Browsing articles in "Hawaii"
Dec 11, 2012

The Green Puff

Can you feel it. Can you feel it?

Today is my brother Don’s 62nd birthday. I am lying under a duvet, the first I have owned, because I am informed that the Green Puff is no longer serviceable. I have a cold and I am feeling bereft.

One of the best things about our childhood, the Green Puff, is in a state of serious decline. But I could never abandon the Green Puff. So I will find someone to sew up the rips in it, and I will take it to another dry cleaner who will tell me it will disintegrate if they try to clean it.

We lived in Denver as kids and just about this time of year, the Green Puff would appear on our parents’ bed. It never occurred to us that they might use the Green Puff, we considered it our domain.  Exclusively.

Resembling but bettering your average counterpane, the Green Puff is a 8′ x8′  blanket of emerald green velvet luxury.  Denver  was more than fifty years ago.

When my father died, Don got the Green Puff. It might be Green Puff II but I know it is at least thirty, maybe even forty years old…In a truly heroic gesture, Don gave me the Green Puff on my fiftieth birthday:  a giant bankie.   Thirteen years later, we are retiring the Green Puff… But I will not get rid of it, no matter what.

It is the very definition of a comforter. It has comforted me through many a night … cold and not so cold. It has seen me through good times and bad times.  I have had a cold under the Green Puff.  I have been depressed under the Green Puff.  I have been hung over under the Green Puff.  From childhood to adulthood, it has been my friend.

My husband has been patient with me until now, when we have gotten the marital duvet…which reminds him of his childhood, of good times and bad, of sickness and sadness, and no doubt, of being hung over,

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 29, 2012

A Man of the Peeps

Man of the Peeps

Barack, “I am the President” Obama is not a regular guy, but he grew up with them.  He knows how to talk to people and he knows what is important to them.  So taking to the hustings and getting America on board regarding what’s up makes a lot of sense.  Not just that he has the bully pulpit and might as well use it ~ getting Americans involved in what affects their lives is really important.

We have had a national conversation about the difficulty of connecting with our warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no sacrifice has been asked of us.  In his tract on Self-Reliance, Emerson decries the effects which society has upon the individual. He says that when people are overly  influenced by society they will compromise their values in order to retain a foolish character to the world. He states, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” When a man forms a pattern within his life, Emerson argues that he violates his nature.

We have, as a nation, gotten into a habit of irresponsibility towards our duties as citizens.  Some of us are really crazy, some are cyncial, some are bored ~ but most of us have our heads down, doing what we can do to make our own lives.

Obama’s idea of making his case to the public is exactly what he needs to be doing and paying attention is exactly what we need to be doing.  We need to “straighten up and fly right” (as my Dad would say) where our personal investment in our values and our country is concerned.  Yates said it about World War I and it is ever more true with each passing dysfunctional congress:  “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Because he is a man of the peeps, President Obama is the one to take the if-you-believe-in-democracy charge to the people Congress is supposed to be working for.   The database the Democrats have built up is the perfect tool for mobilizing the citizenry when something is important to theirs, and our nation’s future.  And Obama’s periodic barn storming is the juice that we need to keep us alert.

Since the Koch brothers initiated their nasty little plans, and the Supreme Court forgot that we are a government of the people, for the people and by the people we need to be reminded that our voices do make a difference and what we want really matters.  It isn’t just a fiscal cliff we are facing, it is a cliff period.  And to keep us from going over, we need to help the first peep: POTUS himself.

Get on your phones to your congresspeople — as the President has said, tweet, facebook, fax— send a carrier pigeon. We are the last Whos down in Whoville and we need to shout!

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.




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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