Laissez le bon temp rouler…

Just as there are weeks that are a challenge from beginning to end, there occasionally comes a string of days outstanding enough to keep us in the game a while longer. Our week started on Saturday… Beatles’ Night at the winery from 4 to 9pm… nineteen acts, 3 songs each… hotter’n’ little blue blazes all day, but shady under the trees, with a wandering cool breeze for rescue. We packed the little rolling Coleman with cheese & crackers, watermelon, seltzer, sweat rags, and ice, and were undoubtedly among the happiest campers there. I mean, we do know most of the lyrics… and the updated renditions were really nice. I met a new friend, sitting back of us a little, who entertained herself and her husband by commenting on everything we did and tracking our wine consumption over the five hours we were there. Everyone brings us happiness… some when they show up, some when they leave. This morning I would define a good date as one where you can be outside, listen to nonstop music, buy and enjoy homegrown wine, eat parmesan French fries from the food truck plus the healthy stuff in the cooler, and step back into your teens for a few hours with the California musician who has no plans for growing up. By those standards, Saturday was the best date in memory, except that little sister was missing. Come to think of it though, I never DID take her on my dates with me, so…

We’re off to a great start, which will save my bacon, I can already see the writing on the wall. It’s on a card, to be honest, and it’s a date that never got entered into my phone. It’s my haircut appointment and my brain checked in with me just in time not to miss it, which is not only deeply disappointing when it happens, but a cardinal sin against my wonderful hairdresser. It’s never happened with this one. May it never happen.

So that’s two things. And Kim had a good Father’s Day, which included a terrific phone convo with his son Henry and a loving text from John… and he realized he’s within days of learning the outcome of his cancer diagnosis and treatment. We expect the numbers to be stellar. There simply are times like this, and we never know when they’re going to hit or how long they’ll last, so we hoard them a little… ammunition for later.

Since we’re on a roll, today was my 6-month post-op checkup with Dr. Carlson, during which I got straight A’s and so did he. The X-ray showed the metal cage is firmly ensconced in my back and nothing has shifted, I’m right where I’m supposed to be in the recovery process, and my next visit with him in six months will be my last unless something goes wrong further up my spine. I miss him already. He’s a bundle of gifts, talent, knowledge, and experience wrapped around a big heart and killer personality… and he’s returned my life to me. Since he’s a KU grad and comes here for all the B-ball games, he wants to meet us at one of the local breweries sometime, which will feel like Old Home Week if it happens.

People I love seem to be getting over various hurdles, recovering from illness, dealing well with endings and beginnings, so make a note: The middle of June 2022 was worth writing home about for the Smiths and the smith-adjacent. Betcha’ wish you could rub shoulders with us this week. You can. Bring tequila.

Image

Always with the questions…

So many questions… so much time… so few answers. The days are long, and rife with opportunities to think, which has never intimidated me but there’s so much more to think about now. I had grandparents who told me stories to which I listened like my life depended on it… and there have been times it has. They were all born in the 1800s except for one grandmother, the kid in the crowd, and they experienced a lot of things so we wouldn’t have to, such as life without A/C, motor vehicles, or consumer-protection laws. They knew things… and it’s taking me this long to catch up. My attentive listening lacked meat on its bones… life experiences to flesh out the facts simmering in my subconscious. Those necessary learning opportunities did come along, bit by bit, as they will, providing what feels like a unique perspective but is instead universal, I’m pretty sure.

Let’s do a quick checklist and see where we are, just out of curiosity. Raise your hand, nod your head, blink twice, say a rosary, whatever’s most affirming, for each thing you identify with as I blurt it out:

  • Planet Earth seems to be out of control
  • because it always was
  • but this feels excessive. Like disastrously crazy off the wall.
  • Is that why I feel sad and tired all the time? Do you feel sad and tired a lot?
  • Do you wonder when [if] this sensation of living in a state of limbo will end?
  • Do you miss the Before time when we knew less about our neighbors and family members?
  • And that was a good thing?
  • Do you think about your life and wonder what it’s all meant? Or is the point, as someone said yesterday, simply to live?
  • Were there things said to you by older people that seemed clear enough at the time… but you didn’t actually have a clue? And if you consider yourself to be “getting older” now, are some of those things becoming starkly real? Do you feel the parameters shifting?

