Monsters In the Closet

Along the Way. . .

Experiences, Insights & Humor on the “Long Road Home”

November 1, 2021

Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

I’m thinking this sounds crazy, but I also have given it a lot of thought, like years’ worth, and over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that as a child I did so many bad things, not because I was a bad child, but because I was doing bad things as a tool to get attention from my father that I got no other way.  Never once can I remember him paying any attention to me unless I had done something that warranted punishment.  It was like the old “just wait till your father gets home” because my mom never was the disciplinarian with us boys, always my dad. One thing was certain, if I acted up I got the belt on the butt, and my dad had an ample supply of which I know I must have dang near wore out.

I was certainly not my dad’s favorite, how could I be? I was constantly doing bad things – stealing little things, lying, sneaking around, destroying stuff, breaking things, messing with stuff I knew better than to mess with – knowing of the certain spanking I would get if I got caught, and I always got caught. Being bad was my hallmark, and my claim to my dad’s attention.

Photo by Tanya Gorelova on

Now, I know I deserved every bit of every spanking I got. I did some monumentally stupid things as a kid, and every time I would get the belt. Then after my punishment my dad would say, “Now I want you to know I love you and that is why I spanked you.” Then he would hug me. Those were the only times I can remember my dad telling me he loved me or him hugging me.

Humm. I believe to this moment that I did a lot of what I did just to get him to hug me and tell me he loved me because I know I never got an “I’m proud of you.” Heck, how could he be with me always being bad and getting into trouble? Never-the-less, as I reflect now as an old man, knowing all this and facing it for myself finally makes sense of things.

My dad worked hard all his life, he didn’t have time for my shenanigans and I was his only “bad” child. I’m over it and I don’t need to be bad anymore, not for anyone’s attention or any reason. So there it is. It’s all better now and I can be my true self. All those monsters in the closet, well, it took me 40 years, but I smashed ‘em. They are no more…

© Steven Maisenbacher “Walks On The Grass” 2021

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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