And so it begins…

One year ago I walked…


One year ago I ran screaming away, as though I was a man literally on fire! What was I running away from?

This blog…

It wasn’t easy setting my emotional self on fire. But I did.

Yet it is in those moments where you as a human being know exactly what is best for you, you find yourself. Those moments helping nourish your soul, your mind, while giving you the necessary space to expand your future horizons.

I swore I wouldn’t be back. I swore I would start a new blog, under a new alias, eventually creating new material for all three of my readers to enjoy from what I always imagined was a big comfy, easy chair. Yet, I didn’t come back, I stayed away, far away, in a place where the world couldn’t touch me, hurt me, crush my independence. Where supposed friends couldn’t turn their friendship into something owed, or try ruining my reputation by spreading falsehoods and hearsay. In a place where I could rebuild myself and no one needed to know. A mental place that kept no record of time, or love, or friendship, or family, or well loss. Yeah, I would never face the written word of loss again, or feel the need to share, hoping to help others. A place that left a portion of my mind blank. It felt very safe there in the dark. I couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see you. Like when you were a little kid, burying yourself under the covers at night because it felt warm and safe. The best part? You couldn’t see me either. Only close family and friends mattered because I could feel them, know they were there, and hold them close. I didn’t need to see them in this dark, blank world I had created to know they cared.

That was wrong.

Many things have happened over the last year, both good and bad, amazing and scary, to which I will delve later. But suffice it to say, my brain is, or has been struggling. The very same weight I claimed to toss (cavalierly I might add) from my shoulders just one year ago was replaced by a new, heavier, weight! Succumbing to its enormous pressure I felt choked, smothered, and dull inside. I was mentally dying..

The answer was right there all along, under my nose, sitting covered in dust (my laptop) on my unused desk; I needed to write.

Not only do I need to write, but I want to write! I still felt the need to share, to let those who jumped onto this journey we call life know they are not alone! We all struggle and succeed in life and we need to do it together! We need to share these journeys and laugh! To revel in the absurdity while expressing our own similarities and differences.

The trouble for me was twofold.

To start

To start under the same blog.

After much thought, I have come to the conclusion/realization that Betty is just who I am.

Betty was born from a necessity, evolved and ultimately became me, or I became her? Not sure, maybe there is a “they” in there somewhere! Fuck! Sorry, I digress.. The reason I am back or coming back, or thinking of coming back is because I missed her, him or “they”! Whatever, you get the point, either way once again, I am hoping all three of my readers are still there, still interested.

So here goes! Bring it! I want to hear from the three of you, and don’t leave me hanging!!


Last year I walked away looking for peace, new horizons, knowing deep in my heart after the struggles of the year before nothing, and I mean nothing could ever hurt me again. (If you’re confused, its ok, just scroll back to all posts from 2013-2018. You’ll catch up) Oh there were also the depressing ponderings of memories churned up from the year 2001 as well but hey! Who is counting right?

Yep I had hit the ceiling, dropped the trifecta and survived! First wife passed away, father dropped dead in the driveway of our property and then, second wife passes away. Oh there were other little family tragedies in between as well, but we as a collective whole trudged through.

I was looking at life, at the prospect of the next few years thinking, no, knowing nothing bad could ever happen to myself or my family again! We were safe, we bore the brunt of loss and survived!

It felt as though we had done a good deed for god, or the mafia, not sure which is better at this point but damn it! I knew we were in the good graces of some higher power! Whether it was god or Tony Soprano I really didn’t care. The way I saw it we were kissing some feet or a ring and either way we were getting the nod! This of course meant in the struggle department I was untouchable.

June 28, 2018

Lying in a cold hallway, staring upwards at the tile ceiling I am waiting my turn. There are four of us here. All dressed the same, in our one piece, easily removable, light blue gowns. Our hair covered in netting, our skin growing colder from the low temperature.

My mind is racing. Racing at a hundred miles an hour. What the holy fucking hell had I done in this life to lead to all of this! For the past month I have cried, and cried a lot. I have pushed people away, while holding others close who refuse to give up on me! Truth be told, I want you to hate me! I NEED you to hate me! I want you to go away! I don’t want you in my life, because if you as a person are not in my life you cannot be hurt when this is over!

What did I do God? I keep asking that. I did everything you have asked of me. I came to church when I didn’t want to, I changed the way I was living from reckless and absurd, to organized, caring and with charity. I traveled across the globe to administer to the less fortunate, to rebuild, to love and care for those I never knew. I dedicated my life to public service with great pride. I wrote about it and shared, all of it! Making me nervous and scared because I really don’t like putting myself out there that far. That is how you get hurt. I even let someone else in, close very close and she is in the waiting room with two of my three best friends, terrified, scared and she chose to be there when others would have, no, should have run! I did all those things God and what have I received for my efforts?


Two wives dead, my dad gone, my dog killed. My two favorite horse’s dead, a struggle to keep this ranch going, shattered relationships and a fire career that feels tattered and destroyed. A new human being let into my inner circle who is scared to lose me so soon, which leaves her suffering because of me! My closest friends scared once again. Four children that don’t know what if any future may hold and feel so lost after five years of this continuous BULLSHIT!

Yet here we are….

A bulky man comes down the hallway and leans over me with a smile telling me its time. He grabs the gurney, and with a smooth calm voice reminds me it will be alright. As he is pushes me through the double doors the spot lights from above illuminate the white room, I ask if he could please play some Van Halen for me. He chuckles and asks; are you a Van Halen or Van Hagar fan? Van Hagar of course, is my reply! The needle is inserted, my hands are tied behind my back, I am asked to take a deep breath and count to twenty. He laughs and says, me too! I drift off with a smile because I have found a new kindred spirit.

