What Is Always Known

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May 9, 2021- One thing about the mothers, and mother-figures, whom we honour today, is that there is nothing that escapes them, at least at the deepest level. My mother knows, even a continent away, that I am essentially doing better than I have in a long time. She knows that there are a few challenges I face and a few people, some far away, who want to take from me, without giving back. She knows that my siblings are also, essentially, in safe places. Most importantly, she knows that her decision to adjust her lifestyle is the right one.

Baha’u’llah teaches us to be fair to self and others. Mom was teaching us that same thing, when I was the eldest of five. We were never deprived and when, in her humanness, she did not do the right thing by one of us, she made amends ten-fold. The lesson Mother taught, of compassion, has been one of two abiding truths that I have incorporated into my being. The other is to temper that with not being the foil of con artists and those who take full advantage of others,.

So have I balanced my life, and will, as I told another group of people earlier this evening, focus on building group cooperation. It was our family working as a team that got us through downturns and the challenges of caring for those members of our family who suffered from disease. It is our family working as a team that will bring us to say farewell to our family home of sixty-six years and guarantee that the woman we’ve always known has our back will know that we always have hers.

Further Changes

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May 8, 2021- I received a supportive message from the principal of the school to which I referred yesterday. There will be some discomfort, for some people, but the children will be safe.
In a few short days, my mother’s life will become more secure. I will be on the road, towards my childhood home, and will help with whatever needs to be done, for at least a week. This was not expected-at least not this month, but life does not compromise with want-only with need.

I received word, this evening, that her next door neighbour of 66 years is dying. He is in hospice- a man’s man, reduced to lying in a single bed. I can only hope that his extended family, his cousins and closest friends, can be with him. If he is still with us, when I get to Massachusetts, I will pay a visit and thank him for being a faithful friend of our family, like his parents were.

The next few days will see preparatory activities- a Mother’s Day call, a dental check-up, a car servicing, laundry and packing. There will be time, tomorrow, for a visit to a magical place: Montezuma Well. My Home Base will be secure, while I’m gone, and there will much to be done, when I get back .

School, though, will wait until Fall, or maybe Winter, as I honour marching orders, sent from a place unseen.

The Rubber Tire Fire

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May 6, 2021- The six and seven-year-olds watched, from the safety of the playground and grassy field, as a thick black cloud rose, five miles away. The four of us adults watching the group of fifty fielded lots of questions and assuaged the concerns of those watching, that the fire would be upon us, “any minute now.”

It had been a most productive day, from working on mixed addition and subtraction to working on a Mother’s Day packet. The children worked well in pairs and in groups of four, with a bit of “He said I have no friends” and “She scribbled on my Mother’s Day heart”. Some things never change, and are just handled with care.

I stood with a thoughtful little man and explained how the smoke would not affect us, while he continued to express concern about the chance it could zip across five miles of houses and fields. I assured him the fire department was on the job, and as the smoke drifted eastward, well away from us, we all happily watched as the thick black cloud diminished-then disappeared altogether.

It was a bad day for a junkyard owner, but a good day for some little ones to keep faith in their elders, and in their First Responders.

What Mom Said

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May 10, 2020-

My mother is the last person to want gratuitous or “obligatory” sentiments, on her important days.  Either MEAN it, or leave it unsaid.  Our gathering, this morning, brought the majority of extended family to their screens and a delighted matriarch was honoured by each.

I recall the things she said, along the way, that have impacted how I face life, even to this day.

“Look beyond the length of your nose”.  This appeal to carefully investigate truth and to not be impulsive, in seeking to find answers, has paid countless dividends.

“Strong arm stuff never wins any victories”.  So true, the use of force does not breed the sort of loyalty that brings the rewards one truly wants.

“A man was once killed by ‘I thought’ “.  Acting upon assumptions can often be woefully counterproductive.

“Staring at the tree won’t get you any fruit.”- Getting up and acting upon one’s desires is the only real way to achieve anything.

“Have adventure in your soul”- She told me this, with regard to being bold enough to get out of my shell and approach girls, for friendship, in my teenage years.  I have taken it  more broadly, in my maturity, in looking far afield at what I can do in life.

“A male is not a man until he’s forty.’- She saw that men need a broad variety of both successful and adverse life experiences, before becoming truly mature.

“Drinking gives false courage”- Isn’t that ever the truth!

There were many other admonitions that my mother has offered, in her ninety-one years and eight months on this Earth.  I look forward to hearing at least a few more.

The Hand Up

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May 4, 2020, Flagstaff-

Two vehicles, full of necessaries, pulled into the parking lot of Little America Resort Hotel, in the center of this sprawling forested city.  The drivers, yours truly and a longtime friend, arrived two hours ahead of the designated time for meeting another friend, a member of the Navajo Nation, who was to take the cargo the rest of the way.  We each had our lunch of choice and stretched out, in our respective vehicles, to while the time away until then- he, playing a video game and I, taking a nice long nap.

This was my first time out of Navajo County, since March 13, and my first time out of the Prescott area, since March 22.  Of course, everything is as I remembered it-in terms of greenery, the layout of cities and towns.  Everything is also changed, and as in Prescott, meals are served to go and the picnic table has replaced the patio.  I heard, a few minutes ago, that there is a chance restaurants will open for Mothers Day.  That would mean rush orders and frantic cleaning, as well as convincing workers to come back-and give up their unemployment.  So, it would have to be a genuine restart-not a game of fits and starts.

