One feature in the FORUM that lets readers participate is the "Talk About It" section of the online paper. It is a great part of the online edition. I love to read through the comments of various topics and right now, the hottest one seems to be the sale of KFGO to Jim Ingstad, the re-re-re–debut of Ed Schultz as the host of "news and views", the unceremonious dropping of Joel Heitcamp, and the moving around of the Jack and Sandy schedule. The commentators on this "talk about it" topic have very honest views regarding this change in the local radio milieu. Some are cheering the return of Ed..some are making up doggerel to express themselves, some are calling Ed things like a hotair, liberal, windbag plus others too strong to re-print or re-type. I was highly amused looking at this topic….it is already about 14 pages long with a most "free" exchange of views among the anonymous registered folks who take names to identify themselves. It really makes for freedom in expressing oneself and can be highly amusing. It is the First Amendment in all its perfection. I love to read "talk about it" especially the really hot topics and right now KFGO and Ed are HOT! Ed’s return reminds me of another radio personality who had to come crawling back to his home base a few years ago. Nationally known radio person, Garrison (nee, Gary, when he was born and before he became so urbane) Kiellor left Minnesota in an infamous temper tantrum, hissy-fit to- end- all- hissy-fits. He insulted the residents of St. Paul, Minnesotans in general, and huffed himself off to Denmark, the home of his second or third "squeeze" (he did marry her, to his credit,) but it came as a big shock to another lady with whom he had shared a domicile for years and years and was in the dark about the new lady love at the time it all came down. Denmark was not so hot after he got there(everyone did not fall all over him when they saw him) and he eventually came back to New York, that Shining City Afar Off, that he had always wanted to take by storm since he was a dreamy teenager having illusions of grandeur in an upstairs room of his parental home, reading THE NEW YORKER. New York did not get taken by storm either, and the radio show from the Big Apple, with its changed format, did not take anything by storm so eventually, GK had to come crawling back to St. Paul, Minnesota, MPR (who never abandoned him) and his original radio show format "The Prairie Home Companion". Now he has even participated in making the most boring movie ever, called (what else) "Prairie Home Companion". I saw it, cynically, since I have never appreciated a Big Arrogant Verbal Bully like GK but at least it proved that he cannot lay the Golden Egg on the Hollywood scene either. One did get to see the dim recesses of the Fitzgerald Theater, so that was interesting but the rest of it was a total loss. He was so good in the early 1980s before his fame went to his head. If I could somehow re-capture those early broadcasts…one done in the gym of North High in Fargo….and several at the Concordia Fieldhouse in Moorhead..I would be a fan once more. I used to enjoy Ed Schultz’s early Bison broadcasts too, but things changed. Ed became on on-air verbal bully, as he did on his early talk shows, as well, burning his bridges for many folks in this area. It will be (as Arte Johnson said) "verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr—y interesting" to watch this crawl-back to the beginning of a "career", hoping to re-capture the perceived magic that has gone sooooooooooooooo flat.
A few more thoughts on banning things: I just read about an attempt in the California legislature to pass a law banning parents from spanking their children. The bill has been introduced in Sacramento by one of the CA lawmakers. Another CA legislator commented on this proposed bill and said that a bill should be introduced that would force parents to read to their children for 30 minutes every night. I could vote for that one. Another commentator on the proposed banning of spanking, who is a teacher of parenting at a YMCA said that instead of banning spanking, parents need to learn different ways of disciplining and redirecting their children. Brilliant! Would anyone care to place any bets on the enforcement of this "nanny goverment" proposed legslation?? The thoughts might be noble but how would it be enforced, especially in homes? We did our parenting in a generation that did spank, if necessary. We probably saved our oldest child’s life by spanking his bare legs with a willow switch when he ran away and crossed a street (at the age of about 1 1/2 years) There was no reasoning with a child this age. But he remembered the sting of the willow switch and never ran away again as he had done. Both of us were so frightened by what he did—-it was a busy street—-that it took us hours to calm our beating hearts.
