Monday, July 26, 2010

Scythe Summer

“My inclinations pose no further pursuit beyond the facts that have made themselves evident in my standings. While one might suggest a further insight into events ensued, know that I need no approbation from you, Mr. Evans.” With that last part the sheriff shot Evans a square look.

“You see that?” I whispered. “He told him.”

“What?” Jacob Barnes came back rather louder than I would have liked and I hushed him. “Well, what’d he tell him?”

Truth was I didn’t rightly understand a single word the sheriff had said. “I reckon he told him he can go to hell.” I said nodding with my eyes exclaiming that matter-of-fact look. As much, I had deduced from the sheriff’s piercing eye, and I was sure to relate it to young Jakey with a superior air of knowledge and wisdom, as I was 12 and he was merely 9, turning 10 that summer, the summer it all happened. The summer the church was burned to the ground, Pap beat my mama for the last time, I tasted my first strawberry soda pop, Dorothy Pengleton kissed me, and I killed a man.

Course I didn’t know all this was gonna happen at the time, right then when me and Jakey were playin hooky and hidin behind the water barrels outside the sheriff’s office. I didn’t know, of course, save for the part that had already happened, that is, Pap beatin Mama for the last time, which had just come to pass three nights before. Apparently, after he had concluded an entire bottle of the whiskey, he thought it prudent to find himself knee-deep in the waters of Ebb’s Bend, frog-giggin with a scythe. How it happened, I ain’t rightly sure. Maybe he slipped, tripped on a rock, maybe he just passed out right there in the creek, but he dang near scythed his head clean off. Evans found him that morning and word spread quick as wildfire and me and Jakey came to see the discourse between the sheriff and Evans. Evans hated me, as he was good buddies with Pap, drinking and gambling were how they spent their time, and he had, in fact, heard me threaten to kill Pap many times, which concluded his visit with the sheriff. To proclaim loudly it could be no accident so long as breath was in my lungs. As he put it, after all, who went frog-gigging with a scythe? Under normal circumstances, I could understand completely, but my pap, after all, was not the sharpest scythe in the shed, and a drunk to boot.

Evans’ lip curved upward in a snarl. Brown, tobacco-drenched saliva gathered at the corner of his mouth. He turned and left without a word.

I reckon Sheriff knew we were there the whole time, as he strided in a sure manner over to the open window, popped out and gave me a little smack on the head. “So you’ve heard eh?” He must’ve hoped I’d had heard in a correct manner, and from one of considerable status making a clean delivery, rather than one of the local drunk hoopleheads. I lowered my eyes as if it were a difficult thing to bear. “Yea.” I muttered looking for some pity. “I know he wasn’t the greatest father,” Sheriff said, “But kin is kin. Here, take this dime and run on over to the mercantile and get you and little Jakey a soda-pop.”

I wasn’t sure what made me happier, the right depressing departure of the worst father this side of the mason-dixon line, or my first soda pop! Pap always made sure I had none of that, and given the circumstances I’d say it was a perfect mixture of both marking the beginning of a long, long summer.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Destiny. Such a jerk. At times I have felt like she was so close I could feel her breath on my cheek, other times, taking holiday in some starry, unattainable galaxy. Most of the time, the latter.

But I guess ultimately there will be no red carpets rolled out and no lines will part and wait patiently for me to take my place. If I desire to be a seasoned songwriter but I write once a year "when the inspiration hits" will I actually write very many songs? PhotobucketIf someone wanted to be an incredible photographer but they made no effort to study the masters, read books, or go out and take photos every day, would they take many incredible photographs?

The truth is that this stuff, while I can preach about it all day long, is not actually easy for me. Sometimes my dreams feel so big I get overwhelmed and feel helpless and I go back to thinking that destiny is something I may never know. But the Lord knows the desires of our hearts. And just because he may have a killer destiny for us does not mean it will fall into our laps. You may feel as though you are destined for something great, and I would bet you are. But you still have to make the choices to get there and you can. Maybe destiny is not such a jerk and maybe she is not trying to hide at all. In fact, I daresay she wants to be found and I think the destination is actually a product of the journey.

