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Happy Birthday, crime division

Just ran into my neighbour Rob, who was invited to my birthday party but couldn’t come.

“Did you get the wine I left?” he asked. “What wine?” I asked. He left four bottles of wine and a birthday card on the front porch early that birthday morning, because he had to leave town. Someone, somewhere, enjoyed some mighty fine wine. Phooey on a person who’d steal a birthday present! But then, in this neighbourhood, leaving four bottles of wine on the front porch is definitely not a good idea.
Wow – heat wave here, over 30 degrees, up to 40 with the humidity. I am abstemious with my air conditioner, but not today or yesterday – it’s a lifesaver. Especially as I had a tough day, cleaning the basement apartment in preparation for the new tenant, who arrives tomorrow. I imagined myself like the Monty Python characters in cleaning lady garb, with hair encased in scarf, shapeless print dress, Cockney accent, cigarette and mop. I cleaned not only the toilet but AROUND the toilet and scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees. The joy of being a landlady. But it’s nice and clean.
Trying not to pay much attention to the newspapers, as summer winds down. Too depressing. Though it seems Bush’s Iraq war is over. I’m thrilled to note that once again, the “New Yorker” is at the forefront of political discussion, with its current article about the ultra-right wing Koch brothers who are funding the Tea Party, the “grass roots” movement paid for by Fox News and assorted billionaires. The face of evil, there in my favourite magazine, people who want to dismantle every social program and let anyone who’s not a billionaire fend for themselves. Incomprehensible. Badly treated as children, perhaps – starved of affection and so incapable of empathy? Or just soulless and, yes, evil? What I’ve read of the article implies that their father, who made a lot of money through Stalin, felt guilty about it and grew to hate the Communists and anything that smacked of the left. So the brothers are just parroting Dad. He’d be proud, boys. Good job, getting poor people to believe in your agenda. Amazing, how you managed that.
The political discussion is so far to the right down there that I don’t know how left-wing people can stand it. Thank the blessed lord for Jon Stewart, who shows us that they still exist, people of the left with minds and hearts and, for him at least, a voice. Shout it out, Brother Jon!
My mother called a few minutes ago, to remind me that it’s her wedding anniversary. My parents were married on August 31st, 1949, while visiting friends in Chicago, and I was born nearly a year later, in Manhattan. It would have been their 61st wedding anniversary, had my father lived. How I wish he had lived.
And yet I know that had he lived, that extremely powerful, difficult, marvellous man, my life would have been very different. In some ways, his death was a liberating gift to his children. I think perhaps it’s always like that, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Rob just came by with a birthday gift, delivered into my waiting hands – a bottle of good pinot noir.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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