guilty, guilty, guilty


I watched with millions of viewers around the world this afternoon as the judge opened the envelope with the jury’s verdicts in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Guilty of murder in the second degree. Guilty of murder in the third degree. Guilty of manslaughter.

And then I cried…tears of relief after almost a year of randomly remembering a man I never knew except through his death…tears of relief for a verdict I had hoped for but was afraid wouldn’t be forthcoming…tears of relief for the Floyd family whose courage throughout the trial both inspired and crushed me.

I understand these verdicts are a tiny step forward on the long journey toward true equality in our American criminal justice system, in our battle against systemic racism. But my Texas sister Leora said it best tonight when we talked. “We’re moving forward, and if you aren’t going to go forward with us, you better get behind us.”

Onward. Together.

Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

taken from this week’s headlines or last year’s or the years before


The nation’s attention is focused this week on the continuing trial of the man who murdered George Floyd last summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The impact of Mr. Floyd’s death lives on in the memories of the bystanders, police and most importantly his family who lost someone they can never replace. The trial touches the nerves of people far beyond the courtroom, however, even around the world as the death brought a spotlight on systemic racism and lawlessness of the people we expect to be the most law abiding. We have a broken criminal justice system which this trial exposes in living color that could be filmed in black and white.

And yet, the week’s headlines were diverted to other, more familiar tragedies:

1 Dead, 5 Hurt in Bryan Mass Shooting; Trooper in Critical Condition; Victim Identified

Mass shooting comes on the same day President Biden calls gun violence an epidemic and Gov. Abbott vows to protect gun rights in Texas.

(Associated Press, April 08, 2021)

******

Lone survivor of SC mass shooting has now died, coroner says, bringing death toll to 6

(The Charlotte Observer, April 10, 2021)

********

On March 13, 1993 Texas newspaper columnist Molly Ivins (1944-2007) published this piece called Taking a Stab at our Infatuation with Guns.  I have reprinted it several times during the past nine years because I think it’s as timely today as it was 28 years ago.

Guns. Everywhere guns. Let me start this discussion by pointing out that I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife.

In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.

As a civil libertarian, I of course support the Second Amendment. And I believe it means exactly what it says: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Fourteen-year-old boys are not part of a well-regulated militia. Members of wacky religious cults are not part of a well-regulated militia. Permitting unregulated citizens to have guns is destroying the security of this free state.

I am intrigued by the arguments of those who claim to follow the judicial doctrine of original intent. How do they know it was the dearest wish of Thomas Jefferson’s heart that teen-age drug dealers should cruise the cities of this nation perforating their fellow citizens with assault rifles? Channelling?

There is more hooey spread about the Second Amendment. It says quite clearly that guns are for those who form part of a well-regulated militia, i.e., the armed forces including the National Guard. The reasons for keeping them away from everyone else get clearer by the day.

The comparison most often used is that of the automobile, another lethal object that is regularly used to wreak great carnage. Obviously, this society is full of people who haven’t got enough common sense to use an automobile properly. But we haven’t outlawed cars yet.

We do, however, license them and their owners, restrict their use to presumably sane and sober adults and keep track of who sells them to whom. At a minimum, we should do the same with guns.

In truth, there is no rational argument for guns in this society. This is no longer a frontier nation in which people hunt their own food. It is a crowded, overwhelmingly urban country in which letting people have access to guns is a continuing disaster. Those who want guns – whether for target shooting, hunting or potting rattlesnakes (get a hoe) – should be subject to the same restrictions placed on gun owners in England – a nation in which liberty has survived nicely without an armed populace.

The argument that “guns don’t kill people” is patent nonsense. Anyone who has ever worked in a cop shop knows how many family arguments end in murder because there was a gun in the house. Did the gun kill someone? No. But if there had been no gun, no one would have died. At least not without a good foot race first. Guns do kill. Unlike cars, that is all they do.

Michael Crichton makes an interesting argument about technology in his thriller “Jurassic Park.” He points out that power without discipline is making this society into a wreckage. By the time someone who studies the martial arts becomes a master – literally able to kill with bare hands – that person has also undergone years of training and discipline. But any fool can pick up a gun and kill with it.

“A well-regulated militia” surely implies both long training and long discipline. That is the least, the very least, that should be required of those who are permitted to have guns, because a gun is literally the power to kill. For years, I used to enjoy taunting my gun-nut friends about their psycho-sexual hang-ups – always in a spirit of good cheer, you understand. But letting the noisy minority in the National Rifle Association force us to allow this carnage to continue is just plain insane.

I do think gun nuts have a power hang-up. I don’t know what is missing in their psyches that they need to feel they have to have the power to kill. But no sane society would allow this to continue.

Ban the damn things. Ban them all.

You want protection? Get a dog.

*********

Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

turning corners


Spring invigorates me – I love the azaleas, dogwoods, climbing roses, the new tree leaves with their hesitation to turn green, putting our frog log in the pool for the first frogs that need to learn to avoid the chemically treated water, the hum of the bees buzzing the blossoms, washing the pollen from the seat covers on the porch – well, maybe I don’t really love the pollen that comes with the colors of spring. I’ve gone too far.

But this spring I have especially enjoyed my days with Pretty and our granddaughter Ella who was 18 months old on April 1st. Did you ask if I had pictures?

Ella and Pretty relaxing in our front yard – with azaleas and dogwoods in the background. Nothing better than having your own chair.

I know you’re taking my picture

IMG_20210330_133412618

I love my new jump suit but am not a fan of the shoes

output (58)

This Nana takes way too long to find my music

IMG_20210325_105103098

What did I just say about shoes?

Whatever your season, Pretty and I send warmest wishes from our home to yours for staying safe, getting vaccinated, and taking a moment to smile at this child who is embracing a brave new world where she now works very hard to find her words to tell us what she thinks about it.

Please stay tuned.  

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

true confessions


 True Confessions was first published in May, 2016 but I repeat it in Women’s History Month without apology because it’s a part of my history with writing as well as my history with Pretty. No political agenda. Just a true story. 

When Mrs. Lucille Lee taught me how to read in the first grade at the Richards public school, I was so excited I tried to read anything and everything that had words: newspapers, magazines, comic books about Superman or Archie and Jughead, signs, billboards,The Hardy Boys mysteries, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, The Bobbsey Twins in Tulip Land, Cherry Ames, Tom Swift Jr; histories of the adventures of Wyatt Earp, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, GeneAutry the singing cowboy, Daniel Boone, Annie Oakley, Sam Houston and well, you get the picture.

I asked for extra books to take home from school, and I was the first person on the steps of the Grimes County Bookmobile every month – I always checked out the maximum magic number of four. I read whenever I took a break from playing outside or hid from my mother who routinely expected me to be practicing the piano since she had the self imposed unfortunate task of teaching me to play. Do not disturb me, Mom. I was busy reading. I had left hot humid Richards, Texas for exotic places like snowy New England to check on my new friends Jo, Amy, Beth and Meg, the March girls in Little Women, who were even cooler than the Bobbsey twins. I cried when Beth died.

Somewhere along the line in the next sixty years reading became less about fun and more about school, studying, work –  keeping up with the financial markets which in the waning years of the twentieth century moved at warp speed in a gazillion directions. Reading, for me,  moved from printed pages to computer screens and power point presentations. Gradually over my forty years working with numbers in some form or another, I lost my love for words. When I came home at night, the last thing I wanted to do was read.

The vicissitudes of life intervened, as they will according to my daddy, and I fell in love with a woman who loved to read almost as much as she enjoyed playing tennis. We met in her bookstore Bluestocking Books in the early 90s. She had a wonderful feminist bookstore located on Gervais Street in the Vista in downtown Columbia before the Vista was a hot spot and yet, her store became a gathering place for the fledgling LGBTQ community. My interest in books was immediately revived.

Alas, Bluestocking closed after two and a half years, but my friendship with the owner who was also a passionate lesbian activist endured. We were both involved in other long term personal relationships for the next seven years, but the two relationships fell apart for different reasons at the turn of the century. Pretty, the bookstore owner, and I joyfully discovered we had passions for more than equal rights as the 21st. century began.

When we bought our first house together, we had to have bookshelves built in the living room and her office. That set the precedent for every house since then. Built-in bookshelves, bookcases of every size and description in every room at Casa de Canterbury in the front house, bookcases lining the rooms of the little back house we called our bodega. Still we had books on the floor, books on every piece of furniture that has a surface – books, books, books. Plus, Pretty read every night. While I watched TV and played poker in cyberspace, she read books.

Finally, after six years of being surrounded by books, I decided part of my life was missing. But, the interesting thing is that rather than start reading one of the countless books at my disposal, I took a writing course in December, 2006. Pretty encouraged me and of course, I wanted to do well. I wrote a little story about a revival meeting in my Southern Baptist church where I heard a preacher rant and rave about homosexuals going to hell. The teacher liked it, and so did Pretty. That story became the chapter Payday Someday in Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing that was published in November, 2007.

Blogs, books, magazines – once again I have a love affair with words. This time around, though, the words are mine.  I write them. I own them. They are sometimes well received by readers, sometimes they aren’t but they come from a reservoir built steadily by years  of dams focusing on numbers until finally the dams broke when the words overflowed.  Apparently, I am unable to stop them from tumbling onto a computer screen that sometimes becomes the printed page.

True confessions: I still don’t read much. People often invite me to become their Goodreads friend; I love the site so I always say yes, but I’m a terrible friend. In spite of that, I started reading At Seventy: A Journal by May Sarton this week because Pretty laid it on our coffee table and because I think May Sarton is one of the best writers of the last century. She happened to be an out lesbian but refused to be called a “lesbian writer.” Whatever the label, she wrote fabulous letters to her friends and family. Since she answered her mail religiously every morning, I wish I’d written to her.

Letter writing is a lost art, but I suppose Facebook and other social media render it superfluous. My sense is that blog comments are like mini-letters and I love the interaction with those of you who are my followers. If I fail to respond to your comment, I didn’t see it. I am thankful for every reader.  Do not disturb. Somewhere someone is reading.

Thank goodness for the Bluestocking Bookstore owner who continues to inspire my love for words – and for her. I think I should marry that woman. Oops! I forgot. I did.

Stay safe stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

March Madness: The Pay Gap is Madness


The Equal Pay Today Campaign is a project of Equal Rights Advocates which is a collaboration of national, regional and state-based women’s legal advocacy and worker justice groups in the US whose mission is to “eradicate the long-standing gender wage gap impacting the economic security of women and families.” How long is long-standing, you ask?

Great question. Is 1967 long-standing? It is to me. I entered the work force that year when the average wage for women was 58 cents for every dollar paid to men. My starting salary at my first job at an international CPA firm in Houston, Texas was $650 per month. I was a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin business school with an accounting major. I was assigned to the firm’s team in their small business division where I sat in a cubicle next to a guy named John who came into the firm at the same time I did but with average grades. Through a random conversation he let slip that his salary was $950 per month. I calculated my compensation was 68 cents for every dollar John earned. The gender gap slapped me in the face and never stopped slapping me during the next 40 years in every workplace I encountered.

The following image and facts are from the equalpaytoday.org website:

EPD.jpeg

82 cents: that’s how much women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are paid for every dollar paid to men. This year, we’re raising awareness around this pay gap with our theme March Madness: The Pay Gap is Madness. 

Women’s Equal Pay Day marks the day into the year on which it takes for women on average to earn what men did in 2020.

That’s 15 months. Or, if you look at a typical 9:00-5:00 work day, women start working for free at 2:40 p.m.

While March 24th is the average for all women, the Equal Pay Day for Black women is August 03rd because they average 63 cents for every dollar paid to men, for Native women equal pay day is September 08th because they earn 60 cents for every dollar paid to men, for Latina it’s October 21st because they earn 55 cents for every dollar paid to men.

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

In addition to the wage gap inequity, Covid-19 has been particularly devastating for women. According to MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski more than 2.5 million women have fallen out of the workplace in the past year as a result of the pandemic.  Newly appointed Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo called the gender disparities “unacceptable and immoral” today in an interview with Ms. Brzezinski. Secretary Raimondo went on to say the Biden administration had acknowledged the needs of women in the American Rescue Plan that includes higher education opportunities for them, assistance with child care which is a huge stumbling block for women who want to work and an overall training up designed especially for women.

March Madness is a reality in our home where we are focused on the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Our  University of South Carolina Gamecock women’s team won their second round game which places them in the Sweet 16 – that’s some kind of fun for us. But March Madness: The Pay Gap is Madness also hits home with Pretty and me, and that’s never been fun. 

