Friday, November 13, 2009

THE ROLE OF THE FROST...

I know when I wake to see my lawns and garden coated white, the growing season is gone. The killing frosts that make it so are often so beautiful it helps with the transition. And after all, by this time I'm ready to put the work of the growing season aside and let nature---and me---enjoy a season of rest.
I share some photos taken by me on this frosty morning.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town) hopes you enjoy them.
(Direct comments to randrmoore@gmail.com)

A BIT OF GOLD ON A FROSTY MORNING

At my walkway, even as the spirea is losing its seasonal life, a succession of heavy morning frosts has turned the leaves to gold. They look almost like flowers. 

MORNING FROST & RISING SUN ADORN OUR LITTLE "GARDEN-HAUS"

 

DEAD LEAVES ETCHED BY MORNING FROST IN ROSE'S GARDEN

 

ROSE'S NICOTIANA PLANTS MADE WOOLLY BY NOVEMBER FROST

 

A STORY FROM THE GREAT INFLUENZA OF 1918

    Some years ago, as my Aunt Helen lay dying, she told me many family stories, and one was of my grandfather, whom I had never known. He had died in 1918, 22 years before I was born.
     The Great Influenza had struck the year he died. Whole families in his neighborhood were seriously ill, and they were helpless, and he was going to their doors and speaking from his distance into their interiors to find out things they might need... food, medicines... errands... He would find out what their needs were, write them down, and see that they were taken care of. He would set their needed foods and medicines at their doors or just inside their doors, without coming close to them.
He was roundly criticized by some. After all, he could catch the flu and bring it to his family. Was that not irresponsible?
     But no, my grandfather told his family. A person was obliged to help friends and neighbors when they were down and helpless. He assured his family he was being careful not to get close enough to catch the influenza.
     Grandfather did catch the flu, and so did his family, but he's the only one at his home who died of the disease, or came close to dying. Who would know whether he had caught the virus at the doorway of his friends, who had not come close to him in his mercy missions; or whether he had been exposed through his work that took him through the city everyday?
     Grandfather suffered mightily, with complications including meningitis, as I learned last year on his death report details. I decided his commitment to friends was a legacy he had left for us, and I felt somehow closer to this man I'd never met.
    Last year, I was in the genealogy room at Morley looking up some of my husband's family history, when I ran across a Page One item in a December 1918 newspaper. A man beloved to his town had died on a late-November morning. He was the assistant superintendent of the city's water plant, active in his community and church, and known to all.
    The story caught my eye, and as I read it I discovered that man was my grandfather. It was sad for me to read that there would be no public service for him; mourners would grieve privately because all members of the deceased man's family were ill, and the pastor of his St. Mary's Church had banned all public services because of the contagion.
      (One of grandfather's sisters died of influenza in a neighboring state that same day, on her birthday).
    I often think of 1918 when serious flu seasons roll around. That was a time when we had no serious arsenal of medicines to fight the complications of the flu. And when I think of the hardships of those earlier times, I salute my grandfather for his sturdy ethics of friendship and commitment, which he didn't toss aside when tested.
     I wonder if the fear we fan so readily these days---including fears of all sorts of things that MIGHT happen---would keep our people from doing what they could for helpless friends and neighbors.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) signs off, reflectively. She accepts comments at randrmoore@gmail.com

Monday, November 9, 2009

FRAGILE IN LOOKS BUT TOUGH!

Last Rose of Summer? Far from it! Not even the last rose of fall!
This Knockout Rose is one of several that have lived in my garden for years, and they never fail to bloom through the first few snows and sometimes send out a few blooms when you're sure they're done for the year. This photo was taken today in Northeast Ohio, in a valley where we've had many cold days and night-time killing frosts. It was one of the earlier versions---pre-patent, I think, before it bore the Knockout brand. It was a gift from a nursery executive.
Here's to the flowers in your life... be they people or plants.  

(Good wishes all year, whatever the season, from Rose About Town, a last Rose of Summer herself, one of whose passions has always been flower gardening. I receive your thoughts and comments at randrmoore@gmail.com).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ZERO TOLERANCE...

This morning on the TV news, I followed a discussion about the all-year expulsion of an elementary school child who poked a teasing classmate with a pencil. Under zero tolerance policies, the pencil was deemed a weapon. Never mind that weapon-known-as-pencil was required for the student's classes, and therefore the school might be seen responsible for allowing, encouraging and requiring that weapon to be brought onto school property.
Yesterday on the news, I followed a discussion about a school that gave some flu shots without parental permission, and at least one of those children whose parents had withheld permission developed a reaction that sent her to the emergency room. The school pleaded the shots to that particular child were accidental, but in the growing number of silly zero-tolerance cases, "accidental" hasn't been acceptable as an excuse for students.
Is zero tolerance a one-way street that does not apply to staff? Can a hypodermic needle be a weapon? Is it sharper than a pencil? Could the affected parents expel the SCHOOL for allowing the hypodermic needle to be carried onto school grounds?
It's a foolish world and getting more so.
NOW... don't get me started on suspending little kids in school for giving a spontaneous hug and consequently being charged with sexual harassment!!

GRRR-R.A.T. (Rose About Town) thinks she lives in a ridiculous world.(Comments, ridiculous or otherwise, can be addressed to randrmoore@gmail.com)

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF LOVED ONES?

Not to diminish their grief, but... Am I the only one who watches the "loved ones" gathering for vigils and interviews outside the serial killer's house in Cleveland, and wonders why these missing women's disappearances were mostly unreported? What am I missing here?
R.A.T. (Rose Around Town) comments received at randrmoore@gmail.com

COMEDY IN CONGRESS

Is there a monkey in the house?
There are lots of monkeys in the house!
The comedy was unintentional last night on C-Span as the legislative children bickered in their health reform negotiations.
Trouble was, among us watching citizens, it was too important to laugh.
R.A.T. (Rose About Town). Comments to randrmoore@gmail.com