<![CDATA[Robert kugler - Blog]]>Fri, 17 Jan 2020 08:28:55 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[When Only Love Remains, Avery & Angela Book #3 is Free!]]>Tue, 31 Dec 2019 17:45:59 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/when-only-love-remains-avery-angela-book-3-is-free
Now in our final of five weeks of giveaways, I'm pleased to share book #3 in my series, WHEN ONLY LOVE REMAINS for free from December 31-January 2. 

Spoiler alert if you haven't read the first two books. They can stand on their own but I believe that they are more fun as part of the series.




Spoiler alert over:

Something inside him snapped.

Instead of enjoying a break from school with his girlfriend Angela, Avery is suddenly reeling from a tragic loss.

With his mother gone, Avery is left on his own, and the fragile web of secrets she kept begins to unravel, leaving Avery wondering if he knew his mother at all.

Avery doesn’t know what to do, but that won’t stop him from pretending that he does as every truth he clings to falls away and he grasps for the shattered pieces of the life he’s always known.

Secrets, lies, sleepwalking - this isn’t how life was supposed to be.

And then, there is Angela.

Can her love help him find a way through his loss, his growing anger, and his mother’s lies? Can he learn to accept what he cannot change?

Or will it consume him?

Find out in the third book of the Avery & Angela series, WHEN ONLY LOVE REMAINS
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<![CDATA[On the Road to Here, Avery & Angela book #2 is FREE!]]>Mon, 23 Dec 2019 18:39:59 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/on-the-road-to-here-avery-angela-book-2-is-free
Happy Holidays to you and yours! I'm pleased to offer as the fourth installment of my "Five Weeks of Giveaways" extravaganza, my second novel in the Avery & Angela series, ON THE ROAD TO HERE for FREE for the very first time!

All day on December 24, 25, and 26, the eBook will be yours for FREE!

***Slight Potential Spoilers if you haven't finished book #1 in the series, THE LAST GOOD DAY***




Spoiler warning over:


With his first semester and her first months of chemo completed, Avery is anxious to finally spend time with Angela.

But her doctors and their families have other ideas.

Being a normal couple was always going to be a challenge, but things only get harder and weirder as they navigate their first time alone together since summer, their exhausting parents, and her drunk uncle. 


Add in a series of unexpected tests and the world's strangest audition and Avery & Angela find themselves hurtling towards uncertainty. 

Can they overcome cancer, drama, and the great unknowns ahead of them? 

Will their newfound love for one another survive Winter Break?

For that matter, will they?

They will face more than one bump ON THE ROAD TO HERE, the second book in the Avery & Angela series that began with THE LAST GOOD DAY and continues with the third book in the series, WHEN ONLY LOVE REMAINS, available now!
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<![CDATA[Get THE LAST GOOD DAY for FREE!]]>Mon, 16 Dec 2019 17:21:41 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/get-the-last-good-day-for-free
This week, in my "Five weeks of Holiday Giveaways," I'm featuring the novel that started it all!

THE LAST GOOD DAY is the first book in the Avery & Angela series and is FREE UNTIL MIDNIGHT ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 20, PST.

Two best friends. One last day. One huge secret that changes everything!

This is the book that started it all for Avery & Angela!

Avery Young is having a moment. How he handles it will determine his future.

Avery is leaving New Jersey to study at the Boston Conservatory of Music. Before he leaves, he spends one last day at the Jersey Shore with his best friend, Angela, who's been unusually distant all summer.

When Angela finally reveals the reasons behind that distance, it changes everything.

For the first time, he realizes that he could lose her. How can he pursue his dreams when it could mean losing Angela, the only stable thing in his life, forever?


Book #2, ON THE ROAD TO HERE and Book 3#, WHEN ONLY LOVE REMAINS are available now as well HERE and are FREE everyday on Kindle Unlimited! 
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<![CDATA[Week #2: Holiday Giveaway: Best of Aloha Kugs Volume #2!]]>Tue, 10 Dec 2019 11:52:14 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/week-2-holiday-giveaway-best-of-aloha-kugs-volume-2
Welcome to week #2 of a planned FIVE weeks of gifts! This week, please enjoy a free copy of the eBook of the second installment of my Aloha Kugs series, THE BEST OF ALOHA KUGS, VOLUME II!

Join me as we revisit some of my favorite topics including, being a stay-at-home parent, an independent author, life, love, loss, and of course, a 1961 Sears Silvertone Cabinet Stereo system and turntable. Laugh along through stories of an engagement, Saint Patrick's Day, and an intense Black Belt Test. Prepare all your feels for reflections on losing a parent, saying goodbye, and missing the chance to say goodbye as well. Prepare yourself for an intense visit to the surgical wing of Children's National Hospital and be ready to answer the question: "Are you now or have you ever been a grownup?!"

Another fifteen of Kug's best columns await you here in Volume II!

Thanks for your support and be sure to share this deal with your reader friends. Another deal is coming your way next week too! 

Claim your free copy HERE!

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<![CDATA[It’s hard to have a relationship with a memory]]>Fri, 06 Dec 2019 11:45:34 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/its-hard-to-have-a-relationship-with-a-memory
Had he not died when I was seventeen, nearly thirty years ago, my father would have turned eighty years old today.
 
I’ve written a great deal over the years about my experience as a young person with a dying parent, then dealing with an absent one. Every aspect of my life for the better part of the next decade was affected, by not only the manner in which I handled that loss as a teenager (poorly), but also the manner in which I finally made peace with both that loss and accepted the help and support that I should have sought at the start. I’m not going to repeat things I’ve discussed before, but if you’re interested, check out that column HERE! 
 
Also, I have an entire chapter in The Best of Aloha Kugs, Volume I that looks at loss. You can find that HERE.
 
What’s struck me today as I consider my father’s birthday is not exactly the fact that he would be turning eighty. It’s that he’ll never be that, or anything other than the fifty-year-old man he was when he died. Our relationship had an expiration date and it was October, 1990. As I approach that age myself in the coming years, it’s led me to some curious thoughts.
 
Dad was an innovative teacher, a loving spouse, a good father, and many other things too. I used to spend great reserves of time and energy pondering what he’d think about things that I was going through, what his advice might be as I grew up and made choices, what he’d think of my choices. I wondered what he’d think of my wife and my children, things like that. I don’t really do that anymore, but I find myself now wondering how I’m going to feel about him and his legacy once I’m (God-willing) older than he was. Right now, I’m of an age where we could have been contemporaries. In a few years, I’ll be older than him. In twenty years, I’ll be much older than he was when his life ended. How will I look at him then?
 
His life stopped. Mine has gone on. I’ve grown and changed and matured (somewhat), but he’s still the man he was during the seventeen years that we walked the Earth together. What does one do with that?
 
I have some thoughts about what he might have done had he lived. He probably would have retired before I graduated college. He and mom planned to travel and I know they were looking forward to having both my sister and I “settled.” I know he’d have played a lot of golf. I think he would have adored my wife and kids. I know he’d be proud of my sister’s accomplishments. I know he would have loved the Eagles Super Bowl win and the Phillies World Series win. He would still love the shore. He would still love Wildwood. He’d still love Christmas and would still find words like “kumquat” hysterical. I think it’s safe to say that none of that is a real stretch.
 
I still think of him as my dad. I talk to the kids about him and there are stories the kids enjoy hearing and there are traditions and jokes that we share that I can trace back to him. I like that and I know it has meaning for my children who have grown up without ever knowing him.
 
I feel like I’ve come to peace with who he was and the impact he had on my life, but will that change when I’m in my nineties and I remember my father as what I’d then consider a young man in the prime of his life?
 
A young person I know recently commented that “Getting old must really stink!” I quipped that “It beats the alternative.” After I explained to him what the alternative was, (really) he nodded and went back to whatever young men do these days, but it was interesting for me to consider his sentiment. Does it stink getting older?
 
I submit that it does not. I’ll admit that I’ve aged to the point that I have to announce it to the world when I stand up, sit down or pick something up. I was once almost certain that I’d torn my ACL by turning over in my sleep. (I did not, thankfully) I think I’m just about the best version of me yet, to be honest. I look back on past versions of myself with a very critical eye now and while I can accept the train wrecks in my past, I have also learned to let go of a lot of the things that troubled me as a kid, a young adult, and beyond. There was plenty to let go of and while I’m not perfect, I like where I am in life. For me, that’s a real accomplishment.
 
As I remember my father on his birthday, I wonder if he was similarly reflective about his past when he was my age. He and I were really just starting to understand one another when he got sick, so our relationship was somewhat incomplete when he died, but we certainly didn’t talk about his feelings or heartfelt reflections on his youth and choices. The one thing he ever told me about his own father, for whom I was named was: “I think you’d have liked him. I think he would have liked my dad too.”
 
I think it’s safe to say those types of discussions were not a part of our relationship in the time we had and might never have been. He was part of a different generation.
 
