Thursday, July 29, 2010

Woe Is Us

Why is it, that when someone close to us “passes,” “moves to a better place,” “bites the dust,” or, ( I felt the need for a little levity), we feel the need to tell everyone we see. And I don’t mean just people who know us, or the late beloved. (“They’re not late. They’re not coming.”) But people who we have never seen before, like a construction worker pounding some into a building, the dentist’s new assistant, or a person standing on the street collecting signatures for some cause.

At first I thought I wanted people to feel sorry for me. That was simply wrong. The people who express their love and support and remind us to celebrate life, are far preferable. The people who do an “oh, poor you,” are usually the same people who then dive right into “Oh, poor me,” For example, “I know you lost someone very close to you, but it doesn’t begin to compare to the depth of the tragedy that I felt when my, dog, father, cousin, friend, favorite teacher …. died.”

There could be a reality show in this. Why not go from funeral home to funeral home but instead of asking those who are grieving how they feel, you simply ask anyone in the crowd:
1. How they feel about dying.
2. If they have every experienced anything similar.

There was a time when I believed an absolutely hysterical TV series would be to go to a condo swimming pool in South Florida and ask any elderly person sitting outside, how they are feeling – it’s got to be better than “The Real Wives of …” and “Jersey Shore.” When we asked my grandmother how she felt, regardless of the state of her health, she would always say “better.” You might think that this is ‘a glass half full’ response, while in fact, it was merely a way to start the conversation. “Why grandma? Weren’t you feeling well?” To which there any number of answers:
a. If you called me more often you would know.
b. Yesterday wasn’t go great for me.
c. The doctor was not happy about the results of a test he took last week.
d. I must have eaten something this morning that didn’t agree with me.
e. At my age, you would expect me to feel fine all the time.
f. Don’t worry, it’s just another way God has to remind me I’m falling apart
g. I’m better, but you should hear about Mrs. Schwartz. It shouldn’t happen to a dog.

And those are just a few and still at the starting point. You can only imagine what the possibilities are for the rest of the conversation.

Anyway, back to feeling sorrowful. It’s almost like you think that sharing your sorrow will bring some kind of relief. Some kind of catharsis. While you know the first response will predictably be, “I’m so sorry.” You want to be able to respond beyond “thank you.” You want to be able to say things like, “she was a colorful character,” or “I know I am going to miss even those tedious telephone conversations, when I could hardly hear her because the TV was so loud and she refused to lower it, especially if she were in the middle of a Hallmark movie, or “Judge Judy.” It seems impossible that after all the years she insisted on having some kind of relationship, and all the years you spent together fighting or laughing or crying or telling secrets, that she’s no longer around to be interested.

Then there is the feeling that you need to explain, almost forgive whomever you tell, that you know there are those who are suffering more – like the loss of a child or a spouse or a person who was sick and in pain for a long time. Not sure why any sorrow needs to be measured, but just like it’s hard to be in a room with friends who want only to share silence, it’s equally hard not to comment on the depth of your pain. And I know that, having lost my dad over 20 years ago, the pain never goes away. The absence of a person who you loved deeply, may not intensify, but it’s always lurking – waiting for you to see someone with a similar smile, or style, or dress or reacting in the same way they would have reacted to some situation. And that person is sometimes your children, but more likely it happens when you look in the mirror.

And how do we deal with this loss. My Aunt, (mom’s twin), says she believes that half of her went into the grave and that half of mom stayed with her. (Click on this link.) In “Tuesdays with Morrie”, Mitch Albom writes about an Indian tribe who believed that the person who died became very small and was always sitting on your shoulder – giving you ongoing advice and with that, of course, a headache. As my Aunt Peppy says, we don’t really know what faces us when we die, so we should make something up that makes it as easy as possible to live with the loss.

Contributions to the Gefilte Fish Chronicles Project may be mailed to:
220 E 54
apt 3j
NY 10022

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It Seems Familiar

The soldiers walking in front of me smelled like West Point. It’s hard to explain the smell except to say, when I was in high school we would spend weekends dating cadets – and all of them smelled the same way. There are those times when a smell or a color or just a sound can take me back to a time or an event in the past. I guess that’s what’s meant by déjà vu – the feeling that you’ve been there before?

There has been so much déjà vu this week. Perhaps it’s because my mom’s death is so much like the end of an era, or maybe its because after all our years together there was hardly an event at which she (and all my aunts) didn’t have some presence – even if it was just in my head. Often it was in person and someday I’ll tell you about Rose and her friend Cynthia, at the Democratic Convention.

