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© Tom Gilbert

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June, 2021

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Tail Wagging Tales

June 28, 2021

Pet life stories are important to many people. Tail wagging tales told about your fur babies are often entertaining. More importantly, they say something about their owners. It is part of your personal history to share about the lives of your dogs, cats, birds, reptiles or whatever kind of pets you have.

I am currently house-sitting for my son and his roommate. Between the two of them they own four dogs. Four large dogs.
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Walk, Run, Ride and Reflect

June 24, 2021

One of my favorite themes is the importance of walking, running or riding for health. I find that getting outdoors for a walk, run or bike ride gives a different perspective to the world and life. It is much needed so that I don't get too much in my head, which unfortunately is often a problem for me. The health benefits are much more than physical. There is gain for my emotional, mental and spiritual state. Frankly, I find it is all connected.

Look, writers by necessity spend a fair amount of time in isolation, penning words to paper or screen. In order to have proper inspiration I need the "ventilation" of outdoor air. The added bonus is that I see the world while getting exercise. And seeing things while walking, jogging or riding a bike is a different, and interesting, pace than the speed of car, train or plane.

Running Medals I was rummaging through some running medals from the days of my half and full marathon events. I haven't run one of those for about four years now, but there was a ten year stretch when I was doing it fairly regularly. I have run two full marathons (26.2 miles) and a dozen or so half marathons (13.1). It takes a lot of training and that means time. I started at the age of 50 and frankly, I just don't have it in me at 65 to keep it up. But I thought that decade was a pretty good run (pun intended).

Lately I've taken to riding my bicycle more. Believe it or not, my 10-speed is almost forty years old! I've had it tuned a few times and it actually rides well, at least good enough for my needs. My wife bought it for me as a birthday gift, before we married.

Walking, running or riding were activities that could be done during the pandemic, but I see more people out doing it now than a year ago. The world is emerging from Covid, at least in my part of the country. It's good and I am grateful to have lived through it all without catching the virus. I know many people who did contract the virus and with varying degrees of difficulty. It's part of our history now.

Walk, run, ride and reflect. A good prescription for health - physical, mental and spiritual.

Juneteenth Now a National Holiday

June 18, 2021

Juneteenth now a national holidayToday, for the first time in the United States, Juneteenth will be observed as a National Holiday.

How did that come about? The bill was signed into law yesterday by President Biden after it passed through Congress. I am sure a lot of people will think this long overdue. I previously wrote about Juneteenth and my growing awareness of this long held recognition by African-Americans of their independence from slavery. For far too long it has not been given the historical educational visibility it deserves, but hopefully that is changing.

My blog post from June 19, 2020 - Lifting Voices on Juneteenth, mentions my learning more about the day and also gives some historical context and meaning of this important annual remembrance. Some of what I wrote includes, "
It is shameful that it is taking so long for enough of society to awaken to this truth and do something about it. Yet there is great hope in the lifting of so many voices in this most trying year. It just goes to show that it takes a lot of collective calamity to shake and wake us up." I invite you to read all of the blog post and visit some of the links I included.

There is hope that our country and society are changing for the better. It will not be without growing pains, but that is the pattern of history and every life.

Family, Flag and Country

June 14, 2021

Mom and Dad Gilbert on their wedding dayToday is my parent's wedding day. If they were still alive they'd be married 71 years! They did make it to 56 before Mom passed away. That anniversary is tomorrow and it is hard to believe it's been 15 years.

June 14 is also Flag Day. My father loved to fly the American Flag. When he retired from the Air Force and he and my mother moved into a townhouse community in Kansas City Dad became the defacto flag man for all the homes. Every holiday he'd hoist the Stars and Stripes for each of the homes (or put them in a holder if that was how they were outfitted).

Dad was a career Air Force pilot. He made it to "Full Bird", which means Colonel. He would have been a general except for a righteous altercation with someone in the Pentagon. But that's another story. He had a good run - 26 years of service. He told me he joined because, much to his delight, they would pay him to fly airplanes. And he did it quite well.

Dad joined the Air Force the same day he got married. Air Force in the morning, hitched in the afternoon. Mom always had a few choice wisecracks about that.

My parents were patriots, but not blind ones. There's some family history on mother's side that traces the lineage back to the Pilgrims. Boston was her hometown. My father's side were also early immigrant stock. His family tree included covered wagon settlers in the midwest. My most famous ancestor is probably my Great-Grandfather Fred Gilbert, Dad's grandfather. He hailed from Spirit Lake, Iowa and became a world champion trapshooter. He was a good friend to Annie Oakley and the other elite shooters of the early 20th century.

I am a proud American and citizen of the United States. Which means I believe in our country as a land of opportunity with principles that protect the freedom of all Americans. My hope is that we will fully become a country that lives up to its high ideals.

I've learned a lot about American history over the years and I continue to discover more. We all need to be aware of history, both world and personal. Not just aware, but informed and accountable to the self-evident truths stated in the Declaration of Independence. All people created equal with certain unalienable Rights.

Get Outside Daily

June 3, 2021

It's summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Yes, technically not until June 20 at 9:31 pm my time. But for all practical purposes here in the Southwestern United States the temperatures are up, the days are longer and we have an abundance of sunshine. Summertime and the month of June, my favorite time of the year.

With summer comes a bit of a break for teachers like myself. Contrary to a commonly held myth, teachers do not "get the summer off". Most of us spend a good deal of our time on reviewing our educational practices, philosophies, making plans, taking professional development courses, and, like myself, doing a multitude of other related things. Because of my passion for life story preservation I am always busy with research, writing and interviewing others, but it ramps up more in the summer. And yes, there is gratitude that I do have more discretionary time during our summer break from the rigors of the daily school year schedule.
Get Outside Daily3
One of my favorite things to do during summer and the summer school break is get outdoors more. Of course, the weather makes that easier to do, too. I love to walk or ride my bike. And trips to scenic places where can I can take in the spectacular vistas of nature are always a highpoint.

Now that the Covid restrictions are lessening and vaccinated people like myself are feeling safer about travel I am looking forward to visiting the Grand Canyon and also some some of southern Utah. Anyone who has ever been knows what natural beautyi s there to experience.

More and more in my life experiences are valuable to my mental, emotional and spiritual development. Experience is a great teacher and certainly experiences shared are a major component of a life story.

One of the prescriptions for healthy living on many levels that also benefits my perspective on life is to get outside on a regular basis. It can be a hike through a canyon in a national park. Or just a morning walk around th
e floodplain by my home. I call it G.O.D. which stands for "Get Outside Daily".

Everybody has a story to tell!
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