I Am An American

I read where a beautiful woman, who was a ‘grandchild’ on the old Bill Cosby Show, was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and stated that she was an American and not an African-American. Oprah was not amused.

But I see that young woman’s point of view, and agree with her.  My father was born in Sweden, so I’m a first born generation American, and yet I’ve never been asked to identify myself as Swedish-American.

The basic definition is if you were born here, with your first breath, you are an American. Period. No arguments. However, if you were born elsewhere, came here and completed your immigration papers, you became, as my father did, an American. Again, with no if’s, and’s or but’s. The same as everyone else, because . . .

. . . yes, because, with the exception of American Indians, everyone one of us is a descendant of immigrants. America is a nation of immigrants. And for many reasons, it’s become not only interesting, but ‘big business’ to trace one’s lineage to find out exactly where we did come from.

For some reason, some one is making a big deal of the term African-American. The majority of Blacks have been here since before the Revolutionary War, and no one can argue that fact, for we are the ones who brought them here. They did not choose to come, but we wanted them, and Abraham Lincoln’s words of Emancipation, yes, that far back, gave them all the rights of any other citizen. American citizens.

They have fought, been wounded and died in our wars, including The Revolutionary, The Civil, and every war since.

My father was born in Sweden, came here as a 10 year old, and was never called a Swedish-American.  Chinese, Japanese, Indonesians, Mexicans, all become Americans and not any two-word label. I agree with that lovely young woman on Oprah’s program.   I don’t know her name, but we all knew her at the time of the Cosby Show, and she, on the Winfrey show, which most of us do not see, spoke these words and Oprah was angry.  At least she took umbrage.

Many black skinned Americans have lived here for more generations than the majority of us have.  Lincoln made them Americans, and now it looks as if we’re trying to make them only half-way Americans.

We aren’t blind. We can see and when we meet people, it’s no problem to recognize those beautiful Far Eastern almond eyes, the sun-tan skin of the Latinos, or the almost albino hair of Scandinavian children.  My mother said that up until I was seven or eight years old, it was impossible to see the dividing line between my hair and the white sheets of my bed. She thought I might be an albino, but Dad said, “No, just Swedish”.

Yes, most of us are quick-witted enough to know if the person we’re meeting has Scandinavian, Far Eastern, Black or Spanish features. It’s differences that make us the United States, and we’ve been proud to say to the world that we accept all and have created a huge ‘Salad Bowl’ of the best of everyone from everywhere. Anyone who had the guts and determination to get here where they could develop according to their work and dreams, and not be held back because of their ancestry. To become Americans.  Are we endeavoring to get rid of that old, old dream that has for centuries drawn people to us???

I agree with the lovely young woman, whose name I do not know, and wonder why Oprah was appalled.   She, Oprah, was born American, where she was able to make a name and fortune such as she never could have in any other nation. 

Or, is she and others, for some reason I don’t understand, striving  to continue that difference and identification, known in the past as The Color Line?  Is it to someone’s advantage, monetarily,  to not let those dated words ever  die?  Is there some group fighting to keep that attitude alive??

But it doesn’t matter, for it’s now far past time to drop all labels of what we were and concentrate on what we are and can become.  Americans, as Jefferson so boldly stated, and Lincoln emphasized, that all men (humans) are created equal, with the same rights and privileges. It’s why people of the entire world dream of coming here.   To be Americans. Not to become half-breeds wearing some superimposed two-word label.

To be President of the United States, it goes without saying, that person must be an American. Is President Obama going to be labeled as being half-American? Then we must go back to the beginning and re-label everyone of our Presidents, for each of them was a descendent of Immigrants. Just like you. And me.

AIDS Is Still Today’s Leprosy

Deny it or not . . .

We all know, when we see those short, carefully worded obits that they are for one who has died of AIDS and we sadly pass them by, except when the name is of one we know.

Once I saw such words about one who was my friend. And it matters little that it has been years since we last laughed and talked, I mourn that he is no more in a body and I miss his calls when we chatted, set straight the events of the world . . .  and talked of God .

And my heart still aches for his family because AIDS  remains today’s leprosy and survivors are stripped of the consolation others have when they are free  to speak of the sorrow and the history of the death with caring friends.

See, I know, for several times death,  for husband and parents and others has come close to me, and each time I was surprised to discover how much healing came to me, when I could talk about the days, weeks, months of osculation between hope and despair we experience when someone close is diagnosed as ‘terminal’.

And I thanked God that there were friends who were willing to listen as I unburdened myself on the why’s, how’s, what’s, and offered friendly shoulders for me to cry on.

But with AIDS it’s different, for no one even wants to hear of AIDS.  There is a deep fear, and those left behind not only have their sorrow over loosing a loved one, but the added sorrow of people’s unthinking cruelty when  they almost  ignore the death and even the burial services.

A friend told me of being ignored in such a way. People who had been quick to remember birthdays and other such occasions, never spoke of his death and even passed by on the street, pretending (?) not to see her. I’m sure it’s because they don’t know what to do, or to say,  and so they do nothing.  Sad.

But we are learning, for this is how Cancer once was treated.

I clearly remember as a child, when we kids should have been sleeping, I overheard my parents whispering about a neighbor dying of cancer.

Yes, there was a time when cancer was a no-no disease and I recall my parent’s surprise when the words ‘died of cancer’ began to appear in obituaries.

And now, thank God, AIDS is also beginning to appear there. but just the same, it still is to-day’s leprosy. Strikes fear in all of us, and when we learn someone we know has that disease, we are torn between “Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know”, or the big one of, ” Don’t come near me. Oh, please don’t touch me.”

But the sooner we get our thinking straight, the better it will be for all, because, if you haven’t already been faced with AIDS  or  the death of someone near you from AIDS, you will.

It is not just a disease of Gays and celebrities.  Quite   ordinary people get it from blood transfusions, scratches, accidents, and, yes, it does happen to  ‘nice’ people.

The death I spoke of was for a wonderful person I once often laughed and talked with, wondered why it suddenly all stopped, and then . . . just as suddenly I knew why.

Once AIDS enters a life there is no time or energy for anyone or anything else. It’s a survival course, except everyone knows there is no survival, but. chiseled in stone. the verdict of death.

My friend was given a most private burial, and I don’t know what I could or would have done, but oh, pray God, I hope I’d have had the love and the bravery to let him know he was still my friend and that I cared.

And . . . with AIDS still not freely accepted (as we once did with cancer) now we face Ebola. Pray God, to give us time to find peace with one horror before another comes to us.

Murray’s 2014 Woman of Achievement

 Surprise . . . It’s Me.

               Sometimes unexpected, but wonderful happenings enter our lives, and such a one recently came to me when Murray’s Mayor D. Ted Eyre. and his staff, named me Murray’s 2014 Woman of Achievement.

I was stunned, for when Rhondi Knowlton, Assistant to the Mayor, called to ask me to attend the Murray Scholarship Pageant, where I would be so cited. I was deeply honored, but regrettably said “No” to her invitation.

The problem is, that as one’s years accumulate, at the same time the energy to enter into such functions diminishes. I rued the necessity of my decision, but knew that the energy for accomplishing what the program would require, was no longer mine.

Actually, each day I accomplish quite a bit, but do so by consciously rationing the use of my energy, so that, if one day, I have “10 Units” of Energy, I use only 8; and if I have only 7 or 8, I use only 5 or 6 that day. Works for me.

I sent sincere letters of thanks to Mayor Eyre, his assistant Rhondi Knowlton, and Leesa Lloyd, the only ones I knew who had worked on the invitation, and once that was done, I tucked it all away as a wonderful ‘might-have-been’ memory. I chose to give it no more thought, and to tell my family at some future date.

So I was surprised to find that on the night of Murray’s Scholarship Pageant, I was honored anyway, and later that night an etched ‘citation’ and an armful of roses were delivered by Rhondi to my son Bill’s, home. I was delightfully overwhelmed.

I don’t know what was said about me at the Pageant, but I hear that pictures were shown, taken at different times for use in ”Jim” and Bette Cornwell’s well-known Murray Eagle Newspaper, where I was writer, Women’s Editor and for decades wrote a weekly column Out My Window which won many State and National Awards.

