A Quintessential American

51evo1jm2nl-_sy344_bo1204203200_ U.S Representative, John Lewis, has always been a man I’ve greatly admired ever since reading his book, Walking With The Wind (1999), about the Civil Rights Movement.

I remember watching him stand behind Barack Obama when he took the oath of office thinking, wow, this must be a great day for Rev. Lewis, knowing all that he went through in the name of Civil Rights.

He was one of the original Freedom Riders, arrested over 40 times, beaten during the march in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.  images-2

Did you know, every time these brave men and women got on that bus, they made out a will, there was that much of a chance they’d not return, yet they still went, and John Lewis was one of them.

He worked alongside Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, was at the Ambassador Hotel the night RFK was shot.

He’s American History personified, yet he’s the latest peacemaker to take on our soon to be president of The United States.

“Sadly, we have witnessed one polarizing action after another. Since being elected, he has demonstrated hostility toward our free and open press, committed to gutting health insurance for millions of hardworking families, and is filling his cabinet with nominees more closely aligned with Wall Street than Main Street.” John Lewis

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John Lewis is a man who could only educate, enlighten, inspiring the utmost grace, yet he too, at 76 years of age, has taken up arms against the man who will soon be our leader.

He says he won’t even attend the inauguration, first one he’s ever missed.

I don’t know about you, but It makes me take eternal pause.

 

SB

 

Posted in Faith, History, media, Politics, violence, war, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

TIMBERRR

I always get melancholy when Christmas comes to it’s abrupt end.  Not that I’m so holiday oriented, it’s seeing how little it matters when it’s over.

The trees tossed on the curb like discarded bodies, particularly disturb me; so many chopped down for our one month of Yuletide amusement.

Yeah, I know, they’re recycled into mulch, but I’d rather see them majestically governing the parks and woods of our great land.

What’s mulch? It’s ground up bark and leaves you then scatter to make plants and trees grow, that we will eventually just hack, so no mulch lectures if you please.

I’m a big believer in nature having feelings.  Did they have families? Is some tiny tree searching for it’s mom? Yeah, Susannah, get a grip, but the waste of it all truly makes me sad.

It takes so long for an evergreen to grow into it’s proud, statuesque self, then we come along and shorten it’s life by about 100 years, and for what, to have something to put our gifts under?

What’s the answer? Artificial trees, which I’ll admit, are very ugly are not. I remember my mother almost stabbing my father with our Christmas star, tossing it out on the front lawn, when he brought one home.

But I think we should start decorating what we can keep that will continue to flourish way after that last Noel….like a ficus tree, or potted palm.  No, it won’t look like Twas the Night Before Christmas and All Through the House…but nature will be so much happier holding on to her own.

And as far as mulch goes…mulch this.    unusual-christmas-trees-uses

SB

 

 

 

Posted in Home, Love, nature, New York City, parents | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Critics

Art is very personal, so when it’s judged harshly, it’s a blow right to the heart.

I can only equate it with one’s child who’s casually criticized.

So what does the overly sensitive writer do…hide her prose like porn under the bed? Decide to keep it secret, never allowing the world privy to such a private place?

At the very least, grow tougher skin?

Mine should be like Velcro by now, yet it’s not.

So I ask again, what does the writer do, overly sensitive or otherwise when someone stabs one’s prose through the heart?

I hear murmurings.

“Take your broken heart, make into art.”   Carrie Fisher.

Okay…copy that.

SB

Posted in Books, Faith, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Mr. and Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson

images This seems to be history week on athingirl.com. since I feel the need to weigh in after seeing the film Jackie, that annoyed me on many levels,  starting with Natalie Portman’s over the top performance, but what I’d like to add light to, are the Johnsons.

The world, if nothing else, knows he succeeded JFK after the assassination.  They might even know how hated he was by the Kennedys and the Irish Mafia, as their loyal cronies were aptly called.

After JFK asked him to be vice-president, Bobby Kennedy, who may have loathed him the most, tried very hard to backpedal Jack’s offer, but Johnson held firm.

Here are some facts I’ll bet few people know…

LBJ refused to leave Dallas without Jackie when the secret service wanted him to.  She wouldn’t leave without her husband’s body the Dallas coroner wouldn’t release. There was a law stating, anyone who died there had to have an autopsy before it was let go.

Still, Lyndon and Lady Bird, perhaps not a smart move safety wise, stayed, until strings were pulled, before they all returned to Washington.

It’s been written, he wanted Jackie by his side to make him look more presidential.