It seems like today’s parents are much more capable of doing violence to children if they spank them…there is so much inner anger, so much disfunction abroad in families. If all parents were totally reasonable at all times, there would be no need to try to pass legislation that bans spanking—-which is a totally unreasonable solution to a horrible problem. In Fargo, we now see the decision that little Blue Twobear was beaten to death in his own home although no charges have been filed. This is today’s spectre of violence in the home, hitting the front pages once again. I long for the days when the majority of families had two parents (the ones that married each other in the first place), two parents who did not divorce each other, families who celebrated mom and dad’s 50th and 60th anniversaries together. I know this was not always the case and much was hidden back then. All families have never been perfect and peaceful but it seems like there used to be so much more stability and it showed up in the children of those generations. Nanny government can never solve the major problems being generated in today’s society. I wish it could.
…..BAN cell phones while driving! 49 countries from (alphabetically) Australia to Zimbabwe already have done so! Check out Google by typing in "state laws, cellphones" and an amazing list of bans already in place in the U.S. will amaze you. But while we are at it, lets ban a few other things that distract drivers to the point where they are dangerous road hazards to other drivers. Ban make-up application while driving. Buffaloguy used to observe female drivers between 7:15 and 8 a.m. careening all over a major highway to FM while applying their morning make-up and "doing their hair". Let’s ban reading a book propped on the steering wheel while driving down a road….I have seen this one many times and it usually made me want to pull over on the shoulder for awhile til the hazardous driver had either gone in the ditch or was a long ways away from my vehicle. Let’s ban falling asleep at the wheel…those drivers have caused a lot of accidents. One of my relatives got run into from behind by a sleeping driver. Ban writing in a notebook while driving…these drivers are easily identified because they are looking down at the passenger’s seat in order to write their notes or letters or reports or whatever. Let’s ban parents turning around to discipline unruly children in the backseat. Let’s ban steering with one knee while you do other tasks while driving. Let’s ban feeling around on the floor for something you dropped while you are driving. Let’s ban changing radio stations, inserting tapes or CDs while you are driving. Now that all the bans are in place we need to also see to it that about 3000 new highway patrol personnel are hired to enforce our bans….they could double as trans-fat police for a few shifts also. There is one thing that can NEVER be banned while driving…..fervent prayers for protection from those who are not obeying the new bans.
P.G.S…..Pretty Good Stuff! At least to me it is pretty good stuff but I know that some blog readers may think…what is this? She is really around the bend, and other P.G. T. (Pretty Good Thoughts) for them anyway. But I digress…………..(and I have to go shopping so I cannot digress too long) Today I read the news in the FORUM that a 36 year old man who was chosen the National Guardsman "of the something", recently, has been sentenced for stealing money ( or grain) from a small town elevator. He told the judge that he did it "because he was going through a bad mental time" or some such thing. His lawyer also said the same thing. Now, all of us go through some bad mental times, probably pretty often..but we do not go out and embezzle stuff from our employers. I get really sick and tired of these "victimhood" lame excuses that seem to come up more and more as if this excuses one from committing a really- truly- CRIME. It didn’t help him–he got a fairly stiff sentence anyway. That leads to another obsessive national news story being ruminated over (as in" a chewed cud being regurgitated time and time again, and being re-chewed) by the national media: why didn’t that kidnapped boy from Missouri run away from his kidnapper? If someone kidnapped me and told me he would kill my parents and me if I ran away, I would probably stay put and put up with whatever this poor 15 year old has put up with for the years he has been gone. The 24-7 cable news stations must be running on low these days. Next thing we know, we will be hearing a familiar theme-song, like the one we heard for Chandra Levy not that long ago. I can still re-play it in my head if I want to. Good Grief. Her murder has never been solved. It probably never will be solved. Same thing with the poor teenager from Alabama whose going missing was ruminated on for weeks and months and is still occasionally spit up and re-chewed by Greta Van Pesteren at 9 p.m. on FOX. Other recent news that has been interesting: "Someone needs their ears Boxer-ed"/ or/"She did not mean it that way"–the insult was invented by Tony Snow and others in the White House and for crying out loud, let Barbara Boxer whale away at Condi Rice anyway. It depends totally on how you perceive it, this question about not having children, not being married, not having a stake in the war in Iraq and all that other reverse-feminist monologue. NOW is certainly not going to side against Boxer. She is one of their Heroines. She did not mean it that way!!! One that is almost a Golden Oldie on the News now, is the lady who lets a rescued lion kiss her and hug her—through the bars of a pen, thank goodness. Imagine being kissed on the mouth by a big male lion??? What kind of breath does he have?—he— who eats raw meat and never gets his teeth brushed…..my stars and garters!!….that lady must have no sense of smell….or she is desperate for love in whatever way it comes to her. If a male lion french-kissed me, I would have to be hauled away on a stretcher. On the local scene, someone drove their car through the window of a thrift shop and the person inside working was injured. I have not heard a follow-up on this news, and I was half asleep when the Ten O’clock News Crew was reporting it. I hope the person who got the surprise of his/her life in a quiet small-town thrift shop is recovering well in all ways…physically and mentally. Think of the opportunity…if that person were charged with a crime committed later that day, they could use the "mental hard time" defense, and hope to get off scott-free
I am drinking morning coffee from a cup that has this on it: "A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, the kind of car I drove…..but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." That applies to teachers, and parents, and others who work with children. I really appreciated Jack Zaleski’s essay on Sunday January 14 about "let teachers teach" or something to that effect. He nailed it over and over again re. modern times in education. I also thought about one incident when I realized that I had had an effect on a child…quite a few years ago, a student named Becky came into the elementary library after school one day, smiling and asking if I remembered her. Of course I did remember her, although she had not been a student in our school after her kindergarten year (she went to a private elementary school nearby) and re-joined our district when she entered junior high school. What she wanted that afternoon was a book she remembered from kindergarten. She said she had an assignment in Pre-College English, that involved the use of a childrens’ fairytale or folktake books and she wanted "that book you read us when I was in kindergarten about the little boy with the big long name." I knew immediately that she meant "Tikki Tikki Tembo", a Chinese folk tale that I read every year to the kindergarteners because it was so good! (Tikki Tikki Tembo, no-sah-rembo, pari-vari- ruchi- pip- peri- pembo" ) We found a copy of the book, chatted some more, and then Becky went on her way and I pondered her remembering a book I read from her year in kindergarten. It made what I did on a daily basis more meaningful….reading aloud to the primaries was a wonderful part of my work and I realized that it was meaningful to those little ones also. Many times as those little students advanced in the grades, they would come and ask for books by title or even by author and I knew that teachers were having a positive effect, not only on their reading skills, but on their growing discrimination for choosing books they wanted to read. I think that every teacher, especially elementary ones, has at least one experience of a student returning to give them postive feedback, even if the student does not realize what it is they are giving. It is a wonderful thing to have happen! I could blog on forever about teachers I remember and why I remember them. Miss Mickelson, my first grade teacher, will never be gone from my mind as long as I still "have all my marbles". She was far more than a teacher—-she was like a mother to us little scared first graders…she did things for us that we will never forget, not just teaching us to read and write and do some simple "arithmetic" (how’s that for an age-revealing term??) We had a playhouse in our first grade room….big enough to go inside and play house! It had furniture..little doll beds, cups, dishes, everything a first grader’s "house" needed. She allowed a student’s dog (Jiggs) to be our classroom dog all year because Jiggs always followed Dennis to school in the morning. Nobody had heard of leash laws in our tiny town. It was too cold for Jiggs to stay outside all day (like Mary’s patient lamb)…Jiggs lay comfortably under the blackboard most days. I can’t remember what happened when we went to lunch—he must have gone out for awhile at recess but he was always there when we got ready to go home, after singing a hymn to end the day…imagine