Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
January 31st, 2013


I have just come across the thoughts that crossed Carol’s mind when she learned her grandpa (who was my father and her father’s father) died.

I got to Media Communication last Friday morning a few minutes late. “The teacher’s got a message for you,” said Mary.

I already knew what it was and I swore softly to myself. “Call home immediately,” the note read. My grandfather had died.

I knew I should be glad he had died. He had been in a lot of pain and he had led a good life. For two weeks now I had expected that “Call home immediately,” but now that it was here, I was shaken. I was glad for him, but what about me? I had lost a grandfather, the man who had taught me how to play checkers.

I left class and called my mother. “The wake is today…the funeral tomorrow…He died peacefully. Skip your second class…catch the 12:05…dress nice.” I went back for the end of class and thought about the baby my friend had had the week before.

At the wake a plaque held the words “FRANK G. HODSON.” An open casket held the body that had been Grandpa’s. He lay on his back with his hands gently on his stomach just as he always did when he napped. His skinny-lapel black suit was meticulously pressed as usual, and his grey mustache was neatly trimmed. I would have thought he was asleep except where his lips would have been slightly parted to let out a nasal snore, they were closed tight. And the old grey afghan that would have been pulled up to his waist was now an American flag. Two weeks ago he had beaten me in checkers in six moves. Today he was napping in a different world.

That night I dreamed of him. We were playing on the street and he challenged me to a race. Hand in hand we tore along the side of the road like athletes. Next he was dancing. I think it was an Irish jig. Francis Gardner Hodson, a proper Englishman, spiritualist, WWI veteran, and Danbury checker champ, did a jig for me.

The funeral service was for my grandmother. The Christian quotes and biblical phrases warmed her. They held one hand, my father held the other.

The trail of automobile high beams was three blocks long. My brothers and I were in the third car of the funeral procession. Nervously, we joked and kidded as we followed the limousine to the cemetery.

Clustered around the coffin in a new section of the cemetery we all looked very, very small. I stood behind my brothers, next to my sister and her boyfriend. I hung my head and hid behind the hair that fell over my eyes. My father and his brother, Bob, stood on either side of my grandmother. Next were my aunts, and the grandchildren and the greatgrandchildren.

I had never seen my father lose his composure before. Always calm and stately like his father, it tore at me to see him fight his tears. The English in him was fighting to dominate. His forehead was creased with tension, his back erect and stiff in the breeze, his eyes welling and blinking but not releasing. I cried his tears. The tears I had never seen him shed. I cried for my father.

The flag was folded and given to my grandmother. Tired and worn, she handed the flag to Johnny. Respectfully, he held the flag, not knowing why he had been given such an honor. And there was my father. He was trying so hard to be strong as he blinked back his tears. And there was my grandfather in both of them. He had not left me.
The End
by Carol Hodson

January 30th, 2013


Way back during my Chicago years, 1947-1948, I worked for philosopher Mortimer Adler as he was putting together publication of the Great Books of the Western World and its accompanying Syntopicon. I then married and left his employ and often wished I could have seen the finished product. The cost for the complete set was hundreds of dollars, which was quite out of my reach for many years.

Just recently I thought I would see what was available on Amazon and found that the two volumes of the Syntopicon could be purchased separately from sundry dealers and I managed to acquire a set. It gave me pleasure to see (at long last) my name among the editorial staff in the front of the volume Angel to Love.

Further investigation revealed the following announcement in 2009:

Coming to a library near you:

Beginning in January of next year, Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World will be available electronically, in its entirety, at libraries and institutions. Through an agreement between Britannica and Ingram Digital, the Great Books will be accessible through Ingram’s industry-leading MyiLibrary e-book platform.

The electronic Great Books will contain precisely the same contents as the printed version, with hypertext links from entries in the Syntopicon—the idea index—and the places in the text those entries refer to. The digital corpus will be fully searchable.

If your library doesn’t subscribe, you will have the option of purchasing the electronic version of the Great Books yourself. We’ll have more details when the product becomes available next month.

Amazon has this to say:

There is no better way to own and appreciate the world’s greatest written works. Great Books of the Western World is one of the most acclaimed publishing feats of our time. Authoritative, accurate, and complete, this collection represents the essential core of the Western literary canon, compiling 517 of the most significant achievements in literature, history, philosophy, and science into a color-coded set as handsome as it is affordable. From the ancient classics to the newest masterpieces of the 20th century, Great Books traces the ideas, stories, and discoveries that have shaped modern civilization. Volumes 1 and 2 of this collection is the Syntopicon, a unique two-volume guide (not sold separately) that enables you to investigate a particular idea and compare what different authors have to say about it. The Syntopicon comprises a new kind of reference work — accomplishing for ideas what the dictionary accomplishes for words and the encyclopaedia accomplishes for facts.

They have seven new sets available for $900 and 12 used sets for $100!

January 30th, 2013


This is such a cogent presentation of why the Boys Scouts should not change their policy of forbidding known homosexuals to be troop leaders that I could not resist copying it. Written by Greg Quinlan of PFOX.

      As a former homosexual who was sexually molested as a child, I urge the Boy Scouts of America to reinforce their policy prohibiting homosexuals as Scout leaders entrusted with the care of impressionable young boys and teens.
      Boy Scouts leaders are exactly that — leaders. Boys watch them very closely. Boys also look up to older Boy Scout members and want to imitate them and follow their examples. Boys at that stage of maturity emulate male role models. A homosexual who gently eases boys and young men into exposure of homosexuality by his own personal example promotes homosexual behavior as normal, natural and healthy. This paves the way for youth to question their own sexuality and be affirmed into homosexuality. Promoting homosexuality to youth is also a political ploy to further homosexual approval.
      Like the Catholic Church hierarchy, the Boy Scouts have a history of hushing up and settling sexual molestation cases brought by boys under their care. The book, Scout’s Honor by investigative reporter Patrick Boyle, revealed 1,800 cases in which Scout leaders had been dismissed for abusing boys. And two years ago, a jury

awarded $18.5 million

      to a man abused by a Scoutmaster.
      My own sexual molestation as a youth was a contributing factor to my homosexual behavior as I got older. I left homosexuality only when I saw over 100 of my friends die of AIDS. I regret all those years of living homosexually — time wasted when I could have been dating and experiencing a relationship with a woman, gotten married, and raised children together. But sexual molestation and homosexuality raped me of those precious years, which should have been the best years of my life.
      Today, I should be able to look at my children’s faces and see reflections of my wife. Instead, I am fighting heterophobic legislation initiated by the gay lobby, which would prevent children molested by homosexuals from seeking heterosexual counseling. Gay activists like the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center demand equality while denying equality to the ex-gay community, but denying children access to full mental health care is outrageous and perverted.
      To insist that homosexuals be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts while demanding that heterosexual counseling for

molested children

      be outlawed is a gross miscarriage of justice. What do the Boy Scouts have to say about this injustice?
      No matter what precautions the Boy Scouts put in place so that open homosexuals can participate, such safeguards will never be enough. It’s like installing smoke alarms, fire ladders, and extinguishers in your home. Yes, if there’s a fire, a family may survive and get out of a burning house. But the best thing would be to not light the match in the first place.
      As an ex-gay man, my personal message to the board of directors of the Boy Scouts of America is this:
      Dear Messrs. Randall L. Stephenson, James S. Turley, Nathan S. Rosenberg, Wayne Perry, Wayne Brock, Alf Tuggle, Gary P. Butler, Tico Perez, and


      It seems that one or more of your major corporate donors is pressuring you, and others are bullying you, to change the Boy Scout policy to admit homosexuals. This corporate donor is concerned about “discrimination” and knows many nice gays who he is certain would never look at a child sexually.
      I, too, was one of those nice gays. But I was also one of those nice children who was molested. Please do without some corporate funding if you must, cut your budget and protect the children in your care. One case of child sexual molestation is one case too many.
    Money with dangerous conditions attached is not a donation — it’s a bribe.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) provides outreach, education, and public awareness in support of families and the ex-gay community.

January 29th, 2013


I can’t get enough of Amy and Ryne’s wedding!   The photographs were planned and posed and  beautiful but this video which just arrived via email shows clearly the extraordinary talent of the photographer who apparently could herd cats if necessary.  I love the way she gets bunches of giggling, jiggling men and women somehow arranged to result in gorgeous pictures.   Also, the mother and father of the bride (daughter Katy and her husband Ken) are more in evidence and, since I couldn’t be there, I do appreciate the opportunity to hear Ken’s “father of the bride” words and to see Katy dance!

January 24th, 2013


I cannot speak too highly of Leona Choy’s blog.  A fellow octagenarian (she’s only 87) she continues to write, write, write as the words continue to flow.  I recently finished Leona’s latest book, Aging Joyfully, written with Dr. A. Timothy Starr.  Dr. Starr is leader of the Christian Senior Movement in Canada and  Leona complements his sage advise with  her own beautiful poetry.

It seems that Leona is at work on yet another book perhaps titled Singing at the Summit:  Finishing with a Flourish.  Can you believe it?  That must total about forty books so far.   Go, Leona!  Sing!

Here is a recent addition to Leona’s blog.  God clearly is hearing her prayer for wisdom.

Prayer for Wisdom:

  • God, grant me the wisdom of mature years, to circumvent the foolishness of aging.
  • When You see me playing in the spiritual shallows, Lord, beckon me out of the wading pool into Your deep waters.
  • If I feel bogged down in meaningless routine, turn the plain water of my daily life into “the best wine saved until last.”
  • When I tend to resist change and settle in my comfort zone, grant me an open spirit and a growing, receptive mind.
  • If I’ve lost my get-up-and-go, show me how to “rise and take up my bed and walk.”
  • When my leaves are withered and dry, revive me to be “full of sap and very green.”
  • When my fruit is scanty and sour, show me how to “flourish like the palm tree”
  • If the embers of my first love for You are growing cold, fan them into flame by Your Holy Spirit.
  • When the noise of my activity drowns out Your still small voice, quiet me to wait on You in contemplative silence.
  • If the soil of my life is depleted and lies fallow, break up the clods, supply fresh nutrients, and make straight my furrows.
  • When my prayers seem unanswered and my spirit is arid, open the floodgates to let Your Rivers of Living Water flow again.
  • Where my life is out of balance and I lose my footing, help me restore eternal priorities to keep from stumbling.
  • When my vision for Your Kingdom has grown dim, touch my eyes to see again Your destiny for me.
  • If I’ve become slow of speech to declare Your message, open my lips to boldly proclaim Your Good News.
  • If I can’t hear Your voice clearly, send Your Holy Spirit to be my hearing aid.
  • If my memory begin to slip, help me remember that You never leave me or forsake me.
  • When I’m weary from the length of life’s journey, draw me close to Your bosom to find comfort and rest.
  • If I’m laboring to bear scarcely 30-fold fruit, teach me to abide in You to effortlessly produce by Your wisdom 100-fold.
  • Where some good seed of Your Word still lies dormant as I advance in years, send the gentle latter rain of Your Spirit so I can bear an abundant late harvest.
  • When I am tired and lack motivation to press on, restore iron to my soul, strength to my weak knees and limp arms.
  • When I drag my feet to do Your will, energize me with the adrenalin of Your Holy Spirit.
  • When I’m short of breath from life’s fast pace, inflate my lungs with Your Breath of Life.
  • If I grip material possessions too tightly, teach me to hold loosely the things of this world.
  • If I open my mouth to speak foolish words, show me how to put a watch on my lips.
  • When I’m afraid of the darkness around me, take my hand to walk in Your Light.
  • When my emotions roller coaster out of control, teach me to set my affection on things above not on things of earth.
  • When anxiety about the future threatens to overwhelm me, remind me of Your great faithfulness in years past.
  • If my appetite becomes jaded by the world’s junk food, give me Yourself as my Daily Bread in the Eucharist.
  • When I think I’ve reached the limit of my endurance, help me persevere in Your strength to run the last mile Home.
  • When thoughts of my mortal end cause me fear, remind me that You are preparing a place for me in Your Father’s House.
January 23rd, 2013


