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Archive for October, 2007

Happy Halloween !!

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Stay in your day …

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We sit in our same chairs. In the same space, week after week, and we listen to each other speak. We only have today and living in our days is the topic of discussion. And so we listen as the conversation moves.

When I got sober, it was all I could do to get to a meeting and stay off the drink and the drugs. They told me, stay in your day, wtf was that, so I battled my addiction until (good orderly direction) came to me. When I think about staying in my day I ask myself three questions as I spoke on tonight:

1. Do you have a roof over your head
2. Is there food in your belly and
3. Do you have a bed to sleep in

If I answer yes to these three questions, then I have nothing else to worry about, I know that now, but I didn’t know it then. We all have our paths and crosses to bear. And hindsight is twenty twenty. Five years a a few months on, I have banked time behind me.

It took me a year to learn how to stay in my day, because over that year I chose to take root in one place, one meeting and start there learning how to live soberly and cleanly.

That most important year in sobriety I learn that I did not have to involve myself in other people’s dramas, that I did not have to worry about what people thought about me because really, what you think of me is none of my business. I started to sober up and learn. I learned how to listen and how to be quiet.

Everything I needed I took to that room and I shared with my people my needs and my pains and even my joys. It was important for me to learn how to stay in my day, because what came next was hell on earth.

My partner had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. Treatment would begin in earnest to find the medication that would work. He was down for ten months. I fed him, bathed him and lived with him, every day, like clockwork.

I had a decision to make, for richer or for poorer and in sickness and in health were on the table, and I could either walk or I could choose to stay and march with what we were dealt. Knowing I had a place to go every Tuesday meant that I would not be alone in my despair, because I can tell you that I had seen the pit and flirted with getting into it.

There were nights I sat here in the dark alone, praying to god to let this cup pass from me, and to end the suffering sooner than later. I learned how to stay in my day in real time. Yesterday is yesterday and tomorrow is not here, so make the best of the twenty four hours you have in front of you and make it count.

I always worried about growing up – I never knew what it meant for a boy to become a man, or when I would get there and what it would feel like to become a man. When does a boy become a man?

This was MY answer. When I decided to stay and fight for my partner’s life and I put the needs of another before my own, to ask what can I do for you and how can I help you, I moved farther from “what about me?” Because for months I kept asking God what about me? And the answer kept coming back, what about you? Keep walking, you are learning a valuable lesson.

This is when I realized that the boy had begun to grow up and become a man. I went to my meeting and I did service week in and week out. I prayed my heart out and I cried and I screamed because it seemed that nothing was coming to me in tangible ways, but everything was coming to me in spiritual ways. This darkness lasted ten months while we tried medication after medication.

Then one night in September of 2004, we got a new medication and I dosed him that morning, by evening that night, the light went on in the tower, and he rose off the couch, like Lazarus being raised from the dead, we were blessed by God because we had found the right mix.

For a year I stayed in my day and I prayed my ass off and for all the nights I sat in the dark waiting for something to happen to me, something happened for me. A years time was spent on learning the concept of staying in my day, and a second year was spent working it out in real time.

I showed up, I suited up and I did what I had to do to take care of me, in sober terms, and in turn my sober community took care of me in ways I did not expect. With that I could take care of my partner to the best of my ability, because Good Orderly Direction was the key to success.

In the last five years I have heard some harrowing stories, and we tell them “stay in your day” because eventually, this too shall pass. We have a really tight family and we care a great deal for every soul that comes down those stairs into the meeting. We have suffered together and we have cried together and we have celebrated joy together. So I can tell you about staying in your day.

We choose our battles wisely. We know what we have to do to stay sober, one day at a time. We work hard to not be stuck in the past or carry that samsonite luggage around with us, and we know not to worry about the future. Everything has its season and everything has its time. Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, you are moving but you are not getting anywhere.

Jackie has returned to us from a terrible slip after learning that she has lung cancer and she cried the other night, how am I going to get through this? It is a gift that one of our members survived cancer over the last year and can offer her guidance. We hear tonight that she started chemo and she is loosing her hair and when I hugged her afterwards I asked “what can we do for you today?” and her answer was simple, you are here and you care, that’s what I need today.

She wants to live and she is ready to fight. And that gives me pause, to consider where I fit into the grand scheme of things. This is my home group where I set up chairs and make coffee. It is my responsibility to have that room open so that “Jackies” can come and decompress and to cry and to walk – never alone …

I have learn about staying in my day and today I can offer that wisdom to others, because I have time in the bank to prove that if I did it, then you can do it too and that Good Orderly Direction can work if you remain willing to walk with me a step or two.

When one suffers, we all suffer. When one hurts, we all hurt, and When one rejoices, all rejoice. Tonight I pray for Jackie and for Jerry and for all those who are either sick or suffering, because I know today, “this too shall pass.”

Because I stay in my day …

When night falls and the day draws to a close, I can spend a little time in meditation reviewing what happened, what I did good and what may need more attention tomorrow, I count my blessings and I make my gratitude list, and I settle off for bed. I rest with a clear conscience because for today I did my best and that’s all that matters. I helped another person today, that is the gift of sobriety, that I can take time out of my day to be with you and be ok with that, because it is not always about me.

We all have choices to make. Pray you make the right choice today to help another just because, Because you never know when you are entertaining an angel. In my life, in religious terms for me, I remember this thought: Matthew 25:35-40

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

At the end of the day, if called to account for my life if the Master called me home, I would want to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Thank you for letting me share…


Progress not Perfection

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There are 55 shopping days until Christmas…
I guess I should write something about me for a change, since it seems that traffic is starting to fall off since I moved to writing story form posts that get cross posted on Avanoo. I quite like writing there, it gives me a chance to fly by the seat of my pants, much of my writing there usually appears here. It’s all good.

October comes to an end this week. Christmas decorations are up in the major stores downtown. I have a sweet winter coat that I will be getting this week. It is time to retire old faithful after six years of faithful service to me. I can most assuredly predict for you that the malls will be decorated as soon as the sun rises on all souls day – November 1st.

We went looking for a new tree last week, nothing jumped off the shelf and said “buy me!” So we shall wait for the Tire to put up their trees, that’s where we bought our first tree many years ago. Things here at home are running quite smoothly. Although flu season has hit us in the pants this week. Hubby is snotty and blotty, he does not suffer well. Although he is a trooper even if he is feeling sick, he’s lost that fire that usually keeps him up and cheery.

