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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #351
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    People whose faith has compelled them to adopt foster children, or invite refugees into their homes or go to feed the homeless. My own cousin became "born-again" and we can disparage all the evangelicals, but she stops and talks to homeless people and offers help, food, or shelter. Her intervening kept me from losing my home. Yes, many evangelical Christians are very un-Christian, but there are many--many--who are walking the walk.
    I have no problem at all anyone who lives the faith story that makes sense to them. If someone is about caring for people, especially the marginalized and the "other", I don't give a rip if they're a "born-again" Christian, a Roman Catholic, a Jew, a Sikh, a Wiccan, ... The faith story makes it clear what should matters and what should not.

    No version of the Christian Bible with which I am familiar goes into exposition about how a public coffee company with employees of many (or no) religions should design their cups for the month-long bacchanalia that is "the Christmas holiday season". I don't see Eastern Orthodox Christians bashing Southern Baptists for celebrating Easter on "the wrong day".

    IMHO, for people with mature faiths, bearing witness to their god does not depend on whether the women in their congregation wear pants or sit at the back or whether the refugee they're supporting agrees with saying "Hail Marys" for penance. Nothing wrong with following those rules for oneself. But it's a variation on the main theme. And when people try to make their rules everyone's rules, I'm absolutely out of it. If your religion can't stand hearing "Season's greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas", maybe it's time to re-prioritize and keep the main thing, the main thing.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  2. #352
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    “This is where Pappy used to play when he was your age.”

    I lobbed a baseball and my granddaughter awkwardly managed to catch it with my signature “Milt Pappas” mitt from the 1960’s. It is one item from my childhood that has survived every move and resides in a box in my garage. Today, we visit great grandma and I want to play catch with my grand baby on the field of my youth.

    While cleaning the garage, I went to the box. It’s flaps were crisscrossed as if to secure the precious contents and as I slipped my hand into the glove.....memories of hot humid days on a dusty ball field with seven neighborhood friends come alive.

    The backstop remains stubborn against the winds of time. Telephone poles soaked with creosote like substance a skeleton for a heavy chain link wall. Home plate never sat square to the pitchers mound and the third base corner always stuck up. The surface is cracked where it origally was bright white. There are metal anchors where each base should be and a metal box with a lock where the bases were kept protected from theft. We brought pieces of beer cardboard found as remains of an adult softball league or even would drawn a base in the dust with our finger.

    ”Me and all my buddies would play baseball games here.”

    She throws the ball back and I am astonished at how hard and accurate it is. This I remember is where we tossed a Roberto Clemente Louisville slugger bat up in the air so the Captain of the other team could catch it and start the process of selecting teams. Bottle caps? Yes. The bat has been broken, glued back together, nailed and taped. Occasionally, we find a broken bat in a burn barrel nearby and rescue it.

    “The snow fence wasn’t here back then. A home run was when we hit it in the gap and rounded the bases all the way home.” I throw the ball back, a little harder this time. It hits her glove and bounces out onto the ground.

    On this field Ray, John, Bill, Leo, BoBo, Dave, Charlie and me spent countless hours playing ball, catching frogs and snakes, and sometimes getting in a little trouble. We bonded and we fought.

    “Didn’t you guys have a coach?” , she asks and whips the ball back a little low but right on the money. “Nope.” I say, matter of factly and leave it at that.

    Im thinking of where these guys are now. To the best of my knowledge Ray is the CEO of a television advertising company, Bill became an accountant and is still bragging only he’s using Facebook to show all the trips he takes, Leo is a Postman, BoBo did twenty years for a burglary that resulted in a murder, Dave is a well off engineer and Charlie made a living playing baseball just like his dad.

    “Are you ready to hit the road?” I turn and look at the field one last time holding the glove of my youth. I bring it up to my nose and smell the leather and chew briefly on the rawhide string. “Let’s go Pappy,”......

    Oh to live on Sugar Mountain,
    With the barkers and the colored balloons.
    You can’t be twenty,
    On Sugar Mountain,
    Though you’re thinking that
    You’re leaving there too soon.
    You’re leaving there too soon.

    Neil Young

  3. #353
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Lovely, WS.

    It triggered memories of a small country schoolyard where we played ball, all 22 of us, in all the grades. The maple trees enfolded the whole schoolyard, surrounded on two sides by gravel roads meeting on one corner and a large field with a stream and distant bank barn and house on the other two sides. I remember a dotted fawn coming to visit through the field to our delight. Cannot remember what happened to it though. I have no confirmed idea what happened to all the kids at that school but farmers and one professor, I believe.

    One rambunctious horse came running down the gravel road dragging part of a wire fence which had terrified him. I remember that he stopped nearby in utter exhaustion and I was able to walk slowly up to him, talking quietly while another schoolmate was able to gently detach the wire entangled around his one hoof. I truly understood panic for the first time and the importance of tenderness seeing that dear horse in such distress. I just now understood why the scene in the live play, Warhorse, with the coiled wire fence and the trapped horse puppet seemed so real to me. The movie, War Horse, never had the same effect as that live play. I was right there on the stage trying to help and willing that horse to calm down. Interesting...
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #354
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I suspect it’s more about the search than it is about the music. At least, that’s how it begins. You have in your minds eye a depiction of some relatively rare record, it’s label and it’s accompanying outer sleeve. You almost never run across the object of your affections on any particular day or at any specific venue. But in the process of digging you run across things you never imagine, that fulfill your needs anyway. Almost always, you enter a place with little expectation of discovering anything only to be surprised. Yesterday, was such a day , as was the day before. A plethora of vintage 60s and 70s classic rock falls into your hands. You can’t believe how lucky you’ve gotten. A stash of records just shelved by the owner and you are the first to sort through.

    More than reasonably priced, you check off a nice block of wanted vinyl in very nice condition. So on a Monday morning, on a whim you just check into a local junk store owned by a hoarder with no expectations. After clawing your way through stacks and stacks of milldewed albums, you decide its probably time to go get a medium twist on a cake cone at your favorite roadside stand. Out of the corner of your eye she is staring at you from the corner of a shelf constructed by two by fours. You recognize her. A 1970s Joni Mitchell release. “Ladies of the Canyon”. Reaching over and picking it up your hopes are dashed by the emptiness of the cardboard. There is no vinyl.

    Shes been abused. Someone has spilled coffee on her. The inner sleeve is there but torn on the bottom and the back cover is split. She’s a ragged bit of her former self. You place her back and turn to leave. Something draws your eye to a stack of records on the shelf below without sleeves. There’s an orange/ tan label with a W7 Reprise label. You recognize it as a first release, much more valuable usually than later releases. It is Joni.

    The vinyl is clear accept for a blow she took on the first two songs of the first side. No matter. You decide to rescue her not so much as a collectible but as a listening treasure. The owner accepts one dollar for her. This record will not spend its life in a box or on a shelf but will be played on the stereo. The B side holds “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock.” After cleaning her off she slips over the spindle with glee. “Hey farmer farmer...put away the DDT now.....Pave paradise put up a parking lot.” “Don't it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.”

    She pops constantly, but she plays without skipping. I think I’ll keep her.

  5. #355
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Signs of the times. I read your post and felt good thinking about Joni Mitchell and some of her songs you mentioned, but I am unfamiliar with the album itself. So, I'm in my office, and from there I yelled out "Alexa!" and when she waved back her blue-green wave I commanded: "Play Ladies of the Canyon." "Playing Ladies of the Canyon" she replied. No skips. No pops. But I'm sure not the same experience, either. Still, nice to hear her voice.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  6. #356
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    You slip into your chosen seat behind a girl you’ve known since the first grade in elementary school. Now, a decade later she gives you that familiar smile and you wait for the teacher to address the class. He is young and isn’t wearing a suit or tie, it’s very casual. You have taken this class because you figure it’s a “blow off”.....Modern Music Interpretation.” Compared to Latin III and Calculus , it will be a nice break. When you told your parents about it, they laughed at the silliness of teaching high school students about appreciating rock n roll.


    Mr. Anthony stands before the class. When he’s not teaching history or music appreciation, he’s assisting coach the football team or in the dugout of the baseball field. You figure it can’t hurt to pretend you want to study the lyrics of songs so you can get into the good graces of the coach. You’d like to remain a starting second baseman.


    He makes some preliminary comments which frankly you don’t really hear. The girl in front of you will probably be the class valedictorian and homecoming queen. She’s wearing a familiar perfume. It’s intoxicating. She’ll ask you to the school dance later that year and in order to go you will have to lie to your parents and sneak around a bit. Religion and bigotry don’t seem like good reasons to make a mess of a friendship.


    But now Mr. Anthony is passing out a copy of lyrics for the first song he’s going to play to us and introduce. It all seems so not like school at all. Are we really going to listen to music and talk about it? You receive the sheet. It’s a song you have never heard of released on an album you don’t know. What are “Mona Lisa’s and Madhatters”? What does “Honky Chateau” mean and who is this Elton John?


    He drops the needle and the record begins to crack and pop in the run up. No big backbeat, no guitar, no bass just a simply piano and a voice. This isnt rock n roll. Maybe youve made a mistake. He starts singing and immediately the whole class seems to be in a trance.


    “Now I know, Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say
    I thought I knew but now I know that rose trees never grow, in New York City.”


    Its a catchy tune but something in the lyrics brings out the uncertainties you have about the coming year. Mr. Anthony stands next to the record player and actually seems to be serving the music like a dessert to the class.


    “Until you’ve seen this trash can dream come true,
    You stand at the edge while people run you through.
    And I thank the Lord, there’s people out there like you
    I thank the Lord there’s people out there like you.”


    Whoa! There’s some deep shit going on here. Is a teacher really permitted to play this stuff for us? The song seems to be filling the classroom.


