December 29, 2022- The couple walked two steps in front of me, as I was heading home, past the stately Hassayampa Inn, after meeting Akuura for an afternoon of conversation over latte and tea, at the newly-opened Century Lounge. The woman expressed to her mate, that she didn’t think she could walk much further, on the somewhat slippery sidewalk, to which he replied “You can do it, Baby. Come on, Baby!”

I don’t recall Penny and I having addressed each other in infantile terms, though terms of endearment came out of our mouths on a daily basis. She was straightforward about infantilization, so much so that our son, once he reached the age of three, would say: “I’m NOT a baby!”. Children emulate their mothers, or their primary caretakers of either sex, early on.

So, it seems that the term, “Baby”, applied equally by men and women alike, towards their mates, could be neutral. Yet, given the frequency that women, in the Industrial Age, or earlier, starting with the Manorial System, were treated in a subservient manner, the connotation of the word “Baby”, or even “Babe” (used to describe an attractive female, of any age) has been implied infancy. Of course, women who use that term towards their men are hardly emasculating them. It’s just that to me, and to many others, the best thing anyone can do in a relationship is to encourage a sense of equality, of supporting their mate’s following of her/his life plan and realization of dream (s).

It may well not be a matter of if, but when, I find myself in a relationship again. At that point in time, my choice of expressing endearment will reflect how I view the person who is walking beside, not behind, me. I never want to be one who diminishes another human being.

Evers, and Nevers


August 19, 2021- The woman I trust as Cosmic Advisor correctly stated that this week would bring events, fast and furious, which would underscore the powerlessness of those who hold stature. The forces of nature, of baseness and of frenzy have combined to show us that the only real power is that of the Spirit.

I have made a good effort to keep order and help advance learning, in a place I’ve long felt at home. I have not sought, nor have I held, power at an official level. No matter; in any school, the real power is held by those who lead their students to believe in themselves and in one another. Tomorrow, I will spend the day with First Graders, fulfilling a promise made at the beginning of this academic year, and imparting self-confidence to people who are at a very basic level.

I left the high school today, reviewing those things I will ever do, consistently and those things I will NEVER do. One might say, “Never say never”, but I have held, for seventy years, that:

I will ever strive to stand behind anyone acting from a place of truth-so long as that truth is not twisted or distorted, in a way that hurts others.

I will ever trust in the Spirit, that which speaks to me in moments of quiet solitude, and at times when I must decide a course of action.

I will ever hold that there is no nation or ethnicity that is inherently inferior to any other, and that the strength of Woman, however different in the way it is manifested from that of Man, is equal to that masculinity.

I will ever hold to the sanctity of life and that to oppose abortion, but then readily abandon the right to life of people, at any of its later stages, is a false narrative.

I will never join in an attack on a person or group of people who are different from me, in countenance, thought, or mode of living.

I will never seek to deceive even the meanest of creatures. My big mouth will always speak with integrity.

I will never again walk past a person who is injured or fallen, without seeking to offer or obtain help. (This last was a lesson I learned fifty years ago, and my shame stayed with me for a long time.)

Many years ago, I was told never to marry a person of a different race, as society would make life miserable for any children who came from such a union. When it was my turn to take a stance on that matter, approving the marriage was the easiest decision I ever had to make, and the happiness of my child and his wife is an eternal reward. Their offspring, when they come into this life, will be blessed beyond measure.

I have learned that embracing others of varying belief systems does nothing to weaken my own dearly-held tenets.

Saving Grace


October 25, 2020-

“An ant has no quarrel with a boot.”- Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, in “The Avengers”.

A fair number of first-time voters, across the country, who are weighing social issues, are finding themselves wanting to “stay the course”. There was a time, when I thought that such an approach was prudent, as the incumbent surely knew what was best for the nation, and the nation already knew the incumbent.

It’s been several years since I have taken that view, but no matter. Every generation has to find their own voice. All the same, it is crucial to weigh the chances of pursuing dreams, both individually and collectively, given one outcome, as opposed to the other.

The rub comes when one takes the measure of his/her relative worth and power, in comparison to those of the State. There are the David/Goliath model and “We are the State, and the State is us” point of view. In the first, as can be surmised, a fearless individual, or small group, takes on a power that either practices division or arranges affairs in such a way that the strength of individuals is seemingly eroded. In the second, so well-practiced by Fascists and Communists, alike, during the mid-Twentieth Century, and still de rigeur in China, North Korea and a few other countries, there is an oddly-skewed sense of patriotism, which goes beyond flying a nation’s flag and supporting a just government, in a healthy way.

Our country’s saving grace is its Constitution, which has pulled us back from ruin, on three separate occasions: The War of 1812, the Civil War and the Watergate Crisis. My fervent hope is that the Constitution will do so again, regardless of who wins next week’s election, and regardless of how loudly the opposing sides may continue to react to one another. Our Constitution has inculcated, in the American character, a definite sense that the dignity of the individual is paramount and that equality is a clearly-established, if ever-evolving, tenet of this nation’s fabric.

