My friend Tom Speros was a connoisseur of the unsung–Jeff Bridges (“You [non-actors] have no idea how good he is.”), the responsible reporting of minority news by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the burgeoning politics of his left-leaning niece Gwen, and the well-crafted detective fiction of Elmore Leonard. He had an artist’s eye for talent that […]
My dear, dear Wormwood (a.k.a. Devil’s apprentice),
What a wonderful job you are doing with the American experiment. You have taken all of its best parts and corrupted them to our ends; I could not be prouder.
First, through years of keeping the enemy distracted with things, those precious plastic baubles they create, you have masterminded a coup. So busy are they working for their baubles and fighting each other for those trinkets, they barely notice the infrastructure keeping their baubles in place.
Second, through a coup of communication subversion, you have been able to bit-by-bit dismantle their infrastructure. It has taken years and right now, some of them, are starting to panic. It is not enough and shows the art of your deception. Somehow, you are managing still to keep them going along…happy little clams blaring their music out the car windows on the way to Walmart or the beach while your chief representatives work their magic. Well done my servant.
Finally, Wormwood, you are almost there…a few more pen signatures and what will be left? A failed experiment, a country devastated by the human inability to control the pursuit of want. The enemy has tried, rolling the rock uphill day-by-day, but you with your cunning have been able to extract from the collective an individual sitting alone in a New York Times ad for elite housing, on an island of green, in the middle of nowhere.
So go forth, continue your work unbidden, but remember, the day may come when from the rubble, the enemy will finally emerge united, and this time when realizing the full devastation of your impact, the Patient American may come back stronger. You may then be in for the fight of your territory, the likes of which you have never seen.
From the depths,
It was after the war
Ohio State had set up GI housing
There was a dance
The lights were low
The music live
They were dancing with their partners
A pause in the music, a silence in the room
They heard each other laugh
In the space of eternity
Dropped their partners
Began dancing with each other
And kept on dancing into their 90s
The last time I saw Uncle Abe was in 1992. He always came a weekend or two before Christmas when my friend’s family celebrated the Christian and Jewish holidays. Each year they invited me down for a cocktail, a meal, desert, and/or a visit.
I loved Uncle Abe for all the New York City adventures he brought with him. He was tall, really tall, with a salty colored beard and big head of black hair. He graced the entrance with his long black coat with its red-plaid flannel interior fraying at the edges. Abe carried one suitcase…off white from all the grime it had picked up in the city.
My friend and her family worried about Uncle Abe-he never gave them his address and their minds set Uncle Abe in New York’s bowery, huddled with homeless bums. Yet, Uncle Abe was well nourished, he survived somehow with a gregarious laugh that filled the room and echoed off the walls.
Uncle Abe and the rest of the family took people in…you were visiting, heck you were one of the family. As I got ready to leave that day, Uncle Abe sauntered over to his suitcase. He unsnapped it and the lid sprang open and hit the couch.
“I have a feeling we won’t be seeing you again,” he said “and I want to give you something.”
He bent his torso over his suitcase and pulled out a pack of writing cards wrapped in cellophane. They were all drawings like the one below, where the perspective changes depending on what you focus your eyeballs on…an old woman with a huge nose or a smartly dressed woman ready for an evening out (in 1915, the year this was drawn).
Years later, I was talking to my friend and I asked how Uncle Abe was doing. “He died,” said my friend. He left behind so many antiques and collectibles, we hired an auction house to get rid of it all.”
Poor Uncle Abe was not poor at all: a large man with a large heart and a lesson in communication.
It really does depend how we look at things and reality can shift in a blink of an eye. What we see with certainty may morph into something completely opposite given a change in perspective.
19 years on a farm….
In the Fall of 2012, my husband started mowing down our squash patch. Usually full of acorn squash, butternuts and a variety of gourds, this particular year the patch produced almost nothing. The occasional relief from a summer drought did not provide enough rain for this low-lying patch of earth.
Before beginning to mow, Radames glanced around to see what creatures might be hiding among the bent stalks and drying leaves. Creatures looking for seeds and other vegetation. He spotted a grass frog, also called a leopard frog, and tried to get it away from the mower, but it jumped into the mower deck shoot. Radames stopped the mower and grabbed the frog. He walked it over to the pond and was about to throw it in when he envisioned the bass and thought “Why save the frog just for the bass’s dinner.” He proceeded to the tree-lined creek that feeds the pond and set the frog safely down among the grass and rocks.
Moments later, Radames began to mow ad watched a kangaroo mouse hop out of the squash patch and off into the woods. He described it to me from the little hopper’s point of view.
There I was in the forest, munching and munching, the sun just rising over the eastern branches: I felt safe and cozy among the long trunks. The morning bird made a little sound as the rush-hour traffic slowed to a gentle swish in the background. I heard the occasional plane and frog jump, a normal day here.
Then I heard a bang and a boom and saw large blades coming toward me. The stalks were tumbling faster than I could move and the blades were right on my tail. Could I hop to safety? Could I make it across the wide green abyss to the next forest? I began to hop, then fear paralyzed me, I began to hop again, fear stopped me again. Finally, “hop hop,” I told myself and I went bonging across the green.
Silence, the machine stopped right at the edge of the green abyss. It was no longer after me and although my current homeland disappeared, I saw more on the horizon. As I hopped away, I thought I saw the alien on top of the machine tip his hat in my direction, smile and say, “Be safe little guy.”
1. Dogs, everytime I see one, I feel joyful
2. My job and the lovely, fun people I work with
3. The Adirondaks
4. The community library: it is a source of community in a very disconnected world
5. Cayuga Lake beach…7 minutes away
6. Books, especially, I Am Lucy Barton
7. John P’s visit with his lovely girlfriend Diane
8. Phone calls with friends
9. Barack Obama
It is a somber day in Ithaca and the surrounding area. It rained a heavy rain and the clouds settled in – a dark blanket over a liberal town in the wake of the election.
It is a day when my husband says: Now would be a good time for the aliens to invade.
And while Obama pointed out the sun would come out tomorrow, it did not even peak through the clouds here.
I keep thinking of the people I knew who fought, or lived, through World War II, or escaped Germany before it was too late. They are on my mind tonight. “What would they say?”
I also keep thinking of our system of education and that adage, “Only the educated are free.” If 50 percent of the electorate really knew what the ramifications could possibly be based on all of the factors that have been spewn into our orbit, if they asked why? how? would they really think they made the best choice?
Tomorrow is Thursday and I hope the sun does come up, at least for a little while. The road ahead is going to be tough, we will need to see clearly to prepare for the journey. Continue reading A somber day