Sunday, March 9, 2014

Changing My Life at Age 85

Everybody celebrates my birthday.  On March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day – I will be 85.  On my 80th Don and Mary gave a bang up party, and friends came from all over Texas.  This year will be subdued.  David flies in on Sunday night, and the next day (the 17th) we will have dinner with Don and Mary in the elegant dining room at the new place where I am moving.

Yes, I am moving.  I thought I would live at Montclair Estates until the funeral home wheeled my dead body out on a stretcher.  I have been happy here at Montclair.  I love my two-bedroom, two-bath apartment, and the other residents are dear, dear friends.  . 

I am moving because of something that happened five years ago.  I said something which the black woman who takes me to dialysis thought was insulting.  When I heard she was offended, I apologized profusely.  But she had it in her head that I was a racist, and she has made me pay for it three times a week ever since.  She is one of those Christians who sings gospel hymns and has no compassion.
After dialysis I sit in the lobby of the dialysis center staring out the window. I dare not look away for even a minute.   The driver insists that I be ready to walk out the door the minute she drives up.  Often she makes me wait thirty to forty minutes.  While waiting I think, “What have I done that I must do this pennace for my sins?”

She drives on the freeway, laughing and joking with her sister on her cell phone.  She never speaks to me.  That’s just bad manners! 

Some days I am really sick after treatments.  I live on the third floor of a building at the back of this apartment complex.  I ask the woman to take me around the complex and let me out only a few steps from the elevator.  She drives up to the front and waits silently for me to get out of the van and struggle to walk down the long, outside passage.  That is cruel.

Several times I have tried to talk about this to the manager.  Before I can say anything, Cindy launches into a tirade, telling me I am selfish and overbearing and deserve the treatment I receive.  “Nobody likes you, Ilene.  You are unkind.”

I know what she says is not true, but it still hurts. 

Last week I was really ill.  Cindy gave me another one of those abusive lectures.  I called David in California and told him about it.  He said, “You don’t have to put up with that, Mom.  You have plenty of money.  Get out ot there!”

The next morning he called back.  He had talked to his sister Martha.  My accountant daughter had calculated how much I could spend each month if I live to age 93.  I was amazed!   Never dreamed I was that wealthy.  Then David said, “Spend it all, Mom.  If you run out of money, remember you have two rich kids.”

I feel blessed.

The next day I gave my notice.  Cindy said, “You are not happy here, Ilene.  You are not a happy person.  You will not be happy anywhere.”

My friends tell this “unkind” person they wish I would not leave.  Sue said, “You can’t go until you find someone to play bridge.”  Dan, our maintenance man, a Tea Party Republican, gave me a hug and said he had been looking forward to arguing with me, a liberal Democrat, before the November election.

I am moving to a luxurious independent living facility where I’ll have a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a fancy kitchen with dishwasher and granite counter tops.  Also, space for my own washer and drier.  No more a spending all day Sunday in the second floor laundry room!

Best of all: I am finally going to be living in Dallas.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Remember the Alamo

Sitting in the laundry room while my underwear tossed around in the drier, I picked up an old copy of Texas Monthly Magazine and read an interview with author Larry McMurtry, whom the magazine called “Our Leading Unsentimentalist.”  .

The author of “Lonesome Dove” commented on Custer’s Last Stand: “. . . defeat in a major battle seems to resonate more than victory.  If he’d won the same battle, it probably wouldn’t have had the dramatic force that it has.”

McMurtry continued, “If the Texans had won, the Alamo wouldn’t be a big deal.”

After talking about Custer’s foolhardiness, the author said, “There was an abundance of folly in the Old West, that’s for sure.”

He added, “I set out to demythologize it, but you can’t.  The readers want the myth.  They’ll turn it into the myth, no matter what I do.  Look at Lonesome Dove.  I thought of Lonesome Dove as a book that would demolish the myths.  But instead it just enhanced them.”

I sighed, put the magazine down, and got up to take my stuff out of the drier. 

People believe what they want to believe, no matter how ridiculous.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Angry Republicans, Angry Me

Texas primary elections are next Tuesday.  Every day I am bombarded with television commercials for Republican candidates.  I see fat, middle-aged white men each claiming he is more conservative than any other.  Even candidates for comptroler and the state legislature boast that they “fight Obama” and “protect Texas” from the evil Federal Government. . 

Every Republican politician assures me that he is a good family man and a Christian who will defend Texans rights to “religious freedom.”  This means he will impose the policies of the fundamentalist right on everyone else.  He will restrict the right of a woman who needs an abortion.  He will deny the right to marriage to a gay couple who have been together for seventeen years.  Those who boast of “protecting our rights” mean to restrict the rights of others.

Republican candidates attack each other for not being tough enough on illegal aliens.  They deny driver’s licenses to men who must drive to their jobs where they are employed by Republicans to build their houses, mow their lawns, and clean their houses.  Republicans deny the children of illegals the benefit of our public schools, preferring young people who grow up in our country remain in economic servitude. 

Several times a day I hear a loud-mouth boast, “I will secure our borders.”   In my travels I saw enormous walls around Constantinople and Rome.  I climbed the Great Wall of China.  None kept out invaders.  The Emperor Hadrian built a wall between Scotland and England.  The English and Scots fought each other for 1,500 years, only the join peacefully when James VI of Scotland inherited the throne of Queen Elizabeth I and became James I of Great Britain.  You can’t build a fence that will keep out desperate Mexicans who only want a better life for their families. 

(No more than you can prevent a desperate woman who needs an abortion.  Before Roe vs. Wade women in Dallas died from illegal abortions.  That will happen again if the so-called Pro-Life faction succeeds in its evil attempt to control women’s lives.)

These men are against all government regulation.  They want the Coan Brothers (who pay for many of these commercials) profit from their oil refineries stewing their waste into the Texas sky, polluting our air.  Would they deregulate the FDA which keeps our food and drugs safe? 

Some commercials end with endorsements from the NRA and the Pro-Life group.  Republicans want every Texans to own a gun so that when he gets angry with his wife he can kill her.  And own an assault weapon so that his immature, angry young kid can take it to school and blow away his classmates.   

There is one thing I hear with which I agree.  One Repubican puffs out his chest and says, “Texas is exceptional.”

Yes, thank God!  Texans do not acknowledge that people in the rest of the country elected President Obama to a second term.  He is our President, and all of us should support him.