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Posts Tagged ‘Nashville’

To all my Jewish friends celebrating Passover, I just hope you could sleep last night. We’ve been having some severe thunderstorms here in Central TN for a few days now, and tornado PTSD is real y’all! Ms Bean and I tossed and turned all night. Bob can sleep through anything.

Yesterday, thanks to the Bride, we stuffed ourselves with delicious matzoh balls, brisket and tzimmes and had a wonderful time up close and personal with the Grands and their other Grandparents too. Mike and Shavaun flew in from VA, and since we are all vaccinated, it was almost like a return to normal. We could all eat inside, unlike last year’s Zoom Seder. There was just one mishap.

I had put a stack of matzohs on the buffet behind the dining room table. When it was time to make the Hillel sandwich, I turned in my seat and picked up the platter full of matzoh. Unfortunately, these light as air unleavened Kosher wafers had been resting on a very heavy ironstone platter. You guessed it – my first matzoh injury of 2021!

Between bouts of back spasms and very loud, very close thunder, I was awake all night.

When I told Dr Jim and Aunt Kay about my back this morning, I was told to beware of the BLTs of aging:

  • Bending
  • Lifting
  • Twisting

Gone are the days when I could proudly display a skiing injury. All it takes now is a slip on the stairs or a twist in my seat. I sit at my desk writing, watching the squirrel I’ve named Kevin, contort him (or her) self into amazing acrobatic stunts to attack my bird feeder. Upside down, torqued into fantastical positions; and I think how lucky he is with his flair for the dramatic.

And I remember the snail grocery store I stocked with lettuce and papaya skins with the L’il Pumpkin in Hawaii. It was built out of lava rock. We learned these big snails are gastropods, and laughed about our only literary reference – the children’s book, “Escargot.” This was a favorite when he was little, about a French snail who wants to be your very favorite animal! Except, he doesn’t like carrots.

https://www.amazon.com/Escargot-Dashka-Slater/dp/0374302812

So we are slowly re-entering real life, and I’m thankful that I didn’t twist an ankle on lava hikes. The Rocker and Aunt KiKi have received their first shots in California. And this week we are having our first “all are vaccinated” dinner party. Life is progressing, love is winning. And Bob’s lettuce and kale are coming back in the garden – now I just need some tomato and bacon!

Happy Spring! And BTW, our Pumpkin lost his first tooth on the Big Island!

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Do you ever find yourself sitting in your car, in front of your own house, listening to NPR and glued to your seat? Well, since I’ve received my second jab in the arm, Life has opened up beyond my neighborhood. I’m getting out alone, strolling through a bookstore and yes, I admit I went to Target. Still masked and keeping a good 10 ft distance from humans, I felt like a prisoner just let out of a cave, blinking into the sunlight fluorescent light. The other day, rooted to my car seat, time stood still as I listened to Terry Gross finish interviewing the author Tim O’Brien.

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/24/970880767/tim-obrien-on-late-in-life-fatherhood-and-the-things-he-carried-from-vietnam

O’Brien wrote the Hemingwayesque anti-war book, The Things They Carried in 1990. This was required reading for the Bride’s high school AP English class, and I believe her teacher knew the author. O’Brien was drafted into the Vietnam War and later went on to study at Harvard. After loading some grocery bags into the car, I was excited to hear that Fresh Air was live on Nashville Public Radio… then just like that I morphed into an awkward feeling.

Gross pointedly asked the author if he was still smoking, and he said he was, and in fact he was at that moment in the one room in his house where he can continue to smoke. He didn’t smoke in front of his young children. And even though he’s had multiple trips to the hospital for COPD, he used the same old trope to justify his behavior, “You’ve gotta die of something, right?” I know all about this kind of reasoning since the Flapper continued to smoke until her death. But Gross wouldn’t let it go, she pushed him about being a good father, and staying alive to see his children grow up.

She pointed out his contradictory thinking – telling her that if he stopped smoking he may stop writing. What was more important, being a writer or a father? She put O’Brien on the hot seat, and didn’t let him up.

Then, O’Brien said he’d been doing some research about madness lately, about whether war is just simply codified lunacy.

The definition of madness is having a disordered mind, or exhibiting foolish behavior, or being in a state of frenzied activity. Personally, I was hoping for a much calmer state of activity with our new President and Vice President, only to wake up this morning and find out we bombed Syria.

“While the exact death toll remained unclear, Mr. Biden appears to have calibrated the strikes, hoping they would cause enough damage to show that the United States would not allow rocket attacks like that on the Erbil airport in northern Iraq on Feb. 15, but not so much as to risk setting off a wider conflagration. “He is kind of putting his first red line,” said Maha Yahya, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/world/middleeast/biden-syria-iran.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

Maybe war is simply a bunch of crazy red lines over territorial conflicts. If you bomb me, I will bomb you by proxy. I lived through Vietnam, I was actively against the war and watched two brothers head off to that conflict zone, now it is full of eco-tourists. Or at least it used to be, before Covid. Now the Bride is learning how to roll sushi, and we get take-out from our local Vietnamese restaurant. Our grandchildren wield chop sticks with impunity.

I think we need more French clowns in the world. These clowns practice the medieval art of buffoonery; they were the poor and disenfranchised, the gypsies, gays and Jews, who were allowed to put on a play for the Noblemen every so often. And in so doing, they would point out the most ridiculous, contradictory happenings in their culture… in a funny, slightly smart and sarcastic way. Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Borat is a classic buffoon.

I’m not saying that Terry Gross was calling O’Brien a buffoon, but she did embarrass him, and that was not called for IMHO. Today, people who still smoke are dwindling, they have become pariahs. Still, I’d like to see some anti-war PSAs like the kind of attacks against smoking, where a woman is talking through her esophagus. Let’s try and change public opinion about war, and guns. You know, this is a guy with his legs blown off by a drone. Here we have the damage a Glock can do to a brain.

Send in the clowns.

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It’s been raining here in Nashville. Not a soft rain, but windy downpours that make dogs cower in doorways. Ms Bean never liked walking in the rain, and since she received a new LL Bean orthopedic dog bed for Hanukkah this year, she’d rather curl up into her burrito pose and snooze. That familiar pup snore immediately makes me want a nap, so things are getting off to a slow start here for 2021.

We lost our AT&T internet for three days after the Christmas Day bombing that wasn’t an act of terrorism. I’m still not so sure about that, but y’all know I love a good linguistic fight. If that man from Antioch had been a Muslim, it would have been labeled terrorism. If he had been Black? Well then BLM would have been assumed to be his ideology, and it would have been labeled terrorism. But he was a 62 year old White guy, a native Nasvillian, and believe me there are not many natives left who can afford to live here anymore.

The bomber seems to have been concocting this scheme for over a year. His girlfriend reported him to the police last August, but you know she was deemed suicidal, not credible, and he never opened his door to the police who tried to investigate. Dead end. Here’s a good question: where does our individual right to privacy intersect with the public’s right to safety? Again, IF he had been a person of color, and the police were told he was building bombs in his RV, would a judge have issued a search warrant last year? You betcha!

We stayed home on Christmas day because we had no idea if there was another bomber. We didn’t know it was a suicide. People called and texted, and luckily our cell service is Verizon, we weren’t entirely cut off from the world. Then, just as Bob and I were getting caught up on the news, when our TV started working and I could open my laptop and fire up the newspapers, I heard a CNN news commentator discussing the motivation of the bomber. It seems this guy believed in some “conspiracy theory.” With a perfectly straight face, the anchor said:

“He believed that politicians and Hollywood celebrities were reptilian aliens trying to take over the country!”

This was CNN, not FOX!

Well isn’t that a fitting end to the year we’d all like to forget? I threw up my hands in disbelief and started yelling at Bob, “He was crazy!” Honestly, poor Ms Bean came running in full protection mode. But I was beside myself. When a trusted news outlet like CNN airs a piece about a suicide bomber in Nashville believing in conspiracy theories (well maybe Marcia Blackburn is slightly lizard-like) with the same amount of interest and intensity as he may have said Mrs So and So won the pie contest at the county fair, our country is in trouble.

Because words DO matter. Conspiracy theories have been around since we first learned to write on stones. But now, with social media, they can spread exponentially. A guy can walk into a pizza parlor in DC with a gun. And Mr T can say that Q is concerned about pedophilia with a straight face. In fact, we’ve elected two Q-believing representatives.

“What started three years ago as a conspiracy theory born on the internet’s dark fringes has moved into the mainstream with candidates like Greene espousing and promoting QAnon theories and phrases as they seek political office on a major party ticket. QAnon’s main theories claim that dozens of politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse. Followers also believe there is a “deep state” effort to thwart President Donald Trump. Another QAnon theory is that Trump will arrest all his wrongdoers like Hillary Clinton and send them to Guantanamo Bay. There is no evidence for these claims.”

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/12/politics/qanon-congressional-candidates/index.html

During this pandemic year, when we are all semi-isolated and stuck in our homes, conspiracy theories are ripe to infect vulnerable minds; ridiculous aka CRAZY notions are bound to take root. We’ve had four years of governing by presidential Tweet, and reTweeting of false narratives. Now, the coronavirus has a new, mutant highly contagious strain. President-Elect Biden has a hard road ahead of him. I’d like to suggest we start by calling out these conspiracy theories as lies and delusions.

I’d like to think this weather is like the wind before a storm of political credibility and sane public health policy. Happy New Year!

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The 2020 holiday season is about to get weirder. For instance, last night was the first night of Hanukkah and I almost forgot about it! It felt like I was just recovering from Thanksgiving. The laundry was done along with the turkey and scrumptious leftover sides . The garden area returned to its normal seating arrangements, and Bob replaced the fire pit’s can of propane. And last Sunday, just before popping on a plane back to LA, Aunt Kiki performed a little wizardry on my holiday card! Shhh, it’s a secret.

Then just as the Groom begins his shift in the Covid ICU, and we are all going back to being a socially-distanced-outside pod, which is our “normal” for the year, and the kiddos are back in school, the Bride lets me know that Hanukkah is coming right up. I know Jewish festivals fall on a lunar calendar, but come on, just a few days after Thanksgiving weekend? In years past, I would take each Grandchild on a separate trip to Nordstrom; we’d listen to the live piano music, have lunch and pick out something special to wear. One year it was a pair of Ugg boots.

We would also all visit Phillips Toy Mart, a family owned specialty toy store in Nashville for over 70 years. We’d watch the model trains steaming around their quaint tiny villages, and pet whatever animals were visiting, and then they could each pick out one toy. Another day would find us at another local shop in our Hanukkah tradition – Parnassus Books. And I must admit, I’d buy them whatever books they wanted. Remember, we have EIGHT crazy nights of lights and gifts for children. My trips with the Love Bug and L’il Pumpkin only covered three nights, I had five (well 10 counting 2 Grands) gifts to find yet!

This year I quickly found some books online for curbside pick-up at https://www.parnassusbooks.net/ but I still miss meandering in our famous book shop. The Bug likes mystery now, and my little guy prefers ninjas. We’ve been avoiding the mall, so I had to pull up my account at the evil empire of Amazon. Only one gift has arrived so far, a game called “Invasion of the Cow Snatchers,” it’s a magnet maze logic puzzle and thank goodness it was next day delivery! Think magnets and hilarity – “You’re the pilot of a flying saucer, sent to Earth to capture cows for scientific study. You have to negotiate your way around and over numerous obstacles — a grain silo, barn walls, crops, fences, and hay bale — to get the bovines onboard.” 

I told the Grands it was a “family” present for the first night, and since I had a huge bag of M&Ms ready to play the dreidel game after latkes, they were happy as clams. I thought of Ada while frying latkes, she gave me the recipe, but I’d barely ever made them because she always did. Yesterday it was 70 degrees! The Bride brought the children over early, since the Groom sometimes doesn’t return home until after they are in bed. He’s been working 15-16 hour days, and taking phone calls all night, he forgets to eat. The Bride has been smart to take his ICU shifts off, she will return to the ER next week.

Last night we sat distanced outside to light the first candle. We won’t be baking holiday cookies together, or shopping. I guess I will just drop off gifts whenever they arrive because it’s getting colder this weekend. We already ordered Little Passports, https://www.littlepassports.com/ so that’s two nights done.

This was us at our Thanksgiving in the garden, and our menorah last night.

slide along from right to left!

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We live in a hot spot. Let’s face it, TN hospitals are starting to fill up with Covid-19 patients, and the number of infections has been growing. Temperatures hovering in the mid-90s haven’t helped – we can’t even have a socially distant lunch in the garden with the Bride because a) NES chopped down our neighbor’s trees leaving us with very little midday shade, and b) it’s just too damn hot!

This past week the Groom has been on call in the ICU, and the Bride has been working more shifts than usual in her ER. They are lucky to have employed a wonderful nanny who is available at all their odd working hours; if something ever happens to this delicate arrangement, I am ready to volunteer as tribute! The garage would continue to be their red decontamination zone, and I’d move into the guest room.

But so far, so good.

Even though my hot flashes are long gone, or should I say my series of self-immolations have stopped, I still manage to melt in the heat and humidity of a Southern summer. I turn bright red, sweat drips down my back, even my feet get clammy in sandals. Sunscreen burns my eyes and I twitch and wipe my neck and wonder aloud how anybody ever did summers without air-conditioning. I like a cold New England climate – it must be my Irish heritage.

The L’il Pumpkin agrees with me, he hates the heat too!

The Love Bug and the Bride take after their Father – the hotter the better. Once I tried hot yoga with my daughter and I thought I was going to die. Who in their right mind would love contorting themselves in 92-105 degree temperatures?

But last week we were all sick of staying at home, walking the dogs, Same. Old. Same. Old. And on a rare day off from the ER, the Bride decided we should all go to the Nashville Zoo. Since we are members, we knew they were limiting visitors, you’d have to get timed-entry tickets, everyone had to wear masks, there were hand sanitizers everywhere, and all their paths were one-way. When she told the kiddos they were so excited, the L’il Pumpkin said,

“You mean the REAL zoo, not the Zoom zoo?”  

It was a success! Yes, it was hot and humid but we were there in the morning and stayed six feet apart. Meandering through trees and hearing monkey cries made me feel like I was in a rain forest. We had packed juice boxes and string cheese and stopped for a rest after watching the lemurs swing and groom each other. The Andean bears were playing for our enjoyment and the kangaroos were chowing down. They put on quite a show.

It was almost as if the animals were happier with less people around?

I’d like to believe that we all want to care for one another, but we still see people not wearing masks, and bars are still open. No more pedal taverns though. I hope that Gov Lee issues a mask mandate and that everyone is taking steps to slow the progression of this virus, and that TN starts to cool off. That my daughter and her husband stay safe as they treat seriously ill patients.

Our heat dome became more tolerable for a few hours last week. Notice the tiger cooling off with his paws on the glass.

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Today is a big day – we have a doctor’s appointment, but it’s not for us.

Ms Bean is due for her annual well-dog visit! She is out of her heart worm preventative and I’m pretty sure she will need a shot of something. As new coronavirus cases climb in TN, I was thinking about cancelling, but then Bob walked into my office yesterday and said, “They are doing curb-side Vet visits, we just call them from the parking lot.”

Life goes on.

We waited for nearly an hour this week in our car at one of Nashville’s three Covid19 assessment centers. You don’t need a reason to get tested in this state, but if anyone asked we had a good one. We had been vacationing in FL and nobody was wearing masks! Nurses were riding around in golf carts with their blue paper aprons blowing in the breeze. As we approached the first white tent, I was having second thoughts. But Bob was determined, so I let a nice (nurse/medicalstudent/intern?) swab both nostrils.

Ob La Di!

They gave us a paper with the website portal to get our results, and said it may take a number of days because this was their busiest day evah! I guess Fourth of July revelers were atoning for their social distance transgressions. And after hearing horror stories of an 8-10 day wait for some people, like the Mayor of Atlanta, I just tried to forget it. Denial usually works for me. But the Bride was running out of N95 masks, again, and seeing more patients with the virus.

La la how life goes on.

In TWO days Bob had his results! He is negative for the coronavirus, yippee! But then, where were my results? I kept refreshing the page, over and over again. I kept checking my emails. We were in the same car, we had simultaneous swabbing going on, it didn’t make my eyes water like Bob, maybe they lost it? Y’all know about my luck with anything remotely medical. I just knew there was a screw up, something must have happened to my sample. Four hours later:

“No Virus Detected.” I actually had to ask Bob if that’s the same as “negative,” because my catastrophic thinking was getting the best of me. “Yes, you don’t have the virus,” he said. Then he followed that up with a lecture about being super vigilant from now on – no more stores for me I guess:

Happy ever after in the online marketplace.

TN is distinguishing itself by having an alarming number of deaths due to Covid19, more than 700 so far. Just look at the graph for “Deaths per Day” data; we went from an average of deaths in the single digits, to more than 20 per day in just a week. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/tennessee-coronavirus-cases.html

Yesterday, Bob dropped off a care package of fruit and croissants for Great Grandma Ada and Grandpa Hudson. This isolation is wearing on them, as it is on us all. Life as we’ve known it will never be the same. And I have to look at the silver lining. I have to believe that Greta Thurnberg’s generation will save the planet, that our Grands’ generation just might save humanity.

Take that Ob La Di La DA!

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As you already know, the Fourth holds some significance in my family’s life. In 1949, our Year of Living Dangerously, my Father died from a brain tumor in April. The Flapper decided she needed to take a small road trip on the Fourth of July weekend that year, so she piled everyone in the car. Everyone except my brother Michael, who wanted to stay home. He was eleven years old and had a basketball game.

We were driving outside the city of Scranton to see the new airport in Wilkes Barre, PA. A drunk driver hit us head on. My Nana was holding me in the back seat, I was 10 months old, there were no child seats.

Every Fourth is a mountain for me to climb; and this year is no different. I approach the holiday with some semblance of respect. Don’t get me wrong – I love our flag, the parades, and barbeque. But I’d just as soon not get in a car.

My siblings all had different ways of coping.

Mike, the one who wasn’t in the car, threw an amazing 4th of July party with his wife Jorja every year on Lake Minnetonka in MN. He called it “the good life” and my sister Kay would fly in from NY to be with the Flapper. After all, 14 year old Kay was in a coma for a month in 1949. My brother, seven year old Dr Jim, got to ride in a fire engine after the accident. He later moved his family from California to the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

I was the only one missing. I was the one sent to a foster family, and I started my own family in New England.

The Fourth of July parade was our introduction to Pittsfield, MA. Bob was interviewing for a job as an ER doctor, and I was enchanted with the Berkshires. We sat on Edith Wharton’s lawn to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We got tickets to Jacob’s Pillow and I remembered what it meant to dance. We had the Bride in 1979, while we were living on the side of a mountain with a spring-fed pond.

The Rocker was born midsummer, at the edge of a bird sanctuary. I was writing for the Berkshire Eagle, and I didn’t need to travel for the Fourth. We were content to stay home. Bob always said emergency departments are at their busiest on this holiday.

This year fireworks are cancelled in Nashville. No parade. Our city is taking a step back because the coronavirus infection rates are rising. And bars are closed, which is a good thing.

But love isn’t canceled. Patriotism isn’t cancelled. I still love this country, despite the last three years. Happy Birthday USA! Yes our founders were slave holders and scoundrels, but they did do some things right.

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Last night, on the tenth day of protests in our country, three young girls got together on Twitter to organize a march for justice in Nashville. “Know justice, Know peace.” I had slipped out of my cocoon to visit Whole Foods in the afternoon, and was surprised to follow almost ten state police cruisers back home. Since I’m not a teenager, I was left out of that Twitter loop. But I heard the helicopters overhead as I was creating dinner with leftover chicken and chickpeas, so I tuned into the local news.

Last night, for the first time in a long while, tears started rolling down my cheeks. I don’t cry easily, but something about a big, burly Black police officer taking off his vest and kneeling down on the ground with a young girl just got to me. After dinner, we noticed a young woman with two kids in her car had a flat tire at the end of our street. Bob, of course, came to her rescue and we supplied juice boxes and snacks – it was near 90 degrees yesterday in the shade. Does it matter that they were an African American family? I wanted to hug that woman, but we kept our social distance.

I started to think about some of the Black women I’ve known over the years. The beautiful girls in my college dorm room from Atlanta who told me that the problem was precisely that I’d NEVER known any Black people before. Because I grew up in a White suburb, and all the schools and camps I’d gone to were lily white.

My Black supervisor at Head Start in Jersey City. My first real job as a preschool teacher, and she laughed at me when I wanted to pick up all the broken glass outside the school in the middle of the projects. She told me my students had to learn to play among the broken glass.

And my older Black aide who told me the children had to learn that when a building burned down, the people in charge would put up a fence around the rubble and do nothing. And all the time I wanted to fight that belief system, a system that seemed cruel and unfair.

My younger Black aide who told me they NEVER call the police, they only bring trouble. My privileged White brain didn’t understand this at first. My step-father was a judge, the cops in our town were good people. This was almost 50 years ago!

Today is Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday. She was an EMT asleep in her bed when a SWAT team of police with a “no knock” warrant killed her. Is this called “friendly fire?” To add insult to this heinous murder, the real drug-dealing person of interest the cops were looking for was already in custody. Was it a clerical error? At first the news called her a suspect! She was doing everything right, working grueling hours during a pandemic. A family member said, if they can kill Bre, they can kill anybody. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/04/869930040/as-the-nation-chants-her-name-breonna-taylors-family-grieves-a-life-robbed

My phone is reminding me to wear orange today – to take a stand against gun violence. Really? I mean, I am still concerned about the NRA in the pockets of the GOP, but I’m more concerned about police brutality and racially motivated modern-day lynchings. I’m listening and learning about racism and implicit bias. For instance, when the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, mentioned getting rid of “cash bail bondmen” I had to do some research. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/nyregion/how-does-bail-work-and-why-do-people-want-to-get-rid-of-it.html

“The most fundamental criticism of the bail system is that it needlessly imprisons poor people. In 2010, when he was 16, Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack and released on $3,000 bail, which his family could not afford. Mr. Browder spent nearly three years in jail on Rikers Island waiting for trial before the charges against him were dismissed. In 2015, he committed suicide.” Harvey Weinstein had his lawyer fork over a million dollar check.

It made me think about Sandra Bland, who filmed her own arrest in Texas because she failed to signal a lane change. A traffic stop turned ugly. She was moving to Texas for a new job at her old college, and because she couldn’t afford bail, she went to jail. She was just 28 years old and was found hanging in her cell three days later.

Here is a quote by Toni Morrison at the lynching memorial in Montgomery. “They do not love your neck unnoosed… Love your heart, for this is the prize.”  #SayTheirNames

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Last evening in America’s Capitol, peaceful protesters were tear gassed so that our toddler-in-chief could take a photo-op in front of a church, holding a Bible. Was Mr T concerned about police brutality, the seeds of systemic racism or the death of George Floyd? No, he is obsessed with his numbers, specifically his Evangelical numbers. Just like MAGA loves “the Blacks,” Mr T loves his Christians.

This morning, as I scrolled through page after page of Instagram black screens for #BlackoutTuesday, I came across a quote by Elie Wiesel: “When human lives are endangered, When human dignity is in jeopardy, Wherever men or woman are persecuted, Because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become

The Center of the Universe.  

This morning I saw a picture of Hitler holding a book, surrounded by adoring crowds. It was probably his book, but still, it was juxtaposed next to Mr T’s bible/holding/church picture… standing all alone. Ts weekends of golf have been interrupted; he’s been scolding governors over the phone and threatening to release the Army to do his bidding. Like a coward, he hides in the White House bunker and turns out the White House lights.

This morning the sun is out and birds are still singing. Summer heat is about to descend on Nashville. My phone began buzzing, alerting me – tonight will be another 8pm curfew per Mayor Cooper. Nashville PD has arrested a suspected white supremacist, 25 year old Wesley Somers, for setting fires in our historic courthouse. I had heard that something was fishy about the rioting and looting, but I didn’t know what or who to believe. Our country has seen seven days of protests; this is the 12th week of quarantine for our family.

This morning, the Bride called on her way to the hospital. I had ordered her a long cowl that can be used to cover her hair under her PPE. She said it works great, it even keeps her N95 mask from slipping. The number of Covid deaths is going down in Nashville, but I still dream about too many people gathering together. I feel sick when I think about George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe.” Is that why Mr T and most of his followers refuse to wear masks, because they can’t breathe? Or is it that they care less about other people and more about their vanity?

This morning I found Somers’ sister’s Facebook page. She’s starting a GoFundMe account for her brother who, she says, used to be into hard drugs, but turned his life around. He just got in with the “wrong crowd.” Only 25 years old with multiple arrests, including one for domestic abuse. Our city has been ravaged by a tornado, a virus, and now this, peaceful protests turning violent.

This morning I’m wondering if our democracy will hold, I’m worrying about the center of the universe. I’m thinking about the sculpture garden documenting the history of racial terror lynchings in Montgomery, Alabama at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. We were just there before the country closed down. Educate yourselves, and go there if you are White, to the Black experience. What if your son, or grandson was Black when the police stopped him for a broken tail pipe?  Read, listen and organize if you can – https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

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View at Medium.com

 

 

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We are all figuring out ways to come together while apart.

Bob and I shared cocktail hour one night in a parking lot with neighbors. Some of us sat on tailgates and some got comfy on camp chairs. While keeping the appropriate distance, we got caught up on local gossip – the last time we’d seen each other we were cleaning up the streets after our Tornado.

I like to capitalize Tornado because it seems weighty, and it was my first time cheating death by Mother Nature. And we cannot forget Nashville was already reeling, before our “Stay at Home” order; some of us had no roof, or a home for shelter.

Yesterday we ordered cupcakes from our local bakery, The Cupcake Collection. Mignon is offering curbside delivery! https://www.thecupcakecollection.com/  They had just started up their business again, after losing a good portion of their historic house to record-setting winds last month. I remember the Bride’s Italian Nanny, Giovanna, loved red velvet cupcakes. But we were hoping to celebrate Great Grandpa Hudson’s 94th birthday with some sweet potato cupcakes.

Hudson was a redhead when he was young. He lied about his age to enlist in WWII and served on a ship in the Pacific Theatre. He is the only grandfather my children have ever known since my father died when I was a baby, and Bob’s father, well, he was of no use. My children never met him.

Hudson still serves as Ada’s co-star in Nashville. But when we would visit them in NJ, he was always the fix-it guy, having actually built a hospital in Ghana once upon a time when he was a missionary. He carved gigantic totem poles, fixed furniture, the pool every spring, and any plumbing or roofing problems that might pop up. He was the husband/handyman every woman ever wanted. Over the years, he’d officiate at more weddings than I can count, including the Bride and Groom’s.

We sang the Happy Birthday song to Hudson through a glass window in the vestibule of their assisted living facility. I’m not really sure if he could hear us. Only aides are allowed in and out, but we could talk with Ada through our cell phones. Her spirit is incredible, this virus cannot diminish that resilient light. “How are my babies?” she asked me. So I told her how the Bride is home-schooling, that she has enough PPE for now, and about Dolly Parton’s gift to Vanderbilt. Dolly for President!

She said she likes my red hair, and I told her it was pink leaning toward fuchsia. Leave it to me to decide to color my hair when I won’t be able to see my stylist for awhile.

Bob and I have figured out how to use Zoom, it’s actually pretty easy. I can still take a group Pilates class once a week through my iPad. I only need a yoga mat and a foam roller. I almost don’t recognize myself in that gallery window box – who is that purple headed lady?

Some of you know that I’ve often felt like a character in an Anne Tyler novel, going about her day to day existence, seemingly normal, while balancing an out-of-control inner life. Maybe most writers live in the subtext? It’s certainly helpful right now – in this out-of-control outer life – to stay in the moment, so I thought I’d recommend Tyler’s newest book to you, since we all have a lot of time on our hands. Why not call up your local bookstore?

Her new novel is “Redhead by the Side of the Road.” It’s about second chances, it’s funny and compassionate at the same time. You might want to eat a cupcake while you read it! https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-520904645953AE18-6DD5-4CA6-93ED-99E3EFF69A4C

 

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