Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

You can see that I am cleaning house. I have 118 unfinished drafts in the WordPress folder. So this one is a few years old. But important messages don’t change. 

There have been a couple of deaths lately which have me thinking about things. Yes, about the afterlife. But also about the life experience on earth.

If I had that special wand I would make it all just slow down a little bit. I know that is not reality. But I haven’t always been a fan of reality either.

So, I will be writing, I think, on the subject of these deaths.

My sister-in-law’s father died in March. Without going into an old family history thing I need to explain that before the two families became one, Jim had already been a friend to our family. The friendship goes back generations in Ireland. Neighboring farms, ancestral village and all that.

One thing I am a big fan of is family and friends. I was tickled that the children of two old friends would marry each other.

So, I was a little sad at one more member of the old guard passing.

My sister-in-law has been sharing little stories about her Dad. And when I read them I smile. Or my eyes fill.

Here is one. This is important.

After Jim’s funeral we were gathered for a brunch at a nearby hotel.

It was lovely. Patty (my sister-in-law) spoke about her Dad. In a nutshell it goes something like this. She said he always repeated stories that she already knew. So this one time, she asked him to tell her something she didn’t know. It caused a pause.  In a sort of a “What do you mean?” moment. Anyway, he shared a childhood experience. About returning to Ireland as a young boy with his mother. His father saw them off at the harbor in New York.

Okay, my eyes were filling. Again. Like they did in the church. I know. I know. He was nearly ninety. But someone lost their dad. Doesn’t matter how old. I kept thinking happy thoughts to dry up the tears as I didn’t want anyone thinking I was a snuffling, secret love child of this man.

The important thing of the story is this. We tell the same old stories because they’re comfortable. They might be triggered by surroundings, experiences or holidays. We know our partner’s stories. We know our friends’ stories. We know the stories of our children.

But we really don’t know it all. And it is up to us. To ask the right questions. So, it’s not the same old stories.

Read Full Post »

A couple of weeks ago, a woman I worked with back in the AT&T days, passed away.

Suddenly.

One evening she was posting loving birthday wishes to her grandchild on Facebook. The next day at noon I was receiving texts from friends telling me that she had died.

Fifty years old.

Shocking.

But that is not the message I want to share in this post.

One of our mutual friends posted a thing on Facebook. On March 18th.

“For those who still have their mother.”

“Got some gossip? Call your momma. Bad day at work? Call your momma. Huge accomplishment? Call your momma. Someone hurt your feelings? Call your momma. You’re sick? Call your momma. Can’t remember how to cook something? Call your momma. Etc. “

You get the idea.

B. commented, “I needed to read this today. My mother and I had an argument a couple months back and we haven’t spoken. I think I’m going to send her a note today.”

A few of us responded with encouragement. Do it!

I said, “Better yet-call her!”

B. loved the feedback and said she would.

I privately messaged her that evening. Asking if she talked to her Mom. And she said, “Yes, it’s all good now. Thanks for the encouragement.”

Without going into details she said it was over something silly. And that she needed to accept her mother as she is and that she loved her.

And then she said, “My mom is 84 and lives in Florida so I would hv hated for something to happen and not hv reconciled.”

😦

Who would ever have thought that the fifty year old would be the one to leave so soon?

Another reminder. Life is very short. If you need to reach out to a loved one-there is no time like the present.

Because we don’t want to wait until there is no time.

Read Full Post »

As the young folks say, “It’s been a minute.”

This means that it’s been an extended period of time. And I haven’t written anything since July!

It wasn’t malaise. Although this country (world) has truly been on some kind of a roller coaster! Politics aside for the moment.

I hesitate to blame it on writer’s block.

Some type of low grade depression?

Maybe. My friend Karla figures most of us are experiencing a touch of that in the past year.

Anyway, whatever it was, today is the day.

This past Wednesday I was very busy. Three things that day had me thinking profoundly.

They are three very different stories and deserve their own space. So, another time!

But I was thinking about the fragility of life. One day someone is here and then they are not.

A childhood friend and I were messaging the next day. We had a mutual friend who had died suddenly Tuesday/Wednesday at the young age of fifty. Someone I worked with many years ago and one of her high school friends.

We chatted about life, families, acceptance, etc.

S. works at a nursing home and told me about a recent interaction.

One day, she sees a resident just wheeling around in his chair. Eyes closed.

Asks him, “J., buddy, what’s up with your eyes closed??”

He replied, “I’m exhausted but I am not sure how many days I have left on earth so I can’t spend them in bed.”

Bang. There it is.

She told me that he has arthritis and is in pain 100% of the time.

Also told me he smiles 100% of the time.

