Sunday, March 8, 2020

To Perch Or Not Perch


I have always been afraid of cold water.

Growing up in a boating family, this was not a great trait to have.  I was, my parents said, “a percher”.  That is, I PERCHED on the side of the boat, sticking one foot in, then the other, then getting back IN the boat, only to perch on the side again, dip in foot one, dip in foot two, and repeat…  The idea that once I committed to jumping in the lake, my entire body would be cold literally froze me in my track and had me stay in the boat (unless I was gently pushed in…).

I remember this as a story of my friend Monica and I, but it could just as well be a story about one of my sisters told so many times over the years that I attribute it to happening to me.  Monica (Monj) and I had been brought to the pool by her mom.  Looking back, it was a ridiculous pool.  A large chunk of it was SHADED BY TREES!  Who wants to swim in the shade??  Obviously, the shade meant cooler water, and on the day Monj and I were there it felt like ICE WATER to our toes.  But her mom had driven us there, damnit, and we were GOING TO SWIM (I can only imagine that is what her mom thought 😊 ).  So, as we PERCHED on the side of Morton Swimming Pool, only our toes “swimming”, we heard “MONICA AND SUSAN, PLEASE GET IN THE POOL!” announced loudly over the P.A.  (Like I said, this may have actually happened to one of my sisters, not me, but in my memory it was Monj and I, quivering with blue lips and frigid toes on the shady side of that dumb pool.)

But the thing is, I REALLY LOVE water!  We bought a house near the ocean!  I mean, the beach is my happy place!!  But when we are at our beach house, we like when the ocean is 80 degrees.  WARM!  Like, bathwater warm!!  I can swim all day in that temperature! 

So, we are on vacation in St. Kitts.  It is March.  The air is warm – high 70s, low 80s.  But I feared the water would be cold…  I braved the swimming pool at the resort the first afternoon here and it was nice.  I also put my feet in the ocean.  But to swim???  I had my reservations…

Today we went on a “speed boat and snorkel” tour.  We had a little “speed boat”, which was like a Sea-do placed on a big rubber dingy with an outboard motor!!  The “lesson” on how to use it was about 5 minutes long and the teacher had a very thick, hard to understand St. Kitt accent.  This being an island and not the United States, there were, of course, no release forms of any type to sign.  It was basically, “Here ya go, mahn!  Follow me!” and away we went!!! 

Captain Dave and his excited passenger
David drove and I held onto his back, whooping and chortling and laughing loudly as we zipped along the ocean.  There were waves, but they weren’t big enough to be frightening, so we had a grand time driving over to the snorkeling destination which was called, I shit you not, SHITTEN BAY.



Once there we pulled up alongside our guide and he threw us masks, snorkels, and fins.  As I was putting my gear on, I was contemplating the temperature of the water…  I was afraid it would be COLD.  Here we were in the middle of the Caribbean – with the clearest blue water surrounding us and the sun shining – and I was switching into my infamous PERCH MODE.

Then something happened…  I DROPPED ONE OF MY FINS in the water…  And it appeared to be SINKING…….

I am going to be honest, normally, in this situation, I would look for someone else to solve the problem.  Surely David would help!!!  Or our fearless leader!!  But neither of them were in the water, and my fin was slowly going under…

SO, I DID IT.  I jumped right off that little “speed boat” into the Caribbean Ocean!!!  No one had to push or nudge me.  I didn’t dip a toe in first.  I was ALL IN, all at once.

Blue water as far as we could see
And it felt good!   I rescued my fin, took a moment to congratulate myself for my “bravery”, then got the giggles at it all.

We spent the next hour in the water and it was LOVELY.  It was not cold (as I had feared).  It was a million different shades of blue and green and gray.  I could snorkel the entire day – it is one of my favorite things in life.  When I snorkel it feels as if the world is quite literally turned UPSIDE DOWN.  Instead of feeling the air, I feel the water.  Instead of hearing the wind, I hear my breathing, amplified by the snorkel, sounding almost like a heartbeat in its consistency.

