a duck named Macho

The physical pangs of hunger and thirst for a bite to eat or something to drink can be admittedly overpowering; but recently in the midst of government shutdowns, mad hatter tweets, guilty pleas, not guilty pleas, 2020 presidential candidates throwing imaginary hats into a very real ring, Super Bowl commercials, Oscar buzz, Netflix binge watching — my yearnings have been more mental than physical.

Today the Music Man brother of Pretty Too, Number One Son’s wife, shared two pictures along with a story that unexpectedly changed my outlook on life.

Patrick a/k/a Music Man was in San Antonio, Texas last week finishing up a tour in Texas and saw a little boy carrying a pet duck along the River Walk to the San Antonio River.

The little boy released the duck at the riverbank whereupon the duck went for a swim – and then returned to the little boy who scooped the wet duck into his arms and told someone who asked him that his duck’s name was Macho.

Thanks so very much to Patrick Jeffords for these remarkable photos and for allowing me to share them with my friends in cyberspace.

I feel refreshed, hopeful and wishing I had a pet duck like Macho.

Stay tuned.




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

holy moly – it’s a podcast!


Thanks so very much to Dr. Curtis Rogers, Communications Director for the South Carolina State Library, for inviting me to participate on his podcast – the opportunity was the icing on the cake following the fun panel presentation at the Center for the Book hosted by Andersen Cook on January 17th.

Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home was our book featured at the Center for the Book – thanks to USC Press Publicity Manager Mackenzie Collier for bringing books to sell. I just love to sell a book!

My forever gratitude goes to Harriet Hancock and Teresa Williams (better known to my followers as Pretty) for serving on the panel with me. They’ve traveled with me to almost every presentation on our book for the past year, and I’ve loved hearing their stories whenever they speak. They’re simply the best.

Please check out the podcast this weekend when you have a few minutes – Curtis asked me a number of questions including some personal ones about my blogging. Tune in the podcast and…

Stay tuned.



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dear john or er… karen

Dear Second Lady Karen Pence,

News flash: 800,000 employees of our federal government are working without a paycheck on this the 26th. day of a shutdown perpetrated by your husband and his boss; yet you have now found employment teaching art at Immanuel Christian School, an elementary school in northern Virginia.

Karen, I have to say the optics are not good for your starting a new job this year when other people are suffering severe hardships as a result of having no money. That’s bad, Karen.

But now, seriously? Just when I think things couldn’t get worse, I read that your new employer discriminates against hiring LGBTQ teachers and further, your new school doesn’t allow any LGBTQ students. Can I just say the optics keep getting “worser and worser” for you in my most humble opinion.

You need a new public relations manager – and a fresh look in the image you see in your own mirror. This is bad, Karen. Shame on you.

Stay tuned.



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the emperor’s new shutdown

A vain emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who promise him they will make him the best suit of clothes. The weavers are con-men who convince the emperor they are using a fine fabric invisible to anyone who is either unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The con lies in that the weavers are actually only pretending to manufacture the clothes. Thus, no one, not even the emperor nor his ministers can see the alleged “clothes”, but they all pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions. Finally, the weavers report that the suit is finished and they mime dressing the emperor who then marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk uncomfortably go along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Finally, a child in the crowd blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is then taken up by others. The emperor realizes the assertion is true but continues the procession. (Wikipedia’s plot summary of The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen in his Fairy Tales Told for Children published in 1837)

Hm. Let’s substitute President Trump for the emperor, border crisis for clothes, White House staff and Cabinet members for ministers, the American people for the townsfolk, and a refugee child for the child in the crowd.

A vain Emperor Trump who cares about nothing except building a border wall because that was a campaign promise he made (along with the promise that Mexico was supposed to pay for the wall) hires Fox News to help manufacture a national emergency on the southwestern border of the United States. Fox News (along with a merry band of radio talk show hosts including Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham) promises the Emperor that the network will make the biggest, baddest national immigration emergency ever created to show off the need for a border wall. They convince the Emperor that the border crisis will be invisible to anyone unfit for his position, or the “hopelessly stupid.”

The con lies in that there is no national emergency at the border and the wall is not the best option for border security at all. No one, not even the Emperor or his Cabinet members, can really see the national emergency but they all pretend they can for fear of looking stupid or unfit for their positions. Finally, the Emperor goes on national TV to  deliver a major address to the American people about the national emergency at the border, the desperate need for the wall and not to worry about the 800,000 federal employees who will have no paychecks until the wall is included in the budget – that is the US budget, not the Mexican budget. The Republicans “uncomfortably go along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid.”

Finally, a refugee child illegally detained at the border cries out from her miserable camp conditions, please help me – I am hungry, cold, and afraid. Where is my family?

Indeed, where are the families of the 800,000 federal employees who are also feeling hungry, cold and afraid as the longest shutdown in American history rolls on into the second weekend in January, 2019 and a vain Emperor Trump holds a nation hostage for a campaign promise he never really made.

Stay tuned.


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new nanny in DC – Mary Poppins she is not

Bervin was here first thing this morning as he had promised when he called me earlier in the week to arrange a time to come over and take care of our yard for Pretty and me – a job he has held at all four of the different places we’ve called home during the past 19 years. He met me at the door and said with a broad smile “those people in Congress look more like me and you now, don’t they?” Then we both laughed because Bervin is a very handsome middle-aged African American man and I am, well, an old white dyke; but our political beliefs have been as instrumental in keeping us together as the green grass in  summer and the brown leaves in winter. This first week of 2019 brought joy to both of us.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is the best word I have for my feelings as the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, took the gavel from a group of Republicans who were clearly out of sorts at this peaceful changing of the political guard in the House of Representatives of the 116th. Congress in the United States of America on January 3rd. When she gathered her grandchildren and the children of other House members to the podium as she took the oath of office in that hallowed chamber for a second time as Speaker, she smiled and smiled and even giggled a time or two. Her grandchildren called her Mimi in an atmosphere one reporter called akin to the excitement of a first day in school. I sat glued to the tv – wondering if this woman of slight stature should have dropped from the sky holding an umbrella instead of a gavel.

I needn’t have bothered. Her first speech as Speaker was direct and unapologetic while offering olive branches to her colleagues across the aisle in an effort to raise the level of discourse between the two parties. She referenced the symbolism of her leadership in a year in which the country would celebrate the 100th anniversary of  a woman’s right to vote, a year where more than 100 women had been elected to serve in the lower chamber. As she spoke, tv cameras periodically panned the audience of women, people of color,  and people of different faiths now seated in positions of power. To quote my friend Bervin, these folks looked more like him and me than the usual Washington political crowd. They looked more like Americans really look. They looked more democratic with a small “d.”

Last night I watched Nancy Pelosi’s first televised interview as Speaker. The setting was a town hall meeting on the college campus she graduated from in 1962. She fielded questions from commentator Joy Reid and from students in the audience. The topics were as diverse as the real concerns of the American people: climate change, government shutdown, health care, immigration, border security, clean air, clean water, shrinking middle class, wealth disparity, racism, sexism, lgbtq rights and on and on. Speaker Pelosi was forthright in her answers and any Mary Poppins worries I’d had vanished.

Hey DC dudes, listen up – there’s a new nanny on Cherry Tree Lane and she’s no Mary Poppins. Here’s her first warning: “the culture of cronyism, corruption and incompetence in the federal government has to stop.”

Thank you very much. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Honestly, people, enough is way past enough.

Stay tuned.







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I’m Thinking of a 4-Letter Word that Rhymes with Fall…

Two years later talk of The Wall continues to divide us…unbelievable.

I'll Call It Like I See It

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This poem New Colossus was written by Emma Lazarus for a fundraiser to complete the construction of the  Statue of Liberty on Bedloe Island in New York Harbor in 1886. The people of France gave the copper sculpture to Americans to celebrate the emancipation of…

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geography = destiny

Finn and Dwight spent Christmas Eve with their families with visions of sugar plums or something equally delightful dancing through their heads – 8-year-old Finn at his home in South Carolina where the moon was a gigantic white ball suspended in space surrounded by bright stars promising magic in the sky; soon to be 8-year-old Dwight at his grandparents’ home in South Dakota waiting for a brilliant white snowfall that would provide a magical playground for him and his two brothers when they woke on Christmas morning. Both boys drifted off to sleep on Christmas Eve in warm beds surrounded by the love and protection of their families.

Meanwhile, another 8-year-old boy named Felipe Gomez Alfonso who walked to the United States seeking asylum from a Central American country known as Guatemala fell asleep in a hospital in Alamogordo, New Mexico where he had been taken a second time on Christmas Eve because his condition had worsened from an earlier afternoon visit to the hospital which had released him with amoxicillin and Ibuprofen according to an article in the New York Times on December 25th by Miriam Jordan. This little boy never woke up.

He is the second child to die in our custody in the past three weeks. The first was a 7-year-old girl.

According to the Times article, the children are placed in overcrowded facilities where they sleep side by side on mats with one mylar blanket. The children refer to their sleeping areas as “hieleras” which is Spanish for ice boxes because they are so cold.

The article went on to say that last week the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Neilsen, was unable to answer a question asked during a report to a congressional committee: how many people have died in our custody?

My question is why couldn’t you answer that question, Madam Secretary?

On the other end of the spectrum, TBS comedian Samantha Bee created her Full Frontal Christmas on I.C.E. special which brought attention to the deficiencies in our immigration and detention policies specifically as they apply to the children caught up in situations not of their own making. As a result of a visit she made to Lumpkin, Georgia which is the home of a small group known as El Refugio that ministers to immigrants, their families and friends held at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, Samantha and TBS donated a six-bedroom house that they renovated for the project. Check out the El Refugio website as well as another charity Samantha supported: Kids In Need of Defense (KIND).

Finn and Dwight today are happily enjoying the holiday season with their families because they were born in the United States to parents who were able to provide for them. The nameless little boy from Guatemala will be returned to his home in a coffin.*

Regardless of what we believe to be right or wrong about asylum seekers or the world in general at the end of 2018, geography often equals destiny.

Stay tuned.








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’twas three nights before Christmas

‘Twas three nights before Christmas, when all through the land

many creatures were stirring, going home to their clan.

Their bags were all packed, they were ready to ride

when all of a sudden they sat down and cried.

Oh no, there’s no wall, the donald bemoaned

so Mitch and his guys just voted and groaned.

Now Nancy, now Chuckie, now Paulie, now Pence

On Putin, on Turkey, I’m building my fence.

To the top of Fox news, to the top of my wall,

now dash away generals,  now dash away all!

And away they all flew like birds in the wind,

while Mueller and his team were soon closing in.

The White House in chaos, no leader in sight,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Stay tuned.



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

the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter holiday card collection

Following the shady corruption of power in the Nixon administration, the American people were ready for a newcomer outside the beltway of Washington, D. C. In walked Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Plains, who was a Sunday School teacher in a Baptist church with a reputation for honesty and integrity. He was just the recipe needed in the 1976 election after the Watergate years.

I had followed and admired Jimmy Carter even before his run for governor in 1970 so I was hopeful for what his administration could accomplish from the White House. Alas, being an outsider must be much more difficult  than I thought, and for Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter it was a mountain too high to climb. The many good measures he accomplished including the Camp David Accords were often lost in the rhetoric surrounding the hostages in Iran that were released on the day Ronald Reagan took office at the end of Carter’s one term.

Jimmy Carter was only 56 years old when he left the Oval Office for his home in Plains, Georgia, but he and his wife Rosalyn have continued to be advocates for the poor and disenfranchised since he returned home. In 2002 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his open resistance to the War in Iraq in addition to his countless contributions toward creating and preserving democracy around the world. The Carter Center has been a model for presidential libraries, a thriving institution whose motto is “Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope.”

During the last years President Carter not only wrote a number of books but also found a passion for painting. Pretty and I are always grateful for the Christmas cards we faithfully receive every year from Rosalyn and Jimmy Carter, and we are particularly happy whenever the cards are works of art by the former president.

Enjoy with us.

2018 message: Blessings, love, and peace to you this Christmas

(Cardinals in Winter, original painting by President Jimmy Carter)

2017 message: May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you now

and throughout the new year

(Mountain Laurel, original painting by President Jimmy Carter)

(White Dove, original painting by President Jimmy Carter)


And finally, just for fun, this one designed by Amy Carter who “created this original painting of her with her father carrying a Christmas tree home from the woods.”

Message: May your home be filled with the warmth of family and friends

this holiday season and throughout the New Year

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Stay tuned.

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the james brown holiday card collection

No, not THAT James Brown – this is my friend of many moons, Jim Brown. I first met Jim in the early 1990s when I was selling life insurance, and he was selling health insurance. He cold called on me in my tiny Jefferson Pilot office one day, and I invited him to come in and tell me about his Golden Rule insurance plans. He folded his tall frame into my one and only office chair designed for very short clients, and we were off and running.

Throughout the years, Jim sent us countless holiday cards that were truly unique and signaled the beginning of the holiday season. Pretty and I loved them all.

2012 – Photo from Sheri Blackshire-Cochrane

2015 – Photo of downtown Greenville, South Carolina

2013 – Photo courtesy of Charlie Register

2014 – Photo taken from downtown Greenville, South Carolina

2016 – Highlands, North Carolina

Each of Jim’s cards carried his best wishes for Pretty and me, and I’ve chosen one of his greetings to send to all our friends in cyberspace:

“May you enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving Day…

a joyous Holiday Season…

and a prosperous, healthful, Happy New Year.”

From our family to yours, too.

Stay tuned.

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