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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

FLYING DOWN 101

When I was a kid getting to ride in a car was a pretty special treat. Whatever it is that’s special about it has never gone away. And like a lot of other things, my appreciation for the automobile is not only still there but seems to intensify as the years go by.

During some of the tough years, I would sometimes get through the tough times by thinking about  hopping into my car and just driving and driving and driving. Many times I would wish that I would never have to come back, but, of course, I did; I was a mother.

Last weekend I invited a friend to join me and we met my younger daughter, Erin, half way for an overnight in Eureka. These meetings are practically harmless except that we’re shopping freaks and have excellent taste in food.  We had two memorable meals together, found great bargains, and Michelle and I laughed about having another Thelma and Louise experience.

But the best part of all was the drive home. If you’ve never been to northern California, you can’t know how much beauty there is to be taken in when you hit the road to go somewhere–anywhere. Highway 101 from Eureka south to Leggett is no exception, especially now that they’ve opened up that new four-lane cut off where there used to be an on-going rock slide threat.

I swear it felt like flying. My little Sebring is a fun car to drive at worst and on this trip home it seemed to take wings. The cruise control was set, there was no  sound, and not a bleep in the pavement that I could feel. What a joy. What a blessing to be able to feel so much joy, to be sharing it with a friend, to have a home to go to, to be a spoiled brat American and over eighty. Thank you, God.

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DEMONSTRATIONS ARE FUTILE

After pulling on my warm gloves and taking one last look into the mirror to make sure my wool cap was covering both ears, I reached for the door.

Although the calendar says that it’s early fall, it will be cold out there. My eyes met their reflection in the mirror and those eyes asked me to take a long, deep look into the motivation behind what I was about to do? I was leaving the warmth and comfort of my peaceful home to participate in an attempt to “demand” settlement of the conflict in the Middle East, to stop a war, to rid the world of terrorism.

I had never actually seen a public demonstration before leave alone been a part of one. But I know this is something people do when they want desperately to change something that seems beyond their capacity to change, when they feel utterly helpless as to what to do about it.

And that describes what I am feeling. I have never for a moment questioned the sincerity or the intentions behind a public demonstration. But my reflection in the mirror was questioning me now.

It wanted to know, if  hidden behind my longing for peace, there may be some anger within my own heart? If my ego is, in some way, seeking gratification by publicly pronouncing my objection to what is nothing more and nothing less than group anger—people warring against other people?

Am I subjecting myself this night to anger magnification by participating in the emotion of a group? We all know that anger feeds upon anger and that both war and terrorism are consequences. Is there a more effective way?

If we believe that gathering together for a common cause, publicly demonstrating our objection, and bearing banners can actually have a positive effect on a situation, can we take a look at the larger picture as well? Are we aware of the message that the demonstration itself sends forth? Are we perpetuating separation rather than the very peace and unity we proclaim?

Aren’t we saying, “We’re over here and you’re over there”; “We’re right so you must be wrong”? It seems to me that nothing is ever so black or white as all that; that we can agree with a principle while disagreeing with what needs to be done about it.

It was a wise person who said, “Of course, love is the answer. What’s the question?”

Maybe love can overcome the anger, the fear, and especially the ignorance that drives people to rise up against other people. Maybe if there were enough love, neither war nor terrorism could exist.

I closed the door, removed my protective gloves and my wool cap.  I built a fire in my fireplace and sat down in my favorite chair.  After taking some deep breaths and growing very still, I summoned up my capacity to feel love and gratitude.  And then I imaged a hate-filled terrorist kneeling before me, pleading for understanding, and I embraced him in this beautiful feeling that was consuming me.  I was at peace and was reminded once again that peace has to begin with me.

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Four kids was the magic number. Everybody born in the 1920’s wanted to have four kids. That was because so many of our generation had been only children. They felt cheated that they didn’t have brothers and sisters.

That had never happened before–that only child thing. Women’s liberation really came about when women had a contraceptive for the first time, you know.  That’s why they called that whole era “the roaring twenties.” (The device was made of gold and was called a pessary. It’s now plastic and called an IUD. The pill came later.)

It would not surprise me to learn that “the universe” now questions whether it was maybe too soon to turn loose those unprepared young women.

The first thing they did with their emancipation was to almost turn their backs on feminity and begin to emulate men. They’ve taken that about as far as it could go. Now we’re seeing signs of a return to balance.  

Take, for example, “Dancing With the Stars” surprising success. I think it’s symbolic. It’s a beautiful thing to watch men and women dancing together again.

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When you’re 83, everybody on Earth is a kid – by comparison.  Furthermore, you can call anybody anything you like when you’re over eighty. No rule book has ever been written for people with that particular claim to fame. Nor am I proposing to write one.

I’m sitting here at my beloved Vaio, in the picture window of my glorious yard, with the fascinating challenge of introducing you, the younger reader, to what it’s like to be over eighty. Hang with me, and you’ll begin to look forward to it.

I have a particular kind of love for the whole baby-boomer generation – being wholely responsible for bringing four of them into existance. Well, OK, I was impregnated by their father. Yep, the same man for all four. That was acceptable, if not expected, “back then.”

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