The gender gap has been alive and well in the 2021 NCAA women’s basketball tournament, too. University of Oregon forward Sedona Prince posted a video showing the women’s weight room consisted of a single set of dumbbells while the men’s weight room was stocked with rows of weights and dumbbells. Her video went viral and had millions of hits. The uproar from players, coaches, fans and colleges around the country produced an apology from the NCAA…and a speedy delivery for a state of the art weight room for the female athletes.

What do we want? Fair pay. (and comparable accommodations for women in sport)

When do we want it? Now.

For everything there is a season, the Bible says, and a time for every purpose unto heaven. I think the pandemic has shined a light on a season whose time has past. Let’s get it right.

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

Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

she’s an eagle when she flies


On January 24, 2015 I wrote this post about female country music singer Dolly Parton – a woman I admire for more than just her music. During the intervening six years, Dolly and her cohort (of which I am one) have been rightly blamed for many of this planet’s woes, trials and tribulations of epic biblical proportions. When the dust settles and blame assigned for the current coronavirus pandemic, I’m sure we Boomers will figure into the conversations. Whatever our faults, however, I will always be proud we are a generation of women singers whose voices gave us the songs that celebrated our true selves. We owe them.

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

Dolly Parton was born January 19, 1946 which means she turned sixty-nine this week.  Unbelievable.  From the time she became famous when she teamed up with Porter Wagoner on his television show in 1967, Dolly has been a permanent presence in the musical minds of the Baby Boomer generation in this country and around the globe.  She is the definition of a legend in her own time; a woman who for the past fifty years has been a songwriter, entertainer, musician, singer, actor, business entrepreneur and philanthropist. She has received more awards and honors than she can shake a stick at and is a bona fide survivor of the vicissitudes of life, as my daddy used to say when he described transitional life events that had no apparent rhyme or reason.

She was born in Sevier County, Tennessee and was the fourth of twelve children in a family that was, in her words, “dirt poor.”  Her story is the classic American dream that offers a pot of gold to the pilgrim brave enough to travel through a kaleidoscope of colors in a very long rainbow that requires dedication, persistence and talent to reach the end.

She has sung duets with a multitude of singers including Linda Rondstadt, EmmyLou Harris, Queen Latifah, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Chet Atkins – but not Elvis Presley who she refused to let cover her “I Will Always Love You” because he wanted half the publishing rights.  Whoa, Dolly…no duet with Elvis, but along came Whitney Houston and Bodyguard and Dolly will always love that business decision.

Good business decisions allowed her to establish the Dollywood Foundation which has a subsidiary called the Imagination Library that distributes one book per month to children who are enrolled in the program from their birth to kindergarten.  According to Wikipedia, this is an average of 700,000 books monthly across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.  Her commitment to literacy is a fraction of an amazing legacy.

I saw Dolly Parton in person many years ago when she was touring with Kenny Rogers and their hit “Islands in the Stream,” and she was all I hoped she’d be.  She was funny, full of herself – but connected to her audience and sang her heart out.  So many songs of hers are favorites, but the Number One Hit on my personal Billboard goes to  “Eagle when She Flies.”  It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

“Her heart’s as soft as feathers, still she weathers stormy skies. She’s a sparrow when she’s broken , but she’s an eagle when she flies.”

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

This morning, quite by accident, I watched an Oprah interview  with Dolly in 1991 on youtube. Eagle When She Flies had just been released and Oprah was clearly a Dolly fan like me and a gazillion others around the globe. Here’s the link which should take you back in time when two of my favorite women visited with an Oprah audience.

Happy Women’s History Month, y’all!

Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“you’ve had a good ride”


The exam room was smaller than most, no frills, stark white like every other doctor’s office I’d ever been in – the chair was a classic stackable with no arms. I imagined a long uncomfortable wait as the friendly masked doctor’s assistant waltzed cheerily out of the room after taking my vital signs, leaving me with the sunny parting words: the doctor will be right in. I was dubious, of course, but my first visit to this gastroenterology practice deserved an open mind.

To my surprise the door opened almost as soon as she closed it, and a young masked doctor entered pushing a computer sitting on a tall desktop that rolled. He squeezed his equipment into the tiny room, rolled to a stop in front of me and closed the door.

He had the same positive energy his assistant had as we began to discuss my health concerns which were, in my mind at least, unremarkable. He tapped computer keys as we talked for a few minutes. During a lull in the conversation I asked him how long he had been a practicing physician.

“Twenty years,” he replied.

“Gosh,” I said. “You look very young in that mask. Plus you’re so cheerful while we’re talking about bowel movements which I assume must be the topic of most of your patient interviews. I admire your attitude.”

He seemed pleased about the compliment, murmuring a thank you. Then he motioned to an exam table opposite my chair and asked me if I thought I could get on it. I assured him I could. I was, however, grateful for the two steps at the bottom of the table and began my climb which must have taken longer than I imagined because he chose those moments to ask me if I was retired, what I had done, what I was doing now. I answered in halting sentences that didn’t sound like me at all, I thought, but I was focused on the ascent to the exam table which I finally accomplished.

As I was settling in a prone position, the young doctor said, “Well, you’ve had a good ride.”

Whaaaaat did I just hear? Did he mean the Herculean task of getting on his exam table or the equally esoteric Herculean task of living a life that will reach 75 years in a month?

“Yes,” the young doctor continued as he checked my heart and lungs, “I hope when I’m 74 I can say the same thing. Well, I’ve had a good ride.”

I concentrated on breathing in and out.

As we concluded our visit, the good doctor said that I was a candidate for a colonoscopy, a procedure I’d had many moons ago but remembered as if it were yesterday. The preparation was actually more memorable than the procedure, I recalled.

“Has the preparation been updated in the last ten years?” I asked.

“Oh yes indeed. I will prescribe the newest and safest preparation covered by Medicare. It’s called Plenvu – I’ll send the prescription to your pharmacy and see you in April. Hopefully everything will turn out to be fine, you can celebrate your 75th birthday, or if by chance we find problems, well we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. So nice to meet you.”

Pretty was waiting for me when I came out. When I told her what the doctor said about my “good ride,” she rolled her eyes. That’s Pretty for you – she never tries to rain on a parade. I believe her comment was “whatever.”

For some reason, the young doctor’s words stuck with me. I have had quite the ride. I wrote an epilogue to my second memoir Not Quite the Same that still represents.

“No matter where I rode to, that’s where I was. The ride isn’t over for me, but it’s slowing down. Choices. Trade-offs. Chance. Timing. Priorities. Obsession. Conviction. Change. Challenges. Love. Sex. Ambition. Death. Loss. Grief. Joy. Pride. Exhilaration. The ride took me to all of these places in no apparent order and, often, more than one at the same time. What I found was that I was always there. Where am I now that I need me? I’m here, just as you are. Don’t wait for the ride – don’t hope for the ride. Saddle up now, and embrace the journey. Celebrate yourself for who you are this day. Along the way, remember to try an outrageous act or two. You may find that your world is not quite the same.”

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

Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

say her name: Breonna Taylor – marking the one year anniversary of her death


Today, March 13th. marks the one year anniversary of the murder of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old black woman killed by police in her own apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. Ms. Taylor was an Emergency Room tech for the University of Louisville Health. This morning her mother, Ms. Tamika Palmer, was interviewed on television by two millenials who struggled to ask appropriate questions.

Question: How do you feel on this first anniversary of your daughter’s death?

Ms. Palmer: Like I’ve felt every day this year. I feel anger, rage…I feel like I don’t want to get out of bed when I wake up…but then I feel I have a job to do to work to get justice for Breonna’s death.”

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

“Three hundred and sixty-five days. Four police chiefs. Two fatal shootings tied to protests. Hundreds of protesters arrested. Zero charges for the three police officers who fired 32 bullets in the early morning raid that killed Breonna Taylor, hitting her six times.

It has been a long, painful year for Taylor’s family, and for Louisville, a city straddling the American midwest and south once known for its college basketball prowess and the annual Kentucky Derby.

It is now more readily identifiable as the city where Taylor was shot and killed by police a year ago Saturday.” – Josh Wood, The Guardian, March 13, 2021

Zero charges…unbelievable. The voice of Oprah as she explained the remarkable cover of Breonna Taylor for their September, 2020 issue of Oprah Magazine continues to resonate:

 “For the first time in 20 years, @oprah has given up her O Magazine cover to honor Breonna Taylor. She says, Breonna Taylor. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine. I cry for justice in her name…”

Today on this 13th day of Women’s History Month I also cry for justice in Breonna Taylor’s name, a young woman who made history for the wrong reasons but whose legacy will forever be linked to the struggles for justice for all women everywhere. Say her name.

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

Stay safe, stay sane and please stay tuned.

 

 

Stay safe, stay sane and stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

images of change – pandemic style


Gamecock women’s basketball – March, 2020

Guard LeLe Grissett, Gamecock Garner, me and Pretty

Pretty and me at SEC tournament – March, 2021

Our spirits were high as we drove away from the SEC women’s basketball tournament in Greenville, South Carolina on March 08, 2020. Pretty and I were riding with our gay boys basketball buddies Garner and JD, our Gamecock women’s basketball team had just won the tournament championship for five out of the last six years, everyone in our car (and many other fans in the Gamecock nation) looking forward to post season play, and let’s be real, talking about a possible second national championship. Our team finished the season ranked #1 in the polls, but that ranking would surely be tested in post season play.

Until it wasn’t. Three days later on March 11th the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a/k/a Covid-19 to be a pandemic. The next day the NCAA cancelled the men’s and women’s basketball post season tournaments. March Madness, the term reserved for the race to basketball championships, took on new meaning. In 2020 the Madness went, literally, viral.

Although our Gamecock women managed to play their regular  season in the fall of 2020 with cardboard fans sitting in the student section, no band played on; cheerleaders who were socially distanced – waving garnet and white pompoms – tried to lift the morale of the 3,500 masked lucky fans allowed to occupy designated seats in the 18,000 capacity Colonial Life Arena. Pretty went to two home games during the season, but I didn’t want to risk the exposure to the virus so I watched the televised games or listened to the radio coverage when TV wasn’t available. Thank goodness for my trusted transistor radio which never misses a game. (Pretty encourages me to ask Alexa to play the game on the radio for me, but I tell her Alexa hasn’t been there for me as long as my real radio has.)

One year and two Pfizer vaccinations later for me, Pretty and I went back to Greenville on March 06th. for the 2021 SEC tournament. We wanted to watch our Gamecock women play Tennessee in the semi-final, a revenge game for the loss they handed us during the regular season – a loss that ended our 31-game win streak for regular season play in the SEC. We were fired up and ready to go.

I could hardly escape the irony of my first safely vaccinated outing as we drove home from Greenville last Saturday night. The Gamecocks did win against Tennessee that night (and won the tournament again the following day) – Pretty and I were almost as euphoric as we had been during the drive home in 2020. Yet, changes were everywhere. We were without our basketball buddies, we had to wear masks to be admitted to the game, very few fans scattered in our section for social distancing, still no live school bands, the arena resembled a community teetering on the brink of becoming a ghost town with unrecognizable citizens.

Despite the tragedies that defined 2020, despite the deeply felt losses of family and friends to Covid, despite the changes that challenged our way of life – I feel hope again. I am so proud of the Democrats in Congress and President Biden who delivered on a campaign promise for an American Rescue Act that will begin to restore security for citizens who are struggling with basic needs for their loved ones. Food, housing, jobs, small businesses, farmers – a chance to breathe again. A chance for opportunity to do better.

My tiny version of hope also took place at a women’s basketball tournament last weekend where I was still able to sit with my wife and enjoy a few hours that reminded me of a time not very long ago and certainly not far away. It felt good to do something ordinary, even if the ordinary was not quite the same.

This week has been a blockbuster. Pretty got her first Moderna vaccination. Our 17 months old granddaughter Ella was with us on our screen porch during a perfectly gorgeous early spring day and we added Amy Winehouse songs to her playlist. Life is good.

Stay safe, stay sane and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, photography, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

we are all Wonder Women


Huge thanks to my good Sister Marla Wood for posting this powerful image on her FB page. I thought when I saw it, wow, this is a great theme for Women’s History Month. Let’s get down to it.

In March, 2021 women are in powerful positions across the globe. Vice President Kamala Harris cast a deciding vote in the US Senate March 04th. to break a tie (50 Democrats for – 50 Republicans against) beginning debate on President Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion Covid Relief Bill approved by the House of Representatives. Bi-partisan support for the bill? No, not really.

But the first woman veep in American history who also serves constitutionally as President of the Senate said hey boys, either jump on this train to help people who are sick, jobless, grieving the loss of loved ones, struggling to keep food on the table and/or a roof over their heads for their children because of a pandemic the previous administration chose to ignore as science fiction – or don’t. This train is leaving the station.

Celebrate Women’s History Month by discovering the Wonder Woman you are!

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

Stay safe, stay sane and please stay tuned.

Posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments