Not Throwing In The Towel

1

Towel-Dog-760x500May 25, 2018, Prescott-

An erstwhile friend has decreed today as Towel Day.  I will stay on the fringes of these festivities, as that’s how she and her significant other seem to want things.  Besides, my schedule, these next two days, is packed- as I will be, by Sunday morning.

School ended yesterday, and for me, it was as successful as 2015-16, and a far cry from last year.  I did not limp to the finish line this time.  The kids, and my co-workers, will reconvene in a week’s time, for Extended School Year.   I will sit that one out, having a major family event in mid-June. The wedding of my youngest niece will bring us all together, and will be one for the books.

As always, I have taken the steps to certify that both my car and I are ready for this year’s long road trip.  Vehicle has taken its lumps, but I have repaired most of what’s gone wrong and will tend to the cosmetics over the next day or so.  Ditto for yours truly, and while my cosmetics are showing their age, my health care providers aren’t putting me anywhere near the scrap heap.  I’m content with what I see in the mirror.

After two, and maybe three, important events here in town, today and tomorrow, I will head northwards, to Carson City, for an annual reconnect with one or more members of my extended spiritual family.  From there, the route looks like Utah, Colorado, Kansas, central Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, Montreal, Plattsburgh, NY, Vermont,Massachusetts, Connecticut, West Point, eastern Pennsylvania (especially Philadelphia), Baltimore, Delmarva, Hampton Roads, across Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, southern Missouri, Oklahoma, Amarillo and Albuquerque’s Old Town, before getting back to Home Base-somewhere around July 4.

In spite of all this seems to entail, I have built in a goodly number of daily rest stops, visits with friends and family and good clean fun.  My main mode, rain or shine, will be camping along the way and relying more on picnicking, than the heavy restaurant visits of past adventures.  There will be a few of those last, though, when I can at least treat those who have been so caring to me, over so many years- and special places in my heart, like Artful Dodger, Cupcakes & Cravings, et al.  Porthole Pub, in Lynn, MA., is slated to close soon, making way for some sorely needed luxury condos. (Wonder how we’ve gotten along without them, all these years!)  I ought to prevail on a few family members to pay a last visit to Porthole.

Whether here or there, my Faith is essential to keeping me going, on a daily basis.  So, one of the events this evening is faith-based, several of the people with whom I will visit, in the coming weeks, are my fellows in faith and the Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette, IL falls into the middle of my outbound itinerary, as is only proper.

One way or another, I will maintain a daily presence here- letting all my peeps in on what’s going down, as in the past.  After all, there are plenty of coffee houses and such, along the way- and Good Sam Parks are reliable with WiFi, to boot. Instagram, a gift of the above-mentioned erstwhile correspondent, remains on my network.  One keeps the baby, while waving farewell to the bath water.

 

Peace, At Last?

4

May 19, 2018, Prescott- 

I reeled, a bit, at the latest slaughter on a school campus.   Truth be told, there isn’t much more room for me to be knocked over, anymore.  What the alt-right can’t refute, it denies completely. Yes, every time innocent kids are killed, my mind goes back to Sandy Hook, and the imbeciles who threatened a man who took in other people’s children and hectored the families of the slain.  I was angry enough, at that time, to go to Connecticut and dare them to continue with their outrageous attacks.  In the true sense of justice, they’d have faced charges of accessory to murder, after the fact.

I stayed put, here in Arizona, and while time has tempered my anger, it has not changed my view.  There was more than one killer, in Santa Fe, TX, yesterday.  The adults who bullied the young man who took so many lives (13, at last count) are just as guilty as he.   in addition, anyone who does him the disservice of excusing his actions, is an accessory to murder after the fact.  He gave himself up and, at least for now, is showing the courage to face justice for his deadly behaviour.

The larger question, ever since the Texas Tower slaughter of 1966, has been preventing the mentally ill from owning, or even having access to , any kind of deadly weapon, let alone a firearm.  I know there is a Federal law that allows confiscation of a weapon that has been specifically used to threaten the life of a person, because Bureau of Indian Affairs  police seized three guns from a man who had stated he would kill another man, back in 1998.  I know this, because I made the call that brought them into the matter.

I have been told, by my Congressman, that there are  a number of state and Federal laws that also regulate the possession and use of firearms by those not of age or of sound mind.  This is all well and good, but this passel of laws needs to be uniform. Otherwise, the many loopholes and jurisdictional disputes that allow illicit access to weapons- by people not affiliated with gangs or other criminal elements, but who are nonetheless a danger to self and others, will continue to find the path to mayhem all too enticing.

This leads me to mental health and bullying, which will be the next topics of discussion on this issue.

