Dream Well

To the night…sleep tight, all my loved ones and friends. Tomorrow we will find us a better day and maybe a better world. If not, let’s make the best of what we’ve got. Be kind to someone. Give if you can to those who have less than you. Hug and kiss your family. Love if you want to be loved.

And in your dreams, you may find solace…and occasionally perhaps a glimpse of wisdom. You may find true love, conflict and maybe betrayal. You may dream the idea that changes the world, a new paradigm for a new age….but then awake, and forget it all. Dream well this night…

The Reservation

THE RESERVATION

by Larry Bowers

Children crying, smoke is rising,
Smell of whiskey in the air.
Relief check coming,
Widow thumbing,
Through her tickets for the fair.

Another day on the reservation,
Remnants of another nation,
American genocide,
We don’t try to hide,
The scar on the face,
Of our creation.

Old dog growling, Coyote howling,
Pale moonlight shining down at night.
Once proud band, Roamed the land.
Now stuck in a terrible plight.

Another life on the reservation,
Constant pain and aggravation.
American genocide,
Slow death or suicide,
Only permanent cure for the situation.

Our Self Reliance

I have been following a YouTube channel of a guy in Canada named Shawn James for over a year and half or so. His channel is call “My Self Reliance” This guy has bought some land in the back lands of Ontario, bordering the Queensland’s, and has built his own cabin and other buildings in an effort to become more off grid and self sufficient. One of his things he was going to do this year was to become more food sufficient. In his video last night, he was talking about a few things which I have also been thinking about lately.

First of all is the fact that there will soon be shortages of food, especially fresh vegetables and fruits. The growing season is just now starting and farmers who usually plant vegetables are not going to do so. This is because they will not be able to get the seasonal workers (mostly from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc.) because of the current pandemic situation. Most of these farmers will instead plant “cash crops” such as wheat, barley, feed corn, etc., which can be planted and harvested via automatic machinery. Additionally in the United States, prior existing fruit farms will not be able to get the seasonal help they need, so fruit will either rot or very little will be harvested and therefore prices will be sky high. Also, Dairy farmers are now pouring milk and other dairy products down the drain, because the demand is just not there anymore with schools, restaurants, etc. closed down. Milk might immediately be lower priced in stores, but once these farmers reduce their output accordingly, then all dairy products will soon go up.

We can expect it to be this way probably not just for this season but for next year also. It would therefore be a good idea for everyone who can to plant and harvest their own vegetables and fruits in their own space.

Another thing he pointed out, with which I agree, is that the “great economy” that we were enjoying in the United States, as well as in Canada, was a “window dressing” type economy. The only people who were and are benefiting from the economy were the people at the very top of the chain. The billionaires and multi-millionaires. The fact that this pandemic has shown that the VAST majority of people cannot go past one or two paychecks without becoming economically bereft and not being able to pay their bills, or buy food, means that the “great economy” and all of the low unemployment was just a sham economy, as far as most of the people who were working and doing the day to day jobs go. There was not health in the almost total “consumer based” economy, that especially the United States has been running for so many years.

I see the news clips almost every night with cars lined up for miles and miles with people waiting in line to get food at food banks. This is happening in almost every state, but especially in the South and the Midwest. What happens when the food banks run out of food and people get desperate for something to eat? Ask yourself that question and extrapolate out an answer in you mind. What happens if our truckers and our grocery workers get too sick to work….supplies break down. What if Amazon and Walmart online cannot get supplies and send them out? What happens when your prescriptions, which are mostly made in India and China don’t make it to the drugstores? I realize we are not there yet in these areas, and I pray that we don’t get there.

The government passed a Covid relief bill on March 27 and this is April 9th and so far not a penny has gone out to anyone that I can tell. I’m sure the bill was passed in good faith, but there wasn’t a lot of thought given to the detail of how the mechanics of the bill were going to be carried out. Banks which were bailed out in 2008 by taxpayer money now don’t won’t to take a “chance” on loaning small businesses money to keep then going because they are afraid they will be left “holding the bag” They were not too afraid to take that bail our money though. Also, they are having hold ups and problems figuring out how to get the 1200 dollar relief money to citizens. I have read that some people won’t even get their “relief check” until September! They can’t figure out how to disperse the money from the first Covid bailout bill and I hear they are already wanting to pass another one? Really? Every politician in Washington, both Democratic and Republican should be voted out of office and replaced with some of the people who are being heroes now in our time of need. Doctors, grocery workers, soldiers, veterans, school teachers, truckers, etc. These are the people who need to hold public office. The majority of the people who are up there now are only there to enrich themselves. How else do they become mulit millionaires in a period of a few years on a 170 thousand dollar a year salary? How is it we have Senators and Congressmen and Women who will take insider information about a coming pandemic and use it to dump stocks and buy stocks instead of worrying about the welfare of the American people? What a joke our Federal Government has been and is.

