I was out late last night with a dinner guest.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Sometimes I feel like running away, but I don't. This is one of those weeks that I wish was just over. It's homecoming. My busiest time of year because I'm constantly trying to get interviews and I do get several over the course of the weekend. I have a funeral today. Dinner plans with a special guest of the museum tonight. Then tomorrow night is a lecture. Friday we have a big unveiling of a recent acquisition of the museum. We've been working months on this. It's the research I've been traveling so much for. Then Saturday is a full day of schmoozing and trying to get alumni to do oral histories. It's going to be a busy couple of days.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
By Georgia Douglas Johnson
The phantom happiness I sought
O’er every crag and moor;
I paused at every postern gate,
And knocked at every door;
In vain I searched the land and sea,
E’en to the inmost core,
The curtains of eternal night
Descend—my search is o’er.
Georgia Douglas Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1880. A member of the Harlem Renaissance, her collections of poetry include The Heart of a Woman (The Cornhill Company, 1918) and Share My World (Halfway House, 1962). She died in 1966.
Monday, September 18, 2017
On Saturday, I had to work, which wasn't too bad. I mostly worked on a project for my boss. If this project proves successful, it will be a success for me too. Here's to hoping it all works out.
On Sunday, I took it easy. In other words, I did nothing. I had a good reason though, I had a headache, and I really didn't feel,like doing anything. I accomplished exactly two things on Sunday. One, I got caught up on Project Runway, and two, I watched The Orville on Fox.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab by William Blake, 1795
In our home growing up, photographs were often stored in shoeboxes that fit under the bed or up in the closet. Now and then, those boxes would come out, and we would begin our trip down memory lane. Scenes in black and white took me back to my roots, rekindling bygone feelings and reminding me of precious stories. Pictures and the memories they evoke help us to keep our story alive.
In the 85 verses of the book of Ruth we follow one family and a foreign woman named Ruth as they eek out a living during the difficult days of the judges - a time of moral chaos and national instability, described in the last verse of Judges by the frightening words, everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25). The story takes unexpected twists and turns that fire the imagination and soothe the soul.
Ruth is for people who wonder where God is when one tragedy after another pounds their faith. It is for people who wonder whether a life of integrity in tough times is worth it. And it is a story for people who can't imagine that anything great could ever come of their ordinary lives.
The book tells of Ruth's accepting the God of the Israelites as her God and the Israelite people as her own. In Ruth 1:16-17, Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother-in-law, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me."
Ruth 1:16-17 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It shows the loyalty and love that one woman has for another. I was reminded of this verse the other day when I was watching Fried Green Tomatoes, my favorite movie. Idgie initially resists Ruth's attempts at friendship, but gradually a deep attachment develops between them. Ruth leaves Whistle Stop to marry Frank Bennett and moves to Valdosta, Georgia. Idgie tries to forget her but later, after receiving a letter with the Bible verses Ruth 1:16-17 included in it, visits her house to find her pregnant and subject to physical abuse from Frank. Against his wishes and violent attempts to stop her, she returns to Whistle Stop with Idgie, where her baby, a boy whom she names Buddy, Jr., is born.
Both the story of the biblical Ruth and the story of Idgie and Ruth in Fried Green Tomatoes are powerful stories of women. They give us a lesson of love and loyalty that we can't forget. If you've never seen Fried Green Tomatoes, you should. It's a lovely movie.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017
While on military training during World War Two, Gilbert Bradley was in love. He exchanged hundreds of letters with his sweetheart - who merely signed with the initial "G". But more than 70 years later, it was discovered that G stood for Gordon, and Gilbert had been in love with a man.
At the time, not only was homosexuality illegal, but those in the armed forces could be shot for having gay sex.
The letters, which emerged after Mr Bradley's death in 2008, are therefore unusual and shed an important light on homosexual relationships during the war.
What do we know about this forbidden love affair?
Wednesday January 24th 1939
... I lie awake all night waiting for the postman in the early morning, and then when he does not bring anything from you I just exist, a mass of nerves...
All my love forever,
Information gleaned from the letters indicate Mr Bradley was a reluctant soldier. He did not want to be in the Army, and even pretended to have epilepsy to avoid it.
His ruse did not work, though, and in 1939 he was stationed at Park Hall Camp in Oswestry, Shropshire, to train as an anti-aircraft gunner.
He was already in love with Gordon Bowsher. The pair had met on a houseboat holiday in Devon in 1938 when Mr Bowsher was in a relationship with Mr Bradley's nephew.
Mr Bowsher was from a well-to-do family. His father ran a shipping company, and the Bowshers also owned tea plantations.
When war broke out a year later he trained as an infantryman and was stationed at locations across the country.
February 12 1940, Park Grange
My own darling boy,
There is nothing more than I desire in life but to have you with me constantly...
...I can see or I imagine I can see, what your mother and father's reaction would be... the rest of the world have no conception of what our love is - they do not know that it is love...
But life as a homosexual in the 1940s was incredibly difficult. Gay activity was a court-martial offence, jail sentences for so-called "gross indecency" were common, and much of society strongly disapproved of same-sex relationships.
It was not until the Sexual Offences Act 1967 that consenting men aged 21 and over were legally allowed to have gay relationships - and being openly gay in the armed services was not allowed until 2000.
The letters, which emerged after Mr Bradley's death in 2008, are rare because most homosexual couples would get rid of anything so incriminating, says gay rights activist Peter Roscoe.
In one letter Mr Bowsher urges his lover to "do one thing for me in deadly seriousness. I want all my letters destroyed. Please darling do this for me. Til then and forever I worship you."
Mr Roscoe says the letters are inspiring in their positivity.
"There is a gay history and it isn't always negative and tearful," he says. "So many stories are about arrests - Oscar Wilde, Reading Gaol and all those awful, awful stories.
"But despite all the awful circumstances, gay men and lesbians managed to rise above it all and have fascinating and good lives despite everything."
February 1st, 1941 K . C. Gloucester Regiment, Priors Road, Cheltenham
My darling boy,
For years I had it drummed into me that no love could last for life...
I want you darling seriously to delve into your own mind, and to look for once in to the future.
Imagine the time when the war is over and we are living together... would it not be better to live on from now on the memory of our life together when it was at its most golden pitch.
Your own G.
But was this a love story with a happy ending?
Probably not. At one point, Mr Bradley was sent to Scotland on a mission to defend the Forth Bridge. He met and fell in love with two other men. Rather surprisingly, he wrote and told Mr Bowsher all about his romances north of the border. Perhaps even more surprisingly, Mr Bowsher took it all in his stride, writing that he "understood why they fell in love with you. After all, so did I".
Although the couple wrote throughout the war, the letters stopped in 1945.
However, both went on to enjoy interesting lives.
Mr Bowsher moved to California and became a well-known horse trainer. In a strange twist, he employed Sirhan Sirhan, who would go on to be convicted of assassinating Robert Kennedy.
Mr Bradley was briefly entangled with the MP Sir Paul Latham, who was imprisoned in 1941 following a court martial for "improper conduct" with three gunners and a civilian. Sir Paul was exposed after some "indiscreet letters" were discovered.
Mr Bradley moved to Brighton and died in 2008. A house clearance company found the letters and sold them to a dealer specialising in military mail.
The letters were finally bought by Oswestry Town Museum, when curator Mark Hignett was searching on eBay for items connected with the town.
He bought just three at first, and says the content led him to believe a fond girlfriend or fiancé was the sender. There were queries about bed sheets, living conditions - and their dreams for their future life together.
When he spotted there were more for sale, he snapped them up too - and on transcribing the letters for a display in the museum, Mr Hignett and his colleagues discovered the truth. The "girlfriend" was a boyfriend.
The revelation piqued Mr Hignett's interest - he describes his experience as being similar to reading a book and finding the last page ripped out: "I just had to keep buying the letters to find out what happened next."
Although he's spent "thousands of pounds" on the collection of more than 600 letters, he believes in terms of historical worth the correspondence is "invaluable".
"Such letters are extremely rare because they were incriminating - gay men faced years in prison with or without hard labour," he says. "There was even the possibility that gay soldiers could have been shot."
Work on a book is already under way at the museum, where the letters will also go on display.
Perhaps most poignantly, one of the letters contains the lines:
"Wouldn't it be wonderful if all our letters could be published in the future in a more enlightened time. Then all the world could see how in love we are."
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
By Timothy Donnelly
I saw a yellow butterfly
in my opinion
the wrong way, flying across
I saw a cormorant
close to the sea’s surface
as I floated on it on
my back in
the attitude of the crucifixion
minerals in my body
the minerals of the sea
about the sun
how can I possibly
to what’s already been said
by the ancients
and said with
an austerity I’ll never
it is an honor to take
a backseat to the ancients
who knew how
I was a fat white fish
under the sold-out stadium sun
like a god
but like a god
I could live through anything.
About This Poem
“I wrote the first three stanzas of ‘The Endless’ in my head while floating on my back with my eyes closed under the sun over Long Island Sound. I felt invincible. I left the water with the sense that the poem would end up taking off in an eco-theological direction, probably concluding with an indictment of human greed and destructiveness (or something like that). Later that night, when I started typing it up, the poem turned out to have other ambitions for itself, so I stepped out of the way and let it go where it wanted to.”
Timothy Donnelly is the author of The Cloud Corporation (Wave Books, 2010). He is a poetry editor at Boston Review and chair of the writing program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn with his family.
Monday, September 11, 2017
After having a day off last week, then traveling for three days, I haven't been able to do my work at the office. I was working while traveling, but it's not the same as being in the office. I'm not sure if we will do any traveling this week or not, that remains to be seen, but I look forward to getting some of my other priorities done.
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks
with his enemies in the gate.
- Psalms 127
Psalm 127 is one of the most practical passages in the Bible. It deals with two areas of our life that demand most of our time and cause us the most trouble. They are also the two areas which often compete with each other for our attention and energy. The two areas are those of our work and our family.
In our “workaholic” society Christian men often have misplaced priorities with respect to these responsibilities. The workaholic pursues his career at the expense of his family. He is often oblivious to the implications of his conduct. Minirth and Meier, two Christian psychiatrists, give us a picture of the workaholic’s true nature and its results:
“… the selfishness of the perfectionist (workaholic) is much more subtle. While he is out in society saving humanity at a work pace of eighty to a hundred hours a week, he is selfishly ignoring his wife and children. He is burying his emotions and working like a computerized robot. He helps mankind partially out of love and compassion, but mostly as an unconscious compensation for his insecurity, and as a means of fulfilling both his strong need for society’s approval and his driving urge to be perfect. He is self-critical and deep within himself feels inferior. He feels like a nobody, and spends the bulk of his life working at a frantic pace to prove to himself that he is really not (as he suspects deep within) a nobody. In his own eyes, and in the eyes of society, he is the epitome of human dedication. … He becomes angry when his wife and children place demands on him. He can’t understand how they could have the nerve to call such an unselfish, dedicated servant a selfish husband and father. … In reality, his wife and children are correct, and they are suffering severely because of his subtle selfishness.”
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Friday, September 8, 2017
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
The Sailor Boy
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
He rose at dawn and fired with hope,
Shot o’er the seething harbor-bar,
And reach’d the ship and caught the rope,
And whistled to the morning star.
And while he whistled long and loud
He heard a fierce mermaiden cry,
‘O boy, tho’ thou are young and proud,
I see the place where thou wilt lie.
‘The sands and yeasty surges mix
In cave s about the dreary bay,
And on thy ribs the limpet sticks,
And in thy heart the scrawl shall play.’
‘Fool,’ he answer’d , ‘death is sure
To those that stay and those that roam,
But I will nevermore endure
To sit with empty hands at home.
‘My mother clings about my neck,
My sisters crying, :”Stay for shame;”
My father raves of death and wreck,-
They are all to blame, they are all to blame.
‘God help me! save I take my part
Of danger on the roaring sea,
A devil rises in my heart,
Far worse than any death to me.’
Monday, September 4, 2017
Labor Day is a big day here in town. For such a small town, we have a fairly large parade. It probably wouldn't be a very large parade except that the whole Corps of Cadets from the school marches in it. They are a sight to see. They keep coming and coming. It's the highlight of the parade. I will sit out on my balcony which faces Main Street and watch the parade this morning.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Friday, September 1, 2017
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Yesterday was a long day at work. Not only are we working all out to get a new exhibit up for our Thursday opening, but yesterday was the university convocation and the president's reception for faculty and staff. The convocation makes for a long day because it's a lot of boring speeches. The president's reception is not bad because it always has good food but it means I'm at work an extra two hours.
Thursday will be another long day. I'm sure there will be a lot of last minute stuff to do before the opening reception. Then there will be a reception from 4-6, followed by a lecture. I don't mind the reception, but I dread the lecture. The lecture is on a small part of the new exhibition and is something I am not the least bit interested in. It will be another long day.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
I watched the Moon around the House
by Emily Dickinson
I watched the Moon around the House
Until upon a Pane—
She stopped—a Traveller’s privilege—for Rest—
And there upon
I gazed—as at a stranger—
The Lady in the Town
Doth think no incivility
To lift her Glass—upon—
But never Stranger justified
Like Mine—for not a Foot—nor Hand—
Nor Formula—had she—
But like a Head—a Guillotine
Slid carelessly away—
Did independent, Amber—
Sustain her in the sky—
Or like a Stemless Flower—
Upheld in rolling Air
By finer Gravitations—
Than bind Philosopher—
No Hunger—had she—nor an Inn—
Her Toilette—to suffice—
Nor Avocation—nor Concern
For little Mysteries
As harass us—like Life—and Death—
And Afterwards—or Nay—
But seemed engrossed to Absolute—
With shining—and the Sky—
The privilege to scrutinize
Was scarce upon my Eyes
When, with a Silver practise—
She vaulted out of Gaze—
And next—I met her on a Cloud—
Myself too far below
To follow her superior Road—
Or its advantage—Blue—
Monday, August 28, 2017
If you've not seen the season finale, read no further. I have to say that through most of the finale, I was somewhat underwhelmed, but the ending really got my attention. Cersei proved to be as devious as ever, but probably the stupidest person in the series. I have little doubt that she will get hers in the end. As with every great scene this season, the dragons proved to be the show stopper. The show proved that a dead dragon makes a very deadly enemy. Now we wait and wait for the next and final season. I've heard it could be up to two years away.
Sunday, August 27, 2017
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because He has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”—John 3:16-18
Everyone is searching for that one thing which will provide a meaningful and happy life. And that’s because God has created us with a need and desire for meaning and purpose as well as love and acceptance. Of course, the world holds out many options of things that will make you happy like financial success, social status, the approval of others, a good job, education, friends, marriage as well as having children. However, none of these options truly satisfy the deep needs of the human life.
Pascal, the French physicist and philosopher said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which can only be filled by God through His Son, Jesus Christ.” Every human being has this emptiness inside them, that something is missing and the reason we feel like something is missing is because something is missing! And what’s missing is Christ Jesus living in us. It’s in Him that we find a meaningful and happy life and it’s there that your search for happiness ends.
We all want happiness. If we can’t find it through money, we’ll try education. If education doesn’t do the trick, we’ll turn to friends or marriage. As long as there’s something to try next, the search continues. But when you have all the money you need, or a wonderful family, or social status or whatever it may be and you’re still not happy you begin to wonder, “What’s this life all about?” And often, asking this type of question is what prepares a person’s heart to respond to the love of God and receive Jesus Christ into their life.
Now, think back to when you first placed your faith in Jesus, what did you respond to? Was it the same love that motivated God to send His Son? Of course, it was God’s love for you. And because of God’s great love 1 John 3:1 says, “See, how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” You become a child of God, unconditionally loved, fully pleasing, absolutely accepted and complete in Christ. And so much more is your inheritance!
Adapted from a sermon by Pastor Bruce Willis.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Friday, August 25, 2017
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
Monday, August 21, 2017
The Michael Jackson song says, "It don't matter if you're black or white." Since Barack Obama became president, racism has surged in America. With the election of Donald Trump, racism has come to a head. He has empowered those who are most racist. It is his greatest crime as president. America is made up of immigrants and people of different races. It is probably the most diverse country in the world. It's our blessing and our curse. There will always be those who believe that America should be dominated by the white race, they will always be wrong. America's original motto was E pluribus unum, Latin for "out of many, one." It remained the de facto motto until 1956 when an act of Congress changed the motto to "In God We Trust." The fact is though that our Founding Fathers chose "out of many, one" as our motto because they believed it took many different people to make one great nation. They may not have believed that included African-Americans at the time, but I believe they would today. America made a great mistake when they allowed slavery to exist on this continent. America has not had a perfect history with minorities, far from it, but no country can claim to have perfectly treated minorities. We can be better though, and we need to rid ourselves of a president who lends credence to and empowers racists.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. - 1 John 5:4
Faith Is the Victory
by John H. Yates 1891
Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.
Faith is the victory!
Faith is the victory!
Oh, glorious victory,
That overcomes the world.
His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field;
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.
On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.
To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in heav’n.
Then onward from the hills of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring name.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
A Lazy Day
By Paul Laurence Dunbar
The trees bend down along the stream,
Where anchored swings my tiny boat.
The day is one to drowse and dream
And list the thrush’s throttling note.
When music from his bosom bleeds
Among the river’s rustling reeds.
No ripple stirs the placid pool,
When my adventurous line is cast,
A truce to sport, while clear and cool,
The mirrored clouds slide softly past.
The sky gives back a blue divine,
And all the world’s wide wealth is mine.
A pickerel leaps, a bow of light,
The minnows shine from side to side.
The first faint breeze comes up the tide—
I pause with half uplifted oar,
While night drifts down to claim the shore.
Monday, August 14, 2017
My parents were supposed to come visit me this fall. I wanted them to see how beautiful Vermont is at that time of year. A few weeks ago, my mother informed me that they were going to North Carolina instead. When I asked why they weren't coming to see me, she replied that they didn't have time. My feelings were terribly hurt, but she doesn't seem to care. Even when I tried last night to tell her that she'd hurt my feelings, she just said goodbye. I guess she didn't want to hear it. She may not care but that hurt my feelings even more. Why do parents treat us this way? One minute she wants me to move home because she says she misses me and the next she won't come to visit because she doesn't have the time. I just don't get it. My parents are both retired. They have plenty of time to do what they want, but I guess seeing me is not what they want.