Saturday, November 29, 2008

Too Close to Home

I was watching a commercial on television the other day and found myself tearing up. Instantly, I snapped out of it and tried to critique the whole thing and figure out what had affected me like that. Obviously, I had personalized the situation and it touched an emotional hot button.
What does that mean? I could analyze everything and never learn anything about myself! The commercial was easy to figure out. It was a holiday dinner table with family sitting around it. I filled in the blanks with memories of my own childhood holidays . It is easy to see where the 'good tears' came from. (and the bad memories)
These same mental gymnastics happened to me as a firefighter in a more negative way many times. It is so easy to think about you own wife and kids when pulling up on the scene of a fire or automobile accident , or heart attack victim, etc. It was usually just a fleeting thing, over in an instant, because you don't really have time to dwell on it.

[I don't know how people experience this, especially firefighters and other public safety folks. I don't believe I have ever asked anyone so I'll do that now. Comment on this post and tell me if this has ever been something you have experienced.]

In a business like the fire service, you really need to develop the ability to disassociate, even repress, these thoughts and memories if your going to keep yourself from melt down. Of course you have to try to be objective, right? Then again, are their situations where identifying with victims the way we almost instinctively do, may help us do a better job? That is a factor always present in counseling, I know for sure. Even when you try to stay objective and professional, if you are a human, or at least an honest human, you have to be touched emotionally to really have empathy for your client, don't you? I mean, I'm asking, do you agree or disagree?

This is a real dilema for the helping professional. To just deny and repress the feelings one has to experience on emergency situations is a recipe for disaster, or at least burnout eventually. On the other hand, if you let yourself identify with every fire or accident victim and 'feel' for them, you are the one who will end up an emotional 'basket case'! I believe the best path is a balance of both ends of this continuum. Honest expression of the way you feel about some of calls you experience ( especially the bad ones) and a learned, professional , detachment from the scene which allows rational thinking. This is obviously not an exact science. Again, I'd be interested in the way others have experienced this and perhaps dealt with it. post

tom hudgens

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

The humble beginnings (Introduction)


I've always held to the idea that if you wanted to get anything done, especially the tough jobs, you should just get a bunch of firefighters together and stand back. They will get the job done! In doing so, there might be a slight chance that something could get broken or wet but that's a small price to pay. Besides, they would most likely stay around and dry the place out and probably fix what they broke! I've seen dog-tired firefighters, still on the scene of a house fire at two a.m., going the extra mile to reunite a child and his lost puppy, or find an elderly couple a place to spend the night , or simply making sure a scene is secure and safe before going back to their station. Speaking of the station; everyone knows that's the place to go if you are hurt or lost, or need shelter from the storm or to get your blood pressure taken, to name a few The funny thing is that most of the time the firefighters are falling all over themselves to be the one helping. The fire service puts together this interesting blend of people and gives them a rather simple (and impossible at times) mission:' Whatever happens today, Handle it!"

These are the folks I want these pages to focus on in both funny and serious ways. I'm sure there is no shortage of books and publications telling one part or another of this story and I say, more power to them. I haven't researched this but it appears that especially since 9-11, the fire service has received more and more good press. They deserve it, even though that was a tragic way to get it! My hope is that these stories will take a rather unique approach in several respects: Most of the stories are in a small town setting and not not New York City. Not that there is anything wrong with New York. I remember first reading "Report from Engine Co. 82" and being really impressed with the job those guys do, even to the point of emulating them. I suppose if there is a national stereotypical fire department it would be them. Funny though, when you're crawling into the middle of a house on fire, super-heated like hell itself and you sucking air and dragging hose, weighted down with BA and bunker- gear, half expecting to find a victim any minute, you probably are not asking yourself, now is this a big city fire or a small city fire! I know there are differences but , you get my point.

One other difference. I write from the perspective of a former firefighter, now retired. When I left the fire department I was one of the older guys . Okay, the oldest guy ) but now some of my cohorts that stayed are retiring with thirty plus years. I only had seventeen . The occupation I entered after the fire department may also influence my approach to this story. I spent another 17 years as a psychotherapist and psychology teacher. among other things. The teaching and counseling have offered me valuable experience for the task of understanding and developing personality profiles for the type of person who eagerly rushes into a burning building while everyone else is running out! I don't know, that is kind of strange! I went to graduate school while still with the fire department and I will admit, I had no shortage of subjects for practicing on and administering personality tests and the like. We had our share of dysfunctional people. In fact my shift may have actually put the 'fun' in dysfunctional but I really do not think we were significantly different from any number of other occupations. "Vellee Interesting"...... We may come back to this dellima.

The other difference in this book is that it will be a compilation of several different person's stories and not just my own. Over the years we discovered that whenever we get two or three firemen together the memories and stories just seem to flow. Hopefully that is what will happen as we pull together this book.

Tom Hudgens

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hey Eddie and others.............this blog is not just fire department stories although it would be okay if it became one. As you can see it has other things as well. comment on todays post or just email your ideas if you want. you all.


Fire department stories:
I had a couple of thoughts about fire department stories and since I am having fewer and fewer ’thoughts’ I decided I better write them down.
First, we all know that we can sometimes be the world’s worse (all public safety) at ’dark humor’ . What I mean is that we laugh about something serious, probably because we’d rather do that then cry about it, or get depressed, or whatever. I’ve spent the past 18 plus years psychoanalyzing myself and others as a counselor but that isn’t my intent here. (unless someone else wants to do a little of that.) My intent is not to hurt or belittle anyone so , hopefully, no one will take offense. Also, it seems most of what I remember as funny pokes fun at all of us, myself included. I think there are enough stories to go around but it’s just like family; we can pole fun at each other but don’t like it when others do the same.
All that said, I also don’t mean to focus on ’screw ups’ in a way that some people believe make the fire service look bad. Goodness, I’ve never seen a bunch that spends more time going over and over its mistakes and trying to avoid them in the future! We rehearse possible scenarios and dissect everything to the nth degree, shave a second here, a mile there. That’s all good………….the experts say all of us ought to be making a fairly high (around 30%) error rate anyway. If not, we’re probably not risking enough new things and are not learning enough………
A ny way………….with that said, see if you send some ideas under the heading of, “ Selected Short Screw ups”. You might start the story with something like,” I remember the day we…………… and then just talk about I t. A couple of examples:
I remember one night Eddie White and I were on duty at the CFD . Dewey was off that night and I was driving Engine 8B while Eddie drove A. (Don’t remember where the squad was but since we had more equipment than men, we had to do some creative things with engine assignments. (if you remember, eddie, fill in the blanks)
An awful storm had just started; big time thunder and lightening, pouring down rain. We got a call that someone had seen smoke around JP Carr school. Eddie was off in his nice, dry, enclosed cab and I started across the bay to my ‘convertible’. About that time our city manager (was it Paul Boring) came walking in the station. I turned around to see who had come in and hit a slick spot, sliding for about 3 or 4 feet before totally losing my balance and falling on my butt, then my head as it bounced off the bay floor. Paul rushed to see if I was okay but I was up, a little dazed but still in the fight. Come to think of it, it would have been a good idea to give me a ‘ten-count‘ just to make sure I was okay. After hitting my shin on the running board and climbing into the driver‘s seat, I reported, Engine 1B enroute to …………. Whatever the address was. Before this was out of my mouth, I was soaked to the bone; I mean I couldn‘t see anything and my feet kept slipping off the clutch, or break, accelerator enough to make me swerve and learch and jerk my way out onto Scott street headed over to help Eddie.
You may be able to guess where this thing is going. I didn’t get half way over there before Eddie , very dry and composed, came on the radio to let me know that I could cancel because it looked like the wind was blowing water that someone mistook for smoke.
I , on the other hand, was afraid to pick up my microphone for fear of being electrocuted………..
Then there was the night that we tied Bob Cooley’s belt to his bed and called the hot line to get the buzzer to sound. Everyone was laughing so hard we couldn’t breath while Bob dragged the bed as far he could before being stuck in to bedroom door way, cussing and yelling at us……………
Or the night I slept through the alarms going off at least just enough so that I missed getting in the engine on the way to a call (alarm at a business on Green Street.. I wasn’t about to miss the call, though, so my solution was to jump in turn out gear and then drive my 74 VW bug and head out to the call. . Funny scene, Fire engines and vW bug arriving on the scene……..Herby the Fire Bug…….. probably needs a new title………..false alarm by the way………..
Then there is a whole collection of calls that involved ‘things stuck in things’……….I remember one or two; a twelve year old with his finger stuck in his dad rifle barrel; then the guy who got his finger stuck in the coin machine at the car wash (didn’t we take the entire machine off the wall and transport it or am I just dreaming………..there have to be more of these and I’m just giving an introduction. I’ll develop a story around a few facts if I have to by adding a few details to make it a story!
Many more: I’ll never forget David Almand running into a dresser mirror and seeing his own image in the smoke filled room. Scared him to death………………….or the ‘great Halloween caper of 1900 something, when some unidentified firefighters harassed the guys on duty at the station
Or the day D. Collins and I about dropped the fat lady we were trying to transfer from her bed to a stretcher…..what an awful, sinking feeling to watch her disappear between the beds…….
Or Kerry’s comments about Alan Abbott after he got his EMT training………..carried his huge first aide box everywhere. Kerry said Alan was so gung ho he would end up on the street, trying to resuscitate an armadillo if one got hit. He was right……….
The “I’m burning, I’m burning call on N. Hicks, whee we thought we were going on a fire call but instead had an elderly man who wasn’t quite sure what the problem was……
Anyway, you get the picture. Send me more,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and maybe yours will broaden the types of stories as well.
See ya.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

