Poetry

(A friend confided her memory of a dance recital and wearing a red dress in detail. Regrettably, she had no childhood pictures of herself. I wrote this poem for her.)

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Little Girl Blues

A photograph will always be in my mind.

Not on a bureau, credenza, night stand or shelf.

There is no where to look.

Nothing to find.

It’s not in the foyer, on a desk, or anywhere else.

The treasure lies deep inside my mind.

A girl . . . in a magenta dress!

Dancing the flamingo.

Swirling . . . Twirling.

Her feet stomp the floor.

The red taffeta bodice clings to her chest.

The crinoline and chiffon flounce and cheer for more.

The white poka dots stand and applaud.

She smiles.

There is no where to look.

Nothing to find.

The treasure lies deep inside my heart and mind.

. . . just saying

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Something More to Think About; Anger


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Are Americans Angrier?

Tony Dokoupil

     On CBS Morning, Tony Dokoupil’s lead question, “Are American’s angrier?” was in sync with conversations I’ve been having with family and friends. Almost all phone calls and table discussions end with rants about people’s misbehavior and world sanity.

     Well, there is a lot to be angry about.

     During my recent flight to Maine, a three- year -old strapped in a car seat, that, had been secured in the airplane window seat, attempted to remove his Covid mask and squirm out of his buckles.

     His mother whispered, “Don’t do that,” and pointed to the glaring red seat belt sign. Her other hand held his face mask in place.

     Once in flight, the struggle continued periodically until he was screaming his protest and when ignored, hit his mother. You can image my distress watching the insanity we now refer to as child safety.

     “I’m angry and I’m not going to take this anymore,” a famous line from “Network” came to mind. My husband and I had watched the movie on TCM the previous evening.

     It is a classic and still relevant today; especially when the terms: social media and fake news, are substituted.

     The film came out two years after television news reporter Christine Chubbuck committed suicide on-screen in Sarasota, Florida. The anchorwoman was suffering from depression and loneliness, often emotionally distant from her co-workers, and shot herself on camera as stunned viewers watched on July 15, 1974.

      This real life event was used in “Network,” in which the final scene shows the anchor killed, not by suicide but by staff because of low ratings. The scene might be responsible for the expression killer ratings.  

      Anyway, I paid close attention when Tony Dokoupil interviewed a parent about his recent outburst at a school board meeting and spoke with Dr. Ling, an expert in the field of anger.

      Tony’s view of anger as an unhealthy changed and they discussed the following.

  • Anger is a natural response that keeps us alive. Anger warns us of danger.
  • Anger and Violence don’t go hand and hand.
  • Anger can be appropriately channeled into good or change.
  • Passion can be perceived as anger.

       Many of us grew up with angry threats, i.e., “Do that again and I’ll kill you.” I believed my mother’s warning and did not do it again.

       What I did, instead, is tidy up closets and scrub bathroom floors.

 

 

. . . just saying

 

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Something to Think About

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Arthur

(This paragraph was recently published in the October 2021 Florida Writer Magazine. The prompt was an airport setting.)

Flowers lined the roads to the airport. Overhead signs with arrows attempted to direct motorists to arrival or departure ramps. Inside the airport, a sparkling glass atrium housed the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Passengers hustled around large planters filled with Bromeliads then waited in line for a security check.

Lynette filled two plastic bins with her stuff. When called she stood, her feet shoulder-width apart, with her hands held above her head as the metal detector circled. After gathering her belongings, she found a seat to put on her shoes and notice a man watching her.

He wore a blue plaid shirt and attempted to return his foot to an athletic shoe without undoing the laces. She ignored his smile and walked to the tramway.

The doors opened.

She got on and waited for the doors to close.

They did, but not before the man in the blue plaid shirt slipped inside.

The train jerked. Lynette clung to a metal pole and dug her heels into the floor for the ride.

When the doors opened, people scurried into the Southwest terminal as though late for their flight. She lingered. So did the man in the plaid shirt.

At Hudson’s News Stand, she window shopped, then went inside to peruse the magazine section. And the man did too.

She confirmed her departure gate on a screen. So did he.

She used the lady’s room. A camera flash drew her attention as she exited and she looked up to see a young family, all wearing Mickey Mouse Ears posing for a picture under a welcome to Orlando sign. She smiled.

Lynette was early for her flight to Atlanta, where she had a short layover before her destination flight to New York City and plenty of time to stand in line at Starbucks. So, she did.

The man in the blue plaid shirt stepped in line behind her.

“Do I know you?” she asked him.

“You look like my wife,” he replied.

Lynette didn’t know how to respond but said, “I get that a lot.” Then stepped to the counter and placed her order.

She was stirring cream into her coffee when the man joined her at the desk. His cell rang.

“I found your mother,” he said. “Well, she’s not dead . . . I don’t care if I miss the flight. I’m not leaving your mother.”

He handed the cell to Lynette.

“Mom?” said the voice of a young woman.

“I’m not your mother,” said Lynette.

“Well, you certainly look like my mother.”

“You can see through the phone?”

“No. Dad sent me a picture of you by the restrooms. We thought you were dead.”

 “I’m not your dead mother.”

“But you look like my mother.”

“Just because I look like your mother doesn’t make me your mother.”

“Really? Caffe Americano with room for cream and the chocolate-dipped Madeleines.”

Lynette peered at the cookie packaged she’s stashed in her tote. Her patience was wearing thin.

“Do me a favor . . . please, Mom.”

“Don’t call me Mom.”

“Accompany Dad to his gate. Pretend you’re his wife, my mother.”

“What’s his name?

“Arthur.”

Lynette repositioned her tote bag on her shoulder, grabbed her cup of coffee, and said, “Okay, Arthur. Where are you going?”

They waited at a recharging station near gate 25.

Lynette drank her coffee, occasionally taking a bite of the chocolate-dipped Madeleine cookie.

Arthur watched.

“Lynette, it’s time to board,” Arthur said when the final call for Flight 1214 to Atlantic was announced.

“How do you know my name?” she asked.

“You’re my wife, Lynette,” said Arthur.

The End

* * * just saying

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Second Thoughts is a previous post you might enjoy.

To Tell the Truth

To Tell the Truth

Schooner Sailing in Bar Harbor

Last week, sunny skies and lots of red, yellow and orange foliage were abundant in Maine. I visited a dear friend, and to tell the truth, it was perfect. Ellen asked me on the return ride to the airport, what the highlight of the week was. It wasn’t difficult to decide.

The nature boat ride in Bar Harbor took first place.

Followed by dinner at Chart Room

We drove to Greenville, for lunch at Kelly’s Landing on Moose Head Lake and viewed a covered bridge along the way.

The next day it was Lobster Rolls at Youngs and movie Saints of Newark, Belfast Movie Theater, afternoon senior ticket was $5. We left after the power saw incident as the film lacked plot and character development. It was nothing but violence. Although the scenes of Newark, New Jersey Riots were riveting.

The last day it was brunch at Traci’s Dinner in Belfast, some shopping in Rockport and Camden then rooftop tapas dinning at The View, appropriately named because of the harbor view.

Evenings we absorbed the sunset view from Ellen’s townhouse and watched Netflix.

Sunset on Penobscot Bay

Truthfully, the cooler temperatures and fall colors re-energized me. .

The world is more difficult to navigate, post covid; especially travel. Flying on Allegiant Airlines I paid a $35 fee to carry-on a carry-on, and offered a bottle of water for $3.

At the security, we were informed computers didn’t have to be taken out of luggage after I had unzipped my suitcase and removed the device.

“Do I have to take off my shoes?” I asked.

“Are you 75?” asked the agent.

I lied and kept my shoes on.

Then stood like a convicted criminal with arms raised and feet apart in the circular scanner; patted down, and hands powder checked.

Luckily I wasn’t a serious threat and allowed to board.

To tell the truth . . . it was a great trip. Thank you Ellen.   

FYI (The pictures were taken by either Ellen or myself)

. . . just saying

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Eighty-Three Days Remaining in 2021

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Why?

I still read the newspaper and watch a morning news show . . . More accurately, I tape the news program, then fast forward the segments causing me anxiety, and skim the newspaper for stories that interest me. There are a few.

The number of days remaining in the year is always mentioned.

There are eighty-three days left in 2021.

The days are flying by, and highlights another news alert; the short supply of basic items and more importantly items on peoples’ Christmas list. . .  Not holiday, Christmas!

I will be curious to see this news-story’s trickle-down affect over the next two months. The supply shortage will more than likely go away. But what is not going away is vaccination resistance and many are asking; why?

Alan Alda’s interview on his podcast, Clear & Vivid, with author Lee McIntyre addressed the issue.

McIntyre attended the Flat Earther convention in Denver, Colorado, hoping to understand the thinking of those who believe strongly that the earth is flat. Perhaps, like myself, you might think the convention a joke or spoof; possibly a metaphor for a comedy show.

No! It was a serious convention.

McIntyre attended the convention to gather information he hoped would combat disbelievers of global warming and change, his real passion and topic of most recent book.

The experience was eye opening for the author. Attendees attempted to convert him to their belief that the world is flat.

McIntryre was unscathed and determined attendees shared five traits;th

  1. Cherry picked facts, believing only some, i.e., The Santa Marie never returned.
  2. Believe in conspiracy theories, i.e., Queen Isabella wanted revenge.
  3. Quoted fake experts (people who lack legitimate credential’s) and denigrated real experts, i.e., Christopher Columbus needed glasses.
  4. Express illogical reasoning, i.e., the world is flat because you don’t fall off.
  5. Want Science to be perfect,.i.e., Lemons can’t cure scurvy.

. . . just saying

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Flash Fiction

woman standing by the side of a watercraft
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Lynn

    Lynn stood on the sidewalk and could not remember who she used to be.

    It was a horrible feeling.

    She strolled casually to a nearby bench and sat to quiet the feeling.

    The weather was mild. The sun strong.

    It was not the present that disturbed her.

    Having silly thoughts, she hummed an old Peggy Lee song, “Is That All There Is?”

    She came to buy Christmas gifts, or so she thought.

    Instead, she window shopped and tried on clothes in an upscale woman’s store; attempting to find a new identity.

    Norman Rockwell’s picture of the golden-brown turkey on a large platter surrounded by family flashed  across her mind.

    Her romanticized past was painful to watch.

    She had been the women wearing the plaid apron, trying to fulfill other people’s dreams. Okay, perhaps they’d been her dreams too.

    It was hard to remember, things were different.

. . . just saying

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Old Film Twelve Angry Men

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I watched the film, “Twelve Angry Men”

It is a classic.

We frequently tape movies on Turner Classic Movies or our local PBS to watch together at a later date. Everything about the film is impressive and perhaps more relevant today

The writer, Reginald Rose, used a single setting, little action, and mostly dialogue to explore social issues; prejudice, segregation, and injustice.

Wikipedia states it nicely. “12 Angry Men explores many techniques of consensus-building and the difficulties encountered in the process among this group of men whose range of personalities adds to the intensity and conflict. It also explores the power one person has to elicit change. The jury members are identified only by number; no names are revealed until an exchange of dialogue at the very end. The film forces the characters and audience to evaluate their own self-image through observing the personality, experiences, and actions of the jurors.”  

The gentlemen of the jury, many dressed in tie and jacket, appear civil  . . . But tempers flare when Henry Fonda suggests things may not be what they appear.

It is a great movie.

. . . just saying

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What To Read 2

“When the Stars Go Dark”, by Paula McLain, was a good read.

She wrote, “The Paris Wife”, which I enjoyed even more. Both books draw upon facts. The Paris Wife  is the story of Ernest Hemingway’s life with his first wife, Hadley in Paris, and gives Hadley the credit she deserves as a spirited loving woman.

The idea for “When the Stars Go Dark” was sparked by an incident in California, the kidnapping of twelve-year-old Polly Klaas. The story is plot driven and compelling with insight about trauma along the way.

Both books, although based in fact, are categorized as fiction because facts might be embellished.

Please let me know if you read either, or both.

. . . just saying

 

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Have Your Heard About The Watergoat?

The Watergoat

Have you heard about the Watergoat? Is it a new surfing expression, meme or logo? The term certainly creates a strong visual picture. come to find out its better than all of these. Our local newspaper, News- Journal touted its benefits in a recent article. The Watergoat is a simple relatively inexpensive device that collects waterway trash before it gets away was developed by Mark Maksimowicz.

A follow up article by guest columnist, Donna Craig, in the Sunday’s Community Voice section, elaborated on the device and the efforts of Dream Green Volusia, a grassroots Florida nonprofit group that works on environmental issues throughout Volusia County.

Their objective is “to promote the mindset of taking pride in the community and reducing litter.”

Dream Green partnered with Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation to secure grant money for Watergoats in Holly Hill, Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach.

The Watergoat effort is only one of several endeavors, adopt a drain, painting murals and trash cans are more.

Donna Craig, the director of Dream Green, suggests emailing her (dreamgreenvolusia@gmail.com), phoning (386-212-7721, or visiting DreamGreenVolusia.com to learn more.

Now, have you heard about “goat scaping”?

This time the goats are real.  

. . . just saying

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Hacked

Computer Rage

I was hacked on Thursday.

 I’ve been hacked before but this was different.

I was lured by the hacker. He was a member of a Facebook writers’ group and posted a need for a beta reader.

I’ve been hiding under a rock, bah humbug over social media, and busy working on a novel, which I finished. The next step is to have Morningside Drive read by people who don’t know me for objective opinions. This is called beta reading.

That’s how I came across Adr lan. I offered to beta read his short story and he sent me the document in FB messenger.

But something was wrong from the start.

It was a legitimate story with markups from other critiques. However, FB messenger had a warning, if you respond Adr Ian would be able to phone you.

I didn’t want to talk with him. Instead, I commented on the writers’ group page saying I would return the critique document only in an email.

I never heard back.

Then, a friend phoned. “Did you send me a friends request and a poorly written covid message?”

“It’s not me!” I said, and spent the next three hours remedying the problem.

I pulled my hair out watching a Facebook video on how to report the incident. Nothing was easy.

The next day I visited the hacker’s page and found numerous requests for beta readers on a variety of different stories. It felt like aliens were reading my mind. The reality is hackers can’t read our minds but they must have access to computer searches.

What do you think?

Although I had been lured, I had a sense of complicity. Like I’d left the front door open and invited them to searched my underwear draw. Nothing was taken, just disrupted and I spent hours righting their wrong.

Now I’m experiencing what my friend Pat called . . . Computer rage.

 

. . . just saying

 

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