What I Want to Share with my Daughter

Writing on this website is an activity that serves several purposes. When you write, you should have an audience in mind. But with this website, I find myself having many different audiences. It’s like the Louisville Palace here in Louisville where I’m trapped living. A different act each time, and everything from classical to bluegrass to jazz to heavy metal to….you just never know.

As a writer, that’s fun. As someone who tries to build an audience and owns a website, it’s murder. But I’m not trying to generate a huge following to satiate my ego. I’m writing to my daughter, Cecelia.

The lessons I write here and nostalgia and writing that only gives a sense of my personality, lack of wit and wry sense of humor, and words of wisdom that I would want to share with her through her life at many stages.

Something I worry about, probably because of my own mother’s premature demise from Leukemia, is croaking before I can say and do everything I want with my daughter. She means everything to me. I’ve had the fortune to do and experience some truly incredible things and places on this Earth. And I want to share the jewels I’ve found during my lifetime with her. Sadly, that was a goal I had with my daughter’s mother, but she decided Disney World with a retard from New Jersey was better. Her usual poor life decision.

And a fear I have is that I perish tomorrow and she never gets her hands on these words I’ve carefully banged out for her to live by. I’ll try to address that some other way. But that makes what I want to share with her that much more urgent. Tomorrow isn’t promised. I’m learning that as more of my friends leave this mortal coil and I tear months from the calendar off ever faster and more furiously.

She’s upstairs in my luxuriously gigantic, soft, and appointed bed right now asleep while I slip down to my office each night to write, pay bills, look for better jobs, and focus on the future. I grapple with whether I should go up and snuggle up with her while I still can, which is a temporary event in our lives, I realize. Marveling at her while she sleeps is something I cherish and an activity that only the most sentimental and sappiest of daddies must do. Which is what I’ve become. And it makes me happy, and Cecelia happy, which makes me happier.

And as I lie there looking at what seems a looking glass into the way past sometimes as she resembles me so much as a child, I think about what I want to share with her and for her to experience with me. I long to see the wide-eyed excitement and open-mouthed astonishment of the things I’ve dome and seen that I know she would love. And even apart from travels and adventure and nature and this planet and sky we are a part of, I want to share so much more with her. Her being a literal part of me.

I want to share my love of music. As I’ve aged and been able to get my hands on audiophile-grade equipment, something I’ve found I seriously enjoy is listening to music. And I mean REALLY listening to music. Like this guy does. He’s the type of rabbit hole that I love stumbling upon on the internet.


I can play guitar, so I want to teach her that skill, and art and pastime. She’s interested. I own guitars. She’s interested in my banjo as well, which gives me great hope. I know guitar pretty well, and I want her to know it better than I do, which shouldn’t take her long. She’s also interested in art and sports and, lo and behold, I took years and years of art lessons and have played nearly every sport under the Sun, and have had private lessons for those as well. Golf and tennis for sure. Luckily for her, she inherited my physical necessities for such pursuits. That well is empty on the matriarchal side of her family. You’ll only find cigarette butts and McDonald’s wrappers if you go tapping.


Probably the biggest lament I have is that she’s here in Louisville, and not in South Carolina where I’m from. That’s because I grew up in the outdoors, which SC offers in spades. It’s an awesome state with the best people.  It’s small, so it’s sort of hidden from a lot of people’s radar. They always call it North Carolina. It annoyed me growing up because I wanted my state to get the respect it’s due.  Now I’m OK with people overlooking it because it is a gem that hasn’t (yet) been soiled by Californians, New Yorkers, Texans, Floridians, Hoosiers, and the rest of the world that would upturn the place.

I want to teach Cecelia how to surf. And catch seafood. And drive a boat. And know how to shuck an oyster and throw a cast net. But she’s here in Louisville, where the big deal is……..Bourbon? Basketball? Horse racing? No, no, and no.

The spirits that are manufactured in this state are its problem. Alcohol causes problems everywhere it goes. It’s mind-boggling that alcohol is legal and so cherished when it causes so many problems. From simple relationship issues to countrywide mega financial wars. The families that get money from long-held and highly marketed spirits, which I consider poison, are not going down without a fight. The family that owns Pappy Van Winkle sends their best to the same boarding school I went to. But addiction doesn’t discriminate.

One thing I wish I COULDN’T share with my daughter is the unfortunate disposition that runs through my and my daughter’s mothers’ family, which is addiction. Both sides for her. Many people and families grapple with the addiction monster. They typically bury it and hide it and although everyone knows, it’s “hush-hush.” I take a totally different approach. And it works.

I can already see some of the thrill-seeking, environment-changing, risky behavior in my daughter that belies addiction. I’m watching her closely. She loves discordant sensations and is interested in drama, and I’m checking off all the boxes. I’m going to approach that topic with her unlike my family did, and most people do.

So, jump cut back to what I plan to share with Cecelia. The Caribbean, New Zealand, Italy. I’ve been to some seriously amazing places in all three and I would love to return with spawn. I want to show her the black mountains of New Hampshire in the Fall when the leaves are unbelievable. The air and water there are fresh and invigorating. I can totally see why my grandfather chose to drag me up there every summer. I want to show her where I camped at Camp Belknap, where my name, family name, is on a popsicle stick nailed to the inside of the great lodge. Barry Musgrove.

I want to share the pastoral fields of Virginia where I went to boarding school. In the Spring and Fall, Virginia is magical.

I want to show her the west coast, with its mega-flora up north and the rocks along the beach and the cliffs and lighthouses. And drive down to Big Sur, Monterrey, Pebble Beach, and drive over canyons and through tunnels with the Pacific ocean dutifully crashing before us in perpetuity. With the sea lions barking at every pier and rock. She’d love it.

In addition to our travels and athletics and arts, I also plan to teach her how to cook. Which she’s game for. Every now and then I’ll get a glimpse of her and she’ll look like my grandmother Virginia Musgrove. (Maybe that’s another reason I love Virginia. They say Virginia is for lovers.) This was the grandmother everyone loved, for good reason. She hunted, fished, ate what she killed, and could cook like James Beard. I’ve been cooking with a serious scientific soup spoon since my twenties. And I’ve figured it out. I could make a dead rat taste delicious. And I want to teach Cecelia how to properly debone a dead rat and prepare it to feed four.

And that’s just the beginning. It fills me with a heavy sense of urgency. As earlier stated, tomorrow isn’t promised, and I’m no longer a spring chicken.





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