Friday, November 29, 2013

Gobble gobble

Heigh ho, heigh ho, and off to Turkey Trot we go.....
The folks at National Novel Writing Month decided that the month of November would be an excellent time to write a novel in 30 days.  November is when we start to gear up for the holidays. We shop for, prepare and serve Thanksgiving Dinner. We're probably looking for Christmas gifts. In case that really isn't enough, why not run a race? And of course, yours truly involved herself in all of it. To be very clear, I did not actually run a race. I walked a race. Over four thousand people registered for our local Turkey Trot and we ran/walked around the streets of Flemington. It was very cold, but a lot of fun. Then three children and four grandchildren came over. Well, isn't it wonderful? That's what life is all about. Doing the things you love and being with the people you love the most.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Can It Really Be 50 years ago?

I was in my middle twenties and working at a large bank in the Wall Street area. My department was on the 30th floor and at the end of the hall, a window looked out to the Hudson River, where I could see passenger ships arriving and departing from the West Side Piers. I was at my desk as usual, that Friday. I sat in the middle of a kind of foyer, with various offices around it where bank officers worked. It was a day when I was probably thinking of going out with friends that night, the beginning of the weekend. None of us expected someone to walk into the office and annouce, "The President  has been shot!" Someone found a radio and we could hear it playing somewhere. We stayed at our desks, wondering what was going on. The President was hugely popular. Who on earth would want to attack him? Of course, he had political foes, but this was something unheard of. Jack and Jackie were people who seemed like a Prince and Princess, with their two beautiful children. She was an elegant woman who wore designer clothing that every woman wanted to copy. He was a dashing figure from a wealthy Boston family. All this came crashing down that day. It was a only a short time before the person with the radio informed us that the President had died. He had been assasinated on a trip to Dallas, Texas. Everyone seemed to be dazed, sitting at their desks, or wandering around. I walked down the hall and looked out. A ship I knew and had travelled on, the Mauretania, was on her way out. For a moment, I wished I was on her, going back to Ireland. I wondered what kind of country this really was. But that was only the beginning. It was only a few years until Martin Luther King was killed and then the President's brother, Robert Kennedy. The country seemed to become dark and violent with rioting in the colleges and in the ghettos. So that day seemed to be the one when life changed forever. Maybe our calm and ordered world of 1963 was only an illusion, after all.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Is that a gun I see in your purse?

Now it is the middle of November. The year 2013 is slipping away. One thing I did this year is sign up for an "Adult Police Academy" being offered by one of our local police departments. It turned out to be a worthwhile activity. The version of this that I have wanted to do for some time is the "Writer's Police Academy" but it is held in North Carolina and there is a cost to stay there and so on. This local one was for a general audience and cost nothing. We had about five two hour sessions, a different topic every week. It was really quite interesting and I tried to memorize the things that stood out to me, such as the importance of solid  evidence in getting a conviction. The rise of the prescription drug as a drug of choice especially with the young. One session on drunk driving convinced me I would never be able to walk a line. Fortunately, I don't plan on drinking and driving. We finished up at a firing range where we watched various scenarios on a large screen and were able to fire (lasers) at whoever we chose. Some of the scenarios made us realize that sometimes there is no good choice.
The instructors were local cops, drill sergeant (the firing range), a DEA agent, and so on. I could recommend this to anyone as an educational experience. This one hasn't been held every year so I took advantage of it when I saw it mentioned in the newspaper. They could only take a maximum of twenty-five people due to space limitations.