<small>December 24, 2009 by seacowboys</small> I am fifty-three years old. Some days, I feel much older but most days, I still think that I am 17, and when I look into a mirror, I do not recognize the face that stares back at me. I still have the muscle memory of slam-dunking a basket ball, something that the ever increasing gravitational forces have prevented me from doing for several years now. Arthritis, the rheumatory type, often makes it difficult to trim my toe-nails or don a pair of socks but I still do not hesitate to put on a diving helmet and jump over the side of a boat and traverse to the bottom of the sea, where I often make my living. I work in the marine salvage industry. Until recently, I was a salvage master for a major player, until I lost my temper and punched one of the seamonkeys when he failed to relay accurate information and caused a blow-out on an underwater concrete repair at a container port down in the Bahamas. The new generation of commercial divers (I call them Seamonkeys) have not ingratiated themselves in my arsenal, I generally think they are a bunch of whining snot-nosed know-it-alls that used their parents hard-earned money to go to dive school so they could make the big bucks but don’t want to pay their dues to deserve them. I am married to a darling woman of Southern heritage. She has a bit of a drinking problem that seems to run in her family but I do not mind, as long as she confines her drinking to a snoot full of wine in the evenings when I am home to look after her. Sometimes, I think the world is too big a place for her. We live in Theodore, Alabama, just outside of Mobile. I bought a house here right after Katrina. We have three dogs, a koi pond filled with fish, and around thirty rabbits. I originally only intended to have seven rabbits and a monthly litter of bunnies for the freezer but the freezer broke and bunnies out-number the days that I want to eat them for dinner. We have a garden that is as much of a learning curve as it is enjoyment. I did not realize that certain favorite vegetables need to be planted during the winter. Maggie is my favorite dog. She is a year old Doberman that is smarter than dogs should be but still hasn’t outgrown her puppy propensity to get into mischief. I think that is why she is my favorite. George (my fat golden retriever bitch) is very well trained and equally as head-strong. The wiener-dog, Garfield, is a killer by choice. He insists on killing mostly tree frogs that abound near the koi pond and those little chameleon lizards that hang out on the gazebo behind the house. Each of my puppies love me with unbridled devotion and they provide me with a degree of comfort and companionship beyond the scope of most humans. I do not recall a time where I believed that the world around me was a safe haven. My childhood was a university of distrust and fears that had to be either confronted head-on or avoided until trapped by their tentacles. I did not become a gregarious person and often dwell on the lyics of an Emmy Lou Harris song; “You waste no time on vengeance, you’ve no wish to fight again, You put your faith in ‘God, we Trust’ but little faith in man”. I am not a Christian but I am a devout believer in God, it is just that I choose not to worship without a complete understanding and the Emperor Constantine left too much out of the bible to simply choose to believe what he left for us mere mortals. I ask for this understanding each day and the Lord answers my prayers; I give thanks each day for the many blessings that I have been given. If the day arrives that Jesus returns, he will find a brother ready to stand beside him until the end, for I truly believe that we are all sons of the one true God. I do not need the solace of the religion reward system and thereby, do not believe in any form of after-life, but should I prove to be incorrect in this assumption, most of my trespasses will be forgiven and those that cannot be reconciled, will have already been paid for in this life. I believe in the sanctity of life and the necessity of death and will kill without hesitation, if needed to provide food or protection but would much prefer to co-exist with most of my fellow creatures except for liberals, Republicans, and those that feel “entitled” to the product of other’s efforts. There are visible lines that exist between all cause and effect and I have been blessed with a clarity of vision that allows me to instinctively recognize this. I do not have an agenda other than taking care of my family and friends and sharing what I have learned through mistakes so that others may begin where I finished and hopefully, they will surpass. It is with that single-minded purpose, that I devote most of my limited resources towards preparing for times much more dire than those presently experience by my neighbors, for I believe the end is coming to the world that we grew up in. Most gracious Father, I thank you for the many blessing that we have been given. I pray for true understanding, that I might share this with others. I ask but for one thing, that you guide me through this time on earth and do not let me loose sight of what is real and important. Amen.