Uncovered Mysteries

Suddenly last fall…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

Until this past week, I had known nothing about any of my great grandparents. It has been a fascinating week.

All this DNA identification that is so popular has connected lots of people to their past. I never connected to the 23andMe clients in my efforts so I didn’t make the following connection:

My second cousin in Washington State had touched base with a 23andMe client who apparently shared two of my great grandparents. I went to Ancestry.com and confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt, we did share these forebears by virtue of records, in addition to, the DNA that connected my Washington relative to our unbeknownst relative.

I was able to see photographic portraits of each of the great grandparents taken in New York City, probably around 1900. The great grandmother shared features with my mom, her granddaughter, per my professional, artist, spouse, Kristine. I saw the resemblance…

View original post 51 more words

Quiet in the Workspace

“I don’t listen to music while writing; it seems to me I’m trying to make my own kind of music, and to have anything else going on is just noisy interference. Chang-Rae Lee, a Korean American novelist.

Mornings, I get my juices flowing by enjoying coffee with my spouse and then continuing to a tranquil space to write. It was 50-60 years ago in my collegiate and medical school days I recall fleeing to the hush of the library to focus.

We are all unique and no less an essayist than Malcolm Gladwell needs noise to write. When he first got to the New Yorker having been a journalist in a vociferous environment, they assigned him to a secluded office. He frequented cafes to obtain the turbulence level required to do his work.

Writing for some with melody, perhaps, is even more difficult than crowd noise. After all, neuroscientists documented that music affects a variety of places in the brain.

Maybe this is a part of it: “Music opens a path into the realm of silence. Music reveals the human soul in stark nakedness, as it were, without the customary linguistic draperies.” Josef Pieper, a Catholic philosopher important in the resurgence of interest in the thought of Thomas Aquinas in 20th-century philosophy.

As you sit on that continuum, here’s hoping regardless of the decibel level around you, that pandemics, daily concerns, and life’s sometimes precarious pathways don’t hinder your creativity. It is a glorious gift from God.

“Madison Park, a Place of Hope” by Eric L. Motley, a Book Review


Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

Eric Motley, an African American, was raised in Madison Park in Alabama. His memoir, “Madison Park, a Place of Hope,”, is a powerful, touching memoir particularly for one so young, in his 40s.

It was a rural community several miles out of Montgomery Alabama. The community was established by freed slaves after the Civil War and they ultimately owned the land by purchasing at least one plantation. It was well cared for. It was a TRUE community.

Eric was a little different almost from birth and was not raised by his biological parents. Eric though was ingratiating and possessed a developing intellect that would well surpass his reading difficulty early on. Those early problems were beautifully addressed in conjunction with his nurturing community.

He became a doctoral scholar whose first job at 27 was at the White House as Deputy Associate Director, Office of Presidential Personnel. This was followed not…

View original post 85 more words

Where Were the Futurists Before This Happened?


Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

I thought some people made excellent money as futurists. Where are there “priceless” projections now?

In some ways a good CEO who can sense where things are going is a valuable part of a corporation. I don’t know that anyone saw this coming. This comes under the Gumpian perspective that, “Life is full of surprises.”

Our fiction writers sometimes back into scenarios that have some degree of connection to possible future events. Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain was such a novel that in some ways mirrors this novel virus. In that book it was an extraterrestrial, deadly microorganism that got loose when an American, research satellite crashed in Arizona. Not surprisingly Crichton had a medical degree to add to the skill of his fertile mind. He died at 66 and we will miss him.

So we were blind-sided and our society has changed dramatically. Stay well and vaccinated.

View original post

“To be alive at all is to have scars.” John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent, 1961.

I am in the winter of my content and discontent. Many of us seniors are in the same condition. Perhaps all of us are. 

My arthritis hurts as to be expected. My physicians, on rare occasions, scare the wits out of me, but, so far so good. 

My real scars are from my first three decades. By the grace of God, I’ve worked through many of those problems. I still have miles to travel on that road.

As to the non-living, the New York Times obits for me are both fascinating bios and reminders that many people that would be my age are no longer with us. They can have their fame, I’ll take breathing.

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, a novelist with a draft novelette in progress, and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon

Another Bit of the Bits and Pieces from My Medicolegal Work

A hazard of medicolegal work…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

So in my 2.5 years in Baltimore as a medical examiner, many of our autopsied cases came right off the street. With all the strange aromas, nothing was worse that an unbathed alcoholic who didn’t quite make it found on those streets. They were a sad, sad element of life in Baltimore in the mid-70s

One day as I entered one lung of an alcoholic in an autopsy, something discolored and ugly opened up in the lung. I was concerned but hoped as I worked in public health, that it was just another “bullet” I had dodged.

As I should, I followed up in those mid-70s with a PPD skin test to establish if I might have TB. It was positive but in that case, Thank God, it simply indicated my immune system had worked effectively. No lesion could be identified. Nonetheless I took the drug INH for a year…

View original post 56 more words

What We Have Shared

There are numerous people I have never met. They have shared an era in our beautiful and difficult planet with me. They remember the Cuban missile crisis of ’62 and the tragic Kennedy assassination of ’63. My fellow passengers watched the Fab Four in ’64 introduced to Americans by that stoop-shouldered host on that cold winter’s night.  

They are a different bunch. Though I haven’t met most of them, I know their psyche was affected by the last American draft in those same 60s. It was only a matter of degree. They have a unique sense when they gaze upon the Vietnam Memorial.

We’ve shared a lot. What we have shared with certainty, thank God, is a long life.

Tatis, Jr.

Adam Frazier, who just joined the Padres, talked about how exciting their brand of baseball was to watch. The team’s effectiveness and generation of excitement was on display last fall in this memoir.

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

I have followed the Padres, my hometown ballclub, for 26 years. They have made the World Series once in that period, 1998, the last year in which they won a postseason game in San Diego

The last two nights they did some remarkable work. Both victories were ignited by the play of a 21 year old almost rookie, Fernando Tatis, Jr. They can now move on to the next series having won two of three against the Cards.

We were behind the St Louis Cards by four runs, late in the game Thursday. They hadn’t given up a lead like that all year. Fernando stepped to the plate with two on and sliced away three runs of the four run lead with a shot into the stands. His buddy on the left side of the infield, Manny Machado, then tied the game with another homer. Within the next few innings…

View original post 132 more words


“I believe that all fiction is personal and all writing is at some level personal. As you may know, my motto is: ‘All memory is fiction. It could just as easily be: ‘All fiction is memory’. Unpacked, these two statements defy the ease of logic, but offer some really important truths about narrative art, at the very least, and about memory. So I would say that all art is personal.” Kwame Dawes, a Ghana-born poet, actor, editor, critic, and musician, who grew up in Jamaica. 

It makes sense. I have shared with a sibling drafts of my memoirs. That sibling disagreed with my recall more than I expected. The spirit of an event can be recalled, but the details get sketchier. I believe surveys of witnesses after an event have verified that.

As for fiction, I have feared for years the idea of writing fiction. However, it is in essence based on memory. In a sense, it is easier to write. It shocked me to see how the draft of my novelette flowed in just a few days. Life is full of surprises, few of which are chocolates.

Tears of Joy

A precious moment…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

“Joy comes when your heart is in another. Joy comes after years of changing diapers, driving to practice, worrying at night, dancing in the kitchen, playing in the yard and just sitting quietly together watching TV. Joy is the present that life gives you as you give away your gifts.” So said David Brooks in his NYT essay “The Difference between Joy and Happiness.”

It brought to mind a day about eight years ago when my family gathered for bedtime prayers with my oldest grandson. In the midst of the prayer my eyes shed tears of joy. We had raised our precious daughter and now she was raising this precious little two year old.

Thirty five years before that I was in essence lonely and single. I met the love of my life. Now the good Lord had blessed us with a precious family of seven to include our wonderful…

View original post 72 more words