UNWORTHY THOUGHTS IN THE DARK OF NIGHT

It’s one of those moments. You can run, but can you escape?

From the other side of the bed, you hear a deep, wracking cough. The sound of your mate. He wasn’t feeling well earlier and is now manifesting the signs of a chest cold … or bronchitis … or …

I won’t write the word.

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Commonsense screams grab your gear and run. Wear a breathing mask. Start mega-doses of vitamin C. Because you will get it. Probably, you already have but symptoms won’t show up for a few days.

As quickly as those unworthy thoughts arise, you shut them down. What kind of mate abandons ship and shared bed at a time of need? A voice in your head is shouting “One who wants to survive, that’s who.” But you tell her to shut up too. Instead, you go to the kitchen, make tea, bring aspirin and deliver it to his bedside. Wondering how much tea will be delivered to you in the middle of the night after you get sick.  You remind yourself such thoughts are unworthy.

Finally, as you tuck yourself back in bed for a couple of hours, you ponder if you should cancel upcoming vacation reservations because you doubt you’ll get there.

Talk about dilemmas. Ouch.

DILEMMA | THE DAILY POST

ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY – WITH CHRYSANTHEMUMS

I forget birthdays and other occasions. Not just other people’s birthdays. I have been known to miss my own and only realize a few days later that it had passed. Oops. Usually, I remember our anniversary. Last year was our 25th and it being one of those milestone years, we were both aware of it.

Unlike this year.

I have our anniversary marked in our shared Google calendar so that I get a notification a day in advance. So when an email showed up saying “Happy Anniversary Marilyn & Garry,” I said “Oh.”


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I knew yesterday was the fourteenth thus making today the fifteenth. I knew our anniversary is the fifteenth of September … yet somehow, I didn’t connect the dots. The pieces of information lived in my brain, separately. Until I saw the email.

“Garry,” I said. “It’s our anniversary tomorrow.”

He got that look that husbands get when they figure they have just made some terrible mistake, a combination of guilt and fear.

“I only realized it now because it popped up in my email,” I said. “I put it in our calendar. You would have seen it when you turned on your computer.”

“I thought I’d really blown it.”

“Well, you weren’t alone. We both blew it.”

“I remembered last year,” he pointed out.

“I know.” I thought awhile. “We don’t have any money, but we could go out for dinner if we put it on a credit card. If you’d like.” I was thinking how glad I was that I had bought him his gift a while ago and being me, already given it to him. I’m such a child about gifts. I can’t wait. I have to give them immediately.

So today is our anniversary. Yay. Another year. We are both hitting milestone birthdays in the spring, so I doubt we’ll forget them.

With a little luck, the chrysanthemums will bloom tomorrow. I’m pretty sure they, at least, will remember the day.

FLOWER OF THE DAY – CHRYSANTHEMUM

LOOKING BACK ON MY FIRST POST: WITHOUT BENEFIT OF CLERGY:

In a different context, WordPress asked us to share our first post. Well, actually, this isn’t my first post, but it’s the closest thing to the first I’ve retained in archives. Though I started blogging in February 2012, I didn’t really get into it until May. This was published May 22, 2012. It’s too long and rambling, but I’ll let it stand, minus a few typos.

Note that I’m away through tomorrow, so if I don’t answer comments, it’s because I did not bring my computer.


I was Jewish when I married Garry in a Lutheran Church. I said then … and I say now …  any God I might be willing to worship would not care what ritual was used or in what language we spoke our vows. I really believe everyone has the right to live life as they want, to have or not have children. Spend whatever day you consider the Sabbath doing whatever you want.

Travel your path and be glad.

All prayers are good prayers. Goodness is goodness, whether you believe in God or not. Faith is a choice, decency is a requirement. You don’t need a church to know the difference between right and wrong. Some of the worst people I’ve known were ardent church goers and some of the best were skeptics or atheists. I’ll bet that God knows who is who and is not fooled by how often you attend church.

Garry and I were married in his church on Long Island because he had a strong emotional attachment to it. I didn’t have any particular attachment to any religious institution, though still have an attachment to Judaism as a philosophy and as a moral compass. And as an ethnic identity: Yiddishkeit, as it were.

When we renewed our vows the first time, it was in front of a notary, but the next renewal was under the sky in our backyard by a minister of the Christian Reform Church. Maybe we’ll do it again and who knows who will officiate? We intended to renew our vows again for our 20th anniversary, but I was sick that year and I had other things on my mind. Hopefully, we’ll both be available for 25th. That seems like a good number for another renewal.

Marriage is a contract between two adults. It doesn’t require benefit of clergy. Any religion is okay and no religion is okay too. Unless you live in a theocracy and thankfully we do not … yet …you don’t need to believe in anything but your partner to get married.  I hate the theocratic trend this country is taking. I’m baffled as to how God and religion are suddenly the arbiters of what constitutes a family.

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness …”

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The bit about pursuing happiness seems to have been lost along the way. Pity because it’s not less important than the rest. It may be the most important. What good is life and liberty if you can’t be happy? Gay, straight, old, young … we deserve the right to marry who we choose and be happy.

If we start defining the meaning of marriage, if we declare that marriage is sacred and exists entirely  for the creation of children, what about people who don’t want children? Are they the next group not allowed to marry? How about people who are too old to make babies? Can they marry? For too many years in a lot of states, people of different races were forbidden to marry … was that okay? They said that it was God’s decree too. Funny how it’s always God’s plan … no individual ever seems to be responsible.

You can interpret “God’s teaching” however you like, but if it’s so clear what God wants, why all the religious debate — not to mention wars — for thousands of years?

Gay, straight, or not entirely clear on the issue, marry if you want to. Or not. Be happy.

I have no opinion on an afterlife. I don’t know.  Neither do you. You can believe what you like but you don’t know anything because God doesn’t talk to you. Or me. Make this life a good one. It’s the only one you know for certain you’ve got.

Carpe diem, my friends. Carpe with both hands and don’t let go until you’ve squeezed that last bit of joy from your world!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GARRY!

I’m sorry you’re not feeling better to celebrate. It’s raining and cold and you’ve got to spend half the day at the doctor. I wish I could make you feel better and convince the sun to shine for you. You deserve it!

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You look great. That’s definitely worth something, right? And we have birthday cupcakes to eat this evening when we get home. And home-made chicken pies and a couple of presents to open … the ones I haven’t already given you. I’m so bad about giving presents. I’m a little kid who just can’t wait!

I bet you’ll be feeling better by the weekend and the sun will be shining. Big hugs and lots of love!

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THE GREEN MONSTER

ENVY? NAH.

Jealousy or envy, the big green monster. Unless you live in Boston, in which case it’s a big, green, left-field wall. Just saying.

I’m not much given to envy. With the following exceptions:

  1. People who live near ancient ruins. I want to dig!
  2. People who grew up with horses. I want your childhood.
  3. Anyone who has a house with no stairs. I’ll swap you.

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So, I’m pretty much good to go. I’ve got problems, but so does everyone else. Life hasn’t been easy, but it has also been incredibly interesting. Rich with experiences. I’ve got a great marriage, a few terrific friends, dogs, a home, a good little car, lots of books, and a huge, high-definition television. And we live reasonably near Fenway Park.

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If someone would like to round out my life by donating a largish sum of cash, I’d give you a big hug and a thank you. Beats out what you’ll get from donating the same amount to a some politician’s PAC, doesn’t it?

Otherwise, I’m good. So is life.

BABY YOU’RE THE BEST

When I married Garry, it was my third marriage, his first. It wasn’t because he hadn’t had relationships. More than enough of them. Just never married any of them.

43, on our honeymoon. At Loch Gill, Isle of Innisfree.

43, on our honeymoon. At Loch Gill, Isle of Innisfree.

So, there we were. Me at 43 and he at 48 years old. Really getting married. Wow. We had a not-so-small advantage in that we had been friends and lovers for more than 25 years, but married? I never thought he would marry anyone.

Scene: Epiphany Lutheran Church, Garry’s home church in Hempstead, New York. His brother was singing as were two of my friends. A bagpiper was there to pipe the guests in, open the ceremonies, and pipe us on our way.

Garry In Cong

Twenty-five — almost 26 — years later. We old dogs have learned a whole lot of new tricks. Garry — the fussy bachelor — has turned into a great husband and a pal. He shops, launders, and lots more. All the things I can’t manage, he takes care of.

But more than any tasks or work he may do, he has become my rock. As my health declined … I’d have thought I’d bottomed out, but apparently not … he was, is there. Always.

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How do you say thanks for that?

You’re my better half, so much better than I ever dared hope. Baby, you’re the best.

MULTIPLE CHOICE

I do not know how many times WordPress has run this prompt. This is an edited answer I wrote the first time it came up, in 2013. 


If you’re into science fiction or quantum physics, life’s road is full of forks — and each fork creates its own reality. Our real choices are not between less or more traveled roads, but between realistic choices. Rarely do we have a genuine option to veer off the main road into uncharted territory. It’s more about figuring out where we want to go, then how to get there.

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We make our choices under a lot of pressure when we’re too young to know what we want. Such is life. Before we’re of drinking or voting age, we make the most important decisions of our lives.

My first big choice was what to choose as my college major. Music? Something useful? Can I just screw around until I figure out what I want? How about all three?

I went with “all three.” Technically, I was a music major. Unofficially, I was a comparative religion major (now there’s a practical choice). Mostly, though, I majored in hanging out at the college radio station. It turned out music was fun, but I lacked sufficient talent to make it my life’s work. Religion? Fascinating, but it’s not a profession for me.

The radio station, for which I got no credit and where I had a blast with all the other misfits who found each other in the dank, tiny studios in the basement of the Little Theater, moved me along the path to life as a professional writer.

That’s what I was going to do, no matter what else I chose. It was me.

The point is, we make choices. During the summer between my junior and senior year, I got a three-way choice.

1) My old boyfriend with whom I could not have a civil conversation, but with whom I had exceptional sex had sent me tickets to join him at his summer stock theater in Cape May. A summer by the sea with all the hot sex I could imagine. Hmm. I was 18. Not an unattractive offer.

2) The guy I’d been dating at the radio station —  who ran it and worked for the university and got paid and everything (he was 8 years older than me) — asked me to marry him. I really liked Jeff. Smart, funny, probably the best conversationalist I’ve ever known. Witty, word-wise and good-looking in a blond waspy way. If I stayed, I’d be married before summer was over.

3) I got accepted into the Communications program at Boston University. Great program. In the 1960s, Boston was ultra-cool. Joan Baez sang in Harvard Square. Comedy clubs featured the future kings of late night. Unlike uncool Hempstead. Hofstra didn’t have a communications program. Yet. The radio station was the closest Hofstra offered to a program and you didn’t get a diploma by working there.

I had to do a lot of deciding. I married Jeff.

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Of the three choices, the real choice was what was right. For me.

I made a good choice. I was where I belonged. It set the course of my life for the next 15 years, after which the dials on that Big Machine sent me in another direction.

In my theoretical science fiction universe, the 3-way choice created three realities: one I chose and two I didn’t. These realities exist on separate planes somewhere in the time-space continuum.

Somewhere, there’s a Marilyn who went to Boston, and another who went to Cape May. If I meet them I’ll ask them how it went.

I bet all of us are here, married to Garry. Some things must happen. Destiny. Karma. Or maybe they are the same thing.

As for the road less traveled, less traveled roads are often dead ends. That’s why they’re less traveled. If you are going to go down such roads, make sure you’re very good at making u-turns in tight spaces. Oh, and watch out for the quicksand.