He steps out into traffic (brave soul) waving this red light and pointing at me.  Confused?  I stopped of course (didn’t want to hit him.)  His waving toward the parking lot became more emphatic as he pointed at me.

I comply pulling up next to his hidden motorcycle.  Sneaky.   First time I’ve had to stop for a man in the bushes.  Naturally I roll down the window, he leans in while I’m opening my purse rummaging for my license.

“Your license, car registration and insurance form, Mam.”  Car registration?  The license was easy.  Car registration?  Must be in the glove compartment.  I pull out a mass of documents, sort through and with hesitancy, hand him one.

“This?”  He takes the document, glances, hands it back.
“No, Mam, that’s your bill of sale for the vehicle,”
“No, Mam, that’s your oil-change schedule.”
“This?”  He’s very patient.  We go through sundry documents.
“Oh, wait, this?”  I hand him a small square document.  He smiles, takes it.
“Now your certificate of insurance.”
“Oh dear, what does it look like?”  He’s still smiling.
“Small card.  Allstate, State Farm…” and he names a few more companies.
“Oh, how abut Liberty Mutual?” And I hand him the card.
“Lady, this expired in 2010.”
“Wait, how about this one?”
“2011, but we’re getting closer.”
“I’ll call my husband, Sir.”  No answer.  Cell phone…can’t remember the number.  Call my daughter-in-law in New York.  She gives me the number.  No answer.

POLICE MOTORCYCLEAs you can imagine, some time has passed.  The policeman comes over with some yellow forms he’s been filling out.  “Are you taking me to jail?”  I was only half joking.

“No,  Mam.  I’ve lowered your speed (42 in a 30 mile zone) to 39 so that it will only cost you $131 instead of $230.  No certificate of insurance will cost you $110 but if you take a copy of your certificate, when you find it, and take it to the County Court House,  you do know where that is?”


“It’s on Manatee…” he stops, “The address is there on the form, Mam.  If you take it in within the next 30 days, it will only cost you $10.”

“You are so patient, so nice…how come?  You like my crazy hat , or maybe it’s my smile? Maybe you feel sorry for me because I’m brain dead…?

“No, I’d have to take you in for sure if I thought that,” and he hands me all his official papers.   He had such a nice smile.  He goes back out into the hedgerow awaiting to surprise his next law breaker.

Oh, did I mention he was young and I was old, he was black and I was white?











October 2013

We rescued you ten years ago when you were five.
Rejected twice, your doubt lay open as you ran away
Not listening to our call.

Hair unkempt, no house manners, humping all legs.
Chasing birds into the bay, we caught you by boat
Swimming in water over your head.

Champagne hair matted beyond the comb, so you
Were shorn down to the skin which embarrassed
You, of course.

With time your running paused, you stopped to see
If we were there.  You would not sit upon our lap,
Haughtily, you sat on the floor and stared.

A small lion, Lhasa Apso,  the vet said, ancestor of
Regal lineage.  More cat than dog, eyes round and black,
Lower jaw thrust forward, teeth ragged in attack.

Day by day we learned to live, you with us and us with you.
You learned to come when we called.  We received your
Scolding loud and clear when left alone too long.

You rode in my bicycle basket surveying lowly dogs
Who ran beside yapping––you ignored, ears flapping.
You slept on our bed, of course.

You never begged, just made yourself “available” at
The table which was rewarded, of course.  Steak was
Your food of choice, and “Beggen Strips” if you were good.

The years slipped by, you by our side––by car or  plane.
Your ears were scratched, you pawed for more, we
Spoiled you with our love and affection.

The years dulled your play, you slept on the floor no
Longer able to jump on the bed.  We watched you fade,
A sadness played, aching in our hearts.

We scratched, more gently now, your whimper echoed as
You moved.  Now fifteen, with ripe old age our laps became
Your bed of choice, a softness whispered in our voice.

A love affair to be remembered always in our hearts.  You’ve
Gone to rest.  I put away chewed toys, give away cans of
Food left on the shelf and whimper to myself.

You will always be our love, Ziggy.







St. Valentine’s Day Legend




In the Golden Legend

The Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine, compiled about 1260 and one of the most-read books of the High Middle Ages, gives sufficient details of the saints for each day of the liturgical year to inspire a homily on each occasion. The very brief vita of St Valentine has him refusing to deny Christ before the “Emperor Claudius”[25] in the year 280. Before his head was cut off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer. Jacobus makes a play with the etymology of “Valentine”, “as containing valour”.