And like every time we have snorkeled, I marveled at the world hidden under the water.  The coral sea fans – arching back and forth with their lavender “wings”.  The conch shells resting on the bottom, looking so close but actually too deep to swim down and touch.  The fish swimming about, some solo, some in schools.   The shipwreck – reminders of man’s interference with nature – rusty gears and pieces sunk in the murky sand.  The TURTLE, resting peacefully, then showing off his swimming skills and making me laugh.  And the tiniest, brightest little blue fish ever, swimming gleefully by without a care in the world.

That’s the kind of thing you can experience when you don’t perch.  Life.  Adventure.

WHEEEEE - SNORKELING!

Post snorkel kiss
So, while I am sure I will perch again the next time I am confronted with cold water, today was a good lesson for me.  I was reminded that sometimes it is worth it just to plunge in, head-first, whether you are heading into the water or a move across country or a new relationship.  Sometimes the time spent enjoying the experience is worth more than the time wasted perching.   

Maybe you could use that reminder, too.  If so, here you go:  MAKE TODAY A NO PERCHING DAY.  Jump in. 

#NoPerching


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Then the Mail Came

Some days are better than others.

I can slide along - everything ok.  Smiles, laughs, walks outdoors.

Then it hits.  It's overwhelming.  Sadness.  Desperation.  Confusion.

The tears flow.

Then I remember, the mail.

The note that was delivered from a complete stranger.  She didn't even know our names - she addressed it to "Arlington Career Center Neighbor" at our address.


She made me smile.  And take a deep breath.

And remember that not all is lost in the world.


Friday, January 17, 2020

Swarm the Senate


I am privileged.

Oh man, am I privileged.

Not only do I have healthy food to eat, I have a grocery store I can walk to to buy it.

I have a car and gas in the tank.

I have a roof over my head.  A cozy bed (with a warm electric blanket!). 

I have shoes (many pairs to choose from) and clothes to wear.

I GET that I am privileged. 

But days like today, oh man.  I am reminded how truly sheltered and naïve I am.

I am an “armchair warrior”.  I talk the talk.  I hang the signs on my front gate.  But when push comes to shove…

My sister Sherry and I joined an event called “Swarm the Senate” today.  It is a group of people (it seems mostly women) who have been showing up at the Hart Senate Office building in Washington DC at noon for the last 12 days.  They are peacefully demonstrating, demanding that trump be removed from office. 

I had been wanting to go but hadn’t made time to do it.  With work, sadness, and life in general, showing up at an office building in DC hadn’t made the top 10 on my list of priorities.  But when I made the itinerary for Sherry’s visit I thought “Swarm the Senate” was an event we could both get into, so I put it on the list. 

Sherry got us some amazing shirts specially made for us to wear to it.  We ate a nice breakfast out and played card games (privileged much??) before heading into DC to join the protest.  David, my sweetheart, dropped us off (so we wouldn’t have to metro in or find a place to park…  Ring a bell?  PRIVILEGED…) and then waited for us in the car.

My sister at Hart Senate Office Building when we first arrive
We were a little bit nervous.  Who would be there?  What would be expected of us?  Would it be awkward?  Scary??  Would we be ok going through security with our anti-trump shirts?

When we got in the building, we quickly found a small group congregating in the main atrium.  They were all wearing black shirts with white writing (oops – why hadn’t I paid better attention to the unwritten “dress code” that showed up in photos??).  They welcomed us and we milled about for a while.  Lots of people complimented our shirts (whew…).  Before long, it was time for instructions.  We gathered around as two people quietly explained what to expect.

“How many of you are here for the first time?”, one asked.  Sherry and I, along with several others, raised their hands.  We were greeted with smiles.  “And how many of you were arrested yesterday??”, one asked.  Around 5 hands went up.

Wait.  What?  Arrested HERE?  Just yesterday??  I had read that there had been arrests yesterday – but was it THIS somber group of black shirted people that had been carted away?

