In 1975, I was in the 5th grade and was struggling with math. Our class had about 28-30 students and the Teacher, Dona Millan, was a school favorite. When I finished the 4th grade, she was the Teacher that I hoped to be assigned to. I really didn’t know why, other than I had heard she was nice. Fortunately, the stars lined up and there I sat; content but with “math issues.”
Mrs. Millan said we needed to go fishing. There was a lake nearby that had Trout “planted” in it regularly and she kept a careful eye on their “planting” schedule. She called my Mother for permission and later that day, the two of us went to the lake. She carried fishing equipment in her car and soon we were standing on the sandy shore casting her version of a “trout line” into the water. She taught me to tie a “fisherman’s knot” and how to add 3-4 bait hooks to a single line. We fished, talked about everything BUT math and watched the Sun go down. She dropped me off at my house and that was that.
I had just experienced one of the best days of my life.
This “Teacher” had invested three hours of her precious personal time in one student with a math problem from a class of 28-30. The next day, I worked harder than ever. There was NO way that I was going to disappoint Mrs. Millan. My grades improved and to this day, I smile when I think of her. I later learned that she took as many students as she could fishing and I now understood why her students did so well and why every fourth grader wanted to be in her class.
Mrs. Millan was married and had a family, didn’t get paid extra for her efforts and had a large classroom of students, all anxious for her time. They almost had to drag me, kicking and screaming, from the fifth grade to the sixth.
Today, obviously, times have changed from 1975; schools, teachers and technology. The current dogma suggests that yesterday’s “thinking” is outdated and obsolete and that today’s “thinking” is progressive and improved. My “thinking” is that this “thinking” is “textbook” crap. A Teacher took three hours of her time. My Grand Children are handed iPads and headphones in class. I can hear the excuses already…
Time to trim the sideburns as, apparently, I’m not a “mutton chop” kinda guy. I grab a nice pair of barber scissors and trim the mass down on the right side of my face; all good. Switch hands and go for the left; the hair folds into the scissors. I turn them 180 degrees; same thing… I switch back to my right hand, get into a “wonky” position and the damn things work. What is this Magic!?
“The Point of The Highland Thistle”
At the Vernal Equinox, the Scottish Highlands have always yielded before their Dark and Mercurial Sky, who once again is forced to endure Lady Spring’s conspicuous and gaudy arrival.
As She approached, the curmudgeonly Sky, turned and peered into the distance, greeting her only with silence.
Lady Spring, irritated by the tepid reception and the Sky’s obvious lack of deference, gazed disapprovingly upon the Highlands and its dull and dreary pallor.
“The only signs of life are these prickly Scottish thistles that rise from the snow,” she said, while she tugged at her robe which had become entangled in it’s thorny stalk and was refusing to yield. Frustrated, she removed the robe and tugged as hard as she could, pulling the whole plant from the soil, whose sudden release caused her to fall backward onto the ground; her robe now completely covered in thorns. “I’ll banish them too!” she shrieked as she stood up, angrily casting the robe aside.
With great pomp and flair, she twirled her hands in the air and ordered the darkened clouds and unruly winds to cease their wintry assault, casting them out into the open seas. She then summoned the Sun who failed to reply. She jumped in the air, loudly repeating her demand and this time the Sun responded and began moving sunlight towards the land. Cold, she reached for her thistle-covered robe, mumbling about ridding the Highlands of this prickly nuisance.
The Sky, who was watching in awe at the folly of her performance, found himself unable to resist and mocked Lady Spring, “Once again you appear in the Highlands, uninvited, and wave your arms about, looking ridiculous. You arrogantly presume that you rule this realm and in furtherance of your silliness, you insist on repainting the Highland’s serene and wintry landscape with your whimsical palette of color.”
Lady Spring replied, “And once again, you, dear Sky, ridicule me and stand in my way. The Seasons have grown weary of quarreling with you and wish an end to your child-like petulance. You seem to forget that you are only a simple vessel that contains the desire of each Season, so remember your place and do step aside.”
The Sun, noticing that the clouds had fled, finally arrived, and at the direction of Lady Spring shone upon the Highland’s frozen landscape awakening the frost-covered grasses and seeds, who were most eager to rise from the soil and bring forth their brilliance of color.
The Sky, now vexed, summoned back the darkened clouds and unruly winds, who gladly yielded to his call and furiously spread vast blankets of snow and ice; spitefully covering the landscape and Lady Spring with the most colorless shades of gray and white.
The Clouds; roguish and detesting Celestial order, barred the Sun’s radiance by stubbornly cleaving to one another. The Sun was then forced to shine upon the soil elsewhere; thus, denying the Highlands their warm and rejuvenating light and further frustrating Lady Springs’ most ardent attempts at painting the countryside in colors so vibrant and bright.
The Highland Sky, whose patience had long since waned, furiously spoke to Lady Spring. “A vessel indeed!” he snarled, “Remember this day, for like the Great Highland Thistle, I will never give yield to you or any other!”
Lady Spring, fearing further wrath from the tempestuous Sky, wisely fled the Highlands and sought refuge within the vast expanse of the Heavens. The Seasons of Summer, Fall and Winter were watching and quickly agreed that they would have nothing further to do with the harsh Scottish Highlands, leaving its fate in the hands of its maddened Sky.
The Sky was pleased that all was well and right again. For the Highland realm tolerates only the heartiest of souls and will mercilessly drive away all who are less worthy.
The Sky then motioned for the clouds and the winds to abate, graciously allowing the Sun’s rays to return and shine upon the land, melting the snow and bringing pleasant weather and tall green grasses to the Scottish Highlands.
It was after midnight when I was sent to one of the city’s many parks. The main building was a favorite target for vandals and a neighbor had seen someone moving in the shadows. I parked nearby and approached quietly. The large, square concrete structure was dark inside, the outside dimly lit from a nearby street lamp.
I listened for the sound of movement; nothing. Suddenly, to my right, someone jumped from the roof and landed about 8 feet in front of me. He appeared to be about 18 and was staring at me; terrified. In the time that it took him to leave the roof and hit the ground, I had drawn my Glock .40 caliber pistol and had it aimed directly at him, center mass; my finger firmly on the trigger. Oddly, I remember my breathing, it was calm and measured. Time had stopped for us and I was experiencing tunnel vision like never before; complete focus.
As the seconds passed, the tunnel vision began fading, moving outward. I started hearing the surrounding sounds of life again; crickets and a humming noise emanating from a street lamp. Then the sounds of nearby traffic returned.
I asked him his name and lowered my pistol. He apologized for being up on the roof and said he had no idea that I was even there. I believed him. I thanked him for being calm and staying still and he thanked me for not killing him. I walked back to my cruiser and he walked home. I sat in my car, amazed and thankful that this didn’t end in disaster.
To this day, I have no idea why I didn’t pull the trigger.
O dear soul, it is finally time for you to rest
To gladly exhale, one last time
Your corpus ever so weary and worn by tireless battles
Never yielding, ever driven to Persevere, to Survive, to Overcome
You have returned home
Physically broken, emotionally exhausted, trudging one day to the next with Strength and Dignity
You continued the Valiant fight
Until the end, where, within in the loving arms of family and friends, you bowed and gave yield to the calling voice of heaven, and rested, finally at Peace.
Your Sword, alone now, has found peaceful refuge in the proverbial stone from whence it came,
where it will once again, patiently await the next glorious soul, worthy of it’s possession.
1. There are Nine Supreme Court Justices
2. 4 are considered “Conservative”
3. 4 are considered “Liberal”
4. Justice Kennedy is in the middle and he is retiring.
5. That leaves the Court at 4-4
6. President Trump will appoint a Conservative to replace Kennedy. Then the Court will be 5-4
7. Justice Ginsburg is 85, and is known as a champion of the liberal cause.
8. President Trump has two more years left.
9. In 2020, If a Republican is elected, it will most likely be Trump.
10. Justice Breyer is near 80 years old. He is also considered to be a liberal Justice.
11. In 2020, Justices’ Ginsberg and Breyer will be 87 and 82, respectively. If a Republican wins in 2020, then Ginsburg and Souter will be 91 and 86 before the next election.
12. The odds are that Justice Ginsburg will leave before the 2024 election. The odds are that Justice Breyer will leave before the 2024 election.
13. If the first happens, and the Democrats don’t win the Presidency or the Senate, the Court will be at 6-3, Conservative/Liberal.
14. If the second happens and the Democrats don’t win the Presidency or the Senate, the Court will be 7-2 Conservative/Liberal.
15. The results of 5-4 could be unfortunate. The results of 6-3 could be devastating. The results of 7-2…The Spanish Inquisition.
Checks and balances is what keeps us, well, Balanced.
I am a Conservative and this terrifies me. This has the potential to be a game-ender and it’s time to get off your ass.