Sore in Every Way

Folio Society Dune

It is morning.




It is December.


2024 is looming.


I am sore in so many places.

I don’t want to get out of bed already.

Hands. Shoulders. Arms. Chest. Heart. Soul.

It is a dusky dawn out on the horizon. There will be rain later today.

I need to empty the rest of the mulch out of the truck. It is in the woods about 50 yards. Below my bedroom window.

Chuck's Truck

That project is about 3/4 done. It’s been pretty strenuous over the past month. All the shoveling and spreading. Seemed like a good idea at the time. And it may be beautiful next spring.

I wonder if my neighbor is in the tree stand another 300 yards further down the slope.

When he’s around, I try to keep the place dark and quiet. I keep the dogs inside. If they need to go out, I take them behind the house on leashes.

He says he has seen a lot of deer—including bucks—but hasn’t gotten a good shot at one.

Otherwise, it may be a normal Friday but for the hurting all over.

The dawn is reddening, but the sky is broken up by dirty clouds.

Cyber Monday—whatever that is.

Travis and I are heading down Interstate 270 to Gaithersburg.

It is cold. The high will be 43 degrees. Gray.

It was a bad weekend.

Maybe I should just shut up and take what I can get, what is offered.

I’m not like that. Never have been. I rebel and struggle against what I think is wrong.

It was a bad weekend.

Sunday, I messed up and missed an event I was planning to attend. I had my jacket and tie, but when I texted that morning, the circumstances were strange. Would I be welcome? Was there still a place for me at the table? That hurt, and it may have hurt others.

That set me in a somber mood.

It was a long lonely day in the warehouse. Only Travis and I were there. He was in remote areas of the building, and I seldom saw him. It was sunny, and the dogs were happy with their freedom in the large fenced in dockyard. I would go out periodically and give them treats and attention. I went to see their friendly, loving visages—emotional support animals. But more “friends” than that.

Saturday, there were more people in. Ridgley does LPs. 2 sorters were in. Travis. Me. Millions of books. 3 dogs frolicking outside.

I got back around midnight from the Dylan concert in Baltimore on Friday. I finally found an old friend who agreed to go. We sort of parted ways in 2021. COVID was part of it. Stressful times. Maybe we are friends again. I hope so. It would be nice to know someone to go out to dinner with occasionally—or to a show.

Parted friends.

It’s become a leitmotif over the last five years. Two brothers dead. Other friends passed away. Other friends disabled and away. Old friends and family just “away” from my small sphere.

I can’t take fault for death and disability. But the others. I’m wondering how much of it is “me.”



I can only count one—”1″—new friend in recent times.


I got a lot done. I had the extra day—my solitary Thursday. I got to a lot of carts that had been set aside because they held difficult problematic material.

Then Saturday and Sunday.

I was satisfied with my accomplishments over the holiday week. Very satisfied. I have acquired a talent for hard work.

There was a vast herd of empty carts generated.

I was dissatisfied with my family issues. I was dissatisfied with my creative writing (such as it is.) I was dissatisfied with my domestic and outdoor projects.

During all these private “personal” work hours, the computer was constantly selling thousands of books. When they were open, the three stores were “working” as well.

Do I actually “need” to work in person?

Some advice. Try to have some younger friends. Older old friends are wonderful. But they can “age out” in many ways.

A friend who moved into assisted living a while back had been planning a visit for a couple of months. He kept reminding me of the date and his plans. He was bringing a friend he had met there. A woman. It was going to happen tomorrow. He sent an email confirmation to be sure I didn’t forget. He called this morning.

“I hurt my back. It will have to wait til next spring. The friend I was coming with won’t travel in cold weather.”

The Gaithersburg store looked so good when Travis and I walked through that there wasn’t anything for us to do. I emailed the managers instructions to condense General Fiction and Western mass-market paperback sections. Their audience has shrunk so much. Ernest culled both of them last week. We will be able to expand mystery/adventure and Kids—as their sales make it a good business decision to give them more room.

A young neighbor came up to the house at 7:30 a.m. this morning. He wanted to scope out the property to hunt deer with his teen son.

“Sure!” I said. “There are far too many up here. It is unhealthy for the herd and the forest.”

My old friend the banker used to come up with his son. And then by himself. He hasn’t been up since before COVID. He can’t walk very well and may even be wheelchair bound. He doesn’t want company. I’ve tried. I’ll reach out again. It’s Christmas. I’d like to see and thank him.

I showed the neighbor where the old stands were. He wants to bring his son.

