Men, food, good writing and hanging the moon

Over two nights dreams came of Bob Yutze, Mike Thompson, Penn Dameron and Scott Hollifield, four friends from a time in life when everything was falling apart and everything was coming together. It was a time to fear death and a time to dance with life like I had never danced before. In fact, after a party at Mike’s house, when he was married to my dear friend, Martha, he said, “I would drive 30 miles to watch Pat Jobe dance.”
(Hearing me read this aloud, my son, Luke, said, “30 miles isn’t that far.”)
Fritz Perls tells us our dreams are fragments of ourselves fighting to get back in, so I’m wondering what parts of me are like these four fabulous men, but also feeling ignored or displaced or out of sorts. All four have wonderful senses of humor, enjoy music, love to think about things in creative and engaging ways. Dameron introduced me to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy,” and the other books in that series by Douglas Adams, some of the funniest and most engaging writing I’ve experienced. Yutze was a favorite teacher to my two oldest sons, Pepper and P.J. and offered a line that often gets repeated, “You can learn something every day if you pay attention, but what a price to pay.” Yutze is also the first Buddhist I knew in real life, a fascinating man to talk with.
Hollifield is the Mark Twain of Marion, N.C., the town were I spent many years with all four of these men. His original songs and newspaper columns would have made a famous man in a fairer world. And of course, Mike Thompson, hung the moon, or I could say that if I had not already told many people that Luke Jobe hung the moon. To avoid creating confusion around the moon hangers, let me just say that Thompson convinced me that academics had value, loved me at a time in my life when I was pretty unlovable; and gave me hope that the world is worth saving despite all evidence to the contrary.
The dreams were about loving writing and wandering the streets of Marion looking for something to eat. At 57, living in a home and office full of books, and spending a lot of my time looking for something to eat, it is not hard to see that these dreams may have come from that nagging question all of us must face from time to time, “What are you doing? Is it enough? Is it the best you can do? If it isn’t the best you can do, what is and how do you get about the business of doing that?”
I ate a delicious breakfast while writing this and thought about four men who live good lives in a world that is hungry for that.


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