The Gardener

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“Betty,” the man said. “The soil in this garden is as dry as dust.” Betty replied, “Our vegetables are still growing pretty well, Curtis.” “They won’t keep growing like this unless we get some rain or we start irrigating. Irrigating this garden would be so expensive,” Curtis replied. Betty said, “We’ll just have to think about it for awhile.”

A man was walking along the street and heard Curtis talking but no one was in the garden with him. He stepped over to Curtis and said, “Sir, I heard you talking but your companion must have left.” “Oh yes, she left two years ago,” Curtis replied. “Betty passed away. She still lives in my head and we talk all the time. You see, she’s all I have.”

*Photo by Louise with the Story Teller’s Abode

**FFfAW Challenge sponsored by Priceless Joy

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2016 Presidential Election

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I hate the U.S. news media. I’m not sure it would be better in any other nation, but in the U.S., you only hear what the powers that be at the major news organizations want you to hear. I did not intend to watch the Democrat and Republican party’s conventions last week and this, but, like so many others, I got sucked in. I’ve been horrified at the Republican nominee for President of the U.S.  I thought Donald Trump gave one of the worst acceptance speeches I’ve ever heard. I can remember back to the acceptance speech given by John F. Kennedy, though it’s vague as I was a tiny girl.

This post is not about Donald Trump. It is about the failure of the U.S. news media to inform the American public. The Democratic National Convention is coming to a close with Hillary Clinton the nominee for President. As I have watched the convention, I have become aware that the news media has been virtually unstoppable at                eviscerating Clinton, focusing on her mistakes and none of her considerable accomplishments.

I have not been a Clinton fan. I have been a real detractor of Donald Trump. For the first time ever, I’ve considered not voting in this very important election. Listening to the convention speakers last night, without the filter of the news media, I did not exactly become a Clinton fan but I became convinced she is, far and away, the best candidate of the two running for President.

Has the news media ever shared Clinton’s accomplishments with us? They are too busy repeating the mistakes she has made – over and over. By listening to the speakers last night and ignoring the talking heads of the media, I got to hear of Clinton’s accomplishments and they are legion. As first lady of both Arkansas and the United States, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, she has touched our policies in many ways, most of them quite positive. She has touched the hearts and minds of children all over the world, her mission as First Lady. She tends to have a personal touch with people. The type of thing not newsworthy enough for the news media to bother with it. The average American who has contact with Clinton on the street loves her and sings her praises. Her Democratic colleagues, at least, sing her praises.

Hillary Clinton is not good at singing her own praises or advancing her own causes. She is not a braggart like our friend, the Republican nominee. I was impressed with what I heard from those who know her best, personally and professionally.

Most of all, her colleagues discussed her vast knowledge of the U.S. Government and its innermost workings. Does Donald Trump have this knowledge? No. I’ve decided that I’m with Hillary, warts and all. Of course, it helps that she has shattered that largest of glass ceilings, but that isn’t the reason. She knows more than he knows. Down deep, where it counts, she is a better person than he is. That has won me over in the end. #amwriting #blogging #writing #PresidentialUSA #dailyprompt

 

Can our Democracy Last?

Rosemary Carlson, Writer

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John Adams, one of our founders feared that it could not when he said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Of course, that was a long time ago and they were just in the process of building America, our great shining city on the hill.

We are not a true democracy but a representational democracy. If we were a true or pure democracy, all laws would be made by direct, popular vote. Some of our laws are made like this. Most are not with a good example being the electoral college.

Our founders actually seemed to prefer a republic to a democracy. They are identical in every aspect except one. In a democracy, power is held by the group. In a republic, power is held by every individual. Most think the United States…

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Crisis in our Lives

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Most dictionaries define “crisis” as a turning point. One further definition is that a crisis is a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life. The older we get, the more crises we have endured in our lives. What is a crisis for one of us may not be a crisis for all. It depends on where your priorities lie. I am using the term “crisis” in a negative sense, though there are positive crises.

Some of my friends and family tell me that, as they get older, crises are not as difficult to deal with. That they have matured and a crisis is just another event in their lives that they have to face head on and get through. That, to me, sounds a bit cold-blooded, though maybe it is just maturity talking.

I’m like my Dad. I’m more emotional than that. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. To me, a crisis, whether a personal crisis or a crisis in someone’s life who is important to me,  is, indeed, an emotional upheaval. I’m not comfortable until a solution is found. It seems, as I have gotten older, my ability to deal with a crisis has gotten worse, not better. Perhaps it is because I have dealt with a fair number of crises in my life. No more than anyone else probably, but a fair number nevertheless. I have dealt with crises very close to home. With my parents, my marriage, my extended family, my close friends. Now, my mind and body freezes up when a crisis occurs and I have to force myself to act. Crises frighten me and I become afraid I will somehow lose the person experiencing the crisis from my life due to the upheaval in their life. I fear that I won’t be adequate enough to help them.

