I have a wonderfully talented family–two sons, Boh and Todd, and a daughter, Robin. All three are married and have each given me one grandchild–Gracey, Luke, and Carli. The boys have both been into music for many years and have, in the past few years, achieved the status of being professional musicians. Boh does keyboard work and arranging with Peter Cetera and David Foster. He has a concert upcoming with Ricky Martin. Todd is a sax player and vocalist with Alan Parsons Project. He has a gig in Mexico City sometime this month. Robin has always sat back and applauded her brothers’ musical abilities until recently when she joined a music group and became their vocalist and guitar player. The group, called the Blu-Tones in Naples, FL, entertain at schools, nursing homes, and other small venues. Whereas I am accustomed to having two very successful musician “children,” I now have three. Good for you, my talented daughter!
Halloween is approaching. Kids will be out trick or treating. The weather will be cooler. Usually the scare tactics involve ghosts and goblins, bloody corpses, bats, witches, all employed to scare us. However, this year there is another word that scares many people even more than the spooks of Halloween. It is “Obama.” I wish I could say that it’s only Republicans that use that word to introduce fear into people, but it’s Democrats as well, especially those running in this November 4th election. Republicans have used every tactic in the book to make the Obama name scary and something to fear. I imagine that 150 years ago, many people, especially in the South, were doing the same with the name of the hated Abraham Lincoln. Time will tell. Have a happy Halloween and, for goodness sake, respect your President. He deserves your respect whether you agree with him or not.
Once, when I was still teaching Composition I at St. Petersburg College, I received a research paper on commercials. The paper itself wasn’t bad, but the author had misspelled the word “commercials” every single time. It became “commericals.”The misspelled word that I read over and over and over had a certain ring to it, and I have found myself mispronouncing it in my mind ever since. However, it’s not the spelling of commercials that draws my attention most but the repetition of the same commercial over and over during a thirty minute period. I am a fast-forward person on the TV, using my DVR to avoid commercials as much as possible. However, I can’t help but notice even at fast speed how often the same commercial is repeated. What a lost cause? Why should Cialis show me their message three times within thirty minutes when, if the commercials were spaced out, other potential clients of the medication would more likely be exposed to its benefits. I will admit that occasionally a commercial strikes my fancy, and I enjoy its repetition. Recently I have enjoyed the CVS commercial which announces the new CVS policy against cigarettes. The ad includes two gay men, something you don’t see too often.
When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, I worried greatly that he would be assassinated by some racial bigot, just as Abraham Lincoln, the other President from Illinois, was slain. Obama is known to revere Lincoln as his idol. Certainly Obama, like Lincoln, is dealing with a United States that is almost as polarized as it was during the Civil War. Now that six years have passed, I have seen a president wrestling with an economy that almost fell off the brink. I have seen him press for relief while dealing with a Republican party that votes no on matters that would benefit and help bring relief to those struggling with job losses, bankruptcies, and foreclosures. I have come to realize that though the President may not be cut down by a single bigot, he may be “slain” by John Wilkes Booth once more in the guise of the Republican party that has vowed to see him fail. If that happens, we will grieve once more for a great statesman who sacrificed his political future in order to insure that the United States of America will remain the greatest nation in the world.
I am a closet meteorologist. I have never had any formal training, but I applied, when I was in the Navy, to be just that–a weatherman. With my English teaching background and a remarkable typing ability, the Navy decided to train me as a yeoman, a clerk-typist. I have always had some kind of rain gauge in the yard, usually these little glass tubes that must be emptied after a rain. Currently, I am using an Oregon Weather Station that records the amount of rainfall as well as measures the temperature outside and inside. I check it frequently. During the summer when we in west-central Florida watch the tropics for tropical storms, I find myself sometimes pulling for a big storm–a hurricane. When I hear weather people say that the storm is going into an area favorable for development, I find myself rooting for the storm. When and if a storm does actually come close to my area, I then begin to back off and feel concern. I think my interest is something like our fascination with automobile accidents and fires. There is something in our nature that seeks excitement in weather phenomenon regardless of the risk it may cause.
Before I started traveling so much, I was staying home cultivating my garden. When I write “my garden,” I must qualify that statement as it sounds as though I had acres under cultivation. Actually, I had at most two plants: one Big Boy tomato and one cherry tomato. What a joy it was to shop for two beautiful tomato plants and then watch them grow and develop the first baby tomatoes. The last time I tried growing tomatoes, I employed the hanging upside down method. Although I had some of the greenest, healthiest leaves I had ever seen, the production of actual tomatoes was minimal. Nowadays, I don’t dare plant tomatoes as I am on the go too much. I recently returned from seven weeks in Europe and thought when I arrived at home on September 30th, now is the time to plant tomatoes in central Florida. However, with a Caribbean cruise upcoming in early December, once again the effort would end in abandonment. I surely would enjoy once again the taste of a deep red home-grown tomato. I suppose I’ll have to be satisfied with a can of Diane’s Garden tomato juice.
One of the best gifts I have ever received is my rain gauge. My second best gift was my night-lights that turn themselves on and off. The rain gauge sits on the small table beside my bed where I keep my alarm clock. I check it daily and even more so on days when we have rain. Yesterday was a banner day for rain gauges in St. Petersburg, FL. We had 2.36 inches of rainfall before the day was over, and I watched the gauge rise steadily. The gauge doesn’t change numbers one at a time but, when it is raining heavily, adjusts itself sometimes in .10’s. If it is raining more slowly, it usually adjusts when there is another .03 inches of rainfall. The best thing about yesterday’s rain was that it was a record breaker for my gauge–I had never before seen the rainfall top 1 inch in one day. I understand that that happened several times during September, but I was away from home at that time so today was my first day to celebrate seeing a rainfall of more than 1 inch on my rain gauge. I hope it’s going to be a wet winter.