Wednesday, August 30, 2017

John Oubre Henderson

I haven't blogged in quite some time.  More than a couple of years, I believe.  I wrote this for facebook and decided to post it here as well.

Its taken me forever to speak publicly about my brother John Oubre Henderson. I never want to do anything for sympathy or to exploit him or his memory. I’ve rewritten this, edited it, almost deleted, but I’m just feeling like it is time to finally put something out into the world.
It’s been two years.
Two years since I got a phone call and rushed to the hospital, only to find out I was too late.
I keep thinking with time, this will get easier.
For a while, I was able to pretend that he was still working in Colorado, or hanging out with the children of Antigua. The reality hits more and more, each day...he’s not coming back.
So, I try to remember conversations, or how he would respond to something I would say to him. I’ll always be able to remember how he looks, as my house has his image all over.
There are days when I’m Ok. But a song will play, or a butterfly will fly by. Then I have to sit in my car for a min, and let my eyes dry.
Some days, it’s all I can do to keep from ripping doors off their hinges or flipping a desk.
I know that today, I should be with my family, to be comforting them. But I can’t. I have to be alone. It is incredibly selfish, and I’m quite aware of that. This is just the one day I don’t have it in me to be there for anyone.
“I don't want to start thinking, Woodrow, about all the things we that shoulda done for this good man.”
I don’t have a lot of regret in my life. I’ve said for a very long time that every decision, no matter how wrong, right, small or large has led me to this moment. There are a few regrets that I do have.
I regret that I was unable to save him. I know there’s nothing more that I could have done. I’m fully aware of that. But there will probably always be a level of failure that I’ll feel.
So I continue to promise to him to keep his memory alive in any way that I can.
My other regret is not speaking for him at his memorial. I know that I never would have been able to get up to say anything. Was in still so much shock.
But if I could, I would have said something like this:
My brother, John Oubre Henderson was a tremendous person. He had a smile that could disarm anyone. A charm that could sway any argument. I never knew anyone who didn’t like him. Except for guys who had attractive girlfriends (wait for laughter).
He was a genuinely nice person to everyone he met.
He didn’t raise a hand towards anyone. He even took a punch at On the Rocks, which broke my sunglasses I had let him borrow (wait for laughter). He didn’t retaliate, he continued to have a good time, even with blood pouring from his nose.
He loved dissecting movies, and would be really proud when he figured out something that was maybe hidden in one. He never considered himself a smart man, despite being quite brilliant.
He was incredibly funny. There was no such thing as keeping a straight face, when dad was trying to have a prayer before dinner. You just knew if you looked at him, he was already wearing a goofy face, just waiting for you to look at him. He was quick witted and could bring a whole room to belly aching laughter.
He was naturally talented in any sport he tried. And a fierce competitor in every single one of them.
He loved the telefilm Lonesome Dove. Our family has watched it so many times together, we could all quote it front to back. The full six and a half hours. He was definitely a living embodiment of Augustus McCrae. Laid back, adventurous, funny & deeply caring.
He loved music. Specifically the Rolling Stones. He was always so envious that I got to see them live, and he didn’t. It was something that I would remind him of constantly. I have great memories of introducing him to so much music, and he loved it all.
He loved Halloween. He would always dig through my closet for last minute costume ideas. The sunglasses of mine that got broke? He had borrowed them and my bathrobe to dress as Homeless Ric Flair. Other notables were The Not So Incredible Hulk and Slash from Guns N Roses.
He loved Christmas. When we were younger, we would conspire against mom to find out what each other were getting. Then share the info with one another.
He loved his family, totally and unconditionally.
He loved his friends, of which he would have done anything for.
He will be forever missed. There will be no more of him showing up unannounced at my door. No more jokes or talking about music. No more quoting Lonesome Dove or playing NCAA Football tournaments at Thanksgiving.
He was taken too soon. He should be in Antigua, laughing with children. He should be teaching his bible class. He should be making someone’s sides splitting from laughter. He should be making a pretty girl blush. He should be taking his nephew hunting. He should be here. But he’s not.
I had many people come and say the days after he passed that this is God’s will, or all part of God’s plan. They meant well, and I hold no ill will towards them for trying. But if I were to see God today, I’d let him know how flawed his plan is.
To take someone who meant so much to so many, who was trying to do and give so much with his life. You can see everywhere how much he meant to people. The marker at his parking space, placed by the children in his bible class. The shirts with his image that his co-workers wear with pride. The money raised in his name. The people that show up each year to kayak to remember him with us.
It is too soon. It will never ever make sense to me.
“Now the only healthy way to live, as I see it,
is to learn to like all the little everyday things.”
So, I continue to struggle through the hard days. I don’t flip the desk. I dry my eyes in my car. I continue on. It is not easy. Thankfully, on those hard days, I have a very understanding wife, who knows my struggle. She’s always there, always knowing exactly how to be there. I’d be lost without her. I have my few friends who I do openly discuss my deepest feelings with. I have my family who all have their own ways of dealing and going on, who each is there for the next. I have yellow butterflies that will surprise me from out of nowhere. I have the random person I’ll get behind that has his sticker on their car. I have the Pearl Jam tribute that I’ve played a thousand times. I have kayak days, where I swear I can feel him paddling right behind me. I have that moment in Atlanta, when I saw his doppleganger for a second.
I take comfort in that he meant so much to so many people. At his memorial, they had to open seating to upstairs for everyone to pile in. At one point, it felt like the entirety of the population of Florence was in line to say good bye. People from all different walks of life. Old, young, black, white, hispanic, gay, straight, christian, atheist, buddhist...the list goes on. It made me proud he made such a large impact on such a diverse group of people.
I thankfully have my dreams where he shows up from time to time to have a conversation.
Then I wake up, and realize he’s gone and I have to keep living.
I leave you with one last quote of Augustus McCrae’s from Lonesome Dove
“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, its living.”

