Sunday, July 27, 2008



When we eat out with old folks, seems like all they can talk about is the "place they ate yesterday." Or maybe that steak they had on June 14 1946--"Boyoboy, they shooer don't make 'em like thet any mower...". And sometimes that's ALL they talk about--is FOOD! It gives my warped sense of humor a shot of adrenalin--hey, I'm a "senior citizen", so I can write about this.

It's akin to saying, at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, "Hey, remember what so-and-so said at that meeting fourteen years ago in that Clubhouse in Ohio?"

Well, I've ALWAYS enjoyed being the 'observer'. Maybe that let me off the hook from thinking, from participating, who knows? I am NOT now (sometimes?) "The Analyzer". One day I felt like I had become the other guy, the 'observed'...paranoia? That's MY guess. Wow! So sick.

Reminds me of the joke, "Oh! Did I hurt your feelings? I'll call the ambulance!"

Another STORY begins:
By choice, I've been a "people-watcher" for many years. As a retired--again, by a BAD choice--symphony violinist, I began a "career" as a violin-playing bartender. It was no easy thing to be always seeing--or sensing--the slightest whim of desire of any one of the sixty customers (all mine, no waitresses, etc!). No cigarette went unlit in "my" bar (It was actually Nick's bar, The Captain's Cabin in Naples, FL). No glass stayed sitting on the bar, empty. Every ash tray was kept clean, as if the patrons had just climbed onto the stool. AND, I made a lot of money. AND I had two heart attacks--before age 32. AND I ran a lot. AND I worked very hard. AND I drank very much. AND I ate very little. AND I was very good. AND along with filling the beer coolers, pouring the booze, mixing the "fancies", cutting the fruit, washing the glasses, I PLAYED THE VIOLIN. While I was playing, I entertained with jokes and introduced people to each other who I had judged, hand-picked to be of like minds, always myself mindful of what else was going on. Stopping fights was, thank God, a seldom necessity, but settling quarrels was an often occurrence.

During my five drunken years there (1966-1971), at least four couples became married, as a direct result of my introductions..well, maybe God's intros. As a result of those same introductions, many more developed VERY close living arrangements, either short or long-term. It was "that kind of place", but always full of mostly nice, happy people.

Except for ME! At the same time I was giving these customers the best service they'd ever experienced in a small neighborhood bar (like CHEERS...really), I constantly harbored the thought that they were "The Enemy"! You see, fear and paranoia had finally taken great hold of me, and however much I drank, I could not rid myself of those two devils.

God, although He was in me I now know, was never in my thoughts during those years. Finally--one day several years later--when I tried to "find" Him, he was nowhere to BE found. I had no clue that one day I'd read in our Big Book, that ..."God could and would if He were SOUGHT!" (not "caught", as my sponsor told me).

So, in March 1974, when I walked shakily up three steps to the church at Trinity-By-The-Cove, to my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, I REALLY would rather have died and gone to hell right at that moment. But God had other plans. My (hopefully!) final drink had happened at five minutes until midnight, the night before. And I was truly 'a mess of pottage, a gallon of White Port (daily maintenance)--going, and almost gone'...'But the Master came, and my old acquaintances still cannot quite understand the worth of a soul...the change that is wrought...By the Touch of the Master's Hand'.

Please excuse the unauthorized references to the work THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND by Myra Brooks Welch

Steve E.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing a part of your past with those of us who hardly know ye.

God's grace is amazing and one of my most favorite sayings (and it's a book, I think) is God uses ordinary people. No matter what we've done, stepped in, or where we've slept, when we seek Him, He takes our hand and then uses us.

The Hallmark Channel couldn't write it any better.