Thursday, December 14, 2017

BEING HEARD AGAIN!

  At 92 I guess I'm not done!  The following will have to do until I get truly settled in my new abode.

Trump is right! 

He is making America great! One state at a time. First is Alabama. 

Just came to me at 3:30 this morning. For any wondering where I have been - since I have been quiet for a bit - Linda and I have moved. More later, but I feel as though I've been "born again!,"

Ron Lehker


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Some unusual, creative thoughts that come to me at 3:30 AM

Where do they come from? And unless I write them down, I forget them. And so upon awakening at that ungodly hour this morning, I jotted down these two notes:

  1. This being the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I have a plan for revitalizing the Christian church through a 2nd Reformation m- specifically the church I attend.
  2. There is another creative way to sell a house with much less strain on the seller.
But then upon awakening and having breakfast, I was dismayed by the tomato on my bagel. What is there about Heirloom tomatoes – they're not red like tomatoes should be, they are ugly and they cost a heckuva lot more?

And then I read about Harvey Weinstein and marvel at the revelation he discloses: that it seems to be only "Playboy–type" women to whom he goes to for creative ideas.  Has he discovered that is only they were endowed with such skill?

I realize I haven't Raved or Ranted for quite some time. I find this a very satisfying way to just talk and vent my feelings at age 91 without interruption.  . 

Any questions?

Stay tuned!

But let me add a previous thought:

Being both patriotic and realizing the injustice we continue to bestow upon a variety of our bothers and sisters, I shall

STAND AT ATTENTION DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
AND
KNEEL FOR THE SECOND HALF

I invite you to join me. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Standing and/or kneeling with the young athlete.

Standing and/or kneeling with the young athlete.

As a former junior high school and high school coach and principal, my heart goes out to the millions of school football players this Friday. Our outspoken president has chosen to place them in a moral dilemma. External and internal pressures will pull them in conflicting directions. Authoritarian figures, role models, community members and even family and friends will exert untold pressure on them. Too soon they will learn how cruel and judgmental people can be when they compel people to make decisions about complex issues that have perplexed societies for ages.

And what should be my stand as an allegedly thoughtful, mature senior citizen. One who both loves his country but throughout his lifetime has seen, and tried to ameliorate the conditions placed upon various minority groups by the white majority throughout our country's history.

While our president's candidacy and "rule" continues to unfortunately be fraught with divisive actions and statements, perhaps one positive result will be to activate those of us who have to silently "gone with the flow." I can think of two ways that I might personally express my feelings.

  • Why not do BOTH! Those who attend football games this weekend might stand for the first half of the National Anthem and kneel at the half way point as we sing, “And the rockets' red glare....”
  • I shall also personally make a further contribution to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, two agencies that support free speech and other civil rights efforts.

May each participant and all in attendance be guided by their concern for the "other."


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lessons from history

Learning by Listening and Reading.

Don't you wish our president would develop these two skills? Those two "skills" along with another that I shall refer to at the end of this scree "might" help him develop some abilities which he obviously lacks.

I certainly had no plan to learn about war and peace by reading about early transportation in America, but the appearance in our Little Free Library of "The Great Railroad Revolution: The History of Trains In America" by Christian Wolman was very relevatory to me. And it was just after my last rant in which I discussed the early days of  air travel during the 40s and 50s. Consider these statements:
  • "Henry Poor, the founder of the American Railway Journal, suggested that the railroads were an agent of national peace and that 'the certain prevention of foreign war' will be one of the numerous advantages of the railroads.”
  • Poor says trains and Christianity go hand in hand as forces for good
  • The Cincinnati Daily Chronicle, in 1843, went further arguing the railroads would bring about permanent peace, reducing prejudices and cementing friendships, calculated to perpetuate the institutions under which we have risen from a mere handful.
  • Wolman, in his book, Engines of War: How Wars Were Won and Lost on the Railways "Far from being a catalyst for peace, the iron horse turned out to be one of the most effective weapons of war invented by man, helping create a far more intense, deadly, link to the type of warfare. The story of the American Civil War can, in fact, be told through the railroads. Only an understanding of the role the railroads played in it can explain how this Civil War became bloodier and more intensely fought than any previous conflict.
  • And McCollum adds, "The scale of destruction and carnage can be directly attributed to the railroads.
Since early childhood I became enamored with railroading. But I had no idea that railroading was seen as a precursor of an American tradition – anticipating that new technical inventions would lead to peace and prosperity for all. Isn't that what we have expected from the computer and its revolutionary' forms of communication? Yet it is now apparent they can also be used for a variety of nefarious purpose.

So what is my take away from this chance personal discovery. It's primarily that we humans have sought to explain/blame world conditions on everything from good luck and chance inventions and even  God's will. But we ourselves and the way we make choices together as humans are responsible for most of the world's conditions which are more threatening to me today than in my previous 91 years.

IF HUMANS CAN DEVELOP THE MIRACLES THAT MAKE LIFE SO ENJOYABLE FOR WE FORTUNATE FEW, THEN SURELY WE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO LEARN TO LIVE TOGETHER IN HARMONY.
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So much for my reading and thought process. I'll take a few weeks off entertain family and friends before embarking on the rant I am most obsessed with.  I'll try to circulate it more broadly when I finish it.

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I was encouraged by several reactions and questions about my thoughts on transportation in the 1940s. Particularly the relationship of bus travel to railroad travel. I clearly remember a variety of medium and long distance travels by rail. San Antonio was quite a center for the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was the half way location for train travel between Florida and California and my grandparents home was only a few blocks from the historic and architecturally dramatic depot. East and West bound trains arrived each day about noon. How interesting to see tons of ice added in each of the passengers cars as a source for early air-conditioning.  What fun to sneak chips of ice to suck on for our own personal cooling.

What a thrill then to take that train traveling east and go about 500 miles to my first Marine Corps base in Lafayette, Louisiana. Military leave time provided me with a number of trips by train which was far superior to any bus travel at that time. And what a fascinating experience to take the troop train from Lafayette to Savannah, Georgia and Marine bases on the East Coast.

Upon being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Quantico, Virginia, I took my first flight from newly opened National Airport In D. C. to San Antonio via now-defunct Eastern Air with about four stops on the way to San Antonio. After two weeks leave I was headed for Camp Pendleton, California again taking the railroad from San Antonio to Los Angeles.

Indeed train and planes provided long distance travel and it was only for short trips that we took the bus. My most memorable bus trip occurred upon being discharged from the Marine Corps at the Corpus Christi, Texas Naval Base. The remarkable aspect of that was that in going to the bus station I discovered that the Firestone Tire Store had just received four tires that my father had been searching for to get our Model A Ford running again. During the war, tires were rationed and he kept having flats. Upon learning that the tires would not fit into the luggage compartment of the bus, I prevailed upon my three buddies to join me in holding them on our laps for the 160 mile trip.

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I've been busy lately traveling and involved with a new project. Much of that will be answering questions again on REDDIT"S Ask Me Anything  And I've also discovered a new venue where I have been invited to share my writings, writerbeat.com

I then  PLAN THAT MY NEXT BLOG WILL CONCERN RELIGION and the community that churches provide their attendants. You might recall that it is one of the five factors that have shaped my life although I NOW CONSIDER MYSELF AN ATHEIST rejecting the lifelong teachings I've been exposed to about a god in heaven, the virgin birth and a life in heaven after death. Yet because of what churches have the potential to provide I still find myself a member of and attendant at a variety of churches. You see, along with a number of other factors, I feel religion has not only been a major cause of the world's problems, but I also feel that is the only through a proper understanding  relationship between religions that the world problems can be solved.

IN THE MEAN TIME..................

I'd like to encourage you to take time to read a lecture/sermon that should be read by our PRESENT president about an aspect of his character I find he lacks -  HUMILITY. The advice was given to former president Barack Obama at Washington's National Cathedral upon his second inaugural by Methodist Minister the Rev. Adam Hamilton.

I hope you'll take the time to listen to it in its entirety. I think you will see why president Trump asked that there be no sermon before he would agree to attend a similar service this last January at The Washington National Cathedral.









Wednesday, September 13, 2017

LOST IN TODAY'S SOCIETY: A SENSE of PERMANENCE and ASSURANCE

As an optimist all my 91 years, I certainly hadn't planned to share these rather bleak thoughts with others. I truly continue to feel that humankind is on a positive trajectory toward the "good" (however one might like to interpret that.) However a nostalgic trip to be with my children and grandchildren in Ann Arbor revealed a heightened degree of societal change that caused me to reconsider views about the current and pending changes in the American lifestyle. They may be somewhat trivial but I felt there was deeper meaning in two respects:
  • The loss of permanence.
In my youth there was a feeling that – except for the seemingly few, distant affluent members of society – we were all a part of a rather broad middle class. (Naturally I am aware, growing up in Texas, that two minority groups were not even considered because of their skin color.) As I visited homes of friends and others who seem to be a part of a upwardly mobile class there was one possession that seem to identify them as different status than us – their home had a PIANO!. To me it symbolized affluence and culture, both aspects that were to be cherished and sought after. What a change to see that now they are objects that are almost impossible to even Give Away!

This alone is perhaps quite trivial, but to me it forces me to reassess what really are the permanent and enduring factors in life.
  • The loss of assurance.
As a graduate student in the 50s, I was bothered by the professor in my major field of study who persisted in asking, "What do you see yourself doing 20 years now?" While I disliked the question, there was some logic in the question. I should be able to plan my future with some certainty. Now however the question seems totally out of place in the new world we have created in the past 20 years. Uncertainty and change are all about us. No longer can we find companies that we know will be around to provide retirement security. Except for a few sacrosanct professions (medicine, protection) vocations are either diminished or disappearing.

**********************************
So what is the point of this old man's tale? I've slept on it and after 24 hours I find two rising to the surface:

  • Why do we persist in measuring progress by the new things we create for only the few? Before we add the next exotic new smart phone why don't we measure progress by making sure that everyone has a smart phone? I recall a time when progress was measured by something like "A chicken in every pot and a Ford in every garage." It's time to go beyond that and make sure all have a pot and a garage.
  • Rather than measuring progress by planning ahead for careers and training for the few, why can't we measure progress by planning to have adequate healthcare for all rather than inventing a new exotic discovery that only a few can afford?
I remain convinced that there are lessons to be learned from looking at the past. There are lessons to be learned from history

Thursday, August 31, 2017

So what's next?

I'm amazed that it's taken over 91 years for me to truly appreciate what has made my life so satisfying and personally rewarding. But hopefully it doesn't stop here. And for me I feel it can only continue if I am being useful. With decreased physical stamina and skills, I find happiness in sharing views with others – particularly by reflecting on and sharing my life experience with others. 

In the previous Rant, you might recall, I briefly mentioned the five factors that have enriched my life. I sincerely believe that others might benefit from some of my observations on each of them, but it will take sometime to organize my thoughts. While none of us were able to influence our birth "situation", each of us can be enriched by more fully understanding the role and developments surrounding the other four factors.
  • Family..
  • Schools.
  • Government,.
  • Community.
I find it striking that each of these is undergoing tremendous stress and change in society today. The one I am eager to talk about first will be Community. However it will take me several weeks to organize thoughts in a coherent way. In the meantime, as the spirit moves me, I'll share what I think are interesting tidbits from an earlier world that I once inhabited.

So on to a fascinating aspect of air travel in the 40' s and 50' s!

Airports in this era were nothing like the shopping malls that surround today's "tunnels" leading to the jets. The "then major city of Detroit" was serviced by the former World War II bomber plant of Henry Ford. It was built to build bombers and after the war in was converted to the Kaiser/Frazier plant producing long-sought Henry J's and Frazier automobiles.   With the demise of it as an auto plant it became Willow Run Airport to replace the small downtown Detroit airport.

Upon entering the dark, depressing factory one was met by strange machines. Actually they look like slot machines –  and in retrospect they almost served as the famed "one armed bandits". Travelers were so wary traveler of the risks of flight who believed that air travel that they eagerly paid a few dollars so that their surviving kin would have an economic windfall!

How gullible we were. In reminiscing with my partner, Linda, whose father was a TWA pilot I learned that "those in the know" knew that lives were more at risk in driving to the airport than they were in their few hours in the air.

Here I feel is another lesson for those who would decry and debunk the lessons of history it's not hard to see that knowledgeable people avoided those who prey upon the fear of others. And to see a lifelong lesson that was impressed upon me: the foolishness of counting on a miracle to provide the happiness that allegedly only money can provide.

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Unless I have time to consolidate my thoughts about Community, I'll share thoughts about other archaic modes of transportation, particularly the railroad next week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Five factors involved in creating this fulfilling life of mine!

With 91 years behind me, I doubt that anything can cause me to change this conviction of mine that I have experienced a truly unusual, satisfying and fulfilling life. Never achieving great wealth and having experienced the "Great Depression," I have had both emotional and material satisfaction. I've never truly lusted for more. As I look back at the source of it all, I find five distinct factors.
  1. The fortune of birth. How fortunate that there were no complications when the daughter of German immigrants gave birth to Roland, over 9 pounds, with the assistance of a midwife. I feel I've had advantages by the country of my birth, the absence of any negative DNA factors or physical limitations.  Also provided by chance were my being a part of a privileged racial group and a host of other socio/cultural/economic advantages. Thus good health and other advantages were mine as I exited the womb.
  2. A lifetime of family love and support - yet I cannot recall ANY overt expression of affection until I had the first kiss I can remember at age 20 with the woman who became my wife.
  3. A caring community – for me it has been a changing and liberating/liberated church community.
  4. A very good public school education that was both free and easily accessible beginning in first grade and continued through the completion of a Ph. D. degree.
  5. A government best described by President Barack Obama's statement paraphrased as, "I didn't build this life alone, but I had the help of a supportive government."
I'm looking forward to occasionally looking at each of the five factors in more depth.  And just now, as I publish this, I realize that - more than revealing the facts of my life - I hope I might disclose "secrets" from "the good old days" that can encourage others to consider and ponder the well-spring and meaning of  their life. 

I hope you'll check out my blog occasionally and share thoughts about them with me

Ron