A Coin of Love….

I’m recalibrating and reconstituting my blog site to fit my area of expertise. I hope my future blogs and posts will be of interest to people with a passion for days gone by….

Writing for Sanity's Sake

Back on November 9th in 1874, a baby was born.  The only other thing which I know about her was that her Grandfather loved her.  I know this because of a Canadian 25 cent piece which I bought a long time back from a buyer friend of mine who goes up to New England occasionally and brings things back to sell.  I bought the coin from him.

Back in the old days, coins were used a lot of times to transform into keepsakes.  They were used for birthdays, anniversaries, sweethearts, and other occasion’s people wished to commemorate.  They were made from silver, and things being what they were back then, they were objects of value.

This particular coin must have been cherished by its original owner because it is in almost perfect condition.  It still has the original little yellow ribbon which must have been on it the day it…

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A Trip Back in Time to 1963

You can’t beat the rain for therapy sometimes.  It’s been one of the most humid late spring days I can ever remember down here in Southland.  Mr. “Heat Mister” really took over this year.  But…today it rained.  Not a Thunderstorm or one of those violent lashes off of some Hurricane going up the cost.  No sir, not this one.  This is one of those that just gently moved in, and started coming down almost unnoticed.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Most people don’t want to see rain anytime, but this time of the year I will take these “Season Changers” that come out of the North and move through and clean out the air, so that tomorrow when we walk outside it will be like breathing pure Oxygen.  The temperature is going to be in the 70’s and there will be a small little tailing breeze coming from the Northwest, just kind of pushing the trees around and whispering in my ear “Summer’s gone…Summer’s gone..”  This is the kind of rain that I remember so well when I was growing up.  I would most likely be at my Grandparent’s old house and I would go out on their front porch just as soon as the rain started, and get an old blanket and climb in the old swing.  I would cover up my head and just listen to the rain hitting the tin roof, just oh so gingerly.  I would loll in that swing for most of the day, just drifting in and out of consciousness, letting my body adjust and my mind recover.  I looked for a front porch swing today, but there wasn’t one around.  I didn’t have time to wrap up in a blanket, but I can look out the window and see it, and walk outside and let it roll off my face.

I thing my body will still adjust, but I don’t know about my mind recovering.  There is so much that goes on in it all the time.  Worrying about jobs, and money woes, and family health crises.  I would give just about anything to go back and spend the day in that old swing with the blanket pulled up over my head.   I am almost positive it would rejuvenate my soul.

Remember Peter Paul and Mary singing this song.  It was one of the songs of a generation.  My generation.  It was a generation dedicated mostly to love.  Flowers in your hair, flowers everywhere.  Lot of marijuana floating around.  I never cottoned much to that stuff though.  Drank a little much sometimes but…heck everyone has their times, don’t they?

I quit all the bad habits (I hope…except eating too much maybe)  I quit smoking over 25 years ago, quit chewing tobacco, quit drinking beer, hmm…all that other stuff that’s supposedly bad for you.  I tried to become a “good” citizen, a good person.  I have a problem though, and it has to do with what’s going on in our society today.

I did a blog about all the bad things that are going on in the world.  I took a long look at it, and read it over….then I DELETED it!!

Now I want to write about something else, and let the TV blare the bad news out!  I am sorry….I’m tired of it.

What I would really like is to take a trip.  Maybe one of these days I will get brave and buy me a motorcycle!!  I doubt it though.  I like time traveling…it doesn’t cost anything and I can do it while I am sitting here at the computer.  Today I think I am going to go back to…….1963!!  Yea, that’s it!

