THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, JUDY COLLINS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Weight



I still see my brother Michael,
pressed and polished, shaking hands down at the store
Everyone had come to see the all-star hop the Greyhound bus and go to war
He punched me in the arm to say goodbye
It was the first time that I saw our father cry

I kept all my brother’s letters tied in ribbon in a box beneath my bed
Every night I read by flashlight with the covers in a tent above my head
His words said “Not to worry, doing fine”
It was his way of trying to ease my mind
While I was trying not to read between the lines

The weight of the world, too heavy to lift
So much to lose, so much to miss
It doesn’t seem fair that an innocent boy
Should have to carry the weight of the world

Then it was football games and homecoming and
picking out our dresses for the prom
With my brother in some desert dodging bullets when he wasn’t dodging bombs

While we went from the land of brave and free
To just being afraid to disagree
While I was being brought down to my knees by

The weight of the world, too heavy to lift
So much to lose, so much to miss
It doesn’t seem fair that an innocent boy
Should have to carry the weight of the world

It was the middle of December when the Army sent my brother home at last
While the flagpole by the football field flew the colors half-way down the mast
The wind blew cold and snow was coming down
Still everybody turned out from our town
As we laid my brother in that frozen ground

The weight of the world, too heavy to lift
So much was lost, so much was missed
It doesn’t seem fair that any boy or any girl
Should have to carry the weight of the world


Songwriters: Amy Speace / J Vezner / Judson Caswell
Weight of the World lyrics © DO Write Music LLC

COSTUMES – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – COSTUMES


Photos: Garry Armstrong

I wanted to wear a different pair of earrings today. I’ve had them quite a while, but I’ve never worn them. Not they I don’t love them, because I really do. They are gorgeous. Big, bright, beaded. Which also means they are quite lightweight and comfortable. All good.

Black and silver

But big bead earrings break. They are great for a while, the one day you feel this strange feeling that something is spilling off your head and it’s your gorgeous long bead earring become a million tiny beads. I have a set that I wanted to wear today that are black ravens with turquoise eyes, but one of them has come slightly unraveled and I’m afraid if I wear them, it will come completely apart.

Red and turquoise

So I admire them in the jewelry box and worry about wearing them. Of the most beloved bead earrings, I am wearing the sturdiest pair. These are built on a silver frame with silver beats and tips. I think it’s the silver that protects them because I’ve had versions of these for at least six or seven years. I wear them a lot and none of broken.

I have two pairs of them in black and silver. Identical. I thought I had lost a set, so I bought another — and of course, promptly found the originals. I still periodically misplace jewelry, though less often than I used to. This might be because I travel less, though it turns out most of my misplacement took place at home. I only thought I left them somewhere else.

They always turn up where I’m sure I’ve already looked many times. Have I mentioned “the pixie factor”?

Red and turquoise again

Except for my beautiful green turquoise earrings which seem to have vanished for good and all.

I have bead earring in varying shades of red with silver and dark purple. I have them in red and turquoise. Another pair which looks like red and turquoise, but includes some dark purple beads too. I’m sure the designer and I are the only people who can tell the difference.

I have them in all turquoise, too.

Red earrings – at Manchaug

Every time this designer makes a new pair, I buy them. She only makes one at a time and though the differences are getting subtle, I love them. I’ve now got 6 pairs of them in various color combinations. I wish she’d make a set in a new set of colors. I can but hope.

Costuming for me is dressing “up” which actually means the same clothing I wear, but clean (no dog hair or for that matter, my own hair), solid so the jewelry shows well. Basically, black yoga pants, a black top, and my best Native American jewelry can get me through almost anything except sometimes, a wedding.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Black ones again

No Halloween costume. Sorry!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN: AN INTERVIEW WITH DEATH – Marilyn Armstrong

My fame as An Important Blogger has spread beyond the realm of the living into the nether regions as I went searching for a character to interview. Death popped right up and volunteered. I wasn’t sure he was entirely fictional but eventually decided most people don’t believe he’s real, so he qualifies.

He has been hanging around here far too much lately.

When you meet Death, your first impression is of a quiet, retiring fellow. The kind of guy you’d never even notice. He walks silently, accompanied only by a faint rustling, like fabric gently ruffled by a breeze. You notice his nearness when folks disappear permanently. Like in a bad science fiction movie, characters keep vanishing without a trace.

I suppose it goes with the territory, but I have a few questions for the old buzzard.  Speaking of old,  Death does not look old. His face is unlined. He could be forty. Or two hundred and forty. His voice seemed a murmur, yet I had no trouble hearing every word he spoke. I didn’t know a stage whisper could be so loud.

Let the interview commence!


ME: I know you get everyone, eventually. It seems you’ve been taking away my crowd. Is this a Karmic thing? Have we been particularly wicked?

DEATH: Not really. You’re a hard-living crowd, but not bad in the sense of righteous or not righteous. Everyone gets a limited amount of hard living. A lot of your kinsmen used up their portion early.

ME: So partying causes an early demise?

DEATH: Not partying. Living hard. That includes working hard, worrying, not resting properly. Wears out your spirit, not just your bones. Of course, there is also a DNA component. Some of you are heartier than others. You have bodies — and souls — that can take more abuse. And the opposite. Some people aren’t resilient.

ME: Abuse? What do you mean by “abuse?”

DEATH: Drugs, booze. Insufficient sleep. Stress. Danger. Never taking the time to step back and understand what’s happened to you. It’s all part of the equation.

ME: I don’t suppose you’d let me in on the equation? Like how you calculate life and death?

DEATH: {Looks amused}

ME: Moving right along, is there anything we can do to score a few extra points with you? On the plus side, I mean.

DEATH: I’m tough but fair. Like a good coach.

ME: I never played on a team.

DEATH: Let us not bandy words. You get my drift. They use that line on every cop show on television. I know you watch TV. I’ve come round and sat with you on many an evening.

ME: {I shiver} Maybe too much television.

DEATH: Television is good stuff. Extends your life. I’m such a fan! {Death chuckles and sends a chill down my spine} Unless I’m under special orders, I never take anyone who’s watching a good show or a playoff game. Have I mentioned how much I loved Law & Order? That was a great show. I was upset when it ended. I related to it.

ME: How’s that?

DEATH: Catching bad guys, making judgments. Deciding whether to lock them up forever or hand them to me. Well, I can tell you, we don’t “do” locking up where I come from. I always take’em out of the game.

ME: So there’s no Hell?

DEATH: Did I say that?

ME: Never mind. Why so many good people? Young people? Even little children and babies?

DEATH: I have a degree of discretion, but if the Boss says “that one,” there’s no further discussion. He’s got his agenda. I follow orders. Age, sex, ethnicity, color. Sexual orientation. Don’t care, don’t discriminate. To me — us — you’re all customers.

{This made me uncomfortable. I shifted in my seat. Death noticed, of course. I could see the twinkle in his pale eyes. He was enjoying my discomfort.}

DEATH: We met before. Yes, I remember. You were young the first time. A teenager. But I was told you could choose to stay or go. You stayed. Not many people get to choose. Before you ask, I have no idea why. Just following orders. Then … what, ten, twelve years ago? You were in my court, but someone in the boss’s office told me to push you back to the other side. How did that work out for you?

ME: Obviously it worked. I’m here.

DEATH: I congratulate you. You are one of the few I’ve brushed against twice who’s still on this side.

Death cust serv

At that point, I realized I needed to end the interview. Beads of sweat were breaking out along the back of my neck. I didn’t like the way my interviewee was looking at me. I felt like a bag of potatoes in a supermarket.

ME: Time to wrap this up.

DEATH: {Grinning} You think, probie?

ME: I just wanted to ask you a couple of quick questions about some of your movie roles.

DEATH: “The Seventh Seal (1957)” — Ingmar Bergman’s black & white classic — is by far my favorite. I think I should have gotten a nomination at least. After that — John Huston’s 1969 “A Walk with Love and Death” was pretty good.

ME: Do you have favorite periods in history?

DEATH: You can’t beat the 14th century. I was the King of all I surveyed! I ruled. All good things come to an end, I suppose. Not to worry. My time will come again. From the way you humans are messing around with the Earth, not to mention breeding lethal viruses in labs? I’d say it’ll be my time again soon. That whole fracking thing. Wow, what could go wrong with that, eh?

I also want to mention war. I love war. That humans make war is how I know you love me. Sending off your best and brightest to die in the mud — stabbed, shot, mutilated, mowed down. Blown up. Shattered. It’s a love poem to me.

ME: Well, that’s about all the time we have for today. Let’s get together again real soon.

DEATH: {Evil smile} I think the next time we meet will be the last time.

And he gathered up his black robes and slid from the room, dark as a shadow, soundlessly.

{Fade to black}

ONE GOLDEN AUTUMN EVENING – Marilyn Armstrong

A Golden Autumn Evening


Yellow trees and our gate

It was a sunny day. A beautiful day.  I painted a little piece of my front door that needed retouching because when we replaced the lock and door handle, it didn’t precisely fit where the old one had been.

Then, after that, it got gray for a while. I was sad that we couldn’t have a single sunny day, uninterrupted. I was so sad, the sun felt sorry for me and came back.

Red maple
The road was truly golden

As we headed toward evening, the trees along the driveway turned to gold and our maple turned red and orange. Some of the roses are still blooming. They do look a little bedraggled, but alive.

Red maple, yellow aspen
Dark red maple

SPOOKY SHARING ON HALLOWEEN – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World

“Spooky”  Share Your World


Today is Halloween! Got your costume ready? Stocked up on candy? Good. I’m looking forward to a bag full of candy. Yum.


Name something you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark forest or in an abandoned building.

I wouldn’t BE in a dark forest OR an abandoned building. Especially not in combination.

Share the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone.

I found a spider in my bed. I screamed, then I dislodged it. I have no rational fear of spiders. I’m just scared to death of them. Mindless paranoia.

What would you like your last words to be?

See you soon!

Do you believe in any ‘mythical’ monsters like chupacabras or shadow people?

No.

How long do you think you would last in a horror movie?

I wouldn’t even be in the audience, much less the movie.

Are you afraid of or find clowns creepy?

I find clowns weird, but not necessarily creepy. But I also don’t find them particularly funny — even when I was a kid.

In the zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice?

First, I plan to be living in one of the world’s best anti-Zombie apocalypse location on earth.

Other than that, I figure a paint gun with iron filings in the paint. You know, all creatures from the Never world are terrified of iron.

Have you ever had your tarot cards read?

I used to read them. I creeped myself out.

Anyone know the reason behind putting candles in jack-o-lanterns?

I assumed to make them light up in the dark. No?

Do you think putting special emphasis on certain holidays – like Halloween is ‘spooky’ for example — is a good idea or just more mindless entertainment for the masses? 

ARTWORK: Evil Squirrel’s Nest

I like Halloween when I was a kid, but it wasn’t nearly the big deal it has become. The problem in this country is that every holiday eventually becomes another way for malls to draw crowds. People actually sent Halloween cards. Halloween cards? Really?

Share a positive thought or message or something that’s inspired you this week.

The Red Sox did it! Their best team ever took the World Series, their fourth win in 14-years. Yay Sox!

JAMES ‘WHITEY’ BULGER DEAD IN PRISON – Marilyn Armstrong

“WHITEY” BULGER DEAD AT 89

They could have found him sooner had they tried harder.

It took them 16 years to find him. A lot of people knew where he was or knew enough to ask the right questions from the right people and get the correct answer.

If they had wanted to. But he was a dangerous guy with powerful friends. A dangerous guy with a brother who was a powerful figure in Boston’s government too.

Two brothers. So different. One becomes (eventually) the top guy at the University of Massachusetts. A really popular guy, too. Funny, witty, educated. But his brother — Whitey — was a killer. How does that happen? What kind of family dynamics produce the head of a mob and the head of the university?

I think every general assignment reporter in Boston had some inkling of his location, including my husband who never said so because he never talks about “the mob,” not when we were young or now … but I was sure he knew a lot more than he said. The FBI knew because they used him as a source for decades and paid him for it, too.

He was supposedly some kind of a “Robin Hood” in Southie. Maybe for his friends, he was. For everyone else, he was a murderous thug. Eventually, it all broke open and he went to prison and died there today.

Former mob boss and fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger, who was arrested in Santa Monica, California on June 22, 2011 along with his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig is shown in this 2011 booking photo. In the opening of the murder and racketeering trial on June 12, 2013, prosecutors described Bulger, 83, as the leader of a criminal gang responsible for decades of “murder and mayhem.” Prosecutors say 19 people were killed by Bulger’s hand or at his order. REUTERS/U.S. Marshals Service/U.S. Department of Justice/Handout via Reuters

His brother, who I’m sure always knew how to find him, leaped from his office and floated down on a golden parachute.

The feared leader of the Winter Hill Gang, “Whitey” Bulger was convicted (finally) in 2013 of 11 murders stretching from Boston to Florida and Oklahoma. Bulger had spent 16 years as one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives before he was captured in Santa Monica, California, in 2011.

The could have found him sooner. If they tried harder.

99 New: Rumination

As a Jewish woman married to a Brown man, this really hits home. This whole week has been a bit of a nightmare for me. This is personal. It’s impossible to NOT see this as the start of a new period of nationalism and murder. Remember, folks, the actual name of Nazi was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Nazi is only how it came to be known, but Nationalist was always front and center. Guess who says he’s a “nationalist?” You got it on the first try!

Red's Wrap

Anti-Semitism isn’t just the stuff of white nationalist Neanderthals. Some of your best friends have anti-Semitic reflexes.

Oh, your friends would never admit to this. They’re too intelligent, too socially conscious. They wouldn’t be caught dead showing bigoted or anti-Semitic attitudes and they’d take great offense to the suggestion that they are unconsciously anti-Semitic. But some things a person can’t control and one of them is the reflex of anti-Semitism learned when they were children.

Who killed Jesus?

It starts there. Every kid in Sunday School learns that ‘the Jews killed Jesus.’ Later, when they grow up, they sometimes sort out who did what with Jesus; grown-up minds can deal with complexity if so inclined. If not so inclined, the original notion that the Jews were to blame for the agony of Christ’s suffering on the cross gets embedded in people’s psyches. Hence, the reflex business. And the Inquisition.

Added…

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