Those columns truly were born from the thoughts and dreams of my mind and heart. Many readers wrote approving letters, and I still meet people who thank me for my words ‘back then’. One moment I treasure dearly is when I was in ‘line’ at a bank and a man asked if I were Ethel Bradford and as I nodded yes, he told me he saved and constantly carries one of my columns in his wallet. I didn’t ask which one, for that was his own private business, but quietly and with unspoken emotions, we looked deeply into each other’s eyes, shook hands and then went our ways. Money can’t buy moments like that.

I imagine the books I’ve written about the early days of this valley and specifically Murray itself, were also considered for such an award. Gathering the old, mostly verbal tales of the people who made Murray the City it is, has been a joy for I found those people were pretty much the same as we are, very human, and how they coped in such an undeveloped area, should not be forgotten. The Frank Mash, Felix DeNiro and Rawsell Bradford families have been here for over 100 to 150 years, and still have our homes on land that no one but we and Indians have ever used.

Probably my years of teaching at the men’s medium security section of Utah State Prison were mentioned, The title of my ‘classes’ was “Change Your Thinking and You’ll Change Your Life”, and, aware that the outer life of most of those men could never change, I hoped some words or ideas might possibly spark them to seek an Inner change.

And then, I was accepted to be one of an extremely limited few witnesses to an execution. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience and the first shock came when they took away my Driver’s License, and gave me another card, stating I was to be a witness to the execution. For about ten or so days I was without that legally demanded License, and I actually wished that I’d  be stopped for a minor traffic violation so I could surprise the Officer with my substitute card and watch his reaction. Oh well.

My work there and viewing an execution left me with great respect for all Priests and Elders of any religion who make a life-time commitment to be there when called or needed. It isn’t a fun way to spend a day or evening.

I don’t know if it were mentioned, but for many years I represented, for Utah’s AA groups, a non-alcoholic’s viewpoint in an alcoholic environment, as well as asked to several UofU classes, where questions were asked and answered.

I can only guess at how they described my life, but if anyone lives long enough, they, as I, gather many experiences and so, again I say Thank You to Mayor Eyre and his staff and also sincere thanks go to James M. Cornwell, and his lovely wife Bette, who is now deceased, but the two of them together, opened many doors for me. Gratias tibi ago.

Roman Numerals

Elegant but not so simple . . .

Don’t flinch, I know this page looks like Egyptian hieroglyphics but, today I’m dipping into the numerical system of the early Romans,

It seems the craziest, numerical system ever, but it worked back then and once you catch the rules, it still works. I’ve always dabbled with it, but this time I found an expert, Ellen Wilson Thayn, at the Murray Public Library, who gave me a set of rules, and once I began using those rules, it didn’t seem simple, no, but at least understandable.

To begin with, I called one of my smart acquaintances, and then another, and another, but, dang it, they all got that glazed look (yeah I can tell a glazed look over email) and all backed out. Each a Triple AAA intellect in their own fields, but not in Roman Numerals. I tried ‘Ye Olde Editor’, Jim Cornwell; Dean Fairbank, brains to spare; Tom Smith, Teacher who specializes in oddities; Wayne Ursenbach, Physical Chemist; that smart Dr. Bruce Parsons; and with all those brains not a one knew about Roman Numerals. Not even MMXIV.

So, with advice from my old boss, Jim, I turned to the place that has been the haven of knowledge since ancient Alexandria, The Library, and there in that place of all wisdom, Ellen Wilson Thayn didn’t even blink, but began revealing secrets as if she had grown up in ancient Italy. My answers came right from where I’ve gone for information ever since my Daddy used to take me as a child, The Murray Public Library.

Everything that’s correct, thank you, thank you, came from Ellen Thayn, the errors are what I’m good at and, with a shrug, must claim any.

roman numerals chart2romannumeralschartBBV- With a line over it, is 5,000

X-with a line over it, is 10,000

M- with a line over it, is 100,000

ESP

Feel the Force . . .

ESP is so commonplace that we don’t blink an eye about it. We know it’s Extra Sensory Perception, the Sixth Sense, but it’s different from the other five, Taste, Hearing, Smell, Touch, Sight, where no explanation is needed. It’s been called Gut Instinct, Third Eye, Hunch, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Precognition and ad infinitum, but that still doesn’t tell us what it is.

However, when it hits, we need no explaining. One time I answered my phone and it was Margaret, from Seattle. Our acquaintance was so casual that I wondered why she’d called, but as she was getting ready to say goodbye, she asked if I knew where Florence could be reached.

