Yet Another War!



Ben Echeverria

March 24, 2020


We are engaged in yet another war. But this time the enemy is not visible to the naked eye. He can be observed only when captured on a slide, under the studied eye looking through a microscope. In this medium he appears to be a type of flower with a large central area of apparently soft matter surrounded by tiny-red- colored rosettes. Scientists call him the “corona virus” (“CV”).

CV strikes without warning attacking all people regardless of age but taking his largest number of fatal casualties of the old and elderly, i.e. those sixty years of age and older, killed by the virus (“KBV”).

Local and state governments have instituted various defenses to CV including total isolation from others, closing of all non-essential businesses, banning travel to and from its jurisdiction, and some non-aggressive testing for CV but only if a potential casualty exhibits specific combat wounds. Observable wounds must exist including a body temperature in the 102 to 104-degree range, a persistent cough, and perhaps more important, tightness of the chest and lungs that can’t get sufficient oxygen to function normally.

Unless the foregoing wounds are present simultaneously and have rendered the combatant seriously wounded and unable to function as a “normal” person, battlefield testing is not authorized. The absence of test data results in hundreds of thousands of our citizens continuing to be exposed to aggressors armed with CV weaponry.

The chain of command from the top is broken. Our top civilian and military leaders put forth a stream of dialogue followed by a failure to take action. This failure has rendered the country’s medical facilities and personnel unable to cope with the battlefield casualties that somehow find their way through the trenches of society to the intensive care rooms of our hospitals and clinics.

The top civilian leaders of our country are more focused on an injured stock market and an impaired business environment than on the battlefield wounding and deaths of our citizens. Our citizens are asked to “shelter in place” in their residences and try to live on take-out food and supplies ordered from otherwise viable business. The inhabitants of our cities and towns must forego doctor and dentist visits for preventive healthcare leaving them vulnerable to a wide variety of illnesses, and too often, to untimely death.

Our youth are barred from their schools and colleges and confined to their homes with cell phones, tablets and computers, if they can afford them. Many of our older youth scoff at the hidden danger of CV and continue to populate our beaches and recreational facilities in large numbers where many become casualties of CV.

In many of our cities, the home-bound take to their balconies and windows singing songs of entertainment in an attempt to ward of the psychological fallout from the war waged on them by CV.

Who will win this war? For certain, it won’t be the casualties of CV. It seems certain that the winner will be CV himself.





Corona, Aye-Curumba!


By Ben Echeverria

March 17, 2020


How about this corona?

Where did it start?

How did it get here?

It may have come from China

On a cargo ship,

Like a hot-flat rock

On the water it skipped.

It skipped into our lives

And it’s ended some,

For the rest of us

It hasn’t been fun.

We older folks are forced

To stay in our homes

And do our business

By phone.

Wash our hands

Every time we can

And prepare our meals

In a very hot pan.

Keep our distance

From the other guy,

And keep our hands

Away from our eyes.

Shop on line

Or maybe by phone,

Avoid big crowds

Be “Home Alone.”

The government was slow

About taking the lead,

They’d just as soon

Not watch us bleed.

They’re not even sure,

How to cure the thing,

Or even how to

Prevent its sting.

It’s a world-wide pandemic

That’s what they say,

So, shelter in place,

Stay home and pray.



The Regulator


The old-wooden-brass- clock hangs on my office wall in a narrow space adjacent to the window. It is heard more than seen. I never thought I’d have a symbiotic relationship with an old Regulator clock, but I do.

2020-02-26 Feb 2020 mtns at Cripple Creek 001            It is a “Regulator A” according to the inscription embossed in gold cursive on the small glass window in the door to the space occupied by the swinging pendulum.   Under the number 12 at the top of the clock face, covered by a round-glass door, is another identifier, “COLUMBIA.”

I told my wife that I wanted an old school clock, i.e. a “Regulator,” for my office and she found this one on e-bay.

The seller represented that it was in good working order but when I unpacked it and hung it on the wall it wouldn’t operate. So, I took it to a clock shop for a tune-up and the clock repair man said it just needed a cleaning and some adjustment. He was right, but he couldn’t guarantee the accuracy of its timekeeping which has become evident after putting it into service.

The case is made of hardwood like oak. Eight pieces of this wood frame the clock face, each cut on an angle and assembled to form an octagonal. There is a handmade brass boarder hammered into piecrust bezels around the clock’s face.

The mechanical mechanism inside the frame consists of concentric circles of now rusty metal which are wound by a key inserted through slots in the face at the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions. The 4 o’clock position winds clockwise and the 8 o’clock winds in the opposite direction. The springs unwind against each other causing the pendulum to swing in a side-to-side motion moving the clock hands around the face.

This old Regulator is like me, the old man who owns it. It needs winding up every morning or it refuses to function for more than a few hours to keep even a semblance of accurate time. It collects dust and needs to be cleaned daily. Like my reading glasses, the glass cover over the clock face needs cleaning frequently to read the hours and minutes accurately.

Its hour-hand needs to be adjusted every day after it is wound, much like I need to be adjusted for the day to come by taking my morning pills and having my first cup of coffee. If I forget to wind its springs for more than a couple of days, it just stops working. I do too, if I don’t have my coffee before beginning my daily routine.

If its old wooden case gets pushed off center during cleaning, the pendulum stops moving. If I over-do my physical activities such as shoveling large amounts of snow off the driveway and decks, I just stop moving, and need to sit and rest.

I often wonder where it hung before my wife bought it?

Has it hung in a teacher’s room or a principal’s office? Or, has it hung in another old guy’s study, waking him up every hour with its happy chiming?

Did it decide to sound-off during a telephone conversation interrupting the discussion? Did it sound the hour early in the morning alerting its owner to the need to rise from his bed and begin the day?

And with a certain finality, was it hanging in another old guy’s study when the old fellow took his last breath and did it chime recording the time of his passing?

Caveat actor, will it record my passing? If it will, do I need to wind it daily to make sure it records the event accurately.

Ben Echeverria

March 15, 2020