I suppose that’s enough of a rant by now so I’ll stop. I promise no more of this in the future because there are already so many ranters on Facebook I don’t need to continue to add to the “noise” Everyone….if you’ve gotten to this point please do the things you need to do to stay safe. Stay Home, Wear Masks and gloves, and Stay our of crowds. This thing may continue until we get a vaccine or a super course of treatment. As many are saying, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Love you all people.

Banjo Man

Banjo Man

Sometimes the most beautiful things in the world are never heard or seen by other humans. There are rare times, when you stumble across them accidentally and they are so fleeting and unique that they can never be replicated.

I have written many times about my Grandfather, and how as a child I used to sit on the porch of his old house and watch and listen as he played his banjo. It’s one of my best memories.

The other day, one day this week, I was walking my regular route through town. It takes me past one of the town’s unusual resident’s house. He’s a man a little older than me who lives up on the hill behind the ballpark. He’s different. I was rounding the curve in the hill when I heard it…the banjo playing. But it was not just ANY old banjo playing. This was the Flat and Scruggs kind of banjo playing. This was blue grass roots. This was great playing. This playing made the leaves swirl in little circles in the air, and the needles of the pines lean in closer to hear.

At first I thought it was a professional recording, but then realized it was coming from the little white house on the hill with the name “Earp” on the mailbox. It was somebody playing live. Probably…most probably it was V.W. Earp, that different little man who lives there alone. I stopped there and eavesdropped on this playing. I don’t know what song it was. It didn’t matter. It was heavenly. Complicated, fast. The type of playing you wish you could do if you were a pro. I moved on reluctantly after five minutes, finishing my walk. I shook my head in wonder at the savant like talent of this man.

I had seen some of the other things he had done in the past. My good trade day friend, one of the Webb twins, (I can’t remember if it was Ronald or Donald) showed me a design that V.W. had drawn. It was a complicated and quite logical drawing of how to stop the flooding on the Chattooga River. I guess V.W. had given this to him some time back. It looked like something that Leonardo da Vinci might have done. It was a crude, but at the same time a simple and brilliant plan. Of course, nobody took it seriously. I wonder if it would have worked.

I think the Webb boys have a weekly “shack picking and playing” session somewhere, (don’t know for sure…never been invited to come!) I hope V.W. shows up there sometimes. It would be a shame for nobody else to ever hear that gorgeous music. I wonder if he has many friends. I see him out and about his house with his little white dog following him and I throw up my hand and say “hey” I’ve run into him at the local grocery store and talked with him for a few minutes at a time. Conversations which are strange and disjointed, but at the same time very interesting.

I marvel at people like this. I knew Mr. Earp was an unusual man. I grew up around him and his brother and I knew his father, but I can’t begin to comprehend this person. This outlandish “character” who on the outside is so incomprehensible to “normal” people, but who on the inside is such a talent and has such a tremendous intellect. A person who because of his eccentricities has a problem finding outlets for his talents, which will fit nicely into our societal norms. If you act a little different no matter if you cannot help it, it’s hard for people to take you seriously sometimes. There’s no doubt about it. Nowadays in schools perhaps things would develop differently. Back in our day in school… There just weren’t things available.

I’m glad I know this man and I’m glad I took that five minutes to listen to his music. I will always remember it.

Looking Back on the Pandemic from one year ago today.

That’s What you get for Thinking.

Back when I was a kid, I often had grand schemes that I would think up. Sometimes good ideas, sometimes a little “hair brained” Just when I thought things were going well, something would happen and the “grand” idea would fall through. When that happened, and I told my Daddy about it he’d just look at me and shake his head and say: “Well, that’s what you get for thinking” Honestly, he wasn’t getting on to me for thinking. It was more about counting my eggs before they hatched, or about being too arrogant or overconfident. I have that irritating trait in my nature and it occasionally overcomes my logical approach to things.

I thought I had a logical approach to the golden years of retirement.

I honestly thought my “golden years” were going to be filled with good times with my family, taking care of the grand kids, going to ballgames, dances, and school functions with the little grand-kids and their parents. I think being around the family and doing things with them was my ultimate goal. It was because of them that I came through four bypasses in 2010. At one point in the first couple of days, the pain was so bad I thought I just wanted to let go. But my wife and my kids….they gave me a reason to go on. I went through a long recovery and only started to really exercise, walk, and watch my weight in late 2004. I decided I wanted to live a few more years. Was that being selfish? I didn’t think so at the time. I was on Ancestry a lot during those years and I saw where a lot of my ancestors died young. Got to be about 60 years old and “BOOM” Gone. It was only through the work of the medical and scientific communities that they had a method by the time I needed it to “patch me up” enough to keep on living. I appreciate it so very much. I appreciate what those doctors and nurses did for me. I appreciate my family helping me hold on. I’m thankful to them all.

But…back to the “golden” years. I “thought” that things would go on as they always have. Work most of the year, maybe take a couple of weeks off….go on a vacation with the family. Be around the kids and help with them. Do my “trade day” thing every couple of weeks or so. Go out to eat at Logan’s or one of our other favorite spots on Saturdays. Cracker Barrel on Sunday. All that stuff. Ordinary stuff. To me it was just “every day” life. Taking that “every day” life for granted was a big mistake. Look at where we all are now. Not just us, me and the wife….but all of the Grandma and Grandpa’s out there who love their families and want to be with them, to see them and be around them. To love, and sometimes fuss over them. To live our lives “normally”. Normally….all of you my friends wanted that also, I know.

But now, there is no “normal” like that anymore. Only the new normal. The quarantine normal. The self-isolation normal. (and thank God for my wife who keeps me sane)

“Thought you were going to glide on through those golden years, huh?” I can hear Tarp Bowers’ voice in my head. “Well that’s what you get for thinking”. And….honestly, he’s right.

How did I dare assume that there would be an in place continued normal for humanity? What gall on my part! I’ve been warning people about stuff like this for years, and it turns out that I didn’t pay attention to my own warnings. “Mother Earth will get us back, “ I said. I never expected the nasty, evil stealth of this disease that has hit us though. I never expected anything which could separate human beings so totally from the natural tendency to be the social animals we have evolved into. A sickness that has never, ever been inside a human body before in the entire history of all humanity! An alien invasion not from outer space, but from within our own world.

Now, I look up at the window and talk to my granddaughters Evie and Ellie…and their Daddy, through a screen 10 ft away. I talk to my youngest son while he’s up on the deck and I’m way down below. I await “drive by’s” from my daughter and her family….my oldest son and his family. I haven’t seen my first granddaughter since Christmas. Watched my second granddaughter who’s graduating from college this year, get married via phone video. The new normal.

Yet, I am lucky. I am so, so very lucky. I can still do these things. I still have hope that our family unit will all get through these hard times all in one piece, so that we may come together….all together again.

Daddy used to look at me at times like these and say: “Alright, quit feeling sorry for yourself”. I’m not really….. Well maybe I am. Maybe we all are a little, and if so it’s really OK to feel that way. It’s just that this new normal is so damn abnormal for me. I’m hunkered down now and resigned to staying put for a long spell. I’m learning new things, and relearning old ones. I’m storing up hugs, tears, and love for the day I’ll be able to use them again. I hope and pray that it will be soon for all of us. God bless, stay home and stay safe.

Worth a thought?

Worth a thought?

…suppose all of the women who were ever burned at the stake as witches, or for heresy, were to rise in anger from their graves and seek revenge on the descendants of those who murdered them or caused them to be killed?

…or all of the ghosts of the Shamans and Elders, and the Chiefs of all the first people who lived in the Americas were to magically become zombies, like the ones in “the Walking Dead” and seek retribution for the diseases which decimated them, or the soldiers who cut down their woman and children left alone in their villages.

…imagine the fear which would reign if the spirits of all the lynched Negros, all of the abused and tortured slaves, could haunt the dreams of the offspring of those who caused their terrible and awful abuse.

..what if the Earth itself is silently plotting our demise because of all that we have done to harm her? The scars we have permanently left upon the land, and the species which no longer exist…many simply because they got in our way, or because we could easily exploit and manipulate them. Many died due to our greed.

why are we like this? At what point in human history did we decide that treating other humans as animals was ok, and that treating animals like dirt was our “right”, and that treating our home like it is disposable is even remotely wise? Why do those of us who do not want these things to be so, give power to those who have no soul?

I believe that people who care about not letting the terrible things which have plagued our history happen again, should exercise our right to treat those who would do them as criminals and outcasts not as leaders. We don’t need destroyers as leaders, we need builders of consensus and cooperation. We need people of compassion and love.

Can we find them soon enough?

I look to the future generations and hope. I look to the babies who are crawling and toddling for wisdom. I dream of technology which is yet to come for assistance.

There is only one Earth

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it.

I am sure that our ancestors thought the resources of the Earth were everlasting. I am sure that our ancestors thought that there was nothing which they…tiny inhabitants of this giant world…could do to affect the Earth. In 1700 there was only 600 million people inhabiting the Earth. We didn’t hit 1 billion people on the Earth until sometime around the American Civil War era.

Now we have somewhere around 7.5 billion people as passengers on this planet.

Every piece of plastic which was ever made still exists somewhere on the Earth. A lot of it resides in the Oceans of the world. If you go down to the beach, you will see some of it…I guarantee you. As large as the oceans our world are, they are becoming gigantic trash receptacles for human waste of all manner and description.

Six years ago in March, a huge earthquake hit Japan. It damaged a nuclear power plant near Fukishima, which had a partial meltdown. Since then 80% of the nuclear material which spilled from that plant has gone into the Pacific ocean. Forget about the hundreds of thousands of tons of “junk” which has washed up on the shores of Alaska. That’s going to be minor compared to the damage to the ecosystem which that radiation, which continues to spill into the Pacific ocean, is going to do to our ecosystem. Try to comprehend that there are 450 or so nuclear plants spread around the world. The majority of them are very near water….the ocean…major rivers, inland seas. Let that sink in.

Did you know that the majority of the Earth’s atmosphere is only ten miles thick? Did you know that extreme changes have taken place in that 10 miles of atmosphere which is absolutely essential to the life of every creature on this planet since the “Industrial revolution” back in the 1700’s. Our climate is changing, and quickly, due to the amounts of carbon dioxide which is flowing into our atmosphere. Global warming is caused primarily from putting too much carbon into the atmosphere when coal, gas, and oil are burned to generate electricity or to run our cars. These gases spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space. It’s really just that simple. It’s science. Lot’s of people deny this is happening, but the numbers say it is. The Earth doesn’t like it.

I could go on..and on…and on..but you get the point by now, hopefully.

Last year when we moved to our new home, the area out behind our house was a jungle! There were vines, briers, honeysuckle, scrub bushes, etc., so thick that you couldn’t even get through it. During this winter, I have cut almost all of that jungle out. I have slashed it, and raked it, and cut it and piled it up. There’s no jungle there anymore, and over the past week I have seen rabbits, squirrels, birds and other animals out in that area eating. There are “wild carrots” coming up, with their tender shoots and the rabbits love them. There are earthworms crawling out and the robins love them.

The Earth didn’t mind me doing that little “rearranging” of her surface. The fact that new and wonderful things are already beginning to peep out into the world shows gratitude. The Earth says: “thank you” if you do the right thing.

I wish people would do the right thing. I wish there was no such thing as “fracking” which is quite simply, only a money making scheme for people who are in that industry. Read this comment from a recent post from Senator Bernie Sanders concerning the recent changes in climate policy by our government. It comes from a lady who made a comment on Senator Sander’s post. She’s talking about why they are still fracking: “

I don’t think they actually don’t believe it. I think they don’t care. And a majority of the people in Texas and Louisiana I know that are “deniers” are just afraid that all the oil field guys will lose their jobs if fracking is shut down. It’s not that they don’t believe it’s bad for our environment. My husband was a line boss for Halliburton and he even says it’s horrible. People can’t even imagine the money made from fracking. It’s uncountable. And that’s what matters to most Republicans. Money. I’m not even a Democrat but I do believe that. Whatever will keep all their business money safe is what wins. Screw anyone else and the Earth for our descendants.”

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? It’s all about the money for the current passengers on “Spaceship Earth” and screw our descendants. I hate to think about it, but that’s pretty much it.

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it. And when it’s gone, we are gone…all of us, all of our descendants, all of life which exists on this planet. All gone.

Mull it over for a while, and decide if some of the things which we think are absolutely necessary for life, really are.

Mutants

The X men…or women.

I enjoyed reading Marvel comics when I was a kid. Loved all the Marvel heroes. I have loved all the movies, they’ve really been big productions! Quite a work of fantasy isn’t it? Mutants! People who were born with mutations of their genes, which give them extraordinary powers. But it’s all science fiction….or is it?

I just read this week, and saw it on the news where a lady in Scotland is a mutant. That’s right, she’s a mutant. She feels no pain, her wounds heal twice as fast as normal, and has no sense of fear or anxiety. She’s never been afraid, or nervous.

This, to my way of thinking, has some major implications. Scientists say her condition is “rare”. ( they call it a condition instead of a mutation….but it’s a mutation). But how rare? If one person in a million was a mutant….of some type, that’d be roughly….lemme’ see….7 billion people…umm, 7000? Is that right math people? Suppose it’s one out of every half million. 14 thousand? What are the “powers” of these Mutants? As we continue to breed each and every single day, and more and more humans are born, will the mutations become more “manifest” type powerful mutations?

Will we have Mutant Super heroes (and villains) one day? Are they already here? I’m just saying, one little ol’ 73 year old Scottish lady ain’t the only one out there with a special set of genes. My guess is that human genomic variations are going to become more and more frequent. Nature senses that humanity needs change in order to survive….themselves among other things, and will accelerate the evolution of humans through mutations which will become permanent traits. I don’t know what they will be. Maybe special genes which make us more peaceful. I personally would take feeling no pain, but more than that, would take a gene that prevented fear and anxiety. Oh heck yes…in a heartbeat I’d take that one! Imagine how much more peaceful society would be if we were able to remove fear and anxiety.

It’d be one hell of a start towards peace, goodwill for all men.

Mutants. They’re out there. Let’s hope they’re the good ones.

The Direction of America

I think after seeing and hearing about the “cheating scandals” this week, that I’m disheartened with the overall direction America has taken in the last 30 years or so. I see the results of the inadequacy of our ability to maintain the quality of our country’s intellect in many places.

Just as an example tonight on a game show, a young lady in her mid twenties was being asked questions on a game show. She knew the colors of “The Gaps” logo in an instant. “Blue and White” she shouted. Her next question was: “On what continent is Egypt?” She struggled…..”uh….Asia?” Asia?? Down the Shute she went.

I see it many other places too. On a daily basis. At stores, at the flea market, at ball fields, etc., many examples. Mundane stuff sometimes. Stuff people should know most times. So, if you don’t know stuff, then you have to depend on people….or machines, that you trust, to give you the answers. That’s very dangerous, because there are very few of either in which you can truly place your trust. What ends up happening a lot of times, is that people end up believing lies, or half truths…. are the truth.

The super rich in this country definitely don’t want an educated populace. Some of them, as we have learned, want to buy their kids way into the top Universities, pay people to keep their grades up, or simply put your daughter on a yacht with the president of a University. They’ll get that piece of paper! But, it won’t be worth anything, not that it matters in their case…they’ll just hop on YouTube and get a following, or start a make up line, and make a billion. In those cases, you gotta “have money to make money”

I think the days of the “Horatio Alger” rags to riches stories in America, are about over. There might be a few, but not too many in years to come. I know….you could name me some now….Gates, Bezos, others. But, for the most part, most people are going to have a harder and harder time climbing outside the basic social strata into which they were born. Especially, if our current system of education keeps being eroded by our federal and state governments.

Ahh…I’m getting off to read a book. Lots of other people should too. Good night.

The changing times. From 2015

Tick tock goes the clock…..

I have laid my watch down in my driveway several times when I have gone for a walk. It has always been there when I got back. It’s never chased me around the block. All that has ever happened to that watch has been a change in the “hands” on the inside. They move. They measure time. And they always run forward.
For almost four years now Paula and I have been babysitters for Eli and Rue. Any of you who are my friends have seen their pictures. Tiny little tots they were when they first came to us….changing magically into toddlers and budding students.

I looked over at Rue today as she was sitting in Paula’s lap taking her nap. She has always sought solace in Nana’s lap for her naps. She’s being “weaned” off of “sassy” gradually, and she can only have it at nap time. So she’s laying there with her sassy in her mouth sound asleep and I suddenly am struck by the realization that there won’t be many more naps like this one.

Both of them are going to Pre-K next year, so they won’t be here during the day. School is out in May this year, so days of Rue napping in Nana’s lap are dwindling. The days of Eli and me going over to the church parking lot and kicking around his little red rubber ball are dwindling.

Those two have fought like brother and sister, but love each other like brother and sister.

And the hands on my watch are still moving, and won’t stop. And why the heck are there tears in my eyes while I’m writing this? I think I’m getting soft in my old age.

There have been memories with these two that I will never, ever forget. Those days will be one’s it will be hard for them to remember though.

There’s been days I could scalp them, but I miss them as soon as they walk out the door. Go figure.

Ahh well, it’s not as if they are dropping off the planet. They will still be around plenty…and I walk and walk every day to try and lengthen that time, and slow down those hands on my watch. Love will get you to do things you didn’t think you would or could.

Baby Evie will be down next week for a trial run with Nana and Papa. So, a new chapter joyfully begins while one of the previous chapters begins to wind down. And we turn the page, and wait for the hands on the watch to move ahead into the future.