Burned, but Not Broken

19

August 4, 2018, Prescott-

As I stood, gazing at the sunset, this evening, admiring just how beautiful this city is, I think of different people here, and also realized:

You the disaffected one, silently snarl,

and greet me sullenly,

no longer by name,

just a perfunctory “Hello“.

You’d like me gone,

because I’m not who you want me to be,

WHAT you want me to be.

I’m still here,

as it’s the Universe,

not human beings,

deciding what I am going to do,

and where.

You, the gym managers, greet me by name,

because you see my heart,

and your only agenda

is to love and serve.

You, the busy entrepreneur, make time for me,

when it fits your schedule.

That’s okay, as

I was brought up

to honour people’s privacy.

You, the children and youth, smile

when I walk in your space,

or into the classroom,

because we share

a tenderness of heart.

You, my co-workers,

know of my undivided loyalty,

and support,

because we share a love

for the youth we serve,

and all else is secondary.

I have no real enemies,

just people who read me  wrong.

I suffer no lasting injury,

just the temporary wounds

which those in dire pain

want so badly to share.

As I looked at the sunset,

I realized the wounds are healing.

Just Because…

21

July 23, 2108, Prescott-

Of course, my accounts of my travels will continue, later today.  My mind was roiling, earlier this morning, with a feeling that someone was silently accusing me of prejudice, for not settling into another relationship, for not ending my widowhood.  Penny appeared to me afterward, in my mind’s eye, and told me:

“You love, intensely.

Just because you have no romantic feelings for anyone in your present Baha’i community does not make you callous, unfeeling, prejudiced.

You are there for each person, helping each as needed.

That does not require you to fit into a niche.

You love, intensely

Just because you have a strong friendship with a woman who is of entirely different mindset, in terms of Faith, does not mean you are disloyal to Baha’u’llah.

Conversely, as I’ve told you before, you and she are steadfast friends, no more, no less. You would gladly see her find someone who will cherish her, forever.

You love, intensely.

You see your younger co-workers as if they were your own daughters.  Their struggles are your own and you help them where they need help, taking nothing from their dignity.

You love, intensely.

Each day, whether on the road or at what you call Home Base, the needs, large and small, of women, men and children who cross your path have as much urgency as your own.

Just because some are, occasionally, put off by what they see as your shortcomings or errors, does not mean you are unworthy of respect.  They have their own burdens.

Carry on, my love.  As time continues, your true destiny will keep on unfolding.  You have miles to go.”

With that, my angst subsided.

 

The 2018 Road, Day 20: A Place of Resilience, Part 1-The Battlefield and Encampments

8

June 14, 2018, Oley, PA-

That moniker above could apply to this little farm, where I am camped, until tomorrow morning.  It more immediately applies, however, to Valley Forge, where I spent most of the day. Like Steamtown and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, admission to Valley Forge is free of charge.  The value of the stories it tells, though, is priceless, eternal.

The day will be recounted in three parts:  This post will focus, as stated, on the battlefield and the main encampments, which also feature most of the memorials.  Part two will focus on the Washington Chapel.  Part 3 will feature Washington’s Headquarters.

For exploration of the encampments, I chose the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail, named for a private in the Continental Army, who kept a journal of his experiences during the terrible winter of 1777-78.

The first stop along that trail takes in the Muhlenberg Brigade’s encampment and redoubt.   The commander of the Virginia Line, of the 8th Brigade, was Gen. John Peter Muhlenberg.

Several cabins were open for us to check out.

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This berm is an example of the cover used by Continental troops, to guard against any British cannon fire.

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Inside another cabin, the only source of heat for the people billeted here is shown.  Some cabins had not only the soldiers, but family members who followed the Army on its mission.

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Here is a longer view of the encampment.

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This signboard explains the situation to which I referred above. Some cabins had not only men, women and children, but household animals, as well.

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Here is a glimpse of Washington Memorial Chapel, a mile or so to the east of Muhlenberg encampment and the National Memorial Arch.

Moving further north, I found this memorial to the soldiers from Massachusetts, who served at Valley Forge.

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Here is the National Memorial Arch, honouring all who served the cause of independence.

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This small encampment, north of the present-day Arch, was commanded by Gen. Enoch Poor, of the New Hampshire Regiment.

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Here are the Pennsylvania Columns, which honour American Revolutionary War generals.  At the base of each column are bas-relief busts of Colonel William Irvine and Adjutant General Joseph Reed.

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Here’s a glimpse of Wayne’s Woods, named for General Anthony Wayne, who unsuccessfully tried to invade Canada, in 1775.  He didn’t encamp here, but the woods were named for him, anyway. Today, the woods are a popular picnic area.

