By Fred Owens
What makes me happy? Geraniums and Giraffes, Gardens and Grandchildren, Friends and Family, and this memory from fifty years ago.
I used to visit Mary B in the summer of 1968 when we were home from college. Mary Beata Muehler was a good friend of Toni McNamara. Toni and Mary B both went to Sacred Heart High School and both lived in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Mary B was about twice as smart as me if I recall. And nicer than me too. She was involved with Peter Ahr at the time and I was just a tag-along summer pal because I lived nearby.
So we're drinking frozen daquiris at Mary B's old-fashioned townhouse in Rogers Park on a Sunday afternoon and I make a common joke about Mayor Daley and how corrupt he was. I thought it was funny, but all of a sudden the room got as frozen as the daquiris. Mary B looked at me with steely eyes and grimly said, "Did you know that we are related to the Daley family? Actually my mother is first cousin to Mayor Daley."
No, I did not know that Mary B was related to Mayor Daley. Duh, I wouldn't have told the joke if I had known. So I did a really quick political retreat and embraced the Mayor as a fine fellow and we drank to his health.
Later that summer Mary B married Peter Ahr and became Mary B Ahr. I was invited to the wedding. And sure enough Mayor Daley showed up in his big black limousine. He shook hands all around and kissed the bride, but he didn't stay too long, not wanting to upstage the bridal couple and having so many important things to do, being the Mayor of Chicago.
That was in August of 1968, just a couple of weeks before the Democratic Convention, when the kids and the cops had their riot in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel. I wanted to join the demonstration and shake my fist at the powers that be, but I had no issue with the Mayor, so I stayed home.
That was fifty years ago, in 1968. This memory makes me happy.
January in Santa Barbara is not too tough. It's kind of hard to complain about the weather around here. I was pruning grapes at the community garden on Saturday. And most people are doing the winter pruning of the roses in late January. I do garden work for four customers in our neighborhood. On Monday I will transplant the fig tree for Carol. It's a small tree, so this should be easy. But you have to watch out for fig trees. They start out little but they keep growing, and keep growing, and they send roots into your basement and your septic tank -- best to keep them pruned and keep them small. On Tuesday I work for Keith. I might not do much at all but sweep the sidewalk. I'm watching the small palm trees in his front yard -- their leaves are getting kind of yellow. On Thursday I work for the Swiss people -- they're from Switzerland. I will prune their roses. The really good rose pruners have nerves of steel and make big cuts, lopping off gnarly old branches, and thinning crowded places. But I am not in that top category and I only make modest corrections. On Friday I work for Anita and prune her grape vines. It's good work and I need the money.
Marching. I did not go on the Women's March on Saturday. I was pruning grapes at the community garden. But I decided to review my lifetime March and Demonstration history. It's a long list going back to 1964. I marched from Boston to Seattle and back again. I marched through most of Texas . I demonstrated in Ohio and Florida. These days I spend time on the beach in California. I sleep well at night knowing that Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge against Trump. She's the boss.
The Shutdown. Pelosi rejects Trump's compromise proposal. There will be no deal until the government is back open. She says open the government and then we can talk about the border......... And I'm with Nancy on this.
Twenty Years. Frog Hospital is celebrating 20 years of publication in 2019. Over 700 issues and some of them were pretty good. Our Credo has always been tell the truth and don't waste people's time -- meaning keep it interesting. We have done that. And we plan to keep going. Our motto is Onward!
Frog Hospital Blog There are more than 900 posts on the Frog Hospital blog going back through the years. Somebody of these old posts are still vital. Take a look.