One of my grandmas told me when she was in her 80s that her life had become very lonely. Our family spent as much time with her as we could, but I know we didn’t touch that existential loneliness that assails the human spirit. She’d outlived all of her German cousins and most of her friends… no one shared a past history with her… all her reference points were changing. As her granddaughter, consumed with my own life, I couldn’t begin to reach in and touch that sense of unease, alienation… solitude. But I do get it now.

A dear friend the other day was relating a dream whose meaning was too-easily discerned, and I said to him “There is no lonelier proposition than human existence, even with someone we nearly worship living right beside us.” Our minds and spirits take us to far places where no one can accompany us, and we wrestle with each of those worlds alone. The truth that “we are born alone, we die alone” becomes clearer as we go along… nobody can really tag along on those two trips, nor during much of the in-between. As Uncle Walter Cronkite might say, “That’s just the way it is.”

As the physical healing proceeds, I’ve been coming up with ways to feel not productive but useful, big difference. It’s still in the “I could” stage, but the ideas themselves build a sense of hope, which we can’t live without. And it helps keep the big shaggy hound from the door… the one that creeps in, sits on your chest in the dark, stares you down, and beats you with the awareness of your own empty solitude. So… what are you looking at this morning that seems insurmountable? Or merely annoying beyond words? What one thing could you change that would start to make a difference? Go get another cup of coffee, think about the question(s), write down whatever goes through your mind, reread it over the next few days… see what happens. Lemme know. Please.

Existential loneliness has been momentarily banished this morning by sunshine after rain, a peaceful house, and a breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. It’s the little things. Make your weekend restful, healing, and fun.

Image

June showers bring…

Thursday it didn’t rain, so Rita and I spent a couple of hours walking where mud isn’t much of a factor… stopping by pretty little lakes… watching goose couples cruise with their fuzzy tan goslings in tow… catching up after her recent trip to the MiniApple. Friday it didn’t rain, so I walked a circuit of several city blocks while Kim played at SPL. Saturday it started raining midmorning and kept it up until evening so I stayed in and observed. Sunday it rained… chalk up a lazy weekend for this girl. It’s Monday… new week… and the day started with rain. Guess what, chicky, it’s spring and spring gonna rain, just get out there. So I walked to the river and watched it roar, which set my clock for the day, and now the plan is to trek between showers for the rest of the week. You’re allowed to keep me accountable…

The Mighty KAW

A few pearls from the past week…

And on that note… stop by Comments and say hello. 😊

Image

Sunrise… sunset…

There’s everything to be said for second chances. We don’t all get one in every situation. In fact, the greater the need for a second shot, the less likely we’ll be afforded one. They’re handed out like candy when we’re little, so someone should warn us early on that life doesn’t continue in that vein and that we should think, first of all, and then wait to act on an idea until we’re pretty sure it’s a good one.

When I came to a semi-conscious conclusion a few years ago that life as I’d known it was ending, in terms of physical capabilities, I failed to consider the major ramifications of shutting down. Not that I had a real choice… when pain rules, you do what it says, and it took me to some dark places before Dr. Carlson put an end to it for me. But going to ground and closing the door in your third trimester of life is a serious undertaking which requires equally serious effort to reverse.

Change is underway. This morning, like an actual person, I drove across town again on a valid license to check on a friend, stopped at Einstein’s for a bagel, paid for it with my updated credit card whose pin number I know, parked Kim’s truck back in its spot without destroying anything anywhere, and I feel slightly reborn. It’s like someone raised a curtain and there was the world, big as life and twice as natural. It’s ridiculous… at almost 75 it feels in lots of ways like I’m just getting started.

