Monday, August 6, 2007

Old Folks at Home

Two blogs melded into one

By: Amber Columbia

Just folksPOD: Who's Your DADDY? Mine is "BIG DADDY or "D". Daddy has always been DADDY; Mother was Mother and their very preferences for salutations sets the tone for my relationship with each.

Daddy and I always had more in common. Each,an only child surrounded by relatives who showered affection and gifts upon us. Aunts and uncles shielded us from the realities of the grown-up world. His old uncle was his childhood "pal" and later, as my Great Uncle "Hunk" he shared his life with me. Everything he did with Daddy, he did with me, including fishing and hiking; my girl-hood didn't matter at all.

"D" and I are painters. My love for painting and art, an inheritance, is his inheritance as well. "D"'s daddt, my Grandpa was a commercial artists and sign painter who was able to keep his business going and workers working even during the great depression. Grandpa painted realistic works as did my grandmother. But, when "D" wanted to go to art school,Grandpa said "No!" He wanted something different for "D" and directed him to study business at Babson outside of Boston, Mass.

Daddy has set the tone for what I want and expect in friends and in a standard for living. Kindness, intelligence, a liberal political consciousness and Christian ethics with or without Christianity. He is generous and outgoing; he doesn't often hesitate when someone asks for his help. Daddy enjoys a comfortable home and is always looking for interesting new additions to his rooms, although the new additions are usually something purchased in an antiques or second-hand shop.

Dad has a FANTASTIC VOICE and loves karaoke, he's an OLD CROONER!

My "Big Daddy" is 87 (ed 2009) and Mother is gone. I have no children; 38 first cousins; five of my mother's 10 siblings remain. Daddy has two cousins and me; He is a survivor of a once large and loving family. That saddens me but it is the way the world works. We are here and then we are not. Something of us remains through blood or memory as long as those who remember or who share DNA live.

Daddy knows each day is a gift. Many of his friends have died but his outgoing personality helps him to make new friends all the time. He loves to travel, shop, and of course eat out with friends but that has become increasingly difficult. Most days, he is in his studio and paints. It takes him longer to complete his work than before but he does. He's rather amazing and I KNOW I am one of the luckiest ladies in the world because I have my BIG DADDY still.

Just FolksPOD: Mr. Ray

Mr. Ray is a good neighbor. At 87, his mind is sharp but the once athletic body is wearing down. He walks slowly with shoulders slightly stooped, each step causes pain. His breathing is hindered by chronic sinus infections , his arms and face are covered by the scars that remain from numerous laser surgeries performed to remove skin cancers. Regardless of his advanced years or ill health, nothing stops this senior citizen from doing a day's work, often the heavy labor reserved for a man a third his age.

A month or so ago we spoke as he eyed a huge old maple in my front yard. The tree was alive but it's gnarled branches came tumbling down every time there was the slightest breeze. Mr. Ray had been collecting neighborhood wood for over 50 years. It fueled his maple sap operation in the early Spring; and kept he and his wife warm during the long and cold New England winter. Now, he wanted this tree, the entire tree and he offered to take it down.

I hesitated but smiled. The fact this tree was 50 feet tall, next to a well travelled road and over hanging the power lines meant nothing to this man. He was confident in his ability and had felled many just like it before. "NO!" I said, "I think we need to get the town involved. It's too close to the road; it's just too much for one person." He returned my smile and turned to make the slow walk across the street and home.

Today, as I look out across the lawn and to the road I see a large flat tree stump cut at ground level. No branches litter the lawn and a young spruce, newly planted, will soon grow as a specimin for all to admire. For weeks I thought the town had tired of clearing wood that littered the road and had removed the elderly maple. When it first 'disapeared', a very large stump remained and soon, Mr. Ray re-appeared, chainsaw in hand, and began cutting it away. I ran to his side, watching and worrying. "This is too much for him", I thought. Mr. Ray worked steadily for an hour before taking a break. I thanked him for attempting to rid us of the stump and asked if he was able to get the wood when the old maple was felled. He smiled again and began telling me the story of the day when he and Mrs. Mrs Ray, also 87, cut the old tree down. Methodically and without incident, they dropped the tree, cut it into moveable pieces and removed every limb, branch, and leaf to their yard.

