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A Man and his Tear

Life isn’t fair: It isn’t fair that my children are funnier than I am. It isn’t fair that they’re cleverer than I am and it sure isn’t fair that they write so much better than I do — and they started doing so early.

I already shared an (ahem) unforgettable saga daughter Susan wrote when she was about six, ‘A Romance’ about the Pickle and the Stick. (See https://viewfromoverthehill.wordpress.com/?s=A+Love+Story…or just click on Oct/2021 on the right of the cover page.)

Rafi wrote one at about the same age, but if Susan’s was a saga, his called ‘How did she die?’ was a tome, much too long for this post. If you want to read it you will have to wait until it is published. (Chuckle.)

Instead I’ve chosen to share the following poem written during his early university years — in about 1991.

A MAN AND HIS TEAR

A YOUNGER RAFI

By Rafi Kauffmann

Looking into a sullen eye
A moment of realism slips through
A moment of evil and self-destruction
Yet of kindness and redemption,
A tear

Sold is the innocence of youth
For a rough tempered style,
Tattered is the skin
Worn beyond its years
But still, a tear

TATTERED IS THE SKIN

Glistening with emotion
It swells but won’t fall
The impression on others holds it back

A positive sign this tear
A breakthrough well needed
An escape well deserved

Honestly it sings of experience
A living history contained within its walls
What it knows he knows
What it is, he is

WHAT IT IS, HE IS

A Love Story…

When I asked daughter Susan if I may post the following epic tale, she declared that anyone who IS anyone would want to be familiar with her brilliant saga. Here is what she sent out to friends.
(I’d scanned the original, but shall spare you the difficulties of reading same.)

photo by Chandra

‘So, my mom is going through some old files of hers and is finding all kinds of detritus from the distant past of our lives. One item she unearthed is a story which I must have written when I was extremely young, maybe around seven years old, judging by the spelling. My conclusion after reading this epic tale of heroism and romance: My mother was clearly putting LSD in my Cheerios! How else does a child come up with a story like this one, called, “The Pickle and the Stick”:
(Original spelling preserved)

Susan, left, could be about that age in this photo


Once thare was a pickle. It was locked up in a jar. Thare was a stick. One day the jar with the pickle fell out of a bag. the stick had gest left tree. The stick saw the pickles helplessa nd stranded; He opend the jar. all the pickles wher sour-harted all but one. she was a vary nice kind harted one. she asked the stick to please help her out. The stick did as she pleased (the pickle) The pickle said she would repay his kindness some how. The stick who was very polite said, “how nice of you.” Back at the jar the pickles had bad luck. a boy kicked them into the gutter and a car ran over them. that was the end, at least of them. the stick just then was picked up by a boy. He was going to brake Sirr stick in half! The pickle took a big, big breth and just in time FOOOOOOOOOOOO! Out came a tarabell noise. The pickle saved his life. They got marieyed and lived happily ever after.

The attached drawing is something I threw together with some help from the internet, inspired by reading this story. No, I am not currently on acid!’


Crossing a closed border…

I brought so many treats for the kids, my suitcase was packed solid.

I’d not seen my children in two years — much too long. My recent birthday reminded me I’m not getting any younger. The U.S. border is closed, it was unreasonable and I waffled back and forth and drove my kids nuts, but in the end, decided I must go.


It was complicated, frustratingly stupid, and expensive, none of which mattered compared to my need to hug and spend time with my loved ones.


I’m an organized sort, I called provincial health to check everything, still the madness started before I left. They weren’t always right.


My old flip cellphone, used only for emergencies, doesn’t work in the U.S. I’d need it, so prepaid FIDO $33 for 15 minutes in the U.S. It subsequently didn’t work.


A young friend helped me book non-stop flights both ways. I didn’t care which airline or what the cost was. Just wanted convenience for all and he did very well thank you.

It was enough to drive me to drink.


