Monday, February 23, 2015


Here's a bit of insight from Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton.  She suggested that for one to truly see and understand the perplexities of life in America one needs to ride a bus. Two recent Metro rides reinforced this wisdom for me. I'm left to ponder the two incidents below and feel they are important to share with others.

The woman with the baby:

I had seen her before at a Metro stop, her baby held tightly to her bosom and a coke bottle tucked in her back pocket. But this time she was walking the aisle on my car. There were but six or so  of us on the car including the rather strange looking person seated toward the front who in addition to giving strange verbal outbursts at had the "baggage" that often accompanies a homeless person.  As she came to me I gave my usual, "I'm sorry" and regretted that I had not recommended that she go to Miriam's Kitchen where (from my having volunteered there) I knew she could be assisted. Future prospects on our car were indeed dim as each of the one seated in front of me declined her entreaties. I surely anticipated that she would leave our car without any help only to be totally floored as the most unlikely person on our car - the apparent homeless person - reached out and gave her $5.00!

A walk to the Metro

One of the aspects of retirement that I truly enjoy is the ability to sleep late in the morning. Thus 6:15 AM was an early hour for me to walk to the Metro on my way to my physical therapists office.. The moment I left our house I saw two men talking Spanish as they walked up the Newark Street hill to work at a neighbor's house. There was no one on Connecticut Avenue except two joggers. Upon entering the Metro I was surprised by the large number of people on my car for such an early hour. In looking around I could observe that only a very small number of us had light complexion. All the others had the same skin color or darker than the workers going up Newark Street.  How strange - usually when I go to my medical appointment in Friendship Heights for a saner 10:00 AM  appointment - I see people whose skin is the same tone as mine while............ 

...........two hours later as I left my physical therapists Friendship Heights office and walked down Connecticut, the only people I saw had my same coloring. And almost every one of them was carrying Starbucks.
Indeed there are obvious lessons for our polarized society for one looking for them, And I hope you
will join me in adding two more "R'" to my "Rant and Rave" - Let's Ruminate and Reflect about them.

But one less obvious rant comes to mind and it does reflect a personal bias.  Perhaps it comes with my age, but I personally delight in both living in the present moment and place.  What a joy to observe life around me and not be transported on a hand held device to be with someone else - someplace else.  How often do we miss out on life's beauty by being somewhere else?  Must we succumb to each new gadget?

And yet in saying this, I know how much I have learned and profited by the facts and opinions of the Internet.  While I could not find Donna Shalala's quote how fascinating did I find her insights as I merely typed, "Bus quote of Donna Shalala!

That's it for a month as I travel to the Bahamas and Michigan.  When I return it will be with a new direction for this blog as I use the next 9 months to finalize my Rants et al before I turn 90 and terminate this blog.

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