On a Beach Walk: No. 32

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

Today is my birthday – February 17th – which is a good day to reflect on my life. I think about different people.

I think about my mother. A kind, gentle woman who came to America at age 26 with a 3-month old, knowing only my dad, and not knowing English. In time she learned the language well enough to converse with customers, visitors, friends, family, and neighbors.

I think about growing up in a small town in the rural Appalachian part of Ohio. Different times there then than today. I had wonderful friends in that isolated, small world. Good times with good people in a good place at a good time.

I think about my college days – a four-hour drive from home – a place that providing great times and a beginning for my career. The place that I established many long-term friendships. The place where I met my wife of 40+ years. Yes, we are called Falcon Flames.

I think of my teaching career – such an important, challenging, difficult, frustrating profession. My career was one of two halves – time when I thought I knew how to teach and times when I knew how to teach for learning. (past post?)

I think about my years in training development. Wish I could have done more of it – then again – I needed the last half of my teaching career to guide it.

I think about 40+ years of marriage – the ups and downs – the travels, hobbies, events, and friends – the love, support, growth, and challenges.

I think about all the people I’ve encountered in 65 years – family, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, professionals, fellow church members, medical professionals, my students, dancers, cruisers, and many more. I’m steadfast in my belief that the most important decision people make in their life is the people one chooses to be around.

I think about the new world of the cyber-connections I’ve made with fellow bloggers. Many wonderful people from most US states (if not all), and from all the world’s continents. You have confirmed my belief that the majority of the world is good.

I think about those who died during my journey. From Effie, a fellow third grader, and (of course) family and friends. Those from accidents, natural causes, illness, and violence – and now I am 6+ years older than my mother when she passed.

Reflecting is an important thing to do. My birthday is a good occasion for looking at life – and the beach is as good as place as any for it. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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On Buying Food

The story below is true – a story that an English Second Language student wrote and I helped edit. The story touched me enough to want to tell others. The words below are a blend of mine and his because I continued working on this story with hopes of posting it here with the original author’s permission.

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The Real Truth about Buying Food in Venezuela

Today is Friday – the day that I can buy food. Not yesterday, not tomorrow – today – Friday.

The government uses the last number of our National ID to set the day of the week citizens can buy food. My number is 27654328, so Fridays are my day, and today is Friday. I requested and received a day off from work for this day – the day I’m able to buy food.

It’s 3 AM. Time to get up to find the shortest line. Yes, some people will arrive earlier than me. Others will spend the night in line. I must be careful because a short line could mean that nobody knows if the store will have any food to sell. I don’t want to take that chance.

I’m going early because the lines will be longer after 5:30 AM, the time the public buses start operating. Some people arrive very early because they own a car. I’m lucky to ride with a friend.

It’s 4 AM. I get in a line at a store that I think will sell food. I count the people and determine I’m 225th in line. There is another line with about the same number of people who are pregnant, disabled, or older than 60 – but that’s not me. This store won’t open until 9 AM

It’s 6 AM. The trucks with foods begin to arrive. I feel lucky and grateful, but realize the grocery store may be empty. I know two other grocery stores are 6 blocks from where I now stand. I wonder if I can get a position in another line? I better walk to them to see.

Success! I’m going to walk back and forth to try to maintain my place in line for both stores.

It’s 7 AM. The second store will open in 30 minutes. Oh no, I’m wasting my time because they have no food.

I immediately return to my first line. I count the food packs from each truck, and then recount my position in line. Yes, there is enough food for 700 people and I’m 225. Even with the second line for special needs, I’m in a good place.

It’s 9 AM. The store opens. Security controls the line by letting 20 people into the store. Soon, people start organizing in groups of 20 with one person collecting all the identification cards in the group. Time passes as I wait my turn with my group, but I still think we’re fine.

It’s 12 noon. Just one group is ahead of mine, so I remain hopeful. Then I hear, “The food purchase is over. There is enough left for 10 people.” I’m stunned.

I don’t know what happened because I counted the food packs and the people. I suspect the store employees and security guards got the first chance to buy food. Some of the food was probably taken for the black market. My 8 hours in line today was a waste of time. I took a day off from work with hopes of buying food.

