No Hurry, No Worry

I wrote this a long time ago. At that time I was both hurried AND worried; I’ve still working on being “no hurry, no worry.”

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Somewhere I read that a butterfly’s wings beating on one part of the world may cause a tornado in another part of the world. True or not? Who really knows? However, I believe that, unlike the butterfly, good things and good intentions really do have a global effect. Consider this: an unexpected act of kindness can not only change lives, but change attitudes as well.

Every so often we’ll hear of something lovely, such as a waiter who is given a thousand dollar tip “just because.” Or we see a young boy on televison who decided to make sandwiches and bring them to the homeless people in his town every day. This boy used his allowance and money from his lemonade stand to help others in his town who were hungry.

We have heard stories of kindness all over the world; the policeman who saw a homeless man with no shoes on in winter and took off his own socks and boots and put them on the homeless man’s feet. There are probably millions of acts of kindness all over this world; some we hear about, and some are not heard, but the kindness is still there.

Funny thing about kindness: it not only makes others happy, but it softly pushes us to be kind to others, including ourselves. People aren’t always what they seem, either: that angry old man who never responds to your “good morning” may just be lonely. The Downs syndrome girl who always asks how you are is not to be pitied; for she is working and helping people every day, and she is proud of her job.

Kindness costs nothing, but brings great and humbling change to us all. Even though the world seems in constant turmoil, there is still kindness out there. And while we tend to forget the turmoil, we don’t forget the many kindnesses we’ve seen or have been given. And it’s such a little thing; opening a door for someone who arms are full, or telling that helpful girl at the bank how pretty her hair looks, or pulling a can of soup off the top shelf in the grocery store for someone who can’t reach it.

Kindness is truly part of all the “good stuff” that is around us each day. It more than makes up for the bad stuff, believe it or not. When I was working, I tended to always be in a rush; I felt I had to do everything right now. The man in the cubicle next to me was a Korean gentleman who always seemed relaxed and happy. He would see me running around in my usual hurried way, and say, “please—come sit. Relax.” And he would pull out a chair for me. He would say, ‘relax, breathe, no need for hurry.’

Amazingly enough, he was right. Just a few minutes of kind talk and looking at his serene face made my whole being relax. I never told him this, but his kindness made my day so much better. To this day when I let myself get all worried and hurried, I think of him and I relax, breathe and realize that there is no need for hurry.

It is a kindness for us to take a break, relax and breathe. All of us deserve kindness, even our hurried ourselves.

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Our garden is generally the Crankee Yankee’s domain. He plants everything, and puts up fences around each plot to keep the critters out. My job is to pick the produce when it’s ready. Each year we plant the same things; tomatoes, peppers, garlic, corn, cucumbers and mint. Even though we do this every year, it’s still fun to see how everything grows.

Of course, we always plant way too much of everything; that’s when we put out bowls of the stuff for our neighbors to pick up and enjoy. There’s something so satisfying about a garden; no going to the store for produce. Oh, how I wish that we could grow avocadoes; but our climate just doesn’t work for them.

When I was a child, my grandmother still planted her garden based on the “victory gardens” of times gone by. She even grew watermelons, which, as a child, I adored because I thought that you only got watermelons at a store. She used to tell me about how you couldn’t find fruit or vegetables in the stores during the war; hence the garden.

It’s funny how you adapt to a garden; you plant the seeds, and you get produce. Even though I know that I am eventually going to be making loads of tomato sauce and stuffed peppers, I still enjoy the whole process of a garden. Amazing isn’t it; truly you reap what you sew.

 

What We Keep

I wrote this quite a while ago, but it still stands.

Anyone who has had to clean out a house faces this same situation: what do you keep and what do you let go? We have a storage unit in Wolfeboro, NH that harbors some of the stuff from my parents’ house. Slowly but surely we have been winnowing away what to keep and what to put in auction.

It’s sadly funny when you are in the position of going through your parents’ things; things that you have lived with as a child. Take for example my mother’s love of brass things, especially lamps. I’m not a fan of brass myself, so I am always happy when we can put them in auction.

When Mom was dying of metastatic breast cancer, one of the first things she did was to invite her friends over. She and I put out all of her clothing and jewelry in the living room, and friends were encouraged to pick out what they wanted to remember her by. It was one of those times where you laughed and cried, and then laughed some more. It made her happy to gift the people she loved with her things. This also made me happy as well.

By that time I had already picked out the things that I wanted to keep. That was a day of laughing and crying and laughing some more. And it’s funny how time goes by; after the death of my mother I felt off-course for a while. I grieved her and yet I laughed when I thought about the amazing woman she was and how many lives she touched. She really put the “B” in “ballsy” too; she was a true force of nature.

The same sort of thing will inevitably happen to the Crankee Yankee and I. It will be fun for me to let our grandgirls go through my jewelry and clothes; when that day comes, I will send a lot of laughter to my mother. It reminds me of what she always told me: “things don’t really matter; people do.”

We Could Use a Big Dose of Funny

I wrote this years ago and I still laugh about it.

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My standard line is that I have a serious medical condition –– a low humor threshold. Honestly, it doesn’t take all that much to make me laugh. I grew up watching the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, the Little Rascals, the Marx brothers and Warner Brothers cartoons. All I need to reduce me to near incontinence is seeing some gal dressed to the nines getting a pie in the face, or some guy slipping on a banana peel.

The Crankee Yankee and I usually start our day with the following (and extremely old) joke: “Dear, this coffee tastes like dirt.” “Well, it ought to––it was ground this morning!” And we are off for the day. It’s stupid, but effective. The following jokes are what I call the Seafood Medley:

  1. “A man walks into a seafood restaurant and asks the waiter: “Do you serve crabs?”Says the waiter, “Sure, sir. We serve everyone.”
  2. “A man walks into a seafood restaurant and asks the waiter: “Do you serve shrimp?” The waiter replies, “Sure, Shorty–sit down.”
  3. “A man walks into a seafood restaurant and asks the waiter: “Do you have crab legs?” The waiter replies, “Why, yes, I do. But I wear long pants so no one notices.”

(And right now I am laughing so hard the tears are streaming down my face.)

Let’s face it, life can be tough sometimes, so if you can get at least one good laugh a day, go for it. It does wonders for your outlook, for your health, for the effect you have on others, and just in general-–laughter is a great thing.

Once you get the hang of it, you can see the humor in practically anything. You know the old song that starts with “Look on the sunny side of life?” Well, my personal motto is “look on the funny side of life.”

While there’s a whole lot of funny and sad out in the world, and I find that the funny usually outweighs the sad every time.

 

Adapting to It All

As we all are now used to wearing masks around people and keeping social distances, we almost can’t remember how things were before the pandemic. So many of us had to shelter in place, leave their jobs, take their kids out of school and so on. Our way of life has changed greatly.

But with great change comes great learning. Of course things are not what they used to be for now, but we can and do adapt. Kids are not in school, parents are home and we can’t go visit our loved ones in hospitals.

However, there is a bright side to all of this. So many parents are out of work, and their kids are at home. As frustrating as this can be, some good has come from being together. Parents now have the time to teach kids how to make meals, bake, cook, take care of the house, change a tire, play games and so on; these are valuable life lessons.

These times are rocky and uncertain, but this doesn’t mean that we have lost our country or our values. Many of us remember hard times and how we got through them. I’m sure that in plenty of households parents are telling their children about the “olden days” where there was no TV, no internet, no cell phones, and so on. When children asked what they did to pass the time, they now know about playing games together, reading books and/or reading to each other, telling stories and becoming closer.

Even something as scary as this pandemic, there is always something to be learned. As years pass and the pandemic is over, many of us; especially children, will say in years to come how we survived the pandemic and made the most of it.

 

 

How to be a “Lady”

When I was in grade school, there was Home Ec (economics) for girls and Shop for guys. We girls learned how to sew, how to make jam, how to put a dinner together for our families, and how to run a household. The guys learned how to use tools properly and make things such as wooden foot stools, tables and so on.

Beyond the Home Ec for us girls, there was also a class offered on “how to be a lady.” Generally our mothers, grandmothers and aunts taught us these things, so we had some idea of how to be a proper female. In the “lady classes” we learned how to walk properly without swinging our hips too much (Heaven forbid that we attracted the wrong men by doing so). We made sure that when we dressed that our petticoats didn’t hang below our skirts and dresses; that was called being “slovenly”, and so on.

We also learned that it wasn’t “lady-like” to slump in a chair; we learned (painfully) how to sit up straight, knees together and ankles crossed. Then we learned the following things that we should never do, such as:

  • No slumping when sitting ever.
  • Should you have your purse with you, it wasn’t lady-like to “root” in your purse; that is, you didn’t go digging around in it in front of people.
  • A lady should always carry a clean white handkerchief with her. Should you need to make a lady-like sneeze, you were to turn away from everyone, blow your nose as quitely as possible and put the used handkerchief discretely back into your purse.
  • NO gum chewing EVER.
  • NO yawning EVER; it was considered “class-less” to show all your teeth.
  • Absolutely no burping or farting; you had to hold it in until you were away from people.

Of course there were loads more do’s and don’ts as well. These days these sort of “ladyisms” may sound silly, but at the time things like that mattered. To this very day I still sit up straight in a chair with my ankles crossed. Funny how that training way back when stuck with me. Back then, the worst thing a woman could be called was “common.” That meant that you were a nose-picker, a butt scratcher, a farter and burper out loud and basically a social loser.

As one of my aunties used to say, “oh, my stars and garters!” How things have changed!

 

Don’t Give Up on Humanity

It’s easy to find a lot of jerks in the human race, but trust me—there are more good people out there than bad. We may never know why someone is cruel and nasty to others; they may have suffered a loss, they may have lost a loved one, they may have gone through a terrible experience; we can’t just judge by appearances.

You may look enviously at a well-dressed person; you may think that this person has everything in the world that they ever wanted; that they have family, friends, a nice house and lots of money. But we can’t know a thing about that person unless we get to know them.

Someone may have hurt your feelings and you have to wonder what is so bad in their lives that they take out their anger on someone who had nothing to do with it. But we can’t know what is in their hearts and mind that they would lash out at you. I used to be outraged when that happened to me; but as I get older I understand more that people who are hurting are apt to hurt others. As a friend of mine once said, “hurt people hurt people.

But then, there are those people in our lives who make us happy and give us hope. I am grateful to my heart and soul for those wonderful people in my life. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but that doesn’t mean the end of our friendship.

In these awful days of riots and yanking down statues, there are still people who are good and work hard to keep peace. Take the police in any state; of course some will make huge mistakes and do the wrong things, but for the most part they are doing all they can to keep the peace, keep law and order and so many of them have good hearts–pretty hard to keep when everyone seems to be hateful to them.

As bad as things are and may get worse, let’s not give up hope. Let’s not give up on humanity. Let’s try to be the best kind of people we can be. Let us read (or re-read) our history to understand that slavery and all the other awful things done in our country were part of the times. It doesn’t make it right, but it was part of our history at that time.

Please let’s not give up on humanity.

 

69 Years Old Today; Oy Veh!

I woke up this morning and realized that I am 69 years old—

So where does that leave me; am I going to mold?

Time flies by before you know it:

You’re a baby, a child, a teenager, a young woman, an old woman, too–

Who would believe life would go so fast with yet so much to do?

And where in the hell did those damned wrinkles show up

When did I become an old dog from a pup?

But 69 is a milestone indeed,

Thankfully I can still walk, run and read—

Time, it goes by

And Time doesn’t stop—

It gives you backaches and bad knees

What’s next; an invasion of fleas?!

Bette Davis said it right: old age ain’t for sissies—

So let there be shaky knees and attitudes pissy,

At least I’m still here, telling bad jokes and writing bad verse

Just remember this; it couldn’t be worse

At least I’m not yet lying in a hearse!

 

 

Finding Out Who You Really Are

Just speaking for myself, growing up wasn’t always easy. You start out as a baby, then grow into a child, then a teenager, then an adult. You go to school, make friends, learn to love some of your classes and hate some of the others. You may or may not love sports, you may be a solitary reader, you may make loads of friends or only have one or two really good ones.

You may look at other kids and be jealous that they are popular where you may not be. You look enviously at the popular girls who became cheer leaders; they are cute, thin and popular; you are none of those things. In fact, you are awkward, unpopular, and you don’t seem to fit in anywhere.

You quickly learn that trying to fit in with the “in” kids doesn’t work; they can spot a loser in a hot second. You try being the funny person, but your jokes fall flat. You try talking to one of the “in” crowd girls; they want nothing to do with you. Then there are boys; the only boys who pay any attention to you are the male outcasts.

It took me years to finally understand that I was all right just being ME. Once I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t, I realized that I was ok just as I was. And truly, we are ALL meant to be our own selves; it has nothing to do with popularity, wealth or fame.

In high school, there was musical theatre, and I finally found where I belonged. Our school did one musical per year, and people like me realized that we truly found our place in the sun. Being the show-off that I was, I always tried out for lead roles. Sometimes I got them, sometimes I didn’t. But it was all wonderful, and it made me feel that I had finally found the place where I belonged.

It’s a wonderful thing to realize that you are just fine as you are. You might be great at sports, you might be a terrific writer, you might have A’s in every class, or you may be fabulous in musical theatre; you finally have found what you are really good at.

This becomes the path in your life that determines who you are and what you can be. You finally realize that you are ok as you are and you don’t have to be like anyone else. Never feel that what you’re good at doesn’t matter; it means EVERYTHING. Also you may never know that people may be envious of you simply because you ARE you.

Just be YOU; there is no one on this earth like you.