And here we are…

We are now jet-setters (almost).  On the 19th, we zipped from Virginia to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week with all the family, Beans and Dollies.  We all stayed together in one big house – called “Almost Paradise” – where they have stayed twice before.  This is the 5th biennial Thanksgiving-at-the-beach Herbert family reunion.

The families take turns cooking dinner for each other so that every evening, they are together for a meal.  There are searches on the beach for shells and sea glass, and movies to watch on the telly, and games to play.  It is good. And in 2018, we will do it all over again.

Then, on the 26th, Bean, her DIL Auntie Glenda, Cousin Pip, Smidge, Riki, Gosipp, and some Hittys drove off to Arkansas.  Two days later, they were on a mountain top in Winslow, Arkansas at wonderful and homey, Sky Vue Lodge, where they met up with friends Wizzy, her Mister, and Voir to carve more Hittys and other dollies.  My bean hopes she does not gain back too much weight on hostess Janice Jorgensen’s good cooking.

Sometimes, we all need a bit of Rest and Relaxation, some family time, and some time to do things we don’t do every day.  We just need a new attitude, a new approach.  After something like this – waking up to morning fog, or to see the sun peeking up over the mountains across the valley, the crisp air, the friends, the family, the creativity…. These things restore us.

To stop the daily grind, to stop looking at the news, and to ignore all the terrible things in the world for a little while is restorative.  It purges us, refreshes us, and lets us go back to our lives with a new and fresh perspective.

And we see life as a beautiful thing.

 

 

Who needs a holiday for gratitude?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and we still live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  No matter what, we must all be grateful for that.  I’m working on feeling grateful today and every day.

On Nov. 7, we had a large crew of workers here to begin installation of a whole house generator, one that kicks in after a few seconds worth of outage and keeps us going no matter what.  Definitely thankful for that.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times the power has gone out since I came to live here.  Ran out of fingers to count on.

To install, they had to cut off the gas, which is our heat, hot water, fireplace, and cooktop.  They had to cut off out electricity which is the auto start for our stove burners, the oven, the microwave, the fridge, dishwasher, compacter, auto-thermostat, lights, fans, the printer, the router, and the computer. Oh yes – and the phones, which of course are all cordless.

To deliberately lose everything at once was a shock.

When we lose power, we can still torch off the burners on the gas cooktop to make soup or a box of mac & cheese.  We can keep warm by the gas fireplace, and take hot showers.  We can manage to see our way through the house with flashlights or use candles to light the rooms.  So we won’t starve or freeze. Sure it will be dark more of the day/night than we are used to, and the only entertainment are the games we might play, but that’s OK.

We have never lost gas at any house I ever lived in, so losing power was my only experience with a natural disaster loss.  But on the 7th, we lost it all, and for a little while, we knew what it was like to not have utilities, other than water. Thankfully, we could still get a drink, wash our hands, and flush.

So I’m tremendously grateful for utilities and for everything they power. I am grateful for the men and women who, when the power does go off, go out to make sure it comes back on for everyone. I am grateful for friends, and food, and music, and to whoever invented the Internet, and for the ability to make a choice and then to change my mind. I’m very grateful for family. I’m so very lucky to live here in a house with plenty of amenities and with someone who loves me. Not everyone is so fortunate.

I will never take that for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

When things go extra bad

Apparently not everyone, post election, wants to be friends and come together.  Some seem to want tit-for-tat.  During the campaign, supporters complained that one of the candidates was a racist and sexist because of his language and attitudes.  Now, these same finger-pointers are engaging in name-calling and marching the streets to protest the President Elect.  How now are they any better?

When my Bean was ready to move on, to extend the laurel branch to one and all, even her like-minded friends spoke against her.  She understood what they were saying, but she refused to engage in hatred of the others.  Just because one side did it doesn’t make it right for the other side to do it back.  Two wrongs, and all that. So, in an attempt to separate herself from the hatred, she left Facebook. Now she has just me and the other dollies here for company, since even many of her personal friends have turned away, determined to continue with their anger and hatred. They seem to have sunk lower than the person to whom they now direct their anger. How did this happen, this great divide?

I get that this is a hard time for everyone.  It is for my Bean, too.  She’s mad that things didn’t go the way she hoped, but she’s also deeply saddened and hurt that people seem to believe that friends must think exactly alike to be friends, and that because others once hated us, we must now hate back.  Nope.  Not true.

A friend can sympathize with how you feel, even when they don’t feel the same.  A friend should be able to say “there-there, it will be all right” without having her head bitten off because the other doesn’t think it will be and turns against you simply to prove her point.  A friend holds out her hand in a gesture of friendship, not merely to those she’s always known and cared about, but to all who need a friend … or at least a friendly gesture.

How can America, the great “melting pot” (or “salad bowl” if you will) merge into a cohesive country working together for the good of the people when its people are still so divided; how can we ever get back to reaching across the fences in our own neighborhoods, much less to those who are “other” than us yet have the same rights; what can we say to those who feel left out, alone, and hated?  And what will they say to us?

So many people profess to embrace religious teachings, which for Christians includes “love one another,” yet are out in the streets with signs and on Facebook with venom pouring through fingers to keyboards and buried deep in their hearts. Where is compassion for others?  Where is kindness? Where is friendship for our fellow citizens?  Isn’t our country for everyone, for all the people, and not just for the few? Have we all partaken from the barrel of poisoned apples?

Words can break hearts.

Words can break the heart of a country.

 

 

When a bad week goes downhill

The week began so well…everyone had high hopes for whoever their candidate was.  And for some, post-election was a time for cheering; for others, it was devastation.  People are threatening to leave the country, people are marching in the streets, and people are holding up signs that say “Impeach Trump” before he’s even sworn in as President.  Are we really ready, so easily, to give up?

People are nervous and afraid. And for good reason.  We all heard the then-campaigning (now  President-elect) Trump, say terrible things about women, calling them fat pigs and ugly.  They heard him belittle those women he treated as sexual objects as if they meant so little that it was okay to behave in a degrading manner when speaking about them.  In Trump’s world, sexual aggression and insults to women were merely locker room talk. The people heard threats of punishment for abortion and repeals of Roe v. Wade.  Now women wonder if our country will take a step back to when they didn’t have a vote and men could, under the law, do whatever they wished because “their woman” was their property.

We saw and heard him make fun of a handicapped reporter.  Is that how he imagines his government for all the people will treat those who don’t meet his standards?

We heard him say, Mexico does not send us their best.  We heard him denigrate all Mexicans as rapists and murderers.  We heard him insult Black Americans.  We heard all that and more.

We heard him say Muslims were not welcome in our country where all of us, but for a few Native Americans, were immigrants at one time.  Trump’s own mother was born in Scotland, and his grandfather immigrated here from Germany, yet he wants to keep out those that he deems unworthy of living here.  He’s made himself the judge and jury of who belongs and who does not.

He said he wanted to be CEO of America, but he is delusional if he thinks that running a country is like running a business.  Our Congress and Senate have much more power than his boards of directors.  He answers to them.  More importantly, he answers to US!  He may be the elected leader (though not by the majority of the people), but he does not rule us.  He signs things into law, but he does not make the law.  The wheels of government policy grind slowly on, and he will find it a tough row to hoe if he believes he can simply step in and take over.  Dictators and tyrants do that, not Presidents.

Citizens want to be able to respect and look up to their President, not worry about what he’ll say next and whether he’ll anger a foreign power the way he has so many of his own people.  People’s reactions and their fears of a President Trump are based on what they heard candidate Trump say and the uncertainty of whether that man can transform to presidential material and truly represent us in a way that makes us proud and allows us to respect him.

What sort of country do WE want?  It is OUR country, after all, not the country of Trump. And “our country” includes all the people who voted for Trump as well as all of the people who voted against him, and even the ones who just stayed home and didn’t vote, or took the cowards way out and wrote in someone’s name. It takes ALL OF US to make our country great, the country that just elected Donald J. Trump President. You can’t sit this one out, folks.  You live here.  So you didn’t vote for him.  So what?  He’s still the President.  It’s foolish to push back against that now.  Now is too late.  It’s not useful to march in the streets today calling for his impeachment before Trump even takes the oath of office.

We need to let our fear of what could be work for us.  We must work TOGETHER – every single one of us – to ensure that any wacko ideas get pushed back, that we hold on to the freedoms we already have, that we move forward not backward, and that we do it together.  IT’S TIME TO STAND TOGETHER.  We need to support our President as much as we possibly can, but this is not Trumpland, folks.  It’s the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  Only Americans make America Great.

Not ME the President.  WE the People.

 

 

 

Oops indeed!

OK, I lost track of my days this week and apparently fooled around until I suddenly, just now, learned it was Friday, my column day.  And here I am without a Snippet to my name.

According to Dictionery.com, “Oops” is an “interjection, used to express mild dismay, chagrin, surprise, etc., as at one’s own mistake, a clumsy act, or social blunder.”  Yup.  My fault, a silly mistake, and yes, I’m totally dismayed.  And yet…

Out of many things, an idea is born.  We all make mistakes.  It’s really nothing to be ashamed of as long as it was honestly a mistake.  Where did that term “honest mistake” come from, I wondered.  Well, I still don’t know that answer, but the general idea is that the person who made the mistake did so unknowingly without any malice or attempt to deceive.  It just happened by mistake.  Yup, that was me today.

So I’m going to forgive myself, and hope you all will too.  I’ll try to do better next week.  That’s the best any of us can do, I believe.

Moving on…