National Nurses Day May,6, 2021

Nurses, like many other medical professionals, have worked long and hard this year. Some have given their lives to nurse others.

Though women have played a major role in births, holistic knowledge and caring of the dying, no formal training was offered until the mid 1900s.

Women were conscripted in the Revolutionary War to maintain cleaning and feeding and care of wounded soldiers. The women aquired medical knowledge by observation and hands on learning.

Formal nurse training was established by Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from medical school. Florence Nightingale established formal training for nurses during the Civil War. Nursing attracted volunteers such as Walt Wittmen, who nursed his younger brother and others in Washington hospitals. Part of his work was to write to families of the wounded on their behalf. His poem, “The Wound Dresser”, addresses the nursing of wounded and dying patients.

Here is a link to the poem.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53027/the-wound-dresser

From handed down knowledge to the highly trained nurses of today, they are a work force of 3.5 million. They deserve our gratitude.

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A Nurse’s soft touch

Needed to start the healing

of body and spirit

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 5/6/21

Happy May, May 4,2021

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. I have an interesting memory of this holiday. When I was in college, I had a hispanic roommate. She belonged to the Chicano Student Organization. I was allowed to work on their fund raisers, becouse of my roommate Connie. The group would have a dance with a live band. We would make frijoles , tamales, Mexican rice and beef pieces with burritos to sell and make money for the group. When the food was gone, we were allowed to join the dancing.

I was the only gringo in the place. I drew much attention from the young men. They talked sweetly to me, but in Spanish.

Finally, Connie went with me to the ladies roon. She explained, “Those young men are talking trash to you.”

“But why?” I responded

“They want to know what they can get away with if you don’t know Spanish.”

“What can I do?” I lamented.

Connie thought for a moment and said, “I will sit next to you at the table, If I kick you… slap whoever is talking to you.”

We returned to the dance, I was approached by a handsome young man. He smiled and spoke softly.

I felt my friend kick me and I slapped that man. He was shocked and moved away. This happened several more times before the consensus was I was to be respected because I understood their language. I was asked to dance with no bad language or groping. I had learned a lesson. Sometimes is in the meaning of the words not in the way they are spoken.

The following poem will appear in Spirit Fire Reveiw in May. I dedicate it to Connie and all her friends.

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The Rosary Tree

by Carol Farnsworth

In an old pueblo church’s garden,

stands a small mesquite tree, a bench and a grotto protecting the Blessed Mother statue. The tree was festooned with many rosaries. Sunlight reflected like tears on the beads.

Large and small, colored stones and crystals, hand made and elaborate, they hung as silent witnesses.

A long black beaded one for the father who prayed on his way to work. Smooth polished wooden beads for the mother,

who prayed on her morning walks.

Two small first communion rosaries were interwoven for the twins who received them as gifts.

I watched as a teenager stood up from the bench and placed her rosary composed of rose quartz on a high limb of the mesquite.

I asked her, “Who are your prayers for?”

She quietly replied, “For my Abuela, her name was Roseta”.

This tree of memories of lost friends, neighbors and family has grown heavy with the prayers and memories of them this year.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 5-3-21

Pocket Poem Day April 29, 2021

Today celebrates the ending of National Poetry Month. This is a day to select a poem that speaks to you and put it in your wallet or purse to have with you.

A poem like a bit of scripture readings has been carried by service men and women when going into battle. The poem gives comfort and hope to read it another day.

In my nother’s purse were several holy cards. They had a picture of religious art on one side and a prayer or scripture reading on the reverse. I can imagine my Mom taking out one of the cards while waiting at a doctor’s office to stay calm.

Activities suggested for this day include giving a pocket poem to a family member or friend. The poem can be original or from a famous poet.

Another way to spread poems is to take a piece of chalk and write a short poem or quote on your driveway or sidewalk. It will be interesting how many people pause to read the poem.

If you eat at a restaurant today, think of a poem about the food served or the friendly server, place the poem along with the tip. Be sure the poem will make your server smile.

Finally, If you are brave, you can give out copies of an original poem you wrote. It can be about your community or neighborhood. The point is to share poems and encourage others to read and write poems.

As Emily Dickinson Said,”one of my secret instructions to myself as a poet is whatever you write, don’t be boring.” I would add be sincere and have fun.

