Motivation

There hasn’t been much in my life these past months.

The most likely reason is that I blew my wad fussing about getting The Former Guy out of office. I probably didn’t do all that much accept make sure my vote got in on time.

There are still so many voices running through my world trying to tell us that Biden didn’t win fair and square. I hang my “yes he did” hat on one tiny story. One tiny vote.

My friend said something like this…. I voted for Biden because my grandchildren made me.

How many other grandparent were berated by a younger family member to stop listening to Fox and Brietbart and all the rest and spend a few minutes a day reading the words of long-standing Republicans like George Will?

Or maybe it was as simple as “Grandma, if you vote for that pig, I’m never talking to you again.”

Of course, never would probably be until Christmas, but Granny would feel the icy wind for many months to come and Granny’s don’t like that.

Regardless, the wave of relief that came the week after Election Day was crumbled on January 6th.

I think I understand somebody wanting Donald Trump as president… don’t agree with them, but I get the whole “I got mine, go get your own” attitude that pervades that collective.

But how any American citizen could support, condone, excuse, explain, forgive the actions of that mob on January 6, 2021 is beyond my comprehension or empathy. Especially the elected officials who continued to mouth the stolen election.

In order to keep my sanity, there is much of that day that I have to compartmentalize. Otherwise, the rage would consume me.

These days I try to remain amused by the pundits badgering the Biden administration about not doing enough fast enough. The guy was elected during an insurrection and walked into an office with no corners filled with the trash left by the other guy. The guy who said masks are dumb. The guy who said this thing that has now cause a half a million death is just the flu.

It’s like being the housekeeper coming into a frat house after a pledge event and 20 minutes later somebody saying, “You haven’t cleaned this up yet? What the hell have you been doing?”

Scribbling always reveals the hidden gem… the thing that got me scribbling, hidden behind that opaque wall in my head.

While scrolling through Twitter (a terrible habit, not unlike rubber-necking on the highway) there came an image of a golden/glass tower; almost an obelisk as the rendering of the Trump Presidential Library — the epitome of an oxymoron. His “library” could be stored 32G thumb drive.

The creepy part was the 750 comments added to the Brietbart story from the idol worshippers wanting to know where to send their donations and begging to know the opening date and crowing about how wonderful it would be if it were to open before the Obama library.

No matter how calm Biden and his press secretary make me feel on any given day, I know that cancer is still out there. There is a tumor yet to be excised. It’s a big one. It will take careful surgery and a lot of post-op rehab to find the United States of America that the Founders tried so very hard to map out for us.

Sure, the Founders were a bunch of land owning men of privilege, many of them slave owners. And when they said “All men are created equal” they didn’t mean everybody, but that’s okay. Great men and women who came after read the words and knew full well that if these same men had come together 100 years later than they did, they would have meant “All”.

Because the human race changed in those 100 years. Slaves were freed in those 100 years. Women’s voices rose in those 100 years. And all those voices rise still.

There will never be a time in America when we will have economic equality. It is not in the nature of man. But it is in the nature of God that men will eventually see that no man need be hungry or cold.

The time of O’Rourke will rise above the “Cruz” because anybody can see that one is a better human being, and better Christian, if you will.

The Republican Party can not be the party of family values and honestly stand with the likes of Cruz. Were it told as a fairy tale, all would know played the villain.

And so… I have wandered into this corner. Not unusual.

I will return on another day. With luck it will only mention Trump because he will be a felon.

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Mr. Smith

Hollywood has ruined us.

Take a moment to think of all the politicians portrayed in movies; Mr. Smith, Bartlett, Henry Fonda in Failsafe, Dave.

Good men doing the right thing. We all know what the right thing is.

There is a difference between wanting states to have more control over the lives of her citizens than thinking the federal government is the most efficient way to solve the problems of all citizens…. perhaps over simplifies, but I think it’s the core of Republican vs. Democrat.

We can arm wrestle that all day long.

But the right thing… that’s telling us the truth. The right thing is accepting all the weight of the oath of office even if it means some segment of your electorate is going to try to put you out of office.

The right thing is many times the hard thing.

But too many politicians are coming to the microphone, posting on twitter, sending emails that are at best Pablum and worst, not answering the question at all, just repeating some disconnected loop of sounds they have used for the entire tenure in office.

The strongest indicator that Trump needs to be stopped is the fact that so many Republicans are “afraid” to stop him.

The proven way to deal with a bully is to gang up on him and tell him the truth. Then ignore him… just ignore him. Don’t give him another thought. His fire will burn out because his fuel is attention.

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Ramblin’ Rose

I’m trying to imagine time-traveling a dozen Americans from an array of economic backgrounds who were adults in 1946.

I would have them watch today’s Americans complaining about wearing masks, demanding the freedom for open carry weapons, and seeing the content of a 2021 cupboard of those people with the relatively same economic status.

After they got over the shock of advanced communications technology, would they be impressed? Ashamed?

I know that some would be heartened to see the advancement of the people of color and women.

I know some would be appalled by the same thing.

It leaves me wondering… if I could track the descendants of these two groups, would we find a connection to today’s political divide?

How important is it to hear your parents berate a group of people during your developing years in determining your own attitudes?

Is there a requirement that you honor your parents politics… regardless of the side they are/were on?

Do the children raised in the environment of hate for certain groups have a harder time seeing the world in another way?

Are the children raised in tolerance guaranteed to be tolerant?

My parents came through World War II. There is no way for me to fully appreciate what it was like to watch a father, an uncle, a brother, a cousin go off to war. No cell phone. No Facetime. The only connection was the hope that the letter might find him. The biggest hope, to find him alive and well.

Mom and Dad never complained about the struggles they may or may not have had. The only consistent manifestation of their war-time deprivation was the maddening habit of saving every single glass jar, plastic container, and even plastic bag that ever came in the house.

Mom washed bread bags in case one might come in handy. This is what happens when you have lived at a time when there was a whole lot of nothing for over five years.

The great sacrifices of my life were hand-me-downs, convinced I was the only girl in the school denied Mary Janes, a one-piece navy blue boring bathing suit instead of cute two-piece (it was the early 60s little girls in bikinis was frowned upon).

I never had to miss a meal, there was always food in the house even if it wasn’t my first choice. “If you’re hunger, have a piece of bread and butter.”

There was no exotic senior trip. I knew it was beyond the family purse.

But…. it didn’t matter where we were going or what we were doing, as long as there was no pressing appointment, there was always the opportunity for a wacky suggestion to travel a new road to nowhere; as long as Dad was driving.

Not Paris, but Ricketts Glen. Not Rome, but the back roads of Bucks County with a stop at the ice cream joint, because Mom was along for the ride.

Circling back to… let’s call it prejudice. I think my parents were intolerant of ignorance, cruelty, and slow witted people. It had nothing to do with color, religion, origin… they just had little patience for folks they found “stupid”. Okay, Mom more than Dad.

That Mom characteristic is strong in me. I don’t mind a person who does not know a thing, I have no patience for a person who chooses to remain unknowing. I have no tolerance for a person who spews hate for categories of people; nor should anybody.

I really have no patience for anyone who thinks Trump is a good thing for this country.

Crap… I got on that road.

So here I am…. I’m admitting I think that anyone who thinks Trump is a good idea, was raised in a world of intolerance, suspicion, and selfishness. Many Trumpers will object loudly to the claim of selfishness. I have no other name for “I got mine, it’s a free country, go get your own” to fellow citizens who have had no one show them the way.

Nobody taught them to fish. Not their parents, not their school, not their community.

It was not that long ago that I was told that there are children who arrive for their first day of school having never seen a book. Their first lesson is to learn how to hold a book, right side up, and be shown that the pages are turn from right to left.

These children are in the same room with the kids who already know their ABCs, how to count to twenty, and can write their own name…. and are probably sitting in judgement, echoing the attitudes of that self-righteous mom who would rather grumble how that stupid kid is holding mine back rather than weep for the untapped potential of the child who was in fact left behind.

This is happening in the United States of America, the land of opportunity.

I am certain that we are better in many ways than we were in 1946. I am also certain that the ways in which we are better would never have come to be if the Trumper philosophy had been the order of the day for the past 70 years.

