One minute you're making a sandwich and the next you find your-self wondering how you'll get out of bed to face the day. Sometimes life's surprises are joy-ful, and some-times they bring sad-ness, but experience teaches us to accept disappointment, that there is no surprise in sad-ness, that the only true surprise is when things go your way. Knowing all of this has made it very difficult for me to remain an optimist after all these years.
I have been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 100 seasons, spanning technologies from feathers-dipped-in-ink to high definition television and the wonders of digital self-publication, where you can say any-damned thing you want. I've watched my favorite team win 13 Championships, capped by our most recent victory in Super-Bowl XLV. I have loved and been loved. And those apogees... those have been great proof to me that there is still value in optimism.
Moments of great-ness make up for all the baloney we put up with.
Even moments of artful sweet-ness can be tarnished with grief, dear readers, and even as I basked in the glory of another Super-Bowl victory, the reality of humanity plunged my family into sorrow.
I lost my dear wife Mooney earlier this month, after a long and rewarding life together, and even though the sudden-ness of this loss has left me heart-broken and weary, I have recovered from the initial shock-wave and begun to revisit the brightest points of our shared time and space - such as this final amazing season of Packers football we were able to enjoy together. And yet I feel immense guilt for the time wasted. I think, every minute I spent fishing or obsessing about the Packers has been moments wasted, I could have done more, I could have been a better husband, a better father... the joy of family is nothing compared to a Super Bowl, and yet we all do this: We do what we do because we are selfish creatures, and no amount of hindsight can re-write history.
You spent your time that way. Those were your priorities.
There's little good in beating your-self up, though, or in lying about how you feel, and that's where I'm stuck, folks. In the night I hope Mooney will visit me as a ghost, but the room is quiet.
I've never been one for rash decisions, I'm a list-maker, I weigh everything out, and so, after several nights by the wood stove, listening to the rain in my old rocking chair, I have decided to retire Meat Packers Union. While I may be heavy-hearted, my decision is not a reaction to loss, but in some ways it is connected, yes. And it helps that the Packers are the reigning champions - in that way it is connected to a positive, too. It makes it easier to drift away from my investment here. Millions of words I have poured into the soil. They say when one door closes another often opens, and so the optimist that still resides within me some-where naturally thinks, what next? It's gloomy but there are still green shoots in this soil.
I would not have been able to lose my dear wife and primary creative out-let in such quick succession had I not set a new goal on the horizon, which is this: One of the last things Mooney gave me was Volume 1 of Mark Twain's auto-biography - a project that troubled Twain for decades. And that has inspired me to tackle a big project of my own. My favorite Twain quote, which I first saw while eating breakfast in a little Wisconsin diner with Mooney, is: "Put all your eggs in one basket, and WATCH THAT BASKET!" For the last 100+ years I have written about the Packers and life, and it's time for me to switch that order. I don't know how I will find the strength to write ferociously again, and it may be months or years, but whenever I am ready to hammer the keys I will strike off into a strange and new direction. The themes will stay the same, but the focus will widen. I'm not sure if it will become my own auto-biography or a novel, but even when confronting my own failures and regrets, I know I have more stories to share.
There is a spring in all of us, I'm convinced, infinite and mysterious.
Before I close this project, I want to thank everyone who took the time to visit and read over the years. Your support was invisible, but important. I have directed my grandson Ike to leave the website live, and I'm sure I'll take random dives into the archives from time to time, and I hope you will do the same. As always, Go Pack Go! Until next time, then,
Posted by am at 3:02 PM