My father died on Good Friday several years ago, from an aneurysm that erupted inside his brain. On Easter of this year, I survived a hemorrhagic stroke, which, whether there was a weak point in a blood vessel or not, is an eerily similar thing to have happen. Massive brain bleeding. Providence is always and everywhere, but sometimes it requires we notice it. We were also only a year apart in age when it happened. We were/are both relatively young. Relatively athletic. Blah, blah, blah.

The Lord took him, but left me. He finished his work more quickly than I have finished mine, I believe.

There are times I wish I had gone to see Jesus, as my father did, and times I am glad I did not. Why did God leave me, but with a warning, as it seems?

My father was hosting an "end of year" party for his Sunday School class. I was sitting on my couch surfing the internet. Other circumstances further underscore the difference in our lives to this point. I pray the Lord gives me some of what He gave my father in terms of character qualities I lack. This post may be a little depressing, but reflection is healthy. Self-assessment and contemplation of the Lord's works should help guide us to biblical application. I frankly don't know if you will benefit, or not, but I am certain I will. So, please be patient a minute. I don't plan on "documenting my journey," but a few public thoughts may serve us both to live better. I am not to praise if I respond well. I'm not looking for that, or sympathy.

My father ran a lot, as in, marathons. I am fairly fit, but I don't run marathons. I never have. My father was not at his fittest at the time of his death, but not really at his worst, either. I believe we should be fit, and I am sure going to work harder at it now. God designed us to be warriors and builders and keepers of the garden. I have underperformed, I am certain. God's overwhelming grace does not excuse my mediocrity.

I am certain that we should be submitted to He with Whom we all have to do. In everything. Our personal lives, and our civic lives. I am convicted that "civic life" does not primarily refer to time on social media, though it may have a small place in the grand scheme. Man knows not his time.

I am grateful for many things, but I am especially grateful that the Lord did not remove my children's father, yet. They are good people, but having gone through an early exit (from my perspective) by my father, I hope I am here to serve them for a good while longer. And I hope to also be of worthwhile use to you and yours. Pray for yours, and train them diligently. The days can seem dark at times. And impish forces lust after your wife and children, and the laws restrain you. May God have mercy on us all.


The RA-1 pack lies between us, drab and inert. Time is short. Distance is shorter and shortening by the second. The decrease in both is blindingly fast. But also slow. I will die before I budge, though, and they all know it. Eight harness rings tremble and reflect an unrecognizable collage of clouds, metal, sky, and gear all swirling around stoic faces, concentrated. The Ripstop pack sets off the bright red ripcord, symbolizing both danger and salvation. We can all see it on the floor in our periphery, but no one’s eyes move away from mine.

Burning oil mingled with fear and sweat fills the cabin. These are my brothers, though I feel I barely know them, still. Their eyes search my own, and their eyes my own search right back. Nervous, afraid, and resolute. I have a family and so do they. I can feel my wife’s hair in my face and smell her shampoo mingled with perspiration and the fabric softener on our sheets. My children… My God, my children. I can’t walk through a room without being attacked by joyful little warriors and princesses. Eight blue eyes, truer than blue, to them I am God, and I suck at it. Such sweet battle, tussled hair and hugs-too-hard being the only casualties. So different than this damn joke “war.” My widowed mother who is sick and dying, and her long letters of encouragement and advice on finances and child-rearing I still need. The last $100 Visa card she sent in my rucksack, $43.87 still on it. I checked before the mission this morning. I was going to get a plain cheeseburger and fries when I got back.

Not a man in here doesn’t have the same thoughts, though. A little variation, but different not in substance. Jim’s wife has blond hair, and they don’t have children. But he has an 11 year old 3-legged dog that once saved his life in a bear attack. It still tries to jump on its beloved master when he walks in the door, falling on its face over and over again. His father is losing his mind to Alzheimer’s. Kendrick has no wife, because his died when a log truck ran her off a cliff, and now he and his step-Mom raise his three children; one has Down’s. Paul is his parent’s only son, and has his whole life in front of him, and is too young and hopeful in spite of himself. His bright blue eyes possess the hope of humanity and the corners of his mouth go impossibly close to the corners of his eyes when he sees a friend he hasn’t seen in a while. A scar curves off the left corner, though, where a protester's bottle met its mark during a military parade. He never broke rank.

Every one of us would do the same, but I drew my weapon first. I will not take the last chute, and there is no time for discussion. The rumble of the straining fuselage deafens, even as the engine whines and the rush of wind pounds our eardrums. Words are pointless, even if we could hear them. I will shoot, and they know it. I will not take it. Jim and Paul lose their bacon, eggs, grits and coffee, the g-force in our stomachs is so strong. I will not take it.

Someone counted wrong. It happens. Kendrick bows his head a little in a gesture of gratitude and respect. Then jumps.

“Sam,” Paul begins. My Colt thunders my reply past his left ear. A hole in the fuselage makes no difference now. I back away from it further, buckling myself into the farthest jumpseat. There’s no way I could get it on in time, now. I hold up a peace sign with my left hand. Jim knocks Paul over the head, straps the pack onto him and rolls him to the edge. As he recovers from the stun, Jim rolls him out, praying he’ll fully wake up in time to pull the cord.

He turns to me, and I lower my gun and salute. He salutes back and I don’t see him again. I held the salute the rest of the way.

G.H.P., Whitefish, Montana


“You need to ask again, Jack,” The thrasher double phrases
In the tree outside, she harps on still the more.
“I don’t deserve it. I work slow, my nose ain’t brown
I’m not as slick, sales are down.” Cindy, come around.
Laces tied, gig line set, coffee poured, laptop slung.
“Please ask again. I can’t live like this.” Out the door.

My Dad would be ashamed to live in a house
Closer to seven figures than not-quite six, thirty foot foyer,
And his wealth exceeded mine and sweet tastes of his
Wife receded those of mine. Bless her heart.
Dear old Mom, frugal soul, but still Mema
Thought her lavish. My Mercedes is a C-Class.

The gate closes me out the house, the guard greets
Fred behind me. Cindy notes his Mercedes is an S-Class.
I turn, join the antline, carrying ten thousand times—
Is that it? Maybe a hundred thousand times—my body weight
In fret. I don’t have an exoskeleton. I’m flesh,
My heart has ears and words pierce deep. Defenseless woman?
Frail? Most men die of heart disease, thousand years and running.

Steel and glass solace me less than trees.
My field of thorns. “Ask again, Jack.” We lack
No needed thing, but the need for wanted things lures.
And ask I must for fear of what awaits
Behind the new-bought wreath on my front door.
It cost six hundred I saw the florist’s bill.
“Mr. Bigg, got a minute?” I start, “No, and the answer is no.”

She stays in bed longer today, which is fine.
I prefer talking to Bobby, anyway. We horse around.
You too will not be enough for a pretty girl someday,
I almost say. He’ll know sooner than I want to think.
Beer and sports are nice comforts, though. Beer and sports.
Even now, I wish I could somehow. Somehow prevail.
Somehow impress. Be enough. Have enough. Behold the unfaked smile.

Fred’s ahead today, with that S-Class on his ass
To rub it in. Guard, gate, go already, you sonofabitch.
He turns back once through, but I move on.
His rung is higher, mine remains at the level
Where you cannot be late. Someone behind me
Never has been late and never would be.
I turn and join the antline of cars. Scott Slade checks off my name. Right on time.

Stop and go stay in line hands to yourself do your time,
Click and clack along the track you can’t go back.
Can’t go back. In time, but high above, a circling hawk
Laughs his shrieking laugh. I imagine. With up-rolled window.
I can see. He circles me. We look like prey, God,
I pray another way may I find today?
I jump out early, reenter on the other side, against the tide.

Jack is back.

