FIREWORKS! July 4th Albany, NY US

Fireworks Sky Burst
FIREWORKS BURST!  July 4th 2017 – Albany NY US

JULY 4th 2017, ALBANY:
My friends had walked up to Lincoln Park – it overlooks part of the State Capital Mall from where the fireworks were best seen. I was surprised at how well the “high riders” were experienced from my stay behind place on their front porch – Osborne Street in the City’s South End.

ROCHESTER:
Back at my place, I spent well over an hour in the “light room” removing a power pole with transformer with attached wires and, a street light. Then cropped, centered the image a little off center and, adjusted the light to achieve the sense of the explosions that intruded into the nighttime darkness.

I went back to it several times after tweaking this or that.

“Fireworks!” – I’m pleased with the feel of this less than perfect image that none the less works for me.

I can hear thud of launch and the booms and cracks of explosion/ smell the sharp smoke/ see the suddenly brightened night sky full of color/ and hear the appreciative noise of the crowd: FIREWORKS! 08.

It is my hope that you can also.

++ ++ ++ ++ ++

image by Photo George
copyrighted: ©2017 GCheatle
all rights reserved

The Terrifying Vermont Chippy

The Terrifying Vermont Chippy
DISPATCH From Adventure George:  July 11 2016
hiking to Bingham Falls – Smugglers Notch – Vermont US

START DISPATCH

I caught the movement out of the side of my eye. Stopped dead, I scan for the source and what I saw shocked me. There off to my right was what some consider only a product of the imagination – I now knew it wasn’t such.  That strictly carnivorous and very rare Vermont Chippy. It was terrifying just sitting there. As it were daring me to come closer.

I did move but only my camera hand – thankfully I had preset it. I pushed the flash release button and slowly moved the camera to my eye. I half-clicked and it move. And again and once again the same. Then it stopped in the dark shadow of a downed tree. Got ya I said to myself. Half clicked to focus and full click to snap. The flash in the forest, a blink and the Chippy was gone. But the image remains safe and sound on the disc in my camera.

Vermont folk legend now documented.

END OF DISPATCH

Later I paused to look at the image taken – red glowing eyes/ extraordinarily large mouth in outsize head with what appears to be fangs. I am so glad I left it alone and continued down the mountainside to photograph Bingham Falls.

But the image of that flesh-eating rodent remains, engraved in my mind. From time to time it intrudes. And every time my blood runs cold.

George

Safely Back in Rochester NY US

One Very Cold January Day

Sunset Over the Adirondack Mountains
Sunset Over the Adirondack Mountains

January 20 was a cold windy day in an upstate winter. I was on my way for a visit and photo shoot in Burlington Vermont. It was a day long journey that included travel by train, taxi, ferry, automobile.  The Vietnamese Roman Catholic community in Burlington would soon celebrated Tet, the lunar New Year with a Mass and a party. I was, on my way to visit with friends in that community and to photograph both Mass and Tet Party for them.

+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++

The journey starts with a long train trip from City Rochester to much smaller Plattsburgh – both in upstate New York, US. A train switch in Schenectady sees me on the Amtrak “Adirondack”. Older cars on older tracks made for a slow and rocky ride. That said, we arrive at historic Plattsburgh Station spot on. A taxi is located – this took some doing, with the ride shared with a State University of New York student returning to campus (however, no reduction in fee). The Ferry Depot sat a couple of miles outside of town.

Once on the Ferry it is but a short ride across the still open waters from the shore to Grande Island – the Vermont terminus. A relatively short but necessary walk uphill in bitter cold and stiff breeze seems very long indeed. Thankfully my friend/ host provided a car and driver to meet me – his car and he drove.

The car ride went from Grande Island to Burlington. The trip: an immediate drive over a causeway to the mainland and then a drop down to my friend’s place in Essex Junction and my destination for the day.

The hot air blasts from the car’s heater and I thaw as we traveled the Causeway.

Then it happened.

I glanced back and before my eyes, far left to far right,  stretched the most lovely sunset. The sun, as commanded by earth’s movement, dips below the Adirondack Mountains and shadows them. A rainbow of fiery colors beams across sky and reflects off the frozen waters of Lake Champlain. I’m speechless as the beauty engulfed me.

Well almost speechless. “Stop,” I manage to yell.

