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Grandparents and Strawberries

21 May

He was a farmer, a fisherman, an ice harvester, and a gin runner… but by the time I met Chester, my great-grandfather, he was an old man who liked to make jokes, lived in the house he built, and loved his kids. And in his 80’s, he still grew a field of strawberries.

I was lucky in the fact that I remember six of my great-grandparents. Chester is probably the most colorful of them all. All eight were farmers; all of them moved away from their parents and bought their own farm. I didn’t know his wife, my great-grandma Helen, because she was 5 when she died of cancer. We were living in Kansas at the time, and I don’t remember going to her funeral, so if my mom went, I wouldn’t know.

That branch of the family is the most settled out of all the clans. The Crosses moved out to Illinois in the 1850’s and as their kids grew up, married, and farmed themselves, they only spread out in a eighty-mile radius. Not an easy visit, but completely do-able from the histories I’ve read at the time. When I went to visit Cordova, I found I accidently ran into my fourth cousin! I make a big deal about this because every other branch of my family moved to hell and gone away from their family. I don’t think this was on purpose–it’s just where the affordable land was.

My family didn’t tell stories of how Chester and Helen got together, but they did, and settled on land right on the Mississippi River. It wasn’t the best place to farm; it would flood every five to ten years. Even the nearby city dikes weren’t built until the “hundred year flood” back in 1965. (I once filled sandbags at that property.) They were poor… really dirt poor, and he had three daughters, one of which was my grandma. During the Great Depression, she told us kids about the time when they made biscuits, but cheese was expensive, so they would hide a bit of cheese in one of the biscuits and it was a game to see who got the cheesy biscuit. That was the treat.

When you’re a poor farmer, you do what you can to get by. During the winter, he would join the gangs of men who would chop ice blocks out of the Mississippi River. Before refrigeration, insulated ice boxes were what you used to keep your food in, and that required harvesting and storing ice in ice houses for the rest of the year. Going to the ice house during the summer was a big deal, especially in places like Texas, but Illinois can be just as humid.

He was also known to do a little petty theft here and there. He probably helped run booze during Prohibition across the river, but he didn’t talk much about it. Chester was always great with a joke and loved to laugh. His three daughters married well–my grandma was the oldest and became a farmer’s wife… until they couldn’t afford to farm any more, and became a factory secretary. My great-aunt Doris married the publisher of the local paper, so she did well, but made the grievous faux-pax of marrying a Dutchman. (gasp) They built a house right next to her dad and hated every minute of her country estate living right next to a moldy old shack. But she watched out for her dad in his old age, but tore that place down the week after he was buried. The third daughter, great-aunt Nancy, had the misfortune of outliving four husbands… she’s still alive and living in a nursing home in my hometown.

Chester didn’t have much, but he loved his family, and did everything he could with what he had… even if it wasn’t legal. But I remember him taking us out to the strawberry fields, looking at Helen’s collection of spoons and tchotchkes, and being fascinated by what an older man could see in his great-grandson. I hope you have some good memories of your great-grandparents; share them in the comments below! Then check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

When Do I Get to Be the Mom?

19 May

In the flight to the suburbs in the 50’s, Americans didn’t just leave the city behind, they left their parents behind as well. Grandparents had frequently lived with their grandchildren throughout American history… until we could afford not to.

I was reading a article about how Sun City, Arizona was created as one of the first retirement communities. (I pick up the weirdest articles–which if you read this blog, you already knew.) Now older people had been travelling to Arizona for sometime, but usually because they had tuberculosis, and the dry environment helped them live longer. My own great-aunt Josephine moved out to Tucson for her husband’s TB.

However, with wealth came separation. The affordable car allowed people to live further away from their workplace, so instead of living in a cramped row house or apartment in the city, why not move out to the suburbs? Land was cheap, construction was available, and so they moved. However, they still had the place in the city, and often parents didn’t want to move, so… leave them there. Often there was one of many adult children who took care of them. Suddenly there was a mind shift. Americans now didn’t live with with their parents, making it the exception, not the rule.

