We have all heard it a million times… writing is such a lonely craft. No matter how writers try to distract themselves from themselves, eventually they must succumb and begin the lonely climb from sub to conscious thought, from pen to paper or fingers to computer. Yes, I am describing my own journey. And then the thoughts are dispersed to the person or in this case, the “list” of those brave souls that signed on to accept and read my blog. All to say, I thankfully, always get some response to what I write.
So that even if I write in the wilderness, eventually after sending the blog out, someone or someones rescue me from my solitude and brings me into their thoughts and responses and I am profoundly gratified and satisfied.
Hey, let us not forget my friends… I began my game of life as a performer. My passion was in putting myself before an audience and hoping I gave them pleasure or challenge or both. That give and take audience response was my initial lifeline from dysfunctional family life to dysfunctional married life. My ever growing, developing, nurturing, constantly challenging, and most loving relationship with my daughters was and always will be my raison d’être, but performing was definitely my second choice.
So writing in the wilderness is very difficult for me. And without response… OI VEY! … you’ve got to be kidding… a killer… an absolutely killer. I’ve been told to not be bothered by the lack of response… blog readers don’t usually respond. Well, in this last Blog about the Netflix movie, I Care A Lot…. I specifically asked for a response… and I got it.
I’m going to try and figure out how to rework my blog so I can keep this “audience” response going. In the meantime, I want to share some of the responses I received.
From Jim: In my reading lately I’ve come across the concept referred to as the attention economy. Mostly in reference to social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. it is the idea that our attention is finite and of value and we should pay attention to how we ‘spend’ it.
These dark, ironic ‘humor’ movies and shows make me feel like I’ve not only wasted my time but been ripped off in terms of my attention. And since everything is tracked these days I am starting to be much more circumspect in how I allocate my attention.
From Donna: I saw the trailer for “I Care A Lot”. Half way through the trailer, it ’sceeved’ me out and I moved on. What a horrible plot!!!… The world is frightening enough these days without adding to it.
From Pamela: I was afraid of that. I saw the blurb and could feel the ickiness. Glad you STOPPED WATCHING!!! Your senses are too precious to fill with such a vile version of humanity!
From Paula: In CA almost impossible to have someone declared incapacitated in the courts. Court also sends out its own independent investigator. Anyway wanted you to know this so that you can sleep again…
FYI, I never watch movies like this anymore (even in the past I rarely watched) – no matter what the reviews. Too much ugliness in the world already. I need an escape.
From Dianne: I read your blog. That movie sounds horrible. Glad you switched over to reliable Agatha.
From Lana: Ugh. I watched that movie last night. I wanted to quit part way through it — I actually found it very uncomfortable and a little bit horrifying. I also wanted to see if it had a satisfying end (yes, sort of). But I went to bed with a flutter in my throat, kind of wishing I hadn’t watched it. But it made me wonder if, during the Trump era, producers made more movies like that — characters derelict of conscience or humanity
In reading up on the backstory of the movie, I see an article in The New Yorker was part inspiration: The Takeover The whole thing scared the be-jesus out of me.
While there have been shows where some audience members left before I did, (I’ve been in a few “turkeys” in my time), but as Laurence Olivier said, “If you haven’t had any bad reviews, you can’t call yourself an actor”.
You see this is the kind of digression that counts as a distraction when I am trying to write. All I meant to say is… if you want to respond to any of the responses my machines are always open.
Every time I think I have a handle on how to handle the world I and fellow beings presently inhabit, I lose the handle. Why can’t I keep a steady hand on the wheel of my life? I know the rules of safety. I try my best to follow them… Social distancing, masking, hand washing, sanitizing, travel limits.
I am kidding you and myself because, of course I know why I can’t keep it steady. I am not in control.
I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. I know the feeling well because I have been there many times before.
I think I am being vigilant. But then, I watch others out of my control, threaten themselves and others with their choices. It then becomes my responsibility to set limits and put out the no vacancy sign. It is so alien to the nature of this here beast.
My door has always been open. In the world today that is not an option. I can make some adjustments. And for this I am so very grateful that I am able to set up for a meal in the garden or the porch with safe spacing, masks and whatever else is necessary for the safety of all.
I did not know the depth and the extent of the migration of Black Americans from the South to the North and to the West from 1915 – 1970. For me, Ms. Wilkerson’s narrative is the foretelling of the ongoing struggle for Black equality we are experiencing at this time. She has chosen three protagonists from three different locations in three different decades of the migration. Their detailed journey from the white racism of the South that followed them to the white racism of the North and West is shocking and a necessary and important tool in understanding how racism, subtle and not so subtle works.
At the end of the book Ms. Wilkerson writes some notes about her methodology in putting this brilliant study together. She quotes from a 672 page report by a white-led Commission on the Chicago Riots of 1919 wherein the commission admonishes all.
THIS MUST CHANGE!
It is important for our white citizens always to remember that the Negroes alone of all our immigrants came to America against their will by the special compelling invitation of the whites; that the institution of slavery wast introduced, expanded and maintained by the United States by the white people and for their own benefit; and they likewise created the conditions that followed emancipation.
Our Negro problem, therefore, is not of the Negro’s making. No group in our population is less responsible for its existence. But every group is responsible for its continuance… Both races need to understand that their rights and duties are mutual and equal and their interests in the common good are identical… There is no help or healing in appraising past responsibilities or in present apportioning of praise or blame. The past is of value only as it aids in understanding the present; an understanding of the facts of the problem — a magnanimous understanding by both races — is the first step toward a solution.
Excerpt, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, page 543
The report came out in 1922. Last time I checked my calendar it was 2020.
THOUGHT 3: IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE OBIT, EAT BREAKFAST
There is no way that I am going to leave you without a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart. Even though my go-to cheerleader, Carl Reiner, left for quieter climes.
I am sure Carl and Snoopy were in complete agreement.
Here is a documentary he narrated when he was only 94:
Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
P.S. Happy July 4th. It’s way past time to put our money (and our votes) where our mouths are…
I have children and grandchildren so I spend some of my time working hard on being “with it”.
I haven’t gone as far as wearing short skirts and dresses (not with my knees, please), or styling my hair a la early Barbie (if I had a Ken, I might think differently), or buying 5 inch stilettos (I’m Chair of the CLSW… The Committee for Licensing Stilettos as a Weapon).
Here is my rationale for my commitment to electronical living…
I love my children and grandchildren and I want to be able to communicate with them. Somewhere in that rationale is a glimmer of truth, but only a glimmer.
I am your basic garden variety guilt-ridden judgmental person.
So of course, THIS HAPPENING IS NOT MY FAULT.
Here is the backstory… I was dragged kicking and screaming into electronic living.
One of my sons-in-law took time away from work to educate me and hook up my first computer. A friend bought my first iPad to help me navigate that new phenomena. An ordinary cell phone was not enough, I had to become an iPhone owner.
Like I said… Not My Fault.
Slowly, but ever so surely, I have been co-opted by the tech and social media industry.
Don’t you believe it.
I went willingly to the gallows.
Without having to resort to short skirts, long hair, stilettos, I was a with it mother and grandmother.
I was plugged in! (Sorry!)
Over the last two years, I added texting to my growing bag of tricks. I was so with it, I frightened myself.
Then, like a character in a Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode (if you haven’t heard of him…that is really what the internet is for… research), I began to see and hear things that no one else was seeing or hearing.
Very recently, I hosted an immediate family picnic by the lake. So great! So lovely! Good Food! Good drink! Good people! Good texting!
Did I say texting???
Yes, I did.
You see I am old enough to remember family picnics when we ate, we drank, we talked, we played and then we went home.
At this gathering, everyone… and I mean everyone, including me at some point eventually hauled out the cell phone and started texting.
I had developed one rule over the years and that was no cell phones at the dinner table. Everyone agreed, charitable to me out of family title and respect. But this was a picnic… buffet and chairs all over the lawn… so I watched and I timed. If I thought I was frightened before, that was nothing to what I was feeling then.
And this was just one instance of what I have come to believe is a really serious communication problem.
We all think that texting is communicating!
How can that be?
How can a one-sided text be likened to a dialogue between two people?
There was a time when if there was a misunderstanding I took the time (not the trouble… the time) to connect with the person involved and work it out. Of course I am older, and truly my friends, at this stage of my life, no matter how clever the machine, I cannot afford to lose any more friends and family than I have already lost… so if there are problems, I want to work it out.
Texts don’t do it!
They never will.
Does that mean I want more in a relationship than a text will give me?
You bet I do!
So, what to do??
I cannot change the world. I can change me. I don’t want to misunderstand or be misunderstood. I prefer to hear your voice. I want to discuss, challenge, interest, invite, share… but I do not like sharing my thoughts with a machine.
‘Tis a puzzlement… how to be in this world but not of it. I have a dear friend who shares my conundrum… Recently, she sent me this article from The Week, reprinted from an op-ed in the New York Times.
Is what I said to my friend when I arrived back in the
United States after 3 weeks of European travel.
His response: That’s it! That’s the t-shirt!
My response to his response: What are you talking about?
You say the same thing every time you return from a big trip. Maybe if you wear a t-shirt with those words on it, just maybe, you will plan your trip differently.
But my friends, will I?
Last year from France to London to Ireland, I was able to do my version of travel hop from country to county. The fatigue didn’t hit until after I arrived back in the States. To be expected, right? Hopping can take a lot out of you.
This year, I added Barcelona to the mix. This year I hit both France and London during their heat wave. This year I am a year older.
I really do not want to admit that last sentence has any bearing on my life. A song immediately comes to mind, WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I?
After hitting my mid-80’s, everything has a bearing on my life. I wrote about it before. I preached to friends and relatives. I anointed myself the High Priestess of Accepting Limitations. I announced I wasn’t able to dance the night away, or do my one woman shows as I used to. Oh, I was the paragon of accepting ones limitations. Really??? Who was I kidding?
When I look in the mirror, I still see me as I was 20 years ago. I do not recognize the face staring back at me.
No, my eyes are not failing me. This is how powerful my need is for me to slow the clock; to not acknowledge the ongoing diminution of my energies. Also, I would be less than honest with myself if I didn’t share with you my Angel of Death obsession.And this is where I give you a little peek into Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s Two Thousand Year Old Man creation. Carl Reiner is interviewing Mel Brooks who is the Two Thousand Year Old Man.
Carl: “So tell us what is your secret. How did you live for two thousand years?”
Two Thousand Year Old Man: “Vell, I’ll tell you. Every night I go to sleep I wear a lot of garlic.”
Two Thousand Year Old Man: “For sure a lot of garlic. So when the Angel from Death flies into my room he flies over my bed, smells the garlic…”phew, it stinks”, and he flies right out of the window. That’s my secret. Never go to sleep without a lot of garlic. Woiks every time.”
Well, my friends, that’s my secret… a lot of garlic. Just kidding!
However, I now recognize that my travel arrangements this year were planned in one of my favorite states, the state of DENIAL.
What was I thinking? I’ll tell you what. I thought I had enough days in each country to recover my energy. I forgot about packing and unpacking and all the travel in between from one place to another; by air, train, car. Each place, going through security and every country in the world, except maybe deep in the desert or the jungle or maybe an ice floe in the Arctic, is difficult. I thank goodness for the wheelchair except when they forget you. By the time I arrived at my last stop, London, I was done, fried, finito! Not to forget that London was in the middle of its own heat wave. And make no mistake, one’s age is very telling in the heat.
I gave up the Underground (their subway) years ago…too many stairs. Taxiing was my choice. However, London has the same traffic problem that all major cities have, and the heavy toll that cars have to pay to come into the city makes no difference. They pay the toll. I sat in enough taxis that didn’t move before I was forced to walk.
I had to limit my excursions to places I could walk to and
also to walking with people who didn’t mind walking slowly. And I mean slowly. I discovered if I started out the day before
I had to be somewhere, I could walk to my destinations of the theatre, the
restaurants, the galleries.
And that is when I had my epiphany. STOP COMPLAINING! Getting older is definitely better than the alternative (ask the Two Thousand Year Old Man… I love garlic)
If I could I would get down on my knees in gratitude that I
was able to see my family (in Barcelona), my family in Ireland, and my friends
in France and London. As in the song of
the same name, I’M STILL HERE!
Adapt! Isn’t that
what the species is supposed to do.
I remember looking at the Tar Pits in Los Angeles and thinking, oh, those poor dinosaurs. If only they could have adapted to the changes that were happening around them, we wouldn’t need a Jurassic Park movie. We would have our very own zoo of prehistorics.
I do feel like the neanderthal of my clan, but that is all right. I may be shrinking, but I am adapting as I go.
I have a new
friend. He is nice. He is black. I am white. I didn’t mean to but I offended
Here is the
In December 2018,
I saw the film, Green Book. I flipped. I loved it. No, I mean I really
loved it. I was in the local movie art house and there was hardly anyone
else watching with me. I would say maybe 10 people at most. I laughed. I cried.
I thought Viggo Moretensen and Mahershala Ali were beyond brilliant. I ached for
each of them in the many cathartic moments of the film. I was enraged at the
America that made it necessary to publish a horror like Green Book.
I was beyond the stratosphere at the music. Don Shirley’s classical music background blending with a jazz originality to create a sound that kept my head, my hands, my feet, and my heart moving constantly every time he played. (Just so you have all the information… the pianist, Kris Bowers, composed the movie score and played the piano parts and he too is brilliant.)
I’m glad the theatre was empty. The way I was swinging with the music, I may have been asked to leave.
And when it was over, I stood up as in those rare standing ovation moments at the theatre. I say rare because for me to stand means to know you have witnessed a genius rarity not likely to happen again. I yelled, “BRAVO!” I applauded. I was ignored as the very few fellow audience members left, walking rapidly, perhaps nervous that some cuckoo was on furlow for a matinee.
I practically danced up the aisle. As I left the theatre, the ticket taker was standing at the door. She is black. I stopped. I took her hand. She withdrew it. Undaunted, I gushed my enthusiasm for the film. I asked if she had seen the movie. She looked hard at me. She said in a very clear voice. “No! I don’t watch rubbish.”
I guess that should have been my first clue. But, I ignored it. I couldn’t wait to get home and call my near and dear ones. If they ever wanted to see or speak to me again they needed to pass the test of seeing this movie.
Fast forward to the next day after the Academy Award ceremony…
Don’t hit me. I didn’t watch. I never watch. They
always leave out the one movie I thought was really great or the actor or the
writer…and basically, I am not sure about awarding best anything to any
artist. The competition is within the artist. Don’t tell me
someone is better than someone else. I don’t believe you can compare
apples and oranges. However, God forbid the money men and women don’t
make their money back on their product. And for them, it isn’t about
art. It is about “product”.
All to say, if they called my name for an Oscar, I’d probably be there.
My new friend and I were talking about the Oscars. Those who know
me know. Those who don’t know me are pretty sure. I have an opinion
on everything. Ask my daughters.
I had read Spike Lee was angered by Green Book’s big win. I opined that it might be sour grapes. I had seen his film, BlacKkKlansman and thought it was great. The perfect example of trying to compare apples and oranges.
My friend said he enjoyed Green Book, but he was also in agreement with Spike Lee. For him, the Academy was doing its usual thing. Rewarding the white man as he rescued the black man. Another movie to make the whites feel good.
I don’t often keep my own counsel. I continued on and on about how Green Book detailed the possibility of a bigot changing his tune. And isn’t that what is needed in a world gone mad with so much hate and bile. A world growing more and more into “them and us”. Separating humans of ever color from each other.
As I pontificated, I assured him, I knew what he was feeling.
There came a very pregnant pause. A close
to delivery pregnant pause. The pause was so awkward it actually shut my
After some time, we broke the pause with
banal conversation. Not going near the subject, we talked awhile and then
After we parted, I recalled what I had been saying. What was it that brought about the pause that did not refresh? As I did, I realized my new friend had been trying to tell me something without telling me something. No matter we are both minorities. I am Jewish and a woman. But I am white. He is black. I cannot and will never know what it feels like to be black.
Later that same day, I wrote an apology. I wrote that of course I could never know how he feels. I have had some of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune thrown my way, but against being born black in this world, past or present, not comparable.
He acknowledged my apology. We have not continued the discussion. Hopefully someday we will. Slow and steady as the friendship deepens, anything is possible.
