Who’s That Growling Under my Bed?

Mama said one night when she was a little bitty girl the grownups were talking politics and had sent her off to beddy-bye when she came running out crying, “Help! There’s a big bad dema-crack under my bed!”

That’s just the way I feel. And it could just as well be a big bad publican or a librarian under my bed! The fear mongers are out! Hard times are coming, the worse that ever was. It strikes fear to my very soul. You think things are bad? they say. Just wait, if you vote for them, you haven’t seen bad yet. Vote for us, we’ll save you and the whole country!

My gosh! My heart’s pounding, my blood is running cold. I’d better run out and vote for our libelators. Except it’s not Election Day yet. I can’t. Darn. But wait a minute, the other side is saying the same thing.

Oh, politics as usual.

Well Blow Me Down and Call Me Flossie

When I was fifteen I worked one summer in Don’s Restaurant in Hazard, Kentucky. My name was Flossie. Don had such a turnover in waitresses he couldn’t remember our names so he used a few favorites remembered from ages past. Assuming there’d been a Flossie, that is. So I said “Blow me down and call me Flossie!” After all, he was paying me fifty cents an hour.

We had a tip box to put our gratuities in (I’m more sophisticated now) to be divided up weekly. Like a good little Flossie I put all my tips, excuse me, gratuities, in the box during the first week but when it came time to receive my cut, I only received four dollars.

I complained to the other girls that my tips, excuse me, gratuities, had been more than that for half-a-day. They laughed at me. “We don’t put it all in,” they said, “just a dollar here and there.” In other words I had shared all my own tips, excuse me, gratuities, with them, but they had shared only a smidgeon of theirs with me. The scale had been weighted to their side. I wondered why they hadn’t told me ahead of time. That’s how green I was. I’m more sophisticated now.

Okay, I said, and the next week I only put in a couple of dollars. But I felt dishonest. “Oh, he knows,” one girl said, “he don’t care.” And, since we were all in cahoots, I figured it was okay. But my conscience still bothered me, just a smidgeon. I’d been taught that rules were rules and were meant to be followed.

Although I never became a corrupt politician, nor even an honest one for that matter, I wonder if that’s how it begins? If we all do it, then it’s okay. Let’s vote ourselves some special benefits, set up different rules, just for us.

Of course none of this is actually vocalized. Most likely they just breathe in that rarefied stink in the air that wafts off the old farts who’ve been corrupting Washington for years, and they know without vocalizing that this is how things are done in Washington, DC.

A Boil on the Presidency?

If you’ve ever suffered from boils you know how painful they are. They have to be lanced and drained in order to heal.

Although I don’t remember the following family story as I was only a toddler, an older brother told me about the days when we lived in poverty due to the early death of our father.

The trouble began with an outbreak of boils. To bring the boils to a head and give relief from the pain our mother applied hot compresses, probably from a solution of Epsom salts, and/or soda and boric acid powder in boiling water.

But more boils continued to break out. Finally, Mom sought the advice of a wise old hill woman who told her we were all suffering from an evil in the blood. She said to have the older boys gather burdock, a weed that was plentiful in the hills, and make a tea from it. Everyone in the family should drink the tea and it would soon remove the evil that was tainting our blood. At last we found relief.

I researched and found that burdock has been used since the Middle Ages as a blood purifier and treatment for boils. As well as a host of other ailments. Interestingly, the article’s advice was: “Do not gather burdock in the wild.”

Evidently because “The roots of burdock closely resembles those of belladonna or deadly nightshade”. Now was that a narrow escape or what? One mistake and the solution to our problem might’ve killed us. Not unlike, I think, some treatments for cancer today that kill the good cells as well as the bad.

What a mixed-up world we live in! Everything appears to come down to trial and error. Pure luck appears to determine the outcome.

I can’t help but wonder what evil force has infected the blood of our country. Rising like a boil to the surface with hate messages running amok.

I can’t help but wonder if there is a boil on the presidency.

2012: Don’t Be a Pee-Post

From my dog Winston’s point of view, everything that sticks up above the ground, and doesn’t move, is a pee-post, there for only one purpose.

So when we walk in the park I have no need to worry about walkers or joggers.  They seldom stand still long enough to be mistaken for a pee-post and often give this old lady and her dog a wide berth.  The occasional walker who does approach quickly backs away as Winston growls ferociously.  I apologize, explaining that my sweet little doggie has become old and cranky.   (I wonder if it’s true that we humans pick dogs that resemble us).

On our walk this morning, however, I thought about it being the last day of the year.  And wondered if I should speak up about what is on my mind.  You know – “speak now or forever hold your peace”.  The “now or never” thought really piles the pressure on.

So, here I am, ending another year into my dotage, realizing that tomorrow I might not remember what I was so angry about today.  Wondering if during the past year I’ve learned anything worth carrying  forward into 2012.  You know, like reaching the end of a page in my checkbook, writing “carry forward” at the bottom and “brought forward” on the next page.  Simple.

Intended or not, something from this year will be carried forward into the next (unless the world ends tonight, not an impossibility) something perhaps stronger, more important than New Year Resolutions.

So, drawing on my most recent experience, or should I say, my most recent gripe, let these words become your guide.  Don’t be a pee-post.  Don’t stand still as others use you to mark out their territory.  Ignore their vile accusations against each other.  That stink in the Iowa air does not come from the hog lots.

You can’t be a doormat if you don’t lie down.  And you won’t be a pee-post if you keep on moving