Have the Dopes Trumped Hope?

Webster states:  cynical – contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives.

Never has our general populace been more cynical then now.

In my lifetime I have never seen the degree of disrespect shown to elected officials that we have today. And we had made such great strides toward truly becoming the country that welcomed one and all to our shores, fulfilling the dream our nation was built upon…

For the first time we elected an African-American as our President and our collective chest swelled with pride. But it did not take long for the ugly bigots to begin to creep out from under the rocks and spread their influence, two-faced, now showing their true feelings. Sadly, a portion of those names and faces belonged to elected politicians and, because of that animosity, Washington has failed to move important legislation forward.

Along with that ugliness we have had numerous killings of young African-Americans and have had to bear witness to far too many examples of guns being used too quickly and unwisely against persons of color. In view of these many incidents of police brutality we need diversity training for our policing forces to be an ongoing program.

The whole subject of what to do about guns and gun ownership will be a perpetual battle as long as our legislators depend on gun money to stay in their seats in Washington. On the subject of guns, how many children will have to die, how many families need be torn apart before it is time to say enough is enough?

I am not so sure we will recapture that spirit we had not that long ago: a sense of promise, hope, acceptance and respect for diversity.

And, boy, never did I think I would see ministers arming themselves – preachers packing in church – or encouraging their members to come to church bearing firearms.

My sense of humor tells me that it is a deterrent to sermons that sometimes seem a bit long in the tooth!

I do not look forward to our 2016 presidential election. I believe it will be one that thrives on bad manners, and infighting from desperate candidates. We can only hope someone who truly wants to serve the people and this great country will be elected.

THE BALANCING

Hello dear friends and Pundit followers. First I want to thank each and every one of you for your well wishes, prayers and concern as I fought the most awesome battle of my 91 years. In recent years I have struggled with several serious health problems and each one debilitated my body’s strength and, thus, each time a bit of my independence was wrestled away. However, I have always been able to put these losses aside and muster the strength I have in a productive way.

This last bout was fought in a different ring in a unfamiliar venue. I should have known this was going to be a very new kind of bruising battle when the ringmaster held a sign that read, “Enter at your own risk; last fighter standing wins.” Little did I know I was entering the ring of illusions. I could not fight my adversary because I never saw him; I only felt him pummel my body and take me to my knees in pain. Only for brief moments did I realize those figures in white were doctors and nurses who would leave only to be replaced by another.

I looked through the door that lead to the hallway, the hands on the clock stood at twelve and three. I knew it was in the morning. A very gentle voice brought me back into the moment when I heard the words, “Mrs. Key, I know of your written wishes but we must ask you this question—if your condition warrants it do you want to be resuscitated?”

For just a moment I thought I don’t want to answer that. Donna takes care of most everything and she isn’t here. I stammered for a bit and then I knew I had signed those papers that said NO, when I was feeling well and it seemed like what I wanted, but this is reality, this must be round 10 and the count is 9. I said YES do what you can. Then the voice said, “Do you want us to call your daughter?” I said no she is probably on the way here now.

This is the next thing I remember: I am in a house I have passed many times. It sits elevated above the street at the corner of Story Avenue just north of Vernon Bowling Lanes.

I was covered with blankets; I was weighed down—I could hardly breathe. I kept yelling, “You’re going to kill me, I know you are.” I must have said that a hundred times but the nurse laughed and said, “We’re not going to kill you—we just want to keep you warm and yet she turned the air conditioner higher. As I continued to scream, I was staring at an old iron cover that fit over the front of a fireplace. As I looked at the cover I thought of my dear Gramma and how she polished the fire covers with black shoe polish to keep them shiny. All at once, I noticed a red glow around the edge of the cover and I realized it was fire! I screamed, “Nurse get in here—this place is going to burn!”

She came running, grabbed an old poker and pulled the cover off, as flames shot into the room like the tongue of Satan himself. But soon the fire turned into smoke and the smoke into billowing soft aqua blue clouds of beautiful welcoming arms. I got out of my bed, ran to the window to watch the clouds rise in the sky and as I looked upward I saw the hem of a long black dress and the lower part of a pair of black button shoes. As the dress and shoes raised up higher and higher the only thing I heard were the words, “Rest Baby Girl.”

I can only tell you my story as I remember it. Was it my Gramma’s voice? I can’t say yes for I have not heard that voice for 85 years and, yet, I have felt her presence many times and I do believe she has walked through life with me.

One of my reasons for relating this very personal experience is to share my feeling that each one of us has a guiding spirit. A spirit that at those times of our life—the most defining moments; the balancing moments between here and there—will assure us that we will not go on the journey alone. I believe God knows to send an emissary to each of us at that special time of need.

Peace and love to each of you.

Boomerang

The pundit here.

I have been twisted and turned, rolled and churned in every direction. And in every direction turned left and right and up and down. And merry-go-round and round?

The pills keep coming. Doctors-1-2-3-4, nurses-5-6-7.

Kidneys shot. Heart not much better. Lungs in the big sleep. Brain trying to find out who will be the woman on the $10 bill. Darn, I may not get to spend any.

People coming and going. Questions, questions from each one. They all ask the same questions. I give them all the same answers.

Pigs selling for 5, corn for 10. My blood pressure is high, my oxygen is low. If ever the two get it right, this place I shall blow!

Take a nap so a needle can wake you up. It’s a game we play. I go to sleep, the needle wakes. Oh what the hell – the bottom’s up, the dollar’s down.

The bottom line is, I survived all the anxieties of “crossing over.” My mama didn’t raise no fool. I ain’t getting in no boat if I don’t know where it’s going. Guess I will hang out a little longer, celebrate my 91st birthday Sunday, and wait to see what thirteen Republican candidates are going to use for their stump speeches. Can’t be Obamacare. Way to go Barack!!!

It’s (Not) All About Me

Hello the Pundit here………..

I have spent the past three weeks in a most uncomfortable battle with a very sore upper thigh that has caused every step to be painful. X-rays did not reveal an answer so we will go the MRI route and hopefully find the answer. Only absolutely necessary trips give me reason to move from this chair.

In spite of the pain, the concern and the inconvenience, I cannot for the life of me wring my hands, curse my luck and say “Why me?”

Reason #1: daughter Donna, the smartest , kindest, most caring person alive, better than a doctor, #2: son Rick who drives over to wheel me to the dining room for lunch and conversation about sports and politics, and, #3: miles away in New York, daughter Tara, who works with me on projects, blogs and my Historian program for Oxmoor Lodge.

They do not deserve hearing Doom and Gloom out of me. If that’s not enough to try to keep a happy face, out of the ninety-plus residents who live here at Oxmoor Lodge, about half of them are in worse shape than I am.

I just have to remind myself on occasion that the good Lord has given me, at this day and time, ninety years on this planet, on this wonderful land in this fabulous country. I only hope I have used the talent he gave me in a productive way that has helped make someone’s life a little better.

Remember; when you want to cry, smile instead, when you want to cuss, think good thoughts, when you get angry, check your attitude.

Have Faith

As you know, I live in a Retirement Lodge with some 90 senior residents. In a recent group discussion negativism seemed to permeate the room. One dear lady commented, “One of us is in worse condition than the next.” I said, “I would rather think that one of us is in better condition than the next.” At that point a gentleman in the group said, “That sounds good but our country is a mess.”

“Tornadoes, floods, drought, kids bullying kids, parents killing each other and sometimes their children, disrespect and greed. There is no beauty left; it’s like God has deserted us.”

It made me sad to hear him say this and even sadder when others agreed that so much has shaken their faith. I said,”First, I am sorry you feel that the ugliness of violence and disaster is due to God’s deserting you. I certainly am not a scholar on religion; however my grandmother and mother taught me at a very young age, Faith is not something you can purchase at the neighborhood store, sell at a yard sale, borrow from a neighbor or lend to a friend. Faith is a part of you, just as your hand is a part of your arm, your foot a part of your leg; your faith determines who you are.”

I liken faith to looking at the giant oak tree in the winter with its stark bare limbs and knowing, come spring, it shall be lush with beautiful green leaves to keep me cool on a hot summer day, or looking at a fuzzy caterpillar and envisioning the beautiful butterfly it will soon become.

An Unenviable Shade of Green

I hope, my blog followers, that you read the Dana Milbank article in the Courier-Journal this morning, January 9, 2015. It said: “Mitch McConnell is off to a bitter start.” Well, duh, what did we expect? He is one snake in the grass that makes his own slime to slither in. He has been in his new position only hours and he is responsible for the upturn in the economy?!?

As Mr. Milbank wrote, “McConnell, when he wasn’t taking credit for things that preceded his ascent, gave a remarkably angry and ungracious first speech to the body he now leads. It was an 18-minute snarl, dripping with contempt and packed with campaign-style barbs for the president.”

It was through much of his (and his cohorts’) doing that very little was accomplished by our government in recent years. Why? Because the party of NO had one agenda put in place by their leader McConnell: get rid of the President or destroy him how ever they could. Well, he could not get rid of Obama, but the citizens of our great country deserved better then to have Mc Connell’s negative influence fighting every single thing the president wanted for our people. That is why I hope our President returns the favor and fights Mc Connell on every issue he brings up. If nothing gets done, so be it, nothing has been getting done anyway.

So give him as hard of a time as you can, Mr. President. Make his cherished position one he will never forget. We all know he never accepted you as President. You didn’t come from one of our states, originally. You were too smart, and you excelled during your Harvard days. You were dripping with class, something he never had and doesn’t even understand. Mr. President. You have an engaging smile-he has a clinched small chin that drips venom. And last, but certainly not least, you are the wrong color.

I would rather be any color than “Snake Green.”

Progress, I Think

We humans have a lot to learn. We pay up to $800 a day to rent a room in a hotel called Baptist East, Peace or Mercy General, agree to wear the same thing as everyone else and, fine, yours opens down the back and is at least 5-7 inches too small to close. There are no elevators by the door you came in; however, they provide you with a gurney and driver.

You get into a testy discussion with your roommate not about how the food tastes, but over who can best identify what it is. Then, off to sleep, only to be awakened on the hour to donate to the blood bank and then on the half hour – to see if I need anything.

I was beginning to wonder if this was a 4-star hotel – a 5 star would have been out of sight – and then I went to check out and they said, “We will bill you after the Government pays their part.” I “walked” out thinking, “Hot damn, what a deal. And my ole daddy said I was too dumb to go to the big city.”

Now, on the other hand, the squirrel comes to town, finds a beautiful big oak tree with nice nesting leaves to keep him warm at night. He hops and runs on his little feet and finds lots of good walnuts and other kinds of nuts to store away. His friend stops by and loves his tree and food. He and his treemate relax, remembering their days at Squirrel University and they nap peacefully. When they decide to move on, they clean up their tree. Before they leave their squirrel pad, their neighbors fill two squirrel men’s purses with nutty food and off they go.

The lesson to learn: Squirrels and most animals are smarter than humans. They have been on this earth for millions of years. Their biggest problem: The Humans. But I must admit this past week I was glad to be human and have other smarter humans manage to keep me here a bit longer.