If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew– excerpt from IF by Rudyard Kipling
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
by Kendall F. Person
The understanding that death is inevitable, feels like a wasted comprehension. Upon enduring its heartbreaking intention, its seems foolish now to have believed, I could have ever been prepared.
On October 23, 2020 just shy of her 80th birthday, my Mother passed away, And while I wish she was still with me, I take solace in knowing, she has been freed from the external pain of her chronic physical ailments; and released from the taunting misery of her mental affliction known as dementia.
Exhausted from the strain of an epic, never-ending political campaign; trying to stay safe while an unchecked pathogen continues to reign. And attempting to maintain balance between looking forward, searching for clarity in an ever increasingly cloudy future, all the while, being weighed down by the here and the now. But as I often told her, it was my great pleasure to take care of her. To be by her side, while time without remorse or regret, continued to tick by. And when she died, my brothers and sisters and grandkids that knew her, could find peace and calm, that she knew we loved her, even as the cruel imagined voices of dementia, did all they could to turn love against her. But that would never come to pass, because for nearly six decades – brick by brick – she created and nurtured an indestructible family bond.
For most of my years, my efforts and ambitions, thoughts and energies, were concentrated solely on self on how I played to the the whole wide world. But for this moment, I will not be transfixed on the ride, but rather the outcome of a monumental election, that means everything – to half the nation. And while I will continue to follow the safety precautions to hold COVID-19 at bay, I will allot no more time in trying to understand the other side. There is but a small window of time, which I will spend capturing memories to assure my mother’s legacy will not be relegated nor forgotten, nor twisted, nor heightened. But in the remembrance as who she was and what she meant, and no matter the stumbles nor victories, she will always remain in memory: a God-fearing woman, a driven survivor and a fiercely committed mother… until the day she died.
Long live the Queen. The Queen is dead.’ (I finally understand what the expressions means)
R.I.P. Mom and take a bow
NOTE: A very personal invite to friends & family and to the people whose lives passed through hers; or even a memory about your Mom, that you wish to share in a VideoMemory collage with mine: ALL GOOD. Simply click on Youtube logo above, for quick and easy details on sharing your memories with mine.
As an angry world rages amognst us, allowing a surreal pathogen, to literally devour us, and with truth engaged in an unexpected and bewildering fight for survial; and with so many determined members of the Grand Ole Party, coming undone by a made up story, and with their political leaders, following behind a madman with power, and as a once proud nation. staggers toward the crossroads and an uncertainy of what it all means, we must never underplay the fortifying strength and the happy feelings a smile can bring. – thepublicblogger
What Makes You Smile?
by Kendall F. Person &
A Collaborative of Friends.
The smile – a mood lifting, contagious reaction, free to give and beautiful to receive – gesture and expression. How we love when babies smile. It is the one sound or expression they make, that lets us know everything is okay. A natural reaction, it is created with ease. A frown creates tension and if our Grandmothers are correct, hold on to one long enough, and it will become your permanent expression.
Smile, and less an occasion or two, the person you smiled at, will smile back at you. Smile in the mirror and you will like the person you see. Smile in the morning, and welcome in the new day. Smile when your world is crying and find the strength to see it through. A downside to smiling? I have no idea. I did not search for that answer, for the smile should remain untouchable, free from the trials and tribulations attached to so many of our expressions of emotion.
His name was Rod Serling and from 1959 – 1964, he created original episodes of the legendary anthology television show, The Twilight Zone. I was born after the series had ended, but I am not alone in claiming it as one of the all time great shows. Each episode is of its own creation. There were no recurring characters, other than his monologue, nor did any story lines continue until the next week. No subplots needed to add complexity. The foundation was laid, events executed, and our minds blown. all in less than 30 minutes. He created worlds, time periods and in arguably, the absolute best episode ever To Serve Man, he introduced humanity on earth to “humanity” from outer space. The shows were tense, compelling, and directed with such skill and finesse, we would always forget how ruthless he could be in flipping the script. Every episode was a motion picture and Rod Serling was a master of the performance.
On October 16, 1987, 12 years after Serling’s untimely death, a future music producer would be stillborn, pronounced dead at birth. But while the infant displayed no outward signs of life, there lived a fighting spirit inside. When efforts to revive him were successful, there was little hope that a young Keith Montgomery of Baltimore, Maryland would make it through the night. But there was fortitude in that infant child; he would defy the odds and after what must have been for his mother, a long and painful night, his survival gave her reason to smile.
I have much respect for the visionaries, whose legendary status does not define me as yet. I have much love for the arts and individual artistic expression, but I believe it is possible to push the envelope too far. And Rod Serling flung said envelope, way over the cliff in his creation of The Twilight Zone episode It’s a Good Life. Forced to smile at all times, in the face of death, destruction, and the systematic elimination of all mankind. It did not matter if your loved ones were disintegrated or your emotions were overwhelmed, stop smiling even for a minute, and a little boy would make you disappear. With no silver lining or message to be learned, and the perversion of smiling in the face of unspeakable things, was not entertaining and was the one performance I wish I had missed. Smiles should be untouchable after all.
Keith aka Fiyaman (Montgomery) would win the fight for his life but would not emerge unscathed. The lack of oxygen to his young brain, during the moments he did not breathe, would cause a speech impediment and a learning disability, that would remain with him for the rest of his life. During elementary school, when young children can be so cruel, his difficult speech made him a target for childhood bullies. But one day he would stand up for himself, and would force his bully to stand down and from that day forth – with the support of his family – he would find a way to live a purpose driven life. He spoke slower, and concentrated on the pronunciation of his words. He would study longer, forcing his brain to catch up with stealth. A lover of literature, who dabbles in the visual arts, but at the young age of 26, he found his calling in the recording arts. A talented and creative producer, he imagines rhythmic sounds and lays down the tracks that will one day become songs. It is his music that is heard in My Heart, The Neighborhood’s first original song. And it is in his music, where he finds the most joy, only eclipsed by the joy he feels in, “Making other people smile.”
As we go through the day, let us offer a smile as our first reaction to a friend, a family member or coworker who is having a bad day. Let us smile at the homeless family we pass on the street, allowing dignity and humility to rain down as peace. Perhaps today is the day that we need a smile, to calm the anger or bitterness or rage of our emotions, instilling an inner peace, if only for today. And if all else fails, look in the mirror or close your eyes, and find a reason to smile.
this is… The Neighborhood
Unfortunate circumstances forced The Neighborhood to part ways with Keith Montgomery, but his personal story – published prior to an unrelated faux pas – still makes us smile.
An Encore Presentation
Since 2013, The Neighborhood has celebrated Veteran’s Day with a salute to the Homeless Veterans and those suffering with PTSD. In 2017, we saluted the Fallen and remembered the Forgotten American Soldiers, with a brief but personal tribute of our own.
In 2018, we present this encore presentation.
Enjoy the show. – KP
Long live the American Soldier.
Long live the fallen.
And long live the forgotten.
In memory of the Forgotten,
please stand or kneel in tribute to the Fallen.
The United States Army Band
w/ Military Taps
by Kendall F. Person
She awoke one morning, and somehow felt different.
The sickness overwhelmed her, yet she had no fever.
She wanted to walk, but her feet hurt her.
The sunshine was mild, still it did heat her.
It did not go away, so she saw her doctor.
When the news was delivered, it unnerved her.
She was carrying the child of a soldier,
and it so moved her. When she told him,
he saluted the flag, then kneeled before her.
It grew inside, and it changed her.
He smiled each time, it moved inside her.
Their love had changed, it became deeper.
The bloodline made, did forever connect them.
Her water broke, he was so nervous.
The time had come, it was predestined.
She pushed so hard, it was exhausting.
