Monday, December 26, 2016

All's Not Lost

My life belies the reality of harshness in present day living. On the slippery edge of history, our World, in the past few days, is bubbling over in acts of inhumane carnage : Syria, Berlin, Turkey, ... . While life in this World around me is in turmoil, I feel I'm in the lap of luxury, safe in the few steps that takes me from bed to a chair, to another chair, then maybe to a chair out in the lanai overlooking the pool.

-All's not lost.-

Not lost- because I have grandchildren entering that stage of life where what they do and what they say will make a difference in their lives and the lives of others that makes up humanity. What each says, what each does is strictly up to each of them. They are all individuals urged to think and act independently with the emphasis being on thinking.

All's not lost - I feel blessed - Blessed to have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren - all's not lost -

Old Pops, Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Organized Though Unplanned

Constance Mae Hall entered my life in the early 1960's, we married in the spring of 1964, and went to The Worlds Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York for our honeymoon. By the 1970's we had a family of five : Heather, Lia, and Ronald joined the family at their birth. We lived downtown at 338 Walnut Street until moving to the north end at 778 North Evans Street in 1974 to take advantage of the ease for our kids to walk to school : elementary, middle, and through high school and graduation.

Connie happens to be one among us who was born in late December ( Dec. 23rd ), born in the height of Christmas, so her birthday did not get much individual attention for most of her life. At the winter solstice, longest night-shortest day, born just before Christmas Day her life seems shorted since her birth.

She was born the 9th girl, the last girl, to Florence and Charlie Hall although they, Flossie and Charlie, tried again and had a boy, their last child, they named him Douglass. Hand me downs were often and commonplace, much needed and appreciated, a little thread worn by the time she got to wear them.

In spite of her day of birth, Connie seemed rarely to complain of her place in life as it unfolded for her. I was involved with the business of being in business; she was involved in being a good mother and a fine homemaker. Connie began working again as the children matured toward adulthood and worked until a year and a half ago, even though, she was on a reduced hourly schedule a year or so before stopping work.

Now, Connie spends a good deal of time caring for my infirmities. My problems are not reversible, they just get more debilitating as I age. Once invincible, now that thought is laughable, the fate of life here on earth is that the grim reaper has his eye on each of us as we individually reach certain thresholds. That old boy must have singled me out early as I worked, ate, and drank myself to excess. He never quit although he never understood the power of good women. Connie, within her limitations, and our daughter, Lia, who seems to have few, if any limits on her abilities, monitor my health on a day to day basis. This time of year should show that none of us is invincible but are fallible, even the best of man died on a cross.

To Connie Mae on her birthday,
With all my love, Husband, Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Left Behind

Wife, Connie and I left behind in Pottstown a house we lived in for 42 years and easily raised three children there because not only could we easily see both the Middle and High Schools but the grade school, Franklin, was just a few blocks walking distance. Easily accessible schools is a must in good child raising.

778 North Evans Street had many more assets than location going for it, for us to live there forty two years; such as, three large bedrooms and a full bathroom on the second floor. Also, on the first floor, a huge living room, a comfortable dining room, an adequate kitchen, and an all purpose room. Add to this, a "mother-in-law" quarter of a bedroom / sitting- sewing room and another full bathroom.

This fully masonry house with a full basement is complimented with an extra large, detached, masonry garage fronting the southend of a deadend alley. The property line adjoins The First Presbyterian Church to the south and is the anchor house on the east side of Evans street, a block filled with extremely desirable neighbors. Leaving our neighbors has been one of our most difficult decision in relocating.

Complimenting this home are mature plants and trees of stature and color that makes its extra large front porch so inviting. A comfortable front porch expands the livability of a house beyond description, sort of like, the feeling we get of a warm old comforter on a chilly day.

"Location, location, location" has always been the clarion call of real estate salesmen and saleswomen. Above and beyond, "Location" is this this house we called home for over four decades. It will be available after January First. Please contact me :( )

Thank You !
Ronald C.Downie

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Evan Alexander Downie

Evan Alexander Downie

Young's the man we honor today :
Slim in body, strong in presence,
Handsome, young fellow, full of pep,
New graduate, into nursing.

Our " Go To Guy ", grandson Evan,
Worked two jobs while at college,
Still kept up with his social life.
He's able to chew gum and walk.

Soon you'll be asked to take your place
Among your peers, among equals.
Then, all the work and study counts,
Making your mark in life on Earth.

It's up to you - how far you go.
In growing up - you overcame
Pitfalls that would whither others.
You, a guy with starch in his shorts !

Caring to care for the disabled,
Challenged, the sickly, the needy,
Is a calling born in the strong
Of character, those who serve man.

Nan and I admire you, our man,
Who could make our day by smiling
As you walked in the front door.
Never change, always be yourself.

Happy Birthday, Evan Alexander Downie.
Remember, be yourself, honest,
Dedicated, straight forward, true
To the name you carry forward.

Happy Birthday !
Love Nanny&Pop Pop

Evan Alexander Downie

Young's the man we honor today :
Slim in body, strong in presence,
Handsome, young fellow, full of pep,
New graduate, into nursing.

Our " Go To Guy ", grandson Evan,
Worked two jobs while at college,
Still kept up with his social life.
He's able to chew gum and walk.

Soon you'll be asked to take your place
Among your peers, among equals.
Then, all the work and study counts,
Making your mark in life on Earth.

It's up to you - how far you go.
In growing up - you overcame
Pitfalls that would whither others.
You, a guy with starch in his shorts !

Caring to care for the disabled,
Challenged, the sickly, the needy,
Is a calling born in the strong
Of character, those who serve man.

Nan and I admire you, our man,
Who could make our day by smiling
As you walked in the front door.
Never change, always be yourself.

Happy Birthday, Evan Alexander Downie.
Remember, be yourself, honest,
Dedicated, straight forward, true
To the name you carry forward.

Happy Birthday !
Love Nanny&Pop Pop

Friday, December 2, 2016

It was a good week

Some weeks are good, some darn good, but this one was a very damn good one : grandson Evan passed his test and is now a licensed nurse, Tom and Gail Carroll stopped in to see Connie and me, and in midweek, brother in law, Sandy -one putt - Burton, his wife, Phyllis- Connie's sister- their daughter, Wendy and friend Steve stopped by for a visit. All seemed well by being here down in sunny Florida with all the other visiting snowbirds. There are reasons some weeks are better than others.
It was a good week

Some weeks are good, some darn good, but this one was a very damn good one : grandson Evan passed his test and is now a licensed nurse, Tom and Gail Carroll stopped in to see Connie and me, and in midweek, brother in law, Sandy -one putt - Burton, his wife, Phyllis- Connie's sister- their daughter, Wendy and friend Steve stopped by for a visit. All seemed well by being here down in sunny Florida with all the other visiting snowbirds. There are reasons some weeks are better than others.

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Song By Whitman

"Afoot and light hearted, I take to the open road,.. "Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman engages my mind each time I see this commercial and hear these words on television. To get a more lasting reason for remembering this poem, pull it up and hear it read aloud taking about ten minutes.

Whitman lived in an earlier century but words of his wisdom erupt in valuable thoughts no matter the century they were written in. Walt's poems are best appreciated when read aloud because, by that, the cadence of his composition shines through. To me, his beat hammers throughout his works and sets him off against most other poets of his time. The art form of his poetics once revered by multitudes has withered over time but thanks to this commercial poetry has begun a resurgence. Maybe poetry will be used more as year go by to sell products, or at least, I hope so.

Ronald C. Downie
A Song By Whitman

"Afoot and light hearted, I take to the open road,.. "Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman engages my mind each time I see this commercial and hear these words on television. To get a more lasting reason for remembering this poem, pull it up and hear it read aloud taking about ten minutes.

Whitman lived in an earlier century but words of his wisdom erupt in valuable thoughts no matter the century they were written in. Walt's poems are best appreciated when read aloud because, by that, the cadence of his composition shines through. To me, his beat hammers throughout his works and sets him off against most other poets of his time. The art form of his poetics once revered by multitudes has withered over time but thanks to this commercial poetry has begun a resurgence. Maybe poetry will be used more as year go by to sell products, or at least, I hope so.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, November 18, 2016

"Gods, Wasps and Stranglers"

The author, Mike Shanahan, mesmerized me this week as I read his book, "Gods, Wasps and Stranglers" - the secret history and redemptive future of fig trees - in a few days of utter enjoyment. Stuck in the mud, was I, not having opened a book for months let alone some years. The iPad does this to you. It becomes too easy to surf Facebook daily thinking, now I know it all, what else is there ? There is a whole world of books out there just waiting to be opened to all with a receptive, inquisitive mind.

Ronnie, my son, called from Pottstown to me in Florida, saying a book was coming in the mail. Further, he said, this book got rave reviews from Mike McGrath on his radio show, "You Bet Your Garden", a radio show we both enjoyed for years.

Eighty million years older than our human ancestors the fig tree has been the sustainer of life its entire existence. The author weaves the history of figs into the fabric of man's existence and hopes today man can see through the many missteps his lust for open fields have laid waste the need for diversity among plant species. Along the way, figs have been worshiped by diverse tribes on different continents. The act of worship is one of the highest calling primitive man can muster up in his slow journey on the accent of civilization.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Gulf's Wetted Sand

Foot impressions upon fresh wetted sand,
Eyes west, thoughts universal, time is dusk.

Sun rays, sun set, photographic phone's eye
Snaps the scene, sailboat silhouettes yonder

Earth's ark. Wedded to Florida's weather
Our birthday girl, Lia, found this her home.

Water fowl and sea creatures capture eyes
Above and below the swells of constant

Motion. You chose the Gulf shore to settle
In your life's quest, yes, a health provider.

Following your bliss,  Florida's west coast
Fits you quit well, Marty too, and his boys;

Your boys, also, Blues and Max, both barkers.
And your parents, Nanny and me, Pop Pop.

Thru the house, armed to the teeth, Lia works :
Vacuum, wet steamer, broom and cloth duster.

Orderly, "a place for everything and
Everything in its place", a cook supreme.

You are our personal provider, nurse.
"Boys" love you beyond animal instinct.

Mom and I have more than respect for you ;
We love you as a daughter, our best friend.

Love, Happy Birthday !

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Back to Learning Sewing

Unlike many Americans, I feel sort of safe this morning since I am a child of immigrants, both parents born abroad, both in Scotland, but my brother Andy and I were conceived and born in the 1930's just north of New York City. We are Caucasian, Lilly white, unlike many young people of a darker skin who may be targeted if what has been said this last year during the election process actually comes into fruition.

Realizing, as I do, that females rejected placing a women in the top seat of government by not voting for Clinton to be the first female to break that glass ceiling. Our people have loudly spoken : this country shall be guided from the White House by a male for the for the foreseeable future. "Right by might" remains in full force today.

Thank goodness, the halls of education have seen this coming and are resurrecting women studies in both middle and high schools. Traditional courses of home economics, sewing, typing, and such once quite visible in schools will comeback and take their place once again. Yes, this outcome will stifle many females from attending college and they will filter down into the masses available for marriage. Marriage  on male's terms - "right by might" - cooking, cleaning, bearing children.

What a waste ! Females, by the numbers, are the dominant electors. But females, because they are not a homogeneous group have been browbeaten since the inception of our country by male dominance, and now don't seem to have an escape route out. They haven't accepted the ballot box as their way out, their saving grace. Where are the females willing to become global leaders who will cast off the shackles of Centuries and step up to be heard ?

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Posted Poet: XX11so muchdependsupon a red wheelbarrowgl...

The Posted Poet: XX11 so much depends upon a red wheel barrow gl...: XX11 so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens from Spring and All ( 1923 ) Wi...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


so much

upon a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

from Spring and All ( 1923 )
William Carlos Williams
( 1883 - 1963 )

Did William Carlos Williams anticipate, the topsy turvy climate we are experiencing these days when we get bombarded incessantly with election news, as he wrote this thoroughly analyzed and often quoted poem in 1923 ? I doubt it !

Many fledgling poets use Williams' admonition of "so much depends upon" when they are stuck at getting started with the opening line of a new poem. In fact, what in life is devoid of dependence upon something other than the obvious ? I, myself, have used this concept to get unstuck from a brain drain but, I'm sure, many out there think I'm perennially brain drained.

Many times we need to read a poem numerous times for us to absorb the unsaid, as well as, the said conveyed by the assemblage of words, phrases, and verses of the poem. It is left for each of us to get from a poem something, something could be the simplicity of a feeling or the excitement of getting yourself to write a piece of your own doing.

Please, for your own sake, don't wait until, like me, you're on your last hurrah. Simply put, it is just putting the best words in the best order you can muster up. Neither Mim Ludwig nor Kenny Gable are still on earth waiting to pounce on your spelling or punctuation. You become the master of your own ship ordering it to cast off and set sail for wherever your destination. Let others be the mates, you be the Captain at the wheel giving orders. Eventually, you'll realize words become more and more important and their relationship to each other a positive. Set sail with words and voyage forever.

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Election ( by another name )

Coat tails for down ballot candidates become more illusive as the guy at the top of one ticket slips and slides, his opponent smiles with her female eyes on the big prize, while the bulk of each of their constituents dig in their heels as the down balloters begin swinging in the breeze, some calling it, a death spiral.

Once, elections were contests between huge planetary thoughts by each of the two parties : a contest of grand ideas. This year, because of crotch comments, this contest is treated more like an erection than an election. Remember, decades ago, the big boy was thirty years younger and fifty pounds lighter and his present accusers were younger and would have been more attractive to that younger playboy. Thinking back, this younger buck was probably more full of testosterone and was bombarded often by female silicious dialog during Howard Stern's radio show where he was a frequent guest.

Believe me, people change over years of active life. Some re enforce their earlier life styles, while others through life long learning, seem to bloom again and again gaining mastery over new challenges. This World needs more of the latter and less young studs who grow old and fat still thinking they're vital by thinking they are still viral.

Elections are the great arbiters of current life in current time and will remain so if each contestant is an honest broker in the institution as it has evolved. Your ballot is your sword !!!

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Casey Elaine Downie

When in the wake of morn, night's gone, light's here.
Work looms, bringing regiment to the day.
Thoughts of a granddaughter, her image, dear.
To Nan and me, a sweetheart, work or play :

You wrap yourself in all you do and say,
Your work now takes precedence over play.
Pillars of life thrust up out of cold clay
That takes stamina, which you have, these days :

Grab those reins and bring the team into gate ;
Don't let horses drift off track, rain them in.
Tender are mercies you render this date,
Blessed voice, good always wins over sin.

Doves lite on lines in pairs, mate they for life.
Strength in structures built out of blocks of strife.

A Birthday Poem in sonnet form for Casey Elaine Downie,

Thursday, October 13, 2016

First Night

Not a long time ago in the scale of civilization's calendar, by right of birth, Nobles exercised a demeaning, hurtful exercise upon their charge, those ragged, downtrodden serfs under their master's heal. We have long read about young, newly married couples of this era who were required to allow the Lord of the Estate to spend the first night of their matrimony, if he chose to, with the young bride. Right by might, " First Night ", was a right passed down thru heredity, father to son, old money to young money.

Though medieval systems are few if any in this Century, "right by might", still exists in our modern World. Thru the power of accumulated wealth some people today take money excesses as license to do what they damned well please, to whomever they damned well please. "First night" was a presumed right but "right by might" is a new arrogant demand through the weight of money that the rich thinks wealth allows them any liberty they choose.

In today's election cycle we must all look deeply into each candidates credentials. I have equated my selection thru the lens of what I've laid out in the previous two paragraphs. I abhor the concept of "right of might". I will not vote for anyone who suggests this concept as proper.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Shackles Off

This self proclaimed "Judge and Jury", Donald Trump, has thrown off the party clothes of Republicanism to go it alone and to show the party it is irrelevant. The Grand Party of Lincoln, once thought of as honorable, in Donald's world as I understand it, is led by Paul Ryan, a "very weak and ineffective leader" according to Trump.

The ring master, Donald, fans the flames of dictatorship when he leads his choir in chanting, "lock her up", in a blatant display of judicial misuse and presidential powers. Trump must continue to fire away demeaning, offensive bombs in order to keep his diehard, zealot supporters well fed. Each feeds on the other's actions : Donald needs crowd's chanting ; crowds need verbal bombs which titillates their excitement, in a southern preacher's way, seeking a shout back.

It's up to you now, you the voter must decide on either being with a "party less" Donald Trump or with the Republican Party, although now leaderless. Going nuclear is Trumps vow. All those down ballot contestants who still support Trump have to declare where they stand and how they react to Donald's actions. Do you trust those who still support him and want him to be their standard bearer ? Which wing of the Republican Party will you follow ?

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Trump Effect

How does Donald Trump comfortably fit into Evangelical's accepted presidential candidate's roll ?

Where can we find sanctity in Evangelical's basic faith ?

What are the basic tenants behind Evangelical teachings ?
-Trust in Jesus, thus be, "Born Again"
-Bible final authority
-Salvation through faith.
-Share salvation with the World
-Rapture at the end

Somewhere along my eighty-one years of being at ease with biblical interpretation and my understanding of verse, Evangelical's final authority, seems adverse to most actions and talk of Mr. Trump.
I wonder what I'm missing ?

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, October 8, 2016

What's Donald's Deeds ?

I ask, what are the depths of faith that eludes me when I can't fathom the thinking of people who believe in a misogynist contestant for president of the USA ? Words spoken by Donald Trump define him, also, as do the widening allegations by women who experienced acts he described, while on tape, and that he did to them in real time.

I realize, I'm no saint, and, of course, I'm not asking to be your president. I, also, realize a president has to live and react in a flawed world. I realize, too, that a president must work in the cloaked grey of denial, in the slight angles of deflect, and in outright obfuscation. We're voting for a president not another, "Mother Teresa".

Do you wonder why we call the living quarters of President of the USA, "The White House" ? Inherent in this descriptive name is the idea of purity found in white, like the bridal gown attire.

But, l've known men of Donald's ilk who not only thought his way, but also, treated women as sexual slaves, and, yes, these men thought themselves "stars". Their stories of domination of females paralleled the tapes of Donald in action. It's true "A bird in hand is better then two in the bush", many of us thought this was the true nature of Donald, and now, a tape in hand shows us who he really is.

It is best if you question your member of congress where they stand and vote according to you're conscious.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Failed Flawed Duty

Defending the indefensible is an art most people sorely lack. Some, when caught in this position : deny feverishly, at first, then deflect its magnitude before ignoring the charge completely. The art of the dodge was worn thin last evening when Mike Pence had to, him and haw, as Tim Kaine lowered the charge over and over again that he should defend statements both Donald Trump and he himself, Mike Pence, uttered during the campaign. Defending the indefensible is, at best, a zero sum gain.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Art of Commercials

Saturating the airways down here in Florida are political commercials not unlike those all over the country except for the difference in the names of local contestants particular to their state. Down here, Marco Polo's still in the swimming pool with the kids while politicians are still cranking out : truths, half truths, and lies ; mostly the latter two.

The commercial that caught my attention enough to make me write about it is the contest for being senator in Florida between Marco Rubio and a fellow named Patrick Murphy. Rubio was in the past a senator then he began his run for president and, I guess, dropped out but, now again, wants the seat. Marco has a federal record of what he did while in office and Murphy is using this record against him.

It seems Rubio had the worst record of attendance when he served in Washington but Murphy includes the notion that Rubio was a lousy legislator considering his stance on Social Security and education. The commercial ends with these lines :
" Bad when he misses work ;
Even worse when he shows up ! "

That's a tough image to overcome for anyone. Since I'm not versed in Florida politics, Florida voters must ferret out their choice to elect on voting day. May they choose properly. May you do the same !

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Verbal Bull Fight

Glued to the screen last evening for the first Presidential debate of 2016, the following image appeared in my mind : a Mexican stadium, a bull ( Donald ), a gladiator ( Hillary ), and a stadium filled to the rafters with rabid fans.

The bull, rushing into the center of the jousting circle, his reddish orange mane wildly cascading more lion like than bullish, his head bouncing to the trumpeter's trill, finally eyed his opponent dressed all in red. This female gladiator needed no red muleta to incite this bull In question. May the contest begin !

Rather composed and placid the smallish lady in red did little to agitate the huge bull who seemed to be building up a head of steam. Poor Lester Holt could neither keep the bull on a time schedule nor on  topic since, time and time again, the bull interrupted the answer the lady in red was giving. The hour and a half match was but a third over when the big bull hit the wall, he showed signs of fatigue, began incessantly stammering. - "Game Over" -.

Verbal stilettos did a good job on this bull that needed no ordinary ones to get the big bull to lung at the gladiator. All the ranting and raving from under the reddish orange mane was superfluous to the final outcome. Crowds cheered and dispersed as I turned off the television and then settled myself down to find sleep.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, September 26, 2016

If, Big Boomers - Boom

As ash settles, quiet engulfs the Earth :
No birds, no animals, no people, no ... !
Annihilation complete, even birth.
What was, gone now ! Votes matter ! So, ..., so !

Boys clamor to rule, but, falter to lead.
They can extinguish life, lack empathy.
Tired of bombast, sorry voters plead
Their case : girls matter, seek telepathy

In the cards, not a simplistic answer :
Governing's a gift, unfit a simpleton.
Our World's not a toy, we're not pawns, either.
Our chance, though hidden, beyond convention :

November 8th, the day of reckoning,
Holding the cards; life's, life is beckoning.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, September 23, 2016

Looking For "The Do Nothing's"

Where is he ? Your federal member of the house, your representative, was on a seven and a half week vacation, came back into session, but now's out again, I'm told, to ready for elections. Is your's hiding, shame faced, somewhere in the bushes ? Maybe, he or she, is on a junket with a financial heavyweight supporter. That is not an outlandish thought !

Your member of Ryan's Lack Luster Representatives did little, if anything, this year. No help for Flint, Michigan in their epic battle for lead free water is a real travesty. Washington, DC. has turned into a a junk yard where, instead of passing dynamic legislation designed at improving the lot of all of us, there leaders pile up like old cars waisted efforts to legislate effective policy benefiting mankind.

The organizers of this country anticipated House members and Senators, as well, would go to The Seat Of Government and serve for a short time period then go back home to their occupations and live out their lives there. Legislating was never expected to be a life long endeavor.

Once newspapers had sufficient staff to tell us these answers but the gutted press, turned into eunuchs, can't even write about national issues these days. It comes down to you and your vote to do what you can to keep tabs on your representative. Vote out incumbents if you're dissatisfied with them ! Join a movement to limit terms of elected officials !

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Looking At My Hands

My hands, when I look at my hands, why do I see an eternity in them, all deeply lined and knurled up, ghost like. I'll be eighty two shortly but, by the palms of my hands, I only see something ancient, dangling mummified, at the end of my arms. It is immaterial that my hands ache constantly even though I take increasing dosages of the drug, Neurontin, thought to lessen pain from neuropathy brought on by diabetes. Advanced age, wrinkles, and new pains seem to go together quite nicely in their pursuit of finality. Although people don't seek nor wish for finality, the end is out there for each of this planet's population so -do your best with the time you have-.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Crotch 

After two weeks of tennis, tennis, tennis I am trying to get myself weaned from the insistence of serve and volley. Last evening the men's final was played : Stan Wawrinka out dueled Novak Djokovic to win the Championship Trophy.

Stan and Novak out lasted the bigs, who seemed to go down early in the tournament ; also the quicks, who seemed to run out of pep ; then the also rans who ran out of steam. It's a long haul these two weeks of torrid play which ended last night. 

I do have an observation that speaks to tennis over the multitude of years I've watched the sport on TV.  For years the premier tennis player was Rafael Nadal who has faded recently because of injury and most likely age. This Spaniard may be remembered for the reflex action he displays, especially, each time when he serves the ball. Prior to serving : Rafael tugs at his behind and under garments, then his sleeves, his hair, and then he swipes at his nose. 

I remind you of this because the winner last night, Stan Wawrinka, must be wearing similar undergarments which Nadal wears. Too often Stan tugs at his bottom, I figure, to relieve the unnatural feeling of something crawling up his leg and bunching up in his crotch. These players ought to checkout an army of of undergarment manufactures making their garments here. I surely hope this reflex is not catching !

Ronald C. Downie

Fish mongers, openly for public viewing : gut and scale, slice and dice, de-head and wrap your fresh fish for home broiling ; money mongers are less obvious, they do all their work behind closed doors.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Our Connor's Journey

Without song or dance,but with measured thought,
Our grandson, Connor, stands his adult ground
Determined, energized, his ideas sought
Among his peers. His ideas are found sound :

His journey of continued improvement
Surfaces, emphasizes his mastery
Of a sound footing, knowledge commitment.
No stutter step alters trajectory :

Oft on a starry, starry night, he looks
Up realizing others experience
Similar feelings. Not alone, in books
The World is laid out with man's dominance :

Connor, illumination is needed
Whether day/night, your intellect's seeded.

Love, Nanny&PopPop

Monday, September 5, 2016

TV Ramblings

Waiting patiently, first Saturday of September after a week of storms, for the Penn State/Kent State game on TV. Ohio State is humbling Bowling Green as I await games end on the same station. I'm lounging deep into my huge recliner that I've become too comfortable in. The Blue Band, in all its splendor, has taken the field at Beaver Stadium awash in crazed fans constantly hollering their home team chants. It must be a crazy afternoon there that I'd love to experience just one more time before my life's end. That's not to be, so TV remains the best alternative.

With TV my main connection with current life outside the house, I've become disillusioned with some TV antics that wears me out. Take a football game happening in rhythm when all of a sudden the ref's call for stoppage of play because they want to, not only review the previous play once but twice, belaboring the game and interrupting the flow of the game incessantly. Zebras have a place in this world but not so much in a football game. Thank goodness, Penn State won handily.

But my biggest peeve, toweling ! No matter, how much moisture is apparent on tennis players, a nod from any of them, causes a ball boy/girl to spring into action, towel in hand, while we the audience wait. Just think, boxers swing at each other, but time out, as trainers bring out the towels and wipe down their contestant because they're perspiring. Or, tie score, 3-2, pitcher starts his windup, but wait, timeout, there's a beed of sweat noticed by a coach on his pitcher's forehead. By goodness, stop the game - stop the damn game - what do you think, is this football ? Hey Connie, get me a warmed towel, I feel moisture building up on my brow.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Three and Counting

Three weeks in Florida and catching the tail end of a potential hurricane, if so, the first to make landfall on mainland Florida in eleven years. The Phillies' winter home seems under more severe rain than we are in Nokomis some 70 miles south. The brunt of this storm expected to make true landfall considerably further north than Clearwater around midnight. Then Hermine with increasing land speed will sweep northeast across Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas finally petering out somewhere to the north.

These same three weeks I've tried to learn of Phillies games but little if any news of this winter home team could I find. Just like disenfranchised Phillies fans up there devoid of winning ways, local sports announcers down here, mustn't think much of the local winter team's season. Of course, I'm only a fair weather fan at best. Maybe local sports announcers busy with winning teams's news have little interest in reporting about a team steeped in losing.

I hope the storm acts reasonably, I hope announcers do the same. Life shouldn't be mole hills made into mountains nor pasture streams into torrents but moderation taken to it's nth degree.

  Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sonnet 23

Ideals From Ideas

When, from your basket of dreams you pull out
Thoughts from earlier years which laid out ideas
Not yet realized, sort of detoured, changed route.
Mentally churned many ideas mature into ideals :

Then, as always, years accumulate dimmed decades :
Raising family, building a career, avoiding ill health,
Hopefully attaining stature among piers. Accolades,
Anemic statements, bring neither health nor wealth :

And then, the grandeur of an aging mind brings hope.
Earlier thoughts incubated over many years surface
To format a lifetime of wants, ideals ready to cope.
Now, after winning the battle of time, we save face.

If not from our mental cauldrons where do ideals
Come from ? Ultimate importance churns from ideas.

Ronald C. Downie

Sonnet 26

The Emperor's Cloths

When an overwhelming argument must come out
To bolster an awfully weak set of made up facts,
A candidate must keep a straight face, no pout.
Voice must not quiver or sound lower, stage acts.

Then, if the voting public has bought into the guise
An artful candidate, though deceitful, may survive.
Today's voters, under assault of Big Money, a prize
For billionaires, the difference, voters are yet alive.

And then, if the time comes to govern the country
A charlatan starts to show weakness of an ingrate.
Core convictions fail the test of governance, clumsily
Undoing that which made this Country so very great.

Voting must be an effort to best educate yourself,
So you see through the Emperor, who cloths himself.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, August 29, 2016

Charged Up

"If you snooze you lose", is a commonly thrown around phrase suggesting for you to stay awake or life swirling around you will dry up  and you'll be left behind. I snooze, I snooze a lot, and to be truthful everything around me is drying up and I'm left behind. So what ! Who the hell wants to be on that endless treadmill forever ? Paid my dues while active, now inactive and falling behind and find myself waving to those on the treadmill as they pass in review, hair swirling, cloths ruffled, their cell phones ringing loudly though it's not me on the other end. Excuse me, need to nap a bit !

Ronald C" Downie

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Red As A Beet

Did I hear it correctly ? If elected, Donald Trump would be the oldest elected candidate ever. Yes, all others were younger males, from way back, all males back to the beginning of our nation. This year is our chance to change the course of history and elect a women to run our great country. Her contender, speaking at 2:15 PM in New Hampshire, looks as red as a beet in face and hands, you know the look , looks of a liar's face flushed and swollen.

Going back to New York City each night Mr. Trump, we would think would look rested, not flushed and ranting. Like a barker at a county fair, this ripe red faced ring master, reads his rants from a teleprompter hollering out in a high shrill which intensifies his flushed demeanor. Could it be that he falls asleep in his personal suntan booth that colors both his hair orange and his skin red ? Is there something more to his returning home each night besides having a trophy wife waiting there for him ?

Somewhere out there in cyber space there could be another conspiracy theorist detailing a story about an elderly man who has sufficient wealth that can pay for medical treatments which rejuvenates him over night. Something along those lines could be a bomb shell if true. I've no knowledge of nor stomach to propagate such a story but some out there do, realizing what is being said all the time on the Internet. Sounds kind of James Bond'ish !

Ronald C Downie
Song Tune

The song,
The song of life,
The song of life is played in the key of time.

Seconds tick minutes into hours for days to find,
As weeks couple, bearing months, that years combine
Into passing decades etched forever on the mind.
Friends, in chorus, help harmonize the melody Devine.

But the tune,
The tune is ours,
The tune is ours alone,
But the tune is ours, ours, all alone to find.

Ronald C. Downie

Song Tune,

Song Tune is my signature poem suggesting time is the greatest regulator of each of our lives, segmenting periods of living at song, culminating finally in our own personal tune. It is the tune, people; really, folks, it's your own tune that makes your life pulsate.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Modern Man

Purpose is to a modern man
As plunder's to a Pirate's plan.
Each fulfills either want or dream
By honest work / devious scheme.

Trumpets blare, grand march on tap, as
Spectators shuffle, some wait jazz ;
While others, caught up, seek pageant.
Most breath easy, alł are content.

Coffee after juice, buttered toast,
An egg and bacon, tonight roast
Beef, potatoes, and green string beans.
Glass red wine, if you have the means.

Simple life, ordinary, normal :
Work, eat, sleep not very formal.
He looks at simple things, poem like :
Eight beats, few rhymes, some keys to strike.

I am the drummer in the band
Cause they can hear me cross the land.
Words come a plenty, time to time,
Now all dried up, the end, it's fine !

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Commentary : You Need To Know

Yesterday was quite eventful. Two media related events woke up my senses enough for me to describe them to you today. First, a copy of Charlie Reece's final editorial was shared with me by a cousin in Bayonne, N.J., Bruce Piggot, who is my mother's brother's son and is a huge Bernie Sanders fan. Bruce keeps me abreast of cutting edge information the World should know about.

Reece wrote about the influential 545 governmental officials out of over 300,000,000,000 citizens who are legally in charge of running the United States Of America. Total, all, everything pertaining to operating our government, Charlie points out, directly stems from one or more of these officials either through their votes or appointments. If there is a problem of governing the finger is directly pointed at them, "the buck stops with them".

If you vote, you are these officials boss. You're their boss and best you realize it, best you make them toe the line. Your disgust with any facet of government directly stems from one, some, or all of the 545 people. The ballot box is your ally. Treat it well. Vote!

Secondly, I saw the film, "Man Of The Year" starring Robin Williams as the comedian, Tom Dobbs, who is deviously elected President of the USA. Everyone should try to view this film during election season since Williams asks the questions only a comedian asks but, in hind sight, we all should be asking questions at every election.

This eye opener of a movie, brought to us through Chris Matthews' supporting roll as himself of Hardball fame, twists and turns as it tries to bring home the theme - how we're governed is up to each of us - each of us questioning before we use the power of the ballot. Check both out. Make a difference !

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, August 21, 2016

That Cranial Mass

Minds run the gamut - they distinguish doubt :
They determine right from wrong, honor from
Evil, beauty from common, frown from pout.
Minds untangle complexities - have some ?

Minds absorb like a sponge, education's
The ultimate filler, it is the best
To leave the old, gain association.
Paramount is the mind, best of the rest :

And then, when full, the active mind directs
Each person along a path. Fulfillments
Buoy the ordinary, elevating, selects
A path more tried and true, it compliments :

The path to knowledge is both up and down -
Deep valleys, high peaks - place wise thoughts abound.

A Sonnet :
Ronald C. Downie

Friday, August 19, 2016

It's Only Distance

Getting nostalgic - living at my new home, thinking of old times - that compels me to write in words which describe my feelings. It's funny : daybreak on the west coast of Florida comes about an hour later than it does in southeastern Pennsylvania meaning the Gulf Coast is further west then up in Pottstown. It's just a fact needing to get used to. Troublesome urinary problems awaken me throughout the night so at daybreak, whether up north or down here in Nokomis, I'm awake, no matter if the clock shows 5 or 6am.

When I was quite young, 6am was often my awakening hour, not to get up and get going, but to turn the radio on to WOR , New York, so I could hear Jan Peerce singing "The Blue Bird Of Happiness". Each weekday morning the station played this quite long record in its entirety. I'm going to bring it up now and listen to it. By God, this did take me back to the early 1940's when "the only thing I had to fear was fear itself."

From a ten room house, a large front porch, a detached garage, and big, big oaks  to a Florida ranch with pool, a lanai, hot tub, and two small dogs my life goes on. "Keeping my needs to a minimum and my wants to almost nil" life revolves around a walker, a lift up chair, a hospital bed and windows. Year round air conditioning and my daughter's physical assistance makes southern living so much more tolerable. I really like this new home Lia and Marty have provided for Connie and me.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Sleaze Factor

Sleaze runs rampant during political campaigns, this one's no exception, in fact, this one's sure to set unbreakable records. Let's see, one campaign has changed managers for the third time and, in doing so, each new addition must out do the earlier by sensationalizing even greater the falsehoods previously spread around. Thickening layers of sleaze become, more and more indigestible, like piling on a velveeta cheese sandwich so much more cheese that it sticks to the roof of your mouth and keeps you from swallowing. Sleaze gags you, too.

"Crepe Suzette" some argue, not sleaze. My detractors rather bring down then build up. Their's is of guts and guns, devious and denial, and of slime and sleaze. Their anchors dig deeply as seas rise and their ice makers hum while glaciers degrade and melt. Their World is not mine, your's maybe, definitely not mine. We're World's apart.

I have outlived Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Tojo, Ho Chi Min, Tito, Joe McCarthy, Nixon, and many others of their horrid ilk. Their common denominator seems to have been, "having no shame". Shame is a person's self regulator by imaging in one's mind the degradation of an act if done on one's self. Zealots seem to languish in their deficiency of having a sense of shame in their character. They feel no pain in exerting pain on others; therefor, they are masters of sleaze. Beware !!!

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Snow Birds

Just like the "Gods of Snow Birds" are looking out for Connie and me now in Florida, so to, should the northern "Gods of North Evans Street" keep watch over Daisy, Gladys, Barry and Brenda, the girls, both corner houses at St Johns, Sammy and family, and all walkers of dogs.

No matter how far a field a person roams, it is said, the person always takes his " giant with him ". Giant meaning his home or hometown. More apropos pertaining to me would be : this journey of mine which started with my first step - as all journeys must begin - and won't end until all memories are wiped clean. Since a journey is only a direction of travel, it becomes then a book of memories, memories are the only thing a person may take with them into their final demise.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, August 15, 2016

Thank You All

Settling in and mellowing out in Florida so it's time to thank everyone who responded to my earlier post. Thank You !!!

It's sunny and warm during the day but comfortable in the shade. Blue skies dissipate around 4Pm with a short thunderstorm - the old way us northerners remembered Florida - raining some every day in  Summer's late afternoon

Went in the pool, day one, but on day two, got a much needed shower, first good washing in a long, long time. The outside pool shower suited me fine because it's roomy enough to accommodate a seat and my walker too. I feel so clean today that I probably squeak. Impaired people desire not the big things in life but, the little ones, the simplistic daily things most healthy mobile people take for granted.

For now, Old Pops

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Arriving Safely In Florida

After two and a half hours of peddling and flapping our arms we finally landed at Punta Gorda, Florida : Friday, August twelfth just past noon. Winging south from Allentown aboard Allegiant Airlines for a flying time of two hours and seven minutes that felt like thirty minutes of incline, a little over an hour with the hammer down at 500 miles an hour, and thirty minutes of descent. Landing in Florida with a loud bump woke up the passengers who had enjoyed a non eventful flight. "All's well that ends well."

Connie's and my life starts a new chapter in this Earth oriented journey. Our children : Heather, Ronnie, and Lia (our Florida host along with Marty) will enable Connie and Me to comfortably live out our lives here. We can never express enough gratitude to our children and our grandchildren for making this happen as seamless as possible. To friends left behind, we'll never forget you even though we're 1200 miles apart. Lie 's calling me now to come in the pool so I'll say for now, "gotta go". A whale out of water is one floundering - sounds like describing me.

Love You All.
Ronald C.Downie

Monday, August 8, 2016

Join Vera Lynn, "We'll Meet Again"

I am a product of the Second World War being an elementary student throughout the bitter conflicts. When it ended with unfathomable destruction from two Atomic blasts in Japan;  I, as a ten year old, cringed from the magnitude of destruction.

Much later, when the movie, Doctor Strangelove, was being shown in movie houses across the World, I again shuttered at the movie's final scene. There again was the mushroom cloud billowing up to the lyrics of Vera Lynn singing "We'll Meet Again" posing the ideas "don't know where, don't know when" to her listeners.

That was 1964, this is 2016, and I get that cold chill yet when thinking of the finality of civilization with today's nuclear power. I doubt if our planet could ever recover from a nuclear conflagration ! Even worse then would be : the blistering heating up of our planet fanned by mindless, greedy, money grabbers who deny involvement.

Adding flame to hot embers is a candidate for presidency of our powerful nation. No matter what he says, his lifetime of actions point us to question his stability if he gets control of the nuclear button. So often in his business life he discounted human decency and true business acumen to squeeze subcontractors into bankruptcy. Now at 70, Donald leaves the business field strewn of bodies not unlike a scene from Japan's holocaust.

Maybe someday, "God willing", when a remake of the movie, Dr. Strangelove, is ordered, Donald Trump will be cast as one of the many deranged figures who played loosely with the nuclear button. Better he play a part in a movie rather then actually have the real responsibility of the nuclear button. At least, by then, I'll be but a memory, forgotten by most, not even an after thought to the World. Just so Vera Lynn sings in her inimitable way drawing audiences to sing along with her. Will there be a meeting beyond this life ? I doubt it, but I'm getting closer every day to finding out.

Thank You and Good by,
Ronald C. Downie

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


"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.

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

Friday, May 6, 2016

Our Band of Brothers

Yesterday we lost another - Linwood Bieler - who passed from this Earth and now enters into the realm of our memory.

Linwood was tall, athletic, and quite a handsome man who had many accomplishments during his lifetime : his children, his athletics, his employment, his educational endeavors.

Lin left three adult children, two girls and a boy, each with their own children, his grandchildren. Linwood lost his father to the Second World War when he was but a child, thereby, Lin did not get to know his father very well. Linwood was very proud of his offspring who are all professionals in their adult lives.

Athletically, Lin was a member, with many young men his age who played winning baseball, and who are now inshrined in Cooperstown's Baseball Hall Of Fame, for their record of winning fifty plus games in a row. When a senior in high school he played end on Pottstown High School's football team which won the league's championship. An avid golfer, Lin spent quality time on golf courses
both playing and working for the course.

Lin retired from Philco Ford located in the Lansdale area after over 35 years in management. He was always respected and well liked at his employment there.

One of the more impressive episodes of Lin's young life could be found in his dogged determination to get his degree from Ursinus College. Many get degrees from colleges but, getting a degree from a college by only going to "Night School", takes some superhuman effort. Try raising a family, purchasing a home, working full time while going to school a couple nights a week for year after year and you can imagine the stressful implications this implies. Kudos ! to you Mr. Linwood Bieler !

Now, into the Sprit World that memory flows through, we will experience our brother Linwood's existence on Earth from short jolts of expression; like, " Yea, that's what Lin'y would have said." Or, " Lin would have really liked that."

The final vestige of life is that of memory, all that that came before, no matter that no one remembers the fine points of each occurrence but, hopefully, someone who can put a sense of feeling behind occurrences. Ultimately life comes down to feelings not accumulations. We will all enter the Spirit World with little except our bodies and whatever vibes flow with us in some other medium.

May He Rest In Peace !
With Brotherly Love,
Jack Bechtel & Ron Downie

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Women's Card

Maybe it's beyond my comprehension to understand the concept of the "Women's Card" as used in this political climate. You see, games of cards have always been contests between men, as shown explicitly by cowboy movies in their heydays. Mavericks have existed since time began and many deftly used the slight of hand in dealing cards at games of chance.

Mr. Trump charged Mrs. Clinton of using the "Women's Card" as the only asset she has in her arsenal to challenge him. Donald used "Women's Card" in a very derogatory way, kind of like, disparaging the roll of women in the history of the World.

To my knowledge, there has never been a male or female born that hadn't come out of a women's body. Not, from time immortal, has one human developed without beginning life in the nurturing fluids found in a female's uterus.

This, my friends, is quite a card to play; yes, call it the ultimate "trump" card in the game called life. Donald can denigrate women all he wants too, but females in The United States are beginning to undo the stereotypes tying them down far too long.

Not only in life bearing are women better - the only choice - females exhibit characteristics : of understanding complex problems, of realizing compromise when advantageous, of balancing budgets in stressful times, and, among many more, of having a sense for honesty.

All you women out there, please remember, by sheer numbers you are  the the majority of our national electorate and, if you exercise your vote, you can change the way men appreciate you. Look at the mess that men have allowed our World to corrode into.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Last Supper

Right here on Facebook I learned of a way to offer the Last Supper to some unwanted guests. You know the kind who arrive without a phone call and barge right in impervious to your thoughts. Indignant as it seems, these guests can care less of what you think and, upon arrival, they don't make any inclination they'll leave in a timely manner.

