Oh coffee, dear coffee

Friday RDP: Coffee

shallow focus photo of orange ceramic mug on white saucer

I like to say I’m a social drinker when it comes to coffee.  My favorite is espresso, and I have such weakness for its aroma. The taste must not be bitter or harsh as it goes down the throat and lands warm in one’s belly.  It’s not unlike a fine brandy that goes down smooth and velvety but then can burn a hole in your stomach when

 

it hits bottom. 

Lately, tea sits better in my stomach.  Black English tea with oatmeal cakes for breakfast is part of my morning ritual and green tea infused with fruits for during the day. Sometimes, an herbal tea gets me through the night.  When I’m visiting with a coffee drinker, however, I can’t resist the smell, the heavenly fragrance of a good cup of coffee; the intoxicating aroma of espresso does make me a bit tipsy, and I struggle with the temptation knowing I will regret it later. 

aroma beans blur breakfast

Although you can get a great coffee smell and of course good coffee from the single cup pods, I prefer an authentic espresso maker.  To be clear, I’m not talking about the big digitalized models that take up half one’s counter space; I’m speaking of a small pot on the stove top.  It brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee.  I’ve concluded, that the secret to both good tea and coffee is in the boiling water – a hot running boil.  Sometimes if I’m feeling really daring, I will have my espresso with milk, steamed and made foamy with a handheld frother.   I know I’m going to lie awake thinking about it tonight, then I can say  “ I couldn’t sleep last night because of the coffee.”

 

Seriously though, besides the physical pleasure from the coffee, I also have an emotional attachment.  I don’t have to taste the coffee to feel I’m at my mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen table feeling safe and loved.  When we were young, we would have a cup of hot milk with a couple of drops of coffee.  We felt so grown up when we were able to participate in having a “café con leche” with the elders.  

Many years later when I lived alone in an apartment building in an old mill city in New England, there lived an older gentleman at the end of the hall near the exit door.  Every morning as I set out to go to work, I would be assaulted with the smell of freshly brewed espresso.  I knew he was making it like my grandmother and I was often tempted to knock on the door and invite myself in.  He didn’t seem like a friendly fellow; I wonder what would have happened if we were to share a cup of coffee and a piece of warm homemade bread with real butter.   What stories would he have to tell?  What stories would we have in common?

What’s your relationship with coffee?  Is it just a way to make it through the day?  Does the smell of coffee connect you with a memory of a loved one? An old friend perhaps?

My first week at #RagTag Daily Prompt.  #coffee  

This was fun!  Is the format OK?  Not sure about pingbacks. 

 

The fragrance of our lives

I wonder how the month of May compares with Christmas for the retail industry.  It seems there are people out shopping for Mother’s Day, Graduations and let’s not forget Father’s Day and June weddings.  

On the weekend right after Mother’s Day, as Blaise walked into a major department store, he found himself accosted by a beautiful young woman who was dressed as if she was on her way to a night on the town.  She blocked his path and with a coquettish smile asked “wanna try?”  He froze as he took her in.  Her makeup was perfect- her lips just the right shade of red; her long black gown was open to show her long legs and she smelled wonderful.   As he regained his composure he realized she had a bottle of cologne in her hand, she was a fragrance model.   “It’s called ENOUGH, its debuting today and it’s guaranteed to make your girlfriend realize you’re all she’ll ever need.” She smiled again and winked at him and said, “Hi, my name is Marcy”

FragranceBlaise didn’t come in shopping for cologne but when Marcy wearing that big smile, pointed at him with a spritzer bottle, he responded: “sure, why not.”  He found that he did like the fragrance.  Smells like a man, he thought. He enjoyed feeling fresh, clean and masculine with a touch of cologne or aftershave. It reminded him of his dad.  On Sunday morning his dad told them that a man needs to clean up and be ready to stand before God.  He would wear his best shirt and use his best cologne. During the week he would head straight for the shower when he came home from the shop.  After a while his dad would come down with nails clean, hair combed back and smelling like a dandy just to please Mom.  That’s what a family man does his dad had taught him, always come clean to the dinner table.   Without a second thought, Blaise had Marcy ring it up.  The fragrance would be his present for Camille, his wife. 

On Monday Blaise had to be up early for work. After he showered and dressed, he remembered the new cologne he’d bought over the weekend.  Because he was going to the office, he sprayed himself lightly, just ENOUGH he smirked to himself at the clever play on words. 

In the bedroom, Camille was getting a whiff of something powerful coming from the bathroom, and she felt her stomach turn.  What on earth?!  When she sensed Blaise coming into the room, she closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep.  She still had another hour before the alarm rang for her.   Blaise stood over the bed trying to decide whether or not to wake her so that she could enjoy him and his new cologne.   Camille wishing for him to go away with that smell, kept her eyes closed and pretended to roll away from him in her sleep.  Blaise tiptoed out of the room and headed to work. 

Blaise was greeted by Mrs. Meddles at the front desk like any other morning.  She was an older woman who reminded him of his mom.  She was always ready with a smile and a cheerful good morning as everyone came in.  “Don’t you look dapper today?”  Blaise gave her a shy smile “just as I do every day” he told her and continued on his way down the hall.   She stared after him a little longer as he walked out of sight and then it hit her, it was the fragrance that made him look different.  He was wearing cologne today and she could swear he had a spring in his step.  Or did he?  She asked herself.   She remembered Bill when he was that age.  He would get playful whenever he wore cologne.  She loved that clean fresh shaven smell.  It was like the chicken or the egg.  Did he get frisky because he was wearing cologne or because of her reaction to him?  It was so long ago, she felt lonely all of a sudden.  It had been years since she and Bill….. The last heart attack took her Bill away.  The stranger in her house just stared at her when she got home each evening.  Did he remember?  Fragrance is a powerful thing.  She wondered if she were to buy his old cologne or her perfume would he have a reaction? Would there be at least a flicker, a bit of recognition in his gray eyes?   “Good morning, don’t you look nice today?” she was grateful for the interruption.   “Good morning, Mrs. Meddles.  It’s always nice to see your smiling face in the morning.” said Mary Grey.   Mrs. Meddles was glad to have people streaming in regularly now as she greeted each one with a smile and a cheerful comment. 

On the other side of town, Camille was arriving at work.  As she got in the elevator, she heard Winnie Madison call out “hold it for us!”   Winnie came running to catch the elevator to their office, followed closely by her boyfriend, Randall.   Camille had heard all about Randall who worked on the same floor of their office building.  Winnie and Randall started saying their goodbyes, and Camille tried to focus on the numbers above the door in front of her as the elevator made its way up to the 22nd floor. Winnie told her it was difficult for her to be apart from him during the day.  “Doesn’t he smell wonderful?” Winnie asked “I can just eat him up”   Camille didn’t know where to look, but she had noticed a smooth, wood and musk fragrance as the elevator doors closed.  She was feeling lightheaded as she got off the elevator.  Camille didn’t want to remember all the intimate details Winnie had shared but found herself wondering if it was true what they said about fragrances and pheromones.   She thought of Blaise.

During the coffee break, Camille asked about Randall’s fragrance.  She admitted it was pleasant and told Winnie that she was thinking of getting new cologne for Blaise for Father’s Day. She told her of the incident that morning with whatever cheap, awful smelly thing that he wore after he showered.  “Of course, I know what kind it is; I bought it for him this weekend.  They were presenting it to the public at the mall.   It was a little pricey, but I think it’s worth it.  It’s called ENOUGH but be careful, it may be too much for you and Blaise.”  They shared understanding giggles.  Camille decided to go after work to pick up a bottle, but Winnie teased, “Fragrances don’t have the same reaction on everyone you know.”  Camille smiled; she didn’t think she would wait for Father’s Day to find out. 

Day Eighteen: Compose a Series of Anecdotes; the same narrative from a different point of view.  #everydayinspiration

The Girls were home today

alarm alarm clock antique bell
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The alarm went off as usual at 6:30 AM even though it was the weekend.  She heard Cason go into the shower and wondered where he was going so early today.  She rolled over got comfortable again.  It was too early to the day to start.  She heard him getting dressed and in a short while he mumbled something about the Club on his way out the door.  Whatever the reason that got him up and out this morning, she was grateful.

Time to get moving

The sun peeked through the blinds, and Arielle Delsapo jumped out of bed with excitement.  It was already 7:30 in the morning!  The kids were home for the weekend, and she loved it!  She planned to cook their favorite meals and pour on the loving.  Arielle still liked to make everything special for them whenever she had a chance.  She believed that if they found love and tranquility in their home, the world would seem like a better place.   

Not ready to tell them

Arielle pulled the curtains and opened the windows.  It was important to let the bright morning sun and fresh spring air fill every corner of the house with the beginning of a brand new day.  She quickly stuffed the bed covers in the hall closet and arranged the cushions on the couch.   She wanted to enjoy the day and not waste time explaining why she was sleeping on the sofa bed.  Satisfied that everything looked, as usual, she went to the room to shower and change.

Time to Cook it up

She looked at the time. She was glad Cason has gone to the club early this morning; he would probably be gone all day. That worked out fine.  It was 8:30 AM, surely the girls were awake already.  Like her, they were early risers but were enjoying a lazy Saturday morning, reading in bed and cuddling with the cats.  She knew once she started cooking, the smell of all their favorites would make it impossible to stay in bed.  She lovingly prepared pancakes, scrambled eggs, crisp bacon.  Her Dad would be here soon with an Italian breadstick warm from the bakery, and they would have real butter. 

She knew the kids would want coffee.  She took out her mom’s stovetop espresso maker for some old fashion “café con leche.”  The coffee would go on last to make sure they had a freshly brewed pot. She knew they would be out in the kitchen as soon as the fusion of aromas reached the bedrooms and announced that breakfast was ready.  She put out food for the cats and sat to drink some by the window as she waited for them all to get up. She enjoyed the smells and the sounds of a peaceful house. The curtains waved gracefully in the morning breeze hypnotizing and transporting her to another place full of anticipation and hope. She sipped her tea and let it take her away…..

The Kitchen smells of love

Arielle was snapped back to her kitchen as quickly as she had slipped out.  Lovey came into the kitchen sniffing the air with her eyes closed. “The cat wanted to get out. Hmmmm, yum  – where’s the coffee? “ Annie followed shortly after, she put her head down on the kitchen table and grumbled, “coffee?” Relieved for the interruption of her thoughts, Arielle jumped up to get a couple of mugs. 

The Grandpa and the fresh bread

As expected, her Dad arrived on cue with the warm bread, at 9:30 am. The girls were always happy to see him.  “Abuelo!”  Hugs and kisses all around.  Lovey grabbed another mug and plate, and Annie got the milk. They all sat around the table. They ate, laughed, and put on another pot of coffee.  Before they knew it, it was almost noon, and the girls were still in their pajamas.  Her Dad said he had errands to run and managed his goodbyes, without shedding a tear but he marveled one more time at how grown-up they were. 

An eventful day

 The girls wanted to get some things before they got back to school.  All three headed to the Mall.  The warm Spring weather was encouraging as they searched for jeans, sandals and sleeveless shirts.  It was 1:30 PM.  They were just about done but decided to check out which movies were playing.  Surely they could get a matinee in before dinner.  The girls had planned to meet up with friends afterward, and they tried to negotiate a time.  Arielle called Cason to see if he had a preference for dinner, but he said he couldn’t make it and they should make plans without him.  

Matinee and dinner

They picked a “chick flick” a romantic comedy about mothers and daughters adapting to major life changes.   It was almost 7:00 pm when it was over. They chose a new restaurant nearby.   It was trendy with just the right lighting, music and the food was good.  While they were waiting for dessert, Ariel took a deep breath and said “I’m done. I’m getting a divorce.” The girls looked at each other and finally Annie said, “Well its about time!”.  “No kidding” echoed Lovey.   They hugged their mom. They were not children anymore.  They had seen the writing on the wall. 

They enjoyed their desert and headed home. Lovey and Annie crossed paths with their step-dad Cason, who was going out for the night.  The girls decided to stay home with their mom and played Forty-Fives for awhile before going to bed.  Arielle went to the hall closet and took out the bedding for the sofa-bed.   She was glad to have spent another great day with her girls.  She went to their rooms and kissed each one good night.  They were reading, and each one had a cat snuggling under the sheets. 

Day Fourteen: Recreate a Single Day   #everydayinspiration   

Roseanne, Samantha and Free Speech

 

Critique does not come easy for me.  I try to be careful but truthful with my words.  I don’t like to be rude.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  I consider myself a moderate in many things.  I prefer to look at both sides of an issue, as I know that circumstances can appear different to each of us. We all have experiences that color our perception of the world around us.  I’m one of those who believes in “being nice to someone no matter what because you don’t know what they’ve been through.”  When there is a bizarre statement trending on social media, I try to look it up before I pass judgment or share inaccurate or misleading information.  I have voted for political candidates on both sides of the aisle, taking into consideration which person I feel is best for the job. That being said, when push comes to shove, I lean to the left.  My reasons?  That’s for another blog post-stay tuned.

Today let’s talk First Amendment, specifically regarding Freedom of Speech, Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee and Colin Kaepernick.  I have never been a fan of Roseanne Barr or Samantha Bee, and I have had a passionate dislike for reality television since its inception.  I don’t care much for professional sports where the tickets are financially out of reach for the average family.  In my opinion, both women are the type of comedian who does or say anything outrageous just for laughs.  Reality stars are a peculiar bunch whose behavior is motivated less by real emotion than by the drive to affect the ratings and stand out from the rest by being dramatic or outlandish.

Samantha Bee’s statement about Ivanka Trump falls into the comedic arts category.  I think there were other ways she could have addressed Ms. Trump’s apparent lack of empathy for the families separated at the border.  The offensive word Samantha Bee used was not funny and did not advance her message, but the “wow factor” did get her media attention.  Should she have been fired? I suppose some might argue that foul language and off-color remarks are acceptable as part of a comedy routine. In the general population, some people use swear words like others use punctuation marks.  I have been known to unnecessarily spice up my language to make a point, but I am never in favor of anyone using disparaging statements to describe another person or to lash out at someone. 

Roseanne Barr, also a comedian, woke up in the middle of the night, sent out a racist tweet and tried to backpedal by saying she was under the influence of prescribed medication. There is an old expression that says, “a drunken man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.”   Is that comparable to a woman on Ambien?  I called out a colleague at work once for a scornful comment he made. He apologized saying that he said it without thinking; this admission on his part told me that derogatory thoughts were part of his belief system.  Had he been thinking, he would have filtered his words. I don’t believe medication, alcohol or Bipolar Disorder makes a person racist.  It is something taught early in life, and some people never learn anything else.  Should Roseanne Barr have been fired?  I’m sure she is not the only racist in Hollywood, but because she does not hold political office, she does not have the right to call people apes or fat or ugly or cowards or losers or sons-of-bitches. Ms. Barr doesn’t have the right to change the facts or make fun of disabled people or ethnic groups or even to say white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are made up of good people.  Although she is a celebrity, she is not the President of the United States and does not have the same rights sanctioned by conservative groups that the President has.  Instead, Roseanne Barr is an actor who worked for a family oriented business, and an angry racist is not kind of image Disney wants to be associated with their brand.

Since some in the media have linked Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee, and Colin Kaepernick, in the same First Amendment debate, I will address it here as well.  Colin Kaepernick, a young athlete of African-American descent, decided to use his position, his celebrity status if you will, to advocate for change in the justice system, specifically concerning racial profiling and use excessive force often leading to death.  We teach our children that one person; one small act can make a difference.  One NFL player “took a knee” to bring awareness to an ongoing problem in our country. He lost his job and was blacklisted from the sport.

According to a Snopes fact-check published September 28, 2017, former Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer, educated and advised Kaepernick and former teammate, Eric Reid to “take a knee” instead of sitting out the National Anthem in objection to current civil liberty violations.  The three agreed this was more respectful,  “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect…”  Eric Reid is quoted as saying “We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.”  The “take a knee” demonstration was a thoughtful form of silent protest.  It is protesting social injustice, not the flag, not the military or the country or whatever other theories are out there in the media. 

Divisive politics and fear-mongering have tried to skew the facts and turn the story around to question the integrity or validity of the complaint; to question the patriotism of protests in general. It is sad to me that the government has stepped in to coerce private companies to make employees behave in a way that is acceptable to the Administration’s agenda.   The NFL’s new policy about the etiquette during the national anthem is an example of this.  Last year it was indirectly suggested that perhaps the Administration should look into the tax breaks the NFL teams were getting since they were disrespectful to the flag and country.  Why these teams need “tax breaks” is beyond me, but that’s a topic for another post.  The point is the suggestive language worked.

According to Britanica.com “In the broadest sense, totalitarianism is characterized by strong central rule that attempts to control and direct all aspects of individual life through coercion and repression.”   I find it upsetting to think this is happening in our country.  People complained about political correctness, an idea that attempted to invoke fairness and open-mindedness but what I see now; is an agenda to make sure everyone is behaving and thinking in the same way.  This plan is based on one group’s interpretation of Judeo-Christian traditions or the Constitution or whatever else they can use to manipulate the masses.   

How does this change?  It changes when everyone takes an interest in being well informed and challenging the ideas that limit our freedoms.  It is disheartening to know that a significant number of people in this country stop at the headlines they see in social media. They don’t read entire articles nor do they cross-reference sources.  That’s why it is easy for foreign powers to influence our politics or how we look at the world around us.   It changes when citizens of this great nation stand-up and give a damn to research the candidates beyond the sound bites.  It changes when well-informed citizens get out to vote. 

Day Twelve: Critique a Piece of Work or Write an Opinion Piece   #everydayinspiration

If we were having coffee right now

two brown and black ceramic teacups filled on black saucers
Photo by Jana on Pexels.com

If we were having coffee right now, it would indeed be a special event.  You see I consider myself a social drinker.  I don’t drink coffee on a regular basis, only on occasion.  Every morning I drink hot black tea in round bags with boiled water from my teapot.  I let it sit for several minutes so that the caffeine is extracted and then I add a drop or two of milk.  During the day I reach for green tea –hot or cold, sometimes I pop in some raspberries for a different flavor. 

If we were having coffee right now, I would have been tempted by the rich aroma of the Arabica beans filling the air.  I love the smell of coffee brewing, especially the espresso method that seems to squeeze out every bit of flavor from the finely ground beans.  Coffee fills my senses and reminds me of home; of my mother and both grandmothers who sometimes had sweet bread or pastry with coffee or café con leche in the afternoon. 

If we were having coffee right now, we would be sitting in your kitchen as we had many years before.  We would catch up with stories about our children, siblings and rest of the family.  You would have shown me that you’ve started working on your garden after the harsh winter. I would tell you I’m still trying to get my orchid to bloom after all these years.  We would reminisce about the fun times we had as a group of women getting together to laugh and share our personal philosophies of faith, love and the quest for happiness in our lives.  How I’ve missed that camaraderie with like-minded women!  I consider it one of the blessings in my life to have you all when in time of need. 

If we were having coffee right now, we would talk about our busy week.  You would tell me about your travels and the interesting people you’ve met.  I would tell you that I’m writing a blog for fun and sharing of ideas.  It’s a journal sprinkled with creative writing, poetry, and essays.  You’ll tell me you’re working on another book about the program you’ve developed with your longtime colleague at the Institute.  It will undoubtedly be just as successful as the first one.  I still have my autographed copy.

If we were having coffee right now, I would tell you that I’ve started going to town meetings and focus groups in preparation for the coming elections in August and November.  I have found people and politics so different in my new city in the southeastern part of the country.  We would both agree that it is never too early to start examining the candidates, there is too much at stake.  You would get me up to date on the issues in your city, which in large part have not changed much since I was here.  Politics usually leads us to religion.  It’s so refreshing to talk to someone with the same values and level of empathy for our fellow compatriots.   

If we were having coffee right now, I would treasure the moment and file the memory like a snapshot in my mind.  I would save it and document it until we can make it a reality again.   Social media, phone calls, and emails can’t replace the joy of sitting to have coffee with an old friend. 

Day Eleven: A Cup of Coffee   #everydayinspiration

Beach after the Storm

Beach and rain
a hint of sunlight in the distance in an otherwise gray and dismal day.

Even though we have had severe weather warnings and plenty of rain, I decided to take the scenic route this afternoon. Rather than go a short ride up the Interstate, I decided to drive along the shore to one of the only beaches in the area where I can go with my Baby Girl. She’s not a fan of the beach or too much sun and heat. It doesn’t matter that she was just groomed and her hair is short. She hates getting her feet wet or walking for too long on the hardened sand that still manages to get in between her toes and stuck to her.

Eliza chillin' in the shade@ Honeymoon Island

I have to excuse her; she is a mixed-breed, and her identified ancestral lineages were designed and destined to be lap dogs for royalty. She likes to play catch and tug-of-war, but she is perfectly content if she is cuddling with a human on the couch or in bed. I don’t usually take her to the beach, but if the weather is right, she doesn’t mind the outdoors and is happy to sit quietly with me to people watch.

We saw the black clouds hanging in the sky at a distance as we crossed the bridge to the island. It’s always a treat to look over the bay and inlets as we drive over. We noticed that water was starting to accumulate on some of the front lawns and gardens. I was wondering if any streets were going to be a problem, although it was probably too soon for any roads to be underwater. I was hoping we were driving just behind the rainstorm so that we could stop in at the beach and sit for a bit. We opened the windows to smell the ocean air and minimize the wet-dog smell.

The beach was gray today. On the far end of the shore, the clouds parted to let the sun peek through, but here the sky and the water, even the sand took on the gray tinge. The wind was steady and strong; it seemed to have rummaged through the depths of the sea to bring up the pungent smells of musty seaweed and briny marine life. My Baby Girl didn’t like that either; she squinted her eyes when the wind picked up around her and sniffed the air. Not far away another dog barked excitedly when he saw her, but she prefers to play with people. She looked up but ignored him and continued on her way examining all the smells along the shoreline as we walked.

Except for the wind and crashing waves of the unusually turbulent surf, the beach was quiet. Snowbird season is over, lawn furniture was put away, and many houses looked vacant. There were people sprinkled about on blankets and a few walkers near the water. There was not the usual laughter, the noisy buzzing of conversations or music playing. A group of young people talked among themselves trying to decide if it was worth it to put up the volleyball net. They seemed to have decided it was. Baby Girl and I sat on a bench for a little bit longer but she was getting restless, and it was getting late. We could hear the traffic start to form on the road, so we packed our things and headed home.

Day Ten: Let the Scene Write Itself   #everydayinspiration
Please remember that I am looking for ideas for my assignment #15. What do you think I should write about and how? Add a comment to this post or go to Contact Me at the top of the page. Thanks, much appreciated.

My life while writing – what life?

pexels-photo-756017.jpeg
Brown Pelicans fishing -Wordpress

I admit that it seems that since I started writing a couple of months ago, I’ve done nothing else. I’ve taken courses at Blogging U and joined a twenty-six-day writing challenge, all with the sole purpose to get me to write every day. Between writing, editing and reading other blogs, this has become my life. I do get out to socialize a bit or to club meetings, and of course to spend time with family but I have been extremely pre-occupied; afraid to fall off the writing wagon again.

Over the past few days, I have been giving thought to structuring my days differently to make room for things I enjoy. I know daily posting is not something I can sustain indefinitely. I have great sensory awareness; I write best when I am directly affected by life around me. I need to get out to experience different things first hand. I need the smells, the visuals, the sounds to transport me to another time and place when I write. I like to feel a connection to a story.

I know I need to get back to the walks on the beach in the early morning where I can stop to watch the pelicans fishing. Getting back to yoga and the gym would be nice for health reasons. I also want to laugh with friends at karaoke or a comedy club or a movie. I’d like to people watch at outdoor festivals while listening to a cover band. I like to dance like no one is watching, think Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. I am aware that I need to live to write about life. A personal challenge for me in a new city is to get out there, “just do it.”

P. S.- Please remember that I need I ideas from my readers for my Day Fifteen assignment. Please let me know what you think I should write about. What type of post would you like to see me write; poem, an essay? Is there a particular topic you would like me to address? Please share your ideas in the comment section of this post, or you can go to my Contact Me page. https://rosalind.life/contact-me/

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your help.

Day Nine: Writing and Not Writing     #everydayinspiration

The letter I never wrote

My Dearest Bobby, 

It’s been almost half a century since we last saw each other or since we shared about our lives and yet I looked for you a few years back when I found myself in a new city without friends. Where have all my young friends gone, long time passing? 

How I had missed you!  You drove west on a cross-country adventure right after college, looking for John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High.  I went looking for myself on the little Caribbean Island where my family roots were waiting. 

The last time you wrote to me, you told me that you finally understood when I wrote to you about my special love for Edward.  You wrote that you had found someone extraordinary as well and felt like you were on cloud nine. “I’m walking on air! This is the one,” you wrote.  I was so happy for you.  You deserved to be loved to the max.   I never heard from you again; not even when I wrote to tell you of Edward’s unexpected passing.  I always wondered about that and thought it strange.  Did you get my letter?  It was before Facebook and emails when letters often were lost and neither party knew it.  I believe in my heart that if you would have gotten it, you would have reached out.  You were always there for me.

Speaking of Facebook, let me tell you that there must be a gazillion Robert J. Smiths on Facebook! You had told me once. that Robert James Smith was a common family name from one of the islands in the Canadian Maritime provinces where your parents were born. I expected many Smiths but I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting so many with that name combination in our age group. I tried many variations to filter my search and convince the algorithms to give you up. 

Finally there it was; a Robert J Smith from New York currently living in the Rocky Mountains!  The profile picture was a portrait of a past president known as a great social reformer. I knew I had to be on to something, but the profile said this Robert J was a computer guy at some Rocky Mountain University, not a famous photojournalist traveling the world in search of a great story. 

Although this Robert J was not the photojournalist you had dreamed of becoming, there were random sarcastic posts and funny tongue-in-cheek comments in reference to some joke among your friends.  I remember that you were always amusing with a sharp wit. I kept scrolling on that page.  The information available on the public profile gave me an indication that I may have found the right person. 

It seems this Robert J was an activist like my Bobby who inspired and motivated us to march and protest many things while we were in high school.  I remember the cold, wet days we spent holding signs in front of the local state-run mental hospital to oppose the abuse and demand better community options for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.  We recycled and protested about pollution. All the while you documented it with exceptional photos for the school paper.

It seemed like this Robert J was also a patron of the arts and I remembered how we spent that one summer exploring all the little museums in the city because we had already exhausted the larger ones.  The haunting photos you took at the Cloisters were amazing.  It was exciting watching them develop in the makeshift darkroom in your parents’ apartment. 

We enjoyed that summer even if it was just the two of us. All our friends were busy with their own projects or were just not interested in the same things.  Bernice approached me once about her insecurities because we were spending so much time together.  I remembered assuring her that you loved her and the only reason you kept inviting me was that you being ever the supportive friend, didn’t want me to be alone as I dealt with my recent breakup with Harry.  

Suddenly as I scrolled through the photos on that Facebook page, I saw your smiling face; still looking like a cherub with curly gray hair.  Even in the black and white photo, your eyes had a sparkle as you sipped from a champagne flute in the back seat of a limo with your wife.  She looked nice. I was glad to see you so happy; I didn’t bother with the friend request.

About a year later I tried again.  This time there was just one status update post.  You were glad it would be your last radiation treatment. You explained that you had just started chemotherapy on Brain Cancer Awareness Day.  So many memories, and some regrets, all came rushing at me.  I said a prayer but didn’t contact you.  I wish I had.   

Months later around your birthday, I checked a third time, but when nothing new had been posted, I looked for your wife.  Did I just become a stalker? I didn’t care; I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I saw the condolences on her page.  So many people were acknowledging what a wonderful friend you were and how you touched their lives.  They all loved you, as I did.  I saw what she said was her favorite picture of you posted for your birthday.  She wanted to reassure her friends that she was coping well and but admitted she missed you so much. I was glad to see she loved you so.

It was a professional portrait, and it was how I had imagined you aging with soft gray curls and a neatly trimmed beard.  Your mismatched eyes were apparent, one green, one hazel.  They were thoughtful eyes, caring eyes.  My sweet Bobby; you found someone who loved you the way I couldn’t.  I thank God for her. I wanted to reach out to her and add my condolences, but I didn’t. 

I still remember you on your birthday and say a prayer.  I’m sorry I didn’t love you the way you wanted; the way your parents would have wanted. I’m glad we were best friends though. I’ll always remember the special moments we shared, the decision we made that summer to protect Bernice. I question myself about that choice from time to time and naturally wonder what could have been,. 

Of one thing I am certain, I am grateful that I had you to walk beside me as we were growing up and transitioning into adulthood. 

Rest in peace my dear one. 

You are forever in my heart – love me.                                                                                                                                                           

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Day Eight: Reinvent the Letter Format   #everydayinspiration

Let Social Media Inspire You

“I can’t decide if procrastination kills creativity or is essential to it.”                                           Grant Snider@grantdraws  Twitter

Today is the test. Has procrastination murdered my creativity?  I’ve been putting off completing this assignment all day.   I don’t know why, but maybe the very essence of the word procrastination is enough to make me fall off the wagon.  I think I’m doing pretty well since I decided to make my blog a priority.   I knew keeping up with a consistent writing routine was going to be a test of dedication to my craft.   I’ve joined Writing Challenges and participated in courses at Blogging U just to make sure that something would stimulate me or hold me accountable to get to the computer to write.

writing muse
Photo by Fröken Fokus on Pexels.com

In the past, when a project was due, I was one that pondered, ruminated and at the final hour moved forward with all my might to catch up. I have found though that if I have a thought, an idea or an inspiration, I need to grab it and run with it at that moment.  If the sentiment passes, it goes up like a cloud of smoke, and it’s much harder to be creative because one can’t force the arts.  I can understand when someone cries that the muse is gone and with it the intention to be fresh and original.  

I’ve said before that I have learned that I am a binge writer as explained by Kara Daly from Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog.  https://brevity.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/staying-out-of-the-headlights-on-finding-my-own-writing-process/.   I need my imagination stirred; I need a catalyst to start churning ideas in my mind.  When I feel it moving, thoughts start flowing, and I write; it may be poems, essays, sometimes it’s a story without end, and I need to find a wrap-up.  Lately, I’ve been better about jotting the random thoughts that come about as well.  I may not use all of the material that flows, but then I have something in the pipeline for when the muses don’t stop by.

In short to respond to the tweet by Grant Snider@grantdraws; Procrastination kills creativity for me because if I wait until the last minute, I am stressed and worried about the time.  Procrastination may be alright in other areas but not when I want my creative juices flowing. 

Please remember that I need your help too with ideas of what you want to see me write about for the final lessons.  You can put suggestions in the comments section of this blog post or go to the Contact Me page on the menu section at the top of the page. Thanks.

Day Seven: Let Social Media Inspire You  #everydayinspiration

Writing Space

Most days I enjoy writing in the quiet of my room, up away from the street noise and TVs.  I have a small computer desk where I perch my laptop on its stand and pull out the keyboard from the tray.  I’ve got a table with a couple of notebooks and pens for jotting ideas or taking notes and always a glass of ice water.  I love a bright sunny day when I can write without lamps and open the window for fresh air.  

My ideal space would be a loft on the second floor of a Spanish colonial townhome on the edge of the Old San Juan historic district; with a view of San Juan Bay.  I would also be satisfied with a loft apartment in the same place but now over a Spanish style bakery with the aroma of fresh Mallorca and expresso spiraling up through the open doors on the balcony which overlooks the cobblestone streets.  Who am I kidding?  Neither one of these would be conducive to productivity.   I would spend hours daydreaming or people watching or maybe not indoors at all.   In that case, I will stay in my own little corner, twirling in my office chair, in front of my computer desk. 

Some of you may have noticed I am working in a group to continue to improve my writing.  Photo by 85Fifteen on UnsplashFor the past few days, at the end of each post, I have identified the task for the corresponding day.   Today’s assignment has a part two.  We have been asked to collect post ideas from our readers that we can refer to in the future.  What would you like to see me write about?  We are to gather ideas that will in some way be integrated with our Day 15 assignment.  I would certainly appreciate your help.   You can leave an idea in the comments section or go to my Contact Me page from the blog menu.  

Here is the link to Contact Me —-  It should be fun. 

I look forward to hearing from you.   Contact Me

Day Six – A Space to Write  #everydayinspiration