Archived Post June 2009

June 2009

This is the Honor I Pay You

“Dear Jill:  Just had you on my heart, and also wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your website.  You are very good writer, Jill!  Not that I know much, but just wanted to share that with you.  We don’t tell one another enough the good things. 
Thank for sharing your heart and your life with us.”

         A few months after I began this website, Kitty, who was my sister’s best friend, wrote me a very sweet little note, complementing me on how I wrote and the content of these pages.  I had been pleasantly surprised to hear from her, and touched by the graciousness of her note.  It had not occurred to me that she or anyone else, for that matter, had begun to read the website.  It would not be the last note.

Today, I have sat and reread Kitty’s emails, so many of which were to offer encouragement regarding my Mother’s health or support regarding a loss or concern I had written about here.  There were also wishes for a happy birthday, Merry Christmas, and blessed Easter.  As well as notes which asked how I was, and when they were not answered to her satisfaction, as in our last exchange of notes, she would write back and say, glad you Mother and Kate are fine, but how are you?

On June 25th, 2009, Kate had meetings in Miami.  She was tired, having been in Arkansas the day before, and not having arrived home until midnight.  Kate had had a long flying day, with excruciating delays, and at one point, we feared that her final flight home might actually be diverted back to Atlanta.  I had been glad when she finally stepped off the plane, as I always am.  My mother had had a good night, and thus was at her computer fairly early for her class on Facebook and Bible Gateway.  I was running around, doing half a dozen things, at the same time, as I usually am.  Also, as usual, I had my computer on, with CNN staring back at me.  It is my habit to periodically glance at the headlines, and being concerned about what was happening in Iran, I kept checking the news more frequently than usual.

I approached my computer with trepidation, as I saw the red Breaking News banner, appear in front me.  I walked over to read the sad, yet expected news that actress Farrah Fawcett had lost her battle with cancer.  I waited a few minutes to tell my Mother, and we lamented Fawcett’s loss, and hoped that she was at least now out of pain and on to a better place.  We continued with our day, as Kate came home.

Once again, the red banner appeared.  This time, we were told that Michael Jackson had been taken to a hospital, by ambulance.  I must say, though I announced the headline, I initially brushed that report off – too much Los Angles gossip I thought.  But it seemed like only seconds later, there was news that he had died.  I quickly checked FoxNews.Com, and went back and forth reading some of what soon became a flood of shocking information.  Jackson was only 50 years old, and he appeared to be of good health, there was something that simply felt surreal in the reports, but he was some far off person whom I cannot honestly say I had ever had much interest in, which is in no way a critique on his talents or accomplishments.

In between these moments, my Mother read her email, and learned from Kitty, that surgery which we had believed would be in a few weeks, was now scheduled for the 25th of June.  “Oh, I will have to call Kitty,” my Mother said.  “I will probably not be able to get her, but maybe Bob will answer.  I want to know how things went.”  My Mother picked up the phone and began to dial Kitty’s number.  I stepped away from her, thinking she would be occupied for a bit, only seconds later to hear my Mother calling me back.  “Kitty is dead, Kitty is dead.  She died on the operating table.  There was a blood clot in her leg.”  My Mother spoke very quickly and her words were incomprehensible.  What do you mean Kitty is dead Mother?  Bob, Kitty’s husband of 38 years had answered the phone and told my Mother the tragic and most unexpected news that this fine woman, who was having a rather routine surgery, had a heart attack, and the doctors were unable to revive her.

I called Kate into the house, and the three of us sat around the table trying to understand the news.  We immediately started to repeat last conversations and emails, and to eulogize this fine woman who had been a loving wife, and mother to two fine children, Julie, who is married to David, and Brad, an architect, both whom had made her so proud.  Kitty had been a minister with the Four Square Church, a devout Christian who had taught Bible classes and played the piano, and an amazing friend, who looked for ways to ease other’s suffering, as well as bring joy and hope to all that she could.

Within minutes of our conversation, we turned our thoughts to Joy, my sister, who thought of Kitty as her best friend, though said that she was certain that many people thought of Kitty as their best friend.  There was a round of phone calls, as we spoke to family members who were all in shock.  How could this be?

Kitty and Joy had been friends for over fifteen years, and as so often happens, their friendship had spilled over into their families and extended families.  My interaction with Kitty had been the most limited in my family.  I knew that she had been a wonderful friend to my sister and her family, and that on many occasions Kitty had been very kind to my Mother and to my younger sister and her family.  Kitty was a generous person whom I never saw without a smile that seemed to reflect the qualities one hopes all followers of Christ will possess.

In fact, it was a picture of Kitty with my Mother, that I had recently sent off to Marigold, who found my Mother through these pages, having not seen her since she was a little girl – that story is for another day.  In trying to get a few current pictures out to Marigold, I ran across the photograph of Kitty and my Mother, taken at Beth’s wedding, and reflecting how beautiful and filled with happiness they both looked, decided it perfectly captured both women.  It is that picture I continue to see.

My last in depth email from Kitty came during Kate’s birthday week.  I had been surprised by the tone of the note, and decided it merited a thoughtful answer which I did not feel that I had the time to compose.  I wrote her a quick note, like I did most people during that week, and said I was taking a few days off from the computer, but would get back to her.  I am thankful that I did go back and respond to her note, in which she tenderly spoke of our shared burdens.  I was honored that she would place me in any group which she belonged to, as I viewed her as a woman who lived her convictions.

Kitty’s words were kind, warm, and reflective; and provided me with an opportunity to acknowledge the many astonishing things she had done for people I loved.  I had always wanted to say something to her, but felt that it was not my place to bring up matters which did not directly involve me, regarding things which perhaps were none of my concern.  Our relationship had consisted of a correspondence, which rarely contained the intimate or detailed information, which might be shared between girl friends which lunched together or chatted on the phone for hours.  I knew of course, that I did not begin to understand the depth of the love which she had showed so many people, in her life, and I do feel certain that those recipients of her friendship would have acknowledged all that she was to them; but just in case some thank you had slipped away, I wanted her to know that I for one had taken note of her compassion and benevolence; and I was grateful.

When I turned forty, Kitty sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers, wishing me well, with love from her and her husband.  I was quite surprised.  I never sent Kitty flowers.  Beth has just sent me the information regarding the funeral arrangements, and now, when Kitty will not see them, I shall send her flowers.  How foolish we are in life.  I always responded when Kitty reached out to me, and sent holiday cards, as I thought appropriate, but I also held back, being careful not to violate that friend of my sister’s line.  I suppose Kitty and I had found a comfortable place, in our correspondence, where we both felt none of those boundaries were crossed – we certainly never spoke about any of the mutual people in our lives, except to offer a general concern and ask for prayer.

Kitty offered me kind words, and seemed generally to care that I be well.  She sent me warm condolences, on the loss of family and friends, and offered me reassuring words regarding the health of my Mother’s body and soul.  Somehow, she also seemed to know when I needed cheer and was always generous with her love, even when I think she might herself have been in need of tender loving care.

In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Bible says: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance; the Lord looks at the heart.”  I suppose God took a look at Kitty’s heart, and decided He wanted her nearer to Him, I will not argue with His judgment, but I shall say that His gain is most certainly and irrefutably our loss.  Kitty was a movie star or musician, she lived a life in service to others, giving beyond what most ever imagine possible.  I believe there will be many tributes paid to her loving and gentle spirit and all well deserved.  I humbly add my accolades and offer Kitty’s family and friends my deepest sympathies.  I shall miss you Kitty – that is all for now.

