The Crossing, June 29, 2021

This is how I imagine my Great great grand parents made their way from Scotland to Canada in the early 19th century.

The Crossing

  Robert and his pregnant wife Jane and eight children boarded a schooner to sail to Canada. Leaving the small fishing village, they were to join relatives to farm in Delhi, Canada.

  Scotland’s land was used up and no longer could produce crops to feed a family and pay the taxes. Scots were prohibited from fishing in their own waters. More Scotsmen were turning to the new world for opportunities.

  Robert’s family shared a cabin with another Scottish family. It was crowded and much of the day was spent on deck for fresh air.

  The children played simple games. Sailors would give them small pieces of hemp to practice knots and play cat’s cradle. Jane pulled her homespun wool gray shawl closer against the wind, as she watched the children at play. The girls hung wash on the deck rails to dry .”Keep a sharp eye, lest the wash blow overboard! , their mother ordered. They obeyed and gathered items as they dried.

  The voyage was to take 25 to 30 days. However, the spring sailing ran into storms and fog slowing their progress. The ship landed in Montreal on April, 30th, thirty one days after departing Edinburgh.

  Robert decided to bathe in the St. Lawrence river before appearing to the immigration authorities. He left his wife to pack family goods and children to debark the ship. Robert didn’t return. Jane, fearing the worse and alone in a strange land asked the authorities to search the St. Lawrence river.

  The currents and undertow of this river in the spring, was deceptive to unsuspecting swimmers and bathers. Roberts body washed ashore several miles downstream from the wharf.

  Jane took their small savings to pay for a burial. Then she gathered her family and with a letter from Roberts’s uncle in Canada, she told her children that they would walk to their new home in Delhi, some 400 miles away. It would take most of the spring  and summer. Along the way they slept in barns. Fished the rivers and requested assistance from the small churches they passed. Jane would read a bible verse to her children to begin and end their day. Many times she made up verses to encourage the children to continue. Occasionally, a wagon or cart would stop and give Jane and the younger children a ride. Her two older children had to walk besides the vehicle. The oldest son Walter, when not fishing or hunting for small game would do odd jobs to earn a few coins to feed the family. At age 12, he became the man of the family.

  Finally, in August, their little family arrived at the uncle’s farm in Delhi. Jane went into labor and bore a daughter in the beginning of September.

  Except for Robert , they all survived the trip

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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 6-29-21

Rainbows and Rainforests June 24, 2021

Last Thursday, I wrote about teaching Hawaiian dance. I took 2 trips to Hawaii to immerse myself in the culture ,history and language of Hawaii.

On my first trip we visited the oldest and youngest islands. Kawaii and Hawaii Islands are found on the south and north ends of the Hawaiian archipelago.

Our trip had an auspicious start. Our plane was delayed in Michigan due to an ice storm. We arrived in Los Angeles, with a half hour to get to the flight to Honolulu. My husband, John set off at a run to hold the plane. My ten year old daughter, Ruth and I were left to follow.

Ruth read the signs and led me quickly across the airport. Only when we were in the correct terminal, she became confused. John appeared at the top of a set of stairs. Our gate was upstairs. The door to the plane was open but it closed after we boarded.

We made it but our luggage was delayed until that evening and delivered to our hotel.

The deity of volcanoes and creation of Hawaii is Pele. What better to feel her power than at Volcano National Park near Hilo. We traveled to the park before official opening time. We walked through a lava tube formed centuries before , it had an interesting texture ,not smooth but rough to the touch. Like eskimos with many words to describe types of snow, The Hawaiian language has multiple words for the type, density, weight and flow of lava. The Volcano was active during our visit.

The park was closed for several days due to moving lava. On the last day of our visit, we heard that the park was open. We arrivied to find no parking spaces. We drove to the front of the parked line of cars to find a handicapped spot open. We hung up the handicapped sign and got out. We were allowed to walk to where the lawa was flowing under the crust of the land. The land had a glow with heat and light from the underground lava. We were the last group of people to see this area. Several firemen walked behind us and closed the park after we left the trail.

Because of the larger land mass and heat of the island, rain is frequent and rainbows form frequently. I called this island rainbow island.

Hawaii is known for Kona coffee. We stopped at a sampling store and wandered to the coral jewelry. Ruth stayed in the coffee section. On the drive back to the hotel, Ruth fidgeted and laughed for no reason. I turned and ask,”How many samples of coffee did you have?”. She replied,”O six or seven,” She was buzzed. Ruth has a taste for coffee ever since.

