June 18, 2017, Prescott-

The little girl told her father that she wanted to go over to an open area, at the memorial service for one of her school mates, so that she might do flips and somersaults.  “Go ahead”, said the man, while casting a wary eye about the grounds, “I’m watching you.”

This is among the fastest moving years I can remember.  Even staying closer to Home Base, for much of June, there has been no end to full days of activity, geared towards the betterment of the world.  That’s what we are expected to do, though- leave the world a better place than we found it.

I believe I have made a step in that direction, by raising a human being to adulthood, and pointing him in the direction that seemed most sensible to me- and most importantly, to him.  He has not disappointed me, once, since taking the vow of service to his country, and moving forward as an intelligent, hard-working young man.

My Dad saw me through some tough times, never giving up.  I miss him, yet I’m glad he didn’t have to see the difficulties through which we lived, in the first ten years of this century.  On the other hand, I will do all I can to support Aram, if trials and turbulence come again his way.

As to those hard ten years, 2001-11, commitment as a father means commitment as a husband.  I stayed true to Penny and did everything possible, to make sure she was in charge of her own life, to the end, no matter what pressures were brought on us by “experts” and well-meaning people, who just wanted to “get ‘er done”.  We honed our consultation skills, which were more something I, more than she, had to develop. It’s academic, as to whether we would have been better-served by using a debt reduction service, rather than filing for bankruptcy, but we chose the latter, and it’s all in the past, now.  Good life lessons were learned, late, and not lost on our son.

I see the vast majority of fathers, at least those with whom I have some contact, being wonderful, dedicated men.  None of us walks on water, yet we are producing fairly well-grounded young people.  Some are intensely vigilant; others, like the man mentioned above, are cautious, but relaxed enough to let their sons and daughters step out on their own, according to ability.

Fatherhood, even when children mature, and seem a million miles away, is an eternal blessing.  I look forward to many more years of that blessing and, if God wills, to its logical outgrowth:  Grandfatherhood.


The Road to 65, Mile 350: What Paris Taught Me


November 13, 2015, Phoenix- I spent a good part of the day here, taking my third and last Elementary Certification Test.  While my day, to and from this bustling city, was peaceful, Paris’s Friday was the opposite.  DASH, or IS, or whatever the relics of medievalism call themselves, cast the City of Light in mayhem and blood.

With 129, or more, innocent people slaughtered, I am on my knees in homage to the great city, which welcomed me in June, 2014.  My adulthood has been late in blooming, and Paris gave me some key lessons, in that regard.

I learned:  Two very different places, within the same city, can have the same, or very similar names.  So, I trudged up the hill, to beautiful Montmartre, only to have a tourist office clerk patiently explain that my hotel would be found on Rue de Montmartre- down the hill, in central Paris.

I learned that French people can be quite annoyed with a visitor’s foibles, yet still provide fine service- this at my hotel, and again at the France Pass counter, in the west train station.

I learned that, even if one is slightly less than punctual, a tour guide is willing to take one into the group- once.  I didn’t chance being a few minutes late, the second time, though.

I learned that I was fully capable of catching, and dodging, the various ruses used by the “Gold Ring Grifters” and the subway “Card Swipers” (whose “service” consisted of swiping one subway ticket through the card reader, in hopes of a 200 Euro tip.)

I learned that Paris, with all its majesty, its splendour, its sheer humanity, has room for one more, regardless of background, status or appearance.  I also learned that its Metro cars are not like those of Tokyo.  There are no pushers, cramming people in.  On the Metro, the one more must often wait for the next train.

Still and all, when I return to Paris, perhaps in the summer of 2018, or five years hence, I will find a welcoming presence, expecting one who is a bit wiser in the ways of La Luminee.  We shall not disappoint each other.  I feel your sorrow, your pain, mon coeur.