Sunday, December 4, 2016

Does Organic mean Humane?

My friend, Tara Lynne Groth, is writing a Pay it Forward series and this one about animal welfare speaks to me. We treat animals cruelly in this world. Not the dogs and cats we keep as pets, although many of them are abused, but domestic animals raised for food.

I grew up on a large farm where cows lived on green pastures. Dairy cows spent their days grazing and sleeping. Their purpose was to go into a milking barn twice a day where they were treated humanely and milked by electric milking machines which they seemed not to mind at all. 

Beef cattle also had the wide open pastures with plenty of water for their consumption until the day they were loaded onto a truck and taken to the cattle sale. When I was a child, I tried to never think of them once they left the farm. But as a mature individual and one who has read many books and articles, the horror of the way they are slaughtered makes me ill. Even as the cows are killed, those crowded in behind them see, hear and smell the process of death. The same is true for hogs and pigs. They don't grow up in a field but in a pig barn, on concrete where they have no room to move around.

Poultry is one of the largest food products in this country. I know first hand how chickens are raised for food. After the dairy business became unprofitable, my family began raising chickens. A large chicken house, larger than our family home, was built with cages for the hens. Three or four  hens lived in one cage and they only had room to squat and lay an egg. They never touched the ground for as long as they lived. It was horrible and I said so to  my brothers, but they said that is the way this business was done in order to be profitable. I think they felt it was awful but had to  be done.

I've seen trucks on the highway with white chickens packed into cages so  tightly they  could not turn around or move. Often their feathers fly in the wind and scatter like snow flakes on the asphalt. Empathy overwhelms me and I can't bear to look at them. I know they are usually on their way to be killed or to go to a chicken farm. Either way they have no decent future.

While we think that organic food labels mean that the animals are grown humanely, we are wrong. 

Read Tara Lynne's post to learn what is being done today.

Feedlots - where animals are kept to be fattened before slaughtering.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Writing is our lifeline when tragedy befalls us

I have certain blogs I visit on a regular basis. One of them is

Writing Through Cancer.  One might think this would be depressing and would not want to read the posts, but the writer, Sharon A. Bray, teaches writing to cancer patients. The patients, like all of us who write, find it helps them deal with what is happening to them or happened to them. The blogger writes very well and she uses quotes from writers and poets in her posts. 

I recommend this blog for anyone who has known someone with cancer or anyone who is a survivor of cancer. I have had two members of my family diagnosed with cancer, and I know what it does to the patient and those who love him. 

Without writing, I don't know how I would have survived Barry's tortuous lymphoma ordeal. Tonight I came across a rough draft of a poem I wrote when he was sick. The caregiver, in an effort to protect the patient, becomes ill as well, emotionally and physically at times. In spite of my  pain, you can see I have hope for both of us.

Bowed and broken, he forgets
that I suffer, too.
I suffer his losses and my own.

He forgets I have needs, someone to share
my fears with, my anger, my grief.

Beside the lake, water brings calm
to my spirit that has been torn, crushed and shoved
under his illness that becomes mine.

Somewhere the sun shines behind the clouds.
I see a small glow over western peaks,
a promise that we'll reach a joyous place
again one day. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Day after Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving was relaxed and uneventful for me. My sister and I slept late and after breakfast we went out for some shopping. We hit two stores and had lunch at Chili’s before coming home. After a huge meal at my niece’s house on Thursday, we didn’t need much to eat today. I did come home and have some of Gay's banana pudding. She makes it by Mother's recipe passed down to my sister, June, and now to  Gay. It is sooooo good!

I am taking this opportunity while staying with my sister to do some shopping I don’t normally have time to do. I bought a new halter for Lexie. She has gained two pounds and can’t wear any of the things I bought for her a  year ago. Her sweaters are too small and so are her halters.
Now she is dressed in red and black with a red leash. She went shopping with me and was so good as she waited in the car. She knows I will bring her a taste of my lunch and she can’t wait to get into my purse to see what I have for her. Today it was a bite of burrito which she gobbled up.

Lexie in her new halter which does't fit perfectly. She is between XS and S, so this is the best we can get.

Lexie curls up in a little knot when she sleeps. She is now ten pounds. I wanted her to stay smaller.

