The Bright Lights

For quite a while, we have been depending on a bedside clock that occasionally has gone berserk during the night and displayed only bouncing 12:00 numbers. A couple of days ago, I awoke during the night, reached to turn the clock toward me so that I could read the time and, when I touched it, the clock slid off the ledge and fell to the floor where it cracked open. So ended the fading life of our ancient chronometer purchased from Radio Shack years ago. It was time for a new one. That same afternoon, we drove to Wal-Mart in search of a new bedside clock. We had no trouble finding what we were looking for–a clock with extra-large numerals, almost bright enough to light up the room. Not only is our new clock dependable, but it also has made our sleep less restless, knowing that we can count on the correct time to be there when we need it with no need to put on glasses during the night in order to read the numerals.

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I count it a privilege to have as many friends as I have. I have not always been the kind of person who makes friends easily. However, I have improved in that trait and have become the kind of friend who is fiercely loyal. My friend Harry Brown, whom I have known much of my adult life, will confirm that trait. At one point in my life, I was confronted with friends who seemingly had betrayed our friendship. When I examined the reasons, I remembered what I had been taught to me about my faith. True friendship is unconditional. At that time, I sat down and wrote the following in my journal on October 20, 1991 –  I dedicate myself to working toward being a friend who:

does not demand or expect
does not keep score
confronts only in love
upholds in prayer
sets an example when possible
does not judge
gives more than takes
is trustworthy
allows space
listens more than talks

Although I certainly have not always lived up to those aspirations, they have been and continue to be worthy goals.

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Creeping Crudity

Although I would not consider myself a prude, I’m very concerned about the crude
language that now flows unabashedly regardless of the place or circumstances. Today’s films seem to infer that “toilet” language is the current normal language of our
civilization. The F-word is used not only as a verb, but as an adjective, a
noun, and a hyphenated middle for a compound word. Courteous restraint appears
to have been cast aside on the assumption that all consider gutter language
acceptable. As an English teacher, while the language in class is properly
respectful, the language in the halls is frequently appalling. The language
decline does not appear to be one-sided. Women and men are equal abusers. I’m
not sure what has caused the acceptance of blatant profanity and crude language. I once taught a class in a drop-out prevention program and, when the students figured out that I
wouldn’t use profanity in class, one asked me, “Are you a preacher?” Although
I’m not a minister, I do have a reverent respect for appropriate language.

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My Name Is Not Bruce

I spend three hours a week at the local YMCA. Almost always, I see the security guard who is making his rounds. Once, when I came out after exercising, I headed for my car, and it wasn’t there. After double-checking, I reported to the guard that my automobile was missing. He calmly suggested that I check out the other side of the parking lot. What a wise suggestion! He found my lost car. Recently, when I left the gym, he spoke and called me Bruce. I corrected his mistake and learned that his name is Mike. Several visits later, he tried to remember that my name was Tom but failed to come up with it. I suggested he remember me as “Tom Thumb.” Last week, when I exited the Y, I spotted Mike and I spoke to him by name. I could tell he was searching his memory for my name, which did not come to mind right away. As I approached my car, I heard Mike shout: “Tom! I used to call you Bruce.” I think I’ve made a friend.

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When They Go Low; We Go High


I have danced around announcing my preference in this presidential campaign, but the time has come to announce my vote FOR Hillary Clinton and NOT against Donald Trump. I will admit that I have always felt that the Republican party had done its best to smear Clinton’s name, and they have done an admirable job of doing so. She also has helped perpetuate some of her negatives by being so defensive. However, I have come to the point where I can vote for her without any doubts as to her competency for the job. She deserves to be president after serving our country for so many years. I have no doubt that she will serve faithfully and loyally. She has done an admirable job of staying above the fray, reaching up when the other candidate has been reaching down. Since I am voting by mail, I have already marked my choice of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States and have mailed in my ballot.

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You Say Tomato; I Say Tomater

I am a tomato addict. I love all kinds of tomatoes. Therefore, I am always disappointed when I shop at the local supermarket, purchase what looks like delicious tomatoes until I get them home and cut into them, and there is little there but pulp. I have been doing that for years and bemoaning the plight of the picked-too-early tomatoes that end up in the grocery store. However, this summer, I was urged to shop at some local vegetable stands where I was told that the tomatoes were tops. I shopped; they were tops. Excellent tomatoes–full size–with plenty of juice and tastiness. However, the next time I went into the supermarket, the tomatoes there looked just as good as those I had bought in the vegetable market, and they were just as good. What has the agricultural research learned that has produced tomatoes that taste like home-grown tomatoes? Whatever is going on, I applaud the improvement at Publix and Winn-Dixie and Save-A-Lot. I love the 21st century!

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Take Me Home, Please

I am a homebody. I love my home. I love Florida because I prefer warm weather to cold weather. During the winter, I find that only water heat can warm me up satisfactorily. When I am away from home–either vacationing or visiting friends or family–I am more than ready to come home after two or three days. I remember the first two-week cruise I took to the Caribbean. I was petrified that I would be homesick before the end of the cruise. As it turned out, the people with whom I traveled made the two-week trip a very positive experience. My partner loves to travel, and I love to travel with him. He loves to visit his family in Greece and for us then to use Greece as a launching pad to travel to other places on the globe. My problem: I don’t want to be away from home for more than one month. After a month, I am desperate to return home: to check the car, to check the yard, to get back to church, to get back into a routine. Home is a wonderful place to me, and Dimitris has made it a place we both love. However, I guess I love it a little bit more as 31 days is my ultimate limit for being away from home.

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