James Anthony Ellis
Editor, Legacy Magazine
A legacy born. I guess that’s me.
It’s on my shoulders, in a way.
Just as it was for my father – James Arthur – with his own father – James Arnot – before him.
I imagine we all carry a bit of the past right into the present and on into the future. On into our future.
So mine? What shall I carry along from my father’s influence?
Well, for one, we can’t cook worth shit. Thank goodness I have found a wonderful wife who makes amazing meals, and thank goodness my father has learned to sustain himself on a diet of only waffles.
We both love hockey, football, the Dodgers, and watching the San Fransisco Giants lose. “BEAT LA” my ass.
There is also this clearly defined agitation and discomfort we feel when we are driving a car through a drive-thru or standing in line somewhere, and we believe we are delaying someone behind us. We carry the “I don’t want to be in anyone’s way” gene. It’s a drag, and it’s cost us some valuable time having to return tacos when the orders have been wrong.
Then there is the fact we both can’t stand bullshit. Growing up, the term was “pretense” or “fake.” Intuitive types as we, my dad and I can pretty much see through the phony facades, finding little value in such a distraction. We may not say much about it in order to be polite. But the drive to find what’s “real” in any situation is definitely strong. A lack of integrity grates on the nerves, and we just aren’t interested. Give us some straight-takin’ straight-shootin’ any day. It doesn’t have to be pretty or fancy … just real.
Such a drive for the “real” has us pushing the envelope on the fake news of the day. As seekers of the truth, we often converse about the latest political sham and scam that is supposed to mislead the people. I grew up with a dad who read all the books on the murder of JFK. We both carry the torch on getting to the truth underneath the political agenda, the smokescreen shine and the disingenuous cover-up. We don’t curtail our investigations in life until the puzzle pieces fit!
This carving of our own path has us both appear pretty unconventional to outsiders. And I guess they’d be right. Fitting in isn’t really a priority, and it may never be a reality. My dad isn’t swayed to march to a certain beat. And I don’t even think I know how.
Truly, you can’t pin down or define my dad in any real way. He is a free spirit and he’s just gonna do what he’s gonna do, whether that be doing gardening in his dress shoes and shorts or spending extra time with the hobby of picking and tracking the winners of each NFL game.
Of his free and open spirit, there is a story he often tells. It was when he was in his early 20s in Michigan. Some scientific lab was bent on proving that ESP (extra-sensory-perception or mind-reading) was phony. They brought in people to try and guess the figure or shape on a hidden card. My father confounded the testers by continually making an accurate guess. After awhile of amazing “guesses,” they told him, “Get out of here!”
Yes, my father is quite the mystic – having extra-sensory and metaphysical experiences. I grew up in an environment where this was commonplace. So I share the knowledge, the experience and the legacy.
And so … this legacy? Coming downstream from my father to me? It would include all I have spoken of previously, and even some things left hidden to a common perception. I shall carry on what works best for myself and those around me. I will be open to awaken to ways such a stream can even shift and alter for my own growth and for the best of those with whom I am in relationship.
Who will carry on my legacy moving forward? With no son presently – another James A. Ellis in line – it will have to be those young men I mentor in the “Boys to Men“ program, or those people who read any one of my books on honor, emotion, communication or the like, or those who come across any of my film productions and documentaries, or those in my men’s circle who must put up with this unconventional and open-minded jokester of a jerk who proudly carries on a father’s legacy.
Who knows – any one of them just might find themselves, along with my father and I, searching for that puzzle piece that fits.