Surviving The Abortion.

The spermicide stung.

A suppository, which dissolved on the inside, the bullet shaped insert created a sudsy barrier to the cervix.

The birth control of choice in the back end of the 1980s for a late-twenty something to whom the pill was entirely too deliberate and required a schedule of intent. Planned unpregnancy was unacceptable to the morally ambiguous.

The conception, therefore, was never expected.

Waking on up on day 49 in the context of a cycle which rarely deviated from 33, swollen, doubled over in cramping pain, crawling the length of the second floor apartment to vomit into the toilet and then the call to mother was also not to be predicted.

Being asked as soon as she arrived if there were any possibility of pregnancy was the moment of clarity, like the climax in a Woody Allen movie. Maybe because the topic of deliberate fornication had not, up until that point, ever been insinuated let alone confronted head on.

Starkly deliberate, almost methodical, was the manner in which mother and daughter prepared to travel to the lab to obtain the pregnancy test. The trip was entirely without drama, outside of what the situation inherently bore.

Sitting for the blood draw, followed by a need to urinate and the discovery of brown spotting indicating flow made the day shorter and the issue apparently self resolving. The test was negative.

The aftermath proved protracted. This potential mother had to face decades later the very likely reality that, in spite of one test result, what had since been revealed about the lability of hormone levels before and after a conception failed suggested that, for probably less than three weeks in the late 80s, the daughter had been with child.

Nobody survives abortion.

The woman experiences – unless drugged – visceral, cramping pain and nausea. The conceived embryo bears disengagement from the warmth of the womb and a perilous trip down the vagina at the hand of either muscular contraction or mechanical suction. But, once completed, the process leaves a wake.

Thought waves. Turbulent speculation. Transient recollection. Lifelong wonder.

Whether spontaneously induced, by the body, or provoked by surgical procedure the abortion separates the giver of life from life. How can this enmity not persist until time becomes eternity?

The awareness that life was, and then was not, plants its own seed. A name. Features, on a face. Hands. Feet. Grasping to assign place, a certain purgatory, allowing imagination to become a branding memory and remembrance to burn its own birth.

The sting, of death.

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Copyright 5/13/22 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). Sharing by direct blog link, exclusively – no RSSING. Thank you for being trustworthy.

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HOT WAX.

Everybody who hasn’t formed a crystallized opinion on Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is likely busy doing so, this week.

I came in late, but hot; been binging as much as my eyes and ears will allow, with great consternation.

Replaying from the beginning, hearing Johnny first drew me into his POV. His tone and inflection singularly seductive, his face and frame the perfect decoration….What’s not to captivate, there?

Plus, once I could identify with his childhood trauma via my own partner of so many years, his story was easy to personalize – which always blurs the lines.

By harsh contrast, his contender’s countenance seemed alternately contrived, sullen, supercilious. So, imagine the cognitive dissonance in my head once Amber took the stand.

Yeah. That.

No need to reiterate what can be found in endless loop anywhere on the internet. You go; you see; you hear.

My doubts about whether the jury will have an easy time of it are growing. The evidence is a mountain – of noise. Horrid verbal onslaught; drunken slurry; accusation, retaliation, condemnation. Intractable situation.

Unless they’re in cahoots, creating this drama in collusion to boost their mutual bankability, to my seasoned senses they’ve burned each other’s wick down to vapor. There’s nothing left but hot wax.

Hope the jury can swim their way out of that pool.

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© 5/9/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights, you know the drill. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. No copying, no translating, no screen capturing……..Thanks.

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The Women Who Share The Shoe.

“There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she knew not what to do….”

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Playing with Barbie, Ken, and Skipper was my first experience with dolls. I think I had a drink and wet baby sometime before that, but it wasn’t the Chatty Cathy like Bonnie had and I never saw any point in holding or cuddling a hard chunk of sculpted plastic with blank, glass eyes. For me, since mum was a seamstress, it was just about changing their clothes, whole outfits she would wrap or tuck into the Christmas stocking after hours of arduous toil handsewing tiny hooks, snaps, and lace trim. In spite of her loving and expert efforts, I think the shoes captivated me most – on Barbie, especially the backless dress slippers.

I don’t remember a baby, in our house, though Paul was just two years behind me. The playpen was my home inside ours, me with my crayons and my favorite, the record player, whose 45s I could place on the turntable for singing along. If Paul was to be held and cuddled, it wasn’t his big sister allowed to do any of that. Instead, after first throwing the Fisher Price percolator at my head and drawing streaming blood, he would become my playmate, even my roommate, us talking together in the dark each in our twin beds in the one downstairs bedroom big enough for the two of us.

So, girls with any affinity for baby raising populated a world outside of mine. But, I can remember when they’d be born of the ladies at the Assembly Hall on Sunday morning – wrapped, held, cooing and inevitably crying during what was intended to be a solid hour of quiet meditation interrupted only by a hymn sung or a prayer, stood to be given solo by the occasional man. Most of these cherubs were out of my close up view, being a toddler knee high to their mothers who gathered between Morning Meeting and Sunday School out on the sidewalk or clustered in the gravel parking lot. And, once every summer for a week, they’d pepper the evening humidity at Crawford Hall Auditorium in Grove City during Gospel Meeting at the Eastern Bible Conference as, one by one, their mothers would make the ritual trip up the aisle to the lobby carrying their crying cargo. As I grew, I remember wondering how many of these young women waited all year for their turn to be part of the display.

When I became a teen, there were neighborhood girls who expanded our ranks and who seemed completely enraptured by each new addition born to the fellowship. They would take turns holding the babies. I might have as well, once or twice but, always feeling a bit clumsy, preferring to just look as closely as I could whenever they were nearby. Newborns seemed especially strange, with no ability to keep their heads from wobbling or their faces from forming odd expressions. Yet, the ladies made sounds of adoration, all smiles, talking about not much of anything with each other until I walked away to see if the piano was free.

My cousins Kathy and Cheryl, the former the last of my generation and the latter the first of hers, were the first of the real babies to enter my family scene. Kathy’s family lived in Ohio and the story was that she needed a heart valve surgery in the months after her birth, so I don’t remember seeing her until she could talk. But, Cheryl came with her parents to our large family gatherings regularly hosted by mum’s eldest sister, her parents driving all the way from the Detroit suburbs to present her. Cheryl was nearly perfect, and she wore a tiny pink silk bow attached to the top of her head with clear plastic tape. I remember her mother, Bev, holding Cheryl who sat on her mother’s lap already for the endless pictures being taken by everyone.

Beyond all this, babies really never entered my sphere of fantasy. I don’t remember any desire to have one of my own and, once I found out how they came into the world, even less. Looking back, I suspect the cause was hormone levels slightly out of balance, a lifetime of low progesterone. I didn’t much care for children either, and my first baby sitting job was a night shift where I only had to check on the one sleeping in the crib and spend the rest of the time watching late movies on the Tv we didn’t have in our house. Though naturally messy, I found myself cleaning up after the mother of these much as my own mum might have.

Even the epiphany, which came decades later while driving home from Fredonia ( when I realized I could return there to college and train to become an elementary music teacher) did not draw me to the children themselves; rather, I’d decided that working with the youngest would mean I wouldn’t have to produce conducted concerts.

And, even learning to become that teacher never focused on children or their needs; I was preoccupied becoming their most effective leader and instructor. It was all about me.

Four years after my first teaching placement in the high school, on advice of a colleague I bid down into the elementary system – 34 years old, engaged to be married, and happier than I’d ever been.

Preparing that summer for the first day of school, I enjoyed a surge of creative energy – making large, colorful props, and devising costumes, planning the opening presentation like a Disney producer. The kids took to it like birds in a nest. I had them, transfixed, and would for the next five years solid. They became my willing audience. All the painful years growing up the weird kid at school with few friends dissolved, in the realm which had now become mine. In my insular mind, I was their creative hero.

But, something else also happened. I began to experience the thrill of a child running up and clasping me by the knees. Their cheers in the cafeteria rushed through my body. Their hilarious spontaneity, their endlessly creative questions, their crowing a song together….I fell in love. I fell in love, with children – by the dozens, by the hundreds, by the thousands. It was me and the kids, singing at the tops of our lungs, playing violins and brass, wind, and percussion en masse, dancing (dancing!) and filling the stage for, yes, bi-annual concerts of the entire student enrollment plus ten years of fully staged musicals.

I was the old lady who lived in the shoe and, by last count, had tried to help raise probably four thousand or more. Many of these grew to become my lifelong friends, bearing their own babies, faces I now view with a grandmother’s adoration as they appear in the social feed. I couldn’t love them all equally; that was impossible. But, my best efforts were made, hopefully weaknesses smoothed over by a genuine heart for their creative spirits. I pray, likely as most mothers do, that these were never irreparably broken by anything I said or did.

We teachers are a mixed breed. Many are mothers, themselves. Some have managed to cover hundreds of students per week like I did and still make dinner for their brood and help with homework. My private music students who have come to the house for 34 years, with their parents, have in so many cases felt like the nieces and nephews I never see. Their parents have allowed me to be a part of their lives, like the sprinter who takes the race in short, intense spurts, many of these for nearly a decade at a time. I could not ask for a better gift, after having missed motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day, to those who bore the children of each generation, and to all those who raised them. I’ll be here, in the shoe, with the rest of the women who live in it, doing what I learned to do from you, if and when you need me, baby.

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© 5/8/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Sharing permitted by direct blog link, exclusively – no RSSING. Thank you for respecting the writers from the village.

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The Amnesiac.

Foreboding sounds, weaving movements, fueling explosive force. Being too close, too near the source.

My body, splitting in half – one part feigning calm, the other fortifying for the fight.

Setting my sight on the escape plan, relief in knowing there’s always someplace else to go.

The aftermath. Indigestion, and stark recognition that only I would ever know.

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Alcoholic amnesia is real.

Scientific studies: done. Papers: published – in peer reviewed journals. Conclusions: reached.

Drunks.

Don’t.

REMEMBER.

Some have multiple identities, early childhood trauma causing their brains to diverge until personality becomes an adaptation instead of what the rest of us would learn to call our selves.

Those who pile on other agents – hallucinogens, opiates, stimulants……the brain responds. The save file sorts. The neurons, hormones, proteins…..all converge to devise a plan to find homeostasis, to maintain balance.

https://www.alcohol.org/comorbid/amnestic/

And, at what cost?

It’s hard for the rest of us self righteous slobs to imagine losing most of the hours in a day or days to a black out of time. It’s harder yet to endure when somebody we love is missing them, particularly at our expense. Soiled underwear; dishware and glass, smashed; random condoms and strange clothing; interiors, trashed. And, all the protestations, escalating to fever pitch. I DIDN’T DO IT. IT WASN’T ME. I WASN’T THERE.

What about these convicts who don’t remember brutal murders?

How far does temporary insanity stretch?

What’s the ratio of impulse to conscience? When does the brain flip the switch?

And, is there a drug to produce total recall?

Talk about an assault to the senses. How would one live through that scenario?

From this range, seems like an even trade.

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© 5/7/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying in whole or part, including translation, and sharing permitted by direct blog link exclusively – no RSSING. Thank you for the respect.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Breaking The Horse.

There are a few things about which most of us know nothing.

Rendering a wild horse civilized is likely one of them.

This past week, we all had the opportunity to be introduced to that remote subject. Our tutor was none other than actor, daughter, sister, mother, horse breaker…..Amber Heard.

