Friday, July 20, 2018

My Happiest Time of the Year

Little Cuter wondered about the times I've been happy.  A birthday party in a white dress with red trim over a big poufy crinoline, a dress that twirled around and around and around comes to mind.
The birth of my children doesn't compare to watching FlapJilly feed lettuce to the giraffes, giggling her face off, but they all made me happy.  Partying on the school steps after receiving our Masters Degrees, feeling the floors and the walls of our Big House in Marin (it's not as weird as it sounds... they were awesome!), walking alone on a hot August afternoon, with no place to go and no time to return,  watching my garden grow..... happy, happy and happy.

But the most consistent, repeatable, truest answer to her question is Right Now.  Why?  Because this happens in the stores and the Farmers Markets
and I get to bring it home with me.  For a month or two, there will be snacks I lust for, snacks I drool over, snacks I can't wait to eat.  They are tasty and they smell good and they are beautiful.

I mean, really..... look at these peppers:
This is my favorite time of the year.  
Every year.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Advice For My Great Grandchildren

Look to the future, but remember the past.
Your horizons are endless, if only you allow yourself to dream.  Those dreams rest upon the people and places who came before you.  You are one in a long line of strong and powerful women and men.  They crossed oceans to find a better life, fleeing famine and religious intolerance, looking for opportunities, embracing the new and challenging the old.  You carry many strands - German and Polish and Jewish and Catholic, short and tall, athletic and intellectual, teachers and pastors, Iowans and New Yorkers - and some piece of each of them resides within your soul.  Honor what came before and use it to inform your choices as you move forward.

The world is your oyster.  Treat it with care.
We have only one planet, and you are its steward.  Practice kindness and respect differences, for we are all on this tiny orb, circling the sun, together.  Consider the least among us, and use your privilege, your gifts, your strength, your enthusiasm, your wisdom, your talents to insure that Gaia and her inhabitants grow and prosper.  You are stronger and more powerful than you imagine. 

Your voice is a tool to be used wisely.
Do not hide your light under a basket. Use your words to make a positive difference.  Listen to the other side, be influenced by facts and nuance, be thoughtful if you disagree.  Those opposing you are not The Other; they reflect another viewpoint but still share the same humanity.  Try very, very hard to see through the discomfort and the disconnect your differences reflect.  We are all in this together.  Yelling only makes things worse.  But do not be silent.  If you see something, say something - and own the consequences of your position.  Nothing will change if you don't speak up.

Some basics:
Vote.
Read.
Laugh.
Hug.

And, the most important thing of all to remember is this:

Tomorrow is not promised.
All the opportunities, all the adventures, all the heartbreak, and all the joy - they are there, lying in wait, ready to grab you, unexpectedly, surprisingly, wonderfully, terribly.  Going to the grocery store can be a stop for supplies, a chance to greet a Congresswoman, or a life changing perforation of what you had planned for the rest of the afternoon.  Be aware, awake, available.  They each have something to teach you, even if the lesson hurts as you absorb it.  Waste none of your days, for each one is a gift. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Back To School Issue

Are you old enough to remember the Back To School Issue of Seventeen magazine?  I read Seventeen every month but I never subscribed.  Why?  Because it showed up in Murray's Store days before it arrived in my mailbox.  I had to have it right away.

It was thick, filled with advertisements for shoes and blouses and dresses, chock-a-block crammed into colorful pages in which I could get lost for hours.   What would people be wearing when school began?  What colors would I see?  Which three outfits - for I was only allowed three new outfits in the Fall, three in the Spring - would I select? 

I'm getting lots of magazines these days, since Fabletics gives me a subscription for every outfit I purchase.  I chose Smithsonian for myself, and Sports Illustrated and Time for myself and Amphi Middle School, but Shape and Seventeen and Family Circle are just for the teens and tweens.  I never open them.  I put For You From Grandma Suzi because Reading Is FUN! stickers over my address labels and drop them off in the librarian's mailbox.

I don't pay much attention to the covers or the content.  I am merely the conduit for that which was gifted to me.  But yesterday, going through the mail TBG had collected while I was FlapJilly-sitting, I stopped and gasped.

I was 12 or 13 or 14 or 15 again.  I had the Back to School Issue in my hands, and those hands were shaking.  I was thrilled.  I felt a funny feeling in my tummy, as FlapJilly would say.  I thought of myself reading in the Jefferson Chair (what we called the Windsor desk seat), wondering if I were too short or too flat-chested or too something for the clothes.  I thought of my cousin sitting beside me on the couch, concentrating on the nail polish colors as we watched Million Dollar Movie.

It's just a collection of glossy pages, perhaps, to the uninitiated.  For those of us who grew up with it, though, it's a harbinger of Fall.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Baby Bruvva

He does have a name.  It's just not one she's choosing to use.

She's a very messy sleeper.  I know this because we slept in Gramma's bed while the rest of the family was in the hospital getting over giving birth.  I put a body pillow between us on the second night, for protection.  No matter how cute they are, feet do not belong on Gramma's face.  Especially when they land there with authority  Especially when Gramma's dead asleep.

No, it was not Morning Time!! at 2am, but those were the sweetest words ever when the sun woke us up a few hours later.  First yoga - "Of course I know it!  You have to start with Downward Dog! - then the Breakfast of Champions - brownie and ice cream.

Why?  Because why not?

We skipped pre-school and went to the zoo.  We stayed up late.  Lunch was frozen yogurt (which she knows as ice cream), with gummy worms and gummy bears and raspberry truffles because the youngest among us has quite a refined palate.

All weekend long, we put sprinkles on everything.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Just Like Me

I walked past the video monitor last night, and FlapJilly was no where in sight.  It was an hour or so after her parents had kissed her goodnight. I said nothing to the grownups and began to walk upstairs to her bedroom.