    “While Mona Lisa’s and Madhatters
    sons Of bankers, sons of lawyers.
    Turn around and say good morning to the night.


    For unless they see the sky,
    but they can’t and that is why,
    They know not if it’s dark outside or light.”


    As the song finishes the needle scratches to the end of the runnout and lifts into silence. The arm swings and clicks off. Mr. Anthony pauses before he moves to sit on a table in front of the class. He splits you into groups of four and for the rest of the period the object is to discuss the lyrics amongst yourselves and present your interpretation to class the next time we gather.


    This is really a strange way to run a classroom. Your group includes the perfumed genius homecoming queen, the star basketball player and a kid from a rough part of town you usually stay away from. This is going to be harder than you thought. How do you share the kind of thoughts this song illicit to other kids? And then to the whole class. You are starting to rethink this whole,”blow off” class expectation. This is going in a direction you never expected.





  7. #357
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    The nice weather has unfortunately slipped away. Replacing it is a blanket of grey sullen clouds which drop a constant drizzle of cold rain. It is in the fifties and my body is protesting. There is a reminder of fall in the atmosphere. The acorns are immense and plentiful. The squirrels are scurrying about collecting them and looking at me as if to say, “You lucky son of bitch. You don’t have to run around like a fool and cache food for the winter.”

    I sit with a newly brewed cup of pumpkin spice coffee from Archer Farms. I picked it up at Target for a frugal price. The first cup....and it is comforting. On the menu for tonight, lasagna soup.

    I also had to transition to jeans this weekend. And sweatshirts. And coats. And an umbrella.

    On the the bright side, the weather kept a lot of the competition from browsing shops I tend to visit. I had pretty much free reign over the used record bins this weekend and I found some very nice pieces which I also got very cheap. I spent most of my time driving around rural western New York. The people there are very kind and curious about the kind of music I collect. Some of them are leftovers from Woodstock and there is a hippie attitude in their self sufficient small farm approach to life.

    The vinyl collection is bursting at its seams and I had to purge some that just weren’t at the quality I like. This made room for the new finds. I practically gave the discarded ones away.

    I am spinning a Stephen Stills release from 1972 called “Manassas.” A very generous lady sold it to me for $1 and it had pristine vinyl, the liner notes and poster, the original inner sleeves and an outer gatefold cover that looked like it hadn’t been touch in 46 years. Apparently her brother managed or owned a “National Record Mart” back in the day and some of the records were salvaged when the store closed.

    She offered to let me dig through her collection on another day. I enjoy making friendships with these small shop owners. They aren’t making anything but they are a nice addition to the landscape of small town America.


  8. #358
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I was sitting around a fire ring with a group of friends and a few people I’d just met. We were trying to get to the bottom of a bottle of Evan Williams and find the answers to long pondered questions. This is a rural area with relatively friendly people who work hard, play hard and see life in black and white. They like their “four wheelers”, “gators”, tractors and farm trucks. They like the shooting sports, are impatient with the justice system and the courts and in general distrust the government. They have opinions. They might tolerate yours, and they might not.

    Inevitably the question was asked of me, “How long have you been retired and what the hell do you do with yourself?” The longer I am retired the more I hate that question. So admittedly I get so that I play games with the answer. For the longest time I tried to answer honestly but it’s gotten to the point where I’ve turned it into a joke.

    This time I said, “Well, I’ve been retired for eight years but really haven’t worked for anybody for about three. I added, “Its not really what I do, it’s what I don’t do that counts. For instance, I don’t go to autopsies of little kids that get burned up in fires. You know where they saw the top of their heads off and reach in and pull out their brains, weigh them, cut them in slices and then stuff them back in.”

    Continuing on without missing a beat, “I don’t pick up pieces of a guys skull after he stuck the barrel of a 30.06 in his mouth and pulled the trigger. And then try to explain to his wife how the doctor made a mistake and reported he had terminal cancer.....when he didn’t!”

    I kept going, “. I don’t get called at 2am to go to the scene of a homicide where an elderly woman was raped, sodomized and suffocated by an inmate that was mistakenly released early from prison. I don’t have to tell her relatives that I couldn’t promise to bring the unknown actor to justice but I’d do my best.”

    Changing gears I finished, “What I do right now is go to the gym early, come home and get a hot bath and then sit with a cup of coffee or two and watch the migrating monarch butterflies for awhile. And then I do whatever the hell I want to.”

    That seemed to satisfy him and we moved on to the constitutionality of DUI checkpoints.

    The monarch migration is starting in earnest. The lifecycle of then monarch butterfly is most interesting. It is interesting that the butterfly I see today headed for Mexico or Florida is the fourth generation removed from the butterfly I saw last year. It is quite amazing.

  9. #359
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    Those were vivid horrifying descriptions and unfortunately it is dinner time soon.

  10. #360
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    Those were vivid horrifying descriptions and unfortunately it is dinner time soon.
    My apologies. Some things are best unsaid.

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