hearing God

Please read this disclaimer: This happens to me sometimes; I just ramble until I find the nswers or go to sleep. You're welcome to join my search and send me back some of what you’ve found or ere on the side of ‘common’ sense and go on to the next few posts.

I’m right in the middle of trying to organize my thoughts, the small number I have, and write down some ideas on what I believe about knowing and hearing from God. Can one know him on this planet- earth side of the Kingdom? Well, that is what I have been thinking about lately and on the face of it, I believe that ought to be a fairly straight forward question but it hasn’t turned out to be quite so easy. But I forgot, that isn’t what prompted me to write these thoughts down today.
In a conversation with three or four other people the other day, one man said that he felt a major problem in the church in our area was that the leaders were generally untrained and didn’t know enough theology. We didn’t pursue this conversation and so, I can’t be certain that I know where he was going with that statement however I do believe I can make a fairly good guess. Actually, I had a funny thought about this idea.
The whole church was started , taught and , expanded world wide by a bunch of fisherman, tax collectors and ne’er do wells who generally, except for Paul I suppose, had not gone to graduate school or seminary. [I can only hope someone hasn’t done research on this and can offer definitive evidence of the apostles academic accomplishments, not to mention dental records!] What a dignified group ! God, knowing this about them of course, ‘used them’ to expand the church by letting them be run out of practically every town they settled in. We all know this but it just came across as rather funny to me in thinking about it. God used this bunch to start a brand new church but we don’t have enough professional leaders? How did they accomplish what they did? What did they have that we don’t have? Perhaps a big, “ Well- Duh!” is in order.
The obvious and first thing I think of is the advantage of not having a clue. Add to that dependence upon Holy Spirit . Read Acts………notice how many times you see phrases like, after we had prayed and fasted we, or…………it seemed to us that we should……. And more……they didn’t sound like they had a preconceived plan and they obviously made some mistakes. Also note, that Jesus told them that they would be taught, nurtured, provoked, guided,…..etc by Holy Spirit when Had returned to the Father. Then there were the ministry gifts that were left for the building up of the body to make disciples of all nations . Teachers and preachers, and prophets……….etc. Not natural gifting but supernatural…..(that’s another article) I’m afraid we sometimes educate ourselves beyond our place of need and dependence upon God. Isn’t that really why the church is still here, to make disciples of all the nations or people-groups? I’m thinking of a business meeting I went to once, where around six or seven people were charged with the job of developing our company mission statement. Now to begin with half these people flew in from Colorado and points west, for the most part, just for this exercise. We spent the day in a futile attempt to reduce all our collective goals into a short paragraph! We generated lots of ideas on the subject, used up numerous markers and legal pads and cost, who knows how much money, but I think we confused the issue more than clarified it. If we were honest most of us would write as our personal view on the companies mission statement, to make money for the company and hold on to our job! Anyway, where did my point go?
We were talking about the church. It just occurred to me that maybe in our effort to not get our religion wrong, we miss out on opportunities to get it right. I mean, we can and do spend countless hours in maintaining just the correct view of man’s depravity, for instance. We write and rewrite , think, pray and ponder our views and doctrines on the subject until we don’t see anymore flaws in it, and with that, we disprove our premise, that man can’t get anything right! I’m only half joking! And don’t tell me, I n this last example , we got it right because we prayed and God helped us. That sounds good but I know how easy it is to give lip service to prayer and besides, a good number of our churches don’t actually believe God would speak clearly to us in answered prayer anyway. We end up making ourselves feel better by winning the doctrine wars that go on between churches At best, we can listen intently to our highly educated advisors and preachers, and do our best to hold on to what they say is truth. At worse, we slip into guarded, paranoid , and fearful behavior and read another self help or ‘correct’ doctrine book and hope we end up on the ’approved plan’………………. I know, I know,, we do a lot of good things in the in between times and God uses ministries despite themselves but please…………….. In the words of one of my former pastor/friends, ’ I’m more fouled up than Hogan’s goat so I don’t claim to have all our solutions…………or wait, maybe I do.
Why don’t we just stop and ask God, and expect that He will answer, since he said, over and over again than he would. In that, some of us will have to try real hard to stiffle our religious spirit…..You’re the ones who are already correcting me when I capitalized the word He ; pronoun for God, even though I left it uncapitalized in the second sentence ! You might win the battle but lose the war if that is your usual approach to prayer! Just humor us ______________, well, I’m not sure what I am today…….I’ll just call myself a sometimes emerging ‘Babacosterianist’ and leave it at that.
Try reading the Bible for a week or two as much as you have a chance, especially in the ‘red letters’ but not just there. Anyway ask Holy Spirit to help you hear and obey and write down what God may be saying to you. I know, if you let yourself you can stop here and instantly get out your doctrine gun and beat me up. Don’t get me wrong,,,,,,,,,,,I agree we are to guard our doctrines but if you continue to ‘monitor yourself’ ‘ and seek first your familiar doctrine, you can see you will hardly ever actually go first person with God. At least that’s been my experience and remember ‘Hogan’s goat! I believe you’d be on pretty solid ground to accept in faith that God may just answer your prayer. As we grow and mature , some of us do find that our prayers don’t obligate God or require Him to answer in our way. That’s a given. And we don’t require or demand anything from God ….we got that. And we know we don’t have God’s perfect timing in answering our prayers. Knowing this is liberating though, we just lay back, breath deeply (the pneuma / the Spirit of God and that is where our preparation for doing the works come from………………
More later,

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Word

I sat down this morning to have a quiet time in the Word before starting other projects, something I haven’t been doing recently. First I struggled with trying to get comfortable in the chair I was in, and then the lighting over the table. My eyes were blinking and watering so bad it slowed down my reading even more than then the ‘snails-pace’ it has already gotten to due to Parkinson’s disease. I think you get the picture. In five or six minutes time it was obvious I couldn’t get into the reading and I kept losing focus both with my eyes and my brain. I decided to get up and move around instead of just sit there in misery and as soon as I did, Bible verses started coming into my memory. The Holy Spirit gave me scripture that applied perfectly with what I was trying to express on paper and these verses encouraged me to share with you what I was hearing from God.
Put the Word of God into your heart and mind and spirit, so that Holy Spirit can draw upon it and speak to you with it. Now that I can’t see as well as I used to it’s even more important that I have some of the Word in my heart. For instance, start reading in Psalm 119, almost anywhere but I was thinking of 11-16, ( can’t leave out vs. 18, 23b, 24, 27b …………….just keep reading and looking for references)…..It reminded me of the novel ‘Fahrenheit 454’, where the books had all been destroyed/ burned and the small group of escapees were memorizing different books for posterity. That’s kind of a neat challenge, though. If your Bible was taken away, how much of it would you remember? Even more telling; If the Holy Spirit left your body of believers, how long would it be or how many people would notice his absence?
Just a thought…………what’s yours?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fire Department Stories

There is one writing project I have been wanting to start for years now but without success. I have thought about getting down some of the funny stories and perhaps serious too, of the fire department days. We have gotten only so far and just fizzeled out. My daughter suggested inviting some of our old fire fighters over and just allow conversations to start while they tape recorded the whole thing That is probably not a bad idea because my memory would only account for a tiny percentage of the calls we all answered . I say calls but , of course, we are not limited to calls. I'm thinking of numerous funny stories around the station as well.

The only problem with the get together is that it seems to never happen so I'm just throwing out this email to invite others to send in details and ideas they may remember from their experience. I left the FD in 91, so most of my old friends stayed for many years longer than I did (some still at it now). My experience was only with the now Defunct Conyers Fire Department but my thinking is to certainly not limit it to Conyers or even Rockdale, for that matter. Good stories; funny, inspiring, factual and not so factual all have possibilities. Here are some other things I thought about in compiling information:

It will not need to be an accurate history book...............guess at dates or no date at all

I don't really intend to use full names of people as much as first names and or made up names.

No axe to griind. I have been putting thing s on a blog just to save ideas and as a place to organize them. I've written some about the old 'osterich' underground newspaper, for instance, without any current anger or agenda. No thoughts of stiring up anything with the current department. It seems they are doing that well enough on their own.

I'm sixty years old now and have worked in a number of different environments in all kinds of settings as varied as a college classroom, bar, probation office and church but I've never experienced one to compare with the fire service. It is something special, a place where you have opportunity for a real brotherhood (used inclusive of women), excitement and fun, along with all the work. I'd like to capture some of the flavor of the service , especially in our experience of a smaller department and most likely in the humor .

Just a thought.......If you are interested send me some stuff.

tom hudgens

Friday, September 26, 2008

Old Friends

The cruelness of Life
which lets old friends drift apart;
never to be together again.

The voices of old friends which
once shared straines of music
and blended in conversation.

Now they are filled with excuses
and insincerity- with nothing in
common, they choose not to speak-

Now they would rather that
each and the other go away
to whatever it was they were doing

before the cruelness of life
brought them together and
forced them to meet as old friends.

Tommy Hudgens, 1972

Two Short Thoughts


Without memories all of us would be seasonal creatures,
with so many dreams that have yet to become reality and
far too many realities which could have been left for dreaming.

Would you believe I see June
in that cold January rain?
Remember the rain in June
and the house we called our own?

Ode to a contented husband
(or the happy and speechless poet)

Why is it uninspiring to be happy?
Does a contented mind always have to be so dull?
Was it so much better in my misery
when my greatest pleasure was to sulk.

Tom Hudgens

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Queen's Gambit Declined

Queens Gambit Declined

To King's rook three the Bishop went
one sunny day in May-
and on the run, armed with a gun
the Queen stopped by to say;

The empire sir, I fear we've lost,
our troops arrived too late-
At Queen's Knight six, we took our licks,
if I may firmly state.

Dear man, said she, with honesty and
more than solomn face,
I have a plan to save us both
and never leave a trace.

And what , my Queen, the Bishop said,
is in your gracious mind;
what kind of plan, to call your hand,
can free us from this bind?

I'll leave tonight to Castle's square
and there secure a boat;
You stay around and if your found
just hand them this small note-

In my own hand as plainly seen,
I offer them a bribe,
the booty waits, the letter states,
in the office of my scribe;

and as for you, most noble sir
I ask they set you free,
we'll meet at four on yonder shore
then both of us will flee-

I like your scheme, your on the beam
the Bishop slowly said,
but if I fail, I'll sure be flailed-
the King will have my head.........................

The king, my liege, has run away
as if he saw a ghost!
He drained the bank then stole a tank
and headed for the coast.

His bearings lost, his crown was tossed,

the cliff he met in death.

The Queen and Bishop made their way,

with only pause for breath.

tom hudgens and David Rhodes

more old poems

I keep finding more of these poems from years ago. Let me know if you like any of them.

Spiritual Divorce (actually written in the late 80's I believe)

Scratch my back--
don't give me no Flac,
said she to he
who silently
was dreaming dreams of sailing ships
and sun-kist seas
and freedom's song
came roaring in like a
freight train!

tom hudgens

OLD Friends

The cruelness of life
which lets old friends drift apart;
never to be merged again.

The voices of old friends which
once shared straines of music
and blended in conversation;

Now they are filled with excuses and insincerity-
with nothing in common they
choose not to speak.

Now they would rather that
each and the other go away
to whatever it was they were doing

before the cruelness of life
brought them back together, and
forced them to meet as old friends

Tom Hudgens Jan., 72

Another attempt to be sarcastic about some of my cohorts in college who were trying to 'look the part' of anti war, protester, anti, anti........

Title: Combination ruthless, killer-of-man, healthy animal, green beret, jungle jim, hippy and cool-head and guaranteed intellectual outfit.

"I feel like nothing can stop me now with all my new cloths,
I'm just so damned charming and smart that I know,
I can solve all our problems and
get us all straight-
O man that's a word that I really do hate."

Back soon with more.
Tom Hudgens

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Advice to Counselors

I think this is such good advice for all of us, not just counselors. Words of a seventeenth century French theologian named Fenelon.

Speak little; listen much; think far more of understanding hearts and of adapting yourself to their needs than of saying clever things to them. Show that you have an open mind and let everyone see by experience that there is safety and consolation in opening his mind to you. Avoid extreme severity, and reprove, where necessary, with caution and gentleness. Never say more than is needed, but let whatever you say be said with entire frankness. Let no one fear to be deceived by trusting should become all things to all the children of God, for the sake of gaining every one of them. And correct yourself for the sake of correcting others.

see ya/ tom hudgens

The Creeping Crawling Ivy by Day

I remember these lines. I was sitting on the front steps of the building where I had most of my business classes in that quarter .It was a nice place to sit, right on the quad , big shade trees, no place to go for a while. I was just sitting there listening to tiny little pieces of conversations as people walked by, writing them down as fast as I could before another one started. The creeping, crawling ivy by day

Sitting on the front steps- but I was there
in spirit not in mind-- and these
problems would be solved-
If he would only ask me out,
and, after all, she wouldn't go
so why ask?
Let's shake away the leaves
and get some sun- That girl's
sure tough and I'm not blind,
when my wife's not around.

'Star Spangled Girl plays in
three days- I think I'll go,
but no I can't- I saw it once
and someone said it sure
was bad, but who can tell.
Got a test on Monday, mine's
on Friday- then the one
on Thursday, not to mention
Wednesday; why I'm here I'll
never know.

Think I'll leave this drag on Friday,
there's nothing to do but
I'm going to have a ball this weekend;
wonder why everyone goes home?

You had this teach before--
I sure have and he's real coolk
but if he is so groovy and interesting
why don't we cut and get a beer
at John's Place?

Tom Hudgens, 1970

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

old Poems

It really is humerous reading some of the old poems I wrote in the late sixties and early seventies. I think it was just assumed that if you were a college student in the sixties and tried to write poems, there should be a good number of them that were political protest. I hope I don't offend anyone but I am just writing down what i wrote then. Of course not all are protest poems either.

The Sales Meeting
I gaze into the room with unbeceeching, vacant eyes,
Searching for nothing; hoping to find no one
Looking back at me-
This is the game , I say, of the uncommitted,
Unthinking, unbeautiful, un- un
Important people
Fatally, framing the mold for the rest
Of their days.

Ode to the Vending Machines (Lithonia Lighting, 1973)
Alas, uncola’s song still sings
Amid the disaray,
Where once there stood an army
Of machines that took our pay.
It sings of rows of handles
In a gleaming charactry;
When kicked with loving kindness
All their treasures they would free.
A tale is told of Hersey and of
Strudel soft and light
And of their evanescent reign
Before they both gave up the fight.
Sing on candy corner chorus-
Sing your dirge from wall to wall,
And return ye, vended spirit
To the factory recall.
What’s left in life when dawn’s
First light reveals an erie scene,
Of cancroid shells and Dixie cups
And vapid coffee beans.
Yes uncola’s song still sings
Somewhere beyond those hills,
And we, in homage, come to work
With change instead of bills.
tom (in protest of the vending machines at Lithonia)

Metro, Public, Suburb, Wall Street Blues.
I think I’m missing some of this one, so I’ll come back and add to it if I find another sheet.

