Friday, January 4, 2013


Here I am, sorting various personal things on my mind, focused on me, and lo and behold, I see a photo of Barack and Hillary, in Rangoon. November 19, 2012, visiting a sacred temple, in their bare feet.

Yes, they were doing their jobs. They are paid for doing their jobs. We put them there in Rangoon. I can't see it but I feel an aura all around these two very successful people, who have fulfilled their own dreams by achieving the highest offices in my country.

He, right now, today, is handling hours and hours of negotiating, struggling, researching, phone calls, conferences, and the pain it must give him, that a first black president in our wonderful country, is still contending (I think he is), with deep, deep prejudice.

She, right now. today, is recovering, as well as unwinding, letting go of the stress of having sat, slept, lived in airplanes, hotel rooms, met thousands of strangers, broken bread with them, been deeply, deeply alone for more than four years, using all her talents as a person, and as a woman, while serving, (I think she has been), serving the country.

And they were in their bare feet. Barefoot, not naked, but clothed in the uniforms they have to wear in order to do their jobs -- barefoot so their feet can progress on paths that took them to work in unfamiliar places. Yes, they allowed themselves to be naked -- unprotected by society's niceties, as they did whatever they could DO that is best for our country.

Yowie -- what's best meant swimming sometimes in ice water, keeping afloat, treading on hot coals -- being over-heated by the sun, drenched by the rains, as they carried the heaviest of heavy loads.

And now? Does she think selfishly, every once in a while, what's best for me? Does he? Of course, Aside from work, they're just plain regular humans.

Could you or I do what they were doing when this photo was taken? What they are still doing -- right now today -- even though the circumstances have changed?

I don't know, I only know that they are barefooted leaders and I, in my shoes, and socks. and safe outfits, in my safe small world, inch along the paths that they made for us.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013



I'm looking out my window. It's the beginning of the first work week of 2013.

It looks the same -- gray street, gray, white, and red brick buildings, lamps posts, parked cars, meters like sentries that demand how much -- $22.00 for a half hour of parking on our street (last year it was $18, the year before -- $14.) It's a busy business street in the heart of Manhattan.

Yesterday, in the buildings across the street, like last year and the year before, I could see marvelously decorated Christmas trees on quite a few different floors -- all large -- bigger than the trees I saw last year, and all appeared to have been expensively, creatively, labored over.

Soon, maybe even today, they'll be in the street.

And steel Dumpsters will be in street, piled high with cartons, gift boxes -- piles of red, green, gold, silver things -- ribbons, bows, labels, cards, protective tissue, wrapping paper -- so many pretty things everyone picked out carefully, purchased, debated over how to handle, then wrapped, tied, taped and fussed with.

Like the Christmas trees. After the holiday you can keep the tree up for a week or two -- you can pretend not to notice the branches -- green becoming brown and brittle -- browned, dead, pine needles beginning to cover the floor around the base of the tree, migrating, magically moving into other parts of the house that have to be kept clean.

Nobody wants pine needles on the kitchen floor. I don't want pine needles in the bathroom.

So, we'll move our tree into the hall -- trees are elevatored or carried to the street, and laid to rest ignobly on their sides at the curb.

Sometimes the tree lies there and brown turns to gray until the garbage trucks and the garbage men arrive and the remnants of what once was your marvelous -- oh, this is IT tree! -- are disposed of.

Ours was a lovely tree -- a little crooked, but it grew and grew somewhere to be ready for us to chose it, buy it, make it into ours.

Well, it'll be Ground Hog day in a minute, then Valentines .... Happy New Year -- hello two zero one three! Hey, 2-0-1-3 will harder to type than 2012 ...

Oh my goodness, I forgot to give a holiday present to our postman -- well, tomorrow I'll give a holiday present to the whomever delivers the mail -- the woman who replaced our friendly postman who retired wasn't friendly. Maybe she'll perk up if I say I'm Em, what's your name?

Yep, things have changed since last year, but if you know who people are, even my street turns into a chummy neighborhood.

Monday, December 31, 2012


JOHN CULLUM sings the song he wrote for Em's Talkery, Emily Frankel's blog.

The Cullums call the song 'HI FROM US."