Asked to describe her childhood, by a defense lawyer in court, she complied. Seems her father was the professional – a Texan, a rancher, and a specialist in the art of taming equine mammals for use in either breeding or racing. As a young girl, self described as the one designated to “be the boy”, Amber was placed on the animal’s back as soon as she was able and taught the skills which, as she outlined, were twofold: a.) stay on the horse, and b.) stay on the horse.

Taming the wildness in these 900+ pound creatures was simple, yet profound: remain on the horse’s back, whatever it took, until the horse gave up trying to toss you off.

For as little as we do know of life even after living a few decades, many of us do learn the value of guiding metaphors. This writer could not miss the one portrayed by this story, nor its power over a growing girl’s future outcomes.

To what end would the young horse breaker mount the wild man named Johnny who said he loved her? His habits bred behaviors in both himself and her which, according to her account, became at times life threatening. Could he be tamed? The possibility was at the mercy of her resolve; she would stay on. Did he want to be broken? His desires ceased their power; she would stay on. Would she be thrown? She would get back on. Amber would remount her wild horse, and remain, until he let her stay.

None of us is immune to the forces which compel. Whence these arise can be found in our deepest past. How we are trained determines in large part the manner in which we face life’s obstacles, and what we define as these can become our targets.

Did the daughter of a Texas rancher set out to vanquish the howl of the wild? Clearly, she learned to fight the bucking stallion. But, did she choose her prey, or did it choose her?

This is something only the horse whisperer knows.

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© 5/7/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Please respect your fellow creatives in the effort. Sharing by blog post link, exclusively, and not via RSS. Thank you.

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Johnny Depp.

[ First draft ]

Scarlet said she’d think about it tomorrow.

I’d written scathingly about Amber Heard, just 48 hours earlier. Viewing the long awaited testimonies in court had me late to the party but riveted forthwith. And, in its course, I’d formed an opinion of the woman being sued for fifty million.

Then, she spoke.

And, the past five years of my own life flashed before my eyes. In fact, she took me back to the beginning.

I was reminded that growing up and falling in love is the madness, and surviving in its wake the task of life. When she told the story of her heartbreak, I collapsed in tears. To me, most all the patterns she outlined were familiar.

Pain isn’t sourced when countries declare war. We hurt each other, one at a time.

Stay tuned.

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© 5/5/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights, you know the drill. Be the honorable person. Thanks.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Amber Heard.

When Katrina died, I hit my first writer’s block.

Having read about this affliction, I would smirk at the thought; how could a true writer find no words?

In my case, there was little warning; I’d typed her name, in the title of what was to be another of many tribute pieces, only to find myself staring at the white screen. I could not begin.

But, after spending several hours this weekend viewing reruns of the Depp/Heard defamation hearings, I woke up this morning thinking of Katrina.

We’d first met when she was a piano student of Sam Rotman at Mercyhurst College, myself on staff playing for the students of vocal and instrumental performance. Forty years old, I was teeming with climaxing hormonal energy, overjoyed to be in such close proximity to fresh, anticipating youth. Katrina was a bubbling post-adolescent with residual acne and raw authenticity. Bearing a gift for theater show tunes, she brought cheerful joy into the room and loved everyone she met.

The tenor, to whom I’d been assigned, was her boyfriend. I played his senior recital, and we became well acquainted. At the time, he called Katrina his good friend and it wouldn’t be until I happened to catch them in the library after the recital exchanging a quick kiss on the lips that her actual status would emerge. I would learn, years later, that many men often categorized the women in their lives differently than the women who regarded such men.

Katrina was generous with praise. She was specific, for example, in acknowledging the thumb technique required in the piano accompaniment for the Britten after that recital. Vivid, to me, was the smile on her face and the light in her eyes. Knowing the part, she showed genuine collegiality and deference toward me, an act of humility.

Years passed. I would next see Katrina at a music faculty meeting, within the district. Myself having been at the high schools, I’d bid down to primary level and she appeared as a newest hire among them.

Katrina had changed. Now, she sat silently, her deference manifesting minus the characteristic extroversion, watchful and attentive. Her skin was smoothe and clear, her countenance thoughtful.

But, her reputation as a music teacher and theater pit pianist had spread quickly. The kids loved her. The staff loved her. The casts adored her. Everywhere she went, she still brought the light of her spirit and a selfless enthusiasm devoted to the successes of her charges. Silent at faculty meetings, Katrina conserved her energy for use where it mattered most.

Amber Heard sits in court, silence enforced. Her presentation is physically flawless. Perfectly tailored clothing, expertly fit; hair professionally set; complexion that of painted porcelain. Structurally, her face is enviably beautiful, its profile completely balanced, its angles bearing not a single weakness. One can marvel looking at her as if viewing one of the Creator’s most outstanding moments.

But, like the many masterworks of Rodin or Michelangelo, she appears as any stone sculpture. One searches to find the soul in her eyes. One notes the fleeting curl at the left corner of a petulant lip. One, as a member of her audience, contemplates what if any nourishing life might be found there.

Among contrasts this, the most stark, I think of Katrina. Cancer ravaged her neck and throat, seizing her ability to swallow. Still, she smiled, directing whatever ounce of remaining energy she had toward her daughter, Amelia, and her husband, Mark. To the end, she was ever focused on the needs of those to whom she was devoted, almost as sacrifice. Their world without her is a gaping and grasping testament to being loved entirely.

What the price of a selfish life?

To what end?

About that, I have no more words to say.

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© 5/1/22 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 without direct, written, signed permission of the author. Thank you for being the better person.

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“Don’t Cling To Me.”

According to the American Bible Society, there are some 900 translations of the Holy Scriptures.

And, that number in English, alone.

Our esteemed and Oxford-emeritus vicar, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Girard Rev. Charles Brock, made this known on Orthodox Easter.

I sat in attendance from a physical distance of some 14.5 miles, virtually, via remote online viewing. This being my social mode for over two years, I’d become inured to the limits of two dimensions – the restricted frame; the often glitching, inferior audio; and, the perimeters of the space chosen for broadcast. Like the playpen into which I’d been plunked as a developing infant, its bounds were long familiar.

The subject was Mary Magdalene. She’d be the first on record – every record, in fact, including that of the Gnostic Gospels (finally also bound, but many centuries since the Holy Canon decreed around the table at Nice) – to see the risen Christ. Not actually recognizing him, at first, the prevailing mystery (“thinking him to be the gardener”); her eyes were opened, by way of her ears. Jesus spoke, and called her… “Mary.”

But, upon her realization, Jesus gave Mary an immediate directive. He told her not to touch him.

The love between this woman and her Christ has been contemplated by every scholar and pious, from the secular apostate to the devout. Perhaps there are several reasons why.

One considers the power of both magnetism, and its reverse; how she could keep from wrapping him in embrace, at the very moment when he spoke her name, defies common comprehension. But, enter those pesky 900 translations; one interpretation of his declaration reads: “Don’t cling to me.”

The school of that thought sees his instruction in a broader context. Christ could not be held – held on earth, held back from his destination, held by any force. He was on a path which would take his resurrected body away from the present space and time, the very moment of that encounter.

Well outside of the realm of codependent theory, “clinging” in this case was rejected not because of the nature of the relationship between Jesus and Mary but because, as Christ said, he had “not yet ascended” unto his “Father.”

Speaking of theory, there are many with regard to the intent behind this statement. Would the ascension be required, in order for Christ to be “touched” again by his beloved? Or, was the idea that being touched at all giving cause to defile him? Would human contact with his as yet unglorified body perhaps contaminate it?

There is momentary relevance, here.

The human touch. We’ve missed it, so. Any number of substitutions have had to suffice, from “virtual” hugs to gestures made in the air across a wide swath of grass or concrete.

What would Christ say? This writer clings to a yearning for human embrace. Humanity’s need for physical nearness is part of what makes us vitally healthy, and not just physically.

This is universally true……in any translation.

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© 4/26/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole or part (including translation) permitted without written permission of the author and/or unless shared by blog link exclusively. Thank you for your trustworthiness.

littlebarefeetblog.com

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My Chimera.

The face

Trace elements

Composite

Afixed

Framing expectation.

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The body

Firm and full

Presented

Projecting

Broadcasting bold desire.

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The mind

A chess master

Assuming

Position

Preparing the next check.

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The heart

In denial

Suppressing

Pain and fear

Filtering through veiled lens.

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The soul

Bereft of love

Infantile

Arresting

Crying out for mother.

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© 4/16/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Don’t steal like people from a certain Asian country. Be the honest person.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Act To Follow.

Grief.

Disallows.

Like the opening act hired to warm up an audience that turns out to be funnier or more talented than the show’s headliner, grief upstages everything which comes after.

When my beloved colleague and lifelong friend, Louie, died of covid back in December, I sank into the deepest despair my increasingly unimportant life had yet to endure. His departure cut me in half, goring my creative core, leaving only amputated limbs to sweep the kitchen floor with a broom, wash the dishes with a handled sponge brush, cook an evening skillet of vegetable pasta with oil, and separate the sweaty laundry into loads to hang or fold when dried.

I was dried. There was no me left in me.

The cello slept, untouched, until private lessons demanded it awake. Even the piano loomed nearly dormant, desire to record and upload to the Tube channel after requisite virtual church services just a memory of a life since ground to powder.

Essentially excess fat, the burden of physical weight which had begun to melt a year before continued its steady disappearing act until I was smaller than I’d remembered being since college. Spandex jeans would slide down if I walked, requiring a belt and, forget the pajamas, which literally fell off to my feet.

Yes. Covid grief is its own killer.

It carries corollaries.

Blame. Regret.

We can’t just miss the person, and honor their departure; we have to feel somehow singularly responsible. Our minds are a revolving door of “what ifs” and “why didn’t I?”

Therein the essence of my past four months.

I’d devoted the previous five years to one other solitary individual, the man I’d called my partner, my love. Even made his Pfizer appointment, an act I would rue. At last check, he was still breathing; albeit, as by fire, he’d survived the medical community’s gravest and rarest of afflictions, acute saddle pulmonary embolism. Look that up; this arterial condition is, among all of life’s most threatening, prophetically silent.

He’d surfaced, after ghosting me since I’d aborted Christmas dinner, texting from the ICU. Immediately, from my protective distance, I tried to be there as he awaited the catheter procedure which would successfully remove the obstructive clot, and remained ever vigilant in the days and weeks thereafter as he commenced his regimen of blood thinners and several follow up medical tests.

But, somewhere between my ongoing grief and this trauma bonding, something turned.

Ultimately, though the near death fright had given way to philosophical reflection, he would finally reveal himself. As suspected, this relationship I’d been nurturing, both in person and in my head, was largely a figment of my own hopeful expectation; he didn’t really want me, although he was happy to need me, and my being displaced without warning was always on his radar. I’d just never bothered to check the weather forecast.

Having yearned to pour myself back into caring for and about the one who had survived, grief had other plans for me; instead, I would know the desolation of discard. What a wake.

She calls him “babe”, that proclamation of assumed ownership, usually the moniker for having crossed into the realm of intimate bliss. My imagination is now hijacked by scenarios that disavow five, often agonizing years of God-seen devotion.

Pulling the curtain, grief just gloats.

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© 4/13/22 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 without direct sharing by littlebarefeetblog.com link exclusively. Please honor original material. Don’t be a thief. Thanks.

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WHAT DOCTORS TALK ABOUT.

Big PharmaViews

What Doctors Say in Private About COVID Vaccines

03/09/22

Most doctors don’t publicly question COVID vaccines and the pandemic response, but their private exchanges on social media suggest there may be a growing but silent minority of physicians who disagree with official policy yet are unwilling to speak out for fear of retribution

By 

Madhava Setty, M.D.

