She was a very pretty young woman
with a young son at home,
makin’ do as best she could.
She was just struggling
to find her way and get by.
She’d been through
some pretty hard times
with an ex-husband
who had a bad turn in the army
and came home
refusing to treat her right.
She told me as we sat talking,
“John, I’ve got to pull myself back up
and get on with my life.
‘Get back to my art and my writing.”

Her spirit was a bluebird,
flying high and untamed
in an endless summer sky,
and I could see a powerful magic
in the bright spark of her eyes.
I knew, even if she didn’t right then,
that come what may,
she would find a way through.

‘Said to her,
“If you believe
the wide screen television,
all you gotta do
is drink the right beer,
get a few tattoo’s,
use the right toothpaste,
and buy the right brand
of pick-up truck.
Do this, they tell you,
and life will be perfect.
Buy lots of stuff
you don’t really need
with money you don’t really have
and everything will all fall
right into place for you
and you’ll be a resounding success.
Now, anyone with half a brain
knows that’s all a scam
and a big pile of horseshit.

I took a drink of my coffee
and went on,
“Invest time, instead, in your son
and in your family.
Invest in those whom you love
and who love you back.
Remember, true love begins
only when two share
what is deep in their souls.
Everything before that
is just practice.
Invest time in your own creativity,
in your own art, writing and music.
Invest in the voyage to discover
the world inside yourself,
and in your long journey
out into the world around you.

Invest time in books
and in the great thoughts
of those who came before you.
Trust always the voice
that speaks from your heart.
Remember to laugh
at yourself like Red Skelton.
Let the child that you are deep inside—
The one who plays peek-a-boo
with the work-a-day world,
come out and romp in the green grass
and make splashes
in the puddles when it rains.
Remember to notice the sliver moon
high in the sky at night
and always keep a look out
for beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Invest, your time, my friend,
in people, emotions, ideas and ideals.
As all the years roll on by,
you’ll be very much happier for it.”
She went off to think for a bit.
When she returned,
she poured me some more hot coffee,
then she smiled and said,
“Thank you much, John.
I think you’ve inspired me.
Hold on for a minute
while I find a pen and paper.”
I smiled back and told her,
“I’m just returning the favor.”

Dewey Dirks