Kitty and Joy, best friends

~ M ~

June 2009


To hold a pen is to be at war.
~ Voltaire ~

            I have been following the news in Iran with much concern, as should you.  Weeks ago, speaking with a friend regarding plans to visit Lebanon, this summer, he commented that we would have to wait and see how the elections there were resolved.  It was curious to me that both Iran, and Lebanon, held their elections during the same weekend. Apparently, the elections in Lebanon, were concluded peacefully, sadly we cannot the same about has happened in Iran.

The American reader should not think that this does not concern us, for if ever there was a moment to think globally and act locally, it is now.  I do not believe in theocracy; and I am not writing in support of a candidate, as that is not my place.  I am however, deeply troubled that the people of Iran, have taken to the streets, in protest, of their election results and the world is not coming to their aid.

After the election, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide.  The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran. We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.” [i]  Can there be any question that the outcome does not reflect the wishes of the Iranian people?  President Obama has finally broken his silence to state that he is “very concerned based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made that the government of Iran recognizes that the world is watching.”  Is watching enough?  “We’re walking a fine line here, and we can’t look to be favoring one over the other till things settle down a bit,”  was former State Department official Robert Tappan take on what the United States should do.[ii]  Are we really going to simply sit back and wait?  Can we doubt the results of waiting for things to settle?

The current Iranian government is attempting to control the dissemination of information, in order to protect their power, as has happened so often and in so many places.  Yet, unlike historical repression, this government is not simply seeking to contain a lone voice with a megaphone, mimeograph machine, or shortwave radio; instead this new war of censorship is being waged against global masses with access to a keyboard and the World Wide Web.  I believe the government will lose the war; but at what cost?  Who will be the causalities of this campaign?  The government has removed foreign journalist, blocked or limited Facebook, Twitter, as well as access to certain Web sites, cell phone usage and text messaging. [iii]

Those in power, who seek to control and contain the governed, will always, attempt to manage the flow of information.  National security, morale, and the greater good are often sited as justification for censorship within democracy.  Currently, the rationalization behind Iranian censorship is the need to maintain order and put an end to the disruptive and deadly demonstrations.  It would be wise, for us all to take note, of what has and is occurring in Iran.

Historically, the place of weapons and determination are irrefutable in creating revolution.  However, I think it would be impossible for change to triumph, without the power of words.  Whether written or spoken, empowering or destructive, it is the words which penetrate the hearts and minds of humanity, and stir us to the sacrifice that taking up arms with determination will demand.  It is the word which the government is seeking to silence.  If traditional press is censored or removed, then those with access to electronic media posses a new power and responsibility.  At the very least, we need to be raising our voices in support of the men, women, and children who are protesting in the streets of Iran, for values which Americans so often claim as their birthright – the freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble.

I urge you to raise your voice in favor of democracy.  Write your congressional leaders, the White House, and the traditional press and demand that the protest in Iran be addressed and supported.  Use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to raise awareness of what is happening in Iran.

I shall never forget the pictures from Tiananmen Square China, in 1989, as the leaders of the student democratic movement were massacred, and the world watched.  I believe Iranians are doing all that is within their power to alter the world to what is happening within their country; and now it our responsibility to truly take up our brother’s cross.  Do not let them stand alone.  If you are reading these words, you have the power to reach out across the seas and support those who are standing and dying for democracy.  Let us not say that we only watched as blood was shed.  I urge you to wage war with your pen.  Voltaire would have loved the Internet – that is all for now.





~ M ~

June 2009

It is Just a Tuesday

“The roses red upon my neighbor’s vine
Are owned by him, but they are also mine.
His was the cost, and his the labor, too,
But mine as well as his the joy, their
loveliness to view.
They bloom for me and are for me as fair
As for the man who gives them all his care.
Thus I am rich because a good man grew
A rose-clad vine for all his neighbor’s view.
I know from this that others plant for me,
And what they own my joy may also be;
So why be selfish when so much that’s fine
Is grown for you upon your neighbor’s vine?”
 ~ A.L. Gruber ~

            Before the sun rose, Kate was out of bed and getting ready to leave.  She had to fly to Atlanta, for the day.  My Mother is also stirring around.  Only I feel that 5 o’clock is too early to be trying to wakeup, this is much closer to my bedtime than my good morning time.  Ah, the joys of previously ironed clothes!  I cannot focus, thank God also for sunglasses which give shelter from the morning sun, when it arrives, as well as from the eyeliner which I am not going to apply.  “Am I driving?”  I ask Kate, as I walk Merry to the car.

“No.  I’ve got it.”  Kate says.  It is code for I am once again playing beat the clock.  How close can I cut it and still make my flight, that is the game.  Well, maybe it is not a game, maybe it is just that coolness or calmness she possesses where so little rattles her, including the TSA.  Kate will drive a bit faster than me, so picks up Merry, plops her on her towel, which covers the back seat; as I make my way toward the other side of the car.

It is chilly and clear this morning.  The chilly part will not last long, but the dark skies, humming of the car heater, and being on road, quickly begins to lull me back to sleep.  I wish we were driving to Atlanta, though it is not a particularly nice drive.  We have already taken the detours to Americus, home of Habitat for Humanity, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Sites.  There are few hot springs or caves some where along the road, oh yes we did stop at Andersonville, the site of the infamous Civil War prison.  Andersonville is worth a detour.  There is a very powerful museum there which honors all prisoners of war; as well as the remains of the Southern prison, which was all but a death sentence, and it is the site of a national cemetery.  Everyone should visit a national cemetery, at least once, in their lifetime.  National cemeteries have a way of quickly helping one to gain perspective.  The precision with which military graves are laid out, naturally pull you in until you are surrounded by sacrifice and honor, and reminded how precious and fragile life can be.

I am forgetting “The Little White House.” President Franklyn D. Roosevelt’s little white house in Warm Springs, Georgia, was also a part of that road trip.  It was Warm Springs where Roosevelt would go to treat the polio which had ravished his legs, and it was there where he died.  I guess I am too tired and not thinking clearly.  That was a good trip, and Atlanta offers so much to do once you have arrived.  But the drive to the airport is too quick this morning.  I do not have time to fall asleep even briefly.  The airport exit is upon us, and I reach for Kate’s hand and say quick prayers, as is our custom when hitting the road.  We want God’s traveling mercies.  She pulls over to the Delta Terminal, grabs her briefcase and we say good-by.  Merry is not happy, she hates when Kate leaves.

I am on.  I feel like the Joe Gideon character, in All That Jazz, played by the late and brilliant Roy Scheider.  He starts his morning as the night is ending, by dropping Alka-Seltzer into a glass, splashing water on his face, swallowing a little boost of energy, and announcing that it is show time, as he stares into the mirror flashing jazz hands.  I adjust the car seat and mirrors, turn on the radio and the air conditioning, as the chill has left, and pull out of the airport.  Kate has been driving alone, and the car radio is on a country music station.  I am mesmerized by a song about how tequila makes the singers baby take her clothes off – I do not seem to be able to change stations, until it ends.  I channel surf, and listen to two men discuss the death of a third, who was struck by lighting, which evolves into lighting striking one of the men’s boat, and doing twenty thousand dollars worth of damage, and the thrills of reverting to single hood when his wife, children, and new dog go on vacation.  Apparently, the man walks in through the front door, removes his jeans, turns them to face the door, much as a fireman would with his over trousers, and leaves them there till morning, so that all he needs to do is step in them, to be set to go.  I need NPR, National Public Radio, and Starbucks.

Kate calls.  I have once again broken my phone.  I cannot make calls, retrieve messages, use my camera or any of the other functions; but the battery is holding the charge for about an hour, before dying.  It is long enough this morning, to let me know that she has cleared security and is boarding – all is well.  I am heading up Sunrise Boulevard to pay five dollars for coffee.  I order a double caramel macchiato with an extra shot, and I ask for sugar.  NPR offers new stimulation as the sun has risen, the skies are clear, and I am waking up.

I will walk Merry, she is excited.  The dog people, whom I only see at night, are out very early.  Usually Kate has the morning shift.  We have a plethora of Jack Russell’s’ in our neighborhood.  Shelia is walking her Jack Russell in the park, stopping to speak with a nameless soul whose dogs are lovely, but whose mind has left him.  I avoid our village park, and head up the street, where I encounter the always gracious Betty, mother to a perfectly coifed Pomeranian.  Betty brushes her dog every night, keeps her yard immaculate, and is always polite.  She has a past heartache, but she will not speak of it.  Betty is from Chile, and migrated during Chile’s darkest days.  I do not normally see her during the day, and though like so many of us, she has reached that certain age, when women are no longer looked upon as desirable; I am enraptured by her beauty.  She has a unique style and elegance which I cannot help but admire.  Her Pomeranian is not well, I make a mental note that Kate and I must pay her a visit.

Merry and I continue toward the other park, having walked Betty and her Pomeranian home.  I run into Laura, mother of not one but two dogs and often foster mother to a third or fourth.  She is coming from the park, her hands are full and she looks as if she has been working out, but her dogs are not with her.  Laura, whom I have tried to recruit for several of my Political Action Committee’s, is out picking up trash, in the park.  She has a bag to recycle and one that is trash.  I feel guilty thinking about her unheralded efforts, and my judgment of her for having refused to help me with my committees.  She is true to her own convictions, without pomp or circumstance.  We exchange pleasantries, she pets Merry and we say good-day.  Merry enjoys the nice clean park.

Jimmy is standing by his van, getting ready to start his work day.  He is loading or unloading, I cannot tell.  He asks about our trip to Puerto Rico, he and his family where there in February, visiting extended family.  I have only glowing reports and I can see that he is pleased with my report.  He ask how my Mother is, and reminds me that his wife, Evelyn has offered to help if there is ever anything my Mother needs.  I thank him, knowing his offer and concern are sincere.  We say good-by, as he heads back into his house to retrieve his two Jack Russell’s, one, Buddy, which Merry has a crush on.  Jimmy is several houses behind us, and stops to say hello to an aging neighbor who lives alone.

I continue walking thinking about my little neighborhood.  We were badly hit by Hurricane Wilma, and there are still houses in disrepair, but not as many as their once were.  The house on the corner, which we thought of buying, has finally been sold.  The new owners have painted, put on a new roof, and are even doing some landscaping.  Is there hope?  So many long time residents ran away after two years of Hurricanes.  I do not blame them, but our neighborhood is having an identity crisis.  Instead of a neighborhood of retired, Jewish, professionals, from New York, we have become . . . well that is just it; we do not know what we are or what we are becoming.  Perhaps it is just growing pains, which have caused us to ache.

The pool is empty and looks inviting, but as I enter the house I am reminded of life’s’ unfinished to do list, a swim will have to wait.  I go to my computer to check the news, and instead stare out at the lake and garden.  I have a new mother duck, which has brought me her ducklings, to help in there care.  I am pleased with her efforts; she is a good mother who puts her ducklings first, waits for them, and gathers them literally under her wings.  I wonder about our future.  I think about the people who have come and gone in our life, since we have been in this house and the choices we have made.

I am often disheartened by the changes I see in our little village, but then there are those moments when Nour comes by to ask if we are ready for more mangos.  His tree is overflowing and he knows how much my mother enjoys them.  Yes, I reply, we will be over.  I think I am going to make some chutney and maybe jam.  Fran calls to find out when we are available for a real Jewish super.  She wants to takes us out to dinner for Kate’s birthday, though it has passed; and wants to make sure that mother comes.  Joe stops over with the last of his mangos and reminds us that he is there if we need him.  I will at least make chutney.  I am part of a neighborhood, and like so much of my paradoxical life, I both love and hate it also.  We have certainly kissed a lot of toads, but there are more than a few prince’s around as well.

The day goes much too quickly.  I have gotten little done that I hoped to do, but it is almost eight o’clock and now all I care about is finishing supper and heading out the door.  I grab Merry, head to the car and hit the turnpike.  My car knows the way to the airport, and we stop at the Delta Terminal, where Kate is standing with briefcase in tow. Merry comes to life, and we all head home on this ordinary Tuesday night.  That is all for now.

~ M ~

June 2009

Wish You Were Here

            Dear Kindred Spirit,
                 I write these few short lines, as I sit staring at an emerald and sapphire Caribbean Sea, dotted with white waves, rushing toward the rocky break waters which shield a pristine sandy beach, shaded by swaying coconut palms.  The sun is shining brightly this morning, and we are cradled in tropical breezes and serenaded by gulls and those white waves.  Hope you are well.
                                                   Jill and Kate

            In my life and travels, I have had a love hate relationship with post cards – sending them, not receiving them.  I love receiving post cards, from family and friends.  When a post card arrives, I look at the picture; scan for a signature and then I of course, wait to read it, until I can share the moment with Kate, as I feel them to be this wonderful mini surprise.  Afterwards, I place it on the refrigerator.  Kate, who is much more cleaver than I am, will use a magnate from that location, if we happen to have one. (I regret not having always bought magnets, along the way.  Of course, in those early days, we were lucky if we could afford a hotel room, along the way; there was no money for souvenirs.)

My first encounter with the magic of post cards came in a small town, outside of Eugene Oregon, for which I have neither post cards nor magnets.  We were driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, which is one of the most beautiful drives in the United States.  Eventually, we ended up in British Columbia, drove across a portion of southern Canada, before heading back to the lower forty-eight, through Montana and on to Mount Rushmore, from which I did send post cards, and have a magnet not because I bought one, but because on Caroline’s trip there, she bought me a magnet pen – clever little sister!

In Oregon, I had once again cajoled Kate into stopping, at one of my favorite types of stores – a junk store for her, an antique shop for the more refined, and a treasure trove of discovery, for me.  Walking around the very over crowded shop, as they always are, I happened upon a large box of old post cards, neatly categorized by location.  At the time, we were living in Southern California.  I began to look at the California post cards, and happened upon a series of cards from the 1930’s through the early 1940’s, with a linen finish, printed with an extraordinary pallet of colors.  I had to have them, and paid ten cents a card for a series of ten, which captured my Los Angeles, or perhaps the Los Angeles I wished I had known.  Untouched by time, I held Olivera Street, the oldest street in Los Angeles, which has remained a cobble stoned, pedestrian path, dotted with Mexican restaurants and shops; and the best place in Los Angeles for taquitos!  Everything  from the Coconut Grove, which was a restaurant inside the now gone Ambassador Hotel, where the Oscars were once held, to Wilshire Boulevard, the NBC studios, and so much more.  I think the only land mark building missing is Union Station, which is still one of the most glorious train stations in the country.  I brought home my California souvenirs, from Oregon, framed them and have had them ever since.  The cards are a fitting reminder of all that I loved about California, and the beginning of my appreciation of post cards as art.

In later years, I found an equally delightful set, from the same time period, of Cuba, in Arkansas!  I have framed post cards my Mother sent to her family and friends, from her time in Cuba, in the 1950’s – one with stamps still attached.  Along with post cards from places like the Grand Canyon and Grant’s Tomb, I have old cards from World War I, reminding folks back home, to write their GI’s who need to hear from loved ones, I have cards from the Middle East, which look like glossy, black and white photographs that someone decided should be post cards, and stacks of cards which picture things like the Little Brown Church in the Dale, from an old hymn, Serpent Mound, which I went to see with my Mother; a map of the Boston Metro, that I bought at the time Hannah was born, and even a card telling me how to make a perfect key lime pie, which is actually a pretty good recipe.

