Mighty Wilfred

Note: I thought I would not be posting for a while but then I read the word of the day:Mighty It reminded me of the following passage from The Book of Rhino ~ The Revelation; I just had to share it. It certainly cheered me up.


“Follow this tunnel to a gate; inside the gate is a private garden. Here is the key. You will find Skandar waiting inside.” Then with a bow, Lord Lokinvar left Amalia alone outside the tunnel. With a rapidly beating heart, Amalia raced down the tunnel. Her trembling hands could scarcely insert the key in the lock. The gate swung open silently as Amalia pushed her way inside. She walked timidly into the garden and saw Skandar sitting on a bench with three other boys. She heard the sound of laughter. One of the boys glanced in her direction and saw her standing there.

“Hey, Skandar, I think your friend is here.” Skandar whipped his head around. Then with a whoop, he sprang from his seat, sprinted over to Amalia, and crushed her in a whirling embrace.

“Mole, I am so glad to see you. I am so glad that you came. Oh, Mole, I have missed you so.”

It was several seconds before he released her so that she could look at him properly.

“Great Light! Look at you! This is as bad as the nettles. Am I ever going to see what you really look like?” Skandar laughed and they embraced once again.

“Hoy, lads, come here and meet Amalia—Mole. She is the one I was telling you about. If anyone can find Rhino, she can.”

Amalia had no time to question this strange salutation because the next instant, she was surrounded by the other boys as introductions were handed around. Her hand was grabbed and pumped repeatedly.

“Hello, I’m Trevor; my father is Lord Vortimer of Essex.”

“I’m Elbert of Kent, the son of Lord Ethelred.”

“I’m Wilfred—but they call me ‘the Mighty’.”

“We do not.”

“Well, you should.”

“Why? What are you so mighty at—eating?”

“Lads, will you settle down a bit? You are going to scare her away.”

“Come on, Amalia, over here.” Skandar led Amalia to the bench. She and Skandar sat down and Wilfred, Elbert, and Trevor settled themselves on the grass in front of them. They looked up at Amalia expectantly.

“Amalia, I told the lads all about you and about the magic we discovered. They know about the cave and its magic ‘cause I took them there. So whatever you want to say about it, it’s alright. I even told them about my nickname, ‘Skunk.’ They like it so much they want one of their own.” He looked pointedly at Wilfred. “But no one is calling you ‘the Mighty.’”

Amalia was taken aback.

“Err…what is it you want me to do,” she asked.

“We would like you to find Rhino and bring him back,” said Elbert. “We think he is lost.”


Taking a Break


This is my last post for a while. I have lymphoma and have to start chemotherapy. Under its influence, I doubt I will feel much like writing.

I really like the blogging community and will miss my daily interactions. I hope to be back to normal by the first of the new year.

Many blessings to all you fellow bloggers; may you enjoy success in all your endeavors.

I hope during my absence that Rhino will not be forgotten.

S. M. Hart

Penchant for the Unknown

Kleitsch-Older Ned

(Rhino Between the Lines)

“Older Ned,” said Rhino, “what was my father like when he was my age? Am I like him?”

“Your father, eh,” said Older Ned. “Well, now, I’ll tell you what I recollect of him, and you can decide how alike you are. When I first met your father, I could see right away that he was practical. To him, everything had to have a purpose or he wasn’t interested. The one thing he was passionate about was history. Your father was drawn to older people and used to pump stories outta them ‘til they were near dry. He could out-listen the most determined talker. You see, he wanted more than knowledge; he wanted understanding, and he thought if he knew the origin of things, he would understand them. He could not accept the unknown.”

“What’s wrong with that?” asked Rhino.

“Nothin’, lad, nothin’ at all,” replied Older Ned. “It’s fittin’ for the room one happens to be in.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well, it’s a person’s dance with knowledge. I call it a room. Look, when you’re first born, you don’t know anything, and you don’t know that you don’t know anything. It’s like you’re in a room, but you don’t know the room is there. Then as you grow older, you learn a few things, one of them being that you are in a room. But all you know is what you know—you don’t yet know that there are things you don’t know. Then one day, you are aware that there is life outside the room.”

