Things that really matter

 
 

Opus Unique

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in silenzio – In Silence

Opus Unique

“The Music of You”

By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

Tuning heartstrings
Summon it all up and project

Dramatic effect
Walk on a darkened life stage
Unannounced and unknown
You are a stand
You are a microphone in hand
A single focused spotlight is upon you
Silent crescendo
Silent expectation rises
Will you sing A cappella
Will you voice something written
Will you sing impromptu
The eyes and ears of hearts trill
Waiting loudly in the seats of silence

Music attracts

Variety attracting
Compelling
Adagio Allegro
Cadenza Canon
Resonance Dissonance
Dynamics Harmonics
Tremolo Vibrato

Capriccio Concerto
Cavatina Grandioso
Interlude Intermezzo
Fifths Finale

Pages of blank staffs
No trebles or bass clefs
No signatures
No keys
No Majors
No Minors
No sharps
No flats
Only you can write and play the notes

Between the notes silence

Music is what is not heard

Reprise Refrain
Encore

Take thy bow virtuoso maestro

But first-
The world awaiting, is silently seated

This music is to be composed

Music like angelic voices

To be perfectly played
Sung as if with angelic voice
Unique as if from heaven
Pure as if from the lips of God
Are not in the notes
But in the rests

A beautiful silence

Music is undulating silence

Music is everywhere

Every eye and every ear
Every heart and every soul
In anticipation
A beautiful silence
Awaiting the Opus Unique of…

You

It is your time
It is your moment
This the music of you 

Musik ist geliebte Muttermilch — German – Music is Beloved Mother’s Milk

From the collection: ‘Staffs of Life’ By the same author

Categories: Art, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, Music, Poetry, Simplicity, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized, Visual Poetry | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

On Being

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

onbeingOn being? On being what? On being a Christian.

This is not, as Shakespeare wrote, “To be or not to be…” I don’t believe that is either “the question,” or the only question. And neither is the point in time in anyone’s life that like their first birth, none has really much to do with their second birth either or as the Bible refers to it as, “being born again!”

The difference between these is, we had no choice in the first and merely a simple yes or an acceptance of the second. The work of the first was on our parents. The work of the second is, on God the Father by what he accomplished through his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. I did not deserve my first birth nor my second, but God, not me or my works, but His, made me worthy.

So, with that all being written and simply understood by anyone, what is it, ‘On Being,’ on being a Christian?

‘On Being’ a Christian Is the simplest thing, but it is not ever or rarely never easy. It is simple because, even a fool (like I once was) or a child (or child-like, like I still am) can understand. That is the beauty and simplicity in presentation, of the Word of God, rightly divided.

see: II Timothy 2:15

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

Isaiah 35:8 King James Version (KJV)

There have been and are, many, many people who were not or are not Christians, do not believe or in some cases, do not know or believe they are. And there are those that are not yet. If you have a child or some other member of your family or a dear friend, do you not want the best for them? Is it an easy thing for you to bear if, all is not right with them? It is the way I often feel and it is not easy. As a matter of fact, it hurts me with a hurt as any other hurt, if not real pain. I can put a band-aid and some ointment on my wounds, but I cannot always be there to do that, for others and that’s not easy. It hurts, it hurts like hell!

It’s not easy, when you have something which will take away the pain and replace it with joy, but it cannot or will not, be accepted.

Have you ever seen something so profound; so wonderful and yet, you have no knowledge, no words; no experience whatsoever to explain, what it truly is? How can you share something with anyone else, if you do not know what it is? How can you articulate something in words, if you do not understand it yourself? Let me give you an example.

Of all my favorite stories, passages and verses of scripture in the Bible, the story about two men on the road to Emmaus, when Jesus Christ draws near and walks with them is, one that to this day, stirs deeply within me. Let me set this up.

Jesus Christ had been crucified. Many in Jerusalem were fearful, depressed and confused. Even his own disciples (then apostles), were in hiding behind closed doors, afraid that they might be found, arrested and perhaps, subjected to same punishment? Two men were out walking on a road, from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which was, about seven to eight miles away. This would have been what we think of Sunday or what the Bible refers to as, “the first day of the week.”

“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

Luke 24:13-32 King James Version (KJV)

On the Road to Emmaus, by Peter Mathios

On the Road to Emmaus, by Peter Mathios

“…Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

I have repeated part of the verse above and highlighted it, enlarged it; emboldened it to emphasize it. This is how I heard it and read it, when I first was taught it. It seemed to leap off the page to my eyes. I tried to put myself into the shoes (sandals) of these two men. I tried to imagine what they saw and heard and felt. What must it have been like for this stranger to teach them, just two simple men (neither of them one of the original 12 disciples nor apostles)? What must it have been like, for all the Old Testament scriptures about their promised savior, messiah and king to have been taught to them?? My strong suit is my imagination, but I could not imagine, any of this!!

When I heard these verses taught to me, for the first time and when I saw these words, for the first time and they seemed to jump off the page, I know exactly when it was and where I was. In fact, I was what some think of as, within ‘spitting distance,’ of the man who taught me, along with hundreds of others in the same log chalet room in the Sierra Mountains, in California. All I knew is that I had just been taught, I had just heard; I was just shown something so profound and so incredible, but it seemed far beyond my limited ability, to comprehend it or understand it! To me, it was as if, everyone in that room and everyone else on earth, knew these things, but me, and I was the last person on earth to have heard them!

Now, many, many years later, I still cannot fully appreciate what it must have been like to have been one of those men on the road to Emmaus, but I DO understand my heart burning, when scriptures are opened to me!

Many people and even some Christians want to see signs, miracles and wonders, before they are going to believe squat about the Bible. If they don’t, they won’t. And there always seems to be some un-reasonable explanation to justify why, they don’t. Things like— he, she, they and I, am not a Christian or not spiritual enough. Another is, these were, for a different time; they were special and not needed today because, we have the Bible now. Well, this is NOT what the Bible says or how it is, supposed to work.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

Romans 10:13-15

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

Hebrews 2:3-4

This is still, the only way to do it! First, the rightly divided word must be taught, to those willing to receive it. The importance of it being rightly divided is that it is only the truth that “makes” one free, not just sets them free. See. the gospel of John, chapter 8, verses 31 and 32. And while seeing there, notice that that there nor anywhere in the Bible does it say, the truth will set you free. It says “make” you free. What’s the difference? You could be set free from prison. The door to your cell unlocked, you could walk out. But you could also stay there as in what some call being, “institutionalized.” It’s like all you know, having been in prison for say, a long time. You are not prepared to go out and live free. But to be made free, God would open the doors to that prison and take you out, having prepared you to live free. This is what the Word does. It opens the heart, your heart; my heart burns, we understand, we get it, just like the two on the road to Emmaus. Only the truth can do that! Only believing the truth can and will produce, the signs, miracles and wonders. And it all begins, by being taught, what the Word says!

My first exposure to the story of the two on the road to Emmaus was by a teacher, my teacher that many called, ‘The Teacher.’ He was a master teacher. How can I say that? Because when he taught me God’s Word, God caused my heart to burn within me, as he opened the scriptures to me. Whether I understood it or not is, not important. The spirit of God in me understood and leapt within me. It took my fleshy mind, quite some time to grasp. But it was still a miracle because, it was instantaneous and it followed the teaching of the Word, rightly divided, true and truthful, and it made me free!

One of my favorite quotes about teaching is, a line from a poem by, Henry Van Dyke.

Teachers—

“Who teach because they love the teacher’s task,
And find their richest prize
In eyes that open and in minds that ask;”

from the IV stanza, ‘Spirit Of The Everlasting Boy,’
(Ode for the hundredth anniversary of Lawrenceville School)
June 11, 1910, By Henry Van Dyke

There is a synergy and like a symbiotic relationship between teacher and student. Public speaking should never be pushed by fear to speak. That’s not fear you’re feeling, ‘thay be butterflies’! 🙂

The student has come, expecting to receive. The teacher is, expected to give. And in so doing, the teacher too, gets their eyes opened and their minds ask, as well. If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, study the Word – II Timothy 2:15; II Timothy 3:16,17! If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, be a student of someone, anyone that teaches God’s Word, rightly divided! If you desire your own, ‘come to Jesus Christ moment’, teach God’s Word, rightly divided! If you desire daily, signs, miracles and wonders, learn the rightly divided Word of God and teach the rightly divided word of God, every day! Want to have your heart burn within you, feel those butterflies, experience the spirit of God move in you, make your eyes seem to glow to others? Learn, Do and Teach the Word of God, rightly divided. Another often spoken and always remembered by myself, is another something, The Teacher often said while pounding his fist on a podium, a desk or etc., “It’s the Word, It’s the Word and nothing, but the Word!!”

It is not how I feel, how I think, how I, you or anyone else wants to interpret it, but—

“What does the Word say? God says what he means and He means what He says and God has a purpose for everything He says, When He says it, Where he says it, How He says it, and to Whom He says it!”

Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, December 31, 1916 – May 20, 1985

If God said it, that settles it! It doesn’t even matter if I believe it or if anyone else does, it’s still the Truth and it’s only the Truth that can make anyone free!

Christians or not, we are people; we are human and subject to human frailty, error and corruption. Remember not men and women who impressed you, but who have blessed you or bless you still. My teacher failed and he has died. I remember him not for his faults and failures, but for what he taught rightly divided; how he stood for God Word. That is a memory worth keeping and worth sharing; not hiding it away for some wrong he did or some error, some bitterness, some shame. But stay thankful, remain playful and bitterness and shame, will not overtake and break you.

Often during or at the conclusion of his teachings, which I have sat through over the years, ‘The Teacher’ would pause, take a sip of coffee, smile and just simply say, “Lot’s of things kids.”

The Teacher— “Lot’s of things kids.” –VPW-

The Teacher— “Lot’s of things kids.” –VPW-

Everyone that were in his presence, no matter what their age (some even much older than he), felt like they were his kids. He made us feel this way. He once called my brother son (as he did all of his kids) and my brother thought of him as more a father, than our own. Then he would just talk with us and share things on his heart and mind about life and living. Often he would say, “You know, sometimes you get so high with God, you just want to ask Him to cool it.” I’d scratch my head and think, now why would I ever want to do that? Maybe it was like Moses’s hair turning white, after being in God’s presence up on Mt. Sinai, when he first received the 10 Commandments? Nah, that can’t be it, I’ve had white in my hair, since I was a young child. 🙂

Could be that you get so excited you can’t sleep, even though you need to? Now that I can relate to, but purposefully and willingly, cut off the flow of God to me? Not something I am inclined to do. Here I am Lord, let er’ rip! 🙂 And then, in my simple commonsensical wittle’ mind I figure:

A. God knows what He is doing and I know what it feels like to give someone something and they don’t want or won’t take it!
B. Since patience, paying attention and listening to God are not strong suits with me, I better take all I can get when the getting is good or maybe God will just move along to someone, anyone who WILL listen to Him!

Sometimes, tears would well up in The Teacher’s eyes and then, he would say the most peculiar thing, “I wish I was the man I know to be.”

O.M.G.! What was he talking about? How could he say such a thing? What kind of confession was that to make?

I grew up in the church. I went to Sunday school. I guess I was a Christian, for as long as I can remember? Most people then, would not believe me as I seemed to be, just as so-called normal, as everyone else. In one sense, how could I believe in this or much of anything, when I had been lied to about many things, by many people (including family and trusted confidants) and had been disappointed, deceived, disrespected, and disadvantaged (taken advantage of) by often, the most sincere people? But, but, but…

…what about the young man we took into our home that nearly tore our family apart? What about a young darker skinned man I picked up hitchhiking that only had the clothes on his back, a soccer ball and had been surviving on nothing but rain water and wild green onions? Yes, what about taking him home, feeding him? By the way, you know someone has not eaten in a while, if they have difficulty eating and eat very slowly. But, but, but, we gave him clothing, we fed him, allowed him to bathe, set up a tent for him and a sleeping bag in our back yard. (the outside temp was warm, not hot). We gave him work to do around our home so he would not feel like a charity case and well, that whole giving and receiving thing. We drove him around to find a job. He got a job. Little by little, we trusted him more and moved him into our home. Then, he robbed everyone in the house, but me. I guess I did not have anything of value to him? I felt bad that my friends were robbed, but not me and because, I was the one that brought him home. I was livid and mostly angry at myself, for I’m the one that picked him up and brought him home. Then, after, I went looking for him. Thank God I never saw him again because, if I had, I’m not sure what I would have done to him. One person said, if they would have found him and if they had a gun, they would have killed him. For quite some time, whenever I saw a person of darker skin, especially male, I would get angry all over again. Then, I came to understand, if I cannot forgive anyone, for anything, I did not understand what God forgave and forgives me of! I do now!! Holding onto un-forgiveness is toxic! Forgiveness is not an option, it is a commandment of the Lord! And forgiveness is one of the many things that are true, that makes one whole and makes them free!

