Nobody talks about the Black fathers who raise their kids alone with the help of volunteers from the church. My mother was one of those volunteers. She was white.
FOLLOW HER RECIPE
My mother knew how to follow a recipe. She also knew how to create her own. On one visit to the Homeland – Arthur Street in Springfield, Massachusetts – she made my minestrone soup from the cookbook I sent her. She put it in front of me at the table and watched while I ate. It looked and tasted exactly like mine. I couldn’t believe it. Perfect replication. I was thrilled.
My Dad, who never commented on my mother’s cooking, or anyone’s for that matter, said, “too many mushrooms” as he finished up the soup except for two mushroom slices left in the bowl. He’s the engineer. I could tell by Mom’s face that she liked that Dad said that. I liked it too – that he did that for her.
Another time, Carole made one of my appetizer relishes – only she used California olives instead of Kalamata olives. She told me in advance of me tasting it in front of the whole family. Of course the Kalamata olive was the star contributor to the success of the dish. I asked why did you use the other olive? She said she couldn’t find the Kalamata olives and didn’t even know how to say it. So why in Springfield, Massachusetts can’t you find Kalamata olives in mainstream grocery stores? Maybe because you have to go to a Greek store? Or an Italian store?
Then the crunch of the cracker.
I could hear the collective holding of the Davies breath for about 5 seconds. My sister’s face I still see up close in front of me wondering what my response would be to altering the recipe. Her eyes dance. Her smile coaxes me. She doesn’t know. At that moment nobody knew.
“YOU LIVE”, I said.
The collective Davies held breath ended in a sigh followed by a huge instantaneous, simultaneous laugh by everybody.
It was still good with the bland California olive. But…next time ask the grocer for the olives. And next time I see her I’m going to bring some of that relish with me, so she can see the difference. Hey, if she likes liver, which she does, then she’ll like Greek olives. Kalamata olives are the biggest blood fruit on the planet. That’s what the Greeks are supposed to eat, instead of the actual lamb.
To get back to Mom, she was always clipping recipes from all the women’s magazines she subscribed to. She read a lot, not just about women stuff. I remember her complaining about the fancy calorie-laden desserts they all had on the covers, then inside they were telling women how much they should weigh and how to diet. It didn’t make any sense to her. Then give us some diet recipes instead of all these high calorie ones.
Anyway, when she tried somebody else’s recipe and it didn’t come out as she trusted it would, then there was a flaw in the recipe, not in my mother’s execution of it. She proved that to me my making my minestrone soup when I went home for a family visit. Maybe someone did what Giada De Laurentiis did with her first cookbook – she and her family sat around the table pulling old recipes from their minds while guessing at the actual measurements of the dishes they made, because they didn’t measure back then. They eyeballed.
You know everybody says lose weight (nobody ever said that to Peg Davies, except her), but then all these magazines have pictures of high calorie desserts on the covers. Yeah, and they still do Mom, after all these years.
My mother passed on 14 October 2016, three days before her 90th birthday. Although she was a person short on compliments to her immediate family, she did always say when I called her long distance, “yes, yes, I remember that now. Sharon, you always remember the happy stories for me.” She was right, I did that for her – every single time I called. I wrote happy stories too – just for her.
Now here’s another happy memory Mom. This time I’m sharing it with others, instead of telling a happy story just to you.
Perfect timing. It’s all about the timing – in cooking anything.
And thank you too.
And measuring accurately my engineer father pipes in.
Well, I always measured accurately my mother reminds him with a little indignation.
I know you did. I’m reminding her.
On earth as it is in heaven. Mom and Dad still arguing. I love it and love you two.
Go to bed everything’s good. Just follow her recipe.
SALTY AFRICAN MOOSE – IT’S YOUR TURN
SALTY AFRICAN MOOSE ICE-CREAM coming up soon. It’s already been made. Just gotta type it. Be On The LookOut. It’s A Dessert.
And it’s number 3.
The second recipe did not result in any views on WordPress or Facebook, so I go to #3, not to #1.
Just so you know, I don’t go past #3 for any group. When you wait for #1 without supporting #2 and #3, then I know you to be just like the Jews who exploited you in the USA during the time of ‘pick a slave any slave because everybody else is doing it’.
And they are still doing it, by allowing you to sell drugs in their establishments, while they pay you probably what you’re worth. I mean how many people get that privilege?
It’s all so strange. So is SALTY AFRICAN MOOSE ICE-CREAM. You definitely will be held responsible for this beautiful creature.
# 1 is unknown
# 2 is AFRICAN FRUIT SALAD
# 3 is SALTY AFRICAN MOOSE ICE-CREAM
# 4 is AFRICAN TOMATO NUT PESTO LINGUINI
It’s all so strange – that you accept it and that you blame all white people for what the Jews did to you and continue to do to you.
All that says to me is that you prey on the weak white people. You’re afraid of the Jews and what they’ll do. I get it. I know it.
Still, do you have something to gain – if not for you than for others like you – by remaining silent about what hurts you the most? Those who were oppressed before you came to your aid and became your oppressors?
A long time ago in Cleveland some government people let some black people know where I would be – at a particular restaurant. They (the black people who sat beside me) wanted me to tell their story – many stories – although credible in many aspects, in other aspects they didn’t tell the whole story.
One theme did stand out to me however. “They came to us, told us about how they had suffered like we were suffering now and for us to trust them. They would show us the way”. They would show us how to beat them – meaning white people. Jews never considered themselves white people. They were slaves like us.
Then what happened?
They took our talent, like our souls and ran with it all, like it was theirs and they discovered us, a gift to the world and we were so brave and talented.
Then what happened?
We would all be rich, but instead they became rich and we all became drug addicted. Slaves again.
So, that’s all I, Sharon, have to say, because everybody knows offender language. The language used to make somebody do something they would not normally do unless coerced in a way, using language in such a way, that makes them do something that pleases others and not themselves.
So the part that they didn’t tell to me was that they wanted me to do something that they were afraid to do – implying that white people are always safe, so I would be too. They didn’t see me as a Jew.
That is so not true – about all white people being safe and privileged. My dogs, my only children family, died because of your fear, reluctance, and wanting somebody else to suffer for you, to take the risk for you.
You didn’t want to lose the privilege that you had gained – the criminal stuff that you were allowed to do. You kept that, then because I had the audacity to call a Jew a Jew, because that’s what they called themselves, you figured you would use me to cash in – again.
They used you to kill my dogs, while you used me to free yourselves from them.
I have never asked nor expected anybody else to fight a battle I was fighting. A dog was nothing to you. The Jews in Cleveland Heights knew that. They gave the order and you happily – happily – followed it. For a few dollars and the promise of something no person has the right nor the power to promise you destroyed a family – but because it was a white family you felt privileged to have been asked to do that – by your very own oppressors.
You thought I’d be dead by now. You thought I’d forget.
There is a #5.
SALTY AFRICAN MOOSE ICE-CREAM coming up soon. (Usually when I say something like this, the coming soon never happens.)
It’s already been made. Just gotta type it.
Be On The LookOut. It’s A Dessert.
And it’s number 3. The second recipe did not result in any views on WordPress or Facebook, so I go to #3, not to #1.
Just so you know, I don’t go past #3 for any group.
When you wait for #1 without supporting #2 and #3, then I know you to be just like the Jews who exploited you in the USA during the time of ‘pick a slave any slave because everybody else is doing it’.
And they are still doing it, by allowing you to sell drugs in their establishments, while they pay you probably what you’re worth. I mean how many people get that privilege?
It’s all so strange.
So is SALTY AFRICAN MOOSE ICE-CREAM.
You definitely will be held responsible for this beautiful creature.
# 1 is unknown
# 2 is AFRICAN FRUIT SALAD
# 3 is SALTY AFRICAN MOOSE ICE-CREAM
# 4 is AFRICAN TOMATO NUT PESTO LINGUINI
The order in which I actually present them does not matter. Does it.
No question mark after “Does it” sounds like Japanese to me.
But it is in the voice as well as the reading of the voice that matters. The inflection. The Japanese do not like inflection at the end of anything.
They do not like question marks after negotiations. Period. Do not raise your voice in question. Raise your voice in agreement.
Number 2 before number 1. Number 4 before number 3. What does it all mean.
It is all too confusing. That’s what you say. That is not what I say nor the reality.
Try to trick me and I will… well…
That just means you’re not prepared to work.
The way you acted today proves that you were surviving the night before (whatever happened there with whomever) and you were not wanting to deal with the reality of what you signed up for.
You need to act like a doctor in the morning if you are a doctor.
They recruited you because you were easy to manipulate.
You proved that to me today.
Your handlers manipulated you – not with as much ease as they would have liked, however, as you presented yourself to me – herky jerky – like somebody had just threatened to shoot you or hang or torture you, I saw you as a person who wanted to be free from the oppressors who were telling you to oppress me.
Still, they did make you do to me something that a doctor doing no harm should never do.
For that reason I do not want you on my team.
I WROTE TO MY BROTHER EVERY DAY THAT HE WAS IN VIET NAM
This is what Jew writers and all other writers concur with, ‘you can never start a sentence with an “I”.
I can break the rules set by others if those rules are meaningless.
I wrote to my brother every single day that he was in Viet Nam.
I was anti-war.
I did not demonstrate.
I wrote to him every day so he would not forget that he had a home.
I sat for the playing of the National Anthem at a hockey game in Massachusetts, that Jim Davies, me (his sister) and my husband (Steve) attended. I thought as I sat, how dare you, how dare you do that to my brother, such a sweet person, smart person, good person, get along with everybody person, make him into a killer.
I regretted immediately my decision to sit as I saw my brother whole but fractured stand and salute the flag of the United States of America.
I wrote a book called A Plan For The Planet – about all things big and small – 5 principles to a better life – or maybe it was in a newsletter, I expressed for the entire world to see, my regret. My regret that I will always carry as a burden, that I did not stand with my brother on that particular day, alongside of him. With him. When he had just gotten home from Viet Nam – found his way all the way back home he did.
It hurt me to see his whole but fractured body, mind and soul. It hurt me to my core.
My brother eventually read what I wrote.
He said it helped him.
I stand now.
Thank you for your service.
Thank you for your suffering.
Thank you will never be enough.
Standing, bowing of heads will never be enough.
I am still your sister. I am still anti-war.
But what you did for all life on this planet cannot be described in words.
I love you forever.
THANKS MOM…and DAD
My mother is making me stronger the longer I take to not grieve her passing.
She passed in such a graceful, let me go type of way, on her terms, and only when she knew as the mother to all of us that we would all be okay without her.
I know she’s not lost. She just had a bunch of stuff to do and people to see and help before she got to me. I always said take care of them first, I’m okay, now she’s holding me to it.
Frankly I was looking for some time to get stuff together. I was hoping for a ‘Mom’s on vacation away from all of us and her lifelong responsibility to all of us’ type of vacation – for her.
Don’t worry, she took it. She deserved it. Dad did too. We all do – at that point when our life becomes nothing to the world or anything on or in it. It’s a private passing, once gone from the tender thoughts of those whispering them, or the thoughts we whisper to ourselves as we hug ourselves to death’s door, when there really isn’t anybody else doing it for us.
I wanted to get my apartment looking really good – even though a lot of it is dumpster , second hand stuff – before she arrived via the spirit machine – to view it from a new dimension.
She once told me, “Don’t you ever be ashamed of that, Sharon”. I said, “I’m not.” My mother knew I could pick the best from from the worst.
My mother-in-law knowing I didn’t have much in the way of clothes said more than once to me, “You would look good in a potato sack”. I believed her.
Although both my mothers loved to hate me for all the right and wrong reasons, I always loved them – because they were mothers. Because I knew their suffering as women. And because they made the best of the time they lived in, that didn’t accept them as whole human beings. They accepted themselves differently than the world, governments, religions assigned them to be.
Guess they hated me – a part of them hated me – because I wasn’t a mother. And they both wanted that. My mom always saw me as a mother – even as a kid – because of the way I cared about everybody. My mom-in law wanted to see what little Steve’s and Sharon’s would look like. Just like our dogs probably and a couple of cats and gold fish and turtles and birds. Pick an animal any animal.
Finally my mother when she saw that I was not going to go for that glamorous job she pictured me in, said in resignation but also a recognition of truth, ‘the animals need you Sharon’. She read me. I sent her all of what I wrote. My father was more worried for me, that the path I took as activist would hurt me, so did what he could do to block me – nothing. He got it. He knew me as an engineer. My mother knew me as a mother. They both saw themselves in me.
That right there is the greatest compliment that my Mom and Dad ever gave to me – that they saw themselves in me.
Of course they feared for me, taking risks like I did, but they read my essays, yes my father too, and they knew I was right.
They also knew how they raised me and how I raised them and together even if apart we all would do the right thing for all of us and the individual of us and somehow it would all work out as a family growing into something better, still remembering the gentle and rough times equally.
~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight
CHRISTENING BY PARACHUTE
My Uncle Mike (really named James) served in the Korean War – my father’s only brother. (My father’s name is Tom Davies who served as a Merchant Marine during World War II).
He (my Uncle Mike) brought home from the war to his mother who sewed all her own clothes and the clothes of others, a silk parachute.
When I was born, she made from that silk parachute a christening gown with two roses on the neck/top/separate part of the upper bodice.
My mother gave that dress to me years later in memory of Grandma Davies after she died.
Years after that when I relocated where I couldn’t take a lot of stuff with me, a Jew offered me 100$ for all that I owned, the remains of me, everything of me and I accepted.
I was on my way out of somewhere to nowhere. I was young and scared and that’s how the government wants people of interest to feel. Still, it was all for me. An adventure.
After I went to the Soviet Union in 1975 or something like that, all hell broke loose in my life.
As I was leaving this beautiful gown to a man who didn’t deserve to own it, I held it, smelled it, touched it, drew my fingers over every stitch and fold.
He never saw me do it. I wonder what he eventually did with it.
But for me my birth was long over and I knew I would remember exactly as Grandma Davies sewed it, so I didn’t have to save it forever. I had it forever in the place that mattered.
You see, Grandma’s middle name was Rose. And she made out of the silk fabric the gown and then two roses on either side of me planted gently, firmly on my chest so nobody would ever forget, and she was imagining me lowering my head then raising it (as sewers do), till all was right with the roses and her. I can experience her now – the toughness and gentle part of all she did. Prominent but not overstated was her style – the style she designed, my Grandma Davies, for me.
Thank you Grandma Davies for inviting me to your thoughts.
I already knew them anyway. I’m yours, you know that.
Of course now that I understand the enslavement of silk worms, and why the world would want to enslave a beautiful being, I need, want and must say that slavery, no matter the beauty of the slaves and what they produce, is wrong.
For me and for Grandma and for Uncle Mike it was the parachute that saved lives and the christening gown that placed beauty where there was a war on the birthing of a child.
And the two roses that Grandma sewed was one for her and one for me and one for her own mother.
So there were three.
She wove it all.
She wove it, sewed it, felt it all. Just as you’re saying.
There is not a human on earth who doesn’t understand the concept of the cog.
Cog defined by somebody else: The definition of a cog is any of the teeth on a wheel or gear that fits into an opposite notch to cause motion of the wheel, or a person who is important but not critical in the structure of an organization.
My Answer: All teeth and all notches are critical to the smooth motion of a wheel, or the smooth operation of an organization – at all levels of that organization.
Inspire or separate.
11-14-07 letter from Mom Davies.
