Life, Tom R, and Music

Here’s a letter to Patrick from 22 years ago when I was in a dark frame of mind.

FROM: JP, 440201,1234
TO: Patrick, 405101,1234
DATE: 10/21/96 9:51 PM

Yo, pappy,

Sorry I’ve not written lately. I’ve not been in a proper communicative mood, but have instead been operating in the “if nothing nice to say, why whine?” mode.

That’s very thoughtful of what you’d offer for Tom R. Right now I doubt I’d be a good influence, and realistically, I’m probably too unstable right now to be of value to him or you. I rattle against the walls at all hours of the night, banging on the piano, sitting at the computer, or just vegging and moping. If I drank I’d be a great alcoholic.

Things are improving, however. I went racing in Ohio for a week, helping out in the press room and getting lots of driver interviews and so on. In typical fashion, I arrived, the rental tried to give me a Hyundai that had been in a crash, and then my hotel had been closed and turned into a halfway house, still unopened.

Work is still extremely busy, almost overwhelmingly so. We’re hiring a couple of people soon, I hope. At least we’ve had the positions approved. I’m still hassling with the housing situation, an insurance company, and a bunch of other stuff; who ever said turning 40 would be easy?!

I’m very accepting now of the loss of Linda; que sera and all that shjt. I’m writing a play, a musical I guess, called “Recovery.” Well, I’ve written a song for it, anyway! I’ve got a couple of other tunes that might fit in as well. Do you want to write it? I don’t know what it’s going to be about; I just have the music. It’s not classical, it’s not even commercial, but I like to think the imagery is powerful and words commanding.

Given that, tell me…. do you have a LaserJet or ink jet printer? Fax number? Maybe I can send you lead sheets. I could send you just lyrics and chords, but the music has some minimal value as well.

Anyway, I’ve got to get an article off to SportsCar. The deadline was last Friday, so I’m less late than usual. I’ll think about the Tom R. thing, but I wouldn’t suggest getting his hopes up. Maybe there’s somebody else here that would welcome him in…. I’ll keep my ears open. We have a youth placement program at Rockwell, I’ll try to remember to check on it. Oh, if you have a Web browser (CompuServe does, I think) you can see where I work. Try:

Hi to your special lady for me.



Certified Letter

Here’s a short autobiographical story by Patrick. The file is dated 12 March 2014.

In our little village here in the mountains, there is a post office still. There are two employees, one for sorting incoming mail and preparing outgoing mail, and one for attending customers, who are few. The office is open only in the morning from eight o’clock until ten-thirty, except Saturday when they stay open until eleven.

After they close, both employees begin the rounds delivering the mail. If there is a certified letter or a package that won’t fit in your mailbox, they leave a yellow notice showing in the slot, half in half out of the box. I suppose that is because nowadays when almost everyone has e-mail there is so seldom any mail you might not check. Continue reading “Certified Letter”

Patrick Talks About His Unfinished Stories

This conversation of 23 March 2017 with Patrick is about some of his unfinished stories. The transcription is below.

Patrick: Some stories are not finished yet and it says “to be continued,” and the very last one is obvious, it’s right in the middle of the story. But there are many of them that are the way they’re gonna stay. So you got a pretty fair collection of what I’ve been doing. The West Virginia section is what I’ve pulled out today, and it won’t be 120 pages like the other one. It’ll be more like 50 or 60 pages. I could combine it all into one book, so part one is West Virginia, part 2 is the Florida stuff, Part 3 is the stuff from when I was on the road in Turkey, and then the last one will be Bohemians of the Traumentura. So it’s like a book that is a collection of volumes. Continue reading “Patrick Talks About His Unfinished Stories”

La Carrera Panamericana

Patrick attended the Prescott Rally with me in 2014 which was a two day affair. He probably would have found La Carrera Panamericana overwhelming, but he would have been very supportive of my participation.

If you’re interested in following the race, for reasons you might guess, here are two sites that should help: (espanol)

or (English)


Rally on!


Some Long Recordings Added to Existing Items

I’ve figured out a way, I think, to include some long recordings on this web site.  The following items now have links so that you can hear the recordings. It’s not an elegant solution, but it works.

You’ll see the links defined somewhere in the introductory text for each of these conversations. (Hint: look for underscored text.)


The Whole Point of My Life Was to Meet Stephanie

Another one of those long conversations with Patrick, sharing a bottle Scotch at my dining table and talking about life, responsibility, love, and minding our own business. This one is from 7 Oct 2014 and was transcribed by Christine. The audio file is too big to post here, but if you want to hear it, I can make it available elsewhere.

Patrick: Whatever happens, happens. I did what I had to do, or what I thought I had to do, and you did what you had to do did or what you thought you had to do. And we’re still doing the same.

JP: Un-huh, yep, yep!

Patrick: And of course there’s no one to judge us except you and me.

JP Yeah. Although, I think others who, whose lives we have touched…

Patrick: They can’t judge because they too…

JP: But they will judge whether…

Patrick: Ah yeah, well…

JP: … it’s appropriate. Again, we can’t control their actions.

Patrick: I judge myself more harshly I think than other people, even more harshly than my own kids, I think.

Patrick: On the other hand, I think I have to say, the whole point of my life was to meet Stephanie.

Patrick: And I’m sorry, but all the other stuff was an issue that was just on the way.

JP: Un-huh

Patrick: Because I wanted what I found, and I thought I found it with your mother, and then I thought I found it with, with Mari and I thought I found it with Lois … and I found it… with Stephanie. At this point, Jennifer says, “I’m so jealous of Stephanie.” [laughter]

Patrick: What can you say?

