Category Archives: Indians

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

Standard

An article by Cecelia LaPointe, who refers to “Two-Spirit”

which addresses and rekindles awareness of Native Gender

identity, was in the Ohio “Outlook” magazine. This was my

resource which I used finding great Christmas music lists

and an article about Bette Midler in December.

 

In November, Cecelia came to OSU campus to host a poetry

workshop and speak on racial identity and the “Two-Spirit”

existence. Ms. LaPointe has also visited Columbus during

both Native American Heritage Month and Trans-gender

Awareness Week. (Two opportunities I missed last year to

feature in my monthly calendar.)

 

Indigenous communities of Native Americans use the “Two-

Spirit” label to denote gender variations within their people.

In the world, they consider Europe and American cultures

“binary” genders. “Two-Spirits” become a third or even fourth

gender among native societies.

 

“Two-Spirits” are denoted or designated from birth, through

a ritual. This belief of a person embodying masculine and

feminine spirits, two ‘identities inhabiting a single body’ is

not considered ‘weird,’ ‘strange’ or ‘inappropriate.’ Instead

the Native Americans ’embrace’ the different way of life.

 

Two things mentioned in this essay about Cecelia and her

tribe’s belief in what sets these particular people known as

“Two-Spirits” apart:

1.) They dress and change their choice of who they are from

day to day. They are not all ‘one way’ in their feminine or

masculine clothing.

2.) They may choose to carry out tasks or labor, not dependent

on their outward appearance. Gender roles are not delineated

or dictated in the “Two-Spirit” existence.

For example: A person could go out on a hunt or go to war, but

at other times may dress in women’s clothing and carry out

domestic chores. Women could become  ‘warriors’ or chiefs

over their native tribes.

 

Interestingly, according to Ms. LaPointe,  “Two-Spirits” were

not only tolerated, but they were ‘revered.’  For instance, they

were well respected and considered, ‘powerful.’ They often were

given special roles such as healers, mediators and counselors.

 

There are instances where bigotry of “Two-Spirits” has been

carried out. When historians bring up the arguments of their

contributions and respected positions it is to counterbalance

those who say Native Americans are “transphobic.”

 

Sometimes, Natives would bring up “tradition” as a reason to

exclude people who chose to carry out their ‘birthright’ as

“Two-Spirit” people.  They would be acting close-minded to

the long history of the revered members of their tribes.

Ancestors of Native Americans were not against “Two-Spirit”

people, elders were often of this delineation.

 

Ms. LaPointe brings up Spanish missionaries as those who

planted the ‘bad seeds’ which germinated prejudice against

“Two-Spirited” people. “They (Two-Spirit) were essentially

the first victim in the campaign of colonial violence against

the native population of the Americas.”

 

Ms. LaPointe considers herself of  ‘mixed descent’ and feels

she is part of “both cultures, both worlds.” She grew up in a

Detroit suburb and lives in the northern town of Manistee.

She travels to her reservation in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula)

regularly. She is a descendant of the Anishinaabekwe Tribe,

native of the Great Lakes region.

 

Cecelia LaPointe says her reservation is very small yet it is her

“home.” This is where she goes to be with family members. Some

of her own family members hold leadership positions within her

tribe. It is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Being

located far from the city means it is a positive place for her to

retreat. It is also good since. . .

‘There is less influence from the dominant culture there.’

 

Ms. LaPointe reaches out to others, through her writing

and public speaking. By going to college campuses, she

can share her poetry and also, her viewpoint where the

students may be encouraged to be ‘themselves.’ She hopes

to reverse the history of discrimination against both the

Native Americans and also, those who are filled with what

they call, “Two-Spirit.”

 

There was a wonderful piece of artwork that accompanied

this article in “Outlook,” November issue. It has the artist,

George Catlin’s (1796-1872) painting called, “Dance to the

Berdache.” This was drawn while the Sac and Fox people

of the Great Plains were engaging in a ceremonial dance to

celebrate the “Two-Spirit” person.

 

Here is a part of a poem that talks of her emotions,

“Poem: Ajijaak Dodem Anokil

It is so precious,

Those tears on my hands,

Covering my face,

This grieving is beautiful,

You see we had felt those knives turned inward

On ourselves,

On our family. . .”

 

You may wish to check out Cecelia Rose LaPointe’s poetry

or speaking schedule and other special events at:

http://www.anishinaabekwe.com

 

My youngest daughter and I recently saw, “The Imitation Game,”

which depicts an underlying sadness within the main character.

It is a true story about Alan Turing, a genius. He was the inventor

of a de-coding machine that ‘beat’ Germany’s war coding machine,

“The Enigma.” This British machine helped the Allies win World

War II against the Germans.