None of us know how many days we have left on earth.

If we wake up in the morning we are blessed with a choice.

How do we want to spend this day? This gift?

Read Full Post »

Recently, I had an on-line interaction. A Facebook friend had posted a thing about policemen. In support, of course. The tough job they have and all that goes along with it.

I was on a Grand Jury for six weeks and I saw with my own eyes, what the police deal with on a daily basis. Examples might be child abuse, rape, assault, gangs, murders, etc. Can’t go into detail because they are secret proceedings. But seeing and hearing testimony is not like reading it in the newspaper. Trust me on that.

But here is the thing. We have witnessed, on camera/video, the deaths of Black folks (mostly males) at the hands of the American police. Hopefully, with the video footage, justice will eventually be served. Hopefully, we can somehow ensure this never happens again.

People are coming out in droves to support the police. A few bad apples in every bunch. So many good ones out there doing the best they can. Don’t judge them all by a couple of rogue cops.

My point is this-and my comment to the person was along the lines-don’t worry about the police. Rogue or not. They have union support. Media support. Community support. Brotherhood support. I truly believe this. Especially in my state.

They are absolutely fortunate to have that support.

So let them get to work on cleaning up their houses. Revamping policies or/and procedures. I don’t think any police department wants their employees splashed across the media due to abuse or have to experience unrest in their cities. So they are perfectly willing to make changes if they can.

Please stop dragging them into every posting on social media.

I am tired of people stealing someone else’s air time. And making it theirs. The people who are posting the police stories on their social media are not usually posting anything at all about racial injustice. Or they say they support both but never actually post anything individually about the movement for justice in our country.

So, this friend of the friend (a stranger to me) types, “I hope you never need them (the police) and blah, blah, blah.”

We have got to do better. It’s not about choosing one side or the other. It is about supporting those in our society who are screaming and dying for help.

I might need the police one day. And I won’t be afraid to call them. They’re supposed to help me. I trust that they will not hurt me. I, as a white person, trust them wholly. That’s our society. That’s my personal bias. My experience.

So, is it wrong for me to say (and know) that the police are not the marginalized folks here in America today?

This doesn’t make me anti-police. At all.

This makes me honest. Today.

Please know the difference.

Read Full Post »

I trust that you have all established some type of routine in this time of Covid. I sincerely hope that you are all healthy and well.

Today is “Juneteenth.” This unofficial holiday commemorates the day, in 1865, that a proclamation was finally delivered in Texas. It was announced that the slaves were free.

When I say slaves I mean Black people who were taken from Africa and brought to America.

Taken.

They weren’t packing their bags for the long journey, double checking their itinerary and looking forward to exploring a new place.

These people were stripped of everything. Their homeland. Their families. Their Moms and Dads. Their children. Their religion. Their culture. Their language.

And then abused in a foreign land for decades and decades.

I am currently doing research on a family that had ties to a town called Falmouth in Pendleton County, Kentucky. The amount of “Mulattos” in any one family (on census reports) is astonishing and sickening. Because we all know what that means. We are not talking about love stories. Women were raped and impregnated by their owners or other white men. That’s a fact.

So today is a day which should be a cause for celebration. Weirdly.

And yet, the African-American experience is not even taught during the academic year in all U.S. public schools.

I am going to continue to write about this issue in each posting. It is time for me to reflect and figure out how I personally can take action to promote positive change.

It is time for all Americans to reflect.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

To my Black friends and fellow Americans-I hope this year brings positive change in your lives and the lives of your families. I stand with you.

Read Full Post »

When the youngest, Hannah, was home during the month-long winter break she had the forethought to bring her plants home. Didn’t want to leave them to die a slow painful death in the cold dormitory.

One was a philodendron. A very green and healthy plant. Was growing like crazy as philos are wont to do. I told her it needed a haircut. To spruce it up a bit. So I did.

Then I took the cuttings and plunked them into a glass vase filled with water.

The kid returned to her university with her newly shorn plants at the end of the holiday.

Meanwhile, the cuttings were thriving at their new homevase (just made that word up and keeping it) and shooting out little roots everywhere. All I ever had to do was top it off with a little water as needed.

This is what it looks like now.

philo

There are now probably five or six individual plants. From one plant.

My daughter is currently home with us. She left university the first week of March and arrived in Rhode Island to spend the short Spring break. Never imagining that she wouldn’t be right back at school in ten days. So her only accompaniment was a big basket filled with dirty clothes. Everything else, including her green little plants, remains locked up in her inaccessible dorm room.

Poor little plants. Also casualties in the pandemic war.

The good news is that when she does return to her university she will have five new plants. All from the original Mama.

