The Eye, with jewels

Chameleon: An Interactive Exploration

Part VI -- Reminiscing Anecdotally

"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
-- Clarence Shepard Day, Jr., once-reknowned author, poet, artist, and outspoken supporter of women's rights

"My love for you is like the ocean: vast, volatile, and potentially deadly."
-- male cartoon character to his woman friend on a valentine card he's made for her

"The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so."
-- Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899), a Civil War veteran, political leader, and orator who presented what were then considered radical views on religion, slavery and women's suffrage

"For you shall go out in joy/ and be led back in peace./ the mountains and hills before you/ shall burst into song./ and all the trees of the field shall/ clap their hands."
-- Isaiah 55:12

"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."
-- Deepak Chopra, medical doctor, author and speaker, pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine and named by Time magazine among the "Top 100 Icons and Heroes of the Century" in 1999, "the poet prophet of alternative medicine"

Lady Liberty, 'We can do no other' Judaica
I, A Woman

Prelude (Abbreviated Synopsis of the Synopsis of Technology and Me) -- Strophe -- Growing Up Rich (To The Manner/Manor Born) -- Manhattan! -- Music and Hippiedom -- Settling Down and Yuppiedom -- Technology and Careerism -- Wilderness Basics (Beasts and Heathens Part 1) -- Art and the Internet (Beasts and Heathens Part 2) -- Epic Coitus Interruptus -- Town/Community Life -- Frivolities -- Beasts and Heathens (Finale) -- Recoveries -- Reprise -- Joie Plaisir Eibr -- NOW (New Original Word)

Chapter 12 (2007-2008) -- Recoveries

The Little Brown Hen Speaks

"... They disbelieved, so they mocked Him/ And the Stranger He went away/ and the sad little town that was sad yesterday/ It's a lot sadder today/ I walked in a lot of places I never should have been/ But I know that the Messiah,/ He will come again..."

-- The Messiah Will Come Again by Roy Buchanan from the album A Street Called Straight

On returning to East Tennessee in August 2007, I stayed with my best friend for a week, sleeping in my goddaughter's childhood bedroom and eating out at local restaurants because, being a widow now, she doesn't cook anymore. Although blacking out over and over again by the hour and day, I found quickly and luckily a very comfortable and spacious, centrally located apartment, whose manager is a long-time friend of friends, in Jonesborough again. Getting together fairly quickly with some friends, including Carolyn Moore and Chris Mysinger, the latter told some people later that I looked "gorgeous," a pronouncement I attributed to "beauty being in the eyes of the beholder." During lunch at Main Street's Cranberry Thistle with Margaret, I ran into Summer, the somewhat retarded but healthily functioning daughter of Marilyn. Chairperson now of Friends of the Library, her mother is a former ETSU professor forced into early retirement by a disabling stroke five years ago from which she has somewhat recovered, having been partially paralyzed and lost much linguistic ability for awhile. Recognizing me immediately, Summer ran over with a big smile and wrapped her arms tightly and warmly around my waist with her head coming about to the top of my chest, saying, "Jeannette!" I asked her if she still had her boyfriend and, looking a little sad, she shook her head and said, "No, he's gone." Summer is a wonderful, natural dancer and sings regularly with two choirs, plus working full-time in the local library. She's frequently seen in and around Main Street and is a favorite townsperson.

Along with replenishing my mind and body with positive and healthy ideas, knowledge, and exercise, I needed to exorcise the ugly, evil spirits forced inside of me. They were, for one thing, squeezed out by the forceful override of new material and good spirits around me, but in the beginning I fought them somewhat alone. I'd have to go back over all my writing from that time to fully describe the on-going, somewhat hallucinatory and surrealistic, supranatural process, but it hasn't been always easy or pleasant to recover my pure self from that quagmire of lies, disbeliefs, insanities, abusiveness, cockeyed attitudes, and mental and physical deterioration. I did, and do, have core teachings instilled, since birth really, from reknowned spiritual paths, including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and most particularly Christian Science which exhorts us to "heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons" for others and ourselves without reliance on chemicals, medications in aligning, alliance with God and God's purpose for our lives. I highly recommend it, or similar paths, that free us from dependence on artificial substances for amelioration and/or recovery. And, of course, I have an educational and experiential background in Psychology, a worthwhile field in helping to understand human nature, action and reaction, and effective healing methods, personally and for others.

Reconnecting with friends, all of whom had been involved previously with A Country Rag, in person and by e-mail, I began working again on site design and content, relearning HTML and reacquainting with extant material. One afternoon, I visited with Ginger, now a resident of Elizabethton, for lunch, conversation, viewing of her new paintings, and a somewhat muddled attempt to play piano duets as we used to previously on her upright. Another day, Chris and I browsed through Barnes and Noble, having coffee in their cafe. Carolyn and I had a local lunch together, and she gave me a few of her winter clothes, including a fox fur boa affixed with a large silver cross/dagger, its central seal engraved with the motto Invictus maneo (I remain unconquered). With my best friend and her cousin, we ate Chinese buffets a few more times, and the owner of Dogwood Lane welcomed me back with a friendly, funny chat as we sat outside his restaurant smoking.

During a well-attended ETSU-located rally and march, where one student had made a large and amusing black-dressed Bush puppet, Dr. Joseph Sobol, Chair of the University's masters degree Storytelling program and a very funny teller himself, came over to say he hoped I'd be happy this time back in the area. I assured him I would be and that I was very thrilled to be here and with my friends. Steve Cook and Frances Lamberts were also there, and we spoke briefly between speeches, while hoisting signs for the cameras. One woman came over introducing herself as a friend of a friend and striking up a discussion. When I asked how she recognized me, she said, "By a description that you'd probably be wearing a long dress and of your hair."

A later anti-war rally and march, which I didn't attend due to illness, required a heavy Jonesborough police presence, as organizers had been threatened verbally and physically, including by an area motorcycle group which encircled protesters and drove around them. Participants remained unharmed and continued their program. Earlier, I had distributed flyers locally and some shopowners put them in their windows. A few dissented from their import and others expresssed sometimes humorous agreement but reluctant refusal to alienate possible customers by posting any. Steve and Tava Cook had one prominently displayed in the storefront of their uniquely beautiful and interesting art glass shop across from the International Storytelling Center buildings.

Funny signs abound in town. The cash register of Museum Store has one pasted to the cash register that reads: "Your husband just called. He said to buy anything you want." Another establishment has taped over the toilet seat of their unisex bathroom: "We aim to keep this area clean. You aim too, please. Gentlemen: Stand closer to the bowl; it's shorter than you think. Ladies: Please stay seated until your performance is done."

Around the holidays, John Charles gave me art supplies, a fully decorated six-foot tall tree with tiny lights, which I plug in whenever the urge hits me, and a new two-drawer filing cabinet for which he made a small wooden black-stained stand. The Price family provided kitchen utensils, linens, and two furnishing items, as I had left Page County without some of the essentials, as well as entertainment at family celebrations and prayers for the recovery of my health and well-being, which have definitely been assisted thereby. Mrs. Price is the widow of a well-known and respected fundamentalist preacher and one of the founders and traveling volunteer speakers of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), having lost two of her six beloved children to that, who was honored in the White House once by President Reagan for her efforts and achievements.

Always loving bargains, and joking over the years off and on that I might go bankrupt on them, the apartment has become nearly crowded with cheery and colorful, unique treasures, including clothes for between 50 cents and $3, I've found particularly in two Greeneville antique stores, the fabulously varied and large Sunday Jonesborough Flea Market, two Johnson City Goodwill stores, and one run by the Salvation Army, Book Fair sales at Johnson City and Jonesborough Libraries, and the Town Yard Sale. My ever-increasing collection of "junkyard angels" adorn living room walls, tables and wall-to-wall carpeting. One wonderful clown doll with a painted china face sits looking at me in bemusement as I write daily from the couch, while E.T., a present from my FBI friend, lolls against a corner with one hand and finger out, still asking to leave for his home in space whenever he's pressed in the right place. Some of my paintings, and artwork old and new by other people balance on the walls. A sometimes overwhelming assortment of free regional newspapers and magazines surround me, along with fascinating and educational books, including art plates, mostly acquired from library fund-raising sales, and a CD collection now ranging from the Stones River Boys gospel played on traditional acoustic instruments through Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville duets to the Royal Philharmonic playing Queen and Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C(great), along with two ("We Do It All") narrated and sent by Gwen Fortune of African-Americans playing and singing the classics, including excerpts from The Messiah, in accompanying a monetary donation for the new corporation.

Cooking for myself, I've gone through several phases: Hey! Look at all these frozen dinners available!; steak, and nothing but steak, with baked white or sweet potatoes and sour cream or butter of course; Wow! They have amazing fresh and frozen fish here in the grocery stores!; Look at all the hors d'oervres type stuff everywhere!; How about a collection of exotic salad dressings (Asian Sesame with Ginger, Honey Japanese, Raspberry, Red Wine Mist Cabernet Vinairgrette, Asian Silk Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette, Buttermilk Ranch, Blue Cheese, Peppercorn Ranch, Honey Dijon, Caesar with Bacon, Chunky Blue Cheese) on sale and in interestingly-shaped bottles?; and Wine! Liqueurs! Thick, goozy mixed drinks! Imported dark beers! I'm home! I'm home! I'm home!

Telling Marilyn one evening during a Library dinner how glad and blessed I am to be back in Jonesborough and East Tennessee, she said, "Yeah. There's no place like home, is there?" Later that evening, Dr. Sobol played acoustic guitar and told some really great stories, including my favorite. "A farmer discovers that one of his large pieces of machinery has broken down, so he loads it into his truck and drives down the road to his uncle's place. Getting his relative to examine the machinery, he asks if the man can fix it. His uncle replies, 'Sure, no problem.' 'Okay,' says the farmer, getting back into his truck, on his way to driving back home. 'If you can do it, so can I.'"

One of my favorite Music On The Square performance so far has been the unusual beats and rhythms of Americana as presented by Marci Salyer & Midnite Flyer, but I also loved the Mudbugs playing a great variety of upbeat songs from Fats Domino and other jazzy classics to which the crowd foot-tapped, laughed, smiled, clapped, cheered, and danced, including women with men and adults with children and toddlers even. Patients from Greene Valley are moved to the street in their wheelchairs. An ambulatory, very short man dances joyfully with a CNA who holds his hands and sways, laughing. He pulls her up again later because he wants to dance again, and does. One young man boogies down the sidewalk with his little son's right hand in his, the child also dancing somewhat uncoordinatedly but happily by his side. Sam Burke on bass and harmonies, an ETSU computer professor with shoulder-length curly white hair, mustache and short beard who also plays with the legendary Jonesborough Novelty Band, opens for the Mudbugs with, "Okay, folks. It's Friday night in America!" During a later Friday evening presentation Steve Cook, 1998 founder and organizer of MOTS, has just given away some $10 t-shirts to those in the crowd who'd traveled furthest to be there: Holland, Ireland, Florida, and Chicago. Then, he asks, "How many people know what The Crooked Road is?" and some of us raise our hands, knowing it to be an established traditional Appalachian music trail in Southwest Virginia. Suddenly Steve laughs, points to someone in the audience, and says, "Give that man a t-shirt!" as he goes on to relate, "That man just answered, 'The road to the White House.'" The crowd laughs, the man get his t-shirt, and Asheville singer/songwriter Chuck Brodsky, who has played for the Baseball Hall of Fame and has quite a repetoire of CDs, walks toward the microphone with his guitar. After playing one humorous satirical song, he recounts how he and his father argued daily over breakfast that he wanted to be a lawyer, while his father kept insisting that he be a guitar player. The song had been about how every minor accident could be the subject of a lawsuit for monetary damages, alluding particularly to the true story of a woman who spilled hot coffee on herself and received a very large settlement thereafter from the fast food franchise selling it through her lawyers. After the next funny lyrics after littering, he explains that the words are irony and reads an e-mail from a Virginia woman who took them literally. When hearing them on a CD by a Virginia band to whom the letter is addressed and forwarded to him, she protests their lack of environmental awareness, saying she'd throw away the CD if the rest of it wasn't so good and suggesting that they not perform that song before audiences containing children due to their social irresponsibility. "Irony," Brodsky repeats. "The lyrics are irony." Perhaps the MOTS highlight to date has been Dr. Joseph Sobol, Chair of ETSU's Storytelling Masters Degree program, playing a difficult and beautiful Bach sonata on his antique harp-guitar, although there are so many extraordinarily excellent performances -- from Jill Smith singing, accompanied by her acoustic guitar, original songs including "Are You The Next One?" to the all female Polecat Creek singing harmony and playing strings (fiddle, guitar, banjo and bass) for their original folksy classic tunes -- that it's nearly unfair to single out any one performance.

To reinvigorate mind and body and reaquaint with the environs, I've participated in easily-affordable fall and spring ETSU Alliance for Continued Learning classes, which offer diverse lectures and presenters and include at least one tour (e.g. fall 2007 was guided visits to North Carolina homes of Carl Sandburg and Thomas Wolfe) at the Carnegie Library. I've enjoyed numerous free art receptions, lectures and/or shows at Asheville's Blue Spiral 1 and Woolworth Center; Abingdon's William King Regional Art Center; Greeneville's General Morgan Inn and James-Ben Gallery; Bays Mountain State Park; Johnson City's First Fridays at various art venues and changing arrays at their public library; TACA at Jonesborough's International Storytelling Center and the Visitors Center's monthly revolving displays; Kingsport's Renaissance Center TACA presentation and galleries and the Main Street Art Council; two Syacmore Shoals Watauga Art League assortments featuring live musicians; ETSU's Slocumb Gallery and Reece Museum. The area abounds in inexpensive or free musical performances, which I've attended with joy: a bluegrass festival by the Nolichuckey River at Daniel Boone State Park; orchestra and band performances at Carnegie Auditorium, Milligan's Seeger Chapel, and Tusculum College; Main Street Johnson City improvisation and Asheville street musicians, and ETSU Music Department individuals and groups of unusual talent. Perhaps the best ballet I've ever seen in my life was a performance by Magnificat! -- a Christian ensemble from across the country, headquartered in Atlanta and featuring dazzling virtuosity, vigor and enthusiasm -- which dedicates their presentations verbally and in spirit to the Trinity. That choreography happened to be about Germany, holocaust victims and the Nazis with a somewhat surrealistic but hopeful ending.

Back in 2002, when one of my best and dearest friends died, Ray Bonham, a mutual friend with an M.S. in Social Work and clinical experience, had knocked on the apartment door and I walked down the stairs to open it, surprised to see him there. Very carefully and steadily, he explained that Joe Grindstaff was gone. At first, I screamed involuntarily, then sat down on the stairs and cried. It was very sudden and unexpected, and I had trouble taking it in, believing it was real. Vera Jones, the extraordinarily good artist whose work appears throughout ACR, visited the apartment the next day to comfort me and talk about our remembrances. My best friend, whose husband he'd been for twenty years and the father of her son, was in a daze.

An Army medic in Vietnam, and an icon in Jonesborough as a well-respected craftsman and artist, his funeral was very well-attended and military. Several invited friends rose to speak, sometimes humorously, of their reminiscences. In addition to being known as smart, good, sharing and dependable, Joe was also cantankerous, irascible and explosive at times. Like everyone, he had his good and bad sides but was a totally loyal friend when he chose to have one. My second ex said once that Joe was the only man he really and completely admired. The graveside service was on a beautiful hillside, surrounded by forests, mountains and sky in tiny, old TVA-transposed Butler, his family hometown. Usually in jeans or cutoffs, he was dressed in a suit, his long, thick, white hair and beard flowing over it, and looked asleep at peace.

I learned from his family that one of the reasons for his demise was that hospital personnel, because of his long hair and grime from working that day, thought he was a street person. They left him suffering on a gurney in the hall for over an hour while they tended to a man who was drunk and obstreperous instead. He died in the hallway. His internal injuries, unremarked by medical personnel at the time of his accident, were the result of a two-and-a-half story fall from the roof of my first Jonesborough apartment, where he was repairing a leak that had caused a slight flood in the bedroom during rains the previous day. Uninsured, his broken back, right arm and hand kept him, grumpily, from working for quite awhile and gave his son nightmares. Cumulative hospital and funeral costs, along with the lack of his guidance, knowledge, example and generous income, have piled a high price on his immediate saddened family. There is a small plaque now with his name and service dates, along with others, in front of town hall in the fairly new garden by the Memorial to United States Service Veterans from all the wars.

Maybe four months ago, although most people won't believe it probably, Joe appeared out of the blue standing in the living room in full-bodied color, as I sat on the couch trying to remember worldwide and personal events from the past. I said, "Joe!" and smiled in delighted surprise, because I was so happy to see him again. My best friend asked later what I was doing at the time, as he and his son loved to play trivia. Perhaps he was trying to help me remember things. His visit reminded me, also, of "The Under-The-Railroad Gang," a creative non-fiction short story written shortly after his death about all of our early days together, which I found and linked from Chameleon. Donnie, the "harps" player and singer, who was also an accomplished and successful commercial artisan, just recently died, too, where he lived by the Atlantic Ocean, at age 60 of a massive heart attack. Three of the original five renters are left alive today, and quite a few visitors are also gone.

My best friend and I discussed, pretty much immediately after my return in late August 2007, incorporating ACR as a non-profit organization, and she was enthusiastic about that idea. I'd explored the possibility by requesting IRS forms and instructions in 2001, but wasn't up to dealing with the structural aspects and paperwork involved at the time. In 2007, however, I decided to ask my best women friends to be part of ACR, Inc. and sent them all e-mails with a brief recap of the past four years and new plans for the website and their proposed participation in the new organization, assuring them amidst their busy lives that levels of involvement would be entirely up to them. Affirmative responses included Carolyn Moore's return e-mail which said simply, as a subject tag, "Whee! yes." Sending again for state and federal forms, I researched charters and by-laws on-line, found what seemed to be the closest example, modified a copy for ACR, Inc., sent it with the simple one-page Tennessee request form to Nashville with a check for $100, crossed my fingers and waited. Within a few weeks a bulky package was returned from them, and my heart dropped to my knees. I thought they'd rejected the Charter and By-Laws and were returning them for correction. When I opened the large envelope, the cover letter expressed their approval and advice to file the now officially stamped documents with Jonesborough's Register of Deeds accompanied by their nominal fee. Accomplishing that the next morning and e-mailing friends with the good news, I drove to Asheville for celebration with gallery hopping and hanging out at my favorite cafe, Malaprops Bookstore, laughing and grinning with glee all the beautifully scenic way there and back.

Settling down a few days later, I began filling out a mock-up copy of the 26-page IRS form, filed a typed one completed on-line and printed out along with ACR's approved incorporation papers, and waited again. Within a few weeks, I received a letter acknowledgement of their receipt and, with my fingers still crossed, an acceptance letter with official number identifications about a month after that. More celebratory e-mails went out and I had to drive joyously and with relief to Asheville again for mind influsions from its many great, free magazines and newspapers, art outlets and store window-shopping and browsing. The "Paris of the South" never fails to invigorate and inspire my soul and spirit with its skyward old streets and atmosphere. In the midst of all that, I also began to work on Chameleon, in addition to redesigning and updating ACR pages, which grew pretty much daily from one page to 23 good-sized files, plus all of its graphics which are mostly ones previously created for ACR and a few from OSCR.

Every morning I thanked God for being here, having managed somewhat miraculously to have gotten back alive and healing day by day into new adventures and explorations, mental and physical, with my favorite, warm, friendly, intelligent and resilient people anywhere in the world to date. With bodily weaknesses and dysfunctions still, I could only enjoy about half of the enticing activities planned into my calendar, but every day I became healthier and stronger in working toward that goal. Nothing I've known previously can compare in delight and insight to full immersion and involvement in this area's healthily diverse and friendly life. As Marilyn said, I was home, Home, HOME, overjoyed and sometimes overwhelmed by all the good possibilities and probabilities. And free! Free to be me. Free to be here. Free to choose, after consultation sometimes with people I trust, what to do second by second and day by day. What could be more glorious than that? And I thanked God for it, too. It's likely we never completely appreciate something unless we've lost it, or never had it to begin with, and real freedom, liberty, is at the top of the list of God's gifts, as it's meant to be.

So, the glass is half-full. For all I lived through, and others too, I learned a lot, met a lot of good people amidst the few bad ones with their unfortunate power to create misery and harm, horror and terror, intimidation and near-fatal abuse, in circles of caring and creativity, real love and law, construction and productivity. When I think back on it, my most vivid, healthy and whole memory of the Valley is always of driving in autumn on the dirt road up a fairly steep and straight stretch where tree leaves turn a soft golden yellow on either side to create in ascent a draping tunneled canopy within the cool fall air.

My heart had been greatly weakened by exposure to situations which might normally cause high blood pressure, heart attack and/or stroke, especially in a woman of my age and physicality (menopausal and small). One afternoon, in response to too much excitement of the good kind, it began again to fail and I found myself, a little personality and essence, hovering over a body struggling and fighting to breathe. As my heart slowly regained a more normal rhythm, I fell asleep and woke up feeling fragile and wary but again embodied and have had to be careful subsequently of frailty, as my heart has a few times since, as well as previously in Page County, threatened the whole of me with earthly extinction. A few people, including Hank and some friends here, have been cognizant of that and made allowances and accommodations as I've been physically unable, sadly, to engage in all the enjoyable activities that I wanted and intended to while regaining health and strength.

I know it isn't in me to ressurect/reincarnate this worn body again, and I've made legal and personal provisions with younger friends to "keep love alive," ACR on-line, if again confronted with the potentially lethal enactments of Valley and Virginia disbeings* should they still be intent on my planetary demise. In every sense, including eternal spirit, that would simply be another self-defeating, futile, and further damning exercise. In other words, there's no escaping realization and acceptance of responsibility for criminalities that go beyond any I've ever heard of in this country. It's as inevitable as that the sun will rise. God, who continues to bless the USA, was and is not on the perpetrators' side. There was a time when the Shenandoah Valley was very, very beautiful, as attested to in the pages of OSCR. It's time, and past time, for those involved to look at what they've really done to it, and their children, and their children's children, with sober and serious eyes at what they and it have become.

Since returning to Jonesborough and the Mountain Empire as a full-time resident again, I've re-established over the past nine months some ties to local, regional and inter/national activist organizations but have devoted the most time and energy to regaining mental and physical health, writing prose and poetry, organizing A Country Rag, Inc., and updating, expanding, and designing site content, as well as engaging in personal/professional relationships and activities, mostly regionally, along with some area travel within the mountain areas of SW Virginia, NW North Carolina, and East Tennessee. The spirit of resistance lives.

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"... Ours was never the likeliest campaign for the presidency. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington -- it was built by working men and women, students and retirees who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from the Earth...." -- Barack and Michelle Obama, from post-election card to campaign donors and volunteers

The son of a Caucasian woman recipient of welfare funds and a Kenyan whose ancestors were brought and bought as slaves in this country, Barack Hussein Obama (b. 8/4/61)-- having earned a doctorate in jurisprudence from Harvard University, selected as Editor and President of the Harvard Law Review, working as a Chicago community organizer, civil rights attorney and University of Chicago Law School professor specializing in the U.S. Constitution, elected Illinois state and U.S. Senator, winner of the Democratic Party nomination after previously being its Keynote Speaker, and victor of the fall 2008 popular and Electoral College vote -- is inaugurated 44th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2009, with the vigorous and enthusiastic assistive support of his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia Anne (born 1998) and Natasha (Sasha) (born 2001). Subsequently, he is awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, its last U.S. recipient having been former Tennessee U.S. Representative and Senator, Vice President and Democratic Party year 2000 Presidential candidate, author and environmentalist, businessperson Al Gore.
(Other USA Nobel Peace Prize recipients include: 1906, Theodore Roosevelt; 1912, Elihu Root; 1919, Woodrow Wilson; 1925, Charles G. Dawes; 1929, Frank B. Kellogg; 1931, Jane Addams; 1931, Nicholas Murray Butler; 1945, Cordell Hull; 1946, Emily Greene Balch; 1946, John R. Mott; 1950, Ralph Bunche; 1953, George C. Marshall; 1962, Linus Pauling; 1964, Martin Luther King Jr.; 1970, Norman Borlaug; 1973, Henry Kissinger; 1986, Elie Wiesel; 1997, Jody Williams; and 2002, Jimmy Carter.)

"Home -- that blessed word, which opens to the human heart the most perfect glimpse of Heaven."
-- Lydia M. Child (1802-1880), abolishionist, activitist, novelist, journalist, and poet who wrote extensively on justice issues for Native Americans, African Americans, and women

"Our life is frittered away by detail.... Simplify, simplify."
-- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), writer, dissenter, transcendentalist jailed for tax-resistance to the Mexican-American War and author of Civil Disobedience, arguing that conscience should be one's ultimate guiding light and influencing Gandhi and King

Meditations/prayers from Silent Unity's 2008 On Sacred Ground calendar:
"I am always in the presence of God, the presence of peace."
"The abundance of God is everywhere present and flows to me in fulfilling ways."
"I have instant access to the mind of God, and I am divinely directed in all I do."
"I am safe and secure in the presence of God."
"Through the life of God within, I am strengthened and renewed."
"With the love of God in my heart, I radiate peace to the world."

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Planet Earth

Twenty-four Hours of Democracy

Original text and graphics c. A Country Rag, Inc., Jonesborough TN, 2008, 2010.