Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog 201: Whip That Butt

By Rufus L. and Anthony E. McGhee
Guest writers

Whippings are not new.  Whippings have been a parenting tool since the beginning of mankind.  The occasional whipping is not child abuse!!!  I got whippings; my children got whippings; and my granddaughter gets whippings and we are all productive and positive members of our communities today.   Yes, they hurt but remember – no pain no gain.    
Whippings are a form of punishment that gets the child’s immediate attention.  Whippings are memorable in that when the wrong behavior/action is exhibited, the child remembers the whipping previously received and usually does not enter into that behavior/action again. 
Whippings are a tool to promote positive behavior.  Children remember whippings and not the ‘time-out’ vacations where they get to rest and relax sometimes with the iPhone or laptop.  Whippings, a parent’s tool, are the penalties paid for bad decisions/actions.  ‘Time-outs’, a friend’s tool, are toy penalties that last only for the moment.
Parents are for life.  Friends are for a season.  Parents have the responsibility to nurture and build character in their children.   Whippings are one of the tools used by parents to accomplish this Godly task.  “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)  
Doing a child’s formative years, friends will not be the child’s constant caregiver – a parent will; friends will not be the child’s constant provider – parents will; friends will not always teach the child right from wrong – a parent will and should; friends cannot and should not whip the child – a parent will and should.
It’s time to get back to basics and return to implementing the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” theory.  A whipping every now and then will do the child good.  It will reinforce the concept that negative behavior/actions will not be tolerated while emphasizing positive behavior/action expectations.   
Tell those ‘authoritarian’ ‘know-it-alls’ of today that you are the parent and know what is best for your child.  Punish when appropriate, excuse behavior/actions when appropriate, overlook behavior/actions when appropriate, whip when appropriate, and above all be the parent always.  Whippings benefitted me; they benefitted my children; and they are benefitting my granddaughter.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blog 200: My Fare-Ye-Well

By Vernon M. Herron

“Finally brethren, (readers, friends and helpers) farewell-
Be of good courage, be of one mind, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
II Corinthians 13:11

Three years ago in 2011, I wrote and published my first blog, “I Remember,” under the caption of “Herron Speaks.” It was not a single effort but a team approach. We started with an idea which was recorded, examined by the proof-reader, submitted to the technician, and then on to the poster. We had one common objective, produce a good blog worthy of reading and remembering.

Now, three years later, at age 86 (Oct. 7th ), we come to the publication of blog 200, our goal-mark! You helped us to reach this point. We made many reading friends, including you, who have written complimentary remarks and given significant input. Thank you!

Because of rapid failing health, and even though 200 was the blog producing goal, I became shockingly ill at blog 185, when I decided to stop writing. Friends encouraged me to continue the journey toward the original goal and assured me that they would help write to that end. We agreed. Now, here we are again at the goal. The next step is to put all 200 blogs into a book.  It is time to say, “fare-ye-well.”

Alexander Waters helped shaped an idea into a reader friendly conception; Joseph Burton and Eddie Boulwell gave inestimable technical support; Mrs. Barbara Hendricks proof-read and Steve Johnston posted. My,! What a team! Leon Gill will now communicate with you.

Blog writing was always a challenge to my intellect in various disciplines. Often, it would take me into the areas of Black history, church history, family history, childhood and youth experiences, death, genealogy, music, theology, humor and general blogging. This process often challenged the need for further research, which also was an experience of growth.

So, as I approach the “rack” upon which to place my hat, my fare-ye-well words come from II Corinthians 13:11, “Be of good courage, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”  Perhaps you should blog write. This is my fare-ye-well. Let me hear from you.

May the Triune God
Be over you-to bless you;
Before you-to lead you;
Behind you-to defend you;
And in you-to refresh you;
Until we meet again-
(in person or in print)
May God hold you in
The hollow of His hands.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Blog 199: Some Pictures of Family, Friends, Supporters and in Memoriam

By Vernon M. Herron

As we come to a close of blog publishing at number 200, many names come to mind who contributed to good reading in some measure. While we cannot mention everyone by name, we can say “thanks” to all and share some pictures of those in file.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog 198: What Dreams May Become

By C. Maria Macon
Guest Writer

There are few things that are life-changing. For me, a very small thing, such as reading a book, made a great impact on my life now and in the “Hereafter.” 

