Writing into the Light…

Finding my way with words…


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Rest Peacefully JoePa

Penn State coach Joe Paterno is carried off the field by his players after getting his 400th collegiate win over Northwestern 38-21 in an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Former Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, known for his “uniform” of glasses with thick smoky lenses, rolled up khaki pants, black sneakers and a “Nittany Lion Blue” windbreaker died this  morning after what has to have been the most horrific few months of his 85 years.

As a Penn State Alumni several times over (B.S., M.Ed., Principal Certifications) I have “known of” JoePa since arriving on campus in State College, PA in 1969.  Paterno made the unusual journey from Brooklyn, New York to the farm lands of the Nittany Valley  sixty-one years ago to become the asst. football coach (leading to forty six years as head coach).  It was there he planted the seeds of his life’s legacy, Success with Honor.  I, like many of my dear readers have struggled since November to wrap my brain around the ripples emanating from the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.  How could Joe Paterno have been fired?  What did he know, when did he know it, and is he responsible for not preventing further abuse after information was presented to him by a graduate assistant?  To quote Oprah, “What do I know for sure?”  I know we will never know.

The media had a field day with the “student riots” on the Penn State campus immediately following Paterno’s firing.  To expect the students, most of whom are still adolescents, to calmly accept the firing of a man whose picture they would expect to find illustrating a Wikipedia entry on the words ethics, honor and integrity is unrealistic.  While I don’t condone the actions of those students, it could have been predicted.  At Joe Paterno’s request, those students  turned their energies to positive ends within days.

There was much criticism that JoePa should never have been idolized and placed upon a pedestal.  To say that is to say that the world should have no heroes beyond those created in books, stories and animated movies.  To deny real world heroes is to create a world that is at once extremely sad and containing no hope for the future.  Perhaps we have created too narrow a definition of Joe Paterno’s life legacy.

David Bergman, Sports Illustrated, November 28, 2005

Paul Posluszy (inset photo on cover) is a former player under Paterno who led the Nittany Lions to The Big Ten Championship and currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars, stated, “Besides the football, he (Paterno) is preparing us to be good men in life.”  Paterno had a reputation for demanding excellence in the classroom as well as on the field.  In the course of his sixty-one years at Penn State, Joe and his wife donated millions of dollars to build up non-sporting programs at PSU.  One of his legacies is the Paterno Library, one of the jewels of the University Park campus.  He, indeed, could see life beyond the view from  inside Beaver Stadium.

Paterno was a popular keynote speaker on the topic of ethics in sports.  His players, Penn State students past and present,  and indeed the entire collegiate community nationwide, have been given a great gift in the life example of Joseph Vincent Paterno.  Even if some believe he was too “deified,” the reality is the essence of his persona created a high moral and ethical standard for all who knew him and knew of him.  For sixty-one years he has sent both football players and students into the world to carry forward the JoePa style of honor and ethical behavior.  At the end of a life, those are the “fallout ripples” that really matter.

Joe Paterno was admitted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.  He was named Coach of the Year by the  American Football Coaches Association four times.  He was considered to be one of the most successful coaches in the history of college football.

by Annemarie Mountz

Let us continue to carry forward the true life legacy of Joe Paterno.  Lord knows we live in a time where the world needs those high standards of excellence as a guiding light.  Let us not confuse the unknowns of one situation with a life well lived with integrity.

Rest peacefully, JoePa.  You’ve earned it.  Thank you for the guiding light that was you life.


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The Journey to the Promised Land

My words will never surpass his…  Some of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.:

A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.

He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

 

I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.

Credits:  Photos from Wikipedia.com                Quotations from BrainyQuote.com


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¿Back From the Future?

It began as an ordinary enough morning.  I awoke, went into the bathroom to take care of business.  I pulled on sweats and took the dog for a walk, fed her and the cats and fixed a cup of Earl Grey tea with a wedge of Meyer lemon.  I’ve had a respiratory infection and have been trying to drive the evil yuck from my upper respiratory track by any and every means possible.

I imagined myself sitting across the dining room table from Andy Wyeth discussing upcoming festivities for Groundhog Day.  The only difference between his scene and mine is that no one is past my dining room window chopping wood, it is a parking space my window oversees.  The price of life in a coastal beach town condo.

I looked up and noticed a car in the parking space beyond the window.  The car door opened, a woman approached my breezeway, opened the door and rang the bell.  My curiosity was ignited!  I grabbed Gracie, my over enthusiastic and gregarious golden, turned the knob and opened the back door.  My brain buzzed, my eyes spun in my head and I could have sworn I saw Marty McFly shove me into the back of a DeLorean piloted by Doc Brown!  When my body settled, I was looking at an oddly familiar looking nurse-like-figure.

“My name is Mildred” she said.  I waited, anticipating the next thought, sentence, word, explanation as to why shy is standing in my breezeway.  Nothing…  As I waited, so did Mildred.  Obviously  the mention of the name “Mildred”  was expected to bring a reaction and/or response.  It meant nothing to me.

“Ratched.”  My eyebrows took that quizical stance as I mumbled, “Excuse me.”  “Ratched, my name is Mildred Ratched.”  Then, silence.  Okay, where do I go from here?  Do I say, “Congratulations,”  or “Nice name,” or “and you are standing in my breezeway because…” waiting for her to fill in the blank?  My forehead furrowed, my left eyebrow arched as high as it could and I chose to stare her down.  Finally, after what felt like an hour the silence broke.  “I’m Mildred Ratched.  I’m your new home health care worker and I’m here to help you wash and get dressed for the day.”  I didn’t mean to be rude, but I couldn’t help quickly glancing down.  Okay, I thought, I haven’t had my shower yet, but I did run a brush through my hair and a different one around my teeth and, while not exactly business casual, I thought I WAS dressed!  I maintained the quizical affect, the furrowed forehead, the arched left brow and added a slight squint while tilting my head and turning from side to side like a pigeon before settling in to wait her out again.  (Don’t ask where that pigeon reference came from)

The absence of sound was once again broken by Mildred’s voice… “I spoke to your son yesterday.  He said you lived in #108.”  Mildred is now doing with the right corner of her mouth what I have been doing with my left eyebrow,  as if to say, “they didn’t tell me she had dementia.”

My face indicated that a light had indeed gone on – must have been a CFL bulb as the light was a little slow to reach my brain.  “Mildred, I do not have a son, this is #208 not #108 and I am not receiving home health care services.”  Mildred replied, “Oh.” turned around got in her car and drove away.  I felt that buzz in my head again and landed back in my kitchen after another quick trip in the DeLorean.  If Mildred was a foreshadowing, I am afraid, I am very afraid.  As she backed out of the parking space she gave me a terminator look, “I’ll be back.”

I looked all through the literature.  This was not listed in any of the information on that antibiotic zip-pak.  I am going to maintain a positive attitude.  I am going to tell myself that Mildred needs a GPS and this is not a forewarning of things to come.  There is not a Nurse Ratched in my future, there is not a Nurse Ratched in my future, there is not a Nurse Ratched in my future… and no more rides in that DeLorean, McFly!!!

Photo Credits: 1. Groundhog Day, a painting by Andrew Wyeth; 2. Louis Fletcher as Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest