Monday, February 9, 2009


Prior to my last knee surgery Lady Love and I had numerous discussions why we probably should look to place Murphy with some one who would suit him and his energy. But I was hoping for him to improve in his behavior and we had invested so much time and money into him. He had made some very good changes in his personality but he still would jump on our very senior neighbors and almost always knocked my daughter -in-law down.
So during my three month therapy I continued to stew about Murphy. A man that was also taking therapy had a bad fall and things were looking bleak for a good recovery. I thought about what would happen if Murphy knocked me down. I talked with my therapist and she was adamant about being careful. She had two knee replacements herself (she was in her early 40’s).

I began talking with other people and deciding more and more that we must find a new home for Murphy. I printed up this flyer and began handing them out to people that might know someone that was looking for this energetic dog:


Murphy is a three 1/2 year old Bishon. He is a rescue dog and all of his bad habits were (we believe from what we could glean out of his history) are from from a kind of neglect of being shut in the laundry room and left while the family went to work. Bishons are very social. His first owners were a young couple. He seems to relate to men and if they wear baseball caps he really loves them.

Outstanding traits: Housebroken, enormous energy, sweet puppy personality,gets along with most cats. He and the cats romp thru the house like a tornado. He is good natured with most people. He has a very big bark but would hold a flashlight for a burglar. He is only aggressive if he becomes frightened. He travels well and we have a safety car belt and he loves to ride in the car. He loves to sit in my lap even if I don’t have a very big lap. He does not shed. He is a clean dog with good breath. Murphy needs a fenced in yard.

If you are not familiar with Bishon--they have “buzzes”. They have so much energy that they run in circles and bark. This is normal behavior for them. It is a sort of “self exercising” process built into their personality. We let Murphy go as wild as he wants out side but in the winter we stop him after 4 times around the dining room table.
When a Bishon is in a “buzz” he just saying he is happy and everything is all right in his world. He also may be trying to engage you in play. A Bishons favorite place to sleep is on your bed.

Less desirable traits: Absolutely EVERYTHING is a game with Murphy. If he steals your socks ---this means “chase me!” He has never met a kleenex or piece of toilet paper that didn’t deserve to be chewed. He steals pill bottles,Elmer's glue,chewed my printer software. white out, the list goes on. His taste in chewable items is unlimited. He loves a waste basket with any choice of garbage. He jumps on every one. He steals pens and will chew them up if he has time. We have had Murphy for two years and a half and he really has improved a great deal. We took him to training school. That did help when I could walk him every day. He had all ready been to training school and he “heeled” when we got him. He responded to the man teaching the class and would come home and behave awful.
Over the last two years we have repeatedly noticed that he loves men and responds to them very well. He behaves when my son comes --Lady Love’s stepson spent three days with us in the fall and he behaved while Brian was here. We had a sprinkler put in this summer and he loved all those men. Our pastor stopped in and his remark was, “This dog is a boy’s dog!” He responded to our pastor and he has had some experience with training dogs.
It has taken us two years to realize what he was telling us. He needs a man in his life. The rescue person did say that the young man in his life did like the dog alot and was sorry to give him up.
Lady Love and I care a great deal about Murphy but we are not suited to each others respective personalities. We are admittedly too old to give him the attention he needs. We lead too quiet a life style.
WE have agonized over this for several months and---we of course have become increasingly more attached to this smiling bundle of energy. BUT WE KNOW WE MUST DO WHAT IS BEST FOR MURPHY!
We take our responsibility toward Murphy very seriously. We would like to make a request to any one choosing him--if they do not want the dog. Please do not take him to the Humane Society. Call us and we will try to place him with some one that will take this little guy that has already been placed twice.


Murphy was placed with a teacher, a taller, larger women which, of course,he fell in love with her immediately and she with him. She took him on Friday night for the weekend for a tryout. She already had an aging Dachsund and Murphy played very carefully with him as he did with Kitana. He hopped in the teacher’s SUV and never looked back.

We were happy about placing him ourselves and felt we had a wonderful 2 1/2 years with this peppy pup but we were so happy to hand the challenges we had with him over to some one younger and more able to fit his needs. Murphy Muldoon has a wonderful personality. And we sadly miss him.
Lady Love and I shared teary eyes almost daily and the cats looked for him. They ran thru the house hoping that Murphy would jump out and run with them.

P.S. He gets to sleep in his new mistresses bed. What a life for Murphy Muldoon!!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


October 31,2005 What a day this turned out to be:
Lady Love and I started to run a few errands at about 10 a.m. this morning. I needed to stop by Home Instead Office to turn in my hours. I asked her if she wanted to go the back way to the office. First she said no and then she said yes. So I directed her on my round about short cut. She laughed and said she would never believe that was a short cut ( but it is.)
We arrived at the office and I found our office manager, Debbie in a beautiful witch costume wishing everyone a Happy Halloween. She offered me a Halloween cookie and I took one for myself (figured Lady Love wouldn’t want one as she has not been feeling too well this entire week.)
Deb checked my hours and said they were o.k. so I started out the door. She called,”You don”t know of anyone that wants some kittens do you? I have 13! Here take a look they are adorable.” She held up a placard with little groupings of one,two and three of the most adorable kittens all posed and named. I told her that I didn’t think we wanted any.
When I got to the car I told Lady Love I just had seen pictures of the most adorable little kitties I had ever seen. Lady Love said ”Well,I wouldn’t want to take a kitten with out holding it and interacting with it but I’d like to take a look at the picture.” So we went back into the office. The next thing I know we are making arrangements to meet Debbi’s husband in a little over an hour. To “look” at the kittens---Yeah right!. We had to go to the bank next.
“Now, do you want to go the back way to the bank?,I said.
“Oh sure, this is a day for adventure.”
I directed her around Bittersweet Park and over to our bank. Less traffic lights. Lady Love went in the bank and came out carrying two Halloween cup cakes.
We laughed and ate those gooey cupcakes like two excited children. This was a day full of surprises.
We drove out to the country where Debbie lives, and there was her husband, beckoning us to enter the thru the open gate. (She is right he is a handsome Indian man with a long braid hanging down his back.) We drove around to the back by the garage and Wayne ,introduce himself and we chatted easily as we walked in the garage.
There they were, 11 adorable kitties. Lady Love went thru the gate into the kitty pen and stood with never less than four kitties at her feet. I saw a shy little tabby,gold and gray female kitty and Lady Love handed her to me. What a doll--she was already named China because she looked like a liitle china figurine. I had discovered the word “chinoiserie” so that is what I named her but we will call her China.
Lady Love thought from Debbie’s picture that she had wanted the little black and white female. Instead she picked a gray tabby male.(Debbie had named him “Cuddles”)but Lady Love named him Tomiko. The kitties are similarly marked and naturally the most beautiful babies you have ever seen.
We, of course, ended up taking both kitties. We had talked about doing this but I thought perhaps we never would. But Halloween was a day for adventure and just what two old girls need in their life--more babies.
We kept the babies downstairs while they were small and eventually would introduce them to Murphy. He had done well with Kitana so we introduce them each day a little a time and found him to be interested but somewhat wary as were we. As they grew larger we were surprised at how well they all got along. Kitana was still the “queen” cat and dealt with all of them so she was rewarded with respect.
Murphy trained Tomiko to play with him. Tomiko still to this day knows how to make a game out of anything he does. China is a shy little girl and remained that way in spite of Murphy.

Murphy is now enrolled in dog training class!!!!! Go figure. I spent all Oct. and part of November walking Murphy when ever I could. Training Training. Training.
On Nov. 4 Murphy got a hold of Lady Love’s (Rinititidine) an acid pill and we thought he had eaten the whole bottle. Called the vet and he said we would have to bring him in to induce vomiting. Because that was way too many pills. We were rushing around getting ready to go when Lady Love remembered that Murphy took things into his crate. Sure enough,there was a pile of pills --there was 55 pills so he had only eaten 4 --we called the vet back and he said just feed him and every thing would come out all right. Whew! That Murphy!
Nov 8, I guess that the Murphy saga may go on forever. Today while Lady Love was working in her studio downstairs Murphy became bored and ate a bottle of white out. He climbed upon the dining room table to get same--this is the same dog that finds it impossible to jump in your lap.!!!
Dec.4 --My right knee was giving me trouble and it appears surgery was
going to have to take place soon.