Blast the trumpet
Clear and cold
Les’t we die
Before we’re old-
Lease your wisdom
Bought and sold,
Watch dark corners,
Don’t get rolled-

Rule the world
And all get fat,
In the church
the pious sat
Sticky fingers
Pass the hat-

Car, truck,
loco plane
Modern travel
Damn, wrong lane;
Stocks are up
And what a gain
People laugh,
The’re all insane-\

tom h.

Untitled (written in 1971 when we (Andy,Sam and I) lived in Nashville)

I'm basically liberal
but more important, anti conservative.
I never met a politician I trusted,
but more important, I feel that the
government is too important to be
left with the law makers.
I am under 25 and never
plan to grow up, and
what's more I don't
like old people.
I love dirt and grime and always
wear sloopy clothes, better yet,
I hate with a passion those pigs
who pollute our air.
I try to fill my mind with
intellectual thoughts and
I'm even a college drop out-
Can I join your groovy, cool person club?
tom hudgens

Friday, September 12, 2008

More added to "Echos post'

I revisited the earlier post echos........................just so you don't skip it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Early Poems

I think I posted one love poem but I really had several that I am finding now. I know that more free verse and style is popular now and most of mine sound rather old but as I said before, it was the emotion of love for Andy that opened me up . When it did out came these poems!

What more but her Love

What can I do when I'm so much in love
that to all the world's riches I place her above-
How can I live when the sound of her name
is music I treasure above Hayden's fame
and where in a painting of splendor untold
can one mortal artist her beauty unfold.
Why should the poet, in vain, try to write
a poem that in beauty means more than her sight-
When can I sleep and have peace with my mind
when I know that another like her I won't find-
and how can I ponder my fate as a man
when all of my future is held in her hand.
Tom Hudgens 11-25-68

[these are really bad but the emotion was and is real]

If at first you don't succeed

I can love you, if you let me
and I'll try to make you love me two-
I can make the world much better
if that world is for we two.
I can make your life much brighter
if our love can be the sun.
I can give you joy forever
if , forever, I'm with you
I can also write my poems
til my pencil lead is gone
but if I still can not convince you
guess I will have to try again.
tom Hudgens, 1968

Words of Love

The words of love seem short and simple
when there's no one there to hear,
yet to say them, and to mean them
brings a strangeness close to fear.

To say, "I love you" makes me wonder
what this spell is all about-
but this seems my heart's own business
so the thought to think is out!

tom hudgens, 1968

What is Love

Love is a hidden treasure
with no map for reference-
Love is life's greatest mystery
which no one seems to question-
Love is constant uncertainty
without which no one seems certain-
Love is unending sacrifice
for nothing but love in return-
Love is a sleepless slumber
with one and only one dream-
Love is man's only necessity
his life, his purpose, his breath.
tom hudgens, 1968

"I have known love, and tried to crystallize its essence
into forms of line and ink,
and searched my soul,, but found emotions
that would rather feel than think." Tom Hudgens

Well, that's just a sample of them; more later. I move from moody love poems to dark, depressed, O woe is me poems next, if I can stand it. it didn't help much that I was either listening to 'Knights in White Satin or 'dock of the bay, while I wrote

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I remember when I was a kid standing out in the fields around our farmhouse, shouting and listening for the echo to come bounding back to me; then, assured that I had the hang of it, I got creative and made
all manner of shouts, and chirps, and barks just for fun. We lived out in the country so I suppose you're thinking it didn't take much to entertain us!
You might be right but I did learn some things out there in the sticks. I learned that if I was in the right place, shouting in the right direction, at the right volume, I could expect that echo to return to me. My words didn't return void or empty. Even though there really wasn't any deep meaning or purpose behind them they came back to me.
You probably know where I am going. Or do you?

There sure are a lot of words bouncing around planet earth these days. One voice sounds better then the other one, then a louder one comes and drowns out the first two just in time for a new,' more- true' word to settle into it's mantel as the ultimate truth! We even seem to believe that in the church. The new and improved word, this year's edition will finally get us on the right track. Everyone has a better idea and so we reinvent ourselves again and follow one or two echoes who seem to have it down pat. Some of us are all into tightening the 'noose' around our parishioners neck and get them on the straight and narrow so that we can save them from themselves. Another echo or two can't conceive of a God who would have written some of the stuff we now attribute to Him, so they reinvent God and make him a little more tame and in our image! Trouble is, we don't recognise God's voice anymore or trust that it is really Him speaking to us unless a new prophet comes along to explain.( Every generation run's a hero up the pop charts......Paul Simon)...........but I'm sounding like all the other echos.

What if God is really speaking? Yield, Pray, Listen, and Obey (YPLO.. well it's not as catchy as 'Prayer of Jabez but you know......) Is anybody out there? The Word says that it will not return void without accomplishing what HE pleases(Isaiah 55:11; . It also says that God is right and true, even if all of us men and women are lying (Romans 3:4) so that sort of narrows the search doesn't it. I don't know about you but I am trying to hear God speak in His Word more than I have been. It's sometimes still and small but that just means we must listen even closer. It occurs to me that what we are discussing or debating is our opinion about God. Its just my view versus yours because , perhaps, we really do not know for sure! God is God no matter who wins this weeks debate . I want to know more of God but I know that will require burning some spiritual bridges leaving myself nowhere else to go but God!
I guess this post won't leave me alone so I'm back with it. So much of how we attempt to relate to God is dependent upon what and how we are taught. Its always a little disconcerting talking about what you believe with someone who has a different point of view. Cognitive dissonace in practice. Some of the things I take as 'given' are not even in the other person's beliefs at all. Unless you love to argue it seems easier to just file this information in your brain somewhere and go on without resolving it. For me though, it sometimes leaves me feeling a little uncertain with all the unfinished business always there. It really makes you appreciate being around people who either believe like you do or who you have already agreed to disagree with.. So many versions and interpretations of the truth. I suppose much of it is just man taking various lines in explaining what the Bible says and what we believe. It occurs to me though that all of these doctrines and beliefs and interpretations could not be true. Perhaps not until heaven will we really know. Its funny though, I've heard parents say that they are not teaching their children any religious or spiritual things so that they can decide for themself when they are older. That's strange; seems like I recall hearing we should 'train up ' a child in the way that he should go..................Think about it; if they aren't taught anything then the choice they will probably make is not to believe at all! I know that first hand.

The thing is, the Bible says that when Jesus was ascended to the Father that He said we should take heart because he wasn't leaving us alone. He was sending the Holy Spirit who would be a teacher, coach, counselor, etc and remind us and teach everything we would need to know.
Do we really believe that ? I'm sure that many of us don't; I'm sure that many of us can't settle for themselves that they can trust that statement of Jesus as it is written in the Bible. If you don't believe the source book you don't really believe the message.You can end up thinking in circles and your faith really ends up being situational. If everything lines up correctly I will file this proposition in the temporaily true basket.There is too much room in that position for unbelief to settle in. Again, mistrust and unbelief is my natural bent but a funny thing is happening the older I get. I am deciding to believe what the Spirit says as it is given to me in Scripture and also preaching, prayer, dreams, etc as long as it lines up with scripture. If I say that can't happen; that God can't speak like that then I am really questioning that I can trust anything as being from God. Then I get into taking everything and holding it in the provisional truth file until "I" can decide whether to believe it or not. That makes me God doesn't it? I don't know, if I want to polish up my capacity for scepticism and disbelief I can do it. After all, in graduate school we are taught to be sceptics and those who prove everything by the sceintific method When I first believed , apologetics was important to my faith. It's still valuable for giving some of us a reason for the hope that is in us........ We are all at different places in this journey. Not better or worse; it doesn't work that way. I've seen some new Christains who were miles ahead of me in some places in their journey. I've got all kinds of strains of sin still competing for space on my shelf and it shouldn't be that way. the Bible says,,,,,,,,by now some of you should be teachers but you keep starting all over again in the faith (because you refuse to believe God is really real! I said earlier in this thing that we are to burn our spiritual bridges and I think that is true. Rather impulsive and radical but true.

So where am I going with this? I'm just waiting for it to come around on the guitar it comes..........A preacher was relating the story of how he ended up in a service where someone came to the altar for healing. This was outside his comfort zone but with several others he prayed for a healing . Long story........after a few years he ran into the person they had prayed for and God had healed him. The preacher was relating the story to some of his denominational paster friends and one of them said that his 'theology/doctrine didn't allow for healing" I know what he meant and yet that is really funny. It sounds like the AA story of the elephant in the living room........In their denial, family members refuse to see it (the alcoholic) this case, maybe this preacher should reevaluate his theology to see if there is some kind of room for healing since it clearly happened. We all have different beliefs but we really ought to make sure that our beliefs are operational or that they have batteries included. Especially if we are Christians because we need hands on , blue collar doctrines in our faith. We really neeed to get beyond a 'Mars Hill' kind of faith where the whole purpose for gahtering is to try on new ideas and decide which we'll take. There is definitely room for different visions of ministry and different work from one church to the next; different styles, etc but the family resemblence should be in the fact that we all are walking out a growing faith in Christ.............pure and simple devotion to Him , Paul said............... He Has all the answers!
Tom Hudgens

Monday, September 8, 2008

the two poems, Real Kill and To an umbrella......... were both written in 1968 and were among several written in the library at Tennessee Tech . They were written while waiting on Andy to finish her studying so we could leave. I know that impressing her was more important then studying on that particular day!
Tom Hudgens
Don’t step on me, blue-suede shoes

Blood and
Legs and
On the living room floor,
This bug will bother mankind no more-
We kill in the name of God and
‘No bugs my Lady’-
It’s a ‘real kill.’
Mangle and
Mutilate and
One misguided step is all it takes,
The shoe is on your foot, for goodness sakes.
We kill in the name of God and Florseim,
It’s very soul satisfying.

To an umbrella on a sunny day
To shield from snow or hail and rain
Or hide the brain from rays of sun;
To shed with ease a force of God
And let you walk instead of run.
Here stands one small device of mankind
Which through years has made the grade
But on this day in folded reverence
In it’s corner it has stayed.

More Quotes

Thomas Jefferson:
I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. – Herm Albright

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.PlatoWit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

letter from God

I have made you a people who need ME to be anything at all. Your needs have all been met but you do not see that.
Your heart is open to ME but I will have a people who walk by My precepts and trust in My leadership.......who have removed from themselves 'self rule' and man's wisdom.

Seek ME while you are still called a people and have a little strength. You will find your strength in ME (and as you recognize your weaknesses)

Only trust ME above knowledge of ME......Know me because I love you.

I'll give you direction because MY heart is directed to MY people. I don't need to be coerced or manipulated: indeed I can not be coerced or manipulated. Understand that I want to speak to you and listen to you. I do it by choice, My sovereign choice. Yours is a life I created and have sustained all along,

Recognize ME in your next breath! I am the pneuma, the breath that you breath. You are mine! Try to love me and I will show you how, Seek my truth and live by my direction,

In your work recognize MY hand. Ask for MY help, I can do that....

words after prayer, 5- 28-2000

I don't claim to be a prophet or the son of a prophet and I am a little (OK, a lot) fearful in claiming, ...thus saith the Lord........ I often told people in counselling, however, to do prayer journals and further, that if they just had a conversation with the God of the Universe and asked him something, it might be a distinct possibility that he might answer. If you have a pencil handy, wouldn't it be wise to write it down jus t in case? Any way, that is what I was doing here and I understood this to be direction and encouragement for my church. When I came across it today though it seemed to apply not just to that church but any one.'
tom hudgens

Around the World in Eighty thoughts

Out of the deepest, darkest, wildest color of blue, sea
we go- Hi De Ho
Rub a dub dub
we go-
Out to the sea to see
that man can live on a wave,
love on a swell
and say to land, to hell.

Up, Up, Up to the boundless, endless, cloudless sky we go
Hi De ho
Chirp, Chirp, Chirp
we go
up to the sky to spy
on the helpless creatures left behind
we also were but are no more,
we laugh and on we soar,

Round, Round , Round on the helpless, tragic, miserable world
world we go-
Hi De Ho,
gripe, gripe, Gripe we go,
out of the deepest sea,
down from the boundless sky,
Living on earth , or within,
and feeling its bitter chagrin.

Into a beautiful,, nameless, endless, slumbering
sleep we go-
Hi De Ho
dream, dream, dream
we go
away from the world we have made
a gift and a chance to appeal-
a pardon from failures too real.

Tom Hudgens, 1971

honest, there no drugs or alcohol involved in this, even though it sounds like a 'trip'! May be an attempt to escape reality, however./ th

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

introduction to poetry

Collected poems

I’m not really sure what I was originally looking for that afternoon out in the garage, but whatever it was, I never found it. Instead, I came across several ragged manila envelopes filled with handwritten bits and pieces of my poetry and prose from 30 to 40 years ago. For the next two or three hours I was absorbed in reading all those things and trying to comprehend that I had, indeed, written them.
I have no problem remembering those times of my life . My early twenties, dating, college, even high school and before. I can see my life as a stream of consciousness across an increasingly longer lifespan and for the most part I can retrieve a fairly clear copy of a specific memory. In fact, these long-term memories are more easy to call up than my short term or working memory I know all that but the reality for me is that sometimes I experience a strange detachment (or disconnect) when trying to experience an event or time from years ago. I look at the words , remember the time period but for the most part find it hard to put myself in that moment or even experience much of an emotional connection with these memories. I suppose I am just experiencing a repressed memory , for that matter.
Luckily , I am not really writing to answer the question of memory. It is interesting and , for that matter, I think with effort I might get better at reliving some of these times. I’m certain, I could develop more focused introspection ability and perhaps I will. What really interests me is how incapable I now seem to be at writing even a few lines of poetry. I read line after line that Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, sometimes cringing in disapproval sometimes nodding in appreciation. I was actually impressed a couple of times with a quick thought that , surely I didn’t write that!”
I got out a clean sheet of paper and a pen and set out to begin anew my poetry avocation/passion. Nothing much happened! I began a line with something like, “ I sit here tonight with pen poised and a mind as blank as my paper!. Me, the poet, actually couldn’t find any words to use, I continued pushing words around on the sheet, looking very much like a first grader sliding unwanted peas around his plate. Finally, I let it go and just read the poems the same way I would read Shelley or Keats, or, more likely, EE Cummings, with the one possible advantage being in a first name relationship with the author. I very tentatively concluded that poetry , like language acquisition, must have a developmental window of opportunity in which to be expressed in a life. Learning can happen outside the window but it is so much easier to do inside ! Another term I drag up from long lack of use, is ’zone of proximal development’ if I remember correctly. Again, there is a optimal time in a child’s life when they have the readiness , skills, etc to learn a task and the teacher is also in place and ready to walk through the learning with them. I can think of no more appropriate zone for learning poetry than during the loose and unstructured time of college. Idealism is at its height and responsibility and reality is almost nonexistent. Moods joyfully range from manic to depressive overnight and if you add love to this volatile mix, it is easy to see how you might get poetry, or a reasonable facsimile , there of.
I don’t know the answer to why I can’t extricate rhyming words at the age of sixty. Maybe I am trying too hard; maybe I’m not trying hard enough. I just thought of the similarity with my desire to do creative works as an expression of worship to God. I’ve often thought of doing paintings with a Biblical theme or message but most of my attempts appeared less than satisfactory until last Easter and a specific request to produce paintings for a Good Friday service at church. I suppose I need a mission or a challenge to push me or an incentive of some kind to pull me in the right direction. I will keep trying until I am either successful or have proven to myself that it is hopeless. While I am waiting for the outcome of this literary challenge, my goal is to put into some readable format the ‘early’ and so far only poems of Tom Hudgens. While I am at it, I also plan to include in this venture selections from the ‘Ostrich writings’ which I will explain later.
Who knows ? Before I’m finished, I may find new insights and abilities into this rhyming dilemma.
R. Tom Hudgens spring 2008

More Poems'

Morning Prayer

My 'things-to-do' list has been
neatly penned and with that done
I sit down to pray-

I plead my case, I list my
needs and seem to hear God
clearly say-

Ask, seek and knock, if you will-
I love to hear my
children's heart-

only next time come early when
nothing is planned,
and talk to me before you start.
tom hudgens

My first motivation for writing poems was unlocked by falling in love. I had it bad; still do after thirty nine years! I think this was one of my first ones.
To Andrea

What wonders can my eyes perceive when still
the dawn is hiding,
I gaze into her sleepy eyes and find all
nature seems abiding.
Upon her skin, the moon reflects to form a
tranquil sea,
and in her eyes, a moonlit sky, with thoughts
for only me.
She breaths, and if i listen well
i seem to slowly hear,
a summer breeze that brings me love
and hope instead of fear.
In restless sleep, her hair cascades to
blanket over all,
a rushing stream that falls to end
in a golden waterfall.
Life's drama gives a new fanfare, the
dawn is waking now,
As critic of the nights small part I feel
my love deserves a bow.

