Along with soccerball handling–to an exercise of good health, several pair of expired shoes, developing a melodic voice, and discovering the proper waste-of-time, our host poet expounds on a complex world, by interjecting questions of balance. This labyrinth has been developed by his poetic-sense and his philosophical understanding. In search of balance in a mysterious atmosphere of percepts, which rattle and confuse the otherwise normal mind, he establishes grounds for clear thought.
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A Brief Insight into our Host Poet:
Lee Mahana was borned a boy in southeast Texas to Alvin and Ophelia Mahana.
A few of my earliest memories–include wearing a diaper and glaring through the restricting bars of a play-pen on the antless grass (pre-fireant area) of my mother’s sister, Aunt Beulah’s front lawn. There was another time when I wore a diaper while riding in an old car, which my dad, Alvin, converted into a board-built bed–pickup truck. A family clothes line stretched across the driveway of our two room house in Vidor, Texas, where Ophelia drove under the line with me in the bed of the truck. My tiny hands reached up to grasp the clothes line; when suddenly, I experienced a jerk that slammed me onto the ground. These days, you may legally call Social Services–on child abuse; but really, I was just having fun; that’s all there was to it; no legal interjections necessary. My mother stopped the car to pick me up and brush away the tears and clean my dirty diaper; and, I lived to fall another day. Another diaper memory is when it snowed in southeast Texas. I snuck out the backdoor of our shanty, and waddled to the front corner of the house, and suddenly slid down on the ice. A note: in those days, before global warming, I remember icicles hanging from our tin roof…growing to be several feet long when it was cold enough for several days at a time. The coldest I ever remember is about 8 degrees.
Diaper is a common phase of all babies, but usually very little memory.
In the countrified environment where he grew-up, poverty provided little or no clothes to wear. After out-growing diapers, he wore jockey shorts as a toddler. Shorts and shirts were often worn during an ordinary playday. However, due to hot weather, shirts and shoes were frequently unnecessary. Shoes were worn only on special occasions, like church. No other special occasions were know to the family.
Lee was the second to the beginning of a large family of boys. One girl was realized toward the end of off-spring production. But meanwhile, the boys grow-up with diapers, jockey shorts, T-shirts, bluejeans, and barefeet…in that two room house, busting at the seams. The house cost about $500 to build in those days, with add-on from time to time; and the land was purchased from a cousin for $36.
Remember the time when Lee was a little boy jumping out the back door; he landed on an old spam can and nearly cutting-off his little toe; don’t remember on which foot. Mom had him soak it in hot salty water, and be very careful as it healed–if he could. It healed soon, without getting infected. The tin can was the results of a yard accustom to messy debris…scattered about for decorations.
A few cousins and brothers had gathered in the woods for pretended war games. The weapon of choice was the only one available; we were lucky that it was only simple powered BB guns. We had built a two-story log cabin made of railroad ties we had found behind the Stephenson house. There was about five or six of us who had gathered for these war games. My position of choice was located inside the log house on the second floor. The memory of this occasion was the perfect BB shot to a fellow cousin’s wrist. The cousin was behind a tree; when he leaned out from behind the tree to make a shot, I popped him a lucky shot right on the inside of his left wrist. It stung pretty bad, he said, but that’s what we were there for–to hurt each other. We were to stupid in those days to realize just how stupid we were.
Wearing caps as a boy was to be treated with politeness when inside the church. Wednesday was the day of the week, and after school–about 3:30 pm, when the children of the church attended Primary. A cousin had resently moved into town from Utah. His name was Gary. One particular day he wore a cap inside the church, so I too assumed the same privilege, so I did. Mom heard about it and gave me a tongue lashing. I have been polite with caps ever since; well, at least until I got big enough to realize that a lot of men are unpolite, so I did that too.
We got a brand new 1954 plymouth and went on the first of many long trips. In fact, every time a new car was purchased, many miles were added to the odometer on a several thousand miles trip to see family living in various locations of the United States. Isn’t freedom great with an automobile? A friend of Alvin, name Mr. Dancer, had a trailer, which we borrowed for this 1954 trip. Boards were placed across the trailer to raise our bed, so luggage could be put in the lower section. While going through a Colorado town in the Rocky Mountains, a brother, Ned, was sitting up as he enjoyed the 50 mph wind blowing through his hair. A city policeman noticed the fun Ned was having and pulled dad over on the shoulder; he assured dad that that was dangerous. For a few miles, dad agreed. We all got into the four door sudan, where we didn’t have much room for everyone. Once we got through that town, many of us returned to the tow trailer to make room in the car and to keep out of sight.
