Category Archives: Peace

Lighthouses and Sailing Away: July, 2015

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I arrived up on Lake Erie last Friday. It has been a marvelous week with my

“Mamacita,” who is such a dear one and a blessing.

I enjoyed the anticipation, the way I looked more closely at the scenery

and have enjoyed relaxing and being lazy, once I got here. We went

grocery shopping shortly upon my arrival.

We always have plenty to eat with my Mom insisting on buying cookies,

chips, dip, wine (Sangria) and ice cream in at least 3 flavors.

We have plans today to visit my niece and her husband, living in my

parents’ retirement home. They were married Summer of 2014, with a

tent on the side yard and all the family present.

The family picnic (Saturday, July 3rd) will include newly arrived guests,

Skyler, Micah and my oldest daughter, Carrie. They drove up last night

and we had fun visiting and hearing about their week, since Mommy was

on vacation..

Other ‘picnickers’ will be both brothers, Mom, niece, her husband, baby

Jackson, older junior high daughter, Vaya, and my sister in law.

Mom’s and my  ‘food assignment’ was being in charge of bringing dessert.

After carefully looking over the bakery, rows of frozen desserts while

debating which ones would like our choices, we bought our offerings-

frosted red, white and blue cookies, (an instant hit with the children),

strawberries we cut up last night and added sugar to make a syrup

overnight, can of real whipped cream, angel food cake and a package

of “short cakes” which each person can choose their cake base, take

a scoop of strawberries, add vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream.

My brother is bringing corn, watermelon and sister in law made a potato

salad. My niece and her husband are making hamburgers and hot dogs.

My other brother bought free range chickens to barbecue on the grill.

We have our bag of sunscreen, sunglasses, Mom’s special necessities,

two towels, my bathing suit and sundries packed and ready to go.

Tonight, there will be fireworks all along the lake. We will see the boats

go towards the East, then will see them head back West.

The Lake makes me think of the 12 lighthouses, bordering the Northern

edge of Ohio.

Here is a list, not in any particular order of their locations along the coast,

of a dozen scattered lighthouses along Lake Erie. . . some with memories

attached:

1. Vermilion Lighthouse.

This town is where my parents chose to live from the late 80’s until 2011,

when my Mom moved into her Senior Living Apartments. Now my niece

and her husband live on an appropriately named, “Edgewater Drive.”

2. Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse.

I have been to Fairport Harbor Beach, as a child swimming with my family.

3. Port Clinton Lighthouse.

I have toured and seen this beautiful memorial and museum on the island.

4. Huron Harbor Lighthouse.

We used to go to a little Episcopalian Church there, while growing up in

Sandusky.

The church was along the waterfront, across from the lake side of the

street.

5. Toledo Harbor Lighthouse.

While I attended Bowling Green State University, in B.G., Ohio, I visited the

Toledo Zoo and was invited to eat in a restaurant along the Toledo Harbor.

On another occasion, I enjoyed a second  harbor visit. A boyfriend and I first

spent time wandering around the art collections and gardens at the Toledo Art

Museum.

Then, having completed this fantastic day, escape from studying and  school

projects, we spent a luxurious dining experience in a waterfront restaurant.

Memories of such beautiful sea- or lake- side evenings, wherever you may

have visited, include so many senses touched or ignited. Anytime when you

can look out upon the vast, dark sky, while spying distant ships, stars and a

shining beacon of light, blinking off and on, rotating to protect the harbor, you

will be moved.

I hope sometime in your life you have been to a lake, an ocean or spent an

evening on an island.

I hope the beauty and majesty of lighthouses is part of your memories. . .

6. Ashtabula Lighthouse.

7. Marblehead Lighthouse.

Another childhood memory, where I was with my parents and my father’s

coworkers.

It has a funny sense of my mother’s annoyance and slight jealousy of one

of his secretaries. I have written this in a post about jealousy ‘at any age.’

8. Old Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.

9. Cleveland Harbor Lighthouse.

It is strange, but I know I have seen this lighthouse many times, but there is

no ‘imprint’ upon my memory bank. I have seen fireworks from a park nearby

here.

The ships are large, looming in this busy harbor, there are more restaurants

along the “Flats” than on Cleveland’s downtown lake’s edge.

