Papa

This is a re-post from last year’s Father’s Day post. I’ve posted this several times, but I can’t do any better on Father’s Day.

(This is the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral.  He died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 96.)

Papa’s obituary was correct and factual and in that way it matched him.  He was an engineer, and he was nothing if not correct and factual.

For those of you who are touchy-feely personalities, you probably thought it was terribly dry, and you don’t really have a feeling for the man whose life I honor today.

But correct and factual actually embodies him better than many of the other things I can say about him.  That’s not to say he was uncaring, or cold – unless you think the rock your life is built on is uncaring or cold.

To me, he was strong, solid, dependable, deep, supporting, and faithful – qualities I’d opt for any time over sweet, sentimental, emotional, sensitive and demonstrative.

I remember in the movie “Love Story”, the main character was estranged from his father, and said “My father never wrote letters to me, he sent Memos”.  When we heard that my sisters and I looked at each other and said, “So???”  Papa used to always send us memos in school.

To:  Abbie

From:  Papa

Re:  Funds

Do you need any?  How are your grades?

Love, Papa

When Ray was just 2 months old, I became gravely ill.  Al and I were still in college – Al was about to graduate – we had NO money – we didn’t know what to do.  So Al put Ray and me on an airplane and shipped us back home.  I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, Mama was working at a new job, so during that time, Papa took vacation from work and stayed home to take care of the new baby.

I don’t know many grandfathers who thought their “baby days” were over, who would have done the same, but there was never any question about it with Papa.  He just did what needed to be done.

Papa loved to fish and, although he was a loyal churchman, we occasionally could convince him to take us fishing on Sunday mornings – particularly if he had caught a line full on Saturday.  In Arkansas during the summer the only time the fish will bite is early in the morning – right during church.

I remember my sister and I convinced him to take us on a float on Little River one Sunday morning from Cerra Gordo, Oklahoma to Little River Country Club.  Someone would drive us up-river where we would put in about dawn, and then we would float back down to the club.  As I said, this was a Sunday morning, and Papa’s conscience must have gotten the better of him, because we did the middle three miles singing “Love Lifted Me”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and all the other good old revival songs at the top of our lungs.  We sang the verses and Papa provided the oompa-pas.

As an engineer, he always loved to stick his head under the hood of any car around.

That’s Papa with two son-in-laws, two grandsons, and his only son.

Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1993.  Papa took over running the house as Mama became less and less able to keep up with things.  But he didn’t do it like a woman would, he did it like an Engineer with schedules, and flow charts, and checklists.  And he never complained.  He didn’t take up cooking, he took up shopping for microwavable dinners.

He let Mama keep doing the wash – because it was one of the things she could still manage, until the day she emptied the trash into the clothes washer and started it running.  Papa was taking a nap in his recliner in front of a baseball game when he heard a terrible rattling and clanging coming from the laundry room.  Empty bottles and cans were agitating in the washer!  But he didn’t fuss.  He just cleaned out the machine, and put a lock on the sliding door.  He continued to care for her at home until the sibs and I finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing either one of them any good.

He was a great tease and kidder.  It is one of the things that never left him, even at the end of his life.  Clara, one of nurses in the health care unit, said a few days before he died, he was semi-conscious, and she had just finished taking his blood pressure.  She leaned over him to straighten the linens on the other side of the bed and suddenly he popped his eyes open and said “Boo!”  Then he just grinned.

While we lived in New Jersey, Mama and Papa became friends with one of the preachers at the church and his wife.  Orville and Margaret Austin remained friends for 30 years, even though they moved away in 1963.  They really enjoyed playing bridge – men against the women – because the women claimed the men didn’t really know what they were doing.

I think about 7 o’clock last Monday evening, Orville and Margaret and Mama were gathered in heaven to meet him with the cards already dealt.  “Sit down.  What took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you for 10 years.”

He was my foundation, my rock, my underpinning, my support!  He was my father, and, although we had him many years longer than the biblical three-score years and ten, it was still too short a time.  Someone once said, “You are old when there’s nobody left to whom you are a little girl.”  I miss him.

Papa

This is a re-post from last year’s Father’s Day post. I’ve posted this several times, but I can’t do any better on Father’s Day.

(This is the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral.  He died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 96.)

Papa’s obituary was correct and factual and in that way it matched him.  He was an engineer, and he was nothing if not correct and factual.

For those of you who are touchy-feely personalities, you probably thought it was terribly dry, and you don’t really have a feeling for the man whose life I honor today.

But correct and factual actually embodies him better than many of the other things I can say about him.  That’s not to say he was uncaring, or cold – unless you think the rock your life is built on is uncaring or cold.

To me, he was strong, solid, dependable, deep, supporting, and faithful – qualities I’d opt for any time over sweet, sentimental, emotional, sensitive and demonstrative.

I remember in the movie “Love Story”, the main character was estranged from his father, and said “My father never wrote letters to me, he sent Memos”.  When we heard that my sisters and I looked at each other and said, “So???”  Papa used to always send us memos in school.

To:  Abbie

From:  Papa

Re:  Funds

Do you need any?  How are your grades?

Love, Papa

When Ray was just 2 months old, I became gravely ill.  Al and I were still in college – Al was about to graduate – we had NO money – we didn’t know what to do.  So Al put Ray and me on an airplane and shipped us back home.  I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, Mama was working at a new job, so during that time, Papa took vacation from work and stayed home to take care of the new baby.

I don’t know many grandfathers who thought their “baby days” were over, who would have done the same, but there was never any question about it with Papa.  He just did what needed to be done.

Papa loved to fish and, although he was a loyal churchman, we occasionally could convince him to take us fishing on Sunday mornings – particularly if he had caught a line full on Saturday.  In Arkansas during the summer the only time the fish will bite is early in the morning – right during church.

I remember my sister and I convinced him to take us on a float on Little River one Sunday morning from Cerra Gordo, Oklahoma to Little River Country Club.  Someone would drive us up-river where we would put in about dawn, and then we would float back down to the club.  As I said, this was a Sunday morning, and Papa’s conscience must have gotten the better of him, because we did the middle three miles singing “Love Lifted Me”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and all the other good old revival songs at the top of our lungs.  We sang the verses and Papa provided the oompa-pas.

As an engineer, he always loved to stick his head under the hood of any car around.

That’s Papa with two son-in-laws, two grandsons, and his only son.

Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1993.  Papa took over running the house as Mama became less and less able to keep up with things.  But he didn’t do it like a woman would, he did it like an Engineer with schedules, and flow charts, and checklists.  And he never complained.  He didn’t take up cooking, he took up shopping for microwavable dinners.

He let Mama keep doing the wash – because it was one of the things she could still manage, until the day she emptied the trash into the clothes washer and started it running.  Papa was taking a nap in his recliner in front of a baseball game when he heard a terrible rattling and clanging coming from the laundry room.  Empty bottles and cans were agitating in the washer!  But he didn’t fuss.  He just cleaned out the machine, and put a lock on the sliding door.  He continued to care for her at home until the sibs and I finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing either one of them any good.

He was a great tease and kidder.  It is one of the things that never left him, even at the end of his life.  Clara, one of nurses in the health care unit, said a few days before he died, he was semi-conscious, and she had just finished taking his blood pressure.  She leaned over him to straighten the linens on the other side of the bed and suddenly he popped his eyes open and said “Boo!”  Then he just grinned.

While we lived in New Jersey, Mama and Papa became friends with one of the preachers at the church and his wife.  Orville and Margaret Austin remained friends for 30 years, even though they moved away in 1963.  They really enjoyed playing bridge – men against the women – because the women claimed the men didn’t really know what they were doing.

