Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Saturday, June 29, 2013

5-1-13 RMB My Hero Ali

5-1-13 RMB My Hero Ali

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
As we go through our lives, it is difficult to grasp how we affect each other, how some moments leave a lasting impression upon us more so than others. Just as I apparently have a different definition of the word love than most, my definition of hero is a bit less grand than most but equally important…in my humble opinion that is.
I have alluded to you being heroic in these letters. I will state it clearly here. I count you among my heroes, for all you have done, for all you have written…for your contribution to the greater good.
I think there is a hero in each of us and it depends on how we live our life, how we apply our energy, that the extent of our heroism is revealed. A heroic act is one that lends support, protection, love, encouragement, hope and the likes, when it is needed most, when it is least expected, when the giving of it is above and beyond what the moment would normally call for.
In my early teens, I had the privilege of babysitting a little boy and girl three doors down, Alicyn and Ryan. I watched them often from the time the girl was a baby until she was about four. Then I got a real job, the fast food place mentioned in previous letters. This little girl and I connected. She was alert to being able to “talk” with her mind. She would chat with me. As she grew, whenever I saw her, she always gave me a smile of my own to carry. She cheered the sullen teen I was like no one else could at the time.
After I was gainfully employed elsewhere, my mom would watch the siblings sometimes during the day. I rarely saw them at all. One day I came home unexpectedly early. It was my seventeenth year, the year of the walking corpse, when I was barely a person at all. I got out of my Mustang and stood at the edge of the garage as Ali and her brother zoomed by. It brought a smile to my face just to see them, it had been too long. They both shouted out a “hello” as they ran.
Ali suddenly skidded to a stop. She did a double take from a foot away. Instantly she knew the depth I had sunk to. She took a step back towards me, opening her arms wide for a hug, as she had done in her toddler years. I sank to my knees and fell into the embrace of my five year old hero.
I felt her smile as her cheek pressed firmly against mine. I fought back tears. She held me tight, then parted us slowly holding me by the shoulders to look into my eyes and said “I wanted to tell you to have a nice day.” They were the only words her five year old self knew to convey ‘I care about you, I see you hurting, does this help?’
All I could do was nod. Silenced by emotion, adult words eluded me. Finally I choked out “Thank you, you too.”
She nodded, her work there complete, and took off after her older brother. I stood, composing myself. I wiped away the tears threatening to spill, working to pull myself back into a more presentable state, the ‘I’m okay, don’t worry about me’ look, before I walked in the house to greet my mother.
That hug in that moment was above and beyond what is normally expected. Later in the midst of my pain, I could conjure up the feel of her arms tightly wrapped around me, her caring, her kindness, her hope that she could make something better for me, make me better. Ali has been among my heroes ever since that day.
Yours truly,

Friday, June 28, 2013

4-30-13 RMB Friends More Felt Than Seen

4-30-13 RMB Friends More Felt Than Seen
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
A few days have passed by since I wrote the last letter. I’ve thought about writing every day, yet nothing within those days moved me draw pictures of their moments in words. I realized today how many days have slipped by. That scares me for some reason.
I scare easily. I look for answers in everything, even when I don’t know the questions. The reason for these letters is not yet fully recognized and here I am scared of losing their essence, an undefined essence. Wuss.
It is 10:30pm…is this the hour rambling begins? I will be careful; try not to run too adrift.
Scare is too scary of a word, concern…that’s a better word. I am concerned. So to ease my concerns, I will convey something of those days. I know there were serious news worthy events, progress in the Boston bombing case, the gay basketball player Jason Collins coming out, tragedy in a garment factory in Bangladesh, wars, strife and unrest, in countries around the world. For now, I leave the news to those who know news. It is all too overwhelming for me at the moment.
Here is what touched me over the last few days. I walk at a park after work, when I arrive I see families, some toddlers with their parents and teens with their friends. As the evening progresses, families with young children leave first, then the teens, until only some closer to my age remain, walking or playing tennis. The courts stay lit quite late.
As the sun sets, many nights I am still walking when the last visitor leaves. I watch the sunset, feel the breeze wave it goodbye. The scent of the air changes, maybe it is the marine layer moving in or evening plants blooming. Some life settles down to rest while nocturnal critters come to life. A coolness surrounds me. By then I am hot and sweating from the walk and trotting up and down stairs. The cool air is welcome and makes my moist skin tingle, refreshing me. It resets my temperature, daring me to walk more.
When I look over at the parking lot and see my dark blue Honda Accord alone or nearly so, I find an odd comfort in that. It is like being left to spend time alone with a friend, the park itself. Sometimes I mentally reach out for whoever might be available to visit, friends, you, people past and present, even ones I don’t know. At times, as night falls, the park can seem more crowded with souls then it was when I first arrived.
I take one last lap, sometimes for a few more minutes of just the two of us, the park and me; sometimes to feel the wave of souls surrounding me and bid them well as they accompany me on the last lap. There is something precious in those moments with the sunset, the wind, the park and other friends, friends whose presence is more felt than seen.
There, now I feel better. Thank you for your part in the undefined essence of these letters.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

4-25-13 RMB Blue

4-25-13 RMB Blue
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Everyone has a favorite color or at the very least, a color they prefer over others. Mine is blue, especially dark midnight blue. Because it is such a common question, “What’s your favorite color?” I assumed everyone was as attached to their color as I am. I was shocked to find out that is not so.
My niece has gone through phases of liking purple or lavender and red. One sister used to like green, but changed to blue, then other colors. I was aghast. How could you not be loyal to your color??? The more I asked around, the more I realized that I am the odd one…figures. No one was as attached to their color as I am to blue. 
Blue represents peace and gentleness to me and it also contains a certain strength, a powerful strength like the ocean tide, a silent strength like the pull of the moon on those tides. It is the sky, whether day or night, cloudy or clear. It is the ocean, sometimes warm, sometimes calm, sometimes fierce. It is the rain falling heavy or gently misting.  It can be found in a teardrop, whether from pain or joy.
Blue is a friend to me, it makes me happy, hopeful, inspired. I wear more blue than any other color. My closet is a rainbow of blues. Now you see why the green shirt I wore on St. Patrick’s Day was so special.
I noticed that you wore colorful shirts in interviews and talks online, often with blue jeans…I like that J
When I went looking for my current job, that was one of the work someplace where I can wear blue jeans to work. Blue jeans are fantastic. I wonder if I would be so attached to them if they were another color.
My big brother’s favorite color when we were growing up was blue and my nephew’s favorite is also blue, a nice bond to share.
This felt important enough to write about, but now I am having trouble conveying what is so important about it, hmph. I guess it is the fact that it carries an element of something beyond itself. Any number of items or air or even things of other colors can have a blue hue. I once stood outdoors fascinated, watching snow fall from the skies over Michigan, on a crisp January night, seeing the blue hue shining over the freshly fallen white snow and sparkling in the snowflakes as they drifted down, bringing with it that peace, gentleness and strength.
People are like this, having an element of something beyond themselves. Your hue is reflected in numerous lives. Mine shines back at me from the eyes of my boys, all my nephews, my nieces, friends and family. Everything we touch, every thought we send, reflects back and propels forward on that which it lands.
A friend called to say she got her copy of Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble Rouser. Over the phone I read the passage about Celeste and Ramelle, from Six of One, that moved me so. She agreed about the beauty of it and she is a much more avid reader than I.
I am enjoying this journey with you. I do hope to finish my books within the next few years, but regardless of what the future holds I am glad I have written these letters. They carry an element beyond themselves, beyond the obvious, more than words on a page -- to what end I don’t know, but I know they do.
All my best,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4-24-13 RMB Tarot Cards

4-24-13 RMB Tarot Cards
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I started reading Southern Discomfort, first published in 1982. I like that it is based in Alabama, home to half my family.  Only in your books have I found such interesting parts that take place before page 1. The Note between the Acknowledgments and Prologue is challenging, “If you don’t like my book, write your own. If you don’t think you can write a novel, that ought to tell you something. If you think you can, do. No excuses….” I do like your books and I am trying to write my own. It is not as easy as it sounds, to place word after word, resulting in a story of continuity, depth and insight. My hat goes off to you for having done it so many times with such humor and grace.
The way the young characters early on in the book match up people to cards is interesting. It reminded me of reading tarot cards. Often a force is introduced that could be a person or an element or en event. It is all in how the cards relate to each other, how you and the person you are reading for interprets them.
My first experience with tarot cards came in my mid twenties. After seeing my insights a friend, asked if I knew about tarot cards or ever had mine read. I said “No”. I never gave them, nor any type of fortune telling any thought. She put me in touch with someone that had done her cards several times. Another friend, more interested in all if it than I, called the woman first and made an appointment for herself.
Soon after, I went to see her. From the moment we started, she began telling me how I would read cards one day; that I would be doing what she did; that she would be happy to help me learn; to teach me. It was an interesting evening, but I had no desire to become a tarot card reader.
I asked both friends if she had told them the same thing. Being a natural skeptic of all things, I felt I was being recruited, despite the trust I felt for this woman. Yes, by the way, I AM a natural skeptic. Maybe that is what makes my beliefs so strong. I have sought proof and found enough of it to settle the skeptic in me. Both the friend that had referred her to me and the other one that went to see her before I had a chance said she didn’t mention anything about them reading cards, ever. Both of them were into all forms of mystic exploration more so than I. I thought she was barking up the wrong tree.
The reading sparked some interest. I studied books on tarot cards and their history; studied various tarot card decks and began to learn techniques. In the next few years, I visited the card reader several times. She allowed me into her circle of friends. They shared insights to their methods. She did end up teaching me. It was not a recruitment scam. It was a kind offer from a nice woman whose talents I came to respect. She never charged me for what she taught me, although I did have her read my cards a few more times.
The biggest lesson I learned was that the cards are simply tools, as is a crystal ball or runes and other methods. The insights come from within us, the reader, the one whose cards are being read for and the universe or God or whatever you want to call the assistance we get. I do find it interesting that the cards drawn are telling in many ways, not that they are possessed or anything, more like they are influenced by us or the universe or whatever.
Now I read for friends near their birthdays or when they are facing a challenge. It is still not a strong calling. I consider writing my calling. And have plenty of work to do in that arena. I am taking a break from one of my writings to write this letter. Oh, the other two friends never looked into reading cards or anything of the like.
Keep your stories flowing,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

-23-13 (really 4-24-13 nearly 1am) RMB Anne Frank, War, Ramelle and Celeste

4-23-13 (really 4-24-13 nearly 1am) RMB Anne Frank, War, Ramelle and Celeste
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I checked out a DVD of Anne Frank from the 1950’s. The boys and I watched it together. I am glad to be sharing Anne Frank’s story with them. In general, I try to avoid tough subjects, but with the boys I steel myself to face the tough stuff head on. I want them to know they can talk to me about anything.
Twice I offered the eldest “get out of jail free” cards…times when my spidey sense (a silly way that I refer to my knowing things…as in Spiderman) told me that he was holding back a degree of truth for fear of getting in trouble. I value truth above punishment. Both times he revealed information that gave insight into his troubles.
A friend and I went to see The Pianist when it was in theaters. I normally would avoid such a movie, but I am glad I went. Even the parts of your book Six of One, where you describe the war, are hard to read. You see, I really am a wuss. My friend, the one that reminds me of you, was an actress in her youth and young adulthood. She played Anne Frank in a play that ran several evenings. She remembers speaking Anne’s words and the chill of the soldiers coming to take them away night after night. She is braver than I.
My father was in the Korean War. My “adult” sister, the one that is only a few years older than I, kept an operator chatting on the phone one day until my mom discovered what she was doing. Somehow she expected the operator to be able to ring up our father so she could talk to him. The operator was so touched by this child wanting to talk to her Daddy fighting in the war that she could not hang up on her without trying to explain that she just couldn’t do as the child asked. My mother thanked the kind woman.
I had nightmares about the war. I don’t know when they started or if I saw something that sparked them, but I remember the dreams, the images. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties and starting to unravel the puzzle of my gifts that I spoke to my sister about them.
She loves scary movies. I never watch them. We are opposites in many ways. She is a night owl, I am a morning person. She loves roller coaster rides. I am more than happy to hold everyone’s belongings while they ride upside down like the wind, crazy people.
Anyway, I told her I don’t watch the scary movies because the images stay with me. I have enough trouble dealing with the images I see as it is…like the visions of war from my childhood nightmares. Only they weren’t just nightmares during sleep. They were more like memories. I described them to her and she revealed to me that she had the same visions/memories. We could fill in one another sentences, we were describing the same memory. We both wondered if it was something our father experienced, or something we overheard being described, but why would the images be so vivid and exactly the same in each of our minds?
Yep, it’s after midnight again and I know I am rambling…not a night person ya’ know, sorry to wander so.
In Six of One, where Ramelle meets Celeste in December of 1958, that was beautifully written. I won’t reveal the circumstances in case other readers haven’t read it yet, but oh my, you took my breath away with the beauty of it. I am enjoying this book and looking forward to the next.
Good night, really a verrry early good morning J,

