The Kiosk

3

April 30, 2018, Prescott-

(This piece is based on real events in my life, recently).

As Gregory was walking through the Saturday Market, he noticed an unusual kiosk, offering raw  cacao beans and blended products.  A winsome lady smiled and beckoned him over, then proceeded to explain the efficacy of cacao, as a health aid, whilst offering samples of both the raw bean and blends.

“I’m Greg, and these are delicious items.  Let me buy this peanut butter-cacao cup and a bag of maple infused flakes.!”  “Thank you, Greg.  I am Medina.  It’s nice to make your acquaintance.”

“And I am Gerhard”, came a deep but not unpleasant voice from Greg’s rear.  “Geri is my beloved”, Medina interjected, “We work together on this project.”

Gerhard changed the subject, inviting Greg to sit, in the back of the kiosk. “Gregory, we know who you are.  I have been watching you since the tragedy.  You have done well, keeping your health, as Leanna would have wanted.  You have branched out some, traveling widely and learning to not let naysayers tie you down.”

“Yes, it has been a time of growth for me.  I know Lee wants me to do these things.”

Gerhard held up a hand.  “You must visit this kiosk, every Saturday that you are here, for the foreseeable future.  On each visit, you will encounter an angel, who will teach you a key step in your continued growth.  You will also encounter a challenger, who will try to ensnare you with the darkness of your past environment, making it seem like a way to pleasure. Medina and I will witness, and the beings may interact with us.  You, though, will make the choice.”

Greg felt a wave of reassurance, and on each subsequent visit, he indeed met both teacher and charlatan.  He listened carefully to both, whilst making a decision to more carefully honour the angelic.

On the penultimate kiosk of the winter season, Medina cautioned Greg.  “You are in late middle age, yet you are attractive to several women-other than me.  Some are close at hand; others far away.   Towards some, you will feel a like attraction; others will not entice you in the least.  Some are close to you in age; others could be your child..  You must, of course, treat each and all with profound respect.”  “My mother always told me these things, when I came of age”, Greg replied, ” I have held them in my heart, all these years.”  “Yes, and you were most loving to Leanna”, Medina intoned. “Soon, though, you will encounter five women.  One, a decade your junior,  will be your prime mentor, and will alternately encourage and chastise you.  Another, very young, will love you from a safe distance, always wanting your attention but feeling guilty about it, with all the drama this conflict entails.  A third, also a decade your junior, will want you to return to the Faith of your past, as a condition of friendship.  The fourth will correspond with you for a time, and will prove a challenger, enticing you, then disappearing.  The fifth, close to you in age, will dally with you from a distance, and will ignore your lack of interest in romantic interlude with her, pleading, for what will seem like an eternity, that you join her in the desert.  You will choose among them, but I must caution, as your mother surely would, to hurt none of them.”

Greg was taken greatly aback by this admonition.  He vowed to not let either his attraction or disinterest lead him astray.  A few years earlier, after all, his mourning for Leanna had clouded his vision, and caused two fine women considerable harm.

Across town, Nikki thought of the older man who frequently came into her store and had been uniformly interested in her as  a person, if shy.  She wished he would come by this day.

Musings in Darkness

6

April 30, 2018, Twin Arrows, AZ-

As I sit in this quiet hotel lobby, watching over a little boy and his family, in various stages of sleep, I feel an odd comfort. They may very well have lost their home by now.

The power in their forest home may be shut off, also, as authorities seek to curb further sources of fire. The wind, meanwhile, is roaring, and is no doubt being answered by the blaze, 60 miles to the southeast, in a hideous call and response.

I am as alone now, as I’ve been in quite a while. An online group, with whom I’ve been sharing some fairly deep thoughts, have gone dark, after one of their number took exception to a post I wrote on their site. I deleted the post, but no matter. What’s done is done and even among the enlightened, there are limits to what one is allowed to say.

Here, at least, I can pretty much speak freely, so long as I am respectful of others. I love so many, albeit mostly not in a romantic way. (There are only two of whom I can say I am inclined that way and I’ve met neither, in person, so that may be fanciful thinking.) It matters little, though I am bound to be scolded for entertaining such feelings, yet again. We live in a judgemental society.

Enough of this. I need to rest a bit and focus my thoughts on the day ahead. There will be the drive back to Prescott, a couple hours of work, a haircut and a chiropractic treatment, then more rest and some time at the gym.

Be safe and well. I love you all.

Not Blustery

4

April 29, 2018, Prescott-

While it is a bit windy, outside

and there is a fire threatening

folks in a rural area up north,

I find myself in a calm mood again.

I was shocked to learn,

yesterday,

of a trusted friend’s

mid-life crisis.

The person is

taking steps , though,

to deal with some

deep-seated issues.

I went to exercise

at my local gym,

and then watched

“Inifinity War”,

the latest comic book-based

film saga.

Sleep came fairly easy

and was intense.

A pleasant breakfast,

and a nice greeting

from a new friend,

who’s far away,

made for a relaxing morning.

This is the Ninth Day of Ridvan.

On this day, in 1863,

the weather cleared

and the flood waters

subsided,

on the riverine island,

where Baha’u’llah

and His family/followers

were preparing for their

journey from Baghdad

to what is now Istanbul.

I will join several friends

in mid-afternoon,

to commemorate the occasion.

Now, though, it’s time

to honour those whose

service to the Red Cross,

this past year,

has been above and beyond.

I’m not blustery inside.

 

Antonio’s Comeuppance

12

April 28, 2018, Prescott-

So, we got Santino to the hospital, in plenty of time and being a Castaldo, and a made man, to boot, Sonny got the best treatment.  Papa wasn’t too thrilled at seeing his prime button man have the drop done on him-especially by a “dope”, like Tony Ribeiro.  “He’s from the &*!#$ Azores, for the love of Christ!”, my sainted father shouted, “All those people know is netting mackerel”.

Sonny was thus taken down a notch, but at least there was no kiss planted on his cheek, or other made man positioned behind him, in the staff car.  Tony, on the other hand, received an unannounced visit from important personages in our extended family.  He cordially greeted the capos and offered them rich, dark coffee and some Azorean pastries, as was his wont.  The men took the offered refreshments and warily plotted their gift of a comeuppance to their brother-in-arms’ assailant.

Unfortunately for those plans, it took the Lunesta about two minutes to kick in.  Tony carefully dragged the men out of his shop and closed early.  He was in Armonk, NY, when the news came over the radio, of an unfortunate blaze in Baltimore’s Flower Mart.  “Ah, well, it’s to be expected. Alfredo Castaldo doesn’t have much of a sense of humour”, Mr. Ribeiro mused, as he pointed his car towards Connecticut, took out his travel bag and set the car alight.

Neither he, nor his cousin Marco, who picked him up, noticed the boys and me following, as the getaway car headed north towards Albany.

 

Liar’s Poker

9

April 27, 2018, Prescott-

You sent me a letter,

“Save with us!”

On a whim,

I checked out your offer.

“We represent a new way of thinking”,

you said.

I checked out your offer.

Your answer, as I expected,

was “No”.

This is your pants on fire moment.

I’ve never been much for liar’s poker,

and I will sit this one out.

I go on my way,

with my own resources.

Meager as they are,

unlike you,

I came by them honestly.

Chains: Part 1

20

April 26, 2018, Prescott-

I walked, and stood alongside, my co-workers this morning. We are among many, in several states, who are making a statement in favour of actually showing the nation’s public schools that they are important to our nation’s security. This includes granting teachers and other school workers a living wage. By living wage, I mean that a family of four can pay its rent/mortgage/ property tax, insurance, utilities and basic living expenses, which include savings and modest leisure pursuits, without the need for one or both parents to hold down two (or more) jobs.  Most people in this community get that.  There are a few who think otherwise, and I note that they have theirs.

Let’s be clear:  I believe in EARNING one’s way. I do not believe in indentured servitude or de facto slavery.  A job well done should be a job well remunerated.  A few conservative thinkers, believers in the free market system, have shown how this can be done- without shorting the colleges and universities, or the public health system.  (Both are cited by some legislators, as reasons why the schools should make do with less.)

I do not buy the argument that “only Communists” want teachers to get higher pay. (Yes, this has been advanced by some legislators here, because ONE teacher admires Noam Chomsky.)  For the record, I have co-workers who love President Trump and who are adamant about raising revenue to improve the schools.  Also, I am a political independent, who loathes dictatorships of any kind.

There are other chains I want to break.  More is coming, as is Part II of the Antonio Ribeiro story.

Radiance

12

April 22, 2018, Prescott-

While my laptop is, sadly, not able to upload photos from a SIM card, owing to a scratch either inside the port or on the adapter, I want to make mention of this weekend’s Chalk-it-Up.

We had live entertainment today.  A friend of mine was performing, as the lone male member of a group of ukulele players, doing spirited renditions of hits from the ’60’s and ’70’s.  They were accompanied by a very serious and limber little girl, dancing solo, with not a care for anyone watching.  She was a joy to behold, and the gleams in her grandparents’ eyes said it all.

Then came a radiant young hoop dancer, a woman of about 22, I’d say, also dancing her way into the hearts of all watching.  She reminded me of a dear young friend, who used to dance with both hoops and light sticks, before her untimely death in an auto accident, six years ago.  I thought of Jayme, whilst watching this dancer and her sharing of her hoops with several children in the audience.  My friend egged me on, to try a hoop myself, but I am awkward with such things and it would have been even more awkward being the only other adult jumping into the fray, alongside the winsome instructor- young enough to be my granddaughter.  Oh, well.

Chalk-it-Up is always a joyful event.  Here are some scenes of the more colourful drawings.  In their honour,  let’s take joy in the radiant beings around us.

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These Five Things

9

April 22, 2018, Prescott-

I am not given to talking so much about myself, but yesterday, I received a nomination from someone who has been friendly and supportive, of late:  Amberley Griffin.

This is to invite me to list five things I like about myself.  So, here goes.

First, I like my resilience.  I have been able to bounce back from several mishaps, setbacks, or what not- from bankruptcy and the loss of my wife, Penny to having the brake linings of my car cut, a few years back and losing it in a ditch.

Second, I like my health.  I have been able to maintain good health and a somewhat youthful energy level.  It takes fastidious practices, including essential oil-based supplements, chiropractic treatments, power naps after work, regular work-outs and a fastidious attention to diet.

Third, I am fairly pleasant company.  I get along well with most people and am doing better at not taking offense when people are standoffish or cross.

Fourth, I have a quick, though situation-based, sense of humour.  I cannot produce jokes on demand, but things come to mind at the oddest of moments, while being apropos to a situation.

Fifth, I am a loyal friend, even to those who, for philosophical differences, I have not seen or heard for a few months, or years.  If those people needed me, I would do the best I could to be there.

I am a work in progress, and so, while I have irritated some here, lately, bear with me.  My whole is pretty good, overall.

Whither Goest Thou?

12

April 21, 2018, Prescott-

I was brusquely informed, this morning, that I was headed for Hell.  My crimes? I believe in the unity of spiritual truth.  I believe that it was last revealed to mankind by God, come in the Spirit of the Father, in the person of Baha’u’llah, just as it was revealed to us, some 1, 987 years ago by Him, come in the Spirit of the Son, in the person of Jesus the Christ.  This is a threat to those whose purpose is to keep us divided.  This is a dire catastrophe to those whose grip on power over the common people depends on a belief in us vs. them.

The fact remains- I will continue to work with everyone, serve anyone, love even those sworn to enmity- because Baha’u’llah said so; because Jesus said so; because every religious Teacher since the world began has said so.  Only the inner cravings of humans, for power, for control, for dominance, say otherwise.  Our lower nature-personified, in the Words of Zoroaster, Christ, Mohammed and Baha’u’llah, as Satan, the Demon, is behind all work to maintain division.

So, I’m not concerned with the allegorical Fire.  I won’t stop serving, loving and looking towards the Light, in this life or the next.  My next act of non-remunerated service will be among Baptists, in fact, on Monday evening, helping my friend, a Baptist youth pastor, named Randy, in his humble soup kitchen.  Randy doesn’t care that I am Baha’i.  To him, it is our shared love for humanity that counts the most.

Funny, that my accuser of this morning should have touted her admiration for the late Billy Graham, whose attitude in his later years, towards the advocates of division, was: “Get thee behind me, Satan”.

That’s the end of my preaching and screeching, for now.  I just needed to clear the air.

Answers to “Getting to Know Me” Query

20

April 20, 2018, Prescott-

The day begins with the news that there will be a teacher walkout, across Arizona, next Thursday.  What that means for us, at Prescott High School, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, here are some answers to questions posed by gaillovesgod.

  • What are my strengths?
    • Faith in God
    • Steadfastness
    • Love for humanity
    • Being proactive
    • Adaptability
  • What are my short term goals?
    • Serving my school and community, for at least the rest of the academic year
    • Visiting friends and family, across the continent, between Memorial Day and July 4
  • What are my long term goals?
    • Remain faithful to the Lord God
    • Finish my work in Prescott
    • Itinerant service, through Workaway, or a like organization
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • Not treating others as I wish to be treated
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • Hikes
    • Writing
    • Game Night with friends
    • Drum Circle
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • Anything that elevates the human race
  • What am I worried about?
    • Being careless
  • What are my values?                                                                                                                       Honouring human dignity                                                                                                         Developing my strengths                                                                                                             Good stewardship
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • To do what God expects of me, without fail
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • Anywhere in His Light
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • God’s Love
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Pray, and get myself into a safe place
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • Having helped raise my son
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • Early Bird
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • Bring self to account each day
  • What do I do to show my self, self-care?
    • Bathe and groom
    • Start day with devotions
    • Take natural supplements, each evening
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • Ambivert
  • What am I passionate about?
    • Life
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • My spirit guides are with me
    • My life will unfold in a good way
  • What is my favourite movie?                                                                                                         The Fisher King
  • What is my favourite band?
    • Arcade Fire
  • What is my favourite food?
    • Fiery chili
  • What is my favourite colour?
    • Navy blue
  • What am I grateful for?
    • God’s Revelation is continuous
    • I have many good friends
    • Large extended family
    • My good health
  • When I am down, I like to:                                                                                                                 Breathe deeply
  • I know I am stressed when
  •          I start making odd mistakes
  •           I get tongue-tied