“The Conscious of the Congress”

Time Magazine Cover, August 2 to 18, 2020

This photo of John Lewis was one of his personal favorites. The photographer, Steve Schapiro, commented in the Time magazine issue that ‘It’s a picture of someone who knows who he is and what he has to do, and for the rest of his life; after this picture, he did it.” In the photo above John Lewis was a 23-year-old civil rights activist. The photo was taken in Clarksville, Mississippi with John’s permission. Schapiro, now age 85, remembers, “You see he’s looking forward with an enormous amount of strength, in terms of how he sees the future.”

Our country suffered a great loss with the death of Representative Lewis on July 17. On one of his last active days before he died at age 80 from pancreatic cancer, he visited the Black Lives Matter Mural painted on 16th street in Washington, D.C. “It’s very moving. Very moving. Impressive,” Lewis said. “I think the people in DC and around nation are sending a mightily powerful and strong message to the rest of the world that we will get there.”

For the civil rights of black Americans he was handcuffed more than 45 times and beaten. He believed that Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that was not impossible to obtain. He was a warrior against racial discrimination.

Representative Lewis was the first black American to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. “Lying in state” is a form of ceremonial tribute reserved for honoring the lives of the most prominent and distinguished American statesmen and military leaders.

May each of us carry on his work for freedom in the 1960s peaceful, non-violent ways of the civil rights movement. And Lord, it is said that he was respected and beloved on both sides of the aisle. Please give our Congressional Members a conscious such as Yours.

In his own words from June, 2018

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Representative John Lewis

I’ve Been a Little Busy

You see it started like this at League for Animal Welfare in Batavia. They try to give the dogs unique names so if you call in for records years later they can find the dog. They named her Shelia, which we all knew does not fit her.

She is a four year old very small beagle who likely was captive in a puppy mill before she escaped. She has had at least 2 litters of puppies. The vet at LFAW had to pull many of her teeth as they were worn down or rotted from chewing at the cage, trying to escape. She was found in Louis County, Kentucky at a kill shelter and transferred up here for adoption.

The above photos are our first visit. She was just as friendly on our second visit. By our third visit I was hooked as she sat on my lap for a long time. When the trainer put her in a harness to fit it for her ride home she stood stock still. Bob said, “Look! We trained her to stay!” I mean she would not move a muscle.

We brought her home in the car with Lizzie last Tuesday afternoon in same harness. She has been in shock. Getting to know us and trying to warm up to Bob. It is obvious that she was likely mistreated by a man. First night she slept in her new kennel all night without a sound! Yeah! I was not certain I would get any sleep at all that first night.

She likes out doors better than in. Sits and stares at the street or about the yard. Had not had a wild fling yet, but they warned us she is likely a runner. Suggested we not put her in a fenced yard as she would likely try to dig her way out. Good thing, because our yard is much too hilly to fence!

First hours home. Giving Lizzie kisses after Lizzie LET her drink form her water glass. Rotten Grandgirl!

For now, we do not have a name. The candidates are Sweetie (because everyone says she is so sweet) or Lucky (because we are her family and we are glad to have her). She does not know a name.

Stories will follow as she relaxes and we find out what she is really like!

Grandgirl #1

Our first grandchild, Lizzie, graduates today. The child was born September 2001, on our wedding anniversary and a few weeks after the terrorist bombings of New York City, attempt at Washington and crash into the Pentagon. School was closed and began on-line classes in March this year. Her Senior prom was cancelled due to Covid-19. She had already purchased her dress.

Now it is time for graduation and it too will be peculiar. The school decided to have each graduate walk across the stage to get their diploma. BUT there will only be one family in the auditorium at a time. The staff will be there from 8:30 to 9:30PM, or some such. Long day for them. Lizzie’s time is scheduled for 10:30 AM. At first they were limiting attendance to four people per student. That meant Bob and I would have to decide which one of us was attending. Then they changed it to seven people per student. Whew! now we both get to attend.

This child has always been shy and does NOT like to have her photo taken. Recently, she did like her new shirt and let me get this photo.

Skidamarink and her cousin
Her baptism with Camp Counselors (Pop in the blue shirt in background!)

This sweet girl won three academic awards her senior year. The program was on YouTube with teachers and administrators making the announcements, before no in house audience. Two years in a row she won an award in American Sign Language. She will enroll in the local branch of University of Cincinnati this autumn. The world is in store for a great young lady!!

As a volleyball player she is ALWAYS in motion!

Go 32!

Please pray for her future! I often sang this to her when she was very young. If I am not mistaken the “I love you” at the end is done in American Sign Language!

New Kids on the Block

When I first spotted this nest I thought the Robin must be out of her mind! So low to the ground and there are cats in our neighborhood. The cats do not wear bells or other items on a collar to warn birds of their approach!

Photo by Robert Dutina

If you look closely you can see that she wove a blue plastic tape into her nest. It is likely from our favorite bakery. How she found it I do not know! Guess we dropped it outside the garbage can?

Now this is a baby only a mother could love. UGLY!

Photo by Robert Dutina

So at this point the mother Robin is not too happy with us, always approaching her nest and scaring her off. Actually she could stay and watch, but she doesn’t! Wonder if she would be more interested if she knew so many folks would be seeing photos of her babies progress? As usual, a day after they hatched I found a portion of egg shell in the garden on the next lot.

Two hours later napping soundly.
Robert, talented photographer and baby bird whisperer. He clucked, it opened it’s mouth for him!

So yes, there is fun to be had around here. When he gets a shot of the babies with feathers I will post that. I know when mom trains them to leave the nest we will hear LOTS of urgent chirping and calling.

The Easter Rabbit

When I was about 8 or 9, maybe younger, we lived in a four family apartment complex. In the yard next door there was a shrubbery hedge that encircled part of their square of grass. I woke up on Easter morning and knew I was not to awake the rest of the family. I went to the living room to see what the world was up to. The sun was out. and then I saw it! A brown cottontail under the shrubs.

I could not help myself. In my excitement I began hollering, “He came! He came!” My mother came out to see what all the commotion was about. I assured her the Easter Bunny had come because I just saw him right outside our window!

This week I have been loving our flower beds with the cheer they bring me in the midst of the panic and chaos of pandemic. I have picked and delivered multiple bouquets to neighbors and even my sister. I did notice that I need to get out there and spruce up the front flower bed from the dead leaves of last winter and general chickweed, etc. A clump of Hyacinths near the front door were especially packed with dead grass.

Today I looked and thought, “That is unnatural to have that much dead grass around the hyacinths.” Taking a break from writing I decided to move it away so the bulbs could flourish. As I reached down I realized I should probably use my handy table knife that I keep there for cleaning off shoes, just in case some mouse or unsavory had decided to move in. So I grabbed the knife and began to lift and move the grass. Noticed fur and WHAM!! there were little tiny eyes and ears. Nope, not mice! Baby bunnies!! I hurried put the grass back in place.

Little Rabbit Foo-foo began going through my head!

Little Bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin' 'em on the head

Well, instead of a mean bunny, we have a mommy rabbit out there some place with babies in our front bed! I recently placed dryer lint around the tulip leaves to try to deter the rabbits or deer who decimate the tulips every year. Maybe I should let her eat them?

Bob says if the sun comes out tomorrow we will lift the grass and try to snap a photo if they are still there. For now enjoy this incubator!

Suscipe Me

The Beethoven Akademie 1808 presentation by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Sunday, March 1 was listed as occurring from 2:30-8:30 PM with a dinner break from 5-7 PM. What a surprise when we got tickets and decided to try this Beethoven marathon! The first performance during the first half is one of my favorite pieces, The Pastoral Symphony #6 in F Major. The Awakening (which I always think of as the awakening of Spring), the brook, Jolly Country Folk, THE THUNDERSTORM and the Shepherd’s Hymn are all in my memory bank. I promised my husband and the stranger sitting next to me that I would try to refrain from whistling the tunes!

The original production was the last public performance by Beethoven. One patron from 1808, Johann Reichardt, was quoted in the program as saying that he “found by experience that one might have too much even of a good thing.”

We were not certain we could last through all those hours of music. Thought we would try and agree not to shame each other if one of us wanted to leave. Each selection listed details including approximate duration. I was amazed the Pastoral was only listed for 39 minutes. It transports me in a way that I lose all track of time!

AH! Perfido borders on opera and I have no experience or interest in that. It was 15 minutes of interesting performance, but not as thrilling as my decades long friend, The Pastoral.

Then some sacred music. The Gloria interested me. Though sung in Latin, I am familiar with the words through my attendance at the Episcopal church. The Latin and the English were printed in the booklet side by side. The 11 minutes sent me scurrying to remember the prayer I had read by Ignatius, the concept of suscipe me….

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

Ignatius of Loyola

After the Concerto #4 featuring Inon Barnatan, who seemed to play effortlessly, we were ready to walk around and enjoy the dinner break. It was a lovely spring-like evening though the wind was a bit chilly. Back at the car we relished our homemade supper of favorite foods. After only a tiny discussion decided to return to Music Hall to find out how much more music we could endure in one day! We strolled the new park opposite Music Hall. Watched the city dwellers release their dogs in the dog park while they shared the latest with each other. It was such a delight to see sun in Cincinnati!

The #5 began with the lovely chords of duh duh duh duh https://youtu.be/_4IRMYuE1hI duh duh duh duh! Timed at 31 minutes. We decided we could stay for the Improvised Fantasia and then Fantasia for Piano Chorus and Orchestra (May Festival Chorus was terrific as were soloists!) The stranger next to me told me he would walk 5 miles to hear the last number. That was saying something since he also confided he was 80 years old!

To me, it was a once in a lifetime concert. No, I was not over immersed in Beethoven. Am still playing the 6th on my computer speakers as I write this!

I pray the Lord will Suscipe me into His arms one day with the melody of the Gloria or The Pastoral!

Weird Thoughts Again

So we drove past a woman and man setting up their harvest decorations in front of their house. Now tell me if you think this is strange? Maybe it is just me, but the Wizard of Oz confirmed, for those of us brought up in the city, that a scarecrow is stuffed with straw. The craft stores for the past decade or so have sold ready made scarecrows stuffed with pretend straw, but they hope it will look like straw to you.

How weird is it that an item built from human looking clothing and filled with straw is then seated upon a bale of straw? Isn’t that like go to the morgue and get a bunch of organs, pile them up and then have your photo taken while sitting upon them? We are such a weird society.

I love candy, but halloween is just weird overall.

Once I was invited as a room mother to attend the halloween march in costume where the kids paraded through the elementary school. When I got there all the other room mothers were dressed as witches. I was dressed as the Holy Ghost, complete with a white sheet, white face, white keds and wooden cross around my neck. As we went room to room I invited the kids to touch the least scary ghost EVER and told them about my role in God’s plan. Needless to say, I was called the following week by the principal. I almost asked if she called the witches representing everything reprehensible to my faith. I was encouraged when we went in one room and the teacher had donated New Testaments to the kids. They were proudly displayed on their desks. Wonder if that is even allowed these 36 years later?

One of My Very Best Treasures!

Last evening we celebrated 49 years of marriage, so today is the start of our 50th year! We reminisced about what a wild ride we have had together. after several years we learned that someone at our wedding was making bets that we would never last. Obviously, we have come a long, long way from that misconception! Who ever they were.

So here are some photos over the years of my best friend and wonderful husband!

Bob learning to use the Kitchenaid mixer. I love this man SO much!!

He likes my current haircut, but says when we were married and my hair was to my waist, THAT was his favorite haircut. I don’t know, an old lady with long gray hair and hot flashes might not be so attractive now!

Movie with Friends

Our Grandgirls met us at the theater to watch this movie with our friends the Cookseys. Wow it was great. Music was terrific. Technology had me amazed. There were so many times the animals looked real and alive! So not much writing this week as we enjoy company! But enjoy the trailer!

In the credits I saw Elton John and someone else wrote the music and I think it said music producer was Pharrell Williams.