Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Too Many Candidates, too little time

The last two nights have been like being shell shocked.

Too many still there. Need to narrow the field.

Warren and Sanders were stars on Tuesday, shutting down moderates and especially crazy, almost Republican sounding John Delaney and stage-fright Tim Ryan.

Here's who I'd like to see left on the stage: Bernie, Warren, Biden (because he should be), Mayor Pete, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris and Gov. Jay Inslee (who I think was the star on Tuesday).

I'd be happy with any two of them being President and Vice-President. My favorite ticket would be Warren/Harris--imagine the debates with the President and Mike Pence!!!

Biden and either Warren or Harris would be good.

I love Mayor Pete but can a gay man be elected President. South Bend, Indiana is a lot different than the USA.

Bernie is great and I'd love to see him debate the President.

However after tonight, I really have to keep space for Gov. Inslee of Washington State. He's the best on environment and really good on everything else--health care, education, housing, race.

Keep those 7 and let's have some debates that give people more than 30 seconds to talk. Or, to make it even more informative, keep Biden, Bernie, Harris, Warren and Inslee.

I could buy that.

Sunday, July 28, 2019


The President (WWNBN) is all over Rep. Elijah Cummings from Baltimore about how horrible his district is.

That Cummings is Black, we are told by Trump staffers, doesn't make the attacks 'racist'. Only reactions to Cummings' attacks on the President.


It just so happens, Jarred Kushner owns dozens and dozens of apartment buildings in John Lewis' district and has had hundreds and hundreds of complaints about mice and rats and not taking care of the property.


My son and daughter in law and three granddaughters live in Baltimore. Josh is a partner in one of the largest law firms in the city. Cathy, a former prosecutor for Baltimore, is now a Judge of the first District of Maryland--Baltimore city. Morgan, Emma and Tegan go to a private school near the Episcopal cathedral, where the family worships.

Baltimore, like any city of that size, has problems. But the President's attacks on Rep. Lewis aren't about the problems of cities. They are about Cummings' attempts to get information and testimony from the Administration as head of the House Oversight Committee--which is that committee's job, according to the way the country is run.

I love Baltimore. There are bad places, sure, but there are bad places in any city and the Administration should be creating policies to make those places better rather than giving tax breaks to the ultra-rich, breaking agreed upon international agreements, cutting back environmental regulations, cosy-ing up to dictators in Russia, North Korea and Saudia Arabia, and undermining the rule of law of the country.

This President is a joke, a mistake and a problem since he has divided the country problematically.

2020 is all about defeating him.

Pray and work for that.

Please and pretty please.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Something from long ago

I searched 'Kudzu' in my posts to see if I'd ever mentioned it before.

I had mentioned the plant that takes over the verge of highways in the southern states in a post about Ireland. Here it is.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Gorse and magpies

Two of the things I marvel at in Ireland are Gorse and Magpies.

Gorse is a yellow flowered shrub, not as tall as wide, that seems omnipresent in Ireland. It is along all the major roadways. I was riding to Dublin on Wednesday with an Irish nun and an academic from Austria. The academic asked what the yellow flowers were and I answered "Gorse!" before Fionnula could.

She laughed. "Jim loves gorse, Georgi," she said.

And I do.

If kudzu looked like gorse people wouldn't complain so much about it.

And then there are magpies.

I went on line to see if they lived in CT and a website called 'Connecticut Critters' listed them. But on the same page their territory was listed as only on the west coast and Texas. I know I've never seen one here. They are huge birds, related to crows and as big as our crows, but with white chests and white on their wings. The rest is black and gray.

They are as common in Ireland, it seems to me, as robins in Connecticut. They always seem to be in pairs or threes. They are very fast for such large birds. I enjoy watching them.

The Irish tell me magpies are very smart, so I looked them up as well and read a couple of articles that suggested they may be the smartest birds.

They are playful and cunning.

If you are of a certain age, you might remember Heckle and Jekyll. Two magpies that were in comic books and cartoons.


Kudzu was one of my favorite newspaper cartoons of all time. The main character was a late teen named 'Kudzu', who was anxious, lacking direction and full of doubts. Like a typical late teen I'd say.

There were other characters but the one featured most was a man referred to only as 'Preacher'--which is what he was in his black suit, string tie and wide-brimmed 'parson's hat', walking with a cane. Preacher was a self-absorbed, money-grabbing fraud of a minister and Kudzu's biggest nemesis.