Destiny by Glen Yoder

***this is just a rough demo that i did in my bedroom with my computer. it is by no means a finished product or a studio effort so don't judge!


and one night alone

sprawled on the

cold floor i wept

wringing my heart in my hands

then i heard a knock

on the door

destiny came a calling

just walked right in

and i looked in her eyes

i said tell me

on your distant shore

you've got room for one more

she said when your skeletons

peek around and grin

knock their teeth in

when i feel the waters turn

its alright

bring on your heavy seas

your darkest nights

no matter what the waves come

so just beat on

and to the fire by the hearth

i led her

hand in hand on the floor

we just sat for awhile

and she said with laugh

i saw you born

these so-called distant shores

are sitting at your door

so when my skeletons

peek around and grin

i'm gonna cock my fist back

and knock their teeth in

when i feel the waters turn

its alright

bring on your heavy seas

your darkest nights

no matter what the waves come

so just beat on

this gypsy queen of the shore

she calls out

with a head full of night

like a lighthouse

and hands of light through the storm


across the waves

that roll in files

just wait love

wait for me

Friday, July 9, 2010


This last year held a few things of great import; I released an EP, I played some shows and got some radio play, and I finished my first year of teaching high school in Somerset, KY. I can't help but think of how often I saw the 15/16-year-old version of myself in those kids, among other things. An acceptance of the mundane marked a vast majority of the younger generation, and any time I would try to speak life or a destiny of greatness into them, it almost seemed as if I was speaking a different language. I did not, however, blame them in the least. I grew up in a similar mindset, a belief that when it came to gifting you either had it or you didn't. If there is one thing I hope I distilled in my kids its this: that if you believe something is possible, it probably is. And if you believe something is impossible, it almost definitely will be. The combination of belief and hard work can yield unbelievable results.

I think of how specific paths can be, each one, while seeming small can lead here, then there, and though appearing random they end up taking you through as specific a trail and line of events as the ones we read of in our history books. Landing my first teaching job proved to be an incredible task. I can't even tell you how much public education is just a good-ole-boy system, and since I didn't know anyone or have any real contacts no one was giving me the time of day - not even an interview, (so much so, that once I found a posting for a school actually needing someone capable AND Kentucky-certified to teach both English and Spanish classes.) How many of these people there are in Bumbkinsville-Spencer-County I'm not sure, but I'm going to guess few to none. However, I didn't even get a call-back. (I'm sure Aunt Debbie's uncle's sister's nephew got a favor called in and was soon emergency-certified and got the job instead.) All this to say, if other things had worked out then I know Somerset would not have, and I'm glad it did.

After teaching for maybe two months and having already made about six students cry (after that I soon lost track) I wasn't sure if I was in the right profession. But as year trekked on and I began finding my mold, it was amazing to see some of the things I was capable of. While I learned that no matter what you can't win them all, you most certainly can win some if you try hard enough. There were some students that absolutely hated me (as in they probably wished I would die in a car wreck or a stampede) but by the end, some of these same students completely loved me. Of course, there were some students I would never win, but it made the chances to speak light into darkness that much greater during my opportunity to do so. And it was I'm sure, in some capacity or another, the wonder of these victories that could inspire some of the music I created in the last year. For during this time, I wrote such songs as Greenland, Daughter of Zion, I Am Kentucky, Destiny, and I also re-worked Goodnight, Goodnight. Three of these songs ended up on my EP, and the other two will undoubtedly be used in other projects.

I was offered a job in Campbellsville, which I accepted gladly, but it was a bittersweet parting. Sometimes my students would ask me about the marriage of music and teaching, how that will work if something happens with my music, to which I have never had the answer. But I'll keep moving forward with both writing songs and speaking into the lives of high schoolers, hoping each year will bring forth more than the previous. More creative, spiritual, and relational victories.