I'm fifty-two years old.
I have had four back surgeries, have the metal rods and screws along my spine to prove it, and now have chronic back and leg pain to the point that I have a morphine pain pump in my side with a catheter that runs around my side to my spine.
At the end of the catheter is a needle that is stitched in place where the tip is inside the intrathecal space (where the spinal cord and spinal fluid are).
I get a few milligrams of morphine every twenty-four hours to keep me from going insane, or simply curling up in bed and giving up on life.
I hurt anyway, but most times, I can have a life. Not anything like before my injuries, but still, I'm happy to be here.
And this, from a guy who once took pride in how much physical pain I could take. I could shake off things that would make many crumble. That was some misplaced pride, let me tell you.
I don't say all of this for sympathy, I am constantly aware of people around me and in the world who have it so much worse than I do. I thank God for my many blessings every day. I AM blessed.
But dealing with all the pain changes a person's thoughts, personality, and desires; no helping it, it just does.
On to NFL football...
When young, I loved watching Pro football. I still love college football, I watch it a lot every fall, but I have totally lost my love for Pro Football.
I guess the eternal cycling of young men through college football keeps it fresh and exciting to my mind. Pro football, not so much. Not at all is more accurate.
Now if the New Orleans Saints had been in the Superbowl again, I would have definitely watched. I'm a Louisiana boy who grew up in the era of Saints fans wearing paper sacks over their heads to hide in shame over our team's pitiful performances on the field. The Saints back in the Superbowl, I would definitely watch. For whatever reason as a kid, I loved the Minnesota Vikings, Fran Tarkenton was a childhood hero for me on and off the field, a real can-do guy. I loved the Houston Oilers, Earl Campbell is still my most favorite pro player of all time to have watched on the field. And of course, the Saints. The hapless but lovable Saints.
But with the Patriots playing the Seahawks in the 2015 Superbowl, I forget which dumb Roman numeral they are up to, well, that was just too big of a yawn to me to invest my time.
The weather here has been so beautiful this week, sunny with a few puffy, cotton boll clouds, and a light breeze in case you almost started sweating.
So, yesterday, my back is only hurting normally, so I can steel my mind and try to do stuff anyway, AND I had a great desire to get out and take some photos with my camera. I also needed to go to the grocery store for a few items, those in-between major grocery shopping trips items. I just wanted to stop at a a couple of local parks or something along the way to scratch this terrible itch to photograph something. I wasn't expecting anything new, this is old, well-documented ground for me and my camera.
As often happens, I headed toward the beach, but started seeing interesting things in the golden evening light along the way, so I never made it to the beach.
Yesterday I learned that revisiting places I have photographed many times can still throw a few surprises, and therefore great new photo opportunities, at me.
This blog post is sprinkled with some of the photos I took while the rest of the world gorged on beer, pizza, chips, and Superbowl football.
Then, as a bonus, Walmart was as close to empty as I had ever seen it in many years, so shopping was fairly easy for me, no crowds or lines at the registers when checking out.
All in all it was a much better time for me than watching that game could ever have been, well, unless the Saints had been in there.
But probably even better than that scenario as well.
These were the only Saints I was able to see yesterday...