I Tried to Save a Cat’s Life Yesterday

This whole Covid thing has been getting to me.

My husband keeps reminding me that people go through way worst things, and I get what he’s saying.

But I have been held up in my house for eight long months.

I have been to four places during my eight-month odyssey:

CVS for a flu shot and three medical offices.

The last time I put gas in my car was in late February.

The weather channel predicted an unseasonably warm November 28.

So, we took advantage of what would probably be the last time we could enjoy our family outdoors and invited them over.

It had been a lovely day, but as we walked back from the park, there was a crowd of kids and one woman stooping over something in the middle of a fairly busy street.

The “something” was a black and white tuxedo cat.

Just so you know, I’m not an animal person and haven’t been a pet owner for close to fifty years.

But just because I don’t have animals doesn’t mean I don’t care about them.

Anyway, the woman at the scene said that the cat was pregnant. The poor cat seemed to have been hit by a car and was seriously injured. The woman took a box out of her car, placed the cat in it, sat the box on the sidewalk by the curb, and drove away.

What? Did she leave the cat on the side of the road to die? Pregnant and all?

Some of my family walked back to the house and suggested that I do the same. But three of us stayed with the cat, furiously making calls to 911, animal shelters, animal control, Nassau County police, and the auxiliary police.

Every call we made resulted in the same response: There was nothing they could do.

I asked the kids to keep an eye on the cat while I went home to figure out something. I made some more calls, sent out an email to a rescue center, grabbed a heavy towel, and ran the six blocks back to the cat.

The kids cheered when they saw me—what a sweet bunch of kids they were. The cat was trying to climb out of the box. But then I covered her with the heavy towel, and she relented and put her weary head down to rest.

By now, it was past 4 pm, and it was getting damp and cold. But I couldn’t leave that damn cat.

I called animal control three more times and then called the Fourth Precinct a second time. The officer on duty again reiterated that there was nothing they could do. In tears, I explained to the officer that my heart was breaking for the cat.  I know the officer felt terrible because I could hear it in his voice, so I pleaded with him: “Please, officer, can’t you help me? The cat’s pregnant.”

He paused for a second and then said, “Don’t be upset miss, I’ll get someone over there.”

When the thirty-something police officer arrived, he brought tears to my eyes because he reminded me of my son. I can’t explain why.

He took a look in the box, made some calls from his car, and then said he couldn’t get permission from his superiors to take the cat to a shelter. But at least he tried.

I called animal control for the fourth time and tearfully said that the cat had to be freezing if I was cold. I asked the woman what kind of animal shelter would allow an injured and pregnant cat to freeze to death? I finally convinced her to send someone to pick up the cat, although she warned me that it could take an hour or so.

Those kids stayed with me until close to 6 pm. They would have stayed longer, but their parents called them all in.

I stood there in the cold, baby talking to the soon-to-be mommy cat, who was probably already dead.

At 6:30 pm, a van pulled up, and a young woman took the cat away. She gave me her card and told me to call in the morning for an update.

I had a sleepless night. My worries about the pregnant cat turned into concerns about Covid, school closings, my mom, vaccines, elections, my son, the countless animals out there in the frigid cold, and the fact that I had surrounded myself with all those kids who weren’t wearing masks.

Just my luck that after eight long months of quarantine, I could get coronavirus by trying to save a stray cat.

I called the Town of Hempstead this morning and received the sad news that the cat was deceased by the time it arrived at the animal shelter the night before.

I thanked the woman, who in turn thanked me and said, “You know in these trying times, there are a lot of really kind people among us. I like to call them angels on earth. Never forget that there are countless people out there who truly care. Too many to count. That’s a beautiful thing, right?”

I had been so busy feeling Covid sorry for myself, so obsessed with counting this vote or counting that ballot, that I forgot about the countless people out there who genuinely care.

Too many to count.

I said goodbye to the animal shelter lady, who in turn said:

“Never forget that there are angels among us and never stop caring about all of God’s children.”

RIP my almost mommy cat.

Happy Birthday Nancy

Nancy is my beloved mother’s name. And for my first fifteen years, she was my only Nancy.

Until, in 1968, I met my second Nancy, at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut.

She was a vision of beauty. Tall, blonde, face like an angel.

I don’t recall the exact circumstances of how we met. All I remember is Nancy’s kindness, naivete, inclusiveness. She was shockingly unaware of her star quality or the enormity of her heart.

She was a breath of fresh air in a town full of snobs.

And she chose me to be her friend at a heartbreaking time in my life when nobody seemed to want to give me a chance.

My second most favorite Nancy.

A year ago today, we celebrated her 66th birthday together. I hadn’t seen her in way too many years, but it didn’t matter. We picked up right where we left off.

We pigged-out on the best ever lobster rolls at P.J. Clarke’s in NYC.

And then topped it off with a breathtaking rooftop view at the Peninsula Hotel.

We hung out at my house until all hours of the night, like we were fifteen again, and played Twister at the TWA Hotel.

As the pandemic rages on, the photos from Nancy’s birthday have been comforting and a reminder to make every moment count.

Happy birthday, my dear friend. I love and miss you.

Xo Teri

My Commonplace Life

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at them.” ~ David Brinkley

The quote above, discovered over thirty years ago, struck me as so profound that I immediately wrote it down and referred to it in all my times of trouble. It also resulted in the birth of commonplacing my life.

I cataloged my commonplace life in files marked “Mortar” and “Bricks.” The file folders aren’t organized in any particular order, but to read through them is to know all of me. Some of my commonplace collection is so searingly revealing that I hope they’re discovered and dissected long after I’m gone.

Call them the ghost of me.

I use the “Mortar” as my commonplace life cement, in the hopes that it hardens enough to bind and secure the “Bricks” that others throw at me.

In so doing, I am masterfully adept at sealing and securing the irregular and uneven gaps—brick by brick—to recalibrate the enormous weight of them in the hopes of creating a safe and stable fortress.

I regularly use the “Mortar” files to soften and equally distribute the crushing pressure from the vile files of “Bricks.”

Commonplace books were popular as early as the Middle Ages and used by writers and scholars as a way of cataloging and memorializing the knowledge they amassed from their life experiences— their loves, their peers, their mentors, their books, and their loss.

Commonplace books, also referred to as commonplacing, are similar to scrapbooks, but they aren’t journals and have no chronological patterns.

Every commonplace system is unique to its creator and serves as a window into who they are, their beliefs, their fears, and their passions. Commonplacing is, more often than not, a lifelong collection of revealing inspirations—the deep caverns of a mind laid bare.

Like so many others who have commonplaced for centuries before me, I have collected thousands of compiled gems.

And I often peruse them when I am questioning life, love, and loss. It is during my darkest hours that I comb through my treasured collection of musings.

My files of “Mortar” and “Bricks” have expanded over the years to include hundreds of Word docs, my blog The Teri Tome, my author website TeriSchure.com, my Instagram account AllDollhousedUp, and reams of hanging Pendaflex folders.

I would love to see my commonplacing passed down to later generations, to memorialize forever the breadth and depth of who I was.

“To all the bullies, abusers,
and brick throwers I have known:
It took a lifetime to realize
that I am a giant when compared
to your tiny ruthless selves.
People like you hide their insecurities
by bullying and abusing people like me.
You’re not powerful enough to
extinguish my light.
You don’t even know it,
but the evil you have sown is your curse.
Your sickness will undo you.
No one heals themselves
by wounding another.
You have no power over me.
The power is mine, all mine.”
~ Teri Schure

Miniature Sukkah

As a result of the coronavirus, the family dollhouse has become my most treasured possession.

I’ve spent the past six months quarantined with my husband. And were it not for the dollhouse, I’m not sure I would have kept my sanity.

It’s not the dollhouse itself that gives me comfort and stability; it’s the family and friends I’ve created within it.

Over the past 30 weeks, I’ve significantly upgraded their digs by removing a staircase, two walls, and some old flooring. I’ve installed carpeting and wallpaper, and I went a little crazy with lighting. Cha-ching.

My make-believe family and friends don’t have any last names, but they all have first names. And there is no fighting allowed. Everyone gets along, and I insisted that they have no political stance. However, I did insist that they had access to masks.

I needed my dollhouse people to be free of drama and conflict. I couldn’t bear for them to be disagreeable. I needed plain old stable, kind, and caring folks who look after each other.

