If You Have the Time

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ~

Thanks in large part to the generous assistance of my sister-in-law, we moved the majority of the remaining “stuff” from my IC’s old house yesterday to our shared home and garage. In another day or two, all the remaining odds and ends will disappear from the vacant house. The numerous picture hangers will be removed from the walls and the holes left in their absence will be patched and painted. The place will be scrubbed and vacuumed as clean as we can make it. Then, the monumental task of finding a place for everything in our shared house will continue. And, I suspect, much of what we moved (and much of the contents of cabinets, etc. already here) will find its way to the Habitat for Humanity store. Afterward, following a brief period of relaxation, we will investigate places whose appeal surprises me about myself. Fayetteville, Arkansas. Tulsa, Oklahoma. Schenecktady, New York. Fairfield, Iowa.  Fairfield, Iowa? In response to my query about the town, here’s the response I got from a woman who worked for me many years ago and who now lives back in her home state of Iowa (Cedar Rapids) with her husband:

…it is known for the Maharishi University and Vedic City—which when it came to Iowa in the 70s totally blew the minds of everyone in the conservative farm town and all of Iowa for that matter, me included. My impression, though it may have changed over the years, is that it is an incongruous mix of town folk and maharishis who don’t have much to do with each other.

I’m sure the Maharishis have brought some wealth and international influence to the town—they do have some good ethnic restaurants there—but I think it might be an unusual place to live…which may be the attraction!

The little town (population about 10,000) has some interesting ethnic restaurants. That’s part of the appeal. Another part of the appeal is that it’s rather walkable. Many houses on the market are within easy walking distance of the downtown square, where many of the restaurants are: Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Sushi, Turkish, etc., etc. And the place is mostly flat; easier for me to walk than the hills around here, which make life a bit difficult for me, with my cancer-compromised lungs and attendant lack of stamina. The fact that there’s an accredited university there adds to the appeal. We’ll see.


My post yesterday about Hurricane Ida prompted David Legan, a periodic reader of my writing, to post the following comment, that I found both insightful and depressing:

My first crash off of a racing motorcycle, in a motorcycle race, was a relatively “soft” one. At a modest speed, certainly under 100mph, I lost the front end and instantly met the asphalt. I was not hurt…or even shaken. But I was shocked that THE RACE CONTINUED. Only for a moment, lying in the Texas weeds alongside the track, I watched as racer after racer simply passed by.

I think that’s a crude representation of what will happen tonight and in coming weeks in the Hurricane Ida damage path. You and I will continue with our daily duties as a couple of million folks reassemble their lives. They lie in the weeds wondering what happened…we keep racing. That’s life, until it isn’t.


Hot Springs Village has the capacity to destroy itself. I suspect the upcoming vote on whether to increase the monthly assessment will contribute to the community’s seeming interest in what I call civitasicide, or systematic killing of a community. Rather than seeing an increase in assessments as the outgrowth of time and natural deterioration, opponents apparently view the process as a means of draining their pockets in favor of somehow enriching the pockets of their opponents. To prevent that inexplicable “theft,” the opponents of increasing our monthly assessments further the process of systematically murdering this once idyllic community by gutting its infrastructure and otherwise causing it to decay from the inside out. That’s what’s on my mind this morning. Among other things. I most certainly am NOT grateful to the people who would butcher an otherwise tolerable community to further their own ability to jack up their bank accounts.


My IC misunderstood something I said the other night. Neither of us remember exactly what I said, nor even the context of the conversation. What we do remember is that my IC thought I said something that sounded, to her, like “you’re my bitch.” That is not what I said. But we laughed until we cried when she told me what she thought I said.


When I mentioned to my IC and my sister-in-law that I thought I might write children’s stories, they both looked at me as if I had just expressed an interest in eating live kittens with just a touch of salt. I’m convinced I could write some pretty decent children’s stories. They seem to think my stories would be grim, deeply frightening tales that would scar children for life. We’ll see.


Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.

~ Steven Wright ~

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to If You Have the Time

  1. Thanks, Becky! I may give it a shot.

  2. Becky Hamilton says:

    I believe you could write wonderful children’s stories. Give it a shot!

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