 

Apparently, Alan Turing was a man who faced accusations and

there were parts of the film which eluded to his sexual preferences.

This movie brought up the problems that people historically have

faced (and are still overcoming).  The end of the movie has details

about large numbers, unfortunately, of people who were thrown in

British prisons, due to their homosexuality.

 

The actor is one I enjoy as “Sherlock” on PBS and also, has been

in the “Dr. Who” British television series. His name is Benedict

Cumberbatch. You can see him in more than one 2013 Academy

Award nominated movie, since he played in “12 Years a Slave”

and “August: Osage County.”

 

The woman who befriends him and who is very talented in

decoding and helping with the Turing Machine, is played by the

wonderful actress, Keira Knightley. My favorite role she has

played was in, “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are many more

films to see her in.

 

After the movie, when I talked with my youngest daughter who had

cried (as I did, too) during some of the tender and intense parts of the

film, we both agreed upon deep emotions we have in common.

We also share values my parents and siblings embrace.

It is hard to understand why anyone would be so offended by

someone’s personal choices.

 

Sadly, the United States has had many different areas where

numbers of people who chose to be ‘different’ from what some

may perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream.’ Obviously, numerous

people are still either bullied or face judges in court rooms.

 

Persecutions in the United States have been appalling and we

talked about our abhorrence of this.

 

No country is totally ‘innocent’ of negative practices of prejudice

and persecution. “Racial profiling” has been a problem within our

extended family.  (My oldest daughter’s father of little Micah is

bi-racial. Mainly, since 9/11/2001, he has had taunts and threats

due to his outward appearance. In his younger years, he says at

least in Delaware, Ohio, he found people wanting to be his friend

throughout his schooling and working years.)

 

The numbers of those imprisoned, at the end of the movie, were

such that we just shook our head and looked at each other through

teary eyes, in disbelief. Felicia asked me, “How can anyone feel

they have the right to judge someone else?”

 

This article about Native Americans and “Two Spirit” individuals

was saved in my WordPress drafts.  It helped me to feel that there

is a positive force to include gays and lesbians within the Native

tribes. Their ‘explanation’ or interesting philosophy towards people

who choose to follow two different genders created new thoughts

in my mind. Mother Nature has some unique qualities which I

embrace, sometimes intuitively.

 

Of course, I have mentioned before. . . I have hope for our future

in the possibility that all peoples can accept and embrace our

differences.

 

Written in Memoriam of Alan Turing, scientist, original computer

inventor and mathematician who committed suicide at age 41, a

few weeks before his 42nd birthday in  June, 1954.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Alan Turing a post-humous “pardon” in

2013 for his criminal charges and offenses.

 

Beginning a Week of Book Banning Awareness

Standard

From September 21st through the 27th, the American Libraries Association has

declared this “Banned Books Week.” They wish to encourage our freedom to read.

The ALA’s slogan for this week is, “Discover What You’re Missing.” I think it is so

important to remind people of how recently we had books destroyed, censored

and banned in our country.

In my opinion, books on any subject are meant to expand our world views. They

open our eyes where we may hold insulated views. Some have been protected,

kept safe and ‘closed off,’ from what is being presented in their community or

‘tribe’ (or family.)There are some who home school, some who don’t believe

in public news, some who wish that all offensive subjects not be mentioned to

or around their children. I respect their freedom to do so and they have valid

concerns. But they must also be careful for ‘what they wish for.’ After having

a protected Catholic roommate my sophomore year in college go, ‘haywire,’

with her sudden freedom. Also, knowing a relative who sent her 3 daughters to

a Christian college, only to have one get married to a Catholic, a Jewish man

and another to live with a man out of wedlock, I think one must be careful

about what kind of life you are presenting to your children and family.

By the way, just so you don’t misunderstand, I felt all three of these choices

were find and acceptable choices. It is just the fact the parents had tried to

prevent this ‘kind of thing,’ from happening, that I mention it at all.

Creating awareness of censorship and banning books may seem ‘foreign’ to

ones in their twenties who may live in a city where this has not recently

happened. Historically, it is no so far in the distant past, as one may think. It

is also part of many cultures’ and countries’ current practices. Awareness of

the dangers in such behavior, burning books, taking black markers and

removing words, opinions, and whole passages of different perspectives is

so important for everyone to recognize.

The definition of ‘ban’ that applies to this practice is defined as to prohibit

especially by legal means or social pressure some form of information.

Censure or condemning through public opinion.

The definition of ‘censor’ is to examine in order to suppress or delete

harmful or dangerous material.

The major problem in both banning and censoring is “Who is doing this?”

Who has the authority to choose what we are able to read, write or talk

about?

The subjects of McCarthyism, Apartheid, Racial Issues and Governmental

Control are the ones that “leap to mind’ and produce a cold hand upon my

heart.

Do I think the military servicemen should have had their letters censored,

for fear of accidentally getting into the hands of our enemies? I would not

wish to make a decision that might cause death or infiltration of the enemy

in times of war.

Do I think that some subjects are ‘gross’ and upsetting to my mind? Yes,

but again, I would not wish to impose my thoughts upon others. I don’t

feel this would be fair or just behavior.

While teaching my first year of middle school, in 1979, I was in a small

town where the principal and the superintendent were from cities. They

said it was important to not feel that parents should dictate how their

students be taught. They made me feel comfortable about approaching

them with topics. Sixth grade Language Arts, along with English, Spelling

and Current Events were part of my instruction responsibilities. We had

team teaching, where the students moved from classroom to classroom.

Once I found out I was expecting my second child (my first miscarriage

had been the year before) I asked when it would be appropriate to tell

the students. We were going to be riding in a bus, in the winter months

to a swimming pool, I would be helping the kids to learn floating and

Life Saving techniques. I would be wearing a maternity bathing suit by

then. They suggested telling the parents in November and I listened to

their more experienced advice. We also were having Sex Ed discussions

in the Science classes. I was a little embarrassed as students would see

my belly expanding, but it turned out they loved getting in a line after

lunch in December to feel the baby move. Then, I would have them put

their heads down, as they rested and listened to the chapter book, “The

Yearling,” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

What books do I think of that have been banned? Without referring to

a list, I imagined “Clockwork Orange,” from my high school readings.

I pictured and remembered that the word, ‘nigger,’ was considered very

controversial and some schools and libraries during the Civil Rights

Movement, mistakenly removed the book, “Huckleberry Finn,” from

their book shelves. The third immediate ‘banned’ book I could think of,

was “The Scarlet Letter.”

Why ban “Clockwork Orange?” Graphic language,  the governmental

control and the futuristic idea of mind control over a criminal. The main

character is injected, I believe if my memory serves me well, with something

that causes him to have pictures of violence and he suffers excruciating pain

from this. Why should we accept this book and not ban it? This is an intriguing

start to a whole new genre of books, which opened our minds to possibilities

and also, made us aware of the dangers of choosing how a criminal should be

punished. Do we have the right to do this? It can also be argued, do we have

the right to kill a man because he killed or committed dangerous acts. Our

legal world, with a ‘jury of our peers,’ makes those kind of powerful judgments.

Why ban “Huckleberry Finn?” I think fear of repercussions and misunderstandings

during a very dangerous, emotional period of our times. We can look at this

rationally, knowing the language was supposed to depict what was acceptable

during Mark Twain’s time. Why accept the book? Because it is an outstanding

story that does cross racial barriers and shows a black man and a young boy in

a fantastic piece of American literature. Their unique friendship and reliance

on each other shows a trust unexpected between two such characters, prior

to Mark Twain’s writing this book.

Why would “The Scarlet Letter,” which has a 19th century woman wearing a

red “A” across her chest be considered censorable? I think some would say

go ahead and promote this book. It holds their own judgments of the situation

on adultery. I am not sure if it is on the banned books list, which I had decided

when I set out to write this, that I would not ‘peek’ at the list until I finished my

opinions or had a chance to ‘editorialize.’ I think it may have been on the list

but would take it off, due to my determination that usually the WOMAN is

given the scarlet letter, not the man who was part of the couple engaged in

adultery. This is an antiquated viewpoint, but sadly this is still held in some

form or other, which is not the time nor place to talk about why this still goes

on.

 

The Office of Intellectual Freedom gets reports and complaints. They usually

get the most “challenges” to freedom from the public wishing to ban books

after the Top 10 Book List is published.

Here are the Top 5 out of a list of Top 10 the OIF received after the 2013 Top Ten

List was published:

1. “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey.

The complaints were: Offensive language and unsuitable for age group.

2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

The complaints were: Offensive language, sexually explicit, violence and unsuitable for age group.

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ,” by Sherman Alexie.

The complaints were: Drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James.

The complaints were: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

The complaints were: Religious viewpoints and unsuitable for age group.

Hmm…I would have added violence possibly.

Overall, there are large numbers given on the official website of the Office of Intellectual Freedom

of the population that wish to restrict our reading materials.

 

 

The funny thing that someone in my life mentioned about censorship, I am

not quite sure who, but he asked this thought-provoking question:

What book has many adult themes within its pages, including adultery,

fornication and murdering one’s family members, but is considered

‘acceptable’ by those who wish to forbid and censor books?

(The Bible, he answered.)

What books came to mind, when I first started this post, that may be on past

banned books lists?

 

Nelson Mandela’s quotation seems apropos:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.”

 

100 Years

Standard

Happy Centennial Celebrations for two products that go so well together!