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I examples of pocket poems.

I have a little poem

a bouquet of words, just for you,

laying them in your arms.

In my secret word garden

I grow blossems of feelings for you,

to decorate our home

the squirrel looks inside

at the people sitting around the dinner table

Hey…what about me?

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 4/29/21

Live and Let Live April 27, 2021

While perusing historical events for this day, I came across a sad moment in our past.

In 1953, President Eisenhower’s first executive order was to ban LGBT persons from holding government jobs. This was the height fear of communism. The President consider the group akin to communists as a security leak.

From the mid-1950’s to the late 1960’s, over 10,000 people lost their jobs because of their gender preference. Many more were investigated and left their positions on their own.

The executive order stayed on the books until 1995 when President Clinton rescinded the order.

This brings home how difficult it is to change people’s prejudices concerning others. The definition of prejudice is,” a preconceived opinion , not based on fact or experience.”

We all have some prejudices, it is in the human nature. Most people would say they are harmless. But every time we form an opinion not based on fact, we cut ourselves from others in our world. We build emotional walls that are not easily broken down.

Let us look hard at our current feelings concerning prejudices in the reporting and listening to current events. Do we see individuals, or do we label groups? Do we use the problems to start discussions or do we shut the door in verbal exchanges by issuing statements about groups with no basis in fact.

Disabled individuals have long battled against such thoughts and actions. We should be equally concerned with other groups battling prejudices. Watch what we think, do and say. We will be judged as a nation by how we treat each other.

We need to look for the common ground.

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Prejudice

preconceived notions

raising heated emotions

everyone is different

judging others

us against the world

divides us into smaller groups

individuals build walls

very hard to scale

caring must come first

each person reaching for common ground

Carolaspot@aol.com 4-27-21

A Mother’s Pride April 22, 2021

I was thinking of the stages of parenthood. First there is the arrival of a dependent baby. All needs met by the parents. Then the child learns skills, knowledge is accrued and IQ tested.

Your child is consider grown but not necessarily an adult.

As the child grows, the parents strength and thoughts processes may diminish. At some point, the child passes his or her parents. That happened to me this weekend. I was visiting my daughter and her husband. They were knowledgeable about technology, health and finances. I listened as Ruth spoke of her doctoral dissertation and defense of it today. The Corona virus has put the presentation on a Zoom call. I will be able to watch and wonder,”Is this really my child?”

Both my husband and I are proud of her. But that doesn’t make it easier to know her knowledge is way above our understanding.

I remember the growing years with nostalgia. I see the young woman standing before me and marvel at who she has become.

The credit must be shared by a live in Grandma, other family and friends, as well as the inner drive in her to succeed.

I thank God for the gift given to us. I pray for Ruth and Chris.

So, I will watch, smile and maybe shed a tear of joy and love.

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An effervescent Statistician

She started her zoom presentation for her dissertation.

She looked calm and cool.

When she was asked a question about her statistics,

she was effervescent in her voice and manner.

Her hands were animated, gesturing to the white board.

When through, we applauded the newest Dr. Ruth.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 4-22-21

Together, we can restore the earth April 20, 2021

This coming Wednesday is the 51st Earth Day. There will be a three days of digital groups of youth, educators and governments talking and working together to restore our home, the earth. This movement started as a reaction to a disaster. In 1969 in the Santa Barbara Channel. Senator Nelson from Wisconsin after veiwing the spill from a helicopter, thought that the time was right to involved activists in environmental issues. The first environmental day on polution was held in the spring of 1970. The teach in ,agenda was changed due to no one argueing for polution. The name “EarthDay” was thought up by Hayes, a advertising professional that thought of the slogan for Volkswagen, “think small”. He came with several slogans for the event . Earth Day was amoung them . He chose not to copyright the name so it could be used by all who wanted to have Earth Day activities.

This event went global in the 1990’s. The number of events are held over several days.

Last year, Earth Day was heald digitally. It had the largest number of participants .

This year the three day event starts today. Below is a link to the on line events, panels, discussions and programs. I hope you will find something of interest for you.

https://www.earthday.org/

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Mother Earth Day

We celebrate all sorts of special days.

Some are funny, such as goof off day.

