Before the nightmare begins…

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img_1511I dreamed about President Obama last night.We were standing side by side and I had my arm around his skinny little waist. I looked up at him (He’s way taller than I.) and I said, “I love you, Obama.” I suppose it was too up close and personal for him to respond, “I love you back.”

He did, however, give me that famous sparkling smile.

I learned recently that I actually know a person or two who are going to PEOTUS Trump’s inauguration (or as I sometimes say in-nausea-ration). I suppose any inauguration is historic and worth attending. This one is especially so because it’s the first we’ve elected a fascist.

I’m 73 years old and have voted in every election since I came of age. This is the first time I’ve feared that a presidential term would be the beginning of a very long four-year nightmare. I pray that I’m wrong.

One-issue voting.

My youngest sister G called me recently.  She sounded excitable and at the same time disheartened.  Here’s a part of the conversation I had with her that day:

G – You know my friend Penny Ante?

Me – Yes, I think I remember her.  (Actually I remember her quite well.)

G – (Talking nonstop.)  She called me this morning and do you know what she asked me?!  She wanted to know if I would put a Romney sign in my front yard.  I told her no I wouldn’t put her sign in my yard because I’m voting for Obama.  Then Penny screeched, “You mean you’re FOR abortion!?”

At this point my sister, talking to me, lamented, “I don’t know anyone who’s for abortion.  Do you?”  I agreed with her, “No, I don’t.”

(I have just returned from a brisk two-mile walk through the neighborhood.  I often take this sort of break when I feel myself stepping on a slippery slope.  It helps me to arrange my thoughts into a meaningful perspective.)

It seems to me that voting is a multifaceted proposition.  When we take one issue and make it our reason for voting, we cheat ourselves, and in a sense, the American system.  It’s also, in my opinion, the lazy path to voting.

Voting is a privilege and a responsibility.  The responsibility part is sometimes difficult.  It requires us to be informed voters.  It means we listen to several angles on the same topics.  It means reading letters to the editor in the local newspaper.  It means listening to a friend who disagrees with you.  It means researching a candidate’s record on the matters that are important to you.  The fact that you and a candidate agree on one issue does not necessarily make him/her a good candidate.

Make a list (well, at least a mental one) of the issues that matter most to you.  Then, set about finding out how the candidates view those items on your list.  You can’t get the true picture by watching the same news channel all the time.  We all have biases and often they show.  It’s hard work to wade through all the garbage that accompanies our political races these days.  But it’s worth the effort.  And it’s our job!

Go on now, examine those candidates carefully.  Then vote!  Please.

I hereby retire my soapbox.  Well, for now. 

To Momma.

Today is my mom’s birthday.  If she were alive she would be ninety-two years old.  She died three years ago just days shy of her eighty-ninth.  Mom loved pretty things, most of all flowering baskets to hang on her front porch.  One of the last gifts I bought for her while she was still living in her house was baskets for Mother’s Day.  She would love this one.

In Mom’s honor I went around the house and yard this afternoon looking for things I knew she would like.  It was a good exercise for me as it helped me to recall many of the sweet memories I have of her.

I think she would enjoy this colorful bookmark.  She loved to read, and her favorite color was blue.  I prefer to remember her when her vision was still good enough for reading and jigsaw puzzles.

The photo on the right is a beautiful wind chime my daughter gave me.  When I moved to this house four years ago it became a tangle of colors and glass and keys.  I guess I didn’t do a very good job of packing.  It’s waiting patiently for someone to untangle it and free its lovely song.  If Mom were here she would sit on the deck and carefully straighten every strand, restoring it to its intended artistic state.

I have a profusion of chives growing in my unkempt, weedy little garden.  She loved growing things so I know she would enjoy the flowering chives.  I don’t think she would be too pleased with the weeds but she wouldn’t scold.  She stopped that years ago.  I can imagine her saying, “Well, it’s just to hot to do much weeding down here, isn’t it, Honey.”  She and I are, after all, mountain women.  We don’t do very well in hot weather.

There’s a new little tree asserting itself in the back yard.  We’ve had “extra” rain this summer.  I’m sure it has achieved additional growth because of the rain forest conditions.  I’m rather proud of it.  I know Mom would be, too.

If I could, I would give this sweet jeweled box to Mom.  I think she would put her favorite earrings in it.  And maybe a ring or two.  When she was a young mother she couldn’t afford nice jewelry.  Hopefully we (her children and grandchildren) made up for that when we started to earn salaries of our own.

I especially like this afghan.  I made it with scraps of leftover yarn.  I think Mom would appreciate my attempt to be frugal by using what I had on hand.  I would like to give this to her, to keep her warm.  Of course, she would let her dog Odie sleep on it, too, but I’m finally mature enough to give with no strings attached.  Did I say strings?  Aren’t afghans made of strings?

This sentimental journey has made me cry a bit.  Okay, a lot.  I would like to leave you with a chuckle.  My caption for the photograph below is “Even my cat is voting for Obama!”  So would Momma if she were here.

On my mind…

Tiptoe through the window,             By the window, that’s where I’ll be,  Come tiptoe through the tulips with me. ~ Al Dubin & Joe Burke

I don’t know why this song was on my mind as I walked this morning.  I must have wanted someone to walk with me, but I didn’t see a single tulip.  The eye-catching beauty of the day was the ubiquitous azalea in all its glorious shades and hues and not one blooming at the same pace as another, rather like people, no?

I ponder as I walk.  Whatever pops in gets a bit of my time.  Today it was a bizarre incident from yesterday when I went shopping to pick up a couple of things I  needed.  As I was entering the doors of the store a sixty-ish white male walked briskly past me and tossed out, “What’s a liberal doing at the Wal-Mart?”  He didn’t slow down for an answer which is just as well since I stood there like a deer in the headlights wondering what the hell he meant.  Oh, yeah.  I have an Obama sticker on my car so he felt free to comment as if it were any of his business.  I decided I should come up with a retort for future reference in case there are others who feel inclined to challenge my views in public.  I thought of quite a few but most would not be appropriate as they would lower me to his level.  I decided on–“I find that question rather strange.  Why would you ask me that?”  I wonder what he would have done if I’d yelled, “Help! Police!”  After all I did feel somewhat accosted, threatened by him.

The fact that I felt threatened makes me a little sad, I think.  It speaks to the notion that I can still be intimidated by the physically stronger male in society.  Why is that?  I don’t really think I was physically in any danger.  If I were to take him on verbally and intellectually I would smash him like a bug.

Okay.  I’ve worked through the sadness.  Don’t have time for that.  Now I’m damned angry and I’m putting on my armor.  As soon as I finish this post I’m going to order t-shirts and yard signs and visors and everyone I meet will know I’m voting for Barack Obama.  I’m prepared to discuss it sanely with those who care to talk.  Those who simply want to stir it up are going to know I’ve been stirred.  (BTW, there’s nothing passive about that last sentence!)  Bring’em on!

Note:  This last photo is obviously not an azalea.  It’s a Lady Banks Rose and it blooms profusely every spring.  Then I whack it off and wait for it to come back next year.  I love it anew every spring.  It  makes my heart sing.

A walk in Tarheel country.

I’m visiting daughter #2 and her lovely teenage daughters.  Their husband/father is traveling.  He just left Kenya and is now on his way to India.  Even though I’m delighted to be here with them, my heart is heavy because another relative and her family are facing serious difficulties which I will not write about in this space.  The hardest part is that I can do nothing to make their road easier.  I went for a walk to look for beauty and to try to give myself a change-of-scenery shock treatment.  The first thing I noticed was this crocus, fooled into thinking it’s spring.

It’s a beautiful day in Chapel Hill and there are signs of early spring in all directions.  Hard to believe that they’re expecting snow starting around noon tomorrow.  Hopefully the temperature will not get cold enough to kill all the blossoms.  I’ll head for home early in order to avoid bad roads.  No snow predicted for my neighborhood.

If you’re a James Taylor fan you will recognize this street sign as the title of a JT song.  Actually  two North Carolina men–James Taylor and Reynolds Price combined their talent and wrote “Copperline.”  You know the smooth voice of Mr. Taylor but you may not know Mr. Price.  He was a professor at Duke University and writer extraordinaire.  His novels have entertained me for many years.  He was master of the written word and won awards for his writing.  Click here to learn more about Reynolds Price.

Apparently this little university town is friendly to Obama.  That makes me happy.  I spotted a black Volvo wearing this sticker on its side.  Obama took North Carolina in the last election.  I’m hoping we’ll be a blue state again in 2012.  Obviously the driver of this car hopes so too.

There’s a tiny park in the neighborhood with an old family cemetery.  The cemetery is surrounded by a stacked stone wall and was the burial ground for the Purefoy family.  The best I can tell the family was/is a prominent clan in this county.  I loved ambling through and reading the headstones.

As I was strolling past the shops in the neighborhood I spotted this t-shirt.  I must say that no one talks about this town without mentioning Carolina Tarheel basketball.  This is Coach Roy Williams pictured on the front of the shirt.  Since we’re in the Bible Belt, I find the message “Get Heeled” rather funny.

There were some humorous items inside the shop, too.



I love the piggies.

And the brilliant rooster.

I arrived home warmer than when I left and feeling a little less sad.  Pictured on the left is a trellis on the side of my daughter’s house.  Here it stands at attention waiting for a better day, a day of flowering transition.  Our family could use such a transition.  We’ll try to plant the seeds needed to accomplish a blossoming of better days.  We can do it.  We will do it.