“The deer go down to the pond at the foot of the cliff every morning. They usually follow these two trails.”

My property drops off very steeply—almost a cliff. At the foot of the cliff is a large pond. It is the only water nearby.

“I don’t know if the stands are safe to use anymore. They haven’t been used in years. So be careful.”

Then I bumped down the mountain to work.

I’ve been in working every day since I returned from London. Gerry sent me a photo he took.

Chuck at The Ivy

I look happy. Alive!

That’s at The Ivy. Oh! We had a wondrous meal there. We went there after attending a musical made from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

He took a lot of candids. I really dislike my photos.

I got revenge in the National Gallery.

Gerry at The National Gallery

Gerry, a renowned autograph expert, is verifying the da Vinci signature.

(I’m kidding. Hanging with him was a highlight of… the best companionship in a very long time. I wish I was back in London. I am never bored or down when I’m there.)

Last week was particularly draining. It wasn’t just the emotions of the holiday tribulations—past, present and future. I think I overcompensated by pushing myself too hard. That has never been an issue before. I just didn’t feel good. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

But I was extremely productive.

Working hard can be a distraction from other things you don’t want to brood upon.

Plus, I wonder if I caught something. Well, I know I did.

Today, Monday, I felt ill, sore all over and empty.

But it may have just been emotional and not some organic infection.

I left work early. But I had gone and bought a load of mulch around lunchtime. I thought that might help. It was windy, and while I raked the mound in the pickup down to a manageable level, I ate a lot of dust.

Mulch Load

I paid for it too. They weigh the truck and all its contents on the way out. So any mulch I swallowed was part of the freight. 949. Nine dollars and forty-nine cents.

An email came in. The British toys I bought for the grandson had been delivered to the Tractor Supply Company not far from my house. I saw the line in the fancy Liberty Department store. I searched online, and you can’t order most of their line in the US. They don’t ship here. I did some searching and, bizarrely, the farm store had some available.

I picked them up and went home. I stoked the fire. Turned the heat on in both sides of the house (a sure sign I’m not feeling well.) Boiled water and made bouillon. (Bouillon is sick fare for me.) Crawled into bed, and now I’m trying to write.



Maybe a nap will help.

I slept a lot. There were wondrous dreams.

“Ah, would it were true.”

Time to rise, go in and face the books.

I got a lovely comment on the last story yesterday.

Thanks for your candid essays. I especially like the photos of the Frederick landscape. I miss going out there to get my monthly visit to the Frederick store when I lived in the DC area for 7 years. Am happy to now buy your books online, but there is nothing like walking your store aisles. Thanks for keeping Wonder Books wonderful.

Well, that helps put it into perspective.

It is hard sometimes to remember that most of the demons we battle are from within.

And another!

I am thankful for you and the huge blessing you are to all the book lovers and to society in general! Thank you for your noble and valuable work helping to preserve a treasured gift to humanity and allowing new generations to see the value.

It is rare to get comments after the weekend. (Often to get any comments at all.)

A smack in the face. A wake up call. Put one foot in front of the other and plod on.

The big pot of water is steaming on the woodstove in the other room. I can see it rising through the morning light pouring in the windows. It helps add moisture to the house that the woodstove dries out.

There’s a whole world to see from my bed. That’s fine. But one needs to get out and experience it. Plus, someday I may not have a choice about getting out of bed! But Dylan looked great for 82 and a half.

Damn though! The work and stress last week took a lot out of me.

I butchered the turkey carcass this morning. The dogs will be thrilled. I’ll make a hot turkey and gravy sandwich tonight if I get motivated. So many chores around the house. Working all day—every day—leaves me little energy when I get home.

Tuesday morning. Bright skies but so cold!

Andrew is driving us to Hagerstown. A bookseller friend came and picked out 90 boxes of general stock yesterday. We need to haul it back to store at the warehouse until they can come get them. That will be therapeutic for the store, but I bet I won’t be able to tell where they pulled from. A drop in the bucket in the scheme of things.

I’ve been at loose ends lately. It doesn’t help to have loose screws as well. Work helps keep the spooks away. I’ll have to work hard enough to get through this holiday season.

We are driving under the long foot bridge for the Appalachian Trail. It would be a cold hike today.

And now we are heading back. It was a pretty good load but not huge. The real concern is getting things mixed up. No one is happy when that happens.

I pulled some BBTF orders and did some strategic culling while they were loading. I even found an Oppenheimer book in Crime and Law.

It’s been on the shelf since April? Unbelievable that no one picked it off before now. It will sell today online, I’m 90% sure. I used to be able to find hidden gems in just about any bookstore I would visit. My scouting days are long done. I can’t keep up scouting our own finds in the warehouse nowadays.


After Thanksgiving Day’s perturbations, I was physically and spiritually spent. Staying up til 1:30 a.m. waiting for the turkey to be done roasting didn’t help.

On Friday, I was beset by a whole new set of problems. I’d been turned down by a number of people I invited to go see Dylan in Baltimore. Made sense in some ways. A holiday weekend and Black Friday to boot. But an old friend had, surprisingly, agreed. We’d had a bit of a falling out during COVID, but I guess time heals many wounds. Still, I thought the chance of a last-minute cancellation was pretty high—better than 50%.

Plus, I had to work out the logistics of the tickets and parking and dinner in Baltimore. It is not a city you want to make a wrong turn in. Or go wandering or exploring. I filled the gas tank. I booked a space in a parking garage. (I had to set up an account, register my vehicle… all for a $15 parking place.) I wanted to have a nice meal. This friend recently stopped being vegetarian and has become a serious carnivore. I looked for a place with valet parking. I knew I would have to re-park at the concert hall. The iconic Prime Rib was only about 5 blocks away, but there was no way I’d chance walking to and from the restaurant. All this planning ate up time on Friday. I met my friend at 4, and we headed to the city. We caught up on family, friends, work, current events…

I programmed the restaurant address into the car’s navigation, and everything seemed to click.

“You have arrived!”

It was an apartment building in a nice part of town on Calvert. But there was no sign of a restaurant. Literally no “sign.” I continued forward in case the navigation actually meant, “You have arrived in the ‘vicinity’ of your destination.” After a couple of blocks, I circled back. I wasn’t pleased with going off route in this town. I pulled up behind a double-parked moving truck with men constantly rolling stuff into it. That seemed like a pretty safe place to stop. I rechecked the address online and on my screen.

We headed back to Calvert. When we got close, we both looked for street numbers on the buildings.

“You have arrived.”

I stopped and double parked.

“What do you think?”

I checked my phone. This was the right address. It said the restaurant was open. I had made reservations. So, it wasn’t some ghost of a place that had gone out of business during COVID. The website said it has been there since 1967 or something.

“Do you want to go in and check? I’ll stay double parked.”

“It’s in there. Just not marked.”

Where’s the valet?

I pulled forward and turned right. There was a nice-looking boutique hotel on the corner.

Can you tell me where the Prime Rib is?”

“Right down there.” He pointed at a dreary alley next to the hotel.

So I’m making my way down a very scruffy alley in one of the most dangerous cities in the world…

At the end of the alley was a parking garage. (I use the term loosely.) Battered and dirty old cinder blocks. I peered in and saw no sign for the restaurant. I pulled in, and about 50 feet away was a small sign stating Prime Rib with an arrow. An Asian man approached the car, smiling. He wore a kind uniform.

“Prime Rib?”

“Leave your keys.”

“Are we dressed ok?” I’d noticed they had a dress code on the website when I was searching my phone for the address.

“You’re fine. Ten dollars.”

It was a Byzantine path up from the underground garage to the lobby. A few more turns, and we were there.

Beautiful. Classic. Black walls with gold trim. I recognized a Chagall and a Picasso on the wall near the baby grand with a glass or plexiglass lid raised. There was a bass resting against the wall next to it. We were led to our table graciously. The waiter soon arrived in a black tux.

“…I’ve been here 25 years. He’s been 40. I’ll introduce you…”

It was 5 p.m., and the place was just opening.

I ordered a Gibson. My friend an Old Fashioned.

Chuck's Gibson

We had plenty of time. The concert venue doors didn’t open til 6:30. We ordered slowly. I perused the oils on the walls, trying to identify the artists. Eventually, I ordered a filet cooked “Pittsburgh” style.

(It is a test of mine. If a restaurant even knows what a Gibson is or what Pittsburgh means, it is a very good sign.)

It was a wondrous, civilized, old school meal.

The bill was astronomical, but I eat at home mostly—mostly leftovers from the freezer—so I didn’t feel guilty.

My friend wanted the leftovers from the Prime Rib.

We made our way down from the Elysian Field to the Pit. I tipped the attendant $5.

I set the navigation for the parking garage. That went smoothly. There was a crowd of people moving toward the Meyerhoff. Most were of an age and dressed like us. Safety in numbers.

