This morning I was sitting outside enjoying the beautiful Saturday morning and watching the birds. I had prepared myself a cup of black coffee and crackers with cream cheese. The crackers I was eating today back in 1973 were unique to this small town in New Jersey.
The memory of me being 12 years old and showing up to play baseball with a bag of them flooded my senses. Not more than half a mile from the house I live at now stands the same dugout where a nervous and not very good child baseball player showed up one spring day with this surprise.
I showed up with a bag of Goya Crackers. This Latino company selling predominantly to the refugees of Cuba and immigrants from other Latin American nations was basically unheard of in Mountainside, New Jersey. In fact back then the closest place you could buy them was at stores in the town of Elizabeth which had at that time one of the greater Latino populations, which really wasn’t too big either. Now you can buy these crackers at almost all the major grocery stores in NJ.
That day over 40 year ago, the crackers were a hit. The team asked if could bring them regularly. I am sure I did bring them a few more times but the only memory that sticks with me is that first day. I remember the kids clambering over me asking for more and eating them like there would be no tomorrow. I probably struck out every at bat, but I sure felt like the team hero that day.
Some times I wish that I could relive a moment like that. There is never really a way to do it but to linger on the memory and share it with everyone this morning just puts a smile on my face. I hope it brought one to yours as well.
I had bought a pair of binoculars at least 10 years back at a garage sale. These were in perfect condition. I had no idea what I would use it for and at the time I was going to many baseball games with my sons. Whenever we had nosebleed seats we would bring them along. It’s not very helpful to look through binoculars while at a game. You miss the action trying to track it down. For the most part they have sat on the shelf in my office for many years.
Recently I mentioned we had Robins nest in a pine tree outside our bathroom window. I was able to watch them through the whole process. Nesting, laying the eggs, sitting on the eggs, the hatch-lings, raising their young and finally the young leaving the nest. I began to get curious about the beautiful creatures we call birds.
I bought a book on birds in New Jersey. I got my binoculars out and now I am trying to take note of all the birds and their names. I am checking them off in the book and keeping a journal of my bird spotting. But to be sure I check the correct bird name I need my binoculars ….. my eyes are not so sharp anymore, even close up.
This morning I went for an early morning walk at 6 am. It happens that is when all the birds wake up and start their day. I was able to spot four different birds on my walk. As I was walking I had an interesting revelation.
The birds fly about gather food and enjoy the beauty around them. We humans on the other hand think we need to acquire or make beauty. Spending money on this or that thing. I am not saying that is all together a bad thing but some worry about it way too much. Many feel they need to keep up with the “Jones’s”.
If we step back and behave more like birds we will find more peace and harmony in our lives. They care about the basic necessities and worry about taking care of each other. It seems like loving each other is their top priority. They don’t fret about many things. When the chores are done they sit back and enjoy the beauty that already surrounds us.
Simply put, the focus should be in making our homes a place of love like the birds do. If we do that then beautiful things in life will become more abundant. And they aren’t things you can buy. Our homes become the beautiful place.
PS: The most common bird in my neighborhood is our tenant’s family, the American Red Breasted Robin.
The Fourth of July festivities was in essence a battle scene reenactment of sorts. The day started gray and gloomy, rain threatening from the onset but the set up moved on undaunted as tables and chairs were cleaned and set up. Meanwhile the inside the house the rear guard was preparing all the food. It was 3 o’clock when the first foray began, groups of guests arriving in 3 to 5 at a time. A volley was sent, deviled eggs, artichoke dip, meat platters and vegetable platters held them off. Then within the next hour the battle was set most of the guests had arrived. The second volley was sent spare ribs, shrimp and steamed clams galore. While at the right flank drinks of all kind were being mixed as beer and wine were flowing freely. There was a lull as some rain fell and slowed things down but 5:30 the full attack was made. Two grills were going; Kabobs and Italian sausages were going on one, as the other loaded Burgers and Hot dogs. The table was set, all amenities were unleashed, German potato salad, three been salad, eggplant parmigiana, sauteed peppers and onions it was an endless cornucopia of food. The final assault was devastating; the guests had no idea what was in store. There was a long table with desserts that make children jump up and down with excitement. All the glory was evident as the goal was accomplished, Smiles streaked across every face as theirs eyes set upon the crescendo of the feast. German chocolate cake, Meringue pie, Dirt cake, Fruit Trifle, Cherry cheese cake, Fresh fruit of all kinds, brownies with and without nuts were delivered with coffee and tea. The joyful groaning of the conquered was heard, as the men told their tall tales, the women gossiped, the children ran around joyfully and laughter was heard everywhere. Unfortunately the town cancelled the fireworks last night because of rain but one of the relatives had an assortment of fireworks to please the crowd. The last of the guest left gleefully at about 9 pm.