Some are serious, like World Health Day.

None can be more serious than Mother Earth Day. Like children we have been given a gift.

Parts are broken and in need of repairs.

Only together, can we start to undo the harm we have caused.

To care must come before we can act as good stewards.

To give the gift of the earth to the next generation in better shape than when we received her.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 4/20/21

ASL and high Five Day April 15, 2021

Everyone knows that is tax day except for this year. I thought I would celebrate a holiday that is close to my heart.

ASL or American Sign Language is the natural language of the deaf population. It is used by 250,000 to 5000,000 people in the United States and Canada. Numbers vary due to the health surveys using self reporting on the deaf and hard of hearing population.

Approximately 2 to 4 percent of the population falls into this catagory. Of the group, 50 percent is over the age of 65.

So why don’t we see nore people using sign lanquage. Many deaf children have been given cochlear implants by hearing parents. They hope their children will be able to mingle in a hearing world. Many states are considered oral rather than signing. The schools emphasis is on lip reading and oral speech.

As a former speech pathologist, I prefered a multi approach to language.

I had a cousin, David, that became deaf after a high fever as a toddler. I learned ASL and was able to communicate with him. No one in the family bothered to learn sign language.

I used signs with severely and trainable mentally impaired adults. They were able to use signs to communicate their needs. With the pressure to communicate lessened, many started to pair signs with speech.

Gallaudet University is the only higher learning institution that uses ASL exclusively. Many deaf see the use of ASL as a way of preserving their culture.

As a person who is hard of hearing I will use all tools in my toolbox to communicate.

The High Five day is to salute all deaf persons for the right to choose their own form of communication, isn’t that the American way?

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Hand Signals

I sit quietly, the only sound is the hum of the Oxygen concentrator beside the bed. I gently hold Helen’s hand. Her hand is cool, soft to the touch. It rests limp in my hand. I study the hand veined with blue lines and wrinkles. I turn the hand palm up to trace the long life line extending past the wrist. The hand is rough with dry skin. I reach for hand cream and rub some into her palms.

On my first visit, Helen grabbed my offered hand with a fierce strength. Her grip was painful. I talked and sang to her until she drifted into a light slumber and her grip relaxed. I felt my hand was the lifeline anchoring Helen into this world.

On the next visit, I held a hand that lost it’s strength. When I squeezed a light squeeze was felt in return. The strength increased as the time for her Morphine drew near. After receiving the drug, she rested and released my hand.

Another day, the hands were gesturing and Helen laughed and chatted with her deceased sister. She was showing how her to fix soft boiled eggs. Her eyes were open but it was not this world she saw.

Yesterday the hands were hot to the touch. When I attempted to hold one, she pulled back and grimaced in pain. Only the Morphine released her to allow a light slumber.

Now I hold a cooling hand with no muscle tone or movement. I squeeze but there is no response. I gently place the hand under the blanket and rise to give Helen a last kiss on the forehead. I whisper,”I love you, go in peace.” I leave the room, knowing this is the last goodby.

There is one in every Family April 13, 2021

In a scene at the beginning of the “Lion King”, Zazu the bird is lamenting with Mufasa the lion king about a family member that always spoils special occasions.

That person in my family was my Great Aunt Pearl. She was a widow most of the time I knew her. With no children of her own, she was determined to correct my brothers and myself. We were in constant fear of her and her hurtful words.

She was a leader in the order of Eastern Star. When I asked if she would sponcer me into the organization, she informed me that Catholics were not Christian enough for the Eastern Star. I was crushed. I saw the gowns the ladies wore and I thought it would be a great group to dress up for.

Aunt Pearl corrected my grammer, posture and clothing selections. I learned to avoid her.

She was under 5 foot tall. When one of my siblings grew taller than the petite Pearl her attitude changed towards that brother. They were considered as adult . She started to listen to them.

When I reached a height of 5 foot 2 inches, I was surprised to find a lonely older woman that would request assistance. As she aged, I would take her shopping and help with chores. In the grocery store, she would take the time to smile and talk to the young children. I would wonder, “What happened to the Tyrant?” I found that Pearl was lonely but didn’t know how to make friends.

This was brought home at her funeral. Except for the Eastern Star ceremony, I could count the morners on one hand. I was sad that Pearl put up barriers so she woun’t be hurt.