Sunday, June 23, 2013

4-22-13 RMB Rizzy

4-22-13 RMB Rizzy
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
A friend called tonight. The female cat she called Rizzy, short for Risotto, passed away.  She had told me yesterday to keep the little one in my prayers. Something was ailing her that came on fast. She was fine not long ago, but had taken to hiding the last several days and by the time she made an appearance she was looking for her final resting place.
I reminded my friend of animals she and I have both cared for through the years, how they would be there to greet Rizzy.
One white boy cat named Rowdy was particularly fond of this friend. She had him when she smoked and he would go to her ashtray, take out an old cigarette butt and walk around with his head held high, appearing to imitate her. He also liked to get money, dollar bills, and toss them around the room. I think he could smell her scent on them.  He was a leader, kind and gentle, loud and funny.
When he passed away, he stuck around. His influence still lingers. I trust he is welcoming Rizzy.
Happy travels to Rizzy,

Saturday, June 22, 2013

4-21-13 RMB Ghost, Spirits…Souls

4-21-13 RMB Ghost, Spirits…Souls
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I was in the library yesterday and they had guest speakers discussing ghosts and haunted places in San Diego. I was amused. People were asking questions about where to go to see them. It is a place within ourselves that allows us to see them. I looked around the room of people seated and saw their loved ones from the other side right there with them.
It is not a clear image like ghosts you see in the movies, it’s more of a wavy energy. I have to work at it a bit to get a clearer image of the person, like when we were trying to figure out who Mabel is that watches after the boys. More often I work at blocking it because it is overwhelming and frustrating; like working on a puzzle with missing pieces that show up very slowly. Their time is not in sync with us, and doesn’t take well to being rushed.
The speakers mentioned that fear makes the vision and connection more tangible. I think that is true of any emotion, yet love and compassion have far more power then fear. Maybe I block it because it is an emotional place. It brings to mind the ache my heart associates with love.
Imagine being able to feel death, love, hope, pain, loss, joy…all at once. Every person, every life, every soul carries all emotions, numerous experiences, insights, struggles, potential…seeking to connect with others, makes a path for a battering ram of emotion that flood my senses. Maybe I am just a wuss.
Did I speak up? No. It was not my place. Those folks were there to hear the speakers, not my take on it all. These letters and in my stories, that is my place to speak up. What they said made sense to me in some ways. They spoke of energy, making a connection, that the ghosts are always there and it is us that needs to find a way to see them, etc. I prefer to speak of them as spirits or souls. We have taught each other to fear ghosts. They are as we are, some good, some not, some nice, some not.
Reverend Millie Landis taught us to be careful what you seek. I suppose if you seek scary ghosts, you will find them. Just as in life, if you seek scary people, you find them. I look for the greater good and a way to understand it, a way to utilize it in our world. I seek those that will help me in that endeavor, both living and passed away, human souls, the souls in nature, any that will help.
Many seek the greater good in various ways, some through charity, or education, politics, parenthood…I think your work has been motivated significantly by this, the seeking of the greater good, a better way to be.
Onward we go,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

4-20-13 RMB Open Dimensions

4-20-13 RMB Open Dimensions
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I am meeting with one of the boys’ moms, tonight to start posting your letters. I have mailed several to you and so far have not received any cease and desist orders, although I suppose it’s possible they have not even reached you yet. I get the impression, from all elements that impress upon me, that it’s time to go for it.
Since I have confessed the vast majority of my mystical quirks to you, here’s another thing I do that I think everyone does, probably not intentionally though. I talk to people with my mind. I find with friends and family, they will often tell me later “Hey I was thinking about you yesterday morning (or whenever it was that I was chatting with them).” I can also get a feeling for what’s going on in their life and tell them about mine. I would like to see this develop in humankind, seems worthy of an evolutionary nod.  
Most recently, my “adult” sister, the one that raised me, has been asking what I am up to. I haven’t told her about these letters. I know she feels something’s up. She was the one wary of me posting anything on the internet. She has gifts too, as we all do, but she also has an extremely analytical mind, a gift to her from our father. Everything has to make absolute sense to be fully recognized. I don’t make sense to her, in many ways.
To her credit, either because of the strength of her love, or her own wish to both understand and be understanding, over the last couple of decades she has opened up her consciousness.  Having two children also brought forth to her the level of connection between people that can’t be reasoned through current scientific methods. Parenthood, or close relations of any kind, open up dimensions of the mind, heart and soul.
I hope I am not bothering you with my chatter.  I once had a friend tell me that she thought of me too much, she needed solitude. I purposely did not mentally chat with her to give her space, even though I often had to tell her to leave me alone, as it was her seeking me whether she realized it or not. When I saw her at her work she’d pull me aside to say she was not going to call me that night. She knew I didn’t mind her calls. She had man trouble and wanted to work it through on her own. More often than not she called anyway and when she didn’t, she still visited with her energy. Somehow with the things I know, she thought I had answers to some things. I regret I did not. I had some insights, but those do not prevent heartache when the heartache is a part of one’s path.
That was a couple of decades ago. I didn’t have the words for what I do, didn’t understand nearly as much as I do now. Her comment made me realize that I was making a connection with people when I visit this way. Since then I have been conscious only to visit when I am sure I am welcome, just as one would not show up at someone’s house unexpectedly, I try to give equal respect to their souls. I feel welcome with you.
In Six of One I like the connections you make between Celeste and her brothers, especially Spottiswood. I like the connection you make between Cora and Celeste, one that is felt more than spoken. Through your writing, I see you understand my view of things, or maybe it is I that understands yours. Your writing reveals a side of human nature that, if fully realized, would propel as towards better days.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

4-19-13 RMB Not Intentionally

4-19-13 RMB Not Intentionally
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Yesterday I thought about how long it had been since I spent time writing my stories, my own unpublished books. I have some characters in mind, some storylines to carry them through. I’ve written bits and pieces.
As the thought crossed my mind ‘I need to shape a story around the piece I wrote about the man exploding a bomb in his home’, like being gently smacked upside the head, I saw the connection between that writing and what was aired on the news this morning about the explosion in the Boston bomber suspect’s home. Now it makes sense why that scene was so vivid, why I had to write it, get if off my chest. I wrote it a few weeks ago.
I may post the story in my blog when I get it further along. I should polish it up or complete it first. I left it hanging, not knowing why the man had blown himself and his home up when the police arrived. Even now that I see the connection I don’t want to emulate reality, not intentionally anyway.
All my best,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

4-18-13 RMB We Are All Each Other  
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Today a friend posted in her blog about coincidences and knowing things. She is one of the moms to my nephews, “my boys” as I call them. I am the “best friend” she refers to, the “psychic” one. Here is a link .
I prefer the word mystic, which relates to similar phenomena, however it includes a spiritual element. It’s a subtle difference. I do appreciate that she humors me, more than that, she encourages me.
In the posting she mentions the spirit I knew as Mabel that would look in on the family when the boys, and I as their “aunt”, were first adopted.  My friend could not place a Mabel; didn’t know who that might be. After reading her post, her father emailed about Mabel, the older sister of her grandfather; nice of her to stick around and look after the family.
“This is the coincidence of life. We are all here on this earth, co-existing as manifested energy. We are all each other and what one emits another feels or knows.” I like this line, especially “We are all each other…”
There is more. The sense of foreboding that she felt, I felt it too. I feared it was related to the Boston explosion, that there would be retaliation on someone’s part, or further destruction in some way. I have learned not to say such things to people. When I feel a death coming, or a challenging situation in the future; I don’t have a clear enough picture and it only spreads worry. Worry does us no good.
I still feel there is more, something related to the Boston explosions, more explosions, but then again there is always more, by accident or intention, somewhere someone suffers and others celebrate. By the time this is posted, I will know what this is about so I can share more in these letters than I can say to anyone; don’t have to have all the answers right now, “Paper has more patience than people” - Anne Frank.
4-19-13  8am 
As I am proofing this letter, the music on my Spanish radio station was just interrupted for news about Boston. I didn’t understand all the Spanish words, looked it up on the web, another explosion, in the house of the suspects. That was it.
Blessings to you and yours,

Here is her post, so you don’t have to go looking it up J

The Gypsy in Me

“I don’t believe in coincidences.” I’ve heard this from many people, friends and strangers alike. For me, I just don’t know what to believe.  According Coincidence is “the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.” Is it then coincidence that on April 14th, 2013 I lay awake half the night with a sense of foreboding; so much so that I called my best friend and told her “something big is bugging on me, and I don’t know what”? United States History will forever remember April 15th, 2013 not as “tax day,” but as the day a terrorist bombed the Boston Marathon. I’m not going to join the multitudes and speculate the “who, or why” of this horrific event. But I do wonder why I was awake half the night before.
Yesterday, April 17th, 2013 at about 4:00pm PDT, I sent an email to my best friend. Again describing a sort of anxiety I was feeling. I told her, “It’s not like a panic attack, but more like a heavy feeling as if something big is going to happen.” A couple hours later, at about 8:00pm CDT a fertilizer factory in Texas caught fire and blew up with force enough to destroy a radius of several city blocks. More died in this explosion than in Boston two days before. The injured and missing are still being sought. Coincidence? Maybe – or maybe I am channeling my Gypsy heritage.
My family heritage comes from the German Bohemians. While the family is of German descent, they lived in Bohemia – what is now known as Czechoslovakia. One of my Great-Great relatives married into a Gypsy family. I grew up with romantic notions of the Gypsies; their nomadic lifestyle, and their connections with the mystical world. I grew up “knowing” things. Not big stuff – I was not able to predict the future, or tell fortunes. But I was able to know when the phone rang that the call was for me, and that it was my cousin. Is it coincidence she lives in Texas?
My best friend is physic. She knows things and feels things. We call on her frequently when we can’t find the car keys or something. She describes where they are (not typical or usual places) and then we find them.  The last time they were lost she described “dark green shag” like a carpet. The keys were found in the front yard in tall grass.  She also “knows” or feels people.
It’s an energy thing. She can tell when someone is “off” or when there is “more” to the story. Skeptics say that it is just an ability to read body language. I don’t know. She was instrumental in helping us determine how our house fire started. She insisted that Isaac knew more than he was telling. Despite the quality of his lie (until then we could always tell) she pressed on until he finally admitted playing with the matches. She was the one who kept on Isaac, telling him he wasn’t giving us the truth. She is the one who asked the probing questions that led me to see the moment of give in his eyes. I had stopped asking him and started telling her to drop it. But she knew.
We both feel spirits. She sees them and hears them. In a sense, she lives with them. I mostly feel them – at times. I know when I feel my mother, or my grandmother. They come in loud and clear. I feel others too. I don’t know always know who they are, but they are there. We have a guardian angel that used to watch the boys when they were toddlers. She sat with them through the night. She is an older woman with merry eyes and full of love. My best friend says her name is Mabel and I know her. I don’t recall anyone named Mabel, although we did have a Mildred. I don’t think she is Mildred. We also have an impish spirit. This one I see out of the corner of my eye. It passes into the kitchen and out again. I used to think it was one of the boys, barely tall enough to be seen over the counter. But I still see this spirit on occasion and all three boys are taller than the counter now.
The Gypsy in me knows things. I can read people and know their spirit. I know what is broken in them. It is an energy thing. I feel their “vibe” and instinctively know how to soothe them. Is it coincidence then that I also know how to hurt them? It is an unfortunate consequence of “knowing.” Naturally, I never intend to harm anyone, but on occasion when I don’t reign in my gift, I do. Perhaps this is why so many Gypsies also have the reputation of being self-serving con artists. That is another story for another time. I embrace the Gypsy in me. This is a gift, whether blood born or not, that must be cherished and nurtured. This is a gift we see in Nathan. It is up to us to teach him how to use it for good things and not allow the “knows” to consume him.
This is the coincidence of life. We are all here on this earth, co-existing as manifested energy. We are all each other and what one emits another feels or knows.
--Posted By Maria's Meandering Mind to Maria's Meandering Mind at 4/18/2013 08:42:00 AM

Sunday, June 16, 2013

4-16-13 RMB Words have Weight
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
The boys keep various forms of diaries. I think it started with secret messages, the kind that leads to treasures. I mail them postcards sometimes even though they only live five blocks away. They feel the effect of words as a gift, a treasure in themselves.  
A big part of their discipline has to do with writing sentences about good behavior, counter to whatever they have done to be disciplined in the first place. It is good hand writing practice for the two older boys. The youngest was writing before he knew letters, he made some up, and has better penmanship than most adults. 
They also write letters to their moms, about how they will improve or what they are grateful for, sentences made up of words from their own hearts.
Words have weight. And…“Paper has more patience than people.” ~Anne Frank
I told them about Anne Frank’s diary; what a treasure it is and why. That led us to checking it out of the library. Now I read two to four pages to them every day we are together.
I read Anne Frank’s diary when I was ten and remember the impact, remember meeting a girl from the other side of the world, from another time. She opened a window to another way of life, different priorities, other cultures, compassion, insight, sorrow and more. Reading it again, I am reconnecting with an old friend.
Anne wrote “…it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen year old schoolgirl. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. I feel like writing and I have an even greater need to get all kinds of things off my chest.”
With her words, Anne showed us many things; she showed us ourselves - what we are capable of - our strengths, the atrocities we impose on one another, compassion on the level of a heroic quality. “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
I believe in life everlasting, that the soul lives on; that Anne is able to celebrate our successes with us and help us through our struggles. I believe in words; their ability to heal…or destroy. With these letters I hope to bring some things to light; to show something to someone.
“Watch your thoughts; watch your words; watch your deeds.” ~Reverend Millie Landis
Watch them; make them the best they can be, for yourself, for others…for all of us here and now…for the future and to honor the past.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

4-15-13 RMB All of “US”  

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I returned from lunch today to find the boys’ mom looking sullen at her desk. We work together. I neglected to mention that earlier. It’s long story, how I got her to come work with me. Well not too long I guess, I asked, she accepted. That explanation suffices for now.
We had heard about the explosions in Boston before I headed out to lunch, but few details were available. Upon my return, I saw the look on her face and asked what was wrong. “It’s bad, really bad, in Boston.” I looked over her shoulder at the coverage on her computer.
We did our best to stay focused on our work the rest of the day, but at day’s end we shared a hug that said how much we care are for each other and somehow it was for those in Boston too, for all those affected by this day.
After work, I walked for over an hour at the park. I sought counsel among the trees, the grass, the wind and one small blue bird that landed nearby. I wanted to know what led a person down the path where one reaches the point of planting a destructive device. What distresses people to that end; who feeds their fears, arms them with weapons, destroys their compassion?
I found peace there in the park, a peace lacking in those that seek to harm.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about the civil war; seeing battlefields in my mind, especially in their aftermath; the smoke, the bodies. Coincidences spring up. I mentioned I like a song by the new band Fun to a friend. She asked if I meant the one about the Civil War. She saw a video of the song that shows it relative to the Civil War. I had not pieced together what the song was about, didn’t make the connection. In the song Some Nights, the singer laments “What do I stand for?”
There are other connections, while looking up something about you Rita Mae Brown, I see reference to the Civil War. History echoes. What do I stand for? What do we stand for?
There is a path, a chain of individual links. Thoughts wander back to the hateful messages about Kelly Clarkson’s support of gay rights. Every hateful word, every hurtful act, they are links of the same chain. Blindly we divide ourselves between “us” and “them”, the gays, the terrorists, the republicans, the blacks, the immigrants, the …
Many want to know what’s next; who is responsible for Boston; how will justice be served? I trust our systems in place to handle all of that. I want to go back in time to discover how this happened, to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. I wonder what if everyone was a part of “us”? How can one of us do this? What would we do if the person planting a destructive device were our child? What can we do to prevent our children from going down that path? What can we do to heal the cause so this sort of devastation stops happening?
With prayers for those suffering today and prayers that we find a better way to be, for all of “us”,
“You do not free yourself from polishing your chains…” ~Rita Mae Brown

Friday, June 14, 2013

4-14-13 RMB Prolific…but so much more 
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I read the article by Andrea Theisson from February 12, 2013 on Here is a link to it:

It begins with this line “Rita Mae Brown is a prolific and dedicated writer, but so much more as well.”  I immediately took a liking to this Andrea gal. The article is thorough, crediting you with some things that I didn’t know about. You continue to surprise me. That is likely part of how you have managed to keep fans captivated for decades.

Then again maybe I am easily amused. The other day I learned that you must be at least 50 feet from the sun or you will burn up because it is THAT hot. I overheard this vital bit of information, as I drove, from the trio of boys holding court in the backseat. The middle child, both in age and seating placement, brought up the sun and its relative proximity, lest one risk being burned up.  

Deadpan youngest, ever the one to question the facts and anyone else’s authority of them, sought clarification on the specific distance that said burning up would begin. “What if you are 40 feet away?” 

This gave the middle child cause to ponder and conclude, “Well you would still get burned 40 feet away. You have to be at least 50 feet away to be safe.”

The eldest, having observed the conversation, then entered with the notion of whether one was wearing a space suit or not and how much protection it would offer. And where would your space ship be? How close to the sun could the space ship get?

I treasure these boys and their musings. And I will steer my space ship well clear of the 50 feet marker, whether or not I have my space suit handy.

Good night and safe travels,

Thursday, June 13, 2013

4-12-13 RMB Kelly Clarkson Acceptable
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I read some comments on Kelly Clarkson’s American Idol appearance where she showed her support of gay rights. One person was bothered by the fact that there were so many people supporting her support. At first I was discouraged by the hateful comments.
But I had a thought; our level of understanding has risen. What person is hateful enough to post a negative comment about a black person because the person is black, or a demeaning comment about a woman’s ability to hold any job? I am sure at one time those hateful, prejudiced comments ran rampant in the news, before the civil war, as women campaigned to be able to vote, during the civil rights movement, many times through history people have thought it acceptable to say hateful things that are not be deemed acceptable today.
Yes they are still said. There is still prejudice. But it is deemed acceptable less and less by fewer and fewer people. That is progress.
One day we will see such progress that the comments made this week will be equally deemed unacceptable thanks to people like you, thanks to Kelly Clarkson and all who speak up and speak out for the good of others.
All my best,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

4-10-13 RMB In Demand
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I went into a bookstore today to buy some of your books. The clerk asked me “What is with her?” as she keyed my requests into their system to see what they had in stock, “People are asking for her books all of the sudden, another person just asked for this one.” That one being Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers’ Manual.
Of course this news made my heart leap for joy, well that may be an overstatement, but you know it made me smile. I told her about the interview. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

4-9-13 RMB Love
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Love, have you ever noticed how everyone has a different definition of the word? I don’t like the word love. It is too vague. It means so many things that it means nothing specifically.
In the aftermath of my last relationship, the one that was supposed to last forever, she kept saying “I love you”.
I finally asked, “What exactly does that mean to you?” It couldn’t possibly mean the same thing it did to me, that you would do anything to protect, help and ensure the happiness of the loved one.
To her it meant, I love you no matter what, even that we had broke up. It was a never having to say you’re sorry kind of definition. Ah, that made everything she did make sense. Now I could see how I was expected to forgive and forget, that is what she thought I would do because of my own “I love you’s”. All the while, I thought she would never have hurt me to begin with…if her love fit my definition.
There were extremely few times that I said it, maybe three to five times in our years together, but I did say it. Dear Lord, why did I not think to ask her from the start what the word meant to her? Would it have made a difference? I don’t know, yet in the final train wreck of our relationship, it seemed like a vital piece of information; an important translation.
So I thought I’d mention it. I suppose the same is true for any other word, a chair can be an infinite number of types, colors, shapes and sizes of chairs. But a chair doesn’t hold your heart hostage like love does. It seems this one word should have a clearer meaning.
Life, humans, relationships, it is all so incredibly askew…seems like it to me anyway. Maybe the never having to say you’re sorry definition is how most people view the word. It sounds counter intuitive to me. “I love you, therefore I have free rein to hurt you, without consequence of losing the love; I love you therefore I can hurt you as much as your worst foe and you will still take me back.” What???
Although that definition makes some of my other relationships make more sense, with parents in particular. I was blessed with both a mother and father, as well as a stepmother and stepfather. Despite what I am about to write, they were all good people, loving parents in their own way. I know I am overly sensitive. Others might have jumped for joy to have the four parents I had. I, on the other hand, had to question everything in my own mind. I sought and seek to understand what no one really ever understands completely: life and love.
All four said “I love you.” I didn’t understand that because I heard “I love you, but I am leaving you” “I love you, but I don’t really want to have to take care of you.” Most upsetting was the demand that I reply in kind.
I didn’t know to ask “What exactly does that mean to you?” Not that they would have answered this smart aleck kid.  I had trouble saying it back because nothing I did made everything better. I could not help them, really help them on their journey. And I certainly could not protect them from themselves, nor each other.
How could I profess love empty of its essence, of what I thought its essence should be? I said the words anyway. It was what was expected of me. Don’t rock the boat.
From a different perspective, in the way I see people, there is an element that I suppose some would call love. I admire their strengths, seek to understand their shortfalls, and give my best to them, while praying their life brings them the best for whatever path they walk. I am thankful for those that cross my path and others that I will never meet.
This is not confined to mother and father, nor family and friends. It is for all people, sometimes it’s even easier with those I don’t know. Is this the definition of love that people keep professing to me? If so, I return the affection. Because it has been a constant in me, it never seemed special enough for the weight people place on the words “I love you”. As I get older, though, I see that it is rarer than I had realized.
Just as all do not extend their awareness to feel one another’s feeling, nor are they open to each other’s thoughts and energy, they don’t connect to the compassion where this type of love lives. If they could, would there be wars?
In the biographical video clip of you, you mention that love can’t be explained. You say “Enjoy it.” I wish I could see it as that simple. The type of love that grows in the heat of important relationships is, to me, like raging fire – burning bright -- with potential to light the way or to devastate. Most often, in my experience, it does both. Love, when it reaches the level of my definition, the one with all consuming importance to care for and protect one another, carries such intensity that it aches within me; sends me searching for answers, for the core of the pain. What hurts and why?
Perhaps it is a growing, a stretching of the heart. It feels like a wound being ripped apart. We love children and hurt as they grow up and move on. We love parents, yet their choices inflict such sweeping effects on our lives, not all good. We share love in relationships, enduring hardships -- painful ones sometimes -- to be together, often only to reach a crushing end, whether by a break up or the death of the one you love. Is it just me, or is love a double edged sword?
In my need to make everything better, maybe I want love to be all good, only good. Maybe it can’t be. But no one ever says love is bad. People revere it, praise it, search it out.
“I love you so much it hurts.” Now there is a phrase I can relate to.
Still seeking answers…always,

