Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…

Monthly Archives: April 2006

Developing a New Site…

You might enjoy looking at my new site which is now complete. I would appreciate any evaluation, comments or suggestions.

This WordPress site is being changed into a new, theologically oriented site that will attempt to develop a concept of living with the genuinely beautiful dark tones of life.
http://viewfromarizona.typepad.com/citrus/

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Confused Geezer

You will have to both tolerate and excuse me this morning for my confusion.

Tom Cruise's adventures become more bizarre by the day. See the Arizona Republic article.

This fellow, coming from a somewhat heroic film background, has embraced an off-the-wall religion and has gone around with a silly grin and sophomoric actions ever since. Granted, not an earth-shaking development, but distracting enough to make you scratch your head a couple of extra times. 

Then, the Cheney, Bush, Rumsfield axis has totally flip-flopped on the role of generals in calling the shots on the Iraq adventure. See the Maureen Dowd column in the New York Times.

It was so simple when they transferred all responsibility for war decisions to the war professionals. Turns out it wasn't that way at all. They were fully responsible, no matter how passionately they tried to pass the buck.

As if this weren't enough for a geezer, trying to make sense of this strange new world, John McCain, whom we had thought might be just what the world needed to save us from the right wing adventures in Washington, has gotten into bed with not only fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell but also firmly with the above Cheney, Bush, Rumsfield axis.

Granted, this was probably in order to be nominated, rather than by conviction, but I believed he was above that.

Good Friday…

Today is Good Friday. A solemn special day that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.

Images1_1 One should not waste the day by inserting the fact that Easter is just around the corner. Visions of Easter bunnies shouldn't dance in our heads. New Easter outfits don't seem appropriate on this day.

Let the cross have its way in your mind. Protestants, make room for the corpus. Catholics, venerate the crucifix more deeply.

Let death have its day. This was the day that Jesus died. Beyond that, you need not go.

Life Care?

We are in our late 70's and on a long wait list for moving into a lovely condo complex, Grandview Terrace, here in Sun City West, Az. Some of our friends, mostly young friends, wonder if we have lost our minds. "You have a beautiful home, a citrus orchard in your yard, walled-in back yard for privacy and freedom for your dogs. What more could you want?"

Well, that's a point. But we are aware of, and believe in, the window. That is to say, there is a small window that opens somewhere between old middle age and early old age. During this time one has most of the physical, mental and emotional faculties that one has had throughout those wonderful early retirement years. And yet… cracks begin to appear.I won't go into that.

Suffice it to say that several of our friends held tight when the cracks began to appear and suddenly, when all hell began to break loose, found it almost impossible to make the decisions, break up housekeeping, sell the house and make the move. This is not a pretty thing.

Others, mostly family, have to do the hard parts. The window somehow suddenly closed. We don't want that.

Though you give up a lot, you also gain a lot, assuming that the right life care facility has been chosen. The environment includes several stress reducing factors, not unimportant for the aging.

Paying bills. So many of them are included in the monthly service package. Most of them, in fact.

Doing chores. No more lawn care, tree pruning, house cleaning, taking out the trash, taking care of the pool. Etc, etc. Cooking is no longer necessary, unless you want to.

Friends. Older people can get lonely. If you can avoid a condo that is insufferably ingrown there are many good people just waiting to have you as a friend. When death claims one of you, there is a huge built-in support group of people who have tasted that agony as well. That helps.

Health and fitness. Grandview has all kinds of physical fitness and recreational facilities. The health care, hospital and hospice care are within a block. These are excellent quality services.

So, you see, its all about the window. Geezers like us have to be watchful and proactive if they want to time the future to work in their favor.

William Sloan Coffin, a Patriot, is Gone…

William Sloan Coffin, former Chaplain at Yale University and Senior Minister at the Riverside Church in NYC, died yesterday. Coffin was the darling of the active Left, but my respect for him had its source in his amazing talent for preaching and, even more, his understanding of what true Patriotism is all about.

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Today’s New York Times has a superb write-up of his life.

Taken from the above article is this quote from a sermon he preached in 2003 at Riverside Church.

He told the congregants that there was a “huge difference between patriotism and nationalism.”

“Patriotism at the expense of another nation is as wicked as racism at the expense of another race. Let us resolve to be patriots always, nationalists never. Let us love our country, but pledge allegiance to the earth, and to the flora and fauna and human life that it supports – one planet indivisible, with clean air, soil and water; with liberty and justice and peace for all.”

I heard Coffin preach at Riverside about 25 years ago. It was a short, overpowering message. He was one of a kind.

Great Reads…#3 Gutsy Reporting

Don't think I am in a rut, please. Today I have simply discovered three reads so unusually fresh and good that I had to share them with you.

This, the third, is from the blog section of MSNBC. It was written by Ann Curry. She shot some excellent photos with her digital camera on her trip to Africa that are linked to her blog as "Ann Curry's Photo Journal"

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Her piece is called "Gutsy Reporting" and is structured on a very good question: "Who are the contemporary reporters with the courage and the toughness of Edward R. Murrow?" She struggles with this one. Who wouldn't?

She can only think of one: Nicholas Kristof. He is quite a guy with an inspiring story. I hope you will read it .