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Bunge

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 06/30/2023

Warriors show art Warriors

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Warriors need to be praised. ----- Young men have always been warriors. They’d go fight the battles while the elders sat around the campfire. The elders decided if fighting was the right thing and when and how to do it. The warriors executed the plan. When they returned, they were glorified for their success, or they were coddled in their loss. Either way, they were praised for their efforts. Most old men don’t seek glory like young men do. Something happens after about forty years old, where glory no longer drives behavior. Old men prefer instruction and guidance. Not glory. Learning from...

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Gettin' Through it Together show art Gettin' Through it Together

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

It's been a tough few weeks. This commentary offers no specifics, but I've learned some things. ----- Many years ago, my neighbor in Charlotte, North Carolina knocked on my door one weekday afternoon. His wife had just told him she’s leaving. She climbed her car and drove away. He was dumbstruck and he needed to talk. My wife and I had just moved in. I hardly knew him. I didn’t know what to say or what to do. I froze. To my everlasting shame, I rushed our conversation so he’d stop making ME feel uncomfortable. I realized years later he was crying out for help and I failed him. I know...

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North show art North

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

My wife and I were headed to a cocktail reception where we knew no one. "This is an opportunity," I said. ----- My wife and I were driving to a short cocktail reception full of people we’d never met. Most of them knew one another. Us? Not a soul. This is an opportunity, I said. Let’s run with it. I proposed that she and I create a story for ourselves. Pick a personality and a background and a job. We’ll create something bordering on sensational and come up with a few very specific details that will make whomever we talk to truly wonder. About us. About whether we’re telling the truth....

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Burning Our Brains show art Burning Our Brains

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

The heat's cooked our brains.  ------ The heat’s taken its toll. It’s been unrelenting. Brutal. The greenery looks weary. The grass dries and turns brown within hours of any moisture. My car thermometer regularly reads around 110 and I saw online that it feels much hotter. We need a break. We need relief. My dog looks at me and says “No way I’m walking on that street. That street will burn my feet right off” and she’s right. It's affecting us mentally. We’re budding on crazy. It’s cooked our brains. Recent headlines are all you need to see. A lady in Birmingham faked her...

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Crossing show art Crossing

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Last week I danced in front of a train to try to get it to move. ----- Trains have always held great symbolic meaning. They represent the future, a new destination, an opportunity. In movies, the characters board trains in the hopes of greater things down the tracks. Lovers tearfully depart at train stations. Though tragic it’s what’s best for each of them. Bandits of the wild west knew there was a strong box on a train full of money. Convicts break out of jail and if they can make it to the train it will take them away from the misery of prison. Songs, too. The Midnight Special. Midnight...

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Caricature show art Caricature

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

This week I take an imaginary walk through Jackson Square in New Orleans and ask a caricature artist to draw me something...different.  ----- There are sections of our society that have become parodies of themselves. Once proud, they’re now laughable forms of their former self. Imagine this: You’re walking through the New Orleans French Quarter. You stop at one of the caricature artists on Jackson Square. You say, “Hey Mr Caricature artist. I don’t want a picture of me. I want you to draw a picture of, let’s say, today’s country music.” That caricature artist would draw...

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Thirty Years show art Thirty Years

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

After thirty years of the same family tradition - I give some thought to the future. ----- For the thirtieth year in a row my SUV left my garage headed for the North Carolina Coast the second to last Saturday in July. If we weren’t in it, it would go by itself. It’s what we do. It’s what the car does. And it was packed tight with everything from fishing gear, to bed sheets, to food, to 150 oysters in the shell on ice, two cakes from Bake My Day, and a case of get-along juice, also known as wine. My in-laws have rented a house on Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina every summer and we are...

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Bunge show art Bunge

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

She hopped to the edge of the platform, raised her arms, and jumped. ----- The video opened on my phone and my daughter was leaping off a bridge and falling out of the frame. It took my breath away. I watched it again and texted her. “Since you sent this to me,” I said, “I assume you survived the fall?” “Yea,” she texted back. “It was awesome.” She’s in South Africa as I write this. She’s spent the month there with a student group called Lead Abroad. It’s a one-month trip where she and about thirty others study leadership and communication skills while experiencing the...

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Coffee with Milo show art Coffee with Milo

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

A cup of coffee with a friend and a few strangers was a wonderful start to a great day not long ago. ----- I’d like to say Hello to Randy Fowler. On Friday mornings he’s in his car on his way to the Restaurant Five in downtown Tuscaloosa with his dog Milo. He’s a regular listener to these commentaries and he reached out to me a few years ago when he liked one to offer a compliment. Turns out Randy’s daughter, Julie Otts, lives a few doors down from me here in Mobile. It’s a small world. Randy and I have visited a few times when he’s in town to visit his daughter, son-in-law, and...

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Tinkle Bell show art Tinkle Bell

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

I have an idea for a business. Make up words customers can't understand then upcharge 75%. ----- I think our dog is constipated. She rung her tinkle bell early early in the morning to go outside and she just roamed around the yard in a hurry with her nose down. I have no idea if this is what a constipated dog looks like. I’m assuming that’s her issue. She appears to want to do something but…can’t. The tinkle bell hangs next to the back door. The dog rings it with her nose when she needs to go out. In the wee hours my wife or I stand bleary-eyed in the door waiting for her to do her...

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She hopped to the edge of the platform, raised her arms, and jumped.

-----

The video opened on my phone and my daughter was leaping off a bridge and falling out of the frame. It took my breath away. I watched it again and texted her. “Since you sent this to me,” I said, “I assume you survived the fall?”

“Yea,” she texted back. “It was awesome.”

She’s in South Africa as I write this. She’s spent the month there with a student group called Lead Abroad. It’s a one-month trip where she and about thirty others study leadership and communication skills while experiencing the adventures that the host nation has to offer. The day she sent the video they were bungy jumping off Bloukrans Bridge. I watched as she walked to the edge of the platform, raised her hands over her head, bent at the knees and leapt forward, falling into the abyss. It was hard to watch but I was so proud of her.

I had no idea how much I’d enjoy her being on this trip and it’s mainly because she’s eating up every opportunity that’s come her way. There is nothing she’s not tried with a wide-open spirit, no question she’s not asked, not experience she’s passed up from the food, to the native face painting, to the safaris, to the paragliding, to the shark diving, to the bungy jumping, she’s done it all. Each of her messages home are full of energy.

I’m proud of her. She’s worked hard for the trip. She’s saved money for a few years to afford it. Her summer jobs gave her a little spending cash but most of her earnings went into savings. She does small decorative signs for friends at college for a little pay and saves some of that, too. My wife and I and her grandparents have her helped a small bit, but this is largely her doing. She’s experienced the satisfaction of hard work, disciplined savings, patience, and the fulfillment of it all paying off – a lesson I didn’t learn till much older.

There’s still another part to my pride. It’s watching a child take risks, meet new people, try new things well outside her comfort zone, and thrive through it all. Right now, my wife and I have a child who has confidence in herself, confidence in her social skills, confidence in her risk taking and all that. And that’s no small thing with young adults today. This experience will become the ground for more experiences like it; for her not being afraid to get outside her comfort zone. From what I see and hear right now, she’s truly living life. It’s a delight to see.

Parenting continues to surprise me. Things that my children do that I thought would have no impact on me end up taking my breath away. Other things that I thought would be momentous become unremarkable. I need to stop making predictions about what I’ll do and how I’ll feel when certain moments arrive and just experience them in their fullness.

Which is exactly what my daughter is doing right now on her hard-earned trip to South Africa.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.