Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pink Flamingo

Thinking back to a lost opportunity, a time when I was unable to sway my friends to adopt " a plastic pink flamingo" as Pottstown's iconic symbol. The Churchill's Kitchen Cabinet back then turned my suggestion down cold. "You dummy", they chided me, "who in the World would put a plastic pink flamingo in their yard except some oldsters in Florida?"

We could have been on the show, Sunday Morning, today when they did a segment about, you got it, The Pink Flamingo. Their popularity, instead of fading away, is growing each year in all parts of the country. 

But for me, another grand idea down the toilet along with many others, I too, have forgotten. Our morning group had days, if not weeks, laughing at each other until the idea faded away. Sadly, after Sunday Morning aired, maybe we did miss an opportunity to put Pottstown on the map. Your turn !

Ronald C.Downie 
Sandy Burton, Golfer

Sandy, in thinking about our exchange of emails, I've tried to understand where the differences between us comes from. I thought about our youth: both of Scottish descent and each approached golf early. I started caddying at the age of nine at our local Country Club
while, I surmised, you began playing golf much earlier at a local Country Club. Seemingly such a little difference is much greater when analyzed.  

Young caddies of my era were never allowed to enter the Clubhouse, maybe the locker room to pick up a golf bag, but so rarely. Caddies, me included, felt second class like a serf to the gentry. We were always cordoned away from the elite Country Club set when special events were organized for them. Yes, caddies thought themselves an inferior race in this time period just post WW2. 

I imagine you have a different perspective of your early years. When stratification begins early it intensifies over the years. I've carried over into the latter years of my life a sense of denied equality that must be overcome. I chose Public Service as my method to right these ills. I look at those who have little or nothing as victims not takers. I look at the Country Club elites as takers from the public trough displacing many truly needy. Superior elites spend their time shuttling between golf courses ultimately seeking one which suites their game always trying to be superior, being King of the Hill.

Poor Franklin Graham gets tripped up on history. His white Christian males found hordes of reddish Native Americans to murder in their European clammer to declare themselves conquerers of this new land. Many thousands of years earlier Native Americans had already explored this continent and all this time lived in concert with nature. Today, from their seats of financial power situated in Country Clubs, when the strenuous day of golf is over, financiers get their heads together to concoct new ways of lowering their taxes but paying for it by raising taxes on those least able to afford it. 

I am an unabashed proponent of equality among humans, even though, most listed by Franklin are in need of real help. And I understand the majority of those he called takers would never make it to the first hole let alone ever find par. No matter how life affects us we are all subject to death. I doubt a White Supremacist like Franklin Graham or people who support his edicts will have an any easier way beyond this life than I expect for myself. How in the World can these people be not only bigoted but be believers in miss information while they openly pray to a benevolent God. Wrapping oneself in the flag when on bended knee praying to the personal image of their God does not grant one a path to the hereafter. Jesus, it is said, prayed especially for the least of us. I am one of them and many of my friends are similar. 

Only you can determine where you are positioned on the rung of life.

Respectfully, Ronald C. Downie

What Happened

A sickening feeling came across me when coming from the Doctor we drove up King Street and saw the mud infested Memorial Park premier baseball fields. So much effort, time, and tax money went into these fields but, for just a few days of grass volleyball, the fields look like a pig sty shambles. The same goes for the surrounding grass areas which must of been parked on when extremely wet and many vehicles must of become stuck.

I'm not too sure the cost/benefit equation works well for this event. Really, does Borough Council request an accounting for such events ?
These sports field were designed originally for use by the youth of our Borough and serviced them most during the summer months. 

The unceremonious debauchery imposed on these fields by predominately non Pottstown residents should be looked at by an independent agent of the Borough to determine the cost to tax payers and what the long term harm to the fields are. 

I've stated my views therefore I would appreciate yours.

Ronald C. Downie
Fair Grounds

Back, way back, maybe during the Golden Years of Pottstown in the early years of the 1900's before the Great Recession Pottstown was home to a Fair Grounds. In fact, many towns of that time had such grounds for their citizens to break away from their daily work and have a place to congregate for fun and reflection. Ours, I understand, had a race track within its bounds which became notable throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. Local and countywide fairs were popular attractions for predominantly an agrarian  populous who utilized these Fair Grounds. 

