Grace had walked home from school whenever the weather permitted and even, on occasion, when it really didn’t.   After mornings of hurrying to get dressed and out the door….days of scurrying between classes and absorbing all kinds of information that adults had decided she needed to know, Grace always looked forward to a quiet walk home past the Riverside Cemetery.  It was never scary.  After all, it was daylight and there were houses all along the other side of the street.  Grace wasn’t looking to program or burden her mind with new thoughts; she was looking to deprogram it.  This quiet length of her walk acted as a release for all her emotions and all the stress she had accumulated during the day.

This particular day was like any other.   If you needed to, you could set your watch by the time Grace passed by.    As she walked along the last half of the cemetery, she saw a woman on the sidewalk leaning against the cemetery wall.  The woman didn’t move but smiled at Grace as she approached.   Grace smiled back as the woman stated and then asked, “You walk by here often.  Do you have any family inside this wall?”    Grace had always used her walk home to work its wonder and was feeling relaxed and unthreatened.  Grace said, “My dad is buried down there.   Why do you ask?”    The woman turned to face the gallery of stones on the other side of the wall and said, “I have spent an eternity looking for the family that I lost. I know we will meet one day.  I believe I will connect with them soon.”   Grace looked a little puzzled.   “What makes you think they are here?” she asked.    The woman hesitated, as if trying to give the correct answer.   “It is a feeling,” she said, “A knowing feeling.”    Grace just gave a sympathetic nod and wished her luck.   She moved on without really compromising the intentions of her walk home, still feeling relaxed.

As the days went by and Grace walked her usual route on her way home, the woman would always wave to Grace from amongst the stones.  The mutual waves soon came to give Grace a sense of friendship with the woman.   Grace had learned what the woman’s purpose was at that first meeting.  Since then they had simply acknowledged each other’s presence with a wave.  It was harmless.   It was touching.   It was surreal.

The days ran into weeks.   Not that time is of any real concern in a cemetery.  The woman always seemed to be absorbing more from the stones than just a name and the dates reflecting the span of that person’s life.   She seemed to be on a mission that would finally bring her to a special reckoning of where she belonged and who belonged to her.  It was as if through some innate knowledge and a long-suffering patience she would find what she sought in the Riverside Cemetery.

One October afternoon, Grace found herself eager to get to that portion of her walk where the acknowledging wave between her and the woman had molded itself into her routine.   As Grace walked along beside the wall, she began to pick up her pace.   She felt an anxiety that contradicted the purpose of her walk home each day.   She got to the end of the wall near the gates and stopped.   The woman was nowhere to be seen.   Grace thought how odd to feel anxious about a woman she didn’t even really know by all conventional standards. Grace’s eyes combed the area as she walked along the wall.    She could not see the woman anywhere.  Perhaps this strange woman had found what she was looking for and gone on her way.  Grace felt incomplete with a need to wish her God’s speed and share one last wave.   Over the years, Grace had made many friends that she didn’t see any more for a multitude of reasons.  Why was this a big deal?  It was a good question, but Grace didn’t have the answer.  Although Grace could not see her, the woman was there just outside of Grace’s vision.   She watched Grace’s interest, confusion and sadness and knew the time had come.

That Friday just happened to be Halloween.   Grace smiled to herself as she saw the woman in the distance in the section across from where her father was buried in the Veteran’s Section.  Grace was so confused by her feelings.  This lonely woman had penetrated Grace’s being in a way that Grace couldn’t define.  It didn’t matter.   She knew the ties that bind are often not definable.   Yet, there was something that made Grace want to know and understand more about this woman.

The woman waved for Grace to come towards her as she stood just across the path from the grave of Grace’s father.  She was dressed as she had always been in a navy blue dress with one strand of pearls around her neck.  Grace was not one to make a fashion statement anyway, so the fact that this woman had always worn the same clothes had never made Grace curious.  Today though was a very brisk fall day and Grace did wonder why she had no sweater or jacket on.  Grace felt like an actor in a play that hadn’t revealed its ending and the script was compelling her to hurry towards the woman.

