In 1966, the Reader’s Digest published a little story entitled “Information Please.” I was at that time a Reader’s Digest reader, spending most of my time on the little funny items under the title of “Life in the United States.” “Information, Please” is a well-written story about a child and a telephone operator. It hit me right where it should have, tugging at my heart-strings and reminding me of the intimacy between people and their local telephone operators. My cousin, Sue, was an operator in my little hometown of Clinton, South Carolina. Occasionally, when I would pick up the phone and the operator asked, “Number, please,” I would detect that it was cousin Sue’s voice and ask for Aunt Myrtle rather than giving her the phone number. She might say, “Tommy, she’s at the beauty parlor. Call back in about an hour.” Now that was intimacy and convenience rolled into one. Look up “Information Please” on any search engine and read the story. You’ll love it, especially if you remember telephone operators.
I used to have really bad headaches. According to my doctor, most of them were caused by sinus drainage. I tried everything I could to combat the headaches–aspirin, Panadol, Advil, Excedrin, Tylenol, etc. Nothing helped. The headaches, although not migraine, continued until I discovered Advil Cold & Sinus. For a while, after I discovered these pills, I used them whenever I felt that I was going to get a headache. The only problem was that I, who take blood pressure medications daily, not only rid myself of the headache within an hour but also elevated my blood pressure. That was scary. Eventually, I learned that Walgreens Cold & Sinus contained the same ingredients and were less expensive. I have checked with my primary care physician who has okayed the cold and sinus medications when used sparingly. I seldom take the pills, even when I feel that I may be getting a headache but, when I do take them, they are incredibly effective in a very short time. I’m not suggesting they would work for everyone, but it’s worth a try. There’s nothing worse than a mal de tete.
When Jeb Bush was asked about his brother’s administration in the first Republican debate, his answer was: “Well, he kept us safe.” That answer was baffling to anyone who remembered that 9/11 certainly occurred on President George Bush’s “watch.” I wonder if Republicans would admit that President Obama is the president who has “kept us safe.” He has kept us from being embroiled in the conflicts in the Mideast. Hawks would argue that keeping us safe has made us weak and appearing to be a push-over. In my opinion, George Bush ushered us into the mid-eastern mess which has led to the entanglements that we have had so much trouble extricating ourselves from. I continue to pray that history will prove that Barack Obama was a great and effective president. The attempts to belittle his administration have been unceasing but, despite everything, he has stayed the course and accomplished many good and positive things.
I go to the YMCA three times a week. Because walking from the parking lot is a challenge, I try to find a handicapped parking space, which is not always available. After my 40 minute bike riding, I exit the Y, ready to head home. This past week, when I came to the end of the row of handicapped parking places, I realized that my car had disappeared. Walking back up and down the row, I considered my options. There appeared to be only one: call 911. Before I put that thought into action, the guard of the Y parking lot walked up and asked if my car was missing. I affirmed that was so after which he asked, “What year is it? What color is it? What make is it?” I answered all three questions readily and realized afterwards that he was checking out my state of mind. When he suggested that I check the other parking lot on the opposite side, I knew right away that that’s where I would find my car. He walked me to the car, I thanked him, and I came home to confess to my partner that my sanity had been questioned.
Dimitris is a dream come true. He has been my partner legally since August 8th, and I pray he will be my partner the rest of my life. He fits into my life so perfectly, and he meets so many of my needs as the older partner in this relationship. We have learned to accommodate each other although I readily admit that he accommodates me much more than I do him. He cleans the house, does the clothes and ironing, keeps me neat and clean, drives the car when I don’t feel up to it, gets me out of the house when I would probably stay in. The one thing that I do for him that makes me feel good each Sunday morning is to bring in the newspaper. He loves checking out the coupons so I aim to have the paper on the bed when he awakes. He has many more talents for making me happy than I have, but that one little thing is important, both to him and to me. Happiness is bringing in the Sunday morning newspaper.
One of the high school courses I taught was American Literature. It is impossible to teach that class without including Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson is not the kind of writer who draws in the average high school student, but I used some of his sayings to arouse the interests of my students. Emerson said, “A foolish consistence is the hobgoblin of little minds.” How many high school students have fallen into a rut and make the same mistakes over and over. “Imitation is suicide” was another saying that applied to my students who very much wanted to be like someone else or envied someone else’s talents. Finally, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” If you never stand for anything and fight for it, you will never have been more than an ordinary person. Most of my students were aiming for greatness. Yes, Emerson was relevant to my 10th graders.