Saturday, November 29, 2014

overcoming and becoming

Dad was featured in a full spread in The News and Courier of Charleston, SC - Sunday, June 6, 1937.  The article was about five young people who rose above their physical handicaps and attending the University of South Carolina. Entitled 'Courage of Youth in Face of Life-Long Adversity is Dramatic Lesson to the More Fortunate'.  Here's an Westbrook excerpt of the article written by Nell Flinn Gilland.

"Henry Westbrook Finlayson, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Burruss Finlayson, of Cheraw, suffered a severe attack of infantile paralysis when he was ten months old, but gets about cheerfully on crutches. This is Henry's third year at the university.  Music is his hobby.  At high school he conducted the orchestra during his junior and senior years and had his own summer orchestra. He began as a drummer and became leader and soloist. He wrote both words and music for his high school Alma-mater.  Still more remarkable is the fact that Henry played first base  on a Sunday school league nine. On base he used only one crutch: at bat he used both, and one  year led the batting average for the league.  Henry is well known over the Carolinas and Georgia as the leader of a popular dance band known as Henry Westbrook's Orchestra, for which he is soloist. The orchestra recently played at the opening of the new beach resort, Bamboo Gardens, at St. Simons Island, Ga. Several of his own compositions are played by the orchestra. Both Mrs. Finlayson and one of Henry's sisters have been voice teachers and his home atmosphere was musical.  All seven children, he says, enjoy singing. The Henry Westbrook Orchestra played for some of June week dances at Carolina and hopes to have a beach engagement for the summer." 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

find me only

it's of no concern
a visitation
of this present state of absence
obligation to no one
no one anymore
breathless, mindless, still
silently pondering nothing
no one anymore

find me only
in words only
see me clearly
close only
in fleshed pages
still, near, herein
and between lines

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

the best cup

About twenty years ago I was asked to sing at a wedding of a friend in Wisconsin.  After Gina and I arrived in town and checked into our hotel on the lake, we walked downtown to discover the city of Sheboygan. I had never been that far up north and was taken by how beautiful that the town was. It was Fall and I remember it being very cold.  We spent the day looking into shop windows, taking in the gorgeousness of the town and nature of that area.

Like I said, it was cold.  Anytime we stopped to warm up a little, we would order a coffee. Everywhere we went, we were served delicious coffee. Every time I asked what brand of coffee I was drinking, they'd replied it was from a company from right there in Sheboygan called
Torké. I asked a waiter at one point where I could I buy a can of it.  He told me that I could get it at any area grocery store.  So we bought and brought five cans back home with us from that trip.

Once we had our Sheboygan friends come down to Bowling Green, KY for a visit and they obliged us by bringing us a case of
Torké in which we gladly repaid them. We also ordered a case after we moved back down to Gadsden,AL from Bowling Green. Each cup of that coffee for me was a delightful treat.  I don't know why I didn't keep ordering Torké, it had become my all time favorite.

Tonight I discovered Tork
é online and placed an order. It's been at least fifteen years since my last cup.  It's the BEST coffee that I have ever experienced in my life.  Nothing has ever come close to it.  Gina wanted me to find a way to enjoy the holiday season, and I knew just what to do.  The days are getting colder and I can't wait to find that shipment on my doorstep. 

Last week I underwent a procedure in my poor mouth that prevented me from being able to drink any hot drinks for a while. By the time I'm healed up enough, I should be getting my
Torké shipment.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When the City fails, the citizens stand up

Etowah County's veterans gathered on the steps of the Federal Building
after the cancellation of the Veteran's Day Parade due to "lack of interest".
The City of Gadsden failed her veterans this year, but the citizens didn't. Today was a fitting tribute to the men and women who have selflessly served our country. There are those in government who loathe the military, apathetic, or just plain obtuse.

Each of us owes a debt of gratitude to our nation's veterans. They not only deserve it, they need to hear it. Many did not receive the appropriate welcome and treatment when they returned home from war.

There was no parade this year, but it did my heart good to see our citizens gather to pay honor where honor is due.

Monday, November 10, 2014

i've already had enough

Last week I got in the car and turned on the radio.  It's early November and some radio station was already playing Christmas music.  I only got through half a stanza of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' and said to myself, "That's it, no more Christmas music for the rest of the year!"  Stores were stocking up on Christmas items before Halloween.  That's it, I've already had enough.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

complaint department

a delicate piece of crap

I originally composed the following message for the LifeScan/OneTouch website, but realized before posting that I couldn't complain unless I let them have my cell phone number (and other info) to share third party partner advertisers (giving me another reason to complain). The message reads as follows:

"Several months ago I purchased your Ultra Touch Ultra Mini through my local CVS.  I don't have a problem with the blood glucose meter itself, BUT (1) the lancing device doesn't work as well as the one I that I used with my older Reli-On Micro.  I have been wasting test strips because your One Touch Delica lancing device doesn't work effectively and cost efficiently.  A you well know, test strips are not cheap, and your lancing devise is wasting my money. I tossed the lancing device today and went back to my old reliable Reli-On lancer.  It works without a hitch.  Another issue with your product is (2) the carry case is simply too small, surely you guys had already realized that along the way.  The pouch works great when all it carries is the meter itself. This little pouch is supposed to be a convenient traveler, but it's really inconvenient because it's too small to be of any practical use. It's difficult zipping up once the lancets, test strips and your lancing device is stuffed in there. It's simply too much of a hassle to zip after each use. (3) You recently sent me a logbook in the mail, and I appreciate that.  But it's just one more to have to cram back into the tight little carrying case.  The pocket is too snug for the logbook, especially when the small carry pouch is loaded with the glucose meter and the essentials.

Even though your OneTouch Ultra Mini is a good meter, you all need to rethink the rest of this product.  I'm tired of messing with it.  I'm going back to my old meter once I've finished with this container of test strips. Case closed.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

resolution and proclamation

a of rest and baking with my oldest daughter

to be honest
previous years
i did not anticipate
or applaud the holidays
more or less
i dreaded them
every year
i tried to come to terms
pull my nerves together
as senses overload
too soon too easily
too early
as Christmas music started too soon
too early
as stores advertized too soon
too early
my internal introvertal alarms alarming
it is a challenge for me
if only i could just shut
down, stay down, retreat
allow this old bear in his cavern  to sleep
but i know
i know
i must come to terms with it

my early resolution
is to resolve myself
to make this holiday different
embrace what i have this day

i will shut out the cheesiness
the manipulation, hype and loudness 
as much as i can
i will make this holiday anew
as best as i can
i will approach it
without demand
without disappointment
without childish preconception

or expectation
 i will approach it
not looking back or forward

without mine or anyone's
special occasional agendas
i will not bother to live up to anyone's
nor anyone expected live up to mine
i am done with it

my early resolution
is to resolve myself
to make this holiday different
embrace what i have this day

there are loved ones gone
who will never come back
there are ages left
that cannot be relived
there are moments gone
that cannot reoccur
reenact, rewind, replace
there is nothing past left for us
let it remain dead
let it stay there

we do not have
what we once had
there is only what we have
and can make this day

my early resolution
is to resolve myself
to make this holiday different
embrace what i have this day

i am starting with myself
i am here to love you
and be with you
while we can

nothing more

-David B. Finlayson