First off, Elvis was still alive and well and making songs and movies.  In 1963 he made that classic “It Happened At a World’s Fair” (Based at the Seattle World’s Fair, which incidentally was going on that year, and was a good spot for a ready made movie set…go Elvis!!)  Yea, Elvis was big that year, but there was a group from England that came over and blasted us away with TWO number ones, “She Loves YOU” and “I Want to Hold YOUR Hand”  were blaring away on all the jukeboxes, especially the one over at Chamlee’s Skating Rink where the skates were slick, and the girls were….well…I was 13, so I WAS interested! (Elvis did “Devil in Disguise” so that WAS a good one for him)

And talk about MOVIES  my Lord…there was “The Pink Panther”  and “Charade” with lovely Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant (hey they have revived Audrey Hepburn and those skinny black pants they are using for a TV commercial now!) Alfred Hitchcock gave us “The Birds” (was that the only movie that Tippy Hedren ever did…but she DID give us a good daughter didn’t she?)  There was “Cleopatra” (c’mon Liz?) and Yul Brynner did some weird “Sun” movie or something.

TV Shows…now there was some really “BAD” shows back then wasn’t there?  Leave it to Beaver?  The Fugitive? Andy Griffith, Patty Duke, The Beverly Hillbillies?  Ahh yes, now Jed Clampett has always been a really bad influence on my life, and of course I have patterned my criminal career after Andy and Barney…sheesh…what happened to THOSE kinds of shows.

Richard Scarry started writing kid’s books around 1963, and John LeCarre was big into spy novels.

1963 was big in some other ways too.  Martin Luther King led 100,000 plus people in a rally in Washington D.C. that year, and gave a little speech you may have heard about…something about having a Dream…..yes I DO have a dream about all the little black and white kids Martin….I still do.

I was, as I have said 13 years old that year.  What a great age.  It was baseball, and comic books for me.  Spiderman, and Superman and all the heroes they are making movies about nowadays.  I could sit around on a Summer day…and yes we had those LONG Summers back then…those that seemed like they would go on forever…I could sit around and read half the day, and go play a ballgame, and get back in time to watch the Twilight Zone!!  Mike Myers wasn’t making any Movies back in 1963, cause that’s the year he was BORN…Ha…you little squirt….!!!

In November of 1963, the year was coming to a close.  I was already looking forward to Christmas!!  I think that was the year I got a telescope!  (always looking to the heavens you know!)  On November 22, 1963 I went out of school for lunch and went over by the river.  There was some rocks over there on the river bank, and we guys always tried to jump from one to another.  I didn’t make it, and I jabbed a sharp edge of rock into my shinbone and made a hole in it.  I still have that little scar, and a “bump” there.  I had to go home from school.  Later on that afternoon Walter Kronkite came on the TV and said that President Kennedy had been shot…and shortly thereafter, they said he had died.

I was a big fan of JFK’s.  We didn’t know anything about his escapades with Marilyn, or any of his other sins back then.  We just knew he was a young vital President, and we admired him greatly.  I think when he died that day in 1963, that may have been the beginning of the loss of innocence for a lot of us.  1964 soon came along, and things just didn’t seem the same anymore.  The war started getting worse, people started coming up against each other politically and philosophically, and I don’t think they have come back together since.

Yes, it was a good year…and a bad year.  But I lived it, and I loved it.


Highly Doubtful Causes

Without a doubt, much of what we think we know is false.  Even being as “smart” as we humans think we are we don’t even know everything about our own body.  When we move out from there, into the world around us, and eventually into the Universe that surrounds us, our knowledge becomes exponentially less and less.

There are SO many theories on how the Universe started, where it’s headed and how it’s going to end.  Some of them are theological in nature, and some are scientific.  None of them are right, probably not even near right.

I shudder when I think about how little I know.  I have to take most things I do every day on faith.  I have faith when I plug in the coffee machine that it is going to make me a cup of coffee.  If it didn’t, I don’t have the knowledge to tear it apart and remake it so that it would.  If I put my key in the car, and turn the switch and it doesn’t start, most of the time I wouldn’t know what to do.  When I had my heart attacks, I couldn’t fix my arteries.  Of course there are people who DO know how to fix these things, and it’s a good thing too.  Otherwise, most of use would be in a heap of trouble.