While swimming at the Firehole within Yellowstone National Park, several of us swimmers went a short distance up stream where the river water was raging toward the Firehole swimming area. In my attempt to swim along with everyone else, the swift current pulled me down under a huge curved rock. While pinned there life seemed to be a very short struggle; inching my way around the rock allowed me to enter the current again and follow the other swimmers back to the Firehole…still alive…just like everyone else.
There was the time Hollywood put glimmer in my eyes, which effected the desires of my brain. I felt it was natural, since the world is full of it; so, I went to Hollywood. Well, I didn’t live in Hollywood, but close by…in Gordon Groves, with an old missionary friend who had served in Vidor when I was a boy. When I made appointments in Hollywood, Davie let me use his car to make the appointment. While there, I had a couple of appointments a week; made a demo record on Coangauena Blvd; tried out for the Dating Game; interviewed with Sam Lane (Frankie Lane’s brother); and impressed others with my energy at acting school, and etc. While there, I also tried out for the Long Beach Theater, and impressed the girls–directors, but I had rode a bicycle 24 miles to the try out, and didn’t have the transportation to make the dedication for a part in a show. I moved in with a church member, who had only one arm and an elbow stub on the other side; his name was Gene; he was into reloading shells for guns; he had a whole bedroom dedicated to it. He was a great guy. While living in his rented apartment, I felt several earthquakes…one of which was a big one–I thought I was dizzy at first, but then I noticed that everything in the room was dizzy too. For work; I tried one day with the supermarket where Davie was a manager. While in high school, that kind of work was ok, but I had out grown the busy movement of being a carry-out boy, and so, I quit after 4 hours. Another job was driving for Hertz rent a car; returning cars back to their home terminal. While doing that, I got a speeding ticket; paying this ticket took the last of my money; so I had Gene drop me off on the edge of town and I thumbed my way out of California…after just 4 months of seeing Hollywood as a want-a-be actor/singer. It wasn’t until Provo, Utah, when I had a few parts in 4 movies under a female extras coordinator named Jamie. That is another story…with many things to tell.
Loosing air brakes on a California hill is a miracle to be a live. I was aware of the small air leak in the trailer brakes on the Kenworth I was assigned to drive by the company dispatch. My younger brother was a new driver, and I was training him to be my partner. Since I kinda knew what I was doing behind the steering wheel, when the brakes wouldn’t hold while going down the hill near Baker, California–at 70 miles per hour, I told him I had better take it. So, I grabbed the wheel and told him to jump out of the driver seat. Because he had pumped the brakes too much, I could not retrieve the air loss. When we went around that last curve–approaching the straight-away, at 90 mph with the tachometer maxed-out and the speedometer stressed at breaking point, I threw the ten-speed road-ranger into neutral to ride it down. This was just before day break. I told my younger to tell my other younger brother to get out of the sleeper…in case we all died; at least he could see what killed him. Just speculation, but we got up to about 140 mph…passing cars as they weezed passed. We were lucky that day; every car stayed in its lane…allowing us to pass without incident. We did have to change lanes several times to pass some cars. We tried to use the air horn, but we had no air; we started flashing the headlights, but figured that was a bad idea. It was best that the people didn’t know we were coming; it could have prompted a bad decision on their part, and killed us all. It was a pretty dark descent on that hill, but at the bottom there was plenty of light. We pulled over on the side of the freeway to count our senses, and to let the air build up. We made it to Las Vegas where we got the brakes fixed. A mechanic showed us the pinhole that almost killed us.
