Sunday, November 29, 2020

 Looking for Christmas book gift ideas? I offer you these three ideas, authored by "Unique Reeck" (that's me!)

Then, just below, find a surprise holiday sweetener recipe for you.

Now, buy a book or all three books by me. Buy for yourself or to give to a favorite person. Each is available at the Amazon link.
Deep Mende. My learnings from a year's immersion among the Mende of sub-Saharan West Africa. Only one copy left at Audiences: readers interested in sociology, West Africa, villagers and missionaries, it's there for you. About 100 pages, $45. Contains the essence of what I mean by Growing Green.

Ethics for the Professions. One of the early guides for business and professional ethics. Main audience: college-level readers. Fifteen copies left at, huge bargain price!: $1.85. About 174 pages. Grow $green in your occupation, business or profession, but do so caring for the environment and for justice in the financial world.

Growing Green Two Ways. New or used, $7.00 to $14. Loads of memories of growing up in the Pacific North West, 1939-60. 1939-1960.

Now that holiday sweetener for you, from Lucy. 1. Recipe: 2 cups of mixed sweet and tart berries in a sauce pan. Warm for 6 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Hubby says, "Incredible for Christmas breakfast!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Coyote On The Golf Course!

 Yesterday (11/11/2020) I was walking around the perimeter of the Chehalem Glenn golf course near my home:

 It advertises itself as the "Fantastic Golf Course in Wine Country." "Fantastic" is correct in my opinion, but the advertising doesn't give all of my reasons why I agree with the advert.

The course is fantastic for its gorgeous design, wonderful views of small Western Oregon-sized mountains to the west, north and east. For its golfers and walkers--additional views of a wonderful large farmer's field and a great forest of very tall Douglas fir trees. Very Oregon!  But that doesn't cover every bit of interest. All of that is fantastic, but here's another.

Months ago, at one point along the perimeter trail, I saw a coyote staring at me, not more than 50 yards away. Actually, it seemed a lot closer and got my heart rate to rise a few notches. It stared at me across the grass, then disappeared into the woods behind it. No problemo.

But yesterday I met a woman walker on the perimeter trail, quite close to my previous sighting of the coyote. She warned me: there's a coyote up there. She pointed in the direction I hoped to walk and from which she'd just come. 

I asked, "Well, how did your dog react?" Like many walkers on the perimeter trail, she held a leash, but in her case with a large, unique black dog on the other end. 

She said, "Oh, he was calm. He's a retired police dog, y'know."  We both laughed. "Ha, ha, ha."

Well, I told her I'd be on the lookout for the coyote. She went on with her guardian, the dog--and I, with no weapon and no protector dog--continued in the opposite direction. Only I diverged. Instead of walking along the perimeter trail I wisely cut across the golf course itself--using the manifcured green grass around Hole 14. 

When I reached the top of a green knoll and looked back, there was a coyote, just standing on the perimeter trail itself, looking right at me! 50 yards away. Was he hungry? I didn't know. I just stood still and stared him down. In a half-minute or so of this mind game--his mind vs. mine--he turned and walked off in the other direction. Five minutes later I climbed up another knoll. At the top I looked back, and he was still there, a-lookin' at me.

I love living near the countryside. Every day brings its sights and sounds, like the roaring motors of giant elevated pick-up trucks or the beauty of a sunset over western mountains. But coyote visits? Not so sure about that one.

Any thoughts? Please comment.

Monday, November 9, 2020


Darrell Reeck, 11/9/20


Leaves--beautiful, bedecked in fall color--we’ve admired them on our curbside tree since they turned from summery green to fall red a couple of weeks ago. But this morning my dear wife called me to the front door to watch the red leaves falling en-masse--all at once it seemed--from the maple tree onto our curbing and the parking area. Neither of us have ever seen such a leaf-fall. It was like a steady stream of water going over a steep bank. By noon it was all over.  Now the tree is nearly bare--just trunk and branches, ready for winter. Amazing. In just a day.

Something similar has happened to the American President’s legal effort to turn the election around. David Bossie, Trump’s legal adviser charged with overseeing the legal campaign to reverse the president's loss, has been diagnosed with Covid-19. Several other high-level Trump staffers have been diagnosed with Covid-19. They are like falling leaves. Perhaps these poor staffers should have “sprayed” themselves months ago by wearing masks.

Our tree will revive next spring with buds and leaves. It’ll be beautiful, like a green balloon. Not so sure about the Trump legal effort this fall. Could be way to late.



Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Black Lives Matter: my letter to the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Reader: in these days of Black Lives Matter, I want to share a memo I wrote to (and in honor of) the deceased Martin Luther King, Jr.    The memo was written in 2009; King died in 1968.

Dear Martin Luther King, Jr.

Re. Memories of your and our Dream.

Martin, you provided a beacon of light to me in the 1960s through your courage in the face of danger and your marvelous communication skills demonstrated in a book such as Why We Can’t Wait and in oratory like “I have a Dream.”  

Dear Martin,

In 1961 I arrived in Chicago from the frontier State of Washington.  In seminary I interned with ministry mentors in Chicago, particularly the Revs. Jim Reed and John Winters of Parish of the Holy Covenant. 

Together with thousands, we marched for educational justice at the headquarters of Chicago School Board.  I felt ever so white, but knew my presence was appreciated by African-Americans in the demonstration.  

On one weekend in 1962, a group of several black students from Tougaloo College, accompanied by two Chicago clergy and two seminary students including myself, attempted to integrate worship services in a couple of segregated white churches in Jackson, Mississippi.  I was not at great risk personally, even though ushers called police for help as we approached a church, asking for entrance.  

My colleagues and I were visitors in Mississippi, on call to help provide some cover for the Tougaloo students in their equality campaign.  They were the ones at risk.  I would go back north.  But during that weekend I had a glimpse of the risk that they and many others were taking routinely in pursuit of the American dream.

Your 1963 speech, I have a dream, was unspeakably motivational and, at the same time, heart rending.  The March on Washington exhilarated me.  The fact that it had to happen depressed me.

Then the horror of the assassinations:  yours, President Kennedy’s, Robert Kennedy’s.  

Somehow our country managed to pick up the pieces and get on with national life.  The forces of darkness did not prevail, though residual conflict remains until this day.

A couple of your Boston University professors later taught me as well:  Prof. Paul K. Deats and Dean Walter Muelder. They were so proud of you.  Paul gave me the privilege, as his assistant, of bringing the manuscript of one of your books from Mugar Library to a secured showcase in the School of Theology library.  Your hand-written editing notes appeared on the typescript.  As I walked down Commonwealth Avenue with that treasure in my care I marveled at the sense of contact with you that I enjoyed at that moment.

From you, I learned the values of risk for the sake of higher values of community, equality and justice.  I give thanks to God that I was allowed the opportunity of brushing up against your jet stream.  I’m one of millions who testify that you live on through your influence.

Sincerely,           Darrell Reeck

Sunday, May 10, 2020


We all find ourselves up against some Covid-19-induced dilemmas. Not just employers. Not just workers, Not just school kids. All of us.

These are some rules DESIGNED to limit damages of Covid-19:

Don’t leave your home.
Don’t let anyone into your home.
Don’t shop in public stores including grocery.
Wear your face mask out in public.

I accept the need for such rules. They're necessary for my family's good. You may be limited by similar rules.

But the rules entail dilemmas. Example #1: how do we survive if we can’t enter a store to shop for groceries?  

Do I ignore the stay-at-home rule and go to the grocery? Or do obey and starve?

Large-scale workarounds have been launched, like Federal Reserve Board lowering interest rates.

But in the neighborhood, you and I are left with small-scale problems that must be overcome. In this situation, some helpful heroes have appeared in the lives of my wife and myself.

Here’s a way around the “don’t let anyone into your home” rule. Our daughter and her kids have made a couple of family visits, not in our home but on our driveway.  Daughter and her kids have remained on the driveway, by their car. Lucy and I open the garage door but stay ten feet inside the garage. In one such visit the whole family sang “Happy Birthday” to one of us and chatted. Then they left without coming into the home. Results: spirits lifted, smiles on all of our faces, and no rules violated.

“Do not go grocery shopping.” That’s a rule imposed for our protection by our retirement community. But how to obey this rule and stay alive? In this situation a younger resident from a nearby neighborhood came to the rescue. How did she know about us? She directs a community chorus in which Lucy sings. Out of the goodness of her heart she checked with Lucy, volunteered to shop for us, and they worked out a system. 

In this workaround system, Lucy emails our shopping list to her. Then we place reusable cloth grocery bags on the driveway for the volunteer. The good fairy, wearing protective gloves, picks up the bags, buys the groceries, then returns to place the full bags just outside our garage. The volunteer texts that she’s left the goods. We collect the bags of groceries. We clean the bags and contents against virus, and we’ve got groceries for a week! Thanks so much to the volunteer heroine!

What about the grocery store itself? What are they doing to sell without breaking the Covid rules? A couple of grocery stores in our town (and more broadly as well) have brought out an online shopping system. Here's how it works. First, customers establish an online shopping account. Once that's set up we email our list of items and the store replies with a collection time. At collection time we park in a designated area in the supermarket parking lot. An employee places the groceries in the trunk while we wait a responsible distance away. We’ve obtained our order without entering the store; we’ve obeyed the rule.

My doctor encourages me to take long walks out of doors. But the rules require keeping social distance. How do I walk for an hour on public sidewalks and woodsy trails without violating the social distance rule? Mainly by using trails and walkways sufficiently wide to allow for social distance. Or by switching to the sidewalk on the other side of the street. Most oncoming walkers cooperate to maintain social distance between us. In a low density community it works. (I can't say it'd work in Brooklyn, however.)

Adjustments like these require require a bit of creative thinking and work-arounds. May these adjustments keep Covid-19 from overwhelming individuals and communities. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Thoughts and Prayers On Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Your place of worship may be closed in respect of the stay at home orders in many states and nations.

However, you may be able to join with other internet worshippers.

Here's an example from Portland, Oregon: at 10:00 a.m. Western time zone, Sunday.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral invites you to a streamed communion service. If the link doesn't work just search on Facebook for Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Once on the homepage, click "videos" (column to left of page.)

And at your home, today may be a time of quiet and prayer as remembering the grieving whose loved ones have contracted or died from the coronavirus plague.

Friday, March 20, 2020


My Mom used to tell me, "Practice what you Preach." A very practical bit of advice.

The authorities are preaching "Social Distance Yourself" for corona abatement.  Why don't they model what they advise us to do? Wouldn't distancing be easier to for us citizens to adopt if our leaders did so? That's what a friend of mine asked after watching the daily press conference today.

Presidential Press Conference 
March 13, 2020
photo in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons