Four Courses of Love

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September 12, 2021- A longtime friend, a few years my senior, has taken to posting photos of a newborn child, whom he has nicknamed after himself, her mother and a mutual friend of theirs, in hybrid fashion. He is clearly proud of the infant girl. My hope is that he can be there for her, through her teenage years, when the voice of a good man is as valuable to a young girl as is that of her mother. Without a parent, or parent-figure, of the opposite sex, a teenager is likely to drift emotionally. This takes nothing away from the efforts of those of the same sex as the youth, but it is an essential adjunct to those efforts.

There are several girls and young women whom I love as if they were my own daughters. I had the honour of working with two of them this evening, as Prescott Farmers’ Market put on its annual Farm-to-Table Dinner. I was a server, helped by two food runners and a busser. One of the ladies to whom I referred is the Executive Director of the Farmers’ Market, and can pretty much ask anything of me, in terms of service to the Market. The other is a tireless worker in the field of sustainability, and likewise devotes her energies to the Market’s success.

The dinner was served in four courses: Soup, salad, entree and dessert. Initially, each course was served by the designated team for two tables, with a total of seven crews. Four Chefs and a sous chef carefully and lovingly plated each course, and two complimentary courses for sponsoring VIPs. We on the serving crews brought each course to the patrons, with about twenty minutes between courses.

By the time the desserts were ready to be served, the Dinner was some minutes behind schedule. It was then that the teams combined and served all tables, allowing a half-hour for dessert, coffee, aperitifs and post-meal chitchat. It is never a good idea to jump out of one’s seat in a rush, though a few patrons did (“The dog is alone”; “I need to take my meds”; “It’s past my bedtime”). The high schoolers also had to leave. Those of us who stayed until the end continued the swarming behaviour, giving the dishwashing crew and the breakdown crew a boost, mindful that those teams of two have been stuck, in past years, when the high school age workers have had to leave, due to curfew. That is how I am used to volunteering-being one of the last to leave. No less really seems fair.

So went the second day of a most fruitful weekend. I am taking tomorrow “off”, focusing on training materials for a Blood Drive on Wednesday, but otherwise staying in a state of relaxation.

Keeping Responsibility

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December 16, 2020-

Although, for all intents and purposes, I am retired from teaching, there have been various times of ruminating and reflecting on continued responsibility in the community and beyond. Certainly, everything to do with counteracting the current pandemic remains a duty for anyone old enough to know what a disease is. Thus, my keeping and using a good supply of face masks; researching vaccines (so as to, hopefully, find one that is not dependent on aborted fetuses for content); and maintaining personal wellness. Honouring the concept of not making further trips to areas where COVID is raging even more than it is here in Yavapai County, (to say nothing of staying out of other states, for the next few months), is desperately necessary.

Getting past the health crisis, there are other areas of responsibility: Helping out in the schools, when needed, during the January-May semester; supporting local businesses, especially those where younger workers are themselves supporting families; volunteering with Red Cross (still the only thing, other than family emergency, that will take me across state lines; and consoling sick and bereaved families of friends and relatives. Making an effort to be a comforting presence, in general, is also vital.

A legacy work, my memoirs of 1950-2020, is in the hands of its editor. This afternoon, I sent out the “Beta” copy to my mother, who is 92. It may be the only time I’ve ever given her a Christmas gift made with my own hands-except perhaps a birdhouse that I made in Eighth Grade woodshop.

Responsibilities will continue to arise, either by my own search or by the circumstances of community life. As long as I am physically and mentally competant, they will be welcomed.

The Road to 65, Mile 215: Challenges/Opportunities

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July 1, 2015, Prescott- As is always the case when I return from a wandering, there were lots of base camp tasks in front of me.  Not the least of these was tracking down my pile of mail, so as to get two pay checks deposited and thus stave off NSF.  I have had a good track record, since recovering from the Great Recession, and aim to keep it that way.

Finance has neither been my strong suit, nor has it been an Achilles heel.  The best way, for me, to go about life is with cash and check.  Work will be quite constant this coming academic year, and that’s a great thing.

My yard project was pretty much done for me, by the landlord himself, while I was away. He is a trouper:  That work was done during the period that Prescott, and much of the continent, endured 100+ ,for nearly three weeks.  I will keep at the process of building raised beds, so that next year, seeds may be planted.  At least the onion bulbs will go in shortly, and we’ll see how they do.

July will be prime time for volunteering, I can sense, so I will show up at things like the Fourth of July Parade, and the Red Cross float, the Hope Fest kickoff event on July 18, and whatever things Slow Food and Yavapai County Angels have going.  Then, too, there would be any disasters that happen, but we will let sleeping dogs lie, for now.

The travels?  Yes, I have gotten to be the Poster Child for wanderlust.  As another friend recently remarked, this seems to be a Sagittarrian thing.  This Sagittarian will be more inclined to short, focused bursts, for the next five years at least. There may be a faith-based trip down to Chile, late in 2016, but my primary focus is on family and friends:  My son, and a couple of good friends, in southern California; my paternal uncle, in Colorado; my soon-to-be hexagenarian brother, in Atlanta; and the bulk of my biological family, at Christmas-time, in New England.  I want to do more day trips from here, that could draw in a good friend. Finally, there are my long-neglected Native American friends in northeast Arizona, and at least one weekend in early August will see me up there.

This day finds me in a very relaxed frame of mind, ready for whatever life sends.  It’s just too hot and languid to be otherwise.