Reading The Obituaries

Don Quixote and the next chapter, ” Regarding the advice Don Quixote gave to Sancho Panza before he went to govern the insula, along with other matters of consequence.”

When my folks were in their eighties I used to catch them spending time reading the obits to one another. I thought that was pretty weird. But then. But then yesterday we caught ourselves reading the ones out of the weekly Beachcomber. So then I had to think about that.

It is kind of a who’s who for the past narrowed down to a certain locale. It is rich in information that can’t be found elsewhere. Still think it’s kind of weird but still. Reading it together with someone is an exercise in remembering individuals, relationships, neighborhoods, maybe immigration or movements. People went to this or that church and were in this or that business. Then they are survived by so and so. Maybe should give them a call.
Yea it’s got virtues.

Well, there has to be more to this post than that geezer deal, hopefully. What about my great classic book Don Quixote and Phil’s Camino through the 940 pages. This is the end of my third month working on the darn thing. And yesterday I went to the local branch of the library and pleaded my case and Laurie the librarian rechecked it out for me so I can have it for more time. Yes!

And Dana y Catherine, my walking buddies, will be happy to know that Laurie the Librarian was wearing one of the beautiful necklaces that their daughter Kate crafts. Yea, there it was in plain sight and so unique, it had to be a Kate.

Here is another deal, we are really stream of conciseness today, my blog is approaching Don Quixote in word volume. It was just a thought that I had yesterday and just now I did the rough math. DQ has 500,000 words and PC is currently at 400,000. Yike. What a blabberhead I’ve turned into. Maybe the blog needs a name change. But I think ultimately I can blame the whole deal on St James, right? Why not, he is broad shouldered enough.

OK, thanks for hangin in there with us here at Caminoheads. Just trying to keep the lamp lite for the noble work of buoying each other up as we walk our personal Camino’s on whatever continent. Camino love, Felipe.

Nothing In Particular

The view from my comfy chair at the Treatment Center. Not raining at the moment.

Pretty darn wet here in Seattle. In town for my chemo treatment. It’s a little bit of a zoo here at the hospital, makes it interesting.

Still reeling from “Hacksaw Ridge”‘ the Mel Gibson film that I blogged about yesterday. But good reeling at this point, given me more determination to keep going as long as possible. If there are things worthwhile to do and I am capable of doing them then I’m game.

A DVD of Phil’s Camino is circulating among the nurses here at the treatment center. There are probably forty nurses so it is slowly making the rounds and they are loving it. Yea, well, why is there not to love anyway.

Just got the word that I will be off early today. Somehow they are out of one of the chemicals and I get the Get Out of Jail Free card today. This is a new one. OK, any break in the routine is welcome.

In other news I am on page 695 in my Don Quixote book. It is due tomorrow and I renewed it twice already so have to turn it in. Maybe I can get some kind of special dispensation, possible?

I am going to give you a break today and sign off for now. I wish I could write a great blog everyday but that doesn’t happen apparently, at least not with me. Time for lunch, love, Felipe.

A Big Overwhelming Intense Glob

God looking down on us.

Wiley, our son, went with me to the movies last night. We have a little but courageous theater here on the Island. They show all the big movies but maybe just a little late. Curt one of the local cops, a big Viking, is in a tiedyed t-shirt and helps to sell popcorn beforehand. I think we Norman Rockwelled again.

Curt said he had already seen the movie twice and praised it. I said my Dad was there, a combat medic in the same regiment as Private Doss. Curt said his Dad was at the Battle of the Bulge, different continent but same naked exposure to weather, heartbreak and flying metal.

Wiley went with me as I couldn’t face going alone, too _____. So, this is Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge”. If you saw his film the “Passion of Christ” you will know the intensity that he can bring. The reason I am blogging now about this is that I am feeling overwhelmed by it. Overwhelmed by my memories and conversations with my father who was there doing the same job as Private Doss in the massive funk that was Okinawa in the spring of 1945.

Foretunately, there are massive redeeming qualities about Gibson’s movie and about my dad. Private Doss, a consciousous objector, finds a place in the intense and complicated comradary of his unit by having an intense and uncomplicated faith in God and his unswerving devotion to the following the Ten Commandments. He was made a combat medic which is the EMT of the day so he didn’t have to touch a weapon but still was contributing. And boy did he contribute.

He takes saving lives to the ultimate level staying behind on the contested battlefield alone* to minister, transport and save 75 combatants some of which were enemy troops. Very intense, was my son’s comment. Yes. Private Doss received our nation’s highest award, the Congressional Medal of Honor, for his devotion to his comrades. I might add to the list his enemies, and ultimately his God.

My son and I this morning are dwelling on the realization what we owe to my Father and Wiley’s Grandfather. I have always been in awe of the stories of the service that he provided to so many. Wiley got a glimpse of that last night. And we have to know that God kept him alive and intact in body, mind and spirit to be a major part of our upbringing. It is so amazing when history becomes so raw, intense and personal.

Ah, there is blue sky out between the puffy white clouds. God is looking down on us. Time to cook breakfast for My Rebecca and myself, shallots and eggs in the peace of the morning here with Norman Rockwell over in the corner painting. Yup, we are thankful, love you always, Felipe.x

Had A Little Showing

Felipe smelling the roses in along the trail in Spain.

Yesterday morning I was at the local Episcopal Church showing Phil’s Camino. It is always fun showing the film and doing Q and A. My Rebecca and Kelly were there to help out. This was a real small version of some of our get togethers but fun just the same. You never know what connections will happen.

The questions are always interesting and varied. The audience wonders about all facets of the film and it’s content. Really keeps me on my toes to answer everything in a short answer format. Have to be honest and not long winded. I have expressed this before but writing the blog over so much time really helps me in these Q and A sessions because if I haven’t covered these exact questions before I have worked with something close.

Some of the best audiences are the church and Camino group ones. And sometimes we get folks that are both and that is the best. The questions get to the sublime. So, our next engagement is with a Camino group in Victoria, British Columbia. That should be a good one.

So, I am off to walk on this cold morning. We are on the very back edge of this cold spell. It is supposed to start getting warmer and rain soon. Sort of back to normal. OK, that what it looks like at the moment. Best loves, Felipe.

To Kill

Mount Rainer in the alpenglow.

Was washing dishes this early morn, when I heard that familiar buzz. A yellow jacket that had come in with the firewood no doubt. I’m washing a spatula. It was so easy to slap it. Wack! Falling, falling. into the dish water. I fish him out with the spatula and into the compost with you, you troublemaker.
No fuss, no muss. Sometimes it is the easiest thing in the world to kill.

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend telling me about people that had come to her property to deer hunt over the last few years. As I teach Hunter Education for the State I get this kind of feedback. A whole family that had been in my classes over the years had hunted there at her place. There was a dad, two sons and a daughter. They were amazingly successful in the long run, a testimony to the Dad’s mentoring. One of the sons and the daughter had gotten a deer this last fall there and the son’s kill had went well but the daughter had major problems once she had accomplished her goal.

And what do I say? I say Ruth, “It is supposed to be a bitter sweet experience. We don’t want pathological killers out there. They are supposed to feel.” She seemed good with that although there is more. I should make an attempt to follow up and talk with the Dad and see if I could help out. But beyond the feeling one must have a very good reason to kill. One must see the act in terms of the little picture and the big picture and OK it both ways.

What does all this have to do with our conversation my dear readers? Well, I have been struggling with my relationship with my cancer, with my tumors. This is an ongoing theme at Caminoheads. I have been trying to learn from it’s/their presence. I am somehow in a different mindset than “battling”. And I have come to see my tumors up close and personal over time. And I have gone though all this to reach a point were I am ready to kill them. I have throughly looked at the big and little picture. I have met with them numerous times and expressed my side of the story. And they understand. I am ready.

Well yea, real basic midwinter conversation today. Feels sort of appropriate after the Seahawks loss to the Falcons yesterday. I’m “riding the plane” back with the boys, regrouping and thinking about how to move forward.

So look, love you so, obviously. So glad you are around to support me on my Camino. Thank you for doing a good job of buoying me up. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Off to my day, killer loves, Felipe.

Wine For Breakfast?

Eat more hash 2 and wine for breakfast!

At supper time yesterday My Rebecca served up one of her favorites, Breakfast for Dinner. We had peppers and eggs, vension sausage and toast. Nice right? But the trouble came when I asked her if she wanted any wine. Yike. It was like me putting catsup on one of her creations. You can’t have wine for breakfast!

Is that true? Surely somewhere in the world they serve wine for breakfast at least sometimes. We obviously need a fact finding mission. Google it, right?
Well, just did and there are numerous entries there about wine with breakfast and brunch. See, so there and it wasn’t breakfast anyway, it was 6 PM.

That is the kind of exciting arguments that we have these days. Pretty mild and well mannered really. The kind of agreement Clark Kent and Lois Lane would have I think.

Anyway, off to my Bible Guys class in a few moments. I am leading today. We are doing John 20 today the story of the Resurrection. The whole amazing story is put so matter of factly there in the text by John (brother of our beloved Santiago).

OK, big Seahawks football game later today. Still cold here. See you tomorrow, only the best loves, Felipe.

Fact Finding Mission

Life in the wood shop.

Remember the old days when government officials went on fact finding missions to exotic locations around the globe. Do they do that any more? Maybe we ran out of facts, possibility.

Anyway I had a fact finding mission to my insides this morning, a talk with my tumors. Sort of like a scan but different. With the scan we are after one sort of information and with my personal investigations something else. Again I get a picture of my tumors as resolute and uncaring for their own future. They have a job to do and they are doing it. I talk to them to find some place of entry but they seem unconcerned. It is almost like talking to myself in some strange way. Or like talking to the negative space that I take up or like the positive end of the magnet talking to the negative end. What to say? It is basically just a very basic primitive grunt of recognition.

Still I am operating with the idea that my cancer is a manifestation of disharmony and not some invasion of weird industrial gunk. I am striving for harmony now. How to be integrated, all parts working together.

It’s what I am thinking about and dealing with this morning, certain ideas are appearing out of the mist. I am going to chew on this today and maybe write more tomorrow. But the day is happening with breaks in the clouds and some sunlight on the trees. Cold here and the wood stove is going nonstop. Time for me to get going. First thing I!m off to Kelly’s shop to help him change the blades on his planer. Alperfect, love, Felipe.

About Yesterday

The moon at three in the morning.

Yesterday was all about Herb, a personality from my youth. A positive role model for me although me was just living life. I’m sure that he didn’t get up every morning and said how am I going to be the best positive role model today. Where is this going? I just wanted to expand slightly on the topic.

Most people that we learn from are just people, they live their lives. They’re not perfect but they are good. They make a difference because of their goodness, steadiness, dedication, stuff like that. Their weren’t any guys in my neighborhood that were brain surgeons, astronauts, super athletes, rock stars. Really don’t know how that works that high flying, super heated stuff.

So much of life is just sort of day by day. We have to keep that in mind when we see all the “lives of the rich and famous” that we are fed by media. Yea, those few people are out there but are they the ones that we are going to learn from? Are they the ones that are going to influence our kids? There are so many good folks that are around us that we can talk to and touch and are the metronomes of real life.

Hopefully a few times in their lives they get to do a few things that are transcendent, that are bigger than life. Maybe we get to walk the Camino, hey, something like that. Just a few thoughts to complete yesterday’s post. I’m off to my day, metronome loves, Felipe.

Just a Hero

This is Hot Springs at the Arlington Hotel. That is Steve Watkins in the upper right. I think that Dana took the pic.

My friend from the Great State of Arkansas has this new blog called noteaday and he features a different mentor/teacher/hero each day. There is always something to inspire me. So, working with that theme I thought that I would write about someone from my youth that was an influence on me.

His first name was Herb but I never called him by that as us youngsters were always encouraged to use more formal forms of address. He was a dad of one of my classmates and worked at a car dealership in the neighborhood. He and his wife had four children all together but a tragedy occurred when their only son died at maybe sixteen. I remember it all perfectly, we kids were all at the funeral and burial. It was too sad.

Anyway, people of my parents generation were so amazingly resilient. Some disaster would occur and soon enough they would be picking up their shovels and be heading back to the mine. Life goes on in the neighborhood, that’s for sure. And Herb was an usher at the service that my Dad and I attended at 0930 at St Luke’s Lutheran Church. Certain people attend at certain hours and that’s that.

Actually I have two stories for you and can’t remember which came first. But one Sunday the pastor is giving us the business from the pulpit and right next to him smoke starts coming up the stairway from the basement below. No one moves. The sermon goes on. More smoke and the high ceiling of the church starts to fill up. The sermon goes on. I guess we’re all thinking, well this is a good place to go, true believers we were. The sermon goes on and more smoke. And finally Herb walks up the aisle from the back and goes down the stairs and pretty soon the smoke starts to thin out and then stops. And the service goes on to the normal end for everyone and yea that was that. No alarms, evacuations, trauma counselors, just donuts and coffee.

Story two: one Christmas time all the teens from church were invited to Herb’s for a party and we braved the knee deep snow for this event. Things were going swimmingly, we’re all dancing the Twist or the Bristol Stomp to records down in the basement until the gift opening. You would think that would be pretty innocent. But young Phil throws a monkey wrench into the works. The idea was for everyone to spend no more than fifty cents and come up with one gag gift. Gag actually turns out to be the keyword here. So me and the buddies are at the local plaza (early attempt at a mall) and what does Phil find that is just perfect but a foil wrapped pouch of Redman Chewing Tobacco for 47 cents. Yea, so I get it wrapped and take this little gem to the party.

I don’t remember which person actually opened my offering but really soon afterward all the boys got a hold of it and every single one of us, wanting to prove our manhood or something, partook. It wasn’t like five minutes till all the young studs were out in the foot and a half of snow and puking our guts out. Way to go Phil! Hehe. Neither Herb nor his wife ever said a thing to me. Some people you invite to your parties are really fun if somewhat messy I guess.

Anyway, life in the suburbs with Phil and the gang. But Herb represented that resilience and that steadiness that I hope we all have inside us ourselves now. Well, that’s it and I have gone way over my five hundred word limit. Time to go. Thanks Steve for the inspiration, hope you read this. Love, Felipe of the North.

Grandma’s Hash

Eat more hash 2.

I had a great breakthrough this morning in the making of hash, of a particular variety that my Grandmother used to produce. When she stayed with us in the summer we always had a hot meal at lunch which was the legendary hash. It was always made of leftovers from past dinners. My grandmother was a study in “waste not want not”. She got here training in Poland at the turn of the twentieth century.

Anyway, back to this morning, there it was a reasonable facsimile of grqndma’s hash setting before me. The same ingredients that I have used previously but put them together in a different order. Yes, so simple. Thank you Grandma. She was probably looking over my shoulder.

I think that this blog post has to do with mentoring. Just got done reading Steve Watkin’s blog post on “noteaday” blog and it is about mentors I think. I think that because it just started on the first of the year and I am seeing the pattern. Each day Steve features a different personality from his personal experience that we need to know about. Someone that he personally had learned from.

Just starting to see mentoring as a process where culture is passed down and improved. We are a part of that process. My grandmother was a part of that process. And I still who is trying to achieve the “perfect” hash am a part of that process.

Yup, alperfect here at the ranch. We have a walk today at 3:30. Kelly said that he is showing up. Bill is trying to make it. So, have some things to do before that and off I go. The best to you, love your hash, Felipe.