radio off to clear my head, especially when I hear just one too many grating grammar errors. The NPR announcer says, ”The price of cigarettes have gone up.”

Is she aware that she have made a grammatical error?

Another public radio announcer constantly refers to somebody called Utha Listener, never once explaining who Utha might be.

Yet another voice pontificates, “They have just showed up.”

She’s never been showed how to use shown correctly.

I go through a train crossing, noticing that some railroad cars do not have graffiti coating their sides. Somebody has fallen down on the job.

Howlin’ Wolf’s song pops into memory and makes me forget the errors and typos of the world around me and just feel some joy for a moment, “My baby she’s a good-looking thing you know…she’s the one who spins me round and round, one who turns me upside down” Now, that’s Love!

I pass town water towers that look somewhat like the steel-legged robots H.G. Wells imagined filled with invading Martians. I recall that I have actually seen one of these mechanisms, a tall shiny facsimile in the town square at Woking, England, near where the attackers landed.

Cruising past strip malls, I observe many women and men and children getting out their cars, parents elaborately extracting squirming kids from car seats, lifting the ones who still like to be lifted and grumbling back at grumbling kids who like to grumble.

It’s fun to pay attention. So many people I see are not watching, not looking around to see what’s what. What thrills they are missing!

Every image, each person, seems to be about me, about my life. It’s impossible to close them out, difficult to forget them.

My fishing day is fruitful. I gather some special books here and there, hear sounds that make me cringe and smile, see faces and shadows that awaken my empathic senses, and get to look behind things to see what I might be missing.

There are probably worse ways to spend a morning in the gossipy and secretive hills of sweet Alabama

© Jim Reed 2015 A.D.

Twitter and Facebook











Where Have All the Warm Hands Gone?

Listen to Jim’s podcast:

or read Jim’s column below:


I am officially out of popcorn, right in the middle of the movie. I have also slurped enough Coca Cola from a wax-coated paper cup that the public restroom at the Bama Theatre is beckoning to me.

Right here, right now, it’s about 1950 A.D. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and I have just held hands on purpose with an actual girl for the first time in my decade-long life. Up till now, holding hands with girls has only been a forced-march event. When being required to square dance in grammar school, I clasp all kinds of hands, some of which feel kind of nice, but the fact that I have to do it always kills the moment.

I don’t know how it happens, but Patricia White and I are sitting elbow to elbow in the dark, avidly watching a full-length movie, and suddenly we are holding hands. Holy cow! It feels funny, funny because I don’t know what to do next. Neither of us acknowledges the fact that we are holding hands. We stare straight ahead. I don’t know what she is thinking. I don’t know what she is feeling, mainly because I am too busy wondering what I am thinking and feeling.

Patricia’s hand is smaller than mine, warmer than mine, and sweat does occur. Can’t tell whether it’s my sweat or hers, but hand-holding definitely seems to involve temperature, softness and humidity.

Now I have to break the magic spell, let go of her hand, and dash to the men’s room upstairs. This is an excellent time to escape the movie, too, since there is smooching on the screen and I’d just as soon avoid watching that.

Oops! What if I am supposed to smooch with Patricia? Is this part of the hand-holding deal? I hesitate returning from the restroom, because I don’t know what is going to happen next. Up till today, I’ve spent my life attending Saturday movies with my buddy Elmo Riley or brother Ronny. Movies have have almost always been about Guy Time. I’m already missing that.

Eventually, I return to my seat next to Patricia, but the magic spell has evaporated. There is no more hand-holding, but we do watch the remainder of the film and giggle unnaturally now and then. We head for the bus stop and go our separate ways, but we both know that a First-Time thing has happened in our lives. We just don’t know what to think of it.

It will be years before I learn how to smooch. I’ll get to smooching eventually, but right now, all I can do is reminisce about the Good Old Days when Bo Riley or Ronny and I would hop a bus, head for the Ritz Theatre, watch a double feature complete with two cartoons, a serial installment, and lots of action-filled previews, and eat all the popcorn and glug all the carbonated fluid we could hold.

And, now and then, I also reminisce about Patricia White’s left hand and how wonderfully perplexing it was to hold hands with a girl on purpose for the first time ever


© Jim Reed 2015 A.D.

Twitter and Facebook


For Every Day There is a Season…A Different Season Every Day!

Listen to Jim’s podcast:

or read his words below:

For Every Day There is a Season…A Different Season Every Day!

I’m walking from home to car, preparing to go to work, when I notice that Winter has arrived in the middle of Spring. Yep, my short-sleeved shirt is hardly adequate for the 30-degree temperature that slams me. This day last year, it was 85 degrees and climbing.

If I lived in Alaska, I’d pretty much know what to pack in the trunk, just in case: coat, jacket, gloves, thermal something-or-others huddling together. Living in Alabama, I wisely pack an extra short-sleeved shirt in case mine goes dripping and fragrant with sweat.

That proverbial frog in a slowly-heating pan of water had best wise up and invest in long-term AC warranties, body shirts and flip-flops if he wants to extend his time on terra infirma.

Despite what all those naysayers and anti-science advocates issue forth, science seems to be correct—prepare ye for the shape-shifting world of the future. That is, if you choose to remain here alive and well.

On the positive side, I do enjoy the surprises that each day brings me. Last night, we unloaded groceries under a dark grey sky surrounded by humid breezes and thirsty plants. All was dry. When I stepped outside ten minutes later, rain had made the world soggy, as if it had been there all day. And on chilly mornings I go to work with that chill imprinted on my mind. Indoors for nine hours, thinking all the while that it’s a cold day outside, I leave work and find that it has been hot and humid all along.  I spent a cold day inside while everyone else soaked up heated UVs. Go figure.

Anyhow, I wrote these words down just to take sides with Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, both of whom said, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.”

There—I’ve done my talking. Now to settle down with books by Warner and Twain and knock off the chill or cool down the heat wave for a few minutes, depending on what’s happening outdoors

© Jim Reed 2015 A.D.

Twitter and Facebook