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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving and stay blessed. Let us give thanks for the good that we receive and the freedom to reject the bad that show up in our lives from time to time.

Happy-Thanksgiving-Cards

© 2016 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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Arguably the most animated ballad to date, this legendary baseball ballad has its rightful place beside such other mythical tales as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. The rhythm of it takes you there, where a roaring crowd is waiting in great expectation for the Mighty Casey to finally step up to bat and save the day. But alas! The mighty Casey appears yet full of false pride. He stupidly shows off until the third ball approaches and then strikes out, thus leaving the crowd silently dejected.

Written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, this historic poem was first published in the San Francisco Examiner in 1887, a local newspaper owned by William Randolph Hearst. Thayer was a college friend of Hearst, who had hired him as humor columnist. And the rest is history. This poem has been adapted to varied types of media: including books, film, television, music, and such. Today the ballad of the Mighty Casey is still being recited at different events by various people, sometimes accompanied by a symphony orchestra. Following is the complete poem:

 Casey at the Bat
by Ernest Lawrence Thayer, ca. 1887

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:  The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,  And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,  A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest  Clung to the hope which springs eternal in the human breast;  They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that— We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,  And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;  So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat, For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,  And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;  And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,  There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;  It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;  It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,  For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;  There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.  And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,  No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;  Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;  Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,  Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,  And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.  Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped— “That ain’t my style,” said Casey.  “Strike one!” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,  Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;  “Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;  And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;  He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;  He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;  But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, “Strike two!”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “Fraud!”  But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.  They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,  And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,  He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;  And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,  And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,  The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;  And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,  But there is no joy in Mudville, mighty Casey has struck out.

This poem is in the public domain.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2014. All rights reserved.

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             “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just:
                             That justice cannot sleep forever.”
                                     ~Pres. Thomas Jefferson

First, much respect to all the hard-working jurors in the recent trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin on 26 February 2012. We appreciate their service and the difficulty they must have faced when trying to strike a balance between the law as written and fairness to the accused. Which we now believe was virtually impossible!

Given the overall ambivalence caused by Florida’s insane “Stand Your Ground” law that was quietly entered into the convoluted jury instructions, though not claimed as a defense during the actual trial, as well as the other dark forces meant to subvert the truth, Justice clearly was not summoned in this trial. As leaving jurors to try to make sense out of nonsense never really works for all concerned, which is the essence of true justice.

And so a special thanks to Maddy, Juror B29, for having the courage to step up and answer the call for Justice after the trail! Despite their not guilty verdict, it was heartening to hear at least one of the jurors declare that “Zimmerman got away with murder”. Maddy also stated that, “even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” she “felt confused” and had to follow the law as read to her, which helps nonetheless.

Of course, for some who felt George Zimmerman was in fact quite guilty, it was too little too late, so to speak. While the rest of us, who also felt Zimmerman was guilty, likely were glad to take what we can get, at least for now. As the quest for justice for Trayvon Martin, his family and society in general is still underway!

Justice vs. Punishment

As to justice vs. punishment: Sadly these two elements in a criminal trial are often confused and confusing, particularly in the heart of many jurors. I know, as I’ve sat on a jury more than once. And each time, I’ve had to wonder how this is going to affect that defendant’s life. Of course, a juror should also weigh how this is going to affect society in general. Still, it’s tough, mainly in an adversarial system where opposing attorneys are virtually trained to win rather than help the juror or a judge seek the truth. Yet, we must try.

As a juror, my duty became easier once I got in touch with my innate belief that correction is far more constructive than a prescribed punishment. Knowing that everyone is destined to awaken and seek the truth eventually, this gave me a sense of hope rather than a sense of punishment for the defendant that naturally goes against our deepest humanity.

Of course, correction can seem like punishment, particularly if a criminal is sent to prison. While society must be protected from the dangers of criminality, still, with an emphasis on correction rather than punishment the inmate is more likely to find hope rather than despair, and ultimately resolve to change its grievous ways.

Actually, there are societies today, some quite ancient, who have scientifically worked this out and attempt, when possible, to guide their criminals toward correction rather than merely serving time. In Norway, for example, there exists a restorative justice with emphasis on restoring the criminal and others involved, when appropriate, and considered quite successful by many.

The Call for Justice

Lately, it seems, the matter of criminal justice in our society is slowly becoming more about declaring a wrong and holding the offender accountable rather than the archaic quest for trial and punishment. This, I believe is at the heart of Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and that of Miss Mamie so long ago, the mother of Emmett Till, my classmate, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in the Summer of 1955.

Perhaps this is an indication that our society is growing up, though still experiencing growing pains. For without the official acknowledgement of a civil or a criminal wrong, our society will continue upholding the wrongs of the so-called privileged and never truly advance.

Thankfully, once again, much like in the 60s, Americans recognized the social dangers inherent in the Zimmerman verdict and hit the street marching, and not likely to give up until Justice for Trayvon is achieved. How that will look remains to be seen.

As the call for justice continues to reverberate throughout our well-ordered society, many more unjust issues will come to light, as in the 60s, and a New Civil Rights Movement will emerge; of course, this time it will consist of all Americans.

Oh, we are awake now and more determined than ever to realize a true United States of America where insanity in our government is restrained and Justice for all is alive and well.

Thus Justice never really sleeps, though at times it surly seemed that way.

So keep marching America. And do keep the Faith!

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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For what shall it profit a man or a woman, if we shall gain the whole world and lose the truth (Mark 8:36, restated)?

My apologies for daring to paraphrase Jesus in the above Scripture; yet, I don’t think my Jesus would mind given that the truth is our soul’s natural domain. In fact, it has been my spiritual experience that the Truth and God are synonymous.

Sadly, at this time in our public discourse, the truth seems nearly abandoned in favor of winning the debate du jour whether political, judicial or otherwise. Thus, it seems our modern culture has become so caught up in winning the argument that we have lost sight of the truth, which should be the main objective in any key debate.

Yet, there was a time in advanced societies where a consensus, based on the truth, was valued far above winning the argument, particularly in crucial matters. Hence, there is your side, my side and then there is the truth! Of course, in seeking the truth one must first be truthful.

Walking While Black

Today, I hope and pray, along with most everyone that justice will soon be served regarding Trayvon Martin, an unarmed youth who was tragically shot in the heart while walking home from the local store, and George Zimmerman, the man who admittedly shot and killed him. As this tragic event continues to unfold, I can’t help but reflect on my own experiences as a youth walking while black, a spinoff of driving while black; an acerbic metaphor, coined by my people that aptly characterizes the insanity of racial profiling.

Two of such events come to mind. Actually, my first story is not a classic tale of racial profiling per se, yet it is relevant to our story.

First Story

I was about six then and living with our parents on the historic Southside of Chicago, a few blocks from Cottage Grove Boulevard. In those days children generally walked to school, usually with an older sibling, which, to most parents, seemed not that scary then. As for this spindly-leg kid, I was okay as long as I did not have to pass a sleeping drunk near the corner bar. Seems Chicago had a bar on every corner back then. Usually harmless yet scary nonetheless, I clearly remember my sister and me routinely crisscrossing the street to avoid the corner bar and any comatose drunk that might be there. Finally, we reach the intersection, alive with moving cars and my special friend. Though much too young to understand the blessings a true friend always brings, I am relieved nonetheless.

As soon as I clear the corner and as sure as the rising sun he would be there busy blowing his whistle, and with one sweep of his mighty hand making everything either stop or go at his command. Little did I suspect that my first love, beside my father, would be one of Chicago’s finest, a police officer committed to “protect and serve”. For some reason he truly liked me though, much to my chagrin, his way of showing it would surly embarrass me every time.

Whether I was out front or hidden behind a throng of other people waiting to cross the busy intersection, he would spot me immediately, hold up his hand, blow his whistle, stop everything it seemed, and say more than once in the loudest yet richest voice ever: “Hey, there is my girlfriend”. Then, he would beckon his hand for me to cross while smiling the warmest smile ever. Boy, was I embarrassed but happy just the same. I can still see his brilliant smile, his very handsome brown-skinned face, and remember the quality of his resonant voice. I would recall these amazing moments many times and be glad.

Second Story

My second story of walking while back is a classic example of racial profiling in my opinion. Barley a teenager, I was in Jr. High (middle school) and pretty much a well-adjusted kid. By then we had moved to a small town outside of Chicago. While ours was a middle class, multicultural neighborhood, each group generally kept to themselves. So we socialized with our own having several African American churches and small business that sustained our community. Our family was below the poverty line but we never knew it, thus we were okay.

One day, my girlfriend and I decide to visit one of our teachers. The thing is, our teacher lived in the “white folks’ neighborhood”! Though not exactly restricted to us, particularly since our school was in the same neighborhood, still we had not a clue about de facto segregation or the white folk’s unnatural fear of us. Much too young to know of the insanity of racism, we called it the white folk’s neighborhood simply because most of them lived there. Hello!

And so with the purest of intentions, we venture into a collective mindset and ultimately cause quite a stir. After all, it was a Saturday and we were not supposed to be there, at least according to their prejudiced mindset. As we went about walking and laughing while enjoying the trees and such, always a lover of nature, soon the vibration changes. Though I had no language for it then, I did have my instincts. So I look up and spot curtains being slightly pulled apart and see a woman trying to see us without being seen, as I vividly recall.

Soon, our instincts kick in and we decide to leave. But not soon enough! A police car appears and the police officer politely makes his usual inquires, though hardly warm and fuzzy like my brown-skin, Chicago police officer. We tell him we are looking for our teacher but not sure of the address. Given this being a most unpleasant memory, I am not sure of what happened next. Seems he tried calling our teacher but not sure. Eventually the police officer takes us back to our community, drops us off and leaves. Though still very young, we are very embarrassed by the entire event and try to laugh it off. So we giggled and laughed a good while, much like the silly school girls we were, and moved on.

In retrospect, the embarrassment we both shared was not so much from a sense of guilt as we did nothing wrong, but rather from an embarrassment of being so naive as to think our teacher actually liked us and would invite us for tea much like the women at our church (still remember those great tea cakes).

The Insanity of Fear

Compared to the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman tragedy, the similarities in the above stories are stunning while the contrasts are sublime.

Above all, my first story is one of respect and love for humanity which illustrates the way in which we are to care for our fellow human beings from the smallest to the greatest.

While the second story is one of fear, which engenders hate not love. Sadly, most hate driven-people live in fear and are haunted by it, which can drive one mad if left untreated. Thus such victims of their own insanity seek to target and blame others often ending in tragedy.

The woman behind the curtain in my second story had a choice, either to choose love or fear. Had she chosen love she would have approached us and started the right conversation, which would have alleviated her uneasiness and the need for calling the police.

But she didn’t. Having chosen fear instead she wanted her targets of hate and resentfulness out of her community.

Thus, the real issue is one of fear and resentment not suspicion which, of course, is no defense for stalking and ultimate murder.

As the George Zimmerman trial is still ongoing, we watch and listen. Meanwhile, Justice is waiting in the wings.

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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Rachel Jeantel  gives her testimony to the prosecution during George Zimmerman’s trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Fla. Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Jacob Langston, Pool)  (Credit: AP)

Just before Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, an established fact by Zimmerman himself, Rachel Jeantel and Trayvon were talking on the phone. It would be his last conversation with a friend and Rachel, destined to be a reluctant witness to his final thoughts.

For two grueling days (26 and 27 of June) Miss Rachel dutifully appears in court strong and well-groomed, ready to endure our country’s adversarial system. And ultimately surprises a whole bunch of people, mostly those white folks who were taken aback by a black-woman’s basic honesty and relentless courage in the face of adversity, which, of course, is our forte.

But wait; aren’t we suppose to be strong and confident on the witness stand regardless of our cultural background? Is that not what the law requires of us in court?

And aren’t the rest of us suppose to view all witnesses with objectivity and respect? But some didn’t. And herein lies the purpose of this little post.