Monday, June 10, 2013

4-8-13 RMB Differences
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Closet vs Open: the differences
I know you are aware of all of this, but I also hope that others are reading these letters; and if they are reading, than they are probably aware of this information as well, however, in my experience words and information are tools; tools for sharing; tools for showing.
I have never been a “good lesbian” either. I mean that in some different ways than you have meant it and in some similar ways too. I rarely, if ever take a stand on my own behalf. I don’t back down or cower either, when confronted. But, I avoid confrontation. I find it creates resistance. If I have a point to make it will be less likely made if served up hot. However, if I can serve it with warmth, gentleness and vision, it finds its mark more often than not.
I have used other’s words, your words and those of other people long before I heard of Rita Mae Brown, to illustrate my points. Maybe someone reading this, who is trying to show something to someone else, can use these words as their tools.
Why are closeted relationships mind splitting, spirit deflating and heart breaking?
Phone calls: Be careful not to call too often, or speak on the phone where others can hear. Don’t call the one you love at work. Spouses can do that. People in open relationships can do that.  If friends call too often it is suspicious. Imagine someone telling a man he can not call his wife because he already called her once today, or once this week, whatever the acceptable amount may be. Try telling a woman that she can’t call her boyfriend when he is with his parent’s because they can’t know about her; can’t know that she is someone that would be calling him.
A closeted loved one must first think before they pick up the phone, who else will be there? Who might hear this conversation or know I called? Will my lover be upset because I called, because I risked something just to hear my lover’s voice or to make arrangements for later or whatever? Can I justify needing to make this call to the one I love, to myself? Do I have to call, can it wait?
Holding hands: Never hold hands in public, of course. But there is more. Don’t hold hands when any other person is present. Don’t sit too close. Don’t look at the one you love too much. Imagine those directives to a straight couple. How long would that relationship last???
While riding in her car as my second girlfriend drove one day, I reached for her hand. I know I had held her hand in the car before, but perhaps it was in the evening or on an empty road. I was not as aware as she was, not as fearful of the world knowing. She recoiled from my touch. I wondered if she was mad at me. “No,” she said, “people can see in the car.”
I looked around realizing she was probably right, we were in the middle of a lot of traffic…how stupid of me. I stared out the window, watching other people, angry that because they were there, I could not hold her hand. Angry that we live in a world where I could not hold her hand whenever I wanted to; angry at myself for not being able to make better choices, for not even knowing what “better choices” there were.
Not caring for her, not getting into the relationship at all would have been someone else’s definition of a “better choice”. That was unacceptable to me, to deny feelings, to define any love as wrong. Some would have refused a love that could not be shared openly, being more willing to face the repercussions from others than the ones we faced from within. I could not refuse her love.
Loving someone of the same gender places you between a rock and a hard spot. If you live closeted, you face the issues here. If you live openly you face constant backlash from society, from so called friends and family. I could not force her into the pain that living openly would have caused her. I thought the path we carved was the lesser of two evils, but it left its scars.
That day, that moment when she recoiled, left a scar. Years later, in my third closeted relationship, I walked on a pier with my girlfriend. She was far more open. Her family lived in another state, no chance of them walking by or knowing someone we passed. She was freer with her affection. I reached for her hand. She recoiled from my touch. We were walking to the car and once we got in she turned to me. “I wasn’t sure it was safe there.”
She had felt my reaction, felt how it hurt. At least she was more understanding, tried to comfort me. She held my hand once we were safely in the car. Again, I wondered if I should have known better. I would be willing to stand up to a stranger. I would be willing to take some blows for what is right, but I would not be willing to put her in harm’s way. If holding her hand meant I was endangering her…how stupid of me.
I looked at the pier, at the people there, I thought it safe enough, but in her mind there were doubts. Again, anger rose for the prejudice that denies simple affection; for its affect on people, on her.
Holidays and family gatherings: Although there are plenty of straight couples that would like to get out of family gatherings with in-laws, it is another story when you are banned by the silent rules of the closet. Don’t show up, don’t call and don’t spend the day together. Pick another day to celebrate together. Form another family with just the two of you as members. As cozy as that is, there is something missing during the time when you are with family; your other half is missing.  There is something missing when the two of you are together alone…the rest of the world, the rest of your life and loved ones.
Pictures: There are no pictures of you together, holding hands, holding each other, no third person around to take them, and even if you confide in someone that could take the photos, pictures together are damning; telling. Even carrying pictures of each other is a risk. Avoid them. Explain that concept to a straight couple.
Code words: Learn to say what you want to in code, even simple phrases “I’ll see you later.” “Meet you at your house…or mine.” “Call me when you can.”
Private intimacy: Finding time alone together is more difficult than you’d think. People expect a certain behavior; track your movements, unconsciously. How often does a coworker say “How was your evening, do anything interesting?” How often does a straight person have to make something up, or leave out details? How many times can a straight person say “We celebrated our anniversary by…”? How many times can a closeted person say the same? It is a daily maze to maneuver.
And when you are alone, how do you suddenly become someone different from your public persona. Alone you can hold hands, look at one another, embrace. But after hours of avoiding that, the mind and body, form habits. You are distant with one another because you have trained yourself to be. Holding hands feels odd. You can fool yourself into thinking that makes it special. But you understand when your other half doesn’t respond or when it takes more time, more effort to respond, because you feel the same way, the same inner resistance to do the things you crave; to do what you have denied yourself, denied one another, simple affection, passion, love.
Self respect: It messes with your psyche, to be two people, a public person and a private person. Is your public self too ashamed of your private self to let it be public too? Is your private self ashamed of your public self for forcing it into the shadows?  There is already the disrespect shown by society, in both subtle and overt ways. Then there is also the self struggling with self worth. How worthy am I, whose hand can not be held when I reach for the one I love?
Even couples that are out and some couples of different ethnicities or some that have suffered other obstacles to be together, experience the affect of society in their personal interaction. They are more reserved, touch less. Watch couples and you can tell how much others have accepted their relationship by their behavior. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes it is strikingly evident. With many same gender couples it is strikingly evident.
Love: My definition is that you would do anything for the person you love; anything to make their life better; anything to help them on their journey; anything to protect them; shield them from any pain, including any that you might cause yourself.
In light of that definition, how can you love someone of the same gender when the love itself causes such turmoil, such injustice to be brought to light, such conflict. I struggled through my relationships; never finding the perfect balance, never knowing exactly where to stand so that the world, my world, our world, made sense. 
Every couple faces trials. Some, straight or gay, young or old, face incredible hardships, harsher than I ever faced, I am not saying I had it worse than anyone else, but I know it could have been better. If our world were kinder, more accepting, it could have been better. We are capable of being better humans than we have been. And that is why I write these letters.
Wishing you well,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

