Category Archives: paul grignon

Christ the Redeemer…and Gold Medal Winner!

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Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Corcovado, Christ the Redeemer

He rises 125 feet into the sky, arms outstretched, welcoming the world to the Rio Olympics.

But after standing up there on Corcovado for the past 85 years, watching all the glowing bodies swarming the sands below, Jesus decided to spend a few days on Ipanema beach, catching a few rays and going for a few practice swims.

Later on, at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, he got ready for the big event. Donning rather unique-looking bathing trunks, he stood on the 3-meter platform, tanned and buff.

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I captured this moment just before he bounced off the springboard, performing his signature move, a 4 ½ somersault pike with a twist, with a slight hover at the end.

Announcer #1: “Wow! Jesus really nailed it! I’ve never seen anything like it! It…it’s almost as if he was defying gravity.”

Announcer #2: “Or deifying gravity, as some would say.”

I managed to ask him a question at the end, as he slipped out of the pool.

“Your entry was otherworldly. How do you account for your extraordinary skills?”

“Well, I’d like to thank Father, for all my dad-given talents. Without his support, I’d probably still be a carpenter. I love ya, Dad!” And then he walked away beaming, as though a halo surrounded his hirsute visage.

Every morning, after my early walk with my dog Andi (will he soon have a female companion? More on that later) I go for a bike ride and end up at St. Annes church. There, in the quietude of trees and birdsong, I come to this statue of Christ. He resides atop a stairwell and this is where I begin a second work-out, to the consternation of rosary-beaded worriers below and a priest who drives by in his golf cart, wondering just what in tarnation this long-haired guy is doing, running up and down the stairs beneath the gaze of Christ.

There are 68 steps to the top, and I go up and down them five times, 680 steps in all. It’s quite a workout. And then I pedal home, past the worshippers sitting quietly in the outdoor pavilion, past the votive chapel where, for $5 you can light a large candle, and down the hill to home.

Christ, fresh from his victory, with gold medal around his neck, returned to the pedestal high on the hill.

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Trust me, you’ll just have to go there and see for yourself, to witness the brilliance of sunlight reflecting off his hard-earned medal.

 

 

 

 

 

Gypped at Geno’s…

There comes a day of reckoning, when Karma presents itself in all its hindsight beauty to the recipient, when all who have screwed you over, or cheated you, or have taken advantage of you, manifests and brings justice to all the wrongs perpetrated.

May Karma at some point reveal itself to Geno’s.

My wife called me at work the other day. She had been in an accident. All the airbags went off and, as she sat there, bewildered and in a daze, some kind Samaritan yanked open her passenger side door and said, “Jesus, Lady! You have to get out! You can’t breathe in that dust!”

Luckily my wife was able to exit the crumpled car. The police soon came, and her car was towed to Geno’s. And this is where one hopes Karma will eventually pay a visit to Chicopee.

I immediately left work, took the Pike to the Chicopee exit, picked up my wife where she worked, and traveled back to our house. She complained of chest pains, from the full frontal assault of the airbag, and she applied an ice pack to alleviate the pain. I was relieved to know that that was the only pain she had suffered in the accident.

I then called Triple A (if you do not have the premium service, I recommend it. It is well worth the money) and told them of the situation. Unfortunately, they could not transport her vehicle to the auto shop we chose until we drove back out to Chicopee, signed a few release papers, and paid a preposterous some of money for said privileges.

$276.21 to be exact. I was flabbergasted.

“How can it cost so much to have our car taken out of your business?” I inquired, immediately perturbed and flummoxed by such a sum.

“Well, for towing it was $90. And then there’s the $1.70 per mile charge. We also have a clean-up fee of such-and-such, and then to release the car from our yard for Triple A is another $75.00,” the woman said on the phone. (They do not allow AAA to take the car from the yard; for the $75, they have a driver take it out onto the street, where AAA can then deal with it.)

I responded, “How can you possibly justify such expenses? It’s absolutely ludicrous! How about I just pay you the towing fee of $90 and call it even?”

“I’m sorry, sir. You’ll have to come here and sign the papers and pay the full amount.”

Two hundred and seventy-six dollars and twenty-one cents. Ridiculous! For what? So the police could get a cut of the money, for hiring Geno’s to tow the car to their garage? For $35 a day for storage…for sitting in their lot and, if we didn’t arrive before 2:30pm, they would tack on another $35!

Needless to say, I was irate. No, I was livid. It was nothing more than sheer thievery; towing, storage, clean-up fees (What is that, anyway? My wife told me the Good Samaritan cleaned up the debris from the accident), fluid disposal…and the ridiculous list went on.

We drove down there, paid the extortion, and waited for AAA. In the meantime, my wife asked if I could see the car, to witness the damage. The woman behind the plexiglass informed us that we would have to wait for Triple A, that it was in the yard. She basically treated my wife as though she were a criminal. There were no comments of “Geez, I hope you’re okay,” or “Are you all right? That must have been a bad accident!” No, nothing of that ilk. Strictly business. Pay up, or no release of your car.

Triple A arrived and Walter, the driver, was exceedingly polite and concerned. He bid us safe travels and wished my wife good health, comments far removed from the employees of Geno’s. There only concern was that our credit card went through.

My wife took the day off to recuperate. Her chest still hurts, and her doctor told her to rest, that she probably had a bruised sternum. I sit here composing this post, as my wife fitfully slumbers, and ponder the nature of such people, such businesses that feel the need to wring wallets dry of citizens, tacking on unfathomable fees, all to pad the almighty goddamn bottom line.

I try, on a daily basis, to embrace the wisdom and beauty of Buddhism. Yet when something like this enters your life, when your Beloved is hurt and is shaken from such an ordeal, when you actually witness the devastation of such an accident, you have to wonder about the callousness of such business entities.

It was the epitome of insult to injury—quite literally.

May Karma, in all its infinite guises, pay a quiet yet profound visit to Geno’s.

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing more than a mere triviality. But no one—no one— should have to suffer such injustices.

 

©Paul Grignon, 2016, All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Eliminating Isolation…

Yeah, it has been a while since last I posted something. No excuses, though. There never are excuses when it comes to your passions. Mine? Writing and painting. Have I done a ton of either over the past four months? That would be a resounding No.

Why? No time? Too busy? Caught up in other things? All utter codswallop. What I have been doing, though, is wasting time doing…nothing. I have allowed the Big Suck of inertia to rest comfortably on my heavy shoulders, a presence foul with indecision and fetid whispers, draining my creative juices into the putrid cesspool of procrastination and fear.

But recently I joined this site. It’s a beginning. It has given me a foothold into the sphere of writing once again. Please do stop by this site and say hi to Marcy and all the other fine writers out there. It’s not too late to add your own unique approach to these exercises.

And as such, this has allowed me to slowly eliminate my self-imposed exile and isolation. My fingers have begun to thaw, and once again am I pecking at those white-lettered keys, composing passages here and there, and I have returned to my fledgling novel, one that has sat tucked away, mouldering in a folder on my lapop, patiently waiting for me to open it up and finish my first book.

In the aforementioned site, the challenges speak of welcoming Fear, not to conquer or vanquish it but to realize it exists, that it will always reside near you, within you, waiting to see what you will do with it.

Will you allow the negativity to flow freely, stunting your writing, relegating your hapless soul into a quivering mass of indecision, or will you welcome it as a friend, to keep it close and quiet, where as you begin to write, more and more, it will behave and sit silent. But know that it will always search for a chink, a way back in.

Fear (isolation) is synonymous with the great wide and wild Unknown, the vast landscape of uncertainty, where nothing more than a daunting white rectangle and a nagging cursor stares back at you. The fear with the unknown is like some malformed ragged beast, haunting the periphery, lurking in dark shadows, waiting for the chance to pounce and shred your Muse.

But, to paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert from her fine new book, Big Magic, if we do not embrace such thoughts, such stories, such welcome ideas into our head they will, eventually, disappear and seek refuge in someone elses cerebellum, where those ideas–your ideas!–will be fashioned into prose.

Do not allow that to happen. Nay, best to treat your fear as your friend. Only then will the hesitation blues pass on by.

If you, like me, have recently suffered from isolation, of self-distrust in your abilities, go join a writing site. Or an artists site. Or musicians group. Eliminating isolation and self-doubt will allow you to plunge your spirit, your artistic Muse, back into all that you find passionate.

I am working on it. I have composed this post. It has been a while, yes, but damn does it feel good writing once again!

And as soon as I let you go with these last few words, I will go back to my desktop, open that folder and begin anew with editing my work in progress.

My parting words and advice?

Just sit tight…and write.

Take care, and thanks for stopping by.

Paul

Copyright, 2016, Paul Grignon, all rights reserved.

 

Cusp of April…

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What lies beyond?…

The snow slowly vanishes and in its wake shadows return.

Andi sees them, out there, beyond the fringe of woods. And within the shadows’ midnight countenance other ‘things’ lurk within.

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Wild, wild woods.

Who knows what Andi sees in such darkled recesses and folds, creases left lightless through leafless trees?

Usually I let him out for his morning pee. But today I opted to take him on a trek across fallow fields, windswept with blowing snow. Snow! On March 28th.

He stops along the way, sniffs and stares into the black bowers surrounding the field. Out there, beyond the perimeter, creatures unseen skitter and scrabble stealthily, within thicket and dormant shrub.

Only the faint glimmer of sun strains to release its visage upon the world, emitting sallow beams that feebly shine through a knot of pine.

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Gurgling winter brook.

We enter the woods. Silence greets our footfalls. No birdsong is heard. Only the faint trickling of a thawed stream murmurs muted along its meandering path. A single crow flutters past and disappears between saplings and fir.

Trudging along, Andi again pauses to take in such environs. A steady, light snow filters through trees, settling quietly on delicate limbs.

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Fragile winter finery.

I turn to go and manage twenty paces before realizing Andi has not followed. Patiently do I wait for him to come by my side. But he stands, resolute, staring and sniffing the frigid morning air, perhaps a brief glimpse and return to his forebears, his roots as a member of Canis Lupus, once again part of the wolf pack. Reluctantly, he releases his stare into the distant forest.

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We amble back, onto the deck, where candy rockers replace my former snow-made sofa and side table. Andi still peers through rail slats at the woods beyond.

But with a twist of a doorknob, Andi’s revelry is broken.

Once again does he instantly return to his domesticated self, a canine who relishes the warmth within, a safe haven from whatever creatures stalk the pitch black underbrush.

He clicks across the tiled kitchen floor and hops onto the sofa, where Julie and I reside, nursing cups of joe, heaped with blankets piled high.

Andi lies comfortably ‘neath our mounds of cloth. The invisible creatures remain outside, hidden in darkled forests, and whatever glimmer of joining a wolf pack has fled his mind, as he lies nestled and warm and content between his two loving caretakers.

Although at times it seems a shame that Andi has lost his wild side, his ancestral calling to roam the world, it is a comfort and pleasure—in a selfish human way—to have this loving, beautiful animal, this wonderful dog, curled near.

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Andi, our pet ‘wolf.’

Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2015, All Rights Reserved.