I hope the central message floats to the top of all the I/me/we, and lights up in neon: DON’T QUIT!! Whatever’s stopping you from living your life… physically, mentally, spiritually… don’t give in to it unless that’s the only choice available, which was coming true for me until six months ago. If there’s any chance to maintain a vital life of your own… do it. It takes great energy to come back, and the time consumed is staggering. But step by step… slowly we turn… and life goes on.

There are Memorial Day observances around town today, and something big going on in South Park for kids, but things were pretty quiet this morning after Busker weekend. One block of 8th street is still closed, with booths in place, so it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Feels like a Sunday…

No typos detected.

Image

The celebrations of life…

This weekend is Busker Fest in Lawrence America, a 4-day street-performer extravaganza that includes various sound-stages close to downtown, music everywhere, art parades, food booths, merch booths, contests, feats of derring-do, delights for the kiddos, Farmers Market, and untold other good stuff. It started the year before we moved here, and that’s probably the only one we’ve missed. What we love most is knowing it’s happening and that families are having a great time… we watch the steady stream of walkers heading from East Lawrence to Mass Street, and grin big… the underlying vibe here is a healing one. When I’m out driving or walking there isn’t a heavy sense that half the people around me hate what I love, or that I’m a minnow who somehow slipped into the piranha tank. Other than the occasional pygmy shark, there’s been no real threat detected most days.

Turns out early morning on a Saturday is a great time to drive across town, who knew? I had an errand at 7:30 and since everything around downtown is blocked off for the festival, I took different routes there and back, soaking up the cool morning air. There were people out everywhere but very little traffic, and I was truly in Free State Kansas. Tiny piece of unsolicited advice from The Big Sister… never shut down and give up on living, it’s hard to ramp it all up again and put things back where they belong. Pain started shutting things down shortly after we moved here… I stopped talking on the phone due to hearing loss… I lost energy for being social due to both of the above… and a senior neurosurgeon told me there was no way to stop the nerve pain in my body. Things… they happen. My driver’s license was expired for six months, which didn’t matter that much since I was never behind the wheel anyway, but another six and I’d have had to retake all the tests and jump through a few other hoops. There are small mercies…

Life returns, to bodies and to societies, although it’s sadly true that both usually have to hit rock bottom before coming back.

Key-change is key.
I’m grateful to the special people who’ve gotten me this far… and with a legal driver’s license even!

******

Image

Take me home, country roads…

Word on the street has always been that you can’t go home again, and that seems like a wise release-mechanism… you can leave but you can never really return, you have to keep moving forward. In that light, there are places I’ll be okay not ever seeing again, along with the people who determined the atmosphere there. But for about five hours yesterday evening, Rita and I slipped back “home” and it was good stuff. We were with childhood friends… sisters… in a peace-filled house, enjoying beautiful appetizers and wine, talking nonstop, and the first time I thought of the clock it was 6:30… the next, almost 8:30! We picked up where we left off the last time we were together, some seven or eight years ago, and even though we all grew up in and around the same tiny Kansas town, the conversation was far more about life as it is now than about people we thought we knew then, and vice versa. Small towns… where people know or surmise everything you do and say, and consider it their life’s duty to help regulate same. By accepted standards of the times we grew up in, we’re country girls gone wild… tomorrow one sister will fly home to her partner and her wide-ranging interests, and the other will leave for meetings in three different countries. A third sister will keep pursuing goals that have little to do with former dreams and instead are all about the here and now. And the fourth will continue to observe and learn, grateful for another shot at life in a healthy body, and hatching ideas for the immediate future.

We were so busy being together none of us thought to take pictures, which is fine because even a SMART phone couldn’t have captured the essence. Sweet, easy, real, loving… and the kind of acceptance that heals. One of those relationships where you say endlessly “We HAVE to catch up!” and then one day the stars align and it happens… and it’s always worth the wait.

Surrounded by cheap knock-offs of everything in life, it’s reaffirming to see that some things truly never change because they’re the real deal. What solace and joy in this present era.

Image

For the good times…

Yesterday was amazing. The sun popped over the hill at 6:30am and tracked its way to sunset, never once getting lost in the gray matter. Stayed a little breezy, so never truly short-sleeve weather for this delicate prairie flower, but it was a superb Saturday. We met Rita out at the winery in the late afternoon for Easy G and the Blue Notes, a Cajun & Creole food truck, and smooth local Farmer’s Turnpike White. The food truck, Duke’s Place, is the baby of Papa and Mama Duke, and the aroma of jambalaya, seasoned fries, fried okra, and other wonders was irresistible. Since nobody resists around food, wine, and music, we had the fries. Rita knew Mama from another winery night and the three of us had a fun conversation while things were heating up in the truck, wherein we learned that Papa teaches music at three area universities and earned his doctorate in that subject at KU this spring. I’m guessing he’s late 40s, early 50s, and I’m all respect. And Vanessa (Mama) never stops smiling while she works, so the vibes are cool.

We set our lawn chairs under the trees in the green green grass, commandeered the one little wooden table on the place (it’s becoming a running joke), settled in, and breathed. The day, despite the tiny chill in the air when bigger gusts sailed through, was lovely, and the dozen or so small children in attendance looked to be in kid heaven. Just past the main yard and narrow driveway there’s a little meadow where one girl, maybe 8 years old, held her own against three likely-9-year-old boys and a football – girl’s got an arm. There were four tiny girls and one just past toddler age who flitted around like butterflies, all whispers and bravado. Every once in a while the herd instinct would take hold and all the kids from big to small would run down a path into the woods, only to wander right back in short order. The smallest followed after everyone until her eyes glazed over and she looked like she wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep, right in her little tracks, and this mama’s guessing that happened before they left the driveway. One reason I know is that I slept nonstop until 8:30 this morning and felt positively renewed. NOTE TO SELF: Wine and Cajun fries, fresh air and music at every opportunity.

The evening was like a delicious shot of novocaine after the weekly load of fresh pain, which not only rhymes but is part of a greater rhythm. When you combine benign nature, great food and drink, heart-grabbing music, and the knowledge that likely everyone there would have your back if necessary… you can’t go wrong. The winery is partially the creation of friends of Rita’s… a chemical engineer and his physician wife… and their two little boys made up part of the football/pirate/explorer entourage down in the meadow. Can you say wholesome, boys and girls? Chip and Joanna Gaines have nothing on this place. 😊

People will always determine whether life is good or not, and as much as I try to live without them, it feels better to be around kindred spirits. I think tomorrow I might get to see a couple more and I can’t wait. ❤️ If what we’ve all just been through hasn’t helped us sort out our priorities, we’re not gonna get there, kids. Make it a great week… we’re due for a heat wave here tomorrow!

Image

Add patience and wait…

Hi, just me over here waiting impatiently for spring to find a toehold. Our weather from day to day is schizophrenic, to say the least… warm, cold, rain, snow, wind, sun, low temps, mild temps.

Forecast for the week ahead:

My mission is to stop being a fair-weather walker and just GET OUT THERE. Stay tuned…

******

While I wrestle with my conscience and matters of health, I’m entirely awake to the unspeakable realities happening to fellow humans around the world, and to their lack of choice as to their living… or dying… conditions. My silent tribute to the proud and utterly courageous people of Ukraine, on a beautiful Saturday, in an alternate world…

******

“How wonderful to be alive. I am sorry for forgetting.”

Image

The official word…

Today is rolling out in Second-Coming font size… the reddest of red-letter days in long years… because life has changed. This morning was my 3-month post-op visit and I’ve been cleared to do anything I feel like doing. Wow, I wonder if they realized who they were awarding carte blanche to — things could get dicey. The x-rays show everything’s precisely in place and healing perfectly, and there were no red flags, so all systems are norminal, and off we go.

My surgeon gave me a great hug, and I got to tell him about Sunday afternoon when Rita and I hiked for 90 minutes on rough trails. His nurse said they have 50-yr-old patients who can’t do that, so I’m humbled, and I’m primed to take advantage of the years Dr. Carlson has returned to me, even though all of it still feels slightly dreamlike.

