THE RAINBOW BRIDGE – BY TOM CURLEY

THE RAINBOW BRIDGE

I usually try to be funny or at least amusing when I write these blogs. Sadly, this will not be one of them. Yesterday, my furry grandson Banning crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He was a sweet, wonderful little guy. It was only a month or so ago that he officiated at his Mom and Dad’s wedding.

For those of you who have never had the soul-wrenching job of having to have your pet put to sleep, you may think the Rainbow Bridge is the bridge Thor uses to get from Earth to Asgard.

That’s not the one. Although I guess it could be if your dog is a Viking.

Anyone that has done it knows it refers to a card the vet gives you when your dog dies. It’s really quite beautiful and if for some strange reason you should ever find yourself feeling just too happy or in too good a mood and feel the need to cry your eyes out,  just read it. Works every time. I got to thinking about this because there was a copy of it on the wall in the vet’s office.

I first experienced the Rainbow Bridge when my dog George had to be put down.

I’ve always found that term so odd. When you “put the baby down”, you put the baby to bed. But when you “put your pet down”,  you put him to sleep. Forever. Never quite understood that.

Anyway, George was my first time going through this nightmare. I just couldn’t do it. To me, I was playing God. I had the power of life and death over another being. How arrogant was that? My then-wife and I agonized for days about when to do it and even if we could do it. We decided to take a ride around the block to clear our heads. When we came back, George was in a coma.

We rushed him to the vet realizing we had waited way too long. We were both total basket cases. And then the oddest thing happened. The doctor who took care of us was a doctor we had never seen before. We had been going to the same vet for years. I didn’t think much about it at the time. New doctors come and go.

I was also too much of wreck to even think about it until later. But here’s the thing. He was beautiful. Not just handsome, beautiful. My ex even said at the time “that’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.”

He did what he had to do. He was incredibly nice and kind to us. We didn’t really notice until later because we were so devastated. We went home, cried for about a week and then as it does, life moved on. One of the only cures for the grief of losing a loved one is time.

So, fast forward about a month or so. One day I get a bill in the mail from the vet. All the bill says is “George – $50.” I look at it and go ‘what’? I was pretty sure I had paid all my vet bills, so I called the vet and asked what the bill was for.

There was a really long pause and the lady at the other end of the phone finally said in a quiet whisper, “It’s for… George.”

I said “Yes I know that. It says so right here on the bill. But what is it for?”

In an even quieter whisper, she said, “It’s for… George. You asked for him to be cremated.”

Apparently, we’d been asked at the time if we wanted George to be cremated and we said yes. I have no memory whatsoever of doing that, I was such a mess at the time. But I had to chuckle. Enough time had gone by that I could see the humor in the whole thing. So, I laughed and then asked her why she was whispering.

She explained most people get very emotional all over again when they are informed of the cremation, so they try to be as gentle and kind as possible. I said that made sense and that was very nice of them. She then said, “And by the way… George is ready.” I said, “Ready for what?”

Again, the whisper came back “He’s ready. He’s here. You wanted to keep the ashes.” Again, no memory of asking for that either. I laughed again and spent a few minutes consoling her because she seemed more upset about this than I was. I said I’d be right over.

So, chuckling at the whole incident and sort of happy that enough time had passed that I could see the humor in the whole thing, I went to pick up George. I entered the office and said I was here to pick up George. Instantly everyone got very quiet and out came the whispers again. I reassured them I was OK, and I paid the bill. Then the nice lady behind the counter looked furtively to the left and the right and reached down under counter and handed me a plain brown paper bag. Sort of like a drug deal. I smiled to myself. For some reason this was just getting funnier, they were all so sweet.

As I was leaving, I asked if the doctor was around so I could thank him for his kindness. I didn’t remember his name. I described him and they looked at me puzzled. No doctor of that description worked there. They hadn’t hired a new doctor in years. True story, swear to God. As the theme to the Twilight Zone played in my head, I left with my paper bag and got in the car. I looked in the bag and there were two things. One, a very plain white box. George. And then I pulled out this postcard with the Rainbow Bridge on it. I read it and burst out in tears and cried my eyes out all the way home.

