Bill's Bountiful Blog
May I keep you posted on my thoughts, ideas, observations, and silliness?. Am I serious? Is it relevant?. Does anyone care? Probably not much.
But in today's age of everyone has something to say, why not me? And who can blame me for jumping into to the pool? For speaking up For laying it out?
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." - Thomas Wiley, Journalist
Covid Changed Nothing
By William May
Published: 12/31/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Family, Gratitude, Health Comments: 0
Let us not be irreverent.
Surely, Covid changed things, but it has seldom changed them wholly and unequivocally, no matter how abrupt that may sound. During wars, life continues. After a hurricane, the population digs out. And during the flu pandemic of 1919, folks wore masks for a time, many died, and the rest carried on - as rude as that sounds.
Some parts of life always have been, are now, and always will be. Now is a good time to make a list, so we do not forget when the next life-altering event takes place. Here are just a few.
No matter the weather, rain or shine, no matter the time of year, or the time of day, in the wonderful park that sits midway between our condo and our offices, in fact directly outside my window, if the field lights are on, those crazy soccer players are out there running in circles. Maybe there are even more of them now.
Growing up we did not have soccer. Football, basketball and baseball were king. If anyone played soccer, it was unknown to me. And, if they had called it "Football", we would have been very confused. Yes, their game revolved around kicking the ball with the foot, while ours had almost nothing to do with feet.
So, somehow in the hierarchy of United States, "sports football" as the rest of the world knows it, became soccer here. It was decades before soccer became visible in the states, eventually to become reluctantly popular.
Covid also forced many to stay home and watch television. Of course, the majority of Americans love their TV and spend an average of 21 hours a week glued to the telly.
But, never did we have to admit the addiction. Now none of us can avoid admitting - we were watching TV and, yes we further must admit, we kinda like it. OK, we really love our screen drug of choice. Unless, of course, we compare it to computer screens, at which we spend twice the time on average.
The idea that everyone in the country or the world get along or will agree on everything ignores history. It has never happened and it never will. Unfortunately, the same has been true during Covid. Politicians fight about who is the most right and the most wrong.
Protestors have and will bring forward grievances, justified, very justified or not. Their desire to be heard mirrors other times over the decades and centuries when groups of people felt compelled to bring forth their causes, regardless of other considerations, such as the needs of others, including the profound affect of global sickness.
Away from the light, away from the news on websites, radio, television or newspapers, more momentous events are taking place that also show how nothing has changed.
Men and women are so in love, that they find ways to get married. As now so can men and men, women and women. That had changed before the virus.
Students still yearn to learn, even though the place has changed to their homes, the teachers appear on screens instead of in front of blackboards, and recess means running around your own yard, instead of the school yard.
Parishioners still attend church to find the guidance that they have always required. Jews need the Sabbath. Muslim's need daily prayers. Hindu's pray in their homes. Atheists and agnostics feel none of those leanings and embrace their unchanged opinions.
Unfortunately, the people who lived rude, remain that way. Those who were addicted to working, rather than enjoying, never missed a beat. Those who worship money, attended that church religiously. Some figured how to prosper during times that were financially devastating for others.
But best of all, people who were kind, remain kind or their kindness became more visible. Humble people quietly stepped forward and served the universe - retail clerks, transit workers, care givers, medical staff and even those unfairly maligned who work at rest home facilities.
And, unfortunately, people have died and in larger numbers than ever, and far more frequently than is fair to be cut down before their time. Or they have suffered grievously at the hands of a devious, invisible devil, who causes death and destruction when its only goal is to live and grow.
And those kinds of germs have also not changed. They have been around forever and will be around again in the future. We were better prepared this time than last, and will be even better prepared next time.
Author: William May, William May
Blog #: 0798 – 12/31/20
How Dare They Go To Work
By William May
Published: 04/20/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Family, Gratitude, Health Comments: 0
Really, who the hell do they think they are?
Awakening early every morning, or even in the middle of the night. After too little sleep and too much stress, trudging to a job they love, although they admit it is difficult to love right now. How dare they go to work?
They will often spend 12-hours shifts or much longer and for days on end. Not one day off, not a moment to spend on personal things. No time with family or friends. How do they dare do that to themselves?
Some are paid very well, some paid adequately and others earn far too little. Most will receive nothing extra for the insurmountable obstacles they confront. How do they dare to work at all when others would not?
And yet, they persevere and get up and go to a job they know will be very frustrating. They know it is also rewarding, but that it will not feel that way every day. They do not dare to think about relief, at least not yet.
At the job, they will toil hour after hour, often with no time to eat or take a break. Squeezing in a bathroom break is necessary, but even that feels like wasting time. They will be confronted with thing after thing to do. Work upon work. No rest for the weary.
There will be a non-stop demand to do the difficult, the impossible and even the frightening. They won't feel up to the task all the time, but they will step up to the tasks every time. How dare they do that to themselves?
They see weeks of challenge ahead, maybe months, maybe years. They refuse to look for the finish line, because every champion runner puts one foot ahead of the other knowing it’s the only way to finish. They think about quitting, but only rarely, because quitting would make it more difficult for others. They dare not let anyone down.
As the world begins to show its gratitude for these wonderful human beings, they will still feel inadequate, because the mission is so huge and for now seemingly impossible. How dare they believe they can make it better?
These people are not necessarily glib with their words. They have no time for pontificating. They have no time to complain. They do not seek glory or even recognition. They would not dare direct any attention to themselves.
Every one of them knows the risk of physical illness, mental duress, financial hardships and family stress. They know these things, so how do they continue on? Would anyone else dare?
They dare because the task is at hand. The challenge is now. They dare not wait. They dare not fail. They will not let that happen, no matter how long it takes and no matter the personal cost. How dare they believe they are life givers?
Doctors, nurses, caregivers, counselors, therapists, pharmacists, ambulance drivers, EMTs, first-responders, administrators, janitors and every employee at every hospital, all dare to come to work - and we must all be so grateful that they do.
These people dare because they are different than most of us. Very different. Most dreamt of their career as a calling. They have always known it would be difficult, but they never dared to think it would be like this. But they did know that they could and would act in ways the rest of us cannot promise. They dare to go to work because they saves lives.
Whether you believe in God or you do not, whether you can donate to their cause or not, whether you have suffered from illness or not, it is now time to give thanks that somehow there are people like them in the world.
It is time thank them for dedication that is immense, commitment that is astounding, and for courage that is unending. How dare they?
Author: William May, Plumbob Publishing
Blog #: 0743 – 04/20/20
An Unremarkable Phone Call
By William May
Published: 08/15/95 Topics: Family Comments: 0
I was worried about my son Taylor. He has never been the reflective type. At age five, he has the vocabulary, energy and determination of a ten year old. If there is a swimming lesson to take, a zoo expedition or a get together with friends, Taylor boils over with enthusiasm.
So I had been a bit worried about him when, in the last month, he became more thoughtful, more introspective and, on random occasions, sad and withdrawn. When I questioned him for an explanation, he ducked my careful inquiries with nothing more than a slight tilt of the head and a forced smile. Definitely not Taylor. I worried further.
Then one evening, as we sat and talked about the tiniest things in life, he suddenly blurted out "Dad, can we call Grandpa Dick?" It caught me terribly off guard but I immediately understood Taylor’s problem. You see my father had passed away just about a month before.
My father was a gentle quiet man. It is strange for me to say this, but in many ways he was unremarkable, at least in today’s world where bigger-than-life self promoters are often thrust at us as models and heroes. Dick was none of that.
Instead he was a hard worker who prided himself on never having asked for a raise. He led efforts to erect a parsonage and, for another congregation - a church building. He loved to sing having started in high school and never missed a church choir rehearsal or Sunday service. World War II stole three years of his life for which he never complained.
He left behind three devoted sons, three adoring grandchildren, loving daughter-in-laws and a wife who fell for him at age 16 and never forgot how that felt. We remember his wit, his gentle ways and, most of all, how his eyes would mist when anything of compassion, common sense or injustice was discussed.
For ten years after his retirement he worked 8 hours a day five or more days per week doing what he had loved best having grown up on a farm - growing gardens, cutting lawns, pruning shrubs. Most often he did it for other Seniors who couldn’t get out to do it and usually for whatever they could afford to pay. In the end, it was his simple goodness that friends and family found so truly remarkable.
His passing consisted of two days of worry, four weeks of unconsciousness and then, as sudden and as startling as blowing a tire on a deserted road, he died. Two days before his hospital admittance, we hurried up a family dinner. There, under his Cheshire grin and humble words I knew there must be fear and panic. He shared none of that.
True to form, Dad demanded a day to visit his customers promising to be back in a few weeks to take care of their gardens and lawns. It was not to be.
Taylor’s request to "Call Grandpa Dick" opened my recent wounds. I silently gasped but tried not to tear up. We had withheld news of Grandpa’s illness from Taylor even after we knew the end was near. He was fed bits of information, progressively worse, until Taylor guessed and we confirmed that Grandpa would probably die.
When he did, my son, his Mom and I cried together. Taylor rationalized and seemed to accept the inevitability of death. Until then Taylor had only had to deal with the death of one goldfish; who even now sleeps comfortably in a cotton lined wallet box in our freezer. Taylor hadn't been ready to let go of "Splendid" the fish and now it seems he wasn’t ready to let go of Grandpa Dick either.
"Gee Tay, sounds like you miss Grandpa", I whispered.
"Yes", said Tay, "But I’ve been thinking. Grandpa always told me to call him anytime I needed him. That’s what he said - anytime. I know he’s gone. But he never talked much anyway. He always just said things like ‘How great Tay’ and ‘You make me so proud’. I just know if I call him he’ll listen. Can we Dad, I kind of need to talk to him?"
It took me a minute to speak, at last deciding to play it by ear. "Sure, Tay you’re right. That might make us all - you, me and Grandpa feel a lot better." Holding down the plunger, I quickly dialed the number and handed the receiver to my young son.
For a few long minutes, Taylor conducted the usual Grandpa Dick phone call. There was an update on his Dad, his Mom, his Nanny, his cats and his friends; then a few jokes with punch lines that didn’t make sense. Taylor doesn’t really understand jokes yet but Grandpa’s don’t expect logical jokes from kids. He asked Grandpa how his chickens, rabbits and new Dog were doing. The conversation seemed perfectly rational.
Finally, Taylor fell into simply inserting the occasional "yes", "h-huh" and "that’s good". Grandpa was now talking. Taylor was listening. I was crying.
Cupping the receiver with his hand, Taylor turned to me and said "Do you want to talk Dad?" Overcome with emotion, I shook my head no. He took back the receiver and said "OK, Grandpa, Dad can’t talk right now. Gotta go. I love you. I miss you. Oh, and by the way, remember anytime you need me ... just call. Anytime. I love you Grandpa ... I miss you."
He hung up the phone flashing me one of those parent melting smiles, "Thanks Dad, I feel better". And he was.
It’s taken me several weeks to gather the composure to put this simple event down in writing. Things are beginning to get back to normal in our household. Taylor is feeling much better and has resumed his unabashed enthusiasm for everything in life including books, bugs and bicycles.
For me it will take longer. I haven’t yet come to grips with my father’s passing (if I ever will.) Writing this story brings back its confusing combination of sorrow and pain. I can’t get my hands around the mystery. I can’t put a conclusion on things. Tonight, I think I’d better go home and, with my son’s help, call Grandpa Dick.
Author: William May – A Father's Son, MayPartners
Blog #: 0506 – 08/15/95
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