“What Dreams May Come” by Richard Matheson is a great love story, but it is more than just a story. The story affirms that the end is just the beginning and after life there is more!

I read the book with no expectations, and I got more than I could imagine in just one lifetime.

The story, in the book, assisted in my pending transition. It helped to remove any fears I may have had about death and dying. More importantly, it gave me a different outlook on life, living and people.

The book helped me to become more aware of my thoughts and how positive thinking really brings about positive results. Deep sleeping is not frightening to me and more importantly whether I wake up or not, it is no longer an issue.

My wish is for everyone who reads this blog, to experience “what dreams may come.”

Much Peace and Blessings.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Blog 197: Flagging Down a Taxi Cab

By John Miller
Guest Writer

A Blind’s Man Journey
(Because you don’t need sight to see the world)

For some blind folks, as far as I know, it has never been all that practical to try and flag down a taxi. I suppose some can do it, depending on what level of sight they have. Maybe, catching the closest available ride is easier. Smart phone applications are beginning to make this possible. I think, however, that there is some kickback to the general implementation of this idea. I hope it happens. For now, I will still use the old-fashioned method: place a call and wait though this is often nerve-racking.

I now live in an apartment with a difficult-to-discern address. Everyone from dispatch to the drivers, to heck, the pizza delivery folks and other passersby argue about exactly what it is. Even if I check with my phone’s GPS programs, I’m likely to get different results at different times. This means finding me can be a challenge.

For instance, I once thought a guy had said that he was on the way to the right place and would pick me up shortly, because he said the correct street and number. However, it turned out that he sat waiting in front of some location a bit farther up for ten minutes, finally placing an irritated call asking “Aye man, are you still trying to get a cab?” for this reason, I often opt to just go somewhere else for pick-up.

OK, so I’ve successfully gotten into the taxi an am on my way. Where are you trying to go? How best to get there? Now, it’s certainly easier as I can just use my phone to tell me. But not all cabbies take the most cost-effective way, and I guess I can’t really blame them.

Because I’m interested, I just looked at an, apparently not wholly reliable, Wikipedia article that suggests that the first metered taxi service began in Germany in 1897. It says the meter even ticked, now that sort of feature would actually be convenient for the blind passenger.

Failing that though, I’ve heard there are supposed to be solutions on the horizon that will allow us to know exactly how much the driver should in fact be charging, as it accumulates. Maybe the meters will speak? Or perhaps the info could also be sent through our phones someday. If I feel somewhat shaky about how much it might cost for me to get there, I’ll just ask dispatch to give me a projected fare quote before leaving. Of course, if traveling a great distance many companies require that you pay in advance anyway.

So I’ve arrived at my destination and been told how much it will cost. “Uh,” I say “do you accept cards?”

Awkward silence.

If I’m lucky, they’ll grudgingly get out the card machine and swipe it. Or, maybe they’ll call it in and read m card number out loudly enough for anyone standing by to overhear. Worst of all? “No, I only take cash!”

Having finally begun to tire of this, I’m trying to make myself start carrying more cash around again. This of course has its own risks, but asking the cabbie to take me to an ATM so that I can withdraw the needed funds is definitely flipping a coin. In their defense, I must say that most try hard to be honest and make sure that I know they’re so being. Some have me call my bank and check the statement immediately. One individual, who could barely speak English, just summoned a nearby police officer to assist me in getting the dough.

The only person whom I think has taken me for a ride was a woman I met via Craiglist, who probably shorted me $20.00! and then, vehemently denied doing so. “I’ll just come and give you $20.00” she said when I attempted to call her out for that. She never did so though, and I never used her again. She’d actually seemed pretty nice. But it’s always difficult to tell.

