The 2018 Road, Day 29: The Cleansing Storm and Saturday’s Markets

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June 23, 2018, Tifton, GA-

After a short pass by Clemson University, which I found closed for the evening, I headed off to look for a campsite along  Richard B. Russell Lake.  Named for a conservative senator from Georgia, who was noteworthy as both a pragmatist and a parliamentarian, despite having misgivings about integrating whites and blacks at the Federal level, the lake, formed by damming the Savannah River, draws people of all ethnicities.

I chose the first campground on the South Carolina side of the river:  Calhoun Falls State Park.  The town was named for another senator, John C. Calhoun, who strode the floor of his chamber, orating in defense of slavery, whilst privately educating his own slaves back home.  Even the most seemingly venal of people can be complicated.

The Southland has always graced my camping efforts with a torrential rain, and last night was no exception.  Despite the cleansing downpour, with copious thunder and lightning, my tent and rain flap stayed put.  It also helped that the tent site is on porous ground.

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Here are some views of  the lake, looking towards the Georgia shore. Note that the soil along the shore is red.

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I made a stop at the camp store, for a bit of breakfast, before heading out.  Two sweet teen girls were minding the store and made sure I had fresh coffee and a scone, on this soggy morning.

Outside, the dock and its attendant were getting ready for a more promising day of sunshine.

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I took county roads to the town of Calhoun Falls, then to McCormick, before going on to Edgefield, the hometown of another of South Carolina’s more provocative figures:  J. Strom Thurmond.  Before Donald Trump, before George Wallace, Strom Thurmond stood for keeping things as they were, in bygone days- before coming to his senses in later years, and actually being mortified by those who cited him as an example of a man who could “keep the races apart”.

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I found numerous mementos of the Civil War, as was to be expected, and solid antebellum architecture.  Then, there was the turkey.  Edgefield’s more eclectic claim to fame is as the headquarters of the American Wild Turkey Association.  One of the men with whom I spoke had been to Prescott, and had hunted wild turkeys in our National Forest.

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I took in Edgefield’s tiny, but welcoming Farmers’ Market, purchasing a couple of gifts for my family in Florida.  Then I poked around a bit in Edgefield’s town square.

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Below, is the town’s memorial to its Confederate  war dead.  Being on the opposite side of the slavery issue, I nonetheless recognize that people of earlier times had to go through their growing pains.  Then, too, so do many of this day and age.

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Other memorials honour those fallen in subsequent conflicts.  This memorial stone commemorates World War II.

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I stopped in Park Row Cafe, for a muffaletta, which held its own with the more famous New Orleans versions of the sandwich.  I was greeted warmly by the young lady who I had met on the street, earlier.  The cafe’s manager, though, was a bit more guarded, wondering aloud about “the western Yankee”. She was quite glad to see me go.  Too bad, as the place has wonderful fare.

Down the road, and a bit north of the river, is Aiken.  It is home to another Xanga friend, who was not at home when I visited downtown.  I can see the attraction, though.  Aiken had a larger Farmers’ Market than Edgefield, and was considerably more vibrant.  I spent most of my time here in New Moon Cafe, a fortuitous discovery, as I was missing Artful Dodger.  I sat, nursing a Haitian pour-over, absorbing the positive energy.  I found this magnetic little cafe a great excuse for returning to Aiken in the future, even if Xanga friend is not around.  Here is a small hotel that might be of interest to those not inclined to camp.

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New Moon is all about power!

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I took this photo from a discrete distance as, underneath the signage, another patron was relaxing with coffee and the paper.

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Leaving salubrious Aiken, I wanted to make fairly good time getting to north Florida, before turning in. So Augusta, Lake Oconee, Macon and Andersonville all wait for another time.  I made a mental note, as to the exquisite beauty of Oconee and its Reynolds properties.  There is much also that Georgia has to tell, regarding the struggles of men with one another.  Americus showed the way towards amity, whilst Andersonville chronicles the flip side of Maryland’s Point Lookout, being the site of a POW camp for Union soldiers, just as the latter was for Confederate POW.

So, I stopped here, in Tifton, just off I-75, enjoying chicken salad at a Zaxbe’s.  I still am determined to make it at least to Ocala, tonight.

 

Just Because…

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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 3- Washington Slept Here

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June 14, 2018, Valley Forge-

The area on the west side of Valley Forge National Historical Park lies between the village of Valley Forge and the Schuylkill River, with General Washington’s Headquarters and its support buildings dominating the area, during the period of regrouping.

This residence was used by the Quartermaster for the Continental Army at Valley Forge, General Nathaniel Greene.

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About a half-mile east, Washington’s main encampment was established, after he moved the Marquee away from the Artillery Park. His personal guardsmen were housed in these cabins, with a spring house immediately below.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The building below was a bakery for the Continental Army.

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Here is the house that served as General Washington’s Headquarters. The downstairs was office space and a kitchen. All officers, including George Washington, slept on the second floor.

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Here is a glimpse of Washington’s office.

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Washington slept here.

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I grabbed a late lunch and gassed up in Valley Forge Village, with Freedom Deli and Catering being right next to a Sunoco station.  I took a brief look at Freedom’s Foundation’s grounds, which I remember from Frankie Laine’s pitch on the radio, in the late 1950’s.  Funny, what sticks in your head. I didn’t get photos, as the place was closed and I would like to do it justice, on another visit.  Valley Forge left me with a deeper appreciation for the truth of all those stories of hardship and endurance, we heard in my school days.

Back to Oley, I’m headed, and thankfully there is no rain in the forecast.

NEXT:  Brotherly Love and The Wedding of the Year

Freedom Within

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June 14,2018, Oley, PA-

The past two days have been spent taking in some aspects of history. Yesterday afternoon, I learned about American railroads, by visiting Steamtown National Historical Park, in Scranton, PA. Today, I spent almost the entire day at Valley Forge, the place where George Washington regrouped and shored up his forces, for a more concerted run at the powerful British Army.

The knowledge of history is right up there with the natural world, in my pursuit of understanding. I regret not posting photos, but when I get my new laptop, all these visits will be reprised, with the photos I’ve been taking.

Back to the matter of freedom. Valley Forge is a symbol of fighting for freedom. There is even an active organization in the town:Freedom’s Foundation, made famous in the 1969’s by the late American singer, Frankie Laine.

My take, in a nutshell: Freedom is a state of mind and heart. Of course, as with money, one must work to secure outward freedom, and never take it for granted. Yet, even those living in a dictatorship have the option of keeping the flame of freedom alive in their heart and mind.

I will have more to say about this,later, but I am getting tired,after a wonderful day, capped by a lovely dinner with a new friend.

Dear Thug

13

June 10, 2018, Montreal-

You thought you got the drop on me, yesterday, waiting until I was far enough away from my car that I didn’t hear the smashing of window glass, did not witness you taking my seven-year-old laptop and my passport. To the extent you thought of me at all, you probably imagined a terified, whimpering American tourist, who was wondering “Oh, whatever shall I DO?”.

So, let’s get real about what this means, for each of us. I spent The rest if my Saturday being assisted by your better neighbours: A confident and dedicated young police officer, who knows her role in society, far better than you know yours; a strong, but gentle, young man who is a Muslim, by the way, and who carefully and diligently removed the bulk of the glass you left in my car, following your act of rage; two hostel workers who called around, for a space for me, to no avail. It is one of Montreal’s signature weekends, after all: Formula One Grand Prix.

Today, I am back at my favourite place to stay in Montreal. I made my car fitted with protection from the elements. I gave back to the young people who have so gracefully welcomed me into their community. I got a fine haircut from Irina. I am singing along to Eddie Vedder’s “I’m Still Alive”. Tomorrow, I will move forward, with new glass on my car windows and clearance from my government, to cross back into the land of my birth. In two years’ time, I will be back in Montreal.

So what of you? Perhaps, you are bragging to your friends and associates, about how you took advantage of a stupid Yankee. You may find someone who can break my laptop’s encryption and enable you, or your “employer”, to read my posts, to harass me or, God forbid to use the device for more nefarious purposes. You may try to sell my passport to the wide world of imposters. You will, in the long of it, fail. You are probably well-known to the Montreal Police Department, and the young officer took evidence with her. You are certainly known, at least in terms of your actions, by the people who live around McGill University. Their patience is running thin.

So, we both move forward. I will continue to live a life that values people and a Higher Power. You have a choice to make. Give up what is not yours or face one element or another, of civil society.

The 2018 Road, Day 8: A Day of Being Blocked

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June 3, 2018, Lowell, IN-

I set out, in earnest, for the Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette at 9 a.m., fully intending to meet a mentor- friend who lives north of there, in a timely manner.  The problem was, I left at 9 a.m. from Carthage, on the west side of Illinois.  I stayed within the good graces of the law, clear to a point about 20 miles south of Rockford, getting there about 1 p.m.

Inching eastward, using a variety of state highways, I got to Wilmette way too late to visit with said mentor-friend.   So, takeaway # 1:  Never stay more than 2 hours from Chicagoland, if the goal is to meet someone in Chicagoland, the next day-even from Saturday to Sunday.  In fairness, the same holds true for New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and even Philadelphia, where I will stay in the center of the city, in two weeks’ time.

Other things got done, spiritually. It is my eleventh visit here, and this is the first-and last-time that I have tried to make a same day visit to the Temple, from outside the 50-mile radius.  I also had a lovely full meal at Ridgeview Grill, a wonderful place on the west side of Wilmette, served by engaging and attentive Lisa D.  I think that will be my dining place of choice, in future visits to the House of Worship.

Needless to say, there are no photos from this Day of Being Blocked. I made it to a campsite here, in Lowell, IN, around 9 p.m.  Amen!

Trouble Truths

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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.

Whatever

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May 5, 2018, Prescott-

(Part 3 of the Mr. Ribeiro story will be dated tomorrow, May 6.  In the meantime, this came up.)

You said you hoped to be my friend.

Then, when I started to get too close,

you backed off.

You wanted to be my friend,

Yet, when your good buddy trolled me

and I stood up to him,

you became very distant.

I’ve seen this before,

and it’s okay.

I am no more alone now,

than I was before you

came on my site.

Do what makes you happy.

Just leave me out of it.

The Kiosk

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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.

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