Posts Tagged ‘life’

Vietnam: Going Back Again

June 26, 2018

Blogger’s Block (Back to Vietnam)

Just as a segue, a few words about my creative process. Aside from my lame excuses, my procrastinating, or whatever else might be preventing me from sitting down and working on my blog, I’ll just call it “blogger’s block”, similar to writer’s block. You’ve seen it in the movies, the famous writer (not that I’m famous) sitting at his writing desk, coffee and cigarettes on the desk (not that I smoke or recommend smoking, although I do drink coffee). His waste basket, full to the brim with crumpled sheets of paper, is nearby. He stares at the sheet of paper in his typewriter, a chapter name at the top of the page, and a line or two of text, or possibly just an incomplete sentence. OK, “typewriter”, that’s an older movie, maybe he’s sitting at his laptop keyboard staring at the screen. At any rate he’s not happy.

My writing lapses aren’t usually that dramatic, but I do have them. Thank you, Tom (my gym friend) for kick-starting me by praising my work. Be patient, I’ll take us back to Vietnam in a few minutes, honest – this one is dedicated to you.

Options, Options, and More Options

How about this, I’ll include you in my thinking/decision process, kind of as my virtual writing assistant, helping me decide the content for the next installment of my Vietnam blog. OK, OK, agreed, kind of a not-so-subtle way to get people to comment on my blog.

I have a 36-page double-spaced draft that I wrote nine years after my return from Vietnam. I used an IBM Selectric typewriter, and the draft is on the original paper. Many authors still use typewriters, and some like John Le Carre’ (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, etc.) write out their manuscripts in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts, which I think is very cool. Anyway, my thought was to just go through my entire 12-month Vietnam tour and select highlights, like the one in my last post, “A Dark and Stormy Night” . As I have already done, I am using some of the text from my nearly 40-year-old draft, for example, the Preface that follows is from “Vietnam Ten Years Ago – A Sailor Remembers”.

“The following narrative is the product of my memories and feelings about a personal experience and the desire to share the experience with others – a retrospective look at something which happened ten years ago. Since that time, it has rattled around in my head, I have discussed it with others, and I have written about it.
The memories of my year spent in Vietnam have not been naggingly painful or filled with nightmarish, melodramatic flashbacks (as others have experienced). In fact, some of what happened was quite pleasant. There are other memories I would rather forget.
Occasionally, I use real names in the narrative, because I remember some of them. However, I have no intentions of misrepresenting actual events or offending any of the real people involved. (Bernie Blazek, October 1979)”

More Options

Keep reading, Tom, we’re getting there.

So, the previous option would be to take my original draft and present it as a blog. Probably not the best choice, presenting over 10,000 words in my blog. Choosing “highlights”, as I’ve been doing, I think is better.

I also thought about getting “political” by addressing the question, “Are wars bad?” I’ve seen the Ken Burns TV series about the Vietnam War, and I was there for a year, but I think that question is beyond the scope of this blog. I will mention just one thing, a snippet from the Michael Berry Radio broadcast from Houston, Texas. You can Google him if you like. On June 6 this year, he dedicated a good part of his show to D-Day veterans, many of whom died in Normandy, France.

Berry talked about an 18-year-old who was drafted. One of the things struck home, about the young man, whose whole life was ahead of him, a girl friend, a future family. He didn’t enlist, but when he was drafted, he went willingly. He never came back. Say what you want about Michael Berry’s political views, but I think he called this one correctly.

OK, one more snippet about a bumper sticker (I may be misquoting it, but you’ll get the idea) that I saw in my neighborhood. “Except for overcoming communism, fascism, Nazism, and slavery, wars have not accomplished a thing.”

I guess one more option would be a musical/pictorial blog, kind of like I’ve done with other topics. By the way, I have to guide you down the music trivia path, just for a moment. If you read the first Vietnam installment I did, I included a song titled In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. You should read this Tampa Tribune piece about the song . . . veeerrry interesting!

OK, Tom, I’m running out of gas on this installment and need to go have dinner. Please feel free to comment and/or make a suggestion (or anyone). ‘Backatcha’ with more later.

