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Can you find Aunt Donna in this picture with three smiling sons?

A bulletin board must catch the eye but be cerebral as well. They should take the person viewing them to a magical memory, a fascinating thought or place to rest. Film, pictures, paintings and people can be windows for our minds to pass through to find a whole new place to dwell as well. Aunt Donna was that window. She had the smile of an angel. Even today, her smile is my first recollection of her when she visited us on Long Island—her bending down to me with a smile so large and comforting. She wore bright red lipstick that her sparkling eyes nearly dulled from sight. I’d felt her presence immediately and noted that she was an adult who’d come to listen to my cause.  I may have been five when it occurred to me that Aunt Donna was an advocate for my life..

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Always with the smile.( pay no attention to the ranger photo-bomb)

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Aunt Donna fit like a flower.

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She could spark up any picture…(look to the light on the far right:-)…)

Seldom within my view but never far from mind, this is how I shared my time with Aunt Donna. In all of my failings as a teenager, I never once felt let down by Aunt Donna. She was always busy about life; she was here and there and about so much it was hard to keep pace.  She was into Edgar Casey, her years in Kenya, Africa, her work at the Zoo in Asheboro N. C  and her update on politics and contact to our other world of spirits. She taught by example. She advocated for all Life, for all reason, compassion, understanding, promotion, and for loving and acceptance.  There’s no complete way to sum up her presence here, what she meant to those who knew her. I was so lucky to have her as my Aunt. I’d call her a miracle.15894934_10154868412969254_4751720165878425805_n

Aunt Donna loved Nature.

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Aunt Donna loved to read.

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And she was devoted to promoting our family bonds.

I’d been planning this year’s Spring bulletin board for over two years, but then something happened.  This spring had a knock of a different stroke. It was one I wished to never answer, but had to.

My Aunt Donna died this Spring. She was 95. If only I’d spent more time resting with Aunt Donna, hanging out, sharing ideas, our hopes and dreams. Not seeing my Aunt Donna often enough was a huge mistake and it was mine to make; a choice that didn’t seem like one over the course of my past so many years. I was busy, right? Thing is, our time is unknown, but people are here to get to know.

Maybe, most seasons roll off my back as tasks to do with the garden—when to uproot the old plants, turn over the soil, row the dirt and plant with mulching soon to follow. It’s an ongoing process and even the harvesting, preparing and storing can’t be left out. The birds sing as the hawks cry above the hooting of an owl. Clouds above flow by reminding me that the weather will change as life does, with no next-day ever promised.

So, as I worked on this year’s Spring display, a mysterious force, call it a familiar voice, took over me and notion-ed that the display should be somewhat mysterious, ethereal. I’d saved these reflective circular cut-outs for over two years…. then it all happened.  I fell into thinking about Aunt Donna and even wondered if she was watching this bulletin board take shape. I hoped it was true.IMG_1183

Something was missing. My mascot, of course. I’ve a squirrel mascot in every bulletin board. In a way, I guess  this squirrel is me, a question I ask by way of the animal….do you love me? Isn’t that the question we all ask everyday?

Love isn’t just the answer; it’s the question.  Guess who taught me that? Aunt Donna, of course. If only you could have known her. I’m so proud of Aunt Donna. I’ll miss her every day for the rest of my life.

(Click on  these last two for larger view)

The Disks of glitter hanging about are to resemble our universal connection to the ethereal. The reflective background is to bring us into Spring and deeper yet, into ourselves. Spring is about us. This one, for me, is about Aunt Donna, maybe forever.

I needed Spring to help me see it’s all in front of us…just as Aunt Donna said. She was bigger than life; maybe that’s how to say it. I just don’t know. Of course, I’ll never see Aunt Donna surrounded by her three sons again—that time is over. I’ll just find her in my heart. This has to be enough.

Franque23

 

 

 

 

 

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Here’s an interesting, reflective post by a family member. I love her use of observation and reasoning to reach her conclusion. All of us need to reflect and observe more: how were things and how are they now.  Why have things changed for the worse and how can we make things better?  Well founded conclusions need to be followed up with effective action. America, we can do this. I think a posting by the famous actress, Jennifer Lawrence,*(linked here and below https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr5BPRYp8Mw) offers a glimpse into a successful process to bring about change.

