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 
Looking for a Lord

Folks, we're voting for a President of the United States of America not a Lord, or a Saint, or a pure body and soul citizen to fill the position. How many previous men ( yes, only men were termed to be qualified to fill the presidency since our inception ) were thought to be Lords, or Saints, or pure of body and soul ? All persons are flawed from birth our religious bodies have preached, seemingly, forever. But, even the most pious critics speaking out want, we the electric, to think our vote should only be for a person of purity in all aspects of their life. Sadly, there are not many people like that alive anymore, certainly not me but, maybe, you.

Being president is a difficult, challenging job needing someone who will be a "tough nut" during their term. The challenge is that which revolves around death. A president has to put the country's military in harms way from time to time, all the while, granting clemency for persons interned. Life and death, trade and economics, progress and stability must be mingled within any day's itinerary. Do saints or lords think only this way ? I doubt it !

I want a presidential candidate who can think, who can connive, who can shrug off confidants, who can devise a route to a better future. I don't want a lapdog licking at my boots, rather, I want a tough, tender, person as president who sees the presidency as a vehicle to draw out the best in people and draws on some of them to serve the public. Government was devised to be "of, by and for the people" not for the oligarchs whose roll in life seems bent on buying elections to install a person as president opposite of all my longings.

No, I'm not looking for a lord, a saint, or a citizen pure of body and soul, certainly not ! I'm looking for a tough, decision maker. A person who will preside over our country, all our country, all our people, citizen or otherwise. Who will you support ?

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Is Upon Us

Emerging, elongating,
Unfolding, budding,
Coloring, flowering,
Wilting, dropping flower pedals.

Then leafing out,
Primary limb formation,
More lateral limbing,
Adding girth and mass,
Exponential growth.

Life is divided into two segments :
The first half, actively growing.
The second, retaining formed growth.

First half life continues to add mass ;
Second half just sustains and maintains,
Birth delivers a form requiring growth.

Death gives this life form its finality,
Whether it be plant or be it animal.
All life forms conscript to this process.

Some humans have their lives extended.
You see their monuments erected in parks,
Read names in books, hear tales about them.

But, even though Spring annually arrives,
And birth evolves allowing life to unfold,
Fall triggers the coming of a second half.

Leaf coloring, browning, curling, falling.
Winter ushers in a sense of life's ending.
Gathering in eatables we stock for winter

Subject to the Natural Laws of the Universe
Man holds no higher a place in life's existence
Than all other life forces on this our planet.

Man's lust to alter these laws draws him
Into the wilds of Faith, a dependence on
The unknown, sinking him into a bubbling crucible
Holding the power of an unsuspecting bondage.

Belief in faith needs faith in belief, sort of a
Revolving theme, needing constant reinforcement.
Ministers seize the airwaves in hot pursuit :
Sizing you up, shaking you down, spouting off.
Their words, could become your's, if you let them.

Spring's upon us, wear it well !

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, March 18, 2016

Readings : The Book Of Nature

Just shy of spring, the weather seems conducive for our flowering magnolias both Star and Saucer. The Star popped a few flowers last week and each day more and more open up but the saucer magnolia, though heavy with buds for a while, had its first flowers just open up this morning.

A man of the soil, I'm a disciple of the plant kingdom, and I read from the Book of Nature as I'm able. This book is not written of words to be worshiped but rather to be the subject of observation of plants growing and how they react to weather and ground conditions they must live in.

Funny how Man seems to take Nature for granted but, rather hoops and hollers about scripture, fighting about who's scripture is paramount, who's God is omnipotent, who's disciples are the chosen ones. All the while, Nature does what it has done for billions of years, it plods on producing flowers which when pollinated produce seeds that starts the cycle over again if growing conditions are favorable. If not favorable, some seeds remain dormant until conditions change. By chance, some species go extinct while new adaptations survive in this process of life.

Man, with all his belief in Gods, is not immune to the forces of Nature which engulfs us all. Yes, it is important to look at and learn to appreciate the cycle of life we are immersed in. As important as Man thinks he is as a species, we are just some off shoot in "The Kingdom of Nature" who have the capabilities to think and reason overtly, in stead of most plants, which do it covertly. In the end, put your money on that which has lasted billions of years, in stead of, mere millions of years. Man's problem is : he has the ability to eradicate all life on Earth, even our Gods, by nuclear contamination and the Genie is but a cork away.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Stone - The Stone*

Hone yourself a sharp mental edge
Lest politicians ply their wares.
Silent with skill they drive a wedge
Dividing life into cares and fears.

"Care, yes care, I care for you."
Tongue cheeked message driven,
Script weak, thin, seen clear through.
Be self driven, fall not to speeches given.

"Fear, not me , fear the other guy."
"Believe me , I am not conceited."
Through lips drawn tight of teethe sly,
Bravado loud, dishonest call repeated.

Stone*, the stone apply it often
When mind at rest in dullness creeps.
In apathy's folly the robber's hidden,
Citizens engaged, informed, America seeks.

