Yes, it Could Go Badly…

Two huge news stories rocked my world this week.

The first involved a powerful video featuring CNN’s senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, as he reported from a helicopter flying to Mount Shingal in Northern Iraq. Their mission was to drop supplies to those trapped there. Upon touching down, the aircraft was besieged with hordes of people, so desperate to escape that they were throwing children on board in what Mr. Watson accurately described as “chaotic” and “crazy.”

As they flew back over the front line, with the rat-tat-tat of machine guns firing at the enemy below, the civilians on board were covering their ears, many sobbing uncontrollably, eventually changing to tears of joy as they reached their destination.

Roll forward a few hours.

My son texted me,

“I know you are a big Robin Williams fan. He passed away apparently due to suicide. Beyond sad.”

Again I was surprised as I felt tears well up. [Read more...]

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99 Years Old and Looking Back

I have to swallow hard when I refer to the song, “100 Years” by Vladimir John Ondrasik III, known by his stage name, “Five for Fighting,” as an “oldie.”


I mean, after all, a song released in 2003 should not fall in that category; it’s a description meant for The Everly Brothers or The Beach Boys. Nonetheless, if the Earth Shoe fits…

Sorry, I got distracted… back to the issue at hand…

“100 Years” is an amazingly powerful song.

If you don’t have it cued up on your iTunes playlist right now, let me sum it up. Each of us gets 100 years to live, and during that period we go through various stages. The poignant lingering lyrics guide us through those times, beginning at 15 (“There’s still time for you…”) and progressing all the way to 99 (“Time for just another moment…”). So poignant are the words that there’s a webpage to discuss the interpretation. (I don’t make any commission on its purchase nor am I affiliated with Mr. Ondrasik, but it’s worth your time to check out the song.)

My interpretation is that each of us given the gift of one century, which passes in the “blink of an eye.”

So, imagine you live exactly, to the day, 100 years. (In my case, that would mean I exit on September 28, 2054.) Take it to your last day and then back it off to one day before you’re gone; see yourself at 99 years, 364 days old. By sunset tomorrow, you will be no more; you have gathered all the knowledge and wisdom possible in this lifetime. You are completed.

Now suppose that 99-year-old-You could send a message back to the Current-You, right here, right now, reading these words.

[Read more...]

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Approaching Life Walking Backwards

by Julie Weir

My father, “Pops” as he is known to my children, has recently completed a transformation of sorts that has some people a bit unnerved.

It may appear to be a classic reinvention due to his newly acquired retirement lifestyle (a nice way of saying mid-life crisis)…those who know him better will say they saw this coming a long ways off and it was only a matter of time before he stumbled upon his tinkering, elf-like persona (complete with pony tail and soul patch).

After 30 years working in informatics with the Federal Government, Correctional Services (loosely translated to running the computer systems for Canada’s prison systems) my father is happily pursuing his other interests...the part that is amazing is we didn’t know he was interested and I don’t even know if HE knew. If he had taken up fish farming people would not have blinked (he had actually graduated with a degree in Marine Biology  - how he got from there to informatics and corrections is actually a funny story, too). They would have probably giggled, but not been surprised, if he had put on a yellow rain slicker and headed far out to sea (he did actually purchase a 30 foot sail boat however, and does own a full yellow rain suit and a Tilley hat, so this may be an adventure yet unlived).

duclimers

Dulcimers made by Pops at RiverWorx Studios

But my father, in true Lazenby-fashion (which you will doubtless begin recognizing in my writing), took the “path less traveled” and has turned his garage into a woodworking studio. Actually, I take that back. Lazenby’s do not take the path less traveled, they jump off the path and walk backwards to create a new path, without ever turning to look where they are going! That way the path is ever-winding, may end up crossing back over itself at some points, and may hit a few large bumps along the way. They drag their heels, so that they will always be able to see where they have been, and so others can follow. It can’t really be considered meandering, because they walk with purpose and conviction, nor do they stroll because at some points Lazenbys will stop and linger, and other times the momentum of the landscape (the hills and valleys if you will, and cliffs for that matter) will have them caterwauling through life. [Read more...]

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The Ceremony

wedding-invitation

From its dawn through the mid-twentieth century, 90 percent of all gloves sold in the United States were manufactured in Gloversville, New York; making it one of the most appropriately named cities on the continent.

Originally known as “Stump City” because of all the trees that had been cut down it was incorporated in 1890. Having spent three weeks there, I can tell you firsthand that the sidewalks have probably not been repaired since that date. In many places, taking a walk was akin to scaling miniature cement mountains, circumventing canyons, crevices, and summits that substituted for a walkway.

Yet, it surpassed Augusta, Maine’s sidewalks, which were non-existent.

Trying to navigate the roadway to the shopping center, a distance of about one half mile, was analogous to open field running in a war zone. One scouts oncoming traffic waiting for a break, upon a clear patch, dash hurriedly down the road to the next safe haven, pause again for traffic, and repeat the process. (If more communities had decent sidewalks, it sure would help solve our obesity problem. However, that’s another topic.)

In the previous 94 days, I traveled 18,594.6 miles (give or take), from Anchorage to Augusta, Rutland to Redding.

While on the road, I visited a 20-foot tall chocolate fountain in Alaska. I resisted the urge to climb in, but succumbed to sampling real honest-to-goodness Vermont-made maple syrup while in Burlington. If you have not this pleasure, imagine the taste of a warm sunrise lightly brushed with natural honey gliding over your tongue, evaporating into airy nothingness.

Although mostly work-related, my journeys were book-ended by highly personal, deeply emotional events.

[Read more...]

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