My Apologies

Dear Readers,

In today’s blog post, I titled the poem as the prayer of St. Francis.It was really a part of the lyrics from the hymn,”Let There be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin with Me.” This was written in 1955 by Jill Jackson and Sid Miller.

The Prayer of St Francis author is unknown. The part of the prayer I wanted to use is below.

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The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, Make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt , faith

Where there is darkness, light.

And where there is sadness, joy.

For it is in giving, that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.

And it is dying, we are born to eternal life.

Disable Hierarchy January 21,2021

In public restrooms, I encounter drama. At a large amusement park, women’s bathrooms are crowded with women lined to use the stalls. No one was using the handicapped stall, so my daughter opened the door for me and resumed her place in line. While I was using the commode, I heard a commotion outside my door. When I opened the door, a woman in a wheelchair was rolling into the stall, cursing that this was for physically handicapped only. I started to use my white cane to strike her chair requesting that she back up to allow me to exit. I am sure that the two handicapped women arguing caused amusement and entertained the women lined up in the room.

My understanding of the use of these stalls that they can be used by any person that may need assistance including families with small children. After leaving the restroom, I felt ashamed that I had created a scene.

While on a shore excursion in Mexico, the guide pointed to the men’s bathrooms and encouraged my husband to take me in. He saw the long line at the women’s restrooms and stated the men’s restroom would be quicker. When we entered a young man in a wheelchair was coming out and he smiled and held the door open.for us.

I have been asked by wheelchair users to move out of their way. I usually reply, “Where would like me to go?”. Often, they don’t see the white cane or understand that I can’t see them. I find the chair users that bump me in the legs to get my attention and without a verbal request annoying.

I must take a mental step back and for a moment put myself in their chair. Maybe, they have been unable to reach items on shelves. Perhaps they are hurting and need to get out of their chair for a while. Or they may have been annoyed by another person. I only know that this is a moment of grace to give a smile and apology, to make up for any misunderstanding.

With a change of attitude and a friendly face, the person in a hurry may pause and end up apologizing too.

If we in the disabled community cannot bring understanding into our encounters, how can we expect able bodied people to get along with us and each other. In these times of division, be a healer not a hurter!

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Prayer of St. Francis

author unknown

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

With every step I take. Let this my solemn vow.

To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth.

And let it begin with me.

copyright 1/21/21

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot@aol.com

Grandpa Clifford’s Stories

I come by my story telling from my Grandfather Turnbull. Clifford was interested in the ancestry of the Turnbull clan. In his research, he traced the family back to the origins of the Turnbull surname. Cliff traced the migration of the Turnbull’s leaving Scotland from a small fishing village on the eastern shore to sail to Canada, and finally to the United States. He typed his notes and gave a copy to each of his children and grandchildren.

I was impress with his historical narrative, but I am more interested in the oral stories Gradfather told about his family growing up in Delhi Ontario . The family’s farm was named Hillcrest. It was situated on a small rise and surrounded by a cedar and pine woods. A spring fed stream divided the farm in half. 60 acres were cultivated and 60 acres were wooded.

Clifford relates a number of stories of city raised cousins coming to visit the farm.He recalled his father, Bill, playing jokes on his nieces and nephews.

Uncle Bill put out a trap to catch a woodchuck. Instead, he trapped a skunk. Clifford recalls his father sent the city cousin Raymond to check the trap. Raymond reported that a kitten was in the trap.He didn’t recognize a skunk. Uncle Bill gather all the nephews to watch him shoot the skunk. He had them stand behind the trap. They edged closer as their uncle raised the rifle. When he shot, so did the skunk. Raymond got the worse of the spray. Grandmother wouldn’t allow any of the boys to come for dinner until they were completely rid of the skunk order. They spent a long time in the cold water of the swimming hole.

The girl cousins were not immune to their uncle’s teasing. One of the girls, Florence, was built long and lanky. She would try to ride any animal . One Sunday, Florence was dressed in an embroidered white dress. Uncle Bill and several of his brothers, pointed to the herd of sheep and told to ride one. She climbed the fence and heaved her leg over one of the largest sheep. The men laughed and Florence held on to the angry sheep. She was finally thrown off only to land in the mud. The men applauded, but Florence was in disgrace with the women. She had ruined her best dress.