that…"Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh..shadows of the evening, creep across the sky". We made butter by shaking a glass jar with cream from the Friday’s Dairy farm just outside of town. As we shook (how we did not drop that glass jar I will never understand) and as we shook, we sang, "Come butter, come! Come butter come! Johnny’s at the garden gate, waiting for a butter cake, come butter come!" I sang it years later to a class of kindergarteners (in my "adult school") who were shaking another glass jar of cream , so many years after I had done it as a first grader. I remember sharing our first grade butter with the second graders when we all had buttered graham crackers together with our afternoon milk. We had a sandbox inside our classroom and turned it into a Dutch village in March, complete with long grass (we planted oats and watered the crop each day til we had lush green grass growing on our Dutch farm. Miss Olsgaard, our third grade teacher, memorably read aloud, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" .It must have been an abridged childrens’ version but oh, how we waited for that time after recess when she would read to us!! Miss Olson in grade four had us assigned to jobs we did in the classroom but the coveted one was "Hectograph Helper". Teachers made copies of papers on a cookie sheet filled with a mysterious substance called "hectograph jelly". When they wrote with the special purple hectograph pencil on the paper to copy, pressed it on the hectograph jelly…it would reproduce many copies of purple- lettered magical "work sheets". We girls would "kill" to be the hectograph helper because it meant staying after school making copies of tomorrow’s worksheets. Some of us were even crafty enought to notice what we would be working on the next day and bone up a bit that night at home!!! Miss Lorentzen, our grade 6 teachers would get all worked up when the girls came in from recess with our brown, ribbed cotton "long stockings" wet clear up to the knees from frolicking in wet snow or puddles. Then she made us take them off in the "cloakroom" and hang them on the steam radiators to dry. I can still smell the odor of those brown stockings! It was not a nice odor in a lot of cases. But…this meant that we could clump around for the afternoon in our brown oxfords, bare-legged, metal garters banging our thighs….just like the hallowed high school girls did …all day, brown-stockingless. We felt so grown up without our brown stockings on. I know we deliberately got our stockings wet so we could do this in the afternoon. I remember plotting how to get our stockings as wet as possible with the other girls. The beginning of school years are as formative as your life at home, until you went off to school. Parents are the most important teachers in any child’s life. We just go on to our other teachers later. God bless them all!!!!
T.O.Y. stands for "Teacher Of The Year" and in my school, one teacher is chosen each year to represent all of us in the state’s teacher of the year honors. I braved the minus - 15 degree morning today to attend a breakfast for this year’s T.O.Y. She is my good friend of many years and a more deserving teacher you are hard put to find! I must say, though, that our small school district has had many great TOY’s over the years…2 of them have been in the final 5 in the state’s choice for the teacher of the year. Mrs. G is special however; she was my teacher beginning in 1980….I really learned how to deal with elementary age students by watching her do it….she was a most excellent teacher of intermediate age kids–still is and always will be. My educational background was in secondary education but when I took the wonderful position as a K-12 school librarian, I needed to learn to teach at the K-6 level also. When I began in 1980, Mrs. G had a class of about 36 kids and most of them were boys—-lively, active boys! The first time her class came to the library, the door opened and it was like seeing a wave of Chinese Communists coming across the Yalu River into North Korea in 1950!! One boy leaped over a table with a single bound (like Superman). There were not enought chairs in our little library corner for this mass of 4th graders. I knew these urchins were perfectly behaved and learning well in Mrs. G’s room, so I begin to study her teaching skills carefully. I learned it all from Mrs G and a couple of her colleagues…one a grade 6 teacher who is now the Principal, and a first grade teacher with lots of experience with primaries. Teachers (and other professions) really do mentor each other, even if it is not formally acknowledged. I learned so much from Mrs G and others during my many years as their colleagues. Nearly every teacher I have ever known is more than willing to help another teacher and also willing to share materials and ideas with those who "go to the breach" each day, together, in elementary or secondary classrooms. I wanted to take a moment of blogging time to