Someone actually posted this question in a computer forum. I felt compelled to answer it. I hope you enjoy reading it.
This question is relative. Chocolate is made from Cocoa. This of course is not grown in any of the countries which have made great claims to delicious chocolates. It then becomes important where they import their cocoa from. Once you have established that then next comes sugar content.
Do you like sweet or semi-sweet? Hence you have to study the amount of sugar contained and as with cocoa where they get their sugar from. Refined sugar which is used in most chocolates is highly addictive and is considered more so than cocaine. This is why the food industry so freely uses sugar in their goods knowing you will return for more because you will have no choice.
Then finally there is the dairy component of the cream. Where is it made and how is it prepared? The fat content of the cream is very important. Interestingly though major marketing propaganda has many people convinced it is not good for you. The truth is that sugar is a much worse component in food products. Fat has none of the addictive qualities of sugar and is also a necessary nutrient. The fat is what gives the cream or milk its rich silky smooth feeling. Most people enjoy the creamy style chocolates.
All this being said it becomes a personal choice. So I look at the cost for the chocolate and the enjoyment from eating it. Hence my favorite chocolates are made by Hershey’s, Cadbury and Lindt. That is the USA, the UK and Switzerland. I will still eat the overpriced and highly overrated chocolates from other countries as long as someone else is paying for them.
I have been blessed. Outside my bathroom window is a pine tree where this spring a Red Breasted Robbin decided to build its nest. I have been watching daily as the birds, both father and mother tended to it. First came the eggs then of course the sitting and caring for them. Last week they hatched and now I watch as they feed and protect their young. The other day during a particularly hard rain fall I watched as one of the parents spread its wings over the nest protecting the hatchlings. It was a beautiful scene to observe as the water rolled off its wings. Some times when I walk close to the tree in the backyard the parents would fly off. They would not go far and I would watch them with my binoculars while they remained within view on the nearest oak. I have been careful never to go to close to the nest or disturb it in any way. When thinking about the beauty I am observing in creation I can’t help but realize my parents where there for me and others as well. Somehow throughout my life, with all the mistakes I have made, I feel someone has had their wing over me. These birds sure made it clear that living life is really about loving others. All the toil we have only helps us learn how we should share our strengths and when we can spread our own wings over someone else who may be weaker when the rains come down.
Over the centuries there have been people willing to courageously speak the truth. Even when the path of least resistance would have secured their own prosperity. The path of least resistance, silence, when one looks at the history of man is the road that allows evil to have its way. Slavery of the masses has always been achieved by the powerful minority through the ascent to evil by silence and inaction. The threat of punishment or being cast out has been enough to keep people under control. Political correctness is that same ploy used throughout human history. Sadly many would rather bite their tongues when they see evil rather than risk retribution. Then of course there are those that will risk all to make change that is just and proper. To the men and women who throughout history have stood tall in the face of injustice and tyranny I have the greatest admiration. I pray that if such a challenge were placed before me that I have the courage to do the same. I feel it is better to die with love of truth by our words and deed than to live with complacency towards evil and cowardice in the soul.
A man may very well lose his head and yet come to no harm- yea, I say to unspeakable good and everlasting happiness.
Independence Day in the USA. A real taste of Americana for those lucky travelers to be in the Unites States of America at this time. A holiday celebrated in the summer time which brings families, friends and neighbors together. In our backyards barbecue grills are fired up. Food and drink are bountiful. Laughter can be heard everywhere while children run around shouting with joy enjoying the frivolity of the day. But then as the sun slowly disappears from the sky a certain change of mood takes over. People gather at large fields in their town, in my town the local Catholic church, where preparations are made for a fireworks display that will be sure to dazzle the young and entertain the crowds. The significance of it though is much more than just a reason to have a party.
Living in an area where many of the battles of the Revolutionary War were fought forces one to remember and reflect regularly. The tyranny and abuse of power that drove, what were peaceful intelligent men to be forced to bear arms, was the match that lit the fuse to this great experiment. The United States was born through much bloodshed and hardship and still stands tall after 239 years. My prayer for this celebrations is that the gifts and rights of freedoms for which the founders fought for not be forgotten. If the Constitution set forth by these brilliant men is disregarded the country will lose its character and become mired in conflict. It seems sometimes we are already on this path. So as the pyrotechnics boom and illuminate the night sky let that be a reminder to all men and women of good will that justice and freedom must be fought for and defended. And much more importantly we must be on guard within our borders and halls of justice as well.