My mind started racing. 

The leaders explained to us that the Capitol Police seemed to be arbitrarily deciding what was “legal” and what was not.  One day, you could have a message on your t-shirt AND written on your hands.  The next day, only one was allowed – if you tried for t-shirt AND hands that was grounds for arrest…

An amazing woman - a veteran who is very involved in the movement.  Her hands show writing left over from yesterday.
We were told to be SILENT.  That PROTEST was not allowed, but SILENT PROTEST was.  We learned the plan was to stand in lines, then when we got the signal, to form a circle.  We were told that some people would be reading quotes aloud – statements that Republican senators made AGAINST trump in 2016.  And those were the very same senators who are now kissing his ass and agreeing with everything he does. 

And before long it was time to start.  We made our silent lines.  We stood facing forward – led by a group of people whose t-shirts spelled out “I M P E A C H    t R U M P”.  Sherry and I stood next to each other.  I tried to look straight ahead, but caught myself glancing to the side to see Capitol police officers.  I counted 8 of them.  All standing – silently watching us as we stood.

We were brave.  We were strong.  We were silent.

And then in walked about 50 Capitol police officers.  They didn’t actually “walk” in.  It felt more like a “march”.  A Nazi march.  50 Capitol police officers, in their uniforms and brightly colored safety vests, marched in along the wall.  And stared.  Quietly stared.

I don’t know if they were MOCKING us, trying to frighten us, or what.

But I, the little privileged white woman, was scared.

My first thought was – “IS THIS THE TIME TO EXIT?  There are about 50 of them and maybe 100 of us.  That means each of them takes 2 of us – one on each arm – and we are all arrested.”

I did NOT want to be arrested.  I have never been arrested.  I have had less than a handful of stupid TRAFFIC TICKETS in my life.  Being ARRESTED did not sound bold, or brave, or beneficial to me at the moment.  It sounded scary and dangerous…

So, I seriously thought about exiting.  Rushing to the side, grabbing my coat and my sister, and getting the hell out of there.

But for some reason I stood.  As did everyone else.  The 2 people who appeared to be the main organizers broke from the formation and consulted (it seemed to me like they had not been expecting so much police presence either).  Then they returned to their places.  And one of them bravely began what had been planned – the reading aloud of the Republican statements. 

She walked among us as she read.  I listened in awe at her bravery. 

And I feared she would stop.  Stop in front of me – hand me the card – and indicate it was MY turn to be brave.  To read ALOUD in what was meant to be a silent protest.  To risk being arrested…

Finally, it was time to form our circle.  And the leaders’ voices rang out, “Is anyone from Kansas?  Would someone like to read this Kansas Senator’s comment about trump?” and a brave hand would go up.  “Is anyone from Colorado??”…  And I worried and fretted that she would ask, “Is anyone from Virginia?” or “Is anyone from Nebraska?” and I would have to choose – was I brave enough to speak up?  Could I talk without my voice quivering?  Was I WILLING to speak aloud in a silent protest and risk being arrested???

The circle
The phalanx of officers exited without reason, leaving behind the original gang of around 8.

The protestors remained.  And, as I feared, the Nebraska senator was called out.  “Is anyone from Nebraska??”.  Silence.  No hands raised.  My sister and I were both born and raised in Omaha, she still lives in the area, but we kept our hands to our sides.  “Nebraska people?”.

Nothing.

Then a proxy spoke up.  The person next to me was willing to read aloud Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse’s critical remarks about trump, before he became president and Sasse all of the sudden agreed with everything he said.


Whew. 

I didn’t have to step out on the ledge. 

I didn’t have to be bold. 

I didn’t have to be brave.

And I didn’t have to risk my “perfect” record and get arrested.

When the readings were done we were finished.  The group would be heading over to Mitch McConnell’s office to “hold space” and let him know that the majority of America was against him and that trump should be impeached.

But Sherry and I snuck out. 

Not arrested.

Not in the spotlight.

But relieved we had once again been “safe”.  And thankful for our privilege. 

Ready to stand up again.

And forever grateful for the women throughout history who are so much braver than I am.  Willing to STAND UP.  SPEAK OUT.  And fight.  

Thank you.  


A brave woman who stood next to me in the circle

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Antique Jesus


Gifts mean a lot to me. 

I love to GIVE them.  I know lots of people say that, but I really take joy in finding a gift that fits a person, wrapping it, and giving it to them. 

And I enjoy getting gifts, of course!  But I also really, really like HAVING gifts.  Like, WRAPPED UP, STILL WAITING FOR ME gifts.  It’s weird, I know, and it drives some people crazy.  We have a pile of unopened gifts in our house, some of which are probably a decade old!!  I have learned that I can only allow myself to “save” unwrapped gifts from my sweetheart.  Gifts from family and friends must be opened (relatively) quickly when they arrive, so as not to hurt people’s feelings.  But gifts between David and I can be left to “simmer”, I can wonder what might be in them, and I can pretend like there will never be an end to the gift giving.  That our love and exchange is endless. 

A few times in my lift I have been given gifts by people who had NOTHING to give.  No money.  No access to fine wrapping paper or ribbons.  Yet still, they SHARED.  Still, they gifted.

One was a gift from a homeless guy that we met when he and his friend happened on a party we were throwing in our front yard.  We ended up becoming friends with him.  He and a girlfriend joined in a “front gate project” I hosted, taking photos of things that caught their eye with a camera I provided.  He brought his mom over when she moved to town (she was also homeless) and asked if we could help her.  His girlfriend invited me to her baby shower.  One year at Christmas he came by and gave me a gift.  It was something he had kept and carried with him for years, even though he had no place to call “home”.  It meant the world to me that he would share a piece of him with me.  He also came by a year or so later and gave us a copy of the comic book/anime story he had completed.  We had encouraged him to finish it, and he was proud to show us he had. 

And the other day I was gifted by a complete stranger.  David and I had shown up at a sign painting event.  It had gone on all day, but I was lazy and by the time we arrived most of the other participants were done with their projects.  But the goal was to paint signs for the Women’s March, so NEVERTHELESS WE PERSISTED.  As I went into the studio to collect paint, brushes, and poster board for us to work with, I felt very conspicuous and out of place.  The other people there were much, much younger and I want to say “hipper”, but I guess that only makes me sound even older, doesn’t it??  Anyway, let’s just say that David and I were the only 2 with no tattoos and piercings. 

But it was a beautiful, oddly warm January day, so we set up our poster boards outside on the sidewalk and painted.  It was okay, but I felt rushed, uncomfortable and awkward.  David (as he can do in any setting) just focused on himself and his work and was having a good time. 

I think I had finished my poster by the time the man walked up.  He was an older African American gentleman.  He may have lived in the neighborhood, maybe was homeless, I do not know.  But he was carrying something in his hands.  He saw the collection of people outside in the sunshine, and he chose ME.  He came up and said, “Here, I found this!  You can have it.  I think it might be an antique!!”.  He smiled big as he handed me his newly found treasure.  It was a framed painting of Jesus, soaking wet.  The frame was rusted, the glass broken, and Jesus was covered in dirt and soot.  But it was a TREASURE.  He found it.  And now he was gifting it to me.

I took the gift and examined it.  “Yes!  It might be an antique!” I agreed with him (even though I did not really think it was, and even if it was, it had been ruined by dirt and rain).  “It is lovely!  And it might be valuable.  Are you sure you do not want to keep it, sir??”.  “No, no.  You can have it,” he smiled at me, again reminding me that maybe it was an antique.

We talked about how beautiful the day was.  And then as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone. 

We finished our posters and cleaned up.  We walked to our car before I remembered that I had set my gift aside while we worked and forgot it.  I rushed back, worried that someone would have thrown “Antique Jesus” away.  But there he saw, still leaned up against the brick wall where I had left him.

I brought him home and tried to clean him up.  I am going to hang him.  Not because he might be an antique.  Not because he is a religious symbol. 

But because he was a GIFT.  A gift from someone I do not know.  A gift from someone who shared what they had.  With me. 

And I am grateful.



Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Embracing The Snags


Have you ever thought about how much you strive for perfection?

I think we all do it, if not all the time, then at least OFTEN.  At work we want a “perfect review”.  We want (expect??) our love relationships to be “perfect”.  We pluck our eyebrows, cut our hair, all with a goal (probably unspoken and unrealized even subconsciously) of “perfection”.

Perfection is what we continually strive for, yet if we are being honest, we all know it is impossible.

Your house will never be “perfectly clean” (heaven knows mine won’t anyway).  Your clothes will never fit “perfectly” and match from head to toe (that sock inching its way down your ankle will make sure of that).  Your kids, your relationships, NOTHING will ever be PERFECT.

So, why do we all strive for the unachievable?  Is setting ourselves up for inevitable failure only a recipe for frustration, depression, or at the very least, feeling like crap??

Don’t get me wrong.  There is certainly value in setting goals (some call them “resolutions”, that word doesn’t strike a chord with me).  Without goals, sometimes it is hard to know where we are heading.  But if the goal is PERFECTION (even if that is unconscious) – then I think we need to do a double-take on how we are approaching life.

I started thinking about this the morning of my sister Annette’s celebration of life service 3 weeks ago.  My other sister and I had gone shopping the day before to get new outfits to wear for the service (which, if you find yourself in that position, is actually a dumb idea…  The dress, the sweater, the pants, the whatever will forever be known as “the clothes I wore to my sister’s funeral”.  Yeah.  If that doesn’t steal the joy out of any outfit I don’t know what will.  Trust me – just wear something old in your closet, the day is not about you anyway…).  But I digress.  Sorry.

I put on my new “funeral outfit”.  I decided to wear one of my deceased sister’s necklaces as a way to keep her close to my heart that day.  I love the necklace – it is a clay heart on string with a few clay beads.  It is beautiful and went very well with my sweater.  It has a strange clasp in the back – it doesn’t so much “hook” as just have a little “s” that gracefully sits in a little “o” on the other side.

Then, over this “perfect” outfit, I put on my brand new shawl.  This is a shawl I had thought about for a YEAR before getting it.  it was handmade by Kitt Hamersky, a weaver in Omaha who works out of the Hot Shops.  I had seen her shawls the year before and was really drawn to them.  Not only are they beautiful, each one contains a secret, hidden message woven into the threads in MORSE CODE.  And you can choose whatever you want for the message!  Isn’t that fabulous? 

I had thought about investing in one for a solid year.  They are art, so they are not cheap.  The artists spends hours on each one, she hand paints the warp.  Anyway, Sherry and I went to an open house at the studios and I decided to go for it.  I plunked down my credit card and chose the colors of thread I wanted. 

But I wasn’t sure what I wanted my secret message to say.  It seemed like such a big commitment!  It was a message that would be woven permanently into a wearable work of art.  I was going to leave the studio, think about it, then come back, but then the artist mentioned she had just made a shawl with this phrase: “Choose your days make them sunny or grey.”

It is a line out of one of my very favorite books!  The book is called, aptly, “Choose Your Days” and it is written and illustrated by Omaha artist Paula Wallace.  I have met Paula and she is amazing.  Her work speaks to me, and that book in particular is very special.  My sister Sherry gave it to me for my firthday (fake sister birthdays that we celebrate) just 1 or 2 days before our sister Annette was diagnosed with brain cancer.  When I read it that first time I cried, and when I read it over and over and I always have the same response.  But it is not only a sad cry, it is also poignant and uplifting cry.  The book and it’s message is, in a word, perfect.

So YES, that would be my saying!!  “Choose your days make them sunny or grey” would be woven into my shawl.  I paid, left, and sort of forgot about the piece with all of the confusion and sadness that was happening in our lives.

