Inside, Outside

7

September 14, 2017, Prescott-

Perhaps my own wandering nature

and tendency to hang back,

in novel situations,

are partially to blame,

but all my life,

I have encountered situations,

mostly at work,

where a small group of insiders

has kept me out of the loop.

I can even recall one occasion,

where I confided in my wife,

that I was not sure that I could

trust the school district administration.

I was the principal of a one-school district,

unable to trust the people who hired me.

Frequently, here in town,

I have felt the same.

Valued by the students, parents, and my peers,

but seemingly held in disdain,

by a small, elite group,

who have been here way too long,

I’ve hung on.

The latest such situation ended, today,

and I will now be working with

members of the same, appreciative

and open-minded group,

with whom I happily worked in Spring, 2016.

I wonder what happened,

to the in-crowd,

who obviously love children,

at some level,

even if their “My Way or The Highway” mentality

sets the children off,

so unnecessarily.

Why are their wagons in a circle,

so that my job becomes

“do what you’re told and keep still”?

I’m grateful for my new/old team.

It’s not an age thing,

because, while the team lead is a Millennial,

there are others in their 40’s and 50’s,

and I will be 67, in two months’ time.

It’s not a gender thing,

because, while I am still the only male,

I am not excluded by these ladies,

from any aspect of the work day.

I’ve come to the conclusion

that insecurity breeds insularity.

Aggression: Macro,Micro, Nano

0

September 13, 2017, Prescott-

Of course, I endure aggression- macro and micro, on a daily basis.

Fortunate, I am, that macroaggression is rare,

and is usually the flailing of a frightened child,

or the blaring horn of a vehicle,

driven by someone in the throes of misdirected rage.

Microaggression is more common:

The supervisor who tells self

that control of subordinates is paramount;

the restaurant server who rushes a lone patron,

through a meal,

so that a hypothetical party of two or three

will not be inconvenienced;

the neighbour who walks about,

nose in the air,

lest the great unwashed might

deign to speak their peace.

Those who minimize the suffering

of victims of natural disasters,

as, after all, “it’s not happening here!”

Are there  nanoaggressions?

I hope not, as this might

smack of paranoia,

on the part of the beholder.

 

 

The Ohio Knows

4

July 23, 2017, Jeffersonville, IN-

I stayed, last night, at an off-the-beaten-path inn, made all the more interesting by there having been an intense storm, which had caused a power outage.  Spanish Manor Inn lies on the eastern outskirts of a small Bluegrass Country town:  Olive Hill, itself a far exurb of Lexington.

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The motel is run by a pastor’s wife.  The  pastor himself uses one of the buildings as a wedding chapel.  They graciously received me in their home-office, and explained I was fortunate to get the last available room.  Given the intensity of the storm, I scarcely blame them for putting up a no vacancy sign, as soon as I headed back down the hill to the rooms.  There was no Internet, of course, but I surely got a restful sleep, despite the booming and crashing outside.

I texted my nephew, who lives in the Louisville area, just across the Ohio River from the city.  It has been a game of schedule tag, up to now, for me to meet his wife and children.  Today, though, they had a few hours, so off I went towards Slugger Town, going through a bit more rain on the way.  I ditched the rain, around Shelbyville, stopping only to pick up some gift items for the young family.

I had no trouble finding their suburban home, and after an impromptu tour of the house, the five of us went to a pleasant Mexican restaurant- my second confirmation this month, that there are people in Indiana who do such cuisine right.  This takes care of the contention of several people, that there is no proper salsa in the Midwest.  We had it, aplenty.  Once back in the house, I joined my nephew, niece-in-law and grand niece, in the family room, to watch Aladdin, for the first time in twenty-five years, while grand-nephew took his nap.  Once it was time for life’s errands to resume, I bid thank you and farewell to the wakeful members of our family’s Indiana branch.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Ohio knows when to be gracious to a visitor.  This often overlooked sibling to the Father of Waters has been on my radar for a visit, for many years, and there was no time like this afternoon, at the Falls of the Ohio, a sometimes tempestuous section of river, shared by Louisville, on the south bank and Jeffersonville, on the north.  The Indiana side has an Interpretive Center, closed on Sunday.  The river itself, however, offers a wealth of walking trails and rocks on which to sit and meditate, or, as several were, fish.

