Dear Ronnie · 24 November 2020
Ronald Lee Matsushima
(June 17, 1958 – November 14, 2020)
It is difficult to write about somebody who has just passed away. Difficult because we wonder why. We wonder at unfairness of it all. We wonder how we are going to get through it. And then even in the midst of all that wondering, we realize how blessed we were to have the person in our lives for even what seems the briefest of moments. Then it becomes clear what to write.
(I know you asked us cousins and other family members to call you Ron a long time ago, but try as we might, we all went back to calling you Ronnie. I was glad when I talked to you about it once, and you said it was okay. It was not that you just accepted it as a fact of life. It was more that you realized that Ronnie is not a kid name, it is your family’s love name for you. I was glad we had that short conversation because it was nearly impossible to call you Ron when we had loved you as Ronnie for so long.)
I do not know if you knew this, but you were one of my heroes growing up. I looked up to you for many reasons. I remember you joining in the huge games of pounce. I remember you playing horseshoes or Jarts. I remember playing catch with the football and even playing baseball in the field. I remember those family gatherings at the farm in the summer and on weekends like they were yesterday. And I remember you helping to make sure that us younger cousins were included too. I even remember you and Larry letting us keep a game of Monopoly going in your room over several weekends. All those seemingly little things made you special in my eyes and in my heart.
Another thing that you might not know is that I really wanted to play the drums when I first joined band because you played drums. I loved to go to the parade in Greeley on the Fourth of July to hear the Valley High Marching Band play. But when it came right down to it, I could listen to the ratta tat tat, boom, boom, boom, crash of the snare drums, triples, quads, bass drums, and cymbals as they played the cadence for all the bands. I loved to see all my cousins in the band, but seeing and hearing you in the drum section was a real treat.
I am sure that you must realize that my love of cars was mostly because of you and Larry. Of course, you two were the ones who taught me to drive the tractor. I always remember that you made it seem that I was driving even though you were the ones who jumped up and took control on the turns. You deftly stepped on the inner brake and got the tractor and wagon going down the proper row. Then I just sat there thinking it was me steering instead of the rows mostly keeping us going where we needed to go. But the biggest driving thrill I ever had was when you told me to take your Corvette for a spin. It was no big deal to you. It was just a car. But it was huge for me. Not only did I get to drive a Corvette, I got to drive my hero’s car.
You and Randy were the ones who enhanced my love of photography. I was amazed when the two of you got those fancy SLRs. You took pictures at every family gathering. Watching you two take pictures with those fancy lenses and flashes were enough to make me want to take amazing pictures when I was old enough to get a cool camera like you. I must add that you are definitely the reason I like taking candid shots of people. I remember you snapping pictures of people when they were unaware. “Ronnie!” was often shouted by the unsuspecting subject. Then, you laughed and snapped another picture of whoever’s disgusted face.
As we got older, I enjoyed watching you from afar. I saw your dedication to Karen, Kirstie, Stephi, and Drew. I loved getting those Christmas cards to see where you had traveled in chasing your kids around the country. Trips to faraway places to play volleyball and basketball and just to see family. It was always a thrill to see where you had been and to read about what you had done.
Of course, I know that family to you was always much more than your immediate family. Parents and siblings of course, but also aunts and uncles and cousins and even cousins’ cousins were part of your family. You treated everybody special. And you always made sure people were taken care of at family gatherings.
“Do you have enough?”
“We have more if you want some.”
“Let me know if you need something else. If we don’t have it, I can get some.”
I could probably write much more about you. After all, I did not even mention the fabulous Independence Day fireworks show you and Larry seemed to put on every year. Or the generosity you always showed to everybody. Or the quiet way you just took care of people. I know that all of the things I have written are ample reasons why you were one of my heroes even beyond my childhood. But they are just a tiny glimpse into who you were.
Thank you Ronnie for being such a gentle soul who touched my life. Thank you for being part of my family. Thank you for being one of my heroes in life. Thank you Ronnie for just being you and blessing all who knew you.
Ronald Lee Matsushima (June 17, 1958 – November 14, 2020)
© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi
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Watching Old Movies Again · 21 November 2020
I do not choose movies very well. In fact, we end up stopping some of the movies I select after just a few minutes or so. Which is why instead of taking many chances on new movies, I end up watching the same movies over and over and over again. For at least I know I will like them. At least if I liked them before.
Despite the fact that I like to watch movies that I have seen before, some movies do not stand the test of time. I might have liked them before, but the story or the graphics or the special effects or something leaves much to be desired the second or third time around. Or it could be that my memory played tricks on me, and the story was not that great in the first (or second) place. On the flip side, there are some movies that I love every time I watch them.
I went to the University of Washington, but I only know the first four words of the fight song. “Bow down to Washington.” The funny thing is, I know almost all the words to Washington State University’s fight song. You probably think it is odd to know the cross state rival’s fight song. (And you probably think this paragraph does not seem to fit. But it will make sense in a moment.)
The funny thing is, if you watched movies in the mid-eighties, you probably know WSU’s fight song too. Both the words and the melody. You might even sing along in your head as you read the next paragraph.
Fight, fight, fight for Washington State. Win the victory. Win the day for crimson and gray. Something something the test so let’s all do your best. So on on on on fight to the end. Honor and glory you must win. So fight fight fight for Washington State and victory.
The reason you know the song (or at least most of it) is the same reason I know the song. Because Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, Washington sang that song in the movie Volunteers. And so did his compatriots. Rather his comrades.
Well, I watched Volunteers again recently and was still amused by it. Yes, there are probably some stereotypes and gags that are dated. And some that would be considered offensive by today’s standards. But the movie is still a good movie in my book. Even though it taught me my alma mater’s rival school’s fight song.
I freely admit that I do not always choose great movies to watch. Maybe it is my taste or maybe it is the quality of the movies out there. I am not sure. But what I do know is that I like to watch movies that I know are going to be good. And those movies tend to be the movies I liked the last time I watched them. (But no. I do not think that watching movies should be like the movie Groundhog Day.)
© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi
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My Latest Book · 14 November 2020
I finished writing my latest book in record time.
Now a book is not really finished until it hits the presses. Literally or figuratively. (It is available digitally on Amazon.) Even then, there are sometimes fixes that need to be made. (Next edition.) Still, I am amazed that I finished my book’s rough draft in a couple months. And the finished product in less than a year.
I suppose it actually took a bit longer than a couple months to finish my latest book. I actually had a running start because the book started as a bunch of scripts for my YouTube channel. The thing is that I never felt comfortable in front of the camera with this particular subject. I either read the scripts or I could not say what I wanted to say. At least not in a very convincing manner. I never felt like an expert, so I scrapped the video idea.
Not to fear. I do not have the same compunction of putting something out there in writing as I do for video. You already know that if you have been reading my stuff for very long (and if you know that compunction is a sort of guilty feeling for doing something). So I wrote a book. Did I mention that it was in record time? At least it was for me.
You are probably wondering about now (or maybe three paragraphs ago) what the book is about. If so, you are in luck, because I am just about to tell you.
I wrote a Christian apologetics book. Apologetics with Miyoshi.
You might be wondering: What is apologetics? Or maybe you asked yourself the question: What do Christians have to apologize for? (Or maybe you even thought that Christians have a lot to apologize for.)
The internet provides a good answer for what apologetics is. (It is not about apologizing.) Apologetics is a reasoned approach to some subject. Or something like that. I would say apologetics is just backing up what you believe with reason. Something that people ought to do as a matter of course, but which many people have a tough time doing. Whether they believe that Christ died for their sins and was raised again in glory, or whether they believe the earth is flat.
People who know what apologetics is in the first place still do not necessarily think that they have anything to add to the conversation. Or they will not even attempt to reason with others because they believe that they are not experts. Like I said, I have no compunction when it comes to writing about just about anything. I will write about something whether I feel I have the expertise or not. But when it comes to Christian apologetics, I believe all followers of Jesus need to be able to articulate why they follow. They should be able to say why they believe what they believe.
Which is where my latest book comes in. I am just an average guy telling people that they can believe the Bible because it is reasonable to do so. And I am telling people that they can dig as deep into the Bible as they want, because it is truth. It can stand the scrutiny. Any amount.
Which is not to say that my writing can. I am sure there are holes in my writing. My arguments are sound, but I am not an expert. I say so in the introduction to the book. But this I know. I can trust the Bible, and I can trust God. And I assert that you can too.
One of the most interesting things about my latest book is not the subject. Rather, it is the way I finished it. I have never had too many people look at my writing before it is finished (which may be why not very many people have read much of my stuff to begin with), but with this book, I asked several people to read it. I wanted opposing points of view. I wanted criticisms and critiques. I wanted people to point out flaws and holes in my arguments. And those who did read it helped make my book more readable and less flawed. (Thanks especially to Eric.)
I do not know if anybody will read my latest book. But that is par for the course. So when it all comes down to it, all I really know is that I finished my latest book in record time. Even if I did have a running start.
© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi
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