Friday, September 23, 2016

Summer Re-Run

Thought for the day:  The healthiest response to life is joy. [Deepak Chopra]

According to the calendar, yesterday was the first day of autumn, but evidently, nobody bothered to let Mother Nature know, because around here, it still feels and looks like the middle of summer. Sooooo, why not go with a (ta-DA!) summer re-run? Not that I'm (ahem) lazy or anything, but it's been more than five years since this post ran first time around as Rhymes With Dreams, and most of you haven't seen it. So you could say I'm re-running it out of sheer laziness the goodness of my heart. Yeah, let's go with that. With a bit of editing, here ya go. I hope you enjoy it.

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Thought for the day: Why do people pay money to go to the top of tall buildings, and then pay again to look down at the ground through binoculars? 


One of the few good things I can say about growing up in a neighborhood of row homes is that there were always enough kids around to initiate just about any kind of game you can imagine: games like curb ball, dodge ball, red rover, Mother may I, spud, seven up, and of course, tag. A little convenience store down the alley from our house served as our meeting place, and the big metal pipe at its front corner served as home base for our tag games. Tag games always started by everyone yelling "Not it!" Whoever was slowest, WAS it, and would have to cover his eyes and start counting at that pipe while everyone else ran.

It's been 55+ years since I played that version of tag, but thanks to a very sweet fellow blogger, now I can play a different (more age-appropriate) version. She tagged me IT, so now I get to answer some questions, before tagging some other bloggers. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Here we go:

1.  If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

It'd be that moment I spotted my husband at the airport when he finally came home from Vietnam. It was sheer magic.

2. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

The airplane spent an interminable hour and a half sitting on the tarmac in Atlanta, and should have already landed in Baltimore by the time it finally got off the ground. My sister-in-law and her husband picked me up at the airport and we drove straight to the hospital, but my mother died twenty minutes before we got there. So, if I could change one thing, I'd make that plane leave on time.

3. What movie or TV character do you most resemble in personality?

I have no idea. Maybe a cross between June Cleaver and Lurch?

4. If you could push one person off a cliff, who would it be?

Geez, I'm boring. Can't think of anyone I hate, and even if I did, I'm not a push-somebody-off-the-cliff kind of person. I'm more of a guns or poison kind of gal.

5. Name one habit you want to change about yourself.

I need to exercise. Unfortunately, owning exercise equipment and a pair of spiffy running shoes doesn't do the trick. You actually have to use the darned things. Doesn't hardly seem fair, does it?

6. Describe yourself in one word.

Vulnerable.

7. Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Family-oriented.

8. Why do you blog?

It started out (reluctantly, I might add) as a means to establish a "platform" to benefit my writing future. Now, I do it because I truly enjoy it, and because I've come to care about the people I've "met".

Okay, I'm going to deviate from the original post here, and instead of naming anyone in particular, I'll let all of you guys and gals who are interested snag the blog tag from the top of this page and answer the questions on your blog, and either pass it on to three other bloggers, or throw it up for grabs, like I'm doing. Kinda like a chain letter, but better. No body parts will turn black and fall off if you don't do it. (I don't think so, anyway. Personally, I wasn't willing to take the chance.)

Did you notice that word meme in question number seven? Familiar with it? In answering these questions on her blog, the gal who tagged me said, "What the heck is a meme? I never heard that one before." Since the only meme I'd ever heard of before was the French word, which rhymes with hem and means same, I decided to do some investigating.

It turns out that meme, which rhymes with dream, can best be described  as a basic building block of minds and culture, similar to the way a gene is considered a biological building block. Just as genes transmit biological information, memes transmit ideas and belief information, like catch phrases, melodies, the latest fads, and fashion trends. By extension, an Internet meme would be a concept that spreads via the Internet, like viral videos, tweets, and ... games of blogger tag.

So now we know.

On an earlier post, I told the funny-but-true story of my grandfather using most of my grandmother's clothes as diapers during their long voyage to America. Turns out, my brother acquired a copy of their ship's manifest through Ancestry.com and informed me that their ship didn't sail into Ellis Island, after all. The S.S. Columbia left Glasgow on April 28, 1923, and actually arrived in Boston Harbor eight days later. Eight days. When Mom-Mom described the voyage, she made it sound like so much longer than that, but eight days of seasickness must have felt more like eighty.

Now that I know they entered via Boston, I've been thinking about another story my grandmother told me. She said they lived in New York City for a while before moving on to Baltimore, which is why I thought they'd come into the country through Ellis Island, but maybe I misunderstood. Maybe they actually lived in Boston. Still, wherever they lived, the story was hysterical.

My grandmother could wax poetic about Scottish heather.

She said the temperatures were hot, hotter than what they'd ever experienced in Scotland. And the bugs? They were absolutely horrific, and also something quite new to them, she said. According to her, they didn't  have such annoying bugs in Scotland. So, picture this: they're in a cramped hotel room in the sweltering heat one evening, and the flies and mosquitoes are flitting and buzzing around the room, and about a hair's breadth away from driving my grandfather completely insane. So, Pop starts chasing them around the room with a fly swatter in hand. Bouncing on the bed, swinging the flyswatter like a baseball bat, and cussing as only an irate Scotsman can cuss. And oh yeah, because of the heat, he also happened to be naked. When my grandmother looked out the window, a small crowd was gathered below, pointing up, and having a jolly good time. Seems they found my grandfather's shenanigans quite entertaining.

Now whether or not that story's entirely true, I can't say, but she certainly told it to me often enough. One part of the tale doesn't mesh, though. That part about Scotland not having any annoying bugs? I did a google search to see if that's true. Not even close. There's a wee bug called the Highland midge that is so annoying, it's been known to make grown men cry. Those miserable critters not only bite, but they swarm. Not talking little swarms, either. I'm talking swarms of hundreds, and even thousands, that attack all at once. They've been called the scourge of Scotland.

Still, why ruin a good story with facts, right? My grandmother chose to remember Scotland as a perfect place, with fields of heather and nary a bug in sight. Works for me. I love good dreams. (rhymes with memes)

 rainbow above the highlands

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

58 comments:

  1. Your answer to Question 2 was so very sad. If only. And the if only thoughts are the ones that haunt us in the dark hours.
    Loved the rest of the post, and am smiling at a naked, bouncing flyswatter... Now that is an image to chase dark thoughts away.

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    1. It happened twenty years ago, so I'm not nearly as haunted by it as I used to be. My greatest solace lies in the fact that I refused my brother-in-law's kind offer to stop for something to eat on the way to the hospital. The fiasco with the airplane was out of my control, but delaying my arrival because of a choice I made would have made me feel much worse.

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  2. Hi Susan - I'd have difficulty answering most of those questions ... but I definitely wouldn't push some off a cliff - might feel like it, but would never do it. Wonderful story about your grandfather 'flapping' around ... bet he was hotter afterwards! We do muddle memories up ... but what a ghastly trip it must have been for them ... but so fortunate for you.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Yeah, pushing someone off a cliff is way too hands-on. (Ergo the gun or poison route... HA!)

      Cheers back atcha.

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  3. A powerful post, Susan, which you recount conscientiously and honestly. I'll address #2 because I find myself reviewing all of history but keep returning to one incident. When I gardened for a school dist., a co-worker drove up to my fieldhouse --ostensibly, to use my bathroom-- but afterwards entered and apologized for playing a practical joke on me 10 years earlier. I told him I'd forgotten about it and it was no big deal --and really, it wasn't. About an hour later, it hit me, yes the "oh crap" moment. Guys only go around apologizing for ancient foolishness for one reason. I hoped maybe it was another practical joke, but no. I have always hoped my response to his apology furnished him with some degree of peace.

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    1. Knowing you, I'm sure your response did the trick. He was able to get something that was obviously bothering him off his chest, (It might not have been for the reason you think it was.) and you had the good grace to hear him out. You did good, dude. That you still think about it is even "good-er."

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  4. Ah yes..who would you push off a cliff. Could I be guaranteed I wouldn't go to jail for it?

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    1. Oh, absolutely! And it's safe to name names here, too, because I'm sure Smarticus is wrong about the NSA keeping such close tabs on me. (I mean, just because a gal does a bunch of research about homemade explosives for a book she's writing...)

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  5. Question #2 hit a nerve for me also. My dad spent the last 6 months of his life in a nursing home that was about an hour away from me. My sisters and I took turns visiting him and someone was there for a few hours every day. We had many emergency calls which we all responded to but they almost became routine and he always recovered with some medical intervention. When I got that last call, it did not sound urgent, so I stopped at a bank and a gas station along the way. None of us got there in time. Other than the doctor and nurses, he died alone.

