Friday, December 30, 2016

Separated at Birth - Maryland's Governor and Wormtail

You never see them in the same place at the same time.

In an article published today Maryland's Governor, Larry Hogan, who has a 30" neck, who told said that he would never vote for Trump called Vice President Elect, Mike Pence one of his very best friends.  And though allegedly voteless for Trump, he has apparently scored tickets to the President Elect's Inaugural.

Which gives this Separated at Birth image a bit more of a "bite", and conferring upon Hogan the appropriate title of Wormtail, and all that comes with it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Another death, and a story about afterlife

News has filtered through the ether that Debbie Reynolds has passed away, just about 24 hours from the passing of her daughter Carrie Fisher.  They are reunited in the hereafter.

While 2016 has been a one for the records for deaths, when I heard of Debbie's passing, I am reminded of the events of November 26-27, 2011, when something similar, much closer to home happened.

I have written back then of the events in 2011, just check the annual index at the side.  You can't mess with those dates.  Maybe, if you read this, you'll see what I mean.

First off, you know by now that Cookie has a very deep respect for genealogy - its is my passion and my obsession.  And I was raised at my mother's knee, so I was her captive audience for all the tales of her youth, and all of the farming families in that community where she grew up.

By the time I was 10, I knew those families well enough that its wasn't much of a stretch for me to step back from 1972 to 1932 in my imagination.   Mother's roots run deep in that part of Ohio, and in eight generations, we are either related, or family friends.  Their were no strangers in that part of our state.

But, I am my father's son as well, and that means I am a skeptic, and I have an even shorter view of bullshit and bullshitters than the old man had.

But back in that November, 2011, the husband and I were at home, and he had the day off.

I got a call from Karin, who is a distant cousin and a fellow genealogy hobbyist.  She called to say that another woman, Lucille, who was my mothers age, and who was Karin's mother's cousin was at the local hospital as her daughter had had an "episode" and was on a ventilator.  Out the door I flew, as the hospital was just five minutes from our home in Columbus.

Lucille was in her 90s.  On her mother's side, we were related through Mom's paternal grandmother.  On Lucille's father's side - an even more distant connection - but on my mother's paternal grandfather's family.  I knew Lucille growing up because when we would visit my grandfather in the nursing facility he was in at the end of his life, I would also visit Lucille's parents and their eldest daughter Jean, who was paralyzed in an auto accident from the neck down.

Jean was just about 17 when the accident happened in 1937.  Before 1930, sedans built in the US were still built with some wooden sub-members with steel encasing the outside.  Roofs on these sedans had large cutouts on top that were about four by seven feet.  To enclose the roof on these sedans, wooden cross members were factory fitted, and then a canvas top was stretched in place.  Owners then used a dressing on the canvas to keep the fabric weatherproof.  Only custom sedans had full steel tops as it was an expensive stamping given the technology of the 1930s.  It wasn't until 1936  that automobile manufacturers got really serious about making all steel bodies ALL STEEL.  GM came out with its "Turret Top" sedans with steel roofs and everyone else finally gave in.

But the car that Jean was driving was one of those pre "Turret Top" sedans.  And on a Sunday, the three girls were on their way home from church choir practice when the car Jean was driving hit a patch of loose gravel and the car fishtailed into a curve.  The impact was so strong that Jean was flipped out through the canvas roof of the sedan and her body thrown into a barbed wire fence, snapping her neck.

Lucille came too and found her leg bleeding very badly - she took off her belt and tied off her upper thigh and then applied direct pressure.

Only Mary Joan, the 10 year old sister didn't have any visible injury, she was talking, but felt light headed.

Their mother was working in her kitchen when she heard the wreck and she and her husband tore out and down the road.  Other farmers who had heard it were on the site and the sheriff was on his way.

While everyone fussed with Jean and Lucille, Mary Joan started going down hill.  She died shortly after getting to the hospital.  The coroners report showed a ruptured spleen and lacerated liver.

For the rest of her life, Lucille took a backseat to Jean's care.  And when Jean's parents could no longer care for themselves, let alone her, that care fell to Lucille.

And Lucille had her own problems.  He husband, a devilishly handsome man, suffered from debilitating bouts of depression.  Pam, their daughter fought with pyschosis.  And the son that followed Pam was born profoundly retarded, Lucille being exposed to rubella by one of students before she knew she was pregnant.

She had watched her sister die, her son die, her father die, her mother die and her sister.

Pam was all she had left.

That late afternoon in 2011 we sat with Lucille.  Her friends had driven her the sixty miles from home while Pam was life-flighted to Columbus.  The doctors wanted to meet with her and she asked me to join her two friends and herself in the meeting.  We sat, we asked clear questions,  hard questions and we made sure that Lucille heard those questions, and comprehended the answers.

When the doctors left, we were silent.  Lucille began to speak.  She said that she had dreamt about Mary Joan every night of her life after the accident, and that the dreams had stopped after Pam was born.  And she said that the Monday night before, she got up in the middle of the night, which was unusual because she slept through the night soundly, but she got up because something told her to look in on Pam.  So the 90 something mother made her way down the hall and looked in on her 60 something daughter who was sleeping soundly.

"Then I went back to my room and felt like I had to look out the window, I don't know why.  And there, in the next door neighbors front yard, was girl, about ten years old, dressed like Mom and Dad used to dress us in white cotton dresses.  Here hair was bobbed like we used to wear our hair. And she must have been cold.  Why was she out by herself? I opened the window and called to her, but she turned and went into the dark."

Then she got quiet for a minute.  She looked up at me, eyes drilling into me and said "Cookie, you know who that girl was don't you."  It wasn't a question.  It was fact.

And I said, as fact, not looking for something to say but said "It was Mary Joan, come for Pam."

Lucille thought for a minute and said "It was Mary Joan."

Pam died early the next morning, about four hours after coming off the ventilator.   Karin, the cousin who had told me that Pam was at the hospital stayed with her until she was gone.  She also made plans with Lucille to pick her up the following day to go to the funeral home and make arrangements.

That Sunday morning, no one answered the door at Lucille's.  They found her dead, in her chair in the family room.

When I told events of the night that at the hospital during the eulogy, I said that there was no way for me or anyone else to know that Mary Joan came for Pam, and for Lucille as well.

Lucille's life was one of loss and victory over death.  But God in his wisdom gave her sufficient strength to live through what she needed to live through to see the people around her shepherded through their lives, then she could rest.

Perhaps this is what happened with Debbie Reynolds.  Perhaps, it was her job to nurture and protect not only her talent, but the talent of Carrie Fisher too.  With Carrie's departure, Debbie too could pass on.

None of use knows why we are here, how long we'll be here or what our real purpose is.  Sometimes. we're lucky enough to get a hint of what it could be.

I do not believe in ghosts, but I believe in something greater than all of us, just as much as I believe in the reliability of math or science.

