Norm Peterson | Jack Gator's Grace Notes

The longest Saturday
Suddenly, there was a prison for the Gator. Probably the most luxurious and comfortable prison he had ever been in or heard of. All the time off for good behavior and all activities allowed … as long as visiting other facilities/mess halls/rec areas and libraries was not attempted.
He could find so many things to do that he never had the time to do before prison. Write, play music with fellow inmates and even watch movies and read those books that sit unread because of outside activities before.
The punishment of prison is on the surface, inability to go outside the walls. That is not true, however, Gator could go and drive, there just isn't anybody to visit and no place to sit and visit anyone. So we hunker down and eat a lot. Gator looked at the half-empty bottle of Cabernet on the counter.
It was from the previous night’s Shabbat and the urge was there to just open it again and sit by the fire and have a glass. Nine a.m. Still in pajamas. An old fiddle tune comes to mind “Whiskey before breakfast.”
The Gators got into a heated disagreement in the kitchen a bit later. It got into a character flaw that has been doing a lot of damage to Gator over a lot of his life. The urge to run away was strong but that did not happen because the lie of fear has been dealt with a bit ago by a professional helper. It was deep, very deep inside that Gator felt unworthy, damaged and not being up to snuff.
Nothing really described it well but the little sliver of a deeper lie began to surface. It was hard stuff and very uncomfortable for both of them. Logic did not really help. Thoughts of past issues just made it harder. One of the Gator boys came in and let the old amphibian have it direct, a broadside going right into his starboard side. Unexpected truth, stunning really. A perfect shot.
It caused a startling time of the possibility of a new personality, an entirely new way of looking at himself and Greta (Mrs. Gator) even though they had been married for decades. This had never been an outcome of arguments before. Still reeling, both of them knew the tide had turned and the grounded and stuck emotional ship of Gator, still smoking from the direct hit, was afloat on the waters of life. No longer seeing himself as a ruined hulk but a sturdy craft, unhindered now by a bad list and a frozen wheel, Gator began the journey out of the harbor of his selfishness.
A harbor of the port of pity now fading, and his destination now charted and unbelievably new and exciting. Fuel, long bunkered and forgotten, was building up the engine and the chart spread on the bridge. The continent of peace and beautiful relationship was ahead and the port listed on the chart, before not seen, was the destination. Worthiness of the convoy and his cargo, very visible to others, would be carried strongly and ballasted well. A promised cargo that Gator forgot so long ago. Flank speed, compass now visible and the chart straight and true. The joy of the sailor, once slowly rolling at the quay in the ship, underway in a clearing sky. It's pretty good.
Jack Gator

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