My friend does stop but in an proper way. I snapped off several as I shudder in the biting and very cold winds crossing the frozen Lake.

Back in the car I smile and bask in the glow of this perfect ending to a long strenuous day of travel.

Perhaps there is even a moral to this story. Be aware of where you are both ahead and behind. Sometimes, it pays dividends.
Adventure George
an old man reporting on another adventure

 ++ Across The Lake – a short series of images of sunset over the Adirondack Mountains – shot across frozen Lake Champlain. Whiteface Mountain at 4867 feet, an Adirondack High Peak, is highest seen in this picture. This is a series that almost didn’t happen. You can see a few images CLICK HERE ++

Lady in the Green Hat

There she stood in the entrance to the Great Hall at First Presbyterian Church – the Woman in the Green Hat. My cushioned bench seat, next to one of the multi-paned, magnificent Tiffany Stained Glass Windows, enables a view of all the cavernous room. Alone and quiet but attentive I nursed my mug of creamed, full caffeine fair trade certified coffee, First Presbyterian Albany congregation has a social conscience. Me, I watched

My Green Hatted Woman wore a form-fitting, calf length, knee pinned, Pendleton, green and black plaid skirt. This was topped by a deep brown button jacket with black collar that covered a black turtle neck shirt. The Stylish form-fitting jacked was partly fastened by white buttons. A stiff silver and turquoise necklace finished the outfit. And on her head, was that green hat with black ribbon and bow that attracted my attention.

Like a model awaiting her cue to enter the fashion show walkway, my green hatted woman paused, glanced around and then walked, almost flowed with purpose right to the middle of the hall.  Here she stopped directly over and in the middle of a large hot air vent. It reminded me of the grate for the gravity coal furnace we heated with when I was a little tyke. There is nothing like standing on it to let the hot air flow up over you when first out of bed on a cold morning. Even when we moved to a larger house with forced hot air, first thing in a morning I’d place myself in its warm breath that spilled out the wall register.

My model stood on this heat source and with a slight smile she uttered a sound, barely audible, of pleasure. She wasn’t there for long. Soon she was off to the beverage table for a hot drink.

This Woman in the Green Hat was someone I wanted to meet and photograph. I just had to say hello and capture her in a digital image. Dignified and stately of person yet she was able to enjoy the pleasures of a heating era gone by. Indeed she is my type of person.

An intermediary made preliminary introductions and she readily agreed to have her picture taken. Friendly, gracious, interested, open with brilliant blue eyes – why didn’t I ask her myself?

So it is – I share my picture of the Woman in the Green Hat.

Woman In Green Hat
Woman In Green Hat

Responses to My Poem on Aging

sitting on Lin’s porch
the sun bright to the eye
and warm as it hits the body
I feel 18 & on the Jersey beach
yet when I stand to move I feel old
How come this is so?

I wrote this earlier today and sent it off to some friends
below are some of the responses I received

Jason to me:
You’re not old George!  Methuselah was old.  You’re 18 cause you are only as old as you feel in your mind!

Patrick to me:
ha ha the question is to me much richer than any answer I could muster. Questions give way to contemplation and in my experience contemplation isn’t literal but can create a shift in attitude. So it’s the poem for me, but that’s just me. What is feeling old but a state of being, transient yet here it is! There’s a lot of movement in your poem, sitting, sun, eye, being 18, the beach, standing, feeling old. So the flow of time is existential, something to experience. We could say that consciousness of the body happens when we move, when we are stationary the mind’s awareness shifts, that feeling of being old vanishes. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the body contains another awareness and when you stood up its sensations popped up.

Most of the time we are up in our heads. Poems can contain a deeper sense of life as a whole. Isn’t art an attempt to see things differently? Your photos are full of movement in a flash. My experience with poetry helps to break my habitual thinking. I just came from a meeting and am aware of how literal and conservative I can be. When I lose the movement of life and pin down words like surrender, and acceptance(which I do all the time) in a literal way I’m as dogmatic as the next Big Book thump-er, this is the dark side of spiritual or religious teachings.  Thanks George  Patrick

Corinne to me:
Your joints need to be oiled.
🙂

David to me:
Dear George,
About a year after I came back to Rochester I was walking over the Stutson Street Bridge [the old one] and I felt like I was 19.  So you’re a year younger than I was.  You asked how come this is so.  It is so because our minds can move around in time.  This is nice.  We are not stuck in the present.  A great limit on our freedom would be being stuck in the present.  If the present were all I had, I wouldn’t want it.  It’s only insofar as the present is an accumulation of the past that I care anything about the present.
You wrote that when you stand you feel old.
That’s why you should sit still.
Or perhaps hire somebody to carry you around on one of those portable sofas, like caliphs do.
Regards.  See you soon.

