it’s a simple matter of justice – remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


1993 March on Washington for LGBT Equality

Twenty-seven years ago this April I marched with the South Carolina delegation in the 1993 March on Washington. It was a life-changing experience not only for me but for hundreds of thousands of LGBT folks and their straight allies.

I loved that the commemorative poster for the event featured a quote from one of the Civil Rights movement leaders I most admired: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The framed poster has been hanging in every office of mine since then.

“Our freedom was not won a century ago, it is not won today,

but some small part of it is in our hands,

and we are no longer marching by ones and twos

but in legions of thousands,

convinced now it cannot be denied  by human force.”

On this special holiday I say RIP, Dr. King, but keep the living stirred up for equal justice for as long we walk the earth.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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hear ye, hear ye – calling ALL patriots: Mayday, Mayday!


Tears rolled down my cheeks today as I watched and heard House Manager Adam Schiff read the two Articles of Impeachment referred to the Senate by the House of Representatives for trial and removal of the president. Listening to the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors in the Senate chamber against the American president Donald John Trump, even a president I never supported, was an unexpectedly joyless experience.

I think I finally understood what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had been reminding the nation in every press conference she’s held concerning this process. Somber, solemn, even sad, the burden of discovery of the facts that forced her to stand up for her belief in the constiution of the United States regardless of political consequences. Her belief, and the conviction of her party’s caucus in the House,  that no person is above the law in this country gave her no choice in pursuing the removal of someone who continued to threaten our national securtiy and ultimately our democracy.

Today I felt her pain and sadness and wept with her for a country caught up in crisis.

Pretty tells me that only people like me who have the luxury to watch either MSNBC faithfully or FOX news religiously during the past few months actually cared about the Senate trial or its outcome. Until yesterday I assured her she was wrong.

But I had a conversation yesterday with a young woman who teaches sixth grade at a middle school here in South Carolina.  Obviously a person with a good education and a teacher for all the right reasons in this her eighth year of classrom experience. We talked about politics – the Democratic debate the night before. I asked her if she watched the debate, and she said no. She was waiting for the later ones. And then she added out of the blue, really politics are a joke in this country since Donald Trump became president. I felt she spoke for many in her generation; I had a sense of loss and frustation that perhaps our brightest younger citizens were turned off by the  divisions, heated hateful rhetoric, the images of a country at war with itself.

Then last night Pretty was once again proven to be right about the state of political awareness in our nation when three Jeopardy contestants, three clearly smart women who wouldn’t be on Jeopardy if they weren’t, had a question with a picture of a man they were asked to identify. None of the three buzzed in to answer. The man was Adam Schiff, the person who was the face of the House impeachment process during the past three months  because he is the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee which began the investigation into the president’s misconduct as a result of a whistleblower complaint. I have to admit I was stunned at their lack of recognition of this key House spokesperson.

Clearly I have too much time invested in the parade of outrageous acts that have defined this country in the past three years. Yes, I hope for a change in leadership, but I also hope for a change in our country’s attitudes toward ourselves in our home towns, attitudes that celebrate our differences, attitudes of finding common ground with our neighbors who share the same dreams for their families that we have for ours, attidudes that rise upward toward the men and women who represent us in Congress and elsewhere around the world.

The outcome of the Senate trial of this president supposedly has already been determined along party lines. I just watched 99 Senators sign a book attesting to their oath for a fair trial. I would like to believe they will be true to that oath. Regardless of the outcome, this is a moment in time for us to decide who we are as a nation. I encourage every American to care enough about our country to tune in to the Senate trial as our history and future unfolds.

Hear ye, hear ye – calling all patriots – mayday, mayday!

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boys and girls together


Finn, Oscar, Dwight, George – these are the names of the most important men in my life for the last nine years. I know for sure the number of years because Finn turned nine years old in November, Dwight will be nine this month, and I’ve known them both since they were new arrivals to the Snyder family in South Carolina and the Huss family in Texas respectively. Oscar, Dwight’s older brother, at eleven years old is the eldest of the Fabulous Huss Brothers of Worsham Street in Texas; George, the youngest Huss brother, is now seven.

Oscar, Dwight and George in April, 2014

(photo courtesy of their mother, Councilwoman Becky Huss)

Pretty holding Finn in April, 2011

Since my experience with infants becoming babies becoming children has been exclusively with boys, I admit to a certain trepidation when we found out our first grandchild was going to be a girl – a baby girl who is now three months old, a baby girl Pretty and I babysit two days a week while both her parents go to work.

granddaughter Ella today (01-11-2020)

(photo courtesy her mother Caroline)

I adore the men in my life – I always will – but boys, watch out.

Girls rock.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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if these are the last days, we better have cash according to Pretty


Last night Pretty and I were watching who’s the greatest of all time on Jeopardy, bemoaning the fact that neither of us will ever make a million dollars answering questions which we might be able to think of the answers to in due time but certainly not so quickly as the three guys who pushed the buttons in lightning speed for the correct responses on the TV. Pretty said speaking of money, we need to get cash out of our bank account.

Like most people (I assume most people although I have no concrete proof) we make our purchases with our bank debit cards these days. Rarely is there any actual cash in either of our possession at home or when we’re out among the masses, but apparently Pretty had been alerted by her Twitter folks that these may be the  “last days” as the result of America’s killing an Iranian general in Baghdad over the weekend.

If these are the last days, she continued, we need to make preparations that include taking money out of the banks which might close as the result of a cyber attack, converting to currency, and hanging on to it for dear life.

Yes, I said jumping on board with any suggestions Pretty recommended for the last days, and let’s make sure we have gasoline in both vehicles at all times in case we need to make a run for it, I added.

What about food? Pretty asked. Hm, I thought. That’s a real problem since neither Pretty nor I ever used any appliance in the kitchen except a microwave to heat the takeout and the refrigerator for storing leftovers from the takeouts.

Evidently Pretty was also worried about the food situation. Never mind, she said, we’ll just buy fast food with our cash.

After Ken Jennings polished off Round 1 of the Jeopardy tournament, I switched to Rachel Maddow but could barely listen to her detailed explanation of the events of the past few days and our country’s precarious position in the Middle East because I was still mulling over our family plans for the last days.

For example, how much cash would we need. Pretty had suggested $500. Was that enough? Too much? Who knew? As for making a run for it with two tanks of gasoline, where in the world was I planning on going? Charleston? Charlotte? Landrum?

Thankfully today tensions appeared to cool after Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes in Iraq yesterday. I will check in tonight with Rachel Maddow after Round 2 of the Jeopardy tournament to try to learn more about the world we live in (for now anyway) and Pretty can revisit with her Twitter peeps to see if they have further suggestions for the last days.

In the mean time, I have a few unrelated pictures of several of the 24 dogs I’ve had in my lifetime – if these are the last days, I want to think of happy ones – and these are some of the happiest.

Stay tuned.

The Red Man and the Old Woman Slow

(in the early days – spring, 2001)

Tennis Ball Obsessed Chelsea, Smokey Lonesome Ollie, and The Red Man

(at Casa de Canterbury, sometime in 2012)

Spike, he who appeared on Worsham Street and never left us

(spring of 2012)

 

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pretty in fine form for new year’s day


‘Twas the week after Christmas, and all through the house two creatures are stirring, and neither’s a mouse. Only Spike and I are up so far, and in all fairness we’re probably not even stirring – more staring than stirring. Me at my computer – Spike at the front yard from his panoramic view in the living room.

Spike, our rescued shepherd mix, is the early riser in our family, but his main goal of being the first one up is to serve as an alarm clock for Pretty, Charly, and me. Pretty has perfected the pretense of ignoring him, I  get up when I hear Spike’s nails clicking on the hardwood floors in our bedroom and Charly makes a great show of jumping out of bed with me as the three of us walk together to open the doggie door in the sun room for the day.

I usually walk outside with Spike to greet the colors of the sunrise and to see the squirrels he will bark at while he chases them around for a few minutes until they scamper up the huge oak tree to safety. Charly, on the other hand, may or may not come with us, her decision resting on whether she determines breakfast will be served early or later. At the signs of no early breakfast, she turns and runs to go back to get in bed with Pretty whose philosophy is she’s never met a sunrise she liked.

Today is the first day of a new year, a new decade, I said to Spike this morning when we walked outside. He stood still for a second while I talked to him but then spotted two squirrels that were taunting him with their bushy tails in the yard near the old oak tree. He was off and running, but they weren’t frightened by either his loud barking or thundering toward them. I swear I saw one of them wink at the other one as they chased each other up the tree. Spike’s best efforts were thwarted once again. He turned away and walked back to me. His work was done until the pesky little varmints ventured into the yard again.

