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The Story of Miz T and Silverbeard

Ms T and Silverbeard by Barbara Harbeson |

Once upon a time in a land known as Great Oaks  there was a woman named   Miz T.   One day the darkest clouds passed over her home and a stream of lightning struck so hard that Miz T thought that the earth had broken into pieces.  She ran to the window and then to the porch to see what had happened  and suddenly realized that it could not be seen with human eyes.  Her daughter Neena ran to be with her Mother outside because she too felt the crack of lightning, and didn’t understand what it meant.  So, Miz T took her daughter’s hand and they walked steadily from that day as to feel safe from what they were sure was a crack in the earth. As time moved forward, Miz T and Neena began to sing songs to ease the uncertainty of that time.  Neena read books and told stories while Miz T tried to find answers to the question – Would the sky ever be safe again?  At night she would peek out the window and look up to find stars that were no longer there and sadness would move over her that she never knew existed.

Miz T heard that there was a place called KISS, where Kindness is Sincerely Sweet and this was what she needed now.  So, she set forth to find this place.

Miz T journeyed to a land unknown and asked many times if she was near a place called KISS, but was disappointed with the answers she received.   One day in passing she encountered a man.  This man went by the name of Silverbeard and Miz T had never met anyone like him.  She felt certain that he would know something about where she could find KISS.  However, before she could ask him the questions, Silverbeard asked Miz T to take a walk with him down to the water and she agreed not truly knowing why.  When they reached the waters edge, it was sunset and Silverbeard told Miz T of his journey and how he too had experienced the lightning and a fright on this earth.  As they talked the sky darkened and became night and as they both looked up, they saw that the amazing stars were connected and that this was what held the sky tightly together.

It was very apparent to Miz T that she had found the place she was seeking, the place where “Kindness is Sincerely Sweet”.  Miz T and Silverbeard went back to Great Oaks, and Neena was glad to see her Mother with  this man, Silverbeard.   Their journey had found each other and yielded a love to last many starry nights together and a moon to glow and watch over all.  And yes he really does have a Silverbeard; however, Miz T now goes by J.U. (Just Unbelievable).

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Where am I ?


When I was a child of 2 ½ years of age my parents split up their marriage. My father took me and my brother who was 5 years older and my mother took my sister who was 13 months older. My father took us to his parents house where his adult sister lived along with her male child . My grandfather was deaf. Granny, as I called the grandmother was not a warm person. We lived in a rancher in the suburbs of Virginia. It was a nice home and we lived in a nice neighborhood. However, strangeness enveloped us there. It was a daily subliminal thought of where am I and where is my mother? The people I lived with where my relatives but distanced themselves from my brother and me. Although we were given all of the necessary meals and clothing, baths, etc., we were lacking in the essential emotion that plays into the early childhood years. When you are that young and not aware of what should determine a healthy childhood, it does not appear to be out of line but somehow there is a difference that you can feel inside. This difference is the matter that makes up your comfort zone in life. The people we were living with did not have a warm side. They came from the Mountains of Tennessee and West Virginia. Their Appalachian nature was very cut and dry about life and they brought the basics of their survival needs with them when they moved to Virginia. Meals were mostly beans and cornbread, sometimes meatloaf. Potatoes were always a staple. Peanut butter and sweet pickles for lunch and hot dogs and chili for Friday night supper along with Wise potato chips which were the craze.

My Aunt Virginia was a woman of probably in her 40’s and  bore a son out of wedlock. She was not a “ looker” as they say, so she washer Mother’s dream child that would remain home to assist in all areas. She was an excellent seamstress as she made me many clothes and she like to show off her work. Like a doll, I was dressed on Easter with the spring green hat decorated with silk flowers. At Christmas , I would carry a fur mitten to warm my hands but mostly to show off Virginia’s skills of sewing. Granny was very proud of her daughter and everything she did was praised as well as her son Luther. Not so for the rest of the family ( not sure if that is the right word). Virginia would also wash and curl my hair in the Shirley Temple style and it would require several hours of standing in front of the floor to ceiling heater that heated the house. I was a child of three standing in front of the vent that heated the house until my neck would burn. Then, Granny would praise Virginia for her work. My brother would play as boys do. However, he always seemed not connected. Like myself, he gave the appearance of someone who was a beautiful child being well cared for but without the emotional factor that makes us human. Virginia’s son Luther was about 5 years older than my brother and he was a very cruel child. He liked to kick and hurt my brother and did so on a regular basis. Luther would light Grandfather’s newspaper on fire while he was reading it. Sometimes he would place my his Mother’s straight pins into his Grandfather’s chair to hurt him when he would sit. Granddaddy was a kind man and as I said earlier deaf. He was the janitor at the elementary school and other than his nature of endurance and tolerance of his relatives, I remember that he washed his hands a lot. I always looked back and thought that he might have wanted to wash them from his thoughts.

I played with a child next door. Carolyn was the poster child for Polio at that time and so she needed care. I was stronger by age five and so it was required that I move her from room to room in the wheelchair and help her on assist in any way that I could. I was quite a bit smaller that she was her condition made her dead weight as she did not have good muscle support. However, her mother was glad to have my help and my family where glad to have me out of their way.

