Signal Moments

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January 4, 2018, Prescott-

I have returned to Home Base. Everything was as I left it, two weeks ago.  My ex-neighbour’s junk is still in the carport.  Since he’s dissed the landlord, I will start to haul it off myself, as after 30 days, property is regarded as abandoned.

Now, on to the prime purpose of this post.  Another blogger referred to life-changing moments.   Here are those that have cast my life, in the direction it’s taken and to the place where I am now.

June, 1954- The Lynnhurst woods, around my first real house, were a place of wonder.  I walked off by myself, towards Grama’s house.  Little did I suspect that dad would take the hairbrush to my backside, as soon as I got home.  That first walk alone, though, set me on the course of exploration that has been in my blood ever since.

July, 1959- I can’t say which rock fight led to my life-long inability to keep from flinching, when a baseball, or other such item, is making its way towards me.  Overcoming coordination issues has been a problem since that long-ago summer.

November 22, 1963- I began to get over an innate conservatism, the day that the powers that be decided to get rid of John F. Kennedy.  I will never buy the Single Bullet Theory.

April, 1969- I decided that six years of commitment to the US Army was too long, and opted to enlist for a three-year stint, instead of remaining in the Reserves.

November 23, 1969- One of my high school friends was killed in VietNam.  I was in Fort Myer, VA, at the time.  It took me a year of quiet anger, but that event was the impetus for my own going over to the war zone, in March, 1971.

November 28, 1975- I was let go from a part-time job, on my 25th birthday, because one of the other workers had a son who needed a job, and I was “too ambitious”.  The anger expressed by my co-workers, at this adverse action, was gratifying.   Yet, a young woman, for whom I had feelings, put it in perspective:  “Who has it worse, you, losing a crap job or me, just getting done with a divorce?”  That has led me to tread carefully, when facing what seems like a personal disaster.

December 6, 1980- I met Penny.  Enough said.

June 6, 1982- We were married, and though a fairy-tale wedding was not followed by an idyllic marriage, there were 29 years of love and mutual personal growth.  The proof is serving his country, in South Korea.

August 20, 1986- We arrived in South Korea, and began a 5.5 year love affair with a culture far different from all either of us had experienced, up to then.  I am still greatly drawn to the sensibilities of “the East”.

April 20, 2003- Penny’s second accident in two weeks set us to a commitment fiercer than any I have had, before or since.  I was her caretaker for nearly eight years afterward.

November, 2009- Several financial disasters under our belt, we decided to endure Chapter 11.  I have survived that, and by the grace of Dave Ramsey and Robert Kiyosaki, my attitude towards money has forever changed,

March 5, 2011- I was once again on my own, and the challenge was now to not go adrift.  The next five months did find the ropes fraying at the moorings, though.

August 4, 2011- Someone I love dearly threw down a heavy gauntlet.  I was accused of things which would not stick to any wall.  I see where his suspicions originated, but that was not me, and never will be.  His comments, though, served to make me determined to rely on no one.  I would long be maintaining that distance.

September, 2013- On the heels of an unsettled summer’s journey, I answered a call to help a single mother move.  That two-day effort of service led me to do Terra Essential Oils, a commitment to more active community service, and to one of the finest friendships I’ve ever known.

There are sure to be other life-changing events ahead.  I know that my spiritual bonds will see me through them all.  We never stop growing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixty-six for Sixty Six, Part VI: California Turnstile

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February 8, 2017, Santee-  I had not spent much time in San Diego’s eastern ‘burbs, prior to last night.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a homey little motel, Villa Embasadora, in El Cajon, a town I have previously associated with huge malls and Miles of Cars.  It is a working man’s motel, so my neighbours were up, and off to work, between 4-5:so, this morning.  After dawdling, online and with my prayer book, i headed off to find breakfast, around 8:15.

A further drive down East Main Street brought me to Pizza Stop, which, despite its name, is a highly popular gathering place for full American breakfasts.  I went inside, expecting to be seated by myself, perhaps at a corner table, away from home-schooling families and small groups of older ladies.  Surprise!  I no sooner had made my way to a two-chair table, when I was summoned to join a large group of my male age-mates.  Seems that eastern San Diego County, with a large population of retired military men, has three service clubs, which help provide security at San Diego’s football stadium, and other large public facilities, in the area.  Most of the men in the room  about 50, all told, were in their 60’s and 70’s.  It was like being at an American legion or VFW breakfast, only writ large.  The breakfasts are huge, keep-ya-full all day affairs.  The group gathers, Morning Lions Club-style, every two Wednesday mornings.  It was a great mid-week start to yet another transition in my life.

