Posts Tagged With: American Dream


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Old friends from Fremont visited me two days ago. They were camped nearby and called. With a little background, Sandy and David Barron were the youngest members of our square dancing group, the Kuntry Kuzzins back in the early 1970’s. Square Dancing is one of those activities that you have to drag your husband too in the beginning, then once he realizes how much fun it is, he’ll go without you if you’re sick. So we enjoyed them, often teasing Sandy that she was the “baby” of the club even though she was a mother of two. We were excited when they bought a house.  Sandy was always a bit shy. David, out going, from a large extended family. A nice young couple, building  the American Dream.

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We talked for several hours and I realized what an amazing couple they are.  They look the same.  Neither has aged much. David has less hair.  I didn’t know David was a disabled Marine from Viet Nam. It never came up.

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We checked through their pictures on the phone and I got to see the grandson David helped raise. Their son Mathew’s two beautiful daughters. A great-grandson. Neither Sandy nor Dave have a college education, but their daughter, Jennifer, has several degrees and a fantastic job. She worked during college days beside her mother as a motel maid, making beds and cleaning rooms.  Sandy worked outside the home for 22 years. But, even more revealing to me, Sandy and Dave took in nine foster children. I had two foster children and love them and have contact to this day.  But I was stunned at nine. What a commitment over all of those years.

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What a pleasure to sink back into a friendship, after a long gap. I guess you can tell I’m impressed. I enjoyed getting caught up with mutual friends from our club.  His sisters, brothers, step-father and some amazing tales. I didn’t know Sandy’s siblings.

They brought me flowers and I took pictures of the bouquet. This new computer is driving me nuts.  I could not get those pictures out of my camera. So, you’ll have to settle for a poem by David J. Irvine, called Ownership.

Man’s pet, the kitten, lives nine lives.

Man one: three score and ten.

Man claims the ownership of earth,

Of every glebe and glen.

What modest claim do kittens make?

The ownership of men.

It speaks to the bonds of love… for Sandy and David, those loving bonds are kids and grandkids and other people’s children.


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Yesterday was a quiet day. I made two cranberry dishes, good keepers,  for Christmas. The last three years, I have not baked cookies for Christmas. My youngest son and daughter have taken over that task, and it had become a task more than a joy. It was good to let it go and enables me to slow down a bit, and take in the season leisurely. Kind of checking through the cookbooks to think about something different and festive to make for the holidays; polishing up the house for company in stages.

An old friend dropped by for a chat and a glass of wine. Bert is a Vietnam Vet who almost didn’t make it. Still, he claims, he’s suffered more from a car accident 25 years ago than the war. Bert is a prankster and once put up highway survey stakes across our orchard and caused my husband to think the county was cutting across our property for a new road!  He loved watching George “hit the ceiling.”

Last night, with my new leisure,  I came upon a PBS program I’d never seen before called Lidia Celebrates America. It’s a food show and I came away a fan. I looked up the program on-line and Voila! I can watch it on-line,  if I so choose. I probably won’t, but  I know I can. Somehow it is  satisfying just knowing I have the option.  I’m glad Christmas doesn’t happen all at once. We  slide into Christmas a bit each day. Getting out the lights and decorating. Attending a party or two. Donating to the food bank and wrapping a present for a child in need.  Sending  cards and letters, catching up with old friends I don’t see much anymore.

Murphys puts on a free Christmas dinner every year for anyone who wishes to attend. All are welcome. They are expecting a bigger than usual crowd this year. I know the city of Pleasanton has a free Thanksgiving dinner every year and The Little Red Church in Sonora feeds people one  free meal every day. We’ve come a long way since the days of the work houses and poor houses. It wasn’t that long ago that poor houses existed. Orphanages were full. My own great-grandfather had to take his children to an orphanage when his wife died because he couldn’t take care of them and work too. He eventually found a wife and was able to get them back. Before I was born,  a baby was left on my Grandmother’s doorstep because someone chose a family for a child they couldn’t take care of.  They were hard times. And I sometimes marvel that coming from a hardscrabble background, I’m affluent, I know no hunger, and I have leisure and choices. Would that it were true for everyone.

We must not lose the American dream that changed us and the world for the better.

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