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Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Poem for the Holidays

A Poem for the Holidays

God bless us all, in all our states,
In all our faiths, in all our fates.
Allah, Jehovah, help us find
A few soft words, our wounds to bind.

May we all see that greater good,
Our gift from Thee, Thy Earth, our home,
Is here for us, for all to share, 
In love and brotherhood, not fear.

All of us here, who think unbarred,
Around Your sun, beneath Your stars,
Know that, in spite of clergy's claims,
You are just One, with many Names.

Call me blasphemer, infidel,
Apostate, devil, bound for Hell.
Call me anything you please,
God showed Himself, in lands, 'cross seas,

In ways that peoples far apart,
Would understand, and take to heart.
Revelation wide was sown.
Let no folk claim it all their own.

-by Duncan C. McDougall,

Campton, New Hampshire, USA.  Copyright 2012, by the author.  All rights reserved, with the specific exception that sharing of this poem is encouraged if done with proper citation of the author, and of this blog page:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Craciun Ferecit, sau "Merry Christmas!"

This YouTube link came to me today from a fellow "Oldrider" with whom I shared a tour of Glacier National Park on my way to Alaska last summer.  You may have seen it already, but I am sharing it because I love it, and because its little canine star reminds me of our dog Ralph, a loving member of our family, some thirty-nine years ago. .

I wish all this blog's readers and their families a warm and happy holiday season, and a safe, happy, and prosperous new year.  As 'tis said in Romania,

Craciun Ferecit!  Şi, La Mulţi Ani!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Sad and Beautiful Milestone

Shirl's visit to Barbara Kimball in March, 2011
On Thursday, 6 December, 2012, the phone rang in my office at about 10:15 A.M.  It was Shirley Kimball McDougall, my wife.  "Can you please come home and take me to Westboro?" she asked.  "Mom has had a heart attack, and she is in heart failure."  I was home twelve minutes later, and we soon left for Massachusetts.  We are still there.

Shirl's mother, Barbara M. (Landon) Kimball, was 96 years, 11 months, and 17 days old at that time.  Though not really in poor health, she had been praying for some months that soon there would come a morning when she simply did not wake up.  This kind, humorous, smart, and ever-caring woman felt that she had fully lived her life.  Barbara had raised three children of her own, all now loving and responsible adults, had contributed mightily to the raising of their 13 children, and was loved also by 14 great-grandchildren.  She had been a loyal and loving wife to her husband Basil Kimball, who had been drafted into the U.S. Army shortly before World War II hit America.  In fact, it was on December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, that the engaged couple decided to move up their marriage from the planned June date, as it suddenly seemed likely Basil would be overseas by that time.  Thus, they were married on 22 December, 1941.  (As it happened, Basil went overseas in 1944, and landed in Normandy at Omaha Beach on D-Day with a battalion of Army Engineers.)  Their marriage lasted until Basil's passing in August of 1990.

When we arrived at the Beaumont nursing home in Westboro, we learned that Barbara had had a pleasant breakfast with her fellow residents in the dining room.  After being wheeled back to her room and put back to bed, she had complained of chest pains.  These got worse, and Shirl's sister Joan Kimball Cichowski, a nurse practitioner, was called.  Joan came to the home, learned the seriousness of the situation, and called Shirl and her brother David, also in New Hampshire at work at the time.  We all came to Westboro as fast as we could.  The Beaumont's staff doctor had told Joan that Barbara had suffered a heart attack, a serious one that likely would be Barbara's "final event."  By the time we arrived, Barbara had been treated three times with an oral pain medication, and seemed comfortable, and awake, though quite groggy.  When Barbara whispered to Shirl that the pain was returning, another dose was administered, and Barbara fell asleep.  She slept all day, and all through the night, with Shirl at her side for 24 straight hours, and the rest of us with her for many of those hours.  Grandson Jesse McDougall and Cally, his bride of last June, drove from their new place in Rockport, Massachusetts, to lend their support.

Yesterday, on December 7th, at 10:50 in the morning, Barbara's slow breathing ceased.  The prayed-for morning had come.  Seventy-one years to the day since they decided to move their marriage forward because of the War, Basil and Barbara were once again united.  It could, in the end, hardly have been more peaceful. 

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change."

I will miss Barbara, whom I have loved as the best mother-in-law imaginable.  Still, I believe that her life was full, that she served us all nobly, and that she has earned her rest.  I trust that now she is hugging her husband in Heaven.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Unu de Decembrie, Ziua Naţionala in Romania!

Contingent din Suceava. Parade of the Villagers, Alba Iulia, 1 December 2010
It is the first of December, and almost noon in Campton, New Hampshire, so it's almost 7:00 P.M. in Romania.  I hope that earlier today my Romanian friends and colleagues have celebrated their beautiful homeland, their freedom, and their colorful culture.   I wish you all a fine evening, and a bright future!  Noroc!

Here are links to a few of my earlier posts that celebrate Romania; I share them in the spirit of this National Day!


The rain could not quell the parade, yet seemed to make the colors more vibrant.




Mihai Viteazul, whom we thank for first unifiying the country.