My lesson from Pearl is I may make mistakes, have to apologize, but I learned to be open with friends and family. I wished that Aunt Pearl had learned the same.

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Pearl Was No Jewel

Aunt Pearl, my Grandma’s sister, was a tiny spit fire of a presence.

Having no children, she terrorized her neices and nephews.

She ordered us around and found fiaws  with our behavior. We were afraid of her and avoided her visits.

When we grew up and were taller than her five foot frame, she treated us as grownups.

Talking to us in conversations and listening to our opinions.

I was the last to grow tall.

  I found a lonely woman that could use some assistance.

Weekly, I took her shopping and to do errands.

Talking with her, I heard her stories of growing up in Canada.

Beneath the prickly exterior, was a Pearl of an aunt.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 4-13-21

Thank Heaven for the Poets April 8, 2021

A friend sent me a link to the New York Times. It was an article that when we as a people are stressed, depressed, or in conflict with each other, we need the poets to remind us of why we have a life and why we are here.

At this year’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman a young poet, stepped up to the podium and with her words, she spoke and told the nation how to start the healing.

“”Let the globe, if nothing else say this is true.

That even as we greived, we grew.

That even as we hurt, we hoped.

That even as we tired, we tried.

Poets and their poems are needed in these times of trials, conflict and misunderstanding to lift us up to our better selves.

Many people will say,”I don’t read or listen to poetry”. But they are missing the heart and soul of the nation’s people. So I agree with Margaret Renkl when she thanks God for our nation’s poets.

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Why We Need Poets

We should hear the melody of life in their words.

With gentle words the poems can bring us to our better selves.

When we drink bitterness, the poet can sweeten the brew.

We can find life’s meaning and live ,heal and grow.

Poetry is the bread and butter that feeds and nurtures our nation’s soul.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 4/8/21

A Cup of tea, April 6,2021

I belong to a bookclub. I experience a book by listening to a reader’s interpretation of the story. Often, I will miss a part of the book through no being attentive or falling asleep. But with the book,”The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Elisa See, I found a unique way to enhance the experience.

The story revolves around a minority people in the mountains of China that have grown tea for thousands of years. The families village and those in the area grow

pu-erh tea. I had not heard of this type of tea but a resource in the back of the book , talked about a tea distributor of this tea in this country. The author became friends with The owner of Bana tea company and allowed Ms. See to accompany her on a Tea buying trip to China.

When I went to the website for ,”bana tea company” ,the tea seller had a selection of several teas that were mentioned in the book.

I was curious and purchased a sample selection.

The selections were two types of raw Pu-erh, a fermented pu-erh and two small mini cakes that were aged for 10 years. The instructions for tea brewing in the book mirrored the instructions from the tea dealer. First the water must be at a rolling boil with the water over 190 degrees. The first water was to warm the pot and start the tea leaves to hydrate. The first water was disposed of after 15 seconds. The second pouring was steeped for 1 to 2 minutes. The tea could be poured out and a second pot could be made with the same leaves.

I found that I could make 4 to 6 pots of tea with the leaves resting or drying the tea between pots. As I enjoyed the tea, I thought of the labor intensive work involved in the several weeks of tea harvesting. The best pu-erh tea is harvested from ancient wild tea trees. The harvesters, must climb, pick and gather the leaves into a basket worn on the back.

I enjoyed all of the tea varieties but I was able to enjoy the wild taste of raw Pu-erh tea. The fermented and tea cakes, were harder to reuse. They brok apart into smaller pieces than the raw pu-erh tea. Both the fermented and aged tea cakes were milder and had no harsh taste notes.

I found my enjoyment of the book was highten by being able to touch, brew and taste what was talked about in the book. It was a wonderful reminder that are many ways to experience another culture.

The website for the bana tea company is

http://www.banateacompany.com

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A Cup of Tea

In “My Fair Lady” Eliza was tempted with a cup of tea.

In “All Things Great and Small” James Herriot, starts his day with strong tea.

My tea from a bag didn’t seem the same as brewed leaves.

Then I found tea, raw, from the orginal source.

I took time and care to prepare the brew properly.

What was produced was nirvana.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 4/6/21