How about, he had two daughters of his own, and the man he was, was not about to leave a girl of 34, who just watched her husband die, all alone.

One of the first things he did, when he got back home, was write letters to John and Caroline, telling them what a special father they had.

He also told Jackie, to take all the time she needed to move.

He then said, the school Jackie had started in the White House for Caroline and her little peers, could continue till the year was up, so not to disturb their routine anymore than necessary.

These things are interesting to me, and should have all been in the film.

Why weren’t they?

Because goodness doesn’t sell tickets?

As for accuracy, who cares.

When Jackie died, 31 years later, Lady Bird, her husband long gone, attended her funeral.  There she was, old yet sturdy, saying good bye to an old friend.

All politicians are ruthless, just look who’s about to take the helm, and LBJ was no exception…

but in November, 1963, he was a caring, noble, just man…to a very shaken, sad, young widow, who I’m certain, never forgot it.

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SB

 

 

 

 

Posted in Books, History, media, men, Politics, travel, violence, women | Tagged , , , , , | 37 Comments

Trust America

I’ve been reading all about Meryl Streep’s unexpected speech at the Golden Globes.  It surprised me, since her behavior is normally so neutral.

She was indirectly, without mentioning his name, railing Donald Trump for allegedly mocking a handicapped journalist, an allegation he denies.  I use the term, alleged, because, though I totally believe it, I’m still hoping it’s not true. He’s our new president after all, and I have enough issues concerning him, without adding cruelty to the list.

Made me think of something Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal (November 25,  2016), leaving a big impression on me.

She said, and I’ll paraphrase, if you’re unhappy with the results of the election and don’t trust the president elect, then just trust America because she always prevails.

Noonan was speaking to a foreign taxi driver who told her, his son wept after the election, he’s that afraid of being deported.

Imagine being so fearful of the person just elected to lead.

One thing never changes for me, and that’s how proud I am to be an American, knowing how lucky one is to live here, so I can appreciate that kid’s tears.

Whether our new president delivers or disappoints, I will always feel this way.

Before Peggy Noonan exited the taxi, she said,tell your son…

whatever happens, trust America. images She has a way of weathering through.”     

SB

Posted in Faith, History, media, Politics, war | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

Jackie

images-3The recent film, Jackie, about Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, is getting lots of attention.

Seems she never loses her allure, while we remain fascinated by her.

The film chronicles the assassination, images-2 images-1 along with the pain over losing her husband, as if it should come as a big surprise.

Imagine, not only the loss, but being there, cradling his head, what was left of it, in her lap refusing at the hospital to allow him taken from the limousine, fearing the world would see, what she already knew.

Her beloved Jack, was no more.

A Secret Service man threw his jacket over JFK, and only then, did she let him go.

At her worst moment, Jackie held her ground.

When they said she couldn’t enter the examination room, she went in anyway.

“I want to be with my husband.”

She then got hold of her brother-in-law, Sargent Robert Shriver, asking him to please go to The Library of Congress to get all there was to know about Abraham Lincoln’s funeral, 98 years earlier.

As shocked as she had to be, her correctness…what she felt was her husband’s due, did not desert her. Compare her to Mary Lincoln, so distraught, she couldn’t even attend her husband’s funeral.

Black bunting was draped throughout The White House.  Every flag in the country flown at half mast.

JFK’s body traveled by caisson, famous-photos followed by a riderless horse with boots set backward in the saddle’s stirrups, to honor our fallen leader.   300px-thumbnail

But the tale that always brings me to tears, is Jackie’s decision to walk to the church behind her husband’s casket.

The Secret Service, who had just lost a president on their watch, begged her not to.

They were afraid snipers were at large, still having no idea who was responsible for this horrific crime.

Ninety foreign dignitaries came to pay their respects, so their fear wasn’t unfounded.

They were particularly concerned about LBJ, our new president, and French President, Charles De Gaulle, both extremely tall and easy targets.

De Gualle had a rare blood type they flew in, just in case.

And Johnson…we just lost a president…could we survive losing another?

“Please Mrs. Kennedy, please ride in a car. We’re worried about those who will follow you.”

Jackie said, “They can do whatever they wish, but I’m walking behind my husband.”

These men, who knew the danger, all collectively said…

If she walks, we walk…and they did.

On that sad day in history, in November, 1963, it gave courage, valor and dignity a whole new face.  images

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, was all but 34 years old.

