Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home Is Always The Best Place . . . Isn't It? (09/09/2010)

So what is it that brings this pain?

I am home. It’s where I want to be. Home is, aferall, always, the best place to be. After.

After visiting kids.
After going to a concert.
After a trip.

I have things to do, things I LIKE to do, things I LOVE to do.

Working in my yard; mowing my lawn, planting flowers, watering them afterward.
Researching genealogy.
Writing my books.
My puppy.

So what is missing? What is the pain in my heart that produces tears. Tears . . . for what I don’t know. For something . . . what? . . . that is not.

I have “been there, done that”. I’m grateful it is not “eleven o’clock and I don’t know where my kids are.” I am grateful for “peace” and orderliness and Easy Listening on the radio, no TV blarring cartoons or MTV music.

It doesn’t make sense to say home doesn’t feel like home. But that’s how it feels sometimes.

I’m home but something is missing. And I don't know what it is. I don’t get it.

I was online looking up a location for my genealogy – the county someone lived in. For some reason, I typed in Huntington Woods, a suburb of Detroit, and the city we lived in from 1963-1979; the place my kids were raised, mostly.

According to the website, Huntington Woods is still considered one of the best places to live. How about that. Then I looked at a map – apparently they are doing some construction this summer, fixing roads, mostly. So I thought the map would show where the construction was going to be.

The map was just a bunch of lines intersecting with names on them. And then I saw it – our street – Vernon. And the pain hit. And the tear ducts began to spout.

For what we lived, what we did, for how fast it all happened. Like in the blink of an eye . . .

It’s now been thirty years since we left . . .

and up comes the pain . . .

For My Daughter, Lisa (06/25/1996)

The Story of Pie

Lisa Danielle Coyle. Youngest of four.

At first she was Dani. From the time she was born till she started school. Because Jerry and I thought Dani was a cute nickname for Danielle. We liked the idea of having a little girl who was kind of a tomboy so that was another reason we liked the nickname. And she was. Independent too. Jerry called her his little terror and said she bossed him and everyone else around.

She became Lisa when she started school because the teachers called her by her first name and we gradually got into the habit also.

Being the youngest, she always wanted to do whatever the older ones were doing. Often, too often as far as Caryn was concerned, I made her take Lisa along when she played with her neighbor friend, Mary Ann McGowan. They got even, of course, by teasing her and putting her up to stunts (like the Bea Olmstead affair recounted below). And they made up their own nickname -- Lisa-Piece-A-Possum-Pooh. Except when they said it around the family, they changed it to Lisa Pizza Pie. Then the boys picked up on that and for a variation called her Izza Pizza Pie. When she was little, this made her mad and she would cry from their teasing.

Eventually, her brothers and sister outgrew their need to tease her this way and she became Pie, The Pie, and most lately, Her Pieness. It had, finally, become our affectionate nickname for her and eventually she understood and accepted it that way too.
But before that she was . . .
The Delinquent of Huntington Woods

Too frequently, I suppose, it fell upon Caryn to watch and/or play with her little sister. Much to her chagrin. But she and Mary Ann devised ways of getting even. As previously referenced in the Lisa-Piece-A-Possum Pooh story.

This is a story about the time they got her to go over to Bea Olmstead’s house, knock on the door, and say, "I Hate You."

Bea Olmstead lived directly across the street from us. She was a retired school administrator. She and her husband had been teachers early in their careers. Mr. Olmstead had been dead for years. Bea still perceived herself to be an important part of her community. She had teas and entertained often. Always had Open House at Christmas and other holidays.

One Sunday afternoon when she was having company, she came over and asked the kids to move their toys out of our front yard and lawn because she thought it looked unsightly for her company. (!) (?) When the kids told their dad, he promptly had them drag every toy they owned (as well as those from the neighbors) out to the front yard, of course!

This particular incident occurred when Caryn and Mary Ann told Lisa, who was just past two, to go over to Mrs. Olmstead, who was working in her yard, and say, "I Hate You."

Naturally Lisa did it. Twice! Because the first time, Mrs. Olmstead ignored her. So they sent her back. The second time Bea grabbed her up, shook her, and yelled at her.

Mickey McGowan, Mary Ann’s father, just happened to be outside in his yard and saw the incident. He lived two houses down from Bea. Although he surely couldn’t have heard what Bea said to Lisa, he saw Bea grab her and shake her and yell something. He was probably amazed that an adult would take offense at something a baby would say. He called or came over and told Bea to stop. They exchanged some heated words. Later Mickey came over and told Jerry what had happened.