The stone, the stone apply it often,
Hone yourself a sharp mental edge. 

         Ronald C . Downie 

One of the more important tools of early America was a unique looking device, a household need and especially a farmstead requirement, it was the four foot, curved handle scythe. The scythe was the premier grass, weed, grain, and hay cutting tool with about a three foot long curved metal cutting blade about three inches wide with a sharpened leading edge. Keeping the edge sharp was accomplished by a stone*, a graphite abrasive stone stick six inches long, held in one hand at an angle to the cutting edge and vigorously run back and forth to sharpen the blade's edge. Scythes were very efficient when properly used and craftily sharpened. The stone was the key to making the scythe work so well and it allowed early America's life to be more livable.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Color in all its Splendor

Thursday the 10th of March, 2016 was quite an eventful day, the third in a row of record temperatures which allowed me to sit out on my front porch each afternoon. Any time the mercury registers above 70 degrees the front porch is beckoning, especially, if the winds blow light with a calming breeze.

The beckoning warmth drawing me outside did something more to the flowering world which hid most of the winter underground. Our flowering cherry came out in a full deep pink array, so full of ever plumping buds the Star Magnolia broke creamy white on a few upper branches, and our dwarf quince is just ready to grace the flowerbed it's growing in in distinctive color.

I love the flowering bulbs which abruptly pop up in their dazzling coloration ; crocuses : distinctive in yellows, purple of delight, pinkish that blush. Our daffodils popped out the ground first and they show yellow that would make the poet, William Wordsworth, gush with verse. Tulips break ground as early as daffodils but tulips must need more time to push flower buds or, do they retain their color underground longer to appreciate the beauty in pigments ? "Each in its own good time" seems to be one of the tenants of nature somewhat difficult to appreciate for mere mortals. We humans must learn to take time to observe and let nature evolve as it has for eternity.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Thoughts on Thoughts

So often, lately, I'm planning on writing about thoughts mulling over in my mind but when "push comes to shove" and, I need to actually type on my iPad, my fingers won't cooperate. Therefore, I'm obliged to harvest blogs of old which go back to 2010 when I began writing, in ernest, on my iPad. Thoughts, though old, are still relevant today if they didn't engender action when I first wrote them. Thoughts are like a pair of new shoes which, when worn once are not worn out, but need wearing over and over again to break them in and to make them comfortable for future wearing.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Black Holes Of Ignorance

Ardently claiming insight into the black holes of ignorance, the learned, through their writings in books and articles, try to pierce the bleak of darkness in hope of enlightening the World. The World, in its enormity, has a vastness which covets darkness as it tries to suck in all ambient light.

Through the millenniums, the learned have built upon their counterparts over the passing centuries who had cast off the darkness of ignorance through their understanding of mathematics and science, history and astronomy, along with the social sciences. Light is emitted wherever learned knowledge is allowed to prosper; whether in a single mind or expanded out unto a population.

Find politicians who bet on ignorance, for they are the proponents of the black holes driving down the brightness of creation. Make sure these legislators are voted out of office. When these leaders trick us into stepping backward, we trip over ourselves, so civilization is stymied for a while from taking giant steps into the future.

Our ancestors, especially of the pre agriculture era, worshiped what they could readily see. The longest day was evident for they could sense the days increasing in sunlight, then the change, as the days of decreasing sunlight were observed. Solstice, the day we now celebrate, was extremely important to our fore bearers because it defined a specific day for the grand change of daylight's duration. The change, even though so gradual, the learned of the tribe was charged with its determination and setting the date.

For you, who seek light over darkness, you have a job to do, a very important job. You must muster strength enough to vote out any legislator who promotes the opposite of your desires; that of demanding light, which casts illumination over darkness.

Ronald C. Downie

Reading's More Than A Pleasure

The pleasure to read, put off way too long, becomes like a drag on a boat, slowing it down while making it less manageable to steer, as it puts in jeopardy a person's desire to better find themselves. The inability to read is more like hitting an iceberg and sinking the boat rather than just putting a drag on it.

Where in the World could America get a better return on her investment then if our country would make education a top priority by pouring investments into it. It's not like a brand new program, we've had an universal education agenda in place for most of a Century here in America which now needs a shot of financing to make education truly a 21st Century accomplishment.

Americans pride ourselves in the excellence of our higher education institutions which serves those whose parents can afford their exorbitant costs or are youths willing to mortgage their future by borrowing to attend. Many slots are taken up by foreign students of financially able parents.

To more and more, a belief surfaces that a higher education is but a "right of passage" of all young inhabitants of our Earth as they pass from youthful adolescence into adulthood, and, as their aptitude and attitude allows them. This passage is evermore controlled by a young person's ability to be served by money instead of by raw mental ability.

Why in the World does America eat its seed corn or eat her children or eat the future away? Because, we as a country, are awfully short sighted thinking only for today or, at best, no longer than this week. The rich are really dumb thinking this way. Their own best interest is in having buyers of products their industries produce.

These buyers have to be nurtured, growing into consumers which is the backbone of America's economy. They need disposable income to purchase goods and services. Expanding the poor is the last thing providers of good and services need unless these providers are bent on a short time run. Too often, it seems the well to do need little time to make their vast wealth, so they're only in for the short run, and those younger financiers replace them in a same short amount of time.

It once took a generation to accumulate an old time fortune, but now, ten years is a long time for a fortune to be realized. Get mine now and be gone is the moneyed's song when their interest should be in a rising tides lift all ships.

A rising tide is needed in education to bring it along in a way that truly raises the pursuit of knowledge to a level our World needs. The ability to read is the golden rule for all living beings. The increased ability to write well boarders on the true pursuit of capturing wisdom.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Clouded In Song

"We'll Meet Again,
Don't know where,
Don't know when..."
"Some Sunny Day."
Join in along with Vera Lynn to the end of "Doctor Strangelove".
In the far distance a blooming mushroom cloud billows up in a distinctive way. Its destruction defies the beauty in the visual display that expands while Vera Lynn's lyrics sore to take reality away.

We live in the shadow of the bomb, not by choice, but by a thread sewing an illusion over the World that people of logic control the send buttons.
All the while in calculated ignorance, a cataclysmic weather change is encircling the Earth that will cause unheralded disruption to the life of inhabitants not yet born. Which will end life first as we have known it ?
Maybe it's just as good if we all join in with songs that brought the free world together to put down the sinister forces of evil. Vera Lynn had a wonderful way of bringing crowds together in song. A Sing Along is not only a thing of the past but it would do wonders for congress rather than for them to write letters which whip up a storm unseen till now. Join in, "We'll Meet Again, ...".

Ronald C. Downie

When Death Crosses Your Mind

Soon I'm to enter my eighth decade, in about two weeks, and I don't know how I've lived this long. Once, as a young teenager(late 1940's), while daydreaming about the books I had just read, Robinson Caruso and Swiss Family Robinson. Then, while climbing the large white oak tree, out back at our home on N.Keim Street, I fell out of it twelve foot down on the flat of my back and was stunned and dazed. I lay this way for quite some time before coming around from what I thought was surely death, but death coming in a dramatic bookish way.

Years later( early 1970ties) at the Pine Forge Ski Area, where I was part owner and spent the majority of six months upgrading the skiing facilities, I looked sure death in the face again, but not so dramatically. We purchased and were installing a T bar lift when we reached the final stage, hanging the cable which would carry the T bars. I took the full roll of cable up the trail to the top of the ski slope with our front end loader tractor. Our idea was to to unravel the full roll from top to bottom, hang it on both the drive wheel and the top return wheel, then splice the cable into a complete loop at the final proper length.

Seemed so easy, just hang the roll of cable on a steel bar hung between the tractor's three point hitch assemblage and take it down the ski slope. We anchored the end of the cable at the top of the hill, hung the reel on the tractor, and I, with some trepidations, started down the hill in the lowest gear. Suddenly, without my understanding why, the tractor began free wheeling, regardless of what gear that the transmission was in, and the tractor with me aboard went flying down the hill. Both brakes were depressed fully which proved in effective. Bouncing down the hill faster than I ever thought I could go on a tractor, I flew, but I was still unraveling the cable.

I thought to lower the bucket of the loader but quickly realized it may dig in and flip the tractor head over heel throwing me off to some tragic ending. It was taking all my effort keeping the tractor headed straight down hill. Any deviation could also cause the tractor to roll over with untold consequences. I rode it out, though, as my long life suggests. Yes, I saw death as a outcome of that day's folly, too. Neither, while up a tree deeply daydreaming; nor, playing Richard Petty at the controls of a tractor, I guess, could have robbed the Grim Reaper from finally taking me in my sleep.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Porch Afternoon

Yesterday I spent two hours on the front porch in luscious sun light just sucking up vitamin D and fresh air. This is the first time outside since The Carousel Of Flavor event was downtown in conjunction with the opening of The Time Capsule and the reading of my poem, "Anchored Dreams", for the assemblage of spectators. Little did I realize then just how fragile my physical state of health was. Being clinically "Homebound" is a medical care term which allows medical care to come into your home rather than you go to an office of a doctor. But being homebound, in reality, is a state of mind and physical ineptness, something like, being warehoused as if but a box on a shelf in a warehouse. The human animal was meant to be active from youth until death.

Yesterday was a good day since I got to meet and have a conversation with my neighbor, Fred, from down at Nightingale and Evans. Up till now we acknowledged each other with a distant "hello" as he passed the front of the house with his dog who was always tugging at his leash. The dog's home these days since his tugging got to be too aggressive and Fred's gotten somewhat older. Fred is retired and is a caregiver for his wife, something familiar to our household, as my wife, Connie, is my family caregiver to me. More importantly to living is a good caregiver, even more important than a doctor, even if they do come to your house to see you.

Ronald C. Downie