God is there

There are far, far too many children with cancer and other serious diseases in our world. Far too many young adults dying with “old people” diseases:

“There are far, far too many chemicals, poisons, drugs, in our water and food”

There is far, far too much hatred one for the other in our world. Far too much war and atrocities being committed by humans against other humans:

“Hate is not a hereditary quality, but a learned behavior”

There is far, far too much torture of our planet going on. Forests are disappearing, oceans are polluted, the air is filled with noxious smoke, the earth itself is being drilled into incessantly, pumped full of hot water and steam in order to choke out a gallon of black goo…:

“When the Earth dies, all humans will also die. As far as I know there are no outposts on Mars”

There are far, far too few children learning to put a pencil to a piece of paper and write:

“When the plug is pulled, how will knowledge be communicated?”

I used to be able to pull my car in my Grandfather’s yard and do just about anything to it which needed doing to make it run. I changed points and plugs, solenoid switches and alternators, starters, rings and pistons. Now when I open the hood of my car all I see are computer plug ins. The one thing I recognize is the battery.

I used to check books out of the library to read, or go to one of the numerous used book stores to buy a book to read, or to trade for one. Now, I buy a “book” online and they send a few bytes of information on the internet and I read it on an electronic pad. I still own lots and lots of physical books though…including a lot of instruction manuals and textbooks.

There are far, far too many people who think their God lives inside a big brick building:

“If you make room in your heart, God will be there. If God is in your heart, you have made room” You will know, there won’t be any doubt.

Peace….

Life on the B side

Living Life on the B side.

When I was a kid, we had only record players on which to play our favorite music. For most of my early childhood, I played my records on my dad and Mom’s old Philco combination radio/phonograph. I think that old machine is still sitting in my son’s house. We only owned a few records when I was very little. Dean Martin, Sinatra, an Elvis album. All of them were 33 rpm records, or “albums” as we called them then. I wore the ones we had out playing them. I can still sing any of the songs on the ones we had word for word. The only time the radio was on was when my mother was listening to some radio preacher, or when my dad wanted to listen to a football game. Other than that, there wasn’t much “live” music being played. Maybe the “Grand Ol’ Opry” every now and then…. but not too often. My Mom had always wanted to be a “country singer” but never knew how to pursue it. She had a halfway decent voice but wouldn’t sing for anyone. Her childhood was challenged, to say the least. She had absolutely no self-confidence. None had ever been instilled in her. My Grandpa was not good to his daughters for some reason. My dad loved to sing though and would go around the house singing all the songs he had grown up with. I learned a lot of Al Jolson songs, and other various and sundry songs that a child of the depression would hear as he grew
up.

I got my first personal record player of my very own when I was about 12 years old. I had to be that age, because it was after we had already moved over on 9th street…. which was in the fall of 1962 I believe. I remember having to get out in the yard and move the 12-inch-high brown grass in the cool of that Fall. It was probably my Christmas present that year. It was a two-tone brown boxy little outfit that the top part flipped open to reveal the inner workings. The best thing about it was that it had a 45-rpm converter which fit down over the top of the spindle. This meant I could play 45’s …. if I could get them. Luckily, I had an uncle whose job was filling up juke boxes with new records as they came out. Every time we went to my grandmother’s house, my uncle would have a big box of old 45’s that he had taken out of the juke boxes and replaced with more current songs. I brought home dozens of great records. There was one problem with those records though. All 45’s had an A and a B side, where the A side was the primary release song. It was the “popular” song on the record. Most of the time on those used records, the A side was about worn out, while the B side was rarely played. Therefore, I listened to a lot of “B” side music. One record I can recall more than others was Elvis Presley’s 1962 hit “She’s Not You” That song was totally worn out, but the B side was “Just Tell Her Jim said Hello” which I grew to love as probably my favorite Elvis song. (Well, besides “Hound Dog” which was also the B side to “Don’t be Cruel”)

There were a lot of records where the A side was still very playable. I got to where I loved Billy Joe Royal, Tommy Roe, whose A side songs didn’t get played as much, as well as the B side songs of the Rolling Stones. (Of which a couple I cannot even name here)

I did keep on playing the 33’s also. I began to love show tunes, mainly because Redford’s 5&10 would put them on sale after they’d been sitting around for a while, and where I couldn’t afford the “popular” records of those days, I would pay 50 cents for the soundtrack of “My Fair Lady” “The King and I” and many others of that time period. I can still sing them word for word too, and in many senses, I love that music more than some of the Pop tunes of that era. I kept that little record player until I moved off to college in 1968. It was a little monaural wonder. The first time I head a stereo record player, believe me when I say, I was amazed.

