Tag Archives: Author: Delinda McCann

Crazy Making – Abortion By Delinda McCann

 

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Since I’ve worked in human services particularly with at-risk youth for over forty years, I guess I have to be called a liberal.  Despite the label I have some beliefs conservatives hold dear. Out of compassion for both the mother and the baby, I hate the very thought of abortion.

My heart breaks every time someone mentions the topic of abortion and people mention it frequently as a political issue. I know this issue influenced more than one voter. Since I really hate everything about the topic, I’m to the point of saying put up or shut up.

My solution for this painful subject would be to prevent unwanted pregnancy.  I’d hang dispensers of cheap or free birth-control pills in women’s rest rooms.  I’d treat birth control shots the same as flu shots.  You can get them at the pharmacy on Tues. or Thursday.  The supermarket will hold a clinic every day for the first week of the month, in the back by the produce department, and the fire department holds a clinic on the forth Saturday of the month. Maybe rural communities can have a birth control van that visits once a month to dispense pills, shots or implants somewhat like other medical vans that do screenings. They could even do PAP smears and talk about the side effects of birth control.

My church holds a health fair every spring doing vision, hearing, blood pressure, and weight checks while instructing people on when to see a doctor.  We could be doing birth control implants.

I want to rethink how we get birth control medications into the childbearing population.  My approach would cost the voters some money, and this is where I part company with conservative thought.  The only suggestion I see from conservatives is throwing stones at those who have had abortions.  I get shouted down when I start talking about free to cheap birth control that works.

At the same time that people are criticizing me for advocating for cheap and accessible birth control, they say they want smaller government.  Giving out free birth control is too much government interference, they tell me.  “We need a law,” they say as if enforcing a law is less government than providing a service.

It doesn’t take much to put up a vending machines that dispenses pills in women’s restrooms.  We do have them for condoms.  Women wouldn’t be forced to use birth control, but it would be available.  So why is that too much interference as compared to monitoring every doctor and every hospital and investigating every procedure for removing polyps, or treating bleeders.  Why is distributing a drug more government than arresting people, collecting information on their private life and going to court to argue with a doctor who is saying the patient was anemic from blood loss, and her baby had died and decomposed inside her? It is cheaper, quicker and easier to just make the meds available to women.  Accessible birth control involves smaller government.

I just cannot wrap my head around a position where people do not want to spend tax dollars on human services, and will deny a service that should cut government spending on human services for at-risk children. All people will say is that abortion is killing or it’s immoral.  “Fine, then let’s prevent it,” I say, but this is the point that others get angry and shout that abortion is killing and immoral.  Preventing it doesn’t seem to be part of their vocabulary, and I get convicted as guilty for wanting to prevent abortion.

Some days it appears to me that the pro-life people want more abortions so they can feel superior and throw stones at others.  They never get on the prevention bandwagon, because that would involve government spending. The whole scenario doesn’t make sense.

I understand that some people on their own cannot see any options other than passing a law that won’t prevent anything, and will place more women at risk.  Why can’t those people take it as a matter of faith that someone who has worked with at-risk populations might know some better solutions to the problem?  This distrust of the opinions of professionals who work in human services is another factor that contributes to the crazy making aspects of our national dialog.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been ignored for saying there is a better way to solve the problem of abortion.

The conservatives tell me, “Making abortion illegal will prevent abortions because they will be harder to find and people will be afraid of being punished.”  God made laws, “Don’t eat of that tree.  Have no other Gods. Love your neighbor.”  How’s that working for God?  It has never worked for God since the whole tree thing.  Lawmakers need to be careful not to place themselves above God.

People, especially desperate people, do not obey laws.  Any woman who can read can figure out how to quietly and privately induce an abortion.  They’ve been doing it since time began.

Making a law doesn’t save the baby’s life.  Making a law doesn’t prevent the trauma to the mother.  Making a law just allows the law-makers to shove the problem of loving their neighbor under the carpet.  This is the point in the dialog on abortion where I loose all compassion for those who call themselves pro-life and want to make laws.  I see nothing but cruelty and hate in their position.  Further, I never see any attempt by the law-makers to jump on the pregnancy prevention wagon or even thank me for my comments on how to end the tragedy. The loving answer is to prevent the unwanted pregnancy through easy access to birth control along with education about who needs it – women of childbearing years.

At the end of the day, I’ll choose the loving answer to meet the needs of others, and I guess that puts me in the hated liberal camp.  So be it.

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  1. Ladies, in addition to the pharmaceutical birth control, have your partner use a condom. If you would have an abortion if pregnant, use another mechanical method of birth control such as a sponge with your pills and have your partner use a condom.

Delinda McCann is a social scientist with a history of working with at-risk populations for over 40 years.  Currently she is the author of five novels published by Writer’s Cramp Press. She has published numerous short stories and essays.  She also runs a small organic farm located near Seattle WA. You can find her books and short stories featured on her website. http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html

Island Life: Mountain Lion – by Delinda McCann

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I find something special about living on an island. Perhaps a special energy is created when water flows around a piece of land. I’m not certain what creates the special weirdness that permeates Vashon. Perhaps the whispering of the trees create an almost audible sense of the alien. Whatever the source of the funky Vashon spirit, I love it.

Now, when I talk of a Vashon spirit or special weirdness, I don’t mean that we all express this spirit in the same manner. No. Each person expresses their own special brand of Vashon Weird.

