31 May, 2011

{this moment} 2

A new Tuesday ritual. A single image - no words - capturing a moment from the past. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment over which I wish to linger so that I can savor every treasured aspect. If you are moved by my {this moment} too, please leave a comment below. On Thursday in another new ritual called {this memory}, I'll share the story behind this moment.
{this moment}
Copyright © 2007 Amy Elizabeth Brown. Used with permission.

{this moment} is a ritual I copied and adapted from cath's wonderful blog ~just my thoughts. She borrowed it from Pamanner's Blog who found it on Life inspired by the Wee Man who got it from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your {this moment} in the comments for all to find and see.

29 May, 2011

It's In The Bible

preacher was telling his congregation that anything they could think of, old or new, was discussed somewhere in The Bible. Then he went on to  that the entirety of human experience could be found there. One only had to look.

When he was speaking with members of the congregation as they exited after the service, he was approached by a woman who said, "Preacher, I don't believe The Bible mentions PMS. I'm pretty sure."

The preacher replied that he was sure it must be there somewhere and that he would look for it. He said, "When I find the passage, I'll give you a call."

He never called, but the following week after the service, the preacher motioned the woman aside. He said he had finally found it and showed her a passage which read, "And Mary rode Joseph's ass all the way to Bethlehem."
Author Unknown   

26 May, 2011

{this memory} 1

Tuesday's {this moment} depicts July of 1955 in Grand Cane, Louisiana, a small town of about 400 but down from its greatest population of 500. Today there are fewer than 200 residents.

The man on the left in the photo was the Methodist preacher in Grand Cane, Thomas O. Rorie, Jr. - my maternal grandfather and namesake. The lady on the other end is Amy Galloway Rorie, my grandmother.

In between them? Ah, well. I'm the head closest to my grandmother, and my older brother is immediately to my right in the back row. The other three boys are my only true first cousins - sons of my mother's brother, K. Glen Rorie who was also a Methodist minister and my other namesake.

My grandparents and uncle are long gone, but my cousins all live in Texas. The cousins are (l to r): Kenny (my age and 7), Douglas (the youngest), and Tommy (my brother's age, 11). Note the cowboy boots on Kenny. He and I still email each other and manage to get together every few years. I see the others only if I'm in Dallas.

Kenny has two daughters, as do I. His older daughter Amy is a few months older than my daughter Amy, and his younger daughter Megan is a few months older than my daughter Megan. We weren't in touch back then, so how about that for coincidence! I didn't even know he had daughters, much less what their names were, until we reconnected at my grandmother's funeral.

I remember starting second grade in Grand Cane. I spent about two months in one room that had three grades in it before moving on to Hutchinson, Kansas.

When I look at that car, I remember almost falling out as my grandfather drove back from a nearby dairy. I hung on to the top of the door as it swung open and scraping my shoes on the road until my grandfather came to a stop. What I don't remember is if he ever got the courage to tell my mother about it. What was I thinking?!

As I look at this photo, it seems so long ago, but we boys sure could have some fun. The world was much simpler then. Safer too, but as much as I treasure my memories of the late 1950s, I prefer the present. If time travel were possible though, I’d jump at the chance to visit. What would be most special would be the opportunity to talk as an adult with my grandparents. That would be an incredible gift.

How about you? Care to visit the past?

25 May, 2011

And The Winner Is ...

It isn't really about winning, but last Wednesday I was awake early and not falling back asleep, so I did what was best. I got up and checked my email. I WON! More accurately, my work was selected, but it sure felt like winning. My writing had been validated by a stranger, and this tasted scrumptious. Yum.

Dear Thom,
I'm writing to tell you that your piece, "Window on the World", will be featured on Indie Ink this Thursday, May 19. I'm attaching our Featured Writer buttons for you to use on your blog. Please feel free to tell everyone that you will be featured on our site. Also, please get back to me as soon as possible if any of your information has changed.

Thank you very much for sharing your work!

Best Regards,
Indie Ink editor

Well, that made my day. I had joined Indie Ink only a few weeks ago and had submitted but one piece. I wasn't expecting this, but it's my kind of surprise. Since I received this on the 19th, I went immediately to the site, and there was my work: Window on the World by Thom Brown.