My son, Aram, heads to South Korea tomorrow, for a 1-2 year tour of duty, which may or may not be his Navy swansong.  While 2019 seems far-off, I know, from the freshness of memories from 2011, on to last year, that it will be upon us, sooner than realized.  So, as with any life event, we both have several contingency plans for that time.  (I’ve had contingency plans since I babysat my younger siblings, when our parents were out for the evening.  I was 11-13, and whenever they were late coming home, I had the phone numbers of my aunts and uncles at the ready.)  In the meantime, I headed up the road, to Santee, in the foothills of the Laguna Mountains, where Aram had some last-minute business.

I will relax at this Best Western, in Santee, until we head out, early tomorrow morning, to San Diego International Airport.  Once Aram is on his way to the TSA line, and other fun stuff, I will need to head straight back, towards Prescott, and my own present routine; thus, the “turnstile” aspect to this jaunt.

My next visit west, in June, will be to the north of here- from Orange County to Santa Barbara and Ojai.  By then, my son will be acclimated, once again, to life in Korea, the land of his birth.  Time will tell if I get back there, myself, during the next two years.

 

Hearts, Black History and Chief Executives

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February 1, 2017, Prescott-

The Mini-Month is now upon us, with groundhogs galore waiting to be yanked out of the ground, tomorrow.  I know there will be many enlightening programs and articles about African-Americans, this month, but I think people should be fully honoured for their place in America’s story, and the stories of the world, EVERY month, and regardless of ethnicity.  Still, I’m glad the stories are getting out there.  Too many people still think Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Irish-Americans, and even women, collectively, are making up, or exaggerating, the past,  because “things aren’t so bad for ________________ NOW!” We  have to know our history, and know it well, for the very reason that too many people see things on the surface, and have short memories.

The Italian martyr, Valentino, has become a symbol of unconditional love and thus a day devoted to love- and romance- has taken the English form of his name.  St. Valentine’s Day falls on a work day, Tuesday, this year.  I will be giving the same unconditional love to my students that I offer, every day.

The following weekend will be Presidents’ Day, ostensibly to honour two of our greatest Chief Executives:  Washington and Lincoln, and, by extension, those of our presidents who have not harmed our nation.  Who they are, remains a matter of intense debate.  I have my opinion, but will not get into that, here.

Aram will leave for South Korea, in about a week.  I will be at San Diego International Airport, to see him off.  Then, each of us will get on with our respective duties, and other aspects of our lives.  For him, there will be some familiar aspects, as he was born, and spent his first three years of life, in Jeju, and shore duty will be more of a routine, than sea duty.  For me, the regimen will continue at school, the American Legion honours World War II’s Four Chaplains, my work for the Baha’i Faith goes on, and new outdoor adventures will present themselves- Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains, the Verde Valley’s Limekiln Trail and, a slightly-delayed visit to Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, in Yarnell.

It looks to be a fascinating 28 days.

Sixty for Sixty-Six, Part III: Kudos

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January 15, 2017, Prescott- 

Last night, 22 of us paid homage to a man who worked, diligently, outside his area of expertise, for thirty-five years, bringing knowledge of human nature and psychological well-being, into the fast food industry.

Farouk “Frank” Assadi came to this country, from Iran, as part of a diaspora spawned by religious oppression.  He lived and worked in Iowa and California, before settling in Prescott, around 2000.  His Blimpie Sandwich and Salad Shop, part of a larger chain, was a central focus of meals for many, of all walks of life, for the sixteen years it was in existence.  Before that, he had run Orange Julius franchises and a Blimpie, in another community.  On December 31, Frank took down his food service shingle and will cast his net in another direction, after a period of semi-retired rest.

He’s 70, and thus serves as an inspiration for my own planned change of focus, in 2020.  We, who work for wages, eventually earn the right to follow our hearts into avocation.  For Frank, that will likely mean work in public health.  For me, that will likely mean itinerant acts of service, combined with photography and writing, much as I’m doing during off-work hours now.

