perspective

Voting

Voting is kind of a big deal to me.

Don’t get me wrong…I hate the politics, the mud slinging, and the animosity. The ads, the flyers in the mail, and all that other garbage isn’t my thing. Still, I get a little choked up when we stand in line and wait our turn to cast our ballots. My parents taught me it was a big deal. I’m not perfect in voting in runoffs and other local things, but I do show up for many voting opportunities.

This time around, we’ve already been inundated with media about long lines and voting issues. I opened the “wait times” webpage for my county on the first day of early voting. The first day had the lines at 7 hours at one polling place! My husband got it in on the third or fourth day. When I saw “15 minutes” one Friday after work, I pointed my car in that direction.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon. A bit of chill and breeze in the air. People waited in a long line that stretched around the fairgrounds. Everyone had masks on. People gave each other space. The man in front of me had scrubs on and had his wife and small kids in tow. People brought lawn chairs just in case. It was peaceful. The line moved along. People of different races, different backgrounds, different experiences and belief systems. We all just waited our turn.

Clipboard man came out with armloads of 10 at a time. Instructions were shouted. People followed along. No drama, no fisticuffs. A sharp contrast from the mutiny and anger we see in the news. I will say there were several armed officers standing by. Hopefully they were not the cause for the calm. An insurance policy I’d hope we would never need.

I waited maybe 30 minutes. We moved through the stations quickly. The poll workers were as diverse as the line waiting. All ages, genders, races. People I wouldn’t envision sitting together at a restaurant table or bar working in concert, communicating, even laughing. Filling a role to keep this democracy thing going.

I got my card and my “voting stylus” – a new pandemic souvenir. I voted. I scanned my ballot, which I don’t remember doing before. I took my sticker. Almost 10,000 votes had already been cast at that one voting place in day 5 of early voting.

I guess I’m just nostalgic, but my chest swells when I think that I get a voice in making these decisions, and my voice is just as important as any other. There are always problems. Voter suppression. Intimidation. I’m not naive enough to think there aren’t people actively trying to undermine something so important, powerful, and influential. But for the moment, I am celebrating the fact that I get to play a role in the process.

If you can, VOTE! And tell the people that matter to you to do it, too.

family

9-11 or 911 or…

As the days approach 9/11 I reflect back on this date for many reasons. For me, my reasons are nothing like those who lost loved ones that day many years ago and I acknowledge that. 

What I do get to think about is what I was doing on that day, who was with me and where I was at that stage of life. How the world seemed at a standstill after that event shattered the world. Similar to the blank state of mind where we have been stuck with Corona of late.

My parents were visiting for my middle child’s 1st birthday all those years ago. Unable to fly home due to the safety concerns. Almost 20 years later and more turmoil in the world. Again flights are limited or not recommended. Another date I’m missing my dad that I had with me in that memorable time but not today.

My son’s first birthday. How far he is from that pure innocent child at such a ripe age. Now a maturing adult navigating life in such a complex world. Not realizing he lived through 9/11. Twisting around looking at my daughter who wasn’t even born yet. She doesn’t even recognize the magnitude of 9/11. She has toured the area in NYC but still lacks the depth of my experience on that same day. Just interesting to think about.

When I titled this article 9/11 or 911 I did it accidentally but then wondered if there was a coincidence that the date 9/11 was chosen due to the significance of 911 or emergency call in our society? Maybe that’s a dumb question but honestly it’s the first time it hit me front and center. I’m sure the backstory is in one of the documentaries but I hadn’t really acknowledged that point until now. Almost 20 years later.

Maybe I have always thought of this date in different ways and didn’t notice that coincidence. What do you remember about this date? How are you impacted when the date surfaces each year? Do you see any similarities to the pandemic of today? Just a food for thought post. Looking back almost 20 years to see how the world has changed and how much people in your life evolve in such time. 

friendship

My New Friend

His name is Garry. The spelling with two R’s is just as odd as the friend pairing. His age and mine are not even close but we met by chance.

A solid 30 years separate the two of us but our first conversation came easy. There was a common denominator to make the sparked connection but personalities added flair for sure.

Phone numbers were exchanged through a third party and then texting became a communication point. Funny on many levels but I do believe people cross your paths for a reason.

I had recently lost my dad and now an older gentleman entered my life under odd circumstances. I consider it a sign in a way that I was meant to have him around.

I even asked if he was gonna be my friend. He chuckled in person when I asked, but then signed a text BFF. I didn’t even know older people knew text lingo. Surprise to me.

Not sure what the extent of our friendship will be at this point; however, I made a new friend and that’s what important. This post was written Father’s Day weekend 2020 although it’s just posting now.

I could have been missing my dad when I felt the need to write about my friend encounters.

family

Missing You

The last few days I have been missing my dad or the spirit of my dad.

Grief is a funny thing. It creeps up on you at unexpected times. It can be just a flutter in your heart or a vivid memory jerking the tears.

For me I have a night time shirt. An XXXL-type shirt bearing his photo. Not one I would wear out but one that’s comforting for those sleepy days. Maybe the visual on the shirt sparks the memories. Maybe it was the card in the mail from hospice on grief. Maybe it’s just the dust settling. I’m really not sure the nature of its source but it can take your breath away.

No matter the source I miss my dad in all forms. His younger vibrant days as my dad when I was a kid. The middle of the road days where he helped me navigate adulthood. To the end days when he needed help eating his dessert. I just miss him. There is really no replacement.

As life lessons need to be passed to my kids I find myself thinking what would he do. For now I cherish the memories and honor his spirit as I push forward.

I may never say goodbye to grief but I can push through the sadness. He would expect me to. Writing is a great form of therapy for me. If you lost somebody close to you, journaling your thoughts is always a great opportunity to push through the sadness.

I also have a great bestie named Teddie to hang with me as I write and today it was a nice cold glass of almond milk to wash away the woes.

Until next time…

dare to be different

Brass Ring

“Breaker 1-9, Breaker 1-9, this is the Brass Ring.”

Road trips as a kid, from Georgia to Michigan to Western New York and back again, I heard it over and over.

Back before Waze.  Before GPS.  My Dad had his CB radio in the car, listening in to truckers talk about traffic, road conditions, and all kinds of other topics.  Back before podcasts and Audible and Sirius, there was CB radio to pass the time and exchange information. (There was also= 8-track cassettes and the States and Capitals game, but those are for another post.)

Brass Ring was my Dad’s CB handle.  Why the Brass Ring?  When I was growing up, one of my Dad’s many interests / hobbies was carousels.  He owned a small merry-go-round when I was very young.  Even after he sold it, we kept a full-sized carousel horse in our living room. We had a kids’ barber chair shaped like a carousel horse on our front porch.  We had a number of carousel-horse art piece throughout our home.

What’s the Brass Ring?  In the early 1900’s, many carousels were built with a “game” for the riders on the outside ring of horses.  Someone would slide rings down a dispenser, and you had to reach far out from your horse (while it was moving) and try to grab the brass ring.  Many of the rings were iron.  It took courage, skill, timing, determination, and luck to grab the brass ring, the real prize.

In my many years of riding carousels with (and in memory of) my Dad, I’ve only ridden 1 with the ring game.  I was probably in my teens, riding the carousel in Coney Island.  Many people don’t even know the brass ring exists.  I leaned off my horse and tapped the dispenser several times around before the old man working figured out I wanted to play.

I recently started a new business.  When trying to think of a solid name with some history and meaning, I remembered my Dad and the Brass Ring.  He used it as his persona.  He said it with a big-fish swagger, even though we were usually traveling along in a conversion van or minivan. He owned his place in that conversation, no matter what he was driving.

As I push forward into something new, I hope I carry on his swaggering spirit, as well as the courage, skill, timing, determination, and luck it takes to claim the real prize.  It will take some reaching. I may feel like I’m losing my balance as I really stretch. Sometimes I’ll pull the iron ring.  But if I just focus and stay in the game, my turn at the big prize will come around.