A Pocket of Resistance: Varying Reflections on Sam James Jewell Gander’s Ninth Birthday

My day yesterday began early, as i like it, with a 4:30 rise; grinding the “Moto” Columbian coffee beans; setting coffee maker in motion; setting the breakfast table; and, as is required on Tuesday, yesterday, setting out the trash, yard waste, and recycle bins out by the curb for pick-up.

While the coffee was percolating, i did about half of the stretches and exercises i intend to do, par for the course. i checked my blood pressure, went through my email, Facebook posts, and re-prioritized my “to-do” list. In short, i was engaged with a routine i have come to enjoy. Then i sat down at the computer and began my most purposeful work of the day: creating a “Jibjab” card for my grandson. i did. i liked the final result…and then i hit a dark moment. Throughout the day, i have had thoughts up and down and here are a few:

Sam James Jewell Gander hit the nine-year mark yesterday. From all i know (which is not enough), he has a good start on having a successful and satisfying life. He has always been a joy to be around, and when Maureen and i sang “Happy Birthday” to him, i marveled at how grown-up he sounded. Bottom line assessment: he is going to turn out well, and there is not anything else that makes me feel better for him or his parents. Now, he is the core of my hopes and dreams.

Happy Birthday, Sam.

From Blythe Jewell Gander’s Facebook post.




















Here at home, my good thoughts go to my friends and my woman. i say mine, but she is hers and hers is a good one, one of the kindest, hardest working people i have ever met. She loves her roses. i told her last night after a round of golf with our friend Pete Toennies, “i love you, but i love your caring and the relationships you forge just as much.” i continued, “Two of the greatest things about our marriage is understanding and patience. Even though we are different in many ways, we seem to understand each other perfectly.” It is a balance i like, and her roses are wonderful. Every time she does a cutting and sets them in a vase on the kitchen table, i smile and think of Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Our House:” my lighting the fire, her putting flowers in the  vase, two cats in the yard (well, we have our two cats in the house, but our neighbor’s two cats have adopted our yard).


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Maureen’s joy












And then there’s darkness that creeps into my world of hopes and dreams and understanding, patience, and love.

i do not understand the hate, the need to be prejudice or superior pervading our world, especially Christians, who supposedly abide by the New Testament. i do not understand the need to judge others by our standards. i do not understand the fears we have. i am not a do-gooder. The sword sometimes needs to be wielded. i can do that if necessary. i am not politically correct, and i am ashamed we fight word wars. i do not understand why many view the past as some place we should find entitlements. It seems to me our answers do not lie in laws and regulations, especially with the ego centric yahoos who are making and enforcing such laws and regulations (both sides, dammit).

Such lack of understanding has been with me for a long time and created my “pocket of resistance.” One of my hopes is we will get better at trying to understand… for Sam.

In 1997 on a dark night, i sat down and wrote this:


i do not know why
i try
to talk to them and
make sense
they do not listen
have something else to face:
they love it and
do not listen:
i have given up on form and substance;
even logic does not penetrate
the gelatin mass of hyperlife we claim as real
i know
sure as the spume of the pacific will flay the sand
the dog who frolicks there will die
it is much simpler than all of that.
the answer is really quite simple;
if only i knew it.

And then, this morning as i prepared to go on my first kayak outing with Luis, our neighbor, i thought of Sam, Sarah, Blythe, Jason, and of course, Maureen. i thought of my brother and sister and their children and grandchildren.

i smiled.

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