***********

Happy New Year, I said to Pretty an hour later when I heard her in the kitchen popping the top on her first can of Diet Coke for the day.

Happy New Year, Pretty responded and then continued, the first day of 2020 and the first day of a new decade.

I know, I said. When I was a teenager in Texas in the 1960s, I never thought I would live to be thirty years old. When I had my 30th birthday in 1976, I said well, I will never live to see the turn of the century and now here I still am on the verge of a third decade in the 21st century. What do you think about that, Pretty?

Pretty looked directly at me and said, I think you must be a drama queen.

*********

“We trust that time is linear. That it proceeds eternally, uniformly. Into infinity. But the distinction between past, present and future is nothing but an illusion. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive, they are connected in a never-ending circle. Everything is connected.” (Dark, Season 1)

Lordy, Lordy. Whenever I do pass, I hope I somehow stay connected to Pretty.

Happy New Year!

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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gold, frankincense and myrrh with a 21st century twist


I’m a basic Bah, Humbug Christmas person and have been for years.   I’m not clinically depressed during the holiday season, but neither am I joyful.  I resist the pressure to shop ‘til I drop, but that isn’t limited to a particular time of the year, either.  I’m considering the possibility I may suffer from borderline Scrooge disorder or at a minimum, Holiday Harrumphs.

This year is different.   I’ve been jolted and shaken out of my cynicism and once again believe in the magic that is Christmas.  I think my transformation actually began last year when my new neighbors in Texas on Worsham Street decorated their homes and yards with spectacular exterior holiday lighting.  They adorned trees, bushes, windows, doors, porches, benches, roofs – anything they could find to attach a string of lights – and the little street came alive with white icicle lights and plain white lights and multi-colored lights of all shapes and sizes that glowed and blinked and gave the appearance of a miniature Disneyland.  I absolutely loved them and of course, I had to participate with my own lights on our house on the street.  I felt my Christmas ice melt just a little each time I turned the switch that lit my bright lights.  This year the street is again beautiful, and I thank my neighbors for the inspiration of their lighting traditions.

I miss my family at Christmas, the family that defined Christmas for me as a child.  That family is gone as that time and place are gone, but the child inside me mourns their loss every time I hear “Silent Night” and other carols sung during this time of the year.  We were musical people and much of our holiday revolved around music in our Southern Baptist churches where my mother was always responsible for the Christmas Cantata.  Sometimes she played the piano for it so my dad could lead the church choir and sometimes she drafted another pianist so she could lead the choir herself.  Regardless, music was the reason for the season for us and we celebrated the season in church.

Family has been re-defined in my adult life by my wife and four children in furry suits that I adore.  I have a son who now has a girlfriend he lives with and so our family grows together.  Through the past forty years I’ve been away from Texas I’ve been fortunate to have wonderful friends who have become closer than the DNA-linked group I left behind.  In my gay and lesbian community in South Carolina, the term “family” is a word we use to describe ourselves.  The question, “Do you think she’s family?” is translated, “Do you think she’s a lesbian like us?”  Being part of a marginalized sub-culture creates strong bonds within that environment and my friends have been simply the best.

Coming home to Texas to live has connected me once again with my DNA family and that’s been an incredible experience and part of the magic of Christmas for me the last two years. First cousins, second cousins, third cousins once removed and the people they’ve married and their children are good, and a few questionable, surprises for me.  Gathering for a cousins’ Christmas potluck luncheon or going with cousins to the Montgomery Annual Cookie Walk or having cousins come to our home or visiting in their homes rekindle good memories of the times when our hair wasn’t white and our figures were slimmer and the great-grandparents at the table weren’t us. I see these relatives and I am a part of them, and I feel good to belong to them at Christmas. Our conversations honor and celebrate our heritage and the ones who are no longer with us.  We laugh and cry together because we are moved by our memories. My family is a Christmas gift.

But just as the familiar story goes of the Wise Men who followed a bright light to Bethlehem and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby boy in the manger, Wise Women in my life have brought gifts that rocked my Christmas complacency. My wife surprised me with an early gift at Thanksgiving when I went home to her in South Carolina.  It’s worth its weight in gold to me.  It’s a western saddle made of leather and rides a wooden quilt holder that a Worsham Street neighbor gave me when she saw the saddle.  It’s a perfect combination and looks good in my Texas den underneath a picture of a cowboy sitting on a fence.  Whenever I look at the saddle, I think of two of my favorite things: my wife who knew me well enough to buy this treasure for me and my days of riding horses as a child. I feel the love of the giver of this perfect gift.

Frankincense was used in ancient times for medicinal and calming purposes including treatment for depression.  Burning frankincense was also thought to carry prayers to heaven by people in those days.  One of the Wise Women in my life gave me my own version of frankincense last week when she bought a plane ticket to South Carolina for me to be with my wife for Christmas.  I marvel at this generosity from a friend who surely loves me and who chased away the potential Christmas blues. This gift came from prayers to heaven that were unasked but answered on the wings of a snow white dove called US Airways and the spirit that is the magic of Christmas in the heart of my friend.

Myrrh is an Arabic word for bitter and it is the resin that comes from a tree that grows in the semi-desert regions of Africa and the Red Sea.  The Chinese used it for centuries to treat wounds and bruises and bleeding.  The Egyptians used myrrh as an embalming oil for their mummies.  Yesterday I received another gift that reminded me of myrrh – not the bitterness nor the embalming properties – but the unexpected present was a live blooming cactus plant that arrived at my house via a congenial UPS driver who I believe thinks he is Santa Claus.  When I opened the box and removed the moss packing per the enclosed instructions, I was stunned by the beauty of the pink blooms and the deep rich green of the plant.  The gift came from another Wise Woman who is married to my cousin in Rosenberg, Texas and was an additional reminder of the magic that lives in Christmas.  Every day I’ll see these blooms and think of my cousins who sent them and the healing power beauty affords us when we take a moment to consider it.  I’ve always loved a Christmas cactus.

Gold, frankincense and myrrh with a 21st century twist.  The Christmas story of Mary and Joseph’s plight in the manger in Bethlehem has been told and re-told for thousands of years.  Regardless of your belief, it is a tender tale of a family who welcomes a baby boy into a world of conflict and hardship and hopes he will somehow change it for the better.   The same conflicts continue two thousand years later and hardships of every shape and description plague our families today, but we move on.  Sometimes forward, sometimes backward.  But onward we go.  And in this spirit of hope for a better world where peace becomes the norm and hardships are made more bearable, I abandon my Bah, Humbug  with a Merry Christmas to all!

Stay tuned.

(Note: this post was published originally in December, 2011)

picking just the right cookies at the Christmas Cookie Walk

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dear Santa, send boxing gloves


“Dear Santa Claus, how are you? I am fine.

I have been pretty good this year. Please bring me a pair

of boxing gloves for Christmas.  I need them.

Your friend, Sheila Rae Morris”

“That’s a good letter,” my grandmother Dude said. She folded it and placed it neatly in the envelope. “I’ll take it to the post office tomorrow and give it to Miss Sally Hamilton to mail for you. Now, why do you need these boxing gloves?”

“Thank you so much, Dude. I hope he gets it in time. All of the boys that I play with have boxing gloves. They say I can’t box with them because I’m a girl and don’t have my own gloves. I have to get them from Santa Claus.”

“I see,” she said. “I can understand the problem. I’ll take care of your letter for you.”

Several days later it was Christmas Eve. That was the night that we opened our gifts with both families. This year Dude, Mama, Daddy, Uncle Marion, Uncle Toby and I went to my other grandparents’  house down the hill from ours. With us, we took the See’s Candies from Dude’s sister, Aunt Orrie, plus all of the gifts. I didn’t like to share the candy, but it wouldn’t be opened until we could offer everyone a piece. Luckily, most everyone else preferred Ma’s divinity or her date loaf.

The beverage for the party was a homemade green punch. My Uncle Marion had carried Ginger Ale and lime sherbet with him and mixed that at Ma’s in her fine glass punch bowl with the 12 cups that matched. You knew it was a special night if Ma got out her punch bowl. The drink was frothy and delicious. The perfect liquid refreshment with the desserts. I was in heaven, and very grownup.

When it was time to open the gifts, we gathered in the living room around the Christmas tree, which was ablaze with multi-colored blinking bubble lights. Ma was in total control of the opening of the gifts and instructed me to bring her each gift one at a time so she could read the names and anything else written on the tag. She insisted that we keep a slow pace so that all would have time to enjoy their surprises.

Really, there were few of those. Each year the men got a tie or shirt or socks or some combination. So the big surprise would be the color for that year. The women got a scarf or blouse or new gloves for church. Pa would bring out the Evening in Paris perfume for Ma that he had raced over to Mr. McAfee’s Drug Store to buy right before he closed.

The real anticipation was always the wrapping and bows for the gifts. They saved the bows year after year and made a game of passing them back and forth to each other like old friends. There would be peals of laughter and delight as a bow that had been missing for two Christmases would make a mysterious re-appearance. Ma and Dude entertained themselves royally with the outside of the presents. The contents were practical and useful for the adults every year.

My gifts, on the other hand, were more fun. Toys and clothes combined the practical with the impractical. Ma would make me a dress to wear to school and buy me a doll of some kind. Daddy and Pa would give me six-shooters or a bow and arrows or cowboy boots and hats. Dude always gave me underwear.

This year Uncle Marion had brought me a jewelry box from Colorado. He had gone out there to work on a construction job and look for gold. I loved the jewelry box. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any jewelry.

“Well, somebody needs to go home and get to bed so that Santa Claus can come tonight,” Daddy said at last. “I wonder what that good little girl thinks she’s going to get.” He smiled.

“Boxing gloves,” I said immediately. “I wrote Santa a letter to bring me boxing gloves. Let’s go home right now so I can get to bed.”

Everybody got really quiet.

Daddy looked at Mama. Ma looked at Pa. Uncle Marion and Uncle Toby looked at the floor. Dude looked at me.

“Okay, then, sugar. Give Ma and Pa a kiss and a big hug for all your presents. Let’s go, everybody, and we’ll call it a night so we can see what Santa brings in the morning,” Daddy said.

“Is it time to get up yet?” I whispered to Dude. What was wrong with her? She was always the first one up every morning. Why would she choose Christmas Day to sleep late?

“I think it’s time,” she whispered back. “I believe I heard Saint Nick himself in the living room a little while ago. Go wake up your mama and daddy so they can turn on the Christmas tree lights for you to see what he left. Shhh. Don’t wake up your uncles.”

I climbed over her and slipped quietly past my sleeping Uncle Marion and crept through the dining room to Mama and Daddy’s bedroom. I was trying to not make any noise. I could hear my Uncle Toby snoring in the middle bedroom.

“Daddy, Mama, wake up,” I said softly to the door of their room. “Did Santa Claus come yet?” Daddy opened the door, and he and Mama came out. They were smiling happily and took me to the living room where Mama turned on the tree lights. I was thrilled with the sight of the twinkling lights as they lit the dark room. Mama’s tree was so much bigger than Ma’s and was perfectly decorated with ornaments of every shape and size and color. The icicles shimmered in the glow of the lights. There were millions of them. Each one had been meticulously placed individually by Mama. Daddy and I had offered to help but had been rejected when we were seen throwing the icicles on the tree in clumps rather than draping them carefully on each branch.

I held my breath. I was afraid to look down. When I did, the first thing I saw was the Roy Rogers gun and holster set. Two six-shooters with gleaming barrels and ivory-colored handles. Twelve silver bullets on the belt.

“Wow,” I exclaimed as I took each gun out of the holster and examined them closely. “These look just like the ones Roy uses, don’t they, Daddy?”

“You bet,” he said. “I’m sure they’re the real thing. No bad guys will get past you when you have those on. Main Street will be safe again.” He and Mama laughed together at that thought.

The next thing my eyes rested on was the Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head game. I wasn’t sure what that was when I picked it up, but I could figure it out later. Some kind of game to play with when the cousins came later for Christmas lunch.

I moved around the tree and found another surprise. There was a tiny crib with three identical baby dolls in it. They were carefully wrapped in two pink blankets and one blue one. I stared at them.

“Triplets,” Mama said with excitement. “Imagine having not one, not two, but three baby dolls at once. Two girls and a boy. Isn’t that fun? Look, they have a bottle that you can feed them with. See, their little mouths can open. You can practice feeding them. Aren’t they wonderful?”

I nodded. “Yes, ma’am. They’re great. I’ll play with them later this afternoon.” I looked around the floor and crawled to look behind the tree.

“Does Santa ever leave anything anywhere else but here?” I asked. Daddy and Mama looked at each other and then back at me.

“No, sweetheart,” Daddy said. “This is all he brought this year. Don’t you like all of your presents?”

“Oh, yes, I love them all,” I said with the air of a diplomat. “But, you know, I had asked him for boxing gloves. I was really counting on getting them. All of the other boys have them, and I wanted them so bad.”

“Well,” Mama said. “Santa Claus had the good common sense not to bring a little girl boxing gloves. He knew that only little boys should be fighting each other with big old hard gloves. He also realized that lines have to be drawn somewhere. He would go along with toy guns, even though that was questionable. But he had to refuse to allow boxing gloves this Christmas or any Christmas.”

I looked at Daddy. My heart sank.

“Well, baby,” he said with a rueful look. “I’m afraid I heard him say those very words.”

(This is an excerpt from my first book Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing that was published in 2007 when I was 61 years old. The following Christmas one of my best friends Billy Frye gave me a pair of boxing gloves – better late than never, Santa.)

From our family to yours, wherever you are and whoever you call family, Pretty and I send our warmest wishes for love and laughter to you during this holiday season.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PRESIDENT IMPEACHED: A LESSON IN CIVICS AND THE REST OF THE STORY


And it came to pass in these days that President Donald J. Trump has undergone a three months long impeachment process which resulted in the preparation of two articles of impeachment approved by the House of Representatives in a majority vote along party lines last night (December 18, 2019) . The articles will be forwarded to the Senate for his trial and possible removal from office.

For those unfamiliar with the American government, here’s a brief overview of what I learned about impeachment in my eighth grade civics class in the small southeastern Texas town of Brazoria in 1959.

Our system of federal government has three co-equal branches as defined by the Constiution of the Unites States: legislative that makes the laws, judiciary that interprets the laws and executive that enforces the laws. All three branches operate within a constitutional framework of checks and balances to prevent any one of the three from making mistakes that endanger our national security and/or our democratic republic.

Impeachment is one of the constitutional checks available for mistakes, really big mistakes known as high crimes and misdemeanors, made by presidents and others. Only the legislative House of Representatives can impeach a president. Impeachment does not mean the president will be removed from office for his high crimes – that can only be done by the Senate which holds a trial on the articles of impeachment approved by the House and votes to either allow the president to stay or evicts him from the Oval Office, West Wing, White House and in this case exiles him to Trump Tower or Mar-a-lago.

President Trump is only the third out of a total of 45 presidents to have been impeached since the Consitution was adopted in 1788.  Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, William Jefferson Clinton was impeached in 1998, Richard M. Nixon resigned before his impeachment process could have begun in 1974.

End of civics lesson…and now for the rest of the story.

A few weeks ago I was invited to be a guest speaker for a senior level American history methods class  at the University of South Carolina here in Columbia. The instructor, Dr. Dave Snyder, asked me to talk with his class of 20 students about a book he assigned them to read,  Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home. The USC Press published this collection of essays by 21 grass roots organizers of the LGBTQ movement  in South Carolina from the 1980s through the state’s recognition of marriage equality in 2014.  I edited the book and also contributed an essay. I was thrilled to go but also a bit apprehensive – wondering (along with Ellen Degeneres) whether I would be “relevant” to these young college students.

I needn’t have worried. Many of the students had actually read the book and had thoughtful questions about several individual contributors, their motivations for becoming activists, the challenging coming out experiences  during the HIV-AIDS epidemic in the 1980s for individuals in a conservative rural state like South Carolina. The discussion was lively and took up the entire 90-minute class period. I hadn’t had that much fun since the tour when the book first came out in 2018.

“When you and the others were doing the organizing back then, did you realize you were making history?” asked one young man in the class. Hm. I really had to think about that before I answered.

“No, I finally said, “I don’t believe we understood that at the time. We just saw injustices and wanted to make them right.”

Unlike the original whistleblower who ignited a firestorm of events that created the impeachment process I watched on television over the past three months which culminated in the articles of impeachment against President Trump last night, I felt I was a bystander in an historical moment. I knew this was history in the making right now as I watched from my favorite recliner in the den. No doubt about it, but this time around I could only observe and hope injustices could be made right.

The People’s House took their place in history by agreeing (1) that our president had abused the power of his office to achieve personal political gain which would disrupt our election process that is a foundation of our republic and (2) that he had showed contempt of Congress by refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents to the impeachment committees while also refusing to allow members of his administration to testify before the House.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi began the House proceedings yesterday with a reminder of our pledge of allegiance we learned and memorized as children. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. One nation, under God,  indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Have we ever realized our hope for liberty and justice for all? Definitely not. Are we feeling indivisible as a nation today? The answer depends on daily polls that change as often as the wind changes its course. Do we still have a republic supported by the will of we, the people? I think we must be collectively woke to make sure we keep our freedom secure.

Neither President Andrew Johnson nor President Bill Clinton was removed from office by the Senate after their impeachment and there is little likelihood that President Trump will be either. So why bother with impeachment? Why devote we, the people’s taxpayer dollars to an expensive legal process? My answer goes back to our civics lesson today.

No one, not even the President, is above the laws of our land. Every person, even the President, is accountable for his actions.  Our holy book, the Constitution of the United States, demands nothing less. The laws we obey keep our democracy safe and help define who we should be. Corruption at the highest level of government has a trickle down effect on lower levels of all government officials in addition to promoting self dealing in our corporate board rooms and executive suites which ignore our commitment to liberty and justice for all. The art of the deal is sometimes based on disrespect and dishonor for those who are “lesser than.”

My dad frequently quoted a Bible verse to me about what was most important to him. A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, he said. I can’t swear he was right because I never had great monetary riches, but I hope my legacy includes “she kept her word, spoke the truth, respected others, fought for what she believed.”I’m hoping for a President who cherishes his or her good name.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ROAD TRIP! GRANDBABY ON BOARD!


Over the spirited reservations of both Papa Williams (NanaT’s father) and NanaSlo (me), NanaT (Pretty) moved full steam ahead with her plans for our granddaughter’s first car trip “up the road” as we say in our family whenever we drive to the upstate foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Landrum.  Mama Caroline gave NanaT just the encouragement she needed to override my worries about packing our grandbaby Ella who is just 11 weeks old today into the back seat of our old Toyota Camry yesterday for the wild adventures of her first road trip.

I’m wondering what this contraption is? 

Thank goodness I have my cap, blanket and favorite pacifier.

My NanaT has the prettiest smile – 

she’s so happy I’m in the back seat with NanaSlo

our first stop was to get NanaT an iced tea for the road from Rush’s

NanaSlo whispered to me that NanaT never went anywhere without 

picking up an unsweet iced tea from Rush’s

are you telling me I have to watch from the Back Seat

and Face Backwards until I’m TWO Years old?

If I could walk, I’d stage a protest march.

Hey, hey, ho, ho – facing backwards has got to go.

Papa Williams and his wife think I’m a Rock Star!

I think Papa Williams is the Bomb – he’s focused on the Big Things…

like milk and impeachment.

it’s a big responsibility being the entertainment for an entire family

Aunt Darlene thinks I’m up to the challenge, though

all good things have to come to an end so I said goodbye to the upstate

and got back in the car to go home.

I tried to sleep going home but NanaT stopped the car and NanaSlo woke me

to feed me my last bottle.

Did somebody say Last Bottle?

Get me outta here, Percy.

And so we did get Baby Ella home safely last night after an awesome day with lots of smiles from everyone in the upstate. NanaT was brave to make this first trip, and I freely admit my trepidations were unnecessary. Ella is a trooper just like her NanaT. They are lucky to have each other. I predict many more trips to the upstate and look forward to sharing our love of the foothills and family with our granddaughter.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

babysitting – day two – and christmas music?


Pretty asked Alexa to shuffle Johnny Mathis Christmas music today while she worked around the house, and I thought it was such fun. Nobody sings Christmas better than Johnny Mathis, right?

Hm. Unless it might be Dolly Parton. So after Pretty left to run errands in the pouring rain, I asked Alexa to shuffle Dolly Parton Christmas music. The first three songs had me singing along with holiday hits similar to Johnny’s, but much to my amazement, Alexa then played Dolly’s version of It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels which has me wondering just a tad about Alexa. I’m thinking she must have zeroed in on angels but misunderstood that Christmas music only pertained to Herald Angels who Harked their songs.

Pretty holds Baby Ella who has discovered her hands…

(note Carolina shirt – bring up a child in the way she should go)

…and what to do with them

Stay tuned.

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