One of the greatest honors I’ve ever had was carrying you while meandering through the low surf near the 65th Avenue North beach access. You were seven or eight-months-old and it was your first trip to the beach. You wouldn’t take your eyes off the sudsy surf as it washed around my feet. You stared and stared and right then I knew you were a lover of nature. A dharma beach bum. Any lover of nature is a dharma beach bum if they want to be. One doesn’t have to be on a beach to love and show appreciation for nature. My pseudonym is nothing more than a spirit — the zest to commune with the great outdoors. Oh, yeah. I found three or four sharks’ teeth with you in my arms. That made them even more special.
After a half hour or so you fell asleep on my shoulder and then napped on a beach blanket for another hour, covered from the sun with one of my dharma beach bum t-shirts. My youngest DBB disciple. Always will be.
Another memory of you that I will always cherish is a visit we took to Broadway at the Beach. You, your parents, your brothers and I were there on a somewhat chilly, crowded evening. Nothing fazed you. Not the chill. Not the people wandering about aimlessly as if they were part of a cattle herd. Not even the fireworks display. Well, you did look to the sky in wonder, but you didn’t flinch once when they exploded loudly. You were most fascinated by the decorative waterfall outside Ripley’s Aquarium. That was near the end of the night and I was carrying you then, too. Your head was on a swivel as we walked near those falls. I was so proud ’cause I’ve always loved water myself.
I have no idea why, but you took a real liking to me. Two times you crawled up onto my lap and fell asleep when y’all were at my apartment. I thought it was cool that you felt so comfortable with me. Made me want to cry just thinking about it. So I did.
Yeah, it’s okay for men to cry every once in awhile. Just try not to make a habit of it. Especially around people who mistake the showing of emotion for weakness. That reminds me, buddy. You’ll encounter many, many people who mistake kindness for weakness. Ignore them. They aren’t worthy of you. Walk away and hold your head high. Keep being kind. Our pale blue dot needs as many kind people as she can get.
Here are a few more words of advice for you. Heed them if you want or take them with a grain of salt. Live the life you want to live. I offer you these tips with humility and with great hope for you. Just consider them while navigating the wonderful journey upon which you have already embarked:
Remember, always consider the source when taking advice from anyone. It’s human nature for people to tell one side of a story or to slant words for their own benefit.
Follow commandments five through ten of the ten commandments as listed in Exodus in the King James Version of The Bible. I’ve tried following the first four as well, but I’ve found it nearly impossible. Especially commandment three. Organized religion isn’t my cup of tea and it would take me a couple hundred pages to go into detail. Nevertheless, there is a lot of great advice in The Bible, especially the part about not coveting thy neighbor’s ox.
Always honor your mother. Yes, I know this is included in the ten commandments, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t take it for granted that she was tending to your hygiene when you were crappin’ yellow. She took you to the doctors often for many of the same childhood maladies that we’ve all experienced. I went along a few times when your father was at work; the doctor commented twice about how calm you were while being examined. You are so tough, dude. Don’t forget. Your mother will always have your best interest at heart and she will love you unconditionally.
Take care of Mother Earth. She’ll always take care of you. She used to be even better at it, but her immune system has been overloaded by mankind. Don’t litter like nearly everyone else and take a minute or two at times to pick up trash left behind by others. Yes, sometimes you have to be your brother’s keeper.
Let your actions speak for you. Too many people in this world say one thing and do another; they suffer from the disease of conceit. In the end, you will be judged by what you do, not by what you say.
Watch Clint Eastwood movies. Eastwood’s characters were known for exacting their own brand of justice. More importantly, the characters he played almost always did what was right. Doing the right thing won’t always make you friends, but do it anyway.
Listen to classic rock and roll music — i.e. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and The Doors. No reason. Just darn good music.
BChann, someday this old hippie hopes to be sitting on the beach with you again. Maybe you’ll be talking by then so you can teach me something. Maybe we won’t be saying a word.
Happy birthday and love always. Rob H.
(DBB note: BChann is my godson. I’m the one who gave him his nickname by, gasp, following the latest trend of combining parts of his given moniker. My friendship with his mother is on hold following a disagreement. That’s why I didn’t feel comfortable disclosing BChann’s full name or using a newer picture of him. Being a godparent is an honor and responsibility that I’d never relinquish voluntarily.)