Because of the very visible debacle that happened to our baseball fields due to their excessive use during heavy rain events, I am suggesting it's time to reinstitute a Fair Grounds in Pottstown. "What comes around goes around" is also an ancient statement as is Fair Grounds. No longer a heavy industry community we have matriculated into a higher learning town and with it comes a need for new energized thinking. 

Out along Jackson Street, The Hill School last year showed some economic muscle by building a super  athletic complex in an area we old timers called The Far Fields. Down along the river MCCC continues to invest in bricks and mortar to expand their presence there. Also along the river the SRGA continues pressing its trails and accompaniments up and down the waterway at an ever aggressive rate. 

These three entities don't produce a tangible product people can handle and both buy and sell; but, each produces a product valued far beyond a manufactured piece. Their commodity of highly valued human beings is the new paradigm. Pottstown's desire to invest in progress should, in my mind, appreciate the new dynamic and think through what could enhance the culture of people being here. Fair Grounds worked well in agrarian times, lost emphasis during the industrial revolution, and now post industrialization - in an educational era - its time may be just right again.

Please, don't let the proverbial box contain you. Get out of it and think anew. Planning is the first step.f

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pink Flamingo

Thinking back to a lost opportunity, a time when I was unable to sway my friends to adopt " a plastic pink flamingo" as Pottstown's iconic symbol. The Churchill's Kitchen Cabinet back then turned my suggestion down cold. "You dummy", they chided me, "who in the World would put a plastic pink flamingo in their yard except some oldsters in Florida?"

We could have been on the show Sunday Morning today when they did a segment about, you got it, The Pink Flamingo. Their popularity, instead of fading away, is growing each year in all parts of the country. 

But for me, another grand idea down the toilet along with many others, I too, have forgotten. Our morning group had days, if not weeks, laughing at each other until the idea faded away. Sadly, after Sunday Morning aired, maybe we did miss an opportunity to put Pottstown on the map. Your turn !

Ronald C.Downie 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sue Repko

Deeply hidden beyond registered time in caves our ancestors sketched scenes of animals they encountered beyond those cave entrances. Even then ancient artists had a feel for place to inscribe real time as they felt it. Ever since, artists have invested in what they do best : create their own sense of time as they develop a place, real or imagined, for time to be experienced in. 

Sue, most people I've come across in my eighty years wither under the thought of leaving familiar ground to forge life anew at some distant location. Those who do, we find their works catalogued in libraries or on display in galleries all over the World. You are destined to be one of those.

Thoughout our infrequent meetings I was always impressed with your life's story as it has enfolded and, along with everyone else, await the next chapter just beginning to be written. May good health accompany you, may good luck pave the road, and may words flow at will. 

Respectfully, Ronald C. Downie
Broken Window Syndrome 

All my life as a public servant I believed in the Broken Window Syndrome : if a window is broken out or just cracked, immediately have it fixed or a disruptive public may not have any qualms about breaking more. Immediate response is the operative term. 

Earlier today my, across Evans street, neighbors told me about a patch of alley behind their carport/garage where for the second time someone dumped either gasoline or oil or both in the alley. I was asked if this was legal, to which, I replied, "hell no". No one is allowed openly to work on vehicles even if it's on their property. Secondly, petroleum migrates toward storm drains which empty into streams and our river. 

I urged my neighbor call 610 323 1212, the dispatch center, and report the incident, which he did. The fire department responded and determined the patch safe from fire since the fluid had already dispersed into the soil. I'm told the grass growing in the alley which is regularly mowed is now looking dead. 

We used immediate response as our action. Even with action the root cause has not been addressed. Who did this deed ? Did the fire department turn over to the police and codes information about this problem ? I don't know. 

Such a small thing in this age of huge problems, but my neighbors and I, exercised what a resident of Pottstown could do. Citizens must do what they can, no matter how small. or our way of life will wither away completely. 

Ronald C. Downie
Education Is Priceless

When a person becomes awash in ignorance there comes with it a stunting of the mind which develops into a hardening of the heart that does not allow this person to embrace a sense of empathy toward fellow planet beings. How do we understand and enter into another's feelings if we ourselves through ignorance have little capacity toward feelings ? 

