Port Arthur, Texas was my geographical port of entry to this planet 77 years ago today, May 20, 1940. Mother was using midwives for the deliveries back then. I was number three of eight siblings who survived birth. A ninth didn’t make it.
Dad’s entire life was his family along with his trade as a master machinist. He worked for Standard Brass in Port Neches, Texas during the war years making bullets and bombs. I don’t know why he and his fellow workers were never considered part of the Armed Forces and therefore eligible for military pensions. Sure, he didn’t have to go fight the battles abroad, thankful as I am for that. But those that did have to go would have been useless without ammo in their guns and bombs in their bays. Dad was home during the war busy raising a family with our Mom beside him and birthing offspring. There was purpose in his drive to procreate. He wanted to supply his beloved Church with priests and nuns, as Mom revealed in her old age. Dad’s life ended at sixty-one with a massive heart attack. (I lucked out with his genes at age sixty-two with a coronary bypass.) Dad didn’t have time for doctors. I wish he had. I was just beginning to know him and enjoy his presence in my life.
In 1944-45 Dad moved his growing family to Lake Charles. He bought a deep acre lot with a two-bedroom-one-bath house on Sallier Street, just across the railroad track that formed the southern city limits. Most of the roads were graveled, including South (now Ryan) and Lake Streets, and, of course, our Sallier Street.
Being outside the city limits, Dad built a small milk-farm, which I will always cherish as the most meaningful and practical setting for my education and character-development. I milked cows before and after school, fed chickens and ducks and sloped hogs, raised rabbits and calves for meat, built fences and strung electric wires to keep the cows in the pasture (and learned never to pee on one again!). With more girls than boys – seven to three with Mom and Dad – in a house with only one bathroom, we did our pissing behind a tree or in the barnyard. God, I loved that little farm. So many happy memories, not the least of them is the bonfires we were free to have outside the city limits. Then the city moved the southern border to take in our farm and we had to dismantle it.
By that time I was well on my way to becoming a priest in Lafayette, Louisiana, away from home and all the drama that played out with my sisters. My brother had joined me at the seminary but didn’t stay very long. At fourteen, I was enamored by the priestly life of prayer and solitude, on one hand, and on the other by the stability and security the priesthood offered. Besides, my dad seemed really happy with my choice of vocation, which made it much harder to leave the seminary seven years later.
Speaking of seven years, my life’s journey has unfolded in seven-year cycles, as it probably does for everyone. At age seven, I began my schooling in the first grade at St. Charles Academy. There was no kindergarten back then. I finished my junior high school at Landry Memorial High School by age fourteen, when I entered seminary at Immaculata Minor Seminary, which is located on the Breaux Bridge Highway in Lafayette, our mother’s stomping grounds when she was an orphan. She was born in Rayne and adopted by a cotton farmer in the Breaux Bridge area, where she was reared. I loved my mother very much and felt close to her during those seven years of seminary training. She wrote me often, as I did her. She had the most beautiful penmanship. I promised that I would take care of her in my own home when she grew old, but that was not to be.
I spent six years in minor seminary and one year at Notre Dame Major Seminary in New Orleans, where I met a chiropractor who worked what I thought were little miracles with my health. So impressed was I with his method of health care that I left Notre Dame and went off to chiropractic college in Indianapolis, Indiana at age twenty-one. My dad’s belief and use of chiropractic made my decision to leave seminary a lot easier. I think he was happy for me and with my change in vocation. I know Mom was. She was always supportive of me in my life’s journey.
I graduated from Chiropractic college at age twenty-three, met and married a wonderful woman of German descent, Jane Ellen Kriner, who had two daughters, Elizabeth and Patricia. We moved straightway to Louisiana — at her encouragement, I might add, and with the excitement of her daughters — to begin my career as a chiropractor and natural healthcare practitioner.
We settled in Crowley, a small rice-farming community an hour’s drive from home, where we soon bought an antebellum house that had served as a medical clinic for some thirty years, which we renovated as a home-office combination. In Crowley we ran squarely into the medical prejudice against chiropractors. Even the parish priest where we attended church was preaching against the “quackery” of chiropractic. This encounter broadsided me and woke me up to the reality of the times. We lost a court battle over a zoning infraction with our office in a residential zone, which had been rezoned without the realtor telling us. At the same time, a colleague in the Baton Rouge area invited me to join him in his busy practice. So, we moved to Baton Rouge, which was our home base for some fourteen years.