But, even those people who are “technologically” smart, don’t have all the answers.  Every few years or so, a new theory comes out about how the Universe began.  Of course, all religions would acknowledge that it was ‘created’ if you will, by God.  A thinking consciousness started the ball rolling and made use what we are today.   Makes sense to us as humans, because WE are conscious thinking creatures.  That’s what separates us from the rest of the creatures….at least so we “think” (I am not so sure sometimes, when my little dog plays me for a sucker that she is not “thinking” about what she is doing) I guess there is all different levels of thinking, and I am SURE that we are not in ANY way close to the “thinking” if that is what it is, of a consciousness so powerful it could create the Universe.

Now secularists have a harder time trying to explain how something like the Universe started on it’s on.  I read somewhere a few weeks back that they think all the matter that it took to get the Universe started, could be compressed down into a ball the size of a basketball, but that it would weigh some astronomically heavy weight.  Some basketball!  When this thing decided to explode and start the Universe, it continually spread from a central point and made us what we are today.  The scientists can look at light coming in from outside our Galaxy that took billions of years to get here.  That’s cool.  When we look up in the sky at night, and see the stars, we are not really seeing what is happening at the moment we are looking, but what happened years and sometimes hundreds or thousands of years ago and is just now reaching us.  For all we know, some of those stars could be, and probably are, gone.  Mind boggling ain’t it?

Well, I just don’t believe that either group has ALL the right answers.  I personally believe the Universe was created, and didn’t just happen, but I don’t even PRETEND to understand the type of intellect it would take to do it.

I know that we have had books and bibles, and documents from the beginning of the time that man learned how to write, with all the theories about how things happened.  All of those came from the minds of man, and have been shaped by the mind of man down through the centuries.  None of them are accurate.  I don’t think that we know accurate.

Now, don’t go all funny on me, and think I am being sacrilegious.  I’m not.  I don’t go around telling people what to believe, OR that what they believe isn’t right.  I don’t have the right to do that, and neither does anyone else.  There are, however, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. who would disagree with me.  All of those religions consider that they have been given the innate approval, by the being that created the Universe to tell everyone that there way of thinking is the only one that is correct.  I happen to disagree with them.  There may be some correctness in all of them.  Being a Christian, I personally believe in that philosophy and some may think it is a conflict of teaching that I would state I don’t believe in telling OTHER people what to believe, but I don’t.  Everyone has to decide for themselves, and I think on that particular point that the being that created us, God if you will, has been totally succinct.  You choose for yourself whether to be good or bad, light or dark.  This choice is yours no matter what your religion or philosophy.

I think we will all find out one day, of course.  I think that God would be totally unfair to just leaving us hanging about the answer to things.  Of course, I could be wrong about that too.  We may go to Heaven, or we may lay unconscious of the passing of time until we come back around in the endless cycle of the Universes coming and going.  We MAY know nothing, and that’s that.  I highly doubt this to be the case, but….who am I to say?

The Infernal Mechanisms of Life

I used to work the graveyard shift. You know. The middle of the night. 3:30 in the morning, and not a soul in sight, like it says in the Garth Brook’s song “The Thunder rolls.” Except…there were lots of souls in sight there. Lot’s of other Zombie like creatures crawling around over and under steaming and puffing machines, like human maggots, gnawing on food they can’t digest.

I tell you, that strange little work place sometimes seemed like a depiction of Hell itself.

I was once standing at the top of a stairway that leads to another part of the building, and looked out over all these infernal machines, these machines of man. There were puffs of steam and water vapor coming from a thousand different places. Places that they are, and are not supposed to be coming from. All of this fills the air with an eerie sense of unreality, and of dread. All of the people look small, insignificant and miserable from this viewpoint, sort of like damned souls sentenced to do this hard work in this hot and desolate place forever, and forever. The top of the steps was about 160 degrees, since it’s near the ceiling where all of the hot air rises. I felt faint, like I was in a Stephen King nightmarescape and couldn’t get out. It was like that horrible dream we all have where you know you are awake and you want to move, but you can’t. You try to make a sound to wake yourself up from the terrible state, but you scream and it only comes out as a whimper.


More and more I am coming to believe that we are living our Hells here on Earth. I am often not sure of what comes hereafter. I wish I could say I was 100% sure. God, I wish it. How many people can say that? Those of you that can congratulations. I envy your faith. I just can’t say that yet. Does that mean I am not saved? I believe in Jesus and in God, and in John 3:16. It’s just so hard in this current state to say I totally know what’s going to happen today or tomorrow, if I find myself no longer here.

I often wonder about some of the things the faithful believe. People who have had near death experiences tell about going to meet friends and family as they move “towards the light” I wonder though, is there any sense of time after we die? If, when we die we to immortality, there would be no time, right? So therefore, our loved ones who are waiting there “beyond the light” for us in the great beyond would feel like they no more had even got there and had time to turn around when BOOM, there stands everyone else they ever loved following right along behind them. It blows my mind. No sense of time in the hereafter so BANG, there everyone is!

In the meantime, back here on Earth, we go on living the laws of Physics to the utmost, which means time passes normally for us. Gosh, it really makes me wonder about things when I think about stuff like that. My head starts to swim and clog up like a sewer. I can’t comprehend it at all.

I wish I could have a vision which would make all these things clear. After all, the Bible says young men will dream dreams, and old men will see visions about the things which are going to happen. I haven’t had my vision yet though. I am still waiting on it. I was waiting on it there last night at 3:30 a.m. COME ON VISION!….well…that didn’t work well.

Maybe tonight or tomorrow night or perhaps the night after, during the dead of the night when I am struggling to sleep it will come. Maybe one day it will come to me while the sun is shining sweetly, and I am walking outside breathing the clear cool air. Maybe it will be then that it will all come to me in a flash, and I will totally understand the nature of the Universe.

I am NOT holding my breath though.

A Coin of Love….

Back on November 9th in 1874, a baby was born.  The only other thing which I know about her was that her Grandfather loved her.  I know this because of a Canadian 25 cent piece which I bought a long time back from a buyer friend of mine who goes up to New England occasionally and brings things back to sell.  I bought the coin from him.

Back in the old days, coins were used a lot of times to transform into keepsakes.  They were used for birthdays, anniversaries, sweethearts, and other occasion’s people wished to commemorate.  They were made from silver, and things being what they were back then, they were objects of value.

This particular coin must have been cherished by its original owner because it is in almost perfect condition.  It still has the original little yellow ribbon which must have been on it the day it was given to “Madgie” which is the name on the back of the coin.  But it’s the little not which came with the coin which is sort of heartbreaking.

It says:  “My Grandpa, it would be great-great Grandpa to Margaret, gave this to me at my birth November 9th 1874”

It breaks my heart that this keepsake was separated from it’s “family” either on purpose or accidentally.  I know if I had a coin from my Grandmother which her Grandfather had given her I would certainly cherish it.  But…sometimes things do happen.

I know today, when I looked at my darling curly haired blonde granddaughter with her darling blue eyes, I wish I had found a silver coin for her back on January 8th 2015 and had it engraved for her. Perhaps I still will….

This coin and the card “provenance” which is with it is a very rare piece.  I’m selling it and I hope to get $75 dollars from it.  If anyone is interested just let me know.  If you know of someone who is named Margaret and who is nicknamed “Madge” or “Madgie” let them know.  I hope I can find a good home for this beautiful coin which was given out of love to a baby a long time ago.  It deserves a new home and not a trip to the scrap pile!

Memories….in the corners of your mind….

I wonder, what is the first memory that any reader can remember?  It’s funny how our mind works isn’t it.

But, that’s my question for today.  What’s your first memory?  That will eventually lead me to my other question.

See, the reason it interests me is that I often wonder if everyone else’s brain functions about the same as mine.  Most of my childhood memories are rather fuzzy around the edges.  Do you know what I mean?

They are sort of like trying to look at something right after you have just woke up, and still have a ton of “sleep” in your eyes.  Or maybe it’s like trying to remember a dream that you had the night before, during which you woke up.  The dream is really clear when you first wake up, but if you EVER want to remember it well you should take the advice of dream specialists and write it down right then.  If not, it’s going to be fuzzy in the morning.  Fuzzy around the edges, just like those earliest memories.

Sometimes I wonder if some of my memories are really dreams.  Or perhaps some of the things I thought I have dreamt, are actually reality. Is that possible?  I think it might be.  As we go through life, and we live through so many different things, it may just be that some of our more vivid dreams get mixed up in our brain with reality.

Well for starters, the very first thing I remember is having to go potty really, really bad.  We lived in a house back in 1953, when I was three years old, which was originally a duplex that had been turned into a regular house.  I remember that it confused me, because both sides of the house seemed to be the same, except the living room furniture was in one side and the bedroom furniture in the other.

I remember thinking that the rooms were the same, and that when I blinked my eyes, or went to sleep (especially if I got carried from one side to the other during that time) that the furniture was rearranging itself!  Strange, no?  But, back to pottying.  I had to go really, really bad, and nobody was around to “direct” me to the correct place, so down went the pants and…..well..you can guess the rest.  The part I remember the most, was getting my rear end tanned by my Pop!   I never, ever did that again!

I also remember having a pair of Easter bunnies that same year.  Dad brought them home in a box, and we took them out back to eat grass and they got away from us and ran up under the car.  It took Daddy forever to catch them, and I didn’t know what some of the words he was using meant, but I used one of them later on when I rode my tricycle down the front steps, and had to go get my head sewn shut.  I can’t remember what happened to those rabbits though.  I think Dad probably got tired of them making a mess and got rid of them one night while the furniture was changing itself around.

Another vivid thing during that same year I believe was during the summer we would catch “lightning bugs” (fireflies to a lot of you)  We would put them in a jar and I would take them to a dark place and try to use them like a flashlight!  Usually, we would let them go before going in for the night, but once we forgot and I came out the next morning, and couldn’t figure out why the bugs wouldn’t light up.  I didn’t realize that after being in a closed jar with no hole all night long, they were never going to light up again!  Dad said they were dead.  I didn’t know what that meant back then.

I know that I lived the first two years of my life at my Grandparent’s house.  My Dad didn’t get out of the Navy until 1952, so my Mom and I stayed with them.  I have seen pictures of myself at that age, but try as I might……try so very hard, I cannot recall any memories of any of those times before 1953 when we moved back to Trion, where I still live today.  I wish I could remember those times.  What would really be neat would be to be able to remember anything and everything that ever happened to you.  To just be able to sit down and say, “Now I am going to remember December of 1956 when I was six years old, and what happened at Christmas that year!”  That would be a miracle wouldn’t it?  There are people who can do this actual thing.  They had a group of them on T.V. not long ago and one of them was actress Marilu Henner.  All I could say when they got through was wow!

Scientists say that everything is stored right up there in that little 3 pounds of gray jelly we call our brain.  That wonderful, misunderstood and not fully explored organ that runs us.  I have tried everything from meditation to “commanding” my brain to remember, to closing my eyes and straining and squinting, like the Japanese guy on “Hero’s” used to do when he stopped time.  I still can’t make it happen!  Are all of you folks like that, or is it just me!!!  I would like to know, so I can claim a deficiency if I am the only one.

Memory and the brain.  They really are a strange thing.  I remember one time when my Grandfather was in his last year of life.  He didn’t know anybody, or anything much.  When we went to visit him, he would just sit around and kind of “babble” like a tape recorder  randomly playing back snippets of conversation recorded over years and years of time.  Nothing made much sense.  He always seemed like he was glad to see us, and sad to see us go…but…things were just not perking right.  My Grandma was sitting there one day and talking about one of their relatives, and Grandpa spoke up all of the sudden and said: “Lloyd’s dead” My Grandma answered him back telling him how crazy he was, because she had just talked to her brother Lloyd the day before.  That afternoon when we took Grandma back home, she found out that Lloyd had died right around the time we were all at the Nursing home.  So…the brain’s an awesome thing isn’t it?  I would have bet you a million dollars that Grandpa couldn’t count to five anymore, but somehow, someway he knew his brother in law had died.

Maybe not being able to recall everything that has ever happened to us is a blessing.  We might not be able to be selective and just remember the good things.  We might also have to remember the bad things too.  There are a lot of those things that I would rather keep shoved back into the tiny recesses and crevasses of my mind.  Yes, my mind.  When all is said and done, it is what we are isn’t it?  Even when Grandpa’s was taken mostly away, he was given a gift of sorts to replace what had been taken from him.  I guess our spirit sort of resides there.  Our soul.  It’s about the only part of us they can’t replace, and never will be able to replace.  Shoot, you can have a ticker transplant and go right on being yourself, but a diving accident can turn you into something you would rather not think about!  It makes you wonder about all those people who do have that kind of damage.  Have their souls, what made them who they were, already fled the premises and just left the empty shell behind?

Well, there’s the challenge for those of you who care to take it up.  Can your remember everything?  What was your first memory?  Would you like to be able to have total recall?  When our old brain is gone, like Grandpa’s was, are we still us?  I think so.

Oh by the way.  Does anybody remember a Science Fiction thriller from the 50’s named “Donavan’s Brain?”  It was about this guy whose brain was taken out of him while he was still alive, and put into this thing that looked all the world like a ten gallon fish aquarium!  They had all kind of wires hooked up to it, and had it connected to a computer looking thing.  Ol’ Donovan’s Brain could still “communicate” and eventually took over some folks, if I remember right, making ‘em do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.  It was scary!  I hope to heck humanity never learns to do that.  I hope they never learn to “store” our minds on computers either.  Never able to “download” the electrical impulses from our brains onto some kind of infernal storage unit, to be put into a program so we can still communicate with the living.  I don’t wanna’ be a machine.  When it’s time for me to go, I want to go.   I wonder, what will my last thought be?  Whatever it is, I won’t be able to share it with any of you guys that are left behind, so I guess I better concentrate on sharing what I want to now, while I still can!!

Big Red Button

I think I had an episode of near insanity a few years ago while I was at work.  I think it was due to what I was doing at the time. It was all so absurd!  I was standing there in some clerk’s office talking about doing DCR’s on CAR’s, and all that kind of techie stuff (and if you know what I am talking about….poor you!) and then I suddenly froze and thought, this is crazy!

What has humanity come to when we place such importance on doing documents on how to produce rugs at the optimum quality to go into peoples bathrooms?  Not only documents but entire manuals, and thick manuals at that!   Heck, the first time somebody puts those rugs down, they are just going to get pee’d on by their six year old son.  It was so stupid, and hit me with such a weird feeling, that I  had to physically grab hold of the desk where I was sitting to keep from jumping up and  running down the hallway howling and whooping at the top of my lungs.  (I restrained myself, however)  It was a surreal experience.  I almost felt like I was in the Twilight Zone, and that I was not really real, but was instead living in a kind of strange and hideous alternate universe.  I honestly hope I never feel that way again!  It was disconcerting.  It made my skin crawl.

Back in my Grandparents time, people worked the land for their food.  They had cows and chickens and other animals to help provide what their family needed.  Grandma made most of the clothes, and a lot of other things that were used by the kids.  There may have been three or four other books in the entire house besides their old worn Bible.  Everyone was kind of left to their own imagination for entertainment.  I guess it was really kind of boring, honestly.  It was simple anyway.  Maybe simple is good!  Maybe simple is the setting for which a lot of us are pre-wired.

I don’t know exactly when the change happened.  I think maybe right after World War II.   Things have surely changed though.  Technology keeps making giant strides forward like some kind of possessed behemoth running amok here on the Earth. It’s like something out of H.G. Wells is trying to destroy us.  It’s like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only this time WE created the alien technology, instead of it coming from a pod in outer space!

We have gone from the agrarian age, that age of simplicity and “boredom” (which equates to time to do things we can’t find time to do today) to the age of information (which equates to NEVER having time to do everything we think we NEED to do) in a space of 60 years or so.  From my weird experience in that office that day, I am almost positive that our brains (at least some of our brains, mine included) are unable to absorb the pace of technology that has run over us like a steamroller on hot tar.  It’s flattened a lot of us!  I do use a computer.  As a matter of fact I am using one to write this blog.  But if you put a gun to my head and said “tell me how it works or I will shoot your brains out,” I would have to whisper:  “Is pushing the Start button a good enough answer?”  I can’t tell you how MOST things work, I have only learned to use them because I don’t want to be left behind in the dust by the scads of younger folks who are growing up in this “brave new world.”

I am afraid I have plunged deeply into this unreality though.  I use DVD players and Nintendo’s, and Computers to play games, and to work and sell things on EBAY, which is a place for selling things in which the customer never gets to touch or feel the merchandise until AFTER they buy it!  I use Satellite Radio, my car diagnosis itself for problems and tells me when it needs to be fixed; my Mom had a pacemaker that the Dr. could adjust by holding the phone up to it.  And on and on and on we go!!  What a crazy ride!

I wonder, if we could go back 100 years, after having a taste of this electronic age, would we?  Before Jet planes and electric guitars, would we?  Before electric shavers and microwaves?  Before Atomic bombs?

I don’t know about you, but if a Big Red Button was sitting in front of me that said “Go Back”  I don’t think I would even hesitate a second before I pushed it.  Would you?  At least I think it would keep me from running around and around some day, in a fit of insanity hooting and yelping like a hound dog!!

Pity for Potter

A few months back I was thinking of Christmas.  Isn’t it funny how it takes forever for Christmas to get here every year, and then….bang!  It’s gone in a flash.

Every year right after Halloween, I start thinking of Christmas movies.  Usually right after the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade they play “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart.  Most everyone has seen it, and know how it ends.  Stewart’s character George Bailey finds out at the last of the movie because of the way he has helped people, and had compassion for them throughout their lives, he has many more friends to help him out in his time of need than he ever thought possible.  He ends up with more than enough money to pay his debt to the bank off and everything ends up happily ever after.

But…what happened to Potter?  Potter curmudgeonly old rich banker who from his wheelchair was one of the meanest, nastiest characters to ever to grace a movie.   I often wonder about his life after the end of the movie.  Henry F. Potter, the stingiest and most immoral man in Bedford Falls.  Did he repent his ways after George Bailey won back the Savings and Loan?  Did he double down and continue to torment George Bailey and his family?  Did he die from frustration?

I looked up the meaning of pity and it reads as follows:  “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.”

“her voice was full of pity”

Synonyms   compassion, commiseration, condolence, sympathy, fellow feeling, understanding;

George’s Father “Pa Bailey” told George near the beginning of the movie that he pitied Potter.  He had been fighting against him for a lifetime to try and keep him from taking over his business, and yet he did not hate him, he pitied him.

I have heard many people say that they don’t want other people’s pity.  The pride that we bear, sometimes false pride, prevents us from accepting the pity of others.  But look again at the meaning of pity.  I know that I have had times when I have needed the sorrow and compassion of others.  Without it I may have been lost.  More people should forget about their “hubris” and accept the compassion of others.  Pity people like Henry F. Potter.  I pity him, even though he is just a character in a movie.

But, more than that, I pity those who are like him in our world today, in our country….in our home town.

My first gut reaction to the “Potters” of the world is often anger and the need for retaliation, but that is my pride…my own hubris getting in my way, getting in my eyes and my mind and clouding my judgment, clouding my need to think things out and do the right thing.  Pity me for that.  And continue to have compassion for anyone and everyone else who needs it.  It’s the only way to really live your life.

Voices of the Past

Of all the qualities which set human beings apart from the rest of humanity, there is our voice.  It was this means of communication which allowed us to move beyond other species and become social animals.

Our voice allowed our ancestors to pass on instructions on how to do critical things to survive.  We began to live less off of instinct and more off of experiences passed down from generation to generation.  Language came long, long before the ability to write and so most knowledge was passed down by oral tradition.  Since early man tended to live in familial situations, with tight family ties, language probably varied a lot, and then as families stretched out and became tribes the group adopted the most useable language form available to communicate within the entire group.

But, the anthropological aspect is not where I want to concentrate.  It’s the spiritual and mystical aspect of the voice to which I wish to “speak”

I’ve had so many wonderful and unique voices which have inhabited the echoes of my mind.  My Dad’s laugh…I can never get it far from my immediate memory.  He laughed a lot and at a lot of things.  He gave me a lot of advice with that voice.  I took some of it, and some I wish I had taken.  His voice was stilled in 2010.

My Grandfather Jervis’s voice.  My voice is a mixture of his voice and my Dad’s, leaning more heavily towards his.  He could sing from bass to tenor and I inherited a bit of that.  I used to sit around in his living room and listen to him sing his “scales”  “Do..do..do……do, ray, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do..do..do..”  I got up in front of the congregation where my Grandpa was song leader when I was four years old and waved my hands around like I was conducting the choir.  Nobody laughed or made fun of me.  I was really proud of myself and I remember it so well.  My Grandfather’s voice was stilled in 1991.

My Mom and my Grandmother had similar voices…and they were both worriers.  I asked my Grandmother on her 100th birthday what she would have done different if she could go back and go it all over again.  She simply said “I’d worry about things less, because all the worrying I did never changed nothing” Her voice was stilled in late 1999.  I still dream of her quite often, most of the time in the kitchen.  She’s always telling me:  “I wouldn’t worry about that, Honey” she’ll say.  I still worry…I guess I can’t help it, I get it from her and Mom.  My dear Momma….she would always say “I love you” and too many times, “I’m sorry” for things which really were not her fault, not anybody’s fault, just fate and fate alone.  Mom’s voice was also stilled in 2010.

In late 1999, I was really scared.  The specialist had found a lump on my vocal cords and he was pretty sure it was cancer.  I went into surgery wondering if I would come out with a voice…..would I come out with a hole in my throat and no voice.  Turned out it was a big lump of scar tissue.  I came out with my vocal cords, but it took a year a rehabilitation to even get back to regular talking, much less singing.  I have had to be very careful since then.  Some days are good, some days not so good.  At least I still have that mechanism of communication to use with my family, my friends… (Although sometimes I bet they wish I would shut up!)

My voice will be stilled one day, as have been the voices of all human beings who ever lived.  I hope I have used it correctly…will use it better, and maybe there will be some memorable phrase “hanging in the air” for someone to remember me by.

Opening Day is a’ coming

Evocative of Baseball Opening Day

I feel like summer is just around the corner. As the calendar starts to near the end of March, I always start to look for it, start to feel it in my bones. Maybe it’s because the days start getting a little longer and a little warmer. Maybe it’s because they start talking about the Baseball trades that are happening on the sports reports. Opening Day is just a few days away! I feel the butterflies start to swim around in my stomach.


I tell you, spring and summer were the best times back in the 50’s and 60s’. None of that year round school for us old timers! May 31 rolled around, and it’s see ya’ later to the teachers until the first week of September….Yahooo!!


I would go to the old wooden toy box back in my room, and starting digging down to the bottom, looking for my old worn out, smelly leather baseball glove with “Pee Wee” Reece’s name engraved in it. I don’t know how I ended up with Pee Wee, as I never played a lick of ball in the infield. I was always an outfielder.


I tried out for third base once, but after I had stopped the first four hard bouncer’s that came my way with my face instead of my glove, the coach thought it might be safer to put me in left field. I agree with his decision.


I liked left field. It was one of those positions where you could kind of day dream a little. Most everything that came out that way was either an easy pop fly, or a one bouncer. I was a cinch at catching those. None of that “hot corner” stuff for me.


I once was standing out in left field during a game and looking down at the ground trying to spot any four leaf clovers that might be growing there. I heard the loud crack of the bat, and looked up to see the baseball headed over my head. Way over my head. I didn’t want to look completely stupid, so I turned around and stuck my old glove out and ran as fast as I could towards the fence. The ball dropped right into the webbing of my glove. I never saw it until it did. I heard a cheer go up from the stands, and when we came in, I got more pats on the back, and Atta boys then I had ever gotten before. I just said “I had it all the way”

I could never bring myself to disappoint all those people by telling them it was just pure luck.  As my old golf coach once said, “I’d rather be lucky than good any day”  I totally agree.