Outside the venue, there were a half-dozen buses parked on the curb. A woman was the center of attention. She was writing your seat numbers on a card. (Your “tickets” are on your phone. Your phone would be locked away in a little pouch. So you needed a handwritten ticket.)

Everyone there was carrying cloth pouches in which their phones were digitally locked.

Soon Dylan and his band came onto the stage. No small talk. No formalities. He just started singing from behind the piano.

He talked/sang through songs for a couple of hours. He never acknowledged or thanked the audience. There was no “Hello, Baltimore!”

But it was wonderful. He never really left the piano except to chat with the guitarist about something. He wore a baggy black suit with gold accents embroidered in it.

My favorite “song” was “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece

Thursday, November 30. 64 in, 34 degrees outside.

All three dogs are pressed against me in bed. It is cloudy outside. The only light, the only celestial object in the sky I can see, is Venus again. The Sky View app shows the planet near the top of my bedroom window. It is on the constellation Virgo’s hip.

Venus in Sky View

The cold snap has broken. It will get as warm as 51 today.

Two nights ago, I went out into the dark to do yard work.



It was 23 degrees. I backed the pickup down the dirt path I have been mulching. With a pitchfork, metal rake and manure shovel, I pulled or dug mulch from the truck onto old Washington Post newspapers from the 1990s. Some hoarder had saved 30 or so big boxes of them. We were targeted to take them as we take anything printed (within limits—and that’s probably beyond them.) Rather than pulp the newspaper, I thought I would “pave” the dirt path below the house with them and then bury the newsprint in wood mulch. There was very little light from the house 60 yards above. There was a rising full moon. It was a dim yellow—somewhere between cream and butter. Climbing up into the bed of the truck to reach, I thought to myself, ‘This is pretty stupid. Not very safe.’ I couldn’t see my boots very well as I stood on the black mulch, loosening it so I could get a shovel under it. I quit after a while and walked up to the barn. There were a lot of long logs I’d hauled and stacked in the woods just off the driveway. I turned on the barn lights. I backed the Explorer up and shone its headlights on the wood. I fired up the chainsaw and began cutting. The saw was dull and the cutting slow and jerky. I have 4 saws now, but stuck with this one. I’ll take it down to get sharpened today. Cheaper to pay someone than to do it (poorly) myself. When I could no longer reach or see what I was cutting, I switched the saw off. The moon had risen, shrunk and become much whiter. The forest was bathed in the cold ghostly gray moonlight that warms not nor does it reveal much.

I went inside and heated some of the turkey breast from the carcass I’d dismembered. While dinner warmed, I went down and brought up more boxes of books to cull. I also carried up a couple more potted plants and placed them in the dog pen room. This year, I have made that area a pretty intense “hanging garden.”

Hanging Garden

I felt satisfied with my day’s labors.

I watched two episodes of Maigret while I ate. Michael Gambon, who plays Maigret, was a trained Shakespearean actor, but he may be more remembered as Dumbledore in most of the Harry Potter movies. He passed away on September 23rd.

I have had some grand dreams lately. One of last night’s stuck a bit. I was at a low-key party or event, and a woman wanted to show me her book. She was a lawyer. The book was pretty sad. A kid’s book no kid would want. Kind of a homemade thing, using primitive CGI for images and typography. I was at a loss for words about it. Fortunately, we were interrupted by noises outside. We stepped to the window. There was an enormous construction project in the distance. But it was close enough that the whole thing looked like an HO setup.

Bridges. Tunnels, Skyways. Riverside drives. Train tracks. Roads. Machinery. People. Buildings.

It appeared as though a vast instant city was being built on the Potomac—perhaps near Point of Rocks, Maryland.

It was mesmerizing. A length of bridge was being lowered into place by an enormous crane. The chains slipped, and the huge metal contraption dropped the last few feet. You could feel and hear the impact from where we stood. A tiny construction worker flew into the air, rebounding from the impact around him. He dropped out of sight toward the river below. Another man was shaken off and tumbled through air, arms and legs akimbo.

‘That will cause legal problems,’ my dream self thought.

Today will be busy. Maybe a bit crazy.

Clif and I are headed down to the Folger Shakespeare Library to pick up a couple hundred boxes of things that weren’t accepted into their collection or they want to offload for other reasons. They’ve been closed for renovations for about three and a half years. I’m looking forward to the trip. But driving a van into the heart of DC is problematic nowadays. It’s not just the traffic and congestion, but security is always on high alert down there now.

And the contractor sent me a late night email, which seems to say he might be coming down for a major shelving installation in our Gaithersburg store.


Rereading it makes it sound like next week is more likely.


My neighbor is a quarter mile below my bedroom in my tree stand. There are ten thousands trees between us, and he is probably 200 feet closer to sea level. No one has hunted up here since before COVID. My banker friend became too disabled. He would drive up and watch the animals at times. Now he doesn’t do that. I reach out to say hi sometimes, but he doesn’t want company. Maybe I’ll try harder closer to Christmas. He was always very kind to me and Wonder Book. When you have someone with influence who believes in you, help can come in many forms.

We became good friends.

My neighbor and his son were in the tree stand when I got home in the dark last night.

So far, no luck. But he says he has seen a lot of deer.

I keep the dogs close and quiet when he’s down there.

I finished Death of a Bookseller the other night. I bought the book at a shop in the iconic Cecil Court in London last month. It is a signed first edition—a new book. I bought it for its title.

The book was written by a very modern young woman.


It features two very modern young women who work in a bookstore.


I didn’t like it very much, but I couldn’t stop reading it either.

I’ve moved on to Something Wicked This Way Comes. It is a fifth printing ex-library copy. But it has the iconic dust jacket. I haven’t read it for a long time. The two young men—14-year-old boys—featured in it are the antithesis of the two women. It is rather dated.

Country vs. city.

2020s vs. 1950s.

I forced myself to go through the Bradbury collection that came in a couple of months ago. I forced myself into a lot of “putoff” work over the stressful Thanksgiving weekend. Most of the books I sent to the glass cases at the Frederick store rather than add them online. I think they will sell better to “eyes” rather than digital description and keystrokes.

They are just so beautiful—S if For Space, October Country, R is for Rocket… What the future was to be vs. what it is.

Bradbury Books Sent to Frederick Store

And there was a copy of the Folio Society Dune.

Folio Society Dune

My friend Michael Dirda wrote the introduction to it.

Folio Society Dune

It has sold already.

If you get to the Frederick store, you can check the other Bradbury’s and the August Derleths and… the other cool books sent out there.

Christmas is in full swing at the stores and online. I haven’t heard any carols yet this year.

Thursday Morning

Clif and I are driving down 270 toward DC.

Unlike Ernest, Clif hugs the speed limit and stays in the right lane.

I’m excited to visit the Folger Library. I haven’t been for about 7 years. It’s been closed for renovations for the last few years. Maybe COVID helped keep it shuttered as well.

We were referred by a DC rare book specialist. I don’t know if he bought anything. But he named us as a resource that could take couple hundred boxes of—well, I don’t know what yet. I think a lot of it is donations that they don’t want or already have.

Do I want the Folger’s castoffs?


I’m excited to see the place. America’s Temple to Shakespeare. More First folios in stock than anywhere else in the world.

We are on the Beltway now. It is 10 a.m., but all 8 or so lanes are packed. Clif managed to merge over, and now we are on the Cabin John Parkway—one of the arteries in and out of the city.

It is a bright, beautiful November day. Tomorrow will be December.

“Welcome to the District of Columbia,” the navigation voice on Clif’s phone announces as we cross the border.

Now we have the Potomac on one side and Georgetown University on the other.

There are the infamous steps that the priest was thrown down in The Exorcist. Are they still there? I can’t see them.

Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson Memorials…

On our way back. Probably a mistake. Pig in a poke. Seemed like a lot of obsolete reference material. Books by the Foot?

Whatever they are, there are a lot of them.

Folger Load

We were told it was 160 boxes. Then the count went to 200 yesterday afternoon. We will count them as they get unloaded.

Hard work. Most of the boxes were in a Federal-era townhouse they own across the street from the main building.

The boxes were very heavy, as most contained parts of sets—like encyclopedias.

Clif and I shared carrying about 140 boxes down the iron townhouse steps. There, we would stack four on a two-wheel cart and roll them to our van parked a little way away. Then we would lift the boxes onto the van and carry them forward and stack them as high as possible.

I took my clogs off, as they felt awkward on the cast iron step. I went down those steps (and up) about 60-70 times in my socks! LOL… it was cold, but the work was hard, so I was soon warm all over—including my feet. Of course, I had on ridiculous multicolor striped socks.

I took a breather and crossed the street.

Just looking at the gleaming marble building is breathtaking.

Folger Building

It is a place that dreams are made of.

Humans can do marvelous things.

Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night,
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the churchway paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic; not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallowed house:
I am sent with broom before
To sweep the dust behind the door.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1

When we go back for the 20 or so that just wouldn’t fit, we might get a tour.

When we went 7 years ago, it was full of magic.

So much has changed. The books have only gotten better and better.

The other stuff not so much.

Did I make a pact with the devil and forget what the deal was? I think I’d remember something like that.

A couple hundred (very heavy) boxes stacked behind me. My shoulders will be sore tonight. And I need to bring wood in from the barn when I get home.

In one of my dreams, the words, “I’ll love you til the day I die,” came to me.

The actress who plays the young Donna Reed whispers those words into the (deaf) ear of the actor who plays Jimmy Stewart as a boy. They are in an old-style drugstore soda fountain.

The movie is, of course, It’s a Wonderful Life.

It has me in tears every year around now.

I know how lucky I am, but I could use a little encouragement from a guardian angel like Clarence. (He carried a first edition of Mark Twain with him, didn’t he?)

Perhaps my Book Muse could make a mercy call to see me through the holiday season. Things aren’t going so well.

Except the books.

My mission. My devotion. I guess I’m a missionary in some ways. And an evangelist?

Maybe that’s what these weekly stories are about.

14 Comments on Article

  1. David Holloway commented on

    Hang in there my old friend. I think many of us are just now getting a COVID hangover. It’s sure to pass and good times will return. A friend of mine is opening a new bookstore in Savannah. I take that as a sign of optimism. There are always books, and you have been buying some very grand volumes!

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      That’s so kind David!
      I wish you were local.
      Some great books!

  2. Elizabeth commented on

    The tender hearted always suffer. It isn’t a
    punishment, but it is part of the gift of empathy. How can one have compassion if you can’t feel what another is feeling? If you have, it you cannot disown it – even when it is a burden too heavy to bear. But … the grace comes in knowing you have earned that gift of tenderness. You may not recall or remember all those instances
    in this life or others, but something deeper than your ego remembers. Take comfort in that. Be gentle with yourself while suffering, To be human, genuinely human, is to feel and your darkness is the other side of the great joy and delight you can feel as well. The whole world seems to be in agony about now, and only those so self absorbed they exist within their own callousness seem immune. Collectively the sensitive deeply feel this
    dark suffering. How can you be a writer, live within the echoing voices of all the books in your warehouse, stores, home and not be open to the tides of human
    experience resounding all around you?
    They blow through you as much as your own experiences past and present. Find comfort in the gardener in you. The seasons continue in their round, regardless of our inhumanity to the earth and its environment. You plant and work your ground knowing a new season will bear the fruit of your efforts. Your practices sustain you. A few creature comforts perhaps you have relegated to the back burner of your life might be rekindled. Speak kindly to yourself – as you would wish to be spoken to. When the day is over try to see
    some way to thank yourself for experiencing it. Perhaps god collects our experiences and somehow weaves them into a tapestry that is called life. Perhaps it is great bravery to be willing to come here to open ourselves to the raw experience of being human. Perhaps that is enough. Success or failure is never the measure. Perhaps it is our willingness to simply be ourselves, just as we are, perhaps that is in itself a hero’s journey.
    With best regards,

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      Elizabeth, those words are just stunning. They resonate. I wish I could have written them.
      Thank you so much for holding up a mirror.

  3. Ken commented on

    Chuck, you have innumerable friends here. Never think you do not. An early Merry Christmas to you!!

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      Thank you so much !
      Merry Christmas to you!

  4. Charlie Downs commented on

    Chuck – When I work outside I preload with naproxen and it cuts down on the inflammation. As for dinners, hope you can come to the Hagerstown Civil War Round Table and join us and make some new friends.

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      That’s so kind Charlie!
      Thank you so much!

  5. Norv commented on


    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      I see it now!
      Thank you so much!
      Merry Christmas!

  6. Mary Elizabeth Mann commented on

    So enjoy reading about your journeys and daily life struggles to keep it all moving.

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      That is so kind!
      Thank you! I really am gratified to hear such things.

  7. Gregory commented on

    Chuck, did you see the recent PBS documentary on the making of the First Folio? It was pretty interesting. There was some not-too-related material about contemporary productions of Shakespearean plays, but also a trip to the Folger and the story of a recently discovered copy of the book. If you’re a member of your PBS station, you should be able to stream it. It might even still be in broadcast.

    1. Charles Roberts replied on

      Thank you Gregory.
      The First Folio is a Holy Grail.
      I’ll try to find it.

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