Laver Cup transcends traditional tennis


The finals of the US Open tennis tournament in New York City earlier this month were bittersweet matches for me. Sweet because my all-time favorite tennis player Rafael Nadal from Spain won his second major tournament in 2017 on the men’s tour when he added the US Open title to his 10th. French Open title at Roland Garros earlier this year, but bitter because the end of tennis on Arthur Ashe court at the Billie Jean King tennis center in Flushing Meadows meant the end of my television tennis season. Bummer.

Not so fast, my friend.

Enter the Laver Cup in Prague this weekend – three days of competition between six of the best European men players against six of the rest of the world’s best male players in a team format designed for speedy matches and awesome entertainment. Tennis Channel commentator Paul Annacone remarked that this team tennis concept transcended traditional tennis and could create a new model for future events.

Gosh, I hope so. I watched all three days of the matches live which meant I got up for my jet lag time zone of 6:00 a.m. start times while Pretty snoozed. Pretty loves to watch tennis, too, but she’s happy to watch the DVR recordings at a more appropriate time, i.e. anytime after 9 o’clock in the morning.

The World team members included John Isner, Sam Querry and Jack Sock from the USA, Denis Shapovalov from Canada, Nick Kyrios from Australia; they were coached by the always unpredictable, highly excitable tennis legend John McEnroe who brought along his younger brother Patrick as his assistant. Patrick’s major task presumably was to try to keep John out of trouble, but he had about as much success with that as General Kelly has with keeping DT out of trouble. Patrick probably had a lot more fun, though.

The European team included the aforementioned Nadal, Alexander Zverev from Germany, Dominic Thiem from Austria, Marin Cilic from Croatia, Tomas Berdyche from the Czech Republic and one of the event’s organizers, Roger Federer, from Switzerland. Their team was coached by another living tennis great Bjorn Borg whose calm restrained presence coaching Team Europe was the perfect antidote for the fiery outbursts of World Captain McEnroe –  Borg doubtless remembered Mac’s tirades only too well from the days when they played singles against each other almost 40 years ago.

Interestingly, the players on each team mirrored the character of their coaches – the World Team players on the bench were full of energy, pranks, visual antics and obviously having great fun when they watched their teammates competing. Team Europe was equally enthusiastic on the court, but their court-side behavior was much more suited for the Golf Channel. Golf claps galore.

The Tennis Channel made the mistake of putting a hot mike on Coach McEnroe on Day 2 of the matches but had to reel it back in when Johnny Mac could be heard clearly advising one of his players  to “go out there and knock his dick off” at a particularly heated teachable moment in one of his coaching opportunities. Alrighty then. Mike drop.

The highlight of the matches for Pretty and me, however, was a doubles match that featured our two favorite guys respectively, Federer and Nadal, playing together on the same side of the net for the European team, against Sam Querry and Jack Sox  representing the World team. For us plus every other Roger and Rafa fan everywhere, this was the tennis version of a Dream Team in action.

Nadal shares a doubles strategy with Roger

Not everything went as planned 

that was funny, right?

The point scoring for the matches changed daily so that regardless of overall matches won by each team, the drama continued into Sunday and the Laver Cup came down to a singles match between Nick Kyrios and who else? Roger Federer. Federer won in a third-set tiebreak that had as much entertainment value for me as a Wimbledon final – well, maybe not quite that much – but more than I would have thought possible when it started on Friday.

Inaugural Laver Cup goes to Team Europe

Original Rocket Man Rod Laver presented the first trophy to the European team. Laver is the only person to possess all 4 major titles in a calendar year (the calendar slam), and he accomplished this remarkable feat two times…once as an amateur and once as a professional tennis player. The organizers of the Laver Cup established this tournament to celebrate his achievements and his legacy and can take a bow for its initial success in Prague.

Next year’s Laver Cup moves to Chicago in the USA. Hopefully tennis fans will be treated to another brilliant weekend of creative play with the World Team holding more of a home court advantage. Do not curb your enthusiasm!

Roger popped the champagne cork as Rafa watched

Too much fun. Stay tuned.

Posted in Humor, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

to pill or not to pill – that is the question


Today I count pills to fill two small brightly colored plastic containers that are compartmentalized by the days of the week with the hope they will continue to help me manage the health of my life and not stealthily contribute to its demise. Such a fine line exists between “to pill or not to pill.” Pretty maintains – and has maintained for the past ten years – that the little pills will be my downfall. I argue I would probably not be here today without them. As a compromise, I’ve added a few vitamins she is okay with. At 71 years of age, I can almost say I told you so, but I’m not quite ready for the implications surrounding that declaration.