My son is visiting the Prescott area, this weekend, combining time with me and a modicum of winter camping, this evening, in a nearby US Forest Service campsite, at White Spar, which I visited last year, in the course of hiking the Prescott Circle Trail, in a series of segments.

He has grown up to build a strong character, somewhat different social and political views from my own, but with the sense of loyalty and work ethic, which I instilled in him, early on.  I know he will continue to be a credit to the United States Navy, and to any other organization he may serve. In a few short weeks, Aram will head for the land of his birth, South Korea, and a new set of challenges and growth opportunities.  I will watch this, proudly, from the sidelines.

In a few days, our nation enters a new phase: Governance by a man whose life has been spent in the private sector.  I trust, though, that the American people will remain vigilant, and will call events as they see them.  I don’t think all that many people, especially in my circle of family and friends, have given the departing president much credit, partly due to his own detached demeanour and  partly due to his having come into office, with an unfamiliar face and name.  I do think, however,that he did a lot more for the country than we can even see at present.  Yet, it is also true that several bars need to be raised.  I will have more to say on these, in the next post.

Onward

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January 1, 2017, Chula Vista- Seems people were so fed up with the year just past, that my retrospective montage was received like a lead balloon.  No matter- the clouds have cleared, from the torrential rains of the past two days (most welcome, here in southern California, and the neighbouring states of Arizona, Nevada and Baja California Norte).  My hope is that the clouds hanging over our nation, and over many parts of the world, will dissipate, as well.

I have a few, short-term, goals for this year:

January- This week, for the most part, will find me in the San Diego area, largely here in CV, with an Orange County outing, to Crystal Cove, on Thursday, before I head to Phoenix, and a dental check-up on Friday.  Training in Psychological First Aid, on Saturday, will let me bone up on those skills.  Who knows, as to just how many occasions such will be necessary?  Next Sunday,  my penultimate trek along Black Canyon Trail will bring me to the Emery Henderson Trailhead, in New River.  The last hike on that trail will follow, later in the month, (probably on the 21st. ) Over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Aram is likely to visit, so the three days will be open-ended, to his preferences.  Other weekends will be divided between Baha’i studies and the trail.

February-  Son heads out to South Korea, the second week of this month, so I will spend 2-3 days in southern California once again, to see him off.  It’ll mean 1-2 ,years of Skype and a once-a-year visit.  I’ve been in those shoes, several times.  President’s Day weekend will likely find me in the McDowell Mountains, northeast of Phoenix.  A service project will also be done, during the Baha’i days of giving and service to others, known as Ayyam-i-Ha (Feb. 25-28).

March- This being a month that features a Nineteen-Day Fast, with Spring Break coming towards the end of said Fast, my plans are open-ended.  The inclination is to head over to  southern New Mexico and western Texas, to pay a couple visits to friends in the area, and take some relatively moderate hikes, the likes of which have worked out nicely, over the past few Fasts.  The Baha’i New Year (March 20, this year) will be followed up by a journey to Native American Baha’i Institute, to re-charge spiritually.

April- This is the month of the twelve-day Baha’i festival known as Ridvan,  commemorating the days when Baha’u’llah declared His mission, in 1863.  My energies will be thus directed. A few jaunts along trails in the Sedona and Payson areas will also be on the agenda.

May- Decision time, as to keep my current position, or move to a different school, will be at hand.  A long-postponed revisit to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and neighbouring Superior, is the only existing item on the hiking agenda, for this month.

June-The first month of summer will keep me in the Southwest.  A week in SoCal will focus on Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.  Visits to Navajo and Hopi are also on the agenda.

July- My now customary week in Carson City and Reno will move to the first seven days of this month.  Then it will be northwest, to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. From there, finances and circumstances will dictate my direction- either a week’s visit to Korea, or down the road, through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

August-Back to whatever work assignment awaits, and whichever forays into nature are allowed by the Monsoon rains.

September-The Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth will be celebrated next month, so this foot soldier will be ready to do whatever the Commemoration Committee needs done.  Otherwise, Labor Day will take me up Granite Mountain, and the end of the month will mean a weekend in Flagstaff’s Inner Basin.

October- The aforementioned Commemoration will take place on  October 22.  Hope Fest will also happen this month, so there will be much work, in service.  Fall Break is a cypher, at this point:  Tucson and vicinity will get first dibs.

