What do you do when you’re sick? Take to your bed and yell for “Mommy,” or ignore it and go about your business? Well when you’re married to an Emergency Physician, and you’ve given birth to another, your response to an illness pretty much doesn’t matter. After all, you are NOT dying, so it’s not a true emergency – like say, anaphylaxsis, septecemia, or a gun shot wound to the belly.

It’s only a virus. Antibiotics won’t help. In fact, my doctors rant about how other doctors overprescribe antibiotics, which is why we are in a drug-resistant pickle. You’ll be better in a few days. So you’d best go about your business; take Tylenol every four hours, force fluids and try to rest. Because as Daniel Tiger says, “Rest is Best.”

When I was young and caught a cold, Nell would rub my chest with Vick’s. Then she’d wrap some sort of gauze around me and tuck me into bed. In hindsight, she grew up when a small splinter could turn into an infection and kill you. Penicillin wasn’t invented until just before I was born. Growing up in the first half of the twentieth century meant you were isolated when you were sick, people took a cold seriously. As Adelaide would say in her Lament, a person can develop a cold, or La Grippe, La post-nasal drip…with the wheezes, and the sneezes, and the sinuses really a pip!
In other words,

Just from worrying whether the wedding is on or off,
A person can develop a cough.
You can feed her all day with the Vitamin A and the Bromo fizz,
But the medicine never get’s anywhere near where the trouble is.
If she’s getting a kind of a name for herself, and the name ain’t his,
A person can develop a cough.
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/actors-broadway/guys-and-dolls

But I digress. Back to the 50s, once an illness had passed, Nell would make me an eggnog. I know, sounds disgusting, but it was so good. Guess she didn’t know about salmonella in raw eggs? Oh and to keep me healthy, she would shove a teaspoon of cod liver oil into my mouth every morning, followed by a chaser of orange juice. It took me many years to like the taste of orange juice.

Still, this spring cold is a bad one, it starts off deceptively simple enough – a headache followed by a runny nose. You are lulled into thinking you’ll be fine by the third day. Then your larynx closes up and you can barely croak, a fever sets in and after awhile your eyes get all gucky. If you have children in preschool, or you have a spouse that is routinely seeing infectious disease every day they go to work, then it’s likely you’ll catch  it. In other words, “You can spray her wherever you figure the streptococci lurk,
You can give her a shot for whatever she’s got, but it just won’t work.” The cough will linger, you’ll want your Mommy, and someone to bring you chicken soup.

On my way home I listened to the TED Radio Hour “Believers and Doubters.” http://www.npr.org/2013/11/18/245949211/believers-and-doubters

And I thought about the time I nearly died from septicemia after a miscarriage. Lying in a hospital bed in the Berkshires, I prayed the rosary with my Polish room mate because she asked me if I would in broken English. I found her beads in her bag, and the words came back, they flowed through me like a salve. It was like being wrapped in a warm blanket and tucked into bed.    CLR in Bathrobe

Driving in:

IMG_2413Flying Kites with Mama:  IMG_2431

Finding a Tree Castle:  IMG_2467Porch Sitting with Nana:  IMG_2483Building forts with clothes pins:   IMG_2445

NRA Annual Meeting Comes to Nashville Along with All the GOP Presidential Candidates 

I could say I want to try skeet shooting. It’s not a real bird, it’s a clay pigeon after all, and it looks like fun. I woke up many weekends to the sound of guns across the Shrewsbury River in Rumson. Skeet shooting was de rigeur at the country club. My friend from Rumson, the editor of my old newspaper, has a farm up the road in Madison, VA. She’s a pro and could teach me. Plus, think about the great outfits on Downton Abbey when they go off on a hunting trip for pheasant.

I could tease my hair and wear lots of makeup. The Bride said I don’t have to dress down, many Republican women dress well. I guess that makes sense. When you feel superior, when you either belong to the upper crust or are constantly striving to arrive there, you must look the part. I remember my day on the Historic Downtown Mall petitioning for the Affordable Care Act. By the afternoon I could spot a Republican coming a mile away. Sometimes I’d ask them anyway. Of course, they didn’t believe every American deserves health care.

I could purchase a membership today to the NRA at the convention center for just $25, which would get me in the door. It’s very easy, so they say. We went to the Frist Museum yesterday and the parking lot was filled with NRA members trying to help us find a parking spot! They were happy, and in a festive spirit. Luckily I have laryngitis. But what if I return and once inside, I’d oogle and gape at all the different guns, some of them rhinestone encrusted! I’d mix and mingle with more than 70,000 gun-loving people and get plenty of free swag at the Colt concession.. With my membership, I’d get a newsletter every month, keeping me up-to-date on the latest school shootings and “accidental” child killings. Oh wait, that’s probably wrong.

Or today:

I could meet thousands of women who belong to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense at the park by the river, and march with them to promote background checks and gun sense in our country. Nashville, you know I love you but sometimes you make it hard. Become a double agent and learn the tricks and trade of the gun lobby vs walking with like-minded women? You decide.

Moms at the Museum

Moms at the Museum

When we first moved to Virginia, I heard about a police shooting in our community from the EMT who responded to the scene. The black person who was shot in the back, made the unfortunate choice to try and rob a house and then kill the K9 dog who was tracking him. The dead dog got more press than anyone else attached to the incident. The criminal didn’t die, but he was paralyzed for life and though I’ve lost track of that case, I’m pretty sure we taxpayers are now paying for his incarceration and medical bills.

“Blacks are about 12 percent of the US population. But 41 percent of UNARMED people killed by police.”

This was the Tweet I woke up to this morning from Nate Silver referencing the South Carolina murder of a black man running away from a policeman. Was he stopped because of his tail light, was there really a struggle over a taser, or was he shot in the back because he was guilty of driving a Mercedes while black?

Ten years ago, I remember thinking that NJ/NY police would never shoot someone in the back. Was I naive? I thought Amadou Diallo was an aberration, a one-off. http://criminaldefense.homestead.com/diallo.html

I’ve been laid low by a spring virus courtesy of my sweet grandson. Between naps, and a runny nose, I heard that the police chief in SC is calling for more body cams on police officers. Let’s face it, if that guy didn’t whip out his smart phone to record the latest shooting, we would never have heard of Walter Scott, a 50 year old father. That officer would not have been arrested. And technology trumps justice again.

But technology, body cams are not the answer. If you belong to a race that is 3 times more likely to be killed by a cop; a race  the DOJ says one of every three men can expect to spend time in jail; a race that is 60% of the prison population, akin to apartheid in our country, the facts are in. The Ferguson factor is real. Michael Brown at least wasn’t shot in the back. That is cold southern comfort.IMG_2438

Granted, this Nanaing leaves little time to stay up-to-date. Last night the Bride was saving lives while the Groom and I tag teamed bedtime for two babies. I got the easy part, a bottle, a lullaby and a swaddle; he got toddler bath, books and beyond! And the problem was, I totally forgot about the Duke game.

This wife and mom of Duke alums was asleep when all the excitement was happening. Then over morning coffee I noticed a few “ddmf”s on my Facebook feed so naturally I had to look it up in the Urban Dictionary. I’ll spare you the profanity. But I couldn’t have been more pleased to see the Final Two score!

And I caught a bit of the Columbia report on the Rolling Stone article about our college town. It was less than glowing. “Confirmation Bias” was the reason they found the article on a gang rape at UVA to be wanting if not downright inaccurate. Journalists have an obligation to get BOTH sides of a story, not to go into the process thinking that a university is obstructive and hiding facts. Not interviewing other students. 

This is why newspapers have Op-Ed pages. Leave your opinion, your bias, there. Or on Fox News. 

Bias can happen in any field. Doctors may see a homeless alcoholic and miss a heart attack. Or take child care for instance, a toddler may suddenly decide that only Mama can unstrap her car seat… For a week Nana has had no problems. Then “NO.” No reason is necessary. You can be sure, next time she’ll be fine again. 

It’s warming up in Nashville after a number of soft days. Tonight is the NCAA women’s playoffs – UConn vs Notre Dame. I’m such a New Englander at heart. I’m afraid I’m biased.  Here’s to a future in hoops!


Brotherly Love

The Seder went off without a hitch. Except for one of the ten plagues; tornado sirens were shrieking when darkness descended and then, hail! What, you were thinking locusts? After 36 years, I have finally seen my daughter make the haroses. I made the chicken soup with explicit instructions on making matzoh balls from Grandma Ada and they were delightfully soft!

Then the next day I heard that my half-brother in Germany had died. Brian was the Flapper’s second child, her first born son. She was widowed soon after he was born, returning to PA where she met my father. And since I was the last of six children, raised by foster parents, I never really got the chance to know my oldest brother. But I do have a few memories.

I remember when Dr Jim, my closest in age sibling, was pinned with his First Lieutenant bar in the Army. Jim was the first to finish college, Columbia University, and later he would go on to a doctoral program in psychology. Jim would also be going to Vietnam, but no matter. We were all there to celebrate his officer status, and Brian and Michael, who passed away recently, had to salute Jim. Even I could tell, there was some malicious Irish humor in that subservient salute.

He and his wife Hildegarde found it difficult to travel from Germany, but he did get to meet the Bride at Walter Place when Mike and Jorja hosted a wonderful Lynn family reunion. He and Mike were the last remaining smokers of the crew, but sometimes I could catch one of them early, before they were confined to the smoking porch. And I would hear stories of my parents, stories that I treasure to this day.

Brian was born in 1929 and he was Air Force all the way. Exceedingly confidant, tall and straight-talking. He actually taught avionics and radar technology, and after retiring from the service, he had a great job with Texas Instruments. I imagine he looked like his father, the handsome Italian the Flapper married on a dare at the age of 16.

We lit three yartzeit candles, never knowing it should have been four.

Last night we all went out for some delicious Nashville barbeque, and I helped the Love Bug climb her first tree. It was a stately, old magnolia that spread her limbs low and invited children into the natural world. I see a flash of the Flapper’s resilient spirit in my grand daughter’s eyes. Taking risks, we see it early. Will this child be the one running headlong into the ocean? Or will this be the one clinging to your knee at the water’s edge?

I’m sure Brian’s fearless, joyous spirit will live on in his children and his grandchildren and in generations to come.

(from L to R) Dr Jim, Kay, Brian, me and Mike

(from L to R) Dr Jim, Kay, Brian, me and Mike

Seder Time

What is it about this time of year? I realize it just recently snowed some up North, but traveling from VA to TN yesterday Bob and I witnessed Spring in all her glory. White Bradford pear trees are in bloom, and forsythia are bursting into their yellow coats. Last night birds were trumpeting us into the Music City; later, we played on the front porch with the Love Bug and said “Hey” to neighbors walking children and dogs.

Great Grandma Ada and Hudson will arrive today with Uncle Jeff for Friday night’s seder. With Cousin Sue gone, it doesn’t make sense for Ada to slave away in the kitchen for days just to celebrate a holiday about leaving slavery behind. In her 90th year she deserves to relax, it’s about time the younger generation took over. This year we skipped the Blue Ridge mountains   because the Groom is on call in the MICU. For the first time in 36 years, I bequeath the haroses to the Bride!

Here is my recipe:

Mix together 2 or 3 chopped apples with chopped walnuts, raisins, dried apricots and dates. Add a smidgen of Kosher wine and honey and voila, you have the condiment of condiments. The stuffing for your Hillel sandwich.

I brought along my seder plate from the Berkshires. It was thrown by a friend’s husband, Thomas Hoadley, http://thomashoadley.com/bio an exceptional potter. I remember when Bob was chasing after a cat and accidentally knocked it off a shelf in Windsor, MA. I was so heartbroken because it was the very first piece of real art I had ever picked out myself, and it was someone we knew, someone we sat with on a blanket at Tanglewood. Luckily, his wife Stephanie supplied me with another! https://www.hoadleygallery.com

We won’t hide eggs, but we will hide matzoh for the children. Cousin Jenny’s new baby girl will have to wait to meet the Love Bug’s now 5 month old brother. I am always surprised to think that right at sundown, all over the world, Jews will be sitting down to this dinner theatre. The equivalent might be if Christians everywhere sat down to dinner at the exact hour all over the world on Christmas Eve, but before they ate someone would recite the story of how they managed to survive all these years. No junior, no food for you until we recite all the saints and what they had to endure to remain Christian.

Only eventually Christians became the dominant religion in the West. After reading the Atlantic’s front page article, “Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/03/is-it-time-for-the-jews-to-leave-europe/386279/ about the rise of hatred and anti-semitism, I feel bereft.

The previously canonical strain of European anti-Semitism, the fascist variant, still flourishes in places. In Hungary, a leader of the right-wing Jobbik party called on the government—a government that has come under criticism for whitewashing the history of Hungary’s collaboration with the Nazis—to draw up a list of all the Jews in the country who might pose a “national-security risk.” In Greece, a recent survey found that 69 percent of adults hold anti-Semitic views, and the fascists of the country’s Golden Dawn party are open in their Jew-hatred.

Is it possible that in the future the only safe place to be Jewish will be in Israel? The ratio of Jew to Arab in France is 1 to 10. Instead of saying Je Suis Charlie, one commentator said, we should be saying, “Je Suis Juif!”

And instead of fighting over which Islamic sect has dibs on their prophet, has dominance and power in the Middle East and Africa,, maybe Muslims around the world should begin to remember their shared values over dinner at Ramadan. I’m pretty sure they would not include flying planes into buildings or suicide vests.

When we break bread together, or matzoh, we can see into each other’s souls. Have a peaceful Easter/Passover weekend. I can only wish that my grandchildren – that ALL our grandchildren – will be able to live without fear. To not always have a bag packed.     IMG_2398


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