Peter to me:
Answer to conundrum dilemma:  Get up off butt.  Go outside and stand in the sunshine.  Touch your toes and then stand and breathe in all the air you can.  Walk to the furthest point you can see.  Return. You will then feel no older than 43.  No longer do feel like an old man.  I know this to be true because I walked on the beach this morning, came home and felt quite invigorated.  No older than 43; perhaps more like 41!  Now, time for my morning nap.

Bill to me:
I have experienced this phenomenon myself! The mind plays tricks on us!! I often feel like I am 18 but then I will look in the mirror and this fat 49 year old balding face starring back at me. To top that off I cannot sit or bend without my aching back reminding me that I am no longer 18.

The positive thing about this is that an 18 year old mind can keep our spirits young and help us to enjoy life and experience all its wonders.

Mike to me:
I often feel like I am young. Sometimes when I am playing, often when I I feel anxious or unsure of myself. Then I feel my body or think of responsibility or the past and remember my chronological age. The mature/immature yin/yang is pretty much a constant for me, like sitting on both seats of a seesaw.
Mike
Sent from my iPhone

Leon to me:
I hear you. I love to dance like I am 18 in my mind, but my feet won’t cooperate!  So in my heart I just imagine I can embrace the joy.
May you always have that joy in your heart!!!
Leon (via my iPhone)

Joanne to me:
Thank God for those kinds of memories!! Alas, however, we ARE old. At least as old as we feel…..and today I’m feeling older than ever. Probably a culmination of yesterday’s funeral activities – cold as h-e-double L, in and out of cars, cold buildings, climbing uphill in the cemetery….but we honor the dead and give thanks for life, such as it is right now. And a double whammy – my father’s generation is no more, and I am the oldest of those coming up!

The gathering after dinner was upbeat and we all recommended to each other various end of life/bucket list kinds of movies to check out, all humorous. I will now be looking in my library’s online catalog….

KEEP MOVING!!!! The alternative won’t do any good – J.

Deb to me:
This is what u call the cycle of life…..sigh…..
Thank goodness for past experiences and the ability to remember.

Jane to me:
Amazing how our hearts still ‘leap up’ at shore line sunrises, swaying mountain pines and dancing meadow flowers….

These same hearts yearn for 18 (without the youthful hard lessons to follow)…. Wish the water was warm enough for a dip!

Enjoy it all!

9 degrees here. Crunchy snow and smoke that is rising straight up!

Rodney to me:
Ah, young grasshopper – I’m just glad that poetry comes from the heart and the soul, the sunshine and the stars, not from the fingers or the knees or the Advil.
We also have sugar dusted beignets and chicory laced coffee.
Alas, here, it is 18 degrees with grey skies but 72 in Key West and 52 in NOLA.
Dreaming of Snookie on that Jersey beach ?

Peg & Ron to me:
Ah Ha!  It is SO because of your first word “sitting.”  Get up, move around, take a walk and put some zing into those steps and you’ll feel young all over again!!!!
Say hi to Linda!

Sharon to me:
Oh, George, I understand the feeling only too well.  Hasn’t anyone told you?  We are o-l-d!!  I know that since I just reached 65!  I am now in the realm of senior-hood, along with the requisite aches and pains. Hey!!  I’ve had these aches and pain for years.  They just, somehow, feel worse since my birthday -lol! It’s not a pleasant sight to watch me get up from my desk and walk initially at about a 90 degree angle for 10 feet or so until I become erect, or some close semblance thereof!

And so we take drugs!!

