No Pause Button

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December 1, 2019-

This holiday weekend, now drawing to a close, reminded me that even in the midst of a wonderful celebration, there may come the cry of the needy.  I tended to that, as best I could, without besmirching the kindness of one of my dearest friends and members of her family.  I was honoured, beyond measure, on Thursday afternoon and evening.  It doesn’t take much, anymore, for me to feel that.  I go forward, at age 69, with a continued sense of personal worth.  Thanksgiving, 2019 was the sixth straight year at table with this wonderful family that has found its way into my heart.

Friday was, of course, our first real bout of winter weather, one month ahead of the actual season.  Shoveling a path to the street was followed by a night manning a shelter, which no one needed.  That is beside the point, though, as shelters are, by definition, designed to be manned proactively.  I have to say, the large Arizona Republic Thanksgiving Crossword kept me  very well-occupied, nearly until morning.

Saturday, I finally answered the figurative tapping on the window, and hopefully have drawn the right attention to the issues that were raised by an online correspondent.  The rest of the day, though, was spent catching up on the sleep I forewent, whilst manning the shelter.  Being up most of Friday night, though, showed that I still have stamina.  The evening was graced by the megaton voice of one Jacqui Foreman, who showed both vocal range and mastery of two types of guitar, in a concert at The Raven Cafe. She and her two accompanists delivered a solid three hours of a range of music, from soft rock ballads to acoustic jazz; Ma Rainey, through Frank Sinatra, to The Cranberries and Metallica, all find a spot in Sister Jackson’s repertoire. Among the people who I encountered there were a veteran musical arranger, a little boy who was somehow fascinated by my presence and a young lady who waved at me, from across the room- a case of mistaken identity.  It’s always colourful at The Raven.

Today, the last month of a decade of growth launched itself.  I tidied up my driveway, which had still been laden with ice and snow.  The sun was a big helper, and now the driveway is mostly clear.  The breakfast meeting at the Legion was cancelled, so I went down to Cupper’s, for an order of skinny pancakes, with melon on the side.  Several transient men were there, warming themselves, waiting for a Salvation Army service, across the street.  They had a very sobering account of the snowstorm just passed.  At least, there was an active shelter-not the one I manned, but the regular overnight shelter that SA provides, on below-freezing nights.  The day ended with a short Baha’i meeting, and now I look forward to a fruitful December.

Work will likely still be slow, but I will be mainly concerned with my dear daughter-in-law, who arrives  next Sunday, for nearly a month.  Aram will be back, after New Year’s and his last days with the regular Navy.  It’ll give me a chance to introduce Yunhee to our fair state and to several of my dear friends.  Then, too, is everything that has to do with Christmas time in Prescott, and around the state.

Cleaning Up Ashes

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December 26, 2018, Prescott-

There is always a reckoning,

when one fails to heed the inner voice.

Christmas, 2018 will be remembered

as much for what I lost,

as for what I received.

There will be a reckoning,

sometime this week,

in one part of my life.

Then, I will go on,

though thankfully,

not without a job.

I may have one less friend,

and one less close relative,

in my life.

I will go on, though,

because there is no other way.

On the other hand,

I have a little family,

who  bring me joy,

and will continue,

for a good many years to come.

Prescott may not be the same.

after this week,

but I have my work,

my team,

and my students.

Family may not be the same,

in terms of its extension,

but I have my son,

my daughter-in-law,

and my siblings.

I have my Faith,

my co-worshipers

and my own determination,

to just be a better soul.

His Timeless Love

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December 25, 2018, Prescott-

The conference over, it is back to Christmas City.  Two gatherings graced me with their invitations today.  A small group of friends has taken to observing special holidays, with a noon meal, sparing no celebratory detail.  On Thanksgiving, it was a full-on turkey dinner.  Today, it was ham; broccoli and kale salad, in poppy seed dressing; sweet potatoes and acorn squash.  Homemade fudge and chocolate chip cookies were the desserts. We watched a fresh performance of “The Nutcracker Suite”, on PBS.  It got Christmas off to a fine start.

In the late afternoon, I headed to another gathering of friends; family members who have been consistent friends of mine for the past five years.  We enjoyed four kinds of homemade pizza, then watched a segment of “Bolt”, followed by a Hallmark love story-much needed by some, after the intensity of the holiday.

Two things jumped out at me about the day.  First, I encountered a part of myself that needed to be let go.  Without going into detail, one of my friends let me know, very subtly, that this unattractive aspect of my personality had worn out its welcome.  I also recognize that a small leap needed to be made, in my personal growth- so here goes another small step for a man.

Second, and most importantly, the day may have had Wiccan roots, centered on the Winter Solstice and acknowledgement of nature’s rhythms, but it has long become a universal recognition of the power of Divine Love.  We can say, with some assurance, that Jesus the Christ was actually born closer to the coming of Spring, perhaps late March or early April, yet here we celebrate love and the work of peace.  Once again, it’s obvious that peace is messy, at first, and comes hard.  So, Christmas can be tortuous for those who feel unappreciated or shut-out.  I have been there, in my youth, and fortunately had family members who knew how to assuage my fears and anxieties.  I will do what I can for those who are going through that now.

I hope all have a blessed Christmas season- clear to New Year’s, and beyond.

A War On Main Street?

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December 20, 2018, Prescott-

Is there a war against Main Street?

I have read some commentaries to that effect.

The financial sector is headed towards a period of decline.

This always gets turned into “The Big Boys are out to get us,

and right in time for Christmas, yet!!”

It happened in 2008,

and many small investors lost a fair amount.

This largely was blamed on the Federal Reserve Bank,

and on fearful large investors,

who took their money and ran.

It happened in 1929,

and everyone got clobbered.

This one will likely last two or three years,

and so I will keep on working,

for two of those years,

and will largely behave,

as if I have nary a dime.

Behind the scenes,

many people,

including me,

will be working with people

smarter in these matters than I,

and safeguarding our portfolios.

Money is like water.

It seems to disappear,

but where does it actually go?

I will find out,

and get my foot in that door.

Money is like water.

It never really dissipates.

It just shifts form,

and changes locations.

This, too, shall pass.

Open your eyes,

Main Street,

and don’t worry

about the Big Dogs.

You can beat them,

at their own game.

 

 

One Heart’s Fortune

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November 30, 2018, Prescott-

This evening, with a fairly peaceful week of work behind me, and a resolution to the dilemma, that I described in the last post, having been put into motion, I attended the opening night of a play, “Hannah’s Heart”, about a 10-year-old girl in Depression-era Prescott, her family, and two benefactors.

Like many families in the 1930’s, the Meadows’ were a brood led by a swaggering father, who was, ironically, recovering from an injury, and a stoic mother, focused on what she could do to make up for the loss of her husband’s productivity.  The ebb in their fortunes led to older daughter Hannah Grace, stepping up to make tree ornaments, by the sale of which she could provide gifts for her family.

The flow that this effort provided helped reverse the family’s low fortune, at least temporarily.  She was aided in her work by two angelic figures, an elderly woman who lived alone and who was befriended by the Meadows’ and a robust man from Texas, who took on the work, around the family farm, that Mr. Meadows was unable to do.  Both of them mentored Hannah, encouraging her to follow her heart.

I enjoy this sort of down-to-earth, human interest story.  It mirrors the many tales I’ve heard over the years, from both sides of my large extended family, as well as from my departed in-laws.  The format of the play has an elderly Hannah Grace, in the present day, telling her Millennial granddaughter about the events of that long-ago Christmas.  It behooves all present-day youth to learn what they can of that time in history, from those who lived it if possible, so as to be better able to handle similar situations, which could very well arise, in their own lifetimes.

 

Peace and Love Award

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April 7, 2018, Prescott-

IMG_20180306_001403_504

Although I don’t do awards, I will thank those who award me and answer their questions, on this site.  Thanks to- https://wordpress.com/post/patrickrealstories.wordpress.com/1190, for this nomination.  I am not good at hyperlinking, but do visit Patrick’s Stories.

 

What is your earliest childhood memory ?

I was two, and my sister, then an infant, was crying in our shared crib.

What is your favorite social media site?

This one (WordPress)

Where would you spend your Christmas, if you have a million dollar offer from BILL GATES ?(funny)

Tuscany

What is your best musical instrument?

None, actually.  I am a tiny bit okay, playing a flute.

What is your favourite cartoon?(weird)

Arthur

Peter Rabbit’s House

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April 7, 2017, Prescott- 

There they were, the day before  the  first demon came,

living in beautiful anticipation

of the joy that is equal parts sacred and secular.

On the day before the first demon came,

a little boy took his father’s hand

and went to call, at Peter Rabbit’s House.

There was where they both went to dream.

On the day that the first demon came,

young friends mused, about just how

amazing that Christmas would be.

