Saturday, January 28, 2017

WHY WE MARCHED

I rode up to Savannah where buses were leaving for the Womens March On Washington with a journalist I met due to our shared interest in letting our voice be heard. Bethany's reason for marching was not only to exercise her First Amendment rights, but to observe as others took the same advantage of our Constitution.

A friend of hers had a mother going to Washington for the March and offered to let us park in her yard before she dropped us all off at the buses. I was surprised to find her mother using a walker. In her fifties or sixties, Diane had been in a bad auto accident that left her in the hospital for several months. While there, she saw people in worse shape and realized just how important Obamacare and Medicaid were to people without work insurance. So she was marching to protest repealing the ACA without giving us a replacement. She made the trip, though she spent most of the day in the disabled section and was sick several times coming back. I admire her greatly.

On the bus, my seatmate was Lisa, a young woman originally from Portland, Oregon. She has been doing a contract job for the Corps of Engineers and will be in Savannah for a couple more months. An avid environmentalist, Lisa marched to protest the evisceration of the EPA. She is frightened that clean air and clean water will become a thing of the past while the new administration dismisses climate change as fake science.

Across the bus aisle, Ali and Barbie sat together. Ali is a college student at SCAD (Savannah College of Arts and Design) majoring in Film and Photography. She marched for all women, and wants people to realize that every woman, no matter her race or color or religion, deserves to be treated with respect and tolerance.

Petite Barbie has a teenaged son and does not like large crowds. In fact, she warned us if she had a panic attack, she might have to step to the side for a while. Like the rest of us, she set out, determined to be heard. She was reticent about voicing her views, but if I remember correctly, our new president's attitude toward women touched a nerve. She marched for survivors of sexual assault.

Like me, Ali and Barbie had never done anything like this before. Only Lisa had marched at rallies and nothing, she said, as big as this one. She came prepared with a vest that held everything. Every time I looked around, she was pulling out a bag of carrots or cucumbers or tortillas (?) or something else to eat and offering it around. My own Lance crackers and energy bars seemed sadly lacking in the health department next to her stash.

But we made out all right. When everyone packed together, we did have to put Barbie up on a curb so she didn't get too panicky. And Ali kept lagging as she snapped pix of the huge crowd with her camera. Lisa was our leader (we never did manage to meet up with the rest of our Georgia contingent) directing us which way to go. And they all kept tabs on me, the oldest one who should have been giving them advice. "Going too fast?" "Think you can make it?" "This way! Don't get lost!"

None of us knew each other before the march. I doubt we'll ever meet again. But that day, we all marched to resist what already seems like a dismal future. We and nearly half a million other people came together to speak with one voice. Women's rights are human rights.

Here's a selfie of the three angels who stuck with me throughout that momentous Saturday: Barbie, Lisa, Ali, and me.

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They dragged me over walls when we couldn't get around barriers and held up chains for me to climb under when I couldn't step over them and caught me when I stumbled. I couldn't have got through that day without them. I'll never forget them. And I'll never forget the thankfulness of learning others feel as I do, ready to rise up and fight for the America we love.

Friday, January 20, 2017

WOMEN'S MARCH ON WASHINGTON DC

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. This blog comes out Friday instead of Saturday because I will be out of commission for a few days. I am traveling to Washington DC. No, not for the inauguration. For the women's rally/march.

After November 7th, a grandmother in Hawaii, Teresa Shook, like many of us, despaired over the result. Instead of having our first woman president, forty-six percent of the voters chose a man who jeered at minorities and women, mocked the disabled and people of different faiths, maligned men who had served and died for our country, and planned to dismantle programs essential to clean water and air, universal healthcare, and women's rights.

Shook decided to see if others might want to march in Washington DC to signal disapproval of his hateful campaign and his stated intentions. When she went to bed, she had forty responses. When she woke up the next morning, there were over ten thousand people ready to join her.

I, too, was despondent. My vote and nearly three million others that gave the popular vote to Clinton, did not count. Literally. We might as well have stayed home because our getting out and going to the polls, standing in line and taking time to vote, didn't change a thing. Despite our majority in votes.

When I saw a tiny item about women marching on Washington, then found on FaceBook that women in our state were already chartering buses to take protesters to DC, optimism returned. There were other people who felt like me. Together, we would make our voices heard.

