Monthly Archives: March 2012
Five lives momentarily touched
Five lives briefly brought together
From four corners of the world
By a single caring heart
A lone extraordinary soul
Within minutes of posting, I had two responses. One dismissed it as mindless drivel, the other came to agree, after his own memories were sparked and giving the words a little more thought. And one came from across the seas, with a message that I can safely say, gave us all renewed hope.
Hope that the generations we now are raising, can move forward with determination, follow their hearts, be true to their souls, become leaders and teachers with the power to change the world.
That’s the hope I see each and every day, in the eyes of my child, that all is not lost…
This is the post of which I refer –
So, my 14 year old whose been teaching himself Japanese and been fascinated with the culture for as long as I can remember, has just informed me that he is so disgusted and appalled by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that he has no intention of remaining in America any longer than absolutely necessary; because he feels indebted to Japan for the unconscionable acts of the American Military, and will be moving there, living among them and doing whatever he personally can to make amends for what this country did, 67 years before he was born.
I have no words…
These are the responses that I received –
-Who’s teaching the history in his school? 😦
-War is Hell. Created by man against man. Know your history.
-I agree Jill. I did not have time to think fully about what you posted until my ride to work brought back memories of what my Father said to me about the war while he watched me imitating it as a child playing and fighting with others. He reminded me of all the innocent people who were sacrificied by their goverments. He would not go into the gory details of what he saw because I was too young to share that with. But he gave me empathy for what had happened. I too like your son began to be angered by what had happened when those bombs where dropped and by what had happened in Europe as well. I wanted to apologize. I researched Japean’s culture. As I got older I began to understand the bigger picture that war is fought between goverments. People like ourselves are the victims. You are very fortunate to have a Son that has this empathy.
I respect him for it. Your picture is a reminder of where hate leads us.
This merely my opinion and I’m sure there is more to learn from this.
-Hello everyone I am Japanese. Japanese is not a grudge against the Americans. We think war is bad. There is a video of gratitude to the American people to my post. Please see it. Thank you a lot! We can speak freely in this way. However, China and Hong Kong, Internet censorship has become stricter every day. To everyone. Americans travelers to Japan, during them stay, are said from the unknown Japanese people, that “Thank you for the support” =D. oh sorry I can’t speak English well. This is a video of thanks from us to you guys
This is the video so kindly shared –
AND THEN WE ALL WEPT . . .
He sat in the reclining chair, feet up, air cool, gasping for each and every breath; 19″ color television forever in his range of view, always set to PBS, because there was no satellite hookup or cable; it was an office after all, a place of business, where one lone craftsman struggled to scrape out a living.
Eighty-seven years old and only four people in the entire world that he knew; each and every one of them, going out of their way, following the goodness in their hearts, to help the old man in any way they could.
For years he had done alright for himself; in his old white van with his box of tools; up and down the beach he’d go, taking any odd job he could get, giving it his all, as if his was the most important job in the world; and to him it was; knowing how tight-knit the beach community was and that if he made one business owner happy, chances were he’d find work elsewhere.
He hadn’t always been that bad off, not back in the day when he reported to the mob boss; all his needs and wants taken care of; and at the time, giving up his identity and living off the grid didn’t seem like much of a trade-off at all. Until the day he was forced to flee to the south, his train ticket to Jacksonville leaving him barely with anything left; but the beat of his heart and the air in his lungs.
Two things taken completely for granted, that he lived long enough to feel himself struggle for; praying each night as he closed his eyes that God would show mercy and not force him to wake to see another day.
Then one morning they came for him, just as he knew they eventually would. The craftsman whose office he’d turned into a flop house, stood in the corner with his head hanging down; the old girl Cecelia, who had once gotten him an under-the-table job, who still came to see him on a semi-regular basis, and bought him a cell phone to call if he needed something, stood by his side, arm resting on his chair; then Bob and Mike, flanked by paramedics, who had each taken him in at one time or another, and bought the camper trailor that for five years had sat parked behind the craftsman’s shop.
He struggled and he fought, protesting the entire time; cursing the craftsman for making the call, finally begging as they got him strapped on the gurney, “I’ll clean up your office, boss – I won’t make any more messes. I’ll move back out to the trailor, just don’t let them take me…”
It was more than any of their hearts could bear, but he was a sick old man on the verge of death. He was in hospital for nearly three weeks, lasting only 18 hours after they made the decision and turned off the ventilator.
