Year End Reflections, Part 2: Sojourns


December 24, 2017, Prescott- I spent yesterday at the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, in Phoenix, but elected to stay up here today, as some chores need doing, before I head out on the Greyhound journey to Spring Hill, FL, and a visit with Penny’s mom and sister.  It will be odd not having a vehicle, by which to stop, visit with friends en route, or to respond to others who may live not far from them.  This is, though, a journey of focus.

I have made such focus a more important part of my life, this past year. People and their feelings have been one such concern. Reorganizing my blog site, and making a more concerted effort to attend to others’ comments, as well as their own blogs, has been another.

My travels,while still extensive, going across the continent, yet again, were more devoted to family, friends, and specific purpose. I saw my son off, on his way to Korea, from San Diego, at the beginning of the year.  OC, always a part of any California visit, took up the end of my temporary farewell, to the light of my life.

I can never go without a visit to a little girl and her family in the Reno-Carson City area, so that came first, in the summer.  It seemed capricious to dart back to Arizona, just to deliver a bundle to people who didn’t seem to care, one way or the other, but it mattered to the sender, so I did it.

Friends and family, across the Midwest, the Northeast and Upper South, were more appreciative of my time with them.  Mom always needs to know her wanderer is in a good place, physically and emotionally, so when I was in my hometown, she had the bulk of my attention, but not in as hovering a manner as previously.  A side trip to Maine, also very focused, help break up any sense of hovering.  So, too, did meeting one of my newborn grand-nephews.

My youngest niece and her upcoming wedding brought me to Philadelphia, so as to at least meet her fiance.  Another little grand-nephew was also there, along with his big sister, whom I also had not met.  There was a focus on history, in the three days that followed: Philadelphia itself, Brandywine, Antietam, Harpers Ferry and Lexington, VA. Going to Harrisonburg, perhaps my favourite western Virginia town, took me back to Artful Cafe (once known as Artful Dodger), followed by a brief visit with a friend who once lived in Prescott.  People find it strange, but I don’t forget someone who treated me with a high level of kindness, even if they themselves have moved on.

It has long been past time to visit with the Indiana branch of our family, so a few hours, on point, in Jeffersonville, sent me heading west, with a sense of having completed my connection.  Falls of the Ohio and downtown Paducah were side-benefits of this diversion. Finally, I was honoured to visit with a cousin, in southwest Missouri, before scooting across the plains, to home  There were side benefits to that last leg:  Sedan, KS, with its little ravine, called The Hollow; a kind lady running a motel and cafe in Mooreland, OK; a race against the monsoon rains, in northeast New Mexico; brief return visits to Cimarron, Taos and Rio Grande Gorge; and proving that I still can handle the delicate balance between rest and roadsmanship, on the last leg of the drive home.

I chose a journey to the past, over an emotional visit to Las Vegas, in October.  It was tough going, coming back especially, but Besh Ba Gowah and Gila Cliff Dwellings made me recognize, anew, the importance of appreciating just what those who came before us gave to people, whom they had no idea were coming.

Journeys aren’t, per se, hard on me, so long as I maintain attention, pacing and focus.  New friends came out of these past twelve months, though I may have lost one of the older ones.  Friendships will take up my Christmas post, as seems appropriate.





Day of the Dead


November 2, 2017, Prescott-

Hispanic families, in Mexico and elsewhere, observe this day as a way to honour their departed ancestors and strengthen the ties between this world and the hereafter.

As I looked out the window, this morning, I swear I could see Penny’s image, and that of her father, looking back at me, in a tree across the way.

Some have gone on, this past year, who had roles, large and small, in my life.

Uncle George Boivin, one of my last surviving father figures, gave me a paving stone from Boston’s old Scollay Square, which was transformed into Government Center, when I was about 12.  He was ever available, when I was in Colorado, to set me straight, in the difficult  2 1/2 years, immediately following Penny’s passing.  His mind was sharp, until the end, and those doll houses live on.

