Delivering, not Sniveling

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November 19, 2022- I walked carefully into the American Legion Post general meeting, about 15 minutes before it actually started. Wearing my face mask, as vestiges of my cold could put others at risk, I took my usual seat, and was surprised, though hardly discomfited, to find every other seat at the normally half-empty table well-occupied. The full hall meant that there would be a fairly intense discussion of various items, and there was. My voice being still scratchy, I spared the gathering of my opinions, agreeing with much of what others said, anyway. At the end, all were treated to a rich and flavourful home-baked enchilada pie and salad items.

Though I missed Farmers Market and Zeke’s, this week, also due to wanting to heal as completely as possible, before Tuesday’s flight and out of consideration for those in fairly crowded situations, the day was busier than I had initially planned. The ton of laundry, including the bed linens, finally was properly washed and dried. That took close to three hours. A hokey version of “Van Helsing’ palye din the background, with the vampire slayer taking on a Man-Fish (or a man in silly fish mask, with a Central Casting monster voice), and freeing the young adult daughter of a distraught couple, from Fishy Boy’s grasp (all this, despite VH’s having been skewered, at least three times, by Mr. Fish, or one of his minions).

In the early evening, I returned to Rafter Eleven, for the first time in about five weeks, to find that Dawn & crew have added lunch and dinner items to their Bill of Fare. It was a great delight to my palate, to have Chicken Pot Pie for an actual solid dinner. This brings Rafter into the “Dinner and A Show” level, and made listening to the jazz trio that much more enjoyable. I will be over there more regularly, once back from Dallas.

The Sunny Picnic and A Crazy Squirrel Song

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August 20, 2022-The joyful minstrel, at Rafter Eleven, made songs up as she went along, including one about “There’s sticky glue, on my mailbox, where your name used to be”. She prefaced it all with Ray Stevens’ “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival”. Having been to Pascagoula, I can see every bit of such things as are described in the song-not happening. The city is a bustling shipbuilding center, or was, when I visited-but why quibble? Ray’s songs were a staple of my teen years, as counterpoints to all the heaviness in the music of the late 60s.

It was a lovely musical set, with romantic ballads and country-tinged novelty tunes, well juxtaposed. From there, I drove through a short, but intense, thunderstorm, and sat talking with some friends at Synergy-mostly listening, though, as they inveighed against designer drugs and pondered what benefit, if any, there was to psychotropic substances. Personally, I will pass on all of those things. My mind is active enough, without external help.

These activities were preceded by the annual American Legion Post 6 picnic, at Goldwater Lake. Fortunately, the day was sunny and mild, until well after the picnic was finished. So, during the time under the ramada, a few lingering conflicts between some embers were resolved, awards were given out to long-standing servants in the Post and I won a nice prize. The food was well-prepared and the mood, overall, was very pleasant. The lake itself is slowly rising, though still a long way from being in what I would consider a healthy state.

It’s been a fine day, and night, as I drove back under partly cloudy skies, with the rain being done for the day.

Under The Big Moon

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April 16, 2022- The first thing that came out of my mouth, this morning, when asked “What’s up?” was “The Moon!”, which was still true, even if the orb in the western sky was a Luna of chalk white. She’s big this month, which just means closer to Earth, in terms of visual perception.

Often in the past, I have noticed an uptick in strange or unanticipated behaviours during the period of full moon. That was not so tonight, at least in the places I visited-Rafter Eleven, where a four person Country & Western band played a couple of sets, with a few couples dancing, and Raven Cafe, where a jazz ensemble was in full swing-again with brave souls getting up and swinging their partners round and round. It was a rather mellow, but still enjoyable affair. The closest we may come to looniness will be on Monday night, when I will click on an Ecstatic Dance session-but that’s on Zoom, and I will have my shades drawn, so no one will be the wiser.

Today was itself full of civility- from breakfast at Zeke’s, through a morning Zoom call, and a visit to the rather windswept Farmers’ Market. Yep, if anyone was getting into the loony groove, it was Mother Nature. Gusts were up to 40 mph, and those present were helping hold on to the tarps shading several booths.

Perhaps all the spiritual energy coming from those observing Easter, Passover and Ramadan is helping put everyone else’s energy into focus. We Baha’is will be contributing our fair share, when Ridvan starts on Thursday-and there will be plenty of help from Wiccans and other Naturists, when Earth Day is observed, next weekend. Of course, by then, the Moon will have largely waned. The eclipses are coming, though, in the first half of May. There’s rarely a dull moment.