Harry Dean Stanton and Henry Barnwell


September 16, 2017, Prescott-

Yesterday, the Divine called back two very different souls, whose influence on me was indirect, (I never met either man), but extraordinary. Harry Dean Stanton was a party animal, a singer and character actor, par excellence.  Henry Barnwell was a man of the cloth, and a family man, as well as a community bulwark, par excellence.

Harry Dean was someone people saw in movies, for nearly six decades,  and while many couldn’t remember his name, the man was ever familiar.  He had a Festival, as well as an award, named in his honour, by the City of Lexington, Kentucky, near the town where he was born and raised.  Harry Dean was the first winner of the Harry Dean Stanton Award, in October of last year.

He influenced me, by confirming that it is alright to have friends of even the youngest generation, and that it was not disrespectful to be a friend, but not a  worshipper, of one’s elders.  He pointed out that, while having a relationship with someone many years one’s junior was okay, it was even money as to how the romance would end.  He learned this from direct experience.  I’ve found his assessment to be absolutely on point, as well.  Harry Dean’s party-heartiness is not something I chose to continue, past the age of thirty.  It didn’t hurt him much, but I was not born to be a booze hound.  Nonetheless, the cool cat ruled, over much of the Hollywood scene.

Henry Barnwell was a Bishop, a nonstop social activist, and a man committed to breaking the cycle of broken families, especially in the Black community of Phoenix.   He was a child of broken marriage and made sure that he and his devoted wife did not follow suit.  Their four children are lasting beneficiaries of their parents’ insistence on Family Night and regular dinners together.

Phoenix, and all Arizona, are the lasting beneficiaries of Bishop Barnwell’s constancy, in the matters closest to obtaining and maintaining a codified and de facto equality of all people.  He met with the most reactionary public figures, on the same level as with those who agreed with him on civil rights matters.  He would call people whom he wanted to bring together for the public good, and sometimes as early as 5 a.m.  Few, if any, hung up on him.  None were viewed, by Henry, as strangers.

His influence on me was to affirm that reaching out to those with whom one disagreed was the most correct and most natural thing that could happen, in a truly civilized society.  He would never write anyone off, in perpetuity, and that remains my goal.   He would also never write off a desired outcome.  The work continued, despite a struggle with dementia, until Henry breathed his last.

I continue to strive to be as relaxed and nurturing around others as Harry  Dean Dean; as caring and dedicated to helping others, as Reverend Mr.  Henry Barnwell.  May they both be victory-bound!

Time Was…


September 8, 2017, Prescott-

Time was, when my friends mostly had blond hair, blue eyes and family names like Smith, Wolfe, Doyle, Burnham, Stocker, Hansen, Murphy, Hines. Italians and Greeks moved in, and my new friends had brown hair and eyes, and their families were the Belmontes, Chassis, Chrisoses, Serinos, Spinellis, Geotises and Statutos.

I still dearly love people who need sunblock, when outdoors, whose ethnic legends are based on the tales of the ancient Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Celts, Romans, Greeks and Slavs.  It hardly bothers me, that their politics are often rooted in survival and preservation.  They will adapt, survive and grow.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when my young adult self met people whose first names were Lutrell, Antonio, Luis, Angel, Devar, Wadous and Jesus.  Their skin was different, but otherwise, they were not.  I was, for the first time in my life, the one who had to win people’s trust.

I have come to dearly love people who relish collards and hamhocks, posole, menudo, hip hop, rhythm and blues, Salsa and mambo.  It started with Dr. King, who grew in my little white boy consciousness and became a source of pain in my  heart, when he was taken from us.  It has continued with some of the most essential people in my life, and some of them are in this nation, without papers.  They are ever my siblings.

Time moved on, and there came people whose mannerisms, dress, world view were entirely different from all who had come into this one’s life, beforehand.  They had names like Thanh, Ty Lanh, Jin-ho, Sook-ja, Tadies, Suhayl, Sohrab, Amal, Javidukt and Mohammad. Some had almond-shaped eyes, which protected them from the incessant blowing dust.  Others had tight curly hair, which guarded their scalp, from the blazing sun.  Still others wore turbans or kaftas, which served the same purpose.

I saw their presence in my life as a capstone, as a completion of my introduction to the full range of humanity.  They are ever my siblings.

Time was, when people my age were consumed with the Red Sox and the Bruins; when gathering around an 12″ television was a major weekend experience; when family trips to Cape Cod, Kingston State Park or Lynn Beach were de rigeur; when my hair length vacillated between “moddish” shoulder-length and buzz cut brevity.  Our battles were fought in VietNam, and on the streets of American cities.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when the next generations were consumed with making money; when our vinyl records were replaced by 8-Track tapes, then by compact discs, then by i-Pods. Birthday parties became occasions for gifting guests, as well as honorees.  My hair was like something out of the Middle Ages, then thin, then thinner. The battles of these generations shifted, to the Balkan Peninsula, to Mesoamerica, to collapsing buildings in New York and Arlington, to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.  Equality of colour and gender was seen as largely won.   The right to sexual identity became the cause of the age.  They are ever my younger siblings, my children and, most recently, my grandchildren.

It is a comfort, this inclusion.  I am guarded from those who shut me out, because of all who open the doors of their hearts.

Time is, a most encouraging and gratifying, state of being.