Short Stories and Blogs

Jul. 5, 2016

This is a project I’ve been kicking around for a while, a blog created entirely from song lyrics.  (They move me, always have.)  One line at a time, the artists tell the story.  Have taken liberty with punctuation and context, but the lyrics are exact.  They are compiled from my iTunes library and from some of Shay’s favorites.  Turned to her because I not only respect her taste but her knowledge of artists exceeds anyone I know.  Gratefully, she’s turned me on to some of my favorite music.   The artists and the song the lines are taken from are listed below, in the order they appear.  Spaces denote new paragraphs, (makes it easy to reference the artists if you are so moved.) 

 

Prompted by current events, reflecting on mass shootings, suicide bombers, misguided radicals, oppressive leaders, ugly politicians, and haters in the world, this is what came out.

 __________________________________________________________________________

Here I am, in a river of questions, can I pour my heart out to a listening ear?  I don’t exactly know what’s going on in the world today, don’t know what there is to say about the way people are treating each other.  Souls are feeling heavy and faith is growing thin, fears are getting stronger…hopelessness got some by the throat, you can see it in their eyes.  Hearts are worn in these dark ages, you’re not alone in these stories pages…the world is on fire. 

If you've come looking for hard times, hard times ain't hard to find.  Things look so bad everywhere in this whole world; what is fair?  The people on the street have all seen better times.  Lord knows that this world is cruel.  I’m so tired of these overcast skies, I’m so tired of the looks in people’s eyes.  In the paper today tales of war and of waste.  War, I despise, cause it means destruction of innocent lives.  Desperate, meaningless, all filled up with emptiness.  Seems to me you don’t want to talk about it.  The news slows, people forget, the shares crash, hopes are dashed, people forget; forget they're hiding behind an eminence front…it's a put on.  Power seems to be so far up, the man on the street ain't got a clue.  So you turn to any phony mouth with a tale to tell, but he's just a hoaxer.   I'm surrounded by liars everywhere I turn, I'm surrounded by imposters everywhere I turn.  I don't know who to trust anymore.  Lies are lies in everybody's eyes; and lies are lies.  Everybody’s talking and no one says a word. 

You know, you live by the words you choose.  Listen to the propaganda, listen to the latest slander.  In this self-absorbed complex conundrum.  What I want from us is empty our minds; but we fake, we fuss and fracture the times.  There’s no profit in deceit, honest men know revenge does not taste sweet.  No good ever comes from it, honest.  Think of what you’re saying, you can get it wrong and still you think it’s all right.  Everyone’s right and no one is sorry, that’s the start and the end of the story.  …I told you to be patient, and I told you to be fine, and I told you to be balanced, and I told you to be kind.  You don't listen, you don't hear, you're blinded by the fear that surrounds you.  But keep thinking that way and you won’t get nowhere.  …it's just a waste of time, yeah it's such a waste of time.  Someday, someway, maybe I’ll understand you.

Everybody wants to rule the world.  We take from each other and give nothing at all; well, it's a dog-gone shame but never too late for change.  I am no better and neither are you, we are the same whatever we do.  If you disrespect anybody that you run in to, how in the world do you think anybody's s'posed to respect you?   Wake up everybody take a good look around, there's far too many reasons for all the troubles goin' down.   I put my faith in the people but the people let me down.  Peel the scars from off my back, I don't need them anymore.  I want to eradicate my negative views and get rid of those people who are always on a down.  

How I wish you could see the potential, the potential of you and me; it's like a book elegantly bound but in a language that you can't read just yet.  House on a quiet street, a home for the brave, a glorious kingdom with the sun on your face, rising from a long night as dark as the grave.  Is there a line that I could write, sad enough to make you cry?  Feels like there’s something just missing inside.  So many changes have all just begun to reap; I know you're asleep, wake up.  We need all the hope we can get.  Take this sinking boat and point it home, we've still got time; raise your hopeful voice you have a choice, you'll make it now.  I hope you understand.

Consider this the hint of the century.  You will find peace of mind if you look way down in your heart and soul, don't hesitate 'cause the world seems cold.  It’s our time to make a move, it’s our time to make amends, it’s our time to break the rules, let’s begin.  It's too much fun being alive.  Peace, remember peace is how we make it, here within your reach if you're big enough to take it.  But we'll never see eye to eye as long as our tongues are tied, and we'll never be seen as one until we find Love.  You must rely on Love once in a while
 to give you reason
. 

All you need is Love.  Take this message to my brother, you will find him everywhere.  Always Love, hate will get you every time.  Release yourself from misery, there’s only one thing gonna set you free.  I am Love; all I really need is to know that you believe.  The church of man, Love, is such a holy place to be.  You got to do what you should, one life, with each other; sisters, brothers.  Love belongs to those who speak it.  …Love is love sufficient unto Love and you can figure out the rest.  I would never lie, this is not the end, there is still a hope.

Carry on, Love is coming, Love is coming to us all.  

While you live it up I'm off to sleep, waging wars to shape the poet and the beat; I hope it's gonna make you notice.  You know it's a mad mission, under difficult conditions, not everybody makes it to the Loving cup; it's a mad mission but I got the ambition, mad, mad mission, sign me up.  But when I look in your eyes and see the harmonies and the heartaches soften, I'm getting in tune, right in tune; I'm in tune, and I'm gonna tune right in on you.  This is the song of Love, let everyone sing along.

__________________________________________________________________________

 

Paul Coleman - The One Thing

Leon Russell - Stranger in a Strange Land

Ray Lamontagne - How Come

Sarah McLachlan - World on Fire

 

Citizen Cope - Lifeline

Steve Winwood - Higher Love

Steely Dan - Any Major Dude Will Tell You

Jack Johnson - Sitting, Waiting, Watching

Lucinda Williams - It’s Gonna Rain

Crowded House - Don’t Dream It’s Over

Edwin Starr - War

Foo Fighters - Come Alive

James Gang - Walk Away

The Who - Eminence Front

J.J. Cale -The Problem

Cat Stevens - The Hurt

Gavin Degraw - I Don’t Want to Be

Neil Young - A Man Needs a Maid

The Academy Is - The Fever

John Lennon - Nobody Told Me

 

Collective Soul - Him

Elvis Costello - Pump It Up

Young Astronomy - Faithless

Damien Rice - Rootless Tree

Robert Palmer - Every Kind of People

Ryan Adams - Two

The Beatles - We Can Work It Out

Nada Surf - See These Bones

Bon Iver - Skinny Love

Sam Phillips - Baby I Can’t Please You

Joe Jackson - Wild West

Avett Brothers - I And Love And You

Marshalll Crenshaw - Someday

 

Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World

James Ingram & Michael McDonald - Yah Mo B There

Sly & The Family Stone - Everyday People

The Staples Singers - Respect Yourself

The Doobie Brothers - People Gotta Love

Rare Earth - I Just Want to Celebrate

Radical Face - Welcome Home

Lou Reed - New Sensations

 

Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart

Bruce Springsteen - Devil’s Arcade

Gin Blossoms - Found Out About You

Brandi Carlile  - What Can I Say

Spirit - Prelude: Nothing to Hide

The Call - I Still Believe

Glen Hansard - Falling Slowly

The Verve - Lucky Man

 

REM - Losing My Religion

Earth, Wind & Fire - That’s the Way of the World

X Ambassadors - Renegades

Sex Pistols - Problems

Ringo Starr - It Don't Come Easy

Collective Soul - In a Moment

Teagan & Sara - Shock to Your System

 

The Beatles - All You Need is Love

The Doobie Brothers - Talkin It to the Streets

Nada Surf - Always Love

Pete Townshend - Let My Love Open the Door

Prince - I Would Die 4U 

David Bowie - Moonage Daydream

U2 - One

Stevie Wonder - Give Your Heart a Chance

Jason Mraz - God Moves Through You

Kendall Payne - I Will Show You Love

 

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Carry On

 

Kings of Leon - Use Somebody

Patty Griffin - Mad Mission

The Who - Getting in Tune

Earth, Wind & Fire - Love is Life

 

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Jun. 27, 2016

Two columns and a lot of consternation later, finally adding a post.  Why is it every time I write a blog about our new house, I end up shelving it?  To be honest, what’s the use?  Talking about a mess doesn’t make it any better.  Although, before I move on to the topic at hand, will gladly share a small snippet; it’s more than enough to sum up the current feelings about our new abode.  (Btw, the decision has been made.  We’re putting it on the market.  Uncle.)  The thrill is gone.  The people next door, who haven’t even gotten in their house yet, said the same.  Not long after they get in, they’re thinking seriously of selling it.  Their assessment hit the builder’s nail on the head, the excitement of moving into their new home has been swallowed by the long and drawn-out heartache. 

I feel their pain. 

So, before moving on, here’s an excerpt from one of the two discarded “house” blogs:

“Had a short but intoxicating sob last night.  You know, the kind that forces it’s way out, no matter how you try to squelch it.  Didn’t last long; quick and effective.  Phew, needed that.  Not that I don't understand we will eventually be out of this Groundhog Day of a hell we’re living in, (one way or another.)  Just sometimes, all the shit rolls to a boiling point and spills over.  Use that descriptive expletive because it's so very applicable.  Literally.  In our brand new house, the one we’ve only been in for three months and change, the septic pump went belly up.  (It sat too long unfinished and the lines got mucked with mud.)  For days now, there’s been a hole, in our dirt clod of a yard, that's been filling with copious amounts of sewage; fortified with every flush.  A literal shitshow.  To add insult to our caldron of mucky injury, Milton fell in.  Thank God BK was there to pull him out, he was working in the back yard when he heard the splash.  Our poor pup was stuck, up to his neck.  What a mess.” 

Yup, that about sums it up.  Took two weeks to get it fixed, but we are now sewage free.  But, still no grass or driveway yet, and we’ve missed the spring rains.  I reiterate, uncle.

Luckily, there are better topics to spend time on, much better.  For those of you who haven’t been with me that long, this time last year, wrote about an eventful week in Louisville, Kentucky, attending the Skills USA national competition.  I’m back.  Went into detail about the organization in that blog, but this go round has a different purpose; running with my recent theme of kindness being key.  The reason I’m here, coaching and advising a group of students competing in technical fields for the title of National Champions.  Helping several, but my specific group this year is a television news crew of four.   Their collective wit and humor have made the trip most entertaining.  And their talent is undeniable.  They belong on the podium as far as I’m concerned.   

Every student in our group has chops.  They all won gold medals in their respective fields at the state level; they belong in the national arena.  The collective brainpower alone boggles my mind, then you throw in their extraordinary creativity and these gems are the cream of the crop.  But beyond the particular skills that landed them in Louisville, their likability is their luster.  You just want to hang out with them.  

One night of hanging out will be forever remembered; listed among most meaningful moments.  There are two young ladies this year, who also attended the competition last year, Clare and Rachel.  Together with their extraordinary teacher, Dave Hutchinson, we coached them to a silver medal in a graphic arts competition.  They are national finalists, and in my opinion, should have taken gold.  (A little biased.)  We all got close last year, so having them on the team again this time has been a huge bonus.  They’re special, they’re a cut above, natural born leaders; they are lion-hearted.  Fiercely protective of everyone on the team, they take care of everyone else’s needs before their own.  It’s who they are.  And brave, they show no fear; of competition, of challenges, of people.  But the trait that stands out the most for both of them, kindness.  They offered a lesson in compassion I will never forget. 

On this particular night, five of us had gone out to dinner; the two lions were among the group.  A doggy bag, bursting with a combination of food from several plates, was collected at the end of the meal.  Rach took out a pen before we left the restaurant and doodled on the Styrofoam container, (she’s a graphic artist, it's what they do.)  She wrote, “Food 4 U”, I should have known what was coming.  A little exposition is necessary.  Unfortunately, over the last year, Louisville has developed a healthy homeless population.  Didn’t notice it on our last trip, but this time around, there’s been a steady stream of people begging money and food.  So sad.  A cab driver told me they are mostly transplants from other areas.  Louisville must be an easy mark. 