November- Thanksgiving, this year, will be observed at Desert Rose Baha’i School, between Phoenix and Tucson.

December-  Christmas week will find me in Massachusetts, with family whom I feel have been somewhat neglected, over these past several years.  Several fences need mending.  That will include a train trip to Philadelphia, right before New Year’s, and on down to Tampa Bay, for the first week of 2018.

Books?  “The Brothers Karamazov” slog continues.  “The Standing Stones Speak”, by Natasha Hoffman, “The Century Trilogy”, of Ken Follett, “The Alchemist”, by Paolo Coelho and a pair of books on rebuilding communities take top priority.  Speaking of which, my long put-off book of poetry and short prose will be put together, starting with choosing the better of the poems I wrote, over the past year, and adding verse as it comes to mind.  No specific promises, as to date of publication, but it will be sometime this year.

So, off we go- Trump’s wild ride,  widespread exercises in patience with one another, and continued healing (on both a personal and a collective level) will define this next chapter in the life of this beautiful humanity.

 

Sixty Six, for 66, Part III: People, Places and Things

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December 23, 2016, Prescott- School is out, for two weeks.  After helping to re-arrange the classroom, I took off from work, and decided to spend the afternoon and evening around town.  I will head for Phoenix, and the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, tomorrow morning, after a full night’s decompression.

Enough of that.  I wish to share 66 of my favourites- persons, places and things, in keeping with the Christmas spirit of positivity. So, in no particular order:

1. Mountain vistas

2. Posole

3.  Monty Python films

4.  The Olympic Peninsula

5.  Celtic Woman’s music

6. Fried clams

7.  The Harry Potter series (films and books)

8.  Baha’u’llah’s teachings

9.  The harbour at Vannes, Brittany

10. The presence of children

11.  Do Terra Essential Oils

12.  Honesty

13.  Pizza

14.  My biological family-wherever they are

15.  The United States Constitution

16.  Sweet potato pie

17.  Manitou Springs, Colorado

18.  Bears

19.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha

20.  Mint chip ice cream

21.  My Reno family

22. The Grand Canyon

23.  The Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, IL

24.  Trustworthiness

25.  Equity for women and girls

26.  San Diego

27.  The Fisher King

28.  Forthrightness

29.  Jennifer Lawrence, as an actress

30.  Denzel Washington, as an actor

31.   Gatherings at Prescott’s Courthouse Square

32. Justice

33. My mother’s love

34.  Memories of my wife

35.  Sharp cheddar cheese

36.  The Field Museum, Chicago

37.  My Tampa Bay family

38.  Jeju, South Korea

39.  Les Miserables

40.  The Sonoran Desert

41.  My son’s devotion

42.  Crispy bacon

43. Dogs

44. Thumb Butte, Prescott

45.  A job well done

46. Crystal Cove Beach, CA

47.  A Path With Heart

48.  Caramel

49.  Bluegrass music

50.  The Lord of the Rings 

51.  Consistency

52.  Sedona, AZ

53.  Hopi culture

54.  Whales

55.  Persistence in faith

56.  Boulder, CO

57.  Pumpernickel bread

58.  My southwest Missouri family

59.  Lemurs

60.  The Holy Bible

61.  Gyros

62.  Heidelberg

63.  Navajo culture

64.  Reuben sandwiches

65. Hot coffee

66. Southeast Alaska

There are so many more that I love, but I sense the reader’s flagging attention. 🙂

 

 

My Life Thus Far: The Eighties

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February 20, 2016, Prescott- Today was spent in spiritual study, and an hour or so will be so used, tomorrow afternoon.  All of this was initiated by my beloved, and because of her, the decade of my thirties brought a whole new outlook on life.  The 1980’s were one of the two best decades of this life, up to now.

1980-High Point:  Meeting Penny (December 6)

Low Point:  Scrambling to find housing in Flagstaff (September)

People in the heart:  Penny Fellman, my future wife; my Flagstaff housemates, Mohammed Saeedi, Chris Lugenbuhl and Carol Vireday; the anonymous guys who gave me rides, to/from Oregon; my Mesa friends, the Lunts.

Places in the heart: Flagstaff;  Durango; Zuni; San Diego; Laguna Beach; Redwood National Park; Hebo, OR; Portland; Eugene; Crater Lake; San  Luis Obispo; Santa Barbara.

1981- High Point:  My entry into the Baha’i Faith.