Two Inverse Triangles

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March 12, 2022- During this afternoon’s Web of Light meditation, (part of a monthly Zoom call), I saw an inverse triangle covering North America, and got a message that the three focal points were to be the purpose of my journeys this year. One is Florida-with Miami having more of a role in the itinerary than I had previously thought, and a clockwise traverse of the peninsula being in order. Orlando, and the theme parks, didn’t even register, but then again, I am not a huge theme park aficionado, unless children are involved. This works out well, considering that I had long been drawn to go to the peninsula after visiting with family in the Atlanta area.

The other two points of the triangle are Atlantic Canada and Alaska. These will be clearer in a couple of months. Mid-June to mid-July look to be the first and mid-September to mid-October, for the second. As the meditation also showed robust activity around Home Base, in northern New Mexico and in southern California, from mid-April to mid-June, I will be engaged in measured activity, a good part of the time. I didn’t get any insight on fire or hurricane response, unlike the warning I got two years ago about Alexandria, Louisiana, but it’s early in the season yet.

My conscious self asked, “So, Europe is obviously off the table this year?” The insight gave the meditative version of “Well, duh!”, and brought my thoughts back to healing and peaceful resolution of the conflict. Another inverted triangle appeared, with Africa at the bottom, Europe on top left and the Asia-Pacific region on the top right. These areas seem to be more in a long-term sequence, which will be more clear towards the end of this year. Five years seem to be involved.

Today, the most important time period in front of me, saw a goodly amount of planning for the next few weeks, with accommodations mostly set. I put in an hour on a school garden project, at a nearby campus. Visits to Rafter Eleven and Synergy capped off the day, with the latter being a mini-jam, my drum accompanying a guitar and a harmonium. Three others in the group were suitably forceful in their singing.

Despite all that the above seems to signal, I feel very much at peace and in charge of my life.

Bookends

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November 13, 2021- The day began and ended with friends named Lisa. One can never tell where even the most seemingly quotidian act can lead. After breakfast, I got a message from the first Lisa, asking me to get her some crayons, for an event in which she was a participant. Crayons being one of the items not yet hit by the current bout of inflation, this was easy enough. When I delivered them to Lisa, at the event site, she asked my help in one other errand, which was easy enough-though involving a bit of time.

Once that was done, and Lisa in good shape, it was time for my main meeting of the day-a 1 3/4 hour American Legion Post meeting, for which I stood the duration. Yes, this was a rare Post meeting which was standing room only. I began to understand how Congressional staffers might feel, as the meeting entailed a reading of a lengthy document. Verbose attendees added to the length of the session, but that comes with the territory.

Later came a run out to Rafter Eleven, and an interesting discussion of olive oil blends, with a foodie named Linda. When it was time for my own dinner, I headed back to Prescott and The Raven. The ordering line almost always results in light conversation with those around me, and this evening was no exception. A large family had gathered, with matriarch, her sons and their wives, along with several grandchildren. Another party of four was behind me, and while deciding my order, I bade them go ahead. Noting an empty table next to theirs, they set it aside for my use. The large family, including their little pug in a stroller, was directly behind my table.

Thus, I made the acquaintance of the second Lisa. She had lived for many years in Prescott, but now lived in southern California. By turns, she was chatty and withdrawn, as we all listened to a duo playing music of the 1920s and’30s. This brought to mind the dictum: Never make assumptions about a person, based on their demeanour. After forty minutes or so, Lisa turned to me and told of her husband’s recent death and that today, the family had laid him to rest. Condolences and a gentle hug ensued, I was introduced to her family and bade them a safe trip back to their homes in California.

Even the most seemingly quotidian of activities can lead to unexpected places. Sometimes, a day brings bookends.

Alpha/Omega

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April 2, 2021- Every so often, I get a reminder about the commitment that I, as “an American of some affluence”, must have towards the poor of other parts of the world. It usually comes in the form of a veiled demand, but is at least offered with good wishes for my health and well-being. That stands to reason, as a sick person would hardly be able to offer anything to others.

My dealings with people who primarily view the world through a transactional lens are, of necessity, getting more and more limited. Even among those businesses I frequent, I regard the people therein as friends first, and means to an end second. One example is a local family restaurant, Zeke’s, where I sit at the counter, gab with the wait staff and other patrons, and comment freely on goings on. The same is true of Rafter Eleven, Synergy and, to a lesser extent, The Raven Cafe. It is increasingly true in the schools where I am taking on special assignments until the end of May.

My circle of friends trends larger these days, even with-and in some cases because of-virtual connections. The first and last, alpha/omega if you will, is compassion based on love. Those whose primary focus is transactional have a hard time seeing this-and there was a time when part of me was there. Much of my standoffishness had to do with lack of self-confidence, and a degree of self-loathing, as if I were not “good enough” for others. I suspect that is true of those who behave in this manner now. More’s the pity.

