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Tag Archive: May

May 01

All sad hearts need a little madness in the spring – (From my archived columns, first published in The Examiner, May 22, 2008)

flowersinyourhairA little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the King,”
– Emily Dickinson.

The merry month of May with its proms, weddings, graduations, and reunions is the perfect time to wear our finery and spruce ourselves up a bit after a sunless and dreary winter.

It is also the perfect time to “dress up” if one’s life happens to be going very badly.

In a funk because the ATM ate your debit card, the cell phone is lost once again, or because the expected economic stimulus check has not arrived yet?

Perhaps you are simply sick of the weather or you want the school year to end and hurry up about it.

Of course, there is no point at all mentioning how high gas prices drive our good spirits and normally cheerful moods completely downhill.

In the face of such despair, what are we sadsacks to do?

My solution–dress up, and I mean really, really dress up, and go somewhere fancy.

My friend Gladice did, and believe me she has more reasons than most of us to “get her dobber down.”

But she did not do that, and therein lies her story.

In the early spring months, Gladice endured a string of sad and grievous life events, one after another. Her father died unexpectedly and in mere weeks her husband died. Both deaths were sudden and both men in her life were vitally important to her wellbeing.  Both were relatively young men thus adding to her disbelief.

Despite dealing with the onslaught of grief and despite trying to raise two sons without her husband’s income, Gladice hung in there. She never lost her smile, and that is the first thing friends and acquaintenances noticed about her—a glowing countenance and composure.

Soon help and donations flowed to her family.

Yet, she needed more to alleviate the sadness, something cash and gift cards could not fix.

She needed to put flowers in her hair, dress up, and go out on the town.

One day friend Janice announced to Gladice, “Let’s get dressed up and go out. It is time.” And so off they went to an exclusive restaurant and ordered filet mignon.

Gladice decided to wear make-up and dress up fancy, something she does not like to do as a rule.  However, this time was different.

It was spring after all.

Janice knew Gladice deserved a good time, an elegant dress, a new hairdo, an evening out. Surely it would make her feel better.

Whether or not we have as many reasons as Gladice for sadness, we can follow her lead as how to get out of it.

As Edwin Way Teale observed, “All things seem possible in May,” and I would add, especially if you dress up and put flowers in your hair.

May 22

All sad hearts need a little madness in the spring

“A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the King,”
– Emily Dickinson.

The merry month of May with its proms, weddings, graduations, and reunions is the perfect time to wear our finery and spruce ourselves up a bit after a sunless and dreary winter.

It is also the perfect time to “dress up” if one’s life happens to be going very badly.

In a funk because the ATM ate your debit card, the cell phone is lost once again, or because the expected economic stimulus check has not arrived yet?

Perhaps you are simply sick of the weather or you want the school year to end and hurry up about it.

Of course, there is no point at all mentioning how high gas prices drive our good spirits and normally cheerful moods completely downhill.

In the face of such despair, what are we sadsacks to do?

My solution–dress up, and I mean really, really dress up, and go somewhere fancy.

My friend Gladice did, and believe me she has more reasons than most of us to “get her dobber down.”

But she did not do that, and therein lies her story.

In the early spring months, Gladice endured a string of sad and grievous life events, one after another. Her father died unexpectedly and in mere weeks her husband died. Both deaths were sudden and both men in her life were vitally important to her wellbeing.  Both were relatively young men thus adding to her disbelief.

Despite dealing with the onslaught of grief and despite trying to raise two sons without her husband’s income, Gladice hung in there. She never lost her smile, and that is the first thing friends and acquaintenances noticed about her—a glowing countenance and composure.

Soon help and donations flowed to her family.

Yet, she needed more to alleviate the sadness, something cash and gift cards could not fix.

She needed to put flowers in her hair, dress up, and go out on the town.

One day friend Janice announced to Gladice, “Let’s get dressed up and go out. It is time.” And so off they went to an exclusive restaurant and ordered filet mignon.

Gladice decided to wear make-up and dress up fancy, something she does not like to do as a rule.  However, this time was different.

It was spring after all

Janice knew Gladice deserved a good time, an elegant dress, a new hairdo, an evening out. Surely it would make her feel better.

Whether or not we have as many reasons as Gladice for sadness, we can follow her lead as how to get out of it.

As Edwin Way Teale observed, “All things seem possible in May,” and I would add, especially if you dress up and put flowers in your hair.

May 19

May is Older Americans Month; I am not drinking the Kool-Aid

May is Older Americans Month, and I am supposed to celebrate it, according to numerous health and social service agencies, the Administration on Aging, greeting card companies, and a presidential proclamation.

I am not drinking the Kool-Aid.

For everyone over the age of 50, follow along with me as I purposely digress and explain my Kool-Aid remark. For those younger than 50, you are on your own here.

When I first heard the expression ‘drink the Kool-Aid’ or ‘don’t drink the Kool-Aid’ as the case may be, I had to ask what it meant. As I age such an expression is probably one I heard before or is a term I simply cannot recall but surely know. This quite observable situation leaves me perplexed.

My memory worries started recently when I heard someone remark, “No matter what, do not drink the Kool-Aid. Tom really drank it on that one.”

What in the world did she mean?

Memory lapse.

Well aware that I could not recall this phraseology, I thought I had better look it up. I knew I had heard it before, but nowhere in my mental computer could I find it. My brain’s search engine was frozen; no Kool-Aid file found.

If you are over 50, mental blankness likely happens to you, too, and if you are not that old, all I can say is, “Mark my words. The day will come when you will not be able to find your memory files either.”

I call this phenom my ‘brain zero phraseogram’. For the record, I just invented that term, if I can only remember it.

If you are like me you probably need to look up phraseogram about now. I had to when I first heard it or was it the first time I realized I had forgotten it?

Anyway, back to my point if I can find it. Phraseogram is a noun that is defined as a symbol used to represent a particular phrase in shorthand, according to Encarta World English Dictionary.

I remember that now. High school business classes. Shorthand. Phraseogram. Got it!

Forgive me once again for the digression, as I should get back to researching the aforementioned Kool-Aid phrase as promised.

My web search found this definition at the urbandictionary.com site. Most likely ‘to drink the Kool-Aid’ is a reference to the 1978 cult mass-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Jim Jones, the guru of the group, convinced his followers to drink grape Kool-Aid laced with potassium cyanide. The residents drank the Kool-Aid and died.

The term can also mean embracing a particular philosophy or completely buying into an idea or system, good or bad.

Now that I have looked it up, it makes me a bit leery of attending a Kool-Aid or tea party with the grandkids in the backyard. Just kidding, of course.

I do know this for certain. The next time I experience mental blankness, I will think of the problem as merely a ‘brain zero phraseogram’. It is not a disorder, just a label. Still working on a symbol for it.

And finally back to my original point, I will not celebrate Older Americans Month since then I would have to admit that I am indeed an older American.

Everyone is an older American if you stop and think about it. Like I said, I am not drinking the Kool-Aid.

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