JP: Yeah, yeah. I…

Patrick: But, I was a human being who was also looking for love… Just like you guys.

JP: Un-huh, yep!

Patrick: And my family is just as fucked up as your family. [laughter]

JP: Yep!

Patrick: It’s just I was innocent, escaping that family, but I’m not innocent in escaping this family. I was guilty. On the other hand, I don’t believe I had a choice at that moment. Every time I think about it, I get to the point where I drive out of that schoolyard and I have just lost my job, and my car breaks down, and I lose my job at the newspaper that night, and I’m going then to a little money in Melbourne at the Satellite lounge playing bass, and I still have to wash the diapers.

JP: Yeah.

Patrick: And then I find a job in Chicago and go.

JP: Yep.

Patrick: At that point everything goes like it’s a quantum leap, and it’s a sense of freedom (long pause), and adventure, and love, and still, back there: JP, Jennifer. Oh God, you can’t imagine what it was like. I came back to visit you in the garage apartment in Melbourne, and you fell over the…

JP: Construction set.

Patrick: [laughs]

JP: I thought that was in New York.

Patrick: No no.

JP: Okay.

Patrick: Nah, I came to stay and was in the bed with Donna and you came in excited about what you’d made and you fell over it and broke it. [laughter]

JP: Yep

Patrick: Nothing’s changed!

JP: No [laughs]

JP: I tend to destroy the things I build.

Patrick: Ohh God.

JP: [laughs] …in some ways. I’m much better now at …

Patrick: That was just before I left for Europe. It’s been a long, a long trip.

JP: Yeah, a strange and wondrous journey.

Patrick: Yeah. I’m glad you’re ok.

JP: Yeah, yeah. {pause}. I’m glad you’re still a part of my life.

Patrick: Yeah {pause}. I hope you are able to eh {long pause}, make eh {heavy sigh}… find the other half of yourself … which is always, I think, by naturaleta, by nature, a man and a woman. I think it’s really, in my opinion, it has to be. I hope that you can do that.

JP: un-huh

Patrick: Because life would be so much more beautiful, that’s all. On the other hand, it’s not my business… [JP and Patrick laughs], it’s your business. I have to say eh, life with a woman is twice as valuable as a life without a woman because there are four eyes and the world is multiplied. Anyway, it’s not my business.

JP: [laughs]

Patrick: Wow! [Looking at the bottle of Scotch we’re drinking]

JP: [laughs] Yeah…I noticed the quantity there too…

Patrick: You are James’ son! [Jameson]

JP: Yes!


JP: Ahhh. Well hopefully you will sleep tonight.

Patrick: Well if I don’t,

JP: You’ll sleep tomorrow on the drive up!

Patrick: [laughs] Yeah, that’s right

JP: [laughs]

Patrick: If I fall asleep at the wheel—I’ve done it before—I did it twice, so I’ve… third time’s the charm.

JP: Don’t fall asleep.

Patrick: No, right.

JP: No, let me rephrase that, stay awake.

Patrick: Umm, yep

JP: And I’ll inject a penny into the [negativity] jar. [laughs] I don’t know when I started thinking about…

Patrick: Not using negatives?

JP: … trying to … You know I, there was, there was something or some… I don’t think it’s been that many years but I must have read something or considered something, I don’t know how it was, but maybe I was just thinking about verbs and I have been very negative about a lot of things and I need to stop that.

Patrick: But you don’t need to eh cram it down other peoples’ …

JP: Noooo, I know.

Patrick: I think it kind of becomes a little bit of a headache.

JP: It is, it is.

Patrick: I do the same, And Stephanie used to do it, but very gently. There’s a way of doing it…

JP: I’ve tried to start adopting a more positive outlook. I know I do it a lot with Christine and I think it’s partly because I have … for as long as we’ve know each other we’ve enjoyed each other’s company but it has always struck me as so… I guess I just wanted to share with my feeling that we need to make more positive things, just subconsciously.

Patrick: Yep.

JP: Maybe it’s something I picked up from Toastmasters too, I don’t know.

Patrick: Yeah, could be. But anyway, if you’re saying “Make it positive,” this is already a negative statement for Christine… what you’re doing is not fair… So, be careful.

JP: That’s true

Patrick: Yeah, anyway, it’s not my business, as I say. Did I tell you “It’s not myyyyyy business?” [laughter]

Patrick: I always say to my friends in Spain, Olvidé mi cremallera, “I forgot my zipper!”


Patrick: So, whenever you have the feeling of saying “I know more than you do by eh because you just said something you shouldn’t have said,” I always say “don’t.” It doesn’t contribute, but never mind, it’s not my business. [laughs] It is not my business. How do you say that positively? … “It’s only your business.”

JP: Yeah, that it. That’s right, this is your business. [laughs]

Patrick: This is your business [laughs].

Patrick: It’s been a good life.

A Dos Dedos Frente Ti

De Ivonne: Aqui te envio mi escrito para publicarlo si quieresen la web, junto con la foto de Deia. Un beso y cuidado en las carreras.
From JP, to those who don’t speak Spanish: use the Google Translate feature, located above the search bar on the right.
Deia – foto par Ivonne

A dos dedos frente a ti
cada mañana tu brisa llega a mi
a dos dedos frente a ti
tus palabras a mi oido hablan sin fin
de nosotros, de ti y de mi
a dos dedos frente a ti
tu descanso me turba a mi
de volver a aquel abrazo
que sin saberlo, era el fin

A dos dedos frente a mi
mi esperanza sigue en ti
de todo lo que sembraste
para volar sin ti

A dos dedos frente a mi
mi amor vuela junto a ti