There is, to a good extent, the notion that failure to thrive is a Catch 22, a vicious circle. That realization came to me, about four months after I met Penny, back in 1981. Gradually, over several decades, the self-doubt has fallen away-so that even in the most harrowing of circumstances, the faint light has been in view.

I thought of this today, as the Mystery of Alpha/Omega from 33 A.D.: The Passion of Jesus the Christ, plays out in the minds and hearts of millions across the planet. His basis for everything was compassion, rooted in love.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch…

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May 26, 2018, Prescott-

There’s a whole lot to see and do here in Home Base.  Next weekend, for example, a fundraiser for a twelve-year-old boy who was struck by a car, whilst crossing the street to go to a library, will be held, June 3, 1-5 pm, at Prescott Valley’s Anytime Fitness, 6715 E. 2nd St., Suite A.

I want to give  a shout-out also, to the unique and fine places that make my life here so blessed:  Ms. Natural’s, 318 West Gurley Street, is Prescott’s newest organic restaurant, open every day except Wednesday. Claudia offers fine coffees, smoothies and both vegetarian and cold cut sandwiches.  Right down the street is Shannon’s Deli, with a “hot dogs” sign on the door.  Shannon’s has lots more than hot dogs- her soups and cheesecake are the signature fare.  Right across from the Courthouse are Frozen Frannie’s, with delectable frozen yogurt, ice cream and a variety of baked items, as well as coffees. Next door is Lone Spur, one of several local establishments offering hearty, spill-over-the-plate breakfasts.

Go down Cortez, and you’ll find Chi’s, with what I regard as the best Chinese food in town.  At Cortez and Willis is Raven Cafe, my favourite place to go for great music and more organic meals.  They have a wide selection of imbiber’s delights, as well. Catty-corner, across Cortez and Willis, is Peregrine Books, Prescott’s largest bookstore, and another venture by the family who own the Raven. Next door to Peregrine is Two Mamas, one of eight Mom and Pop pizzerias in town.  T.M. has several signature pizzas, my personal fave being the Pot Roast and Gorgonzola variety.

Now,go back up Cortez, cross the street, and you’ll find Dancing Skeleton, with its large selection of condiments and unique craft items.  Further up are Bill’s Pizza, a good thin-crust pizzeria, and the favourite of many locals; Mob Burger, with excellent burgers and welcoming to couples and groups, but not those dining alone; Lifeways, a spiritual-themed bookstore, with a small espresso counter in the back.

The Courthouse lawn is a key gathering spot, especially on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the summer, with live music and dancing.  Signs around the outside of the Courthouse detail weekend festivals, of which the largest summer event is Prescott’s Rodeo, one of the country’s oldest, held just before, and during. July 4.

On the west side of the Courthouse is Montezuma Street, also called Whiskey Row.  There are plenty of bars there, for those so inclined.  Hotel St. Michaels is one of two large Victorian hotels in town, and has a variety of shops on its ground floor, including a lovely bistro.  South of Whiskey Row, there are more bars and restaurants, including Far From Folsom, a Johnny Cash-themed establishment, with many of the same musicians appearing, as in the Raven.  Bill’s Grill, owned by the same family as Bill’s Pizza, is a popular place for a wide variety of comfort foods.

Going back to Goodwin Street, and heading west, one finds El Gato Azul, a tapas restaurant and also one of Prescott’s most popular gathering spots, of a weekday evening.  Park Avenue Deli, inside a liquor store, offers surprisingly good comfort cuisine, though here, too, groups are preferred over single customers.  Ditto for Rosa’s Pizzeria, an excellent place for Italian fare, and west of Ms. Natural’s, on Gurley.  Rosa’s is always packed with visitors, so call ahead for your table.

Heading out of town, eastward, check out Zeke’s Eatin’ Place, akin to Lone Spur, for belly-bustin’ breakfasts and lunches, in Frontier Village, on the Prescott- Yavapai Indian Nation.  Planet Fitness is also there, for an after-meal workout (monthly memberships, from $10.)  Picture Show Cinema, up the hill, would round out a Frontier Village excursion.

Finally, in Prescott Valley, north and east of Home Base, find Rafter Eleven, a wine and condiments shop, owned by one of the area’s oldest families.  It is at 2985 Centre Court, left on Glassford Hill Rd, then right on Centre Court.  Gabby’s Grill, a bit north of Rafter, is my favourite dining spot in downtown Prescott Valley.

That’s it, in a Brazil nut-shell.  Hope you can find your way here, some day or another.