The Trump’s Tsunami

Given our impression that The Donald is, among other traits, delusional, let’s toy with a slice of his delusions this way: he sees himself as being a “greatest of all time” Tsunami cascading him over Washington, crashing him directly (even ahead of time) into the White House, his misfit cabinet appointees barging in right behind him in a rag-tag flotilla. Of course the family was floating around right then too, looking for a tree near the front door to grab onto. And they found it; sloshed their way into the West Wing without even a security check. Why not. They had the Name. And the class-less brass.

Tsunamis can’t be stopped or even controlled. That’s what Trump was counting on, that he could stay above the laws of our country long enough to get where he could make his own laws, or live without any.

Well, Donald, this huge, destructive, metaphorical tsunami, is tinier than you can believe. It is only the size of one overweight, swaggering, self-serving, cunning-minded mortal who is entering the chronological portals of mental aging. The latter is one truth you will not be able to buy, barter, or deal on, Donald.  A truth that you, in all your moneyed power, cannot reverse or modify: the Office of President of the United States takes a terrible physical toll on its occupant, that is IF the occupant conducts himself as The President, and Leader of the Free World.

As for your flotilla of cabinet choices, they figure metaphorically as flotsam and jetsam, junk picked up in the irresponsible surge of your arrogance, to be deposited wherever and allowed to do whatever. With all those misfits looking to you for their marching orders, the picture of the eventual recession of the tsunami with our trashed government left behind, is tortuous.

Unfortunately, the cleanup at the end of the brainless Trump Tsunami will be have to be done by those of us commoners who are NOT the delusional, power-mad, law-breaking, Constitution-defying few whose thinking you currently control, Donnie. Yes, we ‘commoners’ will do the cleanup, quick as we can, and gladly!

Yes, we will pick up the ragged pieces of Programs that helped the troubled. Programs that fed hungry families. Programs that paid back the owed portion of lifetime earnings. Programs that gave support to schools and colleges, thus hope to our youth. Programs that served life and death medical needs for all ages and diseases. We will sweep up carefully, saving all we can of the broken chunks that might be melded back together again and put back into service to us, The People.

Finally, after your exit or demise (whichever comes first), we will restore their specified duties to the three branches of Government. We will bring back decency in dialogue with not only other countries, but also with our citizens. We will work to restore dignity and respect for all, regardless of their station in life. We will give those seeking asylum their day, regardless of religion, according to our accepted democratic creed coupled with our tested system of due processing.

Yes, Trump, if good fortune or a miracle happens for our country, and this tsunami made up of you et al are dethroned by Justice, we’ll hop right to all of the above in a heartbeat. We the majority, we the aware, we the law abiding Americans, we are indefatigable, resilient, patient, caring, smart.  We are counting on the inevitable recession of your Big Wave, knowing that when a tsumani rolls in, it rolls out as a waste filled, putrid drain. Yes, and we’ll do shore cleanup, we who honestly love our beautiful country.

You and your White House crew may need a life raft to float you all back to the Golden Tower, soggy and shore-less after your despotic ride on the crest.



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Help! It’s Holiday ‘Help’

holiday-picNow don’t get me wrong. I am completely aware of how much temporary employment can mean to millions during the Holidays. And I do understand how necessary those temps are to stores of all sizes and denominations. I’m only making some simple observations here drawn on amused personal experience.

I’m not a ‘good’ shopper any more. Since my endurance level has dropped noticeably in my nineties, I now shop more like a man: I take the straightest line to Aisle A, move straight on to Aisle B, directly to the check stand, then out the door.  I’m increasingly unashamed about upon entering, checking my destination with an employee so there will be fewer false moves. Hard for me to believe, but I’ve even dropped to the level of phoning a store to ask if such and such is in stock before leaving the house If that sounds not at all like how I used to shop, you’re right. But, oh well…

That aside, I do love the interaction between me, other shoppers, employees (excuse me, ‘assistants’), even checkers at the end. People are fun to watch, talk with. Come along with me for a few recent stops.

