On Retrospect: The Posts

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This is post #2,302 – and the vast majority of them are non-fiction. Some say one should write about what they know – and for me, that’s been important.

Fiction and poetry are not my strengths nor my interests – but (over time), I did a few posts in those genres. Although I never thought of them as poetry, a few readers say my flow in the Beach Walks have a poetic feel – therefore are poems. To me, they aren’t – but I’m flattered when others say they are. Otherwise, I’ve only published one poem here.

As long-time readers know, I enjoy research. From more light-hearted topics as monthly celebrations (National Potato Month), weekly celebrations (National Rutabaga Week), and day celebrations (Talk Like a Pirate Day) – to saluting numbers celebrating birthdays (missing my upcoming one), anniversaries, milestones, or whatever – to serious topics as the separation of church and state, examining the US as a Christian nation, to the complex topic of the relationship between science and religion – I don’t really enjoy the research – I love it!

Entertainment (especially music) has been important for much of my time here in my little corner of the world. I remember the thought about featuring music with “time” in the title. That idea morphed into Time: The Musical with many acts featuring different aspects of time. Eventually, this led to 8 musicals of 81 acts. Before deciding to step away from here, Opposites: The Musical was next on the docket featuring consecutive acts of opposite terms (big/little, happy/sad, etc). Other long-standing musical ideas included Travel, Questions, Roadtrip,, and more ideas that I never created. Oh well.

On the plus side, the musicals paved the way for the Weekend Concert Series (23 posts). My initial intent was for these concerts to fill the void between musicals – a good idea that I never used.

My love for research and old cartoons led me to the Saturday Morning Cartoon series (71 posts). Featuring classic cartoon characters from the Golden Age of Cartoons, these posts were a pure joy to do.

Sometimes good ideas pop into the mind and they work – as it did with the Beach Walk series (71 posts). During my first season as a snowbird on the Alabama coast, I noticed my mind (especially while walking) focused on a topic in a different rhythm from my normal thinking pattern. Fortunately, I realized I needed to write notes after walking. Those notes would form the basis of a beach walk, so the series was born.

Collaborating was another good idea. It came to me after seeing some images by a long-time friend, Steve. We eventually did 5 posts together – but then expanded it to others. Thanks to Marina (2), Robin (3), and Ray (1). In my opinion, Ray had the most difficult challenge in this collaborative post.

I started another series – Take 5 – aiming to promote other bloggers. I only published one featuring Marina. Failure to do others is on me because I never got around to doing other interviewers.

Keeping in mind that I started this blog focusing on sports and politics, politics has maintained its space here. Whether in Opinions in the Shorts (425 posts) or posts on specific topics, I aimed high with pragmatism. In real life, I’m an authentic independent and an unapologetic moderate – and getting more so. One of my favorite posts explained my view of an independent moderate. Besides, I like liberal having their heads in the clouds because that is a response to the conservatives having their heads up their butt – and I am glad to be grounded with my head looking around to call it like it is.

Because I love research, of course there are topics that I wanted to do but never got completed. I actually started analyzing the Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia vs.Heller (an important Second Amendment case). Definitely heavy reading, yet interesting. I may finish reading the majority ruling and dissents, but I won’t be writing about. I also had more to say about the relationship between science and religion, but I won’t publish them.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my travels with you. Some say they travel through me. Bringing my beloved Cincinnati to you has been a treat. From murals to events to places to my link to aces, eights, and Dead Man’s Hand, and to whatever. Resa, you inspired me to capture murals – yet, I left too many untouched.

It’s interesting how comments or posts by others spark ideas. I recall a post about the blogging blues – actually where I introduced an important phrase – blogging breaks are good. While some thought that post was my retirement announcement (which was never the intent), the discussion in the comments was so good, I created a good series (4-5 posts) from the fabulous comments. Readers shared so many useful insights that I had to re-share them with others. Personally, they should be required reader for all bloggers.

Introducing topics as handbells, ballroom dance, and the relationship between science and religion has been very rewarding. Thank you for embracing what may have been an unknown.

Although I’ve encountered a few WordPress members who only comment (and don’t post), publishing posts is the mainstay that drives blogging. In general, if they aren’t posting, they aren’t visiting. Blogging has been a wonderful experience for me on many levels – including (but limited to) the posts at this end.

Next Topic: The People (To be published Sunday 2 Feb @ 9:00 PM Eastern US)

On Beach Walk: No. 25

 

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I think of my mother. How difficult it must have been to come to America with a 3-month old, a husband, and not knowing the language. She integrated into small-town America life, but she was fortunate to have other Italian families in the town and area.

I think about my mother as her and I returned to Italy for 6-8 months. It was her first trip back to see her mother, father, three sisters, and a brother. I was five years old, arriving knowing primarily English, yet returning only knowing Italian. Oh how the young mind absorbs language.

I think our return six years later. This time our entire family of four. But I didn’t realize until many years later that the passing of my grandfather initiated the summertime journey that gave me my first plane ride.

I think about my mother receiving a letter that my grandmother died. How lonely of a feeling that must have been, yet I recall not really knowing what to tell her.