Meanwhile, a family member, Cassie Anderson, wrote:

“I remember very clearly when I first noticed this. I was a home health nurse, in a patient’s house and they were watching the news. I hadn’t had cable tv for 14 years and back then the news consisted of the local Portland news stations. I remember my jaw dropping in disbelief as I heard FOX news in the background as I was doing wound care. I couldn’t believe the utter disrespect and tactless comments the people were saying about the president, (at that time, Obama). They were accusing him of being a Muslim (like it was a bad thing) and talking about his birth certificate, it was crazy to me! This patient was so engulfed in this channel that he had it on almost 24 hours a day. To him, this was normal and to me it was surreal. I thought news reporters reported unbiased facts and it was then I realized that this was clearly not the case. I continued to observe this pattern as I worked as an impatient nurse at the hospital. People would turn on their tv, directly to these “news” stations. They were used to this background noise of people arguing and debating fact less theories or the most recent gossip. Now it appears as though people are normalized to the blatant disrespect in the media and they don’t demand facts or evidence, false statements are forgotten and forgiven as soon as they are said. it’s still crazy to me. Now we have a President, The Leader of the United States, that is a walking example of this blatant lack of respect & dignity. Sadly, this is ok to many because they call it courage. To me, courage is the ability to filter yourself. Courage is the ability to do the research before you blabber. Courage is looking at all sides of a situation and seeking guidance from your cabinet and using your resources to seek truth and facts (not firing everyone around you that opposes you). Courage is taking that pause to do what’s ethically right and I think we have the media to blame for this shift on respect. Turn off your TV people! Save money and stop paying those ridiculous cable bills. It’s all propaganda and a form of brainwashing. Teach your kids respect, be kind to strangers and those that are less fortunate. Be thankful for what you have and actually try to improve the world around you. Go to Church or find some form of spiritual healing. It will change your perspective, for the better. This is what we need to focus on and stop buying into the crap on tv!”

Thanks again , Cassie, for posting.

Cheers

Franque23

 


(click the pic for a larger view)

Dogs are spirit given to our lives…. they know us, help us and protect us… There’s nothing like a dame was once a famous song…(Ha! Now-a-days it might get the deep six, thumbs down action I suspect)… Well yes, I say, there’s nothing like a woman, but there’s nothing like a dog as well:-) Not to equate the two!)

This is my dog, Shadow, smiling bright.

Try dog ownership if you haven’t; your heart-felt energy will enlarge and your life will be a richer experience. Although there are studies that find people who own and love dogs live longer, better, happier lives than those who don’t, there are also similar findings when people who associate with horses or pets of all kinds are compared to those who don’t.

My daughter on her horse, Toby.

Just a guess, but I’m thinking people who open themselves up to loving any or all kinds of life around them find fulfillment in their lives, while those who don’t short-change the scope and breadth of what their own lives might be.

I float better with Shadow in the pool…maybe.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13: 3 (NIV)

It’s interesting that this idea be termed , ‘A new command,’ at the time of Jesus, as though the thought had never been expressed before.

The American Zen teacher John Daido Loori shows us that Zen practice should include not only meditation, the study of Zen literature and liturgy, and moral and ethical action, but should also manifest in work, artistic, and everyday activities….

Basically, you could pick any major religion throughout the world and find the same advice: love one another. But, to expand this thought, Jesus never said it’s okay to kick the dog as you’re busy loving people. No, everyone and everything is included in, “Love one another…” Of course, Native Americans understood that all of creation is sacred.

What about wars? Wars happen; people are far from perfect.

Empathy is a one to one ratio. The more we notice the life around us and it’s living condition, the more empathy we feel. Turning a blind eye to the suffering of our human condition and our Earth’s situation does nothing but blind us. None of us can solve the world’s problems alone, but the pebble thrown into a lake analogy certainly applies. Every good or bad action we do is that pebble, and the ripples that spread out from its splash may reach shorelines, people and places, we can’t even see as we throw that little stone.

My advice? Be kind to yourself: be as good a person as you can be. If you do this, you will sleep easier at night. I’m thinking if we do manage to strive to do our best (hey-I think that’s a Boy Scout motto?) then we are less inclined to worry about the future. That future will come as it may but when it does we will know we’ve done our best. No worries; you’ve done everything you could’ve to improve life.

Take that leap of faith in love.

Alfred E Neuman: what me worry? I loved Mad magazine as a boy (like now) and my Southern Baptist upbringing aligned my understanding of these words with the church teachings to not worry. Thing is, in truth, the history of Alfred E Neuman’s face and its historical meaning  is something different altogether. In fact, Neuman’s face has been used at least since 1883…and to sell mince Plum pudding.

And, later on…

Worse, another version of Alfred E Neuman’s face was used by the Germans during world War II and captioned, “Kill the Jews.” Honest. (Not the picture above.)

