“You Can’t Say That “February 8, 2022

(Warning some strong language)

When I was being trained by the Michigan Dept. of Labor to adapt my skills as a visually challenged person, I met individuals from across Michigan. We had classes, meals and counseling sessions with most of the participants. One young black man didn’t engage with others and at the first of the month, he disappeared for over a week.

During one of these times, I overheard two older black gentlemen discussing this individual.

“He is gone again!”

“Well, he is just a n—–!”

interrupting, I ask, “Why are you using that word?”

One of the men replied,”You can’t use it, but we can, if he acts like a n—–!”

I learned later that this client had been shot in the head during a robbery and lost his sight as a result of the injury. He was require to attend the rehab school by the state. When he received his disability check in the mail, he cashed it and took a bus back to his home in Detroit. When his money was gone, he returned to the school.

I am relating this story because we have different rules for people in our ethnic group. I am Scottish and Polish. I can call another individual in my ethnic group a stingy Scot or a feeble minded Pole. Why do we make such distinctions? If it is wrong for some people it should be wrong for all.

By stating, “We can call this man a n—–, but you can’t.” This widens parameters between groups and highlights differences rather that similarities.

By questioning the two older gentlemen, I hope that they may consider their conversation could be overheard and judged by others. I learned a lesson that day. By making derogatory remarks about any ethnic group , we isolate rather than unite us as one people.

Since that day, I have ceased my own ethnic jokes and have questioned such remarks from others. We are not perfect but a little thinking before speaking can go a long way to start the healing in our communities.

As my Mother would often tell my brothers and myself, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

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Ugly Words

Ugly words

hurt others , draw the lines

dividing.

Hurting others,

making us feel good,

we all lose.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 2/8/22

Let It Snow, Febuary 3, 2022

As Dean Martin crooned in his 1959 album called Winter Romance, “O the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, so since we’ve no place to go. Let it snow.”

We have about 4 inches so far. The snow is expected to continue until later this evening. It is interesting to notice the landscape change to soft white contours. The little birds can’t find the seeds on the ground and porch. They take turnsor fighting to attack the suet cake for seeds.

I plan on sitting with my husband, John by the fire. and knit another felt animal. I am currently working on a German Shepard.

Even writers need a day of rest once in awhile and Mother Nature is providing it today.

So,”Let it snow, let it snow, Let it snow.”

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Snowflake, snowflake,

pure and white,

On my head

and lashes you lite.

One by one,

you pile up.

While others float gently

in the air.

Pathways gone ,

Roads are unseen.

A blanket of snow,

underneath unseen.

carolaspot @aol.com

copyright 2/3/22

Ground Hog Day, February 1, 2022

Do you remember the movie, “Ground Hog Day?” Well, I am sitting in a hospital room awaiting surgery for a broken bone. I have been here three times before. But it is not for me but my husband John.

In early October, we did a fall simular to Arty Johnson a comidian on the show, “Laugh In.” He rode a tricycle and fell on his side. John and I fell off our tandem bike the same way.

When moving slowly and making a sharp turn, the tandem bike’s balence becomes unstable. We made a sharp turn to the left and then had to make a 180 degree turn the other way. We went down on the edge of the road.

I hit my head, cracking my helmet into two pieces. I tucked in my body to have the bike take the blow. I had bruised ribs but no other injuries.

John wasn’t so lucky. He mustt have put his arm out to cushion his fall. He hurt his left arm.

Being a male, He reasoned that he sprained the elbow and it would get better with time. The arm did seem to improve slowly.

During the next two months, John put up and took down Christmas lights, drove and did normal activities. Except for occasional pain and weakness, he had no complaints..

During the Christmas holidays, he noticed that he couldn’t extend his left arm. After two xrays and an MRI, the prognosis was that he broke the end of the radial bone by the elbow. The bone was still broken and would not heal .

So here I am. At the support position for my husband. He was given a nerve blocker and his left arm was dead weight. The surgery will take three hours and some time in recovery, but he should be able to go home tonight.

As for myself, I have located the numbers on this room. It is in braille. The bathroon is across a open hall. I have eyeballed my way my path. If I stick my head or foot out of this room, an aid is at my side. I am sure the staff don’t want to have a blind woman wander around. I can comply with their preferences for awhile.

So I sit here and wait to be the supportive partner.

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Gumby

The arm hangs limp

like a hairy polish sausage.

He is nervous and groggy.

Finally, he is rolled away with his royal court.

I await his royal return.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 2/1/22

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