Author Archives: Charles

The Election of a Lifetime

It is with some trepidation, that I begin this entry. Two more days until the election ends. But…then there are all those ballots to be counted. There is some talk that we may not know until days, or even weeks later who will have won. We need more.

In most presidential elections, we have a pretty good idea of who has won before election evening is over, through estimates and projections. I can only hope that it is thoroughly clear by election evening this time. I HOPE that the voter’s will have sent a very clear message…an extremely clear message…that Biden is the very clear winner…and Trump is the EXTREMELY clear loser! If not…I fear for my sanity, and for the sanity of many throughout the country!

This is NOT about politics, and has never been about politics for most of us. Our political system and our social systems have been so corrupted by so many things, that they have created a place in our political history for a man like Trump to not only survive, but to thrive. Many, many words have been written and said about him, and many, many examples are further provided on video. Nothing I could say here today would add anything to those words or videos, so I won’t rehash it.

The question for Americans to decide is whether they want more of Donald Trump…or do they want to try something different.

Of course, many, many words have been tossed out about each candidate painting them maybe, and even probably, more harshly than deserved. Or maybe all of it is true. That is doubtful. Not that both of our candidates might not be corrupted, but are they corrupted in the ways that have been alleged against them?

The facts…have never been more muddied. I don’t believe that anyone knows for absolute certain what the facts are…and yet we all put out there information that we believe, or at least hope to be true. We know some facts by what we see of the actions of the candidates that have been captured on video. But then there are the spin gangs…the people who try to tell us what we have seen in a way that looks better for their candidates. And this only further muddies the facts. “Don’t believe what you see…believe what I tell you you saw.”

Unfortunately, there is no clear black and white in the world. And especially not in the world of politics. It is truly “Win at all costs and damn the facts!”

So all of us…are left to our own to use our own resources to try to clarify what is happening. Many of us don’t have the internal resources to do that, so we look toward other people and other sources that we believe we can trust…which may or may not be reliable to provide clarification. Bringing it back again to ourselves. What do we want to believe?

And we all seem to think that at the bottom of it all…we know better ourselves than anyone else whether its true of not.

I scan the internet looking for information that may be helpful to all, in this struggle to determine the facts. And the other side does as well. Whether facts, or easily refutable information is placed in front of our eyes…we still only see what we want to see. We still won’t always see the facts. It is a fruitless, hopeless exercise with some people to even bother.

Elections are predictable in only one way. There is a huge block of people on one side of the coin, and a huge block on the other side. Then, there are the people in the middle who don’t know what to believe! One day they will believe one side of the coin…and another day they might believe the other side. And they vote based on how they see it on the day that they vote. Of course they can rationalize why they do what they do, but it is only just that…rationalization. Still, these are the people who decide elections, unfortunately.

I think Trump is the worst kind of President to ever come along! And I think he is a despicable human being. I think he needs to be stopped! Right here, and right now, he needs to be stopped! People can say it is politics, but it is not and never has been. The worst part about Trump is the human being that he is not! I’ve never seen a person who is such poor excuse for a human being. I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life so I suppose that such people are out there. I’ve just not had the displeasure to meet them.

The trouble is…that many on the other side of the spectrum think Trump is a great person and a wonderful human being, and that my candidate is the scum of the earth, and that I am also because I support him. What we have to do to win the election for our side, is to convince the people in the middle…the wishy washy…that our set of facts are more true than their set of facts. That, and/or get a lot more new voters out there to help.

While the facts are pretty clear to me that Trump is the worst ever president to come along…I have to figure out how to help the folks in the middle see and understand that…with a set of information that is unclear at best, but extremely muddied at worst to the point of maybe not being true at all. This is the game of American politics…perhaps world politics in general.

I don’t like it, but I have felt it is my duty as part of this country, and more, as part of humanity, to use whatever information necessary to convince those middlers…that my facts are what matters so that they will vote Trump out of the picture!

It will take a long, long time to repair the damage that Trump has done to this country, and to the people of this country. I have to wonder if the damage among friend and families can ever be repaired. I will always have in my mind that you voted for Trump…and believed his lies.

Change our minds and show us that you change direction.

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A New Dawn in America

I breathed a big sigh of relief today…when they finally projected Biden would win a state with enough electors to take him over the 270 mark. SIGH!!! I began to relax about the presidency for the first time in 4 long years. I wanted…I needed to write about this day…Sunday November 8th 2020! This time in America when, after these 4 years we have finally been able to see Trump on his way out the door of the national stage. Sure, it won’t be as easy as it should be, but I believe we will prevail.

I heard the news yesterday, and though I had been expecting it, I just couldn’t relax, or breathe that sigh of relief until it was all but official. As I was busy at a day long event, I didn’t really hear it, I just heard whispers of it from the Trumpers around me.

“They announced it today.” One said. “Isn’t it disgusting?” Said another. “We’ll get this fixed.” Said yet another….etc. etc. I was surrounded by Trumpers where I was. Trumpers who were not happy with the news, and who believed that it could be changed to keep Trump as president.

Behind my mask, I smiled. I didn’t say anything. Life has to go on with these people after its all over. It was reward enough to know that it had finally happened…though I still couldn’t really relax until I read the news for myself and perused every article I could find to assure myself it wasn’t just some rumor. I couldn’t quite internalize it enough to accept that it was finally over. Well…maybe not totally over. I know that. Trump has vowed to challenge it in many court suits alleging voter fraud and whatever else he can think up. But I understood that the counting was scrupulous over these last few days, doing everything they could in all areas to assure the integrity of the count…not that the Trumpers will believe it anyway. But we believe it…because we saw it happening. Every counting place was videoed and observed by watchers from both parties. It was done. And Trump is done, though he may not know it yet.

It didn’t happen instantaneously for me. It was a gradual…acceptance. It started slowly, and then began growing as I watched videos and read articles that stated how it had happened. I didn’t even really feel myself feeling it until a bit later when…I realized that I was feeling…total exhaustion! I was so exhausted that I even went to bed early and conked out quickly.

I have been so tense and so anxious for more than 4 years now…since the first inkling in my mind that….that Trump could actually win in 2016. It was a terribly sickening feeling that grew into anxiety and tension until it was all that I could do to hold myself together. But worse…it became a constant assault on the senses of all of us who knew what Trump really was. Day after day, waking up, and wondering as they say, what fresh hell will he bring us today…everyday for 4 long years!

