It’s 2020 in America, but maybe it’s really 1961.

As I was reading the news over the weekend and into the beginning of this week, I couldn’t help but recall our visit to Alabama last year. We spent several days in Montgomery and one day in Birmingham visiting civil rights museums, monuments, and memorials. When I read about and saw the video clips of the Biden-Harris campaign bus being surrounded on the highway in Texas, forced to slow down to 20 mph, my mind went to the Freedom Riders bus that was attacked by similar means.

The Greyhound bus on exhibit
photo of burned-out Greyhound bus

Of course, the Biden-Harris campaign bus did not meet this kind of ending. They were able to call 911 for help. However, the lack of law enforcement on Highway 35 is telling. This wasn’t West Texas (miles of nothingness); this happened on a busy stretch of highway. The parade of Trump supporters, with their vitriol and hatred of anyone not just like themselves, reminds me of other parades.

Civil Rights for everyone offend some people

It’s 2020 in America. I’m trying to hold onto the hope that we can be better and do better, but this past week has me hanging by the tips of my fingers. I cannot understand why so many of my fellow Americans voted for hatred, disrespect, and cruelty.

A different kind of anniversary

Three years ago on this date, we had a rather eventful day — one that included photographs and a chauffeured ride to an airport, followed by a ride in a special plane. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

leaf-filtered images of the solar eclipse, seen as “shadows” on the ground

It wasn’t fun. SuperDad suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage that morning, tearing open a vein in his brain while doing CrossFit maneuvers. That earned him a trip to the ER, an ambulance ride to the airfield and a Life Flight ride in a small plane to a Seattle hospital. I recognize my privilege in being able to go with him. This photo was taken from my seat in the back of the plane; two medical personnel attended him during the flight. I prayed and prepared messages to send out when I could reconnect with data.

aboard the Life Flight airplane

He’s never quite reached the level of fitness and endurance that he had prior to this event — a difficult comeback after spending 10 days in the hospital, especially when 8 of them were in the ICU, although age may have something to do with that. We are so lucky that he was able to completely recover, that the bleeding he had was from a vein instead of a blood clot in an artery, and that he didn’t suffer a stroke. We are also lucky to have excellent insurance because this was an event that could have ruined our finances.

What do you want?

Amos 5:21-24 The Message (MSG)

21-24 “I can’t stand your religious meetings.
    I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects,
    your pretentious slogans and goals.
I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,
    your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music.
    When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want?
    I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
    That’s what I want. That’s all I want.

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Civil Rights Memorial, Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery AL

Awaken… Grieve… Act…

The prophet Micah tells us, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Yesterday, the President of the United States of America decided he wanted a photo taken of himself holding a Bible in front of an historic church in Washington, D.C. 
Yesterday, people were legally and peacefully protesting when they were attacked by tear gas and rubber bullets, and they were pushed back by armored bodies. Clergy, who were at that church to assist those peaceful and legal protesters, were also pushed away from that church. No permission was asked, no warnings were given.

Should we remind ourselves WHY people were protesting? Brutality. The careless taking of a man’s life by a law enforcement officer while his fellow police officers did nothing to stop him. George Floyd is one man in a long line of people – black men in particular – who have died because they were perceived to be unworthy of justice. He wasn’t the first man in police custody who cried out that he couldn’t breathe while the very people we hire to PROTECT US become murderers.

Yesterday, the President of the United States of America decided he wanted a photo taken of himself holding a Bible in front of an historic church in Washington, D.C., and he wanted it before the mayor’s curfew began, so he gave an order – or a series of orders – that sent armored policing forces into battle using chemical weapons and rubber bullets against innocent American citizens. Are we supposed to be grateful that the bullets were made of hard rubber instead of steel?

The current President of the United States of America is a bully who likes to talk about being tough and using force. Rather than speaking words to calm hot tempers, he stirs the embers of hatred. He sows division instead of sewing us into a united people.

My heart is broken by the years of racist actions and policies in this country and by the realization that I have benefited from this even if only in small ways. I don’t fear the law enforcement officer stopping me for a traffic infraction. I didn’t worry when my sons were growing up and learning to drive that they would be seen as suspicious individuals. Oh, by that point in time I was aware that mothers of black and brown boys had those worries; it saddened me and angered me, but it wasn’t a burden I carried every day until the day it happened to a family I knew and loved. At that point my friends’ burden became my burden, too.

Yesterday, the President of the United States of America decided he wanted a photo taken of himself holding a Bible in front of an historic church in Washington, D.C., so without regard for anyone or anything else, he used his power to bully his way across the street and take what he wanted. Innocent people were hurt. He held up a book that contains God’s commandments to make himself look good.  But inside that book are these words:

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”

For the Love

red leaf HEART 4x6 October 2010

Wedding picture

Whoosh! That’s the sound of February zooming past us. The adage about time passing more quickly as we age must be true. How does one otherwise explain these gray-haired people? We were young so recently! (Wedding picture on the right –> was taken 31 years ago.)

SuperDad and I took the trip of a lifetime a few weeks ago. We flew to Hawaii on February 4th and spent 10 nights/9 days exploring the island of Oahu with our friends who have been living there for the past few years. I honestly can’t say enough about how wonderful the entire experience was, from flying first class (!!) to the beauty of Hawai’i and time spent with beloved friends. It was incredible.

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Photo taken at the very windy Nu’Uanu Pali Lookout on Oahu

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Waikiki Sunset on our first full day

Here are a few pictures from the more than 1,200 photos I took.DSCN7925 (2) WEBSHARE

The USS Arizona Memorial is still closed due to needed dock repairs, but we were taken out on a boat to view it as closely as was safe. That sunken battleship is the tomb of many people and since the memorial is situated at a perpendicular angle over the top of the USS Arizona, it isn’t a simple job to repair the loading dock.

DSCN7969The process of going through my too many pictures to weed out the bad ones and decide which others to keep, along with the necessary editing for printing and/or sharing (putting here on the blog requires resizing) is taking an inordinate amount of time.  So here’s a few to whet your viewing appetite and hold me accountable for more in the coming days and weeks.

DSCN7927 Mighty Mo 4x6 of the USS Missouri

The USS Missouri, also known as “Mighty Mo” and BB-63, wasn’t built when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. However, this battleship was where the surrender was signed in the Tokyo bay on September 2, 1945., and is now located close to the USS Arizona, representing the beginning and the end of the United States’ involvement in World War II.  

DSCN8233 Honolulu overlook WEBSHARE

Despite fantasies that probably every visitor to the Aloha State entertains, we knew we couldn’t stay. Our hearts belong here at home with our family, including these two Valentine cuties. We hadn’t seen them since the beginning of the month and my heart melted when I saw this photograph. Chomper is now 8 months old!

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photo credit: Forever Photos

We flew back into Seattle and spent the February long weekend there, relaxing in a humble & cozy Airbnb and attending a wedding. It simply didn’t make sense to drive home on a Friday, then turn around and drive back across the mountain pass the next day (nearly 600 miles round-trip), and staying put in the temperate zone likely helped with our re-acclimation to winter. Seattle high temps were around 40 degrees — a nice middle ground after leaving a place where 65 degrees means folks bundle up in winter coats and before returning home where it was 15 degrees.

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This is one of two 8′ tall “Soulless Snow Sentinels”

Our resident young men “held down the fort” in our absence. Amazingly, the fridge wasn’t empty when we returned this time, even though we left them with fewer eggs. My mention of their ability to grocery shop might have had something to do with it.  Even better, the house was clean and the driveway had been regularly shoveled.

In the 2 weeks we were away, approximately 2 feet of snow fell and so did the temperatures (into the single digits Fahrenheit). I’m just crazy enough to be sorry to have missed the excitement although there’s still plenty of snow on the ground, including residential roads. There might be an igloo in our back yard.

Yes, there is an igloo in our backyard, but it’s too cold to go out and photograph it. Sorry.

Icicles IMG_20190219_155739213_HDRDaytime temperatures warmed up to just above freezing for a few days, which has made for some epic icicles. The icicles are sticking around because we’ve plunged back down to single digits.

I’m so grateful to have had a respite from February’s never-ending winter weather.

Birds and Burns

There’s a mama and baby turkey hanging out in our neighborhood these days, and by neighborhood I mean they mostly seem to be hanging out in our yard — front, back, peering in the windows, basically whatever they feel like doing.

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The first time I looked out the window at the mama turkey looking in at me was a bit startling but we’re getting used to seeing them daily now that it’s been about a month. Junior has grown quite a bit since I took these photos. My DIL who loves birds and majored in animal science tells me that turkeys normally have about 5 eggs to hatch, so we don’t know what happened to Junior’s siblings.

As I’ve written before — several times — we have a small wilderness park behind our home. Every year around the 4th of July I get a little tense, worrying about wildfires due to fools and fireworks. Well, this year it happened, more than a week after the holiday, and we’re lucky the fire department arrived quickly. (Personally, we’re lucky it happened on the other end of the street and the wind wasn’t blowing our direction so we didn’t even have to breathe the smoke.) The fire came close to several houses but only one is having to replace siding that melted in the heat of burning trees.

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It could have been so much worse.

DSCN5568 Resilient Nature WEBSIZED

And nature is resilient.

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May all of those who are so terribly affected by the [much, MUCH WORSE] wildfires in other places be shown grace, hope, mercy, and respite from the anxious worries that now consume their thoughts and lives.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow

First birthday, A July 2000

This sweet boy, my youngest son, is graduating on Saturday afternoon.

DSCN3507 WEBSIZED grad gown

That’s tomorrow… just hours away, really.

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I’m a little verklempt tonight.

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Friends from Virginia and Western WA will recognize him from his grade school years (and also my friend Gary  on whose wheel he is throwing a pot).

 

I blinked and my baby grew up into a handsome young man of whom I am very proud.

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Happy Graduation Day to The Scout, a.k.a, SnakeMaster!

MTM: Full of Memories

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The boardwalk is a new addition but the view remains the same glorious sight it has been for centuries.

We’re in a small window of warm weather right now and everything is gorgeous — the trees, the river, the sky. I was in my old neighborhood, where we lived 27 years ago, and stopped to snap this picture. It isn’t the best part of town when it comes to socioeconomic standing but it does have some fabulous view of the river within walking distance. When we lived there we often took walks and enjoyed the peacefulness of our surroundings away from the noisy street.

When we moved back to this city a little over 5 years ago, one of the first things we did (after unpacking and setting up the house) was to raft the river. In late summer and early fall, the water is low and it’s easy to get hung up on the rocks in some places but it is always lovely.  I wasn’t able to float on the river this summer and I miss it. I fondly remember kayaking in the calmer sections and getting soaked with near-icy water in the small rapids.

In this older part of town there are huge trees that create a canopy over the streets. Sometimes I return to reminisce over our days as a young couple when we were too poor to turn up the furnace, so we wore jackets and hats in the living room each winter evening. The old rental house still has the same faded red siding, the neighboring houses are just as dilapidated as they were a quarter-century ago, but the view from the bluff over the river is free and remains as beautiful as ever.

Fifteen Years Gone

It was a Tuesday morning, with beautiful, clear, early fall weather in many places; El Paso, Texas, where I was living, was one of them. It was The Barefooter’s 9th birthday, although we had celebrated with a party & friends on Sunday afternoon (something for which he has always been grateful). We woke up to breaking news on the radio, then ran to the living room to turn on the TV. It couldn’t be true… but it was…

Alan Jackson’s poignant song is one that never fails to make my eyes tear up.

Four planes, 3 buildings, 2 cities, 1 Pennsylvania field…
Nearly 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

NYC, Spring Break 2010 253

9/11 Memorial, Staten Island

NYC, Spring Break 2010 249

A close-up view of the memorial on Staten Island.  The left middle section has two names: one for Deanna Lynn Galante and one for her unborn son, Matthew.

2011 June 239  those who perished in plane and building

Pentagon Memorial

“Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?”
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This post is a partial re-post of one I wrote 4 years ago. It seemed especially appropriate to share today, on the 15th anniversary of so much sorrow and loss.