Video of what appears to have been a tornado on the south side of Hot Springs confirms that last night’s weather was fierce. Claps of thunder shook the ground here in the Village, twenty miles away, but as far as I know we were spared the worst of the storms. But blue flashes of lightning and growls of thunder kept sleep at bay for an hour or more. Heavy rain beat against the siding and the roof as if the downpour was intent on breaking through to the warm bed. This morning, though, grey skies and water-logged trees are the only evidence I can see of last night’s atmospheric assault. And the temperatures have cooled considerably, I think. I wonder whether high winds, strobe-like bolts of lightning, torrential rain, and earth-shaking thunder cause panic in deer, rabbits, skunks, foxes, and the rest of the forest creatures that find themselves unprotected—at the mercy of unknown forces that might seem to turn the animals’ lives upside down? Some people suggest forest creatures are “accustomed” to chaotic weather and, therefore, are not afraid when it strikes. That attitude, I think, has its roots in both ignorance and emotional avoidance. I could be wrong, of course; I have not done any research on these matters because I do not have the energy at the moment and I do not feel up to learning something I would rather not know. If there was any serious damage last night, I am sure I will see photos before the day is out.


A retired rabbi will deliver the “insight” service at church next Sunday. He is invited to speak at least two or three times a year, I believe. And I always find his comments interesting. His sense of humor, too, often elicits applause and loud laughter.  I have gotten out of the habit of attending church every Sunday, thanks to the exhaustion that has accompanied my chemotherapy. But that fatigue has diminished quite a bit, making attendance far less of a burden. Next Sunday, mi novia will be visiting her mother so if I got to church, I will go to church alone. I am leaning toward attending; I really enjoy the rabbi’s comments.


Golf is not necessarily a rich person’s pastime, but neither is it readily available to people of limited means. As far as I know, no one in my immediate family (and possibly no one in my extended family) has been a golfer. While my brothers and sisters and I were growing up, my family had limited means…I think. My siblings (there were five of them) may have had a somewhat different experience, though. The first few may have enjoyed the “good life” to a greater extent than did I, but I rather doubt it. Instead of golf clubs, though, some of my siblings were given shotguns. By the time I was born, that phase had passed. I heard stories of white-wing hunting, but I was never given the opportunity. Still, I think hunting was much more in line with my father’s interests than golf would have been. This assumes I knew my father’s interests, which is not an entirely reasonable assumption. Now that I think about it, I  do not remember ever hearing of my sisters having shotguns or going hunting. Perhaps my family, especially early on, accepted gender stereotypes: toy trucks for boys, dolls for girls. I simply do not remember; my childhood remains—for the most part—a mystery to me. I can imagine that I was switched—a few years after birth—for a child with entirely different experiences and memories than mine. With six children in tow, my mother may have gone to a routine doctor’s appointment; when she was ready to leave, she corralled the children and headed home…but she accidentally left her original youngest child in the waiting room, taking me home instead. All babies look the same, so I can easily imagine she did not notice that I was not part of the brood. None of this explains why I was never given a shotgun. Maybe the people who reared me saw traits in me that argued strenuously against equipping me with a weapon. This is all sheer fantasy. Possibly.


I learned last night that Amna Nawaz had her children’s names tattooed on her wrists. I also learned (or relearned) that, in December 2019, she became the first Asian American and first Muslim to moderate a United States presidential debate when she co-moderated a Democratic Party presidential debate. She is now co-anchor of the PBS Newshour. I watched last night as she, with obvious enjoyment, interviewed Brittney Griner. Griner is a very tall basketball player who spent time as a Russian prisoner. I do not need to know this, but I know it, nevertheless.


According to India’s largest hospitality education website, “Sauces are made with a liquid base and are often thinner and more pourable, while gravies are made with the drippings from cooked meats and are thicker and more viscous.” The more you know, the better you feel.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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