For example, this summer we have a mountain lion living on the island. I’m fairly certain I saw it over a year ago as did one other person. Since no more sightings occurred for over a year, I didn’t pay any attention to it other than checking overhanging trees for predators when I’m out walking. This summer, we’ve had a half-dozen confirmed sightings that we track in our own little facebook group. This group has become one of my greatest joys for people watching. Islanders have divided themselves into several groups.

Naturalists post links to wildlife sites where the uninformed can learn everything they want to know about our resident pumas or mountain lions or cougars as they are called in various places. The Naturalists regularly run through their little speech about how to keep safe in the woods. Woods pretty much cover the entire island. I have about a hundred trees on my one and a half acre, so the advise is needed everywhere.

The Science Deniers respond to the Naturalists by calling them names and insisting that they don’t know anything about wild animals, and the big cat is going to eat them at any moment. Delightfully, nothing anybody says gets past the Science Denier’s fantasy of immediate Armageddon triggered by one very large cat.

Fantasy Islanders seldom leave the bars. They tend to be men of a certain age. They post daily about the cougar they met in Sporty’s Bar or at the Red Bicycle. According to them this cougar tried to pick them up. I don’t have the heart to tell them that any older women in the local bars are there for a drink not for younger men who have a questionable relationship with reality. These guys have detailed descriptions of their cougar sightings that include makeup and tight pants.

The Runners just want to go running in the woods, which is one of those activities the Naturalists say is a really bad idea. One intrepid runner who may have been a former Science Denier came across the cat one morning. He described it as much bigger than he imagined. He says he yelled at it. Neighbors say he screamed like a little girl. Whatever, the cat ran into the woods and The Runner slunk home to change his underwear.

The Cougs are graduates from Washington State University. I fall into this group. When I was in school we still had a live cougar mascot named Butch. I walked by his pen every day on my way to class. Like the other students I’d stop and say hi. I know how big Cougars are and what they sound like and how interested they are in people. Butch never acknowledged greetings or bothered to wake up when we talked to him. I suggested everybody on the island learn the WSU fight song to sing while running. This is good science since one way to avoid sighting things that might soil your underwear is to make noise. Other island WSU grads have taken the opportunity to report sightings of fellow Cougs in WSU sports paraphernalia. We are not appreciated.

The Gardeners just want to grow a few vegetables, some fruit and a lots of flowers. I’m also a member of this group although The Cougs are way more fun. Anyway, we want to enjoy the products of our gardening labor and maybe make a little money selling produce at the farmer’s market. The local deer are our enemies. They eat way more than their share. They killed the strawberry farms on the island. They’ve stolen flowers from my stand at the main intersection in Burton. They stand outside our deer fences looking for a way over, under, around, and through. Gardeners FB posts run something like, “Here kitty, kitty, kitty.” The Naturalists assure us a mountain lion eats fewer than fifty deer a year—not enough. The Naturalists are no fun either.

The Hunters were disappointed to learn that Vashon does not have a Cougar season this year. They tell us puma tastes like chicken and discuss what caliber weapon to use despite the fact that the only hunting guns allowed on the island are shotguns.

The Perpetually Terrified have been high on adrenalin ever since the first confirmed sighting of the mountain lion. This excitable group is certain this cougar, unlike every other cougar, will be attracted by their garbage or vegetable garden. This cougar lurks on roofs waiting for juicy human prey—we taste like pork, you know. The Perpetually Terrified are Science Deniers and half support the hunters, although they don’t believe in killing. They make daily calls to the Fish and Wildlife people to report the ferocious savage predator that will eat their children and pets. The poor fish and wildlife people patiently explain that it is not a problem animal, and no, they will not come and trap it and relocate it to the mountains. The Perpetually Terrified can be identified around town by the way they constantly look-over-their-shoulders, sit-with-their-backs-to-the-wall, and wear tin-foil vests—the better to confuse an attacking predator, you know.

At the end of the day when islanders of any persuasion go out to close the barn doors and bring the dog inside, we think about the bravado of our facebook posts and secretly fear the Perpetually Terrified might be right and the cougar will leap out of the dark shadows and eat us.

 

Delinda McCann is a mostly-retired social psychologist. During her professional career she worked with at risk youth and individuals with disabilities. Her research in the field of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome led her to become an advisor to several governments. To ease the stress created by working in the disabilities field, she took up gardening. Never one to do things in a small way, Delinda now runs a small farm and sells cut flowers. She writes general fiction based on her experience as a social psychologist. She has published five novels. She expresses her sense of humor in many of her short stories. She’s also published numerous professional articles on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Youth At-Risk. The professional articles are rather academic and dry, but Delinda pulls what she knows about human behavior, disabilities and youth into her fiction.

You may purchase her books at: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Delinda+McCann
You may view her flowers, gardens and personal blog at: http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html

 

Mass Shootings and the Rise in Violence – By Delinda McCann

“I have no delusion that making assault rifles illegal or intensifying background checks for gun purchases will stop all gun violence. I have no expectation that terrorists and criminals will surrender their weapons or that the insane will not pull their triggers. However, I do believe that if Americans stop making believe that guns are somehow the answer, then those who might be suffering from the frustrations, rage, and mental illnesses that might lead to violence will be less prone to thinking that violence is an acceptable answer to their pain. As long as our culture glorifies violence, it will be the refuge of those who have no place to hide.” –Delinda McCann

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Some days we just have to ask ourselves, “What the Hell?”  Yesterday I needed to ask myself that question when I learned of yet another mass shooting and looked at the number of shootings this year.  I looked at the number of civilian shootings.  We probably should add the police shootings to the civilian violence if we want an accurate picture of the senseless violence happening in our country.