We’d planned to have lunch at Crushed Red, a favorite KC noontime spot, but it was barely 11am when my appointment ended, so we came home instead. Our entire discussion on the drive back was where to celebrate over food, and we finally settled on The Roost, pulled the car into the parking garage, and walked there. It wasn’t until we were flirting with each other at the bar that we realized we were in exactly the right place… back in one of the prime locations where our Lawrence sojourn started, among people we know, who seemed genuinely happy to see us, making it a true celebration. So far today we’ve marked the occasion with good food and Bloody Marys, and it’s been a day worth writing home about. Guess this blog-spot is home…

And we just got a text that sweet friends are coming to celebrate with us this evening, although they won’t know it’s a party until they get here.

Thank you for hanging in with me through all the times when I’ve come here to vent and whine. On this day, by contrast, I’m full of knowing that at least SOME of the rougher parts of life really can get better, which in turn changes everything. Please don’t ever give up.

Image

An almost-spring weekend…

Good morning on an absolutely gorgeous Saturday. It’s still cool out, but temps are heading for the mid-60s by afternoon, the sun’s shining, and something that feels suspiciously akin to joy is rattling around in my heart. Kim made The Breakfast, of course, and it was perfect… of course. He’s been making life as smooth as possible for the past 18 years… and now I can’t possibly thank him enough for never giving up on a fix for the spinal pain… it’s changed everything and given me my life back. There aren’t really words for that.

THIS GUY

I have the world’s best men in my life, and on this day 52 years ago, I gave birth to the absolute best human I know, who affirms along with Kim that I have reason to have existed. Happy Birthday, John Latta. Celebrate everywhere life takes you in the coming year.

Birthday guy at Hot Betty’s for breakfast this morning…

John with hospital co-workers and good friend Lanette, on his right.
Less outnumbered… by one, thx to Mike.
Lisa and her homemade banana pudding cake. That’s a stellar start to a birthday.

Good story to go with the photo above. John says, “There was a group of ladies celebrating a birthday next to us (I thought the birthday girl was in her 20’s, but she’s 46 today!), and I offered her a piece of the cake. Their table went crazy for it, so we had enough left over that they could share in the birthday love.”

******

With a one-sided terroristic war underway, and a psychopath killing as many children as his troops can find, for the sake of shock value, it’s hard sometimes to relax into what’s at hand… the life we’re privileged to live here, at least for now… hard to take joy in the smaller things without being guilt-ridden over it. But the chaos is there and we’re here, and a sanity-based approach to life tells us we can be of no assistance there and very little here. So what’s on tap for today is…

NCAA Basketball Tournament play, starting at 11am with Baylor and UNC, which leaves just enough time for a nice spa soak first. The KU Jayhawks play Creighton at 1:40, our fan-focus of the day, and then it’s endless roundball ’til the sun rises tomorrow, as far as anyone knows. You pick your escapist poison, we’re settled on ours. Which brings up a thought…

Don’t be like Pluto.

Image

A road marker…

Two years ago we were experiencing our last normal week and none of us knew it. We sheltered at home on March 13, and I started a pandemic diary in this space that ran for a year and accumulated some 233 pages. It’s already proven to be a valuable resource in sorting the details of what happened, because it doesn’t take long for the facts to get muddled, especially in a time of reduced input and impetus.

This morning’s article from CBS News about the pandemic death toll is sobering but not shocking… we’ve known from the start that a cover-up was prime, denial was paramount, and dealing with reality was above TFG’s pay grade. If the world survives, people will someday know the whole truth… it always surfaces with the passing of time.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/covid-pandemic-deaths-18-million-study/?fbclid=IwAR2KqDKBqnGhkyZmVjPEmddPoy7peAK48jkIfB-U188_bzfV2xpNJnBQ9h8

Lies and willful ignorance don’t make for a healthy society, especially if they’re woven into the very foundation. What’s wrong in the world is bad enough… what’s worse is what’s conjured up.

