Thursday, September 30, 2010

Room at the Inn

The empty Inn last night, all lights were operating

Last night at the inn where I work as a front desk clerk in Lewes, our hotel occupancy was ZERO. 

That's right......NADA.  

NO BODY WAS IN THE HOTEL except your genial and at your service guest service!

Me waiting for the elevator to make my rounds (looking for "Johnny")

My hours were from 3 pm in the afternoon until 11 pm at night.  

In addition to checking in hotel guests, attending to their needs, and answering their questions my additional nighttime duties are:

  1. Folding laundry
  2. Cleaning the lint filters (one of my FAV jobs)
  3. Emptying the dishwasher and putting away the dishes
  4. Setting out the breakfast dishes
  5. Vacuuming the lobby rugs
  6. Mopping the tile floors
  7. Checking all the outside lights
  8. Checking to make sure all the doors are locked
  9. Taking reservations over the phone
  10. And anything else the hotel guests throw my way (which is infinite - always something new)
Even with all those additional chores, it was a long night at the Inn last night.  At times I felt like the Jack Nicholson character in that Stephen King film (I can't remember the name) but the one where he and his family are in the Hotel Overlook.  You know the one.  It's the one where he goes crazy and takes an ax to chop through a door to get to his wife and then sticks his head through the hole in the door and says "HERE'S JOHNNY!"  With the wind howling last night at the Inn, I expected at any moment to see an ax come through one of the door to the office where I sit and a "HERE'S JOHNNY!" moment.  

It was a LONG NIGHT.

Checking to make sure no one is in room 402 

Tyler Clementi

Tyler Clementi was a young man who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington bridge.

He was distraught and embarrassed because two of his college roommates apparently thought it was great fun to videotape Tyler's first sexual encounter and post it to Facebook. 

The roommates, Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei (both 18) were charged with invasion of privacy.  Prison terms are threatened.  Note this right now......NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO THEM.  NOTHING.  There will be a lot of sturm und drang but in the end yet another case of homophobia, gay bashing will go unpunished.

In this country today, where we have the ridiculous, discriminatory and absurd "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the DOMA law in full effect and backed up to the hilt by our country, gays and lesbians will always be less than whole. 

That a young man like Tyler Clementi would be so ashamed of his sexual identity that he felt the need to destroy himself once his sexual identity was made public is beyond sad. 

Lately I've been posting blogs that are "down."  I was all prepared to post an upbeat and happy blog today.  However, after hearing this heartbreaking news and the continuing officially sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians, I had no other choice but to voice my sadness, anger and frustration. 

I think it's time for President Obama to set an example for this country from the top and stop the expulsion of gay and lesbians from the military.  Once this country understands that being gay isn't something to be ashamed of, then maybe this young person's death will not of been in vain. 

Now is the time President Obama. 


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stop Whining

Our Vice-President - Joe Biden

My longtime friend (since grade school) Lar has lived in Delaware for over thirty years.  Joe Biden has always been his senator.  

When I lived in Pennsylvania, I was always put off a bit whenever I mentioned Joe Biden and Lar would have a negative reaction.  Lar is a pretty reasonable guy.  I could never understand his organic dislike for Joe Biden.  Lar likes everybody and if he doesn't like them he rarely, if ever, expresses his dislike for them.  However, with Joe Biden Lar doesn't hesitate to express his dislike for the former senior senator from Delaware.  Lar's dislike of Joe Biden is visceral.  

Now that I live in Delaware (since 2006) and have experienced Joe Biden first hand, I understand my friend Lar's dislike.  Joe Biden is a self-important, vacuous, arrogant phony.  

Yesterday Joe Biden again proved what a flatulent, pin headed, arrogant, pompous ass he is by advising those Democrats and Progressives who are disappointed in the weak-kneed and promises not kept Obama administration by advising those Democrats to "Stop whining and get out and vote for the Democrats."  

Hey, what a way to win over the base!  Is this man a genius or what?  Insult your base.  That's what you do to get them out to vote on election day.  Then he goes out and says "Buck up!"  Obama said the same thing later on in the day.  They obviously got their talking points.  

So why should we Democrats and Progressives vote for the Democrats?  Obama and Biden say that the alternative, the Republicans lead by the Tea Baggers are worse.  Hey, there's another good reason to vote Democratic.  Never mind that this administration has been rolled repeatedly the past two years by the Party of No, the Republicans.

 Never mind that they let the likes of Joe Lieberman get away with his nonsense. 

Never mind that they passed a phony health care bill without a public option. 

Never mind that the absurd law "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is still on the books.  

Never mind that Obama can't even take a leadership role and at least put a stop loss on any further discharges from the Armed services of our gay and lesbian members. 

Never mind that even though as judges overall the DOMA act, Obama's Justice department is still challenging those actions. 

Asked why, Robert Gibbs airily explains away the Justice Department actions as "pro forma." 

Hey, I thought when we voted for Obama we voted to change the way things were done in Washington.  Apparently that was a lie.

