Soldier To Soldier

Susannah Bianchi:

I’m here reading about D-Day, Gettysburg and Teddy’s ride up San Juan Hill.  I’ve watched Bob Hope entertaining the troops switching to Taps at Arlington.  It brings to mind my Dad also a soldier and a boyfriend who didn’t come home from Vietnam.

To quote Civil War General, William Tecumseh Sherman, ‘War is hell’…and me, heartbreaking and humbling.

Originally posted on athingirldotcom:

I like to think of myself as patriotic, but as I said to my friend Ed, then why am I always getting out of jury duty?

He told me how he watched a film that had a platoon of soldiers placing an American Flag on every grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.  How they use their boot to space them just right.  Just hearing about it put a lump in my throat.

It’s hard not to have love and respect for the military whether it’s past or present.  I think I may have watched Ken Burn’s film Civil War a hundred times never failing to be moved and humbled at the built-in bravery of such young men.

I remember after the first time I saw it writing to Mr. Burns at his home in Walpole, New Hampshire asking why was I was affected over a war that happened…

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Humpin In The Hallway

The passion of others arouses what’s left of mine…that resin of romance you lived for most of your life.  Of course my moments of public abandonment read more like Jackie Collins rather than a porn site, but the 70s and 80s were another kettle of fish.

Screwing, or at least trying to with that Brazilian model you met on Alitalia in the three-by-four men’s room with its lock broken.  How pissed we were someone actually needed to come in.  Now who ever was bumpin and humpin would simply move over and let them.

We were however covert back then, especially us Connecticut girls.

I think of Monica Lewinsky, also a New Englander, on her knees serving her country.  There’s always a way to justify one’s job, blown or otherwise.

I saw nothing wrong with a quick toss over the sink when you consider what a long flight it is to Milan.  Youth, that little vixen, simply knows how to have a good time.

I’m a voyeur at heart enjoying watching others do their little lap dance thinking no one sees.  The way the flirt commences, the body language brokering its titillating ballet.

Screw morality.

Instead, imagine two magnets getting very, very close then locking shut.

Ah, I bask in the memory.

My last round of lust was with a salesman I met at the Carlyle.  Attraction is very mysterious because this big, barrel chested Welshman had my thighs streamin and screamin like they were at the car wash.

Excuse me, but you missed a spot.

Who said your libido can’t be resuscitated?  It all depends on the equipment being used.

Who said hose?

My twenty-five year old neighbor was going at it in the hall when I was coming home.  He’s a lawyer introducing all of his dates as clients.  What a roster he must have, I always think whenever I meet a new one.  But this time they were doing business a little sooner than usual.  I tried being detached even though her ass, well preserved in a pencil skirt, was blocking the door.  “Uh, could you just move in a little?” I said, like we were sharing a subway car.

My neighbor who needs to be lobotomized said, “Oh hi, sure…no problem.”

Youth, that little cad, just knows how to have a good time.

Have a nice weekend.


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Right Foot…Left Foot

smile-heart-md There’s a woman I know who has left her body to Science.  It was decided years ago when her young son died from a congenital heart disorder.  Bobby Darin disease she calls it.  She wished she had donated his then, but hers will have to do.

Jane, I’ll call her, now in her 70s, Irish and strong despite having open heart surgery less than three years ago, is truly a force of nature.

I ran into Jane this morning walking Julius, her black lab, stopping to chat in the predawn light.

“How are you…how’s your hearing?” she said, in that booming voice one would know anywhere.

Not used to such a direct remark pertaining to my health, I started to cry.

“It’s not too good,” I said. “I’m back on meds and feel very discouraged.”

She put her arms around me and said, “You are a very brave girl.  Look at you.  You’re up. You’re out.  You seize the day even with this plight.  I admire you so much, and so does Julius,” who was licking my bare knees tenderly.

“Susannah, we just have to keep going.  Look at me, they split me open like a tuna and I’m still here to greet the sun.”

When God decides to send in the militia he doesn’t fuck around does he?

When I left her and Julius, my shoulders were straighter and my knees shined.


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Health Care…An Oxymoron

I am so sick of doctors.

I’m sick of rejected insurance claims.

