Short Fuses

Photo: Shutterstock

“Stop draggin’, stop draggin’, stop draggin’ my heart around…”  Recorded by: Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1981).  Composers: Michael W. Campbell and Tom Petty.

He said, “NO!  This is my band, it’s my song catalog!  BYE!”



Recently, I interviewed a well-known Grammy-winning lead singer of a rock band you would recognize, for a three-hour radio special.  This man is now a solo recording artist who has about 50 years of a rewarding rock career.  He and his band once opened for Janis Joplin, Chicago, B.B. King and others.  Off air, he told me an inside story, which I couldn’t share, concerning a major riff between band members in talks of a reunion tour, as well as a new CD of their reworked hits.  The founder and band-mate, of this famous band, had some health issues and wouldn’t give his nod on multiple topics related to the reunion efforts.  It became a huge political squabble behind the scenes.  It grew into the founder refusing to take part of any reunion efforts.  Soon, the word “lawsuit” was mentioned.  This, after 40 years of being part of a tightly knit musical family.  Ouch!

44 OMA MRA, Swindell side and B, D&C

Photo:  Ella Swindell (Far left)

Rewinding back to 1971, my great-grandmother Ella Swindell passed away.  She was one of the most selfless, sweet, servant-type person you could ever meet.  Her mother was an invalid with many children.  Somewhere around 1910, when it got to the point where she was unable take care of her children, along with the household in general, my great grandmother dropped out of school (3rd grade) to take over, instantly becoming an 8 year old mother, nanny, cook and bottle-washer.  At that young age, she raised her siblings as well as taking care of her parents.  All her life she played the role of the humble servant, the giving of herself.  In 1971, after her funeral, there was a gathering of her siblings and children (my grandmother and great uncle).  They met in my great grandmother’s house to discuss the property and possessions, tiny as it was.  In the meeting a knockdown-drag out occurred among these individuals she helped to raise (now elderly themselves) over the smallest personal affects.  Greed took control, even though she was a poor woman with very little.  What she did have was not valuable.  Still, they wrestled one another, making total fools of themselves.  A family split ensued.  Ouch!

Shorty At Attention July 2014

My dog, Shorty and I, moved into the house where we currently live, right at a year ago.  My wife and I were newlyweds and we moved into her house.  Next door, there are three dogs.  One looks to be a Dingo mix, the other two are Chihuahuas.  The two little bosses, with a little Caesar syndrome attitude, have real names, but I call them Yipper and Yapper.  They didn’t like Shorty from the very start and they made it clear, loud and clear.  Shorty is a kind, sweet dog who loves everyone he sees.  He has a firm belief that everyone he sees wants to play.  From the first moment he saw them at the adjacent fence, he ran over to initiate playtime.  NOTHIN’ DOIN’.  They nipped, yipped and snipped at his friendliness.  A few weeks later, after many attempts to become pals, to no avail, he slowly walked over to the barking pack, got close to the fence, lifted his leg and peed in their direction, running off afterwards like a celebrated conquering king of the neighborhood.  I laughed, but I was also quietly proud.  (I’m his dad.  What can I say?)  Ouch!

How quickly we burn our fuses and usually for small, insignificant reasons.  You say one thing that I may misunderstand, followed by my knee-jerk reaction, followed by your shock of my tone and then you raise it another level, etc.  Isn’t that the way it goes?  While in heavy traffic, someone rolls down their window as you hear “Hey, your car needs to be smashed!”  You love your car, and of course without thinking, the reaction comes quickly as you roll down your window to shout, “Well, how about I smash in your ugly grill?  Oh, sorry, that’s your teeth!”  The tragedy is, the actual words spoken were from a British chap, “Hey, your car is super smashing!”  Oh, the lessons learned.

Candle 2014

Unlike the band-mates of the rock star, my great grandmother’s siblings, along with Yipper and Yapper, we can, and we have, the ability to lengthen our fuses a great deal, allowing peace to rule the day.  It’s what love does.  Love denies self.  In fact, if we see our short fuses as short wicks, we can find the light diminishes as the dark side takes over like a long black cloak.  The longer the wick, the brighter the true view.  The shorter the wick, the darker the mask which shades the actual subject, distorting the view.

Who said it was easy?  Yet, there’s power in fuel for the race.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” – Paul – Romans 14:19 (NIV)
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