Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #191 – “Remember When 2009 was New?”

THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

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by Larry Brody

Traditionally, New Year’s is a time when pundits look back at how the Old Year shaped up and, simultaneously, crystal-gaze forward, anticipating what’s to come.

For years I’ve resisted the temptation to join in. What’s done is done, and what’s going to come is going to come, whether we predict it correctly or not.

This year, Good Ole Larry B feels like putting in his two cents worth. But, being slightly askew, I’m going to resist fortune-telling and confine my observations to the past.

Truth to tell, as my old writer friend from Missouri, Roy Thomas, always says, today’s observations are about a specific past event. And another old friend and writer, this one from Arkansas.

I’m talking about journalist, poet, and screenwriter Si Dunn.

As a result of his literary achievements, Si literally is an Arkansas State Treasure. He’s on the books as such. Has an official certificate and everything.

He’s also on my books as One of the Bravest Men I Know, and 2008 was the year he proved it.

By getting himself a whole new life.

At the age of 64.

It started with marriage, just a couple of months ago, in Denton, Texas, when he tied the knot with his radiant bride, Carmen the College Professor, before almost a hundred well-wishers.

Most of those in attendance just went with it, but I was filled with admiration. As I watched Si and Carmen exchange vows, all I could think of was the confidence it took to take such a big step at a time many people regard as the last phase of life.

There they were, not merely turning a new page but starting a whole new book. The Adventures of Si and Carmen. At a time when most people are tidying up to write, “The End.”

Si of course waved my admiration aside. “Marrying someone you love is no biggie,” he said. “Especially when it makes life so much easier for the grandchildren. Now when they ask, ‘Who’s that old boy at Grandma’s computer?’ Carmen can say, “He’s your grandfather,’ instead of, ‘Oh, that’s just the I.T. Guy.'”

Methinks Si was just being modest, but but I’ll give it to him because getting married isn’t what earns him my “One of the Bravest Men I Know” Award for 2008.

What earns him that accolade is what he did next.

Si and Carmen bought a new house. In a new place. So they could start that new book of life in a challenging new setting and take it in a direction where neither previously had been.

A new setting that—I admit it!—scares me half to death.

They bought themselves a beautiful spread in the sprawling city of Austin, TX, the third-fastest growing city in the United States, with a metropolitan area population of just about one million men and women, boys and girls, health food fanatics, rock, blues, and country singers, hard scrabble farmers, and big time technology workers.

A city where the new meets the old and both come out swinging, challenging each other to adapt, adopt, and take plenty of allergy meds ‘cuz, man, that pollen is fierce.

Where Whole Foods and Dell Computers rassle for the souls of hippies, cowboys, and 21st Century foxes.

How much does Austin scare Ole Larry B?

Put it this way: Not long ago, Gwen the Beautiful and I drove down Austin way to visit friends. When we got within twenty minutes of the city, Sunday traffic was so dense it terrified this ex-Los Angeleno. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles wove in and out of their lanes at high speed, and I was absolutely sure any moment could be my last.

I was so sure of it that for the first time in my life I pulled off a freeway before I got where I was going. Stopped for the rest of the day and night. Gwen and I checked into a hotel and took a time-out while I psyched up to move on into the labyrinth.

That’s right. I was so nervous I actually paid for a room instead of continuing to the friend who was putting us up for free.

And for that reason, I salute Si, and Carmen too. For moving forward into 2009 and beyond, and determination and strength.

Here’s hoping the rest of us also will find what it takes to seize our futures every bit as bravely and truly.

Happy New Year!

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.

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