So, my interpretation of Neuman’s, ‘What me worry,’ illustrates how what we think about things is related to our preconceived notions, and those notions are usually based upon what we’ve been taught to think. Self realization derived from observation and deduction is a bit skewed now in the human experience. We are taught to be who we think we are. Often, this is not the case at all.  Most often, we are people just like most, people with needs, wants, hopes, dreams and empathy but we’ve been subtly taught to turn off this understanding. We’ve been encouraged to turn a blind eye to the condition of humanity and our earth.

It’s time to turn ourselves back on.

It’s time to be joyful.

My sister, Sharon Franquemont, published a book, “You Already know What To Do.” * This book, published in nine languages throughout the world, makes many points but my favorite is the concept that intuition should be taught in schools as a subject. This way, we might help our children get in touch with themselves, their inner sense of life’s order and magnitude, and how their lives relate to all growth. The world would be a better place if society expressed a true interest in our inner selves and how that inner self relates to the world around us. Point: Dogs help people do this.

Having a dog, or any pet, helps us express love for something other than ourselves and, in turn, that pet loves us back. This way, people learn how love flows from us and back to us. We learn how good this exchange of love feels. Soon, and not depending on the amount of LSD or pot you’ve smoked in the 70’s, the notion that loving the people, the animals , the trees or even the rocks we pass returns love to us becomes less remote and, in fact, a real life experience.

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Let’s put a bow on this. Yes, try loving your neighbor, but it might be mastering that process is easier done if you start with loving a doggie, or pet of any kind…. good luck.

Cheers, and I hope the ripples from my pebble reach you at a most fortuitous time and in the best of light. Namaste; to your light.

Franque23

 

*https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874779464/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0


(Click the pic for a larger view…)

Hi, Shadow’s here to help me tell you about my year gardening since August 2018

It’s one thing to plant citrus and a garden on your property; it’s another to harvest. Of course, I love it all—I love to be in touch with the changing seasons, the sun angle, the forecast and amount of rainfall. Yep, I love it all. Why? I can’t exactly say. It’s work, that’s for sure. The ins and outs of gardening and growing fruit trees takes time, attention and execution at the right time. These are things that don’t wait for me to be ready but, rather, they have ways of telling me when they are. A farmer has to ,’snap-to,’ when it comes to planting and harvest time.

Case in point, this first picture above. Thing is, it was a mild winter, but one day they put out a 28 degree forecast for extended hours(never came to be at all) So, I raced out after work (I work til about 9:15 PM)with flashlight held in my mouth as I picked a hundred plus tomatoes before they froze. I also picked the lemons, large and small, eggplant, sage and basil….it was a hard night that ended about at midnight. I put these green ones into large super market brown paper bags, about twenty or so in each, and they ripen in them….Some will rot, but if you check every few days and pull out the ripening ones to put on a counter, you’ll get most of them ripe.

But that wasn’t the start of the season, a planting that was made in mid August.

I got a soft(small) crop of bush green beans this fall(why? When I’ve yielded twenty-three pounds recently-that’s farming) but the foot long Asian beans took off. Cheers for my one yellow squash! This was around Oct, 2018

 

The tomatoes starting coming in as well

I started an outside fence line of marigolds early on,,,and they might be part of the reason my tomato plants ended up nine feet tall with up to 25 tomatoes on them per bush in January..I’m not sure,, it may have been more due to this year’s endless growing season.

About this season…from August 2018 until now, Feb. 2019…I’ve never seen anything like it…The garden is still producing lettuce, collard greens, kale , and eggplant and a tomato or three here and there.

BTW– have you ever looked at an eggplant flower? Here’s one. I say hello.

Another gift of the weather is a robust growing season for the pineapples,,,.. I’ve about 40 plants growing here and there around the property,, and all from cutting off the tops of one’s I bought, or from a box full from Ward’s who gave me their top cutting on the day they cored their selection of pineapples for the public (you can call them to find out when they might have a box of cut-off tops)….do it.

To a great satisfaction, the pineapples may have done well so far this winter. They take two years to fruit, so getting thru a winter is a must for them… BTW– if you have never eaten a hand-picked ripe pineapple that’s truly golden  deep yellow, you’ve never really tasted one. That’s another thing that gardeners get back: the taste of fresh food ,, like the taste of food picked that day or a couple of days before eating is AMAZING…..much different than even from most farmer’s markets….

and oh, the Camellias—how wonderful. We’ve red and white. We need a blue, right?

