In my ’80s

Saturday, June 30, 2018

After reading and/or browsing the news today, a disconcerting thought comes to my mind:  While my eight decades may be correctly worded by Walt Whitman — “Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, cheerful, for freest action …” many other people on this planet experienced war up close.

In my childhood, World War II.

In my teens, the Korean War 

In my twenties, the Cold War at its coldest 

In my thirties, the Vietnam War

In my forties, Argentina’s “Dirty War” 

In my fifties, Gulf War, Yugoslavia Wars 

In my sixties, Iraq War 

In my seventies, the Afghanistan conflict, the Libyan conflict 

In my eighties, U.S. tensions with Iran, Mexico, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela

And these are only the major ones! 

By “disconcerting” I mean this and these:

  • Should I be grateful for having been protected by a dominant nation?
  • Should I feel justified in having been a conscientious objector to war?
  • Should I succumb to angst over the continued belligerence of sapiens?
  • Should I have been more active in promoting justice and peace?

In my ’80s

Friday, June 29, 2018

In the so-called and imaginary manual for aliens approaching earth (see yesterday’s blog entry), one chapter that would interest me perhaps more than any other is “N — nevertheless.”  That word edged out another n-word — notwithstanding. Both words are combinations of three smaller words.

never / the / less

not / with / standing

My Apple dictionary explicates the words as follows: 

   Nevertheless  (adverb)  in spite of that; notwithstanding; all the same: statements which, although literally true, are nevertheless misleading.

   Notwithstanding  (preposition)   in spite of: notwithstanding the evidence, the consensus is that the jury will not reach a verdict | [postpositive] : this small contretemps notwithstanding, they both had a good time. (adverb) nevertheless; in spite of this: she tells us she is an intellectual; notwithstanding, she faces the future as unprovided for as a beauty queen. (conjunction) although; in spite of the fact that: notwithstanding that the hall was packed with bullies, our champion played on steadily and patiently. (origin) late Middle English: from not + withstanding, present participle of withstand, on the pattern of Old French non obstant ‘not providing an obstacle to’.

The two words are definitions of each other, almost twin terms and yet in our speech and writing we continue to keep and use both.

This little exploration of two words would provide an interesting yet confusing introduction to the extremely complex explanation of human language. An alien would be discombobulated as he, she or it read about the thousands and thousands of words used throughout the planet earth … grammar … parts of speech … syntax … word order … idioms … nuance … and much more.

Maybe one or more of the aliens would be attracted to the esoteric topic of semiology. Another might consider the causes of difference between having a limited or extended vocabulary. Yet another curious topic is the affect of social class on one’s language. 

I just can’t imagine that the aliens, however brainy, could master enough of our way of communicating to say something recognizable upon landing on one of our mountains.

Notwithstanding, I myself would try to be polite and take them to my leader.

In my ’80s

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The table of contents
for a 26-page orientation
prepared for aliens
headed toward planet earth 

  1. angst                    

  2. bra

  3. constipation

 4. die-hard                    .

  5. evolution

  6. fries                      

  7. greed 

  8. hegemony             

  9. itch 

10. justification by faith

11. klutz

12. landfill   

13. muck

14. nevertheless 

15. obese

16. plastic                 

17. queer

18. racism

19. SOS

20. tragedy

21. utopia

22. visa

23. watered down

24. xenophobia

25. yo   

26. zeus

In my 80’s

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

“I’ve never ever met a person who cleaned the garage as often you do,” said a neighbor. I didn’t know whether he was teasing or taunting. But I had a ready answer. Garage cleaning wasn’t as much a matter of tidiness as it was remembrance.

Home on the farm rainy days gifted us an numerous ways. The crops got water. The garden grew. And we didn’t have to go out to hoe thistles. Instead, we cleaned the garage and sheds.

Yesterday late morning I came out of the barbershop to see this: 

IMG_0263 3.jpg

The lightning shouted and the thunder shrieked. In twenty seconds I got one doozy of a drenching.


When I got home and changed clothing, I headed to the garage and there remembered.




In my ’80s

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


The emerald ash

I didn’t want them to toss the emerald ash
into the landfill.
The borer should not gain such  victory.

Give me the dead limbs, I said.
And the brittle branches.
Give me one big cut of the trunk.

I’ve now clipped and carried countless bundles
to the refuge out by the fence,
new home for what once nested in the tree.

The limbs, yet to be cut, will speak to me
in the fireplace next winter
of seasons now past.

On the patio lies the huge trunk piece.
I’ll coat it with a sealer
And count its rings.

In my ’80s

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


I thought I knew you.

At first we waved to each other. Then we had coffee at Jake and Daughters Coffee Shop. You like biking; I like walking. You value family life. You were educated and now successful in a good job. You go to church. I get a kick out of your tattoo, a long curvy line from shoulder to wrist.

Neither of us has pressed the other about current political issues, although I knew you were a member of NRA. In the spirit of honest and responsible sharing, I suggested that sometime we might share with each other our political leanings … without arguing. 

You went first and you said …

        1. You’re for individual freedom and private enterprise.
        2. You want limited government and thus oppose federal and state regulations such as environmental protection.
        3. You oppose gun control.
        4. You side with “traditional values” and thus oppose same-sex marriage as well as women demanding all the privileges of maleness.
        5. You want a strong national defense..
        6. And no, you don’t want more Central Americans to immigrate here. 

Next week at Jake and Daughters it’s my turn. Of course I can come up with words. I can configure my political orientation under six points, But at the moment I am paralyzed.

I now don’t think that I know you. No, I am not trying to impose greater distance between me and you. Nor am I making you out to be one of the rednecks who elected Donald Trump. I do not think myself to be superior to you. You are a person, a worthy person. You are my neighbor. You are a coffee buddy. 

But I don’t think I really know you.

In my ’80s

Monday, June 25, 2018

I like to write.
The other enjoys dancing.

I’m eighty.
The other has just turned nine.

I comb my hair to the left side.
The other shaves his head.

I like dogs.
The other prefers cats.

I’m a Cubs fan.
The other watches World Cup playoffs.

I am pale white.
The other is East Africa brown.

I live in an 1800 square foot house.
The other lives in a station wagon.

I order arroz con pollo.
The other wants mac n cheese.

I do crossword puzzles.
The other watches “America’s got talent.”

I’m five six.
The other is six six.

I’m a universalist.
The other is an Evangelical.

I talk and talk.
The other listens.

I take a long walk.
The other enjoys a day at Seven Flags.

I have enough money, I hope, to see us to the end.
The other is a multi-millionaire.

I am a conscientious objector to war.
The other has completed two Army assignments in Afghanistan.

I am heterosexual.
The other is lesbian.

I am somewhat messy.
The other is fastidious.

I am free to choose among many options.
The other is given few opportunities.

I have traveled the world.
The other has never been out of this state.

I’m color blind.
The other has lost her hearing.

I voted for Clinton.
The other voted for Trump.

I’m writing a blog.
The other just might be reading it.