Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Well I got by another year assuming I get through today and tomorrow. It has struck me that many of us keep living the same life we lived before over and over again. It wasn't always like that for me. I used to get out in the middle of the river and splash around until something happened. If this something wasn't good I'd do my best to right the situation and with prayer the situation was righted. There were many times that my splashing brought up good things, fresh fish to eat and enjoy.

As I reflect on my life I can see many decisions that brought love and joy and success of some kind. I saw my wife. She was beautiful, gorgeous. Set my sights on her despite the nagging feeling that she would never see anything good in me. But after pursuing her for four or five years she finally caught me. Together we had a great life. We never stopped loving although she had early onset Alzheimer's which threw a wrench into our enjoying. Yet it was her journey she had to take and I was privileged to take it with her. It was tough but I wouldn't change it at all since it was a journey she had to take. We loved on a level we never would have reached if we didn't have this battle to fight. We had, I still have a wonderful family that has grown exponentially counting grandkids etc.,  I have to admit that it wasn't always exciting. Like the movies, we remember the scenes but have to edit out the boring moments when we were caught in ruts and were bored as hell!

I pretty much did it all, and I mean my "all", Music, writing songs, playing gigs hitting double "C,s" on my Trumpet, Acting for 15 years after I hit middle age but before that was an executive with a motion picture company (a young man on the rise), then slowed down as I reached middle management with a financial institution. The point is I didn't sit on my butt, I got out into the fray and tried to make things happen and things did happen some good some bad but for the most part life was lived.

But as I reflect on the outgoing year I let my age slow me down. Didn't make waves. Accepted life as it was thrown at me. I let the river currents move me around instead of swimming against the current to get where I should be in life. I always felt if the glass was empty it could be filled again and the wine should be savored until the glass is drained ready to be filled again.

My resolution for the New Year is to get out in that river and splash around until things happen. Bad things might happen but for every bad thing there is a good thing waiting around the corner. So there may be endings but for every ending there is a new beginning. Just because I am elderly doesn't mean I can't drink the wine of life and enjoy it to the fullest. The New Year seems very exciting to me now that I have made the resolution to face it with gusto. My motto, "Live, Love and be Happy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Donald J. Trump President Elect

Let me start this blog with the fact I voted for Hillary Clinton not because I was particularly in love with her candidacy but because I was disillusioned with Mr. Trump's. I would have considered Gov. John Kasich but Trump ran all over his fellow primates (a play on words for those purists) during the Republican campaign.

The fact is Mr. Trump won the election and there is no other choice but him for the next four years unless he does something leading to impeachment which I do not see happening, therefore I must wish him well and success because failure means bad times for all of us in these United States.

My problem is I do not trust a man who spends two years or more saying things I totally disagree with which border on racism, misogyny, dishonesty, while he insulted anyone and everyone who opposed him while he proposed policies that bordered on fascism. After he won he starts to turn completely around using different tones of his voice, facial expressions of humility and reversals of some policies while appointing to his cabinet a man who has been associated with a white nationalist Internet paper called Breitbart News. Just Google Trump, Bannon and the CBS program "60 Minutes" for reference to the details of what I am saying and you will see that this guy, our President Elect, Donald J. Trump sounds very much like he's conning us and we have no idea what his Presidency will be like until it goes into motion after his inauguration.

Meanwhile we have a guy who has business connections that are intertwined with our political system and conflict of interest abounds in the background because the President of these United States does not have to place anything in blind trusts, in fact he plans to have his children run the business which smells even greater of conflict of interest. All this while it appears that he is in bed with Russia's President Vladimir Putin who happens to be an excellent KGB officer who runs Russia like he wants to piece together the USSR once more.

I hope and pray Donald Trump is the patriot he says he is and not the con man he appears to be for your sake and mine. Let us pray!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Aging Or Just Growing Old

When I was younger I wondered what it would be like to be older. Different thoughts at different ages of youth. Some of the earliest remembrances of this go back to when I was eight or nine and I wondered if I would ever get to high school. Imagine! A teenager! A chance to break away from home, the tyranny of Mom and Pop. A chance to smoke or drink some cheap wine or guzzle a beer. The world was all ahead of me.

I finally got to high school. I still think that was the best or one of the best four years of my life. As a pre-teenager I was Mr. Five by Five, five feet tall and five feet wide. I got pushed around and I wondered what it would be like to push back. In high school I grew and helped by weight lifting got to be stronger than most so I pushed back and lived a pretty free life. There were those like "Crazy George" and his ilk I avoided because my pre-teen experience taught me how to survive.

All of male high schoolers had to contemplate what getting a little older might bring, a job yes but more important service in one of our country's armed forces. Never thought about college that was for the bookworms not for me. I got a job, got acquainted with the gal who would be the love of my life forever, and finally got conscripted into the US Army.

Life was good, full of love passion and accepting responsibilities while keeping a passion for living life to the fullest. I had enough going on right "now".  Still I wondered what it would be like when I got older. People would say age is just a number and I would laughing agree. We were wrong! Age is more than a number it is a body getting older and not being able to function the way it used to function. Age is accepting limitations but learning to do things within the limitations each of us old timers might have. More than anything getting older is realizing you have limited time to enjoy the good things life has to offer. Again each one of old timers is limited to doing what the physical and mental health of each one of is.

The fact is each of old timers are restricted by what the younger among us expect of us, demand of us because of our age. Of course the youngest do not pay attention to us since they are building their own life with the building blocks of personal experience. The old ones, say 55, 60 and up have their ideas about what we should and should not do.  So they put limits on things like driving, going out on dates, actions that they consider belonging to the younger groups.

If one should get into a relationship with a younger person then that person has all the time in their mind to figure out where the relationship is going if in fact it is going anywhere. So the older one is not supposed to want or need passion, or look to spending time on long vacations or just doing what people do in relationships. The younger person can figure all that out when they retire but then the older one might have run out of time and will be dealing with the problems that come up with severe aging like a broken body and mind.

So as we get into growing old the biggest problem is the limited time we have left to enjoy life before we either get ill and/or die. We old timers have to figure out how to handle the good times we have left before that time runs out. Living in the "now" is the best way to do this but we are sharing the "now" with everybody whose "now" isn't the same as ours. The answer isn't to live then with only people of the same age because that means shutting off change, shutting off all the colors of the rainbow. For me the answer is to look for new opportunities to enjoy life, maybe new projects maybe new loves, all are limited but that's the fun, accept the limitations and live joyfully within them.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

"Queen Of Katwe" A Must See Movie

This movie is a must see because it is about the human condition of poverty, the depressed condition of women worldwide, the depravity of those in power, the need of education, use of talent and good people providing mentoring to help those at the lowest level rise to the highest level within their community. And it does this without the use of blatant, sex, violence and sensationalism which is the centerpiece of many of our current movies.

The summary of the motion picture as found on their page promoting the film follows:

"Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. Phiona becomes fascinated with the game and soon becomes a top player under Katende's guidance. Her success in local competitions and tournaments opens the door to a bright future and a golden chance to escape from a life of poverty."

What the words do not reveal are what the pictures do. First of all poverty has no face or color, neither does abuse, but goodness shines through in such simple and pure ways it reflects the goodness that lies at the center of spirituality without ever becoming preachy.

The slums have only dirt streets, broken houses without running water or any of the niceties we take for granted. Many women have no way to earn a living and therefore are at the mercy of overbearing men who seem to have lost their compassion in this dog eat dog world. The slum dwellers have no education many can't even read the simplest things. They make money by growing vegetables and hustling them on the streets if they lose their money they are summarily dispossessed to live out on the streets.. In this true story that was first published in an ESPN article and later in a book an Engineer who is married to a teacher lives here because he can't get a job as an Engineer. He takes a low paying job while he hunts for the job befitting his education. He comes in contact with the children who have no hope and gets them interested in Of all things, Chess. Chess captures their imagination and the girl, Phiona, after many years becomes a Master champion and is able to lift her family out of  the slums.

For this to have had to happen this Engineer, Robert Katende had to finally turn down a good paying job to stay with the children and keep helping them. With his wife teaching they were schooled and learned to read. Phiona became a national hero and light broke through the darkness.

Poverty has no face or color. Goodness has no face or color. People of color, white people, everybody can be hit by the hardship of being economically disadvantaged. But we all have talents that can be developed through education and used to rise above these disadvantages especially if we have mentors who are people of goodness.

See this picture and enjoy the possibilities if people would only care for each other working to lift rather than to tear down. The movie is well written and terrifically acted. And it has a message without being overly bearing in delivering it.    

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reflection On A Romantic Relationship

We were married in 1957-July 27. Always loved those numbers 7/27/57. Spent the first 9 months of our marriage living at 79-B Baker Village, Columbus, Georgia. My term in the Army at Fort Benning would end June 25, 1958. Our first child was due close to my discharge date. She went home to New York to give birth avoiding late term air travel. It would cost $25 if our first child came while I was still in the Army, $250 if it occurred after I was discharged. Back in the day the difference of $225 was a lot of money. We beat the odds as he was born 6/18/58.

I always liked our numbers 7/27/57, married. Our first living quarters 79-B, Baker Village. We had 7 wonderful kids, 6 boys and 1 girl. My wife lived up to 72 years. The number 7 always present in our lives one way or the other always meant good things for us, always brought good luck and God's blessings. 

She's been gone now over 8 1/2 years But we did make it to 50 years of married life before she departed.  That's quite a run, a run that had its glorious moments as well as some very bumpy ones . Once the bumps were smoothed over it made the union even more glorious.

I still miss her very much each day. The last 17 years of her life was impacted by Alzheimer's, a progressive disease that gets worse progressively.  The early part of our lives into middle ages we loved to be together. She wanted to be with me as much as I wanted to be with her. 

Her beauty only reflected her wonderful soul. When we touched there was always magic which led to the delights of intimacy. As Alzheimer's progressed this need to be together became different yet stronger. She needed me as her advocate, as her protector, as her lover from afar physically but 
much closer spiritually. The more she needed me the more I needed her. Our need was mutual. 

From the moment we confessed our love, back in the day so long ago, to the moment of her death the person we wanted, needed to be with was us, we two, always sharing our love. I believe once lovers prefer to be with someone else their love begins to fade. Doesn't mean you can't have friends but if you experience something wonderful the first thought should be I wish she/he were here to share this with me. If this wonderful experience would rather be shared without your lover then the love is fading and maybe it fades until it is no more.

I have no regrets. Our life was wonderful. Our love produced 7 children 10 grandchildren and one great-grand-child, so far. I miss her gentle touch, her beautiful smile and the love we shared.  Although she is gone physically I feel her spiritual presence always. Life is good! 


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stardust (When Our Love Was New and Each kiss an inspiration)

If you ever were in love, a hot meaningful love that brought you to the heights of passion and desire and was brought down to the depths because what was once is no more for whatever the reason then you should listen to to "Stardust" written by Hoagy Carmichael and performed by great artists such as Frank Sinatra and Nat "King" Cole. It captures the ecstasy once felt and the loss that you have to live with the rest of your life. 

Take a vacation from all the noise that is going on in our political air and the senseless atrocities happening in our world and read the lyrics, let your mind drift back to a happier time and dwell in the romantic notion that love once tasted can never really die. Then uTube it and listen to great artists perform it. Let the poetic air of true romance lift you to heights of escapism while you ponder creativity and your own life. 

And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we're apart

You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by

Sometimes I wonder why I spend
The lonely night dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song

Beside a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairy tale
A paradise where roses bloom
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love's refrain

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hillary & Donald

Now that Labor Day 2016 has cone and gone the Presidential race should be in full gear even though it seems to me that it has been going on forever already.

The race has tightened after all the bumps both campaigns got after their conventions.

Generally speaking I am an Independent who usually votes Democratic rather than Republican although I have voted GOP on a few occasions and I believe one of our greatest Presidents is Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Lately though the right wing, used to be called the Tea Party,  Has turned me off because it has caused roadblocks to some real good programs such as infrastructure rebuilding and seems to want many social programs that penalize the poor heavily while benefiting those who have what seems like too many benefits.  They seem to be overly interested in discrediting Hillary Clinton over really trying to work out problems. There have been many committees set up investigating the same problems over and and over again all coming to the same conclusion that she may not be perfect but she is not guilty of criminal conduct.

Hillary has been accused over these last thirty years or so of possible murder, conspiracy to commit something and everything, taking Government positions such as Senator and Secretary of State just so she can enrich herself not caring for the people she represents, in fact she is robbing them. So far she hasn't been convicted of any of these charges which means she must be a genius in the crime business doing all or even some of these things while being in the public eye and avoiding capture.
So far the only crime I can see is millions of dollars being spent in the quest to jail Hillary that was wasted because she hasn't be found guilty because if she was she'd be sitting in jail right now. I do see a lifetime of service that has resulted in many good things for the minorities and the rest of the people she represents far too many to list here but you can Google her to find the details.

Donald Trump on the other hand has accomplished nothing as far as public service goes. He has come from wealth and accumulated greater wealth. Good for him. As a businessman he is a success but as a humanitarian he has not come very far. As a Politician he has set out very little policy but what he has set out is subject to change depending on the venue and to whom he maybe talking to.
Sometimes he sounds like a neo-fascist and sometimes he sounds like a panderer. Just recently he quoted scripture while he was at a Black church. The quote was all about love but when he went back to his rally he went back to deporting undocumented aliens and keeping Muslims banned from entering. His economic proposals seemed to favor the rich especially when he wants to drop the Estate (Death) Tax. With the exclusions that are already in the present tax plan dropping the Estate tax would benefit him and those like him but mean very little to the middle class. Google the tax code and see if I am not telling the truth and he isn't.

Hillary has the backing of her party and the powerhouses in it while Donald has very little backing in fact it seems that the GOP stars are trying to avoid him as he is having a downward effect on Congressional races.

Unless something very unusual happens I guess I will vote for Hillary or not vote at all because I could never vote for The Donald. The Libertarian line has no chance so no vote or a vote for them would have the same effect. A little over two months and we shall know what the result of this race will finally be. Good luck to us, the American people.