Memorial Day Thoughts

I read of this woman, living in the USA, but born in Tunisia, who told of how her people keep alive the memory of those who have ‘left them’, and the more I think about it, the more I like it.

They certainly have no “Memorial Day” holiday, but they have their ways, and she told how, on the recent anniversary of her Grandpa’s death, her mother made their main meal of the day, ‘Grandpas’ meal. And she cooked and served food that had been his favorites and at the same time, her parents told stories of ‘Grandpa’s life, how he earned a living, and so on.

I think it’s a wonderful idea, and of course, is used on other death-anniversaries, too. No rules, but just a time of remembering and sharing, so that the now dead ancestors become real people to grand kids they never met.

Yes, and inasmuch as her ‘Gramp’ had lived in a different country, with different foods, the meal her mother prepared was not what their American born kids knew. But this was not their meal, but Gramp’s meal, and her mother, reached back to where Gramps had lived, and prepared ‘his’ meal as far as possible, of food that he knew, and ate. And which her kids could only wonder over.

Fish in a different way?  Some food we never thought of as food?  Vegetables and fish we do not recognize? An unfamiliar soup? It matters not, but the families this woman grew up with, make that meal as close as possible to food the honored one would have been familiar with.

She told that her Mom even tried to use the old ways of cooking it. And, as she served the unfamiliar food, the parents told stories about the person they were remembering.   About when and why they came to America.   What were the problems of finding jobs? Was it difficult to blend in with a new people in a new culture?

Told about the clothes worn, if they were different. Was it hard to learn a new language? She told how it becomes almost an on-going biography of how ‘their’ family had its Utah beginnings, and yet do not want their children to forget the old ways of where they came from.

And if the honored one grew up here in the U. S. tell of his/her young years. Stories that are real, where they lived, what kind of a house, outdoor plumbing, and to be sure to tell the whole story, telling of the difficulties as well as the triumphs.

Did the loved one live in a different State?  Why did they then move to Utah? To go to a certain school? Marry and join in the ‘other’ family’s culture?   There is a world of things to tell that make our ancestors not only remembered, but remembered as real people, not just a name on a genealogical chart.

Yeah, what did they do to earn a living. What jobs they held. How did they learn that trade? The tales are endless and met with wonder to know that those tales happened to one in their own family. Really happened and how Grandma wouldn’t know what to do with a micro and would wonder how to cook without a stove and fire. And where oh where, were the foods she loved and cooked?

The woman said it can be fun, for it will open up an entire  world of family knowledge, of what Mom did as a young girl.   Where she and Dad met. Where and how they lived. Plus what ‘odd’ foods they once ate.

The more I think of this kind of a memorial time, the more I like it and wish I could go back and try to duplicate for Dad, the kind of meal he had while still in Sweden and if he had missed and yearned for that food. If it had been hard to leave that home as a 10 year old.   How it was in Salt Lake then, and not know the language. How did he learn it?

How my Great-great-great Grandpa and his mother came from England, crossed the Plains on foot, and he, a teenager, herded cattle to pay for his food, and his mother helped women with their children for the same reason.   And why there was no male person with them. Or, if there had been one, why did they come without him? What happened to him??

Yes, I love seeing the flowers in the cemetery, and revel in how American the holiday is, but I also thank the Tunisian woman for telling how, right at the dining room table, our kids can not only hear the old stories, but also eat for their meal, exactly what their ancestors once ate for their meals.   In an odd way, celebrating the anniversary of a loved one’s Death Day, could be utterly fascinating.

The Gray-Haired Brigade

This is us . . .

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Feb. 2016.

We, that group, are often referred to as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are “Baby Boomers” getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We worked hard, raised children, worshiped God, have grown old together, and a goodly portion of us are alone.

Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that is probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.

In school we studied English, history, math, and science, which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us know what outhouses were, and many with firsthand experience.  We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes.  For those of you who don’t know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators.  A few even remember when cars were started with a crank.

Yes, we lived those days.

We are probably considered old fashioned and out-dated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II, fought in Korea and Viet Nam. We can quote The Pledge of Allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so.

