Trying to Keep Up

I haven’t posted a blog lately because I have been terribly distracted with old and new computers.  My old one, “Fanny,” held not only all of my documents, emails, photos, websites set-ups, Facebook contacts, but all of these same things for the historical society where I volunteer, create exhibits, write news releases, etc.  So, when Fanny became terminally ill, not only did I move my things to a new computer, but I also separated and moved the historical society’s items to second new computer.  Oh, woel.  It was tedious, torturous and tough.

Also, my husband and I recently celebrated a milestone anniversary.  There has been quite a bit of celebrating over that event.  Looking back, it seems to me we have always been married.  I was a mere child when we promised ourselves to each other and he may have been just out of puberty.

While we agree on all the basic points of life, we still have discussions – sometimes animated – about the small things: who was it who played the protagonist’s role in “A Good Shepherd”; who said… etc.  These small disagreements are usually resolved with a hug or a smile.

Often a woman writing about her husband will give him a nickname.  “Fang” comes to mind.  I think of my very significant other as “Rock.”  It’s appropriate.  He’s a rock solid guy, my rock when needed, yet he can be stubborn and unmovable at times.

We have played a game for years, one that neither one acknowledges.  It has to do with being the last one to use something – toothpaste, bar soap, etc. To win one must be the last person to use the item  To lose one must be the first to open up a new tube or a bar of soap.We don’t really acknowledge winners or losers, except once Rock commented with a smile, “I see we’ve started some new soap in the shower.”  He had won that one.  I don’t like admitting it, but I cheated once.  The toothpaste tube was so empty it was flat, so I opened a trial size the dentist had given me and used it.  I felt bad afterward that I had not played fair in this silly game, and though I didn’t tell him, I never did it again.

Rock, as I said, is stubborn at times.  He likes to see the toilet paper fall down from the rear of the roll while I like to see it cascade over the top.  (Did you notice the verbs?  Isn’t mine so much more descriptive?  Is it any wonder that I prefer to see the roll that way?)  Whenever he puts on a new roll it’s always the way he likes it, even though he knows I will change it.  Once changed it remains that way.  I imagine he chuckles when he puts on a new roll then chuckles again when he sees what I have done.

We frequently have heated discussions on politics.  Our thoughts on this subject totally agree, although we are registered in different political parties. Still we cannot understand how “the other side” can be so blind, so stupid, so brain dead, so… well, you get the idea.

Here I could launch into a tirade about Indiana and its new law about serving same-sex couples in public places. Hasn’t the country gone beyond that?  And how about all those states making it harder for some people to vote? There’s no voter fraud in this country!  And why do some state governments feel that women should not have health care in certain kinds of clinics?  These clinics do more than perform abortions.  And what about…. Here is where I usually go into a tirade about what’s happening to my country and with my elected representatives.

So I’ll end with this.  Is this still America?  I find it hard to keep up and Rock agrees with me.  happy anniversary

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When and where would I be if I could be in another time and place?

Boy, that’s hard.  That title.  I would, of course, want to go to all the truly great moments in history.  A time machine to take me somewhere else and live those fantastic moments as they occur.  Do you suppose people knew they were fantastic at the time?  Possibly not.  Recall, please, that those in the audience when President Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address did not applaud with any enthusiasm.  It took the publishing of the short address and the contemplating of it to know how great it was.

Oh, there are so many places and times I would travel to.  (Uh, oh… that ended with a preposition!  Tut!  Tut!)

Lately, and for about two weeks, I’ve been struggling with getting my new computer up and running.  It’s not been a happy time for me.  If I could wish myself away to a tropical island, with a mystery or spy book, hammock and cool, tall drink, I would do that just now.

Thankfully, my son (the boy grown to adulthood now who did not need “the talk” because he was white), is deep into computers.  So he has captured and redesigned my old website.  He did a fine job.  Check it out:  hiflightpress.com.

So, while he’s busy doing that, where else would I be?  I’d be back in time for sure, only because I’m getting up there in age and going back would allow me to be younger for a bit.  The movies have influenced me terribly and one of the places I would like to be is Oahu, on December 6, 1941.  It was a Saturday evening, the breezes were sweet and cool, the music was soft and swaying, the moon – well, I haven’t checked on the moon – but it was a paradise kind of night.   The next day was tragic and the start of a war that drew this nation together as nothing else ever had.  Everybody knew someone in the service back then.  Lots of folks had world maps on their walls (their walls!) to check on the action, as reported on the local radio stations.  It was four long years of sacrifice and loss and victories as well.

But for that one evening, wouldn’t it be fine to think the world was quiet, at peace, and all was well?

My Bleeding Heart

I guess I am one of those bleeding heart types.  These are folks who hurt over all sorts of injustice… We hurt for people who are accused and mistreated for no reason at all except for the color their skin or their religious belief or the origin of their birth or because they have brown eyes or whatever.  How often we retell the injustices of Hitler’s Germany, and yet, his separating of the masses into different groups and singling some out for hatefulness is just what’s happening here in the U.S.

Well, in the case of black people, that’s been going on since the beginning of this country.  With the anniversary of the March in Selma just behind us, so, too, is another shooting of a black teen.  My heart goes out to those parents and all the others who have lost their young sons.  How frightful it must be to take aside your young boy just entering his teens and tell him how he must behave while out in public so as not to bring attention to himself or give cause to be arrested for a ridiculous offense.  Whites tell their sons to behave in public, yes, but don’t need to bring  up the idea of not wearing a hoody, or a cap, or to look up or to look defiant or run or just generally behave like a teen-aged boy.  Actually, I cannot imagine what all is included in “the talk.”

I have a son and I did not fear that he would be shot by the police every time he left the house, and for that I am very grateful.  While the Justice Department did not find Officer Wilson guilty of murder in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, it did find the police department guilty of discrimination and racial profiling.  And this has been going on for quite awhile.

Recently it seems as though other discrimination is on the rise.  The politician who killed himself over rumors that he was Jewish… Didn’t we overcome anti-Semitism?  Is there still an active “Gentlemen’s Agreement”?  If so, how could I not know this?  Am I naive or just not keeping up?

Oscar Hammerstein II wrote a song about the subject in South Pacific… “You have to be taught.”  When we hold hatred and anger in our hearts we spread it to our children and they to theirs.

My bleeding heart believes it would be a more perfect world if we actually practiced what we said in our Constitution, that we are “created equal.”  This goes for all minorities – all are equal – and yes, this includes women!

 

Obituaries Are Life Stories

One of the important features of a newspaper, for older folks anyway, is the obituary section. The joke is to check and see if “your” name is listed there. Ha, ha. But in truth, the purpose is to see if a former neighbor, or someone who’s lost touch, or a local person – known but not an intimate – is deceased and what is said about them.

What goes into an obituary is interesting.  When the subject had a hand in it the detail is better.  If the survivors wrote it then they will include some of what the person had talked about most… “Did I ever tell you about the time I…?”

Years ago I read a long obituary about a WWII veteran who had come home to the family farm near a small town, been called back to serve in Korea as so many were, then returned home again.  This time his service was to his family and his community. He married, had children, prospered, served on boards and commissions in his hometown, and saw his children grow up to be successful, happy adults, also serving their communities.  Yes, all this was in the man’s obituary.  He probably helped to write it and it stands out in my memory as someone who lived a really good, fulfilling life.  We all wish for that.

The reader’s eye is drawn to something else in the obituary section: symbols that recognize the person’s membership in various organizations, or the American flag.  The flag identifies veterans who served during our various wars, conflicts and actions. Nowadays more and more of these flag-marked obituaries are for men and women who served in the Korean Conflict.  In a few years the Vietnam veterans will fill the pages.

As for those WWII veterans who are passing away by huge numbers now, there was something else to mark their service.  In some cases it was stored away, lost or even purposely destroyed. It was the Honor Roll erected in small and large communities listing the men and women who were serving from that area.  My own home town placed a large board with names (the Honor Roll) in front of the post office and left it up until long after the truce was signed to end the Korean Conflict.  No one seems toHonor Roll faceknow where it is anymore.  In my adopted small town the glass-covered list of names was placed in front of the fire hall.  Some say it is now somewhere in the American Legion building, but no one can find it.

Some larger towns and cities erected more permanent tributes, some were etched into concrete and will always be there to prove the pride of the community.

Other even larger permanent tributes can be found near the battlegrounds of Europe and the Pacific.  Another is on the Mall in Washington, D.C,. where a sprawling memorial was erected, a bit late, perhaps, but it’s there now.

However, individual tributes/memorials – whether for veterans or not – are the brief biographies in the daily newspapers.  They can capture a glimpse of the whole person. Called “obituaries,” they make good starting points for genealogists and biographers. But since few people have books written about them, these obituaries must suffice as the story of a life.

My Favorite Fantasy Place

About a week ago someone asked where my favorite fantasy place was.  I thought about it briefly, knowing exactly where it was, but did not write about it then. Now I will.

I’ve often thought I would like to look something like a young Rachel Welch, long-legged, big-bosomed, with white, white teeth and, as mentioned – young.  Why Rachel?  Well, I’m not really up-to-date on the current crop of long-legged beauties.

I envision myself on a South Pacific island, lying in a hammock, being served delicious, iced drinks by a dark-eyed, curly-haired, and, of course, handsome waiter.  He would also bring light snacks from time to time and see to it that if I fell asleep my drink did not spill all over me and a page marker would be in the book I was reading.  The book would be a deeply engrossing action-mystery.  A Jack Reacher, or Virgil Flowers tale, or a by-the-rules Joe Pickett story.  I might even have a courtroom drama at my elbow ready to go.

This hammock would be hung between palm trees with soft grass below in case I dumped out during my nap.  When evening came I would move into my little cabin and sit in the screen enclosed porch to receive the breezes blowing in from Shanghai or some other exotic locale.  For company,  my husband (current and only) would visit to chat and do other things.

Sometimes I would walk along the beach to a little village about two miles away and buy trinkets. Sometimes my husband would accompany me, sometimes not, but only at my bidding.

Once I had thought this idyllic location would be in the south-eastern U.S., but now I know it would be so humid there I I could not be outside in the summer, so I have moved this location to the South Pacific, where the ocean breezes would refresh me.

So. My favorite fantasy place would have me as a young, exciting woman (‘way taller than I am). with two men – one candy for the eye and one whom I actually love – and all the books I could ever want to read.  Did I mention that the little village would have a library with the largest collection of mysteries (and histories in case I also needed some enlightenment) in the world?

I think that other than being dated as far as Rachel goes, I’m keeping up with this fantasy.