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My back is broken


"I am short", she said "and unaccountably small." But she remembered everything and she came to understand a great deal...

My name is Ruthe and my modest contribution to my country is highlighted by my vote every few years. This has always been my only contribution to local and national politics. Nor did these politicols act upon my life. Until now....

I am mortified that we facilitated the election of a self-absorbed, buffoon to the highes office in the land. Whether I voted this person or not is imaterial, he is my president as well as the next person and we, as a country created the structure whereby anyone could become President of the USA. I believe we're all quite proud of this feature of our governance.

We are proud of Lincoln's legendary rise from a small farm in Illinois. We are proud of the aristocratic Jefferson who left the beautiful Monticcello in the hands of his slaves to ascend to the Presidency, the WWII general who came out of retirement to lead the country and the old money Kennedy who left his New England home to become the second of our martyred leaders. Every American child can grow up to be President.

Did we think there could never be an uneducated, preditory business magnate who would aspire to take the US Presidancy on as a dare? How certain were we that every citizen revered the Constitution and the freedoms it ensured for all of American?. Has no one ever used the law as a primary means to personal gain? Adolph Hitler became a house hold word sysonimous with madman -- or did it? Did we really think that racism was completely expunged in1965?

We helped him win at the game with no avenue to correct our oversight. Everything secures his position and nothing protect his successors from what we may do now.


We all lie about something from time to time. Tact and diplomacy are, at their core, simply acceptable lies. But for some, truth has less to do with what is than what they can convince people of. We’ve all known someone who can look us straight in the eye and, with every sincerity, tell us a lie. And the very best liars are believable for most of us most of the time. But not all of us all of the time.

Our integrity is something that, once tossed aside can never be reclaimed.


Table of Contents
A Great Disappointment
Warm Springs
Junie June

A Great Disappointment
I was a great disappointment to my poor mother. Seven years early, her sister had given birth to a beautiful baby girl with golden curls and a Shirley Temple smile. Imagine my mother’s great anticipation and crushing disenchantment when she brought forth dull girl with thin straight hair and no discernable social skills. Nevertheless, she named me for a frilly prom queen she admired – Fayonne – and spelled it like the town in New Jersey. I was in my forties before I heard this name used to address someone else. It was freaky. No one had ever used this name unless I had failed or was about to fail to do something.
But my good mother was a trooper. She never made me feel like a disappointment. Had she not spent so much time trying to curl my hair I may never have noticed at all. It became a little more obvious when I reached puberty and displayed no interest in being a crazy teen. For senior sneak, I did not return home until the sun was up next morning. I was certain I would be in serious trouble but no, my mother greeted me cheerily with a very hopeful, “Did you have fun?” My mother was a secretly desperate woman.
Mom was the youngest of two daughters separated by seven years. She learned from a very early age that much could be gained with a cute smile and sweet personality. She went on vacations with every friend in her neighborhood – whether it was Uncle Jeremiah’s apple orchard in the fall or Aunt Agnes’ beach house on the river.
My mother worshipped her older sister and when she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl with ringlets and bows and a Shirley Temple smile that went on forever my mother was sure that she would be equally blessed. Little Ricky Lou was quick to grasp the benefits of her charm on others just as my mother had.
As I said before, a skinny kid with limp hair was no match for the adorable Ricky Lou but my mother never made me feel like a disappointment. Had she not spent so much time trying to curl my hair, I would not be looking back now at how disappointed she must have been.

Warm Springs

Floating Upward
When I turned sixty I floated upwards. My children were off doing their own thing and my mother had recently passed away. My tether began to unwind; new and unusual ideas drifted in.
I had a great job at the art museum and I could ride my bike through the park every morning to work. But then I was fired because I failed to watch my back. I didn't know my back needed to be watched because my considerable work was conducted in front of me. Had anyone asked, I was probably unaware that I even had a back. But I did have a back and someone had apparently been standing there. So I was fired; I began to have unusually powerful ideas.
I learned a little Italian and took off for a very happy tour of post-mousseline Rome and all the breathtaking Renesance art the expanded north to Venice.
In Padua, I stopped in at the church of Saint Anthony. The Mass was conducted in both Latin and modern Italian after which local parishioners milled about chatting with one another as church goers the world do. I walked to the front of the cathedral

Junie June

June Johnson was the most courageous woman I have ever met. In her thirties, she had a stroke from the birth control she was taking. The doctors told her mother they didn't expect her to live and if she did survive she would be a vegetable. Her mother's response was "you don't know June" and June loved demonstrating this telling. ... "if she can't get around it this-away then she'll go that-away" and June's arm would go around the other way.

June did survive after all. She taught herself to walk and to talk, although she told me she didn't talk the way other people do. Rather she "mimicked lack a chil’" she told me in her broad Texas drawl. June could neither read nor write but she had the local newspaper delivered every day and from the pictures she would cypher what was going on and where to buy the best cuts of meat at the best possible prices.



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