Kitana,our cat is fourteen years old and has been an “only child” for about three years. We brought her all the way from Michigan to Colorado in our van---the air conditioner broke down and we thought we were going to lose her. She is a wonderful Persian and she has only ever been treated with love and affection. She is sweet, mellow and very laid back as far as cats go. Her life never prepared her for an ill mannered, pushy, totally rambunctious PUP! In spite of all this she learned how to deal with this playful upstart. What a gracious lady she is.
Murphy approached her as another puppy and he sniffed her and tried to roll her over. She was surprised but we really think she likes having another animal in the house. She would get a little skittish and would want to run and hide. We watched Murphy closely and how he treated her; we scolded him for being too rough. He started to look at her as something other than a puppy. She was equally as puzzled by his behavior. She had other dogs in her life but she liked them because they treated her with respect. She was going to have to teach this dog how cats behaved.
Kitana realized she would have to be on the defensive with this pup. After several days of just being around him she decided if he came towards her she would hit him in the nose with her paw. (she never put her claws out!) We could hear her hitting him from across the room. Well , that wasn’t working because he thought she was playing and he would come back for more.
Each morning Kitana and Murphy would come out and greet each other. Then two of them sit side by side and look out the screen door and watch the birds and whatever is going on in the back yard. Kitana seems to look forward to seeing him each morning. Murphy gets bored and he would starts to sniff and punch her. One morning she hissed and caught him squarely on the nose WITH HER CLAWS. He whined and looked at her. We knew she had really earned his respect when the next thing we saw Kitana was chasing Murphy and he was the one diving under the table. Kitana was again the “Queen” cat.
Murphy’s bright little doggie brain is always working to draw you into a game.He repeatedly pulled the place mats off of our dining room table in an effort to get us to chase him.
One day the place mat had a plate and a half glass of tea.
He was sure we liked that--it took us a week to convince him we were not really into chasing him. ( Was this why his mistress didn’t like him?)
Each day we tried to trust him a little more and leave him alone in the house. He’d been doing well for a couple of days. We were working in the yard and checking on him periodically. Lady Love walked in to see him standing in the middle of the dining room table. She chased him down and he went into his crate. He had a pretty good day for the rest of the day, Maybe there was hope for him yet.
The next day Lady love was eating breakfast and she remembered that the hose had to be put on the raspberry garden. She was going to be gone for just a minute but it was long enough for Murphy to eat her bacon. (Was this why his mistress didn’t like him?)
Before Murphy came to our house we each kept our daily pill boxes on the dining room table on our respective place mats so we would take our pills with our meals. That always work well for us until one day Lady Love walked in and found that Murphy had opened my entire pill box and emptied it. She called me and I ran in afraid he might have eaten them all and my pill case contained my sleep aids. Gratefully we discovered he had not eaten a one but there was dog slobber on everything in his effort to open the box. (Was this why his mistress didn’t like him?)
His behavior became some what better when we were able to let him run freely in the yard. He could run and enjoy his “buzzes” in the back yard. We were still working on the back yard but there was grass and it was great to see him run free.
He still could not get over trying to draw us into playing games with him. He constantly grabbed a glove and would run around the yard happily. He knew he was going to be scolded,but it was worth it just to tease us. Lady Love finally taught him that he should give the gloves back. That was something.
While I was at the computer writing this--Lady Love went to run an errand, walked into the dining room and said,”Oh, Murphy is being a good
boy,he’s out here just chewing on his bone---oh no he’s not he’s gotten Kitana ‘s vitamin bottle and he has eaten all the vitamins out of it!” Will it never end?
We now have every door in the house closed because he chews all the items in the waste basket he unrolls the toilet paper and pulls it all to the living room (Was this why his mistress didn’t like him?)
We had talked of making a “Dutch door” going to the basement and we decided with Murphy’s arrival -- now was the time. We could put a kitty door in the bottom and then Kitana could come and go to the downstairs without Murphy trailing behind her.
Lady Love carefully measured the chest of both animals and decided Kitana could easily make it thru the kitty door and Murphy couldn’t. The next two days we sawed,reinforced,sanded, and varnished. We wanted it to look nice and it did. We were so proud of our job well done,
The next day I went downstairs to do a load of laundry and left Murphy in the dining room upstairs. I was busily sorting and loading clothes; I turned around and there stood Murphy!!! He stood there grinning his best doggie grin and wagging his tail happily.
How did that dog get downstairs? Did he teleport?(Probably not.) Did he possibly come thru the kitty door? The kitty door was only 6 inches across. Murphy was 9 inches across his chest and he weighed 17 lb. I called for Lady Love--she didn’t answer. I thought that perhaps she had let him downstairs. I ran up stairs with Murphy trotting behind me.
Lady Love was in the back yard and I called to her,”Did you let Murphy downstairs?”
“No I went outside when you when downstairs. Why? “ She asked.
I told her what had happened. we talked and we both were convinced that the three inches difference in would not allow him to go thru the kitty door.He just must have slipped down the stairs quickly behind me. He is very fast;the ONE thing he knows very well is how to heel. That must be it.
We both returned to our respective chore and I again left Murphy upstairs. I started the washing machine and was walking towards the stairs and there came Murphy THRU the kitty door. There was surprise on both of our faces as I screamed , “MURPHY!” He shot passed me like a streak. He hid in Lady Love’s studio but I finally convinced him to go back upstairs. I put him in the kennel. I went out to tell her that all that work looked nice but it didn’t keep Murphy out of the studio.
That wonderful silly,grinning, and happy dog had done it again!!! He had made a game out of the kitty door.
Over the summer I agreed to give my granddaughter Kate guitar lessons. Murphy loves Kate and each time she came for a lesson,he would go crazy--jumping,running and whining. We thought that perhaps she reminded him of his young mistress.( Was this why his mistress didn’t like him?)
But he also did this every time the door bell rang. This had to stop before he knocked one of our very seniors neighbors and friends flat.
We decided we had to get him trained and we needed to do it soon--he was definitely a dog out of control. We already loved this crazy,wonderful laughing dog. He and the cat give us so much joy that we couldn’t think of taking him back just because he was INCORRIGIBLE!!
Lady Love and I both have had dogs in the past but we each had raised our dogs from puppies. I know this makes a great deal of difference.
Lady Love had four dog books in her vast library and we each started reading. We spent the weekend reading dog books. It didn’t take much reading to find out we had a spoiled dog with very bad habits. We each found good ideas and then we collaborated and we began to apply them immediately.
A tin can with about fifteen pennies in it works like a charm. We drop the can next to him and he just stops what he is doing.
We figure Murphy being locked in a laundry room all day long and then being played with very roughly when they were with him, that probably Murphy didn’t like that and maybe he didn’t like them---or his name “Nemo”. He responded to Murphy Muldoon the first day we had him. He was just neglected in a way that his breed can’t tolerate.
So that is why his mistress didn’t like him.
We allow him to run and play as much as he wants but we will not allow anyone to play rough with him.
Today, September 27, 2005, Lady Love and I sit in our office writing at our computers,Murphy sleeps quietly beside us. He is sweet, silly energetic and he is turning into the dog we were looking for. We love Murphy Muldoon!