Morton’s Salt and “Jolly Time Popcorn!” Although popcorn has been around

for many more than 100 years, the first time that it was labeled and sold was as,

“Jolly Time Popcorn.” The little girl on the Morton’s Salt is looking still young

for her 100 years representing her company!

Workers at the “Jolly Time” factory have packaged millions of pounds of non-

GMO kernels from local owned farms in Mid-West U. S. A. Popping corn was

considered a treat to be made in a pan on the stove, sometimes over a fire or in

a special popcorn ‘cooker’/popper. My grandkids probably would recognize

the air popper I have and microwave popcorn their parents pop for them.

Then, some people decided that it was not ‘good’ for us, since we tend to cover

it (smother it!) with butter or melted margarine.

Finally, as many food situations evolve or do a complete turn-around, we are

embracing popcorn once again! Yeah!  I like to use my ‘air popper’ and add

parmesan cheese or Bragg’s yeast that is cheesy tasting. You can find it in the

health food aisle, I read about it in Prevention Magazine, along with hearing

about it from my youngest daughter, who sprinkles it on broccoli or cauliflower

for added nutrients and flavor.

I sure do love movie theater popcorn, caramel corn or popcorn balls. I like

that they have now decided popcorn is “healthy for us,” with its three good

qualities:

~whole grain

~fiber

~anti-oxidants.

Let’s be jolly and jovial while celebrating 100 years of this delicious popcorn!

 

In 1914, the Morton Salt girl looked like Shirley Temple. She is so cute, in her

pictures,  as her logo still lives on their website. In this American icon blue

and white picture, she holds her umbrella in one hand and her upside down

box of salt, in its circular canister, is sprinkling salt behind her.

In 1941, the Morton Salt girl now resembles Dorothy, with her hair in braids

and yellow is now included as ‘accents’ in the design on the ‘box.’

In 1956, the Morton Salt girl has a pinafore that seems like what may look like

an apron,  with it being reminiscent of the little girl Lisle, in the “Sound of Music.”

Why an umbrella? Because. . .

“When it rains, it pours!”

Morton Salt is not supposed to clump.

Here are some of its favorable traits-

~Salt unlocks the flavor of foods.

~Salt has helped roads, sidewalks and driveways be safer. (Yes, there is a newer

kind of salt, but this is still given credit to Morton’s for its being always available

for these responsibilities.)

~Salt is in our water system, it flows into our baths, kitchens and pools.

~If you make a salt solution or sprinkle salt directly into cracks in sidewalks, you

can kill weeds and unwanted grass.

Have you ever played this ‘switch’ April Fool’s Day trick?

My brother put salt into the sugar bowl and sugar into the salt shaker. Boy, did

he get into trouble! My Dad did not want anyone to ‘mess around with his morning

coffee!’

 

The Morton Salt girl still has ‘new places to go,’

‘new friends to make,’

and ‘new stories to share.’

If you should wish to join those who are sharing, you may check out this:

http://mortonsaltgirl100.com

 

Someone told me this sweet ‘joke’ that is really just a special treat since it

goes with the little girl with the umbrella. Susie’s mother was waiting a

block away from the school. She stood on the corner and watched her

kindergartener approaching, both mother and daughter had their umbrellas

open. Every few steps, Susie’s chin would raise, her eyes looking up at the

sky, she would give a big grin, then continue walking. When she reached

her Mommy at the agreed upon location, she gave her a big hug.

Susie’s mother asked her, “Susie, why were you looking up at the sky,

then it seemed like you were smiling at the sky?”

Susie answered, “Because God was taking my picture!”

(Her mother smiled and agreed, that was such a better outlook at the

startling bursts of lightning, like a ‘flash’ going off on a camera!)

When I mentioned to this woman, Chris, at work about my celebration

post for the two ingredients, popcorn and Morton’s salt, she immediately

thought of this appropriate ‘story’ or ‘joke.’

 

I found two light-hearted quotes for this celebratory post:

 

Albert Einstein is credited for saying,

“Life is like riding a bicycle.

In order to keep your balance,

You must keep moving.”

 

Samuel Butler brings some smiles to my face with this one,

“The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool

of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you,

but he will make a fool of himself, too.”

 

I could not resist reminding you of that hauntingly pretty, but

oh so meaningful song, “100 Years.”

It captures how we feel time is flying by and so fleeting…

“I’m 15 for a moment,

Caught in between 10 and 20,

And I’m just dreaming

Counting the way to where you are.

 

15, there’s still time for you,

Time to buy and time to lose,

15, there’s never a wish

Better than this

When you only got 100 years to live.”

 

(The next section has a child on the way…)

 

“I’m 45 for a moment,

The sea is high

And I’m heading into a crisis,

Chasing the years of my life.”