On the day the first demon came,

a grandfather started his day,

sitting in his own house of dreams,

and looked out on the school,

across the street.

Then the first demon came,

the little dreamers fell,

along with some

of their protectors.

The first demon died,

of his own hand.

Some other little dreamers

ran to the grandfather,

who took them in,

on the day the first demon came.

Other demons came,

in his wake,

threatening the grandfather,

and the families,

of the fallen little dreamers.

They always come in packs,

these demons,

even though they claim

to not know one another.

We, though, know who they are.

We, who love our little dreamers,

will stand for them,

and the packs of demons,

will fall by the wayside,

far from Peter Rabbit’s House.

( This is inspired by viewing the film, “Newtown”)

 

Oh, The Whiteness!

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December 24, 2016, Prescott- I drove down to Phoenix, early this morning, for a day at Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference. It’s so -named because of being located in the Grand Canyon State, every year, around Christmas.  As many of you know, we Baha’is do not observe Christmas, per se, so this event gives a festive air for those,especially Persian refugees, who have no Christmas traditions of their own.  Nonetheless, we do wish Christians a Merry Christmas, and greatly appreciate the joy of this season.

A memorable presentation, this morning, dealt with the common patterns which are found throughout the Universe, and within living things.  Swirls, circles, triangles, hearts and star shapes are among the more common patterns.  It’s ever-fascinating to observe both these patterns and those which remind us of common daily features (Horsehead Nebula, for example), in many parts of our world, and in the Universe-at- large.

After a couple of other sessions, in the afternoon, and an evening of thoughtful musical presentations, about the need for finding common ground, while standing firm in our values, I realized that it would be essential for me to head back up here, as the snow, while not preventing my drive home, would be a nuisance for my neighbours in the complex, who are not physically able to shovel out.

I made it back up, in about 2 1/2 hours.  There were no road delays, but when I got to my street, I found it hadn’t been plowed yet. It took some pushing from three kind men, a bit of maneuvering back and forth and a helpful policeman, standing watch for any oncoming traffic, but I got my car parked in a temporary spot on the street.  My emergency permit lasts until 10 A.M., tomorrow, so I will need to get up early and shovel like crazy.

Here’s what we face, on our first white Christmas in years.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

No Abyss Needed

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December 20, 2016, Prescott-

Today was either a day of mourning,

if one sees oppression and catastrophe ahead;

a day of rejoicing, if one sees opportunity to prosper,

or to return to old ways of looking at the world;

or, as it was for me, a day when the imperative,

of seeing one’s perceived adversaries as like unto

oneself, has become manifest.

In a few short days, I will bid farewell

to another old soldier,

whose interment will take place,

two days before Christmas.

Then, it will be time

to listen to the Divine,

in another group setting,

as we Baha’is gather

in consultation and spiritual discovery,

for the thirty-second consecutive

Christmas season.

I’m close to finishing

“The Tenth Insight”,

a novel of intense

spiritual energy,

of visions

of Armageddon,

of Rapture,

of Afterlife.

Much will happen,

in those regards.

I believe, though,

that we need not

leap into an abyss

of self-doubt.

We need not

head backward,

into a jungle of despair.

Our journey,

of true togetherness,

may cast a bridge

across the widest gulfs.

It is a matter

of free will.

Healing

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December 8, 2016, Prescott-

The toughest month of the school year is almost half over.  Many people, adults and children alike, are eager for the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa festivities.  Others are dreading the loneliness and tension that the same season brings.

I find it a delight, while keeping my heart open to the suffering.  We got the ball rolling on help for a hurting soul, this afternoon.  Another feels life is crushing- and for her, the only answer is “One step at a time.”  Neither is really alone, and both have a shot at getting through it.

Nothing is guaranteed, though, and things can and do fall apart, for reasons far from understood by yours truly.  I only know that taking the bitter with the sweet has been my saving grace, for many years now.  My son is finding that out, once again.  His healing has progressed another notch, and he is free to wear regular shoes again.  I hope gell pads are part of his foot gear, but he will make that choice and heal completely, regardless.

My own situation is such that, by taking each day as it comes, and learning from each thing that comes my way, I will first survive and then thrive.  Healing has taken five years, mistakes were made along the way, and people were hurt.  I am confident that some amends were made, and that, with my angel’s watchfulness, life will continue to be fruitful and full of growth opportunities for my soul.

As we continue to move towards our holidays, I wish all to find some solace and know that the light of love is shining, however distant it may seem.