Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

30 April, 2010

ABANDONED WELL MAY ANSWER MYSTERY

House in Dresden where skeletal remains were found in an abandoned well.

You just knew I had to get to it sooner or later -- the discovery of skeletal remains in an old abandoned well in my home town of Dresden a few days ago.

Even more interesting to me is the fact that the property in question is located on Sydenham Street, my old stomping grounds.  The street, of course, is probably the longest in town, starting at St. George Street (the main drag) and ending in the rural outskirts at Hughes Road.  My family home was at 33 Sydenham Street and the property where human bones were discovered  is at 559 Sydenham, a good two miles or more to the east.  

The house on the property, currently sealed off for investigation purposes, had been rented for a number of years and a new tenant preparing to move in, was in the process of fixing up a back deck when he removed a few boards and discovered the well cistern with what looked to be a skeleton in a few feet of water at the bottom.  He immediately called local police.

News of the gruesome find soon spread in the small town and it was inevitable that the name "Clint Brown" would come up in conversations.  Poor Clint, you see, lived in a trailer at the corner of Hughes Road not far from 559 Sydenham Street, some 40 years ago.  He went missing after a doctor's appointment and was never seen again.

I knew the World War Two veteran and prisoner of war detainee only to see him and left town quite a few years before his mysterious disappearance, but I well remember my mother Grace telling me about rescue helicopters flying over the area in an exhaustive search for the middle-aged man who lived alone at the time.  Acting on a rumour, police are said to have even checked wells in the vicinity but to no avail.   

OPP Inspector George Flikweert, head of the major crime unit, has confirmed that police are "looking into reports about a man who went missing in the area decades ago."   "We're looking in our archive records," he said. "That will be one area we'll follow up."  The coroner and a forensic anthropologist have confirmed that the remains are human, he said.

"We haven't determined gender or age," the Inspector added, saying that police also do not know how long the remains have been in the well.  Coroner Dr. Park Parry said it would likely be at least 48 hours before the skeleton was removed and it could be weeks before a cause of death and identity is known.  He said an autopsy of sorts will be conducted along with an anthropological exam.

Meanwhile, police continue to canvass the area for information relating to the case and will be attempting to track down the many former renters of the house who may have been completely oblivious to the fact that human remains were resting in a well just under the back deck of their home.  It was reported on Friday that the investigation will go back as far as the 1950s.

Knowing Dresden as I do, I can almost hear the downtown talk and coffee shop gossip all the way up here in Southampton.  "Clint Brown" speculation will be prevalent and a lot of history and rumours will be dredged up.  Some things never change in a small town where local issues are discussed thoroughly whenever two heads get together.  Put a cup of coffee or a glass of beer in front of the conversationalists and embellishment can be quite creative and entertaining.

Regardless of the outcome of the police investigation it is kind of sad that Clint Brown, a quiet unassuming and likeable kind of guy who as far as I knew never hurt anyone in his life and preferred to be left alone, should once again be the subject of so much public attention.  May he eventually rest in peace.

...And may justice prevail, even in perpetuity.

29 April, 2010

HI THERE WHITEY RED BREAST!

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Well, I learned something the other day...And so did Lindsey Taylor of Delhi who seriously questioned her eyesight at first.

Lindsey, it seems, was reading meters in Port Dover, April 20, on behalf of Norfolk Power when she spotted an odd bird in a nearby yard.  The bird had the orange breast of a robin but the rest of it was white. Unsure of what she was seeing, she snapped some photos. Jon McCracken, director of national programs for Bird Studies Canada in Port Rowan, examined one of them and concluded that the young woman had actually encountered "a partial albino robin" like the one photographed above.

"I saw this white bird hopping around on a lawn and I said 'What?'" she explained. "We have no white birds around here like that. It was pretty cool."  Lindsey snapped a cell phone photo and then went back for more pictures the next day with a better camera. The fact the bird was still there told her it had made a nest in the immediate vicinity.  Thoughtfully, she would not say exactly where she spotted the bird in the lakeside community because she does not want it disturbed.