The notion that financially sound Democrats are referred to as “the elite” is so false as to make me smile in bemusement.

It is the financially sound Republicans who seek more, want more, need more, and the Trumpiest of all would be giddy if crowned king.

The entire point of the Revolution and the Declaration and the Constitution was to deny American citizens the possibility of royalty. We didn’t want King George and I do not want Queen Ivanka.

Although Rudy in a jester’s cap seems…. right.

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What is truth?

It has finally happened.

I am reading messages on Facebook from fellow no-trump travelers and I don’t know if the messages are true.

This was not the case three, even two years ago.

The January 6th siege has opened the gates and both sides are throwing accusations.

Did the Jim Jordan gang give tours of the Capitol that are any different from a tour given by Chuck Schumer in the days before mayhem? Is it normal to show a citizen the corridors and offices?

I don’t know.

Now I’m faced with messages in bold caps declaring that the evil republicans showed the anarchists the way.

I have not had one single day that I have not started a google search with the phrase “fact check”.

And while I’m here… a few times a year, my primal instinct to haul off and smack someone rises up. This week it was that poor excuse of a legislature who refused to go through the metal detector.

We make children go through metal detectors.

We make senior citizens in wheel chairs take off their shoes and are man-handled by TSA agents.

The people likely to threaten this gun toting jerk are her constituents.

I am angry. I am worried. I am exhausted.

Where is Everett Dirksen when you need him?

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All Things Considered

I listened to enough of the speeches running up to the vote for impeachment to get the idea.

The impeach the guy corner: This guy started talking about fraudulent voting before early voting started. The moment he received word that he lost, he ramped up the noise. He did everything he could think of and sent out his loyal fools into the world to whip “his base” into a frenzy. He said stuff was going to happen on January 6th. He threw a tent party and a rally on White House property and launched the final words to get crackin.

The peace and unity corner: Oh, jeez, we only have a few more days. The whole thing is a waste of time and adds to the discord. Oh, and here is the regularly publicized list of all the good shit he has done for the past four years that has made us so, so great. Every time I hear this list, I am reminded of Lenny on Law & Order smirking when the suspects all tell the story the exact same way, line for line.

Even if I agreed with the list of good shit, which I do not; the impeachment is about what has been going on for the past three months culminating in 6 dead, an incomplete count of the injured, and the destruction not just of the physical Capitol, but the very essence of our democracy represented by this magnificent building.

He is not innocent. Granted the head count of those who truly relished in what happened on January 6th and who actively participated is a small group. But there is no mistake who is their inspiration and their leader.

At this point on the calendar, impeachment is not about getting him out of office.

This impeachment is guaranteeing his can never hold this office again.

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Confusing

There are people… a number of people who think that crashing through the doors of the United States Capitol is justified.

Even more confusing… all of them; every last one is a Caucasian or darned close. I spent a lot of time rummaging through posted videos. I couldn’t find a hungry, homeless person in the crowd.

They had enough discretionary income to buy all sorts of Trump paraphernalia, flags, hats, scarfs, more flags, zip ties, mace, colorful costumes… you get my drift.

There was a guy today talking about why so many people are angry. He cited the loss of manufacturing jobs in America. No question, they are gone. I live in NC and drive by the empty textile and furniture factories all the time.

Do these people not know that all of that Trump crap is made in foreign countries? Do they not see that Ivanka is making deals with these foreign countries? Do they not understand that the moment they started buying cheap imports from Walmart they were destroying their own livelihood?

The cry that really cracks me up is how taking away Twitter has destroyed “my president’s” ability to communicate.

He has a press room with a podium and cameras ready to broadcast every stupid thing he has to say. Trust me, even NPR and PBS will show up to hear whatever noise he wants to make.

But, you see, the problem is…. then he has to stand there and see the faces full of “what the heck is this goof talking about.”

Worse, he would have to take questions. Oh, no! Someone is going to dare challenge the Trump Facts As We Know Them?

Horrors.

Pence can’t invoke the 25th Amendment because then the Republicans will be mad at him.

The Senate won’t vote impeachment because some of them have to run for reelection and they have no faith that the voters will agree that this is the best recourse. Tail wagging the dog, people.