10. Conneaut Lighthouse.

11. South Bass Island Lighthouse.

This is one of several islands, from Sandusky Bay to Kelley’s Island,

South Bass, Port Clinton and others… A wonderful and worthy scenic trip,

reasonably priced.

12. Lorain Harbor Lighthouse.

This one is a large lighthouse that has been one where we have sat along

the beach to watch at night. The area is well kept, has a refreshment stand

where Mom and I bought ice cream and heard first a reggae band, then a

Hispanic group sang and played. My Mom and I danced to the Spanish

music, while she tried to sing the lyrics.

On Maine Historical Society Website, I found a book by Henry Wadsworth

Longfellow. It has a collection of poems,”The Seaside and the Fireside.”

This anthology includes 8 poems about the Sea with 12 about sitting and

dreaming by the Fire.

One of Longfellow’s famous and beloved poems,

with just three passages shared in this post,

the opening, middle and closing one, below:

“The Lighthouse

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(1850)

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,

And on its outer point, some miles away

The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,

A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.”

. . .

“And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,

Through the deep purple of the twilight air,

Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,

With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!”

. . .

(After the middle, there is a sea bird that crashes into

the glare of the lighthouse, dying and the dramatic

poet, H.W.L., mentions Prometheus chained to a rock.)

. . .

“Sail on!” it says,

Sail on, ye stately ships!

And with your floating bridge the ocean span.

Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,

Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!”

The End.

(You may view this, in its entirety, but I chose the most

beautiful passages, in my mind’s eye.)

Last year’s music news of 2014, spoke of a ‘comeback album,’ for one of

my all-time summer favorites: Christopher Cross.  It is hard to believe his

album, titled,” Sailing,” has been out and sailing along into the sunset,

since 1979.

Did anyone listen to this album, since this post originally was published

in 2014? I have missed any of the singles on this, while listening to the

radio, daily and on longer trips to Mom’s.

I am quite content with his older one, which features lovely lyrics.

In “Sailing,” there are poetic words of paradise, tranquility, miracles

along with innocence, with canvas dreams.

“And if the wind is right, you can sail away to find serenity.”

Another passage near the end…

“Dream and wind carry me and soon I will be free.”

The Arthur movie, with the song, “The Best that You Can Be,” won Chris

Cross, an Oscar in 1981, he has been often in Germany performing, along

with on stage with country groups, like with “Alabama.” A couple years’ back,

“Lemon’s Theme” was written for the discontinued comedy television show,

“30 Rock.”

I am excited by the 2014, “The Secret Ladder,” album but have not heard

any newer songs attached to this. On Wikipedia, it lists a 2013 album by

Christopher Cross.

All I wish to express here is a combination of expectant excitement and

pleasant feeling of being swept away, if not on a sailboat, possibly an inner

tube, down a cool and easy river.

Christopher Cross singing his upbeat songs, using his fantastic, smooth

voice will be something  I still have to look forward to, someday getting to

hear the newer songs.

If only in my dreams…

I hope this spurred on memories of sandy beaches, water experiences by

a body of water; stream, river, lake or ocean.

If not, a pool is a nice cooling off place to suggest. . .

Did you ever have an emotional experience, almost magical or spiritual,

while you were by some form of water?

If you would like to list something you did or plan to do to celebrate the

holiday, please know I may not respond until July 5th or 6th, once I get

back home. . .

If you have already liked this post, written last year and then edited to

include new baby boy, Jackson, my grandsons Micah and Skyler, their

Mommy having a 2015 vacation all week, then don’t feel bad not pushing

“Like” button once again. I am thankful for this re-blogging, since some

of the details remained intact. Others, I updated. . .

Have a fantastic Fourth of July, if you are in the U.S.

If not, hope you are having a wonderful weekend!


Bob Dylan Revelations

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You know your audience, especially as you grow older. Who will

listen to your singing, if not the ones who grew up listening and

singing along with your songs. I was so proud of my copy of the

February and March combination of “AARP Magazine.” I am

one who studies the cover, reveling in another famous face being

on the cover. This one has Bob Dylan. He expressly called and

asked to be interviewed saying he wanted to make this his ONLY

magazine interview of his newest  album, (oldest song choices.)

