Truthful Tuesday – 2nd August

Birth Control – Yes or No

I was brought up in a Catholic family in a very Catholic world.

We were taught that basically as Monty Python said, that every little sperm counts.

However, when I was married and babies seemed to turn up as an annual event I engaged in many arguments with my then-wife. Whose responsibility was it?

Obviously, we were very fertile. She thought pregnancy and it happened.

By the time we reached our 6th it was time to take action. Poverty was staring us in the face; her body was reaching to end of its tether (so her dr said).

I had a vasectomy and that ended our reproductive lives. Despite that, she argued that I had removed her RIGHT to have children. I still think her argument was non-sensical at the time.

I was happy with the choice I made.

In terms of society, I think it is a woman’s right to decide what to do with her body. There are too many unwanted children in this world. There are too many unhappy mothers, unhappy fathers and families.

I think it is wrong for society to impose on the rights of women.

Too many ‘well-meaning’ ignorant people are more than happy to use religion to hide their prejudices behind.

In my case it took a long time for me to figure it all out, haunted as I was by the teachings I was brought up on.

But I saw in practice what happened to women forced to raise a child they are not capable of caring for.

Birth control should be a woman’s or family’s decision.

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Photo Challenge #425 – Tosca (the dog not the Opera).

Tosca, the dog, not the opera, stood staunchly guarding her domain.

Standing on the back veranda she surveyed her kingdom with a quiet reserve ready to strike at any moment should her world be invaded.

Her owners were loving folk, who cared deeply for her and provided her with as many social experiences as possible as well as a treat every so often.

On this day her human mother had hung the washing out fearing it might rain and Tosca was making sure that if such an occurrence happened she would be ready to raise her doggy alarm.

As it was the day had been interrupted by the postman, the baker and a curious old lady selling buttons for “Dog-Friendly Day”. Tosca didn’t quite understand what that meant for as far as she was concerned every day was dog-friendly day, so long as you were, in fact, a friend.

She stood alert, looking at the sky, scratching herself and every so often giving her hindquarters a good healthy sniff and lick.

Like so many days time was about alertness, wakefulness and best of all snoringness.

She heard a rustling at the end of the yard. Someone was at the back fence. She stood to attention, sensing the change in the atmosphere, capturing a familiar scent, she knew this smell, it was the nosy neighbour, probably wanting to pinch a lemon or two or even have the audacity to dig up one of her master’s prize lettuces.

Tosca let loose with her best warning bark. A long and continuous sound ending with a crescendo of doggy warning.

The nosy neighbour called out her name, said in his usual friendly manner causing Tosca to run down the back steps to greet him, give him a loving lick and receive an affectionate pat on her head.

Having carried out her duties, Tosca retired to the veranda while the nosy neighbour helped himself to a prized lettuce.

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What Do You See #145 – 1st August – Barry

Image credit; Marti Alonso @ Unsplash

His name was Barry and he lived not far from me in an old house that seemed to be sinking into the ground.

He was for the most part a poor miserable soul. Any time you inquired as to his health you received a litany of ailments you regretted asking him about.

He had always appeared old to me. He couldn’t have been that old when I first met him. He was one of those men who appeared old; he probably did so from birth.

He was a bit of an artist. He liked to sit by the lagoon, his easel set up against the backdrop of the willows that lined the lagoon. This was where he was content. This was where he died.

They found him late in the day, slumped over his paints, his nose resting in the fire-engine red he had mixed. It was a fitting end.

Mum had always said Barry was a bit different. In his house, they found very little of note. There was one thing that grabbed me, a mural on his lounge room wall: WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

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Crimson’s Creative Challenge #194 – Time

There’s the thing about time. It keeps on, you can’t replay the past.

I find it irritating that it ticks away oblivious to how I feel and what effect it is having on me.

It is the joke of the universe. Time moves in one direction only and you either keep up or you fall behind and that has dire consequences.

I saw a joke the other day where God announces that he has created equal parts of light and dark. The angel at his side asks, “What are you going to do now?” God says: Call it a day.

On the one hand, it is irritating but also time is there to amuse us.

Its racing past us, as we age we begin to realise how quickly it passes us. It creates a reality for us where the signs of its effect are visible to us, staring us in the face, so to speak.

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Crimson’s Creative Challenge #182 – Self-Isolation

I’m locked inside at the moment. It’s called self-isolation as I have tested positive for Covid.

Last week I was in Tasmania on a touring holiday with two friends. This week I’m holed up at home.

It was a wonderful trip, so many beautiful places to see and enjoy. We did visit Port Arthur wherein the colonial days it was a convict prison. A terrible place, people lived in appalling conditions. Then in 1996 a fellow went there one Sunday and shot 35 people.

Our history is what it is but it is a moving place when you consider what once happened there.

Apart from that place the rest of the state is magnificent. Sweeping coastlines to intriguing temperate rainforests. It was my second visit and as enjoyable as the first.

My isolation is allowing me to ponder how lucky I am living in Australia.

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Crimson’s Creative Challenge – #178 – A Brick in the Wall

As I’ve wandered through life I’ve become more and more aware that if life was a wall then I’m just another brick in the wall.

We are all part of a whole. Life is a myriad of components multitudinous in every way.

It needs to be that way because the boredom and disappointment of being, all the same, would simply overwhelm us.

Each brick you might say is individual and contains characteristics setting it apart from the other bricks. Much like we are from one another.

I was in Port Arthur, Tasmania, recently and the bricks they used were not made correctly and so over time are displaying visible signs of aging.

I see it happening around me. I am aging.   

I saw this the other day – “It’s sad to think that you are the same age as old people”.

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Aging, Wisdom, Experience – 4

This has been the most difficult exploration of the three topics listed above. It’s taken me some weeks, but it’s about my experience, not anyone else’s.

This time I want to address the issue of experience.

With aging, you’d like to think that you have learned a few lessons along the way.

Experience leads to an acquiring of wisdom.

They cross over, inter-twine with each other making you the person you are. Good and/or bad.

It takes time to gather your experiences. You have to go through the good, the bad, the sad and the heartbreaking reality that as a human you are victim to countless painful experiences. With any luck, you experience a few good ones those moments where success is achieved in work or in relationship and the children you produce turn out to be reasonable human beings despite their dysfunctional upbringing. Or better still you discover contentment.

That’s the trick, isn’t it? Contentment.

Sitting comfortably in your skin aware of yourself, your failings and foibles and being happy in yourself that despite everything it hasn’t been such a bad life.

I was always told that in retirement you needed to have something to retire to, not from. I had no trouble retiring from work, I had limitations I was aware of and was glad in the end to be rid of academic paperwork.

Experts in the field of retirement told me I needed to have a sound social network, which always sounded like a good idea but was always going to be a challenge.

I never did social all that well. Connecting with other people hasn’t been my forte in life.

Friendships have eluded me and I understand why. When I was a kid I had mates with whom I spent a lot of time. Playing backyard cricket and footy, riding our bikes around the district and just largely hanging out in the safety of friends who accepted you as you were.

In adulthood, it was a different matter altogether.

Maybe it was a growing awareness of the awkwardness of puberty. The total ignorance as to what was happening to my body. I found out but long after I had been consumed by changes I didn’t understand.

By then self-consciousness had well and truly set in.

I thought marriage would be a saving grace, give me confidence and a greater understanding of women.

None of that happened, babies arrived and took over my life, what I wanted or sought was immaterial to their needs.

Friendship was something discouraged rather than encouraged.  I quickly learned that asking a ‘friend’ or indeed anyone to dinner would have dire consequences.

What a self-centred selfish bastard I turned out to be.

And so I didn’t invite nor initiate any person visiting our house.

It can in hindsight be seen as a weakness but self-preservation was my more immediate consideration.

The problem was that at some stage things would come to a head, where living under such conditions would become untenable and change would occur or insanity take over.

Experience shapes us and bends us to live in a way that appears safe and secure. You do your best to deflect attention away from yourself.

Experience taught me that it was safer not to have friends, at least ones I could bring home, and so any semblance of friendship was restricted to my workplace. The above is just a snippet of my life and my experience. There is much more and I have tried not to make it an ‘Oh poor me” tale.

It’s a starting point.

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Crimson’s Creative Challenge #176 – Crisp and the Greenhouse

My aged companion Crisp, whose mind was not as it used to be, had observed the old greenhouse on our Sunday afternoon walk.

“They’re not doing it right,” she announced as we looked across at it.

Clearly, it was overgrown and in disrepair but Crisp as so often in recent days was off on another tangent.

“You’ve got to keep the windows clean so the light can get in and do its magic,” she said pointing to it. “They won’t grow a thing in there if the windows aren’t clean.”

“Maybe there’s no one to clean the windows,” I proffered.

“Poppycock, there’s always someone to clean windows. You have to make an effort, use a bit of elbow grease, that’s what’s needed.”

She stood looking at it her body language suggesting anger and frustration.

“Come on,” I said, “Time for a cuppa.”

“I’d like a scone,” she said as she toddled off.

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Crimson’s Creative Challenge # 173 – It’s a Duck.

It’s a duck.

No, it isn’t. It can’t be it hasn’t got a duck’s bill.

Well, I think it is.

Its face is pointy. Ducks don’t have pointy faces, they have duck faces.

From where I come from it’s a duck, always will be a duck.

Then you’re as disillusioned as ever.

We had ducks on the pond when I lived on the farm. Lots of ducks paddling about and in the breeding season a stream of baby ducks following their mother about. They always looked so cute.

We ate ducks. Dad would wring one’s neck and then it would be all hands on deck dressing it up for dinner.

I don’t know how you could do that. They’re small, defenceless and cute.

And they taste good.

Anyway, that’s not a duck.


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Aging, Wisdom, Experience – 3

I wanted this post to be about wisdom, the getting of it and the application of it but in the past few weeks, there have been things/stuff that has gotten in the way.

Wisdom comes with age, so they say, though we do know plenty of self-absorbed people for whom wisdom is a concept they have chosen to ignore because it doesn’t apply to them.

Wisdom comes from experience, which comes from aging and watching the world go around you and from out of that we acquire an understanding of our environment.

It’s one thing to have it, it’s another to know what to do with it.

In the past few weeks, my best friend has discovered that her son has cancer. He has a disability and didn’t tell her until his discomfort became so intense he had to say something.

It started with him having a sore eye. Within a week his problem had escalated to surgery to remove his eye and the discovery of cancer behind the eye. It is a nervous wait to find out if the cancer has spread or has been contained.

In this circumstance, the response has been highly emotional. My friend is facing the prospect of her son dying and that is something no parent ever wants.

The other thing to have happened is my children’s grandmother dying. She was a lovely lady, happy in her own place and very unhappy when placed in a nursing home.

Her death brought together my six children.

It has been a wonderful few days as it is rare for my kids to be in the same place.

They are all approaching middle age, (they’d be horrified to know I’ve said that). They are adults with whom I have beautiful adult relationships.

I am very proud of my children’s achievements and doubly proud when I saw them in action at their grandmother’s funeral.

So I asked myself what has wisdom got to do with any of this?

The answer is in how I responded to their comments on life, their mother, the funeral and most importantly their grandmother. For me it was about hearing what they said, understanding where it was coming from and accepting that we don’t always agree, but rather accept that for each of my children see the world from their own perspective.

Wisdom this past week has been about listening, setting aside any agenda I might have and allowing my children to vent and tell the stories most dear to them.

At the same time, my friend in dealing with her son’s illness was about my being there for her, allowing her to vent her frustrations and understanding that in me she felt she could do just that. I was allowing her the right to express her deepest fears.

It was not about me, it was about her for the most part I found it difficult to know what to say. I wrote her a note, as words work better for me that way, in which I said the best thing she could do for her son was to be his mum. Love and care for him the way she always had.

My acquired wisdom gathered over the past sixty years + came to the fore, helped me out in the above situations. Do you think you have become wiser as you’ve aged

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