It is good to  get back to  normal, at least as normal as I can being displaced from home due to forest fires. As I fretted and felt in limbo for the past few weeks, my sister said it should be nice to  get away from my responsibilities at home. That made me think. I am going to look at my situation as a nice vacation in the city. In time I will get my house livable again, get rid of the  smoke and be able to run my heat pump. But for now I am going to pretend to myself that I am on vacation and not think about what lies ahead.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Food for Thanksgiving, Food for Thought

This holiday, more than any, makes me think of family. Mothers are a huge part of this holiday. My mother cooked turkey, made dressing, biscuits and desserts, She bought canned pickled peaches which I love, but have not had any in a long time. We always had canned cranberry sauce until my older sister June began to make the whole berry kind. I still prefer the canned. 

Mother's cornbread dressing was the talk of all who ever tasted it. She added oysters. My brothers and most of the family loved it. I like oysters but not in my turkey dressing. So mother made one pan without oysters for the few who preferred it. Her giblet gravy was made from scratch, no packaged powder mix for her. 

Our family dinners at Mother and Daddy's house included all generations. My brothers' wives were good cooks and their contributions to the dinners were never left over. My contributions were not too spectacular. I was married to a man who cared very little about food. He could take or leave it. I hardly ever heard him exclaim over a dish, even when it was not mine. Lucky guy! He never had a weight problem either. 

This poem on Jayne Jaudon Ferrer's Your Daily Poem site reminded me of all the foods my mother made for her family over the fifty years she cooked. This is a list poem. Have you ever written a list poem? You might want to try it after you see this one. Send your poem to me and maybe we can post it on this blog. 

What did your mother cook that was special to you?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Take What Matters Most

Written a week ago.

My house in the mountains is safe from the fires at this time, but filled with smell of smoke. I wear a mask inside as well as outside. With allergies and so many sensitivities that cause respiratory illness, I can only stay here a short time and then must leave again.

We often take our lives for granted. My life is good I often say to myself. I have never been overly attached to material things, but when I had to  think about what I would save if my house burned, I was a complete mess. I didn't think so much about important papers, but old photograph albums, my husband's first guitar, my sister's first full-body sculpture she gave me, my mother's portrait and my own paintings. I also remembered the letters my father wrote to my mother nearly 100 years ago. None of them could be replaced.

I didn't think about the boxes of journals I've kept for so many years. Why should I keep them? No one will ever read them anyway. I don't go back to them anymore.

If I had more time, I would have grabbed the original manuscript of my family history book, notebooks with my ancestry and Barry's  ancestry carefully researched and plotted for posterity, articles and letters my mother saved and I saved after she was gone.

Maybe it was good that I didn't pack those things into a box for my friend to keep for me. When I am gone from this earth, they will very likely be thrown away and never even looked at by anyone. Isn't it good that when we die, we have no need to know and no way to know what becomes of our worldly possessions?

Do we collect these historical documentations of  our  lives just to make ourselves feel important? Most of us will never have crowds yelling our names, wanting to hear us speak, as Mr. Trump had at his rallies. If we did, what would we say? Would we waste that time, those adrenaline moments, denouncing  others or would we make an effort to share what wisdom we have achieved in life? Would we try to relate to the human condition and inspire our approving audience? Would the ideas and examples of what we have learned in seventy years mean more in the long run than boxes of papers no one will ever read?

How do we want to be remembered?
By the awards we win, the plaques we hang on our walls, the buildings we build, our names on the university doors, or by the words we use to help others enjoy a successful life? Do we want to be judged by our material gains or by our empathy for those less fortunate and gentle encouragement of those who seek our wisdom?

Perhaps it is the  teacher in me that makes me ponder these questions tonight. Perhaps it is recognizing how few material goods I have that matter. Perhaps it is because so many of my friends say their children want none of the silver, crystal, fine china, antique furniture, expensive paintings and memorable clothes that have been in the family for generations. Why don't these daughters and sons recognize the value of the family heirlooms?

The  past seems not to be important to younger generations. Live in the present. Today is all that matters. We hear this all the time. This is not just a condition of  the Gen-X or Millennials.

