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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

No man is an island!

Believe it or not, there was a time when I could have recited most of that poem and told you who wrote it, but those days are gone.  My foggy little mind no longer spits out long thoughts including poems, and other litany.  It mostly just gives me snippets of information that may or may not be actual, but I will accept that and be grateful that the damn thing still works at all!  That having been said, I shall forge ahead with some worthless piece of something for me to write and you to read.  Hopefully one of us will get something from it!

I woke up yesterday and my Grandfather Haas was on my mind.  118 years ago he came to the shores of this great country through Ellis Island.  The Haas family came in shifts.  Great Grandpa Haas had been married twice and the oldest children were responsible for the younger children.  My heart swells with pride when I think how the whole family left Dettingen, Germany and came to this country with everything they owned in the equivalent of a back pack.

The Beck family in Nickerson, Kansas was already established so that became the headquarters of the clan.  Abbyville, Plevna,  and the Huntsville area became Haas territory.  From there they spread out to Oklahoma and beyond.  Some where along the line Gagnebeins got in the mix.  Helen Gagnebein was my great grandmother and my great grandfather was somebody and if I could find my geneology book I could tell you his name, but I can't.  I do know Helen Gagnebein was married to him and had 3 kids.  Mable, Josie, and Lewis.  Mable and Josie married brothers so those are my double cousins.  Lewis married someone and I never knew them very well.  Then Great Grandma married a guy named Hatfield and he had a son named Stephen.  I did not know them well.  Great Grandma lived on one  corner in Plevna and Grandma of the other.  Great Grandma was going to get married a third time since she had been widowed twice by this time and the intended groom died before that could happen.  She then said to hell with it all, closed up her house and moved in with grandma.  And that is when I came on the scene.

Grandma Haas was crippled by a stroke and needed care.  I was 15 years old so I went to stay with them.  I have no idea how much help I actually was, but there I was.  I could help lift and wash dishes and water the plants.  That was pretty much all I was good for, but they seemed to be easy to please.  I mentioned before in another post that the only reading material was the family  Bible, so I got pretty familiar with the King James Version!  Now that is one thing that has stuck with me my whole life.  I can spout scripture till the cows come home, but I can not tell you where it is in the Bible, just that it is there.  I always envied people with memories that worked that way.  But back to the subject at hand.

A couple days ago I was on the phone with a friend and I have got to say, maybe the word I am looking for is not really "friend".  Now anyone who knows me, knows I am a bleeding heart Liberal.  I align with the Democratic party, because their thoughts seem to fall in line with my way of thinking.  In my mind the Republican party represents money.  Democrat represents rights.  That is just how it is.  So anyway, the subject of the kids and the border came up.  His immediate response was to ship the whole bunch of them back to where ever they came from because we have enough people on the dole here and do not need any more.  My idea is to wrap my arms around them and make them welcome.  Course I came from immigrant roots, and he does not?  Is he an Indian or Indigenous as we now refer to them?  Nope.  Anyone else walking these lands of the United States of America has immigrant roots.  My friend and I did decide that we would not discuss politics.  Lot of that going on in this country today.

I do know that different crops are being planted out here on the Mesa.  One thing I am very sure of is that the city boys and girls are not going to come out here and pick peppers so more crops are planted that can be harvested by one man and a machine.  Immigrant labor has been a way of life in this and any agricultural area forever.  They blend into the landscape and into the night.  When the crops are in and the fields barren, they return to Mexico.  They work and put money into our economy and send money home to Mexico to feed their family there.  Is that wrong?  Do they not bleed the same red blood that I bleed?  Do they not love their children as we love ours?

This is a bad way to start the day.  I would much rather face the sun and thank my Lord for getting me through the night then to go out on the street and wave a sign and try to convince a non caring public that children belong with their parents rather than warehoused some where sleeping under a mylar blanket to keep warm.  I wish I could wrap my arms around all the little babies that the man we must call leader has doomed to separation.  Our country is as divided as those children and their parents.

God help us all.

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Brownie pin and a Brownie dress does not a Brownie make.

Aunt Helen Lang was married to a man named Skinny and they had money.  Now this only affected me in a round about way, but 70 years later, I still think about her.  The clearest memory of her is, of course in later life, but still my childhood memories are the fondest.  She and Uncle Skinny would pop into our life on very rare occasions and there was never a heads up, just look up and there was their big shiny car and the trunk was always loaded with wonderful things for us.  I remember when I was in 7th grade and mother had her hysterectomy, Aunt Helen brought me a store bought dress.  I can close my eyes and see it now.  It was ever glaze cotton and the color was exactly the same hazel as my eyes, whatever that color is called.  It had a white collar and strings of the hazel fabric held white daisies.  Two.  One on each string.  It buttoned up the back.  I wore it until it hung in shreds.  Even then it had a use after it was worn out.  Mother cut the good parts off and tore them into strips that were put with other strips, rolled into a ball, and when enough balls were ready, she took them to the rug weaver.  Nothing went to waste at our house.

Back to Aunt Helen.  One afternoon while I was off doing something somewhere else, Aunt Helen and Uncle Skinny came to visit.  I must have been in the third grade at the time.  I missed them completely, but Aunt Helen did not forget me just because I was not there.  She brought me a Brownie dress with a Brownie beanie.  If you do not know, the Brownie group was for the younger kids that preceded going into girl scouts, which was my fondest dream.  She also provided the brown shoes and the money for registration where I received my golden Brownie pin!  I could see vista's opening onto a wonderful life as a Brownie and later as a girl scout.  The world was my oyster!  But alas, a nine year old girls dreams die very easily in the dust of Strong Street in 1950.

Oh, I went to the first meeting and paid my nickle dues.  I got my gold brownie pin, which was worn upside down until I fulfilled a list of things to do.  That list was never finished.  As a matter of fact, it was never started.  Everything on that list required an adult to help and guide me through the process.  Mother was off cleaning houses to put food on the table and Dad was very busy shuffling dominoes at the local pub.  My oldest sister who was 12 or 13 at the time was busy being a slut and "getting herself pregnant" by a 27 year old man.  (In this day and age he would have been thrown so far into prison he would never have seen the light of day, but that was then and what was acceptable then was that he worked and would take care of her.)  And there my resources ended.  So that went by the wayside.  The brown dress stayed in a drawer with the beanie and the gold pin.  I assume at some point it ended up in one of the rugs.

My oldest sister married the man and in due time,  a baby girl arrived.  After a few years she became pregnant again and I was called upon to stay with her while her husband worked since she was in a lot of pain and had a 4 year old daughter that needed care.  So, as the day progressed and she was in more pain I really began to get nervous.  When she came out of the bathroom clutching the door jam to announce, "The baby is coming!"  I learned where babies came from and it was not the stork, like I had been told.  I was ripped into the birds and the bees business very rudely.  I grabbed Mary and ran next door to the preachers house.  His wife (luckily) was a nurse, but (unluckily ) she was not home.  He called somebody to come and I ran home to my little house on Strong Street with Mary in my arms.  Sadly, the baby was born dead and I would carry the guilt of not knowing what to do all my life.  Common sense tells me this is wrong, but we are all humans and we all fail and learn to live with those failures.

I was in an antique store in the Junction a couple years ago and found a Brownie pin.  I looked at the little dancing elf, or whatever it is and bought the pin.  It is up in the cupboard along with other worthless treasures that some how seem to form my life.  They all seem to connect together to pull me back into myself.  I know my life is made up of the good times and the bad times and it sometimes makes me very sad.  The things I have done and the places I have gone are all in my mind some where and last night I lay in my bed and thinking about things I came to the realization, that one day, I will just die. When that happens, all my memories will have been for naught.  When that happens and people learn of my demise, they will say "Oh, I knew her!"  

Which brings me to the point I want to make.  No, you do not know me.  You know OF me.  You know who I let you see.  We are all that way.  I look at you and I see the face you present, but I do not know what you are thinking.  I do not know what you are feeling.  People say I am blunt.  Frank.  I tell it like it is.   Am I?  But do I?  Mother always said, as we get older we begin to face our own mortality and I am sure Mother was right.

But I want to put Aunt Helen to rest here before I leave.  Mother and Aunt Helen remained friends all of their lives.  When I went home to visit, Aunt Helen always came to see me or I went to see her, but mostly she came to mom's house.  When mother lived in the apartment on 15th Circle, Aunt Helen would get confused as to which one to go to and she had a big problem with curbs, in that she had a hard time staying between them!  She would see me standing in the parking lot she was supposed to be in and here she would come in that big Lincoln!  She would park taking up several spots and leap out of the car with her wig askew waving a bag of Werther's Originals that she had brought for mother.  She was 90+ the last time I saw her.

Aunt Helen has been gone for many years, but I still pick up a bag of Werther's every now and then just to take that walk down memory lane.  It works every time.  I can see her in my mind right now as clear as day.  I do not remember Uncle Skinny, but I do remember my precious Aunt Helen and her heart of gold and her hopes for a skinny little girl on Strong Street.  I just want to say, "Hang on Aunt Helen!  I will make it up there yet!"

Saturday, June 30, 2018

I guess we all figure it out!

Does anyone remember back when Bret was in South Mesa, or Pleasant View, or Parkhill, or the place on the highway, and he could not bring home a grade over an F-?  I used to threaten, take away video games, bribe, beg, plead for him to just bring home any grade over a D-?  I finally gave up in utter frustration and let him drop out of school at the age of 16.  I knew a losing battle when I had fought it for all those years.

Remember how I fought the battle of growing pot in his room?  I would rip them up and he would grow more.  I finally resigned to the fact that I was a failure as a mother and prayed for the day he would run away.  And it finally came.  He got his growers license and I then began to tell people that he was not a "stoner" but was indeed a Horticulturist.  In motherhood we need to pick our battles and look at life from whatever angle makes these little turds we call our children appear to be actually functioning adults.

So, he grew to adulthood, took a mate and moved out.  There is indeed a God!  And then they had a baby.  You must realize that Kenneth and I had adopted him when we were ready to retire, which puts a whole new spin on "new mother."  At an age when I should have been playing Bingo and eating at the SRDA, I was attending PTA and teachers conferences.  So at the advanced age of 73 I became a grandmother.  To put this in perspective, I now had a grandson who was younger then my youngest great grand child.  But all this is not relevant to my this morning blog or rant, whichever you choose to call it.

The point here is I had raised a kid who did not have an education and seemed doomed to a life of menial labor.  I wanted him to get his GED at the very least, but that entailed study, which by now I knew was never going to happen.  And then one day he walked into PCC and came out with his GED and it had very high scores.  That almost gave me a stroke!  Try to remember, I am very old, and not used to much good in my life!

Now comes the best part.  This same little tyrant is in the same job for over a year now.  Hell it might be two years, because when you are over the hill, you pick up speed and my days, months and years are not nearly as long as they were when I was in my 20's.  So here is the situation as it now stands.  He started school at PCC at some point and has already gotten his welding certificate.  He is now going for his structural welding and working on some sort of degree.  He works a full 40 hours a week and goes to school 25 hours a week, and still maintains a home with a wife and son, but here is the best part...He is on the Presidents list at school, which I am assuming is equivalent  to the Deans List and has received a letter congratulating him for this feat.  He maintains a 4.0 GPA and I am wondering just what they have done with my little boy I raised.

So here is what I have come up with for explanation to this phenomena.  Some kids learn differently.  Some take knowledge from books.  Some from the teacher.  Some from life.   Maybe some are not ready to start school at the age of 4 or 5, but rather in their teens.  Maybe I did a better job of raising him then I thought I did.  I do know that I look at him a whole lot differently then we he was getting stoned out behind the garage.  I have never smoked the stuff and have no intentions of doing so, but he does furnish me with weed so I can make salve and lotion for my poor old aching back and sometimes I share with my friends.

So as I gaze out across my desk and out the window, I just gotta' say  God gives us a big basket and sometimes we do not know what to do with the stuff in it, but it all works out in the end now, doesn't it?
Baby, Grandma Lou, and Bret (left to right.)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Where do I stand on the presence of a nut in the white house?

Let me be very clear on this one.  This is MY country too.  As a christian I am pretty sure the devil incarnate is holding sway in our nations capitol.  At no point in time have I thought for one minute that he and all his cohorts are doing anything that is going to help me or my causes one bit.  Not one iota.  There was a time when I would have researched all the candidates and made an informed choice, but after seeing the way the Republicans in both the Senate and the House have sucked up to the big orange orangutan that is called our leader I would not vote for a Republican if he were handing out million dollar bags of money on the corner by my house.  Not only would I not vote for one, if my "friends" profess to be followers of the current administration they are out the door.  I refuse to break bread or sip the cup with anyone who finds humor and justice in what this administration is doing to immigrants, poor, homeless, gay, bisexual, black, Hispanic,  women, medicaid recipients, food stamp recipients, and the list goes on and on and on.

Further let me state that the idiot in Washington who brags about "grabbing a woman by the pussy," would be well advised to not try grabbing this woman by anything because it would be the last thing he ever grabbed.  It turns my stomach when I see the women standing around him as he signs into law an edict that takes away their rights as women.  There seems to be no middle ground with this government.  Try to remember that I lived through the time period where women went from being chattel to being productive members of society.  I was there for integration.  I saw the assassination of Martin Luther King, JFK, Robert Kennedy.  I missed the part where our government seized the land and sent the Indians to reservations in the middle of nowhere, but I did work in a bar where it was illegal to sell liquor to Indians and I was there when they were no longer "Indians", but became Indigenous People.  Discrimination by any other name is still discrimination!

At his point in time my news feeds are flooded with pictures of babies being ripped from their parents arms and warehoused in Walmart warehouses.  Of course, those people have no maternal or paternal feelings and the babies are not really human like the babies of the lily white guards ripping them from the only security they have known.  Your president, because he sure as hell is not mine, is snuggled up with the North Korean dictator and throwing kisses at the despot that is in control of Russia.  We march.  We wave our flags.  We write letters and we might as well be wiping our asses on them.  Where is America's outrage?  I have signed so many calls to "Impeach Trump NOW!" that those keys on my keyboard will no longer work.

The only hope we have is with our vote.  If you are going to the polls and vote in the same ilk that made this maniac what he is today then I would wish you would just stay home.  If your goal is to "split the vote" or vote for one of the yoyo's that follows this joke of a president, I would wish you would just stay home.  Of course if you are unemployed, you might want to vote for him because, and trust me when I say this, the federal government will soon be hiring for devoted people to man their ovens.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Come on, Walmart! Work with us here!

I have been seeing  on facebook that we should not use the self check kiosk, at Walmart, but rather make them call up more checkers from the back.  This makes sense because Walmart is a retail business and their job is to sell stuff to us.  Isn't ringing us up part of the sales process?  So I went to google for answers.  I typed in Walmart self check.  I immediately got pages of how to screw Walmart out of a sale and also how to watch to make sure the little scanner is not screwing you and how much longer it takes to checkout through the kiosk than through the line.  Having done it both ways, I have some thoughts and it all boils down to how we are screwing ourselves.

I recall when the self checkouts first started popping up.  I think there were 2 or 3.  Then there were 5 or 6 and I think when I was in the North-side Walmart the other day I counted 16 or more.  I also noticed at that time that there were only a couple people using them and the lines at the cashiers were very long.  I know Jerome had his cart full and it took a bit of time to get cashed out.  The cashier was a little harried as it was time for her break and her line was  backed up into the aisle.  I heard her say to someone "This lane is closed."  I thought she was talking to Jerome and my hackles immediately went into "protect Jerome mode."  She quickly told me that Jerome was fine, but no one after him would be checked out there.  (Simmer down, chickie do!)

So, I have come to a conclusion that the kiosk is fine for 2 or 3, maybe 4 items.  When the basket is full, go for the cash register with a human.  Now I want to say that it rather boggles my mind to see 25 cash registers setting in the middle of the store and only 5 or 6 of them being stocked with a human checker.  That just does not look like a good business practice to me.  It would make better sense to man the torpedo (so to speak) and get the paying customer out of the store and into their vehicle and on their way.  The cashier can even hand them their receipt and tell them "Thank you.  Have a nice rest of your day."  I realize the cashier is tired and the customers are frustrated, but aren't we all?  Life gets hectic on the best of days and maybe one smile on either side of the cash register could make a difference.  Just maybe.

For some reason my mother instilled in me a little voice that says "You never know someone and you never know what they are dealing with so always be kind."  I try to do that, but sometimes I just want to grab someone by their collar and scream, "Listen bitch!  I have feelings here and if you think standing in your line is high on my list of priorities, you got another think coming.  Wipe that look off your face and smile at me or I will give you something to cry about!"  But that pretty much goes on in my head while I stand in line with a stupid look on my face.  Lambs to the slaughter, I think.

I am resigned to my fate.  I will continue to shop at Walmart because they have what I need and the last time I went to Joanne's for fabric, I had to wait until the girl finished her text before she could call my number.  When I asked if they had any Betty Boop fabric she was quick to answer, "I dunno."  So you tell me, is there some one out there in this big world who really wants my business and not just my dollars?  If so, let me know.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Some words just do not go together.

There are some words that should not be uttered and some that should never be said out loud and then there are the ones that when linked together strike fear in my heart.  Son.  That is a good word.    Pueblo County Sheriff alone is descriptive.  Now link those all in one sentence and it becomes a very scary sentcnce to a mother at home alone especially when I have caller ID  which comes up "Pueblo County" at 6:30 PM.  Got to be a solicitation call or...
Ring! Ring!
"Lou Mercer?"
"Ms. Mercer, this is deputy Lile with the Pueblo County Sheriffs office and I am here with your son."
Now being a mother who has managed to raise 6 kids alone and not have any of them incarcerated for a felony, been the instigator of a stand off,  jailed for DUI, or any of the other things you read about or hear on the news I consider myself beyond blessed.  But far in the back of my mind is always that I am one phone call away.  Thank God this woman kept talking because my heart had already stopped.
"He is fine, but his car has quit working.  He was going to walk to the Walmart and call you, but I am giving him a ride as it is a long walk.  He wants to talk to you.  Here."
And I talked to him and I hopped in the car to pick him up and deliver him to Florence.

Now, to get to the irony of this little story I must back up to a few days prior to this phone call.  I hopped in my car to run up to the highway to Jackie's shop where I do seamstress work.  Every other corner out here in the county is a 4 way stop.  I was turning right on 25th Lane so I made what is known as a "California stop".  Now you all know what that is and how it works.  You can see for miles.  No one is coming so you just apply the brake and before you actually stop, you are around the corner.  There is a stop, but if one blinks an eye, they might miss it.  Apparently the deputy watching from wherever blinked.

To make a long story short very soon I had red lights in my mirror.  As luck would have it I found both the registration and insurance card along with my drivers license.  I am sure that surprised her! I know it surprised hell out of me.  She was very polite and nice and I am sure that she did not know I had NEVER been stopped before.  She made it very easy and when she brought back my papers she gave me her card.  She was Officer Lile with the Pueblo County Sheriff.

I found Bret right where he said he would be outside of Walmart.  I explained to him how the county sheriff calling me gave me a start.  At that point he informed me he was no longer a child and if he was doing something wrong they would just cuff him and put him in the back seat and he would have to make his own bail.  But mother's minds work in a strange way.

Back to the coincidence of Officer Lile being in two places with Mercers just a few days apart.  When I saw how far Bret would have had to walk to get to a phone I was even more grateful to Officer Lile for giving him a ride.  He works in a grow, so I am sure he smelled to high heaven of weed.  I know he was tired and the last thing he wanted to do was a death march to a phone and then deal with the car that night.  I am sure there are officers who would not have let him in the car, but she did and I have got to give a big Lou Mercer shout out to her.

I know police work is hard, dangerous and at times not very rewarding, but if anyone out there knows this woman I would like you to tell her how much my son and I appreciate her taking the time out of her day to do a good deed.  I am sure I will see her again some day because that is how angels are.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

If you see me on the 10 most wanted list, don't be surprised.

It seems if I get out of bed in the morning, it is invariably on the wrong side.  Or is it?  Could it be that all the news stations are geared to everyone except me and I feel that maybe I have outlived my usefulness?  I love the news.  I must confess I tend to watch one of the more liberal stations, but to each his own.  For the most part the news is geared for some one way younger than me.  The white headed old farts that I grew up watching and trusting are no longer with us and have been replaced by some young stud or studdette who stands in the middle of the empty stage clutching his/her tablet, which they never bother to look at.  Apparently the message here is that they have one and I do not so ha! ha!

They think the fact that Kim Kardashian went to visit trump is big news, but sadly I do not give a shit.  Wrecks, wars, catching a murderer, the scam going on that affects me is way more important to me than the fact that some young chickadee appeared on the red carpet in a see through dress immediately followed by the news that some lecherous old man looked at her and is now being charged with inappropriate sexual comments.  But I am not going there and it is really not the news that ticks me off, but rather the weather.

I watch Jeopardy! every afternoon at 3:00 and again at 6:30 PM and that is when weather happens.  I am treated to a little gal in her pretty little dress walking back and forth across a bare stage and pointing at a little red cloud with blue edges.  Sometimes it is even in my neck of the woods.  Now I heard her the first time.  And then again 2 minutes later and again when I thought I might catch a glimpse of final Jeopardy!  The bulletins are second only to her giving the regular weather when we are not in danger of blowing away.  This is the time she tells me the "out the door temperature" and what I should wear for that.  This is followed by my "drive home" time.  Apparently this is not my weather station because I do not do the "Out the door nor the drive home" times she is talking about.  My times are crawl out of bed time, Metamucil time, and Late night with David Letterman.

I used to be able to turn on the weather and they showed me a very clear picture of the jet stream and high and low fronts and I could pretty much figure it out, but now I have none of those things.  Just the little woman walking back and forth with her tablet pointing at things that mean absolutely nothing to me and telling me the times this will happen in terms that imply I must work a 9-5 job or I really do not need to know what the weather is doing.  So I have found me a weather site that gives me the jet stream, high pressure and low pressure and throws in a temperature or kind of a guess at it and does not force me to go "out the door" or commute back home from God only knows where.  Like right now, I should be slowly creeping along on the interstate, but I am setting at the computer contemplating whether I should puree my food tonight or put in the dentures and live dangerously.

Thus ends my little rant for today.  Hopefully I will be able to watch Jeopardy! tonight.