Jerry waited until he saw Bea leave her house. I believe he confronted her in the middle of the street! He grabbed her arm and said, "Don’t ever lay a hand on one of my children again!" She threatened to beat him up. And he threatened to call the police.

Bea didn’t speak to us for over a year. Then one day she came over shortly after Jerry got home from work. He went to the door. She had a box of candy in her hands and said, "I’m sorry. Let’s be friends again." Jerry said, "No thanks. I prefer things just the way they are," and abruptly closed the door in her face!

---Excerpt from Tales From the Woods

The First Amendment Says WHAT??? (05/20/2008)

I think a lot of people share my opinion that politics and our elections are a game. A game that turns uglier, it seems, with every election. Although if you research our political history, it would likely prove me wrong; i.e., it’s always been ugly.

But then, democracy, freedom is messy. Diversity is messy. Too bad the politically correct advocates don’t understand this basic concept:

"If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all."
---Noam Chomsky

Sure words can hurt. Words can be disrespectful. Life is tough sometimes. And people say ugly things. Toughen up, consider the source, and get on with your life!

Cyberspace is full of information, much of which is DIS. As in DISinformation. If not total fabrication. Cyberspace has become a garbage dump filled with trash and junk. Even though somewhere in there is fact.

How to sift through takes time and effort we probably should be spending playing with our kids or reading a good book or walking in the sunshine or . . .

But it is what it is.

THIS is what I find disturbing.

Regarding the upcoming election, Obama is not my choice; however, when I have gotten ugly e-mails about his background, his religion, I have tried to research the facts to determine what is true. To the extent of my research, which I admit is limited–because sometimes I AM reading a book or walking in the sunshine–I believe he is what he says; a Christian. Albeit a liberal one. But then so am I.

IF he wins this election, which he may, we will have a president with a Muslim name. I hope for America’s sake, that’s all it is. Time will tell.

If time puts him in the presidency, we shall see what develops. Whether Muslim beliefs and practices become a part of our laws.

Before you jump to conclusions about what I’m saying, let me clarify.

I really don’t care if Obama is a Muslim or not. EXCEPT FOR ONE THING.

Conservatives in this country have been yammering about "putting God BACK into schools and government" so long and so hard that we now have laws and rules on the books in various communities across this nation reflecting their concerns.

We have allowed religion to infiltrate government. Some of us have demanded it.

How short-sighted, how contrary to the founding fathers, how frightening this is.

The time is coming–and is now here–when this appalling misunderstanding and misapplication of the intent of our constitution which embraces the freedoms we claim to cherish, is eroding. Inch by inch, day by day.

So I pose this WHAT IF:

WHAT IF Barack Obama is elected president . . .

WHAT IF Barack Obama later reveals he IS a closet Muslim . . .

WHAT IF Barack Obama selects Muslims to posts in his administration . . .

WHAT IF the Ten Commandments are taken down from public buildings (where I think they shouldn’t be in the first place) and replaced with the Muslamic Rule of Ten . . .

WHAT IF the Pledge of Allegiance is changed to say "under Allah" instead of "under God". (Before 1954 it didn’t say either one.)

Any of these things can happen. Now? Maybe not. In the future? Very possibly.

We have the Conservative Christians to thank for this. Conservative Christians or any others who believe in merging government and religion. A tragic and horrible mistake we will one day pay the consequences for.

Maybe sooner than later.

This is NOT what our founding fathers intended.

I do not hate Muslims. I do not hate conservative Christians. I don’t care whether Barack Obama is a Christian OR a Muslim. Or an Atheist.

I DO care whether his religion or anyone else’s religion infiltrates my government’s policies and procedures. Separation of Church and State. Our wise Founding Fathers understood this.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The First Amendment, folks. It’s not complicated. The first part – "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" – that’s the part that says we don’t enact laws favoring any particular religion. The second part – "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." that’s the part that says each of us can freely practice our religion.

How simple is that? It’s not rocket science, folks.

And neither is this:

The day is coming when White Christians will be the Minority in this country. I wonder what they’ll think the First Amendment means then?
* * * * *
Since I wrote this, Barack Obama DID, of course, become president. I voted for him, actually. Once I heard him speak I became a supporter. I think he is brilliant, knowlegable in world issues, well-spoken and calm under fire, doing a remarkable job of restoring respect for America among world leaders; all the while having to try and solve the almost unsurmountable problems bequeathed to him by virtue of winning the election.
—dhb, 1/4/201011