Dear Sharon, Steve and Rose, Today is the anniversary of my Dad’s birthday & he would have been 125 yr. old. Ernest Romanzo Davidson. The Romanzo was after an Indian who delivered him. He came to the states, married my Mom and died at 51 when I was a month from 7 yrs, and I remember everything about him.
He knelt beside my bed with me and taught me “Now I lay me down to sleep”. He was always there to help everyone at any time. He started to call me “Pearly” which my Mom didn’t like, so she decided I would be called Margaret. From then on he never called me anything but “punkin”. He never spanked me–my Mom took care of that–but she never spanked after Dad died.
I think her silence from time to time was worse than spanking!
Sharon and Steve, I was so thrilled with Evangeline!!! I read aloud from it this A.M. From 4-6-a peaceful time to read! Rick came with Alex @ 7:30 and I showed them and they thought it was great. The notes from you both were also special.
As I was reading about the Smithie, I recalled that Uncle Jim Mills started out as a blacksmith in Ryegate Corner, VT. at the same time buying and selling farms (a real estate agent?) From there he settled in a large farm in Wells River where they took my mother when she was seven years old. The farm still stands.
After retiring, they moved into town & bought the large Deming residence. He died 2 weeks before my Dad in the same house leaving his wife with five farms during the depression. She eventually sold them herself. I remember the paper she wrote, I, John Doe, do promise to pay Nellie Mills_____monthly. Total was $1000.00. Signed, John Doe. Witness Wendell Clark.
Now I remember his name–James Peavey. Because he never missed a payment when his veteran’s check came in, she never charged him interest. “AN HONEST MAN” she said. I don’t remember her ever preaching to me, but she constantly talked about the good things so & so did.
She never turned a hobo away from her door, but gave them some little chore to do so they could feel better about the meal. Imagine a 71 year old woman having brought up her sister (my grandmother) when she was 7, took my mother when she was 7 & myself when I was 7.
After her daughter died, she had a Seth Thomas clock put in the Wells River Cong. Church where I was baptized. Their only child Vera (Mrs. Verne Howard) died young in childbirth. One baby stillborn & Mom & 2nd baby died together. When Uncle Jim died, she had an archway put in the W.R. Cemetery MILLS MEMORIAL ARCH. As you enter, it says “I am the resurrection & the life”–as you leave “He that believeth in me shall never die”.
Because my mother had to leave town to find work after Dad died, my brother Jimmy (James Mills Davidson) & I stayed in W.R. Jim stayed until he married. I completed 8th grade there & was sent to be with my Mom in Bethlehem, N.H. & the Pierce family.
Nannie said a girl that age should be with her Mom. Of course I was sad and didn’t understand the reasoning then, but it turned out to be a very good choice. There was the Mom & Dad, a cousin their age, an invalid Gram who kept busy preparing veggies from big garden, knitting mittens for everyone & reading Grace Livingston Hills many love stories.
I became very involved with Methodist Episcopal church & was briefly, before I graduated, Superintendent of Sunday School. A couple years I was President of North Country Youth Fellowship. I had always loved school, did well & played basketball since 7th grade in W.R. I graduated in 1943 and still remember the final quote from my graduation speech. We had to write & memorize our own speeches. “He only earns his freedom and existence who daily conquers them anew. And such a throng I fain would see– stand on free soil among a people free! Then dare I hold the moment fleeing. Aye, linger a while, so fair thou art” ~ Goethe.
This was during WWII when our boys were leaving for war after graduation. Speaking of “Smithie”, it reminded me of a poem I heard Nannie quote, “Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree, a Village Smithie Stands”. I went to one of my poetry books & found it–also written by Henry W. Longfellow.
Nov. 16. Evangeline has sure taken me on a poetic journey! Now I’ll finish your letter. Yesterday I went to the hairdresser & weekly lunch @ the Senior Center where I had a lovely lunch of salmon boat with stuffing and dill sauce, broccoli, home fries, wheat bread and birthday cake for a member recovering from stroke. Alex went on field trip to Sturbridge yesterday. RAIN!!!
Thank you so much again for all your caring. Love & prayers, Mom.
FROM AUNTIE BEA & UNCLE TEDDY
15 September 1989. Dear Sharon, What a nice surprise–”The Marble Boat”. We will enjoy it so much. That, according to it’s story is exactly what it was created for.
It is, of course, already hanging over the living room couch. We both think and speak of you often. We are so glad we bought this house on Spence St. 33 years ago. You were like a young slim colt–all arms and legs, looking for things to do–energy needing a place to explode–when we first met you all.
I remember your growing up–Do you recall you and me going downtown on a bus one day. You had never been on a bus, as mother drove, so I asked if you would like to go downtown with me–We went in and out of all the stores–No Bay State then and I liked it better that way–still do–Never go down now–haven’t for years–That day we went to Forbes china and glassware section and you wanted to buy a cup. You found one you liked and then you saw the price–Well, you were one shocked and indignant little shopper as you said, “A whole dollar, I’m not going to pay a whole dollar for a cup.”
I loved your indignation and your right to declare it loud and clear. Little did I realize I would go through a similar thing years later–another indignant young lady who was told the tax on beads she wanted was 5 cents–”I’m not paying any five cents tax–Plus tax what’s plus tax. The beads are one dollar.” That was in Grants and most of the help knew me, and they were enjoying it all–Of course you know who paid for the plus tax part.
Karen often reminded me of you in small ways like that–I’ve never forgotten those two incidents especially and loved both of you for your spirit and independence. The ‘shows’ in the backyards–the food sale too–Well just cupcakes I made for you to sell to the local youngsters–I’m laughing to myself now thinking of the Duda boy buying 2 and taking them home to his mother and she sent him back with money to buy all there were–No wonder, I think you were selling them for a penny or two. You couldn’t buy store bought at that price and I was only making them for the children to eat there–so had to explain to him why he couldn’t buy them all–so many happy thoughts of you–
Later Karen came and you invited her to your birthday party–She didn’t know what a birthday party was, but she loved it all–the balloons, the singing, cake and ice cream. For a long time she called your home “The Happy To You House-” When the school system psychologist asked to see her before entering kindergarten, one of the tests were to identify pictures–2 were a birthday cake and a house and of course she said “That’s a Happy to You” and “The Happy to You House”–He smiled and went on with the test but later he asked me about that answer, so of course I had to explain–
We watched you grow and go on from High School to Nursing–If you hadn’t been a part of our lives, it would have been so empty. I hope you are still as innovated now as you were then–It will keep you always young and eager–
Much Love Auntie Bea & Uncle Teddy.
Today Is Tomorrow.
Tomorrow Is Today.
Either way works.
No more putting off.
Can’t do it anymore.
Don’t like it anymore.
The purpose it served is gone.
Enjoyed it, mostly.
Now it’s tomorrow today.
Don’t worry I never left – only stood down, surveyed my ground, explored yours.
I’m ready to rumble without you.
A black man
who lives in my building got on the elevator a few weeks ago and said to me as he looked down on Lilly Belle Pi, whom I was holding on a leash, “that’s a valuable dog you have there”.
I thought how would he know.
As he was getting off the elevator I said, “no, no, she’s not valuable; she’s a rescue dog, she’s a rescue dog”, as I tried with words to show him, tell him, that she’s not valuable.
I knew the way he said it, that he was sizing her up – for sale.
Long before that, a black woman who lives in the building, whom I consider a friend, told me that she knew Lilly Belle Pi was “all God”. I acknowledged that, while she and I both agreed that nobody should ever know because, as she said, “somebody will try to steal her”.
Lilly Belle Pi loves black people. Maybe the people who abused her were black and she loves them anyway.
Lilly Belle Pi loves all people – of all races, ethnicities and genders – and all other animals too – and has brought joy into the lives of others, just by being who she is.
Many a night when a black man would leave the building with his angry face on and as we approached from the outside coming home after a late night final walk, that anger turned to a smile, then relief, as Lilly did her dance for him. Then I’d get a smile too. I knew that night (and any night thereafter) that the angry man would be okay.
