Non-fiction

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44 articles in category Non-fiction / Subscribe

Iis there anyone else out there in our great nation who is sick and tired of being afraid? Webster defines fear as being, “an unpleasant strong emotion caused by expectation or awareness of danger.”

Ever since 9/11 there has been a vale of fear surrounding us all. Even though we are the most powerful nation on the planet we are still afraid what happened will happen again. What I know about 9/11 was we let our guard down against a group of people who want to hurt us. Throughout our history there have been many groups of people and many countries that wanted to hurt us.

In the past when this happened we did not hide our faces or hide behind closed doors. We stood up to this danger and showed the world we were not afraid of anything. Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were leaders who rallied their countrymen to stand up to any threat by not fearing but rather defeating it.

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Wwhen we are born we have to figure out important things like how to breathe, eat and go to the bathroom. As we get older we try to figure out our strengths and weaknesses and how we might deploy our strengths to achieve some sort of success in life.

Then, just when we think we might finally have figured out the art of growing up, we find out that feeling good about ourselves has a lot to do with how healthy we are. We usually get that message along with the first chest pains.

This scared the hell out of me. My doctor said he didn’t know what was wrong with me? Even worse was his comment about me being in my late years. Didn’t he realize people lived well past 80 now and I was only 65? Okay, mathematics is not my strongest suit but I still didn’t like the comment.

I was then ushered into an examination room. There a very pleasant and efficient woman asked me to take off my shirt so she could attach a dozen or so electrodes to my body. The female technician took one look at me and said she would have to shave my chest so the electrodes would stick. Continue Reading →

Wwebster defines symbol as, “something that stands for something else, a letter or character used instead of a word to represent a quantity, position, relationship, direction, or something to be done.”

These symbols have the tendency to define someone or something. For example the New York Yankees have their world-known symbol emblazoned on their uniforms and hats. One of the most famous mathematic symbols throughout the world is p. The symbol Donald Trump most fears is the *.

The asterisk is a symbol that represents that something has been left out. Today’s modern use for the * is that a title or representation does not completely mean what it is supposed to mean. In other words, there is a reality associated with the title.

Throughout modern history there have been many titles whose original meaning had something attached to it. For example: for years Phil Jackson referred to the San Antonio Spurs title as having an asterisk attached to it because of the shortened season.

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Tthis is the time of year everyone seems to slow down. For the past few months all we’ve thought about was preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner and getting out to the shopping areas, in order to show how much you love someone by how much you spend on them.

The Christmas rush is over, the New Years Eve celebration is a hangover you want to forget, and all you have left is to figure out where you are heading into the future before it happens. The election of 2016 seems to have lasted forever. In fact, it feels as though it is still going on.

Our nation is split in two with political ideologies having little conversation in order to lead our nation to a better place. People supporting Donald Trump believe America will be made great again. Those who lost are in fear our future will be defined by where we were in the past versus where we should be in our future.

The weather cooperated this year by laying down a thick white blanket of snow displaying a kind of clean slate. This new whiteboard has the tendency to sweep away the dust of the past.

I have a favorite saying that fits perfectly during this time of reflection. I am in no way taking credit for it and have no concept as to where I picked it up. However, it fits and it always goes to the front of my mind during this time of year which defines the new. Continue Reading →

Eevery morning it’s my job to make the coffee before my wife joins me for some breakfast and conversation. This has been a tradition in our marriage ever since it began over thirty-one years ago. While I was getting the coffee pot ready, I noticed a large jar next to the coffee machine.

It must have had a gallon capacity but was only a quarter filled by some kind of yellowish liquid. The liquid was brewing because its surface was covered with tiny bubbles. When my wife came downstairs to join me for breakfast I asked what this newest of inhabitant of our kitchen counter was.

She told me it was a starter cake. Not having a clue as to what a starter cake is supposed to be, I asked for an explanation. She told me that she received the starter liquid from her sister. She explained that every time one made the cake they would have enough left to give the extra mix to two other people who wanted to make their own Christmas cake.

These people would then make their cakes and have a couple of starter liquids to give to other people, so the same cake starter would spread around our known universe. This intrigued the hell out of me because I wondered where the starter cake liquid had been and where it was destined to go. Continue Reading →

I wonder if there is some sort of a bell that goes off when one retires. I question this because since then, after decades of work, it seemed like half the planet wants to be some part of my life, or wants to take a piece away.

On the day I retired I received a phone call congratulating me, because I had just won a spot on a cruise ship that is scheduled to go around the world. All I had to do was give them every number that had anything to do with my entire life and I was destined to be a world traveler. I asked them why they thought anyone who earned retirement also became stupid? They didn’t answer and I assume they went to the next retiree.

A few minutes later I received a call from someone with a very heavy accent who told me he was part of the IRS and I was in deep trouble unless I give him every number that had anything to do with my entire life and if I didn’t comply he was going to have me arrested. For a few seconds I said nothing and then stated, “really?” This time he hung up on me. Continue Reading →

Seasons in northern New England never change gradually. One day its sunny and warm with people walking the beaches in shorts and t-shirts and then, within minutes, the winds of autumn empty the beaches by becoming one large sand blower that scrapes the skin off one’s body and the hair off one’s head. These same winds also pull the leaves from the trees and basically rearrange our tidy little world.

This happened to me the other day as I drove off to an appointment. The day before was beautiful and warm. Because of this I wore a short-sleeved shirt and didn’t bother to wear a jacket. I was hoping this would be the year summer would last forever. Once again I was wrong.

As I walked into my garage I heard the wind howl. I hadn’t heard that sound since last March but I thought it was time for a little bit of interesting weather. As soon as I left my garage I knew I was right.

Backing out of the driveway was like backing into a wind tunnel. I swear my truck left the ground for a couple of microseconds because everything started to float a few inches in the air. Since I drive a truck I always assumed that I was in a heavy enough vehicle to hold the road. After driving onto my lawn and into my once-standing mailbox I knew I was wrong.

Driving down my road was like driving through an intergalactic battle scene from an old “Star Wars” movie. My truck was attacked by hundreds of red, yellow, and brown leaf-like star fighters that swarmed on my windshield hoping to block my vision and thus have me drive into the ditch or one of my neighbor’s mailboxes. I chose the latter. Continue Reading →

Every four years we are inundated with political advertisements telling us why those guys are bad and these other guys are the greatest since applesauce. It doesn’t matter what viewpoint you have because the debate over who is right or wrong has been going on since our nation began more than two centuries ago.

It seems easy to tell who is a Republican and who is a Democratic by listening to them. You can also tell the difference by the way they dress and their mannerisms. For example, Richard Nixon was a Republican and wore shorts and wing tip shoes when he went for a stroll on the beach, whereas Bill Clinton is a Democrat and couldn’t keep his pants on in the Oval Office.

Sitting in my old dilapidated beach chair one morning at York Beach I found myself wondering idly if it was possible to tell Republicans from Democrats when they were wearing almost no clothes and were supposed to be on vacation. Take away the Republican’s business suit and the Democrat’s blue collar and is there any real difference between them? Of course, today this concept seems to be reversed.
The first family I observed was a group of four with the father leading the way and the rest of the family following Indian file behind. This clear demarcation of power had me convinced this family was Republican. Actually I suspected the father was Republican with the wife and mother of his children bowing to the political consciousness of her husband. This little group planted themselves a good distance away from me. Actually, no one gets too close to me when I am in my retired mode. In the morning I actually scare myself with my untrimmed beard and rapidly decaying skin.

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Autumn is part of an integral cycle. This is the time we have to pull up the plants we cherished, fed, and protected during the last five months of the year. During the summer months we were proud of how strong our plants looked. We waited patiently for their fruit to ripen so we could fill our family’s tables with delicious vegetables and sweet-scented flowers. Like everything in everyone’s life all things change and nothing stays the same. In other words, everything is mortal.

Walking into my garden, I am saddened to see my tomato plants turn black with brownish green tomatoes left on dying stems. When the tomatoes were in full bloom you couldn’t see the cage through the thick foliage of green leaves and ripened tomatoes. In fact, throughout the entire summer I had to add miles of twine in order to keep my once giant tomato plants from falling to the ground. This of course made the task of cleaning up this part of my garden more difficult, because I had to separate the plants from the cages and then from the twine.

After I pulled the main part of the tomato plant away from the cages I accidentally knocked my glasses from my head and proceeded to step on them in the muck of mud and crushed tomatoes. Looking down at them and seeing they no longer looked like glasses I decided to leave them in the garden over the winter. Who knows maybe I’ll grow an eye-glass plant. Continue Reading →

The other day, my wife and I took my grand kids to McDonalds. We clearly understand this is not the best place to take them for lunch but it is nearly impossible to tell them different. We sat in our normal corner booth with my wife organizing the chaos while I went up to the counter to get them their favorite ‘Happy Meals’.

On my way back to the booth I noticed an elderly gentleman sitting at the next booth by himself. He had no food or drink in front of him and for some odd reason he brought a story into my mind. He was very old or at least he appeared to have survived too many decades. His skin was the color of over-cooked chicken and hung from what was probably a strong, structured face.

The skin on his face was freckled with the type of marks that had nothing to do with cute. He had large, dark bags under each eye that were permanently placed there from years of worry and concern about everything he once found important. He also wore eyeglasses that hung on the end of his pocked nose. These glasses had nothing to do with anything modern because they were large and, like his skin,were gray.

My grandkids were deeply involved in their ‘Happy meals’ and were playing with their ‘Happy Toy’. My wife was enjoying her ice coffee making sure neither of them swallowed one of their ‘Happy Toys’. Sneaking a peak over the side of the booth I noticed the old man wore a blue flannel shirt and bright greenish yellow shorts. I then assumed he wasn’t married because no wife would allow this combination to see the light of day. Continue Reading →