I have a word in my pocket, Joggling my mind, filling my empty shoes. Don’t be too quick to rectify a word, The brain teases you along. I had to use a tacky glue to bring cohesion to my mind, Indolently lazy, I surf the pages of my dictionary, Proofing my new words, giggling when I find obscurity. Enthralled with words my life passes my reflection In an uncanny reflection of my mother. Some might wish to know whether my dreams are real, But I just dance the moments I have, Swayed by laughter and good friends.
I work in my garden, alone, But for bees that communicate Satisfaction with my efforts. The neighbors whisper and watch, Looking for an error, a stagger, Never once caring for more than gossip. I live alone in a house of people, Never noticed, never seen, The dust is my intimate friend. I watch the sunset from my window, Its golden light illuminating my Loneliness, I wish and dream. I had a friend once, He as golden as the sun. He left like all the others, without a storm. He was beautiful, rich, Filled with ideas to make the world better. As my world collapsed in tears, he left. Gold sunshine will return at sunset, Not always there, but returning To give me a kiss of hope. The neighbors will talk, and I will freeze Like a rabbit before the fox. Let them talk, I am deaf to them now. (February 2nd, 2016)
Insolvent and angry, you promised.
You lied, and you stole our lives.
Confronting lies isn’t easy
In the face of the opposition,
the political correctness..
But the world froze and turned,
Turning and frozen, it thawed
And the heat blazed freely,
A cancer in the souls
Of the poor, simple, lifelike
Golden people. The masses lead easily.
The cancer, a mass of anger,
For those without medicine,
Without a doctor.
Your lies grew great.
You scoffed at the students.
Who were learning to learn.
Scoffed again at those
Without your reckless faith.
Scoffed at me, the poet,
Who knows you, Lucifer, man.
Not a fallen angel but a construct of
Bullies and armies.
Lucifer, you celebrate my bruises,
while I lick my wounds.
Your dreams are follicles of ignorance.
Come for you?
I shall. Burning the way to your truth,
To your service without serving,
Oh Lucifer, you should have died,
At your own lips posturing
I dream truths. Dreamt dreams of truths.
Your violent words are no God’s words.
Your simple outlook, fraud.
A detective would mock you,
Wait for you to try again,
To deceive again.
Then the police shall find your lair,
And if one honest officer
Appears with the truth,
Hold that officer as a hero.
I shall chase your hypocrisy
Around the Circle of Willis
Cleansing as I go.
Your globe a bathtub handle
While my globe holds mystery
Oh, Lucifer of man, your republic of
Small minds will melt from the heat.
Lesser humans will smirk, but the compassionate will
Watch you fill the world with lies.
They will ignore your fallacies, shake their heads and begin
The work of cleaning vegetables
for the poor who hunger.
Here on the east coast just south of a small town built on marsh and bog called Washington DC., we’ve seen your love,and I the love I remember from a childhood in the middle of Minnesota. He watches over us, a bit confused at the way we use our cars and not the sleds of noble dogs and proud masters. He doesn’t hurt us, for we do enough of that on our own. But he has brought great beauty to us, and truth to us as well. A small boy had pushed him out of his way, forcing him to wander new paths.
The boy was angry, the child abused by the society that didn’t understand the harm of the warming of the water. He pushed rain and water inland and his temper was so hot, the snow could not find the path home. He melted the ice that the bears depend on for travel and hunting. He gathered islands of plastic that know no master and scatters them along beaches enraged at the waste and harm done to the wild.
Snow, did not know what to do. How could a child be so abused that he and his sister forgot the ways of their people? Having left their homes and trails, how could they find their way back.Had someone forgotten how the people should care for the child, for the environment the children need to grow strong and healthy.
Poor Snow. The ravens tried to guide him, but the snowy owls flew further south than before, stopping on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and waiting. The fish have greater ranges now, and in ranging, stir up the great sharks, the dolphin, the whales, the boats of people whose lives are on the water. Great Bald Eagles call to him, come and sit with us a while.
Our President makes time to play with his children, and sees Snow watching with sad eyes. We know the sea is advancing on you in Alaska. We sent a President whose eyes are opened to see what is being lost. He saw your elders telling of life in the cold, the wind, the snow. He saw the eager eyes of children listening with respect. He saw the wild salmon on their journeys from the sea, to bear their own children.
We have not been fair to Snow’s mother, Lady Nature. She has turned her eyes crossly on us, sending hurricane, sand storm and tropical storm. She has sent tornado after tornado and rains like waterfalls. We poison the air, the land, the sea. Men and woman who falsely worship the lesser God Greed have not done what needs doing to restore our protectors to our land. But these who worship Greed are not the only ones in action. I myself have family and friends who wish to send Snow back to you bearing gifts of climate stabilty. Those of us who believe in Snow, who would protect that mighty creature and your true love, have met around the world. Steps are being made that will hopefully turn back time, so that the weather patterns that push and pull the world against its, will can return to sanity.
I will look after Snow while he resides here in the east and speak to him as a friend of a friend. I will remind him of Artic water, blue ice and glaciers thousands of years old. I will tell him you wait for him, and will be glad when he returns. I will tell him your daughters and your sons understand that troubled world that has turned him astray. I will pass on the stories of my dogs who love to dance on his winds, my children, who like ancient dragons, find themselves both in and on that wind. I will write stories for him to take back to you so that you will know you are not alone, that we need you to have the Snow which helped shape you and encouraged you many times to become more than yourself.
I hope he listens. He is an old love of my childhood. I hope he will return to you soon.
Ann WJ White, firstname.lastname@example.org,
(writer, poet, photographer from the East Coast and lover of all things Alaskan.)
Posted in response to Loreli in the Alaskandispatch.com
Could it have ended any better? Perhaps, but when you adopt a little old man hitchhiking by the side of the road, a good ending is the most wonderful thing of all. He pulled me over by sheer force of will. His thumb extended, his blue eyes immediately boring a hole into my soul, and I was hooked.
“You’re late,” he said, while climbing up in. “I’ve been standing on the corner praying for an angel. What kept you?”
“I’m not sure. Where are you heading?”
“I need to get a prescription filled, I fell down the stairs last night. The emergency room wouldn’t give me them, because no one would give me a ride home. I’ll give you twenty bucks for the ride.”
“I’ll take you, and angels don’t accept money. It’s bad form.”
I was his chauffeur that day and for many days which followed. His son had stolen his money from savings, the title to his house, and all of his investment accounts. His family wanted his money, but not him, and he wasn’t dying fast enough. I learned his story, became angry, and when I get angry, I take action. I got him a pro-bono lawyer, hearing aids, and painted furniture in his garage, because that bastard of a son had stolen all his furniture, too.
I met the lawyer for the first time while we were painting furniture for his kitchen with a blue stain. He needed a table and chairs to have company over. The lawyer walked through the house, took the notes I had prepared for him, and said that his son was suing for custody of the old man. Bill exploded.
“I worked for a living starting at age 8. I picked up coal from the sluice fields and saved my family a winter’s worth of warm. I worked every day during the depression, and I don’t resent giving the money I earned to my mother. I saved 20% of every payday. I served in World War 2. I saved enough money to buy my sister a condo and move her from Pennsylvania. I manage my own bills. I have health care and I pay for it. I know what day it is and I know who is running for president. Why is he suing me for custody? He’s a thief and a pathological liar.”
“Any proof of that?” the lawyer asked.
Oh, there was plenty of proof. His son had a history of exploitation. It had soured Bill’s marriage. He had beaten his wife and baby son, so that they ran away. When the divorce went through, he was ordered to pay child support and paid absolutely nothing. His wife was so afraid, she went into hiding. Bill and his wife never saw their grandson again. That was one of the reason’s his wife gave up and died. She smoked and drank herself into her grave to cover the pain.
His son had tried to weasel himself back into the old man’s grace, had pretended he was sorry for all he had done. Bill believed that even his son deserved another chance. As soon as he moved in with Bill, the verbal abuse and pushing began. He coerced him into a nursing home, stealing everything he could.
He went to court to take the old man’s driver’s license. That’s when Bill checked out of the nursing home and went to his bank to find one dollar left as a balance. The bank refused to act on the theft of $75,000 dollars. That was the only thing his son got away with. I made sure of that.