So Joe Biden addresses dissent and disappointment in the Democratic base of his party as "Stop whining" and "Buck up."  

I have choice two word answer to Biden but since this is a family blog I won't say it here.  However, what I will say is that now I understand my friend Lar cannot stand Joe Biden.  I can't either.

What a pompous ass.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yet Another Trip to Pennsylvania

Our old driveway 

My brother John is handling Mom's estate.  He called me late yesterday (after 3 pm) and told me that Mom's lawyer said that I didn't need her death certificate to cash in our jointly held  CD at her bank in Downingtown.  

As a former trust department bank employee (37 years) my first thought was "Uh, yes. Banks have rules and I probably do need a death certificate no matter what."  However, John assured me that Barry (the lawyer) said since it was a jointly held CD, and either one of us could cash it in at anytime, NO DEATH CERTIFICATE WAS NEEDED.  I think you all know where I'm going with this.

So the decision was to wait until the bank opened today (9:00 a.m.) and call and ask or take a chance and leave early this morning to avoid the traffic and be at the bank at 9:00 a.m. to get this out of the way.  

The weather forecast was for rain tomorrow.  I'm scheduled to work tomorrow and I don't like to make that 5-6 hour round trip on the same day I work.  I tend to become very irritable after driving for 5-6 hours.  When I'm irritable I'm not the kind of hotel front desk clerk that you want to encounter.  

Thursday, when I don't work, the forecast was for HEAVY rains.  That was out.  

Friday more rain was forecast.  I could make the trip up in the morning but I don't like to make the trip back in the afternoon to Lower Slower Delaware because of the Friday late afternoon weekend traffic.  

I make the decision to leave this morning, early.  You know the old saw about "the best laid plans of men and mice?"  Well, I got slammed with it today.

We (Bill, my Significant Other until DOMA is repealed then Bill will be my spouse) left our house in the dark at 5 a.m.  As we turned out of our development onto Route 1 I mentioned to Bill "Traffic is heavy for this time of morning isn't it?"  He agreed to the obvious, fearing that I was going to bitch about this state of affairs the rest of the way to Pennsylvania.  I did.

By the time 7 a.m. rolled around, and we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic 10 miles outside of Newark, Delaware, I realized I was in the morning Rush Hour.  At this time rain started to fall lightly from the early morning gray skies.

Fast forward to 8:53 a.m. and we arrived in the parking lot of First Niagra Bank in the center of Downingtown.  My previous concern that I would have to kill time until the bank opened at 9 a.m. was long gone.  We had just completed what was normally a 2 1/2 hour trip to Downingtown, PA in 3 HOUR AND 45 MINUTES.

I go into the lobby of First Niagra Bank, having to pee real bad.  I try the door to the branch office.  It's locked.  An employee sees me, it is now 8:59 a.m.  She takes pity on me and opens the door.  First thing I ask her is where is the bathroom (I had to pee like a racehorse.)  She takes me through the bank lobby to show me how to get to the bathroom.  Two of the women tellers see me and shout "Hi Ron!  Good to see you!"  You see, I used to work at this bank in a Previous Life.  When I worked there in 2001 (where does the time go?) it was called First Financial Savings Bank.  After I left First Financial it went through several metamorphoses to Willow Grove Bank, Harleysville National Bank and it is now known as FIRST NIAGRA.  God help us.  

This is nothing unusual.  When I left First Fidelity Bank in Philadelphia I saw the name on my retirement checks go from First Union, Wachovia Bank and now Wells Fargo Bank.  Same thing with my retirement checks from Mellon Bank and Downingtown National Bank.  I've been, as they say, around the block a few times  in my 37 year banking career.  But I digress.

Back to the challenge at hand this morning.  One of the women who said "Hi Ron!" to me this morning was the same woman who open the CD in the joint name of my mother and myself lo these many years ago.  No problem right?  If you thought that, then you would be wrong.  

So we sit down.  She expresses her concern over the death of my Mother.  We talk about how we would like to die versus the long and lingering death my Mother had to endure.  This is not a good conversation for this early on a rainy Monday morning.  Then we get around to the business at hand.  I tell her that I want to cash in the CD that I held jointly with my Mother.  Ronnie (her name, ironies of ironies, right) crinkles her forehead and says, "Well, I'm not sure we can do that."  I KNEW IT!  I KNEW IT! I need a death certificate.  

She said with the previous bank rules I could probably have just cashed in the CD but First Niagra has a different sent of rules.  Of course they do.  Probably as a result of the new financial reform legislation.  One thing I noticed in all the years I've worked for a bank, every time there was a new set of financial reform legislation passed to prevent the insiders from robbing us, the rules always came down to another stupid assed hurdle to prevent customers from getting their own money out of the bank.  

Resigned to my fate, I ask Ronnie what do I have to do.  I really didn't want to make yet ANOTHER TRIP back to Pennsylvania.  I am SO OVER making that 2 1/2 trip (one way) to PA.  I've lost count how many times I've made that trip since I moved to Delaware in 2006.  