Last week our tall slender pine trees shook while the rains came down ferociously to announce the arrival of a hurricane named Irma that had already left a path of disaster in the Caribbean islands and the states of Florida and Georgia. We received part of her last inland hurrah and although it was relatively mild, it was unsettling enough. We were afraid some of our pine trees would fall on our heads. Luckily, that didn’t happen. The lights stayed on, and we will try not to complain about our modest outside cleanup. Our refrigerator kept our cans of soft drinks cold, and we had an adequate supply of potato chips which was our entire inventory of “unperishables” in the event of a disaster.

Thank goodness for the chilled ginger ale…the taste of ginger ale always reminds me of the little girl growing up in rural southeast Texas where the piney woods became a national forest at the boundary line between Grimes and Montgomery County, the little girl who saved nickels in the summertime to purchase a large bottle of ginger ale to pretend she was drinking champagne like Myrna Loy in The Thin Man movies. Sitting under a chinaberry tree, the only child offered a glass to her black doll named James Marion after her uncle who was not black. When James Marion declined, she drank the bottle by herself – making toast after toast for imaginary weddings, high school graduations, basketball games, the circus, rodeos, any special occasion she could imagine except for baptisms at the First Baptist Church. No one at that church ever drank champagne for any occasion. My mother told me abstinence from adult beverages was necessary because of the potential for causing the ruination of a hapless sinner who saw you have a sip of any kind of alcohol and thereafter was not able to resist temptation but rather succumbed to drink and debauchery.

That same line of reasoning also applied to dancing and using inappropriate slang words that so wanted to slip out while sipping champagne. My mother was a stickler for avoiding the drinking and cussing, but she strayed occasionally during American Bandstand in the afternoons after school when the rock and roll music made her feet betray her convictions. It was one weakness, and I smile now at the memory of her trying to do the Twist when Chubby Checker was a guest on the show. As for fornication, well, that wasn’t even on the table for discussion which was very suspicious given her predilection for walking nude around the house in my teenage years. My prim elementary school teacher mother, my mother who played the piano for the Baptist Church, thought nothing of shedding her clothes in the privacy of her own home when Daddy was there. Go figure…and she had a good one at the time.

I’ve just finished counting the last of the pills for the week. Every pill is in its proper place so that each day they are easily accessible first thing in the morning. I’m not sure how or why I digressed into the story about my mother except that’s how I ramble on in my mind lately. I’m so glad to have the funny memories of her again – I’ve carried the more recent memories of her when she was not in her right mind for too long. She was a mess.

I prefer these memories to the headlines of the day with its hurricanes, natural disasters, bombs from North Korea, throwing acid on American tourists in France, the president addressing the United Nations, and the young Georgia Tech lgbtq student activist shot to death. My mother’s predilection for nudity and my preoccupation with pills pale in comparison to the news of the day and provide a kind of relief from the constant bombardment of the ongoing shattering of our families and communities. At least they do for me.

Stay tuned.

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | 11 Comments

Edie Windsor (June 20, 1929 – September 12, 2017)


One of my favorite heroes was a woman named Edie Windsor who died yesterday at the age of 88. I never had an opportunity to meet her personally, but I know what my family and my community owe her. She helped give a boost to push the journey to marriage equality across the finish line through her refusal to give up on justice for all.

In an earlier post (June 26, 2013)  I wrote the following:

Well, I never.  No, really, I never.  Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to give equal federal treatment to same-sex marriage in the twelve states and District of Columbia that recognize these marriages is a stunning pivotal day in our nation’s history of constitutional revelation.  I honestly thought this day was my dream to be realized in a future generation…

And while I understand the significance of this ruling for our country and for the message it sends around the world to other nations about American civil liberties, today the political became personal.

I have many personal heroes during the past twenty years of my activism in South Carolina – both sung and unsung.  I am grateful to all of them for the labor we’ve made together in the days before Will and Grace and afterwards.

But today is Edith Windsor day for me.  I will forever remember the petite 84-year-old lesbian from New York who changed the course of history with an outrageous act and a not-so-everyday rebellion.  Thank you, Edie.