Once , I was seated at the table for dinner and found many little green peas upon my plate. As a child does, I moved and pushed the peas around probably playing a game of great diversion. I had been told many times to Eat Your Peas. It was not long that the dinner was coming to a close and impatience was an entrée for this meal so without warning, a glass came down from the hand of my Aunt and landed on the hairclip snapping it open and revealing a sharp stab to my skull resulting in the blood that began to flow through the curls and into my eyes. I had been told to Eat Your Peas.

It was a strange beginnings for certain. Some of what I learned there was to shield myself from people who are out to hurt you. I later researched my ancestry to try to get more pieces of the puzzle and found out that my father had not been the only son. In fact, one male had died at birth several years prior. I took that to mean that Granny was never happy about my father coming along nor was she happy about the fact that he had brought his children there when his marriage failed. In fact, she was never happy.

Recently , in a search for a baby picture of my self , I came upon a picture where I was about 3 years of age standing in the dining area of that house. I held a balloon which could mean it was my birthday. On the back of the pictures had a message written on it. The message said that the floors and the dining room set was the same color but pointed out how much darker the floors looked in the picture. There was no mention of me. Where am I ?

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Isn’t it interesting that we as humans must plan this time in our lives?   I find it to be unusual that we need to exit our lives to get a break.  But, that is what we do, and thank goodness.  The Europeans pride themselves on a month in August.  We ,  Americans take a modest two weeks if we are lucky.  This could be  a combination  mostly  of  our nature of  feeling guilty for leaving our responsibilities too long and our system is not  so leisurely in allowing for that great of time off.   Then there are those who choose to vacate their lives by living in a  resort  area  so as  to mix the business with the pleasure.   One can also get a job on a cruise ship or   at Disney  or live in Key West and feel like they are getting a vacation during the life.  The best in my opinion is to get a job traveling.  It does put stress on the body as you must arrive at the destination required at the required time.  However, once your job is complete you can enjoy yourself and feel that you’ve visited somewhere outside the realm of your life.   A vacation  gives back whatever time  gets extracted from our normal routine allowing us to do whatever we want.   We have a vacation planned for this year.   I am truly looking forward to the time I will spend with myself and also my spouse.  Most days are blocked for maintenance  of  cleaning, cooking, car repair,  house repair,  and other valued chores and , responsibilities that zap strength and time.   If  a job,  caretaking, volunteering  or just the maintenance of life  pulls you into its undertow,  please take time to schedule a vacation.  This can be travel, a spa treatment,  a movie or dinner with a friend or  the necessary time to journal your feelings and unravel the internal thread of life.   For me,  I think the beach will do.

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The Butterfly

The Butterfly by Barbara Harbeson |

This picture of the butterfly was taken by my son Chad. He traveled to Peru and while there on vacation, like most he took many pictures. This one stood out and so realizing it was special for me he made it a gift to me for Mothers Day. He surprised me by having it framed and mailed to me without notice. It seemed to symbolize something for both of us at that time in our lives. The butterfly travels far in its journey, and gives great pleasure along the way if we choose to take a glance as it flutters by. My son gives me great pleasure as well. He is all the many things you look for in another human being, and most of all in those to whom you are related.

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If You Are So Inclined

If you are so inclined by Barbara Harbeson |

What makes us as humans so particular? That we should like things in our lives to meet a standard is not unusual. But, what we choose is something to be pondered. For example, I am peculiar about my blinds as the light in my home should be facing up and not down. The proverbial toilet paper roll should most definitely go forward as not to disturb the sequence of the event of getting it off the roll. And I do not believe that a teabag needs to be squeezed and when it is I react because the thought of the acid from the leaf going into my cup is upsetting to me . Weird, I know and this all sounds bazaar but don’t judge me yet. Each of us have a relationship with one’s surroundings and this relationship was most likely put into place when the person became the master of his/her own fate. Perhaps even influenced by one’s upbringing. I do not think myself strange because I like a small light on in a room at all times as I like the glow that it gives to the setting of that space. I also like to leave a window cracked in a room that has air conditioning. These things are simply frowned upon and considered wasteful. Fortunately, I get to decide what I like for myself, my rooms, my lighting, and it goes on from there. These are all things that require a relationship with self which, I believe to be the “most important relationship” you will ever have in this life. So IF YOU ARE SO INCLINED as to live your life a certain way, please do not let others intimidate you into thinking that their way is better that yours. Enjoy your relationship with yourself at all times.

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The Wonder of Boating

The Wonder of Boating by Barbara Harbeson |

As most of us learn by a certain age, life is full of mystery.

Being a single woman of almost 20 years and on my own, I wished for the proverbial partner. Someone I could love, cherish and share the beauty of life. My wish came true, and we were wed 12 years come this September. The question still remains… Why a boater?

I am a person who prides herself on “trying “to walk steady on land. I’ve always stayed clear of deep water and in my attempt to swim, well let us say that it appears that I resemble a frog.