I’ve helped many more of my furry family to that bridge since then and I will do so again. I didn’t have to make the choice in Banning’s case. His Mom and Dad, David and Katie did. But it didn’t make it one bit less gut-wrenching. They did what they had to do.

The ultimate act of kindness. I’m proud of them.

Keanu Reeves was on Colbert a while back and for some reason, Colbert asked him what happens after you die. He paused for a second and said.

“You will be missed by the people that loved you.”

There was stunned silence in the audience and Colbert who was literally speechless. He just said. “Wow.”

My furry grandson was my little bud.

He was loved and he will be missed.

Say Hi to George little buddy.

TURNS OUT YOU DON’T ACTUALLY NEED A PRESIDENT – BY TOM CURLEY

I wrote this post months ago. It was originally called “It’s A Crazy Idea, But It Just Might Work”.  I thought it was a joke, but, it turns out it’s working! Rather better than I thought it would. And now, with Trump back in the country … 


I’m not the first person to notice or comment on this, but  60 to 70 percent of Americans have been going thru the 5 Stages Of Grief after the election of, well, you know who.

freep.com

A few are still in Stage One, Denial. A lot are still in Stage Two, Anger. Most still seem to be stuck in Stage Three, Bargaining. Particularly the press. “Pivoting” and becoming “Presidential” are daily talking points.

youtube.com
youtube.com

Many have reached Stage Four, Depression. A few have made it to Stage Five, Acceptance.  Now as any grief counselor will tell you, people go through these stages at different times and some go through some stages but not all.  For example, I’ve gone through the first four but I can’t get to the fifth. Unless disgust counts as acceptance.

handheldpyrometer.com
handheldpyrometer.com

But here’s the thing.

No matter what stage of grief you are currently in, or whether you will go through all of them or just a few …

THIS GUY IS STILL

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!!!

capitolhillblue.com
capitolhillblue.com

So, what are we going to do about it?

business2community.com

We don’t have a lot of options, but one of our best options is the hope that he does nothing.

By which I mean NOTHING.

Nothing that’s Presidential, like “Running the Country” kind of stuff. Believe it or not, the government would survive if the President does nothing.  If you’ve ever worked for a large corporation you know that if the CEO goes on vacation for a month the company still runs just fine. Most times, even better.

The US government is a huge company and like any giant ship of state, it has a lot of inertia.

Our Ship of State (titanicstory.com)

Most government workers have worked there for decades. Their bosses come and go every four years, but they stay. They know what to do. George W Bush took 407 days of vacation during his two terms. That is one year, one month and 12 days of vacation for an 8-year job.  Looking back, would it have been so bad if he had taken even more time off?

crewof42.com
crewof42.com

So the problem becomes how do we prevent the new President from doing any “Running the Country” kind of stuff? In this case I don’t think it will be too hard. We, the American People need to KEEP HIM BUSY!

nytimes.com
nytimes.com

Think about it. For the first time ever, because of Twitter, a single individual can directly interact with the President of the United States and actually get his attention! He responds with amazing consistency. He must fight back over any “Mean Tweet”. “Mean Tweets” have occupied him from a few days to more than a week or so at a time.

youtube.com
youtube.com

So, we have to come up with “Mean Tweets.” Tweets that will cause him to retaliate.

Here’s an example:

@HeyLookOverHere! Hey Mister President! Why are your feet so small?! Why is nobody talking? Has the cover-up already started? SAD! #TinyPedaledPOTUS  #TeenyFeetInChief #TenLittleTinyPiggies

smosh.com
smosh.com

I checked this out on Snopes.com and it’s actually true!

