Laura Bush, Muhammad Ali and Mary, Queen of Scots, Walked into a Room

One day Ella, our eight-year-old granddaughter, was visiting us.  She pulled out a biography of Laura Bush, whom she had been reading about over the last few weeks of school.  She shared all the facts she could remember with enthusiasm and answered several questions.  I told her about a time several years ago when I donned a wig and a pantsuit to dress as Mrs. Bush and joined my friend John Morgan at an event.  John is a George W. Bush impersonator.

Early in his career I would catch John glancing at me with that I-have-a-brilliant-idea look in his eyes.  “You look like Laura,” he would say.  “I know,” I’d answer.  “You’re creeping me out!”

John and his wife Kathy are among our closest friends.  Kathy used to impersonate Laura Bush and stand next to her husband during his gigs.  This was an extreme act of love for Kathy, who prefers to be more behind the scenes.  One day, Kathy couldn’t (or maybe wouldn’t) help her husband out, so she brought me the wig and talked me into standing in for her.  I guess that made me a Laura Bush impersonator impersonator.   I have to say – I know how Kathy feels!  I am glad for that once-in-a-lifetime experience but am happy to keep it as just that.

This story, along with what she was reading, made an impression on Ella; because when her third grade class prepared to put on a Wax Museum, she already knew who she wanted to be.  That’s right, Madame Curie.  Just kidding!

20140603-210624-75984499.jpgShe was very excited to gather her costume and become Laura Bush.  Our wonderful friends lent her the Laura Bush wig, so she was good to go.  Ella was also committed to helping her friends with their costumes.  One friend was going to be a queen, and she didn’t have a robe; so Ella borrowed an old kids’ robe from our house for her.  I struggled to see how Mary, Queen of Scots, was going to look regal in a faded blue bathrobe; but that was a problem for someone else.

The day of the Wax Museum arrived and the children were in position.  You would stop in front of each student and they would recite a small biography of the person they were dressed as.  A tri-fold board was behind them with more information on their subject.  Ella nailed her recitation.  As I checked out the museum,  I was happy to see that Mary, Queen of Scots, was not wearing a bathrobe.  That had been passed on to Muhammad Ali, who wore it well, along with a pair of boxing gloves.  I was also relieved that Mary was far from Queen Elizabeth I.  If you remember your history, you know that could have gotten ugly!

 

Don’t Look Away

We interrupt this blog for an important announcement…

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I write about the lighter side of life (hence the name).  I typically don’t take on the weightier things.  My fear of art stores, or cute things my grandchildren say, or my questionable behavior toward customer service people would be about as heavy as I get.

For today, though, I have something that I’d like to share with you.  It is the farthest thing from light and funny.  It is something that I am just learning about, and it’s a huge problem world-wide.  But it’s not the world-wide part that got to me.  It’s the national and local side.  The issue is human trafficking.

I have a dear friend who is championing a cause to help educate parents, grandparents and young people about this danger, which has become even more prevalent due to social media.

So, just for today, would you consider watching a teaser for a film he is working on? He, along with a small team he is working with, has a heart to save children from these horrors by educating them and the adults who love them.  He wants eyes to be opened.  The goal is prevention.  Click here to watch the teaser.

Eventually, the completed film will be available to view FREE on-line.  Meanwhile, the team is looking for financial support as they focus on making this film, which is what they are compelled to do to help prevent even one more young person from falling victim to this heinous crime.  Thanks for taking the time to watch and for allowing me this interruption to my regular blog.  I appreciate you.

If you’d like more information to help finance this project, click on this link https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dontlookawayfilm/film-about-human-trafficking-dont-look-away

Art Store Alien

Today I ventured into unknown territory. I went to a store that has the word “art” in it. Even on the coldest of days I will break out in a sweat if I enter a Joanne Fabrics or Michael’s Arts and Crafts. If there is a sewing section in the store then I don’t belong there – I’m like an alien in a foreign land. I don’t speak their language. They use words I do not understand, like thread and notions.

But this shopping trip was not about sewing or crafts, it was about shaving. The Art of Shaving is a hip (do people still say that?) little store at the Mall at Millenia on the other side of Orlando. I went in to buy a gift for my son, Joe, who is graduating with his PhD. (We’re so proud of him. Congratulations, Joe!)

20140506-212912.jpgThis store is definitely a man’s world – the testosterone was palpable, yet it had a salon feel. I told the salesman that this was my first time in his store and he gave me a quick tutorial of the four elements of the perfect shave.

“Interesting. Are you anything like the Clinique counter at Macy’s? Do you have gift sets or promotions?” I asked, grasping for a point of comparison to my world.

He showed me their gift sets. Like Clinique they are quality products which are pricier and better than what you find in a drug store, but unlike Clinique there is no Bonus Time in which free products are given with a purchase.

He expounded. “We have four different scents of shaving cream – lavender, lemon, sandalwood and unscented,” the salesman said as he lifted the unscented variety to my nose for me to smell.

“Is this a trick?” I asked.

He didn’t even blink.

That’s when I began to suspect that The Art of Shaving is a very serious place.

Next he showed me the shaving brushes. “This is a badger brush,” he said.

I replied, “I don’t have a badger. Do you have a dog brush?”

He didn’t crack a smile. He just looked at me with the same look my kids give me when I say something hysterically funny and they don’t get it. I broke it down for him, but you lose a lot when you have to explain things.

I felt like my gig was up, so I made my purchase and left. To his credit, the salesman gave me a few extra samples of products (my own little bonus time – oh yeah!).

The store was quite the classy place – I can see why guys would like the atmosphere and the products; but for me, it’s just another “art” store for my list. I can visit, but I may need my passport and a guide.

 

 

 

From Two to Ninety-Two

Easter Sunday afternoon has changed a lot for us over the years. Bob and I have always lived close to my parents. For the most part, we were the only of my four siblings that lived near them, and we’ve never lived close to Bob’s family. That made for fairly easy holiday celebrations. Mom and I would take turns having events at our houses. We’d flip Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, but until the kids were teenagers, we usually ended up at their house for Easter afternoon.

They had a beautiful backyard on a small lake.  The beach area was dotted with palm trees and citrus trees lined the edges.  Mom loved hiding Easter eggs and the kids loved the hunt. Those times were uncomplicated. Once in a while relatives or some friends were there, but things still fell on Mom and me; and we liked it fine. My mom and I could throw together a holiday dinner with hardly a thought. We just split things in half. We each had our specialties.

This Easter we met at our house. We equals Bob, me and our four kids, three spouses, six grandkids (plus one in the oven), my mom who is 86, Dad who is 90, and Bob’s dad who says he’s 92 but is really 91.

That means there are five wives to cook. What a spread we could put on! What culinary masterpieces we could display. How our taste buds could be titillated! But I choose Costco, the happiest place on earth. Nothing beats picking up a spiral ham (no slicing), Hawaiian rolls, redskin potato salad and a vegetable tray. Throw in paper plates and you have yourself a perfect day. Okay, we did have homemade deviled eggs and desserts – we’re still human.

It has taken me a while to be able to admit this publicly, but simply put – it’s time for me to simplify where I can. 20140425-141648.jpgI’ll also admit that when I see Facebook posts of lovely tables set up in anticipation of Easter lunch, I feel a little guilty, but the feeling disappears as fast as a bowl full of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.

20140425-113424.jpgThose wonderful, simple days of eight of us celebrating together are gone. I love having 18.25 of us together and look forward to the number growing. The challenge for me is remembering it’s about enjoying the people, and I don’t want to be so worn out from prepping and cleaning up that I don’t get to relax and play with them. Also, our people span 90 years. That means keeping the floor clear for a walker and a wheelchair, making sure I have my dad’s favorite root beer on hand, and giving Bob’s dad some time to tell a story to his grandkids and spouses. It also means having a portacrib for the youngest with a sound machine to drown out noise, and taking some time to play a board game with the kids. And, of course, there are always activities beyond the egg hunt in the backyard. Our oldest son is great about getting the kids outside and active. We have the added joy of our neighbors’ grandkids playing with ours – three generations of friends.

The Quest for the Golden Egg

The Quest for the Golden Egg

We are an exhausting group, so Bob’s and my parents don’t stay as long as they used to. My mom brings bags of treats, but now they’re for her great-grandchildren. We still have the egg hunt as the Big Deal of the Day.  My kids and I hide the eggs and Mom watches us.  I think she loves watching the children scour the yard for treasure more than any of us. I like to observe my mom. She stores up treasures in her heart more than the kids store eggs in their baskets. I want to be like her.

20140425-121402.jpg

And let’s not forget about Jesus.  I’m not sure how we went from the resurrection of our Savior to dying and hiding eggs, but I don’t want Jesus to get lost in the shuffle.  When my oldest son was little, he and his buddy were into action figures.  They had all the usuals and a few unusual ones.  Among those were Jesus and Moses.