In late 2020, a colleague of mine, board-certified in pulmonology and critical care medicine and who had been on the front lines treating COVID patients, invited me to join a large, private social media group of physicians who had assembled to educate each other in a time of uncertainty.

At the time, I was mystified at the confidence our authorities had in the COVID-19 vaccines’ safety and efficacy. Published trial data included only a few months of observation.

In Pfizer’s trial of some 40,000 participants, only 10 (page 1, Results) came down with severe COVID.

Do 10 outcomes (9 in the placebo wing and 1 in the vaccine) justify the deployment of this intervention on hundreds of millions of people?

Furthermore, these numbers meant we would have to vaccinate more than 2,500 people to prevent a single case of severe COVID. Because 0.6% of vaccine recipients suffered a serious event, we can expect 15 people to be injured for every severe covid case prevented. A serious adverse event, according to the FDA, is one that includes death, permanent disability and hospitalization. How could this product be authorized for use under any circumstances?

Were other doctors asking the same questions that I was asking? I joined the social media group to find out what other doctors were saying.

This group has more than 20,000 doctors, each one vetted by the group’s administrators. Admission to the group is through invitation by a member only. The members span nearly all specialties of medicine, from rheumatology and pediatric cardiology to ER medicine and infectious disease.

The intent was to share our understanding and personal experiences in order to care for the public more effectively.

The general public’s understanding of this complicated threat is rudimentary at best. It’s not their fault. They are constantly being bombarded by a relentless stream of messaging that can be summarized like this:

“COVID-19 is a threat to everyone. The vaccines are extremely safe and effective. Doctors and Scientists are in unanimous agreement. Any medical professional who expresses a different opinion must be part of an extremely small fringe minority.”

Every element of this message is factually incorrect, including the idea that doctors have been in complete agreement, more or less, from the very beginning. Their comments to each other tell a different story.

Although we may think the medical establishment is monolithic in its scientific opinion, this is not true.

The majority of medical professionals continue to trust the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — but there has never been unanimous support, despite what the public is being told.

In my survey of physician exchanges over the last 18 months a pattern has emerged. There has been growing skepticism, which was vehemently attacked from the beginning.

This undoubtedly delayed the formation of a unified minority in opposition to the mainstream narrative.

Another doctor who is a member of this group who, for the purposes of this article wished to be identified only as “a physician with experience treating COVID-19 patients who has been frequently referred to as a community resource on the pathology in my region” summed up his experience with the group as follows:

“I have been a member of the [physician group on social media] since early in 2020. Early on, this and other groups were extremely useful in sharing information from around the world as we learned how to manage patients suffering with COVID-19.

“I have forged numerous professional relationships and friendships with individuals whom I first met through these groups. I often turned to them first when seeking information, as the rapid progression of literature on the topic made it difficult to stay up to date.

“I soon noticed that all concerns were not treated equally. The group was initially filled with individuals from a variety of different perspectives on early treatment, non-pharmaceutical interventions (such as masks and lockdowns), school closures, and the management of hospital crowding.

“This rapidly shifted to a situation in which most perspectives weren’t welcome. There was no formal censorship per se. Rather, the group tended to follow a linear viewpoint and post literature that specifically supported that viewpoint. Alternative perspectives were slowly whittled away through a combination of peer pressure and moderation.

“It appeared to me that many of those who held different opinions were still present. They would occasionally comment on posts or contact me privately. They did not tend to share literature or start new threads.

“As the pandemic progressed, I became aware of a number of individuals who were personally attacked for holding alternative viewpoints.

“I am aware of multiple threats issued toward members of the group, and I am aware of at least one situation where someone’s opinions expressed in that private group ultimately led to a complaint to a state medical board.

“While this sort of thing was rare, it didn’t take many instances of individuals having their livelihoods threatened before most dissent just stopped. This had the impact of turning these groups into echo chambers in which only one type of opinion was presented. “When literature was presented, only one perspective was often expressed. If that literature was supportive of the mainstream approach to Covid, then scientific criticism tended to be sparse. If it opposed that approach, it seemed that the goal of the group was to tear it apart. “These groups tend to be a primary source of information for a lot of people to this day. One could be forgiven when reading through their social media threads for failing to recognize that alternative viewpoints exist. I will say that there remain individuals who are willing to engage in debate, and there are certainly still people willing to challenge dominant narratives and interpretations of the literature. “I’d argue that in spite of this, most people do not feel comfortable giving their own genuine interpretations of what they are reading. “This means that in spite of an initial appearance of objectivity, the end result is often anything but.”

The group, as this physician said, evolved into an echo chamber. Initially, it was due to peer pressure and involvement by the moderators. But threats to physicians’ livelihood? Complaints to state medical boards based on opinions expressed on a private group on social media? Below I have selected actual comments from the group on just a handful of the most pivotal topics. I don’t divulge any information that would reveal the identity of the commenters. I also concede that nothing I share here can be independently verified, including the comments above. Doctors have been traumatized Nobody likes to be attacked. However it was shocking to me to see that doctors would resort to personal insults to squelch the opinions of other doctors. Why was this happening? Perhaps the biggest reason is that doctors were traumatized by the enormity of the medical disaster that was unfolding during the early spring of 2020.

Here is one of the first posts in this group, offered as a PSA. In it, the physician is sharing personal experiences treating COVID patients at a time when there was no vaccine, no early treatment protocols, limited PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and absolutely no guidance from the CDC:

“I am an ER (Emergency Room) MD in XXXX. Every one of my colleagues have now seen several hundred Covid 19 patients and this is what I think I know.

“Clinical course is predictable. “2-11 days after exposure (day 5 on average) flu-like symptoms start. Common are fever, headache, dry cough, myalgias(back pain), nausea without vomiting, abdominal discomfort with some diarrhea, loss of smell, anorexia, fatigue.

“Day 5 of symptoms — increased SOB, and bilateral viral pneumonia from direct viral damage to lung parenchyma. “Day 10 — Cytokine storm leading to acute ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) and multiorgan failure. You can literally watch it happen in a matter of hours.

“81% mild symptoms, 14% severe symptoms requiring hospitalization, 5% critical. “Patient presentation is varied. Patients are coming in hypoxic (even 75%) without dyspnea. I have seen Covid patients present with encephalopathy, renal failure from dehydration, DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). I have seen the bilateral interstitial pneumonia on the xray of the asymptomatic shoulder dislocation or on the CT’s of the (respiratory) asymptomatic polytrauma patient. Essentially if they are in my ER, they have it. Seen three positive flu swabs in 2 weeks and all three had Covid 19 as well. Somehow this [expletive] has told all other disease processes to get out of town.”

The clinical picture this doctor painted was dire. Patients who came to his facility for other reasons also had findings consistent with acute COVID infection. He summarized the situation well. It was pretty much all COVID, all the time. The doctor offered more disturbing information: “China reported 15% cardiac involvement. I have seen covid 19 patients present with myocarditis, pericarditis, new onset CHF and new onset atrial fibrillation. I still order a troponin, but no cardiologist will treat, no matter what the number in a suspected Covid 19 patient. Even our non covid 19 STEMIs (S-T segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction) at all of our facilities are getting TPA (tissue Plasminogen Activator) in the ED and rescue PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) at 60 minutes only if TPA fails.”

The doctor is reporting that invasive cardiologists were choosing not to intervene in their typical fashion in patients showing signs of a heart attack because COVID infection is causing similar diagnostic test results. The physician went on to edify the group about further diagnostic findings and then revealed another startling reality: Patients are getting discharged to home despite their need for supplemental oxygen — a clinical indicator that hospitalization is necessary. They simply didn’t have the resources to manage this crisis: “I had never discharged multifocal pneumonia before. Now I personally do it 12-15 times a shift. 2 weeks ago we were admitting anyone who needed supplemental oxygen. Now we are discharging with oxygen if the patient is comfortable and oxygenating above 92% on nasal cannula. We have contracted with a company that sends a paramedic to their home twice daily to check on them and record a pulse ox. We know many of these patients will bounce back but if it saves a bed for a day we have accomplished something. Obviously we are fearful some won’t make it back.

“We are a small community hospital. Our 22-bed ICU and now a 4-bed Endoscopy suite are all Covid 19. All of these patients are intubated except one. 75% of our floor beds have been cohorted into covid 19 wards and are full. We are averaging 4 rescue intubations a day on the floor. We now have 9 vented patients in our ER transferred down from the floor after intubation.”

In my mind, this doctor is a hero, not only because of the commitment to treating a devastating disease under horrendous circumstances but because of the final advice offered: “I undress in the garage and go straight to the shower. My [spouse] and kids fled to [my in-laws home]. The stress and exposure at work coupled with the isolation at home is trying. But everyone is going through something right now. Everyone is scared; patients and employees. But we are the leaders of that emergency room. Be nice to your nurses and staff. Show by example how to tackle this crisis head on. Good luck to us all.”

Most doctors at that time had little first-hand experience treating the devastating infection that was ravaging the globe. This report from the front lines was confirming their worst fears. Young and old, healthy and infirm were showing up in emergency rooms and ending up on ventilators. Hospital staff was getting overwhelmed. It was only a matter of time before this macabre scene would appear in their own emergency rooms and ICUs. I have read through the rest of the details given. They were, for the most part, sound. Of course, there was no mention of early treatment for it was very early in the pandemic. However many doctors still refuse to accept that this disease can be treated with remarkable success outside a hospital.

The controversy begins: Early treatment

In the summer of 2020, doctors began hearing of early and effective treatment for COVID patients.

One would think that when faced with a hopeless situation any potential treatment would be considered rigorously with an open mind.

That didn’t happen, at least not in this large group of physicians.

Here’s a post from July 2020 attacking America’s Frontline Doctors, headed by ER physician and Stanford-educated attorney, Dr. Simone Gold:

“Thoughts about how to combat the “America’s frontline doctors” press conference video that has gone viral? Basically claiming that they are using hydroxychloroquine and zinc to cure and prevent COVID-19 and scientists are lying about it not working and not being safe.

“At one point one of them said those of us not using it are like the ‘good Nazis’ who watched Jews die and didn’t do anything. And said to stop telling them we need double-blind studies. They obviously have an agenda of their own and support reopening the country and schools because we have a ‘cure.’”

This particular post is fascinating. America’s Frontline Doctors was bringing light to the fact that they were having documented success in treating COVID cases though there were no double-blind studies to validate their protocol.

But why demand double-blind studies in the midst of a pandemic when there wasn’t any treatment to begin with?

Members of America’s Frontline Doctors were well-trained physicians like those in our social media group, but they had a remedy that was being ignored for no good reasons — especially given the plight that the country was in.

Why did they have to be “combatted?” They supported reopening the country and schools because a cure exists. Is this any evidence that they “have an agenda of their own?”

The physician group’s members had much to say about this. Hundreds of comments were posted, and overwhelmingly the response was shock and fury.

Here are a few representative examples:

“So frustrating. They lost me right at the beginning. None of them have masks.”

“It’s really sad how easily propaganda thrives in our social media environment.”

These first two comments reflect the majority opinion of our group of physicians. It must be propaganda, after all, what kind of doctor would appear in public without a mask?

This one was one of the most popular responses:

“They need to be discredited. They’re not acting responsibly. They are not advocating for a treatment that needs to be looked at legitimately. They’re claiming to have a cure that is being denied from the general public by mainstream medicine and science. They are literally trying to discredit the rest of us.”

This one received the most support from the group:

“Nothing saddens me more than the willful dissemination of false information by our own. It’s bad enough for the Limbaughs, Hannitys and Joneses to push this type of narrative, but it’s unconscionable when a physician does it. The only recourse we have is to professionally tell the truth to our patients and our community and to report unethical physicians to their states’ medical boards.”

These comments did not cite any emerging medical opinion from other parts of the world or previous research that demonstrated hydroxychloroquine’s (HCQ) antiviral properties against previous SARS coronaviruses.

Instead, suggestions that COVID-19 could be successfully treated were labeled “false information.”

They were calling America’s Frontline Doctors liars.

I was witnessing the emergence of an unthinkable attitude among medical professionals: Those who have differing opinions must be unethical and need to be reported:

“How are these ‘real doctors’ not under board review for spreading such misinformation during a pandemic?? Has their board been notified?”

“The Texas medical board should pull her license.”

“All of the physicians in the video who have active licenses should have them revoked. All of them need to be reported to their state board.”

Note that the following doctor mistakenly believes HCQ requires “emergency use approval” (a term that does not exist) in order for a physician to prescribe it for COVID-19:

“Inform their state’s medical board. HCQ emergency use approval for COVID has been revoked.”

In just a few short months, doctors’ attitudes toward data and each other radically changed. A group of physicians who found a potential cure for a disease ravaging the world was being attacked by other doctors.

There was no sanctioned treatment at the time. Why would the possibility of a cure be anathema to physicians themselves?

Moreover, doctors know full well the immense personal sacrifices required to obtain a license to practice medicine. What kind of treachery would justify immediate revocation of a medical license? The off-label use of a generic drug to cure a potentially lethal infection?

Of the hundreds of comments this topic drew, the overwhelming majority shamed Dr. Gold and her team. Only a handful of physicians chose to cite data that supported the use of HCQ as an early treatment for COVID.

None of them received any broad support.

Here’s one that received a modicum of attention:

“Hydroxychloroquine has not been shown to have adverse effects at the doses they are using. There are many treatments that were initially mentioned at the start of the pandemic as being harmful, that are now beneficial… such as high-dose steroids. I think we should be open-minded about treatments for covid. These physicians have found that Hydroxychloroquine and zinc have worked for numerous patients. We cannot discount this information.”

But by and large the group continued to regard America’s Front Line Doctors as “fringe” and misinformed:

“There are all sorts of legitimate MD’s with fringe views or who can’t read or interpret updates on hcq. Even in these groups how many times do we keep bringing up hcq already still?”

The following response came quickly but was not acknowledged. In it, the physician sheds light on an important point: Not every doctor believes that early treatment with HCQ is crazy.

This was one of the first clues there may have been a quiet minority that sided with Dr. Gold.

“I don’t think it’s as fringe as you think. I think we’re divided at a rate closer to the general public than we’d like to think.”

Nonetheless, another member summarized the situation differently. Notice the extreme language used:

“We have entered a new era of being a physician. Integrity and compassion have been replaced by financial gain and fame as worthwhile traits to be pursued. I know it has always been the case in a minority, and maybe it is just that the minority now not only have a platform but a cause.

“But by doing this they are undermining the rest of us who are trying our best to help people who are desperate and now are looking at those of us using the latest research and best practices like we are just wanting people to die to achieve some agenda. It is sickening, disgusting what these others are doing. And state medical boards are afraid to do anything about it.”

Only four months into the pandemic many doctors in this private group seemed to have largely abandoned their logic and curiosity. Apparently having a treatment “undermines” those who had nothing to offer people who were dying.

We must remember these comments were made in July 2020, before there was a vaccine available. There were no sanctioned options at the time — yet any doctor who suggested there were options became a pariah.

How could so many trained medical professionals unite in a mission to excise dissenters, abandon open inquiry and devolve into what might be best described as tribalism?

Could it be that the idea that a commonly used generic drug and an over-the-counter dietary supplement might actually be a life-saving, pandemic-ending solution was too outlandish to be true?

There was another possible reason. Most physicians were aware that Pharma giants were working at a feverish pace to formulate a COVID vaccine to save humanity, yet few knew that in order to receive FDA Emergency Use Authorization (and the relaxed standards for evidence of safety that come with it) there must be an emergency AND there must not be any effective, alternative treatment available.

If HCQ were acknowledged as an effective therapy, neither stipulation would have been satisfied. Dr. Gold became the target of a relentless media attack while Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stubbornly refused to budge unless a randomized double-blinded trial proving that HCQ was effective against SARS-COV2 was published and peer-reviewed.

Mainstream medicine had been hoodwinked by a smear campaign that targeted some of their own.

We have a vaccine!

I joined the group shortly after the vaccine rollout in the United States. I wanted to know what doctors were saying about all of the exuberance around this rapidly developed and even more rapidly tested product.

Why was everyone so confident the vaccines were going to work and pose little risk?

Trial participants were monitored for only a few weeks after their second dose and there were no COVID deaths in either wing of the trial.

There were only a handful of severe COVID infections, making it impossible to draw any robust conclusions about efficacy.

How would we know they were safe if adverse events were passively reported for only a few weeks?

Although there seemed to be an impressive, almost difficult to accept, reduction in relative risk, there was only a tiny reduction in absolute risk of severe COVID. How could we even calculate a risk-benefit ratio?

The trial data didn’t warrant a rapid vaccination campaign on hundreds of millions of people, did it?

Not surprisingly the many doctors in the group had questions similar to these:

“My grandfather is 90 with heart disease. Vaccinate or wait?”

“Have a patient with lupus and a history of anaphylaxis with flu vaccines. What do people recommend?”

“Cancer patient, immunosuppressed on dialysis. Vaccinate?”

I certainly didn’t know the answer to these questions, but who did? The trial participants were relatively young and healthy.

Apparently having no relevant data from the trials didn’t stop doctors from opining, often with confidence, on these matters. The near-universal opinion was to vaccinate, vaccinate and vaccinate.

But why? Answer: Because COVID is horrible. This seemed to be a good enough reason for most group members.

Another line of attack was forming. This time it was against hesitance around COVID vaccines.

Any cautionary positions brought immediate suspicion. What if a doctor told patients to wait until we know more? People might worry the vaccines weren’t safe.

But what if they weren’t?!

Debunking ‘misinformation’?

Several months later, a new topic predictably emerged: Vaccine adverse events.

Early on, however, there was little acknowledgment of potentially severe adverse events. Instead, this phenomenon was considered no more than a myth.

In this post, a member of the group is looking for advice on how to respond to a growing sentiment of public distrust of COVID vaccines. The member shares this public statement coming from a parent who voiced concerns on a different platform:

“How do we combat statements like this:

“My daughter was vaccine injured at 18 months. There is no way in hell I’m allowing a drug that has no long-term studies & may cause sterilization to enter her body. You trust the FDA? You trust pharmaceutical companies who are racing to produce a drug that will make them billions $$$ in a matter of months? You trust your children’s health to the FDA who approved Agent Orange, GMO’s, mercury in flu vaccines, Gardasil which causes death & severe neurological damage, the same FDA that allows pesticides that cause cancer in your foods. I’d rather get CoVid & maybe it will be cold or flu like maybe it won’t. I’ll take my chances. Wear a mask sanitizer & keep doing as we have been.”

The group had responses that expressed frustration and absolute confidence this person’s attitude was born of ignorance and paranoia.

“People blame vaccines for all sorts of health issues, especially for kids. It’s incredible the lack of causation.”

“I honestly don’t have time for this in the ED. People have the right to be stupid, and I’m not going to break a mental construct in 10 or 15 min. We can only present the facts as they are available, render a medical opinion, and let them decide what to do. If people want to play Russian Roulette with their health/COVID/vaccine, its not really much different than drinking, drug use and promiscuous unprotected sex. We in the ED will always be there to try and pick up the pieces of their shattered lives when they come crawling to us in desperation later.”

“I’m sick of playing along and being “nice” with the antivaxxer rhetoric of paralyzing uncertainty.”

“When debating on social media, I think you have to keep in mind that you’re playing for the audience. For every idiot being vocal about this, there are ten others lurking and reading and trying to decide what to think. If you engage calmly and reasonably, cite evidence, and make it clear which side of the debate has the smart people and the evidence, and which side has the lunatics and the conspiracy theories, you can keep undecided folks from drifting info further nonsense.

“As to this specific post, it’s difficult to argue with because they are using a Gish Gallop (throwing out so many arguments that it’s simply too much effort to counter all of them, even if the individual arguments are weak). If there’s a specific point they’re focused on, debate that as best as you can. Keep in mind that there are skeptics and science communicators that spend a lot of time debunking this, and sharing their articles can save you the trouble of doing so yourself. Good luck! The misinformation is horrible.”

In the following response, a doctor offers some peculiar advice: Stay-up to-date on “misinformation.” That’s an interesting departure from what doctors are trained to do: Be familiar with information.

How does someone stay up-to-date on misinformation? See the comment:

“The best way to combat all of the fears about the covid-19 vaccine is to stay up-to-date on all of the misinformation. Have ready answers for their fears and your patients will be more confident. https://vaxopedia.org/…/the-truth-about-covid-19-vaccines/

Vaxopedia is an online site, run by a physician, that offers dozens of references that “debunk” vaccine concerns. Nearly every source cited on the webpage is a “fact check” or mainstream media source like Reuters.

No physician in the group pointed out the gross double standards with regard to evidence. Observational studies and randomized trials that demonstrated significant efficacy of repurposed drugs like HCQ and ivermectin were dismissed, yet a lone doctor’s website that quoted mainstream media was held in high regard.

However, I noticed a discernible shift happening in the group. Other doctors had started to back a more moderate stance, asking questions and granting some legitimacy to vaccine concerns of the “lunatics” and “stupid conspiracy theorists:”

“So, I’m not anti vaxx, and definitely playing devil’s advocate, but are any of her statements made about what the FDA has let and continues to let pass incorrect?”

“Questioning motives in capitalist democracy does not make you a heretic.”

“These are the beliefs of a lot of people and their fears are valid. Pharmaceutical Companies did race for-profit and a lot of people are getting rich off of this Vaccine, i.e. the stock prices of those companies and those that had insider trading knowledge and made millions. Monsanto was approved to manufacture Agent Orange as well as pesticides and GMO seeds. Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act that relieves Monsanto from any legal recourse for harming people with their product. Blacks were injected with syphilis for over 30 years as a government experiment.”

“As healthcare professionals, we can’t be dismissive of these fears. We have to educate and gain trust back.”

One doctor even hints at being unvaccinated:

“I think we can choose to not fall into false dichotomy and have both vaccines and extreme oversight into how they’re formulated. So many things have been unleashed on the public and then been proven to be extreme health hazards. I’d rather wear a mask for the rest of my life than pay a pharmaceutical company to use me as living data collection.”

Myths become facts

Just two months into the vaccine roll-out in the U.S., a doctor in the group posted this startling anecdote:

“Just saw a patient, an RN, who received 2nd dose of Pfizer vaccine 3 days ago and that evening started experiencing dizziness, loss of balance and double vision which continues through today.

“Her husband also has reactivation of his trigeminal neuralgia after receiving 1st dose of Moderna.”

The doctor who posted this report is concerned because the patient is an RN (Registered Nurse and thus credible in their eyes) and has a spouse that also suffered neurological symptoms after vaccination.

How could this be a coincidence? The doctor queries the group for any similar anecdotes.

Remarkably a flood of adverse event reports ensued, some minor and others crippling.

Dozens of doctors reported that they themselves or their patients were suffering similar issues (I will list only a few here):

“I never had any underlying disorder but started a new lower lip twitch 2 days after 2nd dose of Pfizer. I’m almost 4 weeks out and still feel it intermittently. I never ever felt that before the vaccine. Some may not think related but I absolutely do.”

“After hours of a HR (Heart Rate) of 120-130s I was exhausted. Supposed to have my 2nd this week.”

“Has anyone seen slurred speech and word finding 24hrs after Pfizer dose. Went to ER, no stroke. Dx (Diagnosed with a) migraine. Now 4 days with same symptoms. Pt had COVID-19 in July 2020.”

“I had bilateral paresthesias of feet and hands one week after the moderna shot 1.”

“Saw a XX yo male who had a petit mal seizure 2 weeks after first dose of Pfizer and no other changes whatsoever in routine or diet or exposures or meds/supplements.”

“Had two days of the reactivation of the thoracic shingles neuralgia I had three years ago.”

“Have a patient who developed neuralgia at the thoracic region the next day after receiving 1st moderna vaccine. Suspected shingles but no rash has appeared and has followed 1 dermatome. Now they are 2wks out and still having the pain.”

“Had my first dose of Moderna 1/9. Had HA (Headache) and fatigue x 7 days. Had reemergence of trigeminal neuralgia since then. In remission 4 months after battling x 2 years. Consulted rheum about 2nd dose. They said to go ahead. I’m due Saturday. This post makes me want to not get it.”

“I personally had dizziness, loss of balance, and double vision with both my shots, worse with the second within 20 minutes of the vaccine.”

“I have had multiple pts with migraine.”

“One hemorrhagic stroke.”

“Local physician died (hospitalized with in a few days and never left alive,) Myocarditis and another with pericarditis and pleural effusion … My list goes on … and yes I have reported to VAERS it is time consuming and not purely passive as they also have contacted me on cases.”

“I had neuropathy of my hands and feet from one moderna vaccine in January.”

“In the past 3 days, 4 patients post J&J with neuro symptoms. 3 LOC (loss of consciousness) and AMS (altered mental status). One with bilateral LE (lower extremity) weakness and discoordination going to higher level of care for further eval.”

“Post Vaccine HSV1 (Herpes Simplex Virus) encephalitis. Pt had no history of HSV1 and 2.”

“I’ve seen a lot of reports of rashes, hives, tachycardia, stroke-like symptoms, dizziness, and in one case SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia) after vaccination. I wish we could get better real-time data.”

This doctor reminds everyone to report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS):

“For everyone who has had a notable reaction to a vaccine, please report to FDA to help build the database. https://www.fda.gov/…/vaccine-adverse-event-reporting …

Another doctor takes the time to reflect on how little is known about mRNA vaccines, the puzzling recommendation of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to vaccinate the pregnant and how little is really known about these vaccines and how they work.

Furthermore, the doctor presciently reminds others of the potential danger of spike proteins and examples of how some vaccines have been deleterious:

“So everyone will have to help me out as I am very concerned about mRNA vaccines, specifically this one.

“I have seen a fair amount of reports regarding Neuro side effects, trigeminal neuralgia, transverse myelitis, shingles, etc.

“The way I understand it, the mRNA manipulates the ribosomes to encode the COVID spike protein which in turn is released throughout the body. At which point our own immune system develops antibodies to the spike protein. So we essentially are immunizing against the proteins of the virus.

“So we are filling the body with spike proteins. From what we know about COVID, MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children) and breakdown of the blood-brain barrier causing neurological symptoms; encephalitis from COVID are HIGHLY suspected to be caused from the spike proteins themselves.

“We do not know what long-term effects on the neurological system can be caused by these spike proteins, is there a correlation in the neurological symptoms and the spike protein which has been shown to be the cause of inflammatory response to the endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier.

“Is this going to result in permanent demyelination of neurons or other neurological events?

“We do not know but there obviously have been some neurological side effects from the vaccine.

“ACOG states that the vaccination should not be withheld from pregnant women. We have no idea if there will be teratogenic effects on a fetus. Too early for that information.

“If mRNA vaccine technology has been around for a long time and has been researched in many diseases, why have we not seen any in stage 3 or 4 trials as of yet?

“We do not know long-term effects yet. We seem to have forgotten Rotashield.

“That vaccine was not pulled out until it has been administered for over a year because it took that long to recognize its adverse effects.

“The initial vaccine for Anthrax, initially given during Desert Storm has been highly suspected as a cause of a spike in cases of multiple sclerosis.

“Now I am the farthest from an anti-vaccine and lecture on the need for immunizations and have seen the effects of unvaccinated children.

“While I do not dismiss the COVID deaths, this virus still only has a mortality rate of around only 1.7%. Vast Majority of those >65 years old.

“443k deaths 26million cases.

“Around 600 total deaths under 25 in the nation!

“Vaccinate over 60 years old, those with Comorbidities etc.

“My question is do we really have enough information to properly educate our patients about this vaccine. Seems to me we have gone away from evidence-based medicine and are pushing theory.

“But you say that we have been researching mRNA vaccines for years, then why have we not used them yet and how did they cram decades’ worth of research into 6-12 months??”

Scores of doctors were reporting vaccine injuries since the inception of the massive vaccination campaign. None were being publicly acknowledged.

The following response attempts to rationalize a hush-hush attitude by explaining the disease is “likely” worse than the treatment. This opinion is not based on any data. but echoes a clear bias held by the medical establishment:

“So I guess what I’m saying is, pick your poison. This patient likely would have had worse outcomes if they had the virus. Who knows?”

Who knows indeed. Despite the dozens of documented adverse events coming from the group, this next doctor still urges a unified voice around “the science:”

“Big picture:
Confirmed US deaths from COVID: >441K
Confirmed US deaths from COVID vaccine: 0
For people wanting to wait or saying “pick your poison” when it comes to COVID vs vaccine, I sincerely hope you aren’t saying these things to your patients. The science on this is quite clear and the medical community must speak with one voice. We believe in science, we believe in evidence and we have faith in the data.”

The key word in the above comment is “Confirmed.” How were COVID deaths being confirmed exactly?

Throughout the pandemic all that was needed to log a “confirmed” COVID death was a positive PCR test.

Deaths following a vaccination require a full autopsy to confirm causation, and none were being conducted at that time.

The double standard with regard to proof undeniably led to an exaggeration of COVID deaths and the suppression of vaccine deaths. No doctor was willing to point this out.

Vaccinate children?

By the autumn of 2021, the FDA had granted EUA for Pfizer’s vaccine in 12- to 17-year-old adolescents.

The social media group now was faced with another challenge: How would they respond to one of their own who had a child that suffered an adverse event from these inoculations?

“My son who is XX y old had an adverse reaction the day after his 2nd Pfizer vaccine. I reported it directly to the Pfizer database (I guess they are collecting their own adverse event database), and the local children’s hospital cardiologist who oversaw my child’s case asked my permission today, so he can make an official report to VAERS.”

This report drew relatively few responses from the group. Of the few, most expressed compassion. One doctor thought it was irresponsible to not include more details about the child in such a forum.

A few weeks later another member brought up another issue: Pfizer’s adolescent trial was not powered to be able to detect serious adverse events. Finally, someone else was voicing my own concerns:

“We want to get our kiddo vaccinated but are wondering if anyone is anxious about the relatively low sample study size for this group?

“Anyone considering waiting for a few weeks for more data to come out?”

Response:

“[I am a pediatric immunologist] No concerns. Everything is a risk, to me not vaccinating my kids is a greater risk than vaccinating.”

The pediatric immunologist’s opinion was that COVID posed a greater risk to their children than any vaccine danger. But how did this specialist know?

They couldn’t. The central issue was that the trial was too small to quantify or even detect the risk.

Nevertheless, the comment received no direct criticism.

The next opinion was cautionary. Here the physician states the uncontested facts from the trial: The study was too small to detect the risk of myocarditis. No child in the study developed any severe disease, hence it was impossible to calculate what the vaccine’s efficacy was in preventing severe symptoms, if there were one.

Furthermore, the trial showed no benefit from the vaccine for children who had COVID and recovered.

Eyes were not completely blind to what was unfolding in front of them. This comment received the second-most support of any others on the topic:

“I’m in the minority on this board. I’m waiting on my 8 year old. Cases of COVID were mild in placebo and vaccine arms, no cases of severe disease/hospitalization/MISC in either arm. No examination of preventing asymptomatic disease. At this point, until there is data that the reduced dose used in the trial actually does something to reduce severity of disease in an age group where 50% have asymptomatic disease, I’m holding off. CDC estimates 40% of kids in this age group already had COVID — zero kids in either arm with evidence of prior COVID got symptomatic disease in this study. Also study size too small to detect the only concerning side effect out there for me — myocarditis.”

However, the most appreciated analysis came from a pediatric cardiologist who, it turns out, had enrolled his even younger children in one of the trials. This doctor explained that he regularly see kids who are suffering from heart issues from COVID:

“My X year old and Y year old are vaccinated (from the trial). No concerns. As a pediatric cardiologist, I am much more concerned about the long-term cardiac effects from Covid which I am routinely seeing in children even when they have an asymptomatic or a very mild/short-lived course.”

The opinion of the pediatric heart specialist carried a lot of weight because he was also considered an expert on the topic.

Interestingly, the doctor did not quote statistics or trial data, only his experience to date, i.e., anecdotal evidence. Expert opinion and anecdotal evidence are considered to be the least robust in science.

Still, this was a step up from the immunologist who offered no more than platitudes like “everything is a risk.”

Finally, this comment:

“I vaccinated two of mine yesterday with joy. I am worried that this question is being asked over and over in a physician group. I can’t imagine the hesitancy in the general population. no concerns at all !!safe vaccine Bad disease … it’s as simple as that.”

This last comment is telling. The physician is worried that too many physicians have questions about the vaccine’s safety in children, especially around myocarditis.

This means the public will be even more hesitant.

But under what circumstances would a doctor worry that their own colleagues are expressing concern that a treatment that has not been tested adequately may not be safe? Isn’t that what doctors are supposed to do?

The doctor quoted above believes that a simplistic approach to a complicated situation would not only suffice, but it would also be more prudent. Her comment says it all: “Safe vaccine. Bad disease.”

We see the essence of the mantra that had been repeated from all mainstream media reflected in her comment. COVID is bad, ergo, the vaccine must be good. Although she doesn’t express conditionality here, it exists implicitly in many minds, perhaps in hers as well.

We may excuse the layperson for adopting a black or white perspective of a picture with many shades of gray but a physician?

Though the disease may be bad, it does not necessarily mean the treatment is safe. One doesn’t have to go to medical school to understand this.

Summary

Several times over the course of the last 22 months the group’s administrators were forced to issue statements reminding members to be polite and refrain from derogatory language and personal attacks.

Why was this necessary? We were all professionals. We had common goals. We all had taken the same oath.

Why were doctors condemning physicians who held different perspectives and not the perspectives themselves? There wasn’t any room for a second opinion in medicine anymore.

I recently reached out to the specialist who invited me to the group in 2020. I asked her for her general impression of the nature of the exchanges there. She responded flatly, “I don’t read or participate in that forum anymore. It’s become an echo chamber.”

She was right. But it didn’t start that way. It became an echo chamber because dissenting opinions were either not supported or attacked. When only one side feels comfortable (and safe) to speak out, it becomes impossible to estimate the popularity of contrarian stances.

I believe there is a growing silent minority in the medical community. Efforts to squelch dissenting opinions using tactics like medical licensure revocation may have silenced this minority but also strengthened it.

We will know how large this minority is only if and when they choose to speak up.