I cannot begin to tell you the wrath I feel thinking that somebody would want to do the most horrific thing by separating her from the family who adopted her bringing her from darkness into light.
I share Lilly Belle Pi with the world. Lilly Belle shares herself. But at the end of the day she comes home to a secure, loving place. Everybody should be happy for that, and confident in knowing that they will see their Lilly Belle again. She knows who you are. She goes looking for you once the two of you have met.
You are not my friend Mr. black man on the elevator.
There is no price tag on my daughter.
P.S. The first dog Steve and I had as a couple, named Phoebe, was kidnapped during our first year of marriage from the home we house-sat in Florida, never to be seen again.
We kept her in an enclosed patio with a door that led to a fenced in yard per orders of the landlord, Ron Turcotte (a retired Canadian thoroughbred race horse jockey best known as the rider of Secretariat, winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1973), as a condition for house-sitting his home. Steve and I both worked at the track where his father was track physician, I worked as one of the nurses, and Steve worked in the mutuel department.
The pain of that loss never left us – till Lilly Belle came into our lives . Even though we had dogs most of our married life, and endured many painful good-byes (as all dog caretakers experience), with Lilly it was like we got Phoebe back.
I don’t think I need to say any more on this.
MAMA AND ME LAUGHING
So many times in my life with my mother she would say to me after she did something that was not so comfortable for her, “Sharon would be proud of me”. One time when she finally went all out and actually campaigned for a democrat, the democrat turned out to be a crook. Humiliation. But Sharon would be proud that at least I stuck my neck out.
Yes, Ma, I was so proud of you. How would you know anyway. They’re all crooks. And we both would laugh a huge laugh. That’s me and my mother, we could always laugh about it all. I can still see her laughing. She had that gift of laughter. A beautiful gift she gave to me.
I’m still laughing and she’s laughing with me – from beyond the grave. I love you Mama forever, and she replies with a laugh. And we both get it. We both always got the life part of living. And then needing to die when it’s your turn to do it. It’s just how she was and how she taught me to be. There is always a tomorrow – even when you’re dead.
I hear ya Mama.
I have never known that safe place that gays say they have in certain buildings.
The FBI came into my life when I was in the 5th grade.
I’d see them outside, across the street from Uncle Danny’s and Auntie Ann’s house sitting in the car, at recess everyday as I pretended to have fun as I played, as I walked home from school for lunch and after school, always feeling somehow naked as I walked by the car and they stared at me.
Uncle Danny made for making silencers, Uncle Jake for wiretapping Marilyn Monroe. Ask Anthony Summers, if you don’t believe me.
I learned early what deviant was, and it wasn’t my uncles.
The only place I ever felt safe was in my father’s house – and only when he was home. I never told him that though; I never told anybody. When I left home, as young people do, that safe place was gone forever.
I’ve been tortured by the FBI for so long I don’t know anything else. They think they’re justified.
Judges are the worst – the most deviant. They’ll do anything the FBI tells them to do.
I’m sixty-seven years old – a long way from 5th grade – and it still hasn’t ended.
FROM CITIZEN TO SOLDIER TO VETERAN
My nephew Alex went to boot camp at Parris Island yesterday. He joined the marines. For those who think only disadvantaged kids go, this was not the case with Alex. There are young men and women, no matter their status, who really do want to serve their country – people who want to step up to protect all those they hold dear.
Everybody who knows me, knows that I am anti-war. Yet, when one of my own puts himself into the middle of that war – as my brother Jim did in Viet Nam – I can only be proud. There is no other option. He made a brave decision. And all I can do is support him in that decision.
We all know people who have served their country. My hope is that the presidential candidates will not forget them once they’ve served – which continues to happen, no matter who the president happens to be in any given year or election cycle.
What did President Obama do for the veterans, except to hide the fact that they were mistreated upon returning home, by not being treated at all? What did President Bush do for the veterans to make a better life for them? What did President Clinton do, except offer prayers. Veterans don’t need prayers. Prayers are like empty promises – asking some entity that you can’t see nor prove exists to do something that you don’t want to do, or that you don’t have the power or influence to do.
Veterans need action. Now. Not next election cycle when that empty promise can be used again to get elected or re-elected.
For now I am like any other family member hoping that a loved one who puts himself into harms way for the rest of us, returns to us.
Thank you Alex – I love you big as the sky that you are – forever.
Wall Street? I’m he-e-r-r-re!
This is what I got from Jim Cramer’s recent book called GET RICH CAREFULLY – a book Steve got me at the library, thinking I might be interested.
You can change the market without having to know anything about the status of the companies you’re betting on. That was the gist of it.
When I grasped that concept I didn’t need to read any further. I found what I didn’t know I was looking for. I was only thirty or so pages into the book. A few days later Steve, going to the library, asks if I want that Cramer book. I said no, I don’t need it anymore. I don’t want it anymore. He writes like he talks – too much detail.
Subsequently, I read a bunch of stuff on the site where I can change the distribution of my total investment. I can pull a percentage or the total amount from one category and add it to an existing investment or find a different one.
I decided to go for it – change the distribution of my investment, rather than let the company do it for me. But what if I didn’t know what I was doing and lost the little money we had? Cramer implied that it didn’t matter.
Well, we had already lost a sizable percentage. So what do I do? Go with my gut? Do a process of elimination absent any knowledge? I don’t even know what these things are. Do I go with what sounds familiar – so that because I understand the word energy I should invest in that?
I obviously need to learn the meaning of the terms used in finance.
I decided not to gamble, but to go by the numbers. If you lost me money, you’re out. I had to nuance the rest, because there were so many of them that lost me money.
I made the correction only once.
In a little more than one month I recouped my losses plus a little bit more. Not bad for my first try ever. Wow.
Now I decide to take Mrs. Jill’s advice to my mother-in-law many, many years ago. Put your money in the market and forget about it. Well, I’ll partially take her advice. I’ll wait a few months – don’t know how many though. I want to ride the ripple effect for a while – see what happens. The effect on my investment will be small. But for others, who invest more, it will be much bigger.
I’m on the board. Beginner’s luck?
I have never, ever experienced beginner’s luck.
I don’t have any luck at all.
When I gamble, I gamble to win, not to keep on gambling.
Most people I know who gamble, gamble to keep on gambling – so they can spread the play over several hours.
That’s not me. I don’t think of a gamble as a game or as entertainment. It’s work. Losing money is not my idea of a good time.
On the rare occasion that Steve and I would go to a casino, we’d both get fifty dollars. He’d lose his within five minutes, then come over to me and stand behind me at a machine. Now Steve is a self-proclaimed ‘cooler’. Do I want a ‘cooler’ standing behind me watching me as I’m working on increasing my investment? No.
So, I’d tell him to wait for me in the car. Fifteen minutes later I’d get into the car with a poker face, make him wonder for about thirty seconds, then give him his fifty dollars back and pocket my remaining two hundred and fifty win – two hundred net. Huge smile from Steve! We’d go out to dinner and I’d pay a bill.
After each instance, he always said the same thing. HOW do you do that??
My response was always the same. I know when to stop.
Oh, and something else: If I don’t think I’m going to win going in, I don’t gamble. I’ve been to the casino downtown Cleveland several times. I haven’t yet placed a bet.
GETTING IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME
Wasting food in the kitchen is not something that I often do. Guess I get that from my mother.
When I develop a recipe, I have to get it right the first time. If I don’t, then that’s money down the disposal.
When I go into that kitchen, I’m all business. There is no failure option for me. That being said, on the occasion that I do fail, I always make a positive out of it, but I never, ever feel good about it.
That feeling in itself motivates me to have fewer failures, because I don’t like not feeling good – about anything.
I’m the type of person who doesn’t take well to being jolted or prodded by others. It doesn’t feel good.
I take care of jolting and/or prodding myself. It’s called self-correcting behavior.
We all have that capacity as humans, being part of the animal race to which we belong.
