Father’s Day 2018

All best wishes to everyone this day, whatever your status as a “Dad”, past, present, future.

To me, for a long time now, the term “father”, as “mother”,  is far more than biological or legal.  We are all, at times, “Mom”, and “Dad”, and all the rest.

Today, of course, in my world Bennie remains front and center. Here’s the most recent update, posted June 15.  The past day (June 16) was significant, and the next week, or two, or three, or whatever will be very significant, whatever that word means.  No one knows for sure….

My own Dad had his own “mantra”, “take it as it comes”…he had his reasons to adopt this wise outlook.

It’s now three weeks for Bennie in intensive care.

When this began, I linked to an inspiring piece of video called Gratitude.  Here it is again.

Cherish each moment.

Have a great day.


POSTNOTE, overnight: As the World Turns Again


The television drones on within earshot, and the analysts are talking endlessly about what Singapore means, if anything.  Of course, no one except a select few know what will happen when an old compulsive capitalist liar meets a young communist despot, eyeball to eyeball.

Much will be made of absolutely nothing.  Anyone who knows anything about negotiations on even the simplest level knows that striking a good faith bargain takes a huge amount of time and effort.

I spent a lot of years in the negotiations arena, dealing with issues simple and not so simple.

This particular evening I remember a particularly bitter negotiations about 20 years ago involving the teachers in the very school district in which I write these words.

We were at loggerheads on this particular stormy January night, and a mediator had called us in for a last ditch effort to avoid a strike set to begin in a few hours.

It was around midnight, and about our only company was stale coffee and some remnants of equally stale donuts.  Bargaining isn’t for the faint hearted over tea and crumpets.  You hate being there, but the alternative is worse.

We, that particular night, were teachers and staff from two competing organizations working towards a merger, but still in the distrustful stage.

We had decided to work together on bargaining this particular year, and it was mostly successful, but one “side” was dominant by virtue of its statutory standing.

And then there was the real “other” side: management.

The players all knew each other, in some cases very well, for many years.  We knew the issues and the rules of engagement.  We’d been at this negotiations for months – typical for bargaining.  And before that were years of other negotiated contracts, some more easily reached than others.

On this particular night, sometime after midnight, the mediator and the chief negotiator for the other side, asked me to confer privately with them, as staff for the other side.

My side was spoiling for a strike.  They had waited so long.  They had no particular reason to trust me – I was an agent of their state union.

But this was a deaths door matter, and I became one of the three in a private office down the hall.  What was obvious was conveyed to me: the parties had reached their respective bottom lines, and there was an untenable “no mans land” remaining.  Some suggestions were made; I provided the necessary cover for the other negotiator, and we went back to tell the bargaining team that we needed to reach an agreement.

There was some relief but much anger in the room.  Six hours from now teachers were ready to picket the schools in the district.

I remember the awful private drive home on a very snowy, stormy night.  The phone trees announced no strike in the morning; a faculty gathering in this then perhaps 800 teacher district was set for two days later to consider the package.  People who have been involved with such negotiations can identify with how lonely a position one is in.

The day of the meeting came, and we presented the elements of the agreement previously reached.  There was a large crowd in the then-ballroom just a few miles down the road from here.

A vote was taken: my recollection the ratification was by 75%.

The President of my side didn’t speak to me again for the rest of his career.  He had staked it all on a strike (some years later he called, and all was fine, but the bitterness was palpable then.)

So, now we have “The Art of the Deal” guy out to prove the power of one where the antagonists have been at odds since about 1950, and there are huge disequities of power, (unless one considers that China is a crucial player in all of this as well.)

No doubt, our guy will announce a great victory, and their guy will go home and similarly announce victory to his impoverished masses.

The odds of swords into ploughshares is so infinitesimal as to be laughable.

Do I want success?  For certain.  Do I want the “talks” however brief and surficial to help change the tone?  Of course, I do.

Will Singapore get it done?  Don’t count on it.  The meeting was private for a reason.  It is meaningless, except for PR value.

Where I write, it is 8:38 p.m. on Monday, June 11, 2018.


Eastview graduation June 2, 2018

Today is the 12th day after the accident which changed an entire constellation of lives, most especially Ben, David and Robin, but including our own and many others.

The latest update on Bennie is here.  As I write, I note 11,912 visits to Caring Bridge.

It overwhelms, really  Thank you all.