Grace told the woman that she was happy to see her again.  She shared how sad she felt in the past few days that they had left their strange relationship so unfinished and somehow incomplete. Grace asked the woman if she intended to move on and was not prepared for what followed.

As if merely to confirm what she already knew, the woman asked Grace if she was aware that her father had been adopted.  Grace knew he had.  It had come up in many conversations over her childhood years as reminders of how fortunate she was to have an identity with roots that gave her a solid place in this world.  Grace hadn’t always understood what her father meant because she was so young at the time, but had come to feel the pleasure and the pain of knowing exactly who she was and where she came from.  Grace asked the woman why she wanted to know.

The woman said that while one’s body can be put to rest, their soul must find its own time and place to move on.  She pointed to the words on the stone beneath where she stood.  It said,

Here lies the body of Elizabeth Cote

1941 to 1972

She lived her life in the sad abyss of never being able to

nurture the life that she brought forth.

Her soul will not rest,

her spirit will not find peace until she is reconnected.

In a spontaneous gesture, not understanding why, Grace hugged the woman.  Before Grace could reckon what all this meant she heard the screeching of wheels in back of her.   Her attention was immediately diverted to the cemetery gate where she saw a car hit the wall.  It was at the end of the cemetery where she had walked moments before the woman had beckoned her.  She ran to see if the person in the car needed help.   The old gentleman in the car seemed okay but dazed.  Someone had called 911 and she could hear the sirens in the distance.

As Grace came back to the unique reality that only a chilly fall Halloween day can bring, she returned to the place where the woman had once stood.  She was nowhere in sight.  There seemed to be a warmth in the place where an October chill had just been.  Grace’s eyes caught the inscription on the stone that the woman had read to her not minutes before.    This time the stone read…

Here lies the body and soul of Elizabeth Cote

1941 to 2014

I lived and died having finally found my peace

through the Grace that God has allowed me to find.

The soul of Grace’s grandmother had finally found peace.

Posted in Holiday Thoughts, Short Stories | 2 Comments

Everyone Looks Better in Sunglasses

Now that there is daylight on either side of my workday, I have found my sunglasses always in my pocket and ready to give my eyes a buffer from all that sunshine.  I have come to realize, however,  that sunglasses are multi-purpose.  Have you noticed?  Everyone does look better in sunglasses!

Last week, as I pulled up to a gas station near where I work, I opened my window and said, “Fill it up with super.  I mean regular.”  The “super” part fell out of my mouth like a subconscious reaction to the “eye candy” in silver sunglasses standing at my window and asking me some question that I think had to do with putting gas in my car.  I watched in my rear view mirror as he acted out his part like Matthew McConaughey.  He came back to my window and said $28.00.  I gave him $30 and as I frantically tried to think if it would be incredibly tacky to give him a tip, he took off his glasses to count the change.  I am still not sure exactly what happened.  It wasn’t as if he had a bag over his head and suddenly took it off.  My Matthew McConaughey became Woody Allen.  (well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it set me to thinking.)

Since then I have noticed that sunglasses really do give you an aura that transcends so much about the rest of your physical appearance.  As I thought more about this, I realized there were a few other things that camouflaged a person’s basic appearance.

Along side sunglasses there is definitely “The Tan.”  I know you are not supposed to overdue the sun and use sun block as a precaution against getting too much sun, but I always felt like a nice even tan made you look a little slimmer.  I guess it is a matter of blending in with the surroundings.  In winter, chalk white blends in with the snow.  In summer, a nice tan matches up with the peat moss.  In any event, a nice bronze tan, maybe with a pair of sunglasses, can create a momentary “WOW Factor.”