One race includes us all – the animal race.
HALLOWEEN – WHITE FACE – BLACK FACE
I don’t get all the fuss about wearing black face or white face for Halloween. What is the problem here? – such stupid sensitivity. I see photos of blacks wearing white face and that’s okay? But whites wearing black face isn’t?
Get over it. It has nothing to do with anything except dressing up as somebody else.
When I was a kid, I dressed up as Aunt Jemima. Pillow in the stomach, long skirt from my mother, big boobs, mother’s black long sleeve sweater, a red kerchief on my head. Then my father burned the end of a cork and smudged black all over my face. I looked great, and all the other kids thought I looked cool!
We always made homemade dress up stuff, then went trick or treating with pillow cases, after Dad finished carving the pumpkins and lighting the candles in them – such a beautiful glow that I’ll never forget. We always had a great time.
Nobody called me names or laughed or made disparaging remarks. I wanted to dress up like Aunt Jemima, and we three – Dad, Mom and me – made it happen. And I certainly don’t regret it. My mother and father never would have dressed their daughter up to look like a person or a race they hated.
People dress up like the characters they want to be for a night. To me it’s a compliment. If blacks don’t like it, then stop dressing up with white face. You can’t have it both ways. If you don’t like the color of your skin that’s your issue, but don’t make other people hate the color of your race, because of it. People can wear any type of make-up they want.
It wasn’t a political statement. I still get a good feeling when I look back on it. Nobody has a right to take that good feeling from me.
When blacks see black face on whites they don’t think slavery, unless somebody told them to think it or they have a political agenda. Whites don’t think they’re dressing up as a slave, when they wear black face. Besides, even though I didn’t know anything about slaves, there’s nothing wrong with dressing up as one.
Just go out and have fun, paint your face anyway you want to paint it. For one night you’re somebody else. That’s the fun part – plus all the treats!
THE HUMANITY IN OTHER ANIMALS
When I first joined Facebook, and being the animal rights activist I am, I saw a lot of slaughter photos/videos, because the friends I had on Facebook were like-minded individuals.
I wasn’t, however, accustomed to seeing up front and personal the actual physical reality of it, even though I had already written about it from the resource of my mind’s eye – knowing logically what happened through the process of enslavement, torture and slaughter. And I was accurate in my writing of what I saw – without physically seeing it.
I viewed EARTHLINGS, but when it came to skinning an animal alive, well, I couldn’t go there, yet.
I eventually did, when recently I saw a video on Facebook. It was a short video, and as I clicked it on I talked to my God, not yours, mine – the God of all – to help me see it, to help me view what to me was the most horrific torture any being could ever experience. It was not easy, but I knew I had to do it.
My God of the animals did that for me – even though that God didn’t have to, because I already knew, and my God already knew that I knew. Still…my God kept me still as I kept saying help me do this.
When it was over, it didn’t change anything about me, except that I had the courage to finally view that which before I could not.
What I’ve seen on Facebook recently is a shift of ‘not all slaughter photos and videos all the time’, but an introduction of saved animals, happy stories of people with their family animals enjoying life. Videos of animals showing compassion toward other animals. Animals grieving when their babies were ripped from them. Animals loving other species – playing with them with carefree delight. Funny videos. Sweet videos. Angry animals standing up to their aggressors..and on an on.
I believe that in many instances other species are more humane than humans, and those videos have shown that to me and to the world.
I don’t know how that shift happened, where videos/photos on Facebook are now showing the humanity of other species, but I know that it is both appropriate and true.
So, to all those participating in that effort, to show the horror and the humanity of other animals, I say thank you.
Thank you forever.
~ Sharon Davies-Tight
Lake Erie disappears when the fog rolls in.
Downtown Cleveland High Rise Skyline disappears too.
All the high rises succumb to the rolling fog.
Then it settles, waiting for its next instruction,
making you feel the comfort of a smaller world.
When it decides to recede, like the waves in the Great Lake it blankets,
leaving a clear and startling new view,
I am always uplifted by the process.
GOING TO WORK
Going To Work
My father, mother, my sister, my brothers, my husband and our canine and feline (now deceased) children. That’s my core. That will always be my core.
Where’s God in all of this? God is everything, God is all life and non-life, so God in effect isn’t unique to me.
My family is unique to me.
For those who don’t have a family or don’t know their family, their core becomes defined by them.
My core as I defined it shaped and continues to shape who I am.
Even those long dead continue to influence my decisions in a positive, forward moving way.
This doesn’t mean that I go the way of the group or any individual within that group.
What it means is that they are the ones who make me what I am, as I work my way through my life, realizing that I am an individual within that group, different, similar, familiar.
Beyond that core is everything, everybody else. I care about all of it. Yes, even you who reads this at this moment.
My core, because I hold that core so dear, allows me to not only care, but to help in my own way all else on the planet, in the universe and beyond.
That’s who I am. That’s what I am.
It doesn’t matter if I am or if I’m not a part of anybody else’s core in anybody else’s life. What matters is whom I hold dear–for in the middle of the night, as I lay awake listening for the door to move, it is my core that keeps me brave.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS,
I FEEL YOUR PAIN…THAT PARALYZES ME…
WHEREBY I BECOME NON-FUNCTIONAL,
WE WORK TOGETHER TO SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS THAT PLAGUE ALL BEINGS ON THIS EARTH WE CALL HOME.
NOR WILL IT EVER,
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY TO ALL BEINGS. I PUT THE WIND AT MY BACK. YOU DO THAT TOO! PUT THE WIND AT YOUR OWN BACK!
ALL BEINGS MATTER!
Oh, my eyes welled up, but I did not let one tear drop.
You can be sure of that.
I smoked one cigar today for the birthday (mine) that I did not celebrate, and one more for the anniversary of Rosie’s death day – both in the early days of March.
Me and my daughter were together again – whole – in spirit, mind, and our God.
There will be no vision used to help terrorists fight terrorists.
I trust and know that.
Thank you Rose.
I raised my dogs like humans. That’s all I knew how to do.
I didn’t know how to raise a dog like a dog – why would I know that?
If I had been a dog and had human pets, I would have raised my humans like dogs.
Once when my brother came out to Portland, Oregon to visit and met our three dogs, Howdy, Rascal and Pele, and then returned home to Massachusetts, my mother called me.
She said, do you know what your brother said?
I said, no.
He said, Ma, Sharon’s dogs are like humans.
My mother responded to him, I don’t doubt that.
Steve bought me a new large calendar with puppy and kitten pictures on it. The old one was written in gray thin print and I couldn’t see it at a distance. Why hang it on a wall if you have to walk up to it every time you need to confirm the date or day? This one was perfect. I could see it from across the room. For months though I’ve been getting the dates and days wrong. That’s not a good feeling for someone with a damaged brain. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with me.
I think I’m getting tunnel vision, not the type that restricts my thought, but the visual type. Probably from working on the computer all these years, focused on the screen and the keyboard, I don’t look beyond to the sides, or above the computer. The work trains you to focus that way. A good thing for work, but a bad thing for everything else. In future it will be studied as an occupational hazard. Could affect how you drive a vehicle, visual scanning and even your balance while walking.
At any rate I finally did figure it out, why I kept getting the days and dates wrong. I was in the wrong year. I was in 2013. Steve bought a 2013 calendar probably assuming if it was for sale in this year it would be for this year. And all I did was look at the dates and days and of course the month. My eyes only had to go up a couple of inches and I would have seen 2013 not 2012. Before I ever had a computer I would have noticed that before I even hung it on the wall. Steve would have too.
The dilemma now was that I had already thrown my 2012 calendar away and nobody was selling them anymore. So, for a while I decided to give my brain another training exercise and worked in the year 2013. I kept forgetting though if one year hence meant one day forward or backward. I did get pretty good at it, but Steve and I would disagree and we’d go through a whole process to determine what day it actually was.