I guess because they're unaccompanied by uncles, "ants" of all sizes come as these unwanted guests. Tinny, tiny ones are the worst but, I guess, the big buggers are the worst offenders at doing physical  harm. They arrive at our house early to mid-spring by showing up in the kitchen and in an adjoining bathroom which shares a common wall. Each year they arrive, we battle them, they finally disappear, I suppose, to their ancestral home outside in the environment.

This year, after reading about ant control on Facebook, we've seem to have interrupted the ants life style a little earlier. Maybe, by way of how ants interact between each other when they meet. We're told, ants upon greeting each other exchange food buy way of something like a kiss transferring tiny bits of food each time. This process continues right up the line until finally getting to the Queen who remains relatively stationary in the ant hill colony producing fertile eggs in voluminous quantities.

Control what's in the food ants eat and you have a chance to control ant population. Dissolve 6 parts of granular sugar in a cup of warm water, to this add 6 parts (an equal amount) of boric acid, to this add a small amount of honey and mix until all dissolved and suspended in the solution. Place solution in a spray bottle and spray solution in inconspicuous places preferably in trails frequently traveled by the critters. In a few days the active ants will have transferred this food laced with ant poison, the boric acid, back to the colony killing the Queen and interrupting the life style of the ant hill. Ants are prolific so new Queens are born, therefore I believe, this is a method of control not a complete eradication of the colonies because new colonies are forming as others collapse. Kissing their way to the top, ants who ingest the boric acid, do die, also.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Why, Primary Elections

Homebound, I voted by absentee ballot these last election cycles. But, this time, I spent more time trying to understand what I was asked to do when filling out my choices. Seems, the greatest number of people on the ballot, who were strangers to me, were those running for delegates to the political party convention this summer.

Aside from our 6th district representative in congress, Ryan Costello, I really didn't know anything about any of the others listed that I was asked to pick three from. Through the news, awash in all mediums of public interaction, these delegates would be choosing the next presidential nominee, not me, by my vote for my presidential preference.

Why have a meaningless public primary ?

It seems reasonable that more investigative reporting should be done on those people we're asked to vote for to attend and participate in conventions. With the demise of local news organizations all over the country, who the heck will do the investigating ? Oops, or we'll uncover another instance of our countrymen eating our own seed corn.

The fact seemingly is : cigar smoking back room politicos never died but, like beetles, burry underground for awhile and only come out when food picking becomes easy. Herding these party zealots to do the old party bull's wanting is their purpose in being, their duty for the party bosses. It is best for them to be anonymous ! Without thought they carry the political baggage under the radar in a way it has always  been done. Don't allow stupid voters mess up a system that has lasted so long and has done what bosses wanted done is their clarion call.

Again, why do we in America have meaningless primary elections ?

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Band of Brothers Asks for Help

Lasting over 70 years our "Band of Brothers" is being challenged as I write this. Linwood Bieler, the youngster of our brothers, is in need of prayer to help pull him through his latest hospital stay. Lin fell last week, hit his head on a table, and needed hospitalization at Pottstown. He also needed additional treatment on his damaged eye which was provided for at Wills Eye. Linwood was released from Pottstown and was sent to Manatawny Manor for rehab but his fight with pneumonia returned with fervor and he is back at Pottstown. Since Lin is outfitted with a pacemaker and he takes a full compliment of heart medicine, his medical situation is quite different from many patients.

Linwood, Jack Bechtel, and myself are the active living members left in our band. Gone is Jack's brother Bill and, way back, we considered Bruce Rogers of Grandview Speedway as an early member. We understand Bruce may have been hospitalized in Florida this winter. If he was, we hope he's well now.

We, "The Band of Brothers", a rag tag bunch, due to our age are like the walking wounded, and I use the word walking with my tongue in my cheek since I haven't moved without a walker for many years. Lin quite recently began using a walker too. Jack, our emotional mouthpiece, lost much of his voice to throat cancer some time ago but, though hoarse, remains effervescent as ever. Please, give some positive thoughts to our brother Linwood Bieler. Thank you !

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Missing in Action

He's missing in action, did he go over the hill, call the cops "missing person", where did he go ?

Look as I must, the game must go on, in spite of a missing man. You see, I watch Phillies's games on TV and one of the main persons I look for each game is the guy in the stands sitting just behind home plate working the pitched ball speed gun. All games, all innings he was there.

Low and behold this year he's gone. Where ? The speed of each pitch  is still indicated on the screen but by who, how ? I haven't heard any
announcer talk of the change.

Think if the Phill's, wanting to keep up with the present age, rather than acquiring name players, may have decided to go to robots instead of bodies. Not needing healthcare, nor vacations, nor overtime robots do the job without negotiations with management. Just a routine greasing and oiling is all a robot needs. Eventually robots may take the field instead of young men but, until then, I'll watch the games on TV still looking for where the speed of a pitch is being recorded.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ravages of Cold

Much praise must be given to local orchard men who battled against cold killing low temperatures these last few weeks and, we all hope, they won the battle. Killing cold is stealth like, coming in, in the darkness of early morning on breezes hardly discernible to all of us still sleeping in our beds. Orchard men don't sleep if trouble peeks up its ugly head.

I write today to make you aware of something which may happen to you, or rather, to your trees and plants due to these recent cold spells.    I want you to be aware of a problem that may arise from our recent cold but does not manifest itself until a later date maybe a month or more out. Leaves by that time will have unfolded to full size but some may be discolored by looking dead brown on some outer portion of the leaf. The stem portion of the leaf will remain its normal green but some portion of the leaf could look dead brown. Most likely nothing is attacking your tree or plant, no bug is doing this, no spraying can help, your tree or plant will live thru this abnormality.

What happened was : freezing temperatures occurred just as leaf buds were swelling and the outer tender tissued leaves got frosted and, now when fully formed, show up as dead tissue, usually a quarter to half a leaf will have turned brown. I haven't seen this affect occurring lately around here, in fact, it has been many years since orchard men needed smudge pots or salamanders to ward off freezing temperatures, at least, to my knowledge.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Facebook Memories

Ever since "Memories" appeared on Facebook I've become lax at posting anything current which I've just written. I realize most people won't read what I write about since it's written by an old geezer and not accompanied by photographs or reposts of someone famous. I doubt, in the big picture of life, if this matters, although, it matters to me. Rarely do I get to talk to people who can digest my thoughts in some meaningful way and question me about them, the true sense of what's called, "social discourse".

Don't get me wrong, I see the benefits in Facebook's interest of reposting pieces written years ago because they contain some nuggets of wisdom no matter when I wrote them. Gaining "Wisdom", in the grand scheme of things, is still the ultimate goal of Man. Writing about this effort has always been my driving force, even though, not all of us thinks the same way.

Memories seems all I have to relate to, at my age and infirmities, since neither reality will ever be reversed and no one knows what really happens beyond death. My living hope has always been for one of my offspring to adopt my writings and after studying them see if any have worth in printing them. Better yet, may someone of my progeny take up writing in their own style and may their's put mine to shame and may mine rest also with my memories and me into eternity.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Stephen Trevor Kurtz
Honoring birth with verse--

"The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music"

Listen for the shine, bright Sun emerges
Round, as slithering light green leaves unfold.

Can you hear trumpets of heaven blair forth
In cadence to feet shoed in hobnail boots ?