I never got there.

On the landing lay my granddaughter. Flat on her belly, bent elbows and upturned palms cradling her head, she was engrossed in the biggest,fattest, heaviest book she owns.  Surrounding her were the teeniest books she owns, square cardboard with a finger puppet poking its face up from the cover, just like the one she chose at Barnes and Opal for her soon-to-arrive baby brother.

The contrast made my heart soar.

I snuggled up against her, not saying a word. I was a child again, sent upstairs before I was ready to sleep, covertly turning to the foot of my bed with a collection of illustrated Washington Irving, reading in the dim light from the hall.  The picture of the Headless Horseman is as vivid today as it was in reality five or six decades ago.

I, too, had a huge collection of stories. I, too, wanted to be left alone with the words and the pictures. I, too, was too awake, too filled with the day to sleep most nights. So, I read, in the half-light, just as my little one was last night.

“What goes around comes around,” G’ma used to say. Last night, I knew she was right.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Inside My Brain

Does this happen to you?

I was in the shower (still no baby!) this morning,  and my brain had a thought.

I repeated it out loud.

Why?

It’s like there are two parts of me, the internal and the external, and they both wanted to be sure I knew what I thought.

Actually, there are three parts - I forgot the one who laughed at the other two.

Why wasn’t it enough to have the thought in the first place?  What piece of my brain needed to push it out through my mouth?  It was already there (though I’ve forgotten what it was by now).  Why did I have to repeat it?

Not that it really matters.  There’s no extra charge for thinking and saying the same thing to myself.  But I wonder if I’m the only one who has this happen.  I’m not making a conscious decision to do this.  It just happens.

Does it happen to you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Winning

The Purim Carnival at the synagogue was a big deal.  A very big deal.

The moms had a rummage sale covering half the room, clothes neatly folded, arranged by gender and size and season.  There was something wonderful about all those garments just lying there on the tables, waiting to be fondled and held up to see if they fit and then taken to the grandma beneath the cashier’s sign.

I don’t remember buying anything.  I do remember looking.

On the other side of the room were the games.  Ring Toss and Magnet Fishing and homemade tests of prowess lined the walls.  The middle was filled with costumed kids.  The costumes were the most fun.  Esther and Haman and Mordecai had cloned themselves a hundred times over.  Small bearded boys and medium bearded boys and larger bearded boys peered out through tiny holes in oversized plastic masks.  Girls in makeup laden masks paraded with stately grace; Esther was a queen, after all.

No one came as Vashti.

Grandma excelled at costume design.  The sewing machine whirred for weeks before the big event, creating a satin dress of many colors for me to wear.  It was gold and blue and red and gorgeous.  I was glamorous.  I was beautiful.  I was 9 or 10 that year, a 4th or 5th grader, just between childhood delight in dressing up and tween angst about fitting in.  I inhabited that outfit as if it were meant to be.  It was.

That day marked one of the 4 times I remember G’ma saying SHIT!  She aimed the hairspray straight into her eyes.  She washed it out as best she could, but a trip to the Emergency Room was required.  She drove herself.  Daddooooo had to take us to the Carnival. In retrospect, that seems weird.  At the time, I went with the flow.

There were tickets to be purchased which would then be exchanged for a chance to play the games.  As we waited to buy ours, I examined a giant jar of jelly beans, sitting on the table next to the cash box.  Beside it was a greens and black and white stuffed penguin, with a white ball point pen attached to his collar.  Guess How Many! Win the Autographable Bird!

Autograph dolls were a big thing in the early 1960’s.  Writing on a toy seemed odd and inappropriate,but there they were, at birthday parties and family gatherings and summer camps.  I had none.  I wanted that one.  But I had no idea how many beans were in that damn jar.  I tried counting around the bottom, tried counting the layers, tried to determine how many stacks of colored candies were in there..... and then Daddooooo was buying our tickets and the girl with the pencil and paper was asking my name and my number.

I told her something.  She wrote something else.

I thought about complaining, but I didn’t want to make a fuss.  I wanted to play.  And I did, until the Rabbi stood up on the stage, microphone in hand, and announced that one person had guessed exactly the right number of beans in the jar.

Suzi Annis.

Everyone applauded.  I was embarrassed.  I went up on the stage, collectedmy treasure, and worried.  Was. It. Mine.  That refrain ran through my head for the rest of the afternoon.  I hadn’t guessed that number at all.  Should I give the toy to the girl who wrote the real number?  Did it really matter?  I could just as easily have said the correct answer; mine was a totally random guess after all.

I carried the penguin for the rest of the afternoon.  I let people sign it, that afternoon and when they came over to play.  The tip of the pen made a satisfying dent in the fabric as the ink flowed on to the beast’s belly.  I drew flowers and hearts on him.  I wrote my own name.

I reveled in his presence, even as he stared at me, knowing that he was in my house under false pretenses.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Not Really a Guest

I’m here for the duration.  As Little Cuter points out, she is not in charge of when the baby arrives.  He’s on his own schedule, shifting down and rising up, stretching and hiccuping as he grows and grows and grows.  I’m a houseguest until he’s no longer occupying her middle.  It could be a while.

My girl looks beautiful, although she’s uncomfortable.  Finding a position that doesn’t impinge on her breathing or sitting is a challenge, but she scoots around on the couch with a smile on her face.  This is a much anticipated,  much loved,  much wanted child..... we just wish he’d hurry up and join the party.

In the meantime, I’m grocery shopping and vacuuming and prepping dinner.  I’m collecting FlapJilly from preschool every afternoon and then collecting her Mommy from work.  It’s slow during the summer at the University which employs her, but her colleagues are making sure that everything she can possibly be asked is put before her before her leave begins.  She’s not bored, she is busy.

