Thursday, August 17, 2017

It doesn't take a rocket scientist ...

Among our President's latest barrage of tweets is one that states,Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.” Does he not realize that monuments are built to HONOR people or events? Can you imagine the Germany of today displaying and glorifying statues of Hitler?

There is nothing honorable about the Confederate monuments that are being tagged for removal but he fails to see this. His tweet goes on to say, “Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson?  So foolish!”

I would attribute this to stupidity but then recall that he is sly as a fox. I realize it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that his ever present ego is working overtime. I'll bet he envisions the day that he's no longer in office and can wander the country admiring statues of himselfa vision that might not be fulfilled if we, as a nation, finally face up to our dark past and pledge to only honor those that truly deserve it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The last HoJos

I've gotten into the habit of listening to “BBC America” and am often surprised by the range of topics they air. Last week they had a segment about the last Howard Johnson store going out of business. I couldn't help but laugh when I heard this. It reminded me of a time when my mother would have been thrilled to hear the news.

My father died in 1960 and a year later my mother's only sister passed away too. She and her husband lived in Vermont but had spent the winter months at their second home in Florida for many years. In the mid 60's our uncle invited mother to join him in Florida. He offered to pick her up in Massachusetts and they would then wend their way South in his big old black Buick.

For those of you too young to know the Howard Johnson chain was THE place to eat in those years. The colorful orange roof and the 28 flavors of ice cream were merely backdrops for the menu of comfort food as mother was to find out. Ho-Jos, as it was known, was everywhere and it was the ONLY place that our Uncle would eat. He was very set in his ways and no amount of coaxing by mother could convince him to eat elsewhere.

Mother finally gave up since he was the one financing the trip but I remember clearly when she told me “If I never hear another word about the sizable portions and the tender-sweet clam strips it will be too soon !” 

Rest in peace Mother … your wish is fulfilled.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

“Liar, liar ...

pants on fire.”  

It's one thing to embellish your rhetoric a bit but to tell an outright lie is never acceptable. This is especially true when those lies come from the President of the United States .

The thing that I find amazing is how the powers that be at the White House spin what he says. They gloss over his tweets and his lies and try to convince us that it's all part of his quirky and endearing personality. I find this frightening.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal recently Trump declared, “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.” This proved to be an outright lie but when the White House Press Sec. Sanders was questioned about this she replied … “THAT'S A PRETTY BOLD ACCUSATION.” and then went on to say that the conversations took place in person and not over the phone... i.e., excusing the lie and white washing the whole thing as a mere misinterpretation.

But isn't a BOLD ACCUSATION exactly what is needed when a lie is told?  How can we ever trust anything that this administration tells us if they continue to cover up for this ego driven man. His new Chief of Staff General Kelly has made it known that his first loyalty goes to his country ... with number 2 being loyalty to the President.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months.

Thursday, August 03, 2017


Here is my 4 yr. old son Matt and my mother. They were great friends and loved to spend time together “fixing the problems of the world”.

When Matt was 7 Mother came to stay for a few weeks and she and Maffy (as we affectionately called him then) set up a daily routine. They would head off to the small stream near our property to go fishing. They would often take a lunch with them as well as their fishing rods and his little creel box complete with hooks and worms and a special place for Grandma’s cigarettes. My husband and I were not smokers and she knew we'd prefer that she smoke away from the house. 

I would love to have been privy to their talks. I’m sure they solved many of the problems of his little world, but I had no idea that they were discussing mother’s world, too. One morning I glanced in to Matt’s creel box just before they headed to the stream and I realized that mother’s cigarettes were missing. When I asked about it Matt just smiled and said “Oh, didn’t we tell you? Grandma doesn’t smoke any more” and then Mother went on to explain that Maffy had tactfully and persistently kept after her until she had no excuses left !

I have to admit that I wondered if it would last since we had tried tactfully over the years to rid her of the habit, but it did !  She was to live for 31 more years and near the end of her life I asked her if she’d ever smoked again. She seemed really taken aback by my question. “Of course not”, she said, “I made a promise to Maffy, didn’t I ?”

Friday, July 28, 2017

A challenge to the Senate:

How does it feel to be working in a "cesspool" ?

Are you happy to have a(nother) bully on your back? 

Newly appointed White House Communications Director Scaramucci is flexing his political muscles and has vowed that he will "drain the swamp", to mimic the words of his boss, the President. Their disdain of DC and all it stands for is apparent and it must be very disheartening to work under these restrictive conditions.

We, the people of America who voted you into office, can see the way this is undermining your effectiveness. However this doesn't change the fact that we expect and deserve much more than we are getting. It's time for ALL of you in the Senate to step up to the plate and work together ! This fear-based atmosphere is putting a strangle hold on Washington and it must be eradicated.

In the words of gutsy Senator McCain ... "we are not the president’s subordinates. We are his equal.”

Are you up to the challenge ?

Monday, July 24, 2017

1973 .... James Cagney, the Consummate Showman !


In 1999 the American Film Institution ranked James Cagney as 8th among the greatest male stars of all time although his films were mostly prevalent in the 30’s through the 60’s. He is often misquoted but his raspy voice with high pitched inflections will always be his outstanding feature. The mimics of today still delight in hitching up their shoulders and squawking out the words; “You dirty rat…” (a line that Cagney says he never uttered, by the way !)

In 1961 James Cagney bought an 800 acre farm in Dutchess County, NY. It was in the same township where my husband, 3 children and I settled three years later. Although the farm was just over the hill from our house we never saw the famous man. He loved the country and would stay there whenever possible and finally retired there in the mid 70's. He was good to the county and everyone that met him was duly impressed. I, however, had never even spied him from afar.

One Spring day in 1974 I was grocery shopping at our little local store. My arms were full and, as I approached the door, I saw a small, hefty man holding it open for me. He was slightly hunched and had a plaid hat with brim covering his balding head. It was tilted to give it a rakish look, and as I turned to say, “Thank you”, he tipped it toward me and said, “The pleasure is mine, little missy.”

There was no mistaking that voice ! James Cagney was my doorman and his twinkling eyes told me that he knew it was a thrill for me. Even in his 70’s he was a captivating presence and you could tell that, as much as he loved his anonymity, he was still the consummate showman.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

THE CHESS GAME … circa 1972

In 1990, shortly after my husband died, I was looking through some old photographs and came across a wonderful one of Dick and our oldest son Mark playing chess. It really touched me because it was so reminiscent of how they used to spend hours at the chess board. Dick had been teaching all three children to play since they were toddlers.

The only problem was that it was a Polaroid shot and so faded that I could barely make out the expression on Dick’s face. I mentioned this to Mark and he agreed that it was a shame to lose that memory.

Then Mark did a wonderful thing. Unbeknownst to me he “stole” the photo when I wasn’t looking. He is an architect and has a very good eye for design so it wasn’t difficult for him to produce this wonderfully stylized version of that photo. He captured the moment exactly as it had been in the original. Framed and mounted it was his Christmas gift to me that year and I was thrilled. I had copies made and, in turn, gave them as gifts to all of my family members.

Mark and his siblings learned a lot from their dad as he taught them to play chess… not the least being tenacity and patience.