How would you have liked to have been a man named Saul that actually cast his vote as a member of the ruling body of Israel (the Sanhedrin), that had voted to condemn and crucify Jesus Christ? This same man under his authority put many of those heretical Christians into prison, The same man, later was called the apostle Paul and under his ministry, the whole of Asia Minor heard the Word of God in about 2 years and 3 months! Do you think he forgave himself and could forgive anyone? How about another man I met, his name like mine, Donnie. He was probably responsible for distributing illegal drugs in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri and likely, the entire midwest, in the 1960’s. Through him, his distribution network, I probably bought, used and sold a lot of his stuff, myself. This same man, became the greatest evangelist I have ever known. He even taught a class called, Witnessing & Undershepherding (under the Shepherd, Jesus Christ). Do you believe he forgave himself or had problems forgiving others?

Many people today, may not think I could possibly believe such as I still do and I suppose, there are just as many that cannot believe I’m a Christian because, I guess, they just don’t think I act, like whatever one is supposed to act like? In my twenties, I spent a lot of time on my own, reading the Bible and studying it, trying desperately to understand it. Oh, I memorized a lot and could quote this and that, but understand it? NO. So, I decided a long time ago, I believed in God, but I sure didn’t believe God much, if at all. I had little if any results, no signs, miracles or wonders. Is there any wonder why? Well, if you are wondering, it is because, I was never taught. I had ideas, thoughts, opinions and theories about God and the Bible. But I believed little if anything and could certainly not, put it together. Can you show others why you believe what you believe? And remember, a witness is just a witness, not a prosecuting attorney, jury or judge. We are neither defense attorneys either. Truth needs no defense and cannot be defended, nor can error be. We are called to be, witnesses!

Then, a woman picked me up, while I was hitchhiking home. That never happened to me before! And it was twice in the same week and in two different cars, same lady. By the second time, I guess I thought we were friends, since I had seen her briefly just once before? 🙂 I started telling her about my allergies. It was at that moment, time seemed to stand still. She looked at me and almost demanding an answer and said, “Are you a Christian?” My standard church-taught response was, I guess so, I hope so, if it’s God’s will? After all, you had to be humble and God might have thought I was being cocky or prideful, if I answered in the affirmative. She stared at me and her radiant smile became a focused, serious and angry face, “Well don’t you know that by his stripes we were healed!!!!” Well, I guess not. In fact, I felt like I was the only one left on earth that didn’t know! And on top of that, I had no clue what she was talking about! But I certainly had never heard anyone, say anything, about the Bible with such conviction. It was one of those moments where I just knew, I was a part of something extraordinary, but I had no idea what it was.

Shortly after this, I met ‘The Teacher.’ Here was another person that had the energy of their conviction, love for God, love for His Word, love for God’s people and anyone that he came in contact with. He knew the Bible, he understood it and he taught so simply that even a fool and a child-like, like me, could understand it. There was just something about being in his presence! There was life in his eyes and it affected me greatly. So, when he said, “I wish I was the man I know to be,” I had a real problem with that! I thought, surely, if anyone on earth could understand those two and could empathize with what they felt, on the road to Emmaus, it would have been him! I mean, it’s like the little poem I came to really like—

“God has no hands but our hands with which to give them bread,
He has no feet but our feet with which to walk among the almost dead,
We say the we are his and that HE is ours,
Deeds (ACTION) are the proof of this, not words
and these are the proving hours.”

-anonymous-

As the Word says, first, someone has to be sent, then teach and then the signs, miracles and wonders, follow. Jesus Christ is not here. If we want to see him, then we have to be like him. This is the reason they were first called Christians and by those which were not Christians, I might add. It’s Christ in us the hope of glory! Imagine standing in front of a mirror. What you see is your own reflection. But as our minds are renewed to The Word of God, it allows the spirit of God within us to project and then reflect, Jesus Christ to our own eyes and to the eyes of the world that see us. Why? Because as he is, so are we in this world!

Now I, as an ignorant and unlearned man, may not be a Biblical scholar, the greatest believer to have ever walked the earth or the greatest witness, but ‘On Being’ a Christian, there is a thing or two I do know. I know of whom I have believed. And I know that study of the rightly divided Word of God will transform me or anyone to be like him. ‘On Being’ a Christian is neither a spiritual plateau to reach in this life nor an elusive dream to never obtain because of, the limitations of my flesh. It is a forward-looking journey, always reaching, always looking, always asking, always studying, always doing my best and always expecting, God to do the rest.

“On Being, in this life, it is neither a final destination, nor its often detours, it’s the journey!”

-me-

I would just like to believe that if He sends an email, sends me a text message, sends a tweet, posts something to me on Facebook or sends something by the messenger app, calls me on the phone or knocks on my door, I’m smart enough to have my smart phone with me or that I answer the freaking door!!!! 🙂

As far as I am concerned, music has two purposes in a worship service. It is to bless not impress, by opening the heart to receive the Word of God. Its second is, to sustain and stir that Word in a heart, after it has been opened by the Word of God. Sometimes, after he taught and the room grew quiet and still, with his eyes moistening, the Teacher would call out, “Where’s my Debra?” One of ‘The Teacher’s’ favorite songs and mine is, ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus’. It is an old song, written in 1918. This song has been performed by many including: Elvis Presley, Alan Jackson and Amy Grant, among many others in the past and currently. I looked for and listened to these on YouTube and other video sites. None are equal to how I first heard it from “Debra.” She sang it A cappella. A cappella is Italian for, “in the manner of the chapel”. It is music that is specifically sung by a group or a soloist, without instrumental accompaniment. I can still see and hear in my mind, the beautiful young woman and her soulful voice. Her name was, Debra Sleeper. I looked for information, audio and/or video of her singing this song to have shared it with you, but to no avail.  So, I will  share the lyrics to this beautiful song and information about the author.

Debra Sleeper

Debra Sleeper

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

His words shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Author and Composer, Helen H. Lemmel, 1864-1961
Published by Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics Provided By LyricFind Inc.

Let him project from within and reflect out

Let him project from within and reflect out

‘On Being’, on being Christian is, to continually and continuously, turn our eyes upon, Jesus Christ.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

“The author and composer of this hymn [‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’], Helen H. Lemmel, relates that one day, in 1918, a missionary friend gave her a tract entitled, ‘Focused.’ The pamphlet contained these words: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.”

These words made a deep impression upon Helen Lemmel. She could not dismiss them from her mind. She recalls this experience, following the reading of that tract:

“Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus, with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.”

Excerpts from: The Old Time Gospel
http://www.theoldtimegospel.org/dev/hymn3.html

 

“Helen Howarth Lemmel was born on November 14, 1864, in Wardle, England. She was the daughter of a Wesleyan Methodist pastor, and she came to this country with her family at the age of twelve. Helen lived briefly in Mississippi before settling in Wisconsin. Soon, she developed a reputation as a brilliant singer, even studying private voice in Germany for four years. She traveled widely throughout the Midwest during the early 1900’s, giving concerts in many churches. Later, Mrs. Lemmel taught voice at the Moody Bible Institute and then at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. In 1961, Helen Lemmel settled in Seattle, Washington, where she remained active with Christian activities, as a member of the Ballard Baptist Church of that city, during the last days of her life.”

“In addition to being known as a brilliant singer and musician, Mrs. Lemmel was also widely recognized as a woman with remarkable literary ability. She wrote more than five hundred hymns and poems. Mrs. Lemmel also authored a very successful book for children entitled, ‘Story of the Bible’ and composed many children’s musical pieces. She remained active for God in her musical and literary pursuits, until her home-going at the age of ninety-seven.”

Excerpts from: The Old Time Gospel
http://www.theoldtimegospel.org/dev/hymn3.html

Author and Composer, Helen H. Lemmel, 1864-1961

‘On Being’, may this, The Gathering Place, here be (for all those which come here), be like a mini gathering together until we are gathered together with him—

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons [and daughters] of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons [and daughters] of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man [or woman] that hath this hope in him [or her] purifieth himself  [or herself], even as he is pure.”

I John 3:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

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Light Writing Memories

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

lightwriting

From the Greek, photography is made up of two words. Phos=light and graphos=writing. This is what photography or photographs are, images or as with this writing, memories, captured with light. I like this original meaning, “light writing” memories.

The word “camera” comes to us from Latin. Camera obscura “camera”: (vaulted) chamber or room, and “obscura”: darkened. It is sometimes referred to as a pinhole image. It is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen (or for instance a wall) is projected through a small hole in that screen as a reversed and inverted image (left to right and upside down) on a surface opposite to the opening. The surroundings of the projected image have to be relatively dark for the image to be clear, so many historical camera obscura experiments were performed in dark rooms. The amazing thing about this is, a camera works pretty much like our eyes do. And our eyes see things upside down and our brains then instantly right them so they make sense to us.

What could be more appropriate here, for our cameras or our eyes to capture; to write with light than memories of home! This is what these photographs are, our memories captured. These images and memories are captured and recorded in the past, but when we think on them or look upon them, our past is connected to our present. Deeply captured are our images and memories of home. I would like to make a caveat here before continuing.

Maybe your past is fondly remembered and the word “home” takes on enjoyable faces, places and fond memories of growing up. But maybe for others, this is not so and their memories are just of a house or houses. Everyone has lived in some type of dwelling or house, but when your memories are filled with joy, that’s a “home.” Either way, there is no reason why anyone cannot make their present house a home and make and capture in light and write a present, worth remembering and worth always striving for!

The word “home” is associated with many familiar phrases, which may be fondly recalled by you. Images and memories of “home,” with photography, photographs, photos, captured, stored and written in light may be as follows:

“It’s a Kodak Moment”
“Home is where the heart is”
Home is where you hang your hat”
“Home is where you hang your heart”
“A house is made of bricks and beams,
a home is made of hope and dreams”
Home is where your feet may leave,
but your heart will always be”
“Home is where our story begins”
“Family makes this house a home”
“When there is Love in the Home,
there is Joy in the Heart”
“Taste of Home”
“Home Sweet Home”
“There’s No Place Like Home”
“The (your last name) Home Established (year)”
“Home where you treat your Friends like Family
and Your Family Like Friends”
“Life takes You to Unexpected Places,
but Love Brings You Home”

The above is just a mere sampling of the many things great, which can be said about Home. Along with those, another phrase might be also familiar to you, in reference to growing up—

“You can’t go Home again”

Now I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that memories or photographs are the writings and images of our lives, recorded in light. When and where I grew up the times were pretty simple and our small town was pretty special.

There was five of us in our family, our mother and father, an older brother, myself and our younger sister. My brother and I lived in three of the homes, but I only remember the second and the third. Our sister can only recall the last house we all five lived together in as a family. For my part, in some manner, all three of these homes still exist and two of them I have visited, at least the outside, from time to time over the years. It is nice to visit our hometown and drive past our once-lived-in homes and even stop. But I would never move back there. So in a sense, I can’t go home again. But seeing especially our last home, looking at photographs or recalling those memories, my childhood recollections are kept near and dear to me.

I was texting my sister recently and she sent me a couple of pictures she found on Zillow. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Zillow launched in 2006 and is headquartered in Seattle.

So I went to their site and looked up our old home. Yep, there it is, 124 Anderson Ave. in Columbia, Missouri. We bought this house built in 1935, when I was five years old, my brother seven and our little sister was around one year old. We paid around $15,000.00 in 1958. At that time, a breakfast nook had been added and a study off of what was our parents room that my brother and I shared as our bedroom. The square foot listed in 1986 for the site was around 1,284. In 1986, the last time it was sold, it was listed at around $48,000.00 and I believe it is now a rental and still occupied for about 965 dollars per month.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

We were all pretty excited to move here. Our former home, which also still exists was much smaller even with three bedrooms. We lived on the other side of town in a most likely, asbestos sided house near the Power Plant. It had no basement, just a crawl space. My brother and I shared a room which was very small and we had bunk beds. Our new digs would afford us more independence, more space and our very own single beds. Our sister had her own room and it had the largest closet in our entire home. Anderson Ave had a basement and a single car garage. So we were like the Jefferson’s from TV land, “We were Moving on Up!!” 🙂

My intention here is not to bore you with my light writings, pictures of my memories, but to inspire you to make you own and to trigger in yourselves either to find memories of ‘HOME’ or to build your own destiny and your own ‘HOME.’ And well, maybe I share these as a record of my life, records and memories and photographs and light writings, worth remembering.

So let the visuals begin. It starts with an old somewhat out of focus pic of our new home, shortly after we moved there around 1962, 63. It was pink for at least the first five years or so! For me, it was kind of tough to live in a pink house as a boy. And for quite some time, our house was a landmark for giving directions. For example, someone might say, “Go straight four blocks and turn left past the pink house…” I was Oh so glad, when we painted our house white!!! It is still white today. Notice the porch concrete and steps were a deep burgundy red. Our Dad is standing in front of the evergreen shrub (more about that later), which is no longer there. And there were vines growing up the red brick chimney.

Our Dad Standing in Front of 'The Pink House,' around 1958

Our Dad Standing in Front of ‘The Pink House,’ around Easter 1962, 63

Front View

Front View of our old home, around 1986

We had a lot and a half unfenced, so it was a nice size yard. When I was older, I often would mow the yard. Mom told me it always looked good when I cut the grass. Now I don’t know if that was true, but I still enjoy cutting the grass and I still think it “looks good” when I’m done. 🙂

Columbia, Missouri has been likened to the humid climate of the tropics. High humidity brings insects. I still think this should be the epicenter for world research on bugs because, there’s got to be so many and those not found anywhere else on earth. Summers were often hot. Even at 72° F. with our frequent and usual high humidity, one would be perspiring profusely! Except for years later when we had a used air conditioner put into one of the dining room windows, we never grew up with central air. Often in the summer’s evening, my brother and I would climb up onto the roof, lay down facing the sky and imagine all kinds of wonderful things floating by in those big, fluffy, cumulus clouds. It was cool and it was cool in the hot summer’s eves. I don’t climb up on roofs anymore, but I still imagine stuff in clouds.

We had a front porch where sat a glider along the back rail. Where you see in the picture shrubs in front, used to be filled with flowers, Lilly of the Valley. These were our Mom’s favorite, still my favorite, my wife’s birth flower and we have some in our front yard today.

The porch was supported by two brick pillars, the same color as the chimney. We had a real fireplace. Between the steps to the porch and the chimney, used to be, a large evergreen shrub (see: picture of ‘The Pink House’ above). Our Mom would often take some cuttings and use this to decorate the mantle of the fireplace, inside the living room. Just in front of the back pillar to the left of the dining room window, you can just make out a shutter to the window in the kitchen, over the sink. To this day, I don’t like to hand wash dishes unless, the sink has a window to look out from. Before we added onto the back of a home now, the sink had a window. We removed the window and made a pass-thru into our Gathering Room (great room or living room) but I can still see through this opening and through the windows on the other side. So, I’m still sometimes handwashing dishes, with a window over our sink.

And from that window near the Ash Street was, an elm tree. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ made for Mom, a bird feeder with a lid from an old metal can, some wood and dowel rod perches and all painted metallic silver. I suppose he believed it attracted the birds. Well, birds came and frequently. The tree is now long gone, but it was such a joy to watch the dirds from the kitchen window. I still feed birds to this day. And that elm tree was once where my brother and I set up our own business. We were selling lemonade or kool aid and candy. I don’t remember how much money we made, but I do recall eating up most of our profits. And I’m sure one or both of us fell out of that elm tree at least once, but no one ever broke any bones. 🙂

And the elm tree was often visited by at least a squirrel or two. One time, I was watching one digging, for something in our back yard. When curiosity drew me to find what it was, my approach scared him or her away. On the ground was a little acorn with a shoot, like a new little tree, just beginning to grow out of it. I saved that little treasure in my ‘treasure box’ and still have it today. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ once said, he had two squirrels (my brother and I) and one rabbit (my sister). My sister (affectionately known as ‘the Squirrel), tells it just the opposite. I always thought it was because, squirrels and boys have nuts and rabbits and girls have holes. 🙂  That’s the funny thing about memories, they may not be true, but they are yours. There is no written record or audio of what our grandfather said or meant, but my sister’s memories are the stronger, so she wins the argument and is probably right! And we don’t have squirrels around here, just chipmunks, and a rabbit now and again, so that’s something to consider too. 🙂

Side of house near the back

Side of house near the back

Two windows were on either side of the fireplace in our living room. The two sets of double pane windows were in our sister’s room. There was a small window over our only bathroom, but my brother and I had our own door to our room. This was originally built as a study and had a crawl space beneath where we used to store our storm windows and screens, when not used. In the back of the house used to be three or four rose bushes. Our Mom loved roses. I still do too. So did Susan’s Mom that I sometimes call her, ‘The Pink Rose.’ We have a pink rose now where we live. Not seen in the picture and to the far right used to be a very large pine tree. It is no longer there. The picture appears to have an updated air conditioner unit on a pad. We did not have air conditioning when we grew up here. I think I was in Jr. High School when our dad’s parents gave us their old room air conditioner. It was installed in one our our dining room windows. It would pretty much cool the front of the house. There was a door to the hallway we could close off from the bedrooms and bathroom in back. I remember my brother and I had to get shots for summer camp one year. It made our arms sore and wore us out. I remember us sleeping on cots in the dining room under air conditioning that night! YAY! 🙂

Rear of Home

Rear of Home

Unlike our former house, here we had a garage. Like most garages, I don’t recall our car ever being inside, just stuff. The rule of thumb is, for every vehicle you want to garage, you need another one, just for your ‘stuff.’ This garage at some point, somehow, caught on fire. It did not burn down. The roof and siding was replaced, but you could still see the blackened wood frame 2 X 4’s and detect the smell of burnt wood, when the humidity was up. Where you see the fence running from the side of the garage, the trees and bushes in front were not there, but a concord grapes was. Behind the garage was our pet cemetery and site of several funerals, a turtle and at least one family cat. Our grandfather, ‘Papa,’ installed the brick walkway and raised patio. Directly behind the pad was a playhouse he built for my sister when she was born. It was moved here from our former home on Stone St. and the green siding of the playhouse, matched the siding of our house on Stone St.

The Backdoor

The Backdoor

Our interior tour begins like many homes do and ours still does, at the back door. When you park in your own driveway and the driveway is close to a sidewalk that leads up to the back door, that’s probably the door you use most. Visitors and guests and the Mailman used the front door, but we mostly used the back. Our back door was solid with no window panes, so this was a great upgrade, adding light to a dark stairway, down to the basement and up a couple of stairs to the kitchen and another door. I see something that still looks familiar to me, a hole in the wall where the door knob busted through the drywall. It was common when we lived there too.

There are no pictures of the basement. This is probably because, it is still dark and damp down there as it was when we lived there. Mom had her washer and dryer there. She did her ironing down there. There was a floor drain where we often had water backing up and the plumber had to come over and snake the drain line that filled up with tree roots. Under the stairs, our dad put a door on hinges and a spring and made a little cubby hole. Both my brother and I probably claim that Dad made it for him or I for me. Again, this in the funny thing about memories. But maybe I claimed it as mine when he grew up and it fell out of his favor. But it was my office, my “cubby hole,” for a while and I loved it. I still have a home office today and shelves with little cubby holes.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our kitchen was pretty small and narrow. The door took you down a couple of stairs and then out through the back door you came from or went. The backsplash or tile along the wall in front of the sink, the sink and counter top have all been updated since we lived there, but the cabinets freshly painted white are the same. Ours was just a single ceramic sink then. To the right of the door (not seen), just fit a small gas stove and a refrigerator. In the back of this room was the breakfast nook. This room was added on before we lived here. The picture does not do it justice, but five of us sat around a table in this room. Growing up it was somewhat difficult squeezing along the sides, then pull a chair out and sit down. We would all be hard pressed to fit in there today, but I loved this room with two windows on the side and that wonderful octagonal window in the back.

Breakfast Nook

Breakfast Nook

Not seen in this picture used to grow an apple tree with pretty good apples. It used to grow just outside of the octagonal window. In spring, those apple blossoms were beautiful!

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Dining Room

At the corner of our kitchen was an opening to our dining room. Near the floor of the kitchen is a cabinet with two black knobs for storage. Just to the right of that you can just make out the opening of another cabinet. It was smaller than the other and was painted black inside and used to store potatoes and other such things, needing a dark space. One early Christmas morning, I discovered all the stuff for our stocking from Santa, not yet filled. 🙂

This room as shown, has fresh paint and an updated light fixture. I’m not sure if most of our home had all wooden floors, some covered with carpeting or not, but the floors were all redone by some owner after us. The wall facing the kitchen was wallpaper when we lived there. Our dining table with six chairs sat in the middle and other chairs were squeezed in to accommodate two sets of grandparents for many holiday dinners. In the back to the left of the door to the hallway was our Mom’s matching China Hutch. In the front to the right of the opening to the living room was sometimes a wooden desk then later, just a small table where sat our only telephone. Oh the progression of telephone numbers. And back then there were real people running switchboards and real ‘live’ operators to connect. I believe our first number at 124 Anderson was, 7628. Then it was 27628. Finally it became (314) 442-7628. Please don’t call that number because, we don’t live there anymore. 🙂

Anyway, back to the dining room. When there was a storm we would all head to the basement for protection. Often our grandmother ‘Nanny,’ would call to see if we were in the basement. Maybe not me all the time, but I remember coming up from the basement during some storm, through the kitchen and into the dining room to answer the phone. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hello”
Nanny: “Donnie, are you all in the basement?”
Me: “We are and I was Nanny, but I came up to answer the phone!”
Nanny: “Well get in the basement!”
Me: “OK Nanny, stop calling us!” 🙂

The front window to the right is where we installed our only room air-conditioner. We got it from our Dad’s parents. It came from their house. It was large enough to cool almost the whole front of the house when we closed off the door to the hallway, which led from the back of the house to the dining room. But WOW, was this cool, figuratively and literally! 🙂

Living Room

Living Room

I don’t recall there ever being a centered light fixture in this room and never a ceiling fan as shown. Along the long wall sat our sofa and end tables on either side with lamps that lit the room. A previous owner after us had tried to update this room by painting the beautiful red brick of the fireplace and replaced the pebbles and cemented hearth on the floor in front, with in this picture, looks like a white rug. I don’t know if the fireplace still works or not and there is no fireplace screen in front. But we had a screen and fireplace tools on a stand and we often had a real fire burning, especially in winter and especially, especially at Christmas time. At each window sat chairs belonging to the dining room table. Later, to the right of the fireplace the chair was moved to make a space for our first TV. It was black and white. We loved it. It took a long time before we saw anything in color. Let me take a pause here to write about cartoons. In addition to Captain Kangaroo and a local show, Captain Bob, cartoons exposed me to classic music. I may not have known the song or the composer, but I sure recall where I heard this music, from the cartoons!

There were only 3-4 local channels which would broadcast the national network news from just ABC, NBC and CBS first for a half hour followed by local news and then they expanded to an hour. Journalism meant something back then and the University School of Journalism located in our home town, was one of the tops in the country. I think former CBS anchor Dan Rather went here. And by the way, Ernest Hemingway used to work for the Kansas City Star in Kansas City, MO and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is from Missouri. But we kidlits’ loved to go visit our Grandparents that lived near Kansas City at least in part because, they had cable TV which included the ‘Superman’ series among other programs we could not get at home.

The fireplace had a mantle from which our stockings would be hung at Christmas, even for a cat. I still hang a stocking for our cat. Mom would decorate with real evergreen clippings from the shrub outside the window between the fireplace and the front door. She would place little miniatures up there and make a scene that always made me feel big like a giant looking at a little miniature world. Not just at Christmas time, but Mom would decorate that mantle all year-long with unique things like real bittersweet our ‘Papa’ found and brought to her. Mom was a whizz at decorating that mantle!

At Christmas, often I would wake up after I went to bed and come into the living room. All the lights were off in the house except for the lights on the Christmas tree and from the fireplace. I would often find Mom lying on the floor (rug) just looking at the lights and the firelight glow and maybe with a couple of candles lit on the mantle, illuminating the ‘little world’ up there and the hanging stockings. We do not have a real fireplace now. It is a gas burning fireplace with what looks like real logs burning; complete with embers. It is controlled by a digital remote. But we have a fireplace, we have a mantle and we still decorate the mantle, and I still love to lie on the floor, turn off all the lights except for the Christmas tree and the fireplace glow. And sometimes there are candles lit on our mantle, I still have and love miniatures, but mostly I still like Mom, love all these thing still!

Kitchen, Diniing Room and Living Room

Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room

On the other side in the living room was just enough for our Christmas present one year from Dad, a one piece stereo cabinet. Yay! Mom and Dad mostly listened to swing and big band music on those vinyl albums or LP’s. I used to be able to lay on the floor and look up underneath at all those lit tubes that made it work. It’s funny, I didn’t care too much for this music then, especially when 45’s became available and Rock-N-Roll was in. But today, I love that old music! The other window is actually two double pane windows. Perhaps not all the time, but mostly in front is where we set our real Scotch Pine Christmas tree. Our brother was often the one that strung the lights and all of us would decorate the tree. Our mom used to get some really unique ornaments (one for each of us kids) from many different countries, year after year. Our sister still has a few of these.

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Back from the living room to the dining room was a door to the narrow hallway connecting the back of the house. the door ajar in front, was our only bathroom.

Bathroom Shower

Bathroom Shower

The bathroom was very small and still is. Another owner, after us, upgraded the window to glass block and an enclosed shower. We only had a bathtub and maybe one of those sprayers that fit over the tub faucet, but no shower. There was just a toilet and a small vanity with a medicine cabinet. But this was a scene of many a bathing. One time, we had a small fish aquarium. I had a job of cleaning out the tank. I put the fish into a separate bowl while I cleaned out the aquarium in this bathroom. I thought the fish were cold so, I added some warm water to warm them up. It took me quite sometime to realize that they were floating because, I killed them, with the warm water. 🙂

Shower & Tile

Shower & Tile

Like written in the afore picture, we did not have a shower. This looks nicely upgraded with a shower head and tile.

Our Sister's Room

Our Sister’s Room

Coming out of the bathroom and turning to your left would take you to the door to our sister’s room. Yes, she had her own room and being the only girl, rightfully so. She had two sets of double windows and it was a nicely lit room. Later, after she moved away, I lived here for a little while and I stayed in this room. I always loved this room. Still do.

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Front of Our Sister’s Room

There was no ceiling fan when we lived here. But our sister had her own private door. Behind the wall between the two doors was her closet. It was the largest closet in our entire home. When I was young, I had asthma, a whole host of allergies, upper respiratory issues, frequent bronchitis, pneumonia and sinus infections, plagued me for years. Because of these many breathing issues, I was claustrophobic, for quite sometime. I grew out of asthma and my fears and panic attacks of not being able to breathe and being enclosed in small places subsided obviously because, my sister (my first best friend) and I used to play together in her closet! I like small places now, our sister is still our sister, she is still my friend and we both still love to play!

Relationships in families are all different and unique. Our brother is two years older than I and I am four years older than our sister (which makes him sis years older than her). He was and still is a role model to me, someone to look up to and even someone, sometimes I try to imitate, even if I didn’t understand the reasons, for why or how he did what he did or said what he said. Our brother had great taste in clothing and perhaps, was somewhat of a ‘clothes horse.’ He was an athlete and quite popular with the girls. Who wouldn’t want to be like him!!! I made him mad often by taking his clothes and wearing them without permission. Hey, I just wanted to be cool, like our brother. He was my protector too. I’m sure I did not receive often, even a well deserved beating up, because of him. He even tried to protect me from our father, even if I really deserved Dad’s wrath, which was most likely. Mom never seemed to worry about me when I was with our brother. I felt I got a lot of undeserved respect, just because he was my brother when I was with or without him.

We may be different, but there are just connections that span all space, place and time. We have lived apart in different cities/towns and different states, but some things are just beyond explanation, other than the words, “We’re Family!” After years living apart, we discovered that he and I both enjoyed smoking cigars, especially socially. I like this because, it takes about an hour to smoke a good cigar. After the sports stats and the weather and other such trivia, even guys will eventually engage in good and meaningful conversation! We also discovered that we both like not just single malt scotch, but the same brand. My brother and his wife (also named Susan, whom he married before I married mine) invited my Susan and I to share a cabin for a week. Our two Susans? Was I still trying to be like my brother? 🙂

Anyway, that cabin had a screened in porch and it had a creek running underneath and was surrounded by trees. He and I could have set out there day and night, smoking cigars, drinking scotch and having great conversation, all week long!!! Our girls had other ideas so, we left the porch on occasion, only if we had to, I guess. 🙂

We still live about 628 miles apart, but we are still connected. I don’t take his stuff anymore, but I confess, I get stuff often, just like him. I’m still trying to imitate him I guess, and I DO still respect him, he is still our big and older brother and I still look up to him! OMG he was and still is a tough guy, but WOW what patience just in dealing with the likes of me! He was and is strong enough to be tender, but tender enough to be strong!

HAllway into Our Parents Room

Hallway into Our Parents Room

In the above picture, you can see the door that opens or closes off the hallway from the front of the house. Our sister’s door is in front of this. The door to the bathroom is not seen, but is directly in front of the hallway door. The wall leading to our parents room had a full-length mirror when we lived here. The hallway is where I would often get sent to, to wait for punishment from our Dad from my doing something wrong, foolish, stupid or all of the above. With all the doors shut in this hallway, it was like a ‘time out’ room or a holding cell, for waiting my sentence. 🙂

I would often sit or stand in front of this mirror and rehearse some story I would make up to tell our Dad to try and avoid getting spanked. As imaginative as I was then and still am I believe, my stories were never effective in reversing my due! 🙂

Have you ever heard an adult say, just before you got spanked, “This is going to hurt me more than it is you?” I did.  One time, I was waiting in ‘The Hall’ to get spanked, but I wasn’t trying to make up a story. That time, before Mom sent me to ‘The Hall,’ to wait for Dad, I somehow got to the kitchen without her knowing. I found a small iron skillet and took it with me to ‘The Hall.’ Somehow, I was able to fit that pan under my pants in back, thinking, I would protect my little butt. Dad came in. I was ready. Then he said it, “This is going to hurt me more than you.” You know what is meant, Dad did not want to have to spank me, but he had to. He had to teach me that there are consequences, for wrong decisions. Well, I got spanked and when his hand hit what he thought was my butt, that pan in my britches hurt worse than any spanking because, I know, I got another one after he got over his own pain, from hitting that pan! I’m not sure if it hurt him worse, but like I said, when he figured out what I had done, I got another spanking for that. I never again tried that, ever! I went back to real FaceTime, looking into that mirror and working on my stories. These kept my mind occupied and off of thinking about what was soon gonna’ happen to me. I’m still writing stories today, but not to get out of trouble. 🙂

Mom and Dad had the only other closets in our home, except for our sister. These two closets in size all totaled, were very small, in comparison to hers. And I know my brother and I had to use one of them to hang up our clothes too. And The other one near the door to their room was mostly our Mom’s and it had a panel in the ceiling, for access to the attic. I was never supposed to go into this closet, but one Christmas I did and found a bunch of presents on the top shelf that were tagged: ‘From Santa.’ This was the same year I found our stocking stuffers in that little cabinet in the kitchen. I was devastated, but somehow, I learned to believe and trust again and to this day, I still love the Claus Man! 🙂

Moms & Dad's Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Moms & Dad’s Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Mom and Dad had a double window. To the right is one of the double french doors to the room my bother and I shared. It was originally built as an addition over crawl space as, a study, before we lived here. It is kind of tough living in a room next to your parents bedroom, but I think we might have had drapes put over the glass doors? I don’t recall all the panes of glass always being in. One or more was often getting broken. They were not always quickly replaced and just a piece of glass can make a big difference in what you may or may not hear, coming out of our room or from our parents room. 🙂

Dad would often either fall asleep watching TV or he would play music from a radio in their bedroom. I still can’t fall asleep unless the room is dark and quiet, but I can sure fall asleep watching TV. 🙂

Directly under this room was a crawl space with concrete blocks around the perimeter. We used to store our storm windows and screens here. I know because, in the basement, Dad would raise me up and I would crawl through the basement window opening. The glass and frame had been removed. Once inside the on the dirt floor, I would hand Dad the storms or screens one at a time and he would pull me out safely though that opening and back onto the basement floor. One year, I came to realize just how sneaky your good cat or cats can be. We had cats for years. When one would disappear or die, another one would just show up as if there was some invisible sign on our front and back doors that only cats could read, “VACANCY or NO VACANCY, depending on whether or not we were occupied!” 🙂

There was a table in the center of the basement room. Still it was quite a leap to get from that and through the opening underneath the study. One after another and for years, they all used this as a bathroom. Now all our cats were inside/outside cats. I just always thought they ‘went outside?’ Uhh, NO! We lived in a humid area. The crawl space is just a dirt floor with storm windows and screens stored there. I to this day, can’t believe my brother or I never smelled anything! I still have a cat. It is an indoor cat. She has a litter pan. Cat’s are still sneaky or at least have mental issues, if you get my meaning. 🙂

My Bother's and My Room

My Bother’s and My Room

This picture shows our parent’s bedroom, both our french doors, the area in front of the double window where my brother slept and you can just make out part of the built-in desk. My brother and I were used to sharing a room. In our other home before we moved here, we had bunk beds. At some point here on Anderson Ave. we each got our own brand new twin size bed with wood stained headboard with a center space and two sliding doors on either side. We were used to sharing a room so we had no problem continuing to do so. There were no closets in this room. No ceiling fans, just some lamps here and there. If memory serves me, we may have each had, a built-in light in the center of our headboard? My brother had his headboard up against the wall where the one french door is. We usually had to use the other one to get in or out of this room. My bed was on the other side of this door so the door could not be opened all the way as it hit the end of my bed. This arrangement is most likely, what led to many broken window panes in both doors. 🙂

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

As previously shared, we did not have either an overhead light or ceiling fan when we lived here. You can make out some of the built-in features of this room. There was a desk, shelves and a small little closet. All of these were originally stained wood, now painted over with white. My headboard was to the right of the door and the bed ran lengthwise along the wall. You could not open the french door on this side all the way because of the foot of my bed. My bed was up against the wall and it was my little world. I had pictures and stuff on my wall. One time, I must have been not yet 16. I was at several parties with several friends and we somehow were able to get alcohol. I mixed this with that, got drunk, taken home by someone with a license and tossed out onto the grass on the side of our house. I don’t remember anything after that. I have no idea how I got into our home. I assume Mom got me inside somehow, but I don’t recall her ever saying a word about it. Sometime in the night, my bed must have been pulled away from the wall a little bit by Mom. Well I threw up from alcohol poisoning and/or too much mixing of the wrong stuff. If my bed had not been pulled away from the wall when I threw up, I probably would have drowned in my own vomit. I’m still here and I still have an intense gag reflect and I don’t drink like this ever. My sister says I must have had two guardian angels and when I became a Christian, God retired them and the numbers on their angelic team jerseys. I probably should have died many times in my life, but I’m still here and grateful to God, because of it.

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All our Built-ins are Still Here, At least When this was Taken, in 1986

Our built-ins are still there and look great painted in white. We had curtains or blinds in our room, but since we did not have air conditioning. the curtains or blinds were left open at night in the summer. The windows were open and the screens were on.

Our brother was the first to grow up and move out on his own. I had this room all to myself. I think he took his bed with him? I moved mine to where his was and in the exact way, but I think I slept with my head on the pillow, near the window and the corner of the built-in desk. I liked looking out the window at night and I could see the street light. At another time, someone gave be a water-bed. I filled this up and it was pretty large. I did not have a frame to go around it so, it just sat mostly in the middle of the floor. It was navy blue. Without any covers or sheets, our cat loved to come in and try to catch the bubbles underneath. None of our cats were ever declawed and I was a little concerned of claws, ripping holes. But it never, thankfully, ever happened. It was ice-cold to lie on so I put some furniture pads from our Dad’s moving and storage business, on top. One time, I actually got our Nanny to try it out. She laid down and got right back up, “This make me seasick, she said. 🙂

I read a lot in the room. I read the Bible a lot here too. I may have become a Christian in this room? But this is neither the only place I lived in our home or where all my fond memories reside. I lived in my sister’s room, for a while after she left home. I even lived in our basement. There is probably not a single room or a single square foot of our home, our yard, garage, my sister’s play house, our neighborhood and our neighbors where there are not still fond memories recorded, by the light writing of my mind and heart or triggered by these and other photographs existing or lost.

I loved our home. I had a great childhood and growing up in Columbia, Missouri. I have the memories and some photographs to trigger them even more. The secret to light writing, photographs, and memories and what makes a house a home is love. Love in the past is what makes these so precious and the memories are secured by repeating much of this past into the present. That present or gift is hope, for the future.

I am thankful that this house of my past still stands. At one point, I wanted to buy it and maybe even live here again. But in one sense, I can drive by when I visit our hometown, but I am not interested in living there or in this home anymore. Maybe I can’t go home again. but I can keep home in my heart, write with light, take or keep my photographs to maybe not necessary to trigger the memories and records, but to keep them alive in my present and for my future and any and all I may touch, until my last breath. So can you! So can anyone! Be a light writer and be at home and be home for others!