She had a good answer.  She told me that I only had to send a letter with the death certificate.  She said I didn't have to make the trip back.  Thank God.

So we chat a bit more and I'm on my way.  Bill wants to stop over at our old property again, which was sold at foreclosure last Monday.  I'm getting tired of that trip too.  How many times to I have to look at our formerly beautifully landscaped property that is now neglected and overgrown with weeds and looks like the Pennsylvania version of Gray Gardens?

We go up the branch strewn lane.  Bill gets out and takes some video.  I take a few pictures.  Then the gray skies above us decided to make a deposit on us from their water ladened clouds.

The rain doesn't stop Bill from yet another wistful tour of his former home

I get in the car.  Bill puts his umbrella up and continues to roam around our old property, taking yet more videos.  How many does he need anyway?  Finally, the rain was coming down so heavy that even he got into the car, getting raindrops over my new upholstery.  

We head out our old driveway, up Crawford Road, to Fisherville Road and then the Rt. 30 bypass to Sadsburyville where we will get on Rt. 10 that will take us to Rt. 896 (farmland), which in turn will take us to Rt. 1 and HOME in Lower Slower Delaware.

By the time we're on the Rt. 30 bypass, my windshield wipers are going "THRAWCK!  THRAWCK! THRAWCK!"  Yes, boys and girls, it is raining that hard.  

Somehow I maneuver my way in the blinding rain down the ten miles to the McDonald's in Sadsburyville.  I couldn't pull over on the bypass for fear of being plowed out of existence by a semi so my plan was to make it to McDonald's and a late breakfast/early lunch and wait out the storm.  

We get into McDonald's.  There weren't many people in McDonald's but there was the Required Screaming Kid.  Never fails.  It seems as if I'm always blessed with one of these Little Darlings in a restaurant.  A little kid who NEEDS ATTENTION.  I endure.

In time the rains let up.  But not before the Screaming Kid wanders over to our side of the restaurant (I insisted that we sit on the other side of the room as far as possible from the Little Darling.)  The Little Angle stops before our booth and stars at us, two old, really OLD men nursing their milkshakes.  Mom comes by and scoops him up and leaves the restaurant.  

Now that the rain has let up, it is time for us to leave too. 

The trip back to Delaware is uneventful, punctuated periodically by a heavy downpour.  Thank God the traffic was light. However, my brand new 2010 red Subaru Forester is thoroughly coated with that lovely road spray.  A car wash is in my near future.

We got home at 1:30 p.m.  I call John and tell him my experience. John is used to me telling him of "my experiences."  I tell him I need a death certificate.

I'm done for the day  I go into my bedroom and take a nap,  A THREE HOUR NAP.  

I just got up.  

I'm writing about it now.  

I'm wondering what kind of adventure awaits me tomorrow.  
Bill and I stopped at a roadside Amish stand on Rt. 10 on the way home.  


Monday, September 27, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

President Obama made a promise during the election that the ridiculous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy would be discontinued.  Just recently he said, "It will happen this session of Congress."  Well, it isn't going to happen.  The repeal of the DADT bill isn't even going to come up for debate, much less be repealed.

When President Clinton was running for president he promised to lift the policy of banning gays from the military.  When he encountered opposition, he caved.  Thus resulting in the absurd "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which has resulted in ruining thousands of careers of dedicated gay men and women who only want to serve their country.  When Clinton caved, that's when I stopped listening to him.  I never believed anything he said since.  I still don't to this day.

I believed Obama when he was running for president and said he represented "Change we can believe in." Well, I believed.  Now that Obama and the Democrats are in power, I see that they are doing the same thing Clinton and the Democrats did back fourteen years ago.  They took the gay and lesbian vote for granted.  They assume gays like me have no where else to go.  In a way they're right, I would never.....NEVER vote for any of the Republicans today as long as they remain in lockstep to destroy the Obama presidency. 

What I can do is not make any more contributions to the Democratic Party.  And, for the first time since1964, I will probably not vote.  Ironically I cast my first vote for Barry Goldwater.  Back then I was a Republican when a Republican had real values.  Ever since the Republican Convention in Houston where Pat Buchanan drummed out of the party gays like me, I left the Republican Party.  Those cheering white folk who approved of Buchanan's hate filled diatribe reminded me too much of the Good Germans who cheered and gave the Nazi salute to Hitler at the height of his power.

No, I'm not going to be the Charlie Brown to the Lucy Democratic Party anymore.  Bye.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where Do We Go When We Die?

Seagull over the Coast Guard station Lewes, DE - Sept. 25, 2010

I don't know.

Lately, I've been thinking about the question of where do we go after we die.

This year, four people I knew quite well departed from this earth.

In January, Anne Marie, a former co-worker, died from breast cancer.  She was 54 years old.

In March, Bonnie, a former classmate and my first high school date, died her her sleep.  She was 68 years old.

