In Memoriam

On Sunday, March 13, 2016, June Key, the Raving Pundit, passed away.

She wanted to vote one more time, but that was not in the cards. This site will be left as it is, as a tribute to a mother, activist and writer who never lost her thirst for learning, never wavered in her quest to ensure fairness and respect for those less fortunate in life, and never turned her back on a damn good discussion, making her points with more honey than vinegar, but MAKING HER POINTS.

I hope the writings she has left can help mothers and daughters, Democrats and Republicans, and Cards fans and Cats fans overcome what may divide them to see the beauty in life and the things that truly unite us all.

The Junior Pundit, signing off for June Key

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Balancing the Good New Days and the Good Old Days

I was just watching a little girl eating a ice cream cone and realized how quickly it was melting as she walked in the sun. Then, for no good reason I started thinking about other things that go poof and they are gone, probably not to be seen again. For example, the block of ice the iceman used to carry into our kitchen with his ice tongs, or the letters the postman brought with the three cent stamp attached. The list could go on and on but the one item on the list that is the saddest is the more than 291 newspapers that are defunct, MIA in the past few years. And the list increases every day.

It is not only the printed word, it is the written word also. Teaching penmanship is no longer fashionable in our schools; consequently, we are not teaching the beauty of the English language. The theme paper and number 2 pencils we coveted have seemingly been relegated to the dust heap, and in their places we have a keyboard, a return, back space and alphabet button on a computer. I believe in progress and I love my IPad and computer, but I wish we did not exile one for the other. Personally, I am glad I had to make all those circles learning to keep the numbers and letters between those two lines, and glad I had to write all of those thank you notes because it was the proper thing to do.

Teachers have so much that is required of them for testing purposes that I am sure something had to be eliminated. And I understand we are living in an electronic age and students have to embrace that; their future depends on it. However, I think they have missed out on some important things also.

I grieve the most about our newspapers but I have to accept that family owned newspapers are almost a thing of the past. It is more about advertising that brings in the money, not the news. I don’t think we will see the likes of the newspapers I grew up enjoying: the four or five sections of 10 or 12 pages in each section, every day.

At the same time, I still progress is wonderful. I will gladly accept ice cubes over the old ice pick and the block of ice.

My Book Signing

I have had a few days to reflect on one of the most memorable days of my life.

I had a book signing for Blue Streak, a memoir of my 89 years. It took a little over a year; from writing the first words on my IPad, then sending my essays to my wonderful editors, then on to Amazon to be published, to, finally, my book release event at my home, Oxmoor Retirement Lodge. What an amazing journey it was. From 4 years old to 89 and just like that song,  “I’m still flowing, I’m still glowing, I’m still going strong, Dolly.”

Many friends and my family, over 75 people strong, shared the afternoon with me. It was truly a love-in; I was so grateful to each of those who attended, and it was a wonderful day, even though the beautiful snow keep many others of my friends at home, out of harms way.

To each of you, never accept that age makes it that you no longer can achieve the impossible – you can! Just put your faith in whatever you want to accomplish and make it happen.

Religion In Crisis?

Recently, it seems almost every week or so an article will appear stating that there is a crisis in religion. It doesn’t single out one religion over another. It speaks more to the shrinking of numbers attending church across the board.

This past week the topic was about young people questioning passages from the Bible. Much of what they are saying needs to not be scoffed at but needs to be treated with respect. They should not be treated like an anomaly, for the future of all religious faiths depend on the young to keep our church doors open and and church life vibrant.

Much has changed since the days when Mom, Dad Or Grandma said “you have to go to church.” Now, lots of Moms, Dads, and Grandmas are not the faithful churchgoers they were in days past and their unquestioned example of attendance every Sunday is no longer the norm.

I remember when my Sunday School teacher, Margaret Schwiekert, taught us the importance of saying grace before meals and saying our prayers before bedtime. She told us grace before meals need not be long – eating is on everyone’s mind. She taught us the simple prayer, “God is great, God is good and we thank him for this food.”  She also told us that if we didn’t want to kneel at night to say our prayers, to stand by the window, look at the stars and say, “Thank you God for giving me this day.” She said what matters is not the length or breadth of your prayer, or not what it means to God, but what it means to you.

She wanted us to question that which we did not understand. It never annoyed her and she told us to always be curious about things we thought did not make sense. Therein lies one of the present day problems.

Today’s young people are smarter and getting smarter everyday. They no longer take the written word as absolute; they want answers and instead of always being honest with them and admitting you cannot give them definite, proven answers sometimes, we can inclined to fluff them off.

One young man quoted a passage from the Bible word for word and quite truthfully, it did sound ridiculous. He asked who in the world would believe that actually happened. I did not think less of this young man, because at least he was reading from the Bible.

Maybe it is time we consider that the days of making your children go to church, sit still and make no waves is a thing of the past. I don’t think we will see that passive obedience to any degree again. It might be time to emphasize faith, love for our fellow man, and the belief that if one person is in pain, we all hurt. Young people who seldom go to church are often more caring and concerned for their brothers and sisters than many older people who never miss going to church.

My Heart Overflows With Pride….

From my room at the Lodge of Oxmoor it was easy to decide between lunch or the inauguration of our President. I sit here absorbing the words of America’s leaders like a sponge. The words are…. our President BARACK H. OBAMA.

I remember, in 1936, my mother decided it was far more important for me to listen to the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt then to go to school. We sat together by the Atwater Kent table radio and listened intently to his every word. He had been reelected to a second term as President.

My mother worked at hard jobs to make a home for my brother and I. She revered FDR as a savior of the working class. She also raised us to study our government and how it was meant to serve our people. She was not the most educated person as far as school years but my mom had an astute political mind. She instilled a love of politics in me and love and respect for our government and President, regardless if Democrat or Republican. She told me, once elected, they are neither Democrat or Republican, they are America’s President and should be respected as such.

So today, January 21, 2013, at the age of 88, I honor our President Obama. I also honor the memory of my mother, who made me love learning.

As I watch today, I know she would have been amazed to actually be seeing the inauguration sitting in her own living room. She would have been equally moved and thankful to see the diversity of the crowd and the participants in the ceremony and proud of the fact that an African-American is our President. She was so impatient with the slow progress of acceptance of minorities in our country. She always reminded us that if you disrespect another human being you disrespect yourself. I can tell you the wrath of the unspeakable would descend upon you if she ever heard the N………word come out of our mouths. It just wasn’t allowed.

As I watched the chairs fill with dignitaries awaiting the arrival of the President for the inauguration, as I watched the crowd of thousands across the Mall, a blend of America, as I listened to the beautiful Tabernacle Choir, the ever wonderful voice of James Taylor; as I saw the smiles of all the people being kind to each other, I felt the warmth of the glorious sun as if I was standing in their midst on Pennsylvania Avenue.

I hope you felt true hope for the future of our country in some part of today’s events. If not, you are the loser, and I can only say that our country deserves better from its citizens.

Neptune’s Heaven

From the lodge at Oxmoor……this morning at breakfast our manager, Beth, read to us of some historic happenings from the past. Most seemed to be listening intently, others never stopped eating and gave little indication they cared. She first noted that yesterday was the seventy-first anniversary of the beginning of World War II, and even more tragically, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This was, to me, the most poignant of her remarks. I wonder how many in that room yesterday gave even a minute’s time to reflecting on the profound effect that day had on our country and its citizens and of all the young lives that were lost.

Each year since that day I think of Bobby.

Bobby was a 18 year-old curly blonde-haired boy from the neighborhood of Dixie Highway and Garland Street. Bobby was a bit mischievous, a bit wild, a loving son to a widowed mother, a lover of boats and the river. It was no surprise when we heard Bobby had enlisted in the Navy. He told everyone who would listen, “I’m going to sail the seven seas, and sail around the world. I hate to leave my mom, but I could set sail and never come back.”

And so it was that Bobby found his ship, found his body of water. It wasn’t on a ocean, it was at Pearl Harbor, in December, 1941. He wrote his Mom, “tell every one I am in Neptune’s Heaven, my ship is beautiful and there is water everywhere.”

On December 7, 1941, Bobby manned his anti-aircraft station with his mates to bring down the enemy that dared destroy his beloved ship. The kamikaze pilot crashed his plane almost directly into Bobby’s station. His mother received two communications that week: one from the War Department and the other, a letter from Bobby. He wrote his mom to tell her “I am the luckiest, happiest guy in the world.  If and when I die, I found my dream, something some people never do.” His letter was dated December 6, 1941.

Every Pearl Harbor day I think of Bobby.  His body was never found but I always imagine him swimming in the Harbor, named Pearl.

You Only Live Once

From the lodge at Oxmoor—-for some months I have been writing serious blogs regarding the 2012 Presidential election. This morning the Courier Journal ran a rather lighthearted article about our James Bond portrayals and the James Bond movies. It gave me an excellent opportunity to be relaxed and a bit frivolous.

This opinion is in answer to Mr.Steven Rea, writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Mr Jeffery Lee Puckett, writer for the Courier Journal, Louisville, Kentucky. I do not know  Mr. Rea but I read every article Mr. Puckett writes and I respect his insight and talent for reporting on the music and complete entertainment field in our metropolitan area.

In spite of both of your expertise at writing and your right to your own opinion, I must say I think you are both wrong in writing that Daniel Craig is the best James Bond, by a small  margin, over my very favorite Sir Sean Connery. I of course have never had the privilege to talk to Mr. Ian Fleming and have him tell me that Mr. Craig is the closest fit to how he would actually envision his James Bond. Perhaps you two gentlemen had that rare experience.

Maybe it is your masculine take on the “shooting up” mindset that brings you to your conclusion. If so, then maybe it is my feminine take on the debonaire, suave demeanor  of Sir Sean that has forever affected my psyche. You see, he is the ten year old boy that pushed me down in the mud puddle so he could gallantly help me up because he was smitten by me, he is young pimple faced teen who was too shy to ask me to dance but told everyone else he wanted to, he is the fellow that I met, married and loved for all of our almost 60 years together. He is all of those wonderful memories that serve me daily  and remind me of a wonderful life.

And if that is not enough for me to choose Sir Sean Connery as the best ever James Bond, I hope both of you keep getting more handsome each year, just as my James Bond continues to do.