Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Out of Control

Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to take my dream life seriously, pausing each morning to recall as best I can the details of the almost always vibrant and colorful dreams I encounter each night. Carl Jung observed:

“Man's task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious….[but] there is no coming to consciousness without pain.”


Some days I simply lie in bed upon awakening, pondering my dream; other mornings I’ll pick up the iPad ever by my bed and go to one or more dream symbols sites for interpretations. About half the time, I tap in a sketch of the dream on my iPad, send it to myself as an email, then get up, make my first pot of coffee, take my early morning walk in my garden and then finally come to my computer to begin working on it.

The entries I create from these dreams go into a collection I call my Dream University Doctorate. I want to track what my unconscious is telling me in this time of major flux in my life. Hence I take my dreams seriously.

Nothing is Working…

Most of my dreams these days invoke symbols which speak of change, of new directions, of journeys to foreign places. They also are marked by symbols of vulnerability and the fears and anxieties involved by major life changes. Many have spoken of creativity and personal growth, even more invoke imagery of spiritual development.

These are hardly surprises. My life has taken a distinctly spiritual turn in the last two years. And the last time I felt this detached from my daily work life I closed my law practice, packed up my Mazda and drove across the country to Berkeley to seminary.

The other night I had a disturbing dream. I was back in that huge teaching auditorium where the candidate for a tenure track position had tried to give her ill-fated teaching presentation several years back. Like that very sad day, the students were restless, noisy and inattentive and I, like her, was virtually paralyzed on the stage.

Everything I did failed to end the uproar in that auditorium. Students left the hall slamming doors, loudly talking on cell phones. Those who remained were focused only on their computers and cell phones. No one would answer the questions I posed. They ignored me. I kept thinking to myself, “What can I do to engage them?” Nothing would come out of my head  - or my mouth.

To make matters worse, the auditorium’s computer equipment was not working. I tried everything I could to get it to work to no avail. My well prepared presentation simply would not come up. And I knew there was no one to assist me with this problem. I was on my own.

I awoke in a cold sweat.

“Completely Out of Control”

As I lay in bed trembling the next morning, it dawned on me that this particular dream had its origins in a comment made by my husband earlier in the night at dinner.

Poor Andy has had to weather some rather stormy sessions with me and my online course sites at both UCF and Valencia this past first week of classes. Though he works in IT at Valencia, these course technologies are very different from those serving financial aid at Valencia that he skillfully navigates each day.

On more than one occasion he has uttered something to the effect of “What in the world is happening here?” as he has watched me walk step by step, doing what the program says I need to do, only to come up with error messages on the student view which means they cannot see the material I have linked up there. “That shouldn’t be happening,” he groans.

At dinner last Friday I mentioned that I was exhausted from just one week of classes. “I feel completely overwhelmed by all these things I am unable to change,” I said. His response stopped me dead in my tracks: “Oh, you’re completely out of control of your situation, Harry. It’s no wonder you’re exhausted.”

The obviousness of that comment hit me like a ton of bricks. But I hadn’t given it much thought until the next morning as I lay in bed shaking.

The reality is that most of my job is indeed outside my control. That is particularly true of the aspects of the job most crucial to being able to do the kind of job I am capable of doing.

To begin with, we instructors have no control over the size of our classes. While the subject matter we are teaching really demands small enough classes to hold meaningful discussions, our class sections range from 40 to 78 in size. Even at 40, it is hard to hold a discussion, much less get to know your students. At 78 it’s simply out of the question.

That many students means that course requirements now must be largely trashed to simply handle the crush. It’s impossible to grade 74 essay exams with any depth and offer any feedback of value. Let’s hear it for multiple choice exams with scantrons.

This means that in my world religions classes I can no longer require on-site observation visits because I won’t have the time to grade the papers. Any semblance of a “discussion” online in such cases would be a farce. At a very basic level, this reality reinforces exactly the opposite message of what good world religions classes should instill in their students: 

that religions matter enough to take them seriously.

Enrollments are driven by two factors: funding and classroom availability. Clearly, the more students the department agrees to serve, the more money we get. Everyone in public education today worships the god of FTE. Screw quality, give me the numbers.