Over the weekend of May 19/20, 1967, I attended a seminar that completely redirected my life and the life of my wife and two daughters. Dr. William Bahan, who was giving the seminar on how to put your life and service on a “giving basis,” was to become my beloved mentor and friend. In 1968 I was introduced to Lord Martin Cecil, who was to become my spiritual mentor for the next twenty years. I was completing four cycles of seven years.
To start my fifth seven-year cycle, in 1969 we adopted a little baby boy whose mother was one of my younger sisters. We were barren and Leo Fredrick, as we named him after our own fathers, was a love-child and a gift from God.
In 1973 we moved our family to Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, to attend a three-month class in the Art of Living. When we returned home, we became active in our newfound spiritual community as residential members of an Emissary Center in Baton Rouge. Ten years later, we were blessed once again with our first and only offspring, another sweet love-child whom we named John Anthony, after our own namesakes.
In 1980 we moved again, this time into the New Orleans area where I joined a friend and colleague in his practice, eventually winding up in Belle Chasse, a suburb of New Orleans, where we lived and worked for six years. Then, in 1986, a growing crisis erupted in our marriage that ended it. Easter Sunday took on new and significant meaning when Jane and our son, John, drove away to start a new life back home in Indiana. I was left with our older son Leo in the Crescent City to find my way to a new cycle and direction in life and to helping Leo find his life. Our shared-journey’s end completed my seventh seven-year life cycle. With Leo married now and off to join the Navy, I moved back home in 1988 to take care of our aging mother in Lake Charles. I was forty-eight and winding up my seventh seven-year life cycle.
As I began my eighth cycle and celebrated my fiftieth trip around the sun, I met my best friend and travel companion Bonnie Lee Fisher on Earth Day 1990 and we have journeyed together to this day. We courted for ten years before entering a fully married and eventful relationship in 2001 with an outdoor wedding at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, surrounded by family and friends. We flew up to Niagra Falls for our honeymoon. Loving her has been a joy as well as a source of much spiritual and personal growth.
A memorable event was officiating as a celebrant at Marcus and Khara’s wedding, Bonnie’s son and daughter-in-law. The following year held the major and surprise event of bypass surgery on Easter Sunday in Fort Collins, Colorado, giving me a new lease on life as I started my ninth seven-year life cycle at age sixty-three the following year.
Much has happened in the last fourteen years since my heart surgery. I started publishing Health Light Newsletter in 2004 and published my first book, Sacred Anatomy, in 2005 and my workshop manual in 2007 in preparation for my first Attunement with Sacred Sound workshop intensive at Glenn Ivy Retreat and Conference Center in Corona, California. That same year I published “Rediscovering the Soul of Chiropractic,” a reprint in booklet format of an article I wrote for our professional magazine Today’s Chiropractic in 2000. I then retired from active practice and went up to Ashland, Oregon to spend some time with my two sons and grandchildren. Bonnie and I had taken a breather from one another and rejoined our lives and shared journey upon my return from Oregon.
In 2008 we rented out our house and moved up to Sunrise Ranch Conference and Retreat Center in Loveland, Colorado, where I studied sound healing with Jonathan Goldman and continued to developed and teach a workshop in Attunement with Sacred Sound, completing my tenth seven-year cycle at age 70. Our boys had moved to the West Coast with the grandkids and we followed them to San Francisco, California and Ashland, Oregon. We really enjoyed the rugged Pacific Northwest Coast.
Upon our return home in 2011, I went into part time practice as a health coach in the Holistic Healing Arts, the name I gave my office space in the American Wellness Center in Lake Charles. Since then I’ve been offering my services in clinical nutrition, attunement energy work and sound healing. I made my final contribution to the field of the Sacred Healing Arts by publishing my second book Attunement With Sacred Sound in 2015, bringing my eleventh seven-year cycle to completion presenting my work as part of an attunement workshop intensive offered by a friend and colleague at Still Meadow Retreat and Conference Center in Portland, Oregon.
I continue to serve where I am needed and received. My two blogs, HealingTones.org and LiftingTones.com (my Health Light Newsletter online) are visited by readers from all parts of the globe thanks to the Internet. Life is good, and my journey has been full of blessings along the way from friends I cherish and hold dear with infinite appreciation. The Lord has been good to me, providing all of my needs all of my days, for which I thank and praise Him daily.
So many friends posted Happy Birthday wishes on my FB wall. Gosh! I am floating in happiness! Spent the day with a colleague who came through on his way to New Orleans who gifted me with a wonderful and much needed complete body stretch and alignment. After which Bonnie and I drove down to the Gulf for an evening of solitude and beach-coming stroll in the salty sea waters. Thank you one and all for your love and happy wishes.