The 2016 election has surrounded itself with stress, much of which we will hopefully soon be able to forget. The election also defined the term “Millennial”. I am sure the term existed before the election but this process has brought the definition to the forefront, since the people of the “Millennial Generation” will be a force that will have a place in the election our new government.

Pew Research Center defines the Millennial Generation as those born after 1980, and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. Another name for the millennial is Generation Y. The Millennial generation follows Generation X in order of demography.

This generation is often associated with technology and social media. Since I’ve yet to meet a millennial without having a cell phone in hand, or earphones attached to some device to their ears, this definition is easy to understand. Their future will tell whether or not this is a good thing.

This is not the first generation of Americans to be categorized by chronology and history. The “Lost Generation”, which was the post-World War I generation, was actually a group of writers who came of age during the war and established their literary reputation. The decade for this generation was the 1920’s. The term was from a remark by Gertrude Stein to Ernest Hemingway.  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 →

I believe religion should be a personal issue. The practice should not be on the forefront of national or international politics. I am saddened to observe this is not the case. The image of religion has degraded into a means of power and control.

I no longer go to any church service because it now has a tendency to evolve into a promotion of one idea over the other. I talk with my God every day. I enjoy doing this because it is a means of relaxing my mind and thus taking my thoughts away from the madness of our present.

I am told many concepts and ideas of our past are now being radicalized. In my nation a political discussion was based on ideas that would help our society. This election is based on personal assaults and fear. What made me most proud of my country was the election process.

In the past, when one lost an election he or she would concede with a promise to support the winning candidate. This is not the case today. Now we have a candidate that states the only reason for a loss would be that the process is “rigged”. This is a radicalization or our electoral system. 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 →

“An unexpected relationship will become permanent.”

Tthe message from inside the fortune cookie stared me in the face and I stared back, first at the broken cookie then at the scroll-type message within, and finally at the man seated opposite me on the table. Was it an omen, a premonition, or a warning for what lay ahead?

There were so many thoughts cramped up in my head in that instant of a second, that I was truly able to appreciate Bill Gates’ phrase “at the speed of thought”. It was the first time that we were out together and he looked terribly handsome as he sat there chuckling at what his fortune cookie said, completely oblivious to my state of mind at the time.

I’ve always been a superstitious person. I have a lucky pen, a money plant that I never dare to neglect, and a set routine that I never defer from, but treating a fortune cookie as a message from God was a bit much, even for me. For the moment I relegated the incident to the back of my mind and joined in his laughter.

As we sat in his car in the parking lot, just below my apartment, we chatted easily, neither of us wanting to break the momentum of a lovely evening by saying goodbye. I had the urge to lean over and kiss him on his cheek. I had the urge, but not the nerve. For all technical reasons, it was not a date. We were just two friends, out to dinner and I had no intention of spoiling that.

By the next afternoon, I knew I was falling in love, because I had completely lost my appetite and my interest in anyone or anything else. It had certainly been unexpected. Yet it was neither a relationship, nor did it have any chance of becoming permanent. What struck me with a jolt was that I wanted it to be. Continue Reading →

Iit was the first part of December and the frozen ground was covered with snow. My little girl said to me, ‘Daddy can we have that tree we saw on our hike through the woods last summer, for our Christmas tree?

My little girl had a bad accident in the autumn and the doctors had said that she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Wanting to do all I could to please my precious child, I began getting things ready to do my chores, in order to get an early start next morning. I forked some hay into a pile to feed the cows and horses, I also set a bucket aside with some grain in it, to feed it to my saddle-horse. I then filled a pan with slop, to feed the pigs. This was all so that I could go and look for the tree that my daughter wanted.

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Fifteen years just isn’t enough. Today we live in a nation that has the possibility of having a President Trump or Clinton. Working through my first six decades our political and social atmosphere is now undermined by partisan policies.

I believe this is all in response to when our nation was changed fifteen years ago on what was a normal September in a normal time of our nation’s history. I still remember that day in my class with my students; that day when all of our histories changed, that day I spend most of my life trying to not only understand, but to also believe. This is article did appear fifteen years ago. I believe it has more relevance today.

I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t express what I was feeling in words. I knew everyone of those people who were condemned to die. I didn’t know their faces or their names but I knew them all. They were husbands and wives of families working to make the people they were responsible for safe and comfortable.

They were the children of families whose hard work and perseverance made their families proud. They were the grandparents who were almost ready to live out their lives doing something they had dreamed they could do. Continue Reading →

Tthere is a child I used to know who sat,
perhaps, at this same desk where you sit now,
and made a mess of things sometimes.
I wonder how he learned at all . . .

He saw T-Rexes down the hall
and dreamed of trains and cars and wrecks.
He dribbled phantom basketballs,
shot spitwads at his schoolmates’ necks.

He played with pasty Elmer’s glue
(and sometimes got the glue on you!).
He earned the nickname–’teacher’s PEST.’
His mother had to come to school
because he broke the golden rule.
He dreaded each and every test.

Continue Reading →