Sketches of a Life - a short bio of  some aspects of my life through oil paintings I did during my childhood and early adult years.

Some people will say to me, "Why are you doing your autobiography in this way? I can only reply to them, as the sunset draws nearer and near, I've got to be me - First.


My Philosophy of Investigation  Dedicated to Sensie Sun Hwan Chu and written approximately a week after the accident.  It is the insight that I learned resulting from Sensie Chu's accident.  The question I sought to resolve in my own mine was - when we have apparently lost EVERYTHING then what is left for us to continue - that we should always Value the Life - that precious gift that our Creator Gives to Each of us/

Sensie Sun Hwan Chu, an was a university trained Economist for the U.S.. Tennessee Valley Authority, 5th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a real friend to many people, experiened a near fatal car crash on the ice covered roads of Kansas. The accident left Sensie Chu a quadraplegic, that is - no longer use of both arm and feet. That is, he would never walk again, he could never practice and teach the martial arts again. So just what could he do with the rest of his life that would give him a sense of meaning and purpose - to go on to achieve a new goal in his life.

Lengthly and prolonged efforts at rehabilitation failed to bring back the use of his arms and legs. Nevertheless, he pressed on, and after a number of years of study at the University of Arkansas, Sensie Chu receied the PhD in Counseling people who have experienced similar tragedies but were determined not to give up and abandon life and hope for a better tomorrow.

Reflections from theMission on a Sunday Morning.  This place was a Catholic Mission, dedicated to Our Lady, and located in Marion Co. Tennessee in a small rural part of the City of New Hope.  The place was just across the bridge spanning mighty Tennessee River. 

I spent much time there, particularly during the summer months, helping with various farming tasks. One summer morning, it was very early and what happened - happened in that "twilight zone" when we are not quite awake and not quite asleep. It is a state I am sure most everyone has experienced. 

An event happened on that very early Sunday morning which I cannot explain and will not try to do so. It is of the past. I will say this and nothing more. There is another dimension in the universe. It is a reality but which is beyond our immediate perceptions, that which we perceive with our senses. I believe also that this other dimension logically explains the many paradoxes to be found in the study of Quantum Mechanics. (link  here to reflectionsfrommission.html, Go Link 

A.) Learning the basics. One of the few I didn't throw away because I used the reverse side of the canvas to try again. Painted in 1960, I was 14. Failing in everything I did - seemed there was no point to continue.

B.) Surviving to Try Again . Painted 1961 in Brentwood, Missouri. After a sort of hiatus, decided to try again, and painted this landscape on the reverse side of the "Seascape" if you can identify it as that.


C.) Time to Begin Again . Try Again . An attempt at learning from what I believe was an Italian Renaissance Landscape Painter. From a picture in an art book on the history of art. University City, MO. 1962


1. Landscape in Arles, France, afer Van Gogh, 1962, University City, Missouri

2. Dropping Out of School , 1962, University City, Missouri

[I left because I was failing in everything I attempted. Drugs were not involved as at that time it was not in widespread use and also almost impossibe to get. Times sure have changed.]

3. Avenue of the Trees from Hobbema, a study to learn perspective better. Memphis, TN. 1966

[This took about a month to do. I was attending a state vocational school in Memphis to learn how to fix radios and TVs. The school was funded jointly by Memphis and Great Society money. I was also taking a correspondene class to complete high school and doing so with The American School in Chicago, IL. The one subject I could not learn on my own was the mathematics, high school level.

( 2023-Jan-14, Saturday, Revising underway )

The vocational school facility also had a remedial school, and also funded I am told, by the Great Society money. I learned that there was a retired Airforce officer, a Glenn Harber, who was teaching the math portions for the remedial students. He had taught electronics in the Airforce. I went to see him and asked him and explained to him my predicament - I was getting no where in the math and needed tutoring. He agreed but it would cost me $15. per hour, twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, two hours each time.

$15. was a lot of money in 1966. I asked my foster mother, Ruth Downing, if she could afford the price. She agreed as long as I stayed with it. And I did. I was fortunate. She was a social worker for the Family & Children Service of Memphis. Social Workers do not make much money.

Here is the thing. I put in very long hours in doing the correspondence work and listening to Glenn Harbor's tutoring. He was relentless and demanding. Often when I would start to drift off he would say, "Get back focused." He wouldn't relax. It was always - press on.

