Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger Died Today

    Many of us woke up to someone saying “Pete Seeger died today” on the news.  So it becomes a day to mark on our calendars.  A day to sit and think of one of his many songs – “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Where Have all the Flowers Gone,” or “If I Had a Hammer.”  Hum it.  Sing it.  How often were you touched by his songs, by his singing?  Take a moment out and reflect on what he brought to your life, to the lives of others. 

    Recall that our government almost put an end to his singing.  To his songs.  Virtually no one would book him after he refused to give information about his beliefs to the House Unamerican Activities Committee.  Remember Pete Seeger the next time someone needs your help to better your neighborhood, your town, our country, our world. 

    Sorry to see you go, fella.  You brought beauty, joy, and the possibility of meaningful political action to many of our citizens.  Thank you. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Murphy’s Law or Elderly Parents Helping Their Children Move – Episode One

    I am not sure where the volunteering started.  But I can certainly recall that when one of our kids finally found a home that would comfortably house their expanded family someone volunteered my wife and I as helpers.  There was no coercion, no misunderstanding.  Just ignorance, stupidity, and lack of judgement.  That’s not fair.  What was lacking can easily be stated: the stamina of middle age.  The brawn of earlier athletic days.  The reflexes of youth.  And just a tad of the luck we all rely on to get by day to day.
    Let me relate some of the details in the story, and you, kind reader, be the judge. 

    Step one was driving to New Jersey.  Luckily we were going on Martin Luther King Day.  And what luck, the beautiful new Maryland House Rest Stop on I 95 just opened that weekend.  Check the pictures out.  Lots of glass.  See those doors? Step inside and there is about a ten foot vestibule and another set of doors.  Even on cold days cold air doesn’t come in.  And once you’re in, and done, it’s time to go out.  Unfortunately my wife didn’t notice that half of those interior set of doors weren’t doors or openings.  They were brand new big very clear glass frames.  After I said “I’ll meet you in the car,” she walked into one of those stationary tempered panes.  Embarrassed she went to the car and nursed her bleeding lip, and her banged up eyebrow (soon to become a full shiner). 

    She sat in the car and wondered, “How am I going to tell Joe that I walked into the (glass) wall?  It’s so embarrassing.”  In the meantime, I had bought my coffee, put in milk and sugar, stirred and covered it, and began walking toward the car.  I too saw the outside doors, but no inside glass pane.  I too marched into the rigid wall of glass.  Red blood mixed with hot coffee on the floor and the brand new, clean as a hospital syringe, piece of glass.  I had a bloody nose, cut on the bridge, bleeding from the interior.  I was down for the count.  Professional first aiders appeared from no where, eager to practice their ministrations in their new rest stop, so as to insure they were ready for the big time catastrophe.  I stood up.  I struggled to be free of their grip.  I failed.

    “Sit down here.”  I did.

    “I have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”

    “Should we call an ambulance?”

    “I have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”  I stood up.

    “Don’t get up, please.”

    “Get him some cold compresses, bandages”

    “I have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”

    “Are you OK?”

    “Of course, I just have to go, my wife is waiting for me in the car.”

    “We’ll let her know you are in here.  What kind of car is she in?”  I tell them.  Mortified that I did something so idiotic as to walk into a building wall.  What will my new status be in the family?  Family clown.  I tell them the car.

    Finally, with an armful of medical supplies, I am freed, and walk out (still with a tiny bit of coffee in that crushed cup) to the car.  To my surprise, there is my lovely wife, being told not to stand up, that they will get medical attention to her in just a minute or two.  She looks at me.  I look at her.  I go into the car, speechless.  Up goes her window.  On goes the engine and if anyone left rubber peeling out of the Maryland House parking lot, it was my wife.  We laughed for a while, and then realized we had done some seriously visible damage to our faces. 

    Were we prepared to help our kids in their move 3 hours to the north?  More to come in the next episode of Murphy’s Law.