I reckon the influence that music had on me during those days made me be satisfied with living life on the “B” side. I mean, I might have enjoyed being a rich man…. I might have liked being popular and well known for being a singer and a songwriter, but then again, I may not have cared for the consequences of being famous. I probably wouldn’t have. I’m entirely satisfied and happy with the way my life has turned out. Every time I think about it, I ask Alexa to play “Just Tell her Jim said Hello” or even “Hound Dog” like I did today. I also asked her to play “Dream” by the Everly brothers in honor of Phil Everly. Man, I love that song.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters was a B side to “The Boxer” too I believe.

Is it really a blessing?

I have read a lot of New Year’s posts, and even before New Year’s where people are always using the phrase “I am blessed” or “feeling blessed” I wonder.

I think a lot of times we humans don’t give ourselves the credit that we are due in life. Our hard work, kindness, compassion, generosity, our dedication to these things, all of this creates the success (or if you are lacking these things, the failure) of our lives.

If you win the lottery…you are lucky! If you get into a great college, you have worked hard, studied hard and fought hard to get there. If you survive a terrible accident, or a major medical crisis….you have been aided by science and by the education of the medical professionals and staff.

I think we should reassess our use of the term “being blessed” If you consider it carefully, in most cases we as humans are responsible for our blessings. If you get a great job you applied for, is it because of your qualifications and record…or were you blessed? Were the people who applied for that job and didn’t get it cursed?

Do we too often recognize the accomplishments and hard work of other people by saying they are blessed? Is that belittling them as a person to think that they have been given whatever it is that they are getting as a gift from God?

I believe in God. I know not the true nature of God. I don’t think that when I wake up every morning it is because God has blessed me with another day. You may disagree, and if you do…then I will not argue the point with you. I believe that God has given us the ultimate blessing. The gift of life on this Earth. The gift of being able to interact with other people, to love them. The gift of being able to enjoy all the things we have been inserted into with this gift of life. Live life. Enjoy life. Revel in it. This is our one time trip through it and we should not sell our humanity and the gifts of our humaness short. We create our own blessings by our actions and thoughts. Let’s create many of them this year.

Suppose

…suppose the souls of all 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 if 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 fill the wind if the spirits of all the lynched slaves, all of the abused and tortured Africans and their children, could haunt the dreams of the offspring of those who caused that 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 remorse or conscience?

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 don’t need the self-righteous as our teachers, we need builders of consensus and cooperation. We need people of compassion and love. We need healers.

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. My time remaining here is short, and my answer is that I am sorry that I have not done enough.

Many people say we should not worry about the deeds of our forefathers, what’s past is past, but every time I look out of my window into the deep woods behind my house, I hear the whispers in the wind, the soft crying in the breeze, the deep anger in the thunder and lightning, and I wonder if those people who want to forget about history are right or wrong.

Baby Boomer Fail

Our Fathers, and some of our Mothers went off to World War II, and then came home and created us. The baby boomers.

Our parents had hopes and dreams that we, their precious children, could change the world to be a better place. That we could change the world to be a world with no more war. That we could change the world to be more accepting. That we could change the world to be a happier place. That we could enrich the world with the knowledge and science that comes with a college degree….one which most of them did not have a chance to get.

Most of our parents, being children of the depression, wanted more for us then they we’re able to have. So they gave things to us. Our Christmases were like Ralphie’s in “A Christmas Story”. We had our ball gloves and our baseball games. Football became a major force in America during our lifetimes. Hell, all sports did for that matter. We concentrated more on being good athletes, than we did being good citizens.

We were expected to get good grades in school, and to be polite. We did….we were.

We owed it to our Moms and Dads to succeed in our quest to change the world. It has been changed, but we have not changed it for the good.

Instead, we became the “me” generation. We became the “lost” generation. We became the generation who’s motto was “make love and not war”. We were the generation who protested the “Vietnam” war.

We created wonderful music. We wrote great books. But in the space of all this time between the “then” of our birth and the “now” of today, we became divided. We diverged in the late 60’s onto two separate paths. Some remained liberal children of the flower power movement , while others made a choice to move on to more conservative norms.

I don’t pretend to be able to reduce all the complicated reasons we are where we are now into a few paragraphs. It’s impossible. But the gist of what I am trying to say is that my generation was many. We were the majority of voters at one time in this country…and we failed. We failed to do all the things we were supposed to do for our Moms and dads.

We failed to heal. We failed to unite, and we failed to erase hatred and prejudice. Now it is too late for us. Our time to effect change has been lost like the long hair we used to wear.

All I can say is “Dad and Mom…I’m so damned sorry I failed you, I am so terribly, awfully sorry”. I did not realize that my civic duty was more important than “feeling good”. By the time I have realized it……..

There’s millions more out there, Baby Boomers….who owe their folks the same apology. We let the chance to change the world into a better place for our children and grandchildren, slip away like sand through the hourglass of our era.

Now we reap what we sow….or more appropriately, what we failed to sow. We deserve what we get for betraying the sacred mission with which our parents entrusted us.

Make the world a better place to live. Leave more than you found.

Things I cannot see

I cannot see the wind, but I know its there and that it exists. I wonder often what it does look like to the ones who can see it. It must have dainty white hued hands, and powerful big red mittens to be able to do what it does.

But, I cannot see the wind that moves the things around us. The same wind that moves small things so cleverly but can blow away entire towns if it wishes.

And if I cannot see the wind, what else am I overlooking? What more things, both benign and powerful exist side by side with me that I cannot detect, because unlike the wind they choose not to make their presence known?

On being Charlie Brown

I am Charlie Brown- A memory for Halloween.

I think maybe it’s because my birthday coincides with the first syndicated appearance of Charlie Brown in the newspapers back on October 21, 1950. I have always been like “good ol’ Charlie Brown” even before I knew who he was. It could be that or either just the luck of the Irish (or the Scotch-Irish in my case) but when I was young, every time the gang in our neighborhood got together to choose up sides for baseball or football, I always started to get a knawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just knew that no matter what happened, I would be the last one chosen for the team.

It wasn’t that I was that bad a player, because I wasn’t. There were just a lot of decisions which entered into who was chosen and who wasn’t. Rickey was chosen first because he was the fastest. Mikey was chosen early because he was small and quick and could maneuver well. Mike B. was chose early because of his HUGE size. Hiram was chosen, because he was the meanest and nobody wanted to choose the meanest guy last. Stanley was the friendliest so he got picked. So, by the time the last choice came around, it was me who was left. The last boy to be chosen.
I was mediocre at most things. In baseball, I was probably the best hitter though. I later won a lot of games for my team in Little League, although I was the last kid picked by a coach for his team. I steered away from baseball and football in High School and went with “individual” sports like golf and tennis, where I did well.

I’m not sure what the problem has always been. Maybe I don’t smile enough. I sure never kissed up to anyone just to be chosen, I considered that below my dignity. Guess it’s just part of that Scotch Irish heritage thing again, where my ancestors never bent their knees to the English. I am sure quite a few of my ancestors got a chopping or a hanging because they wouldn’t bend quickly enough. FREEDOMMMMM…….Hmm,..guess I watched “Braveheart” one too many times.

I was big, but not the biggest, fast but not the fastest, quick but not the quickest. For sure I was never the meanest. Definitely not the friendliest. Maybe the quirkiest. Yep, for sure that.
But I guess the main thing is that it really never bothered me that much back then to BE the one chosen last. It bothered all the other guys, and if they were the last one picked they would raise all kinds of hell, and get their feelings hurt. I never did. It bothered me some, but all I really wanted to do was be a member of the team, and I always got to do that even if I was the last one, so what did it matter really? The proof of your worth comes after the choosing not during it. So, I guess that’s another reason why I was always the last one chosen. I took it calmly. I was always the mediator and rarely the instigator. It must be because I’m a Libra. That causes me to believe in a certain balance. Or maybe because I believe God made us all the same on the inside.

As I have gone on through growing up and into my adult life, it has become more difficult to be the last one chosen. I still exhibit most of the same qualities I did as a kid. I am smart, but not the smartest. Quick to learn, but not quite the quickest. I work hard, but there are probably some people out there who work harder. I am consistent in my beliefs about how people should be treated, but I am still not mean. I believe in treating other people like I want to be treated. I still don’t smile that often, and I am terrible at telling jokes. Most jokes require that you belittle someone or something, and I am just not going to do it. I don’t like talking about myself and what I have accomplished, or failed to accomplish for that matter. I just still believe in that balance. I believe in being calm and waiting for all the decisions to be made and for all the choices to be exercised.
I believe that fairness should be Universal and not just reserved for the richest, the strongest, the most advantageously placed politically, the meanest, nor due to any other quality that might be construed as giving a person the appearance of forbearance or special treatment. I despise favoritism. Fair is fair. People know what is fair and what isn’t. It is an innate quality that is placed within each of us a birth. The only difference is that some humans believe in “being” fair, and some don’t.

So, many days in many ways I still wait to be chosen. I have a good record in life, not outstanding but good, and always trying to be fair and fight injustice. Just like back in my baseball playing days I have had a good average and have always helped the teams I have been on. I would love to be chosen first sometime in life, BUT even if I am still the LAST one chosen I will continue to do my best to be above average. Even if things don’t turn out to be exactly fair in THIS life, I think that the Universal “balancer” will square things up one of these days. It may be a while yet, but it is one thing that IS inevitable.

Being Charlie Brown

I am Charlie Brown- A memory for Halloween.

I think maybe it’s because my birthday coincides with the first syndicated appearance of Charlie Brown in the newspapers back on October 21, 1950. I have always been like “good ol’ Charlie Brown” even before I knew who he was. It could be that or either just the luck of the Irish (or the Scotch-Irish in my case) but when I was young, every time the gang in our neighborhood got together to choose up sides for baseball or football, I always started to get a knawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just knew that no matter what happened, I would be the last one chosen for the team.

It wasn’t that I was that bad a player, because I wasn’t. There were just a lot of decisions which entered into who was chosen and who wasn’t. Rickey was chosen first because he was the fastest. Mikey was chosen early because he was small and quick and could maneuver well. Mike B. was chose early because of his HUGE size. Hiram was chosen, because he was the meanest and nobody wanted to choose the meanest guy last. Stanley was the friendliest so he got picked. So, by the time the last choice came around, it was me who was left. The last boy to be chosen.
I was mediocre at most things. In baseball, I was probably the best hitter though. I later won a lot of games for my team in Little League, although I was the last kid picked by a coach for his team. I steered away from baseball and football in High School and went with “individual” sports like golf and tennis, where I did well.

I’m not sure what the problem has always been. Maybe I don’t smile enough. I sure never kissed up to anyone just to be chosen, I considered that below my dignity. Guess it’s just part of that Scotch Irish heritage thing again, where my ancestors never bent their knees to the English. I am sure quite a few of my ancestors got a chopping or a hanging because they wouldn’t bend quickly enough. FREEDOMMMMM…….Hmm,..guess I watched “Braveheart” one too many times.

I was big, but not the biggest, fast but not the fastest, quick but not the quickest. For sure I was never the meanest. Definitely not the friendliest. Maybe the quirkiest. Yep, for sure that.
But I guess the main thing is that it really never bothered me that much back then to BE the one chosen last. It bothered all the other guys, and if they were the last one picked they would raise all kinds of hell, and get their feelings hurt. I never did. It bothered me some, but all I really wanted to do was be a member of the team, and I always got to do that even if I was the last one, so what did it matter really? The proof of your worth comes after the choosing not during it. So, I guess that’s another reason why I was always the last one chosen. I took it calmly. I was always the mediator and rarely the instigator. It must be because I’m a Libra. That causes me to believe in a certain balance. Or maybe because I believe God made us all the same on the inside.

As I have gone on through growing up and into my adult life, it has become more difficult to be the last one chosen. I still exhibit most of the same qualities I did as a kid. I am smart, but not the smartest. Quick to learn, but not quite the quickest. I work hard, but there are probably some people out there who work harder. I am consistent in my beliefs about how people should be treated, but I am still not mean. I believe in treating other people like I want to be treated. I still don’t smile that often, and I am terrible at telling jokes. Most jokes require that you belittle someone or something, and I am just not going to do it. I don’t like talking about myself and what I have accomplished, or failed to accomplish for that matter. I just still believe in that balance. I believe in being calm and waiting for all the decisions to be made and for all the choices to be exercised.
I believe that fairness should be Universal and not just reserved for the richest, the strongest, the most advantageously placed politically, the meanest, nor due to any other quality that might be construed as giving a person the appearance of forbearance or special treatment. I despise favoritism. Fair is fair. People know what is fair and what isn’t. It is an innate quality that is placed within each of us a birth. The only difference is that some humans believe in “being” fair, and some don’t.

So, many days in many ways I still wait to be chosen. I have a good record in life, not outstanding but good, and always trying to be fair and fight injustice. Just like back in my baseball playing days I have had a good average and have always helped the teams I have been on. I would love to be chosen first sometime in life, BUT even if I am still the LAST one chosen I will continue to do my best to be above average. Even if things don’t turn out to be exactly fair in THIS life, I think that the Universal “balancer” will square things up one of these days. It may be a while yet, but it is one thing that IS inevitable.

Making a Comeback

One of my Facebook friends posted they wished “they could get their power” back. I know they were talking about their electricity, but I’m talking about my “human power” and wishing I could get mine back!

I think a lot of my power loss is due to thinking that the source, at least of the physical, was inexhaustible. I abused it, although not intentionally for sure. In the early 1980’s, when I was “plant manager” for a mattress company and was the only salaried employee, I had to stay at work until the “trucks were loaded” which essentially meant that after the hourly workers went home, it was just me loading those trucks. In the Summer of 1980 and 81, when records were broken for days over 100°, I stayed sometimes until 7 p.m. loading kings, queens, fills and twins until the bill of lading was filled. I was a youngster..but it took a toll

In 82′ through 84′, I worked at a different Mattress company in LaFayette and MADE mattresses. I was on “production” and had to make over forty mattresses a day to really make any money. I remember making sixty or seventy a day…even the huge king size all the way from quilting through sewing the edges and bagging them, by myself. I worked through breaks and lunch.. And went home and just lay in the bed many days. I was young, but it took its toll.

After that I had managed a Home health care store. Lots of deliveries if heavy hospital beds..up hills, up stairs…I decided I need to go into management, so in 1988 I talked my way into a job I wasn’t really qualified for and got it! For 11 years things were good! Then..the company was sold, took a year’s severance off and started from scratch again. It was 1999, and my power was getting low. Too many years eating wrong and overworking my body took their toll. Lack of health care, dental care…couldn’t afford it, didn’t do it… Heart attack #1.

Last 10 years before 2013 were a nightmare hodgepodge of high pressure jobs, with weirdo bosses and crappy nightime 12 hour shift jobs…of shift jobs 14 hours including the driving days, with younger know it all, but know nothing pipsqueak bosses and peers and parents who are sick and die, so that December 2013 brings heart attack #2, open heart, quadruple ruination, arrhythmia plagued end to youth.

Now you know why I’d like my power back…but as 72 comes Friday, I’m dang glad that I’ve got any power at all. I don’t want or need sympathy, some days I just want to be…just to be. My advice to young ‘uns now would be to take better care, be smarter, and don’t follow the weird but wonderful road I have traveled.

I will think…

While I can still think, I will. I will think of people who are genuine and truthful, with pure motives. I will think of hard workers who do their work for the benefit of others. I will think of dishonesty, subterfuge and hate as tools of character assassins and extremists.

I will think of the love of many growing cold, and how easy it would be to remedy this dysfunction in one generation’s time, with the abolition of organizations which sponsor and foster that dysfunction. I will think of individualism and the promotion of open minded thought, which just might save this world.

Then I will think…it can never happen. But I will do what I can, while I can still think.

And that is called going full circle…..