String ensembles reach out, seeking quiet,
In its quest to subdue the din of day.

But it's you, "the Music Man", who seeks cords
As dynamic as a stream murmuring

Over rocks, into pools, and down high falls,
From drip to rush, each in its own music.

Nature draws from its symphonic stirrings
That water, in all its wonder, creates.

A slow rain patters down rumbling lightly.
It provide background music to all sounds.

Sound needs not to be captured but coddled :
 Of five senses, coming from the Devine,

It allows Man to communicate, to
Enthrall, to draw from Heaven, Earthen Songs.

Your Birthday needs an infusion of songs
To commemorate this day in music.

Happy Birthday, Stephen Trevor,
Love, Nanny&PopPop

Friday, April 1, 2016

Occupy Spring

I'm down on the lowest rung of the 99 step ladder realizing there's no climbing up for me anymore. Advancing age keeps most oldsters like me very close to the ground; although, if I was a 1%R my investment income would rise year after year.

I'm confused in understanding the makeup of these 1%R's. How many of them are truly working women ? These super-duper rich seem only to be populated by men often shown as the deep pocketed financiers of political elections. Some 1%R's, like Mitt Romney, appear at rallies with their spouses but did his wife or wives of the other super rich create the vast wealth their families now enjoy ? I would suggest the 1%R's are really an old boy's club reminiscent of medieval times when men ruled this World with an iron fist.

Neither do I understand the gender makeup of the 99%R's. I believe women comprise about 53% of the citizens of the USA, a substantial majority. Do females makeup over 50% of the members of the Occupy movement ? If not, why not ? The tide of change seem to be flowing against the struggle of women to finally get beyond the concept of submission. An alliance with the 99%R's would seem natural since both seem to be seeking equality from the powers which govern us. 

After all these long years I should know quite well that simple logic does not carry the day. The struggle for equality, in all its forms, has been going on for millennia. It's like trying to go up a grassy slope slippery from a morning rain ; two steps up, one back, a fatiguing exercise to say the least. Many begin the journey but only a few will finish.

If women allow the tide to carry them backward they may not recover in a lifetime. The battle lines have been drawn by men legislators who historically believe they know best how women should be kept in line. By Devine Right men are superior is a strong message that women must debunk. 

Women hold a numerical majority in America and they need to join with the minorities : the persons of color, the immigrants, the poor, the old, and the in-firmed so between these groups they gain a unified voice, played out with the ballot box, which may well change this World forever.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, March 25, 2016

Boom and Goodby

Isis has an Achilles heal that the free World needs to exploit. Suicide bombers seem to exit this Earth upon setting off their arsenal vests of death. Then the World need not be concerned with their continued life of carnage as soon as they pull the trigger. Somehow we need to urge these crazies to have live ammunition practice. Boom and they're gone !

If the World can limit new recruits entering the mindset of of Isis terrorists, their ranks will continue to shrink by their suicidal attrition. Also, Heaven must be running out of Vestal Virgins sometime soon.

With all the psychologists in this World, you would think, some of them could be able to conger up an anti-Isis message which could become the new mindset for young impressionable misfits. The mind is the strongest, strangest mass of flesh arranged within a human's body but, if it can be swayed one way, I suggest, it can be swayed the other. The plight of the Free World sways on the assumption that Isis is a real deal and not just a blip on the screen of History. Sadly, we live  today within that blip of time and we must do what we can to live through it.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ages Old - Ian at Twenty -

From deepened wells which holds man's ambitions,
Comes cool clear waters that sweetens his lips.

Views far off horizons, draped deep in fog,
Men of substance clammer to discover :

Who am I ? Why am I here ? Answer please !

Age old questions, forever on the tongue.
It's their quest, multitudes have pondered,

Going about their everyday business.
Few arrive at any answers, like these.

"I am who I am, where I am", because :

"The Golden Mean" is more than a pipe dream
Designing relationships in Earth scale.

Factoring in the possible, finding
The probable, wanting real connections.

Rising to the occasion, seek answers as :

Those, who think in images, dream drawings.
Those, and who think in words, dream writing in verse.

You, who thinks in numbers, dreams equations.
Those who love you, wish you, Happy Birthday !!!

With Love,

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My Journey:

My autobiography in sketch form :

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 81 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 both: my insurance a real estate licenses, but 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 over 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 81 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, questions I ask of myself.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


An old geezer, my age (turning  80), should become alarmed when breath comes more difficult, heart rate increases, and eyes tear up which happened to me last night at my grandson, Ian Kurtz's, graduation services at Daniel Boone High School Stadium on a lovely late spring evening.

Ian Jacob Kurtz was really just starting his speech to his peers as their Valedictorian when he stated his speech would center around my poem, Song Tune, his favorite, which he then read aloud to the assembled.

Hearing my poem, my signature poem, read to a crowd
of a couple thousand people sent chills up my spine. Ian chose for the theme of his Valedictorian speech the factor of time, the very essence of my poem, which he artfully wove into time's broader concepts that invades all facets of life.

Ian's future and the future of the other 250 graduates of the Class of 2014 at Daniel Boone High School greatly  rests with each graduates' use or misuse of time. In my grandson's broad base voice, that commanded to be listened to, he spoke with a cadence many professional orators wish they had. His poise at the podium I marvel at.

Is it any wonder that my breath, my heart rate, my tears reacted as they did ? In all this World, few if any, grandfathers are awarded with the glory of having a grandson honor him by using his signature poem as the focal point of an important speech to peers.

My life, that has experienced numerous high points, as well as, corresponding lows has never risen to the height I've just written about. I must imagine where life will take Ian Jacob since in all likelihood I'll not experience in life his future. No matter, he has touched my inner soul, I am happy.

Ronald C. Downie
Song Tune

The song,
The song of life,
The song of life is played in the key of time.

Seconds tick minutes into hours for days to find,
As weeks couple, bearing months, that years combine
Into passing decades etched forever on the mind.
Friends, in chorus, help harmonize the melody Devine.

But the tune,
The tune is ours,
The tune is ours alone,
But the tune is ours, ours, all alone to find.

Ronald C. Downie

Song Tune,

Song Tune is my signature poem suggesting time is the greatest regulator of each of our lives, segmenting periods of living at song, culminating finally in our own personal tune. It is the tune, people; really, folks, it's your own tune that makes your life pulsate.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Sage

Gran'Pa Downie was a wizened, wise, old sage
Who's needs were few, his wants even less.
With a huge bald head, both forearms bowed,
His spine was so calcified it bent him forward
Making him unable to look up without sitting down.
His Scottish brogue, heavy RRRs, spoke of his birth.

His physical look was not him; he was truly a sage.
This ship's joiner, carpenter, traveled Cape Town,
South Africa to home port, Glasgow, Scotland.
His disfigured physical features developed from,
We thought, deficiencies in his diet during long
Trips at sea aboard tramp steamer cargo ships.

Is one born a sage or does it slowly develop 
Through adversity during a health decline ?
Or does Man temper, as steel from iron does,  
When it's super heated molecules implode   
Making them much stronger through firing ?  

From this sage we find his strength in words.
           Gran'Pa said : 
" A good job is it's own reward ."
" Please measure twice so you must cut just once ."
 "A job worth doing is a job worth doing well ."
 "I don't care ! " - "Just is not a good answer ."

For My Grandfather, Andy Grey Downie,
In Loving Remembrance, 
Ronald C . Downie