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.

Maternal is Eternal

0

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.

May, and I’m Not Away

4

May 1, 2018, Prescott-

There are 3 1/2 weeks left in our academic year.  I have two days off left- Tomorrow, for a Baha’i Holy Day- the Twelfth Day of Ridvan (more at that time) and a dental appointment, in two weeks’ time.  Otherwise, weekdays will find us finishing what we started, for our four remaining students.

I won’t leave the state of Arizona until Memorial Day weekend and another “Where’s Waldo?”month.  There is so much yet to do and to thoroughly enjoy, in the meantime, that I am hard put to make preliminary arrangements for June.  You know, though, that I’ll get ‘er done, in plenty of time.

I’ll be back in Tempe, on Saturday, for a daylong Baha’i conference.   Sunday will be spent reconnecting with a few long-lost friends, and honouring a very special young lady, on the cusp of her high school graduation.  Mother’s Day weekend means Prescott Valley’s 40th anniversary.  I may also head to Tucson, to see an ailing friend, if he’s up for a visit.  The third weekend will be mostly Baha’i business, planning and prepping for the summer months.

One of my friends here has posted about making a Vision Board.  I might try my hand at that, either next week or the following.  It’d be good to do this in the presence of our peer tutors in the classroom, as it might inspire them to do the same.

May is sweet, hot (at least after this coming Saturday) and a time of culmination.  I intend to truly savour the blessed days.

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.

Radiance

12

April 22, 2018, Prescott-

While my laptop is, sadly, not able to upload photos from a SIM card, owing to a scratch either inside the port or on the adapter, I want to make mention of this weekend’s Chalk-it-Up.

We had live entertainment today.  A friend of mine was performing, as the lone male member of a group of ukulele players, doing spirited renditions of hits from the ’60’s and ’70’s.  They were accompanied by a very serious and limber little girl, dancing solo, with not a care for anyone watching.  She was a joy to behold, and the gleams in her grandparents’ eyes said it all.

Then came a radiant young hoop dancer, a woman of about 22, I’d say, also dancing her way into the hearts of all watching.  She reminded me of a dear young friend, who used to dance with both hoops and light sticks, before her untimely death in an auto accident, six years ago.  I thought of Jayme, whilst watching this dancer and her sharing of her hoops with several children in the audience.  My friend egged me on, to try a hoop myself, but I am awkward with such things and it would have been even more awkward being the only other adult jumping into the fray, alongside the winsome instructor- young enough to be my granddaughter.  Oh, well.

Chalk-it-Up is always a joyful event.  Here are some scenes of the more colourful drawings.  In their honour,  let’s take joy in the radiant beings around us.

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These Five Things

9

April 22, 2018, Prescott-

I am not given to talking so much about myself, but yesterday, I received a nomination from someone who has been friendly and supportive, of late:  Amberley Griffin.

This is to invite me to list five things I like about myself.  So, here goes.

First, I like my resilience.  I have been able to bounce back from several mishaps, setbacks, or what not- from bankruptcy and the loss of my wife, Penny to having the brake linings of my car cut, a few years back and losing it in a ditch.

Second, I like my health.  I have been able to maintain good health and a somewhat youthful energy level.  It takes fastidious practices, including essential oil-based supplements, chiropractic treatments, power naps after work, regular work-outs and a fastidious attention to diet.

Third, I am fairly pleasant company.  I get along well with most people and am doing better at not taking offense when people are standoffish or cross.

Fourth, I have a quick, though situation-based, sense of humour.  I cannot produce jokes on demand, but things come to mind at the oddest of moments, while being apropos to a situation.

Fifth, I am a loyal friend, even to those who, for philosophical differences, I have not seen or heard for a few months, or years.  If those people needed me, I would do the best I could to be there.

I am a work in progress, and so, while I have irritated some here, lately, bear with me.  My whole is pretty good, overall.