February 2014

Page 2

44 articles in February 2014

Uuntil recently there were two things I had never seen in my life. I had never seen a moose and I had never seen the inside of a Walmart. I know this seems impossible because I’ve lived in Maine for over three decades and Walmart has basically taken over the world.

Since I am into my second half century of life I thought it time to reduce my never-seen list to just one. So, the other day I drove to Newington with the sole purpose of doing something I hadn’t done before: I would become a Walmart shopper. Approaching the giant Walmart store, which had taken over the high ground, like a fortress, I noticed it completely overwhelmed a nearby church. As high as the church steeple strove to reach into the sky it did not make an impression on the giant, white, geometric monolith that has become the principal house of worship for most American consumers.

The first thing I noticed, as I drove into the massive parking lot that surrounded the building like a cement moat, was that it was filled almost to capacity. There seemed to be a steady stream of shoppers pouring into the building and few leaving. Despite the immensity of the parking lot it took a while to find an empty bay and I eventually finished up parking on the far side of the garden supply area where there were a few spaces left because we were well past gardening season.

It meant a long hike to the main entrance and I soon found myself joining multiple streams of shoppers that merged into one giant torrent that poured endlessly into the store. I found myself wondering if maybe there was a black hole inside where people disappeared as soon as they had spent all their money, because I never saw anybody coming out. The main entrance was huge and led into an equally huge vestibule packed with vending machines and glossy advertising displays of the bargains to be had further inside the store.

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Iin the cage of the sleeplessness, the nights never breath the same way. Even if the summers’ crickets and the winters’ harsh winds are the same, the nights’ song is always new. Nothing is repeating identically, not even the rare, monotonous tick of the clock, as a sleeping heart carrying along the sleepy blood of the night.

The only noise that seem to be always the same is the one that sounds as a smothered sigh. One could say the imprisoned soul is mourning, of someone that would have been buried alive in the walls. But it is only the restless grave of the words.

Tthe words have been condemned to death one winter night. And since they have not been allowed to be spoken anymore, they have snowed over the bloodless lips, burdening them with a painful silence. And if they sometimes dare to cry the sadness of being killed too early, this happens only at night when there is no one around to hear their sigh with an echo of sea waves and sad distant strings.

And when the dawn comes, they stop again as if they have never spoken, wrapping me in their silent network that grows heavier day by day ….and I will die the day when I can’t be seen anymore through their thick mist, useless silk-worm in the dough of the unspoken words.
The End.

THE WORDS’ GRAVE by The Lonely Shell
Visit my website at: http://roxelmar.cjb.net

Copyright reserved. No part(s) of these publications may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by any means without the written permission of the author.

Tthe holidays are wonderful, exciting, enchanting, and can be quite depressing especially if one is young and uncertain of what they are. Teaching for the past three decades I’ve seen many young men and women suffer though this incapacity to see how wonderful their futures will be.

I try and explain they will see remarkable things and when I’m at Shady Acres looking for my ear lobes they will experience things that aren’t even in the imagination of anyone at the present time. I implore them to look at their cell phone. I doubt one could call it a cell phone anymore because in reality it is a high-powered computer that can give information about anything or anyone in this world. I ask if they remember what they used to use just five years ago. Most smile and give me a look that clearly reminds me the technology I’m talking about is now sitting in my right hand pocket.

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Aas much as we try to ignore the winter it still tries to make us miserable.

My friends and family tell me my basic whining increases ten-fold this time of year but this year, apparently: I was particularly annoying.

One of my friends suggested I get involved with one of the many winter sports our area has to offer and, since I am stuck in this frozen tundra for the next three months, my wife and I decided to try out the most popular attraction of New England. We drove up north to see if skiing was the way out of our winter doldrums. We arrived at the ski resort and went directly to a place where they rented skis. The temperature was somewhere between zero and 10 degrees.

We didn’t care because a few weeks earlier my wife had bought us the best and warmest ski clothes money could buy. On our short walk to the ski shop I felt warm and comfortable and enjoyed the beautiful fresh, mountain air. I even observed to my wife how it was like being in a winter wonderland. I decided maybe my friend was right and winter did not have to be a chore but something to be enjoyed, maybe even anticipated.

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Aababy girl was born to some settlers as they were moving out West. The wagon train stopped just long enough for the midwife to help the mother bear her child and then it continued on. A litle girl was born that day and her parents chose the name Patricia.

By the time the wagon train had reached what is now called Oklahoma, Patricia was walking and running and, as there were no other girls in the wagon train, she had to play with boys. It wasn’t long before she could run faster than they could and, when they tried to wrestle her down, she would throw them off of her back and hold them down.

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Aall change comes with certain unmistakable signs, if only you know how to read them. Even something as profound as a change of season presents itself first as a series of subtle signs that the transition process has finally begun. Unfortunately, this particular transition between winter and spring is having a bit of a tough time transitioning.

Possible because it is mid-February and the snow packed around my house is still three feet deep. Possibly because the air temperatures are staying at record lows and the winds of winter have continued their attack on what is left of the shingles on my roof. However, if you observe everything around you carefully, signs of our changing season are there. The other day I saw my first robin. Of course it was frozen to the driveway and stone-dead but it still was there. Later that same day I discovered a bunch of the red-breasted harbingers of spring gathered together in a huddle, shivering as they tried to keep alive. I think one of them gave me a questioning look, as if asking if I knew what was wrong with the climate, but I just shrugged. I was kind of wondering the same thing myself.

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Iit used to be so easy! When you were with a group of people you didn’t know and had to be introduced, all you had to do was reach out your hand, shake and the introduction was complete.

The only part of this custom you had to think about was how firm your handshake should be. Too firm and you might cripple the person you just met. Not firm enough and your masculinity was suspect. The biggest challenge for a man is how hard to shake a woman’s hand. Being brought up in a traditional family I was taught to be gentle with women. In other words don’t shake a woman’s hand to the point where you might inflict pain.

This idea has been challenged by modern society because if you don’t give a woman the same, firm handshake you would give a man it could be taken to mean that you thought she was not an equal. Once I remember shaking a woman’s hand only to have mine crushed and left with little feeling in my fingers for the next few days. So much for the gentler sex!

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Tthere! What do you think? Dawn asked, holding up the mirror. Angela gasped at her reflection. The top of her hair was its usual colour, but underneath it had been dyed bright green, and beaded strands of hair clicked together when she moved her head. She looked like an ornamental lampshade.

“Oh! Wow!” exclaimed Angela “It looks fantastic!”
Dawn beamed with pride. “That course you did at hairdressing was brilliant, I can do it all now, layering, hair-extensions, dyeing, perming; the lot.
“Any sign of a job yet?” asked Angela.
Dawn’s smile vanished. “Not yet, I’m going to the job centre on Wednesday, but with my talents it’s just a matter of time, you wait and see.
“Good luck, I hope something turns up,” said Angela.

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Hhis prison was small, smelly and very dark. He hated it and, at the top of his voice, he begged someone to come and let him out. He shouted and yelled all day but no-one heard him. He howled and cried all night but no-one heeded.

The next day it rained, at first, he licked thirstily at the water oozing under the door, but the puddle rapidly spread until it covered the floor. His frantic efforts to escape churned it into a thick, soupy mud, which filled his eyes and ears and plastered itself all over his starving body. He dug at the floor under the door-sill, biting at the wood in desperation, and the thick mess filled his mouth and made him choke and retch.
His pleas that night were hoarse and despairing as the cold night filled the sky outside, he gave up. Sprawled in the mud, he pressed his face against the door and closed his clouded eyes. The weary day wore on, and the breath lifting his little chest became ever more faint. An occasional shudder shook him. Remorselessly, quietly death drew near.

The old tramp paced angrily on the counter of the police station. “I tell you, there is someone in there,” he insisted. “I heard them the night before last, it made my blood run cold.” The policeman leaned towards him, suddenly realised why the old tramp was called Mucky Mick and hastily stepped back. “I tell you I personally checked the place after we ejected those squatters last week. There’s no one there!”

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Iiremember the day my wife and I enjoyed a great show in Boston called, “Movin’ Out”. The musical surrounds Billy Joel songs. In fact, the show had no dialogue. The stage was broken up horizontally with the band playing above the characters that danced their way through the lyrics.

It was quite exceptional in that I had never seen anything quite like it plus it stirred up memories of times-gone-by.What made this experience even more exceptional was who surrounded me during the performance. At the high school where I teach I am also the advisor for a program called, “Project Search”.

This gifted and talented activity has me take 25 very talented seniors to the University of New Hampshire twice a month to participate in lecture series and panels concerned with topics they will be confronted with after they leave High School. Toward the end of the year we take these students to enjoy a show and some dinner in Boston. Since there are 12 other school participating in this program I found myself surrounded by almost 200 gifted and talented young men and women who would probably become some of the leaders of our future.

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