A week later, Cecelia pulled up to the shop on her way to work; explaining to the craftsman that she’d been out of town and had received several calls from the old man’s cell phone, but each time she answered he hadn’t said anything, just sat on the line until she eventually hung up; so she wanted to check if everything was alright before she went rushing off to the hospital.
He shook his head and looked down at the ground, took a drag off his hand-rolled smoke, then looked back up and met her eyes, “No, I’m afraid Pappy passed on early Saturday morning,” he said in his slow southern drawl.
Tears welled in her eyes and she dug a tissue out of her purse. “I don’t understand,” she said as she dabbed at her eyes, “the last call I got was just last night. Do you know if someone has his phone?”
He told her that Bob and Mike had cleaned the office and taken all of his things, including the camper trailor; leaving no trace that the old man had ever been there at all; and that as far as he knew, he always kept his cell phone in his pocket and maybe it fell out on the way or in hospital and someone took it, but that he’d check with them both and let her know.
Bob rode up on his bike that evening just as he was closing up shop. When told about Cecelia’s visit and asked about the phone, Bob said the same thing had happened to him three different times; that he’d received a call from the old man’s phone, but no one said anything when he answered.
They deduced that he’d obviously lost it once they’d taken him from the shop and whoever found it was going through his short list of contacts, making prank calls. Bob said he’d call Cecelia and let her know, so she could get the service shut off before they ran up a fortune and she got stuck with the bill.
Saturday morning came with the rain and though he had no pressing jobs, the craftsman decided to take advantage of the ugly day and go to the shop and reorganized his office, which he hadn’t yet had a chance to do. He stopped on the way for his coffee and newspaper and spent a quiet hour sitting at his desk, in the office that once again was his, completely at peace and uninterrupted.
He finished off his tepid coffee, folded the newspaper and took it out to the recycle bin; went to his truck and grabbed the supplies from Office Depot, went back inside and emptied the bag onto his desk. He unwrapped a pack of invoices, gathered up envelopes and boxes of pens, thinking to himself how nice it would be to have his supply cabinet back, that had been a medicine chest and pantry for far too long.
He walked across the office and opened the cabinet doors, and there on the shelf, sitting next to the television remote, indicator light flashing low battery, was the old man’s missing cell phone…
©2012 jill terry
Today I am happy to simply be alive
To see this most glorious day
Marking the change of another season
Another shift on the wheel of the world
Of which I am fully
And consciously aware
Planting seeds of wisdom
In the form of words
Scattering them to the winds
To land where they may
And grow where they will
No bars can restrain my spirit this day
No chains to bind me to thy self
This day I am a child of the universe
This day I am bringing out my wings
To soar wherever the warm breeze guides
Gathering a bounty on my lone journey
Of the natural mysteries and beauty
Of our world
Today I am thankful
To simply be alive
©2012 Jill Terry
Calendars with pictures and numbered blocks; devices keeping time that buzz or tick-tock; schedules and appointments, days rushing past; constantly looking forward, no time to look back; living on the planet is a commonality we all share – but living in this magical world, is something too few of us do.
Without a calendar to give advance notice, under the cloak of penetrating darkness; my ancient oaks spread their limbs, shaking off all that had clung through the winter; a universal knowing of the changing of seasons, nature’s internal clock by which all others are set.
Instilling hope and acting as reminder, that if we allow the universe to do the guiding instead of grasping to illusory reigns, convincing ourselves that we’re in control, the world would be a better place, for having us live in her and not simply on her.
©2012 Jill Terry
“Look at all the little shells – why’s the beach all mixed up with shells,” the little boy asked inquisitively; football balloon tied to one hand, a man he looked like he had no business being with dragging him toward the shore with the other.
“The beach is all shells, ground up and washed ashore, called Coquina, ” I wanted to tell him, when his question when unanswered and completely ignored; but remained silent instead, keeping a watchful eye, as something about the situation gave me an unsettling vibe.
The man stood and watched for a while then made his way back up to his rusted El Camino, got in and lit a smoke; leaving the little boy alone, toppling over and under at the force of the waves, coming up smiling and laughing each time, when they just as easily could have carried him away.
The man finished his smoke then made his way back down to retrieve the boy, not saying a word as he excitedly asked, “did you see me…did you see me!?”
Hours later I gathered my things and reluctantly made my exit from the beach; deciding to take the short route back, instead of scenic A1A. I passed the castle house and gazed in awe, which after seventeen years I still always do, then slowly approached the corner with the carousel, tempted to stop and take a lone ride; and that’s when my stomach turned, as he came into sight.