Today, I spoke to Aunt Peppy two times. The first was because I called her to say hello and how are you. The second was when she called me, before she ended her “Shiva” (time in mourning). She wanted to remind me that at the end of the Shiva period, the mourners get up, go outside, and walk around a bit. That signifies that you are getting on with your life –without the person who passed on. And so, I read Kaddish, (memorial prayer for the dead), and walked to work, hoping I would feel better. Or at least feel something.

And I did feel sad and lonely, but it didn’t have the kind of depth I expected. I am not going to whine about what I feel or don’t feel or what I have and don’t have. My memories of my parents are vivid in my mind. My memories of my mother, although not without some drama, are mostly hysterical. She was a role model for being a “character.” For not giving in to the traditional. And for taking the road less traveled. My life, both personal and professional, has been much the same. And to some degree, so have my children’s lives – because of her.

What I do have, that almost no one who has lost their parent has, is her legacy. Not money, we had none. And not things (her taste was never my taste), but “The Gefilte Fish Chronicles.” I have her at her best in a documentary. I have her voice in the “Chronicles” companion cookbook, and I have all of her siblings’ spirit in a developing musical theater show. She and my Aunts and Uncles have had quite an impact on families (not only Jewish), throughout the United States and Canada. If I want to visit with the essence of all of them, I can turn on TV, slip in a DVD, laugh and cry and remember.

Many people have asked if there was a way they could make a donation in her name. If there were a disease or religious organization that she championed. Not really. But it was very important to her that the “Gefilte Fish Chronicles” remain a part of the national conversation –so she and all the aunts and uncles could be the role model for family and celebration. So I guess if you want to contribute to something that gave or would give her, and her still very much alive twin Peppy, write a check to “The Gefilte Fish Chronicles.” It will help us to keep spreading the word, and to keep the flame of family (ours and everyone else’s) alive. And like her Kaddish candle, still burning. We're just sayin'....Iris
Peppy speaks about the Chronicles

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Zero Intolerance

This has been quite a couple of weeks. No excuse for not writing, but it’s the only one I have. My mother-in-law, the irredoubtable Rose Groman finally decided she’d given this life a pretty good spin, and headed back to see her husband and sisters, all of whom missed her, I’m sure. The sense of absence – of missing something no longer there, whether it be person or thing, is often hard to describe. Where there was once someone ( Rose) , doing something familiar (chatting, cooking veal chops, watching a game show) , but who is there no longer, is a tough reality to grab on to. So much of our lives are filled with the kind of repetitive moments, or at least the security of the familiar, that large gaps left by someone’s passing make difficult to grasp. You keep hearing the voice which you know won’t be spoken again. Out of the corner of your eye, little tricks are played on your mind, as you could swear you heard or saw something which could only have come from that person. Then you have one of those instant double-takes… Wait. Rose is gone. It couldn’t have been her.

We spend so much of our lives dwelling in the unproductive and uninteresting sides of things, the pursuits of material which ultimately seem so banal and uninviting when the real soul of life needs to be measured. The one thing I suppose I am sure of is that I’m not, inspite of my chronological qualifications, ready to assume a role as ‘adult.’ While not afflicted with severe Peter Pan syndrome, I nonetheless have preferred living my life as a naïf, someone who continually remains open to the possibility of positive change, with that flicker of child like belief that the ‘grown ups’ won’t really screw things up as badly as they seem to be. Well, yes, they do seem to be pretty on their way (or, since they are my age and younger) on OUR way to doing so. I’m continually reminded of how our generation, the baby boomers, have squandered the joys inherent in thought and common sense, and instead, in some kind of desire to avoid responsibility, just throw back all the basic questions of right and wrong. Yesterday, my brother in law Jeff, a mere 5 years younger than I, accompanied me to a ‘Food Emporium’ grocer to pick up two beers… not two six packs, but two beers (albeit the Fosters hand-grenade sized ones.) The young woman at the cashier asked to see I.D. Now, if you are alive, and breathe, and know how to punch a time clock (which I’m sure all the Food Emp. Employees do) you couldn’t possibly think Jeff or I were under the age of 21. It’s simply not humanly possible. But to do so would require the tiniest bit of that combination of intellect and giving a damn, along with an infinitesimal power of observation. I understand if Jordan were to order a drink in a café or buy a beer in a store, how she could, indeed should be ‘carded.’ But to have completely abrogated the concept of “common sense” which is now so uncommon, is to show to that same younger generation that adults are thoughtless idiots, incapable of even making the most elemental, simple, and basic decision. We see it in our lives everyday. “Zero Tolerance” ought to just be called “No More Common Sense, Please” as all it does is create more idiotic rules and interpretations of how to live a life.