There are many other legends behind Saint Valentine. One is that in the 1st century AD it is said that Valentine, who was a priest, defied the order of the emperor Claudius and secretly married couples so that the husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. Soldiers were sparse at this time so this was a big inconvenience to the emperor. Another legend is that Valentine refused to sacrifice to pagan gods. Being imprisoned for this, Valentine gave his testimony in prison and through his prayers healed the jailer’s daughter who was suffering from blindness. On the day of his execution he left her a note that was signed “Your Valentine.”’s_Day 



It seems that there were several St. Valentines in history, more than one of them being tortured and executed for their “Christian” leanings.  Although we complain of today’s violence, it appears that murder and mayhem is part of the human species as depicted in today’s political chaos.  Somehow the “history” of those early martyrs   has been lost and we envision St. Valentine  as a  “loving” February Santa Clause.

Early Memories:  In school, eons ago, we had a Valentine Box and exchanged with each other, always counting how many we received.  Social mores began to dictate:  Everyone didn’t get the same number of valentines, some receiving none.  Those left out felt bad.   It was not fair, besides it was a “religious” tainted custom, had very little to do with “love”  and thus has been discontinued.




Our grandchildren still make the crayon/lace cutouts to send to friends and family and look forward to receiving their own Valentines, a warm statement of affection.

Today Valentine’s Day has become a “economic” boon for florists, jewelers, chocolate and other “luxury” items.  It has become an act of measuring the depth of “love” we have for one other often times tied to the $ amount of the gift.


My husband did not get the “Valentine” gene!  He huffs and puffs and rebels against the hype.  Oh, on occasion he has brought the dozen roses, but somehow the  “warm Rosesfuzzy”  doesn’t flow through me knowing how he feels about the holiday.  I won’t deny that it has taken me years to immune myself, to admit to my friends that I got “nothing,” and to hear their “clucking” of sympathy, or the fact that he doesn’t call me when gone for weeks on a ski trip.  He doesn’t love you, my Ego whispers (I’ve learned my Ego is not my friend.)  It’s not that he doesn’t surprise me.  For instance, the package delivered when he was away skiing that time.  The Beaver jacket, so warm and soft, the hood framing my surprise in the mirror.  His gifts are usually far more practical:  the tiller for my garden, the vacuum for downstairs, so you won’t have to lug the vacuum up and down.  

Why do I smile when there are no roses adorning my table?  After almost sixty years, I have learned to read between the lines and appreciate his little acts of love.  The gentle scratching of my back just before we fall asleep, the clearing and cleaning of the kitchen after our guests have gone, the washing and vacuuming of my car, unsolicited.  Words of love are just that, and appreciated, of course, but it is  the “act” that carries the “love” message through almost 60 years.




Work A Curse Or a Blessing



King James Bible Online
Genesis Chapter 3: Adam and Eve Are Driven out of Eden

Adam and Eve Are Driven out of Eden
Genesis 3

1 Now the serpent was more subtitle that

any beast of the field which the LORD

God had made.

And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath

God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree

of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent,  We may eat of the fruit of the trees

of the garden:3

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the

midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye

shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch

it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman,

Ye shall not surely die:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened,and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou

eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,

she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of

the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go,and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between

thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be  to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the

voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the

mother of all living.

21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to

keep the ways of the tree of life.





The story goes that the “Garden of Eden” was lost to Adam and Eve because she ate of the fruit and “did entice Adam to do the same.”

I’m trying to picture this loss.  A  beautiful garden: food aplenty, sunshine, singing birds, flowing water and???


Just what did Adam and Eve do all day? It appears that Work was a curse.  Ah, maybe play?  Perhaps they played all day: ran marathons, rode bikes, kayaked up and down the stream, hit golf balls, danced…tennis anyone? Did they have wine?

And so Adam and Eve were cursed for disobeying God and eating of the fruit that gave them the knowledge of “Good and Evil.”   She:  “I will multiply thy sorrow in conception; in sorrow will thy bring forth children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.   He:  In the sweat of thy face thou shall  eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” And          there was death, “for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return. But it wasn’t just the knowledge of good and evil that bothered the Lord: 

And the Lord God said,

” Behold Man has become as one of us to  know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take of the tree of life, and eat and live forever:”     

Confused!  Not sure who the “us” is and “living forever.” now that would be a curse.

Conclusion:  Work,  Death, and Labor pains! seem to be our birth right and, obeying  our husbands!


So just what is “work?”  Dictionary–Work:  “Activity involving mental/physical effort done to achieve a purpose or result.”

I remember my lesson in 7th grade.  The teacher was trying to explain some principle (which I have forgotten) regarding a vague formula.  He had this very large  cabinet near his desk.  He called me up and told me to move it to the other side of the room.  Course he was crazy, but I gave it a try…pushed and pushed…nothing.  He said “Try it again.”  By this time I’d broken a sweat, but had another go at it.  Finally he told me to take my seat.

“Did you work?”  He looked pointedly at me.

“Darn right I worked!”  I was still recovering from my effort.

“Sorry,” and then he launched into some mumbo jumbo about a formula that measured something.

( According to my scientist husband:  Work=force x distance) I got no distance or credit for “trying.”  It seems for me to get credit for “working”.     I had to have moved the object.  Trying  doesn’t cut it.

So the question remains:  “Is work a curse or a blessing?”

The following poem was written  by the poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, 1856



One morning of the first sad Fall,
Poor Adam and his bride
Sat in the shade of Eden’s wall––
But on the outer side.

She, blushing in her fig-leaf suit
For the chaste garb of old;
He, sighing o’re his bitter fruit
For Eden’s drupes of gold.

Behind them, smiling in the morn,
Their forfeit garden lay,
Before them, wild with rock and thorn,
The desert stretched away.










 They heard the air above them fanned,
A light step o the sward,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

And lo!  They saw before them stand

The Angel of the The Lord!     

“Arise,” he said, “why look behind,
When hope is all before,
And patient hand and willing mind
Your loss may yet restore?









“I leave with you a spell whose power
Can make the desert glad,
And call around you fruit and flower
As fair as Eden had.

“I clothe your hands with power to lift
The curse from off your soil

Your very doom shall seem a gift,
Your loss a gain through Toil.
“Go, cheerful as yon humming-bees,To labor as to play.”


 White glimmering over Eden’s trees
The angel passed away.


The pilgrims of the world went forth
Obedient to the word,
And found where’re they tilled
the earth
A garden of the Lord!







The thorn-tree caste its evil fruit
And blushed with plum and pear,

And seeded grass and trodden root
Grew sweet beneath their care.





We share our primal parents’ fate,
And, in our turn and day,

Look back on Eden’s sworded gate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As sad and lost as they.

But still for us his native skies
The pitying Angel leaves,
And leads through Toil to Paradise

New Adams and new Eves!






Perhaps it was the era I grew up in that children were expected to work, to “earn our salt.” It is our children’s heritage also. Although we may not leave them monetary wealth, they all know how to work.  Today’s attitudes toward physical work has changed.  And so we hire immigrants to do the work  that was part  of our daily chores which for me included milking cows,  cleaning chicken houses and barns, picking crops in the summer for “cash” money. “Why do you work so fast, Grandma?”  from my grandson. I learned very early that “Time was Money.”   The money I earned went to purchase my  clothes,  and I wanted a cashmere sweater like the other kids  I also bought my  books for school, nothing frivolous. As children we never felt victimized,  all children were expected to work.   My husband had the same background.His “working” was on the tractor, planting, harvesting berries and doing custom farm work was how he earned  enough to pay his college expenses.

Our children were raised in the suburbs, no tractors, cows, chickens.  One day I heard my oldest son on the phone, “No…I don’t think so.”  He hung up the phone.

“What was that Jeff?”

“Oh, Mr. Piazza wanted me to mow his lawn, but I didn’t feel like it.” Upon his father’s arrival,

I took him aside.

“Hey, kids.”  The three of them stopped eating.  “Your father and I’ve  been talking.  We’ve decided.

No more sporting equipment.  You want a bike, or skis or tennis rackets, whatever, you have to buy it yourself.” (They were 12, 13, 14.)  Their silence echoed.

Finally,  “But…how…where..?

“You have your birthday money. You can mow lawns, shovel driveways, baby sit.”

As so many of our parental decrees, this was a two-edged sword.  Our driveway, lawn, raking of leaves was the last to be accomplished as our three  entrepreneurs scoured the neighborhood for jobs.    The Sears skis, tennis rackets, bikes  were replaced with top line  equipment   In high school the two boys pooled their money and bought a stringing machine to string tennis rackets.  Our daughter went to the town fathers with a proposal to teach tennis lessons at the local  park.  We paid for their  tennis lessons which turned out to be a very good investment for all three won tennis scholarships to top colleges:  University of Arizona, Oregon State, Northwestern.

Both my husband and I might be considered workaholics.  We always have a  project: decks to build, gardens to dig, houses to paint…The results of our efforts are our “Garden  of  Eden.”  Our family lives have not been all work and no play for we know what that does to “Jack.”  We camp, bike, play tennis, windsurf (him not me)     We waited for the children to outgrow us, still waiting. Now they help us with  projects,  we help  with theirs. “Work” remains a family affair.



They are all grown now with children. Have they passed on their “work”  ethic?  Yes, tempered with the opportunity of the times.


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