Posts tagged ‘friends’


. . . And so much to be thankful for. 

My dad has been gone for three decades.  My mom for a quarter of a century.  In addition, there have been at aunts and uncles and grandparents that have gone on before me who are part of every single cell in my body.  I miss them all.

My two sisters Jean and Cher and their husbands Tim and Ger and their families – a great start to a list of family that extends to cousins near and far, nephews, nieces, (and GRAND-versions of those relations) near and far from every branch of the family, including a great group of in-laws.  Aunt Shirley, my dad’s last remaining sibling, a 94-year-old sister, adds her energy to our family functions. There’s my wife Sue, who has been with me coming up on four decades, (through rain, or snow, or shine).  Our two kids Heidi (and her Hubby Jon) and Steven (and his fiancé Shea), who have been so wonderful and such sources of joy.  And two grandsons – Jonathan, who will be two years old on Christmas Day, and Henry, who just joined us two weeks ago.

There are so many more – and naming names is simply too voluminous, so I won’t try, but I give thanks to God that I am surrounded by so many fantastic people.

There are many from my early years who I still see online or in person that date back to kindergarten – and that was 1959, folks!  Great friends that have delivered so much to my soul and being … friends from Parkville, from Mt. Iron High School, from the youth groups at church, and then on to Gustavus Adolphus College, where lifelong friendships flourished and still abound. I am proud to include former teachers and professors as well.

I spent half of my life as a teacher for the Pillager School district – a career of 34 years with great people – fellow teachers and students alike.  Some have left this world; some are still a big part of my life.  There’s no end to the list of people who blessed my professional career in Pillager, and then overlapped into my everyday life.

My entire adult life has been spent in the Brainerd area, resulting in so many good friends beyond my work at Pillager.  They are in the church choir, they are from plays and musical performances I’ve been involved with around the area, they are folks I’ve met through a great many different engagements.  After retirement, I found even more people who helped me foster some other pursuits – mentors from writing groups, bowling league team members, photo club gurus, and all-around experiences that have defined these retirement years.

The Facebook way on birthdays is to send comments and likes – and I am so glad to have so many friends and family who will acknowledge me on my birthday – I am always amazed at who takes the time and the good will to send a like or to add a word or two in the comments.  You are all so very special to me.  I always feel so good reading such messages.  And here’s a thought . . .

Facebook will often give the birthday people a chance to designate a charity to honor a birthday – that’s all good, but I want to break out of that notion. Here’s something I’d like you to consider instead of leaving me a birthday comment (but go ahead and do that too.  I am enough of a ham to feed sumptuously on that . . .).  It is immediate, it is easy, and it is beneficial. 

Take that good will I mentioned a few paragraphs back and share it with another.  Allow me to make some suggestions:  ask your grocery store clerk if they’re having a good day. Greet someone at work that you usually don’t see often enough. Let someone go first at a four way stop.  Pet your dog a little longer.  Smile at that person who is on the other side of your political fence.  Call that person you haven’t heard from in a while. Don’t get mad at the news (that’s a gift to yourself, really.)  Give thanks to anyone for a beautiful day.  Have that extra treat with your lunch – and get one for someone else while you’re at it.  Listen a little longer to whoever you need to listen a little longer to.  Add your own ideas – each one of you has it in you to do so.

And if anyone asks you what you’re up to, you can tell them you’re just doing an old TV commercial thing.  (You have to be about my age to know which commercial it is . . .)

Just tell them, “Charlie sent you.”

Thank you all.  Deus nobis familia et amicis.


Week 17 – News Musings….and other such things…

News Musings….and other such things…

In Nigeria, a group, saying they are acting on the word of Allah, kidnapped girls, intending to sell them into slavery and what have you .  I am betting that a good many of those who believe in Allah find this group is so very wrong, so very abhorrent.  At the same time, they are no different than those who wrap themselves in a flag of patriotism (for whatever country they love) and espouse whatever value they want to promote in the name of that patriotism. – we have our own right here in the US of A — for example, the whole gun thing, both sides of the abortion matter… we need to get away from such radicalism .. and why?  Because NONE OF US are guaranteed of having the right answer.

The CEO of Target resigned.  I wish him well but oh please, don’t let me hear about him being given a golden parachute of some multiple number of millions of dollars.

I am a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan — put me down if you want to for that; and my excuse is that it must be in my genetic makeup to root for them.  Year in, year out, I find myself following them like no other team in no other sport.

Peace to those who have found themselves clobbered by the hand of the weather systems — the floods in the east of late, and the raging tornadoes in the center of our country, and the fires that are harbingers of  the usual wildfire season out west….

On a personal level, let me say I have some fine friends out there.  This weekend, Wilma and I communed over dinner with two folks who have become good friends, and I suspect will become even better friends as we purse a common project.  There’s another friend who invited me to join him and others in performing in a concert at my former school where I taught for 34 years… thanks for the invite, and for thinking of me…. and to two gentlemen who came to my aid over a problem – trivial as it was – and solved things up for me…..