 

Bob Dylan looks intensely inside the magazine with deep blue

glowing and warm eyes. He doesn’t seem as old when you see

him in the photographs. The interviewer chosen for this special

time spent together talking, asking and answering questions is

Robert Love. This special assignment was one he will remember

for the rest of his life, an “exclusive” no one else is going to get.

 

At 73 years old, he is only a little over a dozen years older than

I am. With his sunglasses on, you may not expect him to have

such clear eyes. Those piercing blue, “bedroom eyes” on page

28 of the magazine will stop you in your tracks, man or woman

as the viewer. He was born to be a balladeer and storyteller,

through his ability to sing, connect with people and last through

all these years, coming to one of his Grand Finales.

 

Haunting, lyrical, beautiful and classical.  Everyone sings some of

the old songs, ones our parents knew and sang. Tony Bennett

captured Lady Gaga, making her his Queen or Princess over the

course of their recording sessions.

 

The songs Bob Dylan has chosen are only Ten in number. I will

get this album and listen to it, believing in his ability to carry

this off.

 

First, let’s listen to Bob Dylan’s own personal list of favorite singers

and musicians. Well, he added other people he respects for their

contributions to the world:

1. Frank Sinatra

2. Irving Berlin

3. Jimmie Rodgers

4. Billy Graham (for his ability to fill great stadiums and preach it,

along with Bob Dylan saying he feels, “Amazing Grace” is one of

his favorite songs of all time.)

5. Chuck Berry

6. Shakespeare

7. Johnny Mercer

8. Mavis Staples

9. Nancy Sinatra

 

Of his own favorites he has sung, Bob Dylan claims the best he ever

sang and ‘worthy of being considered someday a classic’ is:

1997’s “Love Sick,” which won three Grammy Awards, including

“Album of the Year” for “Time Out of Mind.”

Why is it magnificent? (My word, not the interviewer’s.)

He answers this, “The center theme is given as ‘it’s not dark yet, but

it’s getting there.'”

 

This is deep, you may wish t0 think about why the world is getting

darker. He went on to tell Robert Love if there were any other

profession he would have chosen to go into it would have been

to ‘do it all over again as. . .’

“A school teacher of Roman history or theology.”

 

Did you know that Darius Rucker sang a song Bob Dylan began and

had written most of the lyrics of? This old song, “Wagon Wheel,”

was completed by “The Old Crow Medicine Show” team of writers.

 

Here is Bob Dylan’s songs from his newest album, “Shadows in the

Night.”  These ten songs he considers Classic and Timeless. He calls

them clearly defined as part of the beloved American Songbook:

1. “I’m a Fool To Want You.”

2. “The Night We Called It a Day.”

3. “Stay with Me.”

4. “Autumn Leaves.”

5. “Why Try to Change Me Now.”

6. “Some Enchanted Evening.”

7. “Full Moon and Empty Arms.”

8. “Where Are You?”

9. “What’ll I Do?”

10. “That Lucky Old Sin.”

 

These song are ones you may have heard at your grandparents, you

may have heard on your parents’ stereo or maybe in your dreams.

I have heard almost all of these, know the lyrics and can sing along

to the words, my parents used to listen to these on the radio, as

we traveled down the road to visit my grandparents or going to

my aunt and uncle’s house. There is one I have included in a post

before. (“Some Enchanted Evening” from the musical, “South

Pacific.”) They may not be recognizable by their titles, but the

first notes will “call” to your soul, your heart or bring back a

memory.

 

Bob Dylan has written over the years, “dozens” of songs that

were made famous and performed by other artists. Here’s

just a few:

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” performed by The Byrds.

“The Mighty Quinn,” by Manfred Mann.

“I Shall Be Released,” by The Band.

 

I have never been to a Bob Dylan concert. For this, I am sad.

 

If you wish to read an intelligent man’s thoughts, listen to him

describe his roots and childhood, you will want to read more.

He is very articulate, descriptive and emotional. I felt like Bob

Dylan, himself, was sharing a pot of coffee with me and talking

directly with me! How smart and creative was Dylan? Well,

imagine this. . .

Bob Dylan has written, sung and performed all of these songs

before the age of 25!

~ “Blowin’ in the Wind,” (written in 1962, released in 1963 on

“Freewheeling Bob Dylan,” album.

~ “Mr. Tambourine Man,”

~ “Like a Rolling Stone.”