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This marks the site where General Washington pitched his sleeping tent, when he entered Valley Forge, in December, 1777.

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The next two photos show Artillery Park, where Continental artillery was stored and repaired.

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Here is a statue of the great Prussian general, Baron Wilhelm von Steuben, who instilled unity and discipline in the Continental Army, during its time at Valley Forge.

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This house served as the quarters of General James Varnum, commander of the Connecticut and Rhode Island Brigades.  He shared the home with the Stephens family, who owned it-paying rent to David Stephens, during his stay at Valley Forge.

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Although my visit took place in the heat of early summer, a sense of what was endured by the  troops and local residents alike was easily conveyed. My tour of the encampments ended here, and the focus now became Washington Memorial Chapel, the subject of Part 2 of this set of posts.

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 17: Resilience and The Sixth Great Lake

9

June 11, 2018, Plattsburgh, NY-

Being in full recovery mode, this Monday morning, I headed out from the hostel around 9, going first to the U.S. Consulate.  It took less than ten minutes to get clearance to cross the border, as I have two government-issued photo IDs.

Next up was the glass repair shop, which was clear across town, but I found it easily. By 3:30, I was back on the road, wending my way, through the beginnings of Montreal’s evening commute, to southbound National Highway 15.

The visit at the border station lasted no more than three minutes, and by 6 PM, I was at Rip Van Winkle Motel, on Plattsburgh’s north side.   It proved a very comfortable spot.  I did meet some interesting characters here, but there was not a hint of menace from anyone.

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Dinner was a short walk away, at Gus’ Famous Red Hots Restaurant.  The Red Hots are apparently the founder’s spicy sausages.  I found gentler fare was fine, for the evening meal.

I got in my good long walk, afterward, heading for Lake Champlain.  Plattsburgh, and a fair length of northeastern New York, lie on the west shore of the “Sixth Great Lake”, with the east shore touching Vermont and a brief north shore in Quebec.  There was low tide, this evening, as I joined about two dozen other people, taking in the gorgeous evening. Few bugs were out and about.

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The Green Mountains loom to the east.

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Here is a view of Plattsburgh’s center, of which more in the next post.

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Here is the quiet community of Cumberland Head, just northeast of Plattsburgh.

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I was exhilarated by my time in Montreal, the unpleasant burglary aside.  Being with youth is always a revitalizing experience.  I am ready for the next set of wonders.

NEXT:  Grandma’s Girlhood Hometown

 

The 2018 Road, Day 15: Montreal, Light and Dark

4

June 9, 2018, Montreal-

The gargoyles came to life, this afternoon.  My Lenovo, my warhorse, which has been with me across the country, five times, to Alaska, Hawai’i, British Columbia, western Europe, now has a new “owner”.  Whilst I was walking to and from the polyglot neighbourhood where Montreal’s Baha’i Centre is located, one or two interlopers broke into my car and rummaged through the backseat, finding the laptop case, underneath two backpacks. Nothing else was taken, but the drivers’ side windows were shattered.

A police officer came, after about 45 minutes, and took down the relevant information, as well as a sample of the shattered glass.  She dusted a bit for prints, and filed a report, giving me the number, by which I can send the laptop’s serial number, from my files, once I get back to Prescott.  This has all been explained earlier, in “Dear Thug”.

Now to the draw of Montreal- its majesty, as a city.  I came here in the first place, because of my memories of the city, when I visited in 1972-73, as part of a college tour group.  I had also told my seat mate, on the way back from Europe, in 2014, that I would visit this year.  She may well have forgotten, and was not even here, this weekend, but I did visit a branch of the restaurant in which she works:  La Panthere Verte.

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I was pleased that it was just a short block from Auberge Bishop.

Also in the vicinity of the hostel are the facilities of  La Musee des Beaux Arts, along Sherbrooke Avenue.  The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul is in the midst of these properties.

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The church even has a “guardian”!

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Below, is one of the museum’s  main buildings.

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Mount Royal Park’s eastern flank is not far from this complex.

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Walking back towards the hostel, I spotted Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, mounted on a mighty steed.

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Here is the bright side of my ill-fated walk of this afternoon, which took place after I had checked out of the hostel, with every intention of beginning my drive south, to New England, this afternoon.  May I present Mc Gill University, Victoria Hospital and the Montreal Baha’i Centre:

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Victoria Hospital now has a different campus.  This is one of the main buildings on the original campus.

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Montreal Baha’i Centre is a small, but graceful building,  I spent only twenty minutes here, as, ironically, I wanted to still find the Baha’i Shrine,  a house where ‘Abdu’l-Baha stayed, during His 1912 visit to Montreal.  That did not happen, on THIS visit. Here, though, is the modern centre of our Faith’s life in this great city.