I’m sick of women called Carmen who say after you’ve held on the line for 20 minutes, “It’s okay honey, it happens…all the time.  They put it in wrong…but if they wannna get paid they’ll fix it.”

“But they’re professional billers who are suppose to know what they’re doing.”

“Yeah well, you know how it is.  Things slip through the cracks.”

“While I’ve got you on the phone Carmen, do you happen to have any by any chance…crack that is.”

I want to scream at the ensuing sloppiness of health care.

I’d like to burn down the hospitals who practically take your organs by force to pay for unacceptable treatment in an ER after midnight taking advantage of you along with the hour.

While I’m ranting, let’s toss in bedside manner that appears to be a dying art, pun intended.  Are doctors and nurses so jaded they forget the average patient is just a little scared?

I was appalled at what celebrity chef Sandra Lee’s doctor said to her after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Are you sitting down?  “You’re like a ticking time bomb,” he said, which is why she’s opting for a double mastectomy rather than 6-8 weeks of daily radiation so she never has to go through it again including such insensitivity.  I think comparing her to a bomb wasn’t the most tactful, compassionate remark to make and then, as a tag he adds, “You’re a poster girl for early mammography.”

Let’s invite him to our next Christmas party, shall we?  We can hang lights on him then push him towards the nearest circuit breaker.

I just had my cute little neurologist tell me I need a psychiatrist because I am just too rattled by the 85 tests I’ve just had still inconclusive. Gee Doc, can you recommend anyone?  How bout I just check into the nearest nut house till the next test.  At least you’ll know where to find me. But if you could intervene, I’m not too thrilled having to hand over my Tiffany belt.

They treat you like meat and wonder why you’re just little shaky.


What did you say…it’s out to lunch?

That would be if we were lucky.




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No Biting Or Hair Pulling

I was witness to an argument that left me filled with thought…a young couple duking it out at the entrance of Central Park.  I so wanted to say, please don’t go in disturbing the peace, but managed to muzzle myself.

“I fucken hate you,” she said, the tattoos on her arms coming to life. “I am sick, sick sick a’ you lyin then showin up ta lie s-more.”

Well, I thought, if that’s true I’d be sick of him too, but what got my attention more than the shrillness of her voice was his reaction.  He just stood there taking every verbal punch with dignified poise.  After she finally ran out of steam he said, “Are you done, cause I gots sump-in ta say.

As she plopped on a bench, I kept stretching as if I was about to do an Ironman so I wouldn’t miss anything.  Hey, I’m just a nosy blogger, what can I say?

“I gots ta work.  If we eva is gonna get married I need ta put some bucks away.  I ain’t lyin when I tell ya I’m at work.  They keep me late sometime cause the otha guy’s late and I need ta wait.  Why won’t you ba-lieve me ? I love you baby so much.”

Yes, me and my hamstrings were in tears listening to him plead, while she just sat there biting her French manicure I so wanted to caution her about since the adhesive they use is very toxic.

They finally made up, kissing like porn stars in the early morning light.

Made me think how lucky we are to find someone to love.  It’s not easy coexisting, and one needs to take care of what one loves, could just be a pair of shoes, or the lawn.  But the person you let into your life needs attention always.  I’m not wild  about the expression, relationships need work.  Work sounds joyless and uphill.  Unions require a soft touch, a gentle understanding and most of all the grace and gratitude for the other.

It’s why you see that husband sitting at a bar talking to an attractive girl who needs a little attention, and after two or three drinks are in the front seat of her Subaru fucking like bunnies who really only needed to be held.

I know what I’m talking about.  It takes a few years of solitude to put and see all the pieces clearly.

I sure hope that couple are still kissing.


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Carmela Finds Her True Home

First I’d like to thank everyone for their unstinting compassion towards me and Carmela these past couple of weeks.

To say there have been some curves along the way is an understatement.

For those of you who may not know, Carmela is a basset hound I’ve been lovingly walking for a little under two years, and the family on a whim, decided to give her away.

Last you knew, I had gone to Brooklyn two weeks ago to find her no more, the maid tearfully telling me she was gone.

The chef came out with Kleenex and a puff pastry to say, she went to a family in Connecticut who has three dogs.  My heart broke when I saw her bed and toys no longer where they used to be.

I left in such tears, the commercial being filmed in front of their house in Brooklyn Heights stopped production to see if I was okay.

I wasn’t, I was mewling, but what’s a thin girl to do, but to keep on keepin on.

The following Friday at around 8 at night, I get an email from a lovely, loyal follower who sent me a link with the question:  Is this your Carmela?

It was to the Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue site.  I wasn’t even going to look thinking, Carm is with a family, it couldn’t be her.  Well my curiosity, thank God, got the best of me because lo and behold, who was not in Connecticut with a family and three dogs.

She was actually with a wonderful foster mom named Sharon with about 8, but I’m jumping ahead of my story.

To say I was shocked cannot describe how I felt.  A chill ran from my feet to my head, like I was suddenly submerged in ice cold water.

There she was, my Carm, like in a ad.  Head shot, full lengths.  Weight…age.  I half expected to read, I love to bake, knit and zumba on my day off.

I immediately put in a bid like an over aggressive suitor, but what got my attention were the words on top of the page…ADOPTION PENDING.

I called my friend Chris who has two chihuahuas he’d go to the chair for who said, “Just get her…do what you have to. I’ll pay whatever it is.”

MJ, who found her said, “I’ll drive.”

It was like breaking her out of jail.  Then my pal Amy, always the voice of reason said, “Calm down Susannah, just write to them.”

So I did, and did I go for broke.  I told them everything, from how we met, to how close we were and how carelessly she was treated at home.

I compare getting her as a puppy, like those who get bunnies on Easter then dump them at the ASPCA when it’s over.

Let’s just say, Carm’s charm crashed fast.

I sent pictures that showed what a loving, sweet dog she is, and they immediately wrote back.

Let me say, the women at Tri-State Basset Hound Rescue are the kindest on earth.  Our story, Carmela’s and mine, resonated with these rescue workers who have been keeping me updated on Carmela’s well-being.

Heroes they are, with hearts the size of Venus.

Yes, a couple had already gotten there ahead of me, but after all I’ve learned, they appear to be the perfect parents for our girl…semi-retired with a big yard along with a French Bulldog, so Carm has an immediate four-legged friend.  And knowing her as I do, she will be mighty happy since she so loves other dogs.

Her former owners who promised they’d alter her didn’t, but Tri-State did and she came through beautifully.

It’s not exactly the perfect ending for me because I won’t see her again, but I’ll mend, and the most important thing in all of this is, Carmela will be safe and loved like she deserves.

Let’s have a round of applause for my girl who landed squarely on her big, sweet, silly paws.

If anyone would like to make a donation in Carmela’s name please, by all means.  And if you do, in the memo section, say it’s on behalf of her because I want Tubes, that little ambassetress of love, to get all the credit.



With much grace and gratitude,

Susannah                             getPart-3 With her new Mom.  Look at that affection already in play.  Way to go, Carm.

Posted in animals, Faith, Family, friendship, Gratitude, Love | Tagged , , , , , | 42 Comments

An Elephant Can’t

I’m not too great at promotion whether it’s for me or another, but it seems I’ve fallen in love with an elephant.

I found Brian on Friday Fictioneers lured in by his poetry…couplets so dear they put a smile on my face from ear to ear.  Yes, he even inspires me to attempt verse.

My image of an elephant in a big easy chair in a robe and slippers editing his prose, sipping a libation through his built-in straw made me want to write this post.  Think Babar with a Keats bent.



About AnElephantCant

An artist/writer/poet combination whose blogs reflect an approach to life that celebrates nature and takes a tongue-in-cheek view of most issues. So you get rhymes and doodles, photographs and comment. Irreverent and irrelevant. Occasionally funny, sometimes serious, mostly pointless.

He’s very modest as you can see, but his poetry resonates like a flute in the distance.
If you’d like a little impromptu back rub from a friendly mastodon, check out…
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Susannah’s Summer Reading List

I make no bones about reading.  Other than writing and laughing, it’s my favorite thing to do.  I’m always amazed how many people don’t read.  If you haven’t the time to sit and kick your feet up, you could listen to a book on tape like my pals Amy and David.  In any event, I’m not here to lecture, but merely stimulate, stir and suggest.

1) Why Sinatra Matters…Pete Hamill  You needn’t be a Sinatra fan to appreciate this quaint boozy tale since it regales old New York, opening with Frank holding court at the legendary P.J. Clarke’s Saloon, Pete taking notes.

2) A Marriage Made in Heaven…Erma Bombeck  Queen of quirky essays, if you want something light to keep you company on a cool summer night, Erma’s your girl.

3) How I Got To Be Perfect…Jean Kerr  Jean preceded Erma who was her favorite writer as well as one of mine.  Her pieces drip with such silly innocence even a Catholic nun would giggle.

4) The Truth About Hillary…Edward Klein  One can’t help wondering what Mrs. Clinton did to piss off old Eddie for him to pen such a selection of Hillarisms that will put chills down your spine starting with her nickname, The Big Girl, when she was first lady.

5)  Rewrites…Neil Simon  Any lover of theater and its history this memoir’s for you taking you through all of his plays from The Odd Couple to Laughter on the 23rd Floor.  Notables like Bob Fosse, Walter Matthau and Maureen Stapleton to name a few jump off the page not to mention Simon’s personal history wrapped in gentle poignancy.

6) Robert F. Kennedy; a memoir…Jack Newfield  If you had any doubt RFK would have been a great president this book begs to differ.  Newfield, a respected journalist, was an intimate friend from the very beginning till June, 1968 when Bobby was no more.  A riveting read whether you’re a Kennedy fan or not.

7) The Little Prince…Antoine de Saint Exupery  You want to swoon and smile, reflect and remember what it feels like to have a child’s imagination, run to get a copy.  The illustrations alone are worth the trip.

8) Joe and Marilyn…C. David Heymann  Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe had to be one of the most romantic, tempestuous couples of all time.  Who knew they were about to get remarried when she overdosed in August, 1962 at the age of 36, her funeral held on the day they were to wed.  Sad, but a glorious reminder love, till death due us part and in some cases even after, has the last say.

9) Kitchen Confidential…Anthony Bourdain  You want to hear what goes on in a first-class kitchen as well as every dive along the way, then this candid, sassy, funny book’s for you.  Written in 2000, he still apologizes for its content, but KC put this now famous TV chef (Parts Unknown) on the map.  Whatever you do, don’t ever order fish at any restaurant on a Monday.

10) Operating Instructions…Anne Lamott  One of my favorite writers, her story is about giving birth when she least expected to be expecting.  Another author who weaves woe into mirth having you on the floor wanting to send a baby gift even though her son Sam is now well into his 20s.

11) Some Assembly Required…Anne and Sam Lamott  The sequel in a sense to OI when Sam becomes an unexpected father and Anne a granny.  It was the first book of hers I ever read making me an eternal disciple.

12) A Walk In The Woods…Bill Bryson  His recap of hiking along the Appalachian Trail with a funny pal of his.  You feel like you’re there, happy you’re not when a few things go wrong.

13) Julie and Julia…Julie Powell  If you liked the Nora Ephron film by the same name, you’ll love who inspired it.  JP writes so sweetly on the subject of cooking herself through Julia Child’s famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, blogging the experience through the course of a year.  I recommend this in particular to those royal she-bloggers out there.

14) On Writing…Stephen King  A bible for any scribe and pencil pusher seasoned or otherwise.  I keep my copy by the bed for a quick spur as well as a reminder to keep it real.

15) Bird By Bird…Anne Lamott  A sister read to Steve’s.  There’s something about tips from a writer who’s ridden the rails before you that blink true.  I once heard it described as, aspiring to inspire.

Summer is a great time for classics you never had a chance to read or long to reread.  My particular favorites:

A Moveable Feast…Ernest Hemingway

Frankenstein…Mary Shelley

Out of Africa…Isak Dinesen

Pride and Prejudice…Jane Austen

The Great Gatsby…F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Hunchback of Notre Dame…Victor Hugo

To Kill A Mockingbird…Harper Lee

The Pursuit of Love

                                       Nancy Mitford

Love in a Cold Climate…back to back. 

And for you history lovers, The Big Oyster…Mark Kurlansky  Did you know up till the early 1900s, New York Harbor had so many oysters some the size of catcher’s mitts, even the poorest of families could have them every night for dinner?

Meet You In Hell…Les Standiford  The message Henry Clay Frick sent Andrew Carnegie who, on his death bed, wanted to finally make amends to the man who helped him build his steel empire.

Hallowed Ground…James McPherson  His walking tour of The Gettysburg Battlefield he takes his students on every year making you want to hop a bus and tag along.

Mornings On Horseback…David McCullough  The early life of Theodore Roosevelt written so beautifully you’ll become even against your will, an immediate, avid Teddy fan. The title alone makes you want to peruse it or at least go for a carriage ride.

Lucy…Ellen Feldman.  Lucy Mercer, the great love of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s life though forced to part after being discovered by Eleanor, was at his side in 1945, when he died suddenly in Warm Springs, Georgia of a cerebral hemorrhage.  What was their romance like in the beginning?  Feldman spins a sweet, compelling tale you can’t help but to appreciate.

One last suggestion.  Model Behavior: Friends For Life…Susannah Bianchi  If you’d really like to know why she’s so nuts, here’s your chance.  LOL

I chose books that were pretty short and easy to digest.  You’ll find no Tolstoy here, although who knows, War and Peace might be just what the doctor ordered, along with a Black Russian or two…on the rocks.

ti01082479 smaller reader SB

Posted in Books, Family, food, History, humor, Love, New York City, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

A Stolen Word

images-4I woke up this morning with the word filch in my head.  After looking it up I thought, what the hell was I dreaming…did I knock off a bank in my sleep?

Filch pilfer or steal (something, especially a thing of small value) in a casual way : I was promptly accused of filching that last sliver of pie.

Swipe, thieve, take or loot…nick, nab, rob or lift.

To liberate, rip-off or just plain take something that’s not yours.

Wow, that dream I had must have been really something.  No more cold pizza for me before going to bed.

When in my life have I filched an item not belonging to me.  Hmm, the lipstick I slipped into my pocket when I was just a wee teen.  My mother’s bra I used as a holster during my Dale Evans period.

Candy I said I wouldn’t buy, stealing it instead.  Slipping a few bucks from a boyfriend’s pants pocket while he slept it off…for taxi money.  I mean a girl needs to get home doesn’t she.

Yes, I’ve certainly done my share of filching, no question.

I’m not exactly Bonnie Parker, but I’ve poached and pirated, purloined and pinched never looking the least bit back.

But I ask you, who hasn’t?







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I’m Old Enough To Be Your…Big Sister

While sitting in front of my house going through mail, I was politely propositioned by an impressive young man, in daylight no less.

He was 30ish, good looking with Kennedy like hair falling coyly across his forehead.  What got my attention were his cufflinks gleaming in the sun.  He looked like a baby stockbroker who slipped into jeans leaving his day wear on from the waist up.

“Pretty nice out,” he said, squinting my way.  It was so bright I wondered why his outfit didn’t come with a pair of shades.

“Finally,” I said not looking up.

Two minutes later.

“I couldn’t help noticing you…I’ve seen you before.”


“If you stroll these parts often enough that would be bound to happen.”

“To be honest, I’m always hoping I’ll see you.”

In my Prednisone haze, I needed to nip this in the bud.  The fact I could even hear him was miraculous enough, those steroids taking their bow, but it’s not in me, no pun intended, to canoodle with an infant unless he’s safely strapped in a stroller.

“I’m Harry,” he said, extending his hand.

Okay, Connecticut made her appearance to shake it then said, “How come you don’t have a young, pretty gal on your arm on such a lovely day?”

He seemed thrown by this, the Nutmeg State’s intention, and didn’t answer right away.

“Well, what about you…wanna take a walk?”

When you’re detached, that’s when you’re the most attractive…the chase commencing as if the bugle sounded.

Suddenly sadness swelled up in me remembering how sweet it is to have a beau, even for the afternoon, but I just couldn’t allow myself to enjoy being flattered by such a young man.

What could we talk about, the spinal tap I just had?  And how many times will I have to mutter, can you say that again…I didn’t hear that.

“You know Harry, that’s a mighty fine offer on such a spectacular day, but I have some things to do, but I want to thank you for asking me.”

I got up, his cufflinks still sparkling like stars, and took leave.

I cried all the way up the stairs.


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