Before my son Rafi was old enough for school, prior to my leaving for work each morning we’d do what I called our ‘Inspection Tour’ of our garden, which I loved. He grew to love it too.
Together we’d look for new blossoms, fruit or maybe even a baby tomato or radish.
Rafi named all our plants and we greeted each by name with a hearty ‘Good morning’.
(One was called ‘George’ because Rafi so enjoyed the ‘Curious George’ books.) I still believe plants like to be talked to.
I’m not surprised that today Rafi loves his own garden. Fortunately, his dear Chandra loves it as well and they spend countless happy hours together working to make and keep it beautiful. Mine was nice enough, but theirs is absolutely gorgeous!!
Aside from being spoiled rotten when I recently visited, I had the pleasure of looking directly out the door from my own room right into the colourful garden. What a beautiful sight to wake up to. What more could anyone want?
Every morning Rafi brought me coffee and breakfast and brought Germaine down to visit me. Chandra, Remy and Rafi carried meals down on large trays from upstairs for us to eat either in the garden, or in my suite. I gloried in being spoiled.
After I left, poor Germaine missed me and waited for me outside my door.
Another birthday. Another hope that this one, at last, would bring me some wisdom. The night before I turned 86, a venerable age indeed, I crawled into bed hopeful. Surely it was time for wisdom to arrive, right???
The next morning I awoke without an iota more of that valuable stuff. Oh, well — perhaps it will happen next year.
Meanwhile, daughter Susan sent me the above greeting for my special day. I enjoyed it so much, I had to share it with you lucky folks.
Just visited loved ones in San Francisco who drove me to Nevada to visit daughter Susan and her Michael. Susan and I, as we often do, got into some mischief. Shall share some of that on my next post. Be patient…
As always, I was spoiled rotten by everyone and will be impossible for months to come.
Looks like grandson Remy keeps getting taller and taller and I keep getting shorter and shorter.
By the way, it is Susan’s birthday on August, 7th. If you can, wish HER a happy birthday.
It is Fathers’ Day. My son Rafi is a father — a devoted, loving father and I am proud of him. Surely, he and his lovely Chandra are raising a son who will also be a loving father.
I remember when I’d be pushing little Rafi, dressed in red overalls, in his stroller and strangers would comment: ‘What a beautiful little girl.’ He WAS pretty with his soft brown curls and it didn’t matter to me. I’d just say: ‘Thank you.’ (Red is still my favourite colour.)
When Rafi was very little, we didn’t have the fancy olives displayed in the grocery markets today. I used to buy black olives in cans. He’d push one on each finger and march around the kitchen thrilled with himself. I’d chuckle. He was so much fun.
His sister Susan loved him, but couldn’t help but take advantage of him occasionally. When he was about four, she told him a nickel was worth more than a dime because the nickel was bigger. She was offering to exchange her nickel for his dime. I overheard the transaction and scolded her. Rafi, always the peacemaker, insisted he was the one who wanted the nickel.
I wish my son Rafi, who has given me so much pleasure through the years, all the best on this day devoted to men like him. I am also proud of him and of all his accomplishments.
My San Francisco kids visited at Xmas. It turned out to be a White one and Rafi, Chandra, and grandson Remy loved walking in the snow. (It doesn’t snow in S. F.) On one of their many excursions, they passed a sign in my neighbour John’s window. Rafi, of course, had to take a photo of it.
John is one of those special, interesting and multi-talented individuals who is interested in everything and everyone. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to know him, but what I like best about John is his kindness to others — including me.
I first saw John acting onstage when I was writing a column covering the arts. Aside from that his photography is so beautiful, if I had any more room on my walls, I’d try to purchase one from him if he’d sell it. What else does he do well? I don’t at all know because the guy never brags. I asked John if he had written the words in the sign below. He said he hadn’t. If you know who did, do let me know.
In case the photo of the sign is difficult for you to read, this is what it says:
B L E S S E D * A R E T H E * Weird People The Poets & Misfits T H E A R T I S T S T H E W R I T E R S & MUSIC MAKERS The dreamers & the O U T S I D E R S For they force us to see THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY
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!’
Am busy destroying files and files of papers — a kindness I owe my children after a lifetime of writing, stirring up trouble and fighting city hall (and at times even winning). I found the following and decided to share it with you.
This grown man…
This grown man was my baby He giggled and smiled and brought me joy He clung to me when he was ill (Which happened all too often) His feverish little body cuddled close Against my breast while my heart Beat rapidly with a mother’s fear
This grown man was my toddler His pudgy little fingers explored everything He loved to stand on my feet and hang onto my knees While I clumsily transported him Laughing away from room to room He wanted to marry our dog And buy me a big, big house
This grown man was my boy He took apart every new toy to see What was inside and put together Model airplane kits and cars But never read the instructions He discovered sports and uniforms That life was not always fair And his mother wasn’t perfect Yet continued to love me
This grown man was no typical teenager He laughed down at me from a height I’d have to stand on a chair to reach Why he was never difficult I don’t know He worked out, ran and played basketball And would study — if he had to He thought about girls and I must Never, ever kiss him in public He would call me at work Just to say hello
Note: I also wrote a poem about Susan. See it under: My Susan… April 27, 2020. After all, I do love them both.
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.
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
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….