Last month, Bill, another former classmate, died from prostate cancer.  He was 68 years old.

Last week my mother died from complications of old age.  She was 86 years old.  

I knew all of these people well enough to ask them "So what's it like on the Other Side?"  I've been asking but I haven't received an answer........yet.  

A few years ago another classmate of mine, Steve, knew he was dying.  I asked him how he was handling that knowledge.  He wasn't sad or upset .  Very matter of faculty he said "I've always wondered what it was like on the Other Side, now I'll find out."  I asked him to let me know when he got there.  He must still be on his Journey because I haven't heard anything from him.  

Here is what I think happens.......nothing.  I would like to believe that I will be reunited with my little Pomeranian dogs who I loved so much during their lifetime.  

I would like to think that I would be reunited with friends I've lost over the years.  

I would like to think that I would be reunited with family that has passed on.

I really would like to meet and find out about my ancestors, being the genealogy nut that I am.

But I have to be realistic.  What is probably going to happen is what happens when we go to sleep every night.....a blank void.

I know that my friends and family who follow a religion probably don't agree with me.  That's fine.  I don't judge them and they shouldn't judge me.  I mean no offense to anyone who follows a religion but to me religion is all about obedience.  You obey and "praise the Lord" (I never understood the need for all the praise by the way) and you'll get into Heaven.  

If that is what works for you, then I'm happy for you.  Like I said, I don't judge.  But to me, and I'm not a lost soul, that just doesn't make sense.  If anything I think our soul at death is dispersed into an infinitesimal amount of atoms, only to be reassembled at a later date in a different life form to go through this thing called Life again.  Maybe I'm a Buddhist  at heart.  

So to all those who think they know what happens after we die, where is your proof?  Until someone contacts me from the Other Side, I'm going with reincarnation.  Maybe I'll come back as a seagull.  Maybe that was Steve in the sky yesterday at the Coast Guard station trying to contact me by flying above me.  Steve?  Steve?  Is that you?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting Back on Track

Me sitting next to Mom's favorite chair at her home in Downingtown.  Pop made those chairs.

Just got back from my first walk in a week.

I walked in the development behind me.

It felt good.

Tomorrow I hope to take the six mile ride down to the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk early in the morning and renew my daily walk.  It's none too soon because already I can feel (and see) the "safety tube", i.e. spare tire,  reforming around my waist.

I still haven't sent out thank you notes to all those who attending my Mother's funeral.  I hope to complete that this weekend.  I have no other plans for this weekend and I want to stay inside out of this late summer blast of heat.

This morning I took a load of Mom's old LP records down to the Clear Space Thrift Store.  I hope they find a new, loving home.  I have a load of old LP records myself that I probably should also donate to the thrift store.  However, I'm still holding out for a slot on "The Hoarders" TV show.  I'll need those records if they do a show on me.

My refrigerator is empty.  I haven't had much appetite the past week.  Today I had chicken salad for lunch.  For dinner I had chicken salad.  It's my own recipe so it's good, but really?  Twice in one day is not a good sign.  I probably should make up a batch of Swiss Steak but I can't imagine chowing down on hunks of red meat right now.  Maybe a nice pasta salad.

I'm off work until next Wednesday.  Then I don't go to work again until next Saturday.  Actually a break in the days is good for me.  This past week I did three consecutive days.  That knocks me out.  My years are catching up with me.  In a little over a month I'll be 69 years old.  While that is cause for celebration in some quarters (the number that is), it is a sign that I am in serious Old Man territory.

Tonight I think I'll take a shower and watch one of my four Netflix movies that I have backed up.  I'm ready to be transported into someone else's world and their problems.  I've had enough this past week.

Last Blast of Summer

Brandywine, Struble Trail, Downingtown, PA January 2005

The skies are gray.

There is a chill in the air.

There is a dusting of light snow on the cold earth.

It is January, 2005 on the Struble Bike and Walk Trail in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

Think cool thoughts on this hot and humid late summer day in September in Sussex County, Delaware.

At 97 degrees today, new heat/humidity index records were set in Georgetown, Delaware.  

Today is the Last Blast of Summer 2010.

I just got off a three day work stint from the hotel.  

It was good for me to go right to work after I returned from my Mother's funeral services this past Monday in Pennsylvania.  The weather on the day of her services could not have been better.  The skies were clear, the temperature was mild and the humidity was low.  Mom would have liked that.

How am I doing?  Just fine.  Better than I thought.  In many ways I feel relieved that Mom's suffering is finally at an end.

The only negative from last week was my mistake in leaving out the names of my Mother's two sisters from the obituary notice that was placed in the local newspaper.  I don't know what I was thinking by forgetting them.  

I remembered to place the name of her one full sister Jeanette who now resides in Simpson Meadows Nursing Home.  Ironically, Simpson Meadows is right across the street from the James J. Terry Funeral Home, where my Mother's services were held.  Aunt Jeanette is 92 years old and was unable to attend.  

