How did baby boomers survive those violent nursery rhymes?

“The line broke, the monkey got choked …” Whaaat? So we’re exercising to a variation of “The Clapping Song” at Jazzercise this morning when our instructor mused about the violent nursery rhymes that were part of our childhood. Made me think of a story I wrote recently for a fun thing I do with a small group of fellow seniors. We pick a topic and each write a short story that we read aloud over (lots of) wine, followed by dinner. This topic: Little Red Riding Hood—the real story. Here is mine. Fitting for a blog aimed at folks 65+. Especially now.

Once upon a time in a forest far away, a girl left her cottage to visit her grandmother who lived way on the other side of the woods. She wore the red cape with the hood that her grandmother made for her and she carried a basket of sandwiches, sweets and wine for her ailing granny. Before long, on a bend in the path, she came face to face with a big bad wolf who had been eyeing her hungrily from behind a large tree.

little-red-riding-hood

But before he could pounce they were both distracted by a bright light in a nearby field. Curiosity overtook his hunger and her fear as together they moved off the path to get a closer look at the crystal ball that sparkled in the grass. An old fortune teller wearing a flowing robe adorned with stars and a gold nose ring appeared from dense foliage.

“Sit,” she beckoned to the mesmerized duo as they joined her in a small circle on the ground. She placed the ball in her lap and, caressing it, told them about a civilization centuries in the future. The year would be 2016 in an era marred by war, hatred, discrimination and disrespect. It was not like that everywhere all the time, but enough to cause worldwide heartache, anger and despair. The cause of this mass dysfunction, she explained, would be generations traumatized by scary nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Most affected by these violent stories appeared to be the humans who were children in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Images of babies with cracked skulls, smashed eggheads, mice without tails and children in ovens prevented them from living in harmony with their fellow man.

“YOU,” she said peering at the pair, “have the ability and opportunity to change history.” “Us? How?” the petite girl and husky wolf asked in unison. “What you don’t know is that your grandmother sewed magic powers into your red cape,” she told the girl. “And you,” she told the animal, “are in fact a pushover with a heart of gold.” Then the woman and her crystal ball disappeared.

“Where is your grandmother’s house?” the wolf asked the girl. Amazingly, she told him, grabbing a snack from the basket before handing it to him and trusting him to deliver it sooner than she would get there.

On a mission to create a kinder universe, she continued on the path through the woods in search of stories she could rewrite. She heard music that sounded like a lullaby. Looking up into a tree, she saw a cradle tilt just in time to toss her magic cape in the air to gently catch a falling baby.

A few steps later she heard two children giggling at a well on the top of a hill. The boy tripped and began tumbling down the grade, bringing the girl with him. Again, she tore off her cape, which caught the pair, encased them in soft fabric and cushioned their fall.

little-red-jack-and-jill

A bit later in her journey she encountered a character with a huge egghead losing his balance as he sat on a stone wall. Wasting no time she threw the cape, which encircled the creature and pulled him upright, preventing a messy scramble.

little-red-humpty-dumpty

A bigger horror lie ahead. As the girl approached a whimsical gingerbread house she heard two children, who had been abandoned by their father and evil stepmother, screaming as a mean witch tried to cook them. This time, the cape acted on its own, sailing through the air, lassoing the witch and strangling her before slinging her lifeless body into the oven to be burned to cinders. (Pretty scary ~ per this 1909 illustration by Arthur Rackham.)

little-red-hansel-and-gretel

Back on the trail near the edge of the forest she saw three blind rodents chasing a crazed farmer’s wife, who was turning in their direction with a carving knife. The girl bent down just in time for the mice to run onto her cape, which rolled them into a tight cocoon, tails intact.

And so she continued, for days longer than she anticipated, creating one happy ending after another.

By the time she arrived at her grandmother’s house she found her in a rocking chair on the porch watching the wolf paint her shabby shutters. Other wolves, rabbits, bears and skunks were tending to her lawn and garden, patching her roof and cleaning her cottage. Peter Rabbit’s mother and Mrs. Bear had nursed her back to health with chamomile tea and porridge, which tasted just right. All the helpers were wearing red hoodies. In the time it took the girl to traverse the forest and reshape history, the wolf had created the first neighborhood association and declared himself the very first community organizer, an admirable profession that would become a springboard to greatness. Around the world neighbors would form groups to make their communities better. In honor of their heroine, whom they came to call Little Red Riding Hood, the hoodie would forever be the proper attire to represent the value of life (all lives,) respect for authority and peace on Earth.

little-red-riding-hood-lorrie-11-23-16

 

 

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Life revolves around football season

Overlapping the end of daylight saving time and the beginning of standard time is a phenomenon known as football season. It dictates the timing of practically everything else, especially on weekends. Missing any part of a college or pro game is crushing to most hard core fans. “Now we’ve got to wait until after football season,” I said at least twice last week to friends who’ve been planning get-togethers. And I know not to schedule anything with my boyfriend on Saturdays or Sundays until mid-February 2017.

