TOP OF THE TOWN ‑ I have passed my expiration date and one of my doctors has pinpointed how much longer I might have to pound on the keyboard. I find it kind interesting my time is limited here on Earth at the same time another grandchild arrived on the same Earth.  So Ireland, if we fail to meet before I depart (she is in Groton, CT) I wish you a better world to learn and love in. I’m writing this in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, two days after you were born to our youngster daughter, one day after Mary’s birthday (she has stopped counting them) and a week after another friend (there have been many) left. All of this is hitting me hard, especially as I listen to a two-hour American Routes airing from Louisiana of Doo Wop classics centered on Dion. I’m a music fanatic and Doo Wop arrived on Earth in the early 1950s as I was about to enter my dark years after my mother suddenly died at age 48, my dad remarried and we moved from New York to Ferndale, WA where dad helped open the new Mobil Refinery on Cherry Pt. In one fell swoop I went from a B+ student, the best athletic in my age group (and as good as kids several years older than me) and a lover of the great outdoors (romping often bare foot in the Alleghanies and hiking up to ridges where I could see into Pennsylvania and rural areas of New York where the Allegheny River meandered peacefully) to barely passing classes in school and walking alone down railroad tracks and into woods and sitting along the Nooksack wondering if I could swim across it during its spring surge. It breaks my heart so many friends, many of them close friends, left me early and now another one has departed a month after he told me he had terminal lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, which he could not figure out how he was exposed to. Gordon was a great guy, very positive, always smiling and very much a Christian. He was my contact on all the friends I left behind when I left New York in 1954. Dion is now singing Ruby, one of many favorites I sang to when I was emerging to my teen years. It was Dion who penned the original song “Here in America” about Sam Cooke and the racism Cooke endured even though he was one of the kindest singers around at the time. Cooke was a star at a young age, but was only a star on stage. He had to dress separate from others (all whites) and was not treated well on the streets. The racism he had to endure I find very hurtful even now 58 years after he was shot and killed. Then there is the Dion song “Abraham, Martin & John” about the senseless killing of them, along with Bobby Kennedy, who I thought was going to make a great President. “Tell me where he is gone” Dion sings about Bobby. There are so many Doo-Wop songs that bang me upside of the head and bring back wonderful memories of living an idyllic life as a young teenager. I had the world by its tail and then the tail up and smacked me hard, setting me back decades as far as growth. The fact my life was stunted is all on me. I was in a house where my father’s new bride didn’t like me (and I didn’t like her) and I did not want to hurt my dad, who was a wonderful, kind man, so I suffered in silence and tried to stay away from the house as much as possible. My dad and his bride are both gone and the fog eventually lifted from my mind, but it took years. One of our granddaughters was killed in 1989 and her death shook the family. I searched for a year why she had to go? Junior (that’s what I called her) came here for a reason I discovered. Most of you won’t believe what I know now. She was 3.5 years old when she was run over by a truck. I have had a number of spiritual experiences and this one was the biggest because it confirmed what I found in my research. Junior was an Angel. She came to give her life to shake our family back on our spiritual paths and become the family we needed to be. It worked. Our family is kind and giving. Junior spoke to me after her death, telling me, “Don’t worry about me, I walk with the Grace of God.” Some day (sooner than later) I will meet Junior again. Thanks for listening. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.