Monthly Archives April 2016

Apr 29, 2016

Leaving Home

Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #20
Rite of Passage Seven –A Fate Worse Than Death–
(1951-1953) Age 17-19 years old

Q: When did you first leave home? How did it feel to have to make your own choices at last?

I have explained that I was a solitary individual without friends of my own age and having always had my own room. Suddenly everything was totally different. Hundreds of young men surrounded me, thirty-one of them in my room. My only prior experience with such a ‘crowd’ was in my early childhood at school. Was this to be a repeat?

Being first in line had provided me with several benefits. I got to choose which of the thirty-two beds would be mine. I had drawn my ‘kit’ and received my ‘shots’ with what seemed to be a new needle. My hair had been almost completely removed and I had changed into my jeans.

As my roommates arrived they were met by me, sitting on my made-up bed, polishing the brass on my webbing. It was as though I knew the ropes and I became, for just one day, the ‘old soldier’ in their midst.

I doubt there was any one of us that felt ‘at ease’, perhaps many missed the familiar and were apprehensive about the immediate future.

We shared one absolute factor…we belonged to a new more rigid world, one with very firm rules. I had left my home where I belonged and where I knew the boundaries. Everything about me now was unfamiliar, my options were severely limited and my greatest desire was to somehow…survive!

SO…what about now?

I’ve heard it said, over and over…so many times “Military service makes a man out of you.” This was certainly true for me and I do catch myself wondering if our present generation of eighteen year olds would also benefit from a couple of years of military service?

To live within a definite ‘chain of command’ was to learn how every layer of authority was responsible for the ‘welfare’ of those beneath them. It was for my benefit that I obeyed. The orders I was given may have sometimes been wrong but their intent was right.

I was to live with limited options for the next five years and then, much later, for another five.

I look back with gratitude for those ‘contained’ years that kept me, for the most part, from the folly that can come with youthful freedom.

P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Creations Love

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Apr 29, 2016

Creations Love

Creations Love

(Not a fetus but Creator’s Life)
Cradled deep within a mother’s womb
Begins a tiny seed a being,
A babe, a wonder, a design,
With potential for the future.
Builder, artist, or an author.
A composer, for the people’s soul.
Thus begins this breath of life,
Preordained from worlds beginning
Long before the intercourse of man.
This Holy Gift, blessed for mankind
Develops slowly. Features form.
Fragile personality is wrought.
Then tender as a butterfly kiss,
A tiny beat, confirms the Life within..
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Apr 22, 2016

I know my dad loved me…now!

Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #19
Rite of Passage Seven –A Fate Worse Than Death–
(1951-1953) Age 17-19 years old

Q: Distant Dads: Was your dad distant, without too much warmth or interest in you? Can you recall just one memory of how he might have revealed his love for you?

Photo of Graham Kerr and His Dad

Poor Dad, he tried so hard…I can see this now but not at the time and not before it was too late to let him know that I loved him too!

He travelled across England (not far) and stayed with me overnight at a pub in Honiton, Devonshire. It was my last night before reporting to the British Army for my two years of National Service.

He settled down, after supper, to ply me with alcohol so that he could see how it might affect me. After two beers I was no longer thirsty. We had an early, uneventful night.

Bright and early we set out for the training camp. At exactly 0900hrs, the time set to begin a full day of induction; he deposited me at the Guard House, “Good luck my boy,” he managed gruffly. He shook my hand and turned about smartly…marching off with a stiff back and arms swinging with precision. He never looked back…but I stood still, watching him go.

I was first in line…a good start made possible by a good man. He had showed me his love but couldn’t say it!

So…what about now?

Oh how I miss him. I have over the years uncovered several very dear examples when he showed his love. He even put his quite bristly face against mine, just once, and seemed to kiss me; I have so wanted that to be so but cannot be sure. We were thousands of miles apart when he died. The doctors said that he had simply turned his face to the wall and had given up.

Please, if your dad is still alive and you can recall just one brief moment of his love…do tell him and see what God might do with even a tiny slice of affection? With God, all things are possible!

P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Couple Power

 

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Apr 22, 2016

Couple Power

Couple Power

To stride the narrow path as one – each can lead the way.
Foil the devil’s cunning by not falling by the way.
Couple power is no illusion, its shared autonomy,
a marriage blessed when one plus one, equals duality.

God’s principles are simple. Pray together every day.
Blemish not the wedding ring with desire’s depravity.
Unless two walk together, disaster looms ahead.
Alone, one will be tempted from the marriage path and bed.

