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2008 Beginnings

Story ID:3481
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Cleveland Ohio USA
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2008 Beginnings

2008 Beginnings

SAD - January was a month of deaths in my "neighborhood" though really for me death is a wonderful new beginning for those who have been faithful to God. It is us who are left behind who find it so sad. Norman, my wonderful,
wonderful helper of this past fall who accomplished so many of my needed household jobs died of a brain anuerism on January 15. The bleeding in his brain never stopped. We wondered why they didn't go back in to stop it, but sadly it most of been because he had no health insurance. This is not right.

Four of my fellow parishioners at St. Gregory's Byzantine Church also departed this earth in January. And for our tiny parish this is a big loss. Then a long ago neighbor whose sister was my friend in the 40's died. They also had a
brother who was retarded, but Eddie was a great help to me on those days I cut the grass and trimmed the bushes. He always enjoyed the ice cream treats which followed his hard work. Years ago he preceeded his brother in death too.

VICTOR SCHRECKENGOST - This Sebring, Ohio native who spent most of his life in Cleveland and who is considered to be the father of industrial design died January 26, 2008 at the age of 101. I had never heard of him before but part of the reason may well be that he was a humble man who was a doer instead of a promoter. I thought I should devote a whole Echo to him because he was a man of so many great accomplishments, but I realized that anyone interested will find him on the internet. (His family name intrigued me and
I found it is derived from German for "frightening guest," a reference to Viking

Re his accomplishments, his stepson Chip Nowacek said in an 2005 interview: "Chances are that almost every adult in America has ridden in, drunk out of, eaten off of, mowed their lawns with, sat on, placed a call with, lit the night
with, hid their hooch in or had an arm or leg replaced with something created by Viktor Schreckengost."

And to be more specific re his work--his output as a designer was immense. These products included pedal cars, printing presses, stoves, refrigerators, collators, machine tools, riding lawn mowers, lawn furniture, tractors, dinnerware, toys, streetlights, broadcast equipment, gearshift consoles, flash lights, theater costumes, stage sets, artificial limbs, typesetting machines, coffins, calendars,
chairs, electric fans, lenses, logos, ball gowns and baby walkers. Wow, what a man - truly a modern day Leonardo DaVinci!

LENT. For those of us who are Byzantine Catholics, Russian Orthodox, or Greek
Orthodox-- Monday - Feb 4th is the beginning of Lent. For Latin Catholics and other Christians it starts on Ash Wednesday. Our "Fat Tuesdays" take place today - Sunday. And though I never learned the art of making "Pampuski" the
delicious fried donuts associated with our Lent, I did make myself a delicious Tofu Cream Cheese Pie. In my hurry to get it done, I forgot to bake the graham cracker bottom, but guess what--you would never know! I then spread cherry
filling on top of the creamy white tofu filling. I didn't realize when I made it this
Saturday - that it "should" be my last indulgence until Easter.

In our rite, the two Sundays preceding the 1st Sunday of Lent are called Meat-fare and Cheese-fare. My wonderful ancestors kept the concept of abstaining from meat and dairy products ALL DURING LENT --following the appropriate
Sundays. That meant they would not indulge these foods until the glorious event of Easter. What a wonderful self-denying people. Sadly, it is not observed by most of our Ruthenian Byzantine people though I believe that the Greek Orthodox do observe this beautiful and truly penitential practice. But guess what - I DO TOO! However, anyone who is a VEGAN also does this EVERY DAY, and so it is not truly penitential for us at all.

The first day of our Lent and on Good Friday are called BLACK FAST DAYS. It makes me smile - everyday is a "black" fast day for me though not at all "black" or a fast. I will have to cut back on my meals tomorrow in order to do some penance as a reminder of what Lent really should mean to me personally.

CHINESE ZODIAC RAT. For those who playfully observe the year of their birth according to the Chinese calendar - take heart. February 7, 2008 is the Chinese new year and the year of the rat. The people of the east DO NOT REVILE them
as we generally do, but rather revere them for their quick wits and ability to accrue and hold on to items of value. And since for the Chinese --mice and rats are used interchangeably, consider who of us does not look fondly on Disney's lovable MICKEY MOUSE? Famous personalities born in the year of the rat are Prince Charles, ice skating champ Sasha Cohen, rapper Emenem and actress Scarlett Johansson. If interested in this subject, the search wagon has many links on this topic.

THE GARBAGE TRUCK. We all get inspirational forwards from time to time. This one called The Garbage Truck was written by David Pollay, a syndicated colunmist, and creator and host of "The Happiness Answer" television program. I've never seen it to my knowledge. As for his garbage truck message, I know you will find it on the internet if interested. In brief,
he learned a valuable lesson from a taxi cab driver who handled an almost serious accident
caused by a black car jumping out in front of him. As the almost accident unfolded, the
taxi cab driver slammed on his brakes and avoided a near collision. The ungracious culprit
gave him a mouthful before speeding away. But the cabbie's response was impressive -no
offensive or bad words - just a wave and a smile.

From the cab driver David learned a valuable lesson which he called "The Law of the Garbage
Truck." He wrote "Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage,
full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up,
they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you."

So what should your response be? He says - don't take it personally. Just smile, wave,
wish them well, and move on. Sounds easy doesn't it -but I doubt it really is. However, whose to say that we can't learn to be like that taxi cab driver? He must have learned from experience that at some point he didn't want to be dumped on anymore and learned to "shake off" whatever the garbage people were dumping on him. Thanx Mr.Pollay. I hope I can also learn from that wise cabbie and you.

BE AN OPEN VESSEL. I was just reflecting on hard it is for some people to hear the TRUTH. Is it because we think there is only one truth and it is ours or because the truth makes us uncomfortable? Well, whichever, I was thinking of two vessels- one which is completely opened to receive the "waters of truth" and the other
which has only a small spout opening through which the waters of truth can trickle in.
You probably have tried to convince someone of "your" truth and it was like trying to force it into that narrow spout. It is hard going. And then there is the person who is open and willing to see the truth and accepts it. Which type of vessel are you? Which type of vessel am I? Of course, we all hope we are the open-
type vessel!


Cheryl Wittenauer (AP) wrote about one of them. Hector, a 52-pound pit bull has found a happy home with Leslie Nuccio and her roommate, Danielle White and their three other dogs. The picture says it all. He is social, people-focused, and happy now living in his new home in sunny California. He still sports the scars of his horrible past on Michael Vick's estate. I hope his story and others like his will be be a wake-up call for all those legislators who continue to consider all pit- bulls dangerous. This is just not the case. Hector and others like him were treated brutally and if they didn't fight -they were zapped or beaten or even put to death. The pit bulls in my opinion are not inherently dangerous - their owners are often the real villains. Kind people who have
raised pit bulls from puppy hood have found them sweet and loving. It's about time we
dropped their unsavory reputation and started giving them a chance to show how loving
they can be.

**The top picture is Viktor Schreckengost.