I think about 7 o’clock last Monday evening, Orville and Margaret and Mama were gathered in heaven to meet him with the cards already dealt.  “Sit down.  What took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you for 10 years.”

He was my foundation, my rock, my underpinning, my support!  He was my father, and, although we had him many years longer than the biblical three-score years and ten, it was still too short a time.  Someone once said, “You are old when there’s nobody left to whom you are a little girl.”  I miss him.

Papa

This is a re-post from last year’s Father’s Day post. I’ve posted this several times, but I can’t do any better on Father’s Day.

(This is the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral.  He died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 96.)

Papa’s obituary was correct and factual and in that way it matched him.  He was an engineer, and he was nothing if not correct and factual.

For those of you who are touchy-feely personalities, you probably thought it was terribly dry, and you don’t really have a feeling for the man whose life I honor today.

But correct and factual actually embodies him better than many of the other things I can say about him.  That’s not to say he was uncaring, or cold – unless you think the rock your life is built on is uncaring or cold.

To me, he was strong, solid, dependable, deep, supporting, and faithful – qualities I’d opt for any time over sweet, sentimental, emotional, sensitive and demonstrative.

I remember in the movie “Love Story”, the main character was estranged from his father, and said “My father never wrote letters to me, he sent Memos”.  When we heard that my sisters and I looked at each other and said, “So???”  Papa used to always send us memos in school.

To:  Abbie

From:  Papa

Re:  Funds

Do you need any?  How are your grades?

Love, Papa

When Ray was just 2 months old, I became gravely ill.  Al and I were still in college – Al was about to graduate – we had NO money – we didn’t know what to do.  So Al put Ray and me on an airplane and shipped us back home.  I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, Mama was working at a new job, so during that time, Papa took vacation from work and stayed home to take care of the new baby.

I don’t know many grandfathers who thought their “baby days” were over, who would have done the same, but there was never any question about it with Papa.  He just did what needed to be done.

Papa loved to fish and, although he was a loyal churchman, we occasionally could convince him to take us fishing on Sunday mornings – particularly if he had caught a line full on Saturday.  In Arkansas during the summer the only time the fish will bite is early in the morning – right during church.

I remember my sister and I convinced him to take us on a float on Little River one Sunday morning from Cerra Gordo, Oklahoma to Little River Country Club.  Someone would drive us up-river where we would put in about dawn, and then we would float back down to the club.  As I said, this was a Sunday morning, and Papa’s conscience must have gotten the better of him, because we did the middle three miles singing “Love Lifted Me”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and all the other good old revival songs at the top of our lungs.  We sang the verses and Papa provided the oompa-pas.

As an engineer, he always loved to stick his head under the hood of any car around.

That’s Papa with two son-in-laws, two grandsons, and his only son.

Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1993.  Papa took over running the house as Mama became less and less able to keep up with things.  But he didn’t do it like a woman would, he did it like an Engineer with schedules, and flow charts, and checklists.  And he never complained.  He didn’t take up cooking, he took up shopping for microwavable dinners.

He let Mama keep doing the wash – because it was one of the things she could still manage, until the day she emptied the trash into the clothes washer and started it running.  Papa was taking a nap in his recliner in front of a baseball game when he heard a terrible rattling and clanging coming from the laundry room.  Empty bottles and cans were agitating in the washer!  But he didn’t fuss.  He just cleaned out the machine, and put a lock on the sliding door.  He continued to care for her at home until the sibs and I finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing either one of them any good.

He was a great tease and kidder.  It is one of the things that never left him, even at the end of his life.  Clara, one of nurses in the health care unit, said a few days before he died, he was semi-conscious, and she had just finished taking his blood pressure.  She leaned over him to straighten the linens on the other side of the bed and suddenly he popped his eyes open and said “Boo!”  Then he just grinned.