 

Speaking of “Rolling Stone,” I will tell you I have read their

magazine over many years. They have captured sides and

dimensions of Bob Dylan. You may wish to read their past

interviews to find out more about him, but this older and

wiser sounding Bob Dylan, in the “AARP Magazine” which

is Feb./March edition, is wondrous in its surprises, ones I

have left for you to find, ponder on and treasure.

 

Quick perceptions which I have not totally given yet to you

from my perspective. Bob Dylan is…

a. One of my favorite Legendary Singers.

b. Humble.

c. Grateful.

d. One of his famous appearances, winning a Presidential

Honor Award,  he walked around the room, greeted others

who were so excited he was there (other honorees), shook

hands, completed the ceremony then politely and quietly

exited.

 

To read the actual interview, the words Robert Love chose to

describe and the questions he asked and talked with Bob Dylan,

check the complete article on:

http://aarp.org

 

Did anyone ever get a chance to see his own personal gypsy

caravan?  Did anyone ever see the Rolling Thunder Revue, of

1975?  This was immediately after he produced, “Blood on the

Tracks.”

Do you know the stars that traveled around the country in this

fine group of musicians?

Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Roger McGuinn, T-Bone Burnett

and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott with Bob Dylan.

 

Would you please share your favorite Bob Dylan song?

 

 

 

Conversation With Cliff

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We were talking about his boys, Cliff and I. It led into a new subject

for me to research. He had suggested in the 1800’s, President Ulysses

S. Grant had been one of the founders of the idea for National Parks.

We had had a few recent conversations about President Theodore

Roosevelt, his past and the post I had written. This was the one about

his personal tragedy of losing his wife and mother on the same day.

Which took Theodore out West to find an ‘escape’ and tranquility. The

area he had chosen to find refuge in, led him to his pursuit of natural

wonders and supporting National Parks.

 

Hiram Ulysses Grant was born on April 27, 1822 and lived until July 23,

1885. He had throat cancer and died at age 63 years old.  He was born

in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He met his wife from a classmate during the

years after he attended military school. He had four children and his

legacy as President and during the times of Civil War and following

peaceful times, is with mixed reviews.

 

Time has slowly improved and healed some of the negative aspects

of President Grant’s memories. Historians and biographers have

become kinder over the years.

 

As a boy, Hiram’s father had Abolitionist sentiments. The family

did not have slaves. Later on, wife’s family did. When there were

times of financial hardship, Grant released his wife’s slaves. This

was despite the fact he could have made money by selling them.

He had enlisted their services on the farm they had owned and they

participated in helping to care for the land. Grant named his family’s

home, “Hardscrabble.”

 

While young, Grant did not attend the family’s Methodist church,

since apparently he was the youngest and did not have to. He chose

to pray privately all his life. He had a sensitive nature, shown in his

taking art courses from Robert Walter Weir. This artist’s paintings

were from the Romantics period. There are nine artworks of Grant’s

still surviving.

 

Hiram had a knack for handling and training horses. He was what

we would now call a, “Horse Whisperer.”

 

Another aspect of Grant’s softer side was when President Abraham

Lincoln was assassinated, he stood alone at the funeral and wept.

He said of Lincoln:

“He was incontestably the greatest man I have ever known.”

 

The only quote I could find from Lincoln of Grant was during the

Civil War, while Grant was very rough on his troops, trying to keep

them in line and some of the bloodiest battles were ones he led,

Lincoln said when others complained of Grant’s determination

and grit:

“I can’t spare this man, he fights.”

 

Going back to how Grant got his name accidentally changed. . .

When Hiram was only 17 years old a congressman who knew his

father, nominated him for the U.S. Military Academy in West

Point, New York. The friend knew his middle name was Ulysses

and his mother’s maiden name was Simpson, so he chose to write

his letter of recommendation for “Ulysses S. Grant,” to become

a military student at West Point.

 

At school, since his initials were U.S., some of his friends started

to call him “Sam” as in “Uncle Sam.” What a patriotic name this is.

Just imagine how it came to be and I like to picture him so much

more as the boy named, “Hiram.” When he went off to school at

West Point there are records of his weight and height:

He was 5′ 1″ tall and he weighed 117 pounds.

 

He was an average student who liked mathematics and geology.

