Introspective Adventurer

Aging on my terms - Daily musings in 500 words or so

Search results: "My John" (page 1 of 8)

My John

The first time I went to Ireland and met John’s family I was a bit overwhelmed with their accents, especially those in the North. And it’s not just the way they pronounce words; it’s their colloquialisms.

For instance, when they introduced Sharon to me, she was called “Our Sharon”. And believe me it didn’t sound like our Sharon. It was more like “R Shrn”. So to me, she is still R Shrn.

After that I started calling John, My John.

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Amazing Grace by John P. Gavin

When John went back home to get me clean clothes after my accident, he gathered my things and sat outside for a few moments. He told me he was so proud of me and how gracefully I handled the situation and that he sang, “Amazing Grace” for me.

That is how he came to the title of this post.

Amazing Grace

When I was 10, my Aunt came to live with us.

That may not seem like a big deal; but since my family is from Ireland, it meant she had to travel about five thousand miles to do so.

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I Have Some ‘Splaining to Do – Guest post by John Gavin

“Recognizing the absurdity of his request, he tried to explain. It wasn’t about seeing her so he could win her back but rather about seeing her so he could release the perceived hold she had over him.

I tried very hard to understand…”

Those words were written very recently by Loretta, the woman I love; the only woman I’ve ever loved this way. But I once told Loretta I wanted to borrow her car to go talk to an ex-girlfriend.

What the hell?

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Will you be my girlfriend?

What does that mean, girlfriend?

On March 21, 2012 John asked me to be his “girlfriend”. I had no idea what that even meant to him.

I’ve used the term “girlfriend” casually and never thought of what it meant to anyone else. To John it was a big deal. It was a step towards “forever” and his experience with forever wasn’t a good one.

I’d met John eight months earlier, and I can say that the best thing that ever happened to us…for us… was the fact that we became friends first. Once the pressure of the possibility of a romantic relationship was taken off the table, we both relaxed and stopped acting like peacocks looking for a mate.

There was no need to try to impress the other in hopes of “pick me”.   Continue reading

My vulnerable year

One year ago I decided to let it all hang out, literally and figuratively.

In my first blog post I decided to “expose the truth” and get real. We live in this fast paced social media world filled with false beauty and unrealistic expectations, and I wanted to challenge that.

58 years old and out of shape

One year ago

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I forgot my pillow

Sometimes when we travel, I like to bring my own pillow.

Silly, I know, but for whatever reason, it makes me feel comfortable. My pillows are all goose-down and super cozy, and I’m used to them.

Last week I jumped in the truck with my son, and we made our way to Oregon. I honestly wasn’t sure where I would be sleeping any given night, so I brought my favorite pillow along.

I’m glad I did too, because I used it when I came down with a head cold. That pillow was a soothing relief each night. Continue reading

I’m A Really Good Dad – Guest post by John Gavin

I told you My John is an author, right?

It’s kind of how we got to know each other. He wrote a weekly column for a Bay Area newspaper, and he’d send it to me first to edit. There were a couple of occasions when I did  guest posts for him, so I thought it might be nice to return the favor.

In honor of Father’s Day, I found this one he wrote in 2012 and dusted off the pages. I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading

Maybe I am my own Hero

I grew up on a farm in a small town in Michigan. I can tell you that it was a good childhood in most respects. We worked hard on our farm, and we had a big family so there was always someone to play with or talk to. My brother, Johnny and I were very close and he was sort of like a protector for me.

One time when I was probably six or seven, we were picking asparagus for a local farmer. We were paid 50 cents an hour. Cash. When it came time to get our money, we would stand in line waiting for some guy to put coins into our dirty hands. Johnny watched carefully and caught that the man was trying to under pay me and spoke up, demanding my fair share. He was always looking out for me, and I knew I could tell him anything.

Almost anything.

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How to throw the best photo themed 60th birthday party ever

Birthday parties are a lot of fun and a lot of work. I have known for a long time that I wanted a big birthday party to celebrate my 60th year, and it turned out to be more than I could have hoped for.

Everyone pitched in to create exactly what I dreamed of, and friends and family who couldn’t attend made sure I felt loved and honored as well.

My son, Adam created the invitation for me.

The invitation!
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When it’s time to cry

As soon as she told me, “Yes, they brought him in, he is in the emergency room” my heart sank. I didn’t cry though. That’s not the time to cry.

Instead, I grabbed a jacket and my keys and raced to my car.

I don’t recall the nine-minute drive to the hospital. But I do remember sitting in a chair in the waiting room for someone to give me information about John.

When I’d arrived and asked the person at the reception desk about him, she got a strange look on her face and told me I’d have to sit down; that someone would be out to talk to me shortly.

I was afraid to ask any questions. If you don’t ask, you can’t get unbearable news.

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You’d Think Boys Would Know How to Hunt

This last weekend I shared a post about a hike up El Toro with My John. I mentioned he grew up at the base of that hill and had many escapades to share. Here is an abridged column he wrote that I think you’ll enjoy.

top of El Toro

“You’d think boys would know how to hunt” by John P. Gavin

Who has read the book Lord of the Flies?

When I was in school it was pretty much required reading. It was written in the 50’s by William Golding and is the story of a group of young boys marooned, without grownups, on an island somewhere.

In the book the boys quickly revert to a feral state and run about howling, fighting and wielding crudely made weapons. I remember reading it in class and thinking “what’s the big deal? That’s no different from my neighborhood”.

Not to knock Mr. Golding but the boys in my old neighborhood did not require an island without grownups in order to channel our wild side. All we needed were the orchards and forests at the edge of town – and a little imagination.

My neighborhood was bordered to the west by a small mountain that had been named El Toro by the Spaniards who discovered it (under the feet of the Chitactac Indians who were already living on it). To the north of us was a large walnut orchard that also bordered El Toro.

We virtually lived on that mountain – we knew all the big trees, open spaces and trails. One particular trail we knew of was travelled by a herd of deer that used it to get down to the orchard. They would then pass through the orchard to drink from the pond that lay beyond.

We were familiar not only with the trail, but also with the time of evening the deer would come down it. In our grubby hands this was dangerous knowledge. I still remember the summer day we sat in Dave Mead’s garage talking about what our next adventure (the word ‘mayhem’ would work equally well) would be when one of the guys blurted out “Let’s hunt the deer in the orchard!”

To us an idea like that one did not require any discussion further than working out the details.

My little brother Brian asked, “What will we hunt them with?”

Someone shouted “Spears!”

Dave’s brother Richard wondered aloud “Where do we get spears?”

My response was “We make them”.

“Out of what?” Patrick Black asked.

“Knives tied to broom handles,” I said.

Brian wanted to know “When do we get the deer – on their way down the orchard or back through it?” On their way back from the pond we decided – figuring they’d be less wary on their second trip through the walnut trees.

And so we set off to our respective homes to steal knives out of drawers and cut handles off of brooms. The plan was to meet at the edge of the orchard about the time the herd of deer would pass through on their way to the pond, and then quietly filter in among the trees so as to be in place when they made their return trip.

To this day I still remember shouting, “Get ‘em!” as the deer made their way back toward El Toro. Out jumped five running, shouting, spear wielding boys; and as the terrified deer spotted us they all bolted in unison. I launched my spear, as did the others, hoping it would fly true and hit its mark – a big deer charging past me.

I didn’t hit my target that day in the orchard. None of us did. Heck, we were little kids with kitchen knives tied to broom handles – what damage were we really going to do? I think all we accomplished was scaring the daylights out of a bunch of deer – well maybe that and the realization all we truly wanted to do was follow them around.

We did it together

Today’s “Let’s do this together video” features My John, because it just so happens to be the 7th anniversary of the day we met. We were both on Match.com years ago, and John saw my profile and sent me a message.

He has a way with words, and his profile was very well written, so I decided to meet him for coffee. That, and his photos were pretty handsome too.    Continue reading

How Not to Sweep a Girl off Her Feet

To say that John didn’t sweep me off my feet is an understatement…but, maybe that was a good thing?

Today’s post is from My John. I hope you enjoy it.

How Not to Sweep a Girl off Her Feet

Do you remember when the original Star Wars came out back in the 70’s?

To us kids it was amazing – we’d never seen anything like it. It was a seminal moment in our young lives that left a lasting impression. We talked about Obi Wan Kanobi, Luke, and Han Solo for years afterward.

So, Imagine my delight when the new batch of Star Wars films came out.  

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Weekend – Gratitude

I love all of the Thanksgiving posts that are flooding social media right now. I’ll admit I can be one of those people who get caught up in mainstream news, which brings me down pretty fast.

So it’s nice to see a few posts about food, and even more about gratitude. Thinking about this past year, I realize I have so much to be thankful for. And there is one person that has made this year possible for me.

My John. Continue reading

Counting up to 60 and what I’ve learned – decade six

I breathed a big sigh of relief when I turned 50. My 40’s had been some pretty rough years.

Oprah reached that milestone five years ahead of me. She showed the world that 50 was just the beginning of some of our best years, and I felt a complete kinship to her because of that.

But even fortified by Oprah’s example, my 50th year didn’t go as well as I had hoped. That year saw the end of my short-lived marriage, and for the first time I was completely alone.

Which is exactly what I needed.

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Counting up to 60 and what I learned – decade three

I find it interesting that reaching a certain age holds more significance than other ages. For me, turning 20 was important. I was no longer a teenager and somehow felt more grown-up.

Things quickly fell into place when I moved to Bend, Oregon. I found a great job working for someone who would end up being a life-long friend, I had a nice apartment and best of all I had a fun convertible sports car.

I was a bonafide adult, or at least I thought so.

Me at 20 in my Spitfire
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Counting up to 60 and what I learned – the second decade

I remember thinking when my oldest son turned 10, in the same amount of time he will be a man. The decade between 10 and 20 holds so many changes, and I was no exception to the rule.

I have shared before that my mom died when I was 11, and that I think of my life as “before she died” and “after she died”. The few years after her death were some of my hardest.

Not only was I dealing with the loss of my mother but by 12 my period started and my emotions were all over the board. I was either completely lost in thought or crying.

Puberty can be hell for so many of us and my personal experience was compounded by loss and sorrow. Worst of all, about the only thing I knew about having a period was I had to use those giant pads from the 1960’s my mom had used.

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The third ingredient

By the time we reach 50 years old, most of us are pretty set in our ways. We know what we like and don’t like, we know just how things should be done and we certainly don’t need someone else mucking things up in our lives.

So getting married after 50 can have some challenges, especially for those of us who like to do things our own way.

Enter John and Loretta.

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First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes…

The day after our wedding we left our hotel in San Francisco to go explore the city. It was a beautiful spring day, and we were excited to spend the day together as husband and wife.

Our wedding was everything we hoped it to be, and we were still on a love-high we wanted to bask in for as long as possible. 

Our wedding at San Francisco City Hall

My phone rang as we stepped out onto the sidewalk and I answered immediately. My son and daughter-in-law were due to have daughter number two any day, and we were happily assigned to take care of daughter number one while they were at the hospital.

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National Tartan Day

National Tartan Day was Saturday, April 6th, which was also my mother’s and younger brother’s birthdays, so I am a little late to the party. But I can’t pass up the opportunity to share a post about this day and its past.

History tells us it was April 6, 1320, when The Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed. Interestingly, our own declaration of independence was modeled after that very document with nearly half the signers being of Scottish descent.

It wasn’t until 1998 that the U.S. Senate made April 6th National Tartan Day and the day is now celebrated throughout the country.

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