Monday, August 30, 2021

Don't Drain the Well

 Tuesdays with Jo

When I was under 6 years old a Hobo—as we called them in those days—came to our back door asking if we could spare any food. Without hesitation, my grandmother fixed a plate of food for him.

My folks said that men would ride the rails, and when the train stopped in our little town on Mt. Vernon, Ill., they would sometimes hop off, find a bite to eat, and move on. I’m sure my grandmother knew of people facing hard times. It was no disgrace or dishonor, and if someone showed up hungry, you fed them.

I don’t know if the man had stopped at other houses before ours. We had a simple house, we weren’t poor, but we weren’t rich either, rather like the neighborhood, I suppose. My grandmother was widowed, had been since my mother was 12.  My father was in the war, my mother worked. We lived with no running water. We had a well in the backyard, the sort that was open on the top. The trick was to throw a bucket into the hole and draw up the water. I think there was a pump in the kitchen, so maybe we had a holding tank. We had an outhouse, electricity, and a furnace.

My Grandmother was an excellent cook. My stepdad said she made the best fried chicken, and I say she canned the best-pickled crabapples and mouth-watering dill pickles. Big ones, like you see at fairs, but her’s were better.

Except for the war hanging over our head–and I learned that war was the very worst thing that could happen. It surprises me that some people don’t necessarily feel that way, but I was young and innocent of the horrors I later learned and ran wild with the neighbor kids. We ate gooseberries that hung over the fence and sat under an apple tree with a saltshaker eating green apples. We put on our bathing suits in the summer and played in the water ditches, and we couldn’t wait for the first day of May when we could go barefoot. This was our way of living. We always had food, and my folks had the luxury of a car. I remember mom and her friends pooling their money for gas so they could go out on Saturday night.

Before my dad became a soldier, a mentally challenged boy lived next door. Often in the summers, my folks would get into water fights, and the neighbor boy loved it., He would egg my dad on, “Glen, I’ll get the water. I’ll get the water.” My mom would squeal and run up the stairs into the house. One time she broke her toe, tripping on the steps.

After being away from the house one day, we came home to an empty well. 

The boy had drained it.

It refilled.

Later my dad got a nanny goat, for he wanted to gain weight and had some stomach problems, and heard that goat’s milk would help. My dad would chain the goat to a stake and place it in various areas around the neighborhood to graze. The trouble was, no matter how deep he pounded in that stake, the boy would pull it out. The boy would then drive it around the neighborhood.  Soon the goat became so nervous my dad gave it away.

Why am I telling you this? I’ve been reading about feeding the homeless, and it caused me to think of Grandmother. And that sometimes it is not the most affluent who are the ones to help their fellow man.

I thought of the tent city in downtown Eugene, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought, why don’t we throw a couple of turkeys in the oven and take them down for a feast on the grass. I don’t know about the logistics of that idea or the health issues, but wouldn’t it be grand if when someone showed up hungry, we fed them?


Here's a quote from a reader. She found it on the inside cap of her Tazo iced tea.

"Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell."  

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

There Lived in the Land a Handsome Prince

 When I was away from the house, my husband opened the front door for Gabe, our Rottweiler.

Outside the closed door, mayhem ensued. A motorcycle had zoomed up a hill that intercepted our street. Well, a motorcycle is to a Rottweiler as a rabbit is to a coyote.

Gabe chased the man who was frantically maneuvering his bike to avoid clashing with the dog until he finally out-ran the dog.

I knew nothing of this until two days later when the man knocked at our door and explained it to me. (Neither did my husband.) He said he had a young daughter and was afraid for her, and rightfully so. I said, "I would trust Gabe with my life, but I will never let him out the front door and will keep him on a leash." That seemed to satisfy the man as I stood there quaking that he may demand some disciplinary action.

 A few days later, the man came to our street when I was walking Gabe and proceeded to make friends with him.

The man would often see us on the street, where he would drop to one knee, hold out his arms, and let Gabe run into them. I learned that the man was a Navy SEAL.

 I recently read about the rigorous training of Navy SEALs, including a 5-day sleep deprivation to prepare them for battle. Knowing how rigorous their training was, I was all the more impressed with how this man humbled himself and made peace.

 I wouldn't have chosen a Rottweiler, and I didn't. He chose me.

 Gabe came to us as a juvenile, almost full-grown but still with that slender gangling look of a young dog. He just appeared at our door one day. I tried to find a home for him, including tacking up posters around the neighborhood. Finally, after a week of no response, he became my dog.

I named him Gabriel because I said he was my guardian angel.

He had some sort of skin condition that the Vet said was caused by stress.  (Being homeless can do that to a dog or a person.) He prescribed shampoo that cleared Gabe's skin, and love and a home cured his stress.

Most every morning, Gabe and I would run in the forest across the street from our house. Although we lived in a residential area of Eugene, the university-owned the land across the street, and it was left wild.

Gabe would ride with me in the car that had a fabric headliner. And since he liked to stand on the console between the seats—pushing me to go faster, I figured, his head would brush the car's ceiling. So, one day, tired of trying to remove black hairs from the vehicle's fabric headliner, I put a Babushka on him.

How cute was that?

We were building a house in Marcola, and Gabe and I would regularly drive to the building site. If I stopped along the way at a drive-through for coffee or whatever, he would wait patiently for a dog biscuit. He soon learned that all drive-through windows ought to give out dog biscuits. After waiting patiently, if a biscuit didn't come through that open window, we would give them a good piece of his mind by barking as we drove away.

On one such trip to the house, smack dab in the middle of Marcola, Gabe saw a dead dog lying alongside the road. He did a quick double-take and looked quizzically at me. Surprised that he recognized the situation, I said, "Yes, it's sad, isn't it?"

During this time, my daughter lived in California, and on occasion, when she was sent on a trip, Gabe and I would drive down and take care of her critters. Her dog was a Great Dane. When I took a walk with those two dogs leading the way, I felt like I had a team of horses in front of me. Luckily, they kept together and didn't go their separate ways.

On an evening, as the Valley River shopping mall parking lot had nearly emptied, I led Gabe to the car when two men walked past us. I heard one say, "Not with that dog, I wouldn't."

 I figured that day Gabe lived up to his name Gabriel.


                       There lived in the land a handsome prince, from my scrapbook.



Something to ponder:

“You will never get any more out of life than you expect. Keep your mind on things you want, and off those you don’t.” --Bruce Lee

Although Bruce Lee (November 27, 1940–July 20, 1973) is best known for his in martial arts and film, he was also one of the most underappreciated philosophers of the twentieth century, instrumental in introducing Eastern traditions to Western audiences.

He always carried a tiny 2 x 3” pocketbook with him which he filled with training regimens, poems, affirmations, and philosophical reflections. Images of his notebook that are perfectly readable, can be found at Bruce Lee’s Never-Before-Seen Writings on Willpower, Emotion, Reason, Memory, Imagination, and Confidence – Brain Pickings

Monday, August 16, 2021


 A psychiatrist in Eugene said he had never had so many depressed patients as this year.

The other day he called his office and said, “I’m not coming back.”

You know what they say about putting on your oxygen mask first? If you run out of oxygen, you will be no help to others.

 What can I say?  What comfort can I offer to folks scared these days? I could say that all pandemics end eventually. The trouble is we don’t know when this one will or how.

 I’m wondering if somehow there was a message this pandemic was screaming at us, but our ears were closed. So instead of listening, we dropped into survival mode and started hoarding toilet paper.

 Are we waiting for someone to fix the problem then arguing over how it ought to be done?

 Are we with each other or against? We’re divided and argumentative. The veins in our necks budge from arguing over ideologies.

 I thought of this in contrast to Ester, who got into a hotel elevator and pushed the button for the top floor. Shortly after that, nine other women joined her. One woman taking over elevator control asked the others, “What floor?”

 Ester said, “I’ll have the lingerie floor, please.”

 The women started to giggle, and one woman popped up, “I’ll have the bargain basement.” Another said, “Not me; I’ll have the penthouse.” One said, “Let’s just stop at every floor and see what’s there.”

 They all got off laughing after having a grand time.

 Zig Zigler said he started the day by opening two gifts—his eyes.

 I know it’s not easy to change one’s focus from fear to optimism. However, we can move incrementally up the ladder toward feeling good.

 Is it possible that our consciousness had something to do with a virus that got out of hand?

Not possible? What if it was?  What if we believe we can lick this thing? What if our attitude would have some effect on the outcome? What if we believe that our immune systems can take us to the penthouse? (On earth, not heaven.)

 I’ve talked about the brain many times--how we have a brain stacked on a brain on a brain and how we drop into the Reptilian brain in times of fear.

 I had asked my daughter the question I asked you, “Do you think metaphysically we had anything to do with this pandemic?”

 Her answer came the following day. She said, “I think it runs on fear.”

 And she followed that with, “And I think that overcoming fear is becoming the master.”

 Wow. Something to aim for.

One of our brains helps us fight the tiger. Another brain runs our bodies without us thinking about it.   “Sent an enzyme down to the stomach.” “Send a sleep chemical. Send a wake-up chemical. The cells are crying for water—make them thirsty. Breathe. Pump the heart. Send white blood cells to clean up that injury.”

 Talk about spinning plates on poles.

 And then sitting on top of all the machinery is the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain, that can analyze, plan and build empires.

 Give that big thinking brain a problem, and it will find a solution—not always the best solution, but it will come up with something. And then brains got together and created the computer to speed up problem-solving ability.

 We have all felt emotion in our heart space, and indeed, some say the heart has a brain. In times of trouble or joy, we have felt a hit in our solar-plexus, so we know something is responding there. And who hasn’t felt as though every cell in the body was tinkling with life?

 We are warriors.

 We are going to take care of each other. We’re going to encourage the light, not the darkness. We’re going to trust that it will tell us to go here or there. Eat this. It will help our immune systems.

 We have become so chemicalized our poor tiny cells must think they are swimming in toxic waste. Our ozone is struggling to hold itself together, and the plants were happy for a breather when we decreased our driving.

 What if we stopped waiting for a synthetic pill to save us and instead looked to some natural remedies? Yes, use chemistry but be reasonable about it. Don’t put weird things in our bodies. I’ve heard that in nature, where there is a toxic plant, there is also an antidote plant. For example, where we live, we have poison oak, and we also have rhododendron plants. Rhododendron tea can soothe poison oak rash.

 Many of our medicines are synthetic versions of the real thing, and we think it’s the same. However, once a doctor—he was so fascinating. I don’t remember his name. He lived in San Diego and was in a wheelchair. His office had a wall of supplements and an aisle in front of them where he wheeled his chair back and forth, plucking from the shelves what he thought would help his client.

 This doctor told me that the calcium from eating the plant worked better than a calcium supplement. He didn’t know why, but going through a plant added something to the calcium that made it work better in our bodies.

 We’ve heard the idea that once a people believed in planning for the seventh generation. We know that many Indigenous cultures knew to walk gently on mother earth’s back. I’ve heard that the Native Americans said they would be back, like smoke, and that they did not die in vain. They were smart enough not to kill off the buffaloes—how stupid to wipe out one’s food source. And on top of it to revere the man who killed them. A man with a gun on a horse --the buffalos didn’t stand a chance. And the people in revering this man did not respect the life of another creature.

 I’m not saying the Native Americans were perfect—they were people, and some fought other tribes. However, living close to the land did teach them some things. Like not to pollute the very earth that sustains you. Do not take more than you need. Plan for the next harvest, like tying up the Camus flowers, so that next year, when the tribe traveled through that area, they would know where the bulbs, a food source, were.

We need to treasure what we have and bless it. We need to remember that the populace keeps the corporations going, not the other way around. The public keeps the medical personal in jobs. They know it, and we know it, but somehow, we are intimidated by the big guys. (Money, bluster, and degrees does not a master make.)

We run the cogs we think are running us.

We aren’t powerless. We are powerful.

 We are worth saving.



Sunday, August 15, 2021

Don't Worry by Peaches

By chance or Celestial guidance, I visited this morning and felt uplifted. I had not visited it for some time. However, I found that some people had been reading it. I don’t know how they found it. Peaches thanks those lovely people, and I thank them as well.


When I saw, “Don’t worry,” I decided to read it, and to offer it here.  And Peaches in heaven is patiently waiting for me to write her words.


I apologize Peaches. What do you have to say now? We’ll see…


Here is the one blog post, more can be found on


I, Peaches, Party Poodle for Peace, am a happy dog. Don’t worry about the future. Future will take care of itself. Many people don’t know how to be happy, don’t roll in grass, don’t know how to dig for moles and come to house with nose stacked with dirt. Don’t know how to give high-pitched happy bark in greeting, or how to give low bark than tells owner, “Check this out.”

Worry? I don’t worry—waste of time. Well, I did worry when I accompanied Bear to the Vet.  Couldn't help it! I thought I would have to go see the doctor, maybe be left there, but didn’t. Whew!

Can’t nap and worry.  Can’t chase lizards and worry. Worry takes away joy. I live for joy.

I have a job that makes me happy. I look after my people and the house. I go for rides and walks with family. I keep lizards away from the door. I keep Obi Kitty away from my food dish too—cats are so sneaky. 


P.S. Mom has a blog posts coming up on Tuesday, August 17, 2021. I tell her she needs to chase more lizards.


An aside from Mom:

Little Peaches has Addison’s Disease which is not a disease, but a condition. It means her adrenal glands are not working properly.

Peaches lives with her chronic health condition. We take care of her, we give her medication, she maintains. She goes about her life in a positive way. If she feels poorly, we give her more subcutaneous fluid. She makes a contribution to life. I love her, she loves me, and she pontificates on her blog…