A lot of things came to my mind with many emotions. I didn’t know if I should laugh, cry, or yell!

How can I survive? Should I not waste my time? Should I eat more often in restaurants? Should I spend money to find food on the Black Market? As I walk away from the grocery store, I thank God because I am luckier than many others, and returned to my house for some rest.

It’s 4 PM. I awaken, but hungry. I am calm because my salary of $30 a month is much better than the minimum wage of $10 a month minimum wage.I can eat 3 times a day at a restaurant where the average meal costs $1.50.

I organize my money I have so I can eat until next Friday – the day I might be able to buy again. Maybe I’ll go earlier next week.

This is my story from 2016. I’m no longer a computer systems analyst in Venezuela. I received a tourist visa to come to the United States, a place where I wash dishes. I am happy here in the United states, but I want others to know that this is still happening to Venezuelans today.

On 1968

1968 – 50 years ago; a year of triumph and tragedy; a year of social unrest and cultural changes; the year that some describe as the most tumultuous in history; a year I remember as a 15 year old; a year captured below with randomly ordered events.

 

1968 – A leap year starting on a Monday

1968 – World leaders included Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Charles de Gaulle, Indira Gandhi, Leonid Brezhnev, Lyndon Johnson, Harold Wilson, Mao Tse-tung

1968 – Vietnam War, Tet Offensive, My Lai massacre, and the end of US bombings

1968 – Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April) and Robert F Kennedy (June)

1968 – Eastern Bloc armies (Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary) invade Czechoslovakia

1968 – Intel Corporation created

1968- Super Bowl II (2) – Packers vs. Raiders

1968 – Anti-Vietnam War protests throughout the US and the Western World

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1968 – The Beatles White Album

1968 – Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France – the first Winter Olympics broadcast in color

1968 – North Korea captured the USS Pueblo (an American surveillance ship) and its crew

1968 – General Strike in France by students and workers

1968 – Enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 in US

1968 – Dutch Elm disease

1968 – Earthquake in Sicily with 231 dead, 262 injured

1968 – South African Dr. Christian Barnard performs his third human heart transplant

1968 – London Bridge sold for $1 million and re-erected in Arizona

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1968 – US President Johnson surprisingly announces he would not run for another term

1968 – Redwood National Park created in California

1968 – Pope Paul VI bans Catholics from using the contraceptive pill for birth control

1968 – The Poor People’s March on Washington, DC

1968 – Zodiac serial murderer in California

1968 – France becomes the world’s fifth nuclear power

1968 – Several major US cities elect black mayors

1968 – Unrests on college campuses across the US

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1968 – Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry

1968 – The Ferry TEV Wahine capsizes in Wellington Harbour, New Zealand_

1968 – The nuclear-powered US submarine Scorpion sinks in the Atlantic Ocean (99 crew members died)

1968 – Hong Kong Flu pandemic begins in Hong Kong

1968 – Student riots threaten Mexico Olympics

1968 – Black power salute after the gold and bronze medalists at Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico

1968 – Completed: The Aswan Dam in Egypt and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

1968 – The border between Spain and Gibraltar is closed

1968 – Riots at the Democratic Party National Convention in Chicago, Illinois

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1968 – The first Big Mac goes on sale at McDonalds at a cost of 49 cents

1968 – The Beatles create Apple Records and release “Hey Jude” as the first single on the label

1968 – Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace for US President (Wallace is the last third-party candidate to win Electoral votes)

1968 – Boeing introduces 747 aircraft

1968 – Mattel introduces Hot Wheel Cars

1968 – Kymer Rouge forms in Cambodia

1968 – Led Zeppelin performs for the first time

1968 – Allen K Breed invents an airbag for cars

1968 – Yale University announces it will admit women

1968 – Apollo 8 orbits the Moon (first manned mission to do so)

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1968 – US Explodes experimental hydrogen bomb and France explodes its first

1968 – Emergency 911 Telephone service starts in the US

1968 – The first ATM (automated teller machine) in the US (Philadelphia)

1968 – CBS airs “60 Minutes” shown for the first time

1968 – Musical Hair, featuring nudity and taking drugs) opens in London and then New York City

1968 – Popular films include The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, The Odd Couple, Planet of the Apes, Rosemary’s Baby, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

1968 – Popular Songs include Hey Jude (Beatles), Mrs. Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel), Hello I Love You (Doors), Honey (Bobby Goldsboro), I Heard it through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye), Love is Blue (Paul Mauriat), The Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding), People Got to Be Free (Rascals)

1968 – Birth year for Will Smith, Celine Dion, LL Cool J, Cuba Gooding Jr, Guy Fieri, Kenny Chesney, Michael Weatherly, Barry Sanders, Rachael Raye, Mary Lou Retton

1968 – Death year for Yuri Gagarin, Helen Keller, Charlie Chaplin, Robert F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr

1968 – First interracial kiss on US television (Star Trek)

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Learn more about 1968

On a Thought-Provoking PSA

I was going to include this in the next Opinion in the Shorts, but this is great mental fodder.

While watching the Today show this past weekend, I heard about a Public Service Announcement featuring actress Olivia Wilde regarding World Down Syndrome Day (Monday 21 March 2016). The brief report was about the varying reactions people have about this PSA.

Watching this is worth your time as it stimulates thoughts. What are your thoughts about this video? Praise or criticism?

Here’s a link to Down Syndrome International.

On the aFa U.N.

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I have written the following words on these pages on more than one occasion – The majority of the world is good.

I believe it. Even though the daily news across the world challenges that thought, I still believe it.

Think of all the conflicts across the globe centering on race, gender, religion, and ethnicity … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Think of the areas with armed conflicts at the moment: Syria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Iraq, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mexico, Ukraine, Central African Republic, Yemen, Myanmar, Burundi, and more … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Think of the current challenges between groups as Sunnis and Shiites, Christians and non-Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Whites and Blacks, Males and Females, Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, the rich and the poor, and more … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

Many, if not all, of the conflicts above center on power, greed, selfishness and getting people to conform to the ideals of others … yet, I still believe that the majority of the world is good.

My belief in humanity because of the interactions that I’ve encountered. I think of my dance friends from Vietnam, Lebanon, China, Guatemala, Romania, Ukraine, and the United States. They ground my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of my English Second Language (ESL) students that I help from China, Mexico, Guatemala, Syria, Senegal, Italy, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, France, Poland, Kuwait, Germany, Japan, Mauritania, Russia, and the United States. They strengthen my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of the many bloggers who have participated on these pages from Canada, UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, Argentina, Malaysia, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Italy, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Finland, Norway, France, Lithuania, Ecuador, Pakistan, Ireland, United States, and others. They help fortify my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

I think of the many nice people I’ve encountered in Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Russia, Portugal, Canada, Croatia, various Caribbean islands, and across the United States. They reinforce my hope in humanity and that the majority of the world is good.

It’s all these people demonstrate the goodness of humanity … and it’s these people who would make a wonderful United Nations.

Flashbacks: On Good Stories, Good People

All of us recognize that news is full of bad news. However, many good stories and good people exist. Enjoy, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.

On Grocery Store Incidents

A grocery store is a wonderful place to witness a wide range of human behavior. Maybe that is a reason I used the marketplace in past posts. My recent trips brought these situations to my attention.

I cannot believe the idea came to me too late. A lady, who was buying a regular size bag of potato chips, was in front of me in the self-checkout aisle. I got the impression that she just put some money on a gift card, which had made its way through the cybermaze. The clerk got involved and directed the lady to the service counter. Then it hit me – I should have purchased the chips for her.

Some things make me feel guilty. For instance, one time I went back to the bank after discovering the clerk gave me 12 cents too much. Recently, I couldn’t pass on the calling from the Cadbury Egg display. Once I got to the car, I noticed I did not run egg through the scanner because it was still in the cart – not a bag. Heck yes I ate it, but several days later when I returned to the store, I paid for the egg with one from the display, and then returned the egg to the display

On the way out of the store, someone left a cart in the middle of a parking space, which was a space-and-a-half from the cart corral. To top it off, it was in the middle of a handicap parking spot. I pushed the cart into the stall, but I admit mumbling unkind thoughts. Later I wondered if the guilty party was physically capable of pushing the cart to its rightful spot. I will never know, and will not venture to guess – but I do wonder.

Past Grocery Store Posts