Trash Talk’in

Yesterday, I was about to begin my run, when I saw a bevy of beer bottles rolling beneath a bench.  I love Central Park and loathe littering anywhere, so often find myself, like this morning, picking it up.

As I was dumping them in a trash can, a woman came over and said, “What are you doing…are you crazy…touching those dirty bottles?”

Now in one glance I knew who she was…15 pounds overweight stuffed in pricy exercise togs draped in jewelry that shouldn’t be seen before noon, while nails, like stilettos, clutched her iPhone 7.  She was an Upper Eastside princess alright…over fed, overdone, over concerned with something with origins that should concern her, but don’t.

“Don’t you love the park?” I said, determined to keep it cordial. “It’s awful to see it disrespected this way, don’t you agree?”

“Yes I do, but what about all those germs you now have all over you?”

“You know, I believe if you live in a place like New York, you can’t worry too much about that.  You just wash your hands more often, that’s all.”

She was shocked by my response, staring at me like I had three heads.

“Well, I worry, and you should too.”

“Okay, but there’s a bottle behind you I’d like to grab, so could you move over a bit? Thanks.”

I left her on her phone telling Abbey, whoever the hell Abbey was, about the girl collecting bottles…

“and Abbey…she’s so thin.”



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Lust Is In The Air

It’s the mating season, and everybody’s doin it.  Squirrels, birds, bees, even educated fleas do it, to quote Cole Porter…

let’s do it…let’s fall in love. 

I could have sworn I saw two raccoons holding hands, turning out to be twins toddling in mini track suits.  A trip to the eye doctor is definitely in order, but even a coupl’a kids that small had a whiff of spring fever between them.

Teens, hot to trot, strolling in our midst…wooing…canoodling…girls with legs like ladders smooching boys in tights T’s showing off sculpted arms.

I remember being a lusty girl like that, in a short, pretty dress, galloping like a filly turning every head on the farm…sigh

Like anything old, there are remnants to be had, so I may just take a little stroll myself, over to the Carlyle sometime soon.  After all, if squirrels do it, bees and educated fleas do it…what the hell.  






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Remembering Jackie

It was May, 1994, when I was coming home through Central Park, wondering why there were so many news trucks along Fifth Avenue.

I had yet to learn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, better known to the world, as just Jackie, had come home to die.

She had been suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for almost a year assuming she’d recover.  When she learned it had gotten worse without a chance of that happening, she made the decision to call it a day.

I’ve often wondered how that must have been for someone like her who lived such an amazing life, now choosing to leave it.

I wandered into the grocer’s where Harry, the produce man, told me Mrs. Kennedy, as she was always called, just received the last rites, according to her longtime cook, not expected to live through the night.

The whole neighborhood was shocked and saddened since, though we didn’t see her often, she was still a member of our little community.  All the shopkeepers knew her, from Stanley Lobel the butcher, to Timmy the florist who said, no one was as kind and courteous as Mrs. Kennedy.  They also knew Caroline and John since they were kids.

I remember how quiet the streets were as we all waited while a shrine of flowers  flourished in front of her home. People, young and old, solemnly held vigil behind police barricades as reporters stationed, on all corners, whispered to the world, also waiting.

Family members, Ted Kennedy and Jackie’s sister Lee, nieces and nephews arrived along with her close friends, to say their farewells to a woman who symbolized elegance and grace like no other.

How can anyone forget her courage in November 1963, holding the country up by it’s heartstrings, walking behind her husband’s casket, flanked by his two remaining brothers.

When her beloved son came down to say she had passed, it was hard not to remember that little boy his mother taught to salute, as his dad’s coffin mewled by when he was barely 3.  Here he was, the best of both of them, to tell us, his mom was no more.

“Last night, at around 10:15, my mother passed on.  She was surrounded by her friends and family, and her books and the people and the things that she loved.  And she did it in her way, and we all feel lucky for that.”

I cried along with everyone knowing an era had passed, picking up a stray rose, pressing it to my heart.

In her brother-in-law’s poignant eulogy, Ted Kennedy said…”No one else looked liked her, spoke like her, wrote like her, or was as original in the way she did things.  No one had a better sense of self.”

Hear Hear!

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis died on this day….May 19, 1994.   She was 64.

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Dust To Dusk

If I needed an excuse to start drinking again, I have one now.

THERE’S A LEAK…coming from a pipe beneath my living room floor.

I have a plumber named Nico, who should be done by 5, if all goes well, coming to repair it. Let’s hope Nico is fast and works through lunch.

Frank, the super, says, they will do their best not to make a mess and well, that’s right up there with, my wife and I have an understanding to, don’t worry…I pulled out in time.

Regardless of what they say, I’ll be living in Pompeii, till they’re finished.

I also know from experience, you need to be present so Nico and his merry men don’t break anything or use one’s drapes as a hankie.

Frank said, “You got the neatest apa-ment in the building, just so ya know. You’re a regula, Joon Cleava.”

“Yeah, and I’d like to keep it that way there Beav.”

The building will replace the floor, molding, wall, any mice I might have (God forbid) but, Ms. Cleava all in all, definitely is not a happy girl.



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Sassy, Quite A Lassie

I saw Sassy, the pit, in the park this morning.  She’s more an American Staffordshire without her ears pinned back, the upper-crust version of the average pit. Wish I had a photo, but never run with my iPhone. Heaven forbid I drop it, since it’s not even paid for yet.

Wasn’t having the best morning, so when I see her coming up the hill with her brother Mac and their owner, who I’ve never spoken to, his ears always occupied with his iPod, I call out to her.

“Sassy, Sassy…it’s me, your girlfriend.”

Suddenly she turns into the terrier she is, her back straight, tail up, and comes galloping like a thoroughbred to greet me, knowing she’s in for a good heinie rub.

She’s no fool.

I smile at her master who allows us our brief visit, while Mac chases squirrels.

My whole demeanor changes in those few minutes, Sassy raising my spirits as high as her tail.

It’s a pity dogs can’t go to med school. Lord knows they’re smart enough and have the right bedside manner, unlike many a doctor that I’ve met.

Calling Dr. Pooch, you’re wanted in the ER…Calling Dr. Pooch.

But alas, when God made canines, I guess it just didn’t occur to him.


images This isn’t her, but kinda what she looks like.

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A Hairy Story

I was sitting at a little cafe in midtown when a well-dressed woman, two stools down, looked up from her phone and said, “What does hirsute mean?”

“Hairy,” I said, without thought or pause, a word that always makes me think of Mr. Detuzzi, the father of Debbie and Janet, two childhood friends.

I couldn’t have been more than 8 when I came home and said to my mother, “Ma, Janet and Debbie’s dad…he’s so hairy…he looks like a bear.”

“He’s hirsute,” she said, which is why I never forgot it’s meaning.

Mr. Detuzzi would mow the lawn without his shirt, his back looking like a throw rug, strips of sweaty hair waving from beneath his arms.  He was a handsome man too, but did he need Nair, or a wax, in a big way.

“Some women like that,” said my mother. “It doesn’t particularly appeal to me, but…to each his own.”

Well, it must have clearly appealed to Mrs. Detuzzi, because if it were me, I’d be chasing him around the yard with a razor. “Come-ere honey, you need a trim, even more than the lawn.

Funny what triggers a memory.     



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They Died With Their Scrubs On

 I go to the hospital monthly, to have a shot to keep my hearing up, in a facility called, The Infusion Center.  Now I’m there for something minor, compared to the cast of chemo patients that never fail to humble me.

They’ve now made each room a semi-private, so today, as I’m leaving, a middle-aged black man was brought in for his very first chemotherapy treatment.

I smile, say hello, noticing right away the man’s petrified.  Mind you, he has three young women all in scrubs fussing over him, but not one, looks him in the eye.  They’re chatting about lunch, where to go…pizza…sushi…Chinese again?

I feel my mother over my shoulder.  See her in the corner of my eye in that black dress she always wore on special occasions, with heels and dark hose, her gold Rhingold hoops swinging from her ears.

I sit in the chair next to the man whose blood pressure they’re  taking and say, “are you by yourself…did anyone come with you?”

“No,” he says, “I’m here alone.”

“Would you mind if I stayed while you had your shot?”

“Oh you can’t, said Katrina the nurse, her dreds sensing dread, “you’re not family, only family can do that.”

“Really…so, Bill is it (read his chart), how bout if you make me an honorary member so we can chat.”

“Really? You’ll stay?  Yeah I’d like it…I’m, well, I’m not feelin quite myself.”

I look at Katrina like a dog that’s about to bite.

“Okay,” she says, “but we’ll keep it quiet.”