Herbs are easy to grow, and don’t take much space. Pots on balconies work well, even. I do use mine fresh-that’s best, but you can dry them on tin foil in the sun to keep year round… just get them totally dried, and crunch them up into old spice bottles..so far, after several years, I haven’t had a problem with this method.

(Basil and a bit of Thyme)

Shadow follows me everywhere I go during the year,, whether I’m working the soil, picking oranges, or smelling flowers.. he is my, Shadow! How could I be so lucky to have gotten him?

Of course, when I read how much nutrients levels drop off from food so many days out of picking, or read about roundup being in our food chain, or any other added chemicals, it spurs me on to get the soil ready without chemical to plant, and then harvest. All of us in Florida, at least, should have a range of food planted around their dwellings—it really doesn’t take much space; just work, patients and some hand done bug squashing.

There’s nothing like listening to the birds chatter as hawks cry from above while being out there working the soil.

Greening is a major problem throughout much of the world now for citrus, and my small 2 acres or less is no exception.*  This means more work for me, and not only in that about 500 hundred citrus won’t ripen this year, but guess who has to pick up all that fruit off the ground? Oh yeah, full-time job now. What had been a 1500 piece citrus crop two years ago is now about 1000, and it will only get worse until the trees only bear blooms(which are heavenly) and sour fruit. But this is what it is.

I bring fruit to work for my workmates several times per week, Nov 1st thru about March 1st;…My grandchildren and their parents get more than they can eat, I think.  My neighbors all get fruit and my doctors do as well! Even my Tax guy gets some:-)  The mail guys and garbage technicians do as well….this makes it all worth the effort.

Lately, I’ve been thinking of planting a pecan tree…seems reasonable. Yes, there are blue berries and pears and apples as an option but, so far, I’ve found the squirrels like those options as well…and they clean out the pickin’s on them.

We recently put in Avocados and have two papayas growing that I hope make it.

Go ahead,,, look into planting this spring. Write me, if you like. Growth is a miracle; join in the effort.

Cheers, and keep growing.

Franque23

 

see you later…

*https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2016/10/12/citrus-production-continues-to-decline-in-florida


I’d split from work ready to let loose and let my freak flag fly! I’d a foxy old lady hanging at home; it was gonna be a gas(we’re pretty old…). I was sure she’d give me some skin. Can you dig it? Far out.

I’m not sure many of you know the phrase: “A spankin’ good time!” Yep, we used to say it and mean it in a fun way. So much has changed now-a-days, but this here tickle monster rumbles on!

I got home late last night after work to find my five grandsons sleeping over. You know what this meant! It was,’spanking time,’ for everyone! The mad scramble to escape ensued. I’m usually a tickle monster like my dad had been as I grew up, but, no, tonight these good kids needed the spankin’ of their lives to control the silence!!!

“Ah-run for your lives!” I heard their attack call loud and clear.

I saw their strategy immediately. They decided to form one huge pile of boys whereby only one would be left on top to get a pop on the butt! Even Shadow realized he’d better get in that pile, pronto!

It was an out of control battle, perfect for bedtime calm down moments—the kind my wife loves me to start. She doesn’t have to tell me this, I just know by using my secret, ‘Manly,’ instincts. Once she has read to the boys, snuggled them down to soft thoughts and music, it’s time for me to start an all-out rumble!!! Butt why does she always yell, “I’m calling a lawyer! I’m calling a lawyer!!”, at times like this?  Ha! That’s a funny thing to say, don’t you think? I never understand how this fits in to a rumble but as I always say, “To Each their own.”

Anyway…

I roared, I blew air out of my nostrils-that was horrible to do during pollen season-I approached with hands clapping with delight!

“But honey,” my wife explained,” They’ve been good all night!”

“Ha, ahaha, ah,,,,” Said the mean ol’ man, me, “All the more reason for the spankin!” (This is the best way to teach logic 101. I bet they do well in the subject).

More wiggling and screaming went on…butt not a one would get away from the tickle monster now gone raving, spankin’ mad!

At last, it ended as I knew it would from the ,’Daddy’s home,’ get-go. Arron, the youngest, known as the, ‘Padded one,’ was to be sacrificed. Bottom’s up!

Of course, this could only mean one thing of many. The fun-time rumble was over and now it was time to brush our teeth and begin the get-under-the-blanket wiggles, to begin the, no, don’t go into the kitchen, no, get off the floor, no, we aren’t watching t.v., no, we can’t go out, nope, this is not a time to draw!, we’re done eating—we’re completely done with food of any kind!  Yep, a new phase was upon us, the who’s sleeping where, in what room, on the floor or bed and with which brother or two ordeal of an hour longer had begun!

Then something happened…Me, as the last man standing as my wife snuggled on the couch, the house got spooky quiet. The quiet aliens had landed, slithered in the house and stolen all sound. The silence was loud, or maybe my ears were still ringing, yes, that was it. But none of that explained the aliens. I thought of waking my wife to consult about the quiet but I preferred to live.

The night had ended…sob.

Somehow, with the help of beer(s), I forgot about the aliens and went to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to two-year old, Aaron, standing in my doorway. “Goo morrring,” he beamed a smile.

The breakfast was basically the sound of morning children-birds who’d become a herd of munching faces. A pound of bacon, a dozen eggs and quart of home squeezed OJ consumed and heck, look!, we had room in our frig!?!?!

Then, the children went home; the sky cleared. I looked to my faithful buddy, Shadow, as he rested by the window, peacefully collecting himself after being roughed up the previous day  by the Bell gang of five. I looked at him lovingly; he looked at me.

I held up my arms and proclaimed it: ” It’s time for…..a doggie spanking!!!!”

“Wait! Did you say, “Doggie spanking?”

Cheers….nothin’ like having a, ‘spankin’ good time!’Please send any complaints about spanking to Santa Claus—but don’t mention my name.  I’m still waiting on the Lamborghini. Thanks.

Franque23

 

 

 

 


Sometimes, we might hear an idea and it just feels right.  We might go to a place, see a work of art, listen to music or experience a thought and our gut cries out for joy.  We’ve all had these moments and they always feel good; refreshing.

(This was done by my Niece, Megan Carlock. I used this as the background to the cover of my first book on kindle, Avatar Magic. Why? It feels right.)

Thing is, it’s not every day that we have these types of experiences; we don’t feel good every day, but could we?

Those who meditate often express a profound sense of peace when they do. But through many years now, only once did I ever meditate and feel a rod of energy sink from my stomach through my sitting butt while also stretching thru my head up beyond the sun and stars until my mind remained suspended in speeding air full of white clouds. It was  miraculous! Seven hours slipped by as though it were a minute. The last I remembered before awakening was the sun had warmed my face, the hard ground I sat upon softened, the wind blew and the waves were lapping the shore before me. I’d done it!

I stood up after that moment of seven hours keenly aware that I’d just experienced the most amazing moment of my life. So, did I go on to meditate daily, or most often? Of course not!  No. Not at all!

I went on to play music surrounded by clouds of pot smoke, to eat gobs of ice cream, cakes, candies, to slurp down drinks, step in dog poop, to laugh my ass off regularly with friends, to sit in ant piles, to become a man, have jobs, raise a family and be a dad, to hit my fingers with hammers, and, more importantly, seldom , if ever, did I mention my, ‘meditation moment.’ It’s interesting what can get left behind during the consumption of half gallons of ice cream and a busy life of waiting in lines, seeing doctors and having traffic accidents.

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So what?  Sure, I need new flip-flops, but what does any of this mean now? It’s all about grounding, a sphere of thought perhaps old- hat to many but new to me. See, in 1960 sneaker manufacturers started using synthetic rubber souls in a major way* and people were no longer,’grounded,’ to the earth as they walked as zombies through life. Maybe if I hadn’t read Wilhelm Reich’s** theory of, Orgone, in my mid-twenties I’d not be so keen on this theory of grounding now-I don’t know. Thing is, it’s a fact that Wilhelm Reich studies of the life force fields that surround our bodies and travel throughout our atmosphere and the entire universe were Earth shaking rattling! His ideas were so novel when compared to our basic understandings of life that the results of his work and his findings were sealed for 100 years! Let’s face it, the man was so threatening, especially his ability to make it rain which annoyed more than few neighbors, that he was jailed.

Then again, there’s this: so many say they don’t sleep well, or don’t  eat well, or have no energy during the day, or just can’t seem to focus, to thrive, to survive our environment’s one zillion pollutants or put up with so many different kinds of joint pains or people like me that it just might be there is one or a few underlining causes for all of our chronic conditions. Curious.

Could  what we wear on our feet or the asphalt we often walk on keep our bodies from experiencing the recharging effect the universes’ flowing electricity could give us on a daily basis? Are we short circuited from the recharging, magnetic flow of the earth’s electricity simply by what we wear on our feet? There are reports from studies that show merely walking barefoot for as little as one half an hour per day might alleviate many chronic symptoms so many people live through today.  Like that special place, special tune, the face you love, this idea feels right, and a bit like coming home after a long day at the office.

