July 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim

by tkbrown

The Heat of July

July arrives with a sweltering heat,
bringing depressions, storms, torrential rains
to southern states--historical repeat
of bygone seasons with their hurricanes.
The Pacific northwest with record highs
installs rolling outages in Spokane;
while California's veins are parched and dry,
volcanic lava is Hawaii's bane.
Will the northeastern states escape the wrath
being spewed midst July's incoming days,
or will birds there need water in each bath
just to survive heated summertime rays?
We can hope the burn of the scorching sun
by end of month will be seen on the run
as the virus and it leave room for fun.

The new virus variant taking hold
is putting a chill on planned summer fun.
The worldwide spike is becoming quite bold
but not cooling us down via "chill" pun.
The play on words is easier to take
than the virus or heat of July days
typically graced with vacation break
which may slip past us due to viral frays.
While choosing to break with normal routine,
keep a thought to health for others and you;
use sense and caution, keep enjoyment clean
to prevent a new surge when summer's through.
Don't forget the healthy ways you have learned,
practice safe sunning so you don't get burned,
and you'll enjoy home more when you've returned.

Predictions border on dire once again
from many health pros for the months ahead.
Each new variant sets off a new spin
as the vaccines work to capture the spread.
As return to work seeks to create new norms
of work from home and higher rates of pay
we will surely see new variant swarms
in spite of cares we take along the way.
With schools restarting in-person classes,
students will be busy with music, sports,
and studies galore requiring passes
for halls and busses engaged for transports.
Don't store safety precautions on a shelf,
actions are not protected by an elf
negating practicing safety yourself.

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Photo Above:

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“Help!!”

“I Need HELP!!!”

~~ a short story

by tkbrown

As Julie moves toward the light, she has to step carefully. Another misstep could land her back in the mud. So, she tries to keep one eye on the light and feel the ground ahead with her foot before putting it in place. Then, the light flickers and disappears. Surprised and more than a little bit fearful, she emits a big sigh of indignation, throws her arms in the air, then does exactly what she has been trying so hard to not do–she slips and falls. This time, she falls into a mud puddle. In exasperation, she just sits there–then she looks up in the direction she thinks she was going. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a flicker to her right. “Now, how did it get over there?”

But . . . now there are two.”

She slowly rises, gives up on the idea of trying to look presentable, and decides to try again. Standing still for a moment, she offers up a prayer asking for help and guidance. Then–taking a slow, deep breath–focusing on the light, she steps slowly and gingerly forward toward the small beam. Suddenly, she sees another flicker back to the left where the first light was shining. “Now what do I do?” Deciding to continue toward the light on her right, she calls out, “Who’s there?”

“Can you hear me?”

“I’m lost, and I have no light. Can you help me?”

No one answers.

Suddenly, a third light appears, a bit brighter than the others. This one is a little to the right of the second light–then a fourth light pops up between the first and second light. Trying hard not to get distracted, she continues toward the second light and calls out again, “Help!!! Somebody, can you hear me????”

“Please help!!”

From behind, she hears a voice saying, “Stay where you are, and I will come to you.”

“Don’t move, just talk to me.”

“How did you get out here in the middle of this field?”

Then the man’s voice says, “No, don’t answer that. It is of no matter how you ended up here. The fact is you are here. So, we need to try and get you out of here.”

“What is your name?”

“My name is Julie.”

“What is yours?”

“My name is Jesse–now, just keep talking. I will shine the light toward your voice, and I will follow your voice to you. Just stay calm. Tell me where you are from or something about you.”

“I am so thankful you are here. It got pitch dark out here. I was taking a short cut across the field. Then, all of a sudden it was sooooo dark, I couldn’t see anything. Then, I fell and lost my sense of direction.”

Jesse is flashing the light back and forth in the general direction of her voice. Suddenly, he thinks he sees her. Then it disappears. “It must not have been her.” He is getting closer, but “Why am I having such a hard time zeroing in on her with the light?

He says, “Julie, what color clothes do you have on?”

She responds, “Black pants and a blue jacket.”

“But, I am covered with mud too,” she whimpers. “I have fallen twice–the second time in a big mud puddle. So, be careful. You could fall too.”

