“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” – Abraham Lincoln

“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” – Matthew 18:20

“All motion creates positive emotion.” – Jack LaLanne

“We inspire health, healing, happiness and love in the world. Starting with you.”

– Runner’s World Magazine mission statement

“The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.” – Tibetan proverb

“Promise me that you’ll always remember: You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin, speaking to Winnie The Pooh.

“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in the silence, and the truth comes to me.” – Albert Einstein

“You’ll have what you want when you want what you have.” – ?

“Listen to your body.” – George Sheehan

“Never let a chance go by to not say anything.” – Danny Barnes

“Body language: expansive, open, strong, confident, trustworthy.” – Amy Cuddy

“The world wants to see the sermon rather than hear the sermon.” – Dr. James Rouse

Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Energy follows action.” – Joel Fotinos

“Whatever follows ‘I am’ will find you.” –  Rev. Michael Beckwith

“He who binds to himself a joy doth the winged life destroy, but he who kisses the joy as it flies lives in eternity’s sunrise.” – William Blake

> Bonus quote, just for fun:

“I never said all that shit.” – Confucius


Big Mommy and Honey

When I was very young, maybe 8 or 9, I made a couple of solo train journeys between Tampa and Savannah.

It wasn’t unusual at that time. My sister and cousin did the same, and probably plenty of other kids as well. The conductor on the Silver Meteor knew the drill: your mother would give him a little extra money, and he would keep an eye on you.

Our destination was our grandparents’ home in Savannah. We would visit them for a month or so in the summertime, singly or a couple at a time. ‘Big Mommy’ and ‘Honey’ were their names. Big Mommy wasn’t big and Honey wasn’t sweet, so the source of the names was a mystery, but there it was.

Fragments of memories:

Big Mommy making homemade biscuits from scratch every morning at 5 am.

Honey proudly pointing out the segregated water fountains and restrooms. He was an unrepentant racist of the old southern school.

Being given bus fare and and spending money (a quarter? a dollar? – can’t remember now) and going downtown, yes, again by myself. I saw a couple of movies. That memory is even more vague. ‘The Blob?’ Or maybe ‘The Day of the Triffids.’ Mostly though, I wandered around and looked at the parks and squares. Downtown Savannah was and is a mysterious and fascinating place.

Playing with my plastic army men (yankees and rebels, what else?) in the living room. There were not a lot of other kids around.

Honey was a plastering contractor. Sometimes he and his employees would come home for dinner. At noon. Say what? Well, dinner was what we would now call lunch. It was the main meal of the day, and they didn’t stint on the food. Around 5 in the afternoon, we would have a lighter meal. They called that one supper.

About those dinners: Honey was white. The employees were black. They happily sat down to a meal together, but they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing that in any other situation. Honey hated black people in the aggregate, but he liked these guys. Probably respected them too, because they were out there together doing what must have been really hard and skillful work. He wouldn’t have expressed that, couldn’t have expressed that. Never in a million years. Only much later did I start to understand the paternalistic dynamic that was at work there.

Speaking of the plastering business, I offered once to help. Honey was having none of that; there may have been scoffing and mocking involved. He wasn’t much impressed with me in general. He thought I was soft, which, compared to him, I was. Shit, compared to him, John Wayne was soft. Honey had gone hand to hand with the Germans, and so my experiences in playing Little League baseball didn’t cut any ice him, the tough old bastard.

Big Mommy was another story altogether. Sweet, funny and good natured, but with a little bit of a quirky edge. She had had an unbelievably difficult life. Honey was her second husband, and compared to the first one he was actually a pretty decent guy. Not a high bar: my birth grandfather was a mean drunk who let his family go hungry during the depression. Big Mommy held it together somehow, but her kids, my mother among them, never really got over it.

My mother had tragedies and difficulties of her own, on top of all that. She went on to build a good life in spite of it all. Or maybe because of it, who knows? In their later years, Big Mommy and Honey moved to Florida. They were of a different time and a different way of seeing. When they passed a few years later, their worldview passed with them. Or did it?

I loved them.

(c)2018 Mike Davis

Lent 2018

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved desserts. And not in moderation, either. Give me a choice of several delicious treats at a dessert buffet and I’ll have plenty of each. Take a second pass? Certainly! Load me up! Why? Heck if I know.

My other eating habits are a little more sane, somewhat, maybe. Even so, I’m reasonably fit for the shape I’m in.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I felt a strong guidance to give up desserts for Lent. I’m not Catholic, and I’ve never observed Lent or even given it much thought. But there we were, middle of February, 40 days until Easter. Blessed mystical number! And there are some other big and exciting changes coming up in our lives. The pull was there, no doubt about it, and so I went with it.

No dessert. 40 days. And for good measure I committed to cutting out salty snacks and salt from the shaker. Oh, yeah, and milk. In for 40 pennies, in for 40 pounds.

40 days later:

It appears that I’ve miscalculated: Easter is still a few days away. What happened? It turns out that there are more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. * Who knew? Well, maybe the millions of people who are steeped in the tradition and take it seriously! Ok, I learned something there, and not just about how the days are counted.

The food thing was no sacrifice at all. I was a little surprised to see that I didn’t miss desserts or table salt. For one thing, there’s a lot of salt and sugar hiding in our food anyway. That’s even if you’re going for the healthy stuff. Apparently, much more vigilance, or should I say mindfulness is called for. Another thing learned.

The results overall? I lost a couple of pounds. Felt lighter and stronger in general. I also caught myself, just once or twice mind you, feeling a bit virtuous about the whole thing. Which is pretty much the opposite of virtuous, isn’t it? It’s a little bit like being proud of being humble.

Lent is a deep, deep practice, and I’m starting to get an inkling that the food is the least of it. I’ll be looking forward to Lent 2019. Happy Easter!

*From Wikipedia:

One calculation has been that the season of Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. This calculation makes Lent last 46 days, if the 6 Sundays are included, but only 40, if they are excluded, because there is no obligation to fast on the six Sundays in Lent.

(c) 2018 Mike Davis