When it’s your house and someone else tries to do your chores there’s bound to be confusion.  She’s delighted that I want to cook (a fact which surprises me since she is a much better chef than I am) but worries because “you are NOT a neat cook, Mom!”  That’s true.  TBG reminds me of that every evening when he steps into the kitchen to repair the damage I’ve done.  Somehow, food seems to fly off the cutting board, off the counter, out of the pan.  The floors have drops and drips and peels.  The counters look like WWIII took place there, in miniature.

I promised to try my best.  So, today, after cutting up the veggies and marinating the meat I took towel and Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning spray and got to work.  I am typing in a very clean space right now.
I’m not a guest.  I’m her Mom.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Gramma's In Town

There were so many adventures this weekend.
Taking a nearly 4 year old to the park is much more fun than taking a toddler. She climbs and hangs and gets up and down without any help at all, thank you very much. 

She understands how to properly propel her swing, going faster then slower, then "just the same as you, Gramma." We catered s the wind blew our hair, as the sun got in our eyes then went away.  We talked about friends and pre-school and Grandpa. They were real conversations, another difference that made me smile.

There was beauty shop and Barnes and Opal. The polish might have been a little smeary.... okay, maybe a lot smeary... but none got on the table. We were quite glamorous in the book store, collecting some Fancy Nancy's and Disney's Tangled before she played on the plastic frogs and domes in the mall. There was no time for conversation on the car; she was too busy reading.
But the big adventure was tie dying.
Pregnant mommies have trouble sitting in the ground, but "ya gotta do what ya gotta do."
The shirts are fabulous, and worthy of their own post. My daughter's hands are a lovely shade of blue after rinsing out the excess dye.
And now all four of us have colorful additions to our wardrobes.

I'm exhausted.
I'm delighted.
I'm here. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Chicago

I lived here for nearly 20 years.  I quickly learned my way around, because Chicago makes it easy.  It’s a grid, moving out evenly from State and Madison, block by block, the numbers going up by one hundred at each intersection.

Even I,  directionally challenged, never got lost.

Today,  Not Kathy picked me up at Midway Airport.  None of the roads were familiar, though they should have been.  The surface street leading to the highway has a Starbucks now, where before it was lined with abandoned storefronts.  There are overpasses and underpasses where there were vacant lots.  There’s a Jane Byrne interchange, funneling vehicles to the right and then up and down on their way to connecting interstates.  All of this new.

They rerouted Lake Shore Drive years ago, creating grass and more lanes and a fence where the secret parking lot for the Field Museum used to be.  The Cuters and I were very good at racing across The Drive on our way to see the T-Rex and the Native American weaponry and the special exhibits on the upper floors, reached by climbing one of the world’s great staircases.  This afternoon, waiting for the traffic to inch by, I admired the landscaping and the fencing and sighed.  The Museum used to be free.  Today it would cost $38 for one adult to pass through the front door.

Not all change is good.

We drove past the spot where Meigs Field used to be.  Before it was bulldozed one night, Big Cuter and I used to spend lovely afternoons watching the planes take off and land.  Now it has prairie grasses and passes itself off as an urban oasis.

A space ship has landed on SoldierField.  Tall buildings are going up in neighborhoods that had been avoided like the plague.  But sitting on their couch, typing while Not Kathy and Dr K are reading on the other couch,  Chicago still feels like home.

I became a grown up here. I practiced my profession, was a new bride and a new mother, bought a home - Chicago pushed me into adulthood with its big shoulders at my back.  Tonight, as we eat taramosalata and saganaki at Greek Islands, I’ll try to recapture some of that past.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

On The Road, Again

Maga and Papa can't be there, so I'm on my way.  The baby is coming sometime this month, and while I won't be in the room to catch him, I'll be close enough to greet him on his first day in the world.

I'm not sure there's a great place to be in America in July.  The middle of the country is colored red on the weather maps.  Tucson's monsoon hasn't made much of an impact.  Much of Puerto Rico is still without power and Flint's water is still undrinkable.  Big Cuter says San Francisco is gloomy and grey.  And Mr. Trump is President of us all.

Most everyone is on vacation, or planning a vacation, or just back from a vacation.  Facebook is full of Hawaii pictures and New York City pictures and Florida pictures.. and not all of them of a girl treed by an alligator. Friends are at Stonehenge and Disney and marrying in Colorado. 

I'll be spending the next few weeks in northern Indiana, wearing my Nevertheless, She Persisted tank top in that bright red state.  It's a beautiful shade of pink, and the message works in the gym as well as in the political sphere.  Silver Sneakers gets me free gym memberships anywhere in the USofA; I'll be sweating and making a statement at the same time.

FlapJilly doesn't like to nap at school; I'll pick her up when her classmates bring out their cots.  We'll have so many wonderful adventures - the zoo, the jumping palace, Barnes and Opal.  I'm filling my suitcase with something special for each and every day.  Some are treasures from my past and some were created just for this moment in my little one's life.  Some were given to me by friends.

 All of them fit in my big, wheeled suitcase; Southwest lets me take 2 bags for free and I'm delighted to pack with impunity.  I'm so used to Allegiant's one free under the seat bag rule that this feels like gluttony.  Will I need that skirt?  Why not? There's room! 

Life will go on back in Tucson.  Mah Jong will be played, albeit without me.  Hand and Foot will go on, though I will be gone.  My plants will bloom and wither and TBG will watch them and smile.  The little things that I do go unnoticed til I'm not around.  The gratitude which follows when they are found out makes my heart sing.

Expect FlapJilly posts for the next few weeks.  You are the only friends I'm taking with me.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July!

Reprinted from the archives.
Relevant every single day.

Today's the day the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and tweaked for two days by delegates from the thirteen united States of America. It was signed by most of the States on August 2, after the rough draft had been written cleanly on parchment. 

I love the fact that we celebrate an act of government, rather than a piece of paper. I love contemplating the bravery of those treasonous men... for treason it surely was... and the ideas behind the words they were endorsing.

So, take a moment and read the letter to the world, sent by the colonists in 1776. And if you are spending time with relatives-of-a-differing-political-persuasion, and the overhead fireworks aren't sparkly enough.  try the italicized paragraphs below as a conversation starter.  

You can thank me later.
*****
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us
, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Memories of My Grandparents

Grandma and Grandpa lived in Arverne when I met them. They moved to The Butchers' CoOp, the Pink Buildings, in Far Rockaway when Arverne became too dangerous for elderly white Jews. No matter, they were always near the beach. 

Bubbe and Zaydeh lived on East 93rd Street in Brooklyn; Bedford Stuyvesant is about as far from the beach as you can get. They too stayed put until the neighborhood became dangerous. They moved to senior citizens housing, living a few floors below Zaydeh's brother, Uncle Sol.

In Brooklyn we could play stoop ball or handball in the alley. We could ride the horse drawn pirate ship that swung you nearly upside down when it jingle-jangled down the street, pulled by two old equines. We could walk to the deli or to John's Bargain Store or to the bakery, where Charlotte Russes were always in the window.

In Arverne, there was a long driveway without walls, the smell of the sea in the air, and two card sharps just waiting to take my money. Yes, we played for money. Yes, I often lost. Yes, Grandpa collected his winnings. But mostly I remember Grandma walking behind his chair, scolding him:  "Are you skinning her, Benny? Are you?" Skinning.... cheating.... tricking me while distracting me.... his eyes were twinkling at me as she ranted about the behavior that excused my inability to remember the rules.

With Grandma and Grandpa there was always the beach. Grandma's sisters sitting in low chairs, wetting their wrinkles by scooping water down the fronts of their swimsuits, never getting totally wet.  

Bubba and Zaydeh took me on a boat ride at Brighton Beach once, in the only water-and-Brooklyn-grandparent-related-adventure I can remember. There was no roof on the vessel and the sun was annoying until Zaydeh took some newspaper and folded me a sailor's cap.

I remember Bubba coloring with me, using her crayon to outline the sections before she filled them in. I remember riding on Zaydeh's shoulders, watching baseball on the black and white tv in our living room. I remember getting postcards from Grandma and Grandpa's European vacation - Picadilly Circus with a double decker bus still exists somewhere in my closet.  

Mostly, though, I remember being loved.

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Volunteer Turns Into a Star

Life in the desert isn't easy for seedlings.  The sun is unrelenting.  The rain is sporadic and uneven, drowning you one day and starving you for months afterwards.  The ground is hard packed and dense; roots have a tough time finding their way through the spaces.  There aren't a lot of nutrients in what passes for soil here; to me, it always looks like dirt.

If the drip system is humming along smoothly, the plants I planted and irrigated do just fine.  If the drip system acts up, strange things begin to happen.  Established plants become leggy.  Blooms are stunted.  Leaves become smaller and more fragile.  Everything looks droopy.

I asked Scarlett's Irrigation Guru for an estimate on upgrading my system; $3500 is more than I'm interested in spending right now.  So I've been fine tuning it myself, considering which tubes need larger emitters, which can be capped off, which need to be extended further out as the plant's canopy gets wider.  

All of this has been theoretical, of course.  It's 108out there.

Still, some things manage to thrive.  Most of those are volunteers, plants arising from seeds pooped out by birds or coyotes or bobcats or quail or bunnies or ground squirrels or hawks or owls.  They don't pay much attention to my yard's Master Plan; this bush ought to be 5 feet further south for optimal viewing pleasure.

Still, it's one of the largest specimens in my front yard, and when it's covered with bright yellow blooms my heart swells.  I thank the defecating beast every time I see it.

But this morning, typing to you, I'm fixated on the crepe myrtle deposited by a helpful passerby right where I'd put it myself.  Just to the side of the gate.  Right in the middle of a purple lantana.  It's pink and bushy and happy as a clam.  There's no irrigation right there, but somehow what's watering the rose living uphill must be enough to keep it smiling.
I'm concentrating on that bush right now, as the world falls headlong into spaces I don't care to contemplate.  This little pink splash of wonderfulness reminds me that serendipity is often in play, that things happen without our help, that the world sometimes surprises us with joy.

Thanks, Crepe Myrtle.  I need you right now.

Friday, June 29, 2018

I Had A Post In Mind.....

I really did.  A bunch of Random Thoughts (haven't done that for a while, thought it was time to reprise it) or, perhaps, a silly FlapJilly story, or a description of GRIN's Grandma's Garden project at Prince.... they were all rattling around in my head until I came home and watched the news.

Five people went to work in the morning.  Just a regular morning.  The sun came up and they got dressed and followed their regular, boring routines and ended up at their desks in the Capital Gazette.  They never went home.  They died on a regular day, doing regular things, with regular people.

How do we go on when shit like that keeps happening?  There must have been pissed off readers before 2018, readers who sued the paper for some reason or other.  Why does the world not come to a stop when a man begins executing other humans because he's angry?  When did this become okay?

I'm lucky.  I've already been shot.  I often tell people that the safest place to be in the world is by my side, because the chances of bullets finding my small self once again have got to be very small, indeed. 

But the rest of you.......I worry..  I don't know how you find the inner strength to leave your houses in the morning, knowing the chaos and craziness that might await you. 

I wondered last night if the time was soon coming where the only people brave enough to encounter others, randomly, in public, are those whose lives have already been violated by gunshots.  We've been there, survived that.