When my mother-in-law passed away in the 80s, her two sons and her grandchildren had no interest in what she left behind except for her automobile which was passed on to her grandson. She left her good silver to her granddaughter. Being more sentimental I wanted her paintings, a certain table and a couple of chairs, her photos and family clippings. Her house filled with a large collection of antique furniture was sold for a song.

Most of us would like to see our special treasures passed on to someone who would truly care about them. I don't have children to inherit my special keepsakes, but even those people who have children find that no one wants to be encumbered with "stuff." I have that gene from my mother, the one that wants to hold on to precious memories and precious things, whether of material value or not.
But when I can no longer live alone and in my own house, God forbid, I know I will have to let some things go. But until then, I will get my things back from my friend, Mary Mike, and hope that I don't have to evacuate again.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Election is over

I have spent too much time on Facebook this week. Like many people I had to vent and have my say on a few things. I will be honest. I was so turned off by Mr. Trump's words and actions I could not possibly vote for him even if  he had been my party's candidate.

I grew up with  men in his  generation, men who thought women were only here for their pleasure, who laughed at people who were not like them. I saw men belittle their wives so badly that the women left the dinner table in tears. But the men saw no harm in what they said. Maybe it was a generational thing, but I think not. I think it was a male domination thing.

I think men have tried to dominate women, if they could, since time began. I have this visual image of a cave man with a club dragging his woman by the hair.  In my own family, my mother was the calm one, the sensible one, who held the male-dominated family together. When all the egos rose up at once, Mother could usually keep the peace. But she got very little in return for her work. The men always  thought they had solved the problems, they had worked out their differences, and never thought about what she did in her quiet way. Her influence on her oldest son, her devotion to him, was instrumental in his taking on the leadership of the family. She was a woman who never had the  opportunity to realize any personal dreams, but she did her job of raising seven kids better than most anyone.

It was not surprising to me to see the demographics of the Trump supporters. The men I have talked to in the past year who supported him are very familiar. They are the rural good old boys I grew up with in south Georgia. What surprised me was how the wives of those good old boys hated Hilary Clinton as if she had stolen their first born. I don't think I have ever hated any candidate for president. I did not  like the policies of some who were elected. In fact, I didn't know anyone who hated a politician. We just accepted the inevitable governing that we didn't like. But I was not a political junkie.

The first political campaign that piqued my interest was when John F. Kennedy ran in 1960. I was captivated by his earnest words about why we should help those who are less fortunate and how our government can do more to bring freedom to the world, how we as individuals can do more for those who need help right here in our own country.

"My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."     John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

I had heard the tales told by my father of working in a mill when he was twelve and the supervisors who were cruel to the children and would not let them have breaks. I was in college when Kennedy ran for president. I was old enough to understand what he stood for and what his party wanted to do for our country. I read everything I could find on him. I fell in love with his family. I had some difficulty understanding why a man of his wealth and ease would want to work so hard when he had it made.

Looking back I wonder if I were not like those who, at a young age, fell in love with Princess Diana. Maybe I loved to read about him in order to live vicariously through him. I was planning to be an elementary school teacher. I would never be wealthy, never be famous, and if I was lucky, I would marry someone and live a simple and normal life in south Georgia.

Most surprising to me was my father's reaction to my support for Kennedy. He had always been a Democrat, a huge fan of Franklin Roosevelt, and when I listened to him speak of the horrible ways Negroes were treated, I could tell he had empathy for their plight. But he was furious with me for being a Kennedy supporter. He completely changed his thinking. He became a Republican because the Democrats listened to Dr. King and planned to integrate the schools.

"When they let them go to  school with white people, it will just bring down the education of the whites," my father said. I soon realized that most of the people I knew felt the same as my father. I was confused by his change of heart. He was the one who had taught  me to  care about the poor blacks who were lynched by evil white men if they were found on the road after dark.

The  belief that white people are genetically better than black people was inborn and bred in southern culture. Perhaps to believe differently would create too much guilt for those who used them as slaves, kept them uneducated and later kept them as low paid servants. I know that most white southerners like black people as individuals, but not as a group. They consider the black friend is "not like all the others."

Until I was in college at the  University of Georgia, I had my own prejudices that had been taught to me since I was a child. I had been told by my mother not to ever be alone with a black man. They were dangerous. My father had told Mother to make sure my sister and I never wore shorts when the black laborers where around. We thought that was ridiculous. We were teens and everyone wore shorts in the summer.

My father did not hate black people. He worked with them all the time on the farm and he liked them. Abe Dawson had a large family like my own and in the summer his family and my father and brothers harvested crops together. On Saturdays the black boys and my brothers played corncob war in the barn.

It wasn't unusual for black and white boys to play together until they were in their early teens. Jimmy Carter writes about his experiences playing with the black children on his father's farm. I heard two prominent black leaders in our town talk about how they had played with the man who was head of our county commission when he was a boy. The sons of other white families played with these men when color didn't matter. But as adults, the relationships ended. Neither of the black professionals were ever invited into the homes of the white men they had played with as children.

I never knew an  educated black person until I was married and met the doctor and lawyer I speak of above. I remember entering the well-appointed home of Dr. C. He was wealthy, as wealthy as his former playmates, but money made no difference in the traditional ways whites treated blacks in our small town.

Because I had been brought up with prejudice toward black people, I had to adjust to the different ways of the world when I learned more about race issues. Looking back, I am embarrassed about my thoughts when a charming Chinese boy was thrust into our lives when I was in  high school. I don't remember why he was with us, but several of us girls walked down the street in our small town with him. I could see strangers glaring at us as if we were doing something wrong. I knew it was because he was different and that made us suspect in the eyes of our townspeople. I hate to admit that I tucked my head in shame.

In 1960, a junior at the University, I  had my first opportunity to be with educated people of other races and other cultures. My roommate was the  daughter of the Education Minister of Indonesia. She was adorable. Her sweet and kind personality shined through her dark almond eyes. Her hair was long, black and crinkly, and she usually kept it braided and neat. We were the same age and had such different lives. I loved hearing about her country and soon realized how much we had in common. She  changed my  life, my beliefs, and made me see that we can't judge people by  the  color of their skin. Her country was in the midst of a revolution, and she was distraught as she could not reach her father. She was afraid he would be killed. Seeing her tears and feeling her fear,  I held her in my arms as she cried.

During that year, I took her home with me. She performed an Indonesian dance for my  parents. They were impressed, but my father never spoke of it to me.

That same year I met Emily, the Chinese American from Augusta, Georgia. She never referred to herself as Chinese American. She spoke southern English just as I did. She was funny and fun to be with. She and my sister became the best of friends and are still today although they live on opposite sides of the country. I learned from Emily that she and her siblings who were all born in this country had to endure some of the crazy prejudices of those who judged her by her looks. If one looks Chinese, she must speak Chinese, right? But when Emily opened her mouth, you never heard a more southern accent.

I credit my college education to opening my eyes to a new world of diversity. Had I never left south Georgia, might I have been persuaded to believe that all people who did not look like me were somehow inferior. Even now, I find myself aggravated when I have to choose English on my bank ATM. Old ways of thinking die hard.

So, I understand Mr. Trump and many men of  his generation. He was brought up with servants who were likely black or brown. From seeing interviews with him when he was a young man, I can imagine how egotistic, arrogant and demanding he was. He had everything he wanted when he was young and had to be sent to military school so he could learn some discipline. Why would anyone who has had a marginal life believe this man has a clue about what they need. I don't think he knows what I need from my government, what I want my taxes to pay for, how important it is to me that Social Security stay solvent and stay a government program.

He certainly couldn't understand a couple from Mexico who came here on a visa years ago and worked at menial jobs, even though they were both  professionals, to raise two children as American citizens.. He could not possibly understand their sacrifices to give their children the best life possible. He called a Latino Miss Universe Miss Housekeeping, remember? How could he understand? If he did, he would not want to send these parents back to Mexico when their children are American citizens.

I am not against enforcing our laws to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the  United States. President Obama deported more illegals than any president ever has. I think we must have compassion for those who have been here many years and have children who grew up here and go to school here. They will someday have jobs and pay taxes and help our economy. They will bring more diversity to our culture which I believe is a good thing. We live so isolated from the rest of the world in our rural areas, like I did as a child, we tend to believe we are the only people on this earth, the only ones who know what to do and how to think.

I would like to see an education system where all  high school students spend part of their school years in another country where they can see how other people live. My nephew has been to a country in South America two or three times on mission trips. He has such compassion for the people there and has fallen in love with the kids.

More and more college students are doing that now. Maybe in time, the number of those people will outgrow the number who never leave their own little world, and we can have more progressive government in this country. I see a difference in the young men in my family who have traveled abroad. They are open minded and enlightened.

Meantime, I hope Mr. Trump will surprise me. I am more concerned with Paul Ryan's ideas on privatizing Medicare and Social Security. What he wants to do will be disastrous, I believe. We will have to  become proactive with our letters and calls to  make sure they know we oppose them messing with our senior programs.

I want to stop thinking about politics now. I want to write and think about more pleasant things. Thanksgiving is coming and I have so much to be thankful for today.

What about you?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Forest Fires are Near

Fires are devastating our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Yesterday one fire was within a mile of my house. Not wanting to have to  evacuate in the middle of the night, I packed a few things and went to a motel. Today I will go back and try to decide what I must take with me in case my house burns.

The smoke is dangerous for everyone but especially for those of us with respiratory problems. Inside my house I feel pretty safe from the smoke with air purifiers going in every room, but can't use my heat pump. I am afraid it will bring outside air inside.

I am suffering from effects of the smoke, but those who  stay outside for any length of time complain of burning eyes, sore throats, and difficulty breathing. The ash in the air is  very harmful to breathe and I am going to stay as safe as possible.

How do you choose a few things from a lifetime of collecting meaningful objects, paper or hard material. I must save my sister's sculpture, my niece's wood-turned pieces, my husband's guitars, photographs, my mother's portrait, many binders with  genealogy research, family albums, my grandmother's trunk which is filled with photo albums. I  might need important papers regarding our house, my insurance, the latest bills  I need to  pay.

If my house burns and my computers are destroyed,  I  will lose some documents, probably, but the  one I would miss most is the  one with all my family history stored on Personal Ancestral File. Oh, I almost forgot. I want to take my original manuscript for my family history book.

It is hard to get up to date information about this fire. I am told I will be notified when the mandatory evacuation comes. The Sheriff's deputies will come to my door and tell me I have to leave. I don't want to wait and  have to  rush. I  am going to prepare for that now. Must go and  pack. Pray for rain,  please.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Finally Fall has come

The whisper of falling leaves proclaims Autumn is here in western North Carolina. Driving between Hayesville and Franklin, NC, recently, I imagined the Great Creator painting the sides of the highway with a giant brush, using gold, orange, yellow and all shades in between. It was difficult to keep my eyes on the winding road, but I did.

Lexie is a good traveler so I like to take her with me. She sits in her car seat so she can look out the windshield. The temperature was in the seventies and I had rather be outside than inside as long as I am not in direct sunshine. Lexie prefers direct sunshine. Right now she is lying on the deck soaking up the sun.

I have been exploring new places, new shops and stores. It is great to have free time like this.
At City Lights Books in Sylva, I could not resist purchasing three poetry books. One is Newt Smith's new book, Camino Poems, and I bought one by Catherine Carter, the memory of gills. Hotel Worthy by Valerie Neiman was published last year and I have wanted to read it for a long time. I will write more about them after I have had time to read them carefully and enjoy them slowly.

I hope you are having a wonderful fall season. I know some have been affected by storms and floods, and I sincerely hope you are safe and will soon be back to normal. Fire has hit our region due to the drought we've been enduring. I am not going outside today because of the smoke.

What is fall like in your area?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

In Asheville with our dogs

By the time you read this post, I will be back home in Hayesville, NC, but right  now I am in a cottage in Asheville, NC with my sister, Gay, and brother-in-law and our three dogs. I am enjoying my free time to sleep, eat and rest. I know when I get home, I have responsibilities to attend to and life will be back to  normal.

But for a couple more days, I will enjoy this freedom. Today we took all three dogs to a dog park down by the river. Everyone had a good time. Lexie is so small that other dogs intimidate her, but they do not stop her from barking at them and running like a wild thing when they come toward her. She was the youngest and smallest one in the small-dog side of the park. An eight-year-old Pomeranian was there, and Lexie liked him, but he would not chase her or spend much time playing.

I like dog parks and this is  one of the best. Well constructed and safe for dogs of all sizes. You meet the nicest people while sitting on a bench watching the dogs. I think if they have a dog and take the time to exercise them, they are pretty good folks. We all talked as if we had known each other before. Since we have dogs there is no awkwardness trying to find out another's interest.

A  young man and his female companion came in with a Pomeranian named Skippy. Skippy has the cutest face, but had been shaved down for summer so he looked a bit like a lion with a huge ruff around his neck. He had little interest in the other dogs. I was told it was his first time at a dog park. The young man said he had given this dog to his mother 8 years ago and it was going to break his heart when Skippy passed away.

One large puppy, 9 months old, took a fancy to Lexie, so her  owner brought her from the large dog pen to where we were. This mixed border collie, must have weighed 40 pounds. Lexie is about 9 pounds now. The puppy had a ball chasing Lexie, but Lexie was a little afraid of her. Once in a while, she sent Lexie rolling and Lex cried out. I was afraid the larger dog would inadvertently hurt my little one. I was happy when the owner took her lively dog back to the large-dog side of the park.

Although we rented a  pet-friendly place with a fenced yard, it took Lexie only a couple of days to learn she could climb up the high bank that served as one of the walls of the pen. Neither of the other dogs offered to climb out, so we had to keep an eye on mine.
Gay, Lexie and Smokie

One day when Gay was watching all three of them on the enclosed deck with gates on either end, Lexie managed to slip through the pickets and took off. Gay ran after her, and both her dogs joined in Lexie's escape, so it took a good while to get everyone back home.

We decided that it would be best if we left our dogs home, especially Lexie, when we vacation. So when I go away again, I will find a nice place for Lexie to visit - a boarding kennel where she can interact with other dogs and be safe. Then I can go out when I want, take a nap when I want, and not worry about where Lexie is or what she is doing. In a couple of years, she  will be old enough and settled enough to behave. Then she can go with me.

Gay and Stu are good to me, and our little trip was reminiscent of the many vacations Barry and I took with them. I can't imagine traveling with anyone but the two of them. I am so happy Stu accepts me going along. I hope we can take more of these short trips together in the future.
Gay and Stuart Moring

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The dog that wins is the one you feed.

Yesterday I listened to Anne Murray sing about how we need some good news today. She made that record years ago, but we need good news today more than ever.

I enjoy reading the newspaper from the Qualla Boundary, the reservation for Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.

In a One Feather article, the writer says we get what we have an appetite for, what we the people want to hear and read. If we didn't want to hear the  worst, it would not be on the front page and would not be repeated over and over. We all have criticism of the media, but the media says we get what we ask for. We want to read about the terrible wreck on Hwy 64,  how many were killed, who was at fault, etc. Those are the stories that sell. "If it bleeds, it leads." I have heard that is a favorite saying of journalists.

Why are we bombarded with awful reports on both our candidates for president? Because that is what the majority of the American public wants. Not me. I wish I knew nothing about the personal lives of Trump or Clinton. I wish I knew what they are planning to do to make my life better, to  help our middle class, to bring good health care to everyone. I don't care what someone wrote about Hilary in their emails.  I don't want to hear that Trump has a filthy mouth and thinks women are just for his use and enjoyment.

Early on, in a political survey online, I found that my  top choices for president were Bernie Sanders, Hilary  Clinton and Donald Trump. How can that be? Well, many of the things they want for our country are the same as what I want. But once Trump was on the news every hour of the day, his words turned me against him. His braggadocio turned me off. I hate a bully.

When Bernie was defeated, a decent man with wonderful goals for our country, Hilary became my first choice. Now the media is trying to feed the wolves who want to devour her. I dislike the constant bombardment by media. I wish politics were not the dirty business it is, but good men can't win or if they do, they find it hard to accomplish much while in office.

We elected Barack Obama, one of the most decent and good men to ever serve as president, and because he had no skeletons in his  closet, the opposite side tried to defame him saying he was not an American citizen. I know people who hated that we had elected a black man as our president. The deep seated racism they had always harbored burst out.

 Jimmy Carter, a wonderful man who has done much good in our  world, was too good to be president of the country. Washington could not find any horrible things about him, so they made up lies about his staff. And like Obama,  the opposite side in congress would not work with him. 

I will always believe the hostage situation that cost him a second term was a deal made in secrecy that allowed those held to be freed the day of the Reagan Inauguration.

Who made that deal? I don't blame Reagan, but those who work to elect their candidate, those who run the parties, can use the money they raise in mysterious ways.

Are we the people being misled by the media because we eat up those nasty words, those lies and rumors that tear people apart? Are we so angry we vent our rage online, on Facebook and Twitter? And why do the newspapers, the online news organizations and others continue to publish vile articles and try to destroy those who would be leaders? Because we continue to read and post and share all the dirty stuff we can find. I hope the majority of us don't have hate in our hearts and don't enjoy seeing others destroyed.

The  article in One Feather ends with a wonderful saying. Do you agree?

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Gift from a Dear Friend

I am very appreciative and happy tonight. This desktop computer I am using is one my brother-in-law bought for a great price when he retired and he is letting me have it now. I love it. It comes with monitor and keyboard as well.

My computers have been nothing but frustration for me the past summer and I was ready to toss them out. It all began when I installed Windows 10. This computer has Windows 7 and works great for me. I purchased a Netgear N300 WiFi USB adapter and immediately picked up wireless service.

The computer had been wiped clean so Stu had a friend install Windows 7, Chrome and Word for me. I will install a photo program later. I feel I have stepped back a few years into my comfort zone. I will keep this computer as "bare-bones" as possible. I am tempted to take my older computers and have them stripped. Then I will only add back the programs I like to use.

If only the makers of Microsoft understood that many of us want the less sophisticated machines, not the ones with all the bells and whistles. I'm sure many young techies love all the extra stuff, but folks I know prefer the less complicated and more user friendly computers we used a few years back, before Vista, Windows 8 and Windows 10. Who decided we needed all the extra options? I need Word, email, Google, Blogger and Facebook. That is it!

If you hear me singing and see me smiling, it is because I am very happy with this computer. Thanks, Stu. You are the best!

Stuart A. Moring

Monday, October 3, 2016

Paul Byrom's concert - I wish you had been there.

I have often said I just don't care for modern music of today. Beyonce, Adelle, and all the others who make millions of dollars with their recordings, fail to impress me with their voices, their choice of songs and their demeanor.  

Today I had to change my mind about singers of today. I sat and  listened to Paul Byrom for two hours. Not only is he the best voice out there, he is an excellent entertainer. His Irish accent and his great sense of humor, his self-deprecating humor, keeps his audience glued to his performance. Last year Paul's latest album THINKING OF HOME reached the top of the iTunes, Amazon and World Billboard Charts and he has just been named for the second time in three years, The Irish Tenor Of The Year by the Irish Music Association.

He can be funny, but also quite serious. He is not only singing but also writing songs and his song about Lady Liberty is deeply moving. His people, like my people, came to this country as immigrants. Mine came before there was a Statue of Liberty, but in Paul's song, a man comes from Ireland to escape the trouble there, hoping to make his home here in the land of promise. I was reminded of  how our country is made up of immigrants who hold Lady Liberty in high esteem and the words on that statue touch them deeply.

Paul sings so many  beautiful songs I can't name them all, but on each one I am amazed at his voice control, holding long notes, sure and strong. He began voice training when he was seven years old as a boy soprano. One of his recordings is 22 songs done when he was fourteen years old. He said he was fortunate that when his  voice changed  he became a tenor  instead of a bass. 

He sang for four years with Celtic Thunder, a fabulous group of Irish singers and musicians, but struck out on his own and is doing quite well, at home and in the United States. He always sings a song in honor of George Donaldson, fellow member of the group who died young, in his forties, a few years ago. George was one  of my favorites so it pleases me when he is honored in this way. 

I feel like I know Paul's family after seeing him in concert a few times. His wife is Dominique and her father is Phil Coulter, outstanding musician and song writer. Coulter has written many of the songs sung by Celtic Thunder. One of my favorites is Scorn Not His Simplicity about Coulter's son born with Down's Syndrome. Paul does a great job on this one.

I will play Paul's CDs all the  way home. I am a big fan and wish everyone could hear him and see his events in person.

Do you have a favorite singer whose music affects you like Paul's music affects me?