Best Story of the Week…July 19

Unknown-1.jpeg Thursday…8 A.M

It’s pouring. The kind of rain that drenches and drowns despite umbrellas, Wellies and yellow rain slickers.

I’m tooling out of Starbucks with my birthday latte, yes, they treat you to the item of your choice if you register your card on line, when I see a young boy, 12, 13, collide with a well heeled business man, 50, 60, like two cars pulling out at the same time.

The kid’s umbrella clips the guy on the head, making him almost drop his phone.

The boy immediately says, “I’m sorry sir, didn’t mean for that to happen.”

The guy snaps, “You could have poked my eye out. Next time be more careful.”

Enter Norma Rae.

“You know sir, you’re the one who was texting and wasn’t looking where you were going, and he did graciously apologize. How bout cutting him a little slack?”

Now I’m waiting for the verbal slam, ready, like Ali knowing he’ll knock’em out in the first round, but to my surprise he says, “You know, you’re right. I tell my kids this all the time, yet I do it too.”

He then extends a well manicured hand out to the kid who shakes it gladly, and all parties, including Norma, go on their merry way.

Float like a butterfly…sting like a bee.

SB

Unknown.jpeg

 

Posted in Culture, Family, grace, humanity, humor, inspiration, media, money, New York City, parents, Starbucks, words | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Notes From the Carlyle…July 2019

Unknown.jpeg The rain blew me right in the front door. Alright, I’m exaggerating, but it did influence my entrance.

Perils of a skinny girl who felt she was levitating.

I decide to behave and go straight to the ante room off the bar that looks like a miniature Versailles.   images-5.jpeg

“Coffee please,” I say to the waiter whose crisp white jacket smells like Downy Fabric Softener.

My eyes can’t help but to gaze toward the entrance to Bemelmans, wondering who’s there gracing its noble bar.

No one very interesting is alongside me at the half dozen tiny tables. An older woman in vintage Chanel who’s sitting with a pleasant Indian lady who seems like a paid companion. I watch as their lunch plates are cleared away.

To her left is a business man on his phone she’s giving dirty looks to. In her day, one wasn’t so rude in a public place such as The Carlyle.

A flamboyant couple sit down accompanied by a dozen shopping bags. The man’s Rolex, the size of Big Ben, glistens in the soft light.

I’m bored, and think, I’ll just ask for my coffee to be taken to the bar. I can do that, pretend I’m an Astor with a trust fund.

The waiter complies, but I know he’d like me to pay the check first, which I do tipping him as if I really were an Astor.

The barmaid pops over. “Um, so, it’s been a while. Do chips go with coffee?”

I look at her and think, why not. At these prices yes, I can always toss them in my scarf and have them for dinner.

Oddly enough, I’m not yearning for a cocktail, even though my own spirits are low.

My swoons come and go, this one lasting a bit longer than usual, but my money’s on Bemelmans to burst its bubble.

I keep praying, the little lapsed Catholic that I am, asking for a sign that all is not lost. A glimmer of light would be nice, to let me know, hope, the little devil, is just stuck in traffic.

My over-tipped waiter comes in to bring me a fresh pot of coffee. Gee, God, that’s real nice, but I was hoping for something a little more miraculous.

Suddenly the back door off the lobby opens, and who tools in but Maxwell Press, I’ll call him, an actor I had a hot canoodle with, way back when.

Hitting 70, still turning heads, a combination of Cary Grant, the Eiffel Tower and a cougar looking for a snack. Looming over his audience at 6’2, he spots me at once as if I were waiting for him.

The thing about him is, ten years could go by, and he acts as though you’ve just left his room.

“Hallo Darlin, aren’t you a picture perched so prettily.”

Yeah, he’s very hard to resist, like cashmere, or your favorite pie.

He sits without invitation, calling the barmaid over who starts to stutter.

He gazes at my coffee and sighs. “That wagon you appear to be on must get awfully lonely there ducky. How about a little bubbly?”