As they say, it’s usually best to find and stick to a particular driver when possible, so that a fuller trust can develop. I do have my favorite driver, but lately I’ve not been as able to get her when tying to call. I can’t say why this is. Amusingly, on my short trip from Durham’s bus station to the Amtrak, I did meet the woman my favorite driver had asked to pick me up at a prior time.  She said that in addition to my little $5, she’d only made $10 all day long. I can kind of see why, as she didn’t strike me as the friendliest person in the world.. That's the thing: The best or probably most aggressively tipped cabbies are also talkers/psychologists. Hey, whole shows have been made about this phenomenon.

So, to my other blind readers out there, what have your cab experiences been like? I know that, unfortunately, they’ve still not always been friendly to those with guide dogs. This definitely needs to change. I have heard horror stories of people being dragged down the street while clinging to the door handle, all while to secure a ride for which they’ve desperately been waiting. Let us know your thoughts on this and other aspects.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blog 196: Life With Dual Disabilities

By John Miller
Guest Writer

A Blind’s Man Journey
(Because you don’t need sight to see the world)

A series of recent events have me thinking about how I feel about life with dual disabilities. Specifically, to what degree would I want to mitigate or perhaps eliminate at least the medical component of said disabilities, should that become more possible in the future.

I suppose because I wasn’t born with significant hearing loss, but have had to adjust to it over the lifespan, I would definitely opt into something that promised to correct my hearing. I’m pretty sure now though that I’ve had some loss in that area even before I had become aware of it.

Certainly technology has enabled one to hear. Many see this in the existence of the Cochlear Implant. One thing that gives me pause in going for a CI is that I’ve heard it can throw off sound localization, making it difficult for someone who is blind to navigate safely around his or her environment. I think one could adjust to this, but I know not how long that might take.

I recently met an individual who is a mental health advocate, writer, and one who has assisted many people with disabilities in learning the social landscape. This person shared with me a video in which a woman hears sound for the first time via cochlear implant.

I’d heard of this video before, and its attendant controversy. I guess people’s biggest concern had to do with the notion, right or wrong, that it would serve to enhance the public’s idea that perceived disability must always be a bad thing and should thus be dealt with. Some were also not sure how to take having such a private, emotionally jarring moment aired online. My position on that is it was her personal decision to do this, and should be seen as such.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that deafness doesn’t get quite the social taboo that blindness does. I suppose that most wouldn’t actively choose to be without hearing, but many individuals who are deaf only can get good jobs and do things where their competence is questioned a little less. Are they discriminated against in some ways? I’m sure of it, and especially when attempting to communicate with others who are not deaf and don’t know sign language, or take in programming that isn’t properly captioned.

But when many see an individual who is blind, they automatically assume that some sort of sin has stained their soul. Some of the braver folks figure that God has actually appointed them to lift that sin, as a person tried to do this morning.

I’m strolling along, enjoying the birdsong and wind that finish waking me up as I head toward the bus stop. I get to the street corner, and over the sound of a roaring machine of some sort, maybe a lawn mower? I don’t know, I hear someone calling, maybe my name?

“Are you talking to me?” I ask, turning to face the voice.

“Yes”, she replies, “God says he wants me to touch your eyes.” Before I can stop her, she had practically smacked me in the face! She pounds my eyes a couple of good times before I softly removed her hands and pushed them down.

”Um,” I said, “I’m just trying to cross the street, and now I’m distracted. Can you tell me when to go?” 

“Yes, but you have to believe! God’s going to open your eyes in a week!”

I just said OK, and thank you and shuffle on down towards the stop.

Because I’ve never seen before, I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to suddenly have working eyes in a week. I guess it would be like that woman’s reaction times 100, as I’d be bombarded with stimuli that I couldn’t make sense of without the proper context and training. I wonder if people who hope for such things to happen to a totally blind stranger have ever stopped to consider the ramifications of the situation?

Secondly, I think I’m made just the way I’m supposed to be. As with hearing, I don’t begrudge anyone who wishes to be able to see after having been totally blind whenever it becomes feasible to do so, but I definitely don’t. I guess, in many respects, I would feel like I’m giving up my “self” as I currently know it.

These are certainly interesting and complicated issues. I know many who are working to find their own answers as they deal with one, both, or some varying combination of them. I guess what it comes down to, in the end, is to respect the person’s humanity. Ask them questions about what they might want you to pray for or if they’d just prefer to be left alone. Because what you think you see in someone else is not always what is.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blog 195: Aware of Those Around Us

By John Miller
Guest Writer

A Blind’s Man Journey
(Because you don’t need sight to see the world)

I have always found it interesting the ways in which we become aware of those around us. I think especially among those who are blind, we are often not fully aware of the degree to which others watch, perhaps learn from, and become familiar with us from afar.

I especially noticed that this past week. I had to miss a day of work, because my left ear, the good one, decided to ring really loudly and make it difficult for me to function. This usually happens when we experience drastic swings in temperature, but for some odd reason it occurred on the day before said temperature changes took effect. It ended up being a plus, as it created an opportunity for me to go grocery shopping during the day.

When I returned to work the next day, I was somewhat amused by the number of people who came up to say they'd noticed my absence and missed me. They knew my name, but I couldn't really tell you who they were. In addition to my blindness, I am also atypically quiet in there. I'll speak when spoken to, but generally I remain lost somewhere in my thoughts.

The phenomenon of knowing, starts long before we even begin to speak. I've had the pleasure of participating in many of my twelve nieces and nephews' upbringing, and was always amazed by how attached to me they became. They seemed to have their own ways of preferred connection: one I could lure into a calm state by using a strap; another liked to listen to me whistle a tuneless melody as I walked him up and down the hall; and a third just needed to know I was in the same room as he was. This last one left me feeling like perhaps I could actually hypnotize him, as I could say "you're getting sleeeepppy," in that funny, dragged-out voice and he would indeed quiet.

They would also, I believe, demonstrate that they knew I was unable to see them. Whether they thought this by choice or fully understood that my eyes didn't work, who knows?

My niece, for example, would make a humming sound as her little legs propelled her along the floor and to me, until she was able to tap my leg.

And once, the strap-loving nephew decided I needed assistance into the laundry room to put my clothes into the hamper, and then back into my mom's room where he knew I liked to watch sports with my dad. He may not have even been a year old then, and hadn't really developed speech yet except for the ability to make a sound that approached "here",when he grabbed one of my fingers and led me around the house. I guess he'd seen enough of me nearly tripping over his and others' toys. It was cute.

My sighted cousin moved into our Charlotte apartment in 2008 with her pet. I have never become as close to any living creature as I did her. The pet especially enjoyed interacting with me when I sat in the big, comfortable swivel chair I had at my heavy oak computer desk. She'd tap her little head on the side, stand back a few inches, and watch me turn to face her so she could then leap into my lap. Then she'd lay there, picking her head up as I began to talk to her or demanding attention occasionally with her paws.

She showed her understanding of my limitations once when I'd taken her out for relief. I guess, I'd gotten lost in my thoughts, and she decided we'd go for a longer walk. She probably had tried to get my attention somehow, but I didn't notice. Next thing I knew, we were on the other side of the street and behind that set of apartments.

"Look what you've done!" I yelled as I tugged on the leash. "Now how on earth am I going to get back home?"

She then slipped through a narrow fence, causing her collar to pull hard and come off of her neck. Now, if she'd done this with my sighted cousin in tow, she'd think "freedom!" and "game time!" and take off.
However, she probably knew that I couldn't catch her, so she sat down a couple of feet in front of me and waited for me to reattach the collar. Then, she got ready to cross the lot and, probably, correctly head for home. I didn't fully trust that we could do this safely though, so I pulled back on the chain. I believed she then deferred to plan B, which was to find an apartment with a human inside that I could ask for help. I did this, and an old man who walked with a rather pronounced limp assisted us back to the right place.

I'd guess that getting to know one another, and discern likely motives, has significant survival advantages. And, of course it helps us get whatever it is that we want from another, as well as to give to others what they might enjoy. I'm not sure blind folk will ever be really good at fully understanding tendencies, since there's so much we miss by lacking observational abilities at least from a visual standpoint. But, I certainly do pick up on and have an uncanny memory for voice, smell, and other odd quirks. Just something I've been pondering all week. How much do you pick up from others as you go about your day? Are you always watching as a new individual comes into a room? What about other kinds of sensory information.