I used to run barefoot through the clover in the grass as a child.  Looking back, that all seemed to be about bee stings. Maybe, though, that was about one of the best things? My mom would ask as she dressed the sting, “Why do you run barefoot through the grass?”

All I could say is, “It feels right.”

Children say the darnedest( or darndest) things, but what do they know?

Here’s a link to an article about being grounded, the studies, and hypothesis.

*https://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/08/24/studies-show-what-happens-to-the-human-body-when-we-walk-barefoot-on-earth/

Cheers

Franque23

** Read about Wilhelm Reich,,,https://www.famousphilosophers.org/wilhelm-reich/

bye for now. ( View from our lake house in the Adirondacks.)

 


“We have to use time wisely.” I heard that.

 

(About 1973: Santa Fe Spring Art Show.)

The pillow’s story started for me with a 14 year-long leather crafting career. But it was not so for the pillow. No, the pillow had another story, one that found its way into my heart and mind to never forget. How could I ever forget?

 

I traveled to art shows in the southeast for the Southeastern Hand Crafter’s Association for about 6 years, between 1978 and 1984ish…Thing is, I was scratching to make a living back then—every dollar was counted and hard-fought to earn.  It was back then a plumber we would use at home for the next forty years told me, “I’ll charge you the lowest rate: you children are barefoot.”

 

That plumber was right.

 

Simply put, I was determined to make it and no amount of cramped fingers or sore arms could stand in my way of earning a buck. Unlike most exhibitors, I kept busy actually doing my leather work during show hours, making a racket hammering out belts while selling them to those who stopped by.  The noise from me tooling leather belts peeved some exhibitors—I don’t blame them. Perhaps, this is why an exhibitor, an elderly women, who sat stitching pillows as I walked through the exhibits caught my eye!

 

It was in the Bradenton Mall, Florida…

 

She sat behind her table piled high of hand-made pillows just stitching away.  Her head covered in grey hair mostly turned down to watch her stitch as she spoke; her fingers never stopped nimbly pushing her threading needle in and out of fabric she held tightly in hand. I felt an instant kinship with this fellow worker and struck up a conversation.

 

“How did you learn to make such beautiful pillows?”

 

There was a twinkle in her eye but also a soft , maybe sad smile of remembrance as she laid her work down in her lap and looked to my face.

 

“You’re the one tooling leather, aren’t you?”

 

“Yes. I can’t see wasting all my time just selling.”

 

She laughed, sighed and moved her head left and right. “Of course, we don’t have time to waste; we have to use our time wisely.”

 

The woman proceeded to tell a sad tale I hadn’t expected. She said she and her family had been rounded up by the Nazi’s and put into a concentration camp—Auschwitz—I recall her naming the place. It is perhaps the only name I would’ve recognized of all the concentration camps. She quickly added that her entire family, sisters and parent had died in the camp—she alone, a young teenager, had been strong and able to survive the torture of the camp. Her younger sisters and older parents were either too young or too old to make it through.

 

It seemed were it not for this woman’s stitched pillows she might be alone. Silence fell between us, then she spoke again.

 

“I was freed and located in a home of sorts but there was rent to pay and I had little money and no jobs were to be found.”

 

I flashed on a town filled with rubble and debris just after the war had ended. I’d seen pictures of so many European towns left in ruins in my dad’s set of World war ll encyclopedias.

 

“The only thing I had was the memory of mom teaching me how to sew by hand with needle and thread.”  Her words flowed easily and set me adrift as though on a stream. She picked up her material again and started to stitch. “I had nothing but that memory, then. I searched through discarded materials throughout town and collected pieces of fabric and anything to use as stuffing.  My first pillow sold on the street for an amount equal to one week’s rent.”

 

“That must have been tough.”

 

“Well,” the woman smiled my way once more, “I heard my mother teaching me how to stitch as I worked, so pillows gave me comfort.”

 

“I’m sorry you had this happen to you and your family.” I thought my life had been difficult up to that moment-Ha! What a laugh !

 

“It’s not your fault.” the women sighed briefly. “I never stopped collecting thrown out fabric to use until I’d gained enough to buy new or used materials to fashion more pillows.  There was a furniture factory nearby; thrown out stuffing was to be had.”

