Monday, January 27, 2020

The many colors of a RAINBOW …

One of my old time blogger friends posted an entry many years back entitled “A guy who'd never met a Jew before”. As the title suggests it described the breaking down of age old prejudices.

Whenever I think of that it brings to mind the day that I attended my first AA meeting. It was in 1989 and I was “The girl who’d never met an alcoholic”. I remember looking around the room and thinking that I had absolutely nothing in common with this strange group of humanity. I was no longer a child and I, literally, couldn’t see where I could gain anything from these “misfits”. I had always thought of myself as a liberal, well educated and non-prejudicial person but, as I looked around the room,  I remember thinking that this was taking things a bit far !

Thankfully, I had a wise Sponsor who taught me to LISTEN and it made all the difference. She suggested that I reach out and try to find the similarities in my fellow members and I decided to give it a try.  All of a sudden the world seemed to open up before me. I realized that I had been living in a vacuum…and a boring one at that. I became teachable and the more I listened and opened my heart and my ears the more I learned. Now, after almost 31 years of continual sobriety, I cannot imagine a better way to live.

My friends are a conglomeration of different races, colors, sexual choices and ethnicities. They range in age from 17 to 94 and not a day passes that I don’t learn something new from them. We share laughter and tears and the knowledge that we will be here for each other as we continue on our journey of sobriety.

Today I feel like I have a metaphorical rainbow that covers and protects me. It is made up of the melding of all these colorful characters ... and to think that I almost let it pass me by !

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

US Junior Chess Open, 1976

In 1990, shortly after my husband died, I was looking through some old photographs and came across a wonderful one of Dick and our 13 year old son Mark playing chess in 1972. I was dismayed, however, when I saw that the polaroid shot was fading almost beyond recognition. I mentioned it to Mark and, unbeknownst to me, he “stole” the photo when I wasn’t looking and painted the wonderfully stylized version that you see here. He captured the moment exactly as it had been in the original and it was his Christmas gift to me that year.

Fast forward to today. Chess has become a large part of Mark's life and he is highly rated and often competes in Raleigh, Fayetteville and beyond. His Dad would be so proud of him and, as we were reminiscing yesterday, Mark told me that he'd found a 1976 copy of “Chess Life & Review” on the net. It was a write-up of a time that Dick took him to participate in the US Junior Chess Open in Connecticut when he was 17.

This was in the article: “William Reuter was the highest rated upset in round one, losing to Mark Dean (NY) rated 1560”. Can you imagine how exciting this would be to a young and aspiring player?

Also of interest from the magazine article was this … “The tournament to be held in the University of Connecticut Conference Center. $62 includes 4 night's lodging and 12 meals plus the use of the facilities for each player.” (Makes me wonder what those big contests would cost today !)

Friday, January 17, 2020

“FIRE and ICE” …by Robert Frost, (1874 -1963 )

"Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire,

But, if I had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice is also great... and would suffice.”

Although this powerful poem was written in 1920 I feel that his dire predictions are coming closer with each passing year. The greed and lust for power and superiority that we are experiencing in today’s world is what I feel when I read these lines. Desire left unchecked becomes fire and can consume us quickly. Hate, on the other hand, is a much slower killer. It turns us into unfeeling human beings with hearts of ice.

Robert Frosts poem is warning us … telling us that we’d better learn to live with one another and to share our lives and our resources or we are doomed to pay the consequences. or ice ?     It matters little...they all suffice.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A feel good post …

Do any of you remember the Victory Gardens of World War 2? Food was rationed during those years and the government promoted families to join with their friends and plant neighborhood gardens to produce the needed vegetables.

Well, I was reminded of this yesterday when a friend told me what her mother shared with her. It was about a woman in the small town where her mother lived. She is in her 80's and lost her husband 3 years ago. They owned a small farm on about 40 acres of land and, although they had given up animals a long time ago her husband had still kept the property pristine. After he died she was lost. She loved her home and selling it was not an option but she had no idea how she would have the energy or the will to take on that responsibility.