This is something simple we can all do. Whether we live on a ranch or in a city apartment. Take a cutting from one of your plants. Then drop it in a glass jar or vase. When it roots share with a friend, neighbor or family member. Rinse and repeat.

It’s healthy for the indoor environment. Where many of us happen to be spending every minute at the moment. It’s super easy. Cheerful to look at while also spreading cheer.

Things will get better. Hang in there. Be safe.

Read Full Post »

I’m not going to lie. Staying in the house is tough. Again, I know I’m fortunate and totally aware of this. And if you are reading this then you probably also share that same good fortune.

But still can’t discount people’s feelings. We don’t have the normal things/events breaking up our days or weeks. Days are blurring into one another. Or every day seems like a Sunday. Except church-going folks don’t even have services to attend outside the home.

Our doorbell rang today and I was like a deer caught in the headlights. What was that noise? I recalled the familiar trilling from another lifetime but wasn’t quite sure what it meant. It had been that long.

It was the Fedex guy. Was just a “heads up” ring of the bell to let us know he left an envelope by the front door.

I missed trash day for the first time ever! Maybe in my life! And let’s just say the Recycling man saw me at my absolute very best. Not! Braless, pajamaed, makeup-free, harried, huffing and puffing up my long driveway with the huge blue bin in tow. With my index finger (universal signal for one minute needed)thrust in the air. At that moment I wanted the recycling picked up and vanity was not about to come into play. At all. Sort of like when you give birth and you are just so exposed. You just let go of any remaining dignity.

I stood there in all my glory and honestly said,”I don’t even know what day it is anymore!”

He laughed heartily. Then I did.

So here’s #3 on my “Getting Through the Stay-At-Home Directives.”

Laugh.

Find something funny. Maybe a television series. A book. A movie. A comedy special. Call an entertaining friend. We need to find some laughter during this bizarre time.

This Irish proverb doesn’t really apply to the current state of the world because laughter and a good night’s sleep won’t cure the virus. But both will definitely lessen our anxiety and lift the dark cloud surrounding it for a bit. And we desperately need that.

irishproverb

So keep on practicing safety measures in place. We will get through this!

Read Full Post »

Good Morning!

Another rainy day here in Rhode Island. The silver lining on these dark clouds might be that everyone actually stays in the house. I like to go out each day to feel the rays and appreciate nature as much as the next guy. But there are many fools out there, in groups, acting like nothing extraordinary is happening. Being quite reckless.

Yes, everyone is getting a bit antsy. I totally get that. Our routines are upside down. There’s isolation. Maybe more people (kids) in your house than normal. Or fewer folks. But let’s remember one thing. One very important thing.

Health is wealth.

That is the only reason we are upending our worlds. For us and our loved ones.

What we can do is use this time wisely by trying different things. In my last posting I wrote that I would share ideas to pass the time while we are isolating indoors. Here is the first.

A friend of mine, KB, recently posted a photo of her avocado plant named Avi. She rooted it in December. Said it took weeks suspended in water before it split and produced roots.

90655098_1069507983413731_2215643129720078336_o

This is a very long process. If you grow your tree from an avocado pit it might not bear fruit for ten years or so. Nothing shouts out hope like a stay-at-home avocado plant!

So next time you are whipping up some guacamole (because there is nothing else to do but eat) or preparing avocado toast don’t throw away the pit.

Here is mine. I know it looks like a little brown alien. And if the good Lord is willing, it will soon look like a hairy, little brown alien.

avoc

So, yes, you can try this at home. Great for kids and adults. Doesn’t take up room or require much care. Give it a name.

Have a good weekend. And remember.

Be like the avocado pit. Stay at home. Be hopeful. Keep growing.

Read Full Post »

I was walking on the bike path a few months ago with a new friend. It was a brisk walk on a chilly day.

In the distance there was a man walking toward us with something on a leash. And it looked like the thing attached to the leash was wearing some sort of clothing.

I chuckle and say, “Oh my, look at that! It’s a big, old wooly sheep coming our way!”

Ginny laughed and said, “You have quite the imagination, don’t you? Have you written a book yet?”

Ummm, I can barely make hair appointments to get my gray roots covered! A book could get in the way of my commitment and time issues. So, the short answer to that is a no.

As we got a bit closer it became quite clear that the man was walking a greyhound (dog) and it was also wearing a jacket.

Totally looked like a wooly sheep to me. 🙂

Reminded me of another Edna St. Vincent Millay quote. The poet once shared with a friend, “I suffer from inflammation of the imagination!”

That’s the absolute best. Everyone should suffer from this ailment. Even just a little bit.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend with inflamed imaginations!

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »