The Journey

AnSurBir didn’t bother listening to the rest of the trans-byte from Squad Circle Zeta. The talk from his pod was relentless – even during his Bei Dai time: “Caution, Sur – history and survival is at stake!” Snorting blaze breaths of green anxiousness, he thought, “Was he not the elder eight times removed from the Great Crawl? Calming himself, his blow slits flared; his skin changing texture to receive the coating filaments that would nourish his organs, he became lost in the sounds notching the time of departure. The great engine flared to fire; the ship shuddered ever so gently; Bei Dai slowly engulfed him. His last thought was how would those upon that green/blue world greet them?

 

Copyright (c) 2017 Roads, Paths, & Trails. All Rights Reserved

The creation of the American weekend was a Godsend

In 1908 (or there about), an East coast Industrialist (you would think his name would be etched in stone and revered in song), came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to close up shop on Saturday and Sunday to allow his Christian and Jewish workers to celebrate their respective religious day of worship.  At the time, the “weekend” as we know it, didn’t exist. This simple, but righteous gesture turned out to be the start of a revolutionary  change in the American workplace. In addition to the goodwill he personally received, this Industrialist discovered that his workers made fewer mistakes in doing their jobs once they returned to work from their two-day sabbatical.  As a result, his business boomed, profits zoomed – and what followed was the beginning of a shift in employee and employer relations that changed the world’s workplace.

That dear people, is how Americans (in the words of the R & B super group, The O’ Jays, began “Living for the Weekend” – not to “party down,” but to have time off with family and community to pray and revitalize one’s body and soul.

A decade or so later, Henry Ford, that master of American manufacturing innovation, adopted that “worker’s weekend” idea but added a twist: he did not reduce the size of his employee’s paycheck to compensate for their time off. As a result, rank and file Ford Motor Company employees not only had more time to rest and relax; they had more money to spend. And just as Ford envisioned, they bought Ford cars – lots of Ford cars along with other goods and services. Other car manufacturers adopted the “Ford Way” and so did America. This new approach to the workplace help lead the way to a more consumer-driven economy. And in the late 1930’s, then President Roosevelt signed into law the 8-hour day, 5-day work week.

That’s how the “weekend” became enshrined into law and into the American Psyche.

Past posts on this blog have, hopefully in a light-hearted way, implored, cajoled, nagged, suggested and requested that folks use their weekend to change the “who, what, where, why, when and how” of their lives to give themselves a maximum of joy and happiness; to build memories for a moment in time and for a time in the future.  This brief history of the founding of the “weekend” is to shed light on why we have those two precious days of “possibilities” beyond their original intent. However, folks still, by and large, use the weekend to worship in the faith they choose (or none at all) as guaranteed by our Constitution.  But as Henry Ford foresaw, weekends have morphed into enjoying the fruits of our labor from a cornucopia of experiences.  I will continue (every now and again) to urge you to feast upon that endless array of life. To that end, I have attached my latest appeal for you to discard your “ordinary” for the unusual; from the “been there, done that” to the new and exhilarating; to the mind-boggling, sensational and hair-raising “different” – but in a good way, mind you.

Consider the words of Wayne Dyer, American Author and Motivational Speaker, “Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live each day as if it were your last.”

We all know that that “last day” is pre-ordained. When the time comes, will you have a weekend memory that was an absolute blast? One that will again rock your heart and soul as you smile your last. Or will your final fleeting thoughts be of a weekend that was like all the rest – a nice memory, but nothing earth-shaking; just time gone by and faint visions of living one’s life safely, gracefully, tastefully. Don’t get me wrong, that will be enough to please one’s soul as a way to appraise the travels on the roads, paths, and trails you have taken through life. But, and I truly believe this – many of us will mourn our past of lost chances that flowered and flowed in and around our lives beckoning us to burst for joy; cry from a deep well of happiness from have the pleasure of perhaps loving long, or loving short – but loving well. To think back and laugh, laugh, laugh at a silliness that made your heart  smile,  maybe produced a hug, and you were smothered in kisses that unexpected day you tasted the “incredible.”

I have no idea what experience would be off-the-charts, superbly different, and exquisitely splendid, that might leave you convulsing with excitement. But I know there is something in your future that will do just that; if you let it happened, if you seek it. Perhaps you have already had a “memory moment,” great – on to the next “future joy!” In the meantime, to kick off this springtime weekend of the New Year, here is another oh-so-gentle plea urging you to spend this Saturday and Sunday on a quest for a mega-memory that will inspire you, conspire within you a desire to begin living for your weekends.

 

WEEKENDS, WEAK ENDS, AND WEEKS ON END WITH THE SAME END.

