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Articles in "Spiritual Smart Aleck "

According to all the calendars I have, winter begins with the solstice, on the twenty-first of December or thereabouts. I say that’s broccoli, and I say the hell with it.

My husband Rick has been gone for almost four years now, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw him walk out of the men’s room on the sixth floor of the James Tower one afternoon a few weeks ago. That’s the cardiology floor at the Cherry Hill campus of Swedish Hospital.

This has been a rough week in America. It started last Sunday night with a man using semi-automatic weapons to mow down over five hundred people at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Fifty-eight people died. Fifty-nine, counting the shooter, who took himself out before he could be caught.

I’ve been watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10-part film about Vietnam on PBS. It is unsatisfying, and not only because the experience as we lived it fifty years ago was a nightmare.

A couple of weeks ago, Dona Bradley, Michael Shapiro, and I went over to Gig Harbor on a Tuesday night to play at an open mike that is run by Thea Wescott at a place called the Markee.

It is a pleasant sunny day in San Francisco in 1964 or ’65. My mother and I are walking westward on Market Street. Walking in front of us is a young family – mom, dad, boy of about eleven or twelve, slightly younger girl.

It is blackberry season. I walk thirty yards from my front door carrying an old plastic yogurt container and start picking.
There is no need to bend over, no need to reach through or wrestle with canes to get to fruit that is hidden.

A worker in a refugee camp in Syria writes: “When we got back to our base camp a couple of hours ago this little fellow, A---, was waiting for us. He said he needed to talk to us.

Went and got a haircut last week.
When I went in I figured, who knows when I’ll be able to afford a haircut again? And, it’s summer. And, I’m tired of messing with my long bushy hair.

June 29th was the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul in the western Christian church calendar. Some of you are slapping your foreheads and saying, “Oh no, I forgot.” If you are part of the Eastern Orthodox Church, in which case you are on the Julian calendar, you will observe this feast day next week, so you’re good.

As you drive, or bike, or walk, on the roads of the island, you will come across furniture, flower pots, appliances, remodeling leftovers, and other miscellany left at the side of the road, usually with a sign that says, “Free.”

The new property tax assessments for 2018 arrived in the mail. You could hear the howls of pain and rage all over the island. Some of those howls were mine.

About twenty years ago our good friends, the Blakemores, moved to Australia, where they settled in a little beach town.
One year, there was a fire in the forest uphill from their neighborhood. Naturally they were worried.

Consider our indigenous people.
We believe that they came across a land bridge from Siberia and from there spread south through the Americas. There is some evidence that aboriginal people from Australia sailed in and settled in South America and Baja California, as well.

Nothing like a couple of days of food poisoning to purge your body and clear your mind. Not that I recommend or condone it. The first and worst day I went through wondering if I was going to die, old and weak as I am, with so many regrets, so many things undone.

It was a genuinely crappy week. I could tell I was stressed, because I cursed a lot. I even amazed my 14-year-old grandson, and I figure he hears it all in middle school.

In 1998, my late husband, Rick, a Vietnam vet, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was 52, which I thought was young to have prostate cancer.
In Vietnam there were troops who were on the ground. There were also “brown water sailors,” who manned the river boats. Then there were the blue water sailors, on ships.

A couple of months into the so-called Trump presidency, there is talk of Trump being mentally ill. I don’t know for sure if he is, but he sure seems to be a carrier.

So. I asked the cashier at Taco Time to throw away my old Taco Time cup from the last time I was in Seattle, and that’s where the trouble started.

So, dear hearts, how long was the electricity off at your house last week? In my neighborhood, it was out for almost exactly 53 hours. Give or take an hour. I woke up around 4 a.m. Monday when the power went out. That was the first day.

The alders, the maples, the horse chestnut, and the apple tree have all lost their leaves. This is the time of year I can see some of the sky, though the evergreens still block some of the view.

We went to court a few weeks ago to have my grandson’s name legally changed from what he was named at birth, when we all thought he was a girl, to the name he has been using the last two years.

Today, as I write, December 29, 2016, at 2:20 pm PST, my husband Rick will be gone exactly three years.

Dear hearts and gentle people, it is coming on Christmas (if you are like me, you will now have a Joni Mitchell song running through your head), and I have been clobbered by a virus. I’m spending lots of time asleep, which seems to be the best thing.