Look In The Mirror and Start Your Engine

Mirror 32a

There are times in all our lives when we feel defeated, overwhelmed or beaten. Take heart, have strength and know that this is normal. Within you is the strength rise up, to fight back, to once again overcome all that has caused this feeling of loss. It is time to change the negative to positive.

Nothing is stronger than the human spirit, when unleashed you have the power to to take back your dignity from those that may have put you down. You have the power to conquer the fears that have immobilized your being. You have, within your being the strength to rise above the current situation and prove to the world you are the person you want to be.

There is a time when you must take back the power you have granted to others, a power or position they have abused and now bring fear, negativity or stress into your life. They are not the person you believed in, trusted or wished they were, but you have the ability to change what is happening.

If you are determined, you shall not be stopped, overwhelmed or defeated, you shall march down a road toward personal renewal. A road of recovery for some, a road to growth for others, it will not be an easy road; you will find small hills and valleys. Ultimately you will continue the climb until you have reached a vista, opening your eyes to a panoramic view of opportunity.

There is an old Scottish ballad that describes the journey and battles you will face, “I may be wounded but I am not slain. I’ll lay me down and rest for a while and then I’ll fight again.” It is clear the road will have obstacles but it is equally clear you have the inner strength to win the fight.

Nothing will change without a motivating force, wishing for change will not work, waiting for change will not work, and doing nothing should not be an option. In life it is easy to do nothing, it is easy to avoid change, and it is wasteful to go another day without doing something to improve where you are or where you want to be.

It does not matter if the problems seem in surmountable nothing is impossible; it can be your job, your home life, your friends or your government. Your have the power, the strength and the skills to do something to bring about change. These attributes are all within you, the biggest obstacle you have is in your mind.

It is time to overcome your fears, after all fear is only False Evidence Appearing Real. You have nothing to fear unless you remain stagnant, unless you do nothing then and only then will you guarantee to yourself change will not come. Your world can be a better place if you are active in it; if you take control of the direction you are headed.

If you don’t like the direction you are headed, it is up to YOU to take some action. To depend on hope and change brought to you by others is a road to dependency and lower self-worth. Now is your time, and this is your place to move on down the road knowing you are in control of your direction and destiny.

Every journey starts with one step, every marathon is completed with a single step at time, there are no shortcuts and victory goes to those willing to pay the price. You may have stalled or even run out of gas but now is the time to restart your engine. What are you waiting for, rise up, get moving, go forth and start your journey. As they say at the Indy 500, “Ladies and gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES!”.

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A Father’s Day Remembrance

East Cementary 009-3XThey say time heals all wounds, I sometimes wonder if I have enough time remaining in my life to heal.  It has been twenty five years, and the scars upon my heart remain and yet the memories and lessons still provide strength and guidance.

My father was not a man of elegant words; his lessons were passed on by example and action.  A man working day and night holding two jobs for thirty-five years without missing time passes on a work ethic.  There is no doubt he was a provider for his family but it was his acts of kindness and love that have proven to be his lasting legacy.

Today I enjoy the toil of clamming and the results of my harvest, an endeavor passed on by a man that never ate the fruits of his labor.  No, my dad would dig and clean the clams for family and friends out of love and kindness, receiving only smiles of joy from those that ate the fruit of his labor.

The first year he was gone was filled with memories and tears, the wounds of such sudden sorrow were deep.  Trying to move forward would bring back memories and moments of sadness over his passing.   The first time clamming alone was one I can never forget, but the story is true and the memory is clear.

It was a warm and sunny day like many others on Cape Cod Bay, an ideal day with a tide that would accommodate an early afternoon of clamming.  I ventured out over the tidal flats, a walk I had taken with my dad and always taken for granted.  He would always lead the way knowing exactly where to go.  Over the years the clam beds were getting smaller, but dad knew just the spot to go in the uncharted expanse before us.

Now alone I ventured out, rake in one hand and bucket in the other.  Yes I thought I could do what dad had done; he made it look so easy.  I dug, and I struggled, the tide was turning and little did I have to show for my efforts.  My emotions were raw, as I thought back to the times I had shared in these waters with the man that never ate the clams.

Alone in thought, I believed if he were there we would have had our limit and been walking home by now, but I only had three clams.  The tide was changing but not my luck.  I saw a seal not too far away, I paused to observe and thought how much my dad liked to watch the wild life that Mother Nature so kindly brought his way.

It was then I noticed the seal seem to be nodding his head to my right, I moved in that direction and he continued to nod and I continued to move.  It wasn’t that far until he stopped and suddenly began to move his head up and down as if to say, yes.  I paused, and without hesitation I began to rake for clams, for the tide was turning and the time was coming when I would have to stop my quest.

There with the first stroke of the rake was a clam, as I reached for my bucket I looked toward the seal but he was gone.   I continued to rake and in a short time I had what I had come to seek, a bucket full of clams.  It was time to go and leave the bay but the memory of that day will never leave.

It has been twenty-five years since dad was killed by a hit and run driver, not a day goes by that I don’t think about the man.  The wounds of that day are deep, the scars of time remain and I wonder if I will live long enough for time to heal the wounds of loss.  On this day, I can only write these words in his memory, happy Father’s Day, dad.

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Filed under QUILL SALUTES, Uncategorized

Remembering the Sacrifice of 6,809

As of May 23, 2014 6,809 Americans have sacrificed their lives in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. In Somers Connecticut they are honored and remembered this weekend in a display known as, Field of Flags.
A single American Flag remembering each life has been placed in neat rows along Main Street. There is also a list of all 6,809 names listed by state of residence.

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The Other Side Of Mother’s Day

The other day I saw a sign that said, “Thank your mom for the womb and board”. Well I thought, that sure wraps up the meaning of Mother’s Day in the style of a humorous tweet.

Although mothers have been honored throughout the centuries it has only been 100 years since Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day in the United States. It has become a tradition day of honoring and recognizing the role of women as the nurturing force behind our families and our nation.

Mother’s Day has become the busiest day of the year for long-distance phone calls, and in some areas traffic advisories are issued due to heavy travel. Mother’s Day cards given to mom on Mother’s Day swell emotions within with the expressions of thanks and love and often bring a tear to mom’s eye.

Yes, to be sure every Mother knows what Mother’s Day is all about, for many there is the anticipation of hearing from children far away or seeing grandchildren as families gather to celebrate the day. But there is another side of Mother’s Day, a side that we often leave unnoticed, a side that has no smiles, no joy and opens wounds of emptiness in a heart.

For some the day is a reminder of hurt, of emptiness, of raw emotion, the phone does not ring, there are no flowers or cards but there is the pain of a scar re-opened. There will always be mothers that have lost their children but have their memories. For some mother’s it is a child lost to war, accident or disease, for others it is a deep hurt of abandonment.

Mother’s Day was supposed to be day of honor and celebration not a day of hurt, but for the mother that sits alone today there are no hugs, no smiles, no flowers or cards there is only the pain from an emotional scar, from an wound that never seems to heal. The phone will not ring, no loving voice will be heard, and this mother will sit alone today.

A mother that sacrificed and loved her children, they were the world to her has been abandon by her children, forgotten on this day. While the world around her celebrates, and she hears reminders of the day she is left alone to ponder what might have been, alone in her world of empty hope, but the phone will not ring and the flowers will never come.

Another family goes on about their business today, trying to forget the hurt, and the missing link, the empty chair, left behind when mom passed on. Yes they have some memories but on days like this those memories turn to a feeling of emptiness and loss, of something missing. There will be no trip to grandma’s house for she has been laid to rest. So while others shop for cards, order flowers, and gather in celebration this family has only a feeling of emptiness. They could go to the cemetery for a visit but that too brings raw emotions to the heart……..it is not a day of happiness. It is the other side of Mother’s Day.

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Ground Hog Predicts More Than The Weather In Connecticut


Chuckles reports to Mayor Diana

Chuckles reports to Mayor Diana

Television, press and a mob of early morning raisers gather in Manchester this morning to hear the prognostication of future weather from Connecticut’s own official ground hog, Chuckles.  This annual tradition takes place at the Lutz Children’s Museum as the sun begins to rise.

Manchester Mayor Diana by virtue of his election is endowed with the ability to communicate with Chuckles and hence listens to Chuckles and makes the announcement.  The crowd went silent as the mayor leaned forward and listened intently to Chuckles.  Then the moment had arrived, ‘There will be six more weeks of winter,” but wait, the Mayor announced there was more to hear. The crowd hushed and the Mayor said, “Denver is looking good, in Super Bowl”

So there you have it straight from the Ground Hog, bundle up for six more weeks and go with Denver or was the Ground Hog only referring to the uniforms and demeanor?  We will have to wait to judge the accuracy but make no mistake Ground Hog Day is a fine tradition.



The official name of Chuckles is “Connecticut Chuckles VIII” she will be two years old on May 1st.  Chuckles is a full time resident at the Lutz Children’s Museum.  She was rescued when she was discovered injured and orphaned as a baby. Her doctor determined that she would not be able to survive in the wild, opening the door to a new career in meteorology.

Last year was her first prediction and she was right on target.  Now you can’t say that about all the other local weather predictors.

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Response To Closing Quill

Opining Quill Response

Opining Quill Response

In reviewing comments and remarks concerning the previous posting of the Opining Quill it would seem that some clarification may be helpful to some readers.  While comments and remarks on subject matter and content are appropriate and encouraged in response to posting of the Opining Quill remarks or comments concerning individuals or personal attacks are not appropriate.

