I was sitting in the sun room reading;all was quiet and peaceful. Then as the sun dropped lower in the sky I heard just the other side of the screen; Toad Song! Have had toads on the premises for years and I like to hear them sing.
Friday, May 21, 2021
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
It seems that everybody who is anybody is quoted on dreams. For example, Walt Disney is quoted as having said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” This is patently absurd, as a moment's thought will reveal. Case in point, as a child I used to dream of being the conductor of a symphony orchestra. There are so many things wrong with the notion that I will not go into it other than to state that I am basically bereft of musical talent. I will come back to that presently.
Closer to my way of thinking is Eleanor Roosevelt who is reputed to have said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” This makes sense to me in a certain way. In the previous example I recognized my lack of aptitude for fulfillment of the dream, but that does not mean that I did not entertain the dream to the extent that I recognized that one could achieve successes in the realms in which he was gifted. (This all took a long time. We will not go into that.)
And now my dream, for this is a literal dream that I just had somewhere between one and five this morning.
I have been invited to sing with a world-renowned choir consisting of 22 black singers whose repertoire is primarily spirituals and gospel songs. I was flattered and excited, and supposed that I would get to stand somewhere in the shadows and contribute a few notes when I felt comfortable threading in a little harmony.
The performers filed onto the stage and took their stances. The director placed me at the right end of the phalanx and one step in front of the group. What? And it was not until the first chord of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" sounded and the director nodded at me that I realized I was to sing the lead. As I started I realized that the first word, "swing," had emerged from my vocal chords a bit weak so I reached into my lowest registry on "low" and gave it all I had and back into baritone as I sang the "sweet chariot" I heard the strains of the choir as the singers wove an astounding tapestry of trills and harmonies and as we went into the line "comin' for to carry me home" I noted the entire audience as one were looking, not at the performers, but at the ceiling as though their eyes were literally following the progress of the chariot as its wheels turned faster and faster and the two white stallions, nostrils flaring, approached us closer and closer.
I could sense the eyes of every member of the audience watching as I sang "A band of angels comin' after me." They were seeing, I was sure, the angelic host as it formed around the chariot and the altos were painting in the fluttering of the wings and the flowing of the heavenly garments. In her own angelic soprano, Sister Serena took the line "Well I'm sometimes up" and immediately Brother Brown in the basement sang "and I'm sometimes down," the choir created harmonies to carry everyone into the heavenly realm and finally as we sang the tag line "Well now they're comin' for to carry me home" the audience burst into applause and shouting such that for a bit I thought perhaps I had indeed been carried home!
I awakened. I may in reality be at the very best a so-so singer but in my dreams. . .
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
What does it look like
--to have true courage
--to be a racist (nonracist)
--to care for others
--to listen purposefully
--to be a true believer
--to be a Christian
--to love unconditionally
and on and on. Why is it important to ask (and answer) the question What does it look like? I actually had to hear it enough times that it truly grated on my sensibilities before I asked myself this question. I hear it on newscasts; I hear it from the pulpit; I hear it in casual conversations, and I had wondered why people couldn't simply ask, "What is it like?" Then it finally occurred to me that there is an answer to that question.
We don't ask what is it like because we either don't really want to know, or we don't care what it is like. But what we are interested in is the all-consuming concern everyone has to know what things look like. Why? Appearances are what matters. Read that again. In our society in this day appearances are what matters. Reality exists only in the mind of the observer and is formed from the impressions we gain from appearances. Truth is what we perceive it to be. Please, Rev, don't tell me what I must be like to be a Christian. Tell me what a Christian looks like and then I can decide whether or not I want others to see me looking like that. Dr. Sociologist, don't tell me how to be nonracist, tell me what a nonracist looks like. On and on.
The crux of the matter is appearances matter.
"Man," scripture says, "looks on outward appearances, but God looks on the heart."
Monday, March 22, 2021
Here is a fun little game for the next family dinner or evening with relatives. I call it "Embellishing Grandma." This is how it is played. Families who pay attention to their roots all have stories about some beloved character in their family tree. At an appropriate point in the conversation interject, "You all remember how Great-grandma Hepzibah spent her first five years with the Potawatami. Well, do you recall the time she got involved in the 1884 Presidential election? Republican candidate James G. Blaine was in a hotly contested race with Grover Cleveland, the democrat candidate.
