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In The Shelter Of Each Other The People Live

A story by Jake Cunningham

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Photo Credit: Screen Download, "The Boxer", Joan Baez and Paul Simon - Live at the Beacon Theater, For Personal Use Only

Audio Credit: "The Boxer", Joan Baez and Paul Simon. Live at the Beacon Theater of New York, YouTube

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

"In The Shelter of Each Other The People Live."

Happy St Patrick's Day, to Jews and Muslims in Gaza, To Ukrainians and Russians in Crimea. What beautiful parts of our world. Our World, that we all need to care for. Too much of this day exists on a Hallmark Card, or, in a bar. But here's an Irish Proverb that doesn't fit either mold, and expresses the greater angels of the Irish nature. Its profound, rich meaning is for everyone, regardless of language, location, race, or nationality. Simply put, We cannot survive in isolation. We need to care for each other, as well as our common home, the shared space within the entire community comprised of our culture and environment. To pretend that we're individuals who can go it alone, what a dreadful affectation. The thing is, when you tug at any single aspect of nature, or the works of man, you find it connected to everything else. Infinite degrees of connection, infinite degrees of curiosity. So let go of our judgments, let's not pre-judge based on a red hat, instead take the risk to begin a conversation or two. Debate, not rage. Change a vote, make our world a little better.

So I laugh at the Marlboro Man, the rugged individual. Today I live and breathe because of the hard work of literally hundreds of care givers, over five long years. I can't thank them all, but I can "Pay It Forward"; mindful, and grateful, for the inherent responsibility that renewed life offers. What an expansive, generous term! I'm learning all that it implies as I go along. On Saint Patrick's Day, it means to honor the Goddess who makes the connections - to thereby fortify the shelter within which The People live. In other words, to reconnect, and strive to unify. This is obviously not to be completed in a day. And obviously an endeavor that needs to be chronicled for future generations to learn from.  

My intention is to publish on historychip.com, as well as Substack. History Chip goes farther than Substack or Medium to aid aspiring writers. Prompts, suggestions, style advice. It's an agile platform that easily handles longer form stories, conversational length comments, as well as photography, video, and audio. I don't submit anything without including a good photo or two and an audio track. Have a look when you get a chance. Discover that not only can you write your story, but that it matters!   

Why? To borrow a famous expression, it's self evident. This moment in history is fraught, but we're made for it, from the indelible experiences of our youth, the thru-line leads directly to today's chaos. Ours has not been a Golden Age. I've had a brush with mortality; it wakes one up, imparts an urgency to life. My life matters, my story matters. Needless to say, I'm among those who won't stand for the authoritarian's choice for President. A gross insult to American History, he's going to get convicted, again, but we need to make sure he loses at the polls, again. Decades after Vietnam, we can once again look in the mirror and find purpose, an organizing principle around which we can unify, and nurture. The generational challenge to advance the principle that All Are Created Equal, is being challenged from within. Not since the Civil War has the challenge been so dire. We have a voice, if we choose to speak against this perpetual obscenity, against those committed to dividing the Great American Body Politic. Protect our liberty, protect our future. Speak out, tell your story, vote!  

I  miss the farm where I lived upstate, but I'm happy to be back in the Big City. The change of seasons isn't as dramatic here as it is in Sherburne, but forsythia and willows are budding in Riverside Park, early this year, so I'll get to enjoy the Season of Awakening twice. For 45 years I've been able to prolong Spring and Autumn with road trips upstate. The polite revelation of Spring in New York contrasted with the manure laden mud season on Skyline Drive. Tis the season, I love both! And yes, I marvel at the Cycle of Life frequently. Several days ago, WFUV Fordham, cool and progressive, played a set of Simon and Garfunkel songs, including "America" and "The Boxer", the version made new by Paul Simon at Joan Baez's 75 birthday party. 

I was a guest at Joan's party, smoking and joking with my tribe on Amsterdam Ave., the support staff having thrown open the Beacon's back stage doors on a beautiful night. But that's another story. Do we know that the original '45 version of The Boxer is missing a verse? Listening to the Missing Verse, as I hit my 70th, this beautiful standard takes on a stronger, more robust meaning, a third Season of Awakening. To me, it restores the heartsick boxer, who is us. Gently affirming our life choices. Let's make another choice, that to protect our future, as a beacon of liberty. Give a listen to the attached audio file, the entire version is full of joy and laughter. But if you're in a hurry (don't be!) the Missing Verse starts at 3:38 in. Here are the lyrics: comment, write back, let me know what you think. 

"Now the years are rolling by me,

They are rocking evenly,

I am older than I once was

Younger than I'll be,

But that's not unusual.

No, it isn't strange,

After changes upon changes

We are more or less the same,

After changes, we are more or less the same."


There's so much to be happy about on this, World Happiness Day!

Hard Work and Good Leadership have yielded a dynamic upgrade to this site.  Congratulations!

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Happy Birthday to us all.

Happy Equinox.


New York City

March 20, 2024


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 St. Patricks Day, Joan Baez, Paul Simon,The Boxer
  New York City
Spring 2016

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