This word I like... We architect our life...
A song, a sigh... developing words that linger...
Through fields of green, through open eyes... It's for us to see.
Interanimate: To animate or inspire mutually

Saturday, January 26, 2013

License, Registration, Insurance, and Bob

Cop stop, "Drivers license, Auto registration, Proof of Insurance, and ... Bob."

Bob is my proposed new mandatory vehicle safety equipment. This $35 device will help prevent the vehicle from careening out of control, weaving into oncoming traffic, ignoring traffic laws, and killing or maiming innocent people. Bob is short for Breathalyzer On Board. I'm thinking a mandatory Bob law would save lots of lives. No one would ever again be able to claim, "I didn't know I was legally drunk". If someone has a Bob, and they need to drive, the vision is that they will blow into the Bob to get their blood alcohol level (BAL). If their blood alcohol level is 0.10 for instance, they will know they can sit in their car, listen to music, whatever, for half hour while their BAL drifts back into the legal (less than 0.08) range.

Update Feb 4, 2012: I want to make sure it's clear that I'm not suggesting that a cop gives everyone a breathalyzer test when they make a traffic stop. My proposal is only that the cop requires the driver to display their Bob to make sure this safety equipment is present. If the stop is for suspicion of DUI, the cop would still require positive Bob display but would use his/her own breathalyzer for the DUI test.

The devices start at only $35. I bought a high-end Breathalyzer at $140, the same one used by many police departments.

I'm wondering about the pros and cons of a potential Bob law so I'm hoping my 7 blog readers will respond with their ideas.

For those of you who do not know how Breathalyzer's work, You simply blow into a little tube and the device displays your your blood alcohol level. Once you know your BAL, you will know whether you are legally drunk. This can save you from a possible DUI stop and a lot worse for yourself and others. For instance, if your BAL is 0.10, that is only 2 ticks into legally drunk. You can sit in your car, listen to music, or whatever for half hour then try another BAL reading. When your BAL is below 0.08, you can drive without fear of getting a DUI and you'll be safer to yourself and everyone!

Thank you!

NIH: Today alcohol is involved in 37% of all traffic deaths among persons aged 16 to 20
CDC: Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
DOT: In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. These alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don't wait so we can catch up

God's great gift to us is our ability to imitate, to emulate, and to mimic.

The three words all mean the same thing, each one is like the other.

We can learn how to live the best, most fulfilling, happiest life ... by learning from others who have already done so.

First we have to be able to recognize those teachers, those lives, in our lives.

Our parents are often our first, our best, and our only potential role models.

In emulating those on the path, we also gain access to the path and everyone we touch from there can see the path and how it is a good path, and they may choose to walk it themselves.

Our teachers may suddenly get too far ahead on the path where we cannot see them; and we may worry that they are gone and that the path now goes elsewhere.  But it is us who have temporarily had our view of them blocked by a sudden turn ahead.

We will miss you Mom and Dad; until we see you again...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Dais - Part 7 of 7

Dedicated to William Henry Anderson 1920-2012
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The Journals