A great sigh of relief swept over the land yesterday when it was announced that Biden had enough votes for the win! It wasn’t just me. It was almost 75 million Americans who FELT their votes count for something extremely worthwhile. And that extremely worthwhile thing…I don’t care what anyone else says…was preventing Trump from being re-elected!

The really sad part is that some 70 million people still believed that Trump was the guy for them…even after 4 years of creating chaos and hatred!

Enough about that! Time to move forward! I knew, every step of the way that I had been figuratively holding my breath, waiting for something to happen that would take this man…I even cringe at calling him that…waiting for something to take this man out of power! I was severely disappointed several times along the way and never could find a way to get that sigh of relief. As I said, the assault on humanity continued daily.

It did help to know that I was not alone. Thanks to all of you…and you know who you are…who shared my concerns, and who have also now been able to breathe a big sigh of relief! I know it’s not totally over, and won’t be over until he actually leaves that office on Inauguration Day 2021. But, I can breathe again knowing that it is coming…and he is going! The tension that has built up inside me over these past 4 years has begun to untangle itself. I can even think more clearly again!

It is truly sad that so many of my friends, old and new, and loved ones, and so many others, have taken a stand with Trump. I will never understand that. Most can’t even see that it is NOT about politics! It has never been about politics! And I have always held that position and stated that position over and over and over when it appeared some thought it was “just a political difference of opinion”….but they still don’t see.

It has been an eye-opening experience for me and for many others I’m sure. Well…I know it’s been. I have seen that over and over also. I went into the 2016 election cycle LAUGHING…that ANYONE…could ever think Trump would be a good candidate, let alone a good president. It was obvious to most of us from the start…75 million at least…that he was NOT, and never has been a good man. He may have done a few “good things” along the way, but he was not and is not a good man. Why, I wondered, would people want a man like that to be put in such a position of power as the President of the United States???

But they did.

People that I respected and loved began showing their support for him, and I wondered…How could that be??? Can’t they see what he is?

But they couldn’t.

It was a phenomenon that totally eluded me then…and still now! How, I wondered, can there be that many people out there as to elect a man like that as president of a country that is supposed to believe in freedom and equality and fair play and justice and so forth??? How?

But they did. Even more confounding to me is that they still do! Eye-opening and mind shattering and earth shaking…and soul crushing!

With so many still believing as they do about him, perhaps I should let it go and not say these things out loud…try to just move along knowing the situation has been corrected…but I can’t.

Many took the position that they should not engage the Trumpers during the nastiness of it all for fear of reprisal from his avid supporters. I couldn’t do that. There is a saying about the only thing evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing. I believe that. Another saying that we should “Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” I couldn’t let such things stand without at least saying that they are wrong. In the same way I had to speak out in these past few months about the terrible-ness of it all, I have to speak yet again…before we go on back to politics as usual.

Politics as usual?!?! Is that what I want? No. Not at all. But…politics as usual will be almost refreshing compared to the atrocities this man has committed in the name of America! The presidency used to be a position of trust. Trump has destroyed that with his constant lies! Sure, we have been lied to in the past by presidents…but Trump raised the bar on lying to a height I hope will never be challenged again by a sitting president…or a human being for that matter.

The world has changed now and will never be the same again! I don’t want it to go back to the same “politics as usual”. I want it to be better! Trump’s reign of terror did not make it better…and certainly did not make it GREAT! Instead, his mean-spiritedness and hatred for people ‘not like him’, took us back to the days when more people all over the country could be openly ugly to their fellow human beings without fear…when people did not even try to control their basest instincts because they knew they were in the majority. And yes…we all have those base instincts! Some of us just choose to overcome those base instincts because we know that they are wrong…that they are not the right thing to do. Some of us have chosen to control those base instincts and work toward the progress of all mankind…the greater good for all of humanity!

I thought…that when Obama was elected…a mixed race man they called black…but certainly not an ‘old white man’. I thought…when he was elected that our country…even our world…was progressing toward that better world for all of humanity. Little did I know, that many…many, many…people out there were harboring a racial resentment about losing their “rightful place in the world”…that of white privilege, and white rich privilege, and even just a privilege of not being poor or of color or of less physical and mental capability.

My God! I was so wrong when I thought we were headed toward a better country, a better world because Obama was elected. ALL of that resentment simply bubbled and broiled inside those lost souls…until a man came along who gave them permission…again…to hate unrestrained and out LOUD!

So they did.

And soon…the rest of us who believed in the good of mankind…who believed that good would prevail…were STRUCK DOWN by the election of the Reality TV star with the Orange makeup who believed in NOTHING but his own ego…and said all the right words to capture their darkest desires of being FREE to show their hatred, and being free from the restraint of having to control those base instincts and desires!

They believe in freedom certainly, but only the freedom to say and do what they want to do and say without fear of being shamed to right action as they had been before Trump. But the Orange Man said that was good.

So they did.

This 2020 election should not have been so close if we were truly going back to times before Trumps reign. I believed that having seen Trump’s reign of shame firsthand, that all of those voters in the middle who pushed Trump over the top in the last election, would have seen and understood by now and would vote to undo what they had done.

But they didn’t, and I was wrong again. My God! Could this Nightmare on Pennsylania Avenue actually be re-elected?

And on top of having conned nearly half of the voters in America, we were also hit with many voter suppression tactics in many critical areas of the country, and by an attempt at mail voter suppression by the President himself!

And we couldn’t even stop him because of the collusion of his supporters at the highest levels of government in both the states, and sadly, in Washington as well!

I feared…that we were going down a road into a deep, dark swamp, from which we could never get turned around. I feared…but I never lost all hope. Inside myself and countless others there remained that spark of decency, of humanity, that would not let us say die! And with the help of each other, we fanned that spark, and we kept speaking out, and giving courage to others to speak out, and we reminded the country that the American…the Human ideals of freedom and justice and equality…and yes truth…were not yet dead!

We voted in record numbers! We had to, because we could not change the minds of those who wanted to keep their privileges and keep down the “different” kinds of people in the world. And we had to, to prevent the scourge from continuing.

I feared, when they chose Biden that he might not be enough to stop the scourge. I feared when he chose a woman, especially a woman of some color, to be his running mate, that maybe this would be too much for the good people of the country to readily accept.

But I was wrong again! Thankfully! Maybe they were exactly the right mix that it took at this time in history, to bring out all those extra voters to say “NO! We don’t want this to continue!” Because that’s what they said!

At any rate, here we are. The oldest ‘old white man’ ever to be elected President…and the FIRST woman ever to be elected Vice President! Chosen by the MAJORITY of the voters in this great land…to help rectify all the wrong done by…the Reality TV star with the Orange makeup.

It will not be without trials that we go forward trying to undo the damage of the last 4 years. The damage to the country, and the damage to the world, and the damage to humanity…but here we are! And here we MUST begin again to truly work toward the American ideals that have been the American Experiment…and that so much of the world has looked up to for so long! The American people set up these ideals when the country was founded. Ideals that honestly could never be reached…in the same way that religions have never been able to live up to the religious ideals they created as good and right.

But, here we go again! Another chance to advance toward those ideals with the election of a woman to the Vice Presidency…another step toward the equality of all humans…and one that other countries have come to embrace ages ago.

I was heartened by her acceptance speech. I believe that she is taking, and will embrace the grave responsibility of her role in a way that…all humans can be proud of. As she said, she may be “the first woman to hold that office, but she will not be the last.” I was heartened!

I have three daughters and one granddaughter and I truly believe in all of them! My daughters have all grown into strong and independent women…with a deep caring for life…and deep convictions toward fairness. It brings me to tears to see the strength in my young granddaughter and her mother as they struggle to overcome the difficulties of my granddaughter’s recent diagnosis of Type 1 childhood Diabetes!

The world is changing. But then again…the world is ever changing just as all of our circumstances are ever changing. The only thing constant they say, is change itself…and it is forever.

The long national nightmare is drawing to an end. It may not be a pretty end, but it will end! And life will go on…maybe at a snail’s pace toward human progress, but forward now…and that is truly a change from the last 4 years when we went backward at such a warp speed that I feared we could never recover.

I believe I was wrong to think that. I see now that a majority of people did hear the call to alert about the dangers we were facing and they got out of their cushy chairs and their comfortable existence and they voted…for human progress. I worried that not enough would respond to the call.

But they did! And I am ever grateful to each of them.

And now we begin a new chapter, not only in America, but in the world, especially to see that women can finally be in a position of power in the U.S. as they have long been in many other countries.

Our country continues to change. Our world continues to change. And as long as they change toward the progress, that makes a better world for all of humanity. That is a good thing.

I am so thankful that I can breathe deeply again. Thankful that the tension and anxiety inside me is beginning to release and untangle. May the Life Force of the Universe that we call God and other names around the world, give strength to the newly elected American President and Vice president to not only repair the damage that has been wrought, but also to work toward progress for all mankind!

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Dog Gone

I buried another dog yesterday. Wishbone. A little Jack Russell terrier that reminded us of the PBS story dog, Wishbone. Only thing she was missing was a tail. Even a part of a tail like they do to Jack Russells. My theory was that they screwed up the initial tail chop surgery and it got infected so they had to redo tail surgery resulting in a less than perfect Jack Russell as she was left with no tail at all…not even a nub. I always believed that must be frustrating to a dog not to have a tail to wag…

We found her in a shelter. I believe someone had tossed her aside because she wasn’t perfect…she had no tail. Anger. But…she found us. Or rather I should say she found my wife…who could not resist bringing home yet another dog. At times we have had 7 and 8 dogs at once. Sure, they got to be a handful, but she knew I’d never tell her no, so there was Wishbone. She fit in well. Don’t even remember how many we had at the time, but we had Beans, also a shelter dog that found my wife. Oh they played! We have a doggy door so they could go in and out on their own at anytime day or night. Wishy was a hyper type of dog. Bouncing for the first several years up and down and up and down, always trying to see over the gate we had installed to keep the dogs in their space. And she was in and out…ALL THE TIME! She couldn’t seem to sit still for long. Up and down, wander around, in and out…repeat. Over and over.

She was a bit of a barker at times. She’d get to barking at something, and Beans, who hardly ever barked seemed to look at her like she was crazy. Maybe she was just a little crazy, but like I say, she fit right in.

I get tired of burying dogs…pets in general. I’m sure we have had 75 plus dogs and over the years we have been married. Most were rescues. I get tired of burying pets, but I am even more tired of seeing them lost and alone and abused and mistreated. It has been hard not to have a full fledged pet ranch. If we had the space and the money, we probably would have. As it is, we have never been a single pet family. At present we still have three inside dogs…and three outside cats. Cats have never blended well with the pricey antique decor that the wife has placed throughout the house…esp given cat’s propensity to push things off shelves and counters. The cats were strays. We fed them and they became ours. Always there for breakfast, and in inclement weather, they are sheltered in the insulated three level shelter I built for them. The Cat House.

It was just yesterday that we had to put Wishbone down. I held on to her til she went relaxed in my arms…then totally limp. Hard to believe it was over, but her rapid panting had ceased, and her shaking had stopped as well. She was gone. Dog gone. But released. Conflicted emotions, but I knew it was for the best. I’m sure we will miss her presence for a long time to come. It’s obvious that her friend and companion dog Sid, misses her as well. She looks kind of lost. I’m sure she wonders where Wishbone went. And though dogs understand a lot, I’m not sure they fully understand that.

It was strange that night when Sid went into a flurry of barking at about 2 am that morning. She almost never barks, and never has barked in the night. I went to check it out, expecting to find some disturbance around the neighborhood. All was quiet on every side of the house. Couldn’t even blame it on the next door neighbors coming back from a late night as they often do. Once in a while, Wishbone would get outside and bark at them when they made too much noise…but everything was quiet everywhere…except that Sid had been barking wildly.

I checked a little more closely at both of the dogs. Sid of course was perked up and maybe looking a little sheepish for having been barking at this hour. What was a little odd was that Wishbone was also sitting up erect and at attention. Lately, it has been hard to stir her after she went to bed in the evening, and even when she got to stirring in the mornings, she had trouble getting herself moving. Kinda like I do when I get out of bed…stiff and slow until I get the kinks out.

