Posted tagged ‘Glad Game’

“How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.

February 21, 2015

Pollyanna and her glad game have no place around here. She’d be struck mute. 28˚ doesn’t merit hats, horns or balloons. I’m still astonished today’s paper called this a warming trend. It also warned the cold would be back next week. Our definition of cold seems to have been forever altered after the last two weeks.

I am not one to run to warm places in the winter. In January one year I went to Morocco. Despite it being their winter, it was comparatively warm to winter here. The Moroccans wore winter coats and wool caps. I wore a sweatshirt.

Springs makes me forget winter. I exalt in the green shoots which appear first in my garden. I watch their progress. The buds sheathed in green are next and then color starts to appear through the green. I want to yell and cheer. Finally the first flowers bloom, always the croci (I did have four years of Latin) and the hyacinths. Purple, white and yellow flowers dot the side and front gardens. I always stop and admire the flowers for the colorful miracles they are.

At Christmas I take a ride to see the lights. I hunger for color. I stop for a bit at the brightest houses. I even sit in the car to look at my house strung with both white and colored lights shining through the darkness. Even now I have lights on part of my deck rail and on a couple of bottle trees in the backyard. The prayer flags and the Mexican banners hung between trees in my yard are victims of the wind and snow. I miss them.

I go on flower rides in the early spring. The yards along 6A are filled with croci, hyacinth and tulips. I love the colors, but even more I love that winter has finally been displaced.

“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”

December 6, 2013

The phone woke me up close to eleven. I just let it ring. It was a telemarketer who left no message, an assumption on my part but I think I’m right. I heard it all, including the click of the receiver, as I didn’t even bother to move to answer the phone. (I’m going to complain a bit here so skip down to line 9 if you want to miss the groaning.) My back is horrific every morning. I wake up, crawl my way to the edge of the bed and wait until the stiffness goes away. Mornings bring the worst of the pain. I wait, patient and still, until I can move without the neighbors hearing me scream. Gracie looks up, sees me sitting, decides all is well and lies right back down on the bed. Fern meows, turns on her back and expects scratches and pats: so much for their sympathy. Meanwhile, I am Igor working my way to the bathroom. As I move around, my back starts to feel better but the pain stays all day, just a bit abated. Monday I’ll give the doctor a call though I’m not sure which one-I guess the surgeon. I call them my stable of doctors.

(Line 9 for those skippers among you) Today is another rainy, dreary day, but I don’t mind a day like today in winter. Summer, though, is far different. I always think I’ve been cheated if a summer day isn’t perfect, but my standards are much lower for winter when a day can be anything. If I assumed for a moment the guise of Pollyanna and played her Glad Game, I’d say, “I’m glad it’s raining. At least it’s not snowing.” That almost makes me gag. I think I’m long past my Pollyanna days.

When I was sixteen, my family dragged me to Maine for a few days. We were at a friend’s cottage. One of the neighbors came in to say hello. She was from South Africa. I was intrigued and a bit jealous and told her Africa was one of the places I’d most like to visit. She asked if I was talking about colored Africa. Seriously, I missed entirely what she meant. It wasn’t naivety. It was just I hadn’t ever heard that term before. Into my head popped green tropical forests, cloths of patterns and colors and fruit: yellow, red, green fruit. I told her yes. She explained that my life would be in danger, and I would be a target, a white target. I started to argue because I then understood what she meant by colored Africa. My mother put a stop to my rantings and shooed me outside.

When I was in Ghana, we were told we could anywhere except South Africa. No one needed to explain why. South Africa was apartheid, and Peace Corps espouses the opposite. In all its literature, Peace Corps calls the commitment a cross-cultural experience, but it is so much more. For most of us, Ghana became home. We absorbed all we could and became part of the whole landscape of Ghana: its customs and its people, the wonderful colored people of Ghana.

Nelson Mandela guided South Africa from apartheid to multi-racial democracy. He served 27 years in prison and turned this imprisonment into a tool to create political change and national liberty. In 1993, Mandela and President de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work toward dismantling apartheid.

Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the country’s first black president on May 10, 1994, at the age of 77, with de Klerk as his first deputy.

On December 5, 2013, at the age of 95, Nelson Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. President Zuma released a statement later that day, in which he spoke to Mandela’s legacy: “Wherever we are in the country, wherever we are in the world, let us reaffirm his vision of a society … in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.”