As for classrooms, the university long ago surpassed its capacity to house its ever growing student body on campus thus commencing the gold rush to online sections. These can be taught by adjuncts, don’t require classrooms and students can be made to pay additional technology fees to take the classes they need to graduate.



Of course, face-to-face meetings in classrooms are not necessarily a luxury, either. Most of our philosophy department courses meet in an old building long ago abandoned by engineering classes for newer digs provided by corporate moneys from the self-described “defense” industry.

There is a reason the engineers fled the scene.

The elevator is often unpredictable in that building. It’s quite possible to get stuck between floors. One of my classrooms had a VCR which ate cassettes for lunch, some of them irreplaceable. It was removed but never replaced.

The internet connection in the classroom was tenuous and would often go out mid-lecture. The overhead projector in the ceiling was also not terribly predictable and would shut itself off periodically followed by a 10 minute cool-down before it would allow the user to turn it on again.

In a 50 minute class, 10 minutes is 20% of your class time. That’s a long time to do an improvised song and dance when a well prepared lecture is sitting there unused.

The insult to injury in that scenario was the filthy state of the building, particularly the bathrooms just around the corner from the classroom. The overwhelming stench of the men’s urinals, often taped up to prevent use because they were not functioning, often dominated our classroom on the third floor.  Some students actually became nauseated from the smell.

Complaints about these conditions did little good. The department has long been the stepchild in an arts and humanities college which is itself a stepchild at a university which began as a technical school and has never really grown out of that persona. In spite of constant grumbling at faculty meetings and ongoing written repair requests, the decrepit facilities that many of us not-so-affectionately referred to as Bangladesh continued to be our assigned location.

A Near Escape to Regional

This was one of the many reasons I sought to be reassigned to a regional campus.

There I am actually able to download updates for Adobe and Java to my office computer without asking the permission of the IT people who must come from another building to make any changes to my office computer in person with me present. I have a telephone in my regional campus office from which I can even make long distance calls. The phone in my main campus office was removed a couple of years ago for cost-saving purposes.  I never had “permission” to make long distance calls from my office, having to go to the main office to do so from the front desk.

People there actually ask me what I need. The first time I heard that I didn’t know how to answer. But these are small consolations.

Even with all of my classes online and my assignment at a branch campus, I still have little control over my professional life. When I need to come to main campus, I have to buy a day permit and find parking in the student lots, if there is any to be found. Some days that requires a half hour ordeal of stalking students returning to their cars after classes to sweep up their precious parking space. And it’s $5 a pop just for parking for me to come provide gratuitous weekly office hours on main campus and sit on never-ending search committees replacing revolving door instructors paid less than starting teachers at nearby public schools.

And then there is the teaching assignment. For the past several semesters, I have not known what courses I was teaching for the upcoming semester until mere days before they were scheduled to begin. In an online class, that means throwing something together to have it up online and ready to roll at 12:01 AM the first day of classes. On two occasions this past year that has meant creating brand new courses from scratch at the very last minute and scrambling the rest of the semester to get them up and running.

Then there is the nightmare of textbooks. Last semester I discovered two weeks into the course that my required texts had brand new editions. I discovered this when students began to complain that the images I was testing in my quizzes were not in their texts. I finally got the new editions the students had been sold the third week of classes. The decisions on the texts were made by the bookstore.

However, it is the online programs that ultimately remind me of how completely out of control I really am. Class contents can be transferred from semester to semester for the same class. But every link in every file available to students in the new class must be manually relinked each semester.

This is an enormously time consuming task which, according to my programmer husband, is totally unnecessary were the programs properly configured. Increasingly I find myself doing more and more technical work I am totally unprepared to do that has absolutely nothing to do with teaching or learning.

Misery’s Company

So Andy is right (as he often is). There is very little about my work as a lecturer anymore that remains within my ability to even influence the decisions which make or break the work I am expected to do. And I am hardly alone in this. While we faculty are expected to provide quality courses for consumers whose online satisfaction ratings can drastically affect everything from our raises to our future enrollments, we cannot be assured of the working conditions we need to do the jobs we are capable of doing.

This makes the increasingly shrill demands for “accountability” made by those who are not accountable themselves little more than a farce.

The first week of classes a colleague posted a message at a social media site reading “First day of classes not even half over and I already want to crawl back into bed and hide under the covers.” Clearly I am not alone in finding this situation untenable. And  it is precisely this reality that prompts life-long devoted teachers like myself to dream of change and new directions and to ponder with great hopefulness what a new life that might actually be professionally fulfilling might hold.

The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., M.Div., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Asst. Lecturer: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Osceola Regional Campus, Kissimmee

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.
Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

Life Lessons at a Municipal Pool

When I was in elementary school, the closest swimming pool to my hometown of Bushnell was in Inverness, some 25 miles to the west. During summer recreation at the school, the coaches would load us into a school bus to take us to the municipal pool there for an afternoon of swimming fun.

The bus rides were as much fun as the swimming. It was on these trips I learned the folk songs which had captured America’s imagination in the early 1960s on shows like Hootenanny and Shindig. I came to love Peter, Paul and Mary as we sang “500 Miles, “ “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore.”

It was also there I first began learning the dangers of the water. One visit when I had floated into the deep end of the pool on an inner tube, a little girl pushed me off the tube to take it away from me. I plunged into the 8 feet of water below me. Not knowing how to swim, I scrambled to pull myself up to the surface, grabbing onto the girl’s bathing suit as she pushed me away.

Going down for the last time, I suddenly found myself in the air and sitting on the side of the pool choking out the 10 gallons of chlorinated water I’d swallowed. My Mother had chaperoned the trip that day and had seen me floundering, pulled me out of the water and saved me from drowning.

In the summer of 1966, those trips to the pool ended. A court order handed down from a federal district court mandated that the segregated schools of Citrus County would be dismantled. The handwriting was on the wall. All public facilities would be integrated. And so the city council of Inverness decided to close its pool rather than require its white children to swim in the pool with black children.

My Mother called it “Cutting your nose off to spite your face.”

“You know why…”

This was hardly my first encounter with this kind of raw prejudice in action. It had been the custom of the elementary school I attended to hold a graduation service of sorts at the end of the 6th grade. Thereafter students would attend the big school, the 7-12 high school across the street where my Father taught.

In years gone by, this had actually been a big deal. Many farm kids never went beyond 6th grade. An elementary education was presumed to be all kids who would thereafter work the truck farms and cattle ranches of rural America needed to know. Jethro Bodine on the Beverly Hillbillies often bragged about being a 6th grade graduate. He reflected a time in America’s history that had passed but whose relics remained in ceremonies like that of my school.

The year I was to graduate to the high school, our teacher informed us that the graduation ceremony had been cancelled. We were crestfallen. Why, we asked.

At this point our teacher’s face became grave. “Next year we will be integrated,” she said. This was hardly news. “So what?” I asked. “Some parents don’t want their kids standing on a stage next to little black kids,” she continued. “Why not?” I pursued, only to receive a look that conveyed, “You know why, Harry.” I continued, “That’s really stupid,” unable even then to stop myself from commenting on the obvious.

Stupid or not, the graduation was discontinued. And, like the pool in Inverness, some patently unbelievable rationalization was offered about inconvenience, understaffing and safety.

Once again, we had opted to cut our nose off to spite our face.  

Marriage at Midnight, Osceola County, FL 

Discrimination Compounded by Disingenuity

Those stories came streaming back to me this morning as I read in the Tampa Bay Times the following:

As gay marriage comes to Florida, Pasco County's clerk of court is among a growing number of clerks who are refusing to hold courthouse marriage ceremonies. Rather than extend the practice to gay couples, they are ending it entirely.
From as far west as Santa Rosa County to as far east as Duval County, much of North Florida is opting out. But in the Tampa Bay area, home to the largest gay pride celebration in the southeastern United States, only the Pasco clerk has chosen that route.
"It was an easy decision to make," Clerk of Court Paula O'Neil said. Some of her rationale was financial: Pasco is experiencing a construction boom, generating extra work for her employees. But there were personal and religious components as well. Most of her staff who handle marriage licenses were "uncomfortable" officiating same-sex weddings, she said.
"The problem is we can't discriminate," she said. "So there are some people who would have wanted to transfer to another area, and we can't transfer everybody."
So, rather than follow the practice prior to this ruling and performing marriages onsite without discriminating against same-sex couples, the clerks have decided that if they can’t discriminate in whom they choose to marry, no one can get married in their offices. They’ll just take their ball and go home.

I would revert to my childhood and ask the obvious question “Why not?” But, truth be told, we all know why not, just like we did in Bushnell in 1964.

Like the white city fathers of Inverness, no doubt it was “an easy decision to make”  for the clerks across the buckle of the Bible Belt which stretches from Jacksonville to Pensacola and its islands dotting the rest of the state. They faced a legal judgment that their cherished discriminatory practices were unconstitutional which they could no longer avoid. And so, lacking any alternatives, they would comply, just as school districts begrudgingly desegregated in the mid 1960s. But they would not participate in what they saw as unthinkable.

At the heart of this decision is the same reasoning that closed the pool in Inverness and ended the graduation ceremonies in Bushnell. In the final analysis it simply boils down to common social prejudices at work exacerbated by intellectual dishonesty.

The Pasco Clerk’s argument that it must discontinue services that previously were no problem to provide but now suddenly had become too costly is belied by the fact that the increase in services will ultimately be very minimal. The most generous estimates of the presence of LBGTQ people in our population hover around 10%, many of whom harbor abiding mistrust of what was until recently an exclusively heterosexual and heterosexist institution. More reliable estimates suggest about 3% of the population will now be eligible to participate in marriage. Many of them will elect not to.  

There will hardly be much of an increase in job duties for these clerks.

The Halo Effect

Clearly this is a disingenuous argument but not terribly surprising. People who recognize that honestly embracing the real reasons for their conduct may bring them some level of disapprobation from others (and polls now suggest a small majority of Floridians favor same sex marriages) often seek ways to legitimate their conduct no matter how strained. Indeed, sociologists have long known that the unwillingness to admit to shameful attitudes routinely results in voters reporting social acceptable views to pollsters only to vote their prejudices in the darkness of the voting booth, a phenomenon called the halo effect.

To her credit, the Pasco clerk at least points toward the real reasons for this decision, noting that some of her deputy clerks were “uncomfortable” officiating at same sex weddings. In other words, these county employees were unable to get past their own prejudices to continue doing the same job they’ve been doing. That’s the “personal component.”

There is also a “religious component” involved here. Many holders of conservative religious beliefs tend to baptize the presumption of heteronormativity in religious terms.

We hear it in the simplistic “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” slogans slung around as if they are revealed truth. We also see it in its more virulent homophobic forms in places like Uganda which pass laws making the mere accusation of being gay a capital crime. These laws were based on model laws provided them by American evangelicals whose agendas in Africa are often greased with lots of money from American offering plates.

Of course, religion has long been used to baptize social prejudices. The prime dueling space in the run-up to the Civil War over the mandate for and against slavery occurred in pulpits across America. Much of the resistance to the inevitable end of segregation in the South was also cast in religious terms as the letter from the Mississippi Baptist pastor to President Lyndon Johnson stated: “Don’t force us to do something God has commanded us not to do.”

The gods of the tribe always make convenient and, within the circled wagons, compelling authorities for holding onto the prejudices against those outside the tribal bounds.  Confusing cultural values with the divine mandates of a religion – often with deadly results - is a common phenomenon observable worldwide from the attacks on the Golden Temple in Amritsar to the Supreme Court ruling that centuries old Native American religious practices involving peyote were not constitutionally protected.

As writer Anne Lamott notes, "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."

Waiting in line at Orlando City Hall, Midnight, Jan. 5, 2014
(All photos from Channel 13 Orlando site) 

No Privilege to Discriminate

Perhaps the most remarkable part of the clerk’s quote is in the final comment of the excerpt above. "The problem is we can't discriminate."


Why would not being able to discriminate be a problem? Is discrimination by government employees against members of the public they serve somehow a privilege that should be afforded them? Upon what basis? Indeed, it was precisely the problem of unconstitutional discrimination that prompted the federal courts to overturn laws and state constitutional amendments which prohibited marriage of same sex couples in the first place.

This behavior of some clerks across parts of our state is pretty shameful but not terribly surprising. Where they claim principle and piety, the reality is that their actions evince prejudice and pettiness. The struggle for equality for LBGTQ people has been marked by many episodes of such shameful behaviors. This is just the latest chapter.

But, fortunately, it’s not the final word.

In the wake of the closing of 12 (of 67 total) courthouse chapels across the fringe of Florida, a number of law firms and notary publics are making their services available to same sex couples to marry them. Where courthouse clerks are unwilling to make their tax money supported chapels available to them, the law firms have offered their own locations for that purpose.  

The arc of the moral universe may be long, but, fortunately it does ultimately bend towards justice. Even here in darkest Florida.

The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., M.Div., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Asst. Lecturer: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Osceola Campus, Kissimmee

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.

Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Equal Justice Under Law: Coming to a State Near You

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

As of midnight last night, the state of Florida was legally required to recognize my marriage to Andy Mobley, my life partner of 41 years this May, my legal husband of five years this August. It has been a long fight in Florida marked by much disingenuity and bitterness. But, with the final order of the federal district court taking effect last night, the battle is all over but the shouting, not that political opportunists like Florida’s attorney general will not capitalize on every opportunity to do so.

No Roadmap to Follow

Andy and I have been life partners since May 31, 1974. We have been through much together. There simply were no positive models for gay couples in those days. We had no roadmap to follow.

The closet was mandatory for those who wished to remain employed and avoid vandalism of one’s car and threatening phone calls at one’s home. Homophobia was the unquestioned norm sanctioned by the state and it was frequently seen as the will of G-d by those who presume G_d inevitably shares their prejudices.

We had to find our own way, a way marked by many mistakes and wrong turns and much forgiveness. But by the grace of a very generous G-d, we have survived. And 41 years later, I cannot imagine living my life without my gentle-spirited partner, now legal husband.

Much has changed since those early days. That has included our own views about marriage. A decade ago both Andy and I were both opposed to buying into what we both saw as a failed institution with too much baggage to be redeemed. For a while we both favored domestic partnership because of the legal protections we believed it would afford us.

But when the case arose in Florida involving a lesbian couple in a domestic partnership denied hospital visitation privileges as one of the partners lay dying at Miami Jackson Hospital, my entire view of this matter changed. It became clear to me that domestic partnerships were not guaranteed to be honored at precisely the times when such legal protections were most needed.

So first I and later Andy decided that marriage was the only way we could gain the protections under the law that every couple should be able to expect but only those with the law behind them could anticipate. We then set about finding a way to accomplish that.

Equal Justice Under Law

Our union had already been blessed in the chapel of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA ten years previously. A bishop from an independent Catholic tradition had officiated before a number of friends, our family of choice. When we decided that we would go to the District of Columbia to get married, we asked the same bishop to legally marry us. He was delighted to do so.

The photo above was taken moments after we had completed the legal pronouncements part of the wedding rite. We are standing in front of the US Supreme Court under the famous frieze bearing the legend “Equal Justice Under Law.” On that day, we were there to get our own piece of justice and we did.

Ironically, in this photo we are facing the US Capitol building across the street from SCOTUS, the very agency charged with making laws for all Americans whose failure to protect our rights to equal treatment under the law ultimately required the federal court system to do that job for them.  Instead, the Congress passed a discriminatory law called the Defense of Marriage Act which the SCOTUS ultimately struck down as unconstitutional.

Much to the prescient chagrin of Justice Antonin Scalia, this began a cascading chain reaction in which states like Florida, who passed similar laws and constitutional amendments, found their own homophobic legislation struck down. To turn a common slander on its head, if a discriminatory law walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that the arc of the moral universe is long but ultimately bends towards justice. Today, justice has finally come to the state of Florida which has been dragged screaming and kicking out of its human rights adolescence into young adulthood. It now joins the 35 states and the District of Columbia which have previously gone through this overdue growing stage to join nations around the world who have long ago dismantled their own discriminatory laws. And eventually it will be coming to a state near you, too.

Happy Equal Marriage Day, Florida.  You may now kiss your legal spouse!

The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., M.Div., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Asst. Lecturer: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Osceola Campus, Kissimmee

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined
belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.
Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes.

Friday, January 02, 2015

A Lighter Highway

The retirement is done, the goodbye parties and holiday feasts are now memories. His books now sit in a pasteboard box on the deacon’s bench in my living room waiting to find their place on my shelves. We had a wonderful time talking over each one as it went into the box, virtually all of them about religion, spirituality and politics. It was an hour that reflected our last 25 years of friendship.

In my yard are the potted plants that will not survive the cold of Missouri and the plants dug up from the yard itself waiting to be planted in my jungle. They will become the sacraments of our friendship, the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace of a loving relationship once nearby and constant,  soon to be distant and occasional.

Tomorrow about noon, my friends will leave on the first leg of the journey into the next phase of their lives together, the pods containing their worldly goods following shortly behind. My friend of 25 years heads for a new life in a strange place with all the time in the world to find a new life, retirement arriving just days ago. 

His husband heads for a new life in academia, a newly minted Ph.D. and currently a permanent instructor as myself, hoping to hear good news from the 50 applications for tenure track positions he has put out across the country. Their two Vizlas, my bosom buddies whom I have spoiled miserably with food from more than one holiday banquet table, accompany them, the humid warmth of Florida soon to give way to the extreme heat and cold of the heartland.

My heart is broken this night. I feel a good chunk of my soul has been ripped loose and is being spirited away. And yet, I know that the wheel of life turns, nothing is forever, letting go is required of everything and everyone in our lives and, at the end, of our very lives themselves. Our ongoing task is learning how to let go.

I know that intellectually and perhaps even existentially. And yet, tonight, all I feel is pain.  

“Are you OK,” I asked him tonight as he packed the last remaining boxes in the chaos of their once vibrant home. “Not at all,” he replied. And my observation is that he is being candid about that. At one point he said, “I feel like Janis Joplin: ‘Take it!  Take another little piece of my heart now, baby!  Oh, oh, break it!  Break another little bit of my heart now, darling, yeah, yeah, yeah.  Oh, oh, have a!  Have another little piece of my heart now, baby, You know you got it if it makes you feel good’”

Much as I admired Joplin, that is not the song that expresses my broken heart this night. In the early 1970s I went to see a foreign film, Friends, which featured the music of the then-new musician Elton John. I loved the film, the artwork and the music. I even reproduced the album cover for a poster on my wall in my undergraduate dorm. In particular, I always felt the title song, Friends, spoke to my understanding of the world, the deep human need for friends and the duty to express my gratitude to those who had made my way through life “a lighter highway.”

Last Stop

I have sent the link below and the lyrics to my friends with the instructions “Don’t read this until you are on your way.” I already dread their last stop by our home tomorrow to leave the keys to their now abandoned house and I pray to keep some level of composure as I watch my friends drive away to a new life.

At the conclusion of The Wizard of Oz, the tin man (whom I played once in a theatrical production in my younger days) reports “Now I know I have a heart because it’s breaking.” This eve of the departure of my dear friends, I think I know what he means. And yet, it is Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem in which I find solace this night: “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

No doubt I will know this one day.  

To my friends, I send you forth with this song. Godspeed, my dear ones.  No matter how far you might roam, never forget your friends here in Florida and know that you are fondly remembered and deeply loved.

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travelers to go?

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then every thing's all right

It seems to me a crime that we should age
These fragile times should never slip us by
A time you never can or shall erase
As friends together watch their childhood fly

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there then every thing's all right

I pray my tears will relent long enough for me to post this.

The Rev. Harry Scott Coverston, J.D., M.Div., Ph.D.
Member, Florida Bar (inactive status)
Priest, Episcopal Church (Dio. of El Camino Real, CA)
Asst. Lecturer: Humanities, Religion, Philosophy of Law
University of Central Florida, Osceola Campus, Kissimmee

If the unexamined life is not worth living, surely an unexamined belief system, be it religious or political, is not worth holding.
Most things of value do not lend themselves to production in sound bytes. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++