Education, in my mind, becomes the predominant bulwark protecting more  humans from becoming desensitized, stunted, and hardened. Life on this planet evolved most of the time through small steps but, from time to time, when an appreciable advance of knowledge occurred it resulted in grand giant leaps for mankind. Education is the standard by which mankind builds our World. 

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Resonating Tweets

"No storm lasts forever" displayed by this morning: blue sky, bright sunshine, lower humidity makes this the  day to start a new beginning. 

"Each journey starts with the first step" and plods step after step toward a desired destination. In you a map, etched or not, shows a way.

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should" is a commitment you should understand. It's the power of decision which helps set you free.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Bomb

While watching the movie, "The Big Lift", this morning a very chilling statement was uttered by actor, Paul Douglass, while the plane he was in descended toward a landing in Berlin, Germany shortly after the city was divided by Russia. The Berlin Wall was under construction, Berlin was truly divided, and it seemed armed conflict in earnest could flare up at any time. 

The statement which sent a chill up my back was from Douglass who, while looking down at Berlin during landing said, "We should have dropped an A Bomb down there". These words spoken in a film vintage (1950) about a real life episode (1948) are words I'd wish I never had to hear. 

Dropping a big bomb today, I fear, is just what some zealots are muttering under their breath. Our world is under so much stress even a little slip up could pop the lid off. I lived in fear during WW2, Korea, Vietnam, 9-11 and ever since. Living with fear these past 80 years has not been the normal fear but an underlying angst gnawing away at the pit of my stomach. 

Yes, I have lived my life as if I had no fear, always moving ahead accepting challenges and overcoming diversity. The thought of the unfathomable happening to our World I've rationalized to death. As Pope Francis tells it, we must bring a sense of sanity back into human understanding of life on our Earth. May you all embrace his words.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Our Challenge 

Do you, like me, wonder what are the institutions which foster "suicide bombers" who seem to emerge so easily in the Middle East to wreck havoc on an unsuspecting populous ? Is what just happened in Charleston, SC. the tip of a greater problem facing America today ? Are institutions prevalent here today which could foment heinous crimes designed to overthrow our established government ?

I shutter to announce my thought out position on these questions I've just asked. Sadly our great country is not in need of more guns, or bombs; but we are sorely in need of a renewed dedication to sanity. Only through an all out assault by our educated society will we have a chance to mold young mind toward empathy and caring for all life. 

It must come from both the top and bottom of society like accepting while embracing Pope Francis' Encyclical. We must coleus around a positive message instead of how it seems today. We must get away from carnage on TV, we must reduce "might makes right" in sports, music should sooth a troubled soul, and many motion pictures are so vial that they promote the angst festering within us. 

Any improvement in societal sobriety will be long in coming lasting over numerous generations. I see no quick fix. It will be difficult to change if our politicians remain bent on the status quo to prove their own importance. Change can only be accomplished by you the voter becoming involved in a race toward sanity rather than lounging on the sidelined wishing others do the job for us.

Ronald C. Downie 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I Love A Parade

Late morning, long after sunrise lights the east,
Necks craning, the gathered peer up High street,
"Must have started, when will we see the lights?"
Every year brings a similar anticipation treat.

Police cars, lights actively rotating, lead
As spectator's expectation comes into view.
Slowly the cars carrying Chiefs and Captains
Roll at their lead pace. Parade's started true.

Patriotism and flowers with flags and music, 
Join the deep rhythm of heel/toe marching
In straight lines, as our service men and women 
Parade down High Street, uniformed backs arching.

Waiting, bands and pipers, military vehicles pass
To hands clapping in gratitude for their service,
Then a bevy of classic cars, there's yellow bikes,
And a grouping of motorcycles. Promoter's purpose

To satisfy all people by expressing their interests.
Beautiful as ever the Queen and her lovely court,
Bathed in sunshine, are perched high in convertibles.
Their's is the future accompanied by a male escort.

Like ants scurrying for a meal, volunteers work 
The crowd for donations to fill collection buckets.
Vehicles, Fire Engines, shinning and grand, drivers
And volunteers are a Town's invaluable nuggets.

Year after year organizers give of their time
To bring smiles to faces both of young and old
Curb lines filled with overflowing happy crowds,
Tell how good parades of old were. Stories told.