All the cartoons were only three frames. I still have two of them. I framed the frames.

In the first, Kudzu Dobois (I just remembered his last name) is walking down a southern country rode with the Preacher. Kudzu has on dark pants and a light jacket with leather on the elbows, an open necked white shirt and messy hair. The Preacher is a head shorter than the boy.

Kudzu says to the Preacher in the first frame, "Sometimes when I talk to people I fell like they're paying no attention..."

In the second frame, he says, "It's as if they're not even there!" (and the Preacher ISN'T THERE in the frame!)

The Preacher is back in the third frame when Kudzu says,  "Do you know what I mean?"

The Preacher looks at him and says, "Pardon?"

In the second cartoon the two are walking through a place with trees. Kudzu asks, "Okay, Preacher, you've heard all my problems! You're my only hope! What would you do if you were me?"

Preacher replies in the second frame, "If I were you, I reckon I'd give up, change my name, have plastic surgery, and move to Nome, Alaska....

...of course, I'm not you." he concludes in the third frame to Kudzu's fallen visage.

A complete course in how not to do pastoral counseling!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Add 'this' to 'that'....

Out of nowhere, it seems, the Justice Department announced today it is their intention to resume federal executions if they can clear all the hurdles to restore that punishment that has not been used in years. They even named the first five people they would execute--all of whom committed murder of children or the elderly, to make the public embrace the move.

The astonishing roll-back of regulations on environmental issues, immigration issues, and other protections imposed by former administrations is one thing. Renewing federal executions just adds this to THAT.

As state government's, even Red states, move to abandon executions, the Justice Department wants to renew it! Absurd! Astonishing! Absolutely wrong!

They made not be able to do it. Lots of steps along the way. And law suits after that which could tie things up in court for years.

But why? That's what you have to ask.

Could it be because the very people who would support the death penalty would be the people who voted for the current President, who will not be named here?

Of course that's it. Blood in the water for the 'base'.

When a vast majority of Americans and the members of advanced societies around the world abhor the idea of the death penalty (if only one innocent person might be executed, no one should be executed) this move is to satisfy and further attach the President's base to him.

Killing people for a political agenda.

As I said before: absurd, astonishing, absolutely wrong.

Pray for our country--hard and often....

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mueller Time

It went on forever, the two committee meetings. Robert Mueller seemed old, hard of hearing, tentative.

But his answers,  many of which were one or two words, painted a painful and terrifying picture of what went on before and during the election and the obstruction of justice of the President during the investigation.

He all but said that if the President had not been President, he would have indicted him. All but said. He was, as always, sticking to his guns and only referring to the report. Many questions were not answered because they stayed outside his report.

I was horrified at how rude and disrespectful Republicans were of a war hero, head of the FBI, security guru and special council. Republicans have circled the wagons to defend a man who has violated federal law and lied to us all 7 to 10 times a day in tweets and in person.

I am gravely disappointed in the party my father supported his whole life. He wouldn't recognize the budget conscious, small government Republicans he loved in a party that is sheltering perhaps the most corrupt administration in history which is driving the national debt to record highs, rewarding the rich and trying to take health care from average citizens and benefits from the poor.

People on either side will have vastly different views of what happened today. That just underscores how radically this President has divided the nation.

I long for justice and truth and the administration deals with evasion and lies.

I've said it before--here and in person--"Lord, help us!"

If we ever needed God's help, it is now.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Holding doors

I realize my view of the world and country--recorded on this blog--is rather negative and disappointed and even nihilistic.

So, today, I wanted to say something positive and uplifting.

I go to a Package Store in the north end of town that is owned and run by a wonderful family whose roots are in India but who lived in England before coming to America. It's a husband and wife and uncle and children and some interestingly bizarre young white men. One of the sons and his wife (also from Indian descent) recently had a baby boy and his picture is by the cash register. They are a lovely group. The mother (and seeming 'boss' of the whole bunch) calls everyone 'love', which I find precious.

Anyway, I've noticed people in the town of Cheshire (30,000 or so of them, becoming less homogeneous each year--more blacks and browns and Muslims) always hold the door for you at the package store.

Once I noticed that, I began to notice that people all over town, at the businesses that don't have automatic doors, do the same.

