Mary Beth Writes

One of the realities I like quite fiercely about becoming an “Older Person” is this. When the world tells me how to think or feel – I recognize that message coming at me and I am confident enough to agree - or disagee - or simply walk away.

I am deliciously cranky enough now to object to signs that tell me to “Feel Joy” or or “Friends, Family, Heart” or “Love Lives Here”.   Maybe I need a sign that says, “Watch Out, She’s Deliciously Cranky” ...

When it comes to The Holidays, this attitude is interesting. If I am no longer responsible to “Celebrate His Birth” or “Make Christmas Happen”, then what’s the deal?

It’s December and all I really want to do is be awake in it.

So that’s what I am going to do here.  As often as I can get around to it I am going to post – not what I think you should see or feel in The Happiest Time of the Year.  And not what I think is Fabulously Festive or Particularly Pious.

But just what I see. Because what we see, who we interact with, what we do in our days – that’s the good stuff. In this falling apart and realigning world we seem to be living in now – let’s watch what is instead of harping at each other about what used to be or ought to be next.

Let’s just look around at December.

Have you noticed that when you feel really stressed or angy or upset – if you go outside and look up at the sky for a while – some of your urgency of emotion seems to dissipate and it is easier to breath?

December sky

I was buying bibs for my granddaughter – and this made me laugh outloud.

We put our tree on our front porch.  When it gets sunny, the porch gets hot and Lulu loves to sleep onher tuffet.  She never gets bored sleeping in the sun.

When I was a kid my Grandpa Anderson generally had peppermints in his pockets, so if I sat on his lap in church, he’d give me one. Grandma would roll her eyes and whisper a hush when the wrapper crinkled.

Decades later I read that some Hebrew Midrash writer advised giving children sweets during the reading of Torah, so they will learn that religion is sweet.  Maybe all the religions of earth should claim peppermints as our mutual communion, and hand them out to each other often.

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Love this! Especially the part about candy during church. I too am trying to notice things around me more.

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"Death Comes for the Archbishop" and How to drive to the Y without a map.

I read Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” when I was in high school. I heard it was an important book which made me curious (still does), so I borrowed it from the library and read the whole thing.

It was mud. I didn’t care about the characters; two middle-aged priests who go to the American southwest to build and strengthen the Catholic church. Snooze. Nothing cohesive happens. They do a bunch of walking around in the desert followed by episodes of trying to be helpful a few days here, a few years there. Yawn.

When Weaving is NOT a Metaphor

I wrote this 12 years ago.  It's long and even I get confused as to what I wrote when one gets about half way through this  - and I was there!   But some of you will be interested to read how those "ethnic weavings" from Guatemala begin.  Next time you buy something hand woven, for less than $20, you will understand that price is not right.

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Retirement Smackdown

I just made a list of fourteen friends who have retired in the past five years. Of the fourteen, SEVEN retired early and abruptly when their employer’s business practices, for various reasons, changed or failed.

There is a myth out there that retirement is a fixed event with a date one knows years in advance. Then at the desired retirement age there will be a company party where one gets a memento from their employer - and after that they live aimlessly, trying to find purpose.  

Cahokia

Last week we went to Cahokia with our pals, Otis and David. Our Corps of Discovery (not to be confused with Lewis and Clark’s expedition of the same name) started because, at my daughter’s request, Otis had sewn a quilt for her. Len and I decided it would be fun to drive to the central Illinois village where he lives to pick it up, thus saving them the fortune it would cost to ship it.

And if one is going to be tootling down along the Mississippi River, why not hop on down to Cahokia, across from St. Louis?

I mean, how much further can it be? 

4th Thoughts

I’m reading a new book about the Upper Midwest, late 1500’s - 1750ish.  The book is Indian Women and French Men; Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes, by Susan Sleeper-Smith - and I am reading it as avidly as my granddaughter listens to story hour. 

This is from the introduction: “In kin-based societies, behaviors change as people struggle either to attain or retain symbolic capital – what people sense as honor, prestige, respect, or authority.”

Pastor Betty Rendon has been Deported by Our ICE

This is on Facebook this morning:
...
 Here is a message posted by Pastor Betty Rendon, who landed yesterday in Bogotá after being d

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