Free From Limitations 9
Free From Limitations 9
“Well we made a great profit today. I think I will ask your sister to allow me a few dollars. I saw Berardo complaining his drums were not selling fast enough. He is a greedy old fart and asks triple the price. Told me the tourists have the money but do not purchase. I told him he asks too much. I think ten dollars in American will clear his mind if I take all the drums.” said Oscar.
“What will you do with all the drums?” questioned Marilynn. “Villancicos, are the Christmas Carols of Bolivian culture. Songs that celebrate Christmas played on native instruments to the rhythm of native music. In Bolivia, it is very common to see poor children working, and one of the ways they make money is by singing and dancing Villancicos on the streets. I'm thinking not all children will have an instrument. So why not give them drums!” smiled Oscar.
“I have heard many homes place the baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve. After the baby is blessed in La Misa de Gallo they do this. What exactly is La Misa de Gallo?” asked Marilynn. “La Misa de Gallo is a tradition of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Early Christians honored the mystery of Jesus Birth with a midnight vigil at Bethlehem. Followed by a procession that would end at dawn, when roosters crow.
The Bolivians honor this tradition by getting together as a family to share a meal. A very traditional meal in Bolivia is la Picana, a stew made with chicken, beef (or lamb) and pork; served with potatoes and corn. I had the honor to share this meal with a Bolivian family back in the States. Perhaps it is one of the reasons I chose to come live in Bolivia.” answered Oscar softly.
December 23 the townspeople got together in the square. It was a night to celebrate the poor, especially the children. Cups of steaming hot chocolate were handed out to everyone. Baskets of breads and cookies were also handed out to those in need.
Many children in the town that were not in need rummaged through their closets. They took clothing and shoes to the church for volunteers to size and sort. Only clean and usable clothes were accepted. The clothes would be wrapped and labeled boy or girl with the size. Christmas Eve the clothing would be distributed to the needy.
There also would be a nice dinner for all after Mass. Oscar, Marilynn, Richard and Karen handed out the purchased drums. Marilynn and Karen had also found Jingle Bells on ribbons at a great price. They handed these instruments out also. December twenty four music was heard.
The children started out playing: The Drummer The road that leads to Bethlehem goes down to the valley where the snow covered The shepherds want to see their King, they bring gifts in their humble wallet to the Redeemer, the Redeemer. I would like to put at your feet some present that pleases you Lord, but you already know that I am poor too, and I have nothing but an old drum. (Rom pom pom pom, rom pom pom pom) In your honor in front of the portal I will play with my drum! The road that leads to Bethlehem I mark with my old drum, there is nothing better that I can offer, its husky accent is a song of love to the Redeemer, the Redeemer. When God saw me playing before him he smiled at me. The adults joined in singing. Some adults brought their favorite instruments from home.
Senor Cabrera was covered with a blanket. One of his daughters pushed him in a wheelchair. He played his harmonica as he rode along the sidewalk to Church. After mass the four were invited to the Cabrera's for the traditional meal. No one saw Oscar and Marilynn slip outside to the smoking table.
“I do smoke a cigar after dinner. I just wanted to come outdoors for some fresh air.” said Oscar. “I was about to suggest coming outside for a bit of fresh air also. I wanted to give you a gift. I know we said no gifts. I found something I liked in that shop. There was only one so if you do not like it I will keep.” said Marilynn as she handed Oscar a tiny cloth bag.
Oscar opened the cloth bag to find inside a hand painted nativity set where the figures attired in traditional Bolivian dress. “I love the set. I know we agreed to no gifts. I also have a gift for you.” said Oscar as he held out a small box. “I hope you accept this ring. When you are ready. I feel we should live our lives together.” said Oscar. “I am ready now. We do belong together.”
said Marilynn as Oscar slipped the ring on her finger. Richard and Karen came outside looking for the couple.
“Hey you two? What's up?” Asked Richard.
“We're getting married in June” said Marilynn.
“June”? Asked Richard.