A highway, broad, will tempt one, with affluence to gain.
That appealing highway, strewn, with broken vows and pain.
Alone and falling in a ditch of worldly lust and greed
will bring, a compromising heart to glory, in its shame.

Sometimes in shadows, is the truelove one forsook.
That gleaming ring, now tarnished from its once united look.
Don’t opt to walk in solitude and hold the devil’s hand.
Repentance and forgiveness can re-shine your wedding band.
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Apr 15, 2016

Stranger

Stranger

A stranger leaned on the garden gate,
Where a ‘sweetheart’ lady, with silver hair,
tended her flowers with loving care.
Seeing the stranger, she smiled, a sad smile,
“I’m lonely, you know, though, it has been a while
since my Archie died on a Saturday morning.
It happened so quickly, without any warning!
Won’t you come in? I could give you some tea-
but perhaps you’ve no time to visit with me?”
The stranger said quickly, “I’ve no other calls!”
“I do miss his laughter, sounds from his footfalls,
which echoed throughout these long corridors.
The silence is awful, so empty with gloom.
What would you do with these cold empty rooms?”
“I’d find someone who had no place to stay;
a pregnant child, or a scared runaway.
I’d look for a person who was truly deserving;
a soul whose existence you’d feel worth preserving.
Your house would then have life in these rooms,
your corridors, echo with footsteps, not gloom.
Their love would embrace your spirit with song –
no longer lonely, your heart would belong.”
“No, it would not. What a horrid idea!
My home would be, ransacked. Me – full of fear!
Not only that, what would my friends say?
They’d think I’d gone crazy and stay far away!”
The joy – had she given – to God’s needy ones,
the pleasure of Him – if compassion had won.
Both witnessing peoples and angels would stare,
at her Christian love; but, it just wasn’t there!
Had she trusted her friends. Showed them the way.
Had she brought to her home just one runaway.
Perhaps, the stranger may have wanted to share;
He was one of those angels, received unaware!
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White tie and tales
Apr 15, 2016

Separated from others?

Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world Question #18 Rite of Passage Six –Early Tumult– (1950-1951) Age 16-17 years old Q: In your teens were you separated from others by your family or economic circumstances? Did this exclusion drive you to ‘succeed’? I grew up as an only child in the hotel business in […]

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Apr 08, 2016

The Bottom of the Ladder

Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world

Question #17
Rite of Passage Six –Early Tumult–
(1950-1951) Age 16-17 years old

Q:

Did you have a menial job you hated but later look back on as a great learning experience?

At sixteen I only had one good suit but as I recall it looked ‘business-like’ and because of my unusual height (6 foot) it made me look more like a younger ’manager’.

My Father, the hotel’s general manager, thought otherwise; I was told to change into older “more suitable clothes” if I really wanted to be a trainee manager…“You will have to start on the bottom rung.”At sixteen I only had one good suit but as I recall it looked ‘business-like’ and because of my unusual height (6 foot) it made me look more like a younger ’manager’.

And so it began, in the men’s restroom, that Brit’s often call a convenience. For years I’ve been amused by the American invitation to meet “at your earliest convenience,” an unusual venue for a business discussion?

My menial start led to several other ‘lesser’ roles that served to help me adjust to who I was. I was a beginner. I knew nothing!

So I started at the lowest rung and as I climbed the ladder I associated with many good people who would not advance and for various reasons were ‘destined’ to remain in less desirable occupations of service.

I still remember these consistent ones with affection because they took me in as one of their own. I was mentored in the menial by truly warm people.

So…what about now?

Sixty years later I have a very crowded “been there, done that” t-shirt and along with each job a set of tender memories of those who did a small thing and did it well (over and over again) until it was done.

This has provided me with a desire to somehow recognize those who do repetitive tasks and who are not accustomed to being thanked. This includes some wait staff, especially in low cost family or chain restaurants. I often introduce myself as “Graham” and ask for their name and then use it in my ordering and when paying the bill and saying thank you.

I will also stop –as somehow led (not always) and say ‘thank you’ to janitorial staff for the ‘great job you are doing’.

Can I somehow ask you to join me in this little thing that can mean so much to those upon whom we so frequently depend for both our safety and our enjoyment?

P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Stars

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Apr 08, 2016

Stars

Stars

The stars in the moonlight fascinate me
They seem to be scattered all over the sea,
Twinkling, sparkling, diamonds from welkin,
Buckets of stars, simply, for the taking.
O would I could I gather the stars
To sprinkle on those with hurts and scars,
Making them whole, like some, Robin Hood thief;
I’d distribute the stars to those laden with grief,
And appoint hardened hearts to give hope and relief.
I’d put stars in the eyes of the cold and despised,
Erase hunger’s bruise from refugee’s eyes.
I’d give away stars in exchange for guns
And the drugs on the streets that corrupt, little ones.
What joy it would be to be given these ways
To cleanse ‘wages of sin’ from all yesterdays.
When my bucket was empty I’d fill it with dreams.
(It’s childish illusions with fairy-tale themes)
However, a Star did come, sparkling with Love
He sprinkled His care with compassion and blood.
This Star touched the sick, the lost and the phony.
Caressed all the mad and the spiritually lonely;
Took away sins from the crib of mankind,
Shielded the righteous, gave sight to the blind.
This Star, the Messiah, Jesus His name,
Gave dreams to fulfill and truths to reclaim.
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Apr 01, 2016

The Fish and the Dam

Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #16
Rite of Passage Six –Early Tumult–
(1950-1951) Age 16-17 years old

Q:

The ‘law of unintended consequences’ -clean hydroelectric power and its collateral damage to fish. Are such ‘developments’ eventually going to destroy life itself?

 

bb3da129-706f-4468-b595-db8cd15b52d1Sketch credit: Sandy Silverthorne

One would think that the abuse I experienced at my early school was a…tumult! The kind of sudden dislocation that matched the experience I imagined for the salmon going through a hydroelectric dam.
It turns out that I needed to wait for such an unsettling moment, one that would ‘snap at my heels’ for decades to come.

I discovered, whilst serving as a ‘busboy’ in the dining room, that I was seen as part of the ‘servant class’. As a busboy (or commis waiter) I could not converse with the customers. I was to be seen (perhaps not even that!) and never heard.

What was so difficult for me at 15 years old was that my father’s customers were my friend’s parents. I was from downstairs and they were upstairs. I was from a different class and I tumbled endlessly through that torrent of attitude (mostly mine) until I reached forty.

It isn’t only people who suffer at being seen to be lesser beings; it’s also nature itself that is degraded by the ever-present drive for commercial success that treads indifferently upon sensitive soil or waters en route to their personal acquisition of…stuff and/or status. Does the hot pursuit of money always leave wreckage in its path?

So…what about now?

I live these days quite close to the Elwah River in Washington State (USA) and am completely overjoyed by the changes that have been made in its tumultuous journey to the sea.

Two hydroelectric dams have been removed and with that has come the restoration of its eco-system that had been starved of its nutrient-rich salmon population for 100 years.

Nature has reclaimed the malnourished banks and wildlife of all kinds, the salmon are back and growing in numbers.

I have also found that I too have set aside my preoccupation with financial ‘success’ and I am no longer concerned about being seen as a ‘servant’. I love to be known as such and no longer hide my ‘lower status’ under brand named products and places that declared that I was a celebrity ‘winner’.

So many years, such a long hard journey…and now, such a peaceful acceptance in the midst of great people…who also serve.

P.S This week I read Treena’s poem Saga of Two Trees

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Apr 01, 2016

Saga of Two Trees

Saga of Two Trees

As two trees struggled in life’s raging squall,
a flower hid its tiny head from them and wept;
although both growing trees were given strength
by the lashing rains and whirling straws of life;
the buffeting and bruising from the greed
of avarice man’s outrageous deeds,
yoked with corruption’s fabricated truths;
left these wounded trees alone to bleed –
thus, the flower wept.
The trees, exposed upon the mountainside,
kept in burlap bags, ‘til strong enough to plant;
did stand confined, their branches intertwined,
each knowing they must soon release their hold.
Gently, as they weathered each abuse from man,
Their branches did they carefully detach
(they had forever had this unity)
 

Separated they became –
Liberated, now they swayed in unison;
yet, still close enough to feel the sweet caress
as searching leaves would touch;
for both was proven free and true to love.
Each had their own identity.
Proudly both trees stood sovereign;
The blessed presence of the love divine,
Soothed their fractured hearts, as it surrounded
all the pain of exploitations ways.
 

Placing all invective’s barbs
into the Master-grower’s Hand –
He threw the anguish and the pain:
into oblivion’s deep.Now sequestered, but side by side for life,
their Master’s tender Hand did plant each tree
upon the bleak and lonely mountain side –
others then would gaze on them in awe;
ponder – how those staunch and steadfast trees
could continue to improve beauty,
and seem so worshipful?
(Each tree was filled with His Promise
for all those with eyes to see)

And the flower?
She lifted up her head for she no longer wept;
she had seen the miracle performed upon the trees –
who still endured and suffered; yet, she knew
without a doubt that they would never fail;
but continue to survive and blossom individually –
for each had had the Master’s touch for all eternity.

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