Friday, January 27, 2017

It's Time To Come Together

The morning began just like any other Friday that I happen to be off work. I’m actually very fortunate in that I only have to work every other Friday, and even that is only until noon. But this last Friday landed on the Presidential Inaugural Day – so although it started out the same, with a fresh pot of coffee and some cinnamon toast, it certainly wouldn’t compare to any of my other Friday’s off in a long, long time.

I turned on my preferred news channel of NBC – as I like the commentators from The Today Show the best. And if I was going to spend my day listening to someone report every word and action to me, minute by minute, it would have to be the people that I like to listen to the most.

So here I sat with my toast and coffee, Matt Lauer and a host of others, as I watched the day’s events unfold. At some point that day I was asked a question. I had made a post on Face Book earlier “reporting” my whereabouts and what I was doing, so I was asked why was this the first time I had watched an Inaugural (which was a statement in my post) since I had been in high school? More specifically I was asked more than once, why I watched neither of the Obama Inaugurals but yet I was watching this one.

I took that as I was being called out – and I have to tell all who don’t know me as well - don’t do that unless you’re prepared for an honest response. I never lie down; especially when I feel like someone is using an accusatory tone in order to challenge me to get a response.
I was watching this particular 45th Inaugural because number one, I am an American, and number two, I was home that day and not at work, with access to a television.  I am sick to death of word bullies: People, who hide behind their keyboards and spew hate, disregard for anyone else's opinion, rudeness, and clear intolerance; just because their opinion/view is different.

Right now we could all use some enlightenment.  It’s one of the most under-used words - we need to use it more and LIVE IT more. I have a whole brain - not just a half - and it can hold MANY different visions at one time. I am fully capable of understanding, even when I don't agree, and remain respectful at the same time.  It’s time for us to all stand together as people, as Americans; not political foes.

I hope and pray for unity and for success. Because any failure will belong to ALL of us - will affect ALL of us - his failure is our failure - and why would anyone want that to happen - if just to prove your point that he is not the right one for the job? Get it together people - and stand together for hope, love and prosperity - God knows we need a fresh dose of it all.

Friday, January 20, 2017


As I told you all last week, there was a debilitating tornado that came through Albany, Georgia. I say debilitating with extreme seriousness, because there are some people who STILL do not have power. 

And as I also said, my folks themselves were without power for six long days, and even though power has been restored, they still do not have cable or internet accessibility.  They were told by Media Com that it could be two weeks or two months before it was restored.

So, for the last week, every time that I call to check on my parents, my calls are made with the full realization that although they do have warmth, light, and the ability to now cook – they are also very cut-off from the world. They are retired now, have been for quite some time, and when you’re retired you watch a LOT of television and do a lot of internet surfing. Since their retirement, they have practically become medical doctors and professional on-line shoppers; Google is King.

Of course, they do a lot of other things: they clean-up what little mess two grown people could possibly create, do their own yard-work, cook meals, and they check the mail every day at 5pm when they hear the thud on their foyer floor, as the mailman shoves it through the front door slot. 

Some weeks they have doctor appointments that fill some of the daily time slots, and a grocery store visit or two, and on the first Monday of every month, my folks travel to Columbus, Georgia where my mother meets some of her high school classmates and they all have a birthday’s-of-the-month lunch and gab about what’s going on in their lives.

But back to my original point, after all their daily activities are done each day, they are still without television or the internet, therefore they have no other punctuation in their lives; nothing else to tell them what time it is.  You know, like it’s 6:30 pm, so it’s time for the national news. Or it’s 3pm and The Ellen Show is on. They are literally walking around with clocks and calendars in their hands so that they can keep up with the rest of the world.

Which brings me to my real point: for the last two weeks, the internet service at my place of employment has either been down, or spotty at best, as well as our phone system as it’s connected to all of that. I CANNOT stress enough how the internet/my phone effects EVERYTHING I DO.

So, while intelligently, my mind knows that there are much worse things happening in Albany, Georgia; i.e.; people still have full size trees in their homes, and many are still without power - it’s been difficult not to feel sorry for my parents and myself, accompanied by some whining. I have been ready to pull my hair out of my head most days, as it pounds with frustration, and they, I am sure, are feeling a huge void like no other. We are addicted captives to technology – is there a pill for that?

Friday, January 13, 2017

A City Re-born

Last Monday, January 2, 2017, an EF1 Tornado ripped through more than half of Albany, Georgia, my original hometown, and left it with dangling wires ripped from their poles, wires that would be wrapped in and around limbs that would combine themselves as one as they draped across roads and homes. Huge trees upended from their four foot wide roots, more trees that would land on top of homes and vehicles, crushing the life out of everything around it, but somehow leaving the people to survive. Somehow a miracle came out of all of that, and no one was injured or killed during that storm.

But there were many more miracles that also occurred that everyone would be witness to in the days to come.  As a city that is often as identified has one of the highest in crime, unemployment, and racial strife – it somehow woke-up on Tuesday, January 3rd and came together as one for all and all for one.

So many businesses were closed because power was out city-wide. Were all those people, all those employees sitting at home, watching television and laying around in their pajamas all day, taking advantage of the extra time off? Not even close.

Those people were loading up their personal trucks, with their personal equipment, i.e.; chain saws, tractors, backhoes, and ladders, and they headed out to find the first place they came to that needed help and began their own version of community clean-up, self-survival, and rescue.

They were using their own money, asking for nothing in return, as day after day, they moved from one disaster area to another, trying to slowly release the pressure valve that was building by the second. For the first 24 hours, people of the community would already be set in motion as the city would try to gather a thought process about how to organize help and where to start.

At some point, they would all be working together: the local and out of town churches and schools, local businesses offering free shelter, food and water and help, the city receiving offers of assistance from so many other counties, and the people, the everyday people, the average citizens; they would all start in the mornings at dawn and work until dusk/dark, every single day, all striving for the same result: to bring their city back to life, and to bring relief and help to the families/citizens in need.

My parents were in the middle of all that, and though they were blessed that their home was not structurally compromised, they did have many trees down in their yard, and they were without power for six days; as well as my worry would be doubled as I now live two hours away.  But the offers of help were many and my thanks and appreciation go to all the people who offered them help, food and shelter.

Albany, Georgia has struggled with its reputation for years. I think that maybe, finally, they have stood-up and shown that they’ve earned the words in their motto – maybe they really ARE The Good Life City after all. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Another New Start

By the time you’re holding this paper in your hand, we will have already rung-in year 2017. Many will have already made their new resolutions and some will have already broken a few.  And some, well some won’t even bother making-up fantasy plans in their heads – plans that they know full well probably won’t come true and if you don’t promise it to yourself, the disappointment won’t be as hard.

I think we put too much pressure on the holidays. We expect our Thanksgiving’s and Christmas’s to favor the likes of an edition of The Saturday Evening Post. Everybody is all smiles, everyone loving one another, and no one having a difference of opinion and stating it. Every family being the picture of THE perfect family – when there just really is no such thing – there never was.

There has been dysfunction in families since the beginning of time. Old Aunt Lucy who drinks too much, Uncle Charlie who flirts a little too much, and children who take totally different paths than we ever dreamed.  Every family has something that makes their family picture not as perfect as they think someone else’s is – but here’s the thing: it’s all a mirage.

All those smiling faces and happy people you see every year about this time all over Face Book, Instagram, and other social outlets – let me just say, all that glitters is not gold folks.

I’m not saying that all of those people weren’t really laughing, weren’t really enjoying each other’s company, or weren’t really having the time of their lives. But what I am saying is this: people tend to take those pictures, those presentations at face value too much. To the point that they sit around wishing they could swap places, and swap lives with such and such.

Believe me – keep your own life, your own family, and your own smiles. Everybody has “stuff”. Everybody has seen hard times, low-on-cash times, can’t-make-their-children-behave times, don’t-like-my-job times, and wish-I-could-start-all-over times. But you can’t go backward, there are no do-overs, and your family is your family. Period.

So my plan is this: I just want 2017 to be filled with love. I want to love my family and friends, help them when I can, be there for them when I can, and hope I get the same in return. I want to dispense respect and I would like to receive it. I want to be able to express my compassion and my opinions and have them appreciated. I want to hold my temper when it’s hard to do so, and I want to possess the grace to apologize when I don’t succeed.

I want the world to be a better place. I want race, gender and sexual orientation to stop ruling our world, how we behave, and how we treat one another. I’d like people to be honest about their needs and their feelings, but respectful and understanding at the same time. And I’d like everyone to try a little harder and be more patient about things we don’t understand. I think anything is possible if we try.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Long Time Coming

I know I’m not the only one by a mile. I know many others live the same way, are affected the same way, and struggle with the same repercussions from it as I do. But knowing all of that, sure doesn’t make me feel any better about my own plight.

When my oldest child moved clear to Vermont almost two years ago now, I had no idea just how long 365 days could feel when you’re living them without access to one of your loved ones. At best, the longest we had ever gone without seeing one another was about six months. But as of this coming week, it will have been a whole year, and it has been one long wait.

And because of jobs and obligations, by the time you all are reading this, he will have been here and gone again. He and his partner are flying in the Thursday before Christmas, sometime a little before midnight, and they will leave back out around noon the following Tuesday after Christmas. Not a lot of time, but I’ll take what I can get and try and cram every fun thing in that I can in that block of days.

So today, which is only five days away from their arrival, me and my youngest son sat around trying to figure out what all would be happening and when.  Thursday it’s a given that not much will be happening considering the hour of night (midnight) that they get in. But Friday will bring some grocery shopping so we can get everything still needed for Christmas dinner, and anything they need to get the dishes they’d like to include.

They of course wanted some time set aside to meet-up with hometown friends while they are here, some of that might happen Friday evening or part of Saturday.

But Saturday night we will start a new tradition. My youngest son is hosting Christmas Eve at his new home, along with a planned smorgasbord of food and entrĂ©e-sides, music, and games. He’s dragging out the ole’ corn hole boards that he just recently refinished with another coat of varnish, which are sure to bring a lot of hollering and ultra-competitiveness out of my family!

Then Sunday, of course, will be Christmas Day, and my folks will come in from Albany and for the first time in a year now, we’ll all be sitting together, having a holiday meal, giving thanks and blessings for each other and the New Year to come. We’ll be frying-up a couple of turkeys once again, making more dressing and all the rest of the fixings that are the usual, and a combination of desserts that should satisfy everyone who needs something sweet to top off their meal.

But mostly, I’m just looking forward to seeing my oldest child, face to face, because it’s just been too much of a long, long time for this old Mama and you can best believe I’m ready.  

Here’s to wishing you all a safe and Happy New Year, safe travels if that’s part of your plan, and blessings to all.