After Hawaii, we traveled to Kawaii. The building code restricts the height of buildings to no taller than the tree tops.. That is about two stories high. Kapata is the largest city on the island. There we saw a Hawaiin dance show with dances to Pele and Hi’laka her sister, she is the deity of flora and mountain rains.

The wilderness on Kawaii is one of the wettest areas in the world. It receives between 198 to 418 inches of rain a year. The trees, drip with vines and climbing flowers. If you go walking in the preserve, be prepared to change your clothes afterward. Rain is a daily occurrence. The lushness of Kawaii and the starkness of lava formed Hawaii ,was a nice contrast.

John and Ruth walked part of the Pali trail on the west side of the island. Here was agriculture of taro fields. This plant is a starch growth simular to potatoes.

Next Thursday, I will report on my second trip to Hawaii.

I wish my sisiter in law, Peggy a Happy Birthday today.Thanks for being a reader of my blog.

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A Lesson In Patience

She wanted to learn to surf.

Lessons were available.

A young man gave her a board.

She was insturctive to attach a wrist band to her board.

She paddled stood and balanced

first on the beach then in the water.

She paddled out and waited for a wave.

And fell again, again , again.

Finally, She stood and made to the shore.

Too bad, Dad didn’t photograph the moment.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright June24,2021

Summer Solstice, June 22, 2021

Today, in the northern hemisphere, we mark the day as the start of summer. In ancient times, this was considered mid-summer. The day may not always be the longest for daylight, due to the location of the observer.

The sun is at it’s highest point, about 22 % above the earth.

Looking at my weather, it is not looking like summer. The temperature is in the low 60’s with clouds and showers. The windchimes are dancing with a north west breeze. Not a day to celebrate outdoors.

The 22nd of June is also National rainforest day. In our country, there are two rainforest areas. The coast of Washington State is a temperate rain forest. A rain forest is a forest that receives a large amount of yearly rain. The coastal rain forest usually runs from Northern California to British Colombia. Temperate rain forests are found in Chili, New Zealand and Norway.

The island of Kawaii has the only tropical rainforest in the U.S..

On this day, we are encouraged to raise awareness of the role rainforests play in our ecosystem. Donating to organizations working to prevent rainforest destruction while preserving these areas is up to all of us.

Recently, Brazil has initiated preserving large sections of rainforest in the Amazon area.

What will we as a country choose to do?

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Rainforest

Rain has decreased

Allowing burning to clear land.

Indigenous loss of flora and fauna.

Never to be seen again.

Forlorn tracks of land.

Open to erosion.

Still we can work to safe it.

Real solutions need commitment.

Easy to say, hard to do.

Seeing the devastation

Time to act was yesterday.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright June 22, 2021

Teaching Dance , June17, 2021

I was reminded this week, of teaching Hawaiian dance to young girls at a dance studio in my town. I had been one of the adult hawaiian dancers. The hulas we preformed were modern and songs that many mainlanders were familiar with. I started to research the old Hawaiian stories and chants and choreographing trational hand movements to the chants. I also learned the tales behind these songs. I found that I had a talent for this.

The Hawaiian Teacher left the studio to start her own dance school. I was asked if I would teach Hawaiian to adults and children.

I was a teacher but not of dance. In addition, I had limited vision. Could I keep 7 little girls interested and behaving for an hour?

I devised a set plan for each lesson. First Hawaiian greetings, then stretching to Hawaiian music. Finally the new steps and hand movements for the dance song. I learned to watch in the mirror for movements different from the group. I would go from dancer to dancer feeling each girl’s hip movements and hand positions. to be sure they were correct.

At the end of the class, I told an Hawaiian story and sometimes we made a craft. A piece of candy was the last reward for a good lesson.

I had one little girl in the class that didn’t want to be there. She would try to start a fight to get out of class. My daughter, was easily pulled into a fight with her. I knew that Ruth liked the class and Donna Ray did not. So Ruth was sent to the office and Donna had to stay in the class with no reward at the end.

My daughter would be very angry with me but I told her that fighting was wrong and I had to seperate the two offenders. I reminded Ruth that if she could ignore Donna Ray, there would be no fight.

The girls used props in their dance that I ordered from Hawaii. We used feathered gourds called Uli Ulis, Ipues or gourd drums. flags, santa hats and bamboo rhythm sticks.They loved the props and would be reminded they would keep them at the end of the year.

I also disigned the costumes with parts from Hawaii and some parts from local sources. My husband John, learned to take my ideas and sew each costume .

The recital costumes were real grass skirts from the inner bark of a mulberry tree. The tops were pull up tops in a soft or satin cloth from remnants found at the local Walmart.

The costume was completed with flower leis that the girls strung themselves and a flower clipped in their hair.

I told them the story behind each item. The flower worn on the right signaled that the girl was single, worn on the left, she was engaged or married. One of the little girls asked what if they put the flower on the back of their head? I quickly came up with, “Well, that means that you haven’t decided.”

The first photo shows my daughter dressed to dance and all the other grass skirts in the colors of the rainbow with the flowered leis displayed in a circle.

The second photo show the seven girls in their costumes dancing at a luau.

They are all smiling.

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Chorus from “Lord or the Dance”

“Dance, dance, wherever you may be.

I am the Lord of the dance says he.

I will lead you on, wherever you may be.

I will lead you in the dance with me.”

excerpts from the Lord of the Dance, 1997 by

Michael Flatley

carolaspot @aol.com copyright 6-17-2021

How to Live Well June 15, 2021

My sister in law sent me this list of life rules that she obtained from an elderly friend. I thought it was worth a re-printing

I asked a friend who has crossed 70 & is heading towards 80 what sort of changes she is feeling in herself? She sent me the following:

1 After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children and my friends, I have now started loving myself.

2 I have realized that I am not “Atlas”. The world does not rest on my shoulders.

3 I have stopped bargaining with vegetable & fruit vendors. A few pennies more is not going to break me, but it might help the poor fellow save for his daughter’s school fees.

4 I leave my waitress a big tip. The extra money might bring a smile to her face. She is toiling much harder for a living than I am.

5 I stopped telling the elderly that they’ve already narrated that story many times. The story makes them walk down memory lane & relive their past.

6 I have learned not to correct people even when I know they are wrong. The onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection.

7 I give compliments freely & generously. Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient, but also for me. And a small tip for the recipient of a compliment, never, NEVER turn it down, just say “Thank You.”

8 I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt. Personality speaks louder than appearances.

9 I walk away from people who don’t value me. They might not know my worth, but I do.

10 I remain cool when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race. I am not a rat & neither am I in any race.

11 I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions. It’s my emotions that make me human.

12 I have learned that it’s better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. My ego will keep me aloof, whereas with relationships, I will never be alone.

13 I have learned to live each day as if it’s the last. After all, it might be the last.

14 I am doing what makes me happy. I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time, just choose to be!

I decided to share this for all my friends. Why do we have to wait to be 60 or 70 or 80, why can’t we practice this at any stage and age?

By Karen Koester Turnbull

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Yesterday

I woke up thinking of my friend. She is in hospice with cancer.

I decided to vacuum my house instead of visiting her.

Later, when I was cleaning out my pantry,

I recalled the list of needed food items .

Being collected for the food pantry.

I put all the items back on my shelves.

In the evening, my Dad phoned.

He started to tell a story, that I heard many times.

I cut him off, saying I had to go.

…. But I didn’t.

I didn’t wake up today.

What a waste of Yesterday.

Carolaspot@aol.com copyright 6/15/21

School’s Out June 10, 2021

As a child, my summer vacation was divided into two sections. Time at home or time at a cottage.

My parents would rent a cottage on one of the many smaller lakes in the upper lower peninsula . We would pack food, kids and fishing equipment into the brown station wagon. As we grew, a second car was taken.

A cottage that I recall was on Black Lake in Cheboygan. I had a small sand beach to dig and explore the water edge. Finding smalll snail shells to decorate my sand creations, I would play happily for hours.

There was a boat with the cottage and my Dad brought a motor to take us fishing.

We were not allowed to get into the boat without adult supervision.

One summer, my oldest brother brought a college friend to visit overnight. His name was Santa rye. He was from Nepal and never had seen large lakes before.

In the morning, he decided to take the boat out onto the lake. My little brother Brian went along. Brian saw bob’s friend as an adult.

Neither of them had lifejackets nor could either swim. By the time my Dad saw the boat missing from the mooring, Santa had rowed the boat far from the shore.