Finally got my computer back from repair shop and got my software down from the shelf to find Murphy had been there first-- there was a tooth mark in my printer software!!! So I had to order new printer software. I told the man at Epson that my dog ate my software he laughed so hard and he didn’t charge me for the service charge---he said it was the best laugh he had in a long time!!!! He was still laughing as I hung up the phone.


Lady Love had promised me a dog for my birthday April 10th. However she was going to wait until I had recuperated from bladder surgery and I could handle the care of a dog. During my recuperation I was on the look out for “a small,female poodle ,terrier type”nothing seemed to be listed in the Tribune or the Thrifty Nickel
Lady Love and I went “dog shopping” on Tuesday May 2nd.
We visited the Greeley Humane Shelter around 10 am and found that they had had an adoptathon over the weekend and there was nothing but BIG, BUTT-UGLY, FIERCE dogs---not what we were wanting.
There was a volunteer named Pam that had a private shelter and she took us outside and talked to us about a Bichon that she had just received. He was a male,all white , neutered and was brought to her because the mother had paid $800 for the dog and the adult daughter “didn’t like the dog”. He weighs about 15 lb. She would sell him for $85.
I asked Pam ,”What was wrong with the dog?”
Her answer was “Nothing that I can see. he has papers I’ve had him for three days and he is just a happy little guy and is really sweet. He’s housebroken and he knows how to heel. I just think they don’t know how to train a dog. They left him in the laundry room all day long and then never paid much attention to him. The girl’s live in boyfriend use to play real rough with him. He told me that .”
Lady Love ask me if I would like to see him---reminding me that I had been looking for a “small female,poodle.” My response: “I know but my nephew had a Bichon and it was such a nice dog. It would not hurt to look at him.”
Pam told us she lived by Platteville and she would be home about 1:30. She gave us directions to her “Heart to Heart Shelter”. We were on time and she brought this sweet,energetic bundle of joy out of her truck and he ran to us like he had been waiting for us.
Lady Love smiled and said, “I think Jean wants him. Do you?”
I quickly answered ,”Yes!”
While Lady Love wrote the check for him. Murphy and I jumped in the back seat of our coupe and he settled in the car,again like he was waiting for us.
Pam told us his name was “Nemo”. I told her I was going to change it to Murphy Muldoon (a sweet and lovable character in a Nora Robert's book that Lady Love and I read to each other.) I told Lady Love all along that if it was a girl or boy I was till going to call the dog Murphy Muldoon. Pam thought that was great since he never responded to “Nemo” when she called him.
I sat in the back seat holding Murphy Muldoon on the ride from Platteville to Greeley telling him his new name over and over. Of course we had to take him to “Pet Smart”, Lady Love said we needed to have some dog food and some new toys. Murphy Muldoon excitedly watched all the other animals in the store that day--including a goat on a leash! He smiled all the way around the store.
When we arrived home Lady Love made an appointment with the vet the next day. Murphy had a physical. The vet said he was in fine shape and we certainly got a “good dog”.
The following Saturday I took him to the groomers. The groomer said he was easy to groom. She added we certainly got a “good dog”.
It is obvious to me that the vet and the groomer know what to say to parents of a new dog and that Murphy’s reputation as a holy terror had not yet reached Greeley.
Oh,and the name change from “Nemo” to Murphy Muldoon came easily--you hear “get out of there”,”put that down”, “stop that”,”don’t chase the cat” ,etc, etc.,all proceeded by “MURPHY!” I think the neighbors dogs began to know Murphy’s name also or thought their names had been changed.
With the arrival of spring Lady Love and I had a variety of projects that were already in full swing before Murphy ever arrived--replacing our back yard. Our pure white Bichon had to be kept under control for a little while. Lady Love rigged up a tethered line so he could run back and forth from the patio and to grass and not be in the large amount of mud in our back yard.
We had read that Bichons like to sleep in a bed--preferable yours.
We were trying to decide where Murphy was going to sleep --in the dining room or our bedroom. Lady Love was tired and she got ready for bed and stretched out while we were still discussing where he should sleep when Murphy jumped on the bed and put his head on the pillow next to Lady Love. I thought she would be so mad that she would knock him to the moon! Instead she laughed so hard at him because he REALLY thought he was going to sleep there! I took him to the dining room ; tied him to the door knob and he cried for an hour until he went to sleep.
The second night we decided we would try putting him in a portable kennel we already had ; he cried for an hour and went to sleep. He finally goes to the kennel each night but not willingly--he must make a game out of it. He is still sure that he should sleep on or under our bed.
We recognized that he liked to be played with very rough and we refused to tussle and play tug with him. He would run,growl and bite at our clothes. He found out soon that his was unacceptable in his new home but he continued trying for about two weeks and then stopped.
We had read that Bichons have “BUZZES”. This means that your Bichon will start to run very hard in a circle, while making a low growl . He is merely telling you that everything is all right in his world. Murphy had a buzz every evening for several days in our dining room. Had we not read this we would have been alarmed. First we scolded,then we tried to stop him. Nothing worked so, we ignored him. Night after night we sat watching tv or reading books what ever our current activity was and let him go around the room like a maniac dog. If any one had walked into our home they would be sure that we were the craziest two old women they had ever seen. He soon tired of us ignoring him and stopped doing it in the house. One thing with Murphy, he does not like being ignored. Lady Love and I enjoy watching him “buzz” outside.
Murphy’s next big adjustment was the cat.

Friday, January 16, 2009


What do you do on Memorial Day. Do you observe it as was intended,to honor all those that died in all the wars? Probably not, most of us don’t. It is still a special day for putting flowers on the graves of family members. A day for honoring the dead. A pretty serious subject.

I have a special place in life for Memorial Day. In 1958 on a Memorial Day I met my best friend in life, Kaye Dickie. She was a beloved friend for over 39 years. Why write about a dead friend,well why not? Some people are just worth talking about.

I am not as interested in telling you about her death. (all though she did die next to her swimming pool reading a book and she would think that would be a wonderful way to go. She was an avid reader and swimmer.) I want to tell more about her living. Kaye lived a life filled with love,joy,and a quick wit that would leave you hysterical with laughter.

Kaye was mildly deaf when I first met her. After having surgery to correct her hearing it lasted for sometime but in later years she became profoundly deaf. It never slowed her humor or her zest for doing what she wanted to do.

She had a Master’s Degree in elementary education,she was an outstanding teacher,a gifted musician, a golfer and a terrific letter writer. Her wonderful humor overflowed into everything she did. I received a letter from her the day before she died.

Kaye and I were both raised in homes where reading was taught to be the most important thing we could do. We both loved to read. We began playing a game game 39 years ago during the time of diapers and baby talk while we were raising our children. We continued to play it every time we saw each other. We would take play pens, beach blankets, picnic lunches to
Fontana Beach on beautiful Lake Geneva, Wi.

It began this way: We were going to be sent to a tropical island and we each could only take three books. What would they be?

We both agreed we would each take a Bible,Gone with the Wind and etc.
Over the years we picked different books,except for the Bible. That remained a constant with both of us.

Then we expanded to five books each and finally seven. (We both needed blank books so we could write.) As we grew older the game became sillier and we both loved it. Somehow it was a fine thread to our youth. When we saw each other every week or so we only thought of it occasionally. In later years we were a 1000 miles apart. Now we only saw each other two or three times a year so now it became a silly secret of ours.

Our conversations would be come wonderfully outlandish:
“Do you know how to fish?”
”No, do you?”
“Don’t you think we should take a book on fishing?”
Well I'm not giving up my copy of James Michner’s Hawaii for a book on fishing?”
“OK,I hope you don't mind climbing trees to gather coconuts.”
“We’ve got palm trees on our island? Nobody told me about that.”
On and on it went. Kaye loved puns so on our make believe calendar we changed our monday to Punday--we could only speak in puns on this day. Thursday was the day for building sand castles. We had to get away from reading sometime. As we had these absurd conversations we would laugh like children.

Over the years our love and laughter for each other never changed. We always ended our phone calls and our letters with “”I love you.” When we greeted each other twice a year we would hug and kiss and say,”I love you sooooooo much.” This was standard greeting for our children when they were little.

Our two families have been tied together by love for since 1958. Our children grew up loving each other. Our sons have camped and hiked all and white water rafted all over Colorado parts of Wyoming. Our daughters live 1000 miles apart and always take up right where they left off.

I shall always treasure the day I spent with Kaye in 1996. She rode with me out into East Weld as I called some clients. I took her to Roggen and introduce her to writer Elfy Dornan. I bought her Elfy’s book Prairie Winds.” I teased her about being afraid to be caught anywhere with out a book. As we traveled over the plains we talked and talked. That night we talked until 3 a.m. in the morning catching upon our tropical island and our books. That was the last day I saw her.

Memorial Day. I will always be a day to remember Dear Kaye for the love,joy and the goodness of a woman who knew no bounds. We shared many secrets and she took the most important one in my life she took to her grave. She never revealed my homosexuality to anyone. In the early days when I told her I ask her to please not tell anyone because of my children. She never did. When her husband visited me last spring I asked him and he said she had never mentioned it to him. She adored her husband and he swears she never said a word about it. How many times can you find anyone in your life that can keep a secret? What a woman!

Oh, Kaye if you are on our tropical island on the other side,keep your hands off my books until I get there! I still love you sooooo much.

Monday, January 12, 2009


When Lady Love and I moved back to Greeley she was particularly looking for a church--you know one that would accept gays. She found the the Unitarian Church here and she had been a life long member in Kalamazoo.

Greeley's UU Church is a wonderful diverse group of people and we felt at home there.We joined and we became involved in the Book club and over the years several study groups. We studied the Jefferson Bible in 2007 andin my this resulted in giving this report to our congregation:

I would like to quote from one of Thomas Jefferson's letters-----------
“It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read.”

I was 22 years old and living in Georgia when my friend Bailey Jones first told me about the Jefferson Bible. He was a retired history teacher and he loved Thomas Jefferson. He would go on and on about Jefferson and his bible. Bailey Jones was a highly respected Baptist and a wonderful story teller. But Bailey Jones was also a flaming alcoholic and I took everything he said with with great reservation. We had many long talks about many subjects. Bailey had a wonderful mind.

Bailey had a stroke 6 months later and died. His wife ask me to paint a scene of the River Jordan in the baptistry of the new baptist church in his memory. I submitted a canvas for approval with three other artists and mine was accepted. I spent the next 3 months working in the baptistry.

When our Chosen Faith class mentioned the Jefferson Bible---I was all for it. I hadn’t thought of Bailey Jones and his Jefferson Bible in years. I would finally after 50 some years get to read it.
When I was asked to think about what we would like to report on from our Chosen Faith Class, I chose Jefferson Bible. I was very interested in studying and discussing this book. But when we began reading I found that I was much more interested in the history of the”why and wherefore” of its origination.

As a young man Jefferson had been greatly influenced by the philosophical writings of Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbrooke. His religious skepticism was engaging to Jefferson and it prompted him to record passages from Bolingbrooke's writings into Jefferson’ s “ Literary Bible”,which was composed during the 1760’s and1770’s.

In 1798-1799 Jefferson wrote of of “several delightful conversations” with Dr. Benjamin Rush, a well respected scientist and outspoken Universalist. Their conversations were often of Christianity and Jefferson told Rush he would write down his views on the subject. Dr. Rush over the years continued to remind Jefferson of his promise.

In 1800 politics was rearing its ugly head. Jefferson was then standing as a candidate for the presidency. There were those who were already reviling him as an infidel too impious to be president.

The following spring a triumphant Jefferson wrote,”Our countrymen have recovered from the alarm which art and industry had thrown them ; science and honesty are replaced on their high ground and you,my dear Sir, as their great apostle, are on its pinnacle.” This”great apostle” was Dr. Joseph Priestley, prominent scientist and Unitarian theologian.

Dr. Benjamin Rush and Dr. Joseph Priestly, helped reestablish Christianity for the reasonable and enlightened such as Jefferson. Rush was an ardent champion of theological openness. Priestly had determined that much of Christian doctrine was either defiant of or unnecessary to the Christian message and therefore not only obscured, but distance from the lives of many persons who had neither the time nor the means to investigate it.

Thomas Jefferson thought of Jesus as eloquent,benevolent,innocent, a victim first of the Roman state and then of the Christian Church.

In a statement of his faith,Jefferson wrote to Rush, I quote “I am a Christian,in the only sense he wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others;ascribing to himself every human excellence : and believing he never claimed any other”.

Jefferson’s quest-- I would call it began with passion in 1798. He finish the Gospels in 1820 at the age of 77. They had been sitting on his shelf for a decade and a half.

So this was the why and the wherefore. I feel that Jefferson believed he was creating a concise book that would be for Christian and non-Christian and would reach those seeking a good and moral life. He wanted to create and a real human Jesus. A reader’s digest version.

Do I think he did that? Yes, but I believe he looked upon it as something he must finish. But after all this was Jefferson and I am happy he did give us the Jefferson Bible at age 77!

For me studying the Jefferson Bible was something else. I will cherish it because it reminded me of an old storyteller that walked into my young life in a strange and wonderful way and returned again when I was an old woman.

Friday, January 9, 2009


What do you say when you find out your Grannie is Gay?
Do you say that she is happy and glad?
We didn’t find out what Grannies was about
until she left our Grand Dad

There were whispers and talk about the reason she came “out”
She was in the “closet”, they say
We overheard all this stuff
And as if this isn’t enough
No one will tell us what it means to be gay

Grannie said:
It means your expression of love can be free
to love some one of the same sex ---in my case a SHE
Or a gay man would prefer to love a HE
It is about love and choosing the right one for you,do you see?

It makes sense to me. Shouldn’t we all be free
to love any one we choose? But will you explain to us about
what it means to be in the “closet” and “out”
These sounds kind of strange to me?

Grannie said:
In the “closet” means you are afraid to come “out”
to tell anyone you are gay
You hide in fear and are consumed with doubt
What if family and friends turn you away?

So you stay in your “closet” afraid to come “out”
Do You understand what I mean?
Remember during a storm when thunder was about
You put your hands over your eyes so the lighting couldn’t be seen.

Now the thunder was there, the lighting was, too
Truly everything was the same
And hiding your eyes seemed a safe thing to do
But it was just a kind of a game

Covering your eyes you were safe and private
Do you see what this is about?
Covering your eyes was a kind of a “closet “
When you uncovered your eyes --you came “out”

Gran, all your life you hid that you were gay
I think that this was bad
That means you were in a “closet” for all those years
That’s like being in jail.How sad.

Grannie said:
Yes Dears, sometimes it was hard to bear
Because I could never be me
and truly there were times I didn’t care
what life did with me.

I knew I was “different when I was nine
By age 13, I told my Mother. She said,
Don’t you ever mention this again.
“You’ll get over it. It’s all in your head!”

I never mentioned “it” again
I never got over ‘it”
I married a man.
(Ffity some years later--I’m still not over “it”

But then I had babies. they filled my heart with joy
I loved raising children;they were work and fun
Sand boxes,swings,playhouses,every little toy;
They helped me get through life on the run

I ran through life in a frenzy,being “Best” at what I did
I never stopped running from the real me
I am gay, then and now who did I think I could kid?
So many times I wanted to scream”I am gay, this is me ,this is me”

But I didn’t.I acted like everything in my life was ok
I deceived friends, family and children
All the while running away, running away
Down deep inside me to my isolation

I hated my total deception. It went against everything I hold dear
I said,”I have no secrets.” What a bad thing to say.
I believe your Grandad knew and perhaps it was his fear
That I had been unfaithful and that I was gay

When I met and fell in love with a woman I had dreamed about
I knew I could no longer hide
There was no doubt in my mind that I was coming”out”
I absolutely must be true to myself before I died

This woman freed me in a way only a gay person can understand.
She gave the courage, the love and a way
And I want you to please understand
There is nothing wrong with being gay

So I went to your Granddad and told him everything
Through his anger,his disappointment and tears
He found courage to say something:
“This explains so much about you for all these years.”

He knew I had been running.
I thank your Grandad for his graciousness;
I had made him unhappy,too.

Then I went to your Mother and I told her I was gay
She said,”I never knew what it was, but I knew there was a secret unshared.”
I told her I would divorce your Grandad
I knew how deeply she cared.

But she never wavered a moment.
She looked at me straight and so true
She said,” I love you,Mom and I support you in what ever
you need to do for YOU.

Then I went to your Uncle Jeff. I told him I was gay
He too looked at me straight and true
He said ,”Mom you have been the greatest example in my life
You must do what is right for you.” He told me that he loved me.

You have to know how important this was to me
I heaved a sigh of relief and it was true
My children told me they loved me
As though what I had revealed was nothing new

All my life I had respected them as individuals
I basked in the love they gave me
I knew their response was the residual
of the relationship they saved for me.

Their love and support was all around
As I went to my computer to write my brother
I chose my words carefully and found
Here was a burden like no other

I pushed on as best I could explaining
Why I needed to finally come”out”
I realized the pit of my stomach was paining
And my mind was filled with doubt

His army life and church had hardened his heart agsainst gays
He used words like,”homos,fags,queers,” to me
when he tried to talk about ‘their” rights and “their” ways
I refused to be drawn into hate against people like me.

I didn’t know how I could change his mind
Perhaps his love for me would enter
And in his heart he would find
Understanding and compassion for me at the center

But no. My brother never called me and he never wrote
And he hates me for being gay
I will probably never see or speak to him again.
He chooses it to be this way.

He simply cannot understand why and how
I lived my life as a kid
And never let anyone know
That I was different--but I did---No one listened.

I wanted my brother to listen. He did not.
Who would choose to be gay?
He thinks gay is a choice.It is not.
It is painful and frightening and it never goes away.

His wife speaks of “family values” and yet
They cannot bring themselves to speak to me,
family,a sister, who is no longer set
in the mold of what they think she should be
And would I do it again?
YES,YES, I love being “out”.
It was frightening in that “closet”, hidden away
with my fears ,my pain, and my doubt.

I know without O’Neils love and support
I would never be free
to say,”I’m a different sort
I’m gay,I’m free,I’m me!”

When I think of her gift to me
And I think of it each day
I know were in each other’s life
In a very special way.

Thank you, O”Neil.

I fought being gay and myself for 50 years.

Yes, I risked everything to be able to admit I was gay.
I lost my closet and fifty pounds. You see,
there was no need for me to be eating away
at what was eating at me.

Is it true what they say about women that are gay
That they really can live without men?
Women that love women know another way
To make love ,to make love without men?

Oh,Yes my Dears it is true
What they say about women that are gay
They are definitely happy and glad
Women love to make love with a woman they love
They are very happy, not sad.

So what do you say about Grannie being gay?
You say she is happy and glad
Grannie loves women and she always wlll
And she was true to herself in every way
My Dears,always be true to yourself. I love you.
As ever,