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On the way back to my car, I had this view of Montreal’s downtown.  In the foreground is McGill’s soccer field.

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In the end, one gets up, dusts self off and moves forward with gusto. No one knew this better than Montreal’s bard.

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So, in honour of Leonard, I made the most of my unexpected Montreal Sunday, returning to Auberge Bishop and taking in one of the city’s historic districts, in the afternoon.

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 11: The Essenhaus Kerfuffle

8

June 6, 2018, Ridgetown, ON-

On the 36th anniversary of my wedding, I sat on the edge of the bed in Ridgetown Inn, pondering the power of one word.  Not seeing the word, tomorrow, on a friend’s post, cost me a fine dining experience, at Essenhaus, an amazing resort property in Middlebury, IN.

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All the comforts of the homey Midwest are captured here, and thousands of visitors flock to Essenhaus, each year.  I waited for my friends, in the foyer, for twenty minutes, re-read the message that had been sent early this morning, and, yes- as another friend said, not long ago, “It’s the reading comprehension, stupid.”

Not feeling right about dining alone, in the midst of so many happy parties of seven and eight, I headed up the road, found the delightful Hilltop Restaurant, and enjoyed a fish fry/salad bar.  I still stood out, being one of the few “English” patrons, in what is a favourite of local Mennonites and Amish, but folks were no more inclined to leer, than in any other small town establishment. I found Hilltop a delight.

 

Having had the Elantra serviced, earlier today, in Elkhart, I felt confident heading northeast, through Michigan, and across the Ambassador Bridge, the older of the two large commuter thoroughfares between Detroit and Windsor. I wanted to get as close as possible to Toronto, this late night, in the event I was able to meet with two friends there, tomorrow.  Their minds, and schedules, change as often as their clothes, though, so I remain open to doing Toronto solo, this time.  I love my friends, though, just so we’re clear and we do have a plan to get together, when I make a Trans-Canada trek, in summer of 2020.

Anyway, Ridgetown is a pleasant little burg, in west-central Ontario, so this is where I settled, for what was left of the night.

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NEXT:  Ontario’s London

 

The Song Resumes

4

June 26, 2018, Spring Hill-

This post comes to you, via my new laptop.  I will miss the old warhorse, which may be in the hands of the Montreal Police by now.  In any case, my important files are secure, and the new puppy is going to fill the Lenovo’s shoes.

I will resume my photo posts, tomorrow morning, with an account going all the way back to Elkhart, IN and June 6, which would have been my 36th wedding anniversary.

Tonight was devoted to catching up on the ton of e-mails and business matters that have only been handled sporadically, via cell phone, since I left Baltimore, eight days ago.  I’ve also had a good rest here, at the southern Home Base, which as I’ve mentioned before, is the third point on the triangle.

It’s also a joy to read my friends’ posts more readily again.  I won’t be such a stranger as I’ve been since June 9.

 

As Stupid Does

9

May 21, 2108, Prescott-

I woke this morning, to a message of excoriation, from someone who I deeply respect, but who can hardly be said to hold me in like regard.  It happens.

I’m no one’s slave, though I am gladly of service to many.  Don’t demand that I do your bidding or be at your beck and call.  I will serve a person’s needs because that’s what the Creator, through the Universe, has messaged me to do.

Slavery should never have happened, in the first place.  I hear, from minds more perceptive than mine, that extraterrestrials instituted the practice.  Whatever.  It should NEVER have been put into practice, period.

So now, as Dr. Joy DeGruy has so profoundly explained, in “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome”, people of colour get to deal with the emotional and social sludge of slavery’s legacy.  People of pallour get to face up, and ‘fess up, to all that our forebears ignored and many of our contemporaries wish to sweep under the carpet or kick down the road.  Frantz Fanon and James Baldwin warned us of this, all those lovely years back, and who listened, exactly?

My angry correspondent dismissed me as just another stupid individual, not worth his time.  At least he has not banned me from reading his incisive work-so no loss on my part.  I will keep reading, and listening, and learning, because true stupidity comes from indulging in backlash, from putting up barriers, from being, “all in all……just another brick in the wall.” (Thanks, Roger Waters).

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.

Roach Bath

9

May 7, 2018, Prescott- 

As I started to shower this morning,

I spied a visitor resting on the shower curtain.

A quick flick of the wrist,

and the shower head was soaking the visitor,

full force.

A nice dose of body wash and hair conditioner

was added for good measure,

’cause I’m generous that way.

Thus did the sewer roach

head back down the drain

from whence he came.

Have a great day, everyone!