Friday, June 29, 2012


Blessings are reality interpreted as kind advantage.  Our need to express thanks for our fortunes and existence gave birth to religion.  To use that conduit to infinity as a cruel weapon is the antithesis of praise; it defames religion, but is so like humans at their basest.

Growing on Waverly Lane
My Iris

Shame, disgrace, financial ruin, ill health and death should never be considered as deserved; neither should the smugly righteous be congratulating themselves that they avoided such fate.  The Germans have a term for this, "schadenfreude," which means "your misfortune is my enjoyment."  That is the root of gossip, the passing on of damning tales of others' misbehavior or misfortune.  The teller feels somehow comforted in his moral superiority.

Growing Wild on Waverly Lane
Queen Anne's Lace

I always feel somewhat sad upon having to hear these tales.  As John Donne wrote, "...each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind..."  I include grief or misfortune along with "death."  I guess, as the TV talk righties would say, I'm just a pinhead.  So may it ever be (amen).

Our Front Field of Wild Flowers on Waverly Lane

Friday, June 15, 2012


You were hands-down the cutest little fellow

Who grew into the hunkiest teen with a bewitching black Ford

In high school the girls did swoon

In college they fell as well

You were my dreamboat

Fatherhood was strange territory

Your loving children:  See No Evil, Hear No Evil, & Boy That's Evil

You always knew how to fix things

You gave us a lot of loving

You showed us a great time
We love you!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Lately it seems infidelity is epidemic, effecting mostly young and middle-aged people, for whom the prospect of love with one person becomes an unbearable deprivation in what we believe to be our one and only chance for happiness.  It is an old familiar theme which has played upon the human stage for all its history.

The First Couple Working on Their Relationship

Discovery of such betrayal begets sorrow, rage, more rage, the heaving of fireplace logs, marathon happy hours, and flat-out, wild-eyed insanity.  There seems to be no prevention for this sad eventuality; no amount of properly pleasing your mate will deter its delicious compulsion.  It is what it is:  a covert, magnetic slam-a-thon of fatal attraction, one which can only change everything and everyone in its wake.

The Heaving of Something Heavy Brings Temporary Relief

The Symptoms

1.  Noticeable in the routine of a cheater is the sudden attention to self-improvement:  wardrobe upgrades, weight loss, buff-up workout sessions, and careful grooming.  The extra toothbrush and mouthwash in the car glove compartment are little red flags.  Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes.

2,  Looking you in the eye becomes a constant avoidance.

3.  Suddenly your mate finds fault with your every word and deed, also known as justification for any marital straying.

4.  Your spouse becomes an Olympic prevaricator, lying about inconsequential matters, presumably for the practice.

I was kidding about the poison list, we all die soon enough.  I am reminded of the woman who tried to kill her cheating husband with cholesterol.  Can't you just imagine her:  "Here Honey, here's a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and I didn't hold the mayo either.  Obviously they stayed together because they wrote a book about their ordeal.  Some folks last the trip through the wandering-eye years.  I only know I'm glad not to be young anymore.

Love Endures All Things (But if I were him, I wouldn't eat her cooking) 

Monday, June 4, 2012


Nellie Pearl Strigle Berger Braxton was born in 1925 in Gloucester County, Virginia, and was the cutest little baby ever.  Her sisters played with and competed over her, famously fitting her into the family teapot - at the height of their sibling affection - to prove her pixie adorableness.

The Earliest Photo of Little Nell

She recalled how her brother Gene would put her atop their dog "Airedale" and scare him into running with little Nellie hanging on by hair.  It never ended well.  She said she thought she would never learn to love that brother, but she did.

As she grew, little Nellie Pearl began impromptu performances singing and dancing for any occasion that presented itself.  One account had her dancing on a piano, unless I heard her fellow schoolmate incorrectly.  She skated very well at the Old Mill Rink, the only social outlet of its day.

Newspaper Photo of Nellie in a Talent Contest at New Point High School in Late 30's
(Waiting onstage to perform)

Eventually Nellie met and married her first husband, Al.  They were a beautiful couple and had four beautiful children, spending their lives together in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Nellie and Al

She and her first love, Bill, did not marry.  They led separate lives until losing their spouses; reuniting, they married in the late 90's.  He is 95 and still drives.  He takes good care of our Nellie Pearl and writes books about his long exciting life in his spare time.  She remains the cutest octogenarian, ever, married to the cutest 90-something wheeling around Tampa, Florida.  Life is best lived happy.  (For pictures of Nellie and Bill, go to Friday, November 4, 2011, post of Life in Mathews.)