Earlier this year (February 1, 2017) I again wrote about Edie Windsor; here are excerpts:

Dear Edie…

But today I want to give you some good news that is my way of saying thank you for the journey you took for marriage equality in the LGBT community. The Supreme Court ruling in June, 2013 for your case the United States v. Windsor has been described as “the most influential legal precedent in the struggle for LGBT marriage equality.” The dominoes of discrimination against us began to topple and fall after that ruling and before you could say two shakes of a lamb’s tail, my partner Teresa and I were the first same-sex couple to be granted our marriage license in November, 2014 in Richland County, South Carolina – the 35th. state to recognize equality…

Yet, this weekend, in the midst of an unbelievable national wave of hatefulness and exclusion, my wife and I went to a shower for two young lesbians who are getting married next month – a natural next step in their belief for the pursuit of happiness as they see it. It was a festive fun evening with the usual “games” for the brides-to-be, great southern barbecue with all the trimmings, a special Signature Cocktail (which I can personally endorse) and champagne for everyone.

What made this particular shower different, however, was that the hosts were eleven straight couples with a plus one…all of them friends of the parents of one of the brides-to-be. The parents of both brides were there, and everyone celebrated the upcoming nuptials. As I mingled and talked with our friends who were the hosts, I felt I was in a different universe from the one where I didn’t dare to dream about marrying another girl when I was growing up in rural southeast Texas in the 1950s. It was if a magic carpet had transported me from a land of ignorance to a place of enlightenment. Truly remarkable.

And so I wanted to share this joyful time with you, Edie, because you are one of the major reasons these two young women have the same hopes and dreams for their family that their straight friends do.

Believe me when I say you were there in spirit. They may not even realize who you are and what you have done for them, but I want to simply say “I do,” and I’m forever indebted.

Well done, Edie. Rest in peace.

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , | 8 Comments

game, set, match


For more than 20 years the burden of women’s tennis (oh for heaven’s sake go ahead and admit it men’s tennis, too) in the United States has been carried on the capable shoulders of Venus and Serena Williams. Following their women’s final match against each other in the Australian Open earlier this year, I wrote this:

I am awarding Venus and Serena Williams The Red Man’s Memorial Paw Snaps and Twirls – the highest honor possible for two American women who personify persistence and perseverance to be the very best in their sport and in so doing, prove repeatedly that they are both the images of true champions. Their love of family speaks volumes about their character, and their love of playing tennis is a gift we can all appreciate and be grateful for.

You rock, girls – keep going. Records are made to be broken.

Serena did win her history making 23rd. major at the 2017 Australian Open but made even bigger news when she announced her pregnancy following the tournament. The tennis world gasped at the possibility of a French Open, Wimbledon and even an US Open without its reigning diva who struck fear into the rackets of any player unlucky enough to see her name on Serena’s side of the draw.

Oh, what to do…woe is me…and woe is certainly what the organizers of the major tournaments were saying to themselves as they contemplated their events without the reliable brilliance of Serena Williams.

Now this is why I love sports in general – and tennis in particular. Into the void stepped a brash teenager named Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia who stunned everyone except herself when she marched on to the courts of Roland Garros and became the first unseeded player to win the French Open since 1933. Her idol when she picked up her first tennis racket? Serena Williams.

The Spanish player, Garbine Muguruza, who won the French in 2016, found her championship form again to win Wimbledon in 2017 as she eliminated (guess who?) Venus Williams in that grand slam final on the grass courts of the All England Club.

And speaking of Venus, the 37-year-old sister of Serena who is still playing tennis with a vengeance…she may have lost the Australian Open final to her sister but the remainder of her  2017 season has been victorious as she broke records for longevity at championship levels in tournament after tournament in a sport that demands physical fitness and mental toughness to win at these high levels.

But for all their individual trophies, career earnings, and tangible achievements I believe the legacy of Venus and Serena Williams will be the women who come to play tennis today.

Last night at the US Open both semi-final matches were played by 4 American women  – amazing really since 1981 was the last time the United States had 4 women in our own major: Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin and Barbara Potter. Evert, Navratilova, and Austin now serve words instead of balls as they offer commentary on the ESPN and Tennis Channels.

One of the four women playing last night was Venus Williams. Her opponent was 24-year-old Sloane Stephens who defeated her in 3 jaw dropping sets and who said at an interview on the court following her victory that she and the rest of women’s tennis owed much of their winning attitudes and power games to the examples of Venus and Serena Williams.

