The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Sunday, December 30, 2012


And when we are talking about our luminous Congress (both houses) trying to get their most basic jobs done, these crises go around and come around, over and over and over.

Congress has been unable, in almost a year and a half, to do their job.  Actually Congress has for the most part been incapable of doing their job since January 2009, with the exception of the Affordable Care Act, which has been challenged every inch of the way since it was passed. 

It’s all tied together, you know:  cutting spending, raising taxes on those with incomes above $250,000, and dealing with the debt ceiling.  These are all part of the basic responsibility of Congress to ‘preserve, protect, and defend’ our country by making sure our country is properly funded to its needs.  And the needs of our country are pretty basic:  provide for the common good.  Congress is simply not meeting their responsibilities.  They speak as little children would:  “He won’t do what he’s supposed to do; it’s his fault, it’s their fault, it’s everybody’s fault but mine.”  How very disappointing.  How very disgusting.  How very unnecessary.

Well, enough is enough is enough.   We’ve all been on the edge too many times for too long a time.  What can we as citizens do?  Let us call or write or e-mail our senators and representatives and tell them we are paying attention.  And please, let us remember this mess.  Please let us remember it all, how exhausting and embarrassing it is.  Please let us remember it all when Election Day comes around again.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Oh, there are many kinds of Christmases, as we all very well know.  There are the Dickens Christmases, the cruise Christmases, the New England Christmases, the Western Christmases with sleighs, the New York Christmases with fabulous store windows and Radio City.  There are the religious Christmases with nativity scenes and choirs singing Handel’s Halleluiah Chorus.  And all the Christmases past that exist only in memory and perhaps never existed in any other way except our dreams.

And the shopping, oh, the shopping.  The fabulous German Christmas markets.

And some of us celebrate the Winter Solstice with Chinese food, or cruises or choose not to acknowledge the event at all, whether they call it Christmas or Hanukah or Quanza or any other name. 

But at the heart of it all, there is still a deep and human need for us to gather together, to drink and nibble, to hear the songs of the season, to light twinkling lights and candles to keep away the dark, to try to remember those in desperation because of the storms of life.  Our ways of celebration may have changed over the millennia, but our human needs have not.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Our wonderful young granddaughter introduced us to ‘The Life of Pi’, a wonderful and extraordinary book by Yann Martell.  Once I started it, I was immersed in a story so imaginative it simply engulfed me.  

 When the movie was released, I was there, along with some of my family who had not yet read the book.  Of course I was terrified that I would be disappointed but I was not.  The actors who portray Pi at every age were each individually splendid.  The film is a beautiful allegory of life without being preachy or maudlin or, well, small.  The film is glorious.

Having read the book borrowed from that same precious granddaughter, I found a copy for us, because those near and dear to me will read it when they can and wish.  It will be there for them. 

We try not to buy too many books because there is just so much space, and because we love and cherish our local library, but sometimes one needs a copy to read and to re-read and to share.

And sometimes one needs a beautiful film to remind us of the meaning of life.  See it if you can, and say hello to Richard Parker.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


My Great-Aunt Pearl was a force of nature, a member of that generation essentially who created the Greatest Generation.  Oh, she never had children of her own, but she had many children in her life and loved and corrected them all.  My mother was able to get a high-school diploma because she went to live with Aunt Pearl.  I spent a week with Aunt Pearl once and never worked so hard in my life up to that point, but I learned what a twelve-year old can do when someone insists they can.

So with all this ‘gun control’ discussion, I cannot help but recall Aunt Pearl and imagine what she would say about the issue.  “First of all,” she would say, “…the children.”  Then she would point out that everyone lost in all these terrible episodes, adult or child, is someone’s child, and furthermore a child of God.   Aunt Pearl was very staunch in all her beliefs.  I read a poem once, the author of whom I no longer recall, describing someone as “immovably opposed to evil and to store-bought pies.”  Well, that says it all.

And evil is what we are talking about.  Not the hunting guns and good, decent people who go hunting and kill varmints or deer and eat the deer they kill.  Not the folks who have simple handguns and like to go to a shooting range and practice target shooting.  But the fact is that assault rifles and so many other military-type weapons are loose in this country and that is terrifying.  Equally terrifying:  the fact that forty percent of all gun sales are done with no background checks and no record; the fact that the existing background records are not consolidated and kept strictly up-to-date, when in this day and time Twitter entries appear to circle the globe in moments; the fact that bullet magazines can be stashed in someone’s pockets by the hundreds; the fact that it is legal just about everywhere to carry concealed handguns to a college campus, a restaurant, a mall, a place of worship. 

Commonsense folks such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York are proposing five basic gun safety measures that are desperately needed:  a renewed ban on assault weapons; a ban on the sale and manufacture of high-count bullet magazines; an immediate requirement for the update of the national gun registration database to incorporate military records of our ex-military who are suffering from mental illness; an immediate law to require background checks for all gun sales, period, including gun shows and internet sales.  And a renewed effort to help those with mental illness get meaningful help.

Will all of this prevent the kind of horrible, hideous, terrible events we have been experiencing in the last decade?  No, of course not.  But doing absolutely nothing will guarantee that this situation will repeat and escalate and that is, as our President says, unacceptable.  So to those who say that we cannot stop these tragedies, I say what Great-Aunt Pearl would say, “Can’t Never Could.”  And doing nothing never will.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Way a World Can End

It doesn’t have to be that way.  There are so many choices, but many of us are not making choices, we are just reacting to the choices of others.  They say it is ‘okay’ for guns to be available with automatic clips.  They say it is ‘okay’ that no one checks the legality of sales.  They say that guns which could kill elephants should be generally available, although I’ve never seen an elephant on our street.

When it is no longer safe to go to a movie theater, or to a shopping mall, or to a university, or to a place of worship, or to send children to school, because of the choices and beliefs and money interests of those who manufacture death, then it will eventually become dangerous to go to the grocery store or even to the mail box to retrieve mail.  

And then, when we can no longer, as a society, go about our daily lives in reasonable safety, when we can no longer shop or simply gather together for ordinary events, the world we thought existed no longer will.