Tuesday, July 19, 2016

 How long will it take to right a wrong ?

"How long will it take to right a wrong ?" A wrong, this wrong, probably unintended started thousands of years ago by being told as a story, basically conjured up in the minds of the more influential men of the tribe. Most likely these men were the leaders of their villages, in fact, they probably were the spiritual leaders feeding off the unknown trying to weave some sense of meaning out of life for whomever they influenced.

I'm sure, "The Garden of Eden" went through numerous revisions as the stories of it were verbally passed down through countless generations. The same goes for the concept of an omnipotent God : an Almighty Jehovah, a single God rather then multiple ones. As people were able, they began a written tradition to record life as they observed it. Then the clerics of the church needing to solidify their high position sought artists and artisans to sculpt figures and paint images that exemplified the church.

All over Europe, seemingly all at once, this cultural renaissance exploded in exclusively white churches under control of white skinned clerics. All the statues, all the paintings, all the written words depictd life, especially influential lives, with images of white people. Why ? White is all they saw at home, at work, at church, in paintings, through statues, all, everywhere. The all white European churches then became so highly successful their influences swept the World and the goodness of being white was their standard. From Europe to the World this word spread even to America where white missionaries pressed the white supremacy to all indigenous people they encountered.

I'll ask again, "How long will it take to right a wrong ?" Unintended, probably, but so highly effective that "white supremacy" has polluted thinking forever. An American school child even today can't get away from it especially in a white church affiliated school. Dumbed down schools, as found these days, won't change the facts but only broaden the abyss. "The way a twig is bent so grows the tree" is a familiar phrase that tells what happens all the time in nature. The same is true in youth. At a highly impressionable age young minds soak up numerous sights and sounds from school and their surroundings, the church being one of the most influential contributors.

"How long... ?" Only through you, one person at a time, can a worldwide error be remedied. It is in your own best interest to do so. If left to fester further in time surely more turmoil will occur, more barriers will be erected, and finally a tipping point will be reached ---beyond which the unknown.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Grand Marshall's Lament

I am truly sorry !

Yes, if I could turn the calendar back, I would. You see, last year, I was chosen to be the Grand Marshall ( the very, "First Grand Marshall"  ) of the Fourth of July Parade held here in Pottstown. Whatever I did, It must have been something wrong because, this year, there was no parade. Am I to go down in Pottstown's history as the very first, as well as, the very last Grand Marshall in our town's hundreds of years of history ?

Little did I know that last year I was setting the town up for a fall. Poor John Potts would roll over in his grave if only he could have known. Me, one of the chief champions of the town; one, who has lived here over eighty years, now turns out to be a loser.

How does a town our size die ? Our's has outlasted Indians, plagues, floods, wars, loss of industrialization, and loss of population but still has survived. The problem still remains that the town can't survive me.

Surly as ever, Pottstown is a structured governmental unit which works as well as its present personnel allows it to. But, the spirit, the character, the essence of a town lies in incalculable intangibles pent up in its citizens which reside there at the moment. It is in these ordinary citizens, the simple ones who love a parade, the ones who love fireworks, those who honor a place to live, not for structure of governance, but for a few intangibles found there which trumpets the spirit.

For these people, I am truly sorry that I let them down !

Ronald C. Downie,
Former Grand Marshall


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Memories

"The die is cast": daughter, Lia, booked our "oneway" ticket from Lehigh Valley Airport to Punta Gorda Airport, Florida, August, 12th. aboard Allegiant Airlines.

"Oneway" tells that the outcome will be quite abrupt, no returning to my town of over 80 years, my final years a snowbird monitored by daughter, Lia, a nurse by profession. Connie, my wife of 50 plus years, will get the support she needs to function effectively into an escaping future.

Eight weeks to go, as I write these words, two months and we'll be in the air headed south. Most seek south to enjoy sun, sand, water, and sun with the freedom of movement to experience these pleasures. I'd love to do this, but my physical insufficiencies will limit me somewhat more than my lack of energy will. Still, the universe I'll live in will be limited basically to bedroom, toilet, and sitting room, along with some adventuring out doors to a back yard. Air conditioning is a way of life in Florida that eludes us up here so everyday life will be less stressful in Snowbird Land.

I'll take along with me that which each of you, as well myself, can carry into our deaths, which is, our memories. Memories are you own gateways allowing you to live in the present while bathing in the warmth of the past. Some live deeply in the past but most, I expect, keep the past in perspective and have a comfort in the balance between the present and the past. I still have enough mental acuity to    handle a huge memory bank complete with numerous thoughts of each of you who I have come in contact with over many, many years.

Respectfully, Ronald C. Downie

Monday, June 6, 2016

Evan Brandt, Happy Birthday

The vaunted press of bygone days just an empty shell except for some bearded bears still alive, still beating the bushes, in outposts sprinkled about in the hinterlands. Look at you, Mr. Brandt, you're one of those bears so very well respected, still shaking the trees, still a bookend of knowledge in a World gone bonkers at, like water, seeking its lowest level. May this one and each ensuing birthday honor you, a man attracted to knowledge and a man willing to share his with the World.

Respectfully,
Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, May 26, 2016

After A Lifetime, Change.

My Wife, Connie, and I are relocating to Florida and live at daughter, Lia's and Marty's, home in Nokomis, Fl. which is just north of Venice on the Gulf Coast. We are planning only a one way trip since it will be a true relocation in light of both Connie's and my health's abnormalities. Lia has both the space for us and the clinical knowledge of the frailties of the human body since her profession for many decades has been with critical care nursing at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The time has arrived for the wife and I to face up to facts, independence is no longer an option. Our plan is to leave Pottstown sometime in August, after a lifetime of 81 eventful years, here.

Since we are not taking our old station wagon with us, we are looking into renting a vehicle for our oneway trip. If anyone knows of a person who wants a vehicle driven to Florida around mid-August please have them contact me at (610 326 0614). By the way, no, I'm not, nor is Connie doing the driving even though in the past we drove the 1200 miles frequently. Also, we have a few things to ship south; such as, boxed clothing, a walker, a table, a couple of benches, some pictures, not much, so if anyone has any suggestions for transporting these items, please contact me also.

I vowed to live out my life here in Pottstown but, hoping is illusive and not cut in stone. It has been the relationships with numerous individual persons that I'll cherish most and think back on often. No, there will be no looking back, just fond memories. The only thing anyone takes with them out of this World is memories: not money, not gems, not houses, nor companions, but, just memories. Thank You ! everyone who we've come in contact with over our lifetime here in Pottstown ! We Love You All !!!

Ronald C Downie & Connie Mae Downie







Saturday, May 21, 2016

Food for Thought

If only I would be hungry for foods I once longed for : for the wholesomeness I remembered, for the pleasantness of a meal long stuck in my brain, now all just memories, more imagination than reality. These days most things I eat taste bland, not tasty : just salty, sweet, or vinegary. Once, I lived to eat ; now, I eat to remain alive.

Thinking back to my father's mother, Wee Anne, a Scot, relocated from Glasgow, Scotland to Yonkers, NY, then to Houck Lane near Harmonyville, Chester County. It's been some sixty-five years since I last tasted her treacle scones, made with liberal amounts of molasses in the batter and then spread over the baked bun, with loving care. Treacle scones and fresh brewed tea were staples of Sunday evenings together : grandchildren, parents, and grandparents.

During my teen and preteen years I remember Sunday mornings because of a distinctive smell. Maybe once a month, Dad would urge Mom to make Kippered Herrings. These dried fish were put up in distinctive cans, sort of oval and low, from Great Britain/Scotland, packed in oil by the Cross and Blackwell brand, I think. Cooking was quite different, though ! The odd shaped, low height can was placed in a pan with an inch or so of water just to the top of the can and the water was brought to a boil. When the fish in oil inside the can was thought fully heated the can was removed from the pan and opened. Wow, what a smell, distinctive and lingering, once smelt, never forgotten. Eating was eventful but, not something you'd want to do on a daily basis, since it stuck so indelible in smell and taste to my memory.

To counter the herring was a desert I really enjoyed, Plum Pudding. Again, put up in a distinctive can by the same label from England/Scotland, Cross&Blackwell, I believe. In a tapered can was a dark concoction of, I guess, plums, raisins, and cake like batter laced with an array of spices. Again the container was immersed in a very hot water bath for heating up its contents before opening the can. Upon opening, the conical desert was center plated for cutting. Certainly the smell was distinctive and pungent, the taste, earthy and hardy. One other thing stood out, which were the accompanying sauces : one was a white sauce, basically a vanilla sauce, that countered the pudding's earthiness. The other, a lemon based heavy sauce, which lingers with me even to today.

I've written over the years about "haggis" and the Robert Burns' birthday dinners complete with haggis, cock a leaky soup, boiled tatters, and a wee dram of Highland elixir. Seems, it's tough to breed out of offspring the tug of smells and tastes found in cooking styles
common to the homeland. Eventually we all become homogenized, sadly.

Ronald C. Downie




















Monday, May 16, 2016

May Day ! May Day !! May Day !!!

Spring has morphed into Fall ; Summer is but a question mark ; Winter  is figured to be frigid, deep down, to the bone. I write, anymore, like a pessimist when for years I've always been an optimist.

It could be my age since I've pushed past eighty-one and every chill, no matter the season, runs right up my spine. But lately, all chills emanate from my hands to somewhere else in my body like a chain reaction.

My hands were once my strong suit, they could do most anything I asked of them. Essentially, my occupation was that resembling most farmers, hand tools were just arm extensions with lifting heavy and grasping tight commonplace.

Now I look at my knurled, ghostlike hands deeply wrinkled and permanently disfigured and wonder where my youthful hands  have gone ? I guess, their vitality went years ago, left in the ground they turned over or on the implements that required rock hard hands to control.

Aging seems a process which adds up spent years and displays these years on the surface of bodies displayed in retirement homes becoming more numerous each year.

Ronald C Downie