Aside

What happened to last week?

 

I can’t find last week. 

It seems to have been here and gone before I knew it. It isn’t that I missed anything terrible dramatic – except, of course, the matter of paying a couple of bills and my grandson’s birthday

But it’s  just the idea that today is the 15th of the month, and therefore, I am required, okay, not required perhaps, but expected, to publish a Blog today.  And I look forward to doing that…but the 15th isn’t supposed to be here yet.

I am a stickler for being on time. Deadlines are sacred.  It is only common courtesy that you meet a friend at two o’clock if two o’clock is the time you agreed upon.  If the book report is due on Tuesday, it should be handed in on Tuesday.

 If you have a doctor’s appointment, the DOCTOR should be on time.  Or at least close to it.  I had one doctor who was chronically so late that I made an agreement with his secretary.  I would call about an hour before I was scheduled to show up.  She would tell me how far behind he was and I would actually show up at whatever time she gave me.  I finally decided that, no matter how good he was at what he did,  I deserved more respect than that.  His secretary and I are still friends. 

I live by a couple of time rules.  One of the first is that if you keep me waiting for more that 20 minutes and don’t think to call me to let me know about it, I only give you one shot.

My sister was one of the nicest people in the world – most of the time.  But she had no concept of the importance of time.  She was ALWAYS late.  For EVERYTHING.  It drove me nuts.  So, one time I was meeting her I determined to be late

The thing you have to understand at the beginning is that being late for anything makes me physically ill.  I really shred over it.  But I was determined,    I sat at home, reading a book that I couldn’t understand because my mind kept wandering to the idea of being late.  But finally the clock and I agreed that I could safely head out now and meet her.

As planned, I was late.  But she was later.  She arrived about 10 minutes after me, happily strolling toward our meeting place and giving me a happy, loving smile.  She had a fine dinner.  I got sick.

I’m not sure where I got this dedication to being on time, but I blame it on show business.  Show business is extremely unforgiving when it comes to time.

I agree with the old saw that “The Show Must Go On”, but I believe the line is too short.  It should say,  The show must go on – ON TIME.

I am ruthless in my condemnation when a Broadway Show – or my local NoHo theater shows for that matter – don’t start on time.  That has always seemed to me to be the height – or the depth of something or other.

I think it was Norman Lear who once told me that if a script hadn’t made him laugh within the first 17 second,  he didn’t bother reading the rest.  I rather like to think that was an exaggeration, but that’s what I was told.

       Early on in my California experience, I ran afoul of an unspoken, but almost universally observed, social law. One should NEVER, absolutely NEVER, show up at a party at 8:00 P.M. just because the invitation said that was when the party started. 

When you do that you are ALWAYS the first to arrive, and the least welcome of guests.  Frequently the host is still in his robe and can’t imagine why you are ringing the bell at that silly hour.  One only does that once.  Or maybe three times before one receives an anonymous note explaining why it’s a bed idea.

The fact is that I still act like people will arrive on time – which explains why, when I invite folks for dinner at eight and they come at nine, they are frequently served very, very, very overdone Lamb roast.

As  you have probably figured out by now, this is a rather lengthy explanation as to why there is no Blog this month.

Sorry. 

Aside

A Thinking Back Kind of Time

 

   There is definitely something about Christmas that starts memories flowing.  Not necessarily Christmassy memories…just family kinds of things.

   For some reason or other, this one came popping into my head the other day and it amused me mightily so I decided to share it with all of you, my lucky and indulgent readers.

   One after noon, many, many years ago, one of my boys came home from second grade class at St. Agnes’ School.  He said he had a question for me.

   Now I was determined to be one of those mothers who respected a child’s question.  If he could think of it, I would answer it. 

   “Right,” I said, sitting down next to him on the couch…”tell me your question.”  So he did.

   “What,” he said, “is  upholstery?”

   Not quite what I expected.  But okay.  If that was his question I would give it a shot.

   “Well,” I said, “Let’s look at this couch we’re sitting on.”  We did that.

   “First,” I explained, “The workman builds the inside of the couch.  Then he puts in springs and lots of padding so you can sit comfortably.  You with me so far.”

    He was.

   Okay, so far I’m a big success here.

  “Padding, you know, is just a bunch of heavy material that goes on the springs so they don’t poke you when you sit down.  It isn’t really pretty enough to want it in  your living room.  So the workman now takes some really nice fabric and adds it to the top of the couch.  Sort of like what we’re sitting on now.”

   He nodded and patted the couch reassuringly.  It’s pretty Mom.”

 

   I grinned back at him.  Delighted that my little lecture was so successful

   But then came the rest of the question.

   “So what,” Anthony ask, “does Sister mean when she says “Thou shalt not commit upholstery?”

 

                     ******************

 

       THE TALE OF THE HANGING CHRISTMAS TREE

 

   It all happened because I was too busy to go with the family to picked out the tree.  But it had to be done that day and the Father figure had agreed to supervise the choice.,

  You’d think I’d know better wouldn’t you?

   Anyway..the four kids and Daddy left to bring home the perfect tree.  Their instructions were clear.  Big and bushy, but not so bushy it won’t take ornaments.  Tall, but not so tall that it brushes the ceiling because we need room for the Angel.

   I had more instructions, but the natives were getting restless.  I wished them well and went back to unpacking the trimmings.

   Three hours later, tired but triumphant. The family returned dragging a big, beautiful, aromatic tree.

   From first glance I knew it was, indeed, perfect  But then they stood it up so I could see in in all its glory.

   They stood back and waited for my reaction.

   “It’s BENT” I said.

   They all began their protests at the same moment.            “What?  “What do you mean BENT?”  “It’s perfect.”

   The Father, who did not like arguments unless he started them, told everyone to stop immediately or he would throw the tree out the door.

   Silence reigned while we all stood and looked at the bent tree.  At this point Lancer, our beautiful German Shepherd joined the fray barking furiously and racing madly around the room. 

 

   He actually worried me more than the kids.  He was eyeing the tree as if it were an indoor fire hydrant.

   The kids stared at the tree and then at me…glumly.

   “What do you want to do about it Mm?”  one of them asked.

   The tree stood quite still..looking unloved and crooked.

   And that was when I had an epiphany.

   “We’ll hang it from the ceiling.  That way it will be  as straight as it can be, Lancer won’t be able to knock it  over and the cat probably won’t try to climb it.”

   And so it was done.

   We suspended the tree from the center of the cathedral ceiling in the family room where it swung free and sparkled every time Lancer raced under it, sending it spinning.

   I found it a logical and practical and beautiful solution.  The kids thought it was great because nobody else had a hanging Christmas tree.

   However…one of my neighbors stopped in to tell me that, while she, too,  liked the idea of the hanging tree, some others did not.

   She said I shouldn’t worry about it because she set them all straight,

“I just tell them, it’s okay, they’re in Show Business.”

 

Apparently that explains everything.

 

Aside

A WORD IS AS POWERFUL AS WE MAKE IT

 

I have often been told, “a word is just as powerful as we let it be.”  I think it was one of George Carlen’s arguments against what he saw as a prudish, unrealistic objection to words that many people found repugnant. He felt that, if everyone just took the words up and accepted them they would loose their power.  They would just fade away than then people could go back to speaking more pleasantly.

I disagreed with him.  Those treasured four letter words that he defended so vehemently were created expressly to be – well – unpleasant, and, as soon as they loose their ability to offend, people discover – or invent – others.

So I take frequent stands against what I see (and hear) as vulgarity.  I let it be known that I do not appreciate it.  Actually I find it lazy and dull.  There are so many marvelously insulting words in the English language already available if folks would just learn enough to use them well.        

An example:  I was married to a very short man.  He made Napoleon and his complex seem tame.  His whole world was affected by his lack of height.

We fought – a lot.  But in all those fights I managed to avoid the one word that I knew would kill him.  I never called him “little.” 

It would have ended with me winning the battle, but it would have destroyed my opponent and I didn’t really want to do that.  No four letter word could have done that for me – or to him.