There’s been  lots of talk and jokes made about the size of the New Commander In Chief’s hands.  But why has nobody noticed or mentioned his feet?  Turns out, they’re not that big! Proportional to the rest of his body, his feet are tiny!  According to the scales and tables set up by the “American Association of Podiatry Advisory and Measurements Board,” the President-elect’s feet are “… between 20 and 28 percent smaller than they should be for a person of his height.”

triloquist.net
triloquist.net

And people are starting to notice. People are saying they’ve heard that he buys shoes that are too big and stuffs them with paper ripped from the Wall Street Journal.

thefineyounggentleman.com
thefineyounggentleman.com

That should occupy him for a day or two. We have to all help by re-tweeting each week’s “Mean Tweet”. The more people that re-tweet a “Mean Tweet,” the more the President will notice. He pays close attention to this stuff!

politicususa.com
politicususa.com

It’s even better if the press picks up the “Mean Tweet”. That almost guarantees a rapid response from the Oval Office.

We all must work together! Organize! Come up with a schedule!! That’s the most important part. A schedule! We have  to keep him busy for four years.

purepursuitauto.com
purepursuitauto.com

But we’re Americans! We can do it!

We don’t have to stop at Twitter. Get him involved with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat,

isys6621.com
isys6621.com

My Space!  (OK that last one’s a joke for the old folks.)

This is how the next four years have to go.

CHIEF OF STAFF:  Sir, the Ambassador from (fill in the blank) is here.

PRESIDENT: Leave me alone! I’m trying to pick the right default Instagram filter for all my pictures!

coolmaterial.com
coolmaterial.com

It’s a crazy plan, but it just might work!! And remember, any article or email or post you receive that starts with the statement: “I checked this on Snopes.com and it’s true” … ISN’T!

I obviously made up the story about his feet. But that’s no reason not to re-tweet it. Twitter has been his secret weapon and he’s been using it well. It can also be his kryptonite.

On a separate note, I’m sort of proud that I could write this whole blog without once actually typing the name Donald Trump.

 

pinterest.com
pinterest.com

Crap.

YESTERDAY WAS ANOTHER COUNTRY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

“Yesterday is another country, all borders are closed.”

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It was a wonderful piece of dialogue from “MidSomer Murders.” In the episode, Chief Inspector Barnaby is questioning a murder suspect about his whereabouts the previous day. The suspect tries to dodge the questions with thinly veiled irony. “Yesterday, Chief Inspector, is another country. All borders are closed.” Barnaby ultimately opens the borders and nails the suspect. Still, I liked the perp’s style.

Now that the new year is ending its first quarter, many folks would prefer not to think about the last year. Here, in the United States, many of us think of 2016 as another country with all borders closed. We don’t want to recall the epic long Presidential campaign and the result. Regardless, we’re in it now — and it’s every bit the nightmare we feared.

Reality bites. It has fangs, claws, and power in congress. Reality is taking a big ugly chunk our of our flanks this time around.

Our yesterdays are always subject to border closings, depending on how we remember them. I often write about legendary people I’ve met in my professional life. Those are pleasant stories to recount.

There are parts of my past I choose not to share. Those borders have remained closed. Rich Paschall, a fellow blogger on Serendipity, wrote a touching piece about heroes and icons we lost last year.  It jogged my mind to return to this piece that I began writing last week. Thanks, Rich!

A lot of the borders to yesterday are closed because we don’t want to revive the memories. I certainly don’t. They aren’t happy memories. They make me sad. I’ve never been good at handling emotions.

Someone recently wrote a Facebook piece about the pain of seeing a loved one pass away, deep in dementia.  Quickly,  I tried to blot out the images of Mom, whose last years were diminished by dementia. No luck. I could clearly see the woman who used to be Mom.  Strike that.  That’s what I was thinking in the moment, especially during the final months of her life. She was still Mom but she didn’t know me.

I struggled during those final visits. In  part, I struggled because I felt guilty I couldn’t come to see Mom more often. It was a four (or more) hour drive from Massachusetts to Long Island. During the drives, my mind would fill with images of a younger Mom. I could hear her laugh and see her smile. I remembered the things we did together over the years. In my mind, I saw her wedding pictures — Mom and Dad in the prime of their lives.

By then, Dad had already been gone for five years, yet I hadn’t been able to cry for him. Now Mom was slipping away. In what turned out to be my last visit, I tried my best to reach through the dementia, to reclaim a few moments with Mom.  I failed.

A few weeks later, in the middle of sub teaching a high school class, the principal and Marilyn entered the classroom. I instantly knew Mom was gone.

I was the main eulogist at Mom’s funeral. I’m a wordsmith. I could see people crying and smiling as I recalled my mother’s life. My stomach was tight, but I couldn’t cry. Not a tear.

I’ve talked to Marilyn about the grieving process. She understands and at least in theory, I understand too. Yet, it troubles me. I’m such a sucker for sentimental old movies, but real life is something else, something I find very difficult to share, even with myself.

72-Bette'sPix_05

I’ve tried to shoebox the frailty of life. Keep the anxiety behind one of those closed borders. Marilyn was 70 in March. I’ll be 75 in  a few weeks. We have lots of health issues and we work hard at not worrying about them. As the character in Bridge of Spies” said, “Would it make a difference?”

Would worrying more fix something?

Instead, we use our energy to enjoy each other and our life together. We feed off each other. The borders are open. For both of us.

YESTERDAY IS ANOTHER COUNTRY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

“Yesterday is another country, all borders are closed.”

300-garry-kitchen-interiors-02012017_018

It was a wonderful piece of dialogue from “MidSomer Murders.” In the episode, Chief Inspector Barnaby is questioning a murder suspect about his whereabouts the previous day. The suspect tries to dodge the questions with thinly veiled irony. “Yesterday, Chief Inspector, is another country. All borders are closed.” Barnaby ultimately opens the borders and nails the suspect. Still, I liked the perp’s style.

As we begin the new year, many folks around the world are thinking about the events of the past 12 months. Here, in the United States, many of us think of 2016 as another country with all borders closed. We don’t want to recall the epic long Presidential campaign and its result. We’ll have to open those borders in less than three weeks with the swearing-in of the new President.

Reality bites and this time, it has fangs and claws.

Our yesterdays are always subject to border closings, depending on how we remember them. I often write about legendary people I’ve met in my professional life. Those are pleasant stories to recount.

There are parts of my past I choose not to share. Those borders have remained closed. Rich Paschall, a fellow blogger on Serendipity, wrote a touching piece about heroes and icons we lost last year.  It jogged my mind to return to this piece that I began writing last week. Thanks, Rich!

A lot of the borders to yesterday are closed because we don’t want to revive the memories. I certainly don’t. They aren’t happy memories. They make me sad. I’ve never been good at handling emotions.

Someone recently wrote a Facebook piece about the pain of seeing a loved one pass away, deep in dementia.  Quickly,  I tried to blot out the images of Mom, whose last years were diminished by dementia. No luck. I could clearly see the woman who used to be Mom.  Strike that.  That’s what I was thinking in the moment, especially during the final months of her life. She was still Mom but she didn’t know me.

I struggled during those final visits. In  part, I struggled because I felt guilty I couldn’t come to see Mom more often. It was a four (or more) hour drive from Massachusetts to Long Island. During the drives, my mind would fill with images of a younger Mom. I could hear her laugh and see her smile. I remembered the things we did together over the years. In my mind, I saw her wedding pictures — Mom and Dad in the prime of their lives.

By then, Dad had already been gone for five years, yet I hadn’t been able to cry for him. Now Mom was slipping away. In what turned out to be my last visit, I tried my best to reach through the dementia, to reclaim a few moments with Mom.  I failed. A few weeks later, in the middle of sub teaching a high school class, the principal and Marilyn entered the classroom. I instantly knew Mom was gone.

I was the main eulogist at Mom’s funeral. I’m a wordsmith. I could see people crying and smiling as I recalled my mother’s life. My stomach was tight, but I couldn’t cry. Not a tear.

I’ve talked to Marilyn about the grieving process. She understands, but it still troubles me. I’m such a sucker for sentimental old movies, but real life is something else, something I didn’t want to share.

72-Bette'sPix_05

I’ve tried to shoebox the frailty of life. Keep the anxiety behind one of those closed borders. Marilyn will be 70 in March. I’ll be 75 in April. We have lots of health issues.

We try to enjoy each other and our life together. We feed off each other. Today, the borders are open.