Low Point:  Our temporary break-up.

People in the heart:  Penny; the Cordova family; the Beausoleils; the Travises; Mishabae Mahoney; Hilde Mc Cormick; John Carrillo (my office mate and sounding board); my first nephew and niece, Chris and Marcy.

Places in the heart:  Flagstaff; Tuba City; Dinnebito, AZ; Capitol Reef National Park; Natural Bridges National Monument; San Diego; Julian.

1982- High Points:  Our wedding (June 6); our Baha’i Pilgrimage (June 16- 30).

Low Point: Getting organized into a household.

People in the heart:  My wife; both Moms and Dads; the San Diego Baha’i Community; the Tong family; the staff of the Baha’i World Centre; the Baha’is of London; my mentor at Northland Pioneer College.

Places in the heart:  Tuba City; San Diego; Julian; Dinnebito; Bedminster, NJ; Jerusalem; Haifa; Akko; Bethlehem; London; Canterbury;  Saugus; Bedminster; Standoff, AB; Yellowstone National Park; Bozeman, MT.

1983- High Points:  The Wildfire Conference, at De Pauw University; Baha’i teaching in southern New Mexico and Metro El Paso; my brother, Glenn’s wedding.

Low Point:  My Nana died.

People in the heart:  Penny ( and this goes without saying, until the day she passed); the Baha’is of Tuba City, Dinnebito, Jemez, Phoenix, Las Cruces, El Paso and Chicago; the Biernackes, of El Paso; my second niece, Melanie; my second nephew, Jeff.

Places in the heart:  Tuba City; Dinnebito; Blue Canyon, AZ; Jemez Springs; Durango, CO; Silverton; Ouray; Great Sand Dunes National Park; Chama; Santa Fe; Albuquerque; Chicago; Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, IL; Greencastle, IN; Las Cruces; Berino, NM; El Paso; Fabens, TX; Andover, MA.

1984- High Points:  Baha’i teaching in Guyana, Pine Ridge, SD and Macy, NE.

Low Point: The passing of Gordon Tong, our Baha’i friend and mentor.

People in the heart:  Our Guyanese  hosts; the people of Pine Ridge and of the Omaha Nation; our friends and our co-workers on the Navajo Nation; Elizabeth Dahe and her family; our  hosts in Houston and Oklahoma; my third nephew, Nick.

Places in the heart:  Tuba City; Burntwater, AZ; Houston; Ada, OK; Georgetown, Bath, Whim and Meten meer zorg, GY; New York; Macy, NE; Wanblee, Pine Ridge, and Martin, SD; Fort Collins, CO.

1985- High Point:  Both sets of parents visiting.

Low Points:  The deaths of three Navajo boys, in two separate accidents; our separation, while Penny was in Graduate School ( a month is a long time).

People in the heart:  Our parents; Jeff and Helen Kiely; the Baha’is of Dinnebito and Ganado, AZ; my third niece, Kim; my fourth nephew, Matt.

Places in the heart:  Tuba City; Flagstaff; Dinnebito; Polacca, AZ; Red Rock State Park, OK; Effingham, IL; Columbus, OH; Michigan City, IN; Wilmette and Evanston, IL; Grand Canyon; Lake Powell; Prescott; Montezuma’s Castle National Monument; Sedona; Phoenix.

1986- High Point: Our move to Jeju, South Korea, for Penny’s work, as Visiting Professor.

Low Point:  My father’s passing.

People in the heart:  Our parents; my siblings, our extended family; my fifth nephew, Curtis; our friends and co-workers in Arizona and in South Korea.

Places in the heart:  Tuba City; Los Angeles; Seoul, Songtan and Jeju, South Korea; Saugus.

1987- High Point:  My hiring as Visiting Professor, in Jeju.

Low Point:  Having to leave Penny behind for a month, to get a work visa.

People in the heart:  Our Korean colleagues, students and friends; three surviving parents;  our siblings; our friends in Flagstaff.

Places in the heart:  Jeju, Muan, Pusan and Seoul, South Korea; Los Angeles; Portland; Seattle; Butte; Madison, WS; Chicago; Wilmette, IL; Saugus; Bedminster; Greenville and Simpsonville, SC; New Orleans; Phoenix; Honolulu; Tokyo.

1988-High Point: The birth of our son, Aram (July 7).