I thought I had a great solution to the problem. My checkbook had a calendar. I’d tear that out and keep it handy, but those years are long gone. Wonder how many mistakes I made in my checkbook because the check company gave outdated calendars with the checks I got—free.
Steve eventually solved it. He found one while out and about and surprised me with a bona fide 2012 calendar. The print is gray and thin, so I don’t have the luxury of seeing it from a distance, but at least I’m in the right year, and on the right day and date. It’s Friday 28 September 2012. And the palm tree leaning over an ocean colored with hues of pink and orange as the sun sets in a faraway land is a beautiful sight.
P.S. I saved the puppy and kitten calendar for next year, so now I won’t have to buy another.
REGARDING JUICES: A VERY SHORT STORY
Years ago I worked for a short time at a produce company. I responded to an ad in the classifieds, for a salad prep job, thinking it was a restaurant. It turned out to be a produce company, but because there was a recession and I needed work, I didn’t turn it down. Better to have some money than none.
The job was to prep veggies for restaurants. That’s where I learned that carrots had oil in them. Peel a hundred pounds with rubber gloves on and you’ll know it’s true.
We’d sit around peeling in a refrigerated room, talking to ease the boredom of the repetitive work. One day, this black woman was recalling working in a tomato processing plant–on the conveyor belt line, sorting tomatoes, categorizing them for various uses.
You should have heard her talk. Wow. She knew everything there was to know about tomatoes, and talked with laughter, fright and lots of animation. The ones for cans, good. The ones for soup, not too bad. But the ones–the ugly ones–man. “They scared even me”, she’d say. ‘They didn’t throw anything away. You couldn’t throw one tomato into a basket. There were no baskets’. “What was wrong with them?”, I asked. ‘Beards. They had beards. Big beards. I didn’t want to look–or touch. But I had to. It was disgusting. I haven’t drank tomato juice since. That factory cured me. That’s where the bearded ones go–into tomato juice’.
The beards she was talking about is mold. Mold that you wouldn’t eat. You’d throw the tomato away, rather than eat it. I’m not too big on juice knowing the mold goes in with everything else. At least there’s no mold in soft drinks. Maybe we should fortify the soft drinks, instead of pureeing moldy fruits. I imagine grape juice has a lot of mold in it. Who’s at fault for putting moldy fruit into juices? No excuses.
THE eBAY BLOCK
You can sell a human baby on eBAY for $2,000.00. You can sell a grilled cheese sandwich on eBAY with a char mark that somebody says looks like Jesus (like anyone would know what Jesus looked like) for $25,000.00. Yet eBay put a ceiling price of $5,000.00 on any Paintings By God I wanted to sell on eBay, saying I had to sell a lot of small items first–to gain the trust of the eBay ‘buy and sell’ community and work my way up to higher priced items, which would take about a year or more. That’s why I don’t sell my work on eBay.
eBay is a community of buy and sell addicts, who devalue items so they can keep buying and selling. It’s like a gambling addiction for the masses, the populace, the people with not much money, who nevertheless like the excitement of the gamble, the trade, the risk. It’s for people who can’t afford to trade on Wall Street.
eBay told me that I not only had to sell a lot of small items, but I also had to buy a lot of other people’s small items to gain their trust. We want to get to know you first, so we know you’re not a fraud”, she said. I told her my whole life history, the history of my art, my hopes, my dreams, goals, obstacles… I felt like I was interviewing for a job that she didn’t want me to get. I told her I didn’t have a lot of small items to sell and I didn’t want to buy a lot of other people’s small items.
All the possessions I have I need and use, and I don’t have room for anybody else’s small stuff in my apartment. I wanted only to sell my art. But the rules were the rules–a $5,000.00 cap per painting, but now it became only one painting. I said in a very nice way that eBay was devaluing my art by pricing it for me sight unseen. She said that’s how the ‘buy and sell’ community works.
At many points throughout the conversation I thought I was talking to the CIA and military intelligence combined. She kept repeating the same policy over and over again no matter what I said, her response was always the same. It was like, ‘where’s the next attack going to be? when’s the next attack? give me a date, where? who?
I call that the ebay BLOCK|
I never left the table.
Even when everyone else left, I stayed.
From when I first sat at a table as a toddler, till now at sixty-four years old, I stayed when everyone else left.
It wasn’t and isn’t a conscious thing I do, I just do it. That’s me.
It was always about disagreements. Family would get up and leave, and leave somebody else behind.
I always stayed with the one left behind.
Even when the one left behind left, I stayed,
even as a child, alone in the kitchen, everybody else in bed.
Finally, I’d climb down from the chair at the kitchen table. I’d look in on the one everyone left.
When I knew everyone was sleeping, I’d go to bed, leaving the kitchen light on.
I’d wake up in the morning and everybody was fine.
Even now in my mind’s eye I saw and see myself always there.
Always at the table.
Though someone could say I was alone, I never felt it, not for one second.
I don’t feel it now. And I still do the same thing.
It’s just me and the way I am.
Lilly Belle Davies-Tight
Meet Lilly Belle Davies-Tight, a rescue dog whom Steve and I brought into our family on 24 October 2013, with the help of a couple (whom are now her Godparents) who find homes for neglected animals (Neil & Debbie) and the woman who rescued her (Gwen).
This is what her rescuer wrote on the back of Lilly Belle’s ‘papers’ documenting she was spayed and vaccinated:
“Lilly is a lovely girl. Born Oct. 4, 2012. Kept in a cage way too much. Loves everybody (including kids, cats & my soggy, “Booger”.) Needs help with potty training. Also loves to chase squirrels. I feed her several times a day for proper nourishment and she has thrived and gained weight since being with me. [she now weighs 14 pounds].
Thank you for providing this good, sweet lovely girl a good sweet loving family!”
I kept the name her rescuer gave her, Lilly Belle, and will forever be grateful to the couple we met by chance and the woman who gave her beautiful care. Lilly Belle is on an animal-free diet, and does she love her new Mama’s cooking!
Lilly Belle is now the daughter of Sharon and Steve Davies-Tight! We couldn’t be more proud! Thank you!
DARE TO BE BE DIFFERENT
‘Always give yourself a way out’, my father once told me, while sitting in the front seat of the car as a train traveled on the tracks before us. ‘Never box yourself in’.
‘Don’t be like everybody else’, my mother once told me, while I sat beside her watching her sew. ‘Dare to be different’.
THE SHORTEST NOVEL EVER WRITTEN
….. I don’t know what bothered me the most, that he was a pimp or that he crushed a mouse with his foot ….. in the hallway of the hospital where I stood …..
This is a factual novel.
A BLACKOUT IN CLEVELAND IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW
NOTHING LIKE I’VE EVER SEEN – THE COLORS AND THE CLOUD FORMING OVER DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND AND HOVERING. HUGE CLOUD.
I CAN’T SEE MY KEYBOARD – SO I SLANTED THE MONITOR DOWN TO ILLUMINATE IT. Thunder in the background. Saw lightning in the pink clouds downtown. The wind was big through the windows – now it’s small. Closed them first thing. The trees blowing ferociously. Now they’re relatively calm.
The rain is starting – starts and stops. Look to the right outside the window to see Cleveland skyline. It’s gone.
Lights are out east to west to north – I don’t know about south. Can’t see south from here.
The rain falls gently actually. It’s getting darker and darker outside. It’s 8:38 PM my computer time. It should be light and bright outside now.
Terminal Tower coming a little more into focus. They must have generators downtown.
Every now and then I see lightning – nothing big. Oops. There’s a big thunder.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought a 2 dollar lantern with batteries for emergency lighting. Who would know I would use it so soon? That’s in the main living space. I also bought 2 other type emergency lighting candle type things – that we can’t figure out how to use. They have fuel, but require a dime, a screw driver or something to take off the cap, that we tried, but gave up on, since it didn’t open easily – and we were both afraid that we’d push too hard and break it – and the fuel would go all over the place. Lesson – learn how to use it in the light.