20140425-141704.jpgThis past week I found Jesus in the top of my closet, just in time for Easter.  I handed him to my grandson.  He couldn’t guess who it was and tossed him aside in favor of the Millennium Falcon.  I picked Jesus up and set him on the mantel among the chicks and bunnies.  He looked out-of-place, but I know better.

 

 

Disaster Date

Two people were standing at the edge of a parking space, looking like they had locked their keys in their car. Completely oblivious to the world, they peered inside the car window with hands cupped around their eyes as we gently pulled into our parking space.

The man finally became aware of us. He smiled as he dramatically pretended like we hit him. I rolled my window down and said, “I wasn’t sure you noticed us.”

He replied, “I noticed you. By the way, I’m John Morgan (a famous local attorney).” Of course, he wasn’t, but he was thoroughly entertained by his own comment. The woman – not so much.

At this point I’m trying to roll up my window so I can get out of my car and he is leaning inside of our car laughing. He obviously was enjoying himself more than the rest of us were. I raised my window and squeezed myself out past him while Bob quickly came to my side of the car. I thought to myself – this guy thinks he’s funny; I’ll show him funny.

“So,” I asked, “are you two breaking into this car?”

“Oh, no, no, we’re on a date,” he said.  Then he asked us how long we had been married.

“Nearly 39 years,” we answered.

That blew him away. He was so impressed that we were out on a date together after being married for such a long time. He waxed on and on about the importance of dating each other all through marriage. He pulled out his phone and showed us a picture of a couple he had just met at Publix. They were not friends. He met them and took their picture.  I guess that makes them strangers of his. He asked us to guess how long the couple in the picture had been married. (Seventy years, if you’re interested. None of us were.)

We told him that our relationship with Jesus was the thing that made our marriage successful. Then he told us about his church and warned us not to visit it or we would never like our church again – all this while chucking. The woman never said a thing, probably because it’s hard to speak when there’s never a quiet moment.

One of the Most Famous Disasters in History – The Sinking of the Titanic

Then came the kicker. He proudly announced, “This is our first date. We met on www.lookingforadatewithsomeonewholovesmeasmuchasido.yikes.”

I asked this quiet young lady if she would like us to stay with her. I told her that we have a daughter, and we would look out for her like our own daughter if necessary.

At that the man said, “Well, if this date doesn’t work out, maybe I could meet your daughter.”

After the shock wore off, I said, “Our daughter is married and has four children, but if she weren’t – no. No way whatsoever.”

If this guy had any hope of a second date, I think that went down with the ship. Maybe we should have hit him with our car. It would have spared that poor young lady a really awkward conversation. On the other hand, when she’s with her friends and they are sharing disaster date stories, I think she has a real shot at winning.

Noah

I saw the movie Noah and can’t pass up the opportunity to review it. You may be thinking – what kind of movie review can I give that would be consistent with my blog, Life on the Lighter Side? So, I have come up with a list of all the “light” moments of the movie.

Here it is:

1. Uh, let me think. There must be one somewhere.

2. No, nothing light about that.

3. Sigh…  I don’t recall any light moments.

This is not a light subject. The story is about God being grieved with the corruption and violence on the earth and His plan to use Noah to build an ark to preserve mankind and animals.  Judgment.  Redemption.

The film is based on scripture, but it is fictionalized, of course. Without a doubt, creative license is used. There are no first-hand accounts of how the ark was assembled. By now (spoiler alert) you probably know about the “rock people” that helped Noah. These creatures didn’t bother me at all. They made me think of the scripture from Luke 19. After Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the crowd was joyfully praising God in loud voices. Some Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke his disciples. Here’s Jesus’ reply from Luke 19:40, “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

I know it’s a stretch, but I couldn’t help but think that if stones would cry out praises to God, God could make them into creatures to build an ark with Noah. God is all-powerful and creative, after all. Of course, He also could have sent angels to help or He could have spoken pieces of the ark into place.  He could have given Noah the strength of ten Noahs, plus one.  He has so many options!

The part I really didn’t like about the movie was the depiction of Noah’s and God’s relationship. I wanted to see more that reflected this. Genesis 6 tells us that Noah walked with God and that makes me say, “Wow!” I do appreciate the difficulty of capturing that on film, especially by people who admittedly don’t walk with God. Of course, movie producers and directors have their own level of power, and I don’t expect any scriptural accuracy at all, but the lack in this area ruined the movie for me. Okay, ruin may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean (or do you?).

In closing, I need to tell you that Bob and I went with another couple from church to see the film.  We had differing views of it.  Bob thought the movie was terrible.  I thought it was okay if you took away the fact that it was supposed to be about Noah and pretended it was an action flick about some guy building a boat to avoid a flood. Our friend liked it and even applauded at the end.  That said, I guess you shouldn’t pre-judge what your reaction will be.

Here’s one of my favorite “theologians” telling the story of God calling Noah to build the ark.  Enjoy!

 

 

I Really Don’t Know What I’m Doing (and it doesn’t bother me too much either)

I’ve just had it confirmed that technology has left me behind. As a side note, I’m not surprised. Here are a few examples.

We have a Wii. We have this primarily because my husband and I love to play Tetris and Doctor Mario. Of course, like any self-respecting adults, we say we have it for the grandchildren. No one believes us. It’s probably because we are so darn good at those games. Bob and I frequently play World Championships of the Day to see who will be the reigning Master of Doctor Mario. I couldn’t tell you who has the title right now, not because I’m modest if I won or upset because I lost. It’s because I never remember. I should write it down. When we were younger we did keep a running tally, but now we have gone beyond those childish ways. Look how we’ve matured!

I didn't even attempt to set up this controller

It’s nice to have an uncle around to set things up.

Last weekend our grandsons who are six and seven were staying with us. I had the extreme challenge of setting up a different game for them – not only a different game but one that used a different controller. This proved too much for me. When one of my sons came home he helped me with my dilemma and delicately mentioned that the Wii is outdated technology. Ouch. The truth hurts. Another of my sons said he only has to tell his x-box to turn on and it does. That’s the kind of immediate obedience I always wanted from my kids!

Then there’s the whole TV thing. Everyone has a different cable provider or uses a satellite dish or hooks things through a gaming system. There are like nine controllers sitting around any given living room and they all mock me. I remember having to walk across the room to turn on the TV. Yes, all the way across a room! The only thing that remotely resembled a TV control for me was my little sister.

So now, I have a daughter who has no cable or dish system. She has a computer hooked up to her TV and a two-year-old daughter who hides the mouse. There is no sense in even trying to watch TV there.

As I mentioned, one of my sons has an x-box that is voice commanded. I don’t think it recognizes my voice and I am a little afraid I’ll mess the whole thing up. After the TV is on, will it tell me what to do? Actually, that would be helpful.

Another son has a dish system. He has step-by-step written instructions for me so that I can watch TV. It’s still challenging. When I was trying to turn it on for my grandsons, one of them asked me, “Do you even know how to turn the TV on?”

Well, I did it. I proved him wrong. It took me ten minutes, but I got that TV on and left it on for the remainder of my stay there. Why tempt fate?

 

I Feel Like a Princess (sort of)

I am a not-so-old, pretty princess. How’s that for self-affirmation?

This is not a sudden realization. It’s a quote from my eight-year-old granddaughter Ella. Let me back up a little.

I picked my grandchildren up from school for my daughter one day last week. Ella and her younger brother and sister were in the backseat. Mia, who is ten, was up front with me. When I have my grandkids, the pressure is always on to do something other than just go home. I decided to go through the car wash. This is literally a cheap thrill for them (and it gets my car cleaned).

Afterwards, we headed to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee for me and donuts for them. (All right, who am I kidding? I wanted donuts, too.) Somewhere along the way, Mia told me something she had noticed about me. Something that I would just as soon have no one notice about me. Thankfully, it was just an observation about the way I look – at this season in my life, I can deal with that.

“Well,” I explained to her, “When you get older your body does weird things.” (How is that for the understatement of the year?)

Now, Mia loves me like crazy and about this point she likely realized she was treading on shaky ground. She said, “Oh, Grandmom, you don’t look old. You look like you’re in your forties.”

With that, Ella commented, “No, she looks like she’s in her thirties!”

“Wow,” I said, “that makes me practically your mom’s big sister. That might be taking me back a little too far.”

Ella replied, “I don’t know, Grandmom, but I think you look like a not-so-old, pretty princess.”

We left it there. It doesn’t get any better than that.

And, while I’m on the subject of my grandkids, as I write this I’m at my other set of grandchildren’s house while my son and his wife are away for a few days. It’s a school day, so we were up early. My seven-year-old grandson cuddled up on the couch under a blanket and asked if he could watch a show.

“Does Mom let you watch a show before you go to school?” I asked being fairly certain of the answer.

“Well, Grandmom, you’re in charge now,” he replied. They sure learn how to work the system early!

Growing Old is not for the Faint of Heart

“When we’re old, we’ll be new friends again.” There are lots of cartoons and greeting cards that offer good-natured joking about getting old. Sudden realization: I joke about what I’m afraid of.

Bob and I were recently reminiscing with some friends of ours. Many of us are in the position of caring for elderly parents or simply having elderly parents who are still on their own but benefit from living close-by us. One particular friend (we’ll call him Danny, because that’s his name) was reminded of a memorable 40th birthday party that is now a little too close to reality for him (and us) now that he’s in his sixties.

We weren’t there, but the descriptions were quite vivid – nursing home theme, doctors in white coats, people with memory problems, a dirty-old-man in the group, food that you didn’t need to chew, wheel chairs, etc., etc. They had a great time welcoming Danny into his forties, you know, the decade right before it all goes downhill and life is over. Seriously, it was all in good fun (at least that’s what they told me, but I don’t know if I trust their memories).

photo credit: Wikipedia

Fast forward over twenty years. Now we are watching some of our parents in that same scenario only it isn’t quite so humorous. It’s reality. I have blogged about this in the past and told you how caring for Bob’s dad has challenged my sense of humor. There have been times when I have been like Darth Vader. I’ve gone over to the dark side. Those were the times that made it difficult for me to blog about Life on the Lighter Side. I thought about starting a separate blog and calling it Life on the Darker Side, but that was a little depressing. And, I didn’t want to be responsible for drawing people to the Dark Side.

Through the ups and downs I have been acutely aware that there is within me the lighter side. Yes, Young (comparatively speaking) Anderson, there is some good in you yet. I can feel it. But the good in me is not of myself. I am thankful to Jesus that he is in me. He is the light of the world and that light abides in me. That is great news. His light dispels the darkness. I know he prepares my way before me so that helps me not to be afraid of the future (or the present for that matter).

So here’s what prompted me to share this with you. This year has been one of great difficulty for Bob’s dad, who turned 91 in January. He spent a week in the hospital in January and then five weeks in a nursing care facility for rehab. He has come through this with, in our opinion, flying colors. That is why the news we received from his assisted living facility, in which he has resided for the past 2 ½ years, was so difficult. By law he had to be reassessed before going back to his home. The assessment was not positive. They denied him. The doctor over his ALF was the same doctor over his nursing home. This left us in the lurch.

He took the news with a mixture of courage and disappointment. I believe his words were, “That stinks.” It does.

That threw Bob and me into a search for a new home for him. Because his mind is pretty sharp, we didn’t want to put him in a nursing home. But, because his body and eyesight are showing the wear of his 91 years, finding an assisted living facility was going to be challenging.

The main reason for his denial at his former home was he falls a lot. We do mean a lot – he fell 22 times in the four months that ended in December. To his credit, he is an excellent faller. I guess because of all that practice. He never once hurt himself more than just a bruise or scrape. But, the main thing about ALFs is that the resident needs to be safe behind his own closed doors. We made changes for him to make him safer. We presented these to the powers-that-be. Ultimately, we cannot argue with them. We can only disagree with their decision.

Thankfully, we found a new ALF that agreed to take him in on a 30-day respite, but only for him to stay in the memory care wing. It has double the staff and would give them a chance to evaluate him before considering moving him to the other wing.

Before the big move, Bob and I took his dad back to his old ALF to say his goodbyes to his friends there. We wheeled him in to the sound of cheers from the staff. “Dale’s back!”

They were shocked to find out that he was not coming home. One by one nurses, techs, and kitchen staff came by to hug him, give him a quick back rub and say how sorry they were. They hugged us, too. I cried. We have come to love those people. They had become his family and they loved him.

Dale had a best friend there, Peter who lived across the hall. Peter’s wife died in December. Dale was encouraging him to write his memoirs. We gave Dale and Peter some time to talk. Both men were vets from WWII. Peter was in the RAF. I loved hearing his British accent and his stories were fascinating. I could see why Dale wanted him to write them down. It was a privilege to witness their friendship in action and oh so difficult to see them say goodbye.

Dale and Peter

Dale and Peter

By March 31 we will know if Dale has found a new home or if our search will continue. Meanwhile, we visit a lot and we hope. He knows what’s on the line here, and he is toeing that line with all the might that one would expect from a WWII vet.

Give Me Some Space

Personal space is a very American mental structure. Please allow me some space to explain. When I get in line to go to the movies, I’m careful not to stand too close to the person ahead of me. That space is theirs, psychologically speaking. I don’t want them to feel crowded and I appreciate the same consideration. When I go into the theater, I don’t sit directly next to anyone unless the theater is packed (no matter how much fun I think it would be to mess with a person). That buffer area is part of personal space.

The first time I went to Europe I found myself getting annoyed at how people cut in front of me while I waited in line. It was like I wasn’t even there. This happened several times before I realized that by European standards, I wasn’t in line. Being in line in Germany or France meant you could feel the breath of the person behind you on your neck. I think this is why the early explorers crossed the Atlantic. They needed some elbow room. It also could explain why four out of five Europeans where neck scarves. So now I’ve learned – a line in Europe does not have any open space. You find the end and wait up close to the person ahead of you, all the while hoping the guy behind you doesn’t let loose with a sneeze. If you want open spaces, go to Montana.

Parking spaces are another thing we Americans have over Europeans (except maybe in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Costco on the weekend). When Bob and I first visited Europe we made the rookie mistake of renting a car (a mistake we have repeated each trip). Our final day of that particular trip we were in Zürich, Switzerland. We had a few hours to see the city before catching a plane home. Bob was prepared. He printed out maps and directions so we would have them in English. The maps were easy to follow, but unfortunately they often led us to the wrong place. I can tell you from experience that there are a lot of dead-end streets in Zürich. Finally we decided to pull over and get directions, which sounds simple enough except evidently Zürich city planners don’t believe in parking spaces. We looked for one all over the city and finally found one at the airport rental car return. We parked and took the shuttle to our hotel. We’ll see Zürich another time (by bus).

Storage space seems to be another American construct. We’ve traveled through eight different countries in Europe, and I have never seen a sign advertising storage units for rent. In all fairness, though, I do not read signs well unless they are written in English – with the one exception of “degustation,” which means “wine tasting.” We stopped just about every time we saw this sign. We visited lots of vineyards, drank lots of wine, and saw no storage units.

In Orlando you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a storage unit facility (or a Starbucks). In case you are reading this and you are from Europe, a storage unit facility is a place where one rents a covered, sometimes air-conditioned space to store the things that have been purchased which don’t fit inside of your house or apartment. These things are so special that they cannot easily be parted with, yet they also cannot be tolerated in the home in which you actually live. Some brilliant person came up with this concept so that we can keep and purchase more stuff than ever thought possible, which is the American way. It also was a good use of the excessive amount of parking lots all over the city, which is why Europe will never have storage unit facilities. Of course, if you go backwards through the history of storage units you will probably end your search with the creators of the hit A&E series, Storage Wars. These guys are brilliant – talk about foresight.

Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica)

Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica)

On my recent trip to Paris I had the opportunity to challenge a woman’s personal space. We were at Montmartre, the artsy area on the highest hill that overlooks Paris. Aubyron and I stood in front of Sacre-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris) taking in the view of the city and enjoying the music of a harpist who performed on the steps there. It was the kind of moment that you couldn’t adequately capture with your camera but we were compelled to try anyway. I walked around the top of the stairs shooting pictures from every angle and then came back to Aubyron who was trying to photograph the harpist. She had been attempting to get that picture for five minutes but was hampered by a woman who had put down roots on the step about four feet from the musician and directly in line between him and Aubyron. She seemed to be in her own world and content to stay in that place for the rest of the day. Aubyron was about ready to move on, sadly giving up her picture when I jumped in and said I’d take care of the situation. I left Aubyron with a puzzled look on her face, walked down the steps and stood next to the woman. Now when I say next to the woman, I mean very, very close to her. She looked at me with confusion and I smiled as I planted myself in her personal space all the while feeling a strange mix of being very American and very European.

The brunette is the woman who stood there so long.  Aubyron snapped this picture just as she started to leave.

The brunette is the woman who stood there so long. Aubyron snapped this picture of me just as she started to leave.

After a few awkward moments, Aubyron took this picture.

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A picture worth waiting for

I suppose we should have given up on the picture or just asked the woman to please move over a little, but I saw no fun in that; and I was fairly certain she wouldn’t have spoken English anyway. Quite honestly, it was an impulse. An impulse that gave us one of our favorite memories from our trip and no doubt gave that woman a funny story about the strange American that crowded her on the steps.

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