 

A good friend and classmate at West Point introduced him to his

sister, Julia Dent. They became engaged and four years later,

“Sam” and Julia married.

 

At the time after the Civil War, Grant and his family traveled to

Washington, D.C. He was in Cabinet meetings and was given the

authority to be in charge of cotton and its sales in the district

where he and his wife’s family lived.

 

Grant was invited to join President Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd,

for an evening at the theater. Instead, Grant and his wife and family

went to Philadelphia for entertainment and a vacation. When he

was called back to Washington due to the assassination, Grant

was bereft.

 

Some of the negative reports about Grant include that he may have

had a drinking problem during his academy and military career.

 

Grant also made a ‘bad decision’ in judging the Jewish people who

were involved in the district he was responsible to monitor cotton

sales in.   He “threw all the Jewish cotton dealers out” and this

Anti-Semitic decision has been often listed as one of the worst ones

he made.

 

Positive relationships with the African Americans post-Civil War

and the Native Americans have made President Ulysses S. Grant’s

memories and tributes less harsh over the years. When he threw

himself into the Civil War battles, Grant “found renewed energy in

the Union cause.” He led volunteer army he tried to rally and

discipline the Northern troops the best he could.

 

While President, Grant chose to create a position in his Cabinet

and nominate someone to be the “Commissioner of Indian Affairs.”

He wanted Peace among the tribes and Grant publicly ‘castigated’

Custer for his massacre of the Indians in the battle known as,

“Custer’s Last Stand.”

 

Cliff is my coworker who has two sons who are on the precipice of

being teenagers. He is struggling to find ways to continue family night

and enjoying all sorts of activities together. His wife is often ‘left at

home’ but he insists she prefers her personal space and encourages

the boys to spend time with their Dad.

 

Cliff has been trying to capture their attention by taking them to

parks, renting canoes, hiking in various places around the four states

of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana. He has been considering a

trip to Pennsylvania, but has not decided if this is where they will go

for a summer vacation.

 

Cliff is the one who told me about Grant’s positive decisions to help

Native American relations and also, the Gold Rush. While people

were out West, panning for gold, some stumbled upon the lovely

Geysers and other notable natural beauties.

Cliff was also ‘sure’ that Grant helped to denote the land around the

Geysers out West, as National Park. He was also ‘sure’ that Yellowstone

Park was part of President Grant’s plan of becoming a National Park.

 

Cliff is a ‘simple guy,’ but an extraordinary father. I give him plenty

of positive encouragement, while not flirting or trying to take too

much time away from my order filling.  He is in Cycle Count, so is

often ‘in my way’ and  by talking to him, he follows me while I pick

the warehouse products and place them in the bins or hampers.

 

I had written a post some time ago, last winter I believe, talking about

his interest in the cartoon which had content for young people, “Johnny

Quest.” There were no copies of the series in his local library. He found

some, I believe on YouTube. He ended up showing his boys several

episodes and getting them hooked on “Scooby Doo.”

 

So was Cliff right? For someone who admits he only got “C’s” in  his

high school Geography and History classes, he has come a long way!

 

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant passed the legislation

for National Parks in an area about the size of Rhode Island and the

state of Delaware combined. “Yellowstone Park” and all of the area

is intended to be held as a National Park, preserved and protected

by the United States Government. This law that was passed into a

Bill made the Northwest Corner of the Wyoming Territory part of

the beginning of many other areas known as National Parks.

 

Some quick facts about Yellowstone National Park of note:

~Home of 1/2 the World’s geysers.

~Large mountainous region.

~High elevation lakes.

~Numerous species and abundant game and wildlife.

All are protected and preserved, due to President Ulysses S. Grant.

 

Just for extra information, Cliff shared with me that in Ohio we

only have one National Park. It is called Wayne National Forest

and is located in the Southeastern part of Ohio. It is an area of

240,101 acres. It is located on the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau

and is part of a ‘reforestation program.’

 

Isn’t it amazing the things you can learn from a coworker?

 

Hope the research and information about President Ulysses S.

Grant showed you a different picture than the Civil War leader,

making him a more well-rounded character.

Symbolic Bridges

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Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.

She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in

their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without

some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.

 

On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund

Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph

of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post

has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every

year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people

go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into

their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.

 

The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called

the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held  March 5-9th, 2015. There is

still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.

 

Its kick off  Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015

in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents

will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.

 

This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who

walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.

It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can

make an equally large impact on a country or world.  After all, our

President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not

those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,

out of fear.

 

The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had

changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived

over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was

the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened

and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the

bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home

being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller

of “white nigger.”  The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for

a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that

came out of one day to remember.

 

I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has

been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.

I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge

was carried out nor how each one ended.

 

This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay

more close attention:

First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who

have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.

There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-

knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and

a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws

who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will

not be revealed here.

 

This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of

Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,

George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice

of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then

head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.

 

The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much

larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and

others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of

MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths

that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as

they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays

silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind

him kneel and wait.  Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.

 

History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated

communal intake of breaths.

The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk

across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the

sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,

with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this

group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad

expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there

are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.

 

I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first

three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt

‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a

sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to

“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton

and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I

could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer

and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.

 

We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to

find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick

group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about

the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”

We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the

old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy

escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of

the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going

on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line

and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up

to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”

film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we

got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one

with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,

were:  “Sold Out.”

 

I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”

We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,

this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,

but it may have ‘meant to be.’  I am so glad the karma had the other

two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.

 

I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David

Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I

won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in

this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that

People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,

since “Selma” is worthy.

 

The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,

is very beautiful.  Remember, I have seen three of the other contender

movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and

meaning.

 

Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:

~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.

~ Peaceful choices make a difference.

~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.

~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.

 

~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:

a.  Domino effect

b. Ripple effect

c. Paying forward

 

~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.

~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.

~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.

~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.

a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.

b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.

One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.

 

~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.

~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)

 

“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is

a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.

 

A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured

in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”

This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind

action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms

and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the

“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.

“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create

symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,

since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original

on the other side of the body.

 

Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,

2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should

make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.

says it ‘all:’

 

“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time

in their lives. That’s really something!”

 

Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,

since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.

Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who

need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.

 

This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of

crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas

of society and hopefully, the world.

 

Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not

necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer

through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and

two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their

melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first

start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one

that will be followed repeatedly,  with more and more positive results.

 

 

 

Anyday Serenity

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There was a great inclusion from a site called, “Girlfriends in God,”

in my monthly church bulletin. I enjoyed this, along with a few other

worthwhile and meaningful quotations.

Hope this finds you peaceful, content and relaxing on this fine morning,

afternoon or evening.

 

You may find their website at:

http://crosswalk.com

http://www.girlfriendsingod.com

 

“Count your blessings instead of your crosses.

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes.

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears.

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth.

Count on God instead of yourself.”

 

(You may substitute Allah, Mother Nature or other form of

a Higher Being.)

 

This is a positive way of explaining a horrible experience. . .

I always like when people use pets to explain life’s situations.

 

“~Death~ What a wonderful way to explain it
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the

examination room and said,

‘Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.’

Very quietly, the doctor replied, ‘I don’t know. . .’

‘You don’t know? You’re a Christian man and don’t know what’s

on the other side?’

 

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side

came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the

door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager

show of gladness.

 

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, ‘Did you notice my dog?

He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his owner (his master) was here, and

when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

 

I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one

thing. . . I know my Master is there and that is enough.'”

(No author was listed. Please let me know if this is unknown or if you

know a name to tag this with.)

 

C.S. Lewis wrote of many subjects, some were Christian and some were

fantasy/science fiction:

“Every day in a life fills the whole Life

with expectation and memory.”

 

In Psalms 128:5 there is a lovely wish for those to hear. I like the idea of

psalms being songs and positive Old Testament wishes:

“May the Lord continually bless you with human’s blessings

as well as with human joys.”

 

A Prayer by Thomas Merton:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think that I am

following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in me in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And know that if I do this you will lead me by the the right road

though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost

and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never

leave me to face my perils alone.”

 

This prayer by Thomas Merton is featured in his ‘Through the Year”

daily devotional book.

 

Teddy Roosevelt’s Hiding Place

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It is amazing to read another side of a person you may have studied

in Social Studies or in American History classes. Theodore Roosevelt,

Jr. faced horrible losses and a singular joy all in a short period of time.