It was a grandson that came up with the solution. He convinced her to fence off 15 acres that would include the house, most of the barns and her lovely flower garden. That left 25 acres of prime land and she contacted the Garden Club in the small town to tell them of her idea. She was offering her land, under the tutelage of the Club, to be used by those in the town in need of food. They would be free to plant small individual vegetable gardens with no cost to them as long as they tended them well.
Everyone involved is amazed how well it has turned out. Many more people were in need than had been expected and she has a new set of friends of all ages, colors and ethnic backgrounds. The families keep her supplied with fresh vegetables and often surprise her with home cooked meals and the cookies that the children love to bake and decorate. It's a win win situation and her greatest joy is getting to know a whole segment of her town that she never even knew existed. 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Am I the only one …

that finds these messy haircuts ridiculous ??? 

All you have to do is watch any of the women newscasters to see what I'm talking about. They ALL seem to have the same (usually straight and long) stringy hair with the ends cut randomly … and purposefully cut that way !

I guess it's supposed to look sexy, as if the girl just got out of bed or something, but to me it is too contrived. I especially find the ones that are styled to have one side of the hair practically covering an eye to be a turnoff. When I converse with someone or watch them on TV I want to be able to see their expressions, not get distracted wondering why they have succumbed to this crazy fad.

OK. I admit that I may be old fashioned, (or just plain old) but to spend money on a haircut that looks like you cut it yourself after a few too many cocktails seems just plain ludicrous to me.

I can't believe I wrote a whole blog entry about messy hair ! I'll try to choose better in the future.

Monday, January 06, 2020

MEMORIES OF MY DAD……….1900 to 1960

I love this picture of my Dad because it shows him at his favorite Sunday event...solving the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. I recall the times when we would hold up our usual 4 PM Sunday dinner until he was finished.

Dad’s other hobby was stamp collecting. He started this in his youth and had an extensive, and quite valuable, collection. It must have been a heart breaker when he had to sell a large part of his valuable stamps during the 1929 Depression, but he still kept 3 or 4 albums. I remember him soaking colorful and exotic stamps off of envelopes, drying them and then meticulously picking them up with tweezers and adhering them to the designated pages with those little transparent glue-back tabs. 

We were a family of 6 women (my Mother, myself and 4 older sisters) and Dad would often have a hard time holding his own. He would try to introduce a serious subject at the dining table and, invariably, one of us would start to giggle. Of course that set us all off and when my Mother joined in the laughter Dad would throw his hands in the air and say, “I give up”...but always with a twinkle in his eye.

He was never abusive but I do remember one time when we had done something “bad” and he lined the 5 of us up, threatening to give us each a whack with his belt. We were all agog since this was so out of character for Dad. I guess we were scared but this quickly changed to uncontrollable
laughter when he whipped off his belt and his pants fell down !!

Dad was a romantic and the love of his life was my Mother. He would serve her breakfast in bed with toast
that he'd cut in to heart shapes and he would use any excuse to send her a card, such as the Valentine above.

Yes, Dad adored mother but his warm and loving heart was big enough to include all 5 of his girls. He passed away 60 years ago, but his love has always stayed with me.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

A Stranger and I share an amusing event ...

I've written about this little incident before but that was over 10 years ago and I think it bears repeating. It occurred when I was driving North to visit my children in NY and had stopped for breakfast.

It was just past 6 AM when I entered the restaurant and I saw that only one other customer was there. He was a nice looking young man and I nodded a silent “good morning” to him as I was seated. I ordered a Spanish Omelet and coffee and noted that my friend was equally conservative … 2 eggs, no meat, a biscuit and coffee.

We were just getting down to eating when we heard the loud approach of an 18-wheeler and, a few minutes later, the driver of the truck was being seated. Now there were three of us in the room and, once again, we nodded to each other pleasantly.

Our new man was very large & I wasn’t surprised when he ordered the equivalent of 3 breakfasts. It took two waitresses to carry out all that he’d ordered and it was placed ceremoniously in front of him. He had pancakes, 3 eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits in gravy and a side order of their special hash browns with cheese and a large Pepsi to wash it all down.

The breakfast seemed to be literally swimming in butter, gravy and syrup but there was an addition to it that caught my eye. A large slice of twisted orange had been placed artistically atop the pancakes and the driver literally reared back when he saw that. Then, very carefully, with thumb and forefinger, he plucked the offensive orange slice from the stack and, with a sigh of relief, deposited it in the ash tray.

The stranger and I could only smile and shake our heads as we locked eyes across the room. We didn’t have to hide the look of amusement on our faces however since there was no way that the truck driver would have seen us. Now that he had successfully rid himself of the one healthy element of the meal he was completely and happily engrossed in the orgy of eating.