For years I thought the coolest gift you could give a 13 year old boy at his Bar Mitzvah was a Swiss Army knife. A blade to cut a tree branch when camping, the can opener and bottle opener so you could eat, a small saw for securing your hammock, and a screw driver when the electrical box needed fixing. The corkscrew, for later years use, was kind of self explanatory. But now, if you were to even think of giving a kid a Swiss Army Knife, one of the dozens of newly formed anti terrorist squads, dressed to the nines in their recently purchased millions of dollars worth of Kevlar black uniform and SWAT teamwear would descend upon the poor kid before he could trim the string on his box kite. Once again, the things we knew and cherished and appreciated are now just blocked off from everyday life by some new rule. I’m ready to apologize to the kids’ generation at this point. Rose, and her compatriots, got us through the end of the depression, WW2, and the Cold War. What have we done? Well, very little, I’m afraid to say, and most of that not so good. Yes, we have cell phones, email, and instant messaging. It all has its place and can be incredibly useful, although I fear that having given everyone the chance to stare at their cellphone as they walk down the sidewalk or enter an elevator, we have lost many further chances to just interact with each other “in person.” As someone who starts conversations in elevators with strangers, I fear the ‘stare at your cell phone” syndrome will make such chit chat even more difficult as we move forward. (You call this Forward?) So, I’m sorry our generation didn’t just decide to KNOW the simple difference between what is right, and what isn’t. In the end, it’s usually not that hard. As Rose would have said, “Smart, smart, stupid.” Yes, at some point, the self-appointed geniuses just crap out, and their inherent self-important views of the world dissolve into a bit of nothing. My belt is fitting a little loose this morning, and I’d like to fix it. Where do you think that Swiss Army Knife leather punch is, anyway? We’re just sayin’… David

Friday, July 23, 2010

How You Feel

Has anyone written a book about what it’s like to deal with an important death? I know there have been books on death that talk about the grieving process and what happens after, but has anyone talked about how difficult it is when you feel empty? When you can’t connect the dots.

Many of my friends and family have said that it’s normal to feel nothing, but this is too much for me to comprehend. I am waiting for someone to tell me that mom is not dead. That when we thought she was starving herself, she was actually getting up in the middle of the night and sneak eating. But I was there with her during the night, and she just continued not to eat or drink. She made a decision which, with the help of the hospice people, we needed to respect. Not easy for a Jewish mother, not to try to force feed whomever –but I didn’t. It was important for her to feel in control. It was important for her wishes to be respected. She was just tired of sitting around doing nothing but hoping dad and her sisters would take her.

This woman, who enjoyed nothing more that a good Judge Judy, a Golden Girls Marathon and a few exciting “Price is Right” episodes, lost interest in watching TV. She just wanted to be with dad and her sisters. And after she had the stroke, or pause, or whatever it was, she just wanted us to let her go. Which we did. After saying her goodbyes to her sister and the many cousins who couldn’t believe we were going to lose her.

Despite the family pep talks, she made the choice. Painful as it was for us to watch, there was little else we could do.

And now, the most painful thing is to think of her as dead. I was with her when she died, and even then I was convinced that she was still breathing. In my mind’s eye, I see her lying on that bed not breathing. But in my memory I see her covered with gold chains, on her 80th birthday, trying to convince Tina that they were tasteful. There was no way. And we laughed and laughed until we had stomach pain. My mom, who never owned any good jewelry, always looked fantastic in crap – so that’s what she wore – more elegantly than even anyone who shopped at Tiffanys.

Maybe I’ll go see “Toy Story Three”. Jordan says it’s a real tear jerker – and maybe that’s what I need. I can’t yet get to the tears, but I know they are right beneath the surface. It might be that we took care of her for so long, that we don’t know what to do with ourselves now. But all the other people who were her care givers came to say their teary goodbyes without any problem.

Rosie, what will we do without you? And Rosie, we pray that you are in a place that finally makes you happy. I just wish we knew how to deal with your absence as well as your presence. We’re just sayin’… Iris

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Other Half

We buried “Mama Rose” yesterday. All the guests wore sparkling rose stickers and the immediate family was in sequins. Her grand children spoke eloquently about the impact she had on their lives and how they had become better people because of the unconditional love she lavished on them, no matter where they were in their lives.
She would have been so proud.

A few months ago, when I was making my every six week trek across the country, to let her know I still cared, she told me that she didn’t think that (when she died) there were going to be many people at her funeral (If she ever died.) “My friends are all dead,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of people left in NJ who even remember me anymore. But don’t you dare bury me in Seattle. I want to be next to daddy.”

“Oh gee Ma,” I said, “We thought we would just throw your body in the Pacific Ocean, since no one will come to the service, and no one remembers you, we just thought it wouldn’t pay to make a big fuss about it.”
Aunt Peppy & Rosie Jean
As it turned out, (and we were not surprised), there were lots of family and friends, who wanted to pay their respects to this amazing woman who had made some kind of impact on their lives. They traveled great distances to share their stories and their sorrow. Many of the friends were mine and Jeff’s who, through good times and bad, had come to admire and respect our parents. Some people were there who didn’t even know mom, but she had done something kind for one of their parents or some relative – maybe when she was a volunteer at St Clare’s Hospital.

If you are Jewish, you are supposed to get buried the day after you die, unless it’s the Sabbath and then you wait until Sunday. Once the person is buried, the family sits in mourning (shiva) for three to seven days. Mom died on a Friday. It wasn’t quite sundown but that didn’t matter because we had to arrange for her body to be sent back to Newark. (And I know it was only her body because her spirit departed early in the day.) Skipping all the spiritual stuff – we needed to bury her next to Dad in Beth David, in Elmont, NY. So as it turned out, we couldn’t have the funeral until Tuesday and we had been mourning from Friday. It was a painfully long goodbye, but my cousins, Rosalie and Dick, opened their house to us and surrounded us with support.

Last night, my mother’s twin (the last one out of eight still alive), talked about mom and how she was dealing with it. “For the first three days, I kept saying, Rosie can’t be dead. Someone has made a terrible mistake. Then, every time I admitted to myself that it was true, I would start to cry. Then I would say, it isn’t true. I’ll talk to her later and I’ll know she’s OK. At the graveside an amazing thing happened. I figured out a way to live with this horrible reality. I knew that as we lowered her into the ground, half of me went with her. And at the same time half of her stayed in me.”

That works for me, Aunt Pep. And sad as I am that half of you is gone, I am just fine with “half of mom lives inside of you” What more does anyone need to say. We’re just sayin’…. Iris

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Always Colorful Momma Rose

Even those of you who didn't really know her knew stories about her, so it is with great sadness that I share the news of my mom's passing this morning Friday July 16. It is with great joy, however that I tell you she died exactly the way she wanted to.... peacefully, in her sleep, listening to her Barry Sisters CD, surrounded with people who loved her -- lots of them. Jeff and I, Els, Devin, Jordan Kai, Seth, Joyce and our new little Rosie, all her friends and caregivers. And in classic Rose form, She kept her gold sneakers and said if there was anyone who wore a 6 1/2 she didn't want them to go in the trash. I guess after 10 years we can't return them -- which as we all know is what she and all her sisters would have preferred.
Keep her in your thoughts and prayers and in her honor do something sparkly and outrageous.
Love you

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mom is Home

Rose and Milton, Brooklyn, 1942
We brought mom home to her apartment at the M.A.R.C. this morning. Everyone was really happy that she chose to be home for her hospice care. So many people visiting to say they love her. She is where she belongs, surrounded by people who love her. MaryBeth, her best friend came by to say hello and told her that she didn’t have to eat, because MaryBeth was eating enough for both of them. The chef came up just to tell her, and us, that he’d prepare anything she wanted. Her aides, Tonya, Kady and Jamie continue to give her loving care, and every once in a while the feisty Rosie appears out of nowhere to let us all know she’s still in charge. This comes as no surprise. Everytime my brother and I are together with her, I tell him that Mom said I was always the favorite child which absolutely makes her smile. Jordan read her a Cosmo article about pre-marital sex. She wanted her Nana’s opinion, and her Nana just shook her head. And I won’t tell you what Jeffrey said to make her smile, but yes, if she could get up, she’d wash his mouth out with soap. We all so appreciate your expressions of love and support, and I am reading them all to her. We’re just sayin’.... Iris (in Bainbridge)

If You Have a Minute...

Iris' mom, the redoubtable Rose Groman has been in the hospital the last week.. and while she's resting comfy, she would love to hear from her fans out there. Iris has been reading her emails from family and friends the last few days, and she quite enjoys catching up and hearing from you all. Send your notes to us at and we ll be sure and pass them on. We're just sayin'..... David

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Thongs For the Memories

There was a time when a woman could slip into her underpants and then just put on a skirt or pants or whatever. It is a time I remember fondly. But now, you can’t just pull on underpants. They have to be invisible. In other words, the line of your underpants can’t show through whatever you choose to put on over them. This makes no sense to me since you are allowed to let your bra straps show – in fact, it’s cool to let them hang out. (May I add here that letting your bra straps show is hardly as stupid as the guys who wear their pants so low that everyone who passes by can see his butt crack – but ridiculous styles are not the subject of this blob.) To be quite honest I never know what the subject of the blob will be, but I know what it is not.

Anyway, about a year ago I was getting dressed and Jordan looked at me and laughed. “Mom, the lines of your underpants are showing. You need to wear a thong.” Here’s an important fact. When I was growing up, thongs were shoes. As a matter of fact, not too long ago I went into the shoe department at Macy’s and asked if they had thongs. “Lady,” she said distastefully, “Why would you look for a thong here? You need to look in underwear.” Of course, I thought, they are not called thongs anymore, they are called flip flops – which would make more sense if it was a bra. It’s kind of like when you call someone a ‘dobee’. The definition of a ‘dobee’ was someone who did menial tasks or errands. But this is no longer the case. Apparently, it now has some sexual connotation, which my kids refuse to explain to me.

Fashion trends change, everyone knows that, but why should we have to suffer the consequences of decisions our children make. So, I am practicing wearing a thong. I even bought five. What I find, however, is that it feels like I’m naked. When it doesn’t feel that way it is simply because I have to keep adjusting it. It is a bit disconcerting to have to keep pulling at your underwear – I know men will well understand this.

My preference for sleep wear is a t shirt and underpants. This may be too much information. Regardless, I tried to sleep in a thong (I keep practicing), but it was truly uncomfortable. Oh me, oh my, what to do? Do I admit defeat and let my lines show? Or do I bite the bullet and get used to this new phenomenon – I guess it’s only new to me. Well, I guess I could pull up my big girl pants and become very ‘today.’ But let me tell you how uncomfortable it is to pull up that little piece of cloth and pretend to be hip. If only it would cover my hip, I could almost deal with it. We’re just sayin’…Iris

Sunday, July 04, 2010

What A Party! Party??

the "ROCK" in question...
they come from far afield, and sit upon the hills of Plymouth....
The July 4th parade in Plymouth may have been an precursor to a whole new political trend. The lack of party affiliation. In the parade, where there were 60 floats, and at least 30 were political candidates from the South Shore, there were only two with party affiliate designations on their signs. We inquired about whether they were Dems or Repubs, and they seemed startled, even uncomfortable, but eventually the fessed up to party of choice. Anyway, there was one candidate who was running for Sheriff who, on his literature admitted he was a Dem. And the other was a float for the Tea Party – that is quite a Party, as we have all seen and heard on the news. Is this a sign that the good Old American two-party system is on the wane? (What does wane mean? Wane is one of those words that no one uses anymore because there seem to be better choices. Like decline seems so much hipper, and deteriorate much more visual). Moving on…

David had never seen Plymouth Rock. So imagine his surprise when he discovered a mere pebble (by Ayers Rock standards), protected by fencing and concrete barriers. “I guess they think it’s going to escape,” was the most sensible explanation shared by a 6 year old sharing the view with him. Yes, Plymouth Rock does not meet expectations – especially when you have waited your whole life to give it a glance. The first time I saw it, was when, as a young mother, Seth and I explored many historic sites in the commonwealth. Well, we went to Sturbridge Village almost weekly because they had great cookies, and we went to historic parks, where Seth was chased and terrified by a loose and asocial goose, and we went to Plymouth Rock. It was before anyone thought it would escape. Although there was a chain link fence, nothing else protected it. Seth was pretty bored with looking at a rock so the highlight of the trip were the fabulous ice cream cones I bought as a reward for driving all that distance and not being very impressed.

Scott Brown for Senate.. at least we know where he stands

But back to the politics of today. There were candidates who sent groups of people with signs, but themselves were no shows. And the new Senator ( Scott Brown -- who is pretty cute) was there greeting as many people as possible. There were candidates who came with bands (mostly made up of ex hippies and no doubt on the verge of receiving Social Security), and there were some, who were running for Board of Education, who personally greeted and touched every hand in the crowd. That will tell you where the real power lies. Where the real work is done. And additionally, it a sign of the power of that position. It is unclear whether they can have Party affiliations but no one did so the point is moot. (Another word like wane that sounds like an animal call.)
Rob O'Leary for Congress...R or D?

Joe Malone for Congress...R or D?

And it’s not only at a parade. I realized when I was watching a Governor and Senate race last week, that neither the incumbent or the challenger were identified by party. Have the national political parties so alienated the public, that people who are running for elected office are afraid to talk about who they are and what they believe in – other than no new taxes and no big government. I think I liked it better when candidates talked about issues, took positions, and stood for something. Most of the time, the public would align with one group or another but it wasn’t as ugly or mean spirited as it is today. And the interesting thing is that the public prefers humor to venom. They don’t trust anyone who says what they are against rather than what they are for.

Zach and Spiderman, in the flesh
Madame Polito, sans affiliation

But such is life. We all had a wonderful time. Lots of family having fun together. Zak met Spiderman-- his hero and David chased after John Talcott, Jr., the 102 year old Navy veteran Grand Marshall who refused to ride in the car provided, and insisted on walking the whole route. He was in better shape than most of the crowd – or at least, he had a better costume. We’re just sayin’… Iris

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Revoltin' Development

I think the expression was “What a revolting development this is.” Or it may have been my mother's favorite pronouncement “Smart, smart, stupid” -- which quite simply means, very smart people can make really stupid decisions. So who am I talking about? The list could go on for a long time. But let's start with the silly and move to the important.

Everyone knows that “Rolling Stone” published a piece about a well respected General or rather his team of geniuses talking down and dirty about the President and his Merry Men, some of whom I know and with whom I have worked. Just for the record, I think these great military minds were just stupid. They are career military and with all their indoctrination, they know, it is against the rules, ( a big NO NO) and also against the law, to criticize the President or the people who make policy decisions – regardless of the foolishness of the policy. It is just not done. One can assume they had some kind of death wish – or maybe, they wanted to send their message through a liberal press outlet, who they knew would print what they said, (a more conservative press may not have reported it). It was the only way they knew their comments (the journalist had access to the aides not the General), would be published. Additionally, they may have been looking for a way out (being removed from their command is certainly out), before they had to suffer the consequences they knew would result from the policies being forced upon a military, that they realized was futile.

Needless to say the General resigned (that’s bureaucratese for getting fired) and he has been replaced by another General, who will continue to keep forging ahead even though he knows we cannot win. Did we not learn anything from the Russians (or the Brits?) or are we so arrogant that we think we can do anything – including a victory in Afghanistan. If there is someone out there who understands why we are still there and can explain it in an uncomplicated sentence which doesn’t include something about the threat of terrorism, I would like to hear it. Certainly, terrorists have been foiled by an active local police force, i.e. NY, and the long term weeding out in Afghanistan. But the real threat to our national security is the money we have spent on countries which will never be “democracies” by our definition, in lieu of taking care of the problems we have at home, which include the neglect of the wounded warrior, as well as their families.

Did I say we are going from the silly to the serious? It’s not true, because it’s all ridiculous, For example, in the realm of “revolting developments” this came by e-mail today. An old friend (and registered Republican) wanted to share this. And, having been on the Board of the USO, there is too much truth to ignore it.

We need to show more sympathy for these people.
* They travel miles in the heat.
* They risk their lives crossing a border.
* They don't get paid enough wages.
* They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
* They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a different language.
* They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day ~ every day.
I'm not talking about aliens. I'm talking about our troops! Doesn't it seem strange that many politicians are willing to lavish all kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support our troops, and are even threatening to reduce funding for them?

The problem is that, unless we have someone dear to us serving in the armed forces, we are totally removed from any of the wars in which this nation is involved. Who would ever believe that this great United States would treat the people who are defending our freedom, like they are not even citizens. Where is our national conscience? Where is our national moral core? Where is the “we” as a nation, that used to be?

Sometimes when I’m thinking along the lines of revolting developments (and I get past the fact that aging is pretty revolting, but consider the alternative), it occurs to me that all of life is kind of a conundrum. If we have no friend or family we are sad and lonely. Yet, if we have lots of friends and family, we have to suffer the loss of people we love. Which is more revolting. If we surround ourselves with people we love, and they are disappointed by the way we live our lives, we have to suffer the consequences of their disappointment. What is the alternative? Surround yourself with people you despise. None of this seems fair. And yet, maybe that’s why the expression “life is not easy” was created – so we would be warned. We’re just sayin’…. Iris