On the other hand, there are words that are perfectly good words that have been corrupted into being accusatory, pejorative, and/or insulting when they really shouldn’t be.

I remember reading an interview in which Harry Belafonte was asked how he felt about being described as a “tall, handsome black man.”  He said that he would prefer to be thought of as tall and handsome without the BLACK.

Admittedly I have never experienced being black.  And being white doesn’t often come up as an accusation.  At least not in my part of the world.

Mr. Belafonte heard black as  – what – limiting?  Pejorative?  Condescending?     It certainly has been used frequently as all those things.

On the other hand, if a tall slender, magnificent blonde walked in to a room, no one would leave out the word blonde in describing her.  It is part of the whole picture and is sometimes helpful.

 

I remember one time I was asked to meet a producer friend of a friend of mine.  She told me his name was Alan and he was VERY tall.  VERY good looking.  VERY talented.

What she didn’t tell me was that the man was black.  It really would have made it a whole lot easier to identify him as the gorgeous black man sitting two tables down who smiled at me rather tentatively several times before coming over to ask If I were, by chance, Betty?  And was I waiting for Alan.  In which case, here he was!

I ran in to this sensitivity while I was teaching script writing at Temple University in Philadelphia.  We were looking through some old scripts and one of my students – a black student – called my attention to a description of a guest on the show as “BLACK”

Why, he wanted to know, would they point out that the actor was black?  Would they do that if it were a white actor?

I was able to tell him that, if the show were predominately a black show then the introduction of a character who was white would definitely be noted.

It wasn’t an accusation, just part of the description.

Later, I ran into another variation on this theme while working on a Jewish newspaper.  I used the word Jew in a headline.

WRONG!  The acceptable word was Jew-ish.  Same reasons, different presentation.

The word Jew was seen as – what – limiting?  Pejorative?  Accusatory?

Well, yes. Through history the word  Jew has certainly been used in an inflammatory way. So now a Jew is Jew-ish.

How sad.

It is a word that should bring to mind amazing discoveries in the worlds of medicine, music, science, religion…name it, you will find Jews right there at the top of the heap..

My point, which I have been around the barn a couple of times before reaching, is that these terms must go back to being accepted as descriptive.  If the person being described as Black, or Jewish, or Catholic, or Latino etc refuse to recognize it as anything less than a compliment, people who hate will have to look elsewhere for their targets.

At least it’s a place to start.

                           *****************

Aside

     A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON MY WAY TO THE RODEO

 

Apparently my mention of  cowboys and rodeos last month, tweaked some interest on the part of my much appreciated readers.

Mine too.

I really did enjoy the time I spent all dressed up in a bright blue, beautifully embroidered (what I considered) western shirt and  riding pants and boots with slanted heels.  We knew the attire was authentic  because we all bought it from Rodeo Ben…Philadelphia’s version of “dresser to the star cowboys.”

I didn’t arrive at the rodeo bronco ready.  I also didn’t leave the rodeo bronco ready.  At least I was too smart to try that.  But the rest of the stuff I really loved.

It happened like this.

My father, Jack Steck, was kind of Mr. Philadelphia Show Business for a long, long time, and one of the many stops along the way was a Country Western RADIO show which he hosted every Friday night for about three years in the Town Hall in Philadelphia.  Father dubbed it Hayloft Hoedown.

There was a cast of – well, not thousands – but definitely 45 –  singers, dancers, comedians and relatives.  We relatives just sort of lolled around the stage, sat on bales of straw and looked authentic.  We also laughed loudly at the comedians – funny or not – and applauded frantically for the singers and dancers.  I had fun, but I did feel a mite underappreciated.  I even practiced a yodel but no one ever asked me to use that particular talent..

When my big shot at stardom happened, I was – well –  ill prepared is way understated.

You see, I never mastered the one basic talent I needed most.  That ability to admit I didn’t know something.  So, when the leader of the square dancers asked me if I could square dance I said “Sure.  Why?”

I should have asked that question first.  Turns out one of the ladies was pregnant and couldn’t dance that night…or for the foreseeable future.  So would I like to sub?