I am expecting to be hit as well, but maybe the God’s will smile upon me and my hearty constitution shall stave off an early frost of the flu, that’s all I need right now is to get sick! What a nightmare.

In other news, school is going pretty well. I have hit my stride and now we are into term paper territory so I will be cranking out two massive papers in the coming month, let us pray. I had a conversation with my friend this morning about dropping XT Ethics, he was quite upset that I came to that decision. I am not going to put up with bullshit, not again.

When I got up on Monday morning it was a frigid (0 c ) outside, it is getting cold in Montreal all of a sudden. They predicted snow for the mountains this week, and I hear that it might snow in Vancouver this week as well. Let me tell you that hubby has been praying hard for snow here, you know last year [it did not snow until valentines day] this past winter… We are hoping for snow by Christmas – Let Us Pray!!

I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been on this sugar free – and – banana diet for two weeks now, and my body is going through its paces. But I must admit getting rid of excess sugar has had a direct impact on the furnace which it seems has gone out. There’s no fire down below and it has been a week, needless to say this little set back has me mentally befuddled. Maybe I need to start drinking pop again… UGH!!

Monkey crank viagra… nuagertuk, tufty doodle, wombo minky, baseren-tufti, nani nani booboplatz…

I need to drop labs this week. UGH, another march up that god damned mountain.

So this ends tonights update, it’s late and tomorrow is Twosday!!

Oh, by the way, Tuesday Beginners will be OPEN on Christmas and New Years DAY, since those days fall on a Tuesday, we will have one meeting for the holiday. Updates to follow tomorrow.


To Canada for His Holiness with no love from China

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama looks on during a function to commemorate the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against China’s occupation of Tibet, at the Tsuglakhang Temple in Dharamsala, India, Wednesday, March 10, 2004. The Chinese occupation began in 1951. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)

CBC News

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, has been much in the news of late. This month his worldwide tour brings him here to Canada, where he is to meet the prime minister, a week after the United States bestowed on him the Congressional Gold Medal. There’s even a new movie out called 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama.

A year ago, Parliament named the Tibetan spiritual leader an honorary Canadian citizen, a rare acknowledgement with international repercussions.

Each time another honour is conferred on the cherubic 72-year-old spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, China, which regards him as a dangerous separatist, gets hopping mad, threatening all manner of rancorous retribution against those who praise him.

The Dalai Lama is on a world tour and this weekend visits Ottawa to speak to thousands of the faithful at Lansdowne Park. He will also have an audience with Prime Minister Stephen Harper before he heads to Toronto to speak to thousands more at the Rogers Centre.

When news leaked that Harper would meet the revered Tibetan Buddhist, Lu Shumin, China’s ambassador to Canada, warned that this would hurt relations between Canada and China. No details of where the meeting will be have been released, but when the Dalai Lama met with former prime minister Paul Martin in 2004, it was at the private residence of Ottawa’s Roman Catholic archbishop.

Chinese Olympics

Many interpret the Dalai Lama’s recent high-profile trips as a way to pressure China into taking a more conciliatory attitude toward Tibet, cognizant of the fact that China is especially sensitive to world opinion as it prepares for the Beijing Olympics next summer.

This interpretation will gain more credence on Sunday, when the “surprise” master of ceremonies at the gathering in Ottawa is expected to be none other than Canadian Olympic swimming champion Mark Tewksbury.

The 14th Dalai Lama was born Lhamo Dhondrub on July 6, 1935, to a peasant family in Taktser, a small village in northeast Tibet. He has lived in exile since 1959 in the Indian town of Dharamsala, the base of Tibet’s government-in-exile. Some 120,000 Tibetans have chosen to live in Dharamsala to be with their leader.

In 1937, when Lhamo Dhondrub was two years old, the Tibetan government appointed a mission to find a successor to the 13th Dalai Lama, who died in 1933. The mission found the boy in Taktser and determined he was the reincarnation of previous dalai lamas.

Tibet and China

He was installed as Dalai Lama on Feb. 22, 1940, taking the full name Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso. Regents ruled Tibet while the boy began his education and training as a monk. In 1950, at 15, he was named head of state and government soon after 80,000 soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army entered Tibet.

In 1951, the Chinese army occupied Lhasa and forced Tibet to sign a treaty with Beijing recognizing China’s rule. Under the treaty, Tibet became a “national autonomous region” ruled by a Chinese commission, with the Dalai Lama as a figurehead ruler.

China began to suppress traditional Buddhist monasticism and much of the culture of Tibet. The young Dalai Lama was thrown into the midst of this crisis, and in 1954, he went to Beijing to meet Chinese leaders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.

In March 1959, the People’s Liberation Army invited the Dalai Lama to visit an army camp outside the capital, Lhasa. Rumours spread through the city that the Chinese planned to kidnap and imprison the Dalai Lama.

Escape to India

On March 10, 1959, there was a huge demonstration in the Tibetan capital demanding the Chinese leave Tibet. The Chinese army attacked. On March 17, the Chinese began firing mortars at the Dalai Lama’s palace. The Dalai Lama disguised himself as an ordinary Tibetan soldier, slipped out of the palace and, with a band of loyalists, began a 500-kilometre trek through the Himalayas to India.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru allowed the Dalai Lama to settle in Dharamsala and establish a Tibetan government-in-exile. The Dalai Lama appeared before the United Nations in 1959, 1961 and 1965, calling on the Chinese to allow self-determination for Tibet. In 1963, the exiled leader proposed a democratic constitution for Tibet, combining Buddhist principles with Western concepts of human rights.

In 1966, China proclaimed Tibet as one the People’s Republic’s “internal autonomous regions.” In the late 1960s, Tibet was one of the main victims of the Red Guards, who attacked monks and nuns, wrecked monasteries and destroyed priceless religious relics. The government of Mao Zedong banned the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, a ban that lasted until 1976.

Nobel laureate

The Dalai Lama’s attempts to influence China met with little success. Tibet is still considered an autonomous region within the People’s Republic, but in the past 20 years many Chinese colonists have moved to Tibet, and now there are seven million Chinese and six million Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for advocating “peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.”


Puzzle Pieces

Words in my head are no good unless they find life on the page before you. Expressions, emotions, feelings and experiences. Wanting to empty my head is painful, because where do you start to write something coherent and readable?

The little Jesuit priest gave us all the same puzzle piece with the words “it all began here” now go out and find out why. I came after them, I think in fact I was the last puzzle piece recipient from that group of young men.

I moved from one big city a great concrete and glass paradise on the water to another big city of concrete and glass, somewhat inland from the sea, but how can you go wrong living in the city of lights? It was magical and unknown, it was trying and easy, it was the unknown that attracted me, the beauty that captivated me, the diversity that struck me.

What did we know from this little Jesuit priest who became for many a spiritual guide in a city steeped in religious tradition. I want to tell you what happened and what my puzzle looks like today. Is it finished, can you see an entire landscape, are you any closer to the BIG answer?

Within days of my arrival and reception of my puzzle piece I began to hunt for the others. I must say that I had no clue where to begin, nor where to look. He said “they will appear before you if you know how to see them!” He was good a clues but not at giving concrete answers.

I walked around the city of light looking for puzzle pieces, but you could not walk up to someone and ask about them, people would think you mad. So I started with the piece that I carried in my wallet, a scapular and that remark “this is where it all started.”

In medieval times the towns and centers were built around the main church of the location, the church being the hub of the community where religious observance took place, bartering and food distribution was done, as well as trade. Safe inside the city walls in some locations, the church was also the lookout from on high to make sure that invaders did not sack the city.

That is where I chose to start my journey. The religious center of the city. Notre Dame Cathedral in Old Montreal. You can’t go wrong when you start your journey with a little prayer. I was used to coming here to pray because I did it for months before I received my first puzzle piece, without knowing it I had been kneeling and praying at the starting point for a long while.

I would find my corner up the front of the church in the grotto, left of the altar, where hours candles were burning. Those are the big candles that burn before the blessed sacrament in most churches, because once lit they will burn for days and days until spent.

I lit one candle – sure in the knowledge that my prayers would be carried on high for as long as that candle burned. it was a guarantee that my prayers meant a great deal to me. I had knelt in that same spot week after week and never noticed her.

******

She had always followed me into that corner, standing silently next to me just beyond my peripheral vision from the spot I was kneeling in, until that fateful day that she called out to me from the darkness of the grotto. She was stolid and beautiful, she had grace and poise. Little did I know then, what she would do for me just by her presence in my life.

You see I carried a picture of her in my wallet for almost twenty years, and I never made the connection to her until that day she called out to me in the silence of my prayers. I had found the next puzzle piece, it was there all the time, and until I gazed upon her, did it become visible.

I took that as a sign from God to follow the lead to its logical conclusion. I walked a little ways down from the Cathedral to Saint Pierre and over to the Mother House not far away. I left my name and my number and waited for a call back, after which I returned home.

A few days later I was offered a visit to the Mother House in Old Montreal, I carried within me the lineage that went back centuries. For many years I have been the keeper of family heritage, I own the copies of the family tree, I carried them north with me.

I met the little nun on a particular day and she took me around the house and on the second floor, I was able to see the book of life that sat on the table that stood in the room where she had lived and died centuries before. Her name was Marguerite…

Upon completion of the visit, I had a name on a slip of paper that my mother had given me a few days earlier, she was still accepting my calls then. So I inquired about the little gray nun, named Georgette. I wasn’t sure if she was still alive or if I was about to hit a dead end in my puzzle piece quest.

The little nun told me that indeed she was still alive, and that I could contact her at the Mother House in the city, which turned out, sat a mere three blocks from the apartment I was living in at the time. I attained the next puzzle piece.

******

Besides myself with excitement I found the nearest pay phone to make the call to my great aunt Georgette. When the Spanish Flu killed hundreds of thousands in the twenties, my grand mothers parents had lost their lives to the flu, and my great aunt’s parents gave a home to my grandmother, they were raised in the same house.

We met for the first time in our lives, little did I know that my grandmother had been, for decades writing letters to this aunt of mine unbeknownst to me, she knew who I was – even if I didn’t know who she was.

She told me about her life and the life of the sainted grandmother that I idolized and sanctified. She gave me a tour of the house, and she took me to the crypt and she showed me the connection that I had to the rest of the order of gray nuns.

Puzzle pieces appeared, one in front of the other for years to come after that fateful meeting. We would share stories about life and death, of family and of betrayal. And on that odd occasion the vault would open in her head and she would gift me with a gem of a memory that filled in some of the past that I needed so badly to paint my picture, to build my hagiography.

******

Being a mystical intuit has its drawbacks. One day it happened that I was standing in a particular room off the chapel proper and she appeared for the first time. I smelled her before I realized she was standing there in the room with us. I had this gift of second sight and I was the spiritual medium for the family, they all came back to me for some strange reason. This was not unusual.

So she had followed me thousands of miles from where I had been to where I was now. Those spirits sure can travel long distances. Over the years she came and went from there and she even visited me at home. And her visits usually coincided with vault memories that my great aunt would give me on occasion.

For four years I traveled the religious path to enlightenment and I have found several key puzzle pieces on the way, albeit a few, the picture still remains unsolved. Tonight for the first time in as many weeks I received critical praise for a paper I wrote a few days ago.

My theological puzzle quest has begun. You may not find anything that I write to be interesting or worthy of traffic. But if you are on a puzzle quest, I think this is required reading.

There is something to say about life and death, the mystical and the unexplainable. The liminal and the physical. I am starting to sense that the city isn’t just a city of light, but just might be a liminal location as well, which means that puzzle pieces may come from other dimensions and locations if I attune me vision to see them.

This writing from a friend explains “Liminal.”

I’ve always thought of my soul in terms of dungeons and basement rooms. Full of cobwebs and damp, uninhabitable rooms. A space where, with God’s help, you carve out room to live and grow.

But one morning during prayer, I had a picture of my soul, and it was more like a huge open expanse. A place of hills and valleys, streams and forests. A place where God moves into, if we let him. And his presence in the space begins to turn it green and makes it come alive, producing all kinds of fruit.

He might be over in this area creating a shady green valley with a brook running through it. Or he might be over there creating a building structure in which we will house memories of close intimate times. He may be at work rooting out some nasty weeds or some underbrush that has taken over an area that He wants to turn into a lovely park.

I’ve limited the description I’ve included here for space considerations, but the picture is still so clear in my mind, and it’s an image I’ve come to see as a very Celtic way of understanding God and myself.

There have been two profound shifts in my thinking as a result of the self study on Celtic Spirituality, and though I am not yet settled in one camp or another, I have come to love the different expressions that the Celts have brought us.

The first is how they have come to decide what is at our core as human beings. For me and my training and personal experience, what’s deepest within in me is my sinful nature, -original sin. I have been living with a deep sense that at the heart of my being is a nature that is broken and sinful, a dungeon if you will that is vile and dirty, and well, just sinful.

As I read the books and prayed the Celtic Office day after day I began to notice that their approach to what was the core was different than mine. Celtic Spirituality is marked by a belief that the deepest part of us isn’t sinfulness, it’s the image of God. That deep in there,
deeper still than original sin, is this sense that we were created in the Image of the Holy One, God Himself. They refuse to define themselves by the ugliness of their failings, and choose rather to define themselves by the beauty of their origins.

It doesn’t necessarily disagree with scripture, but it is a different way of thinking of oneself. I like that it sets God back at the core of things, not my evil nature. I like how it doesn’t allow me to blame my evil nature when I fail and sin, and without wanting to shift
responsibility, I like how it shifts the story from my absolute weakness, to God’s absolute love.

There is something to that, and as I’ve allowed myself to explore the effects this understanding may have on my belief system, I find a greater appreciation for Gods love, growing in me. It’s like, He didn’t create me evil, he created me after his own heart, his own image. That subtle shift is profound and it works itself out in hope filled ways.

The second shift in my thinking has come about as I’ve read of the Celtic tradition of the belief in the essential goodness of creation. Not only is creation viewed as a blessing from God, but an expression of God. It’s like a communication to us from God, and often in Celtic literature it’s referred to as the book of creation.

What this does in effect is to merge the sense of that which is spirit and that which is matter. For the Celts it was all one anyway. Whether I realized it or not, my training helped to establish within me an understanding that physical things, fleshly, earthly matter has a brokenness about it.

At it’s heart its evil and groaning under the weight of existence. While things of the spirit are holy and of God. In our desire to separate spirit and matter we have distanced the mystery of God from the matter of creation. Again it goes back to the fall of humankind. Something God created is now not to be trusted, because mankind sinned.

The Celtic understanding does away with the notion that the things that are Spirit are good and the things that are physical and made of matter are evil. This allows humanity to celebrate and be thankful for the gift of creation, and how beautifully it was created.

Again this subtle shift has far reaching effects. It makes me concerned with how this world is cared for, and how we treat it. It removes the sense that it’s evil and broken so who cares how it’s treated. It causes me to look closely at the delicate beauty of nature and the language of love God communicates to me through it, and I respond with praise and gratitude for His great love for me.

Even the fact that he allows tremendous beauty to exist where no one can see it just confirms to me again the greatness of God. I confess this approach is a much more wholesome one than I’ve seen in many western churches and Christians who consume without thought, feeling that the earth is damaged goods anyway. I don’t like how easy it is to say “This thing that God created was good, and this thing that God created isn’t good because we messed it up!”

These two small shifts are effecting how I and God relate, and how I care for his creation. From the guy across the street to the lawn I get to mow, I’m seeing with different eyes. It’s also begun to shift how I picture my own soul. The picture I shared earlier is for me an
image infused with the sense of Celtic faith. That new image of my Soul gives me a lot of hope. It will effect how I care for others in foundational ways.

________________________________

My conclusions about Iona are that it is indeed a thin place where heaven and earth nearly kiss. God was very “Hearable” there and in fact during one day of prayer there He brought up something that’s been bugging me about our relationship for years and years.

He spoke clearly into my spirit about it, and ever since that moment the struggle between us has disappeared, gone, not even a whisper of it.


I thought you said…

In the fall of 1982, I was sixteen years old. I had been introduced to church by a friend, whom I followed one day at lunch and I was hooked. It became my life, my hope and my joy. Church was one block away from the high school I attended.

That weekend we were to make a very special retreat far from home on a Y camp ground four hours from home. The big blue buses rolled onto the church yard and hundreds of kids boarded with their geek toys and goodies.

What we didn’t know then, was that we would find ourselves broken, bottomed out and built up to allow Jesus into our hearts. One of two cathartic experiences was when we were handed packets of letters written by friends and family especially for us on that weekend.

They were called Palanca letters, love letters from people who knew and loved us, friends, family and special people in our lives. Many of them said how wonderful we were and that we were loved beyond measure. I wept for the joy of it. That Sunday I witnessed in front of the entire church where my parents were sitting as well.

I read those words “I love you, over and over again…”

******

In 1987, I was 20 years old. I was a man now, according to my father, and therefore I needed to leave home and get out into the world. Time for you to go, I am no longer responsible for you, and you are different, so you must leave.

I witnessed human beings move from a state of love to a state of indifference in a matter of years. Still to this day it boggles my mind at how human beings can move from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other and not bat an eye, without feeling or remorse. I just wish I knew why or how people could do that to their children…

I thought you said “You loved me…”

You failed to give me key information on how to survive in the world, because for the life of me I knew nothing about responsibility on an adult scale, like taking care of bills, the car or paying attention to little things that turned into huge mistakes. I was a failure before I ever began, what I didn’t know then, hurt me in ways you will never know.
******

In 1994, I was 26 years old. I was sick and I was dying. You did not visit me when I asked you. You did not care for me when I begged you to. You did not help me when I needed it most, you scorned me in front of God, yet I forgave you…

In 2004, I was 37 years old, I had made a move out of the country and I worked very hard at including you in my new life, yet you were not interested. I wrote to you and you did not reply, I sent you gifts that were not reciprocated. I did all that I knew how to do to try to explain the what and and the why, and you were not interested in what I had to say, because it was all about you.

I had spit on the very freedom my father fought for in the war, yet I followed the path you laid out for me by your indiscretion and lies, and you blamed me for my choices.

I though you said “You loved me…”

******

You came to me twice over the last two years in the only form that would allow us to see each other because the last time I saw you, was the last time I saw you, seven years earlier. He allowed us twenty minutes to visit then took you away forever.

Words were spoken, lives were crushed, relationships were ended in cold and bitter expressions of hatred. And your words that you spoke to me once said “Once you speak the words you cannot take them back.” You didn’t take your words back. Your own curse will haunt you until you die.