The music and pictures are either symbolic or just for entertainment.

Canned Heat: Can’t Find My Way Home
Huey Lewis and the News: The Power of Love
Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young: Helplessly Hoping
Supertramp: Take the Long Road Home

 

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The X-Files: 2018 (Part I)

March 23, 2018
Vitamin String Quartet:  The Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to the Who – Tommy

 

What’s Up, Rufous Blog? (Blog of the Week: March 23, 2018)

What happened to the Rufous blog you may have asked – actually I did do a post on February 23, my birthday – but my so-called “blog of the week” has been more of a “blog of the month”. OK, multi-tasking doesn’t always work (some experts say that “single-tasking” is actually more efficient). Multi-tasking only works if you don’t forget to do the higher priority items on your list, which in my case is blogging.

Blogger’s note:  The following quote is not totally  in context with my topic, but it struck a chord with me so I wanted to include it.
Quote from Life in Oregon, February-March 2018:
“Think about how the conversation in America, in Oregon, would change if each of us assumed the best of the person who disagrees with us. Together, let’s think about and interact with people on the other side of the issues as if they are potential allies, not enemies.” (ORTL president Harmony Daws, January 14, 2018, Oregon Right to Life annual Roe v. Wade Memorial and March in Portland, Oregon)

Politics or TV?

Did I tell you about John le Carre’, who writes his books out in longhand, then gives the manuscripts to his wife who types and edits them. He’s 86 and just published a new novel. A would-be writer could get inspired by David Cornwell (his real name). I also write out my content longhand in my bright green composition book before transferring it to the blog. Always, I’ll have several blog ideas going, like something political (always a challenge to be “correct”) or like today I have a blog about TV. Maybe I’ll include some “politics” too in this blog (spoiler alert).  :}

The X-Files – The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

I was never a big fan in the past, but the new season 11 caught my attention, in particular episode 4, which I found very interesting on many levels. If you’ve watched it, you may have noticed that the stars (in my opinion), David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, have aged fairly well. OK, enough small talk, here’s my rehash of episode 4. Kudos to the producer and writer, Chris Carter, Darin Morgan, staff writers Brad Follmer and Benjamin Van Allen, and (wait for it) David Duchovny. Episode 4 has some humorous moments, maybe satirical/tongue-in-cheek is a better description, compared to the paranormal or whatever you normally expect from X-files – like a more recent episode with the drones spying on and pursuing Fox and Scully.

OK, having mentioned the producer and writers I think I’m OK legally in quoting the dialog (yes, I paused the TV and wrote it down). If you’re a fan and missed it, you should watch episode 4.

As Long as the Truth Gets Out

Continuing . . . take this scene, about 44 minutes into the episode, Mulder and another character named “Mr. They” are in this wonderful sculpture garden with all these statues. Mulder is having a conversation with Mr. They.

Mulder:  “As long as the truth gets out.”

Mr. They:  “They don’t really care if the truth gets out because the public no longer knows what’s meant by the truth.”

Mulder:  “What do you mean?”

Mr. They:  “Well, I mean, no one can tell the difference anymore between what’s real and what’s fake.”

Oh, ouch, OK, is anyone picking up on the political angle here? I have no idea what Chris Carter and his staff of creative people were trying to accomplish with episode 4, but it’s kind of fun to speculate, eh.

Mulder:  “There’s still an objective truth, an objective reality.”

(Transition to main story line)

Mr. They:  “So what? I mean, you take this Mandela effect.”

Mr. They (quotes George Orwell):  “He who controls the past controls the future.” (More quotes later)

Mr. They:  “Well, believe what you want to believe, that’s what everybody does now anyway.” (Slight break in the dialog)

Mr. They:  “All you really need is a laptop.”

Mulder:  So that’s what this has been all about, the spread of online disinformation.”

Mr. They:  “Maybe?”

Mr. They:  “You know, our current president said something truly profound.” He said, “Nobody knows for sure.”

Mulder:  “What was he referring to?”

Mr. They:  “Does it matter?”

The previous scene lasts only about two minutes and ends with a great shot of Mulder standing in front of a statue with its arms outstretched, as if to say, what’s going on.

The scene shifts to a parking garage, with Mulder and Scully talking to another character, Reggie, who says, “We found the truth that’s out there.”

Rather than risk spoiling the rest of the episode, I highly recommend you watch episode 4 just to see the ending.

The Red Mustang

The next scene shows Mulder, Scully, and Reggie driving down the road in a red Mustang convertible and then the final scene . . .

Tip: Google “x-files season 11” to get more reviews and analysis.
Definition/primer on innuendo:
  • Veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation.
  • The use of such allusions resorting to innuendo.
Example:
His reputation has been damaged by innuendo.

One or Two (or Three) More Quotes

Voltaire: “To hold a pen is to be at war.”
Voltaire:  “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”
Read more at:  Voltaire Quotes.
John 8:32:  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV Bible)
Next Up:  “The X-Files 2018 (Part II)”. Just a hint, expect some content based on my favorite Imprimis readings. No surprise there. Feel free to peruse the Imprimis issues.
Definition of “Imprimis”:  In the first place used to introduce a list of items or consideration.
Antonio Vivaldi:  The Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)

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To Do or Not to Do: Birthday Blog, 2018

February 23, 2018

My birthday blog for last year is here. I have a new birthday today.

I’ll start with some music – it’s Winter – and some quotes to set the tone for this piece which could go anywhere, hang on . . .

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Winter (Largo)”

This BrainyQuote’s page has a wealth of quotes that relate either directly or in some weird, tangential way to this birthday blog. I started reading some of the quotes after doing the search on Shakespeare’s famous quote, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” which is the hook for the rest of this creative dissertation. I’ll explain more in a minute. Check out Jean-Luc Godard’s quote, “To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.” All you ex-English majors, like me, and grammarians should get a chuckle out of it. And check out Chuck Palahniuk, wow, some powerful, some witty, some head-scratcher quotes. By the way, his birthday is February 21, two days before mine. I should find him on Facebook and wish him a belated Happy Birthday. I’m not sure I can compete with the wisdom in some of the quotes, but as I get back on track here, maybe some of it will make sense to you. Nobody has quoted me yet.

To Do or Not to Do

Many weeks ago I got the idea for this blog. I started a draft on paper – I do that a lot as do many famous writers. Not that I’m famous, but John Le Carre’ is famous and well-published. I was just listening to his latest novel today, A Legacy of Spies. I watched a 60 Minutes interview with him several weeks ago. He lives in England in a remote place called Land’s End and has a separate little house where he writes his books in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts. I thought that his lifestyle was extremely cool. His real name, which he prefers, is David Cornwell. Here he is in Wikipedia if you’re interested.

Back on Track

If you look at the “intro” parts of this blog, Looking for a Rufous, you may have picked up on the whole Rufous thing. Looking for things in life that really, really provide meaning and fulfillment, rather than just “living.” Also, there’s a great quote in Me and My Blog, probably my favorite quote, that says it all in my opinion. Of course, like someone said, if you already know the answer, don’t ask the question. Maybe you’ve figured it out already. Power to you, go for it, I’m perfectly fine with not perpetuating the search for meaning.

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Spring (Allegro)”

An Average Day

Early morning sun (unusual for us in our Oregon winter) coming through the living room window, the dogs horsing around, listening to a Chicago song, “Wake Up Sunshine”, feeling good, an upbeat start to my day. I hope your day started on an upbeat note. But not every day starts that way, some days are more of a struggle. More caffeine, doesn’t help. Does that sound familiar? Such is life, eh, ups and downs, it’s normal. But what about the “baseline” parts of your life, the ongoing efforts that help you transcend the temporary mood swings and dark days? Is your baseline OK?

Tom Robbins: “To be or not to be isn’t the question. The question is, how to prolong being.”