Mary Moreland Shank was my Mom's step sister.  Ruth Hadfield Steidler was my Mom's half sister (they had the same father but different mothers.)  At the day of the services I thought they were a little "off" with me.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized that I didn't include their names in the obituary.

Yesterday I called and had the funeral home run the obituary again.  I was surprised by how much it cost to place an obituary in the newspaper but to me it was worth it to avoid a lifetime of hurt feelings.  Mom grew up with Mary and Ruthie and they should have been acknowledged.  

The corrected obituary ran in the newspapers today.  I called Mary and Ruthie and told them to check the newspapers.  They seemed happy with this news.  

The only thing I have to do now is write out thank you notes to all those who sent flowers and attended Mom's final services.  Then this chapter of my life will be over. 

No more funeral planning for me.  If Bill goes before I do, his services will be private as he has often requested.  In fact, he doesn't want any services at all and I just may go that route.  

I may attend funerals in the future but this is the last time ever that I'm doing this.  

This weekend I begin to get my life back to my old comfortable routine.  I plan to coast out the next fifteen or twenty years until my funeral.  

And that my friends will be somebody else's responsibility.  

All I'm thinking about now are those cool, autumn days that are in my future.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moving On

Me, John and Isaac at Happy Days restaurant in Thorndale, PA September 20, 2010

We're alright.  My brothers John and Isaac and me, we're alright.

We laid Mom to rest Monday.  

I left Pennsylvania early yesterday for my home in coastal Delaware.

John and his wife Barb left Pennsylvania early this morning for their home in Greenville, South Carolina.  

Isaac will stay at the longtime family home in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

I talked to both John and Isaac this morning on the phone.  We're all doing alright.  

Mom led a good, long life.  She lovingly raised three fine boys.  She did her job.  

No false modesty here, she did a great job with us.  We were a handful growing up.  Three personalities as different as can be, yet she met the challenge.  

There was that one comment she made a few years ago when she was reminiscing about the job she did raising us.  She said "I'm glad none of my boys ended up in prison."  SAY WHAT?  I said "Mom!  Why would you even think that?"  She was a bit embarrassed when I questioned her but I think I know where she was coming from.  When she was a young girl in Downingtown, a trusted banker and local, upright citizen was found to have embezzled money from the local bank.  That event, along with being a child of the Depression shook her faith in people.  So that's maybe why she raised us as she did.  To never lie,  cheat, or steal.  If we did we knew we would have to face MOM.  

Thanks Mom.  You raised us right.   Of course you eliminated a career possibility for all three of us.  We could never become politicians.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back Home In Delaware

We laid Mom to rest yesterday.

Under a cloudless, clear blue sky at noon yesterday; John, Barbara,  Isaac and I arrived at the James J. Terry Funeral Home in Downingtown to pay our last respects to our Mother.  

Jim Terry and his staff at the funeral home had everything perfectly in place.  The soft music from the memorial DVD of old photos that I made of Mom was playing as we entered the viewing room.  

Mom was resting in her white metal casket, surrounded by a colorful rainbow of flowers and two candles glowing softly at each end of casket.  Seeing those beautiful flowers reminded me of the many times I took Mom to funerals of family members and how she enjoyed seeing the many flower arrangements.  She always asked me to check the tags to see who sent the flowers.  She wouldn't be doing that this morning.  Already, another reminder of how much I will miss her.

The doors to the viewing room were opened at 1 pm to let in her friends and relatives.  The first people I saw were my good friends and former high school classmates, the "Two Judys."  What a pleasant surprise. Neither one of the Judy's knew my Mother personally, but they still stopped by to pay their respects.  Friends, there is no greater treasure in this life than good friends.

Another classmate of mine, Jack, also came through the door to pay his respects.  That was the way the rest of the day went, full of pleasant surprises.

Perhaps the only time where I really began to lose it was when my mother's sister, Aunt Ruthie, was wheeled in by her husband Spike to see her sister who basically raised her when she was a young child.  Ruth was the youngest in my Mother's family.  She was the daughter of my grandfather's third wife.  My Mother was the youngest daughter of his first wife.  My Mom's mother died when she was only a year and a half old.   Ruthie was inconsolable.  She stretched her thin arms out from her wheelchair and placed them on the edge of my Mother's coffin.  She looked up at my Mother then dropped her head between her arms and her thin shoulders began to shake as she cried.   I gave her some tissues to wipe away the tears that were streaming down her face.  After a few moments Spike wheeled her away to the side of the room.  Later on I glanced over and saw her, still starring with pained disbelief at her sister who was now gone from her life forever. 

Ruthie on my Mom's shoulder
Ruthie, my brother Isaac and Mom

The rest of the service went well.  My brother John, the pastor, performed the services.  Mom would have been proud of him.  Our nephew Ikey read a passage from the bible.  Later, Ikey said he was too nervous and did "terrible", that was not so.  His Mom-Mom would have been proud of him.

All too soon the services were over.  Jim Terry made an announcement that the pall bearers were to step aside while those remaining went up to the front of the room to say goodbye to Mom for the last time.  

Then it was time for Mom's last trip.  

Our funeral procession snaked it's way through the late afternoon traffic on Rt. 30 to Rt. 322.  We would be going to the Hopewell Methodist Church Cemetery just past Guthriesville.  Mom would be laid to rest just a short distance down the road from where she lived for over fifty years on Hopewell Road.  

When John and Barbara took Mom south with them last October 17th to spend the winter; John had always promised he would bring Mom home.  Today would be that day.  

Bill didn't attend the former services.  He can't handle that.  But he did want to pay his final respects to his good friend Betty.  Bill and my Mom were only four years apart in age (he younger.)  Forty six years ago when Mom invited me to a Thanksgiving Dinner, I said I would come with only one requirement....that I could bring my friend.  Mom had never met Bill before but she knew that he was my "friend."  She reluctantly agreed.  She didn't regret her decision.  Bill and my Mom became best friends. 

Bill waiting

Bill wanted to be with his friend Betty today. After everyone left the cemetery, Bill stayed and waiting for the men to come and fill in Mom's grave.  The men took a long time.  But Bill stayed with Mom just like he did all the times he took her for her cancer treatments, visits to the doctor and Mom's favorite activity, shopping trips to the dollar store.

It was dark when the men finished with Mom's grave.  

Bill left for our home in Delaware in the dark.  Bill has a hard time driving in the dark.  He will be 82 years old this Sunday.  But he wanted to make sure his friend Betty was properly taken care of this one last time.  

Bill did get lost but he finally arrived home last last night.  

I woke up at 2:30 this morning.  I left Mom's former house at 4 o'clock to go home.  I don't like driving in the dark either but I wanted to go home too.  

I had a lot of time to think on the 2 1/2 hour drive to our Delaware home just off Rt. 1, a few miles down the road from Milton, DE.  Bill was surprised when I drove in the garage at 6:30.  He was glad to see me.

Now we can begin anew.  I'm happy, no longer sad.  Mom is in a better place now.  She is not suffering or in pain.  She is not a burden (which she always feared her whole life) to anyone.  She is in a perfect place now.  Someday, we will join her.  

I go to work today.  I'm ready for the old, normal, sometimes boring routine.  But, my life will never be the same.  She's gone.  

No sadness here.  Mom lived a good, long life.  There is only happiness when we relive our memories of this wonderful and unique woman.  She was the best Mom that three totally different brothers could have had.  We were sometimes a handful as only three boys only a year apart in age could be.  But we never stopped loving our Mom.  She was always the Boss and we always listened to her.  She is the reason we are who we are today.  Her legacy will live on. 

Goodbye Mom.

Mom with her Three Terrors -  Me, John and Isaac - 2005

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saying Goodbye To Mom

Mom (my brother Isaac's picture)

John brought Mom home Friday. 

This afternoon we say goodbye to Mom. 

I'm at my brother Isaac's computer now.  It's still dark outside.  The time is 6:30 am.

This is the first opportunity since I arrived at Mom's home to update my blog.  Friday and Saturday I stayed at the Hampton Inn in Lionville.  They have a computer but I could only access information, not input information. 

As anyone who knows me and regular readers of this blog know, writing is my therapy.  My blog is my therapy.  Because I haven't been able to write since I arrived in Pennsylvania, I'm a bit off kilter. 

This will be a brief posting.  Isaac is up.  John and Barb are still sleeping upstairs.  They will be up shortly.  Once we all wash up then we'll go out for breakfast. 

Services for Mom will be this afternoon at the James J. Terry Funeral Home in Downingtown. 

We'll go in to say goodbye to her at 12:30.  The viewing is 1:00.  John will perform the services at 2:00.  Then we will begin Mom's final trip to the Hopewell Methodist Church Cemtery on Hopewell Road, just down the road a bit from Mom's home.  That home will be Isaac's home now. 

Bill is coming up today.  He will not attend the services.  He ca n't take funerals.  He's still getting over the loss of his dogs over ten years ago.  But he wants to be here when Mom takes her final trip. 

I'm not sure when I'm going back to Delaware.  Maybe after the services today, maybe early tomorrow morning.  I'll have to see how I feel after we leave Mom who now will lie next to Pop at that grave site that she so often visited the past ten years since he died in August of 1980.

This day will be interesting. All of us have done pretty well in holding it together. 

I thought I might lose it yesterday when I attended my 51st class reunion.  That was a coincidence.  I wasn't planning on making a special trip in attending that reunion which was at Hoss's Restuarant, right next to the Hampton Inn.   But since I was up here I thought "Why not?"  It would take my mind off of Mom for awhile. 

Several of my former classmates came up to me and expressed their condolences.  They had seen Mom's obituary in the Daily Local News.  I thought I might get blubbery but I didn't. 

Today will be a different story when me and my brothers stand in the receiving line by our Mom, welcoming relatives and friends saying goodbye to their friend Betty, Aunt Betty, or "Mom-Mom", as she is know by her five grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. 

Today will also be closure.  Nineteen years ago, when I attended the untimely death of my good friend Alice was the first time I realized the importance of our unique funeral tradition of our western culture. 

It is not for the deceased but for the survivors.  For all those who knew and loved her to pay their final respects and bring to closure this chapter of their lives.  I know for myself, I will never be the same. 

My brothers and I are one of the fortunate children of this world who had a mother who was the best mother anyone could have had.  If me and my brothers could have chosen a mother, we could not have got a better mother. 

Mom literally devoted her whole life to Pop and her "three boys", as she always used to call us.  She never did for herself.  She only lived to make our lives better.

As my cousin Jackie (the son of Mom's older sister Grace) often said "I don't know what Grandpop Hadfield did to those Hadfield girls but they all spent their lives only for their family." 

My Aunt Grace had two sons, Jackie and Charlie.  My Mom's other sister Jeannette (who is 93 years old and living Simpson Meadows) had one daughter and four sons.  All three sisters spent their whole lives for their husbands and children. 

Yes, we were all so blessed to have these three sisters who grew up without a mother to be such wonderful mothers themselves. 

Today we will say goodbye to Mom. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mom - Betty Louise Hadfield Tipton

My beautiful Mom with my Dad - 1958

Even though I knew my Mom was dying it is still a shock to the system.  As much as one prepares for something like this, it still isn't enough.  This is my Mother.  The one person in the world who is responsible for the person that I am today.  She has always been my rock.  She has always been my best friend.  All my life she has always helped me.  Always.

Now she is gone.  I'm still not sure how I feel.  I'm mostly holding it together.  I've lost "it" a few time and, undoubtedly will lose it a few more time in the coming days.

For the first time in my life I feel totally alone.  Mom is always....ALWAYS someone I could go to.  The last year or so we gradually grew apart as she slipped into early dementia. But she still had her good moments.

I am so thankful that I visited her this past June.  I suspected that it would be the last time I would see her.  However, I didn't think she would be gone this soon.  One is never ready for something like this.

Mom and me at John's home in Greenville, SC in June 2010

This is the e-mail I received from my sister-in-law Barbara today:

"After about 3 weeks on hospice care, Mom passed away here in our Greenville home at 12:30 pm today.  She was unresponsive, out of pain, and comfortable for many days now.  At 12:30 pm today (Thursday) she simply took her last berath and is now at peace.  Mom did make pofession of faith, and we are trusting that she is now with the Lord"

Services will be held for Mom on Monday, 2 pm at the:

James J. Terry Funeral Home
736 East Lancaster Avenue
Downingtown, PA 19335

The viewing will take place at 2 pm

My brother John Tipton will conduct services at 3 pm at the funeral home

After the services Mom will be transported to the Hopewell Methodist Church on Hopewell Road in East Brandywine Township to her final resting place.  She will be with Pop again.

Mom with her cousin Sandy Hadfield Hart and niece Elaine Reynolds Tyson 2005

I am leaving for Downingtown tomorrow and will not be back at my computer until next week.

I leave with this thought about my mother who spent her whole life caring for her family:

"Peaceful by thy rest, dear mother, it is sweet to breathe thy name, as in life we loved you dearly.  So in death we do the same."
Mom displaying her new hairdo - 2005 


Betty Louise Hadfield Tipton
December 24, 1923 - September 16, 2010

The Vigil

Maggie comforting Mom - yesterday

This morning I talked to John.  They don't expect Mom to make it through the day.

Mom has been unresponsive for the past 36 hours.  Her eyes haven't closed.  She has been in the same position in her bed for the past ten days.  

Yesterday, Maggie got on her bed.  Maggie knows.

Maggie is Barbara's dog.  Maggie has been Mom's constant companion since we moved Mom down to John and Barb's home in Greenville last October.  

Maggie knows she isn't supposed to get on Mom's bed.  Yesterday she ignored that rule.  She knows.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Christine O'Donnell Won!

The sign I saw yesterday at the end of the road out of my development as I turned on Rt. 1 to vote in Milton - an Ominous Sign 

I voted yesterday.  I wanted to vote for Christine O'Donnell but I am a registered Democrat and Delaware has a closed primary.  I could only vote for Democratic candidates.

Those who know me know that I would never vote for a right wing nut candidate like Christine O'Donnell but I wanted her to win in order to give the Democratic candidate for senator from Delaware (Chris Koons - how about that name?  One would think the Democratic establishment could pick some unknown with a better name than "Koons."  I can just imagine the field day the southern senators will have with that name if Koons is elected to the Senate.)  

I don't consider myself a tea bagger, or as they refer to themselves now as "Tea Partiers."  They made this name change after being informed that there was an obscene urban definition for a "tea bagger."  You'll have to look it up, I won't spell it out here.  

I don't subscribe to many of the Tea Party candidates promises to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, the VA and the other government safety net programs.  I paid into Social Security and I want my money.  I was in the Army for three years and promised VA medical care if I needed it.  The government should keep its promise to me and other veterans like me who put their lives at risk for their country.  

I think there are too many racists in the Tea Party who just can't accept the fact that there is a black man with his family living in the White House.  Get over it.  

But having stated my reservations about being a tea bagger, I do subscribe to their general theory of "throw the bums out!"  

Thus, I was ecstatic when I heard the breaking news on the Rachel Maddow show last night that Christine O'Donnell won the Republican senatorial primary in Delaware, beating the establishment pick Mike Castle, a long time Republican fixture in Delaware who has held every office from lieutenant governor, governor, representative and now (he thinks) senator.  Sorry Mike.  It ain't  going to happen.  You just lost your turn.  The rules have changed.  Have a nice life but go away dinosaur.  

Mike Castle - a regular ball of fire

When I voted yesterday, my only choices on the Democratic ballot were a bunch of local politicians that I didn't know anything about.  So I voted for each one who was SECOND on the ballot.  That was my way of protesting against the establishment.  I figured that the Democratic establishment put their picks first on the ballot.  

On the Chris Matthews' show "Hardball" last night, he was interviewing Matthew Dowd, a former Bush speechwriter.  Now normally I would never agree with anything a former Bush speechwriter would have to say but I have to admit that Mr. Dowd's assessment of the anger that the Tea Party voters represent is right on the mark.  He said:

"The Tea Party candidates who are winning represent an intense anger from the voters who voted for them."

"They will vote against anyone who represents the Establishment."

"November doesn't matter, they're establishment candidates are in the way."

"Washington is disconnected from people's everyday lives."

"Washington spends money without regard for what is really going on in the country."

"They (the voters) think that Republicans and Democrats, regardless if they get along publicly, cut deals.  It's "I'll scratch your back and you scratch my back."

"They're (the politicians of both political parties) are only interested in rising up the (political) ladder."

"They're only interested in what they can get out of Washington."

"They're only interested in power for power's sake."

"They're not interested in designing a government that reflects where they (the voter) are in their lives."

"It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican but if they feel you represent that (kind of politician) they don't like you."

This is EXACTLY how I feel.  

Chris Matthews went on to say that the people who vote for Tea Party candidates feel that the 

"Rot is at the top" (the politicians from the president on down)

"The Mob (new immigrants and the poor) are at the gate"

"We're (the middle class) is stuck in the middle"

The Tea Party voters (and many others like me) are sick to death of the "get along to go along" mentality of many members of BOTH POLITICAL parties.

I had great hope ("Change that you can believe in") when Barrack Obama was elected president.  That hope is gone.  

Sure, there was a health care bill passed but it's a phony bill.  My health care costs are still going up.  Where's the public option?  Oh, I forgot.  Rahm Emanuel advised Obama to forget that key ingredient in bringing down health care costs if there was any hope of getting a health care bill through Congress.  Obama and the Democrats didn't even try to get a public option.  It's a fake bill. Sounds good but doesn't really change anything.  

Then there is the stupid continuation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.  Sure, Congress has to repeal this lame brain, discriminatory law but at least Obama could put a stop loss on any further discharges from the military of its gay and lesbian members.  Nothing has changed.  Patriotic citizens of this country who just happened to be gay or lesbian are still being kicked out of the armed forces just because of who they are.  Barrack Obama failed to provide presidential leadership.  

Then there is the DOMA law.  You know that one, a law passed that marriage is only to be between a man and a woman.  Obama is on record that he believes that marriage should ONLY be "between a man and a woman."  I can't believe he really believes that but if he does, shame on him.  If he doesn't but professes to believe it, then shame on him again.  He's a hypocrite.  

What I really fault Obama and the Democrats for is that they again have taken for granted gay and lesbian support.  They think we (I'm gay) have nowhere else to go.  They're right there but I don't have to contribute any more money to the Democratic party of Democratic candidates.  I don't have to vote.  Which upsets me a lot but I will not vote again for a Democratic candidate who isn't going to do more than lip service to working for equal rights for ALL of our citizens, including the GBLT community. 

I couldn't wait to vote for the first time in my life when I voted for Barry Goldwater.  I've always felt special when I voted.  For the first time in my life I an seriously considering sitting on my hands and not voting.  That's how bad our political system has failed, to cause me not to vote. 

So that's why I'm glad Christine O'Donnell won yesterday.  Mike Castle, a political fixture in Delaware for a generation, thought it was his turn to be the next senator from Delaware.  Or, more accurately, the Establishment thought he would be the next senator from Delaware.  They would be wrong.  

It was interesting watching the two candidates on TV last night.  Representative Castle look tired and old.  Christine O'Donnell looked young and fresh.  Hey, so what if she's just another nut job?  Can we do any worse than the crowd that's in power now?  I think not.  

Congratulations Christine!

Christine O'Donnell - WINNER - Delaware Republican Senate candidate

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...