We wore the uniform of our country with pride, and left many friends on the battlefield, and thousands of us came home crippled or in wheelchairs. We didn’t fight for the Socialist States of America; we fought for the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” We wore different uniforms depending upon which Service we chose, but it was for the very same flag.

We know the words to the “Star   Spangled Banner,” “America,” and “America the Beautiful” by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We, personally, lived the days and years which most of you have only read of in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America.

Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and many died for it, and now we are going to save it.

It is our Country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to   keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our Founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.

You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in your careers or “Climbing the Social Ladder” to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting. Many of those who fell for the “Great Lie” in 2008 are now having buyer’s remorse. With all the education we made available to you, you didn’t have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank that time’s ‘Kool-Aid.’  Now you’re paying the price and complaining about it; i.e. no jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom.

This is what you voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty, and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.

Well, youngsters, the Grey-Haired Brigade is here, and in 2016 we are going to take back our nation. We’d like to include you in our fight. We may walk slower than we did yesterday, but we get where we’re going, and in 2016 we’re going to the polls. By the millions.

This land does not belong to the man in the White House nor to the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Eric Holder.  It belongs to “We the People,” and “We the People” plan to reclaim our land and our freedom.  We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to your grandchildren.

So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our Country, and thank God for the old geezers of the “Gray-Haired Brigade.”

Ying Yang My Eye

Plain brown rice, anyone?

Thanks for reading my blog each week, for you never know what you’ll find.  Thoughts go right from my mind to the keyboard and my mind’s door is always open  and  travels inwardly as far as I dare, and outwardly?  As near as my next door neighbor and as far of the other side of the world.  Yeah , mentally, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually as far as I can, and write of it all as far as I dare to share.

And today I tell how a friend and I decided to join those wise Far Eastern people and get our Ying and Yang back in balance.  And how did we know we were out of balance?   Well,  you know I’m no expert on all this, BUT, the good Dr. Arya told us to look at our face straight into a  mirror, with the eyes the important area.

Ok, you’ll see  the Iris and  white. Lots of white, but, looking straight ahead, there should be no White below the Iris.  So simple,.  Above,  left and  right, good, good, good.  But at the  bottom?  That is a signal that our Ying and Yang are lopsided.   And that means mentally, emotionally and physically, spiritually.  The entire schmoo is out of balance.

The Teacher of our classes told us that with eating good brown rice for a couple of weeks  we would be balanced and totally new people.  Well, my friend and I both like rice and we were all for making us new people in only two weeks.  And inasmuch as we often lunched together a couple of times a week, we phoned around, but we could find no place to get PLAIN BROWN, UN-FLAVORD RICE, AND SO we chose to eat at home and keep in touch with each other via the phone.

But just within a few days, as far as I was concerned,  I wished I’d never heard of Brown Rice, and to helly with my  Ying and Yang, as well. We were both happy before even hearing of those two  Y’s and now  are just as happy without them.  But back to my story . . .

The only diet to get you off the teeter-totter of imbalance (teacher said) is the right food and that’s  mighty hard to get in our western world, and so we were  advised to go back to the ancient perfect diet of rice.  Unpolished, and brown.

Cook it in water, like any rice, with a small amount of salt and chew each bite 40 or 45 times.  Add no sugar, milk, fruit or honey.  Nothing but unpolished brown rice.  No coffee, tea, soda pop, vitamins. Nothing but that dang rice.

My friend and I thought we’d be strength to each other’s weaknesses. And the first day was a piece of cake and we gloated and laughed at how wise we were.  Yeah.  Eat, eat, eat whenever hungry.  Nice fluffy wholesome perfectly balanced rice.

The second day wasn’t  bad, either.  I thought of how healthy I was becoming and smugly watched others ignorantly eating all the horrible un-ying and un-yang food that’s always around, wherever one  goes.

The third day, however, began to really tell on me.  I longed for a cuppa coffee.  For a smidgen of spice or sugar or ANYTHING on that bland rice.  I could almost taste  fruit or a sweetener on it and began hurrying past all food for fear I’d just reach out and begin eating.  Anything but rice.

The evening of that third day I again stubbornly sat down to another bowl of that rotten stuff and  began chewing away but it stuck in my throat and I thought I’d werp it up right then and there.  I took a sip of water to wash it down and cursed as I took still another mouthful of RICE.

I cussed it.  I fought it.  I argued.  I told myself  how healthy I was becoming.  I shamed myself over how weak willed I was, and how I’d hate to tell of my weakness, but then, suddenly I said to heck (no, that wasn’t what I said) with Ying and Yang.  I calmly went  to the freezer, almost matter of factly took out a container of ‘decadent’ homemade soup,  whapped it in the micro, and in ten minutes I was eating right out of the freezer container, and was in bliss.  The sheer  glory  of eating FOOD.  Food that had a taste. A color.  Food, food, food. with nary a morsel of rice, white, brown or any other color.  NO RICE.

I dreaded telling my friend, but I needn’t  have worried for the next morning his call came inviting me to lunch so that together we could throw out the sickening rice and EAT.  I accepted gladly, but had to admit that I had already tossed out my Ying and Yang stuff the night before. but was too ashamed to tell him.  Weak willy for sure.

So we sat facing each other, eating, tasting and sipping our coffee with  no care whether the food was Ying, Yang or neither.  And enjoying every big bite.

I suppose I still might be a bit out of balance, and so is he, but who cares?  It took me a  few months to even tolerate rice in a casserole or pudding, but while that  grain still  isn’t my favorite . . . I can enjoy it.. . . it up a certain point.  And to helly with my Ying and Yang.  I no longer even care. 

And we didn’t breath a word of our debacle at the next class, much less to the good far eastern Doctor. Rather, we decided he had better get accustomed to all the UN-ying and UN-yang  people of this western world.  And, to heck with the whites of our eyes.  .

From Womb To Tomb

Bed is our cocoon . . .

Making the bed we just slept in is perhaps the most decisive act of the day.  Accomplished in such a few moments but what a mighty act, and how far-reaching.

The rite is so much more than a mere straightening of the sheets and a fluffing of the pillows. With that act we relinquish all possibility of snuggling in (oh, just for a moment) again.  For while the blanket and sheets are still rumpled and warm looking, there is the luring invitation to crawl back in for one more second of shutting out the world.  Making the bed is cutting of the cord between that ‘oblivion’ and whatever the day has to bring.

Bed and the blankets are a shelter from care.  A haven from whatever you didn’t accomplish yesterday and must do today.  Bed is the comfort of home, mother, and being cared for.  Bed is that sweet oblivion of the ‘little death’ that Shakespeare wrote about.

But once that bed is made, we have accepted the fact that we are going to face the world, take up  our task, pick up where we left off, and that life does go on.

Bed . . . the haven of security.  It is no happenstance that teenagers sleep late whenever they can.  They are perhaps, at the most tumultuous period of their whole lives, changing so fast they don’t know themselves from one day to the next, and bed is peace to them.  It is the security of childhood.  It is the place were they can blot out their inner turmoil and pretend it’s all like it used to be.

It is no surprise, either, that the mentally ill will crawl into bed, turn their faces to the wall and never want to get up.  ‘Getting up and facing the world’, though an old phrase, remains  so terribly true.

Bed.  Oh yes, in bed we’re born . . . probably conceived there, as well.  Is it any wonder we feel the mighty lure of returning there?  And to remaining there, also, when life gets too ‘hairy’?

And, in bed we die.  From womb to tomb it is our cocoon.  People gather round the bed at both these crucial times of life.  When  one is injured badly, they put us to bed.  When we’re  heartsick and traumatized with grief, pain or sorrow  . . . it is bed and sleep that knits up the raveled strands of our nerves.

These are the odd thoughts that drifted through my mind recently as I straightened out the nest I make of my bed each night.  These are the words I decided to write as I reluctantly bade goodbye to my bed’s comfort and  turned to face what ever my day  had in store.

And yet, strong as the backward pull within me is, I do not dread my days.  I like them.  I do not have mountainous problems facing me, no situation too fearsome to come to grips with.  And once the break is made, I’m content, and that night I’m even reluctant to ‘hit the sack’ again.  But the lure of bed is strong, universally felt and I ruminated and grumbled:

“In bed we laugh, in bed we cry.
“In bed we’re born, in bed we die.”