"I Love A Parade", the excitement of a crowd,
The music, the colors, the hubbub, the pageantry,
Humans becoming alive by expressing themselves.
I need a hat, where's that bucket for my ante ?

Independence Day, July 4, 1776 , Declaration Of
Independence signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
We observe with parades, picnics, and fireworks
But we must never forget the breadth of Sylvania. 

"I Love A Parade !"

Ronald C. Downie

Dedicated to daughter, Heather Downie Kurtz, born on July 4.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Think Your Way Forward

God forsaken demented right of color supremacy lifted its ugly head in Charleston, SC this week. Gun killed, who really pulled the trigger ?

How can our deeply fractured society coalesce around a universal theme; like, another World War? Could Pope Francis' Encyclical just be it ?

Born into innocence, humans from birth fill their receptive voids with parental involvement and society's mores. Twig bent so grows a tree.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pope Francis' Encyclical

Not only does everybody need to read Pope Francis' encyclical, but all learned and interested parties need to study it's fine points, to make its words universally understandable, and allow his message to inform all our World's governments and citizens thereof.

You need not be of Catholic persuasion to embrace this Pope's encyclical. To me, a non Catholic deeply involved throughout my long life with the environment, I am honored to have lived long enough to experience a message for Planet sanity from this Pope. I'm sure big money is mounting a blistering response to his message since their lust is always to accumulate more money, with it, more power.

Each of us must not remain silent about the breadth of his message. Some of you, I bet, will ignore Pope Francis' words and may even want to disparage him as leader of over a million parishioners; but, so many more, hopefully the young, will embrace his warnings and with action will change the arc of history over our World.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Journey

Born of Scottish parents, who in the 1920's immigrated to America to start their young life anew. Dad from Glasgow, Mom from Dundee who bore two sons four and a half years apart: brother Andrew, the elder, and me, six months, arrived in Pottstown the summer of 1935 when Dad took a job with Bethlehem Steel as a draftsman. Brother Andrew joined the Navy leaving Pottstown during Korea and never really returned. I've stayed 80 years living out my story. 

Life begins with a quality education: a graduate of Pottstown Junior and Senior High Schools, then matriculated to Penn State, State College,  for three semesters garnering 50 credits, came home and enrolled in Ursinus College, night school for 50 more credits, still 28 credits short of a degree. Even so, I was elected into Pottstown High School Alumni Honor Roll Society, one of only three of my 1953 graduating class.

The field of sports engaged much of my younger years: here at home I received recognition becoming co- captain of the football team, was on the golf team, threw weights on the track team. Later, was on the championship adult men's industrial basketball team, Tony Zee's. At Penn State, even though I was the 52nd freshman to receive a uniform, my play brought me recognition and got me a new uniform as I was elevated to first team freshman and received the game ball for play against arch rival, Pitt. At Penn State I scrimmaged against the likes of : Redskins, Lenny Moore and Dan Radakovich ; all pro, Rosey Grier ; Jesse Arnelle ; Richie Lucas and Sam Valentine, All Americans. But, but now only a dream of what could have been.

When not at ball playing, I worked. At the age of nine I began caddying at Brookside Country Club which I did off and on until I graduated high school. Worked at Ringing Hill Orchard at harvest time then at fourteen began mowing lawns for Henry Fox staying with him for some fifteen years as he built his business into a three state landscape contracting firm. After a five year hiatus I got reinstated at Penn State for football, got busted up pretty badly, and dropped our for good. Acquired a salaried position at Firestone and began night school at Ursinus.

Left Firestone in 1969. I got remarried : first marriage lasted five years, fathered two: Bonnie and Sherri ; divorced five years ; now remarried 51 years, fathered three : Heather, a teacher; Lia, a Critical Care Nurse ; Ronald, a technician. I returned to landscaping joining with Fisher Hughes. We purchased and operated Pine Forge Sky Area and developed The Foundry Lounge along with expanding our growing landscape company. Citing conflicts, I left the organization, got my insurance a real estate licenses until unhappiness crept in and back to the land I went.

Developed Pottstown Nursery, a Garden Center and a fully functioning landscape construction company. Operated this way for ten years, then leased the Garden Center and moved the landscape company to Douglassvile on 57 acres of open land we'd purchased. Bob Smoyer and I formed Downie Smoyer Landscape as our business name in a seamless changeover. Smoyer's untimely death as my physical vitality diminished required me to settle the business's books. As in all businesses assets hopefully balance out with obligations and debts as ours barely did. My health: a prostate operation, foot complications from a deep cyst both landed me in the hospital. More debilitating has been my ongoing losing battle with type two diabetes. Now I only move with help of a walker and have not driven an automobile in five years.

All the while during my years in business I keep a close contact with the functions of this town, Pottstown, I call home. Early on, Jaycees then Ambucs, becoming president, also BIE, president again, Schuylkill River Greenway Association, yes president. School Board, four years; Parks and Rec, next ; eight years on Borough Council and finally eight years on Borough Authority, last four as chairman. An Elk, I've been named Elk of the year, I've earned a fifty year pin at being a member of the local Masonic Lodge, same with Reading Shrine and Consistory. I am past president of CAP, Carousel At Pottstown, and have an Ampitheater at the Schuylkill River named by the Borough in my name since I was instrumental in its construction. When this project was finished, I donated the machine I used to build the Ampitheater to the Parks Dept. who use it to this day. 

Now 80 years old, when looking back, I would have had to live a long time to do as much as I did. In the last year I was named Pottstown's Poet Laureate in a book "Legendary Locals of Pottstown" written by Sue Repko. Poetry has been my advocation for the last half of my life. The bonding of thoughts onto paper that others may independently involve with the writer is an art dating back by man deep into antiquity. Whether good or bad, I pride myself in being able to live in real time by blocking out the past and not relive yesterdays. Only through an exercise like this am I able to bring the past into my preview. I hope this answers some questions.

Ronald C. Downie 

Friday, June 12, 2015

My Swan Song

I'm alive, but am I living ?
Really, am I truly living ?

I go through the motions,
Seemingly life consistent.

Food easily downed, trouble
With those darn lazy innards.

Mobility necessary though stymied ;
Walker now, wheelchair, in my future?

How in the world do I cope ?
Desperately, I long for the off switch.

Sleeping more, rested less,
Nothing constant but pills.

My life, is it in order for its passing ?
I always controlled, now dependent.

Discomfort and pain with disability
Dissolves any sense of normality.

Yes, I am ready to meet the grim reaper !
Is a dead death any worse than living one ?

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Open Letter to Senator Casey

Dear Senator, 

Hidden deeply within our Planet, history is recorded in rock, in oceans, in tree rings. Reading history is a difficult task society leaves to the students of science. In them, the truly learned of each generation, is the huge task of studying the past to see into the future. Science, for ever, has based assumptions on the premiss, that to know where your going you need to set your bearings from a point established by a study of the past. 

I am told Senator, you are engaged in a soul searching endeavor along with the other elected representatives of the people who are on the proverbial fence. Do you, and they, put your trust in science that global warming is indeed true ? Or, as you all ponder your decisions, do you trust the learned of the knowledgable or do you side with so many who have a financial gain in your vote's outcome. 

In the image of his father, a man must either be a statesman or just another elected official. Your father would have risen above just another elected official position and voted his statesman status. The living will soon forget your vote, but the unborn, the future of this World will have to try to live in an environment you'll have helped to mold. In your hands lies a future of sustainability or one of human degradation. Pick the one you wish to be remembered for.

Ronald C. Downie's

Monday, June 8, 2015

Even at this late stage of my life, I find myself preaching mundane ideas to far flung grandchildren which, I hope, helps them get through life.

Connor Kurtz

Toward sunset, when having to walk across a bridge dressed only in pants and a tee shirt, realizing there are lower temperatures and heightened breezes on the bridge even in California, only one remedy comes to my mind. Find some cardboard or purchase a newspaper which you can place under your tee shirt as insulation, extra layers of airspace, that may protect you from extremes in temperature. 

Plan your work and work your plan and a place for everything and everything in its place. 

Love, Nanny&PopPop
11:30 AM Monday 6/8/15

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Connor Man

My telephone call caught grandson Connor as he was going into a Juice Bar in San Francisco, California at 5PM Saturday, the 6th of June. With his juice in a container Connor called me back as he continued on his sightseeing tour of his newly found horizon. Connor seems to devour new sights he allows himself to explore : the Painted Ladies, so often photographed, fisherman's wharf, hills with cable cars, and where he was at the time, The Presidio, an expansive beautiful park. 

Days earlier on his train ride west Connor had a few hour stopover  in Chicago. He enjoyed the lake waterfront, the cleanliness of the city, and the Sears Tower. He especially liked a small bookstore where he purchased eight books at a really fair price to engage his mind for the remainder of the trip. Connor was not very complimentary of his fellow train travelers. Many seemed course, foul mouthed and discourteous. West of Chicago he encountered many Amish riding the tracts, he presumes, because they shun airplanes. Because of the high cost of eating in the Diner Car, Connor carried his food with him. Unlike the Amish who ate from canned foods they carried with them, Connor ate mostly snack foods while dreaming of a cooked meal. 

At this writing Connor should be on his way south from Oakland to LA then on to San Diego where he is to arrive there at 1AM. His job requires Federal clearance including fingerprinting which he'll do this first week. I don't quite understand what he will be actually be doing at his job. No matter what, in Connor they will be getting a more rounded young man than normal realizing last summer he was all over London, England and continental Europe and so far this year he crossed our continent by train ready to explore the west coast.

Naturally, Nanny and I love him whether he is on the move or not. He is to receive his college degree this next year then where he goes is still a mystery. We're sure it, too, will be an exciting journey, another episode in Connor Kurtz's life. Good Luck Connor ! Keep your eye on the horizon as you move forward in life.

Love, Nanny&PopPop
Beau Biden's funeral was exceptionally moving and President Obama's eulogy stands with the best I've ever heard. Few, if any, candidates running for office in 2016 could stir a nation as President Obama did. It disturbs me to no end when I see on Facebook a degenerate group of users denigrate the President, I believe, since he has black pigments in his skin. The office of the Presidency, if nothing else, is an honored position requiring public respect. It is with the ballot box that we shift allegiance in this country from one person to another and name that person President.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Life of Fire

Flames die, embers sputter,
Wisp of smoke spirals up
To show some energy's left.
From ash, warmth still flows
Seeking rekindle, a rebirth.
Fire life starts, finishes weak.

Life's fire, sperm mating egg.
All cells rushing to multiply
In an orderly frenzy, a twenty
Year, or so, drawn out sojourn.
Continued frenzy climbing the
Ladder in twenty year bites.

Then the slowing down process :
Maladies, afflictions, disease
Captures a body strong, making it
Weak, infirmities seek surrender.
Flames die out, embers cool,
Slips slowly toward oblivion.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Brother Andrew 

The Downies were a two children family : Alex and Olive raised Andy and me, Ronald. I was 80 my last birthday, brother Andy was 85 on May 30th. Neither of us seems well enough to travel the distance between North Jersey and here to celebrate our birthdays together. From early childhood the Downie family played down celebrations as our religion directed so skipping celebrations is nothing new to either of us.

Andy left Pottstown during the Korean Conflict by joining the Navy spending his shore time on the west coast. I was brought to Pottstown when I was 6 month old and never left. Andy came back to the area after the Navy commitment, got some required credits through tutoring by Hill School professors, and enrolled in Muhlenberg College, Allentown. While schooling he worked at The Upper Bank in Boyertown ( National Penn) and lived in New Hanover. He married while still in the Navy and he and Peggy had two children, David & Anne. After graduation they moved the family to Jersey and Andy began public school teaching. Some years later after attaining graduate credits he gained a Professorship and began teaching at Morris County Community College, Randolph, NJ,  a position he had until his retirement. English Literature and Composition was his forte. 

I stayed home, Andy moved along. We rarely joined together for big events which effected the rest of our lives. I was very pleased when he joined me and my family for the dedication by the Borough of The Amphitheater at the Schuylkill River in my name. Since then: time, distance, and now health has gotten in the way. Neither of us ever thought that our lives would go on forever, though I doubt, either of us would have written the script we are now roll playing. For me, eighty years has been a sufficient time to make my mark on the life I've lived. 

Well Andy, Happy Birthday ! No matter the situation you're in, nor mine, we will expire and leave the living for the young as it's always been and always will be. As our lives draw to an end, thoughts accumulated in the mind are the only remnants of our lives which we carry with us to our deaths. So Mote It Be !

Ronald C. Downie