It was fairly clear that this was the day. We had been watching her for sometime now, looking for those signs that said she couldn’t take it any longer. We had been spoiling her the past couple weeks…no…more like the past year or so…with her favorite foods and treats, but more so this past week. We could feel it coming too. It seemed like Wishy had been failing since we had to put down Beans at Thanksgiving two years ago. We noticed the signs and kept a close watch on her. Today was the day. Fortunately the vet was able to fit us in and Wishbone was released from her pain.

Most of the time, I don’t know when to stop writing…usually only when I am interrupted by more pressing matters. There is so much more I would like to write about Wishbone and her little doggy life with us. But many of you have been there as well. You have your own pet stories to tell of how your pet made your life better…and how you made his or her life better. Fill in the blank with a story. And maybe that is a good place to head to before I quit writing.

So many animals out there would love to have a forever home with a loving family. Sure, they will change your lifestyle. You actually have to care for them more than just making sure they get food and water. In return, they will care for you and make your life better than you can even imagine…unless you have had a pet before.

So that is what I am getting at. Take a look at those pets that need a forever home. So many stories at your local animal shelter. So many pets who need a chance to love and to be loved. Take a chance. Adopt a pet…and let it love you.

People handle loss and grief in every different way you can imagine. I write. I’m sure I’ll write more before the memories of Wishbone fade and are filled by the pets still here who need our attention. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law recently lost their dog of many years. They didn’t plan to get another one…but they did…and oh that dog looks like it has found a home!

As I was burying Wishbone, the phrase ‘forever home’ came into my head. Her piece of earth, buried near where her old friend Beans was buried, will now be her forever home, though that is not usually what we mean when we say forever home. At the vet’s office they asked if I wanted to take her home after the…procedure. Well yeah! I did. I’m tired of burying dogs, but I’m not tired of giving them a forever home…all the way to their burial.

I also thought of their little doggy souls…and it is obvious they do have them. Do all dogs go to heaven? Do they cross the Rainbow Bridge? Where do those little doggy souls go? To be honest, no one can really ever know. I think that all of us animal lovers like to believe they go somewhere that they can be happy…and make someone else happy. Because after all, isn’t that what pets are all about?

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Before My Time on Earth is Done

The titles are usually easier than the text, but that is what I am thinking about this morning.  Its possible that I could live 20 years more before my time is done.  I don’t know and neither does anyone else, but I surely don’t want to wait that long.  I don’t want it to take that long.  I got my ‘wish’ last August, that I would have more time to work on writing.  I have more time now that I can devote to writing.  And I do that.  But many times I feel like I am spinning my wheels, especially so because I have not put out more “product”, in other words, more books.  That bothers me, and yet, I feel that my purpose does not lie simply in more product.  I get antsy now and then thinking that I would like to work on more..stories…more fiction and more fantasy and more teddy bears and wishes and such…but…I have another goal in mind at the present.

And I go to my place that questions…what the hell am I saying?  Who the hell do I think I am?  Even WHAT the hell do I think I am?  I don’t feel like I can really ‘come out’ about it until I DO have a full text to share.  I really don’t want other people to think I am delusional…crazy.  I do enough of that myself.  Leave it to me…I will keep doing that.  I will keep questioning my thoughts, my motives, my words, and everything else at least until I can put the whole thing out there.  Don’t judge me by a few thoughts.  Look at the whole…story…before you even think of calling me crazy.  Then…I will accept it.  I know it sounds crazy.  And I know it goes against everything we have been taught all of our lives…but MY GOD!…look what we humans have become!

I don’t think it is a coincidence that we have come to this point in American History where our president…is so questionable…to put it mildly.  I think worse, but I won’t go that far today.  This is about the bigger picture.  This is about ALL of humanity!  And how few really…consider all of humanity in anything they do.

I feel…that I need more help in this endeavor, but I think, that there is no earthly help for me.  I see glimpses…of…words out there that give me…confidence…that there are those out there who share my…thoughts, and feelings…but I think they are far and few between…and that I may never run into a single person who would not look at me like I’m crazy if I really told them what I’m thinking…and what I want to do.  That’s an awesome burden to not be able to share with any living person.  I wonder why I even post these words on this blog about feeling this way.  What if somebody really wants to talk to me about it?

The thing is though…that no one reads this blog.  I have not publicized it, and so there is no audience.  So I feel comfortable unloading on this site.  Its kind of like writing in my notebooks.  It lends me a degree of anonymity where I can truly say what I feel.  The problem comes in trying to pretend that I am just a normal person…and not a crazy, delusional, insane person.  I think, if I don’t share any of it until I am done, I will have not just a few crazy disjointed thoughts to put out there, but… that ever elusive complete product!  And there is part of the problem.  Work on this product is going slowly.  Too slowly for my peace of mind.  I am always being interrupted by the…niceties of human life.  Sharing…what is available of the rest of my life with family especially…but also with other relatively normal pursuits. Pretending that I am just another person and I don’t have this overwhelming job to do.

Makes me wonder if I can even publish this particular blog.  Perhaps I should consider keeping it in draft form.  What if someone reads it…and I am not ready to talk to them…I am not equipped to talk to them…I don’t have all my ducks in a row…I don’t have all my eyes dotted and my ts crossed…I don’t have all of my words strong enough to support themselves…and they will discourage me with…with…other lies we’ve been told…and I will question myself even more harshly…and have even more doubts…and never…get my job done???  What if?

I think…that I have time.  I must…have time!  I must…summon all the resources that I can manage…and get this done!  It’s not like I am looking to change the world…except that i really am.  But still I tell myself that its only one little thing.

And I’ll keep working on it.  I just don’t know how long it will take.  How long it will take me to…make myself…produce…enough that I feel like I am making a dent in it.  As yet, I don’t feel that.  Even now I feel that I am taking away from my time working on it by spending time writing this.  But I think…everything is part of the learning process.  And it seems my learning is still in the infant stage.  I need to get past that…to show that I am ready to be…the…tool..that gets the job done.