And about then the last corner of my bed was straightened and neat and I said to myself, Oh, Ethel, go get yourself a nice hot cup of tea and you’ll forget all these silly thoughts.  So I did and so I did.  But not before I’d scooted to my computer and put all these ideas there on the hard drive so I could share them with you. Thanks for being there.

ethelbrad@comcast.net

Happy Birthday

I just marked a birthday and the cards, calls and emails rec’d from scattered places, wishing me a happy coming year were great. And so, as this past year was wonderful, I choose to thank those who made life so, and who will make the coming year just as great.

Beginning with life’s basics, my mother Nettie Ohlin taught me to need and enjoy a clean house, but ‘how she did it’, just didn’t ‘take’ on me, and so Crystal comes to my rescue. And we’ve both laughed as I’ve told her that she first came to my home as an infant in blankets and napped in a cozy warm kitchen corner while her father, Ron, shoveled snow. She’s known my place from birth.

And then there’s my lawn, which if more than seven days pass, looks as if no one lives here. A few years back, in rebellion, I put my front yard in BIG rocks and mulch, but that still left the back, and that’s why Steve and Chris, arrive every Wednesday afternoon to cut, trim, and sweep that green stuff. Pure bliss.

They make my outside yard as tidy as Crystal does the inside. Yes, and they’re all members of their exended family group.

But as winter puts a ‘damper’ on the growth of the lawn,  with no break, snow takes over and again, others of that same family are here to keep the white stuff in its place. What more can I ask??? In fact, as time has passed, Ron, the father of the clan, no longer wants the “killer’ job of snow, is the one who started it all. He is the father of Crystal who first slept in my home as he worked and is father-in-law to Jed, who is now Crystal’s husband, and is standing ‘in the wings’ to take over this coming winter’s snow.

So what allows my happiness? We never give it a thought, but I can’t even begin to list ‘all the things I’d have to go without, if the electricity went OFF. Just sitting here at my computer, without moving, I can list this machine I’m typing on to begin with, and the printer that does the next step. The lamp that gives me light, and from the kitchen I hear dinner cooking away. There’s the clock on the wall, Classic County Music from TV Channel 934, the doorbell telling me I have a caller, a timer to tell me when I’m needed in the kitchen, and on and on.

What would I (and you) do without water at the twist of our hands. Just for starters, today’s kitchen would close shop, the bathroom would retreat to the back yard, and baths revert again to once week in a wash tub. Oh, I’m not going into that, but give a thought from the garbage disposal in our kitchens, to the bathroom, and we quickly change the subject. Yeah sewers are unmentionables, but without them, our lives would be unmentionable.

What else? What else makes my days joyous and wonderful? How about cars? Think about them, because we seldom do. We just use them. 24-7, too. Yeah, so what else makes my life Happy? Joyous? Worth living????

I could go on and on, but again getting down to the nitty gritty, my life, in any circumstance is centered around my family. And, as such goes back to a long time ago when my Ohlin parents and siblings formed the foundation for this life I love.

And I thank Gram, who, by being a Bradford ancestor, gave me my home and the land it sits upon. And next there was Brad, who with my help brought those two stalwarts of my life, John and Bill, And they opened the doors to Carol, NIna, Mike, Eric, Rachael, Zaden and Asher. A veritable cushion of loved ones without whom, I would have no life.

Yes, I could name people, household utilities, things, but then I am taken deeper, to the world . . . the Universe . . . and I bow in gratitude as I’m taken from the selfish wants of my physical comforts, to my family, and still deeper, my gratitude keeps going and gets to The Source.

And call It by any of the thousands of names people have given IT, my thanks must go back to That Beginning. And Knowing that from the most trivial to the most sublime, all thanks go to That Source. And also for birthdays that sometimes wake us up to the  blessings given us.   So, ultimately, as we ever do,  Thank You God for birthdays, the eye-openers we all need,  and hopefuly use.  .