No, maybe I nor anyone can go home again, but in sharing this, didn’t I sort of, do just that? This is what light writing, photographs, records and memories are stored for. But even if we have no such photographs or  light writings, we can always go to the archives of our minds and hearts and go ‘home,’ anytime we want to! And we can make up new light writings, new photographs, new records and new memories. Our minds pretty much don’t care if they are real or not, it just wants and needs to write with light!

Let your Gathering Place be where you gather home and the records, and the memories, and the photographs of writing of light!

Categories: Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Life, Love, Making Memories, Photography, Things that really matter | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Make America Dream Again

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

Yesterday Was National Moon Day and for me, it began with a status on my sister’s Facebook page and an incredible picture.

Max Guliani (@maximusupinNYc) | Twitter

Max Guliani (@maximusupinNYc) | Twitter

Even though I live in New York, I do not live in New York City and I have never seen the Statue of Liberty in person. But she is an icon and a symbol of so much that evokes so much emotion and captures in her meaning and visage, the United States of America. She is on my ‘bucket list’ to one day or night, to experience with my own two eyes.

I was aware that the full moon of this month is called the Buck Moon, the Hay Moon or the Thunder Moon, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. I had recently heard that if the conditions were right, I just might be able to see it as a red moon this month. I am not too good at taking decent pictures at night with my cell phone, so it was time to take out my big-boy camera and tripod, to see what I could capture. As the following pictures show, my views went from red, to golden and then white as it was when I took it, high in the sky at approximately 1:30 AM, eastern standard time. Though the quality of my pictures are not the greatest, I marveled at their beauty in my own two eyes and the change of color, in such a short period of time.

Moon1

Red Moon – about 11:00 PM Wednesday 7/20/16 eastern standard time

 

Moon2

Golden Moon – around midnight Thursday, 7/20/16 eastern standard time

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Golden Moon (closeup with clouds covering) – 12:15 AM 7/21/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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White Moon – (closeup) 1:30 AM, Thursday 7/21/16 eastern standard time

Earlier on the Wednesday 7/20/16, I was watching the news on TV, around noon. On July 3, 1995, astronaut Eileen Collins became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and she was scheduled to speak in Cleveland, OH, Wednesday evening, 7/20/16. She became the first female shuttle pilot and commander to speak at a Republican National Convention. And why not, this is, after all, America!

I put two and two together (or three)— National Moon Day, Collins speaking at the convention and on 7/20,  47 years ago in 1969, the United States Landed the first people EVER, on the Moon.  I knew I wanted to hear Collins speak, but I caught very little of it, as I was trying to get set up to take pictures of the moon. I am glad it was re-broadcast and I caught it later. I saw a lot more than I was expecting!

Some people were a little upset that a certain former candidate did not endorse the republican nominee for president and there was some booing. Someone (someone against all of this) was quick to call them, “howling lunatics.” I wonder if they knew there was a full moon out and howling refers to wolves that supposedly howl when the moon is full? “Lunatics” has as its root, “luna,” which refers to the moon. I only mention this as we seem so divided now, perhaps even more so or at least equal to, the times of the so-called Civil (which I call the UN-civil) War? This division among us seems especially true politically, anyway. It seems WE has all but been replaced with ME?

me-myself-and-i and you-yourself-and-yours seem along way away from US, WE the People

 

The sun rules the day and reveals so much. It is too intense of a light to look upon with the naked eye, so we look down and at what lies before us. The moon rules the night. It is a light in the darkness. We are drawn to this, especially when it’s full, like a moth is drawn to the flame. We look up at the moon and wonder and dream. How long as a nation, as a people, have we had vision, for the future or dreamed? Not howling our discontent at the moon like lunatics, but dreamed?

We are now a people who are concerned or worry over or fear our future. The world seems on fire and even our neighborhoods, don’t feel safe anymore. Who has time to dream if you’re just trying to survive from pay check to pay check or just to get through the day? Now, people can seize upon these doubts, worries and fears and provide vision and leadership or keep us blind and divided.

Dividers separate, manipulate and keep us in the dark
Leaders give vision to guide us together to the light of liberty

-dahni-

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States (1961-1963), the youngest man elected to the office. He provided US with vision, vision to safely land people on the moon and return home. This he envisioned being possible, within the decade of when he first proposed such a thing. OUR dedication to this vision produced so much more than what we received! New technologies, businesses, methods, jobs and inventions were just some of the by-products, of all things necessary to land on the moon and safely return home. As incredible as this was, a vision is NOT, for a final destination, but a continual and continuous journey! WE stopped dreaming as a people, at least about space travel and discovery, in 1999. WE need to Dream and Dream BIG again! This was beautifully and succinctly stated by Neil Armstrong. On July 20, 1969, from the moon’s surface he said,

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!”

Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11

When should WE ever stop stepping or leaping? NEVER! Each night of the Republican Convention of 2016, there was a planned theme. On July 20, 2016, this theme was:

‘Make America First Again’

We used to be first at so many things. This is what made US, a ‘superpower’ in the world! WE had vision!

“Where there is no vision, the people wander aimlessly.”

Proverbs 29:18 Sanskrit Telugu

With vision, we have direction and can see clearly; our actions and our results bring more results, even far greater than what could be imagined. How apropos that on this National Moon Day and a day in history when the world was graced with the benefits of our landing on the moon! As this began with the image of the Statue of Liberty, with the moon at her back, so it will shortly end here, but hopefully NOT in your memory and your resolve. That image is, the purpose of unity among US, WE the People. WE need to look up as in the night sky towards the moon that rules the night. What I am trying to say here is more, so much more than sentimental hogwash or an emotional appeal; some feel-good! WE need to DREAM again! Only where there is Liberty do WE have the freedom to dream and dream big and lead others out of darkness! Ladies and gentlemen, this IS, the American Dream! Let’s dream again together and dream—

BIG!

This is what allowed US to become the greatest superpower, the world have ever known! WE were first because, WE were unified! WE had vision because, WE had the Liberty to DREAM! Let US, WE the People, with the American Dream, rise up together with this vision! Let US lead ourselves and our children; our families and friends and the strangers among us and the entire world! That’s what it means to be First, to have Vision, to draw out from the darkness to the Light of Liberty! Let US DREAM again, DREAM first and DREAM big !

At the end of this day, in trying to hear the speech by our country’s first female astronaut commander, I saw the following video. Enjoy it and share it with everyone, whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent! Just look up at that moon in the night sky and DREAM because, Liberty allows US to be, WE the People and do great things, for ourselves, each other and the entire planet!

 

 

 

MyAussieHatwBkg_sm

 

 

 

 

This post can also be viewed on another of my blogs, ‘Our Lady Liberty’ (How’s She Doing?) from the following link:

http://wp.me/pyrh7-5G

 

Categories: DREAM, Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Moon, Republic, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized, Vision, WE the People, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

How Was Your December

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How was your December? We just got home yesterday on December 30th. After unloading the car, and putting most everything away, some laundry, checking in with family that we safely made it home, catching up on the mail and news and some dinner and a great amount of joyful reflection, we realized that there are many whose lives living or lost, have not had the same joyful December as we have been blessed with. And I feel their woes and pains, truly I do. But isn’t this an apropos time to share some good news? I believe so!

This true life story began with just a bunch of notes.

Just a bunch of notes in a jar presented to the new Mommy 12/25/15

Just a bunch of notes in a jar presented to the new Mommy 12/25/15

Just a jar of nine months of notes in Joshua's room

Just a jar of nine months of notes in Joshua’s room

For us, December has been fraught with birthdays, announcements of coming births, a new born little bundle of miracles from eight years of trying, meeting new family, making new friends, celebrating Christmas with family with before mentioned new baby boy, enjoying culinary delights made possible by many participates, enjoyable and safe travel with conditions made perfect by the unusual warm December and even passing by the World Headquarters of Duct Tape! 🙂

Duct Tape World Headquarters, near Cleveland, OH

Duct Tape World Headquarters, near Cleveland, OH

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What is more cooler and useful than duct tape except, for one this large? LOL 🙂

For 40+ years, I have been cooking and particularly, holidays meals such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. For the very first time (this past Thanksgiving) was I able to not only enjoy the cooking, but to actually enjoy the service that I always seek to serve others. For years, I have forewarned and warned others, NOT to come into the kitchen or even speak to me while I am cooking, less I bite your freaking head off! At a meal prior to Thanksgiving, I tried something new. I played some low volume classical music in the background while I cooked, hoping it might take off the edge. It worked, but I didn’t know why at the time.

Having some success, I hoped this was no fluke and I wanted to repeat the classical music thing at Thanksgiving. By then I understood why. When we were growing up, us, three chil-ren, listened to what our parents liked, Big Band, Swing, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis and so, but certainly NOT classical music. However, coming home from school and after homework and chores of course, we were allowed to watch cartoons in the afternoon and on Saturday mornings. From Walt Disney, Hana Barbera, Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker), Warner Brothers and everything else, they all used classical music.

When I grew up, I knew nothing about this music or who wrote it, but when the music played, I sure recognized the tunes from the cartoons. So, in my adult mind, I equated happy times as a child and when the music played, my little old heart just thumped and fluttered happily while cooking! 🙂
Besides the music, there were two more things never done before, I started the actual cooking. I cooked the dressings or stuffing the day before and my wife had beautifully set the table, the night before, Thanksgiving. I was organized; everything was set. The results? Not only did everyone enjoy the food and the fellowship, so did I! I was determined that this would be my new normal and it would be repeated at Christmas! It was, but with another first.

Our Christmas dinner was actually on the 26th. I started out a little tense because, we had to open stockings and presents before the table could be set. The table would be in the living room. The dining room was used for delicious breakfast cinnamon rolls and scones and mimosas, all lovingly prepared by others. I had the low classical music playing in the kitchen as I prepared the turkey and got it in the oven, set and ready to check again in ninety minutes. I made coffee and eggnog lattes, before my cappuccino/espresso machine literally blew up. No one was hurt and no damage was done and no one other than myself and my wife knew. We heated the eggnog in the microwave and I made espresso in the brew coffeepot. No one knew and they still loved the results.

So, after breakfast, stockings and presents, the kitchen and dining room were mine. Our host and hostess reminded everyone that there was “a force field” around the kitchen and to not go in. The word was out, don’t come into the kitchen and talk to me. The first person I allowed in was my bother-in-law Lenny, the husband of my sister. I wrote “allowed,” but better words would be, ‘OK with,’ as I don’t think he would have accepted NO as a response from me. 🙂

But Lenny became the de facto kitchen manager, keeping everything clean and organized, even though I told him I clean as I go. He just smiled and kept doing his thing. I had only two choices, to freak out or just accept his help graciously. He later carved not the one turkey, but both, yes, two turkeys. I wanted everyone to have leftovers. The next day there were leftovers. Then our sister made incredible soup. Yesterday, she made Shepherds pie with all that was left. This all as she wrote was, the turkeys’, “delicious history.”

The first of 2 turkeys, the beginning of its "delicious history"

The first of 2 turkeys, the beginning of its “delicious history”

A couple of people came around the corner and asked if they could help me do anything. I kept my peace and politely said no. Then they proceeded to just have a conversation in the kitchen while I was cooking. I had to laugh because, I was totally OK with this. Then I discovered, I was not playing the music in the background. Still, I was OK. Later, I found out that one of the ladies that had asked me if she could help, has great difficulty in staying out of the kitchen because, she loves to cook too.

Say what? Tree people in my kitchen away from kitchen? :)

Say what? Three people in my kitchen away from kitchen? 🙂

I gathered everyone in the living room and made an announcement. It was something new to me and I was going to give it a try. I asked anyone that wanted to help, to help me!!! OMG was this a big deal to me, huge! It’s not so much that I was a control freak, but I suppose I was. Everything has to look good, be hot and served at the same time. It has to smell good, taste good, rekindle fond memories and promote good conversation before during and after. There is a reason for everything I try to do. It’s a lot of work and I take it seriously. So, instead of doing everything myself as I’ve done for years, now I was going to allows others in. How was I going to pull this off?

I have everything any chef in the world has, except for the paper, the certificate from a culinary institute. I am confident in my ability. I have cooked and prepared this menu countless times for countless people and have perfected my own recipes as much as a perfectly imperfect being can perfect anything. Still, I brought my own notebook of my recipes. I had previewed this not-my-kitchen and knew where everything was. I was set and nothing was left to chance. I was prepared, for any unforeseen thing.

I am not about praise! I am results oriented and happy to be in the background, to work behind the scenes and to SERVE and spatter joy! But others wanted to do the same thing. I just wasn’t until this moment sure, who would be found in the kitchen, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Well, I opened the front door and kicked Mr. Hyde in the rear and out, never to return again! No matter how great the conductor, it’s all about the music. One can conduct all day long, but people want to see the musicians play and hear the music swell. Other people wanted to spatter joy too!

Our Table

Our Table – Japanese theme plates, Christmas Tree folded napkins, Chrisitmas Tree butter pats and even a nice warm crackling fire on TV in the background 🙂

Christmas tree napkin folding was done by my wife Susan and Quin, the mother of the husband of my niece. My sister peeled and mashed and made the potatoes. Others set out the pre-made Christmas Tree pats of butter I made and brought and they set and decorated the table.
Everything was being taken care of, lovingly, graciously and happily! As I watched, there was no classical music playing. I was watching a beautiful symphony played out on their faces and by their hands of service and all before my ears. And the finale?

Comments from those that did not like turkey was, “I loved it” and “it was good.” A comment from one that did not like dressing or stuffing was, “I loved it.” Other comments were, “the Best Christmas Ever!” For myself personally, this was the best meal I have ever HELPED to prepare and have so thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish! This is HOW to cook! Spatter Joy!

Though I have tried to source the following quote and I believe its origin was Ralph Waldo Emerson, I have not been able to corroborate it. But it fits here.

“A true man (or woman) is absolutely confident in their own inspiration (or ability).”

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Now, I have not only permanently kicked out Mr. Hyde from my kitchen, and now understand, not only the science and art of cooking, but the heart. Now, I can honestly teach others not only how to cook 5 star culinary delights— anyplace and at anytime, but NOW, I can show HOW it can all be enjoyed from start to finish! I highly recommend a movie we watched in Ohio, ‘The 100 Foot Journey’

How was your December? Mine was just getting started! The draw of the figurative centerpiece of all the festivities was a brand new baby boy, born on December 19th, 2015. He could have been born on the 18th, but that date remains the birthday of one of our sons. And he could have been born on his due date of the 29th, but that date remains our brother’s birthday. So each have their day and were born precisely, right on time. But this brand new little baby boy, named Joshua, is the first and only Great Nephew to my brother and I. He is our sister’s first and only grandson and grandchild. Babies draw people together.

Proud papa and baby Joshua in his camo outfit

Proud papa and baby Joshua in his camo outfit

My sister and her husband came from Raleigh, NC. My wife and I came from NY. My brother and his wife came from IL. We three all, came to Ohio and at different times of arrival. That’s a big deal. There were long drive times, costs and other matters involved for all of us to get there and I for one, am deeply appreciative and will forever appreciate their efforts! For myself, I only could get in three hours of sleep before we made the (2nd) 7 hour trip to Ohio. One has to stay awake somehow! Well, I am a mischief magnet, TRE (a Target Rich Environment), a silly man, an Unky (uncle), a Gunky (great uncle) and probably only about, fo-yeer-ohd (four years old). 🙂

Chef Dah-nay from Paris/Macedon, NY in his Red silicone spill-stopper beret :)

Chef Donnie-nay from Paris 🙂 OK, Macedon, NY, in his Red silicone spill-stopper beret 🙂

Me and My Minion

Me and My Minion

My Minion from Joshua

My Minion from Joshua

My parking ticket in this life has been validated and acknowledged, revealing in a comment, “the secret to my success.” A single image and a quote confirms this—

Silliness

And just so you do not misunderstand, it is confirmed again by a single video—

Dancing with Dahni

If it’s still not clear, try this—

“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oh, but there’s more, much more. And if you think this is about me, or my family or December or the holidays, keep reading my friend, KEEP READING!

On December 29th, 2015, we took my brother and his wife out to dinner and our family treated them, to celebrate his birthday.

From left to right Baby Joshua, Daddy Larry, Mommy Sierra Lee, Nanny Grandmother Carol Lee, Popi Grandfather Lenny, Susan Great Aunt, Donnie Great Uncle, Susan Great Aunt and sitting on the floor, brother Richard Great Uncle and birthday boy

From left to right:
Baby Joshua, Daddy Larry, Mommy Sierra Lee, Nanny Grandmother Carol Lee, Popi Grandfather Lenny, Susan Great Aunt, Donnie Great Uncle, Susan Great Aunt and sitting on the floor, brother Richard, Great Uncle and birthday boy. 🙂

All these many events culminated with something that has not occurred in some thirty+ years around the holidays. Our brother, and sister and I were all together, TOGETHER!

Richard, Carol Lee and Donnie

Richard, Carol Lee and Donnie

The craziness, silliness and love and heart remains after all these years and though the time was short, it was FULL and it was as if, we never missed a single beat.

So, as this month and this year comes to a close, I will raise a glass to our grandparents, Lilian & Stanley, Papa & Nanny, all our ancestors before them and to our parents Calvin and Jean, from which all those we have been touched by and whose lives we touch, has been made possible!

And this is the purpose of the Gathering Place. Though it is our home, we were not here, we were in Ohio. The Gathering place is not just a place, it is a heartbeat, where ever and with whomever it may beat. Though many could not be there with us and many had not the same kind of December or year as we have and many suffer, this is how life is supposed to be, should be and for us, it was, it really, really was this way! So, much has spilled over, into so many, many lives.

So, to you for the new year and forever, SPATTER JOY!

Scatter12

 

Dahni

MySig4WP_withBackground

Categories: Birthday, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Holidays, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, Spatter Joy, The 100 Foot Journey, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Real Facetime – Making Memories

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

As you recognize that you are becoming older, one of the first things often noticed is that the memory just might not be what it used to be? I’m not one that likes to take that lying down and along with my curious and inquisitive nature, I want to know why. Somewhere in my hoping heart, if the answer to WHY is known, then maybe, just maybe I can fix it or at least, do something, anything about it!

I do not have a photographic memory. I used to have a lousy memory, but still, there are some phone numbers and other vividly detailed things I recall. To my surprise, the more I became interested in something; the more time I put into it and then, all of a sudden, my memory got trained and I was able to recall a lot of things. It was just like building up a muscle. Instead of exercising muscle, I was exercising my gray matter (my brain). With the advent of and as it seems now, the pervasive technological wonders of the modern age, we mostly all use today, working our brains, apparently, has not become something we do or do much anymore. Why should we? If we want to know something, well, Yahoo, Bing, we can just Google it! 🙂

We don’t need to go see anything, we can YouTube it and stream it. Yep, we can travel the world without leaving home. And we certainly don’t need to dress or undress for the occasion. 🙂

We don’t need to read, speak or write. We can can do all that by just clicking on or speaking into our devices to ‘Siri’ or our digital assistant and AutoCorrect aside, these will do it all for us. Why develop a relationship when we can have tons of followers and friends on social media?

And we don’t need to actually go somewhere and talk to anyone, I mean, physically see them. We can Facetime, Skype or video chat. Besides, who wants to get dressed and if you are a man (or bearded woman) why shave? 🙂

Maybe this seems all a bit too much for you, but face it, we all have become more and more dependent on or at least we frequent, trust or rely on our technology. For myself, I came to the startling discovery that it seems like I, CRS (can’t remember s__t) anymore. 🙂

OK, I’m getting older, but I can’t handle C.R.S. and I don’t just accept that, that’s just the way it is. Then I had an epiphany or remembered something I heard all the time growing up and in context of Gym. Coach after coach said, “Use it or lose!” I’m sure they are referring to exercise and strength training for good muscle and tone. But, hmm, I wondered if this could apply to my decaying memory? Oh, I googled and did some research and the consensus is, YES, if we don’t exercise our brains, we will become more and more dependent on technology. It’s kind of like an old cartoon I watched as a kid, The Quick Draw McGraw Show – Hana Barbera (1959 – 1962).  Quick Draw McGraw was a talking horse and he had sidekick, Baba Looey, a little talking donkey. Quick Draw was actually kind of stupid and Baba Looey didn’t speak English too well. He would often question Quick Draw with something like, “Don’t you thin…”, (his pronunciation of the word “think”) about something to which Quick Draw would quite often say…

Quick Draw McGraw & Baba Looey – Hana Barbera

C.R.S. of late makes me feel pretty stupid. I have a smart phone and I’m starting to think that every time I use it, I actually am getting dumber. Use it or lose it right? RIGHT! Instead of asking myself why should I exercise my mind, the most important question is, can I or can I still? What if, as a society and maybe after many years of non-use of our brains, what if we were born with parts of our brains missing or underdeveloped, since they were not used and therefore, not needed anymore? That is a scary and a possible thought to me!

So, I have been thinking of late for ways to shutoff ‘techie world’ and try to ‘de-volve’ back into the former world of really. I was considering something like a day with technology followed by a day without ANY technology. OMG, would this be like weaning a pup from its mother, or an addict denied their daily ‘fix!’ Would I be able to handle it? How would I be able to live without my smart phone, email, the internet, our WiFi, TV, and how will I be able to remember anyone’s special day or appointments, or phone numbers!!!!! How will I know what’s going on in the world, my state or locality without technology! How can I do simple math without the calculator on my smart phone! How can I connect to anyone without Facetime, Skype or video chat! Oh, the conundrum, but I was willing to give it a try, for the sake of my brain, USE it or Lose it!

Well, to my surprise and delight, I really didn’t have to think about it, it just all kind of fell into place. Our weather recently, was more like summer than late fall, perfect temperature and humidity. My wife had a couple of boneless pork chops so WE, yes WE, decided that I would grill them. I had a recipe for pecan crusted pork chops that I had been almost salivating to try. The only problem was that it was for 12. I had to actually divide it into 12 in my head and on paper, to get the correct amount of ingredients per chop. While I grilled outside, Susan was doing her work in the kitchen.

When the chops were done, I came back into our home and there were candles lit everywhere and Baroque music was playing on the radio. Susan had set the table (decorated is more like it) and had prepared roasted Brussels sprouts and brown rice with cilantro, onion and lime juice and had made a nice salad with home-made ranch dressing. I poured us each a glass of some local Pinot Gris. Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio, what’s the difference?

Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are in fact the exact same grape variety. It is a white grape, with a grayish / brownish pink skin (hence the name gris, or gray, in French).

The grape originated in France (it’s from the Burgundian Pinot family), and is known as Pinot Gris in France, where it is most cultivated in Alsace. Across the border in Italy it is known as Pinot Grigio. While French in origin, it is really the Italians that we have to thank for bringing such huge global recognition and fame to the variety. The grape is the same, but the wines are different.

While they are the same grape, the two names have come to infer two different styles of wine.

  • Immensely popular, the Italian style Pinot Grigio wines are typically lighter-bodied, crisp, fresh, with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas and a touch of spice.
  • In contrast, Alsace Pinot Gris wines are more full-bodied, richer, spicier, and more viscous in texture. They also tend to have greater cellaring and ageing potential.
FaceTime1

Pecan crusted boneless pork chops, roasted Brussels sprouts, cilantro/onion/lime brown rice, salad with homemade ranch dressing and wine of course 🙂

FaceTime2Oh, my, a FEAST as if dining in a five-star restaurant and only for us, just us two!

I only mention the wine, as we talked about it, comparing it to other wines we had shared together in the past. The food and the ambiance and the music were just a token or a taste of, what was to come!

No TV trays parked in front of the TV. No smart phones in our hands and our eyes focused upon them with fervent desire to not miss anything that might be going on in the world. At that very moment in time, neither time or the world seemed to exist. We were the moment in time and we were the whole world. Nothing or no one else mattered for the time.

Our only plan was to have some grilled pecan crusted pork chops. Everything else just came together, but we worked together, unbeknownst to what the other was doing, until it became time to share our individual contributions with one another, TOGETHER. We toasted and we ate and listened to music. And then, then we began a conversion about the music.

We both like many different kinds of music. Susan was professionally and classically trained in voice, piano and flute. She can read music. She taught music K-6 +,  for over 25 years. She has a gorgeous voice! All these things I knew, but in all the years we have been married, I never knew until this night that her favorite music is, Baroque!

A conversation ensued. Yes, we had a real conversation, in real-time and with real, face to face time. It was discovered that we did not share the same opinion or fondness or love for Baroque. Susan was able to articulate why she loves it so with its structure. She finds it relaxing, peaceful, ordered, safe and sure in the midst of a world full, of the oceans of uncertainty and the seas of speculation.

I conveyed my feelings about the music as what I tend towards is, more fluid, spontaneous, spur of the moment, inspirational and etc. This is the type of music I play and it affords me the same emotional release and reception as, Susan gets from her’s.

