I don’t miss writing checks to pay for everything and mailing them off in stamped envelopes to pay my bills. I don’t miss getting a whole chicken to cut up and then having to find someone foolish enough to eat the giblets. I don’t miss unairconditioned houses. I don’t miss twisting the handle on a mimeograph machine to make copies. I don’t miss those aspects of my youth. But I do miss my youth.
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Remember back in the 1950s when we used to iron and starch jeans so that they had a crease in the front and back? When you hung up pants you’d just ironed you lined up the inseams and carefully laid them over the hanger with the creases held in place.
The other day I realized I’m still lining up inseams and hanging jeans as if they had a crease to protect. As if my no-iron denim would hold a shape. As if I hadn’t thought about how to hang pants in 60 years.
If fact, I hadn’t thought about it in 60 years. Old habits die hard. We cling to things that make no sense in the modern world. Maybe it’s time to rethink a lot of things – not just the way to put jeans on a hanger. A few topics that most everyone needs to rethink include race, religion, gender, and sexuality. Make your own list.
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Folks who come by here are mostly regulars. At a time like this with illness taking so many people away each day, it’s a great pleasure to see the regulars come by and say hello. It’s nice to know you’re okay, you’re still kicking, you’re still writing. Keep writing.
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The first election I recall being aware of was Stevenson vs. Eisenhower back in the 1950s when I was in junior high. My parents liked Ike, but my friend Judy was adamant about Stevenson. The interesting thing to me back then was that she cared so much, thought it was so important. Now I realize why – Judy was Jewish and the election mattered to her in ways I didn’t understand then. Since I turned 21, I’ve voted in every election. Have you?
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Every fall the big tree in my yard dumps 15 giant garbage bags of leaves for me to rake and bag. I think I’ll move to an apartment if I don’t have to clean up the leaves ever again. But then I think if I move the people in the apartment above me probably walk around all day like elephants. My house is nice and quiet. Decisions, decisions . . .
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I learned I could live on a deserted island during this pandemic. Provided I had plenty to eat. And assuming the place wasn’t full of hungry predators who were bigger than I am. Actually, maybe what I really learned is that I can be isolated in my comfy home for months at a time and not go stark raving mad. We writers have an advantage over the rest of the world. We are introverts. Another advantage is that we produce whole worlds in our imagination – so who needs anything outside the house?
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They say an attitude of gratitude makes you a more successful person. That you should count your blessings each night before going to sleep. Right now just being alive and disease free is a blessing. There is so much to worry about – our democracy, our planet, our jobs and livelihoods. It’s hard to remember to be thankful for anything. So lets stay safe, live through this, and bless the world with our wisdom as we recover.
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As a kid, I used to play fighting games. Outside in the sunshine. Now kids play them in front of the TV. The top trending movies are about fighting – people shoot each other like crazy. In cities around the country people are marching in protests about the way we treat each other. The “leaders” of the country won’t do anything that helps anyone. The churches preach intolerance.
Do we plan to fight until there’s no one left standing?
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I opened a new pack of Clorox wipes to clean up the load of groceries I’d just brought in the house. Ah, life during corona virus.
After, the smell on my hands took me back years. Back to an elementary school where I used to teach. Back to a school where the janitor polished and waxed the floors so regularly they gleamed. The wax, or the cleaning fluid, that he put in the machine he pushed up and down the halls, smelled like my hands.
I was back in the hallways of that building, thinking about all the kids who passed through them – probably still will when this pandemic is over. Back in a part of my life that was as natural as breathing.
Now, each time I use those wipes, I’ll go far away. Funny how a smell can do that to you.
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So many things we are thirsty for in America today. For truth, which is hard to find. For justice, which is even harder and more dangerous to find. For an understanding of the constitution and the guarantees we have a citizens. We’re thirsty for freedom from the oppression of capitalism and the way it holds most of us down. We’re thirsty for just a trace of human kindness from the folks who hold the reins in this country.
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