Monday, June 20, 2011

It's been just the most beautiful day. Temperature in the mid 70's(F), a slight breeze, sun shining with a clear blue sky. It's the kind of day people write about, the memory that never quite sticks. Staring down the solstice tomorrow, it's the last day of Spring.

And that God-damn money worshiping conservative Supreme Court had to go and ruin it. First they threw out the equal pay for equal work discrimination lawsuit on behalf of its female employees against Wal-Mart. So let's see - we had businesses to big to fail on one side, and Women's rights, Civil rights, and Consumer Groups on the other. Wal-Mart basked in triumph and noted : its policies prohibit discrimination and that it has taken steps since the suit was filed to address problems, including posting job openings electronically. Uh, huh. Works, unless you're poor and can't afford a computer. Or if you spend time to ferret out the web address where jobs are posted.

The court  also threw out a suit by states and conservation groups trying to force cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The reason? That's the EPA's job. The Environmental Protection Agency? Well, the 'mental' part fits. The same agency that uses non-scientists to work on air quality reviews? The same EPA that let a lobbyist from The American Petroleum Institute "edit" their global warming research? I could go on and on, but what's the point?

Looking for a little news to lighten my day, I found this:

"A dating website that prides itself on matching only the best-looking individuals has deleted the accounts of more than 30,000 users after a computer virus accidentally allowed them to skip the site's screening process.

BeautifulPeople employs a strict community voting system that only grants accounts to good-looking applicants, but the aptly-named "Shrek" virus changed that, letting new users skip the screening protocols and begin interacting with the "beautiful" people.

Now I feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, holding safe in the sacrosanct halls of churches. Sanctuary!

One woman closed down all flights at the Cincinnati Airport when she told them a bomb had been planted there. She later noted that she had been told about the bomb by God.

and so it goes...

I'm stopping now and going to watch how the sun light reflects and bounces in the birch trees just outside my balcony window. Mountain laurel blooms under the canopy of leafs. I may not turn the news on tonight... sometimes it's just best to not know for awhile.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

So, okay it's father's day. I can't say that my Dad and I had a great relationship. Distant is a good word. Well, maybe more like detached. Whatever. It's a long story. But here's what I can tell you to get the flavor of it.

I was in my 30's and living in Boston when I took up gardening. My great grand father (i.e. my grandmother's father) had been a farmer and had done quite well for himself. He developed a really nice pole Lima bean I'd love to taste again. He had eventually retired from farming and moved into town. He bought a place just two houses down on Allen Street. I wonder if that's how my grandfather met Nana? He had a large backyard where he grew vegetables. At any rate, my Dad once asked me how it was that I got into gardening while in my 30's. "Well," I said. "When I was little I used to weed for grand pop Beckett...". "You couldn't remember that," he said. "You were too little. You must have heard someone talking about it." "Okay", I said as I closed my eyes and began pointing: "the rhubarb was there, the lima beans and corn were there, the raspberries there, the grapes over in that corner, and the strawberries were right there." I looked up to see his eyes had narrowed a little bit. "NO!" he said, and pointed just to the right of my last spot, the strawberries were over there!" End of discussion.

That was pretty much our relationship in a nutshell. I did, of course, remember Grand pop and Nana Beckett. I remember the garden. I remember sitting on the side porch of his house, shelling lima beans and shucking corn. I can hear the old wooden screen door snap not quite shut as my Grandmother came outside with a pitcher of iced tea.

 Reading from right to left, Nana (my Grandmother), Wilbur Beckett (her father & my Great Grandfather), Dad (her son - Wilbur Beckett Twiss), myself (standing) and my brother Lewis.

I would have been 8 years old then. Grand pop Beckett was in his 90's and living in what we used to call "The Old Age Home", Shady Rest. He would pass the following year.

This was taken in September 1961, on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ. I'd know that boardwalk's pattern anywhere. And I know the date because on the back of the photo is this stamp:

I must admit that I was quite flummoxed by this pic - I couldn't remember that building anywhere. And then it hit me, I usually saw it with the store front opened up. It was a sort of beach shop, full of Coppertone, paperback books, magazines, etc. It was near the northern end of the Boardwalk. I feel so much better now.

The date stamp on the top of this pic notes: Jan 61. That sure isn't January weather. This has to be Lewis'  8th grade graduation, which sounds okay for June 1960. They are standing on the sidewalk in front of Dad's house on Lakeview Drive. It's all built up now, of course, even adding a cross street named "Redroe Ave." And there's also Dad's car. I loved that car. I want that car. Jeez - wide white sidewalls on the tires. (Sigh) I think the car appealed to a little seen sporty side of my father.

Here's a great pic of Dad, sitting in front of the Christmas tree at the house on Allen Street, looking sporty, taking a cue from Frank Sinatra,  He looks happy here.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.


Reason #1 to become vegetarian and/or demand clean food.