Author's Bio.

My photo
Mushroom Montoya circumnavigated the globe aboard the USS Trippe DE1075 after killing soldiers, woman and children in Viet Nam. Now, as a shaman, he heals the planet one person at a time. Mushroom Montoya has an active shamanic healing practice in Long Beach, California and he teaches at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Cal State Univ. Long Beach.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas in Leominster, Massachusetts 1972

Christmas in Leominster, Massachusetts 1972 

The USS Trippe had just returned from circumnavigating the globe after being kicked out of Viet Nam. The December snow glistened on the pier in Newport, Rhode Island our homeport. The ship’s crew enjoyed a modified work schedule that allowed the crew to spend more time with their families. My family was 3,000 miles away in California. Even though I had accumulated a month’s worth of paid vacation time, I was not able to go home for Christmas. One of my shipmates, Norman, felt bad for me. He invited me to spend Christmas at his house in Leominster, Massachusetts, one hundred miles north of Newport.

 Gratitude filled my heart. I missed being with my family, especially my son, who I had not seen in 9 months. Getting to spend time with Norman’s family delighted me and put my sad heart at ease.We left the ship a couple of days before Christmas. He parked the car in the driveway behind his parents’ house. As we walked up the back steps, his parents greeted us with big smiles. He introduced me to his parents, to his young aunt and to his younger sister, Janine. 

After showing me the bedroom I would be sharing with him, he took me into the living room to show me the Christmas tree. He pointed to three small presents under the tree. “Look that those,” he said with a proud grin. “They are yours.” They have your name on ‘em.” 

I felt a little embarrassed. I had sent nearly all of my money home. I only had $3.25. What could I buy for this family with only $3.25? 

The following morning I walked to the grocery store. I meandered up and down the aisles wondering what I could buy with what little money I had. When I walked by the meat section, I considered buying a ham, or something that the whole family could eat. I changed my mind because I felt that it was unfair for me to buy a gift that would make them feel obliged to cook and feed me part of it. 

I stopped at the breakfast cereal aisle and looked at a box of Apple Jacks. Janine had told me the she liked that cereal. Inspiration hopped onto my shoulders. I grabbed a box of Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Corn Pops. I found a roll of wrapping paper. I took them to the checkout stand and prayed that I had enough money. I did. 

I walked back to Norman’s house and hid the items under the bed without being noticed. I went into the kitchen where Norman sat at the table watching his mother make a special dish that looked like mashed potato balls with meat in the middle. He told me his mother made those every Christmas. Janine walked into the kitchen and asked Norman to take her and their aunt to the store. He asked me if I wanted to go along with them. I asked if I could just stay put and relax. He told me that that he’d be back in while. 

Once he left, I asked his mother if I could borrow a pair of scissors and some Scotch tape. I went into his bedroom. Embarrassment prevented me from asking for ribbon.  I only had scissors, wrapping paper and Scotch tape. I unrolled the wrapping paper and placed the box of Corn Pops on top of it. I crossed my arms and stared, wishing I had ribbon.  My shoulders slumped. “This is stupid,” I whispered to myself. I looked out the window when I heard some snow slide off the roof. Icicles hung from the eaves reflecting sunshine onto the bedroom walls. The shadows on the walls awakened my creativity. 

I wrapped the Corn Pops box and left an excess of paper at the top. I used the scissors to create dozens of “fingers.” I used the Scotch tape to adhere the paper fingers into a pretty pattern. I wrapped all of the cereal boxes with paper cut designs. I put a name on the white side of a piece of wrapping paper for each box and placed the boxes under the tree. 

On Christmas morning, everyone gathered around the Christmas tree. Presents were passed around and opened one by one so that everyone could see what each person got. When Janine picked up the box of cereal that I had wrapped for her, she said, “Oh! This is too pretty of a wrapping. I almost don’t want to open it."

 “You don’t need to,” I said wishing that she wouldn’t. 

I could feel my face getting hot as I watched her fingers carefully pry off the tape and remove the wrapping paper. When Janine, saw the box of Apple Jacks, she laughed and told me that I picked her favorite cereal. Each family member told me how much they admired my wrapping. They handed me the gifts that they had gotten for me. I felt welcomed and loved.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Welcome Home

I am grateful for businesses that honor veterans for Veterans Day and on other days as well.

There is a lot to be said
for a citizen who is led
by his commitment to his country
to be willing to sign
on the dotted line
that he will defend
The constitution to the end.
And for those of us who fought
In lands far away
For our freedom and for others
Welcome home, I say.
And to the parents and siblings
Of our fallen brothers and sisters
We cry with you for your loss
Because they were truly
Our brothers and sisters, too.

Monday, October 9, 2017

I Swore an Oath To Protect the Constitution

When I enlisted in the US Navy, I swore an oath to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I was drilled on my responsibility to defend the Constitution against those who would overthrow our government.
The most notable foreign enemy was Russia and its form of government, Communism. We were told that the most dangerous domestic enemies were American Communists. They were considered to be traitors. We were told that they purchased guns and would go into the woods to practice in preparation to fight the American military.
I find it disturbing that there are Americans who go out in to the woods to practice in preparation to fight the American military. I would call these people traitors. They are no less traitors than the American Communists that I was warned about when I was in the Navy.
Why do these gun toting Americans feel so threatened by their own government that they are preparing to war against it. Should they not be addressing their concerns the way good citizens do? Are they writing to their congressman? Are they going to city council meetings, town hall meetings and other governmental forums? Are they participating in their local governments? Did they skip government classes in school? Why are they choosing to prepare for war against our/their government?
This disturbs me. This has me worried. My fellow citizens are preparing to take over the government, if things don’t go their way? How is that not being a traitor?
What is feeding their fear so badly that they are willing to take up arms and prepare for war against America? Has the NRA convinced them that they need to buy automatic weapons to protect themselves against their own government? Have they been duped into believing that the only part of the Constitution that matters is the second amendment?
Many of these people claim that they are Christians. Do they not believe the words of Jesus, He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword?
I have faith in our Constitution. I have faith in my fellow citizens. Things don’t always go the way I would prefer. People who I do not vote for do get elected. Running our government is messy and slow, but it works. Yes, it needs improvement. But if you look at our history, it has continued to improve over the years. Sometimes we slid back, but ultimately we have moved forward. We live in a great country. That is why I worry about the people who practice preparing for war against it.