May’s Agenda

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May 1, 2016, Prescott-  Yes, I shall certainly backtrack and tell of my ten-mile round trip in Black Canyon, yesterday.  I will do so tomorrow, or Tuesday.  Today, though, bear me with me, as May unfolds itself.

I certainly had a good start to the month of amazement- enjoying a breakfast at Zeke’s, where I sat at the counter, surrounded by the constant motion and banter of beautiful women who were working hard, very hard, as I enjoyed my Chorizo Scramble, with sourdough toast and coffee.  Zeke’s is always packed in the morning, on Sunday, particularly.

Then, it was off to Montezuma Well, about fifty minutes from here, for a brief meeting with Baha’i friends who were gathered for sacred readings, followed by a picnic lunch.  I ate enough to be polite, of course, but the real reason for my being there was to connect with those who have taken up residence in Keams Canyon, where we once lived.  There is an in-gathering, of sorts, taking place.  I am again connected with some of my former students, now adults with their own families- gladly telling me of their ups and downs. I will go back up there on May 20-21, and join in a devotional meeting.

Back in Prescott, shortly after 2, I was able to attend most of our own community’s Twelfth Day of Ridvan observance, again with sacred readings, commemorating the departure of Baha’u’llah and His entourage from Baghdad, onward to Constantinople (Istanbul).

This month will find me largely at Prescott High School, with four days at Mingus Springs. Travel means a day in Phoenix, for a wellness check; the aforementioned jaunt up to Keams Canyon- and Holbrook; and at the end of the month, a drive up to Reno, to help an old friend move from there to Carson City.

Reading-wise, I continue with “All The Light They Cannot See”, “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”and begin “Moral Tribes”, by Joshua Greene, which explores the concept of Us and Them, as well as “Gravel Ghosts”, a recent anthology of poetry by Megan Merchant, about which, more tomorrow.  Those will be my May reads.

Well, work will be beckoning soon, so time to get to sleep.  Merry May, all.

 

Adventine Hope

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December 12-13, Prescott- It seemed this weekend saw no end to meetings and gatherings.  Saturday dawned with the placing of wreaths on most of the grave sites at Prescott National Cemetery.  The event was part of Wreaths Across America, in which I have participated for the past four years, in honour of my late Uncle Carl, who was intensely active in Wreaths, when it first started, and remained so until his passing in 2010.  Snow made it interesting, but we’ve had a white ground cover every year, except last year.  The children who participate are a major reason for its success.

Yesterday afternoon, we Prescott Baha’is had our Spiritual Feast, a worship service held every nineteen calendar days, or so, which features devotions, consultation about the business of the community and a social gathering.  We have a good rapport with each other and the home-based gatherings add to a family feeling.

In the evening, I joined the staff of Mingus Springs, for their Christmas party, also held in a spacious home, with a lovely view of the valley below.  Exquisite food, raucous camaraderie and intelligent conversation on a variety of topics lit up the four hours we had together.  The party games were both wholesome and spirited-one involving a question and answer competition between two teams, and the other an unravel-the-ball-of-tape, which involved rolling a pair of dice, and getting a chance to peel back on one of two taped balls, which had small treats inside.  Rolling doubles was required, in order to have at the ball.  It got quite energetic, when two people rolled doubles at the same time, and we were down to one taped ball.  The evening ended with the usual White Elephant gifting.  I came away with Ben Goode’s “857 Habits of Annoying People”.  I’ve seen some his other books in various truck stop diners in the Southwest.

This morning, after such a frenetic day, saw me get up a bit more hesitantly than usual.  I got it together for a short meeting, first thing this morning, then went to a Legion gathering to honour one of our members who is going to California for a while.  Of course, there was yet another full buffet. The cooks of Yavapai County do supreme justice to our community meals!  Somehow, I am not packing on the weight, but it sure is fun being part of things.

Now I am just enjoying the quiet of my little place.  Someone asked me, last night, if I found it lonesome since my wife passed on.  There are such times, but in the presence of so many loving friends, I haven’t found them to be all that frequent.  Besides, she is taking good care of me, from the place beyond the veil.

I called my replacement teacher, this evening, and will meet with her, at the end of December.  In the meantime, the kids and I will finish up our quarterly business, and I will tie up loose ends, before heading off to Boston, at the end of the week.

The Five-Year View

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November 29, 2015, Prescott- I got back here around 8:10 P.M.  It was another picture perfect day, leading me to hope that the southern Plains will catch a break from the horrid ice that has caused so many to break out the blankets and longjohns.  I pray our weather heads to you, and soon.

I left Chula Vista at 11, stopping in Riverside for lunch, at Hideaway Cafe and a brief walk around Mission Inn, which I last visited in 2012.  The displays are as splendid now, as then.  I will post photos tomorrow, but for now, I am tired, so briefly, as to my longer view:

I am looking at the second half of my seventh decade.  Age is somewhat as the late, beautiful Aaliyah said, “but a number.”  It isn’t, however, nothing, in my opinion.  Age is an experience magnet, and, if one is paying attention, attracts wisdom as well.  The “old fool” in the ditty is most often asleep at the wheel.

As I’ve said earlier, I plan to be at work, each school year, until I reach 70.  Summers will see me making shorter journeys, to specific places.  One exception to both of the above is likely a two-week visit to Chile, next Fall, as the first Baha’i House of Worship in South America is to be dedicated soon, but nothing’s definite yet.

My focuses, as always, are on the welfare of our children, the propagation of the Baha’i Faith and grassroots health and wellness promotion.

The only specifics I have set, as my “new year’ starts, are for December:  To continue at Mingus Springs, to visit my family in Massachusetts during the Christmas period and to hike the Pemberton Loop in Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains, on Dec. 29.  2016 will see three essential oils gatherings, two in Boulder and one in Salt Lake City.  I am determined to finish what I start, from now on.

It’ll be a most interesting maw into which I jump, this year 2016.

 

 

The Road to 65, Mile 308: October Beginnings

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October 1, 2015, Chino Valley- I made my last visit to Del Rio School for a while, spending the day with a class of second-graders, with whom I have worked a few times in the past.  I will actually miss this school, and several others, but throwing myself into the well-being of a specific group of children, day-to-day, for at least two months, and hopefully longer, is something I need to do.  It’s necessary for my own sense that I can do good by a classroom, over a long period of time.  It’s necessary for the children, whose skills are undeveloped, and thus seen by the Masters of the Universe as “low”.

In another iteration, I covered for a teacher on maternity leave, for five months.  The children loved me, and I, them.  I had the support of the school administration.  The teacher, sad to say, did not like my work and made it very clear, especially at the end.  I digress.

It was a good day today, and it will be another good day tomorrow, at Mile High Middle School, in Prescott.  I can work in Prescott schools on Fridays, until the Winter Break, at least, so the separation is less than final.  My first priority, though, will now be Mingus Springs’ third grade class.

October will see me back on the trails- the first few days of Fall Break- next week, and on several weekends hereafter.  Son will be out here, at the end of the month, and I will make my now traditional visit to San Diego, at Thanksgiving time.  My Faith also factors directly into the schedule:  Besides being the cornerstone of my daily life, Baha’i events will occupy me, this coming Saturday, (as will community service, here in Prescott); at the beginning of November and on several days throughout the Fall.  I can never tell when the needs of trusted friends may arise and take me off on an errand of mercy, as happened a week ago, today.

October is always a fascinating month- and not the least because of our fun traditions of Halloween.  I have always enjoyed treating children, from my front door, over the years, in places like Toltec City, Tuba City, Jeddito, Salome, Phoenix and Prescott.  This Halloween will find me at a friend’s house in Tucson, perhaps finagling front door duty.

The crispness of the air, and the changing leaves of the Northland, will also bring me and mine a renewed energy.  I had my mid-year check-up yesterday, and all my vitals are in top form.  Fall will be a great season.

The Road to 65, Mile 300: Cinquain

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September 23, 2015, Chino Valley- In this third day of my trial run at Mingus Springs, one of my teaching tasks involved breaking down the writing of a cinquain, one of the simpler forms of poetry, so that it was comprehensible to my 21 eight-year-olds.

It is only fair, therefore, that today’s “Road” entry be a cinquain of my own device.  It  is a reflection on the episode that was the season premiere of “NCIS”.

Team

Ever reliable

Poised and ready

At a moment’s notice,

Trustworthy.

My teams are thus:  Son and siblings, Faith Community, colleagues, students, dedicated friends.

“I’ve met your team.  How can you say you’re alone?”- Jon Cryer to Mark Harmon, in the above-mentioned episode.  Indeed, and neither am I, really alone.