I didn’t focus on their religion at all. I was born Greek Orthodox, baptized Catholic at five, and converted to Judaism at 30, so I don’t care what my dollhouse peeps believe in as long as they keep the peace.

Every year, coinciding with the first full moon of the fall season, I build a sukkah for the Jewish festival of Sukkot—a homage to the 40 years of wandering in the desert.

The sukkah, a house that is open to the world, is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long holiday. As is the fragility of our lives, the sukkah walls are flimsy, and there’s no roof.

Eating, congregating, and even sleeping under the stars in a sukkah is meant to remind Jews of the vulnerability of life and the fleeting nature of their existence.

Fragile, fleeting, and vulnerable. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

During Sukkot, I invite friends and family over for sukkah parties where we schmooze and recall the precarious existence of the Israelites as they wandered on their desert journey, full of danger, disease, and uncertainty.

The biblical book read in honor of Sukkot is the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes.

The sentiments expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 were used in the well-known Byrd’s song from the 1960s: “To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn – and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

Every year, the sukkah helps me to not only get in touch with the outdoors but to let go of the meaningless and to focus on the beauty and purpose of my life—even if it’s only for one cold, crisp week.

But this year, I knew I couldn’t build my sukkah. And it depressed me terribly to acknowledge that I would have to forgo constructing the safe and mellow space that always brought me such peace, quiet, and tranquility.

And even though it was a huge undertaking to build and decorate the sukkah for just one week of use, I always found such happiness and pleasure in the social aspect.

The hardest thing to accept about Covid-19 is that it denies me access to my most treasured resource and comfort; my beloved family and friends.

So, I thought, why not build a dollhouse sukkah so that my make-believe friends and family can shelter in place?

And build it, I did—a sacred, welcoming space, and a place full of warmth, companionship, strength, courage, and healing.

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

As I built my dollhouse sukkah, I tried to recreate my actual sukkah. And as I cut and glued and stapled, I thought nonstop about the vulnerabilities of life, the importance of family and friends, and the resilience of the human spirit.

And I have to say; it was restorative, uplifting, and valuably therapeutic.

And the most perfect replica of my wished reality.

This blog post is dedicated to my beautiful friend Ann who died 3/28/20 at 65 years young. RIP my dear Annie Pannie.

What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

I recently had a weird dream that was all jumbled up, but I recall that the question shrouded me in regret and remorse:

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

I jumped out of bed, grabbed my journal, and wrote it down.

Then I tossed and turned, asking myself the question over and over again.

It was a fitful night, and I finally gave up trying to sleep and began writing this blog post.

What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?

What would you do?

Rosh Hashanah, a time of repenting and forgiveness, begins at sundown tonight—Friday, September 18.

There it is—that number 18. It always manages to creep up and in, whenever I’m soul searching.

“The days of awe,” also known as the “ten days of repentance,” include Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the days in between, during which time Jews reflect on how we cycle through the year, bring it to a close, and begin again.

I don’t know about you, but I could really use a new beginning.

In the old days, when I would attend Temple during the High Holy Days, I would recite the same prayers every year. Year after year, the same tedious prayers. But this year is like no other year.

In thinking about what has happened over the past twelve months, I am regretful that I ever thought the prayers were routine—or worse, boring.

So, I pulled out the prayers today. And yes, they’re the same old familiar prayers, but in a calming, rejuvenating way.

Like all of you, my circumstances have forever changed.

The past twelve months have brought and wrought a harrowing narrative coupled with a Groundhog Day corona-routine that has rocked my world.

I looked back in my journal to remind me of all the things that happened over my past twelve-month life. If only I could go back to a simpler, safer time. If only I could go back to twelve months ago.

Last September 18, I had a Me Too awakening that left me with a glorious sense of acceptance. Finally. And of course, it happened on the 18th.

In October, I drove with my husband to Manchester, Vermont, for a wedding. The wedding was terrific, but it was the hours of driving, exploring, and conversating that reminded me of why I love spending time with my guy.

In November, I flew to London with my daughter, and we had an unforgettable ten days. I had never been to the UK, and will probably never get there again. I wish I would have known that back then.

On December 31, I threw a New Year’s Eve party, and we all cheered and celebrated the coming of 2020 with steak, lobster, and champagne. Happy 2020! Happy New Year!

