Recycling The Insufferable Optimist.

She couldn’t get into the house quickly enough.

The idea for her next piece had come during a drive around the local state park, taking in the last burst of color before its erasure by the wind. She was anxious to begin. The title alone was so compelling; she could already feel the thing writing itself.

Yet, oddly, a thought intruded: one quick Google might be in order. Best to rule out whether her gem had erupted from another in some deep, subconscious past.

Fearfully, she pulled up the search bar. Sure enough; at least two, both of them published, had already coined the phrase, one as far back as 1997. The moment was heart sinking.

Her mind sought solace, in reverie.

1997. That had been a year. She’d spent its post-Braveheart winter completing a screenplay to star Mel Gibson, the summer gallivanting up the California coast and across to the UK for the Edinburgh Fest. No time for a book review, let alone a book. Besides, her larynx had developed a pesky resistance, stuck in head voice for hours at a time; and, forced to leave her precious elementary string program (bumped by a seniority bid) she’d endure the fall and early winter teaching middle school chorus, reduced to a rasping breath by day’s end.

Come spring, after a bout with bronchitis which had left a three week hack in its wake, her fate seemed sealed: laryngoscopic surgery, slated for St Patrick’s Day, in Pittsburgh. She’d spend the rest of 1998 enduring its laser focused rehabilitation. No time for a leisurely book review, or even a book; the risk of absent minded coughing or even throat clearing lurked, at every moment. No time, either, to take a phone call from a prospective literary agent. Besides, while away she’d let a frustrated creative house-sit; he’d used the phone she’d dictated as off limits because of its receiver’s annoying habit of cutting the line. Had there been any call backs, none would have registered.

Her next pre-emptor appeared in 2015. They shared one commonality; both were anonymous bloggers, casting their carefully cultivated and diligently edited pearls before any number of earnest freshman composition students and swine.

The most recent, in spring of 2020, would be by far her most formidable: former CEO of the aforementioned search engine monopoly. Perhaps he had sent her routing out the competition with a penetrating thought weapon. After all, how dare anyone attempt to supplant his definitive take – on anything!

So how, now, to proceed? Pretend that she somehow possessed a distinctive take on an image so vivid, indeed more timely than ever?

Unlike her predecessors, hers was neither embodiment nor apologism but a sweeping observation. Her intent was to characterize those who could not or would not bow to prudence, refusing or unwilling to acknowledge the gravity of either forewarning pronouncement or prophecy. She would out every leap of faith, all abdications of reason, each act of denial in one grand gesture of indicting condemnation. If she had anything to say about it, the virtual world would be wiped clean of the last of the insufferable optimists.

Yes. Pessimism would have its day.

And, that season couldn’t come soon enough.

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© 10/25/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, anonymous or no, whose name appears above this line. No copying in whole or part, including translation, permitted without written permission of the originator. Sharing encouraged, by blog link only. Thank you!

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Sidewalk.

If you passed Laurie Garrett, on the sidewalk, would you look twice?

She’s not tall. Her hair is a warm, curly brown. Her features are small and even and, when she smiles, she’s pretty. Carrying a bit of excess weight around the midsection, common among women of her age who spend most of their time indoors or outside in their own yard, in terms of type she’d qualify as a pleasant looking matron – perhaps given to knitting or reading, possibly employed part time as a cashier in a craft store.

Laurie Garrett isn’t a cashier in a craft store.

In 1996, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for her series of works published in Newsday, chronicling the Ebola virus outbreak in Zaire. Laurie Garrett wrote “The Coming Plague”, predicting the viral scourges we’ve endured since the publication of its first edition in 1994. During the coronavirus pandemic she has been sought out, to both remind of her visionary predictions and foresee outcomes, across all media.

Day was, people did fit into type. On or about the 1950s, you could tell most everything about anyone, just by looking at them. A woman in a pillbox hat and a box knit suit, carrying a pocketbook in her gloved hands, walking on a downtown sidewalk in a pair of pointed pumps was probably a housewife out shopping. If she were unmarried, and respected, she would not be walking alone – shopping or not. Not downtown.

By way of contrast, a man in a fedora and brown single breasted suit, narrow tie, white shirt, and dark Oxfords walking on the same sidewalk would be on his way back to work after lunch at a downtown cafe restaurant. He’d likely own his business, perhaps as a merchant or insurance salesman, and keep regular hours from about 8 am til 5pm. He could be single, or married, but that status would matter little to his perceived image.

Point is, unless you were either of these characters, you’d likely not spend any time on that sidewalk.

If a man, you’d be at the shop, in overalls, grease on your forearms, sleeves rolled to the elbow, oil on your hands, shoes drip stained from it, standing at your station running your semi-automatic until the horn blew for lunch. After 3 or 4pm, you might be seen heading up a side street to the bus stop, tin lunchbox in hand or, if you earned enough, driving home in your Buick sedan.

A woman, working in the same shop, would be there part time. Hair wrapped to cover pincurls, flat shoes, shirtwaist cotton dress, homemade apron, hands slathered with Pro-Tec to make washing the oil off easier at home, she’d be working because there wasn’t enough money coming in from her husband – or, her father, if she lived at home.

These would be they whom you would have been. There would have been nobody else – because you would have been white. If you had not been white, you would never have been on that sidewalk or in that shop. Your absence would have been its own type.

Now, Laurie Garrett can stay at home and write and publish her wisened, warning prophecies, then make dinner in the small kitchen, spend her evenings doing whatever she pleases, and take her interviews for a fee.

Society has evolved. Type is becoming self-deleting. Now, any character can be summoned, at any given, arbitrary moment, to fulfill any fancy, or not. A perfectly presented person, dressed as a man but wishing he were a woman, could walk the sidewalk of the day, return to his or her dwelling, take a poison, and be done, and not a single expectation would be realized.

And, Laurie Garrett might have already written the story.

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© 10/23/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Sharing permitted by posting the blog link, exclusively; no reproduction by copying in whole or part, including translation, permitted without written permission of the author. Thank you.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Vested.

*Author’s Note: Having just completed a final edit on what I thought was [my] definitive piece on tonight’s event, herewith another. It must be the Klondike bar and the two Snicker’s ice creams, still coursing through each synapse. Notwithstanding the caffeinated drive, it’s time.

Who are these people?

They, who turn out in droves – unmasked, roaring, nearly hysterical in their devotion to the man who rails right back in their faces, spewing half or fully fleshed lies never fact checked by any of them, declaring himself their saviour, glory hallelujah, his version of the truth still marching on?

The people. Yes. Who are they?

To my eyes, having either been or worked among every class and station – from floor mopper to dishwasher to short order cook; to server, to clerk, to merchant; machinist, to shop owner, to skilled craftsman; engineer, to architect, to executive; instructor, to clinician, to professor; researcher, to documentarian, to published reviewer; performer, to producer, to artist and visionary…Donald Trump’s people are found to populate three, distinct yet not unrelated groups: a.) the indefatigable Evangelical Christian Right; b.) those of largely deferred intellect who have devoted their lives to the assembly line, and b.) those of incredible, accumulated wealth – who hire them.

Of these groups, taken together, the latter two are inextricably bound; one cannot exist without the other. And, unlike the former ECR, neither is exclusive to any particular race or creed.

What of the military-industrial complex imagined by, who was it, Harry Truman? The birth of the assembly line bred more than endlessly produced mass quantity; it evolved an entire mentality, committed to vapid, repetitive motion for hours at a time, five days per week, every week of every year, minus earned vacation time the breadth of one of them. Only the rare creative had a mind capable of escaping the task into the realm of imagination, perhaps to reserve what scant energy remained at day’s end to apply such pursuits.

The moment, if one can be isolated, is pivotal; every American who covets their job on that line, in that factory, at that counter, and every elite from upper management who seeks to protect a glorious lifestyle comparatively unburdened by the weight of taxation – whether earned honorably, or bestowed – has an interest. A vested interest, heavily invested, that shall not be moved.

No movement, no progression – toward evolving away from assembly line drudgery to supplanting artificial intelligence – engenders anything but abject fear. Fear, of utter loss – their only productive identity melded to and branded by the very work to which they have sacrificed their lives.

The notion that total upheaval of the internal structure of that military-industrial complex, to: a.) accommodate solar and wind power; b.) displace fossil fuels, and c.) replace product materials with the biodegradable and non-toxic can be realized through re-training and upgrading is met with ferocious resistance. Why?

Mentality is entrenched. Re-structuring systems does not a new mentality make. That which is unfamiliar is a perceived threat. Add to that equation the aging of the relevant population and you have a flank of refusal. The door is barred. Rather than endure the rigors of metamorphosis, the shop would rather shut.

The path, therefore, of least resistance is provided for them all. His name is Donald J Trump. No matter that his primary motive is self serving; in a twist of unavoidable irony, his megalomania serves the need of a massive throng, a culture of stubbornness borne of the security of familiarity and acute absence of vision. They who stand at the conveyor from sun up to the horn at day’s end, and those who own them, get to keep that to which they have become accustomed. Any revelation pertaining to the degree to which their actions poison or otherwise destroy the very earth under their feet or the water which sustains them is summarily dismissed, if only because it doesn’t fit their narrative of honorable employment and income.

If leadership for the people by the people shall not perish from the Earth, hadn’t it better be immersed in creating an awakening toward possibility rather than the sting of fright? How people feel, even to those whose emotional response, whose inner life, has been dulled to the point of distant memory, is still a vital aspect on the road toward human health and sustainability.

But, such a leader had better recognize the magnitude and importance of the task at hand, because Donald Trump has captured how the entrenched define their personal worth and provided an apparent path for its continued realization. No matter that he is a dishonest businessman, a shrewd manipulator of systems, and an arrogant ass; he validates those who lack the intellectual reach to imagine a life beyond the one they hold as close to their vests as the next shallow breath they take.

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Click on the link below, to hear best selling author, Thomas Friedman, declare the names of the states already IN TRANSITION to alternative fuels and address whether there are jobs for the “thick-fingered” worker:

https://youtu.be/1xetRCiIOPU

© 10/21/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Sharing permitted by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for respecting original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Dropping The Mask.

Momentum is a force all its own. You can’t be a force greater; momentum will take you and you will move with it. This is where everybody in attendance at Erie International Airport found themselves, Tuesday night.

From the moment the late plane finally coasted into position, through ’til the slicked back, veneered, top coated figure scored by his trademark red tie emerged and strode down toward the crowd, every person present was caught in his torque and draft. The presence of Donald J. Trump carried itself, and everybody on site with it.

He’d been rambling off script for longer than usual; people had been roaring and cheering and carrying on; but, about thirty four minutes in, something happened – a moment so pivotal so as to decompress the entire space. When his truth came out.

He’d made several references to Erie, near the beginning – to uproarious cheers. But, this time, in the blink of his twinkling eye, in a context that rendered thousands stone silent, he dropped the facade.

“Because”, he said, “when everything was so good (before “the plague”), why would I have ever come to Erie?”

“Erie..!” , he sneered.

Wait.

What?

Suddenly, we were stripped naked. We were Dreary Erie, the Mistake On The Lake, the “old relic” of recent date. We were profoundly beneath him, likely rating nothing but a mere phone call (and, he’d brought his hand to his ear, to mime it.) The place.went.dead. And dead silence, outside in the fall night air, is the coldest kind.

He contextualized the question, dripping with condescension, as if: “What would [ever ] have brought him to Erie”? Nobody. moved. You could feel no air, at all. But, he kept talking, internally frantic, gripping the lectern just a little harder, leaning down just a bit further. In a blur, “but, now I’m here”, something about “needing us”, and would we “please vote for him”? It was backpedaling. And, it was terrible.

Momentum: dead. It took him a good ten minutes to build back. He’d lost his crowd. Suddenly, Donald Trump was alone, at a microphone, flailing, in front of several thousand freezing people standing outside, exposed and humiliated, reminded that they weren’t anything to him. Not really. Not at all. Only insofar as they were prepared to vote him into a four year reprieve from criminal indictment.

Oh, yes. For just a few, crystal clear, fully revealed minutes, President Trump showed the people of Erie who he really was. I just hope most of them brought that home with them. I hope they quietly remember how he made them feel. Because, friends, that is the man. That is how he regards anyone who isn’t in service to him.

Build on that silence.

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© 10/20/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, born and raised in Erie PA, whose direct observations are contained herein, and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part, whole, or fragment, including translations, permitted without direct, written permission requested of the author. Thank you.

littlebarefeetblog.com

3William Schubert, Lana Rinehardt and 1 other3 Comments1 Share

The Actual Living.

That wheelchair had become the center of her social life.

Breaks locked, in the center of the livingroom, both her weight and the hardwood floor would render it rooted, stable enough from which to fulfill a role unbeknownst to both herself and most everyone who’d ever thought they knew her.

She had never been socially sophisticated. “Weird” branded her for the better part of the 1970’s; newly permed, painted and propped for the ’80’s; and, from ’90 to about ’95, just generally awk-ward. 1998 was too pivotal, a year of trauma from start to finish, professional medical leave to be exact for throat surgery plus a bout with sexual harassment, and wouldn’t factor. What remained, leading up to 2009, would fall under the heading “rush to the cadence”; reaching peak frenzy that June, one false step in rudderless Red Dogs on a dust-hydroplaned stage, and up into the air and down she’d dropped into the auditorium pit, to sustain multiple contusions and non-dislocating fractures of the left acetabula, sacral ala, and one tiny carpal bone of the left hand on impact. There hadn’t been an empty seat in the house; every Kindergarten, first, and second grader plus their teachers and aides had witnessed the performance.

