Posts Tagged ‘journeys’

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” Don Williams 

Oregon’s Highway 395

My kind of journey is one in which I travel slowly and has many twists and turns and surprises around every curve in the road. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Sunshine Blogger Award

Just Words   kzackuslheureux. wordpress.com  awarded me a Sunshine Blogger Award. It’s always nice to think that I’ve brought sunshine into someone’s day, so thank you very much. I’m using my Bean’s Pat to pay back the honor on a daily basis.

Bean’s Pat: Write to Done http://tinyurl.com/89wxokt  One’s writing is something that can always be improved, and this is a great blog to help you do just that. It’s also a new way to look at your “quirky” family. 

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Maasai women look on as men of their village demonstrate their jumping skills. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“The great thing is the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” Oliver Wendell Holmes


While drinking my morning coffee, I read that today was International Women’s Day. My first thought was how the world has changed for women during my time on this earth.

I’ve gone from marrying young and being barefoot and pregnant to being a homemaker who also brought home the bacon – if you can call that progress. I successfully fought for equal opportunity and equal pay in the workplace. Today, I take pride in the role I played so my granddaughters can take such things for granted. .

And then I remembered the Maasai women I had seen in Africa just three years ago. These beautiful women have such hard, difficult lives that our native guide, who was not a Maasai, expressed sorrow for them – and called their men lazy turds. This remark came every time he saw a man walking carrying nothing and a woman walking behind him loaded down with water or firewood.

It is the Maasai women who build the mud and dung huts for the family. It is the women who walk miles every day for water and firewood, unarmed among dangerous wildlife. It is the women who milk the cows and cook the food and tend the children. And yet it is the men who own everything.

This young girl, looking on at the jumping men, is surely thinking she can do that, too. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This young girl, looking on at the jumping men, is surely thinking she can do that, too. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While I appreciate ethnic cultures, this is one aspect of the Maasai way of life that needs to be changed. And I make no apology for saying that.

I definitely thought this after a visit to a Maasai village in Kenya, where the men demonstrated a game they played with stones then noted that it was too difficult for the women to master. I was not impressed and huffed off.

But then a young girl in the tribe offered me hope that change might already be sniffing at the men’s heels.

It happened when the men were showing off their jumping skills, something young boys began practicing almost as soon as they can walk. Off to the side, where the shaved-head Maasai women stood quietly looking on, a young girl, ignoring the disapproving looks coming her way, jumped in rhythm with the men.

She, I thought, was the beginning. I hope one day she will be able to look back on how far she’s come, too.

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This is Rocky. He was rescued during a typhoon when my youngest daughter lived in Guam. He's never met a lap he didn't like. -- Photo by Pat Bean



“Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.” Unknown.

 My dog, Maggie, must be a cat in disguise.

Travels With Maggie

We never had a cat when I was growing up, only dogs. I didn’t have anything against cats, but never really wanted one of my own. I thought them too unfriendly, a stereotype that was confirmed by the first one that came into my life.

It was a beautiful, silky black feline that adopted my then eight-year-old daughter, Deborah. She adored this creature and named it Mai Ling. The enchantment was lost on the rest of the family. Mai Ling was cleverly mean, with a heart as dark as her fur.

One of her favorite activities was to hide beneath the couch and claw the legs of unsuspecting passers-by. Even worse, were her frequent full-body tackles on innocent sleepers.

One day, just as Mai Ling had left her former home to follow my daughter home, it adopted a new family down the street. Deborah brought the cat back repeatedly, but at the first opportunity Mai Ling always escaped again.

Deborah greatly mourned the loss of her pet, but the rest of the family rejoiced.

The next cat to enter my life was an ugly, skinny, dirty-haired calico that one of my sons had rescued from some boys who were teasing her.

This is Maggie, a cat in disguise. She considers me her personal slave. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Well, we’re going to have to feed this one for a while before we can find it a new home,” I told him. At this point, not even Deborah, wanted to adopt another cat.

Two weeks later our ugly, rescued feline had turned into a beautiful princess that had stolen all our hearts. We named her Kitterick, after a sexy, albeit a kid’s show, mascot for Houston’s KTRK-TV.

Kitterick had a long and happy life with our family, including our dog. We would often find the two of them curled up together.

The moral of this story is as old as Methuselah. And it applies to a lot more in our lives than cats, including the journeys we make. As Aldous Huxley once said: “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

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Baskets of pink pansies add color to a small town's Main Street. ... Photo by Pat Bean

Baskets of pink pansies add color to a small town's Main Street ... Photo by Pat Bean

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” — Ursula K. LeGuin 

 Travels With Maggie

I was too early for the annual Loggers Jubilee that will be held for the 68th time later this month in the small town of Morton Washington. Between Aug. 12th and the 15th, the town’s expected to be booming with parades, logging shows, flea markets, lawn mower races and of course crowning of the Jubilee Queen. 

 The recent July day I visited the town, for a bit of breakfast at Cody’s Cafe before heading on to nearby Mt. Ranier National Park, Morton was quiet and sleepy.

  This southwestern logging town once claimed itself the “Railroad Mill Tie Capitol of the World.” Ties are those things railroad tracks sit on. Each mile of railroad track requires about 3,000 ties. More and more of the ties these days, however, are being made of concrete instead of wood. Morton’s claim to fame was the huge tie dock – Wikipedia says the “world’s largest” — that was located along the railroad tracks east of the town. 

One of two murals on a fire rescue station in Morton, Washington, that captured my attention. ... Photo by Pat Bean

 After an excellent butterhorn, warm and drenched in butter as it should me, but served by a gray-haired waitress who never smiled – I suspected her feet hurt – I took a quick walk down the city’s downtown.  It was a short walk whose main attractions were sidewalk pots of blooming pink pansies and a couple of murals that colored the walls of the town’s fire rescue station. 

 While not exactly what one could call great art, the murals were interesting and brightened up an otherwise dull building. They were painted by a man named Kangas, according to a signature at the bottom of  one of the murals. I later Binged the name on the Internet and came up with the artist Larry Kangas, who according to his Web site has painted thousands of murals over the past 35 plus years. 

 I suspected these weren’t the first piece of Kangas art I had seen in my travels. They looked too familiar. I also hoped they

Artist signature ... Photo by Pat Bean

 wouldn’t be by last. There was a feel about Kangas’ murals that said the artist enjoyed painting them. That suspicion heightened my enjoyment in viewing them. 

My travels take me to well-know and spectacular places , but its the unexpected sights and experiences,  such as pink pansies, a melt-in-the-mouth butterhorn, surpising railroad trivia and art along the way that give the journey meaning. 


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