Except for screaming in the stands at every one of my sons’ high school games, I hadn’t been into football much before moving 20 years ago to a city that has an NFL franchise. There’s no escaping that excitement. Now I’m definitely into the tailgating, partying, wearing teal and black, cheering … even watching a play now and then. My sons are impressed that I can talk football somewhat intelligently in my senior years. It’s no longer necessary to refresh my knowledge of a down before every game, but I still wish footballs were bright yellow so I could see them. I look forward to visiting Pennsylvania next week where it will feel more like football season, hearing my family shout at the Eagles on TV and, most of all, rooting for my grandson during his first year of playing high school football.

Football season is definitely a fun buffer between summer and Christmas, a five-month celebration of hope, hype and, too often, despair.  Here’s some of my fan gear:

football-season-1-sept-2016

Decades ago back in PA, while my sons rooted for their teams—one for Philadelphia, the other for Pittsburgh—I paid little attention to stats or scores.

My Steelers fan raised his kids with the same team spirit. High school football posters of him and his brother shared a wall with a Ben Roethlisberger fathead.

football-season-ally-parker-tom-and-ben

Often on Super Sunday my mother and I would go to a mall or movie. Even now, with my relative enthusiasm for the sport, I dread Super Bowl parties where everyone actually watches every second of the entire game. Wine or beer with tacos, great camaraderie, an occasional glance at the score, and paying close attention the last two minutes—which is usually about 20—is my kind of Super Bowl party. Several years ago I hosted one. “Uh, Mom, did you get a new TV?” my son on the other coast asked. Oh no, I panicked, just then thinking about my old set with the small screen. As they left after the game, my friends tossed dollar bills onto my kitchen table toward a new TV fund.

This Saturday my boyfriend and I attended a late afternoon housewarming, our arrival and departure carefully calculated by the times of the Alabama and Florida games. I would be shocked, I told him when he asked if I thought the hosts would have the games on TV. Lucky for him and a handful of other fans, a teenage boy switched the channel from music to football. His action took me back to the mid-‘70s when cable TV was new and required a wrench or pliers to connect. Not wanting one of my parties spoiled by the men (yeah, mostly, back then) watching football, I disconnected the cable and hid my husband’s tools in the washing machine. Playing dumb while the desperate guys freaked out, I watched one of them hook the television back up with a pocket knife. (More than once I was told that was grounds for divorce.)

Making it back from the housewarming party in time, my boyfriend settled in to watch the remainder of the second game while I checked email, Facebook and other stuff in another room. After all the griping about possibly missing important plays, he was unusually quiet. No “Go Gators!” or more scathing shouts. I returned to find him asleep in front of the screen. One of the hazards of golden years football.

Photo gamely posed the next day.

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Goodbye, Telephone

Hello Art

Seriously, when was the last time you heard that word? Assuming people actually do answer the phone when you call, they are more likely to say something like “Hey, Susan!” or “Whassup, Joe?” They already know who’s calling, thanks to caller ID and other features on our fabulous phones.

In fact, the telephone feature likely is used the least. Apparently I’m among the remaining few who actually talk on my smartphone. If the first cell phones had all the abilities of today’s models, they likely wouldn’t have been called phones at all. For example, here’s how I get to talk to my son: text “call your mom.” Can’t blame it only on younger generations, though. It seems nobody calls anymore.

Dont answer phone. jpg

Ha Ha! My phone just rang. But political robocalls don’t count.

Admittedly, I rarely answer unknown calls, either. I used to answer calls with a local area code, until getting burned too many times by telemarketers—the majority of calls I still get on my land line. Yes, land line. (What if there’s a hurricane and power goes out, or I lose my cell phone … plus I just hear better on it.)

It’s not only unknown callers who get ignored. Many people let all their calls go to voicemail to review later—or not. Some of them even listen to the messages. I’ve come to know those who rarely do (hello, boyfriend, grandson, former boss … ) so I hang up after a ring or two. They usually call back when they see I’ve phoned. My call-back theory had long been “if it’s important they’ll leave a message.” Not anymore if I recognize the caller. Missed call means call me.

Makes me marvel how I managed to meet newspaper story deadlines way back before voicemail when all we had was basic telephones. People answered them, that’s how. Now that I am retired and write on a freelance basis, it’s a different ballgame.

Don’t ever call, a friend my age who is still in the workforce advised the other day when I was whining about it taking me longer to connect with sources than to interview them and write the stories. Writers in her office know better, she said. You have to email or text to get a reply.

Well, yeah, I’ve learned that by now. But I’m still old school enough to often reach out by phone to make that personal connection, then follow up with an email or text. Guess I’ve been wasting my time.

A little web searching on the subject is making me feel a lot selfish. And rather pushy. Overwhelmingly, bloggers and other writers, largely millennials, are saying their time is more important than my calls. Their consensus: why should I stop in the middle of my project or whatever I am doing to talk to you? Communication is much more efficient by email or text, to deal with on my time. And be brief.

They consider phone calls impolite and intrusive, and they despise the small talk.

To be truthful, I get that, recalling those busy times when my desk phone interrupted my concentration. Customer service training dictates to answer the phone with a smile because callers can “hear” it. I’d stifle a “bad word” before answering with my professional greeting, which likely had the tone of “WHAT?

These days, however, avoiding the phone is a culture shift as much as it is time management.

Don't answer phone text vs call

In her book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,” MIT professor Sherry Turkle wrote that unlike voice, texting provides feelings of control. And by relying on Facebook, texting, IM’ing, Skype, Twitter and e-mail, we’re losing the ability to talk to another person.

Growing up in more easy-going times with no social media I welcomed phone calls, often anticipating them with excitement. I still relish long, newsy chats with friends and family afar. Yet I admit to putting off calls that I fear will take too much of my time, and scheduling calls with certain friends, which would have seemed weird years ago. In these fast-paced, high-tech times I use my fingers much more frequently than my voice to communicate, and if someone does happen to answer my calls, it’s often to say, “Email me your questions, please.”

 

 

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It’s sentiment, not clutter

Thankfully I’ll likely be dead when my kids face the chore of cleaning out my house.

From AARP to Pinterest, sites with tips on getting rid of possessions in our golden years are plentiful. Although safety and downsizing are excellent reasons to eliminate belongings, so our children won’t have to do it is a huge incentive.

Long before I became a senior citizen I wrote in a humor column that I knew and appreciated the difference between clutter and sentiment. I still maintain that I am not a hoarder. You could walk into my house any time unannounced and find no pathways, off-limits rooms or stacks of reading material on the floor. Nor would you take a picture for a magazine cover. Kind friends call it homey. I concede to being more sentimental about stuff than most people.

When my teenage grandson was visiting last week, he asked how I remember who gave me what. My heart knows, I told him. When I’m gone, others will know from the discreet notes all over the place. Plus names on things, I continued, showing him the undersides of a crucifix and snowman mug he and his sister gave me years ago.

Blog clutter aug 2016 cross and mug

Notes in my china cabinet explain that the stemmed glassware was a wedding gift to my parents 70 years ago and the pig pitcher came from my great-grandmother’s house in South Philly.

Blog clutter aug 2016 wine glasses

This treasured bowl is stored with the card that came with it.

Blog clutter aug 2016 bowl

My father’s card to me on my first Christmas says “I love you, Punkin” in his handwriting. It’s in my living room.

Blog clutter aug 2016 Christmas card from dad

My boyfriend of more than three years jokes (perhaps not) that one reason we don’t marry or live together is because he doesn’t want my Chambersburg stuff in his house. Actually, he uses another “s” word. He is referring to my hometown Cat’s Meow collection in my kitchen that includes the old train station that later served as the newspaper office where I worked and a landmark ice cream stand …

Blog clutter aug 2016 cats meow

… and lots of other mementoes:

Blog clutter Aug 2016 cburg mug

Blog clutter aug 2016 cburg rotary

Blog clutter aug 2016 cburg fountain

I have earnestly tried to declutter. When I retired four years ago I used my new free time to do a serious purge. Or so I thought until my daughter-in-law shared “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui,” a book by Karen Kingston, when I was visiting them in California. It made me want to rush home and toss more. Using the recommended trash, repairs, recycle and transit boxes I made decent progress … until I got to sentimental items. Kingston preaches to “keep the best and fling the rest” and don’t get hung up because things were gifts or you might need them someday. Let them go, with love, she says. Ouch!

Even more ruthless, in my opinion, is the much-hyped book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. She advises sorting everything you own into categories, then holding each item to your chest and asking yourself if it sparks joy. If not, dispose.

I embraced Kondo’s system of rolling clothes and using shoeboxes in drawers for visibility and neatness—very cool storage tricks.

Blog clutter aug 2016 drawers

But I balked at throwing away treasure boxes like these:

Blog clutter aug 2016 letters

There’s more. Like the box of all of my newspaper clippings. And the cedar chest packed with scrapbooks, high school memorabilia and other keepsakes. Though seldom, I do look at these things, cherishing most of the memories. I’m not ready to part with them yet. Maybe by the time my children have to go through my possessions there will be fewer of them.

Those who knew her agree that I have become my mother in many ways, particularly her sentiment. Now that she is gone I also hold onto some of her keepsakes, most in a plastic bin but others on display with mine. These plastic Glick’s Shoes promotions from the 1950s—joy sparkers, for sure—sat on Mom’s dressing table. (My note is showing in the blue one!)

Blog clutter aug 2016 Glick shoes

Like my mother, I have shelves of photo albums. Several months after she died my brothers and I gathered around a large table and looked at every page of every single one of them together. We had fun reminiscing. Some of us took whole books but for the most part we each pulled out individual pictures we wanted and slid what was left of the desecrated albums into a large trash can at one end of the table.

If I could do that, I fear my kids will have no remorse trashing my photos without even opening the albums. Please look. Read my notes, too.

 

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All 1950s kids should have been fat

Grocery shopping for my 15-year-old grandson’s annual summer visit, I tossed taboo (in my house) foods such as Dinosaur Eggs, Cosmic Brownies and Cheez-Its into my cart. OK, I know this is an opportunity to set a good example and encourage healthy eating. Just let me relish being a grandmother a little.

Flashback 10 or so years: Sitting in his pajamas at his kitchen table, he asked, “May I have cupcakes for breakfast?” “Of course you can, Granni’s here,” his mom replied, with a nod to me.

Not that I could get away with that with all my grandchildren all the time—especially the one in health-conscious California who never tasted baby food from a jar—but I plan to indulge this teen on this visit.

Seeing Hoda and Kathie Lee eating bologna sandwiches on white bread (yes, they did) on their show this week reminded me how greatly what we eat has changed since my youth. Better nutrition information, advances in food preservation and culinary creativity have altered menus significantly—for good and bad. Boxes of processed foods with potentially harmful preservatives line the interior aisles of most grocery stores. We know better than to buy them, but often for convenience, we do.

Fatty foods and sugar, in soft drinks and almost everything else that tastes good, are culprits in today’s childhood obesity crisis. Yet when I recall what we ate, all kids in the ‘50s and ‘60s should have been fat. We were not. Then again, we ran around all day—safe and unsupervised, too—unlike kids today.

FOOD kids I can still envision the compact kitchen of my childhood home before dad broke through the wall to the dining room and enlarged it. Our refrigerator had a small freezer with a couple of metal ice cube trays with removable levers. Almost always, on a lower right shelf, were Hostess Sno Balls and cupcakes, usually chocolate with the squiggly white icing.

FOOD Hostess-Cupcake-Whole

Potato chips and pretzels were in big Charles Chips cans in a cupboard. An aluminum grease container with a strainer on the stove held solid fat to be reused for many meals. This picture looks just like ours, which one of my brothers has as a memento in his kitchen.

FOOD grease container. jpg

Ugh! Yum?

Although I seldom eat fried or fatty food today, that was my childhood norm and I recall it being pretty tasty. Like gravy bread. Most main meals included gravy made from meat drippings that we slopped over most everything on our plates, and often on plain white bread—soppy stuff that we cut up and ate with a fork. Mom used a pressure cooker to cook meat, usually breading and browning it first. It wouldn’t be dinner without a starch, usually potatoes or baked macaroni—mac ‘n cheese in current lingo.

Meatless Fridays were our favorite: French fries from the neighborhood drive-in and pizza from an Italian woman down the street who sold it from her back door. At restaurants, my usual was a hamburger, fries and chocolate milkshake.

Lunch was frequently canned soup and Lebanon bologna sandwiches, with mustard and smashed potato chips on mine. Between meals we drank lots of Kool-Aid, sucked the sweet syrup from tiny wax bottles and ate candy cigarettes, Tootsie Rolls, licorice sticks and whatever else we could afford at the penny counter of the corner store.

As I became a teen and more aware of nutrition and appearance, I switched to no-calorie Tab with my pizza, which amused my godfather/uncle. In sync with the times, I didn’t do much better as a young adult. Raising children in the 1970s coincided with the explosion of fast food. We made frequent trips to Hardee’s and McDonald’s and held birthday parties at Burger King. My pantry contained Froot Loops, Twinkies, Pop Tarts, SpaghettiOs, and still, white bread. We entertained friends around a fondue pot filled with hot oil or melted cheese.

My sons and I know better now and make genuine efforts to choose healthy food. (Well, more often than not.) Salad with chicken is my go-to meal. Even my boyfriend, accustomed to eating out most of the time before we met, appreciates my healthy recipes. Except the chia seed pudding. And the cucumber quinoa salad. “Hey Midas, you want my quinzy?” he called to his dog, purposely mispronouncing quinoa.

My teenaged grandson, who would eat only chicken nuggets and French fries for years, has developed a more mature palate, too. We’ll balance the junk food with good nutrition. But first, a trip to his favorite restaurant, a fish camp that offers such appetizers as fried kangaroo, ostrich, antelope and gator, and, his selection last summer, bison mountain oysters. Welcome to Florida!

 

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Catch a Pokemon or lose your coolness

Leave it to elusive insects to jolt me from my blog lapse and expose my technology lag.

“I got my first Pokemon!” a friend’s boast popped on Facebook as I watched a news report about the personal safety of playing the wildly popular game. Two guys, who miraculously survived, fell off a seaside cliff in California in search of Pokemon.

How come I don’t know about Pokemon Go, I pondered several times this week as the phenomenon became impossible to ignore. Seems everyone is talking (and writing) about the game and law enforcement is cautioning people not to walk into traffic or rivers while hunting the creatures. Until my internet search today, my knowledge of Pokemon was limited to packs of trading cards I bought my grandson at Walmart. Had something to do with a video game he liked.

I was shocked to learn that the mobile game released worldwide only nine days ago already has been downloaded 7.5 million times. Available for Android and iPhone, the challenge is to catch all 151 Pokemon by launching red and white Poke Balls at them. Vibrating smartphones alert players when they come near these adorable-to-freaky characters. At least this electronic game is getting folks off their sofas. But how Pokemon get everywhere baffles me. Virtual is the key word, I get that. Yet trying to comprehend location-based augmented reality—which puts Pokemon in a town square, shopping center or wherever you are in the real world—makes my head hurt.

Although the franchise has more than 700 Pokemon, the 151 that can be caught through the mobile app range from Abra

Pokemon Abra

to Zubat

Pokemon Zubat

and include the familiar Pikachu, a cute rodent with yellow fur. Even I remember this guy.

pokemon Pikachu 2

Alexa, slow down.

Just this week a group of seniors was discussing how fast technology is changing and speculating when we no longer will be able to, or care to, keep up. While the web, Facebook, text and email are my lifelines, I have no desire to catch Pokemon. Recently a friend showed me how to use some features on my own television, which I already forgot. Yep, pathetic. Maybe I’m there.

Further proof of how clueless I am was my astonishment last week when a friend commanded, “Alexa, play a Rod Stewart song,” and “You’re in My Heart” blared from what looked like a saltbox painted black on her kitchen counter. “Lower the volume,” she asked, and the saltbox did.

Except for my boyfriend, who got one yesterday, I was the only person there unfamiliar with the Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker that responds to voice requests to play music, make to-do lists, set alarms, stream podcasts, play audiobooks and provide weather, traffic and other real time information. It even tells jokes on demand.

“Does Alexa know your mother’s maiden name and where we are right now?” I asked him last night, somewhat spooked by its abilities.

A little more than a year since it has been widely available, more than three million Echos are estimated to have been sold in the U.S. Perhaps I do live under a rock.

The Long Now Foundation, established in 1996 to foster long-term thinking, proclaimed 16 years ago, in a story first published in Time, that perhaps civilization needed a not-so-fast button. That was like the Stone Age, considering how technology has advanced since the millennium. “In the aging population of the developed world, many people are already tired of trying to keep up with the latest cool new tech,” it stated. The article also pointed out that technology such as automobiles, televisions and jet planes settled into a manageable rate of change, whereas computers are self-accelerating, constantly developing the next generation.

The foundation doesn’t speak for all seniors, though. Judging just from my family and friends, most are proficient in enough technology to stay reasonably informed and engaged. Others couldn’t be without their Fitbits and iPads and could rival any teenager with their tech savvy. And some—one, for sure—have never owned a cell phone or used email. Bet he would dig the heck out of Alexa.

Pokemon technology

 

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What’s your party? Maybe we can be friends.

Several years ago I read somewhere that politics had overtaken religion and race as causes of divisiveness in our personal lives.

The divide is blatant through the polarization of Congress and the caustic campaigning. Lately, it requires finesse to keep the friction away from happy hour, off the dance floor and even out of the bedroom.

politics1

“Obama’s in Africa, for God’s sake,” snapped a friend seated in the middle of our trio at a restaurant bar over the holidays.

“He just finished a press conference at the White House so he isn’t, but what if he is,” I replied, unintentionally riling her more.

Talking over her angry comeback in the noisy lounge, I pleaded with our friend on the other side of her, “I love her too much. Let’s change the subject.”

“You love HER?” fumed the one in the middle, mishearing and referring to Hillary.

“I love YOU! Merry Christmas!” I replied with a hug.

Not long before that, a disc jockey and longtime friend teasingly—not really—countered with, “Heck no, you’re a damn liberal,” when I requested a song. Same DJ who professes to love me to death despite questioning my logic each time I see him. Come to think of it, I don’t believe he did play that tune.

I’m old enough to remember when presidential campaigns preceded elections in reasonable lengths of time. Then the nation, for the most part, would support the newly elected president throughout his (so far) term and Congress would focus on legislating until the next election. These days, campaigning starts over with the new term, and speculation before that. Party lines block progress and nobody wins.

A very early memory puts me on our living room sofa with my mother watching a political convention on TV, black and white, I’m sure. “The loser should be vice president,” I said. “I’ve thought that, too,” she told me.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts from my parents, a bust of then-President John F. Kennedy, came when I was in high school. Much later and sadder, mom gave me a special edition John John doll. Both still create a shrine in my home. They remind me of more tolerant times.

politics JJ

 So, what’s going on?

It’s true. “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines, and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive, than at any point in the last two decades,” according to the 2014 Pew Research Center report Political Polarization in the American Public. The survey of 10,000 adults nationwide found that although most Americans do not have uniformly conservative or liberal views, partisan animosity has increased substantially in those who do. Liberals and conservatives disagree over where they want to live, the kind of people they want to live around and even whom they would welcome into their families. Thirty percent of consistent conservatives say they would be unhappy if an immediate family member married a Democrat and twenty-three percent of across-the-board liberals say the same about the prospect of a Republican in-law. In contrast, 11% of Americans say they would be unhappy at the prospect of a family member marrying someone of a different race.

Validating that, a friend stated “too conservative” as a reason for moving from Northeast Florida.

This friend has not yet met my boyfriend of three years because I—a peacemaker with an aversion to controversy—fear the potential political ugliness.

“You mean like in an airplane, with a parachute?” my friend joked when I told him a meeting between the two of them would necessitate an escape plan.

“Something like that, yes.”

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Yep, we’re in a Mary Matalin/James Carville relationship. Minus the discussions. My request. Except when he gleefully tries to, quote, “stir the pot” with full animation. However, neither of us is willing to let politics mess up a good thing.

Of the 55 items on my “the man I have been waiting for” list I compiled when I retired in 2012, political compatibility is the only one he missed. Sure enough, politics came up within five minutes in our first conversation. “Uh, do you want to give my business card back?” I asked. “Oh, no!” he groaned. Out of respect, affection and admiration for each other, we make it work.

On purpose, my blogs are not controversial. Neither is this one. Please.

To be honest, I attempt to be open to others’ political viewpoints, value our political party system and don’t always vote for my party’s candidates.

In his last State of the Union address, President Obama conceded that he regrets not having been able to bridge the political divide. I’m sorry, too.

To quote the Beach Boys, “wouldn’t it be nice:”

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