However last week the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued a request to major tech platforms to submit the scale of COVID misinformation on their sites to his office, including its major sources.

With this formal announcement of a government-sanctioned witch hunt, we may never learn how big the silent minority is.

What would it mean if the silent minority turns out to be a silent majority?

Murthy’s “request” extended beyond tech platforms, social networks and messaging systems. According to the New York Times, the surgeon general called on healthcare providers and the public to submit information about how COVID misinformation has negatively influenced patients and communities. He said:

“We’re asking anyone with relevant insights — from original research and data sets to personal stories that speak to the role of misinformation in public health — to share them with us.”

My efforts to protect the identity of the commenters I quoted may ultimately have been in vain.

Public opinion around our pandemic response, polarized by rhetoric and now explicit demands from our government, has become binary: “You are either with us or against us.”

These kinds of overgeneralizations handed down by authorities in times of imminent peril are usually effective in unifying the public around a common goal and strategy.

They also cause unavoidable collateral damage by destroying inquiry and discussion.

I never expected this sentiment to penetrate the psyche of medical professionals. After all, we as physicians are constantly dealing with uncertainty.

Human physiology is elegant and still largely mysterious. This is why, despite all of our 21st-century medicines and interventions, we as physicians have not been able to expand our vow beyond “primum non nocere,” or “first do no harm.”

We cannot promise everyone a long, healthy life. We cannot promise a cure for many a disease.

We promise to do no harm. That is still the most we can commit to.

Are doctors being pressured to break that promise, too?

Madhava Setty, M.D.'s avatar

Madhava Setty, M.D.

Madhava Setty, M.D. is senior science editor for The Defender.

“© [Article Date] Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

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The Surveyor.

Bill hadn’t played his cello, for years.

We’d both studied with the same first teacher, Dimitri, but several years apart, never crossing paths coming up. However, about a year ago, in that roundabout random way, somebody hooked us up and Bill became yet another adult member of the studio of multi-aged students I’d established back in 1989 after my first trip into the world of Suzuki-based musical instruction at Stephens’ Point, WI.

The two of us, Bill and I, were now nearly 65 years old.

We private teachers of musical instruments run the gamut. Some are self taught, promoters of their own unique styles and approaches; others are conventionally and soundly trained by conservatories; still others come by their skills employing a mixture of acquired pedagogies and “shoot from the hip” instinct.

But, we all take on students, and that for reasons both selfish and noble. Some do because it’s easy money, no accounting for quality; others want to produce the next Perlman, Botti, or Ma; but among us authentic, Suzuki-registered devotees is a collective desire to help each, young or old, grow to enjoy the ability to make good, solid, beautiful music.

Bill was immediately likeable. He had the twinkly eyes, a clean cut presence, and a gentle demeanor. And, he said, his daughter (with whom I’d collaborated while she’d been a college student) wanted him to get some help with intonation. Sure thing, I told him; he’d come to the right place.

We set about some serious ear training. Dimitri had always been about tone, the bow trajectory, himself tall and lean, striding back and forth before us with puffing pipe, declaring with sweeping, long armed gestures: “Seeeng mit de chellow! SEEEEENG!” And, seeeeeng we did. We sang with our bows, drawing full resonance, sound albeit perhaps sourly out of tune, but big and glorious for Dimitri.

Bill already knew how to produce full, Dimitri style tone. So, the two of us worked on his ear, via his muscle memory, with keen aural attention. Pitch by pitch, Bill mastered the G major scale, pocket by pocket, until he could get through a whole Book I tune without losing its tonal center.

We moved on, into pieces which had more complex structure. He’d played some pretty advanced works of music by master composers, in the years between our lessons with Dimitri and the day we’d finally met. They’d been out of tune then, and they were now as well. We addressed all that, phrase by phrase, and there was no denying how much he cared, how earnestly he applied himself, and how each week he’d demonstrate noticeable improvement.

But, once we were all forced to go virtual, and Zoom et al afforded us zero opportunity to play together, I began to pick up on another curious feature about Bill. When playing alone, he seemed completely devoid of any internal rhythm. Even when counting, he’d start out fine but lose it midway, either accelerating or dragging until the steady beat was a vapor.

Bill understood note values. He realized that they each had specific duration. He just couldn’t express duration, when he played. Relative recognition, but complete imprecision, there was no steady beat in his consciousness.

Before anyone reading this thinks that I am in the habit of denigrating or throwing shade on any of my students, stay with me; there’s a point, here, and it’s probably not what you might be thinking.

Teachers are supposed to care about their students, hands down. But, I believe we should also strive to know them. Know them, fully. Get into their heads. And, with adults, this necessitates getting into their histories.

What was Bill about? How had he spent the bulk of his adult life?

Not as a cellist. Nope. Bill was a Security guard.

In fact, he’d begun his career as a policeman, in one of our outlying counties. From there, he’d moved to Baltimore MD, joining a force of about four thousand. Then, he became a Federal Marshall, spending decades in this field and, now, in retirement, Bill was the lone Security Guard for a major, local medical center.

As I sat listening to Bill play, I tried to get deeply into his brain. I wanted to become familiar with how his lifelong habits informed everything about him. Why was he unable to stay focused on the steady beat, even with the metronome pounding into his left ear?

I followed him from the beginning of the song to the end, and then it hit me. Bill had been trained to employ a global view. He was all about the entire scope of the environment, not the details. Any officer caught fixating on one aspect, one person’s behavior, is a cop waiting to be overtaken by a crafty criminal specializing in slight of hand. No wonder he couldn’t stay with the pulse; about a minute in, his brain would go panoramic. To the observer, his mind may have appeared to “wander”, to have “lost concentration”; but, in Bill’s world, he was merely returning to his job — as grand surveyor.

Bill being more than just pleasant, but gallant, he took to my confronting this with grace and deference. In fact, he concurred completely. I posited that he might, at work, entertain the occasional interchange of small talk with the proverbial smile and nod, but that absorbing conversational content was all an act. Again, he concurred. He didn’t like big parties, he said. He couldn’t concentrate on anything anybody ever said to him. At this point, surprise; I told him I was exactly the same. Relatability, the essence of common ground.

So, now Bill had a plan. He could harness his widely scanning, revolving, weather vane of a brain to the task of actual focus for 3 solid minutes during the passage of time required to produce a musical tune. He knew now when during the piece he’d likely veer off, and would set his intent with resolve to stay with that pulse through to the end.

Many teachers might question this conclusion. Excessive over think. Unnecessary analysis of basic inability. I stand in challenge, to all that. To my seasoned experience, there is no such thing, inability. There is only absence of informed understanding. The brain, and the mind which governs it, continues to produce – new cells, new blood vessel pathways; the mind, who is kidding whom, here? is as infinite as the God Who created it.

As we age, let’s remember that our successes are never either defined or limited by years.

Bill, the cellist, will tell you.

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© 1/11/22 Ruth Ann Scanzillo/littlebarefeetblog.com. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for respecting rights of authorship, and for being the better person.

The Back End.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13.

I could have.

Word was, you were breaking the law if you gave life saving medication to a friend for whom it had not been prescribed.

On November 28, 2021, I had enough of such medication sufficient to save a life.

Hoarding my stash of physician prescribed Ivermectin for weeks I’d calculated that, if I took the recommended biweekly dose, it would get me through Christmas. The packets sat beside me, on the sofa, surrounded by their accompanying bottles of vitamins and immune supporting supplements, filling the place where another person might sit were anybody to actually be in the same room with me.

Only one person actually had been, in some 18 months – just for an hour, and not even on that sofa but in the chair nearby. I’d opted to respond radically to the whole nightmare by refusing all vaccines and all human contact, sure that in just a couple more months the doors could finally open.

We all know how that panned out.

So, now it was late November, and my friend with whom I’d just spoken maybe ten days prior was sick. Moreover, he’d been sick – for over a week – only now contacting me to say that the product whose repurposed action I’d recommended wasn’t helping and he seemed worse.

Upon painstaking query, mostly on his part as his mind was in such a fog he could barely read the package insert, we discovered that the product he’d opted to purchase was one I’d not even known to be on any market, animal or human; it was, in fact, a formulation designed for subcutaneous injection, not even meant to be consumed by animals let alone people.

Furthermore, somebody else he knew had been consulted in the interim between purchase and use, somebody who claimed to be a physician, somebody who directed him to measure it using a syringe she gave him, mix it with water, and drink it. The drug hadn’t been absorbed into his tissues in any therapeutic amount, and the additives alone would prove deadly.

My sense of altruism always having been mediated by a narcissistic ego, I rationalized that one of my precious doses should maintain him overnight until he could obtain a legitimate prescription. In grand, meticulous style only possible among the most self serving I engineered a pickup by his step daughter who lived at the opposite end of the county, directing her to purchase the replacement pulse oximeter he badly needed plus the nasal steroid from the protocol I followed before heading west to my porch to retrieve another supplement I’d purchased plus the single, relinquished dose.

I didn’t have his house address. Emailing a colleague, I obtained it. I could have gathered my own pulse oximeter and the rest of the medicine, and driven enough doses out to him that evening to carry him through the next several days. I had enough. I could have defied the law, and saved his life.

But, I didn’t.

Relinquishing to the hierarchy which would play out, both medical and familial, I would spend the next ten days enduring his slow, incremental, predictable death.

So many have said it’s all about choice. His choice, not mine. Sure, I led him toward the drug. I even led him toward more than one option for its use. What I didn’t do was lead him toward a product never meant for consumption, a product which – though a carrier of life saving medicine – had been prepared in such a way so as to prevent that medicine from rendering any therapeutic effect. That part I didn’t do, because my failure was in never investigating all the potential options, never discovering that while one alternative product applied topically could render benefit, another of similar name sold on the same shelf could render harm. I didn’t do that. What I did do was help create the scenario in which he chose to act out his decisions. I prepared the way, and he moved.

Forty eight hours hence, he’d taken the single dose of pills, felt better the next morning, but called his assigned doctor, accepted a prescription of albuterol and a different steroid and, by evening, declared that he needed to go to the hospital. My pleas that he just wait, and get the prescription filled, those would be subject to his further mental confusion; he’d called the doctor whose number I’d given, but had not realized a need to sign up to secure an appointment. Now, he would go to the hospital, instead, where all options for further treatment from this medication would cease.

The chronology of details which would follow do not bear repeating. They do not bear repeating because I cannot bear repeating them. My friend, my devoted professional colleague, a man I had known since high school with whom I’d performed countless weddings and masses over some thirty years, lay in a hospital ward for ten more days while the life ebbed out of his body. Something about kidney function. Holding his own. No worse. No better. The palliative definition of dying.

I could have saved his life. There is no doubt. Enough ivermectin over a course of just a few days would have turned that ship around. We’d still have our sweet blues and bluegrass violinist, our quiet, twinkling, thoughtful, observant, sweet, gifted friend, maybe for thirty more years, reaching the age of 90 still appearing at most weddings, college chapel convocations, jazz and blues festivals, rustic county parties on rigged stages, symphonic concerts in grand theaters. The man who played string quartets of Moon Dog’s music at Carnegie Hall. I could have single handedly saved that man’s life.

I didn’t. I groused, and fretted, and pulled my old lady sweater closer around my diminishing frame. I messaged his family members. I begged them to do for him what I should have done. I implored them to take the legal risk I could have taken. I passed the buck to terrified siblings and their offspring. I cowered in my tower.