I found it somewhat daunting when Katy gave me an iPad for my 89th birthday.  What?  Another technological thing to have to learn to cope with?  I’m not at all sure I can stretch my brain that far.  But today, iPad sleeps next to my bed and is there to befriend me when I wake up.  Just open it up and I have light in the darkness.  A touch and it will tell me how cold it is outside and how much it might warm up to, so I know what to wear today.  Another touch and I can see if anyone has made another Scrabble move and even chat with the Scrabble players about the weather, their wellness, or whatever.

How does it happen?  In the olden days I didn’t understand radio.   Daddy got a galena, showed us how to make a cat’s s whisker and find a sensitive spot so we could hear a radio program.   How did that happen?  I wonder now where he got the earphones that made the sound audible to us.  How did HE know all this stuff so he could teach us?  My Daddy had brains I am only beginning to appreciate!  Wind the fine copper wire into a coil, hitch it up to the cat’s whisker, find the right spot on the crystal, put on the earphones, and, presto, a radio program right out of thin air!  It boggled my mind 80 years ago and it hasn’t gotten any better.  How did those radio waves find my house from miles away, go right through the walls, into every room in my house?    I fancied the air full of invisible sound that my natural ears could not hear.   And it seemed that the invisible sound was EVERYWHERE!

Today there is not only invisible sound EVERYWHERE, but invisible pictures, movies, clouds full of information,that, through the magic of WiFi (whatever that is) my iPad  can reach out and grab.  How does that happen?  Last week we had our sibling gathering down at Ernie’s house in Monroe, CT.   I took my iPad along.  I asked Ernie for his WiFi password.  Clue me in.  Does everyone with a computer have an iPad password?  Well,  Ernie had one and next thing you know my iPad was plugged into the world.  I pushed the FaceTime button and Dolly’s phone number in Florida.  (Dolly is our sister and we thought it would be nice to include her, finally, in one of our sibling gatherings.)  And there’s Dolly’s face!!!  Living, breathing, talking, joining in, live and in real time, with us, all together!  How does that happen?

We passed Dolly and the iPad around so each of us could have a few words with her and even a few words with her hubby, Dwight.  In FLORIDA!  How does that happen?  It seems to me the very air must be a veritable soup of sound and people and it’s EVERYWHERE!   I don’t understand it!  Once my sister called me on her cell phone and I received her call  in the airport in PUERTO RICO!   Once when it seemed that Terry should have been back from Indiana by now I called her on my phone and she answered ON A TRAIN IN VIRGINIA!

I do not understand this modern world.   How is it that EVERYTHING IS EVERYWHERE?  Once, long ago, when my brain was young, I did not understand radio.   Now that my brain is old and tired I guess I should just accept the inexplicability of technology and hope that maybe somewhere there is someone who gets it.   All I know is, it’s not me.

January 16th, 2013
January 13th, 2013


Sometimes it seems to me that “back in the day” people were kinder, gentler, more trustworthy, and even funnier. I’ve written at some length in the past about a prophecy concerning Ronald Reagan’s presidency and also about Reagan’s faith. As a president he was unabashedly Christian and also known as a man who enjoyed a good laugh.

In order to flesh out our memories of him and his lovely wife, Nancy (still alive at 92) I am happy to share the following video of the handsome couple in their younger days enjoying some good, clean, actually funny entertainment. I am a little surprised to learn that Nancy is only two years older than me–she’s been looking so OLD lately!

Don’t pass up this video. It’s really a riot!

Michael Davis was a comedian, juggler, musician back in the 1980’s. He appeared on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, HBO’s Best Young Comedian, Comic Relief, Night of 100 Stars.

He starred in 3 Broadway shows, including “Sugar Babies” along side Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. Michael Davis has been a special favorite of Presidents, having been invited to the White House several times by Presidents Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, and President Bill Clinton

Just thought you’d like to know. Here is the beginning of the performance above. That’s talent!

Wonder what he’s doing now.

January 9th, 2013


I have a radio that I listen to first thing in the morning to see what the weather is.   And sometimes when I’m sleepless at night. I need to know how to dress and whether the car needs defrosting. My cell phone is smart but not smart enough to talk to (no Siri).   I can call or text people, take pictures or little videos which I can send places, actually go on the internet or to Facebook to search around, but the screen is so small and the alphabet buttons so small it is a bit of a chore.  I prefer to use my new computer.   So big, so Touch-Smart, so fast, with a nice big keyboard.  There must be something my computer can’t do but I can’t think of it.   I can actually dial people with a touch and talk to them (apparently through the screen!).   I can find lost friends, type letters which I send to a printer that spits them out, search how to make guacamole, print photos that I send from the phone or my iPad.

Oh, yes.  The iPad!  Katy gave it to me for my birthday and I was wary of having yet another technical challenge, but we are friends now — sort of.   I am well aware the my iPad has icons and talents that I haven’t begun to appreciate.  But it’s great for email, super-great for Scrabble, and it, too, can take photos and videos–bigger and better than those on  my phone.  Then there’s FaceTime.   Katy in Indiana and I in Connecticut can see each other and chat back and forth in real time with our real faces.  We did that when her daughter was being married and she modeled her mother-of-the bride dress for me before the wedding.    Just recently Dolly in Florida also got an iPad and we, too, enjoyed seeing each other as we talked.

Of course, I have a radio, in the house and in the car.   My car tells me the ambient temperature and its radio doesn’t mind playing a CD for me.  The in-house radio not only plays CDs but tapes.  (Remember cassette tapes?)  Upstairs there is an older TV which is devoted to playing VHS tapes–some of which actually feature ME!

Then there’s the TV which has about a 100 channels and which, too, can play CDs and DVDs on a much bigger screen.  Surely I am technologically blessed.  When I want to “reach out and touch someone” I can do it without ever leaving the house.  I must admit all this technology helps me keep in touch with family, especially family too far afield to see personally.  There are a couple of great- grandsons I have never met.

So, it’s good.   But sometimes I feel so scattered.  I head to a machine when I am looking for human interaction.  Something to amuse or entertain is always SO available at all times that there is a tendency to latch onto something — anything — to while away the time.  One’s brain can become, in a way, tethered to the machine.  I think we all know people who simply cannot listen to what we say when a TV program is playing which holds their interest  — even though they’ve been watching TV all day and have hardly spoken a word to a real person.

Sometimes I like to break away, to set my mind free and let it wander where it will.  To muse and ponder eternal verities.  To think of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned and consider what to do next.

Lazarus has a different story. Lazarus was an atheist and is now a Coptic monk. His story begins here with the video below.  Lazarus says Christ “went apart” to pray and we should do likewise. If you keep your world small and your life simple you are less likely to get scattered.  As he says, “You can’t fall out of a cradle.”

Is it time to “go apart?” Once again, it’s all about choice.

Here is a link to The Cloistered Heart.   There is a middle way between the frenetic, all-consuming busy-ness of today’s world and and the set-apart life of a monk.  The Cloistered Heart is a beautiful blog which tries to take you there.

January 1st, 2013


I cannot get enough of the wedding of granddaughter, Amy, and her beloved Ryne. Fortunately for me they had superb planning, no matter how you want to look at it, and a photographer who made the most of the beauty she had to work with. Enjoy. And pray the marriage will live up to the hype.

Amy & Ryne’s Trailer from Two Are Better on Vimeo.