I have even purchased post cards on e-bay, which I cannot read, but they were from Paris in 1920’s and 1930’s, which were sent to Berlin – it was too much to resist.  New or used, does not matter with post cards, they are a perfect snap shot of a time and place; and whether or not I was at that time or place, holding a card, reading its’ words, and looking at the picture, allow you to be a part of the moment, even when you can not understand the message

My Cuban post cards, from Arkansas had never been mailed.  Were they meant to be sent; or were they bought to remember a trip?  I buy post cards which serve as mementos.  Someone once told me, back in the day when camera’s used film, that they never bothered taking pictures of land marks, as post card photographers did such a better job.  I could not argue their logic, and began to do the same thing.  After all, would it really be possible to take a better picture of the Statue of Liberty than what a professional has done, hanging out of an airplane or perched atop a building with a telephoto lens?  I love those unused post cards, and keep them in a green plastic box, which I inherited with my house.  I keep them in my bedroom closet, with unsent post cards from Russia and the Ukraine, which also came with my house.  Over the years, I have gone back to that box to reminisce and occasionally use an old post card in a collage or to accompany a poem, in one of my books of poetry, which I make as gifts.  Before I knew better, I even glued post cards into scrapbooks.

My Mother has recently returned post cards to me, which I sent her from my early trips.  It has been a sweet surprise to revisit those memories, though they have also served as a reminder, of the hate part of my affair with post cards.  What do you write on the card?  Wish you were here!  Really?  Okay, there have been moments when I have wished some particular person was with me, sharing some special place, but mostly, that simply is not true.  You want the card to have meaning or at least not seem silly, but you have space for three or four lines.  What do you say?

Also, are we just showing off, by sending a picture of the emerald and sapphire sea, to some poor soul stuck in six feet of snow?  No, sometimes, we just want to share our own joy and happiness.  We are overwhelmed to have been upgraded to room 2068, the Atlántico Suite, at the Caribe Hilton, where we have not one stunning view of the ocean, but two!  My thanks to Nelson, for arranging this lovely two story accommodation, on the penthouse floor, with a third patio, where the Jacuzzi is housed; it is perfect and lovelier than anything I could have imagined.  I must say that Kate was thrilled to wake up here, on her birthday!

At the moment, the post cards I sent Kate from Sausalito, are still on the refrigerator, as is a card from Melbourne, Australia, sent to us by Allison.  Allison and Nic are being married on Saturday, at the Great Barrier Reef.  Joy, Juan, and Beth, are traveling to be with her, perhaps they too shall send a card my way, to join hers’.  Congratulations Nic and Allison, we wish you both the very best!

Meanwhile, yesterday, I bought both post cards and a magnet, from Puerto Rico.  On my last trip here, in 1985, I had bought a wonderful Puerto Rican cookbook, which I still love and use; and a bilingual edition of The Captain’s Verses, by Pablo Neruda, which is my favorite book of poems; but I neither sent post cards nor bought a magnet – of course, I did not own a refrigerator then.  I had come here to run away, and for a few months, it worked magically.  I guess that is another of the hate points of the post cards – they force you to reconnect with what you have left behind; and sometimes the reason for finding yourself in some far away location, is because we want to leave Encino, Californian, and all of the un-pleasantries that it represents, behind you.

As I finish these words, I am looking forward to going upstairs, and retrieving the post cards which I bought.  At the very least, I shall get a post card, in the mail, for my Mother, as I know how much she enjoys receiving post cards herself; and as she is at my house, I can then also look forward to seeing a Puerto Rican post card, on the refrigerator.  This has been a good trip, but those words are for a later date.  Today is Kate’s birthday, and God has been kind to her, so if I do not get around to mailing your post card, well know that you are the kindred spirit to which I write.  That is all for now.

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