Those of us who have some experience in dealing with violence probably should start speaking up.  I’m old.  I’m tired and I don’t want to drive 45 miles to start walking the halls of our legislative buildings.  I’ve done that.  I’ve made changes in our government policy.  I guess I can do it again.  Wish someone else would start the dialog that needs to happen.

The dialog about mass shootings needs to happen in every community.  We need local government sponsored task forces to focus on gun violence.  These task forces need to bring together representatives from the legal system, mental health systems, disability systems, educational systems, and those citizens who work with at-risk populations.  At some point, when talking points are being identified, these meetings need to be open to the public for input.

I am not necessarily talking about gun control here.  I know one of the current major talking points is regulation of guns, which may be part of the solution.  I am more concerned with the social structure around gun violence.  We can perhaps make some progress through gun regulation.  This seems the common sense approach, but we would still leave the support structure for mass murder in place.  My preference is to go for the underlying issues that allow and promote senseless violence.

I am talking about how communities can address the topic of prevention.  Where do the perpetrators come from?  Where have the perpetrators come into contact with community systems?  Where have our systems failed that these angry people are running loose in society without appropriate support systems around them?  Can we identify the intervention touchpoints for violent mass offenders? We already know that they all have at least one characteristic in common.  Mass murderers do not have the cognitive filters that prevent the vast majority of the population from committing acts of violence.

We also know why some people do not have the filters necessary to prevent them from carrying out horrific acts of violence.  Prenatal exposure to various toxins can damage the brain in such a way that the brain cannot communicate within itself to built the filters that stop murderous rage attacks.  We also know that broken bonding can prevent the filters from forming.  Broken bonding can occur when a child is placed out of home, but it can also occur with a child who has undiagnosed allergies or multiple ear infections among other childhood situations.

The private sector very much needs to be involved in the dialog on gun violence.  What can the business sector do to make their communities more safe? Can they sponsor work programs to give disengaged youth a place where they belong?  Do they need to change policies for employees so they can be with their children as infants or when they are sick?

Churches are very much at the center of the issue and need to start working on how their policies promote, enable or prevent gun violence.  Churches can sponsor programs for children and youth to give youth another place to belong and succeed.  They need to examine their teaching to assure that they are not promoting hate and violence.

The entertainment industry needs to take a look at their ethical responsibility around the idea that violence is the solution to every problem.  Does exposure to violent video games really promote violence as some suggest or is the root of the problem exposure to a chemical?

At this point, we really don’t know why mass shooters and trigger-happy cops do not have the cognitive filters necessary to prevent violent acting out.  We talk about stress and mental health issues.  How do these play into the whole picture of what has become domestic terrorism?

We will need to address the issue of government agencies and businesses that do not want to find the solutions that will prevent mass violence.  We need to face the fact that some people profit from mass shootings, and they will shove people into walls and step on small women to keep their profits.  However, we shouldn’t let the lowest levels of humanity prevent us from building the type of communities where we can go about our business in relative safety.

I can make some guesses about what we will find when we start defining and exploring the problem.  The actual perpetrators are probably only the foam on a whole lake of slimy scum.  We will find manipulators and enablers.  We will find big money intent on perpetrating the problem.  We will find deniers.  We will find evil, lots and lots of just plain evil perpetuated by a sub-human species intent only on their own profits and prestige.

The good news is that there are more of us than there are evil people profiting off of mass shootings.  There are more of us than there are people without the brain connections to filter out violent behavior.  There are more of us than there are indolent government officials.  There are move of us, and we have made a difference in the past.  We have taken lead out of paint.  We have gotten labels on cigarette packages.  We got DDT banned.  We have cleaned up our air.  We have raised awareness about drinking when pregnant.  We can and will stop random mass shootings.

Please come back later this week for the second half of this article that outlines an action plan anybody can follow to move us toward a healthier society.

Delinda McCann is a social scientist with over forty years experience in working with at-risk populations.  She started with a program for migrant workers children, moved on to working with at-risk teens in a street program and finished working in the field of developmental disabilities and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  She has worked on committees for the State of Washington and been an advisor to several foreign governments. She currently writes novels that touch on social topics including politics and social justice.  Web site:  http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html

 

Culture Clash

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This story is part of a longer piece about the misunderstandings when people or beings of different cultures and abilities must work together.

 

Characters:

Miss. Elizabeth – the president’s daughter who is working on her doctorate promoting education in primitive rural areas.

Miss Emily – one of the younger students recently moved to the mountains.

T’VN – a local youth from the mountains. He is illiterate and has little experience with outsiders.

Ophelia and Lizzy – sisters born to a white standard poodle and a Samoyed dog. Ophelia is Miss. Elizabeth’s companion. Lizzy is now living in the mountains with Emily.

 

Culture Clash

Miss Elizabeth stayed three days in the mountains. Emily tagged after her whenever she could. Miss Elizabeth even allowed the child to ride in the van to visit two other settlements that did not have schools. While Miss Elizabeth felt happy to have Emily with her, she did not appreciate the adolescent T’VN tagging along. His father had puffed himself up and insisted that as the most prominent family in the region, his son should represent them so the villagers would know the family consented to Elizabeth’s plan. To Elizabeth who had grown up witnessing the conflict between her father and the oligarchs who thought they should control the country, this decision irritated her. She understood that taking a local person with her would be a good idea and had planned to take Hannah or N’RA. She sighed, “Perhaps the arrogant lad would learn something.”