4-7-13 RMB A Brave Woman
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
It is nearing midnight. I am exhausted, but too hyped to sleep, so I thought I would write you another letter.
I try to imagine what it feels like to be in your shoes, to have someone writing you, someone reaching out to you that you don’t know from Eve. Then multiply that by untold numbers; some wishing you well, others not. You are a brave woman.
I walk in a parking structure and go up and down the stairs at lunchtime. I am on a kick to lose weight; get in shape. My weight, not a problem in childhood, has been a struggle in my adult life. Once I lost eighty pounds, I was trying to lose a hundred. I gained all eighty back. Now I am trying to lose that same hundred. So far I’ve lost forty. Some say if I reach my goal, I will be too thin, that I was thin when I lost the eighty. I would like to get there anyway and judge for myself.
While walking, twice strangers have approached me, to talk about my walking. They were nice ladies; both working on getting in shape themselves. I don’t know if they work in the mall or just shop there often. Both mentioned watching me walk over the last few months.
I walk with my eyes in a book (often authored by Rita Mae Brown) or proofing these letters or listening to a radio. I watch for cars, but not people. I avoid people, by habit, a way of life for me. Both of these ladies had to practically jump in front of me waving their arms to get my attention.
We had nice conversations, but all the while their words echoed “I’ve been watching you walk. You come here often. I told my friends about you.” That was disconcerting; someone watching me. It brought you to mind; made me question these letters.
Maybe you are braver than I and see some benefit here. I know, when I work, I am bolder. Coworkers who are also friends often tell me that I surprise them at trade shows, events where I need to speak, or when I am coordinating a group. I step up, say what I need to say, do what I need to do. Work is important; deserving of my best effort. Maybe you consider this part of your life’s work, affecting people, moving them to action, whether comfortable to you or not.
Even those that lash out, do so as a result of their universe being threatened. You have opened their eyes and they are not happy about it. You challenge them to grow. Growth can be painful. From that perspective, lashing out is understandable, it means you struck a chord. You stepped up, said what you needed to say, did what you needed to do, gave your best effort to your work.
Who would take on such work, where some sing your praises and others threaten your life?
Rita Mae Brown did.
Sleep well,

Saturday, June 8, 2013

4-6-13 RMB People Are People
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
In reading over these letters, I see I have been quite the whiner. I have no complaint with the people in my life. They did the best they could with what they had, as did I. Here is a list of positives…lest you think there were none.
Mom was a loving soul, more of a friend than a mom, forever young at heart, the life of any party, beautiful and graceful. I reached adulthood at a time when her life was in conflict. Neither of us had all the answers, but we always knew we cared for one another. Not long after my teenage years, she became a full time Nana to my nephew and niece. Those two children reinforced the bridge that Lady had built between us. We became closer. Although she had her struggles in the mom department, she excelled as a Nana. I am fortunate to have known her, especially in the Nana years.
Dad and I will probably never see eye to eye. Conversations are still strained. The urge to disappear in his presence remains strong. In his eyes adulthood grants a certain level of status. It is not that I am trying to stay a child when near him, it is that I am the same person I always was, why would I be of interest to him now if I was not before? Then again, he too did not carve himself an easy path. I have tried to cut him some slack, but just as my mom saw a stubborn daughter, he sees a distant one.
On one of his visits, when I was in my thirties, he mentioned that he and his service buddies would visit bars in San Diego and sometimes go into a gay bar and that was okay with them. It was an out of the blue comment during a rare moment when we were alone. I guess he was still expecting more of a response from his question a decade or so earlier. Or maybe he was saying whoever I am is okay with him. I don’t know because I didn’t ask. I never needed his permission to be who I am; never fretted over what he or anyone else thought of me. Although I contemplated his question for my own peace of mind, I never felt the need to get back to him on my findings. I don’t discuss myself much, with him or anyone else.
I hold a great deal of respect for his service to our country. I am supportive of the armed forces, although I would like to see an end to wars. I feel there is enough work in establishing structure in the world, rebuilding from natural disasters, assisting those in need, etc. to keep all the armies of the world busy.
Some of my biggest heroes have not been mentioned at all or very little in these letters. They are the siblings that have all positively affected my life. The “adult” sister who took me under her wing and raised the child who was only three and a half years her junior. Then there are three other sisters, all of whom have made their own effort to understand me, not an easy task I know; two brothers that are the best big brothers in the world, the best ones for me anyway. The younger of the brothers also served in the Marines, during the Gulf War.
During a family reunion I got into a heated discussion with an in-law of one of my siblings about same sex couples adopting children. It was sparked by me showing off pictures of the boys and their moms. ‘Grow, expand your mind, I dare you to’. My eldest brother listened quietly for nearly an hour as we each made our points and voiced our views. Big brother, who I have called Bubba since I could barely talk, is a man of few words; guess that runs in the family.

To be honest, I didn’t know where he stood. My family had never discussed such things. My gut trusts my siblings to be understanding, although they are all clearly straight. I think that is what tipped my father off; my moving out at seventeen and not getting married, how peculiar of me. Mom may have told him, except for…my family doesn’t discuss such things. As a matter of fact my siblings, except the two sisters I had the talks with, will be learning all that is in these letters for the first time, when and if they choose to read them.
Anyway, when Bubba had heard enough, he stepped into the conversation with the booming phrase “People are people!” (imagine that in a thick Alabama accent if you can, sounds more like “Paypole air paypole!”) When he does speak up, his words resonate, in volume, tone and content.
He told us he found out his best friend from high school was gay when he called his friend’s father to get a current address and was informed that he might not want to visit him, because he was gay. My brother’s response was that he would visit him and if he was still the same guy he knew, then him being gay “didn’t matter none.” He found him to be the same guy he used to be, how amazing is that?
“If people are good people, then they are good people. If they’re not, then they’re not. It’s simple as that.” He elaborated how being gay did not make a person bad, just as being straight did not make a person good. He concluded by repeating “People are people.” The eldest of us having spoken, our conversation ended. My brother, my hero. 
In Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser you write of a family history that could have created a very bitter Rita Mae Brown. Many have grown bitter with less cause. Hearing your perspective, the patience you exhibited when experiencing it and later in retrospective, offers hope for the human condition.  I am having trouble finding words to express this.
Somehow it relates to what you convey about community, learning from one another, being understanding, respectful and, if possible, kind. We don’t have to all be the same, or even believe the same, as a matter of fact you encourage bringing differences to light so that we may enjoy and learn from them…but we must get along. In the end we must care for one another if we are to survive and wish to flourish. Your lesson resounds as the conflict in Korea brews.
People are people.
Forward we go,