The Ohio is not always accommodating, to put it mildly, and there is much deposited in the woodlands, on either bank, from Devonian and Silurian fossils, in the soil, to broken branches from the roiling storms of summer and winter, alike.

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Here are some scenes of the cataracts, which both draw people to the salubrious banks and make life difficult for those plying a trade, along the Ohio.

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I chose this spot to sit and reflect on how nice the drive through Kentucky and southern Indiana had been.

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Of course, the River answered, “Thank you”.

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This is a surreal view of Louisville, hidden by a railroad bridge.  There is a sign, on I-65, that warns of a toll booth, but I saw no toll booth on either northbound or southbound, and there were no cameras, either.  Methinks the toll has been discontinued.

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Lastly, before I headed south again, en route to Paducah, a wink to Lewis and Clark was in order.  This area was integral to the planning phase of their monumental exploration, and there was a family tie:  George Rogers Clark, who secured the then-Northwest Territory for our fledgling nation, was William Clark’s brother.  Clarksvillle, Jeffersonville,  New Albany, Corydon and Vincennes are all filled with historic sites, associated with the Clark family and the pioneers of the Ohio Valley.

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My spirit guides were calling me westward, to Paducah, for a further appreciation of the Ohio River, just a few miles shy of its meeting with the mighty Mississippi, at Cairo, IL.  So, on went the Hyundai and I.

 

Charlottesville

0

August 13, 2017, Prescott-

It’s rather ironic, that my journey series has reached the point where my next few posts will be about Antietam, Harpers Ferry, Harrisonburg/Lexington and Olive Hill, KY.  I did not visit the seat of the University of Virginia, this time out.  It is my late wife’s alma mater and Charlottesville is the first place where Penny heard about the Baha’i Faith.  There is a strong Baha’i presence there, to this day.  Were my fellows in faith to be given charge of this weekend’s gatherings, they may well have had white and black extremists cordoned off in one area, as was done at a Baha’i gathering in Orlando, several years ago.  It taught more than a few of them the absurdity of their positions.

Fear has a lot to do with what went on, on both sides.  Fear makes people do prudent things, like staying aware of their surroundings, watching where they put their hands and feet, not picking fights with those who could seriously cause harm.  Fear also can make people do stupid things, like assume a person, who has certain physical features or styles  of dress/adornment, is dangerous or argue a point, that they know is ridiculous, “could possibly be right.”

I believe every life matters, too.  I believe it is right to learn from history and that it is wrong to try and erase history.  There was once an emperor of China, who tried to expunge the record of every ruler who came before him.  He wanted to rewrite history, in his own hand.  It’s said that history is written by the victor, but that didn’t turn out so well, for said Emperor.  Others kept records, then, and others will keep records, now.  Those who remove our statuary are not being honest with children.  They are no better than those who gave short shrift to the legacies of people of colour, over a nearly 200-year period.  History needs to be full and balanced, if we are to learn from our errors, as a nation and as a species.

I am very saddened by the needless and premature death of Heather Heyer.  This wanton act of murder had nothing to do with a certain number of Antifa members being mixed with the anti-Nazi protestors.  Ms. Heyer was not with Antifa, nor was she “bused in by George Soros.”  She was a Charlottesville resident, employed as a paralegal.  It had everything  to do with the killer’s being an impressionable young man, of questionable emotional stability, being influenced, to some degree, by the words and taunts of a good number of Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party members.  The reactions of many of the alt-right protesters does indicate they were not out to kill those who confronted them.  The obscenity-laced comments filling the air- on You Tube videos- did, however, set some people off, including the errant driver.

It’s  long past time to start serious, but respectful and frank dialogue.  Let’s do it, anyway.  It’s long past time for the President to set a strong tone of domestic leadership, aimed at getting differing sides together, peacefully,  but nose-to-nose, if necessary.  The air needs to be cleared of the noxious.  Citizens, however, as was said this evening, at a candlelight vigil here,  also need to set the moral tone, at their level..  No far-off politician can do all the heavy-lifting, nor should a local demagogue be allowed to stir up the passions of one segment of the populace, as happened in Charlottesville.

I am not any kind of supremacist.  I am not any kind of ideologue.  I have lived long enough to know that we lose, mightily, by excluding any group, based on any physical characteristic, faith or creed.  So, on we go, without the vivacious young paralegal, who just wanted to love her community.

Sixty-Six, for Sixty Six, Part XLVI: Tulsa Won My Trust

11

July 7, 2017, Joplin, MO- 

My son turned 29 today, and ended one banner year, with the promise of yet another. I rose early, in Santa Rosa, NM, and made it my goal to get to Amarillo, and the Blue Front Cafe, by lunch time.  The Time Zone differential always figures in, here, so when I call Wes, and tell him I’ll meet him for lunch, we both end up remembering, sooner or later, that 12 Noon means 1 PM.  So, once again, I miss Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole, for Amarillo’s Blue Front.

Wes had the place figured to be an oyster bar, and maybe that’s the new owner’s specialty, but the young lady who served us basically presented a lot of fare to which I’m accustomed. It is still good food, just not in as folksy an ambiance as under the previous ownership.  To a Texan, and to lesser an extent, an Arizonan, such tradition is everything.

After spinning a few yarns, and hearing some of Wes’s, I kept on, across the Llano Estacado.  Mailing my car payment, at the Post Office in Groom, TX, involved cruising around that handsome little town, just a bit.  Oklahoma, though, was not long in appearing in the foreground.

I had no pressing business, in the Sooner State, so essentially it was just  a series of pleasant memories that passed by, along with the towns:  Erick, Sayre, Elk City, Clinton, Weatherford, El Reno, Yukon and OKC.  There was no time to stop at the Memorial- maybe on the flip flop.  The Turnpike was what it always is, a quicker way to southwest Missouri and points further on.  As many of you know, it is divided into two segments, in northeast Oklahoma:  Before Tulsa and After Tulsa.  The erstwhile Oil Capital has not been high on my list, for several years, and all owing to my having witnessed a nasty tirade by a Greyhound Bus employee towards a fellow passenger, at the company’s terminal, in 1979.  That’s a lame excuse for a bad attitude, but it’s stayed in the back of my mind, ever since.  It was time to shed that perception.  I pulled off the highway, gassed up, admired a lovely woman-in a respectful manner and from a distance, and kept on with my drive to Joplin.   It was a ridiculous remedy, for a ridiculous grudge, but that’s all it took for Tulsa to win my trust.  One of these days, I will spend a day or two there, and better get to know the city of the Golden Hurricane.

I had planned on camping, in or near Joplin.  Cousin Lisa was tied up with 4-H, so I will try and catch her on the flip-flop, and besides, there was lightning flashing nearby, so I passed up the idea of setting up camp.  Tara Motel appeared, east of Joplin, as I was running out of energy, and options.  The place is a minimalist paradise, for the common man, who is just trying to catch about 120 winks.  That I was sure to do.  With no WiFi here, and Rerun Heaven in full swing, I read a bit and headed for dreamland.

NEXT UP:  Across Missouri and Illinois

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XLI: Bubbles

7

June 30, 2017, Prescott- 

This was a day,

four years ago,

when the world fell in on us.

Nineteen men,

most of them young,

fell before Mother Nature.

The shelters,

to which they had fallen back,

served as their sepulchres.