Albinism and partial albinism is rare but, come to find out, it does occur in all animals. It arises from a biochemical defect that prevents an organism from producing pigments. Albinism usually works to the detriment of animals because it deprives them of their natural camouflage.

Some years ago Alfred O. Gross wrote an article titled The Incidence of Albinism in North American Birds for an edition of Bird Banding: A Journal of Ornithological Investigation.  To that time, 1,847 reports of albinism in 304 different bird species had been recorded.

I guess sea gulls don't qualify as albino birds because we have thousands of them in Saugeen Shores alone.

28 April, 2010

A VIDEO MESSAGE FROM DICK

video
PLAY ME!
Some thoughts on love...for no particular reason
Love is compassion for creation.
Love is service of others and is not self-centred.
Love speaks the truth tempered with kindness.
Love grows in knowledge and discernment.
It is the road to personal maturity, and is
the way of seeing others as God sees them.
I've given you my message in a video today prompting me to think about romantic messages in bottles like the one so beautifully captured in this photo.  Whenever a message in a bottle is discovered on a beach or floating in the ocean, it feels like something out of a fairy tale.  The idea that two people have made a connection that mathematics would suggest is virtually impossible, gives us hope that life is more than a series of random events.

23 April, 2010

LONG LIVE OUR PROUD CANADIAN MAPLES!




The Maple Leaf, our emblem dear
The Maple Leaf forever!
God Save our Queen and Heaven Bless
The Maple Leaf forever!

I was raised in the shade of a century-old maple tree in The Town of Dresden and I am still living under the expansive branches of one in Southampton.  On numerous occasions I have written passionately about maples and how they stir up the nostalgist in me. To me, every maple that I see is like an old friend.  Sadly, however, these century (and older) trees are now succumbing to old age, exposure to wind, insects and disease.  Worse yet, they are not being replaced.

One of  the most widely recognized trees in our temperate forests,  this species provides a crucial component in forest ecosystems across Canada and is a part of both the rural and city landscape. As well, it is an important tree in the forest’s carbon balance, sustains the maple syrup industry and produces a range of valuable and wonderful wood products used in our homes.

The maple leaf, of course, is the prominent centrepiece of our Canadian flag and has become a recognized national symbol the world over.

In a week when we supposedly celebrated the 40th annual Earth Day world-wide, I was happy to learn that there is a foundation in Ontario that has taken on "the maple" as a pet project.  "Maple Leaves Forever" believes that the maple tree not only deserves, but also requires, a focused advocacy and mentoring organization.   Very briefly, here are some of the very commendable Maple Leaves Forever goals:

-- To restore and replenish the maple tree as a living emblem of Canada's culture and history by supporting and promoting the planting of native maple trees.

-- To re-introduce maples as a visual feature on the rural and urban landscape by planting in towns, cities, roadsides, along hedgerows, lane ways and property lines in southern Ontario and ultimately, across Canada.

-- To promote and support the development of maple seedlings and saplings which are to be grown from certified Canadian seed sources and which will become known as Maple Leaves Forever (MLF) Maples.

-- To provide the public, emphasizing youth, with accessible information on the cultural and technical aspects of native maples as well as providing them with information on the acquisition and availability of maple seedlings, saplings and trees.

Linda Baumburger nurtures a maple seedling on her family farm.  --Saugeen Times photo.

Linda Baumburger, local National Farmers' Union President,  is a  Saugeen Shores area farm wife who has personally picked up the "save the maple" cause and sings the praises of  the Maple Leaves Forever foundation.  She and her husband, Martin, and their children, own and operate an organic dairy farm immediately south of Port Elgin.

"The land is extremely important to us for the sake of our children,"  Linda said in a recent interview. "We also believe in replenishing things that have been lost. For instance, the maple trees are disappearing. They are being cut down for whatever reason but are not being replaced. Port Elgin used to be known as the town of Maples but that won't last much longer at the rate the maples are being destroyed."

Linda shows how a new maple seedling is protected among a wind row of pines. --Saugeen Times photo.

"Maple Leaves Forever is just  an  amazing organization," she explained with the enthusiasm of someone who has a mission in life. "They have a recommended grower to ensure that the trees/seedlings are authentic native species of maples. Not only that but, once planted and growth is successful, the foundation reimburses half the cost of the seedlings. This is an extremely important initiative and I was so pleased to learn of its existance."

Linda travelled to a nursery in Eden to pick up her first seedlings.  MLF owns a woodlot in the Township of Mulmur in Dufferin County, north of Orangeville.  At present the foundation works with seven nurseries in Southern Ontario and plans to add to the roster in the current year.

"Maples provide a huge range of attributes that are key to the climate ... they provide shade that helps prevent heating of the land, of course they provide oxygen while filtering the air, their massive root systems provide soil retention against erosion.  The maple is truly a magnificent tree," she added.

Farmers initially planted thousands of  maples taken from their woodlots along their hedgerows and on their lane ways. In the 1870s, the Ontario government provided incentives to farmers should they plant roadsides with trees from their woodlots. The majority of trees they planted were maples. This gave rise to an important element in the rural landscape-lines of stately maples alongside roads and separating farmer’s fields. The incentive quickly exhausted government’s monetary allocations, but the legacy of maple trees was left.

Long live the legacy of our proud  Canadian maples with help from organizations like Maple Leaves Forever and people like Linda Baumburger!


For more information or to acquire a Tree Application Form from the MLF foundation, see http://www.mapleleavesforever.com.


22 April, 2010

AN ORDER THAT WAS NOT ON THE MENU


Okay, here's one from my collection of "Kids Say the Darnedest Things" that I just cannot resist passing on.  Maybe I should not repeat it, but I think that it is innocent, cute and funny.

No doubt that we have all experienced our kids coming home from school with shockingly increased vocabularies gleaned from the playground.  Rosanne's by  then 11-year-old son Bob, gregarious and  impressionable, was no exception.

One evening Rosanne took Bob to a restaurant for his all-time favorite hamburger and chips.  A friendly young waitress took Rosanne's order first and then turned her attention to Bob.  "What would you like, young man?" she asked.

Sitting with a far-away look in his eyes and uncharacteristically, Bob did not respond to the question.  "Go ahead Bob, tell the nice waitress what you want," Rosanne encourage him.

After a long, pensive pause Bob finally spoke.  "Okay, could I have sex please?"


Neither a mortified Rosanne or the crimson-faced waitress knew where to look.

Collecting her composure, and not taking her eyes off the order pad, the waitress replied:  "Sorry, that's not on the menu."

I'M BAAAAACCCK...

...AND SO IS MY COMPUTER

I'm back in business once again this morning with a clean computer system, thanks to my tech friend who was able to remove the troublesome "Security Tool" rogue invader.  I simply cannot fathom the minds of people who create these virus-type programs and inflict them on an unsuspecting computer public.  No other word for it but "criminal".

One thing though, whenever I am without the computer for a day or two I am always amazed at how much extra work I am able to do around the house.

Rosanne continues to make great strides on her wellness journey.  She has a long way to go, but she is determined to make it.  One thing in her favor has been a remarkable drop in weight since her hospitalization.

She has lost a total of 41.5 pounds to date and her body is giving every indication that it is capable of shedding another 200-220 pounds more.  Her goal for this summer is to be able to go for short walks outside with Lucy --and to go shopping.

And, oh yes, I am continuing to lose weight too -- 25 pounds as of this morning's weigh-in.  My goal for this summer is to join Rosanne and Lucy on those short walks.  I'll think about the shopping, however.