 

At the time, I pictured her as a child of twelve when she was in the Nazi Camp. I tried to imagine what that must have been like…

 

Pillows in her finished pile varied in theme but ones with birds drew my attention.  My dad had a particular love for birds and knew their names and songs. The pillows were not cheap. I traded two 12 dollar hand-made leather belts for two matching bird pillows.

 

I never saw the woman again, but gave the pillows to my mom and dad who placed them on their living room couch for 25 years. Finally, one of the two became very worn and was thrown out.

 

My mom died in 2011 and one of the few things I kept from her home was this pillow. I stashed it in my bedroom closet where I saw it for six years every time I opened the closet door . Time to time I would pick up the pillow and hold it. I’d think about the woman who had made this pillow, about her life, her struggle, her beautiful art work and her success.

 

Then, I’d hear the pillow come to life. “I was a young girl; my family all died.” Silence. “The one thing I had was my mom teaching me how to sew.” I’d hold the pillow close. “There was a furniture factory nearby; thrown out stuffing was to be had.”

 

One day while holding the pillow it came. There was a flash, and I knew that I had to give this pillow to a lifetime friend, Marc, who’d spent much of his adult life working in Jewish affairs in the NYC area. He was the one this pillow had to find now.

 

 
“We have to use our time wisely.”

 

I got the pillow to, Marc, as soon as I could. And it’s good. I believe it’s now in a holocaust collection, safe, still well made, still there, speaking for its maker, a survivor.

 

None of us should ever forget.

 

Franque23

Democrats have held the white house 25 years over the past 50 plus years; Republican 28.  During those years Republicans have far more arrests and convictions among White House Republican staff and party members than do Democrats. But how many more?

25 to 1…..

That’s the ratio of those within Republican White House Administration who have been convicted of crimes when compared to the number of Democrat staff members arrested during  Democrat White House Administrations….just wow!

It’s just a ghastly fact; a lump sum correct figure that bears witness to the fact Republican administrations are far more corrupt than Democratic ones.

This gives pause to wonder why this astonishing ratio, the vast difference between criminals in these two party’s, is true? Maybe, since the figure spans 50 years or more, the reasons don’t matter while the numbers do. Fact: the Republican party tends to be a corrupt party.

But don’t take my word for it: here’s a quick quote and then link so you can read it and believe it for yourself..

“So, let’s see where that leaves us. In the last 53 years, Democrats
have been in the Oval Office for 25 of those years, while Republicans
held it for 28. In their 25 yrs in office Democrats had a total of
three executive branch officials indicted with one conviction and one
prison sentence. That’s one whole executive branch official convicted
of a crime in two and a half decades of Democrat leadership.

In the 28 yrs that Republicans have held office over the last 53 yrs
they have had a total of (a drum roll would be more than appropriate),
120 criminal indictments of executive branch officials. 89 criminal
convictions and 34 prison sentences handed down. That’s more prison
sentences than years in office since 1968 for Republicans. If you want
to count articles of impeachment as indictments (they aren’t really
but we can count them as an action), both sides get one more. However,
Clinton wasn’t found guilty while Nixon resigned and was pardoned by
Ford (and a pardon carries with it a legal admission of guilt on the
part of the pardoned). So those only serve to make Republicans look
even worse.”

https://www.sheilakennedy.net/2017/07/corruption-by-the-numbers/

Vote the Republican cheaters out in 2020. Trump can dance and sing his praises all he likes, but in 2020 we need to put his lying butt out on the street, if not sooner.

Facts show the Democrats rarely break laws while in power. The Republicans lie, cheat, steal, commit felonies and cast a ,’Damn the Constitution,’ glare over our country when they are in power.

This is why I don’t vote Republican: they work for the upper class only, and cheat their asses off as they do it.

Cheers. (Please share…)

Franque23


I’d found this note in a most unusual place.

Dusty and draped by a cobweb or two, the note obviously hadn’t been read in some time. How long would that be? We’d moved into our house over eighteen years ago and others had enjoyed the house before us-how could it have been in place for so long without being noticed? I think it all a miracle!

It wasn’t even a full piece of paper but just a part of a larger whole. Folded, yellowed and without line, it seemed marked, creased on its outside, by someones’ firm handwriting.

There was no reason to not unfold the paper and read the note; curiosity would clutter my head until I did-I knew. Scanning the words gave me pause.

I fell in love with you at first sight. I knew it then. Nothing was going to keep me from being at your door until you opened it so I might stand by your side. Our faces remained lip-locked for most of that first year, and when we laughed we could feel each others warm breath.

We had no guarantees but for us. Still, that was enough. 

We began our journey into space without boundaries and time no clock could keep. We held hands in super markets-remember? We both loved the beach, the waves, sky and wind in our hair. We ran for miles together almost daily without fail; so much young energy poured from our souls, tingled our fingers and itched our legs that we just had to move. And, all the while, a love for you grew inside me that could never be moved.

You became my home.

Nothing much mattered when it came to things, whether we rented or eventually bought a house remained trappings to the core of us that I held on to so tightly. That soft, core place of love within me burned a fire that warmed each day and night. I worked with you in mind and slept easy with you by my side. 

Years, so many, have passed, and though we’ll eventually leave here and find a new place I wanted to take this moment to thank you for being you. I want to thank you for those smiles you flash, that small laugh you often sport, for that all-seeing way you guide us to better places, and for your touch that means so much. And, I should mention the chocolate-chip cookies. 

I’m so glad I wrote you this note; now, if I can just keep track of it until I give it to you!

There was no signature…

I marveled at the words in this note. Who knows how many years it took this person to finally write them down? Had the other person ever read them? It’s amazing how something this large in meaning might rest for so long inside a person. So much can be buried beneath a life-time of obligation, jobs, bills, some call it progress, beneath all those words that must be said on a daily basis. It seemed I understood it all; life has a way of moving people around their true meaning, the things that really drive them on.

I turned to bring this found treasure to share with my wife but realized that, of course, she was in Japan-a zillion miles away helping and visiting family. I had just me, my dog, and this note.  I began to fold the note for safe keeping to share later but the note had vanished! I looked everywhere! It hadn’t fallen to the floor, slid under the kitchen table or scooted under a nearby tattered chair. No, the note had disappeared.

That’s when I found the note in a most unusual place: the one place I hadn’t thought to look.

Of course, the note was back deep inside of me.

Dale, I’ve loved you for forty-five years.

Happy New Year to all of you. Maybe, write a note this New Year’s Day, and never put it away.

Peace and Love

Franque23

 

 

 

 


Caring for people enriches our living experience.

Universal Heath care is one way Americans can ensure we care for one another. It is also a fundamental building block when it comes to creating a happy, productive work force.

Don’t be fooled by claims that state how much Universal Health care will cost Americans. These claims side-swipe the truth by listing costs of Universal health care without mentioning that these figures are FAR below the cost of the privately  run health care system we have now.*

Don’t be fooled by the jabbering of politicians or the rich who live inside the pockets of the healthcare industry—The truth is, Universal Health care will save American’s billions of dollars when compared to the projected cost of our current health care system—-BILLIONS. 

Universal health eliminates the constant worry about the cost of aging.  Universal Health care will stop estates being lost due to increasing costs of health care as people who have worked to save all their lives lose their savings to health care providers.

Only the top 1 to 3% of Americans need not worry about the cost of health care as they age. Thing is, those rich enough to pay for health care or those involved in providing healthcare from pharmaceuticals, some doctors, clinic and hospitals on up play a heavy hand in keeping Universal health care boxed out of America.

Barring Universal health care to Americans is a political, money-making scheme that needs to end.

The next time you get sick and have to see a doctor think about Universal Health Care.

The next time you think your savings are growing, think about the cost of aging and how you will feel when you turn your savings over to a health care provider. This is a real situation for just every one of us who are lucky enough to survive to a ripe old age.

Basically, like it or not, America is in for a huge, social upheaval.

America is approaching huge societal change driven by minorities and by those mostly under the age of forty who demand social justice. The time has come to cast off old ways of thinking and the back room deals lobbyists place on American society; the two-step shuffle of lies politicians use to belabor our lives and posterity is over.

We didn’t have a blue wave in 2018—we had a voter’s tsunami.

2020 will bring more of the same voting trends we experienced in 2018. Those involved in old ways of thinking and those entrenched in America’s poor way of providing health care to all of us are in for a shock. It’s all over; change is here.

It’s just a matter of time until America provides its workers and all of its citizens Universal Health care. Those opposed to this change can keep on dancing their two-step lying dance, but the music has stopped.

Voters! Vote for what is healthy for you and yours in 2020.

Cheers

Franque23

*https://www.businessinsider.com/bernie-sanders-medicare-for-all-plan-cost-save-money-2018-7

“According to the Mercatus model, total health spending would actually come in about $303 billion lower in 2031 than under current projections, with $7.35 trillion going to healthcare that year versus $7.65 trillion expected now. Total national health spending would be $2 trillion lower from 2022 to 2031 under the plan, the report found.”

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