 

Sung by Five for Fighting, who is actually John Ondrasik, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

Wild West Wednesday

Standard

Thanks to “Pookie,” my Mom’s best friend in California, we have a prairie

joke to laugh at!  She wrangled up a ‘good one,’ for us to chuckle about and

get in the right frame of mind for our mid-week relaxing time. Oh, go ahead

and grab something cold to drink, too!  There was a swear word included in

this story,  which my Mom thought was ‘A.O.K.’ but I used a little imagination

and substituted it with an actual possible western term. The manila envelope

she received in the mail, Mom had culled and decided upon which ones were

‘blog worthy.’ So glad I have this outlet for her to feel she is my ‘editor’ and my

fellow blogger while I publish this story and future other ones.

The funny story included two illustrations, one depicting the two main characters

in the humorous story and the other of a photograph of a black sky, with stars and

the moon in it.

 

Let’s take a little ‘break’ from my essays. Pull up a chair, put on some music

and enjoy. . .

To get into the western theme, you could put on Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”

song,  which I enjoy very much. Or find that classic song, “Wild, Wild West”

by the British group, The Escape Club. Promise, you will recognize it! I happen

to love that version of the 1988 song, including the line, “wild, wild hair,” in

the lyrics, referring to the female love interest’s hair.  If you are into rapping

considered ‘hip hop’ version) and I do like Will Smith, there is a different song

without the comma in the title, “Wild Wild West” to hear. This went with the

“Wild Wild West” movie that came out in 1999. Kevin Kline and Will Smith

were the two main actors, in this attempt to capture the television series.

Oh, how I used to enjoy the crazy antics and adventure in the original show!

It was televised from 1965 until 1969.

 

Do you have a favorite western movie or television show?

What music do you prefer to listen to while unwinding after a hard day’s work?

 

I enjoy writing but sometimes am happy to just ‘coast along,’

for a day. I will ‘parcel’ the jokes out, once a week for awhile. . .

 

Here’s one for all of those who love the outdoors and the “Lone Ranger:”

 

The Lone Ranger and Tonto were camping in the desert. After they got their

tent all set up, the men fell sound asleep.

 

Some hours later, Tonto wakes the Lone Ranger and says,

“Kemo Sabe, look towards the sky, what do you see?”

 

The Lone Ranger replied, “I see millions of stars.”

**********************************************

“What do they tell you?” asked Tonto.

 

The Lone Ranger wiped his sleepy eyes, looked up into the heavens and

pondered. Then, after a minute he explained how he felt about the sky,

“Astronomically speaking, it tells me there are millions of galaxies and

planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo’s radius. Time-

wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in the morning.

Theologically, it indicates that God or Mother Nature is all powerful and

we are just small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have

a beautiful day tomorrow.”

 

The Lone Ranger turned towards Tonto in the dark and asked,

“What does it tell you, Tonto?”

 

Tonto replied,

“You’re dumber than buffalo chips.”

 

The Lone Ranger was hurt and wondered why Tonto was showing

little respect for what he thought had been “Profound Thoughts.”

“Why would you say this to me, Tonto, my friend?”

 

Are you ready for the punch line?! I bet you may guess it. . .

 

Tonto retorted. . .

“It means someone stole the tent, you idiot!”

 

(I think even Silver, The Lone Ranger’s trusty horse would have

snorted. . .)

 

Smiles for sliding down the slippery slope towards the weekend!

Just Another Monday

Standard

I absolutely love the Bangles’ song, “Just Another Manic

Monday!”

It may not be raining, as it was last week, but I have

heard from a few family members and friends on the

subject of “Rain” and am adding another post to

complete or complement the first story.

It may rain later tonight, but if not, hope you had a

great time out in the pleasant weather!

Here are more ways you hear different variations of

the word rain and other close subjects.

When it is an early morning rain, you may already

think of Gordon Lightfoot’s song,

“Early Morning Rain.”

There were several people who gave great additions

to my first list, including Mike Lince’s one of

“A Hard Rain’s A’gonna Fall.” Bob Dylan wrote and

sang this in 1962.

When we all got together and came up with some more

suggestions on this very subject, we were:

“Brainstorming.”

The words, ‘rain’ and ‘storm’ are included in this!

My baseball-loving brothers and Mom, dislike when it

rains, and there are:

Rain Delays!

When I had a nice, long list that included songs with

storms or rain in them, my Mom came up with wonderful

musical production numbers and made a double contribution

to the list!

1. “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” sung by Barbra Streisand

in “Hello Dolly” musical play.

2. “The Rain in Spain (Falls Mainly on the Plain)” sung

by Julie Andrews in the Broadway production of “My Fair

Lady.”

My sister in law, who is also interested in Native Americans

reminded me of the importance of the custom of “Rain Dances.”

Then, once that subject was brought up over dinner as a

family, Mom said,

“It is lucky to have rain on your wedding day.”

When I was reflecting after I had pushed that final “Publish”

button on wordpress.com last Monday, I remembered a simple

nursery chant:

“Rain, rain

Go away!

Come again,

Another day!”

Then, when you have a surplus of problems, or if you are

advertising for the Morton Salt company:

“When it rains…

It pours.”

Can you believe this famous slogan, accompanied by the

Morton Salt Umbrella Girl, originated in 1911? This must

be one of the longest lasting advertising tools in the

history of sales! The woman responsible is Joy Morton,

the head of the sales team that designed the logo.

One valuable symbolism of rain is~ it is like a cleansing

of the spirits. It could be considered a ‘renewal of life.’

The barren, dry parched land’s cycle includes its period

of freezing cold. Almost like a hibernation.

Then from the ground, once drops of rain fall upon the Earth,

plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables seeds start to sprout.

Spring really gets our attention!

If you ate too much Easter candy and were a little ‘sluggish’

as a result today, I can relate to that! I needed extra

caffeine, at first break, lunch and second break, too.

It is interesting to note, our new D.C. #23’s “CEO,” named

Joe, has implemented, “Free Small Coffee’s (or Hot Cocoa’s)

out of the vending machine on Mondays!

Hope this finds you well, happy and enjoying a wonderful

Monday!

5 Cheers for Sesame Street!

Standard

I went to see “Sesame Street Live!” with my oldest daughter,

who turned 34 years old and my youngest grandson, Micah.

It was amazing, filled with little lessons, dancing and singing.

I could not believe that the “Letter of the Day” was “M” and

later, we found out, in their performances, the “Number of

the Day” was “5.”

“M”icah who turned “5” on February 27th was thrilled! I was

speechless, trying to concentrate on capturing a photo of the

flashing lights that were saying, “5, off, 5, off, 5!”

I finally got those three 5’s in a position that their red

color stood out, in contrast, from the deep blue of the

surrounding framework of the stage. Then, again, capturing

our special, favorite characters, when they weren’t moving

quickly, jumping or gliding across the stage, was my next goal.

Micah was shouting, “There’s Elmo!” and “There’s Grover!”

When we weren’t laughing, looking across Micah’s head, my

daughter and I were grinning from ear to ear. Carrie said,

“I hope that Grover comes down the aisle, Micah, so you

can give him a hug! I wish I could give him a hug, too!”

Turns out, she would have had to crawl over or run over,

multiple little tykes to get to Grover. Micah was able to

maneuver and squirm through, (hopefully not pushing too

much!) to get a big hug from not only Grover, but Cookie

Monster, too. It was dark and several rows away from us,

but we saw him do this both times.

The crowd was very responsive to any suggestions to clap

or answer questions. There were a few songs that I would

like to mention. One I loved the imagery of the whole cast

of Sesame Street with their yellow slickers or raincoats

on, with video images of cookies falling from the sky,

and the song was, “It’s Raining Cookies!” (To the melody

of “It’s Raining Men!”)

Another song was one I had covered as one of my favorite

children’s songs, in a post about attending Lara and

Landen’s elementary school for Grandparents’ Day. It is

called, “Sing a Song.” The line that is so simple but

sweet that tugs at my heartstrings is “Don’t worry about

whether you can sing or not….” and has the lines,

“sing it loud, sing it clear!” This was very nicely acted

out and the whole gang did it very well in the show.

My favorite special moment was when Bert and Ernie were

sitting side by side on a bench. Chaos was happening

all around them, characters running around in circles,

music and dancing. They were sitting quietly watching.

It was a lovely moment, indeed. I love those two guys!

Do you remember the Golden Books post, where an author,

who had been the editor of Golden Books shared lessons

learned by reading or being read to Golden Books? Sesame

Street is part of the Golden Books’ line of books.

These book and television show characters are very much

part of my family! My children and grandchildren all have

their beloved books but by far, their favorite book is

“The Monster at the End of This Book.” In the ending, the

monster ends up to be, “lovable old Grover.”

I felt that there were valuable lessons in the show I saw

with my daughter and grandson. Here are some of the morals

and values imparted through songs and interactions.

I thought I would do a version of lessons I gathered

from going to see the “Sesame Street Live!” show.

Lessons that “Sesame Street” Teaches (or Taught) You:

1. Give back anything you “borrow” or take something.

Elmo “borrowed” a little girl character’s fairy wand.

2. The words, “I’m sorry,” go a long way in making

forgiveness easier. The person should be gracious, in

return. The little girl could tell Elmo didn’t mean to

be ‘bad’ and she answered back to his apology,

“Everyone makes mistakes!”

3. Be kind to one another. When Big Bird is doing laundry

for the messy duo of Bert and Ernie, he is cheerful and

there is a song that makes you feel that helping someone

out makes it easier to do chores.

4. Everyone is ‘lovable,’ even a Grouch! I was very

impressed when the Grouch stuck his head back into his

trash can, but he pushed upward and did a dance with

just his legs showing.

Micah exclaimed, “How cute is that?”

Both my daughter and I hugged him at the same time after

that ‘precious’ comment!

5. Every day is special! You may have a special word, letter,

number or feeling that is shared. They may talk about

“being friends.” The characters may talk about “sharing.”

Sometimes it will be a serious subject but it will always

end with it all working out okay!

6. Learning is fun! If you wish to learn Spanish, you can

recite the colors, red is “rojo,” white is “blanco,” blue

is “azul,” green is “verde,” and yellow is “amarillo.”

When you learn to count, the Count will use his best

Dracula voice, making it another way to enjoy numbers.

7. Singing and dancing should be part of your everyday

routines. I already mentioned the “Sing a Song,” but

do want to emphasize it is very hard to be ‘grumpy’

or ‘blue’ if you are dancing to the music!

8. Whenever possible, cookies can save the day! If

you are vegan, you can choose a healthier recipe, but

always remember that cookies make children smile! They

make them want to eat all their dinner, too!

Works for adults, too! For my Mom, ice cream is her

choice of ‘treats,’ to motivate her to eat her broccoli!

9. Owls truly are the birds of wisdom. The old, gnarly

tree on the dark scenery set with stars shining in the

sky, had a male owl wearing glasses. Also, there were

three little baby owls who popped their head outs out

of the tree’s knot holes. The characters asked him for

advice, which he intoned in a somber, scholastic way.

10. Families everywhere love their children. The way

they used the number five was to have five penguins

who went behind the curtain, coming out in different

international costumes. One time, the penguins wore sari’s

and silk sashes (Asian/Indian), another time they had long,

blonde braids with horned helmets (Scandinavian), the

maracas and straw hats with frayed ponchos, (Spanish/

Mexican) and other cultures were represented. The audience

cheered quite often during this presentation, along with

clapping five times.

It seems I am always telling you about something that is

very exciting and fun, happening to me, my family or my

friends. This is one thing that I cannot help doing,

sharing happy moments and imparting small ‘bits of wisdom’

gained along the way. I wish to bring you smiles.

Now, this last part is to be saved and savored for April

First. You will understand this to be my early ‘trick.’

After the program, we found our way behind the stage,

looking to get a photograph with my oldest with her ‘hero,’

Grover. We thought this would be a ‘full circle’ moment,

since that was one of the first books I had read to her,

including Grover. Once we were backstage, I requested

this usher to find out if there were any job applications.

I really was motivated to become a member of the traveling

“Sesame Street Live! entourage.

The man who hurried over, was still wearing this tall,

lanky yellow outfit, his “Big Bird” head of his costume in

his hands. Micah didn’t seem the least bit surprised.

My daughter could not believe that I was going to leave our

Delaware, Ohio home for 28 years. I was so enthusiastic that

I asked for a pen, then starting to fill in the past

employment section, right on the spot!

Can you believe I figured out a way to be around people of

all ages, dancing and singing, along with the great aspect

of traveling the country included in my future paychecks?

I mean, this would be a far better experience than joining

the circus!

Let me be the first to tell you, pre-April Fool’s Day:

“Surprise!!”

Did I have any of you thinking I would follow through on this

dream of ‘fame and fortune?’

Enemies

Standard

We have had enemies in the history of our being here. We could have had

enemies, like the Klingons, from other planets. We may have had a “bad”

friend while young and declared these spiteful words: “You are my enemy

for life!”

Here is the definition of “Enemy.”

1. One that hates another one that attacks or tries to harm another.

2. Something that harms.

3. a. A nation with which a country is at war.

b. A hostile unit or force.

Foe is the synonym for enemy. Shows hostility or ill will. Stresses

antagonism. Showing itself in hatred or destructive attitude or

action.  Foe stresses active fighting or struggle and is used poetically

for an enemy or hater.

Why bring this up at the holidays? I think the powerful but beautiful

words, “Peace on Earth” sometimes need to be understood in the

way of looking at the world. How we face and act out towards our

fellowman.

From the beginning of time, sometimes our wrath was simply defending

ourselves. It may have been against a group of people or another caveman.

They probably fought over food, hunting grounds, where a good shelter

was located or their “attractive” or “desirable” mate!

Territory was an issue in some cases of enemies. The Hatfields and Mc Coys

come to mind. Also, clans against clans, tribes against tribes and this was

over where they lived and where their properties were. In the West, there

were the Free Range folks and the fenced in cattlemen.

In the history of our country here in the United States, and probably in your

own country, if you are not here, the problems lie in different points of view.

In these cases, it was the issue of Jewish people and Arabs in Jerusalem. It

is sadly a case of “sharing” and a small strip of Land, called the Gaza Strip.

It was the case of the Roman Empire which had to fall because of its immorality

and unfortunate destiny.

We were all about the Freedoms. Freedom of Religion drove us across a huge

ocean. Where we were not too religious, at times, with our feeling of impower-

ment and sovereignty. We believed in Freedom of Speech and that meant we

could gather in groups to picket or question the opinions and take our stands.

We still quarrel over the Right to Bear Arms and what “arms” should be allowed.

I am not on the side for any automatic weapons in the hands of anyone in their

houses. The armed forces, the “militia,” that the Revolutionary War patriots

were talking about, were protecting their property, families and country.

I feel that there should be allowed handguns and rifles, all for the reasons

of protection and getting food on tables. I am sure that it is a great form of

entertainment and sport. Those 98% of the country (and world) who would never

shoot their neighbor are not the ones we need to worry about. Those we do

worry about, fear mightily, due to their being “terrorists” or “psychopaths,”

probably can get around the rules and laws of owning guns.

I believe in the right to your feelings, allowing expression and the right should

always be there, as long as no one is being hurt or their lives put in danger.

This falls into the areas of prejudice, bullying and different lifestyles. None of

the ones who are minding their own business, living their own types of lives,

who are not hurting anyone, except maybe by their choice of wardrobe (touch

of humor, here, folks!) should have to stifle their expressions and ways of life.

My grandmother, Paula Haller Mattson, was born in Germany. She was hurt

and appalled when she would speak in her own version of English, some extra

special words from her country injected into it, when someone would ask her

if she were a “Jew.” She was living during the WWII era, and told me more than

once, “What if I were? I am a naturalized American…” She said, “I would allow

the nosy busybody to ‘assume’ that I was Jewish, because I did not want to ‘put

down’ those that were.” The questioner was implying by the question, in her

mind, somehow that it would be abhorrent, due to the concentration camps

and horrors that were not Jewish in orientation, nor her own background or

family’s choice of religion, Catholicism.

So when my brothers would try to play “Cowboys and Indians” or the “Germans

are the Bad Guys” my Grandma Mattson would pull them in from their play,

sit them down and explain a bit of history, sprinkled in with her love of all

mankind. We were only allowed to call the “enemy” using the words,

“The Bad Guys.”

When we were visiting from Ohio in Florida, going for a quick lunch out

at the good old Golden Arches, my Grandpa Mattson saw a black family

walking out of the place, heads down, parents looking dismayed, Grandpa

had to ask,

“Why are your children looking so sad?”

Turns out even in the sixties, different races were not allowed to buy a

hamburger at McDonalds, where you did not have a drive-thru. Most

of the original hamburger (fast food places), you would have to walk in

to order at the counter, take it to the beach or wherever you were headed.

But in the South, past when it should have been an issue, definitely past

the one hundred years’ mark that the Civil Rights War’s anniversary, we

were turning people away from sitting in the fronts of buses, eating at

the same places that others were allowed and drinking at water fountains

that were not labeled by the heinous words: “For Colored People.”

Well, my Grandpa took his little gas and mileage paper pad out of his glove

compartment and wrote down their orders and marched into the McD’s

to place their order. He included a few extra fries and hamburgers, too.

As he was leaving, ready to slam the door behind him, he exclaimed

loudly,

“By the way, that nice family from Washington D.C. that you turned

away still wanted to eat your food, I will never buy it for my own family

and grandchildren again!”

In the animal kingdom, there are mostly defensive killings, rarely a

choice of distaste, definitely more a decision that it was animal vs.

animal, the most dangerous one being the one to defer to.

There are no cases between animals of killing out of jealousy, hate crimes,

or genocide. There are episodes of bullying, fighting over territory and

where the next meal comes from. Nature is pretty straight forward,

mankind is so much more emotionally charged and complicated in their

choosing their enemies.

Why can’t human beings just get along?

All I can think of is, we were given more brain power, we should be able

to control ourselves, make better decisions and not always follow our

first impulses. Who can decide why we feel our gut reaction to someone?

How do we learn who to trust or not?

One case at a time…

All this is pretty controversial, throwing my opinions around and all!

I was not raised to be a narrow-minded person, my world was always

large, inclusive and sometimes, in the case of my own father, included

the universe with stars and the possibility of intergalactic friends, too.

I would overall like to have us ponder this, reflect and act better towards

each other, by being this way, we do make a difference!