“No,” I answered, “I haven’t seen or heard from her for over a year.” And she said, “Well, take down my phone number and if you happen to see her, tell her to give me a call.”

Now, hearing from Florence was so unlikely that I almost didn’t write down the number, but I carelessly scribbled it, while knowing I’d garbage it within a day or two.

However, believe it or not, before I even moved from the phone, it rang again, and yes, and you have already guessed that, of all people, it was Florence. She, too, had no real reason to call me, and it amazed us both when I told her what had just happened and she said, “Yes, I do need to talk to Margaret and had no idea how to do it, but, really, Ethel, I wasn’t thinking of her when I called you.”

In a daze I sat there and felt as if I had been used by someone or something. That I had been nothing but a Tool. Because, with no conscious thought, I had been the connecting link between two people who needed to reach each other and didn’t know how. It has remained one of those things that puzzle me to this day.

Another ESP ‘thing’ that we disregard, but if we live around animals, we know they have it.   Tales abound. My brother-in-law Jake had a Dachshund, and they read each other’s minds, and when Jake was returning from being gone for a day or week, that dang dog sensed his coming and sat by the door, and when he began jumping up and down and whimpering, Gram knew Jake was near. And he was. Again, don’t ask me how it happened, but it did.

There was a time when there were Milkmen, who using horse-drawn wagons. delivered our milk early in the a.m. and the tales told are many. It took but a week or so, for the horse to ‘know’ the route and so the man could leave the ‘stops’ up to the horse and he could nap, read, whatever, and the horse would stop at the right places.

As a young man my Granddad, as all men did, had a horse, and he said that at night, and no matter where he was in the valley, he could go to sleep and the horse would take him home.

And there’s the life-saving tale of a man on horseback, who lived in Bennion, when the valley’s west side was entirely open fields and, he got caught one night when an unexpected blizzard hit.

Blinded by snow and freezingly cold, he knew he could never find his way home, and so  put his life in the hands of God and his  horse.  He dropped the reins, gave his horse a ‘slap’  on its  rump,  huddled down to get any warmth he could get  from the back of the horse and, resigned his life to Fate. Within  half an hour they were at the barn and safe..

Without lights or other landmarlks,  the man was helpless but the horse knew where they were. Whatever ESP is, it’s hard to prove, that is, if it needs proving. It isn’t scientific, but far, far more than that, and don’t ask me to tell you ‘how’, because I can’t. I only know that it always was and still is.

The brain, as well as the heart, stomach, lungs, kidneys and on and on, can be weighed for size, heft and dissected, But the Mind? It uses the brain, but it is not the brain. And so vital that, no matter how good a body, or how much money one has, without the Mind we are just a body, nothing more.

Traveling the inward pathway to the Mind is the longest journey we’ll ever take.   But, so often without our permission or request, it uses me and it uses you and if you ever find out what ‘it’ is, tell me. But in the meantime and whatever it is, isn’t it great?????

Notes From My Refrigerator Door

EVOLUTION

I died as a rock and was born as soil,

I died as soil and was born a plant.

I died as a plant and was born an animal.

I died as an animal and was born a human.

I will die as a human

And become One with The Source.

(There may be millions  (billions?) of lives at each stage, but evolution is eternal)

————————————————————-

Courage doesn’t always roar.

Sometimes it’s the quiet voice

At the end of the day, saying

“I will try again to-morrow.”

——————————————————————

         The Masters are returning to earth, but they are coming unannounced. One might be on a lonely farm in some far off country. Any country. Any color skin. A taxi driver. Any degree of education. Waiting upon you in a store. Maybe a leader in some small church. They are everywhere.

         Monasteries are becoming empty, but Masters and their disciples are springing up everywhere, like mushrooms in some moist field. We do not find them because they do not want to be found.

—————————————————————

Be careful how you live.

You may be the only Bible

Someone else will ever ‘Read’.

—————————————————————–

There isn’t God and you

It is always God as you.

And you are That.  Right now.

—————————————————————–

Life is the only Reality.

Death is but a process in Infinite Life.

And it is not that the dead will live again,

Rather, that those who Live . . . . shall never die.

——————————————————————-

THE PATH OF ALL RELIGIONS

1. The Man (Woman)

2. The Message

3. The Movement

4. The Monument

5. The Money

6. The Museum Piece

   The further the Teaching grows away from the First   Message, the more hidden That Message becomes,  and is the reason why new Teachings are constantly being  born, as people strive to eliminate all the confusion of rules and regulations and get back to that first, sweet Message of Loving God,  ourselves and each other.

ethelbrad@comcast.net

 

 

Saddest Words of Tongue or Pen

 “It Might Have Been”

          A Cook Book is simply a cook book and unless you want to find a new recipe or check up on old one, it just sits on your shelf.

But I saw how a cook book restored an entire language to a man. A language long forgotten for it had not been spoken by or to him, since he had been a child of nine, and there he was in his 80’s.

That man was my father, Carl Ohlin, who came from Sweden with his parents, Peter and Maria as a 9 year old, and from that day forward, never heard Swedish spoken. The adult family worked hard to change their speech, and even in the  home, tried to speak nothing but English, and swiftly. Swedish  became a foreign language.

It wasn’t difficult for people coming here from other countries. because everyone, the church speakers, in stores, work places and the kids playing in the streets, all spoke English and so there was no use, time or interest, to continue with Swedish language.

To aid him, within just a year or two of his arriving here, Carl found a used, torn book in a gutter. Though he couldn’t read it, the book was obviously a discard, so he picked it up.   It was the adventure book of   “SHE”, written by Henry Rider Haggard, and with the help of an older friend, he learned to read and understand English from that book..

Dad, eventually became an avid reader of books of any and all genre, and one day, sitting at my kitchen table, enjoying the national drink of Sweden, a cuppa coffee, he told me of that book “SHE”. and how he had learned to read it.  And I laughed for that book has lasted through the years and I had read it not too long before.

Anyway, it was at this time that Dad told me that he had forgotten Swedish, the language of his childhood, and try as he might, could not remember even one word.

I was a young woman at that time, and Dad, who married late in life, was decades older than most parents, and was like a Grandfather to me.  I heard his words, but what he said seemed so remote that I couldn’t see what they really had to do with me. It took  years for me to realize of what value his words had been, and now  I would give much if I could spend a day with him at my kitchen table and a filled Coffee pot nearby.

But then, one day as I prowled the used books in Deseret Industry, I came upon, of all things, a Cook Book, written in Swedish. and bought it. thinking Dad might get a kick out of it. Which he did, and far more too, for it wasn’t more than a week or so later that he, again at my table, told me the Cook Book had given him back his native language

See, food is food and a cake cooked in Sweden, France, Italy or any other country is a cake and made in the same way,  So, if it says 1 cup of something or other, it wasn’t hard for Dad to figure it out when it meant flour, sugar or milk. And the same going on with the entire recipe.

He said it was easy to translate, oven, stove, stir, bake, the heat of the oven. Those words, in any kitchen are universal, and Dad found other words of that language coming swiftly to his mind. Once the door was open, he was able to step through and then, the way of reading and speaking Swedish came easily. Though long buried, once started, it came flooding back to him.

Yes, a cook book returned the language of Dad’s youth to him. Sadly, there was no one to speak it with, and I was too young, heedless. (stupid?) to bother. But now I wish I had asked him questions and had him respond in his first language. How I regret that I didn’t explore the miracle that happened at my own kitchen table.  And to my own father.

John Greenleaf Whittier said it best, “Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are, ‘It might have been’ “.

Lies

Think it over . . .

The Good Book says not to lie, but I betcha there isn’t one person on this planet who can go a day without lying.

Some lies we need, and there are times when they are demanded if we want to get along in the world. They are so much a part of being civilized that not to lie can be cruel and inhuman. For good or bad, our culture is built around the lies we tell each other, and without them, this world might be better in some ways—but it could be much worse in other ways. Read on.

If we didn’t tell a few, we’d soon have no friends, and peppering a few lies here and there, is the only way to keep them, and I mean the friends. There’s no way you can tell another what you actually think of the clothes she often chooses, or what you really think of her boy friend, or worse still, her husband.

The old adage says: “White lies are the oil that keeps life’s ‘machinery’ running smoothly,” and the one who penned those words had ‘been around the block’ and knew the score.

Who could be so cruel as to tell a bride that she isn’t beautiful? Or that the new born baby isn’t a living doll, even though everyone knows that most newborns look like Winston Churchill, and he wasn’t famous for his good looks.

Wars are started when nations tell the truth about their plans, and peace comes only when the leaders start lying. Think it over, think it over.

And politicians have only one goal, i.e. to be elected. And the slogan of everyone of them, in their words is, “This world, (Country, State, City, County) is in a mess and I’m the only one who knows how to fix it.”  And every other word they speak is an outcrop of that lie.

And then they start telling us what we want to hear, and they know they’re lying, as when the first President Bush said, “Read my lips. I won’t raise your taxes. Read my lips.” Shakespeare said it best, “What fools we mortals be.”

But inasmuch as few of us will ever run for high office, let’s get down to the everyday kind of lie. Routine lies. “How are you?” we ask. the other says, “Fine,” Lies, both of them, because you were only saying “Hello” and not asking about their health,

My mother told that lie, and as a child I’d get mad because I often knew she wasn’t feeling fine, and wondered why she lied, No one criticized her, but I got punished when I lied. But now I know.

If I’m ill or there’s something wrong, I lie and tell no one. But, once I’m well, I tell everyone, but until then, I lie, and lie and lie. And silently apologize to Mom. But, getting down to just plain old everyday living, lies are not only wanted, but needed.   You meet your best friend for lunch and as she enters the cafe, you wonder what in the world happened to her hair. Doesn’t she have a mirror? Is she blind?   But as she sits down, your first words are, “Oh, you have a new hairdo.’

No,  you didn’t actually lie, but it was implied and she beams, thinks you are wonderful, and that she looks terrific.. You keep your thoughts to yourself, and everyone’s happy. And thank heaven’s you don’t know what she might be thinking about your hair.

Then, as you witness the wedding vows of some dear friend, you can almost see the divorce papers waving in the offing, but did you tell the truth, when she gushingly asked, “Oh, isn’t he just wonderful?”

No, but you actually agreed with her as you inwardly thought, “I think he’s a drip, a gambler, a cheat and before a year is over, you’ll be wondering why you married him” But you smile and lie. After all, you want to have her for a friend after the fireworks are over. Marriages, you know, can be of short stuff, while friendships are for life.

I know, and so do you, of huge sad happenings and sometimes tell a big lie (i.e.”I don’t know”) to not reveal what is past and gone. And, striving for someone else’s happiness, and basically, none of my business, my lips are sealed forever. And I know, and you too, know that there are other tales that if not covered with a silent lie, would have caused only heartache and sorrow. You be the judge.

But I’ve seen when the white lie, that sweet lie, the kind lie, the blessed lie is actually the kindest words ever spoken and as time passes, you know it was the most needed ‘truth’ ever given and was a blessing for all.

Yes, there are times when the White Lie is the most wonderful words ever spoken.. Are you still with me?

A Daily Schedule

And the value there in . . .

If you haven’t yet typed out your Daily Schedule, there can’t be a better time to do it. It’s an old, old Zen teaching, but don’t let that bother you. It’s lasted through the centuries and you won’t be the first one to take it as your own. It’s what happens to good things.

Okay, begin with the time you plan to get from your bed each a.m. and then go on from there. Prayer? Before or after your shower and breakfast? Doesn’t matter, but get it down on paper and keep going. Job? Kids off the school? No two schedules will be alike, and yours will change with the seasons and years, but put down, in ‘black and white’ how you would like to have your good, ordinary life’s days spent. .

And before you complain, let me say that you’ll never be able to follow the schedule. There will always be a phone call. Someone at the door. A crying child. But you have, there in writing, what a good day would be. So, on those days when you feel like giving up, and before you start screaming, go to your schedule. It’s magic when needed, and is why the idea has lasted ‘forever’, and is even found in the hands of today’s therapists. It simply works.

Okay. So before you really get into a moody ole “Pity Party” and allow your entire day to be spent that way, go to your schedule and see what you planned to be doing at that exact hour of the day, and do it. Yeah, it might be the last thing in the world you want to do, but give yourself a big boot in the rear, and do it.

Doesn’t matter what it tells you to do. Maybe it says to sweep the porch and sidewalks, and if it’s winter, shovel the snow instead, but when that chore is finished, go see what your perfect day would have you do next, and do that, too.    A planned schedule is a life saver for within less than an hour your day will be changed for the better.

