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.
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
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
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
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.)
‘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)
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!’
I’d informed son Rafi my knees didn’t enjoy hills any more. He and grandson Remy put their heads together and chose parks without hills for my daily walks. The first had these wonderful trees I couldn’t resist. We went again and again so I could pose with Rafi, then Remy, and when Susan joined us, back we went to pose yet again!
Yes, we took walks elsewhere as well. Every morning Rafi walked the family dog, Germaine, we dropped Remy off at soccer camp, and Rafi walked me. (He wasn’t going to let me slack off. He knows how important it is for me to keep moving.)
The few times we couldn’t find the time to visit another park, I took my walk at the dog park under the supervision of Germaine, who made sure I got in enough steps. He took every step with me! Ha, ha.
Chandra, always creative, made a beautiful photo album for Rafi as a birthday gift. I had never seen some of those old photos and got a kick out of seeing, for the first time, some taken years ago. (She also made an album for him of what friends and family members thought of him. It was lovely to read.)
We celebrated everyone’s birthday. I’d just celebrated a venerable one, Rafi had a recent birthday and so had Susan. We laughed a lot and I discovered my grandson, Remy, had a crazy sense of humour. (Wonder where he got that from??? Ha, ha.) Also an avid reader, Remy shared books with me when I ran out of reading material. It was just a great visit. I could not have asked for more.
Rafi and I shopped for plants at the nursery — the kids have a beautiful garden. I looked for a little man to live in my home-made terrarium, but they didn’t have one. Rafi ordered one for me, tried NOT to tell me right away, but was so excited about it, he couldn’t wait to surprise me, but when he said: ‘I bought you something’. I immediately guessed what it was. Yeah! See him above. The little guy loves his new home.
I’m holding on to the memory of the wonderful time I had and how spoiled I was by everyone. The morning breakfasts I had with Rafi, the time we all spent together was worth all the nonsense and stupidity of the rules and regulations I had to deal with to travel across the border during COVID.
While being spoiled rotten by my kids and loving it, a neighbour from home emailed about a new form called ‘ArriveCAN’ I needed to complete.
Son Rafi photographed all my papers, completed it and printed an important-looking page for me to turn in at the border.
Simple right? Wrong! Officials didn’t care about it. I think they hadn’t a clue what it was. I was glad I had carried all my documents.
The stupidest part? Flying from anywhere in the US to the U.S., no tests are required. (Daughter Susan did just that to join us.) I, however, crossing the Canadian border, needed another COVID test. Cost: $301. U.S. Why the $1.?? It SEEMS ridiculous!
My direct flight home being cancelled, I had to fly from San Francisco to Seattle. The plane was full. Those debarking in Seattle had NOT been tested. They wore masks, removed while snacking and drinking, etc. How safe was that??? My second plane from Seattle to Canada had few passengers. (How many nuts like me are there?)
Arriving at my own airport, I made my way past one guy after another (All male. In uniform. More intimidating???) showing each ALL my documents.
Finally one said: “You’re good to go,’ Yeah! I was tired.
The next guy, however, decided I must take another COVID test ‘tomorrow’. Exhausted, I accepted the box, dragged myself home and crashed.
Next morning: I read the instructions and panicked. I was to make a video of myself taking the test??? Are they kidding? I don’t know how to do that! Plus, I’m to take another test in 6 days.
I immediately called the number given and while a machine kept telling me how important I was, held for about 2 hours, thinking about that $5,000 fine someone got for not following instructions upon return. Finally, someone answered and asked me to hold.
‘Please, don’t disconnect me…’
He came back. He’d be putting me on hold again for awhile. He needed to find out what I was to do. I waited nervously. Finally, he said to take the test and dial 1-888-744-7123 for Purolator to pick it up. This I did. Purolator came and — refused to take it.
‘But that’s what I was just told to do! Please, please call your supervisor,’ I begged. He reluctantly did. No dice. Why? Why?
’We didn’t get the contract. FedEx did. You have to call them.’
Time was passing. I was getting terrified. $5,000??? I called FedEx.
They WOULD pick it up — that day!!! And did! Whew!
I ate some cold beans right out of the can, (fridge was empty) took the phone off the hook so I wouldn’t be disturbed, and slept.
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
My late friend Hans was a really funny guy. He enjoyed marzipan, which I don’t. Thus marzipan was a safe thing for me to get for him whenever he visited.
I drove to the candy store in Kerrisdale for it until Purdy’s opened a shop in my own neighbourhood on 4th Avenue.
Since I was working, Hans was on his own during the day. I suggested he walk the few blocks for the chocolates on his own.
You couldn’t insult Hans. I recall telling him that he was arrogant. His response? ‘Well, I don’t know anyone who has more reason to be.’ It was impossible to get angry at him.
Hans loved Shakespeare. He even wrote an award-winning musical set in Shakespeare’s England. (It was the sole production not actually written by Shakespeare ever performed in ‘The Globe Theatre’ in Los Angeles.)
Tongue in cheek, he complained about the terrible treatment he was receiving at my hands. Tongue in cheek, I wrote this for him. We both had a good laugh. I hope you enjoy reading it too.
My Love, Alone He Walketh
My love, upon the Avenue he walketh Gallantly, bravely, forth he setteth Alone, uncivilized hordes he faceth On Fourth, between Arbutus and Yew.
Not rain, nor sleet, nor snow delayeth Nor fear of highwaymen who lurketh Along the dangerous route he walketh Onward, onward to Purdy’s door.
These foreign climes, my love, he braveth Distanced far from the land he loveth For his fair damsel alone he cometh Her beauteous face to see once more.
And when my love, indeed he leaveth And alone, I must myself then beith Shall I, on mornings cold and cleareth Walk in his steps to Purdy’s store.
The door handle, I shall then caresseth For dear hands upon it once had layeth My love’s devotion I shall recalleth And surely remember evermore.
He walk-ed this path so unafraideth For marzipan, the world he’d braveth Upon my knees I thank the Lordeth That above all else, he does not snore.
In the middle of this pandemic, our Strata decided to give our old building a face-lift. Our windows, glass doors, and balconies are included in the process. My cherished miniature lilac tree lives on the balcony. So do various other plants. They all had to be removed.
Some owners got their stuff down to the yard below, but I can’t do that on my own and how much can you ask others to do? (I’m on the 3rd floor.) I decided to ask dear Andrew to bring them all into my dining area instead. Maybe it was a mistake. This isn’t the first mistake I’ve made in my life.
My plants have mostly died. That’s okay. I can start over, except for my beloved lilac tree. I love lilacs. And Susan bought it for me just because I love them. Since it IS small, I can easily bury my face into the lovely blossoms. Inside, the tree began to look dead. Susan and I both began mourning. Still, I kept watering the poor thing — just in case.
This week, whaddaya know! It started sprouting leaves. Leaves? Now? It’s December. The beginning of winter. My little lilac tree is obviously confused. Living in my warm apartment, it thinks it’s spring!! Let’s face it, this is no time for a self-respecting lilac tree to start sprouting greenery. What to do??
I’ve started talking to the lilac tree as you would to a wayward child. ‘You can’t be doing that now, you silly thing. What will the neighbours say? They’ll accuse me of being a bad mother.’
Gosh, let’s face it, they’ll KNOW how crazy I am when they hear me talking to my confused miniature tree. Okay, okay. I know that you, dear reader, already know how nutty I am. No need to rub it in…
My goodness it’s the end of November. I must say I’m glad to kiss this month goodbye. Our building is being upgraded — absolute madness during the pandemic! What were they thinking???
They’re replacing our balconies, glass windows and doors, repairing and painting, etc. etc. Workers hammer and bang and saw all day long five days a week. Yuk!
They also busy themselves making appointments to do the abatement in my suite and cancel at the last minute after I’ve covered every single piece of furniture (it happened three times already) and it’s all making me crazy.
On top of it all, we (and our whole area) lost power for a day, our hot water didn’t flow for five full days (although the plumbers came each day to try again) and our elevator refused to work for almost a week! (They had to send for a part.) What’s going on??? Could it be a plot???
Nonetheless I did write a post yesterday. When I read it this morning, I hated it, so I’ll borrow again from daughter Susan. Here’s another of her ‘Muriel Says’. She is truly funny…..
It must be Thanksgiving in the States because I received a couple of cards in the mail today. As a kid I loved Halloween, but as an adult, Thanksgiving is my absolute favourite. I have much to be grateful for and don’t at all mind thinking of this holiday more than once a year. (In Canada, we celebrate it earlier, so I get to do so twice.)
I’m grateful for the love of my children, son Rafi, his loving wife Chandra and their son Remy, daughter Susan and her Michael, plus others I love who care about me here and in the US.
It’s been rough with much happening where I live (or perhaps it’s that much that should be happening hasn’t been happening) and I’m exhausted by it all. Thus, I haven’t the mindset to write the post I would have wanted to, so I’ll cheat and use another one of daughter Susan’s ‘Muriel Says…’ instead.
That my daughter thinks anything I say is worth using on her Facebook is absolutely astounding to me. Yes, I love her too….
Had an email from daughter Susan saying she laughed out loud when she read the response I wrote a reader who commented on the ridiculous 40 cent adventure I had with FedEx. (See ‘I can hardly believe it myself…’ October, 2020)
Susan often laughs at stuff I say and decided to start posting them on Facebook. If truth be told, she’s as hilarious as I am any day and makes me laugh out loud too. And, when we get together, her poor husband Michael, usually quiet and normal, is perfectly capable of joining in with the nonsense.