Low Point:  None, actually.

People in the heart:  Aram (from this point on); the Baha’is of Jeju;  Dr. Kim Chung Hak; our students;  our hosts and friends in Taiwan; Penny’s parents (who flew to Korea for Aram’s birth).

Places in the heart:  Jeju; Pusan; Tsaot’un, Chungli, Taich’ung and T’aipei, Taiwan;

1989- High Point:  Bringing Aram to the United States, to meet our family.

Low Point:  Feeling threatened, while visiting Maine.

People in the heart:  Our extended family; our students; the Baha’is of Jeju and Seoul.

            Places in the heart:  Jeju; Anchorage; New York, Bedminster; Saugus; Lynn, MA; Eliot, ME.

So, while visiting Durango, in November, 1980, I had this inkling that I was ready to meet someone special.  It didn’t happen that weekend, nor on my 30th birthday trip to San Diego.  It was on an Anthropology class trip to Zuni, where Penny and I first connected.  Turns out, she also had had a vision, while meditating on a mesa above her residence in Keams Canyon, AZ, where she was teaching at the time.  The message said that she, too, would meet someone.

Our on again, off again, 18-month friendship became a marriage that lasted, physically, for 29 years.  I believe in the eternity of marriage, and though she’s gone from Earth, we still connect, daily.  We had our ups and downs, especially in the early years, but never went to bed angry with one another.

My entry into the Baha’i Faith helped me cast out the demon of alcohol dependency, and put me on a path to dealing with my larger demon, of self-doubt.  Baha’u’llah has opened up many powerful channels within me- at least I feel them.

Aram’s arrival made me be responsible for someone other than the two of us.  Raising him to adulthood was the only big task that God has ever given me.  While I wasn’t the greatest father to have been given the bounty, I gave it a good, solid effort and he is an amazing young man.

We traveled a lot, the two of us, then the three of us, mostly in service to our Faith and to visit family. The Eighties were a decade of primarily air travel, though crowding into a Peugeot, and then a lorry (truck), in Guyana, was quite an adventure.  Our Toyota Tercel got quite a workout, those four years we lived in Tuba City.  It became a young lady’s first car, when we moved to Korea.

Pilgrimage to the Baha’i Holy Sites, in Haifa and Akko, Israel was the seminal defining point of the decade.  Our marriage, and the birth of our son, six years later, were entirely safeguarded by our having begun life together, in this manner.

The Nineties would be a second amazing decade.

 

 

The Road to 65, Mile 221: Being A Father

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July 7, 2015, Prescott- One of the main reasons I am juxtaposing my travel posts with my thoughts whilst here at home is that, without family and community, there is only the mindless wandering of the unruddered soul.

Twenty-seven years ago today, Penny felt it was time to get to hospital.  In the South Korea of 1988, every encounter between Korean workers and foreign nationals was first an economic one, then a human encounter.  The woman who had been midwifing our child decided, on that day, that we were not helping her enough with her advancing in learning the English language.  She declined to help Penny any further, and called a taxi driver to take us to an English-speaking Obstetrician, who would see to the birth.

Her parents were with us, but could not fit into the taxi, so I quickly hailed another for them, jumped into our taxi, and away we went, with the second taxi following us as best he could.  My father-in-law’s frantic words, “Baby Hospital”, were apparently enough, as they arrived three minutes behind us.

The procedure went very well, and I was holding our newborn son up to the light, welcoming him to this world, three hours later.  It was, all in all, a good life in Korea, and when we were compelled to return to the U.S., four years later, Aram was fairly well-grounded in two cultures.  America was a bit tougher for all of us, but he grew up strong, and through the trials that buffeted the three of us in the 2000’s, and eventually took his mother’s life, our son emerged as a strong, healthy and amazingly resourceful individual.

Sometimes, I felt as though he was raising himself, but there was never a time, and never has been, when I haven’t had his best interests front and center.  That I learned of those interests mainly by talking things through with him is the only way that ever made sense to me.  Kids need steady guidance, but they have more on the ball than many of their insecure elders seem to realize.

The most inane aphorism ever is “Children should be seen and not heard.”  I heard my son being told that, by a family member once, and I had to be physically restrained from hitting the individual.  We need, pure and simple, to listen to one another, across generations.

Fatherhood is my greatest blessing, right after having been a husband.  It will always be so.