I don’t know. I do know there are those who want to see a better world. Me, for one. And for me, a better world would be one where we all wake up one morning and find we are color blind. If that were true, then Green Book and BlacKkKlansman and all movies about race would be Fairy Tales. A collection of very Grimm Fairy Tales.
Is it possible?
As long as we are still breathing the world of possibilities will always exist? Right?
Of course, Right!
P.S. It seems no matter where I turn, going to the movies, reading a book, I am surrounded by with racism, bigotry, and the inherent anger, resentment and frustration.
In a recent biography of Frederick Douglass, David W. Blight writes of an event which occurred in Washington, D.C. on the 11th anniversary of the end of the Civil War as well as the 11th year anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. At the unveiling of a monument honoring Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, with President Ulysses S. Grant and all of official Washington present, Frederick Douglass spoke:
It must be admitted, truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory, Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man…
He was willing to pursue, recapture, and send back the fugitive slave to his master, and to suppress a slave rising for liberty, though his guilty master were already in arms against the Government. The race to which we belong were not the special objects of his consideration… My white fellow-citizens… you are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his step-children; children by adoption, children by forces of circumstances and necessity.
Excerpt from oration delivered by Frederick Douglas at the Unveiling of The Freedmen’s Monument in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., April 14 1876
That speech was given in 1876. It is 2019. Have
things changed? Externally, yes.
However, haven’t I been reading how the Executive Branch, the Congress, our Supreme Court are colluding and searching for ways to limit and deconstruct the civil rights legislation LBJ pushed through after JFK’s assassination.
Isn’t this what happened to the promises of Reconstruction after the Civil War?
I think this is the time to bring out my favorite Voltaire quote (a very dear, very old, very close friend of mine),
ACROSS THE POND AND INTO THE WOODS OF THE GERS AND THE CITIES OF LONDON AND DUBLIN…
Alright already, so what is this 85 year old woman, who on too many occasions still thinks she is 55, trying to prove???
For indeed, mid-journey, as I packed and unpacked on yet another leg of the trip, and stretched my back hoping to remove the cricks and creaks from my spine, ordered yet another wake-up call and taxi to the airport, that question was a constant.
I dared not look in the mirror for the answer. I was sure to discover I had morphed into a female facsimile of The Ancient Mariner.
How did what was supposed to be two weeks and a couple days turn into almost a month? Well, I am glad you asked. I’d like to know how that happened, too.
The first invitation came from my good friends in the Gers (an area between Bordeaux and Toulouse), an area of ducks, foi gras, armanac, truffles, and brilliant wines.
The original plan was for me to stay 2 weeks and then go onto London to see some other friends and then home. It would have been 2 weeks and 3 days in London. Doable!
The plot thickens. I have three daughters. My oldest daughter and her husband and 16-year-old daughter decided to move to Barcelona for a year. They were going to be in Barcelona when I was in London. I thought how wonderful. I shall fly from London to Barcelona and help them shop and move in and do all the mother things I am trained to do. “Here! Let me do that for you.” “You really don’t want to do that, do you.?” “I think this is a better idea, don’t you?”
Well, thank goodness I have another daughter who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. She called me after she learned I was going to fly to Barcelona. It went something like this…
“Mom, what planet are you on. You do not want to do this. She is just getting to Barcelona and she doesn’t need you to show her the way… YOUR WAY! She needs to make her own way. This is not about love mother, this is about her choices not yours.”
My reply: “Well, she didn’t say anything.”
Other daughter: “Did you give her a chance to?”
All right already. I got it. I called and told her I wasn’t going to Barcelona. Her sigh was heard around the world. There was only one problem. I had already changed my flight to fly to Barcelona and then home from Barcelona. My agent informed me to change it back again would cost me another ticket plus she couldn’t get me out of London except for another week in London, unless…unless…
Yes???? Unless what. If I flew from Dublin she could save me some money…
Dublin??? I’ve never been to Dublin. I always wanted to go to Dublin… see the Abbey Theatre… pretend to be Irish for a couple of days.
Yes! Let’s go to Dublin.
So a two-week trip suddenly got to be 3 weeks and a couple of days.