The post was written to stimulate discussion on the priorities of public spending. Grant money awarded by the State and spent by a municipality or government agency deserves the same scrutiny as money spent by a local government.  Endorsing government waste or poor priorities in spending, by using grant money, is a good example of a lack of respect for the responsibility of due diligence given to elected officials when they take office.  In this case it we have a dichotomy of responsibility which is confusing to many people.

The Town Manager has the responsibility to inform the Town Council of the opportunities presented by available State grants.  The decision on priorities for spending of those tax dollars is made at the State level.  The dichotomy on the local level exists when the Town Council is presented with a spending plan that by design contradicts local priorities or their responsibility to taxpayers to perform due diligence, to assure that the spending is in the best interest of local taxpayers.

That being said a short term local benefit may not be a road to long term benefit to the community or society.  To illustrate this dichotomy on the local level we need only to look at the history of our Town Council and reaction to another State grant proposal.

The Town Council received the opportunity to accept a State grant for a sidewalk proposed to run from the post office to the high school.  In reviewing the proposal and doing due diligence the design of the project was determined to be flawed and wasteful; it did not meet standards for public safety as judged by the Town Council.  The grant was rejected; the project was redesigned, eliminating the dangers to public safety.  When the grant was rejected the Town Council received criticism for rejecting a State grant or as some critics called it, “free money”.  In retrospect the decision provided the opportunity to redesign the project, and provide a much improved sidewalk project which was still eligible for State grant money.  Today we have a tangible example of a better community improvement that would not exist if the due diligence and courage of the members of that Town Council had not been present to reject a State grant in favor of a higher priority, a better project and respect for taxpayer dollars.

Grant money from the State is limited in how it can be spent and often has restrictions or limited targets upon which it can be spent.  That does not mean, it has to be spent.  Just because the State is willing to spend the money does not relinquish the local municipality from doing their own due diligence to protect the taxpayers from wasteful spending.

In this case the Town Manager had the responsibility to present the opportunities to the Town Council, it is not his responsibility nor within his authority to act.  That is the role of a professional Town Manager and that is what was done.  It was the responsibility of the Town Council to evaluate the opportunity before it, to perform due diligence and to act in the best interest of the taxpayers.  It is their action and the dichotomy of their responsibility that should be the point of any discussion.

The leadership of the Town Council has changed since both of the decisions above have been made; it is time for the new leadership to look at the dichotomy of responsibility when offered grant opportunities.  The new leadership deserves a chance to earn the respect and endorsement of the voters, but they must be mindful of their responsibility to perform due diligence before authorizing any spending be it funding from local tax receipts or State grant money.

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Coventry Spending, Government Perk Or Necessary Priority

It is always nice to see enhancements to the infrastructure within our community.  Projects that enhance the overall quality of life, paid for by the taxpaying hardworking folks that toil and share their income for the benefit of all of us.

It is through their contributions we have quality schools, a superior police department and well maintained roads.  So you may wonder what priorities the Town Council had for spending in the past few months.  What is an example of an infrastructure improvement that will add to our quality of life paid for with public money?

Maybe the better question to ask would be do we really need the project, is it the best use of taxpayer dollars, and are there no other projects of a higher priority?  Remember it does not matter what the source of the money is, if it is paid with tax dollars, you paid for it.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the growing privileges of being in the “government class”.  We have seen our leaders in Washington carve out special exemptions and privileges for themselves and their staffs.  Our Connecticut elected federal officials even have special reserved parking set aside for them at Bradley Airport.  Is that a special perk for the “government class”, we leave that for you to decide.

If Coventry established special parking and special services for our staff would that be our number one priority for public money spent for the good of our community or would that just be an example of special preferences for the “government class”?  We all have our priorities; we all have a family budget part of which is set aside for supporting our government with tax dollars.  We all depend on our elected leaders to spend our money wisely, but we will not all agree on what the priorities should be.

Below are pictures taken in the parking lot of the Coventry Town Hall.  What you see is the recently purchased auto and electric charging station for use by local government.  The automobile is registered to the Town of Coventry and assigned for use to the Town Manager, John Elsesser.

Therefore it is up to each of us to decide if this electrically powered car and charging station was the best and highest priority for our government on which to spend our taxes wisely.  How many charging stations are installed in local homes, is this a common item for Coventry residents?  Is this a special perk for the “government class” or a necessary expense for the benefit of our community as a whole?

Auto registered to the Town of Coventy

Auto registered to the Town of Coventry

Automobile charging at new Coventry charging station at Town Hall.

Automobile charging at new Coventry charging station at Town Hall.