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Ffar away in Times-Gonebye, there was a very special village called Strood. Thanks to the hard work of its people, it had grown in size, and wealth, to become the finest village of all the villages in the land. Just a few miles away, craggy mountains rose to the sky and each night giant columns of flame burst from their peaks.

The villagers believed that the mountains were the home of many Fire Gods and everyone stayed well away from them. Although they feared the Fire Gods, and were scared that their homes might be burnt down, the villagers knew that the Flaming Mountains kept them safe, on that side at least, from attack by bandits and thieves.

Once a week, to please the Fire Gods they left food at the bottom of the mountains and on those nights, they huddled together in fear as they watched as the flames came down from the mountains and moved towards their village. However, each week the flames stopped at the food and, in the morning, the food was gone! As the villagers had lots of food, they were happy to make this payment in exchange for their safety. Then it all changed!

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For the past three plus decades this time of year has always produced excitement. I am a retired teacher who has evolved into enjoying this remarkable time of year with my wife and family. This time of year still brings a smile on my face in the knowledge I did the best I could do.

Cleaning out the top drawer at my desk at home I noticed an old frayed piece of paper I read throughout my whole teaching career. In fact, I lent it out to many new teachers who were as terrified as they were excited to begin their first year.

Many of these new teachers told me they read and copied the list and will remember to read it before every new school year. I wonder how many of these lists still exist? Continue Reading →

My wife and I have always been involved in Presidential politics. We’ve been married for over four decades and our political lives have always been intertwined.

We were against the war in VietNam and joined protests all across the State of Massachusetts. We had no use for Nixon and his Southeast Asian policies but had some breathing room when it came to his domestic and China concepts. He did open China up to the rest of the world without going to war.

President Ford came after the Nixon resignation and did cause some stir when he pardoned Nixon. Yet, during his short time in the Oval Office people were allowed to live and try to better their lives.

The next campaign gave us Jimmy Carter whose campaign and Presidency was basically quite boring with the exception of Iran. Ronald Reagan followed and did cause quite a stir throughout the nation with his economic policies. Continue Reading →

Many people go to church on Sunday. Some even stop by at their sanctuary during the middle of the week. I, on the other hand, decided to visit my place of worship every morning that weather allows me to do so.

When dawn breaks the sky, I try to be awake so I can walk to my holy place. Every morning is fresh and ready to start its new day. The ground is dampened by what is left of the night, while at the same time the sun is orchestrating a show of colors that men or women have yet to duplicate.

I can tell when I get close to my church, because I can literally smell it. The scent of the soil is intense at this time in the morning. It ‘s a combination of the salty air of the sea, the cold clean air of the mountains, and the concept that I am going to a place I can actually become one with a God. Continue Reading →

Tthe taste of bitterness is all that I have left in my mouth… a heavy stone sits upon my heart. The world rejoices around me and I remain as the deaf and blind… cannot hear… cannot see.

A time of stillness that I cannot define, as if in a house of glass. I feel like a little girl in a deep dark forest, sitting under a tall tree, and yet not afraid, only awaiting what else fate may bring my way.

As I sit, I remember how fate sharpened his swords, to cut through my heart again and again, leaving me lonely as always… for a moment in time I ceased my strikes and stopped fighting back.

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The other day my wife and I joined a group of friends at a restaurant that served lobster bakes. It came with a lobster, potato, half an ear of corn, and a lot of butter. Everyone at our table loved the meal. I, on the other hand, went back into a memory of my past I hadn’t thought about for too long.

My uncle used to own a fish store in College Point, New York. I loved going to his store. The air was filled with the sharp smell of fresh fish that had just been delivered from the docks of New York City.

I remember the black and white tiled floors and the counter being sparkling clean and my uncle, wearing a white apron, talking to his customers while he arranged the catch of the day in a glass display case filled with crushed ice.

One day my father said they needed my help with the clambake. Wow! I could tag along with the men because they needed my help. I can’t tell you how important that made me feel. At first I didn’t know what to make of it because what had become a tradition in my short life was about to change. Continue Reading →

I have to admit I enjoy shopping online. It is very easy and the prices seem to beat any prices found in the brick and mortar stores I’ve frequented for most of my life. I’m also not alone.

The concept of purchasing everything from computers to socks has pretty well taken over all other retail operations. This is not the first time this has happened and I am sure this will not be the last.

When I was a lot younger and actually had a head of hair, I remember the numerous corner stores that defined every town. I don’t remember their names but I do remember that most had old wooden floors and metal ceilings that displayed beautiful arrays of designs I thought would live forever.

They were small and had one primary counter whose glass fronts protected the candy from the itchy hands of children like me. A gray-haired, elderly person always was at the counter protecting the giant register that clanged every time he or she pushed down on the numbers that represented the cost of the item being purchased. Continue Reading →

For the past four decades I’ve lived on the southern coast of Maine. Some sort of pest defined every one of those years. This year, the formidable foe is defined as some of the smallest creatures I’ve ever seen.
Most of the time I can’t see them but having a wife who keeps an immaculate home, gives me the capacity to know when every one of them dares to attack her kitchen.
I am not talking about an infestation even though, if left alone, this could happen. I am talking about a dozen of the little ant-holes that appear every day.
In the past I’ve battled multiple pests. I clearly remember the year of the voles. These appeared as multiple runways that connected tiny openings in my lawn.

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I never thought I would have this specific problem. My grand-kids are getting older, and I am doing the same. They no longer need the crib and all its extras, the car seat of which they both grew out of, and the various accessories and toys that we had in order to make their visits more enjoyable.

Since my wife keeps everything we have as if we just bought it, we talked about giving all of this stuff away to a needy family in our community. We were actually excited about this option because we realize how difficult it is to survive financially with a family.

The first thing I did was contact our local Catholic Church. The person I talked to stated she knew of a new family that was bringing a brand-new child into this World and would love to have the stuff we offered to give.

I was told this will help them appreciably and she would set up a system at which time they could pick it all up. That afternoon my wife organized all of the baby stuff we had so it would be easy to pick up. Continue Reading →

Iihave an electric cart. The model is a Hurricane and, as there was a hurricane called Floyd blowing at the time that I bought it, I called it Floyd. Floyd takes me to talk to my neighbors. It takes me to garage sales all over the town. Floyd is a great companion to me, he has become a friend.

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