Monday, November 19, 2012
This year Thanksgiving looks a little different from our usual. For one thing, we are giving thanks for normalcy, in the guise of heat, hot water, and electricity, and keeping in mind our many, many fellow-citizens without any semblance of their usual Thanksgiving traditions. Second, our faithful Thanksgiving guests are not coming to dinner (a previous engagement on a cruise) and won’t be bringing my friend’s excellent Bourbon sweet potato casserole—a great disappointment to my daughter, who dotes on it even though she dislikes liquor of all kinds.
My dad, at nearly 102, has been invited to dinner at the home of his friend Sylvia, who has extended this kindness to him for many years. As usual, he is planning to make a pecan pie, long the favorite of Sylvia’s late husband, Doug. This year, I think he will need some help with this endeavor, but one of his caregivers is a fine baker and has already gone over the recipe with him to ensure he has all the ingredients at the ready.
In spite of the fact that we could make the effort behind this day mostly optional, we will celebrate with a significant dinner.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Hurricanes may be somewhat exciting in the occurrence, but they are no fun in the long run. This is a truth that everyone on the eastern coast of the US comes to understand eventually. As a child I lived in Connecticut, about five miles inland from Long Island Sound, during the two hurricanes that hit in the summer of 1955. I remember walking around through the house independent of my very edgy parents, being secretly thrilled by the sound of the wind and the sight of bushes and trees whipping to and fro when I peeked around the venetian blinds to see what made the noise. After that, owing to an inland address over the years, I’ve had little direct contact with serious hurricane activity until this week, when Sandy marched ashore in southern New Jersey and reconfigured too many lives.
Once again, the storm itself did not seem too awful where I live (in the north) when it was going on. Rain and wind notwithstanding, our most exciting moment came when Steve went out to the garage (20 or so yards from the kitchen door) after we lost power at supper time on Monday night
Monday, March 12, 2012
I have been reading stories and poems lately on cowbird.com, a site that allows people to publish work they want to have others read and to solicit readers’ comments. I have been a “lurker” so far, just reading some of the “Daily stories” that come to me in email. Yesterday’s poem, about the fragility of everything around us, made me think how much my mother would have enjoyed the freedom and access of the Internet. Writing was a very personal, intimate thing for her—I don’t think she would have put her work up for others to read very easily at all—but she would have loved not having to wait for a book to arrive in order to read new work.
One of my mother’s most treasured affiliations, in her later years,
Sunday, March 11, 2012
I haven’t written in a long time, but I haven’t abandoned the idea of this blog. Its premise still pulls me. I think my absence had to do with reexamining what a blog is for and how it is most likely to please its author and its readers. My favorite blogs for reading make me feel as if I shared an office or a sitting room with the author.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
It’s our forty-third wedding anniversary and, recognizing our sandwich obligations, we elected not to even try to go out for dinner this evening…our daughter, J, would be sooo lonely if we did. It has been a hell of a week—the refrigerator died and was resuscitated temporarily, J’s sprained ankle is continuing to cause suffering, work was not wonderful, there is a hurricane on the way for the weekend…need I say more? I can—I believe the other side of our sandwich has forgotten the day all together--not a problem, but another small passage as he moves toward 101 years old.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Tonight, as my father headed off to bed about 8:15, he gestured toward the front windows, drapes still open onto the porch and lilacs, the distant street still dimly visible in the fading light. As I went across to pull the tangled cord, I was suddenly transported back to my own eight-year-old self, at the same time of night, already in my seersucker nightgown and single bed, peering out the window at my mother and father raking cut grass on the lawn. They spoke happily to one another, sometimes close, sometimes farther apart with voices raised, working together in the twilight. I so wanted to be still a part of their world as I had been half an hour before. I strained to hear them, but their efforts moved them off, until I heard them coming into the back yard, the porch, the kitchen, their voices low and quiet now, conscious of their sleeping daughter—not yet, of course, but soon.
This is the switching of memory with now, making new memories to be recalled in years to come, when he, too, is gone from present life. Sometimes it makes me dizzy to think how back-and-forth we are as time passes. How much more so it must be when life is nearly all behind one, with little likely time ahead. Perhaps that is what makes the inward-turning aspect that overtakes the old—where nothing in the world around them is as compelling as their inner thoughts. Must be, they’re listening to the past full time.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
It’s too bad educators don’t take some version of the Hippocratic oath…“First, do no harm.” It would be more difficult to define than it is for Drs, of course. Harm seems fairly easy to define for a physician—if an action kills the patient, that’s harm. If they take the wrong leg, or don’t consider the side effects of a new medication, that’s harm. For teachers, it’s not so easy. Some might say that teachers don’t have students’ lives in their hands, but we know they do. Don’t kill the spirit, don’t let your own prejudices show through, don’t deny students’ creativity – so intangible, so different in each situation, so nebulous. Yet I think there is a sensible and positive way that teachers and educational leaders could promise not to do harm in our schools. I promise…