My Dad frantically waved his arms to get Santa’s attention. I recall Santa standing up in the boat to wave in return. My Dad stopped waving and gestured for Santa to sit down and to stop rocking the boat.

Both he and my Mother watched helplessly until the two returned to the shore.

After that, there were some revisions to the boat rules

A rainy day at the cottage was fun in a different way. The cabin had a large number of books and board games. I would play a game if asked , but I perfered to curl in a rocker, wrapped in a old throw to lose myself in the adventure of a new book.

All to soon, the cottage time was over and we repacked the cars to head home. after that summer , Dad made sure both Brian and myself took swimming lessons at the Northville Swim Club.

Whether swimming in a pool or a lake, be sure to practice safe swimming with a buddy.

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Lake Swimming

The water is cold and moving in waves.

The bottom can change from sand to grassy plants or mud.

Small fish tickle and mibble at my toes.I long for the safety and a dull pool swim.

But the adventure of the lake swim ,draws me back.

You can’t find shells and smooth stones in a pool.

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot @aol.com

copyright 6/10/21

World Oceans Day June 8, 2021

As a person born and bred in the Midwest, I don’t think of the world’s oceans often. I do have personal mental photos of interacting with portions of the worlds oceans.

I recall the fury and intensity of a storm while on a small boat. The boat bucking like a bronco fighting the waves.

I still see the ocean backing up to the eedge of the Sahara in northern Africa. The contrast of golden sand dunes next to sky blue waters.

The gentle waves of the Pacific lapped at the Hawaiian Islands, due in part of the reef that surround each island.

To watch the ocean by the western shores of the us and Canada become colder with icebergs floating by before reaching the Willians Sound. To realize what a jewel this piece of ocean is, teaming with marine life.

I have swam off the Florida Keys. Warm shallow water surrounding each Key. The water was smooth as blue ice.

Off the shore of Myrtle Beach we almost lost our toddler to a rogue wave. We jumped back but Grandma raced in to rescue the girl.

We traveled on the Northern Atlantic, recliners were provided to encourage passengers to stay seated for the rough crossing.

Finally, I remember the short taxi boat to Ellis Island to veiw the Statue of Liberty. The beaches had large amounts of debris washed on the shoreline.

On reflection, I have interacted with the oceans more that I first thought.

We are all affected by the oceans with climate, pollution and ecosystems. 71 % of our earth is covered with water. To ignore such a vast resource sould be foolish. Today the United Nations will celebrate and inform about the need to preserve the world’s oceans. Starting at 10am, There will be speakers and films highlighting oceans of the world. Learn more in this second virtual conference at.

United Nations World Oceans Day 2021: Life & Livelihoods

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Mother Ocean

She nurtures life within her depths

The rolling waves cradle new life.

From the smallest plankton to the blue whale, all find sanctuary there.

But an evasive being uses the oceans as a dump.

Discarding plastic, and paper into her embrace.

She can only wash the refuse up on shores.

Trying to keep it from her family.

We can give a hand to clean her.

To keep her whole.

Before our world is changed forever.

Carolaspot@aol.com Copyright 6/8/21

Corpus Christi June 3,2021

Today is the feast day of the Body of Christ celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans and Greek Orthodox churches. Legend records the the city and bay of Corpus Christi was discovered in 1519 by a spanish explorer, Alanzo Alvarez de Pineda. He sailed into the lush tropical bay on the feast of Corpus Christi and named it to honor the feast day.

In the 1870’s the town became an important port for the delivery of cattle from the west to the eastern markets. The brochures for tourism label this sixth largest Texas city as the sparkling city on the bay.

In my first teaching position, several of the teachers wanted to travel for spring break to a warm area. Not to Florida, where the college crowd migrated. We had to drive to Corpus Christi ,TX and Padre Island.

Padre Island is two long barrier islands over 113 miles in length, the longest barrier islands in the world.

The fact that it was a sunny location in the spring called the 5 teachers to drive there. The trip took 2 days with a evening stopover in St. Louis. When we finally arrived , to our chagrin, the weather was cool and rainy. That weather continued till the day before we were to return.

We all hit the beach to get a quick tan. instead, we all had sunburns.

We were to be late getting back to our school jobs. I was coerced to call into the principal, Sister Theresa, to excuse us for an extra day. The others thought sister would take the news better if it came from me.

My second trip to Corpus Christi was 4 years ago. My husband and I were to travel down the east coast of Texas down to the border at Brownsville. We took our tandem and rode each day to explore cities and towns along the way.

We rented a mother in law apartment in Corpus Christi for 2 days. It was small enough to have been a single car garage. It fit our needs. I joked that I couldn’t get lost in it.

On our anniversary, we went out to a Mexican dinner. Our waitress asked us several questions about our selection. We realized we didn’t understand her with her thick accent. We smile and nodded our heads vigorously. I don’t remember what we had but I am sure it was interesting.

Whether you are celebrating the feast day or the city, a good time depends on who you are with.

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The Sparkling City on the Bay

From the native indians

to the first white man that beheld her,

A lush tropical oasis was discovered on

the feast of Corpus Christi.

Sailing into the bay, hoping for fresh water and supplies.

The explorers were grateful to make land safely.

Body of Christ, food for the soul and spirit, awaiting visitors

from land and sea.

Carol Farnsworth copyright 6/3/21

Return to Normal June 1, 2021

Many people were on the move traveling this weekend in the air and on the ground. Lifting of restrictions has the enhanced feeling of returning to normal.

Others view the lifting of masking and restaurats at 100% capacity as an indication of normality.

I have a more subtle clue.

Yesterday, I was sitting in my cedar chair listening to nature and man made sounds. I heard a sound that I haven’t heard for the last 16 monthes. The joyful tune of the neighborhood’s ice cream truck. I almost missed it amid the windchimes and laughter. But there it was, bringing all the nostalgia and memories. Like the time when I was young and I wanted a cone. I went into my Mother’s purse and didn’t know what bill I took out. I ran down and purchaased a cone and sat on the corner to eat it away from my mother’s eyes.

She was in the back yard in the recliner. I tried to rush into the house to replace the change. She must have heard me jingiling. I had no pockets but I had a top with an elastic bottom. She pulled at the bottom and all the change fell out.

Another time, we had just moved into our new home from the country and my husband heard the friendly jingle of the truck. He became excited and our 5 year old daughter did not have a clue , but she frantically followed her Dad as he gathered his wallet and ran outside. Soon, they both returned with an ice cream bar in hand.

My brother, Brian rents a Good Humor ice truck at his 4th of July picnic to feed the crowd of friends and neighbors.

All this quickly passed through my mind as I searched for my wallet.

Normality has returned. Below is a poen I wrote last summer when things were not normal.

Happy summer!

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Hearing is Believing

I rested on my back porch in my cedar chair.

To listen to the bird calls on this sultry afternoon.

Above the buzzing bees and bird song, I heard musical notes.

My memory tickled me for the source.

I bolted upright with recognization …the ice cream truck!

Opening the back door, I retrieved my wallet.

Hoping I was not too late, I raced to the front door.

Stopped. I looked towards my windchimes.

It was dancing wildly in the gusts of western wind.

No ice cream nor squeals of excited children.

Only the reality of a deserted street and a chime reminding me of happier days.

carolaspot@aol.com copyright 6-1-2021

Not Far From The Tree May 27, 2021

This is the story of when the speech pathologist has to deal with an articulation issue in her own child.

Ruth spoke her first word at 9 months. It was for calling her Grandma. She would curl her fingers towards herself while repeating,”Ga Ma, Gama” in a low voice. Her vocabulary and desire to talk outpaced her mouth muscles. She had difficulty with r and th , common articulation errors . But with the name Ruth Farnsworth, there was a problem.

I did not correct her but I would ask her to repeat a sentence if I didn’t understand her. I was her mother not her speech therapist.

In second grade, the school therapist put Ruth in an articulation group. She graduated in less than a year.

I believe that Ruth’s muscles matured to be able to make the correct sounds. The therapy training was to train her hearing to listen and produce the correct sounds.

The next year, one of Ruth’s classmates commented that she had lost her accent over the summer.

Like most things in raising a child, you research the options and make the best choice for your child. I felt that a different person to work with Ruth would keep her attention better than her mom.

If you have a child that has speech or language difficulties, have the child tested by a school therapist. You can work with that person as a team.

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What did you say?

Gama, Gama gesturing to come to her.

Grandmother comes running to the child.

“Gama is my best fwend,” Ruth explains.

When asked, “What is your name?”

She responds,”I’m Woof Fawoof”.

If asked again,she would repeat,”I’m Woof, Woof, Woof!”

I thought of this as I listened to her presetation on zoom.

carolaspot@aol.com