Monday, June 25, 2018

The Last Straws

When I was a child and had spent most of a day doing things I should not have done, my mother’s patience would finally wear out. Exasperated, she would shout: “That’s the last straw!” And formidable retribution would engulf me and whatever messes I had made. 

There are so many messes in this country right now. So many things in jeopardy: national parks, women, public television, public schools, oceans, rivers, forests, unions, allies, national honor, even the air we breathe. 

But for many, separating immigrant children and parents was the last straw. 

 It was for me. I’ve signed dozens of online petitions. Voted carefully. And complained vocally. But, finally, this week I will participate in public demonstrations against our country’s abominable immigration laws. 

All of them. 

It is time for last straws – whatever yours might be. 

Recently I learned that plastic straws are a major source of pollution. Americans use 500,000,000 plastic straws (five hundred million!) every day. If this does not end, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. 

So now. Right now. It is time to acknowledge the last straws. 

In the policies of our country’s government. 

 And in our milkshakes.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Summer Whites

Days are getting warmer. 

Today I found a stash of white slacks that I had tucked away when days were getting cooler. Their time has come. They reminded me of a minor incident that, at some level, still rankles. 

It was September (about 50 years ago). I was visiting my parents who were hosting an evening of bridge for their friends. That summer I had found the most (I thought) stunning white dress that was both casual and chic. When I came downstairs to help prepare for the festivities, my mother exclaimed: “You can’t wear that!” 

 “Why on earth not,” I wondered aloud.

 “Because it’s after Labor Day.” 

 “What’s that got to do with it?” 

 “People should not wear white dresses after Labor Day.” 

 “That’s silly. It’s a nice dress and I feel comfortable in it.” 

 “No. It will not do. One of my friends gave you a lovely green wool dress. Wear that.” 

 “But it’s too warm and I don’t really like it.” 

 My mother had an expression-- cold eyes and slightly pursed lips – that was the equivalent of Moses descending from Mount Sinai. 

She became ‘she who must be obeyed.’ So I did. 

But I still think rules like that are silly. If it wasn’t going to be so hot tomorrow, I’d find some green wool thing to wear … even though it’s after Memorial Day.