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In third grade I knew enough to
know what I wanted, who I wanted—
and was even a year from knowing
who I wanted to vote for in
November.

But no adult asked or cared about
what I wanted, who I wanted, or
even who I might want to vote for
in November.

And the adults controlled me.  I backed
off my dreams:

To be a professional athlete, to love
and marry Anne Devereux, and to
have a vote because I wanted to be
a part of and help this country.

By eighteen years old I was drinking
flammable alcohol underage, breaking
laws, flipping the bird at hope and
politics, a racist, chauvinist pig unable of
expressing love for Anne or anyone.

At home was alcohol and “divorce,”
the misnomer some so excited to
pronounce against Jesus’ truth that “man
cannot separate what God has bound”—

it explains the private frown, as I walked
around, pretending to be fine—the Old French
word meaning “end.”

Friends:

The devil is tough, and wide is destruction’s
path—this is not now nor will life ever
be easy!!

Take a hard line against alcohol, and at least
look it up in a dictionary “what it is” and decide
if it’s smart to imbibe it.

Maybe the grape is better than the spoil
that makes intoxicating wine—

the pain of loss and hardship felt better than
the alcoholic escape into buzz and fake
views on men and women breaking
vows before God.

It’s not the messenger but the message
that shines, when I attempt to bring you:

“Children!”

After God, “Children!”

Drink not spoiled toxic waste, feel your
short term pain to get long-term gain,

and listen to our children!!

They want what they want, for me starting
around eight—

Money for school could have been parlayed
to the serious coach taking my dream
seriously;

Someone would have asked if I was in
love, and I would have said “yes,” but
I was not asked, felt judged anywhere
near the topic, and had no God to
give me courage to tell her the truth.

Shhh.

To give what we did not get is tough.

Shhh.

Listen to the child and what they’re worth.

Some even read better than a man forty-three;
are ready to vote, and help our country.

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