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I think about my mother displaying kindness and acceptance from the first day she met the one who would eventually became my wife … and that would never change – and my wife still remembers her first exposure to a festive meal involving homemade ravioli as a side dish … (not the main course).

I think about my mother returning to Italy to see her sisters a few more times – but without me. I was older – either in college or working.

I think about my mother battling cancer for three years – first a breast, then the liver. She never wanted the rounds of chemo and radiation – but she took it all.

I think about the phone call I received from my mother sometime during that three-year battle. She was in Florida, I in Ohio – Crying, she said “I love you.” … words that were not commonly spoken in our house.

I think about various events around the day of her passing – it’s timing with the start of a new school year – the words I spoke at her funeral (which I posted here as in several parts).

I think about my mother smiling on my return to Italy in 2013 – a trip when I visited my mother’s only surviving sister – my aunt that I had seen in 48+ years. (Posted here)

I think about my mother as I passed her family’s home – the apartment where I spent 6-8 months – a building that is now abandoned, but awaiting a new life. (Posted here)

I think about my mother dying young – a month shy of her 59th birthday – and to think my life has surpassed hers by six years. She would be 90 this September.

Today is Mother’s Day – but I wrote this post after a beach walk because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You never heard this song, but you would have loved it.

Life: The Musical – Act 17: Remembrance

The Story
Life: The Musical is an original aFa production is a journey featuring songs of about life. Each act features an aspect of life as a theme with music supplied around that theme.

Program (Past Posts)
LifeTheMusicalAct 1: Life
Act 2: Born
Act 3: Names
Act 4: Young
Act 5: Dream
Act 6: Teens
Act 7: School
Act 8: Adulthood
Act 9: Work
Act 10: Play
Act 11: Hope
Act 12: Love
Act 13: Positive Emotions
Act 14: Negative Emotions
Act 15: Growing Old
Act 16: Death

Act 17
Life … the time for the living to live. One’s life starts when one is born. Shortly thereafter, we are given something that stays with us no matter where we go – a name. Immediately, we are nourished, so we grow physically, mentally, and emotionally from babies into young children … and that’s when we start to dream about our future life. Growth never stops, so from children we move on as teens .. but school is still much of life at this point.

Eventually, we move into adulthood as women and men with many things going on in our life. Whether its work, play, or family, life can be complicated, so many times we hope for the best. Maybe above all else, people desire love, and go through many ups and downs in that quest.

No matter the situation, human encounters also provide a wide-range of emotions over a life with ups and downs. Time marches on. Although one gets older with each day, one grows old … and then, whether expected or suddenly – the last breath is taken – life as we know it is over, but one lives on in the memory of others.

Act 17 features songs with memory, memories, remember, remembering, remembered, or remembrance in the title.

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

Announcement
Ladies and gentleman, all we have to say is welcome to The King singing Memories.

On Enchanted to Remember

Wedding

That was August 23, 1952. Their wedding eventually led to their daughter introducing me to them before a college football game in the fall of 1974. We married in April 1977. August 2012 was their 60th anniversary celebration, and the delightful footnote that the entire wedding party was still alive.

My mother-in-law loved both of these songs. A toast to a good person with the gentile heart that everyone enjoyed and respected. We will miss her, but the love and memories she gave us will last forever.


For a Friend

A year ago, the hearts of many were heavy as we received word of the passing of an outstanding lady that my wife and I were lucky to know and call friend.

We last saw her at handbell practice in early November after returning from a week-long Caribbean cruise. She was fighting chest congestion for a month, thus at the end of rehearsal, my wife and another ringer convinced her to escalate her troubles. Later that week she went to the hospital, received X-rays, was admitted, and never returned home.

Being gracious, funny, and a good one to kid, those that knew her, loved her. No matter what she did, she always gave it her best, and with the ability to laugh at herself … and, much too young to leave the living.

We, and the family, thought she would be home for Thanksgiving or shortly thereafter, but the lung cancer was too aggressive and too advanced. I can’t recall ever crying for so many consecutive days – not for any friends or my grandparents, aunts, uncles, or parents. It was very hard for us in this house, and it also impacted our entire holiday season.

Nonetheless, we grabbed our bootstraps, and focused on her husband because that is something we could do here and now. I’m proud of him as he’s done well, and I’m happy with the little part that I’ve played.

Today is the first anniversary of her passing – thus, why I couldn’t do a cartoon post. She wouldn’t be much for the today’s hub-bub, thus would be fussy with me to post as normal – but that’s ok, she’s not here to stop me … besides, I can use this to  kid her again!

I’ve thought a lot of her this week, and even write this with tears – but it’s something I had to do for a good lady.

A few days after her funeral, I posted this tribute to her, as I share a constant reminder I have of her.  Besides, I know I’m a better person today because of her role of a portion of my life – but my wife and I still miss her.

Her funeral was difficult for the entire handbell choir as she was one of us, besides, her husband asked us to play. I still recall the difficulty of that rehearsal for the entire choir, but also his strength and pride through his smile as we concluded at the funeral.

Today is a good time to share this beautiful version of Beside Still Waters we played with heavy hearts for our friend and handbell colleague.

Meanwhile, “Hey up there – how are the butterflies?” (actually, an inside joke for her that I couldn’t resist)