The phone was ringing. Shortly after my wife answered it, not only did I know it was our son, but I knew why he was calling. After a couple minutes she shouted to me “Mark wants to talk to you.” As I turned on the speaker my son said “Happy Anniversary.” I couldn’t believe it! We’ve been married 52 years. As our conversation came to a close, I told Mark that we’re going out to dinner at an extremely nice restaurant not far from here. Always looking to make a joke I said who knows “maybe I’ll get lucky tonight.” There was no chance of me getting lucky in the way this quote is usually used. Abstinence, while a choice for some, was just another behavior forced on us by my quadriplegia. Wedding Day 1965
It is not unusual when I take questions and answers from a group I’d just…
Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – 1784), widely known for her poetry, and as first African American woman published in pre-Revolutionary America, was also a notable apologist, abolitionist and missionary.
Her journey to these shores was cruel and traumatic. In 1721, slave trader Playten Onely requests that the Royal African Company capture “500 Small Slaves, Male and Female, from 6 to 10 years old, to be delivered annually” aboard the slave ship Kent. This legislation, allowing for the capture and sale of African children in the New World will introduce scores of children into these pestilent and unjust conditions; they will be stuffed like afterthoughts into the smallest and most suffocating areas of the slave ship’s ‘hold’, in whichever way they will fit.
After being kidnapped from Senegambia, West Africa under this legislation at the age of 7, Phillis was purchased at auction by the Wheatley household, given the name of…
“…attitude is much more important than ability…Failure, if approached with the right attitude, provides opportunity for learning and hence for growth which eventually can lead to success.”
” Think outside the box.” That’s what I always say.
I sat in the chair looking at the piece of paper I had just dropped on the floor. I needed the paper for what I was doing so I had to pick it up. No big deal. Right? WRONG, it was going to be a problem. I couldn’t bend over to get it and I couldn’t get out of my chair and walk over to pick it up. You see the chair I was sitting in was a power wheelchair. Many of the simple reflex actions I used before my quadriplegia still came to me rapidly when I needed to solve a problem. Today was different and I knew it. My wife and my nurse were both gone at the time and so was the option that they could pick it up for me. I knew I had a major challenge before me the resolution of which would affect me…
The events of September 11, 2001 caused me to write an e-mail to a friend in which I said: “If there’s a silver lining to be found in all of this, it is that Americans will bond, and will return to civility.” I was right. For about two weeks.
We don’t yet know what brought about the horror in Tucson this weekend [the Gabby Giffords shooting]. It could easily be argued that insanity is the cause. But well-meaning people, seemingly from across the political spectrum, are using this occasion to make the statement: ‘We must return to civilized discourse.’ I want to believe respect and decency will be the ultimate result of the coming dialog, but I fear that I don’t believe. The lesson learned from…
I saw the painting The Cloth Hall, Ypres by Russell and immediately recognized the World Trade Center of 9/11. Today we remember that horrific attack that happened 15 years ago, and for me it’s as if it happened last week, the emotions are still so raw. The events of war affect every living being. The dead are dead, but those left have to figure out how to find their way forward in a world that’s changed. I had to look up Cloth Hall, Ypres and found that it was Flanders Field, the Western Front that finally was All Quiet, at least it was for a mere 20 years. Then all hell broke loose again, The Great War became WWI and WWII was raging, sucking millions into the horror of death, destruction and altered lives again. It was not long before many were tangled up in Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom….
But we humans are inclined to fight for freedom, for our families, for our country’s culture, for the freedom, rights, safety, and security of others who ask us for help, so we go when called. We send our young, we rally those at home to support our troops with supplies and encouragement, we raise funds to aid them when they return home battered. And our troops pass the mantle of war on to those who follow, they feel the responsibility of those who have gone before, to fight to protect those at home, the future for their children and their country. They often see beyond themselves as individuals and understand the collective importance of being a country that preserves something greater than the individual, something that is good and right.
It’s summed up famously in a poem that was written by a young man about his reflections of the death of his friend on Flanders Fields before the Western Front went quiet –
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium
In the blog Andyticipation I wrote Andy comes to northern New York because it is much “easier” for him to travel than it is for me. The word “EASIER” was in quotation marks because it is a relative term. At 6′ 4″ 260 pounds, it is usually a disaster when I travel, but it is […]