I need a break from the news.  When I hear the words, “Breaking News,” I brace myself for what fresh hell humankind is inflicting upon itself.  Sometimes I find myself humming “The Merry Minuet,” that old song by the Kingston Trio that ends with, “What nature doesn’t do to us will be done by our fellow man.”  (This song was popular at a time when it was not as well known that we humans were also responsible for some of what nature was doing to us.)

I usually get away from it all by gardening or reading.  However, I neglected to suit up properly for gardening and am suffering from poison ivy on my right arm.  I can still take a break by reading but even that is difficult now because the cat is on a diet and he sits beside me, whining for hours until his next meal.  Did you know that domestic cats evolved to imitate the sound of a human baby crying?  It is impossible not to be upset by it.

I have taken a break from the news and the fat cat by sorting through boxes of memorabilia.  The family photos bring back lots of good memories and the stash of favorite poems I discovered contains this funny and true poem by Josephine Miles that I had taped above my desk for years:

I am not sure why this poem came out in such large type, but if ever a poem deserves it, it is this one, so bear with me.

And before I go, here are a couple of comments from last week’s blog about losing my sense of smell:

From Janet M.: Wow. I lost my sense of taste and smell in the 1980’s. This went on for years, and for someone that cooks by taste it was terrible. Felt like I had a sheet of plexiglass around me. The worst part was that everything smelled like burned rubber and tasted disgusting. Finally, after ten years, I was diagnosed with a hyperparathyroid tumor and thyroid cancer. After surgery my sense of smell and taste gradually came back. It is not all back, but enough so that I rarely think about it. Sometimes there is a fire on the stove that I can not smell, but most of the time I can smell a bit, and, as I said before, I rarely think about it and now cook by taste again.

From Dick S.: Your reference to Remembrance of Things Past hit a nerve with me.  I have 2 tremendous beefs with that set of novels.  First, I’ve finally stopped trying to read them, because his writing bores the heck out of me.  I find it impossible to get past the first 100 pages of Swann’s Way since it just puts me right to sleep.  And all of this is very troubling since so many people report that it’s among the highest calibre writing ever done.  Second, the publishers of the latest version of ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ have retranslated the title (À la recherche du temps perdu)  to ‘In Search of Lost Time,’ as you’re probably aware.  Now even though I cannot read these novels, I can certainly appreciate the romance of the title — Remembrance of Things Past is just one of those expressions that conjures up an expansive set of thoughts and memories in a tight, concise few words, while In Search of Lost Time sounds like an adventure movie with a few dinosaur chase scenes.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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