“A rose by any other name…”

OOPS!! Fact check by your devoted blogger: Melania did not name the White House Rose Garden after Pope John Paul 11 just added a John Paul 11 rose by that name. I should have empathy for the people responsible for the bogus news that our present First Lady actually had historic cherry trees cut down as well as removing historic roses from past administrations the latest of which was done by Jacqueline Kennedy. Actually fact check tells us that the trees were dug up and were crab apple trees that would be planted elsewhere in the Rose Garden because they had grown to a size giving too much shade for the sun loving roses.

Sorry, I realize we don’t really need any more untruths in internet postings. Will be more careful in the future. I apologize to my Polish friends and be assured of my devotion to our beloved Saint.

Writer Unblocked by Rotund Author & Melania

Perhaps the two or three avid fans of my blog have noticed the absence of posts these past few weeks. Nothing inspired me although much is happening in the world we live in. I sat staring at the blank page day after day. Perhaps this glorious day in the seventies, sunny with low humidity, opened a door to more than one happy moment of creative joy. That is my reason for writing two blogs on this last day of August.

As my husband and I listened to the news this morning, a number of excerpts from last night’s RNC convention were rolling over the air waves of our radio which only has one station that comes in without static. We were eating breakfast as my husband shot back comments to the BBC commentators as they in their calm British way refuted any positive input on the convention. I munched along until I heard the name, Melania, and put some emphasis in my wifely command, “Be quiet!!”

She gave her speech in the White House rose garden. And I admit listening to her lovely voice my mind wondered thinking of what she wore and how I’d look her up on you-tube as I dutifully shushed my mate several times during the comments, one depicting her speech as ‘presidential’ in a reasoned but derogatory way, of course as only the British can. As they finished with the First Lady, I ran to the computer and found the news I sought. No picture of her in the first article about her overseeing the renovation of the White House Rose Garden, but it grabbed my attention none-the-less. Melania added a new rose named for Pope John Paul 11 to commemorate his visit there in the 1970’s. ***

I read on and never did see her on you-tube. I was shocked (and delighted) she blatantly (and beautifully, I thought) combined both politics and religion. Chesterton would love it!

*** Note correction that the rose garden itself was not named after the saint but a rose. This is also mentioned in the next post. ooops!!

G. K. Chesterton: Politics & Religion

If you want to win friends ‘never discuss politics or religion’. This reminds me of a story about G.K. Chesterton. When he was applying to a newspaper in London as a columnist, he was told to write about anything except politics and religion. From what I surmise he did not reply to the employer; however, he said as it turned out he wrote about nothing but politics and religion. And yet he kept his job for many years.

He was a particular genius in that he was able to intelligently discuss such matters with a large dose of humor and his trademark ‘common sense’, as well as, that elusive thing called truth. He, at the same time, endeared himself to a number of atheists of his day along with a particular Catholic priest (said to be his inspiration for the Fr. Brown mystery series) . After a number years he converted to Catholicism and in turn his writings were responsible for the conversion of an unknown number to the Church of Rome.

If you read about him whether you agree with his politics or religion or not, this giant of a man, both in body and soul, cannot fail to steal your heart as he has mine.

When the Master Returns

Luke 17: 20 ”The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
24 “…For as the lightening flashes from one end of the sky to the other, 
so will the son of man be in his day.”

When the Light Comes

Just nodding off a piercing brightness intrudes
Sound of a million choirs reverberate the eardrums
Roses of another world fall to precede the Holy One
Their scent is delicate and all enticing.

Trumpets sound pure in pitch and clear in note
They announce the Master’s return to His beloved.
All is revealed in the twinkling of an eye
And all former knowledge pales when the light comes.


Ever notice when one news station uses what seems a new phrase, every news station picks it up. One of the most recent is “re-imagining’ the police”. Imagine that? Well I imagine this as a call to fictionalize an occupation made up of individuals we call police, an organized multifaceted institution to keep law and order in a town, city, county, state or country. In the history of this law enforcement body there have been times in various places in our country when through the efforts of police and even federal officers themselves, corruption has been brought to light and routed out.

It is true in the human condition nothing is perfect: free of injustice, prejudice, hate; in fact, every inhuman vice we can name. However, what the current and so obviously well organized protests nationwide is not about is routing out such things through reasonable channels but creating more chaos than already exists. Think of spending fifty days camped out on the streets of Seattle: yelling, burning, disrupting the life of innocent citizens, destroying the property and rights of others. And also doing so with the protection of the mayor with the police prevented from restoring peace by arresting law breakers.

There is something going on beneath the surface that is perhaps diabolical fueled by forces concealed and disguised as good deceiving decent altruistic, mostly young people of all races. These are victims of the imagination gone wild. Someone suggested that instead of the Star Spangled Banner we should change our national anthem to John Lennon’s song Imagine. You might want to look up the lyrics. One of the things it imagines is a world without religion. Is this in fact what this whole movement is about after all?

Give me Liberty

What is liberty? Is it destroying someone else’s peace and freedom because our own is sadly damaged? Is it dividing for any reason: white from black, men from women, rich from poor, young from old etc, etc. No it is not. The division we need to recognize is truth from lies, love from hate. Would any of those who are tearing down the history of our country opt to live in Hong Kong and exchange places with one of its residents as their freedom is being swiftly taken from them against their will? In 1997 after living under British rule Hong Kong officially returned to China with a sort of grace period when they continued to live with freedoms they were accustomed to having.

Now the Chinese government has rescinded those freedoms sending in thousands of military troops. The generation that inhabit the country grew up in a free society where they owned businesses, prospered financially and enjoyed a respected place in the world marketplace. Many saw what was coming under the rule of communism as it exists on mainland China. Their parents and grandparents generation escaped to Hong Kong to avoid what many saw as bondage.

Here in the US there has arisen a kind of liberty that chooses to destroy our history and to forget our country has already passed trough a revolution to become free of British taxation, a civil war to end slavery, and the rise of each new group of immigrants attaining their potential. It used to be said our greatness lie in the idea of a great mix, a melting pot. It still is true. Greatness comes from individuals living and working not in receiving their reward on a silver platter of government handouts. The problem with dependence on government is that dependency limits our liberties; communism is a brand of evening out so that everyone shares equally but in reality the wealth and power is in the hands of a few and liberty is a victim of the systematic removal of rights.

Aunt Gerry

Her name was Geraldine. She became the second wife of my Great Uncle, my maternal grandmother’s younger brother. His first wife died many years before and he remained alone until he met and married Gerry. The couple and their boxer, Boots, lived a simple life and enjoyed their well kept home located in an idyllic suburban neighborhood with tree lined streets, manicured lawns, and flower gardens. They lived in upper New York state and after my uncle died we kept in touch with her through cards and letters and traveled to visit just a few times through the years.

As often happens his widow, our Aunt Gerry, had to sell the lovely home and move to an apartment, actually relocating several times but remaining in the same area. She suffered through the years from diabetes having one leg amputation after another and finally resulting in a total loss of both legs.

I want to tell you about a particular encounter with this woman. My mother, who was a favorite with her aunt, asked if we would drive up to pay Aunt Gerry a visit. We arrived mid morning at her ground level apartment in a duplex on the edge of town. Her aid answered the door greeting us warmly and showing us into a small but cozy living room illuminated by several windows facing a back yard with several bird houses and feeders.

Our aunt sat in a wheel chair and, of course, the first thing we noticed was her missing limbs. Secondly, it was her familiar voice and warm smile that held our attention. The three of us talked easily about the family, our uncle, the past and the present. We watched various birds through the windows as we chatted. I felt comfortable and could have remained for hours more.

Noon came and the aid returned from the kitchen. She sat down for a while and told us how independent our aunt was taking care of her own bills and finances, dictating letters to friends and relatives, and having visitors. The caretaker spent several hours a day with our aunt and obviously admired her. She said a meal of boiled chicken was prepared for all of us and took my mom and me into the ten by ten kitchen.

She asked if we would clean up after the meal because she had to leave, My mom said we didn’t want to impose and we planned to eat out. The woman was emphatic telling us how much people who lived and ate alone loved to have someone to eat with. I immediately said we would stay. Mom agreed and we gathered snugly around kitchen table. We sat down and Aunt Gerry bowed her head and folded her hands with eyes closed. That moment became forever fixed in my heart. It was not what she said, but how she talked to God that impressed me. We always say grace but this was the ultimate grace. She spoke to Him as if He too was dining with us. I felt His presence.

Before we left that day she showed us an old shoe box filled to the top with hospital wrist bands from her numerous hospital stays. It was our last visit but she is one of those I keep in touch with even now and pray for the grace of my Great Aunt.

Tom Cruise: Meeting Up

We got up earlier than usual that morning. After my husband left for work and our daughter left for school, I went about my daily chores. When the meter man came to read the meter, I heard a lot of gobbling and feather flapping and the man yelling, “Go away. Shoo!” I opened the door and sure enough the turkey was standing his ground about to fly at the fellow. “Go on. Leave him alone. Go.” The turkey seemed to listen to me and again he disappeared around the corner of the house. The man seemed relieved and laughed out loud. “Look’s like you have a new pet protecting you. What happened to him?” “I don’t know. He showed up yesterday looking like this,” I told him.After the meter man left, things went on as usual. Around three I heard my daughter outside the door talking to someone. “Well don’t you think you are good- looking? I think I’ll call you Tom Cruise,” she said laughing. Opening the door I saw our newly named turkey looking at himself in the basement window next to our front door. “That’s so funny, Christine. He must think there’s another turkey in that window.” That night when Tom came home from work, I asked, “Did you see Tom Cruise outside?” “What?” he said looking a little bewildered until I explained how the turkey got the name. Tom Cruise remained with us that week and the next and a month went by and another. He kept guarding our door when anyone but our family came up the walk. I’d go out and rescue the intruder and so it went. Twice we asked our neighbor, Bob, to bring his dog, Wolf, over to chase Tom Cruise away, but each time the dauntless turkey returned.

Then one Saturday I implored my husband to take that turkey away. My Tom (TS) somehow lassoed him by the foot and got him into the back of his pickup truck. But Tom (TC) tried to fly with his foot caught. With his wings flapping and profuse gobbling, it appeared he was going to injure himself. That’s why Tom (TS) managed to untie Tom Cruise’s foot. Of course TC used the opportunity to jump/ fly out of the truck and escape deportation. After that we gave up. He was an annoyance but what could we do? We got used to waking up to our turkey gobbling and he never attacked or injured anyone. We’d just live and let live. Our daughter loved animals but her beloved house bunny, Wiggy, was her sole pet. Now she had an outdoor pet turkey.

Then one morning as the days were growing shorter and cooler we heard our now familiar early wake-up gobbling as we lay in bed. But suddenly we heard a whole lot of gobbling getting louder and reaching a peak. Soon the gobbling got softer and eventually faded into the distance. I looked at Tom (TS) and we both said, “Tom Cruise is gone.” And he was He was picked up by his own ’people’.

And I wondered. How did Tom Cruise fit into my story? Of course only God knew. But my own thoughts though incomplete were: Tom (TC) was a real annoyance while he was with us. Yet he had enviable perseverance sticking by us whatever we did to drive him away. We learned to love him or at least tolerate him. We missed him when he left. He gave us a family story to tell to future generations. And God must have looked upon the visitation of our guest, and laughed heartily!

The End

{This is a true story, Creative in the sense that dialog is of course not word for word. Also my own take on the event is my own. Each of the events happened as recorded here. On the whole, a touch of the divine in our lives. Hope this made you smile.}

Tom Cruise: Uninvited Guest

Surprised? Well, so was I, when one summer day thirty years ago a bedraggled, male turkey showed up at our front door. We often had a flock of wild turkeys come through our yard. We live in a rural area, in the sticks one might say. When I saw him, I thought he must have had some sort of ‘fowl’ mishap. He was missing a few feathers and some of them were standing out straight not nice and together. In fact he looked pitiful. He didn’t run away when I opened the door; right then I should have known, he meant to stay. “Christine, come here a minute,” I called to my then teenage daughter.She appeared next to me and peered out the door. “A turkey? Why is he just standing there looking at us?” she questioned.

For some reason this turkey seemed of a different breed. Not afraid of us at all. I shut the door. My daughter went back to her room and resumed her cleaning. She was the last one in our nest. Her brother was in college studying Mechanical Engineering. As I resumed making dinner, there was a racket outside the front door. It sounded like gobbling and fluttering feathers. I heard our neighbor’s voice calling, “Hey, you have a guard turkey out here. I brought the paper but that odd turkey won’t let me come by the front door.”Bounding down the steps and opening the door, I yelled, “Git, go on, shoo!” With that our feathered friend slinked around the corner of the house. Bob chuckled handing me the paper.

Now in his seventies, Bob remained obsessive about almost everything including the exact time he brought us the newspaper, what meals he ate and when, what part of a trail he walked each day, etc. You could say we were the only disruptions in his schedule. It seemed to me he welcomed the occasional meal he had with us at no set time and often by last minute invitation. I’ll have to bring Wolf over next time. Look’s like your friend is protecting you. He’s liable to attack me,” he said as he as he strode across our yard clad in his well worn blue sweater and brown cap.

When my husband got home that night we told him about the turkey. “Sounds like the flock abandoned him. Survival of the fittest you know,” was his only comment, But at five am the next morning we realized our new friend was still around. He had evidently nested for the night next to the pickup cap which sat on the ground below the sliding glass door of our bedroom. He awoke with the sunrise and began gobbling loudly to greet the day. My husband, who is definitely not a morning person, woke up and sat up. Still sleepy, he asked, “What’s the racket?” “Sounds like that turkey. I guess he spent the night here,” I said not knowing this was the first of many for our uninvited guest.

(The end is near!)

Creative Nonfiction: Tom Cruise

Ever read a book but have little recall of its content, except for one sentence or thought that finds a permanent place in your mind and heart? I’ve read a book like that; I read it twice in fact. The book was titled The Spirituality of Imperfection; it’s really a number of stories with an introduction. The one thought that impressed me was in the introduction. The author said, ‘God must love stories because each of us has one’. How true of us humans. There are innumerable autobiographies & biographies, each one a story.

One of the most read and most loved is St Theresa the Little Flower’s, The Story of a Soul. I’ve also read that one twice and remember mostly the whole story. Although she passed on to eternity so young and lived her adult years behind the walls of a Carmelite convent in France, her story is known the world over. The story I am about to tell you is a minute piece of my story, not my autobiography. How it fits into the whole of my life, I haven’t figured out, but I believe it will be revealed to me here or in the hereafter. It’s about a turkey.

(On the light side; Stay tuned for the rest of the story!)