In my ’80s

October 31, 2018

Yesterday morning in northern Indiana, at about 7:15 a  24-year-old driver of a pick-up truck disregarded the flag on a stopped school bus and plowed into four children. Three of them from the same family were killed. The other child is in the hospital.

This event takes me back seventy years. I was in fifth grade. One day

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my mother and young brother came to visit. They were accompanied by family friends, Mrs. Peiffer and her son Jackie. Jackie and my brother Harold were the same age, perhaps five years old.

At the end of the school day, Mother was going to do something with Mrs. Peiffer, so they let Jackie and Harold go home with me on the bus. At the end of our long lane, the bus stopped to let us out. Jackie went first, Harold second and I third. As we rounded the bus in front, a truck came around the bus and hit Jackie,, throwing him back on Harold and me. Jackie’s face was a stunned bash-in.

The truck driver stopped and the bus driver got out. I decided to run in the long lane to tell Daddy. A long lane. When we got to the buildings, Daddy wasn’t home. Mother wasn’t home. Harold and I were there together, wondering whether Jackie was dead. (A passerby rushed Jackie to the hospital.)

When Mother got home to receive the news, she immediate jumped into the car to get Mrs. Peiffer. Then we drove to the hospital. There it was decided by someone that it would be helpful for the traumatized me to see that Jackie was in a bed, his head totally wrapped.  He was being cared for and yes, he was alive.

The next day two police officers came to school to ask me my vision of the event. I later learned that I was nearly summoned to Harrisburg where the legislature was debating the school-bus-stop law. The law passed without my help, and soon many states enacted the school-bus-stop.

Jackie survived but with enduring effects. That is about what could be said of me. 

In my ’80s

October 30. 2018

Yesterday in my blog I listed several of the events or situations that bring heaviness to my spirit. Several days earlier I posted Richard Kauffman’s suggestions of what to do in such times of negative news. I wish today to affirm how my encounters with nature renew my spirit. 

I walk daily, and now having a little dog, I typically walk twice a day. On some of the walks, I let Rudy decide where to go. Others days I drive. Here, take a look at what I saw during the past two days. 


  My favorite tree, a hackberry, on the nearby golf course. Notice Rudy.


Here as I watched the grasses bend low, I thought of a poem: 

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Christina Georgina Rossetti


Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick in the neighbor’s back yard.


The culvert under the Ritter Avenue bridge.


Milkweed on Delaware Lake

Already I anticipate November, my favorite month — a time of quiet renewal.

In my ’80s

October 29, 2018

A moment of anguish this evening.

  • A local infant, suffering from a rare virus, loses all four appendages.
  • That photo on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times of a starving child in Yemen.
  • And our military contracts with Saudi Arabia that contribute to Yemen’s suffering.
  • An angry man mailing bombs to people he hates.
  • A congregation in Pittsburgh attacked by anti-semitism prejudice and AR-15 assault rifle.
  • The terrible crash this morning on Interstate 70.
  • 189 people dead in a crash of a new plane in Indonesia.
  • A TV personality promoting blackface.
  • 5200 troops will be sent to the border with Mexico to meet the caravan of Central American refugees
  • A call today at the funeral home to a memorial for an ALS victim.

Is there a balm in Gilead?

In my ’80s

October 26, 2018

This morning as I lifted my bod out of bed, my mind had enough sanity in it to hope for a good day. A splash of cold water on my face, a perking coffee maker, a home-made protein bar — I was ready to post my photo on Facebook and read something good from my friends.  Zippo! One of the first things I came upon was Richard Kauffman’s “Things to do to keep your emotional and spiritual equilibrium in these crazy times:.” 

He gave me permission to print his list.

  • spend more time with the people you love
  • pray or meditate
  • do deep breathing exercises
  • listen to your favorite music
  • sing/play music with others
  • go for walks, bike rides, or engage in whatever exercise you enjoy
  • reread books that knocked off your socks the first time you read them
  • read poetry (or whatever literature takes you out of yourself and makes you ponder)
  • put jigsaw puzzles together
  • stargaze on clear nights
  • —journal

Later he added in a personal note to me

  • sip red, red wine

And then I noticed that Gwen gustafson-Zook added

  • cook good, healthy food and eat with friends.

Thank you friends. I must make a few changes to the list.

  • I will  settle for walks since I don’t have a bike to ride.
  • For reasons i don’t know (colorblindness?) I do not enjoy jigsaw puzzles but get a kick out of crossword puzzles.
  • Unfortunately here in the city stargazing isn’t very rewarding.

And I want to add one thing to the list

  • stop, think, find something to be thankful for.


Richard continued by listing some recommended things to give up. I am going to let that be its own blog, perhaps tomorrow.

In my ’80s

October 24, 2018

Surely and unfortunately some seniors are lonely because they have minimal opportunity to interact with others. My heart goes out to them; loneliness hurts like a knife cut.

This morning, before I left the house, I decided to take note of every single interaction for this day, personal and mediated.