Here I am again. That crazy fool in www-land, nagging and ragging about expanding your weekend life; trying to get you on a different curve – but most likely getting on your last nerve. So this one is short and sweet; concise and neat: open your dreaming heart to search for a different view of things you can do. I don’t want you to have weak end to your weekend. I want you to transcend and let something new create a trend. Imagine taking a ride on a tide of an adorable vibe that gets you a look at a beautiful side of a sigh.

I believe in the new for you; not the usual things you do. How many times has the usual made Sunday night blue? Ending with another unfulfilled weekend with you wondering where the time flew? Why your heart and found nothing new and exciting to do?

Which every now and then, I nudge you to change your weekend habits; dag-nab-it!  Make those 48-hours open up their pleasures and treasures; you can create a weekend of happiness beyond measure. So when you get that smile from across the aisle that says, “Hello. I’d like to give you my heart today,” don’t freeze – buckle at the knees” – go with the flow and let life that day give you wonderful weekend glow.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”  So says Karen Kaiser Clark, International Speaker, & Authority on coping with loss and growth through pain.

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Roads, Paths, & Trails – “Weekends, Wisdoms and Wonders.” All Rights Reserved.

NOTE: here is a link to that rousing mega-hit song “Living for the Weekend” by the R&B group – The O ‘Jays. Take a listen if you’re so inclined: https://youtu.be/ynJO_XQ2Fs

UNSOLICITED COMMENT: the Hilton Hotel company is currently promoting “Weekender” deals at all their properties. Seems I am not the only one trying to get you to make a weekend of it.

 

A Winter’s Tale

I’m going out on that “proverbial limb” and say that for those of us who grew up where winter was a welcome season; those rollicking, frolicking times were priceless. Now, as a member of the “old school” generation, the memories of sledding down a hill, snowball fights, building snowmen, and just over-the-top happiness of romping around out “in it!” – hopefully rolls around in your heart and mind as it does mine: like hot chocolate and your mom’s deep warm hugs. I think this is especially true if you lived in a small town, or in a place where there were parks nearby or other spaces where enough openness would let a kid enjoy getting lost in the sheer beauty of being a child in the wintertime. At times, I am overcome by the feelings of joy reliving and relishing the pleasures of my “winters of innocence” given to me by the happenstance of where I lived as a child; where wintertime was  wonderful and deliciously magical.

In my teenage years, though, living in the “big” city and big life changes forced me to share my idyllic memories of winter with darker ones; along with a great many other childish outlooks. I was lucky because the major city that played an oversize role in my early adulthood offered up some beautiful winter scenes.  Make no mistake, though, wintertime in that overcrowded, noisy, rough and tumble place was harsh, unforgiving and damned cruel in many respects. In fact, during a particular bad year, the cold, snow, and ice literally drove me to proclaim to my family one January night (during a period when the temperature hadn’t risen about -30 degrees – factoring in the wind chill for 32 days), that I was not going to spend another winter in that (expletive) town! I was leaving before the next winter came – with or without them. You can imagine how they reacted to my threat: they completely ignored me. Can’t say I blamed them; I was cold, tired, and irritable. Years later, I would learn that I was suffering from some syndrome (which I can’t name) that scientist say affects some folk living in places where there is lack of sunshine during the winter. Lucky me.  Ironically, as life will assuredly do, a few years later in the early spring, it tossed my family a curve ball, then a slider, and finally a fastball high and inside that left us taking a called third strike (we are “major” league baseball fans): we had to find another place to live before the coming winter or a family member would never see another spring.

It has been said that one should be careful what you wish for; or proclaim what you will or will not ever do. Life taught me that harsh lesson during that fateful Spring and Summer of agonizing and frenzied road trips trying to find a suitable “home” that would assure my family’s long term survival. Eventually, we ended up in a place of unimaginable beauty and warmth; with any resemblance of winter miles and miles away, and thousands of feet in the air in the form of snowcapped mountains. We are surrounded by them and they are breathtaking.

Unfortunately, I brought with me to our tranquil paradise one winter’s memory borne of deceit, hatred and murderous intent. It was inflicted upon me by a relative because I knew of his low-down dirty secret that happened many years ago from that small town where winter for me was a childhood rainbow. It was a scandalous act of betrayal between brothers and sisters. As a child, I did not understand why it was happening, but I knew it was wrong. Years later, I realized that weakness, booze, jealousy – perhaps even a bit of “forbidden fruit”  may have played a role in this sordid tale for the offending sister.  As for the brother in this mess, he was just an evil dog out to conquer every woman walking; who got hurt was of no concern to him. His pleasure, needs, his “notches” on a bedpost signified his self-worth. He lived his life that way until the day he died; leaving a path of hell and hurt in his wake. He was rotten to his core.  As an adult, a gut feeling made me conclude that deep-down his younger brother perhaps suspected the illicit affair; but was too weak and therefore powerless to respond. He also truly loved my aunt. This for me made the treachery even more profound.

Sad to say, in my teen years during another terrible winter, I was forced to live under that Judas’ roof. My “other” aunt gave him no choice ( I was alone in that big city).  But the apparent compromise left me sleeping in an unheated, uninsulated basement next to a badly broken window where the snow and ice seeped in around the rags I stuffed in it, and the bitter Artic wind whipped my mind and body quite literally nearly to death. No matter how many coats, rugs, curtains – whatever else I could bind to use as blankets to try and stay warm – it was never enough. That SOB threatened to throw me out in the street if I moved anything – anything – in that basement; particularly that bed nestled next to that busted window.  As you might have imagined, I became ill – coming down with a severe case of pneumonia. I am here to tell you that my spirit was not broken, and the hatred between us grew even deeper and more pronounced.

I never spoke a word to anyone about the sinful behavior of that aunt and uncle that summer of long ago in my small town. The brother and sister who were the victims died not knowing of the betrayal that was inflicted upon them by their siblings. These despicable excuses for a brother and sister have also gone to meet their maker. I have heard the statement, “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” many times in my life; so I truly hope those two snakes-in-the-grass alley cats are feeling the heat of hell.

Winter in Chicago was always difficult for me. But there were some truly awesome times to enjoy the season. It was beautiful and breathless to see our neighborhood blanketed in the first snowfall of winter unmarked by footprints on the sidewalks or car tracks in the street.  Front lawn lanterns in every yard that lighted walkways added a shimmering glow to the beauty of it all. While inside our home, the warmth and love of my wife and children filled my heart and our hearth with the heat of the blazing summer sun.

In that long ago time, winter was not complete if you did not stroll through Grant Park along the lakefront near Buckingham Fountain. Or take drives on north Lake Shore Drive and South Shore Drive to marvel at Lake Michigan’s waves caught in midair; splashes frozen in time. If you were lucky enough to experience walking the Magnificent Mile – north Michigan Avenue (the Madison Avenue of Chicago), you were treated to a display of tiny clear lights that twinkled like a billion stars of Bethlehem. Your eyes were overwhelmed with the beauty of it all. Visiting State Street (called that “Great Street,” and no, I don’t know why) during the Christmas and New Year holidays was a  “rite of passage” with your children. The street and the department store displays and decorations were truly magical – some celebrated nationally like the Marshall Field’s where the crowds were 6, 8, as much as ten feet thick. Everyone trying to get a peek at these awesome fantasy displays.

Those sights and sounds always brought back memories of my small town upbringing and its wintertime treats of a joyous time being had by all the kids in the neighborhood. I must admit, years later – every now and then – that awful, dreadful winter spent huddled in that bed beneath that broken window creeps into my mind. It’s a cold, cruel memory -a winter’s tale fueled by treachery that has lasted far too long into the last seasons of my life.

 

Copyright (c) 2017. Roads, Paths, & Trails. All Rights Reserved.

 

Testing, Testing, Testing.

In late Spring of 2016, I began compiling notes, books, articles and much more, to begin prepping for an 8-part examination that would be given over a 30-day period which would have (has now) taken place in January and February, 2017.

I survived the arduous ordeal and am now awaiting the results with more than a little apprehension. I expect I will not know the outcome until later this month or mid-to-late April.

During that crucial time period, sad to say, I had to neglect my Blog and my fellow Bloggers to the tune that I now have more than 250 unanswered comments (and counting) to sort through. I dare say, unfortunately, I will more than likely not get to all of them. Many will have required a comment in their “now and then,” so I must therefore ask for your apologies upfront. Please, please do not be offended. I was not being indifferent; studying and passing that exam was a 5-star priority for me.

Recently, I posted several items that I penned from an earlier life; trying to ease the tension wrought by studying statistics, statures, penalties, guidelines, codes, litigations, liabilities and other detailed and serious stuff, before I got back to the studies at hand. Some of you “liked” what you read and I am most appreciative ( I will acknowledge your kind words personally as well), as I catch up with my “regular” family of bloggers and what they have been doing in their lives. Thank you all for taking time to stop by my blog and commenting. It means a lot to me.

In the meantime, in between time, I am holding my breath and wheezing like a furnace bellow pushing hot air around; all the while gritting my teeth because I have at least 30 more days before “Passed/Failed” pops up next to name on that seriously important website.

Either way, I promise you will hear a wail of a noise. Stay tuned.

 

Copyright (c)  2017. Roads, Paths, & Trails. All Rights Reserved.