Hard to stay sober around a matinee idol, but I decline knowing, when you’re feeling this poorly, nothing is so bad that a drink won’t make worse.

He takes my refusal well, ordering a martini with olives, I know he’ll play with like props. The stuff one remembers.

“What is it? Why are you here in the middle of the day abstaining? I know that face. Something has made you sad.”

I’m actually touched by him saying this since, he’s such a lady’s man. How the hell he keeps us all straight, I’ll never know.

I mention this and he says, “I can see you’re still underestimating yourself. Don’t you know I cherish the time we’ve spent, always.”

Tears arrive like the sprinkler system just went off weeping on his Savile Row tweedy shoulder.

“I feel hopeless, like there’s nothing to look forward to anymore,” I say, like Little Nell, tied to the railroad tracks.

“Oh sweet girl, you are so, so silly. Of course there’s hope. It’s the one thing that cannot be lost.”

I was waiting for him to break into a little Shakespeare, those English vowels bouncing off the ceiling. To be or not to be.

Well, alright.

Suddenly my sense of humor is back when I say, “You still look like Ken.”

“Ken? Do I know him?” he says, smirking. All he needs are whiskers and a waggy tail.

“You know what I mean,” I say shaking my head. “How do you stay so handsome despite…

“Being a fossil?”

“I wasn’t going to put it that way exactly, but yes. What is it? Some type of bovine injection? zinc?”

“Sex.”

“Really?”

“No, my throttle one could say, is not what it once was, but thinking about it a lot doesn’t hurt.” I smile, sucked into his charm oozing like a gas leak.

“It’s all in your mind ducky, this hopelessness you’re weeping over. Embrace all you can. Be in love more, even if it’s just for the afternoon.”

Uh-oh

So, without going into detail, we had a very nice early supper in his suite that felt right out of a Noel Coward play, especially when he changed into a navy satin smoking jacket.

But I have to say…

it’s nice running into an old friend who’s already has had a peek of who you are, and what you need, what you like, and what you don’t like.

When he recites a little Keats, that doesn’t hurt either.

“Touch has memory”…   images.jpeg

Alas, you said it there ducky.

Sigh

SB

 

Posted in alcohol, Beauty, Culture, humor, inspiration, media, New York City, sexual relationships, Uncategorized, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

JFK Junior…Best Remembered

images.jpeg It was 20 years ago today, when John F. Kennedy Jr’s plane went down killing him, his wife Carolyn and her sister, Lauren Bessette.

It was 56 years ago this coming November, when at the tender age of 3, he poignantly saluted his father’s casket breaking hearts around the world.

His picture is everywhere, newspapers and magazines making hay out of this, hard to believe, anniversary,

JFK Jr. An American life, preens from People Magazine’s Commemorative Issue knowing, America, out of loyalty and unabashed curiosity will buy it, bestowing it with pride of place on their coffee tables.

Jackie’s son. John-John, a name he loathed and by the way, was never really called. His dad, during his work day would call out his name, so somehow saying, John, John, was transformed into a title that was a mere manufacture. images-1.jpeg

It made such good copy.

His mother lived in my neighborhood so John sightings were frequent. He never hid nor got mad if approached, wearing his Kennedy mantle with grace, unlike his sister, Caroline, who shuns any kind of attention. He was comfortable with his lineage, though his young, beautiful wife, Carolyn, was not.

Her mother had cautioned her before marrying him, knowing her daughter well. But alas, this beautiful girl who had everything in her own right, went against her instincts because, as she told those closest to her, how could she give him up? He’s John Kennedy Jr. images-1.jpeg

It would have saved her life, since she went against her instincts again when she tried not to go on that fatal flight.

But back to John.

He had a great sense of humor, making fun of himself, like when he launched his own magazine, George, on the steps of Federal Hall, the site where George Washington took his Oath of Office and said, “The last time I saw this much press was when I flunked the bar exam.” He had them in his pocket after that, showing signs of a possible political career that sadly would never be.

But we didn’t know that then.

He was handsome, chivalrous, generous and reckless. He had his mom’s looks and his dad’s bravado. History does repeat itself when you think, how many people told JFK not to go to Dallas.

How many people told John, not to fly that night.

DNA is strong, winning most hands, and in the case of both Kennedys, there was no exception.

One of my own indelible images of him is loping through Grand Central Station in canary yellow trousers, later reading, they were golf pants belonging to his dad.

As a New Yorker, and someone remembering a poignant salute a little boy gave his  fallen father, I think of him this day. Unknown-1.jpeg

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. (1960-1999) 

SB

 

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Another New York Story

It’s 6:30 A.M. as I cut across the Park, west to east to run the rest of the way home. I like this 5 minute stroll past the tennis courts since it’s a part of the city, changing at the speed of light, that never changes. I can even hear the bounce of tennis balls as early risers play before sunup. Unknown.jpeg

There’s a middle-aged couple seated on a bench with three dogs: a Golden Retriever, a Maltese and a Miniature Poodle who’s getting brushed with what looks like a Mason Pearson hairbrush, the Tiffany of brushes. The other two stand side by side waiting patiently.

I stop and smile.

They smile back as the man vigorously works the snarls out of the Poodle who’s taking it all in stride.

The woman says, “They all like getting their hair done.”

I laugh and ask, “Are they women by any chance?” Suddenly seeing them in pink curlers Unknown-1.jpeg sitting under the dryer.

“All but him,” pointing to the Maltese, “and he likes it the best.”

I swear the dog nods and smiles, but then again I’m half asleep.

I look at the man making me flash to Warren Beatty in the film Shampoo and say, ‘Listen, I could use a wash and set too.”

The man, without missing a beat, nor brushstroke says, “So get in line.”

Just another New York story. 

SB

 

Posted in animals, Beauty, Cinema, creative writing, Fashion, humanity, humor, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 99 Comments

My Three Sons

I’m very impressed by family.  I guess it’s because I never had much of one, so when I saw a father and his sons ranging from 6 to 16, obviously so in love with their dad, my heart strings were plucked like a lute.

It was on the train. I was so tired from a long, trying work day, nothing left of me really, except the will to make it home.

They looked fresh and fun-filled like they had just been to a game. There were seats, but not 4 together, so rather than sit separately, they stood as a team of their own, arms linked amid sunny smiles.

Must be nice to have sons you clearly nurtured and brought up well who look to you with such affection. What could be finer than solid fatherhood knowing you did a good job.

I watched him tousle the youngest one’s hair that seemed a little long.

The older ones had crew-cuts like him. You could tell though how much he loved the little guy who had a smirk that told you all you needed to know. He was a mischief maker alright, maybe the way he was at that age.

They got off before me, dad making sure he was the last to embark, a few people between them.

The boys waited for him by the stairs, then, as a family, all alighted together.

SB

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Smile America

I’m at the dentist.

Not just any dentist, but a brand new one offered on my nifty new Dental Plan.

After traveling to what feels like Chicago, I come upon a storefront right out of Mayberry (or Tombstone), with a huge grinning face that says…

                                   SMILE AMERICA

I walk in thinking, oh, maybe it’s a Day Care Center and the office is upstairs.

NOPE!

It’s the dentist’s office alright, with a bunch of unsupervised children running around having had a tad too much sugar.

I know I’ll probably have to wait, so settling down with my book, realizing reading is not going to happen, not when I suddenly have a wee lad of 3 on my lap.

Manuel with curly hair and big brown eyes, is so happy to see me with a wet diaper that makes a charming imprint on my freshly donned khakis.

He grins.

Me, being me says, “Well sir, that’s a fine how do ya do.”

He giggles, handing me the banana he had with him.

Men!

A willowy Latina with beautiful black hair, all of 7, comes out to see what her baby brother is up to. Apparently while their mother is in the chair, she’s supposed to be babysitting.

I smile, suggesting a Pamper change.

She rolls her eyes taking him off my lap, something he’s not too happy about.

It’s always the guys who want you even though they’re unavailable.

Before opening my book again, I notice across the aisle, a plump black girl I assume is at least 12, staring at me while holding a phone blasting music.

I sigh thinking, hearing loss sometimes comes in handy,

UNTIL…

She jumps up and starts frantically dancing.

Her hot pink dress barely covering her curves, is swirling and twirling like there’s no tomorrow.

Her enthusiasm is fine.

The part that throws me is her gyrating like a fat, frisky snake…winking, thrusting. I’m waiting for a pole to drop from the ceiling for her to climb on.

Both receptionists shake their heads but do nothing. Two weary women clearly feeling they don’t get paid enough for child rearing.

After 20 minutes I suggest to Shalisha, perhaps she should sit down and rest.

She listens

“How old are you,” I ask, trying to keep her in her chair.

“6.”

“6???”

I almost fall off mine. She’s huge, clearly in need of attention, same as me at that age, plucking my heart strings like a banjo.

She then digs into an enormous bag pulling out chips her chubby tummy surely doesn’t need, when who comes crashing into the room like a bull at Pamplona, but mom, the size of a shopping center.

Without acknowledging her daughter who’s been on her own for over an hour, grabs the bag of Lays and the phone screaming,

“What did ah’ tell ya?”

Just then Manuel is back to show me his complimentary toothbrush, determined to teach me how to use it.

As Shalisha is about to leave, I say, “You’re a wonderful dancer Shalisha, and thanks so much for dancing for me.”

Her sad face lights up as if she’s just swallowed a 40 watt bulb, throwing her arms around me, giving me the biggest hug.

“Miss Bianca, are you alright?”

“That’s Bianchi, and yes, but I could use a little Kleenex.

SMILE AMERICA images.jpeg

SB

Posted in Culture, Family, Health, humanity, humor, kids, New York City, parents, words | Tagged , , , | 71 Comments

A Flat Fourth of July

images-2.jpegDespite our dear President’s tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue like a bad action film, the 4th seems to be down several quarts; poignancy commemorating freedom on the lam.

Makes me think of Teddy, our 26th President, when he sent the Great White Fleet around the world during peacetime reminding our neighbors that we were always ready, but was classy about it, walking softly, carrying that big stick.

It wasn’t a tacky, hyped up exhibition at Epcot.

Our Founders who fought so nobly must be frowning from the ether wondering why Liberty lost lots of her luster.

When I grew up, my mother hoisted the American Flag from the upstairs porch that waved alongside sheets and towels billowing on our clothesline.

My Dad’s job was to put up the one in front of the house that I so remember was America the Beautiful at her best.

I was taught to be proud to be an American, and that no matter what happens, we’ll always be the greatest country in the world.

The Land of the Free.

When I see pictures of the Immigration Detention Centers filled with distressed children, my heart strings play Taps.  images.jpeg

I think of Emma Lazarus’s sonnet at the base of the Statue of Liberty she never knew was so immortalized, dying of TB at the age of 38…

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to be free…”

and truly want to cry along with our esteemed predecessors I feel worthy to speak for….

The 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence.


John Adams

Samuel Adams

Josiah Bartlett

Carter Braxton

Charles Carroll

Samuel Chase

Abraham Clark

George Clyme

William Ellery

William Floyd

Benjamin Franklin

Elbridge Gerry

Button Gwinnet

John Hancock

Lyman Hall

Benjamin Harrison

John Hart

Joseph Hewes

Thomas Heyward, Jr

William Hooper

Stephen Hopkins

Francis Hopkinson

Samuel Huntington

Thomas Jefferson

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Richard Henry Lee

Francis Lewis

Philip Livingston

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Thomas McKean

Arthur Middleton

Lewis Morris

Robert Morris

John Morton

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

William Paca

John Penn

Robert Treat Paine

George Read

Caesar Rodney

George Ross

Benjamin Rush

Edward Rutledge

Roger Sherman

James Smith

Richard Stockton

Thomas Stone George Taylor

Charles Thomson

Matthew Thornton

George Walton

William Whipple

William Williams

James Wilson

John Witherspoon

Oliver Wolcott

George Wythe

Let Freedom Ring…Unknown.jpeg

PLEASE…for them.

A Patriot

Posted in Beauty, Culture, grace, Gratitude, History, humanity, inspiration, Love, Politics, violence, war, words | Tagged , , , , , | 97 Comments

You Look Tired…Are You Tired?

Yes, I’m tired of you saying, I look tired.

She’s my neighbor on 12 I’m very nice to…leave notes, that seasonal bouquet, and in return, I’m examined like a Chevy that any minute will get her tires kicked.

I almost forgot, she’s 92. I soothe myself with one word…cataract, mistaking me for an owl, one with high cheekbones.

Then there’s the 31 year-old down the hall who I’ll hide from if I see her door starting to open.

Why?

Did you dye your hair? Looks lighter.

Did you dye your hair? Looks darker.

Did you lose weight? You’re looking fragile.

Did you gain weight? You seem a little heavier.

How I long to ask, what’s it like having only one brain cell? Must be like traveling light, with just a carry-on.

Why must people comment when it’s so rude…did I mention it’s very rude?

If you had two heads, at most I’d say hello twice, never alluding to anything out of the norm.

If you invited me into your home, I’d never ask..do you own? Do you rent? How much do you pay?

I’d douse my head, the only one I have I’m happy to say, in the sink before I was…

THAT RUDE.

The audacity of inappropriate questioning leaves me in a Connecticut swoon. My mother, with all her faults, taught me manners, to refrain from being too nosy about things that are none of your business. Of course part of that was to keep a low profile, in case you got caught canoodling with a husband who wasn’t yours, but still.

The rule is, if you do not wish to be interrogated, you do not interrogate.

Decorum, that in 10 years will have a show at the Met, sounds like a hot new club.

Politeness trumps presumption. I know, someone should mention this to Donald Trump, but we’ll save that for another day.

Unknown-1.jpeg Like shooting mice in a barrel.

SB

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Connecticut, Culture, humanity, humor, New York City, Politics, travel, words | Tagged , , , | 52 Comments

Best Story of the Week…June 28

A young, what I call, weekend Dad, is proudly strolling down the Avenue with his 2 year-old son toddling beside him, pushing a stroller with one hand, holding his tiny hand in the other, when he starts to violently cough…

one of those dry marathon coughs that just won’t quit.

His little man looks up with great concern, spinning into action.

I watch him go into his stroller, grab his bottle with two hands, handing it to Dad who accepts it with a glorious grin. He actually takes a swig or at least pretends to, causing his son to now grin like a pleased pumpkin.

Love, however it comes, whether it’s a dad that works hard during the week, a wee being propelled by instinct, or in a plastic Pinnochio bottle filled with juice…

LOVE, she always has the last say. Unknown-1.jpeg

SB

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Stand Up For Your Writer

I write by ear, therefore make many mistakes, grammatically and then some. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer. This took me a long time to learn.

People love to make you feel inept and stupid because according to the Gods of Grammar, you’re an outcast if you don’t tidy things up. The trouble with that is, sometimes sprucing steals the charm right off the page.

A former friend who did some editing for me, thinking I’m the worse writer in the world, really led me to believe without an English degree, I was just making a big fool of myself.

E.B. White said...writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.

I’m stitching that on a pillow.

Perfection without personality is boring. To have heart when you write is what it’s all about, in your own words, imperfectly or otherwise.

One of my favorite tales is about John Steinbeck, no slouch in the prose department (Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath.)

He had sent some pages over to his publisher who after reading them, came out of his office and said to his secretary, “This is the damnedest thing. This sounds nothing like John.” Miss whomever said, “I cleaned it up. Fixed all his grammar, you know, edited out all the mistakes.” And the publisher said, “Well, you just took the Steinbeck, right out of Steinbeck.”

I love that story.  images.jpeg

She rests her case.

SB

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