After a temporarily chaotic rearrangement of duties involving her 93 year old father, his house, her house, and her brother’s all night trip in from Kentucky via Chicago, Dad had been placed in the backseat of her brother’s Suburban and – as she sat on her own stoop, the snot hanging from her nose of all the crying, watching them disappear down the road for what she was sure would be forever – driven off for Kentucky.

Once hauling her bottom heavy self up via the one crutch and hopping back into the house, what would commence that summer truly would reach majestically eternal proportions; eleven years hence – minus the wheelchair, plus a bit of encroaching arthritis in the lower spine – here she was, in essentially the same spot. All credit to the one, redeeming tool at her social disposal: the Internet.

At first, she’d felt consoled. As a child, playing alone with the ideas inside her head, be they narrative or cinematic, solitude had been her mode. This newly enforced aloneness was similar, if one ignored the lidocaine-numbed physical pain and discomfort; and, the new Macbook Pro having arrived, she soon became enamored of all the options for human expression which its dazzling graphic environs engendered.

Most fascinating, this time, was an apparently built-in audience known as Facebook. Eagerly she took to it, daily and, as the hours trudged by, her time flew; not only could she write, but take photos – of herself, no less – and, include them in “posts” to which others seemed to take with equal enthusiasm. Furthermore here was Becky, and Cindy, and Bob, and everyone she hadn’t seen for twenty three years, including the students who’d populated her earliest foray into the role of public school educator. And, then, the church “family”, from as far back as childhood and every corner of the United States; everybody, it seemed, was a keystroke away – and, they all appeared ready to see and hear her every word. Breaking one’s hip and back would not destroy life, after all. She would be reborn, as a character of her own, socially informed design.

It was through Facebook that her fifth grade crush turned up. It was in the chat that she would discover him to be headed home for a visit. By the next year, and all the years hence, each and every encounter with a live human would be traceable to that social media “platform”. If all the world were a stage, she had certainly found herself in the center of it.

Here is how this story ends.

Ten years of Girl, Interrupted (minus the actual attempt.) The dissolution of public persona. An epidemic emergence of that darkest aspect of the human psyche, Narcissism, all played out in a scrolling column of pseudo-dialogue, reaching peak intensity and then: the block. Only this wasn’t The Match Game, and there was no host mediating who got x-d or o’d. We were all an illusion, and so was our self image, vaporized at any instant by the disgruntled participant of the hour. We could hardly leave the house without taking the sting with us and, should we encounter someone not yet a member of our cult, we’d cut it all short just long enough for an exchange of screen names to supplant/Add Friend later.

Facebook recently “upgraded” its site. The intention was transparent, enough; competitors, Instagram and Tik Tok, were encroaching, and the format needed to keep pace.

She’d hated it, rightly enough. Not one to embrace change just because it was “trendy”, she’d been quite settled in for lo, the decade, and forcing a new navigation was as annoying as taking a wrong turn on a destination vacation.

But, weighed in against the extra inch and a half around her hips, the “spare tire” around her mid-section inherited from her father’s memory, and that nag just above her tailbone every time she chanced to stand, maybe the time was ripe for renewal. Making her social persona mobile might get her out of the house beyond the gas or grocery run, after all. And, who knows, keeping the tablet tucked away for longer than a fruitless argument over heresay and inflated opinion might actually produce a genuine conversation face to six footly distanced face.

Her body was talking back. And, collecting virtual “friends” was no succor for the one who’d left in a huff (and, a puff.) People were dying, now.

Cindy. She’d reappeared that first year, held court at the two class reunions and then, just last year, succumbed to heart failure, open casket. Bob had met his third wife online and apparently moved to the Philippines. And, one of just a handful immune to the lure of alternate reality, Becky had long since left social media entirely; she’d changed careers, moved to Virginia, and published a novel. Here sat the rest of them. Literally.

The wheelchair had only been a loaner, traded in once she’d regained vertical strength. Time to close out all open pages, log off, and shut it down. This loner was only promised the next moment to regain her place among the actual living.

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© 10/17/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, wider and less wonderful, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for seeing, and checking, yourself.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The United State of Disgrace.

The predictable effect of the synergy of intensive cacao and sumatriptan had driven her to the mud room. Clock said 7:30 (8:30 in real time/why change it, now?). With resolute intent, she tore up the east corner of its push broom, straight broom, inherited outsized jean jacket, step ladder, white garden picket fencing panels, branch pole cutter, basket of citronella, bag of broken glass, sack for Goodwill, tin sprinkling can, wire hangers, stained sofa cushion slipcover, feral cat infested throw rug, broken plastic trash can filled with aluminum freezer wraps, old DNK winter boots, flat, treadless Red Dogs – and, faded American flag, torn by the wind.

Sweeping and shaking out the grit, soil, and bug residue from the carpet rems beneath provided plenty of meditative reflection. That flag. Offered every year by a veterans’ support group, this one had seen its day, slapping and billowing to the Southwesterlies’ tune through all four seasons. Caught once too many times on the thorns of the climbing yellow blush cabbage rosebush, its edges were split and frayed. She never had obtained the proper anchor and, wrapping and taping it around the porch post had worked for the most part until, embodying its symbolic role, the weight of just everything bent the pole and the flag with it forward in a dejected, resignated bow to audience.

She’d left it like that, for several days. Something had to herald to the world that they were in trouble – led down a path of disease and death by a demagogue with dictatorial designs on their democracy. Might as well be Old Glory, from the southeast corner of West 22nd on the street where the Saraceno family had raised its generations, the Kilmers thereafter and her, barren of offspring, to occupy space for who would have known to be thirty years.

Not one to toss much, being the child of a Keeper of Functional Things ( daughter of the Great Depression), she was discriminating with the pile. Once actually clean, repositioning most of it made for a more settled layout for that corner of her world. She stood, gazing for a few moments, mentally calculating that just as much time might be spent in phase two – actually selecting out the no longer useful. Yet, best that the actual dirt was mostly gone; all malingering superficials would survive the frost for a spring purge.

That spring purge was always the goal. Except just enough sorting and stacking had a lulling, entropic effect. Even knowing, after all these years, that she’d likely never get to the second phase at all carried no power; what mattered was that she had addressed the problem. Appearances were kept. This was the way of the English, founders of their great republic. Things had to look right, even if they were entirely, inherently, wrong. A semblance of order in the midst of utter chaos was foundational, after all. How the world regarded what it saw carried pre-eminent weight in the social and domestic consciousness.

Fast forwarding with a lurch out of her pre-Revolutionary reverie, she shook the last of the dustpan’s collection into the overfilled trashcan and eyed the clock. 8:30, almost on the nose. Can ye not watch with me, one hour? Jesus had said. In that episode of 60 minutes, she’d completed just enough to convince her mother from the bed in her grave that her intentions were good and her effort realized. One corner of the mud room, down; the rest of the national disgrace, in the hands of God.

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© 10/10/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part or whole – including translation – permitted. Thank you for being the good person.

littlebarefeetblog.com Originally published in My Notes at Facebook/Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

Johnny One Note.

Remember Johnny One Note?

He was tone deaf. When he sang, his voice only had one pitch. He couldn’t move up, or down, with the notes in the melody.

Our President is tone deaf.

To him, it’s China — China’s economic power, over us, over the jostle for pre-eminence in the world. Trump saw China as our biggest threat to restoring and maintaining economic standing, and that’s why he still blames China for the 200,000 deaths of Americans. And, his supporters are right there with him singing that same, monotonous song.

I sat, last evening, fairly well stunned by many things. How intelligent people of any persuasion could support this President. How self-centered blindness prevents realization and acknowledgement. How it is that our judicial system caves to power, the insidious kind as well as the violent.

But, I also sat — as I do, now — and considered the stories, from those who have Armenian and Romanian friends who talk about rationed goods and services in the socialist countries of their memory. I contemplate the American workers, those who actually have skills, who use their hands – as I do – but, to build machines without which our country could neither sustain itself nor continue interacting with the rest of the world. To these Americans, the fear of the threats to social security and pensions and Medicare, sources of financial security older Americans have worked their entire lives to earn, is real. And, they rise up in defense of such security — as well they should.

I am among them.

And, then, I wonder why we elect Presidents who lack a well rounded mindset. You know, the kind who stump on one policy issue, preaching a selective gospel. They warp the picture that should provide for every American, especially those who have tried to fight against social injustice and who lead honest, productive, responsible lives.

Perhaps this man who completely repulses so many of us with his slippery movements, his vulgar mouth, his outed lies, his utterly selfish posturing, and his dismissal of individual life as “virtually nothing”, should have run for a seat on the GOP’s economic advisorship instead of the highest office in the land. Nobody can argue the economic gains his administration produced prior to the pandemic. That’s his one note. And, he sang it well.

But, his single pitch is far from a beautiful song. It’s not music. At all.

200,000+ Americans are now dead — more still dying. That’s what we got, in exchange. What a tragic transaction. What a gravely bad deal.

Now, how utterly unacceptable is our present situation. How dangerously divided are our people. How aggressively reactive our throngs. How combative the prevailing postures of those parading in our streets. We aren’t a unified country; we’re a provoked population, on the brink of deadly confrontation. It’s called war.

Who can save us from this apparently inevitable reality? Joe Biden? His character is also not above reproach. Video and audio evidence tell his tale. Party politics has its insidious agenda, and monied corruption has infiltrated all of it — including he, and his own.

I am just as fearful of a globalist mentality seizing my rights and possessions as any other hardworking American. Surely, we are all desperate for an honorable, honest, and well-rounded representative of every mind and heart who was born and bred here.

Jimmy Carter. Somebody call him. Get his word. We need another like him, right now.

Because right now is all we’ve got.

Sing it.

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© 9/24/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. Feel free to share, but with acknowledgement to the author. Thanks.

Originally published as ” Why Our Politics Is More Than A One Note Song” at Medium.com

I Wrote A Poem.

I wrote a poem in my sleep

Each phrase, each rhyme, all true

The dream was one I wished to keep

If just to prove to you


Though the power of sleep, so vast and deep

Somnambulance withstands

To rise and write, its worth to reap

I could not move my hands.

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© 9/16/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights. You know the drill. Carry on.

littlebarefeetblog.com

MACARON.

Addiction drives the strangest behavior.

Mine isn’t booze, heroin or cocaine. Mine’s the one even lab rats choose first:

sugar.

The object of my affections had been ignoring me, all day. Petulantly. Enjoying my clamoring, ghosting to a narcissistic forte. By teatime, I’d hit critical mass.

Henceforth, because I needed a succouring fix, I did FIVE THINGS well out of my comfort zone. 1.) Without first placing a curbside pickup order, I drove to the Whole Foods Co-op; 2.) parked, and w.a.l.k.e.d. i.n.t.o. the store — something I had not done since M.A.R.C.H.; 3.) grabbed a sack of mini-peppers and some daikon radish sprouts, then headed for the bakery reach-in; 4.) chose a variety pak of chef made MACARON; 5.) rang out, waving to several I knew on staff, and side stepped out to my car.

Why so radical?

Macaron had proved the creme de la creme of confectionary. Only egg white, no flour, the premiere sweet for all gluten intolerants, and only a pro pastry chef could expertly craft each bite sized burst of scrumptiousness to the Parisian standard of perfection. Pre-Covid, I’d been known to drive 3 miles south after midnight, just to snatch the last batch at Wegman’s; but, the girl who made them at WFC had won my ribbon.

This month’s recipe was labeled (according to Customer Service) — “autumnal” flavorings. I’d already had this set, over a week ago – and, hadn’t been keen on it. My preference included: berries, and their cremes; vanilla, creme cheese, pistachio, and caramel. But, not….pumpkin. And, this set used pumpkin as a motif; even the creme cheese was tinted with the hue…and, the flavor.

But, you have to understand addiction. Sugah addiction. We dream of cookies and cakes, frosted confections… And, the piece de resistance is macaron. For us, reward for good behavior – and, even bad – is all about the taste buds. And, the receptors for sweet are everywhere; the tip of the tongue, the sides, the back, the flat surface, even the roof of the mouth. We can salivate to the point of orgasm, just thinking about sugar.

So, yah. Pulling up to the curb, I was giddy. Self-congratulating. After all, I’d savage the entire container of chicken salad first just to prove my nutritional planning was sound. But, two down, and three to go, the test would be: how many hours before all five macaron were dust?

My first selection: vanilla. Smoothe; cool; bright. Second: salted caramel. Texture, first; then, the rush. Number three: okay. Might as well get it overwith. Pumpkin puree.

First bite: Nawp. Was it the consistency ? Maybe a touch more creme to render the filling. What would normally gush from between two oh-so-delicate cookies felt more like a slurry at the bottom of a saute. On that note, I’d reached my A1C for the hour. Heck, for the evening. Two and a half down, I was sated.

You can have your spice lattes. I’ll take my pumpkin the only way it should come: in pie.

On Thanksgiving.

Even addicts have taste.

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© 9/11/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

CREATING: PANIC.

“CREATING PANIC.”

It matters how you say it.
President Trump’s voice still rings in my ears. Only now I’m hearing him over my landline phone, in recording, talking about panic.

Never once, in any of those phone conversations between himself and journalist author Bob Woodward, does Trump reference the people.

“I didn’t want to create panic.”

Remember those Mad Libs – the game with adjectives, nouns, adverbs, objects of the preposition left purposefully blank, game participants asked for random terms to be entered, creating uproariously hilarious nonsensical outcomes?

Let’s fill in all the blanks. There’s a clause missing.

“I didn’t want to create panic_______[ in the stock market! ].”

There. That fits the narrative.

He doesn’t care about people. Or, lives. Or, death statistics. He only cares about the bottom line.

And, that makes me panic.

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© 9/10/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

THE SAVIOUR.

The Saviour.

Every time I’d stood out on the sidewalk in front of the Gospel Assembly Hall as a child, during that short break between Morning Worship and Sunday School, watching the ladies walking to Holy Rosary in their pointed high heels and lace mantillas and thinking about them all going to Hell if they didn’t accept Jesus, I’d always felt a sharp distinction between myself and everyone who hadn’t.

For those who were raising their children to be non-denominational, sectarian Protestant such distinction was essential to the tenets of a real Christian as they defined one. It wouldn’t even matter when, at the cusp of adolescence, I questioned the validity of all of it including the existence of God; what mattered was that I had, at age 6, confessed my sins in prayer before witnesses and accepted Jesus into my heart to be my Personal Saviour. This sealed my eternal security, in spite of a latent and ever increasing lack of faith, for as long as forever could be perceived by any human.

The reason, if rational thought was to be factored into any aspect of this mystical process, for specifically confessing and accepting and acknowledging Jesus as Personal Saviour was based upon one otherwise universally Christian, core belief: original sin. People were born at enmity with their Creator, inheriting Adam and Eve’s taint, and could not win the everlasting favor of God Almighty lest they repent and fall at the feet of Jesus as he hung on Calvary’s cross. And, it wasn’t even the act of His crucifixion which would ultimately redeem us, but the fact that Jesus was none other than the only begotten, Holy, Son of God. No other living being was sinless, inherently worthy to offer up His very body as the supreme sacrifice for each of us.

Now, even though Christendom has evolved to produce as many variations on this theme as there are letters in the arabic alphabet*, one fundamental feature is universally declared: Christ’s Holiness.

Infallibility. Jesus could be our Saviour only because he was sinlessly perfect, God’s Son; no other, however bloody, however wrought, could satisfy God’s requirement for atonement. Only Christ, the perfect pearl of great price, would suffice.

Throughout my life, I have never met a Christian by any moniker who didn’t honor Christ’s infallible holiness. Debate may have raged over the Trinity (separating Seventh Day Adventists from Jehovah’s Witnesses, and The Way International from all other cults); many a scholar at Bible Study may have elegantly argued the nature of Christ’s relationship to His Father; but, none disputed He Who was without sin as the only qualified Redeemer. For every Christian, Jesus was the one and only choice to save humankind from eternal condemnation.

And so, it is from this moment in my memory that I come careening up to the present. The world spins, nations rise against nation, and America faces the singular choice which determines its redemptive future. According to God’s Holy ordinance, much about life meets with these dispensations in time; for Americans, all religion aside, the state calls every citizen to its own altar. As free as every person created by God is to choose acceptance or rejection, every member of America’s democracy holds the inalienable right to place its vote for a worthy leader. Holiness ever elusive among mere mortals each one is nevertheless free to determine which, among candidates deemed qualified to stand up to the call, is the better choice.

Given the ravages of the infectious disease which has slain hundreds of thousands in a matter of months, to me this election feels urgent. But, I appeal to everyone who has ever identified with being Christian: would you put your soul’s eternal security in the hands of a deceptive, corrupt mortal? Then, how can you hold up a man who has committed multiple documented transactional acts of usury against men and women of every persuasion? How can you in devout conscience elect one whom Christ Himself would, as he did with the money changers, throw out of the Temple?

As Christ was brought before Pontius Pilate to be tried, the people were given a choice between two who had been held. Barabbas was a known criminal; Jesus had committed no legal offense. Yet, the mob demanded that Jesus be crucified, clamoring that Barabbas be released. They, in effect, cast their public vote — choosing a known criminal.

Are you a part of this mob?

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* https://littlebarefeetblog.com/2016/11/07/evolution-and-christians-of-the-alphabetical-order/

© 9/8/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

What It’s Like To Love An Alcoholic During A Pandemic.

Alcohol is my mortal enemy. She wears a harlot’s face. She dresses like a skank. And, she waits in the shadows of the country roadside distributors and “buy one, get one free” holiday specials to snatch away hope, impossible promises, everything worth emotional investment. And, during the pandemic she, too, wears a mask.

About 22 years ago, I learned the meaning of isolation. A lifetime of vocal abuse, yelling outside in the ragweed and grass pollen at the high school marching band and generally clamoring over everyone had created a polyp the size of a Champagne grape on my left vocal fold. The surgery itself, an expert excision performed by the robotic arm maneuvered by Dr. Clark Rosen at UPMC Voice Center went without complication; but, the post-op, follow-up patient compliance would prove daunting. I had to remain absolutely silent, for two solid weeks, never so much as clearing my throat lest I destroy the tiny cauterization and blow out my cords — and, then, only permitted to speak for five minutes every hour for two more. My landscape was bleak; I would be in for a very long haul, nearly three months alone and six more under prescribed restriction. Nobody wanted to hang out with somebody who could barely speak.

Given that year of life spent avoiding human interaction, when the coronavirus pandemic descended I was hardly fazed. I had this. Real, fake, or somewhere in between, I knew the drill.

But, for these past nearly four years, I’d been quite accompanied. Either with me on occasion at my house or more frequently at his country idyl twenty some minutes south of our town, my partner — my man — had been ever present. Our relationship was a challenge; not exactly compatible, we’d thrown ourselves at each other late in life after a 30 year separation caused by the details of what each of us had known life to be in the town of our birth. But, after more time than I’d ever spent with one man, we found ourselves bonded. Many would call it love.

I was addicted to him. And, he was addicted….but, not to me. He couldn’t drive past any sign that flashed BEER without stocking up. And, his patterns were, among those who imbibed, the least healthy; whatever he purchased, he drank — all at once, over a period of just an hour or so. The assault on his body frightened me; but he, muscle bound and head strong, hardly gave it a second thought.

When the word came down that everyone of a certain age should stay home, I looked at him and made the decision for both of us. He would shelter in place, with me — 24/7, for a solid month. This would take him well past day 28, the period of time every addiction therapist believed was required for the body to be cleared of alcohol and all its affects.

And, this appeared to work. We had, by both his account and mine, some of our most joyful time together to date. We rearranged my kitchen to make it companion compatible, my assisting his gourmet meal preparations nearly every night; we walked Bella, the Rotty, under the grand oaks and firs at the nearby cemetery; and, the only binging happening was our umpteen seasons of HOMELAND. During the coronavirus pandemic, no less, I thought we’d achieved what everyone else called happiness.

At the end of the 28 days, he was ready to return home. It was May; there was garden soil to turn, and a cage to pullet, and the spring lawn to mow. And, he said, he had to “test” whether he could sustain his now streamlined figure and newfound mental clarity alone.

Of course, my addiction dictated what happened next. I’d be monitoring his every going and coming, texting and calling – urging him to wear the n95 mask I’d given him from my tool drawer, reminding him to wash all packaging upon returning from the store. Wondering, alone at home, if he’d slipped. Agonizing over whether this 65 year old, sleep deprived, retired nurse in a compromised physical condition was watching the news and realizing how lucid he’d have to be, daily.

Tomorrow is Labor Day. We’d endured nearly six months. Tonight, after a major row about nothing, a two for one sixpack binge the night before, and another canceled plan to be with me for a Sunday, I drove out yet again to get my things. This time, I walked out onto the back stoop, searching for a place to toss the three empties instead of smashing them on the pavement.

And, there it was. A black mask just like his, neatly folded on the landing.

I didn’t remember whether he’d said he had one, or two. I only knew that he wasn’t home, he always kept his in the truck, and this mask sat, folded, on his cement step. Not even an alcoholic in a boozy haze goes outside to stand on his own backyard stoop with his mask still on his face, only to remove it, fold it, and set it down. This one had been on somebody else.

I don’t scream much, anymore. The throat surgeon taught me well. Now, when the overwhelm of grief driven exhaustion descends upon my small bones, I just increase my step and hasten my exit stage left. I run, to the car, and tear off in the increasing dusk, my jaw set in the rear view mirror, my eyes aflame.

Being alone has its merits. Solitude can be a gift. Loving someone who loves something else more than you eats your soul from the inside out. This pandemic had better end. I have better love to give, all mortal enemies be damned.

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© 9/6/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. Originally published at Medium.com

littlebarefeetblog.com

BACKLASH!

Humans react. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t survive. Reacting is the way all living things respond in the face of perceived threat. Most threat manifests in the form of change, and not all change is threatening but, since it can be, we react – self-protectively – to change.

So, what does all this mean, socially?

Society has evolved a way of reacting to changes perceived as a threat, either to stability of groups or to institutions upon which specific groups are founded. If one group changes a societal norm, any associated group which suspects a threat to its own relative perceived value will react. This collective reaction is called backlash.

For their collective lifetime, American social groups have endured many such changes. Given that the social class system was imposed by its founders, and carried out by its earliest settlers, as larger swaths of its endless plains were claimed certain among those pedigreed established and maintained power. First, Caucasians dominated its continental natives; then, the wealthiest among these brought their slave class, largely African, to serve agriculture and family structure. Thusly, racism became the order of not merely the day but the entire mentality of this new society.

But, while racism against the African class by the Caucasian landowners was ubiquitous, within this insidious system there was further suppression, against publicly unacknowledged subgroups. These were identified by their sexual preference. Significantly, since the prevailing religion of the time was Christian, such variance in sexual preference was openly condemned. Being outcasts, those whose preferences did not align with the Christian creed were pushed underground to form secret societies. Given the limits of transportation, the structure of these societies was loose and local, if managed at all by word of mouth or discreet, encoded post. The idea of open backlash likely never entered the mind of any, given that being exposed would bring about certain social abolishment and even death.

A couple centuries hence, social change has heaved its mighty hand. Contrary to the nation’s founding social attitudes, much backlash has ensued. Fiery, life threatening reaction on all fronts has periodically branded the landscape, leaving a continuing wake of destructive waste and fear.

So, what of social survival? Those suppressed by racism have banded together, spoken out, acted out, and moved with collective conviction demanding equal treatment, equal rights, equal status. Those with alternate sexual identity have, as well. This reactivity is felt, in some circles, daily. Gradually, inexplicably, the tide is turning; now, those of alternate sexual preference are publicly acknowledged by an increasing majority, and those of the heretofore subjected races have achieved social recognition, social opportunity and, while much is still unresolved and conflict persists, increasing social status.

But, while the tide turns, the threat of flood is still real.

Why?

Because, in the interests of immediate gratification, backlash has become the first order of business. And backlash, being reactive, presumes threat. But, the motive being fear, backlash cannot produce a sustainable symbiosis; rather, it is inherently destructive, further weakening any hope for true reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

Additionally, of increasing concern is an encroaching variation on public backlash: subversion. Now, the technological revolution has produced a mode of reaction which takes place beneath public political scrutiny, behind the scenes, in unacknowledged behaviors known only to those who populate its groups. Subversive backlash has embodied entire movements, even reaching the professional and economic sector. Now, power is assumed through internal social networking within a corporate structure; indeed, entire commercial enterprises are populated nearly exclusively by members of a particular social group – to the veritable exclusion of those not identified within.

This further threatens social stability. More groups exist, each with their own inherent power, but said power wielded in exclusive interest rather than inclusive. Self-selectivity abounds; the rules of engagement made clear by the prior, suppressive class, now those who “fit” are predetermined by any number of specific criteria. Is this peaceful coexistence? Hardly. Rather, those who seek their own kind are now subject to any number of self- empowered monopolists, pushing and pulling and jostling for rank according to a set of priorities which can never align and which are intrinsically resistant to collective agreement.

Such collective agreement is the essence of a stable society. Without, any subgroup can at any point rise up and confront the other. Revolution from within may serve some, but history has left a flood of casualty in droves as proof of its power to dismantle rather than sustain.

Negotiation is the higher form of conflict resolution, but such dissonance must first be acknowledged at table. Refusal to make plain intent prevents any hope of such resolution. Subversive behavior effectively subverts the possibility!

If we are to ever return to the ideal of a stable society, we must first be open, up front, and fully disclosing with one another. If we must continue to react, let us do so with pause, recognition, confession, and a purpose which seeks the kind of coexistence which is borne of genuine, mutual respect.

What’s your reaction?

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© 9/5/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part or whole, including translation permitted without written permission by the author. Thank you for your genuine respect.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Telling the Truth About “The LION and The LAMB”.

©9/1/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

Please feel free to visit YouTube for more meandering diatribes from the author.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Idea.

I’d been writing stories since before I could hold a pencil. Seriously. Dictated the first one to mum, who told me the letters in the words I wanted to put on the folder paper with the drawings already in place. I knew the story I wanted to tell, even when I hadn’t learned how to spell it out.

Ideas are like that. They erupt. Nobody really knows where they come from, or how they are borne. Science speculates that some synergy happens between random thoughts, like the scenarios of dreams. But, so far, most of us are merely at their mercy.

But, I’ve always been an idea “factory”. When the other kids laughed or rolled their eyes, my sanctuary was the fertility of my mind. I could spend hours dreaming up intricate scenes, sometimes from a single moment of observation, the sight of one object alone.

It wouldn’t be until many years later, well into the furtive world of young adulthood, that I would come to know the rigors of plagiarism and copyright law. My mum had passed, quickly, over five and a half weeks from symptom to death, and I’d reeled and lurched in a reactive, grandiose mania of creative explosion the culmination of which was a screenplay – 123 pages, by the How To book, every POV set, every dialogue byte centrally inserted. My trek through the wilds of literary agentry filled the months thereafter. Living in a town where only the closed set was connected, I decided that finding “representation” was futile and, consistent with delusional drive, jumped the shark all the way to Ed Limato’s office at CAA. I had pinned Mel Gibson to be my lead, and my scenario simply had to be read by his agent.

Yeah.

That was 1996.

Even calling the agency on July 4th, and feeling certain Sharon Stone answered the phone, I’d never receive a tangible response. The disclaimer was set, in real stone; “CAA does not accept unsolicited material.”

It would only be a year or so later, the mania replaced by real grieving and a gravity driven return to lucidity that I would realize the very disclaimer and its precise language protected every subsequent action and reaction to any said heretofore unacknowledged receipt; my screenplay had likely been parsed out, page by scene by set by character, so many times over since so as to be unrecognizable in its original conception.

Yeah.

Concept.

Idea.

Copyright law only protected the treatment thereof — not the idea.

Take apart; reassemble; reconstitute; rename. Voila! My idea, in a thousand new forms, never to be known by the day of its birth. All clones; no real living proof.

So, dear readers. Ghost writers. Paid lackeys. You think I don’t know about the crew in Brazil. You think I’m not paying attention when the next, semi-famous starlet publishes a book curiously similar to a series within my 750+ essays at this blog. If ever confronted, you’ll just cite my reference to grandiosity borne of deferred grief. There’s your disclaimer, however inhumane, tied up with a ribbon.

The very idea.

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© 8/28/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights however flimsy and vulnerable those of the author, whose story it is and whose real, God given name appears above this line.

Only good people will show respect. The rest will return to their own vomit.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Why We Need EDUCATION.

by Ruth Ann Scanzillo, 5th Grade, Mr. Davis, Lincoln School.

Why do we need education?

We need education because we need to know things that we don’t know the day we are born. At first, as far as we can see, babies only know that they are hungry or tired. Babies who crawl find things in the house that make them curious, but because they don’t actually know what these things are some of the things might hurt them, like batteries or electrical outlets. This is why babies aren’t left alone. Parents must watch every move they make, especially when they are exploring. Even though they usually figure out how to walk, babies need other people around them. They learn to talk by hearing other people, and need their parents and other people to be sure they don’t fall down stairs or end up outside in the street hit by a car.

We also need education because we can’t learn everything we need to know just from our parents. My dad is a great barber and sings like Bing Crosby. He also plays the harmonica and his own “bones” which he made out of a John Deere plow handle when he was a rambler, and nobody taught him how. He also tells the most interesting stories, about missionaries and Pop-Eye in the jungle. But, he doesn’t know much about math. Mum was really good at math and way better than I am, so when I get confused by word problems she makes sure my homework is correct before I take it in to school. She also knows how to sew, and does alterations and dressmaking for customers who come to the house. I could learn to sew from my mother, but it doesn’t feel as though I could get any better at math just by being shown how by her. I don’t much understand how she thinks. So, because we have to learn math at school, we need to go to school for that. I don’t really understand why we need to learn math, but Mum keeps telling me I will use it someday.

The most important reason to go to school is to learn to read. Without reading, we can never find out what happens outside of our own houses or yards. When I was little, Mum always read us stories every night before bed, and I wanted to read stories as soon as I could. I remember wanting to write a story before I could read, and having mum help me with the letters in the words that went into the story.

We also need school to teach us about the world. Sunday School teaches us about what happened before Jesus was born, in the Old Testament, and what happened when Jesus was on earth, but the Sunday School teachers always say that the world is full of sin and heaven is our home. We don’t have a television because the people at Sunday School think TVs are the devil’s vision. But, Mum lets me ride my bike to Susie’s house to watch BATMAN. I can tell that Mum thinks that it’s important to learn about the world, because she knows an awful lot about it. I can tell because, whenever I’m doing my homework, she seems to already know the stories in what we are learning, especially the parts about World War II and what America was like before that. But, she spends most of her time at the sewing machine or at the machine shop threading and tapping nuts and bolts because she always worked there for the war effort. The lady next door spends most of her time smoking and watching television. Her kids are all grown. I don’t know how she could have taught them anything.

My big brother is eleven years older than me. I learn a lot from him. He has always played the piano and created projects at home, like drawing a picture of his 10 speed racing bike and having the high school kids come over and play big band music in the basement. When he went away to college to major in pre med, he got six hamsters who had litters and he had to make a big sign, Hamsters For Sale, and then rigged it with a string and a bell so nobody could steal it. Now, he has guinea pigs and they’ve had so many litters that my little brother and I help feed them the boxes of head lettuce hearts he brings home from Loblaws. He even lets me sit right beside him when he dissects the pigs in mum’s bread baking pans.

But, for all the things I can’t learn from my family I need to go to school. Some kids really need school, even more than I do. They only have a mother, not a father, and some of them don’t have any brothers or sisters. Some have clothes that look even older than the hand me downs I get from my cousin Frannie. Their hair and even their faces are sometimes dirty, and their shoes are scuffed. They don’t talk to the other kids much, either. One of the girls who sits near me smells like she needs a bath. I don’t understand why her mother doesn’t give her a bath, at least every few days like my dad.

I’ve always liked being at school. I like the smell of the wood on the floors, and the sounds in the hallways when classes walk by. I like the chalk and the chalkboards, and all the different teachers and the clothes they wear. I like doing seatwork, especially drawing on the good, white paper and remember making letters on the lined paper back when we first learned to write. I always liked it when the teachers played the pianos by the front wall, even though Mr. Davis doesn’t play. I like singing, and we still sing every day. I like the front covers and the pictures in our books for every subject we learn. I like looking around at the other children and watching them talk to each other. I like it when the teacher calls on me, and I like it when my pictures are tacked up along the chalkboard border after we have art. I like it when we go to the auditorium for assemblies, especially when the curtain is closed, because when the curtain is closed it means that the Jr League is putting on a whole play for us. This year, I wrote a play about Marco Polo, and had six kids come over and make his boat out of a cardboard box and practice their parts. Mum made all the costumes, even the red and black three cornered velveteen hat for me to wear because I played Marco Polo. After that, Mr. Davis, who usually sat at his desk reading while we were doing our seatwork, gave me his library book. It was called “Rifles For Watie”, and I loved that book so much. I loved it even more, because my teacher let me read it.

This is why we need education.

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© 8/28/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. Originally published as a Note at Ruth Ann Scanzillo/Facebook.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Why We Need MONEY.

by Ruth Ann Scanzillo, 4th Grade, Miss Wright, Lincoln School.

Why do we need money in our country?

We need money in our country because people stopped being willing to trade things they didn’t need for things they did. This stopped a long time ago, before most of us were even born and before our parents were born, too. It was so long ago that our country wasn’t even here, yet.

People from another country created money. They hammered the extra gold and silver they had into round flat pieces called coins. These coins stood for how much they decided things were worth. When people wanted something, instead of giving something they had in exchange, they gave the coins. Of course, they had to get coins, first. So, in order to get coins, they had to turn over things they owned in exchange for getting the coins. This was probably hard for some people, especially people who made things with their own hands, but it had to be done in order to get the coins. Once everybody had plenty of coins, then they could start getting things with them. This was called buying. Giving things in exchange for coins was called selling. Soon, buying and selling was happening everywhere you could look.

It wasn’t very long before some people figured out that the more coins they had the more they could get with them. And, some of these people decided that they could organize how all the coins could be stored. They built buildings where they put them, and called them banks. People would keep their coins there until they needed them, in exchange for letting the bank give some of their money to people who needed more for awhile. This was called loaning. The bank would also keep some of the coins in exchange for people being allowed to store them there. This was called a fee. And, just to keep the people who put their money there from taking it out too soon, the bank gave them a little more, too. This was called interest. And, when the people who were loaned the extra money took it from the bank, they would have to pay the bank a little more later when it was time to give it back. This was called interest, too.

When paper was invented, it was easier to make flat rectangular pieces out of it instead of hammering out all those gold and silver coins. Paper was called money, and so were coins, because it was easier to just call all of it by one name. People could keep the paper money and the coins together at home, or at banks, whichever they wanted. But, soon, most of them realized that their money might be stolen more often if they just kept it at home. Because thieves had figured out way before this that if they stole money they would have more than other people. This was called greed, and greedy thieves were already pretty good at stealing stuff, let alone money.

People who weren’t thieves soon got in the habit of seeing how much money they could get by working at making things. When people did jobs for other people, it was really easy to just get money for their work. Soon, some people started paying lots of people to do work for them all in one place. These were called businesses. And, people who worked at businesses to earn money were called employees. The ones who let them work there were called employers.

By this time, you couldn’t walk down the street past where the houses were without seeing business buildings popping up everywhere. People lived at home, and worked in businesses. Some of them grew their own vegetables, and raised animals for food. These people figured out that they could sell what they grew right out of the front of their houses. These were called stores. So, people worked in businesses and stores, and earned money.

It was important for everybody to work, because this was how they got money. Without doing work for somebody, there would be no money and with no money there wouldn’t even be food to eat or clothes to wear. Earning money became the main way everybody kept on living without dying of starvation or freezing outside when winter came. Everybody needed just enough money in order to live, and everybody wanted to live. Nobody ever wanted to die because they didn’t have money.

And, this is why we need money.

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© 8/27/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. Originally posted as a Note at Ruth Ann Scanzillo/Facebook.

littlebarefeetblog.com

WHY WE NEED SOLDIERS.

by Ruth Ann Scanzillo, 3rd grade, Mrs. Osborne

LINCOLN SCHOOL.

Why do we need soldiers in our country?

We need many soldiers because human beings have to kill each other in order to get land and the stuff that comes from the land. Everybody knows that, without land, people can’t live on planet Earth because people don’t have gills. So, people have to get as much land as they can, even if it means taking it from people who already live on it. And, if the people who already live on it won’t let anybody take it, then it sometimes helps to try to get the stuff from the land, like oil to burn for cold winters and gold and silver and diamonds, because those are things that people use to make roads and buildings and machines and getting the stuff instead of taking the land means less people will have to be killed because human beings don’t like to share – they want to keep their stuff. Oh; and, some people believe in religions that kill people to get what they want, too, and when they believe these religions this makes the killing part okay. So, religions that say it’s okay to kill people are more popular with the people who want more land. But, some religions don’t believe in killing people for any reason. The people who believe in those are quiet, and don’t even mind living alone sometimes, and they grow their own food even. They don’t much need stuff from other people’s land but, when they do, they are willing to trade some of their extra stuff for the things they do need. But, in our country, most people don’t live alone. They live in houses with other people, some houses full of other people called families, and some of them have jobs that make them leave their houses during the day. Most of those people who do jobs in buildings make things on machines or sell things made on machines or work on machines or drive big trucks to take the things that are made to stores so the stuff can be sold. Machines make all kinds of things that people can’t make on their own. Most of the small stuff the machines make are for people who want things, like clothes and telephones and parts for cars and bikes and games. Everybody wants things, because having things gives them something to do if they can’t sing or play the piano. Really big machines make things for the soldiers, like planes and guns and bombs because killing to get more land is a big deal and requires very powerful equipment so that killing the people actually works. Nobody wants to kill all kinds of people for no reason.

And, that’s why we need so many soldiers in our country.

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© 8/27/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The American Girl.

This is my story. I was, from birth, an American girl. Only in America can a girl tell such a story, and only here will her story be acceptably distinct from the next.

Initially published in the 1950’s, “AMERICAN GIRL” was a magazine intended to help lead the nubile female through adolescence – her self image soundly indoctrinated and properly refined. But, that was the 1950’s. I was born too soon.

Raised by a strict subculture, its roots in sectarian Fundamentalism, I was never a subscriber to “AMERICAN GIRL” or any magazine intended solely for female teens. And, that is only the beginning.

Though born in 1957, post – 911 profiling in the United States and abroad was no news to me. I had effectively known it my entire life. Rather than systemic racism or any of its tangents (prejudice, bias), what I knew was that the way I looked consistently misled nearly everyone.

As a child, all I needed do was enter a room to be visually assessed. At maternal family gatherings, I didn’t look like any of the other cousins. While bearing inherently many of their traits – talkativeness, musical aptitude, a bit of clamoring – I would never have been named as among them by most outsiders unless one looked past the obvious.

The obvious was that my skin was a degree of brown. In those days, the term was “olive”. Neither the warm tones of the American southwest nor the African cafe au lait, it was a cooler hue given to darkening quickly under the sun’s rays and sallowing in winter.

The reason for my immediately distinct appearance was, at that time, simple; my mother’s side populated the extended gatherings, and hers was a mix of paternal Anglo-Saxon and maternal Danish/German. My father not having been raised by either parents or relations, his Napolitan/Sicilian people were never represented in my sphere. We visited them once, when I was five.

When I was just a toddler, mum would braid my long, nearly black hair. Having already borne a brilliant male child and birthed another soon after me, she might have argued too busy to dote upon her daughter with the expected buttons and bows; rather, corduroy overalls and sunsuits were the order of my apparel, mixing into the boys laundry with practical propriety given one, single exception: Sunday dress. Here, Mum’s premiere dressmaking skill shone, every even seam topstitched with rick-rack, every smock uniformly tooled, each elastic, cap sleeve unbearably scratchy with only occasional, stiffly starched lace. Perhaps for this reason alone I would grow to dread going to Meeting, what for the sheer lack of physical comfort being costumed afforded.

Once grown, I would carry a structure of frame and face that distinguished me from all who knew me well. But, those who did might have missed its significance.

Our northwestern Pennsylvania community having been founded first by Irish port fishermen and, a bit later, German machinists, its ultimately large Italian population would take claim on the city’s west side; however, my father having hailed from Boston, none of the Italians on that side of town resembled him or, more importantly, called him family. They were mostly Sicilian or Calabrese, hair black, faces round, skin not as dark, many with blue eyes. To every Italian who lived either there or on our east side, dad was “swarthy” – bearing the aquiline nose and angular jawline less familiar to their ilk.

I would inherit these features. Interestingly, Mum’s father’s nose was also regally aquiline – but, his parents being from the Cornwall coast of England, their heritage was Roman influenced. None the matter; strangers increasingly thought me a pure Italian, even first generation Rome, and nearly every one of them was sure I had been raised Catholic on the west side.

Nobody ever saw the W.A.S.P, though the revelation would sting many with surprise. My behavior never fit the image I bore. Only expressing the occasional Italianate gesticulation, my Puritanical, closed off social limits left many scratching their heads. I carried a Bible. I shunned dances, and parties, and anything likely to tempt the average teen. Mine was a life of Godly fear, and compliance was the order of my carriage.

Of natural course, college education at a nearby New York institution offered me welcome respite; there, blending remarkably well with those from “the city” or “the island” I no longer appeared odd, resembling many. And, higher learning on one of the country’s most liberal, secular campuses meant that none were judged by appearance alone. I flexed my stunted wings, learning far more than the arts and sciences, and grew to both relish and celebrate every aspect of my heretofore anomalous self.

In my case, childhood may have been one of mistaken identity; in adulthood, I now proudly represent the culmination of nature and nurture informed by as random a set of features as the melting pot will bear.

And, for that, no magazine is required.

Who is the American Girl? Allow me to introduce you. Properly.

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© 8/25/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part or whole or by translation, permitted without written permission of the author. Thank you for your respect.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The BALLOT.

Compartmentalization is a military concept.

It’s part of a design intended to keep the hierarchy in place, from top brass down to enlisted private. The lowest in rank reports to his/her next in rank, and ONLY to that officer; said officer in turn reports up the ladder, one rung at a time, until orders come down from the top and the whole process is reversed. Going above one’s immediate superior is considered “breaking rank” and anybody who breaks rank is either disciplined or expelled.

Now a retired public school educator, born female at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, I was not privy to how, when, or why this concept for both establishing, securing, and maintaining control was adopted by other institutions; I only know that, in my adult lifetime, compartmentalized structure and its related thought processes have become ubiquitous.

Unfortunately, society as a whole and, more critical, its related interactive behaviors neither require nor operate successfully within such a structure. Reason? The right hand can never know what the left hand is doing. The “only told what you need to know” plan creates absolutely zero option for lateral movement, resulting in comprehension deficit, protracted delays in information relay, communication breakdown, and system failure.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a glaring example. When the top brass acted compartmentally, and those lateral in rank were not uniformly informed, the result was chaos. From dispensing accurate information about the virus’ nature and behavior to managing testing design and distribution, those at all subject levels – from Governors to Mayors to local public health authorities – were swimming in a sea of conflicting, contradicting data and panicked, reactive supposition, waving wildly to one another from across the moat. And, where did that leave the rest of us, still?

Oh; and, let’s not forget how closely related compartmentalization is to its cousin, social segregation. All action and reaction follows a hierarchy not only of power, but of importance; as such, those “at the top” call the shots, and those in middle management become glorified pawns of the system handed down therefrom. Even when minorities reach middle level authority, they are still subject to the mentality – with its subliminal, similarity bias and vested preferences – of the mind at the head of that table.

Now, we have a form of compartmentalization at play with regard to our upcoming Presidential election. Who decides whether we can vote by mail? Who determines whether mail in ballots will be properly distributed, received, or processed? I took a small social media poll this morning, of those I know personally, and the confused data poured in. Twenty one individuals responded; among these, seven households had received duplicate application forms, and the rest weren’t clear on how such ballots were obtained, several insisting that PA wouldn’t receive theirs until September 14th. Mail in ballot applications can be found online, yet many were unaware and one woman recounted the following, which I quote:

“I requested my mail in vote request on line for the primary, and never received it. I contacted the person who advised me; she [ confirmed that she ] received the application, and told me I could come down to the courthouse and get it?? Now I have received an email confirmation for a mail-in ballot. Will I really receive it? I guess I will have to wait and see. “

But, we can’t afford to sit around and wait. Compartmentalization may work for the military; but, among civilians in crisis, it is a recipe for confusion, riddled with blind spots, rife with the potential for panic and pandemonium. As we approach this critical election season, preserving individual access to the voting ballot had better set fire to that rigid, tyrannical system before democracy as we thought we knew it becomes a casualty of war.

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© 8/22/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. Hyperbole? All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for respecting original material. Permission to reprint in part or whole granted upon written request. littlebarefeet@msn.com

littlebarefeetblog.com

“Sweet Remembrance.”

This is Felix Mendelssohn’s first “Song Without Words” (Lieder Ohne Worte), Book I. It is Opus 19, No 1 — but the title, “Sweet Remembrance”, is not found in every compilation.

To those who might be interested, this performance was recorded on Steinway Model M, short stick, Blue Yeti stereo mic set at cardioid, using the PhotoBooth platform on Macbook Pro.

YARD SIGNS.

For some reason, I had to make two road trips that weekend.
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The year was 2016, the season autumn, and I had to drive west toward Ohio and east toward New York in two days time. Four years later, I remember far less about the purpose of those excursions than the one thing I still cannot forget.
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All along our Great Lake Erie, it was what I saw posted along the roadside: Yard signs. Political yard signs. And, what disturbed me as deeply as the moment when the doctor opens his waiting room door and enters, carrying test results in his hand, was what I saw on those signs.
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Beyond a mere two or three, from New York across PA to Ohio and back again, they were nearly unanimously emblazoned with the two words which would change our world in ways none of us could have imagined:
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TRUMP.PENCE.
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For miles. That’s all I saw.
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Our city had been pretty determined to honor its long Democratic history by endorsing Hillary. I’d been a Bernie canvassing machine; his name appeared on MY yard sign, up until the election. But, what I saw stunned me with its foreboding. Clearly, everyone who lived on the lakefront – the monied – were a united flank and, that, all across the tri-state area. In fact, after the initial shock had waned, baffled national pundits and analysts would repeatedly point to Northwest PA as one of the pivotal forces which influenced the election results.
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I remember getting home on my final return trip, sitting down at the computer, and telling my friends on social media. “I think Trump is going to win.”
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Tonight, Michele Obama gave an unprecedented, heartfelt, bold, and pointed declaration to America. She withheld nothing. Our former First Lady told us to prepare to pack a brown bag and put on our old shoes, if that is what it would take to see to it that our vote would be placed, and counted.
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When she was finished, I thought about those yard signs. I realized that too many of us, myself included, had let the profuse presence of such signs affect our choices, in primaries past – so many offices, so many contenders, so much reading and listening required to make a truly informed decision. How many had always just depended on yard signs to teach name recognition, to register a subconscious vote already placed before due diligence had been paid.
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This November, forget about yard signs. If we see them, consider who put them there and ask whether those lawns were infiltrated by blind folly – or, worse.
Remember 2016. Everybody knows Joe Biden’s name. Keep your eyes on the sign in the sky, and make the only trip necessary. Just vote to save America’s soul.
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8/17/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

George W. Bush is Coming To Erie.

I can still feel that sun.

Hot, from high up at the Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, Erie PA. Hotter still, because of the reason the seats were packed 10,000 strong. Incumbent President George W. Bush was headed down the State Street Boulevard, on his bus. This was his Presidential rally, and I had agreed to attend.

This would also be my first encounter with high security, perhaps since that flight to and from Scotland via Toronto back in 1984. But – this time – I’d be outside, passing under a tent on 26th Street to be checked for weapons by a lithe, young, lean, muscular agent with sandy curls. He was a tad cocky, smiling amusedly at my full on confident air – and, the straw hat on my head, which he eyed specifically.

I’d decided to accompany my friend, an ardent Republican from Minneapolis, just to witness the spectacle. My political leanings were already soundly Independent, not because I’d planned to skew the election results with my vote but because the two party system had already proved ripe for cell division and I could not see myself, either then or later, at either end of its fragile membrane.

We had seats, however, at the south end of the stadium, just near the descending aisle already canopied for grand, if obscured, entrance of the distinguished guests. Those behind and all around us smelled like active military, plenty of brawn and boister, leaning forward on their haunches in eager anticipation of the one man who assured them job security and a solid pension, multiple Middle Eastern tours and possibly one to the Pacific Rim notwithstanding.

As with all intentional congregations of such massive size, commencement delays only heightened the tension and collective imagination. Was he still in the bus? Was it idling, or parked? When would we see him disembark, from our choice position? The stage was set, about fifteen yards ahead of our section, microphones and seating facing north toward the lake; once he, his wife, and the rest of his contingent would appear on the erected boardwalk just beyond the canopy, we’d be watching and listening from behind his back.

But, well before that moment, there was much to occupy my attention. I soaked the sight from every visual angle. Secret Service agents, heads shaved, ubiquitous black shades, rotating from their own axes on the stadium turf. Wooden platforms, the entire storehouse I recognized from the school district garage, those I’d likely walked upon myself herding hundreds of students into seasonal performance. Stage and sound crew, all on autopilot, totally unaware of the locale or its unique surroundings, the stadium staff at their earnest beck and call. And, the ever burgeoning crowd, so many unfamiliar faces from all points further south, east, west, rural farmers, entire families of soldiers with their spouses and children from our Commonwealth, plus Ohio and New York and maybe even West Virginia. Our long-standing Democratic local leadership nowhere to be found on this day, nor so many of my fellow public school educators. None of our urban poor. I was momentarily aware of being out of my element, about to turn inward for reflection.

Then, I spied them. Off to the right, around the bend of the track and up about as high as our row was the small, uniformed “pep” band, organized and led by my very able colleague and friend in the music biz, Dave Stevens. They sat, in the grey pants with the red side stripes I’d ordered for the same high school during my maiden years as their music teacher, playing the occasional military march, waiting like the rest of the throng for the next cue produced by the unseen Oz in charge. I, however, was emboldened.

Raising my long, thin, uncovered arms high over my head, I waved them back and forth in grandiose attempt to catch Dave’s attention. Calling out, hollering some shout of affirmation in the direction of the band. No matter that my piercing soprano would land about seven feet shy of the quarter mile between us; I was getting my mojo on, ready to conquer the power of this whole event and all those determined to re-elect the man half of America had labeled “George Dubyah.”

Perhaps it was a reaction from directly behind us. Perhaps my friend’s doleful, straight ahead stare of disapproval, her Swedish reserve and poise decidedly set to counter my “ethnic” brashness. Perhaps some signal, of dog whistle proportions. But, something provoked me to turn around and look, upward, toward the concrete bannisters at the very top of my old high school.

There he was. Black head of curls, arms the size of my entire torso, automatic assault weapon cocked, ready — and, aimed right at me.

My straw hat had likely already been marked by the smaller, more wiry reception agent. Not nearly as brown as it had been in childhood, my dark complexion also part of a deftly registered profile, locked and loaded and transmitted via walkie talkie to the snipers positioned at intervals covering the entire periphery. No matter that I’d chosen my all-American cherry printed denim blue sunsuit with the midriff ruffle; in the city of my birth, at the stadium where I’d marched my own students in competition, on the bleachers where I’d sat to see the Zem Zem Shrine Circus perform every summer, at the Presidential rally of George W. Bush I was a suspect,  for having covered my raven hair with a straw hat and waved my arms above everyone else’s.

I can’t tell you what the incumbent President said, that day. I watched him talk, with the eyes of a creative director of drama, the ears of a musician, the mind of a constantly evaluating sometimes critical and always diverging thinker. He was taller than expected. His wife was trim and perfect. His stance was assured, his tone and inflection all too familiar. And, from where I sat, if there were teleprompters they were not visible to the audience seated behind him.

As he closed his speech, and moved toward the boardwalk and its canopied ascent, my friend and I could see him clearly. As in all such breaks with fantasy and imagination, the moment was surreal. Just as he might have reached the level of our row, unseen beneath the canopy, I called out to him. “Save the MUSIC teachers, Mr. President!!!”

To this day, I return to that moment, for a whole host of reasons. Was I temporarily insane? Would he have heard me? Would his wife, Laura Bush, have made note of my plea? Was it all for naught, one life and its specific concerns rendered completely void, subsumed by the mob effect and a political system intended to serve the people in theory but lost in increasingly corrupt practice?

So many of us, myself included, had already decided who The Decider was that year. He was, to us, an entitled elite, the next in line to the Bush dynasty, fully buoyed by the monied and mercenary, a figurehead for those aligned with a mentality determined to maintain notions of a brand of conservatism tested mightily by time and circumstance.

It wouldn’t be until his administration had run its course, the next two following, that the harsh, blinding, burning light of realization that is our present would mark us all. Now, each of us lands in the sights of the automatic weapon poised by the true village idiot of Nostradamus prophecy. We only thought we knew who that was; but, we were all soundly mistaken.

The Jefferson Educational Society, our local moderator of all things frontal lobe, has secured our former President’s attention. This time, he will speak in both retrospect and reflection, date yet to be announced, at the Bayfront Convention Center as part of the Jefferson’s annual Global Summit. The sun, instead of beating down, will illuminate our path to the front door and, while likely positioned outside, there will be no need for snipers in the room.

Perhaps now it might be time to lean forward and really hear what George W. Bush has to say. Here’s hoping he’s prepared to tell us what we should be willing to know.

I’m feeling ready.

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© 8/14/2020     Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

The Coronavirus Pandemonium.

Imagine.
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Students, teachers, and parents have n.o. i.d.e.a. how to decide what to do with their children as the first day of school approaches. Fact: One Covid-19 positive person, regardless of age, can infect 100, in just days (see the church choir case). Advice and authority on the subject is as widely diverse as opinions on the severity have been among Americans since March.
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I am only one person. But, my body absorbs this chaos nearly every minute, even when I am going about daily tasks or trying to have a relaxing evening. It isn’t the virus, or even the restrictions, which hurt me; it’s the appalling absence of coherent leadership.
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How can School Boards decide? Do they have any more trustworthy information than the rest of us can access?
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How can Mayors? Governors?
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This is why a national strategy should have been formulated, distributed to every Governor, and then implemented with regular accountability by local authorities from the end of February. Instead, we were led by the emotional mentality of a fourth grader, and this is the outcome. Vote for a.n.y.b.o.d.y. else but the current incompetent on November 3. Mail it in, or show up at your poll. Do it.
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Unimaginably, our lives are at stake.
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Ruth Ann Scanzillo 8/12/2020
littlebarefeetblog.com

The Drug.

Last year, one of our local metabolic disease specialists decided that, since my A1C was 5.8, I should begin Metformin immediately. Now, those who know me recognize my hesitation with regard to most all pharmaceuticals. But, being as thorough as he is passionate and enthusiastic, my doctor eagerly presented a fascinating feature of this drug; apparently, one of its unexpected side effects was a remarkable capacity to reverse cell aging; in short, the Fountain of Sustained Youth. “Everyone should take Metformin!!”, he joyously exclaimed. I was reluctantly, but curiously, convinced.
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After taking the drug for about ten days and, rather than any noticeable reversal of jowl or jiggle, enduring two Bouts of the Bathroom I started researching the drug myself. What I unearthed was startling.
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Apparently, like more and more pharmaceuticals of our outsourced age, Metformin was formulated and manufactured both in Europe and in the US. And, the batch from Europe had not so recently been found to contain a chemical, perhaps a by product of the process, perhaps an unsourced contaminant, known to be carcinogenic. European drug makers had ceased dispensing the drug, until it could be determined with certainty that their formulation was clear of any contamination. But, with regard to its own manufacture, the US showed no intention of doing the same.
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With increased curiosity, and much concern, I contacted the doctor’s office. In short order, and second hand, I was told that his position held that the suspected risks were outweighed by the known benefits. Nevertheless I chose, after further research and a second opinion, to substitute Metformin with the naturally derived Berberine.
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Why am I telling you this?
[ because we’re sick of self-aggrandizing videos ]
[ because you write better than you talk ]
[ because don’t care ]
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Ever since it burst upon our scene from the lips of our current POTUS, Hydroxychloroquine has enjoyed a horrible notoriety. From Cause Of Death to dangerous heart arrhythmia, we’ve been urgently warned by the press to shun it. Some believe this rejection a political move; others hold that science has rendered a verdict.
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But, what of countries like Poland, and even certain sectors of the US, where this anti-malaria drug is available over the counter as easily as aspirin? According to the friend of a friend, herself a Pole, most of the citizens of Poland took the drug during the Italian viral scourge at the first symptom and have maintained very low covid-19 death stats to the present.
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And, what of specific cocktails, i.e. Hydroxychloroquine + Zinc, the latter mineral known to halt coronaviral replications, touted by the admittedly radical Dr. Stella Immanuel? She was emphatic; her cocktail worked, saving the lives of 350 of her own patients.
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I can’t vet Dr. Immanuel. Nor can I vet the story of the Polish woman. But, I can say that, given the fact that so many individual drug formulations are manufactured in multiple countries – particularly generic equivalents – I can fairly speculate that Hydroxychloroquine may be a safe formulation in Europe and one sketchy at best if manufactured elsewhere. Or, perhaps, taken in combination with certain other drugs already part of a given patient’s protocol (those with pre-existing syndromes or conditions) may very well provoke the heart arrhythmias/electrical problems disclosed by the press.
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My final analysis, given the limited information currently available to me, is that the verdict on the efficacy vs. the alleged threat of Hydroxychloroquine is decidedly n.o.t. in. Here’s hoping some group from within the legitimate scientific community can hasten to investigate. With increasing urgency, our lives appear to depend on it.
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© 8/8/2020    Ruth Ann Scanzillo.   Please share liberally, with credit to source. Thank you.
littlebarefeetblog.com

Telling The Truth About PROJECTING!

 

 

©7/29/2020    Ruth Ann Scanzillo

Feel free to visit more of RuthAnnTALKS   at YouTube – Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

Thanks!

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

To Really Walk Away.

Epiphanies have been coming, fast and furiously, lately. Maybe it’s that Neowise comet — a rush of cosmic energy. Or, the newly introduced blend of acetyl-carnitine and citicoline. Whatever.

But, here’s another. Lean in.

I rarely walk away.

Having suction cups for intentions, tenacity for a middle name, and persistence as a driver, I’m pretty much hopeless when it comes to letting go.

To my mind – and, apparently, constitution – holding on is a soul purpose. Holding on equates with staying alive.

Perhaps it’s an ingrained fear of the water. I can remember in childhood feeling frantic the first time the sandy lake bottom escaped my feet. Large motor coordination a profound deficit, not knowing how to float let alone swim, and the pain in my arched neck as suffocating droplets teased my nose and gasping, gaping mouth…..then, somebody bigger, stronger, reaching out with a large, hairy arm or a smooth, slimy preserver……”Hold on! Just hold on! I’ve got ya!”

Water is life. Without it, we die. Except for when it finds its way into the places where we can’t let it go.

So, I’m a tenacious little bitch. I’m the barnacle on your back, the bug in your ear, the text(s) on your phone, the car in your driveway.

I’m there, just one more time, with just one more breath, one more pocket of air.

Take it, while you can. It’s you, or me.

Wear a mask.

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© 7/24/2020  Ruth Ann Scanzillo.   All rights those of the author, your worst nightmare. Please respect original material; no copying, in whole or part, including translation, permitted without permission. Thanks, again.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

Telling the Truth About the TWO AMERICAS.

 

This is a Part 2, of sorts, born of Time To Lead the TWO AMERICAS – and serves as a PRIMER, expanding commentary using an x/y axis to address Utopia and the “Deep State” theory. CAPTIONS/SUBTITLES are REQUIRED to view the entire piece as presented. If you are using a PHONE, search your pull down/drop down menu to find the Caption activation button; if on a computer/laptop, look for “CC” in a white box across the footer of the video, and be sure it is underscored in RED. If it is not, click on the “CC” to activate the red underscore. Enjoy! and, as always, thanks for visiting littlebarefeetblog.com

p.s. Neither plagiarism nor copyright violation is either intended or evident within the body of this video presentation with respect to “Scientology the cult of disbelief”, Daily Telegraph/Australia – Cazzolino, July 2007. The use of the subheading applies not at all to the Church of Scientology, and no reference thereto appears in the presentation.

 

 

© 7/22/2020   Ruth Ann Scanzillo.   The presentation above is original created material, and viewers are asked to respect that fact. Please do not extract, copy, transform, or translate in part or whole any of its contents without credit to source. You are free to share the YouTube link, as you wish.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

The Donald Trump Syndrome.

 

  • Please be sure that CAPTIONS [ CC ] are highlighted/turned ON. They are ESSENTIAL to the message of the piece. [ Captions Option is located in the Pull Down Menu, on most PHONES; on laptops/PCs, the button is at the bottom along the footer of the video (CC), and must be underscored in red to activate. Thnx!

 

© 7/19/2020   Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Faux Class.

 

Brass and glass.

Remember?

Gilded, shiny — and, ubiquitously outsized.

The age of the 80’s wasn’t just colored by Pantone. It was catered to us, on plated gold, by its self-rising dictator.

Ever leaning into the camera, to be sure his too long tie preceded him, the glint in his eyes told the tale. He was increasingly there, to deliver a unique brand of nouveau riche and snatch up every piece of real estate lying waste in his path.

And, the poor and wannabe scratch off culture ate him for breakfast, every morning.

Whose fault was it, that America let this happen?

Did we have too many disenfranchised, too many entrenched in the assembly line system, too many without vision or dreams for a future?

Some historians considered the German people impressionable pawns in the hands of Hitler. Were they? Why?

What happened to us, America?

This pandemic is only widening the political divide. We can’t be influenced in person anymore, seated with our ilk next to those of differing opinion; we have only our news outlets, dispensing their contending views, volleying with our minds and hearts.

But, somehow, millions of Americans rallied behind the voice of the Emperor, the one with no clothes, their blinders slipping over and obliterating their sight.

And, now, here we are, dying by the day, the week, the month, waiting interminably for the end of the deranged reign of the king of the faux class.

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© 7/16/2020    Ruth Ann Scanzillo.       All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part or whole, including translation or transcription, permitted without express permission of the author.   Thank you for your respect.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

How To Help Your Child with Online Learning.

 

FEEL FREE to Share, liberally. Nothing in this video is copyright protected. Parents need our help! ❤

 

as ever,

Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Telling The Truth About The Truth.

 

Just two seconds shy of 12 minutes on a subject of increasing importance in American society. Note the date of origination, June 12, 2020, and proceed. Thank you. ❤

© 7/10/2020  Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

Thank you for visiting littlebarefeetblog.com

For more video, check the Tube under the author’s name.

 

Chopin, Prelude No.4 in e minor.

 

Largo.  (*wear earphones, and adjust volume to minimize distortion — sorry!)

Ruth Ann Scanzillo, piano.

*Recorded at the ZOOM platform, as a test of the dynamic parameters.

July 9, 2020.

Thank you for visiting littlebarefeetblog.com

 

The Ninth Stage.

An essay by Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

NarcissismChart

 

© 9 Stages of Grieving the Narcissist, from Dr. Ramani, Licensed Clinical Psychologist 7/2/2020.

She shifted in her seat, squinting a bit as if to bring the second generation photo of a photo into focus. This nine point list was a treasure; she had to put it someplace where it could not be lost to the ether.

That Master Class with Dr. Ramani on Narcissism in Romantic Relationships was a gift. Where else could she have obtained a point by point reminder to assist in identifying the rush of emotion [ euphoric recall ] that was impossible on the late afternoon of a hot summer day alone? How else could she be gently comforted by the suggestion that meaning could be found in suffering  [ point nine ] , when suffering was a nagging Catch-22 otherwise? (Never let him see you suffer; it just adds to his Narcissistic Supply – and, emboldens the new conquest likely small and stupid enough not to fit into your pajamas.)

She’d sat out on the stoop again, earlier, in spite of what she now knew to be UVA rays, forking down her spinach sweet potato salad, wondering how many times he’d be missing her desserts and dinner companionship, all the groceries she’d stocked for their shelter in place. [ Anger and rumination, point two.]

There’d be no bartering for the return of goods and services, this time. The reach in freezer he’d crowed about providing, the only object too heavy for her to set out for convenience retrieval was replacement for the one he’d refused to bring up from the cellar and just clean. Laziness was never justification for grandiose gift giving, not on her turf, after all the throw rugs and sheet sets she’d brought him following total kitchen clean up. [ Point three – or, four? ]

Gaslighting [ five ] no longer overwhelmed her. That was its own relief. Persistent denial was its own evidence, no matter how irrelevant; he’d run out of tactics that weren’t predictable.