But she could feel him by her side, unbending.
She could not describe,
how her heart was beating,
when his son arrived,
it was the greatest feeling.
His father only once cried,
she now remembered seeing him.
He could not control the tide,
as the rain did tell her,
he cried now. and it calmed her.
Not in sorrow nor regret,
but in pride and honor.
Tho his spirit lived among the fallen,
his life would never dwell among the forgotten.
The Neighborhood thanks all soldiers for their service, AND Happy Veterans Day to our Veterans
Before the year ends… SMILE AGAIN
“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: it is this that in all things, distinguishes the strong from the weak”. – Thomas Carlyle
Two Orange Flamingo Birds by Harun Asrori
Pillars by Renan Javier
March of the Flamingos
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
At once beautiful and thriving, Lake Makgadikgadi has been undone by the brutality of the Kalahari, which engulfed the waters several thousand years ago, leaving unforgivable terrain, known today as The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Most years, the lake attempts a comeback, with the rains falling up to 20 inches in some places, offering the allusion of paradise. Perhaps it is this allusion or maybe the Greater Flamingo, one of nature’s most beautiful and majestic creatures, has forged its own course in survival of its species. Dry, salty, dusty and unfathomably hot, this salt pan, one of the largest in the world, delivers the cruelest of ironies (or perhaps it is the jungle version of not judging a book by its cover). The flamingo may play the role of a diva – beautiful and majestic – but there are few creatures alive that brave such a harsh and demanding test — at birth.
When the eggs in the colony hatch – up to 50,000 – the water has dried up and the mirage has been replaced with a grim reality. Vultures circle high above, knowing that the march of the flamingos means a certain banquet for them all. There is water and there is food, but it is more than 100 miles away. The hatchlings, at such a tender age not yet able to fly, and so they march. In the searing, scorching, baking heat. Over sharpened salt crystals that often slice through their webbed feet. The adults have already flown ahead. Some fly back bringing food to the survivors, while others circle above delivering condolences to those breathing their last breath. Days turn into weeks and the ruthless sun unrelents. Many have already died, while others fight, carrying the weight of dried mud around their feet. But they persevere nonetheless.
In the distance, the hatchlings see their colony and an energy that should have long been exhausted, drives through them onward, as they wobble toward the lake, into the waiting embrace of their families and of paradise, at last.
So the next time you feel like giving up and throwing up both hands, and falling victim to the madness of man, think of the flamingo….. and march straight ahead.
this is… The Neighborhood
You Are Not Alone by Mavis Staples
Remix & Republishing of Naked
From 2013 – 2015, The Neighborhood hosted a popular monthly segment subtitled: An Artists Collaboration. At times eclectic, with moments of artistic brilliance. But its underlying beauty, was how seamlessly it brought recording artists, writers and visual artists from all around the world to create something… together.
Lawyer, activist and artist Charitha Kulatunge of Colombo Sri Lanka made a contribution to the concept, by sharing his rich and colorful artwork in Naked. A government shutdown of social media – following the bombings and roundup of terrorists – has choked off international communication, meaning he has been unable (we hope) to check in as ‘Ok’ (Sri Lanka Attack Death Toll Rises to 290, CNN)
this is… The Neighborhood
from 1995, Brownstone
w/ I Can’t Tell You Why
by Kendall F. Person
When the long summer days abruptly end and the cold winter nights begin their stance, why do we ask why as the rain starts to fall, when it happens every year? When the alarm clock sounds each morn, signifying it is time to start the day all over, why do we sigh then ask why, when we already know the answer? When they lower the casket of a loved one into the ground, why do we scream why, when as a matter of nature and God’s law, we know that only time is eternal?
Why do the caged sing? Why do the freed sit in silence? Why do we give up, when there is no reason to stop trying? Why do we educate ourselves, then not share what we know? Why do we say I love you, when we are letting go? Why an eye for an eye when blind men cannot see? Why is truth not spoken louder? Why listen to decent? Why inhale the aroma of fresh air, then pretend we are not harming the atmosphere? Why are we fighting over a border wall, when the people on the other side, have been our allies for hundred of years?
Why do we march, then fight at the end? Why do we ask the same questions over and over again? Why do we sing praise & worship, yet never truly understand what it means? Why do we pretend, that we are perfect men and not try to be?
Maybe by asking why more often, then pondering before answering such questions to ourselves – of ourselves – then not only will the answers be not difficult to find, but perhaps we will locate happiness and meaning within the days of our lives.
Why not ask why?
this is… The Neighborhood
cover photo ‘Why’ by Ken Treloar
Thirteen years before Anthony Hopkins horrified audiences with his Academy Award winning performance in Silence of the Lambs, he made his mark in Magic. A lesser acclaimed motion picture, but nonetheless, a spectacular, haunting performance, that I would remember for years after.
A psychological thriller with a love story that could never be, knotted up in the insanity. Anthony Hopkins played the role of a fledgling magician named Corky, whose drowning career would take flight, after being gifted or cursed with a dummy, a doll, a block of wood with the name of Fats. Together – the ventriloquist act of Corky & Fats – knocked audiences dead. Already unhinged, but with fame came madness. And more than just fighting voices inside his head, he had a prop that brought the voices outside, and suffocated who he really was, all at the same time.
While Magic was mysterious and dark and the final explosive exchange between Corky and Fats, led many viewers to believe in the film’s false finale: or put way too much on the title Magic – that the dummy had come to life. But that is not what happened. Every vile utterance made through Fats, every violent reaction initiated by Fats, and every conversation between the two – no matter how cordial or violent – it was all Corky-the-man and not Fats-the-puppet. But the skillful direction and the stunning ventriloquism of Hopkins, I image even the camera crew was confused when filming concluded, about who controlled who.
Prior to becoming the running mate of Donald Trump, Mike Pence was actually a leader in his own right. Governor of Indiana and a radio talk show host prior to his successful foray into politics, But he rolled craps in Indiana, and may have vanished from the political stage, if not for being handpicked by the GOP establishment to eventually become the Vice President of the United States. Or if you listen closely to Mike, divine intervention is what guides his life.
In 2015, when then Governor Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, it offered a clear view into what guides him into the decisions that he makes. An instant firestorm erupted from the Hoosier State LGBT community, who noted the bulls eye, that allowed discrimination to be open season upon them. But Governor Pence was unbending in his guided-by -God stance. But love him or hate him, he appeared to be a man of conviction in the word he followed. But in 2016, his future converged with a man who does not repent, giving reason to ponder if he is the same guy. Is he led by faith or does he dance, like a puppet?
Millions of voters believe that President Trump was handpicked by God, which makes sense in the absolutism of their loyalty, although no less alarming to the millions more who cannot possibly understand or make sense of the connection (however, faith based voters, but non-Trump supporters also may believe in God’s electoral intervention, but for very different reasons). It would also explain, the Vice President’s apparent reverence toward his boss. But actions like his spectacle of flying to an NFL game, only to stage a highly publicized walkout at the direction of the President, or the way he fades into the background, whenever the two men share the stage, or in his self-defense of his conversations with God (although he does not go as far to say that God talks back, like gossips have claimed) make it a challenge to know who he follows. Or has the gap closed to such a degree, and that loss of self, make it impossible for even him to know?
Ainsley Earhardt: Will the new Obamacare repeal and replace bill guarantee health insurance for people with preexisting conditions, as Obamcare?
Pence: [quoting Thomas Jefferson] Government that governs least governs best,
Messenger or follower? Magic or smoke & mirrors? Will the real Mike Pence say something. As Vice President of the United States, you owe it to the public to alleviate concern, that you are not, in fact, the most dangerous man in the room.
this is… The Neighborhood
References & in-depth reading