Thursday, December 22, 2005

An Off-the-Cuff Serial Autobiography: Positive Influences A

The Influence of Friends

Daddy's Roses ran a meme (new term to me) and referenced the blog of The Euphemist as her source. Visiting there I found the meme: "MY TOP TEN (OR SO) GREATEST INFLUENCES, OUTSIDE OF GOD AND MY FAMILY MEMBERS."

I thought it would be fun to get this one started among my family's blogs. But when I got started I soon had brainstormed a huge list. So I'm gonna break it apart and probably break the rules along the way. This post will deal with the influence of close friends.

It is hard to leave out the exceptions above. My wife, daughters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brother, sisters, and my wife's parents have all been huge influences on my life, and I am a double preachers' kid, so I have certainly been exposed to the influence of the church. Maybe I'll discuss those family and church influences one day. After all, my wife is, without doubt, my closest friend on earth.

Rather than giving you my top ten list as suggested by The Euphemist, I'm just going to free associate for awhile and see what names pop to mind. It will be more than ten, I'm sure. I may get around to an overall top ten list, but maybe just listing all the influences that this meme brings to mind will do it.

In no particular order, (pop!) lets with the close friends:

Mike Burton, my slightly (admit it, Mike) eccentric artist/deaf educator friend. For his zest for life; his independence and efforts to be self-sufficient, creative, and moral. His (and Carolyn's) friendship sent me to Booger Hollow looking for property. That resulted in lots of experiences including getting to know Steve and Laurie Craw (below). Even before that he got me involved in performing folk music at his "Coffee Houses" and hootenannies. Movie making. And chess. And historic preservation. One job, when I needed one badly. Video storytelling. Hyperstudio/presentation computer stuff. Woodworking. Carpentry. Bronze casting. Blackberry picking. Sign Language. Bushhogging and gardening. House moving. Cow chasing. Dump harvesting. Goat husbandry. Swimming pool construction. Playhouse construction. Implausibly-tight-space plumbing. Well-digging. Demolition. Beekeeping. (Heavens to Mergatroid, Mike, I shouldn't have started counting the ways you've messed with my life!)

I adopted the wonderful Burton Girls as my "extra daughters" and he and Carolyn adopted mine. Mike's Mother and siblings adopted us into the Burton clan and we have been there at several extended Burton/Btrown gatherings.

Sheila and I were honored to help celebrate Carolyn's life at the wonderful memorial service Mike organized. And when Mike found Julie we got to help him celebrate the beginning of a new part of his life.

Mike Bock, for his loyalty, intellectual approach to life, his determination to live life fully. Mike also showed up at my room in the clinic (I was abed with the mumps at the time and only days from graduation) with an application to the Teacher Corps -- I wonder what path my life might have taken without that little nudge. Mike has not only influenced my use of corporal punishment (jk) but education philosophy in general -- Socratic seminars, literature circles, Great Books discussion, cooperative learning, billiard ball math.

All those crazy Teacher Corps friends, struggling for civil rights, peace, education reform, womens rights, the environment.

Steve and Laurie Craw, for their determination, their loyalty, their creativity and talent, and their 25 years of friendship and sometimes partnership. They involved Sheila and me in an effort to give the Rome News some competition via Broadside (weekly newspaper) in the seventies. That experience had a huge impact on my life. Not to mention: the cookouts where Steve Buries the meat in coals to cook underground all day; duck hunting on Lake Creek; New Years watch nights at the farm; trips to the Collinsville Trade Day.

Mildred and Philip Greear, for their dedication to live their belief system, their love of nature, their family commitment. Mildred and Philip helped us overcome inertia and get involved in grassroots politics to fight Reagan's environmental disasters - and we won a battle: the Chattahoochee National Forest is still there!

Richard Ware, friend, for his contagious love of music and nature and his doggedness. He has spurred me to investigate trees and wildflowers and folk music. And what would the hootenannies have been (Would the hootenannies have been?) without him?

Solomon Lasoi, my college roommate, for his work ethic and scholarship.

Mrs. Lyle Moser, of Eleanor WV, close friend for a year or so, and her husband, who died very shortly after I met him. Again, people very determined to live their beliefs.

Bill & Cathy, Betty & Cotton, Cleve and Terri, Marty Teem, Gene Stewart, teacher friends, college friends, church friends, old girlfriends I dare not name (jk), who knows how Galen Foster influenced me my first three years -- Mama says Galen and I had own own language! --
there are many more I could name, but I'll stop there for now. This has been way too rambling.

Next time some famous persons who have influenced me.

What close friends have changed your life for the better?

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