We discussed, we conversed and neither of us tried to defend our position, but rather just said how we feel about the music which was playing during dinner. Neither of us were right or wrong. We listened to one another. Now, I must confess that for the same reasons Susan loves Baroque are, (were) the self-same reasons it is (was) not my favorite. I was in for a big surprise! 🙂

Baroque was popular in the 1700’s and I had some mental reservations or images in my mind, whenever this type of music was played. Things like silk stockings, powered wigs, the minuet and etc. By age sixteen, George Washington, our first president, had copied out by hand and committed to memory, ‘110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.’ They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595.

I had studied much about the American Revolution and thought all this so-called structure, civility, rules and orders were, unnecessarily fastidious, pompous and kind of arrogant. The music itself, made me think that none of these things had anything or little to do with us ever becoming the United States of America. George Washington and most everyone that fought in the American Revolution referred to England or Great Britain as their, “mother country.” It must have really been difficult to stand against your own country that you loved so much! But, WE the People of then KNEW, we had little to NO chance of even holding out and surviving against the then, most powerful; most trained and equipped military force on the face of the earth! WE had to hope France might help with ships and a navy and some money and some training. WE had to fire from behind trees, and threw rocks because, most of the guns we had were cobbled together from parts of others and often blew up in our faces. WE went to sniping officers at a distance. WE developed long-range rifles, mail and communication networks, relied on cunning and stealth, covert operations, invisible ink and a host of other innovative things to give us even a fighting chance of, little to nothing at all! In fact, ‘guerrilla warfare’ was started during these times and many of these procedures and methods are still used today by the military, all over the world! Structure? This was anything, but structure, order, civility and such. They had to be ‘fluid’! And the British? They despised those rebel colonists, for not knowing their place, not honoring ‘tea time’ or being cowards, for not facing them in the field of battle, and being so uncivil and so dishonorable! But, Oh NO, WE the People of then, were not about to participate in their rules of engagement where whomever is left standing wins and get our colonist butts beat, facing them man-to-man!

Then, after all those things and more and WE won our independence, what do you suppose WE did then? We went back to structure, order, rules of civility and politeness, powdered wigs, silk stockings, dancing the minuet and Baroque music!

So, all of this came out while my wife and I conversed. My wife, whom I say if there were such a thing as luck, I am a lucky man to have found my soul mate and the love of my life! And just when I thought it was not possible, for me to love her any more than I do, I found myself this night, loving her more! Not only did I discover, for the very first time that her favorite music is, Baroque, there was, I believe, some give and take between us. For my part, in listening to both my words aloud and hers, I was able to evolve my opinion about her favorite music. Isn’t this what a conversation is to do; to be for? It is more than agreeing to disagree, but a learning; an evolving where both come away from such a conversation better individually and together, than when it began!

So, more than just a fabulous meal and a couple of glasses of some nice wine, some great ambiance, some nice music, learning something new about my wife, learning from her, seeing myself change and evolve from my own opinions, shutting down technology for a time, making a new memory, popping neurons and actually exercising my brain, real face time with a real person (my wife), I actually grew as a person, along with another person, together! You just can’t get these kinds of benefits from technology! They only happen when we decide to make and let them happen!

Sure, there are many advantages and benefits of technology, but just remember that they all came about from real people, real conversations, real thoughts, real discussions and all in real-time, really — face to face!

In the digital world, it is good to get some real-time, every now and again! After all, that’s what The Gathering Place is for!

“The Art and Science of Building Strong Minds is, participating in Making Memories!”

Donnie

MyAussieHatwBkg_sm

 

 

 

 

Categories: Building Strong Minds, Fall, Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Making Memories, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Sometimes

Short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-CL

 

by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

Sometimes, you just can’t capture it, email, message, text, post it, YouTube it or share it!

Sometimes, it is just too big and too far beyond technology or even your expertise to capture and to share. Sometimes, it’s not like if you miss it, you can watch re-runs or just see it again. Sometimes, it only lasts for such a short time and will not be experienced again, for many, many years. Sometimes, the brevity of your life is clearly understood and a very, very simple choice is set before you. Do I take a chance right now or do I take a chance that I’ll even be here tomorrow? Will I take the chance that I will be here after eighteen years, from the time the gift first became available?

Sometimes, if you love and care about others, you let them know in advance that they might have the same opportunity; the same choice as you.

Sometimes, you don’t mind being alone and neither are you lonely, but sometimes, you want to share something so much, you want to shout it from the rooftops! Sometimes, you might live on top of a hill in the middle of the country and there may be no one to hear you anyway or you do not want to disturb your neighbor’s peace.

Sometimes, like I did, you ask your wife to join you and to share it with you, just me and just she and I. So, I turned off the television and my Susan set aside another, new baby blanket she had started today. She opened a window on our front porch for Bella our cat and left a light on for her, so she could be close to us and hear us outside. Outside, I moved our outside patio cushioned wicker love seat and coffee table to our driveway and arranged it like our own personal living sète to view the heavenly movable feast. I turned off all the outside lights. I set a Bluetooth speaker on the coffee table and paired my phone to play some nice instrumental relaxation music. Susan poured us a couple of scotches and brought out a blanket. And there we sat, wrapped up warm in the cool breeze of the night. And we chatted, and cooed and snuggled and laughed and said such memorable things as, “WOW,” “awesome,” and “I love you,” for over two and half hours.

I only mention the time that we shared this movable feast together, in comparison to turning off the television or being so engrossed in a movie of this length because, time seemed to have had no meaning. We could hardly believe, we actually sat outside this long!

It was like we were at our own personal drive-in theater and our screen was the night sky. We watched the full moon, a super moon become as if so close we could touch it. And it was so bright, this super moon filled the whole night sky. As the moon rose higher it seemed to shrink and it danced in and out and through thin vaporous clouds. Sometimes, the clouds were lit with an almost rainbow of color. Sometimes, the clouds themselves seemed three-dimensional. Sometimes, we could see stars shining and twinkling through the clouds just below them. Sometimes, through the clouds, we could see a great depth of stars. Moon and clouds and stars and breeze and music and our awes and our hearts, each played an equal part in this heavenly ballet. Then the moon began to grow dimmer and a dark crescent appeared and moved across the moon until the center was completely dark. It was encircled by, as if it were, a ring of fire. And then, the moon turned blood-red. We watched and waited and could see the moon coming back to its brilliant white. And then, the clouds mightily moved in and the moon disappeared with no trace of its reflecting light.

Sometimes, the variables are too numerous to count. Sometimes, what we saw, others did not or not exactly the same. For these reasons, sometimes— Sometimes, you just can’t capture it, email, message, text, post it, YouTube it or share it!

Sometimes, it is just too big and too far beyond technology or even your expertise to capture and to share. Sometimes, it’s not like if you miss it, you can watch re-runs or just see it again. Sometimes, it only lasts for such a short time and will not be experienced again, for many, many years. Sometimes, the brevity of your life is clearly understood and a very, very simple choice is set before you. I am so thankful that I took the opportunity and was able to share it together, with my wife Susan!

Sometimes, you realize that you just might not be here tomorrow or eighteen years from the night, now that night, when those gifts were first available?

Sometimes, because of the many variables and the impossibility to capture and share with others, you think, maybe, just maybe, it was for my eyes only? Sometimes, your heart just races with all its inexplicable fullness, knowing that all you saw and felt and heard and experienced , and awed over, and laughed with joy over and shed some tears over and chatted about and will never forget was, exactly the same as the one sitting right next to you!

Sometimes, you realize, what really and truly matters is, right now and who you have the grace to be with, for sometimes, you realize that all any of us have is—

some time!

Mike Mezeul II Photography – composite image over Dallas, TX 9/27/15 Each image was shot 10 minutes apart. Image has been cropped by me to remove the Dallas skyline. Image is used by permission from the photographer.

 

Donnie

MyAussieHatwBkg_sm

 

 

 

 

Categories: Fall, Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Moon, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

A grown-up lay me down to sleep

by Dahni

© 2015, all rights reserved

(an anticipatory participatory prayer)

 

AdultLayMeDown2Sleep

Now I lay me down to sleep

I thank you Lord, for the sweet memories I keep

and if I should pass, before I wake

please give them to my loves –

for them to take

 

God Bless,

(your memory list goes here)

 

Amen

AdultLayMeDown2Sleep2

Categories: Family & Friends, Live Laugh Love, Love, Poetry, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

On: Anzac Day

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Caveat lector – LATIN “Let the reader beware”

Dear Friends and Family,

This will be a very long post. I realize that you may have many things that you deem more important than reading my blog and because of the length of that to follow, this post, but I promise you that it will be well worth your time! Our purpose singularly, in visiting Japan and Australia was to meet two of our newest grandsons for the very first time and to be with family and friends we have not seen in a long time. It is like a vacation too and like an exploration to us, of the new and unknown. I try with all my ability to immerse myself in all that I do. Whether or not you believe me, I do this mostly, for you! In much that I do, I think, I must live live inside my head and within my heart and perhaps I should instead, just be living life. I think that I am living, but I just know of no other way to be, then who and what I am. I take things and feel things deeply and my sincerest hope for you in reading this post is that you will find something that moves you as deeply as it has and does. so moves me. Perhaps it will even change your life or transform it? It is for this purpose that I have written the following, as best that I know how. I have written it for you!!!

If I could wish and my wishes could come true, I’d wish I could type (keystroke) faster, think faster, think smarter, use less words, but capture exactly what I feel that you feel exactly what I try to write and that it may be understood by anyone!!!

Dahni

Guhday mates from Dahni, your ANZAC Day guide

Guhday mates from Donnie, your ANZAC Day guide

On Friday April 25th, 2014, Australia, will commemorate the 99th year memorial of ANZAC Day.

Until quite recently, I had never heard of ANZAC Day. It has been an evolving rote (basic) understanding for me of not just the event of historical relevance, but its far-reaching significance to the world. As this is being written, the sun has already set here in Australia and I scramble to complete this post in time, for you of the West that will soon begin your sunrise on Friday.

We were informed of ANZAC Day by email from a family member, before we arrived in Australia. I thought there was some connection between the Netherlands and Australia, but I could not quite understand it. But there was a U.S. connection that I did understand and you will understand this as well, at the conclusion of this post and the video at the very end.

Then, I started to see that there was a connection between Australia and New Zealand, but it still, was unclear to me, what this was.

Then, we were downtown in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in Hyde Park. There, in this beautiful and massive park stands, the ANZAC Memorial.

Mem

ANZAC Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia

see: http://www.anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au/

That ANZAC Day is important to the Australians, is another public holiday, and not relative to me (or so I thought), was all becoming more clear to me.

I knew today was related to Gallipolli, war, April 25 and 1915 and this is about all I understood. In the United States we have Veterans Day and I thought it was just something unique to us as, ANZAC Day is to Australia and New Zealand. I still did not yet understand, the connections and associations and involvement of many people and many countries throughout the world, with this particular day.

I do understand and have great respect for honoring not the dead, but the purposes for which they loved, lived and died. I remember seeing my own countrymen spit on our own returning veterans from the Vietnam conflict. I use the word “conflict, on purpose, for it was never declared a war by my government. This seems to be an all too often ploy, to conduct, for all practical purposes, war without having the US Congress involved, in declaring it so. I understand that many of our returning service men and women were treated poorly, because of the nation’s vehement desire to protest it; were against it and unfortunately, those that got caught in the crossfire by many of us, WE the People, were our own people; our own brothers and sisters; our service men and women! Things have changed since then. There is more respect bestowed, more honor given and it is all, more than deserved and far, far less, than they deserve! After all, because of men and women like these the world over, every country to some degree or another, enjoys the liberty, the freedoms, the prosperity and the peace that we all do. I understand the simple act of recognizing one who has served or is serving by saying, THANK YOU, and shaking their hand!” If not for such as these, the world in its entirety, would be in slavery, in bondage and not know liberty!

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

On Thursday night April 24th, 2014, I was walking through the downtown area of Camden, New South Wales, Australia. I went into a local clothing store called, ‘The Looking Class.’ I was surprised to find them open at this hour, but was later informed that Thursday nights are a normal time to shop here and most stores would be closed the next day, on Friday due to the holiday.

My purpose in stopping there was to thank them for trying to locate an Akurbra hat for me, which I later found in Katoomba, NSW, Australia, during our visit to the Blue Mountains. I also wanted to ask if there was a special brush I could purchase from them to keep my hat clean. And, having nearly had my hat blown off my head by the wind here, I was curious as to a solution to prevent this from happening in the future. Though the wind was slight and more than I had previously or since experienced while in Australia, where we live on top of a hill in Macedon, New York, in the United States of America, the winds can be quite fierce and on a regular basis.  I do not want to lose my hat!

The owner and his wife were both present and I thanked them, for their efforts in trying to locate a ‘Coolibah,’ Akurbra, in my size and asked my questions. Bob promptly showed me a leather chinstrap made of Kangaroo hide and made in Australia. He promised that if I brought in my hat, he would install the strap for me at no charge, even though I did not purchase my hat from them.

We chatted about many things, my impressions of Australia and they shared some history of their country, the community of Camden and even explained some Aussie phrases to me. 🙂

Bob is a member of the Camden Community Band along with our son Jonathan and asked me if either Jon was going to perform with the band the following morning and would I be attending the sunrise service for ANZAC Day on Friday? I told them that Jonathan could not attend. I knew very little about this public holiday, even though we viewed, the 1981 movie, ‘Gallipoli,’ soon after we first arrived in Australia.

Movie DVD cover art starring Mel Gibson

1981 Movie DVD cover art
starring Mel Gibson & Mark Lee

I still did not understand and because, from a military point of view, this battle, for which ANZAC Day is remembered, was basically a failed campaign with many losses of life!

Still, the day is important enough to Australia to declare it a national holiday. And it was obviously important to Bob. He had a wonderful display in their store window.

Looking Class Store Window Display

Looking Class clothing store window display

The Looking Class

The Looking Class Clothing Store

Bob informed me that the service would begin at 5:20 AM the next morning. I will never forget my response to his question, am I going! “Who on God’s earth would be awake at this time of the morning,” I sarcastically replied. But I did leave their store with the suggestion that I might show up.

I have been awakened often at 5:00 AM here anyway, because the three cats that live here. If our door is not all the way closed, all three will come into our room to try and wake me up to feed them. One even walks across the head of our bed, and my head, to get to the nightstand and will literally tap the button on the alarm clock to make the radio come on, if all else fails to rouse me from sleep. 🙂

But, I decided to set the alarm on my smart phone, for 4:50 AM and give this sunrise service a shot.

The alarm went off as scheduled; I got up and dressed; then walked maybe four minutes, to where the service was to be held at, The Camden Rose Garden. While I was walking, I noticed to my surprise, the streets were already starting to be lined on both sides with vehicles. I saw a few people out, here and there. Then, as I rounded the corner of the street to where the service was to be held, I beheld something totally unexpected! Hundreds of people were already gathering at the Memorial Rose Garden. Police closed the street to traffic and set up and manned blockades at both ends. As I walked closer, the crowd of people grew larger.

Here were the young and elderly people, male and female, whole families with their children (some still in their pajamas) and groups of families and friends all walking towards the center of attention. The morning was overcast and it was not supposed to rain. There was only a slight 10% chance, but after 10:00 AM. While I walked closer, the band promptly began to play at 5:20 AM.

As I drew closer, I could see that the musicians had their music stands with little lights on them so that they could read the music before them and play their instruments. I saw many men and women dressed in uniform, scouts and various youth groups were dressed in uniform and there were several in their street clothes that had medals on their overcoats and jackets. The temperature was cool and delicious. I only wore a single long sleeve shirt, long pants, shoes and socks. Some that gathered had clear plastic raincoats and others had umbrellas, many of which, had the Australian Flag as part of the design when opened. On occasion, the then crescent moon shined through the clouds and the area had the benefit of a few streetlamps to provide light.

ANZAC Day sunrise service, video clip

As the band finished the first song, an announcer over a speaker greeted the people and thanked them for coming and for proving him wrong, as it was reported that there were hundreds of people there! By the time the service was over (approximately 1 hour in length), there must have been thousands present at such an early hour, including myself, the least among them, to know why I was there.

The band played another tune and then there was a pause. The people stood motionless and quiet. A few kookaburra birds supplied some vocals. Then the announcer began to explain the purpose of this service and gave a brief introduction of what was to come, named the featured speaker and other dignitaries that had come to participate. The people and every child stood still and were still. It started to rain and I prayed fervently that it would cease. It mattered not, no one moved or even flinched. A few lifted their umbrellas and some were in raincoats, but the rest of the crowd would not be moved by any amount of rain. Thankfully, the rain stopped.

Youth groups in uniforms marched. Planes unseen in the clouds above, flew quietly overhead, out of respect. Every ear listened, as this memorial was far more than to honor those that had fought and died, for what they believed was right and sacrificed the full measure of their devotion, with their lives. Left behind were families that perhaps, would never see their sons, brothers, relatives, friends, or husbands anymore, and children that may have never known their fathers. Left behind were those free to aspire to careers as doctors, engineers, scientists and all manner of free-to-choose paths, FREE from tyranny. Left behind would be those that would live with privilege, not ever knowing war and its many losses and its many changes that many would take long to recover from and some perhaps, not ever. What a wonderful lesson these children and I were being instructed and inspired with! Many of these children, I found out later, did not have to be there so early, they wanted to be!

The beautiful and soaring vocals of woman, along with the band, filled the air and every heart. One by one and group by group, many came forward from the crowd and laid a wreath of honor with the simple and singularly repeated banner, “LEST WE FORGET.” 

Something familiar as, “We will remember, We will never forget,” and other such phrases came to my mind, but…

…But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

The featured speaker was an active military person. His assignment was to bring home fellow soldiers, those that had completed their assignments, were injured and those that fell from the Iraqi war and Afghanistan. It did not matter from which country they hailed. His task this morning was to express what ANZAC Day meant to him. He began his brief remarks with a sincere and humble apology, should he stumble over his words, if his voice should crack or if he could not speak the full content of his words. It was a highly emotional speech. I recall some of it. His job and his team’s mission was to bring “their” soldiers home, period, whatever it took, from whatever country they may have come from! They joked as the plane was loaded and ready to take off, to an unseen enemy, “give us your best shot!” At that very moment, a single bullet rang out and hit. An american soldier that just moments before was showing pictures of his wife and family, smiling and looking so forward to going home, was instantly dead. Our morning speaker mentioned other similar events, his voice quivered, but stayed strong and true. “All our soldiers, we bring home,” he said, with out reservation or hesitation!

I must confess that I was literally in tears. I cannot recount how moved I was and how privileged I felt to be alive, to have been in Australia and to have participated in this early morning service that was purposed to be on or about the same time in 1915, when the soldiers fought and died the morning of April 25th.

There I was, some 9,000 miles away from our home, in another country; at nearly the bottom of the world, before dawn. I cannot imagine what those in 1915 must have felt that day, so far from their loved ones and on foreign soil!

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand, a rare instance of two sovereign countries that not only share in the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name. When war broke out in 1914, Australia and New Zealand had been dominions of the British Empire for thirteen and seven years respectively.

But Anzac Day has become a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all, “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations,” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served. though originally, April 25th was to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

Today, is also, a very special Day for the Dutch in the Netherlands, the Turkish people, the Greeks, and as it should be to Canada, Great Britain, the United States, and in my opinion, the whole world.

“The Gallipoli peninsula TurkishGelibolu YarımadasıGreek:Καλλίπολη) is located in Turkish Thrace (or East Thrace), the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek “Καλλίπολις” (Kallipolis), meaning “Beautiful City”. In antiquity, it was known as the Thracian Chersonese (LatinChersonesus ThracicaGreekΘρακική Χερσόνησος).

In ancient times, the Gallipoli Peninsula was known as the Thracian Chersonesus (“Chersonesus” means “peninsula”) to the Greeks and Romans. it was the location of several prominent towns, including CardiaPactya, Callipolis (Gallipoli), AlopeconnesusSestosMadytos, and Elaeus. The peninsula was renowned for its wheat. It also benefited from its strategic importance on the main route between Europe and Asia, as well as from its control of the shipping route from Crimea. The city of Sestos was the main crossing-point on the Hellespont (Dardanelles).”

Source: Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli

After the sunrise service, there was a parade downtown around 10 AM the same morning. Susan and I made the short walk and arrived shortly before it began. A lady close to us on the corner, was wearing a sprig of rosemary on her blouse. I asked her why and she told us it is a spice for remembering and used symbolically on ANZAC Day. Camden has rosemary growing all over downtown! We struck up a conversation with this lady who has lived in Australia for eight years. She was born and raised in Cyprus, part of Greece and she explained the Greek connection to ANZAC DAY. She broke off two sprigs of rosemary, one for Susan and I and withdrew two small safety pins from her purse and pinned us! A man came by and offered anyone that wanted one, a free Australian Flag. So this is the information about my picture above. But most important, the connections are all starting to connect for me.

Susan enjoying the parade

Susan enjoying the parade

1,000's of the people of Camden came out

1,000’s of the people of Camden came out

Girl carrying one of the many wreaths

A girl carrying one of the many wreaths

The Memorial at the Rose Garden

The Memorial at the Rose Garden

"Lest We Forget"

“Lest We Forget”

Though the following video displays uniforms and symbolism perhaps specifically only familiar to the people of the United States, cannot the same truths and emotions be understood, shared and felt among all the peoples of the world?!

“Hey Brother”

In World War 2, twenty-two thousand Australians were captured defending Malaya, Singapore, and the Netherlands and the East Indies. An estimated 8031 died in captivity as Prisoners-of-War (POWs) of the Japanese.

Some 13000 Australian POWs were transported to Burma and Thailand to work on the 420 kilometre (about 261 miles) Burma–Thailand Railway, where nearly 2650 Australians died — from disease, deprivation and horrendous brutality at the hands of their captors. This was known as and perhaps for infamy (in shame), the ‘Railway of Death.’

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

In Turkey, the name “ANZAC Cove” was officially recognized by the Turkish government on Anzac Day in 1985. In 1934, Kemal Atatürk delivered the following words to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields. This was later inscribed on a monolith at Ari Burnu Cemetery (ANZAC Beach) which was unveiled in 1985. The words also appear on the Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Canberra, and the Atatürk Memorial in Wellington:

“Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.”

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

The Netherlands connect with and share much in common with ANZAC DAY.

In commemorating the 20th anniversary of The Netherlands liberation, the Dutch government commissioned trumpet player, Nini Rosso and Guglielmo Brezza, to compose a piece of music. It was written in 1965 and first played in 1965, May 5th.

The piece is instrumental, with a small spoken Italian lyric, notable for its trumpet theme. Its thematic melody is, an extension of the same Italian Calvary bugle call, used by Russian composer Tchaikovsky, to open his ‘Capriccio Italien’ and often mistaken for the United States bugle call, ‘Taps.’ It has become a world wide instrumental standard.

The reason for the commissioning of this music was to honor those in a cemetery in the Dutch city of Maastricht. For there lie buried, 8,301 American soldiers, who died in “Operation Market Garden,” in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall and winter of 1944-45. Everyone of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries has been adopted by a Dutch family, who tend the grave and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is the custom to keep a portrait of “their,” foreign soldier, in a place of honor in their homes. Annually, on “Liberation Day,” Memorial Services are held for “the men, who died to liberate Holland.” The day concludes with a concert, at which, “Il Silenzio” (The Silence) has always been, the concluding piece.

Il Silenzio contains the following spoken lines:

Buona notte, amore
Ti vedrò nei miei sogni
Buona notte a te che sei lontana
Good night, love
I’ll see you in my dreams
Good night to you who are far away.

In 2008, the soloist was a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands.

 

“Il Silenzio” 

The Silence

But the meaning of all this has come to mean, so much more to me!

We the peoples of the world are connected, by so much more than we may realize. I am not advocating that we abandon our individual dates of importance or our cultures. I am not even suggesting that we all share in some world wide special international holiday. In silence we all should not just remember what people have died for, but for what purpose have they lived.

The United States, in our Declaration of Independence of 1776, put into writing, the hopes and dreams of every man, woman and child for all times past, for the present and for all our futures; ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD! Are the peoples of the world all not connected by the fervent desire, for “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness!” We should remember those that lived and died for these things the world over as well as, those that live now and have resolved to give their lives to those ends if called for. But we who are alive and live with the privileges of those sacrifices made for us, should remember that we all desire the same things and to live this way, to teach our children, and avoid any conflict,

“Lest we forget!” 

And these are not merely lofty sentiments or unreal expectations. For the purpose of life is to live. The right of life is liberty. The desire of every life is the pursuit of individual happiness.

Over nine thousand miles away from home, in a foreign country; at almost the bottom of the world, I have seen this and experienced it in the coming together of the people here in Camden, New South Wales, Australia, on this ANZAC Day, 2014!

For this day, they were all a part of me and I was one with them. May I return to my own homeland with this same heart and share it,

“Lest I Forget!

Categories: ANZAC Day, Australia, Australian Life, Beauty, Family & Friends, Holidays, Inspiration, Japan, The Gathering Place, The Global Village, The Land Down Under, Things that really matter, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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