So much sadness

So much sadness in the world.  People dying alone, or on their cell phone, through a hospital window saying goodbye to a loved one.   Or not saying goodbye from a bed in the projects, or a castle on the rock, like Mont San Michel.  Too much misery.

The tsunami was coming our way.  But who would have thought what happened in Italy could come here.  Puzzling they had such a first class health system, but people were chosen to live or die like a basket of apples, the rotten ones were thrown out.  We were better than this, or so we thought.  For it came to our doorstep and the Big Apple held on as long as possible but it was too late. Crash!  Beds full to the brim and nurses and aides and doctors rushed to the rescue, in Louisiana and other places where people of color became the main victims of their own poverty. No health education or welfare.  Horrific and swept under the rug, dead bodies left to rot in a truck at a mortuary, in Brooklyn.  Hard to believe.

Some people say it’s a hoax.

Everything put on hold, at the center of the press and pushed out the arrest for the lynching two months ago of Ahmaud Arbery, out for a jog in his hometown in the middle of the day shot and killed in cold blood, by a man and son with links to the local sheriff.   How are black to live day to day without putting up a guard.  Impossible. Injust. But no one cares about the black boys whose lives are ruined, since the day they set foot on this soil.

More law issues permeate the news as our corrupt government frees a lying accomplice to a crime flirting with the Russians.  What does it matter?

There is a silver lining to all of this madness.  Some have never been so happy in their everyday productive lives.  The skies are clear, the roads are empty.  But people are unemployed.  The worst since 1939.

What will happen now that we are flattening the curve?  Hospitalizations decline, even though the deaths continue to fluctuate, and the cases rise.  We don’t know who’s infected.  We treat others like banshees as we cross their paths.  All we can do is say “Hi!”

What will tomorrow bring?


New Clothes and Old Clothes

“New Clothes and Old Clothes” from “The New Book of Days” by Eleanor Farjeon, captures the way I feel about old clothes. There are some pieces of clothing I really love and can’t part with. I may or may not wear them, but keep them for their colors, the feel of the fabric, or some memory attached to an event or time. It may be something I wore over and over again – the threads so bare, the collar so frayed.  The intangibility of the passing of that time is what matters most to me.

Eleanor says, “In May, older clothes are kinder to you then new ones.”

I rather like New Clothes,

They make me feel so fine,

Yet, I am not quite Me,

The clothes are not quite mine.

I really love Old Clothes,

They make me feel so free,

I know that they are mine,

For I feel just like Me.


Henrietta Lacks

When the pandemic began to effect my life, seriously I was reading “Living” by Annie Dillard, an excellent writer, but the story got to be so dreary, I picked up Willa Cather’s book “The Professor’s House.” I knew I could count on Willa to give me some sense of redemption – not in the self-centered way, but rather in the universal sense. Now I’m reading a book my daughter recommended to me a few years ago. It’s called “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot. I didn’t know it, (and maybe I still don’t know much) but Henrietta Lacks was the person whose cells, called the HeLa cells, revolutionized the advancement of medical research, especially for cancer. Everyone is supposed to have heard of these, but few knew how scientists got their hands on them, or at least it wasn’t published readily, so Rebecca thought it time to reveal the story of the person from whom they borrowed these cells. She dug into family history, and Henrietta Lack’s daughter, Deborah became a source for the story. Rebecca quotes Deborah, in the first chapter:

I always have thought it was strange, if our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can’t afford to see a doctor? Don’t make no sense. People got rich off my mother without us even knowing about them takin her cells, now we don’t get a dime. I used to get so mad about that to where it made me sick and I had to take pills. But I don’t got it in me no more to fight. I just want to know who my mother was.