Trouble Truths

10

May 13, 2018, Prescott-

Yesterday morning, whilst I was at the Farmer’s Market, some people were playing “Two Truths and A Lie”.  A little boy interjected, that he had a “trouble truth” to share.  When asked what he meant by that, he said “It’s when I tell the truth, and it gets me in trouble”. His mother promised an amnesty, so he shared what he had broken at home, that morning.

Being mildly autistic, I’ve said my share of trouble truths, both as a child and adult.  They have brought me my share of trouble- everything from admitting that I was rough with my little brother, when I was ten, to saying, when I was in my forties, that I was not physically attracted to women of size.  That last rankled some people, but Penny was dedicated to keeping herself fit and was glad I wasn’t drawn to anyone but her.  (Of course, when she was paraplegic and her condition changed, I remained steadfast and faithful.)

I am a bit more circumspect, in late middle age, and while I’ve noticed that many senior citizens are more outspoken than they were in their younger days, I am moving in the opposite direction.  Unless I sense that a person would benefit from hearing something that might be hard to take, I am not as likely to just blurt it out.

Sometimes, age brings wisdom.  Other times, I just pick up on subtle hints.   To all mothers, I wish you a joyful and safe day.  To all my Word Press family, I wish you a fruitful and productive middle of May.

Maternal is Eternal

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May 13, 2018, Prescott-

I made my call

and was reassured.

Mom stands tall

and is never ignored.

What of you,

my friends who are

also mothers?

I know you as

Diane, April, Christina,

Janet, Mel, Lisa,

Amberley.

Your kids,

your blessings,

call you Mom,

Mama, Madre,

Mother Dear.

You give the best of yourself,

without guilt or shame,

loving each and every child,

never casting blame,

or aspersions.

Love knows no diversions.

There will never be a time,

when you are not

treasured,

by one, two, three

for eternity.

Happy Mother’s Day,

and I love you all, too.

Forthcoming

6

May 11, 2018, Prescott-

Answers are trickling in.

I am a “go”,

in this pos,

next academic year.

My presence is needed,

at Saturday’s Prescott Valley Days,

in two different booths.

What was supposed to go

to a friend here,

was sent to a family member,

in another state.

This will delay things,

by three days.

Life goes on.

People who express

terms of endearment

to me, do the same

for many others,

and why not?

We all need it.

Life is awesome.

My itinerary for

the first leg of

this summer’s journey

remains up in the air.

No worries,

my concern is

with this weekend

and the next two weeks.

Life needs presence

and a sense of urgency.

 

I Know (The OTHER 99%)

8

May 10, 2018, Prescott-

I know that there is no one place on Earth, where the sunrises and sunsets can’t be spectacular.

I know that there is much to do, in any community, whether one is a resident or a concerned visitor.

I know that there is no time or occasion, when the flag or anthem of this country is being presented, that I will not stand and either salute or place my right hand over my heart.

I know that there is no time or occasion, if I am visiting another country, and its flag or anthem is being presented, that I will not stand in respect.

I know that if I come across anyone in distress, anywhere, I will do everything in my power to secure help and relief for that person or those persons.

I know that there is no work day that is unimportant, whether it is a regular academic day or truncated schedule.  Each day’s routine and challenges deserve to be met.

I know that there is no “day off”, where I can throw all caution to the wind, ignore those around me or pretend I am the only one who matters.

I know there is no legitimate bill for services that can be just ignored.

I know there is no honest work that deserves to be denigrated.

I know there is no sentient being that is unworthy of love, at some level.

Where I Need to Go

14

May 4, 2018, Prescott-

I went back onto a Facebook site, where I had been inexplicably trolled, about a week ago.  There are just too many good friends on that page, and the one troll is probably gone by now.

I went into work, a half-hour early, as is my practice, so as to set things in place for a successful day.  We had carnival, this afternoon, and one of the students spotted the rides, whilst we were on our daily walk.  That took us to carnival early.  It was no use trying to talk that student out of heading onto the carnival grounds, especially once she saw the Tilt-a-Whirl.  Three rides sufficed, though, especially when our weekly movie and popcorn were mentioned.  The needs of our students are relatively simple.

I am headed down to Tempe, tomorrow, as the Baha’i meeting planned earlier, will take the entire day.  The Prescott area is where I need to focus, most of the year, for the next three years.  Of course, emergencies could always happen elsewhere, and plans change.  Right now, though, I am fine with being here, eleven out of the twelve months.

My head and my heart are pretty much in sync, after all the fumbling and misinterpretations into which I have fallen, during my extended period of mourning.  I’m grateful for the large number of friends who have surfaced, from every corner of the world.  It’s said:  Quality, not quantity.  Well, I can testify that one does not negate the other.

I am letting necessity determine my locus and love light my path.

NEXT:  Catching up with Antonio

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.

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.

 

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.