Friday, December 2, 2016

When Old Women Get Militant

I once started a poem that got stalled on, " I have a life...I don't know where it's going yet."

I wrote that 40 years ago, and I still don't know. It still seems interesting.

Oh, I can set goals and even achieve them. I've made minor marks on the world. I'm glad for them.
But how do I deal with .....THIS?

Trump isn't Hitler.

But what is going to happen to the world, to my country? What already has happened?  We are divided in a way not seen in more than a century. And we face real world challenges we have not had before.

It makes me itch when people talk about "the world" and don't include anything but our own specie. There is so much more world out there.

Fifty years ago you could have an abortion in a much more judgmental society and you wouldn't automatically be assigned to Hell, if it exists.  In the 60s, when unwed pregnancies were anathema, I volunteered in a major public hospital 8 hours a week in the emergency room. I was 22. Innocent as dirt. My day was 3-11 on Mondays.  Mondays are quiet in emergency, generally.  I still remember those girls, those women, coming into emergency with septic infections from coathanger abortions, screaming for their mamas. They were all colors. Truth to tell, mostly white.

I live in a state where abortions are legal, but pious Republicans have made it so difficult, many can't either get to a clinic or afford it. I mean--if you have to go 300-600 miles to the clinic, what do you do?  Today, there's not the shame. But if your man leaves you pregnant, you already have two pre-schoolers and now you need to step up? and there's NO free daycare, forget about that. Texas is being looked at because since the legislature banned Planned Parenthood, essentially, since 2011, our death rates for women one year postpartum has skyrocketed. No problem here, says  our legislature. Only good health care here.

Sorry. I'm free-choice, including abortion. And I don't think it's Biblical. And I'm a church lady. And I prepare communion for my church every Sunday. 

And I believe in a healthy land for my grandchildren and their grandchildren.

And here's what I am doing currently. I am not listening to what ifs. I am evaluating the done sos. That isn't particularly comforting, but life can change.

I am, right now, saying what I believe, and I will follow it.

I'm not going to waste time arguing. I don't have the energy.

But if I can help, if I can do, if I can try to make a difference, I will.  I don't know how my great-great grandchildren will fare. But they at least deserve my trying to make it better for them.



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

When You Never Know Your Parents Past Childhood

When I was a young teenager, the record shop on Main St. piped out a record I loved, and then bought for my father for Christmas.  We had a record player, always, and we had a lot of jazz and classical music. Some show tunes.

I still buy people I love the things I also love. I was so sure my dad would enjoy this record. But he didn't. He was in his 20s in the 1920s. It seemed his style. But he opened the present, he smiled at me, you know, that social smile? and I don't know that he ever played it.  I did, so he heard it.

He died when I was 19, so I will never know why he didn't like it. As I age, I am beginning to realize how thoroughly I was orphaned to lose my father at 19, and basically lose my mother at 23.  They got me through to what I thought was adulthood, but I realize now I never had the adult to adult relationship that should have happened.  They were great parents. They crammed a lot of love into me before they left my life.

"Slaughter on Tenth Avenue", by Richard Rogers. I love it still.

Why didn't he love it?

I will always wonder.

I think I wonder, because I still am hurt that he would think I would buy it for myself and give it to him so I could have it. That worry hit me with the smile. I never got to ask him about it.

Unfinished business. 

(Dad, I did really think you would love it.)

And with Elvis Presley at the time singing, "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog," if he did think I chose it because I liked it, he did think I had hi-falutin' taste.



Thursday, October 13, 2016

On The Groundfloor, Who Are You?

We all have core beliefs we live by. Truly core beliefs.

Recently I have visited with some people I respect and admire. They don't all  share my core beliefs. And that startled me. Because on the surface, we lead similar lives.  Maybe, like me, they go to my church. Maybe we volunteer together.  Maybe we volunteer at a school function together.

That their core beliefs differ doesn't change my liking or respect.

And we ARE similar.

I have discovered that to feel good about myself, I have to do certain things. I am old enough by now to realize other people can be really good friends and not have those same compulsions.

I hope I will get some responses here.

Yesterday I was visiting with a woman who grew up as a Jehovah Witness. She told me, and I hadn't known this, that they do not believe in voting. That literally shocked me. I don't think anything on my personal "have to" list will make me better, or more worthy, or even respectable. Some of it doesn't come from my family.

But:  I always thought before
You vote. If you are legally allowed to, you vote. And, by damn, not just in presidential elections. You vote for the city, for the school, and  when taxes come up.  Sometimes you hold your nose. You vote. Now, in my lexicon, you don't have to get active in politics. That's up to you. But every chance you have,

You Vote. And voting is new to her. And after I caught my dropping jaw, we talked more. Wow.


I can't give blood any more because of medication, but I have O Negative, and for years I gave blood every 8 weeks.  Public service. You lie down for a few minutes, and you get juice and cookies. I always walked out feeling righteous. So if you can,

You Donate Blood. And you donate your organs and skin when you die.

For a few years in a tough job trying to help families, I didn't volunteer. But I felt guilty. Somewhere, something you like, kids you like, a cause you like, needs free workers. Find a place you want to work. Then,

Volunteer.

You see places where a little cash could make the lives of kids, families, veterans, old people....pick the group. If you don't have the cash, do you have clothes or other stuff?  All you have to do, is take it in and

Donate. Something. Somewhere. I've seen folks at the soup kitchen bring in their garden produce before eating the next meal. Not at all necessary. But they walked so tall after they did it.


There's a lot of room in this for lying and cheating and doing stuff.... well.

I just was startled, that's all. I learned I had some bedrock things I didn't even know were there, but they are.  They help me live.

What are your BedrockValues?

I do have one more. I don't always like to tell the truth. But if you ask me the questions,
I don't lie. Ever.



Sunday, October 2, 2016

I Yam who I Yam. Stop Focusing on the Cracks

This is a rant.  Feel free to go elsewhere.

The internet, the instant communication, has many pluses.

BUT

One advantage of the years before was that when you lost someone you loved, or whatever, the reminder didn't keep popping up month after month, finally year after year, ad infinitum.

It was a BIG ADVANTAGE. You could go through it. You could hug your friends for years over it, but you went on.  After awhile, while that sorrow, that pain, was a part of you, you could focus on what was good now, and what was going to be good in the future. The pain didn't pop up front and center.

I didn't grow up in the digital age. I didn't even have 4 television stations to watch until I was 11 or 12.  I do appreciate the tapes, the internet.

I don't By God need them to remind me about Sept. 11, or the Kennedy assassination or whatever. I especially don't need to put reminders on Face Book or any other media. If I am ever shot to death and someone wants to hold a Vigil With Candles, I want law enforcement to arrest all of them and charge them with macabre verisimilitude.  And I want that ticket to ban them from any resulting memorial service for me, because I will be cremated.

I have had a good life with some bumps,  A fair number.  But I do not ever want to be remembered for What I Survived. I want to be remembered for my thoughts, my love, my interests--for my life, not my tragedies.

I do not ever want to be remembered for what I lost, though that is a part of who I am. But I certainly hope the bigger part is what I gained, learned and who I loved and still do.

My brother died on my father's lap when he was 31/2 years old and I was less than two. I don't remember him. My parents mourned, and they talked about him, and he was part of their lives. I was their child, though, and they showed me such delight, such nurture and laughter.

What if that dreadful death had been recorded and they could have played it over and over again?

I would not have had the childhood, the life, or the family I now have.

They only needed to go through it once.

They had no choice. You do, unfortunately. What will you do with it?

I would add it to family records for history's sake. I'm not sure. I don't think I would ever go back.

Today, it's your choice. Do you want to remember the pain, full screen, once a year or more? Or do you want to tuck it away in a gentle space you can, but do not have to, go back to.

With  technology comes more choices than we expected.

I hope we make good ones.