Their Joyful Freedom


May 12, 2023, Carson City-

“What we have here, is a failure to communicate”-Strother Martin, Cool Hand Luke

The seemingly forlorn young woman remained holed up, in our shared Mixed Dorm room, speaking briefly, when spoken to, but not offering much, in the way of information about herself. She was functioning and while not outwardly fearful of her two male roommates, had clearly been through a bit of trauma somewhere else, and recently.

The little girl was chatty with her mother, and with another woman, who was from China and who conversed through a translation app on her phone. She went back and forth to her grandmother, in the next car of our train from Sacramento to points east (mine being Reno) and was a kind big sister to her toddler brother, when he got sick and vomited- to which their parents tended, without making a big scene. The family was friendly, but were a self-contained unit. They considered, and politely declined, offers of help from me and from the Chinese woman.

The Turo automobile renter apologized profusely, when his wife took the car I had rented from them, and went to work, returning about ten minutes after my appointed pick-up time, and having put a full tank of gas in, on her way back. While we waited, he told me of the struggles that face both the fast food industry and the truck stops that house many such establishments, as mergers and AI make decisions that are out of whack with reality on the ground. The representatives of High Management are “shocked” to discover that the lay-offs and budget cuts, which their overlords demand, will actually serve to make things far worse, as staff is frequently already at bare minimum.

The two winsome pre-adolescent girls stuck together, brought an issue to the motel owner’s attention and looked after me, while I was checking into my room, later remarking to one of their other friends that they thought I was “special”, though I barely said much more than “Thank you” to one who had picked up a dropped item. The group of children later gathered in a small play area that the owner has established where families can relax and where children can safely enjoy the fresh air.

My extended family, here in Carson, communicated their plans to me, via their matriarch’s texts. It sounds like a delightful two days, as always. We spoke a lot, back and forth, about how essential unconditional love is for children and how that love is most always passed on to the next generation, as well as how it can be brought into the lives of those whose lives have been hell. The woman I call my spiritual sister has raised countless foster children, her two adopted children and her natural-born daughter-and has been a rock for her grandchildren of two generations. Communication has been her staple.

Communication once came hard to my autistic self, but as the love that has always been in my heart overcame the reticence that consumed my mind, connecting with others has become an essential part of being. With Artificial Intelligence and more distant decision-making, often based more on incomplete information and wildly overblown assumptions, being de rigueur, even the most seemingly banal texts and IMs have assumed essential status, in order for the right thing to happen for the good of the order.

Miscommunication can be a snowball going downhill. It is our lot, to prevent it from becoming an avalanche.

The Power of She


September 29, 2021- Today is my sister’s birthday; tomorrow marks the anniversary of my late wife’s birth. Earlier this month, there occurred the birthdays of our mother and of two very powerful young women, whose full mark has yet to be made, but which will certainly be indelible.

From where does the first lesson about power derive? Boy and girl alike sense that power, in the loving embrace, soothing voice, warm smile and, quite often, the nourishment provided by mother.

The first lessons come from the mind and heart of the most dedicated teacher a child could ever want.

The first reassurance after each of life’s blows, whether they be glancing or crushing, comes from the spirit which gave life in the first place.

This love, this solid rock, stays with a child, long after adulthood has been reached. It is this which sustains throughout fire, flood and famine.

So, in all the world, as much as man or boy look to initiate, procreate and dominate, nothing of substance happens, save for the power of she.

Things That Last


April 24, 2021-

I have built friendships, over the past ten years. Those not founded on money, or any sort of desire, have lasted.

I have patronized several establishments and food providers over this decade. Those which honour me, as a single, older man, and base our transactions on a place of trust and integrity, have retained my patronage.

I have lived in the same dwelling for seven years. The landlord is old-school, “pay as you go”, knowing that I will honour my duty to remit my monthly rent on the first business day of the month and he takes care of anything that needs repair.

Faith and family have sustained me for seventy years. I know that neither is going to let me down. The Creator never will, nor will parents, siblings, spouse or son, whether they be in the flesh or in spirit.

These are things that last.

Four Days’ Reflections


December 29, 2015, Phoenix- The period just passed, from Christmas  until Transit Day (yesterday), saw either sporadic WiFi connection, or time when being on the Internet would have been just plain rude.  As it was, my non-technological mother saw any time spent on the computer as an imposition, even when I was sharing what I found with the group.

