Beta Culture: Being Grownups on Planet Earth

Cowboy Dad

For most of the years I knew him, I unconsciously thought of my Cowboy Dad as “the grownup” in my life. Since he died, I’ve realized there were several side-effects of thinking that. One is that I cheated him out of all the years of ME being a grownup, so that we could be ... well, friendly equals, fellow MEN together. The other is that I cheated myself out of all those years of me being a grownup. All the endeavors and relationships in my life were approached in some degree of a child … [Read more...]

Pain As a Monument to Life

_Dan Bright Sun 2

The question always comes up: What do you say to someone who's lost a loved one to death? How do you comfort them? Maybe the only useful answer is that there is no real comfort, and that that's a good thing.A few days ago I found a microcassette tape of my Cowboy Dad talking to me. The tape is nothing special, it’s just him sitting there in his living room talking. Teaching me something ... and that was so HIM.I wish I had more such tapes. I wish I had video. Jeez, I want HIM back. But I … [Read more...]

I’m Ready for My Inheritance, Granny — Would You Kindly DIE??

Youth in Asia

I was talking to my friend Dirt Boy (he owns a plant nursery, and I never shake his hand that he doesn't have to wipe it off first) last night about Beta Culture, and we got onto the subject of death.If you're an existing reader here, you probably know about my Cowboy Dad. For you others: I grew up in Houston, Texas, moved to a little mountain town in California when I was 22. I met this guy there who became my mentor, teacher and eventually, "Dad." We were both mule packers and wilderness … [Read more...]

To You and Yours

Favorite holiday moment of all time: I was away at college in about 1982, but determined to make it home for the holidays. In the dead of winter, I set out hitchhiking from the Sacramento area to the Eastern Sierra, a distance of more than 250 miles. In what turned out to be a full day of standing on the roadside, getting short rides, more standing on the roadside, etc., I finally reached my Cowboy Dad's house in the mountains at about 8 p.m. — 12 hours later.The last ride had been an endless, … [Read more...]

Interlude, With Pack Mule

Sorry, all, about the recent paucity of posts. Among other things, I’ve been busy getting some stuff ready for an event – Mule Days, it’s called – happening in Bishop, California, where I used to live and where my Dad lived.I’m trying to get all the people who knew him to contribute stories, photos, etc., memories of his life that will go up on a couple of memorial-type web pages. This event will draw quite a few people into the area, some of which will be old friends or acquaintances of his, s … [Read more...]

Interjection, With Tears

I've shied away from gushing at length about my Dad's death here. Mainly I think of my own "guy" reaction to other people's family-death turmoils. It's a personal thing, or should be, and you shouldn't go flashing it around in public too much.But I also feel that I owe all of you something. Periodic updates, I guess. Those of you who donated to make possible my visit to his side at the hospital, I want you to know ... well, that a very human thing happened, and continues to happen, and it's … [Read more...]