There is something to be said for an upper middle class white man holding open a door for a Hispanic just off work or a Black woman or someone with a hijab. And the opposite is also true--people who are diverse holding doors for others is a remarkably positive thing.

The question is: how do we start holding doors open for 'the other' on a national level?

How do white Republicans walk through doors held open by 'the squad' that the President has attacked so viciously? How do recent immigrants, even undocumented ones, walk through doors held open by 6th generation Americans? How do GBLTQ folk hold open doors for straight folks--and the opposite?

How do we turn holding doors open into a 'way of being' in this country?

The next time someone holds a door for you or you do for them, ponder my queries.

"Open doors" are the key to being truly free and united, Whenever someone holds a door for me, I give thanks. And when I hold a door for someone else, I am thankful as well.

Ponder that, deeply.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The 'believer' world

I just read an article on line about a NASCAR driver (I've driven his name fast from my mind) who said he 'isn't a believer in the moon landing 50 years ago!

Since when has their been a 'believer world' vs. a 'non-believer world' about what HAPPENED.

We landed on the moon! It happened.

You don't have to 'believe' it--IT HAPPENED!!!!!

6% of Americans and, get this, 11% of millennials don't believe we landed on the moon.

Jesus Christ, Almighty God, save me from this!

Shit happens.

Jews died in Germany by the millions. We've had two World Wars. Kids were killed in Sandy Hook. Obama was born in Hawaii. The earth is round. On and on--'believers' and 'non-believers'.

There is nothing to believe or not believe when stuff happens.

I've lived too long. Reality has altered into a flat-earth 'belief' or 'non-belief' world.

I celebrate WHAT HAPPENED  50 years ago today--not what "I believe" happened 50 years ago today.

Save belief and unbelief for mysteries, not reality.

Sunday's sermon

6TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST—Emmanuel, Killingworth

            Today we heard the story of Mary and Martha. Martha is fretting, doing chores, cooking and worrying while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and absorbs his wisdom. Martha comes to complain and ask for Mary’s help and Jesus tells her, “Mary has chosen the better part.”
            I won’t ask you to raise your hands, but in the honestly of your heart tell yourself if you are more like Martha or Mary.
            I bet I’m talking to a bunch of Martha’s here today!
            Most of us, most of the time, are fretting like Martha, working on many tasks, not taking time to call out our Mary side and listen quietly to the ‘still, small voice of God.’
            That’s what we need to do, especially in these times: sit and listen for the wisdom of Jesus.
            I’m going to tell you about my upbringing a bit, because it will lead me to what I want to say later.
            I grew up in the southern most county of West Virginia, McDowell County. If you’re from there you say ‘MACK-dowell’ instead of Mac-Dowell. There were about 100,000 people in an area larger than Rhode Island—about half Black and half White.
            Though half the people in my little town were African American, I knew only two of them by name: Gene Kelly, who worked in my uncle’s grocery store and his wife, Delia, who was my uncle’s housekeeper and cook. But many of the Black adults and a good number of the kids knew my name since my two uncles owned a grocery store, a dry goods store and the Esso station and my father sold them insurance.
            I was never in a classroom with an African American until my senior year of high school though it was over a decade after Brown vs. The Board of Education. The next year the two separate school systems were going to merge, so Gary District High sent 6 students to be in my senior class: three talented male athletes and three very smart females to smooth the way. They weren’t allowed at the prom, so I didn’t attend either.
            I was good friends in college with a young man who graduated from Gary District. He would introduce me to his friends by saying, “Jim and I went to different high schools together!”
            And it wasn’t just race. When I was leaving Anawalt Junior High to go 12 miles down the road to Gary High, our Principal addressed the 9th graders. (Anawalt was almost completely Anglo Saxon, and Black of course, but almost no people of other ethnic origins.) Principal Ramsey told us (please excuse the language but I want you to hear what he said): “The Hunks and Tallies and Pollacks down at Gary aren’t going to accept you. You will be shunned.”
            A man with a Master’s Degree told 14-year-old kids that!
            It was a dark and racist time for me growing up. Which brings me to another place—today our country seems to be moving back toward those time instead of toward more diversity and more inclusion.
            Attacks against Muslims and Jews are way up from 5 years ago. Hate crimes are increasing. White Nationalists and Neo-Nazi’s are bolder and more public now. Immigrants and even ethnic people born in this country are more fearful than they had been. Human beings fleeing, in most cases, for their lives are separated from they children and held in cages along the southern boarder.
            I’m not talking about policy disagreements. In a democracy, there are always policy disagreements—it is a sign of the strength and health of the democracy. I’m talking about the violation of basis human rights—rights all of God’s children should expect in ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’.
            Martha work is needed to correct all this—but Mary work is needed more. We need to sit with God and ponder God’s wisdom and wonder how things have gone wrong. Before Martha gets to work, Mary must drown out the rhetoric and the noise and ponder the will of God, seeking guidance for the work to be done to insure ALL PEOPLE a part of the Dream of this great and good land.
            So, let your Mary side ponder our plight so her wisdom can guide the work our Martha side has to do.     Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Wellness visit

