The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 12: Overcoming Selves


June 12, 2020

There are those who loathe Columbus.

They would gladly tear down his statue,

were the opportunity to present itself.

I don’t at all like what he did to the First Nations

of the Caribbean and the north coast of South America.

There are those who would erase all mention

of anyone who ever owned a slave.

They would obliterate statues and monuments,

of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.

Locales, across the country,

would be obliged to change their names.

If it ever came to that,

I would recommend the original names

given to each place,

by the First Nations people.

I don’t at all like that people were enslaved,

or even indentured in servitude.

I think, though, that

we cannot erase our history.

I have made mistakes in my life,

some of which merely irritated

those affected, and some

which greatly discomfited

the people who were in

my life, at the time.

I will not erase myself,

I will improve, and continue.

We, as a human race.

cannot erase our past.

We can only learn from it,

and move on.

The Light Switches Channels


December 11, 2018, Arlington, VA.- 

The day broke, cold but sunny, as twenty family members gathered, to say farewell to their mother figure, who had struggled, her last six years on Earth, to maintain a say in what went on with her life, and those of her beloved children and grandchildren.

Ruth Faust Fellman had to deal with her own failing health, thankfully being aided, day to day,  by a dedicated youngest daughter, a team of paraprofessionals and other family members as we were able to visit, at least now and then.

She left the struggle behind, in late October, with her spirit and her family waiting patiently, one more time, as this day of interment approached.  She will rest with her husband of 64 years, on both this earthly plane and in the spirit realm.  We who remain in the state of “waking”, physical activity know that truly being awake entails life far beyond what we know here.  “Bunny”, her husband (my father-in-law) and their oldest daughter (my wife) are watching us, and helping more than we sometimes realize.

After the Jewish burial service, we the mourners quickly parted company, all except me leaving Arlington, for their homes.  I stayed behind, with my flight back to Arizona not scheduled until tomorrow.  Dinner with a friend, in midtown Washington, would take up the slack, somewhat, and give me an excuse to spend at least a few hours in the nation’s capital.

My main reason for being here, though, was accomplished and Mom’s ninety-two years of service to family and community were suitably honoured.  The tombstone shown below will soon be replaced, by one that pays homage to both husband and wife. I will continue, as she admonished, to give back.



Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XXIV: The “First Home” Coast


April 17, 2017, Prescott-   Last, but never least, on my recap of what has mattered most to me, in jaunts around the contiguous United States, are the special places that are on, or within a few hours of, the Atlantic Coast.

I’m a native of Massachusetts, so the places and people of Boston and the North Shore have had the most direct influence on the me that you see.  My special places in Saugus are still the Ironworks (now Saugus Ironworks National Historic Site), Breakheart Reservation, the Marsh (near where my middle brother lives) and anywhere along the old rail path, now a Rails to Trails hiking and biking route.  Kowloon and Prince Spaghetti House are still around; Hilltop Steak House and Augustine’s Italian Restaurant are not.

Lynn and Nahant still mean The Beach, and as a teen, I went to Fireplace 10, as that was where Saugus kids hung together.  The evening before I was to ship out for VietNam, I was with two of my mates at The Beach.  A rent-a-cop wanted to haul me in, for “being bombed”. I had had two sips of a 12-0z. can of Budweiser.  His sergeant heard my story of being about to head for the war zone, and let us go, with the comment, “Next time I see YOU here, is a year from now, right?”  “Yes, sir.”

There are almost as many beaches, along the Coast, as there are rent-a-cops.  Crane’s Beach was the site of one of my part-time jobs, after the Army.  Yep, I was a rent-a-cop.  I tried to arrest an Ipswich Selectman (town councilman) for being drunk and disorderly.  Guess how that worked out.  My favourite beach is still Hampton, NH- it had the biggest waves, when I was a kid.  Salem, Marblehead, Newburyport  and all of Cape Ann (Gloucester area) are my favourite seaport towns.  Gloucester House and Woodman’s (Essex) are fave seafood places, with Kelly’s, in Saugus, good as well, especially for take-out.

The rest of New England certainly has featured prominently, from childhood, on.  The White Mountains and Cape Cod were yearly fixtures of our family summers.  Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island were places where I got my toes wet, in terms of ferry trips and island adventures.  I didn’t get up to Maine much, except to Aunt Marie’s dairy farm, in Eliot, just over the New Hampshire line.  Now, I’ve been all over the Pine Tree State.  Cadillac Mountain, Kingfield, Moosehead Lake and coastal York County are all special areas.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, I used to enjoy Larrison’s Chicken Farm, near Bedminster, NJ, until it closed.  The diners of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, like the Mark Twain, on Hwy 22 (aka the Death Trap-the road, not the dining spot), and Bedford Diner, off the PA Turnpike, remain close to my heart, though my doc would prefer I leave such places in the rear view mirror.  Annapolis and Cumberland are  intensely special places, at either end of little Maryland.

I have fond memories of the great cities- Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington have all been kind, when I have either passed through, or had extended stays.  Boston Public Library is one of a kind as an edifice, and rules, as a grand place of public learning; so, too, does the Library of Congress.  I have had mixed experiences in DC- the security force, in the Bush II Era, gave us, and those near us, an unpleasant time, in July, 2007.  When I next visited the Nation’s Capital, in 2011 and 2014, all was delightful.

The Southeast is not as deeply ingrained in me, as the rest of the Atlantic Coast.  There are some special spots, though-  Martinsburg, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Hilton Head, St. Simons,  Savannah,Okefenokee and St. Augustine are this solo traveler’s  “feels like home”.  The Atlanta and Tampa areas have family, so they are built-in magnets.

Florida, south of The Villages, remains a mystery to me.  At some point, I will solve that puzzle.  Charleston (SC), Baltimore, Delmarva and the Hampton Roads area are, likewise, places that will get special attention, sooner or later.

Well, that’s it, for now.  I’m back to work, tomorrow and will be back in eastern AZ, next weekend.  Have a great post-Easter week, one and all!