There has been more, these 12 days.  Several high school graduations;  then graduation parties, and a wedding to attend this weekend.  I watched grandson Spencer get his 5 seconds in the spotlight, one of 500 (that’s not his picture above, but you get the idea.  We had the best seats in the house, the overflow room with closed circuit TV!)

Thursday, Grandson Ted turns 18, and graduates.

In a month Spencer heads for Marine basic training; a month later Ted is off to college.  Spencer notes there will be another graduation in October out in California.  Graduation is indeed a “commencement”, as we all know, who’ve walked a block or two in life.

But I think the highlight of the week for both of us was participating in Iftar at the new mosque in our community.

Woodbury area mosque May 31, 2018

I would guess that there were about 250 of us in attendance, as the Ramadan daylight waned – 8:43 p.m. at our site – the time to break fast.  Iftar.

We were introduced to the community, and at each table one member of the congregation sat with us to answer questions.  Our hostess grew up in Riyadh.  There were evening prayers by the Congregation, which we observed.  After sunset we had a delicious meal.

What is always striking to me, and it was this particular evening, was how similar practices in different religious denominations are.  I happen to be Catholic: it is very easy to find many similarities to Islam, especially going back in time a few years: head covering; Nuns dress, on and on and on.

Evening over, feeling refreshed, we went our separate ways.  But I had not yet learned the most important lesson of our evening.

Yesterday, the phone rang and the person at the other end was the young woman who had sat at the table with us last Thursday.  This is the last week of school in this school district, and her kids had come home and told about this schoolmate who had been in a very serious car accident, and could they do something.

We had not talked about our family crisis that evening, but in the way things work, somehow or other they connected the dots: our grandson was the person who had been hurt and was in the hospital.  They wanted to help in some way.

As I speak, the young persons are preparing some sort of care basket for Bennie, who they probably don’t know personally – it is a large school.

What a heart-warming way to end a day.

Blessed Ramadan.

The still under construction Woodbury mosque.

Memorializing Peace

Thoughts from May 28.

Consider joining the Poor People’s Campaign, supported by Vets for Peace.  In Minnesota, there is a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol today, Tuesday afternoon May 29, 5 p.m..  Details here.  For the event in your area, simply enter your zip code.


For a lot of years I’ve attended the annual Memorial Day program of the Veterans for Peace at the Minnesota Vietnam Memorial on the State Capitol grounds.

It is always impressive, as it was again this year.  We are folks who have served, many who’ve seen war up close and personal, or know comrades who have, and who know war is not glamorous, nor the desirable option for resolving problems, however righteous it might seem.

Each year people in attendance are invited to speak, and so it was today.  A gentleman, 91, from WWII era (below), remembered someone from even earlier in his life.  Someone else read a poem, so on.  Sr. Brigid McDonald sang the song “Patriot Game”*, and on and on for an hour and a half.   It was a very hot day, but no one left.  It was inspiring.  No guns….  Talk of Peace, not of horrors of War.

Vets for Peace, St. Paul, May 28, 2018

Before leaving the grounds, I took a walk over the to stone “garden” between the Veterans Service Building and the National Guard Armory across Cedar.

At this garden, each county in Minnesota is represented by one boulder, and on each boulder is a portion of one letter to or from someone at war.  Individually and collectively they elicit thoughts and feelings.  The garden is worth a reflective visit.

Today a Native American veteran from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, a platoon leader in Vietnam, spoke powerfully about the reality of war.  Behind him, about the time he spoke, a group of people who appeared to be Native American gathered at the Vietnam Wall, remembering people on the wall.

Vietnam Memorial St. Paul, MN State Capitol Grounds, May 28, 2018

“We were young.  We have died.  Remember us.”  The words say it all.

Mark your calendar for August 23-26 in the Twin Cities, and find ways to participate in the National Conference of the Veterans for Peace, hosted by VFP Chapter 27.

* A rendition of the song Patriot Game, here.

At the memorial garden on Minnesota State Capitol grounds May 28, 2018

Dwight Eisenhower, as quoted in Just Above Sunset “Not Just embarrassing“: “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”  At the Canadian Club in Ottawa Jan. 10, 1946, from the War/Defense quotes from the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

SAK, My Great Friend from England, Observes US at Memorial Day

More than a great plenty to “chew on” if you wish…have  a very good Memorial Day weekend.  There is much going on – for sure, read the POSTNOTE at end of this post.


Before giving the floor to SAK: Wednesday of this week we were privileged to attend the Senior Academic Awards program at the nearby public high school.  The schools Chamber Singers opened the program with the wonderful “Wanting Memories” by Ysaye Barnwell. (Faces deliberately not shown.) Here is a version of the song they sang on Wednesday.

There were, by my count, 239 kids honored on this evening.  Their qualities, in “olden times” terms, were general excellence in “deportment” and “effort”.  Anywhere, they would be standouts.

They represented about half of their senior class which formally graduates shortly.  These are incredible, inspirational, kids.  Twins, two young women, received four year scholarships to the U.S. Air Force and Naval Academies; another honoree  was among the very few who got a perfect score on the ACT, and on and on and on.  At the end of the post I am including favorite quotes of a dozen Summa Cum Laude students.

I got to thinking about the half of the students who weren’t represented in this stellar group.  They have their stories too.  They’re in every town, everywhere.  Each of us know some of their stories, too.  Our country is full of these stories, every day.

In a few days, all of these kids “commence” to the adult world, going in their own directions – all of them

I wish every one who graduates (including those who get a blank diploma due to incomplete or other reasons, or have dropped out) all the best.  They are our (and their own) future.


On the same day as this honors convocation, my longtime friend SAK, in England, weighed in on the U.S. as he sees us at this point in time.  He was commenting on something I said in a brief editorial I placed in a small newsletter I edit for our area Citizens for Global Solutions.  The editorial is on page three, accessible here: CGS-MN Newsletter 2018 May-Final

Here is SAK’s commentary as received.  He conveys much food for thought:

[You are] ever the  optimist & always encouraging the citizens to get involved, demonstrate & vote.

But as you yourself note optimism is challenged these days & as someone said if elections changed anything they would have been banned or rigged as they have been in many places. Even if the number of so-called democratic countries is on the rise, democracy itself is on the wane.

Here’s a recent BBC programme on the subject & note the first speaker on the UK & the US – they are supposed to be the  preeminent democracies perhaps aside from the northern Europeans these days.

Democracy will fail in a new way, while we are sleeping, “not with a bang but a whimper” – thanks T.S. Eliot.

The problems are legion from gerrymandering to the exaggerated influence of money & lobbies etc.

Sure where there is manure there could be a pony but there is also another saying about closing barn doors after the horse has bolted.

I think the problem is deeper & more serious than mere politics & has roots in morality & the decline thereof.

With warmest regards & best wishes,


P.S. a book mentioned in the programme is:

How Democracy Ends by David Runciman published by Profile.

Here the author speaks.  John Gray reviews here

The following day, SAK provided “a bit more about the topic”.

Problems with current democracies & elections are legion from gerrymandering to the exaggerated influence of money & lobbies etc . In the US according to Runciman the electoral college system hasn’t been working well for more than a hundred years but nothing has changed & the same old 2 parties still decide who wins – Sanders might have won if he were the Democrat’s candidate. Gerrymandering is so called after governor Elbridge Gerry so redrew a Boston district that it looked like a salamander! There is a Wiki article about how huge numbers of voters are defrauded of their right to vote. Another issue is “felony disenfranchisement” which becomes important when one considers that at any one time there are more than 2 million adults in jail in the US while states change hands over mere thousands of votes.

In the UK the unelected Lords are still there with their often hereditary titles. To be able to form a government like the current one a party bribes a small party (in this case the Northern Ireland protestant DUP) with promises that go counter to the national interest.

Briefly, another book just out:

Sarah Churchwell, Behold, America: A History of America First and the American Dream

How sad that the phrase “American Dream” has been changed so utterly & now means little more than $$$.

Still I agree with Runciman the Chinese model is not for the west (or me) but there are worries about it being efficient and beating the west economically & even at technological innovation soon. Of course these are not what life is about but unfortunately that’s what people in the west are consistently being told come election time, “it’s the economy stupid”.

De Gaulle: “All my life I have had a certain idea of France. I am inspired in this by both sentiment and reason” (*). He goes on to suggest that it is crucial to hold on to cultural excellence, a dedication to an eminent and exceptional destiny, aiming high and remaining upright.

But that was then & “the past is a foreign country” (L.P. Hartley, opening sentence, The Go-Between).

Sorry to sound gloomy but these are new times that try men’s soul (thanks Thomas Paine, The American Crisis).

All the best,


(*) «Toute ma vie, je me suis fait une certaine idée de la France. Le sentiment me l’inspire aussi bien que la raison.»


SB: “Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated.  You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.”  David Lloyd George

HB: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

SG: “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”  Lily Tomlin

AG: “Limits must be tested.”  Harry Hart

AH: “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

MK:  “Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you.”  Unknown.

JK: “Things are so hard when you have to do them and so easy when you want to do them.”  Unknown

LL:  “Don’t be sleeping on your level ’cause it’s a beauty in the struggle.”  Jermaine Cole

EP: “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by every experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot do.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

MP: “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.”  C. S. Lewis

RS: “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”  Steve Jobs

AY: “My fake plants died because I did no pretend to water them.”  Mitch Hedberg


POSTNOTE: Two events:, and my May 23 post: I’ll be at my usual place on Monday, at the Vets for Peace event at the Vietnam Memorial on the MN State Capitol grounds, 9:30 a.m.  Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. at the Capitol is an important rally for the Poor People’s Budget “that puts people first and stands against military proliferation”.  My May 23 post, here, is on the topic “Memorial Day”.

A final thought: read the final paragraph of today’s Just Above Sunset, Direct Causation Everywhere, and consider your own self in the Big Picture that is America, Memorial Day, 2018.  You may want to read the rest of that post, too.

Memorial Day


GIs from Ft. Carson at Football Game at US Air Force Academy, 1962. Photo by Dick Bernard

(The Air Force Academy was near brand new at the time, having come to its present Colorado Springs location in 1959.)


This afternoon we were invited to a recognition event at our grandson Spencer’s high school.  Spencer did a deferred enlistment in the U.S. Marines last summer, and when he graduates from high school he prepares to embark for California and basic training.

He and the other recruits to other branches of the service are being recognized this afternoon.  We won’t be going only because Spencer can’t be there: sectional track meet in which he’s a competitor.

But certainly we would have gone: we’re proud of him.

Also, today, Kyong Juhn is nearing the end of her over 300 mile walk from Rochester to Bemidji, re-enacting the walk of her parents from North to South Korea during the Korean conflict.  Her progress is being reported at Facebook page Walk for Hope and Peace, which can be seen here.  I was privileged to meet her early in the walk, on May 10 in Minneapolis, and I wrote about the walk on May 5, here.  Best I know, she stayed overnight the last two evenings with my sister and brother-in-law Flo and Carter in Park Rapids.  In between I think she walked part of the North Country Trail with Flo.  Her walk is scheduled to end on May 25 in Bemidji.   I learned of the walk through a group I’ve long been part of: Veterans for Peace Ch 27.   VFP provided the “sag wagon” for Kyong’s long walk.

Sag Wagon at Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis May 2018

Talking about “heroes” and “patriotism” is not always an easy issue.

Personally, I belong to the American Legion and to the Veterans for Peace.  My clear preference is the ‘no war’ stand of the Vets for Peace, but it is complicated.  For me, now deceased Native American author Jim Northrup caught war best in a 2014 video I’m proud to have facilitated.  You can watch it here.  It’s the sixth video, Veterans for Peace, and Jim begins at 6:50 and continues for about 19 minutes.

Personally, I served in the Army, 1962-63.  I volunteered for the draft since that was almost a certain destination anyway.  I was a new college graduate.  Once I asked a brother, why did he join the Air Force (both kid brothers are retired Air Force Officers).  He said, “because you said anything but the Army”!  Well, perhaps I said that.  I saw him right after basic training.

But I never bad mouth the military.  For many of us it was basic training for life.  It is how the military can be and has been misused over time that is the big problem.  Who is commander-in-chief makes a huge difference.

I have briefed Spencer on what’s ahead in Basic Training.  It will be interesting to hear him talk about when he comes home on leave.  No doubt he’ll have changed….

Then, there is the other side of the story, and on Saturday, it will play out at West Point where the Commander in Chief gives the graduation address.  A commentary about that upcoming event is here.   “Duty, Honor, Country” is well worth the time to read.

Have a good Memorial Day Weekend.  Memorial Day I will be where I always am: at the Veterans for Peace Commemoration at the Vietnam Memorial on the Minnesota Capitol Grounds.

The Emperor of Anger

PRENOTE: There was another mass killing in a school yesterday – in Santa Fe TX.  It was a copy cat of Columbine, but there the comparison ends.  Take time to read Disinformation Information.


“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”   Confucius

I’ve been considering what to say in this space for a couple of weeks.  Below is the best I can do.  As I write, the Royal Wedding day is happening in England.

There is a second post today: “Watching Death Happen”.

“We elected him” is my response to anyone who laments the ascendance of Donald J. Trump to the Presidency of the United States, and his performance since.  The same goes for those elected to Senate and Congress and state Representatives and Senators and Governors, and on an on.  We got exactly what we wanted in 2016.  We acted as a democracy: people voted (or didn’t), with little thought of potential consequences.

The incessant polls generally fix the Current Occupants “base” as less than one-third of the electorate; his job approval rating in aggregate seldom cracks 40%, usually fueled by some event of the day: the release of N. Korean prisoners, tax “cuts”….  How can this be?  By now everyone has to know how this guy operates, who he really is…but apparently they don’t care.

Of course, the data also means that the other two-thirds (or 60%) are NOT in his camp.  This a problem with  a simple solution.  I give my own first hints in the link below. I’ll write more in a week or two.

A couple of months ago I challenged a group with common interests to consider writing down brief thoughts about three things: 1) some memory relating to the state of our country and world 50 years ago (1968); 2) some thought about where we are at this point in our history (2018); 3) some thoughts about where we’ll be as a nation an world 50 years from now (2068).

Of course, making the challenge required me to meet it myself, and I did so in a two page reflection in April which you can read here: Dick Bernard- Past, Present, Future

More thoughts by 16 others, past and present, can be found at the links in my May 1 post.  At minimum I challenge you to read my reflection, and to then do your own, for yourself if no one else.

If we are to wallow in the ever-deepening pit we find ourselves, we deserve our fate.  (But our children and their children certainly do not.)

COMMENTS: (note additional comments below, as well.)

from Christina: I appreciated your post. I sometimes feel like just giving up because there is nothing I can do about it. I watched the royal wedding today. I could have cried knowing what it was like for Harry to go through the grieving process of losing his mother at such a young age. I thought of how proud Diana must be of her boys. William will be a fine king and Harry will change the world. One person can make difference.I am giving Diana the credit for how her boys were raised. She made a difference! I think of the song Brighten the corner where you are. Diana did.




UPDATE May 23, from cousin Georgine who lives in Kailua-Kona:  “The news makes it sound like the volcano is all over the island (see the picture with imagined).  The reality is the picture on the right.  Was glad to see this.  It is hard to describe.”

The Hawaii volcano in perspective. The reality is the smallest box on the right.

By no means does this minimize the disaster for the people who are directly affected.  On the other hand, news media visuals exaggerate the reality.  Hawaii is called the “Big Island” for a reason.

UPDATE May 11. Today’s Accuweather on the impact on local weather can be seen hereLailani Estates geographic location here.

Volcanoes are not my normal “beat” but Dec 22, 2015 and Jan 3, 2016, we were on our first trip to the Big Island, and I had two encounters with Kilauea (click on the word for lots of resources).  Kilauea is the youngster besides the huge Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea which are, one would hope, more or less dormant in these days of human habitation.

The Big Island of Hawaii

Kilauea is the brownish area towards the southwest edge of Hawaii.  By road, it is about 95 miles or so from Kailua-Kona.  It is where the roads (white lines) intersect.  As the crow flies, the volcano is perhaps 50 miles from Kailua-Kona.  In between is the massive Mauna Kea, to its north the even more massive Mauna Loa, immense ancient volcanoes of which, I suppose, makes up Kilauea.

The Kilauea area: map at Hilo airport

Kilauea is in the news today because it is slowly overrunning some roads and houses.  It is not to be deterred.  I won’t repeat the news about the earthquakes and the general mayhem if one’s area is affected.  Thoughts are with my cousin and her partner who have lived for many years perhaps 100 road miles away from the current eruption, on the other side of Hawaii.  Their relative location to Kilauea is here.

Dec. 22, 2015, I was with grandson Ryan, doing the “extreme” helicopter experience over the area – no doors.  Of course, they don’t do foolish things with tourists, like diving into craters or such, but nonetheless we saw occasional visual evidence of what the volcanic area looks like.  Below is one example from December 22.  One can almost imagine how the lava is moving in this photo.  At the edge of this area is forest, some parts of it smoldering due to the invasion of lava, but mostly just forest, and farms and occasional housing areas.

Kilauea area Dec 22, 2015

A couple of weeks later, Jan 3, 2016, my sister and her husband and I took a land trip to Kilauea and saw it from another perspective, from the area of the main caldera, which when we were there looked very serene, but has not always been such.

At Kilauea Observation Point, January 3, 2016

In the Visitor Center overlooking the Kilauea Caldera January 3, 2016

Not much story beyond this.  Grandson Ryan, “the kid”, really liked the helicopter jaunt above the Kilauea area.  So did I.  I’m glad I could provide the opportunity.

There is a side story, for me, about this: the “news” of Kilauea.

Kilauea, like a catastrophic tornado, or other violent acts of humans or of nature, makes for good visuals – the lead on the evening news.  What could be better than a sea of molten rock engufing a hapless car, or someone’s house, setting it afire with no opportunity to rescue.  We watch tragedies from afar these days.

It is a tragedy, for certain, for the owners of the car, or the houses.  But even on the map of Hawaii, the area is the tiniest of pin pricks.

It is just another piece of daily “news”.

Is it important to report this to the entire nation?  I suppose.  But is it representative of the Big Island of Hawaii?  No.

In this age of instant communication we’ve become a “sound bite” society, and that is not at all healthy for us.

There are so many things to appreciate in this world of ours.

In January, 2016 I managed to see Kilauea, and enjoyed the visit.

Very unfortunately there are residents in Kilauea’s path now who are not  now pleased….


from Larry: Dick..those shots remind me of some of the ones I may have taken…but I’m thinking more of the video I took at one of the times we were there. I need to find that helicopter ride video over the cauldron…I believe that was Kilauea…will post it and send you the link when I find it….

from Ken: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights. I enjoy reading them. We, too, flew over Kilauea ten years ago and saw the lava flowing from the volcano. Mother nature does what she wishes at her own time. It is more active now, certainly.

from Georgine (in Kailua-Kona area): There is much confusion about the geographic location of the eruption.  We have not been affected, even by the earthquakes.  We of course feel them, but there has been no destruction on this side of the island.  I have sadness for the people whose homes are being destroyed  They did know they were purchasing on an active volcano, but of course hoped that the volcano would not erupt in their lifetime.  The vog [volcanic fog] is thicker than it was.  There is no new odor.  The vog is always with us.

from Mary L: I have been thinking about Georgine a lot with the recent news. Our trip last summer has been in my mind a bunch… Hard to imagine some of the roads that we just recently drove on are now covered with lava. And frankly a bit crazy to think we were there at the volcano less than a year ago! My heart goes out to those that have lost all and pray that everyone stays safe.

from Darleen: Most interesting.  I clicked on some other options.  What came to mind with reading about those who would not leave Hawaii or the area of the volcano was a couple North of Fargo [N.D. on the Red River] who would not leave their home when the flood came with water rising because that was all they had.

from Mary M: I did speak with Georgine on Sunday afternoon, May 6.  She and Robert are not immediately affected by the eruptions and quakes but the whole area is unstable and that could have (or may already) have changed.  I can not even imagine the horror of watching volcanic lava swallow up life as they know it.  Hoping and praying for the best outcome possible but lives in that area are affected – forever.

Response from Dick: Yesterday I sent a note to Georgine: “I sent out a blog about Kilauea today, and I’ve been feeling guilty about the comments at the end…hope you didn’t/don’t take offense.  I was just noting that over and over again, today, they keep using the same photos of the same house burning, and the car.

I know volcanoes are a fact of daily life on the island, the earthquakes, the occasional eruption at Kilauea.  Probably where you are, ash and the like.  
I remember when you picked us up at the airport in Dec. 2015 [other side of the island], and I asked about volcanic smell.  Mostly, I think I was imagining things, since I had this notion that we’d be driving close by an active volcano.  Of course, we weren’t, and nothing was active anyway.  
All best wishes for everyone for an early end to the eruptions and the earth tremors.  My apologies, in any event.”
Georgine said “no need to apologize”, and also added the comments you see above.   Possibly, my nostrils, new to the Big Island, did smell the “vog” back in 2015….  On our trip we drove around the entire Big Island, and across the “saddle” between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, so we have at minimum a sense of this large island with a small population.  Most certainly, living there, especially towards the Hilo “side”, has to be a time of nervousness now.  Everyone on Hawaii is in my thoughts and prayers.
Our trip was certainly an opportunity to gain context.