We hadn’t gone far on our trek back to the hotel when we encountered a man asking for money.   As we proceeded to walk past, the girls stopped.  They had food to give.  I was digging in my purse for the constant flow of change that collects there, but they were ten steps ahead.  Before I had a coin in hand, they had his in theirs.  Introductions were being made, hands shaking, names shared.  They offered kindness and dignity on a scale that transcends most adult interactions in such situations.  I shook his hand, but have no recollection of his name; was too captivated by the poise and respect shown by the girls.  They took an awkward moment and turned it into a pleasant conversation between strangers.  It was an unexpected moment.  Transformed by kindness.  There was no beggar, there was a man, having a pleasant conversation with some people who were eager to share of their abundance.  We had all eaten, and were full; they wanted to make sure he knew that comfort too.  Their kindness was contagious.  The golden rule in action.  Walked away feeling like I had been a part of something rare and beautiful.  Will never forget it.  

Lead the way, lion hearts, I will gladly follow.  

 

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May. 13, 2016

Been throwing this one around for quite a few days now.  Haven’t been sure how to approach it.  But, hey, sometimes you just have to speak your piece.  I’ve developed an unnatural fear of DTs, not delirium tremens, (only occasionally imbibe,) no, my fear is centered around Donald Trumpisms.  Started an “Opinions” tab on my website for political commentary, because this doesn’t seem like the place for that, but some topics are unavoidable.  The presumptive GOP nominee has me scared.   

Wondering if we’ve all gone nuts or have slipped into an alternate universe, one where the playground bully, (the character in the movies we root against, the rich kid who eviscerates everyone around him with his acid tongue,) the one devoid of character and compassion, is the one who wins in the end. 

I’m confused.  Got a few questions. 

Is the GOP actually standing behind a man who has knee-jerk sophomoric reactions to criticism?  A man who pummels those who oppose him with scorching invectives, as a standard practice?  Is disregarding decency and strength of character worth it for the sake of party unity?  Can it even be possible they are throwing their hands up and resigning themselves to DT as their candidate?  Surely Rod Serling has come back from the grave; we are entering The Twilight Zone.

Some interesting news stories have surfaced about DT; represents some real presidential material.  Like his chosen method of telling his second wife he wanted a divorce, taking out an ad in the New York Post.  His biographer, Robert Slater, in an interview with BuzzFeed News, relayed the story, ‘'He put the newspaper down in front of her door that said, ‘Donald is Divorcing Marla.'’  Mr. Slater was told he couldn’t use the story in the book he was writing for DT.  Gee, can’t imagine why not, such a heart-warming little anecdote.

Then there is always the fairy-tale about, Trump Taj Mahal, in Atlantic City.  One of the four bankruptcies DT “negotiated.”  When veteran securities analyst, Marvin Roffman, (who had specialized in the gaming industry since the first casino in Atlantic City opened in 1978,) warned DT the project would fail, give you one guess how he reacted, bingo, threatened to sue him and demanded he be fired, all the while publically deriding him.  Never mind actually listening to the expert, Roffman was saying something he didn’t want to hear, so the only course of action, natch, crush him.  And crush him he did, Roffman lost his job and reputation.  Interestingly, they did eventually end up in court, Roffman won.  More money out the door for the DT, he lost a bundle on that botched business fiasco; along with his yacht and airplane.  But hey, according to DT, filing for bankruptcy is a common business tool.  In his own words at the Sept. 16th CNN Republican debate, “I used the law four times and made a tremendous thing.  I’m in business.  I did a very good job.”  Mr. Roffman might have something to say about that. 

Imprudent DT stories aside, the real fear with this man of such dismal character, pack mentality.  DT has assumed the alpha-male role like a duck takes to water; and he’s leading the pack down a dangerous hole.  It’s dark and angry.  Inciting that kind of biting, snarling attitude has proven to be dangerous and it’s only going to get worse the more power he is given.  Case in point, Megyn Kelly.  In her interview with People Magazine, she described the aftermath of DT’s public attacks following the Fox News presidential debate.  He was unhappy with her pointed questions as one of the moderators.  DT made some classy references to her being on her menstrual cycle.  (Absolutely the kind of comments we want a president making, wouldn’t you agree?)  In the article, “I Just Wanted It to Stop”, by Emily Strohm and Charlotte Triggs, Kelly talked about the animosity coming in endless waves.  As a result of his reaction and inflammatory statements against her, the pack was worked into a frenzy.  Kelly acknowledged, ‘“The hate can be very ugly and it can be threatening and it can be off-putting when you're walking around the city with your kids in particular.”’

One thing DT has done better than anyone in this campaign cycle and beyond, he’s elevated the art of the insult.  Taken name-calling to new heights.  What an image for the leader of our country. We’ll all be so proud.  Looked up the science of name-calling, interesting stuff.  One definition, “…a technique to promote propaganda. Propagandists use the name-calling technique to incite fears or arouse positive prejudices with the intent that invoked fear.”  It’s worked for me, only the fear is centered on DT, not the people he criticizes. 

My hope, (a fantastic fantasy,) the talks at the White House today with Speaker Ryan were to assure the political players their club is safe, DT is going to take the world stage and make the play of a lifetime.  (Have posed this scenario on my Opinions tab.)  Make the boldest move in the history of politics; at his zenith, DT walks to the podium in an expected acceptance of the nomination and, in that moment of being the epicenter of world attention, anoints the chosen.  His apprentice.  Admits he doesn’t want to be president, (who would,) and assumes the kingmaker instead.  A role he’s much more suited for.  He retains his fame and doesn’t have to pretend he wants to work 24 hours a day being responsible for our country.  The Republican Party, in a wild celebratory whirl of relief, goes all in with the Chosen and all is well that ends well.  (The fervor might even give them what they need to beat Hilary.) 

Not a chance he would do such a thing, you say?  I can hope, can’t I.  The alternative is unthinkable.  DT wouldn't make America great again, he'd make us criminals.  A man one step away from the presidency who, lies and childish responses aside, actually said the way to cut the legs out from under ISIS is to go after their families.  He believes we should engage in the same form of terrorism we are trying to free ourselves from.  Disregard the Geneva Convention and willfully kill innocent women and children.  Wonder if all his devoted pack followers would be willing to pull the trigger.  

Fear of DT, oh yes.  To use one of his often repeated qualifiers, very, very afraid.    

 

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May. 2, 2016

Like, The Who, I’m goin mobile.  Currently writing from my transport office on 95.   BK, Kev and I are in the Black Beauty, headed back up east; only have 1200 more miles to go, a short little jaunt.  Wasn’t home but a few days from the California trip and we took off again, this time for our annual vacation.  

For the past five years our standard vacay happens in Miami.  The sun and fun are a plus, but the real reason for heading south is family.  Shay and Luke live in the 305, destination foregone.  But hey, not a real sacrifice on our parts, you can do worse than palm trees and beautiful beaches. 

We usually fly down and rent a car, but this year we drove; flying with a 40 pound Lab puppy might have been a little awk.  Made reference to him once before but have never formally introduced you to Milton, our Chocolate Lab.  He’s every inch a puppy; a handsome maniac, who’s full of the joys of life.  We absolutely adore him. 

It’s our MO to rent a vacation property for a week, (always shoot for a house with a pool,) this year had to enter a new search parameter, “dog friendly”.  Not sure when we became dog people, Jeter always went to a kennel; just couldn’t picture the brown madman locked up for a week.  By virtue of his expressive and piercingly golden eyes, he’s been promoted to a starting player on the team, the game wouldn’t have been the same without him.  But saying dog friendly is one thing, putting up with a wild and inquisitive puppy is another. 

Enter Connie and Bella.

Connie is the owner of a gorgeous Airbnb in Dania Beach, FL, that just happens to be adjacent to her apartment and business.  The compound, (with an in-ground pool, natch) is surrounded by a seven-foot wrought-iron fence, bordered by a thick wall of lush palm and coconut trees; in the middle of a bustling city, the property is a completely protected oasis.  We scored. 

But our jackpot had more to do with the proprietors than the property.  Remember the girl on the plane, Sam?  Same deal; kindness is key.  The minute we rolled out of the car, Connie melted for Milton.  Labrador lunacy and all.  He ran straight through the screen enclosing the pool, ripping an entire panel away from the frame.  (She had every reason to kick us out, but instead, she embraced us.)  And then there was Bella, her stunning standard poodle, (happily posed for the pic.)  What a patient soul she was.  Milton immediately initiated insane antics where she was concerned, and this regal beauty, forty-two in people years, put up with our tempestuous ten year old, (six months,) all week.  Milton spent as much time in their apartment as he did in the big house.   

It’s worth noting, before we left on this considerable journey, BK told me the curse was over.  He planned this road trip to celebrate.  Said he had a sign, the two years of hell that’s hounded is behind us; good things are ahead.  Have felt it too, and landing at Connie’s convinced me.  It was more than just a relaxing refuge, it was a sanctuary; asylum from misfortune, some cool karma for a change.  Kindness marked the end of the curse.  Connie offered us the perfect setting to gather and heal the wounds, (and put up with our pesky pooch throughout.)  Our family spent the week around her comfy outdoor table, protected by a covered porch, with the soft inset lighting in the pool as a backdrop for our evenings.  So peaceful.  She left the pool lights on for us all week.  Breakfast and lunch around the same table were equally pleasant.  We lived outside.  The pool and Jacuzzi combo were the main event; raft races, reading, and relaxation.  Even used it for a dance or two.  Went hard one morning on the Danny Gatton tune, Funky Mama.  (Have a real soft spot for a good guitar album.)  Long song, I was huffin when it was done, but what a blast.  An astute counselor, who I have the utmost respect for, told me after the third death in six months that I needed to dance; she said the grief was killing me and I needed to move to overcome it.  So I do.  All the time.  Even in solitary moments of relaxing in a picture-perfect pool.  The rest of the gang was out or sleeping, complete privacy; unashamedly kicked out the jams, an iPod and a pool, what a combo.  New friends, a fantastic refuge, fabulous food, and some quality fun-time with family, (not to mention melodic aquatic fitness,) when I said we hit the jackpot, I wasn’t kidding.  Everything about this trip was a dividend, especially our hosts.  Lucky are the people who stay with Connie and Bella.  After a week with them, ours has definitely changed.  Thanks ladies.

Post script:  The 1200 mile road trip ended late last night.  Back to our home that can’t find its way to being finished.  But no matter, after living here for more than two months, we may still be plopped in a mud pit of a construction site, but we got TV and internet installed today!  No question, the curse is over; we’ve been to the Oasis.

 

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Apr. 23, 2016

Back from my west coast excursion, was delightful.  Never laugh more than when I’m there; our CA clan has some genuinely funny people.  Especially Auntie K, (AK in the family vernacular.)  She could make a Trappist Monk cackle.  Certainly has that effect on me.  Being with them all is food for the soul. 

Had a tasty appetizer too, got to stay with Shay & Luke, his Mom (a saint,) his sister and a friend, in an cool Airbnb, (great place,) for his graduation.  A grown-up slumber party (always love those.)  (Okay, I think we’ve established, on a roll with parentheticals this time around.)  Congrats to Luke, he’s officially an MBA.  As of today, he has his MPA as well.  (Need a sharp math mind, I’ll hook you up.)

Small talk aside, let’s get down to it; flying is a trip (double entendre premeditated.)   Could you find a better classroom when it comes to studying personalities?  Can’t imagine.  Travelling, especially flying, brings out the best and the worst in people.  Encountered some real doozies during my transcontinental travels.

Throw a sizeable number of people into the Petri dish that’s Southwest’s boarding design and bacteria grows at a rapid pace.  Jockeying for your particular number in the A, B, and C groupings is like squeezing an elephant into a sandwich bag.  One rather large pachyderm and his sizable wife parked at the front of the B 16 – 20 slot and claimed the territory.  As number 20, (pulling up the rear,) I was privy to the ultimate shut-out.  A small woman in front of me had 19 and she latched on to the couple for dear life.  Between the four of us, we held the entirety of the available real estate.  Blissfully unaware, enters 15 and his wife, 16; the rightful owners of the prime property.  They were a really nice couple and they just floundered out to the side after being completely ignored by the indomitable trio.  Figured, surely, when our group was called, they would politely pause long enough for our outliers to enter the fold in their rightful positions.   Not a chance, the limited overhead compartments were obviously calling their names, because they didn’t pause a second before they headed for the flyway.  I marvel.  Self-absorption is seemingly contagious.  They slipped in line in front of me and there was ample overhead for us all.  Hallelujah!

But the final leg of my trip produced the taker of all cakes, a real peach of a woman; the bane of all within earshot.  The plane from Phoenix had an inordinate number of children aboard and the majority of them were babies.  Scattered throughout the aircraft, there was intermittent crying during the flight, but it wasn’t bad at all, (had an infant in the row directly behind me, she cried but it didn’t last long.  No one was annoyed, just sympathetic.)  As soon as the plane landed, our cake-eater stood up and turned around in her aisle seat, leaning her knee on the seat (two rows in front of mine,) and proceeded to hold court.  She zeroed in on two women, who were directly next to me across the aisle, and went to town.  Her comments were some of the most ridiculous I’ve ever heard.  Along with a bitter recounting that every parent thought their child was the cutest in the world, it was common sense to her that families with small children shouldn’t fly.  They all must have attended funerals, because why else would they drag babies on the plane and annoy everyone around them.  It was the only reason that would be acceptable.  Children shouldn’t be allowed to fly.  And she was dead serious.  Have to admit, that not being able to stand an injustice thing I’ve mentioned, it was working over-time, (you know how I feel about babies.)  But I kept my mouth shut and just observed.  As hard as I tried not to, I passed judgment; in my mind I deemed her a silly and preposterous person.  Couldn’t help it.  Not very good at this non-judgmental thing, although, God help me, I want to be.   My classroom of human nature, confirmed a valuable lesson though, one I always take away from such people; how I never want to behave. 

Who wants to end with that nonsense?  Not me.  Saved the best for last.  On the flight there, a direct from BWI to LAX, (long one,) I met a girl named Sam.  She offered advice on how to get the “Cloud” message off my iPad, which was in Airplane Mode, the Cloud should have taken a cue and split, but it was stubborn and stuck around.  (Btw, I hate the Cloud.)  Between she and the guy on my other side, we all tried and failed.  No movie for me.  Recognizing my dilemma, Sam took her earbuds out and struck up a conversation.  We talked for a good hour.  She was an incredibly engaging high school senior who had been on the other side of the country for a college visit.  Alone.  Inquired why she didn’t go with a parent and she shared that her Dad had died and her Mom needed to be home with her little brother; the one-year anniversary had only been a few days before.  She told me the story, cancer was the culprit.  Her attitude was commendable.  She didn’t want him to suffer anymore, it was his time to go; and even though it was a profound loss, he was still there.  It wasn’t platitudes, she felt his presence helping her family find their way.  Saw the truth of it in her words, and I loved her for it.  Flying brings out the best in some people, or maybe that’s just innately who they are.  Sam, a bright and upbeat Hispanic young woman, who’s going into pre-med, (have no doubt she’s going to be a stellar doc,) renewed my faith in the best of us.  When we were done talking, she handed me one of her earbuds and, together, we watched several episodes of a favorite TV show she had on her computer. 

Her kindness made the time fly.  (There I go again.)    

 

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