International Day of Remembrance January 27, 2022

The whole name for this day is, “International day of Commemoration and Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust.” In these days of people denying that events occured, I feel the need to tell my encounters with this part of history.

As a young adult, I visited my brother Bob in a small college town, in West Virginia. There was a professor in the Library that seemed to have an answer to every question. Even when asked in a different language, he was able to respond correctly in that language.

One of his abilities was to match biblical quotes line for line with staff and students. Living in the bible belt, this shouldn’t come as a surprize, but he was not a Christian. He had memorized the bible and had complete recall of different passages. Often, a quote was presentated to prove a speaker’s point. He would answer with several quotes with the different view point.

One day, I went for a walk with him and my brother. While walking, the sun grew hot and the professor rolled his long sleeves to the elbow. There was a number on his inner wrist. I said nothing but asked Bob later about it.

He was a Young boy in Auschwitz. That is how the Germans kept track of the prisoners there.

“Well, what happened to his family?”

“They didn’t survived.”

“How did he survive?” I wondered.

“Only he knows and he is not sharing.” countered Bob.

I wondered what this man could have done to be singled out for this type of punishment.

Later, I was find out that was common practice in the Nazi prison death camps.

When our daughter was thirteen, my husband and I took her to visit Washington D. C.. We visited many buildings, memorials and museums. I wanted to visit “The National Holocaust Museum”. It has a fountian in the foyer along with a display of many burning candles in rememberance of those loved ones killed in the death camps.

We moved through the displays to be herded into a boxcar filled with the sounds of jewish families being transported to Auschwitz . We were told that as many as 50 people were packed into the boxcars .

Next, we walked into a room with personal items taken from the people as they arrived at the camp. Displays of shoes, eyeglasses and hats had been gathered. The saddest display was of childrens toys and small shoes, all that remains of of young lives lost.

My memories grow dim of the videos that were played for us. But, those small items of children brought home the one small boy who came to the camp and survived.

I say to those who choose not to believe that the Holocaust happened, it did happen and examples of holocausts continue to happen today. What will we choose to do about them . To know what one group can do to another can compel change.

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Booties

A blue one lays on it’s side

a small teddy bear is propped nearby

memories of lives past

cut short by shower’s gas

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 1/27/22

The Year of the Rat, January 25, 2022

Today starts the year of the rat. The rat is the first year in the Chinese cycle of 12 years. This year is the year 4120 , the celebration of the year of the rat.

People born in this year are said to be creative, ambitious, wasteful, clever and quick. Richard Simmons, Al Gore and George Washington are examples of famous people born in the year of the rat.

Celebrations with the rat image decorate lanterns and dishes in the new year’s celebrations. Some countries even mint coins with the rat displayed on the coin.

So how did the rat get first billing in the line up of the Chinese Zodiac signs? Folk lore tells of the jade emperor decided to name the twelve parts of the sky after common animals. One of the animals was the cat. She was lazy and asked the rat to wake her when it was her turn to compete. The rat let her sleep and when the animals were called into the emperor’s presence to have years named for them, there were only 11 animals present.

Quickly, a replacement was found. The new replacement, the rat. He went on to win the competiton by playing a flute while riding the bull. The jade emperor named the first year for the winner, the rat.

So order some Chinese take out from your favorite restaurant. Don’t forget the egg rolls to symbolize gold bricks hoping prosperity and wealth in this new year. Good colors for the new year are green, red and gold. Be sure to have some red and green in your food to go with the golden rolls.

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Red, Green and Gold

Of red, green and gold

so the story is told

of an emperor of old

with a rat embold

The rat did compete

playing a flute on the bull’s seat

none could compete

the cat ran in defeat

all tasks he completes

the rat takes his seat.

carolaspot@aol.com.

copyright 1/25/22

The Start of Book Launches January 20, 2022

As I sit to write today, the responsibility of being the first person to launch a book with Behind Our Eyes is humbling and terrifying at the same time.

I was given the gift of gab and storytelling from both my Grandfathers. But I temper that ability to have a conversation with a unknown group of listeners? Can I listen to their questions and give an intelligent reply? Or even worse, what if there are no questions or thoughts expressed besides mine?

The adult in me says to ,”calm down, you’ll do fine.”

The insecure kid in me says,”what will do if there is silent air space?”

All I can do is to prepare as well as I can, be ready to listen as much as I talk and have fun in the process. Sending a prayer email to the Creator that launched me on this book writing couldn’t hurt.

So, dear readers, If you are interested in how this evening comes out, The Zoom call information is below. I would love to hear you on the call. If you can’t attend, please send me good karma tonight.

