The roses are abloom, the balloon flowers have opened, the orange day lilies have unfurled, and the veggie plants are poking through the soil. Our bird feeders lure gold finches, cat birds, purple finches, mockingbirds, black-capped chickadees, cardinals, and those pesky ground feeders, the squirrels.
The desk in my home-office faces a wide window, so it’s no wonder I have the attention span of a hummingbird.
As you read this month’s blog, please pardon my jumping from one topic to another as if I were a hungry bunny airdropped into the middle of my spouse’s garden. The carrot tops! No, the beet greens! The baby sunflowers and zinnias! You get the drift.
American History is Now
When I was in the eleventh grade I had to take a one year course of American History. (What kind of syllabus fits 200+ years of history into ten months of instruction?) Although the memory of a traumatic incident that occurred in that class did its best to obliterate almost everything else, I do recall studying and discussing the Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Three months ago I suddenly realized I truly understood the concept of “separation of powers” that is so clearly expressed in Articles 1, 2, and 3. I suppose sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend the importance of a precept or law until it’s being disregarded wantonly. I’m willing to wager the current POTUS will never read those Articles, much less understand and comply with them.
[Thank you, Charlotte K., a friend and former history teacher who gave a bunch of us our own copy of the U.S. Constitution. It’s on a bookcase shelf to the left of the attention-grabbing window.]
Law and Order
Bill Cosby’s trial has ended. It unfolded in a courtroom that’s a fifteen minute drive from my front door. After more than fifty hours of deliberation, the jury remained deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial. The unfunny comedian was able to spend Father’s Day in his imposing house with his wife and daughters. So, how did that go, especially if his family members had reached their own verdicts a long time ago…perhaps after the tenth or twentieth woman came forward to tell her story of being drugged and molested.
There are all kinds of trials, juries, judges, and punishments. The Montgomery County District Attorney has pledged to retry the case. Perhaps the second jury will be one composed of clear-thinking persons who are immune to the aura of celebrity, who won’t give a free pass to former TV stars and retired NFL players.
Although my spouse, Vivian, denies she’s a poet, she has adorned the front of our refrigerator with a few of those little magnetic word tiles she received as a gift. Each time I walk by or open the fridge’s door I read, “Relax like soft rain,” or “My sanctuary is in a tranquil garden,” and “Listen, reflect, thrive.” Not bad for a woman who claims she has no talent for creating poems, not even short ones.
The Pangs of Writer’s Guilt
Arundhati Roy, the author of “The God of Small Things,” has released her second novel twenty years after she wrote the aforementioned one. Twenty years. We writers should call upon that information about Roy’s creative time gap every time we feel guilty, non-productive, or less than other authors when we see Facebook/Twitter posts from writers who are able to crank out a book-a-year.
Missing Some Things That Were Always Missing
In these six months following my mother’s death, more than a few people have approached me and said what an intelligent independent, and classy woman she was. I’m proud to hear these compliments. They make me wish I’d known her as a peer or a friend instead of as a parent. First born daughters of strict, strong-willed mothers stay busy as they struggle to find and form their own identities. At times, there’s not enough air left in the room for them to be able to breathe in all of their mother’s good qualities.
Searching for Past Lives
Thank you, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, for inspiring me to research my family’s roots. It’s a time consuming but fascinating endeavor as click-by-click, I delve into places, names, and relationships about which I can only speculate. Perhaps there’s a novel woven through the census lists, and the birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates. Doesn’t every family hold close their secrets and book worthy, larger- than-real-life tales?
Acts of Resistance
Here’s to all the nameless strangers I greet in the supermarket, sit next to in waiting rooms, and stand in front of or behind in the cashier’s queue at CVS. Last November 9th I promised myself I’d speak to and smile at anyone who crossed my path. I’ve kept that promise because I believe civility and good are more powerful than the palpable hatred that drills holes in our ears and hearts each day.
Speaking of civility, if you haven’t done so already, please read Lynette Mae’s last blog (“Yes…But”) here on Women and Words. Her essay is written with honesty and sincerity. I hope it’s only the first installment of a string of blogs dealing with our need to dialogue, to ask questions, and most important, to LISTEN to each other. Our society needs more people like Lynette and her spouse, two former police officers who care about fairness and the current state of hue-manity.
S. Renee Bess is the author of five novels, all published by Regal Crest Books. Right now, Renee is working with Lee Lynch on a collection of poetry and prose. They expect OUR HAPPY HOURS: LGBT VOICES FROM THE GAY BAR to be published this coming Fall. Renee’s website is: http://www.reneebess.com.