The good definitely die young. The selfish linger. From their wheelchairs in the nursing homes, the mean make louder demands. They strike against their caregivers. They claim every next breath as if entitled. Their bodies remain on the earth until the most bitter of final moments, draining all within reach of every last bit of compassion and endurance.

Three unsolicited psychics have said there is longevity in my body. My singular dread is that I be one such scourge on the best of society. If you survive, and the years go by, and you should happen to find me at the back end, hunched over in a chair, squinting and moaning for my next bit of expected attention, please walk away. Please leave me to my just reward, the embodiment of the failure to love greatly.

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© 12/25/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo, author. Littlebarefeetblog.com

The Implicit Complicit.

What is implicit trust?

It’s implied trust. It’s trust which is almost automatic, reflected in actions which represent that trust. Unfortunately, massive numbers of people act on implicit trust – and, most of them never take the extra steps required to verify that the foundation of their trust is worthy.

The medical industry was thought to be an institution worthy of implicit trust. But, as of about 1947, when the Rockefellers basically paid for the medical school concept and gave birth to pharmacology, American citizens handed off their precious willingness to trust to those whose agenda had nothing to do with actual human health. What I have learned by delving into the documented evidence as disclosed by those with direct access to it is both mind boggling and spirit scathing.

Now, the insurance industry, with planned obsolescence(calculations based in likely length of life – did you know that your coverage is based in your predicted date of death?) as its governing mentality, is the foundational funding source for all American medicine. Corporations offer major medical insurance to their employees, and the medical industry takes profit to the bank under the auspices of care and compassion. Individual medical practitioners are neither at fault for this, nor can they exert any power or control over it; in actual fact, they are completely subject to it!

Ask any physician how much is spent per year on their own insurance, particularly malpractice, and you will have gathered a valuable piece of data to support this argument. Yes; everyone except the insurance companies, and the medical corporations funded by them, are now their obedient subjects.

Enter the sick patient, and the family surrounding that patient. Whence their actual choices? What are the parameters, the freedoms and limits, of said choices?

Primary care physicians only think that they can act independently; in reality, unless they give up all affiliation, they cannot. Only recently, at the state level, dictates have been handed down to all of them collectively: support the promoted vaccines exclusively as treatment for covid, with no discussion or debate of alternative treatments allowed, or risk losing the very medical license one has earned. That is fact. Look it up.

What of hospitals, or major medical centers? Private hospitals depend on private funding, just like private educational institutions. These struggle mightily to remain financially afloat as they witness the swift conglomeration of corporate consolidation. Now, major medical centers’ monikers reflect not venerated medical legends by name, but the financial institutions which fund them. And, said financial institutions are invariably insurance based.

Yes. The insurance industry has displaced every other industry in both power and influence. The insurance industry calls all the shots – an alleged institution which is based in controlling how much money is allocated to humans based entirely upon their predicted life span. How chilling is that. Makes me want to scurry out to the garden and check on the winter vegetables. Oh, wait. I’m behind. I have to plant those, first.

Know this reality. You are hardly free. You are become a subject – not to the Power greater than self, but to an entity which seeks to displace the very Power which breathed life into each of us. All we have remaining is our will, and our determination, and our tenacity to withstand.

We must no longer be complicit. We must mobilize. Strength in numbers, while we are still alive, defying the very insidiously corrupt system which seeks to determine our very length of days. Let’s put our faith in our collective strength, and make that trust implicit.

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© 12/01/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole or part including translation, permitted without signed written permission of the author. Respect the rights of the Creator, and the created creatives. Thank you, especially to Dr. David E. Martin whose mentoring influenced this piece.

littlebarefeetblog.com

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The Table.

“Diningroom Table” 2015

Tables. They serve many functions, most recently as “catch-alls” for everything lacking its own place. Time was, they had a purpose.

Like the rest of the hundreds of thousands, all this week I’ve been scrolling. I’ve seen you. Many of us only now realize that presenting family photos reveals one thing: those who post them can, or need to, provide proof that they have families who agree to gather around a table – for Thanksgiving.

Agreeing to gather is the tradition. Most who do so across this wide swath of what remains of the actual United States rarely see each other during the year. Because the world has been flat for a good two decades or more, emotional bonding has taken on a different flavor. Those we still consider our closest by moniker see us either via Facetime or texted videos. The ones who’ve been in our lives the longest are now often the furthest away.

Many of those are even further away, emotionally. We have formed bonds with newer folk, those with whom we either work or live or, now, share a “bubble”. And, naturally, our emotional energy goes toward those who, in some small part, are available to meet needs we cannot meet for ourselves.

The self help gurus repeatedly intone: “Love yourself, first.” What does that mean? May be, given the looming need to eke out survival where we currently exist, we are compelled to find a way to live alone without allowing external forces to condemn us to it. That means being alone, and thriving.

How is that accomplished?

I’ve been shifting my focus. One guru has said to find one’s center, one’s actual physical center, and I think that is located somewhere near the heart and thymus. It’s a place to put our attention, our core.

Once there, with all mental and physical energy, no external forces — whether they be actual concrete gravitational pressures, or fleeting, dread filled thoughts — can survive against us. We are that one living being, life force emanating outward from our center. And, to my history, what I was taught to find there would be the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles of Jesus after the Son had ascended. Each saw a flame of fire over the other’s head. Paul said that Spirit would indwell each, to seal each according to the promise which would manifest in eternity.

I can’t defy such a Spirit. Nor can I prove any such Presence. But, I can lay hold of belief, both in that Spirit and in the manifestation of the Power greater than myself whenever I am alone, centered on my core. When in solitude, an inner knowledge that I did not myself either create or sustain overtakes me. I know with a kind of knowledge which comes into consciousness that I am not here of my own volition.

Gratitude comes next. Thankfulness, manifest in awareness. Being alive, feeling, hearing, touching, seeing, sensing as a human living in a body. At such a moment, there is no fear at all. There is a very quiet joy. Safety, in being, and being aware.

Choose to find yourself. Just you. In so doing, all expectations, conditions and even traditions will fall away. Because if we do not start with ourselves, what can we possibly bring to any table?

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© 11/27/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. littlebarefeetblog.com – All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you. Originally published at Medium.com

The Line.

They were only subtle signs.

Last night. Momentary maxillofacial symptoms, then one sided nasal congestion. Hard to name how or why, seeing as the four plus hours just spent over two days working in my own yard and on the sidewalk beside my house hardly qualified as social immersion. No fever; just breathing restriction. Popped a squirt of HP in the ears and Budesonide in each nostril, and went back to bed. Had taken my most recent dose of IVM the previous Thursday.

The next morning, after a starkly sleepless night (anxiety…nasal steroid…) I pushed through two and a half hours of carotid and veinous ultrasound, flat on my back. The tech had taken the vax but had also had covid, a year ago; so, though we both masked, he wasn’t a concern. The pharynx was still irritated, and I was in denial.

Upon arriving home, pacing a little, I stared at the packet of meds which had been my prophylaxis of choice for the past five months. Did a quick cheese toast, and took two more IVM pills. Within an hour, did I feel better?

Outside, to continue tackling my newest manic creative project, the backyard renovation. Some children new to the neighborhood had set a small fire on my grass. I was inspired.

Thirty minutes and, back inside, to eat, and socially mediate those I had offended, a daily occurrence anymore. By 8:30pm, my body had finished with this charade; it was time to get twelve hours of uninterrupted, deeply deprived REM. But, was the pharynx getting raw again, and why was the house cold?

After a few choice Messenger sign offs, I slept.

Two hours.

Awake now, in a rush a bowl of gnocchi and one apple crisp to the oven. Did I have Delta? From whom, exactly? The dull witted unmasked millennial walking by who didn’t have the energy to lift my overfull bins to upright? Did I touch them, after he did? Had I bent down one too many times to scrape at the sidewalk traveled daily by dog walkers, mailmen, children, strange loners…all unmasked, many spitting on the pavement in some slumtown ritual of territorial dominance…?

The headline tonight, splayed across CNN, declared that Canada and Mexico will throw open their borders once again, come November. To the, well, you already know. To the vaccinated.

I’m not. Don’t ask. But now, fighting back against this pestery, lowgrade, hallmarking set of Delta encroaching symptoms, wondering how many days I’ll get and whether I’ll be spared the dreaded loss of life’s last pure pleasure, the taste of food…….I know my next soapbox. It’s all laid out, crisply painted, fresh and ready:

Since when on either this Earth or in my lifetime did a needle ever trump the human body’s natural immunity, AT THE BORDER?! How can Americans NOT be allowed to exchange their commerce and creative drive with Toronto or Mexico City, lest they take a SHOT?!

As usual, I’ll remain silent – acquiescent; compliant; obedient. NOT.

Since when did a robust immune system, able to fight off with a hardly noticeable 48 hours of infection, get punished at the state line for failing to secure a rubber stamp to the forehead? Just what is so wrong with this picture, and who are the puny holdouts still refusing to say so, aloud?

The lines will form. There are always several – one for cars; one for trucks; one for those waved over to relinquish the contents of their seam-bursting hatchbacks.

I’ll be in the one carrying the signs.

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©10/11/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for respecting the writer.

littlebarefeetblog.com

“Even If We Cry.”

I met Kelly after a show, in 2015. She’d been in so many others, our meeting rendered me utterly fan girl helpless. Everything you’d ever want to experience, from a consummate dramatic talent, Kelly was impeccably, comically hilarious; deeply, even darkly introspective; and, visually dazzling.

What struck me most, in real world terms, was Kelly’s warmth. This girl wrapped her arms around a person, gathering you in like a grandmama in a much younger woman’s body. Her soul was so open. She really, genuinely, cared about other people and, even with an ever burgeoning audience of admirers, still able to take us one at a time. Perhaps it was a kind of timing, on my part, but I found her affection much needed nourishment to the heart.

I, being about ten years behind the social curve, had to catch up on this local gem. Turns out she was mother to three dear boys, two of them twins, and shared their parenting with a young man, Jeff, who would stun me with his own, equally gargantuan talent, versatility, and depth. Both together and separately, Kelly and Jeff easily displaced every celebrated actor whose characterizations I’d ever venerated. Not only were they both world class, to Kelly their relationship was special; I can remember her telling me, wide eyes glowing: “I’ve never loved anybody so much in my life.” Given that she had produced multiple lives at once (the twins, within a minute of each other), it was no wonder she had love that big – plus, enough for the rest of us, too.

As the years unfolded, we would continue to cross paths, more recently finding ourselves together in my home preparing a musical revue in rehearsal. I found her to be easily relaxed in ensemble, then earnest, intensely focused on her own skill building at closer range, as if not realizing how she’d long since already arrived beyond fully prepared. I was so honored with the opportunity to work directly with this magnificently gifted woman, even taking her interior home layout advice regarding my insistent red rug as coming from a natural set designer. After she left solo session I, who never let anybody tell me how to do anything, moved that rug into the next room just as she’d suggested.

As time and life events would change us all, so they’d altered Kelly and Jeff’s landscape. Discreetly, they’d become coparents in separate living situations, but continuing to thrive as performing professionals and enjoying their growing family. Via social media, I would observe as she and her boys interacted with a newly acquired pup, grieve with her after one of our last rehearsals when this dog had escaped the yard to be fatally struck on the road, then vicariously celebrate the next pet who came to comfort them. Through it all, I could clearly see; Kelly the grandmama spirit loved her house full of boys with the same, open, giving, heart we all had come to both feel and try to return.

The pandemic scourge was particularly hardest on these most gifted stage performers. They treasured their privacy, but thrived in live character; how to make life work, day to day, in such enforced proximity was new and almost formidable. Managing in home virtual learning scenes was a far cry from a sitz probe. Understanding young, tender boys entering adolescence even more daunting.

