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Most of us are observers, I choose to write about what I see.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

60 Things About Being 60

 Written April 3, 2014

1.      Congratulations, you made it this far.
2.          You own it, yes, you really do own it.
3.      You have lived long enough to know that what’s old is new again.
4.           You understand the advantage of a good moisturizer.
5.           People come to you for advice.
6.      You love NPR and admit it.
7.           YOU are now the authority that people want to question.
8.           You know what a card catalog is and how to use it.
9.           You are younger than sliced bread, invented in 1928.
1.           You read books, actual books, made of paper, from trees.
1.            You are older than the World Wide Web.
1.           You look smart, you are smart, and you know it.
1.           You feel comfortable in your own skin.
1.           Your skin has stretched to accommodate the 60 year old you.
1.           SPF 50 is your best friend.
1.           You were born in the year of the horse.
1.           You know what a rotary phone is.
1.           When you were a kid, an apple was something you ate.
1.           60 is a unitary perfect number. This won’t happen to you again until you reach the age of 90.
2.           The 60th day of a non leap year is March 1st.
2.           Kindle is a verb meaning to light or set on fire.
2.          You know that before Sesame Street and Kermit the Frog, there was Captain Kangaroo and Mr.      Green Jeans.
2.          Twitter is a noun meaning a series of chirps.
2.           To tweet is a verb meaning to make a weak chirping sound.
2.           Forgetting only means that you have that much more filed away in your head.
2.           You don’t have to tolerate toxic people or relationships.
2.           Disneyland was under construction the year you were born.
2.           And of course, the discounts rock!
2.           Applebees, 15 %
3.       Ben and Jerry’s, 10%
3.           Burger King, 10%
3.           Golden Corral, 10%
3.           Mrs. Fields, 10%
3.           Sonic, 10%
3.           Waffle House, 10%
3.           Kohls, 10%
3.           Subway, 10%
3.           Comfort Inn, 20 – 30 %
3.           You and Oprah are the same age.
4.            Naps are a wonderful thing.
4.            You can do math in your head.
4.            You can spell without spell check.
4.            You’ve actually read a newspaper.
4.           Those aches and pains that you wake up with are proof that you’re still alive.
4.            Bedtime at 9 p.m.?
4.       You’re a cool drink of water on a hot summer day, and you know it.
4.           People’s opinion of you doesn’t matter.
4.           Floppy disk? Thumb drive?
4.           You’re at the top of your game, you are the expert.
5.           You say what’s on your mind without apology.
5.           You don’t need to have to have anything at all on your mind.
5.           You misplace your eye glasses atop your head.
5.           You know that before the CD there was the record album.
5.           You remember when roses actually had a scent.
5.            You walk around with a smile on your face and people want to know what your’re thinking about.
5.             Flip flops? Not!!!
5.            You  watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
5.           A Macintosh was your first home computer.
5.           Hushpuppies  were shoes and you wore them.
6.           And finally!? You’ve aged like a very fine wine.

My Coffee Thing

Written in 2014
By Marilynn Turner

In my late twenties, I discovered French press coffee. I don’t know exactly when or how, but it became a sort of obsession with me. Regular perked coffee, are you kidding me? That was for the uninitiated. I was a coffee connoisseur.  I used what I thought were the best coffee beans; whole bean organic, hand roasted at a local coffee specialty shop. 

When prepping my coffee at home, I would boil spring water, measure out and carefully grind my beans in my coffee grinder, pour the grinds which were not too fine into the clear glass and stainless steel  French press, add one inch of hot water, wait one minute, fill the pot with within one inch of the top, wait six minutes, then press.  Back then I drank my coffee with heavy cream, slightly warmed, with two teaspoons of organic granulated sugar. Ahhh, it was heavenly.

Fast forward more years later, I’m 60 now. My automatic drip coffee pot sits on the counter top in my kitchen. I hit the button as I round the corner in the kitchen, I had set the pot up before I went to bed at night. As I popped the toast out the toaster, the scent of coffee filled the room.  I fill my travel cup  with coffee, add half and half and off I go on my day.

Lately, I have become obsessed with those single cup coffee brewers. Somebody bought one for the lounge at work, and I started using it. Surprisingly, the coffee was rather good. Now I want one for home. I want it in my bedroom. I want to be able to reach out of my bed, hit the button, and smell the coffee as it drips into my waiting cup. This is my current ultimate luxury fantasy.

So at 5 a.m. on one of those cold New England mornings when I could not sleep, I searched the internet for my dream, and I found it, at the price I was willing to pay, in a nice blue that would complement the décor in my bedroom. It has not arrived yet, but ohhh, the anticipation. I’ll wake up, hit the bottom on the machine on my way to the bath, smell the coffee while I do my morning fresher upper, and go back and grab my cup of coffee before I snuggle back into the folds of my comfy flannel sheets.

I Can Write Again?

An old one Revisited

by Marilynn S. Turner

I started this blog in 2009 and vowed to write my daily musings without fail, no matter how trivial, just to keep up the craft. I got off to a good start, and was tapping out prose every day. I was on a roll. Then suddenly, everything in my life came to a screeching halt with a diagnosis of breast cancer. So, for 16 months I did not write. Nothing, not even a grocery list. There was too much cluttering up my mind.

Sixteen months is a long time to think, to contemplate, to get the cobwebs out. You can't write, or create, if your mind is full of clutter.I had clutter dripping out of my ears.The creative me, where was it? Buried deep, I was a hoarder, smothered deep in my brain clutter.

I didn't realize it, but gradually I began making changes that would rid me of this heaviness. I took fiddle lessons, I contacted old friends, I tried new foods, and I enjoyed drinking cabernet.

I thought about what was important to my life and began to shed those things that had become too weighty and embraced the meaningful relationships that I had.

So what am I going to write about? Well, I came up with a list of seven topics, so stay tuned. It's just the beginning!

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Playlist

by Marilynn S. Turner
Written 8/1/2012

Going through my playlist:

1.      Go In Grace, by Sweet Honey in the Rock
2.      She Just Wants to Dance, by Keb Mo
3.       Mystic Voyage, by Roy Ayers
4.       Seasons of Love, Cast of Rent
5.       Wanting Memories, by Sweet Honey in the Rock
6.      Way Over Yonder, by Carol King
7.      In My Life, by the Beatles
8.      Georgia on My Mind, by Ray Charles

The eight songs listed above are the favorite ones on my playlist. I don’t like them in any special order, but I do seem to like them together. Most of the time I find myself listening to them when I’m missing someone. Not all, but most of these songs remind me of people once in my life, or now in my life. Listening to them is not a sad thing, nor can I describe it as happy. I will say however that it is warming. In a closed, quiet, soothing sort of way, these songs often take the ache out of my heart, bring a tear to my eye, and put a smile on my face.

Seasons of Love, by the Cast of Rent, is the song I play when I think of my grandfather, particularly in the last year of his life. The question is asked how do you measure the life of a woman or a man?  And the answer  is that you measure it in seasons of love.  I think that seasons of love is an apt metaphor for my grandfather’s 95 years.  I miss him every single moment of every single day. Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, the amount of time in a year according to the Gregorian calendar.  But a season of love is sounds so much better.

 My grandfather was a spirited, yet sensitive  “guy” and he adored his family. In his younger days he could have been described as hard livin’ and hard drinkin’. One of his last requests days before he died was to have a glass of Scotch, his favorite drink.

Wanting Memories by Sweet Honey in the Rock is the song I play for my grandmother. Despite the haunting melody, and the slight sweet longing I feel when I listen to it, the lyrics leave me with a sense of well being, just because someone taught me how to be.
I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me to see the beauty in the world through my own eyes .You used to rock me in the cradle of your arms, you said you’d hold me til the pains of life were gone, You said you’d comfort me in times like these and now I need you, now I need you and you are gone .Since you’ve gone and left me, there’s been so little beauty, but I know I saw it clearly through your eyes. When I try to hear your voice above the storms of life, then I remember all that I’ve been told. I thought that you were gone, but now I know you’re with me, you are the voice that whispers all I need to hear.  I know that who I am is numbered in each grain of sand, I know that I am blessed again and over again.
Sense of self is important. I realize now, that my grandmother gave me just that gift.

Despite being nearly 60 years old, I am a Daddy’s girl. I was daddy’s oldest girl, and as a girl, I used to hang out with my dad.  My dad was a very kind soft-spoken man who loved and doted on his family. We were the salt that gave his life its flavor. Go in Grace, by Sweet Honey in the Rock, is a song that I heard for the first time shortly after my father’s death.
“Little girl little girl, we see you almost grown, little girl little girl you’re moving on your own, we know your father’s left you child, you don’t need to fear, anytime you need him, you’ll feel his presence near.”
“The spirit of your fathers gonna guide you on your way. Little girl, little girl, little woman child, going down that road and make us all feel proud, Go in Grace, go in grace, go in grace.”
It’s a simple song, but it is a motivator. It’s also a reminder of the expectations that my father had for me and that even though his physical being is gone, he’s here in spirit, and he’s still got my back.

Georgia on my Mind by Ray Charles was my father’s favorite song. On my recent trip  there, during a family gathering, someone mentioned just that  when talking about him.  And it’s a song  I had played at his funeral. When I was a very young I remember my father playing this 45 record over and over and over again on the hi-fi.

Aaron was  Georgia boy in his heart and in his soul.  The way my father felt about his home influenced me greatly throughout my life. I was born in Connecticut,  raised in Connecticut, but in my heart I too am from Georgia. I remember my father telling of life on the farm, Georgia pines, Georgia peaches and pecans, and the Piney Grove Baptist  Church founded by his grandfather, the Rev. W.L. Turner. Of course life in Georgia was not all good, the reason he moved to Connecticut, the reason his visits back home became fewer and fewer.

But despite all these things, like the song says, “other arms reach out to me, other eyes smile tenderly, still in peaceful dreams I see, the road leads back to you.”
No matter, what, Georgia stayed on his mind.  This is the  song that will bring me to tears.

In the 1970’s, I bought the album Tapestry by Carole King. Back then I liked the songs It’s too late Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, Where You  Lead, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, and You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman. The song that I seemed to miss is the one that I now listen to again and again; Way Over Yonder.  I guess I just wasn’t ready for it the first time around. But now it is one of those songs that rocks my core. The lyrics are hopeful, and although Carole King is the songstress in this case, I can just imagine it being belted out by any really good gospel choir.

“Way over yonder, is a place that I know, where I can find shelter, from hunger and cold. And the sweet tasting good life, is so easily found, way over yonder, that’s where I’m bound.
“I know when I get there, the first thing I’ll see, is the sun shining golden, shining right down on me. Then trouble’s gonna lose me,  worry leave me behind, and I’ll stand up proudly in true peace of mind.”

It’s Kitchy, schmaltzy, and sentimental, but In My Life, by the Beatles is just one more song that gets me misty eyed. It’s a memory song, it’s a song that makes me think of special people in my life, It’s also a song that gives me a thoughtful wistfulness.

“But of all these friends and lovers, there’s no one compares with  you,  and these memories lose their meaning, when I think of love as something new. Oh I know I’ll never lose affection for people and things that went before, I know I’ll often stop and think about them,  in my life I love you more.”

I love to dance. And my go- to song, when I have happy feet, or when I’ve had a few glasses of wine is,  She just Wants to Dance, by Keb Mo. When I play this song, I kick off my shoes and close my eyes, shimmying across the floor in my bare feet. My poor doggie thinks that I’ve taken loss of my senses, and for a few moments, perhaps I have, but do I care?

“When the music starts to play, she slides out on the floor, dancing without a partner, swaying on the two bit floor. There’s a rhythm in her footstep, and a flower in her hair, a smile on her face, cause she’s in a place where she don’t have a care. She ain’t lookin’ for no lover, she ain’t lookin’ for romance , she just wants to dance.”
“She can feel it in her fingers and it moves on down her spine, and when it hits her hips, she parts her lips and you know she’s feelin’ fine.”

  A bit risqué, huh? But fun nonetheless.
I don’t know how anyone listening to these lyrics can not  start movin’ around; “She ain’t looking for no lover, she ain’t looking for romance, she just wants to dance!” The song is sexy, sultry, sensuous. Sooo speakeasy!

Imagine  a breezy summer night, stars sparkling in the sky, frogs peeping, crickets creeking, drinking a nice mellow malbec, and listening to the  mellifluous sounds of  Roy Ayres‘s Mystic Voyage played on the vibraphone. This last song on my top  play list will smoothly, and gently carry you away  from the drudgery of your day. It’s the cool down song, the only instrumental song on the list; light, airy, sophisticated.

 Life is good! Can I get an Amen.

Flash Mob
By Marilynn Turner
Written 2/18/2013

On Valentine’s Day, I gathered with two hundred strangers in an act of organized social protest, and participated in a flash mob.  At 59 years old, I decided that I would learn dance steps, go to the appointed location, and be part of this not-so-spontaneous dance group.

“Dance, Rise, Dance, Rise.” These are lyrics to a song called Break the Chain, written by Tena Clark,  the anthem for One Billion Rising, a world-wide event focused on bringing recognition to the problem of abuse against women and girls,  by orchestrating flash mobs around the globe to protest violence.

 I arrived at the Legislative Office Building of the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, the setting for this event. There were people everywhere, all moving about the cavernous atrium. I couldn’t find my group and asked directions from the Capitol police officers standing nearby who pointed me towards the room. Once there I saw a very diverse, noisy group of women and girls. Mostly girls.  Very young girls. Very  thin girls.  Very fit girls.

In the room  were college students, most of them wearing black t-shirts with “got vagina?” emblazoned in bold white letters across the front. There were also high school girls from a nearby prep school all wearing pink t-shirts. And then there was the gray hair brigade, and I was one of them, thank goodness, I’d found my people.

We were all there for the same cause. The cause of stopping violence against women and girls world wide. This is a theme that unified us despite our differences in age, culture and gender. It was part of the V-Day celebration begun fifteen years ago by playwright Eve Ensler.  And at the One Billion Rising event in Connecticut at the LOB, we were two hundred  strong, ready to dance in unison, sing in unison, rise in unison; one voice united in bringing awareness to the problem of violence against women.

Organizers had planned well for our gathering.  Social media is how they got the word out, and dance instruction was found on YouTube. There were  online videos depicting the horrors suffered by women throughout the world by their abusers. Along with the statistical information  on rape, murder, and sexual abuse, was footage of celebrities, men and women telling why they were rising for the occasion.  And even on that day, the news of the murder of South African model Reeva Steenkamp, by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius,  hit the airwaves just hours earlier.

It was time. We all spilled out into the atrium where we had been instructed to mill around. A woman approached the podium towards the entrance to the room; she began to  read a poem and cited statistics of abused women throughout the world. It was noisy; no one was paying attention; her voice simply echoed throughout the cavernous space. Then suddenly, the music began. It was very rhythmic, very prayer-like;  it was our call to action. We all fell into position, my eyes focused on the professional dancers at the front of the group.  We began.

March two, three, four, right leg side, left leg side. March two, three, four, right leg side, left leg side. Swing to back hands up high, swing to front hands up high, shake, shake, shake; shake, shake, shake.  Jazz Square,  then on and on.

Many people wonder how two hundred women dancing is going to stop abuse. I don’t know the answer to that question. What I do know is that all those girls and young women, and the few men participating do know what abuse is. And I do know, that awareness is the beginning for many people.  Gaining this awareness through dance, an expression of freedom through our bodies, is bold, and freeing.  It is an act of liberation – an act of empowerment.

As a gender, women are fierce. We are warriors, and we are strong and we are a force with which to be reckoned.  In the midst of it all, I was struck by the confidence of the dancers of all ages.  We were singing the lyrics to the song loud and clear, punctuated by the choreography of the dance.

“You’ve never owned me, don’t even know me I’m not invisible, I’m simply wonderful I feel my heart for the first time racing I feel alive, I feel so amazing.”

From four stories up politicians and legislative workers were looking down at this sea of unabashed  dancing estrogen.  Many were clapping with the music, gettin’ into the groove. We were a sight to behold.  Our gestures were big, our gestures were strong, our gestures were open.

The song lyrics pulsated through the hall and energized this group of women and a few men with these words:

                                                I dance cause I love
                                                Dance cause I dream
                                                Dance cause I’ve had enough
                                                Dance to stop the screams….
                                                Dance, rise
                                                Dance, rise

As suddenly as it started, it stopped. With two hundred women, and a few men, raising their right arm, index finger pointed, looking upward in unison.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


By Marilynn S. Turner

 Hot, sticky, sweltering heat, mosquitoes as big as my fist, sleepless nights under dew-drenched sheets – this is how I remember Eastman, Georgia.  It is a thousand one hundred miles away from my home in Colchester, Connecticut, and a thousand one hundred miles away in my mind.
Eastman, Georgia, is not the place where I was raised. It is not the place of my childhood friends. And it is not even a place that I like very much. I recently went to Eastman, home to a memory of a place that I had visited, but not too often, to a place I had heard talked of practically every day of my growing up. A place where my parents, grandparents, great grandparents were all born.  It is the place where I first saw hogs, a mule and a moonshine still, and the place where the Pineygrove Baptist Church, founded by the Reverend Peyton Crocker around 1888, sits down a country road where the sweet smell of pine is heavy in the air.

I’ve been to Georgia twice in the last two years. But one of the reasons I always thought of it as home was because my father’s favorite song was Georgia on My Mind, by Ray Charles.  My first visit after twenty three years was to Atlanta to see my eighty three-year old cousin Mattie Ruth. I’d never been to Mattie Ruth’s house, and she told me that she wasn’t going to live forever, so I’d better hurry and get myself down there.  So with some reluctance, and some dread, I went. On this trip I never made it to Eastman, although Mattie Ruth had arranged for someone to drive me.  I had deliberately made my trip short, and graciously declined her generous offer citing lack of time as my reason.
My second trip to Georgia, just two years later, was also at the urging of Cousin Mattie Ruth. This time she persuaded me through her well-honed, well-crafted guilt technique, citing family members who had recently passed – including my own father – stating that the least we could do as a family was to be together at the Piney Grove homecoming on the fourth Sunday in July.

A small town in middle Georgia, Eastman is about three hours south of Atlanta with a population of about ten thousand people. One of the claims to fame of this rural community is that it is the home of Stucky’s, known for their candies made with Georgia pecans. Compared to towns in Connecticut where I live, or other New England towns, it appears as though this small southern town just happened. No planning here. Driving up and down the streets you will see stately old homes next to properties that look like they should be condemned, an ancient automobile repair shop right down the street from a pristine red brick church, and a downtown that looks like it has seen better days.
From early on in life I always heard people in my Connecticut family talk about going home.  They usually went every summer for as long as they were able.  They packed their cars, stuffed half asleep kids into the back seat, shoeboxes were filled with fried chicken sandwiches on white bread and off they’d go in the middle of the night, “to make good time.”

My recent trip home was less adventurous. I took a plane to Atlanta, and then had a three-hour drive to Eastman with my eighty five-year-old cousin Mattie Ruth, the self-proclaimed head of the family and her seventy-year-old sister Altermease. This trip back home was for a gathering of the “tribe”, and we were coming together at the home church, in the hometown.
Since there was no room at the farm, cousin Mattie Ruth insisted upon putting up my mother and me at an inn.

Once in Eastman we were deposited at the Dodge Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast on 9th Avenue near the center of town. Mom and I were greeted by Miss Ann the owner, and her first cousin Miss Helen, who had been helping her out since the death of Miss Ann’s husband a year ago. Both women are widows, and both women are imbued with the type of southern charm typically associated with the concept of the genteel south.

 “Welcome Miss Marilynn, welcome Miss Odessa. We sure are glad to have y’all here at the Dodge Hill Inn,” drawled Miss Ann.
“Miss Marilynn, you and “yo” mother will be staying in the Ancestral suite but it’s not quite ready. Would you and Miss Odessa like to have a cup of coffee while you wait?”

I find it odd to be in this place, and I am wondering what is going through the mind of my mother who lived in this town until she was thirteen years old.  As I sit beside her on the velvet settee, and sip coffee from mismatched china, I know that fifty years ago this scenario would not have occurred in this place.
The reason we are here is the Fourth Sunday in July; Homecoming at Pineygrove, and at this time there would be a formal acknowledgement of all the Turner’s who had recently passed. The last time I was in Pineygrove Baptist Church was twenty-five years ago for the funeral of my great grandmother, Miss Mozelle. The time before that I was ten years old, and the whole family was there for the Fourth Sunday in July Homecoming.

My first remembrance of being in Pineygrove, is sitting on the bare hard wooden pews. Back in Connecticut, we had red velvet cushions on our pews. My mother and father are to my right, my three younger sisters lined up chronologically to my left. We are all wearing the brand new Sunday outfits that we had gotten for the occasion. My sister Charlotte and I are dressed like twins in matching white gauze dresses bordered with pink appliquéd roses. I have on white ankle socks with a lace ruffle, matching lace ruffled underpants, and black patent leather Mary Janes on my feet.  My hair is done in two should-length braids that are punctuated by the white satin ribbons that match my dress.

At the age of ten I was unprepared for a service in a southern black Baptist church. I was accustomed to the sedate churches in New England where everyone sat rigidly in their pews, eyes straight ahead focused on the pulpit, no turning, no squirming, and of course no random or spontaneous shouting, clapping singing or talking.  Pineygrove was not sedate. The music was loud, the clapping was loud, the singing was loud, and the whole place rocked. Even when they sang “Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine,” I recognized the words, but the tempo was faster, more up beat.
Up in front of the church to the right of the pulpit sits my Uncle Moses with a group of men who form the amen corner. My great grandmother Miss Mozelle also sits up front in the pulpit on the opposite side from Uncle Moses. As the oldest person in the congregation she is given the title of church Mother, and a designated seat beside the preacher.

 The preacher is a man whose toothless pronouncements were affirmed by Uncle Moses and the rest of the men in the amen corner. This little man in his flowing white robes looks like a dove about to take flight as he crescendoes through his sermon, bringing the congregation to a frenzied peak, sucking the life right out of them, then gently, gently, gently, bringing them down and restoring the calm.
I sit in the pew, hands folded, legs swinging back and forth. Two of my sisters are looking bored, and the youngest one at fours years old is curled up on the pew and asleep. I do not know what to think about all that was going on around me, and then I see a lady in a red dress, very much the style of Jacqueline Kennedy standing in the center section of pews. Dancing, she moves out of the pew and into the aisle right next to me. She’s shouting and jumping waving her arms, moaning and groaning. I have never seen anything like this, and the ten year old me is shocked, but not frightened. My mother is beside me dressed in her brand new light colored shift, wearing a broad brimmed straw hat with a very proper ribbon around the brim cinched with a tan colored fake rose. I tug on her dress, “Mommy, mommy, what’s wrong with that lady?” 

“Shush” she says. 
“Mommy, what’s wrong with her?”

“Shush, and sit down.congregation seems to spur this woman on in her frenzied state. Suddenly she falls to the floor. No one panics. The crowd seems to rejoice, and people just step over her like a tree trunk fallen across the road.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Who Was Paul

Paul was the guy who used to live across the street in the first floor end apartment of what was once a resort hotel.   He was wiry, bent, gray and leathered. The spring-like step in his walk was not one of energy and youth, but of age, and sore feet.

I didn't know Paul at all, even though he had been my neighbor for many years. We'd wave in the morning when both of us were walking our dogs, but I never had a conversation with him, nor uttered a single word.  I don't even know how I knew his name, he surely didn't tell me.

Two summers ago, when Paul was about 80 years old, I remember him climbing a wobbly two story ladder, helping replace windows in the over sized structure. He did a lot of hard work for an old guy, but I also observed him getting the help in line, supervising the lawn mowing in the summer, and the snow shoveling in the winter.

Lately I noticed that he just wasn't working the way he had in the past. An assortment of guys from the building seemed to be taking over his jobs. I didn't really think anything of it, after all,  he was in his 80's.

Then one day not long ago, I heard that Paul had died. He died alone, in his sleep, on or around Christmas eve. He'd had surgery and was home recovering. An upstairs neighbor, had been keeping his dog and stopped by in the morning to check on Paul, and leave the dog with him for a few hours. But when she walked into his room, there he was, eyes wide open, mouth gaping wide.  Paul was dead.

It's been nearly two months since Paul died. During that time I watched from my office window as his apartment was emptied and his life dismantled. Just two days ago I saw a UHaul pull up in to the door of his home. There was a woman, and three young girls carrying household items, furniture and clothing into the apartment.

Paul is dead, they don't know it, but I do, and I wonder how long it will be before I stop thinking about the man who lived across the street, who was a a fixture in my life, but a person I did not know at all.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Missing Dad

My dad was a nice guy. Good sense of humor, and lover of family.