Ian to me:
Because you’re old – engaging in nostalgia for when you were young doesn’t change that fact that you’re old. Whoever said “you’re only as old as you feel” was full of crap…
But remember – one way or another this to shall pass. 🙂
Sent from my iPhone

Will to me:
Sorry, George for the late response to your lines. I haven’t looked at the blog yet, so my response isn’t influenced by them. I will respond first with my own lines, then with some analysis.

early morning anticipation
endorphins the brain’s
wake up call and
Youth see the sun
and wants to run
but that is all the further
slowed hormones get
entropy sags sitting legs
energy lags behind the wish
and we know we are not 18

Ellen to me:
Well, George, I read your blog, but no one really answered the question.  Why do we feel young when we are old?  We have eternity in our soul.  We have immortality in our being.  We dread and fear the grave.  But Christ has come to assure us we do not need to spend our eternity in this sinful, decaying world.  There are mansions above waiting for those who look to Him for grace, hope, love and eternity.  Who trust Him to rescue us from this bondage to sin and fear and replace it with hope and joy.

Looking fwd to eternity in Christ!
Ellen

Judith to me:
Hi George,
I can remember my mother saying that she never felt any older her whole life and that she felt as if she could live until 120.  However, her body didn’t keep up with her mind and spirit.  I feel as if I have lived at least 3 lifetimes in this life, divided by the events and moves of our lives.  I hardly ever think back to the earlier times, perhaps too busy by the happenings of each day.  Or maybe too consumed by them.  I would hope that it might be more of being in the present moment.

There are people, too, with whom I can just continue a relationship and time seems to be erased when we are together.  You are one of those.  Other people seem to have a relationship for a time and then we go our separate ways and it’s over.  I think that in heaven we will do better at all this with a new “18 year old feeling” body to match our “18 year old ” spirit.
Right now I am in the middle between retirement and the next thing and trying to get things caught up around our house.  But that’s not very interesting to me and I am beginning to feel that I need to do something else.  I don’t know what that is.  Surely it is something else.  God must have a good plan for what time I have left.
Take care.
Judith

Horned Vegetable Creature

Vegetable Monster MNE_4534_resize

Horned Vegetable Creature
written by thecook210 aka Adventure George
copyright: ©2013 GCheatle
all rights reserved

This is my story

I’m a cook. I like to experiment with various dishes: dishes that might become menu options.

So it was that late one Sunday morning I prepped vegetables for a chicken cacciatore recipe. It was in the design process for possible inclusion in my collection of recipes for groups of twenty or more.

The peppers, both red and green were chopped and the mushrooms quartered and the sweet onions sliced. They sat in piles, some on the chopping board some on the counter top nearby. I turned to collect the needed spices. And as I did, it was then that I first heard the noise.

Usually music plays when I cook, but today I had chosen silence. Sometimes silence is distracting. But today was different. Today it was what I refer to as “blessed silence.” The incessant chatter that life sometimes generates was gone. No one was around. It was just me and the quiet.

It was because of this quiet that I heard it, the noise.

It was a gentle slush, much like the sound of a slight breeze on a lazy sunny summer afternoon – just enough air to move the very smallest of the leaves. It wasn’t so much that I heard it. I felt it – someone or something was there. Yet it was enough of a sound/ sensation that I turned around to see if someone had entered the kitchen.

Nothing! No one was there.

I returned to the spice cupboard, my focus to retrieve just the right one – just the right blend. A spice can add much to the flavor of a dish. It can distinguish it from others dishes with the same basic ingredients.

As I collected them, I heard the noise again.

Again I turned quickly. This time I was fast enough to catch movement over by the chopping board. Movement, but no one was around.

Spice jars in hand; I returned to the counter and dumped them. Then I saw it. I must have seen it before but just didn’t believe it and so saw it not. But now it was such that I couldn’t deny it.

The separated vegetables just chopped had collected – coalesced –were in process to make a whole. When I saw what was forming, my blood ran cold. There was an involuntary shiver throughout my body. And the words “Oh My God” formed unbidden on my lips. Instinctively I moved back.

There before me, and starting to move, was some sort of vegetable insect.

Its features were not fine and delicate like most insects. They were wide, almost club like. It was a bug with thick light yellow-green horns attached to the very top of its head. Scales were formed along its “skin” and two white leg-like appendages on the lower body.

Momentarily I was frozen to the spot. My desire was to run. Yet at the same time, from somewhere deep within me there emerged a more primal instinct.

Kill” It said.

This instinctual voice repeated and very loudly, “Kill this bug.”

It demanded action on my part. “Eliminate it.” “Stop it, now.”

My hand flew to my well used chef’s chopping knife on the counter. I grabbed it and chopped down through the very middle of the bug. Again my hand rose. And again it swung down and cut the insect.

Again and again it rose and descended until there was nothing left but pieces of mushrooms and red peppers and green peppers and sweet onions.

It was over and I was out of breath. The horned vegetable monster was no more.

I poured myself a mug of coffee and sat on a nearby stool. And as the adrenalin drained out of my body, I asked myself what just happened. I wasn’t so sure. But one thing I did know. I wasn’t going to tell anyone of this.

And I haven’t -not until now. And I tell you because I’m sure you won’t judge my mental state or pass this story on to others.

End End End

Detective Ronald Lewis

Character Introduction – Det. Ronald Lewis   

Detective Ronald Lewis is a fictional character in my in-process novel – Peter’s Vision. While a mystery, my intention is to populate it with interesting, true to life characters. Ron Lewis is one such. Let me introduce you to him in the following words.

Copyright: ©2013 GCheatle
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I knew he was a cop as soon as he walked into my office. I rose to greet him and he towered over my five foot eleven and a half inches, even as I stood tall. Perhaps he was six five, maybe taller; almost half a foot higher than I was. I am too short. I know it and it bothers me.

He filled his gray suit with body that wasn’t fat.

It wasn’t his size that clued me into his profession. It was the way he walked, held himself. Tall to begin with, he was erect almost stiff. If it weren’t for the carpet on the floor, I am sure his well shined black leather and leather soled shoes would have tapped.

Immediately he reminded of gung-ho Officers I’d met while in the Army Medical Corp. Yes military bearing: stand tall, dress crisp, walk with conviction. It wasn’t so likely this was a spontaneous visit by the military in civilian garb – it was much more likely this was an enthusiastic police officer. Just the type I didn’t like so much.

He stopped and removed his gray fedora. “Doctor Carpenter,” he walked toward me and extended his hand. “I’m Detective Ron Lewis.” I took his hand.” A firm yet not overbearing shake.

This was the second time in two weeks I encountered the Police. I can’t remember the time before that. I don’t think that I had ever. I looked at him and just knew this wasn’t going to be good.

I gestured to the comfortable upholstered chairs over by a small table, clustered by a set of windows that looked out over a secluded court-yard. I intended it as a peaceful more intimate setting for folk, as comfortable as possible, that is, in a therapist’s office.

As we moved to the chairs, I took the opportunity and looked him over. He went together. I mean his dress matched his physical looks and each item the other. Either he has an innate sense of style, that, or someone dresses him.

He was in all grays and black, head to toe. I envy folks who can outfit themselves with clothes that match and then match the person. I’ve not been blessed with this sense.

A quick scan showed a light-skinned black man, shaved bald with an oblong shaped face, you know, almost egg-shaped. A silver stud glistened in his left ear, another in his right.  A short black goatee was under his lower lip. Thin black circled the glasses that sat a little way down his nose.

A silver chain was around his neck and hung breast bone high, flashed and caught my eye. The links were so large that they seemed as elongated O’s. I later saw a wide, silver, middle finger ring and matching  silver watch and band. The watch and ring were on his right hand. Probably he was left-handed.

Before we sat, he removed his gray tweed overcoat, folded it neatly and carefully draped it over one of the chair backs and placed the gray fedora on top. It was a precision placement, directly in the middle. He was a tad obsessive.

I remained standing for this and watched. When he finished I sat, he did also.

First meetings are information gathering for me. I am good at it. I learn much about a person in these first minutes. I suspect it is true for him also. I evaluated him, he me.

Grabbing the proverbial “bull by the horns,” I looked at him and asked, “What brings you to my office, Detective?”

“It is murder, Doctor Carpenter and a particularly gruesome murder at that.”

I was right; this wasn’t going to be good.

end end end end

Meet: Phelicia Hart, MD

Dr. Phelicia Hart  is a fictional character in my in-process novel – Peter’s Vision. While a mystery my intention is to populate it with interesting, true to life, characters. Doc Philly is one such. Let me introduce you to her in the following words.

copyright: ©2013 GCheatle
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Character Presentation – Phelicia Hart, MD

“Good Morning Everyone,” she said as she quickly walked into the Clinic’s front room. The “she” is Dr. Phelicia Hart, the physician in charge and for that matter, the only general practice physician at the Picket Clinic.  More importantly, my sometime girlfriend.

Heeled black boots, close fit calf length black skirt, short black leather jacket with a light gray blouse under; this was Doc Philly as she preferred to be called; “I never did like Phelicia,” she often said.

I found it interesting that her name matched her walk or perhaps I should say her gait. Philly walked subtly toe to heel. And to see her cross the room in those heeled boots, back straight, head high, reminded me of a thorough breed horse: determined, self-assured, and confident; yes, a winner.

Just above her shoulders was straight deep black hair, almost china white skin, subtly enhanced with a touch of makeup color and black eyes that at times seemed to flash. Philly is striking to see.  From my perspective, she is a pleasure to look upon.  Yes, she is all woman and very female if you get my meaning.

Born and raised in Picket, like so many others of her generation, she went away for school after graduation. Folks thought that like her classmates this was a permanent move. But this wasn’t her plan.

As she said to the Gazette reporter on her return, “My dream was to get my medical degree and to return to Picket and set up a practice.” And so she did: undergraduate degree from Northwestern; Medical degree and Master’s degree in Community Public Health from Harvard Medical; residency in family medicine at The Maine Medical Center.

She lived her dream, returned to Picket and opened practice. Some years later, she borrowed the necessary money to build and open the Picket Clinic. It is affectionately known as Philly’s Place.

Movement and noise brought me back to the moment at hand.

Doc Philly noticed me in the waiting room and came over. Well not only the Doc but also her dog. Wherever Philly went her dog went with her, attached to her by one of those retractable leashes. I stood out of respect and to put a bit more distance between me and this jack terrier.

Of all the dogs I have known in my life, Disco was the most annoying. And today she was being very much her annoying self. It was interfering with me talking with the Doc. I was peeved but tried not to show it.

Cave canem,” I thought: “beware of the dog”. I paused in this thought and added “Cave canem, te necet lingendo (Beware of the dog, he may lick you to death.)” I couldn’t help but smile at my joke but did dare show it.

Disco for her part loved people and was excited to see me. Repeatedly she was jumping straight up; coming off all four paws as only a hyped-up terrier could.  I tried to keep my distance from the flurry of activity. Hyperactive is the only way to describe this dog.

“Enough!” I thought. But it wasn’t enough. The dog when not jumping was dancing, sort of, on her hind legs. Around and around she went as she often did; thus her name Disco.

Philly seemed not to notice what was going on.

Once Disco started this dance, she would keep it up until someone gave her a treat which she treats, she knew, were kept in a bowl on the side of the receptionists counter. Exasperated, I went slowly to the goody bowl. Doctor and dog followed. I retrieved and gave a doggie biscuit to the dancer dog.

Disco for her part satisfied went without protest to her cage behind the reception counter. Doc Philly and I went back into her office as opposed to the exam room. I was there on business and not as a patient.

The Clinic was the reality of Philly’s dream: three inpatient rooms, a modern surgery equipped for most out-patient procedures, a lab, three of those small examine rooms and a waiting room. In the waiting room and behind a counter where the nurse receptionist worked was a space for the part-time person who handled the billing. A mini kitchen, a unisex bathroom off the waiting room and a men’s and women’s lavatory and shower room in the back completed the floor plan.

And then there was Philly’s office. What can I say about her office?

As neat as my study is, Philly’s office was messy. And she loved it that way. “Don’t move anything!” she had more than once told me. “I know where everything is and moving it would make it lost.” Someone had given her a sign that said, “A messy desk is a sign of a great mind.” I was annoyed every time I read it.

I tried not to visit with her in her office. But today I had no choice.

end end end end end

Meet Father “BB” Barnett

NOL_4435_tonemapped_resize

Father Barnett is a fiction character in my in-process novel – Peter’s Vision. It’s a mystery but my intention is to populate it with a some interesting, true to life, characters. Father Barnett is one such. Let me introduce you to him in the following words.

Character Study – Bernard Barnett

Father Barnett, Director Personnel

We were gathered in the sitting room at the Residence of the Bishop. Father Barnett appeared at the door. In a loud voice, he greeted us “Good Afternoon everyone.” It wasn’t so much a loud voice as a big one. And it went with the rest of him. A big man at six four, and 260 pounds he filled the doorway.

On his oblong face, wire glasses sat partly down his nose. With sort of buzz cut; the rumor was that he cut it himself; a short half-inch chin beard matched the length of his hair. A black suit that ill-fitted him went with the look. In a strange way, it was almost stylish.

Smiling, he walked over, flat-footed, feet splayed. As kids we called it duck-footed. But that’s not appropriate in today’s world. He stuck his big hand out, shaking my hand.

“Doctor Carpenter”, he greeted, “so good to see you again.”

I smiled back, let him take my hand in his larger one, and nodded my greeting. I didn’t stand.

He turned to the Bishop and his large rear filled my vision. At close range it seemed even large for him. A light went on inside my head. No wonder, I thought, the staff refers to him as “B.B” Barnett behind his back. “BB” refers to “Big Butt”, not the initials for his name; my smile was now sincere.

Father “BB” Barnett was late turned to the ministry. Until age 48 he was in car sales, and as manager of the largest used car lot in the City was at the apex of his career. A lifelong Roman Catholic, and a product of parochial schools, it was at this late point he “heard the call” for Priests and responded. Now ten years later he served as Director of Personnel for the Diocese.

Despite Ordination, he retained much of the personality that made him successful in the used car business. A smiling, slap you on the back type of guy, he could convince you that the “piece of junk” with four tires in front of you was an absolute deluxe chariot that was too good of a deal to miss. It served him well in the present day Church where parishes closed due to decreasing membership and priests reassigned to account for their declining numbers.

. . ..

Scars of the Past

Remains of 1897 Shipwreck still visible low tide – Higgins Beach, Maine

Remains of the 1897 Shipwreck of the coastal schooner the Howard V. Middleton, are still visible a hundred and fifteen years after. August 11, 1897, in dense fog and at full speed, the Middleton ran aground in the Atlantic Ocean on a ledge off  Higgins Beach, Scarborough, Maine.

The collision forced a fatal breach in the hull.

Its cargo of coal salvaged as were other ship board items along with personal the effects of the crew. But the ship itself was past saving. A September storm forced the wreck further onto the beach. It is still visible today along Higgins Beach at low tide.

The scars of the past stay long after the causal event.
see more pictures of Higgins Beach at my Flickr site – click here

New Orleans: Hurricane Isaac in the light of Hurricane Katrina.
As I write this, Hurricane Isaac has come ashore at New Orleans one of my very favorite Cities.

Folks in New Orleans, like many of us, bear scars of the past.

For New Orleans and much of the rest of the Country, the arrival of Hurricane Isaac is lived in the light of Katrina. Ironically Isaac made land fall seven years to the arrival of Katrina.
The scars of Katrina are many and run deep.

Our scars are many and run deep.

Like the folks in New Orleans, the scars of the past affect how we see ourselves and the world. Decisions are made in the light of memories and consequences of past situations.

Sometimes these are positive and helpful in the big picture. And sometimes not. Regardless, they are there.

For some of us, the trauma that produced our scars are due to the caprice of nature or happenings beyond our personal control.
• an accident
• illness
• birth condition
• behaviors of others
• result of work related/ life style related stress

For some of us, the trauma is directly related to our own past decisions and behaviors.

The question is not do we have scars?
It doesn’t take much living to develop wounds and experience traumas.

The question is how do we live with them?
The problem is not how to get rid of these marks of wear.
The challenge is what does it take to go forward in life with them.

In my older years, I’ve discovered that there is no magic way – no one answer.
I’ve learned through experience, however, we do it one day at a time in the light of the grace of our God and our friends.

Personally, I’ve adapted the three A’s of one of the recovery groups, as a working model for doing it one day at a time.

Aware – I realize that there are remains of the past happenings that at some of life’s low times shows themselves. Some times this is a quick realization – a sudden jolt. Some times it is dawns slowly.

Accept – this is the way it is. I’ve done what I can to “make amends.” I am responsible. In many ways, it is over and done. But in the course of life, we may be reminded of it. The “record” if you will is still there, perhaps officially and perhaps only in your memory. Perhaps we look at ourselves and are reminded regularly.

The truth is we can’t get rid of them not matter how much we want them gone. Acceptance then is the answer.

Adapt – scars are one of those givens in life. The key for me is to move beyond awareness and acceptance and adapt.

Wow – this gets long. I’ll save my thoughts on “adapting life’s givens” for another post.
I’ll end here.