Our new baby, Marie, was so sweet that I couldn’t leave her sugar cheeks alone without a kiss, even when I was suffering from a sore throat; after all, I had been sick sitting and raising babies since I was five years old. Anyway, this was not a good time to be kissing the new baby, because her mother was having a difficult time breast feeding, so that she would be getting the proper amount of antibiotics from mother’s natural milk. As a result, my bacteria was overwhelming Marie’s immune system, so that she got my sore throat. More than just a sore throat. At three weeks old, it became a dangerous sickness. Her nose ran all the time, she had a fever that would not go away. We took her to doctor Pansulan, who immediately admitted her into isolation at Saint Mary’s hospital in Port Arthur, Tx, where the only visits she was allowed was her mother. Mom spent to entire 11 days in isolation with her to care and feed her. The sickness was a serious and contagious type of spinal meningitis. Before Marie was released from the hospital, I took precautions that she would not have a relapse of the dread disease; I went out and bought enough PVC pipe and plastic sheeting to build her a steril room, where no one was allowed to enter except mom…with food, until she was strong enough to have kisses again. Today, she is a wonderful mother with a 4 year old boy who reads very well, and a 1 year old girl who is thinking about it.
Marriage is a many splendor thing; and occasionally, paradoxical. A complex set of situations allowed marriage to occur between my first wife and I. Miracle? Well, perhaps! That is, if one recognizes Almighty hands in all things. Even if that set of circumstances appeared convenient to marriage, divine power is not discounted as obvious. There were at least 5 children prepared to enter the world, and so, my first wife consented to be their mother. We found each other in a university city, where she was attending school at the time. My job (coast to coast) kept me out of pocket all of the time, so dating was rather ifie. If driving a big rig gets in the way of meeting and marrying the woman ready to bring these children into mortality, than loosing that job to state discipline is a blessed plan in the scheme of things. As it happened, I was driving coast to coast for a company in Salt Lake City, and got 8 tickets. Five tickets were for 65 mph in 55 mph zones…in as many states, during perfect weather on the open freeway away from any city as one of the slowest vehicles on the freeways; one was in a valid school zone; two were for 35 in 25 mph zones…in two different zones; one was for 35 in a 25 on a hugh highway that was speed zoned for tourist over Lake Powell, during the winter time with no tourist present. The officer assured me that it was only $24. So I had no objections; it being Sunday morning coming from church, and being a law bidding citizen who respects the rules, for the most part. The Federal Gov. had dropped the speed limit down from 70 and 80 mph to 55 mph all over the United States, which should have been an individual state concern and jurisdiction. This was Richard Nixon’s doing; and he being almost impeached, which didn’t give him a good credit reference. The reason was to save fuel during a national crisis. After a while, that was a poor excuse, because, as I learned from supervisors at a Mobile Oil Company in Texas, there was no fuel crisis or shortage, except for the one fabricated to raise prices, so official heads decided to use saving lives for their excuse; it took them 10 years to get over that excuse and change back to 70 and 80 mph. This is the paradoxical condition that caused me to loose my commercial drivers licenses for a short time. Because I had 3 months suspended licenses, there was no way to maintain my driving job; also, when the 3 months was over, I got my licenses back, of course; but still, insurance companies refused to see me as a good risk, and would not allow any company to work me, or rather, they refused to carry someone with 300 points still on their record; it took 3 years for the points to drop off my record. It was under this dilemma that I met the woman who eventually had our five children. Five of the most beautiful children…is a wonderful trade off; therefore, I got the better end of the deal. Being able to support them is an entirely different issue. To mention a side effect of this condition, I had a house and a car, which I lost along with a bunch of money, because I could not maintain a job equal to my previous income. You can believe it as a coincident or not, but many years later I happened to be looking through in a small bookstore in Buna, Texas, and came across a book titled: The Real Estate Crisis of 1979. The reasons that Utah took my licenses was feeble, especially when it hinders a workingman’s ability to care for himself and a family. It appears that the Real Estate Crisis was a reflection of how I was treated by my government. The struggle through the married years with my first wife lead to the break up of our family, when she finally left for greener pastures…after accomplishing her RN degree. Suffering patiently through the blunt years of single life again, the greener pastures found me all alone, and brought me another wife of grace and wonderment. The very year my first wife left one week before Christmas–a sad Merry Christmas, I pulled out my guitar and returned to playing music. During that following summer, I had organized two large scale variety shows, which we performed at the high school auditorium. Four years passed while I was working for Orange County, and