“Right.”  No Ma, we’re not locking her in the utility closet.

So Bill and I talk, while he has his procedure with me doing everything imaginable to make him laugh. By the end, he’s a different guy.

Now you’re thinking, great story, but there’s more.

As I’m leaving, I hear someone say, “Excuse me, I’d like a word with you.”

There’s a fat, Waspy looking woman in a lab coat, her glasses perched on her nose, coming towards me.

“Who do you think you are, breaking rules? I heard what you did, and you had no right interfering with, I’ll call  him, Mr. Wilcox.”

Now all bets are off.




She was like a dingy that just deflated.

“That’s not necessary.”

“Really, are you sure, because if you say one more word to me about that sweet man who just needed a little love, you’re gonna be sorry.”

This is a side of me I only take out for special occasions, like my mother’s dress.  So, when she turned and walked away, I wasn’t surprised.  Pollyanna turned into my mother, who even from the grave, you don’t want to mess with.

You can leave now Ma, I have this one covered .



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The Graceful Fall of Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly inspired a post I wrote called, A Word From the Heart that had little to do with him, but the powers-that-be, have been harassing me, because his name was even mentioned.

First of all, I don’t share the shortsidedness where he’s concerned, and not the least ashamed to say, I like him…even now.


He’s unafraid to say what he feels or thinks, even if it causes a global uproar. You may not like his style, but one can’t argue with the man’s straightforwardness, a trait worth admiring.

That’s not to say, I’ve always agreed with everything he said and did on his show, The Factor, but agreeing to disagree is the American way, or at least it should be.

As fas as the allegations against him are concerned, you can’t tell a woman she’s sexy these days, for fear she’s on the phone to her lawyer.

I’m not saying there’s no truth to what he’s been accused of, after all, I wasn’t there, but do know his roster of enemies is vast, and if you’ve read one of his first four books, he’s open about being hated and hunted, the New York Times heading the pack.

Everyone assumed O’Reilly, after he was let go from Fox, would come out swinging like a lion with sore paws…but he didn’t, actually responding with grace, rather than the bravado that was expected, even praising Fox.

See, grace never fails to impress me, doesn’t matter where it comes from, or from whom.

When he said he was disheartened, so was I…for him, for me, for the world in general looking for the good.

See, there’s good in everyone.

Even Bill O’Reilly.      


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Heart Double-parked

I’m crossing Park Avenue, an elderly man on a walker is approaching the opposite way, losing his balance, falling on the esplanade.  In his 80s, extremely tall…imagine Gulliver taking a spill.

I run over, along with a young man holding what smells like a hot lunch, and since he seems more shaken than hurt, we attempt to get him up.

But his long legs just won’t straighten.

Suddenly, a middle-aged man with Cesar Romero hair, is between us on his knees saying in broken English, “Don’t’a  worry, I will take yua home…no charge.”

I look up to see a taxi, double-parked, causing a tiny traffic jam no one is complaining about watching, why this is so.

He, along with the young man who hands me his lunch, bring the man finally to his feet.

“I’m fine,” he says, all 6’3 of him, towering over all of us like an aging athlete.

He pats my arm, smiles at the young man, then allows the cabbie to escort him.

We watch as he gingerly gets in the front seat, not the back, like two good friends, going for a drive.



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Besieged, Bothered and Bewildered

When my friend MJ stopped writing to me, I missed her, but let her alone.  I knew whatever was going on had nothing to do with me.

When Tallulah the Bishon’s mother said in her Christmas card, sorry we haven’t been in touch, but we live in Atlanta now, and New York just feels so remote…I knew, it was time to say farewell, they were no longer in my life.

Ella, Amy, Alex and Max, all took flight like birds migrating south, and you know what?

I let them go.

When Jacques stopped emailing after being such a good friend, I felt sad, but understood, there was some discomfort there, something I knew I couldn’t help him with.

Boundaries, even if they don’t initially feel that way, ultimately, are healthy, for everyone.

Respecting someone’s decision to leave is the highest form of acceptance.

We all can’t fill one another’s needs all the time.  It’s our own responsibility to do that for ourselves.  I feel colossally blessed being so self-possessed because, it’s a gift to be able to be alone, independently dependent on those in your life you choose to be there.

The more I’m chased, the faster I go.

When my desire for solitude is treated insignificantly, I’m angry.

Do someone you love a favor…leave them alone.

Trust me on this.


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