Then, too, I have noticed that everyone looks good when there is music accompanying their actions.  If you have ever rented a movie and turned the volume down you will know what I mean.  Music definitely creates an atmosphere and makes the person all the more attractive when there is a sassy sax playing in the background or violins following their movements.  This doesn’t do much for our appearance if we aren’t in a movie, but if we all stay hooked up to our Ipods, maybe we would all look a little more attractive to each other.

I could go on and on about French accents and convertibles, but I am bringing way too much into this thought process.  I think it is safe to say that “all that glitters is not gold” and every guy in sunglasses is not Matthew McConaughey.  But….for a few moments he could be.

Summer is fun!

Posted in First Impressions, Second Thoughts | 1 Comment

A Special Card to Our Mothers

The greeting card aisles make the transition immediately after Easter.  The Mother’s Day cards fill the slots with every kind of appreciation….to my mother, to someone whose been like a mother to me….to my wife on Mother’s Day…to my sister, aunt, grandmother, godmother and daughter on Mother’s Day.  It is hard to think of a woman without some tribute in the verse of a Mother’s Day card….except one.

No Mother’s Day card exists for those of us with mothers who have left our every day lives and whose appreciation must be captured in memories.

I remember the first Mother’s Day after my Mom passed away.  It was strange not to be trying to find the card that had that unique combination of words that pleased her and said what I felt in my heart.  It is such a vulnerable feeling to think that as long as your parents are alive, you are someone’s child.  As long as your Mom was alive you could be nourished.  You could return and be lovingly and honestly appraised.  You didn’t need to remember or recall many moments in your life.  She had the DNA and the 411 that enfolded you and because you were her child, she held all that for you.  She shared what you needed when you needed it.  Then one day she was gone.  No matter whether it was months or years ago that she had to leave you to experience life without her, you can recall that comfort zone.

Personally, I think our mothers speak to us every day.  Women are born communicators.  It is an innate part of our being.  And, while their physical lives end, mothers find a way to answer their children.  If you keep a small uncluttered space in your life, you can look for an answer from her and she will find a way to respond.

And so, this Mother’s Day 2016, I look to purify and unclutter my life a little so that I can feel the umbilical cord that cannot be severed…so that I can hear my mother speaking to me in the little ways that defy language.  Hallmark cannot say it any more for so many of us.  We must trust that our hearts have a voice.

To my mother, Ginny, and all those mothers who have passed on…

Thinking of you on Mother’s Day

We were your little girls and little boys.  We hope we are the adults you wished we would be.  We stamp this card with a sixth sense that tells us you are there.  We love you still!

Posted in Holiday Thoughts, Second Thoughts | 1 Comment

What’s Love Got Do With It?

I LOVE Valentine’s Day!   What else can you do with it?  You’ve gotta love it!   However, there is the school of thought that if you don’t have a spouse, lover, or significant other in your life, it’s a day when you are all dressed up with no place to go!

But, wait a minute my mind says.  While you might not get cards, flowers or have someone to whisper sweet nothings in your ear, it may just be a time to take stock of those moments in your life that brought you love for a moment, a month or for what you thought would be a lifetime.   It could be a day of reflection and celebration for those times in your past when that feeling called “love” picked you up out of the day-to-day, humdrum experiences of life and gave you a happiness apart from anything else.  It may bring a tear, a smile or simply a sigh.

Valentine’s Day can rightfully be a day to celebrate love’s afterglow.  It may be listening to a certain song, looking through a scrapbook or rereading cards or letters.  For me, it seemed the perfect time to go and visit a folder of old poetry where the remnants of old relationships had been chronicled in verse when the spirit moved me.  A poem seems to be an 8X10 glossy of your soul at different times in your life.  This folder had become a photo album of life’s ups and downs and created a looking glass into past events and relationships of my life.

Elevator Love

You smile and stop and say hello.

You ask how was my day.

Or wish me a good weekend.

We chat and joke and try to surmise

If there could be something more…



A weekend somewhere,

A love to last through eternity!

Afraid to try and push it.

Afraid to dare and think…

That there could be, should be…

More than just your smile and kind hello.

One more time…

Once more for old times sake,

Let’s dance and touch and catch the beat of time gone by.

Once more, let’s dance a dance and dare to feel the motion that once made us one.

We’ll glide and flow and spin and recall,

The magic of the steps that made the music follow us.


As with all great syncopation,

The dance will end on beat,

And we’ll walk away believing

That it ended with the song.


One night in the back of a ’54 Hudson,

A boy asked me to let down my hair

Remembered Mother reading Rapunzel

And knew,

It was deja vu.

Reflections on the End of Love

I was standing in the doorway,

Because it was raining where I came from.

I hesitated to cross the threshold,


It would be good to be inside out of the rain.

But inside would never be as good

As outside when it wasn’t raining.

And so, this Valentine’s Day, I salute those moments in my life when love, with all its many faces, had everything to do with it.

Posted in Holiday Thoughts, Poetry, Second Thoughts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last, But Certainly Not Least

Finally, here it was…Christmas Eve.  It was the night Allison had been waiting for.  The family would gather around the tree as Allison and her two older brothers gave their parents their gifts.  It was the first year Allison had been old enough to be part of giving her very own present to her parents.

Allison was excited about her gift because she had made it herself.  As her parents sat in the two big chairs beside the fireplace, her brother, Jamie, pulled a red box with a green bow stuck to the top out from under the tree and handed it to his mom.  She read the little tag aloud and opened the box.  Inside was a beautiful red candle and as his dad put a match to its wick, Jamie told them that it would smell like cinnamon in a minute.  Everyone waited and commented on the wonderful smell.

Next came Peter who proudly presented a gold box with gold ribbon to his Dad.  He read the tag and opened the box.  Inside was a wonderful assortment of jelly candies.  Everyone sampled a different flavor and commented how good their choice tasted.

Allison came up next with her hands behind her back.  In one sweeping action she presented her gift and held it in front of her.  It was a big card that had a Christmas tree on the front with Santa and his reindeer going over the top of it.  At the bottom, Allison had printed ““Mom and Dad” with a different color for each letter.  Allison’s mom reached for the card and both parents leaned together as they read the inside and commented on the pictures.  Allison’s dad sat the card on the mantle and suggested everyone sample another round of jelly candies.  He then turned the room lights down so they could appreciate the flow from the candle better.

The card Allison had made for her parents faded out of sight on the mantle as the candlelight illuminated the coffee table and the candy box.  Allison began to feel her gift didn’t match up to her brothers’.  The card had only provided momentary excitement as it was opened.  Already it had faded in comparison to her brothers’ gifts.  She passed on the next round of jelly candy and expressed her desire to go bed so Santa Claus could come.

She went to sleep dreaming of a magic moment when her parents would like and enjoy her present the best.

The next morning she came down the stairs to the living room and while there were so many presents under the tree from Santa, the first thing she noticed was the coffee table.  The candle had burned itself away and the box that contained the jelly candy was empty.  But there, sitting high and proud on the mantle was her card.

Posted in Children's Holiday Stories | 1 Comment

Sweet Dreams

It was an especially dark night.   The moon was only showing a sliver of itself.   It looked like it had been dipped in chocolate.   A hint of cloud that looked like a scoop of marshmallow fluff could be seen beside the sliver of moon.   It was a night for sweet dreams.

Some girls and boys knew what time of year it was by the change in the weather.   Some knew by the amount of shopping their parents suddenly did.   Others knew by the name of the month on the calendar…. December!

It was the time of year to be especially good.   It was a night to catch a sweet dream.

Sweet dreams love an especially dark night.   They fly around out there by the dozens, bumping into each other, trying to find a lovely little sleeping child to share their magic with.    It is a very difficult and tedious task to make the perfect match.  When morning comes, all sweet dreams must be gone.  All are, hopefully, in the hearts and minds of children somewhere in this world.