Clifford would tease his sisters and run and climb a large pine tree to get away from his younger sister Erie. She learned to climb as well as Cliff. He would jump to a neighboring tree and the chase would end.

Agnes, Clifford’s older sister, was small for her age. When Clifford was asked to gather the chicken eggs, he would enlist Agnes to crawl into tight places to find the eggs. When she was under the barn, he would make animal sounds to frighten her.

The following poem is taken from a news clip in Grandpa Cliffords book. It tells of the legend of the surname Turnbull

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He saved the King

Willian was laboring in a lowland glen.

He stopped to watch Robert Bruce ride by with his friends.

The Prince’s tartan flowed in the breeze.

Enraging a young bull grazing in the trees.

William raced between the man and beast.

He grabbed the horns, crack, the bulls life ceased.

The young prince’s life had been saved.

He knighted William for coming to his aid.

Three bloody bulls are on the crest.

The motto ”He saved the king” says the rest.

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 1-19-21

Waiting for the Vaccine January 14, 2021

As Tevye stated in “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Send us the cure. We have the disease already!” Waiting for a turn at being vaccinated can be as stressful as the past 10 months.

Two companies Pfizer and Moderna, have a vaccine. Johnson and Johnston is close to approval. So why is the vaccine so hard to get ?

Part of the problem is the extremely low temperature that the Pfizer doses must be kept at for storage. Then the short shelf life after thawing. But many people believe that the lack of a plan to distribute and the volunteer manpower to administer the shot is to blame. I will cite my own experience trying to sign up for a time to receive a vaccine .

Last Friday, Yhe State of Michigan announced that the next level of vaccination would start for seniors 65 years and older. In my part of the state, the local hospital care groups would be in charge of signing up and administering the vaccine. After an hour on Friday evening, the website crashed and could not sign up any more people. My care provider decided to have each applicant complete a survey on criteria for the vaccine. I made out my survey and waited for an confirmation email. Instead, I received two additional emails to complete a survey. Now there is no survey and no other information on My health chart.

I have talked with other people, who after the survey were directed to a website to sign up for a vaccination time. Several other friends were frustrated and called the county health dept. and have vaccination dates in February. On the other side of the state, Detroit is opening drive through vaccination centers that will operate 24/ 7 as long at the vaccine is available.

There is no consistent rule for distribution from state to state and within a state.

Some of the blame can be laid at the feet of the current administration. When Pfizer offered to sell additional vaccines to our country, they were turned down. Pfizer sold the promised vaccines to other countries. They and other companies are scrambling to produce the needed doses.

Ironically, the vaccine for Pfizer is produced and shipped less than 70 miles away in my state.

I hope that the lack of information and transparency will be addressed after the inauguration. The number of citizens affected with the virus and the number of hospitalizations and deaths continue to spike.

Even if all the available vaccine could get into people’s arms in the next two months, we would not see a decrease of the virus until early summer.

So I do what I have done for months, stay home, wear a mask and wait my turn to be vaccinated. May you do the same.

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Vaccination

Very slow

At a standstill

Cities set up drive throughs

Citing long lines

Individuals line up

Never has there been such disarray

All wait patiently in the cue.

Testing the limits

Only hoping the doses are still viable

No one knows for sure

Carol Farnsworth Copyright 1/14/21

The cleaning touch January 12, 2021

I have a different way of keeping the house clean and tidy. When I was taking courses at the School for the visually Impaired in Kalamazoo, they taught the clients to use a broom and sweep a small section of floor and use a dust pan to pick the refuse. I kept missing where I stopped and I would miss parts of the floor.

I started to get down on my knees and use a damp cloth to feel for dirt and pick it up . I would shake the cloth over a wastebasket and continue to clean. Up until a year ago I would wash my kitchen floor on my hands and knees. I could feel the spills and crumbs and rinse the cloth in a bucket of water and cleaner.

I feel the counters to know if they need to be wiped down and use the same cleaner to do the job.

In the bathroom, I use smell and touch to check the commodes and sinks. I use foaming cleaners in the sinks and a pleasant scented toilet bowl cleaner. I allow both to sit for awhile before I brush or wipe.

I will feel to see if there is dust on the furniture and use a dusting product to wipe down the the surfaces facing up.

I make a cobweb hunt once a month, whether I feel webs or not. I use a long stick with wooly end to capture the webs and reach the ceiling corners.

I finish the cleaning with a battery operated vacuum, I do not have to worry about a cord tripping me. It can go over different surfaces and picks up most of the dust and dirt.

If you think this kind of cleaning is difficult just take a room in your home and close your eyes and let your other senses tell you the condition of that room. Even a person with sight can benefit from input if all their senses. Is there an odor coming from the drain or commode? Does the sink have attached toothpaste and soap scum? Is there a scum ring around the tub? Are there dust balls in the corners of the floor? Time to clean.

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Vacuuming is such a fulfilling task.

It finds all the debris and fluff.

Sucking the dirt of living.

How wonderful if

copyright 1-12–21

A baby’s First words January 7 ,2021

One of the joys of being a new mother and a speech Pathologist is anticipating baby’s first words.

I waited and listened as my daughter played with the open mouth sounds of B, M, D, guttural G and vowel ah paired with them.

Would the first words be the da da for her Daddy, or the calling of her Mom with a Ma Ma? Maybe a request for a favorite toy or food?

To my surprise, Ruth’s first word was a two syllable word, Ga Ma, Ga Ma, Ga Ma, paired with a open hand facing up and the fingers contracting as she gestured for her wanted person. She learned to call her

Grandma this way. The low guttural call would bring Grandma Helen running. Ruth and her Grandma developed a intimate relationship. They went everywhere together. In the evening, they would select matching nighties. Often, Ruth would get up and crawl into bed with her Grandma.

I watched but couldn’t be a part of this special relationship. Jealous at first, I learned to appreciate this special bond between generations.

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What’s in a name

“Her name will be Ruth”, he said.

I was thinking as a Speech therapist.

Ruth may have trouble with r’s and th sounds.

John countered with ,”those letters are in our last name”.

I agreed to the name.

As a toddler, when asked her name, Ruth would reply,

“my name is Woof, Woof Fa woof!”

She sounded like a dog barking.

Carolfarn@aol.com

copyright. 1-7-21

Epiphany January 5, 2021

The Holiday, Epiphany, is celebrated between the 12 days after Christmas. January 6th is the celebration of the Magi’s visit to the Christ child. They used a star for a guide to find the king of the Jews.

This year we are being treated to a rare astrological occurrence. The planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the south western sky and will appear as one brilliant star. The planets have not been so close for 800 years. The last time the planets were close to the earth to see the rings of Saturn and 4 of Jupiter’s moons was in the 1600’s.

The celestial display started on the winter solstice and will continue to be seen through Epiphany . The alignment of the planets is seen in the south western sky for 2 hours after sunset. The planets reflect a brilliant light, people call this sight the Christmas star.

I can not see this star but I can imagine people in the time of Christ noting the light in the western sky and predicting the birth of a great king.

After the year 2020, I can take joy and hope in a star that may have been seen and followed by the Magi. Whether we physically see the star or use our imagination , the light heralds a change. The change could be political. We are changing leaders. The change could be the vaccine and the final defeat of the corona virus. Maybe it signals a change in our attitude about global warming.

I prefer that it is a call for people to not take our world and ourselves for granted . As we make our resolutions, let us change our attitude and our relationship with our world and each other. Be kind to others and yourself. Global change can occur. One person at a time.

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What adorns my Christmas Tree?

a bisque doll

a teddy bear

a red apple

french horn pair

a jeweled candy cane

a striped sock

and two bells

a small toy block

lites and memories hang

on the tree

they’re put away

for next year

to surprise me.

Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

copyright 12/29/2020

New Year Celebrations in the past December 31, 2020

Unlike many couples, we didn’t go out for a holiday dinner and toast the new year with champagne. My husband worked for the post office and was scheduled to work on New year day to do maintenance on the sorting machines.

We went to bed early so John could get to work by 6:30. But there was a celebration in our home every New Year’s eve.

For many years, my daughter had a sleepover with several of her friends. They would bring snacks, games and movies to watch. They all wanted to stay up to watch the ball fall in New York City.

Ruth’s Grandma, Helen, was in charge of the festivities. She distributed sparkling non-alcoholic juice, noise-makers, silly string and confetti poppers. One year, toilet paper rolls were given to tepee the trees and shrubs around our yard.

The girls and Grandma got little sleep that night. As they had welcomed in the new year.

John and I woke to find the house and yard littered with the celebration . Grandma was asleep on the couch and the girls were nestled in their sleeping bags in the family room.

Before the girls were picked up by their parents, they willingly helped to clean up the litter.

The new year sleepover was a tradition for many years. Now this year, we will have a different celebration. We will talk by the fireplace and recall past New Year’s eves and recall people no longer in your lives. Memories and hope will be central to welcoming the new year this year.

Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

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A waining moon, heralds the end of the year.

Stars twinkle , their light reflected on the hanging toilet paper.

The celebrates sleep , exhausted from the night’s activities.

All is quiet as we sip our coffee in bed.

Smiling we kiss and wish each other a Happy New Year.

copyright 12/31/2020

December 29, 2020 A time to Put Away

Some people think that putting away Holiday decorations is a depressing activity. My task is to take the ornaments off the tree. I find that removing an ornament I can feel it and remember where and why it was purchased. This is a relaxing activity for me.

I fondle a group of tin toys. A sled, a scooter and a wagon, they remind me of the toys of my youth and toys we gave to our daughter. I recall that all the tin toys are bright red to go with the season.

Then my fingers find a ceramic bird in flight. This was given to me on my first married Christmas.

Another favorite ornament is a dove with two strings of pearls in it’s beak. This came from my co-worker before I married and it’s smooth white contours remind me of a shell.

The newest additions are dutch shoes and a glass dutch windmill. Given to me by my husband to remind me of the decorated trees at Meijer Gardens. The whole dutch tree was covered with these two decorations.

I find that the time to remember and time taken to recall the stories bring a smile to my day.

Each precious memory is tucked in tissue paper and placed in various small boxes to be unwrapped in the next year.

By New Year Day, the indoor decorations are put away. The first day of the new year is spent cleaning and reflecting on what old thoughts and habits to put away. I take time to reflect on the people from the last year that I am grateful for.

I resolve to give to others in sharing talents, time and treasure with them.

I hope you can find many reasons to be grateful for the year 2020. If you come across an ornament that you don’t recognize , don’t worry. Consider it a gift and form a story around it.

Make your own memory stories.

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What adorns my Christmas Tree?

a bisque doll

a teddy bear

a red apple

french horn pair

a jeweled candy cane

a striped sock

and two bells

a small toy block

lites and memories hang

on the tree

they’re put away

for next year

to surprise me.

Carol Farnsworth

carolfarn@aol.com

copyright 12/29/2020

The light in the world December 22, 2020

At this time of the year, especially this year, I thank God for the light. On the darkest and shortest day of the year, I am grateful for a glimmer of the light that I can see. My memory supplies the rest. The past year I have been thankful for the support of family, friends and medical people that have touched my life. We all need the love and support of each other to be part of the light. Even support for the people that are not as lovable, the cold prickly ones. Do we extend the light to them? The rude person that cuts us off. The therapist that doesn’t understand our disability. Or the people asking for money on the street corners. Do we see the light in them and extend our light to them. In this season of hope and light may we look for the light in all we see and touch. A Blessed Christmas to all my readers.

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Spare Change
Dolly pulled her frayed black sweater close around her shoulders.Wind blew the falling snow into her face. Alternating the battered travel mug to keep one hand warm, she sat waiting. Holding out the mug with the spare change request to passerby’s. They neither heard nor saw her, as they mounted the steps to the cathedral.Copyright 12/22/20Carol Farnsworth

I will have a blog on the 24 for the Christmas break.