Talking about shopping, it is no secret that Rosanne lives to shop.  Strangely enough, she even takes great delight in exchanging the things that she buys.  It is just not in her nature to purchase an item once and keep it...Not the right size, not the right color, just not right period (you get the picture).  It just seems to be a matter of principle with her.  She has even volunteered to take things back that other people have purchased and they gladly let her.  She has a special talent and believe me she is good at it..  The only trouble is that she has been housebound recently and expects me to do the exchanging for her, to which I have to insist: "No way Hose`!"

A number of years ago, Rosanne and her then eight-year-old son Bobby were visiting her parents in Etobicoke.  In conversation, her father, John, asked young Bob what he did yesterday.  "We went shopping at the mall and bought a whole lot of stuff," was Bob's quick replay.

"What did you do today?"  John then queried.

"We took everything back," the young lad said without hesitation.


20 April, 2010

BEWARE: THE SECURITY TOOL!


I am ticked off today in no uncertain terms.

My computer has been invaded by the unwanted and highly annoying "Security Tool" application, a rogue antivirus ruse.  Stubborn and complex, it deliberately gives reports of false security threats on your computer and displays fake alerts and notifications to make you think your PC is infected with malware.  It interferes with virtually everything you do on your computer.  WARNING: If installed for a fee (of course) it will do untold further harm to your system. 

All of which means that I'm off to my good technician friend's shop for the second time in a month in the hope that he can rid my system (the computer's that is) of this ugly invader.

Talk to you in a couple of days.

18 April, 2010

NO COMPROMISES IN REAL, SELFLESS LOVE


I honestly think that some people go through life not knowing what it is to truly love and be loved.  Oh sure, some are good pretenders and there are others who settle for love substitute relationships with the hope that by working on them they will eventually bring about a mutually satisfactory end result.  Still others with misguided expectations, blindly look for love in all the wrong places because their take is stronger than their give

Worse yet, Heaven help anyone who sacrifices a degree of love for financial security.  Ultimately, the price paid  in business-type arrangements leads to nothing but a personal sellout and emotional bankruptcy.

Unequivocally, I promise that if you have to pretend or be deceitful in a relationship, or work hard in the beginning to make it work in the end, you will spend the rest of your life dealing with the status quo.  Some may argue differently, but I strongly believe that you know very early in a relationship that what you are feeling and sharing is the real thing and that it has potential to stand the test of time.  When red flags present themselves, however, that is the time to take a step backward and to consider your wisdom in going forward.  Holding on with false hope to save face or because of a fear of what others may think, is a mistake  that all too frequently is made by some very unhappy people. 

I talk as frankly as I can here because there are those very  near and dear to me who, I have a sneaking suspicion,  have yet to experience true love in its glorious, heart-throbbing, mature, as-it-should-be form.  That is personally troubling and very sad, to say the least.

Having the strength and foresight to end an ill-advised, rather one-sided relationship, a young woman talks  openly about heartbreak and understanding the "differences of love".  In so doing, she performs a great service for those struggling as she once did.  I quote her words verbatim here in the hope that they will have impact where I feel it is most needed.  She relates it as only someone who has been there and done that can.

Her bottom line message:  As difficult as it may seem at the time, there can be life after the devestation of an unfortunate emotional entanglement.  Embrace it, learn from it and live in it.

A "Brave" Young Woman Takes Control

"I’ve realized that some people are only capable of taking love, but they just can’t give it.  They don’t know how to, not really, not in a real way.  These people believe that love is what others can do for them, give to them.  They think that love involves another person making them feel differently about themselves. They think it’s just about having a warm body at their disposal, or a hand to hold --someone to listen, another paycheque.  They don’t understand what it’s like to selflessly love someone, just for who they are.  Love them because they are wonderful and lovable, and to not ask for anything in return.

"Then there are people who are capable of real love, a love without agenda, without thinking about what they can get back, or get out of it.  It’s about loving someone and wanting only for them to be happy, wanting to care for them, look after them, appreciate them, wanting only for them to have the best life, to love them enough to not tell them how you want them to be, love them enough to say things that they don’t want to hear and love them enough to let them go without guilt or pain.

"I’m not talking about romantic love, or lust. I’m talking about loving someone for the goodness of their soul, loving them as a human being.  I understand it now and I wouldn’t change a thing. I would not change the hurt or pain or the suffering that I’m feeling now, because this is life.  This is feeling.  I’m feeling my life. I am in it. I’m not avoiding feeling uncomfortable feelings.  I’m not building walls to keep people out.  I’m not avoiding the experience or hiding from it because it might hurt me. I’m braving it.

"I can say that I tried. I was myself...Honest, accepting and without agenda, demands or expectations.  And I am without regret." 

God bless!

16 April, 2010

A MUSICAL GIFT FOR YOU...



I just had to share this outstanding audio clip with followers of Wrights Lane.  You will be amazed at the voice rolling out of this fresh-faced young boy from Taiwan, with his bowl haircut and red bow tie, nailing the classic "I Will Always Love You" in a way that would make Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton just a bit jealous.

RELEVANCY ELUSIVE IN TALKING RACISM


I watched the Toronto Blue Jays game this evening (they beat Chicago White Sox 7-3) as Jackie Robinson's legacy was memorialized by all Major League Baseball teams, marking the 63rd anniversary of his breaking the colour barrier at the top level of professional sports.  Coincidentally, in order to watch the game, I had to put aside an article that I was reading on attitudes toward racism in the Christian church's foundational period.

After the game and the article, I knew I had to write something for Wrights Lane.  I have superficially touched on racism in past posts, but with a degree of reservation.  I am always left with the feeling that I did not do the subject sufficient justice...To be honest, I'm not sure if anyone is capable of relevancy when tackling something so disturbing and controversial -- so culturally deep-rooted and complex.

Racism, bigotry, discrimination -- it can all be lumped together as the greatest blight on society.  When it all began is virtually impossible to trace.  It is lost in the depths of time.  It seems as though it has always been part of the human psyche to be wary and suspicious of things that we do not know and understand.  Historically, the trouble begins when racial differences are allowed to fester into full-blown hatred.

In the article that I was reading before the baseball game on television, fellow Presbyterian David W. Brattston of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, makes the interesting point that racism was absent in the earliest church and in the non-Christian society surrounding it.  Certainly, there is relevancy for every shade and hue today in a review of the attitudes and practices of that period.  Christians and other subjects of the Roman Empire simply did not make distinctions based on race.  In fact, mentions of a person's skin colour were so rare as to be insignificant.

"The only discrimination was based on cultural factors," Brattston suggests.  "Jews divided the world into themselves and Gentiles, while for Greeks the distinction was between themselves and "barbarians" -- people who did not share Greek language or culture.   The Romans divided people between citizens and non-citizens, and then among various economic classes of citizens."

"In each case, however, individuals could cross the divides by joining the preferred group through either financial or military achievement, or by changing religion.  Any antipathy was cultural, not ethnic, and was directed most against cults or superstitions of which Christianity was one," he added.

He also stressed that scripture and other ancient Christian writings said much about how to regard individuals new to a community, whether they came for employment, business opportunities or conditions in their homeland.  The term "immigrant" appears nowhere in the early literature because strict separation into nation states did not yet exist, with its restrictions on travel, employment and trade. The ancients simply did not think much about the reasons why newcomers had come, other than military invaders.

So when did racism in all of its ugly forms and its kin, bigotry, actually surface in history?  My answer:  "At about the time when the human race began to think in terms of self-assigned superiority based on ignorance and perceived differences."

Baseball's Jackie Robinson is just one of many who have had the intestinal fortitude and God-given ability to prove just how misguided the human race can be in its attitude toward fellow brothers and sisters of the world.

13 April, 2010

"JOHNNY" WAS MY IMAGINARY FRIEND

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I came across some research the other day revealing the fact that about two thirds of children have played with imaginary companions by the age of seven.  I found the information not only interesting but somewhat personally redeeming because I could be included in that two-thirds figure after a good 65 years of thinking that I was just a tad different as a very shy, day-dreaming pre-schooler.

Between the ages of three and five, my pretend friend was quite real to me with a particular look and unique personality.  "Johnny" was a playmate when I did not have one for real.  We had conversations and a lot of fun together.  I'm not sure if he substituted for an older brother in my imaginary world, or if he was just my best friend.  Regardless, I looked up to him as someone with whom I could confide...He was a good listener and always there for me when I needed him.

I even knew what Johnny's voice sounded like because, you see, he came to me over the radio airwaves in the living room that I shared with my mom, dad, grandfather and dog Spot.  Johnny only ever said four words on the radio but boy, were they ever distinctive:  "Call for Phil-lip Mor-ree-is!"  To this day, any reference to Philip Morris always causes an indescribable sensation in the pit of my stomach. 

It was only toward the end of my childish pretending, some two or three years later, that I finally saw his picture for the first time in a Life Magazine ad and came to understand that my good friend Johnny was actually  a radio commercial pitchman for a cigarette company known as Philip Morris Tobacco.  My parents were the first to explain to me that he was a real-life hotel bellhop by the name of Johnny Roventini who was only four feet tall and 70 pounds soaking wet. 

Very briefly, this is his most unusual story.

In 1933, advertising executive Milton H. Biow, the principal of the Biow Agency in New York City, was managing the advertising account of Philip Morris cigarettes. Biow had an idea to bring new life (literally) to the mature "bellboy with tray of cigarettes" campaign. He had heard of the distinctive voice and appearance of Roventini and one day, along with Phillip Morris executive Alfred E. Lyons, went to the New Yorker Hotel where the 22-year-old Johnny worked. They sat in the lobby and observed him, noting both his diminutive size and distinctive voice.

In those days, hotel lobbies were typically elaborately furnished and used as meeting places, so situations with persons seeking each other were not uncommon. According to the legend, Biow approached him and paid Johnny a dollar to page a "Mr. Philip Morris" throughout the lobby. The small bellhop repeatedly cried out "Call for Phillip Morris" in his distinctive high-pitched B-flat voice, several times, not knowing that there was no such person. He did not realize that he had been essentially performing a screen test. "I went around the lobby yelling my head off," Johnny recalled later, "but Philip Morris didn't answer my call." He initially thought that his call had been both legitimate and unsuccessful. He was soon to learn that he had been wrong on both counts. He was later quoted in Variety Magazine: "I had no idea that Philip Morris was a cigarette."


The page had in fact been a huge success, one that was to lead the young bellboy to a 40-year radio and stage career.  Biow and Lyons both visualized the performance of  "the world's smallest  bellhop" as ideal to bring life to their fictitious character. In April, 1933, Johnny Roventini was hired to make a "Call for Phil-ip Mor-ree-is" on the various radio programs sponsored by the tobacco company. Johnny had been earning $15 a week at the hotel, and received $100 for his very first radio commercial.  He later recounted that he only accepted the new job after checking with his mother, with whom he lived much of his life. He was soon earning $50,000 annually, a substantial wage for such work in those years, according to his biography.
 
By his own estimation, Johnny made the Philip Morris call at least a million times in public before he retired in 1979. A bonifide American legend, the little guy passed away November 30, 1999, at 88-years-of-age.
 
Somehow, I wish he'd known what a good pretend friend he was for me when I was growing up.  He'd probably get a kick out of the fact that he did not totally influence me, however...I never smoked a cigarette in my life!  Not even a Phil-lip Mor-ree-is.

12 April, 2010

THE FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLY


The following thought-piece is taken from the latest issue of the new "Inspiration By God" Newsletter.  It is my kind of story because it very briefly shows how getting through the tough times on your own, battling through the difficult parts and then surviving, has tremendous significance as we carry on in life.

One day, a man found the cocoon of a butterfly. Soon, a curious  opening appeared on  its fuzzy surface.

He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body, Neither happened!

In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.

10 April, 2010

THE CORNCRAKE?...TRUST ME, I WOULDN'T GIVE YOU THE BIRD

THE CORNCRAKE (Crex crex) is a very shy, sensitive bird, breeding and generally hiding in the tall vegetation of the British Isles, swiftly scurrying from one patch and diving into the next.  It is heard much more often than it is seen.  Usually the sound heard day and night is the distinctive creaking or rasping call of the male Corncrake trying to attract a mate.  Widespread in Scotland and Ireland at one time, sadly the species has declined as breeders in the UK prompting extensive preservation efforts.  A member of the Rallidae or rail family, the Corncrake is a long-distance migrant traveller, spending winters across South Europe and South Africa.  With that as background, here's a story that stars the mysterious bird that is reputed to have the worst singing voice of all God's feathered creatures.

Unlike the elusive Corncrake, you don't have to hunt for happiness
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Everything seemed to set forth a lesson of instruction for my role model alter ego, Old Humphrey.  Over the years he has been a wonderful source for  good homespun yarns and food for thought.  Here's another one.

As Old Humph tells it, one evening as he was returning home from a walk through some British mowing grass, he stopped short on hearing the call of a Corncrake.  Many times before he had heard the same sound and compared it to the creaking of a thick branch in the wind; and every time he had hunted in vain to find it.  This time, however, it seemed close at hand.

"Just by that sprig of green sorrel, said I to myself as I tripped over the grass," recalled the proper old Englishman.  "I shall find it; but no such thing!  When I got there, the sound was in quite a different direction.  Still I followed the sound, and still was I deceived.  Now it was behind, and then before me; now to the right hand, and then to the left but all of no use.  The moment I reached one place, the sound was to another," he explained with great expression.

"I did not discover that evening where the Corncrake was; but I found out, to a certainty, many places where it was not," he chuckled.

Without missing a beat and an opportunity to bring one of his patented  lessons into his story, Old Humphrey's tone grew serious as he asked, "Perhaps you have been as much disappointed in your search after happiness as I was in my search after the Corncrake; and perhaps, too, like me you have been glad to get back to the spot whence you first set out?"

"Okay Humphrey, that was an interesting story.  I was not familiar with the Corncrake.  But just where are you going with this?" I questioned the bearded yarn spinner.

"Well, I was led by the Corncrake a long dance through the mowing grass, and if you are pursuing earthly happiness, you will be led a long dance too," he responded as if losing patience with me.  "Hundreds of us have made up our minds to be happy -- we have felt sure that if we could do this, or get that, or obtain the other, we should have little else to wish for.  Don't you understand that we might as well join in a chase after the Corncrake, as after happiness in worldly things?  We are just as likely to catch the one as to get possession of the other," he hastened to add.

"We have countless blessings to be thankful for, you know my young man. The Bible tells us though that 'In the world ye shall be happy,' but it goes on to say 'In the world ye shall have tribulations.'

"It will be wise, then to let the Corncrake happiness of the world deceive us no longer, whether we hear it afar off, or whether it appears within our reach.  We should give up such fruitless chases."

"Right, I see what you're saying Humphrey," I nodded in agreement.  "We should stop looking so hard for happiness because generally the harder we look the harder it is to find.  True enough, more often than not, happiness finds us when we least expect it and better yet, if we are patient and open to it, an even greater eternal joy awaits us at the end of our earthly journey." 

"You are right about that son," my old friend said with a sigh as he closed weary eyes and drifted off, resting in the knowledge that complete and final happiness was his.  He no longer had to look for it.  The elusive Corncrake be damned.

09 April, 2010

KEEP HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE


I was marvelling the other day at  the resilience of a certain patch of ivy.  Season after changing season, it just never losses its grip and comes back each spring healthier and stronger than ever.  I got to thinking that this hearty climbing vine of many varieties has a serious life lesson for we human inhabitants of planet earth. 


After surviving years of shine and shade, wet and dry, summer heat and winter's chilling blast, I have seen cases where ivy has lost its hold on a tree, a fence or a wall -- often with the aid of human hand or through the raveges of time.  Once its grip has been lost, the ivy withers and falls to the ground to be trodden under foot and finally disappear.

The lesson for you and I, dear friends, is that if we lose hold of our faith and our will, we too will wither and die.

Life is all about holding on...Keeping a firm grip!

Ivy!  Thou art ever green,
Let me changeless, then, be seen.

Ivy!  Clinging round the tree,
Gladly would I learn of thee.

07 April, 2010

WE ARE NOT ALL GIANTS BUT WE ALL HAVE A "PURPOSE" TO FULFILL IN LIFE

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In a world populated by almost seven billion people, many of them achieving wonderful things in the fields of science, technology, communications, finance, art  and human relations, it is quite easy and natural for some of us to feel just a little insignificant at times.  Certainly, I know that I do and I'm sure I'm not alone.

The feeling of insignificance frequently comes over me in particular as I sit down to commit my thoughts to the computer and ultimately, Wrights Lane.  "What purpose is this serving?  Who really cares?  In the overall scheme of things today, can I realistically expect to have any impact at all?"  At times such as that, I find it helpful to review my motivation or purpose in publishing this site: "...if I have felt, experienced or questioned something in life, then surely others must have too.  That's what this blog is all about -- relating in some small way and sharing..."
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My point is that every single one of us has a purpose in life regardless of status or degrees of  talent  and intelligence.  We just have to remind ourselves of this fact when we are feeling lost or insignificant in the crowd of this world.  It helps also to be able to understand what our purpose is. There is something strange in our psyche that makes us question our relevance at low periods in our life, especially as we grow older and take inventory of just what we have contributed to the world in general.
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There is a story about an artist who was sitting on the grass one day and looking up into the soft billowy branches of a small tree snuggled between two giant Redwoods.  "You are making me very happy by allowing me the benefit of your wonderful sturdy trunk and the beauty of your lovely leaves that shield me from the hot sun," commented the artist.

"Thank you," replied the small tree.  "That is nice to hear because the Redwoods are everyones' favorites and no one ever seems to notice me".
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The artist then told the tree how he used to feel that he was totally incapable of competing against other great artists until one day a friend pointed out that we are all on this earth for a purpose and if we learn to accept what we are and do our best with it, we will have great satisfaction even if we never rise to the pinnacle of our expectations.   He then repeated how the tree's purpose had been fulfilled that day by giving him the much-appreciated shade, not to mention the fact that it was keeping the Redwoods from being too close together and more importantly it was continually feeding valuable nutrients into the ground.
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As he rose to his feet to leave, the small tree was standing as tall as it could, preening its leaves, and the artist was very glad to have given it a boost.  He thought to himself:  "What I just told the tree about fulfilling a purpose, also applies to me...I think that now, we are both doing just fine!" 
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True enough, we are individually unique, and there will always be someone or something that needs what we have to offer and when we do, our purpose is fulfilled even though we do not necessarily realize it and the world rarely acknowledges it.   

02 April, 2010

For a few quiet moments this long Easter weekend we would all do well to reflect on the prevailing message which is one of hope and victory over death, because it recalls that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.  Easter symbolizes the love of God and the promise that our souls are immortal.  Be at peace with that knowledge, my dear friends and loved ones!

*Click http://BigTomMovie.com for a brief heart-gratifying, Easter-paralleling story.