Saturday, August 1, 2020

Texas Notes: Biscuit

     Until I read Caren Jeskey's report from Austin I didn't realize how much I was  hankering for something positive at this perilous moment in our nation's history. I hope you feel the same.

     Barry’s eulogy of John Lewis was as satisfying as taking a bite of cold, crisp, firm apple. A presidential figure speaking in full, coherent sentences gave us a glimpse back to better days gone by. “So we are also going to have to remember what John said: ‘If you don’t do everything you can to change things, then they will remain the same. You only pass this way once. You have to give it all you have.’”
     We deemed President Obama Barry because he was a part of the family. We wanted him to be. He made us feel seen and heard, and we trusted him. We had a man of integrity at the helm who steered us into safer waters. His imperfections were forgiven as he started to right the ship of our country into one with a deck that was built strongly and promised liberty for all.
     I don’t like to focus on our current POTUS— aka the Screaming Carrot Demon (thank you Samantha Bee of the Daily Show for that one). I will continue to count the days (152) until this dangerous charlatan is out of office. Meanwhile I am making plans to move to Berlin if they will have me, if by some chance the election is rigged and he ends up with the privilege of staying near his comfy bunker for four more terrible years.
     Nicknames can be powerful. They can usurp one’s sense of well-being when they are unwelcome and demeaning. They can also make a person feel more a part of a partnership— Sweetie, Honey, Poopsie-Do— or a group— Sister, Wildcat, Kappa— when they are coined with love.
     A sales manager at my car dealer shared a story with me today. He has nicknames for all of his children including his youngest daughter Biscuit. She once asked him “daddy, why do you call me that?” He sat her down and told her of childhood memories of eating plates piled high with comfort food cooked with love by his mother and other elders in his small Texas town. At the end of those meals it was tradition to sop up the last of the gravy and bits of corn muffins and grits with the last half of the biscuit you’d been saving for that purpose. This indicated that the meal was over. “Honey, since you are going to be my very last child, you are my Biscuit.”

   Let’s make a plan to sop up the remnants of the last four years and start with a clean plate. We will have a lot of work to do to repair the damage that’s been done. While we engage in partisan bickering, Godzilla with Less Foreign Policy Experience (thank you Colbert) is undermining lives of tiny asylum seekers, the United States Postal Service, the CDC, the WHO, the US Census Bureau and doing all he can to kick the legs out from under every single person and institution that protects us from becoming even more of an oligarchy.
  As Barry reminded us in John Lewis’s words, we must change what we can to make 2020 into a year of silver linings, or many of us might just collapse. One such lining for me has been a lot more time for introspection as I was abruptly pushed out of the rat race due to a period of job loss (now remedied). This has led to a greater appreciation for all of the connections and support I have, despite the heavy times. I don't want to lie and pretty it up— I’ve had some very bleak days, yet I am still here and still have hope. 

     When I was a kid my family called me Carrie, Cakey (since I was not able to pronounce Carrie), and Sparkle Plenty. This memory reminds me of how much I am loved. As an adult it’s been Jetski, L’il CJ (my older sister is Christina), L’il J, L’il Dod (due to a typo once), Francine (made up by a very cute surfer on an island so I went with it), Care Bear, Karuna (which means compassion in Sanskrit), Caruna (a variation), Peaches (my favorite), and a few more.
     On top of receiving affection, I have had the privileges of excellent education, music lessons that allow me to escape through playing flutes, literacy, books on my shelf, comfortable shoes, bicycles, a car for day trips, and the ability to walk, run, dance, jump and sing. I have not been forced to take a risky germ-laden two-hour bus ride to get to Goodwill

where I work long shifts with short breaks and have to walk and stand on concrete floors that destroy my legs, like one man I know. I have voted twice this year and will vote at least once more. I may not be a part of the upper percent who owns most of this world, but I enjoy a good amount of freedom. Not everyone does, and they are just as important as I am.
   Let’s help single mothers who work long hours with short breaks get registered and get to the polls. Let’s allow a true representation of eligible voters to take part in an equitable election by being sure everyone is registered and has access. Let’s not let Rome Burning in Man Form (nod to John Oliver for that one) continue wielding his little swords, furiously jabbing in order to destroy all he can from now until the end of the year. Let’s be sure to keep on fighting and work hard to get every last drop of gravy off that plate.

17 comments:

  1. As always, a delightful trip to a land of positivity and compassion, though the thought occurs that the orange guy probably needs compassion more than most, especially in that he is the epitome of a nasty guy. I feel free to feel sorry for the poor jamoke, while hating his guts at the same time.

    john

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have certainly thought that too- though the amount of power he has makes him less sympathetic in some ways, to me.

      Delete
  2. Let's not lionize Obama too much. I think he is a decent human being. Let's not forget that he deported more immigrants. He was called the deporter in chief. I am not sure where we stand now with Trump number wise. At least two American citizens were killed by drones. I forget which country in the mideeast where this happened. The government under Obama jailed more whistle blowers than any other of our president. Although the financial crash happened under Bush no one of any significance went to jail. People that lost their homes were not made whole. Big businesses (mainly banks) were rescued. He certainly would have handled the pandemic crises better. He would have had a much better cabinet. They would have come from wealth as they have in Trumps cabinet, but at the very least they wouldn't have tried to demolish the departments they were hired to run.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that Obama's rein was problematic in some key ways- I was sick about the bailouts and the big business he was in bed with- yet I'd take him over a hate mongering xenophobic oligarch any day. The next time a leader I respect and trust is in office I will pay more attention and try to get the word and vote out on issues I see. Thanks.

      Delete
  3. What an upper, Neil! That's two in the last few days. President Obama's euloly was the first one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cute story about the father's rationale with regard to the nickname Biscuit. Biscuit -- how the word sounds and what it represents, always appealed to me. Some "hot biscuits and country ham" would really hit the spot right about now. : )

    One of the most important things to be done to make a move to Berlin unnecessary is keeping Il Douché and his minions from crippling the Postal Service in a time when mail-in voting is going to be crucial in making sure that the ill-informed preferences of 35 - 38% of the populace don't continue to drive the agenda of the federal government. I sure wish the freaking "checks and balances" that I've heard about since Civics class were much more effective in offsetting the whims of the criminal, self-serving Maximum Leader.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I concur. I wish we were more united, us little guys.

      Delete
  5. How refreshing your articles are, Caren. It has become fashionable to admire the pessimistic people in life. Optimism is regarded as something escapist and unrealistic.

    I love to read you counting your blessings, which, like mine, are considerable. Your nicknames over the course of your life are bright an happy. I have always loved Doris Day, yet she is less highly regarded than her complicated fellow Thespians Garland and Monroe both of whom she outlived by decades. Virginia Mayo once said: "At Warner Brothers we called Doris Miss Sparkle Plenty because she had so much energy." So there, you share a nickname with an idol of mine. Long may you sparkle and shine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did not know that! Thank you for sharing, and for being here.

      Delete
  6. I share your solidarity with Goodwill workers, overworked single mothers and all the poor. Maybe that's why I could never develop tender feelings toward (ex) presidents, but I'd really advise everyone to stay completely emotionally distant from those figures. Remember everything they did at home and abroad, especially abroad where no one even elected them and yet their countries are destroyed, hold them all accountable. None of them deserve familial nicknames from us. I hanker for the positive and find it among regular people (including you Caren and Neil) helping other regular people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that regular people need regular people to the nth degree.

      Delete
  7. Whew, I was starting to worry there were no comments here today. Which would make absolutely no sense, since Caren never fails to deliver a compelling and enjoyable Saturday contribution to this blog.
    I see now they've been posted. Thanks for another great effort, Caren.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Those are some great nicknames...especially Care Bear, which is not only a sort of pun, but it's probably because you're so caring? Right? Sure beats the unforgettable "Socialist Worker"...and Jetski" is an even better pun.

    But Li'l (or L'il or Lil, take your pick) is mostly associated with rappers. Dozens of them use it. And even before that, it was used as gangbanger "tagging"...graffiti on walls. I used to see it a lot in South Evanston, back in the Eighties.

    I still choke up when I hear and see Obama speak. The other day I was looking at all the T-shirts and posters and buttons and the other souvenirs. I worked for him...twice. Do I miss those days...and him? More and more...every goddamn day.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Grizz :) I've spent a lot of time in Evanston, So and North. I love it there! But don't love the inequities and the crime.

    The black and white image of Obama in the piece is actually a button I wear around Austin most days.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another round great insights from the Jetski the Care Bear the Caruna. Thank you for sharing Biscuit and these names. . I’m going to do what I can to make sure people vote— write letters talk to my friends reach out. And show up as an election judge for early voting and Nov 3.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment, which will be published at the discretion of the proprietor.