A Seemingly Safe Welfare Poll Assumption… Not so safe after all?

I was getting some car repairs done, and the TV was tuned to one of the morning news shows.  A crawler inched its way across the bottom of the screen, telling me that there had been a poll taken, asking how people saw the use of our welfare system.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the exact info on my good ol’ GOOGLE search, so I will use my memory as best I can ….

I didn’t mind the percentages of how many people thought how many welfare recipients were scamming the system…. I didn’t mind how many people felt how many welfare recipients were playing by the rules.  Those numbers are what they are.  What I minded – and what concerns me — is how many people thought that most welfare recipients should turn to their friends and families before they come to the government.

Yes, indeed, I see the point.  I would much rather have my kids come to me for help before they go to get help from some institution.  I would have been more comfortable turning to my parents had I need some kind of assistance.   That, in theory, is simple to do and reasonable to work out.  It seems like the idea should work.

But here’s my caveat.  That works when the family and friends you turn to CAN help.  I am most fortunate to be able to say I am surrounded by many who can and would help me out if I get in a welfare-type situation.  However, I cannot assume that is true for everyone.

I am middle class, at least statistically.  All those who surround me are pretty much in that same category.  In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to observe those who are definitely in the upper wealth categories… and they surround themselves with each other, just like us middle class folks do.  They can help each other also.

Why would we think any different of those of the lower-income echelon – and ergo, the   welfare qualifiers?  Are they surrounded by those of a lower-income?  Is that as reasonable to assume as it is that middle class folks associate mostly with middle class people and the upper income folks associate more with upper income folks?  Is it also reasonable to assume their circle of friends can help them?

Think about your own circle of family and friends.  Disregarding circumstances that ego would bring up, how many of them can you turn to for help if you needed it?  How many of them CAN help you?  All of them?  Half of them?  1 of 10?

You can bet that the ability to help is different from one circle of friends to the other.  Like I said, my middle class friends can and just very may well wish to help me out if I need it.  I imagine that those ‘upper income’ folks I’ve met lately surely have the capacity to help out.  As you consider the lower-income folks, I’m just not so sure that those at that level out there has the people around them who CAN help, no matter how much they may want to.

So, I DO take issue with the idea that we can automatically turn to our circle of friends and families when we’re in need.  It is an unfair generalization to assume, as much as we‘d like to, that it is possible in every case to turn to our friends and family for any kind of financial assistance.  Those friends and families may just not be ABLE to help.

Seventh Week of the Year

ImageThe first 4 performances of the show are done now – and things have gone quite well.  I am so very awed by the friends who have come to see the show – Thanks to Gabrielle and Lawrence, Lynn and Rob, my own Wilma, Diane (a good friend from up at the lake), former student Kris Carrotbottom – and Kevin – and Meredith and Jon  – and so many others.  Attendance hasn’t been sold out by any means, but that’s the way this town is – once word of mouth gets out, people will call for tickets and then we’ll see larger attendance.  Either way, I am so grateful to my friends for their support.  To top it off, my sisters will be coming to see the show on Friday – and that is just more icing to the cake of people who mean so much to me.

The show itself – there is so many wonderful people involved – from the cast members, to the pit orchestra, to the techies doing lights and sets and costumes and the backstage help and the sound.  Shows like this just don’t happen without many hours of work on behalf of so many people.  I guess there’s a real reason they call it ‘community theatre’.

Wilma and I have been busy assembling a slide show for her dad’s ‘Celebration of Life Service”, which will be on the 22nd.  It’ll run 10 minutes, with 120 slides or so, and some good family music.  We’ve come across a good deal of amazing photos of Grandpa – it is just amazing how the internet world allows us to get pics from Wilma’s sisters, and how the computer helps us put together a DVD that will be such a wonderful record of her dad.  Due to the play, I will miss the service, and I guess I still feel a bit uneasy about that, but I have to trust Wilma and her family trusting this decision.

The week has been pretty much consumed with these two things.  We got to church on Sunday – Wilma sang a song with the bell choir, and I sang with the choir – which Wilma just couldn’t do – the choir sang “Children of the Heavenly Father”, which is a family anthem, so she didn’t think she could get through it.  Don’t blame her at all – and neither do our very good friends in the choir.  It was good for Wilma to have all her choir friends there give her hugs and to just touch base and share her grief with her.  They are a special sort.

Wilma and I did get out to her favorite restaurant for Valentine’s Day …. a rather muted holiday this year with her father’s death so recent…. but out we went – and even managed to exchange cards and little gifts…..

There’s been so much stuff online about gun control and President Obama.  I understand the frustration of the folks, but I find myself confused by the fruitlessness of some of that anger.  I get it that some folks oppose certain matters, but the anger itself produces no good.  Sounds like a good topic for a separate post to me.

Halfway through February.  On goes the year.