“Sunday Thoughts”

photography-tree-new-growth-nature-swittersb“Hidden down in every person is the Divine — Real faith, dreams and visions. Lift your thoughts above the commonplace and live in the Presence of the Best. Spiritual investments are repaid a thousand fold.”

–William H. Danforth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo © by SwittersB

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HAPPY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY 2018

Most of the text from today’s entry comes from a posting on October 12, 2015 entitled “Happy Columbus Day?”  The “question mark” was due to the emerging articles and opinions being formed regarding the explorer, Christopher Columbus, and the evidence that he was not a noble and brave explorer that discovered America, proved the Earth was round, and made friends with the local indigenous people that he met.

taino-warriorPersonally, I never really celebrated “Columbus Day”.  It seemed to me more of a non-holiday. Just a chance for federal employees and banks to close their offices for a day.  But I am now convinced, that if anything needs to be remembered; it needs to be the peoples of the New World that suffered and became extinct due to the new access to their homes and lands.  Some will accuse me of further “liberal , white guilt” of my past European ancestors…but I also possess Native American ancestry, so maybe I just want to pay tribute to that part of my past.

Anyway here is the original blog article.

“I am more inclined to believe that we should no longer celebrate Columbus Day as an American holiday. We shouldn’t forget the discovery of the “New World” and the fact that it was not the land(China and Japan) Columbus was hoping to find. We should not forget the mapping advances and surveying that took place because of Columbus’ landing; and we should not forget the atrocities, slavery, theft, and death that occurred for years after the landing.

Even_the_Rain_Carlos_Aduviri-as-HatueyWe should, however, remember the people who were already living in the Americas before Columbus landed. They had a culture, a faith, and a civilization that suffered many hardships after the arrival and colonization of the Europeans. Some would defend Christopher Columbus and say that these things were not his fault. And in all likelihood, the events that would occur over the next 600 years would have happened at the hands of other explorers. But, that is no reason to celebrate.

tainowarriorSo today, remember and celebrate the Taíno that mistakenly welcomed Columbus to their land and all but vanished over the next 150 years. Remember the Arawak tribes of the Caribbean and South America taken for slaves. Remember that common words you use today came from the Taíno language; such as tobacco, barbecue, and hammock. Remember men like the warrior, Hatuey who fought back against the Europeans and was burned at the stake.”

Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on October 12th of each year or as it is in the United States, on the Second Monday of October each year.  There are now more than a hundred cities in the USA now celebrating the day.  And at least one guy in Alabama.

HAPPY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY 2018!

 

Today’s Entry features a special OTRWD header and a background of Taino symbols.

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“Sunday Thoughts”

“If we cannot demonstrate the presence of good where we are, we shall never be able to do it at what seems a better place. The human mind likes to think that distant pastures are greener, but we know they are not. Good is not a location; it is an atmosphere which has to be revealed by us wherever we are.”

— Ernest Holmes
good-is-not-location

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Meeting “Mr. Dred”

I had to go to Wal-Mart today; not my most favorite thing to do. But, my wife and I both have a sinus infection/cold/whatever and the only thing to take care of it is the Advil Cold and Sinus medicine that is now only sold with proof of  driver’s license or state ID card and is only available per individual once every 30 days. (This is the version with the original pseudoephedrine made popular by “meth addicts” and Walter White fans everywhere.)

When I got to the Pharmacy, I found all the windows shut down. They were closed. On a Saturday. At 1:30 in the afternoon.  Whose brilliant idea was this? Then, I saw the sign informing me that “when only one pharmacist is on duty the pharmacy will close between 1:30PM and 2:00PM to allow the pharmacist to go to lunch

Okay, okay, I’m not having a good day.

And then everything changed

As I sat on a bench in front of the pharmacy window, playing on my phone and thinking about the longest half-hour ahead of me; an elderly African-American gentleman and his grown nephew approached the bench. The nephew asks the uncle if he wants to go with him to some other department and the gentleman said no, that he would wait here.

Hearing them speak, I looked up and slid over on the bench to allow the gentleman to sit down. He thanked me and shook my hand and introduced himself as he sat down beside me.

Now I only mentioned his ethnicity because he told me his name was “Dred”.  I immediately thought “Dred Scot” because I was reading an article on my phone about the upcoming confirmation of Brett Kavanagh as a new Supreme Court Justice. (and anticipating and agonizing over possible similar decisions that this Justice could inflict upon the country)  But, I digress.

“My name is Dred. How ya doin’ this afternoon?

“Just fine” (I lied) “I’m Dave”

“Nice to meet ya, Mr. Dave”

“It’s a pleasure, Mr. Dred”

And for the next 25 minutes we talked. No. We had a conversation.

I found out about him and his nephew. He has one grown son. He retired as a groundskeeper at the University of South Alabama; although he is a University of Alabama Crimson Tide football fan. (He did threaten to get up, when I told him, I was from Mississippi and a die-hard Ole Miss fan)

He wanted to know how I came to move to the Gulf Coast. He asked about my family. He asked about my job.

And we talked about “old times”.  We talked about growing up and growing older. He was concerned about why kids resort to violence to settle disputes these days.  The worst violence “we” committed as kids had to be an “outta-controlled wrestling/wild swinging of fists” incident that lasted five minutes and then all was forgiven, and regular “play” resumed.   There was no need for stabbing or shooting.

He said he prayed for “kids these days”.  He didn’t think we, as a people; or as a nation; did enough for our “kids”.  And “parents these days” need to do more.

I assured him, that there were still good people out there and that I’m sure he has done his part over the course of his life.  He assured me that he felt the same about me.

The pharmacy windows opened up and I excused myself from “Mr. Dred” and went to purchase my needed medication.

As I was leaving, I stopped back by the bench and re-shook Mr. Dred’s hand and told him that it was pleasure indeed to meet him and that he made “the wait” enjoyable and that I could not have asked for better company.

He thanked me and told me something similar and that he would think about me and pray for my family. He hoped that we would see each other some time again.

Three things:

I am most certain that he will be praying for me.

If I never see him again, that would be a shame, but experiencing him for just 25 minutes made a huge difference in my day.

The world needs more “Mr. Dreds”, and I hope I can be, or have been one to someone else in my time on this earth. If not, that needs to be a thing that I work on.

Thank you for talking to me, Mr. Dred.

three-elderly-male-friends-talking-and-laughing-on-bench-in-public-park

 

 

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