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Notes from the Home - July, 16, 2017

The two laps around and through the Covenant Woods' parking lots and driveways on a hot July afternoon delivered more than expected. I eased the buggy out the door and on to the asphalt, where the temperature on a hot, sunny day is always twenty degrees higher than the surrounding area. A moment later, I saw a woman, a resident, coming in the opposite direction. We said "hello" and complained about the heat and humidity as we passed.

Not much of a conversation, but the woman spoke with a German accent, and that took me back to Myrna Drive in Bethel Park. It was a sunny, summer morning in 1975, I think. The occasion was a weekend celebration of Grandma's eightieth birthday, I think. In any event, Dad and I, and maybe brother Jim or brother Ed were at kitchen table. As we talked, Grandma wandered into the kitchen and began saying the nastiest things about Kaiser Willie.

Grandma was born in America, but her parents immigrated from Germany, and she grew up speaking both …

Attitude Problem

I am so lackadaisical.
And those few thoughts I have? Hairbrained.
An idiotic spectacle?
That's me, so lackadaisical
I'll scream and get hysterical,
Then claim my poor brain is strained.
I'm just so lackadaisical,
And my brain's filled with thoughts hairbrained.

Miss Parker's Wit and Wisdom

To bring life to an otherwise lifeless day, I hopped on the Internet and spent an hour with Dorothy Parker (1893-1967). The old girl had a lot to say, and she said it well. She brightened my day with observations such as these:

"Her big heart, as is so sadly often the case, did not inhabit a big bosom."

"What's the difference between an enzyme and a hormone? You can't hear an enzyme."

"The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'cheque enclosed.'"

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks."

"If all the girls attending the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be at all surprised."

"Tell him I'm too fucking busy - or vice versa."

"Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone."

"The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue."…

Notes from the Home - May 30, 2017

It has been anything but a quiet week in the old-folks home. Perhaps it was quiet in other areas of the establishment, but here in the apartment nestled between Richie's on one side and Alice's on the other, the peace was disturbed on several occasions.

In recent weeks, William has been spending more time in Richie's apartment than he has for well over a year. He pays his visits during the daylight hours, for which I am most grateful. There was a time, not all that long ago, when he was there nearly every night until midnight or later. I'm not one to begrudge a pair of buddies a few beers and a pleasant conversation. But on most days, Richie and William each had a few beers by 10 am and several more than just a few by the time they got together in Richie's place for a lengthy series of night caps.

It is challenge to make sense out of anything Richie or William say, but is never difficult to hear either of them. Richie is from somewhere in New England and has the ac…

A Septet of Triolets

It has been almost three months since I have written a word. Hoping to create a spark large enough to get me scribbling again, I consulted The Complete Works of T. Harris (a disorganized heap of papers and a few Word documents) and found, among other things, the triolets that follow.

 I wrote these seven ,and twenty or thirty others like them ,when I was a member of Suzanne Byerley's writing class at the Conneaut Community Center for the Arts and later the Kingsville Library. Suzanne introduced me to the triolet form. One week I wrote two or three that had an off-kilter animal theme, and Suzanne and the others in the class kept encouraging me to write more. Which I did.

The class was a wonderful experience. Suzanne was a terrific teacher, so very knowledgeable and so very encouraging. Every class began with Suzanne going through our offerings from the previous week. Her critiques were always a blend of gentle criticism for everything from silly mistakes to flagrant grammatical and…

Morning's Glory

Crossword, fresh coffee, Birds sing, sun rises, clear sky. Sunday morning bliss.

Notes from the Home - March 4, 2017

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An email from Huntington Bank appeared in the inbox on Tuesday, February 21. It wasn't unexpected. In January, Huntington had merged or acquired First Merit, which is where the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the Social Security Administration send my money. According to the email, my accounts at First Merit had been successfully moved to Huntington. If I wished to make use of Huntington's online services, I needed to go online and set things up.

Wednesday afternoon I cozied up to the computer, opened Huntington's email, and clicked on the appropriate link for setting up online services. The first page was easy; I was asked to type my First Merit username in one box, and my Social Security number in the other. Then I was directed to click on "Continue" if I wanted to continue.

At first glance, the second page appeared as easy as the first. A box on the screen showed last the four digits of the two phone numbers First Merit had for me. I was to click o…