“Well, I have the light; so, I have a little bit of an advantage.”

“I should have brought one, but it wasn’t real dark when I headed out. It got soooo dark all of a sudden. I couldn’t see anything.”

About that time, the light flashes across her. She begins to slowly move toward Jesse. When he gets to her, he takes her hand and begins leading her back the way he came. Finally, they arrive at the road.

“Which road is this?” she asks.

“This is State Road #4. Is it the road you came in on?”

“No; I came in on Magnolia Lane. I am thinking it should be back to the right. Am I correct?”

“Yes; back to your right. Do you want me to walk over there with you?”

“No, I can make it ok since I am back on a road. I should never have ventured off State Road #6 with it getting dark, and I should have brought a light. I will not make these mistakes again.”

“Thank You, so much, Jesse, for your help!”

“Can I buy you dinner sometime to repay you for your kindness?”

“No; that won’t be necessary. I am just glad I was passing by this way. I usually take another road.”

“I am too! You were an answer to prayer!”

“I’m just glad I could be of some help. You take care now. I am off in the opposite direction.”

She starts walking to the right, and he to the left. He is continuing the way he was going. She is backtracking to the road she should have stayed on when she cut across the field–State Road #6.

7 — “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

8 — “For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Matthew 7:7, 8 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 7:7-8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (27 June 2021). MATTHEW 7:7-8 KJV “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

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Photo Above: depositphotos.com.

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Lost:

Unsure which way to turn . . . .

~~ a short story

by tkbrown

The darkness surrounding her is so thick and black, she is certain it can be cut with a knife. The intensity of the weight it carries threatens to take her breath, leaves her dizzy with anxiety. There is no hint of light anywhere.

Julie cannot remember ever trying to maneuver in such vexatious surroundings. The dead silence only adds to the unwelcoming ambience which renders familiar surroundings unhinged. The unrealistic fear of stepping off into the unknown–a great abyss–besieges her. Moving forward stealthily, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, trying to recall the territorial map in her mind, Julie slips in the mud, stumbles, screams as she lands with a “Splat!!”

The scream is totally unexpected and only adds to the breach of peace skittering through her.

“Who’s there???” (a little less than forcefully).

“Who screamed?? she quivers.

Dead silence responds.

If only there were the least hint of light, the effort of traversing the familiar field would not be so affronting. She can almost hear the howling scene in any one of the mystery thriller movies she has ever seen. The scream, apparently emitted by some imagined other, has set her nerves on edge. There is nothing to hold too, . . . nothing to help her calm the jerkiness of movement. She slowly rises from the muck and steadies her stance by separating her feet just a bit. Standing there, covered with mud, she forces a slow steadiness to her inhale, then to her exhale–followed by another, and another.

Now, as she calms herself enough to think more clearly, it dawns on her that the fall has shifted her sense of direction and darkness is confounding her ability to decide which direction to take now. Bit by bit she turns, tries to orient in the inkiness, and bit by bit she searches the darkness for even the tiniest hint of light. At this point, any direction will do if it helps her find familiar territory again.

There, she sees it. Then it’s gone. She sees it again–a hint, ever so slight, a hint of light. It seems to be moving. As she watches, it grows ever so slowly–then a flicker–and she is sure of it. A light to move toward. Step by step she inches forward toward the light, not allowing any thought into her mind except the task at hand–move toward the light!

“Then spake Jesus unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.‘”

John 8:12 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)>

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Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 8:12. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (24 June 2021). JOHN 8:12 KJV “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

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Photo Above: by Jeni Holland at Unsplash.com.

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Summer 2021

~~ a seasonal quindecim

by tkbrown
Summer, in all its splendor, ushered in--
crowning the longest day just 'ere mid-year--
with promises to warm the soul within
and the body without as days grow shorter
bit by bit with warmer days yet to be.
Gardens are bursting with good food to eat
fresh--raw or cooked, flavors only set free
when plucked from the stalk in the summer heat
of early morn--cooled by lingering night.
Refreshing dips in a freshwater pool
during the heat of day are such delight
to the body, render balm to the soul.
Memories built with family and friends
o'er barbeque or picnic fare attends
to those leaving as summers fun time ends.

The longer days and shorter nights will blend
some of the best daytime activities
to be carried in thought as life doth send
loved ones to local schools or overseas,
beginning new chapters in books mostly
yet to be written as steps lead away
from home fires. Embracing new life boldly,
with surety closely akin to the sway
of limbs on a tree waving in the breeze--
ruminations of failure never piqued
by fear, remorse, or guilt provoking pleas
through rife cajoling whether squawked or shrieked.
Emboldened by new friends in new places
standing out 'midst a sea of new faces
where past life is leaving no bold traces.

Graduations, weddings and moving top
summer lists for vacation reflection.
Those completed, checked-of, doing the flip
as packing moves to a higher section
amid lives taking a new direction.
Not seeing the void in lives of others
who must now find some substitute function
to insert where newly loosened tethers
flutter freely, blown hither and thither,
refashioning purpose at each new whim--
until satisfied with some new dither
utilizing free flowing excess vim.
Activities of summer dawn an ardor
determined by planned point of departure
and designed to nurture exit fervor.

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Memorial Day 2021

~~ a holiday quindecim

by tkbrown
Memorial Day was set aside
to honor our family's dead.
Those who in uniform died
honored for the soil they tread,
given a bit more recognition
because they defended us too.
If they were fallen in combat,
talk of ways they served true
was joined and tucked in a bonnet
for remembrance again a year hence.
Others, remembered for who they were--
a good word said that did not mince
the contributions one did confer.
The family plot was decorated
with flowers, artificial and planted--
and flags for special honor granted.

Now the day is thought special
as the first summer get-away for fun.
No thought is given to things stressful,
and no history of family is spun.
Persons in our past are mostly forgotten
and no day is set aside to remember
special service or skills they were totin'.
Many get away in a fifth-wheel camper;
while others prefer to pitch a tent
and build a campfire for their supper.
Yet others prefer a more modern bent
with room to let and meals served proper.
The day is now a summer holiday
with a forward view far and away
from the memory of our yesterday.

As a kid, I remember an early rising
with a picnic to pack for the family,
visiting graveyard plots of those resting
and decorating each resting spot nicely.
The noon-time meal was specially planned
with contributions by a multitude of kin.
The spread of food was home-cooked or -canned
with favorites and new fare thrown in.
Before the meal a short service was given
to give thanks and mention those sleeping
in this beautiful spot 'specially chosen
for those awaiting Jesus' coming.
The day was complete after noontide fare
and visiting had finished with those there
for the remembrance and annual prayer.

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Photo Above: by Kacper Lawiński @pixabay.com.

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June 2021

Egocentric, word cloud concept on black background.

~~ a calendar quindecim

by tkbrown

May Breezing into June . . .

The nights fast are casting a daytime heat
like the spring-time days being left behind,
and the forecast days with sweltering beat
move in as the approaching corner-wind
breezes us around from May into June.
The world sizzles with ill-will and tension
of the pandemic, racist words, the clutch
of its bowels, and regurgitates much
as musings of impending peril loom.
Politics and religion do not mix,
and world-wide pain may not leave any room
for giving "home-need" the generous fix
being planned and debated turn-by-turn,
eliminating clauses--pages burn.
Can edges of words be softened a bit?
Can words of care be increased just a whit?
Can the world respect each living "on" it.

Rumors of wars and murders in the news
abide in half of that printed to ruse.
Pacts and treaties with the courtroom tableau
side-by-side--striving to be "in the know."
Reporters writing words of a new shade
describing a world with a dull old blade
being brandished about as "sharp and new;"
but "shiny" is not what comes into view.
History is known to repeat itself
because it ne'er sees its past on the shelf.
Words, looking back to one century ago,
describe kindred winds blowing 'neath the bough.
Ne'er, in this hundred years, would we dare dream
of a rerun betide, but it doth seem
self-same ugliness abounds--eyes agleam.

It seems most have left the premise of faith--
trust, hope, and love at the center of it.
Some rounded its edges with human lathe,
clearing Creation away from the midst
as Creator sits alone up on high,
blinking back tears from the edge of His eye.
If we want to be filled with peace and joy
it may be time to renew an old ploy.
Man is not resolving old doubts this time--
just as hopes launched on that long ago road
were mere mortal attempts at latitude hold.
Most hold the belief of eternal freedom
marching to the beat of a distant drum.
Man thinks he knows best how to deal with pain,
the best way to yield both profit and gain--
I ask for faith, hope, and love to sustain.

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Photo Above: a Stock Photo at http://www.depositphotos.com.

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Walking in the Spirit

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

22 — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”

23 — “meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,”

24 — “and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

25 — “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In Galatians 5:22-25, Paul tells the church at Galatia, the Spirit works to increase love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in those who live and walk in the Spirit. Based on this text, Paul tells us it is possible to “live in the Spirit” but not “walk in the Spirit.” Some might differ with this interpretation of these words. However, I would direct your attention to the last part of verse 25. There Paul says, “let us also walk in the Spirit.” Since the first part of the verse notes, “If we live in the Spirit,” Paul is telling us we can “live in the Spirit” and not “walk in the Spirit.” Thus, if we “walk in the Spirit,” others can see a difference in the pre-Christian person we were and the Christian person we are continually becoming.

Let’s look back up to verses 22 and 23. Here, we see, “the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” Then in verse 24, Paul says, “”and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. ” Thus, if we ‘walk in the Spirit,’ we belong to Christ and have ‘crucified’ our “fleshly affections and lusts.” This does not mean we will automatically exhibit the traits associated with walking in the Spirit. It means we must do something to achieve those traits as a part of whom we are becoming. We must crucify the cravings and fruit of the flesh in order that we might “walk in the Spirit.” Looking at verse 16 of Galatians chapter 5, Paul states, “if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh” — in other words, we will “crucify the flesh.”

16 — “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

17 — “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Galatians 5:16, 17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In verse 17, we read: the flesh and the Spirit engage in behaviors contrary one to the other. Thus, if we belong to Christ, we cannot do the things that we would in the flesh–we will “walk in the Spirit.” As we continue to “walk in the Spirit,” we will see an increase in the “fruit of the Spirit” in our own behavior and a decrease in the affections and lusts of the flesh displayed in our lives.

These verses tell us: belonging to Christ means we will strive to emulate Him in our daily living. The term, “American,” means I am a citizen–a member, if you will–of the United States of America. When we look at the word, “Christian,” in this same light, being a Christian means we are a citizen of–a member, if you will–of the kingdom of Christ, (Acts 11:26). As such, we strive to abide by the laws, guidelines, and statutes set forth by Christ for the New Testament churches of Christ. Paul established churches of Christ among the Gentiles; there were seven churches of Christ in Asia. The other apostles established churches in the area where Christ lived, taught, healed, and preached. Each church was taught, by the apostles, to emulate the life of Christ as they grew in the faith.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Acts 11:26 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Thus, as we grow in the faith, we will see our lives increase in: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” We will begin by “crawling,” as newborn babes in Christ. Then–just as a babe must grow from toddler to young child, older child, pre-teen, teen, young adult, and finally to adulthood–we must grow as Christians. It will be a life-long endeavor if we continue in the faith and hope of an eternal life in heaven with God and Jesus Christ–God’s Son.

1 — “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”

2 — “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

3 — “if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

1 Peter 2:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

First, we nurture a babe with milk, then with puree of solid foods, and finally he/she is able to digest solid food. In like manner, we must also nurture our Spiritual Self by “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.” Then, “as newborn babes [in Christ], desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby [in Christ].” In 1 Peter 2, verses one through three, we see: “if we are able to lay aside these fleshly affections and lusts,” then we “have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

My daily prayer is that I might continue to lay aside my worldly lusts and affections of the flesh and grow in the nurture, the admiration, and the wisdom of the Lord. I ask that God strengthen me in the faith, hope, knowledge, goodness, and graciousness of Christ Jesus that I might live a life pleasing unto Him and ultimately be granted an eternal home in heaven.

May God be with all who endeavor to live for Him through the name of Christ Jesus.

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Source:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Acts 11:26. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Acts 11:26 KJV – And when he had found him, he brought – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Galatians 5:16-25. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Galatians 5:16-25 KJV – This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). 1 Peter 2:1-3. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” bible gateway.com. (25 April 2021). 1 Peter 2:1-3 KJV – Wherefore laying aside all malice, and – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: By Ferhat Deniz Fors @Unsplash.com.

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Sandcastle Masterpieces

Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, New Mexico, USA at Valley of Dreams after sunset.
by tkbrown
It looks like a big sandcastle party
to which everyone in town came to play.
All the best artisans wielding form free,
producing masterpieces at the bay.

Come one, come all--bid for your selection--
but leave in place so everyone might see
Sandcastles preserved--a great collection--
made to please our Creator, displayed free.

No earthly artisan has created
such beauty--eloquence--to e're compare
alongside wind-blown displays He vetted
in the blink of an eye and time to spare.

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So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

Genesis 1:27 — Holy Bible: Old Testament — King James Version (KJV)

I am ever amazed at the beauty God created when He formed this earth and our universe. The love with which He has touched so many places has lent itself to the greatest artwork ever molded from a piece of clay, thought into being at the stroke of a pen, or wielded with such perfect hue from the paint upon His fingers.

Then He gifted it to me and to you. Some of us marvel in reverent awe as others take for granted each day and all the beauty it entails. How can anyone view formations like those pictured above and dispute the hand of God?

I am ever blessed to be able to view locations around the world on my computer, and the awe I hold for each could only be increased by being there in person. What a gift God has granted to man whom He created in His own image. Just as He is a Spirit being, so are we–Spirit beings–in His image. From the moment of conception, our bodies churn out cells to fill specific rolls. We do not have to manage or manipulate this process in any way other than to care for it as we would His temple–the most Holy of Holies.

When I first saw the picture of this rock formation–Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in New Mexico, United States of America–my thoughts drew a scene where families created sandcastles at the beach, then solidified their form for wind and sand to smooth out the rough edges. What a beautiful vision to behold!

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Genesis 1:27. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Genesis 1:27 KJV – So God created man in his own image, in – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: © Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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It Died With Him . . .

~~ the quindecim

by tkbrown
He had a way no one else has;
he could fill the mundane with jazz
in a class of his own making.
Voice inflection, dry 'erh joking,
his dry humor entertained all--
rich or poor, whatever your call.
We understood his little ways--
nuances uttered in a phrase
seen and heard, sometimes with no word,
just a look, or tilt of his head.
Often, he said more than we heard--
making sense of seeming absurd.
Associations oft metered
as if to be footed and rhymed,
orated class, measure timed.

Others have tried, and they have failed
to find the finesse where time sailed
as it did wrapped up in his words.
First one--then others gave answers--
but not inciting responses
he could when wording those ripostes
in the best projection or tone--
such that the question would be known.
Even celebrity has tried
and quite miserably were failed
as global viewers turned away,
quit trying to fill that special sway.
It is time to cease and desist
efforts to fill shoes--What man, this?--
a role fades back into the mist.

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Alex Trebek was the much-loved, long-time host of NBC’s game show, “Jeopardy.” Continuing as host of the show throughout his battle with cancer, Trebek earned global fan respect. His talent as the host of “Jeopardy” was in his ability to posit answers to contestants who then responded with the correct query. Trebek had a long history in the television business where he started at the bottom and literally worked his way up through the ranks. In 1980, he hosted his first “Jeopardy” show and continued until his death in November 2020. This is the position with which Alex Trebek will ever be connected. and he left shoes that no one else will ever be able to fill or satisfy the viewing public. The recent controversy surrounding the show has, I believe, sealed the show’s fate. It will never be the same. Is it time to allow “Jeopardy” to disappear into the mist as well?

Born George Alexander Trebek in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada on 22 July 1940 to George Edward Trebek–a Ukrainian child immigrant to Canada–and Lucille Marie Lagacé, a Franco-Ontarian. He died 8 November 2020 at the age of 80 after bravely continuing to “live” through his battle with cancer. His technique as “Jeopardy” host was part of what gave the show its long-running popularity. There will never be another Alex Trebek.

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Source:

Eds. Wikipedia. (30 March 2021). Alex Trebek. “Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.” Wikimedia Project: Powered by MediaWiki. (30 March 2021). Alex Trebek – Wikipedia.

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Image Above: @clipartpanda.com.

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