If I trust my gut and the visions I had then I know where you are and I have opted to make peace with that awakening…

I am older now and a friend said to me yesterday that he knew a man dying from AIDS who was waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, one day he woke up and found that the light at the end of the tunnel actually surrounded him in his daily life. He walked forward and he lived, every moment, every hour, every day, as if it was his last.

I thought you said “You loved me!”


No ‘political agenda’ in meeting with PM: Dalai Lama

CBC News

The Dalai Lama said he will express reservations about Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan if the topic comes up during his historic meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.

But he added that his meeting has no “particular political agenda.”

“My main interest or main commitment is promotion of human values, promotion of religious harmony,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in Ottawa, hours before his scheduled meeting with Harper.

Asked about Canada’s role in Afghanistan, the Dalai Lama said he believes “non-violence is the best way [to] solve problems.”

“Using violence, counter-violence, sometimes it creates more [complications], he said.

The Dalai Lama said he didn’t attach any significance to meeting the prime minister on Parliament Hill, a move likely to cause friction with China.

For the first time, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader will greet the Canadian prime minister in that venue, lending the meeting a politically charged air compared to previous sessions with Canadian politicians.

The Dalai Lama said he’s no expert on diplomatic formalities.

“I don’t care. The important [thing] is meeting [the] person, that I consider is the most important. So whether meeting prime minister in [his] office or private house doesn’t matter so long as meeting with person face to face.”

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.
(Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

When former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin met the Dalai Lama three years ago, for example, the encounter took place on what was described as politically neutral territory — the home of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Ottawa.

Tenzin Gyatso, a 72-year-old Buddhist monk who is the 14th Dalai Lama, arrived in Canada Sunday and addressed a crowd of 8,000 at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

His message at the sold-out venue was one of compassion.

“We all want happiness, happy life, successful life.”

But he also took time to express “reservations” about some American policies, including the war in Iraq. The Dalai Lama met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington last week.

Bush met with him privately in the White House. The monk also received Congress’s highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

The U.S. president and Harper join a growing group of Western leaders who have chosen to greet the Dalai Lama in official venues despite criticism from China.

China says the Dalai Lama is a separatist political leader and considers it interference in China’s domestic affairs whenever a world leader is seen to be offering support.

But Jason Kenney, the federal secretary of state for multiculturalism, said he is more concerned about what Canadians think than the Chinese.

‘Important world figure’

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.
(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“As public opinion polls have indicated, the vast majority of Canadians believe the prime minister should meet with the Dalai Lama. He is an important world figure, a spiritual leader,” said Kenney.

Some experts warn, however, that the government should tread carefully during this visit because China is an emerging economic powerhouse and an increasingly important trading partner for Canada.

“Canada-China relations is somehow cool, if not the lowest point since the 1970s,” said Wenran Jiang, acting director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute.

He said if the goal is to help Tibetans, Canada should have a more balanced approach when dealing with China — using moral statements rather than “political theatre” meant to grab votes.

China invaded Tibet shortly after the 1949 Chinese Revolution. The Dalai Lama has lived in exiled since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to travel to Toronto on Tuesday, where he will hold a public talk Wednesday night on “The Art of Happiness” at Rogers Centre.


No 'political agenda' in meeting with PM: Dalai Lama

CBC News

The Dalai Lama said he will express reservations about Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan if the topic comes up during his historic meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday.

But he added that his meeting has no “particular political agenda.”

“My main interest or main commitment is promotion of human values, promotion of religious harmony,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in Ottawa, hours before his scheduled meeting with Harper.

Asked about Canada’s role in Afghanistan, the Dalai Lama said he believes “non-violence is the best way [to] solve problems.”

“Using violence, counter-violence, sometimes it creates more [complications], he said.

The Dalai Lama said he didn’t attach any significance to meeting the prime minister on Parliament Hill, a move likely to cause friction with China.

For the first time, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader will greet the Canadian prime minister in that venue, lending the meeting a politically charged air compared to previous sessions with Canadian politicians.

The Dalai Lama said he’s no expert on diplomatic formalities.

“I don’t care. The important [thing] is meeting [the] person, that I consider is the most important. So whether meeting prime minister in [his] office or private house doesn’t matter so long as meeting with person face to face.”

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.

The Dalai Lama gestures during a speech to an arena filled with well-wishers in Ottawa Sunday.
(Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

When former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin met the Dalai Lama three years ago, for example, the encounter took place on what was described as politically neutral territory — the home of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Ottawa.

Tenzin Gyatso, a 72-year-old Buddhist monk who is the 14th Dalai Lama, arrived in Canada Sunday and addressed a crowd of 8,000 at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

His message at the sold-out venue was one of compassion.

“We all want happiness, happy life, successful life.”

But he also took time to express “reservations” about some American policies, including the war in Iraq. The Dalai Lama met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington last week.

Bush met with him privately in the White House. The monk also received Congress’s highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

The U.S. president and Harper join a growing group of Western leaders who have chosen to greet the Dalai Lama in official venues despite criticism from China.

China says the Dalai Lama is a separatist political leader and considers it interference in China’s domestic affairs whenever a world leader is seen to be offering support.

But Jason Kenney, the federal secretary of state for multiculturalism, said he is more concerned about what Canadians think than the Chinese.

‘Important world figure’

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday. The kata offering is a traditional Tibetan greeting symbolizing purity of intention.
(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“As public opinion polls have indicated, the vast majority of Canadians believe the prime minister should meet with the Dalai Lama. He is an important world figure, a spiritual leader,” said Kenney.

Some experts warn, however, that the government should tread carefully during this visit because China is an emerging economic powerhouse and an increasingly important trading partner for Canada.

“Canada-China relations is somehow cool, if not the lowest point since the 1970s,” said Wenran Jiang, acting director of the University of Alberta’s China Institute.

He said if the goal is to help Tibetans, Canada should have a more balanced approach when dealing with China — using moral statements rather than “political theatre” meant to grab votes.

China invaded Tibet shortly after the 1949 Chinese Revolution. The Dalai Lama has lived in exiled since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to travel to Toronto on Tuesday, where he will hold a public talk Wednesday night on “The Art of Happiness” at Rogers Centre.