It is good to have as a base for everyday life, but after a big life crisis, such as a new job, children leaving to go away to school, or to marry, or your job takes you to a new city. or neighborhood, or, yes, even when the sorrow of death claims a loved one and you stand by a grave site for your last goodbye, knowing life will be different from then on, go to your schedule and let the miracles begin.

I first found this magic potion in The Empty Mirror, a Zen book by Jan van Willem, about his four years spent in a Japanese Zen monastery. The schedule can seldom be followed hour by hour and is adjusted over the years, but when life is broken or interrupted in some manner, go silently back to it and all will be well.

This daily plan was conceived and taught unknown centuries ago, and perhaps is needed more today than when first spoken.   Who knows, but there is peace to be found when we tread a familiar pathway. I’ve passed the idea along many times in my classes and it’s been welcomed and used.  Simply because it works.

The familiar routine, brings calmness, serenity, and healing to a restless, weeping heart. Yes, changes come, but good days will also come, and in doing so, God lets us know that, as the old hymn says, “All is well, all is well”.

Once, filled with confusion and anxiety, I turned to my schedule and found it was time to go to my room, close the door and meditate. Laughing, I followed my own words, did just that,  and realized that even my laughter helped me know that all was well again. And so it was and still is. And so be it.

Pregnancy Pillows

Freud would have clapped his hands in glee for a chance to unravel this twist.

Yes, that’s what the ad said, and it took but a few seconds to know that they weren’t selling pillows for rest or comfort, but a pillow to be tied around the waist and worn under the woman’s regular clothing so that she looked pregnant. I kept reading.

I don’t know if it’s some new fad, an ‘in’ thing, (the ad didn’t say), but the idea is NOT to be pregnant, but definitely look that way. Or, and this is Ethel’s mind working, just maybe to give some reluctant man a heart attack. Or leave town. Or ask you to marry him.

The Pillows come in different sizes, styles and shapes. If you want to look just a bit ‘broody’?  (The ad’s words) Well, the three-to-four month Pillow is suggested, but if you want to startle people, and have a more delicate air? More fragile? Read on.

They have exactly what you need for any reaction, from surprise to terror. Any of them can be yours instantly and with none of the usual complications. Obviously I’m not up to the latest styles and habits so I kept reading. I wanted to learn more.

All you need do, the ad told, is to choose the ‘right’ size and you’ll have people helping you from your chair, telling you not to over-do, and treating you as if you’re the most delicate thing around.   The reaction will differ with the ‘size’ pillow you buy. But, the ad promised, you’ll get action.

If you’re feeling devilish and want to have ‘fun’, (the ad’s words) get the eight-monther. While you’re convulsed with secret laughter (it says), the men will quickly give you their chair, and then just as quickly move to the other side of the room. And mentally wonder why you didn’t stay home, and at the same time worried you might sneeze.

And again going back to the ad’s words, you’ll really have the laugh ot the year if you step into another room for a moment and then return, slender as a willow and not pregnant at all. Fun???? That’s what the ad promised.

A full nine-month pillow wasn’t offered. I suppose that doesn’t look like fun and no one wants the ‘look’ when the fun’s gone.   And lest you think I’m joking just begin scanning the off-center magazines. You’ll find the ads,

Women must be hard to please. First was the fight for The Pill, to assure only wanted pregnancies.   Then came legal abortions for those who made a ‘mistake’. And now what comes next? Pillows to let the ‘liberated’ woman who wouldn’t go through a pregnancy for love nor money, able to have the look of the utter female. The Pregnant one.

Or just maybe there’s something going on with today’s world that I’ve missed and which every young girl reading this will say, Well, doesn’t Ethel know about this? And they’ll be right. I don’t know and have actually wondered if they are meant for Halloween? Maybe. Maybe. But that holiday wasn’t mentioned.

Freud would have clapped his hands in glee for a chance to unravel this twist. Or, and here I wonder, if there is some other reason for the Pillows, please let me, and a lot of other people, know about it.

For, seriously, it’d have to be a big reason, for pregnancy is not a joke. It is the genesis of the next generation, Not something to be put forth as a joke, but I suppose I’m not up to date on such things, And I’m just as pleased that I’m not.