Are there times that I wonder what he’d be like today? Of course, there are. Are there times that I wonder what I’d be like if he survived his cancer? Or if he’d never had it? Of course, but in the end, I truly don’t know. I’m not sure it matters, really. He was my father and I loved him. While our relationship ended almost thirty years ago and his place in my life has changed in those years, he still matters. I’m curious how I’ll see him when I can look back not only at him but hopefully my own long, healthy, and happy life.
 
It’s hard to have a relationship with a memory, but for me, it’s always been worth exploring that surprising circle that my memories seem to exist in. “What if?” always seemed to be where my head and my heart went in the years after he died.
 
Then, it often morphed into “What would Dad say?”
 
Now, I find that I’m far more interested in “What’s next?”
 
I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet he felt the same way when he was my age. There’s something kinda pleasant about that now as I re-read that sentence. I don’t know if it’s true and there’s obviously no way to know and honestly, I’m OK with that. I don’t need to know everything.
 
It’s hard to have a relationship with a memory, so I won’t, but as I mark what would have been his eightieth birthday, I’ll do the best thing that I can think of as a way to honor him and the time we had together:
 
I’ll take my wife to the metro in the morning so she can get to work since the busses are on strike. I’ll get all three kids off to school, showered, dressed, fed and prepared for the day. I’ll take the dog on a run to get ready for the race I signed up for with friends in February. I might vacuum the upstairs and I’ll coordinate the car service appointments that are upcoming. If I can, I’ll spend some time on the writing of my fourth novel, I’ll review a project that a friend has asked for my input on, and I’ll catch up on a webinar replay that I missed this afternoon. I’ll pick the wife up from work so she can be home so we can both help the girls get ready for the girl scout craft fair, and then I’ll head out to the boyos’ first ever high school track meet. There will be meals and laundry and so forth at some point too. Then, once everyone is home, we’ll watch something together, we’ll read together, and then the kids will go to bed. Then, the wife and I (if there’s energy left) will keep watching the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. (It’s great!)
 
It will be a busy day.
 
And then, we’ll face what’s next, which in this case will be Saturday. Rock climbing, horseback riding, Tae Kwon Do, and of course, our Ohio State Buckeyes competing for the Big 10 Championship and a chance to play for a National Title, so not exactly an ordinary Saturday.
 
But it’ll still be just one day at a time.
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<![CDATA[Week #1 of FIVE "Giving Tuesdays" features The Best of Aloha Kugs for FREE!]]>Tue, 03 Dec 2019 11:42:18 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/week-1-of-five-giving-tuesdays-features-the-best-of-aloha-kugs-for-free
Happy December! In honor of #GivingTuesday, we are featuring giveaways/steep discounts on all five of my releases to date with Four Leaf Publishing over the next five weeks, starting today!

Beginning Tuesday December 3 and ending Midnight Friday the 6th, you can have my first ever release, THE BEST OF ALOHA KUGS, Volume #1 for FREE!

The book is a collection of essays written during my years writing as Aloha Kugs. Those columns originally started as a stay-at-home parenting blog about our time in Hawaii, but morphed into so much more over the years. 

Enjoy such entries as "New Jersey Attitude: 1, Aloha Spirit: 0," which shares the story of my (almost) fistfight defending my family in the Honolulu Library; "Love is Never Uncertain-The Magical World of Toys and Play;" The complete "1970 Plymouth Duster Chronicles;" and of course, "The Magnetic Pull of Home," among others.

This deal only lasts a few days, so please, check it out today, share with others, and check back next week for week #2 of our Five-Weeks of Giving Tuesdays!

Or, you can sign up for my email list and have everything sent right to your email by clicking HERE!

Thanks for your support!
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<![CDATA[Another Primer on the Avery & Angela series]]>Sun, 29 Sep 2019 19:28:15 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/another-primer-on-the-avery-angela-series
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!  As we get ready for When Only Love Remains, book THREE in the Avery & Angela series, here's a little primer to bring you up to speed!

Avery & Angela's story begins in my novel The Last Good Day

What's it all about?  Glad you asked!

Two best friends. One last day. One huge secret that changes everything!

This is the book that started it all for Avery & Angela!

Avery Young is having a moment. How he handles it will determine his future.

Avery is leaving New Jersey to study at the Boston Conservatory of Music. Before he leaves, he spends one last day at the Jersey Shore with his best friend, Angela, who's been unusually distant all summer

When Angela finally reveals the reasons behind that distance, it changes everything.

For the first time, he realizes that he could lose her. How can he pursue his dreams when it could mean losing Angela, the only stable thing in his life, forever?



Avery and Angela's story continues in the second book in the series, On the Road to Here. What's that one all about? Again, you've come to the right place! 

(********Slight potential spoilers if you haven't read book #1*********





***Spoiler buffer over-proceed at your own risk***






With his first semester and her first months of chemo completed, Avery is anxious to finally spend time with Angela.

But her doctors and their families have other ideas.

Being a normal couple was always going to be a challenge, but things only get harder and weirder as they navigate their first time alone together since summer, their exhausting parents, and her drunk uncle. Add in a series of unexpected tests and the world's strangest audition and Avery & Angela find themselves hurtling towards uncertainty. 

Can they overcome cancer, drama, and the great unknowns ahead of them? Will their newfound love for one another survive Winter Break?

For that matter, will they?

They will face more than one bump ON THE ROAD TO HERE
  • If you'd like to try a sample of On the Road to Here, you can get it HERE! 
  • The book itself is available in paperback, eBook, and on Kindle Unlimited right HERE! 
  • There is more original music featured in book #2, which you can enjoy by clicking HERE!


So now, you should be all prepared for When Only Love Remains, the third of a planned four books in the Avery & Angela series! You can check that out HERE!

​eBook Launch is October 15! Paperback is available now!


Thanks so much for your support!  If you're not currently receiving my email newsletter, please
sign up HERE today!  
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<![CDATA[A Photographic Journey Through THE LAST GOOD DAY]]>Sun, 29 Sep 2019 18:54:35 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/a-photographic-journey-through-the-last-good-dayWith Avery & Angela #3 launching, I thought it would be fun to share some of the real world places that A&A visit during the events of THE LAST GOOD DAY. Please enjoy and let me know if I missed any of your favorite spots in the comments!
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<![CDATA[When Only Love Remains-Avery & Angela #3 COVER REVEAL!]]>Mon, 09 Sep 2019 23:37:24 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/when-only-love-remains-avery-angela-3-cover-revealBig things are coming! WHEN ONLY LOVE REMAINS will be available for preorder VERY SOON! Stay tuned for more details! In the meantime, here's the first look at the cover art for the book! Thanks so much for your support! Get caught up on the first two books in the series HERE! 
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<![CDATA[The Duster Chronicles III: The heart of the matter, Don Henley, and the first week of September]]>Fri, 30 Aug 2019 03:47:11 GMThttp://robertkuglerbooks.com/blog/the-duster-chronicles-iii-the-heart-of-the-matter-don-henley-and-the-first-week-of-september
Nine days after I wrote part II of the Duster Chronicles, posted below, on my birthday then, like today, I might add, I wrote this. While it's s not completely about the Duster, it was inspired by some of the memories and feelings that bringing it home had inspired.  I don’t own the lyrics to the song, obviously, so I’ve had to edit this a touch for what became THE BEST OF ALOHA KUGS: VOLUME I, which is aviailable here!   
 


As you may have heard, I bought a car recently.  Not just a car…an adventure.  This isn’t about the car but it was inspired by it circuitously, plus, it’s my birthday, so, like every other day, I get to write about whatever I want.  That includes the things in my chronically overlong title.  So, let’s talk about them.  As some of my stories go, it begins long ago…
 
It was the first week of September, 1990.  I’m certain there was something of note going on in the world but I had just turned 17, had my license, had a car, and my world was falling apart.  My father was dying of cancer.  He would die in October of that year.  I was starting my senior year of high school and handling it, along with a number of other emotional and personal challenges, with varying degrees of success.
 
What does this have to do with Don Henley?  Well, not a ton, actually.  He’s the guy that co-wrote and sang a really great song, “Heart of the Matter.”  That in and of itself is not noteworthy here, though it’s a great song and all you Eagles haters should just settle down and hang in there.  A good song is a good song.
 
This is all about timing.
 
Dad was in the hospital and Mom was with him most days.  My sister had just graduated college and was out in the world creating her own personal brand of awesome so, I had a lot of time to myself.  I was at the hospital a lot too but school had just started and it was decided, between my parents and I, that I should try to have as normal a senior year as possible. So, I tried.  It was amazing how quickly going to Princeton Hospital became a daily occurrence.
 
Among other things that should be mentioned as this backstory gets longer, is that I had just had a rather long-term relationship end, honestly as nicely as was possible, so that was on my mind too in the first week of September, 1990.  It had just been my birthday.  I got as a gift for my 17th birthday a car stereo of my choosing to be installed in the Nissan, not the old Duster, as for the time being, I was going to using that car more often than not.  So, I went and picked one out and it got installed and it was as a wise man once said, “Most excellent.”  AM radio AND FM, plus a sweet cassette deck with AMS, digital display, and METAL to non-metal cassette distinction options.  Later on, I even got an adapter to plug my giant portable CD player into it…but enough about how old I am. (42 is as special number!)  It was really cool and I had an extensive cassette collection (still do) and I was really happy with it. 
 
When I picked up the car after the installation, I started it up and the radio was all static as none of the stations had been set yet so, I set about fixing that before I pulled out of the parking lot.  I started with everyone’s favorite station in those days in Mercer County, NJ, 97.5 WPST, right out of Princeton.  The moment I tuned it in I heard the opening chords of Don Henley’s “Heart of the Matter” and I just sat there listening to it.  It wasn’t a new song, really.  The album it was on was over a year old, so I know I’d heard it before.  Just never in that time and that place. 
 
Have you ever had that moment where someone said exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment?  Or you just happened to be in the right place at the right time for something significant to happen to you?
 
This was that in every possible way.  The first song on the stereo that would be the last gift I would receive from both of my parents plays this song at that moment, when pretty much every lyric in the song speaks to something that had significance to what I was not only experiencing, but also the things I was avoiding.  I was avoiding the idea that I might have to learn to live without my father.  I was avoiding the idea that everything was changing and that life would have to go on.  I was definitely holding on to a lot of anger, despite the fact that I knew it would consume me.  I did that for a lot of years afterwards, too. 
 
I know the song is, on the surface a song about learning that a former girlfriend had found someone else, and there was that too going on in my life, but in that moment, the song felt like some kind of dispatch, what some call a “God moment,” where it seems like you’re being sent a message.  I sat there and listened to the whole song in the parking lot of that car place out on Route 1 between the Market Fair and the Mercer Mall.  When it was over, I turned off the radio and drove off into Princeton, towards the hospital to see my dad, but I stopped and parked somewhere first.  I don’t remember where.  It may have been our church, it may have been my old school, it may have been right on Nassau Street, I honestly don’t recall.  I parked the car and for the first time since all the changes had happened; since my dad was diagnosed; since my relationship ended; since my world changed; since I’d been on emotional cruise control for months; For the first time since all of that, I really thought about what it all meant.  I thought about what my life was going to look like without my father.  I considered how someone I loved had moved on and that I would need to as well.  I thought about what forgiveness means.  There’s a lot going on in the lyrics of that song and so I thought about it all.  I let is all in.  Rather quickly, I then let it all out, completely and totally.  I lost it both tremendously and cathartically. 
 
It was a good thing.  Cleansing to be sure.  It was the first time I’d kind of let myself feel any of it to that point.  I don’t think I’d been as honest and direct with my friends about what was going on and I think I tried to remedy that in the coming weeks.  I remember feeling much more at peace, if such a thing were possible after that.  I drove on to see dad and had a good visit with him and mom was there too and we talked with his doctor.  Later, mom and I had a real talk about what was going on and how serious it was and what it meant to the family and what we needed to do over zeppolis at the Pizza place at the old Princeton Shopping Center.  It was a good conversation and I remember driving home with my new stereo.  I had switched to the Jazz show on 103.3 WPRB as I didn’t want music with words right then.  I wanted to process what I’d just come to understand: my father was dying and it wouldn’t be long.  I was going to have to find a way to live with that and become a real person on my own.  I was going to have to talk to my friends about it and I did to some.  I wish I’d done more.  They were there for me after it happened in droves and to this day I love them all for it.  I wish I’d shared more as it was happening.   Some of my closest friends didn’t know my dad was that sick.  It was a lesson learned.  I barely shut up about anything these days.  You all have Don Henley to thank for that I suppose…
 
So, that stereo I got for my 17th birthday went from the Nissan, aka “Challenger,” into the Tracer, aka “Bullseye,” before I had it removed when I bought the first Outback.  I kept it in a box.  It’s gone through several moves within Jersey to Oahu to Virginia. It stayed boxed up in our laundry room here and then into a box in the old shed that leaked and into the new pretty shed that’s awesome, until I gave it to my new mechanic pals who installed it in the Duster.  I was worried it wouldn’t play, but it works just like it did back in the day.  This morning, I took the kids for their first ride in the Duster.  We connected my old cassette adapter to my iPod and we were soon rocking out to Bruce and Jimi, until it shuffled right onto “Heart of the Matter” as we drove down the Springfield-Franconia Parkway. 
 