The Pool Party

When we were sixteen, we were the best of friends. My parents were on the outs and your’s had already divorced, and you were living at your moms house. In all the trouble that was going on around us, the four of us were a team. You, Mikey, Rick and myself.

I used to sleep on the floor in Mike’s room, and sometimes we even slept in the same bed. Little did you know then, what you know now. We used to go everywhere together, we never spent a day apart back then. Little did you know then how much I loved you…

I was working at the Diner and you guys worked at your dads pool store. We would find ways of hanging out even though our shops were a mere hundred yards apart in the same mall. We were family, and that was a fact. We did a lot of crazy things back then, like this story…

One weekend your mom and your step dad decided to take the boat to the islands. That gave us four days to be crazy without any parents around. And you baked up this little party that would be our undoing.

You lived in a great big house, bigger than mine at least and your mom had a grand piano and sculptures and fine things on pedistles and on side tables. It was grand to say the least.

You said we should have a party and do it right this time. We printed up invitations and gave them out to our friends. The invitation read: come to the party, bring jello ready to eat and a bottle of your favorite liquor.

While the cats away, the mice will play. We went to the store and brought home a kiddie pool and set it up in the backyard, do you remember the stealth we employed to get it out of the store?

We had to clean out the house of all the breakables and we stored them in the upstairs lounge, and the boys collected fireworks to set off and get ready for the night.

As darkness fell the guests arrived. We collected liquor in the kitchen and we tossed the jello into the kiddy pool. We blasted the music and partied all night long.

It was stated that we could not have any garbage remaining nor bottle caps or bottles to be left in the yard or anywhere they could be found after the fact. We had to bag everything and take it to the dump.

That was one of the most exciting nights of my life, the sheer fact that we were doing something so out of character that we got caught up in the rush of excitement. The girls were wrestling in the jello, it was just crazy the mess they were making out on the patio.

People were falling down drunk in the yard and swimming in the pool, we were such bad teen agers. Little did we know then what we know today. I could never drink like a normal person ever again…

As the party drew to a close, Mike shot off his volley of fireworks, that got the attention of the neighbors, not to mention the flow of traffic coming and going from your end of the culdesac.

One, we had to clean up the garbage, two, we had to get rid of the jello and three, we had to clean up the house and any shred of evidence that a party ever took place. And lastly we had to get rid of the kiddie pool. Then we had to restore the house back to its normal state.

We took the kiddie pool and dumped it into the large pool, the blue water turning shades of red, orange, green and yellow. Soon those colorful jello additives would turn the pool black!

I saw panic rise in your eyes, it was the middle of the night, the parents were due back in less than 48 hours, there was jello all over the deck and the pool had turned black.

We had to collect the bottle caps strewn all over the yard. While some of us crawled all over the yard collecting trash, you and the boys went to the store to get some liquid chlorine to flush the pool back to its pretty blue state.

With the house finally cleaned and sorted out we took the last of the trash to the dump and settled into bed early in the morning, as the sun was rising.

I had to work that next day so I set off for the diner. Your parents were coming home sometime that evening. If anyone asked, we did nothing all weekend but watch movies and hang out. Our stories were well rehearsed our lines practiced with precision.

The trip to the islands was a great time for them everyone had fun, now it was back to the hum drum of pool sales and PTA. While I was away the grilling began. Something was not just right, and there were cracks appearing on the surface.

We double checked our tails and made sure our tracks were covered. We didn’t count on neighbors who never spoke to your mother before, speaking to her now. Our little plan was up for the taking.

You got away clean, but in your absence the three of us faced the gauntlet. We dared not budge on our stories which only enraged your step father. Nobody was none the wiser there was no outward evidence that something was awry.

All was well, the pool was blue, the house was spotless, just the way they left it. Until your step-father went to check the pool filter. It was clogged up with sludge and it was a  good thing he caught it when he did, because we almost destroyed the pump with all that jello.

The game was up. Were caught in a web of our own making. That was the last time we attempted something that bold ever again. Your mother always looked at me funny after that.

Little did you know then, what I know today. But you probably do…


Jerome – Aunty’s

Aunty lived on top of a mountain, down a long long road named Atkins street. It was a short drive from home on Kennedy drive to aunty’s house where she lived with her husband and daughter. It was a white house that sat on a banking hill and had many levels.

Aunty was a great woman, one of Jerome’s great protectors. Back in the day when they were still family, before the great schism, this is where they would all meet and spend time together. The house had huge rooms and big furniture. BIG furniture. The main family room, never used but for holidays and Christmas had a huge fireplace on one wall and against the front windows was a wooden console cabinet which had a record player on one side and a radio on the other. His cousin Sandy was a dancer and they would attend many dance recitals over those years.

Downstairs was a huge rec room that was specially built from the garage that once was there. The room had a pot belly stove that piped up through the bedrooms and heated the house after its building.

His memory is strong when it comes to this house because he spent many years under its roof. This was forest country as was said before, this was prior to the need to deforest entire areas of trees and forest in the name of consumerism and business.

The back yard was sloped down to a pond that was fed by a running stream that followed the mountain from one end to the other. There were many weeping willow trees on the property not to mention pine and spruce trees.

The best part of aunties house was the pool that his uncle had built into the side of the hill. This is where he learned to swim and where the family would congregate on summer holidays. There was a huge redwood deck that he built next to the pool so that one could suntan next to the pool. It was an amazing space. Times then were simple. He would spend hours skimming the pool because of the weeping willow trees and the bugs that were plenty then.

The kitchen was a nexus point of the house, his aunts and grandmothers and mother would gather in that kitchen and cook fantastical meals for the many family gathered there during summer vacations. They would sit at the king Edwardian table that seated twelve people at once, as was said, everything was BIG then, it seemed to him.

His uncle had a big CB tower on the roof of the house, as he was a trucker, and they would sit and talk to people from all over – over the radio. That was a fad back then, cb radio’s – their family used to make the drive north and south up and down I-95 with their cb radio in the cars they would drive.

There was a field that Sam would grow vegetables in each year and they would pick berries in the fall. Sam was a farmer who lived across the street from aunty’s house. Sam was an apple farmer and owned acres and acres of land covered by apple trees up and down the mountain side. He remembers when Sam would take him up the mountain on his tractor during picking time. It was a most fantastical fall event in their lives.

He remembers one particular fall, getting off the airliner at the airport and being driven up the mountain during the most spectacular fall days he had ever seen. The trees were burning yellows and oranges and the rain was slightly falling, making everything wet and weepy.

The pot belly stove was burning and he remembers the scent of burning wood and the smell of home. He would sit for hours at the poker table [that’s what it was] in the rec room and color in his books with his deluxe crayon set.

There was something specific about this visit that he can’t quite put his finger on suffice to say, after that visit there doesn’t seem to be any further visits to this particular home.

His mother had issues with her siblings as did his father, and after one wedding and the bruising of egos and words spoken, he was separated from all that protected him, and aunty became persona non grata to his family.

As he grew up he could see past the schism of family and he would attempt, throughout his life, to maintain some connection to all the was, alas adults failed to rise to the call of family and he would find himself on the end of a dead phone line…


Jerome – Aunty's

Aunty lived on top of a mountain, down a long long road named Atkins street. It was a short drive from home on Kennedy drive to aunty’s house where she lived with her husband and daughter. It was a white house that sat on a banking hill and had many levels.

Aunty was a great woman, one of Jerome’s great protectors. Back in the day when they were still family, before the great schism, this is where they would all meet and spend time together. The house had huge rooms and big furniture. BIG furniture. The main family room, never used but for holidays and Christmas had a huge fireplace on one wall and against the front windows was a wooden console cabinet which had a record player on one side and a radio on the other. His cousin Sandy was a dancer and they would attend many dance recitals over those years.

Downstairs was a huge rec room that was specially built from the garage that once was there. The room had a pot belly stove that piped up through the bedrooms and heated the house after its building.

His memory is strong when it comes to this house because he spent many years under its roof. This was forest country as was said before, this was prior to the need to deforest entire areas of trees and forest in the name of consumerism and business.

The back yard was sloped down to a pond that was fed by a running stream that followed the mountain from one end to the other. There were many weeping willow trees on the property not to mention pine and spruce trees.

The best part of aunties house was the pool that his uncle had built into the side of the hill. This is where he learned to swim and where the family would congregate on summer holidays. There was a huge redwood deck that he built next to the pool so that one could suntan next to the pool. It was an amazing space. Times then were simple. He would spend hours skimming the pool because of the weeping willow trees and the bugs that were plenty then.

The kitchen was a nexus point of the house, his aunts and grandmothers and mother would gather in that kitchen and cook fantastical meals for the many family gathered there during summer vacations. They would sit at the king Edwardian table that seated twelve people at once, as was said, everything was BIG then, it seemed to him.

His uncle had a big CB tower on the roof of the house, as he was a trucker, and they would sit and talk to people from all over – over the radio. That was a fad back then, cb radio’s – their family used to make the drive north and south up and down I-95 with their cb radio in the cars they would drive.

There was a field that Sam would grow vegetables in each year and they would pick berries in the fall. Sam was a farmer who lived across the street from aunty’s house. Sam was an apple farmer and owned acres and acres of land covered by apple trees up and down the mountain side. He remembers when Sam would take him up the mountain on his tractor during picking time. It was a most fantastical fall event in their lives.

He remembers one particular fall, getting off the airliner at the airport and being driven up the mountain during the most spectacular fall days he had ever seen. The trees were burning yellows and oranges and the rain was slightly falling, making everything wet and weepy.

The pot belly stove was burning and he remembers the scent of burning wood and the smell of home. He would sit for hours at the poker table [that’s what it was] in the rec room and color in his books with his deluxe crayon set.

There was something specific about this visit that he can’t quite put his finger on suffice to say, after that visit there doesn’t seem to be any further visits to this particular home.

His mother had issues with her siblings as did his father, and after one wedding and the bruising of egos and words spoken, he was separated from all that protected him, and aunty became persona non grata to his family.

As he grew up he could see past the schism of family and he would attempt, throughout his life, to maintain some connection to all the was, alas adults failed to rise to the call of family and he would find himself on the end of a dead phone line…


Dalai Lama begins visit to Canada

CBC News

The Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of Tibet’s Buddhists, arrived in Ottawa on Sunday to begin a visit to Canada that will include a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Tenzin Gyatso, a 72-year-old Buddhist monk who is the 14th Dalai Lama, was scheduled to address a large gathering at the Ottawa Civic Centre in the afternoon.

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted by Senator Con Di Nino, co-chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, upon his arrival at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday.

The Dalai Lama offers a white scarf, called a kata, as he is greeted by Senator Con Di Nino, co-chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, upon his arrival at the Ottawa International Airport on Sunday.
(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Some observers have speculated that his meeting on Monday with Harper on Parliament Hill could hurt relations between Canada and China. Chinese authorities have said they see any public meeting between the Dalai Lama and political leaders as interfering in China’s affairs.

The country invaded Tibet shortly after the 1949 Chinese Revolution. It considers the Dalai Lama an agitator with secessionist ambitions for Tibet. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

During the Dalai Lama’s last visit to Canada, in 2006, Chinese officials protested when Parliament decided to grant him honorary Canadian citizenship.

“Since the late 1980s, the Dalai Lama has clearly expressed his view that all Tibetans want is cultural and religious autonomy under Chinese sovereignty,” said Jacob Kovalio, a professor of Asian history at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Foreign leaders have shown they are increasingly willing to risk discord with Beijing to underscore concerns for human rights in Tibet, he told CBC Newsworld on Sunday.

“Canada is saying to China, like many other nations — for example, India — that human rights [and] religious freedom are important, and that there is such a field for which China has to adjust itself to the international community instead of imposing the kind of approaches which simply don’t fit the times,” Kovalio said.

Paul Martin was the first Canadian prime minister to meet with the Dalai Lama in 2004 in what was described as a politically neutral setting, the home of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Ottawa.

The spiritual leader’s latest visit to Canada caps a multi-country tour that has taken him to the United States, Europe and Australia.

Last week, U.S. President George W. Bush met with him privately in the White House and before Congress, when the monk received Congress’s highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to travel to Toronto on Tuesday, where he will hold a public talk Wednesday night on “The Art of Happiness” at Rogers Centre.


Jerome – Culdesac

It was a green house they lived in, on a culdesac named Kennedy drive. The house was a split ranch with three bedrooms, an unfinished basement and a huge backyard with a sand pit and a swing set.

Jerome’s best friends lived across the street named Jimmy and Steven. They were a polish immigrant family who were good friends with his parents. It was the most special time of his life, those years before the great move south.

Even at this young age, kids were safe to walk to school following the same path day in and day out. Down the keyhole and up past the old house where the German shepherd lived. This dog was the demon they had to pass every day in order to get to school. Jerome did not escape this demon for he was attacked once as a small boy.

They would walk through the neighborhood up to New Britain Avenue to cross on the way to the covered bus stop where they would survey their lunch boxes and trade treats with each other. Many memories exist in his head about the seasons as they changed from year to year.

Within walking distance of home were the houses of his grandmothers which was great because he could get from here to there within a few minutes of each other. Their goal was Smith School where they all went to school. It was an imposing brick structure complete with a gymnasium, auditorium and art hall.

They would climb the staircase that rose up the side of the great hill where the school sat. Basketball and tennis courts sat at the foot of the hill. During the winters, they would sled and toboggan down the hill on weekends.

Kindergarten was in a small room to the center of the building where two classrooms sat back to back with a common mud room between them. His classroom had a toy kitchen in it where they would play house with little plastic pots and pans and wooden milk bottles in the little aluminum carry rack, which was how real milk was delivered at home.

**********

Mrs. Hesslin was his first grade teacher, she was very popular. There was a further connection to this instructor because his father played softball with her son in those years. Interesting that he still retains these memories where his parents have long forgotten them.

At lunch time he would be asked to go visit the milk lady to get milk for the class in little cardboard containers with a friend. It was a trek through the school to the door which led down to the refrigerators in the basement cafeteria, they would carry the carrier up to the class each day and return it after lunch.

Art was something that was interesting to him then, the room was located to the front of the school, one entire wall was windows that looked out over the hill and to the neighborhood below.

He remembers the distinctive ‘smell of paint,’ the gritty feeling of it in his hands, in reds, blues, yellows, oranges and greens. They would paint on large paper spread out over the desk tables, and sometimes he would even finger paint, it was all quite a messy affair.

There are a few other odd memories which come to mind like the music room that was located in a portable building off to the side of the building near the kindergarten area. They would play instruments like the bells, the guitar and little drums.

It would come to pass at some time, that a production of the Wizard of Oz would be put on by the class and he would eventually get the part of the cowardly lion. How prophetic the film was to his adult life. You never know how little things will impact you later on in life.

After school they would all walk together, the whole lot of them. you would see entire neighborhoods of kids walking down the sidewalk to the crossing guards that would ferry them safely from one side of a busy intersection to another.

On the way they would stop again at the covered bus stop to share goodies from their lunches that were intentionally not eaten at lunch. It was ritual to stop and finish lunch goodies at the end of the day.

Most neighborhoods on the way to school were brick tenement buildings with more than one family living in them and as well, large apartment buildings next door and down the hill from Smith School. That is where his Memere lived for many years. The entire area that was the “neighborhood” was built up on the crest of a great big hill that was terraced below surrounded by lane ways, highways and train tracks.

One particular summer Jerome would get his first bicycle. It was a sparkle blue bicycle with big handlebars, and a white banana seat that had training wheels on it. Soon he would learn to ride without them, and on his birthday in July, his father removed the training wheels from his bike and for the first time, he would free wheel down the street, never being allowed to leave the culdesac. It was that night that he unintentionally ran over one of the kids in the neighborhood with his bicycle, they all thought it was funny…

During the fall the trees would burn with color this was all before the transformation of great green spaces into cement concourses throughout the neighborhood. There was a great respect for nature and of green spaces then. The small town they lived in had not yet been totally industrialized although major industry plants were located not far away.

**********

He remembers winter and falling snow. Walking outside in his snowsuit he watched his father put Christmas lights on the house for decorations. Things were so simple then, a fireplace for heat, an aluminum Christmas tree with the spinning color wheel behind it and common big bulb strings of Christmas lights. One year it snowed so much that they were able to build great big snow igloos in the back yard. Holidays were simple, family was important and friends were the lifeblood of the neighborhood.

One year they would travel to Smith School to sled down the huge white mountain, his brother fell off his sled once and had to get stitches in his head because he was cut by ice. That was a fiasco, he remembers his mother grilling the doctor on call that day hoping that her second son was not butchered by the same doctor who had hurt her father in surgery many years prior. “You better sew my child up correctly and not leave a mark, so help me God…”

They would have Christmas dinner at grammy’s house and so we close with this familiar visual once written about before:

The windows are frosted over, snow is on the ground. The house is hushed with the expectation of guests for a dinner to fit a king. In the grand living room a roaring fire is set. The Christmas tree is alive with colored lights and a thousand ornaments all hand made and delicate. The room is comfy, cozy and warm.

Soon the guests would arrive, entering tonight through the front door, it is a grand occasion, the kitchen is rearranged for the holiday and the mud hut is unaccessible. The glow of the tree, against the frosted windows along with the roaring fire make for a wonderful holiday greeting card.

The table is set with the finest china, and the crystal glasses. There are platters of food, desserts that are fantastical. There are tons of gifts under the tree, and for one last holiday the entire family would be present for holiday dinner. It would be the last one in my minds memory…


The Power of One …

 power-of-one-copy.jpg

Quite possibly my most favorite book in my library, “The Power of One!” Here is a conversation between Doc and Peekay.

[why Peekay was such a sinner and what he had done to be condemned to eternal hellfire unless he was born again] .

“Peekay, God is too busy making the sun come up and go down and watching so the moon floats just right in the sky to be concerned with such rubbish. Only man  wants always God should be there to condemn this one and save that one. Always it is a man who wants to make heaven and hell. God is too busy training the bees to make honey and every morning opening up all the new flowers for business.

He paused and smiled, In Mexico there is a cactus that even sometimes you would think God forgets. But no, my friend, this is not so. On a full moon in the desert every one hundred years he remembers and he opens up a single flower to bloom. And if you should be there and you see this beautiful cactus blossom painted silver by the moon and laughing up at the star, this, Peekay, is heaven.

This is the faith in God the cactus has. It is just better to get on with the business of living and minding your own business and maybe, if God likes the way you do things, he may just let you flower for a day or a night.

But don’t go pestering and begging and telling him all your stupid little sins, that way you will spoil his day.

Absoloodle!!!

P.O.O. pgs. 176-177


Bo Bice – Witness …