Now the US Open women’s final is set for tomorrow with Stephens playing Madison Keys who defeated Coco Vandeweghe in straight sets. You can bet Pretty and I will be in the bleacher seats watching that final, and we know one thing for sure.

The winner of the US Open on the women’s side this year will be an American, and although her name won’t be Williams, she’ll be standing on their shoulders.

Venus and Serena Williams – Australian Open – 2017

Stay tuned.

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saying goodbye to good friends


Five year old Finn and his mother Saskia came for some pool time with Pretty last Sunday before they were to leave for the Netherlands on Tuesday. Dave the Dad was home packing for the trip and skipped the pool fun time. They will be gone for almost a year while Saskia does research there and will be sorely missed by all of us with the possible exception of Spike who tends to shy away from visitors. Nothing personal – it’s just how he rolls.

Two incidents happened during their final visit that Granny Selma would have called Memory Makers. The first occurred when Finn came inside and ran past me on his way to the kitchen. I was sitting in my Frasier’s father’s lookalike recliner in the den watching TV.

“Every time I come to your house you’re always sitting in that same chair watching TV,” Finn commented as he raced by.

“Hey,” I said to his back. “Why do you think I do that?”

He barely turned and said matter of factly, “I guess it’s because you’re lazy.”

I laughed out loud (or LOL) but told him he was probably right. Out of the mouths of babes, etc. Pretty thought the remark rocked when I told her, but her turn was coming.

After everyone dried off, we all sat together in the den for a little chat before Saskia and Finn had to leave to go home to pack. Unfortunately for all of us, Pretty’s cell phone rang.

She looked at the number and realized it was the same unknown number that had been calling her several times a day for the past week. She even heard her cell phone ring the night before at almost midnight but didn’t answer it. The next morning she saw it was the same unknown number and was furious. She vowed to answer her phone the next time the number rang her, and naturally the phone rang when we had company.

Well brothers and sisters, Pretty has quite a temper and when she found out the caller was the Democratic National Committee, her dander was up so high heat was rising from the top of her head. She lit into them with her hell hath no fury like a woman whose cell phone had rung too many times harangue, and her voice definitely wasn’t her inside tone. DON”T YOU CALL ME AGAIN!! Pretty exclaimed.

She allowed as how she had always supported the Democratic Party with her time and resources but with one final verbal blast she threatened the unimaginable of not only stopping her contributions but refusing to vote for any Democrat ever. The conversation ended shortly thereafter.

Saskia, Finn and I had tried to pretend we weren’t there…we acted like we weren’t listening but maintained an awkward silence while Pretty ranted. Apparently the incident stuck in Finn’s memory even as he flew across the Pond two days later. Don’t you call me again, he repeated to his mother during the flight; and then they both giggled as they pictured Pretty on the phone in our den.

Finally, once settled in Amsterdam and getting ready for bed his first night there, Finn resisted his mother and dad’s efforts to go to sleep by imitating Pretty’s meltdown on the telephone two days earlier. Thanks to Saskia for this great video.

Well, well, Pretty, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, your tirade is the stuff of legends in one little boy’s mind. Finn, you are another Rich Little in the making, and we will miss your optimism and fun in the next year. Please don’t forget your English while you’re learning to speak Dutch in school, but enjoy the extra special days with your grandparents and other family.

The US Open is my excuse for laziness for the past week because of my addiction to the four major tournaments. I admit to my passionate preoccupation with the people, places and predicaments of the four major tennis tournaments every year. The US Open is the last major for the 2017 season so I have mixed emotions every year as I say goodbye to each player I really like when they lose and exit the tournament.

The goodbyes come and go to our friends in real life and those we think we know from their television appearances, but I can truthfully say from more than 70 years of experience with goodbyes that hellos are right behind them. Just 4 months until the Australian Open.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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why do we need hurricanes to remind us what makes us better people?


The stories of bravery, compassion – heroism in the face of unimaginable adversity – have been captured by social media and more traditional TV coverage every minute of every day for the past week during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The images are horrific and the devastation breath-taking, but the spirits of the people have become an inspiration to themselves and the rest of the country.

The generosity of Americans everywhere as cash donations pour in for the relief effort is amazing. The mobilization of individuals around the country volunteering to assist the rebuilding of neighborhoods that are drowning in record breaking rainfall which has caused dams to break and rivers to overflow is awesome and is a testament to the resilience of a unity that calls us to rise above the issues that divide us to celebrate our love and support for one another.