Thank you!

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 1/20/22

Book Launch zoom information

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Skinny Dipping January 18, 2022

This is the second of my Father’s stories as told to me in his later years. As my brothers noted, the stories have grown in embleshments and drama. My reply to them is this, I have reported them as faithfully as I recall them but we all know that memory is a slippery illusion. So on this frosty winter day, I will relate a swimming story.

Bruce lived across from a creek fed pond that was the swimming hole for many Northville children growing in the 1920 and 1930’s. When Bruce and his friends were 12 or so, they wanted a more exciting swimming experience.

One day, John Springer and two buddies invited Bruce to go swimming in a new swimming hole.

“Get your bike,” John ordered.

“Where are we going?” asked Bruce.

“You’ll see,” replied John.

They rode down Seven Mile to the old abandoned gravel pit. In the middle of the piles of gravel and sand, was a deep depression filled with spring water.

The boys stripped down to their birthdayy suits and jumped in. The water was cold and refereshing on a warm summer Saturday morning.

After racing each other across the water, the dares started.

“I bet I can hold my breath for 2 minutes!”

“I can stay under for longer than that!”

“Who has a stopwatch?”

” We’ll just count the seconds aloud.”

The boys took turns drawing lungfuls of air before diving to the bottom.

One of the larger boys floated easily and had a difficult time staying submerged. He lasted a minute and a half. The second boy swam along the bottom and lasted over 2 minutes. Finally it was John’s and Bruce’s turn. They both dove down to the bottom. John started to swim towards the shore underwater. Bruce thought that swimming would deplete his air supply. He looked for something to hang on to.

There were several pieces of large equipment submerged in the center of the water hole. Bruce followed a back hoe’s shovel arm down to a hand hold near the bottom.

Counting to himself, he stayed for longer than three minutes. Almost out of air and lungs starting to burn, Bruce started to the surface.

Before he reached the air, something held his leg tightly. The harder he pulled, the tighter it held him.

Finally with a light head he swam to feel his leg. A loose cable was wrapped around his ankle. swimming down to loosen the cable, he released his leg and shot to the surface.

Gulping the warm summer air, he vaguely heard the cheers from the other boys. Bruce had stayed under for four minutes.

None of the other boys had seen Bruce in distress. He was too numb to tell them what really happened.

They returned to the shore, retrieved their clothes and drove their bikes home.

When Bruce entered his Mother’s kitchen, Grandma had her back to the door.

“Get ready for dinner,” she said without turning.

He bolted upstairs shivering with the cold and the near excape. Drawing a hot bath, he lay in the bath for several minutes. Finally, he got out, dressed in dry clothes and joined the family for dinner.

“I never told my barents or friends what happen,” he confided,”It will be our little secret.”

I wondered how many times he told this story and what evolved in the plot?

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From my book Leaf Memories

Old Growth

Old growth is precious.

Densely packed with rings of knowledge.

End of the line…but not quite.

Though the old tree is gone, the seedlings remain.

Not exact copies, but having the same inner core.

They grow strong and tall.

Encircling the memory of the stump.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 1/18/2022

Bruce’s Ski Story, January 13, 2022

During the past week’s snow storm, I recalled a winter story that my Dad related to me. The town where he grew up was in the north, west corner of Wayne county. In the 1920’s it boasted a ski jump hill. The area was known as the Little Alps of Wayyne county.

Though my Dad was too young to try the ski jump, He and his sister did own skis made of wood.

One day, after a heavy amount of snow fell in the Northville area, Bruce and his sister Marien, persuaded his Mother to drive down the Edward Hines Park Drive while pulling them behind the car.

Bruce found the tow ropes that were used in the summer to water ski and he attached them to the bumper of the old model T. Grandma started slowly down the road. There was no traffic because this was an access road for the park. Soon the car and skiers were traveling 15 miles per hour.

Marien started to ski from left to right , but Bruce pointed his skis straight ahead .

Along the roadside, he spied a mound of snow about three feet high. Bruce decided to race up the mound and jump from the top.

To his surprize, the snow mound was a pile of snow fence covered with snow.

Instead of jumping, Bruce crashed into the fencing. He let go of the rope as his ski struck the fencing.

His Mother, unaware of the crash, continued to drive for another quarter of a mile, until she noticed Marien gesturing and noting no Bruce.

Marien got in the car and they turned around to find Bruce.

By that time ,he was extracting himself form the pile. He had a few bumps and bruises and one of his skis was cracked in two.