Too Good To Throw Away

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” and it’s never more true than when it comes to our garbage.

And right now, the Spring Season, is when most of us get the urge to clean out the garage, closets, drawers, etc. of stuff we’ve kept for years because it’s all Too Good To Throw Away. or TGTTA.

But sooner or later, we realize “something’s got to go”, and begin putting those TGTTA’s out on the ‘other’ side of sidewalk, side-by-side with our mail box, knowing those passing by will also know that it’s our way of saying ‘Here is some still usable stuff, but I’m through with it, and if you can use it, take it. It’s free.”  We all know the game.

My kids, (when they really were kids), and their pals were experts and I cringed at what they sometimes brought home, but the evening before Garbage Pickup, they would head straight for Three Fountain condos. which they considered a Gold Mine and they all tried to be first there for the best pickings.

I now put my stuff out on any day of the week, and it works. People know what ‘stuff on the street side of the sidewalk’ means, and it’s become an established way of moving a lot of TGTTA, and, if you’re on that ‘other’ side, you get rare bargains and are busy giving your still good stuff, a new life.

It’s not just kid stuff either, but items that accumulates in all homes, but which, dang it, we finally admit will never again will be used, and so with a sigh and fond farewell, we haul it from the garage, basement, closet, to a place right next to the Mail Box, give it a ‘farewell pat’, wish it well, and that’s that.

My garbage pickup day is Monday, but I put most of my TGTTA out on Saturday or Sunday.

Why? Do I like to see my mail box flanked by discarded stuff?  Well, No AND Yes. It turns out to be fun, for as you quietly watch, people pause, go round the block and are back again for a second look. And then, with almost guilty demeanor, some item goes into their car, and whoooosh, it’s gone. Some times they come to the door to ask, but it’s now such a common-place happening that if it’s on the ‘other’ side of the sidewalk, it’s up for grabs.

Often your TGTTA’s disappear within hours, and the garbage man, finds slim pickings for him to put to one side for his personal ‘find’. Which I’ve seen happen more than once. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing a good deal.

I’ve done this several times, and yes, to me it’s Garbage, and one day I saw a well used old lawn mower being pushed up the sidewalk, by two young boys, and I only hoped their Dad was handy with the pliers, wrenches and oil cans.

A hamper lasted but an hour, and an old bulky TV was still there at dusk, but had disappeared by midnite. I’ve found that most heavy TGTTA does disappear, after dark. I suppose the ‘taker’ needs help in moving whatever it is, into the car or truck. Who knows?

Yup, ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’, and if you pass my way and see some odd objects sitting out by my mailbox . . . take your choice. I call it my Mail Box give away.

But, be careful and not spoil a good thing, so stay on the Street side of the sidewalk, because the stuff on the House side might look like TGTTA to you, but is still wanted by that home-owner. So you keep on the Public side of the sidewalk, I’ll stay on mine, we’ll all stay friends, and have a bit of fun, along the way. Thanx.

Thank You Dad

My son, Bill, gifted me with a book a week or two ago, and it was as if I had been given an introduction to parts of Ethel I hadn’t even known existed. Yeah, almost every page had some thought that opened new doors, and very few pages didn’t spark my mind into new ways of thinking.  I understood only about one-tenth of it, and yet that tenth, was so compelling, so thought provoking, that here I am, trying to share it with you. Sometimes I think I should stop reading. But, it’s a habit I inherited from my Dad, Carl Ohlin, and couldn’t shake it, even if I ever got foolish enough to want to. Thanks, Dad.

The book is: Living The Secular Life, by Phil Zuckerman and the following words are from his book.

Life, this world, and our very existence—are all surreal, awesome, scary, yet pleasantly mind-blowing mysteries.

The depths and breadth of the Infinite, the Source of all Being, the Causes of the Universe, and the Beginnings or Ends of Time and Space – — when it comes right down to such matters, we don’t   have a shred of a clue, And   perhaps we never will.

What a funny and strange situation we find ourselves in.

We’re the only ‘animals’ in existence with the simultaneous awareness and knowing, that one day we won’t exist. The only creatures that ponder and argue about the nature of our very own essence and purposes.

