Browsing articles in "All in the Family"
Dec 1, 2012

America: Community by Disaster

from the Foundation for Community Encouragement website

There is a talking head (actually it is Martin Bashir) who exclaims that Americans come together as community when a disaster hits, and return to individuality otherwise.  He says this is what makes our country great.

In disaster, we do mobilize ourselves and reach out.  We want to help each other.  In some ways, perpetual war also contributes to holding America together.  Otherwise, our survival as a country is questionable.

Although we talk about “the center,” and “center left” and “center right” politicians we no longer have a center. We have two increasingly different body politics and both believe they are America and the other is not.   The only thing we agree on is that our troops deserve respect from us.  Again, community, however small, by disaster.

The United States of America will not stand if we do not agree to disagree, and then get to work on what we can abide.

In his book The Different Drum, M.Scott Peck talks about community building  — he and others built the Foundation for Community Encouragement.  As a member of an adult Sunday school class I studied The Different Drum and participated in a 3-Day community building workshop run by Peck’s Foundation.

The experience of the workshop is something I will never forget.  Over three days,without knowing what was “expected of us,” without knowing what “to do”  our group reached community, as Peck’s facilitator called it —  in just enough time to savor about two or three hours of what those in attendance knew to be community.

I can’t tell you what the feeling was — if I could, I would.   But I can tell you what values it rested on:  respect for others, genuine care for others, a willingness (no –a drive) to cooperate.  There is aboslutely no way one could go around with that feeling for long and get anything done.  But there are lessons to be had from the experience.

First, we don’t need a disaster to create community.  Second, no one needs to hear our opinions, unless they ask (this is where I get disqualified).  Third, when someone does express an opinion, to respect it and not challenge it (unless invited to).

Our country is so far from being able to function in community.  We have devolved into being rude and petty people.  We allow our personal airspace to be filled with lies. We want to tell others how to live their lives, not concentrating on how we live our own.

If everyone would mind their own belief systems and also look out for others, then we would be the America our forefathers envisioned.

Nov 26, 2012

Child of the 1%

There has been a lot of talk about wealth during the past couple of years, in part because of the deficit and what seems to most an unfair tax code and in part because ex-candidate WMR has so much money he can’t tell what he has paid in taxes.

I wrote a blog excoriating Mitt- the- budding- barber from his days at Cranbrook.  I said I knew lots of people like him, and I did and do.  Once you have met a person like that you can tell them a mile away.  And it’s not just the boys like Mitt who will never be men.

In the interest of equality, here is the rich girl mirror of Mitt.  Tall and thin, blue-eyed and incredibly dumb, you could tell that she would become a social x-ray in her “adulthood.”  At school, I was surprised that the smart mean girls who hung around her could tolerate her.  I have come to the conclusion that they knew that she was dumb, but more importantly, she was one of them:  rich.  Rich beyond what most of us could even begin to comprehend.

She had this odd persona ~ in that she really didn’t have one ~ that could have predicted America’s love of celebrity.  More girls than hung around her knew about her boyfriend:  another rich kid.

For me, her Mitt-moment came when I realized that she stole small things from the merchants in town because she thought it was “fun.”  I remember very little else about her, except that I saw her at one of our reunions, and she is the pinched nosed social x-ray I thought she would be, not stylish, but expensive and safe.  Very safe.


Nov 23, 2012

First Family

This Thanksgiving, I am particularly grateful for our First Family

For The President who stood by America as he was disrespected by so many.  Who knuckled down and did the hard work of governing without bragging about it.  Who did some amazing things ( equal pay, healthcare, elimination of DADT, speaking out for LGBT equality) because they were the right thing to do.  Who kept his dignity in the face of another party “out to get him.”  Who is incredibly smart, thoughtful, and strategic.  Who is the perfect President for our time.

For the First Lady, who stood by America  even as she was disrespected.  Who remade her public image to accommodate our short comings.  Who taught us how to garden again.  Who asked us to eat healthy and exercise.  Who modeled the behavior she wanted us to embrace. Who took our veterans into her hands and her heart and kept their service front and center.  Who unabashedly loves her husband and protects her wonderful daughters from the glare of the lights that shine upon them.  Who is the perfect First Lady for our time.

For Malia and Sasha, who I lump together because although I wish I knew them better, thanks to their parents’ strong guidance,I don’t.   They are lovely.  They smile even though they must be annoyed at the invasion of their privacy and the bothersome things (so many of them) that make theirs not a normal childhood.  Despite their youth, they are gracious and graceful.

I am grateful for our First Family.  I am so glad we have them for four more years.   May they have the respect of our nation, the respect they have earned, the respect they deserve.




Nov 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Like everyone else who  loves Thanksgiving, I love Thanksgiving.  When we lived Denver, Mil and Dred (two housekeepers both named Mildred) stayed home on holidays and it was just us. That was nice.

Mother loved a party so the dining room was beautiful.  We each had place cards. We dressed for dinner. We had cocktails and coketails. We read prayers, each of us, one by one, that I had written at some point in my illustrious career as a child sentence writer.  It was the only time we “prayed.”  We each had  chocolate turkey at our place and no one said anything if we bit the head off before the real  turkey was carved.

Turkey’s aren’t hard to cook. Besides, Butterball has an 800 number you can call for help.  I am not sure it existed 58 years ago, but Mom managed to turn out a nice dry turkey every year.  Pretty good mashed potatoes, and frozen vegetables (green beans, lima beans, peas?).

The best thing was that Mother made popovers.  The best best thing is that she ordered “popover mix”from some company by the case.  If you have ever made popovers, you know that it is probably at the very top of the list of things you can make with stuff you already have in the house:  flour, eggs, milk, salt — I didn’t realize that the best best thing was also the funniest thing until I was much older and looking to order my own case of”popover mix.”

In the same way that she was on top of the popover thing, she made sure Dad had the greatest tools —he carved the turkey with an electric knife.  A white one of course. 

Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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