Till Death Us Do Part

Secrets to a Long-Term Marriage

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

Mignon McLaughlin

There is a class of recognition that I’ve come to think of as “Dubious Distinction Awards.” You may have one or two of them packed away and disintegrating in a box under your attic eaves. I count among mine citations for “Perfect Attendance” and, my favorite, from a cooking contest, an award for “Oldest Contestant”. In both cases, all I had to do was show up, and I guess the just showing up part, helps to explain Continue reading “Till Death Us Do Part”

Is the Story Mine to Tell ?

In my freshman year of high school, I was standing in line when a teacher motioned for me to come her way. I’d been queued with friends and had just repeated a story I’d been told. She’d overheard what I’d said and asked why I thought the story was mine to tell. While I hemmed and hawed and insisted what I’d shared was true, she reiterated that, true or not, the story was not mine to tell. Her words stayed with me and over the years there’ve been occasions when I’ve had to stop and ask myself if the story I’m about to share is actually mine to tell.

When you travel with a group you hear lots of stories. Some are told by lonely people seeking affirmation. Others are told when tongues are loosend by too much wine. These are the stories that must be rewoven before they can be told. And sometimes, as they are reworked you realize that there isn’t much to tell. Many stories were shared on our long coach rides in Costa Rica, but, on examination, they belong to others and are not mine to tell. I can, Continue reading “Is the Story Mine to Tell ?”

The Last Day of My Life

Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last time.

James A. Baldwin

Today’s rumination was actually written in the fall of 2015. I found it among many others I’d entered in my .journal for that year but, for whatever reason, unlike the others, this one still spoke to me. It’s backstory was simple enough. It began when my husband and I stopped for coffee on our way to the Oregon coast. The weather was terrible and business in the cafe was slow, so, the gal who waited on us kept one eye on the television as she poured our coffee. We could hear her mumbling, “Man, he’s really cooked his goose.” It made me smile because it was the first time I’d heard a cooking metaphor used politically. Others sitting at the counter shared her grim assessment, and while I was severely tempted to chime in, I thought it best to leave them to their thoughts and let the matter rest.

Continue reading “The Last Day of My Life”

September Song

Oh, it’s a long, long way from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September….”

No, not that September Song. I love it and understand why it became a classic, but as my own expiration date comes nearer, I’ve become more grounded and less lyrical. Mine is a more basic melody that’s born of apples and cinnamon and a combined aroma that can bring grown men to their knees. Add to that the fragrance of bread baking in the oven, and you have my version of September Song. It’s come early this year and I’m more than ready to open my fall kitchen.

We’ve had a summer of record breaking heat in Oregon. It’s been so warm that noon day exercise was ill-advised and best left to mad dogs, Englishmen and collegiate athletes with more brawn than brains. I’ve pushed my walks back to the early morning hours  and generally hit the Continue reading “September Song”


Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swiveled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark.

― Bryce Courtenay

While mathematicians speak of probability, theologians of predestination and gamblers of luck, I’m more inclined to believe that chance shapes our lives’ direction. Probability can be used to determine the chances of something occurring, but in order to do so, the odds of an event occurring must first be formulated. Predestination requires a belief that God controls events and preordained salvation. Luck, which can be good, bad or blind, attributes success or failure to random chance rather than one’s own efforts. Chance is viewed as the absence of any causal events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled, in other words chance events are random and purely accidental. Chance blindsides me.

Continue reading “Chance”

Friends, Romans, Republicans

“We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth.” “We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods, and sew distrust of his own fellow Americans. Let’s not abet such deception.”

Senator Pat Toomey

Following the failed Trump coup, the great Republican “lavabo” has begun. It is quite frankly embarrassing to watch the same men and women who allowed perpetuation of a lie, outdo Pontius Pilate in an attempt to escape censure for enabling the magical thinking of a president determined, at any cost, to bully his way into a second term in office. Unfortunately, there is not a soap strong enough to clean hands that allowed

Continue reading “Friends, Romans, Republicans”

Silence and Solitude

“We live in a world starved for solitude and silence and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”

C.S. Lewis

Rain here generally beats rhythmically as it bounces on the roofs and pavement that stop its fall, but on occasion gusting winds morph its pleasant tattoo into an insistent pounding that’s certainly capable of waking the living, if not the dead. While not quite dead, I am a light sleeper and it seems that at some point in my life I have really angered Morpheus. He has refused to intercede on my behalf, so, I’ve moved from bed to desk in hopes that some worthy thought will be scribed before first light rises. Unfortunately, concentration is uneasy, and, so, as I often do when stymied, I start to play with words. It’s far simpler than counting sheep and since I’m given to free association, the game, as Sherlock would say, is afoot – at least until the sun rises. What falls from the sky? Other than rain of a tympanic nature there is snow and it, of course, falls without a whisper. Snow is silent.

Continue reading “Silence and Solitude”

Bespoke Lives

Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.

Anne Sweeney

I’ve added another word to the figurative hopper I keep for words that intrigue me. My rather eclectic collection began in a teacher’s lounge following delivery of a folder to a British visitor whose desk, no more than a table, had been temporarily set up in there. I had been made hall monitor for the day and got to wear the coveted arm band that set me apart from others wandering through the building. It was a hard won responsibility and I was quite proud of myself and the speed with which I did my job. I was also thrilled to be the one who got to make this particular delivery. I had never been in Continue reading “Bespoke Lives”

O Holy Night

Each time I passed one of the Gallo Christmas trees I had to smile. I remember a time when the world and I were very very young and Stan Freberg’s, “Green Christmas,” was included in the holiday programming of The Midnight Special, a weekly radio broadcast from the University of Chicago. Freberg was known for his topical satire and “Green Christmas” had one chorus that remains a mind-sticker half a century after it was written.

We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
And please buy our beer!

As it happens, Gallo is a beer that is widely sold in Guatemala and the company donates decorated trees to communities throughout the country. What makes them unusual is they are all topped with a rooster, the corporate logo, rather than an angel or star. Freberg, obviously, was a visionary satirist.

Today is Christmas Eve and we are heading to the Mayan village of Continue reading “O Holy Night”


Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.
― Tim Keller

I hope your Thanksgiving will be spent with family and friends creating memories that one day will be shared at tables in places that can’t even be imagined now. I also hope that in the course of that busy day, you’ll have momentary thoughts of absent friends who once occupied places at your table and in your heart. Memory is a strange master and we tend to magnify its weight as we get older. I’m of an age where remembrance glows with the brightness of a nova and I’ve learned to surrender to its light. I view memory as a scrapbook whose pages turn when fleeting thoughts trigger reflections of times and places that I’ve known. This year that scrapbook has taken me back to a celebration held in a basement when I was four years old.

My early years were spent in a planned community of townhouses
that were built around  central courtyards. Continue reading “Thanksgivings”

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