Fledgling Adult pg85–87
Full color companion to my memoir The Incompetent Psychic
The rest of that summer in San Francisco is lost in a fog. Then Tony called and invited me to come visit him in Ithaca, New York. Once again I didn’t ask important questions like, “Why is the ticket only one-way?” I hopped on a plane and flew east.
Tony was studying all the time and I was friendless and lonesome through a frozen, cabin fever winter of record snowfall — seventeen feet of it. On particularly bleak nights I would bundle up and trudge over to the pig barn, where dozens of animals were awaiting shipment to someplace worse. There was an empty pen between all the others, separated by widely spaced horizontal boards the pigs could get most of their faces through. It became the stage where I sang to them and danced. I belted out off-key show tunes in a bombastic Ethel Merman voice I am never allowed to use in front of actual people. Those beautiful pigs listened in a state of rapt concentration. All their snouts poked through the boards all around me, then they snorted their applause after every big finish. I imagined they asked for one more, but I could have been wrong. Pigs saved me. I stopped eating them. — From Chapter 4
During four years of an unfortunate presidency I saw a short video that gave me hope. A ghastly section of Trump’s terrible wall separated two communities along the Mexico /US border. The people built a see-saw with the fulcrum between the bars, and both children and adults took turns riding it while laughing.
Hope is a gift we give each other so we can keep some for ourselves. Hope for something better is a lot like love, in that without action it’s simply a sentiment. Even small, thoughtful actions work to elevate love and hope from being intangible, abstract words… a note, phone call, gift of food, a post or reply of something funny or inspiring, a recommendation. We need to be more creative with this right now as our warm smiles to strangers are covered by masks, and so many of us are sheltered apart. I had no idea that singing to doomed pigs in a frozen barn in 1978 would be a metaphor for hope right now. I was just blowing off steam. Maybe that’s what this daily blog is for as another New York winter stomps in with a snow shovel and ice scraper. Hope.
There are so many ways to defeat the bars that separate us. Every small act of kindness is another see saw between those bars as we hope that a strong gust eventually blows the wall down. I’m hoping the section that fell over in a border town during a recent gale is now the roof of a new community center. In the mean-time, today, I can do something small. Perhaps I’ll search for authors of books I’ve loved and write thoughtful thank-yous on review sites.
A signed copy of Mernie’s memoir is available at www.etsy.com/listing/839838936
Unsigned copies can be ordered wherever books are sold.