loader from loading.io

Being Gone

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 10/27/2023

April's Fool show art April's Fool

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston hypothesizes on what a parenting podcast from him and his wife would sound like. ----- My wife and I sat together at the beach last week laughing as we retold stories and reminded ourselves of the humor of parenting. Especially as Gen X parents. We decided to compose a social media post together. The date was April first, and that date matters. The post read the following: We are frequently asked how we’ve raised four perfect children. Here’s our response: We are excited to announce our new Parenting Podcast called Gen X Parenting Tools. Go check...

info_outline
Workplace Veterans show art Workplace Veterans

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston has some observations about the NCAA tournament. The old guys are winning, and he likes that. ----- Someone in my family is not pleased right now. As I write this Wednesday, I don’t know who. Last night the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team took on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA tournament. My wife is a Carolina grad. I was unaware people could like basketball that much until I met her. My son is a Freshman at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He was an avid sports fan moments after his birth. One of them lost last night and is...

info_outline
Need A Message show art Need A Message

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam is searching for a message and if he hears one, he WILL obey. ----- I think there is someone or something out there trying to send me a message. A few things have happened lately that seem, well, like there is a message coming or attached but I don’t know what it is. First, storms rolled through a few months ago knocking out the power. Fortunately our house has a generator attached and it kept a few rooms running for a little while. My friends began texting about their power being out. I proudly texted a photo of my comfortable and well-lit kitchen that...

info_outline
Tell Them Both I Said Hello show art Tell Them Both I Said Hello

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

There's a grocery store Cam goes to when he's in a hurry. It's NOT the one closest to his house. That one is full of memories. Full of roots. ----- I saw him see me. He turned and headed my way. “Cam,” he said. “How’s you mother?” “Well,” I said. “She passed away two years ago.” I saw you at her funeral, I wanted to say. I remember talking to you. “Oh. Yes. That’s right. I’m sorry. Well then, how’s your father?” “Dad’s wonderful. He plays pickleball five, sometimes six days a week. Sometimes twice a day. He’s eighty-seven but I don’t think he knows it....

info_outline
Parent's Weekend show art Parent's Weekend

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On today's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares something he saw last weekend that made him feel a little bit better about things. ----- I'm in Starbucks. It's Saturday. It's Noon. I'm in Tuscaloosa at the corner of Bryant Drive and 8th Avenue. Sororities across the street disgorging young ladies for their morning cups of honey-dew latté with extra chai, extra vanilla essence and a dash of bumble bee eyelashes or something like that. Yoga pants as far as the eye can see. One girl wearing a T-shirt reading Don’t Date Frat Boys. Parents here for fraternity and sorority parent’s weekend. Dads wearing...

info_outline
Forgiveness show art Forgiveness

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares a story he's kept quiet for fourteen years. It's time to get it off his chest. ----- I’ve just boarded my flight. I’m headed home. Sitting here, a memory has resurfaced. Many years ago, deplaning in Chicago, I took a call from a young man. He’d studied my work and asked me to mentor him. He wanted to travel and give speeches. He wanted me to refer him when I was too busy, and he’d pay me a commission. He loved my topic and said he could represent me well. I was deeply flattered. He charmed me. A few months later, we sat at my dining room table...

info_outline
Squeezed show art Squeezed

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Cam's phone has been ringing. It's a lot of his small business friends and they're experiencing similar things. They're feeling pressure. They're feeling squeezed. ----- When an orange is squeezed, orange juice comes out. We know this. We know that sun and good soil and water and maybe some fertilizer help that orange develop that juice. We know the ingredients, we somewhat control the ingredients, and we know the goodness that comes from a squeezed orange. What happens, though, when you and I are squeezed? What happens when life puts pressure on you and me? What ingredients are we drawing on...

info_outline
Lent show art Lent

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Mardi Gras ended Tuesday for Cam. Immediately following Mardi Gras is the beginning of Lent and Cam struggles with what sacrifices he should make. ----- Lent. I struggle with Lent every year. How much suffering is enough to prepare my soul for the Easter arrival of the Lord? Is there enough? Who knows. There’s always someone suffering more; someone taking it to the next level. As a child it was ice cream. I gave up ice cream every year and dutifully reported it to my religion teacher as the assignment instructed. I love ice cream, vanilla especially. In fact, I’ve created an association...

info_outline
Dry January show art Dry January

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' it Real, Cam Marston has thoughts about this upcoming weekend. Mardi Gras is on us down here in Mobile, and that leads to some tough decisions. ----- Dry January ended last week. Dry January followed soaking wet, sodden to the bone December. I’ve never done Dry January before and after sodden December, I needed to give it a try. Aside from one small drink to celebrate my daughter’s twenty-first birthday, I drank no alcohol for thirty-one days. I’m not sure I’ve done that since I was a teen. The net result? I lost nine pounds. I slept very well every night for a...

info_outline
God Stop show art God Stop

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

What do you call it when your certain plans are suddenly upended? They're changed with no warning? You call it a God-stop. On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares his experiences with them.  ----- A friend told me a story about how he had applied for a job a long way from home. His potential new employer had said they were going to make a very attractive offer. My friend and his wife began discussing selling their home and moving their kids to a new school. It was certain to happen and then…it didn’t. The job offer never came. His calls to the new employer to get an answer or a...

info_outline
 
More Episodes

The six weeks of travel is nearly over. Now I need to prepare for re-entry.

-----

Good morning from Phoenix. This is my final stop on my intense six weeks of business trips. By tomorrow afternoon I should be home and I will not only unpack, I will put my luggage away.

After years of mistakes, I’ve learned a bit about how to come off the road. For years I walked into my house with a chip on my shoulder and I’ve talked to other road warriors who experience the same. Our attitude is this – Whatever has happened at home while I’ve been gone is not nearly as difficult as what I’ve experienced on the road. I’ve suffered airports, hotels, and cabs. Late nights. Early mornings. The list is long. Travel is exhausting. It’s not glamorous. And my struggles should be acknowledged in some meaningful way when I return.

For example: Yesterday at the TSA checkpoint in Mobile, on my sixty-fifth flight of the year, the agent told me I set off an alarm. He opened all my luggage, he rifled through all my stuff, and I got a thorough and complete full body pat-down by a large, grumpy, and – based on the intimacy of the pat down – lonely TSA agent who might have once been a Catholic priest. It was a bad start to the week.

However, years ago upon returning home, my wife’s position was that whatever I was doing and wherever I was, it was not nearly as difficult as managing a house full of children alone. Sleeping in the airport was nothing compared to a house full of young kids. As soon as I stepped into the house I should apologize for being gone. She never actually said any of this. But it’s the way it felt to me.

I wanted recognition for my struggles which I felt were greater than hers. She wanted recognition for her struggles which she felt were greater than mine. And it sounded something like this: “I’ve been taking care of the kids nonstop for three days. Can you please bathe them tonight. I’m exhausted.” I wanted to say. “I’ve been standing in long lines at airports and crammed into airplane seats made for a person half my size for three days. I’ve been felt up and run down by TSA. I’m exhausted, too.”

Neither of us got what we wanted and my demand for recognition made re-entry into the home routines more difficult.

It’s much easier today. In fact, I stepped into the house a few weeks back with my suitcase and my son said, “You’ve been gone?” Yep. For three days. It stung a bit but it also confirmed he’s largely self-sufficient. It was a parenting win though it didn’t feel like it at the time.

There is a pace to my home when I’m gone and my job upon reentry is to fit into it. People, even family, quickly adjust when you’re not around. Stepping through the back door and expecting sympathy and recognition makes for a difficult reentry. Always and everywhere and all the time. And I remind myself of this each time I drive home from the airport.

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