acknowledge teachers everywhere, at every level. One of the letter-writers today, who sent his congratulations from far-off Mission, Texas, (he is retired) called teaching "the noblest profession" and it is….for those who have a good work ethic, who love the children they are entrusted with, who want to teach those children to meet the highest standards they can handle at their age, who do not lose their enthusiasm even though they have been a classroom teacher for 30 or more years……….I salute all of you, but today I especially salute Mrs. G. She has all those attributes and more. We had a wonderful breakfast and time together today…it was just perfect and another worthy T.O.Y. has been duly honored by her colleagues. One Post Script: I read this quotation yesterday and it is perfect for bloggers and blog readers: "Be who you are, and say what you feel because people who mind don’t matter, and people who matter don’t mind." It comes from the fantastic creative mind of Dr. Seuss….and I do not think it was in one of his books….just in his heart!!! Also…. I love this adage: "If you can read this, thank a teacher." And I have read a postscript to that adage…."If you can read this in English, thank a Soldier."
It is so cold…how cold is it? Tell me! I froze all day today getting in and out of a vehicle but it was worth it in the end..I bought tickets for "The Belle Of Amherst" at the FM Community Theater and saw it this p.m. with my Alter-Ego friend whom I knew would love it as much as I did…and we did love it. The one-person play about Emily Dickinson is stunning and the professor from Valley City who did it is also stunning in her performance. I am so glad I chose to freeze my digits and other body parts and go see it today even though the wind chill was horrendous. But about the title of this blog: lately there is an ad on TV for a "gadget"…. another in the long line of do-it-all cutters, choppers, and Ron Popiel-type Whatchamacallits. I have never ordered any of these things but I was fascinated by the long-past "veg-o-matic" of yester-year. I got one but I think it was a gift and I was so eager to make it do what it did on the TV ads. It sliced, it diced, it cut tomatoes into perfect slices, it cut french fry potato strips, cucumbers, onions….anything you wanted cut—it would do it. I put one of my fresh garden tomatoes in the veg-o-matic and pressed down on the top of the Gizmo—-and the tomato exploded instead of getting sliced. I was wiping tomato pulp off every surface in the kitchen(and myself) for a long time. I put that veg-o-matic in the back of one of the cupboards where it stayed in the dark recesses for many years; finally, after moving it to a new home along with the other USEFUL thingamajigs we had gathered, I finally brought to a second hand store and dropped it off in the dead of night so nobody would tell me to take it back. Once, my eldest son bought a small battery-operated fan that was hand-held and supposed to be brought out and used if you were in a hot stuffy room. When one of his brothers was in a school musical in the later part of May, it was very hot and I was suddenly surprised to hear a whirring sound coming from behind me. Sure enough it was my son, using his hand-held fan….a doo-dad he had seen on TV and purchased. At least it worked better than the veg-o-matic and it did cool him down but I was embarassed because it was noisy and noticeable and he was MY kid! Buffaloguy bought the gadget to end all gadgets a couple of summers ago….and it, also works. It is a fly-fryer, a battery-operated thing that looks like a small tennis racket and when you hold this up and get it to meet with a fly, turn on the power and there is a blue flash, a loud "zap" and the fly has disintegrated. If you have time to pick up the Gizmo when you see a fly and manage to turn it on before the fly disasppears into that la-la land place where smart flies always go when they know you have a fly swatter or fly killer in your hand…..it works. When a grandson saw it dispatch an insect at a campsite , he spent the rest of the day walking around the campsite executing all the flying insects he could contact. He wore the battery out before nightfall so we had to resort to bug spray or go inside the camper after sunset but he had a lot of fun killing insects with it. We constantly reminded him NOT to touch his dog’s nose with it and if I remember correctly, the Dachsund did not get his nose fried that day…..thank goodness. I am not enchanted with the new Watchamacallit I have seen advertised on TV….it looks like a large version of the veg-o-matic and I am not going to cause anymore tomato explosions in my kitchen, ever again. P.S. I can get more flies with a plain old fly swatter than Buffaloguy gets with his magical battery operated fly killer! Nyah-Nyah! My mother could get flies with her hands by positoning them just above the sitting flies who would immediately fly up to her hands and get dispatched instantly—"hands down".