We covered basic math, proportions, ratios, plane geometry, trigonomety, algebra I & II, lots of time on the trig and algebra, and then analytical geometry and pre-calculus and then introduction to calculus doing simple derivatives and integrals. The work was Sunday through Sunday. Usually 2 to 4 hours after returning from the Karate School. I stayed with it, never giving up.

I went from basic math to introduction to calculus in about 14 months But it was continuous work. Some peope have felt that what I did was quite an achievment and that I must be very smart. Not so!  Actually, as far as intelligence goes, I am very normal and have been tested frequently as I was growning up, and always I oscillated between -90 to 110 on the Bell Curve, [Gaussian Distribution Curve]. The IQ tests were typically Stanford Binet and Wechsler Adult Intelligence test. What really matters is how much effort you put forth with the mind and brain that God gives us.

Thinking that we can't do what the other guys do because we must not have a big enough IQ is rubbish.  IQ is a MYTH. Not necessarily that the SPEED in which we grasp new material is a myth. Speed of learning is more a function of the sum of all of our associations (that is to say - what we have learned in the way of academics to that point in time which we are now at and the sum of the connections that these associations form - and then also the sum of our true life's experiencs. This includes not only what we learn early in life from playing with other kids in the play yard (social interactions) but also the relationship(s) we form with our parents or if they are absent then the relationships we form and develop with those whom we meet and come to know that are regularly in our environment. Also, and probably very important - how we as an individual are treated as a child by other people, be they parents or teachers, or the baby sitter, etc., will in significant ways determine how receptive we are to what they, these people, have to offer. 

See Letter to Chad Arment on the matter of intellgence and information processing speed

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If, for instance, say in early grade school, we are treated by school teachers, be it one or typical of many, as though we are a part of a Charles Dicken's novel, and we cannot answer the teacher's question or perhaps correctly to its satisfaction - and this failure causes us to be hit across the hands with a wooden ruler, or shouted down or told that we are stupid, etc., and if such type of treatment also occurs in the home or institution in which we live (or exist in) then this often results in a child finding such people, be it teachers or, well let us a foster parent if that is the arrangement - or a cop (cop = police officer) then we being a small child may come to associate the behavior of a teacher, or care-taker, etc., with all people who may be classified as above. And so we, as the small child growing up, may SHUT OFF whatever the teacher or school (as teacher and school do form an association) my have to offer that is positive.

I usually got up about 5am as I still do. And after a meal I went to the vocation school and continued to learn how to fix TVs. This was 1965-1966.

Mid-afternoon I went home and studied the correspondence material which was now almost all math. I studied the material until about 6pm and went to teach the Karate class.

I am off track but for a moment.  Now think this - if the environment in which I live and in which I go to school, etc., seems to be frightening from the perspective of a small child - say he is awaken at times by the sounds of gun shots out side in "that other world" of his - will this small child "take-in" the positive aspects of what that world may have to offer?  Does not the small child ASSOCIATE a school as being a part of this "dangerous world outside?" Do you suspect that he can discriminate what is good from what is bad this world that constantly surrounds him?

Note: I have to go for now.  But some of the conclusions I am reaching relating to the above I have written in letters to book publisher, Chad Arnment


who publishes the twelve crime detective mystery books and one tourist history book on Mexica; The Mexican Earth, of Todd Downing  ( Native American Authors ) ( CrimeReads ) [ Mystery novels to Choctaw Pagent - Todd Downing & native American literature(s) ) [ The Passing Tramp, 'Detecting Todd Downing' A conversation with Prof. James H. Cox, University of Texas at Austin]

Todd was the older brother of Ruth Downing, my foster mother. I knew him fairly well as I often took Ruth to visit him in his home town of Atoka, OK and we generally stayed a week or so. 

Atoka is proably the most senic part of Oklahoma, though quite rural. History has shown that in general Atoka has produced the somwhat brighter of the Okie tribes now commonly referred to as citizens of Oklahoma.  But it is said in Oklahoma, or at least those from Muskogee, are the exceptional bit of what is meant by the United States is the exceptional nation. Why is that?

What is exceptional about the tribesmen of Muskogee?  Need I say anymore?

I do have a short chapter to tell of an incedent that happened to me in Atoka on my first visit there when I was 16 (I now had a driver license from MO) and illustrates the subtle and sometimes serious prejudice that hovered then and may still hover in the clouds above Atoka (back then, not now I am sure, not 62+ years later).

I was confronted by a young man, I think he would consider himself "a young tough" an expression often said in those days, early 1960s, an "injun lover." Now later on when I moved to Memphis I was sometimes called "a nigger lover" and even worse several times when I walked and drove along the way with the marchers to Jackson, Mississippi in protest to the assassination attempt on James Meredith, a young black student who wanted to enroll at the Ole Miss University.

But I had earlier seen or at least had felt (because I was age twelve at the time and so could not psychoanalyze my environment quite as well as I did later on in life) that some, but not all, of the boys at the prestigious Watkinson Preparatory School in Harford, Conneticut - resented by presence I was "German" as a newspaper clipping had stated an article in the local paper stated in reporting on the school. But also I think that because I did not speak with a typical Conneticut slur - but rather I spoke with a distict Australian accent (being of course that is where I learned to speak that version of English) I was their black ugly duckling, so to speak, and too my "social skills" had not at that time in my life become "Americanized." So, my antagonists went to the school "Headmaster" a Mr. Newall, and complained that I was "picking on them" when the reality was that I wasn't taking their BS and responded accordingly.

<aside> I think, and this really is NOT an endorsement of black childrens, or teens and often adults obedience to Newton's law of action-reaction that when they are confronted with slightly disguised barbs, insults and jabs - they hit back and sometimes perhaps perhaps with a Mike Tyson more opposite than equal response.  That is nature of uncontrolled physics. In other words, in plain American English - they don't take the s^$%t that is tossed at them "in stride."  I didn't at Watkinson Preparatoryt School for Boys at age 12 and I sure didn't when I was teaching the marital arts in Memphis and UT in my freshmen and sophmore years. </aside>

<aside> But now I realize something, I think, that I had not connected with the crazyness of the people in the White Man's Plantation House and the garbage collectors in the senate and house chambers of our government. I am not sure that it is so much a "racial" type of repsonse that is the basis of the present flamethrowers such as the gang of Bidenites, the flamethrowers in both senate and house, and also mainly a certain breed of elites who are not only shooting their flamethrowers at the Chinese and Russians - but also their own stinkbombs - and these stinkbombs are originating directly from their own mouths.

What I was told by various "adults" "teachers" etc., from time to time as I evolved after coming to USA was that I "should know my place!"  That I should know "who my betters are" etc. But interestingly it was in the "boys homes" if it could honestly be called that, in downunder Australia where I was confronted with the reality that I was not part of the "betters" of society and should know my place in society. In other words, I was not one of THEM.

In the USA I learned as a child that I was "one of THEM." At Watkinson I was that "German kid" in fact I was once told I looked like Adolf Hitler.  I still think Herr Hitler was a good artist, landscape painter with good but rigid architectual talents.

At my place of work many decades later I learned that I was "you're one of THEM, ain't ya" meaning exactly "you're one of those Russian communits, aren't you!" And this is (to make a sad story very short) because there was an opening in my department for an experienced electrical engineer and the husband of my Russian language tutor was Russian (but actually both were Ukrainian Jews! from Kieve = Kyiv = Known as Київ in Ukrainian and Киев in Russian. And why do people shoot each other over this.

And he was a fully qualified and experienced electrical engineer from Soviet Union school system - very hard to get through then and very hard to get through now!

He would have been a perfect FIT for our department. My supervisor's excuse (he had been a captain in U.S. Army), he, David, would not be able to pass the security clearance. I asked F why a security clearance would be needed to design relay protection and control systems for coal fired generator stations. He just glared at me and then blurted out, "You're one of THEM ain't you. Then he did allow that, "Perhaps if you check with personel they'll find a fit.  That was that.  I knew then that our relationship had changed from what it had been.  I was an outsider now though I never actually felt I was fully inside the organization.  Same feeling I had when I attended Watkinson Preparatory School.  I felt I was tolerated for a while but then "It was better that I just leave."

Perhaps I had rubbed the headmaster raw one time. If I did it was not by intention on my part.  But 66 years after the even your perspective does sometimes change.  When I attended this prestigious school, and who was really paying for it I did not know, this was 1957. That was 1957-1945 of 12 years ago.  He had called me in for some issue, I think it was over grades.  He told me  I was a very good looking young man.  I appreciated his kind words but I already knew that becasue my Serbian mother, my real mother, had told me that all Serbian children, if they can get through the initial first years of childhood without dying of sickness then they developed into very handsome boys and beautiful young girls.  But I didn't  say to the headmaster, Mr. Newell, "Your complements are not needed, or that they are redundant." I knew better by then.  Radja had often warned me that I had been a very "fresh" child both in Germany and Australia and the caretakers tended to complain. I must be discrete and careful when we got to America.  I didnt yet know the meaning of "discrete" but I knew what it meant to be careful - or else.