My heart beats fast as through my door I spring,
To greet my boy and wife my rib my love my joy.
I’ve seen a vision, from above. Hello? Little dove?
A vision of life rethought, rekindled love, close to earth, Hon?
Growing things, chickens, three; soaring high, you and I,
Untethered from the grind and hopeless marching to ends so bleak.
Silence. Bobby’s gone, and so is Cindy. “Dear Jack,” I find the note.

Fred traded up, and Cindy too. Bobby and Jack were just standers-by
Jack went back, and out altogether, with mule and collards
Heirloom hens in two houses. Fred spoils Bobby with toys now.
Till death Jack did not part from chicks or garden tilled, at peace,
If not quite happy. Lonely. Free after a fashion, to ignore the fashion.
He ate his own food. Died. Left to Bobby a hundred acres, free and clear.

Bobby built condos there, and bought a wife with his profit.

Cross the Creek

“I have seen it, son,
“I have seen it all.”

“I know, diddy, but I ain’t seen
“What’s-to-come, since I don’t know when.”

“But, I have seen it, son,
“I have seen it fall.”

“Yes, sir, I hear all you say,
“ ‘Seen it all,’ and ‘seen it fall,’ but you just one man.

“That’s not all, dear boy,
“My sight is not yours to destroy
“What I see will bring you wins, and all the joy.”

“I love you, so, don’t get all mad,
“Even when I kill you, you’re still my dad.”

“Son, your feet, your feet they slip.
“The rock is wet, you lose your grip.”

“S’Okay, old man, the flame’s not hot
“So shut your mouth, they’re all I got.”

“I seem them snakes slidin’ up to bite you.
“Grab my hand, my strength’s not through.”

“No one else I know is, so I’ll stake our name.
“Bless me, pops, I’ll share my shame.’

“Give it here, boy, but you go on
“The trail that’s right to get home upon.”

“Dang, that’s close, my flesh it drips.
“The conflagration twinkles with its ripples.
“Hold me, father, don’t let me fall.”

“I see you slidin’, but that’s not all, hold firm my ol’ paw,
“But, hold you? Never! I can shove, that’s all.”

“Crazy! Sulfur! I die! I’m sick!
“Give me holt’a that there stick.’

“My hand don’t hold no more,
“It jus’ steers and shoves is all.”

“What? I die, don’t you care at all?
“Can’t you care even at all?”

“Boy, I have seen, so hear me now
“You must heed ever bit, and digest it all.”

“I listen, I hear…them birds over yonder
“Is loud. They’s loud, at’s’all.”

“You take what I seen, go on.
“It’s here in my hand that I shove you with.

“What? Where? I need it now.
“Hang on, I’m coming. Why go ye down?”

“To move you yonder, my gig’s nelly done.
“You got more to do than me. More to see than this old one.”

G.H.P 2023, Woodstock, Georgia is up!

Welcome to George H. Plaster's internet home, where I write and read a little, and enjoy reasonable discussions. I stroked out a couple of weeks ago, so the readings may be delayed. You are welcome here, and I hope y'all like it. I write mostly fiction and poetry, but I'll have some just general commentary and essays, too. It will take me a little while to get the content fully stocked, but please, stay and read, check back soon, and let me know what you think. You can expect to find shorter writings, fairly wide-ranging thoughts on various things, guest pieces, and also pieces of longer items (like novels) I am working on, that I think you will enjoy. I anticipate beginning a periodic conversation on a video feed of some kind. Still working on that. If you have suggestions, I'd be interested to hear them. Contributions of lucre are regrettably necessary, and are welcome, but feel free to enjoy what's here if you can't or would rather not. Just click at the top right of the page where it says, "Contribute."

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Cold blue the pain, and a thousand crickets weep.
Injun red and my love spills through and through.
My eye to the rear of days now full and gone.
My ear to the ground, the albatross glides full bloom.

Where oh where nests goonies nestled jewels?
By the bye I boot dust from the lane for air.
Beaten and screwed by things called tools,
The petal of moon floats by and laughs at them there.