Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Postman

I have the upmost respect for the postman who service our area, they brave every hardship Mother Nature throws at them. In spite of the variances of climate they get their job done, mostly alone without fanfare, not gushing for recognition. They're quite affable when encountered with a few minutes to talk. Not cookie cuter people, each an individual, with their own needs and desires which makes up the greater World.

I am aghast at what some congressmen are trying to do legislatively to dismantle the postal system as we know it. Privatization to payback huge donors should not be allowed by the public, that's you and me, the voters of this country, the far to often "Silent Majority".

The Postal Service needs now a character similar to the one played by Kevin Kostner in the movie titled "The Postman". As a residual of the demise of our Nation one element refuses to dismantle; namely, the postal system. The pledged mantra of the Postal Service embedded in the hearts of it's servers prevail-
"The Mail Must Go Through"- The storyline speaks to good over evil, the will of the mass over the might of the few, to those who persist in a belief over a demented militia.

As a tribute to all mail carriers during these harsh winter months of high demand for your services, I echo a Happy New Year from your customers. May 
we, the silent majority, in this new year become your voice, our own Kevin Kostner's, in your struggle against the almighty power of the dollar pitted against you.
Happy New Year,
Ronald C. Downie

Friday, December 27, 2013

For The Birds

"That's for the birds" thinking, permeates my wakened hours these shivering cold days. Some birds stick around all winter, saw a couple cardinals in the Star Magnolia out in the front yard yesterday. The Magnolia begins plumping up its flower buds before fall leaf drop and it must be these that the cardinals feed on. There's also the berrying up of Holly which some birds love if they can get to them before the darn squirrels eat 'em all. Surely, birds of a feather should flock together.

There are other birds that peek my interest too ; they're seen only by their vapor trails stripping the high sky on clear cold days. Pressing south, jumbo jets fly in my eastern high sky delivering passengers to warmer climates for winter getaways. Who are they ? Are they temperate snow birds ? Are they escaping or are they returning home ? Male or female, young or old, thin or plump ? 

A century long history of travel has asked these questions time and time again through story and song by vivid dreamers. What's a better theme than describing a huge plow in the sky turning over a long furrow of vapor readying the heavens for a spiritual application of fertile seeds. If only I could have thought of such a wonderful theme for a story, I would have become a writer. 

The unknown is a greater mystery than the vast list of knowledge accepted by the known world. It is for the living to chip away at the great unknown, find there the stories to reveal, then express these stories as best we can. 

Happy New Year,
Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Connie Mae

Connie Mae

The following is a tribute to Constance Mae Hall Downie, my soulmate these more then 50 years, on her date of birth, December 23, 1939 with all my love.

From This Day Forward :

Born before The Big War, the global one,
Youngest daughter of Florence & Charles Hall,
(Their union was a real productive one)
Connie was preceded by eight sisters,
After her, finally came a boy, Douglas.
She was, as all her siblings were, hill born ;
They populated what's called Chicken Hill
Through the depression, well past WW2.

To Have and To Hold

Christmas Holidays greet Connie's birthday
While announcing winter's snow calendar.
Late December is a tough date,
Such busy time near the end of the year.
She has sparse time to fully celebrate,
Year after year, the others always first.
Even today, never ever complains,
Connie goes with the flow, the show goes on.

In Sickness & In Health

Connie and I joined in marriage, April
22, 1964, at Grace Lutheran Church.
On that Wednesday evening, off we went
To New Hope on the Delaware River,
A cottage, change of cloths, a late night bite
At a lodge south across the canal bridge
Between it and the Delaware River.
In loving embrace was night's restless sleep.

In Good Times And In Bad

Off to the World's Fair in New York City
Stopping first in Portland, Pa. where we bought
Two Windsor Benches and a Windsor High
Backed Chair from Frederick Duckloe & Bros.
New York City, downtown at the Taft Hotel,
We went to Flushing Meadows by subway.
An adventure that everyone should take
Sometime in life, hand in hand- arm in arm.

To Love & Cherish

Home : Heather, Lia, Ronnie - Chestnut Street,
Walnut Street and Evans Street - these our homes,
Now forty years, Evans Street, our homestead.
Connie raised our children, my business, work :
Industry, partnerships, garden centers, 
Tree and plants contracting, buying, selling.
Heather to college, Lia followed suit,
Ronnie went my way, bound to Mother Earth.

For Richer Or Poorer

Connie learned plants, she still works plants today;
In fact, she's our bread winner, our savior.
Social security just doesn't cut it,
Especially, if want more than just eat.
These latter years I've not walked very well,
Football is a debilitating sport.
Our bread winner, too, is my care giver;
Without her I'm sunk, future would be bleak.

To Love You & Honor You

From soul mate, lover, mother, home maker, 
Bread winner, care giver, I owe my
Life to my wife, Constance, "In Thee, I Trust".
Life's a story with many a chapter,
Each built upon the preceding ones, each
Wrestles with good and bad, fiction or fact,
The idea is to keep the theme honest.
Love is an endearing theme of the heart.

Until ... Do Us ... !

With All My Love,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Good neighbors are those persons who freely act through their own volition to do something on the block that needs to be attended to. 

When it snows an appreciable amount, enough to be shoveled, our neighbor at the southwest corner of Evans and Wilson Streets uses his snow blower. Mr. H. used his snow blower Sunday to clear the main sidewalks of the entire block including doing the entrance walkways. In previous years he and his boys even cleaned snow off cars and shoveled out parking places during deep snow events. 

Good neighbors are good Samaritans by their desire. 

Then yesterday a young teenaged girl and a boy, I would think her younger brother, who I saw shoveling our neighbor's sidewalks across the street came across to our house. Without any contact from my wife or me they began cleaning snow from our walks and front steps. As they finished my wife tried to give them a few dollars for their efforts along with a thank you.  But, they, with a smile and a no-thank you, waved her off and proceeded up the street shoveling away. Who they are, I do not know; though, I love them dearly for what they did. 

Good neighbors are good Samaritans by their deeds. 

Of course, there's Daisy P. our next door neighbor, who I've referred to in my writings before as our special neighborhood energizer bunny. Daisy and her broom are inseparable and she has a sharp eye for any leaf in her sight. Her's is an estate attitude : everything in place, a place for everything, manicured as possible, and cleaned to the nth degree. The curb line for the majority of Evans Street is her domain. I'll challenge anyone who wants to compare their neighborhood with Daisy's. 

Good Samaritans are Good Neighbors.

Ronald C. Downie
700 Block of Evans Street,
Pottstown, Penna.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Circle Of Life

Joined hand and hip, an unbroken circle of life
Dances around the fire pit, in an endless chain

Pressing forever forward seeking the unknown,
Accepting bits and pieces, building knowledge.

The human race is caught up in fervent prayer
To myriads of deities seeking : grander cathedrals,

Higher mountain top monasteries, ornate robes,
Gold leafed hymnals, silver chalices, sweeter wine.

Forests and savannas, seek not, accepts life's terms :
Birth, struggle, growth, unfolding, reaching life's end.

The Circle realizes all life prospers to its potential
Half Life, then degrading becomes the spiraling down.

Even icons of faith's founding pillars never reached
Their nirvana of Half Life. Grossly cut down while

Still in unfolding periods, their rabid faithful anoint 
Their lost presence through images ever expanding.

Images were designed to press an emotional response
Bypassing Man's innate desire to think. Thinking, he  

Gains wisdom drawing him away from a blind faith.
Reading from The Book Of Life he found necessity.

For millions of years upright Man processed through 
The cycle of life creating The Circle surrounding us.

Those who sought power needed shackles to control 
Ignorant masses. Image based faith their answer.

Though still popular today, faith, continues to lose
Its underpinning as more people gain fruitful wisdom,

Which draws them into reading The Book Of Life,
While they join hand and hip expanding the Circle.

Ronald C. Downie 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In Memory Of Steve Kurtz 

Yesterday, on the anniversary of the horror remembered as Pearl Harbor, it is still Cancer that has taken the lives of more people than all the wars combined, but, this crucible of death, kills its victims one at a time. Each of us have experienced the death of a loved one or an acquaintance from Cancer one death at a time.

Steve Kurtz, my son-in-law and soul mate of my daughter, Sherri, for forty years was the father of two : daughter, Alix, and son, Stephen. He died on Dec. 8, 2009 from a losing battle with Cancer. To all who knew Steve, his death was a close personal loss. To number crunchers, his death added just one to the total number they tally for a report on Cancer deaths. 

This is also "Jimmy V Week" known to basketball enthusiasts when country wide donation appeals are everywhere on television to support Cancer research. A much heralded basketball coach, Jim Valvano, died from Cancer during his prime years, much like my son-in-law, and, to their credit, the basketball community unselfishly took up the challenge to fund Cancer research and labeled it "Jimmy V Week".

Off budget our country has fought two very expensive wars while also off budget our country has decided to add trillions of dollars to the debt. As a culture America has long passed over the idea of paying for things as they occur; such as for wars or tax relief for the super rich. What would happen if a couple of trillion dollars were spent on eradicating Cancer instead of buying bullets or drones or nukes?

Parceled out, one at a time, the enormity of the total deaths from Cancer loses urgency in a society's psyche. The public embraces the aftermath of hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, just about any earthly malfunction since they visually abrupt the norm of the day. Cancer is stealth like, progressively declining its victim's vigor, silently encroaching on a life style, and then Cancer begins its demand for its pound of flesh. Only the end remains !

The Relay For Life has taken up the challenge locally with an appreciated success for its record fund raising performances over the years. When will the spirit of The Relay For Life enter every legislator's soul to draw their thinking to make war on Cancer rather than war on countries and cultures?

I think of Steve, my parents, my business partners, my classmates, my co-workers, my relatives, my close friends, my ... the list goes on and on in an endless addition of death from Cancer. To me, the enormity of just the totality of Cancer victims that I knew, mirrors an earthly catastrophe. Legislators, where are you hiding when the sky is falling down all around you ?

Ronald C. Downie
Reposted because it is still relevant !

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sonnet : Only Knowledge

When looking into the mirror of hope,
I find far too many so deep in despair 
Who willingly slough off a need to cope,
Leaving them vulnerable, requiring care :

Will it be some epiphany that grabs the scene ;
Without something like that, what's then ?
Do spots disappear, stripes fade, does fat lien ?
From nagging disappointments, hope comes when ?

Realizing a personal attitude becomes the key
To unlocking the potential energy pent up now
Awaiting release. Learning wisdom's wise old plea,
"Only knowledge sets Man free", showing him how.

History records, rewrites episodes sad or proud ;
While shunning facts, destiny floats on as a cloud.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, December 6, 2013

Such a lyrical name, Nelson Mandela, put to song by so many. Could you survive 27 years being locked up waiting the World to sing out ?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Price Of Ignorance

History records many declines of an imperial power who thought they would rule their World as they knew it, forever. Inevitably, the decay of their governing system for an ever increasing accumulation of knowledge failed. This marked the path leading them to their demise.

Fitting this definition - is this the USA of today? Ever since our inception as a nation, we have gained military, financial, and education superiority throughout the world. Our educational system was once, by far, number one. 

Ignorance, I contend, is the harbinger of things to come. This morning, I learned of the latest comparison between American students and students from the rest of the World's industrialized nations. Our students are fading fast in competitive testing with no end in sight as they spiral down.

No answers have I ; comments though, are much easier to come by. 

For what it's worth, reading has always been considered the premier process in the learning cycle, but I've changed my mind on its prominence over the years. Now, I think, writing must be the ultimate provider of knowledge leading one toward wisdom. It is wisdom we must urge the young to attain. It's not enough to be able to accumulate facts and regurgitate them on a test, but the learned, must be able to put to use whatever knowledge they've acquired. The young, even those well read, need what writing forces them to accomplish. 

Writing well is a learned exercise. It requires the writer to pick a theme, introduce the theme, expand a discussion of it, and finally sum up what information the writer thought relevant. The nature of writing's structure, I believe, imprints on the brain of the writer in ways reading, even of the highest caliber, does not do. In fact, good writers are excellent readers, look at their bookshelves. By their efforts, they encourage a real lust to gain wisdom.

Acquiring knowledge is commendable ; utilizing gained wisdom results in supremacy.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Long Night's Activity

When, in the wake of dreams unfulfilled,
Looking back, reaching for past memories,
Stirring hidden hollows, hiding strong willed
Thoughts left for a long night's sleep pleasantries:

Then, with tossing and turning, sweat arrives
From body heat captured by layers of covers,
Deepened sleep slacks as the mind's eye drives
Piercing nerve endings toward thoughts of others :

And then, over and over we relive day's events,
Real or are they derived of fiction or of facts ? 
A deep night's sleep would have provided vents
For the escape from rewind or rewrite of acts.

Into this netherworld of super active long days
Take deep breaths, relax, quiet, chilling out plays.

Ronald C. Downie

Recent Thoughts

Thuggery not only invades America's streets but also diminishes college football. Where has the civility in athletic competition gone ?

True patriots fight, literally beat up each other, over sale items in a true black Friday tradition. The third world has nothing on us but utter poverty. We'll catch up, soon.

Blue cloudless sky, bright sunshine, crisp air, what's black about this Friday ? Oh! America exists on her consumers, stupid. Buy War Bonds.

A sharp mind atop a healthy body is the goal of a kale diet. Have you tried a kale smoothy ? Try one to find out a difference.

No wonder, the oaks outside my windows are so huge,
they exercise constantly in wind gusts blowing wild this end of autumn. We wait winter !

Which first - chicken or egg ? 
Which first - cage fighting or one punch knockouts ? 
Real life mimics sensationalized journalism.

Ronald C. Downie