The rest of the winter, Bruce shoveled and performed other chores to earn money for a replacement pair of skis.

Neither of his parents would believe that his sister dared him to jump the snow pile.

Finally, exasapered with the accusations, his parents remarked,”You should have known better and ignored her.”

That was something that the young Bruce couldn’t do. Marien was always able to push his buttons and get under his skin.

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Ski Hill

Some are born to soar.

Others are doomed to fail.

Which will you be?

Only time will tell.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 1/13,11

National Poetry at Work Day, January 11, 2022

I love seeing any day that celebrates poetry in our lives. With that said ,how do you combined poetry at the workplace?

Making up a short message to put on a sticky note or at the bottom of an email. A little note will brighten a co-worker’s day. “Stacks of folders, don’t be forelorn. After all, the coffee is warm. “

If you work with children, read the group one of your favorite limericks. I could reach for Dr. Seuss , start a story and stop to ask, ” what will happen next?” See what the children come up with. Have the children draw a part of the made up story.

If you work with adults, bring your favorite poetry book or poem and read it to your friends over coffee. A poem about coffee would be icing on the cake.

Tomorrow, I will work on a poem because I am a poet. If I can share a poem with one of my friends or acquaintances It will make both of our days. Today is also National morse Code day. I have been told by friends that Braille is like morse code to try to learn. I counter that it depends on the ability to feel braille or hear differences in dots and dashes. A person learns what he or she needs to communicate. Though the Morse code is not as used by many people, they have an idea of the system. Sadly, braille is seen as bumps on a page, with no recognized system.

For a number of years, I volunteered with my husband to teach third graders about braille and all things for the blind. I made braille name tags for each child, they saw the braille system as a novelty rather that a system to read and write.

In my world , I would be pleased to write a short poem in braille and have co-workers ask me what it says.

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With six dots,

my fingers can do,

what my eyes cannot.

read and write.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 1/11/21

Epiphany, January 6, 2022

Epiphany or the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, is celebrated as part of the Christmas tide.The date can vary from the Sunday after New Year’s to the 19th of January. Differences are due in part to using the Julian or the Gregorian calendars. The Catholic church along with other Western Christian churches changed the celebration to the Sunday after New Years Day. The traditional day for Epiphany is November 6

Even the events that this holiday commemorates different events in Christ’s life.

In the western churches the emphasis is on the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus. It marks the gift of the Christ to the Gentiles.

In the Eastern Churches the date marks when Christ initiated his public ministry. The baptism of Jesus as well as the wedding of Canna is celebrated .

Tradition dictates that Christmas decorations are taken down the day after Epiphany or on January 7th.

This year, I am leaving the decorations up until the 7 th, or the last day of Epiphany tide. My Daughter and Son in Law are to visit the Sunday before . It will be a very Christmas celebration.

So if you feel like continuing the Holidays, You have an extension by tradition into Mid January.

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Every year we celebrate the holidays.

People agree on most dates to celebrate.

In some cases, Epiphany’s date is elusive.

Perhaps it is tradition or covenience.

Happily, all can agree on the Manifestation of the Lord.

Another reason to celebrate in January is welcome.

No objections to any holiday.

Yearning to keep the holiday spirit going, we keep up our Christmas lights.

Carol Farnsworth

carolaspot@aol.com

Copyright 1/6/22

This too Shall Pass January 4, 2022

Welcome readers to a new year and a new perspective by guest writer, Leonard Touchyner. He has an interesting view on the pandemic and our responce to it. Leonard puts forth several thoughts about change and positive results to the pademic. His email is below his essay.

Carol Farnsworth

Too Shall Pass, a Different Perspective on Pandemics

How will the pandemic end?  I’m convinced this is not the important question.  Like a bug that can only feel his way moment by moment, he is not aware of what lies a few inches away until he gets there. The pandemic we are in at the present time will end. We know that because we periodically have pandemics, and all of them end.  It always happens that way.  It is simply for us to know that we want to survive it.  Maybe, as individuals, we will, and maybe we won’t. We know there are ways to improve the odds of survival. So, we concentrate on those ways. At least some of us do.  Others are in denial and refuse to understand the pandemic is real.  COVID is as real as polio or HIV. Others realize that the present pandemic will happen, and then it will end, to give way to another epidemic down the road. Why sweat it?

I could go on and on about the ways people deal with the present pandemic, but the point is, that is not the right question.  What are the more effective queries to consider? How about, what do these episodes of death accomplish for us? What is their purpose?  That would bring us a little closer to a better understanding. Let’s engage that question for a moment.  Let’s stretch out our feelers and get a bigger picture.

