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May 18th, a triple blessing

FC0E3CD0-0740-4B89-8FB2-C59BF0CF0074Three people who are precious to me will celebrate their birthdays on May 18th.

First: My beloved sister Nancy (photo left, standing in front of our old Junior High School during a recent trip down memory lane) who owns and runs the beguiling Arbor B & B in High Falls, New York, less than two hours from the city, smack in the center of the alluring beauty of the countryside. Remember the waterfalls into which Natalie Wood flings herself in ‘Splendor in the Grass’? That’s High Falls; the dramatic falls a two minute walk from the Arbor – its gardens, it’s crisp sheets, it’s enfolding duvets and squeaky swing on front porch. Marc Chagal spent the war years in High Falls after barely escaping from the grasping fingers of Hitler’s goons. And, until you’ve tasted Nancy’s breakfast of Herbed Eggs, you  haven’t lived, as I hadn’t, until I did. We know and love each other longer than anyone else in both our lives who remains alive. How lucky I am!

Second: My dear friend Marianne Ihlen. Here’a a photo of Marianne only a few weeks before her recent sudden death, dancing with our young friend, Zoe, during a visit to Oslo.

IMG_2662In the fifties/sixties, ‘almost young,’ poor and unknown Leonard Cohen (a Canadian), met also ‘almost young’ also poor, very beautiful and abandoned, Marianne (a Norwegian) and her young son, Axel, on the rough and dreamy Isle of Hydra in Greece in Greece. They lived together there, traveled and loved each other. Many songs that still reverberate their romance resulted – ‘So Long Marianne‘ ‘Bird on a Wire‘ – among others. We also met on Hydra, in the 70s, and remained friends throughout the years. At one point, breaking a precedent at the time, Marianne agreed to an interview for my book ‘Love In the Second Act, True Stories of Romance, Midlife and Beyond.’ Since then, Marianne has become the subject of a memoir – ‘So Long Marianne‘ – written by Kari Hesthamer and edited, also translated, by Helle Goldman.

Third:  Solly Ganor, originally from Lithuania, friend and author of ‘Light One CandleAttachment-1.gif-74and several sequel autobiographies. He lives in Israel with his wife Pola. I met Solly through historian Eric Saul in Los Angeles years ago and was bowled over by the fiber of the man as well as the unbearable nature of his youthful history. He became a willing subject in two of my Holocaust-related books – ‘A Special Fate: Chiune Sugihara, Hero of the Holocaust‘ and ‘Fiet’s Vase and Other Stories of Survival, Europe 1939-1945.’ If you read nothing else about the Shoah during your lifetime, I suggest you read Solly’s Light One Candle. It says it all and will stay with you evermore.

Writing this I realize the extent of my riches – these loved ones, this sister, those friends, those infinitely deep and complex beings who have enhanced and flavored my life tenfold. Indeed ‘ … friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold‘ (Oliver Wendell Holmes). I breathe those loved ones in to mark the date of their birth; and in, and in and never cease being nourished by each of their aromatic souls. 

Happy Birthday dear ones !!!

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Song – On May Morning

by

John Milton

Now the bright morning star, day’s harbinger,

Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her

The flowery May, who from her green lap throws

The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.

Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire Mirth, and youth,

and warm desire; Woods and groves are of thy dressing,

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing,

Thus we salute thee with our early song,

And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

 

New addiction

I’ve a new addiction. It crept in quietly, relaxed my mind; now it’s got me by the throat. And: Yes, I never thought it could/would happen to me. It’s a ‘match three’ game like (but not) ‘Candy Crush Saga’ accessed on my iPhone.

Attachment-1.gif-67 My main game is ‘Fruits Mania’ but sometimes I also play ‘Lollipop’ or ‘Honey Bee’ as a back up or when ‘Fruits’ becomes too difficult or frustrating. With my index finger (right hand) I ‘swap’ one ‘fruit’ (orange sections, lemons, limes) for another. I must get three of the same (color, type) fruits in a contiguous line. When done, they vanish from the board giving me credit/s toward winning or ending that game with a rush of noise and fireworks. Sometimes a swap causes a chain reaction, removing many ‘fruits’ from the board. There seems to be a million variants/mutations of  ‘Mania’ as I painstakingly move into higher more complex levels of skill with alterations. Oh: All this is accompanied by irritating repetitive music, the kind of sounds one hears in a penny arcade (bells, whistles, sirens) or with ‘Angry Birds’ which (thankfully) hasn’t hooked me. I’ve missed other incarnations of this ‘match three’ format with names like ‘Bejeweled,’ ‘Shariki,’ ‘Jewel Quest,’  ‘Chuzzle,’ ‘Sariki,’ ‘ZooKeeper,’ ‘Big Kahuna Reef’ and more. Just as well. 

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Though prone toward various addictions in my life (cigarettes, nail biting, etc.), I’ve read that this particular addiction (when analyzed by professionals in the mental health field) is likened to a gambling addiction … something I’ve never had the slightest inclination toward. Following, a list of symptoms from an addiction expert:

Significant interference with work, school or relationships.

Often avoiding other commitments in order to keep playing

Frequently turning down social invitations in favor of gaming

Using most or all of one’s free time for gaming

Regularly playing late into the night and which results in poor sleep habits

Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

Regular gaming “binges” of 8 hours or more nonstop

OMG! This same expert lists those most at risk:

Males

Children and teens

Individuals with long periods of unstructured time

Those with high levels of neurotocism

Children who are more impulsive and have weaker social skills

 

Oh no! What now? Who’d have thunk it?

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‘Is there another life?

Shall I awake and find all this a dream?

There must be, we cannot be created for this sort of suffering.’

 – John Keats, 1820 (from letter to Charles Brown) –

 

Iceland

It was dark when we arrived, and the fields of black lava were covered with snow from the largest snowfall ever recorded there. My two sisters and I had discussed taking a holiday together for years. With the clock ticking faster now, we figured we’d better do it soon and chose Iceland in February/early March. We drank coffee at the airport after getting our passports stamped at 4:25 a.m. and, as first light appeared on the eastern (polar) horizon, we walked into the cold air to find our ride to the Blue Lagoon. IMG_5209-2An hour later, after driving from nowhere to nowhere, snow covering all, I stood shivering in my old black bathing suit on a ramp. It was 28 ° (-2.22° celsius) and freezing breezes rippled across my skin. I knew I wouldn’t/couldn’t take the plunge, but siting my sister’s much-loved faces, knowing this was the real start to a holiday that would come but once, that I was the big sister, once gutsy, once a trailblazer, I dashed toward  the rising mist under which lay soft iridescent blue waters, 99° (37.222° celsius) giving off an eerie sulfur hue.

Sinking up to my neck, warmth spread, even enfolding my exposed face, though it tingled slightly. I could have stayed there for the rest of my life.   [Blue Lagoon on a Winter Day] And so I (we) floated, swam, paddled amidst rising mist and beyond. Louis MacNeice wrote in Letters From Iceland in 1936:

Holidays should be like this

Free from over-emphasis

Time for soul to stretch and spit

Before the world comes back on it.

And how! This one it! Out of normal time and place, our stay might have been an eternity, a month, a year, or one long day. Our other lives (our poisoned homeland) seemed unconnected to this timeless sojourn with its unusual, treeless, snow-blanketed landscape. For our pleasure were the mystical Northern Lights, geyser’s with erupting waterspouts, a galloping waterfall, quiet volcanos, a spectacular site where in 930 AD and afterwards laws were read, tribal chiefs and the entire population would gather. We viewed the flowing stream into which women convicted of something were flung to drown. (Convicted men were beheaded, we learned.) Our thorough guide Hermann – see below with my sisters – seemed to know everything there was to know.We spent an entire day together – never rushed, never overwhelmed – while Hermann gently explained, answered all questions completely, left us alone in silence for our own reveries. (I fell a little bit in love with Hermann, here was someone I should have encountered oh … twenty years ago.)

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Yes, our troubled homeland felt far away, had no connection to this decent, clean, sane, compassionate nation of barely 330,000 folks, all of whom have healthcare, free education, gender equality including gender pay equality.  Louis MacNeice’s Icelandic travel poem continues:

So I write these lines for you

Who have felt the death wish too,

But your lust for life prevails –

Drinking coffee, telling tales.

Our prerogatives as (wo)men

Will be cancelled who knows when;

Still I drink your health before

The gun-butt raps upon the door.

And it was so. Our ‘lust for life prevailed’ as the long days/nights stretched and stretched ahead without punctuation. We ate what the Vikings once ate:  fresh fish, skyr, potatoes. We skipped dried fish as I’d read W.H. Auden’s comment (also from Letters From Iceland)‘Dried fish … should be shredded with the fingers and eaten with butter. It varies in toughness. The tougher kind tastes like toe-nails, and the softer kind like the skin off the soles of one’s feet.’

Also skipped: Fermented shark, jellied sheep’s head, smoked Puffin though it’s supposed to taste like  pastrami. In Iceland, though we barely saw nor tasted a vegetable, we loved every bite of food eaten, every careful step taken on slippery snowed-on roads and paths. Before departing, we siblings left a bit of our hearts along with our shadows there frozen evermore in time beside a gyser then flew back to hang up our watch caps and gloves and bend our necks into the pelt of the falling “hard rains.” 

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In a pickle

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Glad you’re in this pickle jar with me, old friend. You too, new friend; and you over there and there and there and across the sea and over (also under) the rainbow.

In a Pickle

We’re in a pickle

We are, we are

And what’s worse is

The pickle’s in a jam

 

And then we wonder

Why it’s getting warmer

The jam pot we see

Is in hot water

 

We’re not sure how it happened

We do not have a hunch

But we hope somebody finds out before

They finish making lunch.**

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How we voters got pickled:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 to 4 small red chiles (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh dill fronds (about 1 bunch)
  • voters

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine white vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seed, celery seed, red chiles (optional), and ground turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Arrange voters and dill fronds in one or more jars. Pour hot brine into jar to completely cover voters and seal jar. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours (or up to 1 week).* 

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Where do we go from here?  All ideas are welcome.

Dear Alison,

Here’s one idea tap – 20 pickle Pie – Sesame Street …

Yours truly, Vinny

age 6, Center City, Minn.

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**[Original by Mark Megson, here altered slightly}

*[Thank you Martha Stewart, again forgive alteration]

Playing hooky

Last night I spoke at an event inside grand old St. Bart’s on 50th and Park. Afterwards I began meandering and (though I hadn’t planned to) eventually walked the entire way home, about four miles. It was winter, a bit blustery, stimulating; the streets weren’t crowded, late-working folks were leaving work or heading somewhere, hurrying decisively, criss-crossing to and fro as New Yorkers do, cozy in their wool or cashmere scarves, watch caps, winter coats. I passed Grand Central. What had once been the Pan Am building built atop the station was lit with blue lights. I have no idea what it is now.
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I wandered south, looked at this and that, urned west onto 42nd street. I felt happy, free, in no rush, grateful that no one was tapping their toe anywhere in the world waiting for my return or attention. I had everything I needed in life and in my red wallet tucked down into my left side pocket, also money and keys and lucky coin in the right hand pocket, leaving my hands entirely free. I was carefree as a fox!

After passing the library with the great stone lions guarding its front, the theater district loomed in the distance. The memory of playing hooky as a child rose up and made me smile. Here’s what it was like: Once in a while at around age ten, eleven or so, I’d leave for school but, instead, would get on the subway. I’d emerge at 42nd street. By then it was 9:30-ish in the morning. School books and lunch hugged close with both arms (as this was the time before we in America loaded up handy backpacks), I’d peruse the various round-the-clock movie theaters side-by-side on both sides of 42nd street until I found a tempting film and would buy a ticket. I think a movie cost around ¢25 …  Could that be? I don’t really remember but it wasn’t much and I had enough pocket money to finance my day of naughtiness.

Whichever theater I’d chosen was almost totally empty at that hour except for occasional lone persons scattered here or there. I’d head up (usually winding stairway) to the balcony, locating a central position clear of anyone else, where I could put up my feet on the seat-back or railing in front of me. Those in the theater at that hour were usually lone men, some quite seedy, a few sleeping or drinking from bottles tucked into brown paper bags, sometimes doing questionable things to themselves or each other. There were always one or two who unsuccessfully tried their luck with me even though I was a skinny, solo, obviously underage pre-teen. For protection I’d stack my school books on the seat to my right, my raincoat or coat to the left, making sure no one was directly behind me. These theater’s were ornate, the seats shabbily upholstered in faded burgundy, the lighting dim.Attachment-1.gif-44

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A single ticket provided two feature length films, a few cartoons, as well as coming attractions. At some point during my viewing binge I’d eat the school lunch I had with me. When I was a few years older I’d smoke forbidden cigarettes (as smoking was permitted in the balcony) and my smoke would rise up lazily and melt into the flickering light-beams shooting out from the projector. Four or so hours later I’d emerge from the theater rubbing my eyes as the late afternoon brightness was a shock. Suddenly I’d be overcome with remorse. Oh no! How could I go home? Of course they (my parents) would find out and give me hell.Befuddled, I’d shuffle east on 42nd street chewing my already bitten-to-the-quick nails, clutching books. by the time I’d reach 5th Avenue, I’d usually decide I needed to confess.

At the corner of 42nd and 5th were several glassed-in phone booths in a row that had metallic shelves inside under the phone boxes. I’d squeeze my books onto the shelf and dial my parents. In a remorseful voice I’d confess my dereliction and would (not as severely as I’d imagined) be told, Come home. I knew I’d be punished when I got there but already felt better as the devilish secret was out. One time after I’d finished my call, just as I returned the black receiver to its cradle, the phone rang. How strange! I answered, said, Hello.

A voice uttered, You don’t know me but I know you. Oh? Yes, I know that you’re standing in a phone booth on the corner of 42nd street and 5th Avenue. I know you’re wearing a yellow belted raincoat and a navy blue skirt. I looked outside anxiously but glimpsed no one who seemed to be paying any attention to me. How do you know? I asked, worried. Because, he cackled, I’m actually in a room under your phone booth You see, the floor of your booth is one-way glass and I am, in fact, looking right up your skirt and can see your underpants. 

My heart sped up. Oh no! I slammed down the phone. How awful, I was deeply embarrassed and grabbed my books. When I turned to unfold the accordion door to let myself out, I saw  – not three inches away – a man in the next phone booth holding a receiver to his ear, grinning like a satyr. I bolted and ran for the subway. My punishment had already begun.

IMG_5058Last night after passing the length of gaudy 42nd Street, just as I had long ago, I set my compass toward home. Here I was, totally remorse free, my life mostly behind rather than in front of me. The whimsical Chrysler building came into view in all its glory, glinting in the distance.

When I relocated my home base back here after twenty-one years in the west a number of years ago I never thought I’d fall in love with NY again. It seemed like a sensible place to be, but love? Unlikely. How could one return to a marriage that had ended long ago? But, tonight, as my eyes were drawn toward Chrysler’s crescent-shaped deco spire with the charming sunbursts and gargoyles reaching into a not-for-the-faint-of-heart city sky, I realized (like with so many other things in my life) I’d been wrong. The unimagined had happened, I had fallen in love with NY again … just at that very instant.

From Belarus to New Zealand

The instructions were:

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Pack lunch/dinner and snacks and bring water

Make sure you are hydrated

Get a good nights sleep the night before

No back-packs or bags – exception: 1 clear bag 12 x 12 x 6 gallon, one bag 8 x 6 x 4

Bring cash

Bring credit card

Bring cell phone battery back-up

Bring hand warmers

Bring your own signs

All events are free

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and so, on Saturday, 21 January 2017, we with hearts did what was asked

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 and, according to USA TODAY:

… [an] estimated 2.6 million people took part in 673 marches in all 50 states and 32 countries, from Belarus to New Zealand — with the largest taking place in Washington.

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Enough said.

For now.

 

Milosz in Krynica spa and tonight

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I first read Czeslaw Milosz while hiding out in Krynica spa in southern Poland at a hotel called Paradiso. I read him again now while hiding out on the twelfth floor – 12F. Milosz encountered strong headwinds through his long life, especially during the Warsaw years. He wouldn’t mind, I’m sure, if I borrow from the ballast he acquired after enduring those hopeless-seeming and other woebegone gales.

A Song on the End of the World
by
Czeslaw Milosz
On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.
 
On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.
 
And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.
 
Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
There will be no other end of the world,
There will be no other end of the world.
Warsaw, 1944
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Marinating the election in salt water

Have been speechless since the election. All wherewithal has drained out through the soles of my feet. Just want to get under the covers:img_1321

K.M. wrote: 

“He acted beyond badly, said things that were beyond repugnant and was thus rewarded. That feels so deeply destabilizing to me. My only solace is that in times of strife and in clashes of the ideas of a civilization, come better ideas and better art.  Ai ya…” 

Pema Chödrön wrote:

“During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, this is a chance to stay with the groundlessness. I’ve been meditating and getting in touch with a deep and profound sadness. It’s hard to stay with that much vulnerability but that’s what I’m doing. Groundlessness and tenderness and sadness have so much to teach us. I’m feeling that it’s a time to contact our hearts and to reach out and help in anyway we can.”

David Remnick in The New Yorker wrote:

“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”

Pope Francis wrote:

“Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the excluded are there to decide. Not the demagogues.” And also wrote: “American Christians aren’t actually Christian if they support a man more concerned about building walls than building bridges.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote:

“He is a faker. He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.”

Bill Maher said:

“Thank Donald J. Trump for the one good thing he did. He exposed Evangelicals, who are big Trump supporters as the shameless hippocrates they’ve always been.”

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What will the above write in a month, in a year, in ten years, in a hundred years. Wake me when it’s over.

Suspenders

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The new khaki jeans I spied at an Army-Navy-type place on 7th Avenue (unbeknownst to me) buttoned below (not at or above) the waist; otherwise they fit like a dream. I grabbed s pair in my size, paid up, went home, slipped them on, felt great. As I am way overdue with refreshing my wardrobe one item at a time, with these jeans, I had finally made a start. (As my mother used to say of my favorite items of clothing after addictive wearing: You turn everything into a rag. And it was true.)

Once I’d loaded their deep pockets (with keys, lucky coins, cash, red wallet, toothpicks), I went walking. By the time I’d crossed 28th Street my trousers had started to droop downward onto my hips; by 29th Street they’d crept lower so I hiked them up, continued on. After a few steps they slid again and I hitched them up. Street by street, this action needed repeating. Tugging them up toward my waist wasn’t the biggest deal until both hands were full – one with a container of afternoon coffee, the other a sack of avocados and lemons. Had I not set down my purchases momentarily in order to strongly hitch my sagging jeans way high up (nurd-style), they’d have dipped below my pantie line or fallen off completely before I’d reached the safety of 26th Street.

Had this come to pass, a G-String or a “Foxer” (trendy blend of men’s boxers and women lace panties) wouldn’t have been exposed, nor would a silk chiffon pantie designed by Jean Yu. Instead, something white, 100% cotton, made in Haiti, better left unexposed, would have reared (no pun intended) itself, qualifying me as one more neighborhood low-riser.

At home I scratched my head, went online and ordered (a pair of?) … something elastic (akin to a garter belt) … suspenders. Once my order was sent, a compendium of associations woke and gurgled: 

My father wore suspenders.

Annie Hall wore suspenders.

Jaleel White wore red ones in “Family Matters” along with a striped polo shirt and a pocket protector.

Marlin Brando wore a pair in Streetcar.

James Bond did in Casino Royale. 

FDR too,

also Napoleon, and

the villain Voldemort as well.

So did I, in kindergarden or maybe first or second grade. 

GQ Style guy R.J. Firchau added his 2 cents: “Whenever I see a man wearing a belt and suspenders, which is not all that often, I think, now, here is a pessimist. Guys who wear a belt and suspenders probably carry umbrellas on sunny days and wear more than one condom. So, with that sentiment in mind, go forth and try suspenders for yourself. Incorporate them into any and every outfit, and leave the belts at home. … suspenders, considered as undergarments until the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. In the 1960’s, working-class British adopted them into their looks, combining suspenders with tight jeans that really didn’t need help staying in place. Later, in the 1970’s, working women in England and the US incorporated them into their wardrobes to achieve a sort of “unisex” look. In the late 1980’s, People Magazine dubbed the trend of suspenders hanging from one’s waist to be a very ‘sensual’ and fashion-forward look. Around the same time, Steve Urkel from Family Matters made suspenders synonymous with trendy nerdiness….” (so says R.J. Firchau in The Gentlemanual – “The Story of Suspenders”) Much to digest.

Raymond Carver wrote a poem titled “Suspenders”:

Mom said I didn’t have a belt that fit and
I was going to have to wear suspenders to school
next day. Nobody wore suspenders to second grade,
or any other grade for that matter. She said,
You’ll wear them or else I’ll use them on you. I don’t want any more trouble. My dad said something then. He
was in the bed that took up most of the room in the cabin
where we lived. He asked if we could be quiet and settle this
in the morning. Didn’t he have to go in early to work in
the morning? He asked if I’d bring him
a glass of water. It’s all that whiskey he drank, Mom said. He’s
dehydrated.

I went to the sink and, I don’t know why, brought him
a glass of soapy dishwater. He drank it and said, That sure
tasted funny, son. Where’d this water come from?
Out of the sink, I said.
I thought you loved your dad, Mom said.
I do, I do, I said, and went over to the sink and dipped a glass
into the soapy water and drank off two glasses just
to show them. I love Dad, I said.
Still, I thought I was going to be sick then and there. Mom said,
I’d be ashamed of myself if I was you. I can’t believe you’d
do your dad that way. And, by God, you’re going to wear those
suspenders tomorrow, or else. I’ll snatch you bald-headed if you
give me any trouble in the morning. I don’t want to wear
suspenders,
I said. You’re going to wear suspenders, she said. And with that
she took the suspenders and began to whip me around the bare legs
while I danced in the room and cried. My dad
yelled at us to stop, for God’s sake, stop. His head was killing him,
and he was sick at his stomach from soapy dishwater
besides. That’s thanks to this one, Mom said. It was then somebody
began to pound on the wall of the cabin next to ours. At first it
sounded like it was a fist–boom-boom-boom–and then
whoever it was switched to a mop or a broom
handle.  For Christ’s sake, go to bed over there! somebody yelled.
Knock it off! And we did. We turned out the lights and
got into our beds and became quiet. The quiet that comes to a house
where nobody can sleep.

I don’t know why Brits call them braces or why the French say galluses. I do know there’s a Japanese suspender dance – “Girl’s Day” 2013 – (Davee Ver). Have a look/listen. Have a snap. If that doesn’t scratch the itch, here’s Grandpa Shufflin’ (2011 chokemymonkey) wearing suspenders. Not to be missed. My pair is meant to arrive tomorrow. They’re black. Two inches wide. With grippers, not button eyes. (See below but add some years, silver hair, some pounds to the wearers and replace the black colored trousers with the color khaki.)

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Failure

attachment-1-gif-28Only one of the many tomato plants growing all summer in my little garden-patch has ripened – the rest remain green. Granted the unripened are beautiful, photogenic shades of lime-green, grape-green, Moldovan-green, but green is not red is not ripe. Whose failure is it: Mother Nature? The sun or lack of? Could it be that a my tomato plants were strangled by morning glory trailers twisting around their vines having jumped from the iron fence dividing my patch from the Greek Church to the south? Is the failure simply me – one of many failures in my longish life?

I.E.:

(1) Contact lenses

(2) Marriage

(3) Bed making

(4) Fitted sheet folding

(5) Analytic geometry

(6) Fasting

(7) Perfect spelling

(8) Chess

(9) Foreign languages

(10) Sushi

(11) Flossing

(12) Sailing

(13) Tennis

(14) Diving off of a high board

(15) Changing the world for the better

(16) Remembering to bring an umbrella

(17) Kayaking

Why or how I’ve failed?

(1) I could not stop rubbing my eyes

(2) No help from fate

(3) I’ve tried but the bed never looks as if an adult had a hand it it

(4) If my life depended on it – I still couldn’t properly fold a fitted sheet

(5) To this day I still dream that I’ve forgotten to take the final exam

(6) Deprivation is not a strong suit

(7) Almost any way I spell a word it seems correct and incorrect at once

(8) Am a pawn grabber

(9) Impossible once alcohol and drugs had induced brain damage – alas

(10) As sophisticated as I think I am, I’m really not sophisticated at all

(11) I mean to but sometimes days go by – am better with the proxy brush

(12) Too much ducking

(13) Too old and myopic when I first tried

(14) Would climb up but just couldn’t make myself dive head first

(15) Didn’t know where to begin – still don’t except to pick up litter like wooden ice cream sticks for luck – touch wood

(16) Essentially, I like being rained on

(17) I’m loyal to the canoe unto death

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*****

PS

I have been advised to a) gather green tomatoes b) add a lemon c) find a paper bag d) insert all into said paper bag d) put in dark place. [See evidence of steps a, b and c below]  Will report results.

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