I thought about what it meant for some time--I'm no spring chicken; my eyes are bad; my feet are bad; I hate crowds. I've never been active in anything like this. Never felt the need! Wasn't our country becoming more tolerant, more accepting, more benevolent toward others? Wasn't it moving forward in human issues? But now, suddenly, all progress is in full retreat.

I couldn't shirk my duty to participate. So I started trying to find a ride to the nearest bus departure city. When I linked up with a stranger already signed up to go (I met her and was comfortable she wasn't a nut job!), I signed on, too.

Understand, this entire undertaking is a gut response from the Jane Smiths (and some John Does) of our great country. Everyone has her or his reasons. Women's issues, saving black lives, gun control, reproductive freedom, climate change, affordable health care, gay rights, disgust at one candidate's "locker room talk" and failure to release tax returns...

But most are united in believing the electoral college chose the wrong person for such an overwhelming and critical job as president of the greatest nation on earth.

Oh, at first we were a wild bunch! But eventually, professional activists came in to help bring the unwieldy mob under control. Well...as under control as a grass roots effort with so many opinions and causes represented can be. Permits were obtained, routes hammered out, portapotties rented, speakers booked, and T-shirts designed. We were on our way.

As of today, from the best information I can find, over 223,000 women (with some men and children) are traveling to Washington DC to march the day after the inauguration of arguably the most unpopular president ever taking the oath of office. Georgia alone is sending over four thousand people. Women are recognizing sister marchers in airports by their clear backpacks while planes to DC are about 90% filled with women wearing pink hats.

And there are at least 673 sister marches! For some strange reason, people all over the world are rallying to our cause. In Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, South America...Even Anarctica (???)!

This is my official Women's March shirt along with the mustard colored scarf that marks a Georgia marcher.


Yes, I know it's a rather ugly yellow but it was chosen, I understand, because it's the color of the monarch butterfly, which is (?) our state insect(?). At any rate, I'm pretty sure we'll be the only state wearing it! The same cannot be said for all the pink "pussyhats" we will be sporting. Women have been knitting and crocheting like crazy to be sure everyone has one. Some object to its name, but I bet you'll see a lot of them in the crowd. (A relative knitted mine because I'm not craftsy.)


As Hillary Clinton said: "Women's rights are human rights."

I'm proud to be marching in support of them.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

NEW RADIO

Hard to find a clock-radio anymore. Our old one started getting staticky (I listen to the local oldie radio station when I'm at my computer) and we decided it was time for a new one.

We looked at Walmart last time we needed one and found little choice there. That's how we ended up with the staticky one. So this time, we went to Best Buy.

They did have three or four brands, thank goodness. We asked the salesman which he suggested. He pointed one out. A Sony. When I saw another just like it but a little more expensive, I asked, "What's the difference?"

"This one projects the time on the ceiling or wall," he told me.

"We don't need that," my guy said.

"On the ceiling?" I asked, entranced.

So we bought it. And I love it. No more does my guy have to sit halfway up in bed and lean over me to look at the clock. We can wake up, glance up at the ceiling and Voila!



And the sound is pretty good, too.

So if you're old-fashioned enough to want a clock-radio, I recommend this one!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

FOR THE NEW YEAR: HOLIDAY CRUD

So my guy and I have the crud. We used to get it every January or February. Sometimes twice in one winter. But we haven't had it in quite a long while. Maybe not since we moved down to the sunny coast. But the Tuesday after Christmas, one day after family left to go back north, my guy started feeling punk.

I sympathized and tried not to get within breathing distance. Alas, Friday morning I woke with it, too.

We soldiered on till finally this week, I called my doctor and he called his. His doctor's receptionist gave him an appointment to come in the next day. My doctor's receptionist said sympathetically: "Yes, lots of people have been having this. It usually lasts a couple of weeks, maybe three. No need to come in. There are some over-the-counter medications you can take that might help. Robitussin for coughing, Mucinex..." et cetera.

I panicked. "No need to come in? But I'm coughing like crazy and my head's running buckets."

"Do you have a fever?"

"Well...No."

"Does it hurt when you cough?"

"Uh, no..."

"Then you probably don't need to be seen." She paused. "Oh. Wait. I didn't realize how old you were. Maybe it's best you do come in."

I took the appointment for that afternoon gratefully and hung up. Then what she said hit me. Didn't realize how old I was? How OLD I was??? After a few minutes indignation, my better sense prevailed. What does it matter? At least I got in to see her. Even if it was because I'm old.

And the doctor did indeed find it necessary to give me an antibiotic, so I was justified in persisting on seeing her.

Hah!