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In a dream

 …And the principal said to the teenage girl,

“young woman, know that I am a grandfather. I am not your enemy. Time and change and the limits of your knowledge are your enemies, In a way.

We are your friends, your mother and father and I love you. They actually do want you to be the “yourself” that you are becoming, that you already are. And, yourself is adapting to a changing world, as our world is falling behind. As it should.

But, your growth stretches not only you, it also stretches us. We ask only that you be gentle in your stretching of us.

We love who you are, but I for one am two generations ago for you. Your mother and father Have already stretched me. And I am somewhat less flexible now, as yet another generation stretches me farther.

You have a job to do, and whatever that job is, you must be allowed to do it your way.

While we may have a tendency to micro-manage you, which is certainly irritating to you, it is our love for you and for the truth that causes this.

We will try to let you do your job, your way.

When we meddle , please forgive us, and try to be our friend. Then, go out and shine your light!“

Epiphany

 So what was your New Year’s resolution?

Did you resolve to lose weight, or to be more patient, or to be kinder to your spouse? The one I liked best was one that few people would fail. She resolved one year not to throw phonograph records at whales.

I think I’m finally going to try to do what my college professor in world history tried to encourage me to do.

I had made a “D” on a quiz. So I went into his office and asked why. All my dates were correct, and all the names and places.

But he said “You failed to draw the implications out of history“.

I didn’t realize that this was a college course, not a high school course.

1066 was the battle of Hastings, when William of Normandy conquered the Anglo-Saxon army. But why give a hoot?

Now we know that because of that conquest, the English language was changed, the English legal system was changed, and it filtered right down to religion and food changing ( well, somewhat!).

The aristocracy became French rather than Anglo-Saxon.

Unfortunately it did not cause the British to drive on the right side of the road. Also, unlike the French, laissez-faire, the “Brits” are still OCD.

So now, what implications are we going to draw from 2020?

What have we learned?

Rio 2020

 Yesterday a friend of mine showed me a short video on her cell phone. It was thirty seconds or so of a young boy on a big black horse. They were cantering around in her arena.

Then she told me that the little boy was twelve. He was visiting her farm and wanted to ride the big horse.

She knew he was capable, and had not been able to ride in some time. So she put him up on her four year old half Lusitano, half thoroughbred gelding.

The horse, young as he was, took care of the boy and they had a joyous good time galloping around.

Then, I recognized the horse. He was one that I had trained. He was the son of a stallion named Rumbero, who was a Lusitano from Portugal.

His mother was a thoroughbred of racing bloodlines. This was one of the nicest, best minded horses I’ve ever had the good fortune to have as a student.

His name is Rio.

I have a half brother and some cousins of him and they are all intelligent and willing, and they learn fast, and seem to never forget lessons

Sadly, Rumbero left us for greener pastures over a year ago, but he left this legacy.

And it causes me to think, what is “value” in a horse? Is it beauty, or conformation, or fame or Pedigree?

In my opinion it’s the mental capacity and generosity of spirit to safely give a fun ride to a twelve year old boy!

Christmas Presents and Christmas Presence

 I see the profusion of toys, colorful plastic abundance, under the Christmas tree. It’s a whole different era from when we were children.

And even more so from when our parents were young.

The big thing in my Christmas was my family and I driving in the night through a snowstorm, from Tennessee through Kentucky to Indiana. There would be the distant farmhouse with a string of Christmas lights, those hen’s egg sized bulbs in all colors.

There would be the icy hills to climb that my dad would have to stop and put on the chains to surmount.

Then, finally, the cheery red cheeked warmth of my aunt Deedee‘s house, with Christmas tree, Holly, and candles. There was the joy of getting together with all my cousins. We would go from house to house and visit and play and “talk story.”

All totaled there were at least 20 kids who were my first cousins.

Then Christmas day came. There were a few things that were “boughten” gifts.

Then there were toys and other items made from wood by my dad or one of my uncles.

Occasionally there would be skates, or a baseball bat, or even a bicycle from “Sears and Sawbucks”. But, I guess what I remember the most were the oranges, the Brazil nuts, the walnuts, and the dates. The sweet, sticky gooey dates.

The 50s were more about each other and about joy, and optimism, and less about material things.

And there was music.

We sang Christmas songs, folk songs, Broadway musicals, even college songs. And we ate. Boy did we eat!

There was turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pecan and pumpkin pie —oh my! My grandma, and my mom and her sisters and sisters-in-law were magicians in the kitchen. We stuffed at one house, and went on to stuff again at the next.

Then, I guess what brought the meaning of Christmas to my young heart and mind was experiencing the Christmas programs at the churches.

Part of my family was catholic and part was protestant. But we went to midnight mass at one, then Christmas morning and Sunday services at others.

There were candles, hushed excited faces, and more music, with choirs, organs, and hymns. We were transported by the wonder, the color, the light and the magic of Christmas with family and friends, and neighbors.

I pray that we see that kind of Christmas once again, when we can be together without fear.

Right now presence means more to me than presents.