******

https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript

From the pitiably dense to the primo-darling…


The Valais Blacknose is a breed of domestic sheep originating in the mountains of the canton of Valais in Switzerland (from which its name derives). They have been documented as far back as the 15th century, but only became a standardized breed in 1962. Their unique, fluffy appearance sets them apart – their distinctive black faces contrast with the white curls of their woolly coats. They also have black ears, knees, hocks, and feet, and both rams and ewes have spiral horns. 

These little stuffies are real and they exist in the same world as red-hat wearing MAGAs who are equally clueless for no legit reason and are not adorable.

Speaking of cute, Toodles takes the cake:

******

And since it’s Saturday in America, we’ll segue from cake to cheeseburgers…

Despite growing concern from the medical establishment, we’ll be subjected overnight to an industrial-strength circadian-rhythm disruption that is entirely unnecessary and probably detrimental. It’s 2022, we can stop this ancient (1918) custom now.

Image

Information saturation…

Someone please explain to me, like I’m in kindergarten, the process by which email procreates and multiplies when left to its own devices. I was sure my various folders had been whittled down to a single page of no more than 100 emails apiece mere weeks ago, but a sobering look this morning revealed thousands of messages lurking there in the dark. It’s war, kids, the kind I can proudly stand behind: DELETE EVERY IRRELEVANT EMAIL. Fortified with Kim’s coffee, I shall do so with glee. It concerns me that they’re able to gather silently and join forces this way, but once I see them they’re done for. What troubles me is all the “not seeing,” because that has staying power. Okay… off to wreak havoc and mayhem, thus atoning for my sins of neglect, and simultaneously exorcising a few demons. Frustration comes to mind… might be a good day to work on taming that one.

Our schizophrenic late-winter weather, the rollercoaster ride collectively known as COVID, war that threatens to turn global, daily rifts and tensions among humans everywhere… it all gives me pause 🐾 🐾 . But something feels different lately, beyond the astounding fact that I’m free of nerve pain for the first time in five decades. The atmosphere is starting to feel somehow changed… the tenor of conversation among thinking people has a distinct note of hopefulness under it… the knowledge is starting to penetrate that we might not have to stand still for fascism’s creep after all. And that’s a BFD.

******

Back from the Cyber Crusades, my Gmail is lighter by thousands of unopened messages, and what a rush THAT was. What with all the quiet and isolation since 2019, I really should approach such things with a measure of caution… what if the excitement had caused me to pass out? Bonus nap, you’re right!

After a few mild days in a row, we’re having a snow day, and I heard a rumor of waffles. If that happens imma whip out the Nutella and spread it right on that gorgeous Belgian baby and then settle in by the fire. The Big 12 Tournament is in progress, and the Jayhawks are on the floor at 2pm. Waffles, bacon, coffee, and a win would be perfection. And a bone-warming soak. Weather is an adventure aphrodisiac for your olds, isn’t it rich.

Speaking of old, which is where it goes if we’re lucky…

Image

Goals…

Since my current objective is to be outside walking every day, I’m hyper-focused on The Weather Channel, and what I’m seeing is a roller-coaster path to spring. Pretty sure it’s that way every year, but this time I’m feeling the nuances. We had 8″ of snow late last week, and parts of it are still on the ground. Today’s high is forecast to be 70º with sunshine, so the remnants should disappear while Rita and I are out “hiking” this afternoon, and I can’t wait. She’s scouting out a path I haven’t taken, just for extra interest and incentive because she’s cool like that.

******

That was yesterday. We walked around the Pohler Lofts neighborhood and spent a little time at the Wishing Bench, which someone with a wonky heart on a rough day set on fire some years ago, but which has been refurbished and laden with items dear and meaningful. Next time I’ll take a fresh pic… yesterday we were just there to look and ponder. We went from Pohler to Hobbs Park & Stadium on 11th and looked at the murals… read the quotes by Langston Hughes, who grew up a few blocks NW of there… along with other words from other souls who helped make Lawrence what it is.

Old photo of original bench.
Hobbs Stadium

We love this town, which is still in Kansas but so not like the rest of the state. Our Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, is one of the nation’s most endangered in this year’s midterms… and her GQP legislature has hatched a bill to separate Douglas County, one of two blue dots in the state, from the rest of NE Kansas and stretch our voting block in a straight line across the state all the way to Colorado, 400 miles long and an inch deep. Against our will. Against anybody’s better judgment. Against sanity. It’s crazy-making to be rendered helpless in our own defense, which delights some people no end.

I have a theory, which if proven wrong would crush me. I think you can make #lfk your kickaround dog, poke her with sticks, try to put her nose in the mud… and get virtually nowhere. Digest this in whatever way lines up with your basic philosophy, but a blurb Google handed me says “Lawrence, Kansas was founded in 1854 by antislavery radicals who had come to Kansas under the auspices of the New England Emigrant Aid Company to outvote proslavery settlers and thus make Kansas a ‘free’ state. The city was named for Amos A. Lawrence, a New England textile manufacturer who funded the company’s settlement efforts.”

“Antislavery radicals” sounds so… judgmental, don’t you think? When we go to Free State Brewery… Free State Dental… any number of clearly freedom-loving spots in town… I just think how fresh the air feels. I am for sure anti-slavery, but isn’t everyone? Wait… that’s the “radical” part, isn’t it. From what I can gather, John Brown was a nutty old scarecrow who knew his beans, knew right from wrong, knew people weren’t livestock, and he left an indelible imprint here, as we continue to ask ourselves “WWJBD?”

Abolitionist John Brown has been famously depicted in a mural done by Kansas artist John Steuart Curry in the State Capitol building in Topeka, completed in 1940. The mural portrays Brown almost as an Old Testament prophet, a Bible in one hand, a rifle in the other.

Mr. Brown did his rabble-rousing in the 1850s, coinciding with #lfk’s infancy and likely setting the tone for future dealings with the surrounding world. Then in the 1860s, as Civil War devastated the country, William Quantrill contributed his bit to history:

“The Lawrence Massacre, also known as Quantrill’s raid, was an attack during the American Civil War (1861–65) by Quantrill’s Raiders, a Confederate guerrilla group led by William Quantrill, on the Unionist town of Lawrence, Kansas, killing around 150 unarmed men and boys.

The attack on the morning of Friday, August 21, 1863 targeted Lawrence due to the town’s long support of abolition and its reputation as a center for the Jayhawkers, who were free-state militia and vigilante groups known for attacking plantations in pro-slavery Missouri‘s western counties.” -Wikipedia

Quantrill couldn’t burn most of the native stone buildings on Mass Street and elsewhere, but he did his damndest to scorch the character and reputation of Lawrence. And how many people today can even tie his name to this place in history?

I may have been too mesmerized to take pictures yesterday… I haven’t been out much ya’ know… but it’s all still there and we’ll go back. Not today, however, when the high temp will be 28º, a 40º drop from yesterday afternoon’s balmy stroll. Overcast. Gray. Glad I got out and shook hands with Monday while the gettin’ was good. I’m more thankful for a little sister who never whines about slowing her “veteran hiker” pace for the old girl with the hardware onboard. Wait… she has plenty of same, so she knows.

Thought I was seeing ghosts slipping along the sidewalks… all that talk of Quantrill’s Raiders and John Brown and how we got here. Turns out it’s snowing, and now the flakes are gathering mass and acting all sassy. I get to stay in here all day, and walk or no walk I’m loving it. I’m wishing all of us a cozy day bathed in peace and freedom…

Image

Simple Sunday stuff…

As faithful readers know, Sunday mornings are all about ranch omelets and a therapeutic soak, which tends to soften the knowledge that yet another weekend is coming and going as we speak. Thanks to Omicron, et al, I’m still hanging with just me, Kimmers, and Rita most of the time – we’re triple-vaxxed, but so was John when it took his legs out from under him – however, it’s really other things that have conspired to keep me in a detached frame of mind. Small example… in the silence and ennui of sheltering from the virus, with the added influence of spinal issues and pain, I mindlessly let my driver’s license lapse, so I’ll have to run the gauntlet necessary to correct that oversight in order to regain my independence. Soon…