So Blaine came out to Indiana to present himself to the people, so to speak. He was holding forth in the town square attempting to work the crowd into an appropriate state of mind. "Why," he thundered,"I believe there resides in this beautiful city a lady who in her early years lived with the Potawatami. She grew to become not only the most beautiful of young women, but she was wise beyond her years and taught the Indians. . . " Here you may fill in the details as you dream them up and to the extent that your auditors will bear.
Following his speech, Grandma Hezzie worked her way through the crowd and confronted Mr. Blaine. "I," she thundered, insofar as a lady can thunder, "am that girl of whom you spoke. What a load of cock and bull!" Strong words, indeed, from a lady of the times. And besides which women did not have a voice in government in that day, were not permitted to vote, and were supposed to stay home and tend to the knitting, and the children, and so on. Well, as you might guess, Blaine was quite taken aback, sputtered and floundered around rather incoherently a bit and rushed from the platform to his waiting carriage. He lost Indiana's 15 electoral votes and the election by a narrow margin. Cleveland was installed in the White House as the first democrat president since Buchanan whose term ended in 1861.
If you have done this smoothly enough and with sufficient guile and craftiness, your story will seem quite plausible. Another approach to gilding Hezzie might go along these lines.
One fine summer day, oh, probably in the late seventies, Grandma's son was in the village square just as the traveling snake oil salesman started his spiel for the greatest product ever created for the health and welfare of man, beast, or plant life. He couldn't resist, and being a teenager who of course was wise way beyond his years, saw the future for himself and all the family, bought a pint of the elixir with the money his mama had given him for the cornmeal he was sent to fetch. His mother was quite exasperated, but what could she do? That very afternoon, being planting time, she built a hill in the garden and poured a drop of the "magic" potion into the hole as she planted the beans. Well, what do you know! The beans sprouted and the plant sprang skyward, the vine growing thicker and thicker and taller and taller until it pierced the clouds and veritably reached into the sky! Naturally, the intrepid Jack made his way up the beanstalk and stepped into the sky.
And thus you have neatly co-opted the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and polished Grandma's legacy with it.
Now a word of advice. In the first instance should your story be at all plausible you should 'fess up and tell the family that you created that from whole cloth, lest it become a part of the family "history" as sadly I suspect many tales have done over time. In the second case, you have spun a patently tall tale, so tall in fact, that your listeners may hoot you down before
Saturday, February 27, 2021
The Green New Deal
I pretty much avoid political discussions in public fora, so take this as an armchair observation on high school physics. We were introduced to something the teacher referred to as "The Law of Conservation of Energy." Also there was talk about something called "The Laws of Thermodynamics."
This does not purport to be a physics lesson or a scientific treatise. Rather we ask that you simply apply some good sense reasoning to a couple of circumstances we are facing. The proponents of the Green New Deal state that the installation of a few million more windmills and the production of a bazillion more solar panels will solve our energy needs, no more reliance on petrofuels, and voila! Paradise on Earth!
As we say, reflect on this a bit. What is involved in the building and installation of the aforementioned saviors of our Earth? Yes, try to imagine the steps in production, manufacture, installation of these behemoths. Do you have any idea of the mining, manufacturing, transportation, and on and on. Now, my suggestion, if we really believe in green energy, is this. Do all of the above WITHOUT the use of any petrofuels!
And may the sun always shine and the winds never cease.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
I think we are infested with new tree ants: there B1 right there. and there B6 more. I've not heard so much talk about vitamins and minerals since I was in third grade. And trust me, these pills stink. How could that be good for me? Well, people put lots of stuff past their nose to get it on the taste buds. No accounting for tastes. But in this case I try to sneak them past the taste buds.
What's he on about now? you might ask. Things have changed around here since the meals are prepared by a health guru, a person who eats "clean" meaning everything is as near to 100% "organic" as possible. I am not complaining.
I do seem to engage in the sin, venial, I hope, of drinking from the tap. Water is supposed to come in bottles, don't you know? Not happening.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
I don't know whether to walk in shame or in pride for yesterday I took a short ride and parked for some reason by AT&T I caved, don't you see? Came home with a cell phone in my pocket but I'm beginning to think I might have to lock it in the house for safe-keeping For trust me my eyes are leaking it won't fit in my pocket dang thing is so big to carry it would drive me out of my wig Man-purse you say Get out of here go away There is no such thing Ring-a-ding-ding So grab my flip phone and out the door No bad choices today or forevermore. I hope.