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Tears, Tragedy and Genealogy

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My sister just sent me a piece of family history that boggles the mind.

My uncle Jim was an engineer who help build the first atomic bombs dropped in Japan. Shortly after the war, he went to Japan and met a Swedish born Japanese woman and brought her back to the states to marry her.

She became pregnant, but the animosity of the US Government was still high, and because of her Japanese heritage, refused both her citizenship and marriage license. She returned to Japan where her daughter was born. But my family had no idea of her fate, and scoured internment camps and wrote many letters to authorities in both Japan and the US.

But it was a tragic series of events that followed. The mother died, and the daughter was raised in the slums by her nanny.

Here is the AP story of that tragedy. I am trying to contact my niece now …

An identity lost in post-war Japan took 67 years to reclaim

In New Mexico, they even had a Mary Ann Vaughn Day …


A Time To Keep, and a Time To Throw Away

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Well, she’s gone. There is a big hole in the carport where she sat. The new owner of my pickup truck came and got it yesterday. I forgot how handsome she was until I saw her go down the road. It is another milestone in my misspent life as I chronicle the passing of days.

So, I note as I sip my coffee this chilly February morning. 31 degrees outside, and the chill seep through the double panes, so I tip the thermostat up a couple more degrees and sit back in my battered executive chair to take another sip of coffee and reflect over my oft squandered past.
Nonetheless, life in my dotage isn’t all that bad. It is quite comfortable thanks to my woman of valor. I am glad that karma is a myth and that we often don’t get what we deserve.
There is a time to keep, and a time to throw away, says the preacher. And it is a time to throw away. I have bicycles I will never ride again, tools I’ll never use, parts for projects I will never complete … and lots of time to decide what to toss. I think. One never really knows, do they.
Oddly, though, there is a quiet joy in ridding myself of encumbrances while I can do so. I still have time to improve my router, time to play, and even time to dream of the future. But that horizon is getting nearer, and much doesn’t seem as important as it once did.
And spring is around the corner. I am already planning the flower boxes and making improvements to the yard. There is always spring, and I have a tiny bit of strength left to do a little porch sitting when the weather warms. I am looking forward to it.

Fomenting or Fermenting? That is the question.

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101914_1729_Somedays1.jpgA frigid and gray dawn today as another polar express roars through Texas. Snooks get the day off from her food bank volunteering, and I made up a big batch of beef stew for the freezer. I like my beef stew on these kinds of days, and all we need to do is drop a chunk from the freezer into the crock pot, and a hearty dinner is ready by evening.

Chili was always a good choice for days like this, but as geezerhood and senility slowly settled in, chili became too aggressive for our delicate constitutions. I don’t know what’s next. Beef flavored Pablum, perhaps.

Peace and serenity have returned to my world now that I have disconnected from the active news feeds on facebook.  I still read the news from RSS news feeds, but since most of them don’t have any way to respond to the item, I don’t get worked up trying to refute every asinine headline from the press, and that has left me with a bit more time to spend writing and meditating.

<delete rant on scientific activism>

And so this Tuesday morning unfolds. Two cups to get me going, and maybe some more if I pick up on the thread of a new idea fomenting in my mind , and begin translating it into English.

Good morning!



Cold, warm, then cold again.

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101914_1729_Somedays1.jpgA chilly but sunny dawn for us this morning, but supposedly getting warmer later in the day.  That will give me time to finish the electric fence in my ongoing battle to keep Tic, my wandering aussie mix, contained in his own yard. He is a climber, not a jumper, so just making the fence taller won’t work for him. I am going to have to lock the door and put my headphones on when I turn it on, though. I am not tough enough to let him learn the hard way …

I had hoped that with the freezing weather, the allergens would die off, but no such luck. I am choking and coughing up a storm this morning despite the frigid weather … maybe it is time to look to other causes.

And the morning stretches into midmorning. Must fix Snooks breakfast. It didn’t take her long to get used to me cooking on weekends. But there still is a few sips left in the coffeepot, and I need to take care of that first.

Good morning!

Here We Go A Vamping

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So how does one take a jilted ex-hippie who left unrequited love on the commune up in the Sangre de Christo mountains of New Mexico to becoming a mercenary, and later the spiritual leader and husband to a Middle Eastern convent that he and his merry band of mercs rescued and moved to Texas?

At this stage of the tale, the hero made his goodbyes, and flew off in his little sport plane with Fido, a stray mongrel with strong herding instincts.  Fido will be left at a pet sanctuary for older dogs since Joe wasn’t sure that he would be well taken care of at the commune, and the plane will be sold at an auction in San Antonio to provide Joe with airfare to the Middle East, where he will join his war buddy mercenary in protecting petroleum interests in Northern Iran.

I wrote a little piece to help me get Joe on his way, Are you going away with no word of farewell? and to flesh out Joe a little clearer in my mind.  Joe is a warrior who becomes a peacenik who returns to being a warrior.  In the course of his warring, he ends up rescuing the nuns of a convent that had been raided by terrorists.  Joe and his buddy enlisted the help of some very wealthy Canadians and Americans, and got the convent moved to safety in the US.

The nuns were very angry with the Church that abandoned them, and rejected its authority.  They felt that Joe was a warrior monk who was sent by God to rescue them, and so he was rightly the spiritual intermediary of their convent.  A type of priest to them, if you will.

The only problem was that they didn’t tell Joe of his elevation. At least right away.

And why am I telling you all this? Because this tale will never make it out of the first edit, and will never be submitted to a publisher, and I want to complete one tale in my lifetime. So I am vamping you, dear reader. I’ll apologize in advance for the subterfuge.

Hello darkness my old friend …

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Unrequited love themes have settled in on me during these dreary winter doldrums. I am thinking that perhaps they are the key that unlocks the trigger to my winter desolation. One theme is the hero who plugs away at a steadily declining hippie commune, and wakes up one day to discover that he is the only one who isn’t getting laid. But being that he is a plugger, he finishes up the incomplete projects, makes his goodbyes, and rides off into the sunset.  Or in one version, soars off in his bush plane.

I just hate the dreary sadness that settles in on me, yet I seem to delight in wallowing in it. December is bad, but by January and through February it really gets to be heavy sledding. I have made a few efforts to describe the Satanic heaviness, but finally gave it up. If you haven’t been there, you wouldn’t know.  Attributing spiritual forces as the cause if it seems to make more sense to me than trying to make some sort of psychological sense out of it.

Eventually, I succumb and let myself sink into the pit. It is easier than fighting it off. It is relentless.

So, I may write. Or I may not. I may go on facebook. Or I may not. If not, I’ll see you in Spring …

NewYears confessions are better than NewYears resolutions.

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101914_1729_Somedays1.jpgI wanted to write this New Years Day journal at daybreak, but coffee, breakfast, a couple of video games and a couple or three facebook flame wars quickly ate up the morning.  So this gets started at the crack of noon, or perhaps a few minutes later.

New Years is always a puzzlement to me. Especially when my cosmic conscious friends start telling me what it portends.  I don’t think Pope Gregory was all that prescient when he arbitrarily decided that the winter solstice was the beginning of the year. Turns out that he was a few days off on that calculation too, not to mention some four decades that he couldn’t figure out what to do with, and with the dash of a pen, just eliminated them.

Such power!

One of my mystical friends was telling me what the numbers 2018 added up to, and how the alignment of certain planets and the moon was going to do to that vibration of the cosmos.  I don’t want to mock my friend, but frankly, I can’t see how the selection of December 31st is going to impress the cosmos very much.

I can weakly admit that it is remotely possible that the cosmic streams and the pull of the moon on cerebral fluids would influence humanity, but a dimly remembered Pope’s declaration of the beginning of the New Year having any impact on the body and mind is a long stretch for me.

Those who know me know that I do have very strong religious convictions, and that I put an inordinate amount of faith in the ancient scribblings on parchment, paper and papyrus, and perhaps the faith in those scribblings would seem to be just as ridiculous to many as my friend’s musings about cosmic vibrations are to me. I am just as lost in defending my beliefs as my friend is in hers.

I try to not cast my pearls before unclean animals, though. I save the discussions and arguments for those who do understand those scribblings.  Some of my scoffing friends sometimes read fragments out of those writings, and use them to mock believers, but I see no reason to give them the additional passages that debunks their understanding. Let ‘em scoff.

Faith is one of those odd things that you either have it, or you don’t. Even in my own experience, when faith is high in me, it seems like I have always had faith.  And when it is low in me, it seems like I have never had faith.  It is impossible for a man without faith to see the hands of God moved by faith.  And a man of faith finds it incomprehensible that someone would not see those hands move.

One bitter January night in North Denver some five decades ago, I lay in my bed and asked myself if God was as insane as he seemed.  Of course, that God was me, and since I was insane at the time, so was God. And if you have an insane God, you have real trouble.  I don’t want to detail the follow-up from that questioning, it was intensely personal. But over the course of the following months I was changed, and so was the world around me.

I would like to tell you that I became a real sweetheart, sort of a mixture of Saint Francis and Moses, but no, I really didn’t turn into a nice guy.  I did turn into a more peaceful one, however.  But I merely had better manners.

Only with age have I developed any sort of pity for mankind and the terrible morass that has befallen him.  It has taken me almost half a century to gain enough humility to ask what had happened to us.  The answer hasn’t been a very comforting one, even with the promises we have been given. I look back at my early years of setting out on this path with a little embarrassment.  Even from the miserable circumstances I was in, I swaggered in ignorant arrogance.

I am beginning to see that it is in age and infirmity that true wisdom and humility can come, if we let it.  Not that I am presenting myself as any sort of paragon of wisdom and maturity. Follow me around on facebook, and you can see much of my old ignorant swaggering. My former pastor used to say that he didn’t put a religious bumper sticker on his truck because of the way he drove. Yeah. That is me. I am better off not wearing the robes of piety …

But still, old men dream dreams, and God reveals himself to them in a very unique way. Often in spite of themselves.

Happy New Year!
Spring follows winter … ‘til it doesn’t.