September 14, 2014

Sunday Quote

We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have.  Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task.  The rest is the madness of art.

- Henry James

September 7, 2014

Dear Tall Blonde Mommy (in lieu of Sunday Quote)

Dear Tall Blonde Mommy,

We were walking our little dog up our quiet street on a hot and quiet Sunday afternoon today and on the way back he started choking and shuddering, something he has been doing lately.  We moved him into the shade and tried to calm him down.  He threw up a little bit but still seemed like he was having problems.  Scary as it brings back memories of our other little black dog, Moky, who died so young of undiagnosed until too late cancer.  We tried to hurry home and at our driveway was stopped by you, tall blonde mommy in a long skirt with your four very blonde children. 

You urged one forward, the oldest girl, who nervously came onto my driveway thrusting papers in my face - the kind where you sign up to buy something.  My dog went ballistic, which he does on his own property when strangers come up,  and I said quickly, sorry, he isn't friendly, as a quick explanation as my husband was forced to yank him up the driveway.  I went to help him, turning away but saying (politely, if you recall) "sorry, no thank you." to your daughter.  My husband led our dog up the driveway, both of us upset the dog had been riled when we had wanted him calm.

You proceeded to yell at me.  Stood in front of my driveway, dramatically waving your arms.  Saying how I am a horrible person for not letting your daughter speak.  That I could have at least listened to what she said.  What kind of world is this?  No wonder my dog is unfriendly since I am such a hateful and horrible human being.  You added that you were not selling anything and if I had only listened to your daughter I would know you are collecting money for a charity.

I was shocked.  I said how I said, sorry, no thank you and we are just trying to get our dog inside.  You continued. How you will never come to our door again when you come to this street, how you will mark us as the people who hate children, how she will warn her children away from us etc. as we are bad, bad people.

The entire time, your children were staring at you.  I am curious.  What lesson were you trying to teach here? 

You proceeded to go door to door.  When you came out from soliciting our elderly neighbors, all your kids stopped and pointed at my husband in our driveway who was getting something from his car.  Pointed.  You stopped and said something to them.  Gave him an angry glance.  I saw this from the kitchen window. 

I have no idea who you are.  I have never seen you before.  Hope I don't see you again.  I was left very upset by this verbal attack in my front yard.  My husband was thoroughly disgusted by your behavior.  Helicopter parenting at its worse, he commented.

I guess you think you are teaching them some civic lesson, something about community and charity.  Hard to tell.  Since what you actually are teaching them is to not respect privacy or private property or people's rights, that it is okay to door to door and ask for money in a strange neighborhood (which is illegal by the way, which I know because I called and asked, and besides that, entirely unsafe), that it is fine to go up to people you don't know and assume your wants outweigh theirs, that it is fine to upset people to get what you want.  That it is okay to parade your children around to prove what a great Mom or human being you are.  A humanitarian collecting for charity.

Dear Tall Blonde Mommy, it's a gorgeous day.  Take those kids to the park and let them enjoy one of the perfect last days of summer.  Don't make your oldest daughter uncomfortable and feel weird by asking strangers for money.  If you need to raise money for a charity, have a garage sale or a cake bake in your front yard, a lemonade stand for charity or they could donate old toys or ask friends and relatives (sorry, folks!), but don't solicit perfect strangers in their front yards or ring their bells.  

But sadly, you are probably on your phone right now ranting about your version of this encounter, how the world is a terrible place because of people like my husband and myself.

Whirled Peas, Lady.

September 3, 2014

Southern Magnolia outside the Edward Gorey Museum

Everything is sweetened by risk.
- Melissa Sweet, author and illustrator