In Lucille's life, and her death, and in Mary Joan, I found my answer.

I am grateful to have that veil lifted that one time.

And I hope that Lucille and Debbie are enjoying one and other's company.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Pictures from Your Family Gathering

Your father.  Mention "Hillary" and you get this. 

Your Mother, who says "Now, [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE] was it really necessary - really necessary - to mention Hillary and send your father's blood pressure rocketing skyward?  I swear, sometimes I think that you must be intent on making me widow..."

Kitty Carlisle, who pukes when there are too many people around. 

Your partner's Step Father.  Just don't ask. 

Aunt Rose, the gravel voiced scotch drinker who smokes Lucky Strike's unfilitered.  No one knows how, or if, she is related, but she's known the family for years and is a fixture at every holiday gathering.  And you can't not invite her.  She's worth millions, has no children and she's just your FAVORITE (Cough) aunt there is.  And her laugh is akin to Whooping cough.

Cousin Cedelia - the artistic cousin, with the far away stare and interpretive dance in her blood.  In college, she will eschew colorful clothing for black sweaters, leggings, skirts and plain black hair dye.  She will eventually grow out of it, become a Republican.  Or a Lesbian.  Or both, 

Uncle John.  He's been to Santa School.  But refuses to play Santa because he hates screaming, crying children.  Every year he asks but one question: "Is the game on yet?"

The Centerpiece.  Someone thought this a good idea.  Its execution is never quite as good as the pictures would imply, and someone shoos you away as you pick at its central body admonishing "Stop it!  You'll ruin it."  So for the rest of the night you'll hear a plop as pieces release.  Mayo only works as glue for so long.  Trust us. 

Your father's cousin Shirley (who looks decades older than she is), her husband Mort, and their annoyingly accomplished late in life son Adrian.  Jesus, it's always "Adrian this and Adrian that. Blah, blah, blah, Adrian."  And Adrian is like a sixty year old man in a 12 year old's body.  "Adrian, wouldn't you rather go out and play with your cousins?"  "No thank you, I'll just sit here and read War and Peace."   Adrian's latest piece of art work is of his mother bear breasted, and when she shares that proud moment, it comes with a "He really is advanced in his composition and light distribution."  

Your mother's sister, "Flounce".  She was born in the mid west and her name is spelled Florence.  But twnety years ago she moved to Atlanta and now she's "from the 'South'".  

Your Brother Walter.  Walter lives in a downtown tenement, and loves to share the bounty of the world.  Walter bathes once a week because the CEO of Nestle wants to keep the world's water hostage and he thinks being stinky will cure that problem.  Then he met a wonderful woman named Amy.  But Walter insisted on calling her his "special Lady."  ("Walt, stop it - you're embarrassing me.") Everyone hoped he would marry Amy - she was the first normal girlfriend he had.  But she left. She couldn't put up him biting his toe nails.  Just - don't ask.

Cousin's Estil and Corliss.  They just stopped in "to look and everyone before we up to Corliss' Mother's house."  You offer them food and Estil says "That looks too fancy for us.  We're plain food people."  They'd just love to host Christmas next year.  

And of course:

Your next door neighbor, Miss Mannish.  You just hate the idea that someone is alone on Christmas, so you invite Miss Mannish,  You are not sure of where Miss Mannish falls on the gender identification spectrum, but since Miss Mannish introduced their self as Miss Mannish, Miss Mannish it is, and Miss Mannish it will be until you hear otherwise. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas*, and *the appropriate legal disclaimer

From Cookie and The Husband, we send you our holiday best, and holiday wishes - may your Christmas is merry and bright.*



The following Terms and Conditions may apply.  By reading this Christmas Wish, The Cookie and Doing Hard Time in Shaker Heights (DHTiSH) do not guarantee, indemnify or otherwise promise, hint, suggest and or otherwise deliver any said "wish", may it be expressed by the host of this blog, or used by the reader when redeemed.

Said sentiments are legal in your location, if allowed by local, state and Federal law, and may also be used if said reader is a resident of any other friendly nation to the United States, and are available to any adult over the age of 18 without a felony conviction in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi or Florida.  Those reading this blog under the age of 18 must do only after submitting a notarized parental permission slip.

Furthermore, said reader shall not misconstrue any such statement of wish to mean anything other than it meanings in the most abstract terms.  Do not attempt to use said wish if you, or anyone else is operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery.   In the event of an emergency landing you will directed to the nearest emergency exit.

Delivery of said wish is the full financial responsibility of the "Wishee" as are all appropriate taxes, licenses and permits needed or required to own, operate, store or build.  In some cases, you may need regulatory permission, and this wish does not cover any legal fees associated with your wish, the making of the wish, or the placement of said wish.

Discontinue the use of this Christmas Wish if exposed skin develops a rash.  Call you doctor if you experience an erection lasting more than four hours.  Do not cross go, do not collect $200 dollars.  If cabin pressure drops below a certain level, a mask will drop from the compartment above.  If you are traveling with small children, please place the mask over your own face first before placing one over their face.

DO NOT remove tag under penalty of law.  Do Not take more than then one wish, the recommended dose, as serious injury may occur.  Stop using your wish if you develop shortness of breath tenderness, loss of appetite, ringing in the ears, throbbing in your temples or a bit of the dry vag.  If the wish causes you to cough for more than 14 days, see your doctor, because it may be an indiction of other underlying conditions.

This wish is not guaranteed, however it may be void if you live in a flood zone as your standard home owners insurance may not cover damage from any high water that may result.  Eating an under-cooked wish my expose the Wishee to unsafe bacteria - please thoroughly cook your wish to an internal temperature of 175 degrees, Fahrenheit.   Do not flush said wish down the toilet because it may cause sewer issues, and repair to such is not covered by said wish.

Said wish may not be used to wish, inflict or cause harm to any person, living being or national interest.  The delivery of any fuel, chemical, natural resource, man made or natural chemical compound that may cause harm to others is hereby excluded from this wish.  Said compounds may include fuels, alkalies, acids, patent in-force or patent pending proprietary formula that can react, fizz, smoke, explode, or otherwise harm a living being.

You must be this high to ride.

And wish that can transmit, receive or otherwise emit a signal, a pulse, an electronic wave must first pass FCC approval channels.  Likewise, if you wish requires the writing of a check, it falls to the Wishee to comply with any and all ID requirements.

This wish may not be exchanged, tendered, traded, resold, and it has a cash value of 1/1000 of a cent.  Said offer may not be combined with any other wish.  One wish per visitor.

The Cool Cookie, i.e. the wish grantor, reserves the right to withdraw this offer at anytime and without prior notice rescind, modify or terminate the Christmas wish procedure.  The wish grantor also reserves the right to withhold said wish until an amount equal to the tax owed is received or a bond equal to the amount owed is posted and named Internal Revenue Service is cited as the beneficiary by the Wishee.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS include not breaking the seal until ready to use, do not shake, jostle or otherwise cause the wish to become agitated.  With six, you get egg roll.  Flush eyes with water for one minute.  Do not push the red, shiny button.  Please leave the airplane bathroom clean for the next passenger.  This is a coaster - use it.  Proper dress required.  Look both ways before crossing.   Do not spit on the floor.

Do not leave oven unattended.  Surfaces may be hot.  Freezing may cause separation of ingredients.  Be kind, rewind.  Keep hands and feet, and other body parts away from moving parts.  If you see something, say something.  Keep Off. No Parking. Yield.  Wipe your feet before entering.  Sit up straight.  Clean your plate.

And, most of all...

Do not SASS me.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Most Hated Woman of Christmas 2016, And For Good Reason

The Ugly, Old Hellkite, Herself

2016 has been a motherfucker of a year, no doubt about that.

But as 2016 draws to a close, the woman in this picture has emerged as the ugliest of Americans.

Yes, there are worse things done in this year, but this grandmotherly woman from Kentucky has become the poster child for everything that is wrong with the US.

This malevolent foul mouth creep in the blue sweater, with the Green Box, in the midst of the Christmas season - the season where we celebrate the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ mind you - let loose a racist rant on the woman in front of her because the woman let a family member throw a couple items in on her tab at the register.

That was her sin - letting someone add three or four items to the pile of things she was buying.

And it was ALL caught on video.

Of course it was.

Now, I know that tempers and emotions can run short in the Christmas season, but what came out of this every-woman's mouth was beyond vile.  Besides her obnoxious behavior, her offensive mode of "dress" (Call it white trash lounge wear), and her foul mouth, the scene she created has so angered and embarrassed people that:

  1. JCPenney has apologized for its role in training its employees to call for manager backup to get this bitch to shut her pie hole.
  2. The Mall has apologized for not knowing about it so they could send mall security to deal with this old and ban her from their property for the rest of her natural born days - and - 
  3. The Mayor of Louisville has apologized to the world for what this woman said because it reflects badly on his city. 
The only person that we haven't heard from is Kentucky Governor Matt Beven, and we won't because he is batshit insane himself. 

If you haven't seen the video, you may have some questions of your own - like why didn't anyone step up for the woman at the register, who showed considerably more grace than the Most Hated Woman of Christmas 2016. 

Frankly if Cookie were there, I would hate to think about what the jail cell I would be in for clocking the old hellkite and knocking her out cold. (No offense meant to other Hellkite's, I was just using it as a figure of speech.)

Perhaps it is the person who took the video may not have stopped the verbal assault, but she documented The Most Hated Woman of Christmas 2016 so we all can be appalled. 

The identity of the woman is not known, yet.  Her name will come out eventually.  It always does.  Right now she is probably holed up in house in a Barcalounger, muttering to herself about how unfair the world is. 

If she thinks its unfair now, just wait until learn her name. 

Full story HERE

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Real and Fake X-Mas Sentiments

We have finally got our Christmas cards DONE.

If you aren't getting one, do not I fear.  I love you so.   There are a core of people that Cookie and Husband send cards too.

And that would be the people who send cards to us.

That we like.

People from my hometown and longtime family friends.  This card thing started right after Thanksgiving.  Then they sat on the dining room table.  I would say to my husband "We really need to get on this...,"  and he would respond "OK...," then something would come up and the cards just sat.   This past week I finally had it and started on them.  They were mailed today.   Even though we use labels on the envelopes - because my hand writing is so bad - the notes inside are personalized to each person.

While I love getting the "The Family and Friends" letters they all seem a flat of the last couple years. When I read these I have a morbid fascination on how far people will take them, but with Facebook, people know you can check up on them so they hold back on the bragging and the imaginary accolades that they used to drop in, like:

"Last year Van earned a huge promotion, and a corner office.  To celebrate, we took our dream vacation to ..."

Now you can look up on Van's Facebook page and see that he is still stuck in a cube farm and hates his cube mates, and that vacation turned out to be a drive to Ohio to see the Blue Hole, or to Hayward, Wisconsin to see the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.  All perfectly acceptable things to go and see.  But they aren't something that the normal person brags about, you know?

As a side note, Cookie has been to both places.  The Blue Hole, was what my Grandfather considered a vacation.  Everyone into the 1955 Buick Special and an hour and a half we passed under the stone arch and once our tickets were paid for we marched down the path with dozens of other people to look a hole in the ground filled with crystal clear, ice cold, blue water.  That was the Blue Hole.  Nothing more.  Simple pleasures.

The Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in upstate Wisconsin has things you can do.  Like go inside the gigantic fiberglas fish.  Up the stairs and you come to a balcony that looks out of the one fishes mouth.  And that's that.

Anyhow, Christmas cards seem to be the one tie that I have to the analog world, and as long as they make them, I will send them, with a personalized message.

Our picture of day is a faked Christmas image from the 1950s.  It's been fixed - when Cookie found it in its original state, the reds had been replaced with magenta and the blues had turned gray.  Blame it on that God damned Ektachrome film that Kodak pushed out after the War.  Unlike Kodachrome, which produced luscious colors, crisp lines and was very stable, the cheaper Ektachrome film was faster, cheaper and terribly unstable.

Overtime, the green dyes broke down leaving things PINK, MAGENTA and PURPLE.  If you know what you are doing, its snap to fix these images.  If you don't - like me - its an effort of playing around until you find something that works.

Besides the fact the image is posed, the snow on their laps is fake and there is no snow ground, which makes it hard for a sleigh to travel.  Actually the fake, wire posed "reigns" that the guy is holding are only about nine inches long.

What's ironic is that if you are a certain age, and your parents were from that generation, you remember these images.   And they do stand for something - a reminder to the Christmases the way we insist that they used to be, not the way they were.

Just like Christmas cards, I will believe in these images as long as I can.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

DHTiSH 2016 Christmas Holiday Bingo Card

Cookie gives you his 2016 Christmas Holiday Bingo Card.

Retired for this year are:

* "What do you mean your gay?"
* Getting hammered in front of Mom,
and everyone's most dreaded
* Wet kisses from your grandfather.

New for this year are:

* Christmas at Disney World
* Tree Toppled Over by Cat
* Carolers in Restaurants

And remember, this Christmas isn't about making more than your stuck up brother, or buying your child's love with more toys than they have sense, or even feeling guilty about why you haven't given your mother any grandchildren.

Christmas is about simply getting through it without doing something or saying something that will cause drama and a family schism.

There, now isn't that easy?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mike and Carol Brady raised her better than this.

Every family has at least one child that seems to drift away from the values and lessons that the rest of the family have embraced.  And eventually, the kid will drift back.

But if the parents are total assholes, in the very least, dysfunctional one would hope that the kids could escape that and get help and live fully healthy lives.

Then you have a lovely, lovely family, like Mike and Carol Brady.  Never mind that they are fictional. The lessons taught on their show about understanding, honesty, respect for ones self and others are lessons that an entire generation of American child, now adults, embraced.

Sure it was make believe.  But when a Brady kid did something, like wear a big brown wig so she could not be in her big sister's shadow, developed a terrible imitation of Jimmy Cagney Disease, they would get a talking to.  And it had to be something terrible -  for some horrible transgression, like when Cindy Brady tattled on others, then they got hauled into dad's den.

In others families, it was that family's version of Devils Island - your room.  But with Mike and Carol, it was always about reason and self awareness, not being back handed for sassing Alice.  

But who would have ever thought that Cindy Brady's Susan Olsen, with those golden sausage curls and innocence enough to carry a Kitty Carryall doll when she was young would turn out to be such a fat, foul mouthed, Cheeto loving right wing "Coughing Until Next Tuesday"?

Apparently, Susan has been fired from her job on radio following a number of vitriol laced posts on her Facebook page.  How bad could it be?

Yes, sad to say that even Carol Brady would be appalled at how Susan Olsen turned out.

But, just as there was a lesson to be learned, Susan now has plenty of time to reflect on her actions.  Her employer has kicked out on her ass and locked the door behind her, so reports the New York Daily News.  

Even Jan is disgusted. 

So for once, it isn't Jan who is feeling sorry for herself, it's Cindy who is kicking herself for her big, fat mouth.

*Used in the British sense.

See: Actress Susan Olsen Fired From LA Radio Show

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"...Why I'm the nicest person I know!"

Bobby Brady knows a bitch when he comes up against one.

Gay men do a damn good job at taking the shit that people throw onto us and sling it back.  But sometimes, the hurt cuts a little deeper than we can freely admit, and the cut never really heals.  And like they say, hurt people hurt people.

At the last high school reunion I went to, I made a promise to another 50+ year friend that I would find it in my to forgive one of childhood tormentors.  A woman named "Benita"*.  As a child she was short in stature and in temperament.   She was the type of person who, after you raised your hand and giving the right answer, because you had done your homework, would call out "Mr. Hawthorne, Cookie just stole that answer off my homework notes."  Never mind that she was writing down what I was saying while I was saying it in pink ink, this was Benita's game. And she was good at it.

Benita would say things that ended in a sneer.  She would see a project that you had worked on and just put you and it down.  "Is that your paper?  I don't need to touch to know that its pure shit."

Mr. Hawthorne, who was a sister in my spirit, pulled me aside and complimented my work.  "You really loved writing about this, and it showed.  Your sources were excellent.  And don't let others tell you that you didn't deserve that grade.  Trust me, you did the work and it showed, I gave them what they deserved for the amount work they showed."

I loathed Benita.  And had carried that loathing through decades.  Kick a dog, and they remember.  And shame on you Benita for kicking me.

In my new high school, there was none of that.  Yes, there were bitches, but truth be told, I never had to deal with them like I had to deal with Benita, who drifted away and out of mind.

But, my allegiance is to my friend Rachel because, well, after 50 years when you are really friends with someone because they are good people who make you a better person, you know that they are on to something.

So at last reunion I made it a point to speak with Benita.  I was about to say I was letting go of my anger when she asked "Where did you go after 8th grade?"

We moved.

"But why?  Why leave Shaker?"


"What do you mean because?  Shaker was just the best, ever."

And I stayed silent.

Then I said "We left Benita, because the opportunity came up for something better, and it was.  I got to go to high school with great people, I got a great education."

And Benita says, I kid you naught, "But we could never have been friends.  I am never mean to anyone, but we had nothing in common.  Why I am the nicest person I know..."  And she continued "Me, I, Me, blah, blah, blah, Me!"

And there it was - that click with the whole "Who me?  Why I am the nicest person I know..."

After Benita got done talking about herself, she left for her table of friends every step thinking she had just made my day, I turned to Rachel, who was standing there and said "I tried."

And Rachel said "I know.  I try every day." She gave me a hug.

The lesson that you need to learn yourself, after telling others it for years, is that an honest to God real bitch is clueless about their impact on others.

They don't care.

They don't care to care.

And they will never care enough to care enough to wonder "is it something I said?  Something I have done, ever?"

They don't care that you care.  In fact, according to them they are wonderful, you are the one with the "problem" because they are the nicest person they know.  

Nope, because a bitch like Benita sails through life thinking that they are nothing but the nicest person on earth, and they will shit all over your parade because that is the way they are bolted together.  And in her mind, anyone she shits on should be happy.

Surround yourself with Rachel's.  Rachel's are worth more, anyways.  And Benita?  I wish her well.  I gave her a chance, and this time she got the answer wrong, all on her own.  B-bye Benita.

*And no, her real name isn't Benita.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

1969: Pimpletons Opens its Triangle Square Store

There is always an ounce of truth in advertising, Grant Tingley used to say.

Take this Pimpleton's ad.

"If You've Never Been to Pimpletons, Then You've Never Been to the NEW Pimpletons!"

Can't argue with that logic, can you?

Mr. Tingley said that Mrs. Gertrude Pimpleton was so taken by the Kennedy Center that she wanted the new store to mimic its modern lines and grand promenade.  Mr. Pimpleman sure got his money's worth.  They had also planned an apartment complex near the mall inspired by the Watergate to be name Akromore Gate, but the plan fell through when the owner of the 3-D Drive in refused to sellout.

Father used to love shopping with Mother at the Triangle Square Mall store.  While she would head to the Queens Court, Pop would saunter to the Taxidermy Studio for some relaxing and lessons on form molding, and skinning.  Their Sweet Tooth Candy Counter was a kids dream, and who didn't love those chocolate Pimpltons - when you bit into them egg cream would ooze out.  Perhaps skinning a chinchilla wasn't your dad's idea of fun, then he could the Vitalis treatment in the King's Lair, or hang around with the rest of guys who were waiting by the lower level men's lounge, where buxom young beer maidens served Ballentine with panache and gusto.

During Christmas Time, the store shimmered, but it was during the Festival of Purim that it really was festive, with a costumed Haman plotting extra discounts for women named Esther.

Despite the glory that was Pimpletons, it came to an end when Blemishmen Brother's opened their store, which included an AMC Dealership.  Who wants to hang around a taxidermy studio when the all new car from AMC (the first WIDE small car) is going to be unveiled.

Its not a question.  But a statement of fact.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Back in the day, the stores had their own credit cards

Grandma always used to say that Costigan's was expensive, and that unlike Macy's, their sheets seemed to wear out quickly.  Well, it was built into their name "New sheets?  Thats the second set you've bought this year, Maude.  There's that cost, again."  They did carry the better items, like Herculon impregnated wallpaper, the latest fashions from far away places like St. Louis and Pierre (South Dakota) and they had a grand court with a skylight up above.  Women, dressed in the finest new fashions would spritz you with cologne, and each clerk knew to ask "How may I be of service."  Two days after shopping a lengthy thank you arrived.  How nice it was.  Then things changed and Sears came to town.  Costagain's held out longer than their sister stores, imbroglio's, Podunks of Cresent City, and Fishkills.  They had a discount chain as well, Cluster's, but shoppers found it confusing as the departments and rows were moved every night to provide a new shopping experience every day.  But their all gone now  Last I had heard, the grand downtown Costagain's location that once housed a six-story Christmas tree, delightful cafe's and it's own subway stop, had become a Pizzeria Uno, but my sister informs me that it is now the home of Mother Waddles' Mission of Perpetual Healing and Nail Salon.  

Kornhieser's customers always aspired to shop at Costagain's, but the monthly checks from child support always seemed to show up late, if they showed up at all. And even then, all the checks from all the father's had to show up just to afford a cup of tea in Costigan's Plaid Room. Still, their boys "Korn Husky" section was tops in the tri-county area.  Who could have imagined that blue jeans can in so many shades of dark blue?  And while their Petunia Porcine line of clothing for chubby girls tried every it could to herd them in, its was their meat department that packed them in.

Even though its been fifty years, I can still smell the stale popcorn roasting under a heat lamp. Shopping at MacSwartz's meant being organized.  When dad needed a pair of white socks to wear with his grey work pants and black oxfords, Mom would load us up in the car and off to MacSwartz's to rummage through their loose sox section.  When my sister hit "that age" and stopped wearing Carter's, she'd wander off to the mismatch cup bra bin to find something to make her feel grown up.  "It's Nifty! It's Thirty! To shop at MacSwartz's" was their jingle that crackled over the speaker.  Woe to anyone who tried to make a return - Mrs. MacSwartz, who was born in Glasglow's Jewish neighborhood was good for sizing up those who didn't know the store policies, and those who were her family members.   Eventually, MacSwartz's closed and was replaced by an indoor Yahtzee arena. 

Mother would make us dress in our finest if shopping to Mufferaw and Crewl was on the list of errands to run.  We were greeted by valet parking, and doormen. Inside, the dark paneled walls stretched from marble floors to ceilings two and three stories high.  Men in cutaway coats bowed to us as we made our way to the Buckingham Room for a hearty meal of cucumber sandwiches and weak tea.  They had the largest selection of walking sticks, silk ascots and elephant guns in the area.  They had to expand to Swale Plaza during the post war boom - this meant that instead of familiar pneumatic tubes that carried the sales receipt up the cashiers, that actual cash registers were installed - a first in its 100 year history. Mother said their downfall was the store at Black Dahlia Mall.  The silks seemed less diaphanous, the furs seemed less lush and dyed. School girls cutting through the store on their way to shop at places like Merry Go-Round, a misnomer if ever there was one. From there it was literally a downhill skid to Hamburglaton and finally the miasma prone Lerghey Heights store with its shockingly modern revolving door.  When the announcement came that the stores were shuttering, management did not say that they would close, but "we will no longer receiving customers at our locations."  Dignified until the end, the main store downtown is a Korean "health spa".

Sunday, November 27, 2016

1970 Gift Ideas: So why douche like your grandmother?

Well there Miss Deer in the Headlights? We want to know.  Do you wash your mimsy like the grandma?

"Deary, when you wash your lady parts, remember the Johnston Flood..." you can hear her saying.

You could have had this.  No more Lysol like Gram.  Nope.  Not you.  You need this thing.

Discreetly designed to look like a WaterPik.

How much?  The ad doesn't say.  So in 1970 terms, it's expensive.  Maybe $99.95.

Well, what do I know about the secret lady parts, anyway.  To me you take a couple moments in the bath or shower.

And as a public service, who would buy their grandmother a an electric douche nozzel?

According to the last paragraph, the Aqua Fem makes a great gift.  Until gramps confuses it for his WaterPik.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When you fall down, you gotta get right back up, again.

That's right people.

It has Cookie a week to start to feel normal.

We will get through this, we will endure, and in the long run, we will survive.

But I have come to the conclusion that while Donald Trump is dangerous, Mike Pence is scary dangerous.  HE, in the long run can end up screwing all of us out happiness and security.

So what to do, what to do, what to do?

Start NOW.  Get involved in your LOCAL Democratic Party.  Volunteer.  Help write policy.  Throw fundraisers.  The work to stabilize the Senate following the 2018 midterms (and there are shitload of vulnerable Democrats up for reelection that year in the Senate) and take back the House of Representatives.

And you need to DEMAND that it isn't going to be business as usual in the DNC.  Trump and his supporters threw business as usual out of the window a week ago, so that has to stop on our side.

FINALLY - life is not a passive engagement.  You have to fight for every inch, and then you have to fight for more.  The 2018 midterms are less than 24 months away.  We have to start now, not in 20 months.   We have to make up a lot of ground.

So get yourself up, dust yourself off and work like hell to dampen down Trumps last two years.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Remember folks, voting for Donald Trump... like calling a vibrator a "personal massager".  Everyone knows what it is.  Everyone knows that you won't use it to relax your neck.  He is going to drain our batteries.  He cannot get the job done.  And if elected, he is going to try jamming laws down our throat that wreak of ass.

Make sure you vote for Hillary on Tuesday - our LIVES may very well depend on it.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Mikveh is a bath. A mitzvah is not.

So here I sit, in Ohio.  No!  I am not sitting in that room.    My room is more like this one:

Now, before you go all gaga, it's a hotel in Central Ohio, not a suite on a river cruise.   And this building is FULL of millennials.  I feel so old. 

And I am not here for fun - I am here for the funeral. 

Yes, I decided to make the journey.  

So here I am, eating what I want.  Watching what I want.   Wearing what I want.  Not closing the door.   I am enjoying this way, way, way too much. 

So, why did I decide to go to the funeral?

Well, it's the proper thing to do. 

One of my Ohio friends, Max, who doesn't know yiddish as well as he thinks he does, proclaimed over the phone that my coming was a ceremonial jewish cleansing ritual. 

"That you are doing this is a real mikveh!"


"A MIK-veh, a mikveh." 

For the uninitiated, a mikveh is a cleansing ritual that conservative and Orthodox Jewish women take after their menstrual cycles so they can sleep with the husbands.  Reform Jewish women simply go to lunch with their friends, or bridge club. 

In Shaker Heights, in my youth, the Stone Family - that owned American Greetings had a large modern house west of Warrensville Center Road.  The house, built in the late fifties, had a swimming pool in the living room, which was used for the combined mikveh and bridge club, one day a month, and by invitation only. 

Max's problem is that he confused "mitzvah" - a good deed done without want of recognition - with stanky Hoo Haa. 

I had to ask the nagging question.  "As in a 'bar mikveh'?"  I wanted to see how far this would go. 

"NO!  Silly.  It's a bar mitz-VAH.  I'm talking Mik-VAH - you know, a good deed and a celebration."

I then explained that he meant MITZ-VAH.  "A bar mikveh would be a bunch of 13 year olds gathering for a ceremonial bathing - like at the country club pool in summer."


"And no, this isn't a mitzvah." said I.  This is doing the right thing for my late co-worker.  A Mitzvah would have been driving back here when she was alive and holding her hand while she was in hospice.  

So coming back is about her.  But it's also about me.  I need to do this for me. 

Funerals honor the dead, but as the last six months have taught me, they are really about helping the living to carry on.  

And I need to do that, for me. 

So, here I sit.  In a motel full of millennials, a Diet Rite Mandarin Orange Diet Soda and living large for the moment.  For on Saturday, we grieve.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Should I stay or should I go?

Word from the Ohio's came down on Saturday morning that my beloved former co-worker, Becky, has died.

She was only 58.

When I started working at the Statewide Trade Association in 1993, Becky was there.  We had a lot of laughs.  She was an excellent person, a hard worker and she had the luck of Job.  But she kept plugging away.   She was good at what she did and she was good to work with.

This past summer they discovered that she had a gliboblastoma, a brain cancer as ugly and cruel as it sounds.  About eight weeks ago she had an operation to remove the tumor, and they were able to get most, but not all.  Shortly after surgery, she had a stroke, and for the past seven weeks, bit by bit the cancer took its toll.

Former coworkers have kept me in the loop.  I knew that the end was near for her on Thursday of last week.

Now that the memorial service has been nailed down, Cookie is really torn about whether to just send condolences, or to go and grieve.

She was a good person.  She deserves this act of respect from me.  She earned it.  But frankly, Cookie is exhausted - mentally and physically from the past couple months, and another short range trip with hours of travel time isn't first on my hit parade.

Its an eight hour drive to get to the correct Ohio, then its another hour and a half from there to memorial service.

At the same time, I would feel very odd not being there.

I can get into the hotel that I love.  But there is an Ohio State game at home that weekend, and that means that all manner of idiots will be about.

But mostly, I am sick of going to funerals and memorial services for people who have cut down in life too young, damn it.

I have to ponder this, damn it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

And then there was Rhonda...

This ad reminds me of one of my step mothers.

Cookie had many.

With a father who was married more times than Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky, its easy to get confused.

One of his wives was very nice.  Make that two.  Or was that second woman just a woman who was in and out of his life?  No, I think it was the second "Mary", Unibrow Mary, as we used to call her.

As I have said before it was a mind boggling parade of floozies.

But the "artiste" stood out.  Her name was Rhonda.  "Ronnie to my friends." She was very tall, had been a "dancer" and would brag about how she loved culture.

To one of my cousins she reported said "I just love, love the Boston Pops, Public Broadcasting, and - if I may - loved listening to the Longines Symphony when I was a child."

My cousin, having been born in 1938, was just a few years older than Ronnie at the time, and said "The Longines Symphonette?  Like on the radio?"

To which Ronnie answered "Yeah,I just imagine all those society people in the concert hall listening to them, like I was in my house."

My cousin hadn't the heart to tell her that the "Symphonette" was recorded in a studio and was an advertising gimmick.  "I didn't want to 'bust her bubbles, y'ah know?'"

Rhonda was also a lover of wigs.  In the three months that she was married to our father, I don't think anyone saw her real hair.

My mother met Rhonda once, at a school function when she came with my father.  "Cookie's dad wanted me to wait in the car.  And I said 'like a common dog?'"

It was an art open house and I remember my mother's response.  She turned her head to my father and raised her left eyebrow.  That was all.  My father turned red as raw meat.  

"Rhonda, there is nothing common about you," said my mother.  "Let's get you a cup of punch, right over here and chat..."

When it was time to leave, my mother shook Rhonda's hand and said that she enjoyed meeting her.  Rhonda, who was wearing what I have come to call her "hillbilly hair" (A woman's mullet down to her waist) smiled and said  "Yeah.  Me too."

In the car home my mother said "If your father's wife Hee Haw ever offers to drive you anywhere do not get in the car with her.  Is that understood?"


"Because, that's why."

Well, that opportunity never came to pass because Rhonda and my father went their separate ways when my father came home about a week later to find the silver gone, Rhonda's clothes gone, and a note, which I my mother told me "explained why she was leaving and signed in a lipstick kiss."

Why did she leave?

"Because, that's why."

Why did Dad tell you what was in the note.

"Because he did, that's why."

Sometime later, the divorce was final, and the silver reappeared.  And Rhonda was not spoken about, mainly because it was a matter of weeks before "Sharri" ("That's Shar-ri, with an i...") appeared, and the who cycle repeated itself.

Years later when my father was married to the last of wives, a miserable shrew who we call "Shark" (and who is still out there, somewhere, stalking her next piece of prey) we found one of Ronnie's wig cases.  Inside was a wig - brittle with age, and a rats nest of a mess.  I thought about keeping it, but what I do with it.  We also found a newspaper clipping, brown with age mentioning "Randy Ronnie" and naming a club in Cleveland's Short Vincent block.

I showed it to my mother, and she asked why I had kept it.

"Because, that's why."  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I hate costume parties

The next door neighbors are having a Halloween Party a week from today, and I really am not in the mood.

It's been a rough year to begin with, and "fancy dress" parties are not my idea of a good time.  Maybe its my personality type, INFJ, or just being an introvert, but they overwhelm me.  Especially STRAIGHT costume parties.

At gay Halloween parties, all bets are off, as are the good taste sensors.  If this were a LGBT Party I could go out, buy a purple sweatshirt, run it through the wash with chlorine bleach to make it a lovely shade of Lavender, then write DYKE CHARM SCHOOL ADVISER with a black Sharpie on it.  Slap a couple pearl button earring and a fake pearl necklace and *BOOM*, done.

But at a straight party, a) No one would get it, or b) there would be an offense taken.   And since we have to live with these people, I can't run that risk.

My other issue is I can't shave off my goatee.  I have had one since 1985, and this incarnation has been on my face since 1991.

So, I have chosen to go as the most boring man alive, and second Presidential debate superstar, Ken Bone.  I'd only have to shave off the chin whiskers, I could keep the mustache, a red sweater and khakis.

Last year, the husband went as the next door neighbor's dog and won a prize.  But the dog has died, and it would be in bad taste to go in the same costume.  I though about spraying it down in snow like flocking, then he could go as the dog's ghost, but that would be in bad taste.

IN OTHER NEWS, guess who Cookie was grocery shopping with today?

United States Senator Babs Mikulski (D-MD)!  Well, we weren't shopping with her, but she was shopping when I was shopping, so we were shopping together in that sense, but we were on the same salad bar, and in the same check out line .  Babs, in my world she lets me, not you, call her Babs (to you she is "Senator")  is about 4'9" tall.  She's adorbs!  Anyhow I mentioned to Bab's that my friend Lori, from Massillion, worked for her in the eighties and we had a nice chat.

This goes on top of my meeting the man who will take her place after the upcoming election, Chris Van Hollen, last week at a neighbor's function.  Chris is a doll.

Add that to fact that the husband I hang out at the same neighborhood joint as former Maryland Governor Marty O'Malley, and Cookie is in the thick out of it.

So anyway, that's my check in for the moment.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

This whole Donald Trump thing... really working Cookie's last nerve.  Really.

Now the Creep is sowing the seeds of a fixed election.   So now all of web toed cretins who support Trump, think Putin is dandy, are now willing to resort to violence to over throw any election result that doesn't put their man in the White House.  And that's treason.  And Cookie wants no part of that or them.

Well, of course its fixed - more people hate, despise, recoil and eschew him than support him.  In that sense, the election is fixed because the majority of voters refuse to elect him.

The man is simply repugnant, vile, off putting, smell and just plain gross.

And don't even get me started on his deformed penis.  You just know that he has one.  Shriveled up like a stale Cheetos.  Dripping something nasty and incurable.

He just makes you want to do one of two things:

1) Vomit



Damn it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The weekend that Cookie had more Pussy than any time in his life

Well folks, Cookie has never done acid, but I would expect that the past 24 hours is as close to it as he'll ever get.

And, Cookie can honestly say that he has never had so much pussy.

And pussy is everywhere.  We all have been exposed to a whole lot of pussy, haven't we.  Not a question, it's a fact.

I can't get away from pussy.  Every place I turn is pussy.  Pussy in the papers.  Pussy on the Internet.  Pussy on network TV.

Can you fucking believe it?

Talk about surreal.

While Cookie is one not to say I told you so, but I did tell you so.  People like Donald Trump cannot help but shoot themselves in the foot.  They are so enamored with the dulcet tones of their own voices that they just can't shut their yaps up.  And when it comes to talking about something you love as much as pussy, well, the Donald cannot be expected to contain himself.

There is a down side to all this pussy.   Kind of ruin's Donald Trump's chances of being president.  Doesn't it.

And I know how we feel about that.

You just know that Angela Merkel is breathing a sigh of relief.  Can you imagine Donald Trump on their first meeting - not reaching out to shake her hand - but popping a few Tic Tacs in his mouth and then making a grab for pussy?

Sure, he's got absurdly small hands, but that just meant that when he would have reached out and made a grab for that British Prime Minister Theresa May's pussy that he would have had to exhibit some finesse.

And that is something Donald Trump has shown us he has in spades.  Finesse.  You could hear it in his voice when talked about Nancy O'Dell's furniture needs:

Trump: "Yeah, I'll show her some furniture."

Now we did not see him doing anything when he said that, but we heard the people on the bus make that WHOOOA sound, so you know that those pussy grabbing hands made a grab at his crotch.

Cookie has heard a penis called many things, but never "furniture".  That's a new one on Cookie.

And I just can't imagine his first meeting with Queen Elizabeth when he makes a grab for her pussy.  He'll already be bent over in a deep bow.

Not only that, but the makers of Tic Tac's are now begging for us to forget the connection between Trumps mouth and his appetite for Va-gee-gee.

However Mentos is just thankful that Trump never discovered that they were the Fresh-maker.

All in all, there are twenty-seven world leaders who are women, and they are all shaking their heads at the stupidity of some American's for backing this boob.  And they are all thanking their God that he'll never make a grab for their genitals, or ask them for a Tic Tac.

And who would have thought in the 2016 election that Billy Bush would be THE Bush in this election.

Finally, there is my new hero on the Right, Ana Navarro.  Ana Navarro is a take no shit, take no prisoners breath of fresh air.  She put Scottie Nell Hughes in her place. And bless her for taking the word pussy away from men and giving women the right to say it.  Damn, now that's a woman I can get behind.

Friday, October 7, 2016

First Class Cold

Well, you may have been wondering what Cookie has been doing.

To be honest, not much. I have come down with the cold that you get after flying.  Bother.

Monday I went to the doctor and he seemed concerned, but declared it NOT a sinus infection, but a common cold.  He did give a flu shot, which made me feel miserable for a day.  But I saw the doctor.  That's the point. I am on the road to Wellville.

Every cold follows this pattern: day one, tickle in your throat; day two, runny nose: day three, stuffed up head; day four, cough in your throat; day five fits of coughing - and - days 6 through 30 fits of coughing that do nothing for you.

Based on this calendar, I am on day five.

And oh, the good news just keeps rolling in.  (Blogger needs a sarcastic font.)

A friend from high school died from liver failure.  He wasn't a drinker or drug user, but they think it might have been hepatitis.  Anyway, he ignored the symptoms thinking it would go away and by the time he got to the doctor he was too far gone treatment or transplant.

Look folks, if something is wrong with you, for God's sake go to the doctor.  Failing to do so isn't going to result in it clearing up on its own.  Save yourself.  If not for you, for the people who love you.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to slather Vick's Vapo Rub on the bottoms of my feet - its the only thing that stops the coughing.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

That Commuter Train Wasn't the Only Thing That Went off the Rails Yesterday

If you are a regular follower of this blog, then you know that I have lost my lost my mother in 2010, my father in law in 2014, and my mother in law in 2016.

Last week, it was my brother.

Then, four days later, our sister in law (widow of the Husband's late brother) lost her brother to cancer.

Yesterday, my mother in law's beloved dog Chloe died.  Chloe had been living with my sister in law.  She was a lovely dog, loveable on so many levels.

Today, Cookie is sitting in the Delta Sky Club in an airport waiting out a three hour layover to get home.  I am recovering from yesterday's funeral for brother, and I am drinking like a fish.  What do I care, it's free.

Yesterday started out as it should.  People dressed for the funeral, my sister in law's family members were there - they are from the west coast.  Cookie's family was represented myself and Older Brother.
Because we were raised Jewish, Sister in Law arranged for a "Rabbi" to do the funeral in conjunction with her church's minister.

Before said funeral, we met the minister and the rabbi who was wearing a cowboy hat, who seemed nice enough.  But the Rabbi was wearing a cowboy hat.  Both Cookie and older brother wanted to speak, so we introduced ourselves.

Right after introducing himself by name, said Cowboy Rabbi identified himself as a Messianic Rabbi.  
Now for those of you who don't get the American Jewish "thing", in a nutshell, we work out of the old testament, with three main schisms (in order of adherence to the Torah, which is Orthodox (the most), Conservative (the middle ground) and Reform (the most liberal).  Notice I didn't say Messianic.  That's because to a Jew, the Messiah hasn't come.   To Messianic Jews, Jesus is the Messiah.  Think Jews for Jesus.

And do you think that Cookie grew up in a Jews for Jesus household?

Oh, Hell no.

So the minute after he said that he was Messianic Rabbi, the trolley into the unknown started down the tracks.  And where it stopped, not I, my older brother or our East Coast Niece (ECN) knew for sure.

Jewish funerals are simple and short.  A prayer, the life eulogy, eulogies from those who knew the deceased, a closing prayer followed by seven days of being told to eat.

We made it through the eulogies - Cookie managed to "keep it together" until the end of the eulogy when I wept, and hard.

That was when Messianic Cowboy Rabbi took Cookie into a bear hug and announced that the eulogy I gave was the most loving that he had ever heard.

At that moment, Cookie, Older Brother, ECN and her husband knew that the funeral train was about to go off the tracks in spectacular fashion.

What followed was twenty minutes of ranting and preaching and personal testimony from Cowboy Rabbi about how he and father and mother came to know "Jesus."

We were forced to listen about his father's death, his mother's death, his underground belief in the Messiah, "Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."  He shrieked into the microphones, stomped his cowboy boot, slapped his thigh.  He was so consumed with the spirit that I could have sworn Billy Sunday was back from the dead.

Between his yelling and weeping, we all became very uncomfortable.  It was so personal that it caused Older Brother to turn around and say "I wasn't aware that this service was about Cowboy Rabbi

I answered back "Maybe should should bill him for the therapy session."

Finally, ECN got up, went to the pastor at her mother's church, who reeled in Cowboy Rabbi, who apologized for being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Cookie is convinced that had he been left to his devices, snakes would have been brought out for us to handle.

Finally, when it was over.  I went outside and had a good scream.

I wish I would have had the presence of mind to get my iPhone out and tape his ramblings, but I was so shocked by his denouncement of LGBT rights that I just sat there controlling my rage.

When West Coast Niece, WCN, came out she looked visibly shaken.

"Now I know why Dad didn't want a memorial service."

I had to get out of there and left to go back to my hotel and a shower.

So now I sit in an airport lounge, in Salt Lake City, wondering if any of these people would have felt different.  Or if they would have sat enthralled while Cowboy Rabbi gave his testimony.  Or would they have been as appalled as I was.

Right before I left the funeral home, Cowboy Rabbi came up for another cringe worth hug.

Where are you from, he asked.

I told him and he said "Really, I am headed that way.  Maybe I will look you up."

"You do that, partner," I said.

Yes, you just try it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Once is enough

I learned a lesson when I was in eighth grade.  A classmate lost her father, suddenly, to a heart attack.  She and I were friends, and her parents and my mother were friends.  His death was an enormous shock.   Feeling it the right thing to do, I expressed my most sincere condolences.  Two weeks later, as I was leaving the orthodontists office, my friend, Jane walked in as I walked out.  Along with her came her mother, looking like Jackie O in a black trench coat, black hair and huge black sunglasses.  I didn't know what to say or do, so I offered my condolences again.

And she ripped me an asshole.

"Cookie, you have already done that and you shouldn't have done it again," she snapped.  This was followed with a lot of hateful things that lashed out, at me, that had nothing to do with me.  I was just the 13 year old who made a mistake while trying to do what he thought was a good deed, but cut open her grief like a freshly jagged wound.

Not knowing what to do, I left.  walked home, scared and scarred.

Lesson learned - never repeat a condolence.

Second lesson learned was Jane's mother called to tell my mother what I had said and how she laid into me.  She was sorry.

Lesson learned - losing someone you dearly love hurts so bad that it makes you do things that are outside of personality.  Forgive them.

Third lesson learned was from my mother who sat me down and explained that while my intentions were good, that once is fine, "Then it becomes about the living."  She told me that being sorry was OK, but what people needed to know was that if they needed anything, to do it for them.

"That says I care about you without bringing the hurt back up, OK?"

These are lessons I have carried forward.  I still see and talk to Jane - we've been friends for 49 years.  And I show her I can by being there for her, especially when the anniversary of her father's death roles around.

So when my brother died, and unable to be comforted by other members of the family, I tried to be considerate of others and their expressions of caring.

And then there was Twila.

Twila is the mother of one of our neighbors.  Twila is a talker.  She will talk the bark off a tree.  She means well, but her yap keeps going and going.  She means well, but she's a talker.

And it just so happened that Neighbor and his wife went on a second honeymoon this past week, leaving Twila and her husband "Rollie" with the three girls.

So I learned about my brother being in cardiac ICU on Wednesday, the day Twila and Rollie were on their own for the first time.  And there was some pleasant chit chat.  Then Audra, the nanny came out and she and I chat when I walk the dog.  Because I know Twila is a talker, when Twila went inside I whispered to Audra what had happened to brother.   Audra called me up about ten minutes later and said "Twila knows - she has ears like satellite dishes."


Next time I took the dogs for a walk Twila nailed me and the agony of it all enveloped her like a form fitting girdle.

"Oh, how horrible about your brother being on life support, and blah, blah, blah..."  And unending twenty minutes of her writhing in the misery of his situation."

So I hid.  And then brother died.

And the next thing you know, Twila was at the door wanting to know how my brother was doing, and I said "He's gone."  And then we had all sorts of commiserating on death.

On and on, Twila was in fine form.  I would have told her to piss off, but we are friends with neighbor and wife and frankly, I was just numb.

That was on Thursday.   On Friday it was a repeat of the day before, with Twila enveloped on the shroud of woe.  She asked when the memorial service would be and I replied next week.  After that I didn't leave the house.  I didn't feel like it.  And I just didn't want another encounter.

Saturday was our block party for the neighborhood and we hosted the port o pot on our driveway.

I was watching the set up and speaking with another neighbor telling her about Twila and her preoccupation with lingering death talk when said neighbor said "Is she short and round as she is tall?  Blue gray hair?  Because I think she is waddling this way."

Sure as the sun sets in the west here came Twila, lawn chairs in hand.  And verily she had her homing instinct on me.

I said hello and out of her mouth came "I wanted to come over and ask about your brother," she turned to Amy, the neighbor I was speaking to, and said "you've heard his horrible news, I am sure."

After three days of prying, three days of endless chatter, multiple sympathy cards, and plaintiff looks as if she was going take me to her bosom so I could cry the tears she had yet to see me shed.  I snapped.

"Well, no change.  Still dead."

Twila looked at me and without missing a beat said "I know that, honey. Such a tragedy, blah, blah, blah..."

Later Amy sheilded me when Twila looked like she was making another beeline for me, only to cut half a cake for her dessert.

"Did you realize that she hasn't offered to do anything for you, she just wants to obsess about death. I think she needs one of them Harlequin Romance novels refocus her attentions.  Poor dear, probably doesn't get a moments rest driving those three girls to three different soccer league games in an afternoon."

Twila is staying another week, and I am flying on a plane, first class to Brother's funeral.  When I come back, Twila will return to her "rancher house" with her husband, on the eastern shore.  I booked a flight that gets in at midnight - a safe time, I hope, to avoid her she she choose to continue haunting me.