Moms who never stop giving ….

In our busy lives we give passing, fleeting and (hopefully) loving thoughts to the women who wiped our noses, made us kneel to do our prayers, held us close after cleaning up after us when we got sick and warned us of every evil she could think of.  She told us the unvarnished truth when we didn’t want to hear it and never stopped insisting that we do the right thing, (whatever that was), no matter what.  So in my mind, a 24-hour period dedicated to her contributions, inspiration, influence and even hard-headedness in our lives seems fitting.

As I face my sixth decade, I have begun to not only notice but also feel more and more of my mother’s legacy like a slow-release time capsule within me. From the funny wrinkle ( like Mom’s)  that appeared near my right eyebrow to the sound of her voice in my head, Mom is with me more than ever before. Part of that is probably because some of my most recent memories were of her close to the age that I am now.

Mom was a worker bee. Her beehive was our kitchen, where she produced some of the most heavenly aromas known to man with her meticulously prepared meals.  No matter how at odds my brothers, father and I were with anything that was happening between us or in our lives, her universal language of food so lovingly prepared forced us to shut up and eat, giving us the kind of communion only dining together can.   When dinner ended and dishes began making noise, it was easy (even for me) to leave her there, smiling from the reaction of her well-fed family and happy to hear the unnecessary day’s rhetoric die down, because she just seemed so content to stay in her little world.  In fact hours later, as my father would become enthralled by his TV shows and my brothers and I had finished our homework, she was still there.

I’ve often wondered if this was the life my mother envisioned for herself, or perhaps it was indicative of her having created her own little Stockholm Syndrome scenario, where kidnapped captives begin to embrace their surroundings and love their captors, giving up on the idea of escaping.  But Mom was one of the few people I  knew whose entire life centered around the needs of her family. Her biggest pleasures, it seemed, was make life both easier and more meaningful for us. So in essence, despite a lifetime of guilt over accepting her unending generosities, Mom was, after all where she wanted to be.

“Al?,”  my father yells over from the family room.  My mother’s name is Alice, and Mom actually loves being called by her name, especially by my father. He knows this, and abbreviates it regularly — just because… “What are you doing in there?  For heaven’s sake, it’s nine o’clock!  Come in here and watch this with me!”

“Okay. In just a few minutes. I promise,” she responds sweetly.  Minutes go by, then another hour. My father’s voice becomes more insistent. “Will you get up here and relax a few minutes?  I want you to sit down and watch this program with me!”

“Oh, all right,” she answers. “I’m almost done.”  And about fifteen minutes later she appears, taking a place on the sofa and asking what the program is about.  Dad gives a brief synopsis and Mom feigns fascination (I am sure) just to appease him.  A few commercial breaks later, it becomes obvious that Mom’s head is in that  temporary sitting-up-sleep-position — chin planted firmly on her chest in blissful rest.

“Al?  For heaven’s sake, you’re missing this!”  Dad wants company and Mom, like the Energizer bunny’s competitor, has run out of steam.  Her head jerks up. “Oh no, I heard it,” she’d say.

“Okay, then tell me about the last scene,” he challenges.

“Now that’s not fair,” Mom counters. “I don’t know how to explain it.”

Dad just shakes his head.  And when the program starts up again, she dozes off once again, the look of day’s accomplishments on her little face. He quits trying.

By now it’s bedtime for kids of all ages. My brothers and I make our way into the family room to say good night, something for which Mom is always suddenly attentive.

And as we file back to our bedrooms, I take a peak inside the kitchen. It shines from being polished and organized, the meal’s aromas now mixed with those of Ajax and Palmolive.  And there, in the breakfast nook, is a perfectly set table. All ready for the next morning’s breakfast.

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Taking stock and getting real . . .

It’s as if someone slapped me upside the head.  Those of you who have been following the saga of our home’s insurance disaster over the past few months have become privy to the range of emotions we have been through, having to move into an apartment, dealing with the insurance company, getting quotes from contractors and selecting new products and surfaces for our ‘forced remodel” as the result of an overflowing toilet back in December.

So it should come at no surprise that it sometimes takes a tragedy to make one appreciate so much more what he or she had to begin with. Still, I never really thought about how I’d be feeling three months into this quagmire. Like the people on HGTV reality shows moving from smaller homes to larger ones, I fantasize about having enough room for my clothes, cooking over a gas stove again, parking my car in a garage and even seeing our little dog disappear through a doggie door instead of whining to go out when nature calls.  It’s the small stuff that gets to you, such as the high point of our day being represented by having nabbed a non-dedicated parking spot outside the apartment steps after making the trek to our house to collect the day’s mail.

My addled brain has now elevated moving back into our house to the status of Christmas morning. The idea of seeing our furniture again, unpacking boxes and putting everything into place makes me giddy with anticipation, while part of me is hard-pressed to believe that day will be here in just a few weeks’ time.

Put into perspective, I sound rather spoiled.  If I were to think about how other parts of the world live, this apartment is an absolute hotbed of luxury.  We’re warm, we’re safe and we’re even entertained (HBO and Showtime) at someone else’s expense just a few minutes away from home.  The fact that we have a good homeowners’ insurance policy means that 99% of what is being done to our house is covered, while the rest is our stab at updating the place.  We can trust workmen to enter, do work and leave without worrying they are stealing us blind.  Hell, we won’t even have to pack our own boxes to move back in or pay to have our furniture put back into place. Covered.

And at the end of this short yellow brick road, I will be able to reflect on these days, recalling our months of living in limbo.  And if I begin to complain at any one point about not being able to afford the granite counters I wanted right away or of the backyard that needs serious revamping, or the 1996 stove I want to transform to a gourmet cooktop, I hope you’ll remind me of this blog.

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Oscars …

What is it about the Oscars that just DOES it for me?  I see all those radiant faces and talented people as the cameras pan the audience and I am riveted.

In many ways, these actors, actresses, directors, film editors and screenplay writers as well as those in the thousands of other functions that go into moviemaking are people like you and I, making sure they include spouses, family and friends in their speeches. But in other ways they participate in something undeniably important that keeps us going back for those $10+ tickets and red licorice.

Of all the things Americans stand for, the ever-blossoming industry of movie making is among our most amazing claims to fame. For decades, movies have taught us, delighted us, highlighted our flaws and reflected our dreams as no other art form has singularly been able to — and all in such vivid color and all-encompassing sound on a huge canvas as we dig deeper into our popcorn bags.

As I’ve grown up, there have been few years I have missed an Academy Awards evening in front of the TV set either alone, with my family or with my spouse. We order a pizza or make sandwiches and camp out at the coffee table as we watch the glitterati walk on stage in various stages of dress and undress, campiness and elegance and study their faces as they age, get facelifts and wear hairstyles that sometimes look like afterthoughts.

Still, they fascinate us. Unlike those of us working normal jobs, people who act, direct, write, edit, costume or even do the more behind-the-scenes tasks like catering, lighting, special effects and computer imaging don’t do it because they can’t figure out what else to do to make ends meet.  They do it because they are passionate about it and no doubt had the goal all their lives of working within the movie industry.  And once they get hired and figure out a way to stay within this milieu, they are rewarded as few are – not only with decent incomes, but even more so with an entire population of onlookers who regard them as nearly untouchable.

As a writer, when I think of moviemaking, I naturally conjure up the image of someone who no doubt sat down at a computer screen or had a laptop balanced on his or her legs sitting by a pool somewhere writing a story.  Page by page, characters come to life, dialogue is created and the story is told.  Sometimes it becomes a book, other times a play.   Sometimes they adapt a book to screenplay. And trained, talented writers can write screenplays and bypass all of the above. I will readily admit that I am in awe of them — how they create something from virtually nothing except an idea or an experience that gets a nod of approval from some movie moguls and investors. Around that story an entire section of the industry forms, with hundreds of people making it come alive. Leading parts are studied like science projects that require intense training and the result is that these actors and actresses become the characters on screen that once resided in someone’s laptop.  And if they are lucky, we get to see them on Oscar night, clutching statuettes and giving rambling tributes to the teams of people who made it possible for them to be there.

But there is an important thank you from this crowd that I noticed is lacking on this gala evening.  Yes, they thank all the important people who paved the way for their movie careers. But I rarely, if ever, hear them thank us, the moviegoers. We are the ones who make it possible for these people to don their tuxes, fine jewelry, elegant gowns and goofy hairstyles for an evening like this.

Okay, I don’t need a Hollywood air-kiss, but I sure wouldn’t mind being acknowledged from time to time. As avid moviegoers who remain fascinated by how it all comes together, my husband and I are the freaks who sit motionless in a deserted theater as the clean-up crew waits for us to vacate. Why? We watch the movie credits until they stop scrolling as we continue to absorb what we have just experienced even after the rest of the moviegoers have left for the parking lot.  We are not ready for it to end.  And as we walk out, we voice our delight for, our critiques of, but rarely our indifference to the movie. Mostly, however, we agree that what we just experienced was an evening of entertainment and that nothing can equal majesty and sound of the big screen.

I will continue to buy the movie tickets, order carb-laden popcorn and rock in my comfy theater seat as I am entertained by the genius that is moviemaking. Oscar night is for all of us to enjoy, even if we don’t agree with the choices the Academy makes. We celebrate the industry that sweeps us away from everyday life and places us among them, like flies on the wall of an important event to which only we are privy.

As novelist, poet and essayist Clive James once said, “All television ever did was shrink the demand for ordinary movies. The demand for extraordinary movies increased. If any one thing is wrong with the movie industry today, it is the unrelenting effort to astonish.”

I couldn’t agree more. Just keep on astonishing me.

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By all means… seal it with a kiss!

Remember when the words ‘making love’ didn’t necessarily mean sex? Many movies of the 1950s and ‘60s were rife with the suggestion of sex, but most went only as far as a passionate smooch. Then the camera either faded out, the music rose, or you were directed to an open window near the amorous couple, left to imagine the graphic details. In today’s world, where movies and TV shows show little to no foreplay in sex scenes that have become more casually graphic as the years go by, kissing seems to have all but disappeared.

Perhaps that is why the 1995 movie, The Bridges of Madison County, resounded with so many women. The male lead, Robert Kincaid, (Clint Eastwood) is mesmerized by the sight of  Francesa (Meryl Streep) standing in the kitchen doorway, dressed in a lovely new frock, her hair upswept, her face glowing. “You look stunning,” he says of the long-married war bride from Italy transplanted in the heart of America. Her family is away at the state fair and Kincaid is a roving National Geographic photographer who is in town to photograph the scenic covered bridges in the area. He and Francesca meet when he asks for directions and instead of just describing how to get there, she accompanies him to his subject bridge. After that, the plot thickens and after she invites him to enjoy a second home-cooked meal with her, the scene is set. The phone rings.  Robert sits down at the kitchen table and as Francesca chats casually with a friend, trying not to let on that she is entertaining a strange man.  As she talks into the phone, she touches Robert on the shoulder, fixing his collar. She then leaves her hand lingering there. He acknowledges this gesture by reaching up and caressing her hand with his own. The sexual tension is electric with a tinge of awkwardness that only makes it more delicious.

A fairly long slow-dancing scene follows, where the two star-crossed but forbidden lovers-to-be graze one another’s faces with their lips and then finally connect. The eroticism of this scene is as powerful as any love scene in any movie ever made. And what’s it all about?  Kissing.  Powerful. Meaningful. Kissing.

This made me wonder why so many established couples somehow discontinue the practice of kissing one another somewhere along the way.  Truth be told, kissing was probably a staple in their early relationship, setting the mood for whatever came next or merely making a moment with one another delectable, holding promise for – whenever. It was the stuff reflective memory/fantasies were once made of, permitting couples to look back on how they ‘made out’ on a front porch, in a car or during a movie. So does it have to end? The answer is abso-friggin’-lootely NOT. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain who says kissing is a routine casualty of a long-term relationship.

Dr. Laura Berman, in her MSNBC article, Pucker up! Secrets to being a better kisser, says, “While first kisses may determine the future of a relationship, it is the kisses that follow that determine the happiness of a relationship.” Many couples in long-term relationships often find that the practice of lingering kisses become memories merely because the business of everyday pressures take over, making them a distant memory except for the occasional weekend getaway or vacation, when they feel more relaxed. “A little lip-lock can be a surefire way to spice up your marriage and keep your relationship intimate,” she adds. “I advise my clients to engage in a 10-second-long kiss every day. It is bound to feel unnatural at first, but this is just a tool to get you back in the habit of kissing your partner. Before long, you will find that kissing has become a spontaneous and fun part of your relationship again.”

But did you know that kissing is actually good for you?  It has been reported that physiological changes take place all over the body from kissing alone — not necessarily the ones that are obvious. Sensitivity and endorphins increase throughout the body and even the feeling of pain is suppressed.

In her Scienceblogs.com article, The Science of Kissing, Sheryl Kirshenbaum reports that kissing is one of the most intimate expressions between two people, inspiring all forms of art, from music to painting and especially to literature, shaping both history and legend. “We’re exchanging pheromones,” she writes. “In fact, when we’re engaged, our bodies release a cocktail of chemicals related to social bonding, stress level, motivation, and sexual stimulation. We become, in effect, ‘under the influence.’ It’s powerful.”

So if your relationship started off with kisses that sent your heart racing and the made the rest of the world fade away, there is no reason you can’t reprise this practice with your partner or spouse by merely reminiscing about how much fun it used to be and then retracing your steps. Did he once press you against a wall and nibble on your neck while you two made out long ago? Remind him of how much you miss that and dare him to make you feel the way you did then.   You know men.  They love a challenge… and chances are good that he can take it from there.

 

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Moving in new directions (with a smile on my face)

Those of you who know me well know that I write; therefore I am. I think I’ve covered topics from the joys of choral singing to protecting your identity to how to write your own professional bio. I’ve expounded on the importance of working out as well as editing your wardrobe, among other eclectic tidbits. But writing is isolating.  There is that side to me that loves getting out there and mixing it up as well. And since my background also includes a hefty number of years in the real estate industry as a new homes/resale agent, a professional real estate trainer, and as a business development manager, it’s obvious that I’ve always got to be doing something else, usually real estate-related.

So here is my update: I have joined Showhomes of Folsom Lake, a nationwide home staging company that is thriving during a challenging time in the real estate industry – a time when higher-end listings can languish on the market for months and even years. By comparison, it’s common wisdom that homes with seller-occupants who take pride in their dwellings tend to sell more quickly and for a higher price in general.

Showhomes isn’t new; we’re just new to the Sacramento suburban areas, where we will be serving the Highway 80 East corridor to Auburn/GrassValley and the 50 East area to include all of El Dorado County.  We’ve been around for more than 25 years, making us one of the country’s oldest home staging companies as well the largest.

But we’re not just a staging company. We have a secret! We call it ‘staging with a twist’ because not only do we stage homes to perfection; we also place short-term human props (whom we lovingly refer to as home managers) into otherwise vacant homes to keep them viewing-ready 12 hours a day.  Our carefully screened and trained managers help with utility costs for the owner while their occupancy status effectively serves to lower insurance rates because of the lessened chance for break-ins. They also take impeccable care of the property, vacating it cleanly and quickly when the home sells.  The real clincher? It doesn’t cost Realtors a dime and can actually save owners money! Compare this to the costs of fully staging a larger home, usually in the vicinity of $2,000 to $4,000 during a time when everyone wants to keep every penny they can.

For more information about Showhomes, call owner Bob Kohlruss at 916.204-2378 or myself at 916.984.1049. And be sure to visit us at Showhomes.com, where you can read all about us and sample testimonials by happy home sellers, agents and home managers alike!

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‘And now you know the REST of the story . . . ‘

I know I am dating myself here, but how many of you remember growing up listening to Paul Harvey, a guy who broadcasted what I would now called a ‘radio blog?’  The show is still on, now run by his son. Some shows were news-based and others began with Harvey’s trademark sing-song voice saying, ‘Stay tuned, because you’ll want to hear the REST of the story,’ –  spiking that one word in a high pitch. He would tell a somewhat elaborate tale, describing a person’s life history.  Then he would zing you with the true identity of that person as someone we all know.

Okay, I’m no female Paul Harvey, nor do I want to be. But I had such an outpouring of hits to a little blog I did a few weeks back that I felt that I had to follow up to tell you the ‘rest of the story.’

The blog, called A tiny story provides an unexpected ripple effect was one that relates to my eBook/memoir,Climbing St. Friday, and it refers to how I proceeded to ‘vet’ some of the true-to-life characters contained within it at an attempt to ease my conscience over having presented them honestly and with compassion. Memoirs can be tricky for writers who find themselves walking a balancing act between transparency and sensitivity to those they depict even in semi-fictional terms.

One such person was my ‘dashing young Turk’ — an Omar Sharif look-alike that I swooned over in a memorable liaison as a young college student  during my year abroad. His name was (is) Kemal, a smolderingly handsome dark-haired young medical student who loved American folk music. During our brief friendship (you’ve got to read the eBook to understand how this came about…) he memorialized my amateurish guitar-playing and Mary Travers-style singing on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. Once I returned to my college dorm in Greece we tried to stay in touch, but it was hopeless. Our backgrounds were more than just geographically miles apart; they were next to impossible to reconcile. And the language barrier was even more formidable. But I always like to think that we never forgot one another and that our innocent one week friendship would serve as a sweet parenthesis in our lives.

Searching Facebook, I realized Kemal’s name was such a common one among Turks that I would have to employ something akin to FBI tactics in the process of elimination. Gorgeous men’s faces were everywhere under his moniker, but few matched the vision I had of how Kemal may have aged. The one that made me pause was a salt-and-pepper-haired man shot at a bit of a distance, leaning against a fence. I couldn’t study his face very closely, so I searched what his public profile for clues as to whether I had hit pay dirt. And there, at the bottom of his profile was a link to a Peter, Paul and Mary song from the late 1960s.

I wrote a brief message to the man in the profile, asking if he remembered the winter of 1970, meeting a young American girl who played guitar. I dropped a few names of Turkish students I had met when I spent my holiday vacation with a schoolmate’s family in Ankara. He replied within hours, confirming he was indeed the Nicky Arnstein of my past (sorry, guys, only women might remember all the roles played by Omar Sharif that sent some of us into fantasy mode…).

We attempted to use Google’s online translator to communicate, but it was difficult. Many phrases and words in both Turkish and English cannot be translated, each culture expressing itself in terms the other cannot quite comprehend. We tried to bring one another up to date as best we could. I told him of my first marriage, my grown daughter and how my life changed for the better when I ended my relationship and moved on, being swept up soon thereafter by a wonderful man who miraculously seemed to be waiting in the wings. Kemal not only told me of his failed marriage that ended long ago, but also of his own adult daughter living far away in Istanbul. And he admitted to having kept that tape of my private concert for many years, playing it repeatedly.  I was both flattered and shocked. Then I asked if I could send him the excerpt from my eBook that told of our meeting, hoping he could find someone fluent in English to translate for him. For a while, I heard nothing.

A few days later I received a Facebook message from Kemal, but it really wasn’t Kemal doing the talking. It was his brother, Mustafa, who had spent a considerable amount of time in the U.S. during his career. He was visiting his brother and related how he had been lovingly forced to translate everything we had Facebook-communicated with one another so far. He spoke shockingly good English. Mustafa went on to describe in the email how Kemal remembered me from all those years ago; how he wished we could have gotten to know one another better, and how my music had helped him through some down-times is both Kemal’s life as well as his own.  I was deeply touched as I read the message that ended in a plea to meet Kemal for a long weekend in another large European capital, where the brother now lived. In an alternate (unmarried) universe, I pictured a scene from a movie, the two of us rediscovering one another’s faces in a crowd.   But my reality was a happy one, having married my soul mate and reinventing my life as I never thought possible.

Suddenly the Facebook instant messaging box popped up. It was Mustafa who was using Kemal’s profile to chat with me. My heart began beating loudly, surprised at the immediacy of the Internet, now bridging a 40 year gap in my life as if I had just boarded the plane back to Athens the day before.   We exchanged introductory phrases, after which Mustafa proceeded to tell me of his brother’s story. Now a well known physician in another part of Turkey, Kemal had been single most of his life, his marriage ending nearly 20 years earlier. I pictured the brothers as close, since Mustafa mentioned how they went fishing together on his boat in the Turkish riviera. I also noted Mustafa’s adoration of his grown niece. I told him of my path in life and how happy I now was, feeling nearly bittersweet in my empathy for Kemal, who had not yet discovered a true partner in life.

Mustafa then repeated his offer to fly us both to an in-between meeting place, this time inviting my husband as well.  The awkwardness of it called upon whatever tact and compassion I could muster from the depths of my ability to communicate. I defaulted to describing how I would feel both hurt and a bit jealous if my husband were to travel somewhere (accompanied by me or not) to see a person who once made his heart leap. It’s not that I felt I would lose him; rather, I felt that a piece of him might still belong to someone else and that life’s challenges in the here and now were enough for even a good marriage to survive. I waited for a response, knowing Kemal was standing over his brother as he IM’d me.

Mustafa tapped the keyboard to express his brother’s reaction. “‘He says he would expect this of you and that how you answered him lived up to the vision of the kind of person he remembered you to be.'”  Tears filled my eyes.  What a miracle it was that I could become privy to the details of the life of a person I had unwittingly touched so long ago. And how often do are we ever able to learn the ‘rest of the story’  four decades later? My hope is that others can glean hope from stories such as this, giving new meaning to the way we come into and out of one another’s lives and how important even our most fleeting connections can be in the big scheme of things. We can affect one another with a word, a smile, a hug or even a song and life can be sweet. These small gestures can create memories that last for decades, just like mine did, and give us hope that even more small miracles at near at hand.

As I approach my 60th year, I am awed at both the fragility and power of life itself, at how each day can bring with it discovery, learning and excitement about what may happen as we turn the next corner. My thanks now go to the genius of the men and women who made this gift of the Internet possible, enabling us to fill in gaps in our lives while offering us a nearly instantaneous means to research and learn about the world around us.

Social media is more than a face and a profile on a computer screen, however. It is a means of connection between real people –a phenomenon we could never have imagined just a decade or so ago, drawing us closer and shrinking our world ever smaller.

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Not just a love-spat: when husbands and wives are political opposites . .

The midterm elections went by without a hitch in our household. And how can that happen, you may ask, when my husband and I are political polar opposites?

First let me explain that we have been together (second time around) for nine years and married for the past five. He was a confirmed bachelor I had known for more than 30 years, and without going into the ‘back story’ on how that all occurred, suffice it to say that getting to know and love nearly every other aspect of my husband’s personality, I was not prepared to find that we were politically at odds with one another.

It was around the first election of George Bush, then, that I found we had our differences in perception about candidates, issues, and both the lessons of America’s past as well as our vision for the country’s future.  And at first, both of us were in disbelief that we could be so attracted to one another on so many levels but where politics and issues were concerned, it was as if we spoke foreign languages.

We likened ourselves to the everyday-people versions Shriver and Schwarzenegger or Matalin and Carville, regardless of which sex leaned which way. And if they could hold firm to their convictions on such a public stage, we decided that there was no reason we couldn’t learn the same sense of civility. But I can tell you that the road to this fragile sense of peace and respect we now hold dear was not so easy to accomplish at first.

Loud, slanted arguments took place in our early days.  Although we were never reduced to name-calling or heavy insults, it became clear which news stations we watched, which blogs we read, and who we considered to be the ‘expert sources’ on things all came into play.   For a while we walked on eggshells with one another, trying hard not to let it affect the rest of what we found delightful in our couple-dom.

Let’s face it; arguing can be so draining. A spirited debate with a stranger or casual friend might actually be fun, but when you’re testy with the one you hold close at night, the person who hands you romantic cards and gives you flowers at all the right times and still talks about how great you are, it stops being invigorating. It  somehow turns personal and disrespectful and can begin to color everything you feel about him or her, instead of merely lending insight into who that person is.

Oh, we are not without our sense of humor about it, which more often comes into play when we are in the company of other couples, some of whom have the same ‘political-combatant’ roles with one another (it’s actually hilarious when that takes place, because then you’ve actually got a team mate.)

So what have we learned from all this and how did we come to this point of extreme civility?  We learned that despite our midlife belief system, wrought through the decades by our upbringing, our experiences and our environment, there was no way we could change each other’s mind anyway. No article, no TV program, no news broadcast recorded on our DVR and shown to the other would suddenly turn a progressive liberal into a staunch conservative and or vice-versa. We weren’t in our 20s, when we might be open to a completely new set of criteria. Our lives had led us down the paths in which we found ourselves at the time we got together romantically, and truth be told, why would we want to change that person we found so damned appealing to begin with?

It occurs to me that much of politics in the (far) past was conducted civilly and that the arts of compromise, negotiation and a meeting-of-the-minds was considered a mark of an intelligent society, willing to work out its problems as it evolved into a higher form. Although the people who supported each side of the spectrum had their vociferous mouthpieces, politicians in general seemed to hold a great amount of respect for one another. In the 60s, I don’t remember the disgustingly dirty politics, the name-calling and the direct insults being thrown around.  Oh, the feelings were there, but the expression of them was so much subtler. Perhaps that’s because we didn’t have 24/7 cable ‘entertainment news’ and ‘talking heads’ on panel shows that tried to convince us they were experts in those days – who knows? We had Huntley-Brinkley, Walter Cronkite, and our trusty newspapers to report hard news.  Those entities considered us intelligent enough to take the news of the day and interpret it. No one told us what to think (except, perhaps, our parents), and I liked that just fine.

As you may have noticed, I have not revealed which of us leans which way.  Sure, I could make this into a bully pulpit to tell you what I believe and why, but in the end, there is only one thing that is important.  We voted. And it is that one ballot cast that might either cancel out each other’s, or it might just take the place of thousands of people’s votes — those who held the same beliefs we do but didn’t bother participating in the electoral process.  How that one vote for either team got counted might have made a big difference in the big scheme of things.

And so we remain friends, lovers, and political opposites. By now I think anything else might be boring.  Besides, if one of us ends up being wrong about what we believe, we can honestly say that we did not get to that point by having been browbeaten by the people we cherish most in life.

Greeks are lovers, not fighters.  And we didn’t invent democracy for nothing, you know.

 

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