From the Indie Ink site:
"A non-profit, independent literary and art collective. Perhaps more importantly, we are a community of writers and artists whose work is filled with such passion and spirit, it demands to be seen. ... IndieInk.org is and always will be a corner of the internet where we can get away from the bullshit and fluff, and write or shoot or draw our asses off - without worrying about popularity or who links to whom or gets more comments. Submit your work. You'll be glad you did."

If you like to write, check out Indie Ink. It's a good thing.

24 May, 2011

{this moment} 1

A new Tuesday ritual. A single image - no words - capturing a moment from the past. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment over which I wish to linger so that I can savor every treasured aspect. If you are moved by my {this moment} too, please leave a comment below. On Thursday in another new ritual called {this memory}, I'll share the story behind this moment.
{this moment}

Copyright © 2011 Thomas G. Brown.

{this moment} is a ritual I copied and adapted from cath's wonderful blog ~just my thoughts. She borrowed it from Pamanner's Blog who found it on Life inspired by the Wee Man who got it from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your {this moment} in the comments for all to find and see.

22 May, 2011

Where Is Jesus?

Sunday School teacher of pre-schoolers was concerned that his students might be a little confused about Jesus Christ because of the Christmas season emphasis on His birth. He wanted to make sure they understood that the birth of Jesus occurred for real, and he asked his class, "Where is Jesus today?"

Steven raised his hand and said, "He's in heaven." Mary was called on and answered, "He's in my heart." Little Johnny, waving his hand furiously, blurted out, "I know! I know! He's in our bathroom!"

The whole class got very quiet, looked at the teacher, and waited for a response. The teacher was completely at a loss for a few very long seconds. Finally, he gathered his wits and asked Little Johnny how he knew this.

Little Johnny said, "Well ... every morning, my father gets up, bangs on the bathroom door, and yells, "Good Lord, are you still in there?!"

Author Unknown   

17 May, 2011

Poems with Disabilities

I sure can't disagree with him because I know I can't always tell just by looking. Can you?

     I'm sorry-this space is reserved
     for poems with disabilities. I know
     it's one of the best spaces in the book,
     but the Poems with Disabilities Act

     requires us to make all reasonable
     accommodations for poems that aren't
     normal. There is a nice space just
     a few pages over-in fact (don't
     tell anyone) I think it's better

     than this one, I myself prefer it.
     Actually I don't see any of those
     poems right now myself, but you never know
     when one might show up, so we have to keep
     this space open. You can't always tell

     just from looking at them, either. Sometimes
     they'll look just like a regular poem
     when they roll in—you're reading along
     and suddenly everything
     changes, the world tilts

     a little, angle of vision
     jumps, focus
     shifts. You remember
     your aunt died of cancer at just your age
     and maybe yesterday's twinge means

     something after all. Your sloppy,
     fragile heart beats
     a little faster

     and then you know.
     You just know.
     And the poem
     is right
     where it

by Jim Ferris, 2000

16 May, 2011

The Sally Effect

Yesterday was Commencement - my 36th at this college, but that's not what I'm thinking about. Sure, there are students now gone that I'll miss, and I wish them the best. What I'm thinking about, however, are the faculty who are leaving as well. Retirement.

I'm thinking about one colleague in particular; let's call her Sally. When I was Vice-President for Academic Affairs, I hired Sally. That was in 1991, and after two decades of dedicated teaching and service, she is retiring. The college will be diminished.

I have been asked to share a memory about Sally. The one I've selected involves another faculty colleague who happens to have significantly impaired vision, and it's a memory that highlights Sally's concern and commitment to the rights of those with disabilities.

I work in an environment where most people are already sensitive to disability issues, but when our new colleague arrived, Sally was the one who consistently and persistently reminded us that there were some simple behaviors we should practice as minor accommodations. A reminder to use a larger font in our printed materials or at least in the digital copy we send our new colleague. A reminder to always speak first so she knows you're there or who you are. A reminder to repeat aloud anything you or others may be reading from a board or screen.

A reminder to teach our students to do the same - that they orally signal their presence when coming to her office, that they speak and identify themselves when they raise their hands in class, that jokes or comments about those with visual-impairments - or any disability for that matter - are always inappropriate and should be challenged.

And many other reminders when we occasionally forgot to do the obvious. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone say "oops, I should have thought of it," I'd be the one retiring instead of Sally. Some of us were good students - just strengthening habits by putting into practice what we already knew. Other faculty - unfortunately - were poor students, and some simply never "got it." Sally, however, was and continues to be a patient teacher.

Two decades seems like a long time, but it's not long enough for me. Although I like to think I am more enlightened than many regarding disability awareness, I shall miss having Sally around to remind us, to chide when necessary, and to defend, if challenged, the rights of those who need such support. With her presence, I felt more confident that we could make the world a wee bit fairer, at least in our small corner of it.

Thank you, Sally.

15 May, 2011

A Terrible Accident

uring the service, the pastor asked if there were anyone in the congregation would like to praise the Lord because their prayers had been answered.

A lady stood up, came forward, and said, "I have a reason to thank the Lord. Two months ago, my husband, Jim, had a terrible bicycle accident, and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating, and the doctors didn't know if they could help him."

You could hear an audible gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagined the pain that poor Jim experienced.

She continued, "Jim was unable to hold me or the children, and every move he made caused him terrible pain. We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation. They were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Jim's scrotum and wrap wire around it to hold it in place."

Again, the men in the Congregation squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Jim. She continued, "Jim is out of the hospital now, and the doctors say his scrotum should recover completely."

All the men sighed with relief.

The pastor let out a sigh as he rose and tentatively asked if any one else had anything to say. One man rose and walked slowly to the podium. He said, "Hello. My name is Jim, and I would just like to tell my wife that the word is 'sternum.' "

12 May, 2011

Blue Door In Essaouira

Essaouira, Morocco.

Digital photograph.
Copyright © 2007 Amy Elizabeth Brown.
Used with permission.

08 May, 2011

A Nun in Hooters

adly needing to use the restroom, a nun walked into a local Hooters. The place was hopping with music and loud conversation, and every once in a while the lights would turn off briefly. Each time the lights would go out, the place would erupt into cheers. When the revelers saw the nun, however, the room went dead silent.

She walked up to the bartender and asked, "May I please use the restroom?" The bartender replied, "Okay, but I should warn you that there is a statue of a naked man in there, and he's wearing nothing but a fig leaf."

"Well, in that case, I'll just have to look the other way," said the nun. So the bartender showed the nun to the back of the restaurant. After a few minutes, she came back out, and the whole place stopped just long enough to give the nun a loud round of applause!

She went to the bartender and said, "Sir, I don't understand. Why did they applaud for me just because I went to the restroom?" "Well, now they know you're one of us," said the bartender. "Would you like a drink?"

"No, thank you, but I still don't understand," said the puzzled nun. "You see," laughed the bartender, "every time someone lifts the fig leaf on that statue, the lights go out. Now, how about that drink?"

04 May, 2011

Thanks, Janine: The Sequel

Last week I published a post Thanks, Janine which did just that for Janine Ripper of Reflections from a Red Head, one of my favorite blogs, who bestowed the Kreativ Blogger Award upon me. It came with conditions though. I was to pass it on to ten bloggers, notify them, and then reveal ten things about myself that most folks might not know. I actually think ten of each is too much although I managed it (see the original post). Six or seven is more reasonable.

I did all that was expected, but three of the folks to whom I gave the award have never acknowledged it in any way, public or private. It makes me feel as though I didn't do a very good job in selecting folks I thought would appreciate it. I certainly don't feel that I have fulfilled the terms of the award (giving it to ten) - so I am bestowing it upon a few others whose work I admire. I may be stretching the rules a bit, but if there can never be too much love, then there can never be too many ... well, you get the idea.

Here we go - four more wonderful blogs.

1 - Helen at Inside the Mind of a Highly Sensitive Person is not a high frequency post-er, but she lives, breathes, writes (very well), and dances - just as advertised. Always thought-provoking.

2 - Carl at Working at Perfect describes his Aussie self "Columnist, hermit and aspiring rich man. An extremely opinionated (always right) electric wheelchair user with Cerebral Palsy and Scoliosis. I decided to write a blog to end my laziness." I'm glad he's no longer lazy because is blog is a huge inspiration for many.

3 - Phil at My Coffee Cup Has Feet shares his particular views on the universe but also offers us a daily inspirational quote. Always worth a visit.

4 - Irene at Soft Voice of a Free Spirit is another who posts less often than many but her posts are beautiful reflections on her personal journey.

02 May, 2011

Blogging Against Disablism Day

Oops. I'm embarrassed to admit I missed it, but yesterday was Blogging Against Disablism Day. We were asked to post something on May 1 related to disability or as close to that date as possible. I guess that's now for me, and I am republishing a post from July 3, 2010.

Desperately Seeking Parking
          I’m a fairly content fellow. My physical disabilities are in many ways far less challenging than those of others, but there are a few things that never fail to get my knickers in a twist. For example, some folks can’t stand the fact that others with disabilities get to park closer to where they are going than they do. I call this kind of attitude a leading indicator because if people are still that insensitive to disability issues, there remains much to be done to secure the civil rights of those whose independence is persistently challenged.

An editorial in Mainstream magazine noted that the three laws of thermodynamics could be summed up as: you can’t win, you can’t break even, and you can’t quit. The author also noted that this was true of disability rights advocacy as well and that it often seems we can never do the right thing!

If we write letters, we are ignored by the recipients and called wimps by the radicals. If we complain, we are called whiners. If we sue, we are told we should have complained first or at least written a letter.

If we get thousands of people to respond to an issue, we’re told we have overwhelmed the system so now it’s paralyzed. If we don’t get a mass of responders, we’re told we didn’t show enough support.

If we demonstrate, we’re told we should have negotiated. If we negotiate, we’re told we should be reasonable. If we’re reasonable, we’re told we should also be patient. And, of course, if we’re patient, it’s likely that nothing will ever change. There are many who will say or do just about anything to maintain the status quo.

Well, the disability community has been patient since 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. We are venting our frustration in an orderly way - through the courts. After all, we are told that is the “proper thing to do.

Nevertheless, we are still accused of not proceeding “correctly.” Come on! We’re not setting fires; we’re not rioting. We are simply fighting by their rules and winning - not every time, but it is getting better. The opposition, however, doesn’t like to lose - especially to a bunch of disabled people. So you and I and everyone else who cares needs to stay the course. We are well into our journey, but the destination is not yet in sight.

We should also resist questioning one another’s methods. Every one of us has a penchant for pursuing our rights in the way that feels best for us. If you are a writer - write. If you are a negotiator - negotiate. If you are a litigator - litigate. If you are a demonstrator - demonstrate. If you are a cheerleader - cheer us on. If you are a donor - donate. There is so much to do – so listen to your heart and follow it.

It will take determination and persistence. That’s DETERMINATION and PERSISTENCE - in capital letters. I’m reminded of the story of a young woman who was looking for a job and made an appointment for an interview at a prestigious company. At the interview, she asked if she could get into their well-respected training program. The personnel manager, who was very busy and besieged with applications snapped, “Impossible! Come back in ten years.” The young applicant asked, “Would morning or afternoon be better?” Now that’s determination, and we’re going to need that level of determination if we are to reach our goals.

About two and a half millennia ago, Thucydides, the great politician of Ancient Greece, was asked when justice would finally come to Athens. His response was wise. He said, “Justice will not come to Athens until those who are not injured are as indignant as those who are injured.”

I say to you today that our job cannot and simply will not be done until those who are without disability are just as offended and angry about the barriers to independent living as are those who are with disability.

All we want is to boldly go where everyone else has gone before.


01 May, 2011

A Mass For Fergus

A farmer named MacRorie lived alone in the Scottish highlands except for his pet dog Fergus who had been a faithful companion for a very long time.

When the dog finally died, MacRorie went to the parish priest and asked, "Father, my Fergus has died. Could you possibly say a Mass for the poor creature?"

Father Patrick told the farmer, "No, we can't have services for an animal in the church, but I'll tell you what. There's a new denomination down the road apiece. There's no telling what they believe in, but maybe they'll do something for the animal."

MacRorie said, "I'll go right now. By the way, do you think $50,000 is enough to donate for the service?"

Father Patrick replied, "Why didn't you tell me the dog was Catholic? Will you be wanting a memorial statue too"