Christmas Lights

Blessed Beads of Light, in the 1940 Sky

Whenever I hear or read of how the skies gleamed brilliantly  the night of the First Christmas,  I also recall how the black skies lit up for me  over 70 years ago during the 1940 Holy Season. Oh, so different but, I never think of The One, without the other.

I was flying home from Denver. It was an ebony-black night and as we flew high over the mountains, the Pilot told us we were soaring over a sight seldom seen, and that he was shutting off all lights so we could appreciate the beauty,

And he jokingly added, “It looks as if God has put up His Christmas decorations, too.”

And so, with every light OFF, and no stars shining, there in the inky-black that surrounded us I couldn’t even see my own hands. But I did see lights below, or with lack of good orientation from the sudden blackness, were those lights above? But either way, somewhere out there, were three or four clusters of lights separated by long, long, stretches of utter blackness, except for a broken string of lights that seemed to be trying to hold them together.

It looked to me, as if some woman might have carelessly dropped a long string of beads, letting them  break, curl, twist,  and gather in bunches as they lay where they fell.

Or Christmas decorations strung and awaiting our touch, or, and my mind drifted to how Saint Luke told  of when the sky was  lit with lights, at the time of Jesus’s birth.

But what we saw,  was breath-taking. It was an utterly black world where delicate strings of light, drifted between groups of lights, and, dis-oriented in the sudden utter blackness, I really couldn’t be certain whether I was looking UP or if the lights were DOWN. Even the plane seemed to be quietly resting on a black cushion. And, as I recall that night, it still seems as though the plane, people, the entire scene was immovably locked in that one marvelous moment.

And the Pilot, like a Voice from a Void, told that the northern lights (North? South?, West? East? Up? Down?). were the City of Ogden, Ogden? What did that City have to do with such deep blackness . . . but the pilot continued that Salt Lake City formed the largest cluster, and far away at the end of an almost fading string of lights was the City of Provo

But, no matter.  What we saw was a black void, with scattered lights that were gently connected by a thin string of lights, that was interrupted just once by a few lights off to one side that, we were told, was The Murray Smelter.

Not a one of us could know that the possibility of such a view would be a tale met with disbelief and wonder in but a few years.

For me, I doubt if that scene can ever again be duplicated any place in the entire world, for every corner of our entire world now has people who, 24 hours every day and night, need and have electricity, well lit cities and  highways.  And so I wonder, “Did it really happen?” And yes, believe it or not,  it did, and, I was one of a dozen or so on that small plane from Denver, who saw it..

It is so easily explained for the world was just beginning to see the end of the 1930’s Great Depression, and the ‘string of a few pale lights’  were cars on State Road No. 89 which connected Utah cities, and the lights were few because few people had any reason to drive those roads in the middle of a night.

People ate their meals at home, and so there were no hundreds of fast-food eateries, cafes,  rest stops,  bars or motels  along the roads.  There were  few movie houses, no bowling alleys, or  any other places that needed lights at night.

World War II was the catalyst that changed our world with people,  who were  soon working both night and day, depending on cafes or drive-ins for meals, and before no more than a few years, not only our vallies would be bright with lights, but rhe same could be said for the whole world.

And each Christmas as I meditate upon that brightly lit sky of 2,000 years ago,  at the same time, I remember that 1940 Christmas night when I saw our  black world beginning to come alive with 24-7 lights. And, though it  happened over 70 years ago, its beauty remains part of the Christmas Holiday for me.

And I hope yours is a Blessed One with your own Blessed Memories.

Here Comes Christmas

The Kid

 The Wise Guys tell me Christmas is kid Stuff

And just maybe they got something there

Two thousand years ago

Three Wise Guys

chased a Star across a whole continent to bring

Frankincense and Myrhh to a Kid

Who was born in a manager with an idea in His head

And today

As the bombs crash and there is terror over the world

The real Wise Guys know that we all must

Again go chasing Stars

In the hopes that we can get back some of that

Long ago Kid Stuff

That was born two thousand years ago.

Frank Horne, 1942

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

Well almost, but now Thanksgiving is over we can talk of Christmas . . .

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was sleeping, especially my spouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with screws. (If you can’t find the nails, what else do you use?) The children were restless, awake in their beds, while visions of spanking them danced in our heads.

I worked in my bathrobe. My husband, in jeans, had gone down to the den with directions and dreams to assemble a bike that came in small pieces with deflated tires and fenders with creases.

Soon down in the den there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my task to see what was the matter. Away to my husband I flew like a flash, he was shuffling through cardboard, his actions were rash.

The bike on the rug by this flustered Dad soon gave me a hint as to why he was mad. He needed a kick stand. It had to be near.

I shuffled some papers, he saw it appear! We twisted the screws; we were lively and quick, and soon knew assembly would be quite a trick. Faster than eagles in flight all the pieces were found, as he whistled and shouted for parts all around.

“Now socket! Now pedal! Now tires! Now brakes! On handles ! On kickstand ! On horn! Oh . . . but wait!” In the top of the toolbox, he fumbled around. “I need two more screws!” he said with a frown.

And like all good parents, determined to please when they meet with an obstacle late Christmas Eve, we shouted and yelled some complaints to each other. There was never more frustrated father and mother.

And then, in a panic, we heard on the stairs the prancing and hopping of four little feet! I opened the door and was turning around, when kids burst from the hall with a leap and a bound.

They were dressed all in flannel, from their necks to their knees, and their night gowns, were soiled with sugar and cheese.

Excuses poured forth from each pair of lips, and they stood in defiance with hands on their hips. Their eyes were wide open, and each little child jumped when I yelled with a voice hardly mild. They were frightened but cute, though much bigger than elves  but with a. wink of an eye and a pat on the head soon let them catch on they had nothing to dread.

They saw not a thing but went straight to their beds, and we finished the bike and put bows on the sleds.

Then wheeling the bike to the tree, and out of sight, my hubby announced we should call it a night. He rose to his feet,  sprang to his bed, and to the clock gave a whistle, for the time had flown by like a large Titon missile.

But I heard him exclaim as he turned out the light, “Merry Christmas to all, and for you, my dear? Next year ?  ? ? , NO BIKES.”

 

 

(Apologies to original author P.R. Van Buskirk 1985)

 

 

 

Holiday Focus

We’ve spent our lifetimes being programmed by others as to what Christmas is.  We are all barraged daily with messages from elevator music to junk mail, and heaven help anyone who watches TV.  There is a reason they call it “programming”  and it starts with $.

Well here is a Holiday message from Ethel.  Imagine a group of people, together, (with the TV off) sharing a meal and themselves.

Thank thee Lord, for food prepared,

Thank Thee, Lord for love that’s shared.

Bless Thou the Cup,   Bless Thou the Bread

Thy Blessings, Lord, upon each head.

Amen.

Best wishes, and let this spirit be the guide for your holidays . . .

 

A Machine Called Ethel

Or John, or Nina, or Arch  . . .

We usually begin our days in bed, warm, comfortable, in a fetal position, and don’t want to stir.   But like it or not, it’s time to get up, and to make it a bit easier, next time try a yogic way.

Wiggle your toes. No, no, no, not your feet, just your toes. And so slightly, hard to detect, almost just an inward movement, but move your toes, and as you lie there, so comfy, in just a moment or two, you’ll notice that your fingers are also moving. And again, not your hands, but oh, so slightly, the finger muscles move.

You didn’t tell them to move, and so, as your attention has shifted to your fingers, if you back-track a bit, you’ll see that now your feet are also moving. Yes, your feet, as well as the toes have awakened.

And knowing that YOU didn’t tell your fingers, much less your feet, to move, and are beginning to wonder what’s going on, for, surprise, surprise, you see that your hands are getting in on the ‘game’ and without consciously moving anything but your toes, you find that fingers, feet and hands are also in motion.

What is happening??   Well, what we’re seeing is the proof that our body is one unit, and when we flipped the ‘ON’ switch at one point, the entire  ‘machine’  became alive and ready for action.

Think about it. When we walk briskly, who tells the arms and legs how to swing to maintain the body’s balance? . And it’s not just us humans, either, for who tells a beautiful horse, with four legs how to run so safely and beautifully. Animals all have Four legs to move, and with no stumbling or getting mixed up with ‘which leg (legs?)  to manage.  Yet, from birth on, they remember their biological beginnings, and know how to make the right moves. Same with all other ‘machines’, no matter if they have legs, wings, fins or whatever, they somehow KNOW how to manage them.

A few years ago I published a small booklet called “A Machine Called Ethel”. and told of other ways our bodies work so marvelously with no orders from their human owners.

Oh, okay, you mention the Higher Power who dwells within??? Well that’s another story, and for the nonce, we’re talking about waking up  the machine that the Higher Power uses.

Think of your tongue. It floats there so innocently.  So forgotten, and yet, it knows how to behave perfectly as we use it when we talk. eat. chew, swallow, and move the food from side to side to find other teeth. All at the same time. And then think of that one muscle, said to be one of the strongest muscle in our entire body, the Jaws. and how quietly they sit there waiting for their Power to be needed and used.

Once you get thinking, consider how (at the same time) we breath. cough, sniff, sneeze and talk. Going deeper, how our stomach, intestines, heart, lungs, etc, etc. all do their jobs with no prompting from us, because, anyway, we wouldn’t know what to tell them.  And would really be in trouble if our pancreas waited for us to tell it when and how much Insulin to send forth.   Or, for heavens sake,   what would we tell our liver to do? Or the Bone Marrow, or tell the brain to get into gear’? Or to tell what muscles to ‘jump’ in alarm at some sharp unfamiliar sound?

Waking up in the morning is just one way that we can consciously watch the Machine called Ethel, Joe, Bill, Henry, take over. with no prodding coming from us.

We are machines . . . and are fortunate, (Blessed) if we become aware and acquainted with the Boss of the whole Thing. The Boss I call The Source.

 

It’s Not Just Nail Polish Anymore

A cosmetic-counter version of the Swiss Army Knife . . .

     The kid’s fingertips that glowed in the dark on Halloween night, reminded me again of the many other uses there are for Nail Polish and how it should be a standard part of every household ‘fix-it-kit’. And I would bet that as many bottles of Clear polish are in men’s tool kits than at women’s make-up tables.

     My husband, was a real handyman around the house and before he ever knew or thought of colorless polish, he kept one of my nail polish bottles on his shop bench, and didn’t care what color it happened to be.

   But when he was installing a screw into something, he would coat that screw liberally with nail polish, immediately tighten it into place and, to be doubly sure, he’d also ‘paint’ the head of the screw.

   When he became aware of colorless stuff, he would cover the heads of nails and screws on most everything he saw, for it kept rust, dust, and other kinds of stains away.

    I once had a pair of metal salt and pepper shakers at my stove, but as they were often left damp, in a day or two there would be stains where they stood. But I found that with one good clean up, followed by a coat of colorless polish on the bottom of the shakers, left staining a thing of the past.

    I find the Clear is great for a fingernail that has a roughness that nothing but growing out will eliminate.   And, it’s the answer, if you happen to have one of those fingernails that ‘layers’, and is not only unattractive, but is always ‘catching’ on clothes, and forever forming another loose layer. Keep it covered well with colorless nail polish and let the nail grow out. Might take a month or two, but it’s worth the trouble and what other choice is there?

   If you keep a bucket in your garage for measuring liquids needed in the garden, mark off, on the inside, various lines with bright polish, so you will know when you’ve reached a gallon, pint, quart, cup or whatever is needed. It works, and the time spent putting those lines where they are needed, saves you hours of time and frustration, later on.

     The Clear polish will fill in the dents on the top of wooden furniture, and if you coat the brass handles and knobs around the house with the clear polish they’ll never tarnish. Mix a bit of vinyl dust with the clear polish to repair any scratches on your vinyl flooring. Nice.

    My husband would have grabbed onto the new Glow-in-the-dark polish, for it spells the end of fumbling in the middle of the night, trying to find the Remote to turn OFF the TV or music when sleep came, leaving the programs going on forever. I’ve found that a few daubs on the Remote’s edges, as well as painting the On and Off buttons are godsends. Betcha more bottles are sold for such purposes than for finger or toe nails. Or even Halloween.

    Touch up the loose ends of a rope, string, or cord on a window blind to keep them from fraying as well as mending small cuts or tears in window screens.  And the Glow polish is a wonder in helping you find the key-hole of your car in the dark of night, too.

   When the knobs on your dresser or cabinets become loose, dip the screws into clear polish before tightening them and they will stay firm for a long time.

  Never tried it myself, but was told to use acetone polish remover to repair burns on wooden furniture. I think they were referring to hot ashes accidentally dropped from a burning cigarette, but of course, no one   smokes any more, so cancel that one.

   All together, I think we’ve found more uses for both Clear and Glow nail polish than the makers imagined. Or maybe they did, and left it to us to find out what we have right at our fingertips.

Yeah, yeah I know this is a repost, but I just found some new uses for nail polish so I posted it again!!  : )

The Ten Commandments For Happiness

I’m no expert on ‘How to be happy’, but . . .

If we live long enough we get tossed around a bit. . . until we finally realize it’s our choice of whether to be happy or depressed.  So, here are Ten Commandments for happiness. I keep the list where I see it off and on, and the words have made a difference for me. And, Ethel being Ethel, I added an Eleventh.

1. Take time to work.   Each day you have 24 hours to use, two hands that need something to do. Work answers both.  Everyone needs the sense of satisfaction of a job well done, whether for money or not. and ever since Eleanor Roosevelt set the pattern, our First Lady’s have all done volunteer work. And you’ll sleep like a saint when, as your tired body crawls into bed at night, knowing, “Today I saw a need and tried to help.”

2. Take time to play.  It is the secret of youth and while youth in years cannot remain, youth in spirit is ageless. The old, familiar words still ring true. “There are ‘old’ young people, and there are ‘young’ old people.” Take your pick.

3. Take time to read. The wisdom and humor of people from all ages and climes are in books, free of charge, from any library shelf. Oh, take time to read, for a home (or life) without books can be sterile and empty. What a difference a book makes.

4. Take time to think. The Mind is a Power source and the power I speak of is the power to master and control our own lives. Milton knew all about that back in 1666, when he said: ‘The Mind can make a Heaven while in Hell, or a Hell while in Heaven”.

5. Take time to worship. It’s the perfect road to real joy. And it doesn’t mean sitting bored on some church bench, though it can happen there. But it can also happen  any place and no matter what task you are busy with. I keep remembering that Adam, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, et al, had no fancy clothes or buildings for worship. In times of labor, play, relaxing, or in a crowd, no one will know what your mind is doing. Worship.

6. Take time to make friends. There is no life as barren as one so full of busy-ness that no time is found for friendship. Lover, spouse and ‘significant’ other, often come and go, but friends are friends before, during and after such changes. Make them. Keep them.

7. Take time to love. It is the most sacred sacrament life can offer, and if you limit your love life to the sexual aspect, you’re missing a lot. There are so many other kind of love, all the way up to Agape, and marriages flounder unless young love develops and reaches into deeper realms. Marriage without sex would be boring, but marriage for sex only is doomed from the start.

8. Take time to laugh. It is Balm of Gilead for life’s burdens. A great big hearty laugh that rocks the room is so healing it relaxes places you didn’t know were tense.

9. Take time to dream.   Dreams lift you to the stars, and never apologize for your dreams. because there isn’t one single accomplishment on earth, from going to the moon, to writing a sonnet, that didn’t begin with ‘just a dream’.   Bless your dreams.

10. Take time to plan. It is a secret seed for all the rest. You know the adage, one that is found , at eye level on many a bathroom mirror, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”

11. Turn Off the D___ TV. It’s hypnotic with false laughter, people giggling and trying to discuss subjects they no nothing about. Games after games, obviously doing whatever can be found, because, somehow those daily 24 hours must be filled, and we end up with at least 22 hours of pure trash that no one wants or needs.   Turn it Off and find out what YOU think. And what YOU want and don’t want your children to think is important..

Yes. all the above are good, and some are easy and some aren’t, and while they might not make a new person of us, they’ll make the most of the kind of person we  already are. And isn’t it great that we have the control (see No.4 above). Especially over that choice (or curse) of today that can be cured just by  pressing the OFF button.  What and when to view is up to each of us.  Let’s not let someone else choose how to fill our days.  .

Going Home Again

Chance or accident?  Perhaps . . .

My Dad, Carl Ohlin, came as a nine year old, with his parents, Peter and Maria Ohlin from Sweden, and for the rest of their lives they might have wished to go back for a visit, but time and circumstances said no.

But Wayne Ursenbach, the husband of, Bernice, one of Carl’s daughters, was in Europe on company business, and when that was over, he called Bernice, to ‘come on over’ and let’s do a bit of exploring. And they did.

And one of the places, was Eskilstuna, Sweden, where Dad had lived as a boy. They prowled, and they, as well as the woman at a Traveler’s Information counter, were in awe as they found they were there on a street that Dad had known and mentioned.   And Bernice cried as she wished she could have told Dad of the day and coincidence.

Then time passed and Wayne and Bernice’s son Stephen, in Europe this past month, also went to his Grand Dad’s (Carl) home town, and rejoiced as he photographed tall churches that had been there for centuries. Buildings that Carl couldn’t have helped but have seen and known.   And there was rejoicing on both sides of the Atlantic over the ‘going home’ occasions.

Today, with travel so available, one would think parades of people would be ‘going home again’. and joyously do so in some parts of the world, but in others????   Yes, in others, it’s best to not even try, for you might never get there, much less get back..

Read on and I’ll tell a tale of one person, and in my whole story I shall hide all mention of gender. Safer that way. But the mother of one of a couple who had lived in a mid-east country, died, and the child of that woman, decided to go home, from America, for the rites. It wasn’t a good decision, for they never dreamed the ‘traveler’ would be imprisoned, labeled a spy, and threatened with death. Returning to the American home an impossible dream.

I met this person about 20 years ago, and had occasion to hear the first part of their story. How they chose, to leave that mid-east country, and ‘come to America’ bringing their children with them. Same as thousands have done over the centuries and it was good..

They were skilled in crafts which have world-wide usage, and so easily found work, Their children adapted to American schools and by the time I met them the kids were ready for college and the two were both doing extra work to help pay their ways. Nice.

Time passed and not too long ago I stumbled upon people who know the couple I write about, and quite accidentally heard the second part of their story, only this was a ‘going home’ story of horror par excellence.

The death of the mother was sad, and so they thought it would be good if she/he went ‘Home’ for the sorrowful rites. But it was not to be, for as she/he stepped from the plane in that mid-east country, he/she was met by the police and for the next five months was imprisoned as a spy, traitor or whatever. The joy of any family ‘reunion’ was lost in terror as the family, from both there and here, were put through absolute hell.

Those there, had to prove they weren’t sending information to America, and the one from here, going home for a funeral, had to prove his/her innocence.

Five months is a long time and the execution of that one was tossed back and forth by the authorities there, with even the date of execution set.

Who knows what happened? And if anyone knows, who will tell, but suddenly she/he was released and told to get out of that country fast if they valued their life. The people telling me, knew only the basic facts, No details. No one talks. And so fear we have never known before is implanted here in America. The fear of simply sharing the events of our lives.

Our family, in Sweden, rejoiced, told the world, sent pictures by the internet and gloried in searching for old bonds. The other not too far away by today’s reckoning, was luckier than many, and was not executed, but only imprisoned, mistreated, then suddenly kicked out.

We live in two worlds, and can only thank The Source’ that we were born here on this side of the world, and not there on the other side.  TYG

 

 

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.