Pandemics kill a lot of people. They disrupt the direction a society is going. They force us to slow down and re-evaluate. It’s not a very pleasant experience, but it definitely happens. Maybe they tell us what we may be doing wrong. 

When COVID had its way with us, the air became clearer.  It stimulated the growth of alternative energy sources. It disrupted our supply lines, making it difficult to get a car. People were driving less. Pollution slowed down.

At least we can say not all the effects of a world illness are detrimental. Some of the immediate effects are bad, even devastating, but what would the long-range effects be?  Could it change our way of life?  Would that be a good thing?

We seem to just want the sickness go away and let us back to life as normal. Is that a good thing? Obviously not. As soon as we come to understand that our way of life, based partially on getting more and more out of the Earth, is not sustainable.  Our economy as it is now depends on ceaseless consumerism.  That is based on getting as much as we can in as short a time as possible. Our whole economy is structured that way. Do we really want cities with a pall of foul air surrounding them?  Do we want our water dirty? Do we want a world with decreasing life span and less and less diversity of life? I certainly don’t.

The farther we go down this path, the harder it will be to alter course. But what should we alter it to?

I’m going to take a leap here which is obvious to me but may not be obvious to others. If the Earth we live in is healthy, the living things are going to be healthy.  The same principle works in reverse. If the world we live in is unhealthy, we will also be unhealthy.  One way to determine what a person values is to visit his or her home.  

This is not a diatribe. Not everything we’re doing is wrong. But we need a change of direction.  The sooner we get down to business in finding those things which most need to change, the sooner we can say “this, too, changed.” But eventually in time, we will need another change in direction. If we don’t find our own way, there will be another plague to get us started in a better direction. 

In this world, change happens very fast. What it takes to participate in these changes may require increasing rigorous feedback from the world to get our attention. I’m afraid we may not have too many chances in the future to respond to these increasing rigors.

Don’t say “this, too, shall end.” Instead, say “what do we need to learn from this particular harsh lesson?”  Then do your part, whatever you see your part as being.

tuchyner5@aol.com

copyright 1/1/22

Thoughts for the New Year December 30, 2121

Many people reflect on changes to make in the new year. Since this is a blog about the experience of a blind individual, I will put forth curtersy rules when interacting with the blind.

People don’t have conversations often with a blind person. When they do, they may need some guidelines of what to do and not do. The braille group I belong to thought the curtersy rules from the Federation For The Blind a good starting point to open a line of communication.

These few rules will go a long way to accepting differences in each other without invading another’s personal space.We can all use a little help from our friends.

Speaking of friends, I would like to take this time to thank my regular readersof this blog. Your comments and likes make me write a better blog for you.

I would like to thank the readers who fly occasional with me. I hope to see you as a regular reader soon.

Finally, I wish to thank my family and friends that drop in and offer encouragment and corrections. Special thanks to my husband, John who cuts, paste and reads my blog before publishing. You make my day.

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Blog

Big thoughts,

long to be heard,

open conversations with each other,

good exchange of thoughts and ideas.

blogging

carolaspot @aol.com

copyright 12/30/2121

Call a Friend Day December 28,2021

There are two informal holidays that interest me today. The first is call a friend day. I imagine that many of you have done this in the past several weeks. But what about that email or card that appeared from someone that you haven’t thought of for months or years?

I have several old friends and relatives that have reached out to me this season but I haven’t return the favor. I hate to make cold calls out of the blue. I even put off calls to apple support until I have tried every solution I can think of.

The reason I don’t enjoy calls is my hearing, or lack of it. If I am honest with myself, I know that I can use a speaker phone or my blue tooth that talks directly into my hearing aids. So why am I so hesitant?

What can I say to people that I no longer know? I need to change my mind set. Calling to say hello is not about me. It is about the person that reached out to me. They may want a sounding board, a connection with the past or a confirmation that I am still alive.

So I will look through my contacts to place a long overdue call. I may find that I may even enjoy it.

The second informal holiday is play a card game day. Though I could play solitare with my braille cards, maybe I could invite a couple to come and play cards. Playing a game is a good way to have conversation about the game and what is going on in each other’s lives.

So today, I will call friends, to make a date to visit. Yes, I will bring a deck or two of cards. Deal!

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Let Your Fingers do the Walking

Let your fingers do the walking through the contacts.

they will run down the list.

To find a long lost friend. Let the fingers do the dialing.

To touch another with a friendly hello.

Even if you get voice mail, you have touched them.

You may be surprized with the results.

Happy calling.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 12/28/21