SB

 

Posted in Faith, Family, History, Politics, violence, war, women, words | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Best Story Of The Week

I’m about to cross Lexington Avenue towards home alongside a little girl holding the leash of a sheepdog the size of a Chevy who easily makes three of her.

Her nanny walks behind talking to another nanny in some kind of islandese.  You know me, my interest in what’s put in front of me is like a tic, so I say to this wee thing, “Nice weather we’re having. Great day for a walk.” And it was…cold, but sunny.

She says like the head of a finishing school,”Oh yes, a perfect day to go to the park.”

The dog who bears a striking resemblance to my ex, never takes its eyes away from her making me think, it should be the nanny not Encilada bringing up the rear.

As the light changes the little girl says, “My name is Merle, and this is my dog, Ham, short for Hamlet, it’s very nice to meet you.”

She’s 4, going on 35…and Ham?

He’s an absolute prince.   🙂

SB

Posted in animals, Family, humor, kids, Love, New York City, words | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

What We Prefer Not To See

A warning…this is not a happy post.

I’m in Starbucks where there’s a homeless man, with no legs, in a wheelchair, parked in the center of the room.

It’s freezing out, so Haley and Kim, the two early baristas, let him stay, because how could you not in true conscience.

I watch a good 15 people come and go and not one of them look his way, and trust me, they see him because, how could you not.

He’s like an ad for a trip to Lourdes.

He’s four tables behind where I’m sitting as I squirm feeling his presence.  I finally get up to ask if he’d like coffee, the one thing the girls don’t do.

This is cruel, but I’m sure it’s like feeding a stray dog…it will come back at dinner time.

He mumbles yes, he’d like a cup.

“How do you take it,” I ask.

“Five sugars and milk.”

This man’s dignity is so non-existent, he can’t even look at me as snot runs down his nose.

Takes everything I have not to cry.

I get his coffee, fixing it, before putting napkins in his ice cold hands whispering, “Wipe your nose.”

As I watch him obey like a little kid, I think…

There but for the grace of God, go I.

SB

 

 

 

Posted in Love, New York City, Starbucks | Tagged , , , | 50 Comments

Love In The Aftermath

An old lover surfaced…

someone I was really nuts for, light years ago.

He said he was worried when he was told at my old place, I didn’t live there anymore.  Then when my landline was disconnected, he really panicked.

Awe, the little monkey, who jilted me, way back when, for an Asian model named Fawn, or was it Tiger Lily?

Yes, it was the year David Bowie’s song, China Girl, came out.  Every guy seemed to want one along with a Porsche, vasectomy and an electric guitar.

His text popped a file like a boil that needed longtime lancing. When he asked me out for a drink I thought about it, remembering how blue his eyes were and how he loved to spoon squeezing you all night like a big, stuffed toy.

And sex was a religious experience, as blasphemous as that may sound.

Hmm.

But then thought about how hurt I was being pushed aside for a girl with no charm, no brain, not even able to conjugate a verb, because she was in and I was out, at the time, like flats, that let’s face it, never go out of style, for chopsticks, with a heel.

Sorry baby, I’m pretty busy, but thanks for calling, you poor excuse for a memory.

You think I sound angry?

Nah!  Remember, the truth sets you free, but first it kicks your ass.

SB

Posted in humor, Love, men, New York City, sexual relationships, women, Women and men | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

Kindness Confuses People

Why is kindness often perceived as a weakness, a question that comes up time and time again. There seems to be a threat attached to it, like some kind of lethal weapon making its opponents twitch with decided discomfort.

I like to give, having it instilled in me as a little girl.  Not by my parents mind you, who were anything but generous, but a grandfather who was.

He taught me life was about sharing, helping, giving what you have.  And if there’s no money in your pocket, quite often a kind word will do.

Kindness is also the finest fixer for what ails you, service taking you right out of yourself plucked from your troubles, plugging, what writer Anne Lamott calls, those Swiss Cheesey holes.

Receiving is in the giving, as St. Francis said, knowing first hand, it’s true.

When someone called me the sweet little deaf girl on the 5th floor who needs to be liked, it didn’t make me cry as much as feel sorry the sincerest of actions could be interpreted this way.

Sad really. I give with no expectations, no looking back, leaving no bill beneath the door.

My choice?  Now when I see this person who’s elderly and feeble, do I pass her by with my back up like a pissed off cat?  Or do I still say good morning, how are you today…is there anything that you need?

I’ll admit, since her outburst, take pause…

but, it’s only for an instant.

SB

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