Drive through my neighborhood on Thursday night and you will see everyone’s identical black trash container lined up like soldiers awaiting their, um, emptying? It’s a weekly reminder that underneath it all, we are all basically the same: We all throw out a ton of crap. Continually. There isn’t a week without garbage. But for me and my incredible neighbor Louise, it’s more than just trash day. It’s a contest. Mind you, Louise is in her 90s. You won’t know it looking at her, or talking to her, she’s simply amazing. She’s got vim and vigor, as my Grandma used to say.
Answers.com defines vim & vigor as: Ebullient vitality and energy, as in He was full of vim and vigor after that swim. This redundant expression uses both vim and vigor in the sense of “energy” or “strength.”
Perfect. They should have a picture of Louise next to their definition. She reminds me a lot of my great-grandma Adeliza Glaze. Addie. She bowled, drove and worked well into her 80s. She loved baseball, the sport of her son, Kenny. Addie also had more than a bit of spit-fire attitude in her, right up until the end. I don’t see the spit-fire attitude in Louise, but I do sense a common desire to not let life stop her from living.
The contest between me and Louise is to see who can roll the other’s garbage can back to their house before the other person does. She continually wins. And I can’t help but smile, and love her a little bit more each week.
Lately, I’ve been leaving early on Friday morning to go visit guys in prison, so I’m not around when the garbage truck rolls by, but Louise usually is. When I pull back into my driveway, there sits my black container, sitting next to my house, like Kirby at the back door, anxious to come back inside after going potty.
I’m not sure exactly why she does this. I know my reason stems from wanting to help her out. You know, she’s old, she could probably use a hand. It’s simple enough for me. I think her desire might be the same, combined with a bit of that fiery determination to show me she’s still more than able.
I just talked to Louise out in front of my house. She looked like a million bucks, like she was going to have lunch with the other ladies from the Country Club. I told her how beautiful she looked.
“I’m going for a check-up,” she smiled.
“Well, I hope it’s a good report.” I tried to be optimistic, forgetting how impossible it is to one-up her chipperness.
“You know, It’s not big deal.”
It seems like all the things I worry about are such a big deal, but as I get older, the things that used to be so big, are in fact quite small, or even non-existent.
“You just have to live life,” she continued. “You can’t worry about tomorrow. Enjoy today. That’s all you have to do.” She keeps reminding me of this truth each time I see her. I believe her. Again, for the first time.
Thanks, Louise. I needed that. I’m glad you live next door to me, and I’m glad that we have trash day on Friday.
I have lived under the curse of potential my entire life. I’ve been bombarded with comments from people all saying the same thing: I can’t wait to see what happens to you! Will you still remember me when you’re famous? Seriously, I’ve had it. When someone says that to me nowadays, I roll my eyes and say, Yeah, me too. My reaction usually elicits some sort of Awww, hang in there type of encouragement. Maybe what I desire more is empathy over actual success.
If my life was going to be a Broadway musical (please God please!) the curtain would open, the orchestra would begin playing, and one-by-one several signs would light up all over the stage looking a little like Times Square, but it’d actually be downtown Nashville. The music would build to a climax as our hero makes his arrival down the middle aisle, through the audience, and when he arrives front and center, with suitcases in hand, probably wearing a Newsboy cap and knickers and an overwhelmed Golly, I’m in the big city now expression, he turns to face the audience and starts singing:
I’m gonna make it.
I’m gonnna do it.
I’m gonna make my dreams come true
With lots of hard work, and determination
People will quickly discover me
I’m gonna fake it
Until I make it
My big smile will see me through
Nothing can stop me, I’m on my way
I‘m gonna make my dreams come true
People will look at me and say
How did it do it?
He made it through it!
He made his dreams come true
It will be a grand celebration on stage and in the audience. Kind of like how excited everybody was as they were boarding the Titanic.
After that first song is over the hero holds his final pose just a little too long. He’s filled with confidence, but as the applause dies out, fear begins to creep in. Thank God he has a plan. He rips open his coat and proudly reveals a shirt that says Pick Me with an arrow pointing to his face.
I’ve lived my whole life hoping that someone would pick me. It’s funny the things that desire will make a guy do.
I’m a wannabe. Officially. That’s even what my license plate says. The term has an unfairly negative connotation to it, one which I hope to redeem. If someone comes to Nashville with a dream, and they are perceived as being a bit delusional, as if it’s possible to have a dream that’s a little too big, they are labeled as a wannabe, and usually dismissed. In contrast, there are people who come to town who are incredible beautiful and talented, and it’s determined that they could be a source of income for a lot of people, they are called artists. So in effect, a wannabe is someone who no one thinks they can make any money off of. Valueless. Worthless. Funny enough, In spite of the occasional, needle-in-a-haystack success story, both wannabes and artists are usually hard-pressed for cash.
So why do I want to label myself as a wannabe? Because I am a person who is continually striving and reaching. I want to dream bigger than what other people think is reasonable. There are so many things I want to accomplish, but it goes beyond just doing. It’s about being. I don’t ever want to settle for the ways things are. I believe that it is possible for me to learn and grow into more and more of the person that God wants me to be. Fortunately, my faith tells me that God is all about that, as well. When people ask me, What is it that you wanna be (they usually chuckle), I can say, There are a lot of things I want to be and do. I want to be a great friend, a great son and brother, a great writer, musician, actor, creative-type person. I want to be a great listener. I want to be compassionate. I want to be loving. I could go on…
When I can clearly see what my target is, I have an easier time aiming my arrow in the right direction.
FAVORITE SINGLES FROM 2007
ANYWAY Martina McBride
HOW YOU LIVE (TURN UP THE MUSIC) Point Of Grace
LONG TRIP ALONE Dierks Bentley
UNDO ME Rush Of Fools
I’M NOT WHO I WAS Brandon Heath
CHASING CARS Snow Patrol
LOVE SONG Sara Bareilles
GRACE KELLY/LOVE TODAY Mika
UNDER THE INFLUENCE/WONDERFUL WORLD James Morrison
YOUNG FOLKS Peter Bjorn And John Featuring Victoria Bergsman
CAN’T STOP THE BEAT Hairspray
WHAT TIME IS IT? High School Musical 2
SOULMATE Natasha Bedingfield
HOT STUFF Craig David
WAIT FOR YOU Elliott Yamin
IT ENDS TONIGHT The All-American Rejects
THNKS FR TH MMRS Fall Out Boy
YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD/REHAB Amy Winehouse
APOLOGIZE Timbaland Featuring OneRepublic
BREATHE IN BREATHE OUT Mat Kearney
BEAUTIFUL DISASTER Jon McLaughlin
GIMME MORE Britney Spears
AIN’T NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT Robert Randolph & The Family Band
TIME WON’T LET ME GO The Bravery
LOST WITHOUT U Robin Thicke
UNDISCOVERED James Morrison
LIFE IN CARTOON MOTION Mika
SONGS OF MASS DESTRUCTION Annie Lennox
ELLIOTT YAMIN Elliott Yamin
HOW YOU LIVE Point of Grace
VERSION Mark Ronson
INDIANA Jon McLaughlin
LITTLE VOICE Sara Bareilles
NEW FAVS IN 2008
FALLING IN LOVE AT A COFFEE SHOP Landon Pigg
SAY John Mayer
FEEDBACK Janet Jackson