Reaching Sunward

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Afterthought People

alone

Are you the first person on anyone’s list?

Do you have a lover, a significant other, or a spouse?

Do you have a child or two?

Do you have a friend or two who calls you as much as you call them?

Do you have family close by?

Are you included in holidays and weekend activities with others?

Do you have someone to go to the movies with?

If you have *any* one of these things or a few of them,

Then count yourself lucky and loved.

And if you know someone who doesn’t have any of these things – and I bet you do if you think about it for a minute – try to remember them.

They are Afterthought People. The Alone Ones.

They sleep alone. They dine alone. They walk alone.

Probably through no fault of their own, they are standing by the wall while everyone else is dancing.

They hope the phone will ring.

They are weary of always reaching out; their arms are tired from being empty.

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Story time with B.B. King

Friday night, Karen F. and I went to see B.B. KingBBKing

at the Mountain Winery and here’s a little tale… Now, B.B. is 83 years old and still touring, which means the guys from Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones have something to emulate! B.B. is a happy old man from Mississippi, and he sits in his chair onstage and plays Lucille in between telling stories. He told us a story about when he was 18, and learned to drive a tractor on his cotton farm which he was sharecropping… He was a-way down at the end of a row when he saw a man go into the shotgun shack where he lived with his new bride. So he told his boss he stubbed his toe, that he needed to go home and get a bandage, and went to the house to see what man was visiting. His wife said “it was your daddy” and B.B. said, “well where is he? There’s flatland Delta for miles and I don’t see him.” Then B.B. said, “you know there’s all kinds of women…big ones, itty bitty ones, curvy ones, straight ones, but women of all shapes and sizes have hips. And they’ll let you know when you’ve crossed a line by putting their hands on their hips. And at that point, you better start cryin’ while you’re begging for forgiveness.” Then B.B. slapped his right knee, leaned back in his chair, jiggled like a bowl of jello, laughed silently, and as he came forward laughed out loud with whoop hoo hoo and a he-hehe laugh that tickled everyone in the audience pink, because we could tell he just tickled himself pink tellin’ that story. Then he sang a song about not wanting ANYbody to visit his wife, not even her sister. Now my Nana (great-grandma) had the very same laugh… a laugh that seems quintessentially Southern, although I don’t know why. Nana was born in Alabama in 1907. She died when she was 93 years old. She would say things like “that man can park his boots under my bed anytime” or “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket but I’m gonna sing anyway.” And she would proceed to sing, a sound I can only compare to cats squalling (sorry, it’s true and I’m glad I did not get my singing voice from Nana). Then, she’d slap her right knee, lean back in her chair, jiggle a bit, laugh silently, then lean forward with a whoop hoo hoo and a he-hehe. There’s probably a song in that.

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What you can give for Christmas this year that will REALLY matter!

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Yes We Can

Oh, yes we can people!

Robert F. Kennedy said, “Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills — against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence… Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation… It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man (or a woman) stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he (or she) sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. {And elsewhere he said} Laws can embody standards; governments can enforce laws–but the final task is not a task for government. It is a task for each and every one of us. Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted–when we tolerate what we know to be wrong–when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy, or too frightened–when we fail to speak up and speak out–we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.”

And ~ We are the Ones! Anne Lamott reminds us that Martin Luther King Jr. said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward freedom.”  Molly Ivins said “freedom fighters don’t always win, but they’re always right.”  Our road has been long but we are moving once again towards freedom, and together we can make the difference that brings hope to all of us and to the world.  Sí Se Puede. It’s our time to win.

There is hope, and it is US.  Lift up your voice!

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.
Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality.
Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.
Yes we can heal this nation.
Yes we can repair this world.
Yes we can.
We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change. (We want change.)
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.
Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea: Yes We Can.

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Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity

My friend Gina is canning peaches and tomatoes, figs and all kinds of summer-lovely things, and as she was telling me about going to buy the last of the summer fruit, I was reminded of this poem that I loved when I was a kid. “Stop the grocery list right there” I said, and I ran to my poetry collection to show her this poem…

After Christmas, when the long, drawn out months of winter are on me and I can’t wait for Spring, I will be so thankful and happy to have some of Gina’s beautiful yellow-orange-pink peaches, and let the colors and flavors of summer refresh me. Thanks Gina!

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity

During that summer
When unicorns were still possible;
When the purpose of knees
Was to be skinned;
When shiny horse chestnuts

(Hollowed out
Fitted with straws
Crammed with tobacco
Stolen from butts
In family ashtrays)

Were puffed in green lizard silence
While straddling thick branches
Far above and away
From the softening effects
Of civilization;

During that summer–
Which may never have been at all;
But which has become more real
Than the one that was–
Watermelons ruled.

Thick, pink, imperial slices
Melting frigidly on sun-parched tongues
Dribbling from chins;
Leaving the best part,
The black bullet seeds,
To be spit out in rapid fire
Against the wall
Against the wind
Against each other;

And when the ammunition was spent,
There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.

The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
Swallowed reluctantly.

But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved.
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.

John Tobias

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Pure Silliness

Back in the day, we had a lot of fun with nonsense words like supercalafragilisticexpealidocious. But manamana is my favorite!

Having a bad day? Watch this for a few minutes, you’ll feel better!

Cake covered it on “For the Kids” and “B-Sides & Rarities”

Fun fun fun!

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