I went today for my annual 'Wellness Visit'. I love my doctor, let's get that straight, but he's a part of a nationwide G.P. group and the way they work is problematic.

First of all, I had to fill out 5 or 6 pages with answers before I went, and the largest number of questions were about my mental health and how to avoid falling.

I know those are two problems people of a certain age have--but it seems overdone.

I did fall once, three or more years ago and tore the ligaments in my knee and had surgery and a long spate of P.T. No falls since and actually I was coming downstairs and missed the next to last step.

But, my mental health is without fault. I may be happier than I've ever been. I have the love of my life in our house on Cornwall Avenue--50 years married 55 years a couple. I have two wondrous children who are successful, happy and in great marriages. And, undoubtedly, the 4 best grand-daughters in the universe.

My physical health is above average. I read 5 or 6 books a week, between my pension, both our social security checks and my part time job doing what I love to do--being part of 3 amazing communities--I make much more money than I ever make working full time.

We have a house and two vehicles long ago paid off, a sweet and precious dog and all the friends we need.

I mean it, I am a happy, satisfied, prospering elder.

I know many elders aren't and I ache for their pain.

But the best thing about my wellness visit was it made me realize how lucky and blessed and happy I am. I sometimes don't acknowledge that fully.

I will now. Every day. I will be thankful with every breath.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Did this before....

I've posted this about a year ago, but I was thinking about it today and decided to send it out again, in case you didn't see it.

Glad for Gladys
            Gladys Spinet is dying. Not that it matters much to most people, but she’s dying and that should be worth something. It should matter—make a difference.
            Elsie Flowers told me today—about Gladys dying. Walking down the main road, along Mrs. Flowers’ fence, I saw her in her garden and heard her hoot me over. She asked if it were hot enough for me and since it was I told her, “yes, plenty warm, thank you.” She brought her hoe over to the fence and wanted to hear all about me and what I was doing. When I told her, I was working on my doctorate, she thought I was going to be a physician. So, I explained I wouldn’t be that kind of doctor, not the kind that looks down your throat. Then she talked to me about her cabbages and politics and all kinds of things, and, right in the middle of something else, she said, “Oh, ya know, don’t ya, ‘bout how Gladys Spinet is dyin’?”
            I stood there, trying to remember who Gladys Spinet was and feeling profoundly sad that knowing someone was dying didn’t matter much to me—no more than Mrs. Flowers’ cabbages or Senator Jennings Randolph, who she found too liberal.
            She leaned on her hoe, as if to make it final, and said, “She is…really…dyin’.”
            A tiny necklace of dirt ringed Mrs. Flowers’ neck. Her garden and her sweat gave her a necklace like kids get when playing ball on a hot, dusty day. It reminded me of Julia, the eight-year-old girl I’d seen that morning wearing a necklace of the pop-tops from soda cans. I took her picture and asked if the tops ever cut her neck. “Jist sometime,” she said, “ain’t they purdy?”
            I wanted a picture of Mrs. Flowers with the necklace of dirt around her neck, thinking how it would look beside Julia’s picture. Julia had been leaning on her bike and Mrs. Flowers was leaning on her hoe. I imagined the photos, in identical black frames, stark against the white of my study’s walls. I was on the verge of asking to take her picture when Mrs. Flowers said, “Cancer, rite here,” pointing to the end of her dirt necklace right below her ear. “Too late to ketch it and she’ll be dead ‘for winter. It’ll eat up to that little part of your brain with the long name. Jason tol’ me what’s it called, but I forgit. Anyways, when it does, Gladys’ll die, quick-like.”
            I almost said, “you can’t ‘catch’ cancer,” since I thought she meant ‘catching it’ like the mumps or a bad cold. Luckily, I paused long enough to realize she meant “it can’t be treated.” Then I caught myself about to say that the part of the brain she meant was the medulla obbligato, but with Gladys Spinet dying that didn’t seem important enough to mention. Suddenly, all I could think of was that the next time there were cabbages in Mrs. Flowers’ garden, or a senatorial election so she could vote for the Republican, there wouldn’t be Gladys Spinet.
            And as hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to make it matter as much as I wanted it to.
            Gladys Spinet, Mrs. Flowers told me, “went to Charlottesville las’ month.” Going to Charlottesville—to the University of Virginia Hospital—was the kiss of death where I grew up. You only went to Charlottesville when no doctor in southern West Virginia had any answers. And Charlottesville didn’t have answers either. In Charlottesville they did research on things without answers.
            Mrs. Flowers rambled on about how her nephew, Jason, worked at the hospital in Charlottesville and what a good job it was and how beautiful the mountains there were in fall. “There bein’ more maple there and maple turnin’ brite red.” While she talked, I thought about Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s house in Charlottesville, about the big calendar clock that covers a wall of that house, keeping perfect time after all these years, counting out the moments of Gladys Spinet’s life.
            When I got away from Mrs. Flowers, carrying three Big-boy tomatoes in a brown paper sack for my uncle, I stopped at a road-side grocery to buy a Dr. Pepper from a fat woman whose name I couldn’t remember just then. Her name is Mrs. Goins or Mrs. Cones or something like that. When I paid her, she asked me about her bursitis since my uncle had told her I was studying to be a doctor.
            I was about to explain Ph.D. and M.D. when Sam came in, his hands greasy black from working on cars, to buy some Lucky Strikes. Sam is my age—a Little League teammate who dropped out of the high school where I excelled. He asked where I’d been and what I’d been doing and how I came to be visiting ‘home’. And then he told me, in the matter of fact way he said everything, “ain’t it sumthin’ ‘bout Gladys Spinet dyin’?”
            For Sam, she was already dead. There’s something about cancer, something about how much we fear it, something about how some people—Sam, for one—call it ‘the big C’, that makes the diagnosis final, a death warrant.
            “The big C’ll git ya, Richie,” Sam told me solemnly, “never fear. Never fear.”
            I was on the verge of saying that ‘fear’ seemed an appropriate reaction toward cancer and death and about to tell Sam that I couldn’t remember the last time I was around someone who smoked Lucky’s when, without warning, a picture of Gladys Spinet jumped into my mind with both feet.
            I saw her, clear as day, running down the main road in winter, ignoring the icy patches on the pavement and the snow piled almost as high as the fences on the shoulders. She was running like mad, in my unexpected memory, coatless---running to her retarded brother, Casdy, who was sitting in the middle of the slippery road playing with something he’d found there: a small animal, a chipmunk or something, dead.
            I remembered Gladys’ face then. It was a soft, round mountain face—like my mother’s, like mine beneath my beard—with small eyes and thick brows, full lips and a weak chin. Sam’s face…and Mrs. Goins’ face. Mrs. Flowers’ face, and Julia’s. Gladys Spinet’s face leaped into my memory, out the mirror in my bathroom.
            Someone once told me that Gladys Spinet changed Casdy’s diapers even though he was almost fifty and very fat. Her other two brothers, I remember hearing—one not much brighter than Casdy and the other a preacher of some ilk—wouldn’t lift a finger to help. So, Gladys Spinet changed Casdy’s diapers and took the dead things he collected along the road out of his pockets each night.
            I remember Casdy the way you remember bad dreams. He is so large and so retarded, drooling a lot, that he frightened the wits out of me as a small child. I even remembered the dead things he carries around in his pockets. Dead things are always frightening to little kids…or fascinating. I’m too old to remember which.
            Standing there, talking to Sam, I remembered how Casdy isn’t afraid of his dead mice or frogs or birds at all. Casdy takes them out of his pockets to show you as if he were showing you something glowing, or a shiny quarter he had to buy some gum.
            My ‘killing time’ with my uncle, back where I grew up, suddenly seemed pointless. I had wanted a week or two way from my apartment and my thesis, a few weeks to take pictures and sleep late and walk the mountains without thinking or reading or writing. Instead, I’d walked right into the drama of Gladys Spinet’s death—a drama that depressed me because it didn’t seem to matter.
            I’m going back to Cambridge day after tomorrow. I’ve decided I actually want to be near the library. There are several things I need to know about Stephen Crane before I can finish what I’ve been working on. I won’t find out those things here. All I can find out here is more about how Gladys Spinet is dying. I realize there’s nothing I can do to prevent that, or even make it matter much to me.
            Gladys’ dying may matter to Casdy—someone else, after all, probably someone less gentle and loving, will have to chase after him and change his diapers. But he’ll most likely think of Gladys as one more dead thing he found and wish he could put her in his pocket.
            I’d like to write Gladys a note, but it would be maudlin and vain and she wouldn’t remember me or understand. I’d like to tell her, somehow, if I only could—“O God, Gladys, I am sorry you’re dying.” But for all my good intentions, it still wouldn’t matter much.
            What would matter is if I could tell her something hopeful, joyous, glorious. Like that her life will soon be still and over. Like that I’m glad for her. Glad.
Conklintown, West Virginia 7/28/74

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Democratic candidates

I have a friend, Ray, who sends out by email, almost every day, a series of anti-President who will not be named cartoons and little quotes from writers that are very anti-the current President.

Sometimes at the end of the cartoons, there is a bumper sticker that reads:
                                               ANY RESPONSIBLE ADULT

I feel that way for sure, absolutely, positively.

But I have some favorites.

I really like Cory Booker though I think his chances are small since the top five have so much money and such a big lead in the polls. But he's a vegan and reminds me of the joke: Know how to find a vegan at a dinner party? Don't bother, they'll find you!

But I like the top five fine: Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris and Mayor Pete (I don't trust myself to spell his last name and I am sure it's not on Spellcheck.)

Pete, by the way, raised the most money last month and lots of celebrities are supporting him. Is American ready for a gay President--I'm not sure, but I am sure the current President (HWWNBN) would make such a fool of himself running against a gay man that even anti-gay Republicans would be offended.

Biden, I know, messed up the debate--or, more correctly Kamala Harris messed it up for him. But he still polls as the surest to win and that matters to me--a lot.

Warren is taking over Sanders' role. She has the most spelled out agenda and is close or ahead of Bernie in the polls. Bern, a big Sanders supporter, thinks he should drop out and endorse Warren. Warren is a little shrill for me, but I don't doubt she would make the President look silly in debates.

My personal favorite right now is Kamala Harris. Have you seen her question people in Senate committee meetings? She is beyond unbeatable in one on one debates. Some people hold being a prosecutor and an attorney general...'too tough on crime', they say. But that's what prosecutors (like my daughter-in-law before she was appointed to be a judge) do. The prosecute crime. And Harris helped reform the system in California from within.

Here's my dream: Biden/Harris or Biden/Warren with Biden promising to be a one term President and passing the mantle after four years to either woman. Then Warren or Harris for 8 years.

I'm not sure that's enough time--12 years--to restore the damage of the current administration, but I'm betting it will be.

I want to Make America 'America' Again instead of the wounded democracy it is today.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


On Sunday our baby girl turns 41!

It's hard to believe I've lived this long.

Her name is Jeremy Johanna Bradley. But the first 6 months of her life she was the world's worst baby. Crying to be held, not wanting to be held, fussing and crying over everything. If she had been our first born, we wouldn't have had another.....

Josh, who was 3, would sing to her: "Jeremy, mimi, mimi, mimi...."

So, she became Mimi.

At six months something flipped in her brain and she became the world's best baby--seldom crying, always happy, loving all of us and life itself.

She has been sweet and dear ever since. Like me, near the middle of the 'extrovert/introvert' scale, a little more introverted than me, but not much. My career and calling forces me to be an extrovert, but on my own I am deeply introverted.

Mimi is a joy and a wonder. I love her without reserve. And she has brought Tim and Eleanor into our lives to make us more whole.

Eleanor will be an only child, I assume. Like me. But I find myself drawn to other 'only children'. We share some deep and important things.

But Eleanor will have three older Bradley girls cousins who will guide her through the maze of being a girl growing toward womanhood, just like my cousins did for me growing to be a man.

Whenever I regret not having siblings, I just talk to someone who has them. That cures me of my pain!

Happy, Happy Birthday, wondrous girl/woman who is my daughter.

You have given me more joy that you could ever imagine.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Racism is a thing

I grew up in the southern most county of West Virginia, The state split from Virginia over the civil war, but there were slaves there.

We were far below the Mason-Dixon line.

I never went to school with black kids until my senior year of high School. The next year, the schools merged. The Black school sent over 4 athletes and three smart girls to begin the transition. This was in 1964, for goodness sakes, a decade after Brown vs. the Board of Education.

I knew racism up front and in my face.

My only Black friend as a child was Gene Kelly, a 40 year old man who worked for my Uncle Russell in the H and S supermarket where I worked. His wife was Russell's homemaker and cook, so I knew her as well. But no others.

I know what racism looks like, feels like, even smells like.

And our President is a racist.

I think most of us knew that subliminally from the day he announced for President and called Mexicans 'rapists'.

Many of us knew that when he was the head of Obama's 'birther conspiracy' theory.

But after this week we all know it's true.

Telling those four women of color to go back to 'where they came from'--when three of them were born in Minneapolis, Detroit and New York--was beyond racism and sexism to utter nonsense.

AOC, one of the 4, represents the district of the President's birth and childhood.

Good Lord, what are we to do?

The House of Representatives, with 4 Republican (brave people) and one Independent joining all the Democrats, passed a non-binding condemnation of the President tonight. Slim chance the Senate and the quaking, frightened Republicans will approve.

Something needs to happen.

I've been hesitant on Impeachment.

But no more.

Impeach him, for the Good Lord's, and our sanity's sake!


Monday, July 15, 2019

I learned my lesson well

I haven't been to Costco for so long I had forgotten why I hadn't been.

But we need a new air conditioner soon for my office, which, with the help of a fan, cools the whole downstairs and I had a $230 Costco cash reward because I charge every thing I buy on a Costco Visa card. So off we went.

The Costco in Waterbury usually has two winding roads up a hill to the sprawling parking lot. One was closed to traffic. I felt resentment since the one that was closed is the one I always used.

The parking lot was a nightmare. Don't any of these people have something they should be doing on a Monday late morning?

We parked about a quarter of a mile from the store and trooped over. As soon as I showed my credit card and went in, I remembered why I haven't been in so long.

The huge, huge building and the absolute glut of 'stuff' made me instantly claustrophobic. I know that's supposed to be for small spaces, but it's my fear of large spaces. I just remembered, what I have is agoraphobia--'fear of wide spaces'.

I grew up in the mountains where there were few places wide enough for a football field. The first time I drove through the mid-west I thought I was going to cry I was so scared of the endless vistas. I've always lived in cities or hilly places so it doesn't often strike--but Costco brings it on.

I could hardly breathe for the crowds and the open space-enormous. It bothers Bern too, so we found and air conditioner as fast as we could. But she wanted to see if they had the expensive dry dog food we feed Brigit. She knew I was freaking out, so she left me in an aisle and went looking. She was gone maybe five minutes but it felt like 15. I couldn't think straight but knew I had to go to the bathroom.

Costco literally scares the s*** out of me!

On the way home she told me while I was in the bathroom, she almost freaked out. Seemed to her like half-an-hour when it was less than 10 minutes.

I could breathe again when we were out of the parking lot.

Part of it is the crowds and enormous building--but another part is that it is all a cathedral to consumerism.

Hard for me to bear.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

If you needed proof....

If you needed proof that the current administration, headed by He Who Will Not Be Named, is callous, racist and un-American, all you need to know is that they scheduled an ICE raid for a Sunday.

ICE has a job to do, I know that--they need to keep bad people out of our country. But this raid is not against "bad people", it's against people who came here fleeing for their lives thinking this was still the "land of the free and the home of the brave". They just want a better life--like my ancestors, and probably yours, did.

And to choose to do this on a Sunday--the day of worship and rest for Christians of all stripes--is outrageous.

Do do it at all is an insult to my ancestors, and probably yours, but to do it on a Sunday is an outrageous black eye to people like me.

Some Democrats want to abolish ICE. I'm not sure I do. I just want them to 'do their job' and remove undocumented criminals from our midst--not people like my Great Grandfather Jone or Great-Great-Great Grandfather Bradley who came to this country to find a life worth living.

I am out of my mind that the administration and ICE is doing this. But I am out of my mind and heart and soul that they are doing it on a Sunday.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Giving thanks

This afternoon I did the first ever 5:30 p.m. Saturday Eucharist at St. James in Higganum. They're going to try it for a while, twice a month. There were more people there than last Sunday, so it may be a winner. Still summer, we'll see.

We had a silent prayer of thanksgiving at the end--to give thanks for all God's gifts to all of us and each of us.

So, I came home and found this Thanksgiving Sermon and thought I'd share it with you.

Give thanks. Always. Give thanks.


          Do not 'worry', Jesus says in tonight's gospel. Do not 'worry' about what you should wear or eat. “Worry,” I believe, is the opposite of 'being thankful'. That is why Jesus tells us not to 'worry', because Jesus wants us to be thankful.
          In my tradition of Christianity, we celebrate the “Eucharist” on each of the Lord's days, each Sunday and many other times we gather as the People of God. “Eucharist” in Greek, means “to give thanks”.
          Giving thanks, it seems to me, is the very heart of being a Christian.
          The older I get, I have told people, the fewer things I find I HAVE to 'believe'. I think I've got it down to the basics of my creed.
          *God loves me (and US) unconditionally. Everyone, no matter how twisted, or even evil, is a child of God. I believe that.
          *Treat others as you want to be treated. No matter what. I believe that.
          *Welcome the stranger always, even if the stranger may mean you harm. I believe that.
          *Give to those in need—always and however you can. I believe that.
          *And this: be thankful always, for everything, even things that challenge you and give you pain. Be thankful always, for everything. I believe that.
          Not that many years ago, there was the song and the saying, “Don't worry, be happy.” I would change that to “Don't worry, be thankful. Always.”
          Consider the lilies of the field....Consider the birds of the air....
          Why should we worry? We should be thankful.
          In our Eucharist service, there is a prayer after communion. It is a prayer of thanksgiving. But it is very general. So often, I invite the congregation into a time of silence and ask them to give thanks to God in their hearts and minds, for the many gifts God has given to each of us and all of us.
          In my heart and mind, in that silence, I picture my family and my friends, the people of the congregations I serve and have served, my dog and cat and parakeet, the freedom and prosperity of my life, my life itself, and all the good those I know and love have done in this dark-ling world. I sometimes give thanks for Key Lime Pie and sausage gravy and biscuits, but the seems a little selfish.
          But that's the thing—being thankful for God's goodness isn't selfish at all. Key Lime Pie and sausage gravy and biscuits are gifts that merit our thanks.
          Remember, in my short list of beliefs, I said to be thankful for everything, always.
          It pains me, in a way, that we get so involved in being thankful in November of each year when we should be 'thankful to everything, always'. All the time. Every moment of life, we should be thankful. 

          Don't worry, be thankful.
          Consider the lilies of the field, consider the birds of the air...they do not worry, they do not fret. And we are worth more to God than flowers or birds.
          Be thankful.

          I practice the prayer of the heart—also known as the “Jesus Prayer”.
          It is a prayer of breath—and since we breathe always, we can pray always.
          The Jesus Prayer goes like this: as you inhale, you say in your mind and heart, “Jesus Christ, Son of God” and as you exhale you say, “have mercy on me a sinner.”
          It's that simple, as simple as breathing, which we do all the time.
          But some time ago, being an Episcopalian and not being fond of being reminded I am a sinner, I changed the way I prayed the Jesus prayer.
          I started saying, in my heart and mind, as I inhaled, “Lord Jesus Christ” and as I exhaled “thank you so very much”.
          When I'm driving, I pray that. I give thanks with every breath.

          We should, I think, give thanks, not just at this time of year, but with every breath.

          Why don't we try it for a minute or so? Join me in paying attention to your breathing, what keeps you alive. We should give thanks for breath as for so many things.
          Join me for a while.
          When you breathe in say in your heart and mind: “Lord Jesus Christ”. And as you exhale say in your heart and mind: “thank you so much”.
          Let's try it, if you don't mind.
          Inhale: “Lord Jesus Christ”.
          Exhale: “thank you so much”.

          Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Give thanks always. Don't 'worry', give thanks.


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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.