Al Tercero served our American Legion, at the post and district level, for over 30 years.  Now he is in what we call Post Everlasting.  The Honour Guard he helped establish is still the finest in Arizona.

George Marchessault, also a Past Commander and Honour Guard stalwart, stayed true to the Legion code and was ever present at our gatherings, on almost a weekly basis, until his last illness confined him to rest.

Bea Cronin, a grand-aunt’s sister-in-law, was always outside watching the Saugus High football team, from her back yard. There was an open door and welcome to the kids who knew her sons, and to us, her far extended family, when we were in the neighbourhood.

Ivaloo Mac Vicar was always in the hall, when I was passing to classes in seventh grade, admonishing us boys to WALK down the stairs, ONE step at a time.  She made it to the Century Mark, and a bit beyond, as did-

Evelyn Porter Anderson, who gave my mother a shot at success as a hairdresser and cosmetologist, in the uncertain days after World War II.  She never stopped doting on the five of us, until blindness and infirmity kept her confined to her last home.

Bernis Hanlon taught me, in fifth grade, to rely on my own wits and to start building  layers on my thin skin.  It took twenty more years for that lesson to really stick, yet less time for her next life lesson, appreciation of fine drama, to be absorbed, six years later, when she was the  High School Theater Advisor, who didn’t mind my being on the periphery of that club’s efforts.

Firuz Kazemzadeh was a high-level scholar of the Baha’i Faith, and one of our most accomplished mentors, serving in so many capacities, legal and educational.  His was always a bright and friendly face, at national and international gatherings, as well as at “our own” Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, held annually in Phoenix.

So many others have come and gone- and some day a person or two will write of my time on this Earth.  There is much to do, as yet, so let it not be too soon.


Relections on Noel, 2016


December 25, 2016, Phoenix-  I had thought I might be getting out of snow-shoveling this year, but it didn’t turn out that way. No matter- I made do with four hours of sleep, before heading back down here for the final day of Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference.

There was a rather intense seminar on communication between us and those who have gone on.  I have had plenty of messages from Penny, and from other relatives, over the past several years, and was visited by my maternal grandmother, not long after she passed away.  Dabbling in the psychic, which is discouraged by Baha’u’llah, in His Writings, is quite another matter. This presentation was quite informative, however, with regard to the power of concentrated energy.

I also attended a presentation on children in community life, and was confirmed in my own position:  People of all ages deserve to be included in the life of the community, and encouraged in their pro-social dreams and aspirations.  Noting that traditional societies, most familiar to me being Native Americans, have long practiced the full involvement of children in community life, the group concluded this was key to rebuilding society.

I went to the west side of town, to visit some friends.  A couple and their granddaughter were home, so I gave the girl a copy of Abby Wize:  AWAKE”, by Lisa Bradley.  She is very loving to animals, and the story is about a girl who loves horses, so I think it will go well with her.  My other friend was still at a church service, so I rescheduled to see him next week.  Dinner was at a customary place- Mandarin Super Buffet, in the heart of Phoenix.  It was packed, as Chinese restaurants often are, on Christmas night.  The food was fresh and hot, so I was again delighted by Mandarin’s varied and hearty fare.

I had intended to attend a concert, back at the Conference site.  Concert time, however, found me in an intense and wide-ranging conversation with a much-admired mentor, of many years.  As he remarked, when it was time for us to leave:  “There will be other concerts.”

Lastly, it was much easier to get onto my street, and in the house, this evening.  Hope you each had a joyous Christmas.

Oh, The Whiteness!


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.


Merry Christmas, everyone!


Christmas Eve


December 24, 2015, Saugus- This day has always been an “icing on the cake” sort.  In my younger days, the parties were full-on, booze-fueled.  Of the past thirty-four years, the booze has gone away, but the revelry, whether of the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference sort, or spent hiking on one trail or another, has remained integral to my year.

I spent today walking along the east shore of Lake Quannapowit, in Wakefield, which I last visited in 2011.  The day was foggy, which only added to the sense of mystery in the area.  One of my paternal aunts lives at the south end of Wakefield’s downtown, so I stopped by her place for an hour.

This evening, my brother, Glenn, hosted a few of us family-members.  Two of his grandbabies added a an amazing level of energy to the festivities.  We also tucked into some glorious sirloin steaks, before the Santa Parade, actually a one fire truck ride-by.

Here are some more photos of the day.


The Road to 65, Mile 32: Time Is On Our Side


December 30, 2014, Prescott-  This is the sort of day, in between a lot of hoopla, when it’s just good to take a deep breath, do some errands, and make some soup-in anticipation of tomorrow’s storm.  I spent some quality time with friends, this evening, and we were given little to do for this bi-weekly spiritual gathering, other than recap the high points and themes of last weekend’s Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference.

On calm, relatively uneventful days, it’s tempting to leap into the future, in mind and heart.  Here’s the deal, though:  The future, being full of a range of possibilities and challenges, might cause the skittish to run for cover, the way the idiots on Wall Street are doing today.  The future does not belong to such as these.  It can only be owned by those who move ahead with confidence, and wave to the cowards hiding behind their little rocks.  It can only belong to those who are grounded.

We were told, repeatedly, last weekend that this is the Age of Responsibility.  Those who raise children to think for themselves, and develop their innate talents to the fullest extent possible, will be rewarded with the marvels those young people accomplish.  Those who own up to their actions and statements, both good and bad, will have the best chance of capitalizing on their achievements and of learning from their mistakes.  So, time,like other resources, can be either a source of infinite bounty, or it can be a leaden albatross, dragging its bearer into a dark pit.

I believe time is on the side of the former.

The Road to 65, Mile 28: Transformation Begins Here


December 26, 2014, Phoenix-  Every spiritual quest has a beginning, middle and end.  The mid point of my present journey was in Truth or Consequences- quite a surprise, as I had figured on being in the mountains by then.  The Universe has much figured-out, that it only reveals to us in layers.  A snarky commentator on another Word Press site, angrily disputed the notion that we need focus on the Present.  My take is that without that focus, the Future he so adamantly says SHOULD be our focus, presents itself as a chaotic jumble of unclear choices.

I am now in Phoenix, attending the 30th Annual Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, so named because this is the Grand Canyon State.  It is apropos in another way, as well.  Here, we can collectively delve into a wealth of spiritual and social issues.  Perhaps fortuitously, a major focus this year is our relationship to finance- both personal and communal.

I recognize that, before my own financial house gets seriously in order, which my heart tells me is about to happen, I need to complete some unresolved aspects of personal spiritual transformation.  The humility part is down, and the discipline part is getting there.  Tightening up on occasional use of coarse language, always done in trusting private, is definitely necessary now.  Dropping “F-bombs”, even in a state of righteous indignation, is like popping a bag full of coal dust.  It impresses few, and doesn’t do much to better a situation.  So, you might say this is my early “New Year’s Resolution”.  In that regard, what few such resolutions I make, I tend to keep.  Making vows to self, and not keeping them longer than a few days or weeks, is the wicked sibling to greeting a newly-opened gift with “Just what I always wanted”, or dismissing a compliment with a sneering “Oh, THAAANK you”.

Transformation is like the journey itself. it never really ends.  Even after our spirit and body bid each other farewell, the spirit moves on and on, and the body greets its friend, the soil, repaying Mother Earth, or in the case of cremation, the life-giving atmosphere, for having sustained it for so many years.  The spirit never stops growing- even after plateauing a while, the move forward resumes.

I was reminded of this tonight, as the great Van Gilmer, a Gospel and Spiritual artist of the first magnitude, led his equally-accomplished adult children, and an impromptu choir of Phoenix-area singers, in a rousing set of songs from those hand-clapping, foot-stomping, and supremely energizing genres.  “I made my vow to the Lord, that I never will turn back.  No, I will go, I shall go, to see what the end is going to be.”  This is what Christ called the “The end that shall have no end.”  So, it continues- the end of 2014 is fast approaching.  The beginning of 2015 comes swiftly thereafter.   I must be ready, and I will go, I shall go.