Tom Hudgens, 1969

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Two quotes on Anger

I came across a bunch of good quotes on Anger today. Here are two:

A 'different' version than the Biblical verse for sure-
"Never go to bed angry; stay up and fight"
Phyliss Diller

"When angry count to 5; when really angry swear"
Mark Twain

Monday, August 25, 2008

Well, the real reason I started this thing was to start collecting my old poetry and getting put down so that it wouldn't be lost in some forty year old notebook, so I want to put a couple more down today:

Since my last post was on my funeral I will start with a short poem called Death. Catchy title , don't you was written sometime in the mid seventies, while on duty at the fire station I believe.I just remember working with D. Collins and E. white and joking about the old southern comedian Brother Dave Gardner. One of his lines, ended with 'send his saddle home' , meaning he had died.


His up is time-
His numbers dayed,
His foughts have all been battled.

His dones are journeyed
His lightened loaded,

His sent home has been saddled.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Preaching my funeral: Fiction, but only a little bit !
I got to thinking tonight how I would like to have my funeral done and a little bit of humor always comes into a subject like this.’’
Here is the ‘line up’ I thought about tonight . You’ll have to decide what order they come in because I won’t even know there batting averages for that year.
Dave Crandell………….John Paraell……….Liney Himes………..Steve Merritt (to represent the laymen)
Liney could do all scripture reading from the King James; John could make sure there would be an alter call,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Dave could teach on the ‘theology of Death’ and ancient Presbyterian doctrines of heaven…………………Steve could tell stories in the way only he could tell them and entertain the small crowd.
No kidding, I did ponder the scene with this unlikely group and found it a little humorous to picture,
If each could be given permission to speak from their heart it would a great service..
Of course worship would be a great park of it; and I would love Matt Duren and his group; Nathan and Sam with Don and any other kin who want to join in
Special music would be important: I’d like Keith Green “Don’t you wish you had the answer, well I do” and selected World wide message tribe…………jumping in the house of God

An open mike time would be nice if anyone wanted to share anything (like at Neils’ funeral_ you could have Dave Lomax and Rick Marson host that
I don’t really have a preference of specific Scripture; I’d just like lot’s of it read…………….
I don’t have a preference but if you want me cremated that is fine. I used to laugh about having my ashes put in a booster tank and squirted out somewhere in conyers but I’d probably run into to many regulations there so you could do with them what you want……….just a thought………….along the AT in north Georgia Liney and Nathan could do that grave side!!
Speaking of the fire dept. you might see if David Rhodes would be available to tell stories………….you decide if david’s Elvis imitation should be part of it………………
That’s about it………..I would like to work on a message which could be read and maybe I would but the jest would be:
Tell my friends and love ones I’m in a great place; no more tears or pain and you should see the place I moved into this morning. And wait until you see our Lord and sit down and talk with Him and worship,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,wow.
I don’t know how God did it but there are no tears of sadness only joy! Especially tell that to my love of a life time Andy………now I can pray and cheer her on……………I married up…………..I’ll see you in a while hon………………..
More later!
Don’t try to make me out a perfect anything, You all know I’m not! At least not until today……………… but seriously its real this life and death……………….press into the the Kingdom
Life is short!! Your husband, father, brother, friend you get

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Expert

It wasn't even a phone call, it was a short email which would have been easy to ignore. No persuasive, human voice pleading with me to say yes to the offer which once again labels me as expert. Send is way too easy to hit and there it goes; I have agreed. On the surface it sounds easy enough. They want me to teach a short seminar around the topics of stress and anger management. Its short and it will be part of a community event sponsored by the foster parents association. All of that is valuable and well intended and will most likely work out fine but not without my going through a laboreous process of anxiety, doubt, and self imposed pressure as the date gets closer.

Parkinson's will not get the victory but it will slap me around for a while trying! When it starts to work on my thinking process I then take over and run with the ball and , in no time, I am crippled, mute and afraid I will most certainly fail or at best, come across as anything but an expert.. There is that word. Everyone knows that an expert is a 'washed up drip' ha,,,,get it; ex spurt washed up drip. What does it take to join the ranks of these experts? An advanced degree? that would certainly help. A book or two you have written; Excellent choice! I really think that if you have any of these or a reasonable substitute you might just qualify but even without the degree I just thought of another condition. If you know more about your topic then anyone in your audience you are close but even more important thna the knowledge is the belief that you know more. That attitude alone get many a professor through the day.

My primary thought in writing this down, however, was to explore just how much pressure one can put on themself by agreeing to speak on any topic in a format like this. There are many factors which modulate personal stress and one that comes to mind is control. Control over the stresser,( the event, task, demand, etc.) .........blah....blah......

Guess what, I had intended this to be funny and then lost my sense of humour. You will just have to come to the class next month if you want to actually learn anything else As for me, I am exercising my personal control and ending this thing now...........he spoke, and drank rapidl y a glass of water.

see ya


Sunday, August 17, 2008


Made in His image but tarnished; remade in His image......... but didn't notify my will; -- under construction , a slow family, got starvy, got job, got sick , got healed
and here I am. Now I'm
running, no I'm walking, and I'm walking it out
.....................but I'm-

Still amazed at my natural born capacity to mess up, to screw up
to fall short, to miss the mark- to sin.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

This has been a frustrating week primarily due to gadgets and devices which seem to own me! As I said in an earlier post, I grew up without computers and electronic games only to have them dropped on me as an adult! I have an attachment disorder with electronic devices because I missed that vital window of opportunity for bonding that comes somewhere around age 10.

It started with remote control devices and we all know where it has gone from there but the personal question is, " do I continue to assimilate these devices into my competency base, or do I simply stop and refuse to move on"?

I should expand my rant to include all the other things which vie for ownership in my life. I'm thinking here of cars and swimming pools, garbage disposals, cell phones, plumbing (yes p lumbing.....mine is possessed!

quick disclaimer: I am blind out of one eye and can't see out of the other tonight. My eyes are watering, blinking, blurred, etc and I'm having difficult time with this so make 'perceptual guesses about what you see and you should be fine. Perhaps some of the words which I actually type will be more appropriate them the onees I had intended to type.

Anyway...............Andy got a new computer this week and somehow I got elected to get it up and running for her. Most of it was pretty straight forward until I reached the dreaded P and U words. Password and Username) Of course I have one for Windows, one for the ISP, one for the wireless router and on and on,,,,,,,,,,, When you add the ATM, bank,voice mail....................etc. you get my point. Add to that genetic problems from being born male and not writting down important numbers and you have a disaster in the making.

Somehow I kept going back and trying different word combinations until it locked down the program. For my next act and actually changed the password on my computer and then we couldn't use either one. My stress level is entirely too high to even continue with this discription so I wil stop and practice my progressive muscle relaxation techniques and imagery to see if I can continue.............
.............feel much better now............I eventually called the help line for the router and spent 2 hours on the phone wi th a nice man whose accent was such that I only understood approx. every third word he said. Sort of like you who may be trying to read this... The real problem was that the third word I understood was computer giberrish and so I continue to be lost. One thing I am though is tenasious [how do spell this word). Two hours! I had to put down the phone to fully medicate myself during the masacre and when I picked back up the phone he was still talking.

But enough about that..............I came to talk about the draft...........strick that ; wrong we'll just wait for the right one to come back around on the it comes.

I eventually made it and we are back on line which is another complication in itself. Which leads me to my point; you may know someone in a similar situation; or you may be in a similar situation and you may not be as lucky as I was. Please Pray Prior to Password Preparation......................
but I also wanted to tell you abut a painting I just finished. its meant to go along with the poem , alone in the wilderness, and it is a scene of a dark woods with a hicker (hiker, I don't know that he is a hick) sittting by a fire by himself, next to his tent. I wanted to create the scene you see at night with only a small fire illuminating the dark surroundings; an erie scene. The weird thing is ; after I finished I see ghost like figures hovering over the camp site. I think they are angels but some may see demons, etc. depending upon the light and your particular medications. Stranger still, i saw what appeared to me to be my face just below these figures..................

I'll take a picture and perhaps you can see it also. For one dollar parking you can even come over and see it in better not start that.

see ya/ tom

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Alone in the wilderness

Alone in the Wilderness

A man needs to be alone in the woods
every once in a while-
said I ,to myself since
No one else was listening .

I planned all week, laying in
Grub and gear and supplies enough to
meet any challenge--……….I hope,
So now I am busy rethinking everything I forgot.
The dusk is settling into the mountains now-
I can see it; I can smell it; I can even feel it
giving my legs a jolt of adrenalin and
Quickening my pace up this long and winding trail.
“A man needs to get away from the carpentered world
Of climate- control and mitered corners and microwaves
and recalibrate his sense of direction, get back in step
With nature”, so says the expert whose book I’m reading.
But right now I am looking for just the right
homestead for the night-
A few feet of level ground and a view of the sky--
That’s all I really need but I will need it soon
because things take on a whole new perspective
In the woods after dark;
up here dark really means dark ! And I wonder to myself, since no one else is here to wonder at-
What am I doing here? Why did I come and put
Myself voluntarily in this place -
My sensory equipment is working just fine, thank you
And I am hearing every sound in the forest.
There is a feeling of security that comes from
Entering one’s home and closing the door-
Even if that home is the 3 pound piece of fabric
You’ve carried in your pack all day
And I am still wondering. It’s not about the exercise
Or the scenery; that’s just gravy on the mashed potatoes and,
Like I said before, it’s dark out here. The only scenery I can make
Out now is what is revealed by my tiny headlight.
I know it’s about reminding myself that I can do this,
I think as I dive into my sleeping bag and shiver until
The warmth envelopes me. It’s about facing fears, and there
Are only a couple of options here.
I can face them and feel them; ignore them and rationalize
them or worse yet, build an altar to them. Fear is palpable but
So is my heart rate and there is no mistaking that I
Am alive, Dark- thirty and all is well.
You can talk to God here, right out loud, and he hears
You and talks back, or is it the other way around? After
All He lives here, doesn’t He? At the very least, this
Would make Him a good foot stool, if he wanted one.
Eventually, sleep prevails but I call it rock and roll. There
Is always at least one rock that ends up under you and I roll
Over and over In my bag until dawn, sort of like a roast on a spit ,
Cooking until done.
It starts to rain and the first drop of water that hits me on the nose
Wakes me up and reminds me that I had left my rain fly off in hope of
A clear night to see the stars-
As I scramble out to lash down the fly I’m reminded of another night years ago when my son and I were doing the same thing. In the dim light of what was left of our camp fire- two guys, in their underwear, running around
Putting the roof on before everything inside got wet. All the while, laughing our heads off at the thought of anyone from civilization seeing this scene! I named it the ‘Mystic, midnight , underwear dance’and we remember that night still today.
But don’t get me started with stories, I’ve got a million of them
And besides it’s day light and I have things to do and places to go.
Eat light and pack up all my possessions - but before I go, I build an altar to Jehovah God. I do this every once in a while but don’t ask me for doctrine-
I met with God here and worshipped Him and I just pile up a few rocks
As a place of remembrance . He is true to His ‘word and I thank Him and move on down the trail.
It’s only eight miles to my Jeep and a good part of that is down hill; ‘child’s play’ my old hiking buddy Lenny would say.
With any ’luck’ at all I’ll be back in the suburbs by dark-thirty, ready to face
The carpentered world but with the promise that
I will come this way again.
8-2-08;;;;;;;;;;;;;Tom Hudgens
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's hard to believe but I'm old enough to remember time before computers! I wasn't much of a visionary and never really thought too much about the endless possibilities in store for all of us 'normal ' people who now communicate successfully with the whole world with machines much more powerful that those housed in government agencies and business just a few years ago..........................Although they do eliminate some types of day to day stress they sometimes seem to add more anxiety, and pressure and information then I can deal with. My style of 'information processing' is much more oriented to slowly walking a ways with information, chewing on it for a while,'cogitating' on it...............but then I'm Mr Slowsky.
Here is a poem I wrote in 1971 while working at Lithonia Lighting.. The computer system was down more than it was up or at least it seemed that way. I thought some well placed humor might serve to reduce the tension

A New IBM ( a new tune for J. Joplin)
O Lord, won't you buy me a new IBM,
my friends all have orders
I can't enter them.
I work all day long try'in to keep up my end-
extract my transactions and purge all my sins.

I spent all this week try'in to redo what's done
still nothing is certain
my print-outs ain't run-

You've just got to help me
I'm out on a limb-
O Lord, won't you buy me
a new IBM.
Tom Hudgens