Friday, January 24, 2014

Best Days of Our Lives?

 I ran into someone that I hadn't seen in a really long time.  She said something to the effect of wanting to go back to her High School days.
This is a statement that's not something new to me.  I've heard it from many folks.  They like to tell High School stories, more than what they've been up to lately.  "Hey, remember when...?"

It really got me thinking.  I wouldn't go back to those days.  I really like being an adult.
Here's why.
When I was in High School, we lived in a very rural area of Alabama.  Which is saying something.
There were a set of rules for every day of the week.

1. Sundays.  Get up and go to Church.  Didn't want to.  Had to.  Eat lunch, do whatever around the house that Dad or Mom needed to get done.  Do homework, or study.  Probably go to work.
2. Mondays. Get up and go to school.  Probably get picked on by some jackass.  Never get noticed by girls, because they all want the jock guys.  Most likely go to work, come home, do chores + homework.
3. Tuesdays. Get up and go to school.  Probably get picked on by some jackass.  Never get noticed by girls, because they all want the jock guys.  Most likely go to work, come home, do chores + homework.
4. Wednesdays. Get up and go to school.  Probably get picked on by some jackass.  Never get noticed by girls, because they all want the jock guys.  Most likely go to work, come home, do chores + homework. Go to Wednesday night church.
5. Thursdays. Get up and go to school.  Probably get picked on by some jackass.  Never get noticed by girls, because they all want the jock guys.  Most likely go to work, come home, do chores + homework.
6. Fridays. Get up and go to school.  Probably get picked on by some jackass.  Never get noticed by girls, because they all want the jock guys.  Most likely go to work, come home, get ready to go out for the night.
7. Saturdays. Get up and take care of whatever is needed to be done around the house.  Go to work.  Try to hang out with friends.

What is there to miss about that?  Not having to pay bills?  I had to pay for my insurance and car.  It must be going to school every day?  No, I fucking hated school.  There was not one day that I woke up and thought "Today is going to be fucking rad."  To me, it was an endurance test to get out, go to college and be on my own.  I like setting my own rules.  Which is shown in the regular now as an adult schedule below.

1. Sundays.  Get up.  Maybe make a cup of coffee.  Play video games for 2-4 hours, or until Kell wakes up.  We discuss what we want to do for the day.  Maybe its absofuckinglutely nothing but Netflix binge watching.  Maybe its go to a store that we need something.  Sometimes, its go get something to eat.  Which is kind of our favorite, because we get to walk past all the church going people waiting for a table, while we go sit right at the bar.  Eat, have a beer, and walk out only to see those folks still waiting.
2. Mondays.  Get up, let June out, feed her and Angus.  Go to work.  Get off, come home, play video games while Kell is watching something on Netflix.  We cook dinner, eat and watch TV together until its bed time.
3. Tuesdays. Get up, let June out, feed her and Angus.  Go to work.  Get off, come home, play video games while Kell is watching something on Netflix.  We cook dinner, eat and watch TV together until its bed time.
4. Wednesdays. Get up, let June out, feed her and Angus.  Go to work.  Get off, go to the grocery store, come home, play video games while Kell is watching something on Netflix.  We cook dinner, eat and watch TV together until its bed time.
5. Thursdays. Get up, let June out, feed her and Angus.  Go to work.  Get off, come home, play video games while Kell is watching something on Netflix.  We cook dinner, eat and watch TV together until its bed time.
6. Fridays. Get up, let June out, feed her and Angus.  Go to work.  Get off, maybe go to happy hour.  If its the summer time, probably sit on the front porch, while listening to music, and drinking cocktails.  In most cases, meeting up with friends later.
7. Saturdays. Get up, play video games for a little while, go to Jack-O-Lanter farms and get our produce for the week, then Pegasus Records to pick up my weekly comics and maybe a record or two.  Decide that we want lunch.  Go have lunch, if its at OTR or the Pie Factory, lunch can turn into a few hours of beer drinking.
Start to figure out the evening.  Maybe take a nap.  Or maybe I get day drunk and make bad decisions while playing Skyrim.  Probably hang out with friends.

Now, there are similarities.  There's a weekly structure of School vs Work.  But I don't hate work.  In a lot of cases, I quite like it a bit.  I was able to choose my profession.  I have a window office, and maybe even a little respect.
As an adult, we have the option to go to ComicCon for the weekend, or a music festival.  There's no one really saying "you can't do this, or you can't do that." save for maybe our checking account.
So, why do sooo many people longingly look back to their High School days as something they want to go back to?  Are they stuck in the same type of monotony?
Could they be the ones that married and had children right out of High School, instead of taking those years to enjoy themselves?
I'm happy being an adult.  I think back to Randall "Pink" Floyd from Dazed and Confused when he says "If I start referring these as the best days of my life, remind me to shoot myself."  Agreed, Pink.  Being an awesome adult kind of kicks ass.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vegan Before Six? Me? Surely You Jest!

I tweeted a joke a few weeks ago about anyone knowing a way to help loose weight that didn't involve exercise, extreme diets, or copious amounts of cocaine.

My friend Nick suggested this diet he was on called VB6, or Vegan Before Six; created by Mark Bittman.  Pretty straight forward and simple.  You eat Vegan before 6pm.  After 6, you're allowed to be carnivorous if you like.  But best if you eat unprocessed stuff, like fruit and vegetables from the farmers market.   Which we do, a lot.

Didn't seem like such a daunting task, as what would I have to cut out or add in to my daily routine?

Breakfast Before:  Normally don't eat anything.  Drink 2-3 cups of coffee.
What I had to change:  Actually eat breakfast.
Breakfast Now:  Publix deli peanut butter (which is just smashed nuts, nothing else) over toasted whole grain bread, with some home made apple jam.  Or oats with almond milk, and a spoonful of my apple jam, that I've taken to call Come Bite the Apple Jam.  In honor of Mother Love Bone.
Also, a multi vitamin.

Mid Morning Snack Before:  More Coffee
What I had to change:  Actually eat something.
Mid Morning Snack Now:  Banana or Raw Almonds.

Lunch Before:  Most times a sandwich and chips at home.  Sometimes the same out somewhere.
What I had to change: Loose the meat.  And the chips.  Deep fried and all.
Lunch Now:  Most times, a sandwich wrap that has avocado, tomato, humus, black beans, and whatever else.  Maybe some pita chips for dipping in more humus.  Sometimes a big salad.

Mid Afternoon Snack Before:  Diet Coke, maybe a snickers bar
What I had to change:  Didn't really need to dump the Diet Coke, but def the snickers.
Mid Afternoon Snack Now:  Apple

Dinner Before:  Some type of meat and two to three
What I had to change:  Not much, just thinking healthier.
Dinner Now:  Mostly vegetables.  Like a lot of them.  Sometimes, no meat at all.  Throwing a bunch of cut up pieces of zucchini, squash, onion and egg plant into a frying pan.  Mixing with whole wheat pasta.

And its working.  I'm having more energy throughout the day.  No more fighting sleep at my desk at 2pm.
My scalp seems to itch less now too.  I've dropped a few pounds since starting as well.  Though, two or so seem to come back and go away.
The big thing I noticed yesterday, is that my back wasn't killing me when I had to help out with a project in the press room.  Actually, no back pain at all, and not a whole lot of pressure on my spine.
(I messed it up some years back, helping my dad move a pool table down stairs on Christmas Eve).

I'm getting to eat food that I don't normally eat, and eat food that I normally do in a whole new way.
Any diet that allows me to still eat my dad's chicken wings on game day is a winning diet to me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Game Room...completed

I've been kind of moving things in and out of this one room in our house since we first moved in.  The room is an extra bedroom, and was considered day one as what ever I want to do with it.

At one point, it was a lounge area, with couches and foosball table.  But that shit was too crowded.  Then it became a catch-all sort of room.  Then, Kell's work out space.  Then my work out space.

I started buying vinyl records again, and since my big ass late 60s record player/piece of furniture was housed in there, it became the music room.

Then I built a gaming PC, and needed it to be near the router.  So, I decided that I would be gaming in that room.

We got new couches, so the old one's moved in, along with a new chair.  Still wasn't right.

Added a rug, some more posters, a new record player and a sort of coffee table.  Getting there.

Got rid of the gaming chair, moved some tables around, adjusted everything into a den like shape.
Now, its perfect.  I've got a larger lcd screen for my gaming PC, records, record player 5.1 surround sound, plenty of seating, action figures, posters and what not.

Its not a man cave.  Cause women are allowed.

Needs a bar, though.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Finish That Sentence: Link-Up

Found through my wife's blog at


My best friend says... things that get me in some odd predicaments

People call me... not a lot.  Mostly just text.  I hate talking on the phone.

The best part of my day... When we get home and I'm able to move from work clothes to lay about clothes.  My dog and I have a ritual where we "go crazy".  Which means I make her run through the house back and forth. 

I really don't understand... Quantum Physics.  But I'm close.

I get really annoyed... 24 hour news channels.

There's nothing like a... getting something you ordered in the mail.

Lately, I can't get enough... Vinyl Records.  Its become really addicting.

One thing I am NOT is... a gun owner.

I spent too much money on... I never really feel like I spent too much money, usually just the right amount.  Bills aren't late, so I'm good.

I want to learn.... everything.

If I ever met Jake in real life , I would... offer to buy a beer.

I can't stop... blowing ass.  The salads for lunch are starting to get to me.

Never have I ever... Chewing or dipping tobacco.

Reese Witherspoon... is an actress. I've seen her in a movie.  I think she's from Tennessee.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Continuing On With My 2013 Overhaul.

As I blogged before, I've done somethings this year that I've never done before (built my own computer) and quit some things I've been kicking around for a while: Facebook, Cable & Nail Biting.
But I really wanted to do more and change more.

1. Explore new bands that I haven't really listened to before.
    A. On Vinyl
    B. From small or local Record Stores.

I've decided to start experimenting with different bands that I've known about, heard great things about, but never really listened to before.  So, I started with Mudhoney and Sleater-Kinney.  Both of which, I've seen open for Pearl Jam.
So, I bought a couple of albums on vinyl...and they had MP3 download codes with them.  Which is a big plus for me, as I like to keep all my tracks on Google Music to be played anywhere.
I fell in love with both Albums.
So, when we were at Grimey's in Nashville, I bought some more Mudhoney (and I Pearl Jam vinyl I've had my eyes out for.).
I could easily go to Amazon and find all of these, or shop at Best Buy and get them.  But why do that, when I can spend money that will stay closer to a family owned place?
I do shop at InSound, but its a small company, so I don't feel too bad, as they're trying to help Indie bands get their music out there.
The one place I'll always go to is Pegasus Records.  I've shopped there forever.  When I was younger, before MP3s were a thing.  Just pouring through looking for some Hendrix track that I somehow never hear or a variation on one that I didn't have.  Same thing with Pearl Jam imports.

2. Sticking it to the man, helping the smaller brewer.

Kell had told me about this documentary she had watched called Brew Wars, and said that I should as well. Anheuser Busch are really working on putting the screws to the smaller brewers.  Mostly by making the same beer the small brewer is doing, All the while, making sure not to put Anheuser Busch anywhere on the labels or boxes to make them seem as though they're produced by a small company.
Now, I don't drink much in the way of A-B anyways, unless its the occasional Natural Light.  Mostly Miller or Coors.  But, as I found out, they're not actively trying to hurt the little guy, but they're not exactly putting out a helping hand.
So now, I'm doing my best to drink independent beers.  Beers that 3/4 of the profit doesn't go to Super Bowl ads.

That's it for now.  I'll continue to update as 2013 progresses and as I try to myself.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why I Left Facebook.

I stopped logging into Facebook just about a month ago, and last week, had to finally deactivate.

Facebook became a chore.

It was no longer fun to log in and see what my friends and family were posting.  It had become a hotbed for idiotic political posts.

At first I had tried filters just to change what people posted, then hiding posts.  Then, just trying to let people know that what they were posting just wasn't true.  It became an exercise in futility.  I was getting angry with people that I spoke very little to in real life.

I really want to like people that I don't associate with all the time, and their Facebook updates was making it impossible.  Facebook had been turned into FOX News but turned up to eleven.  (Sorry Kell). Kind of like how myspace had become some kind of glittery ghetto of Mtv.

Then, the story I read about Facebook making Billions (with a "B") and not having to pay any State or Federal taxes, and even getting refunds up to 500 Million (with a "M").  That was the last straw.  I was infuriated.  So many of us that use their site on a daily, hourly even minute by minute business struggle to pay bills and taxes, and they're beating the system.

So, I decided to quit facebook.  I stopped the same day that I quit cable and decided to quit biting my nails.

I thought that I would deactivate it.  I quickly learned how much of my life across the internet was directly attached to  So, I did the next best thing, and dumped every single thing that I had "liked" that was a business.  Save for a few that were friends' bands or businesses.

But then I realized that people were still commenting on things, messaging me or trying to add me as a friend.
I didn't want to appear rude by not responding, so I decided to just deactivate my account and deal with finding new ways to log in across the web.

I haven't missed it at all.  I keep up with people I need to through texts, email, instagram, tumblr and twitter.

I feel like I have more control over my digital life, as I don't feel as much as a jerk for not adding people I have no clue as to who they are.

I don't think I'll ever be able to fully delete my facebook account, much like I've never been able to delete my myspace account.  Its got history on there, that I'll always be able to look back on.