While we lived in New Jersey, Mama and Papa became friends with one of the preachers at the church and his wife.  Orville and Margaret Austin remained friends for 30 years, even though they moved away in 1963.  They really enjoyed playing bridge – men against the women – because the women claimed the men didn’t really know what they were doing.

I think about 7 o’clock last Monday evening, Orville and Margaret and Mama were gathered in heaven to meet him with the cards already dealt.  “Sit down.  What took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you for 10 years.”

He was my foundation, my rock, my underpinning, my support!  He was my father, and, although we had him many years longer than the biblical three-score years and ten, it was still too short a time.  Someone once said, “You are old when there’s nobody left to whom you are a little girl.”  I miss him.

No More “Emperor’s New Clothes”

I won’t do it any more. I won’t pretend that both sides are to blame in the debt crisis debacle. I WILL call it as I see it. The right-wing of the Republican Party is behaving like spoiled brats, refusing to have anything to do with compromise, or reason. It is obvious to me that they are motivated entirely by greed, prejudice, and self-centered navel-worship. The President has offered everything that could reasonably expected of him. He offered an increase in Medicare age eligibility, many, MANY spending cuts and only small revenue increases. (see this column in the conservative New York Times).

But the thing that is really galling is the fact that John Boehner’s proposal (finally passed by the House Friday evening) was described by Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as “tantamount to a form of ‘class warfare’” that “if enacted, it could well produce the greatest increase in poverty and hardship produced by any law in modern U.S. history.” Since the Boehner plan has no tax increases, its entire $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction must come from budget cuts.

Those budget cuts would have to come from cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits for current retirees – that’s right – elderly people, already living on the edge of poverty, who have paid into the system in good faith for many, many years.

AND

The cuts would also have to come from the safety net for low-income children, parent, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.

Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, said in an announcement this week, “In a time of anemic economic recovery, millions of people are relying on Unemployment Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), and countless other federally funded services that make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Severe cuts to any of these programs, or even across-the-board budget changes like a global spending cap, debt trigger, or Balanced Budget Amendment, would increase suffering and exact the most sacrifice from those who can least afford it, while exempting from additional responsibility those who can afford to pay more.”

These representatives claim to be “Christian”. Haven’t they ever read Matthew 25:31-46?

Papa

This is a re-post from last year’s Father’s Day post.

(This is the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral.  He died in May 2008 at the ripe old age of 96.)

Papa’s obituary was correct and factual and in that way it matched him.  He was an engineer, and he was nothing if not correct and factual.

For those of you who are touchy-feely personalities, you probably thought it was terribly dry, and you don’t really have a feeling for the man whose life I honor today.

But correct and factual actually embodies him better than many of the other things I can say about him.  That’s not to say he was uncaring, or cold – unless you think the rock your life is built on is uncaring or cold.

To me, he was strong, solid, dependable, deep, supporting, and faithful – qualities I’d opt for any time over sweet, sentimental, emotional, sensitive and demonstrative.

I remember in the movie “Love Story”, the main character was estranged from his father, and said “My father never wrote letters to me, he sent Memos”.  When we heard that my sisters and I looked at each other and said, “So???”  Papa used to always send us memos in school.

To:  Abbie

From:  Papa

Re:  Funds

Do you need any?  How are your grades?

Love, Papa

When Ray was just 2 months old, I became gravely ill.  Al and I were still in college – Al was about to graduate – we had NO money – we didn’t know what to do.  So Al put Ray and me on an airplane and shipped us back home.  I ended up in the hospital for three weeks, Mama was working at a new job, so during that time, Papa took vacation from work and stayed home to take care of the new baby.

I don’t know many grandfathers who thought their “baby days” were over, who would have done the same, but there was never any question about it with Papa.  He just did what needed to be done.

Papa loved to fish and, although he was a loyal churchman, we occasionally could convince him to take us fishing on Sunday mornings – particularly if he had caught a line full on Saturday.  In Arkansas during the summer the only time the fish will bite is early in the morning – right during church.

I remember my sister and I convinced him to take us on a float on Little River one Sunday morning from Cerra Gordo, Oklahoma to Little River Country Club.  Someone would drive us up-river where we would put in about dawn, and then we would float back down to the club.  As I said, this was a Sunday morning, and Papa’s conscience must have gotten the better of him, because we did the middle three miles singing “Love Lifted Me”, “Shall We Gather at the River” and all the other good old revival songs at the top of our lungs.  We sang the verses and Papa provided the oompa-pas.

As an engineer, he always loved to stick his head under the hood of any car around.

That’s Papa with two son-in-laws, two grandsons, and his only son.

Mama was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1993.  Papa took over running the house as Mama became less and less able to keep up with things.  But he didn’t do it like a woman would, he did it like an Engineer with schedules, and flow charts, and checklists.  And he never complained.  He didn’t take up cooking, he took up shopping for microwavable dinners.

He let Mama keep doing the wash – because it was one of the things she could still manage, until the day she emptied the trash into the clothes washer and started it running.  Papa was taking a nap in his recliner in front of a baseball game when he heard a terrible rattling and clanging coming from the laundry room.  Empty bottles and cans were agitating in the washer!  But he didn’t fuss.  He just cleaned out the machine, and put a lock on the sliding door.  He continued to care for her at home until the sibs and I finally convinced him that it wasn’t doing either one of them any good.

He was a great tease and kidder.  It is one of the things that never left him, even at the end of his life.  Clara, one of nurses in the health care unit, said a few days before he died, he was semi-conscious, and she had just finished taking his blood pressure.  She leaned over him to straighten the linens on the other side of the bed and suddenly he popped his eyes open and said “Boo!”  Then he just grinned.

While we lived in New Jersey, Mama and Papa became friends with one of the preachers at the church and his wife.  Orville and Margaret Austin remained friends for 30 years, even though they moved away in 1963.  They really enjoyed playing bridge – men against the women – because the women claimed the men didn’t really know what they were doing.

I think about 7 o’clock last Monday evening, Orville and Margaret and Mama were gathered in heaven to meet him with the cards already dealt.  “Sit down.  What took you so long?  We’ve been waiting for you for 10 years.”

He was my foundation, my rock, my underpinning, my support!  He was my father, and, although we had him many years longer than the biblical three-score years and ten, it was still too short a time.  Someone once said, “You are old when there’s nobody left to whom you are a little girl.”  I miss him.

(This was also published in The Well-Written Woman in their tribute to fathers.)

Mother’s Day, Diets, etc.

Today is Mother’s Day and several of us on The Well Written Woman contributed a few memories of our mothers. You should check it out.

I’ve been conflicted about whether I should write about my diet or my wonderful dinner and Mother’s Day presents. So I decided to do both. On the diet front – I lost another 2 pounds this week. That brings my total to 19 pounds gone! (I shudder to think what today’s lunch did to that total, but that’s to be seen next week.)

My mother’s day started out great last Friday with a gift (that’s right, something he went to the store and bought and mailed himself) from Bill in Louisiana.

It’s a “Perfect Tea-Maker” from Teavana, and he also sent a gift card so I could buy whichever exotic tea I wanted. I think I’m going to try a “fruity” tea first, followed by a “spice” flavor.

Then yesterday, the doorbell rang and there was the florist with a wrist corsage from Big Al for me to wear to church and dinner on the actual day.

Then after church today we went to Lavendou our favorite French restaurant in Dallas.

The interior is like a french country cafe.

For starters we each had an onion and bacon tart. (I’m terrible about remembering to take a picture of my food before it’s half gone! – but it’s soooo good!)

We got to sit right by the window, where we could imaging we were on the patio without having to melt or be blown away!

For the main course, I had chicken breast in a cabernet sauce with pearl onions and mushrooms and linguini.

and Big Al had salmon in a mustard cream sauce.

I decided to leave my flowers on the table where I could look at them, rather than on my wrist where I would be sure to drip olive oil on them.

Our waiter was wonderful, and spoke English with a real French accent (not Spanish or Mexican as is so often the case in Dallas – not that there’s anything wrong with a Spanish or Mexican accent, just not at a French restaurant). 

Finally, for dessert, I had the Chocolate Fondant (which was really more like fudge than cake – and wonderful. I haven’t had any chocolate since I started the diet, so I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.)

and Big Al had the Cherries Jubilee (you can see he got to eating on his before I could take a picture, too).

Now do you see why I’m looking forward to bread and water for the rest of the week?  But, man, was it good.

Why I’m a Flaming Liberal

I was raised in a staunchly Republican household. My father worked for Richard Nixon’s election in his first run for the presidency against John F. Kennedy. Sometime during Kennedy’s administration, I started to think for myself, and I decided the tenets of the Democratic party more closely resembled those I believed in.

As my conservative counterpart on the Well Written Woman said in her post, “The tenets of conservatism consist of individual autonomy; society is based on the individual and primarily motivated by self-interest…. Implied is political equality, protection of individual rights, respect for individual choices, and using reason in making decisions. Religious toleration, popular sovereignty and consent, …representative government, (and) private property rights…. Our Constitution…act(s) as protection to the people and their unalienable rights.”

So far, we are definitely on the same page. The problem comes when she says “Our Constitution is not just a document to design the government…” Here I disagree. The Constitution is a document designed to do exactly that. It was conceived and written for that precise purpose – to form a government that would guarantee the rights we talked about above to the people – all the people – including those at the margins of society.

This Constitution was written because all the separate states in the Confederation of American States wanted to do their own thing – and it wasn’t working. The only purpose of the national government was to represent the states internationally. There was no president, judiciary, executive agencies or tax base. The only way the national government had of paying off the Revolutionary War debt was by asking the states for money, and they rarely remitted any.

Throughout the history of this country there has been a good and proper tension between the Federal government and the individual states, and basically economics is at the root of the tension – who gets to decide who to tax and who gets to decide how to spend those taxes. Our taxes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society – a society that takes care of those who are unable to take care of themselves. Fortunately we have a Federal government that will ensure all of the people are treated fairly if the states and individuals fail in their duties.

To quote Alise Wright at Alise Write “I hate people.” As my aunt used to say “People are no damned good!” Left to their own devices, people are mean, chauvinistic, and selfish. Without the government to fairly and equitably distribute justice and privileges, the people at the margins – unemployed/underemployed, handicapped, children, LGBT folks, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, elderly – the least, the last and the lost – would fare very poorly. These are the people who benefit from President Obama’s “social contract.”

Conservatives think President Obama is the one who is telling the American people they won’t have to pay for their own government. I beg to differ. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush are the ones who insisted no one should pay any additional taxes (including the large corporations and millionaire/billionaires). We may have been all right with “holding the line” on taxes if 9/11 had not occurred. However, the blind insistence on minimizing taxes while spending inordinate amounts on national defense was a recipe for the economic disaster presided over by George W. Bush and the legacy of spiraling debt inherited by President Obama.

The spending the government does is only what is necessary to keep the country running. If you are really interested in what the Federal government is spending your money on, go here (have your last pay stub of the year and your income tax return ready). I, personally, do not want to be responsible for raising a military, or providing the civilized benefits of national museums, national parks, educational opportunities, and response to natural disasters. Go through the receipt carefully. Tell me which 90-year-old widow you want to deny health care to. Tell me which baby you want to keep food and housing from. Tell me which soldier or sailor you want to leave without enough money to feed her family. Tell me which college student you want to disapprove a loan for. Tell me which unemployed 45-year-old college graduate you want to deny bare subsistence support to.

Your taxes and my taxes are the way we take care of those members of society who are unable to take care of themselves. They are what make us civilized.