Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Churning now in our southern Atlantic waters off the Islands of the Bahama's is a fairly weak hurricane just getting its act together, and especially of interest to us, it's route northward. All eyes are on the charts which track hurricanes and tropical depressions because 100 miles east or west of a projected track could result in tremendous land damage and human upheaval.

An alarm was registered when the Mayor of South Miami told the World of the effects of higher sea levels on his city. During full moon on a clear day and calm seas salt water pushes up in the storm sewers and floods the streets of his city. In the last five years the average sea level heights have risen by five inches, an inch a year. At this rate the seas will be daily overflowing the town, let alone, swamping the area during a storm. Surely, South Miami wants to know which direction a hurricane is headed.

Further out is the affects a hurricane will have on New Jersey which still is recovering from the devastation of its last big storm. Nay Sayers, like their governor, are unwilling to accept science and act accordingly to mitigate devastation on human life and property. Their answer generally is : when other countries act, we'll respond. Kind of callus response to those who were caught in the last storm and didn't get equal justice by their state officials. Governments were created to think and act by taking into consideration a vast amount of important information an individual wouldn't be privy to.

What will Joaquin have in store for the USA is still a question mark ? Joaquin, right now, is thought to strengthen over the next few days before it hits the Great Northeast in early October. Even now the southern states are saturated with rainfall that's causing flooding and more rain would exacerbate the damage. Federal and state governments must react to weather but we're at a crossroad where they must go a step further and begin to act on climate change which is doggedly progressing and will change the World as our offspring have known it.

Pray for me & I'll pray for thee,
Ronald C. Downie

Monday, September 28, 2015

"Pray For Me"

Pope Francis is back on Italian soil at the Vatican after a whirlwind six day tour of of northeastern USA. It will take me some time to catchup on my thoughts he left with me. I tried to watch "gavel to gavel" episodes of his visit and absorb his teachings. Being an unreligious person, I value myself as a spiritual being anxiously open to well thought out homilies which came fast and furious from Pope Francis.

One striking impression that still harbors vividly in my mind is the stark difference between the piety of Francis contrasted with the fierce anger shown by front runner Trump in his commentary caught on television. It showed not only in his rhetoric but in his swatch buckling demeanor pointing thumbs down while dismissing a fellow candidate. The leader of over a billion congregants showed the World how to comport oneself while the ranting Trump displayed a style most attribute to a spoiled rich kid remembered from our youth.

"Pray For Me"
Ronald C. Downie

Friday, September 25, 2015

Females, Listen Up

Losing Yogi Berra, an icon of Major League Baseball, a man not only of deeds but also of memorable phrases, was muted this week by an American visit by Pope Francis. I'v been immersed in my television screen since the coverage of Francis began, not unlike, my fond interest of enjoying the exploits of so many years listening to and reading about Yogi.

Both aged men with only a little over eleven years separating them in age grew up in a segregated atmosphere. Their's was an all male society. Yogi's was in baseball which remains a bastion of male domination as does all major leagues of professional sports. The NFL has allowed some female participation in refereeing as has the NBA and there may be some inroads in female assistant coaches.

Pope Francis comes from a male tradition which extends from St. Peter through a linage of men to him, the 266th male Pope. Rigidly
entrenched these men were forced to uphold tradition over the millenniums but I foresee a time when women will rest away from men their unholy lock on the papacy or, at least, the priesthood.

Many women in our World have experienced their second class status in a subdued attitude forever but you can hear a stirring afoot. When these sounds gather into a tramp, tramp, tramping that stirs the earth with marching feet possibilities become realities.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Anchored Dreams (1815 - 2015)

Europeans used muscled shoulders and arm strength
To paddle swift river waters upstream against the current,
Their sea journey, fully filled of fear, behind them now,
Sought beyond today, each tomorrow filled their dreams.

For eons, horizons were only seen by those in tribal dress,
Moccasin soft foot prints rarely compacted moist river soils,
But tracked those wilds along animal trails long of overuse.
Clash of cultures, lasting many Centuries, will this never end ?

Hamlets developed, adventurers weary of always on the move
Needed to settle, they chose a confluence of river and creak,
Like the Schuylkill where it accepts the Manatawny, was obvious.
Strong muscled flow of water harnessed to drive great stone wheels.

Grist millers needed farmers, both needed haulers and users.
In its infancy, communities struggled, seeking strength to endure.
A countryside full of families with hamlets of extended members
Were not communities; they buried their own, needed no preacher.

When people no longer did personal items for themselves,
Services were rendered by others : a barber, baker, butcher,
storekeeper, a preacher, and at the end of life, a grave digger.
Commerce erupts as people sell their time for a tradable sum.

Those engines of service got travelers to settle down in a pleasant,
Hospitable community. The need for organization became apparent
And was met by the Potts Family who formulated a town on paper.
They named it Potts Grove until it officially became Pottstown in 1815.

Shaken by a Revolution, she survived a Civil War, participated in
The First World War, and was seared by The Great Depression.
By then an engine of economic muscle, Pottstown spearheaded
A home front industrial movement, carrying USA thru World War 2.

The last seven decades, post WW 2, horrific turmoil was everywhere :
Korea, Vietnam, harnessing nuclear proliferation, the The Twin Towers,
Then quickly : Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, today, Iran's the problem.
Pottstown grew to 32,000 citizens, but now back down to 22,000.

From afar the World churns, but here, churning occurred from exodus:
Bypasses took cars, malls took people, and factories took employees;
Suburbs attracted home owners, professionals sought lower taxes.
Once the epicenter of industry and commerce, Pottstown left a shell.

White flight, green flight, religious flight followed each to the suburbs.
Left behind : the poor, indigent, and needy, all struggled to pay taxes.
Pottstown became a victim of Montgomery County's prosperity.
Once the engine of financial muscle, weary Pottstown limped on.

Community is a dream of people who can afford purchased services
While residing in an inhabitance close enough to easily access them.
Government needs to spend its energy on accommodating both.
This age old formula has worked as long as people gathered together.

In a changing World, a community is just like a canary in a mine ; it
Reflects change: change of weather patterns, of life styles, of policing,
Of services, and of social mores. It is a composite of the current ones
Who reside here. Communities are dynamic, they pulsate, are alive.

Pottstown is becoming established as a "College Town", a place
Where knowledge matters : our dynamic public school system, and
Wyndcroft, The Hill School, The Montgomery County Community
College. "A mind is too valuable to waste" is a Pottstown motto !

At one time, through Pottstown, a "north only" railroad operated,
No schedule, no tracks, just the trodden few seeking freedom's trail.
We have exhibited a resilience equal to the grit of our storied citizens.
Today, we'll hear from some of them, words of old, at rest many years.

Thank You,

Ronald C. Downie