CAR FIRE, ANYONE?

It was midnight. While sitting over at the main building where I live, I wrote this. I had to do something to keep from thinking about the fact that my residence (along with several others) was about to go up in smoke . . . .

I was just awakened out of a dead sleep by the fire alarm. It was
blaring in my ears! My first thought was (“could this be another false alarm
like two years ago on a freezing winter night?”) Of course, my sleepy common
sense wouldn’t permit me to take the chance and remain in my pajamas. Instead, I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and as I’d opened my door to the hallway, my thought was recalling something like, “wasn’t I supposed to feel the door before I opened it?” In my still half asleep state, I touched the door as it opened. Not hot. But, I could smell smoke. I locked the door behind me as I ran out into the hall. Yes, I could smell smoke. I hurriedly shuffled past my neighbor’s door as he swung it open (he’s the channel 4 news caster, Dennis . . . something or other.) I told him he’d better come, too. He mumbled that he was going to first check to see which end of the building the smoke was coming from. I’d unconsciously noticed that the smell of smoke was coming from the end of the building facing the road. I couldn’t see the smoke though. Not yet. Down the stairs I hurried. This was different from two years ago in that tonight there were several other residents also hurrying down the stairs and out the door. One woman said she could see smoke coming from her furnace and called 911. They’d told her to get out of the building. She had a couple of small children with her. My heart went out to her. Her little girl was afraid and clinging to her.

That was at 11:30 P.M. It’s taken the fire department 30 minutes to get here. People are really mad about that.

We can see smoke outside. They’re probably going to chase us out of this building. Funny. All I’ve been able to think about is how glad I am that I gave my grandaughter instructions about what to do if ever there were to be a fire when she’s staying overnight at my place. Thank God they’re at their own house sound asleep, safe in their own beds!

AND THE FOLLOWING MORNING . . .

I finally mustered the courage to go all the way downstairs to investigate whatever damage had been done. My car was parked down there. I have to admit that I experienced more than just a little anxiety as the elevator doors opened to let me out into the basement.

There, before me, was my car . . . all covered with soot! It became instantly clear that the car that had burned-up had been parked RIGHT NEXT TO MINE!!! Needless to say, my shock was indescribable.

I stood there in utter disbelief for a few moments, then went upstairs, retrieved my camera and took 21 photographs of the calamity leftovers. (i.e. my car.)

My insurance company towed my car and a few days later I’ve learned from the claims adjuster that it seems to be alright inspite of the intense heat to which it had been reportedly exposed. I’m going to run it in to the dealer just to make SURE that it’s okay, however.

The moral of this story? Never say to yourself as you drive into your underground parking garage, “Gee I’m glad that I have underground parking just incase that tornado hits tonight!!”

I seriously do not believe that I will EVER AGAIN worry about my car surviving a tornado!                            

Copyright by JC Eberhart 2007: 

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 1974 – 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Aside

The Sixties’ Story is in the Music

It was so many years ago now, that the “1960s seem to be worlds away from today. Having been a teen-ager during those years, for a long time now, I’ve experienced a desire to share my insights about that volatile time in history. It was a time of upheaval, of previously unimagined paths forged . . . paths that would benefit mankind, others that would take a heavy, heavy toll. All in all, it seemed an exciting time in history to have been “coming into my young adulthood.” For Sadie Hawkins Dance 1965

Many of my best friends back from 1961 through 1966 were guys. I’d always found guys easier to trust than most women and far less competitive. I’ve never forgotten the day that Jim, Dave and Don told me they’d just enlisted in the Armed Forces. Yes, I was happy and excited for them, but I was also scared for them. What if there were to be a war? Would they survive? What if they didn’t survive and I lost three of my dearest friends? We wrote letters while they were away and thankfully, yes, they did all return unharmed. But! This was just before the Viet Nam war began. How well I recall listening to and identifying with Barry McGuire’s song, “Eve of Destruction.” This song told the story so eloquently of the beginning of the end of so many young people’s lives in Viet Nam. Little did I know, we truly were living our eve of destruction.Heartbreak ahead

Suddenly, there was this unfamiliar and monstrous thing called, “The draft lottery.” Kids I’d just graduated with from high school were being drafted one right after another. (The story of that upheaval that all young people experienced is told so well in Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times, They Are a Chang’in.”)

One day, my brother came to me and in a panic-stricken voice stated, “Jeanie, I’ve just gotten my draft papers and I’m 4th on the lottery list! What am I going to do?” My immediate response was, “Jeff, you’ve got to enlist right away – BEFORE they can draft you!!” (After all, the guys I’d known who’d enlisted had fared quite well in the service all in all; and I’d just learned that the French had fought Viet Nam for eighty years and finally gave up and pulled-out of that god-forsaken place that I’d never heard of before.) Jeff went down that same day and enlisted in the Navy. I’m so grateful to this day that he did so. He spent his four year naval career in Texas working on jet aircraft engines! (Thank you, God!)

Viet Nam War2 Others weren’t as fortunate as my little brother and didn’t make the right decisions at the time; some were conscientious-objectors and fled to Canada. Most young men of the time were drafted and sent to Viet Nam to fight a war of which they knew very little. Many fought and died over there.

Viet Nam War1It was the (at the time) seemingly universal reaction to the Viet Nam war that took another tremendous toll on American lives. That reaction, in my experience, was the rage experienced by youth throughout the previously peaceful country of the United States. In our eyes, our world had been turned-upside-down; nothing we had believed in made sense anymore.

Combined with the rage being experienced by the youth in America was the fact that the drug scene had just begun to move into the midwest. (I lived in a small town in the state of Minnesota.) Marijuana, or “Pot” and “Grass” as we called it, caught-on like some kind of wildfire. Thus was born, the Peace Movement. Marijuana was known for “mellowing people out.” A common slogan of the time became, “Make Love, Not War.” Then, too, was Woodstock, New York. VW Vans1 Flower Children & Hippies2It was the location where thousands of young people, doing drugs, who called it a time of peace, love and music; these young people wondered aloud, “Why can’t the rest of the world live like this?”
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The following is taken from a LIFE Magazine Reporter:

The original plan was for an outdoor rock festival, “three days of peace and music” in the Catskill village of Woodstock. What the young promoters got was the third largest city in New York state, population 400,000 (give or take 100,000), location Max Yasgur’s dairy farm near the town of White Lake.

So began LIFE magazine’s description, in its August 29, 1969 issue, of what has come to be seen as one of the defining events of the 1960s. Forty-four years later, LIFE.com presents a gallery of pictures — many of which never ran in the magazine — from those heady, rain-soaked days and nights.

Lured by music [the story in LIFE continued] and some strange kind of magic (“Woodstock? Doesn’t Bob Dylan live in Woodstock?”), young people from all over the U.S. descended on the rented 600-acre farm.

It was a real city, with life and death and babies — two were born during the gathering — and all the urban problems of water supply, food, sanitation and health. Drugs, too, certainly, because so many of its inhabitants belong to the drug culture. Counting on only 50,000 customers a day, the organizer had set up a fragile, unauthoritarian system to deal with them. Overrun, strained to its limits, the system somehow, amazingly, didn’t break. For three days nearly half a million people lived elbow to elbow in the most exposed, crowded, rain-drenched, uncomfortable kind of community and there wasn’t so much as a fist fight.

For those who passed through it, Woodstock was less a music festival than a total experience, a phenomenon, a happening, high adventure, a near disaster and, in s a small way, a struggle for survival. Casting an apprehensive eye over the huge throng on opening day, Friday afternoon, a festival official announced, “There are a hell of a lot of us here. If we are going to make it, you had better remember that the guy next to you is your brother.” Everybody remembered. Woodstock made it.

For his part, one of the LIFE photographers on scene during the festival, John Dominis, summed up his own recollections of Woodstock this way:

“I really had a great time.,” Dominis told LIFE.com, decades after the fact. “I was much older than those kids, but I felt like I was their age. They smiled at me, offered me pot. . . . You didn’t expect to see a bunch of kids so nice; you’d think they’d be uninviting to an older person. But no — they were just great!

“I worked at LIFE for 25 years,” Dominis said, “and worked everywhere and saw everything, and I’ve told people every year since Woodstock happened that it was one of the greatest events I ever covered.”

_________________________________________

It was our rebellion against the establishment that in our eyes, had tricked us into believing that we lived in a country that would keep us safe.

As I recall it, the actual Peace Movement itself, began out on the West Coast in sunny California. As I was graduating from high school, many of my classmates could hardly wait to leave Minnesota to live out by the ocean. Many traveled there in old, painted and beaten-up vans.vw hippie van (Mostly in wild-colored hand-painted Volkswagon vans, as I recall.) Young women had begun wearing flowers in their hair, long dresses and walked in bare feet. Many of them looked clearly, “stoned.” (Eyes appeared glazed and sometimes their speech was slowed-down and sounded very flat.) Then Woodstock took with it, it’s share of young lives in the form of overdose deaths.

Added to this picture was good old Timothy Leary who was busily conjuring-up, in his college lab, what came to be known as “The Mind Expanding Drug, LSD.” More commonly referred to as “Acid.”
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Below, taken from Wikipedia:

Timothy Leary1 Timothy Francis Leary was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. The studies produced some useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were fired from the university due to the controversy surrounding their research.
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Many of the people with whom I’d graduated from high school, graduated to the latest rage of the time, “Acid.” For those who preferred spending their days and nights watching the elephants on their wallpaper romping around or taking drug induced, imaginary journeys down the yellow brick road, this drug caught on quickly. There, of course, were those individuals who imagined they were Superman and who fell to their deaths “flying” off of tall buildings. The other drugs like speed and heroin had also moved into the mid-western states. These drugs took their toll in the form of thousands of overdose deaths, drug-related suicides, auto accidents and so on. (Much of the emotion from this time in history is conveyed in Jefferson Airplane’s song, “White Rabbit.”)

Kent State Shootings3Not long after, as I recall, were the Kent State University shootings by police during a demonstration. (Expressed so well in Neil Young’s song recording, “Ohio.”  Demonstrations were new to the country at the time, thus seemed very threatening in nature.)Kent State Shootings2 Around the same time was the establishment of the Symbionese Liberation Army who kidnapped Patty Hearst and who DID use violence as a means of communicating their dislike of the United States Government, robbing banks and shooting people.

In the beginning of all of this turbulence, I’d so wanted to be a flower child in California Flower Childwith some of my high school friends who’d pursued this dream. So many moved into communes out there – some became hippies right here in Minnesota living in houses that were little more than shacks; usually out in the country. Not too many years later, I would learn that some of them who’d gone to sunny California, would never return. Buffalo Springfield’s song, “For What It’s Worth” conveys the tragedy of the turmoil of those times.

Having gotten married and given birth to my baby son, these were not options for me. LeeMy son’s life was far too important to risk exposing him to this unchartered and risky territory and I’d really wanted to make my young marriage work. CuttingtheCake!2-5-66Thus, I was never to fulfill my dream of being a flower child. Of course, the Manson murders occurred toward the end of the 60’s and I realized that my dream hadn’t been such a good idea after all. (Clearly, flower children were not all that they’d been cracked-up to be!) Flower Children & HippiesFlower Children & Hippies1I chose my own poison right here in good old Minnesota and it was the legal drug of alcohol, primarily. In retrospect, I thank God that my precious son kept me from going to sunny California to wear flowers in my hair. It seems crystal clear to me that I would’ve been one of the drug fatalities without a doubt as alcohol and other drugs were to become my vice despite remaining in Minnesota. Yet, upon my recent visit to San Francisco, as I toured the foggy city, the song “If You’re Going to San Francisco” by Scott McKenzie from the 1960’s, played over and over again inside my head. For as I toured the big city I was aware that I was viewing many of the streets on which long ago friends of mine had spent their last days – particularly as I passed through Haight Ashbury.San Francisco 041

Some of the Viet Nam vets returned to Minnesota. Many of them missing limbs, most of them very bitter and angry individuals. Many with drug and alcohol problems. Nothing at all like the same boys who’d left us a couple of years earlier.

It’s funny, I’ve always told my children how glad I am that I grew-up in the 1960s . . . because it was a truly exciting time in history. In my experience, the most turbulent time in history to be experienced in our beautiful country of America and I am able to say that, “I was there.” But I truly wonder if those of us who were there don’t all experience a deep and aching pang of sadness looking back at the times when we lost so many.

I came away from the experience of the 1960s with a firm conviction that violence never solves anything and I’m proud to say that I raised my children with that philosophy. I am patriotic and love my country. I never waver where my values are concerned. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to say that I survived the sixties, was able to learn so much and have been blest to have lost so little to those few, never to be forgotten, years in time.”

Copyright by JC Fredlund aka Eberhart 2007 – 2014: 

© JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog, 1974 – 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

TREASURED INCIDENTAL FAMILY MEMBERS

Many people have children who, over the years, bring home at least one lost cat or dog who ends up joining the family. My children were no different. Some of these little rag-a-muffins turned out to be some of our most loved and treasured family members.

My daughter also brought home lost PEOPLE! One (I won’t mention names) to this day is an individual who I love like my own and have, for years now, referred to him as my surrogate son. This individual has brought more joy, laughter and love into my life than the proverbial barrel-full-of-monkeys! With our years of support and encouragement, he graduated from college and today helps OTHER lost individuals in his role as a county probation officer! Needless to say, I beam with pride and love each time I think of him . . . a true gift to our family AND to society.

Must these special gifts come to us by way of family? Absolutely NOT! One of the greatest sources of joy during the decade of my forties, was my almost-stepson! This treasure who I love with all my heart was victim to a merciless affliction known as Bi-Polar Disorder. For five years he was an intrical part of my life and caring for him became my priority. He’d had a particularly rough childhood and a journey through his teens filled with perils unlike most of us would be able to imagine. Although his father and I ended our relationship, my heart will always be filled with love and gratitude for the gift of this courageous and beautiful young man.

I’ve recently had a VERY SPECIAL gift come into my life about which I am especially excited. (Yes, THIS one was brought into my life by family.) She is an especially beautiful little girl aged ten, who came to me with an open heart and open arms. She has a smile that would charm even the most cantancerous of ogres! I’d known her hardly any time at all when her mother informed me that she had asked when she can come and stay overnight with me! I was very nearly moved to tears by this trusting, loving little girl’s open heart and can hardly wait to have her over as my guest! (I trust that her mother, who is ALSO very special, will know when the time is right and will give the green light!) Very soon, this child-jewel will BECOME MY GRANDDAUGHTER! I can hardly wait to have this new little blessing become an intrical part of our family and of my life. I will THEN be able to be the proud grandmother of FOUR GRANDCHILDREN (well, one of them, of course, is still on the way!)..

They say that counting our blessings can make all the difference in the joy we either do or do not feel inside our hearts each day. Well, I have to tell you that today and everyday, MY heart overflows with joy at the thought of my many, many blessings!

Copyright by JC Eberhart 2006: 

© JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog, 1974 – 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

THERE’S NO CAR QUITE LIKE IT!

It was time for a new adventure . . . something exhilarating, exciting! As I wandered the showroom floor my heart suddenly leapt with joy. There, before me, sat a glistening white Subaru Legacy! I had to know more about this beauty. Much to my amazement, it boasted everything I’d been searching for. All Wheel Drive, shift on the floor so that if I were ever to need to roll this white wonder to get out of deep snow I would be able to do so without dropping the transmission! I just knew that once I got behind the wheel I’d never want to get out. Sure enough! Everything was power and this little beauty had spunk, too! I was about to learn that with it’s high-tech fan-cooled, horizontally opposed engine that could be matched by nothing less than a Porsche’, it would be virtually impossible for this incredible machine to overheat under even the most formidable of circumstances. (I learned that in two feet of deep snow, I could cover the grill on the front of the car with cardboard to keep snow out of the engine and plow through miles of that cold white stuff without any concern about that incomparable engine overheating!)

Living in Minnesota where temperatures could plummet to seventy-degrees- below-zero in the wintertime, I was to be amazed beyond belief when this sweet little number started right up without pause no matter how low the temperature dropped. Little did I know, with Subaru’s all wheel drive, despite a number of snow storms, not only was I never to slide into a ditch in deep snow, but I was destined to wave good-by to other, far larger and more bold appearing vehicles who’d been unable to hold the road in icy conditions as their drivers gazed longingly at me from the ditch! (The only feature that could top that, were the tow hooks provided underneath the car, with which I could pull those other cars right out of that ditch!) Oh yes, this little machine and I were made for each other. They say that love at first sight never works out over the long haul, but I’ve got news for you . . . three-hundred thousand miles later, my Subaru was still plowing through the deepest snow!

Repairs? Over a period of ten years with this heavy, metal best friend of mine, the only repairs I ever needed were listed right on it’s regular, routine maintenance schedule! Did I take good care of this amazing car? Oh yes. Does true love deserve anything less?!!

© JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog, 1974 – 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

AN ODE TO SNOW


Silence . . . . but for the soft whispers of newly fallen snow; in awe, I wondered what beauty is this that I am so privileged to witness. I leaned over and strained to eavesdrop upon any possible quiet snowflake conversation with palm-cupped ear. I stood beneath the age old street lamp, it’s dim glow reflected the brilliance of the earth around me . . . yes, the earth glittered as if a trillion miniscule diamond chips had been sprinkled throughout the fluffy soft whiteness for as far as the eye could see. Though icy-cold to the touch, without a doubt this was the most magnificent sight upon which these eyes had ever feasted. Could anything that cost less than a pirate’s fortune be so irresistibly beautiful, I wondered. Though penniless were my pockets, my heart leapt with exhiliration at the undeniable realization that my eyes beheld richness to which, I knew, no man-made treasure could ever compare. I longed to hold, forever, this dazzling white loveliness, safely tucked away in my memory. I knew, most assuredly, that this dream would be realized. For somehow I sensed that the beauty of this breathtaking wonderland was never, ever, to be outdone. In fact, so many decades later, I find myself unable to recall this incredible picture of perfection without experiencing a nostalgic longing to return to that once-in-a-lifetime evening of my life.


Have I ever held so magical a moment this near to my heart? If I had to choose only one moment to have exceeded all the rest in it’s ability to steal my breath away, this might truly have been the one, for . . .

No two snowflakes alike glistened like newly spun gold

eluding my grasp there were none I could hold.

Like that of a butterfly each flake had it’s own wings

woven with diamonds that sparkled like the stars

each tiny cold wonder from the heavens afar.

Dancing effortlessly one by one

cascading as if happily, through beams of the sun

 they bounced off each other spinning to and fro

as around and around and down they’d go.

Til they’d touch down on earth where together they’d form

a glistening, soft blanket to keep the earth warm.

Copyright by JC Eberhart 2007: 

© JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog, 1974 – 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

YOUR CORE VALUES MUST BE ALIKE

This article has been moved to my blog: “She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”. Just double click on the following link which will take you there! http://wp.me/P4BP7V-1

Aside

UNREGULATED THREAT TO YOUR PET

I learned the distressing news yesterday that unlike beauticians/barbers who care for peoples’ grooming needs, pet groomers are not regulated by any parent agency. Consequently, just one instance of abuse resulting in the death of a beautiful dog was brought to my attention. It seems that a wonderful family pet canine recently died while being left to “dry by a drier that was set on too hot a temperature by her professional dog groomer!”

I used to take my dog to a “professional” groomer but had no idea that they are unregulated. What does this mean to us, the public? This means that dog groomers themselves, (yes, each individual groomer) make their own rules and standards (or lack thereof) for their treatment of your beloved pet! Had I been aware of this sad reality back then, I would’ve performed some very thorough research into the groomer into whose hands I was regularly entrusting my furry best friend!

It seems very sad to me that although our society has passed and is now enforcing laws to protect man’s best friend from the hands of uncaring people who bring them harm, there are still many causes to be fought on their behalf.

Our precious fur-people are not able to speak for themselves. They are unable to tell us who would and/or has hurt them, perhaps repeatedly. There are many ways to hurt an animal. Not unlike humans, a pet’s spirit can be broken by a ruthless handler. The many traumatized pets from Hurricane Katrina and other natural catastrophes bear witness to this fact as do the thousands of pets rescued everyday from calloused, heartless puppy mill owners.

At the very least, it is absolutely crucial that every pet owner either know your groomer personally and very well, or stay and observe the entire grooming process. If the groomer does not want you to stay and observe, you do not want that groomer! Do not make the mistake of believing that you will know how your pet is being treated by the manner in which your pet behaves upon your arrival to take him home. He’s far too overcome with excitement at seeing you to be able to give any indication of what may have been going on while you were away.

Treat the process of selecting a pet groomer with the same care and discretion you would use to select a caregiver for your child. Don’t risk having to find out too late the way the owner of the tragically, dried-to-death dog had to!

Copyright by JC Eberhart 2008:

© JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog, 1974 – 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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