Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Sunshine State, and the Political Clouds

I've been away for a few days, in Florida visiting my mom on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
Her birthday was earlier in January but I think when it is your 90th you have good reason to celebrate for the whole month!  
We picked a neat restaurant that is in an old grocery store/railroad station/post office/telegraph office/trading post, circa 1894.  When  the post office closed, it was still the smallest post office in nation.  
We sat in this corner, the post office corner.  The only thing that has changed is a mural on the wall behind us depicting the postmaster.  Grant, Florida was just a tiny settlement of fishermen and trappers and their families.  Their mail went out from a bag hanging on a post that someone in the train reached out with a hook and grabbed as the train went by.  It was quickly replaced it with a bag of incoming mail.  
This photo is a painting from the restaurant as it was too dark to take a photo when we were there.  It was fun and lived up to its slogan -- The Best Pig Roast on the East Coast.  

📌 📌 📌 📌 📌 📌 

It was nice to have a small break from the news and concentrate on family for a few days.  But it is impossible to ignore what is happening for long and impossible not to be affected with the sadness and fear.  
The faces of the Syrian refugees on the news who have gone through so much to stand on the brink of immigration, now returned to limbo ... well, they are just heartbreaking.  
It brings to mind this quote that hangs in our National Holocaust Museum:


We can't stand back.  We have to speak out. What seems to be happening

 just can't happen in our country.

I was very involved in Minnesota with refugees, first the Hmong who came from Vietnam in the 80s when I taught them English at night, helped them fill out forms, set up bank accounts, apply for jobs, and anything else to help them understand the confusing culture they found themselves in.  In the early 2000s it was the Somali families sponsored by my church and town where I participated in the same kind of assistance.  

Then, for the most part, the families were welcome.  My heart goes out to those recent arrivals who will face the climate of America today where "foreigners" are suspicious, unwelcome, feared, even hated.  My grandsons go to school with little Muslim second graders and up until now a little girl in a headscarf was just another second grader to them.  The policies of the present government will only divide us, stir up more hatred toward America, and increase incidents of terrorism.  Ack.  

This morning we did what we always do when the things get too heavy -- walked the beach.  We were rewarded with sunshine and a pod of dolphins that swam with us, parallel to the beach, breaching so we could see their grace.  

And then when we got home, a Baltimore oriole appeared at our feeder, and this:


The first blossom ever on our lemon tree!  

The lime tree is also covered with buds. 

(They have both been moved into the sunroom as we have had some cold weather.)



  1. Your Mum is looking good at 90. I'm sure you would both have had an enjoyable few days together. Every news bulletin here carries yet more worrying statements from the White House. I feel our Prime Minister is caught between a rock and a hard place. Whilst trying to do the best for the UK as we prepare to leave the EU she has to negotiate with someone that I am sure she despises. I am now beginning to regret booking a trip to the West coast in March.

  2. I wonder when the "unspeakable" will order the French to remove the Statue of
    Liberty from New York Harbour?
    God only knows what Elizabeth of "Buck House" was thinking when she supposedly invited
    the "Unspeakable" to visit the UK??? Maybe she was having one of Phillip's strange moments.
    Who is going to pay for the obvious demonstrations that will happen.
    Maybe PM Theresa May will advise against this invitation.

    Your Mum looks very hale and hearty - good for her.
    Cheers with political commiserations unfortunately

  3. Happy Birthday to your Mother, how very lucky you are to still have her.

  4. Happy Birthday to your Mom! The bloom on your Lemon Tree is very pretty! :)

  5. Your Mum does look fit. So nice for you to be able to spend time together. Your political situation lends itself to a lot of fear and confusion. People around the world seem to be arguing about the intent, but generally, if there's smoke there's fire.

  6. Happy Birthday to your wonderful she looks so good for her age...good luck with everything and let's hope that man is not permitted to do all that he said he was going to do...

  7. i hope that you and your Mother have many more health years to enjoy one another's birthday. I share your concerns and reservations about our current president. All that has occurred since last November is disheartening and frustrating. May sanity return to our land!

  8. 90 years old, that is quite an age to reach, congratulations. Can imagine you were glad to be in another world for a moment without all the things going on in your country. It is worse than I could ever imagine it would be. Enjoy your time together!

  9. Belated Birthday wishes for your Mum wishing her many more happy and healthy years.

  10. Oh yes a 90th birthday certainly warrants a longer period of celebrating. 🎉. We watch the events unfolding in your country with a mixture of disbelief and heartbreak for you all...especially those in the community who are already marginalised.

  11. Your mum is doing well at 90. The restaurant sounded quaint. We are all concerned about what is happening in your country. It has repercussions for all of us. Already he has spoiled one of our trading groups and now this mad immigration policy. All unbelievable.

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  13. Happy Birthday to your mom! What a fantastic milestone she has reached and she does look so healthy. You are blessed to have her with you. I do hope she celebrates just a as long as she would like.

    It is very sad what is going on and I can only imagine the fear and frustration people are going through. Although I am not involved officially in helping refugees in my country, I do unofficially assist many newcomers to Canada trying to help them adjust and assisting with forms, procedures and other information that can be so bewildering. It is rewarding to try and help others adapt. I am hoping and praying for better things ahead south of the border where you are.

  14. Happy birthday, Mum! I must say that, human considerations aside, these developments strike me as myopic and puerile -politics is becoming a playground. I am hoping the fact that 'the World's Greatest Democracy' is not a dictatorship is in our favour. You can't run a nation by saying what comes into your head and making pronouncements without thinking things through.

  15. And Neimoller was imprisoned (mostly) in Dachau for his outspoken views. Best wishes to your mother on her 90th birthday. So glad you could get away to visit her. What a fun place to take her out to eat! Beautiful lemon blossom.

  16. Happy birthday to your mom. She looks very sweet. I would love to grow a lemon tree.

  17. Happy birthday to your mom... hope you had a good time with her...

  18. Happy BIG birthday to your Mum, how wonderful that she got to celebrate all month. She will have seen a lot of changes in her ninety years on this planet, somethings changed for the better and others... It certainly seems to be a turbulent time, with your American politics dominating our news. We share the same back ground with your work with refugees and mine with people seeking asylum. Our Australian government is being very diplomatic whilst our US refugee resettlement deal is being discussed. Here's to a happy rest of the week for you.
    Wren x

  19. I noted this interesting snippet in an Aussie paper today (2nd February).
    "In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, the American writer, wrote a novel 'It Can't Happen Here"
    about the rise of a dictator in America and how it could happen as it had in Germany.

    Seems it just took a little longer"!

    End of article - interesting when you surround yourself with "Yes Men and Women".
    A la Adolf and Joe.

    Cheers with tears

  20. I concur with your sentiments completely. I have fond memories of my wifes nieces wedding at the big old Baptist church in St. Paul. A large number of the people at the wedding were Karens, an ethic group from Cambodia somewhat similar as mountain people to the Hmongs. My wife and I were invited to eat with the pastor who facilitated their immigration and several of their community also ate with us. Their story was both heart rending and inspiring. We are now watching the unfolding of a moral disaster....:(