Christmas Must Not Be Cancelled

It’s more important now than ever, that season wise, we step up to the plate.

I don’t know about you, but I need a good dose of holiday cheer.

I’ve been hearing too many ‘bah humbug’ excuses, blaming it on Covid 19, how what’s the point…why bother….who cares.

Who cares?

I do.

Why?

Because it suggests hope through tradition, during one of the most peculiar and perilous periods in our lifetime, that’s why.

I need to see a card in my mailbox.

So far I’ve only received one, from England, where it’s worse than even here, yet my friend managed against the current of sheltering-in-place, essential stores closed, to still send one.

Why?

She cares, like I do.

Get with the program people.

Life, altered or otherwise, goes on. 

If you’ve genuinely flat-lined, act as if it’s not so.

Do it for your kids, your spouse, your neighbors, and more than that, yourself.

Why?

Because you need it.

When I saw my next door neighbor’s menorah in his window, its candles gleaming, I cried, since for months, he hasn’t come out, his shades down as if it were the Blitz, and it has been, but it’s almost over, that menorah telling me so.

When I see the army of evergreens along Park Avenue, their lights glistening in the twilight, my heart harkens.

The wreaths glazed with ribbon on all the churches, do the same.

Even Madison Avenue with its spectral presence, has her stars in place swinging from the street lamps.

You’re just not up for it?

Get up for it. 

Christmas represents birth, and with a vaccine, will deliver a new birth of freedom, to borrow from Mr. Lincoln, who if were here, make no mistake, would too, be decking those halls.

SB

Posted in Beauty, creative writing, Culture, grace, Gratitude, Health, History, Home, humanity, inspiration, kids, Love, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 33 Comments

Bill Hicks…December 16, 2020

A friend recently said, “No offense Susannah, but he died so long ago. You celebrate him like he’s still here.”

I had to smile at this since, I kinda think that he is.

If you watch footage of Bill taken 26 years ago, it plays as if it was just filmed today, and that’s not me being biased, either.

I’ve heard it from others, proving again how ahead of his time he truly was.

For years after he died I couldn’t watch him, it being too painful, but no longer.

I almost feel he was the one who helped me get over my heartbreak.

I had had a dream that Bill was performing, and went to the show.

The venue was like Yankee Stadium with him in full gallop, bringing down the house.

What I remembered specifically was how the audience seemed current, but all dressed Billesque, in jeans and leather jackets, with their backs to me.

I wasn’t troubled waking up, but relieved as if now knowing wherever he was, he was okay, transcending that genius he’ll always be known for, alongside humility that walked hand in hand.

They called him, a comedian’s comedian, respecting his peers, never preening, preferring to be just one of the boys.

Bill Hicks would have been 59 years-old today.

Happy Birthday Willie.  I miss you.

Love,

Susannah

Posted in friendship, grace, History, humanity, humor, Love, media, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , | 43 Comments

What There Is To Know About Me

There’s an older man I’ve befriended who sits in the Park….

aristocratic in bearing…gray flannels and navy blazer over a seasoned Shetland sweater offsetting the Wall Street Journal he reads.

I’m particularly taken with his yellow, cashmere socks peeking from his well polished, cordovan loafers.

The other draw…he lives in Jackie Kennedy’s old building.

He told me he knew her as a pleasant neighbor, nothing more, but always admired her poise whenever they met in the elevator.

When he said I reminded him of her, I preened like a tulip during a sudden sun shower.

One day he asked me...what there was to know about me, a question that took me a aback since, I find myself far from fascinating.

After wiggling out of the survey, once I got home, decided to answer his question on the page.

Well, I prefer morning to night, rising like a rook from a treetop, at my best, first light.

My idea of luxury is reading for an hour after I come in from running, basking in the quiet.

Coffee is my drug of choice, blueberries and bananas, bobbing in oatmeal, my breakfast of champions.

I don’t eat meat, only fish, and enough of it to earn gills.

Rather than limit myself to Black Lives Matter, I feel All Lives Matter, including dogs and cats, raccoons and squirrels, even that uninvited bear approaching your picnic table.

Service to others feels more a privilege than a must, believing, receiving is in the giving, the recipient, only coming along for the ride.

Easy to please, happy with little, believing less is more.

Casablanca, my all time favorite film. Chinatown, The Godfather, Love in the Afternoon, The Philadelphia Story, The Sting, and Yankee Doodle Dandy, its next of kin.

Pride & Prejudice, The Killer Angels and A Movable Feast, my three favorite books.

I love New York more than any other place, a fish out of water whenever I leave.

My friendships are few these days, disciples disappearing either from death or random desertion, accepting it as the norm when you’re in the final leg of your own tour.

Mustn’t forget my sense of humor keeping me afloat like a tender ship leading me into port.

As for love, I find myself thinking a lot of past partners who swore they’d never leave, grateful to have saved letters I can gently reread, careful of their brittle pages and paper thin promises.

Oh yeah, Snickers are my favorite candy bar I keep in the fridge, just like my dad did, though unlike him, don’t need to hide them behind the ice trays for fear someone might swipe them.

SB, as her sun sets.   

Posted in animals, Beauty, Books, creative writing, Culture, Fashion, fitness, grace, humanity, humor, inspiration, Love, women, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 49 Comments

Best Story of the Week…December 10th

After my run in the morning, I often stop at my friend’s gourmet store, just opening up.

I do it for the company and the cup of coffee I leave with.

Sometimes Tony will ask me to help, like today when he asked if I’d go to the basement to get a bag of coffee filters.

I decide, since I’m down there, to use the bathroom,

When I open the door, a middle-sized rat is sitting in the sink as if he were poolside in Palm Beach. All he needed was a Speedo.

I’m pretty sure my heart stopped since I froze, before backing up slamming the door.

I turn to the kid at the sink, washing lettuce. “Do you know there’s a rat in the bathroom?”

He says, unfazed, “You mean Pedro?”

Did he think I said cat? “RAT…A RAT.”  He shrugs, caressing his romaine like a girlfriend.

I run upstairs, falling, skinning my shin now wishing I hadn’t worn shorts.

Speechless, I can’t get the words out when Tony asks, ‘Where are the filters?”

He and Harry, the produce man, stare at me awaiting an answer as I shoot for the front door.

Greg, who’s hosing down the front sidewalk, says…”Hey Susannah, what gives?”

He sees my face,

“You didn’t go into the bathroom did ya?”

I run home not stopping till I’m at my front door.     

A day or so later, after regaining myself, learned, Pedro, unbeknownst to Tony, was adopted as a baby, fed well, salami being his favorite fare. I suggested it just might be time he was taken to the Park since, a sink is just so big.

They promised to think this over.

Only in New York.

SB

Posted in animals, Culture, food, humanity, humor, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 84 Comments

Hats Off

As I come out of my building, a little girl of 3 is screaming her head off while a patient woman tries putting on her hat.

She will have none of it, despite the polar temperatures.

I stop, wearing my coonskin cap that makes me look like Ben Franklin in drag and say, “Look, I’m wearin’ a hat.”

She stops in mid wail to think this over, just to scream again, repeating herself three times, like a car stuck in neutral.

I smile, she frowns, kicks her kind dresser in the shin, I hope gets a new job, while yours truly admits defeat.

Last I saw, the hat was being retrieved from the puddle it landed in after falling off her little, spoiled head. 

An ad folks, to perhaps raise bear cubs rather than children.  Bet they’d wear hats. 🙂

SB

Posted in animals, creative writing, Family, Fashion, humanity, humor, kids, New York City, parents, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

James 4

As I walk towards the entrance of the Park on 90th Street, I pass an older man of color asleep in an alcove of a prewar building, now home to an embassy.

His name is James, who has lived outside in Carnegie Hill (86th to 96th along Fifth and Madison), for the past 40 years.

I’ve watched him age as a young man, his black hair turning gray then white, with a full set of teeth, now down to 3, causing him to whistle a bit when speaking. 

He’s sane, well as sane as one can be being humbly homeless for so long, and friendly, since he’s known to at least two generations of Upper East Siders. I recall him telling me he stopped smoking, because it was bad for him.

He sleeps across from the lady in the box, a woman I’ve written about, also on the streets way too long. There’s comfort in this, knowing, James would never harm her, but protect her if necessary. 

Is it a wonder a homeless man can be one to count on?

In James’s case, yes. 

I remember years ago, faithfully attending 7 a.m. mass at The Church of Saint Thomas More, while James snoozed in a back pew, snoring soundly.

The late, Bishop Ahern, the sweetest member of any clergy, would excuse himself from the altar to gently shake James whispering, “James, could you please snore a little quieter?”

James would jump and say, ‘Sorra’, sorra’ Bishop, I’m so sorra’.”

Bishop Ahern would answer, “That’s okay son. Have pleasant dreams,” blessing him before commencing with mass. 

Peggy, a longtime worker at the church told me, many members of the parish, including Jackie Kennedy, tried helping him with work, as well as finding a home. 

He always politely declined, she said, even when the Bishop, whom he liked tried, preferring to just live his life like a man, perpetually crossing the desert in no hurry to reach the Promised Land. 

I don’t know about you, but after looking at all I have, often taking it for granted, find great poignancy in that. 

Pride promotes strife, but he gives grace to the humble… James 4: 1-4    

Amen.

SB

 

Posted in Culture, Faith, grace, Gratitude, History, humanity, inspiration, New York City, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 46 Comments

Best Story of the Week…December 3rd

I’m on my way home after buying myself a long-stemmed pink rose.

If I wait for someone to grace me with my favorite bloom, let’s just say, I won’t be blooming anytime soon.

As I cross the esplanade on Park, an older man is coming the other way with a young Golden Retriever.

As they’re about to pass, the dog pops over to greet me, the warm way dogs do, but when I lean in to give him a quick pet, before one if us could stop him, takes a nice big bite out of my rose.

The look on his owner’s face could only match my own, as we miss another traffic light, standing stunned, staring at one another. 

OOPS!  

 I finally say, “It’s okay sir, “he didn’t mean it. I guess retrieving wise, he may need a little more practice.”

As me and my stem head home, we can’t help but to smile.

Humor, along with kindness and a schmear of tolerance, could truly, change the world.  🙂  

SB

 

Posted in animals, Culture, humanity, humor, nature, New York City, writing | Tagged , , , | 45 Comments

The Great Outdoors

It’s a little before 6 as I make my way to the Park, welcomed by a young raccoon.

He’s ambling towards his tree, in no hurry, like Huckleberry Finn.

If he had a fishing pole and a banjo, it wouldn’t surprise me. 

As I stretch my calves not 15 feet from him, he seems totally unconcerned by my presence, eyeing the trunk of his tree as if to say, fuck, these stairs are gonna kill me one day.

I watch him scooch up, inch my inch, when suddenly he stops when a head appears out of the tree window.

His mother, a girl friend? I think, if I see boxer shorts and a coupla cans come flyin’ on down, then I’ll know who’s waiting up for Rocky.

I watch him brave the consequences, before going on my way.

Towards the middle of my run, I see a rather robust girl in bright pink tights, like a huge chrysanthemum in flight. I lose her for a while, till I barrel around west, where there she is, by the cut-off, dancing her little heart out.

So inspired, I start to dance too, thinking what the hell, bumping like it’s 1975, against a tree.

When she sees me, she stops and yells, “Hey, what do you think you’re doin’?”

I yell back, “What does it look like I’m doin’? I’m dancin’, like you.”

She put her hands on her hips that reminds me of a cookie jar, my Auntie Ida once had, and says, “I’ve never seen any dancin’ like that.”

“And I say, ‘Till now,” before zooming away.

Hey, there’s plenty of room on that dance floor, there cupcake…bump…bump…bump.

 

Lets hear it for being just a little silly 🙂

SB

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Did You Know?

Eleanor Roosevelt was a hair under six feet tall, and the first, First Lady (1933-1945) to ever ride in an airplane.

Wonder if she bumped her head.

In 1921, President Warren Harding’s Airedale Terrier, Laddie Boy, was the first White House pet to receive regular news coverage. 

Jackie Kennedy’s favorite dessert was Dunkin Hines Chocolate Cake, her longtime cook, Marta Sgubin, made for her daily, didn’t matter who was coming to dinner. 

Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy during

World War I, banished alcohol from the fleet, replacing it with coffee, hence, the expression...cup’a Joe, who after that, wasn’t too popular.

In 1995, Country and Western singer, Dolly Parton, created The Imagination Library, where needy kids could receive free books in the mail each month, from birth until age 5, starting with…

The Little Engine That Could. 

The Emmett Till Antilynching Act which passed unanimously by the 116th Congress, on January 3, 2019, was introduced by our newly elected-Vice President, Kamala Harris, as the Junior United States Senator, of California.  

Who was Emmet Till?

A 14 year-old boy of color, who was hanged in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.

Took 64 years for the law to pass, to make it a hate crime.

When Abraham Lincoln occupied the White House, he rode a horse called ‘Old Bob.’ 

Abe, was also the first President to bring a cat to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Tabby was her name, a gift from Abe’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward. 

When Yankee Stadium opened on April 18th, 1923, Babe Ruth hit its very first home run, and 365 more during his 15 years as a Yankee, coining it, The House That Ruth Built.

Elizabeth Taylor, though no longer together, kept a framed photograph of Richard Burton on her nightstand till the day she died. 

French actor, Charles Boyer, devastated over the loss of his wife of 44 years, two days before his 79th birthday, took a fatal overdose of sleeping pills.

All of France mourned. 

So long Charlie.

Myth has it, the term, So long, Charlie, was coined by jockey, George The ‘Iceman’ Woolf, leading the legendary Seabiscuit on November, 1st, 1938, to victory against the unbeatable, War Admiral, during what was called The Race of The Century, uttering the now-iconic line to War Admiral’s jockey, Charlie Kurtsinger, as he passed him by.  

The Actor, Johnny Depp, honoring his dear friend’s last request, shot writer, Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon, at the mere cost of 5 million dollars.

Now that’s what I call a a pal.  

Actor and Director, Emilio Estvez, made the film Bobby (2006), about the final moments of Robert F. Kennedy, at Los Angeles, California’s Ambassador Hotel, where the assassination on June 6, 1968, took place.

It was torn down shortly after.

In 1990, a young model longing to be an actress, made her film debut in a movie directed by the actor, Bill Murray, called Quick Change, preparing herself for stardom.

Well, let’s just say, it wasn’t in the stars.

Hey, that’s show-biz.

   🙂

  SB

Posted in alcohol, Beauty, Cinema, creative writing, Culture, dessert, History, humanity, humor, media, Politics, travel, violence, war, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 57 Comments

We Gathered Together….To Eat

My present Thanksgiving is very different from the one I celebrated as a child.

My mother made so much food, even Shrek would have been popping Tumms.

What comes to mind besides, we could have used a vomitorium is, we never, ever said grace.

Play ball, would have been more the norm after, is the bar open yet?

We then slept it off, just to wake up and start feasting all over again.

The first thing I did when opening my eyes this morning, was to thank God for my many blessings, from heat and hot water, to the few friends I have, along with what’s left of my brain capacity.

Even Patrick, the cat, who was scratching at the door, made the list.

When I let him in, he ran around the apartment like he got into his dad’s pillbox again.

Once he ate a Valium and slept for 3 days.

But I decided it was his way of saying, thanks, for all the tuna and sardines, snuggles and pets, and our ongoing friendship.

I just happened to have had salmon for two, a gift from an admirer in the fridge (I know…whatever happened to flowers and candy), so though it was a mere 4 a.m., me and Pat gave thanks, and actually played ball, before having our Thanksgiving breakfast.

Enjoy the day everyone.

SB

Posted in alcohol, animals, Connecticut, Culture, food, friendship, grace, Gratitude, Home, humor | Tagged , , , | 58 Comments