Thursday, December 31, 2009
It's difficult to realize that another 365 days have flashed by. The pages of the calender turned, a year gone by. The earth rotated, planets aligned and moved about their orbits. The seasons changed four distinct times. Newspaper headlines struck with bold print decrying all the first time occurrences, miracles and the mundane. We saw and heard about terrorism, natural and man made disasters, and the hate that drove it.
No matter how difficult or cruel we thought it had been, the day faded into night, and graced us with a view of Gods majesty. The night sky is something that always takes my breath. Even when I was a child, I would stand or lie in the yard or field at night and just stare with my mouth and mind agape. I studied the stars in grammar school science, but really began to learn about constellations when I began Boy Scouts. Night navigation was a big thing to the scouting program. I don't remember why it was such a big deal, they never let us get out of the camp site after dark.
The space program was ablaze in those days. N.A.S.A. was king. I watched every moment of television coverage of the space missions. I knew all the astronauts and their mission numbers. There was a period in my young life when I was consumed with space. I wasn't alone. My best buddy and every friend and relative we knew felt the same. We watched the night sky looking for identifiable planets, stars, or the every elusive satellite or space capsule. More than anything else it was an excuse to be outside at night and a way to pass time. We couldn't wait to grow up. We wanted the world to turn faster. Now I just wish things would slow down.
There were lots of sayings relating to time that I remember hearing as a child. Occasionally you hear some of those sayings even today. Things like,"it's been a month of Sundays since I saw you",or "I haven't seen him in a coon's age". My favorite was, "it's been a Blue Moon or two since I saw him". Even though the moon appears with a blue hue, the saying doesn't refer to that. It has nothing to do with the negative activities some folks participate in when it's at full glow. Experts still argue about whether the full moon causes crime sprees and general lunacy. What I believe is, it's certain that the Blue Moon floats into our lives with very little fan fare, brightens our lives and effects our moods and often leads us in one direction or the other.
The Blue Moon is held in high regard because of it's rarity. The term denotes the second full moon of a calender month. It's only fitting that 2009 ends and 2010 begins on such a special lunar occurrence. It's relatively rare, unique, brilliant and deeply affects those living creatures here on earth. This year like all the others of my life has been filled with Blue Moon people. Though some entered and departed my world, they always left a life long impression. Some showed up unexpectedly, shone brightly,and each improved my general mood and well being. They caused me, because of their rarity, to truly appreciate their brilliant presence. They caused me look with my mouth and mind agape. They embedded their glow in my heart and memory. They left me breathless.
Happy New Year,............ and here's wishing to all, many Blue Moons!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It's amazing what your memory can retrieve. Sometimes memories are pigeon holed in spots so deep you are not conscious of their existence. Today I experienced several of those moments where you think, "where did that come from".
The metro area model railroad club for years has displayed their treasures at Christmas time. This year they set up in the William Winter State Archive building. I conned my son and two of the grand kids into going with me. They have no experience with the steel rail other than to see them pass at a crossing, but I found my memories of this industry are deeply embedded. My father was a section foreman for the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio railroad for over forty five years. I grew up smelling creosote from the cross ties and powder in his overall cuffs from the slag that he and his crew shoveled. My best friend's father was the depot agent. I learned Morse code from the clicking, clacking sounders while sitting around waiting for my dad to come in from the days work. So model railroads were something I always wanted as a child, but we never could afford such a luxury.
When we stepped into the display room, the engineers,(men running the exhibit) greeted us with a smile from underneath their striped railroad cap and a cheerful, "Welcome to Possum Ridge". That's the name of the model community the rail setting is based upon. There's not actually a place by that name in Mississippi, but there are several close to it. I'm sure there are some unmapped local areas similar. But nothing plotted on the map.
The display covered several hundred square feet and was bordered by a plexi-glass wall. The group of wide eyed children stood on foot stools and hung onto the top of the barrier to peer through and over the plexi-glass to get the best view possible of the the miniature community and multiple train operation. The adults, most of whom were grandparents, were doing the same. Except with wider eyes, mouths agape and the occasional drool.
So.......I wiped the moisture from the corners of my mouth and started taking pictures. I lost all track of time. So much so that I could hear the G.M.&O. freight train blare it's whistle and rumble past the crossings. I smelled the diesel fumes from the Illinois Central passenger train as it clicked across the sections of rail. I smelled the hickory smoke from the open pit barbecue at the town cafe. The ping of the hammers at the machine shop, was almost drown out by high pitch whine of the saw at the saw mill and the blowers and motors at the gin. And then, there it was. The oil thick aroma of creosote that clung to my dads pants leg and his work shoes. The memory that took my breath was the sweet smell of corn bread cooking in my mothers kitchen.
I shook myself back to the present when a red headed boy jumped off his perch on a stool next to me and thudded to the floor, giggling as he ran to the other side of the room.
I have no idea where those memories and smells were stored, but I'm grateful they returned for a brief visit.
I've received another Christmas blessing.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
This morning the sun peeked over the horizon revealing a uniquely bright frost. It was quite heavy. It actually looked more like a snow. More so than the dusting of snow we received a couple of weeks ago. Mother nature performs these special features like that from time to time.
Today's Christmas Cantata at church was fantastic. The church sanctuary was packed. The choir was excellent, and the orchestra that preformed was outstanding. Our minister did a great job of combining the music and worship service into a wonderful gift of Advent celebration.
As the day came to a close, I watched the sunset and it reminded me of this photo I took a while back. I have always loved sunset. I don't know why. It's just been special to me my entire life. At any rate, this photo reminds me how fortunate I have been. In the fore ground you can see the silhouette of an aging piece of farm equipment. It's about as basic to farming as the earth itself. My upbringing and formative years were the same. I was taught honesty, hard work, education,faith, and family. The trees and bushes along with the gorgeous sky, kind of symbolize my lifelong love of nature. The jet contrail........well, it reminds me that once that was me flying the jet streaking across the sky. I absolutely loved it.
As I watched the sun say good day, I couldn't help but bow my head and say.....AMEN!
Here's to your Health, Happiness, Peace and Understanding.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The kids are finishing their last day of school for the semester. Some had finals, some had parties. All celebrated.
I enjoy seeing the grandkids reactions during this time of year. It always makes me smile. It's been a while, but I have fond memories of this time of year. It was always filled with anticipation, hope, great food and fellowship with our family. It was a large gathering at our tiny house, when all the brothers, sisters, in laws, nephews, nieces, etc. showed up. I remember eating in shifts.
There was a period of time in my adult life when I struggled to evade depression during the holidays. Over twenty five years in law enforcement can do that to your psyche. It seemed, during that period of my life, that people were more determined to hurt each other than to celebrate the birth of Christ. As trying as it was, I tried to remember to love them anyway. Thanks to retirement, grandkids, an angel of a wife, and the grace of God, I have overcome that period of sadness.
The photo included is of the Canton, Mississippi court house, with it's holiday decorations.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This is one of my favorite places to visit and contemplate life and it's passing. The view is of the Pearl River at the River Bend park on the side of the Natchez Trace Parkway. If you have never had the blessing of passing this site, I strongly recommend you make a special effort to do so. It's easy on the eyes, music to your ears, but more over, a blessing to the soul.