So, to mingle my life with that of a boater does appear to be odd. First, He suggested we look for a strong boat, something I would feel safe on, perhaps a Trawler. What is a Trawler, I say?

We began our search in the Solomon’s Island at a Trawler fest. We made a purchase and I still find myself in a head shaking dilemma. This experience takes you to a spiritual track that I have yet to arrive.

The idea of the Trawler is to be on a boat with a sense of home and that it is! I love to cook and entertain and sleep on our boat. However, there is always, and I mean always a “boating adventure” lurking, and I do mean lurking in the wind. It’s like when I throw the last line onto the dock as we leave for our journey; I say “well, what brings the day?”

Each time to travel by water is something of a mix of pleasure and fear. The sun glistens upon the water, and the breathtaking beauty of the carved land on the waterways that looks as if it were painted there by the brush of an artist, and of course the sound of the winds and swish of each wave. All of these things and more are what is to be looked forward to on every trip. And then we have the numerous mechanical happenings along with mother nature who decides to turn on her heals perhaps to enlighten us as to who is still in charge !

When a thrashing thunder and lightning event of 65 knot winds has completed its point, a boater will say “wasn’t that Exciting? And I say, “Yes, if it were a movie, but to be there is a little unnerving.”

When I discuss my many underlying and outward fears with boaters, they all have the same basic reply….. Well that’s what makes a good boating story! On this we agree!

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Changes by Barbara Harbeson |

Waking to the chirp of the birds is an invigorating sound, even if you are not quite ready to wake. It somehow jump starts the mind into the here and now, I am alive mode. The consistencies of life keep us on track and tell us that we are secure in our world. Everyday is an amazing feat and yet somehow the spirit doesn’t always approach it from this angle. The mind certainly plays the most crucial and dominant role and it can destroy the balance that is necessary between mind, body and spirit if not constantly checked for irregularity.

Some people think those that are out of sync with the ways of consistency are eccentric. For example, to get up each day, wash and dress and have breakfast are all constants for most people, however to do this the same way each day causes the body and spirit to move through time without reason other than this is the way it is done. This is not to say that constant change is always good. But, a balance of constants and a flow of changes bring amazing growth to our lives.

I had a friend who did everything the same each day and she was not a happy person. I was always suggesting that she modify her schedule to be more spontaneous in her life. Her insecurities told her to believe that the path she lived on was the only one she could count on. Unfortunately this path led nowhere and she stayed insecure and unhappy knowing what cereal she would eat and at what time and what program she would always watch and what time she would call me, and I was not always constant enough to be there for her.

When life becomes overwhelming with work load or disappointment, this can cause what I believe to be short circuits and slowly the breakdown occurs and a depressed state turns to day to day routine without any reason. The reason is a need for change.

If you feel there is a molded pattern in your life, then a bowl of ice cream for breakfast (any flavor you choose) or perhaps those red socks that you have never worn should be incorporated into your life. When life goes on with out change for a period of time it needs to be shocked by the abnormal. Most of the geniuses knew this and so they were considered weird. We as humans have great potential for change, and this process is what creates the life we want and have. Sometimes the spirit is broken by life because it doesn’t work this or that way, it becomes necessary to re-design a feeling or a thought so that you can adjust to the sound of the birds chirping and still feel secure in the world.

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The Process

The Process by Barbara Harbeson |

Wondering through life with many questions, I’ve come to realize that it is easier by far to accept and not question. However, understanding doesn’t come without a price.

The price usually equals the risk of knowing, or the size of the puzzle piece that will give us the answer we are seeking..

I know people who choose not to follow up on confusion. They just let it go. I on the other hand like to think that the process of understanding is what makes me human and more or less accepting.

Sometimes after a long search for a particular answer, the one that comes is incomplete, doesn’t make sense or not what we expect.

It seems that we as a society are becoming more and more process oriented, choosing to dig up the bones and analyze them. As we can see from our entertainment, we enjoy Crime Scene Investigation or CSI the number one program on evening TV. The media thrives on this aspect and feeds us all the crime stories one by one.

The insane part is how the human psyche adapts to levels of crime and the extraction of spiritual value from the equation. A total science of ingredients and DNA that will bring forth an answer that is needed to understand and to process such horrible acts…

Although relationships and death are as old as Greek plays, the media covers these stories much more competitively due to TV ratings and what would appear as our society’s insatiable appetite for crime.

We have more science to run through each particle and spit out an exact match for whatever, but are we any closer to understanding the process that causes feeling of jealously, hate or greed to a degree of taking human life?

I really don’t believe we are. I suppose that is the component that is truly missing. We cannot get our minds around a teenager shooting up his/her school, people killing their parents, pregnant women being dismembered and discarded with child, babies being thrown into dumpsters (dead or alive), children being drown by their mother. These are a few recent examples of human relationships that have ended in crime.

It would seem that no matter how hard we look at the evidence, we can only find the answer of whom but not WHY. Even if we find the answer to why, it doesn’t make sense. Or, is why the gristle of life that cannot be processed?