Oscar said “ June is plenty of time for us to finish our future house. Help you two finish your house and for Karen and Mrs Cabrera to plan the wedding.” laughed Oscar.
©Julia A Knaake
Inherited Survival Skills
Could you build a fire with rocks and sticks? I couldn’t.
Could you fend off a hungry bear?
Build a shelter? Dig out a canoe?
Could you make your own clothes, or shoes?
Could you kill a deer with a hand-fashioned bow and arrow?
I am Chuck.
I have a mate (soul and heart) whom I call Pooky-Bear.
We have raised a family in a comfortable home that shelters us from the elements, both natural and criminal.
We live in a thriving city, with clean water, ready power, access to exceptional education and medical care, in a conservative, God-fearing, agriculturally based state, in a resource rich, strong and influential democratic, capitalistic country which happens to also be the most racially and religiously diverse country in the world.
All of the comfort and protections my wife and I (as well as others in our city, state, and country) enjoy are the results of centuries upon centuries of civically applied experimentations which have been systematically and scientifically integrated or abandoned (as warranted) for the greater and common good.
All we need do is study hard, work hard, and follow the established laws and mores of this civilization (be a good and beneficial citizen) to benefit from the result of eons of struggle and learning.
So sleep in peace. All is well here. Feel free to play on your tablets in your thermostatically controlled environments with a snack close at hand. We are fortunate enough to live in the easiest and best of times; times built upon the blood, sweat and backs of millions who actually had to suffer and toil to establish these comforts for us.
Lighten up a little, and enjoy.
And stay away from the news!
Plethora of eons ago
Before the age of Pharaohs
A time when ancient civilizations
Had not even come into place
The gods & goddesses gathered
They had been wandering ’bout
The cosmos— tryin’ to figure it Out, and then Isis- the female Alpha shined her presence among The others, telling them of what Needed to be done— she was Ready to work with them to create a place unlike any other~ All the gods thought that she was Crazy…one of them asked her, ‘What pray tell would this so-called place be..our new home?’
‘Not quite!’ Isis replied. ‘It shall be a place for beings that are like us, but who do not have any powers to dwell.’
So, the gods and goddesses created an entire universe…full of a zillion stars that burst off bright light & twinkled during the night; a range of galaxies, with some planets that had quite a number of creamy looking moons; and then last, but not the least, Earth, with varying terrains— some that shot up looking like hard candy from the ground-rocks that when struck would create precious gems, and many different kinds of animals that seemed to wonder who the beings they could see were. For their grand finale~ Isis created humans in a form that was similar to the immortal beings.
Several of the gods began to shake their heads as time passed by. ‘How do humans still survive to this day?’ some of them wondered.
Isis tsked. ‘Is that a way to speak about beings who try to make it everyday, and with no powers if I might add!’
Another one of the gods waved his hand. ‘Ah…please..they’re always full of ideas & never try to actually stick to what they plan!’
‘Well, maybe when you end up living the life they live you’ll understand.’
With that, the god took on a human form & always remembered to report back to the rest of the immortal beings what it was like being human. He shared that humans quite alright had still a long way to go, but it was the connections that they made with those that they loved that kept them moving, ‘n’ going till the next day.
Isis asked the god if he was planning on heading back to the immortals realm. He shook his head, and said, ‘Nah. I think I’m going to stick ‘round for a little while longer. I’m still curious to see what these mortals come up with next.’
What I wouldn't give to say is that we live through hope. How we work so hard so that we can create a bright and beautiful future. While I want to believe it and it may be true for some I have to say that we survive through complacency. Every day we are faced with the idea that we are 3 steps away from death and or total annihilation. Cruel systems, global environment deterioration, systematic oppression, and an unending amount of work to complete to survive.
We work in a system that is made so that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. We work tirelessly for years only for our money to be worth less yet not be paid more. We are expected to become a "well-rounded" person by the time we're 18 and pay mountains of money to enter a prestigious university for a piece of paper that says we meet the expectations to work in a "respectable" field. In the U.S. one of the richest countries in the world, you can go from a middle-class working family to a poverty-stricken charity case in days for something as small as a hospital bill. The amount of money it costs to receive healthcare should be a crime. Every little thing is counted and charged more often than not at a marked-up price. Taking an Uber to a hospital would be cheaper than an ambulance.
The police have become the new dystopian patrol guards, arresting and killing anyone who is unfortunate enough to cross them on a bad day. Minorities especially Black Americans have had to scream and shout just to be barely seen by the news, while hundreds of us are injured or killed for how we look, our stories being swept under the rug just because it makes cops look bad. How silly is that, the system that was put in place to stop "bad guys" and protect the common people, now has them running in fear, having to research cases on their own just to scrounge up any bit of evidence to even prosecute a cop.
Our rights are being taken one by one, just this summer Roe v. Wade was overturned, causing millions of Americans to lose their basic human rights in one day. Not even a century did we barely start to equal the seesaw of gender equality did we get it weighed down on one side yet again? Now there is talk about revoking LGBTQ+ rights, interracial marriage, and more. It is devasting how easily we can see these rights that we should have had since the beginning be taken away one by one.
Setting aside the social issues our country faces, our environment itself is falling apart. The ozone layer has started to come apart, the water is now poisoned, and the very air we breathe is a danger to our bodies. Environmentalists have not been silent but yet we still continue to contribute to its fall, not even a century from now we may see the end of the world.
I wouldn't say that we as humans are resilient. Rather I would argue that we are complacent. We see the world fall apart around us, and it is daunting to think about how we all compare to these issues on our own. Those that have left this world on their own accord are not pitiful, it is true that it is a sad occasion, but they cannot be entirely blamed for their conclusion. We simply do what we can. We live. We work. Those that can do what they can to try and help the majority. But we as a majority are simply complacent to move with the world as the world spins.
There’s a Weight On My Back
I carry my fat on my back.
My chonk and my rolls and my heft.
I carry the things I feel a need to hide.
I carry my gender and sexuality, my desires and opinions, my fears and the spools of webbed threads of thought thought thought thought thought.
They ramble on and jiggle on weighing heavy on me and I cannot entertain them, most times.
It was, as with every other, from my young self that I began to feel shame.
Shame over the things that I simply was and simply am.
So I zipped them up in a little backpack and tried to pretend that they didn't matter to anyone, nor me, tried to pretend they weren't there.
Shame became fear.
I loathed my backpack, hiding it away as deep into my heavy chest as I could possibly bear.
I carried it everywhere I went, of course, these are not things you can throw away but I wanted it all gone for a time.
But then I grew.
I still grow but it matters all the more that I've come to where I am now.
Because see, fear turned to anger.
And not anger at myself, not anymore.
An anger at the world.
A world that has made me feel I should not be too loud, too big, too heavy, too self-helping, too confident
A world that has made me shut down and quiet myself and hide away in as many shadows as I could possibly find until every dark knook and cranny knew my name by heart
I've spent so many years of my time on earth hiding things away in my backpack
So you can understand why I felt so proud of myself when I declared to myself that maybe I can be fat and be beautiful
You can understand I felt pride when I told my parents I was a bisexual with reckless abandon, sparked by my rage at the homophobia in the world
I've spent so long trying to categorise myself into mental illnesses, into right and wrong, into this is what I should do and it doesn't matter what I want to do
I have spent so many years not being me, whoever that may be..
My backpack is a little lighter of load now,
Much more than it was back then.
There's a while to go but
I have hope
That some day
This weight will slip off my back
My wings will grow again, roaring and big and beautiful and rainbow-hued and rearing for flight
if you left me behind
then why do i still feel
every breath we shared
every laugh you gave
every heartbeat i spent
loving all of you
with all of me
if you left me behind
why are you still here
in my heart
in my mind
in my eyes
if you left me behind
then why can't i stop
i went with you
if you left me behind
do i still
you left me behind
and all i can do
and wait for you
you will never
A very pressing matter...
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