Just heard some neighborhood car making a loud statement with the gunning of his car engine – down some street close by.
It’s 8:48 PM and now it’s black outside. Rain still not hard. Lightening flickering in the distance. Thunder a ways away – hearing police sirens now.
Cleveland downtown is gone again – can’t see anything.
Usually when the lights go out, it’s our building and a few streets – this is different. The entire Gold Coast is out too – that’s where all the high-end condos are.
I saw a few cars moving really slow, like you see in a blizzard, then a saw a couple of cars speeding is what I would call it.
Whoa, big rolling thunder coming in.
Never saw anything like this. It’s so black outside my window, that it’s blacker than midnight and it’s 9:03 PM 19 August 2014.
The rain sounds miniscule now – almost like a light summer rain that has finished its major raining for the day.
I don’t particularly mind when the lights go out – other than an inconvenience – but when the sun and moon are eclipsed by this gigantic cloud, well, I’m somewhat concerned.
Thunder seems to be coming in a little closer.
Looked again – cars now – only the occasional cars – are driving at a snail’s pace. The only lights in the distance are the crime street lights down on Clifton Blvd. They must be on some sort of generator system too. Oops, heard another car doing that racing through the streets thing.
Actually, when I first felt the wind blowing through the window near where I sit at the computer, I thought I heard a tornado warning – one of those sirens that go off. I only heard it once though.
It’s not like we can turn on the television set to see the local news people tracking this storm and telling people what to do.
Oops on me now. I’m on the computer. I thought maybe I can just type, not get on the internet. Let’s see.
Went to cleveland.com – took a while to actually see anything related to weather – in the footer I found it – still when I clicked on – nothing about what’s going on in Cleveland now.
Now where do I go if I can’t go to Cleveland? Googled it – cleveland weather now storm – blackout. Eureka, I thought > stormtrack weather blackout. chanel 19 news. I clicked on, and it’s an article from 10 July 2014 on how to protect yourself.
Is anybody awake in Cleveland? It’s 9:27 PM. Where are all the sites one is supposed to go to when there’s a blackout?
I googled ‘blackout in cleveland’. I came up with 2003. It’s 2014 folks – I want now information.
How and where do I get current information?
Finally I google channel 3 news – it’s not like I pay attention to the news show number – but I tried and at least they’re tracking it – the storm.
“As storms and high winds cut across Northeast Ohio, we have reports of power outages.
FirstEnergy is reporting thousands of customers in the dark Tuesday evening.
Over 20,000 First Energy are without power in Cuyahoga County. The following is the number of customers without power as of 8:45 p.m.:
Rocky River: 999
North Royalton: 268″
That doesn’t add up to 20,000. The Illuminating Co./First Energy map was useless.
This lantern that’s supposed to last 24 hours is dimming. Almost gone.
Steve is in bed – he has to get up at 4 AM to go to work. Right now we have no water pressure – which may mean no shower in the morning for him.
I don’t know who got hit by the storm – if anyone. Maybe it’s just a blackout. Guess I’ll hear more about it in the morning.
What surprised me was that the internet news isn’t nearly as comprehensive as the television news. In a blackout no one can watch their T.V. They really do need to upgrade that part of disseminating the news in times like this – via the internet.
The thunder still roars at a distance, no sound of rain now. A distance flash of lightning every now and then. The Cleveland skyline has come back somewhat in focus. Their generators are working just fine.
I don’t know how long this battery on my computer will work – never had to test it before.
Looks like the worst of whatever could have happened is over – except for the blackout.
So I might as well go to bed too. Listen to the silence – except for the weather – and catch some z’s – and hope we have electricity in the morning.
Oh, my little soy candle is still burning strong. Wow, a dollar I paid. Glad for that.
nite nite – 10:05 PM 19 August 2014.
UPDATE: THE LIGHTS IN Cleveland just came back on 10:10 PM
Just as I finished listing this article on Word Warrior article Index – bam – the lights when on, the air conditioner started – Steve gets his shower in the morning after all!
‘I DON’T EAT ANIMALS WITH FACES’
I don’t eat animals period. That’s where I am in life and that’s where I choose to stay.
To begin, let me tell you that my only reason for not eating animals is to preserve the life of the animal. I believe that all animals, including the human animal, once born onto this planet have a right to live their life unencumbered by prejudice, discrimination, enslavement, torture and slaughter, and that no being has a right to take that life, unless in a situation of immediate personal threat. I would not personally kill an animal to eat, and I don’t expect anyone else to do it for me. By not eating animals I preserve the lives of those living and discourage the procreation of those destined for slaughter.
However, I wasn’t always a vegetarian. I was born into a family who ate animals and accepted it not only as a necessary part of survival, but as a delicacy as well – to be enjoyed. I recall many festive scenes surrounding the carving of a turkey or ham on holidays. And in my younger days was elated when Dad, knowing that ham was my favorite, would pile an extra helping onto my plate – without me even asking.
But there came a time when I started asking myself questions about the inconsistencies I observed around me. Why did hearing that a deer got shot saddened my mother, but stewing a chicken didn’t? And my grandmother who impressed me the most, telling me stories of living on the farm – loving the animals as her friends – running off into the woods during slaughter time, to chop down trees till exhausted, madder than a wet hen she’s say, while right in front of her on her plate sat two hot dogs (dogs as she called them) on buttered bread waiting to be devoured. Although young at the time, I remember noting the incongruity between her beliefs and consequent actions. Why if she loved the animals so much did she eat them?
Sometime thereafter an incident occurred that must have left its mark, because as I go over my life looking for clues as to what influenced me to care for the animals, this stands out startlingly clear. One bright, sunny Sunday morning, the air crisp, clear and sweet smelling, the whole family set out for the country to attend an all day picnic at friends of my parents. They had a big swimming pool and huge, expansive garden with every flower and vegetable. Fruit trees too.
Upon arriving we unpacked the car, then strolled across the long yard into a scene that I will never forget. The husband standing in khaki shorts, black leather shoes and black socks; blood splattered all over his bare chest and legs, cigar stub in mouth, hatchet in hand. Chickens – some running, some squawking, others barely moving. And he, laughing through a mucous-filled throat, “I’ll get you little sons-of-bitches”. Wife talking to Mom about defeathering and gardening as they walked back toward the house. And hearing faintly as they walked further away, “You know Peg, he hates to do that”. I was stunned. Those poor defenseless chickens. It wasn’t right. And why did he do it, if he hated to do it? But, he was a nice guy and so was everybody. And he didn’t kill any in front of us. I was glad of that. So, just like everybody else, I went on to enjoy the day swimming and playing, and eating my fair share of hot dogs and hamburgers.
I suppose experiences such as these as well as others along the way sit on a back burner for a while, waiting to emerge at some later time to influence your life, because it wasn’t till many years later that I actually did stop eating animals. But when I did, it happened suddenly.
Asleep one night I dreamed I was at a barbecue house in Florida. I recall sitting on a long bench attached to a long table with meat paper stretched over the top of it. In fact, there were many of these tables in a large barn-like structure with a concrete floor. The serving area was to the front of the building extending across it. And the kitchen was to the left rear with swinging doors with windows in them.
Sitting there I began to feel a little uncomfortable, but didn’t know why. I noticed a few people milling around, then became vaguely aware that no one was talking. I assumed they were waiting for an order, as I guessed I was, but I didn’t remember ordering anything.
Well, in a second what I saw carried out from that kitchen on a barbecue spit five feet long was a charcoal – broiled – to a golden brown – whole person, all shriveled up. Well, I didn’t wait around to see who ordered it – I knew I didn’t. I got the hell out of that dream in a hurry! To keep a short story short, it was that scene in that dream that convinced me to stop eating animals.
