Reflections on Thanksgiving

Native American Corn, Photo by Marcus Winkler from Unsplash

Reflections on Thanksgiving

1620 was a year of tribulation.

The Mayflower voyage was no vacation!

In America, one hundred Pilgrims arrived.

By spring, only fifty-three remained alive.

Befriended by a Native American tribe,

they grew corn and learned to thrive.

1621 was a year of jubilation,

harvest time at Plymouth Plantation,

when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag

gave thanks together and got along.

A time for gratitude and celebration,

plans for peace and co-operation.

Peace and cooperation were transient,

but Thanksgiving was a hopeful event.

Brotherhood, the spirit of Thanksgiving,

can transform our way of living!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Harvest festivals have been observed all over the world since ancient times. Several States claim to be the site of the first Thanksgiving in the US, but Plymouth, Massachusetts, though probably not the first, is the most well-known. Native Americans rescued several struggling American colonies in the early days. The Wampanoag befriended the Pilgrims at Plymouth, teaching them to grown corn and celebrating Thanksgiving with them.

The history of our country, as in many countries, has been blemished by racism, persecution of indigenous peoples, slavery, and religious intolerance. Many people have fought these evils, and many wrongs have been righted. The fight continues. The first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation is a hopeful example of brotherhood and peace.

Abracadabra!

Photo by Ameen Fahmy from Unsplash

Abracadabra!

Questions work magic!

Great discoveries appear

when we seek answers.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem was written in response to Ingrid’s EIF Poetry Challenge #8, and was awarded third place. My sincere thanks to Ingrid for posting the challenge on Experiments in Fiction and to Jaya Avendel of Nin Chronicles, who judged the challenge.

New Era of Optimism

The Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC, Adobe Stock Photos

New Era of Optimism

New leader chosen…

New era of empathy,

integrity, and truth.

New rule of law,

new dawn of democracy…

Call for unity.

Quell the violence.

Preserve the environment.

End the pandemic.

Rejoin the global family

in achieving common goals.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Joe Biden was declared President-Elect of The United States of America today, 10/7/20. Inauguration Day is 1/20/21.

Fright

Photo by call-me-fred from Unsplash

Fright

Masked monsters and ghouls

brought no fear last Halloween…

Now, fear grips us all!

Now it’s the unmasked

we fear at the food market…

Covid’s stalking us!

Oooooooooh! wear your mask in public!

Eeeeeeek! Keep six feet betweeeeen us!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


For a nostalgic Halloween poem read, “Ghosts of Halloweens Past/Ghosts of Halloween Present” if you missed it.

Scary statistic: a recent study found that 20% of grocery store clerks have undiagnosed Covid19 without symptoms and are capable of spreading the disease.

The Benefit of the Doubt

The following poem may be disturbing to some readers. The examples given are fictional.

Some people seem to have everything we want and don’t have. We might not be eager to change places with them if we knew their secret heartaches.

Many people have problems we don’t know about that would explain their negative behavior. Some may need professional help in solving their problems. Others could benefit from just a little kindness and understanding. Judging them isn’t helpful.

Although people must be held accountable for their actions, some circumstances call for a little leniency. Everyone accused of a crime deserves due process.

Photo by Khadeejah Yasser from Unsplash

The Benefit of the Doubt

Give everyone you encounter

the benefit of the doubt.

You don’t know all their circumstances,

and maybe you’ll never find out!

Photo by Zach Lucero from Unsplash

The woman who wears too much makeup

may be trying to hide

bumps and bruises inflicted

by her drunken husband last night.

That student who sleeps in school

may have spent the night

listening to his mother and her boyfriend

have a knock-down, drag-out fight.

Photo Courtesy of allgo-an-app-for-plus-size-people from Unsplash

That girl who weighs too much

may be comforting herself with food

over nightmares of childhood abuse,

and diets don’t do any good.

The boy who robbed the liquor store

has never harmed a fly.

He may be raising money for treatments

and hoping his mother won’t die.

Photo by Brent Gorwin from Unsplash

That guy who brews your coffee

may be sleeping in his car

and feeding an addiction that takes

all he earns at the coffee bar.

The man who hanged himself

maybe hadn’t figured out yet

any way to repay the bookie

an overdue gambling debt.

Photo by Matthew Schwartz from Unsplash

Give everyone you encounter

the benefit of the doubt.

You don’t know all their circumstances,

and maybe you’ll never find out.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

The $5 Challenge

Photo by Joseph Greve from Unsplash

The $5 Challenge

I heard the stories as a child…

of Dad skipping school and running wild,

breaking the ice to go for a swim.

Skunky smell emanating from him…

sent home or banished to the hall.

Given his grades for playing basketball.

Joined the Navy by lying about his age,

used the GI Bill to go to college.

Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash

Dad wasn’t much help with study skills,

but he gave me an incentive of a five-dollar bill

for earning straight “A”s…a perfect report card.

In my sophomore year, I tried really hard!

Photo by Hello, I’m Nik from Unsplash

By dropping my hated typing class,

I thought I could get all “A”s at last!

But the honor roll with a “B” or two

just seemed to be the best I could do.

The quest became a pain in the neck,

and to this day, I still hunt and peck.

The next two years, until graduation,

I focused on directing my own education.

I abandoned chasing grades…No “busy work” for me!

There were books to be read as far as the eye could see!

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe from Unsplash

After that, I took art class seriously

and sketched my teacher in trigonometry.

Like my father before me, banished to the hall,

I read a book and didn’t mind at all.

I was multitasking in trigonometry…

Figuring that out, my teacher tolerated me!

Moved to the back of the room, not banished to the hall…

I sat drawing, learning, and having a ball!

Mt. Rushmore, Photo by Brandon Mowinkel from Unsplash

My history teacher was a boring jock!

Outline the chapter?…I think he was in shock

that my outline was heads and subheads. My grades slid,

but I got an education despite the rude things I did.

No “busy work,” copying sentences in grammar!

Zeros hurt my grades, but it didn’t matter…

I scored high on tests, so my grades were okay.

No offense, teachers…Just trying to find my way!

Photo by Anna1991anna from Unsplash

Married at eighteen, then job and family.

Night school part-time at twenty-six…I was ready!

At the beginning of each quarter, I always asked,

“What do I have to do to get an ‘A’ in your class?”

After all the drama, I finally had my four-point-oh…

Dad’s offer had expired…five dollars was a “no show!”

At forty, I graduated and consecutively

started teaching and earning my masters degree.

Elementary Classroom, Photo courtesy of CDC from Unsplash

Like my father before me, I say, “Don’t do as I do!”

Educating yourself is essential, but grades are important too!

Dad went back to school after I was grown.

He earned five doctorates…Who could have known?


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Word to the Wise

If you are a student, please don’t do as I did! Or as my father did, either! Find the balance between earning good grades and educating yourself about the things you want to know. Take it from someone who learned the hard way…Grades and following your interests are both important!

Remember to be kind to your teachers. Karma may get you if you are rude to them! As a teacher in inner city schools, I got back a little bit of what was coming to me. So, if you are ever tempted to give your teachers a hard time, remember my advice, and don’t go there!

Blue Light (Follow-up post at the end of the page)

Photo by David Travis from Unsplash

Blue Light

There was an old blogger on WordPress

whose computer time was endless!

When her eyes were exposed to blue light…

she suffered from blurry eyesight.

Computer glasses relieved her distress.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


After experiencing eye discomfort and blurry vision, I went for an eye exam. I will have a slightly updated prescription and the new glasses will have a specialized reflective coating that shields my eyes from excessive blue light.

My eye doctor told me that the blue light emitted by computer screens and other devices with screens can be a cause of eye problems, including macular degeneration, which can eventually cause blindness.

There are several options to protect eyes from blue light. If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, you may want to check with your optometrist. If you already use eye protection from blue light, feel free to comment about it. I’ll let you know how my experience goes.


Follow-up: After 10 days of wearing my new glasses that filter the blue light emitted by screens, I have not had another major episode of blurry vision. After some twelve-hour days on the computer, I did notice slight blurriness.

My eyes are definitely better with the new glasses than they were before. I am also using eye drops from the optometrist for dry eyes, trying to drink more water to keep from becoming dehydrated, and keeping room air humidified. I know I should cut my screen time further, and maybe more frequent breaks would help.

I have been noticing a return to my normal sleep patterns–seven hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights. Again, I know I should be getting off the computer a while before trying to sleep, because blue light can cause insomnia. I think the glasses are helpful in preventing insomnia caused by blue light.

Good luck to anyone who is having vision problems due to longer computer time. I appreciate all the helpful comments about this subject, and I hope this post has been helpful.

Vote

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Vote

Follow leaders, but don’t follow blindly.

Disagree with opponents, but do so kindly.

Look critically at different points of view.

Cast your ballot as seems right to you.

After the election, work cooperatively

to build your country and community.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


I am reposting this as we are getting close to US election day, and mail-in balloting is about to begin. Cheryl

Ambition

Photo by Ante Hamersmit from Unsplash

Ambition

There is no relief

in the master of grief,

Ambition who has no soul…

He offers only a goal.

He lashes and goads

into stony roads

of passion and desire

where every step is higher.

Upward go I, though I grieve,

to heights I must achieve.

Ambition’s wanton slave,

I climb toward my grave,

and Ambition, I can swear,

has planned me tasks for there!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


A poem written during my high school years. I woke at 4:30 one morning with this poem on my mind, and wrote it down from memory.