July 25, 1889, Rossville, Kansas. Gale Farm.
Well, that ends my telling of Dorothy Zona Gale's telling of her own story. My name is Hickory Dunn, a ranch hand on Henry Gales farm outside of Rossville Kansas. On July 6, around 3pm we had a fierce tornado appear out of the northwest. We just had time to lock up the barn and make it to the cellar when Dorothy insisted on returning to the house to find her dog. He would not let himself be coaxed into the dark cellar. Hunk, who's real name I never learned, instantly rushed up top to retrieve Dorothy just before the house shook fiercely for us down below. After the noise died down, we all ran outside to find out what happened to Dorothy and Hunk. The tornado had just missed the house and barn but there were pieces of farm everywhere. We could see large objects flying around in the sky to the Southeast. We heard Hunk calling from the house. Inside we found them in Dorothy's room. Dorothy was crumpled but breathing on the floor of her room with a nasty gnash on her forehead, probably from a burst window frame. Her dog was laying beside her whimpering loud enough to still be heard through the receding racket. To make my long story shorter, we quickly repaired Dorothy's room. Margaret, who likes Dorothy to call her Em, tended to Dorothy and sent Zeke into town to get Doctor Johns. Dorothy did not wake for 8 days. We were all very frightful and the Doctor said nothing to encourage hope. We had just about everyone we knew come by to visit and talk to her. Margaret talked to her for hours every day and took care of her needs as she lay in her bed so quiet; breathing and sometimes making small movements. Me, Hunk, Zeke, and Henry spent the next days and many nights tending to the repairs around the farm. We were thankful to God that Dorothy was still alive and also that most of the animals had survived. The corn crop was mostly gone. We mused that the crop ended up in Drake Miller's farm near Silver Lake. Anyway, we still had some acres left to tend. This morning, Margaret instructed Henry, who was repairing the pig pen, to find everyone and bring them to Dorothy's room. Well, I guess I made a long explanation of the story after all. The reason I'm writing this is because Dorothy was a different person when she came back to us. She talked about her dream constantly, almost as soon as she opened her eyes. The next day she kindly asked me if she could tell me her story from beginning to end and have me write it down. She wanted to remember it but felt she could not accurately write it herself. Mind you, Dorothy is quite a good student and a better writer than I, thanks to Margaret's tutelage and her classroom schooling. So, I wrote that story the way I heard it from Dorothy. I have only 2 comments about Dorothy's story. First, Dorothy is a very imaginative girl and we all love her. Also, I feel that her dog Toto is a very mischievous dog and, as much as he has frequently angered most of us on Henry's farm with his daily antics; mostly involving small farm animals, Dorothy's story has helped us understand that somehow he was an important part of bringing her back to us. Toto barely left Dorothy's bedside during her long sleep. When he did leave we could plainly hear where he was due to the horrible sounds emanating from the pig pen. Enough said about Toto. I'm writing this story in a second journal that I'll use for just for Dorothy, just in case she would like to keep it for herself.

July 30, 1889, Rossville, Kansas. Gale's Farm.
Dorothy was quite happy and thankful to have me write her story in my new journal. She already read it and decided to have me keep it. She wants to start her own. Dorothy is only 15 years old. According to Margaret she was born in Portage, Wisconsin. Not sure where that is, only been as far North as Madison. Today she said she wants to write stories when she is an adult. Seems to me that she has already grown considerably since the accident. She is more cheerful than ever and spends more time helping Margaret and Henry. She seems to find new ways to lift our spirits. I continue to resist my former impulses to holler at Toto. He is up to his old tricks. Henry said I need to nail up new lower fence slats on the pig pen. Maybe the constant hysterical squealing from the younger pigs will stop.

August 22, 1889, Rossville, Kansas. Gale's Farm.
Henry and Margaret entertained local friends and former neighbors from Topeka yesterday. The news of Dorothy's near brush with death, we're all calling it that now, has reached beyond Rossville by virtue of, not only word of mouth, but by the story she wrote in her journal. She read it to a very interested audience while Margaret served lemonade and biscuits. Lyman Baum, a friend of Henry's that Dorothy somehow remembered in her story, was a guest, smelling just like Dorothy remembered.

August 3, 1891, Rossville, Kansas. Gale's Farm.
Dorothy is 18 and leaving the farm for college. We are all saddened. Having achieved excellent grades at school she was accepted to college in Madison Wisconsin. She has become very passionate about writing and has already proven her considerable talents in this endeavor as the editor of her school newspaper. We will see her off from the Rossville train station next month. We are all so sad but do our best not to express that sentiment to Dorothy because she agonized over her decision for weeks. She said she will visit often.

November 2, 1899, Topeka, Kansas.
Henry and I moved to Topeka two summers ago after Margaret passed. I wrote extensively about that in my personal journal. Henry sold the farm. He bought a small rooming house and I rent a room from him. He is no longer able to work like he did on the farm but instead occupies himself with his new responsibilities keeping the house in good repair and servicing the 4 tenants, including me. I also help him with his stable and we are still good friends. His tenants provide a worry free income and he is becoming active in his church since it is only 4 blocks away. I work in the Miller Granary midtown, getting more than my fill of corn and wheat. We ship the product from here all over the country. Dorothy has visited the farm several times since she went off to college but hasn't traveled to Topeka as yet. We hope to arrange that trip soon with her fiance Lawrence. That will also be a little more difficult because she moved to Milwaukee and landed a big newspaper job. We know from her letters that she earned a masters degree in literature last spring from Madison. She wrote that, since she works with so many men at the paper she is now going by her middle name Zona because it sounds more professional. She wrote that Lyman Baum has published a children's book that closely resembles her own story of her 'week away' when she was hurt during the tornado of '89. She is not unhappy about that because Lymans story is very cheery and embellished with side stories that children will like.

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Matthew 5:16
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven".

1 John 4:12
"No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Dais - Part 6 of 7

Dedicated to William Henry Anderson 1920-2012
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Dorothy thought she heard Lions voice somewhere in the distance, "Stay with us Dorothy, we all love you, we don't want you to go". She was afraid. She remembered scarecrow once told her, "There is only one thing in the world I am afraid of ... a lighted match." Another time he had said, "I am never hungry, and it is a lucky thing I am not, for my mouth is only painted, and if I should cut a hole in it so I could eat, the straw I am stuffed with would come out, and that would spoil the shape of my head." Dorothy realized that what she feared most was losing her friends and family.

Dorothy looked at a distance upon her mother's healthy smiling face. She wanted more than anything now to run into her arms, to feel her warm glow and loving voice, to smell her hair. She wanted to tell her mother, father and brother how much she had missed them. Dorothy looked back at the roses and understood the meaning. The only other place she had seen so many bright yellow roses like these were in her dream. Auntie Em lost her only child, daughter Katie, to consumption three years back. Every year at the end of July, Autie Em would cut dozens of the roses from the special garden she tended, a garden cultivated for only for one purpose. She would wrap dozens of the flowers together in separate green and gold ribbons. She and Uncle Henry, and just last year Dorothy, would travel 2 miles to the county cemetery where they would cover Katie's grave with a beautiful arrangement. Even though she had never met Katie, Dorothy knew a lot about her from Autie Em. Em did not talk about her much when Dorothy first arrived on the farm. Uncle Henry once told Dorothy privately that Autie Em had become a different person after Katie passed. Quiet and sad. He wondered whether the girl he married would ever return. Lately, Autie Em had began to talk to Dorothy about Katie. The new Gale family had spent many evenings around the piano singing. Katie had played piano. Dorothy played piano. Neither Em or Henry played piano. On summer weekends, particularly to celebrate the end of harvest, Hick, Zeke, and Hunk would join them. Amongst his other talents, Hick was a great piano player. When Hick played, everyone would not only sing but would dance too, that is, everyone except for Uncle Henry who did not like to dance. But Uncle Henry would dress up in suspenders and a flannel shirt in order to at least look festive. Hunk teased him about looking like a lumberjack. Hick played all his songs by memory from when he lived in Omaha and worked in a dance hall.

In Dorothy's fantastic dream, Autie Em and Dorothy had developed a close bond and she realized that, because of it, Em was beginning to live again. When Dorothy again focused on the beautiful yellow roses now held before her, she felt a terrible light headedness approaching. She realized that Toto had returned to the Dais from his adventures in the courtyard. He was at her feet with his front legs up as far as he could put them on her legs, looking up curiously beyond her into the rainbow above. Dorothy lifted her head skyward and absently observed the kite-like star wheel she saw earlier. It was now rotating slowly and getting larger or closer, she could not tell. She could think no more. All became bright white.

When she found herself, she was looking down at Toto. Her shoes were nowhere in sight nor was her favorite blue-checkered dress. She could see that she was laying down on a bed and under the covers of a familiar quilt. Toto was there, standing with his front feet on her legs, playfully growling as usual, but also holding a familiar gold-green scarf in his mouth as he looked into her eyes. As her vision cleared, Dorothy looked beyond Toto. Just to her left Autie Em kneeled by her bed, shedding enough tears to fill a small pond. Uncle Henry was close behind Em and was quietly wiping away his own pond contributions. Dorothy looked very confused and noticed the three of us kneeling on the other side of her bed. Hunk, Zeke and me. Earlier, Henry had told us Dorothy had been speaking and even moving more than ever. She had been very quiet and still since she hit her head the week before during the tornado. The three of us cleaned up, put on our best clothes, and rushed to her room.
-That was the afternoon of July 15.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Dais - Part 5 of 7

Dedicated to William Henry Anderson 1920-2012
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A Brighter sun

Looking below the dais, Dorothy felt a new, unfamiliar sense of warmth and purpose. The fear and uncertainty that had gripped her since she could remember was giving way to calm. In front and below her now she could clearly see dozens of people standing and facing her, watching, seemingly waiting or expecting something. They all wore green clothes and variously shaped hats. Many of the men wore huge hats that reminded her of pictures she'd seen of French soldiers, pointed at the front and back, high and arching over the top. These large-hatted men were just below her and they faced the others. The men held long wooden poles in their hands which they kept in front, creating a barrier preventing others from approaching the Dais. Another group of men, interspersed throughout the crowd wore round hats she had seen worn by Spanish people in one of her school textbooks. Their jackets were lighter green that the rest and had sleeves that ended puffing about the shoulders. Women that were with these men were wearing full head dresses and robes that only allowed their faces to show. She had seen pictures of women dressed like this who lived in Palestine. One of the robed women below her a short distance away held in her arms a beautiful Siamese cat with fierce blue eyes. Next to this woman was a man dressed in a forest green jacket over nickers with high tops. The man had his arm around the woman and his other arm around a blond headed boy. Dorothy knew this man. Dorothy knew this boy, her brother. The man, Daddy, her father, smiled at her with the ear to ear grin she had missed for so long. She felt her heart racing and she wanted to run to him. To them. Just then the woman with the blue-eyed cat pulled down her head dress to reveal a gliding, tumbling shock of red hair. She recognized her mother. Dorothy had been slow to recognize Maddie because she looked so different than from recent memory. Maddie's cheeks were blush, skin glowing, eyes sparkling with life. The three were looking at her from a distance that seemed both unfathomably long and achingly short. Toto was in the courtyard and had found them. Dorothy had a great urgency to leap from the dais herself and run towards her family, but she could not. For one thing, there were a number of large men with huge hats that not only blocked others from her, but probably blocked her, for the moment, from the people below. Another thing held Dorothy on the Dais, a spectacle rapidly unfolding in the sky and horizon just within her view. She felt like she had to watch. The golden sun, that had been high overhead for as long as she could remember, had reached the edge of the horizon. As it touched the top of the low rising fields of green and gold, the reddened setting hue sparked bright against the earth; sending out long streams of multicolored beams arcing across the land and high overhead. High above the horizon Dorothy saw thousands of large bluish birds flying in a clockwise direction and upwards, forming a curious spiral column from the ground to the heavens. The indigo-gossamer birds were all crying out as they flew upwards, each vocal burst a short low to high pitch crescendo followed by silence. When the birds reached some seemingly predetermined height, they quickly dove out and down, away from the circle and towards the setting sun. She wondered if they might be enacting a ritual to both mimic and honor the setting of the golden sun. A warm breeze brushed Dorothy's face. The breeze, the wonderfully color-fed rainbows arcing overhead, and the gaze of every person below, all swept away now from the golden orb to the west, towards what was happening on the eastern horizon. The Dais upon which Dorothy stood had become well elevated and she could see through and above the glistening emerald silos and surrounding trees swaying in the now cooling breeze. She knew she had missed part of it, but her gaze came down and connected; to the entrance of another sun rising in the east. A brighter sun. She recognized this as the sun in her dreams. As far as she could see on either side of this sun, the horizon supported hundreds of flocks of a different, and very large, white bird. These birds were magnificently proportioned with white wings that almost touched those belonging to those of its neighbors, as they gracefully folded together first upwards, then downwards. Their peaceful, graceful motion and quiet voices were in stark contrast to that of their predecessors to the west. Dorothy's awe was compounded by what she saw directly overhead. Against the rainbow that stretched horizon to horizon touching the edge of both suns, there looked to be a tailless kite, only it was free of any tether. The kite was similar in shape to 8 other objects she had seen in the courtyard below the Dais. Each object formed what was best described as an 8 pointed star, each star tip piercing a circular wheel that held each point in place. From a distance, a simple wagon wheel with illuminated emeralds clustered around the junction of the spokes. The eight emeralds circled a much larger emerald making up the hub. Yes, several of these star wheels were in the courtyard below, arranged in four pairs. The pairs appeared to be framing passageways between the courtyard and places she could not see.

Dorothy's eyes came to rest again upon her family below. The Dais was again just above the people in the courtyard. All the people had come to rest their eyes upon her. Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow were gone. She knew they would be uncomfortable with what was happening now. She could try to explain to them what she was seeing but she would not be able to make them understand what she could not. The only motion in the courtyard was Toto. The only sound in the courtyard was Toto. Toto was positioned below her mothers arms, which were a little outstretched holding the cat. Toto was barking furiously at the cat directly above him. The cat was not alarmed. With a timing out of step with his barking, Toto was repeatedly jumping straight up, snapping his jaws close to the cat's dangling tail, missing, twisting around, and returning to the ground. Both the cat and Maddie ignored Toto and gazed intently at Dorothy. She wanted so much to vault the rail surrounding her dais and run to her family. But she saw, beyond the courtyard of her family to the east, the arrival of several of the magnificent white birds that flew ahead in advance of the brighter sun. Many of them flew over the courtyard and landed gracefully next to the people standing there. It was clear the only thing these creatures had in common with birds were their wings. The wings were obviously attached behind two shoulders, shoulders that supported long and supple arms and hands. Between the shoulders each sprouted a neck and head adorned with all the features Dorothy expected to see; a nose, two eyes, a mouth, two ears. Not to be disappointed, Dorothy saw that each had two legs and a long torso connecting them. Each winged person matched the gender of the person they stood next to. Mommy Em's winged friend stood behind her. She was a beautiful middle aged woman with long flowing red hair. Daddy's friend stood by his side but was a little shorter than her father. Like all the new friends in the courtyard, he also wore a bright white robe down to his ankles. Just then she heard and felt a fluttering of air from above. She turned her eyes up and watched a beautiful lady with golden curly hair alight beside her on the Dais. She wore a pink gown down to her feet. Her face was hidden for a moment as she looked out over the courtyard and seemed to silently greet everyone. Her face was glowing radiantly as she turned towards Dorothy. Dorothy was swept with a sudden warmth and understanding. She knew this wonderful lady, but not by name. Dorothy's attention was almost immediately captured by the beautiful cargo that her friend was holding in her arms; dozens of clear yellow roses, wrapped in green and gold ribbons. No words were spoken. Dorothy turned to look at her family in the courtyard for their reaction to what was happening. She could see their mouths move silently in unison, "We Love You".

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Dais - Part 4 of 7

Dedicated to William Henry Anderson 1920-2012
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After an unmeasurable length of time, Dorothy opened her eyes and noticed a nest of reddish hair covering her shoes. Raising her vision slightly she watched as Toto was lifting a hind leg on one of two thick glistening silver-golden posts. After rubbing her eyes, her cleared vision revealed that each post was not part of the structure of the dais upon which she was standing. The bottom of each post ended in a shoe made of the some metallic material. At the other end of the posts were bulbous metallic joints that exhibited the color of common tin. Both joints were slightly shaking and attached to a common torso that supported shaking tin arms and the oddly shaped head of Dorothy's third man-friend. He was, in fact, entirely made of tin except for his tin colored fleshy face. Tin Man, as she had nicknamed him shortly after meeting him three days past, held his ever-present axe high in one hand and was making half-hearted chopping motions downward in the general direction of Toto. It was obvious Tin was only trying to scare Toto away from his current activity, not trying to hurt him. Tin was also sobbing. Tears trickled down his tin chest. To say that Tin was an odd duck would be like saying Miss Gulch was beautiful in her own way. Miss Gulch, she remembered, was a very mean spirited lady from her dream. Tin was a very emotional and intelligent person, so to speak. When she first met him he told her how it was that he became made of tin. The story bordered on gruesome. Apparently he was once made of normal flesh and blood and he very much in love with a Munchin girl who promised to marry him if only he could build her a nice house. Well, in his furious wood chopping to do just that, he accidentally cut off his left leg. He had a tinsmith make him a new tin leg. After a spell, he resumed his chopping wood for the house only to accidentally chop off his right leg, again to be replaced by the tinsmith. This went on involving both his arms and his torso. Each time the tinsmith was able to provide new parts, except for a heart. Tin liked to say now that, "No one can love who has not a heart". That's why he was here now, to get a new heart so he could resume his love for his fiancee and finish her new house.

Dorothy had real doubts about both the story and Tin Man’s plans but did not dare ask more questions. The sight of his axe always kept her away from sensitive subjects. She also realized that Tin Man's face bore a striking resemblance to Hick, one of the men in her haunting dream. She quickly focused her attention on getting Toto to stop what he was doing in order to prevent the axe from becoming intimately involved in yet another horrible story. At the top of her lungs she barked, "Toto! Stop!". She realized that this was a familiar scene and reaction from her in the past three days. It was one of the few times she ever yelled at Toto, her best friend and companion. And she always felt terrible as soon as the words left her mouth. Some justification for her harsh words always arrived in that her command always had the intended result. Toto, in sudden shock at the verbal outburst from his master, whimpered and jumped off the dais onto the courtyard below. A crisis had been averted. Tin Man immediately calmed, put down his axe and cast her a big shiny faced smile of appreciation.

Off to Dorothy's left side, Scarecrow suddenly quipped, "All the same, I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one." Dorothy remembered that his words were a continuation of a conversation Scarecrow and Tin Man had been having since they met each other. Tin Man quickly replied, "I shall take the heart; for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world." Those two argue way too much, Dorothy thought, but they are both good friends. Dorothy's mind became engulfed in another thought that started her careening into the darkness. She thought, "Toto has left the dais and jumped into the courtyard below, which I cannot fully see. I've lost him." But this time was different, Dorothy did not swoon. She felt compelled to focus on the courtyard below to look for Toto.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

The Dais - Part 3 of 7

Dedicated to William Henry Anderson 1920-2012
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Hunk continued, "When I hadn't heard from Billy for a few months, I had a friend write to Billy's brother Henry. Billy used to talk about his older brother in Kansas. Henry's wife Marguerite wrote back and enclosed a letter Billy had written to me before the accident. Henry said he had just found the letter in your Dad's belongings. He said he read the letter and thought it would be a good idea if I could come here for a spell. Your dad was not coping well with your mom's passing before his accident."
"So I would consider it an honor if I could just work here with you, Henry and Marguerite for a while. Your Mom and Dad were the closest family I've had since leaving home as a kid. Henry said I could help out during the summer. I can find work in town in the winter."

Dorothy could remember Hunk smelling like Uncle Henry's friend from town, Lyman Baum. She remembered that name cuz it sounded funny, like a skin cream. Uncle told her that Lyman smelled bad sometimes cuz he drank too much whiskey. Dorothy wondered why anyone would want to drink something that made them smell worse than they already did a day after tending barn. Not that she knew what Mr. Baum did during the day. But hunk smelled bad most days as it was. Autie Em always told her that, "If you don't like the way someone smells its because you aren't working hard enough yourself". Dorothy was always trying to help out beyond her usual chores. But she found out there was no hiding the whiskey smell. At least, not for her. She felt bad for Hunk as he kept speaking about her Dad.

Dorothy drifted back to reality. This dream Dad, Dorothy thought, was not clear. Billy. Daddy. She studied her red shoes for an answer. Sometimes she thought all of life's answers could be found in her shoes. All they had to do was move her someplace besides where she was standing and she felt happier. Toto was still here on the dais. This Hunk was a good man and knew her father. That was the important thing. She liked the idea of having a mother and father even if it was only in a dream. Being able to remember her activities back only three days was starting to scare her. In other memories Hunk told Dorothy stories about her Father as a young man. They took up clogging, dancing in wooden shoes on the banks of the St. Johns; acting out skits and plays with their friends after a hard days work. Both were unmarried, unkempt and crazy for adventure. Without warning, clarity arrived. The memory flooded her mind quickly.

She was with her Daddy, helping him ploughing the fields some hot May day. She was a lot younger, maybe around 10 years old. Pike was only 7, sandy blond hair and olive skin, still holding onto Dorothy's dress for security. Mommy Em was not well. She was sleeping on the second floor outside patio of their house not far away. She needed fresh air all the time. That afternoon, Daddy Dee had told Dorothy and Pike to play by the well and watch him while he finished ploughing the last corn field closest to the house. He had started ploughing this field the day before. Dorothy and Pike played with the water from the well during that hot afternoon. They tried to catch dragonflies gently by their tails, looking into their colorful eyes before letting them fly off. She and Pike talked about how high the corn was going to grow by August and how they'd run in between the rows before Daddy made dinner. Finally, Daddy was ploughing near the well and it seemed that he was nearly done. As he got closer Dorothy saw how very tired he was. Daddy had almost ploughed a perfect row of furrows. The ground was dry and hard from lack of rain. He had only a few more rows left but was dripping sweat and breathing heavily. Daddy was close to Dorothy and Pike when he stopped and looked back at the house. He saw that the green scarf was not hanging over the outside window. Recently they started keeping one end of Mommy's long green scarf draped outside the window, the other end next to Mommy's bed. When Em was having trouble breathing she would pull the scarf onto her bed to let her Billy know that she needed help.

Dorothy remembered making that scarf for mother as a Christmas present years before. She didn't know how to knit so Em taught her and helped her make it. She designed the scarf with a forest green background with two colorful flowing ribbon shapes meandering lengthwise between each end. One band was a sun-colored gold. The other was a deep red. Both bands started on one end of the scarf almost touching at the point. But they took their own unpredictable path through the green, and widened towards the other end where they once again narrowed to points that did not touch. Each band had it's own story to tell, but they both came from and ended at the same place. Mommy Em used to wear the scarf all the time. She said she loved it and was happiest when she wore it, especially when her Dee-Dee and Pee-Pee were near. She often called Pike Pee-Pee and they all would always laugh until Pike came to understand the hidden meaning. Then he didn't like it so much. Later, when Em started feel poor health, she let everyone know that whenever she was wearing Dee's scarf on her head and neck, she was in perfect health and extremely happy.

Years had gone by and Em wasn't wearing her scarf around her neck very much any more. she was using it to drape across her chest at night for warmth, and to signal father in the fields during the day. Em needed to always breathe fresh air so they all moved to the upstairs which had large windows and a strong breeze from the west. It was open to the weather. In the winter Daddy, Pike and she would heat rocks downstairs in the fire. When the rocks were nice and hot, they would tong them into thick wool socks and place them around edges of our beds. This kept them warm through most nights while the healthy breeze blew silently through the rooms.

Dorothy missed her Em, so badly she wanted to cry all the time. Lost and terrified in thought, Dorothy was startled by a loud voice. It broke through one memory bringing her back into another.

Daddy shouted that he was going back to the house to check on Em. Mommy had been coughing a lot that day. As Dorothy watched him disappear into the house, she felt an overwhelming urge to help. She made up her mind. With Pike in tow, she walked the short distance over to the plough and took the reigns and plough handle firmly in her hands. She told Pike to hang on, and she did what she saw Daddy doing; she shook the straps and yelled at Ozzy, their farm horse. "Yaaaaa", she shouted. Ozzy turned and glanced back at her quizzically. Then he did something unexpected. He started walking briskly towards the barn, and at a much faster pace than when Daddy was usually behind him. The only problem was that the barn was diagonally across the field and at the other end. Dorothy hung tight and Pike followed, being pulled quickly behind Ozzy as they opened up a new wide furrow towards the barn. She had no control. All she could do was stand on the plough and hold on. Pike ran along behind. Ozzy must have had a picture of soft fresh hay waiting for him at his destination. When they got close to the barn Daddy showed up; running, waving his arms, and yelling at Ozzy to stop. Ozzy stopped, but it was too late. The three of them looked back over the perfectly ploughed field to see one lone furrow cutting across the others. Pike was crying. He was looking at the scene through two parted fingers on his right hand, which otherwise covered his entire face. Dorothy was crying, saying she was sorry, and that she just wanted to help. She knew it would take Daddy hours with a shovel to reshape the damaged furrows. Daddy turned around and knelt in the end of the fresh furrow to face her and Pike. His back to the field, he put one arm around Dorothy and another around Pike. He studied their faces closely for a moment and drew a big smile.

He said, "It's going to be just fine. No need to cry. I know you did this to help. Do you know that you two have just started a conversation with God? You didn't just think about helping, you took action. People often pray for God to help others, but few take action themselves. I pray for you and your mother all the time. But I feel helpless to do anything that will make Mommy well again. You two acted to help me and I think God hears and sees your actions loud and clear."

Sobbing himself now, Daddy wiped his own tears and then ones from Dorothy and Pike. He said softly, "Remember, what lies in your hearts can only truly be seen by God through the work of your hands. Without a doubt, your actions to help others is the language God understands above all other. And he will speak to you back in the same language in due time."

Daddy brushed his hair back with his hand, put his hat back on, and stood.

Dorothy missed Daddy Dee and Pee-Pee very much. She missed her father's voice, his tender ways, the twinkle in his eyes. She wondered what happened to them. The last thought left her exhausted and confused. Everything became dark.

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