Father’s Day Reflection, 2021

Fathers’ Day marks a time of remembrance. I grew up with a father who took pride in his six children. A high school education was absent from his resume. The man never had enough sleep He provided the basics to his loved while he spoke of higher expectations for his sons”I don’t want you to work as hard as I do.” Finish high school and find a paying job in the trades.” This advice echoed throughout the “Back of the Yards, ” an area in Chicago so named because it was located south of the stock yards of Chicago) households.

Dad counseled counseled his daughters,(well at least to me) to find a husband who was capable of providing for me and our family. This speech echoed throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. I am the first born child, the prototype. Perhaps my siblings’ reflections on Fathers’ Day portrays another reality.

My father, a man who wanted his children to work hard and make a better life for themselves educationally and financially reflected his desire for his children to succeed. Is this a sad remembrance? His unique laugh and tenderness towards my mother revealed his softness..

He was short-tempered in his younger years. I attribute this anger on his years of minimal sleep. It was in my early twenties when my father got the job of his dream, a Chicago “Garbage Man.” The workerrode on the back of the truck, rain, snow, and the miserable humid heat of the summer. The cans lifted into truck by the men. (The automated lifts appeared after his retirement.)

Never owned a car until the 1970s. The family walked everywhere, rode the bus, or a friend or family member would “pick up all eight of us.

When I possessed his undivided attention, usually on the seven block walk from my grandmother’s bakery, he bestowed wisdom. The times being alone with my dad revealed his pride in me, but would add “you can do better.” Thiis phrase he imprinted in my DNA. Harsh? Perhaps, but it made me feel he saw potential. Dad wanted more for me because he noticed my grit and ability.

Thanks “Daddy!” I listened, observed and learned.

Twenty-First Century Summers

This happy, harmonious 1950’s song from the musical Oklahoma celebrated warmer days, gorgeous blooming flowers, and the opening of parks. Today, the media reports an America on fire, unruly demonstrators, shootings at workplaces, from cars, and between neighbors. What does Summer mean to you?

The 20th Century summer time offered Americans an opportunity to enjoy living easy, watching June Bugs, fireflies, and swinging in a hammock with a glass of lemonade. Hide and seek at dusk, neighbors sitting or swinging on the porch. Card games, checkers, or board games brought on laughter, shouts of joy or groans of loss.

Air conditioning, cable TV, electronic games, give neighbors cool comfort and entertainment. Living easy today depends on comfort and convenience. Heaven forbid if the electricity goes out. Many of us avoid walking, let alone strolling through our neighborhoods as the sun goes down. If we want a better nation, we need to focus on the gifts of summer.

Yes, the days are hot! Air conditioning is a must for our health and our comfort. We need to look for ways to teach our children the joys of summer. The crack of a ball against a bat brings smiles and a sense of satisfaction. A walk through your neighborhood. Take a journey to a safe green spot and take in the sights, sounds, and smells.

A slow stroll through a park with your children or loved one sets a stage for conversations. Ask your partner or children to tell you their choices of sights that make them happy.

Create an ice cream social at home by buying ice cream cones and filling them with your favorite and a few of your families favorite of the cold, creamy taste. Go all out and create a “sundae” gathering. Be brave and ask your neighbor to join you in the joy of the cool taste of a cone or sundae smothered in chocolate, caramel or strawberry syrup.

Neighbors respond to other neighbors who simply say “Hello” to them. If you live in an apartment building, don’t be afraid to say “Hello” with a smile.

Courtesy, kindness, and listening contribute to understanding. Enjoy June’s welcoming of summer and the genuine beauty in our lives.

Angels Walk Among Us

My husband,Tim, and I have been quarantined the last 18 months. We dodged Covid, only to face serious health issues that rendered us incapable of tending to the needs of our double yards. The neglected areas brought forth overgrown flowering bushes, a group of privets nine feet high, a lilac bush as big as a compact car, and weeds that tickled our knees.

The neighbors next to us sent the missionaries from the Church of Latter Day Saints to help us. These two young men offered to help tame our overgrown landscape. We welcomed their generous gift and scheduled three times to be the recipients of their time and energy. Each time we had to cancel because of snow, rain, or unexpected hospital stays. We desperately needed help and scheduled one more time.

The weather cooperated (thank you LORD!) the missionaries returned accompanied by eight members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ local ward. They came prepared with powerful hedge trimmers and enthusiasm fueled by their willingness to help their neighbors. Their energy tamed the overgrowth, cleaned up the yard, and bundled the excess growth for pick up.

Between bringing out snacks and water, overseeing the work, and answering questions, I tried to interact with each member. The two missionaries. One member was from South America. Carmen Amanda, the only woman from the Ward showed up and worked in our front bed with experience taming the weeds. She also helped instruct the novice weed pickers how to extricate the weeds from the earth.

These young missionaries inquired about our needs brought a community together on a sunny Saturday morning. A colleague of mine from my last job updated me on his last twenty years of his life. He said, ” heard the name and wondered if it Pat Coffey?”

Some observers could claim that this was an isolated incident. I say, not so, this type of generosity, consideration, and time is demonstrated time and time again in this community.

Humans helping other humans is a part of the living culture of my neighbors. Thank you and may God bless you in all your endeavors.

PGA Swing to Another State

The news of the voting changes in multiple states makes me angry. I feel those of us who believe in the concept of American entitlement to vote need to challenge the insidious bi-partisan changes multiple states considered or are considering

I’m calling for all major corporations and business owners to examine what’s happening in your state. Let’s begin with you Georgia. Your state’s controlled republican legislature and its governor constructed the strictest voter rules since the Jim Crow Era.

Check out your state’s current voting laws.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a voting rights advocacy group, 253 bills restricting voting access have been introduced in 43 state legislatures as of Feb. 19, 2021. According to the Brennan Center, at least 53 additional bills have been introduced since then.1 Of these 306 bills, 89 percent were sponsored entirely or primarily by Republicans, according to the bill-tracking service LegiScan.

Be a Sweetheart to Your Self

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be for lovers. Yes, the card shops, restaurants, flower shops, jewelers flood the media with ads reminding you to remember your sweetheart, your loved one, your lover, et cetera, et cetera.

We all should stop and take stock in how we love ourselves. Yes, you read it right. We can’t love someone else, be faithful and supportive, if we aren’t loving towards ourselves.  Oh, I know we all read books or watched movies where the hero or heroine are long-suffering with an unrequited love. Wake up folks! How healthy is that?
Today’s model of love should portray balanced individuals seeking other balanced individuals. We need role models of men and woman who take care of themselves emotional, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.  Heroes or heroines should be seeking partners not prototypes from books, plays, movies, and all types of media.  Idealistic? Probably, we are human after all. 

So back to reality, we all like to be wooed every once in awhile, but we don’t have to be weak. So, if you don’t have a significant other in your life, here are a few suggestions on how to woo yourself:

  • indulge in a long hot bath
  • buy a small amount of very expensive chocolates for yourself
  • buy a bottle of your favorite wine and share it with a friend who also will appreciate it
  • splurge at the spa-pick your favorite treatment or one you never selected

By now, I bet you have a few ideas of your own. Once you have found something for your self, do something for someone else:

  • visit a relative or neighbor who lives alone and bring a Valentine treat
  • select a Valentine card and send it to someone who has been there for you through a tough time
  • buy or make Valentine treats for the office (do this only if it will make you happy)
  • send Valentine flowers to someone you think would love a bouquet from an anonymous admirer

Again, the Valentine nod doesn’t have to be a big item. It should be an appropriate action, token, or expression that simply says:

“I acknowledge you for being a good human being. I am glad you are here.” 
Be a sweetheart, give someone a smile with an act of kindness on Valentine’s Day.

Comments

Impeachment Reflection

This blog offers U.S citizens an opportunity to cut through the noise of the debates. It attempts to help the reader balance the information given by those who brought the evidence of high crimes to the House of Representatives.

We heard rebukes and howls from the President and his supporters. The din and noise muddled the information and made it difficult for Americans to understand the impeachment process.

I’ve never been a fan of Wikipedia, but their gives a non-biased description of the U.S. Impeachment Process. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States

I listened to several hearings leading up to the decision to impeach the President. I could not watch it everyday. I found a bevy of house members who lacked debate training. Some members demonstrated a lack of preparation when they responded to a colleague’s presentation. It saddened when members who raised his or her voice even though the microphones worked. When did we, as a nation, start to believe that he or she who shouts the loudest they are most correct?

Impeachment participants represent the voters. Our founding father built this country on the principle of three equal but separate governing branches.. Each division acts as a check and balance system.When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks openly about “insuring a fair trial for the President and announces “I am positive the President will not be impeached.” Tell me, is Senate McConnell fairly representing his voters? How can he speak for his colleagues’ voters? “

Remember, you do have a voice. It is as close as text or a phone call to your Senator. Keep the powers of the government balanced. Remind your senator who they work for, tell him or her what you think about the evidence. Also read the findings from the House of Representatives before you make a judgement.

Access, Plan, Move

As the 2018 winds down, we can sit back and evaluate the good, bad, and the ugly or we can look forward. When it comes to emotional goals, when achieved, they make us happy. We need look forward. We know the lessons of the past, we have the scars that remind us.

Humans own free will. We can deviate unlike the rest of the creatures in the animal kingdom. Our ability to decide enables us to change. Stop. Make goals for 2019. Design them for yourself. Sit down in a quiet place and think of three things you want to start or finish in 2019. Now remember, you only have twelve months, fifty-two weeks, and 365 days. Look at your potential goals and look at your life.

Calculate how much time you’ll need to accomplish each goal. Think about time, days, and months needed to actualize your end result. Are there things in your life you can eliminate to make more time for your goal or goals? Leaders call this exercise ‘sitting on the mountain top and getting the whole view.’

Resolutions, goals, objectives are synonymous. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all are planners. When we don’t plan, that’s a plan.

When your goals are complete, don’t stop there. Make a few goals with your partner. Teach your children how to make a reasonable (achievable and measurable) goals.

Move Forward in 2019. Sit alone. Set reasonable and measurable goals. Start January 2019 making a plan. Remember, its your goals, a couple’s goals, a child’s goal. Like everything in life, things happen, so all is negotiable.

Resources

https://www.google.com/search?q=Ressources+for+goal+setting&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS827US827&oq=Ressources+for+goal+setting&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l2.12605j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS827US827&q=goal+setting+worksheet&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj6i-2Fxs3fAhWLsFQKHc7cALYQ1QIoAXoECAYQAg&biw=720&bih=410

Veterans’ Day and Red Poppies

Veterans Day in the United States evolved. In my youth, we proudly placed our coins into the tin containers and received our red paper poppy to wear to honor those who fought and died for our country. So, before writing this blog, I researched the origin and etiquette of poppy wearing.

Like the current tenor of our nation, the red poppy’s existence and meaning changed since my early days. There is debate in the U.S. when a red poppy can be worn – Veterans Day or Memorial Day.  There are several different colors of remembrance poppies including white for animals who died in the line of duty. There is protocol for the wearing a poppy.  Welcome to the 21st Century. Nothing can be simple or non controversial any more, not even the red poppy that said “thanks for serving this country or dying for my freedom.”

Interested in learning a more about the red poppy, check out these links:

https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/celebrate/flower.pdf

https://www.google.com/search?q=poppies+for+veterans&oq=poppies+&aqs=chrom

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/flanders-fields

https://iheartcraftythings.com/paper-poppies-craft.html