And… He Never Came Home. Honey, can you go over to the store and get some things we need for dinner. Also, get some Dove Bars the kids love them. Mic drop. -Today’s headline “Boulder Colorado Deadly Supermarket Shooting.” He never came home. Rewind to June 13, 2016. “That certain night , the night we met, there was magic abroad in the air. There were angels dining at the Ritz- “And a Nightingale Sang in Barclay Square.” Words by Eric Maschwitz, music by Manning Sherwin. The song was written in 1939 in a French fishing village Le Lavandou right before the outbreak of the Second World War. Fast forward— On a steamy week-end eve you get dressed, put on your lipstick, turn off your music and walk out the door. You look forward to debriefing the week with a friend and meeting some new friends. You’re all set to chill in a high energy, safe haven club, on your local Barclay Square- the nightingales were singing. Dry martinis, familiar faces and music you listen to at home and know every word to. A perfect design for a five-star time. One would think. And then the World According to Garp doesn’t happen. No Lin Manuel, THESE senseless acts of tragedy are what is “promised.” Our promised land nearly 70 years after World War Two- on the the doorstep of World War Three. “Praising Isis, Gunman attacks “No Pulse” Nightclub, leaving 50 dead in worst shooting on U.S.Soil”– the headline in today’s New York Times. Yes, on U.S. soil. We scream in horror, cry in disbelief as one more lunatic walks into one more gun shop and puts down one more stolen credit card. We then pay dearly for the laws that govern the strongest nation on earth. We pray for the insane and fund them in jail after they take away our freedom of choice, as to which place to dance the night away–that takes our Life away. In concentration camp like fashion we become prisoners of the loose cannon, suicide bombers who live to die. The adage of ”do guns kill people or do people kill people” is one big oxymoron. One avenue for slaughter is people buying guns. How long is congress on sabbatical from revising laws on buying over the counter rifles in a store that houses beef jerky too? Dear G-d please look in our direction. We need our backs covered and we are willing to double down for this.
So we are up to the Oscars. Tradition Strong on a Sunday eve in early Spring for as meany years as our pre- Gingkgo Biloba or Prevagen days can recall. So we’ll pour ourselves a glass of Red, make a pasta sauce and throw in the “kitchen sink.” Circa the 1960’s Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor with a cherry on top. As we embark on our second year of the Virtual Oscars, a watch worthy and up for many Oscars movie is Nomadland. It is a portrayal of a woman who embarks on a journey through the American West after losing everything during the recession. As the movie unfolds we watch as Frances McDormand travels and travels and travels. We first met her in Fargo in Minnesota,1987. We loved her as Marge Gunderson and now, watching her as Fern, beautifully directed by Chloe Zhao. Many Oscars to be won.Love us a little Bill Macy and now some David Strathairn as performers extraordinaire. In this year as we are all navigating the same storm from our own boats keeping our eye on getting to shore safely is the direct goal.And I quote -Why are there so many songs about rainbows?And what’s on the other side? Rainbows are visions, they’re only illusions and Rainbows have nothing to hide. So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it I know they’re wrong wait and see. Someday we’ll find it, The Rainbow Connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me. Unquote.Lyrics by Jim Henson- favored artist Kermit the Frog.Rainbows and Frogs- “look, look, look to the rainbow, follow the fellow who follows his dream.”The fascination of the colors, shapes and promises offer a trilogy of endless wonderment. Dorothy searched for happiness “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” She learned that after her laborious travels, the click of the red shoes bringing her “Home” to Auntie Em’s smile was her Oz. As next chapters come with rapid speed listen carefully for the song of the male frog- a grunt, a croak. It often serves as the conduit to where you want to settle in. Don’t re-gift your life to people who treat you as after thoughts. Allow all that therapy to pay off. Spend time with people who would mention your name in a room full of opportunities. Now, more than ever we all need more than anyone can give. The Wizard made hay from the scarecrows stuffing. Nomadland strikes a chord on what we value and what we should. Fill each seat at your table with only the deepest of players who have your back while you turn around to watch as the parade passes by. Make it a good Saturday.
World Book Encyclopedia, The Merriam Webster Dictionary and The Thesaurus– versus Google, Kindle, Amazon Prime, Tik tok, Facebook, Instagram, and a myriad of search engines plus. Our days of licking our finger to turn the pages are virtually over. Although who still loves a hard cover over a battery operated read? Can you easily bring to mind memories of brown paper bags with pencil calculated totals of grocery store purchases? Anyone else struggle thru long division or angles and intersecting lines geometrically? How about looking up Ticonderoga and cutting out pictures from National Geographic Magazine for a cut and paste project on Africa? Oh, and who doesn’t remember carrying that erstwhile science project to school hoping it wouldn’t spill or rip.
What happened to Ed Sullivan on Sunday night, Tom and Jerry Saturday mornings and yes the guilty pleasure of Luke and Laura’s General Hospital Wedding? Some days going at a slower pace with the absence of having to re-boot anything is high up on our “only if” list.
We lost internet Wi-fi connection over the week-end. We held our breath, unplugged and counted to a 60 second re-plug. When we step back and chronicle the speed at which life has reinvented communication it is mind boggling. Ironically we miss the days of waiting on line to buy tickets to a Grateful Dead Concert. The palpable, heart beating energy waiting to get good seats can’t be replaced by choose your seats on Ticketmaster on-line. When we look back our memory of Gail or Susan taking chewed bubble gum off of the bottom of their new pair of Keds is priceless. Of course we held their place in line, we still do, hashtag Sigh. We lovingly miss the days of languid walks home from school, stopping for a milkshake at Dairy Queen and running into our house to call our friends we just left. Euphoric recall sets in as we exhume memories of the smells of dinner, sharpening our pencils to do homework and making certain our favorite madras blouse was ironed to wear the next day because they were taking class pictures. “Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time re-written every line?” Hit it Barbra with an A. So just for today, perhaps pay less attention to the frequency of sound with every e-mail or text coming in and explore some hand written behaviors. As we look forward to watching the Grammy’s tonight let’s slow down, take a Cher moment and “turn back time, find a way.”
As the clouds of malaise are paling and the fear of not having enough toilet paper this March as opposed to last, makes if feel like there is more definition to the days of the week. We are trying to normalize things we never expected to face in the form of acceptance. In 12 step fashion we are trying to “accept the things we cannot change, and add the courage to know the difference.” Now the “the locusts are coming, the locusts are coming” in drove like fashion after 17 years. Just one more emblematic example of how strange the past year has been. As social media pulls up pictures couched as memories, the picture attached below popped up. A visual of the early landscape of our youth. The epitome of our innocence, a blank slate, formidable and eager for definition. A perfect pop and a divine, “mighty, mighty Indians” moment, that has lasted our whole life long. I know run on sentence counters, I know. Last night finally felt like Saturday night. The tone of stay up late, watch Saturday Night Live and dream about the bagel and… on Sunday morning. I don’t know about you but this past year for us has felt as if there were no more weeks or weekends. The articulation of time within each day has become more specific and eloquent than ever before. We have traded the week for the architecture of the hours. We are now feeling like we are getting out of rehab, standing on our own two, well planted in the ground feet and perhaps not sprinting, but with a steady, more familiar gait getting out of our own way. So just for today, add extra cream cheese, hug your loved ones a little tighter and while you are planning what your Chinese food dinner will be- turn the beat around and Vicki Sue Robinson your way to safer territory.
Early in the morning as I sit upon the couch Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse (G-d forbid) With two shots in and the door slightly opened We are grabbing our enthusiasm Widening our scope and we’re hope-n As we try on our pants Closing the zipper all the way,
Let’s give it a try and throw in a pray Emancipation on the way And excitement to play Ring the door bell, step inside Won’t run, can’t hide In the absence of social For one very long year As time marches on We hold it precious and so dear Can’t wait for a snack, maybe two, three or four Have our stash of toothpicks haven’t needed before So let’s do it my friends, who have been very far Although ten blocks away, we sat perched upon a star So if you go down with Aces, a clean canasta you will need We’ll cut each other slack In the absence of greed Like a monumental moment We’ll take a few pictures, maybe more
And just maybe, who knows appear in the rotogravure.
When we figured out that the perpetrator was Colonel Mustard who went after Mrs. Peacock with a Candlestick in the Conservatory we knew we were playing games hooked. Until then we had no “Clue.” After several games we got that putting hotels on the Boardwalk Square in Monopoly was going to cost anyone who landed on it a couple of the orange and yellow monopoly money. Ah! The days of sitting on the floor with our friends and playing Jacks, scraped hands aside, were so much a part of our “Wonder Years.” The days when getting up from the floor could be done with a quick sprint in the absence of a knee jerk and holding onto something to level ourselves. You with me? So many of the old adages are now living at our front door. Cliches that we never got, couldn’t internalize or just weren’t ready for have now come into play with regularity. Fortuitously, they serve as the bettor at our Mah-jongg table and the leathered decorated card turner at our Canasta games. More forgiving and grateful with less of a focus on verbalizing differences seems to be our new posture. We sit down and the magic occurs. First game out we adjust our seat, call on our strategy and throw the dice or deal the cards. We leave so much more to chance. No more rebuffing what is, just fact and acceptance feel like the right paths to take. We flinch at the first interference in our game of Life–and in turn almost welcome it. A phone call from a friend’s daughter sharing the joy over their daughter’s ballet recital, is typical. An interruption because the dentist needed to move our appointment up a half an hour, or the bell ringing when the handyman comes to fix the window that is stuck, is how it goes. We pool our woes and share our joys. We take home the name of a good dermatologist and flatter one another when we admire a new pair of very cool boots. We are the lucky ones who have turned happenstance into “sheer” delight.
My parents had an activity with their weekly Canasta group called “Coffee and…” I am now getting that the “and” was so much more than chocolate bridge mix or babka. Yes mama, I’m counting sevens and aces, remembering to take the Talon and looking three cards back not to throw the deck.
I love our “and.” When I was younger and had pieces of chicken, I would eat the wings last. I savored the best for then. I now sit down to our chicken lunch and go for the wings first. I rush thru my broccoli and cheddar omelette just to get the cards in my hands. I know that the real reason I enjoy our games so, is because they recapitulate my parents activity of continuity. Well here’s to so many more days of Mah-Jongg, Canasta “And.”
Hello, I just dropped in from the 60’s! And then one day we just stayed in bed, under the covers, eating Hebrew National pigs in the blanket and drinking Whispering Angel. A day of feeling sorry for our stuck inside moments. With so many things on our “to do” list, we are fearful of a new mutation, as this very determined virus continues to procreate and send out new soldiers. With precautions in place, we shop for chopped meat and hope our cholesterol levels don’t recognize that our creatively stuffed peppers disguised the meat. The only panacea is time. We long to watch reruns of Dobie Gillis, I Married Joan and Topper. One episode at a time, pre-binging. We derive comfort in exhuming memories of eating a can of Buitoni ravioli after school before leaving to go to our algebra tutor. Did anyone really need to know what a parallelogram or a quadrilateral was, ever? Algebra D‘s, creative writing A’s. You do the math I can’t. Ah, the simple joy of listening to AM radio and Cousin Brucie, who is now 80 unbelievable seven. The glory days when one of our pleasures was listening to the Temptations, cause we were “not to proud to beg” while we waited to be built up by buttercups, knowing at this point it was the “worst that could happen.” Run on sentence counters, I know. Guilty pleasures were driving under the tressel at Third Ward Park and the endorphin rush in spotting our friend’s cars. The long ago and far away days, we so long for now. If only the worst of frustrations came in the form of busy signals and not because we had to upgrade our cell phones due to out dated-technology. We lovingly remember setting our hair with big, pink plastic rollers, spritzing Aqua Net hairspray and adjusting the awkward tubes from our portable hairdryers. We looked forward to our snacks of peanut butter cheddar crackers, Ring Dings or Funny Bones and always grabbed our can of Tab, the acronym for the first (Totally Artificial Beverage). Who knew Herbie Frankel’s wife Arline was A TAB babe too. Love the TAB cap, shout out to Arline Frankel. All this came without hangovers. With lots of quarters, nickels and dimes we’d stop for snacks at the candy store next to Jan, Jill and Jon’s on Main Avenue. How about Rhoda and Seymour Zucker (antique aficionados) for 50 years . What a run. So back to today – under the covers with bated breath waiting to hear how our future decisions will be weighed in by one more round table medical update from a virologist, scientist or one of the Dr. Gupta’s. Double masking off as we pray for the times when Cosmo Topper, married Joan and the only thing unstable were the rabbit ears on our black and white Tv’s and -that was an easy fix.
A -my name is Alice and my husband’s name is Al, we come from Alabama and we sell Apples. As I open the cupboard on memories, bouncing a Spaulding as we sang the A my name is Alice rhyme, lifting our leg over the ball with each bounce, was an all time great walk around the corner and under a tree. A veritable, primordial work out and creative singing lesson all in one. My sister Bettie Ann and I grew up together and hung with the “girls on the block.” We stopped playing and walked home for our tuna sandwich or the treat of salami on rye, only made better with the delicious taste of deli mustard. After lunch we would stroll to the all purpose grocery store. I can vividly see the barrel of pickles prominently sitting next to the left of the front door. We would use part of our allowance to buy candy. Our first go to was a striped pixy stick, a straw filled with lik-m-aid. For those in the know it’s a tasty sugary retrospective in time. The original version of Fun Dip. We would then mosey over to the red licorice and marshmallow peeps. At Halloween the chicks turned into orange faced pumpkins. Fast forward 58 years. It’s 6:00 A.M. time to put up the coffee, my turn to “make the donuts.” I woke up salivating for a piece of my past, inside that grocery store. My sister Bettie Ann and I would bring our bag of goodies up to the counter. The familiar face of the man, (whose name we never knew,) would take the pencil he harbored behind his ear and tally up our treats.
With our visual bounty in hand we would skip our way home and unveil the contents, perhaps trade a piece or two.
Our afternoons were often consumed through adventures with Dick and Jane, The Bobbsey Twins or figuring out if Nancy Drew was ever going to hook up with one of the Hardy Boys. As we felt the heat of the oven cooking sweet potatoes we knew they would soon be sitting next to the very well done baby lamb chops and canned peas Sophie was making for dinner. A welcomed pre-dinner activity was watching Patty Duke and her identical cousin navigate their way through high school. We often tried to distinguish between the subtleties in their looks. Hmmm! I long for those days of innocence when the doctor appointments took place as we sat upon the kitchen table. Ah! the local store that sold glass bottles of milk and farmer cheese made no room on the shelf for ammunition. Dwight D. Eisenhower was President.
Everybody in Grovers Corners looked into the grocery store and the drugstore once a day in “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder. It is with older eyes and wiser hearts that we live our lives. So, just for today reach for the red licorice after a very sour pickle and make it a good Day!