I met with his investment banker, set up a lunch date and drove Bill there. His broker immediately acted to protect Bill’s money. I got a lawyer to fight the title change of Bill’s home, and he succeeded in regaining the title. Bill was protected now, and with the money from the sale of his house, he bought a condo near his sister’s. The only thing he asked was that she visit him once a day for lunch or dinner.
She called me and told me to find a nursing home, that she couldn’t stand her brother any more. Then she left on a vacation he had paid for. Nice?
We put the condo up for sale. I asked him where he wanted to go to live.
“The only place I’m welcome is your house, Gabby dear. Will your husband mind?”
My husband is saint. He didn’t even question my decision, although he might have questioned my sanity.
Bill lived with us until the age of 91. I took him on cruises, stayed with him when he was in the hospital. I drove him enough miles to drive across the United States. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner together. John Wayne movies were permanently etched into my memory.
The night he died, his bedroom had been flooded with golden light from the sunset. We watched The Quiet Man, who wasn’t very quiet. He dozed off and I snuck off for a moment’s rest. At three in the morning, I woke. Something was off. I went to check on Bill and he was awake and lucid.
“We had a good time, didn’t we, Gabby dear?”
“Oh, we raised some eyebrows. You’re my best friend, Bill.”
“Your husband only fusses when he’s worried about you, Gabby. No more tears over arguments, just tell him you love him.”
“I really did vote for a black man for president. Who would have thought an old racist like me would have had all his help come from people of different colors. Why did you help me, Gabby?”
“There was something you needed to learn, God wasn’t done with you.
“Have I learned it yet?”
“I feel strange. Will you say the Lord’s Prayer for me?”
I panicked. Then I sang the Prayer from Bernstein’s Mass. His face looked flushed.
“Gabby?” Pause. “Gabby? I’m forgiven.”
The hunt began at dawn, like most hunts. Mother’s first warning was a shotgun blast over the water. The enemy were coming. They came in droves. She whirled gathering her children, feet muddy from the moment of peace by the water where she had brought them for their daily chores. They ran together, the youngest in her arms. Her oldest pulled the middle child, firmly determined that they would not face the sorrow, the useless sacrifice again. This family had suffered too much in earlier hunts.
There was a platform standing on the top of the hill. It filled slowly, giving the prey time to lose their way, to blunder.
It was time for older prey to gather as many of the young they could find and shepherd them to places of safety dug into the ground, tunnels thirty and forty feet long. These tunnels were destroyed by rangers when found, but new ones replaced old, and here was kept the center of their society. Here oral histories were passed down. Here grandmothers prevailed still, preaching love, and understanding. Preaching hopes needing to be fulfilled. They couldn’t believe how many years they’d been hiding. According to their mothers, it had been 200 or more.
“Sometime these others must come to their senses. We pray for it to happen, to end this senseless butchery. They promised us sanctuary.”
The men of the clan scoffed, and left the mothers and young. They felt themselves too valuable to be killed in a run. They were small in number, after all. If they died, the hiders would die out.”
Homo sapiens sapiens, of the greatest God-fearing country on Earth, rushed to the platforms. It was Winter Hunt Time, time which shouldn’t be lost. They arrived laughing: armed with their picnic baskets, bottles of beer, soda, water and milk bottles for the babies. They brought cameras, cell phones, electronic tablets and recording devices. Adults, their parents and preachers turned out for this mid-winter hunt. Family time.
They brought drums to be beaten, trumpets to shout, and the fine town’s leaders all hung in finery warm. They were waiting for the first victims to run, for then they would cheer. They brought out their shotguns, their rifles, their bows, with ammo designed for one purpose below. Something would die today. More than one would die. They would celebrate that night with presents and dinner with toasts. The excitement grew, and so did the boasts.
Laughing with joy at a kill shot, they took turns turning the soil to red. They were a powerful people, opening their arms to refugees worldwide, giving homes to some while others disappeared, or were labeled terrorists so they would not be missed. Glorious leaders of this strong nation kept it all in check, using mass rallies of their glory, and corrupt political policies, too. Their godlike speeches belied their intentions.
During the growing time of Summer, the prey were joined by runaway natives who tried to learn languages, record stories and take them back where they were labeled fiction and unprintable. The journalists, teachers, advocates and writers were vanquished to the kill zones. The government thought that a rat trap was a good place to hide all of the rats.
Mother ran, her heart beating so loudly she was afraid it would be heard. Her eldest murmured words of encouragement, taking the lead away from her mother and trying to turn them all deeper into the woods. That’s when the closest gunshot became loud and real.
The baby exploded in Mother’s arms. She had time to gasp “no” as the bullet continued through the child and into the mother’s heart.
Eldest child threw her brother into the underbrush with a whisper.
“It’s under the rock. Find it,” she whispered. She had a plan.
He wiggled and dug in the earth pulling an old plastic bag from beneath him. She snatched it from his fingers and whispered again.
“Stay here, in the ground, until they have gone home to celebrate. I have something to do.”
Aged six, her brother understood the action that was needed. He wiggled under the leaves, into the mud, out of sight and mindful of the killers as Eldest bolted away toward the platform. As the trees thinned, she stood tall. She opened the bag. The gun in her hand had been dropped from the platform as an insult when the killers had killed her grandmother and her father. She had taken it.
She moved through the bush and gathered her cold sense of honor. Her actions gathered the attention she sought.
“Look, a small one begs for more attention from you, Hunter. It’s only fair you should end her. She won’t survive without her breeding mother and is almost old enough to start breeding herself. Just an animal.” They laughed the hunter back to a spot on the wall.
The hunter was smartly dressed for this celebration day. She lifted her rifle, focusing her sights on the child, and then abruptly brought the gun down.
The crowd jeered her as she succumbed to the first thought in her life involving compassion. It didn’t last.
She raised her rifle again. Two shots rang out in unison. One shot from above, and one from below. The bullet struck the hunter in the forehead spreading brains, blood and skin bits everywhere. The platform emptied screaming.
Eldest child staggered to her brother and dropped the gun. “Hide it,” she murmured.
Middle child tried to stop the blood. He was too small to treat such an injury.
Eldest child’s name was called in the moonlight by a search party of old women. They found her brother shivering and in shock. They found the bodies. They heard the child’s story. Life changed that night. They learned a lesson.
They could fight back.
(I wrote this after watching the news about the fears we should have in giving shelter to those in need. I thought about what might be the outcome if the Tea Party took over the government and watched the ideas being flown as flags about what Americans are and who we are. This is a last possible case senerio, aside from war. “Bring me your tired, your hungry, your oppressed…” and thinking of what use the immigrants would be to such a government. Things like this have happened in history before, hunts based on religion, cruelty, mocking the ideals of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Do I believe us on a one way course? No, that’s why even with a corrupt government I had people trying to help these prey, even at the cost of their own freedom and life. I’m hoping for a good hopeful topic to be selected by my flash fiction group. I don’t like this place in the shadows.) Placed 5th in Linked In Writer’s Hangout Flash Fiction Contest.
I never thought to see a blizzard warning in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I never thought to see it as a 100% Blizzard warning. But here it comes, Josiah. In Virginia we get ice, lots of ice. You see the government shut down with only an inch or two of snow, but the truth is the ice underneath causes such havoc that cars become objects of physical laws. They bash each other, smash each other, and sometimes they put you on TV showing your ineptitude. Yes, snow is coming.
The stores are sold out of everything. We had done our shopping earlier in the week, made sure I had the drugs I need to survive, and picked up the bag of salt or chemical melting agent a week before the weather channel could make up its mind. My niece, Jessie, sent us pictures of the Walmart with nothing on shelves three days prior to the snow warning. Silly Virginians. We’ll have tropical storm powered gusts of wind. We’ll have cars abandoned along the highway. You won’t find me out there though. I have a book to read, embroidery to finish (the tapestry), hot chocolate (and peppermint schnapps), and a lot of writing to do.
I love the snow. I am looking forward to breaking our little plastic shovel on mounds of wet snow. Perhaps I’ll even make a snowman. I used to do snow angels. I was a fairly bad shot with a snowball. I tried to break a broom over my brother’s head when I was sweeping snow and he tried to take the broom away. I was in snow love mental exclusion mode. I just wanted to sweep. Dad was angry about the broom, not so much worried about my brother’s head and my ego. I think he collapsed in laughter when he went back inside. He laughed a lot when we were out of view. I think we should have had cameras, but no one would believe the simplicity of our life back then.
For Mother’s Day, several years ago, my darling husband bought me a pair of Welles. They even have the seal of the Queen and the Scottish National Arms. Keeping Up Appearances is one of my favorite shows. I know several women like Hyacinth. My husband dodges neighbors in fear for his immortal soul. I have the boots standing by, and I have Hyacinth recorded to watch this evening. We even have enough popcorn for a month. Yum.
Snow brings such quiet to the world. The intense silence is broken only by the idiots who are out shooting ducks in our protected wetlands. They can have a stand and shoot into the preserve, killing with a dozen shots aimed at a small bird that just wants to eat duckweed. I hate that. There is a stand just 6 feet off the shore of Leesylvania State Park that allows them to park at the lot, take the path to the stand, wait for low tide to walk out to the stand, and BLAM, there goes the neighborhood. The ducks are so beautiful. I hunt with a camera. I have no need for a weapon although I am fully trained by the USArmy. I found a wounded duck last winter when I was walking the dogs. The cold of the Potomac River was all that was keeping the poor thing alive. It had been hit in the gut and still had escaped. Death was following it. I tried my best to make it more comfortable, moving it out of sight into the long grass. I tried to put pressure on the wound but it was too much damage. The duck was gone by evening. I’m pretty sure the foxes found it. I found footprints that seemed to confirm it. I tried. Sometimes you fail in what you think is an imperative order from a higher place. I don’t mind hunters who are responsible and actually eat what they kill. They have to be one shot hunters, making it count, keeping numbers down of species like deer or the Canadian goose who, just like Minnesotans, moved south and decided they could stay all year. They’ve few natural enemies, just the foxes.
I’m off topic. Yesterday night, I found a friend that I have been looking for, for at least thirty years. I found her on Facebook. Life didn’t turn out according to our high and mighty plans when we were in college. It’s been an adventure. I wrote her about the oncoming blizzard. She lives in Northern Minnesota and is much more acclimated to snow.
The quiet is soothing. No one is going in and out of the house for now, so my husband can sleep all day. UPS will probably not be open tonight. The governor has already declared a State of Emergency. Sand trucks line the roads, their drivers asleep waiting for the 24 hours of panic that will ensue.
Three nights ago, my husband was on I95 when FedEx passed him. The driver had not secured the tandem trailer and it suddenly detached itself. FedEx zoomed past, but the trailer fell in behind my husband’s set of trailers. He accelerated, but then a small car zoomed in front of him and hit the brakes. Fortunately that was the moment the trailer started to slow down, sending a firestorm of sparks across five lanes of traffic. But that isn’t the exciting night for him, two nights ago, in the muck of the ice, it took him from 5PM EST until 1:15AM to go from Dulles, Virginia, to Burtonsville, Maryland. That’s right outside of Baltimore, he got stuck on the ramp leading to the UPS building. He wasn’t alone. Drivers were passing trucks on the shoulder moving in and out, breaking and leaving no space for accidence. Eric said his truck jackknifed on the turn due to one of these cars. His truck was sent into the shop in December because his ABS wasn’t working. Nothing was done. Then the traction control went, and so did Eric, right off the metaphorical cliff. So he’s been driving a tractor that he red tagged. So here he was, knifed on the exit ramp, and we both learned some really cool things. A fire extinguisher will give you the same results as using salt and sand. The drivers were taking turns helping each other up the hill. It took Eric three hours without the Traction control. Finally, a salt and sand truck came up the ramp close enough to Eric that he benefitted greatly. He called at 1:15 to let me know he was still alive. I now call his tractor the Widow Maker. He’s not going to drive tonight, there is no sense when you can’t really get anywhere anyway.
You can feel the anticipation. The dogs keep running to the door and wanting out.” Sniff, Sniff, Yarf,”they call. They chase the shadows of squirrels around, focusing on laughing more than killing. They love the snow. Tigerlily will catch snowballs and Foxywiggles will bury herself in the snow and then explode back into the world. She tastes the snow flakes.
I grew up with Charlie Brown and tasting snowflakes is very important. I’ve done the magnifying glass bit. I learned that the reason snow is a noise suppressant is the spaces between the flakes, the hollow middle that when compressed loses its ability to shun noise. Snow, an open airy pile of beauty, will suppress noise because of the space between the “stars” or flakes to be more correct.
I used to have small children to play with in the snow. They are grown now and have little patience for an old woman who still dreams of being 8 years old. We lived next to the world’s meanest neighbor when I was a child. He was so scary that no one would go into his yard to retrieve a baseball. Our parents had warned us about being respectful at all times or else. So when it snowed, I would shovel his walk, but never would enter his backyard to do his back yard path. I would shovel the front and the back where the garages were. I never let them know I was doing it, I just did it, like a jack frost character’s nemesis. He finally caught me and laughed. He had just bought a snowblower and was looking forward to moving snow with great zeal. We worked out a deal. I could help on the steps and such, and he would use the snowblower on all the flat places. He was a lovely old man. We became friends and didn’t need to lose any more balls. The brothers of mine had become more interested in basketball. They moved down the alley to a garage with a hoop.
Minnehaha Falls freezes in the winter. The water sneaks small amounts of water underneath the ice and snow layers and the look of watching the water cascading underneath the gigantic icicles and churning its way back under the ice at the bottom and heading to the Minnesota River. The Mississippi boats that go up and down the river freeze into place waiting for the coast guard to come to their rescue. Traffic backs up on the Franklin Avenue Bridge and the Lake Street Bridge. Horns get honked politely. Dogs and children try sliding from any mound no matter how small or tall it is. We would walk on the snow ruins created by snowplows and human endeavors. We dreamed that we were polar explorers. And we had the view of all of the snow forts on the way to school, we could escape a rout by readjusting the path with boulders of snow from the street. We had ice balls, not just snowballs. It was our secret weapon.
My oldest brother was in charge of us. Four little ducklings all in a row, and we obeyed him. He has an air of authority about him, slightly Eeyore like. He had a wicked arm with a snowball and because he was so tall, he was the early warning system.
Our school had iron rails around the grassy spots, and in winter, the iron rail became the subject of bets. There was a pail of water just inside the door of the school kept there for the idiots who licked the rails and let their tongues get stuck. I must confess to licking the rail, but I never froze to it. I guess I was moving too quickly?
Snow. I left the curtain open in my bedroom this morning. It’s open now. As I sit here doing all of the writing on my schedule I feel like a little girl waiting to use her boots in something besides puddles. Snowy days give me inspiration to write. They give me a force of calm and serenity which I lack daily. Snow lets me slow down and just be happy.
I’ve missed the snow that I grew up with, being from Minnesota and all. I miss watching the kids skate on park rinks and frozen rivers. Last winter I was in Minnesota for a party in honor of a woman who was dying of cancer. I got snowed in like I always do. I watched the skaters on the Mississippi up in St. Cloud. I had no camera with me to catch the moment, but the lights on the rink, clearly marked as a safe zone, have stayed with me. So much energy being consumed. Hats, mittens, scarves, hockey gear, and more, all a vital part of the vision of happiness to me. The fields harvested and the bales of hay covered with white as the fog sneaks in. The barns with their yellow glow of warm calling to milk cows, it’s a wonder I ever left the state. I was smitten by the idea of a world calling to me out there. I think that wanderlust might be a virus.
It still hasn’t started snowing. I catch my breath each time I look out of the window, hoping, waiting. I’m like a little kid wanting that miracle of snow, needing it. Sitting on an uncomfortable cold chair in a classroom that is gradually warmed by the breath of all the students hoping for snow and early dismissal. I’d always list the homework for the day on the blackboard. “No excuses, if you don’t do your homework, it won’t snow tonight.” And then the first snow flake arrives. There is a flurry of pencils noting the homework, kept simple because playing in the snow is more important. Assignment books are initialed and the world fidgets. Squirming and turning their heads made me just aim the desks at the window and have done with it. Creative writing time. “You are a snowflake, please, tell me of your life.”
It was cold, windy and cloudy when the word came down. Here, today, snow. But last night the skies were clear and I could watch the moon travel from east to west through my house. Almost a full moon, but brightly lighting the rooms as I wandered with insomnia. Stars as big as a marble, blinking 5 billion years ago. Morse code? Aliens might love snow. Heaven knows, our climate needs all the water it can get in dry places. I wonder if aliens would understand that a snowball fight is just as ingrained as finding a stick and pretending it is a sword or rifle. Rocks on the ground beg to be picked up and thrown by small boys. They can’t help it. Ingrained instinct and environmental influences make sure the aggressive side of our nature reinforce itself in each generation.
I am wordy today, and off topic or on a new topic, I find it hard to focus. Snow.
I’m just waiting.
It’s funny, the power and sway politics have over our lives. It disillusions some, provokes others, causes outbreaks of rage and greed, and amps up the high blood pressure and loss of the ability to discuss and agree to disagree or even to agree to independently research issues and candidates. I taught Civics in the year that Clinton was running against Dole. I was accused by parents of being too liberal, too conservative, and just right. My principal called me in to discuss the letters she was getting. I was just doing my job. Teaching children how to think, define and refine what they know was one of my most important goals for myself during my teaching career.
I don’t like preachers of novelty. I dislike attacks on character or opponents when the questions are answered not by a candidates stance but by attacks on someone else’s stance. I went to a Bernie Debate watch last night. It was a diverse group of people. There was cake, the ability to order food, drinks, and door prizes. The coordinator of the Northern VA area turned up to make a 2 minute speech before the debate. I gave four of my prints as door prizes. I also talked about the issues that I am most concerned about. People actually applauded me during my five minutes of fame.
There are some things that I need to review with myself, and unfortunately, I’m going to do it here. Firstly, it’s important to understand that a debate is set up to rile people up, to change opinions, to cast aspersions, to cause emotional overloads. So, please don’t suddenly start cussing out a candidate you disagree with. You have to understand that profanity is not appropriate no matter what you feel in a moment’s anger. Also, little pitchers who come with their parents, who are trying to teach them the importance of voting, don’t need the exposure to profanity. Yes, some have heard bad words before, but that is no excuse when you are a role model for these young people. I watched a third of our group leave when a woman lost control of her emotions. Manners are still important.
Secondly, listening is hard to do if everyone is talking all at once. Shh, wait for the commercial or pass notes. This is one place where passing notes will not hurt you.
Thirdly, separate the feelings you have between contestants. One may be more likable. Another may be more intense and might do a better job. Which is more important? For me, it’s the issues and the outcomes. I look for issue statements, then I check out the background of those issues. I look for people who have ideas on how to pay for new services. I look for compassion with a sense of outcome results. I look for polish. I look for the ability to win hearts and minds. I look to see if there is a basic understanding of economics, science, history and literature. I read. I ask question. I research. I may like one opponent over another because of personality, but I have to stop and question whether or not that’s the issue. Issues and solutions are my primary interests.
Fourthly, democrats can’t count to three. LOL not one of the candidates on the stage had three issues to immediately implement. O’Malley was at least honest in setting three categories. Bernie had five. Hillary had more than a dozen. My fingers couldn’t keep up with her. We want things fixed. We want things fixed right now this minute, all of them. Life doesn’t work that way. The presidents who did face difficult times set priorities and committees to see what they could actually do. It makes life interesting.
Fifthly, one basic point of debating. Don’t use your opponents name, use instead “My opponent.” Why? Because every time you use their name, you reinforce them in the audience’s mind.
Sixthly, when the election is over, we are all going to have to find a way to get involved and stay involved in our government so that our voices are not silent and ignored. It doesn’t matter after the election whether you lost or won. What does matter is being a responsible citizen who stays involved so that the voices heard in congress and the White House are those of the people. Hubert Humphrey came to my middle school when he lost to Nixon. He told our school that the President of the US is our president whether we voted for him or her or not. He said to stay involved, don’t give up and don’t fall into name calling and hatred. Find a way to respect the office and those serving in it. Make sure they hear from you every time there is an issue. We have a system of checks and balances. Use it. I was honored a decade later to be called to duty in the Minnesota National Guard to be part of the security at Humphrey’s funeral.
Seventhly, don’t underestimate the American population. There are some things we all have in common. There are also somethings that need to be addressed to make our belief in our country one of pride and moving forward, not one of racism and hatred. Forward, a simple word that holds so much power.
You can see that the teacher gene is alive and kicking in my head. I went to the debates. I watched and listened. I saw an old guard candidate, a future JFK or RFK candidate when his name becomes more prominent, and I saw a passionate man who believes we all need to be a little more responsible about who we are and how we will be governed. I know who I liked. I know who I disliked. I also know that each and every one of us needs to be able to discuss the issues with people who are not judgmental. Socrates taught by teaching to listen and to think. I believe we are able to do that.
I have always been a Social Democrat. I grew up in the state of Minnesota and it had a sense of love thy neighbor and do something good for them even if it’s just shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk. I was a member of the Democratic Farm and Labor party. Minnesota has changed a lot. I’ve grown.
Do vote, please. I won’t tell you how or who. In the state of Virginia, you must register to vote by Feb 1st if you want to vote in the primaries both Democratic and Republican. Make sure your voice is heard. The vote is on March 1st this year. I’ll stop preaching now.
I’ll just go wander off to my book I’m writing. Something happened in the last chapter that has caused me to have more to write about. Mother Nature has a deep belly laugh. Until next time, be safe, happy and content.
There are days when I find so many words, I mix them up, jumble them around and beautiful things happen. Just this morning, I found out that people like my efforts. I mean, I really had some nice responses to things I had written. My mother says that poetry was always a problem for me. I thought in poems. I still do. It makes for crazy days and a way to handle things like an influx of roaches or perhaps a shiba inu doing her crazy shiba shake (not ice cream based). I’ll show you the roaches first.
When I first got married we lived in an area known for muggings and the best country western bar in Alexandria, Virginia. Our apartment was an old building with warped floors from Hurricane Camille. We lived so far from the canal it was hard to believe that the water came up into our apartment on the second floor. Roaches lived everywhere. So did the rats, giant wharf rats with long tails and…..sheesh. I wrote about them too. So, to get my words back together, I needed humor to face these things.
See the roachie on the wall?
See the little roachie fall.
Mommy hit it with a bat.
Now no one knows where roachies at.
I must have written 100 roach poems. The rat poems are darker, and redder.
She saw your shadow in the bush nearby
The door where all entry was given
To humankind and Irish setter and she set her cap at you.
The baby was in my arms, snuggling, loved
And I, poor tired mother, working,
Cleaning, making a home and trying to best the odds.
I saw her leap, snatch, shake, throw and snap your neck.
“There were no rats,” I had been told.
I left you on the steps
Where the access is for people and dogs.
I knew your family would be back.
Those were dark days and light days. My son slept to the theme from MASH, on six times a day and the only channel we could receive. He laughed at the sound of the MASH helicopters, and learned to giggle at the funny faces Alan Alda made. He’s very fond of the reruns now that he is 34 and still brand new, at least in my eyes. He developed that same overdeveloped sense of honor and patriotism that I suffer from. It lead him to many growths, emotional and developmental.
Then I got a cat, she was up a tree with no way down. That’s what we thought anyway. After being tempted with food, Sheba moved in with us and decided that we were on probation. She liked the baby, bringing him cat toys when he cried. We had no insects or rodents in the new apartment. It was a good thing. The rent was four times the old Alexandria apartment’s total. She was black and ferocious. She had panther moves and sidled through the dream world that only she could see. She stayed with us for five years before deciding that my babysitting was too much to be born. I wrote her a poem too.
I’m so sorry the boy, with the drunk,
Decided to pull your tail,
Decided to break a window,
Decided to be a menace.
The girl child misses you.
You are invisible in the closet with all of her sorrows.
Life always goes by so quickly. Every time I blinked, another ten years was gone. I tried to slow down the pace, but, with each effort, time sprang forward again and again. I wrote about my students. Each a treasure of light and hope. I hope they all grew up to be political activists. They were so wise back then.
Now time has shifted again, and it’s 2:34 AM. It’s long past my bedtime, so I will leave you with just this tidbit to think about. Have a good morning or evening or day.
Source: Life’s Tapestry