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Turn The Stone And Look Beneath It

Are you a good witch or a bad witch? In order to be a good witch, one must:

  1. Cultivate a love for the Earth, the Universe and all it’s beings, creatures, lands, oceans, waterbodies, and environment. This love must contain the good, the bad and the ugly.
  2. Be willing to help, in anyway you see fit. This may include caring for other humans and/or beasts, planting a garden, practicing living in balance with the Earth, making eye contact. Putting down the phone is a start. (You know who you are. 😉) If everyone does just a little, that love will radiate, helping to connect us. Caring about something other than ourselves is a big deal.
  3. Strive to be an example of the goodness Mother Earth blesses us with. Not to be perfect, because that is much too hard and a fair waste of time. Just be decent. Say you’re sorry. Be the one to make the peace. Share what you have; your talent, treasure, or affection. Do not emotionally impoverish yourself ever. Open yourself to receive.
  4. Approach each day as an opportunity to do better. I promise, you will feel the Universe smiling. Remember, troubles befall us all. During those times, make #4 a priority.
  5. Keep learning. Be curious. Life on our planet is rich. You can start this at anytime, but sooner is best. You will sense the vibration of this experience and you will be energized.
  6. Respect your physical condition. Be careful to promote balance and not excess. Magic can only be created by beings who are well, able and relatively sane. If you are struck by illness, continue to do all you can. “Thank you” always makes everyone feel special. Even the smallest efforts matter. Don’t forget that you matter, too.
  7. Try to gain an understanding and acceptance of our limited time in this physical realm. Celebrate the potential for our next selves. If you live with this understanding, when death comes for you or your loved ones, you will better be prepared to bring positive energies to this sad time. A life well lived is much more important than death. Do this now.

And that’s about it…

So, be a good witch. I dare you:).

One Tin Solider by Skeeter Davis
(Title credit to One Tin Solider lyric. I sang this in 6th grade chorus at Timonium Elementary School. Forever changed…)

 

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The Bigot’s Daughter

 

My father was a bigot. My father came home with bruises and black eyes from fist fighting with his African-American co-workers at the Timonium post office. My father used the word “spooks” on a regular basis. My father Told me at age 12, “You might have to work with them, but you cannot be friends with them and you cannot date them”. This was because I said Billy Dee Williams was handsome.

I was not allowed to watch “Roots” like all the other kids and when my teachers discussed it in school, I had no idea what they were talking about. When I tried to invite African-American friends to my 6th grade birthday party, I was sat down on the couch for a talk. My father said, “We do not have spooks in our house. Our neighbors do not want them in our neighborhood. You will stop being hanging around with these girls now.” The truth was, I was selected to sing with these two friends for a trio in my music class. He didn’t know that. I was so scared what would happen if I actually performed on stage with them. I made excuses and quit the trio. I didn’t know what else to do.

I left home at 18. My father didn’t believe in college, and he had left us virtually penniless earlier that year. Once my mother was making enough money to care for herself, I left. I wanted to be among all kinds of people, unashamed of who my friends were. Out of the range of his still watchful eye, or the eyes of a town that adored my father, but sadly didn’t really know his truth. I moved to my beloved Baltimore City and started to learn my own realities about race.

One time, while waitressing at the Museum Cafe, I was sent to pick up glassware with my friend, Tim, who just happened to be black. My boss told us where the store was. Timonium. The fear set in. If my father saw me with Tim, what would he do to him? And me? He would cause a scene of some sort. I couldn’t really back out, so I went, terrified. After the pickup, Tim wanted to grab some lunch. In Timonium. As we walked into Friendly’s Restaurant, the heads turned. In 1984, the heads turned! We were ignored for seating. We stood there, Tim getting madder and more vocal, and again, I was terrified. We eventually left, still hungry.

As I continued into my work life in downtown Baltimore, I was so happy to find myself in places where I hoped race would matter less. I have always been happiest around all kinds of people, enjoying all the differences. I thought just because I was happy this way, everyone else would be, too. I was wrong. I didn’t know that if I got a promotion to a position previously held by an African-American woman that she would resent me because she wanted her spot filled by a woman of color. I didn’t know it would be weird to attend the funeral for the only son of an African-American colleague, shot down getting the laundry for his mom from the dryer at their apartment complex. He had just earned his Eagle Scout honors. I didn’t know it would be weird to attend that funeral, but when I got there, I found out it was. I didn’t know that when I began working for a non-profit who’s mission was to create homeownership opportunities in urban neighborhoods, that I would be unwanted in the effort because I was so white. I just wished the world to be a better place and for the cities that I loved to be better places for the kids growing up there. I was at a conference in Washington DC, where a group of urban issue professionals told me I had no right to my job because I didn’t know what it was like to be raised in the inner city. What could I say? I didn’t. Again, I felt terrified. So when I could, I quit that job just like I quit that trio in my music class.

So, I moved to a white neighborhood. Married a white man. Had a white baby and moved to a predominantly white state, in the predominantly white city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. But, because I wanted to be sure my very white, blonde daughter was as color-blind as possible in a mostly white community, I bought her dolls of every race. Her favorite was a beautiful African-American baby doll, that she carried with her every where. The stares she got in the grocery store made me so angry. One lady said, “I think your child got the wrong doll”. Yes, that happened. I wanted to slap her, but I just said, “This is her favorite”. The lady just grunted and shook her head.

And so it goes. And here we are, in the midst of so much killing. Honestly, this has happened for a very long time, but has in recent years has become news fodder, so now the world can witness what most Americans have known and turned away from. I don’t even know what to say anymore, to anyone. I again feel terrified, but will continue with the only thing I know how to do. Encourage people to get to know those they consider “different” and find how much you have in common. Support candidates who truly believe in equal rights. Be unafraid to be vocal that having a gun is not the way to peace. This is a feeble offering, but it is something. Do something. Do it now.

My Name Is Jimmy

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That terrible floral dress. The one she always wore when company came. As he peered up between the boards, he could see the edge of that dress. Terrible, because the minute that dress came out, he knew he would be banished to the dark, dank space beneath the floor.

Ever since he was a child, she would hold his face in her hands and say, “You are my best-kept secret”. She always looked a little guilty when she said it, although she tried to make it sound like an honor. Out in their isolated farmhouse, he’d been birthed alone, raised alone and schooled alone. For almost 18 years, his mother was the only person the boy ever saw, ever spoke to. He was her glory and her shame, conceived on a night after her father had finally died, when a man was the last and only thing she needed. The life she had been waiting to live was short. The boy was her awful truth. She hid him away in the house she’d always lived in, full of peeling paint and rusty water. On those occasions when someone from the church decided to be neighborly, she donned the floral dress and sentenced him to the crawlspace. From there he watched and waited.

Recently, he’d been wondering about all these things. He wasn’t terribly smart or worldly, but he did sense there had to be something more somewhere.  They had a few books, but no television. She taught him basic sums and reading just to keep them both from being bored. He thought maybe he’d just refuse the next time she told him to get below. Or, maybe he’d just come on up and introduce himself. He knew his own name, didn’t he? He’d just say, “Hello, my name is Jimmy”. Now what could be so wrong about that? The last time he tried to discuss this with her she slapped his face and said, “Put that right out of your head! If anyone knew, they’d come take you away. You don’t want that, do you?” He thought that maybe he’d like that very thing. The dream of leaving had been enough to fill his imagination for years.

Yesterday, someone had called. After hanging up the phone, she told Jimmy that company would be coming the next day. Right away, he started to review his plan. Over the years, he’d found a dime here and a penny there. He kept them in an old cloth bag. Once when she forced him into the crawlspace, he put the bag in his pocket and left it way in the back. It scared him half to death to wiggle back there, but this was his “best-kept” secret and knowing about it made him brave. He had collected quite a bit of money and that made him happy. Whenever he found a coin or two, he put them under a stack of old Reader’s Digest that lay in his bottom drawer. Since she put his clean clothes away in the drawers above, this felt safe.  Then, he added the coins to the cloth bag when a visitor showed up. One time, when a lady from town came and took his mother to church, he added a brown faded jacket that belonged to his dead grandfather and an old crow bar he found in the back of a kitchen cabinet. He wasn’t sure about the crow bar, but it seemed like something he might need. If nothing else, he enjoyed having it along with the money and the jacket. The following day, when she said, “You need to get below”, he was glad he had them all.

She said to hurry and as always, he did as he was told. Jimmy slid down to the dirt floor, hardly thinking about the bugs and mice that might be there. He worried about them a little less today than usual. Considering his plan, he started to think about the look on his mother’s face when that piece of floor opened.  He liked the pictures in his head when he thought of the faces of the church folks when he said, “Hello, my name is Jimmy.” Peeking through the cracks, he could see the edge of the terrible floral dress as she brought them in, saying, “Oh, yes, it is a hot one. Come on in for some cold tea.” It was then that he gripped the jacket and the money and the crow bar and started to push the boards up.

 

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