Few are in a place of honour, when among those who knew them when.  I was delighted to have felt welcome, when I visited with a couple of friends from my late teen/young adult years, and the three of us were actually having intelligent, respectful conversation- free of the oneupmanship that seemed so prevalent back then.  Now, we are all mid-sexagenarians and have a grander view.

Mom was not feeling all that great, but kept a game face the whole time I was in Saugus.  I know better, though, and I also know that her current aches and pains will subside.  Andrew Wyeth remarked, on his own father’s passing, “It took a freight train to kill N.C. Wyeth!”.  It’ll take a lot more than that to bring down my mother.

The siblings will always be my treasured core group.  I spent time as the bete-noire, in my twenties, and it was largely deserved.  Now, each of us has our niche and when we get together, we have genuine nuggets to share.  This was my sister’s year to break out- to see the Mountain Northwest: Montana and Wyoming.  Her list of travel goals is also growing, and I hope she gets to a few more, in the years immediately ahead.

One of my seatmates, on the plane back, recommended a book entitled “The Third Target”, by Joel C. Rosenberg.  She was looking at the piece as if it were non-fiction, much the way some of us interpreted Tom Clancy novels, in the ’90’s.  Indeed, many fictional works are vehicles for disseminating information that would otherwise be “classified”.

I got a lot read of “The Witches:  Salem, 1692”, that is a nonfictional study of the events, and backdrop, of the Salem Witch Trials.  Kids were unruly back then, also, and, wonder of wonders, because they were roundly ignored by parents who were pre-occupied with the day-to-day grind of an oppressive life.  That teenaged girls and young women would react to being treated as chattel, by staging near-psychotic flash mob attacks on the reputations of their elders, somehow comes as no surprise.  Children have been my life, for nearly forty years.  The more neglected they have seemed, in their larger lives, the more I have sought to understand them and be of value.

Now, I am back in what has come to be Home Base.  My coming to Arizona, initially, was rather random and happenstance.  As with any such move by a rootless youth, it morphed into a place of growth.  I am still growing, and my octogenarian mother is till lucid enough to tell me that I’ve seen nothing yet.  The “Greatest Generation” will never concede to their Baby Boomer children, or anyone else, the place of the pioneer.

I look forward to the rest of this decade, and to my seventies, eighties and whatever else the Good Lord deigns to offer.  As the great Dick Van Dyke writes: “Keep Moving”. (I’m reading that book now, also).






The Road to 65, Mile 242: Friends Are Us


July 28, 2015, Prescott- Get used to this byline; most of my posts, especially during the week, will be “Prescott”.  I tend to get more free-wheeling with these, as my travel blog readers disappear.

More about the topic of friendships:  A friend in another state recently said same-gender friendships are very important (partly in response to my comment about having a large number of women friends).  The choice is not apples or oranges.  It’s a healthy mix of the two.  When I socialize with groups of people, there are men, with whom I discuss some aspects of life; women with whom I discuss other aspects of life; and “mixed” groups, where the conversation is general. None of these are confined to “safe” topics.

My best friend, for thirty years, was my late wife.  We had no secrets, kept no grudges and worked together on just about everything.  My next-best friend was a man, with whom I could also discuss just about anything, over the 31 years we knew one another.  He was also very honest, in a loving way and guided me through some very rough patches after Penny’s passing.  Mike could say “No, you don’t!”, when acquiescence would have easier, but less authentic.

I have many friends, around the continent, and a few in Europe, Australasia and southeast Asia, with whom I can discuss a variety of topics, get honest feedback and correct things as I need to.  I am also here for them, in that way.  This list is not a gender-heavy or age-heavy roster.

There is one woman friend, here, with whom I am collaborating on a venture.  Our friendship is more “sibling-ish” than anything else, with plenty of free-wheeling discussion and any illusions either of us had of romance were dispelled early-on.  Were she to meet a good man, tomorrow, and at long last have a life relationship, I’d be the first to congratulate.  There was a time in my life when I had to deal with distraction issues.  Over the past year or so, especially since having visited Europe, I see these issues for what they are:  Impediments to real friendship.

I guess it’s largely a matter of maturing, and clearing one’s inner eye.