I worry about the rest of you.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

It Was All Too Much For Me

First, the Supremes believed that The Trump Travel Ban was based, not on the President's stated objective of keeping all Muslims out of the USofA, but on specific security threats.  As Rachel Maddow pointed out, that was the same reasoning used in upholding Korematsu, the Japanese internment case brought during WWII.  Recent documents have shown that there was no real security threat (if one had existed it might be assumed that the other descendants of the Axis Powers - the Germans and the Italians - would have been rounded up, too).  Somehow, I think the same spurious reasoning will be found by future generations probing the archives behind the Muslim Ban.

Yes, there were restrictions on immigration from those countries when Mr Obama was President. Somehow we managed to stay safe for all those years without disgusting the rest of the world.

Then, the Supremes weren't impressed with racial gerrymandering at all - and decided it wasn't a big deal, that districts could be drawn at State Legislatures' discretion, racial insensitivity (or over sensitivity) be damned.  Congressional Districts can look like the lower intestine, serving to include and exclude with impunity. 

Sure, a District in New York elected a newcomer while ousting a long time Democratic pol, but can a Democratic Socialist agenda gain traction here in Arizona?  Is the DCCC, the election arm of the Democratic Party, worried?  They are putting their dollars behind establishment candidates (see Ann Kirkpatrick right here in Arizona) while ignoring the upstarts with bold ideas.  We have 7 of them competing for Martha McSally's House seat, fascinating humans with new ideas and bold visions and, for the most part, not a lot of baggage from the past.  Will they play well more broadly in our District?  It's 30-30-30, split between Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, a true swath of Americana.  I like a couple of the newcomers, but the Powers That Be aren't budging.

Gabby and Mark are behind Ann.  That adds to my burden of sorrow.

Then Justice Kennedy retired. I've already alerted my family that Justice Ginsburg can have any of my body parts she requires to maintain her health and her workload; she's the most important human on the planet right now.  I need her on the Court, not replaced by a person whose impeachment or indictment may well come before that same Court  

The thought of that foolish. orange, ignorant man (yes, I was reduced to ranting by my fear and loathing) appointing Supreme Court Justices put me over the edge.  I paced.  I ranted.  I watched High Society and admired Grace Kelly's jewelry (the real stuff, that Prince Rainier gave her, that she wore in the movie and then on in her real life as Princess Grace) and thought about Satchmo going to the newly formed Congo upon its release from Belgian servitude (when I was in 4th grade and wrote a report on it.... thank you Mrs. Kleiner for an assignment I recall half a century later).... and none of it helped.  I ate ice cream and a croissant and a banana and couldn't drown my sorrows and fears that way, either.

So, I went to sleep, hoping that the world would look better to me in the morning, that my fingers would take me to a better place for you, even if the post would be hours late in posting.  

Obviously, I managed to write something this morning, so the edge is off.  

Still, I don't feel very much better at all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

My friend, Marilyn Heins, is a pediatrician, parent, grandparent, great-step-grandparent, and the founder of ParentKidsRight.com.  She writes a twice-monthly column for the Arizona Daily Star, giving practical, meaningful, comfortable advice about parenting at all stages.  Her June 24th column was about the importance of having The Conversation - what do you want at the end of your life.  She began with the story of euthanizing her Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

When I think of my mother's death, I start with a pet, too.

I sat in JannyLou's kitchen, holding her as we wept.  She'd held her pooch in her lap as the vet helped him die.  We were sad, but it was a good end.  

And then, we laughed through my tears as we talked about my mother.  She was slowly fading away, aches and pains and memory loss making her alive but not really living.  How she would have welcomed such a comforting and comfortable end.

"We are kinder to our pets than we are to our people" has become our new mantra, as we watch our friends and relatives go through loss and pain and unnecessary procedures.  Somehow, we have gotten to the point where counting the days we have is more important than examining their quality. 

My family was lucky; I kissed my mom goodnight and she died during her sleep.  And, our last conversation was fabulous.  

G'ma hadn't communicated with anyone, except to say OUCH,with attitude, for a few days. That evening, as the aide put her in her Christmas nightgown (red and green plaid, it was December, I'm not sure the aide ever heard of Chanukah), I was, as usual, chatting up a storm, assuming it was as arrogant to think that G'ma didn't understand me as to think that she did.  

Pausing for a breath, offhandedly I said "You're not really here and listening, are you, Mommy?"

"Nope, I'm not," she replied.  The aide and I were stunned, but I jumped right on it.

"Where are you?"

"I'm not sure." (big smile)

"Is it okay there?"

\Her eyes roamed the ceiling.  She was seeing something, though I know not what.

"Sure.  Why wouldn't it be?" (bigger smile)

That is the closest I've ever come to hearing about what's out there after we leave here.  It's strangely comforting.

Then, dressed and comfy and tucked in, I asked if she wanted me to stay and chat or if she wanted to sleep.  She closed her eyes, turned her head on the pillow and pretend-snored.  She opened her eyes and smiled at me.  

"Okay, then. Be that way!"  I laughed, we kissed, we exchanged I love you's, and I left, crying my eyes out, much to the aide's bemusement.  

"Why are you crying?  If she goes tonight, the last words she heard were that you loved her.  And you heard the same.  Why cry?  That's beautiful."

We'd had The Conversation.  My siblings and I were on the same page. But I wish I had been there to hold her hand..


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Getting an A+ in Parenting

She's about to welcome a sibling.
Her parents are realizing that the odds will soon be even - two on each side of the power divide.
And so, recent emphasis has focused on rewarding Excellent Big Sister Behavior.
The rewards are financial, deposited into a piggy bank.
Said bank was full on Sunday; FlapJilly was free to spend her earnings anywhere she wanted.
The Yogurt Shop. Claire's for baubles and bangles.  The cupcake bakery.  Target.
Nope.
She took her parents and her kitty purse and her cash to the library store, Barnes and Oble.
There she is, leaving with her book bag and her Dad, explaining the situation to him.

They've raised a not-yet-4-year-old who makes wise choices.
A+ 




Monday, June 25, 2018

These Days

Driving to our new favorite Mexican restaurant Friday evening,  the conversation turned to 23&Me's donation of genetic testing kits as a means of reuniting separated children and their parents.  Of course, issuing matching hospital bracelets would have accomplished the same thing, but that would have implied planning and forethought as opposed to a hissy fit to placate the base.

Too brown to be in town, TBG muttered, shaking his head, scowling, squinting his eyes in that way that signals Danger, Will Robinson.  The cruelty to children is driving him to distraction.  He's angrier than I can remember seeing him, and I've been seeing him for a long, long time.

We try to leave politics far from the dinner table, but we couldn't contain ourselves.  We were casting aspersion left and right, denying the humanity of those who were party to the awfulness.

Those children are already damaged - we kept coming back to that.  No matter what we do, they are different than when they arrived.  Eve  Sarah Sanders wouldn't take the podium to defend it; she had Homeland Security take her place.  Then she went out to dinner.

The restaurant freaked, called the owner, didn't know what to do. How could they profit from Sarah Sanders?  The owner arrived, polled the staff, and the Sanders's were asked to leave.

They were polite.  I wish she had made a stink about it.

Nasty is nasty, no matter if you are supporting the President or the Resistance. If you are open for business you are open for business, even if you are a couple of black guys who need to pee while waiting for a friend in Starbucks

Do unto others comes to mind, too,

But I always end up in the same place - what if she asked you to bake a cake for her wedding?

You disagree with her politics, think she is immoral, don't want her in your space.  You refuse her service based on her beliefs.  The Supreme Court agrees with you; you have nothing to fear.

But living in our separate silos has contributed to the sorry state of affairs in America today.  We are so angry with one another that we cannot be in the same room with one another.  That's no way to reach a compromise, no way to govern, no way to live.

I would rather have had the staff be salgubrious* with her, meeting her every need with a smile and good cheer  When the excellent meal and fine service is rewarded with a generous tip, one of the servers could explain that they can't keep her money, but that they will be donating all of it to RAICES, where it can do the most good.
*****


*salgubrious - overly friendly, often ridiculous or feigned (newly minted by TBG in 2010)

RAICES promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and South Texas.  They are putting up bail money for asylum seekers.

Friday, June 22, 2018

I Tried Not To Do This

thefootballexaminer.com
I spent all afternoon and all evening and a good part of the night thinking about this image.

Ben's Bells is one of my favorite places in Tucson.  It's all about kindness.  Most of the cars driven by Tucsonans have one of these stickers on a rear window:
:
Kindness.  The notion has been rattling around this country as our President rips children from their parents and blames everyone but himself.  It's just not kind.  You know, that whole Do Unto Others business that the Bible, Mike Pence's bedtime reading material, talks about.  The What You Do To The Least of Us You Do To ME.

That ME..... am I incorrect to assume that refers to the Son of God?  Even Herod's minions didn't pull  him out of the manger and relocate him while his parents checked in with the government.

I know. I know.  They weren't checking in.  They were trying to move in.  They ran from chaos and instability to El Norte, where there are rules.  Yes, rules that they were trying to follow, except that the rules changed while they were en route and they must have missed the memo.

Yeah, the memo.  The one the Border Patrol got telling them to direct migrants to sections fo the border where they would be arrested and prosecuted as felons, rather than given a misdemeanor ticket and a request for appearance in the future.

And then?  Then those grownups would leave their little ones with relatives while they cleaned houses and bussed tables and dug trenches for irrigation lines in 117 degree heat.  How many chef's have chimed in, how many landscapers are reminding us that native born Americans don't want those jobs?  There are no government benefit checks coming their way; they live in the shadows, driving carefully, obeying the rules (ah, those rules), waiting for their day in court.

These aren't people who are crossing illegally.  They are people asking for asylum.  They are looking for shelter and safety.  Many, like the tearful 6 year old we heard on the smuggled tape, want to reunite with family, just like my grandparents some 100 years ago.

Can we take everyone?  Why not?  There are swaths of empty land in our country, miles of distressed housing in Detroit that could be turned into an urban oasis if refugees were trained and put to work creating their own homes.  I bet Habitat for Humanity has a few ideas on how to engage them.  There are signs outside every care home in Tucson, every construction project, looking for workers.  Anybody who's walked hundreds or thousands of miles seeking refuge from kidnapping and rape and murder, who's carried a child looking for a better life over all those miles, certainly that person has proven to have perseverance and fortitude and desire.  Aren't those the basic qualities sought in an entry level position?  

Sure, we'll have to educate those children, but if their parents are allowed to pay taxes on the work they do then it ought to be a wash.  But they can't pay taxes if they sneak across, and those separated families were not trying to sneak.  They were trying to be saved.

Yes, unrest in their countries of origin is the bigger problem. Perhaps Mexico should secure its own borders so migrants cannot pass through, as DJT bloviated yesterday.  But I like thinking of the United States as a sanctuary, as a loving, welcoming, accepting, thoughtful, kind place.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one........

In any event, no matter if you agree with me or not about all of this, can you think of a better way to radicalize a 13 or 14 or 15 year old than caging him?  There is only one thing that might push that kid over the edge faster, and that's seeing FLOTUS announcing to the public how she really feels.

Seeing her sitting in front of a Kindness Matters sign made it all just a little bit worse for me.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Coming to America

My Bubba wasn't the person chosen to come to America.  Her older sister, Dora, was the one who was supposed to make the trip, to meet family in New York, to become an American.  But Dora was too scared to leave home, so Ida went in her stead.

Everyone who knows the details is long dead.  Piecing things together from randomly remembered bits of family history, it seems that my maternal grandmother, an accomplished seamstress, looked quite elegant when the steamship arrived at Ellis Island.  They lifted her eyelids with a button hook, checking for she knew not what.  They asked her name, and wrote a semblance of what she said in a big book, then sent her across the harbor on a ferry to meet her distant cousin, the one who sponsored Dora-now-Ida.

That was chain migration at the turn of the 20th century.  There wasn't a lot of vetting for terror suspects, unless you were an Asian immigrant held on Angel Island off the coast of San Francisco.  There had to be an anchor person on shore, someone who would guarantee to the authorities that the new arrival would have a place to sleep and a job to hold.  Without those two pieces in place, you couldn't come over.

Families sent the oldest, the strongest, the most resilient members to brave the new frontier.  Once established, they'd send for more cousins.  My paternal great-grandparents had 9 children; the oldest accompanied their parents,they brought the rest over, slowly but surely.  He sent my grandmother and her younger sister to London, but they refused to stay with those cousins.  Frustrated with their behavior, the unknown English cousins put the two little girls on a boat in the care of a stranger; they floated to America, 8 and 10 years old, alone.

There were quotas and there must have been paperwork, but that side of things is lost to history.  Titanic showed how Leo took the ticket he won and jumped on the ship without any vetting at all.  Somehow, our nation survived.

Then came World War II, and Roosevelt sending the St. Louis and her refugees back to Europe and certain death.  If my relatives could have swum across the ocean, they'd have fled the Nazis and begged for asylum.  There was no walking to safety for them.  They died because of American immigration policy.

But it is possible to walk from Central America to our southern border, and fear has a way of making the impossible possible. Can you imagine the strength it takes to bring a toddler across thousands of miles?  Can you imagine the hope and the longing for safety that impels young parents to undertake that journey with nothing but an image of a shining city on a hill at the end? 

What I can't imagine is the Border Patrol agents sending people away from the designated safe crossings.  What I can't imagine is officials referring people to stations they know will break up families.  What I can't imagine is how those people sleep at night. 

A worker in a detention facility was told not to hug the crying children.  Parents are being deported while their children are held here; I can't imagine how they will ever reconnect.  Where are the girls and the babies?  DJT says that Ivanka told him that this was not a great policy; I can't imagine believing him.

Friends went to represent me at Senator Flake's D. C. office.  They were treated with disdain.  I can't imagine a rude Congressional staffer; didn't he realize that he was talking to his employer? 

Coming to America means something different these days, whether it's on the border or in the halls of Congress, it seems.  It makes me very sad.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Perfect Response

I finally found a spin bike that fits my frame, doesn't hurt my butt, and lets me feel safe.  I rode one morning, Fox News on the personal tv to get my blood going.  There are no toe clips on this bike; I have to concentrate on the upstroke in order to keep the ball of my foot on the pedal. On the downstroke, I have to remind my right knee that it has no business traveling off the mid-line.

Up and down, around and around, I was focused on feeling the bone moving in the socket.  The synovial fluid loosens up and starts to flow, blood nourishes the muscle, and real work begins to happen.  I was happily considering the delicious warmth in my hip when a friend stopped by.

Normally, I wouldn't take out my earphones.  I'd smile and wave and go back to my routine.  Serious gym rats understand and appreciate that; it's not rudeness, it's dedication to the workout.  But for her, I made an exception.

She's a world class athlete, an age group champion (more than once), and the leanest woman I know.  Her muscles are right there, proud and strong, and she's always been more than generous in sharing how she got them.  We met before I was shot, over the squat bar.  We've shared family stories and hairstylist recommendations.  It's never going to be more than a gym rat relationship, and that's perfectly okay with both of us.  What it is is quite enough.  She's a Before And After person; that makes her special, too.

So, when she stopped, I did too.  We hugged, sweatily, and updated our workout status.  She wondered about the bike, I told her I finally felt safe and comfortable on one and her response was perfect:  That's Great!

She didn't offer suggestions.  She didn't ask why I chose that configuration versus one that would more nearly approximate true bicycling, using the muscle to its utmost, making the most of my time (I had TBG for that when I got home).  She was thrilled that I was accomplishing something new, that I was moving, that I didn't hurt.

Then I put in my earphone, she hoisted her gym bag, and we waved goodbye.  She told me I inspired her.  I told her she gave me confidence.  Two perfect responses, two happy women, one lovely Father's Day morning.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dear C J

I've known Rep. McSally's District Director since he was Gabby's Communications Director, back in 2011, when we were shot.  I smiled when I heard that he'd "gone over to the dark side," the phrase I used when I called to ask for a meeting.  Since McSally's election, we've met half a dozen times, alone and in the company of others sharing my political bent.  

He's always been open and honest and forthright.  He calls me on my over-reactions and I don't allow him to avoid the hard questions.  We agree to disagree.  

He knows that I don't feel represented.  He knows that I don't admire his boss.  He's a staffer, enjoying the workings of government without attaching a personal bias to his day job.  I'm fine with that.  He spouts the party line, the Congresswoman's inability to take a coherent stand on the issues tormenting and torturing his answers at times, but he's always tried to hear what I'm saying.  He promises that he conveys the messages upstream.

We've shared our love for America, a country that welcomed our recent relations as immigrants.  We've managed to laugh around our differences.  I hope that's still true after he reads these words, which I sent to him in an email Monday morning:

Dear CJ,

We've talked about the Brits and your people - the ones who were bullied and tormented and pushed aside, abused and sent running.

We've talked about civil discourse and respect and seeing the other side.

We've wrangled with the distinction between speaking truth to power and getting something done.

I'd love to have something to discuss about the Congresswoman's stance on separating families at the border, but, alas, there is NOTHING.

NOTHING.

This is the office that represents me.  This is the office that speaks for me in Washington.  This is my voice, and it is silent.

How does Ms McSally feel about this policy?  She was just at the border with Sec. Nielsen.  She knows her.  What have they discussed about this issue?  Where does my Congresswoman come down on this policy?

I'm not making any assumptions about her reaction.  That would be unfair.  Just because her home page is filled with pictures of her cozying up to the President and the Vice President does not necessarily mean that she agrees with everything they say.  I will give her the chance to prove that she can establish some distance between herself and the inhumanity that is besmirching our international reputation, that has gotten us a slap from the United Nations, that tears at my heart when I wake up and when I go to sleep.

This is NOT my America.  Is is Congresswoman McSally's?

Inquiring voters want to know.  I await your response.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Not My America

Among the benefits of getting shot (and yes, there have been benefits) are the connections I've made with people I would never have encountered otherwise - news people.

It started with Amanda, your friend at the Associated Press.  She started every conversation that way.  It made me smile.  She was writing the first draft of American history, and she wanted to get the facts straight.  Then there was Brian Williams, now semi-disgraced for embellishing a story but then very much in high esteem.  He was genuinely interested in us, in how we came to be the people we are, how the shooting dented that construction.  His questions opened new ways to think about The Event.

And then there was Sarah Garrecht Gassen.  She waylaid me in the hallway outside one of the first court hearings, identifying herself as a stringer for the New York Times.  Since the NYT had just printed an error filled article  (starting with misstating my age)  about me, I said No, thank you. I'm not interested in talking to the Times, and kept going.  I also represent The Star, she went on, and I stopped.  I'll always talk to the local news.

And so it began, an unlikely friendship between a short Jewish grandmother from New York and a blonde, small animal loving, tri-athlete from the midwest.  We found ourselves finishing each other's sentences.  She didn't mind lengthy answers and I didn't mind intrusive questions.  She quoted me directly and placed the quotes in context.  She never made me look like a fool.

That was 7 years ago.  We continue to have breakfast crepes at Marcel's even as we've stopped trying to improve our gait. 5K's were fun, but life gradually overtook our free time.  We discovered Bananagrams and now her journalism students are addicted.  She's gone from reporting to editing to becoming the Editorial Page Editor.  I read her columns and her editorials, laughing with her using my What's not to love? rant about Christmas (c'mon - babies, farm animals, love, stars, visitors with gifts - what's not to love?) and sagely nodding when she touches directly on the truth.

Sunday's editorial landed there, solidly, emphatically, with passion.  I liked the print headline better: 
Out of ideas, US leaders give child cruelty a try.  Using words like feckless, desperate, complicit, and traumatizing, the editorial agrees with me - Is this the United States we want?  We say loudly and firmly: No.  Taking on Jeff Sessions and Congress, the Star places the blame where it belongs (emphasis added):
The broken immigration system and the need for change are adult problems  Adults separate ourselves into countries, with borders.  All children know is they reach for their parents with the same heartbreaking, human cry.
Can't you see why I love her?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Something To Think About

Thomas Mullen wrote a one-off story, the first of his books that I read.  The Last Town on Earth has cut all ties with the outside world, hoping to quarantine itself against the flu epidemic raging through World War I America.  It doesn't really go as planned.

Several small towns actually tried this, with about as much success as Mullen's fictional burg. 

What happens when someone approaches?  What happens if that person needs help, or poses a threat?  Worse, what happens when the town runs out of liquor?  Amid musings on relationships and permanence and family and good and evil, I found something that stopped me in my tracks. 

It gave me something to think about.  I give it to you.
And even if so much was stripped away that you no longer recognized yourself, the thing left was the part of you that you never understood, that you always underestimated, that you were always afraid to look at.  You were afraid you'd need it one day and it wouldn't be there for you, but in fact it was the one thing that couldn't be taken away.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flag Day

First published in 2015, upgraded in 2018. 

Today, Flag Day, June 14th, is Linda's mother's birthday; why I know that fact remains a mystery.  I've known Linda since first grade.  I know none of the birthdays of my other friends, from then or now, let alone their mother's birthdays.  

Flag Day, though, has always been Linda's Mother's Birthday.  Just ask TBG. He doesn't know Linda, but he, too, celebrates her mother's birthday.
*****
Image result for gabby giffords christening battle ship
timesofsandiego.com
This is the weekend, in 2015, when Gabby Giffords helped to christen the US Navy's newest littoral combat ship (designed to patrol in shallow waters), the USS Gabrielle Giffords.  Two years later, Little Cuter and I helped her celebrate the Commissioning.

At both events, she was gorgeous and happily wind-blown, leaning against her handsome husband.  I know the effort behind each one of the steps she took, from the bow to the stern.

It's not only the doing which inspires me, it's the attitude : There is no yesterday.  There is only tomorrow.  Be bold. Be courageous. Be strong.
*****
Which has gotten me thinking about the The Star Spangled Banner. 

I've never liked it, as music or narrative.  Then, Col. Bill's wife sent me a video from Smithsonian Magazine which told the story of the very real night when the continued proof that our flag was still there meant the difference between the survival or failure of the fledgling United States of America.

I'd still rather sing America the Beautiful or God Bless America.  
*****
Daddooooo was quite annoyed at the American flag patch on my jeans shorts, back in 1970 or '71. He felt that using the flag to cover my tush was the height of disrespect.  

Of course he was right; the Flag Code prohibits such behavior.  Then again, it also prohibits all the machinations the NFL puts it through in the name of patriotism.  I wonder what he'd say about that.  

Back in 2015, though, I wondered how he'd react to soccer fans, with their flag capes
Image result for usa soccer fans
and their flag faces
Image result for usa soccer fans
futboler.tv

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