In January, my grandson turned ten years old! And I recall thinking that it seemed like yesterday that I gently held his tiny swaddled body at the hospital. Back in the day when I assumed that I had all the time in the world to spend with him.

In February, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday in Brooklyn, New York, at an annual Peter Luger’s extravaganza with her two best friends. Porterhouse, thick-cut bacon, and an ice-cold martini, oh my!

And then, well, everything changed.

On March 7, I went into quarantine. I haven’t left my house since.

I remember the date, not because Coronavirus happened, but because it was the birthday of a special someone. A someone I’ve never met and who is a beloved and integral part of what I would do if I weren’t afraid.

On April 3, I corona-celebrated my 67th birthday. How the hell did 67 happen? But the day is seared in my memory forever, not because I turned 67, but because my Aunt Mary and one of my best friends I affectionately called Annie Pannie, were both buried that day.

On May 10, I got to see my daughter for the first time since we celebrated her birthday in February. The best Mother’s Day ever.

On June 21, we spent Father’s Day with two of our grandchildren, albeit socially distant. We hadn’t seen them since the prior November. And wow, how they had grown.

On July 21, I was fired from my executive director job by the deputy mayor of Cedarhurst, New York, because I asked to sit out the promoting and organizing of the annual summer Sidewalk Sale, which in the past years brought thousands of people to the shopping village. Sorry, not sorry, but I didn’t see anywhere in my job description that it was okay to kill people.

In August, I celebrated my 21st wedding anniversary with my husband corona-style, i.e., I warmed up whatever leftovers I had in my fridge, followed by a two-hour television binge of Married at First Sight.

And now, here we are on September 18, 2020.

I’m contemplating what I would do if I weren’t afraid—to reach out, and ask a most treasured person for their forgiveness.

I recently read that in asking for forgiveness, we often overlook the balance between the one who asks for forgiveness and the one who forgives.

I find it difficult to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made. And even though I recognize that I’m a work in progress, I continually beat myself up over events I wish I could go back and change.

I desperately want a do-over. A chance to make things right and put the mistakes and regrets behind me and out of my life forever.

I would ask for a second chance—that’s what I would do if I weren’t afraid.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve asked this person for forgiveness many times.

So many times that I’ve all but given up.

I said, “all but.”

Before I was Jewish, I was Catholic and taught that I was born with original sin. I always took that to mean that I was predisposed to making mistakes—a lot of them.

And I learned over the years that sh** happens. But it’s never too late to make amends.

I’ve personally given plenty of loved one’s numerous chances. Some took full and loving advantage, and others did not. But I don’t regret forgiving.

So, I’m going to ask for forgiveness, even though I’m afraid.

And I know that if I’m forgiven—which I probably won’t be—we will never be able to get back to the way we were. Asking and receiving forgiveness doesn’t mean all is erased.

I’m not naïve.

I know that if I’m forgiven, it will never eliminate the anguish of the injury or the memory of the pain I caused. I’m just hoping to break the impasse—to unbreak two hearts.

And tonight, when I light the Sabbath candles, I’ll pray for a new beginning. Not just for me, but for all of us.

Because we are in a very dark time, and there is way too much suffering and human wounds out there.

And even though I’m afraid, I will send that email. I won’t call because I know I’ll never get a callback.

I’m hoping, but not expecting a response to my apology.

And until I draw my last breath, I will pray for the courage to keep trying and to never lose hope.

Even though I’m afraid.

Adagio for Strings

In 1971, I majored in music theory and minored in piano at a little known college with a decent ranking music department in Brevard, North Carolina.

My most memorable class assignment was to write an essay about the one piece of work I would share with a friend to try to hook them into loving classical music.

The assignment was to choose the piece, write about the composer, and explain how it hooked me in.

I chose American composer Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

I never found the original essay, but I recently found a practice sketchbook full of poems and random thoughts, including a couple of pages about Barber and his magnificent work.

The notebook was a real find, and reading through the part about Adagio for Strings hit my own heartstrings and prompted me to bolt to the computer and write this blog post.

Samuel Barber was a pianist and just twenty-six years old when he wrote the approximately eight-minute second movement to his String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11 — Quatuor Diotima.

His inspiration was Virgil’s Georgics, a didactic poem divided into four sections.

This is the passage from Georgic III that was supposed to have inspired Barber:

As in mid ocean when a wave far off
Begins to whiten, mustering from the main
Its rounded breast, and, onward rolled to land
Falls with prodigious roar among the rocks,
Huge as a very mountain: but the depths
Upseethe in swirling eddies, and disgorge
The murky sand-lees from their sunken bed.

I can almost envision Barber’s epiphanic reaction to Virgil’s genius, and how he might recreate its awe-inspiring impact through a sorrowful musical quartet of strings.

Reading The Georgics out loud in English today, while simultaneously listening to Adagio for Strings, I rediscovered myriad layers of beautiful, melodic, heartbreaking, and inspiring verses.

Barber wrote the movement while living in Austria in 1936, as the world watched while Adolf Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles and marched 22,000 troops into the Rhineland, just east of Germany’s border with France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Adagio of Strings didn’t have its debut until November of 1938 when America was still reeling from the Great Depression, Europe was sliding into the chaos of war, and the Nazis were terrorizing the German Jews.

Now, I don’t know if I’m describing the musicality of Adagio correctly, but for me, it quietly starts with the stirring simplicity of a single note played by the violins. It mournfully sits alone for two long beats, followed by the viola and the cello.

The movement gathers momentum in a sequential cathartic pattern of notes.

The piece triumphantly reaches its heartbreaking prodigious roar of a climax at just over six minutes, and you think it’s over.

It’s so moving; you almost need it to be over.

But it’s not.

While you take in the climatic enormity of what you’ve just heard, the deafening moment of silence is interrupted by a chilling second entrance. From the pent-up depths, the movement comes churning up from the sunken bed and then softly fades away.

Ebb and flow. Ebb and flow.

The coming and going. Or is it the decline and regrowth?

Music aficionado Sally White of Westport, Connecticut turned me on to Adagio for Strings back in the late ’60s. The first time I heard it, Sally literally held me up from crumbling into a heap.

Adagio of Strings was an enormous comfort to me in tough times, and I long ago decided that it would be the last act at my funeral.

My college essay notes were just a bunch of words and dangling modifiers, but reading them today, forty-eight years later, I sadly know exactly what I felt and meant to say.

The nuance

quiet

powerless but powerful

every quiet changing chord

changes

the reminder

of me

the slight rallentando

the teardrops falling

watching them

drip drop

sadness, loneliness

hopeless

manipulated

robbed

the rubato, the manipulation, the robbing

transparent

I can’t hide

no one can hide

the moving intimacy

the heartbreaking immediacy

the poignancy

emotional urgency

heartbreaking strings

heartstrings

moving quartet

That melancholy entrance

the heartbreaking climax. At the very end, two chords

Two seconds, maybe three,

Seems forever

The end

The string family

tragic

The violin, the baby

the viola, the older sister,

and the cello,

the cello.

Barber suffered from depression and alcoholism and died of cancer in 1981, at the age of 70.

Fast forward to 2005, when Dutch DJ and producer Tiësto turned Adagio of Strings into a dance extravaganza.

When I first heard it, I was beyond skeptical.

Tiësto started his repertoire with a thud thud thud.

I thought that the heavy pounding was no way to honor Barber’s classical movement.

And then Tiësto brilliantly stopped and paused for a second before throwing in the original Adagio angst.

I weirdly yelled out, YESSSSS loudly.

Then he shouted, “Make some noise,” and broke into a fist-pumping feel-good anthem that was invigorating and filled me with hope and recovery.

Tiësto took Adagio of Strings from its original heartbreak and conquest to liberation and salvation.

Make some freakin’ noise.

Like BAM—try as you might, nothing is going to take me down.

Ever.

The full String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11 (Quatuor Diotima) by Samuel Barber. 

Winter Is Coming

I am deeply entrenched in a two-person pandemic pod with no outdoor possibilities at the end of the tunnel.

And my plus-one solitary confinement doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon.

I check out Facebook for proof of outside life. And it distresses me to see so many people living seemingly normal ones.

Not because I’m not happy for them. But because I’m not ready for normal. I don’t think that normal as I once knew it, will ever exist for me again.

I’m feeling awkward and downright anxious about socially interacting with others. And the thought of returning to my normal life terrifies me.

It took just six months for my values to upend themselves. The person I was BC (before Corona) has disappeared.

I’ve become a pro at mani-pedis. I’m okay with my greying hair. I read more, I write more, and I love that I know every single ingredient that I put into my mouth. I‘m not only eating healthier, but I also have a consistent and successful workout routine. It took a plague to reach my weight goal.

I watch the birds build their family nests, I revel in my dollhouse projects, and yes, I literally smell the roses in my back yard—a lot.

I grew tomatoes and scallions for the first time, I’m adept at pruning my trees, and I’m okay with scrubbing our four toilets. Scrub a dub dub—my house has never been cleaner.

But there is a dark side to my confinement.

The longer I stay in, the less I want to venture out.

The mere thought of having to go to my doctor for a flu shot causes my heart to pound.

And I haven’t been to a grocery store in six months.

Let me rephrase that: I haven’t been anywhere in six months, and I have no immediate plans to leave my house before spring.

Well, I take that back. I plan on getting a flu shot, no matter how stressful. And come hell or high water, I am going to vote.

I watch what’s happening in the real world through the lens of my living room bay window.

Day in and day out, I obsessively observe outside life from the safety and security of my inside life.

I see a ton of thirty-something families walking and socializing together.

Without masks.

I see young children playing together and teenagers walking with their friends.

I see cars coming and going.

But what I don’t see are any old folks. And I don’t see any older adults visiting the young families on my block.

Although I recently saw an elderly couple get out of their car and wave to the family across the street from us—one measly sixty-something couple.

My young neighbors apparently just had a baby, because the mommy carefully and proudly held up her bundle of joy for the older people to see.

Watching this family blow socially distanced kisses to each other brought me to tears.

It also made me think about the logistics of how and when my husband and I would re-emerge from our self-imposed confinement.

Would we take the outdoor plunge together? What if he’s ready and I’m not? I shuddered at the thought and forced myself to put it out of my head.

From the confines of my property lot, I have wistfully watched spring and summer come and go.

And I am mentally preparing myself for winter.

To quote the motto of House Stark: “WINTER IS COMING.”

The meaning behind the Game of Thrones mantra was to prepare for the worst. It was a dire warning combined with persistent vigilance to be ready for anything that could happen. And whatever happened was always BAD.

The Starks, who were the rulers of the North, ceaselessly prepared for the coming of winter, which inevitably hit them devastatingly hard.

The word winter was used as a metaphor to convey the dark and cold season and the imminent danger, destruction, and death.

When the words “Winter is Coming” were uttered, it was always right before the sh*t was about to hit the fan.

As I gaze out my bay window and watch the leaves turning brown, I’m hoping for a brave new world.

But in my heart, I know winter is coming.

And I’m not ready.

When the Moon Meets the Sun

This past Saturday marked 25 weeks since I have self-quarantined with my husband.

Day in and day out, all I have is Zoom, my husband, my cooking, my blog, my dollhouse projects, and the television.

Watching the protests from the safety of my home has hit me in a way I have never felt before.

At 67 years old, I’ve finally figured out that the legacy of slavery continues to devastate black lives.

It took a coronavirus pandemic for me to realize that there was already a pandemic in America. A plague way worse than the coronavirus.

How naïve I’ve been to think that we were all in this together.

Together? No. Not so.

I watch the news, and I see the hateful Facebook posts from people that I thought I knew, and I wonder if blacks will ever achieve racial equality in this country.

My husband discovered the Americana girl band Our Native Daughters while listening to an Israeli radio station on his nightly walk through our local park.

Their song Moon Meets the Sun inspired him so much that when he got home, he excitedly searched YouTube for me to hear it.

The lyrics were haunting, and they made me so mad.

They made me want to help somehow, but I’m stuck in my house, and I’m afraid to venture out.

The longer I stay in, the harder it is to make a move.

I want so badly to fix something.

Anything.

But I can’t even leave my house, so how the hell can I fix racism?

When the day is done, the moon meets the sun, we’ll be dancing. You put the shackles on our feet. But we’re dancing. You steal our very tongue. But we’re dancing. You steal our children. But we’re dancing. You make us hate our very skin. But we’re dancing.

Please listen to the song.

The sun and the moon align every 18 years.

My lucky number is 18.

