♥ We’re back! It’s Love Month. So much more romantic than Save Your Tooth Month, Refrigerator Month, Quilting Month, American Cheese Month or Anti-Boredom Month. Lots of love from this writer to all you readers. This month, anyway.
♥ I love the software that helps me create songs out of thin air. I love the press-to-open, press-to-close trunk lid on my SUV. I love the warmth and comfort that my gas furnace provides in the winter, not to mention the days when it just feels a little cold in the house and I bump it up a degree. I love Santa Rosa plums, on the rare occasion I can find them. I love typing two spaces after a period even though modern style guides insist I must only use one. I love my mom’s recipe for beef chili with macaroni which my spouse (whom I dearly love) lovingly and patiently agrees to re-create for me. I love being helpful. I love being acknowledged as if what I do matters.
♥ I also love fresh berries on my cereal. My parents grew up during the Great Depression, and their idea of what was and wasn’t affordable determined what fruit topped my cereal. In other words, sliced bananas — I don’t think blueberries, raspberries or blackberries ever made one appearance in our house. Strawberries were a once-a-year thing, always reserved for strawberry shortcake, too special to put on cereal. As for cherries — I know, not a berry — let’s just say I was good friends with the Thank You brand of glop-in-a-can. So in retirement, I’m doing my best to compensate for all my young berry-less years.
♥ I’m not really retired — my full-time job these days is avoiding covid. I’ve had this job nearly two years, with no vacation time, and the pay has not been that great either: $3200 in total, or 28 cents per waking hour. Hey, I’d like to quit this job, like everyone else in the Great Resignation, but I’m afraid the next job I get might really suck.
♥ Just because those close to you accept you the way you are and show appreciation for things you do doesn’t mean you have a free pass from doing more and better. The Land of Missed Opportunities is the vastest, least-explored expanse on Planet Humanity.
♥ Studies show that people who eat vegetarian chili live, on average, 140 days longer than those who eat meat-based chili. Other studies find that those who eat chicken/turkey chili live 19 days longer than we Neanderthals who plunge our hairy hands into the real thing, i.e., beef chili. If nothing else, beef chili people will die happy knowing we will have more attendees at our funerals than those of alt-chili persuasions. So do us beefy-types a favor, look beyond our taste in chili and pick us out some nice flowers.
♥ Eulogy at my funeral: “He was, by some accounts, a fine man. Yes, he ate beef chili and relished it. But how shall we judge this man? By how he ate or how he orated?“
♥ I have been spending hours upon hours the past few months date-sorting and scanning our old family snapshots from the 1970s to the early 2000s. It has been impossible for me not to notice, in these micro-captures of our lives, how the subjects always seem to be beaming, if not downright vivacious. Which brought to mind the current-day criticisms of sites like Facebook and Instagram, namely, how shared images unrealistically over-depict good times and good looks and so generate feelings of envy and inadequacy in viewers. The fact is, Americans have been curating their lives (we called them “Kodak Moments” back then) long before Instagram arrived and we still do. Snapshooters, myself included, create selectively-good, real yet unrealistic, memories the instant we press the button.
♥ Among the 20th-century traditions I miss, and they are many, is how your average-to-nice restaurant would offer you a treat as you left the establishment. My favorite such confection was the Ice Cube, a refreshing mint-chocolate morsel. I can’t recall the last time I saw an Ice Cube, but I do remember the creamy mouth sensations I would enjoy the first few minutes on the car ride home. Ice Cubes were not just treats but post-dinner memory-implanters.
♥ Democratic politicians are being criticized in the media for not listening and responding to the needs and desires of “ordinary” Americans. The narrative is that Democrats unduly focus on minorities and the disadvantaged — as if they are not also “ordinary” Americans. What Big-D Democrats have been reluctant to accept, and so have struggled to respond to, is the fact that most “ordinary” Americans are on-the-whole more concerned about what is in their wallets than what is in their hearts.
♥ Forgiveness. Such a familiar word, yet one with many and diverse opinions about what it means. Operationally, I think it’s pretty simple: forgiveness is one’s declared promise to the Other that the Other’s hurtful act will no longer be a factor between them. Ironic then, how the burden of forgiveness falls upon the Wronged. Funny how that works.
Funny how love is.