We used to go down to the local watering hole, order the early bird special while it was still early, and have a cocktail before dinner, which was a bargain by the time we ate at 5 p.m.

He had no sons, so I, his oldest daughter out of four, would hang out with him. He taught me guy stuff. How to change a tire, how to ride the John Deer tractor mower, and how to drink scotch. His terms of endearment f or me were Bonehead and Safire. I in turn referred to him as Bones. He was tall, straight, and thin, and no matter what he wore, his cloths simply hung off his frame.

Back in the sixties when I was young, Dad, like most men of his era was not the family disciplinarian. So after being chastised by my mother for the indiscretion of the day, which usually took place on Saturday mornings, he would make me a cup of hot chocolate, or a glass of Nestles Quick, dependent on the season. He felt bad, and this was his way of saying, “I’m sorry”.

Dad was always one to respond positively to my dinner invites. You see, I was twenty something and these events while always pleasant, were quite experimental. Dinner might be tofu spinach lasagna, but despite the uncertainty of the menu, he always came, always ate, and always said how good it was.

I remember being sick with the flu, living out of town, going to the doctor and finally coming home to my old bed in my old room. Daddy crept into my room, with a bowl of hot beef broth, looked at me and said, you’re home where you belong.

Daddy’s birthday is July 13th. One year he decided on the morning of his birthday that he wanted a party. So, he told me early in the day that he wanted a party. He wanted hot dogs on the grill, baked beans, potato salad and Heineken beer. Of course I made a party. There were cloth covered tables, freshly picked center pieces from the garden, and at least twenty guests, all friends and relatives.

I saw Daddy on Tuesday. Hi Daddy, I said. No response. His eyes were closed, mouth open. He doesn’t move, even when my sister pats him on the knee. Daddy, can you hear me? No response, no signs of recognition. But this is no different than yesterday, or the day before, or even the week before, or the year before.

Daddy is in a nursing home. He can’t speak, he can’t move. He eats pureed food, and spends his days being moved from his bed to his wheel chair.

If his eyes do open, I don’t know who is in there. Maybe they’re mostly closed because he knows that he’s trapped and can’t get out. And he knows he can’t utter a word.

So, I sit with Daddy, look at Daddy, hold his hand, and miss him more and more.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Full Circle

When I was five I thought I’d live forever.

When I was five time was never ending.

When I was five I lived in a world where mom and dad, and grammy and pops were the constants of my universe.

When I was five the most serious illness that I had was the chicken pox.

When I was five I went to school and played with my friends.

When I was five I liked corn flakes for breakfast and red popsicles were a treat on a summers day.

When I was five summer was for skipping rope and riding bikes, and winter was for making angels in the snow.

When I was five grammy cleaned my face of crumbs by rubbing my face with spit on her thumb.

When I was five I’d curl up all nice and snug in my bed with my bear and get a good nights sleep.

When I was five there were kisses for boo boos and chocolate milk for tears.

When I was five I could catch polliwogs by myself in the stream in the woods.

I’m 57 now.

The world is a different place.

Grammy is gone, pops is gone, dad is in a nursing home and mom is alone.

I have a mortgage, I do the shopping I go to work.

My friends don’t come out to play as much anymore, they’ve got their kids, jobs, and spouses.

I know I won’t live forever, and time passes in the blink of an eye.

I also have to pay attention to things like weight, blood pressure and high cholesterol.

And I am aware of diseases more serious that chicken pox.

If things work out, aging is inevitable.

What you do with your time is up to you.

So at 57 I dance to the music that makes me happy.

At 57 I drink hearty red wines.

At 57 I laugh until it hurts.

At 57 I spend time with the people who mean the most to me.

At 57 I enjoy sumptuous meals.

At 57 I take walks along the sea shore.

At 57 I know I will not live forever in this body.

And at 57 I know that although time will one day cease to be, in the here and in the now, all is good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Recently, someone said to me that I was pushing 60. What! What are you talking about? I had to pause a moment and think about my age. You see, I've just turned 57 years old. Pushing 60? That never occurred to me. And most importantly, what does it mean, PUSHING 60!

The person who made this statement to me is male, and theoretically, pushing 80. So my question to him was, "is this bad"? "Am I supposed to feel bad about this"? His response, "well, you know, you are getting older". Yeh, and so isn't everyone else on the planet. That's how it goes I said.

"Well ya know," he said, "you can't do everything that you used to do". 

My response, "and I probably shouldn't".

Until it was pointed out to me, I never considered my age. Of course I know that I am getting older, but my goodness, I'm also having a great time. Despite the fact that my hair is grey, my neck is sagging, my hips broadend and my stomach the consistency of a marshmallow, I AM a very happy, old girl.

So now that I've been put on notice that I am PUSHING 60, I look forward to PUSHING, 70 and 80 and even 90. The older I get, the more like a fine, rare wine I become.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


As a middle aged woman, I have begun to think that a full night's sleep is a thing of the past. I no longer sleep, I nap. My night usually goes like this. Bed at 9 p.m., I'll usually read a book or watch television until I fall asleep. If I watch television, I usually wake at about midnight to turn it off. Good! Hmmmm? Not so much. So I go back to sleep, then I wake up about two hours later. It's HOT, so I open the window. YES! In the dead of winter, even at minus five degrees, I must open the window. My part husky dog then goes to the window and rest her fury head on the sill.

Okay, back to bed. two hours later I hear this horrible noise. It sounds like a runaway train in a tunnel. WHAT is that! OH, NO! It's me. I snore. I snore so loud that I wake myself out of what I will call a sound sleep. What to do, what to do?

Oh well, it's 5:30 a.m., no point in sleeping now. It's time to start my day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This is the Winter of My Malcontent

I'm not normally a fan of winter. But this winter is the winter to be despised. And although snow is an integral part of winter in New England, it is this snow that has put me in the most sour mood of my lifetime. In the beginning was the first snow of winter. Ahhh, isn't it beautiful? Look at it flocking the tree branches, and isn't that just the reddest cardinal you've ever seen nestled in the bough of that cedar?

Then it began to snow on what seemed to be every other day. And the numbers were high! Eighteen inches 24 inches, amazing. Okay, so there was a lot of shoveling. But finally, finally, the flake that stressed the roofs throughout Connecticut. All of a sudden, people were flocking to the local hardware stores to buy roof rakes because the roofs of homes across the state were sagging under the weight of two feet of snow, that was rapidly becoming ice. It was time to rake the roof!In my entire life of living in Connecticut, I have never seen anyone rake the snow off their roof, nor, had I ever heard of a roof collapsing under the weight of the snow other than the Hartford Civic Center in the late '70's.

So my days have gone something like this: get up, make coffee and drink it, go outdoors, take a view of the roof, check the walkways and driveways for ice; sprinkle ice melt where needed; go back inside, clean the pellet stove, go to the garage, bring in pellets put in stove.

Now it's time to go to work. Anyhow, the upshot of all of this is that I feel like some kind of pioneer woman of the old prairie days. But thankfully, this will soon be over, I'm told, and spring will be here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Uncle Sam and Being Turner

We all knew for weeks that Uncle Sam was dying. At the age of 90, he was the last in his generation of the Turner familly. And when it finally happened, there was a collective Turner family pause, but everyone had their marching orders, and all moved forward.

During the course of his funeral service, many of the neices and great nieces and nephews spoke about their experiences with Uncle Sam, and the theme was consistent. With Uncle Sam it was always about the family. That's wat he lived for; the solidity and cohesiveness of the family. It seems that he talked about the family to us all individually and also as a group.

So with the ending of one era in the Turner family, the remaining generations know what our responsibility is, and just what it is that we are supposed to do. And that is to live our lives the way we were taught, and continue, being Turner.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

Today I indulged in a guilty pleasure. I took a bath. Yes indeedy, a bath!

This was not an issue of cleanliness. It was simply self-indulgence on a raw November day. Everybody showers. Up, in, out! Just like that. A matter of mere hygiene. But a bath, oh, a bath, that lingering soaking, in a steamy hot tub, water caressing your achey, weary bones. It feels so good.

I stole an hour and allowed myself the luxury of lollygagging in the tub. I turned up some music, I turned off the phone, and filled the tub nearly to the brim with hot, steamy, water. I placed a bar of my favorite locally handcrafted soap, "French Champagne" into the tub, Then I plunged first one foot, then the next, into the water, breaking its smoothness and parting the steam in the tub.

I immersed myself in this tub full of water, then leaned back on the softness of my bath pillow, sinking into the warmth of the water, my eyes closed. Lap, lap, lap, the gentle sound resulting from the movement of my body. I was floating, and I could stay here forever.

But finally, the water cooled. The skin on my fingers and toes shriveled and became prune-like in texture. So it was time. Time to get out of the tub, time to move on with the day.

But it was alright, because later in the day I'm reminded of my private retreat when I smell the scent of "French Champagne" on my skin. Yum! The only thing that could be better, is chocolate.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

for colored girls...

Today I decided to reread my copy of Ntozake Shange's book, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is not enuf.

I had bought the book while in college back in 1976 when it was all the rage and being read by the feminist Black women of the era. Today, it has been made into a film by Tyler Perry, and a new generation is discovering Shange's work for the first time.

I haven't seen the movie, and don't know if I will. I can't decide if I want to watch a movie of a book that I thought was so well-written and moving. Although there is a fine cast of actors in the film, I wonder if it won't lose something for me hearing the words, and seeing the motions, instead of reading the magic of the poetry and coming to my own conclusions on its imagery.

Sometimes I think that consumption of the written word has become a lost art form to younger generations. It's an age of immediate gratification and with reading, you have to wait. The reward is not immediate, nor is it always obvious.

So, I will continue to hunt for my aged, worn, yellowed copy of colored girls. While everyone else is spending time at the movie theater, I will read my book, in the comfort of my overstuffed arm chair, my dog at my feet, enjoying a glass of my favorite wine, savoring every image, of every word, of every page, until the end.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Playing Through the Pain

Last summer I took up the fiddle.

Yup, just like that, I decided that I wanted to play the fiddle. It began when I commented on my Facebook page that I wished I could play the fiddle. My childhood friend Lisa responded by saying that her husband, the Suzuki violin teacher, could help me with that. Her husband Michael contacted me, and that began the summer of the fiddle.

When I first started, the noise was awful. But Michael never cringed or told me to forget it. He just encouraged me to play through the pain. What Michael did not know, was that playing the fiddle and playing through the pain, was a personal metaphor for what my life had become.

My family had suffered a great deal of loss in recent years. An entire generation, the backbone of our family had slowly been dying off during the past five years. My father was in a nursing home and I was recovering from breast cancer and watching the daily decline of my 90-year-old grandfather.

In the beginning Michael would come to my house at 8 a.m. and we would start our lesson in the kitchen. Screech, screech, screech! That’s good he’d say. He was soooo very encouraging. Soon Michael had me playing a very painful version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We had lessons on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Michael always expected progress. And guess what? I progressed. However, in order to meet his expectations, I had to practice constantly. So I took to sitting on my deck and faithfully playing Twinkle and all my Twinkle variations.

After awhile, needing a slight change in the routine, I would go next door and sit with my grandfather on the deck of my mother’s house going through my Twinkle routine. Although he was 90 years old, my grandfather was a six foot two inch tall, trim, Black man, with mischevious eyes and an easy smile.

I’d play my Twinkle, he’d sit there with his warm easy smile, watching me, not commenting. I would play regular Twinkle, Twinkle in double time, Twinkle in triple time. Pops, as we called him, would just smile.

Feeling pity on the man, I stopped and said, “What do you think?”
“Well, if you keep practicing, one day you’ll be good,” then he’d break into that easy smile.

So, I continued.

July turned into August, which fell into September. By now, my grandfather had become weakened and no longer sat outdoors. So I’d visit him daily at the house. During one of our last conversations I told him that I was learning a new song on the fiddle, The Tenneesee Waltz! “That’s an old timey song, he said in a husky whisper, that easy smile still upon his lips. “Well go ahead, if you keep practicing one day you’ll be good.”

My grandfather died in early September, just days before his 91st birthday. I was in the next room when he took his last breath. The undertaker came, they put a blanket over him, placed a hat on his head, and discreetly rolled him out to an unmarked van parked in the driveway.

I went next door to my house. My fiddle as always was out, so I picked it up and started playing the Tennessee Waltz. I liked the sad haunting of the lilting melody, and the way you’re enveloped in the smoothness and stark simplicity of the tune. I played and played, and when I finished I realized that I had played the song by memory, and I had played it perfectly.

Mhmm. If you keep practicing, one day you’ll be good. I swear I heard my grandfather’s voice. But even if I hadn’t, it felt good to know that as usual, he was right.

When I think of my grandfather I am often reminded of the song Seasons of Love, from the Broadway hit Rent. The final season of my grandfather's life was a fertile one. There was laughter, joy, cups of coffee, a few beers, some wine,fiddle music, and love. And in those final months, that easy smile came often.

Did My Feet Really Grow?

For the past year, one of the many issues in my life is the fact that all my shoes hurt. It didn't matter how comfortable they used to be, or how worn they had become. They simply hurt! So, what to do, what to do? Nothing seemed to help.

Finally, I had a really big pain in my foot which occurred one day after a brisk two mile jaunt through town. At first, I thought, well, this too shall pass. However, it did not. After a month of what became unbearable foot pain, I went to the podiatrist just to be told that I had plantar faciitis. The remedy? An orthotic and sturdy shoes. So I complied. Problem was, that it was July, and sturdy tie up shoes were just too hot.

So began the search for the sturdy summer shoe. Anyone who knows me well understands that although I like to buy things, I hate to shop. So online I went. Shoes began arriving. But once I put that darned orthotic in, I couldn't get my foot in the shoe. Finally, after about six shoe deliveries and returns, I found, one, a pair of sandals designed for my condition, and two, another pair of sandals I could wear with the orthotic.

Forward to late October. I took a trip to Atlanta and had a lovely time. I wore the sandal that fit the orthotic. Upon my arrival home, I noticed foot pain once again.Back to the podiatrist who tells me that I need a sturdy shoe for more support.

This time, I actually go to a shoe store that specializes in foot problems. They measure my foot and guess what? My foot is an entire size larger than I thought it was. What happened? Apparently, my feet grew, and nobody told me. So, two hundred dollars later, I hope to have solved my foot problem.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back on Track

It's been more than a year since I wrote in this format. But, I was derailed, sidetracked, and stopped in my tracks. I had plenty to write about, but did not feel like sharing. But now I'm back and ready to tap out my daily musings for all to see.

It's good to be back!!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Maytag Repair Man Came out of Retirement for Me!!

On Friday, the Maytag repair man made his third visit to my house in as many weeks. It seems that he came outof retirement just for me. You see, I have a Maytag gas range, which is just over a year old.

My gas range with the manual range-top burner controls, was having issues with its computerized oven controls. The control board just one day went black. Allll Black. No electric green LED clock giving you the time, no high pitched beeps when you touched the slick key pad to set the oven temperature,nothing, just nothing at all.

When the Maytag repair man came for his first visit, he pulled the stove out from the wall, took the electronic component off the back of the stove, and said, "uh huh".

"Uh huh"? I repeated, "uh huh". Well what's the problem? Can you fix it?

"This is a pretty common problem with these ranges".


"oh, yeah, it happens all the time".

He taps something into his laptop computer and tells me that he's ordered a new part.

"When it comes in, give us a call and set up an appointment for me to come back."

Then off he goes. Two weeks later he's back. He installs the part, and in about 30 minutes he's gone. Great! Now I can use the oven.

Four days later, I notice that the LED green time clock is about an hour and a half off from the LED time clock on the microwave above. So, I call the Maytag repair man again.

When he returns, he once again pulls the stove out, takes the electronic component out and says, "uh huh".

"Uh huh"? I repeat."Uh huh".

"Seems like you need a compressor to control the power surges that go through the unit".

"You didn't know this before"?

"Well it's hard to tell".

He's tapping on his laptop computer and says, "I'm ordering a new unit and a compressor to attach to it. Call and set up an appointment when it comes".

A week later the parts have arrived. The Maytag repair man arrives at the house at 10 a.m. on Friday morning. I give him the two packages with the parts. He pulls the stove out from the wall, removes the electronic component from the stove, and installs the new one and adds the compressor.

"Okay, you're all set".

"Are you sure"?


Off he goes. That was Friday and today is Sunday. I baked cookies on Friday night and so far so good.

I guess I'm just one lucky gal. How many people ever get the chance to meet the Maytag repair man just once, never mind having him come to their house three times in one month!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Cousins

Yesterday I spent part of my afternoon with the cousins for an informal family dinner. We've spent quite a bit of time together this month, but were still happy to see each another once again.

Most of the cousins are female ranging in age from about 74, down to three years old, and spanning three generations. A man I was dating once told me that I came from a female dominated family, as though this was something undesirable.

We gathered and ate macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, collard greens, roast pork, and drank sweet iced tea. Dessert was home made lemon cake. And as usual, we all talked simultaneously.

The men in attendance, adult sons of one of the cousins, and husbands of the other cousins, all gathered round the television in the living room watching some adventure movie. Compared to the cousins, they were relatively quiet.

In my mind, I can't remember a time when the cousins were not a part of my life. When I was young, the older cousins were often my babysitters, advisors, and homework helpers. Now that I'm middle aged, I think that they feel their hard work has paid off.

We used to gather weekly for a meal, a laugh, and the pure fun of being together. Today however, the cousins live throughout the state and throughout the country, and our gatherings are sparsely scattered across the landscape of each passing year.

Even though we see each other so infrequently, time seems to both roll backwards and stand still once we are together. And it is during this small blip in our inner world, that our changed and evolving selves come together, like the patchwork quilts in the roots of our past, providing warmth and comfort for our present and future.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

When All Was Well

When I was about seven years old, every evening mom fed us dinner, marshalled four girls into the bath, dressed us in our jammies, and then allowed us to watch television until bed time.

Back then there was one television in the house and all four of us kids sat on the sofa in our footed-cotton-waffled pajamas and watched television together. My youngest sister, then a thumb-sucking toddler, always sat to my left, sucking her thumb and her other tiny hand, thumb and forefinger, gently stroking my earlobe.

The Flintstones and the Dick Van Dyke show were our favorites. But no evening was complete without watching the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Now as children, we had no interest in current events and the news, but watching the news and being together on the sofa was part of the wind-down time that closed our day.

We were fairly well-behaved children. We needed the structure and embraced the routine. So when Walter Cronkite gave his inevitable sign-off; "So that's the way it is......"; it was official, another day had ended, and it was time to go to bed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ahhhhh Air Conditioning

It's July 16th in Connecticut, 8 p.m., and I have turned on the air conditioning in my house for the first time this summer season. Now, the reason I have not turned on the air conditioning until now is not because I didn't have one, or because it wasn't working, or because it was in storage, or because it wasn.t installed. The reason that I have not used the air conditioning until this evening is because it was just too darned cold.

A couple of nights ago before I went to bed, I heard the local weather forecaster say that we were in for a low temp of 42 degrees that night. I called my sister and said, "I'm worried. The weather is way too strange for me. It's July, and I want to turn on the heat"!! My sister of course isn't listening to me and responds with "uh huh".

The next day, mid morning, I'm sitting on my deck in my favorite polar fleece jacket drinking coffee. My coffee drinking companion is cooing about the wonderfully refreshing weather. It feels like September!!! Don't you have a problem with that???

"No", he said. "I'm just going to enjoy it".

And so you have it. Take each day as it comes, and enjoy the parts you consider good.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Signal is Out

Any female above the age of ten can go into any city, and beeline it to the mall. We all seem to have a built-in GPS for shopping. Well, it came to my attention today that that's just one more of those things that goes once you reach 50.

I toured the Baltimore Harbor today with my cousins. We found a nice restaurant, got seats with a water view, and proceeded to sample the obligatory lump crab. Mmmmmmm good! Nothing like that breaded concoction they pass off as crab cake in New England.

Bellies full, we head off to explore and ended up breaking into smaller groups, based upon level of patience for standing and gazing. I took off with my cousin Squeak, who like me, could see no point in standing still.

Off we go. "What do you wanna do"?

"Is that a Filene's"? "Let's go".

Filene's was a big bust. Lot's of cute clothes in ittty, bitty, sizes. Oh, well.

We leave in search of more stores. We see a big box book store, a chain steak house, a chain dessert restaurant, a chain Italian restaurant, a chain phone store, a big box electronics store, everything except for a chain clothing store, which I would have settled for at this point.

As I grow older, I go to bed earlier, my waistline has expanded, my shoe width is wider, everything I eat really stays with me, and that innate ability, to always find the best store with the best bargains, the trait that I thought was passed down from mother to daughter throughout the generations, that ability to seek out bargains where no man has gone before, that distinctly feminine trait that is our sixth sense, is just gone.

It seems that my GPS signal for shopping is out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Brush With Fame?

While President and Mrs. Obama were meeting with the Pope today, I was touring the White House with members of the Turner-Crocker family reunion. It was hot in Washington, D.C. compared to the weather I'd left in Connecticut, but despite the heat that I was unaccustomed to, and all the walking I was unaccustomed to, it was a fun event.

Upon our approach to the entrance of the White House Tour Center, we were warmly greeted by a soft, round, green uniformed, National Park Service Ranger who cheerfully stated, "you're here for the tour".

How do you know? I barked. Well, you're all empty handed, so you must be here for the White House tour. And she was right.

It was a self-guided tour, and our gaggle wandered from room -to- historic- room, appropriately oohing and ahhing. My favorite was the green room, which according to the brochure once served as Thomas Jefferson's dining room. What I liked best was the wall covering; watered green silk.

We are a very tactile bunch, growing up with mothers and aunts who made their living in the garment industry, so it was no surprise that my cousin asked the guard if we could touch the wall.


"Oooohh, aaaahhh, feeeel the grain".

And then we were happy. We had touched a wall in the White House.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Does Your Time Really Belong to You?

I've been preparing to go to another family gathering, and can't see to find the time to get everything necessary done. In between doing the laundry, washing the dishes, eating,going to doctor's appointments, and yes, even working out at the gym, I've volunteered to organize yet another event for our fun-filled weekend.

My problem is sometimes I think, "What's one more thing," especially when I have so many to do. Didn't someone say to give a job to a busy person if you want it done? In many ways I can see how that is true.

So today, by 7 a.m., I have fed and walked the dog, fed and walked the cat, because she thinks she's a dog; done a load of laundry, checked my email, and made the coffee. The day is still young with many hours to do lots more things.

So, in thinking about if my time belongs to me, the answer is yes. Most of the things I've done, have been for myself. And looking at the hour, 9 a.m., there's still time to have a manicure, go to the pharmacy, drop by the hardware store, dead head the geraniums and pick up some lunch fixins all before noon.

I'll still have time for a little nap before meeting with the family.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I've been watching the Michael Jackson memorial service on television today. I don't usually indulge in these mass happenings, but Michael Jackson, the icon of pop culture throughout the world, will surely be missed for the larger than life talent that he was.

I often think about people who possess great talent. In many ways we expect them to be like the guy or girl next door. How can that be? If you are such a genius in one special area, how can anyone expect you to conform to any ordinary way of thinking, or life. Michael Jackson was a great musical talent, I know that. He was said to be a great humanitarian, I believe that. He was said to be very sensitive, I believe that. He also seemed to be a person who suffered, it looked like it to me, and probably was true.

Michael's death was a very public event. Should death be so public? Even when you are known the workd over? I can only think of the tabloid photo of the dying Michael. Did we need that?

In the end, the thing that matters most to Michael's family is that they lost their son, brother, father, uncle.

Young Paris Jackson, tearfully speaking publicly for what was probably the first time in her ever-so sheltered life, said, "Ever since I was born,Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. I just want to say, I love him so much".

Monday, July 6, 2009

Do I Live in a Soap Opera?

On Friday, July 3rd, I watched a daily soap that I enjoyed in my childhood days with my grandmother. "The Guiding Light" which will soon be off the air. On this day on the show, they were celebrating the annual Bauer Barbecue, which despite all the differences between the residents of the fictitious Springfield, everyone comes together on this one day of the year, friend, family and foe, to celebrate the birth of our great nation.

Guests arrive at the Bauer home toting their homemade goodies like apple pie, potato salad, or even chocolate cake. And after a day filled with softball and sack races, hamburgers and hot dogs, all come together for the fireworks display and so goes another red, white and blue memory.

On July 4th, I too was preparing my special dishes for the annual Turner Family Barbecue: fruit salad, and home made coconut cake. As I was tossing the coconut onto the cream cheese and butter frosting, it occurred to me, I was getting ready to go to the Bauer Family Barbecue. There would be friends, family, strangers, ex spouses, just all sorts of people coming together to celebrate the birth of our great nation.

So was real life imitating television? Or is television based on real life?