After making arrangements for the van to pick up students in each village twice a week for lessons, Elizabeth’s party drove toward home. Elizabeth put her arm around Emily.   “Sweetheart, I’m so glad you came today. You did a great job reading your story to the other children. I think you helped the parents see the advantage of educating girls and showed that our school staff takes good care of our children.”

Emily melted with happiness. The praise gave her the courage to voice something that troubled her. “I don’t like T’VN. Martha says he only flirted with her because he loves our truck.   Now he is flirting with you when Mr. Thomas is your husband.”

Miss Elizabeth laughed and whispered back, “Don’t worry about him. I don’t think he will try to touch me. If he does, I will teach him his mistake, if Ophelia,” she smiled at her large dog, “doesn’t get to him first.” The woman and child shared a giggle before Elizabeth added, “I think you need a room for a gym in your house so you can all practice your moves.” They giggled again.

As the situation played out, it proved that Emily had some wisdom for her age. Elizabeth took only one bodyguard, Lt. Chun, when she visited High Valley that evening to talk about the students needing someplace to study and read. She finally concluded, “Just a battery light by their bed will help. I will add providing one battery powered light per household to my list of things rural children need in order to keep up in school. Perhaps the Ministry of Education can provide that.”

Elizabeth needed to walk from the meeting place at the spring back to the truck waiting on the other side of the pass. She had Ophelia with her. Lizzy joined them just as Elizabeth stood to leave and the two dogs greeted each other joyfully. Delighted with a chance to play together, the dogs danced twenty feet in front of Elizabeth. One of the village elders trailed after her asking Lt. Chun questions about the army. Thus, Lt. Chun dropped behind Elizabeth for a few seconds at the top of the pass.

Things could not have worked out better for T’VN, or so he thought. He had convinced himself that Miss Elizabeth loved him.   Never in his life had a woman treated him so sweetly. Visions of her wealth and beauty danced in his head. He knew that the minute he kissed her she would fall into his arms and pledge her undying love. He’d imagined this so many times that he came to believe that every time she smiled at a child, or her dog, or one of her friends, she was secretly smiling at him, encouraging him.

He lurked in the dark by the trunk of a Scrubnut bush. He’d prepared a bed of ferns under the bush where they would consummate their love. Under his starry eyed fantasies, he nurtured a firm resolve to make this woman his, now.

Elizabeth reached the top of the pass and turned to say something to LT. Chun. T’VN saw Elizabeth pause to look behind her.   He knew she waited for him.   He stepped forward to wrap his arms around her. “My love.”

Elizabeth chose a move that involved elbows, feet and knees. Her master called it Dancing Goat.

All hell broke loose, or so T’VN thought. Something whirled into his chest at the same moment his leg flew up from under him. While he was off balance white demons attacked, throwing him into the Scrubnut. He woke up an hour or so later in the bed he’d made to share with his love. His nose bled, and he hurt in places no man should hurt. His clothes felt damp and smelled of pee.

Poor T’VN couldn’t imagine what had gone wrong. The idea that a girl had beat him up could never gain entrance into his head.   He thought about the problem for three days before confiding to his papa and grandpapa. “I have thought and thought about the attack on me. I think we have evil spirits at the top of the pass.   Perhaps they came for the president’s daughter, and I got in their way. Should we talk with the priest?”

As the next full moon started its descent from the sky, the shaman and High Valley elders crept silently to the top of the pass. Each man carried a smoking sheaf of grain for protection. The shaman had a small bell and each elder carried an instrument made of two pieces of wood that clacked when shook. At the top of the pass, T’VN pointed out the place of the attack. Searching the area by moonlight, one elder found the demon’s nest of ferns under the Scrubnut. The Shaman sniffed the air in every direction and affirmed that the demons lurked in this place and indeed evil spirits surrounded them.

With faces set in concentrated scowls the men began their ceremony. They walked slowly in a circle clockwise blowing on their smoking grain to spread the smoke. At the end of the first circuit, the shaman rang his bell, and the elders clacked their sticks three times. Next, the elders walked their circle counterclockwise while the shaman chanted. At the end of the circle, the Shaman rang his bell and the elders clacked their sticks three times.   After seven circles clockwise and seven counter clockwise had been completed the Shaman stood in the middle of the circle sniffed toward the four points of the compass and pronounced the evil demons gone. The men continued to chant quietly while they marched back to their homes.

 

Bio:  Delinda McCann is a social scientist with a background in working with at-risk youth. She has published 6 novels that focus on the foibles of the human race and their furry friends. http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/

Power of the Common Person  By Delinda McCann

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Power is a curious force.  We read about Wellington and Admiral Nelson, or on this side of the pond, we learn about George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and General Ulysses S. Grant.  They were all powerful men to be sure. Still, where would a great general be without his soldiers?

We the people are the true greatest power on earth.  Consider the teacher in the classroom, teaching children to read, do math and express themselves.  No wonder politicians think we have a crisis in education.  Those common, underpaid, over worked citizens hold in their classrooms the power to topple the most powerful political regime simply by educating the children in their care to think and to reason. Knowledge is a very dangerous thing.

Think about the common builder who holds the power and knowledge to build a house or a whole community of homes.  He can actually create something of lasting value to the community.  Any bully can destroy, but true power lies with those who create and build something that lasts beyond their lifetime.