Buffaloguy thnks he is really funny. He has posted a "C" list of my daily existence right over the computer at which I am now sitting… pecking away at another blog entry. The infuriating thing about the "C" list is that he nails it…..and it not fun getting nailed by someone who sees through you on a daily basis. (a 47- year marriage does this to you) The "C" list starts with (1) CAT. OK then, I admit that when I get up, usually with CAT’s urgings up in the bedroom or even ON the bed with her furry little face in mine, meowing plaintively for me to get up and do things for her….some food, some attention, a taste of my own bowl of Cheerios….whatever. I do it every morning and Buffaloguy is perceptive. Moving on to #2: COFFEE. Once again he is right. While tending to CAT, I am also making my morning pot of caffienated coffee, usually with half flavored coffee and half non -flavored. I love those Blueberry Buckle coffee beans I bought at the CedarHouse Lodge in east Moorhead and this nearly sets off another blog about how much I miss that little lunchroom and the adjoing Archie’s Gallery which closed down at Thanksgiving time. But back to the C-list. I carry my freshly brewed cup of coffee into the "office" (this is Buffaloguy’s name for what I refer to as "that big mess".) But number 3 on the list is there…and like a homing pigeon heading for its favorite digs, I sit down at the COMPUTER and begin the day just as B-Guy says on his list. The 4th one is CROSSWORDS…and I do them every day but not in the morning…they are better for taking a break if I am working hard at Housewifery tasks. My mother did a weekly crossword (it took all week to do it; it was tricky) and I do daily crosswords—a lot of them sometime, if I really get going. I used to do one or more when I used to come home from a tiring day with 300 little kids in a school library nearly every day and it caused me to feel "composed" or "organized’ once again when I solved crosswords. Number 5 really frosts me because it is NOT true! It is "CUSS out (Buffaloguy) about whatever!" I ever cuss him out…what can he be thinking? I nag a little bit at times, but cuss-out? Never—he is such a liar. He has added a sixth one just recently and this one really hurts because once again, he is right on the money. # 6 is "CRIME SHOWS, a.k.a. "Law and Order" Okay then I admit it; I am strangely hooked on watching "Law and Order" every Tuesday night on NBC….it is the only show I watch on the "regular" channels because I cannot stand any of the rest of them. Why "Law and Order" is watched I cannot figure out…the stories are unremarkable, often, pretty horrific….the characters are "politically correct" (a condition I can barely stand to say with out gagging) and sometimes the plots get "politically correct" which drives me up a wall. I flipped the channel a few nights ago because the P.C. was so blatant I could not take it. The cast of White Anglo-Saxon Olivia, white- man parner (cannot remember his name) white man boss, Asian psychologist, Black detective (Ice-T with a pigtail) Jewish detective and Hispanic woman-crime lab genius is just too much for my P.C. tolerance level…but still I turn it on on Tuesdays to see if I can stand it. Then I discovered that USA (Direct TV) has continuous old reruns of Law and Order in the evenings; I have even secreted myself upstairs to watch Law and Order, watching on a small TV in a bedroom (hiding my addiction from B-Guy, whom I knew would tease me about it) but he found me out and now I suffer…..first with the P.C. on the show and next with his teasing me about it. It is an unsolved mystery in an otherwise sensible life. Those 6-"Cs" stare down at me every morning and the worst part that all of them are pretty much true and sometimes the truth does not set you free; it makes you miserable.