playing music. Finally, I found a guitarist to play with on a regular basis; although a break in routine happened for about a year, because Sam and his wife spent the year serving a mission for the church in Yucca Valley, California. This was the beginning of a miracle designed to put me together with a second wife. Sam, the guitarist, returned home and we resumed a routine playing schedule, which lasted until he passed away. We got together every Tuesday for practice. One Tuesday afternoon we played at a nursing home where his sister was a resident. From then on, we played there every Tuesday for four years, and practiced on most Mondays to warm-up for the next days show. There was some variations to the schedule, but not many. At the beginning we used a small karaoke machine owned by the nursing home. In the meantime, the pending miracle had been set and developed in California, where Sam and his wife had served their mission. A woman named Shirley happened to have a restless mind and wandering feet. A couple of years after her husband passed away, she ask a new friend–of about a year, if she would like to go traveling all over the country visiting family and friends along the way, and also, to visit one of her family reunions; her new friend was a friend of Sam and Delores. They wound up near the hometown of Sam and wife, so Shirley ask Nona if there was anyone she would like to see in the area. Well, there was a couple in Vidor, Texas she had become friends with. One Thursday evening Sam called me to say that some people where visiting, and would like to hear us play some music; so I went over to his house and we played for an hour or so. Shirley set on the piano bench just behind my left shoulder looking at my song book as I sang many songs. We finished playing that night, and I went on home. The next evening, Sam and I played at the Bill Allen Show (George Jones’ cousin). Shirley and Nona came to the show and sat just in front of me. The two visitors spent Saturday and Sunday with Sam and Delores. Sam and I warmed up for the Tuesday show on Monday evening at his house. The two lady visitors were still in town; they were there at his house to hear us play. Shirley arose from the dining table to walk into the living room, and shortly, she came from the living room walking toward the hall, and when she passed us–going behind Sam, he looked at me and nodded his head in her direction. That meant he had a match making idea in his mind, which he didn’t like to admit. After all, a good idea is a good idea. Even though I wasn’t looking for a mate, and neither was this lady visitor Shirley. After I packed up my guitar and song book to leave Sam’s house, Sam and Delores ask what I was going to do for the rest of the evening; without hesitation, I said I was thinking about asking Shirley to go for a drive, just to be nice to this visitor. We drove to the Park Dale Mall–about twenty-five miles away, and then back to Sam’s house. The next day, the two lady visitors came to our performance at the Spring season nursing home. While leaving the nursing home after the show was done, I ask Shirley if she would like to kick some soccer ball at the park, where it was hot and sweaty, but still, she consented to go and do it. That evening a movie was in order, so I thought; she consented to that too. While watching the movie I needed to do something with my hand and so I held hers; she didn’t object to that either; but in fact, she liked it so much her feelings scared her. The two women left town for good…never to be seen again in Vidor, Texas. The next day I found several messages on my phone from Shirley: in the first message she was awkward and depressed as her sad voice said that she couldn’t leave town this way–without knowing more about us–she and I; in the second message her voice was very excited with an idea to go dancing with her cousin in Houston; in the third message her voice mellowed down to self control: she had the same idea for a dance, plus, going to hear her cousin’s (Linda) daughter sing. I listened to the three messages with wonderment, and so I called to find out what was on her mind. Holding hands was very vivid in her emotions as we talked. Her idea for a dance prompted my idea for a dance first at our church in Vidor on Saturday evening, before her dance was to take place. Shirley’s voice was inticing when she suggested coming to the dance in Vidor, if I would kiss her. Going back to Vidor was called back-tracking; which, her and Nona had agreed not to do; but this was an occasion to be reckoned with–without hastily ignoring the event of holding hands–like a man and a woman often do. We did the dance in Vidor and the one in Houston; and before the ladies left Linda’s house, to continue their travel visiting plans, Shirley and I hugged and kissed goodbye. Well, that was that; she was gone and I was still alone. However, Shirley had accumulated 14,000 cell phone roll over minutes, which she was pleased to use on us. For the next five weeks, we talked on the phone for hours every day; at least, two hours and up to seven hours. The conversations became personal and intimate. Shirley would often be talking to me, while going down the road and ignoring Nona. When she would be visiting friends and family, she would walk around outside chasing a cell phone signal. Shirley became urgent to finish their trip, so she could get home to California, so she could move to Texas and get married to Lee Mahana. So that is the story of how we met. This update is more than eight years married, without a dull moment to account for.
…to be continued[/pay]