Instead, wild accusations and debasing judgments abound on the media soon  thereafter, focusing on Rachel’s speech, her physicality, her seemingly lack of social skills and even her choice of dress (a pair of jeans…pleaze!).  And these very bad judgments were spoken by guest commentators no less, usually trial attorneys or journalists who are highly trained to be truthful and objective, thus presumed professionals.  But these weren’t.

(more…)

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Life is a circle,
Which has neither a beginning nor an end;
She (or he) who knows where she is going,
Knows where she has been.

©2012-2013 Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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Hear ye! Hear ye! There is a new paradigm quietly emerging for teaching and practicing the ancient expedient of forgiveness, a sure way to inner peace, happiness and self-empowerment no matter how taxing the outer situation. This occurred to me one day after watching a Life Class led by Oprah and Dr. Phil on the OWN Channel, with emphasis on recognizing the toxic people in our life based on Dr. Phil’s book titled, Life Code: The New Rules For Winning in the Real World. The above subtitle quote is from President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

According to Dr. Phil, the world is rapidly changing, which now urgently requires a new reality. Or, a new way of seeing in order to prevail in our evolving society. He asks, have you ever had an uneasy feeling about someone but gave them the benefit of the doubt? Of course, many in the audience raised their hands (me too). He then illustrates that it is this antiquated, social response that is now an open invitation for disaster in today’s fast-paced world! I thought Wow! And perked up immediately. As I was emotionally exhausted owing to a certain toxic individual in my life. By then, after much soul searching and fact finding, I had discerned that it was not me but the other person that was way out of balance. Thus, I was in dire need of the right support. And this class fit the bill! Thanks Oprah and Dr. Phil.

Richard Parker

Sadly, we can’t always boot toxic people out of our lives, at least not immediately. So I have learned to quietly ask: What is the lesson I need to learn here Dear God and please let me hurry up and learn it? Of course, it usually does not happen that quickly, yet my learning process has accelerated which is progress nonetheless. Having been on the Spiritual Path several decades now, I’ve also learned to brace myself for my own fault (or faults) that will surly emerge. And so it has, though in a most unlikely form.

A while ago, I entered into a business agreement with Richard Parker (a pseudonym) for the upkeep of my car. Borrowed from the acclaimed film titled “Life of Pi,” Richard Parker is also a metaphor but more about that later. Having known Richard Parker for a while and thus having chatted with him on more than one occasion over the years, I thought him to be a rather nice person, one you could trust. Boy was I mistaken. Hence, you never know a person until money enters the picture. And believe me this was strictly business, thus no room for confusion.

Initially, we hit it off well. Knowing that I was a devout student-teacher of A Course in Miracles, he started asking me about ACIM and even suggested I started a class with some of his friends, which, as a spiritual teacher, I heard the call for help and took it very seriously. The first class went well; he brought his wife, a close friend and two others also came. Afterwards, only Richard continued coming and we met for a while, but he eventually dropped off. I had the feeling that he was getting too close to reality and did not want to face it. Though he had shared a very traumatic experience in his early life, I sensed that he was in denial of his feelings about it. And since he was not that religiously inclined (probably angry at God) and I am not a licensed therapist, I did not press the matter.

Troubles with Richard Parker

Eventually, I discover that Richard Parker was prone to misrepresenting the facts, likely in an effort to cut costs and pad his wallet. One day I had to yell at Richard like a crazy lady to get him to redo something immediately. Obviously shaken, this seemed to throw off his usual game of lies and he began to babble incoherently. Afterwards, I became physically ill. Initially, it appeared to be the flu that lasted several days or a week. Who knows? Then a severe case of food poising hit me (perhaps an overindulgence of potato chips was the culprit…never again, LOL). Having opened my heart to help him spiritually, somehow I felt I was made vulnerable to illness by these negative interactions with Richard, as I rarely become ill.

The food poising symptoms were the most traumatic. Feeling really, really bad, I prayed deeply. This truly helped and I soon realized that my body was naturally purging the toxins. Being a lover of Nature, I got that and felt stronger. Then I remember being a young girl sitting on my porch while intently watching a cat eat grass and later regurgitating. Ever curious, I run and ask my mom, who grew up on a farm, and she explained that the animal was sick and the grass was its medicine.

Later, I would learn that my grandfather relied on herbs and other natural remedies for their medicines. With this in mind, I naturally embraced holistic healing as I advanced on the Spiritual path. Yet, this belief is not for everyone; thus, I am not advocating natural healing here, just sharing my experiences with intimate friends. Of course, in a pinch, know that God and His angles are still in the miracle business.

The next day, after intermittently throwing up pails of bile and releasing diarrhea all night, I actually felt lighter (wonder why) and weighed myself. I had lost over seven pounds, in one day no less! Though I felt better, I was still sick with the diarrhea. So I had to miss Mother’s Day. Finally, after inwardly being urged to eat something starchy, I checked out the internet for the right diet and boiled some pasta which brought things back to normal about 24 hours later. Hallelujah!

What Happened to Happy?

Knowing this was not yet over between Richard Parker and me, I fall into depression though in denial for a few days. Eventually it hits me that my inner happiness is not there. I thought, wait, as I am usually happy and notice it at least once during the day. And then thought to myself: Hey, what happened to happy? In the school of metaphysics we call that self-inquiry. So, I started regrouping immediately while realizing that I did not come all this way to let a Richard Parker rob me of my Inner Joy. No way, never again!

In an effort to return to happy, I turn on Oprah’s Life Class that I had recorded and the healing begins. Afterwards, I download Dr. Phil’s book, Life Code. I was so excited about this book I called my sister and passed it on. Naturally, the above JFK quote, which is in Dr. Phil’s book, caught my eye and I now have a new philosophy, which is very powerful in my opinion.

The Perfect Equation, Thanks Be to JFK

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names,” spoken like a true Harvard Law School graduate. I see President Kennedy’s splendid advice as the perfect equation because, though equals, one side cannot effectively work without the other. Yet, together, both sides form the perfect whole. And it is this, the Modern World must learn, which is probably why Dr. Phil chose to highlight JFK’s quote in his book. Thus, the perfect equation has now become the perfect remedy for coping with the “bad people” who might show up in our lives, generally seeking to exploit and steal from us rather than serve others.

Scripture teaches us to forgive our enemies, which works as we are also releasing ourselves, being one in The Spirit. Yet, for many of us, men in particular, something always seems missing from this instruction. Now we know why: As, forgiveness, being a quality of the heart, flows from the Feminine aspect of God, while memory, being a quality of the mind, is of the Masculine aspect of God. Yet, for the best possible results in all things, the Feminine and Masculine aspects of God (mind and heart) must work together. And so it is!

Though forgiveness is the ultimate expedient for destroying our enemies, not forgetting their names has to be the practical means by which we remember their true nature. Thus, a necessary caution against possible harm, as such persons likely will not change anytime soon. Yet, we need not live in fear, ever. With a made up mind and heart, we are more dangerous than danger.

Richard Parker, a Metaphor

My take on Richard Parker in “Life of Pi” and our story is simple. Besides being a metaphor of discernment between friend and foe, Richard Parker ultimately represents the primal beast we once were. Thus, we all have a little bit of Richard Parker still within us, some more destructive than others. Yet, while Richard Parker often appears to be outside of us, he really is within us; thus, a product of our own mind created by our ego.

Another term for Richard Parker is, of course, the ego. As it is our ego that wrongly judges, which ultimately engenders fear, anger, and dark feelings of revenge. As we mature spiritually, Richard Parker begins to diminish and ultimately fades away. But not without a conscious effort to rid our self of our own negative thoughts and feelings.

This process is made easier when we realize that the savage within us not only makes us sick, but ultimately robs us of our personal power. Leaving us weak and trembling before an imaginary enemy. Thus the old adage, “Thoughts are things.” Then do we become wise enough to let go of our destructive thoughts and choose peace instead, which automatically empowers us.

Hence, “I can see peace instead of this,” (ACIM, Lesson 34). And so it is! And always has been. And always will be. Amen!

Updated June 2, 2013

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2013. All rights reserved.

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