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Judy Atchinson's A Stubborn Woman
by Judy Atchinson

A Stubborn Woman

A Daily Gazette community blog
QUEST leader's wanderings and musings

Thinking of youth

The world is so wide, so vast, why put on a formal vestment at the sound of a bell?
-- Yun-Men

It’s sad; I look at myself and wonder where I am. I feel that old wishful tug of my heart as spring approaches. I remember dancing in my apartment living room to Ralph Vaughan Williams. “Variations on a theme by Thomas Tallis” every year in joyous abandon. The music both voluptuous and glorious. And I probably neither of the above but not caring, just dancing and living entirely in the moment.

I could not do that now, on my best day I could not manage it. The mind is willing but the body is weak. And mine is more than weak, it is dysfunctional. I listened to the fund drive for WAMC today and Alan Chartock was saying that he would turn 70 in June. "People keep asking me,” he said, "when am I going to retire? And I answer, 'Why should I?' ” And then he added, “but truthfully, it’s getting a little hard on my body.”

And I want to yell loud enough for him to hear me on the radio, “Yes, yes I turned 70 last September, and I know just what you mean.” And I do, I do. There should be some sort of a club for us aging compulsive workers. Our motto could be “I want to do less, not nothing at all." There are times when I do not want to leave the shelter of my home. When I want to do nothing more than curl up with my animals and the current book I’m reading and just unite with the moment, you know, live in the now.

I think I’m just too much of a multi-tasker, cause right now Love-Asia is sitting next to me in the car. Tess is leaving me a message for Tifa, Raymond is looking for the keys for the office and Jose wants a pen to write poetry with. All this with a ballet class going on and others soaring up for a great meal for Kay-shawn’s birthday. And I gave my favorite pen to Jose so I had to scrabble around the floor of the car just to find something to write with.

In 10 minutes I have to take Deviani and her sister home, then Ty-Quan and I are going to get the pizza, plus Tamir and Bianca need to be home at 7:30 and I already brought Cliff home at 5:40 because he was misbehaving in ballet, and I need to get gas. I am sitting in my car looking for a shred of peace in order to write this epistle. And of course everyone is leaving at 9:00 and I am making 2 trips to drive kids home. Plus I will be arbitrating, and soothing hurt feelings, providing praise for jobs well done and in general making my car a refuge for anyone in need.

And my day started with an insurance debacle at 8:45 which took 2 hours to straighten and should never have happened in the first place. If anyone knows a responsible, reliable and cost effective insurance company, please please let me know. I am desperate.
Yes, Yes, Yes!

“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of making music is what’s most important. Singing into a microphone, learning to play an instrument and learning to hone your craft, that the most important thing for people to do.

"It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding absolutely correct. It’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in your heart and what goes on in your head.”
-- Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters

And this could stand for anything, even life itself. Take away all the electronics, take away the bells and whistles and the nifty little extras and there you are, standing alone and (hopefully) moving forward. I get so tired of all the little electronic goodies, the plugs in the ears, the withdrawn and isolated faces. It’s really a zombieland. Cellphones -- don’t get me started. Tell me why does a 10-year-old girl need a cellphone? Please don’t say safety.

There are cellphones out there which only allow you to have access to certain numbers, like your parents or 911, or your care giver. Proscribed numbers. 11-year-old girls are calling boys in my car continually, nonstop. Parents say that they are worried about their children but then hand out cellphones with everything up to and including the Internet. Then there’s the X-Boxes, iPods and on and on. Hundreds of dollars on electronics; I don’t know all their names or kinds but they do serve to isolate a child. Hands on, learn to draw, play an instrument, write a play, throw a pot, read to another child. The best work comes from your gut, not those ubiquitous earphones.

But wait, there’s this small gem

“Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior for us is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His/her task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all the children, the future of humanity.”
-- Sitting Bull

Are we listening, are we paying attention? I keep reading all of these comments in many many places that sicken me, they speak of revenge, they speak of making the U.S. the strongest military complex in the world, they speak of Judeo/Christian conglomerate as the only religions of worth in the world. I keep remembering the shortest lesson in the bible “ Jesus wept.” Nowhere do I see people's concern for children, I mean concern expressed in real sacrifice and commitment.

When we have 7-year-old girls in the city trying to hang themselves and then being put on massive doses of meds just so they can get through each succeeding day, I weep. Why is this a topic no one cares to address? You tell me. It’s easy to supply togs (electronic devices) and computers. Put the child in front of moving screens and let these devices raise our children. How outrageous.

We are taking easy routes out of the mystery and wilderness of human growth and development. Gift a child with a dog or cat and gently lead the way to teach him/ her about love and responsibility. Now there’s an idea. There’s programs like this in prisons, yes prisons. Where are our inner city programs for youth who put no value on any life, including their own?

I am thinking about my mutt from 11th Hour Rescue, and the passion and zeal in the face and eyes of the man who first brought Wilbur into my home. His is absolutely on fire with his mission to save lives. “Do you know how many dogs have passed through or home” he queried when I asked him if he wouldn’t miss Wilbur.

Where are the rescue agencies for children? And no, I don’t mean C.P.S. or D.S.S. or even Berkshire Farms and Probation. People who put everything on the line to rescue and follow up on everyone who passes through their lives. Follow up -- yes –- follow up, no-one should be allowed to fall through the cracks. If a pregnant woman is arrested in a drug raid in her home, and then has the baby in jail that child should be monitored for birth addiction. Not labeled ADD or ADHD or any other group for anonymous letters but the reality of long term follow- up care for a child born drug addicted. And it should be public. Confidentially protects no one but the officials handling the problem. Families need to be monitored with surprise home visits and drug testing. Any fool, even an old one such as myself, can see that.

To notify ahead of time that you are coming is self-defeating. Do you really think that addicts are so stupid they won’t plan accordingly if they know the city is stopping by?

The general consensus is that essentially all C.P.S. is looking for is a relatively clean home and food in the fridge. Means many clients have told me that even some probation officers acknowledge the reality of that statement.

I love dogs, cats, animal life in general. I support Buster’s Law vigorously but should we not have the same laws, enforced and maintained with justice and strength for our children. I see everywhere the slogans for animal rights groups to speak out for those who cannot speak out for themselves. Should this not also be true for our children?

We are so strong on protecting family structure but family can and should extend beyond blood kin. Family can be your teacher at school, the cashier at the super market, an advocate at the after school program the child attends, the crossing guards notice and bond with the kids who need a special hug or a pat on the back. Real information shared responsibility can go a long way to helping folks stay the course and confirm the journey to a more promising ending.

“I carry the fire and that is enough-
What I mean is
When I travel light
The stars in my bundle
Show me the way”
-- Judith Prest

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