But, the late afternoon sun was a tough competitor. Right up there with the first moments upon awakening, feet twitching, the struggle to name the upcoming day’s purpose. Five days of reading out there on the stoop had rendered her Vitamin D within acceptable limits, finally and, with it [ point six ] a lift to only residual Depression.

The future wasn’t revealing any of its secrets, this evening. Fear [ point seven ] would remain in her back pocket, burning a hole where she’d otherwise have kept peace and contentment; but, she resolved, he was never to know. No more Narcissistic Supply, last chance to gloat from his position kneeling behind the latest willing agreeable.  Important to carry no regret when walking away.

Point eight was the hardest to accept. [ Acceptance ]. The narcissist was never to change. Too many AA meetings, its companion Al Anon, over one lifetime; too many recovery success stories on audio, playing in the car en route to northern destinations, entirely too much goddamned hope. No return to the inns or the B&Bs, no forever claim on Room 1, Rogue’s Harbor. Worse – no replacing the time spent there with productive, self affirming activities. Hope may have made no one ashamed. Perfect love still waited to cast out fear. The Narcissist, defying no odds, was destined to live forever.

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*With profound gratitude to Dr. Ramani, licensed clinical psychologist, and her 9 Stages of Grieving the Narcissist©.

© 7/7/2020   Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of Dr. Ramani, and this author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole or part, including translating or transcribing, permitted without written permission of  the authors. Thank you for respecting original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Preoccupied Sex.

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[*Note: this piece is rated PG.]

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In matters of gender, Billy Joel had already drawn his conclusions; Catholic girls started much too late.

The fact that she had never been Catholic and hadn’t qualified as a girl for at least forty eight years gave rise to her current contemplations.

All the junior orchestra students were already actively in high school when she’d joined their company and Ron, percussionist from the west side, had produced the first erection ever to have its effect upon her; the fact that he did so from a standing position, feet apart, bound by denim, to the right of the mounted snare was significant. She wouldn’t see a live one for another nine and a half years.

Christian Fundamentalism was all over itself about f~~king. In fact, the most venerated among their entrenched patriarchs were known to equivocate on matters of condemnation by spelling sin: “s-e-x.” In spite of rampant gossiping, slander, and generalized gluttony among its ranks its young were, from infancy, indoctrinated to revile the flesh and anything which felt of it. Subliminally led by Barbie and Ken who, though molded in malleable plastic and shaped to accommodate exterior attire bore neither nipple nor shaft, she would gradually reach her own realization – peaking at the image of a naked Christ on the cross. The Romans weren’t just bulky barbarians; they’d specialized in humiliation. Crucifixion was their preferred mode of execution precisely because it rendered the penis of their perceived subordinate fully engorged. (1)

Art and religion, by rolling definition, would romanticize this harsh reality across the centuries. She was not immune. Christ and any of his images, rendered or imagined, never aroused in her anything but pious empathy for suffering, and dutiful obeisance, and the inspiration of awe. And, none of them were any help when it came to the overtaking ruminations on coitus and its mechanical apparatus. What one cannot know becomes precisely that about which one broods incessantly. 

Mr. Kranz taught history; Mr. Connerty, earth space science. Her classmates seemed distinguishably able to separate the valued from the dispensable. She, on the other hand, spent most of her energy surveying them. Which ones were doing it? With whom? How did they manage? Why did the boy she liked so much seem to want to touch girls who weren’t even smart? The other boys found her a curiosity; a couple of them looked at her with wet, squinting eyes, one in particular, dark, with small cauliflowered ears, a body so big that his legs opened outside of the desk into the aisles. But, most of the time, she fought to remained focused on taking notes and doing the dutiful things which would earn the high grades, for which purpose she had not yet determined. Actually engaging her frontal lobe for such things as critical, let alone divergent, thinking wouldn’t be happening, anytime soon. Art, and the half semester cycle by senior year, allowed temporary respite from all this anguish; the teacher recognized her abilities early, producing all manner of human body parts, cast in plaster, for her to render. The parts located between the thighs were not among them.

By the autumn of her nineteenth year, enrolled on portfolio scholarship in the fearlessly secular SUNY College at Fredonia the universe, ever ready, had ordered a proper introduction. Darren Small’s Drawing II model was godlike in proportions, of the rarest coloration auburn and green eyed and, gently flexing and stamping his feet, appeared before her with no warning at all.

Loincloths had long since been dispensed with by the life drawing community, even in the educational setting. The man was nude, from the curls on his head to the balls (of his feet). She was enraptured, forevermore.

Curiously, however, this idealized sensibility regarding beauty of form and face didn’t translate. What she had finally seen never reached out to touch her erogenous zones. Aesthetics were stubborn like that, not having been designed to meet need. 
 
And so, she resumed in the manner to which she had become accustomed. History of Architecture, for whose Ivy League professor she would, as work-study, mount slides ; Energy and Man, the latter a by-product of the conserving 70’s, taught at night by a bearded pot belly likely housed in the hills with, she calculated, a penchant for Spam and farm animals; and, Western Civilization, required after the registrar had determined that she had enrolled as a freshman without having completed sufficient high school credits to graduate. The professor for this course was, she decided, the homeliest man she had ever seen; yet, on a bus trip with the class to the Buffalo museum, she noted his exiting alone at a gated piece of gentrification and, in the next block, the girl with the long honey hair who had always sat closest to his desk and who had brought a large historical volume to share with him getting off next, neither of them returning to the bus en route back to school.
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Her daytime lunch partner was a muscular ruddy who’d been to Hull and back on an exchange, he and she sharing the distinct title of being the only two in the entire department who could actually draw. He’d daily recount his nightly escapades with each young woman as she appeared in the Union, describing just short of what they actually did once he’d seen the fine hair all over her body. He lived in one of the old houses in town, with a girl who had big eyes and no chin and who baked cookies every day, again no word on how he might’ve done with her what he may.
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By the next semester, she’d moved off campus with three dear Fundamentalists, one of them fancying herself liberal, allowing her strapping rock climber hunk to actually spend the night one weekend and ordering a glass perfume bottle shaped like a ghost the size of a man’s thumb from Avon to “give to her mother.” Of the other two, one would regularly entertain her fiance on the living room sofa after dark, the plywood walls separating her bedroom from the sounds emitted therewith utterly useless as any barrier to unbearable and unrequited imagination.
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Perhaps it was time to take a transfer to another school.
Her portfolio deemed strong by the drawing instructor, she submitted it to one of the Big Nine and was accepted in short order for the following semester, 3rd year. A tour of the Cleveland campus and its population of costumed characters provoked images of avant garde couplings seen in late night Grade B movies, their unrated references fleeting but memorable. Had the financial aid office of that institute not already bestowed its last penny of loan monies to, as her elder brother loudly accused in person, “minorities”, she would have certainly found out whether half of this could have been true.
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Instead, she remained on hiatus for the next two years, working and saving money and maintaining her hymen as intact as it could have been, given the painful injury caused by the steel painted child’s toy on the floor outside of the infant’s playpen for which a doctor had to be consulted. During those two years, she replaced glasses with contacs, got a Farrah Fawcett cut and perm, and had her eyebrows plucked away from center. Men in the office supply store now looked back at her from the front check out to the rear station, strikingly handsome men from the rich suburb, even a prisoner and his escort. She had two dates, one with a boy who took her to a dance club and sat arguing that dancing wasn’t like sex at all, that he never even thought about sex when he was dancing though she would not dance with him or anyone.
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The other was a trip to Indianapolis, to be hosted by her elder brother’s college friend who had become a doctor. He had invited her to visit specifically for her 21st birthday, to take her virginity, and he’d said so in no obscure terms. But, as she lay beside his half clothed body, the reality of his heretofore undisclosed debauchery was overtaking as was the large raised mole in the middle of his back, and she came home still wondering about the mechanical apparatus and how the whole act was managed, knowing only that she would have to be provided with some aesthetic allure in the future were she to even reconsider.
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By the following fall, she had returned to school, the same one from which she had taken leave two years earlier. This time, her thrust would be music, with the goal a teacher’s degree. Those who can, do; those who can’t do, teach; and, those who have never been told how fend for themselves, grasping blindly in the dark.
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Music History was presented in the recital hall auditorium by an already aging professor whose materials included a stereo turntable, a multitude of long play records, a standing microphone, and the magnificent capacity within his cranium for aural detail. Again, she sat, gazing around the room at the college students who played musical instruments, all of them having sex, all of them knowing how, all of them with a clear view of their own goals for the future. Some of them even knew how to play jazz. The imagery was almost too glorious to comprehend.
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The number of hours she sat in that class, the number of masterpieces of the musical literature which passed between her ears, the number of opportunities to actually hear and reflect upon the nature of the evolution of the form and structure of music as fine art, the golden chance at actual scholarship, all squandered at the feet of unwitting nymphomania.
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Perhaps that about which she would finally know so little was what kept everyone in institutions of higher learning together for one more year.  It had certainly sharpened her powers of observation to the razor’s edge. Instead of absorbing the chronological history of civilization, or the principles of higher maths and sciences, she had become a master of human behavior, a doctor of the art of the human condition.
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Whichever the ultimate, ascribed value, by Billy Joel or any number of other commentators hers was the embodiment of a lost generation of unfulfilled women, lives sacrificed at the altar of obsession with that which had been held just beyond their reach.
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p.s. to my Christian readers: this piece is neither an indictment of Christ (God forbid), nor people of faith; it is a third person account of the effect of male dominated dogma on the life of women.
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© 7/4/2020       Ruth Ann Scanzillo.      All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole or part, including translation or transcription, permitted without express written permission by the author. To request permission, please contact: littlebarefeet@msn.com
littlebarefeetblog.com

My Mammy’s Touch.

Mae Elisabeth [Learn] Sweet was my maternal grandmother. Her first grandchild, Alan Marshall, called her “Mammy”, and it stuck; she, and her husband, would be Mammy and Pappy to all 19 grandkids, thereafter. Let me tell you about her.
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Mammy (seen in this photo, at about 95 years) was widely regarded by all who knew her as a human saint. She was the absolute sweetest, most loving, most gentle, most prayerful, hardworking, resourceful, generous, forgiving person anybody knew. Her character made most men whither. She prayed, daily, for everyone she knew, whenever they “came to mind.” I am not alone in believing that she was nearly psychic, able to attune to the slightest and most immediate needs among her brood, and beyond. And, when mum met dad on the train and began to write letters to him, placing those letters in the iron mailbox just outside the front door on the porch wall for the mailman to pick up and deliver, Mammy would discreetly take those letters and cross off the final two syllables of dad’s surname. Mum told me this, having discovered the act. Why did Mammy do that? Mammy did that, not because she wasn’t a loving, caring, forgiving, generous, prayerful, hardworking, resourceful mother and grandmother, but because systemic racism had borne itself out, in her; dad was Italian, and he was a source of shame to her. She had to remove the final two syllables of his last name, to make it appear different than the identifying  ” – zillo” which appeared naturally.
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Was it Mammy’s fault, that she behaved this way? Did her actions arise out of some corrosive gangrene in her soul? No; it did not. It emerged because she had been taught by her Eastern Pennsylvanian, Danish/English/Germanic societal roots, to regard Italians as second class citizens, as shameful members of American society.
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And, it is just such deeply rooted, largely subconscious behavior toward people of color which those of American “white” society have and continue to portray, however subtley however fleetingly however rarely, in their actions throughout the generations.
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In 1944, mum married dad. Almost ten years later, after a nearly decade long divorce, they remarried. I was their second child, and favored my father; my hair was black, my skin was dark. And, Mammy was fond of stroking my face, doing so every time I would sit beside her. She would regularly exclaim at the beauty of my skin, its softness, and smile with deep fondness into my eyes.
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It’s my belief that my birth changed my Mammy, ever more; she realized, and thereafter made conscious effort, to appreciate that which she had been taught to shame. And, in just such the same manner, only when we reach out and touch that which we are taught to revile will we ever hope to heal from hate.
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© 6/28/2020     Ruth Ann Scanzillo.     All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for respecting the rights of authorship.
littlebarefeetblog.com

“CHAPTER ONE.”

 

OldLadySat

 

” The old lady sat

       on her side porch stoop

With a snack and a book

      in the sun

Which was low in the sky

      burning hot on her calves

so the lap cloth she moved

     ’til it hung

Just below both her knees

      shading ankles and feet

Which she tucked underneath

       her chair;

Then a bee smelled the ginger

      ‘tween thumb and finger

And, her afternoon read

      was done. “

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© 6/17/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.    p.s. Homage to “The 100 Year Old Man….”  by Jonas Jonasson — a truly hilarious read.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

My Letter To Alcohol.

Most letters open with “Dear ….” ; this one will just begin

You are the nemesis, my arch-enemy, the demon I pray God to damn;

You lure, seduce, then rob me blind.

Mocking love, devotion, loyalty, and commitment, you mortify;

Masquerading as joy, you destroy.

You poison every plan, contaminate every climate, compel every crime;

Master of your motive, you hasten death

Or market as mind game, then cheat to win.

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© 6/14/2020 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

The Sweet Thanksgiving.

The brisk breezes would stir the “whisker” tree’s fist sized tumbleweeds, scattering them between our feet as we scrambled up the steps and took the path between the rock gardens to the front porch at Mammy’s house. In summer we’d take the lazier, flat wide stone walkway from the drive, parallel the porch, the potted geraniums and succulents snuggled side by side along its railing under the broad, royal blue canvas awning flapping in the wind. From that side path, we could almost look Mammy in the eye, cushioned into her steel porch rocker in the far corner awaiting our appearance, smile alight.

But, come fall, we’d hasten past the battened down and molting toward the warm yellow light framed by the front door, halfway up the porch already hearing Aunt Martha’s belly and Pappy’s booming laugh rising out of the maelstrom of chattering chaos already testing the outer walls of the entire house. Grasping the round, brass doorknob, and leaning into the glass paneled hardwood, we’d push and burst through, hardly noticed by the throng until one face turned and then Pappy, arms above his head, hands curled from hard work, roared out his raging welcome and everyone except the aunts who never stopped talking turning then to gather yet another of us into their arms.

Kicking the snow from our overshoes onto the multilayered hooked rugs, we’d stack them and take the short diagonal between the twin bookcases past the round oak dining room table and the African violets in the east window through to the kitchen, passing the ceramic cookie jar setting our paperbagged salad fixings carefully on the kitchen-turned- server table next to the apple, mincemeat, pumpkin, and rhubarb pies, where Mammy stood over the stove in her rick rack trimmed cotton apron, stirring a pot of gravy with a wooden spoon, the pressure cooker’s indicator bobbling and sputtering over the back burner like a steam train waiting in the station. All the aunts took their wide hipped turns in the kitchen, two of them diligent about the food and the other two appearing to inspect and taste test, the youngest with a wink toward a niece or nephew as she licked her finger.

Pappy was loud, and three of his four son in laws quiet, each quick with a joke or a witty comeback, Uncle Frank sitting with a closed eyed smile, Dad who was called Uncle Tony with his hands in his belt, napping already in the only scene where he would not command the center of attention, Uncle Bud standing tall near a corner already giggling through a long, spun yarn for the home movie camera, and Uncle George, egging Pappy on with his bright, Irish bell tenor.

We grandchildren were fifteen in all, the firstborn Alan, a brilliant artist and pianist, rarely able to come home anymore being married in Michigan, his four other siblings Philip, Lydia, Lois and Frannie often present, living only two doors down, the elder girls wearing their engagement rings dressed in wool sweaters and straight skirts and pointed pumps, Frannie in keeping with her other, younger counterparts in winter wear warm enough for playing outside if there were enough snow later. Then, cousin Bonnie and half brothers Butch and David from Lawrence Park because Uncle Bud worked at GE, and me and my two brothers, Nathan and Paul, having walked from around the corner and across the street and, finally, our four cousins from Ohio, Becky, Beth, Timmy and Kathy, the latter two with flaming red hair. Being either the first or last to arrive, once all were in house the card table would come out, and the floral painted linens, we among the smallest cousins relegated to the workroom where the rugs were braided and the clothes sewn and the toybox waited and, while the piano took turns being played and songs chosen for singing, the family like a choir from an old country church, Pappy the only tone deaf voice among them, the potatoes were mashed, the boiled bacon drippings poured over the salad, the parsnips and rutabaga and peas and Lima beans and corn ladeled into their divided serving dishes, the silver plated forks knives and spoons set on each soft, embossed linen napkin, tomato juice poured into the slender tulip glasses and set at the center of each China plate, head lettuce leaves placed on each smaller one for salad, fruit filled Jello squares lifted onto each leaf, one half teaspoon of Hellmann’s to dot each center, the gravy poured into the boat, the butter set in its silver dish, the roast carved and, finally, the Parker House rolls, ready and hot, in the round, linen lined bowl basket to table.

Pappy could be heard from any room in the house, but usually Aunt Dora Mae or Aunt Betty would call all to the dinner table. Aunt Dora Mae was hands down the better cook among them, Mammy’s eldest, but Mum’s voice was the most penetrating on account of her hearing loss and Aunt Frances was likely in earnest discussion with another of equal intellectual bent and Aunt Martha busy, laughing in a far corner, her nephews gathered around her ready audience testing their latest comedic mettle.

But, the food drew us all, to the oak table round circled by both Dora Mae and Betty as they’d labored the delivery of their firstborn, to the card table in the living room where Risk, Monopoly, Probe, and Life were won and lost, to the child’s table and chairs that Pappy made in the workroom just beyond the pantry and we, the Sweet family, sat our chaos down to the warmth of hot, family style Thanksgiving dinner and bowed our heads while Pappy thanked the God who brought him all the way across the Commonwealth to build cranes at BuCyrus-Erie, to the street corners to preach, to the City Mission and the Gospel Assembly Hall to settle his family in the east side neighborhood at 923 East 29th.

Then, everyone filled their faces, still all talking at once, Mammy finally sitting down at the kitchen end of the table, laughing with her mouth full, Pappy hunched over his plate, gumming his food with his teeth out, the aunts and uncles and cousins all tasting the same food with their own unique manifestations of the family DNA, all together, the whisker trees’ tumbleweeds flying about outside the east windows, as remnants of the feast wafted throughout the house to leave behind its everlasting aroma in the wallpaper, the white silken window curtains, the ceiling plaster, the floor underfoot, and the dark wood framing each room in the house, the collective spirit of nourishment sustaining life on one small, thankful speck of the planet as the world spun around once more.

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© 11/27/19    Ruth Ann Scanzillo     All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line.

From the heart of Sweet gratitude: Happy Thanksgiving! from littlebarefeetblog.com

What Happens When Language Changes.

TodaySponge95

The French woman was adamant.

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The Swiss woman sat, staring at her. The English couple, from Trent, lifted their chins just slightly. Next to them, the German husband arched his back. His wife wilted, averting her downcast eyes, and the American’s widened.

These all sat around the dinner table, in Zurich, on a Sunday. It was a Bible conference weekend, but this was a bigger deal.

The French woman was talking about language.

She said you have to live among the people, and learn the language. Only then will you know the culture. Because, and she closed emphatically, the culture is in the language.

That was 1984.

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In 2019, we might be members of a culture whose language remains a leading means of discourse among the powerful. But, as English speaking people, our culture has changed.

There are words which have been added to our lexicon which have become so embedded in it that we hardly realize there was ever a time when they were not there.

Here are two of them, taken separately.

“Reproductive” and “rights”.

Reproductive — having the capacity to reproduce.

Rights — (n.) moral or legal entitlements to act.

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But, taken together, they form a term, embodying a concept. “Reproductive rights” refer to a specific entitlement, that being: to bear a child.

The problem is, this term has evolved to become broader in scope than one might have initially perceived. No longer merely representing the right to bear a child, it has come to also mean the right not to. And, this evolution has been driven by social forces.

Plus — in the present day, not only are we talking about the right to or not to bear a child, this term has actually become one which encompasses a concept never actualized by humans born before 1930. Reproductive rights have come to represent the option to cease carrying a child already conceived.

In our language.

In our time.

The intractable problem with this is: now, the public debate tosses this term to and fro, throwing it around as a tool supporting any number of arguments from the right to receive compensation to emotional support, counseling, products, services, and all manner of supplemental medical procedures. Now, women fight to preserve their reproductive rights, their choice as women to make exclusive decisions about their bodies, decisions which are exempt from anyone else’s decision-making power.

Reproductive rights have melded into one argument, when they are actually two, distinct and even unrelated. And, the fundamental problem is one of conflation.

Somehow, the right to make independent decisions affecting one’s body, as a woman (or, as a man) has become conflated with another right, that of the option to dispense with a conceived embryo which has nested in one’s uterus, having begun the process leading toward birth. While the female body belongs to one, independent person, once conception occurs that independence is, in part, forfeited — because another life exists inside of it.

There are English speaking women to whom the term”reproductive right” is moot. These have already acknowledged that, once fertile, each of them bears both the ability and the responsibility of conceiving another human being. As such, they exercise only the right to be that vessel, should conception occur. To them, there is no other right. The right to bear a child is beyond the right they have over their own body. There is no argument. There is only the honor of a higher calling.

And so, embodied in its language, the very culture is divided. And, living amongst its people, this disparity is palpable.

Someone once said that the English language is the most inconsistent on the planet, riddled with exceptions to the rule of order.

Does this also reflect a problem within the culture?

If she could, would the French woman speak to this, and what might be said?

One wonders whether silence would be required by all.

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Selah.

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© 5/25/19   Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

littlebarefeetblog.com

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Evolution and Christians of The Alphabetical Order.

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Yet another Sunday had come to its close. A certain combination of migraine medication side effect, rice pudding, the Autumnal Equinox, and the impending national election had proved a potent cocktail; I lay in bed, fighting a rare inability to fall asleep.

Sundays in my life had gone through a tangible evolution. What had been a consistent pattern of weekly church worship, from infancy through early adulthood, had been displaced by alternating themes: night shift sleep schedules; nocturnality; intellectual curiosity; and, ultimately, abdication (translation: loss of virginity). In my life, the Lord’s Day, like the Sabbath, had become indistinguishable from any other day of the week.

But, I would be intellectually dishonest were I to hide the fact that my belief patterns had also been morphing. The absolute truths put forth by proponents of the Holy Bible literalists had come into serious question and, with this, any commitment to a Christianity specifically defined.

What, after all, was Christianity? I’d read The History of Christianity, by Paul Tillich. I’d read other speculators, William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience among them. And, I’d read virtually every word of the Holy Bible – King James Version, Scofield Reference, and J.N. Darby translation. Raised by sectarian Fundamentalists to believe that the One Way To Worship was their exclusive domain, and accepting Jesus as my Personal Savior at age six, the moment I’d consciously set one toe outside of that sanctified corral had set me on a path leading directly to the Grand Nowhere.

Now, eyes to the ceiling in the dark, I ruminated. How many called to worship on that day, who called themselves Christians, were there, exactly?

Perhaps it was time to count sheep.

I began with the letter A.

A  — Abyssinian Greeks; Amish; Ames Brethren; Anglicans; Assemblies of God

B  — Baptists; Brethren, Church of;

C — Calvinists; Closed Brethren; Colossians; Converted Jews; Coptics; Corinthians;

D — Davidians; Denominationalists; Doctors of Divinity; Dogmatists;

E — Ecumenicals; Ephesians; Episcopalians; Evangelicals; Evangelical Frees;

F — Federated Free; Franciscans; Fundamentalists;

G — Galations; General Association of Regular Baptists; Gnostics; Gregorians;

H — Holiness Pentecostals; Holy Eastern Orthodox;

I  — Independent Baptists; Inter-Denominationalists; Irish Catholics;

J — Jehovah’s Witnesses; Jesuits; Jesus Freaks;

K — Knights Templar;

L — Laodiceans; Latter Day Saints; Lutherans;

M — Mennonites; Methodists; Mormons, Reformed;

N — Nazarenes; New Apostolics; non-Denominationalists;

O — Open Brethren; Orthodox Greeks;

P — Philippians; Plymouth Brethren; Protestants; Presbyterians; Pentecostals;

Q — Quakers;

R — Roman Catholics; Reformed, so called;

S — Scientist, Church of Christ; Seventh Day Adventists; Smyrnans;

T — Theologians, Academic; Thessalonians;

U — United Brethren; United Church of Christs’; Unitarians;

V — Vatican, The;

W — Wesleyan Methodists; Worldwide Church of God;

X — Xmas Celebrants;

Y — Youth Pastors;

Z — Zionists!

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Indeed. The alphabet proved a useful tool; its twenty six letters had successfully taken me across the spectrum of Christianity, from the Apostle Paul’s inception through to the present day.

Further research, beyond the ironic – though futile – quest for the letter “X”, revealed the Hartford Institute for Religion Research and their list of Official Denominational websites. In Hartford’s list, the number of entries for the letter “A” alone, while inclusive of other religions, exceeded the number of letters in the alphabet.

As I drifted off to sleep, a final thought formulated in my mind. It was neither a proclamation, nor a dogma, nor a tenet. Rather, it appeared as a challenge, in the form of this question:

When fairly addressing the argument for or against the theory of evolution, wouldn’t one only have to consider the history of the Christian church as evidence?

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 11/7/16    All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect. Like my Mammy always said, “Prayer Changes Things.”

littlebarefeetblog.com

Must You Be So Beautiful?

 

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Must you be so beautiful

Must your eyes be blue

Must their pupils widen

When I look at you?

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Must you stand so near to me

Must I smell your skin

Must you be here now, if

We can’t meet, again?

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Must the years that came between

Must the time that’s passed

Must the choices made then

Melt away so fast?

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Must have been we were too young

Must have not yet known

Must be no one told us

What we’d know when grown

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Must a feeling’s memory

Motionless in time

Must a need yet unmet

Search for words that rhyme?

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Must we be so dutiful

Must the things we say

Must their trust belie us

Must we walk away?

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  11/28/15

All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part or whole, permitted. Thank you!

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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