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THREE GENTLE STORIES IN THE AGE OF TRUMP

Posted on December 12, 2016 by
Raymond
on the road at
Sydney

 

I was hooked on the US Presidential Elections. I'd like to say it was as a serious observer of politics, and while that might be partly true, I was probably caught up as much as anyone in the ongoing soap opera.

As I watched his campaign speeches I kept thinking - where had I seen all the boos, jeers, crazy hair and posturing before?

While the most common observation made about Trump was the link between his campaign and Reality TV, I realised this wasn't even sophisticated enough to be an episode of The Apprentice- and thats saying something - this was WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING.

His rallies raged like battles between Abdullah the Butcher and Killer Kowalski.

In the left corner - DONALD TRUMP - all the way from Trump Tower, weighing whatever he weighs after a diet of fast food and pop drinks.

We'll build a wall he screams and the crowd cheers like they'd cheer a Mongolian Body Chop - and Mexico's going to pay - more cheers .... and the winner is, incredibly, DONALD TRUMP.

It occurs to me that the greatest victim from the Presidential campaign and Trump's subsequent victory is the battle over nuance. Subtlety, shades of grey, graduations of opinion are slammed into the canvas. It's all I am the greatest ... I will be the greatest ... America will be the greatest again.

 

 

My private rebellion in a world lurching towards empty clarity is to enter the space of nuance and to that end, in this world of hyperbole, I will tell three stories, stories that inhabit the graded terrain of life where whimsy, reality and soul merge. What better place to start in that netherworld of life - dementia.

 

STORY ONE

A friend of mine had a mum whose later years were spent in advanced dementia. She was cared for by one of his brothers and each day - rain, hail or shine - he took her to a cafe for a treat. Each day - rain, hail or shine - she asked why they had gone out. Every day the answer was the same - because it's your birthday - at which she would delightedly clap her hands with joy.

 

STORY TWO

Little Ralph is becoming a young dog of extraordinary intelligence. I am not saying that because he's mine. Well I am, but I am also saying it because it is true. So is this little story. In Sydney I stay with my friend Jim who has developed into a late onset gardener. Last week he was 'deadheading' his spent hibiscus flowers while Ralph watched. Ralph adores Jim with the sort of unabashed love that children reserve for a favourite playful relative. Anyway, Ralph observed Jim for about a minute and then proceeded to nip the buds with his mouth, effectively helping Jim with the gardening.

 

 

STORY THREE

Jim buried his mum Ruby recently and gave a speech at the funeral that was beautiful. They say that most Australians would rather be in the casket than give the eulogy but Jim did a great job, holding firm to the telling of his mum's story. While the religious tone of the celebrant seemed more calibrated to reassuring the ancient congregation that heaven, and therefore an afterlife, existed, Jim's speech was of a humanist nature. It was about a simple life lived in the working class streets of Sydney's Erskenville. Here are some moments.

Serious courting in the Australia of the forties involved going to the pictures. On one such date Jim Snr and Ruby emerged, no doubt hand-in-hand, from the cinema. Outside the scene was one of utter pandemonium - sirens, screams, dancing, joy. The Second World War had ended.

Over seven decades later, Jim Jnr walked out of the Cremorne Orpheum to read a text. His mum had just passed away.

Book-ended by the two movies, the intervening 73 years held a devoted marriage that had started with a couple of butter boxes as kitchen chairs - they were the best years of our lives said Ruby - yielded three children and all the joys and sadness of life; a script for a movie of its own. If life is what happens while you are busy making plans, in this instance it's the thing that happens in the space between escapes to the movies.

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There you are. I feel better for contemplating these gentle stories, taking a moments respite in little things. 

c ya

Raymond & Ralph xx

Read Ralph's WUFFINGTON POST on FACEBOOK

 

PS. Feel free to comment below although it will take a while for them to be displayed. I started to attract a lot of spam mail on my site and so have to approve comments. 

 

Comments
Post Comment
Annie
Reply
Thanks Raymond, that's just what I needed in this age of fake news and negativity. Beautiful.
Raymond
Reply
Thanks Annie. Enjoy the respite.
Cam
Reply
Beautiful Raymond. Loved the Ralph story.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Cam - I reckon you coud have deadheaded those flowers just as well as Ralph.
Susan Portz
Reply
Aw, Raymond...thanks for that. I needed to hear those stories tonight. Much love to you and Ralph, the super-dog!
Susan
Reply
Hey Susan. My pleasure. I enjoyed writing this story if only to contemplate something a little gentler.
Bruce Moir
Reply
It's a wonderful thought to give us that beyond a certain age , everyday is your birthday....to be celebrated. And thanks for those Larapinta memories.
Raymond
Reply
Pleasure Bruce. Yes I dream of the Larapinta, or more specifically of the Aranda country I used to camp on with the Malbunkas.
Sarah
Reply
Three lovely stories - thank you
Raymond
Reply
Pleasure
Tracey
Reply
Love these stories.
Tracey
Reply
Glad you enjoyed them.
Ronna
Reply
Such lovely, positive and hope-filled stories. Thank you. And--was Ralph biting off the NEW buds, or the faded flowers? As a devoted gardener myself, I really want to know! Hugs 2 U both.
Ronna
Reply
Hi Ronna. He was deadheading the spent flowers. In other words, discriminating between healthy flowers and dead ones. It was quite incredible.
Carlene Bott
Reply
Enjoy all your stories Raymond thank you. And what a clever dog you are Ralph, such a beautiful photo too.
Raymond
Reply
Hey Carlene. Im bringing my choir - The BackRoaders - thru Canberra in May and then we are performing at the Durras Progress Hall and then the Moruya RSL. I'll let you have the dates closer to the event. Be lovely for you to come along.
Jacinta Hickey Dunn
Reply
Many paws make light work with the gardening,love it,good on you Ralph.
Raymond
Reply
Yep, he's a classic.
Jean Kenny
Reply
Thank you Raymond, I always enjoy your stories. As for Ralph doing a little gardening, at least he tried to help. One of my pet dogs, followed me around my garden when I was planting seedlings, when I turned back to check on my work it was to find everyone that I had planted had been dug up again and gently laid on the ground next to the hole.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Jean. He was actually very precise and only nipped the dead ones. I couldnt believe it.
Susan
Reply
Thanks Raymond - I needed that!
Raymond
Reply
I had the same feeling writing it.
Ingrid Petersson
Reply
Dear Raymond and Ralph, I loved to read this. We are many around the world who are worried these days what will happens if Trump continues with his ideas! Nice to hear from you two. Love, Ingrid 
Raymond
Reply
Hi Ingrid. Yes, its a strange time.
lee bruce
Reply
Thank you so much for posting this beautiful blog post today,it was lovely and exactly what is needed. We have had a few conversations recently on nuance and kindness and looking after and being kind to the place and people closest to you. Everything else is just too big. So I feed the birds and make my family look at the stars and the moon. I try to notice everyday small things
Raymond
Reply
Thanks Lee, and thanks for encouraging me to write something again.
Joy
Reply
Thank you, Raymond, lets all post something "Feel Good" for a change. Beautiful stories; I have never doubted Ralph's intelligence, he has grown into a gorgeous young man / dog. Cherry, woof woof, would love to meet him on her walks - but unfortunately we are over the ocean. Keep up the writing.
Raymond
Reply
Shall do Joy
Tess Davis
Reply
I loved the one on the birthday lady...I work with people who have dementia,every day is a new day..they are beautiful people.....and Ralph,what a very smart dog he is,he must have a very,very special master....I also know an old man who has been married for 67 years,he cares for his wife 24/7 as she is unable to do anything herself now,he lets me help him once a week...there are some wonderful people out there thankyou Raymond...you are one of them...xxx
Raymond
Reply
Oh Shucks! I'll try and write some more over the coming year.
Janet
Reply
Hello Raymond. Thanks for posting those 'it's all in the small things' stories and reminder how important it is to share such 'quiet' stories. I used to work for Alzemheimers Aust. And the dementia one is SPOT ON and so insightful. Your story about your clever Ralph has prompted me to share this Lily story. Right now I am still trying to come to terms with my Mum's death last week after being with her during her final decline since November. Although such physical decline, she was still as sharp as a tack to the end and Lily was one of the four 'people' she asked to see towards the end. Lily was truly inspiring during that period. (including gently coming in and licking mum on the cheek - didn't think the staff needed to know). But she managed to charm the staff to eat better from the kitchen than I did at times ... the staff loved them both. In the final weeks, Lily stayed at my mum's bedside even at the times when i had to leave the room. Although she did move a couple metres to the doorway to check for any sightings of me when I was away for an extended period, but still kept my mum in her sight line. Lily knew immediately the moment Mum died. It was the strangest thing to experience. During all of this, Lily was often confined without regular walks for extended periods.(she is nearly three - so pretty hard for the equivalent of a teenager) It was then such a joy three days after Mum died to take Lily to the beach one night and see her run wild the full length of the beach over and over again ... racing in and out of the surf... running at me trying to spray me ... herding and rounding up all the things she had been dreaming about during such a long period of no proper walks. I have never see her do it before or after to that extent. I laughed and laughed especially knowing how much my Mum would have enjoyed it too.. As we were walking along .. a stranger commented what a special dog ... 'JUST SO FULL OF LOVE AND ENTHUSIASM'. How beautiful is that?? Thanks for giving the opportunity to write what now seems to have turned into an epistle. And thank you so much for the Burra Festivale.
Raymond
Reply
Hi Janet Thank you very much for sharing the story of your mums passing and Lily's beautiful custodianship of her. I am aware that you have nursed your mum for some time and this must be a sad time. Lily sounds a gorgeous, intuitive girl. I understand what a deep empathy dogs can exhibit for humans having watched my old Tommie help my mum when my Dad passed away. He didnt leave her side, and physically comforted her when she wept, if only to give something to stroke. Raymond