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Ostrich

The Unknown Ostrich: From the dates of approx Jan . 1989 to 1991.…….
If I’m going to bring up any sort of memories of the fire department, the ostrich would have to be included. It’s now September of 2007 and I still get occasional comments and questions about it. Somewhere in a filing cabinet in the garage or behind a pile of books in the house is a small brief case which contains all I have left of the first and only underground newspaper published by and for the sanity of the Conyers Fire Department personnel.
I worked on shift with Marcus Hill, David Rhodes, Bob Cooley and Bucky Everson at the beginning of the ostrich publishing and , although we had plenty of problems and inequities in our department, we also had a lot to be thankful for. The guys on my shift were a unique blend of personalities. Bob, Bucky and I were old timers, relatively speaking, with Conyers. David and Marcus were new. I was the mediator between the two groups and usually the peacemaker as well, when I wasn’t stirring things up and making it worse! It was a pretty productive time for me career wise because I had just finished graduate school and my options and possibilities were expanded. I had started working part time for the Longfellow’s and was all ready seeing long term possibilities with them and I suppose I just felt less trapped in the fire department than maybe I had in the past. I suppose that gave me confidence and made me a little more bold in my criticism of problems in the department. As I wrote that, though, I realize that I was always pretty outspoken when it came to department politics. I was at the time exploring possible ways I could stay with the city of Conyers fire department and yet advance into some new areas which utilized my degree in counseling. I wrote a proposal and spoke with the city manager about employee assistance programs and I was thinking about a PhD,. program as well. But back to the fire department.
I remember sitting around the table in the bay area some time after lunch on a week day shift. I honestly don’t remember the specific gripe we had but it involved something to do with a decision we felt the Chief either had not made or made poorly. We had gotten wind of the possible end of the city of Conyers department and a merger into the Rockdale county department so we were all a little insecure about our future and morale was low. Its funny how we are all different when it comes to the information we process in our brain. Some of us can file away dates , and details, others emotional memories, others trivia, etc. I’m not much on the actual sequence of events which I am writing about. To be historically correct I would need to get several of us together and get others ideas on these things. Since that may never happen, I’m trying to capture the ‘spirit of the times’ if not the exact sequence of events. I just remember feeling injustice, anxiety, anger, loss of control………..I could go on. This fire department had gone through a lot over the years and we really had a brotherhood and now it looked like with a little discussed agreement, the county would take us over and assimilate our men and equipment into their department. It was described as a merger but we could see the handwriting on the wall. They were the bigger department, we were one station. We would have nothing to say about the situation. It was a kick in the rear because we had been part of a planned expansion of our department with a new station in the planning stages which would mean new men and equipment, etc. right or wrong most of us with the city felt superior to the county I think I know most of us did not want the merger and would have been happy to be left alone. We felt our work schedule was better than the county, our equipment, our shift strength (the number of men on a truck was a lot larger than the county, which is important. With 5 men arriving on a truck it‘s much safer and more effective in the initial attack of the fire; clean up, etc, is also spread to more people). Not wanting to offend any of the county boys because I have known some of them for years as well, I just felt that on average, the city people were a cut above the county on pretty much everything from IQ to education, to personality, etc…… And now they were going to be our bosses and we felt no one was looking out for us in this whole deal.
Our chief was Jerry Norton. I had known him for years, got along with him, considered him a friend in some respects more than a boss but I was also well aware of his shortcomings. We all have shortcomings and st this department we were generally good at overlooking them, just like a family does/ Jerry’s got a little difficult to overlook after he became chief from his long time assistant chiefs job. He was not the most assertive, dynamic chief one could have………He was a shelf sitter, who would pass responsibility on to others and become expert at avoidance techniques and indecisive. He could sit with a problem for years rather than make a decision on it . All this made our situation even worse for, again, we felt like Jerry was sitting in his office ‘fiddling’ while Conyers burned (Rome) Did I mention feeling helpless?
Back to the table in the bay. I was doodling on a scrape sheet of paper when the idea struck me; draw up a patch for a new fire department. We were talking about us and more specifically Jerry Norton having his head in the sand like an ostrich , not seeing what was getting ready to happen to us. If his head was not in the sand it was in another less desirable place, I know that for a fact! Well I drew a patch with a firemen upside down with his head in the sand, feet sticking up in the air and the ‘In the Sand logo around the perimeter of the patch. It got a laugh and other guys who came by there the rest of the day were shown the drawing as well. Next thing you know we were starting to let our imaginations run wild and we were writing ‘underground’ articles in which we changed names just enough to make them recognizable, i.e. Roland Vaughn, the city manager became Rolling Fawn, etc. Our method of writing was sharp, biting, satire and sarcasm! David Rhodes was my young assistant and he wrote some of the articles but I did most of them. It was inspired! We had lost much of our motivation since we had found we were being sold out but for this we definitely had motivation! We wrote night and day. We even created a hidden office for our typewriter and Ostrich meetings; on top of the supply closet in the truck bay. We could fake some cleaning job and see anyone long before they could see us. We had the high ground both morally and literally. Initially, we were just passing the articles around but we were soon doing art work and newspaper layout in the form of the Ostrich , done on cut out and real paste ups of the local newspaper headings. We compiled a whole newspaper and did articles on everything from sports to crime, education and school board meetings, taking the story ideas from real articles and satirizing them along with changing the names. Even the ads were biting: i.e. New Fiber-Fawn (remember Fawn was derived from the city managers name Vaughn), the gentle laxative…………etc. We were putting together complete newspapers, taking them out to make copies and distributing them around very mysteriously; no one knew the identities of the primary editors , especially the top dog…………the Unknown Ostrich” Of course the UO was me and I now admit it freely . I think most people could have guessed it was me and David who were the primary ones behind all of it but it was never admitted. Our circulation grew and eventually some copies got to the county department and we even got a copy to the real newspaper, the Rockdale citizen. They even mentioned our paper in print one time, playing in to the secrecy we had developed.
I found that brief case with the Ostrich materials in it the other day. It’s funny. I was the principle contributor and conspirator and I hardly have any of the articles and papers left! Most of this brief cases was my originals and art work, etc. I am going to attempt to get some of them copied for posterity
To be continued

Monday, July 21, 2008

There is a God who Speaks

There is a God and He

There is a God and He Speaks

Just when was it decided that God no longer communicates
with the likes of me-
Or that somehow I had learned to make my own plans
And light my paths to see.
Where did I get the idea that God, flexed his muscles,
And created everything that needed to be-
Then took one deep breath, inflated the the earth-
and set it free!

The same God, who spoke the worlds into existence,
Suddenly has nothing to say?
meanwhile, ‘me -of- little- faith’ , disguised as a disciple and convinced I rule my world forgets to pray.
/Tom Hudgens

Bookends- two poems

Book ends

Home Coming, 1968

The siren wails and flashing lights precede
The marching bands,
And main street filled with laughing eyes
And madly waving hands.
Our lives were simple statements then,
in purple crape and gold,
And only life beyond the quad was
Rumored to grow old.

Reflections on Book Ends
I was thinking about a new poem called the Landscape of Life and I thought back to a much earlier poem written around 1967. I don’t have a title for the poem but the primary thoughts are a depiction of a homecoming parade and football game during college days.
I’m thinking of a morning in the early fall of 1967. The air smells clean and the sunshine is brilliant but the temperature and humidity made it pleasant to be outside. I am wearing new cloths which included a wool sports coat, tweed I think, with a shirt and tie. This was homecoming and we all had dates for most of the day’s activities, parade, game and dance.
The thing I am trying to get at now is the sense that time was suspended. On a day like that nothing could penetrate this little world. A line from EE Cumings’ ‘The Cambridge Ladies” comes to mind? “………..the Cambridge ladies do not care, above Cambridge if sometimes in its box of sky lavender and cornerless, the moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy……..Well, at Tennessee Tech that day the rest of the world could have blown up , starting probably in Viet Nam and it would be dealt with after the football game! My poem says that ‘only life beyond the quad is rumored to grow old. A little facetious perhaps but true, also in many respects. A line from a Randy Newman song comes to mind; ‘southern boys from Lsu, come in dumb and go out that way to.: a little harsh but some Tech men I knew would probably fit that description. Then again, we were young and in an environment which pretty much fosters that life for a short segment of ones life, so why not relax and enjoy. One thought; the line about life beyond the quad in the early poem. Even that thought I just added to the poem a couple of weeks ago. When I actually wrote the poem I doubt if I would have even been interested in the concept of growing old!
No major point here, just an interesting juxtapose between that poem and that day of endless possibilities and the poem I am currently working on 40 years later. Now my focus is on limitations, restrictions and decline on almost every front, but young person, take heart. If you don’t actually have an older human being to talk too you may not really understand that we are still the same people on the inside as our 20 year old version, It is still me in here after all these years (another song…paul simon………..still crazy, after all these years”) If the truth be told, there are some days now in my later years that could be described as like that day in September, of 67 and visa versa, I do remember days back then that were horrible ! Life usually gives us a fair number of both. Our conditioning , however, often trains us to attach the negatives ones to our older years. Ageism is alive and well.

Landscape of Life-2008

It is a strange and unsettling thing to be moving
out of the scene-
to watch as my cohorts take their places around the edges
and recesses, blurred and out of focus- 4
We have become incidental figures in our own painting.
Nameless and of no particular import,
Like the passage no one notices at first glance-
perhaps even the artist has forgotten ? 8
After all these years, only an expert can offer interpretation as
to what we meant and who we were -
We have become a historical detail or even worse,
An obscure, art-history test questions ? 12
It is dark in this corner, in shadow and undertone-
But, I say, it is only for a moment that I stay.
I look back now and see fading glimpses
Of the the landscape of my life 16
And, if I allow them in, melancholy and regret
Will be constant companions-
I take captive those thoughts, with some success, and remember that I
was created by One who lives in unapproachable light- 20
He is the painting and the Artist, the Beginning
And the end-
He is the Light and it’s source, the focal
Point where life begins. 24

And yet, knowing this my old eyes still search out lies
And how I wish I could go back-
To create worlds with my own hands and
Circumscribe their limits. 28
How can this be, that I would mourn
My failing hands and eyes
When I am close to a Kingdom now
where they both will be obsolete. 32

It is a strange, unsettling thing to venture
From the known-
To walk in light, as He is light
Yet still be in my room. 36

It’s much too late for this line of thought
And I still have brushes to clean -
I’ll leave my questions for the existentialist
Down the street- 40
He exists, I hear, so perhaps he doesn’t worry with age;
But, as for me, I can live with my questions-
pain can be good for the soul. God knows,
And , besides, joy comes in the morning. 44

R. Tom Hudgens

Friday, July 4, 2008

test two

test two for my computer-non-savvy father. :)
see world's cutest baby, right ------->


(Sam and Ella, June 2008)