The Charlie Bravo Story

Take care of your memories…

…for you cannot re-live them- Bob Dylan.

Fresh sheets on the cot, and dad is buried deep under the quilts. He is showing no signs of rising any time soon, the only sign of life being an occasional kick or grunt as he chases a dream though an ethereal mountain pass. It’s that magical time in the morning when the dawn has brightened to the point that one can just barely discern the difference between the trees and the sky behind them.

The rush of the water pouring over the spillway helps mask the click of my toenails on the hardwood floor of the van, and I make my way over to where dad left the smartphone on the charger last night. Because it’s been too long; I feel the need to once again write, to return to my roots, to “dance with who brung ya”, so to speak.

With all the drama swirling around the Casa lately, i.e. dad’s job situation, the passing of Hope, the inception of the podcasts, etc, my own message has gotten a bit muddled. And that is easy to do, because it is sometimes a message of contradictions. A story that is sad, but assuredly not a sad story. A story that starts with an unspeakable act of cruelty, but without that act, there would be no contrast to the bounding joy to happen not just in spite of it, but because of it.

The message of the crate, that we all have them, and that they are often recognizable to everyone except the very person being held captive. That the only way out of your crate is to help others escape theirs. But escaping the crate is only half of the story, for if we’re not shown a better path, the old crate beckons, or even worse, a new, more confining crate. From alcohol to meth. From a mentally abusive spouse to one that’s a bit more physical. From a soul sucking corporate cubicle to another, just with a flashier logo and better “benefits”, but with far more hidden by-laws in the employee handbook.

A story of not just animal rescue, but more importantly, of people rescue.
If people are reminded that that they and their contributions matter and make a vast difference in the master plan, then the animal rescues will take care of themselves. It’s when people feel so devalued by a society that constantly tells them that their contributions don’t “count” that they retreat into their own narcissistic worlds of addiction. Whether it’s chemicals, alcohol, porn, pursuit of filthy lucre, infidelity, whatever the drug of choice, it all ultimately equates to selfishness. The worship of self is a gaping hole in the soul that one thinks can only be filled by the very thing that tears at the ragged edges and enlarges the very hole they would seek to fill.

But most importantly, it is a message of uncontainable joy. The old Pentecostal camp meetings were known for worshippers going into a “running fit”; I get it. In the dog world, we call this the “zoomies”, or FRAPs, Frenetic Random Activity Periods, where we are so filled with joy that it has to come out or we fear we will explode. I feel a FRAP coming on when I see dad wheeling the motorcycle out of the garage, or I see him loading the van for a trip out west; this is when my FRAP manifests itself not in a zoomie, but in a CHARK, an eardrum destroying Charlie Bark with which I release a tiny portion of my pent-up angst. As the old prophet said, “it’s like fire shut up in my bones”; I’m smelling what he was cooking. I’m picking up what he was laying down. I’m feeling what he was sayin’, both paws. It has to come out, or it will burn me up from within.

And now we move firmly forward; a beautiful Arkansas spring day beckons, and it’s time to shovelhead dad from the cot. There are roads to travel, throttles to twist, cows to chark at, and people to annoy. They say to dance like no one is watching…

…but I am Charlie Bravo, and I choose to dance like everyone is watching!

Charke Diem!

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