  • At the breakfast table I said to Joy, “Hey, you’ve had a huge work week. Why don’t you take off today. The whole day off.” I don’t know whether she heard me but in less than five minute she got up and began working on a big laundry.
  • On the walk with Rudy I didn’t meet anyone.
  • On Facebook Richard K. and I teased each other.
  • At Coat Rack Cafe, the clerk complimented his own coffee and told me I could come back for seconds.
  • Before long Marvin M. arrived. Coffee as secular communion. He introduced me to Andrea Wolf’s The Invention of Nature; Alexander von Humboldt’s New World . I promised to research whether Alexander von Humboldt was associated with the Humboldt’s Current. (At home I checked Wikipedia and found this: The Humboldt Current, also called the Peru Current, is a cold, low-salinity ocean current that flows north along the western coast of South America.[1] It is an eastern boundary current flowing in the direction of the equator, and extends 500–1,000 km (310–620 mi) offshore. The Humboldt Current is named after the Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. In 1846, von Humboldt reported measurements of the cold-water current in his book Cosmos.)  I sent this paragraph to Marvin this afternoon. 
  • FFrom Coat Rack cafe I drove to Lebanon for coffee with Carl C. He did better than I in our agreement to research health lights. He brought a batch of papers describing lights and their proper use.
  • At the service station the communication at the gasoline pump was altogether electronic.
  • The day was so beautiful that when I returned home I took Rudy for a second and longer walk, and specifically to an area where I could let Rudy run. Then I met Shawndra M who was walking her dog. She was ready for the dogs to meet each other, but Rudy is anxious among big dogs, expressing his small size by leaping at the nose of the bigger dog. So we chatted from a distance.
  • At home I learned that Joy must go to work tonight because another worker is ill. Bummer. So we enjoyed an early dinner together.
  • Got a message asking whether I could pick up potatoes from a farmer for my daughter’s catering business.
  • Another message inquiring whether I could pick up my grandson, who will fly in to Indianapolis International Airport for Thanksgiving.
  • A third message setting a date for a promised presentation.
  • A fourth message that confuses me, about a meeting at Wildwood Market that mystifies me.
  • Neighbor Ora phoned to inquire whether we received “Reach” in the mail today. No.
  • A birthday phone call to Ben a grandson. He must make up his mind before Friday whether to take a very attractive job offer.
  • Joy came home and we reviewed our days.

That was my day of interactions. What’s to be made of it? Well, there was nothing terribly earthshaking about any one of the contacts, but at the close of the day, I felt connected and a human being in community.

In my ’80s

October 22, 2018

We live with contradictions; in fact, we make them for ourselves.

The President sells military aid to the authoritarian government in Saudi Arabia, but demands of North Korea the dismantling of its nuclear armaments.

I dislike the New England Patriots but cheer for the Boston Red Sox.

Some harried workers want to slow things down, but when they leave work, they speed up.

We complained about our hot summer, but now I hear people regretting the end of summer.

She wants to lose another ten pounds, she tells the cashier who rings up the box of chocolate ice cream. 

At the garage he fussed that his new and bigger car won’t fit into the garage.

People complain of high medical bills, but vote for less government involvement in health care.

I mention the newspaper’s reduced news hole, but then skim a well-researched report on forest clearings.

The car owner stops at the garage without an appointment, then complains that the oil change took too long.

People insist that “under God” belongs in the pledge of allegiance, but become ever the more secular.

I’ve met rather unlikeable people who put a “like” between and in the middle of every phrase.

We turn off lights to conserve energy but use space heaters to warm the corners of the house in winter.

Patrons insist on Starbucks, while the neighborhood coffee shops is much less expensive and serves a good coffee.

We chew gum to freshen our breath, then spit out the gum, besmirching the sidewalk.

To increase the acreage for corn and soybeans for long-term economic benefit, the farmer drains and then tiles the ecologically important wetland.

Society increasingly castigates the male who makes sexual advances on women, then supports advertising that emphasizes female sexiness.

Colleges and universities reap financial rewards from sports programs that use players who are not allowed to receive salaries.

As people rush to buy more and more lottery tickets, their chances of winning get smaller and smaller.

In baseball, stealing is lauded.

One buys insurance for time of accident, but then, after the accident, insurance rates go up. 

We drive north for summers and south for winters and miss out on seasonal variety.

Because many native people on reservations in Dakota don’t have street addresses, they can’t vote.

A candidate might spend millions of dollars in a political campaign without revealing his or her political philosophy.

We groan about our lack of exercise, then drive to the store for milk.

A state wants an educated workforce, then cuts the education budget.

Retro is in.

Some losers give up when they’re down.

Many wise elders are quite foolish.

in my ’80s

October 21, 2018

Come with me on a morning walk to the woods and Lye Creek 

A patch of milkweed.


Ringo, my companion.


A woods managed by Purdue University


Young trees and old.


Water here and there. 


Lye Creek.


Sometimes a stream, sometimes a river, sometimes a mirror.


No deer today, nor fish, nor snakes but just a peaceful October Saturday morning creek.


Until our next walk —