Dropping into my economic pillar, the Dollar store, I am on a mission for one simple item, a box for mailing. Circling around toward the back of the store, I spy a truck piled high with empty boxes on their way to the back to be smashed, I presume. I stop the cheery looking  pusher lady and ask if I might take one of those boxes. She apparently tracks my eyes because she throws her body forward like a blanket across the skyline of the load, and during that embrace says, “I don’t know. This is only my second day and I don’t know if we give away boxes, but I’ll ask,” then releasing her hold, she and her load disappear through the double doors. In a couple of minutes the truck reappears followed by the cheery pusher lady who declares, “Oh yes, we do give them away…for free.”

Next: After having reworked the allotment for Christmas spending a number of times, I decide to go ahead and hit the big name electronics store in the mall for the specific gift that I had checked on a day earlier. Standing at the ready as I enter, the young lady steps toward me in a gesture of welcome. Her clothing is obviously more than ‘used’, her hair and makeup less than polished. She’s tall, wan, looks undernourished, tired. Or is it bored?  “I’m looking for a home scanner,” I say. A look of quandary masks her face for a few seconds. “A scanner? Uhhhhhhhhh. we don’t have those, (pause) except (gesturing toward the counter) on the computer over there.” In a low voice so as not to let this get to the manager’s ears, I say, “Yes, I looked at a home scanner here yesterday, and now I want to purchase it. Let’s go over this way.” Eventually the memo arrives: “Oh.”

And last: In the middle of an absolute in-the-moment need for a few sprigs of fresh seasoning for the Thanksgiving turkey, I call the nearby big chain grocery store. This is the way it went down:

Me:   “Hello, I’m urgently needing some fresh rosemary. Do you have some in stock?”

Phone voice: “One moment. I’ll connect you with the produce department.”

Deep voice: “This is Jeremy, how can I help you?”

Me: “Jeremy, I’m desperate to get some fresh rosemary right away. Do you have some       in stock?”

“Yes, we do, but it’s going fast.”

“Great! Will you please hold a box for Peggy? I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

Jeremy, laughing (obviously amused at my panic), “Sure.”

On time at the store, I scan the horizon of the produce department for a male figure, thinking this will be easy – he’ll appear like a white knight, I’ll grab the rosemary and be out of here. But not so much. Not seeing any male employee in produce, I address the back of a bent over female employee who is stocking the cold fruit section. “I just talked to Jeremy who is holding a box of rosemary for me. I don’t see him anywhere. Could you please call him?” Met with a rather blank stare, I repeat, “Would you please call Jeremy for me?” She starts walking away toward a phone, then turns back to me and says, “Is he tall?”, raising arms aloft to confirm ‘tall’. “I don’t know because I just talked to him on the phone…”  She didn’t get it. “Is he really tall?”  I’m about to repeat my last sentence re the phone when way back by the meat counter I see a really big guy in black apron coming toward me, rosemary in hand. I ask Jeremy, “How tall are you, are you really tall?”  “Six-four.”

There. She was right. I guess it was just that I couldn’t see him over the phone.



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A Seasonal Mix-up

As I pass by the office sliding glass doors, I see the wan, low-UV November sun is shafting through the cloud cracks, playing with the edges of on oncoming front. Showers are in the forecast of course, because this is the Pacific Northwest, and we Oregonians have been forever chided with “The State with only one season: Rain.” The reasoned response is, ‘That’s why Oregon is so green!” Truth is that each year has its own schedule for blooms and climbs, with convention getting dissed each season by surprises galore.

Just back inside from a novice-gardener survey, and here it is, it’s happening again. This is what month? Is November still Fall? When does Winter start…or Spring…or when did Summer end this time and Fall begin? I guess it doesn’t matter because Mother Nature is already playing her cards in the gardens all around the house. Daffodils are up four inches. Narcissus bulbs are breaking the dirt with daring green tips. The spring Vinca ground cover, along with its neighboring Ice Plant, have a few fresh blossoms wide open to the weakly sun. Up next to the house the new center growth of a Hellebros stands short but strong. Alongside it the Mexican Orange bush is bursting with fragrant blossoms…is this really just the end of Fall? Still? Tall lavender that was cut back when it got out of control at near five feet in the summer, is now back up to near two feet….good grief, at this rate by next summer I’ll be watching it hit the eaves as I tie it back to the rain spout on that corner…the bees may get altitude sickness.

hydrangeaThen there’s the hydrangea in the barrel at the end of the house, showing off a pair of deep pink blossom clusters. Never mind that I thought I might have killed it by cutting it back so far at the end of summer. Here it is, showing its true colors way out of season. Once I get the leaves off the Iris tubers, the Fall work will be finished — for me that is. Mother Nature will continue to play her hand, unfettered, which by my count contains her loser card, that monstrously healthy dandelion that has a root driven partway to China – smack in the middle of the Iris bed. That dandelion knows no season! Nor apparently does the one lonely sweet little pink clematis blossom outside my bedroom window, that isn’t due till May or June.

No, it’s Fall alright,  A flock of geese just croaked their flight form separation overhead, as usual following a leader that is polar-challenged, circling, angling, dipping, splitting, losing a few, then banding up again, finally having found the sun and therefore the south.

Yes, November 30th is still Fall this year. So it must be that I’m the one who is mixed up.






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My Flag, My Uniform, and Veterans Day

In the order of the title, I’m wondering about next year and whether the order of importance will be the same in 2017. This is my story. This is my wonderment.

Peggy received the Outstanding Oregon Veteran's Award at the  2014 bi-annual Oregon Women Veterans Conference! "Was I stunned or what -- but PROUD to be among those women veterans ranging from age 29 to 93 for two days."

My worn, crusty standard sized flag bears 48 stars because it was presented to my family when I went off to the Navy in 1944. My dad raised it on the ocean front community flag pole every morning, and lowered it every evening (except for inclement weather) for the whole two years I was gone. This is my flag that I cherish dearly and which will adorn my casket when the time comes.

My beautiful Navy WAVE uniform wraps itself responsively as best it can around my bent, misshaped body every time I wear it. Yes, it’s the original; and no, I can’t fasten the bottom button of the jacket any more. So I’m technically “out of uniform” when I’m in uniform. Regardless, I will wear it proudly until I get so bent that my form dishonors the inherent meaning and purpose.

Veterans Day obviously is personal. But it is also special for me because of my oldest grandson (now 42) who served 8 years in the Army in the 90’s; the many military friends from the sequence of wars I’ve lived through; the fact that our nation honors both the fallen and us with a deeply moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown at 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month.

Finally, this note of thanks goes to I Know Not Who, who on the stormy Saturday a few weeks ago unclasped my wind-whipped, rain-sogged new flag from the tall pole on my property. The flag was left, without a word, neatly folded and respectfully out of the weather on a bench near my front door. This was a 50-star flag which must have had a special meaning for someone else (possibly a veteran?). Bless you.


Peggy Lutz – 2016

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A Tearless Tale

We (that’s the editorial pronoun use) are wearing our handydandy Lowe’s (that’s where we get our military discount) garden gloves, and are bent over in the late afternoon sun, pulling up some spent marigold root clumps. The worst happens. Trying to salvage some fertile plant soil by flicking it off that clump, we trigger a small barrage of dirt into both eyes. Oooops. Here we are, swiping with the back of a glove, blinking wildly. Ahhh. The right one gets cleared. Uhhh. The left eye doesn’t. Well, it almost does except for one tiny fragment of dirt the size of a ¾” chunk of gravel like we used on our country driveway in Prineville. Blinking isn’t helping. Swiping isn’t helping. What are we going to do to get that left eye back into operation and the rest of the body freed from panic? Time to focus (our mind, that is).

In a brief clear headed moment we nix a 911 call that would alert the neighborhood. So much for experienced help. It’s back to home remedies. How about a huge surge of homemade tears as a washout? Good idea. Let’s try that. We park our self on the front steps trying to look as if we are just resting for a moment in case anyone is watching. Now let’s bring up some really horrible visual which will make us dissolve into an emotional heap. Tears will do the job if we can turn them on without any accompanying noises. Here we go. What about the face plant at 10 yards before the finish line in a 200-meter dash? Nope. Runners don’t EVER cry. How about that two-hour hip reconstruction surgery a few years ago that didn’t turn out so well? No tears then, none now. What about when we loaned our un-dented car and it came back with a busted bumper? Well, close but not quite.

It’s getting obvious that thinking is just wasting time while the speck grinds away way under the eyelid, feeling like it’s headed toward the frontal lobe of the brain. A look in the mirror shows bloodshot white as proof of pain, at least. Well now, look at this: right there beneath the bathroom mirror, in an arrangement of antique bottles, sits the old glass eyecup our generation grew up with. Formed to fit around the eyeball. That was made for exactly this job, wasn’t it? Couldn’t be a better fix – except for the thought that the silly cup needs a street sweeper cleanout of the accumulation of 70 years of dust and who knows what else. So we give the eyecup a ‘bye’.

A night of restless sleep brings relief in some unknown way…no pain. Yesss. Did that speck actually make it to the brain? Did it dissolve? Did it escape in a moment of REM? Who cares! It is now missing.

Just think, if we were an old time “method” actress who could do any emotion including crying on cue, we’d have never left the edge of the flower bed, or scuffed the face with a dirty glove, or parked our derriere on a hot step, or blinked the self into oblivion. Or least of all, have gone inside and looked up close in the mirror that gave back that picture of not only a red eye, but also a cluttered map of facial fault lines.

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The Hug

I’m not a hugger. Usually touching cheeks does what’s necessary as a greeting or a thanks. Since yesterday I’m filled with wonder about a big one!

This hug wrapped itself all the way around my heart, indelibly.

I was in the local BiMart (one of my favorite haunts because it is ‘Employee owned’), looking to buy a couple of totes. Found them. Sacrificed two fingernails attempting to unstick the top one. Suppressed an unspoken, unladylike expression. Wheeled my cart around on a search for employee help.

There he was, this well groomed young man in the red vest who was shifting merchandise from shelf to shelf. I rolled up alongside him asking to be helped with the totes, please, that I can’t get them unstuck, and I want two sizes. With a knowing smile he led me to the aisle, I pointed to the ones I wanted. He leaned in on the big one and in a professional tone said, “You take hold of the middle on each side, pinch it in, lift, and there it is in your cart.” And there it was, in my cart~effortlessly. Now if I could just have my two fingernails back, I’m thinking… But wait, I’ve just had a practical shopping lesson from this polite young man. How cool~this almost takes care of the fingernails. Well, almost.

On the way to the smaller tote, he turned around toward me and said, “You remind me so much of my grandmother.” I asked how old she is, and when he said eighty-nine, I countered with, “I’ve got almost five years up on her”. “NOOoooo, no, you’re not……
Really? You’re not that……?”

He plopped the smaller tote in the cart, came up alongside saying again that I do remind him a lot of his grandmother. This started a happy exchange about where she lives, that she has seven sons, 34 grandchildren, an unnamed number of great-grandchildren, and that she was like a mother to him. I’m urging him to give her a call, write to her, let her know how big she still is in his life. He’s looking at me, listening with eyes rimming a bit of color, then says, “CAN I HAVE A HUG???” Of course – it was a big, wraparound, moment-sharing, bonding hug like I will remember forever. Once more I entreated him to tell his grandma how much he loves her because it’s important for us elders to hear that from our young ones.

He stepped back, gave me a memory-filled look and said, “I have to get back to work before I cry.”

As for me? I moved off with two totes, two blurry eyes, forever honored, and deeply touched by The Hug.

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Oh. Where, O Where Has The Bedroom Gone

In times past, the bedroom was a sanctuary, a getaway, a quiet and shaded place used mostly for sleep and sex. Both of these had their respected times sans interruption. When in use either way, door was closed (universal STAY OUT), blinds were drawn and either Morpheus or the Mate was the focus.

Then TV entered the bedroom. Johnny Carson, who came on the air near midnight, would rag his viewers about watching him “between their feet”. See, he already knew that the bed was a better place than a living room couch, because we were already in the time and place to proceed on to whichever use might follow his sign-off.

Then came the cell phone. The compulsion to never be separated from the selected ring-a-ding has brought that tiny Black Widower all the way to the nightstand, and sometimes even a space under the pillow. And what’s more, it doesn’t know day or night, good or bad times. Interrupt at will. Signal whenever. In the middle of a business deal, a physical checkup, Communion at church, sex? The cell phone is in control.

So back to the bedroom. In order of standing, both Morpheus and the Mate are now most often second in order, to the laptop. Note: last night as I watched a Hallmark movie, the good catch, WASP, successful attorney who was engaged to the sweet ‘looker’, had propped himself up in bed, and become more heavily engaged with the laptop than to her.

Plopping on the pillow beside him, she asked for a kiss. A swivel-head buss. She paused then asked for a ‘kiss that means you know I am here’. The response sent the final dart to her heart…she left the bedroom sadder but wiser. The laptop had sent the message.

Is there any replacement for that way-back bedroom? Don’t we need a dark, quiet place to sleep anymore, without phone-y noises, without flashing screens, where we wake up in the morning knowing WE are in control, ready to rock and roll?

I’m decided. If we don’t have a Mate, Morpheus is the best. Take my word for it.


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The Half of it

Today I’m turning 93 and a half. And you may ask, what is the bigness of the ‘half’? Well, that half has become a five-star spacer between those full figure years that have begun cycling around at warp speed. Don’t you remember back when someone asked how old you were and you held up four fingers, then added the ‘half’ vocally because you couldn’t figure how to bend down the fifth digit? That was back then when the body was on the uptick and the world was out there to be conquered.

To me now, the half means I’m on the opposite of uptick, making every ‘half’ a monument to those 93 years spent conquering the world. Therefore, I’ve decided to glorify the ‘half’. And later today I may even go off the rails by taking on a cheeseburger and chocolate shake, followed by a dark chocolate (the healthy one) Hershey bar. Why not. Once I get through the sugar rush, the digestive pain will go away in a day or two.

The brain/body calendar game is weird. Not so long ago, as I saw it, I was a rounded 72 for twelve months – I was even 80-something for the full year. But as I slid into the nineties, right away, those spacers – those half-ers – morphed into monumental importance. Now they’re practically milestones in their own right.

Advancing into the top echelons of ‘Seniors’ has been a delightful trip for me. It’s thanks to my pioneer heritage and good genes, I guess. Occasionally I need to tell my brain that it’s going too fast, and needs to remember that it’s dragging my body along behind….such is the awareness of antiquity. And such is my only complaint.

Let it be known that as long as my brain fires regularly and I remain upright, I’m happy to celebrate those six-month-ers on my calendar. And you’re invited, too.

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Three Great Reads by WWII Author/Humorist Peggy Lutz

Never Salute With A Broken Garter

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Book Price: $10 plus S&H

A collection of Peggy Lutz’s memories between the years of 1944 and 1946, primarily recounting life of a young woman doing her part for the War effort as a US Navy WAVE. Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, or WAVES, was a fully pledged and uniformed auxiliary attached to the US Navy only during WWII. They performed most of the same stateside assignments as their male counterparts.

Because very little has been written about these women in uniform Lutz explains that her hope is that NEVER SALUTE WITH A BROKEN GARTER will shed some light on all the little threads that made up the fabric of military life for a woman between 1944 and 1946.

Never Salute with a Broken Garter offers a tell-all tale of firsthand WWII experiences, some of them depicting the Oregon coast civilian Homefront, but most of them about her time in the military service.

It’s Hard to Salute Standing in A Wall Locker 

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Book Price: $15 plus S&H

WAVES, WAACs WACs, SPARs, Army Nurses, a Cadet Nurse and a MARINE share their memories of boot camp or basic training as well as a few hilarious incidents during off-duty times. History comes alive as these ladies – all now in their late 80s to early-90s – take a memory trip back to where they served during World War II. Follow one Army Nurse to Europe and the other to Alaska, then the Philippines. Laugh with the WAC who gave title to the book. Learn what travel was like for ladies on a troop train.

But most of all, sense the attitude of purpose in all of these stories told by these WWII lady vets. And, admire the Army’s first female bugler who played Taps at hundreds of veterans’ funerals over the years, until she fell ill in 2008. She passed away in April 2010 after being admitted to the Bugler’s Hall of Fame, and receiving multiple local and national honors. A total of 12 of the 16 have now passed away, their stories which would have been lost had they not been recorded in this book. In fact this book was so meaningful to some of the ladies that they have left directions for Peggy to be notified upon their death.

I’m Too Tired to Cut the Rhubarb

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Book Price: $9 plus S&H

Between November 2003 and December 2005 I necessarily became a caregiver, joining the legions of older American women who have cared for their partners through the final years and months of their lives.

As the author of “I’m Too Tired To Cut the Rhubarb” I have recorded my husband’s last eight months of life, the ongoing internal monologue of my innermost thoughts, the way I confronted my new duty of thinking for, and deciding everything for someone else. Also, I have chronicled my own physical and emotional decline to an unprecedented depth. My story has taken the form of an 80-page self-published read intended to give credence and stature to the role of caregiver the job so in need of recognition, understanding and support. Our struggle to do all – and be all – wears us down. But our choice to serve our loved one until the end, gives us the deep satisfaction that comes from having fulfilled our commitment; wearing, taxing, exhausting as it was.

Volunteers are a blessing, but the time comes when they are no longer up to the task, or the patient’s condition negates them. Then it becomes a frighteningly solitary task for the responsible spouse (more than 60 percent of the time the woman). The next fact is that little or no attention is given to the caregiver because both the medical world and the support system logically focus on the dying. This record emphasizes how little time the caregiver has to spend on one’s self, be it either a man or woman. And how that lack of attention hastens the decline and possible demise of the caregiver.

Posted in caregiver support, I’m Too Tired to Cut the Rhubarb, Never Salute With A Broken Garter, Peggy Lutz Blog, the invisible women of WWII, WACS, WAVES, Women of WWII, Women Veterans, WWII, WWII Books on Women Vets | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Claim? What Claim?

Our US Postal Service has faltered! Its motto, “Through wind, rain and fog”, or whatever, is now unmistakably tarnished.

I refer to the order of 24 of my WWII autobio’s, complete with enclosed Invoice, sent to the Tillamook Air Museum last week. It arrived as scheduled. That’s the good news. The bad news is that one corner of the box had obviously been immersed in water deep enough to allow the unredeemable baptism of five books. But voila~how delightful it is that I had shipped the books flat rate Priority Mail….there’s an automatic $50 insurance coverage there. And five books retailing at $10 each make the math fit perfectly, right? Well, that’s the good news.

Now for the bad news: upon learning from the Museum about this postal malfeasance, I dug up the PO receipt, called the listed number and went on hold with, “Due to an unusual number of calls, you will be served……”. Some ten minutes into the wait, ‘hold’ was boldly interrupted by a nasally cybervoice chanting a series of inane questions, all my answers being met with, “I am not understanding. Please answer with something like ‘lost mail’ or ‘new address’ or ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
I responded smartly with, “Damaged Mail”.
Cybervoice: I’m not understanding. Did you say ‘Damaged Mail?
Me: Yes, I said ‘damaged mail’.
Cybervoice: I’m not understanding. Please answer with a yes or no.
Me: Yes, damaged mail.
Cybervoice: I’m not understanding. Please answer with something like ‘lost mail’,
or ‘new address’ or ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Me, voice rising: Oh, shut up~I’ve had it! Done! (Yelling at the machine seemed to give me momentary relief from thoughts about damaging Cybervoice, and forgetting about ‘damaged mail’).

Hung up, drove to the PO. Face to face, I was told by a bored looking authority figure that I must go online to USPS with my complaint, that such matters are not handled locally. Summarily dismissed. Of course. I should have known that this wasn’t going to be mediated locally; that neither listening nor problem solving appear in the Clerk job description, which covers mainly telling the customer to say yes or no about whether the contents of a box include a timer, any hazardous white powder, or will go rank before delivery. The clerks are, however, well versed in reading their screen for correct amount of change and handing it back exactly as they read it. Oh yes, and smacking the counter with the NEXT WINDOW sign just as you’ve made it up to the batter’s box.

Now I know there are exceptions. I know there are fine clerks, aged like good cheese, who actually appear to enjoy their work. And who do impart information. In fact, there was one at the next window…I just had a bad draw…the luck of the line.

Here I sit, supper done, ruminating over the experience of just having ‘gone online’. Coughing up everything except birthdate, average blood pressure, years of having been widowed. But comforted with reading that the Post Office will not only send me the claim forms to fill out in the quiet of my hearthside, but will also settle that claim in two or three days. Really? Imagine that…really!

All of this would be so dandy if only I could be sure of why the screen went blank just as I
checked that last bullet…

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