The next morning when I talked it over with my husband we both agreed that if it wasn’t right to slaughter a human for barbecue, then it wasn’t right to slaughter any other animal for barbecue; they were one and the same. So, that’s how my animal-free adventure began. As swift as that with not much deliberation, we stopped eating animals…and knew we were right in doing so.
For the next few years going meatless became an ever-present challenge – three meals a day, whether cooked at home or eaten out had to be dealt with. Since eating out offered limited taste and variety I decided to cook. I spent hour after hour scouring magazines and cookbooks for ideas, but couldn’t find much. It seemed that vegetarians back in the ’70s were primarily into taste bud punishment. So, I began experimenting on my own. I cooked day and night discovering new ways to please my palate, my husband’s palate, and anyone else’s who ate at our house. I was determined to make this work, and would prove to everyone that I could prepare meals without meat that were every bit as tasty as meals with meat. And I did just that. Proved it again and again.
But somewhere along the way our commitment started to break down. Whether it was the lack of support – and in many cases outright scorn and rejection from family, friends, associates, co-workers, wait staff in restaurants etc. – or simply a desire to do what everybody else was doing – whatever the reason (and it’s never difficult to find a reason for doing something that’s already socially acceptable) – we started eating meat again. And we did it with rebellious abandon, convincing ourselves that if everyone else did it, then it must be right. We packed our refrigerator full of meat. Bought in bulk at the warehouse, where we could pick out large cuts at wholesale prices. We had steak every night.
Then, just before Christmas one year we stopped at a farm in Amherst, Massachusetts that advertised quail for sale. We thought for something different we’d cook up a couple for Christmas dinner. We walked into a shed where a farmer was tending his birds whom he sold mainly to the University of Massachusetts for experimental purposes. He raised them. Many of them. Of exotic variety. They were everywhere. All in cages. And we moved very carefully so as not to disturb any of them.
We told the farmer what we wanted. But before filling our order he talked about the birds, pointing each one out as he told of each one’s uniqueness. He started to walk toward what looked like a refrigerator, but stopped midstream to open a cage. He removed a bird. And instead of showing it to us as I thought he was going to do, he held it securely in his left hand while forcing the mouth open by squeezing it’s jowls, then with his right hand, swiftly and dispassionately thrust a bade into the opened beak and up through the brain. He did this with a second bird, then asked, “That’s all you wanted was two, right?” I choked out a “yes”, but thought not this way! But how did I expect to get a quail? Prepackaged, defeathered, ready to cook – already dead?
Well, this meat-eating spree didn’t last for long, since once again I became subject to my own curious questioning, while at the same time being quietly nagged by a thought I had recently stumbled across – that the majority is not always right.
For the next several years I seesawed back and forth between eating animals and not eating animals. This indecision helped to further exacerbate the already present conflict in me which had been brewing for years. I knew it was wrong to kill animals to eat or for any other reason, but wanted proof of its wrongness. I went over and over the arguments I heard in defense of killing animals: We slaughter animals because we raise them for slaughter; we’re at the top of the food chain; they don’t contribute to society; God gave us permission; they taste good; we’ve always done it; everyone else does it; we developed large arm muscles with which to hunt; we developed large canine teeth with which to tear flesh; animals kill each other; it’s a matter of survival; we’re superior; plants scream when pulled from the ground; they’re dumb; they can’t feel pain or fright; they would otherwise suffer by the hands of nature from overpopulation and starvation. And some even said that there’s no such thing as good and bad, right or wrong, and if we accepted the world without judgment, then what’s one more dead cow?
I could not find in any of these arguments, or any others, a foundation of truth which could be in any way logically construed to justify the raising and killing of animals for consumption or any other reason. It just didn’t make sense to force these animals into violent, wretched, premature deaths to satisfy our own appetites.
If you raise a child for slaughter, that child is still a child. The billions of children and adults we kill on a continual basis in the animal kingdom of which we are part can only be given a name as harsh, cruel and gruesome as holocaust. It is our arrogance which prevents us from understanding and acknowledging this truth. We fear that our acknowledgement will put other needy humans (ourselves included) at risk; that we will lose the preferential treatment that we’ve been so accustomed to throughout the ages. We live under the false assumption that in order to help one group, we must neglect another group. This is just not so. The more you love, the more love you have to give. The more you care for and respect your co-inhabitants on this earth, the more caring and respectful you become of everybody’s rights. There is a bottomless well of caring in each of us. All we have to do is loosen the grip of our own arrogance on our own thoughts and actions. You will not love your own group or yourself less; you’ll love them and yourself more. We simply do not have to neglect one part of nature to care for another part.
Continuing to grow inside of me was an unrest regarding this issue that once again fulminated in a dream…in this dream I was the chicken. And scared shit I was to die by the swing of that hatchet. My heart beat so fast I thought it would stop. I awoke in a pool of sweat. I may have even urinated. But at that precise moment I knew right from wrong – judgment or not. When it was my head there was no question. The conflict melted away. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It was so simple.
That night as I laid my head safely back to the pillow, I remembered hearing a long, long time ago a mother telling her child as she pointed to the dog, “See, he has eyes just like yours…and a nose…and ears…and a mouth”…as she outlined the dog’s face with her fingers. And that’s where I am today – ‘I don’t eat animals with faces’.
As far as the inconsistencies and incongruities I observed then and continue to observe now, I attribute them to ignorance in some cases; an inability to acknowledge the fact that we’ve been committing wrongful acts for most of our lives; a resistance to change and growth (many times the result of family, friends and society’s disapproval of our choices); and in still other cases, a simple lack of commitment. In my own case, I have finally bridged the gap between my beliefs and consequent actions, and I have my grandmother to thank for that.
Just because I have a disorder of the nervous system – and not a disease of the nervous system – doesn’t mean that the disorder isn’t disabling – it may not be life-threatening at this point – but for some it is.
I remember a boy named Bobby who did in fact die from it – crushing his ribs – and making him unable to breathe – till his life was taken – but it still takes from me an enjoyment of life – that I otherwise would have known.
No doctor ever told me that when I got older – the dystonia would get worse.
So what, I say.
I Iive it, breathe it.
I make it my friend – till death do us part.
I love that part of me I can’t control.
And I know it loves me too.
Whoa. I received today a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that my benefits will increase by 1.7 percent because of a rise in cost of living. Okay, I already knew that, but when I looked at the figures, I asked Steve, how is it that my benefit went from 488.00/month to 443.70 per month? I looked, he looked, and we couldn’t figure it out.
Then we saw 42.00 for the income-related monthly adjustment amount based on your 2013 income tax return. Plus what appeared to be a credit of 12.30 for a prescription drug coverage, which we also didn’t understand.
On the back page we see: How We Figured Your Income Related Monthly Adjustments Amounts: The IRS told us that in 2013 you filed your taxes as a Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. You had an adjusted gross income of 99,298.00 plus 0.00 in tax-exempt interest income. We added these amounts together to get your MAGI of 99,298.00
Whoa. I am not a widow, Steve and I never had a child, and in 2013 we didn’t file a tax return, because we were both on Social Security. How the IRS could say I earned 99,298.00 according to my tax records of 2013 is ludicrous. It didn’t happen.
Then we checked the name of the envelope, the name on the document, my social security number. It was my name, my social security number. How could the IRS get it so wrong?
All I can say is that the IRS is scamming old people into thinking they will get a reduced amount in their monthly checks – and most old people will simply accept it.
All I know is the bottom-line figure on the front page: Your benefit amount after deductions that will be deposited into your bank account or sent in your check on January 14, 2015 is : 443.70
I currently make 488.00 per month. My 1.7 percent increase in benefits for cost of living somehow got figured into that.
But to base the reduction of benefits by 42.00 PER MONTH, based on the facts (they say) are true: that I am a widow and have a dependent child, and earned 99, 298.00 in 2013 is frightening to me.
The letter was dated November 26, 2014. I received that letter on November 26, 2014. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
I believe this was a sinister act. A sinister act that probably is being committed against all seniors. BEWARE!