In the eighties, a musician in Russia got an idea.  I’m not certain I ever learned his name.  He composed an hour long program of music for children.  He joined with more common people and found funding.  He found the children of common citizens and taught them his music.  They traveled the world singing with children from the countries they visited.  In Seattle, my daughter sang with this group as about four hundred children took to the stage to sing about peace, hope and loving your neighbor.  This was at the height of the cold war when our President was spending trillions on a star wars program capable of destroying the Soviet Union. That is, while the power elite set about destroying economies and promoting the misery of many people, the children where changing hearts and giving people hope for the future.  I’ll vote for the children as the greater power.

When you sit back and think about it, you will realize that the common people of this world are busy as an ant hill creating beauty and new technologies.  All the power elite in all of history have not created the change created by common, often lazy, people finding a better way to do a tedious job.  It is the labor of thousands of ordinary citizens that build our airplanes, grow our food, make our roads and read our novels that keep civilization intact.  How many people go to work in the morning to labor at a job then come home to garden, knit cook and tinker in the garage.  The power of all those busy people is a force to be reckoned with and feared by the destructive bullies of our world.

So what do we the people do with our power?  Too often we sit back and ignore the bullies as they go about destroying communities and spreading fear.  We can do better.

First we need to decide whose side we are on.  Do we want to hang with the bullies and spread fear, hate and destruction?  A large section of our population does.

At the end of the day, I can only conclude that the common builders, laborers, teachers, poets, architects, tinkerers and writers have the greatest power.  Choosing to build is not always easy when the fear is thick around us.  It takes real courage to choose not to give in to the fear.  It takes real determination to educate oneself.  It takes wisdom to listen to other’s opinions without prejudice.  In the end it takes the power of the humble person to choose the path of the builder.

A social psychologist, Delinda McCann has dedicated her life to making this a better world. You can find her books at http://www.amazon.com/Delinda-McCann/e/B00785DSMW

Lessons from Quebec  By Delinda McCann

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Hubby and I decided to take a few days and visit Quebec City, Canada. The city is beautiful, and to say it is very French is an understatement. Quebec seems to be more French than France. I’d say it is the center out of which all the Frenchness in Canada flows.

Since, I visit Vancouver and Victoria BC fairly often, I thought Quebec might be similar with perhaps a bit more French spoken. I’ve often laughed on my visits through British Columbia about all the signs being in French and English and how redundant they appear to me.

Loren and I have traveled to France and French Polynesia, but nowhere, have I had to rely on my college level, but long forgotten, French as I did in Quebec. I came prepared to chuckle over signs in French and English. I didn’t see much English anywhere.   All day, I translated menus for Hubby and read signs. He may have had a more colorful trip than most tourists because of my inaccurate translations of signs on buildings and shop fronts. I confess, when I got tired, I started making stuff up. “Oh look Honey, shoes made out of mushrooms,”–or whatever.

While it is fun to be amused over my challenges in a forgotten second language, Hubby saw a display in the museum that shocked him. He knew Quebec was French until some treaty gave the territory to England. What he’d never learned before was that the English attacked the city and conquered it. The citizens were not happy. The people of Quebec had no say in their fates, so like many powerless peoples, they rebelled in the only way they could, refusing to speak English and clinging to French architecture and culture.

The rest of Canada seems to tolerate the uniqueness of Quebec. I’ve heard friends from Vancouver or Yukon Territory or Alberta snort and say, “Those people. They really are not like the rest of Canadians.” An eye roll frequently accompanies this statement. However, Canadians in general are pretty nice about most things, except hockey, so this bi-cultural arrangement works for them, most of the time. They’ve had some bumps along the way with threats to secede, but have worked things out.

I guess the significant fact here is that the people of Quebec became part of Canada against their will. While some people recognized the benefits of being part of England—particularly an end to constant bickering with their English neighbors, they saw no reason to change their identity and language.

While Quebec has formed a decent relationship with the rest of Canada, these people have prompted me to ask, “How many other places around the world are like Quebec? Cultural groups may be aligned with a particular nation, but don’t identify with the majority in the country?”

Looking at the sharp language and cultural differences in Quebec City forced me to think about civil unrest around the globe. How many times do we hear of rebel forces here or there, who are no different, really, from the people of Quebec. They just want to speak their own language, eat their own food, and worship in their own way, or to go about their lives without the threat of genocide hanging over them.

As I continued to think about this problem, it occurred to me that the world has a wonderful resource in the people of Quebec and Montreal. Perhaps these people should be our advisors in how to handle a situation where a group with different ethnic ties from their government comes into conflict with their government over those differences.   I’d like to hear their opinions.

 

Delinda McCann writes general fiction based on her experience as a social psychologist and has published five novels. She expresses her sense of humor in many of her short stories. She’s also published numerous professional articles on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Youth At-Risk. The professional articles are rather academic and dry, but Delinda pulls what she knows about human behavior, disabilities and youth into her fiction.

 

Life As I See It:  By Golden-Fang Rat-Slayer  (aka Dandelion)

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Readers,

Mommy had a mangy piece for you to read about how toxins cause birth defects and brain damage.  She’s always talking about that stuff, but I deleted it.

Because I’ve reached the age of sixteen, I’ve taken up my pen to write my memoirs.  I will share with you my wisdom.

I’ve learned many things over the years.  For example:  Not all dogs are dangerous, but if you have a hissy fit when you see the ones that live in your house, you get your own room in the house and Mommy feeds you gooshy-food. Then, Mommy and Daddy yell at the dogs to stay out of your room and leave you alone—that’s fun.

I let Mommy and Daddy sleep on the big bed in my room.  They are my family so we sleep together.  The bed has space for all of us if they remember to sleep close to the edge and not encroach on the pillows.

We used to have a waterbed and I could play all day chasing the waves until I got the covers and pillows pulled back and could kill the bed with my sharp fangs.  I killed three waterbeds before Mommy and Daddy got a bed that isn’t alive.  It isn’t near as much fun except when I barf on the bed and Mommy has hysterics that I’ll “ruin the mattress.”

My favorite food is hind-quarter of rat.  We live near the forest so I’ve had a steady supply of rats.  It is important to plan for the future, so in the winter, I keep a family of rats under the nice warm house so I have a fresh supply of my favorite delicacy whenever I choose to catch one.  I like gooshy-food too, and it is much easier to have Mommy and Daddy bring me a serving than it is to catch rats.

I have worked hard to train my humans and even if I say so myself I’ve had some degree of success.  Mommy was fairly easy to train except for one annoying behavior that I will discuss later.  Daddy is nearly impossible to train.  Sometimes, I can get him to bring me gooshy-food and at bedtime he might stroke me, but he never scratches me under the chin like Mommy does.  He never cleans up after me when I barf and is generally slothful about meeting my demands for attention or solitude.  He has never learned to let me in and out.  He seems to think I should use the little door they built special for me.  How undignified to open my own door!

I do have one serious problem.  Mommy and Daddy have a horrid behavior that I have never been able to break them of.  They put their best clothes in boxes with wheels and handles and leave home for days.  A couple times they’ve been gone for three weeks!  I hope I’ve broken them of these long absences, but I don’t trust them to stay home everyday and wait on me.

I’ve tried everything I know to break this behavior.  I tried sitting in their boxes-with-wheels, but they just take me out and don’t get the message that they are not supposed to leave.  Next, I tried peeing on the boxes-with-wheels to tell them that those boxes belong to me, and they can’t have them—didn’t work.  I’ve barfed repeatedly on the boxes, but Mommy just cleans it up, and they leave.  Of course, there must be consequences for bad behavior so I go next door and stay with the old couple there until long after Mommy and Daddy get home.

Next door, I sleep in the old people’s patches of sunlight and eat their mice and rats.  The old people pet me sometimes, but they also scold me for eating their birds.   However, they never give me gooshy-food.  What am I supposed to eat? I have stayed there for over a week after Mommy and Daddy got home, but I don’t think my minions have learned not to leave.

I hope that my readers might have suggestions on how to break Mommy and Daddy from this terrible behavior.  The fact that Melissa comes and feeds me gooshy-food doesn’t make the behavior any less horrid.

Finally, I want my readers to know that getting along with others is easy if you stay cool and don’t hiss at everybody you see.  When I was young, I made friends will all the cats in the neighborhood, and they let me eat their food if I chose.  I don’t really like dry food, but as a courtesy to my friends, I would eat a bowl of it while they stood and watched.  I knew I could always barf the disgusting stuff back up on the bed in my room. It is very important to be polite to your friends and eat what they serve.

I used to visit my friends daily, but all of them have passed on, so I now lie on my bed and remember the past when I made my daily rounds of the neighboring houses and ate the offerings they gave me and slept in the best patches of sunlight.  Now, I appreciate the sunlight on my own bed.

Delinda McCann

Delinda McCann is a mostly retired social psychologist with specialties in at-risk youth and adverse effects of toxins on children.  She has written four novels based on her career experiences and has the fifth novel, Power and Circumstance, to be released soon.  She is also an avid organic gardener and amateur musician.

 

The Wedding

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Old man S’TO was a curmudgeon, or at least his sons thought so.  Rue and Hau wanted to move to the city and work in the factories where they would make real money.

“And then you’ll just spend the money paying for a room to live in and food to eat.  Here you live in a house that belongs to you and to your grandfathers before you.  You have food to eat and extra to take to market.  You mark my words,” the old man would shake his finger at his sons. “Here you are rich.  The S’TO’s are important men in this valley.  In the city you will be a poor nobody.”

The sons continued to grumble.  Other young men from the valley had gone to the city to work in the factories.  They’d bragged about how rich they would be and Old Man S’TO’s sons wanted to be rich too.

The old man took to watching his sons with narrow eyes and snarling, “And you don’t see those boys coming home with money bags full of gold do you?  They’re no better than slaves.”

One day the boys saw their father in the yard walking a circuit around house.  He stopped to look at the house then he’d continue his circuit.  He made ten full circuits of the house before he announced to his sons. “The house don’t look right.  I want you to gather up all the sticks in the fields and build a fence around the house.”

The boys built the fence according to their father’s directions.  They agreed that planting would be easier when they wouldn’t have to clean the sticks from the field at planting time.  They could hear their father crashing around inside the house.  Occasionally he’d carry armloads of stuff out and toss it on the ground in front of the house.

By the time the fence was half finished every possession the small family owned littered the ground in front of the house.  The old man spent the next few days sorting out old animal skins from those that could be used.  He emptied jars of grain and took a particularly rancid-smelling earth pot out behind the house and buried it.

By the time the fence was finished, the young men had become certain an evil spirit had bitten their father and driven him crazy.  Now, they were afraid to try to run away to the city because they didn’t know what would happen to the old man.

