Home. Haven’t really settled in, even though we have been here for a year. Went to Paris last year. Did a couple of weeks here and there. I almost died following gall bladder surgery. We don’t have a routine and I have cruise pounds. Who do you call? Bicycle Doctor. They make house calls to repair and restore bikes. Our antique bikes, bought in Brooklyn and maintained, will outlive us. I want us both to live a while, a wish supported by Sharon and a select few. So, let’s get it on and take off some pounds.
All Americans owe a debt to these men, mostly young, who changed the course of history. They gave their life for me. Families of Jews made the decision to bury them with their brothers. 149 Carrera marble Mogen Davids stand, marking their graves. No rocks to mark my visit. I left my tears. Some leave roses.
Vets on our tour and others laid wreaths for all. Most who came on the Beaches are now dead. No way to mourn them enough or apologize for our inhumanity. When we ask why we do this, we know the answer.
A monument was erected to the fallen on Omaha Beach. Soldiers did better on nearby Utah Beach. I try not to believe the dead were sacrifices, though things like that happen in wars. Sad but true. And to think these guys were volunteers….
Here are Dan and Loren. Met on the cruise. They hail from Plantation, FL.
Fun to meet someone with my name, albeit a woman. She didn’t make fun of me or call me Warren or Moron. Have trouble introducing myself, because people comment on my name. Uneasy, I have always been, being a boy named “Sue.”
So, I like Duck. That has it’s own problems. People make fun of that, too. Like, “my name is goose,” or “quack, quack.” But Duck is fine and easy to remember. And, you should remember, too, not to make fun or a person’s name or make it a conversation starter.
So, my Mother died during my hearing. She had a heart attack watching Governor Pataki rail at me, demanding I resign. As I sat shiva, newsmen prowled outside until shooed by Kendall, out neighbor. My brother blamed me for her death. Family deserted me. Few came to our home.
I was refused an extension of time to appear, a point noted somewhere in the decisions supporting my removal. I never really got a chance to mourn or grieve.
Today, we are traveling through Europe. A rabbi has been brought aboard to lead the seder. At his lecture on Jewish values, I asked the assembled crowd if people would join to make a minyan. Yes, women are invited.
We got 8. Found Kaddish prayer on my I Pad. Rabbi asked if I could read Hebrew. I said, “yes, as long as I don’t cry too much.” I did cry and we did say Kaddish.
During the Roman times, the Emperor and his landed gentry buddies would bring gladiators into this arena where they would fight and kill peasants and lions. People cheered for their sides, just like many still do today when they watch sports.
They drank wine, wenched and partied, ignoring their responsibility to civilization.
They have telephones now, though I doubt anyone uses them.
So, you are asking, why travel. One reason is to see the antiquities. Go back to where organized governments started, albeit ones that didn’t treat all people, especially women equally. They had slaves, too, some of whom had talent and built this place. Seeing it in art and history books just ain’t the same, despite the crowds, the climb and the weather. I felt the togas.
Like all civilized places, they had arts and a theatre. Plays, music and circus. No slayings. Maria Callas even sang there, as did Sting.
After a while, the cities look the same. Canons from the war. Scarf seller. We went to Troy. Saw the ruins. Helen’s face launched a thousand ships. Brad Pitt fought there. No more water, Hector. For the tourists, a wooden horse. A fort was unearthed, along with the remnants of 9 cities built on top of each other. The men fought. The women, cooked and cleaned and worked in the bordello. They had water to drink and bathe in. Then came the malaria and they were wiped out.
So, we travelled for 30 hours, arriving at the boat in Istanbul totally wasted. My head ached. My eyes burned. I walked dead, not knowing if I was alive or a person from another planet.
We cancelled the two day layover due to terrorist threats. No need to be a hero. Most on the cruise did likewise. I don’t regret it, but I really wanted to return to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi and the Cisterns. Security is evident and overwhelming. Maybe we didn’t have anything to worry about.
But, shooting an image, making a photograph, always brings me back to life. The suite we live in for the next 50 days has a terrace. I set up the tripod, put the camera in place and shot as the sun went down. Two large martinis also helped.
Senior Citizes are all over the place in Sunny Southern Florida, people staying alive, remaining active. Staying purposeful.
They get around. Know the bargains. Like to shop without dropping, especially in grocery stores. Instant kindness in the aisles and checkout. Someone carries the bag, maybe the person is older than they are, but less frail. Keeps them all busy and out of trouble.
Buses pick them up in the communities their kids have dumped them. They get spruced up, equip their walkers with fresh tennis balls and shopping bags. They don’t buy much; cannot eat what they used to. One stop shopping: drugs and food. Bus takes them home.
They love to smile and converse, especially with someone they haven’t seen before pays them a courtesy.