Looking back now I think what irked him was when I asked him a personal question.  We all at the school knew he had fought the war in Germany and had seen action.  After all, if you were a man and hand't been in the service at that time people would wonder why.  So after he finished telling how 'our boy's at Whitfield are expected to make better grades that what you aremaking' I replied,  'Yes Sir, and can I ask you a question?' 'Go ahead Nenad.' 'Sir, did you really fight in the war in Germany?'  'Yes I did, why?' 'Well I was wondering, did you ever get shot?'  He looked at me just a bit surprised and simply said, yes.'  So I asked him, 'Where did you get shot?'  He moved his head forward a little and said to me directly, 'In the thigh.' And then moved his head even closer to where I was sitting which was directly behind his large desk facing him, as if to say, "You want to make something of it?"  But he didn't actually say those words, I just sensed the thought by the tone of his voice."

He new and I knew that he knew that I had been in America now some three and a half years, most of it living in Manhattan near Harlem and had picked up on new words and their meanings which are often different than those that you learn in Australia. I think, looking back on it all now, 66 years of reflections later, that he thought I was internally laughing at him because he had been shot in the ass and not some heroic place like John Wayne might have got it.  Like, if you had been shot in the chest, close to the heart, you could be proud of that and even boast of it now and then.  But being shot in the ass - I think only one other location would have been worse and only his doctors and surgeons would have ever known.  But I didn't laugh then or even until 66 years later when I realized that perhaps after my question I was no longer the "nice looking boy" he had earlier complemented me on being before the interview got going real good. 

It's sort of like, about five months ago I went to urgent care for a minor problem and got to see an actual MD.  We got to talking small talk. Then I asked him out of pure curiosity how he got to be so overweight (I didn't say fat because I respect medical doctors and the hard work it takes them to get their diplomas). He looked at me more with the quizzical face of a psychiatrist who can't quite figure you out. Then he replied quitely, "You know, in the many years I have been practicing medicine I have never had a patient ask me that question." Then he just looked at me with a sort of quiet resignation and I went on to tell him about my problem in the legs which he told me was Venous Insufficiency. The doctor then said this was something that "elderly" people often get and that the check-valves in my legs wern't working correctly.  The doctor didn't put emphasis on the word, elderly, or anything like that. So I sort of knew he had not taken my, how to say it, "lack of social graces, lack of social skills" as a personal thing against him; and he probably thought it was a mental thing with me, like I was a schizoid or pehaps even schitzophrenic (these types are dopes, that is they are goosed up high dopamine. And this brings about effects which often annoys people.  You often see them running wild in San Francisco.  How do I know?  I have been to that place by the stinking, sewer fill bay on several time involving business meetings.  My nostrils do not lie. The place stunk in 1996 and it still stinks of excrement wherever you go. Tony Bennet got the hell out of the place but to placate his fans in San Franciso - he claims he left his heart there as a symbol of his love of the place and its people.  But what a bunch of crap that story was. How do you function without a heart which is a simple two pump closed system with timed pulse circuits in it that runs like a large water treatment plant, sometimes called a sewer reclaiming system.  So you know what it is the people of San Francisco are reclaiming when they drink the city water.

Schitzophrenic, schizoid, autistic, that's all bull crap. It ain't me.  Just how do you ask a fat doctor how he got that way, and how he advise what you should do to get back to normal like you are supposed to be - unless you ask him directly, "Doc, how did you get so fat?"

In Russia you don't have this mis-directed communication problem. That is why they live in peace and harmony without contradictions. Words mean exactly as they are spelled.  And they are spelled exactly as they sound. And the Russian children delight in conjugating their Russian verbs.  How do I know?  My Serbian mother told me so.  She knew Russian language fluently.  It is all another American lie when their CIA proagandists tell you that learning Russian grammar is like diving into the quick sand of languages.  

Radja told me that the best language for diplomacy was French. And if you study your European history you will find that the Royal Court of Great Britain was conducted in French language.  And French - she was a recognized expert in that language and that is why the German Foreign Ministry kept her around as a multi-linguistic translator.  Read what this guy has to say about Russian and French:

Sure, the case system can be challenging, but look at the big picture. Consider that conjugation in some other languages (*cough* French *cough*) is way more of a thing than in Russian.

- 2023-april-20 I'll conntinue with this later.

No! I am not Choctaw indian by any means. But perhaps word spread quickly that some boy was visiting the Downing residence, home of those Choctaw indians. I don't know. But today, now in the year of our Lord I know America has evolved into the enlightenment state of development and discovered that people of different races and places are basically all the same. Or better it was said by Ann Frank I believe:

"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." . But Anne Frank went on to say in her diary, "I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again."

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl  A life and an example of the basic goodness of people.

I believe she would say this too of the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Israelis, the Arabs, the Palastenians, the Amerians! all the people in this world, regardless of their race, tribe, customs or cultures. "In spite of everything ..." basically, ". . people are really good at heart."

I was also teaching Karate lessons and some Judo at the Memphis Karate Academy (long gone) and would ride my old 10 speed bike down to Bellview Blvd, where the school was located, in the evening.

My license was suspended for too many tickets from riding my BSA 650 motorcyle, a device that draws cops and traffic tickets like honey draws bears.  Nash had a suggestion and as he was a criminal laywer I was all ears.  Nash lived in W. Memhis, ARK, at the far west end of the city in a developing subdivision (1965). He suggested I get a driver license from Arkansas and use his house address, which I believe was 402 Oxford St. as my residence.  It sounded good and that is what I did.

A few weeks later I did in fact have a small fender-bender with a car driven by an elderly man.  I believe the accident happened on Jackson Ave. near the now extinct FireStone Auto Tire Co.  I thought noting of it. Glenn was after all a crimnal lawyer and should be ablte to fix the problem

About six weeks later I was awakened at the house I lived in on, I believe, Edwards St. by the Memphis City Police. The police explained that I was being arrested for driving with a suspended license. I ask the cop (though I did address him as sir) if I could call my lawyer, Glenn Nash. The cop said no problem and I put a call into Glenn at his home in W. Memphis.

I explained to Glenn what was happening and he said that I should "sit tight until morning" when I would appear in City traffic court.


Unfortunately the dojo, Memphis Karate Academy was forced to close afer the arrest of prominant criminal attorney, Glenn W. Nash for the murder of Hillman Robbins in a liquir store holdup in December 1965. I will have to check on exact dates.  There was no question that he murdered the sales clerk, Hillman Robbins.  Nash admitted to this murder after the fact, and informed that he was going to rob the place before the act.  That he was insane depends on how serious you take the M'Naghten rule. That a person can first advertise that he is going to rob store A, then does so, kills the clerk and then goes to Florida and kills again and then Mississipi and kills again does force on to ask, "where's the Justice." What actually happened?

You can go here:

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - Wikipedia

Don't take it too serious.

4. Winter Snow, Memphis, TN, 1967,

I continued with the correspondence courses. But now the karate school had closed down due to the abberations and psychosis of a mind.

I wanted to continue teaching karate and some judo. I had started out in St. Louis County at 16, following quitting school, first learning judo. Even after I picked up on karate, judo remained my favorite sport. One reason is that judo means "gentle way" and it is a path, a concept for countries to follow when in dispute, rather than resort to a more violent approach as karate sometimes seems to do.

But at age 16 I was not so philosophically bent and the reason that I started with judo was because the school was part of a chain, a franchise, and their policy was that teenagers and childen were to learn judo first and then when they reached 18 to add karate to their martial arts portfolio.

This chain of self-defence schools also employed karate (Tae Kwon Do, hand and foot method, Tae = hand, Kwon = foot and do, in both Japanese and Korean means Way. The instructor was addressed as Sensei. I cannot find the correct transliteration into English for "teacher" in Korean.

5. The Good Soil, the Rocky Soil, Which Road to Follow, Matthew 13:3, My first painting after 14 years since leaving Memphis. and receiving my electrical engineering degree, B.S. E.E. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxcille.. Mowbray Mtn. Daisy, TN, 2-1981

6. The Lawyer's Office , Daisy & Chattanooga, TN 1981 Concerning events from the past.

7. Farm on Mobray Mountain , and Taking a Trip , Marion Co. TN, 1982.

Farm on Mowbray Mountain , This is the same picture as above, #7, except it was painted in a motel room the following year which was 300 miles away from my small farm and that was the only trip I was taking. Done from memory while staying in a motel and working 10-12 hr shifts. I still want to throw it out but wife says only over my dead body.

On the road to Pikeville , TN. I stopped on this road less traveled - a number of times, not to write poetry but to try and get the house correct as it was real and someone lived in it when I painted the picture. The painting is not very good and I believe I gave it to my marine friend's daughter.

8. Lake on Mobray Mountain , 1982, Marion Co. TN. From the bluff the scenic landscape is beautiful. I added in the lake as that is how I wished it to be.

9. Rock Bridge , from Imagination, Mobray Mountain, 1983. However, it too told a story which is better seen by looking through the bridge into the distant valley.

10. Our Lady of the Poor Chapel , built by the monks of St. Meinrad Archabby, Indiana, Marion Co. TN, 1985

My short experience with St. Meinrad and this chapel, had a profound affect on me {affect - to act on or to change someone or something}. In addition, the Catholic tradition of visits by Our Lady as often seen through apparations of Mary seem plausable, especially when viewed in the historical context. Our Lady of the Poor is also known as Our Lady of Banneux, Banneux, Belgium, 1933.

When you examine all of these apparations over time and history, and well documented as they are, you might look at the preponderance of the evidence from a legal frame of reference, and arrive at the conclusion that there is something greater than ourselves "out there, a great unknown something."

Remember this. The preponderance standard for the burden of proof is met when the party with the burden convinces the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true. This is the proof in a civil case. For many millions of people in the world, that fact finder is the person looking for the great unknown something, looking for meaning and purpose in their life. And for them it is often the apparations of Mary, that piece of fact, that tips the scale in favor of their belief in a higher reality, perhaps in the existance of another dimension often called heaven.

If that is the case, why does not the Creator provide us with "absolute proof", that which is beyond a reasonable doubt, that He exists?

Because then there would be no need for free will in a man or woman or child. We would have no need to choose, to make a decision - which path we will follow. There would be no right or wrong. Only Man makes decisions, both subjective and objective, based on his internal view of the world. This internal view of the world is constructed from the sum of the persons experiences in life - which includes education, influence of parents when they are a part of his life, adventures and dissapointments - all the elements that make life what it is and what it means to us. 

This painting, no great work of art for sure, I saved because it represents that time when I looked at Our Lady of the Poor Chapel and realized that the apparations of Our Lady favored her existance in the reality and the world in which I lived. The Lady in the Sky

Interestingly, I was baptised in the Russian Orthodox Church.  But I doubt that had anything to do with my interest in the Catholic Church. My life has been one of searching. And at the many stops in my life I knocked on the door of a place to visit. Some opened the door and invited me in. Others said to me, no, no, and closed the door. St. Meinrad and the monks I got to know invited me in.  They took time to show me many of the things there are to see at St. Meinrad.  One of my hosts was a priest who had returned home for a short while before returing to Peru (I am certain it was Peru as he spoke of the Lamas that roamed the lands where he cared for his church members. And he shared with me a story of an experience he had while in that remote region of Peru. And I believed him 100 percent. For there was no motive for him to lie as he drove around the facilities with me doing a security check. And during those drives we talked.

I shall make it very brief. In the remote region of Peru where he served - one day the parents of a very small child brought this child to the church pleading for this priest to help the child.  Because the child appeared to have died.  I asked the priest - "Did you listen to his heart?" "Yes I did" replied the priest.  "Are you certain?  Did you feel any life in him?" "No" replied the priest. "The child was dead"

"Then what happened" I asked the priest.  "I asked all the people who had come with the parents to gather around the child who lay on a table and to pray with him (the priest) - to Jesus that this child be restored to life. "  And then after some time with the many visitors praying together in unison, in a sort of harmony, and repeating the Rosary again and again - the child started to move ever so slightly.  Yet it moved. The life had someway returned to this child.  A miracle had happened. 

Oh, but you say, there must have been a physiological explanation.  You MUST repeat the experiment using the "scientific methods" of Francis Bacon. If you cannot repeat the experiment then what happened was the result of random chance or the priest did not adequately examine the child for signs of life. Thus do the scoffers surround us all and say to themselves and to all who have the patience to listen to them, "There is no God" (Psalm 14:1) And scripture sayeth to us, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." Psalm 53.

