Memorabilia

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February 23, 2021- To start, the group of us sat in the Jury Convocation Room for 1 1/2 hours. At that point, the judge himself came in and told us that the case had been resolved without trial, and we were free to leave. He noted that the very presence of 38 juror candidates had created the energy for a pre-trial resolution. I can believe it.

The other notable event that happened in my life today was that the Title I literacy project, in which I had agreed to participate from late March to the third of May, was abruptly canceled. When changes like this happen, it usually means that my time needs to be open-ended. There is much to be done, on several fronts, so I can see that there are several options.

On the way back to Prescott from Camp Verde, I listened to an account by a young Australian woman, who has a high level of Autobiographical Memory, of her life from birth. She has vivid recollections of coming out of the womb, of learning her first words and of deciding to walk, at the relatively late age of eighteen months. I had heard of this woman, and of her ability to state with specificity what happened on any given day in her life. Hearing her speak of such events, in detail, was a marvel.

I pondered afterward, as to what her detailed descriptions could mean for language-learning, for systematic self-education and for counteracting memory loss-especially in senior citizens affected by dementia. She apparently has had the same hopes, and is working with advocates for dementia patients, with a view towards regenerating the type of neural transmissions that have made her extraordinary abilities continue into young adulthood.

Brain Research, particularly with regard to long-term memory, and its role in learning, is still in its relative infancy. I have so many questions about my own memory of things that occurred as early as my second year. Others in my family, and people I knew in childhood, have stated their own vivid memories of early years-as well as much that has happened since.

We are still using only a small part of our intelliegence.

Baby Steps to Justice

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February 22, 2021-

I spent most of today waiting for my tax return to be done. I ended up having to make a certain adjustment in my personal financial structure, so as to be in compliance with government regulations. It will end up costing the government more, in the long run, but who’s counting?

After that, I checked on my jury interview for tomorrow, and it’s still on. If I get chosen, it will likely be my first and last time, given that the pool is large and I have only five years until the cut-off age of 75. So, I will go and get at least a taste of the selection process.

Justice, at least in the human realm, is an odd thing-as everyone’s concept of it is different. Even among those who adhere to the Golden Rule, there are varying notions of what justice is, and how it ought to be applied. I have, by and large, been fortunate in the course of life events. When misfortune has happened, though, it has taken some time and effort to overcome the urge to deflect blame and to focus, instead, on how I might learn from the unpleasantry.

The lessons I have acquired and internalized, however, made today’s challenges much easier to face and the tasks brought on by them quicker to complete.

The Run-Up Ends

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November 2, 2020-

It is time to breathe. It is also time to remember that, no matter who is elected president, our system will survive. It has seen worse men occupy the office and has seen worse reactions to disparate candidates. The 50/50 chance of a woman, even one with whom I disagree on many issues, being elected vice president, is a refreshing aspect of this contest.

I see Donald Trump as a populist, an opportunist and something of a narcissist, but not a fascist. I see Joe Biden as a career politician, also an opportunist, but not a communist. There are elements of both progressivism and conservatism that can do this country good. I guess this is why the electorate has seen fit to balance the two, by and large. We need traditions, to keep us grounded, and we need inclusivity, to strengthen our population and our institutions.

I have been excused from jury duty, by way of the trial being canceled. So, my full attention is now on the community and in helping out in any way necessary, in the unlikely event of unrest here. We have had our differences, and some have made it their business to exercise a minor show of force, at some public events. Still, people are mostly content to show their signs, across the street from one another and sometimes engage in spirited civil discourse.

If you haven’t voted-please do. In all cases, stay safe and maintain respect for all, no matter what stance anyone takes. We are all lovers of country, if not of planet.

Respite, Loss and the Cusp of A Birth Month

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October 30, 2020-

I have a day off, and am using it to take care of several loose ends- not the least of which was returning the classroom key that I had pocketed yesterday morning, and promptly forgot.

It is a crisp, mild morning, here in Prescott-with a forecast that the weather will remain so, through next Friday-after which cold, but still dry, weather will predominate.

A woman, who I could fairly call the Angel of Manhattan, passed on, early this morning. She was the mother of a cherished friend and colleague here, and I had the honour of meeting her twice, on her visits to Prescott. She was an intensely active worker in New York Public Schools, during her working years, and treated all her charges as her own children-which is the idea, when one works with kids. In the end, she was graced by her biological children at her side, and went to her Lord, in her sleep.

People in Izmir, Turkey and Samos, Greece were not so graced. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that ravaged the southeast Aegean, earlier today, left 12 dead and nearly 400 injured in Turkey, with 2 dead and scores of others injured in Samos. This occurred around the same time as the latest in a series of “minor” quakes took place west of New Delhi and in India’s northeast. There were no reports of casualties, from the Indian tremors. Nonetheless, changes of season tend to bring an uptick in serious earthquakes and the actual tsunami that occurred in the Aegean harkens back to the horrific event of December 26, 2004- when the entire Indian Ocean basin was ravaged.

The last two days of October find me feeling like the coming month, leading up to my eighth decade, will be especially purpose-driven. All the plans I described in an earlier post seem to be still on, with the addition of possible jury duty, from Tuesday-Friday of next week. It would be my first such experience, as all previous summonses have ended up being canceled, at the last minute. Stay tuned.

Heat of A False Summer

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October 15, 2020, Valle, AZ-

Mid-October used to be called “Indian Summer”, owing to the hot weather that seemed to just hang on, for days on end, even though it’d been Autumn for almost a month, and the leaves had mostly changed colour and fallen.

With our language showing more sensitivity, these days, perhaps “False Summer” would be a better phrase. “Aug-tober” may be a bit excessive, as we do see cooler temps, during the second half of the month.

My schedule has shown signs of heating up- a full week of work awaits, next week. A wildfire, south of Prescott, may or may not lead to my spending the weekend helping in a Red Cross shelter. In a couple of weeks, I am slated for jury duty-during Election Day and its aftermath. It’s a good thing that my ballot is filled out and safely inside the County Recorder’s office.

I am here, in this small roadside village, for an overnight stay before hiking the second of northern Arizona’s Red Mountains. This one will be an easy hike, and a geological wonderland to explore.

Valle’s lone motel is comfortable and has an engaging, cordial staff. The restaurant has one floor person (server and cashier) and one cook, yet they manage to get food ordered and to table-or take-out counter, in less time than some far better staffed establishements. The desk clerk is a back-up server. This is what a community dedicated to serving travelers does, when decisions made by higher-ups lead to staffing shortages.

President Trump is said to be headed to Prescott on Monday. I will be working at a school, while he’s there. Hope it is a safe event for everyone involved-as I hope for each event, between now and the inauguration of whoever wins on November 3.