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March 2014

March 15, 2014–Been working a lot lately…since November…on a rental house that we picked up about a year and a half ago. I wasn’t really enthused about it because I could see that it needed a LOT of work. And, as I get older, I just get more reluctant to give up even more of my time to more work. i’ve been…feeling my life running out as I get older. I know, 62 doesn’t really sound that old, but its old for me. I’ve never been 62 before, and I know that when I was younger, I had a whole lot more years in front of me. Simple stuff I know, but I FEEL my time running low.
We talked about how long I thought I live this morning…Jodi and I… I said 83. It seems like maybe more than I really think it might be, but still a reasonable amount given that my father died at 73. She’s thinking maybe into my 90’s. I guess we’ll see, as life goes on who was closer to right. I wouldn’t mind the 90’s if was in really good health, but that seems like a lot to ask for. There really aren’t all that many people percentage wise who live into their 90’s in really good health.
But back to the house…and the work. Except for times we’ve spent with family, we’ve been pretty much working almost every evening and weekend on that house. it needed a lot more work than even i imagined. Anyway, I think maybe we are at maybe 90 percent or so now. I’m beginning to see the light at the end of this long tunnel of work. Then, maybe I can get back to some sort of writing routine. the one thing I’d like most of all to do is to get more books/stories ready to go this year…and then get them in Print on demand as well.
That’s what I really want to do with the time I have remaining in my life. I don’t want to be working on houses, and i really don’t want to be having to sell the bulk of my time
to do the other things I have to do to make a living. What I’d really like to do is to make a living writing. i’ve just got a lot of stuff I want to get into some form of print before my life runs out…or before I’m unable to do this writing…which could happen some day. Life doesn’t always go the way we think it should you know. That’s why i hate to waste the time I have doing work stuff. I would much prefer to be doing writing stuff, especially if I could make a living at it. Though writing comes hard some times, especially to focus on what you want to come out, it still doesn’t seem like work to me.
So many things I want to say.

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Jo went down to Nashville TN this weekend to spend time with her two daughters, sister, and niece…leaving me alone for the weekend. And that’s fine. I can handle it. Except…I do feel alone. Sure, there are the animals…but…they are animals after all. I talk to them, but they don’t talk back. Maybe bark or purr or something but no talk at all. And all the routines that we have all but perfected since my retirement…are not there this weekend. I have parts of those routines, but they are pretty one sided. It’s like trying to play ping pong with no one on the other side of the table…ha, ha.

So, I notice the empty spaces. The empty spots in my routine. Only make enough coffee for myself on these three mornings. Half the pot is…empty. I’m all alone in bed at night. Half the bed is…empty. I go about my routines and use my portions of the house that I spend most of my time in. But half the house is…empty. I am alone here in the half empty house.

I try to use my time to do the things I like to do most…but except for the honey-do jobs, I have been doing that a lot of the time anyway. There is no ‘benefit’ to having her away from the house unless I NEED that…empty. I don’t. This house is big enough for both of us to peacefully co-exist. The alone is very strange to me…but makes me think.

I know its not really like one would have if their spouse died…but it makes me think about it. How do people make that change…especially after how many ever years they spend together? We, like a lot of long time couples, don’t really spend much time apart. Maybe a day now and then. And maybe occasionally a night. But we have not spent three nights apart in a long, long time…if ever. I don’t remember having spent that long apart. I think that if the alone was going to be permanent…and seemingly endless…as it will be when one’s spouse passes, one would have to change things. Make different routines that no longer included the other so that you didn’t have to FEEL that emptiness…that aloneness…so deeply…at every turn.

And it is inevitable…that one of us…will HAVE to feel this feeling on that permanent…and seemingly endless basis at some point in our lives! One of us…will die first!

It is no real comfort to me that I will probably be that one. I am the man, and I am 8 years older, and the man usually dies first most of the time anyway. But that is no comfort to me. I really don’t want her to have to feel that emptiness permanently. If someone had to to it…to go thru this feeling alone for the rest of their life…I would rather it be me.

She is down in Nashville this weekend with family…quite a few of them. There will be no time for her to be alone. I really don’t know how she would handle this end of it. Sure, I know she could…and would…but I would not want her to suffer for it. And that is what that permanent thing will be, I think…suffering. I don’t like that. I have spent my life trying to make her feel more at ease in this world…and less alone. And then I would go and leave her to it!!! I don’t like that.

Just about every experience I have…gets me to thinking. And this experience…has me thinking about that…leaving her alone some day. And there is no changing that, without both of us dying at the same time. And that of course is a long shot. And I wouldn’t like that either…leaving our kids behind with no parents at all…all at once!

There is no fixing that either. We are all going to die some time. Most people, most of the time, don’t even want to think about it…let alone talk about it.

I break every few sentences and throw my head into my hands and rub my face as if trying to rub it all away. I know better.

She won’t be home again tonight. For two nights now I’ve gone to bed without her. For two mornings I awakened without her here. One more night…one more morning.

Tomorrow I get up early and go to babysit the grandkids. It will be a change of routine from these last two days of hanging around home and making my own decisions about what I will do without regard for anyone else…without having my wife here to include in those decisions. By tomorrow afternoon, she’ll be back home and we will be back into those routines where both of us are one half of the equation every day. Though I like quiet time some times…I don’t like the alone…the empty. And I don’t like to think about that in her future…or even mine for that matter.

I like to think that this weekend has got me at least just a little bit more able to empathize with what she may face in that future. Perhaps I can’t change what will happen after I’m gone…but maybe I can somehow make things better while I am still here….even though that is only a small comfort. I think I shall carry these thoughts with me now…about this alone feeling and the emptiness…for better or worse…

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Memorial Day 2019

Spent about an hour looking for my site. They made changes again. All the internet sites keep making changes whether you want them or not. Couldn’t get in. It kept telling me that there was no site connected with my email. Really frustrating. Anyway, I finally remembered to look up my emails and found one that had announced some of the changes and had a link. So…here I am.

I doubt that my same thoughts are still in my head though after that hour of frustration with the stuff. What I was thinking about though was the way people on Facebook recognize Memorial Day. I see lots of people remembering the dead servicemen…but what I feel is that with their recognition and honoring of the soldiers, they are…glorifying war.

And I don’t think most of them are consciously glorifying war, but I keep thinking…if we really want to honor our war dead, what better way than to it than to…eliminate war! And I know we can’t realistically eliminate war, but we can PROTEST war at every opportunity! Say “HEY! You politicians got my loved one killed with your wars! We’re sick of it! Sick of wars for every generation! Sick that our kids keep having to go to foreign countries and get in harm’s way for YOU GREEDY BASTARDS!

But i feel that if anyone starts talking negatively about…about anything…while someone is honoring their dead, that the families would take it as a personal affront…a personal attack on their dead soldier. When its not at all about that.

I know, and most people know that soldiers are only pawns in the bigger game of world politics. I personally have never thought ill of the soldier or other service person for being a service person. If they are a service person and a jerk…well its the jerk I am down on. I don’t like jerks no matter what they do in life. I have absolutely no tolerance for them. One jerk I came to know relatively recently comes to mind and I have a hard time getting the picture of his jerkface out of my consciousness. Its like that. As far as the soldier goes, I honor them for their service in spite of the fact that they should never have had to go in the first place. They should not have to become soldiers.

It’s true though. Many people can not separate the soldier from the person. All they see is a trained killer. I am so sad that this is the way the world is. Not just in our country but throughout the whole world. I feel like I want to say things every chance I get…but most of it will fall on deaf ears. And much of it will be interpreted as a personal affront to however another individual thinks. And on and on…

I feel like…I…need to do something! Need to say something…even knowing and understanding the futility of it all.

As I grow closer and closer to the end of my time on this earth, I don’t embrace the fantasy that there will be a heaven to go to when I am dead. Many people do. In fact, I believe that most people in this world embrace in one way or the other, the fantasy of some type of religious belief. And it puzzles…and seriously troubles me…that more people have not…seen the reality of the fantasy of religions!

Whoa! How did I get here? What happened to Memorial Day?

I know it was a natural progression from believing in country and war…to believing in religion and god. A few…have seen the reality and said something. Writers…Artists…Singers…Speakers,,,etc. I think of John Lennon right off with his song…Imagine. It says it outright…and yet most people don’t even see it. I’ve seen religious people…embrace the sentiments in that song…even though it speaks a heresy to religion. They simply don’t see it. They see a nice sentiment…but not the reality of the actual words that talk about how beautiful life could be without religion.

That’s why things are the way they are. Not enough people willing to see reality. Its so much easier to live in a fantasy. And that brings it back to war and soldiers. When people honor their dead service person, they want to believe that they were doing a noble thing by participating in war. The truth is, that their goal is to kill other people. Other people. Other humans. Oh sure, these other humans are framed as firmly as possible as the bad guys. And sometimes there are some really bad guys in wars…

Humanity has not even come close to evolving enough to not have all those bad guys…so wars shall go on for ages. And I guess that’s what bothers me most of all. When I was young, high school and college age, I was so idealistic. I was so heartened by my generation trying to end war. I was even idealistic to thinks it could be all wars. HA!

But I saw…or felt I saw…progress in humanity from being so war mongering…to maybe backing down a bit and trying to do things through more diplomacy and less killing. Progress I thought. But what I didn’t see was that a lot of the killing just changed shape.

Quite honestly now…I see…or feel I see…that all that progress has gone backsliding away as if it never happened. I thought that when we elected a half black person, that we as a race, and as a country had come so, so far…from where we were when I was young… And then, in a few short years, so much of that progress has totally disappeared and we are left with more hatred and divisiveness than I remember from my youth. It feels like all this has happened on my watch. In my lifetime, so I…am at least partially responsible for it. I feel like I could have done more…should…have done more…

Sadly…I feel now that nothing I can do or say will have any impact on this world we live in. That I am wasting my time…no matter WHAT I do! I want to say things more often and on more occasions and to more types of situations. But I see…that a lot of the time all it does is agitate people and creates animosity…instead of helping anyone to see.

The only ones who will ever see…is those who go searching. You might even say…Seek, and ye shall find. We’ve all heard that before, along with some other very righteous words. The problems is…people will only find what they seek. And most will only seek what they want. They won’t seek reality because that is too harsh, and even painful. But fantasy is good. And the fantasy of God and Country serves a lot of people pretty well for most of their life…especially if they focus on the fantasy of it…and not the reality.

One of the memes I read said that it was wrong to wish people a Happy Memorial Day…because it was a day for somber memories and not fun and joy. And some people even think its wrong to smile and laugh at funerals. There is a time for laughing…even at funerals.

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The Story of My Life

     Started thinking about my writing again.  Even started writing again this morning about some of the stuff I’ve been thinking about, and as usual, I wonder why I bother.

    I think, or rather like to think that I am writing for someone who will see my writing some day and maybe take it to heart, maybe learn some lessons from what I have learned and maybe use those lessons to have a better life, even get a head start on learning what’s important in life.  Like I know.  Like I know something that is going to make a difference in some young person’s life down the road.  But I do I know that the chances of that are extremely slim of them meaning anything to anyone.  Slim to none as they say.  I’d have to be some kind of “important” person for any of my work to be published…and even more “important” for any of it to be read.  

     And maybe I like to think that my own kids or grand kids will read some of my writing some day and be moved to change their life for the better because of it.  But…I know that the odds of my writing lasting beyond my lifetime have the same odds…slim to none.  I can’t imagine my kids wanting to possess all the notebooks I have left behind.  There are probably hundreds of them by now.  I suppose its like books.  A person could take the time to read them like they do books.  I read a lot of books, and many people read a lot of books.  But they are about stories.  And they last a while, and then they are done.  And then you go on and read another book usually about something else.

     I was thinking…that my notebooks…are the story of my life.  MY life.  My whole life.  The writings were created during my entire adult life, but they also include memories of my childhood life.  Not a ton of childhood memories, but enough to make a story out of.  The rest of the notes are the actual story of my life…day to day…in real time…as it happened!  Tens of thousands of pages!  Hundred of notebooks!   And to be honest…a lot of it is pretty boring…but it is my life.  The story of my life!

     I think that I would like to put it into a book form, and maybe eliminate a lot of that boring stuff.  But I know I’m never going to do that.  And I know nobody else is going to to do that either, unless it came about somehow that I was an “important” person.  Then someone could take all those pages and make a book about it.  A book about my life.  The thing about me doing that myself, is that my life is still going.  I don’t have time to make a book about the Story of My Life from my notebooks, because I’m still living it.  And I myself don’t even feel its that important to make that kind of book happen because I’m not really even that important to myself?  Or maybe I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life living in my past life.

     Oh sure, I’ve learned things along the way that could be really helpful to people if they wanted to take the time to read about it.   Except that it appears everyone has to learn things about life for themselves!  And yes, I know that we do stop along the way and read some of the books that have been written by and about the great thinkers of history…and we learn  things from them that helps us understand why life is the way it is.  And maybe…maybe we adjust our actions according to what we have read and we actually have an improvement in our lives because of it.

     I heard some lyrics on the computer music in a song by Joni Mitchell.  It was something like…”they’re not gonna give peace a chance.  It was just a dream some of us had once upon a time.”  Don’t know if that’s exactly it but close enough.  You can look it up if you like.  Point is…when i was young, I actually believed we COULD have peace in our lifetime!  From my perspective, it seemed like the whole world was totally fed up with war and we were willing to have demonstrations and protest marches to make others more aware that there could be peace!  To quote another musician of our times, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” 

     I’m sure Joni was much older when she wrote those lyrics.  Her idealism about such a thing had long since faded away…like mine.  I don’t remember what that song was about.  Maybe she was being idealistic about something a little less lofty of a vision.  The thing is, that I kinda remember myself when I began to believe that we were never, ever going to have peace.  Not just in our lifetime, but in a a thousand lifetimes.  Its just not going to happen.  Of course there are a lot of reasons, perhaps the main one being that we are all just too different from each other.  Our being different creates all the other reasons.

     That’s not what this blog is about though.  It’s about my notes…and me wondering what will happen to them when I die.  Or even before I die.  I have so many.  I think maybe I could fill up a four drawer file cabinet at least.  Four drawers!  Who of my children would want to take that on in their lives?  Even just to hold as a keepsake if not to have something done with them?  I think it would make a good psychological study at a university…hmmm.  And they may not even last that long.  Maybe my wife will want to get rid of them as soon as I pass.  The Story of My Life?  But what would that mean to her?  She has lived a good portion of that life with me.  Why would she want to know any more?

     So…will The Story of My Life…be gone when my life is gone?  I’ll never know, because I will be gone also.

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Got to do something a little different today.  Can’t seem to feel what is the proper way for me to go.  Feel myself pulled in so many directions by things I would like to do…things I need to do…things I ought to do…and things I’d really like to do.

Of course, when such thoughts as those come to me, I think I would be best doing something that I would really like to do.  However…and there’s always a however in life as Frank and the Gang say…however, those other things still pull on me, especially with guilt.  Guilt!

Guilt.  Perhaps one of the strongest motivating factors in our lives.  Everything seems to be built around guilt.  This is not at all where I saw this going.  But then, maybe it is what I’m feeling…and coming here then is the true way to go for me at this point in time.

I want to do so much more!  But…I’m just not sure what is the most important thing to be doing.  I do like the idea of doing what I really would like to do because it seems there ought to be a point in our lives that we can do that without guilt.  But that is exactly what I feel!  I think I would really like to pick up my art supplies and doodle around with my colors and create another product that I like.  But…my guilt says that I am being frivolous with my time if I spend it playing with art!  That my art is “just” a leisure time activity that I should do after I am done with the more important things that I need to do with my time.

The thing is…what is the important thing that I should be doing?  I really don’t know.  It’s like one of those puzzles that keeps coming back around, going in circles.  And so…the guilt.  The guilt that I should not waste my time, but I don’t know that anything I do is NOT wasting my time!

Except for family time.  I don’t care what guilt says about time I spend with family…my inner self has determined that this is not negotiable.  Family time has been determined to be one of the most important things for me to do with my time…if not THE most important!

It’s just all those other things that I have a hard time qualifying.  Writing?  Reading?  Relaxing?  Doing art?  Community service?  What?  What? What is the most important thing for me to be doing with my time?

Occasionally, I can set the guilt inside and…not really make a solid decision, but make a strong enough rationalization about whatever it is to not be swayed by guilt.  Like the Blood Drive for instance.  I have made up my mind that it will have a priority…above many of the other things I want to do…at least for those few days a year that I spend on it.  I have told myself that yes, I can spare that much time to do a “good” for the community at large, and even for the world!  A Blood Drive is a good thing and there are few that will ever say differently.

Then again, some things are not so cut and dried.  Like art!  I personally think that this time I spend on helping to put together the art project here in town, is also a good thing for the community and the world!  The world need art!  And little towns like ours have very little to offer to our citizens in the way of art.  But…there are those who would argue about art…that it is not really important.

And reading!  Books!  I think books and reading are important as well.  And children!  God…I think that the serious education of children is sorely neglected by…by…by probably most of the people of the world.  God if only we could truly educate them…instead of just filling them with information…

But, that brings me back to me.  How shall I spend my time?  Today we will go to a visitation for a part of her family that we barely know.  But I say…that’s family whether we see them often or not.  Family.

And even as I sit here thinking about these things, I am more and more ready…to spend some of my time on art. I have an itch today to play with some of my colors.  So much that has come and gone in my head with artistic thoughts in my brain…and I have not indulged them for far too long…

Today…some art.  Not even gonna proofread…just hit publish…

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Recently, I thought I’d try this new venue for me to gain some exposure for my books and hopefully at the same time, be able to sell a few.  Well, I am really quite pleased that I tried it.  And even though the results were not overwhelming, I am actually quite pleased with what I did get!

In the three total days I probably only sold about 25 books.  Of course that’s nothing to sneeze at when you consider that if I had not gone…I would not have sold any.  I was a bit disappointed that nobody wanted to buy my artwork, but I pretty much expected that.  People have room on their walls for a lot of things…but original artwork by a local artist is not one of them for most of the population.  As I said, I figured it would go that way.

Ah, but the books!  Not only did I get to sell about 25, but I got to see the eyes of the many who bought the books as well as the many who bothered to listen to my “two sentence summary of my stories”.  I particularly enjoyed watching their eyes light up as they heard about a story line they were curious about.  ‘Curiosity’.  That’s the thing.  Especially in the kids…but I also saw it many times in the eyes of the adults!   Those who still remain at least somewhat…young at heart!

Last weekend, we set up just one day…on the Sunday of Log Cabin Village.  People just did not seem to be buying.  Toward the end of the day, I sold a few…four books.  But even before that, there was one young girl…probably 12 or 13…who studied the books for quite a while.  I gave her my summary and she listened intently.  Then she picked up a couple of the books she was most interested in and read a little.  “This is good.  Really good, she said about ‘The Girl in the Window’.  I’m going to ask my aunt if she will buy it for me.”

