My Home Town: Gerald Swindle

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

“No, I cannot forget from where it is that I come from…”

You need to know this about me.

I was pretty damn disgusted,

with you.

With America.

With society,

and the lie we call,

civilization.

As a news reporter for three decades, I knew, for a fact, we were anything,

but civil.

I made a very darn good living on the UNCIVIL things we did to each other.

And after 30 years of that, you disgusted me.

I didn’t like you.

I didn’t believe you.

I wanted nothing to do with you.

Even though I continued to tell the story of society,

in my mind, I had dropped out,

of it.

Welcome to the monkey house, I was safe from the monkey poop thrown at me because I had, in my mind, put up thick glass windows between me and all the bad stories thrown my way.

But I had checked out,

of,

America.

And with every story about the hatred, the badness, the meanness, the lying, cheating, worthless scum I had to deal with, I was also trying to check out,

of,

Me.

Pain meds, Margaritas, a lack of concern or even caring for my own health, in the mirror my blue eyes were turning gray, the soul of the hippie journalist,

stomped,

out.

I was in the shadow of a Golden Parachute, about to get a “thanks man for all your work, see ya.”

Leave the parking lot with a fat 401K, stock, 2 weeks pay for every year of hell, $3 prescription medical coverage to help dull the suburbs.

See…

…ya.

Your choice employee #167409.

Sign here, take this hat and tee-shirt as our gift and…

…see

…ya.

Or, you could sign this contract, sign something that had BASS LLC on it,

go write about people who catch fish,

delay the parachute opening.

In truth, when I picked up the pen from the glass covered desk, I was going to sign for the $3 Prescription plan but at the last moment I went with,

the people who catch fish.

I now know, my hand was guided by the hand,

of the universe.

The hand that created us, wanted to show me, the real you.

Not the freaks and morons I spent 30 years chasing around this planet.

And show me it did.

In 6 years I have travelled, 147,345 miles.

That’s 5.9 times around the circumference of this planet, but I never left America.

Been, now, to 25 states, big cities, little cities, towns and villages.

Been now, in big homes, little homes, cabins, single/double wides, 5th wheels, homes behind gates, homes behind trees, homes in hollows, homes on hills.

Homes on lakes, homes on the plains, bass boats, airboats, cabin cruisers and paddlewheels.

Have had Cordon Bleu, and quite possibly, squirrel.  Sweet tea and ‘shine.

Fat people, skinny people, people in camo, people in skin of all shades.

I have met dozens and dozens of you, maybe hundreds, maybe more.

We’ve taken pictures together, you have handed me hats to sign and donuts to eat.  I have patted the heads of your toddlers, and kissed the cheeks of your babies.

And you have talked, and I have listened.

And you have taught, and I have learned.

“…I cannot forget the people who love me…”

Learned, through you, through your stories a very simple, enlightening, life changing, for me, fact: 

WE ARE ALL MORE ALIKE, THAN WE ARE DIFFERENT.

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