Now, I finally healed a fractured third lumbar of my spine. I knew extending my trip would give me some bumps. I thought if I was careful, I could do it. So I went for it.
I flew to Paris and then from Paris to Toulouse and my adorable friend Mary picked me up. My friends have a beautiful house but wherever I travel if I can I make it a policy to stay at a hotel… I live alone and over the oh, so many years, I have, what shall I say,… developed, alone habits and eccentricities. Just very personal preferences nothing illegal… although these days, that might be hard to prove.
So I had previously stayed in the Hotel Guilhon in this medieval walled village of Lectoure.
Thierry and Marc, the owners and dear friends from a previous stay, who greeted and treated me like their long lost Brooklyn relative. Oh, yes, born and bred in Brooklyn, and even in the Gers they heard of the place.
Their hotel is a 17th century ancient that has been brilliantly restored… only 5 rooms but each room is a decorator slice of heaven.
They serve a lovely continental breakfast with fresh fruits and croissants and brioches, boiled eggs if chosen… and for special guests from Brooklyn, Thierry would make dinner. Simple, elegant French cooking at its best. And last year I was introduced to the beautiful, inside and out, person, Pascale, who drove me everywhere and introduced me to second hand and antique shopping. Nothing like being in a place that goes back a few thousand years to discover the culture of the place you are visiting. And since Pascale had her own shop she really knew what she was talking about. Pascale, Thierry, Marc and moi… The Four Musketeers! Or, as I called them my very special French Mafia!
So what could be wrong?? Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Except in the middle of the second week, my aching back got a little more aching… too long away from the body workers that guard my spine.
Grid your loins… that’s easy for you to say! However, at the appointed time, I flew to London… and of course, the new way for me is the wheelchair. Oh, my friends, I shall never understand anyone who can choose a wheelchair not choosing one. Afraid to admit how the apparatus ages you…. not on your life… literally as well as figuratively. Think of what you would look like after rolling your luggage through a terminal that makes a football stadium look like a puddle. No! Thank you. Give me my wheelchair and let the vanities be damned.
London was great… back to the Royal Automobile Club around the corner from Buckingham Palace. (I was terribly sorry to miss tea with the Queen, but I only had 4 days) The club is convenient and the concierges Geoffrey and Martin, extraordinary helpers, especially my Irish friend Martin with his beautiful brogue who outlined my entire program for Dublin.
But while in London, it was the meeting up with friends… you know the kind of friends I am talking about, the friends that belong to a very special club… THE WE’RE STILL HERE CLUB!
As I look through my little phone book…the crossing out of names is on every page. Of course, I don’t need a reminder of my mortality… truly at this age it circles my head like a flea or fly or on certain days a buzzing mosquito or bee. Shoo it away, my friends, just shoo those suckers away!!!!
There was a very special event with one of my friends. Sculptor extraordinaire, Helaine Blumenfeld, had a special exhibit at the Ely Cathedral, outside Cambridge …oh, the joy of ongoing creative excellence that Helaine gifts to the world! For me her work is a constant reminder of how to pursue the artistic passion of our gifs. Bravo, Helaine!
And then, it is off to Dublin. I don’t know anyone in the city… I know some of its history and its poetry and plays and novels… and that could be said to give me a sense of its people and it gives my journey an excitement for the new and unexplored of all the places I have thus far been to.
When I go to a city I have not been to before, my plan is to find a driver and car to acquaint me with the particulars of the city. I checked into my lovely hotel and requested said driver and car. And then made a quick addition to my request.
I have a hearing problem… I have great what I call “vanity hearing aids” You cannot see them… but I know about accents… and I know about the Irish accent having tried it in a couple of O’Casey plays. It’s difficult and understanding it is more difficult. So I requested someone who doesn’t have a thick brogue.
The next morning I came down to the desk and explained I was waiting for a driver to pick me up.
“He’s here.” And up came Tony…with his lovely Irish lilt… totally understandable, “Sally! I’m Tony. Welcome to Dublin.” He plunks my cheeks with a kiss on each and I knew I would have a wonderful time with Tony in Dublin!
And I did.
There are so many wonderful aspects to Dublin and of the Irish.
Having traveled a bit, I want to say that the Irish are communicators. With or without a pint in their hand they want to talk. They want to know who you are. Where you come from. Who you voted for… Oh, yes, big topic was our political situation. (TRUE EVERYWHERE I WENT!!)
For me, their political situation was a big topic. They were one of two countries that stayed neutral during World War II. That for me, considering they made nice with the Nazis, was something I wanted to know about. And a very simplistic answer was that’s how much they disliked the British. And if you know the history, even a little bit, it could explain it, but does it justify it? The jury is still out on that.
As the days dwindled down to a precious few, I was ready to go home.
(Even the Pope’s arrival in Dublin didn’t delay my departure. I tried to explain to him that next time he should have his secretary check with my secretary.)
HOME… and the extra special benefit of flying from Dublin is that it is one of the few places that has American custom agents in Dublin so that when you check through customs in Dublin you are finished. Arrival at JFK meant just getting into my wheelchair and being rolled to a waiting car to take me home.
I DID IT!
Sooo, even with the gathering fatigue and aching joints and back, was it worth it???
New faces, old faces, new countries, old countries… wonderful.
My friends, no matter what we say or do the years keep climbing… and our mission if we choose to accept it, is to learn to accommodate, adapt, and yes, slow down.
It is difficult for me because somehow I equate slow down with death.
There, I said it.
The question somewhere inside not hidden too far away from my consciousness, WHAT IF…???
After a bad bout of the flu, a fractured spine, fear of flying became fear of dying. Little did I know how important planning and traveling was going to be to my ongoing life. And that’s the thing isn’t it? Until it isn’t … it is ongoing.
Listen loud and clear… all you control freaks (even those who don’t think they are control freaks)… your due date is out of your control. And this is a good thing.
I still have some shelf life left. Hooray!
Try this to test for your own ability to plot and plan… put your right hand onto the inside wrist of your left hand. Can you feel it? You can??? Brilliant!
AS THE DAMSEL OF OLD OR MAYBE AS AN OLD DAMSEL, I HAVE BEEN BESIEGED!
We have read about it happening worldwide. People at home abed or lined up inside and outside hospitals with – I’m afraid if I say it will it come back and bite me again – THE FLU.
I come from good peasant stock. In the home where I grew up, getting sick was not an option. Being one of eight, my mother did not allow it for two reasons: time and money. She didn’t have the time or the money to cater to any illness.
Many is the time I remember being sent home from school with this or that ailment and my mother taking one look and sending me right back. And the tussle would begin. And if memory serves my mother won out more times than the school. This is all to say I had a healthy disrespect for being sick.
Probably because I have been fortunate in avoiding the usual colds and flu until….. the end of December… All I can tell you, my friends, is that January is a complete blur. I think I was around for it. I just don’t have the specifics.
And bugs and viruses (Are they twins or different species? Not sure.) have no respect for people… infants to seniors, rich and poor. In today’s world when it comes to infection we are one sneezing, coughing, fevered, unhappy family. If being part of the global family means sharing our bugs and illnesses, I am going to opt for hermithood.
If it sounds like I am bitching…you got that right. Phew! Glad that’s done!
Now let me get to the gratitude because it is that gratitude that began the healing process. I am firmly convinced that my bitchy attitude made the healing harder. Once I realized self-pity and the ever-present judgment and blame was ruling my consciousness, I surrendered. I think it is amazing that no one called me on my negativity. In recovery, all I got was support and love.
I shall remember, my dear friends, that when a friend or loved one is not feeling well, give them the “ah-ha, oh, yes, I understand. It must feel terrible. Is there anything I can do for you.” And mean it. Because, in fact, that verbal caring goes a long way in recovery.
Yes, my mother’s need for us to not be ill was based on time and money. Time is certainly a factor in getting well. It took me over a month and I am still working on it. And I am not negating money. No, it is essential to recovery. But it isn’t the ultimate.
I would like to share with all those “billionaires” who think that by buying votes they can buy their health. I am here to tell you that can only happen if it comes wrapped in LOVE.
To all my friends and family, Thank You for your time and money, but mostly thank you for healing me with your love and kindnesses which cannot be bought.