21 May, 2012    Namaste
I’ve been even less disciplined than usual. If you know how undisciplined I normally am, you may find that difficult to comprehend. I’ve been wanting to write my little addendums at the end of my posts but haven’t put one up lately. I began this one back in March but let it sit for a while. Finally I’m putting one up. I hope to put another one up soon. Meanwhile, some pictures that have accumulated while I’ve been undisciplined. Some are pretty neat.

There were lots and lots of plants in my last post. This post has some plants in it too, but a bunch of man-made stuff too. A train or two, of course. Bikes, etc. If you want to see some amazing pictures of plants, visit my friend (and blogging mentor) Grace’s blog at Life 2 Seriously. Meanwhile, my stuff.

First, the requisite train picture – a big coal train, here pulled by a matched pair of big GE AC44CW locomotives:

A pair of AC44CW’s waiting to move 10,000 tons of coal

Those locomotives were produced by GE; GM produces the EMD SD70, shown below. You can identify it from the left side by that large rounded blower duct. Which I learned on a very cool site called “Finn’s Train and Travel Page.” I see so many AC44’s that it’s nice to see a different locomotive:

SD70MAC followed by an AC44 followed by thousands of tons of coal

Mom and Dad and I have been meeting for lunch up in the mountains for Mother’s Day every year for some time now. Next month is their 54th wedding anniversary! I always bring dogs along; Mom and Dad are always happy to see them. Last year I brought Ivory; unfortunately for all of us that was his last trip up there. It was a great day with him, though, and I’m glad he got to spend time with Mom and Dad. The people who taught me how to relate to animals. Turner (brown and silly) and Mackey (black and contemplative) bring their own particular energy. I regret not collaring a bystander to take a picture of all five of us, but there weren’t many people around. First, Dad took a picture of my posse and me with The Guest of Honor:

Mother’s Day with the Guest of Honor! (and two no-good mutts!)

Then The Guest of Honor took a picture with our Gracious Host:

Our Gracious Host!

Down at Pony Pasture a few days later I got a neat picture of a moth. I know zero about moths, but the pictures are pretty neat:

There was a bee just a few bushes away, busy (as a bee, you may say) on a privet:

Busy as a bee

Later when I got home there was a moth on the wall outside the back door of my house. Just hanging around:

Another moth…

When my buddy and I were down at the train tracks last week we saw another different locomotive, this time a GE C40-8, a.k.a. a “Dash-8.” Number 7526 could use a paint job. Number 266, behind it, is another AC44CW. It’s got about 10% more horsepower, and they always put the higher powered unit closer to the train for better braking power:

C40-8, in need of paint!

Since I’m putting up pictures of inanimate objects on this post, one more. If you’re a really great photographer like my friends Lynda and Ariel and Chanin and Grace, you can take excellent pictures in any light. Pure amateurs like myself learn quickly that perfect light forgives a lot of mistakes. I went for a ride Saturday and it was one of this string of days we’ve been enjoying this fine Spring that is just beyond compare. This is my bike on top of my car at a little church out in Goochland, just after I finished a quick ride:


Saturday, Mackey and Turner and I went to the Open House at an excellent new animal hospital near Glen Allen High School, the Glen Allen Animal Hospital. Mackey won a prize for Best Trick (he can sit when I spell “S-I-T”) and Turner won a prize for best at “Bobbing for Tennis Balls”! Mackey’s always been a gifted speller, but our friend (and former housemate, and current vet tech) Alex taught Turner – quickly – how to bob for tennis balls. I wish I’d photographed them in action! But I was too busy hovering anxiously. Fortunately we caught the photographer before he left and he graciously agreed to photograph us with my camera. His name was Hunter Tate and he was talented and engaging and did great with the dogs. After he’d been with the dogs (and cats) at the Open House all day! You can see some of his work here: Hunter Tate

Two fun dogs and one happy dog-lover!