Four years later,

I sit in another shelter,

dealing with the winding down,

of the fire this time.

It will not be anyone’s tomb.

I think, however,

of the bubbles,

in which many of us

take mental refuge.

They become suffocating,

limiting,

and enervating.

I fell into such a bubble,

over the past few days.

Seeing demon mirages,

letting my mind lead

to a few dark corners.

It’s nice to have a pin,

and pop the bubble.

 

Clearing the Smoke

13

June 28, 2017, Prescott- 

It is no secret that I have several issues with anyone whose priority in life is belittling ,and exercising a faux authority over, others.  Even when one’s position embues responsibility, and therefore a measure of authority, over others, I have always regarded that as a special bounty, not to be viewed as carte blanche.

I have had, as you may remember, some moments of difficulty with certain of my supervisors, at my places of employment, over the years.  These have usually derived from lack of communication, though sometimes the issue has been a superior’s hubris.

This extends to volunteer-based organizations.  There are supervisors, even in an organization such as the Red Cross, who rely on yelling, embarrassing the pro bono help working under them and acting as if such work were strictly a paid position.  These same people then whine, when there is a shortage of staff, for a particular errand of mercy.

People matter.  Volunteers matter, and so do the clients, who like children witnessing an imperious father’s browbeating of his spouse (or vice versa), formulate a sense of justice.  We are, currently, in our area, experiencing a particularly intense and stressful wildfire situation.  The vast majority of volunteers and paid staff for our organization are greatly dedicated to the well-being of our clients.  It behooves those few, for whom this organization represents a neurotic means to power, to step aside, and let those whose hearts are with the good of the people, to get their tasks accomplished, without being browbeaten or made the targets of rancour.

End of editorial.

Burning On

8

June 26, 2017, Prescott-

This double haiku refers to the Goodwin Fire, now burning southeast of Prescott.  From 8 PM to 8AM(Tuesday), I will be manning the small shelter set up by the Red Cross, in the village of Spring Valley.

I would get packed,

then, I’d buy two tires

and head on out.

Mother Nature requests pause.

The fire down the road,

won’t be put out.

 

Quick, Not Dead

9

May 25, 2017, Prescott-

The verdict came, this afternoon.

As I expected, the complex position,

with multiple  and conflicting levels of supervision,

was judged not a good fit for me.

I will most likely work with teens, next academic year.

Adolescents have indeed been a better fit for me, over the years,

whenever discipline was part of the job.

Reason is important to me,

and I see childhood as not a time

for confusion or conflicting expectations.

Teens can reason with the unreasonable;

so can I, when they are unreasonable, themselves.

We will come upon a time,

when the children we call “indigo”

will have more on their plates,

decision-wise,

than their still forming minds

can handle.

For now, though,

whoever takes my place,

with the little ones,

will need to temper

the skill set of external control,

with a truly loving heart.

As for me, I am among the quickened.

No one in the head office wants me

professionally dead.

I will go on working.

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XXXIII: Duality

14

May 9, 2017, Prescott- 

I was ill, today.

It’s been a long time,

twenty years, in fact,

since I have been too ill

to go to work.

So, here I am,

having been in bed

most of the day.

Our bodies remind us

that we are dual creatures.

The physical frame lasts

longer for some,

than for others.

The spirit keeps on ticking,

regardless of the licking.

So, I slept, deeply,

and dreamed of my kids

working through their challenges.

When I get up,

to pray, to read the newspaper,

to get the mail, and to get in the car

and take care of an errand,

it felt like the weight of the world

was pressing down.

It’s not so much that way, right now.

My body will accept going to work,

the rest of the week.

Duality-

It’s like that with groups, too.

My team can be maddeningly fastidious,

about dots and tittles,

of student behaviour.

When I needed their understanding,

today, though,

the word was

“Get your rest,

we’ve got it all covered.”

That’s what I love most about life.

It works out, when essential.