Well, next, the old man made them sweep every inch of their house inside and out then he made a mixture of water, white clay and mashed turu root and they spread this on the house, inside and out.  The turu root smelled horrible, but the house looked fresh and clean when they were done and the smell went away when the house was dry.

The next day the old man sent Rue into the fields to dig up some plants with blue flowers and put them in holes around the house while he took Hau up on the mountain to dig up the white flowers that grew there.  He dug up a small tree and carried it down to the house.  Now it was the son’s turn to look at their father with narrowed eyes and wonder what he was up to.

“You see.  Our house is beautiful.  True.  And, it is ours.  You will never be this rich anywhere else.  Now, in the morning, before light I’m leaving for the day.  I’ll be back just after dark. I want you to have dinner waiting for me, air out all the sleeping palettes and put fresh straw in the goat shed.

“We don’t have goats Papa.”

“You do what I tell you.”

Rue and Hau assumed that when Papa walked away in the early morning with a bag of beans over each shoulder that he intended to return with a goat—maybe two.  They cleaned and repaired the goat shed.  In the afternoon they went fishing then traded the fish they caught for some bean cakes baked by the widow S’PU.

As the moon rose over the mountains in the east, Rue saw three people coming up the path beside the creek.  “Hau, we have company.  Better fetch some fresh water.”

By the time Rue and Hau had set out a gourd of fresh water, they recognized their father as he led two young women up the path to their house.  He brought the women inside and announced.  “These women are to be your wives.  Treat them with gentleness and respect.  They shall have command over everything inside the fence.  You may sort it out between yourselves as to which one you want.”

The old man turned, left the hut and made his way to the goat shed leaving two giggling young women and two stunned sons to sort out who would have whom.

 

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Delinda McCann is a semi-retired social psychologist who has taken up writing novels based on her experience in the world of social psychologist and an advisor to several governments.  You may see her novels on her web site.  http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html
 
She plans to write more short pieces about the S’TO family so watch her blog for more stories like this and her other slice of life writing.  http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/blog.html

The Bench By Delinda McCann

Delinda 1

The old woman saw the bench sitting alone and thought it looked lonely sitting there beside the path through the woods.  She rested her weary body on it and patted its moss-covered wood in gratitude for this respite on her daily walk.

She sat and let her eyes flutter closed as her mind drifted into the past.  She remembered the red dress she wore the night she first saw Carl.  Her lips curved in the slightest of smiles as she remembered her young love–so tall and strong.  She chuckled in her mind as she remembered how he couldn’t take is eyes off of her.  She snorted.  “He couldn’t take his eyes off of my breasts is more like it.”  Her memories gave her energy enough to push herself to her feet and move on.

The next day the bench still waited for the old woman to rest on its aged wood.  She patted the mossy surface and let her eyes drift closed.  She smelled the damp air as the weak sun tried to dry up the last of the night’s rain.  She remembered the big flood.  Their house sat on a small knoll surrounded by water.  Many of their neighbors had not been so lucky.  Carl had taken his rowboat from house to house rescuing stranded neighbors and bringing them home.  She remembered how she’d fed forty-three people soup and bread.  She sighed pushed herself to her feet and resumed her walk.

The next day, the old woman greeted the bench as an old friend.  She sat and remembered when her babies had come.  A tear rolled down her cheek as she remembered the grave of little Marie.  She’d been born so tiny, but had fought so hard to live.  “Dear Lord, take care of my baby.  I miss her,” she prayed then pushed herself to her feet to continue her journey.

On the fourth day, the old woman sighed as she eased her frail bones to the rough surface.  She didn’t have to wait for the memories.  They flooded her senses. She remembered when her son, Dale, went away to war and the day he came home in a coffin.  She remembered how Carl had held her as he cursed the foolishness of men who make war.  She remembered how Beth grieved for her brother then followed him a few months later as cancer claimed her body.  The old woman heaved a great sigh and thought, “Soon,” as she struggled to her feet.

On the fifth day, the old woman stumbled as she approached the bench.  What memories would torment her soul today she wondered?  A great sigh welled up from the depths of her being, but no memories of loss plagued her today.  Today, she remembered traveling with Carl to Venice.  They’d stayed on the Lido.  She remembered how he held her hand as they rode in a gondola.  They ate lunch and drank wine in St Marks’s plaza.  He bought her a cameo on a chain.  She bought him a yellow tie with lions on it. She remembered the warm sun of Italy and longed to be warm and loved.

After her happy memories of Italy the old woman approached the bench the next day, hoping for visions of the good days when Carl held her in his arms and made her laugh.  She thought of Carl and her knees gave out as she lowered herself onto the bench.  Instead of joy, she remembered the night he passed on.  She remembered wondering when her handsome young husband had become an old man.  A warm feeling spreading from her heart surprised her as she remembered how Carl had turned to her at the very end and whispered, “I’ll be going now.  Always remember that I love you and will love you ‘til the end of time.”  The old woman pressed her hands to her heart to hold the memory of Carl’s love inside her as she struggled to push herself upright.

At the end of the week, the old woman tottered and wheezed as she made her way to her bench.  The young nurse had told her to say inside because the wind blew so cold, but the nurse didn’t know anything.  At the bench, she remembered. She lived again.  As the elderly woman sank down on the rough wood, she longed for her mate.  She closed her eyes but no memories flooded her brain.  She thought, “It is cold I best go in.”

She smoothed the folds in her red dress and looked up to see Carl.  His voice warmed her tired body as he almost lifted her from the bench.  “Come my love, the children are waiting.”

Nurse Daphne leaned close to the window as she peered out and shook her head.  She turned to one of the nursing assistants in the home.  “Steven would you go out and bring Rose inside.  That crazy old woman is sitting in the cold.”

 

 Delinda2

Delinda McCann is a social psychologist who has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for over twenty years.  She has served on committees for the state of Washington and been an educational advisor to other governments. She has published four books Lies That Bind, M’TK Sewer Rat: End of an Empire, M”TK Sewer Rat: Birth of a Nation, and Something About Maudy.

Betrayal by Delinda McCann

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“I still remember the day after the emperor set fire to my portion of the city as if it were yesterday” – Philippe Rouseff on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday.

 

I took my wife to Mass more to please her than from any desire of my own.  I watched as the priest lifted the loaf and intoned the words, “On the night in which he was betrayed…” Bile rose up in my throat at the words.  I knew betrayal.

The Emperor, one of my closest associates—a cousin even, had struck at the heart of my railroad operation in an effort to destroy my family business.  I pressed my lips together to stifle the urge to cry out in anger as the priest held up the cup.  When Christ was betrayed, only one man died.  I wondered how many thousands burned when I was betrayed.

As the faithful shuffled forward to take their bread and sip from the cup, I shifted in my seat and pondered why that bastard crime boss, Wu, a better man than my cousin, had sent his wife to my offices to warn one of the bookkeepers about the impending purge.  As the bookkeeper raced from the building, she screamed, “Fire! The army is coming! Fire! Flee!”  Who else had been warned that the emperor’s army marched against the city?  Who had time to flee?

I had no desire to spend a Sunday afternoon working, but at three in the afternoon, I met with two railroad supervisors to survey the damage to almost a square kilometer of the city.  We drove up to the deserted M’TK station.  Blowing ash shifted and settled after the passage of my car.  My stomach churned as I wondered how many of my employees’ ashes mixed and blew among the debris of burned buildings?

The brick and slate train station still huddled beside the tracks.  Soot now stained the red bricks the same black as the rest of the borough.  We stood and looked over the desolation—nothing moved, nothing lived.  I wanted to hope that some of my people survived, but hope refused to kindle here among the ruins.  The workers were only indigenous northerners, laborers, but they stocked my warehouses and loaded my trains.

The Central Region supervisor looked up. “What the hell?”

I followed his eyes and soon made out a string of boxcars, pulled by a gerry-rig, slowly rolling toward the station.  Filled with the horror that lay around me, I stared transfixed at the approaching apparition.  If I were a superstitious man, I’d have turned and fled in fear of death and ghosts.  I refused to take my eyes off of this small sign of life.

When the rig with it’s string of boxcars towering above it rolled to a stop at the station the operator, dressed in railroad coveralls, lifted a woman down from the first boxcar.  A young boy about ten jumped to the ground.  This family appeared to be like any other of the northern poor—dirty and ragged.

The man introduced himself as the assistant stationmaster.  He unlocked the station for us and assured us that he had locked the station’s ticket money in the safe.  He seemed respectful enough.  He kept his eyes lowered as custom dictated for a man of his station.

I heard the eagerness in my voice,  “Have you seen signs that some of my people survived?

“I haven’t seen anybody within a kilometer of the station.  Wu warned me so I had time to move the equipment.  I suppose others had time.”

I shook off my melancholy for a moment.  “Listen, you saved my equipment and the money in the station.  I must give you a reward.  What do you want?”

The man answered immediately.  “The stationmaster ran away when he heard about the army.  I stayed long enough to save your equipment.  Give me the stationmaster’s job and let me live here with my family.”  For the first time, the man looked me in the eye. The sharp intelligence I saw in the eyes of a northerner surprised me.  The man’s humility returned when he asked for help to assist his cousin from the train.

Curious about the new stationmaster, I helped lift his wheelchair-bound cousin from the boxcar.  I almost recoiled from the reek that still clung to the air inside the car.  I recognized the stench that is created when many unwashed bodies are packed close together.  I picked up a small piece of waste paper flecked with fish scales.  The evidence before my eyes and nose told me that many people, probably northerners with their love of fish, had very recently been packed into this car.  In my mind, I saw people filling the boxcars to flee from the fire.  I suspected that my new stationmaster had his own reasons for his secrecy, but the knowledge that my workers had survived settled into my heart.

I turned to the humble man beside me and forgot a lifetime of lessons about the indigenous people from the north.  I suddenly saw not a worthless, northern laborer but a man created in the image of God.  I saw the man who had saved my people, a man of honor and compassion.  I wondered if he thought of me as just an oppressive Southerner.

I reached out to shake the stationmaster’s hand, fearful for the first time in my life of being rejected…

 

Submitted by Delinda McCann

This story is told from a different perspective in the book M’TK Sewer Rat: End of an Empire. This is the first record of Mr. Rouseff’s side of the story of the day he met his longtime friend Jacob Jaconovich, then the assistant stationmaster.

 Delinda Mcann

Author Bio

Delinda McCann is a social psychologist who has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for over twenty years.  She has served on committees for the state of Washington and been an educational advisor to other governments. She has published four books Lies That Bind, M’TK Sewer Rat: End of an Empire, M”TK Sewer Rat: Birth of a Nation, and Something About Maudy.

 

Links

http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html