I look at the best-selling authors, the scientists who discover cures for diseases, the athletes who strive to do their best, the volunteers who stack sandbags to stop the flood waters, and the others who strive to do things beyond themselves – I look at them in awe, admiring what they do. I’m not saying that being average is bad or that winning second place is not something to be proud of. You were there, that’s what counts.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)”

Parting Words on Starting this New Year (for me)

  • For this year, my plan is to try to stay healthy. If you’re active doing stuff, that’s a great place to start.
  • Do new things like meditation, early in the day. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, just relax, clear your thoughts, and focus on your breathing.
  • Journal, listen to music, watch the birds, cook dinner, talk to your kids or your friends or your dog (you’d be surprised how good a listener a dog can be).
  • Get involved, open up your mind and figure things out by relying on good, solid information. Segue to the Imprimis site, check it out, pick an area that interests you. I love the latest one, Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?.

More to come in the next blog.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Autumn (Adagio-molto)”

Always Pictures

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Blog of the Week: December 24, 2017

December 25, 2017

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A Christmas Eve Blog

What can I say, on this Christmas Eve, 2017, to edify and perhaps entertain you. First, I’ll update you on my week in wintry Oregon, then move on to the “edifying” part.

The Recap for the Week

Did I say “wintry”? Which reminds me, I hate it when she’s right all the time (well, most of the time). My spouse called it (before the weatherman) at least two weeks ago, “The conditions are right, and we’ll have snow by Christmas.” And we did, on Christmas Eve.

And the rest of the week . . . Christmas preparations, some indoor golf on Tuesday, a couple of short runs for me in the cold, visits from the grandkids, and the wife came down with a cold. So, some plusses and some minuses for this past week.

The Edifying Part

It’s late, so I’ll wrap it up with some thoughts and affirmations from my Daily Word readings (see my note below). It’s good to slow down, to stop, and to reflect. I’ll include the accompanying Bible reference in parentheses for each of these daily affirmations. Look them up if you like.

Note: You can go to dailyword.com to get a copy if you’re interested.
Coldplay: God Put a Smile on Your Face
  • Joy: I expand my joy as I share my blessings with others. (Isaiah 55:12)
  • Healing: I am an ever-renewing expression of Infinite Life. (Luke 9:2)
  • Giving: I freely express my giving heart. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Receiving: I prepare to receive as I give without an expectation of return. (Luke 8:15)
  • Strength: In stillness, I renew my strength. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
  • Celebrate: I celebrate the glory of God with all that I am and in everything that I do! (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Silent Night: I find peace and love in the Silence. (Isaiah 30:15)
  • Christmas Eve: I am ready to give birth to new expressions of Spirit as I release limitations. (Luke 2:14)
  • Christmas: I welcome the rebirth of Christmas spirit into my heart today. (Luke 1:14)

Blog of the Week: December 17, 2017

December 18, 2017
dadson_at-the-beach-2

Dad & Son

What’s the Hook?

For the answer, go back to my Crystal City, Part I blog to refresh your memory about journalism. Basically, rather than start out with some of the more routine things that happened this past week, I wanted to start with my morning meditation thoughts from this morning, which I thought were well-worth passing along, although the thoughts didn’t actually happen last week. Doesn’t matter really, try to be flexible. :}

As part of my morning routine, as I mentioned last week, I try to spend some time reading – I read different things, always the Bible, and some other things, just to get my day started on the right foot (or the left). Often, I’ll just open my Bible at a random location. This morning was in the book of Psalms, Psalm 15 to be exact. I recommend reading the Bible even if you aren’t “religious” (whatever that means), partly because of the way it was written, especially the Psalms, which are poems, songs of praise, or thankfulness verses, and they show a wide variety of emotions and feelings. My Bible is the New International Version. I quote part of Psalm 15, just a bit to get you started, then you can read all of it, it’s only five verses long.

Psalm 15 (part of it)

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose life is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money
without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Actually, I got carried away, that’s all of Psalm 5.

Journal Recap

Just a few high points from my journal for the past week, that’s all.

My son-in-law came over to help install a new kitchen faucet after the other one stopped working. Actually, I don’t claim to have mechanical abilities sufficient for such a task, so I watched, and he installed the faucet. It would have taken me three times as long. Water is an amazing commodity in our daily lives, try washing your dishes in the shower.

My wife and I played golf at Killarney Golf Course. It was chilly, but dry, and the greens were as hard as a rock from the cold weather we’ve had. She won (again). We’ve recently started playing golf at a place called Top Golf, which is undercover and has food and drink, not a regular golf course, but still a lot of fun and at least it’s dry and warm.

Lots of soup and salads this week, fortunately I’m married to a creative cook, who creates wonderful soups that are especially good during the cold months. Otherwise, I did my usual routine going to the gym and running, but less distance this time of year. On Saturday we did a sleepover at my daughter’s house so she and her hubby could have a weekend night at the beach while we stayed with the kids. Lots of walks in their new neighborhood, with and without the dogs, just exploring to find the best places to go.

Closing in on Christmas, so maybe my next BOTW will be about Christmas. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas in advance.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon

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Sunriver, Oregon

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Estacada, Oregon

Blog of the Week: December 10, 2017

December 11, 2017
Pink Floyd: On the Run

What’s the Scoop?

Regarding this particular literary exercise . . . you’re reading a rehash of my week, hopefully interesting in that you may able to relate. We live lives of “quiet desperation” someone once said. Did I learn anything last week and am I now wiser for having learned new things, always a good question. I do a daily journal, bits and pieces of which may appear in this series of blogs – I’ll leave out the really mundane stuff, grocery lists, etc. Of course, sometimes the mundane stuff provides its own drama in our daily lives such as signing up for medical insurance after going through the myriad of available options and trying to make the right decision. Thank heavens for my own stress relief in the form of gym workouts and running, which for me is meditation. For example, in my Daily Word booklet that I read, last Monday’s word was “Meditation: I experience oneness through the art of meditation.” The accompanying Bible verse was from Psalm 49:3, “My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance of my heart will give understanding.” Tuesday’s reading was about “world peace”, Wednesday was about “letting go – to open the way to new and bountiful good.” Not easy for some of us to accomplish. Thursday was “Pray for Others” in a vision of wholeness for people you may not know. Friday was “Forgive: I appreciate my innate capacity to forgive.” Obviously, another challenge for many of us. Saturday was “Prosperity: My life is filled with an overflowing measure of God’s goodness.” For me, starting the day with a positive affirmation is a real boost.

Saturday’s Run

What a nice run, it was chilly and hilly, but dry. The Portland area has been enjoying a dry spell. I bundled up and took off on one of my familiar routes, a paved trail near where I live. I wanted to run about seven miles. I didn’t run fast, party because of the hills, but the run felt good, no major aches or pains. I had a few “dog encounters.” There were many people out with their animals. I always try to stop and pet the friendly ones. Two big German Shepherds were out enjoying the sun. The owner told me their names were Nola and Harley. Toward the end of the run, the sun was going down, the wind was kicking up, and the temperature was dropping. I was at the top of a big hill looking down at the valley. I noticed a little kid in a green jacket. As I ran down the hill I rounded a turn and he and his mom, pushing a stroller, and their dog were coming up the hill. I said hi and headed for home.

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Hillsboro: A Photo Essay

July 11, 2017
The Who: Sparks (Tommy the Rock Opera)

A Rufous Respite from Serious Topics

I can’t say there was a specific reason why I chose Hillsboro, Oregon as a site for a photo essay, but I was there, and I did have my camera. Also, I was feeling great after a 60-minute deep tissue massage, which I got in Hillsboro. I just felt like taking pictures.

Rather than give you a lot of history in this blog, I’m including this Wikipedia link. Just a side-note, according to Wikipedia, Hillsboro pre-dates Portland. Anyway, check out the Wikipedia info, pretty interesting history. Now for some pictures and more music.

 

Huey Lewis and the News: Back in Time (from Back to the Future soundtrack)

 

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A Few Quotes to Get You Going

Carli Lloyd (American athlete), for anyone who has been through injuries:
“It’s always hard to deal with injuries mentally, but I like to think about it as a new beginning. I can’t change what happened, so the focus needs to go toward healing and coming back stronger than before.” Read more at BrainyQuotes.
Anonymous quote (on a mural in the swimming area at my gym, short, to the point, love this quote):
“Before you can accomplish something, you must expect it of yourself.”
Rachelle Mandik (Reader’s Digest, July/August 2017), puns are very cool:
“Sometimes I just want to go live in the woods and meditate, but other times I think that’d be Thoreauing my life away.”
Jonathan Winters, comedian (Reader’s Digest, July/August 2017):
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”

 

 

My Mom’s Blog

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, in remembrance of you on this day!

Just a photo or two or three and some music to honor my Mom, that’s all.

A few notes about the music and photos. My Mom was buried in Liberty, Texas. I was able to honor her with a visit in 2015. The bird is the Varied Thrush. It represents my beautiful Mom, because I couldn’t find a good picture of her to share with you. The music is totally random but music that I thought was appropriate to express my feelings about her. The Glen Miller piece was from her era. He died in 1944. She died in 1964. Listen at your leisure to the music as I did when I was putting this together.

It was good to visit Mom's grave.

It was good to visit Mom’s grave.

Glenn Miller: Big Band (swing)
Stevie Wonder: You are the Sunshine of My Life
Norman Greenbaum: Spirit in the Sky
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Varied Thrush

Lion King soundtrack: The Circle of Life
Vangelis: The Tao of Love

I miss you, Mom!

Adam & Eve in Love!

March 31, 2017

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tine Turner: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The idea for this blog dawned on me in SoCal (southern California) on one of our many trips down to visit relatives and of course get away from the @#$%^&* rain for a few days – I do love that natural  vitamin D! One morning I was enjoying an early breakfast and reading the Wall Street Journal (provided by the hotel). In the “Review”, section was an essay written by Bruce Feiler. It was adapted from his forthcoming book (March 21), The First Love Story: Adam and Eve and Us.

By the way, my recommendation is that you read the article if you’re a WSJ subscriber, or just use this link and check out the video interview with Bruce Feiler. I think the essay is a very thought provoking piece, especially if you’re married and (hopefully) in love or perhaps recently fallen in love. Rather than get off on a side trail about my opinion of how important love is or what it means, I’ll just let Bruce Feiler’s ideas speak for themselves. I may summarize his ideas along the way. Also, if you have a Bible handy, it might help you to better understand if you read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and for good measure 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love” chapter) in the New Testament. It’s a lot to digest, but I’ll provide some bullet points that might help.

Here’s a totally irrelevant (but wonderful) quote to get you started. I saw this on a napkin dispenser at MOD Pizza in Beaverton, Oregon on March 28th while I was eating my pizza, enjoying a beer, and making some notes in my blog notebook.

Bob Dylan, Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016:
“May you’re your heart be always joyful.
May your song always be sung.
And may you stay young forever.”
Karen O and the Kids: All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

Quoting from Bruce Feiler’s Essay

“In December 1867, Mark Twain was touring Jerusalem when he visited a room in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre identified as Adam’s tomb. He was overcome with emotion. ‘The fountain of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths,’ he wrote. Twain became obsessed with his oldest ancestor, at one point urging planners in New York to replace the Statue of Liberty with a monument to Adam. He went on to write a half-dozen pieces about the first couple, including Extracts from Adam’s Diary and an Autobiography of Eve.”

“Adam, in Twain’s retelling, is initially uncomfortable with Eve. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here, he says, ‘I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.’ Eve is equally unimpressed with Adam. ‘He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and is sensitive about it.’ (who says Twain didn’t have a sense of humor!) But slowly the two come around. ‘I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her’, Adam says. Eve echoes his feelings: ‘I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature…It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together.’”

Patti; Tuck & Patti: Love is the Key

Adam and Eve in love? Really? Who would think such a thing?”

Feiler goes on to say that several very famous people would agree that, yes, they were in love, and that, given the transitional state of the family for the last 30 centuries – major changes with high divorce rates, lifestyles in our hyperconnected world – maybe Adam and Eve could offer some guidance.

Some Bullet Points in Summary of Feiler’s Ideas

Obviously taken out of context (you really need to buy the book or get a copy of the WSJ essay), here are some more thoughts, quoted and/or paraphrased from the essay.

  • The first couple have been victims of a long campaign of character assassination. One reason is that we rarely read the opening chapters of Genesis with the idea that Adam and Eve might be in love. He goes on to explain this important point in detail.
  • Who is God’s chosen sex, man or woman? If you read and compare Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the answer appears different. Feiler elaborates, then concludes by saying they are entirely equal.
  • In support of the equality idea, if you look at Michelangelo’s famous painting in the Sistine Chapel, it is Eve, not Adam and not God who occupies the exact center of the room. In the third panel, the two figures (Adam and Eve) reach together for the forbidden fruit. They are not estranged, they are partners.
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost was a step-by-step argument that Adam and Eve were equal.
  • In Shakespeare’s words, “Love is not avoiding conflict; it is about overcoming it”.
  • The most underappreciated aspect of Adam and Eve is how they continually return to each other after periods of separation. They start life united, then Eve goes off alone. She could remain apart but instead returns to Adam. Once out of Eden, they could split, but instead they stay together.
Beatles: And I Love Her

Some Final Thoughts

The Bible is the first to put a man and a woman at the start of the human line. God can’t procreate. He needs human partners – starting with Adam and Eve – for humanity to succeed.

Feiler concludes his essay by saying that the first couple struggled too, yet they found a way to heal their wounds and forgive their wrongs.

Some More Music

Eagles: Love Will Keep Us Alive (Hell Freezes Over album)
Del Shannon: Sea of Love (really old song)
Karen O and the Kids: Building All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

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Birthday Blog: 2017

February 23, 2017

Another birthday, another year, I won’t tell you my exact age, but I’m right on the line between “baby boomers” and the one before that, which Tom Brokaw calls the “Greatest Generation”. But this blog isn’t about me; it’s about and for my folks.

Blogger disclaimer: I wondered in the past about social media, about very personal information, Uncle Jack’s favorite chili recipe notwithstanding, actually I thought it was very tasty :), or other more intimate information. Being a private person, it didn’t sit well with me, telling the world those things that should be reserved only for the person who is sharing or for their family and close friends. Breaking through that shell of privacy, in this blog post I’m sharing very personal information. It just seemed appropriate to say it after all these years, as a tribute to my Mom and Dad.

Don’t Ever Take Them for Granted

Taking parents for granted is not something anyone should do. When they’re around, you should appreciate and cherish them. My Mom and Dad have both been gone a long time, my Mom in 1964 and my Dad in 1985. When I hear people talk about their parents, no matter what the context, it makes me think of my own parents.

First, and most important, they were good parents, in all the ways parents should be good parents – disciplining, education, providing a home, and more. On Sundays (and other days), my Mom always had dinner ready on time. With my Dad, it was doing stuff like hunting and fishing, which we did a lot of. I had many wonderful father-son “bonding experiences” with my Dad.

Rites of Passage

Pow, the loud sound broke the silence of the cold morning air. My Dad had driven us out to one of his favorite spots on the deer lease, called “Devil’s Hollow”. The lease, a big ranch probably 500-600 acres, was in the Texas hill country near Mason many hours drive away from our home in southeast Texas. All layered up to ward off the sub-freezing cold, we trudged up the hills with our rifles until we found a good spot behind a scrub oak tree. I got settled in to wait, and my Dad left. The viewpoint was great with a clear view across the draw and to the left and right. I was about 14 years old at the time. I had my hand warmers going and my multiple layers of clothing but was still cold. Soon a nice 8-point buck stepped out about 90-100 yards away across the draw. I took careful aim with the scoped rifle and shot him through the right shoulder. He took a step or two and went down. I stayed in place behind the scrub oak, and the “buck acres” started (see note). Basically, the shakes, it happens to hunters, athletes, etc. after something exciting just happened. Another buck materialized on my left, possibly a trophy buck, within easy shooting distance, but I missed (too much excitement). My Dad, who had barely enough time to get down the hill, came back to help me. We went over and field-dressed the deer and packed him down the hill. My first deer, it was a great morning for a young kid!

Note:  OK, “buck acres” is a colloquial expression, hopefully I spelled it correctly, but deer hunters are familiar with it. I couldn’t verify it online.

One of my big regrets in life is that I didn’t do more of the “man thing” with my son when he was growing up. Oh we’d set off rockets, take the skiff out on the lake to fish, and stuff like that, but that was about it. All Dads should be aware that once those years are gone, they’re gone. If you’re a Dad, don’t mess up, and I’m not excluding daughters, spend quality time with them too.

A Belated Eulogy for My Dad

I don’t remember my Dad ever saying I love you, but I don’t begrudge him for that because I know he loved me. I loved and still love you, Dad. So this is my belated eulogy to you, Dad, perhaps to make up for the shaky knees and quavering voice that I had at your funeral service in 1985, reading some Bible verses, and wanting to say more. This is my testimony to you 32 years later. Rest in peace, Dad.

1 Peter 1:24: “For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like flowers of the field, the grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

A Belated Eulogy for Mom

Her passing was more than 20 years earlier than my Dad, in 1964. The details of her personality and her life are not totally clear in my memory, but some things stand out. I mentioned her dinners (we used to say “supper”) were consistently on time. On Sundays after church, as I recall it was usually roast beef, mashed potatoes, and green beans. My love of cookies comes from my Mom – she’d make peanut butter cookies with the impressions made with a fork and homemade tapioca pudding, yum! The house was always neat and clean.

I’m going to quote from an old letter (January 21, 1959), just an excerpt, which I think speaks volumes of what kind of person my Mom was:

“Dearest Elaine,

How are you? I’m so ashamed of myself for not writing or calling. I think of you many times a day and pray that you are adjusting yourself to your aloneness. No one can know what you are going through until they go through the loss of their loved one. I do feel that you and Edwin had something within your own lives that few, few married people ever find. It seems very ironical and sad that mortals cannot express themselves naturally and freely. I have never learned to show or let others know how I feel.”

1 Corinthian 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Liberty, Texas Memories

Interestingly, in 2013 I went back to Liberty for my 50-year high school reunion. Besides seeing my friends that I hadn’t seen in a half century, a couple of other notable events happened. Going to a pep rally at the new high school and a Friday night football game was a real treat, and it seemed like I was back in 1963 (Back to the Future) sitting in the stands cheering for the team (they won). But more importantly as planned, I went to see my Mom’s grave site (pictures of both my Mom’s and Dad’s grave sites are below). I wanted to decorate the headstone and found the red flowers at a store in town.

The other thing that I had planned on my trip was to go see my old house. I knew that it was still there because I Googled it before I left Portland. As I zoomed-in in Google, I was kind of amazed to see it after so much time had passed. One day I drove over to the house. It had a For Sale sign in the yard so I called the agent to see if I could look at the house. She made a call; I went over, knocked on the door, and was greeted by a friendly face. The woman living there went to high school with my younger sister, which at the time I thought was an amazing coincidence, but you know Liberty is a small town. That and good ole Texas hospitality might have been the primary reasons why I was able to visit my old home so easily. Walking in the front door, I experienced one of those serendipitous moments, like I was time traveling back to my earlier life. The furniture and decor were different, but the floor plan was the same. I walked past the living room straight into the kitchen where my Mom prepared all those meals for us. The door to the garage was on the right, more memories of pickled snakes and of freshly killed deer hanging from the rafters waiting to be processed for the freezer. Not my Mom’s favorite place to hang out. We took the stairs to see my sisters’ bedroom and my brother’s and my bedroom at the end of a long hallway. This was the same room where I had to repaint the walls and ceiling in one corner because of a disastrous lab experiment with my new chemistry set, a Christmas present.

I’m going to wrap this up with pictures and music.

Links to previous blogs about Liberty, Texas:

Growing Up in Texas

Pep Rally and the Game

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young: Our House

 

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