I chose to believe the priest. What could possibly be his motive for lying? Where is there the profit for the priest to lie?  And he is not preaching to the choir.  It is just him and me and it is 1:30 am.  And we are simply engaging in conversation.  And he will return to Peru in a few days.  And I will return to my work in Kentucky. We will never meet again.  Just what did he do?  Let me tell you what he did for me. 

He WITNESSED  to me WHAT HE HAD SEEN HIMSELF, by direct evidence - acceptable in a court of lawy; and he gained nothing for himself except except his desire to share with a stranger evidence that there is a REALITY beyond the dimension in which we live - that the great unknown something which I strived to know for myself - is within reach of us all -

It is 2am again. So I will come back to this again.  But let me state this for you.  But let me say this. Christianity does not hold a monopoly on miracles. In Islam and Hindu faiths - they too experience miracles.  Some are medical miracles where a recovery just cannot be explained by medical science.  And too, look this up. In I think it was 2005, in Cairo - there was much commotion and it made the news via the internet that many people had seed Apparations of Our Lady. True.  I shall pull up the research later.  And these "visits" are not just 
"a Catholic thing." These "visits" have been seen in former Yugoslavia, Russia, Poland, USA, France, Portugal, perhaps even Down Under of all places.

Last I will tell you about a man who was ravished with cancer.  Hosptial told him there was no way he would survive.  But there might be a small chance if he underwent hospital treament. But that created a choice for him.  If he underwent treatment (for he had no medical insurance. He and his family were quite poor) then in all probablilty his family would lose the house he had that was paid up and if he did die anyway, they would have to continue life in poverty.

What did he chose to do? He said, "I turned it over to Jesus." I shall tell more later.  But it is late.



And now it is year 2023 and my days of visits to this holy place was some 38 years ago.  I am sure most of the months I got to know have gone now.  The few priest I met - I am sure they have gone too. For then I was much younger.  And now I am old.  But I have never forgotten them.  I still see them in my mind as we see photographs. Not as they are today, if any of them still live, but as they were back then.  And it is a memory I hold with joy in my heart.

Pray for the Peace of Russsia and Ukraine

11. Red Roofs & Bridge , from a pencil sketch owned by author Todd Downing of Atoka, OK, drawn by an artist in Spain. Painted in Chattanooga, TN, 1986, T. Downing Choctaw, Mexican Indigenismo. & ..+...+..etc... He has not been forgotten.

A.) Dr Shields , of the Todd Shields Downing & Ruth Shields Downing. Dr. Shields was a medical doctor. Todd believed this picture was taken about 186001880 period. The story is that a traeling person came down with a sickness and boarded with Dr. Shields - who medically treated the stranger - and in payment - painted this portrait of the doctor. So far we haven't a clue as to who the artist was. The frame still exists but needs restoration. The painting was fully restored in 1974 after my graduation. It was mounted on board by professionals restorers in Memphis. Our plan is to donate this picture and the remainder of Todd's effects to the college Todd taught at in Durant and to the Oklahoma Hisorical Society. Nothing of Todd Downing property is for sale.

This picture of Dr. Shields was taken in late afternoon. As soon a weather premitting another will be taken when the sun is more favorable.


3/19/2021 we are in the process of editing and uploading the photos.

B.) OaXaca, OaXaco , a Acalde Todd Downing de "El Basilio"..Oaxaca, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca in Mexico.

C.) Portrait of President Teddy Roosevelt This commemorative picture was owned by Sam Downing who was a Rough Rider and a Corporal in that group. Sam was a committed Republican.

D.) Landscape Scene relating to Scottland was owned by Sam Downing and then Todd. According to Todd, his father this Etching was brought to Atoka by the family of Maud Miller, Todd's mother.


E.) Maya god . This is part of a Todd Downing collection which will be shown as soon as time permints. He said that he actually dug them up on tours of Mexico in the 1920s.

F.) Shakespeare Giving a Speach , etching. Approximately 100 years old. First owned by Todd Downing, then by his siser, Ruth Shields Downing

12. The Forbidden Orchard , Запретный сад, держись подальше, 1987 original layout from a Van Gogh, in France

13.. ..Two Serbian Saints Fishing , {from a post card sent by Radja} 1987 (painted in Chattanooga)

Perhaps not post card grade or quality, but none is for sale. It is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all.

It's just to show what one can do, though often a failure, when you keep trying