The little boy with his deflating balloon and a cardboard sign that said;
“I’m HUNGRY – Need MONEY for FOOD!” standing alone at the 3-way intersection; and the man in the distance laying in the grass, cigarette dangling from his disgusting mouth, leisurely relaxing under the shade of a tree…
image & prose ©2012 Jill Terry
I thought for a moment, and then told myself no; it couldn’t possibly be. Then the Barista called out your name and you stepped up to get your coffee and when the light over the bar illuminated your profile; granted is now covered with an intricate and deliberate layer of just the right length stubble, I knew that face and remembered it well.
Sitting round the campfire, barely ten you must’ve been; the others off gallivanting and running wild through the woods, and you at my side, paying the others no mind; drawing pictures of George Washington in the notebook I had in my bag, talking about the Civil War; opening and sharing yourself and your interests, wanting to see my reaction more than anything; see if I thought it was silly and dismissed it, or took and interest and actually listened.
And listen to you I did.
When you gathered your courage and asked if I ever have thoughts in my head that I can hear, that drive me crazy and that I can’t make go away; and at that moment, it mattered not where your father was, who he was off playing the attention whore for or with; everyone else at that campground disappeared and for that brief moment in time, you and I connected; not as adult to child, not as a troop leader to one of her cubs, but as human beings. One very much aware and in-tuned with spiritual self, and the other just beginning to figure there was a difference.
You said it drove you crazy that you couldn’t make them stop and you didn’t much like the things they said; I told you I understood perfectly, have them too, and the best thing you could do is write those thoughts down – get them out of your mind and onto paper. And I promised you it would make it better, because that’s what I’ve done my whole life; and you looked at me with that sweet little smile and your eyes lit up as if I’d just given you the secret to the universe.
And then you turned the page inside my notebook and wrote something that I have never forgotten, nor will I ever. You wrote; No matter what thoughts are inside our head, it doesn’t mean we really are who we think we are.
Then you handed me the notebook and watched as I read it; and if I somehow failed to express with words to you at the time, I hope that in some way you realized how moved I was by the profundity of what you bled onto that paper and shared with me.
So young, so innocent, so filled with confusion and questions and self doubt; yet so naturally curious, inquisitive and knowing; knowing there was something more than the trappings of our daily lives and so ready to grasp and understand it.
I told your father what an extraordinary and gifted boy you were and that you needed special spiritual attention; that you were at the point that feeding your soul with the proper knowledge was crucial. He told me your grandmother was a religious woman and you spent a lot of time with her and that he and your mother planned to start going to church on a regular basis, not to worry about it.
I tried to explain to him that religion, organized or not, was not what I mean by feeding your soul, but he either missed my point, which I doubted at the time, or simply didn’t want to hear, which I believed to be the case.
No matter, it wasn’t my place to interfere; I offered what I could and left it at that. But when I went out and bought you a journal and a special pen to write in it, he was very standoffish and almost offended; telling me that he would be the one to buy you a journal and I didn’t have to do that. I told him I knew I didn’t have to; I did it because I wanted to. And so it came to be that I was, in fact, able to give you that gift, from me to you; along with a few Civil War trinkets I’d found while rummaging an antique show at the mall.
I still have the little thank you card that you gave me, with the watermelon, pink and white polka dots and tiny bow on the front; in a little leather box where I keep special mementos. I wasn’t around long enough to know if you ever filled that journal, though I’m sure that you did. And I’d like to think you’ve been keeping one ever since.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw you, after the truth was revealed; we were in Bealls, you were with your mom and I was by myself; you saw me and smiled, made a motion in my direction, as if you wanted to come talk to me; and then your smile faded and a look of sadness and disappointment washed over your face, when you caught yourself and remembered that I was the enemy.
And so the other day when you left with your coffee, got in your car parked right next to mine; no longer that precious little boy who I once shared a special and fleeting bond with, but a grown young man, with a future wide open; you sat there and waited, wondering if I recognized you, wondering if I would acknowledge in some way; but I didn’t, because I couldn’t.
And the reason I couldn’t is because I’ve no idea what thoughts or stories have been put in your head; about me, about the situation, what truths or lies; and the last thing I wanted, was for you to think that my looking in your direction and acknowledging you with even a smile, was somehow inappropriate on my part.
But as I drove away, my own thoughts tormenting my mind as they have for so long now, I thought about what you wrote by the campfire, all those years ago –
No matter what thoughts are inside our head, it doesn’t mean we really are who we think we are.
Thank you for that.
©2012 jill terry
When told the reason for daylight savings time, the old Indian said, “Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”