But then the day before the funeral, Kitt texted and said that my shawl was ready and that I could come pick it up.  So, the night before the service, I did.  And it was beautiful.  I think it is even prettier than I imagined it would be.  The greens stand out, but the blues and the purples make delicate appearances.  As we stood in her studio she showed my partner David and I how to “decode” the message written in Morse Code.  And she pointed out the little metal piece on the end of the shawl which she had hand-stamped my phrase stamped onto.  And she explained that she had a bit of extra space after she finished my message, so she added the words “the key” to it, another important part of the book I adore.

My shawl
The shawl is amazing.  I really love it.  Kitt talked about how people USE their shawls she makes.  Some use them as table runners. Some as art on a wall.  Some a lap blanket.  And some people wear them.  When she talked about her daughter wearing hers, Kitt’s eye lit up.  Her daughter doesn’t treat her shawl with reverence – she USES IT.  Crinkles it up.  Throws it on.  Makes it hers.  She doesn’t, as we say in our house, “keep her slip in a drawer”.  She has a special piece of art and it is part of her, not a museum work to only be admired from afar.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to use mine, but I was quite certain that I would be afraid to just “throw it on” and wrinkle it up.  I had thought long and hard about this expensive purchase, and I wanted to make sure to treat it with respect.

Which is why it felt so “perfect” (that word again…) to put it on over my funeral outfit.  Pants, sweater, boots, sister’s heart necklace – all topped off with “Choose your days make them sunny or gray” hidden in my shawl. 

So, I took the brand new shawl out of the bag and I draped it around my neck.  It felt so lovely.  It was soft, felt like an embrace.  And it looked beautiful.    

And then it hooked onto that strange necklace clasp.

And I pulled.

And it SNAGGED.

My brand new, expensive, custom made piece of art had snagged before I even stepped foot out the door.

I felt like crying.  I was miserable.  I had, in my mind, “ruined it”.  it was no longer perfect.

But, you see, it WAS perfect.  Because it taught me a lesson.  It reminded me that nothing in life is perfect.  And if it hadn’t gotten snagged on this initial outing, it most certainly would have at some point down the road.  And even more importantly to me, now that it was no longer “perfect”, it somehow felt more like it was MINE.  It belonged to me.  I had permission to USE it.  WEAR it.  Take it on and off at will.  I didn’t need to fear it.  I couldn’t “break it”, I already had.

And in actuality, the snag was small.  In my heart it was big, but David pulled and wiggled the threads and now I am not sure I could find the snag even if I tried.

But I know it is there.  A snag on my shawl.  And snags in my home and in my relationships and in my heart. 

And those snags make me ME. 

I am far from perfect.  I am snagged.  And I will embrace and love that.

Choose your days make them sunny or grey.  The key.
(If you would like to contact artist Kitt Hamersky she can be reached at kitt.hamersky@gmail.com .  If you would like to see Paula Wallace’s work, follow her on Facebook at Paula Wallace Fine Art (and come to my home, I will show you 2 original pieces I bought of hers and the book, too!). 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Firsts. And Lasts.


I have been thinking a lot this past week on what seems to be an over-emphasis on FIRSTs in our culture.

The first steps.

The first tooth.

The first born.

The first time to have sex.

The first haircut.

The first word.

The first car.

The first time to roll over.

First.  First.  First.  We photograph them.  We brag about them.  Heck, we even make BOOKS about them.



And I have wondered why the lack of acknowledging the LASTs…

Is it because the LASTs are so scary?  Too frightening to confront?

The last time to drive.

The last time to speak to your loved ones.

The last smile

The last time to walk.  To run.  To jump.

The last time to shop.

The last time to kiss.  To hug.  To make love.

The last vacation.

The last meal.

If we could embrace the LASTs as much as we do the FIRSTs, would that make them more meaningful?  More tender?  Might they not be as frightening to us?  If the lasts were something to cherish as much as the firsts, would our perspective on them change to something to be celebrated instead of mourn?

Today we surrounded my sister as she took her last breath.

And in the days prior, I was there for her last bite.  Her last drink.  Her last big foray out into the “real world”.    

It is hard to fathom that I have given her the last kiss.

Seen her smile for the last time.

Hugged her the last time.

And heard her incredible laugh the last time.

But I have.  She is gone.  No more firsts, no more lasts.

I hope that the memory of her last year – savoring her lasts – sticks with me and inspires me to focus more on every little thing.  Because each tiny thing could be a last.

May memories of Annette’s bold determination and spirit of life since diagnosis inspire us ALL to be more mindful of every day, every thing, every possible last.

Love you, sissy.  The Thompson Sisters will never be quite as strong ever again.   



Thursday, December 12, 2019

Timing Is Everything



It’s no secret I am not a trump fan.  And it might also be obvious that I am an Obama groupie.

So Tuesday night when I went with my sister to Bunco (a game the ladies in her neighborhood play once a month), I found it quite ironic and sort of hilarious that we ended up seated at a table before the game started to chat with a woman who was going on about her “trump tree” for Christmas!  When we first sat down I thought I must have misunderstood her.  I mean, my right ear is completely plugged up from a cold and she was on my right side…  “Surely it must be a ‘jump tree’ or a ‘bump tree’…” I thought.  But no – she went on.  It turned out she had purchased red, white, and blue trump ornaments to adorn her tree.  Then she put ribbons all around it.  And of course, no mere star would be bright enough to top that beauty off, so gracing the tippy top was a MAGA hat.  Yes, a trump “Make America Great Again” hat was the piece de resistance of her holiday décor!!

I tried not to let my disgust and amusement show on my face (but I was tired, plus I have sort of an expressive face, so I am not sure how well I did at hiding it).  My sister and I looked at each other and exchanged what I hoped was a secret, “What the actual f….” glance and tried not to giggle.  The trump tree woman turned to us and said, “You do like Donald trump, right?”. 

Wellllll – that doesn’t fly with me.  I am past the point in my life of smiling and nodding, thereby making myself complicate in the nonsense and plain evil that is the current administration.  My sister and I both replied, “No,” to the question.  The woman awkwardly turned back to the 4th person at the table and carried on the conversation about how lovely her themed tree is.  Then she proudly added, “I even got my husband some tRUMP SOCKS!!”. 

It was then that I remembered something brilliant – for the first time in 2 weeks or so I was actually wearing my BARACK OBAMA SOCKS!!!!!  So, you know what I had to do.  Why, I pulled up the leg of my skinny jeans right then and there, smiled, and said, “Wow!  Would you look at that?  I am wearing my Barack Obama socks today!!”.  And my sister added proudly, “Yes!  We went to the Obama inauguration!”.

It was a hilarious scene and we giggled about it when we got home later. 

But I hadn’t planned on sharing it here.  It was just a funny little thing that happened at Bunco.

Until the next night.

Our other sister (who has GBM) is doing much worse.  She is nearing the end of her life and we spend much of our time by her side at the hospice, sad and crying at the fact that we are losing her.  Well, Wednesday night her daughter gave me a gift that she found in her mom’s things.  My sister had squirreled it away with a note saying “Susan”, planning to give it to me sometime, maybe for Christmas or my birthday.

And the gift was…

OBAMA SOCKS.

More Obama socks. 

Thanks for the socks, sissy.  I love you.
The irony of it all is beautiful.  I love that she thought of me when she saw the socks.  I love that just last night I “flashed” my other pair of matching socks.  I am sorry that my sister didn’t get the chance to give them to me in person, but I am so thankful to have them.

In fact, I’m so thankful that I don’t think I will ever put my stinky feet in them.  I may hang them as a reminder of a few things:
-          My sister is an amazing gift giver
-          Obama was a rock star of a president
-          I should never be afraid to stand up for what I believe in (even if doing so results in cricket chirps and awkward Bunco moments)