Monday, January 29, 2018


Family Footnote

By: Donovan Baldwin

As I have mentioned from time to time in other places, I do genealogy.

While researching my family tree I came across an interesting footnote.

Now, this is not about me. The man is not even in my bloodline.

After the death of my father's mother, her husband, my grandfather, married a woman named Merrell. Turns out HER father, as a sheriff, stood down a lynch mob, and the incident was recorded in a story by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), which was published after his death.

I claim no glory, by blood or relation, but, it feels special to be that close to history.

Not just to have a near-relative in the writings of Mark Twain, but, in the brave act of a man who upheld his duty.

Gave me chills. Way to go, great grandfather-in-law, however many times removed.

That may be the basis for a story or a poem someday.

You deserve it. I know Mark Twain did it better, but, I'm closer.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018


The World Through A Dirty Windshield

By: Donovan Baldwin

It was a sunny morning this morning, and, after breakfast, I had an errand to run.

I was in a full-belly, quietly contemplative mood as I stopped at a traffic light at a railroad crossing, in a not too pretty part of Fort Worth, Texas..

I noticed the sunny day, green trees, and became aware of a slight golden ambiance to the scene in front of me. As I was wondering what could be making railroad tracks, and the crumbling church across the way look almost as if painted by Renoir, I glanced to my left...through my clean side window.

Everything suddenly appeared quite normal in color, and, ambiance?

What's that?

Anyway, all this lovely atmosphere had been created by a dirty, dusty windshield.

Isn't that how life is sometimes?

Poets and other writers speak about viewing things through rose colored glasses.

How we see things, either with our eyes or through the multiple lenses of experience and lore, can have a huge impact on how we live IN the life we have, and how we appear to others.

I got home intending to clean the windshield. I've got to go back out tomorrow and not really looking forward to that errand.

Maybe I'll leave the windshield like it is for one more day.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Knowledge Vs. Truth Vs. Wisdom

By: Donovan Baldwin

Not necessarily going to tie those together, just that was the thought that kicked off the following: A day or two ago, in another post on a Social media site, I mentioned a piece of info that most "knowledgeable" people of my day knew (that's 20 - 30 years ago, Bubba).

Well, the person DIDN'T know it and my first twitch was "not in the know".

Then, it hit me.

When it was knowledgeable TO ME, this info WAS INFO, but, this person was either a toddler or an embryo...or, as my father used to say, "a gleam in his mother's eye".

So, how can I hold them intellectually accountable, even for true knowledge, which is not commonly known in THEIR time, and, how can they exercise wisdom with that truth and knowledge, that they simply do not have...and, HAVE NO REASON TO HAVE?

I think that's where we get into trouble in our relationships, with the neighbors and those "idiots" on the other side of the world.

By the way, if you live in China, to you I might be one of those "idiots" on the other side of the world.

So, don't take it personally.

There's an old joke about the word "assume".

"To assume, creates an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'."

By the way, don't assume I'm talking dirty. That's the animal, not the body part.

See? You might not know what I mean even though I mean what I say.

We're human.

That's fine...I assume.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018


My Goal Is NOT To Change You

By: Donovan Baldwin

When I first put my comments here, on Blogger and social media, independent comments as opposed to comments on other comments, I was not sure what my goal was.

I wanted to write, and I wanted someone to read what I wrote, but, I had no larger goal than that.

Then, "that" happened. I HAD readers, and I was faced with a new choice.

Should I use these platforms to exercise mind control over my readers, amuse and amaze them, or, with blinding words and brilliant wit, offer them advice on how to live their lives (the big temptation)?

After some thought (I won't tell you how much or how little), I decided that I like you pretty much the way you are, and don't really have any major desire to change you.

Yet, that "advice" thing still nudged at the back of my mind, and my ego. So, after some thought, I decided to mainly talk about me and my thoughts, my musings, errant and otherwise, and out loud. I could tell you what I was feeling, thinking, remembering, and, if you liked it, you could respond or move on.

What I have found is that a lot of what I say resonates...not with everyone or every time, but, one human telling a story about themselves reminds another of a similar story, or provokes a thought about life or self.

Kind of like neighbors at the back fence chatting.

I like that.

I like hearing from friends.

Join me?

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Saturday, January 13, 2018


Relying On Natural Things

By: Donovan Baldwin

If there's one thing we should learn from social media and the internet, it's that words can be used in almost any fashion...and not always honestly.

There are certain words we like to use, and to here about. We see them in advertisements and in news articles. Most of the time when we see words, such as "natural", as in natural ingredient, natural remedy, or natural solution, we ten to assume that, somehow, "natural" means good...maybe even "better"!

Not always so. As I like to point out, rattlesnake venom is "natural" as are heart attacks. In fact, science has often been able to improve on the performance of natural remedies and ingredients.

There are companies whose reputation rests almost entirely on natural products, usually having to do with health and fitness, but, also with home care and cleaning.

This is commendable in some respects. I like the idea of using some natural product, such as Shaklee Herb-Lax® Natural Laxative, to provide a natural remedy, approved by Mother Nature herself to solve my digestive problems.

Still, whether the product is "natural" or not, the proof is in the pudding. A natural solution should be put to the same tests, and held to the same standard, as any other product.

Disclaimer: My wife is an independent Shaklee distributor.

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Friday, January 12, 2018


I Love Rainy Days...And...

By: Donovan Baldwin

I love rainy days.

Don't get me wrong, I love sunny days too. I even love partly cloudy, or are they partly sunny, days.

I'm an equal opportunity day lover, I guess.

However, I think there are a couple of levels, or more, to this "love" of these certain kinds of days.

Sunny days remind me of my home in Florida, when I was a boy. Sunny days are uplifting, raising my spirits, at least. A sunny day can make me happy.


Well, I've had some good times in the rain, and, partly along that same note, I consider rainy days romantic. You cuddle safe and warm inside, in the arms of your lover, while nature puts on a show, or show-er (couldn't resist) outside.

Thunder and lightening and wind remind me that there's a lot more exciting things in the world than the pap and pablum on TV and at the movies.

A Batman movie may rev you up for a bit, but an offshore squall can make you feel alive, and not just "pumped up". Still, I think one of the things that makes me love a sunny day, or a rainy one, is that it isn't the other.

Sameness can be nice, comforting, but, for me, it's also sometimes called a "rut".

I like it when Mother Nature reminds us that we don't have to be the same every day.

Kind of her.

Thank you, Mother Nature.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018


The Thoughts of Great Thinkers

By: Donovan Baldwin

I have, over my 72 years, read the thoughts of many "great thinkers".

I have found one thing common to many of their "great thoughts".

Often they do not contain "answers" per se. Often, what they do is cause the reader, listener, to look within themselves, and, at the world around them, and...think.

That's why there are more works interpreting the thoughts of great thinkers, than books BY great thinkers.

Maybe they are great thinkers, NOT because they think great thoughts, but, because they realize that there are more questions than answer.

One person cannot have all the answers for everyone, and the task assigned them in the Universe is to encourage us to think for ourselves.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2018


Wisdom Is Like...

By: Donovan Baldwin

"Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it."
~ Akan proverb.

I see much on many social media sites, and the internet in general, not to pick on any one platform or group of people, about how to be wise, be great, be happy, be... well, you pick the virtue or reward.

The problem as I see it, or, at least ONE problem, is that wisdom, kindness, greatness, happiness, comes to us, unique creatures that we are, as huge masses too large to be completely understood, defined, or embraced, by one person, or, encapsulated in just a few words and images.

Still, just because we cannot have ALL should NOT mean we give up and simply don't try to have ANY.

I try, and sometimes (often) fail to be as wise, as good, as kind, as happy, as I desire to be. But, each day, I give it my best shot.

No matter how much I personally reap, I also try to share whatever happiness, kindness, goodness I can spare.

After all, I might not always have a lot myself, but, at least I can remind people that good things are out there, and they can claim their share.

Funny point about good things such as wisdom, kindness, and other such things...taking some for yourself, even hoarding them, never seems to diminish what is still available to share with everybody else.

In fact, finding some for yourself seems to create more for others.

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Monday, January 08, 2018


I'm My Own Best Friend?

By: Donovan Baldwin

I sometimes get "inspiration" for these few words as thoughts come tumbling from a fumbling mind, by reading through some of the comments on social media feeds, such as at LinkedIn.

A few days ago, I saw one from Denise W.

It started off, "I'm literally my own best friend..."

It goes on with some tongue-in-cheek remarks in that vein.

Her little post got me to thinking, though, about how much we SHOULD be our own best friend, yet sometimes we become our worst critic, or, even our own worst enemy.

I wonder why that happens?

You would think that we would be talking to ourselves as we would to a best friend. We should be encouraging and praising and advising ourselves as we would someone we cared deeply about.

I don't really think it's so much that we DON'T care about ourselves, our feelings, hopes, and dreams.

I think, just musing here, that we hear so much "No", and "You can't do that...", that we expect someone's supposed to say it. So, instead of looking for reasons why we can, should, ought to, whatever; love, dance, smile, succeed...we listen for the expected voice that tells us we can't...just because we expect it to be there.

Surely there's someone somewhere who would tell us to sing, to dance, to be happy, to risk a kiss.

If they aren't handy, maybe we need to step up, be our own best friend, and say some good and happy words to ourselves.

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Sunday, January 07, 2018


Indoor Skydiving

By: Donovan Baldwin

As I was driving through the Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas area yesterday, I passed a building I've passed many, many times before.

You can do indoor skydiving there.

As I understand it, large amounts of air are forced upwards and you can get in that flow of air, and literally be "floating on air".

Now, this sort of "adventure" holds no appeal to me.

Not saying I wouldn't enjoy the sensation, but, just holds no appeal to me. Still, I can understand the experience. I used to skin dive in Pensacola Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico, and the feeling of floating free and unencumbered by gravity is quite pleasurable, and even liberating..

Even so, I feel no urge to go do indoor skydiving, even knowing I might find enjoyment in it.

There were cars parked there, so, I suppose there were people doing it. There were other businesses around the indoor skydiving establishment, restaurants, crazy golf, motels, shopping...even a mall across the highway.

Each of those places had people doing things.

I wasn't there. I was driving by. For just a moment, as I often do, I wondered who those people were, what they looked like, what their thoughts were, why they were there, doing whatever they were doing.

I wondered if they ever wondered about all the people in the cars on Airport Freeway between Dallas, and Fort Worth.

It seems to me, that we don't know enough about the people we share this world with any more.

They aren't our neighbors anymore.

Maybe too many different people like to do too many different things, and, in our 24-hour, 7-day a week world, we can become TOO isolated, too interested in our own interests, when the most interesting thing should be other people.

I sometimes think of it as what I call, "The Tower of Babel", effect. I don't think indoor skydiving is tearing society apart, it's just that sometimes we seem to be trying too hard, to find too many, "exciting" and "interesting", things to do, instead of finding excitement and interest in the people around us.

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Saturday, January 06, 2018


Doing Important Things

By: Donovan Baldwin

I used to be overwhelmed by all the "important" things I was supposed to be doing. Granted, there really are important things, like breathing, loving, coffee, and so on, but, I've uncovered an "important" truth.

Only took me 72 years, 7 months, and...oops, 6 months and 28 days...

Wait! Was that important?


That's my point, a really big chunk of what we consider "important", isn't. We just FEEL it's important.


Probably, somebody told us it was important.

But, is it really?

Sometimes we're afraid we're going to get caught doing "not really important stuff".

So, who cares?

Oh, I want someone to discover a cure for cancer, build a colony on Mars (if that's important), or convince politicians to tell the truth...important, but, not bloody likely.

However, there's a lot of unimportant stuff that really needs doing too. Fact is, a lot of that stuff that we are embarrassed to get caught doing is really some of the most important stuff we humans do.

Dreaming, loving, grieving, imagining, fantasizing (get your mind out of the gutter), hoping, caring, wading in the water, listening to birds, watching a sunset with someone you love...that's important. So important that the medical researchers, and astronauts, and politicians need to do it between all that other "important" stuff.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2018


Something Must Be Written Daily

By: Donovan Baldwin

I came across the following is from an old dusty notebook of mine. I wrote it January 26, 1985. Just dug it up.

Every day, something must be written, or, it just sits there, gathering dust. Sherlock Holmes compared the brain to a collection of files, I believe. If our filing cabinets are not used, at least from time to time, the drawers are liable to rust up on us - and, we wouldn't want our drawers to get rusty, now would we? That's why I want to try and write something every day. When I'm writing regularly, Ideas come regularly. Sure, a lot of them don't develop into anything, but, at least they're there. Ideas breed ideas. Creativity breeds creativity. Thought breeds thought. Thought, creativity, and idea development can be improved or increase through practice. The transfer of thought to paper, the abstract imaging into concrete expression, is a skill, which like most other skills, can be Improved with practice.

I wrote that over 30 years ago. Haven't always lived up to it, but, I've tried. Still think it's a good idea.

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