I tell myself each day that I should not be such a "news junkie"…it leads to having bad dreams and possible depression. But I continue to do it because I cannot help myself. I wish there were some sort of a "bad news-readers’ support group"..I would join it right now and be a charter member of such a support group. But instead I continue to get my daily fill of really bad news.
TODAY’S BAD NEWS: (this is all from the In-Forum so I have not got the total picture of what is bad today; I have not turned on any of the 24-7 cable news channels so I do not know what horrors are happening in the world at large…who has been abducted, who has been bombed, what car has blown up in Iraq, what nastiness the new Democratic Congress has come up with to further humilate the President…what new put-down Tony Snow has accomplished at the daily press briefing as when he told David Gregory of NBC that he was "biased"….what wild car chase is going on in Los Angeles or some other smog-ridden city full of freeways that looks from the air like a coiled 400- foot long python….what argument can be had by two lawyers, two politicians, two psychologists or "The Trump" and "The Rosie"….what are the "Beautiful People"…. who never marry each other but spawn babies or adopt African children and are lionized for it or chosen as the "most admired Americans"….what are these people doing today??? I could go on and on but the news from the FORUM is bad enough. The continuing sagas of child molesters who are on trial or in jail continues…..the Weather news is the worst of all for all us Wimps and Dweebs who have been so spoiled by our mild, brown winter,and have now been thrown, headlong, into the deep freeze like a Church Basement Lady having an "episode" (aka HOT FLASH)….Craig Bohl may be snatched away from us loyal Bison Fans, picked like a ripe cherry by the U of M….why can’t winning coaches be as loyal as the fans who love them and their teams?….the national guard units from MN and elsewhere may have to spend additional time in Iraq and the media (especially the BIG Media)…will interview the most crazy, negative, poison-spitting soldier or family member it can to decry the longer stays by the national guard units even though I think this kind of tough duty was in the fine print when they signed up…maybe it was even in the BIG print…there is other news but I am getting more and more depressed as I word-process this blog. I know BAD news sells copies or draws viewers..it must, because some days that is all we hear; we know the media, both print and electronic, will lead with someone falling thru the ice on a lake nearby and drowning a horrible death, with someone being shot, beaten, strangled, doused with gas and lit-on-fire-kind of death, someone will have gone missing or have run away from home….some days I would just like to read the news accounts and see as a front page lead item that someone’s dog has learned to fart the Star- Spangled Banner. Or that someone’s kid had stuck his tongue on a flagpole at the local school yard in January (a day like today) and had to be removed by a fire department hose filled with very hot water (as in "A Christmas Story") and no skin came off the kid’s tongue and he is just fine! It would be surprising, shocking, and refreshing. But it isn’t going to happen any time soon. I have to stop now and turn on CNN, FOX, MSNBC or other 24-7 channels and find out today’s NEWS….the good (does it exist?) …. the bad , and the ugly. I should also get on the Washington Post or the New York Times or the Chicago Tribune to find out all the news that is unfit to print and which will do the most damage to a sitting President and his adminstration. We cannot start having any good news, can we???? Heaven forbid!!!