Until next time,


= = = = = = = = = =

Since I began doing one on one work with people around eighteen years ago, I have only worked with one female. Many of the people I spend time with have traumatic brain injuries or autism, groups of people densely populated with males. But I worked with this young lady for around a year and she taught me a lot.

She could say “hello” in nearly any language. Any language of any person she’d ever met, anyway; once she learned how, she never forgot. We see a lot of people from South and Central America and she always greeted each with a friendly “¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?” It was easy for her to recognize Chinese people, and she would always bow a little and say “Nín hǎo!” I think she could say hello in around ten languages. Maybe more. I should have counted.

Once we were walking around Stony Point Fashion Park. She always found Build-A-Bear entertaining. We went through the main section and a janitorial crew was walking toward us. There was a big, big, grave looking middle-aged Hispanic man dressed in the Stony Point uniform. My friend pranced up to him and chirped “¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?” He stopped for a moment and put a hand calmly on her shoulder and said “bien, bien.” That interaction, like so many I see with the people I spend time with, was win-win-win – it was good for her, it was good for him, it was good for me.

Early in our acquaintance I picked her up from school and we went to Deep Run park. She had a children’s copy of Cinderella. She wanted to be on one end of the see-saw and me on the other and she wanted me to read it to her. I weighed as much as about three of her so I just see-sawed along with one hand and absent-mindedly read the book aloud while holding it with the other. I went through the beginning and through Cinderella’s cruel step-mother and step-sisters et al. Page after short page, my friend did not say a word. I thought she was dozing off. Fairy godmother, turning a pumpkin into a coach, mice into horses, etc., not a word from my friend. Then as I read the fairy godmother saying “I can’t let you go to the ball dressed like that” my friend’s head popped up and she shouted “dressed IN that!!!” She knew it word for word. Just liked the reassurance.

Another time we were at Deep Run park and a dark-skinned older woman was supervising her young grandchildren on the swings. My friend walked up and greeted her with  “¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?” The woman merely smiled. It was April and she was wearing a rich and colorful sari and had a red spot on her dark  forehead. I told my friend I didn’t think the woman was Spanish. The three of us managed to understand one another enough that we could exchange pleasantries. And my friend had found a person with a new language and she didn’t know how to say “hello.” As always, she was eager to add a new language to her repertoire, so she asked the woman how people say hello in India. The woman clasped her hands in front of her and bowed deeply and said “Namaste.” If you had the good fortune to witness this, you too would have seen this was more than just an explanation. I have heard many explanations for the meaning of the word “Namaste.” My favorite is “the god in me bows to the god in you.” I am positive that’s what the woman was saying to my friend. We all have god in us, but the older we get, the more layers of “civilization” cover it. I often have the opportunity to spend time with people who leave the god inside open for all the world to see. The woman with the red spot on her forehead clearly saw it in my friend. And helped me yet again to see it in both of them.

I meet a lot of great people.

= = = = = = = = = =

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), Trains. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Namaste

  1. okilloran says:

    Great post, Jay! I just saw a Virginia license vanity plate that said, “GODS DNA.” Think about that for a minute…! Namaste. Patti

    • Hi Patti!
      Great to hear from you. “GODS DNA” – great concept! Did you ever hear the Joan Osborne song “What If God Was One of Us?” I always felt an even more thought-provoking concept might be “What If God Was ALL of Us?” Think about THAT for a minute… Namaste.

      Have a great day and I’ll talk with you soon,


  2. Justin Smith says:

    I’m a fan of your addendums. You spend time with many interesting people, who lend you many interesting stories.

    • Hi Justin!
      Long time no talk. Hope things are well in Tidewater. I’ve been spending a lot of time at your old stomping grounds, things are going well there.

      I need to do more with my addendums. You’re right that I spend time with many interesting people. And I have material for many, many interesting stories. I just need to find the time – or, as a writer friend of mine suggested, have a “self-discipline transplant” – and write them down. I’ve got some outlines I need to expand on. HOPEFULLY we’ll be seeing more in the future.

      Thanks for the note and have a great day,


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