The pain was so much he needed to get away. He needed to ‘wallow’

in his sorrow and be alone while grieving.

 

“The Light has gone out of my Life.”

 

These words were found in a personal journal, carrying the weight of

true sadness. Theodore Roosevelt’s wife died and in a short amount

of time later, his dear mother died.

 

Both women died in the same house.

Both loved ones died on the same day.

 

The joy was his daughter, Alice Lee.

 

The cause of his wife’s death, as so often happened in the past, was

due to this precious baby. I remember seeing this in movies, in books

and my mother mentioning how common this ‘death during childbirth’

occurred. He was 26 years old, handling the baby by himself. We don’t

hear about the details, except that he chose to escape. His family must

have taken care of baby Alice, while he was gone.

 

“The Elkhorn Ranch” became his place of healing and solitude. This

is place is in North Dakota.

This journey is an incredible story. One where Theodore Roosevelt

sought nature for his grief counseling. This led him to incorporate

the idea of preserving nature into his future plans. Taking care of his

country had not been originally part of his political plans. Teddy

himself said this (paraphrased):

“I would never have been President if not for my experience in

North Dakota.”

Once renewed, he came back to New York and ran for political

offices. . . all leading up to his saving land for National Parks.

 

When the story was mentioned in a brief account on CBS Sunday

Morning, I noted that this story originated from February, 1884. It is

approaching 131 years since Theodore Roosevelt retreated from the

dual deaths, the birth of his daughter and got out of the public eye.

While rustling cattle out West in the Dakotas, he again met death.

Freezing wintertime caused sickness and his herds of cattle died.

 

The image of the sole remaining rock, the only remaining part of

the Elkhorn Ranch’s foundation that is left, was shown. A historian

leaned over the rock, as if studying all of the details of Theodore

Roosevelt’s rocky, rugged path in life.

 

The beautiful miles and acres of land surrounding this place, still

are pristine. The cottonwoods glistening in the sun while shaking and

making a hissing sound captured my attention.

 

But the personal tragedies that Theodore Roosevelt endured is what

really held my interest.

I had to know more. . .

 

As a child, Theodore was a sickly, asthmatic boy. His family was well-

to-do and had him home-schooled. Something in Teddy’s spirit made

him a fighter.  This gut instinct would carry out throughout his life. He

joined athletics, hiked often in the outdoors, and embraced the idea of

trying to strengthen his body.

 

As if he were laughing at the ‘fates’ and was challenging them to a duel,

Teddy wanted to overcome his childhood weakness.

 

Theodore successfully graduated from his home-schooling,

proceeding onward to Harvard for his undergraduate studies.

He successfully went on to Columbia Law School. He met and

married the wealthy Alice, who he lost.

 

Theodore came back from his escape in the Dakotas, having spent

a wild time there. He had ‘licked his wounds,’ found solitude and

regained his determination to make an impact on the country.

There were several steps, you may read about, that led him to

become a politician running for different offices. He rose through

the ranks, showing his acumen for politics.

 

The road to Theodore Roosevelt becoming President was an

interesting political story but I am more interested in his life’s

choices.

 

Again because of a death, President McKinley’s assassination,

Theodore’s path got altered.  Through tragedy he rose to this

place of  leadership, being sworn in shortly after the death.

 

 

Six years later, he met and married his second wife, who he had

five other children with.  His family life is not detailed in the

articles I read, but may be found in historian’s accounts and his

family stories. There are surely many biographies about Theodore

Roosevelt to fill in some of the gaps I have left open.

 

Theodore Roosevelt died at age 60, somehow this makes another

impression on me, one of sadness. I will be 60 this year.

Teddy’s life just seems like it was too short.

I feel his brief life was one filled with great contributions.

One that may be considered “a Force to Reckon with.”

Here’s how he made a difference. . .

~Created the “Rough Riders.”

~Won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize due to his successful negotiations

and mediation between Russia and Japan, ending the war.

~Appointed the first Jewish man to his Cabinet.

~Talked about different races, if they were to be admired or disdained,

he believed each one should be taken individually and considered on

their merit. His open-minded comments sometimes were muffled by

his outspoken, out of context, racist comments. (See what he said

about Indians, for example.)

~Open door policy about Immigration, but again stressed that

the individuals needed to become American and respect the

country that became their own, leaving behind the country they

left.

~Created “Square Deal” and its unique way of political thinking.

~Went on safaris where the hunted animals were made part of

the Smithsonian Museum’s exhibits. Some have not been as sure

that this was a scientific or worthwhile project. These days, it may

be ‘frowned upon,’ by animal protective league members and

preservationists.

~Spoke out and acted for Conservation and Preservation.

~Directly responsible for Congress approving Eight National

Parks.

~”30 million National Parks and Forests” are his unspoken legacy.

(This high number was mentioned in the news essay, I am wondering

if this is meant to include international park numbers influenced

by his great works.)

 

The above interpretation of Theodore Roosevelt’s life

was written by Robin O. Cochran, (1/6/15).

 

 

Two famous quotations by

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. :

1.  “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do

is the right thing.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

 

2.  “Courage is not having the strength to go on,

it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

 

Nature thoughts:

 

“Between every two pines

is a doorway to a new world.”

John Muir.

 

“The wonder is that we can see these trees

and not wonder more.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 

“Plant trees.”

J. Sterling Morton.

 

A book to read, newly written:

“The Art of Stillness,” by travel writer Pico Iyer.

It highlights a wide variety of people, including

famous rock stars, artists and ‘thinkers’ who have

found solace in solitude. It also features yoga,

meditation and how being ‘still’ can lead to

success.

“By slowing down and sitting still one can

spark creativity and even adventure,”

“Men’s Health,” January,2015  issue.

 

 

A Special Mystery and a Christmas Prayer

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When I received the book, “The Christmas Wish,” written by Richard

M. Siddoway, I did not know how much it would mean to me, in so

many different ways.  Richard is an educator in the public school system

of Utah, along with being a member of the House of Representatives.

He and his wife, Janice, have eight children and possibly grandchildren

since the book was published.

I think where they live in Utah, sounds very much like the book:

Bountiful.

First of all, it is a lovely book, with a special Christmas annual mystery.

A grandson who loved his grandparents and who had been raised by

them. He respected his grandfather very much and after he has passed

away, he finds out Grandpa had visited a woman named “Lillian” every

Christmas Eve. It has a happy ending, one his Grandma is pleased about

and readers are blessed by.

This book holds such great meaning, including being open to what may

possibly be another way to view a situation, along with the powerful

ingredient of forgiveness.

It was written in 1995, given to me in 2003.

Jean A. was my mentor, almost a decade younger than I was. I was in

the midst of pursuing my Master’s degree, when she found out she was

pregnant. A ‘surprise!’ baby.

A mother of three teenagers, Jean was a little distracted. But she was still

the very best preschool teacher of integrated developing levels of children.

A fine example for me to attempt to follow her beautiful and lasting

footsteps. Her husband and family were such a fine example of love and

Jean shone with a year-round Christmas spirit.

Little did I know, she would pass away when her little Spencer was only

three years old, doctor having found cancer growing rapidly due to the

increase of hormones from pregnancy. This book is a treasure and one

that is brought out every Christmas. I read it again, since it has a lot of

history in it, along with all the elements of a good story. I also hang up

a framed snow painting that has the words,

“Star light, star bright,

I wish I may,

I wish I might,

Have this Wish

I wish tonight.

Peace on Earth.”

 

Inside the book there is a precious poem:

“The house is warm, good cheer abounds.

The heart of Christmas is all around.

The children sing, their voices sweet,

The candles are lit, such rosy heat.

My heart is full, my eyes aglow,

For those here with me

and those I cannot know.”

~* Anonymous *~

(A preface also says,

“To Janice.”)

 

“I said a Christmas prayer for you

because the seasons near.

I didn’t ask for riches

but for gifts so much more dear.

I asked for joyful gatherings

with your family all around,

and for carols to inspire  you

with their old familiar sound,

I asked for quiet moments

in your heart on Christmas morn,

for a special time to celebrate

the Savior who was born.

I asked for friends to send their best

that you might know they care. . .

I asked for peace and love and hope;

and I know God heard my prayer.”

Written by

Nancy Parker Brummett

 

Happy “Festivus for the Rest of Us!”

Happy Hanukkah!

Blessed Christmas wishes,

Joy in Kwanzaa Celebrations,

or Hope you find Peace:

May it be True.