Just for Fun II

How observant are you? It’s all in how we look at things.

Billowing curtains
Undulating hedges
Lullabies
Lingering
Should I go or stay
How long can I hold on
It is time
Time to go

Thanks for all the responses. This is yesterday’s poem with a slightly different look. See it now?  Christine did, but is too much a lady to say it. Pat got it in shorthand with a little help from her friends. Gerri gave it a try or two.

Again, this was a little exercise just for fun. I hope you enjoyed it. I did. If it had a message at all it’s that what passes for poetry can be a bit of BS. This little ditty took less than five minutes to write, but may sound like poetry to some. Or not.

 

Vacation’s End

Sunsets, waves, gulls, pelicans, egrets and hatchling sea-turtles all helped to make it a wonderful time at the beach. Even better was the time spent with my two daughters and one of my two granddaughters.

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Dianne, Allison & Elizabeth
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Madeira Beach

“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.” Emilia Wickstead

Childhood Memories. 90s Russia

This is a rare glimpse into what life was like for a child in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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I usually post texts about the trips or cultural aspects in a light positive way. This post will be less optimistic, so if you want to stay away from negativity, just skip reading it.

I want to go back to my childhood and tell you about post-Soviet Russia. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a pure chaos arrived. Everything what worked before collapsed, too, nothing was in order. Devaluation was immense, and the prices were rising unequally. There were the days, when the plain ticket and ice cream were of the same price. People were going mad. Crime was ruling, it became the power. Obedient Soviet people turned to uncontrolled monsters: frauds, murders, thefts, drugs. Massive immigration started, people were running away from this mess as far as they could.

But what was it like for a child?

I have to say, I was very lucky to be so…

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Katie & The Bird

Katie, a seven-year-old felt maternal for the half-naked starling that fell out of the sky and into her life one Saturday afternoon. Twenty-four hours later the bond was solid. Every thirty minutes or so she cautiously poked a hamburger “worm” down his throat with a tiny stick. He chirped, Katie poked. When Katie’s parents arrived the next morning they knew church was out of the question. There was no point in going to Sunday School to learn about kindness and love if you were required to leave one of God’s helpless creatures alone and without food for hours. As Katie proudly demonstrated her ability as a surrogate everyone was impressed by her expertise, especially Aunt Dianne.

After the people lunch it was again time for Bird to eat. Katie went outside to the specially prepared box to find it empty. The whole family searched and searched the yard looking under every structure and bush. Katie, though very quiet, was picturing all the harm that could come to a weak little bird. Daddy said, “Well, it wasn’t a cat, there are no feathers around.” Pop said, “I bet Bird was adopted by a Robin. I’ve seen Robins take care of orphaned birds.” Aunt Dianne said, “You took such good care of him, Katie, he was probably strong enough to fly away.” Grandmother related a story of Mommy’s beagle which disappeared without a trace and how Grandmother had always thought pleasant thoughts of his maverick adventure.

Mommy walked silently beside Katie as they continued to search all around in the ninety-five-degree heat and all the while afraid of what they might find. Finally, all the places had been explored and the disappointed family returned inside to the chilly air-conditioned kitchen. The grown-ups went back to their places at the table to cool off with some iced tea. Katie silently walked up the stairs to her own private space in Grandmother and Pop’s house. She entered the special room with all her Beanie Babies and other favorite stuffed animals who didn’t require feeding and she lay on her bed thinking of Bird out in the hot sun. Where could he be? Just as tears began to run down her cheeks she felt someone else’s weight on the bed with her. Without opening her eyes, she knew exactly who it would be. Mommy began to rub Katie’s back with the same love and tenderness with which Katie had cared for Bird. Without many words, Mommy assured Katie she, too, felt sad for Bird and was very concerned about the real dangers the big world might hold for such a little creature. They lay quietly on the bed for a long time.

Although there was no answer to the mystery of where Bird was, Katie wanted to be brave so she and Mommy eventually went back down the stairs to rejoin Grandmother’s birthday party. Katie and Mommy went to their car together to get Grandmother’s present and walked gingerly back around the house, still very quiet. As Katie stepped onto the patio she heard “chirp, chirp, chirp!” and under the shade of one of Grandmother’s big herb pots stood Bird impatiently demanding food.

Written 6/29/98

BIRD

Book Review: Our Crime Was Being Jewish

“OUR CRIME WAS BEING JEWISH” BY Anthony S. Pitch

Followers of this blog have probably figured out I read a lot of books about the Holocaust and World War II. This book which I have read twice is among the most impactful for me. The author, Anthony S. Pitch has assembled the testimonies of Holocaust survivors and published them for the world to read.  These are testimonies that comprise the film “Testimony” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

What I found so compelling in reading the accounts of these survivors is each tells their own story as only they can. They speak for no one else. These testimonies are not grouped in any specific way by age, gender, chronology or geography. Pitch states he has not used an index in his book because “many who should have been included were silenced by murder.” These are the stories of those who survived and the thing they have in common is being Jewish.

I highly recommend this book. It is heart-breaking, but so enlightening. I wish each citizen of the world could read it and remember, lest it is repeated.

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“Yet, nearly 6 decades after the Holocaust concluded, Anti-Semitism still exists as the scourge of the world.” Eliot Engel

Nearly a century later not only anti-semitism still exists, but also genocide. Think of Rwanda, Bosnia, and Cambodia.   

Peace

A while back I read a blog post by Brandon Knoll which resonated with me. Knoll questioned why we talk about people being at peace after death rather than during life. The question was raised by this sign (taken from his blog post):

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Life can be so challenging we forget to live in peace or feel it is impossible. I think it is only possible if we are mindful each day, each hour life should be at peace. Imagine a world where every person had that same goal. Alas, we are only responsible for our own actions.

We are therefore responsible for our own peace.

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Check out the post referenced above in Brandon Knoll’s “Chaotic Shapes” blog: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/123568371/posts/4814

Human Trafficking

Here in Louisville every year around Derby time, we hear a lot about “Human Trafficking.” But, what is Human Trafficking exactly? According to the Department of Homeland Security, Human Trafficking is the exploitation of a person through coercion, force, or fraud in order to obtain sex, forced labor, or domestic servitude. Human Trafficking happens everywhere and involves any nationality, age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Simply put, it is modern-day slavery. You can spot possible Human Trafficking by knowing the indicators.

· The person may appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship.

· School attendance ceases.

· A sudden or dramatic change in behavior

· A juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts.

· Disorientation and confusion, or signs of mental or physical abuse.

· Bruises in various stages of healing.

· Fearful, timid, or submissive behavior.

· Signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care.

· The person is often in the company of someone who seems to be in control

· The person appears to be coached on what to say.

· The person is living in unsuitable conditions.

· The person lacks personal possessions and appears not to have a stable living situation.

· Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Does there appear to be unreasonable security measures?

The presence or absence of any of these indicators is not proof of a human trafficking situation, but many of these signs are a good reason to investigate further. Please refer to the Department of Homeland Security for more resources and information concerning human trafficking on their Blue Campaign website, https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign Keep your eyes open, stay sober and informed.

To report suspected human trafficking: 1-866-347-2423

To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)

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Book Review – Thumbs Down

“Amelia’s Story: A Childhood Lost” by D. G. Torrens

This book is a true story about a child brought up in the welfare system in Great Britain. It covers the little girl’s life for sixteen years in and out of foster homes and abusive situations. While the story is heartbreaking and is told fairly well by the author it was hard for me to stay connected to this character because of the many problems with writing. Frankly, I am amazed the book went to print with so many grammatical and punctuation errors. I thought there were editors for that! These shortcomings ruined what could have been an interesting read. 

Surprisingly for me, this is the first in a book series by this writer. That makes me think the problem was me, but I’m not convinced and I’m still trying to understand how average writing, multiple repetitions, and terrible editing resulted in selling books! This is not a book I can recommend for those reasons.   

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Someone asked me, if I were stranded on a desert island what book would I bring… ‘How to Build a Boat.’ Steven Wright

Holocaust Novel

“All My Love, Detrick” by Roberta Kagan

Most of my reading about the Holocaust is factual but I decided to try this best-selling novel and I’m glad I did. As the title indicates it is a love story. Detrick, an Aryan, falls in love with Leah, a Jewish girl, and their struggles to be together are very realistic. There are parallel love stories of other couples that unfold smoothly throughout the book. There is plenty of love-making but also tragedies among the characters of all ages.

I enjoyed the book and would rank it four stars out of five. I know I’m a hard critic for a book must be great literature for me to give it five stars. “Sunflower” and “Night Trilogy” come to mind in that category.

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“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” Helen Keller

Crooked Creek Rd.

Recently my youngest daughter and I took a drive down Crooked Creek Rd. The road winds along sticking pretty close to the creek by the same name. I’m sure I bored Allison silly with all my stories about things that had taken place here or there along the way back when this was a gravel road. It’s funny how things change in reality versus in our memories. I was shocked to see the small wood and iron bridge pictured here.

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Photo by Allison Puckett

In my mind this bridge was huge, its sides were at least three stories high and the length over the creek surely could hold as many as four cars. Crossing this bridge and hearing the rumble of the wooden planks was the thing I looked forward to as a child when we’d make the trip from Gee to Mt. Eden. The trip seemed long. It wasn’t. The bridge seemed gigantic. It isn’t.

I wonder about another memory I have. Once a bakery truck wrecked on this bridge and strew doughnuts all over the road! It was an amazing sight. Such a tragic waste. Did it really happen? Now I wonder, but I can see it all in my mind.

“I believe that without memories there is no life and that our memories should be of happy times.” Lee Radziwill