When helicopter rescuers drop a basket to save a family trapped on a roof, there is no discussion of race, transgender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or economic disparity – there is only the simple act of human kindness that transcends our bitter differences. As my cousin Melissa says, that’s a happy thing.

According to the governor of Texas today, all 50 states have responded to the tragedy with offers for assistance, and all branches of the military were deployed to step in and do what they are trained to do in emergency situations. They stepped in and stepped up as did all local first responders from the counties and cities of the area in addition to those who arrived from neighboring states.

I really can’t imagine how long the recovery and rebuilding process will be nor can I imagine standing in long lines with my family waiting for the basics of food, water, clothing and a place to sleep…but I have seen the faces of people who have lost everything except each other in those long lines and while they are beginning to grasp their new reality of losses, they huddle together as a family to confront their uncertain future.

You see, I am a dreamer and a hopeless romantic about the good in people and when I see that good so evident this week in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, the sharp contrast of the images of the anger and hatred in Charlottesville, Virginia seem a little less permanent.

I share the optimism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said:

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…

Our house stands today with our brothers and sisters across the country who struggle to unite, to comfort, to believe that goodness and kindness are the common values we cheer – the values that a hurricane named Harvey reminds us to celebrate this Labor Day weekend.

Be safe and strong.

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, sports, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature


The mysterious Mother Nature has once again visited the Gulf Coast with a massive Category 4 hurricane benignly named Harvey which will leave the coastal areas in Texas where I grew up with devastating losses of property and lives. The best preparations, precautions, evacuations – no matter what the plans put in action to avoid catastrophes are, we struggle to survive the floods and winds that hurricanes bring. Mother Nature can be relentless.

She can also be a goddess of good weather in one location while she strikes another one with terror. Fickle? clearly.

Today on this Sunday, the last one in August of 2017, I woke and went outside with Spike and Charly to inspect the weather. What I saw was the unmistakable beginning of autumn as the leaves from our trees began to fall in the swimming pool. What I felt was a slight, very slight, shift toward a lower temperature in the air around me as a whisper of a south wind blew our Pride flag in a knot on the flag pole.

Pretty and Charly took advantage of the gorgeous day to spend a few hours outside as the days dwindle down to a precious few for pool time.

Charly watches Pretty’s preparations

leaves, leaves and more leaves

Charly suns along with Pretty

Hurricane Harvey will ultimately dissipate as all hurricanes do, but Mother Nature’s cruelty will linger for months or possibly years on the Gulf Coast of Texas as the waters recede and the people rebuild, but the sun will shine just as bright as it did on Cardinal Drive today…the stars at night will be big and bright deep in the heart of Texas. May that day come quickly.

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged | 11 Comments

ho hum…just another total eclipse of the sun


Admit it – not everyone was as psyched about the solar eclipse as the weather people have been for the past week or the astrologers who waxed eloquently about how the eclipse was an opportunity for new beginnings to correct our individual and collective wayward ways…or the more scientific astronomers who were so busy setting up their gazillionth power telescopes and cameras as they frantically tried to preserve a celestial event they believed to be worthy of safeguarding for themselves and their posterity.

The sale of eclipse glasses, t-shirts, baseball caps, souvenir shot glasses, coffee mugs, dog collars, and yes, even postage stamps, boosted the US consumer confidence index by astronomical amounts during the time of the retail business cycle that usually struggles to survive. The massive movement of millions of Americans to find optimal viewing sites for the eclipse generated an uptick in revenue for transportation, hotels and motels, campgrounds, and the food and beverage industry. The solar eclipse was big money, Vanna.

The gods in charge of solar eclipses smiled on Columbia, South Carolina to make it one of the premier viewing spots in the nation due to the length of time for the visibility of the total eclipse here. People came from far and near to seek out the best possible spot for watching the solar show.

On a personal note, I really wasn’t all that excited about the eclipse. I’d seen the hype, the excitement of my friends and family, the media coverage ad nauseam but somehow I couldn’t figure out why anyone would be that thrilled to see something that lasted only 2 1/2 minutes. I mean, seriously people, get a grip. I became the Grinch that stole the Solar Eclipse at Casita de Cardinal.

Pretty, on the other hand being who she is, was energized by the eclipse via the enthusiasm of her social media friends and their posts for the past weeks. She took it upon herself to have a small eclipse party at our house by inviting friends of ours from North Carolina who were in town to see family plus the highly touted solar eclipse. Come on over said Pretty, and they did.

So we had a spontaneous eclipse party with an eclectic inter-generational mix of two older women, three middle-aged women, and a 15-year-old girl. Since it was a summer day and hot enough to fry an egg on our cement walkway, our guests moved directly from the front door through the house to our swimming pool in the back yard.

I tagged along behind them to be sociable but didn’t plan to get in the pool or stay outside very long in the heat. The wiser half of our little party jumped in the pool immediately while I sat in one of our poolside chairs to visit with the other two. Charly loves a party so she went around to everyone for petting  while Spike went back inside to the cooler air. Spike is nobody’s fool.

Our friend Jennifer handed out the eclipse glasses she’d brought for everyone, and I made the mistake of putting on a pair to look at the sun which was perfectly visible from our back yard. The moon was just beginning its slow crawl across the sun, and I was transfixed at the sight. Hooked on the solar eclipse. I went back inside, put on my bathing suit, joined the others in our pool and spent the next two hours captivated by the movement of the moon across the sun. It was marvelous.

Elle and Pretty taking it all in

thank goodness for Pretty’s insatiable curiosity

Lisa carried her mother Vicki for a cool ride

Luckily for them, our guests had eaten lunch before they came to our house at 1 o’clock and had brought a cooler full of ice and drinks. Since our party was a bit impromptu, the best snacks we had to offer were two types of potato chips – one ruffle, one plain – with no dip. Since Pretty was monitoring other eclipse parties on Facebook posts, she was able to show us pictures of the elaborate spreads we were missing. Not to be outdone, however, she did have a Milky Way candy bar that she cut into eight pieces for the celebration of the momentous total eclipse.

The pool water was cool and the solar show was spectacular. The moments of the total eclipse were amazing. The wind stirred quietly through the trees around us. The stillness of an impostor nightfall was interrupted by crickets chirping and the fireworks of our next door neighbors. The temperature dropped six degrees as if the sun were trying to say This is how powerful I am in comparison to your paltry planet of earth.

Everyone at our little party oohed and aahed during the two and a half minutes of the actual total eclipse. We all agreed we had been witnesses to truly magical moments. Unbelievable, someone said as the sliver of the sun began to reappear and the moon slowly made its way beyond.

We were all awe struck with the realization we had seen something we might never see again in our lifetimes.

At this moment Pretty said, You know, I thought it would be darker. I felt like it would be so dark we wouldn’t be able to see anything around us.

Lisa chimed in with, I thought that, too. I really was expecting it to be really dark out here. Her teenage daughter Elle said, I was hoping for darker, too.

I laughed and said isn’t that just the way we humans are. We experience a miracle – and then complain that it didn’t meet our expectations. Everyone LOL.

Regardless of our human nature, this eclipse Grinch was now a believer and was grateful to have been part of the chance for our country to take a collective breath from the national shame of the tragedy of Charlottesville to experience the majesty of a solar eclipse with its promise of peace.

(images courtesy of Jennifer Redd-lovette)

 

 

 

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Breaking News: Interview with a Mushy Middler


The mushy middle – and I’m not talking Hostess Twinkies here. No, the “mushy middle” and the “soft center” are names given by politicians and pollsters to the highly sought after silent majority of the electorate who have never attended a rally other than a pep rally at school, never write letters to the editor, regularly watch more than one news channel on TV, don’t give a tinker’s dam about confederate statues, and pal around with friends whose major topic of conversation isn’t politics. Holy Smoly, life must be much less stressful in the mushy middle, or is it?

Inquiring minds want to know, so I’ll Call It took to reality blogging and found a card carrying member of the Mushy Middle who agreed to be interviewed as long as she could remain anonymous in order to avoid “outing” any of her middling friends. The interview was conducted two days before the Eclipse.

I’ll Call It: For the record, is it true you identify as a member of the Mushy Middle?

MM: Yes, that’s true. I am a proud member of the Mushy Middle and I’ll tell you why – I am always Undecided until the very last moment before I step into the voting booth. I vote for the person – not the party because I don’t like either one of those behemoth political machines that are 100% responsible for the mess we’ve made in our country. Basically, I think all politicians are crooks.

I’ll Call It: I see. Well, do you mind telling me the name of the person you voted to elect President in 2016?

MM: I voted for Donald Trump, but I didn’t tell anybody…not even if they asked, and a lot of those pollsters called me to ask. I thought it was nobody’s business if you care to write that down.

I’ll Call It: Hm. Yes, I’ll definitely put that down; thank you for that bit of information. I really appreciate it. Do you mind telling me what characteristics of Donald Trump appealed to you?

MM: Certainly. For one thing, he wasn’t Hillary Clinton. Everybody knows she’s a crook and a liar – they’ve already proved that with those emails of hers, haven’t they?

I’ll Call It: Well, actually no. But surely that wasn’t the only reason you voted for Donald Trump?

MM: Of course not. Are you calling me one of those women haters who don’t want other women to succeed – is that what you’re trying to say because if it is, I’m calling off this interview right now. I’m beginning to get a sneaking suspicion you’re trying to trap me into saying something I don’t mean, and I don’t like it one little bit. As a matter of fact, I don’t like you. Period.

You’re one of those elitist reporters running around putting words in people’s mouths and making up phony photos showing KKK members with machine guns, for God’s sake. I have friends in the KKK, and they are super nice people who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

I’ll Call It: No, that’s simply not true. White supremacists and KKK groups aren’t the good guys really. They go against everything America has stood for since we got started. They don’t believe in equality and justice for all. Their beliefs are the antithesis of our core beliefs in a democracy.

MM: Oh yeah? Well, who else cares enough about our country’s history to try to preserve these beautiful statues we’ve had everywhere for two hundred years? What are we going to do with all the holes where the beautiful statues were? Has anybody thought about that?

MM: Furthermore, I get it. I see you are not anything but a fake news reporter, so I am terminating this interview. Don’t ever let it be said that a Mushy Middler can’t smell a skunk a mile away. Adios. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

I’ll Call It: But I wasn’t done – we never got around to why the Mushy Middle is  apathetic to the political happenings in America today or what you thought about Steve Bannon’s being kicked out of the West Wing.

MM: I am sick to death of jerks like you who think you’re so smart and know everything. I don’t want to be on your side or their side. I just want to go my own way so leave me alone! Who’s Steve Bannon?

P.S. Okay, so maybe the interview wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped, but I learned one thing for sure. Clearly the Mushy Middle isn’t as apathetic as advertised. Holy Smoly.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

when I think of America, I think of…


Abraham Lincoln .. Louis Armstrong .. Hank Williams .. Emily Dickinson … Jackie Robinson .. Bob Dylan .. Eleanor Roosevelt .. Clarence Darrow .. Herman Melville … Howard Hawks

Regards, Thom (Great Britain)

All the Americans I know are wonderful people…So it’s difficult as an outsider to see what’s happening in your country and wonder who all these idiots are. I guess every country has it haters and ugly side. People who have a sense of entitlement and think they are superior are those I tend to avoid like the plague – but if they’re running the place, they can be very hard to ignore.

Dianne Gray (Australia)

Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my question When I think of America, I think of…

The first two comments shown above are ones from outside the Unites States, and I was deeply moved by their focus on the people we are rather than the headlines we currently create. Thank you, Thom and Dianne, for your thoughtful consideration of the question and your insights from across the oceans.

The following comments are from readers who are  American citizens and also had very thoughtful responses to the question When I think of America, I think of…

Freedom first, but then in recent years I have felt embarrassment and regret. Our system does not work the way we were taught in 7th grade civics, and I’m disappointed.

Robyn, Texas

the Constitution and Bill of Rights serving all our citizens EQUALLY and extended to guests of this country as they visit, work and study here, in what one hopes is safety.

Wayside Artist, Pennsylvania

Freedom … and we’re still working on it for everyone.

Bob Slatten, South Carolina

Freedom! and to be proud of our country and her leaders…its pretty simple- or i use to think it was.

Cindy, South Carolina

 . hope. I just can’t allow myself to believe that a country that elected Barack Obama, supported healthcare for all, recognized the importance of protecting our environment, and worked to guarantee that two people who love each other can marry can let hate win. At least, I don’t want to allow myself to believe that. So I cling to hope.

Miss Harper Lee, Louisiana

When I think of America, I think of a nation that is deeply troubled and divided – a nation at a moral crossroads desperately in need of  courageous leaders who will speak up and right our ship of justice and equality for all that is being blown about by winds of hatred and bigotry.

Now is the moment – a house divided against itself like the city we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia cannot stand.

 

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment