Musings of a Voter


If anyone thought that Washington (either side) was working on behalf of the nation, just take a look at the aftermath of Pennsylvania Senator Morino’s withdrawal as the nominee for drug czar. “Nobody knew, they fooled us. I don’t know who contributes to my campaigns,” he stated in his defense.
Democrats and Republicans. Shame! It’s not just that we have a questionable president; we also have a broken Congress, rift with ties to special interests and extreme partisan views—whose members are either ignorant of the details of the bills they pass or, worse, don’t give a damn. And shame on us for not going to the polls and voting; shame on us for not paying attention to whom and what we do vote for. Shame on us for listening only to those who confirm our own world view and abdicating our role as informed citizens.
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The Thing about Guns

In my current, late-life persona, I find myself making minor, practical decisions to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of our gun-obsessed country and terrorists abroad, as well as from possible terrorist attacks on American soil. I go to matinees at the movie theater, because there are fewer people in the audience. I avoid malls during holidays, and I don’t go to large community events like festivals or performances. I refused to go to a fireworks spectacle in St. Tropez this summer. I stay away from places that invite danger. Small stuff, but each decision provides me with a false sense that I have a modicum of control over potential chaos. One night, I even woke in a panic and ordered Israeli gas masks for the entire family. The kids want to wear them for Halloween.
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Needing a time-out from marriage and my career, a do-over, I had volunteered for the United Nations mission. Actually, it wasn’t a new idea. In the heady days of my youth, I had been accepted to the Peace Corps after college and assigned to go to Afghanistan but chose, instead, to marry my boyfriend to keep him out of the Vietnam War draft. Chickened out, not chose, I corrected myself. Everyone who came back from Afghanistan in the late 1960s had Giardia, the almost incurable, wicked kind of intestinal parasites that colonize and reproduce in the small intestines. Why commit gastro-suicide? Continue reading “Crossroads”

Sharing my Thoughts

I was struggling to catch my breath as I climbed the big hill behind my home. My ten-year-old granddaughter, hands on hips, watched me as I finished puffing up to the top. It was an early and perfect fall day, cool and crisp. The sky, empty of clouds and the color of the Mediterranean Sea, reminded me of summers in the south of France.

“I love early fall and early spring,” I told Ella.

“I like spring, especially when the leaves begin to bud on the trees,” she replied.

My heart skipped a beat—not from exertion but from her words, which triggered my imagination. Although it was a fall day, I could envision the spring green color of new leaves and new rice in the fields of Cambodia—the color of rebirth!

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Sharing My Writer’s Process

I slapped my empty suitcase onto the bed and looked at my best friend, Marilyn. “What the hell do I pack for a year? Seriously, what have I gotten myself into this time?”

Marilyn frowned, slowly shaking her head. “Couldn’t you take the geographical cure somewhere more civilized?”

The muscles in my face tightened. “Not again, please. Don’t repeat that tired old coffee-mug cliché, ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’”

“It was on a t-shirt, but never mind. I’m only asking whether it will be hard to leave everything behind.”

“No, hard would be staying.”

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Martha White

Years ago I sent out—mostly via US mail, but by e-mail to those few of us who had it—a monthly letter addressed to “Dear Martha White.” Martha White was not anyone’s real name. She was just a photo on a white sack of white flour, a symbol of good white stuff! And for me, she was a trick I learned when I worked in public relations for the Atlanta Police Department: Make an association to remember people’s names.Continue reading “Martha White”

My First Blog Post

Presidents Trump’s travel bans, his rescinding of former president Obama’s executive order protecting the Dreamers, and promoting the imposition of fees on money sent to Mexican families by persons in the US all speak to his xenophobia or, perhaps more cynically, his attempts to appeal to his “base.” In the story titled “Roaches,” I explore my relationship with a Tibetan family, whom I helped to emigrate from Nepal, and the reasons why Trump’s rhetoric puts them in danger.Continue reading “My First Blog Post”