Babies in cribs, boys and girls in their beds, sleeping bags, tents and parent’s arms, all were sound asleep and hoping for a sweet dream.

Now, it was getting close to morning and getting close to December 25th.  There was one dream still out there this night.  It was floating around frantically trying to find some child who would cherish the magic of dreaming and would want what this sweet dream had to offer.  It was December and children are very particular about their sweet dreams.

But, that was the hard part…what this sweet dream had to offer.   It wasn’t sweet like candy, or fun like doing a puzzle or riding a bike.  It was plain and simple and shared in a minute.

As the sun came up and the moon melted into day, somewhere in this world a little child awoke from the night and remembered the sweet dream that was shared and whispered in their ear…..You are loved!

How sweet it is!

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Christmas Memories

With this special stretch of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas upon us, it becomes so important to find an anchor and a basic place to go in order to capture the season’s essence and its simple tenets.

I would like to share a couple of memories of Victor and Virginia…my parents, who although not with me in person, have left me with great memories that are indeed gifts during this time of year.

Virginia Rose had raked some interesting memories along into the autumn of her years.  Appreciating the simple things in life, she could often be heard reflecting, “I grew up in a time when it was a treat to get a couple of oranges and a few walnuts in your Christmas stocking.”

As she went from child to mother to grandmother, her fundamental conception of Christmas never really left her.   While some people shopped through the year for Christmas gifts, Virginia Rose scoped the possibilities throughout the year of getting that special box…a Neiman Marcus box, a Saks Fifth Avenue box, or the ultimate, a Nordstrom’s box.  My sister and I would bring her gifts on different occasions from cities and countries where we would travel.  Although Virginia Rose had never heard of the stores in those areas, she had the good sense to know that, if the boxes came from those geographical locations, you were talking quality.  She knew her boxes!

She shopped her favorite stores just before Christmas (Marshalls, Sears, K-Mart, TJMaxx) and had a special knack for matching the appropriate gift to the perfect box.  She shared her inherited “Depression Era” sense of values often.  One of her favorite recollections was, “My Mother always said that if you put a piece of Spam on a beautiful dish with some parsley, people will forget its Spam.”      I don’t think my sister and I ever forgot it was Spam but the thinking did reverberate through our lives manifesting itself in so many ways…presentation was paramount!  I remember getting marked down in my high school English class on a composition that said I had excellent thoughts couched in a shabby presentation. Where was that parsley when you needed it!  I was young…I had much to learn.

Victor worked in the Little Building in Boston.   For my sister and I, it was our first oxymoron.    Dad worked on the 11th floor, but visited Liggett’s every morning and lunchtime for his coffee…black.   Liggett’s was a drug store with a luncheon counter.

Now Dad has survived a frugal childhood and WW2 and had learned to take what was offered him without question.    So, realizing the price of coffee included two sugars, he made it a point to take them.  He had a paper bag in his work area where he deposited the two sugar packets throughout the year.  When I got married, my father would annually, at Thanksgiving, offer me his bag of collected sugar packets.  He shared a sense of pride in his “waste not, want not” gift to me each year.

My burden became how do I give testimony to his effort.    I remembered how much my father enjoyed my banana bread. So, each year upon receipt of the paper bag I would tear open each packet and deposit it in a measuring cup.  Most years, it came to two cups of sugar that allowed for two banana breads…one for him and one for me.  While I made banana bread at other times during the year, that particular one was all the sweeter for its significance.

When my Dad retired, it was a ritual that became a memory.   It is now one more memory that has become my Dad.

My parents were married on Christmas Eve and my mother passed away on Christmas Eve.  While this season is, indeed, a melancholy time for me, my treasured memories of even the tiniest parts of their lives make me smile.

So, I would encourage you to shop your heart and mind this holiday season for a treasured memory and give yourself something that money cannot buy.