After a few days, however, Delta cancelled my direct flight back creating a stop in Seattle allowing little more than an hour between flights. I use a walker and must wait until all other passengers debark before my walker shows up. I also require assistance, which I’d already arranged (now separately). After hours on the phone, with no chance of a direct flight, I accepted defeat and called again to arrange help for TWO flights. Whew! I hadn’t even left yet!


Then, United, who were taking me to the US, emailed a form to fill out with complete proof of Canadian COVID testing (taken within 72 hours of the flight) plus vaccinations, etc. etc. I called on my son for help, scanned all related copies, he got into my computer and filled it all out. It was long, not easy, but done.


Checking in at United at the airport, they wanted all the stuff we’d already submitted. I asked why.


‘Oh, that technology isn’t working yet.’ What???

Yup! I made it. Here I am under an Australian Tea tree in San Francisco during one of my daily walks with Rafi.


This was only the beginning of the insanity. More to come soon…

It is really hot!!!

I don’t do heat graciously.

It IS hot!!! I don’t do heat graciously. We’re breaking records daily. How anyone can doubt the warming of our planet is beyond me. Meanwhile our current weather is more than I can deal with.

I had good intentions and was planning to write about something else, but I can’t concentrate. I think my brain is fried — so instead, I’ll tell you what happened on my walk this morning.

I think my brain is fried.


It was early and already too hot. My clothes were sticking to my body. I was miserable. I meandered into a local AIR CONDITIONED drugstore to cool off. As I slowly walked up and down each blessedly cool aisle, I spotted the blood pressure machine.


I’d been fine and my doctor hasn’t seen me since before the pandemic started. My blood pressure hasn’t been tested. Brilliant! I’ll sit down and check it and be COOL while I’m at it. Ahhhhh…


I did just that. Sat down and placed my left arm into the cuff. Turned the machine on and waited patiently as it told me the test was in progress.

When it was over, the results printed for the world to see were: 0 0 0. Does that mean I’m dead????

Does that mean I’m dead???


Daughters should not be funnier than their moms…

Daughter Susan

My children are smarter, better looking and taller than I am. That’s okay. However, there are limits — and the fact they are definitely funnier is going too far. It is not only embarrassing, but humiliating as well. For instance, here’s a recent email I received from Susan.

“So, I get it. I’m not as attractive as I used to be. And in my bathrobe on a morning when I just don’t feel that great, I look pretty dumpy. But SCARY? TERRIFYING? A VISION OF UTMOST HORROR? That is apparently what my horse, Kodachrome, thought of me when I toddled out to the paddock in my bathrobe yesterday morning.


Now, you have to understand that Koda is normally an incredibly brave horse — almost freakishly unflappable when encountering things that would send most horses running for the hills. Things dropped right next to him and making loud clattering noises or even bumping into him? Meh, not worth batting an eyelash. Leaf blower kicking up a storm of dust while making a deafening roar? Gee, looks like fun — maybe it would make a good toy. Taking off your jacket while riding him and throwing it on the fence? No problemo —yawn.


But SUSAN showing up in her BATHROBE??? RUN FOR YOUR FREAKING LIFE!!! Yeah sure, the lower part flapped open a bit, perhaps showing more of my fish-belly white legs. And yeah, those same legs could use a shave. But really? You would think the pit of hell had suddenly sprung open and disgorged a fire-breathing monster with ten heads the way he took of and went flying around the place!


Koda did eventually circle back when said monster started speaking with what seemed like his beloved mom’s voice. But his eyes were bugging out of his head, his nostrils flaring, every muscle fiber firing in case the necessity for flight appeared again. Perhaps he thought I was being eaten by the beast and came to see if he could save me.


He did eventually seem to realize that the bathrobe clad me was not a deadly dragon and he approached and let me pet him, but he kept a wary eye on that flappy part of the robe and clearly held the entire getup highly suspect.


Really, Koda — I don’t look THAT bad in the morning…do I?”


Susan Kauffmann
Lead author, The Essential Hoof Book
TheEssentialHorse.info
(775) 847-0547

Pssst! Wanna know a secret…

Psssst! Do you wanna know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?? Okay. Here goes…

I can type with one finger only since having hand surgery a couple of months ago, and my fingers (accustomed to touch-typing learned eons ago) refuse to share knowing where those darn letters are located on my keyboard with my brain, so I couldn’t write any posts for awhile.

PHOTO RIGHT: ‘Things are improving. No more hand brace!’

Life is a learning process. I keep discovering stuff and you, dear reader, are lucky because this is a BIGGIE, and I’m sharing it with you free of charge.

The secret????? ‘If you don’t write, they won’t read!!!!!’

It isn’t that your followers purposely desert you. It isn’t a devious plot — but without a reminder from WordPress about a new post, they just go on with their lives with nary a thought about you. They’re having coffee with friends or guzzling gin tonics and you’re the last thing on their minds. There’s nothing deliberate about it. It just happens.

You are hereby advised. Be aware!

SWhere you been?

Meanwhile, WordPress has ‘improved’ their system and I can’t figure out how to fix the quote below this last image. It should say: So, where have you been.’

Nor can I figure out how to get the quotes I want to be below the images to work like they used to. Oh, well. This isn’t the first time in my life I’ve been confused.

When my baby was hospitalized…

Going through old correspondence, I found a letter I wrote to UCLA Hospital (L.A.) in 1973. My son was 18 months old and had been very ill and a patient there. I was distressed at what I saw and experienced in the children’s ward. Parents were only allowed to be there during ‘visiting hours’. (Many of us disregarded this unless told to leave.)


When I was there, I changed my child’s diapers and soiled sheets, fed him when possible and if he awoke crying, hearing my voice, he’d wrap his little fingers around mine and fall asleep again. I recall laying on the floor for one or two nights to be there for him. (One night I counted eleven parents sleeping on the chairs in the waiting room — there were no sofas.)

I walked to the nurses station
He had to go to the bathroom


The boy next door was about six and attached to an IV. He called again and again for a nurse until I went over to ask what he needed. He had to go to the bathroom. I walked to the nurses station and forwarded his request, then got busy again with my own child.

When I heard anguished crying, I went to ask what happened. He had been unable to hold it any longer and had soiled himself in bed. He was embarrassed and traumatized. At his age I can only imagine how he felt.


With parents purposely kept away, other children were neglected. One little girl across the way cried from morning til night each day. No one attempted to comfort her. She spoke only Spanish. My letter, therefore, mainly requested they rescind their policy of not allowing parents to remain with their sick children.


I made copies of the letter and mailed it to six people in charge. I never had a reply. The letter, however, did create a reaction. My pediatrician was told that my child and I were BANNED from UCLA, which was very close to our home. After that I was required to drive across town each time my little boy was seriously ill — and he was.

My pediatrician was told I was BANNED


I am pleased that since then things have changed and now parents CAN be with their hospitalized children. Did I play a role in this change? I’d like to think so, but probably not.


What’s been your experience with your own children’s hospitalizations?

Kamikaze gnats up my nose…

I wasn’t included
I’m a kindly sort.

There was a top-secret executive meeting at my place and I wasn’t invited. The decision was made to select methods with which to best plague the lady of the house — me. If I’d known about this sadistic plot, I would have/could have purchased whatever deadly weaponry it would have taken to eliminate the deadly enemy right off. (Let it be known, these do exist.) But, I had no idea what was in the air and — I’m a kindly sort.


Naively, I thought I could just live with these bothersome intruders until my balcony was replaced and then move them outdoors where they belong. But they would not have it. They obviously like it here.


If you read my posts, you know I’ve been invaded by an army of gnats. They’ve emerged from the soil in the plants I moved into my dining area while the balcony is being replaced. (I had no idea it would take this long.)

I told you I have an army of gnats.
Angry gnat


Divisions of dive-bomber gnats are now attacking me. Their spies slyly wait until I’m relaxed in front of my computer or TV, and like kamikaze pilots, faster than you can say ‘gnats’, fly up into my nose. In formation, they dive and then fly up — my right nostril. Never the left nostril. Honest! Only the right. And they do this often. Weird, no?

Kamikaze dive-bomber gnat
Another knat


Why this preference? Darned if I know? Do you?


Well, I’m gonna fight back. Next time I’m out, I’m going to the hardware store and get some of that there yellow sticky paper the gnats apparently love and see if I can catch some of their top pilots when they dive-bomb onto what they (may?) think is a landing strip. Then we’ll see WHO means business around here.

And, if that doesn’t work, I’m gonna get my infamous Famiglia after them. Deze guys is real scary.

My infamous Famiglia. Dese guys is real scary…

My body needs my exercise classes…

I miss a lot of things these days. I miss my children who live in the U.S. — the border is closed. We love to laugh and behave nutty.

I miss friends I can’t see. I miss my book club. I miss using public transportation. (Protective loved ones don’t want me to.) My body, however, misses my Arthritis ‘Joint-works’ class I attended before the pandemic.

Stretching

Dr. Google says there are about 360 joints in our bodies, and mine are loudly complaining about neglect, especially when I try to sleep.

I INTENDED to do them. I know how important they are, but somehow, it hasn’t happened as often as it should.

My bike’s easy

It ought to be easy, I’ve been good about using my Exercycle for years, but that takes little effort. Climb on, click on the DVD I’m currently watching, and viola.

Rebecca, Brian & me

Rebecca and Brian, my wonderful L.A. ‘kids’, exercise on their own at home every day. They never miss. But, too often, I do and my old bones aren’t happy. The ‘Joint-works’ routine IS complicated and requires many different movements, and I allow life to get in my way — much too often.

It was social

The class was also social and I miss that aspect of it. We all had Arthritis, had bonded, and often met for coffee afterwards. If I had been reluctant to go in the first place, I allowed myself to feel noble afterwards. It was all good.

So tell me why three weeks can now pass without ‘finding the time’ to do those exercises at home? I know they matter — I’m not totally stupid. Suggestions anyone???

Black lives matter…

photo by Chandra

I find interesting stuff when I look through my files. I just came on a column I wrote in 1992 which my then-editor called: ‘Prejudice and bigotry return’. Why did I write it?? Maybe it was because Kim Campbell, as Minister of Justice, declared we don’t have prejudice in Canada and I wondered what planet she lived on. It was also probably a time when the economy was hurting and when things are bad, bad stuff happens.

Growing up in Montreal when I did, we were the wrong faith and suffered for it, however I wasn’t even aware of the racism suffered by our small black community. It was only en-route to Los Angeles by bus in my late teens that I learned about the extent of discrimination against blacks in the U.S. and was appalled.

My introduction to ‘White Only’ facilities

I want to share this column with you because of the present pandemic, the depressed economy, and ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrators trying so hard to fight racism which, unfortunately, still thrives.

Sign at children Rafi and Chandra’s home

Here’s what I wrote in March, 1992:
‘Unfortunately prejudice and bigotry don’t go away. They continue to fester just under the skin and as soon as trouble hits, like right now, the disease surfaces and again, we’ve lost our dignity. Neo-nazism proliferates in newly united Germany and foreigners everywhere are attacked by hoodlums.

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reports a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. during 1991. Meanwhile in Canada, 12-year old native hockey players are not welcomed in Quebec families’ homes. Two Rotarians stalk out when their club, God help us, accepts a female member.

Women and children suffer the consequences of male frustration caused by unemployment. Crisis centres are overloaded with calls from the bruised and battered.’

Black Lives DO Matter


The article is too long to ask you to read it all so I’ll end it here. It could have been written right now. Don’t you agree?