But during this time while she was looking and listening and reading, I was sorely tempted to simply give her a book!  Mind you, this was before I sold a single one…with no promise that I would sell any at all.  I had already paid author price on them and would lose money if I did that, but…so many times…it’s not about the money!  I think way more often for me than for many others, it is NOT about the money.

I’ve never wanted much.  Oh, I guess you could say I wanted it, but I knew I never really needed it, so I never bothered to want very much.  A certain amount yes, I do need that much.  But do I, or indeed anyone, really NEED so much extra excess money that I couldn’t spend it in my lifetime?  The answer of course is no!  But that is a whole other story.  This story is about books.

The young girl came back with her aunt and cousin, and I got that maybe there was more to the story than just a cousin being along for the day…like maybe the Aunt had become her legal guardian for some sad reason.  The Aunt treated her like her own daughter.  She bought the book for her and then she bought one for her own daughter to be fair.  It was good.  I signed the books for the girls and they were both happy with their purchase and the signature.  Even Mom/Aunt seemed happy for them.  My first sale of the day, and of the three days that we spent at Log Cabin Village!

The thing is, that if that girl had come by one more time and for some reason was unable to have the book purchased for her, I would indeed have given it to her!  The look on her face when my book became hers!  THAT is why I like about writing books!  For me to feel like I was a part of that look on here face and the pleasure in her eyes, and hopefully the joy in her heart as she read the book…THAT…is why I like to write books!  THAT is the feeling I want to feel when someone buys my books!   And to be able to see that up close…WOW!  It was so worth it to me to be there at LCV!

On a side note, my wife came along with me to sell some of the craft items that she made.  Selling those items and making money from it is one of her pleasures.  I think she feels that feeling to some extent as well when someone really appreciates her work.  She donated one of her more expensive items recently to one of our friends for a fundraiser.  There is much pleasure in that…much more pleasure than in the money it could bring!

Overall, I was satisfied by the number of books I sold.  Like I say, 25 that I would not have sold if I didn’t go.  But also, I was able to tell about my stories to many, many more people who did NOT buy, but were curious….and tempted to buy!  I saw the curiosity in their eyes though they could not pull the trigger on buying any for one reason or another.  I was often tempted to give away a book, but that’s not really a very good business model.  There were many times that I could see that a person was going to buy one of the books, or at least wanted one.  During my ‘two sentence summary’ I could tell many times which particular book piqued their interest the most.  I wasn’t always right, but mostly I could tell.

And there were many times that I could tell that though they were interested and curious, that they were not going to buy.  For instance, one family had about six kids fluttering around.  Not sure if they were all siblings or cousins or friends or what…but several had their eye on the the prize they wanted, and I could tell Dad was not going to spring for all of them.  Which I truly understand having been there many times where my three daughters wanted something but I couldn’t swing it with all the other things that we needed to spend our money on.  In those cases, I would always remind the listeners that all the books were also available on amazonbooks if they changed their minds later or had gifts to buy and such.  So, not only did I get to sell some books, and see the eyes of so many kids light up when they bought my books, but I was also able to advertise my books first hand to maybe a couple hundred or so other people!

Will they even take the time to check out Amazon one day?  Who knows?  But I am satisfied that some will.  And I think that if they read one of my books, they will want more.

Toward the end of the day on the last day of LCV, a little 7 or 8 year old girl, a child of one of the vendors who had spent most of the day trying to keep herself amused, and quite honestly seemed to do a great job.  I was intrigued by the girl because I saw her making bubbles by washing her hands with soap and water and then blowing thru the circle created by her thumb and forefinger.  She was quite good at it.  She also wandered around doing other things to keep herself amused while mom and dad worked, and she never got too far from from them in doing so.

We were maybe fifty or sixty feet from their booth so at several points, she came and looked over our stuff.  She seemed fairly shy, and never got real close, but after she had stared at my book display a few times, she got a little closer for a better look and it was at that time that I called her in and told her what my stories were about.  She had that look of a child who is not given everything they want, and knows it will be that way for all of her growing up years.  A look that I could identify with having had seven brothers and sisters.  We got what we needed, but only occasionally got those things we wanted…usually for birthdays and Christmas and special occasions.

After I told her about the summaries, it seemed like she had it in her mind which one she would pick if she had the chance.  But I doubt she went back to ask mom and dad as she knew what the answer would be.  “No, you don’t need that.”

It was like my mind was made up for me.  I was going to give her a book.  The thing is, in this damned old world as it is, an old man taking any kind of an interest in a little girl…is often not a good thing.  How could I do it without offending someone, or worse, making them think I’m some kind of pervert!  Yeh!  It happens.

I knew the best course was to find and ask the parent, but even then, the wrong approach or a slip of the tongue, could spell…second thoughts in someone’s mind that maybe this ‘nice old man’ isn’t really so nice.

Fortunately, I think it worked out.  I say I think, because, who knows, the questions, the second thoughts could have come later.  And maybe they did.  But I think that even if the second thoughts did come, I think if they simply read a bit of my book…they would understand…that I simply wanted to share some joy in life.

I approached the vendors and asked who the girl belonged to.  “She’s mine,” said her Mom.  I asked if I could give her one of my books.  “Why,” she asked.  I told her it was because she strikes me as being a good kid, that she seemed to have kept herself amused all day and didn’t seem to get in any trouble and even helped out where she could.  “Helped,” her mom said.  “Where’d you see that?”  But she was making light of it I cold tell.  She asked the girl if she wanted to have a book and the girl shook her head excitedly.  I waved her on with me.

I asked if she remembered the summaries I gave her about the books and she said she did.  I asked if she wanted me to tell her again, or if she remembered which one she wanted.  She knew.  I thought I knew also but I was surprised that she chose ‘Santa Forgets’ over ‘The Girl…’  I asked her if she wanted me to sign it, and she again excitedly shook her head.  She said her name was Maddie, and I had to make sure how to spell it, so she spelled it out for me.

Besides a thank you, that was all the words she had used throughout our exchanges.  Just her name and how to spell it.  She seemed very shy, and Jo thought so as well.  But the look on her face and in her eyes told me all that I needed to hear from her.  I am thankful that I am able to do such a things as give away a book to a child who otherwise would not have had it.  It was the highlight of my day, of my days there at Log Cabin Village.  I won’t soon forget it.

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