Once I watched the movie Avalon (1990), and although it’s something I’ve never watched again, it’s a really cool film about three generations of the same family coming to, then adapting to living in America. However, in the story, the second generation takes their parents with them to the suburbs. Although this cuts them from their extended family, the daughter-in-law gets annoyed watching her mother-in-law undercut her authority with her own daughter. So the daughter-in-law goes to her husband and asks, “When do I get to be the Mom?” The next scene, the parents are moved out to a retirement home.

So… unwanted by their families, we developed a culture of nursing homes and retirement communities. My own grandfather (dad’s dad) made his entire career building nursing homes across the Midwest… and then lived his retirement in his own home and died there. Of course, my family is weird that way. My mom’s parents lived on their own, sunbirded down to Texas during the winter, until they couldn’t any more. When my grandpa died, then grandma injured herself and couldn’t stay alone. She spent the last ten years of her life in a nursing home, barely present.

We tried to do the right thing with my wife’s parents–they had four kids, so the single one lived with them and helped take care of them. But sooner or later, the work of caring for them became more than one person could do simply by living there… it became their full-time commitment. Then two kids’ commitment. Then finally, it was too much for all of them. My in-laws were moved to a nursing home; my father-in-law died within six months. My mother-in-law was moved to Texas to be near two of her daughters… but still in a nursing home.

With extended lifespans, it seems almost inevitable that we will grow more isolated as we get older. There’s a price to be paid for living longer… and man, is that a depressing thought to end this post on. However, there is a whole culture and a whole industry built around the elderly. I’ve skirted around it going to veteran’s bars where I’m the youngest guy in there at 45. The beast adapts. But what’s your story? Let me know in the comments below! Then if you still have time on this earth, check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 cuts into your retirement fund, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. I’d appreciate it.

Who Drinks This Stuff?

17 May

I must go to the wrong bars–or the right ones–because I never see anyone order a complicated drink. Usually it’s beer or a simple cocktail (like myself), but a Long Island Iced Tea, which takes several shots… nah. I think your drink says a lot about what your priorities are.

As an unreformed drinker, I will tell you that everyone has a main drink. They might drink wine, or beer, or hard liquor from time to time, but you have a primary drink that go to when you’re not trying to impress anyone or when you’re by yourself. Now that might not be consistent. Currently, mine is the scotch and soda, but that changes. Occasionally I mix it up with a bourbon and Coke or a gin and tonic (as we approach the summer months), but it generally it’s a simple cocktail.

Now… would I mind a Manhattan or a Gin Martini? Absolutely! But I don’t order those at a bar for one simple reason; the bartender gets it wrong. Even a gin and tonic, which is just three items (gin, tonic, lime wedge), frequently doesn’t come with a lime which makes it… less appealing. If I have to explain the drink, I feel like a douchebag, and if I don’t get what I wanted, I’ve just wasted my money. So I keep the drink simple so someone can’t screw it up.

Often I see many primary drinks like that. If it gets more complicated than a beer, than it’s a screwdriver (orange juice and vodka), or just ordering a shot of fireball with your beer. It also takes longer, so your drink priority gets moved down considerably on a busy night. But I try to avoid those as well.

But that’s my priority; getting the drink to my lips faster. Since so many cocktails are sweet, adding in cordials and fruit juices, the point of them is to mellow the bitterness of the alcohol being served. I guess if you’re younger and you’re trying to get used to the flavor of the booze (but like the effect it has on you), then that’s where a lot of those fruity drinks come into play. “Doing shots” seems to be a much more direct option; how drunk can I get in the shortest amount of time. Again, never quite understood that, since you’re spending a lot of money for a short amount of enjoyment. But maybe that’s why so many shots can be just as complicated as a cocktail. “Irish Car Bomb” comes instantly to mind; Irish Cream, cinnamon liquor, and… something. But if you just down them, what’s the point? Again, they’re just trying to get as drunk as possible so they can party. I’m there to sit a while and have a good time.

So since I go to “old guy bars,” I never see this stuff. I didn’t even get into alcohol until I was 25, so I missed the entire college bar scene. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it even if I had–old guy bars are quiet, you can have conversations with interesting people, and you can relax. Most people come to bars for “an event,” so maybe those places have a greater concentration of fruity concoctions. But maybe you guys would know better–let me know your impressions in the comments below! Then make your favorite drink and read one of my books. However, if $1.99 is cutting into your beer money, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. 

Perception vs. Reality

12 May

One of the great dangers is letting our thoughts become our reality. So at my new job, I get a very nice benefit; I get a bus/rail pass. Considering my job is downtown, it makes far more sense to use it, but I was surprised on how many co-workers would not.

The reason they don’t has nothing to do with timing or location… it’s “the light rail is smelly.” They were afraid of dealing with urine-stained seats and homeless people riding the rails. The truth is… there’s none of that. I rode it this morning and everything was spotless, no smelling people, just people on their way to work. But people were convinced that it was that they didn’t want to ride it.

It just struck me as a very unusual complaint, probably by people who hadn’t taken the light rail in years. Buses… okay, you may have a point, but generally the buses in my neighborhood are pretty clean. I was really just taken aback by the weirdness of that argument. There are plenty of reasons that people might not take the bug. I have to drop off my kids. What if there’s an emergency? I need to get home quickly.

What’s prevented me in the past is the inconvenience angle. When I lived in outer Cincinnati, I took the express bus to work, only a fifteen minute walk to the stop, shot me downtown, and then there was a shuttle to take me to work. Cheaper, easier, and much less stressful. Then we moved from beyond the beltway to a much closer burb. I rode my bike to the bus stop, shot on close to my job on the local bus, and then waited for the bus at the end of the day to take me back. And waited. And waited. And when it showed up, there were three in a row, because all the refugees from downtown slowed down the bus.

This honked me off so much, that I just rode home one day… all 11 1/2 miles of it. I did it, felt exhausted, but made it home in one piece. After that, I did it on purpose. Then eventually, I took the bike down to work as well as back up and only rode the bus again when I broke my hand. Because it was simply faster.

So I’ll admit, I’m taking advantage of the light rail because it’s gonna only a little more time and save me a whole ton of money. Plus I love trains. But thinking that it’s “smelly” when it’s not? I think there’s an impression of the last time you rode… or the impression that you think you remember from one incident long ago… and that colors your actions. It’s a strange thought, but so often gets applied to many subjects. The same way that the first thing you heard about a subject becomes the absolute truth, despite any facts to the contrary.

Does this happen to you? Let me know in the comments below! Then once you’ve done that, why not pick up one of my books? But if you’re not convinced of my writing to spend $1.99, download one of my stories for free!

The Sound of Silence

11 May

So I started a new job and I’m really excited about what I’m doing. However, thanks to the joys of COVID, I wanted to actually leave home, go to the office, and have a desk. Which means I’m the only person on this side of the floor… the tumbleweeds are rolling by.

As software designers would say, “This is not a bug, this is a feature.” When the new boss was letting me know about this situation ahead of time, I thought, “Great!” I actually work better in isolation. That is what appealed to me about the work-from-home situation. The wife and kids would go out for the day and the house would be all mine. All… mine! (insert evil laugh here)

Even having a desk in the bedroom from where to work, and being able to shut the door, and playing my music and/or radio, I couldn’t get over the fact that someone else was in the house with me. Kids would step in to give me a hug every so often. The wife would engage me with some news item when I came down for a snack. It disrupted my day in a way that being in an office never did. There, the presence of others was expected; at home, it was unwanted.

Plus you had the problem that you never went home after work; you were already there. I could bore you with the facts that you already know, since my working-from-home was no longer the exception, but the rule. There was no transition from being off-work to on. So despite having a great job working from home, it was driving me crazy. Having a sick day was pointless; a vacation was similar… unless you were leaving the house. Instead of resenting my co-workers – who I rarely saw – I resented my wife, just for being there.

So I figured the solution was to get a desk again–away from the house. I couldn’t afford to buy an office space, the shed wasn’t going to work as a “fortress of solitude” (because I live in Arizona, and an unheated / uncooled shed was simply not an option for five months out of the year), so a new job was the best solution… and it’s a great position.

Now what’s weird to me is that this is the first time in nine years that I’ve had a desk to go to in the same metro area. I had a desk when I was a traveling consultant at the location they asked me to fly to, but it was always a temp spot. It wasn’t MINE. Now I get the added weirdness of being the only one here. However, I think that’s gonna be a good transition for me. I had the “fortress of solitude,” I lost it, and now I’m back there again. By the time people actually have to come back to their desk, I’ll be comfortable.

Of course, I could be deluding myself–who knows? What do you think? Is this is a viable solution to my home woes, or am I simply running away and avoiding the relationship work with my family? Let me know in the comments below! Then you can see what I do with my books. However, if you’re not that interested in my writing, why not download my stories for free? You’ll be glad you did.

God Bless the Military Wife

10 May

I grew up as a navy brat, so for me, moving every couple of years was normal. You were expected to go to a new school, make new friends, I never really considered how that was for my mom.

For my dad, who was in the Navy, this was normal. He wasn’t a navy brat like me, but his father (who was a Navy vet) worked in the construction industry. Grandpa built nursing homes across the Midwest, which meant that every 6 months to a year, he had to move to where the work was. But my mom lived in two houses up to that point; one on a farm, then other in town, and all within the same 30 mile radius.

For the next ten years of their marriage, they moved five times. I came along at year two, which always amplifies things, but she seemed rather contented from all the notes and letters that I inherited. My dad volunteered to avoid the draft (strange, but true) during the Vietnam War, so when the war was over, everyone was getting out. The personnel guys offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse… a massive jump in pay grade if he signed up for another tour. Not having anything to go back to, he agreed.

Unfortunately, not many sailors took the same choice, so the Navy was woefully undermanned in the late 70’s. That meant when my dad was put on a fleet tender, instead of the normal six month rotation, he was on it for almost two years. He hates that ship to this day. Me and my mom moved back to her hometown and lived there, because there was no point waiting in Charleston when he rarely got off the boat.

So much like myself, my mom had to make new friends, and sometimes get new jobs (although I think they made do on his income most times). Then deployments… where he’d be gone for God knows when. Again, I was pretty young for most of this, so having my Dad gone for most of the time was… my version of normal. Communication was done through letters and cards and few and far between. Thankfully, like the ex-pat community, there is a whole community of Navy wives out there to connect to, regardless of where you’re stationed.

What broke their marriage was not her being upset at the situation, it was his infidelity. Despite the fact that she moved everywhere with him, vets will tell you that they can’t relate to the civilian world. The demands of the service require a lot of you–it’s a zero-excuse environment, because doing your duty could mean the difference between life and death. After the places you’ve travelled and the things you’ve seen, how do you go back to your wife and pretend to be the average 8-to-5 working man? So when they divorced, he got married to a Navy officer, and they’ve been together ever since.

It’s a terrible arrangement, but to do it for so long is nothing short of a miracle. It’s not uncommon–honestly, the divorce rate among military couples is only slightly higher than the national average–so I’m amazed when they stay together. Then again, I’m amazed when anyone stays together, but I could be exaggerating. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then if like how I tell a story here, check out one of my books. However, if you don’t like paying for my stories, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

Equity Is NOT Equality

6 May

You hear the word “equity” a lot. It sounds like “equality” so how could anyone be against it? “Equity” means equality of outcome, versus equality of opportunity. Why is that bad? Because humans don’t work that way.

You’ve seen the cute graphic of three kids trying to look over a fence; how equal opportunity (represented by boxes) still leaves one kid unable to see. But if you give the smaller kid two boxes, and the big kid no boxes, everyone can see just fine. Looks correct, doesn’t it? After all, everyone should be able to see the game, some people just need more help.

One of the books I keep on my bookshelf from my grad school days (and most of them have been exiled) is “Declining by Degrees,” which is the PBS companion book to the documentary they did fifteen years ago. Because it’s been out so long, you can watch it for free. However, what interested me was the book was full of essays from different educational experts and journalists, all asking the same question, “Why are standards declining in our universities? Why are graduates able to do less than those who graduated a generation before?” Many reasons were given, but the solution was always the same: “You need to give more money to schools.”

Hmmm… that did not sound right. After all, LA Unified School District spends $18,788 per student, and as anyone in LA will tell you, never send your kid to a LAUSD school. New York City spends $25,199 per student, as compared to a nationwide average of $12,201. Now that may just be because LA and NYC are simply more expensive. However, that still doesn’t completely explain why there worse test scores in places that the spend the most?

Maybe it’s because money has nothing to do with outcomes.

Another lifetime ago, I taught at a private boarding school overseas. So our student body was a self-selecting sample; parents who wanted to pay a LOT of money to send their kid to an isolated location for an American school in India. They wanted their kids to either a) get into a Western university and/or b) have a unique international experience. As a teacher, I could always tell which students would succeed and which wouldn’t. What was the difference? How often their parents checked in with them.

The best students had their parents calling every night… or every other night, checking on their homework, they showed up at the parent-teacher conferences even though it was a serious pain to get to twice a year. They came to take their kids out on the weekends every so often. The parents made sure they were still in their lives. The worst students had no contact apart from holidays. The saddest example was the student who didn’t want to go home because all they would be doing is sitting in an empty apartment with a maid to take care of them.

No amount of money will turn a failed student into a successful one. The only thing that will is having that student find someone else who gives a damn. It doesn’t have to be a parent; it can be a coach, a teacher, a challenging friend. Putting up more boxes to lift someone up doesn’t convince the kid to actually stand; what it does do is give money to people who make boxes.

But what do you think? Am I just too jaded? Are there worthy charities that really just need more money, but get diverted to less worthy ones. (Of course.) Let me know in the comments below! Then if you need a worthy place to put your money, buy one of my books! However, if $1.99 is if too much to “donate,” go ahead and download one of my stories for free. Thank you for your support.

Let A Platitude Be Your Attitude

5 May

What is the difference between a quotation and a platitude? How can one person hear a cute saying and think it’s profound and another think it’s insipid? Does it have something to do with how it’s communicated?

I was listening to the radio and the same PSA came on for the umpteenth time. It sounds like Amanda Gorman, the current poet laureate, but it’s not be her; someone who is imitating her style. It starts off with “A return to sanity, could it be?” It goes into this poetic reading of the benefits of getting the vaccine and how it will help us get back to normal.

I really hate it.

However, let me do a little metacognition–that means I’m pretentious–thinking about how I think. Why do I hate this PSA? The first thought is my same thought about all PSAs; why do we need this commercial? Do you think people haven’t heard about the vaccine by now? Don’t you think people have already made up their minds about this vaccine? They’ll either get it or they’re waiting for availability or they won’t.

Who will hear this well-drafted poem that hasn’t heard the message already? “Click it or ticket” has been around for decades and yet I still have a friend who will never put a seat belt on. Ever. He’s the only one. The message is out there; you won the argument! Accept 99% compliance. That’s a win.

I think another reason is the repetition. I’ve heard this commercial five times a day; it’s played on this radio station every hour… maybe every half hour… because radio stations are required to play a certain percentage of PSA’s in their ad stream. Also because iHeartMedia charges companies differently for live streams than broadcast frequencies. There’s less advertisers who want to pay that, therefore, more PSA’s to fill the void.

I think the best example of this is music. I like the song “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” by Nine Days; everyone else of my generation hates it. Why? Because it was played on a high repetition when it came out in 2000. I love the lyrics, I love the tempo… but I also haven’t heard it a lot. Even now, I’m reluctant to actually play it, because it’s such an earworm, I can play it in my head easily.

My wife suggests that part of the problem is that it’s an unfamiliar style. Then again, she’s bought critical race theory whole; that doesn’t mean she’s wrong in this case. It’s an African-American doing a “performance poem,” which my lily-white ears aren’t comfortable with. The “other” does make things more difficult to accept. I never listened to rap growing up, so when my drinking buddy wants to crank up the rap from my generation, I can’t share the joy that he has about the genre. So I’m not down with it.

So this PSA fails on message, repetition, and style for me. You could judge it yourself. However, I think you remember something similar. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. This post brought to you by Albigensia Press and the Ad Council. 🙂

If We Pay Them, They Will Come

30 Apr

The 2020 US Census came out and showed how the American population is moving–to Texas, Montana, Colorado, and Oregon–so how does places that are losing people get them back? Simple–pay them!

In the same breath as hearing about the census results, the radio show I listen to mentioned this cool website called Make My Move. This is not an ad for this site, but I’m fascinated by this idea, especially because most of the towns listed are… not small. How do you convince new people to move to a place no one wants to go to?

This has been tried before. A lot of small towns in deep rural areas are offering free lots to anyone who wants to build on them. Although people are surveyed every year on the best places to live, and people talk about moving to… wherever your heart lies, they don’t do it. Why? Because once you get there, you need to be able to live. There is often no jobs in your field. So I might want to move to Lincoln, Kansas, but unless my job is remote (which it has been for a while), good luck paying for the new house when you don’t have a job.

That’s why this new website is so fascinating. These are not small towns. Places like Morgantown, WV–that’s the home of West Virginia University, it’s on the commuter rail to Washington, DC, it’s a beautiful place… yet they are offering $20,000 for people to move there, half in cash, half towards a house down payment. Benton Harbor, Michigan–a beautiful place–offers $15,000. Augusta, Maine–the capital of the state–same amount.

I would love to move to a lot of the places on this list. Montpelier, Vermont offers $13,000. Sure, come for the beauty, stay for the socialism, so maybe that makes a little more sense. Tulsa, Oklahoma though? A sizeable chunk of cash for people who want to move there. The smaller towns make more sense–Newton, Iowa; Bemidji, Minnesota–small college town and regional centers. But even Baltimore, Maryland offers $5,000!

The main obstacle to a lot of these offers is… hearing about the offer in the first place. The couple times in my life when I chose to live in a location, I never bothered checking to see if there were incentives, or… even having a job in hand before I moved. I had this crazy idea that I could afford to live as a substitute teacher in Portland, Maine about twenty years ago. I lived there for three months, during the winter, and absolutely loved it. Of course, I couldn’t afford it, and what I learned was that most poor folk lived in Lewistown for a couple years (much cheaper, 45 min commute) and worked in Portland. Moving to Cincinnati worked, but we had a good nest egg, and it didn’t take long to get some temp work to get us on our feet. But if I hadn’t gotten my good job after a year, we would have gone back to Illinois.

So… I’m not sure if these incentives work, but it might get people thinking about moving in the first place. Then thoughts might become the mover of our actions. But what do you think? Is this a good idea whose time has come? Or is this the last gasp of a failing city? Let me know in the comments below! Then move out to a new world with one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your moving budget, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. It’s worth the trip.

Country Club Judaism

29 Apr

Yesterday, I was talking about what I call “transactional religion,” the pay-for-play deal that you make with your local priest so that you get your lifecycle event. If that’s important to you, then you’ll pay. Now let’s take it to the nth degree.

I mentioned that my wife’s home congregation wouldn’t let us have our wedding at the synagogue. At first blush, that sounds fine. I’m a member of a veteran’s organization that runs it’s own bar. If you’re not a member there, you can’t drink there. Perfectly understandable. However, you can rent out the meeting space, because they’re bringing in money.

In our case, our son should have been bar mitzvah’d last year, but a little disease came through… maybe you heard about it. Despite being members of our current congregation for six months, they refuse to let him have the ceremony unless our son goes through another year of Sunday school, do a project, and vow to be a member for the next three years. Just like everyone else.

Now in fairness, we understand this, because traditionally American Jews only show up for the High Holidays, bar mitzvahs, weddings, and funerals… the lifecycle events. So you want those people who come through to actually be willing to support the congregation and be good Jews. So there are tickets sold to attend the High Holidays, because people will actually buy them. They want to make sure the bar mitzvah has actually had the training before they get up in front of God and everyone.

But that’s not the case here. They didn’t take our attendance in consideration. They didn’t take the fact that he’s a year late in doing the ceremony due to COVID into play. They didn’t care that he’s been working with a cantor for TWICE the normal time. All they cared about was that “this is how we do things.” They didn’t trust us to attend after my son’s bar mitzvah, they wanted it in writing that we would. They didn’t think, “gee, they have a daughter who will need this same thing in three years.” Nope. Pay the money or leave us alone.

So… screw ’em. This is what is known (not just me) as Country Club Judaism–sign the membership fee and you get to play. We have never been rich; in our lives, we’ve hovered between paycheck to paycheck to comfortably middle class. We’ve gone down a little since I stopped travelling for consulting, but still not worrying how we’re going to pay the bills. We also live below our means. We can pay the money.

But at this point, it’s not the money–it’s that lack of trust. They don’t think enough of us to be flexible. They’ve been burned too many times to even give us consideration. Because all we are to them is faces on a Zoom meeting; we’re not real. And that’s the most damning thing of all. We’re not part of this congregation, and the truth is, unless we’re bringing in enough money, we never will.

That’s what hurts the most; they don’t want to know us. They want our numbers, they want our money, but they could care less what we want back from the congregation. And that’s an organization I don’t want to be part of. So we’ll find another spiritual home. I doubt we’ll find anywhere willing to let us perform the bar mitzvah, it’s less than three months now. But we’ve got plenty of time to prepare for Eliza’s bat mitzvah, but are we willing to go through their half-ass preparation? Go through the hoops for her somewhere else? I might… but I doubt my wife will.

We’ve been burned before, too, and unfortunately, we’re running out of options. Apart from simply doing the ceremony ourselves, I don’t think there’s anywhere we can go where we can get what we want. So we’ll probably attend somewhere… and then just never bother getting our daughter bat mitzvah’d in a shul. Or ever have a funeral or anything… just paying month-to-month to support things, but never voting, because this pay-for-play system is not what we believe. But what do you think? Are we too up our own butts? Are we absolutely right? Let me know in the comments below! Then, if you feel like this congregation is worth supporting, buy one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too expensive, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. We want you here, money or not… and if you read up to this point, I love you, reader. May we have many years together.

American Legion Post 138

Damn Straight 138!

Tales from a broken doll

Short stories, poetry, musings and rambling.

Crack On

We have this treasure in cracked pots

Poteci de dor

"Adevărul, pur şi simplu, e rareori pur şi aproape niciodată simplu" - Oscar Wilde

Struggle Street

Mental Health and Well Being

O Miau do Leão

Uma pequena voz da Flandres

A Life's Journey

Little things matter 🌼

Dreamy_parakeet

A dreamer, who loves to muse her world and penned it down✍️ Each words in this blog lay close to my soul🧡

Harley Reborn

♠️Rip It Up & Start Again♥️

Talkin' to Myself

I'm listening

Nature Whispering

From Sunset to Dawn

Riverside Peace

The Official Website of Australian Writer Chrissy Siggee

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

How to feel better

Another year, a decade or a lifetime - sooth your body eternally

Looking to God

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

We may see things that we don't even imagine.

Decaf White

No sugar