Sadly, I’m going to have to use a group of women as the analogy. Maybe men do this to, but my experience is limited to women…. it goes like this.

Four women are sitting around thinking of something interesting to do. One chimes in, “let’s have lunch at Le Crepe” “Oh, I don’t like le Crepe, how about le Burgerking” “Either is fine with me” “What do you think, Judy.” “Both are good, what do you think, Mary” “I guess le Crepe would be okay” “Oh, no! If it’s not your favorite, we don’t have to go there” [new opinion pops in] “The last time I went to le Burgerking, it wasn’t that great. Have you been to le Lunch?” “No! Where is it?” “In Jonesville, about 20 minutes from here.” “Do we have to go that far?”

They are talking about going to lunch! I’m not kidding, the names have been changed but I have been party to a conversation like this dozens of times.

If four intelligent women can’t manage to choose a lunch destination in less than 30 seconds, there is no hope that 100 Senators are ever going to settle on the fate of a sitting president.

What is wrong with us? Take a position, stand your ground, count the results, and move forward.

And in case you’re wondering… there is no excuse. None, to justify storming the Capitol.

I can think of one good reason to drag the president out of the White House. Okay, more than one. But the most recent one is a doozy.

Scary days ahead.

I would like those given the job to lead to get on with it.

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What Next?

It’s called a “news cycle”, but the age of trump makes it TMI and yet so much it is headline news that can’t make it to the top.

Did you know there was guy with zip ties?

Alex Jones one of the leaders? He claims trump asked him to. I’m going to believe this one.

There was the guy, who after his arrest, posted (paraphrase) I was caught up in the moment. That’s not who I am. I’m sorry.

That works for a nine-year-old… I didn’t know lighting the pile of leaves with a magnifying glass would burn the house down.

This! this is what the likes of OAN, Fox, Qanon and rest have created. This is about revenue. This is about ego. This is about fame.

Even Mitch McConnell — he’s that cartoon of the kid at the back of the fray rubbing his hands cheerfully, muttering, “This is so cool. I’d never be like that guy, but he’s getting me all that stuff those rubes in Kentucky want.”

And then the shit hit the fan and those rubes were coming for his people because they had blood in their eyes and wouldn’t know one elected official from the next.

Now Mitch sees and it’s too fucking late. He/they saw it in 2015 and had the ridiculous idea that they could harness trump to do their bidding. That’s what lousy research and myopia will get you.

I’m not sleeping well. I blocked all the trumpers on my FB page in hopes that it would keep my away from the toxic noise… now I’m anxious because I don’t know what they are thinking.

I long for the days when I wrote about golf and other trivia. Yes, trivia, please. That would be lovely.

Were it not for Randy Rainbow and Sarah Cooper and John Cleese, I probably would lead the march to that tent outside the White House where “the family” gathered to watch ten simultaneous video streams of the crowds while dancing to “Gloria” and mugging for don jr’s cellphone before his speech where dear leader told the mob to go to the Capital. Well this cracks me up…. trump didn’t have permission to use “Gloria”, so Laura Branigan threw fit… the posted video no longer has sound.

The world is a run on sentence.

So… resign, 25th amendment, impeach again… or is it; oh never mind, he’ll be gone soon.

Remember all those people who thought they could harness The Donald.

Nope. He has no conscience, he has no shame, he has taught his children (children no more) that he is the one true way for America.

The First Amendment has never been, say whatever you want. “Irregardless” of what the trumpers spew.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

The United States of America has gotten through the business of receiving and accepting the results of the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

There was never a question that it would be otherwise, but in the process the United States of America has witnessed an attack on the Capital.

A mob of people from all walks of life with the common idea that the election had been stolen from Donald Trump decided to storm the Capital, terrorize elected officials, and vandalize a symbol of the country they supposedly love.

How is that different from beating the crap out of your mother?

The Monday Morning Quarterbacks are everywhere. Such is the problem with the USA today. Everybody has an opinion and everybody has a forum in which to spew their particular point of view as if it is factual.

I do not know if Donald Trump believes the things he says or if he just delights in stepping to microphone to say the next thing that comes into his head.

I do know that he is (much to my dismay) the duly elected President of the United States of America and that job has a jackpot full of power and implied respect connected to the office.

He is the first in my life time and the first as far as my education has gone to treat the Office of the President as his personal playground.

If this little chunk of text survives into the next century, I am certain you will easily find volumes of information to catalogue the shenanigans that have gone on in the past five years.

There are thousand who loved him… check that… who worshipped him. There are thousands who hated him or feared him (in my mind, a better option). And worst of all, there were thousands who paid no attention… this is where Democracy gets into trouble.

The sun is setting on a day filled with opinions, calls for resignation, calls for impeachment, calls for invoking the 25th amendment, calls for just letting us get to January 20 without anymore talk about it.

I listened to hours of coverage. I read even more. For all of it, this is the piece that touched me the most. A commentator on NPR ran an audio clip from a caller that had come into CSpan the night before.

A woman from (I think) Texas left a message that went something like this. It was easy to tell she was very upset, even crying. “Can you tell me if my President has been lying to me the whole time?”

From where I sit, the answer is so obvious that it would never occur to me to ask. Yes, Virginia, Donald Trump is a liar. He has always been a liar. He will always be a liar.

Back during the Nixon Watergate period, I was working for a man who believe with all of his heart that Nixon was being treated unfairly, that he was a honest man who loved his country and would never do anything like the Washington Post accused him of.

The man was my boss. I never argued the point.

The tapes came out. Nixon resigned. My boss wept.

History does repeat itself. I have lived long enough to see it.

I don’t care to see it again.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

I was watching the Senate proceeding when there came a hammer of the gavel and a call to order. Repeated.

Then silent exchanges and Vice President Pence left the podium and CSpan switched the coverage to the House chamber.

More introductions, more speeches pro and con for challenging the Electoral College filing.

I get the feeling something is amiss, but I can’t figure out what it could be. I become disenchanted with the mind-numbing words that will have no impact on the acceptance of the Electoral College, so I decide to get the grocery shopping done. The last thing I see is another hammering of the gavel and call to order.

When I return to my car from shopping, I tune into the Sirius XM NPR station, like I always do and hear the impossible reporting that people have stormed the Capital building. Broken windows, gun shots fired. Elected officials and staff are hiding in offices.

This is beyond my imagination and yet I am listening to NPR, not Orsen Welles’ War of the Worlds.

It’s a short drive home. By the time I am in the driveway my heart is racing. I don’t pull in the garage because I will lose the satellite signal. I wait another five minutes.

I share my life with a man who voted for Trump… twice. There are things we do not discuss. There are things I do not say to him. But this is beyond politics. This is… anyone who loves this country… I think you know what I’m feeling.

I come in the door and say, “Have you heard what is going on?”

He says, “It’s all nonsense.” I leave the house without comment to get the rest of the groceries and to put some space between his response and my instinct to blow up in his face.

I think he knows I am whatever comes after “upset”.

I retreat to my iPad to watch the madness. I don’t know where he has gone or what he is watching and I dare not ask.

I am not about to blow a 45 year marriage on an idiot called 45.

After he goes to bed, I return to the television coverage. Late in the evening, the police have run the rats back into the streets.

Because I refuse to be the person who only listens to the stuff I want to hear, I check in with Fox News to hear Tucker Carlson wax on about how sad the family of the woman shot in the Capital must be. How she “looks like us”, how she was just trying to express her opinions. I switched back to NPR over concern for my blood pressure.

A handful of Republicans, having seen the nightmare, having been terrified by the onslaught, backed away from the theater of protesting the Electoral College vote.

Ah, but then there were the six and especially the two who stepped to the microphone with the self-righteous tone saved for the camera and declared that it was their civic duty to speak out for the thousands who believed in their heart of hearts that the election had been stolen.

Here is the greatest steaming pile of horseshit in this position. These knuckleheads are calling out the results of states that they do not live in nor do they represent.

It is The United States of America. A fundamental Constitutional construct is each state is an independent entity with each having a Constitution, governing body, etal. Some random guy from Virginia has no standing with the State of Arizona or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Mind your own business.

I stayed with the coverage until the Senate got through the vote on whether or not to proceed with the objection. 93 to 6 in favor of telling the grumpies, NO.

I went to bed. After a while, I slept.

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Mom

It has been twenty years since my mother, my teenage nemesis, my coming of age good friend, my goodness she shows up in my everyday.

I have her hands. Every time I wash my hands, which is a lot these days, I am reminded of the moments when I helped her wash her own hands after her stroke. I don’t recall the terrible things her stroke did as much, just the vision of her hands and how much they are like my own 70 years old hands.

Mary Cooper Glahn came from stuff stock. Her parents raised seven children in a Pennsylvania coal town. She and Dad raised their own six starting in 1943 with not much in the bank and more than enough can-do attitude.

If you look closely, you will see that ash tray filled with Kools. Two things would make Mom put down her cigarettes. Pregnancy… for as long as it took to manufacture. And a stroke that meant she couldn’t get to the store to buy a pack and none of her pain in the ass kids would get them for her.

So, as I remember this handsome woman who lived from 1928 to 2000, here are the accomplishments or traits or characteristics I know about. There are probably more.

Formal education of high school and nursing school.

Voracious reader. Three books going all the time. One at the table where you see her sitting now; one by her favorite chair in the living room; one on the nightstand. She read to all of us even after we all knew how to read on our own.

Could and did knit every pattern you can image from a plain scarf to an Irish knit. She made them for everybody. Mittens with tufts of wool knitted in for all the grandkids.

Made most of our school clothes. My elementary school jumpers were made to fit for at least two years with deep hems that could drop as I grew.

Quilts for all of our beds. Some simple knotted comforters. Others elaborate patchworks, others embroidered or appliqued. All lovely, not a machine stitch anywhere.

Pies… my, my, pies. What I wouldn’t give to have Mom’s cherry pie suddenly materialize on my kitchen counter right now.

Letters. Wonderful letters written when we lived too far away to drop by. I wish people still wrote letters. They are far more considered and tangible than an email or text or even a phone calls. I can return to the box of her letters over and over. I hear her voice in those letters. I clearly remember the moments that were expressed all those years ago. Her handwriting was a challenge. My sister gave me the secret to translation. Hold the letter at arm’s length and read it aloud. It works; I don’t know, it’s a mystery.

Wit. Her quick, biting wit. Entrance into the inner circle of Mom’s world demanded first comprehension and then appreciation for her sarcasm, her nuanced humor. Some of her children never got in the door. Many of our friends left the house confused. It turns out I was paying attention. It doesn’t always serve me well.

Mom went back to nursing full time in 1956. Money was tight and I suspect she enjoyed the hours in the operating room more than packing lunches for six kids and running the vacuum. She still did the wash and the vacuuming, but trust me, we all helped.

Through all the skinned knees, broken bones, measles, mumps, whooping cough, chicken pox, appendicitis, gashes, burns, temper tantrums, I can not recall a single time that she got flustered. She looked at the problem calmly and executed the solution. No fuss, no spinning wheels. Just a firm, calm voice and an action plan.

One event broke her. Changed her. Even softened her. My brother’s first wife died shortly after the birth of their third child. Beverly had a mole go crazy during her pregnancy. It was in the early 70s before medicine knew what it knows now. Mom was at her side until the end.

After that, Mom was more likely to hug a lot tighter. She said “I love you” for the first time I can recall. Maybe she said it before, but it was probably when we weren’t listening.

Mom was quietly generous. Even though she had a house full of kids, a darling husband skilled at disappearing on errands most Saturdays, she still gave her time and talent to the Meetinghouse as Bucks Quarter Clerk (I have seen her awful handwriting in the Swarthmore archives). She made aprons for the hospital fair, quilts and pies for the Meeting fair. And probably a lot more that I never knew about.

My favorite flash memories: Hearing her say “shit!” for the first time. Discovering booze in the back of the lazy susan cabinet (not on the spinning part but tucked way in the back). Anytime I saw her smirk. The year she bought her bowling ball.. another story. Watching her try to stuff another daffodil bulb into the rocky earth at Stoddartsville. Every time she glared down the dining room table at Dad and then melted into that look of pure love and exasperation.

January 4th was the day she entered the world. She left when she had to, but it was too soon.

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