Tuesday, November 15, 2022


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading? Death of a President by William Manchester. This month marks the 59th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. I'm an old lady now, having lived through Vietnam and Watergate and the Challenger explosion and 9/11 and Katrina and Sandy Hook and the January 6 attack on the Capitol. All those national nightmares were heartbreaking, but none has left the mark on me personally that 11/22/63 did.

We murdered our own President, in broad daylight, during a parade, and it was caught on camera.

That day -- coincidentally my 6th birthday -- fundamentally changed America and I want to revisit it. In a sober, scholarly way (no lurid, tin-hat conspiracies for this gal). This book is considered the gold standard and now is the time.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Murder Is Easy by Agatha Christie. People are dropping like flies in the peaceful rural town of Wychwood. Though the deaths are happening at an alarming rate, the local constabulary doesn't suspect foul play. After all, each cause of death is very different and all the victims seem to have in common is that they all lived, and died, in Wychwood.

A charming spinster thinks she has it figured out, though, and is on her way to Scotland Yard. If the local Wychwood police don't appreciate her insights, maybe Scotland Yard will. Only she's run down by a hit-and-run driver before she can get to the London office.

It takes a while for all the suspects to be revealed, and even longer for the killer to be found out. That's OK. Most of the 250+ pages was an entertaining ride. I don't think Agatha Christie gets her proper credit for dialog. One of the characters, raven-haired Bridget, sounded just like Lady Mary of Downton Abbey to my ear.

I didn't love it, though. The denouement was too long. I was like, "OK, I know who did it. I know why. I know how. Let's move on to the next book." But Dame Agatha had other plans for me and went on ... and on ... and on. It's too bad when the very ending kinda spoils a good read.

3. What will read next? I don't know.


Compassion Challenge: Weekend Edition

We did this as a congregation in 2021 and I'm doing it myself this year. My life feels different now than it did 365 days ago, and I hope this will keep me grounded and help me live my faith.

Inspiring Compassion: The 30 Day Compassion Challenge. 30 days to explore the topic of compassion: Mindfulness, Compassion for Friends & Family, Self-Compassion, Compassion for All, Compassion for Our Planet.

This weekend, two of my friends did not behave as I would have, or as I wanted/expected them to. I had to adjust my thinking and calibrate my compassion. It's not up to them to their lives the way I want them to.

Elaine had to put her beloved cat down recently. The pedigreed ragdoll had been very ill for a long time. She took him to regular vet and acupuncture appointments. He kept fading and losing weight. He was dying. Her vet gently explained this to her, and even more telling to me, her dog started treating the elderly cat differently, go so far as relieving himself in the cat's litter box. Elaine hung on, and she admitted she was feeling different about her dog. She didn't think she could "forgive" the pooch for "bullying" the sick cat.

Nature is brutal. The dog was behaving like a dog, trying to drive a dying animal from the herd. The cat was suffering. I kept my mouth shut throughout all this, except to say, "I'm so sorry." It wasn't my business.

The cat finally was out of his misery, and Elaine gave the dog away. To the couple who petsit her and loved her. Who want her. So I suppose it was a happy ending. Then Elaine set out to get another cat.

She flirted a bit with animal shelters but couldn't find any cats she clicked with. I can't fathom that. I go into a shelter and fall in love instantly. Then she contacted a breeder will be picking up another pedigreed kitten soon.

It's important to the story that the dog was a shelter rescue. I wonder if she would have so quick to part with a purebred dog

Do I sound judgey in the above? Well, I am. I have volunteered at animal shelters. I know how many furry souls are waiting to/willing to love us if we will let them. Just because they didn't cost thousands of dollars doesn't mean they don't deserve good lives.

But Elaine is grieving. She is doing what she can to get through. As long as the dog will be well cared for -- and she will -- none of this is my business, except to support my friend as she deals with the loss of her cat.

So I made a contribution to a local animal shelter in memory of Elaine's cat. Elaine will get a note from the shelter, mentioning him, and that will salve her heart. And his death will help save another feline life.  

My oldest friend is grieving a cat, too. She won't talk about it. At least not to me. Except for a text or two, all I've gotten is radio silence.

I haven't forgotten what she told me last year, when I had to say put my Reynaldo to sleep. "I couldn't do it," she said more than once. Well, now she's had to. So I am worried about her -- she's 2,000 miles away and has myriad health problems. I want her to check in with me. I want her to tell me she's OK.

That would make me feel better. But would it make her feel better? Maybe not.

Like Elaine, she's doing what she can to get through this. And it's not about me. Everything is not about The Gal!

So I sent her an Uber Eats gift card, so she could indulge in some comfort food. I sent her a chatty email. I'll keep the lines of communication open to remind her that I'm here when she's ready.

When she's ready.