My world has once again turned deathly black…

43 thoughts on “And so it begins…

  1. It’s so great to see you back in my inbox! Many times I’ve wondered how you’re doing. Thank you for opening yourself back up and sharing with “the three” of us. So glad you’re back home!


    1. Thank you for the kind words, I will do my best to keep you “three” up to date! Glad to see you’re still interested in this read. 😀
      Please spread the word about this blog so others may sign in and participate as well. Maybe we can get up to 5! Ah heck I’ll shoot for the moon-10?


  2. Nice to read your thoughts once again my friend. Of course your cliff hanger is, thankfully, wasted on me because I know what happened. Glad you are writing again, I believe it is your true calling.


    1. Shhhhhhh! Don’t give it away! Thanks Dee, I’m trying hard to find what that “calling” really is. Please share my blog so others can share as well. Without support it kind of falls to the bottom of readership with WP.


  3. We rarely see each other anymore, paths don’t cross as they used to, but you and your family have never strayed too far from my thoughts. I am glad to see you (at least your writting) in my world again! I look forward to each and every word you write my friend.


  4. I thought of you and your blog today, which I haven’t done in quite sometime. I started following it when you wrote about Deets Winslow It saddens me to read your struggles. However, it brings me great joy that you are back. ❤ Thank you for sharing.


    1. Thank you Brittany, two of my greatest regrets were never being able to tell both Deets and Kurt Hornaday how much they meant in my life. We were friends, but I don’t think they ever knew.
      Thanks for sticking with me, please share my blog, so others can jump on this crazy bandwagon with us!!


  5. I randomly thought of you and your blogs a few weeks ago wondering if you would ever write again. I enjoy reading them. Glad to see you are writing again. Hope you and your kiddos are well.


    1. Thanks for commenting Shari, we are all doing ok. I’m so glad you stuck around and still like reading my blog. Please share it with everyone so we can keep it going and maybe others will randomly think about it too. Ha ha!!


  6. Nice to see you back and writing again, James! You write so beautifully and it’s a joy to read. Hope you and your family are doing well.


    1. Thanks Jan, your words are too kind. I’ll keep em coming, just please share the blog with as many people as you can. I really do want others to know life really is ok, no matter what’s thrown at you.


  7. I am glad you are back.8 have thought about you and prayed for you many times. But…you are leaving us hanging here. I pray all is ok.
    Debbie Duncan


    1. Hey Debbie, glad to be back!! If I have left you hanging then I have done my job!! Ha ha! Please let everyone you know in on my blog by sharing it, then we can leave lots of people hanging and it will be our little secret!! 😜


  8. It’s not a beginning, it’s not an ending, it’s a continuance. Life is like that…
    Praying and hoping all is well.


  9. Welcome back!!!

    “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
    Leonard Cohen Anthem


  10. I do love your writings! I had been struggling along with you! I had a still born births miscarriage, prematurely birth, (she’s fine) another miscarriage ! I asked the same questions. And as why me, what have I done wrong? Then it was a divorce, as my husband walked out! But a beautiful loving man came into my life four years later! But things started to fall apart for the next 15 years with 10 surgeries. I still am asking why me and what did I do wrong! I am also writing stories for my kids so they will remember what my life was like and that it was all easy! I’m working at putting my poetry book together for publishing! It is also full of my trial and stuff though prose and poetry! Keep writing my grandsons are encouraging me for books of their own! Keep on keeping on!! On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 10:01 AM They call me Betty wrote:

    > theycallmebetty posted: ” One year ago I walked… No. One year ago I ran > screaming away, as though I was a man literally on fire! What was I running > away from? This blog… It wasn’t easy setting my emotional self on fire. But > I did. Yet it is in those moments where y” >


  11. Hope got my first post! Just keep on writing!

    On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 10:01 AM They call me Betty wrote:

    > theycallmebetty posted: ” One year ago I walked… No. One year ago I ran > screaming away, as though I was a man literally on fire! What was I running > away from? This blog… It wasn’t easy setting my emotional self on fire. But > I did. Yet it is in those moments where y” >


  12. I have been following your to do’s on Facebook and via FB, you appear to be weathering the storm, sometimes even in good spirits.:) I think of you often. You are always in my heart. It’s good to read what’s been going on in your mind and your heart – things that aren’t necessarily shared on FB. Hugs to you my friend!!


    1. Thank you so much Heather. I have been keeping a low profile for sure! All I want to do is help people, if my writing does that then I have succeeded! Hope all is well for you and you family. Please share my blog so we can reach out to many more.


  13. James your words are so captivating and moving and I pray for you often and think of you often hoping you are ok!! I’m so glad to see you writing you again my friend….. take care ❤️

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


  14. I have no clue how I stumbled into your blog last year. I’m glad I did! You have a gift for writing. I’m glad your back. Keep the faith, trudge on.


  15. Betty! I must admit I enjoy reading the comments from your fans. I find it tough to find the words, the emotions…so many can say honestly in a few sentences.
    I’m actually getting tired of watching movies, even good ones, because of the virus (I don’t have it but came in contact so had to quarantine) But if there was a movie of your life, it’s just too much to believe! So much packed into one life. Tragedy, and so much magic and family love.
    I’m praying for more magic and love…and your fun dose of adventure. God Bless!


    1. So good to hear from you my friend! I’m sorry you had to quarantine but smart choice!! Not sure anyone would want to watch my life in a movie. But fun to think about! Ha ha! You’re right, definitely to much to believe, I can’t believe it myself sometimes! Thank you for the prayers and for checking in, I hope all of you continue to be well and stay well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.