Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Week


What language shall I borrow to thank Thee dearest friend
for this thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me mine forever and should I fainting be
Lord, let me never,never outlive my love to Thee.

(anon, from the hymn O Sacred Head Now Wounded.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eggshelland



At Eastertime in the northeast Ohio town of Lyndhurst you can visit Eggshelland. It is located about a mile from where I used to live and where I raised my children, so we visited often. Ron and Betty Manolio have put on this free display in their front yard since 1957. Every year there is a new theme to add to the everpresent fifty-foot cross and the Easter bunny. In the beginning they saved their own egg shells by putting a dime-sized hole in the bottom and draining the contents before enameling. Now they get new shells from local restaurants.
The displays often include over 50,000 colorful egg shells, with an annual average breakage loss of 1500. In 1998 a hailstorm destroyed 10,238 and an ice storm and six inches of snow damaged 11,941, but the Manolio's are undeterred.
Imagine how many smiles they have evoked from children and adults over the years.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Soldier's and Sailor's Monument in Cleveland




Continuing our tour of Public Square in Cleveland we see the Soldier's and Sailor's monument. It is 116 years old and newly renovated. This monument commemorates the Civil War. Outside there is a 125 foot column with four bronze groupings depicting battle scenes of the Navy, Artillery, Infantry and Calvary. Inside 9000 names of Cuyahoga County residents are presented, 1800 of them died in the war. There are more bronze relief sculptures including the Women's Aid Society.
I've lived in greater Cleveland all my life (which is a long time) and this was my first visit inside the monument!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Old Stone Church in Cleveland

The Old Stone Church, a Presbyterian congregation on Public Square in Cleveland dates back to 1820 when Cleveland was just a village. Several disastrous fires later the present building has been in this spot since 1858, squeezed in amongst newer and taller structures. The church offers noontime services, an art gallery and concerts on a glorious pipe organ. I visited on my lunch hour from jury duty this week and was welcomed and inspired. If you're nearby it's worth a visit.



Amasa Stone window by John LaFarge
CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jury Duty

Captive and claustrophobic
in a space with too many people,
no empty chairs and uncomfortable
bodies line dirt-colored hallways,
a clock is frozen at 11:00,
and this is how time passes.

In the quiet room, ruffling newsprint,
an occasional cough, the dull hum
of traffic and a periodic vocal
sigh of discontent are the only sounds
as the man across from me reads
the telephone book, as he has been for 36 minutes,
licking three fingers to turn each page.

Outside our glass walls it vibrates
with muffled laughter from the
socially-adept,the friend-makers,
those who enjoy talking as pastime.
Names are announced and all freeze,
looking enviously on those chosen.
They are allowed to move. The herd is thinning.

In the free world contrails in the sky
represent humans traveling somewhere,
anywhere,
while I am forcibly stationary
on this lovely spring day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Prayer in Spring


Robert Frost (1915)

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Some of Us (A Tolerance Poem)

All the children in school looked like us.
The teachers dressed like our moms and dads
and spoke like our aunts and uncles.
They lived on our streets and worshipped in our church.
They approved of the way we were being raised.
On TV we saw folks who lived in towns like ours.
Their children learned the same lessons
we learned in Sunday School,
and everyone we knew had a Christmas tree.

We went to college and met more friends
who looked, acted, and sounded like us,
but when we grew up, some of us noticed that
everyone didn't have the same life.
As we opened our minds we recognized a whole world
full of diverse people and we discovered
we were in a teeny, tiny minority on the planet
in the way we dress, worship, think, believe, speak
and behave, and some of us learned to coexist
with those unlike us and we learned tolerance
which was something we never were required
to do in our Mayberry towns.

But some of us continued to believe that our way
was the only right way and everyone else in the world was wrong.
Some of us became angry and intolerant of those
wrong people, and now when some of us watch TV
we listen to other angry people telling us we are right
and everyone else is wrong, and yet -
all those wrong people continue to exist as they
always have and always will - in every corner of the earth
whether we disaprove or not, and they will never change
because of anger or intolerance or hatred or disrespect.

So, all that righteous anger is a sad waste of energy
because the "right way" is only a teeny, tiny minority
of God's good creation,a small piece of the billions of humans
He's created, and it is God who must tolerate our small minds
in the light of the vast and changing universe He made.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tolerance

The highest result of education is tolerance.
Helen Keller 1880-1968

Every one of us is precious in the cosmic perspective. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies you will not find another.

Carl Sagan 1934-1996

Monday, March 8, 2010

Libera Me

When I am running up the fire escape
with scorched lungs, smoked through
the throat, trembling, teardrops on fire,
wordless from fear and calamity,
move heaven and earth to
save me from myself.
Save me, liberate me, deliver me
from the flames that I ignited
in my human
being
Libera me, Domine de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Across the Universe - Lennon and McCartney



Words are flowing out like
endless rain into a paper cup,
they slither while they pass,
they slip away across the universe.
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy
are drifting through my opened mind
possessing and caressing me, Jai Guru deva om
nothing's gonna change my world.

Images of broken light which dance before me like million eyes
they call me on and on across the universe.
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box,
they tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.

Sounds of laughter, shades of earth are ringing through my opened ears
inciting and inviting me, limitless undying love which shines around me
like a millions suns and calls me on and on across the universe.
Jai guru deva om, nothing's gonna change my world.

Sometimes a Beatles song comes on my ipod (on shuffle) and I have to appreciate them all over again. Jai Guru deva translates to "I give thanks to the heavenly teacher."
I painted the Abby Road scene on my basement wall.You can click to enlarge, but it looks better small :) Unless you come to my house to see it in person!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quote of the Day

When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.
Leonard Matlovich
a gay Viet Nam vet 1943-1988

Monday, March 1, 2010

Origin of Idioms

I read these in a forwarded email so I can't swear they're all true - but they are interesting!

Many years ago in Scotland a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only.. Ladies Forbidden .. and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language!

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have 'the rule of thumb'.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase.. 'Good night - sleep tight.'

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey wine and because the calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

In English pubs ale is ordered by pints and quarts, so in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts and settle down.' It's where we get the phrase 'mind your P's and Q's.'

Many years ago in England pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. 'Wet your whistle' is the phrase inspired by this practice.