The Traces Left Behind

One of my co-workers suggested this subject and I thought it could be interesting.

When my mother died we, her children, came in and divided her possessions with one of my sisters acting as executor. We sorted through things, kept some, sold some and gave some away. My sister still has quite a bit that she offers to us all each time we’re together. But what will happen to our stuff? When we no longer need it will our children or grandchildren come in and find the things that are significant to us or will they be meaningless to them? Would they want the furniture we use every day or will they throw it out? Will they see the old computer I use and giggle at its age and slowness and say, “It goes in the trash”? Will they look at my extensive vinyl collection and say, “Sell what you can and junk the rest”? What about the tapes, reel-to reel and cassette, will they look on them as curiosities only and not worth listening to what is on them?  Will they see the books and say, “They take-up too much space, we can get them in e-books if we want them, off they go.”? Will they look as well at the things I love, and the things for which I stand and say,”Worthless”?

I find as I grow older many of the things I value are increasingly looked down on by co-workers and the other people around me. My thoughts and views, dreams and desires are from another era. Sometimes when I voice them I see looks of condescension or even rage. Will the nuclear family be reduced to a compressed electronic shadow of itself, will it be so re-defined as to be unrecognizable? Will my faith be tossed aside as “junk” and abandoned by those who follow? Will the songs, stories, poems, plays and essays I have written “go in the trash”?

I wonder.

 

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Style

I am often reminded of the silliness of style. A look or a color catches the attention of some known person and suddenly that look becomes all the rage for a short while, until it is replaced by something else and the previous thing becomes passe and uncool. In my sixty plus years on this planet I’ve seen this happen with regularity.

A few years ago a comedian appearing on a late night talk show, somewhere in Europe, wore as head gear a kettle from which the bottom had been removed causing a sensation the next day as all the stores were besieged by people wanting to by a hat like the one the comedian wore and even buying out the supplies of kettles from the stores and removing the bottoms to make their own hats. I’ve often wondered what happened to all those kettles.

In my teen years people my age became captivated with wild patterns, strange garish colors, extravagant hairstyles and headgear.4-Sensational-hippie-cult-in-60sWe were trying out our freedom and the stranger the better. Some of our experiments still hold over today but looking at the old photographs from that time is largely just embarrassing. But the experiences of one generation rarely inform the styles of another. The modern person seeking to be stylish still goes to all manner of ridiculous lengths make himself stand out, by wearing the same things the people he wishes to stand out from wear. The wearing of low-hanging pants and of the sales tags on hats are some of the modern expressions of style. Distressing or amusing to many of my generation, but to me somehow strangely familiar.stringbeanMinnie Pearl

Oh Well!

 

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Planetary Speculations

I love thinking about other planets. In the news today I read about extrasolar planet Gilese 1214b (also known as GJ 1214b) and that it might have water on it. Now of course this planet, larger than our Earth, is much closer to its sun so if water exists there at all it would be in the form of steam.

I read about another extrasolar planet that scientists believe they know the actual color of, cobalt blue. Of course this planet too is very near its sun, in our solar system it would be well within the orbit of Mercury, and could even rain molten glass.

To speculate on what might be out there I find endlessly intriguing. Being a writer and lover of science fiction myself I have always had great fun concocting new worlds and new conditions to experience in my mind. The possibilities are anything one might imagine and then make-up a way for them to exist. It has long been a pre-sleep exercise to promote relaxation. Mankind will likely never go to an extrasolar planet. The distances are too vast, the technology too daunting, the reward too small, but nothing stops me traveling there when I wish in my mind.

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Breather

It is the second day of September, nineteen days of summer left, it is Labor Day (a national holiday) here in the states, it is raining and I am resting. I pretty much work at one job or another every day of the week during the spring and summer, and to have a day to rest is wonderful. Although, I keep wondering what I might get done if I went on to work. Work is really an addiction and one gets to the point where he feels he must stay busy all the time but that’s really not good. There is no good in working if you can’t sometimes stop and enjoy your accomplishments.Sometimes it is good to just step back and get a new perspective on things. But to step away occasionally and be at peace must be a thing to be cultivated, something to practice. I heard of a soldier who was marching, a long march with full gear, and in the end he was just counting his steps, 1… 2… 3… 4…, no longer thinking, 1… 2… 3… 4…, just marching as if on automatic, 1… 2… 3… 4… I do not want to go on automatic and stop thinking so that’s why rest is so necessary. May you get all the work you need and all the rest you deserve with the reward that comes from each.

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The Fog of Memory

Memory is an amazing thing.  Each of us have memories we cling to, memories that establish our lives. We are all products of our pasts but those pasts in our memories are flawed by our individual perceptions. I might, for example, believe a certain year was wonderful because I had a particular experience that so far outweighed all other experiences and thus believe I had a good year. Comparison to the memories of others and news archives could prove me wildly mistaken. And so it is with many memories. One certain thing, a complement, a slight, if only in our own perception can color all future thoughts. I find that in my relationship to the Missus, I will often see insult when I find later that none was intended. I assume that works both ways. And so all of our thoughts and memories of any given situation can be flawed. We tend to see the past as highlights, forgetting all the things that came between them. Rather like looking at a line of power poles and forgetting the power lines that string them together. We /I, should try to see the long picture of events and not be taken back by events themselves.

 

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Change

Change is inevitable. Change can be good or bad or even both at the same time. But change is always change. It speak volumes to the fickleness of humanity that we always become dissatisfied even with the best of anything. All year long we complain about the weather. In the summer we wish for fall in the fall we wish for spring in the spring for summer in the winter for both snow and summer. A man I once knew said he was anxious to get to heaven to see how God would set the thermostat to please everyone. Nothing is ever just right. Our dissatisfaction with the world stems from our basic dissatisfaction with ourselves. We see that things should be better in our lives and we try to fix that with things outside ourselves. Those things that are fixed, the weather, the way other people act, the changing financial climates, all of those things should be set aside and not be allowed to steal our contentment. Contentment is a skill, a practice, an art, it is within each of us but must be exercised to be effective. I feel sorry for the over-indulged of our generation who must have certain things to be happy, however fleetingly. We must each cultivate joy in our own hearts apart from possessions. Not that there is anything at all wrong with possessions. But things will never bring happiness, that can only be grown from inside us, in our own hearts.

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Titanic Mystery?

 

Last night the Missus and I watched a show on public broadcasting about the RMS Titanic or more particularly about some of the people who lived through, or died in, the tragedy. I do recommend that you watch it for yourself, it was quite interesting. It inspired the post for this week.

 

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10,...

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I really don’t know if this should be posted here or on my Tall Tales page but here it is. A few years ago I had the honor of working with a really exceptional young man. He was honest, intelligent, kind, hard-working, serious, friendly and had a great sense of humor. One day he told me the most remarkable story. As it happened his grandmother was adopted. She was found as a toddler alone in a public place in New York City. She could say a name and a few French sounding words but that was all. No guardian could ever be found and she went into the orphans home and was adopted. She grew-up married and had a good long life. And now the mystery… she was found at the same time some French survivors of the RMS Titanic sinking had arrived in New York City. Some in the family have always wondered if the little toddler was a lost survivor of the tragedy. The story was told to me as true. Ok Titanic mystery sleuths you may now begin.

 

 

 

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