“I remember that!” said Rhino excitedly. “I remember thinking that there were things I did not know—like how to tie a knot or do arithmetic. It was about that time, I began formal education.” Rhino laughed. “I remember I wanted to study history; I guess I’m like my father that way. So what is next? Going outside the room?”

“In a sense, yes. Only there’s a trick to it. What some people think is going outside the room is really just redecorating it or making it larger.”

“So how do you go outside the room?”

“Ah, there’s the rub. It depends on the measure of faith you have in yourself. Can you believe that there are things you do not know and accept that you do not know what they are?”

“But…” Rhino looked puzzled. “How can a person do that?”

“It’s a process that is unique to the individual. That’s why it’s so hard to nab. Your father’s penchant for knowledge was his greatest asset, but it also was his greatest barrier. Your greatest asset is your greatest barrier to moving beyond the room.”

Rhino was silent for a few moments.

“Older Ned, I think you have stepped outside the room. What does it look like for you?”

Older Ned smiled and shook his head.

“I ain’t there yet. I don’t rightly know—and that’s good. All I have is an idea that keeps pokin’ at me while I’m sittin’ with it. At first I thought it was accepting that there is no longer a room, but now I’m thinkin’ that the room never existed in the first place. But what do I know?”

Daily Prompt: Penchant

Real Neat Blog Award!

Mah Butt Itches nominated me for this award. I think that is so thoughtful of her to do. So I hope that others read her blog–she always features an image of Jeff Goldblum. Plus, I think you will enjoy her answers to the questions.

Mah Butt Itches


I’m so flattered, honored, and stoked that my dear Courtney at Tales of A Hypochondriac nominated me for the Real Neat Blog Award!  This is my first nomination, and it means a lot to me.  Not to get too tangential, but I am finding it amazing how the Universe, whatever you want to call it, sends you nudges when you need them.  I stopped writing for almost a month (the newfound hippie in me could possibly attribute it to Mercury being in retrograde…) and I genuinely felt like giving up writing altogether.  As I wasn’t writing or even looking at my blog, I realized how much I missed the people I’ve connected with on here.  When I started writing, it was more of venting, ranting, raving, though I had aspirations I would be the next Glennon Doyle Melton or some such.  It’s funny, I don’t care so much either way…

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Sympathy ~ Empathy ~ Apathy

Millais-Children's Tea

The Daily Press word-of-the-day is Sympathy. In one definition of sympathy, the word empathy is given as a synonym. This is not entirely correct. For clarity’s sake, here are annotated definitions of sympathy, empathy, and apathy from Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language 1989.

Sympathy: harmony of or agreement of feelings, as between persons or on behalf of one person with respect to another; the fact or power of sharing the feelings of others.

Empathy: the intellectual identification with or a vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, and attitudes of others.

Apathy: lack of interest in or concern for things others find moving or exciting; indifference.

Example: I sympathize with someone who has lost a parent through death because I know what that is like. I empathize with someone who has lost a child through death because I can imagine what that is like.

The fact that we can sympathize and/or empathize with another person’s thoughts or feelings underscores the importance of finding your “no.” Without appropriate boundaries, feelings of sympathy or empathy can lead to emotional enmeshment. Left unchecked, “enmeshment can contribute to dysfunctional relationships, especially among family members, and can lead to a lack of autonomy and independence.” https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/enmeshment

In my opinion, fear of enmeshment is one of the reasons for apathy in a person—he or she sees sympathy and empathy as slippery slopes. People without an effective “no” cannot establish and maintain boundaries in their relationships. In their eyes, it is better to remain unengaged than to engage and get swallowed up in another person’s issues.

However, I think that one of the signs of emotional maturity is the ability to take emotional risks. An emotionally mature person is able to sympathize and empathize with the thoughts and feelings of others in a beneficial way. Finding your no is a key step to growth.

Daily Prompt:Sympathy



The crescendo of the music ended abruptly with a loud crash of sound.

“Argh! I’ll never get this right!” he said.

For a five year old, Mr. Turtle can be daunting.

“It’s alright,” I said. “You’ve almost got it. Just take your time.”

My son put his head down on the piano and thought a minute. Then he once more began playing.

Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, mi, re, do. Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, do…

“ARGH! I give up!”
He started crying. I put my arm around him.

“Why don’t you take a break for a while? Mr. Turtle can wait. He knows he will get to where he’s going, if not today, some other day.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, think of the words of the song. Mr. Turtle, see him go, walking there, kind of slow. Going down so carefully, going to the sea. Mr. Turtle is taking his time, but he will get to the sea. You keep on practicing and you’ll eventually play this song. Someday, you’ll look back on Mr. Turtle and think of how easy it is. Every song is a Mr. Turtle song; if you want to master it, you just keep going.”

My son thought a minute and placed his fingers on the keys.

Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, mi, re, do. Mi, re, do, re, mi, fa, sol, fa, mi, re, mi, do.

Perfect. Mr. Turtle made it to the sea.

She remembered Mr. Turtle a few years later sitting in the audience at the Young Musicians Concert. Through the years, Mr. Turtle had encouraged her son through increasingly difficult piano pieces. Beethoven, Mozart, Bach were all mastered under the influence of Mr. Turtle. A crescendo of applause startled her out of her reverie. Her son was making his way to the stage to accept his prize: first place.

Go, Mr. Turtle, she thought.

Daily Prompt:Crescendo

(Note: This prompt reminded me of when my son was learning to play the piano. Mr. Turtle was real.)

Clark and the Anticipation

Clark was just settling down to a challenging math problem when Skunk burst into the room.

“Clark! You’ve got to help me,“ he gasped. “Mole is in trouble!”

“What? Slow down. What kind of trouble?”

“Oh, terrible, terrible trouble! Mole is in a boat two miles from the nearest point on the coast. She is trying to get to a shelter three miles down the coast and one mile inland, but her strength is nearly gone. She needs to know where to point the boat so that she makes to the shelter in the least amount of time.”

“Okay, okay,” said Clark. “Do you know how fast she can row and how fast she can walk?”

“Yes,” answered Skunk. “She can row at three miles per hour and walk at four miles per hour—that is, if she has any strength left. Oh, this is just terrible! I should never have let her go.”

Clark made no reply; his paws were already flying across a sheet of paper, making calculations. Skunk danced from one foot to the other in anxious anticipation. After a few minutes, Clark threw done his pen.

“Done,” he said. “Now, how will you communicate this to Mole?”

“This way,” said Skunk, grabbing Clark by the arm. He hurried him down to the beach. He climbed a small rock and pointed out to sea. Clark jumped up next to Skunk and saw a small boat bobbing on the horizon. Skunk lit a lantern and waved it over his head. An answering light came from the boat.

“Now,” said Skunk. “Where should she row?”

“Mole needs to row towards a point one mile south from here, got that?”

“But how will I know where a mile is?”
Clark thought for a minute.

“Run for six minutes as fast as you can. Do you know the song ‘Boomdiada’?”

“Is that the one that starts, ‘I love the mountains and the rolling hills’?”

“Yes, that’s it. Sing that song…uhm, eighteen times, repeating the ‘boomdiada’ at the end. That should take you one mile.”

“Got it,” said Skunk, as he leaped from the rock and began running down the beach. Clark followed him, singing to himself.

Approximately six minutes later, Skunk stopped and began waving his lantern. A faint light shone from the tiny boat. A minute or two later, Clark was at Skunk’s side.

“While we are waiting for Mole, would you please tell me what she was doing in a boat two miles from the coast?” asked Clark.

“Oh, you know Mole. She read the story of the owl and the pussycat going to sea in a pea-green boat and just had to try it for herself. Whatever it was she anticipated she would find, it was not what she found.”

“Er…what did she find?”

“That it’s a silly thing to launch yourself out on a boat when you haven’t the faintest idea what you are doing! I mean, really!”

Skunk continued to wave his lantern as he fixed his gaze on the boat.

“Oh, do you think she is getting any closer, Clark? I don’t know; she looks as far away as ever.”

Clark did not answer. Instead he started singing.

“I love the mountains and the rolling hills. I love the flowers and the daffodils. I love the fireside when the lights are low. Boomdiada, boomdiada, boomdiada, boomdiada.”

At first Skunk looked startled; then he, too, started singing. Together Clark and Skunk sang the Boomdiada Song one hundred and thirty times. After each chorus, the tiny boat was a little bit closer to shore, closer and closer until they could see Mole, tired but triumphant, pulling on the oars. Skunk dropped his lantern as he and Clark plowed into the water and dragged the boat onto the beach. Sturdy arms lifted Mole from the boat and set her gently on the sand.

“Mole! Mole! I am so glad you are alive!” Skunk was near to tears. Mole smiled weakly.

“Hullo, Clark,” she said. “Glad to see you. How’ve you been? You look well.”

“What do you mean, how has he been?” Skunk yelled. “He’s been great! I’ve been great! The whole world is great, except you, Mole, who just had to go out on a boat. What were you thinking?”

“Well,” Mole sighed. “Whatever I was thinking, the anticipation was a lot more fun than the action. Clark, thanks for helping Skunk. You probably saved my life.”

Clark licked his paw and smoothed an ear; then he patted Mole on the head.

“Remember the words of Spock.”


Daily Prompt:Anticipate

Intellectual Honesty


My primary goal as a teacher is to introduce my students to great and glorious questions–to educate them in the art of discovering the Great Why. I want to inculcate in them the habit of curiosity, of becoming acquainted with a question, and getting to know all about it.

Take a question out to lunch, find out it’s favorite color, and discover what other questions it likes to socialize with on the weekends. What are its plans for Labor Day? Has it ever been in trouble with the law? Does it attend church on Sunday?

Better yet, I hope my students invite questions to go with them on outings as they discover the world in which they live. Sail with them to Byzantium and together build a small hut on the shore and watch the tide.

Daily Prompt:Educate

H. L. Mencken ~ Critical Thinker

H.L. Mencken

What keeps me going at my trade, I suppose, is my continuous curiosity, my endless interest in the stupendous farce of human existence. It is the principal and perhaps only stock of a journalist: when it begins to slip from him he is fit only for the knacker’s yard. To be short of ideas is an experience that I have yet to suffer; it is, indeed, almost incomprehensible to me. Short of ideas in the Republic of today? As well try to imagine a Prohibition enforcement officer short of money! They dart and bang about one’s ears like electrons in a molecule. A thousand new ones are born every day.

H. L. Mencken ~ “Off the Grand Banks” (edited by S. T. Joshi)

My favorite books, fiction and non-fiction, are those written by critical thinkers. H. L. Mencken is at the top of the list. He was an editor and a social critic whose objective analysis and evaluation of issues was expository magic. If there ever were a picture in the dictionary to illustrate the phrase “a way with words,” his would be the face we would see. As my husband puts it, his writings “comb my hair.”

I feel somewhat guilty liking the works of Mencken because I suspect his insight came with a price. I think that in order to write the amazing things he did, he had to live with cynicism. His marks on a page are witty, amusing, insightful, and entertaining; but I wonder what he had to experience in order to make those lovely marks. Whatever it was, I am very appreciative that Mencken’s thoughts and feelings found their way to the publication. I just hope that he enjoyed his life.

(The) world, I am convinced, could be materially improved, but even as it stands it is good enough to keep any reasonable man entertained for a lifetime. As for me, I roll out of my couch every morning with the most agreeable expectations.

H. L. Mencken ~ “What I Believe” (edited by S. T. Joshi)

Daily Prompt:Critical

The Actors’ Club


“This is an actors’ club, and I must admit that actors are far superior to writers when it comes to public speaking. They have somebody else write whatever it is they’re going to say, and then they memorize it. This is a club for memorize® and I think it’s nice that they have a club. Everybody who wants a club should have one. That’s what America is all about. That, and fighting different diseases, and so on.”

Kurt Vonnegut ~ Palm Sunday

I could never be in an actors’ club, a memorize® club, because I am not skilled at memorizing things. Also, I seem to remember what I need to know anyway. When I read something significant in a book, it sticks somewhere in my memory.

As a result, all of Life reminds me of a book I’ve read, which could mean one of two things. Either I have read a lot of books, or I don’t get out much.

Daily Prompt:Memorize