The number of people in my family is dwindling. I’m usually not privy to their crises. We are quite spread out geographically, which makes helping family members difficult. I find that my friends have become my family. When my friends have a crisis, it is very personal to me. I want to help them. That isn’t always possible as people generally have to work out the solution to a crisis themselves. I usually have to content myself with listening if they want to talk.

A crisis in a person’s life doesn’t have to be a negative event. It can be a positive event that can change their lives for the better. Perhaps someone is leaving an abusive relationship. Even though that crisis would be terribly difficult, the end result would be a positive thing. Perhaps someone has reconnected with a person in their past who they thought was lost to them. Even though that would cause emotional upheaval, it would be a positive crisis and maybe not a crisis at all.

This is a good time in the history of the U.S. to talk about crisis. Another word for crisis is pandemonium. Many people see crisis and pandemonium in the U.S. political system during this year of 2016. It is a galvanized, corrupt system and an extremely contentious campaign for President is happening between two candidates, both of whom are questionable regarding honesty and ethics. Pandemonium is defined as wild uproar or unrestrained disorder which we all see in our Presidential campaign.

Crisis can be a positive or negative force in our lives. If it is a negative event, we have to deal with it as best we can. If it is a positive event, we have to learn how to embrace it. #amwriting #writing #blogging #crisis

Someone Special

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It had been a wonderful trip, but she had finally arrived in her favorite city of Amsterdam. The last stop. Not only was she looking forward to seeing the city again but to meeting someone very special. But first, there was the Amsterdam rijsttafel to take in. The Indonesian rice table. Her favorite food in the world located in the red light district.

She was too nervous to really indulge. She left dinner early and started to walk toward the bar with the red lantern where she was to meet him. There was the lantern! She stepped to the door. When she saw him, her nervousness drained away and she started to smile. It had been 15 years. He turned and saw her as he raised his martini glass to his lips and stopped halfway. #flashfictionforaspiringwriterschallenge

*Photo courtesy of TJ Paris

 

My Mother’s German Clock

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My mother was a hard, cold woman. There is no need to sugar coat it, though I hate to say it. That was, quite simply. her personality. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love her. I did. I just didn’t like her very much most of the time. I spent my life, or perhaps her life, trying to please her. I don’t need all my ten fingers to count the times I heard her laugh in the 48 years she lived while I was alive. I don’t remember what her face looked like when she smiled. She smiled so seldom.

My mother was depressed. Perhaps clinically depressed but, back then, those diagnoses were seldom made so who really knows what was wrong. But, her problems are only tangential to this story. The story of my mother’s German clock.

My mother loved her brothers and sisters almost desperately. She never really separated from that family and embraced my dad and I. One brother, my Uncle Tincy, was particularly special. They were close in age and grew up together. I think separating from him when he left home to join the Air Force broke her heart.

My mother and my uncle always stayed in close touch. His family, including his three children – my cousins, were always close to me. When they would come “home” from being stationed at one Air Force Base and before moving to another, they would often stay with us during the move. My mother cherished every day she got to spend with her brother and with his family. It was during those times that she seemed happiest.

Uncle Tincy was stationed, at one point, in Germany. Before he left Germany, he sent just about all of his siblings a beautiful German clock. I was grown up by then and had left home, but I will never forget when I came for a visit and my mother had received her clock from her brother. For once in her life, she was glowing as she showed me her clock, hanging in a place of honor on the wall. To her, it was not only beautiful, but a symbol of her brother’s love.

Later in both of our lives, my dad passed away and my mother had to live with me because she was very ill. Of course, the German clock from my Uncle Tincy came with her and hung in a place of honor on a wall of my home. Every day, my mother dusted and polished it. She made sure it was wound properly, right up until a couple of days before she died. It made her happy as almost nothing did.

Today, sixteen years after my mother’s death, the German clock still hangs in a place of honor in my home. It has been taken to the clockmaker, cleaned, repaired, and runs  like new. Mom would be proud. I’ve taken over the task of cleaning and polishing it. It keeps perfect time. When I look at it, I think of my mother, with whom I had a strained relationship and who was so unhappy most of the time. I think of my wonderful Uncle Tincy who could perform some sort of magic to make her happy. I remember how she smiled when she looked at that clock. Now, I smile, with a tear in my eye, as I remember what a beautiful German clock did for my mother all those years ago. #amwriting #writing #blogging #depression #dailyprompt

#weekendcoffeeshare 7/23/2016

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“Jenn,” I say, as my friend walks in my side door to join me for our #weeklycoffeeshare this Saturday morning, “you’ll never guess what happened this week.” Jenn automatically assumed something terrible. It was something sort of terrible, but also natural considering where I live. “What,” Jenn asked as we took our hot beverages out to my deck. When we got to my deck, Jenn didn’t have to wonder anymore. She could see for herself.

“Oh no, “Jenn exclaimed. “How did that happen?” Jenn was looking at the very large tree that had been the biggest and tallest tree in my backyard and was now lying, toppled over, and crushing our fence. You see, I live in the forest and my yard is filled with very tall, large trees. “It happened on Monday, “I explained. “I had Betsy outside in the early morning. We went in and I heard a huge crash. I looked out and the tree was lying on its side.” Betsy, by the way, is my dog. Some time, I want to blog about Betsy and her adventures.

The big tree had toppled over, fully uprooted. It was not knocked down by a storm. It was a bright, sunny day. It just….fell. Thankfully, it fell away from the house. For those who are not familiar with a hardwood forest in the Ohio River Valley, it is almost always a bit damp unless there is a serious drought which is not yet a common condition in this part of the U.S. We have had a lot of rain this year. The only thing we can figure out is that the ground was so wet, and it is clay soil, that the tree was literally pushed up out of the ground by a high water table. In the forest, we tend to get more rain than in other places. Forests play a key role in the water cycle process.

I love my forest surroundings though I always worry about the big trees so close to my house and the possibility of them falling. It’s healthy to live in the forest. Forests, the rustling of leaves, are soothing and peaceful to the human ear. Forests absorb more than 60% of the greenhouse gases in our environment. Not only do trees absorb carbon dioxide but they emit breathable oxygen for humans. Trees essentially fight climate change and clean the air.

Trees can cut air conditioning costs by 50% or more. They also conserve water because they protect lawns and lawn plantings. Trees even provide food…..think apple trees, pear trees. They also provide wood that can be burned for heat.

Trees provide a habitat for 70% of the world’s wildlife. Every animal serves a purpose and even dead and dying trees provide some function for these animals. Woodpeckers, for example, feed on dying trees in my yard.

I was sad to lose the big tree. It will provide firewood for a long time to come. The top, which fell into the woods, will provide shelter for wildlife. Now to get it out of our yard!  #weekendcoffeeshare #amwriting #blogging #writing #environment

#weekendcoffeeshare is brought to you by Diana at parttimemonsterblog.com

 

Terrorism and the American Spirit

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The American society is losing its ability to be carefree. When I talk to most of my friends, they express great prudence and caution when they speak of things they would like to do. Events that involve a crowd, for example. Many, perhaps most, of my friends won’t even think of attending an event, indoors or out, where they would be in a crowd. Some of my friends won’t fly the friendly skies anymore. More of my family and friends won’t even consider visiting a large city now. All of these things represent a major shift in the culture of America.

Americans were never afraid to do any of these things. They were all part of our lives. What changed? I think the change began on 9/11/2001 when terrorists knocked down the Twin Towers in New York City. About three months after that, I flew to Europe several times and the big Air France and Delta planes I was on were practically empty.

I have friends who won’t go to their favorite sporting events…..football and basketball games, because they are in big arenas. I am a fan of a particular college basketball team. If I could get tickets to games played by that team, I would go. The arena seats 24,000 people. Terrorism be damned.

Last summer, I was in Boston on the 4th of July. We considered going to hear the Boston Pops with a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people. We didn’t. Partly because of the traffic. Partly because of the remembrance of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Terroism won the day.

Lots of people won’t go to concerts now and listen to their favorite music live and in person. They fear that such a large crowd in an indoor or outdoor arena is ripe for terrorism. Perhaps. My friend and I have a concert schedule for the summer and fall and we are going to several concerts we know we will enjoy. Terrorism be damned.

The American people are scared. There are crazy people who want to kill us. Why? There are many theories. Some say that it is because we have interfered in their wars. That may be part of it. I have another theory. Because of the way of life and culture of the people who say they want to kill Americans, they have not been as prosperous as the U.S. has. They haven’t been invited to the economic party. They hate us for our prosperity.

We can’t let them win. We can’t hide in our homes. We must go on with our lives. We have to take ahold of the American spirit and way if we are carefree again. #amwriting #writing #blogging #terrorism #dailyprompt

 

When a Writer Can’t Write

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A writer has to write. When a committed writer cannot write, they can be creative. They can read or travel in order to see things, meet people, and learn new writing techniques. I do that, but when I want to write, I want to write. To do otherwise causes me cognitive dissonance…….or a storm in my head. For the last six days, I’ve had a storm in my head about writing.

Six days ago, I pinched a nerve in my arm. My right arm, which is my dominant arm. I woke up in the morning, couldn’t move my fingers, and my wrist was limp. I ran, not walked, to my neurologist who found the pinched nerve. I did it in my sleep. Slept on my arm the wrong way! Stuff happens, everyone. Never forget that.

I have a brace on my hand, wrist, and forearm that will remain there until the nerve regenerates. Time to regeneration? Each person is different. Minimum is three weeks. Could be six months. My fingers are moving a little more each day. I’m finally able to write this blog post. I am no good at using dictation software. I have to sit down and pound the keys.

I won’t post as much as usual until I’m better, but I will post! If I can’t write, I’m not myself so I will do my best. Of course, I don’t want to lose touch with you, my followers. Thank you for following me!

Rosemary