It was cool and a little breezy this morning and since the AC hasn’t been re-installed in the Duster, we had the windows open and the air was cool and a little damp.  It reminded me of a morning back in early October of 1990 a little actually, when I knew before I was told that my father had died.  Hearing that song with the kids, in the car I’ve been dreaming about since before dad got sick, with all of the significance that car turned out to have for me was really a nifty moment.  I had a few memories that popped:
 
I remembered sitting in that parking lot listening to that song and how it had helped me come to grips with the relationships that were ending in my life and the fact that I was going to have to figure out how to live my life in a very new way. 
 
I remembered standing on the high altar at church with my friend Dee who arrived early to Dad’s funeral and gave me a hug and held my hand for a long time.  She didn’t let go until I was ready.
 
I remembered talking to my friend Anne before the service about how I could possibly write a meaningful eulogy and how she helped me through it.
 
I remembered hugging my Godparents in the room for families, so grateful they were there.  I saw them recently so I wasn’t surprised to have them in mind.
 
I remembered how my sister’s friends had driven all day to come to the service and then had to go right back to take the GRE’s the next day.
 
I remembered the young woman who held my hand through the very awkward reception afterwards, even though we weren’t a couple anymore.  She didn’t let go until I was ready either. 
 
I remembered other things too, but to be honest, I only swam in that for a moment.  They were all nice memories that I treasure and have written about before both here and elsewhere.
 
But then I took a breath and exhaled and draped my arm across the front bench and put my palm out towards the Bear and she grabbed my hand from the backseat and held it and then I thought about how cool it was that I was driving my new old car with my kids listening to that song.  I felt again, like something had changed.  I felt calmer and a lot more at peace.  I liked the moment I was in with the kids and I like very much the way it feels now in my memory.  At peace sounds and feels like a pretty good place to be. 
 
I told the Boyo, who enjoys specific facts about songs, “Hey-you hear this song?  This was the first song this stereo played back in 1990 when I had it installed in Grammy’s old Sentra.”
 
And he said, “That’s cool.” 
 
And it was. The next song that popped up on shuffle was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” to which Boyo said, “YES!”
 
It’ll be 25 years since that all happened soon and, while I wish I could say everything went smoothly after September 1990, that would be untrue and generally uninteresting.  There were a lot of years I still carried anger and it definitely ate at me from inside.  But I learned to live.
 
Now, as a delightful postscript, the first week of September 1992 was a real winner.  There was this really pretty blonde that kissed me in the stairwell of her dorm on the night before classes started.  That worked out pretty well for me.  Impeccable timing once again… 
 
If you’d told me while listening to “Heart of the Matter” in 1990 that I was only two years away from the love of my life well, I don’t know what I would have done with that. Probably would have written an awful song or an even worse poem.  Be grateful you only have to read me in this form.
 
Today I am unequivocally exactly where I want to be.  My family is healthy and happy, despite of and because of some of the challenges we face.  I read to my children every night and it is a source of enormous joy for me.  They are funny and fun and brilliant and artistic and thoughtful and amazing in ways I can’t ever imagine having been as a child.  My wife is the greatest ever.  I am who I am because of my relationship with them and the rest of you fine people.  And I know that Don’s song, which he said took “42 years to write and about 4 minutes to sing,” suggests among other things that all things change.  I think that’s generally true, but sometimes it’s not.  I still love my parents although they are both gone now.  I love my wife and my children and my sisters and all of our family; even the ones who like Michigan.  That doesn’t change but I think we do.  All of us.  Well, I won’t speak for you, but I think I have changed at least a little. 
 
The song also suggests that as we age, we are often forced to learn some of the same lessons over and over, but in new ways.  I used to feel that line very differently than I do now.  I used to take it as “I screwed up and am re-learning stuff I should know.”  I took it that way because that was absolutely my experience.  I screwed up a lot and had to re-learn it a lot until I didn’t.  I like the idea now though, as I feel like it’s possible to look back on old lessons learned and learn them again in a new way.  Like reading an old favorite book; one always catches something new on a re-read. 
 
 
Or maybe I just like the song.  Could be that.  Could be that Don was writing the song at 42, like I just turned while writing this.  Whatever it is, the song, the stereo, the car, the first week of September, whatever it is, in the end, I think that the song, and my past, and my present and future for that matter, has never made more sense to me than it does just now.
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