The Hebrew word for “life” is (chai), which has a numerical value of 18.

And over and over again, the number 18 and multiples of 18 have had an eerie significance in my life.

I thought about the number 18 as it relates to what’s happening to our country and how 18 might fix it.

And then I thought about all those 18-year old kids that need to vote.

They need to fix us.

I pray the kids will make the change.

When you’ve finished listening to Moon Meets the Sun, there is another YouTube video by Our Native Daughters titled Barbados that you must watch. The link to it is at the bottom of this blog post.

Barbados left me remorseful and covered with goosebumps. It’s more of a poem than a song.

And it got stuck in my head.

So much so, that I needed to share it with someone, somewhere out there.

Barbados

I own I am shocked at the purchase of slaves
And fear those who buy them and sell them are knaves
What I hear of their hardships, their tortures, and groans
It’s almost enough to draw pity from stones

I pity them greatly, but I must be mum
For how could we do without sugar and rum?
Especially sugar, so needful we see?
What? Give up our desserts, our coffee, and tea?!

Besides, if we do, the French, Dutch, and Danes
Will heartily thank us, no doubt, for our pains
If we do not buy the poor creatures, they will
And tortures and groans will be multiplied still

I own I am shocked at prisoners in the mines
And kids sewing clothes for our most famous lines
What I hear of their wages seems slavery indeed
It’s enough that I fear it’s all rooted in greed

I pity them…

I pity them greatly, but I must be mum
For what about nickel, cobalt, lithium?
The garments we wear, the electronics we own?
What? Give up our tablets, our laptops, and phones?!

Besides, if we do, the prices will soar
And who could afford to pay one dollar more?
Sitting here typing it seems well worth the price
And you there, listening on your favorite device
This bargain we’re in, well, it’s not quite illicit
So relax, my friend, we’re not all complicit

Please watch Barbados

 

Disillusioned Trumpite Blues

Woody Logan, who wrote this poem/song, reached out to me last Saturday.

I’m not bragging when I say that I get a ton of emails, story ideas, songs, poems—a whole gamut of emotional material.

But I have to say that when I read Woody’s lyrics, they got to me on so many levels.

And the guy is so humble and wants you to know that “Admittedly I sing horribly. Perhaps somebody can do it better.”

His singing ability was of no relevance to me.

His words, his plight, his poetic verse showed me a side of the “other side” I have never understood, or dare I say, embraced before.

Woody has laid his poem down as a blues song in two versions. The Short Sampler (3 minutes) and the Full Epic (21 minutes), both of which I have included at the end of this blog post.

I’ll let Woody’s poem/song speak for itself, except I can’t help but highlight the lyrics that hit me the hardest.

Like:

“Throughout the ages, when the gap between haves and have-nots. Gets intolerable, and the blue collars don’t have a lot. There is a revolution, that puts the privileged on the trot.”

Or:

“I’ve also realized, I was becoming a person of hate. But hate’s not a human condition, it springs from a fearful state. So facing our challenges with courage, can make our Nation great.”

And:

“Our man promised he would even out the quid, yes we knew he’s evil, but that’s how desperate we had slid.”

And this:

“T’was on a Fox news program, that I saw something on his wall. It was a gilded frame, there to see for all. “Kill The Messenger” in big letters, for me it was a wake-up call.”

I ask you to please take the time to read the poem in its entirety by the talented Woody Logan.

Disillusioned Trumpite Blues

When it comes to voting, I really don’t have a plan.
There’s nothing to consider, just go vote Republican.
That’s my obligation, and so I just do what I can.

But now I’m having trouble, thinkin’ ‘bout who I did choose.
I was all for him, didn’t want the man to lose.
What have I done, got the disillusioned Trumpite blues.

First it was funny, not one journalist figured it out.
Why he was elected, what was it all about.
If they had studied history, there was no need for them to pout.

Throughout the ages, when the gap between haves and have-nots.
Gets intolerable, and the blue collars don’t have a lot.
There is a revolution, that puts the privileged on the trot.

This is the main reason, we voted just like we did.
Because our man promised, that he would even out the quid.
Yes we knew he’s evil, but that’s how desperate we had slid.

Like a good Republican, he was the master of the FUD factor.
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, he deployed like a skilled transactor.
Journalists and politicians, spent every day trying to decipher.

Even though psychiatrists, predicted it in a big book.
That his narcissism without empathy, was very much like a crook.
He kept them running in circles, just by spouting gobbledygook.

While government in America, was like a three-legged stool.
Executive, Congressional, Judicial, that’s how we did rule.
He made it one leg, two-braces, that’s how he did retool.

He’d disagree with what you said, and your right to say it.
Refitting facts to his words, was something he did quite a bit.
This pleased the Trumpites, who said he had a lot of grit.

Manipulating the media, was keeping his base entertained.
Even though his credibility, was getting very stained.
That’s why we loved him, and why our loyalty remained.

Slowly but surely, the wool has been pulled from my eyes.
I started to see a glimmer, that Trump was not all blue skies.
His promises aren’t being delivered, no matter how hard he tries.

T’was on a Fox news program, that I saw something on his wall.
It was a gilded frame, there to see for all.
“Kill The Messenger” in big letters, for me it was a wake-up call.

As a born-again Christian, conflict crept into my mind.
“What would Jesus do?” was absent, I started to see, where once I was blind.
We Trumpites are good hearted, but our leader he is unkind.

I started paying attention, to what the “others” did say.
Things like the following, filled me with great dismay.
I started to question, had I been led astray?

We Trumpites need to ask ourselves these questions, as time is running out:
+ Is he a national health crisis? Psychotherapy is up 400%.
+ Is he smarter than any general?
+ Did he never mature beyond 14?
+ Does he use circular logic or irrational logic?
+ Will it take decades for America to recover?
+ Are decades of social and civil advances being reversed?
+ Have hate crimes quadrupled since he took office?
+ How is he doing on promised deliverables?
+ Did Mexico pay for a wall?
+ Is the way to defeat the virus to stop testing for it, as he said?
+ How many of his efforts have been reversed, cancelled, or overturned?
+ Is he all talk and no action?
+ Does he belittle everybody who has a different opinion?
+ Why does he claim no responsibility for anything that happens?
+ Is he showing symptoms of mental deterioration?
+ Are we being led by a lunatic?
+ Are all of his problems self-induced?
+ Why do his enablers do it?
+ Does he believe exercise is bad for you?
+ Are we Trumpites just jingoistic flag-waving sheep?
+ Does America really not have room for refugees?
+ Is restricting voter rights a good Republican strategy? Must we cheat to win?
+ Has he earned the right to another four years?
+ Can America move forward while looking backward?
+ Did he make America great?

Then I heard the report, from his wives all three.
Their marriages were never consummated, on wedding nights you see.
He’d just sit on the edge of the bed, and tell them how good it would be.

“He’s a blithering idiot”, said my friend who is no chump.
What does that mean I thought, I really was in a stump.
When I looked it up in a dictionary, all it said was “See Trump”.

Then did I finally notice, reoccurring before our eyes.
With each and every issue, regarding Trump that did arise.
A 3D plan of action: Deny then Distract then Decriminalize.

What’s wrong with me I wondered, with conflict in my mind.
Look up “Cognitive Dissonance”, said a caring friend of mine.
And that human condition, pretty much explains it fine.

It’s said he never reads a book, nor listens to anybody around.
So when he marched to a church, and held the bible upside down.
I had to wonder, is he the biggest hypocrite in town.

We Republicans for years, have claimed the moral high ground.
But Trump preaches intolerance, not the love we consider sound.
What are the consequences, are we no longer heaven bound?

I’ve also realized, I was becoming a person of hate.
But hate’s not a human condition, it springs from a fearful state.
So facing our challenges with courage, can make our Nation great.

I’m not saying that I’m well now. Mixed emotions carry on.
But I’ve switched to Independent, and to you I call upon.
Be a free thinking person. Be smarter from now on.

Stop being narrow minded. Pull your head out from the sand.
Deploy your Christian values. History helps you understand.
Apply the golden rule, like Jesus did command.

If you are having trouble, thinkin’ ‘bout who you did choose.
We’re all in this together, what more can we really lose?
We can rise above the fray and stop those disillusioned Trumpite blues.

Short Sampler (3 mins) …… https://youtu.be/7g78vibyEe8

Full Epic (21 mins) …………… https://youtu.be/knYBFEENG4c