We’re the only carbon-based life-form with the ability to produce Abstract Art and then hang it in a large building that also contains a cafe that offers hot dogs, colas, sweet rolls and a gift shop that sells cute little books, if you can imagine, on the Philosophy of Abstract Art.

And with all our admirable scientific advances that save lives, and ease suffering, and improve communication, and increase mobility, and able to harness energy, and also expand knowledge, and yet, with that scope of our attainments, we still have no sense of what it is all about.

We don’t know if there was anything, or, if so, what was here to begin with. Or how it is all actually possible. And, we never will. “Humanity’s Destiny”, by philosopher Andre Comte Sponville, acknowledges that all the imponderables are “irreducible unknowingness.”

Sure, we still can hear the reverberating echoes of the Big Bang. Yet that cosmic vibration tells us nothing about what was here before the Big Bang, or what was before that, or how or why there even was a Bang to be Binged.

This mostly wet Ball we call Earth, full of TV commercials, freeways, hamburgers, ponytails, oceans filled with our own plastic garbage, and poverty, is floating in Space among a billion other Balls, and there are galaxies swirling and there is a universe expanding, which itself may actually just be an undulating freckle on the cusp of something we can’t even conceive of, amid an endless soup of ever more unfamiliarities.

And we find such a situation to be utterly, manifestly, psychedelically amazing–and far more spine-tingling and awe-inspiring than any story I’ve ever read in the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Upanishads, Dianetcs, the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

So, why not take time to smell and taste your sack of tangerines, or nimbly hammer away on your dulcimer, or pluck a chicken, or listen to your conscience, or master a new algorithm, or walk to work, go biking in the park, or hitch a ride to the next town.

Might just as well, because we’re here. And we will never, never know who or exactly how all this came about. Like it or not, that’s the situation we’re in. Deal with it. Accept it. And marvel over it, but the mystery remains.

The Unknowable.  Some call it God,  or Allah,  or Buddha, others The Force.  Still it remains and so do we.

Four Rest Rooms

Or will it be five, another for Questioning . . .

It won’t be soon, but a plan is being ‘talked about’, and if it keeps going, inevitably there will be Four Rest Rooms, instead of the standard Men and Women duo.

You know what they’ll be. Yeah, in addition to the usual two, there will be one for those who claim to be Female, but their Birth Certificate says Male; and another for those whose Birth Certificate says Female, but grew up feeling Male.

They’ve long been known as Lesbians and Gays, and no doubt those will be the names used on the added Rest Rooms. And for those who want, or need them, the change is legitimate and overdue.

Two questions have been asked. First: If you are Female, would you be comfortable making use of the Male facilities? Followed, of course, by the opposite: If you are Male, would you be comfortable in the Female rooms?  Of no importance for most of us, but well known in the Locker Rooms of all Sports, and more and more often in our schools.

Of course the first line of confrontation has been and continues, (in fine print, but in all contracts), is that “You play well and we want you on our team. We pay well, but you must sign that you’ll be content with the Locker Rooms as they now are”. Period.

And that’s what men and women, (Yes, it goes both ways), have been doing for many years, and while there’s been many a hullabaloo over the unfairness of it. There is no solution, and the problem grows.

It’s unfair that a person whose Birth Certificate says Female, but grows up to be Male in feeling and strength, and so can (and many do)  perform in some Women’s sport in a stronger manner than the ‘regular’ females and because of that added strength, gives that team an unfair advantage. Like it or not,  it ends up with ‘men’ on  women’s teams.

 And it works the other way with some person whose Birth Certificate says Male, but grows up being Female, will not be able to perform with the expected muscle, vigor or strength.

It’s a long, long recognized problem. In the earliest day of National Baseball, there were hints in the newspapers, and the majority didn’t know what they were talking about. But we learned.

That was the era when Gays and Lesbians were known, but never publicly spoken about. Every Player or Owner knew about it, but separate Rest Rooms and Locker Rooms were never even thought of, and they are discussed today only because those so affected have grown in numbers, giving them more voices, and ergo, more power.

It gets confusing. We hear hints for Sexuality Cards (as any Charge Card) that would slide through some machine to open the doors, and like it or not, such Cards, would be a protection from Sexual crimes by the wily ones who could profess to be Gay or Lesbian and so get into the ‘wrong’ facilities.  The ramifications are endless,

It won’t be easy, and ‘big money’ will fight it tooth and nail, for, if this ever becomes a law, it will require major remodeling of every public building, and many businesses will not have the needed space, nor the money, to pay for it. It will probably be solved, as in many European cities, (still only Men and Women) but where large public-owned Rest Room structures are on every block and thusly, are paid with Tax money.

There are hints that our dependence on what our Birth Certificates say is coming to an end.  And on all ident cards, the Sex question will have four squares, M.F.L.G. And we will check the Real choice, and not the one on our Birth Certificates.

My son Bill who is far more into today’s world than I am, says that the current ‘politically correct’ categories are: LGBTQ, or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning. And how all that would fit on Door Signs is beyond me. So, for simple folks it just boils down to: does the person have a penis or a vagina. And with that, we’re back to the Rest Room signs we’re using right now and I’ll stick with that, and leave well enough alone.

ethelbrad@comcast.net

Water, Rain, An Eternal Cycle

Rain pattering on my window wakened me one recent morning and I pulled open the blinds to marvel over the wonder of God’s world. How intricate each part is, and yet how perfectly it fits together.

The rain hit just inches from my face, and as I was in a sleep-pensive state, I thought of how those same drops of water had been pelting the earth and being used over and over again. Time after time. Eon after eon. And yet each time arriving as fresh and clean as it was on that first day when He separated the earth from the water and ‘found it good.’

I sat up and considered how the very water on my window sill, no doubt once fell upon pre-historic man as he retreated to his cave until the storm passed by. It fell upon slaves in Egypt as they toiled under the master’s lash to raise the pyramids there.

The same water nourished the crops in Bethlehem to grow the grain, the tares and the fig trees, just as it fell here in our valley in answer to the prayers of Utah Pioneers as they faced starvation without it.

The very rain upon my window once nourished the Garden of Eden. It supported Noah’s Arc, Moses drank it in the wilderness. It carried the Pilgrim’s to our shores, and the explorers rode its waves as they braved the inland territories of our nation. Alexander, Caesar, Cleopatra, Hitler and his co-horts all drank it, as also did your own grandparents. And so do you. 

It’s the same water, from time immemorial.  At times moving gently, other times violently on its unending cycle. Today it falls on me and will within hours, become one with the earth beneath my lawn.  There it will sink lower and lower until it reaches the deepest, most outreaching root of tree or bush, and then, through osmosis,  will again begin the upward  journey through an intricate root, limb and leaf system to the surface. Exactly, don’t forget, it’s the same journey when it goes through our bodies as we quaff the wonderful stuff, use, and then eliminate it.

The hunger and thirst of the tree will suck it up, up and up and on every step of the journey, the tree will leech minerals and food from it. It will continue rising until it finally reaches the outmost leaf of tree or bush and there, through a miracle called photo-synthesis, it, along with the sun, will feed the very air we breath.  Re-charging it with oxygen, and thusly making it possible for all animal life, including you and me, to live.

And when that final act is finished, the drop of water will evaporate into the air, where  as dew and mist will rise again. And will remain so, as it is cleansed and re-charged with oxygen and minerals, while at same time, gathering together with other minute droplets of moisture until a tiny cloud, perhaps hundreds of miles in space will form.

How long does it float there? A year? Two?   Dozens or hundreds? Who can tell. But eventually it will become one with other small clouds, and the winds will send them through space, coming nearer and nearer to the earth and sooner or later drop again to the ground. Or perhaps it will drop and become one with the ocean and rise again as steam under some hot tropical sun.

Or maybe it will come as snow to some mountain top and remain there as a glacier for  thousands of years, but yet moving slowly, slowly downward until it drops into the ocean as an iceberg ‘calf’ that will ultimately melt as it drifts south.   Or perhaps it will drop on some arid African desert where man, animal and vegetable life will lift thankful arms and hearts to its coming.

Or, just maybe, it will continue its cycle of bringing sustenance to the earth by falling once more upon my window and wakening such thoughts of God’s harmony in my mind.  And  so, that’s how one of my days began last week. And, how was your day?

I hope just as wonderful, and that in some way you, too, travel through time and space as I did. And I thank God for how intricate and yet how simple He made our world, and for giving we mortals Minds to see, accept, and then explore His wonders.

Yes, oh  yes, I Thank you, God for raindrops on my window. Only inches from my eyes . . . . and Mind . . . and Heart.

 

ethelbrad@comcast.net

Sex And Spring Fever

Just like a couple going on their honeymoon, but each going to a different Hotel . . .

I’ve written about Artificial Insemination before and have yet to be sued for malpractice or even threatened with a law suit. And so, here goes again. And my method is absolutely infallible. Time tested.

Of course, the fact that it happens to be Tomato Plants I tell about might be the reason for such indifference, but just the same, if you plant a few tomato plants in your back yard, and grow beautiful vines, but no tomatoes, try my method. It works like a dream.

I blundered upon this solution one year when I bought 4 or 5 tomato plants which had small tomatoes already formed. They grew into beautiful red globes, but, though the bushes continued to blossom, there were no more tomatoes.

Yes, they were getting enough sun.  Yes, I watered them and yes, I cultivated and even fertilized the soil, but still no fruit.

What I had forgotten, oh foolish me, was that it ‘takes two to tango’, and for two of the same species to create another of their ilk, the rules must be followed.

Yeah, I knew about the birds and bees, the boys and girls, and even the fish in the sea. But tomatoes? Frankly, I hadn’t given it a thought, and had to be reminded by one wiser than I, that if you have only one or two plants, spaced far apart, they just can’t do what they’re supposed to be doing, and will remain sterile.

Just like a couple going on their honeymoon, but each going to a different Hotel.

So, with fewer than a dozen words, that maven, my wise-one, gave me the secret to backyard failures and backyard triumphs.  And now I am an agricultural specialist and pass the information along to you. Pay heed and you too, will become an expert.

Each day the gardener must stroll from one tomato plant to another with a Q-tip in hand, and gently, gently. touch each blossom with the cotton tip and then go to the next blossom and do the same, with the same Q-tip. and repeat the soft touch. Spreading the good stuff around, don’t you see? Oh, and be sure to keep that same Q-tip to use every day, again and again and again.

It works and this spring your tomato blossoms won’t dry up and fall uselessly to the ground, but soon there will be a tiny tomato sitting there, needing only time to develop into one you will take to your table. Or eat right there and then.

I always thought such impregnation techniques had to be performed by highly trained people, wearing white sterile clothing, etc. etc. But this spring, knowing nothing about reproduction (well, hardly nothing) you will be doing that marvelous job as well as a pro.

My   mother and dad could have used the wisdom of my teacher, as I did. They had a beautiful cherry tree and each year that tree bloomed profusely, but nary even one cherry developed.   Years later I read that certain trees, cherries included, have both male and female trees, and at least one of each must be planted close to each other before pollination can occur.

At one time, in what was then a vacant yard, and now Bill and Nina’s home, I had a Pie Cherry tree side by side with a Bing Tree. And had more fruit than I could ever have eaten and gave most of it away. And there, with a male and female tree, it worked.

Every farmer knows that a few long rows of corn won’t produce, but the very same number of stalks, bunched cozily together, will produce ears and ears of corn. The wind, which is the pollinator for corn, whips the precious ‘stuff’ into the air, but if the stalks aren’t right handy, the vital ingredient drops uselessly to the ground.

Even for tomatoes, you gotta have togetherness for the ‘birds and bees’ thing to work naturally.   And so, this summer, if people see you . . . with Q-tip in hand . . . going from tomato plant to another tomato plant, they will know you’re doing your job of matchmaker.

No, you won’t be in a doctor’s white coat, or in a sterile laboratory, or have expensive equipment in hand, but this method works, and you will have tomatoes by the dozen. Sometimes I amaze myself at the folk-lore that someone learns, passes along, and we all eat better because of it.

 

ethelbrad@comcast.net