All right.  I can and could at the time do almost any kind of dance.  And since these fellows had been dancing for many years, I figured I could follow them anywhere.

I was wrong.  Dancing on stage?  Yes…but when I found out that the question included on doing the same dance on horse back…well, I should had said something like “Are you out of your mind?

 

But, of course, what I said was “Sure,”

Which explains why, for the next week, I spent a whole lot of hours racing through the woods of New Jersey, learning to control a dancing horse.  After all, one can’t make one’s debut as a rodeo rider until she at least knows which end of the Sleepy Hollow Ranch arena is marked off for her entrance.

I must explain here that I was not a total novice at riding.  After all, I was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in Moylan, PA, and one of our options was learning to ride a horse.  English style, of course.  As I remember it, the western saddle was treated with scorn and condescension, and I admit that riding one was a great deal like sitting in a rocking chair.  However, I stopped acting haughty about the skill involved when I learned that my insistence on saying “Yes, I Can!” was going to take me down some long and winding roads…like the one with the barrels at either end of the arena where we would dash madly one way, switch horses without touching the ground and race madly back to where we came from.

Do we need to discuss the number of spills I took learning how to do that?

No we do not.

We also don’t need to discuss the relay races or flag twirling.  We could mention that at any given moment, some part of my body was bluer than that shirt I told you about.

The fact is, that with all that practice and all the racing around,  I probably got more strange looks and requests for photographs when I was walking the Brahma Bull down to the lake for water.

That was my off-stage job at Sleepy Hollow.   Everyone took turns at the various behind the scenes duties, and this just happened to be mine.  The thing is, the lake we headed for was off the Ranch grounds and unsuspecting motorists who suddenly came upon a girl in a cowboy outfit and a bull apparently out for a stroll, were understandably shaken.

He was a good natured animal as bulls go I guess, but the thing you had to learn was that a Brahma Bull WILL NOT BE HURRIED.  To say that we strolled was like speed warp.  If we’d traveled any more slowly we would have been backing up.

On the program the bull was called something really provocative – like Devil’s Horn or something…But in private we referred to him as Pansy.  He was a sweet heart.  Just slow.  I think the fact that he tied up whoever had the job of walking him was what kept people from volunteering for other competitions.  On the other hand, as far as I was concerned, it kept other people from volunteering me for any other events.

 

 

WORD OF THE MONTH

 

I used the words “in camera” recently and someone in the group challenged me as to its authenticity.  It’s really a rather  lovely phrase meaning in a chamber or in private – secretly.

I realize it is not used frequently but it shouldn’t be unknown.  There are so many wonderful words out there just going to waste as we hurl ourselves into the slippery habit of using the shortest, and frequently the ugliest, words we can come up with at a given moment.

Remember, the more words you know, the more effective you can be whether you are being loving or scathingly insulting…the choices are almost endless…you just have to know what’s available to you. 

Aside

      
DINNER IS SERVED!
 
     I’ve spent a lot of time recently considering how the world has changed in the past few years.  The big subjects are very obvious.
Transportation for example.
     I made my first cross-country flight from my home in Philadelphia to California, in a prop plane!  Anyone but me ever ridden in a prop plane?  It’s a very different experience. And VERY slow as compared with leaving on a jet plane.
    Actually, that wasn’t my first plane trip.  I made my virgin excursion (had to use the phrase, I love it – virgin excursion.  Yep.  Still like that sound.) riding in a two-seater with one of the cowboys I mentioned in a story about rodeo riding.  If I didn’t, I will in a later Blog.
     Anyway, we were working a rodeo together and the guy mentioned he’d just gotten his pilot’s license and his wife wouldn’t fly with him.  Would I?  But of course I would.
     Apparently he thought he was still taming a Brahma bull and he rode that critter nearly to death.  But it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life,  We buzzed the rodeo and waved at the  cowering crowd.  It was great!  And yes, I would do it again in a heart beat.  
Communication:
    
I remember having a “Party-line” telephone. That meant we shared our phone line with at least one other family,  Sometimes we had two sharers which meant the best thing we could hope for was that they had no long winded relatives who would tie up the line for hours, chit-chatting about stuff that wouldn’t/couldn’t,  be half as exciting as the stuff we wanted to chat about.
     We moved on from that to a private line, which made my family one of the elite. Being VERY thoughtful people, we were careful not to point out the discrepancies in our situations. “OH, we would say with just a note of pity slipping thorough the thoughtful line, “you STILL have a party line?   Oh yes, I remember them. We used to have one.”
     The thing about party lines was that you could hear everything the other parties had to say, so the phone was a marvelous way to get information around without actually telling the story yourself. So if you did something wonderful you could expect the news to turn up someplace where everyone would learn about what a nice, clever, thoughtful, soul you really were without you ever having to point it out yourself.
     Now days I carry my phone with me.  It tells me everything I want – or don’t want – to know.  Like the time in Tokyo or what that Beiber(?) person did with his car last night.          On the other hand, it also allows everyone – I mean EVERYONE – to follow your every move.  If you doubt me, call your local government.
DINNER IS SERVED
    
However, the one thing I have been thinking about that really hits home about the societal changes in my world, are the words “Let’s get together for dinner!”
     When I was a kid, getting together for dinner meant just one thing.  You would be coming to my house for dinner.  And there would be plates!  Real, china plates that had to be washed by hand because the dishwasher was still a dream machine.
We had special plates for dinner when guests were coming.  For one thing, they all matched!  Okay, they might have been Depression Ware Pink, but they were ALL Depression Ware Pink!  That was a true sign of class!
     And dinner would be special.  For one thing, it might be the only time in the month that you ate actual meat.  We ate a lot of gravy that came in little packets that had to be mixed with water.  It was Beef-Flavored and we served it over bread which cost five cents a loaf.
     But the thing was, when you were invited to dinner, you knew you were special.  That the inviters cherished your company.  It was a lovely sensation.
     If you were a kid, it also meant you had to be on your best behavior,  No getting up and down and running around the house.  No  playing with the radio or any of that nonsense.  You were there for dinner and Dinner you should have. And enjoy.  That was one of the rules.
     I particularly remember one grand evening when my Mother invited our rich friends (the Kennedys) over.  Our whole family prepped for weeks.
     We had good manner drills and polite “speak only when spoken to” drills.   And drills on how not to slurp soup!
     And then there was dessert!  For this particularly grand occasion, Mother invested in ECLAIRS…otherwise known as “heaven on earth.”  And she warned us that the éclairs came with forks and we were not to say “Ooooh what are the forks for!”  So we didn’t.
     However, my father occasionally had a skewed sense of humor and when the éclairs were served he said loudly “What is it we’re not to say?   Wait – Oh yes, I remember.  We can’t say ‘OOOh what are the forks for.”
Everyone at the table laughed heartily except Mother.  I had the feeling she would never smile again.
     Anyway, I miss those important dinners.  I enjoy the picnic atmosphere and I am aware that a perfectly grilled steak or chicken served on paper plates is hard to beat.  But I would like to go back to an occasional EVENT-type dinner invitation, where all parties, including the kid, have to be present in the room as opposed to MIPA – Missing in Phone Action.

                      *************  
     On to my WORD of the month:  This time it’s about a word I really, really dislike.  It’s SOLIPSISM. According to my dictionary the word suggests that “the self is the only existent thing.”  Doesn’t that sound small minded?
     On a happier word-note…last night I heard a word I like but seldom use. The word is CHIMERA and I came across it many years ago while taking a brief plunge into Greek mythology.  There, chimera is a fire-breathing she monster having a lion’s head, a goat’s body and a serpent’s tail, not exactly warm and fuzzy.  These days you can find a more modern use for the word as an illusion or an unrealized dream.  It truly does come “trippingly to the tongue.”  I don’t remember who I’m quoting but I know I didn’t make that up.
 
By the way, if you come across a word that you have never heard before or a word that conveys something special to you, let me know and I’ll add it to my list.  Thank you all for reading.
 
                                    BETTY

 

Aside

THAT”S JUST PLAIN STUPID!

 

          I might have mentioned at some point, that I was getting a new – make that a different – car.  It’s a Kia and I’m liking it just fine. 

IN honor of this occasion, I have decided that I will hone my driving skills in order to guard against all those strange bumps and bruises that seem to appear almost magically once the car belongs to you.

         Among friends who have ridden with me, I am not noted for my patience.  I don’t like to be challenged on the road and am a bit quick to take offense.

I swore to myself that this time would be different. 

This time I would remain calm and controlled and avoid  aggressive drivers who, like me, react badly to real or imagined challenges of the road.. 

This time I would observe all the rules…use the turn indicator as needed, observe the speed limits whenever possible, stuff like that.

         Then I ran afoul of the law about  keeping one car length between you and the car ahead of you for every 10 MPH you are traveling..

         Really? 

Have you ever tried to do that on a freeway when all the cars are doing 70 or more MPH and jockeying for space?

I tried.  I really tried, but all I succeeded in doing was reinforcing something I (subliminally) already knew.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! 

Every single time I slowed down to allow the car in front of me to reach the proper distance of at least six car-lengths ahead, seven drivers from on either side of me, would speed up and jockey to fill the room.  Most of them seemed to be swearing at me for one reason or another.

I studied the problem from many angles.

Perhaps, if I just kept a steady 65 MPH this thing would automatically work itself out.  It didn’t.  It DID manage to infuriate other drivers who wanted to be doing 75.

Perhaps if I adjusted my speed and went a bit more slowly…but no, those others drivers seemed to resent that at least as much as the steady pace.

Then, rather unexpectedly the other day, the pace slowed.  With no visible cause, we were all coasting at about 20 MPH.  Then 10 – and then…no miles at all.

There was no explanation available.  I checked the radio but they didn’t’ seem to know yet that the 101 was in crisis. 

So we sat.

Suddenly the irate drivers who’d been so hell bent on getting to the head of the non existent line were glancing around making questioning gestures, throwing up their hands in mock despair. 

But friendly. 

We were all in it together.

Until we weren’t.

Just as suddenly as it stopped, the mass began to move again.

I tried waiting until the car ahead of me got a six car start.

Again, all the once friendly co-captives began blasting their horns and sweeping past me, obviously mouthing words I didn’t want to hear.

So I gave up.  It is my considered, and reasoned opinion, that the only way to obey that law is by backing up.  And, while I didn’t consult their damn book, I bet that’s against some law too!

                  ######################

I’ve got a new word for the month.  I don’t remember ever even seeing this word let alone using it in a sentence.  It’s LOUCHE. 

I came across it yesterday while reading AT HOME  A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson, and, according to my dictionary it means disreputable or of doubtful morality.

You’re welcome.

                  #######################

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARDLY A WORD WAS SPOKEN I spend a lot

Aside

HARDLY A WORD WAS SPOKEN

 

I spend a lot of my life in thrift shops.

 

Wait, let’s start over.  I spend too much of my life in thrift shops.  It’s kind of an addiction.  But I get some of the best buys in the world.

 

My favorite shop at the moment is one run by the Council of Jewish Women. Actually, there are several of them near me.  I love them all and they love me.

 

Most recently I was at the one in Van Nuys, searching for some summery blouses among the group marked SHORT SLEEVE BLOUSE  $5.00 AND UP.

 

The spaces between the racks holding all these treasures is very small, and you almost always literally bump into someone coming up the aisle you are going down.

 

Now this can be a pleasant experience or a  nasty one, frequently, I believe, depending on how successful your trip has been so far.  At the moment, I was not doing too well.

 

The woman earnestly searching her way toward me argued against this idea.  She picked up and put back each item thatKcaught her eye, never quite finding whatever she was looking for.

 

Once or twice I watched her linger over  a particular blouse, obviously hoping things would improve.  They didn’t.  At least not while I was watching.   But she kept smiling.  Inevitably we met and some had to give.  So we did that little dance where we both moved alright, always in the same direction.

 

But she kept right on smiling, so I did too.  I was certainly not going to be your typically unpleasant bargain hunter.  We finally worked it out.  Silently, grinning like Krazy Kat.

 

She reached out and picked up another pretty blouse, and this time she looked SO pleased.  She liked it.   Very lightly, she touched my arm.  She held out the chosen piece and ask what I thought.  (At least I hoped that was what she was doing because she spoke only Spanish, while I on the other hand knew only two phrases in Spanish:  “¿Dónde está el baño de damas and cuánto cuesta?)

 

Neither seemed to fit the occasion.  She as waiting.  She asked again.  The pressure was mounting.

 

Bueno? I ventured?

 

That did it.  She practically swooned she was so happy.  I, on the other hand, in fear of the idea that she might think I knew what I was saying, would continue the conversation, fled to the comparative safety of the  LONG SLEEVE WOMEN’S BLOUSES $6.00 AND UP aisle.

 

Things didn’t get better for me.  I wasn’t even slightly tempted to buy anything.   Which is not a good thing.  I really, really love finding something lovely hidden in the dross.

 

If I didn’t know how pleasant I just insist upon being, I would have to describe my mood as  – GRUMPY.

 

Until…

 

Another light touch on my arm, and there she weas again, beaming a  me.   She was holding out a lovely pink and grey,, long-sleeved dress.

 

I said Bueno again and hoped for the best and she said “Si.”  But she didn’t go away.  She held out the dress to me.  She gestured and postured and almost bowed until I understood.  The dress was meant for me!

 

This time she actually did bow and she took hold of my arm and lead me toward the mirror on the wall.  She pointed to the mirror.  She pointed at me.  She pointed at the dress and she bowed again.  Still beaming.

 

I took the dress.  I held it up to me and it was lovely.  I checked the size.  It was a four!  Okay…I haven’t been a size four since the day after I was born.  I stopped smiling at the mirror.   I stopped smiling at the lady.  I tried to hand the dress back to her.  But her eyes lost their sparkle and her face didn’t beam any more,  She looked so sad.

 

I checked the price.  $8.00.  A small price to pay for someone’s joy, I thought.  I figured I could buy the dress.  She would continue to be happy.  I would continue to be flattered that she thought I could fit into it.  That’s a lot of happiness for eight bucks.  I could redonate next week.

 

But wait, as the saying goes…there’s more.

 

I brought the dress home, and just on a whim, I tried on the pretty size four.  It fit.  I stood and stared at the lady in the mirror.  It was still moi, but I was WEARING A SIZE FOUR dress.

 

Expect to see a lot of this dress,  I may only take it off every now and again to have it cleaned.  Did I mention that for the eight bucks I got a pure silk dress from China?  Well is was and I did. 

 

You may not get to see all the delicate detail of the design because I plan to wear the dress in-side-out.  Because this time the beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder,  It’s in the heart of a size eight woman wearing a size four dress that fits.

 

                                    ************

 

                            IN SEARCH OF CIVILATION

 

As you have probably noticed if you’ve read more than one of these Blogs, I am not inclined to take on deep, gloomy topics.  There are enough people doing that already.

 

However

 

Right.  Spoiler alert.  I am about to get – DEEP.

 

I love the English language.  I find it colorful and even beautiful sometimes.  But those times are growing dramatically  fewer.

 

Since starting on Facebook I have been delighted by some of the things people get excited about.  Animals.  The scenery that surrounds them.  Their families.  A trip to The Canyon.  All kinds of things.

 

But I have also been appalled at the hate that I read everyday – the name calling where which people of all persuasions feel free to vilify anyone who takes a view opposite their own.

 

Theoretically we agree that free speech is one of the world’s – our world’s – great gifts.  But we only seem to want it for folks who think as we think.,  Everyone else is fair game.

 

Believe me, abusing the opposition is no way to make someone see the reasonable, clear headed, rational being you are. It just reinforces something they already think they know about you:  That you are narrow-minded, opinionated and unwilling to listen to any beliefs but your own.

 

 

AMEN.