Posted in Holiday Thoughts, Second Thoughts | Leave a comment

Grandma’s Famous Holiday Fruitcake

I came out of the oven and into this world on November 1, 2015.  That’s a bit premature for a holiday goodie, but I’m a fruitcake.

I learned a lot about myself as Grandma (my creator) put me together.  A good fruitcake should be seen and not heard.  So, I kept quiet and listened.  Grandma says she and I get better with age and that was why she was putting me together early.  She said lots of people through the years had asked for her recipe but it was a secret that would go to the grave with her.  She said she wasn’t leaving much when she left this world and would be darned if her cherished memory would be messed up by some half-baked amateurs passing out fruitcakes that turned out to be a disaster and saying it was her recipe.

Anyway, I sat on a cooling rack by the window for a couple of hours.  Outside, the autumn leaves still had a leaf or two left to fall and Mabel the Moneycat sat curled up on the kitchen chair.  It was all very relaxing – nothing in comparison to the whirlwind existence I would experience later.

Grandma brushed me with some brandy, and I am sure if I were tested at this point, I couldn’t have said “Methodist Episcopal.”  Just when I thought life couldn’t be any sweeter, she wrapped me in cheesecloth and put me in the pantry on the back shelf to “get better with age!”  I was in heaven.

I must have dozed off, for the next thing I knew Grandma was waking me up and saying, “This one goes to the Church Christmas Bazaar bake table.”  I was put in a clear plastic bag so I could see everyone.  It was tied at the end with a big red ribbon and a tag that said Grandma’s Famous Holiday Fruitcake.  I was proud.

My day on the bake table was a learning experience.  I was difficult to categorize.  I wasn’t in the pie or cake or cookie family.  So, it became the fate of this fruitcake to be segregated from the rest of my fellow sweets at the end of the table with a bag of nuts and some big cheese in a basket.

People wrote their names on a piece of paper in front of our basket and put the piece of paper in a box.  I was be RAFFLED!   I found it all very degrading.

At the end of the bazaar, one name was pulled out of the box and that person was handed the basket with me included.  The big cheese maneuvered its way to the top of the basket as we headed…somewhere.

I think I was in a station wagon with a family because I heard a woman yell, “Keep Puddles in the back away from that basket of food.”  It was the nicest thing I had been called all day.  I remained tentative as to what species “Puddles” might be.

The ride came to an end quickly.  I felt the motion of the basket being swung.  Then all was still.  The nuts made their way to the fancy crystal bowl and the big cheese went into the refrigerator.  I sat on the counter with several sets of eyes looking at me.


At last, I realized, what is the use.  I am a fruitcake, incarcerated behind a plastic bag with no voice, no feelings, and no means of representation.  I listened.  One of the sets of eyes that belonged to a woman said to the set of eyes that belonged to a child, “Jenny, you can take this to school tomorrow as a gift for Ms. Franklin.”

Jenny shrugged an OK.  If they were happy to get rid of me, I was just as happy to be leaving here.  Especially, since I realized that the one set of eyes that remained belonged to Puddles – a huge Golden Retriever.

It had been a long trying day.  I welcomed the quiet and the safety of the top of the refrigerator.  I rested, regained my composure and anticipated life with Ms. Franklin, a schoolteacher.  It sounded promising.  Jenny took me out the door the next morning.  I actually rode the yellow school bus.

That evening, I sat as a slice on an English bone china dish that matched the cup of tea beside me.  This was more like it.  It was my ultimate moment.  I was going to be appreciated.  Ms. Franklin found me so tasty that she said I was just like her Mother’s famous fruitcake.  The next afternoon, I was on another field trip to Ms. Franklin’s mother’s house for a visit and afternoon tea.

This time I was in aluminum foil so all I could do was listen.

“Mother, I brought some fruitcake I received as a gift.  It is the first time I’ve ever tasted a fruitcake as good as yours.  Please have a slice with your tea.”

“My Dear, you can’t be serious.” says Ms. Franklin’s mother.  “Where is this imposter!”

I began to sense the light of day, feel the warm sun pouring in the window and…see Mabel the Moneycat curled up on the kitchen chair!  I was home!  I had survived!  I had returned to the origin of my birth!

As Grandma (my creator) sampled my corner, she muttered, “This fruitcake doesn’t come near my famous fruitcake.  My fruitcakes have my special touch that make them unique.”

But, but………….

Posted in Holiday Thoughts, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Sign of the Times

I went to get my hair cut the other day.  I was a little early and as I sat and waited, I got a wonderful second-story view of the lunchtime crowd in downtown Boston.  It was an unseasonably warm day and the second-story office across the street had half of its window opened inward.

The side that remained closed had a makeshift sign that read “ANTI.”  My mind wandered back to the ‘60s when ANTI was so much a sign of the times.

The lengths of men’s and women’s hair had been equal – long before their understanding of each other.  Those were the days when you carried your infant on your back to your ANTI-WHATEVER rally…the same person that now tells you that you’re never off of their back.  Those were the days when you took two lists to the supermarket – one a list of items you needed for the week and the other a list of items you were boycotting for various reasons.  It was back when jeans were dungarees and they stood for a philosophy, not a designer. It was before the word “maybe” when everything was simply right or wrong.  It was a time when protests had saved the skins of alligators and leopards and so many sons had died in war.

I wondered whether we had stopped the war or whether the war had stopped us for a while to contemplate, reevaluate and rekindle.  We spoke of love back then as if it were some generic drug that promised an affordable remedy to some special social cancer.

There were German Beetles and British Beetles; each moving us on down the road at different speeds.

I never dreamed we would ever be or look or feel any different than we did at that time.  But, the flower child’s sense of power in the streets had moved to the flower adult’s sense of power in the boardroom.  Love had moved from the masses in the streets to one’s “self” and a tennis score.  Hawks and doves had return to the domain of the Audubon Society.

I thought about the energy I had had and the insight I had sought continuously.

As this bird of a different feather waited to get her hair feathered back on the sides, I wondered if I was where I was right now because we had finished our work back then, or if we had lost that energy and simply chosen not to see anymore.

Before I could reckon this any further in my mind, a very chic looking woman came over to the window across the street.  She looked out for a minute and then closed the open portion of the window.  Before me was an “ANTI” I had never been a part of back in the 60’s, but felt close to now.  The full sign read “ANTIQUES.”

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They will be…Forever a Child

I have often heard parents telling their children who were frustrated and acting out….”use your words to tell us how you feel”

Because a young man in Newtown couldn’t find a way to use words to express what was in his tortured mind, twenty children and eight adults died on December 14. 2014.  Because we have nowhere else to go with our grief, we now find the need to “use our words.”

It has been said that we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.    How horribly sad that this became so convoluted….that the perfect here were the children and the good became our good intentions to keep them safe that didn’t happen.

Our anguish is so great because we know it never occurred to the twenty of those little faces that flash continuously in my mind that they weren’t safe.  They trusted adults to keep them out of harm’s way.

The veil of innocence that our children wear is an inherent part of their little lives that they should be able to shed at their own pace.  They slowly grow to understand the world as it is and the limitations of people with good intentions.  Sadly their understanding must include the liberties allowed to those with bad intentions. Innocence was breached on December 14, 2012 and now we rush as parents, educators and legislators to try and preserve the innocence that may remain.

In a world of rewind buttons and save buttons, our hearts break and our minds ache that, for all that allows us to progress as a society, there is no going back here.

Sadly, there was an innocence still that even I at my age had yet to shed.  I did not comprehend that there could be such evil.

Those twenty beautiful faces will be in my mind forever.  There must be a special place in what lies beyond this world where such innocence is precious.

Posted in Second Thoughts, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Mission from Mars (a man’s journey to fatherhood)

In a conversation not long ago, I asked a man where he was from.   He told me he was from Mars originally but had moved on.   Having originally been from Venus and moved on myself, I was fascinated to hear about his journey.

He told me Mars was a starting point in his Map Quest of life.   Fatherhood was the vehicle that catapulted him off that planet and it took him to a place he had never known existed.  For the first time in his life, he fastened his seat belt.    From the moment he beheld that extension of himself he realized that Mars would probably not be a habitable place for him anymore.  Mars offered selfish awareness, the supposed liberation of an unplanned future and a day-to-day existence that required little emotion and plenty of instant gratification.

Fatherhood, from the moment this man was awarded the title, was a vehicle that burst forward at whiplash speed.  He cruised through inspiring territories of awareness and being.  To this very special man, “that moment” crowned him with responsibility.  Winning was never again to be determined in innings or goals or yards.   On Mars, winning was the epitome of every endeavor or challenge.  Fatherhood changed all that.   Now it wasn’t a matter of winning.  Rather, it was the hope that when all was said and done, there would be no losers.

So many of us will celebrate this Father’s Day with special thoughts and memories of the journey that these former Martians took us on.   I will never “dine out” without giving thanks for my father’s continuous effort to make sure I knew my table manners.   I will never start to walk up a set of stairs and not hear my father always saying….”there’s always something that needs to be carried up!”  It may be why my father was never a big sports fan.  He had gone on to other provocations.  I proved to be enough of a challenge.  On my wedding day, when he gave me away I was never sure whose special day it really was.  There wasn’t a trophy or tee-shirt or award of any kind that could trump that moment.   He knew he never actually gave me away.

I think perhaps a father’s love is quiet and not always as obvious as a Mother’s might be. A Father’s love is more of a reverberation that comes to you later on in the everyday happenings of your life.  Father’s Day is a perfect time to not only remember who your Father was or is, but who you are on ordinary days because of him.

I think that maybe the best tribute of all I could give my Dad is that through all the ups and downs of my life, I never felt like a loser.   Game point!

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Our Loss of Innocence on 9/11/01

We all have varying degrees of innocence that we lose over time.  Hopefully, in our old age, on the day we pass away, we still have some loss of innocence that never came to pass.

One thing is for sure, if you were alive on September 11, 2001, you lost an innocence that you could never have comprehended was yours to lose.   It was like the shot heard round the world….a loss profoundly and especially felt in the homes and hearts of the families of the victims…a moment in time where we still stand as voyeurs trying to express our sympathies and understand what evil could possibly evolve from baby, to child to terrorist.

In our desperate effort to understand, we make the 9/11 Commission Report #1 on the best seller list.   We rely on the media and local churches to help us express ourselves on the anniversary of that horrible day.   We look to our leaders to find answers or causes or those responsible.    We are haunted by our thinking that we could have done something different, or better or more.  We don’t want to think that it could have been avoided, as if that would give us responsbility in some sad and incomprehensible way.

I am struck by the thought that there are so many children who were conceived but not born before their fathers died that day.  They will never experience the love of that parent. There are children, so young at the time, who will struggle to remember the love and joy they brought to a parent on the day they were born.  A loving parent’s face that will be a snapshot of someone in a photo album for the balance of that child’s life.  They will rely on the recollections of family members to give that 9/11 victim a personality that child can cherish.

There are husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, nephews, nieces, and friends who went to their work that morning knowing evil existed in this world, but never realizing its spectrum.  There is a nausea that still comes over me when I try to comprehend it.  The epitome of evil became the faces of 19 men with names we couldn’t pronounce and had no desire to learn.  As with Nazi Germany, I feel the need to know how such evil could come to be.

I know it defies understanding.  I know that good people who make up all the commissions, agencies, task forces, commands, organizations, boards and departments can only do their best to fight every evil they become aware of.

The sad truth is we cannot always comprehend the many faces of evil…..sometimes it takes another loss of innocence that we didn’t know we had ….because we are good people.

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