The Feels

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, August 17, 2017 Comments Off on The Feels
The Feels

July ended with some nice mornings.  On the last July Sunday I had church under a tree, dressed in my jammies, no humidity, a sweet breeze turning wind chimes into a choir.

Sitting in a lawn chair, I leaned back, trying to think of something to think, but all I had was a feeling, gratitude.

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When I was a kid in the sticks, down-the-road felt so far away.  A cousin from fifty miles away felt like a foreigner.  I never went past Lafayette until I was out of high school.  Never saw a Mexican until I hit San Antonio in my 20s.

I still tell Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes, but I don’t know a single one.

Seems every week I’m meeting the dots on a schoolroom globe.  We’ve got Russian customers, Venezuela, my last conversation of the work week was with a blonde, blue-eyed lady with a thick accent.  She was from Bosnia.  “Were you there for the Civil War?” I asked.  “It wasn’t a civil war,” she said.  “It was war.”

She’s Muslim.  Doesn’t look anything like I see on TV.  Trapped in Sarajevo without electricity and dependable water, said she dressed as well as she could, in case she died that day.  Married to a retired American veteran, the kind junior officers jump out of their chair for.  Lives at Toledo Bend.  Knows people I know.

The world feels smaller.

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I feel like I’m about to spend some money.  For a guy, I have almost no toys.  Bought this patch of land out in the way-out-there, and I’m gonna need some horsepower to make grass shorter and dirt move.  It’s all 48 months with no interest, yadda yadda, but debt is the beautiful train wreck of a girl you had a crush on in high school, and cash is the good mother to your children.

I feel anticipation, of returning to a rural life I had as a child, and the simple joys of riding a tractor, watching a little herd of cows across the barb wire fence.  It won’t happen overnight, but it’s gonna be a pretty place.

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Lost the key to my truck last week.  I’ve lost my mental marbles and my sense of humor before, but this is the first time I’ve ever lost a key, to anything.  For days I found myself patting my pocket to verify that I still had the spare.

I felt joy, when I found the key.  It was Sunday School all over again, the Parable of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son.  Yes, I just patted my pocket.

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I feel cowardly.  I started so many documents during last year’s presidential campaign, but I’d talk myself out of posting the story.  There was so much noise, such tension, so Us vs Them.  What would my two cents be worth?  And was anybody in a hearing mood?

But I am not without insight.  I feel a knot in my stomach, as if my WhateverItIs is convicting me for being a bottleneck, and for no better reason than fear.

Trump is jacking with my peace.  And I don’t like the feeling.  It’s hard for the kids to nap in the back seat with Daddy driving like Road Rage Jones.

Who is this guy?  I grew up around quality Louisiana men.  They were everywhere.  Level headed, modest, self sacrificing, all do and no talk, peace makers, wind beneath the wings of families and communities.  I don’t know what’s in New York City water, but keep the children away.

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I no longer feel middle aged.  That horse won’t wear a saddle.

I feel differently about time and health.  The years of taken-for-granted are now the years of taken-as-grace.

I’d feel plenty of regrets if it wasn’t better use of my time to not make new ones.  One of the delights of age is like an 18 wheeler trucker, you know the map by heart, and no sense hitting Houston at rush hour.

I feel grateful in a more natural way.  When I was younger, gratefulness came in spikes, like Christmas morning toy excitement, or first love.  Now gratefulness is more like a night light, but on during daylight hours.  I don’t know about yours, but my gratefulness is kind of like a pleasant inside joke, between me and God.

Sometimes I feel like I’m observing my life like a tourist.  So many who’d-have-thoughts, so many well-look-how-that-turned-out.

I bet I speak for many when I report that my biggest awe is for how broken eggs made such fine omelets.  No telling who I’d be now if not for the blundering mistakes of youth.  Not sure I’d want to find out, this many innings deep into an interesting game.

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I feel good about Monday mornings.  When I was younger I chased money; now I chase peace.  My work is not an act, it is being.  I am comfortable in this curious employment I have invented for myself.  Some days I make money, some days I lose money, but I count it a great gift of grace that I have a work nest where I feel like God not only approves, but provided.

There I go again, feeling thankful…

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we hope our store gives you a good warm feeling.

Other Bedtime Stories can be found on Eighty-one’s Facebook page.  He, who is Uncle P, can be reached at

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