It’s mostly the quiet that keeps me snuggled into this space where it’s soothing and healing, and I see little outside my windows that tempts me other than a warm sunny day. Kim ran errands after the KU game yesterday and when he got back we walked around the block, staying on smooth surfaces, in the sun, and out of the wind as much as possible. The one thing I couldn’t do eight weeks ago has become the very thing that makes me feel best… my own two feet taking me where I want to go, pain free… and I’m already finding that nothing exorcises angst like taking it for a brisk walk. Other than Kim and a roof over my head this is all I’ve really wanted for a whole bunch of years, so life is good and that’s the truth.

Truth has traditionally been a dear, slippery commodity and we deal with it on our own behalf in totally different ways than we afford to other people, all the while constructing a cover story for our own schizophrenic approach to reality. A truth we can likely all agree on: Life is hard. Damn hard. And unpredictable, not to mention chaotic. So it’s a boost to the human story when we find it within ourselves to be genuine with people and help in some way to make life better for them. Or on the sucky days, to at least stay out of the way.

******

Pretty mellow all up in here this Sunday morning. The sweet sweet strains of Kim’s Telecaster guitar sliding through the house mingle like smoke with the wispy thoughts in my head, and make anything feel possible… all of life, bright and happy forever. Seriously, it’s that good for a few amazing moments and I’ve learned to wallow in those while they last because otherwise life’s all about waiting for something. Sorry, running outta time for that, I’ll take THIS, RIGHT NOW.

Person out there, my fellow human who’s reading this, I thank you. I want to give you something of value for hanging in with me over the years and being my therapist, but all I ever come up with is a smile or two from cyberspace. Do please soak up all the goodness of the day.

******

Which begs the age-old question: Does okra REALLY taste like ass?

******

YES!!

******

Image

How cold WAS it… ?

Good morning on a sunny, crispy-cold Saturday. Compared to yesterday’s predawn 5º temp, it was a balmy 20º this morning, so Kim walked Mass Street and environs, bringing me his icy fingers as he does after every winter stroll. I actually invite the delicious shock and brace for it, everybody has a good time, and I’m not the one who has to go out and earn it. Also, did I mention it’s Saturday. The Breakfast. The Soak. In all sincerity, if Dr. Carlson and staff knew what a huge role a simple kingsize jetted bathtub can play in the healing process, it would be prescribed during every post-op dismissal. I can hear my bones sighing as I sink under the water…

The world squandered the power to shock me some time ago, but this past week was surprising in its onslaught of book bannings across the country. Comes across like a sudden and spontaneous development, but it’s no doubt been underway for months and years because the banning of “seditious” books is a key element of fascism, whose proponents desire control like they require oxygen. However far this goes, it’s a honkin’ big yellow canary in the coal mine letting us know that none of what’s happening to democracy is benign, nor do the autocrats have our interests in mind in any way, best or otherwise.

When political actions call for less education, less knowledge, less awareness among the public… ask why.

Not all writing is journalism. Not all writing is truth. Not all journalism is truth. But this woman’s protest sign exposes what’s behind book-banning and the arrest of journalists around the world.

*****

I have only a passing knowledge of the thought processes of early psychiatrists like Freud, Jung, and others, but I do share an affinity with Dr. Jung for silence… the quiet of a tended mind. It makes surviving chaotic times doable. On that note, I wish you a peace-filled weekend, and may every cognizant discovery stay with you and affirm you in the space you inhabit.

I’ve shared this before, yes… probably will again.

Image

Previous Older Entries

Playing for Time

"How did it get so late so soon?" ~Dr. Seuss

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Funny Blogs With A Hint Of Personal Development

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

The Parts Of My Life I Allow You To See

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

Gretchen L. Kelly

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: