YOU SAID WHAT?

I’D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT COMMUNICATION TODAY BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A WORLD OF INSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH IPADS,EMAILS, BLOGS, TEXTING,TWITTERING AND TWEETING. RARELY DO WE COME TO A FACE-TO-FACE ENCOUNTER. EVEN THEN, TRUE COMMUNICATION CAN BE DIFFICULT BECAUSE EVERY HEAD IS A WORLD FILLED WITH PAST EXPERIENCES, EMOTIONS, PREFERENCES, AND PREJUDICES. TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE DIFFICULT, WE WRITE SCRIPTS IN OUR HEADS. IF I SAY THIS, THEN YOU’LL SAY THAT, AND THEN WE’LL DO THIS. EXCEPT THAT THERE’S A PROBLEM. WE DON’T EXCHANGE THE SCRIPTS, SO WE CAJOLE, PERSUADE, MANEUVER, ALL THE WHILE TRYING TO MAKE OUR SCRIPT THE FINAL SHOOTING ONE. IT’S A TOUGH GIG.
IT WAS EVEN TOUGHER FOR ME WHEN, AS A PEACE CORP VOLUNTEER FOR A LITTLE OVER TWO YEARS IN 1994, I LIVED IN A BRAND NEW COUNTRY, THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC. I WAS 67 YEARS OLD, AND THE REST OF THE 28 VOLUNTEERS WERE IN THEIR EARLY TWENTIES. THAT WAS THE FIRST COMMUNICATION HURDLE, BUT IT WAS A SNAP COMPARED TO TRYING TO COMMUNICATE IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE EVERY DAY.
FOR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS, THE PEACE CORP HAD US ATTEND SCHOOL FIVE DAYS A WEEK, PLUS MANY WEEKEND EXCURSIONS INTO THE COUNTRY, TO LEARN HOW TO FULFILL, AS THEY TERMED IT, “THE TOUGHEST JOB YOU’LL EVER LOVE.”
DURING THOSE THREE MONTHS, WE WERE FARMED OUT TO LIVE WITH SLOVAK FAMILIES WHO HAD VOLUNTEERED TO HOUSE US. NOW THIS WAS A GUTSY MOVE ON THEIR PART. THEY HAD BEEN RAISED DURING THE NAZI AND SOVIET REGIMES, AND FOR ALL THOSE YEARS, AMERICANS WERE THE ENEMY AND, SUDDENLY, THERE WE WERE, RIGHT IN THEIR LIVING ROOMS.
MY FAMILY CONSISTED OF THREE WOMEN IN THEIR FORTIES, NONE OF WHOM SPOKE A WORD OF ENGLISH. ONE OF THEM, EMA, BECAME A GOOD FRIEND, HELPING ME TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE AND TAKING ME WITH HER TO HER MOTHER’S HOME IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC FOR THE TWO CHRISTMASES I WAS THERE.
THE LANGUAGE WAS DIFFICULT FOR ME. I NEVER BECAME FLUENT TO THE POINT WHERE I COULD WRITE THIS IN SLOVAK, BUT I KNEW ENOUGH TO CARRY ON EVERYDAY CONVERSATIONS, AND SURVIVE AT THE MARKETS, POST OFFICE, RESTAURANTS, BANK, TRAIN AND BUS STATIONS, AND EVEN AT THE POLICE STATION. THAT WAS A REAL CHALLENGE.
ONE DAY, IN UTTER FRUSTRATION, I SAID TO EMA,IN SLOVAK, “I AM SORRY THAT I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH SLOVAK VOCABULARY TO TELL YOU ABOUT SOME OF MY PAST EXPERIENCES THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU.” SHE LOOKED DIRECTLY INTO MY EYES AND, IN SLOVAK, SAID, “PATRICIA, IT IS NOT IMPORTANT BECAUSE WE TALK WITH OUR EYES, OUR HEARTS, OUR SOULS, AND HUMOR.” SHE WAS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. THAT IS THE TRUE COMMUNICATION, THE KIND, I THINK, THAT WE NEED MORE AND MORE OF IN OUR LIVES TODAY TO HONOR ONE ANOTHER.

DO I REALLY HAVE A CHOICE?

MOST OF YOU ARE TOO YOUNG TO REMEMBER WW11, BUT THOSE WERE MY HIGH SCHOOL YEARS. I REMEMBER THE TYRANTS’ SPEECHES, FOMENTING HATE AND FEAR. I REMEMBER CHURCHILL’S SPEECHES CALLING FOR COURAGE AND STRENGTH. I REMEMBER ROOSEVELT’S RADIO TALKS TO US AND CAN, EVEN NOW, HEAR THAT “WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF” VOICE CLEARLY AND TRULY.
AGAIN, I AM HEARING SPEECHES FILLED WITH HATE, BIGOTRY, AND FEAR. AGAIN, I AM HEARING SPEECHES CALLING FOR OUR STRENGTH AND COMPASSION, IN THE AMERICAN TRADITION,HARKING BACK TO THE DAYS OF THE MEN WHO FOUNDED OUR COUNTRY AND ITS CONSTITUTION, WHO FORMED A UNION GUIDED BY GOD’S PRINCIPLES.
DO I REALLY HAVE A CHOICE?

HELLO, HOPE

At this stage in my existence, having lead several different kinds of lives with people here and abroad, I want to make more beautiful memories,especially with the people I love.
Hate, racism, and cruelty,emotions that seem to be a thread in many of the social media comments leave me with a feeling of abandonment.
Yes,I know what is going on in the world.
No, I am not sticking my head into the sand.
But, I want to surround myself with hope and the anticipation of experiencing the wonderful, positive, loving aspects of my fellow human beings.

alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALERT! MY COMPUTER WAS RECENTLY HACKED, AND I HAVE LOST PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING, INCLUDING MY CONTACT EMAIL LIST AND ACCESS TO IMPORTANT POSTS. THEY WILL CALL OR EMAIL, CLAIMING TO BE TECHS THAT REPRESENT MICROSOFT AND TELLING YOU THAT YOU HAVE EITHER ALREADY BEEN HACKED OR ACCUSED BY PEOPLE OF SENDING THEM SCAM EMAILS. DON’T BELIEVE IT.

Whorehouse Piano

Poesy plus Polemics

piano “Abstract Piano” by Debra Hurd

play that red silk music

lascivious fingered

glissandos that beckon

the credulous virgin

adapted to easy arousal

of mindlessly eager and

readily tumescent ears

pay no heed to the daylight

that harsh piece of clockwork

immodest with truth

it’s the nighttime holds forth

with sly prurient promises

nubile ideas dripping ecstasy

craved by the plainest and

most inexperienced minds

all it takes is to drop off

one’s ballot in care of

the crone at the door

cheap enough for a few

thrilling hours in arms

of a lover-for-hire

accompanied by that

dissembling piano-man

playing his sheer

insincere serenade

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

“My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference!” – Harry Truman

Thanks to the English Professor for the irresistible cue.

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