This took me by surprise. He silently continued his work on the stump, when the job was done, he packed his tools and moved ever so slowly across the street where Mrs. Ray certainly was waiting to stack the stump wood with the rest of the tree. That evening their house was dark by 8pm. It is dark each evening around that time and so it goes, before the next dawn, Mr. and Mrs. Ray will rise to begin another very full and active day.

Dad loves Maine and has been visiting the state since the mid 1960s when he also worked there.

His interest and talent in watercolor and oil painting brought him to the state for workshops on several occasions. During the 1980s her worked on Monhegan Island with artist Larry Goldsmith.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Why folksPOD...Paying it FORWARD

folksPOD is dedicated to the act of PAYING IT FORWARD. I hope that someone will gain knowledge or be helped by the contents and that they might pass along help to others. For me, paying it forward, even in the smallest way, is what life is about. Amber Columbia

Pay it Forward

Author: Tsoof and Eden Baras

Most young children believe in the goodness of human nature. Later on, parents start telling their kids those stories about being careful with strangers because parents know that the big bad world is…well…bad. As we get older, we start to see that maybe the world is not quite so perfect. We realize that maybe our parents do not always know the answers and that now that we are older, we have responsibility for our actions.

“Pay It Forward” is a movie about the big bad world and how we can each make it just that little bit better. 12-year-old Trevor Mckinney (played wonderfully, as always, by Haley Joel Osment) is given a project in school by his social studies teacher, Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey), to come up with a plan that will change the world through direct action. On his way home from school later that day, Trevor notices Jerry, a homeless man, and decides to make a difference in Jerry's life. Trevor then comes up with a plan for his project. He will do a good deed for three people and instead of "paying him back" they must each in turn do good deeds for three other people and "pay it forward". Each of those people must then pay it forward to three people each, and so on. Trevor's first good deed is to help Jerry by feeding and housing him so he can "get on his feet."

Trevor's mother, Arlene (Helen Hunt) is an alcoholic, single mother who is working two jobs. When she finds out Trevor is housing a homeless man she becomes angry with Trevor and confronts Eugene about the reason Trevor has allowed Jerry into their home. Eugene is also intrigued by Trevor's response to the social studies project.

Meanwhile, journalist Chris Chandler (Jay Mohr) finds himself stuck on the road without a car late one night after his 1965 Ford Mustang was damaged in a car accident. A stranger stops and gives him the keys to a brand new Jaguar S-type car, asking him only to pay the favor forward to someone else; astonished, Chris wants to find out where this philosophy came from.

For his next good deed Trevor decides to help Eugene by setting him up with his own mother. Their relationship comes along perfectly until Arlene's ex-husband Ricky (Jon Bon Jovi), shows up unannounced, claiming he is sober and Arlene decides to give him another chance. When things turn ugly and Arlene turns to Eugene when she discovers that Ricky is still the mean drunk he always was, Eugene is not willing to forgive her.

Chris finally tracks down Trevor as the originator of "pay it forward," and interviews him. Trevor explains his hopes for the concept, but expresses his concerns that people may be too afraid to change their own lives in order to make the whole world a better place. Eugene and Arlene are both present during the interview. When Eugene hears Trevor's words, he realizes that he and Arlene should be together.

For his last good deed, Trevor decides to help a friend who is constantly tormented by bullies.

Without giving too much away, the movie promoted a truly inspiring message that reminds you that there is still good in the world and even if you are just one person, you can make amazing changes. If we all did a good deed for three different people, and then they in turn did a good deed for three more people, is that hard? No. Is it possible? Yes. Would it make a difference? You bet! Make a difference, pay it forward.

About the Author:

Tsoof and Eden love to download full movies from the Internet.

Article Source: - Pay it Forward

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