Anyhow, right at 2 p.m., our Dineh friend and his cohort arrived, and we got all the items transferred, in short order.  The supplies will make many people happy and re-assured. There may be other such deliveries.  God knows I have the time to assist-clear to next Spring.  For now, though, it’s nice to be alive, and useful.  I will stop by and purchase a cold brew coffee from a young friend who owns a shop in Sedona, and then head on back to Home Base.

The Soaking

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May 7, 2019-

May is often a dry month, here in the Southwest.

Often, but not always.

Three years ago,

snow greeted us,

on Mother’s Day.

This week,

we are promised

lots of rain.

I look outside,

and see nature’s bounty,

falling quite heavily.

It is likely to continue,

tomorrow, and maybe,

all the way to Sunday.

This bodes well for

a later, and maybe

less intense,

fire season.

It bodes well,

also,

for the insect population.

So, I will keep copious amounts

of natural repellent,

at the ready,

for those busy days

in early June.

Today, though,

I will sit quietly,

and focus on

my books.

Nature is replenishing

Mother Earth,

in time for Mother’s Day.

Maternal is Eternal

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May 13, 2018, Prescott-

I made my call

and was reassured.

Mom stands tall

and is never ignored.

What of you,

my friends who are

also mothers?

I know you as

Diane, April, Christina,

Janet, Mel, Lisa,

Amberley.

Your kids,

your blessings,

call you Mom,

Mama, Madre,

Mother Dear.

You give the best of yourself,

without guilt or shame,

loving each and every child,

never casting blame,

or aspersions.

Love knows no diversions.

There will never be a time,

when you are not

treasured,

by one, two, three

for eternity.

Happy Mother’s Day,

and I love you all, too.

Appreciated

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May 8, 2018, Prescott-

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, in our school district.  Today, on a national scale, is Teacher Appreciation Day.  As with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, most will be honoured and appreciated.  Some will meet with hostility or indifference from their charges.  Well, we can’t legislate love and honour,now, can we?,All in all, this year I feel appreciated and respected-both by my colleagues It is a work in progress, just like last year, but day to day we are on point and have proactive plans that are student-centered, rather than centered on outside interests.

My own perspective and focus have also returned to that which I held in the 1990’s, before the political firestorms of 1998-2001, and before Penny’s health became my be-all and end-all. Back then, it was the total student who mattered.  The building and sustaining of wide-ranging goals and dreams are again front and center.

Appreciate people and they appreciate you back.,

May, and I’m Not Away

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May 1, 2018, Prescott-

There are 3 1/2 weeks left in our academic year.  I have two days off left- Tomorrow, for a Baha’i Holy Day- the Twelfth Day of Ridvan (more at that time) and a dental appointment, in two weeks’ time.  Otherwise, weekdays will find us finishing what we started, for our four remaining students.

I won’t leave the state of Arizona until Memorial Day weekend and another “Where’s Waldo?”month.  There is so much yet to do and to thoroughly enjoy, in the meantime, that I am hard put to make preliminary arrangements for June.  You know, though, that I’ll get ‘er done, in plenty of time.

I’ll be back in Tempe, on Saturday, for a daylong Baha’i conference.   Sunday will be spent reconnecting with a few long-lost friends, and honouring a very special young lady, on the cusp of her high school graduation.  Mother’s Day weekend means Prescott Valley’s 40th anniversary.  I may also head to Tucson, to see an ailing friend, if he’s up for a visit.  The third weekend will be mostly Baha’i business, planning and prepping for the summer months.

One of my friends here has posted about making a Vision Board.  I might try my hand at that, either next week or the following.  It’d be good to do this in the presence of our peer tutors in the classroom, as it might inspire them to do the same.

May is sweet, hot (at least after this coming Saturday) and a time of culmination.  I intend to truly savour the blessed days.

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XXXV: Mothers and The Ides of May

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May 15, 2017, Prescott-

There was no obligatory Mother’s Day post here, this year. The Second Sunday itself was largely taken up with funerary rites.  Mom got a call from me in the evening, though two earlier attempts were made.  She’s on the move yet, during the day, so evening always seems to work best.

She loves the roses, and will hopefully have some idea of what I can do, come July, regarding helping to renovate our family home of 62 years.   Those are more welcome gifts than tying up the phone, which she finds tiresome, after ten minutes or so.  Perhaps the best gift I can give her, though, is maintaining a positive attitude.  It’s gotten her through nearly nine decades, and keeps her on top of what goes on, day by day.

My second brother, also a model of positivity, came through today’s medical procedure, ready as ever to get back to taking on the world. He helps guide the company that produces some of Boston’s finest frankfurters (“hot dogs” is not the term of choice there).

That news is indicative of this month:  Warm and cool days intermingle.  Death and suffering are dovetailed with love and recovery. Years ago, my over-correcting, on a California surface road, almost derailed our pending marriage, but warmer hearts and cooler heads prevailed.  Fifteen years later, I had walking pneumonia, which took well into June to disappear.  Now, twenty years further on, I am in the penultimate week of a challenging, but largely successful, academic year, and my first full-time stint since 2004. ( A brief internship with a rather mercenary “social service” agency, in 2009, hardly counts.)

May, 2017 has met its Ides, and the year as a whole is moving along, much faster than the previous two. I wonder what Quantum Physics has to say about such things.