It is neither "mid-winter" not is it very bleak with the warm winter we are having but I listened to a CD of harp music this morning and part it was the rather unfamiliar Carol, "In The Bleak Midwinter" which has these words in the first verse: "In the bleak midwinter, frosty winds made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone." It is truly like this presently….no snow but the winds "make moan" and the earth is like iron and the water is like stone. First I want to thank Alicia for her comments on my "Books" blog of yesterday.I appreciate your book suggestions greatly. When you mentioned "Children Of The Covered Wagon" I immediately remembered one of my teacher friends…a lovely lady, several years my senior, reading that book each school year to her fourth graders, who absolutely loved the book. It was a very old one and I want to run to the library where I formerly spent all my school days and see if it is still there…I remember the author’s last name…Carr. I also remembered a very old book called "Winter On The Johnny Smoker" which was set at Lake Pepin on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border…another delightful childrens’ book that is probably out of print. One can find these old books somewhere on-line but I would have to consult another teacher friend who knows about this site. I used to tell my students to "not judge a book by its cover" (very old adage) but it is literally true..inside some of the most battered old-fashioned covers, are the best stories!!! A more recently written book that Alicia might want to find is called "Bound For Oregon" and I cannot remember the author of that one. It is about a journey on the Oregon Trail—a wonderful pioneer story; also the Classic & Newberry winner of years ago.."Caddie Woodlawn", a pioneer story set in early Wisconsin. "Reflections" is what I titled this blog, but the word I first thought of was "Ruminations"….a word that tells us of "bringing up the cud and chewing it again"…a physical action that cows practice; it is rather gross to ponder the physical meaning of "rumination" but the second definition of it is "to bring to mind again and again, to muse, to ponder". That is what I did early this morning between the time it was still totally dark until the first gray light of dawn showed. My recovering kitty (The Tyrant Queen) woke me up with her morning "meows" that translate, "get up!… and pay attention to ME…the most important creature in this house!!" I am happy to report, for certain readers who have asked…that the Kitty Princess is recovering nicely from her wounds of November and has adapted to her disability remarkably well, as animals do, completely on their own. She has learned to run very fast on three legs (if necessary) and land on her one front foot when jumping up or down from places she wants to be.(sometimes we call her "the tripod") She gets a huge amount of attention (as she always has) but it is even more intense now that we feel so sorry for her suffering of November. Buffaloguy tells her that if she weren’t the cutest kitty in the whole world , he wouldn’t like her so much! Part of my ruminating was done in Kitty’s basement "apartment" which she now occupies most of the day. She has nice "digs’ with our old furniture…sofa, recliner, wooden rocking chair, two beds, and other accoutrements for her pleasure and her comfort. …her cat box which she has also adapted to, after being primarily an outdoor bathroom kitty for all her life. She was indifferent to my pleas to sit on my lap for awhile. She used her "tail language" to let me know she did not care to sit on any lap….the tail slowly switches back and forth like a striped snake. When she is particularly pleased with attention, like back-scratches accompanied by all our silly-baby-cat-talk, she talks "happy tail" with rhythmic beats that slap any surface rather boldly. Then we sing the old Roy Rogers/Sons of the Pioneers song to her, slightly modified: "Happy Tails to You, until we meet again….Happy Tails to you, keep smilin’ until then…" She puts up with it. After being rejected in the basement, I came upstairs just as the gray light of dawn was showing and put a CD on which was given to me by my sister, the proud mom of my talented nephew, Erin, who writes songs constantly instead of keeping a journal. Right before Christmas, he recorded an album called "Hope Sessions" and all of the songs are his own and have been sung at many funerals in the town where he lives with his wife and two little boys. One of them, "The Butterfly Song" brought to me tears once again; he wrote it for his Dad who left us all at the young age of 52. These sorts of reflections are both hard and healing at the same time. I always cry when I hear Erin’s mellow voice recall the silky butterflies that he and his Dad used to put up in the church for Easter Sunday…..a reminder of the Hope that believers have even in the face of tragic losses through death of loved ones. He also has a new song, that he wrote for the dedication of "the Angel of Hope" park in his city this past December…another beautiful hopeful song that I am sure has moved many to tears as they remember their children who have died. It is good to take time for reflection on many things and I fear that today’s "wired-up, high-tech" young people who seem not to have time for silent reflections….they are busy on their cell phones, their blackberries or raspberries or whatever they call them, they are hooked up to I-Pods… they are constantly talking or listening to something….there is no time for them to be silent and simply ruminate or reflect. I wonder if it is because they fear such silences in their lives??? If that is true, valuable time is being lost to them and I feel sad to think of it.