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    1. I'm so sorry. I know how that must have made you feel. My dad was only in the nursing home for about a week, and that was bad enough. He couldn't eat anything at all, so when he told me he wished he had a Popsicle to suck on, Smarticus and I immediately went out to buy him one. He died alone before we got back.

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  6. exercise equipment is a good clothes rack! I love the story of your grandmother and her trek to America. I'm thinking this is where you get your mad skills at writing. She knew what would improve the plot.
    Keep dreaming and happy fall (yeah - too hot in TX too)

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    1. Why yes it is! :) And the ironing basket is a great place to keep clothes you don't really want to wear anyway...

      Oh, my grandmother knew how to spin a yarn, for sure. With a beautiful brogue, to boot.

      Have a super weekend.

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  7. haha but you wouldn't push them off a cliff if there was a nice ocean for them to land in with poisonous creatures? Double whammy.

    Meme's are sure in now as everywhere they show on the go.

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    1. Nah, too hands on. I'd have to shoot 'em first. :)

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  8. Re question #2: I used to host a yoga retreat at the beach every summer. One year I was going to cancel because my dad was in the hospital, about an hour & a half away from the beach. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Although he walked into the hospital under his own power less than a week before, he was now unable to speak. The doctors told us that he would likely not recover, but he could stay like that for a long time. I wanted to be able to get to the hospital quickly. Bud said I needed the mental relaxation yoga would bring & convinced me to go. After the exercises, our instructor would have us clear our minds & totally relax. I swear I had an out of body experience. I found myself in his hospital room. He sat up & very sternly said, “What are you doing here? You need to be at yoga--you worry too much. I’ll be fine!” I learned later that that was about the time he died. Since Daddy almost never wore a suit (& the only time he ever wore a tuxedo was when we took him on a cruise to Alaska with our family) we buried him in a polo shirt so he would be comfortable--& so that God would recognize him.

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    1. What a remarkable story. I love that you buried your dad in a polo shirt.

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  9. Although not a Chopra fan, that first quote has just amde my evening. :-) Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Isn't that a great quote? (And TRUE, too!)

      Greetings back atcha.

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  10. Good things are always worth repeating, so I'm glad you shared (or RE-shared)this post. I enjoyed your responses to the questions - and I'm tempted to recycle them on my blog.

    I'm glad you explained what a meme is, because I honestly had no clue. And I didn't know it rhymes with "dream".

    Alas, bugs are a universal annoyance, most especially in hot weather. About the only bug I haven't yet seen here in TN is the Highland midge (*smile*).

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    1. Cool! Give IN to temptation, cowboy! I'd love to see your answers. You're always so good with this sort of thing.

      TN is pretty bad with bugs. When we were there a few weeks ago, our friend got a ton of chigger bites in his own darned yard. (BIG yard, like you.)

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  11. Nope, I wouldn't push anyone off a cliff either, altho I might suggest they jump...

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    1. HA! Somehow, I don't think you'll get any takers.

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  12. Like Jon said ... I never knew the correct pronunciation of 'meme.' Thanks!

    Your recounting the tale of grandpa v. the flies and mosquitoes is hysterical. Not for your them, mind you! I remember my mother telling the story of how she and her roommates in nursing school would drag their mattresses out to the fire escape in the summer to try and cool off. (... and feel ashamed for complaining of the heat when I have to walk from one air-conditioned building to the next.)

    I'd really like to take you up on the meme, but #'s 1 and 2 hit entirely too close to home. Still snorting about your reply to #3. Happy autumn!

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    1. I'm glad you like the story of Pop vs. the bugs. My grandmother never tired of telling it. (And I never tired of hearing it.)

      Happy autumn to you, too. (Still over ninety degrees today... Thank God for air conditioning!)

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  13. Awe thanks for re sharing this out of the goodness of your heart... I laughed hysterically about the story you grandmother told about your grandfather... what a hoot xox... Even if it's not true, it was highly entertaining <3

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. From as many times as my grandmother told the story, I think it's true. :)

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  14. thanks for sharing smiles dear loved my visit here

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  15. Thanks for re-posting--I missed this one the first time around. Enjoyed it!

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  16. The story of your grandfather bouncing on the bed is hilarious! Probably a good thing they were in Boston vs. having ended up in the buggy South. One of my first memories of arriving here in the U.S. was the HUGE! GIANT! GINORMOUS! roach I encountered in the guest house for new arrivals in Ft. Polk, Louisiana. It was big enough to harness and possibly put it to use for carriage rides around the post.

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    1. Isn't that a hoot? They ended up settling in Baltimore, which is plenty hot, humid, and buggy.

      HA! I know just what kind of bug you mean. Our older son moved to Orlando for a while years ago, and hated the job he had there, so he moved back home for about a month, just long enough to get a new job and a place of his own. Anyhow, he brought some of his furniture into our house... and it was infested with those bloody roaches. Palmetto bugs, I think he called them. Smarticus and I called them Toyotas. MAN, were those things big!

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  17. This autumn is a surprise in Germany too.
    I love your answers to the questionaire - the husband of my husband`s sister came back from Vietnam too, and I can imagine (a bit) how glad you must have been.
    Good for us all that you blog, Susan!

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    1. Dear Britta.

      Yeah, it's still ninety plus degrees here today, so it doesn't feel much like autumn. A really nice German restaurant in our area started its Oktoberfest events today, so we went there to eat and pretended it was cool outside. (Thank goodness for air conditioning!)

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    2. Well, the restaurant DID have its own micro-brewery... :)
      So natch, my hubby had to sample the goods.

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  18. Your answer to number 2 made me tear up a bit. So very sad. But I had to laugh at the story of your grandfather swatting bugs butt nekkid.
    I too am not the push off a cliff type of woman. I'm more a drop kick off a cliff kinda woman myself.

    Have a wonderful weekend Susan. :)

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    1. Cool. Made ya laugh AND cry all within one post? My job here is done...

      HA! If you're gonna drop kick anyone, better pick on a skinny person...

      You have a wonderful weekend, too.

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  19. The days are shorter and it's cooling off at night here. Otherwise, not much sign of autumn here.
    I love the moment you shared of your husband coming home from Vietnam.

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    1. The weather prognosticators are saying we "should" only have another week of temperatures in the nineties. When it dips down to 85, I guess we'll have to drag out the sweaters... :)

      Thank you. My memory of that moment is so vivid, it's hard to believe how long ago it was.

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  20. The days are shorter and it's cooling off at night here. Otherwise, not much sign of autumn here.
    I love the moment you shared of your husband coming home from Vietnam.

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  21. I love these fun question and answers.... thanks for sharing! You have a lovely blog! <3 - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Your turn to run the questions now? (If so, be sure to let me know so I don't miss it!)

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  22. Fun post with a bit of sadness too. I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions. Great story about your grandparents too. I hope you are having a good weekend.

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. We had a super duper weekend. I hope you did, too. :)

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  23. Blessings.....
    Mother nature always has the last say everything else is pure speculation on what has been and possibly could be.

    have a great week.
    Rhapsody

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    1. Hi-ya, Rhapsody! It's good to hear from you again.

      Yeah, you've got that right. Mother Nature is still in charge.

      You have a super week, too.

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  24. I always wondered where memes come from and why they're called memes.

    I miss being a kid in a neighborhood. Good times.

    Boston isn't so far from New York. Maybe they landed in Boston and made their way to the Big Apple?

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    1. There's a lot of good things about growing up in a neighborhood that's wall-to-wall kids. For the kids, anyway. I'd hate living in a row home as an adult.

      You're probably right about them migrating from Boston to NY. Makes sense.

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  25. I keep thinking I'll stumble across a repost and be like "I've seen that before!" But nope. Guess I haven't been hanging around for long enough. Love your posts, Susan.

    I love the evolution of your blogging--I started mine just to share a book I'd written with family on the other side of the country. It turned into SO much more. Love this community!

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. I don't even remember some of my earlier posts when I re-read them, so I figure it's fairly safe to re-run them every now and then. :)

      You're right... it IS a true community, and I love it, too.

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  26. Love this post. In fact, I love everything you write. And I have good taste. :D
    We used a fencepost as home. I feel sorry for the kids these days, never knowing the belonging of being in a gang of neighborhood kids.
    And if I could change one thing for you, that would be it. I'm so sorry.
    Now we know where you get your silliness, and imagination, too.
    x

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    1. Aw, how sweet. You sure know how to make a gal feel good.

      Growing up in a neighborhood filled with kids was a great experience, and entirely different from how our kids grew up, and our grandchildren are growing up, but I suspect things are still pretty much the same in the ol' row home neighborhoods. :)

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