This is where the curtain rightfully closes. None of us from the outside looking on can know the challenges of another during this universally imposed condition reduced at times to mere existence. Life has become both momentarily exultant and cruel. Just the night before last, Kelly’s entire, rapidly blending family had celebrated her mother’s birthday; and, the following morning, the unthinkable. One of her dear boys born within the same minute had breathed his last, reasons known only to the God we’d hoped would be there.

The obituary appeared just hours ago, written in bursts of expressive color, each detail tumbling over the next as if enough could not be said about this boy named Kris whose emerging dreams lay just before him. Primal screams with no outlet swell our chests. Arms whose reach we cannot even extend grasp the air for the feel of another’s beating heart. Kelly, Jeff, and Mark and the boys remain to endure. From Kelly: “Please be a good friend and a good brother in his honor…… talk to us about him when you see us, even if we cry.”

Kelly, I vow to grant this request. We’ll be bringing our tears, too.

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© 10/4/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

https://www.goerie.com/obituaries/psom0075544

“How Shall We Then Live?”

For many years, this writer has been alluding to having been raised by a sect of Christian Fundamentalists. Most of the time, the context has been apologetic, or in the form of some excuse for alarming or curious reactions to life events. Almost assuming others are looking on with cocked eye or raised eyebrow, I have felt the need to explain why it is that I respond differently to just about everything.

Enter the coronavirus pandemic.

At first sign, I was sure we were in for a radical change in our social and professional landscape. Most thought me purely reactionary, alarmist, then sensationalist. Some laughed, handing me their version of a tin foil hat.

All this proved true but, by the time such reality was manifesting, my prophetic cries were muffled by dictae from the voices of hastily appointed if frequently shifting actual authority.

What ultimately ensued is still affecting everyone, today; yet, the ones out front sounding the call are still pushed aside in favor of some vaguely gathered general consensus by those firmly planted in the middle of the collective scope of reference.

You won’t find me among these. Why?

Because I was raised by a sect of Christian Fundamentalists.

What distinguishes me, and those of my ilk?

First, we view the world through firmly entrenched dependence on the black and white lens. It’s in our cells; we can’t – without excruciating, conscious effort – escape it. We see things from an all or nothing perspective; one is either saved or lost, bound or free, right or wrong.

And, this informs our judgments. When things happen outside of our deliberate action, we must immediately evaluate according to a moral paradigm. “Whatsoever things are true….honest….of good report……” Is there truth, inherent? Is there candor? Is the source trustworthy? Are the instructions clear, and appropriate? And, based on all of the above, what should our course of action then be?

But, it doesn’t end there.

Like most students of the Scriptures, we dig. Deeply. We read, and listen, and consider. We check references. We constantly ask of these: where is your evidence? From whom do you derive your data? No alleged, or self imposed, authority bends our knee. Having been taught to believe that the devil appears as an angel of light, we peel back face value to find what may be hiding behind.

Once we have made all of the determinations outlined above, we are compelled to act. And, act we do, but in a manner which some might term beyond earnest.

It’s called zeal. We don’t just decide, for ourselves. We stand, on the proverbial corner, and preach.

That comes from having been told to do so. “Go ye, into all the world, and preach the gospel to every tongue, people, nation…..” To us, there are no limits to either our scope or sphere of influence. We must tell it, on the mountain, to all.

So, the next time you find yourself recoiling at yet another declaration on social media which doesn’t quite align with that which you and your milieu have come to accept as true, stop. Look. Lean in. Take a moment, or more, and really investigate what is being presented. And, if it’s coming from me or somebody else so inclined, you might find yourself enduring a shift. Don’t let that frighten you. Many call this growth, and most celebrate its worth.

When you do, you may notice a certain kind of clarity of purpose forming. And, this will drive your action toward decisions which bring an even deeper peace. You will have developed a plan for living which no longer depends on following what just seems like an acceptable path presented by those with either the loudest or most pervasive voices; rather, you will have carved one for yourself, from the inside out, and nobody will be able to take that from you.

We in the Plymouth Brethren were taught that this source was the Spirit of God, and the gift given: discernment. I can’t prove the presence of such a Spirit. I have no hard data, on that. What I do have is a driving force, that comes from the center of my cellular nuclei, which moves me to both think, look, listen, read, compare, contrast, verify, contemplate, and then act. And, for that, I make no apology at all.

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Quote footnotes: “How Shall We Then Live?” – Francis Schaeffer; “Go ye into all the world…” Mark 16:15; “Whatsoever things are true…..” Philippians 4:8.

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© 10/1/21 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 and screen shot, permitted without signed written permission of the author. Sharing permitted by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for representing the higher standard.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Perry Street.

People live as cities to fight and flourish. How they do so determines whether or not they survive the winds of change.

In one of these, and to honor its venerated ship captain famed for the Battle of Lake Erie, Perry Street was rolled out through the east side of the city called by its lake. On a short, but memorable, stretch of this gradually ascending path southward, I grew up.

Mrs. Kubasik was stocky, thick, ever in house dress with opaque sup-hose and sturdy laced black work shoes, white hair pulled back tight, spiking strands about the chin on the whitest skin you ever saw. A first generation Pole with thick Eastern European accent, she lived on the corner across, looking left, in a white flat sided Cape Cod, and only came to the door on Hallowe’en.

The mottled grey brick flat was next, upstairs tenant a mystery, downstairs Marie & Honey who both smoked, Honey outliving Marie using a walker to get to the door and subsisting on vanilla ice cream and cartons of Winstons, which I had been enlisted to bring her weekly from Krush’s Superette down the hill and across busy 28th Street where you could buy lemon sherbet in paper push up cups from the cold reach in freezer with the top sliding glass.

Just beyond their driveway, the pale yellow house with the tiny, centered porch, flowers all around, owned and maintained by Mrs. Lacey and her slender, bald, adult son Harold who never said a word. The vacant field right next to them, and directly across from us, was always the easiest access to our cousins, the Marshalls, whose visible garage faced 29th but whose property could be entered by wading through the tall weeded grasses and squeezing past Aunt Dora Mae’s lilac bushes into their driveway. Cousin Frannie had a raccoon in a large rabbit cage on stilts smack in the middle of that garage, never used to house Uncle Frank’s maroon Chrysler which he kept at the curb spanking clean, all the way to any flecks appearing on the hood which he’d deftly capture with a moistened fingertip.

On the other side of the field was the biggest, whitest, single family porched clapboard you ever saw, owned by the Sawtelles, Timmy and his sister and his mother, who also owned the lot on the other side just next to the only Bungalow on the block. Mint green and small and elegant, with shiny hardwood flooring throughout, this demure structure housed Mr. and Mrs. Watson whose granddaughter was murdered out in the county. Mrs. Watson talked at a very rapid tempo, and might have been Jewish though the subject never came up. On Hallowe’en, she would keep the candy just inside the open front door, and we could all see in for quite a bit as she would emerge from the kitchen, across from the hardwood livingroom where Mr. Watson would be sitting near the fireplace in the wingbacked chair reading.

The ash blue Cape Cod on the right side corner at the bottom of our slight hill remained silent for most of my life on Perry until the unnamed man inside died and Mrs. Dias moved in, she without any apparent husband the mother of one girl. Mrs. Dias had dark hair, wore glasses, and was friendly.

Directly across from her were the Rogalas, in a dark red brick Shaker Heights style Cape with the sloping asymmetrical entryway. They had tall, blonde, grown children, all professionals, their son a lawyer, the twin girls one of them an airline stewardess, and Mrs. Rogala would frequently talk about her brood with mum when they’d both be out watering their lawns in the evening. About once a year, we might see one of the girls pop in and out on a visit, always heading to her car in the driveway facing 30th Street, never knowing which twin she was.

We lived in the mauve shingled house dad had built for mum before they remarried each other, which mum designed and whose plans I own rolled up as blueprint and stored in the tall cylinder plan can found a few years ago in an Edinboro antique store. Mum’s pink and purple azaleas and rhododendrons were the focus of bursting color right in the middle of the sunny side of the street, and we were the center of vocal noise on an otherwise quiet stretch of Perry.

Our nextdoor neighbors on the Rogala side were Joe and Vivien Fish, whose house was a small ranch with a 30 foot fir out front and a back cement patio where they’d sit with their black curly haired dog, Michael Sammy, and daughter Marian, drinking into the late evening together, Marian’s guffaws ringing out across to my bedroom window over their driveway. Joe owned a business which he operated out of his basement called Ken’s Permit Service, providing highway documents for semi truckers who would often park their cabs at the curb. We thought they played Poker in the basement every weekend or so, because a couple times a year the big, brown wailing Inhalator would idle by that same curb, revolving red light atop, and carry off some hapless gambler who’d just lost money on a bad hand.

Because only in America, our neighbors on the other side were the Tom Hookers. Theirs was a two story red brick solid, and son Tweed who brought purebred German Shepherds from Germany where he was stationed, daughter Kathy who always ran down the hill up the porch steps and into the house but who died of an aneurysm too young, and youngest Tom Jr who lay in the backyard summers and actually talked to me a couple times once I became of age all often seen, Tweed less so, eldest daughter Alex already married who smoked as much as her mother and died of lung cancer after only having a pain near her collarbone. Tom senior outlived his wife and two daughters, walked with a limp from the war, and tended his yard every day, chatting with mum across the chain link fence where the Honeysuckle grew as she trimmed and weeded the flowers and he always giving her huge, Beefsteak tomatoes from his garden. The week mum was dying, he was still outside even in the history breaking heat, warning us that Ensure was milk based and would cause more mucous in her throat.

The house next to Hookers faced 29th Street. Mrs. Yaeger lived there, also first generation like her neighbor to the right but German, the only German on our block on Perry though the entire east side had been settled by them.

We were the only Italians, for blocks, on Perry or the entire east side until 26th Street because dad met mum on a train. Everybody had porches, and flowerbeds, and driveways, and every house across from us had a big Maple tree on the curb except the two corners which took the sun full on. We had the telephone pole, and all the cables feeding everyone’s conversations came from it across front lawns and the street under the tree branches. Our short block and its slight grade to the right stood between the two steepest hills on Perry Street, which took all who traveled it all the way south to 38th, passing Lincoln School and Immanuel Presbyterian to the corner at the very top.

A few years ago, a major windstorm took down the 30 foot fir in front of what used to be Fishes house, throwing it across the road and blocking Perry Street for days. Joe and Debbie had moved in after the Fishes retired to Florida, replaced thereafter by Hank and Bonnie who lost the tree. Billy Blanks’ family bought Rogalas, Tullio Construction had a small house built on the field property where Ann, its first tenant, might still reside, Lee and Mary moved into Lacey’s and the rest faded into the future to become Dad’s new neighborhood after mum died, looking out for him and giving him leftovers whenever they were able.

As the fiery battle raged on the Bay, Captain Oliver Hazard Perry hoisted a flag upon whose face the inscription read: “Don’t Give Up The Ship!”. Those who’d settled that little block between East 29th and 30th never did, holding on to their own histories, their heritage, their identities, through ’til the last of their brood was grown and gone. The neighborhood is still quiet, shaded by Maples, mum’s azaleas and rhododendrons since removed by dad for the mosquitoes – did I talk to him, for a week? – replaced by rose bushes and children, playing in the now fenced in front yard she used to mow and hose all by herself.

Perry Street’s people always held on, knowing and caring for one another.

Sail on, neighborhoods.

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© 9/30/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No names have been changed; all are authentic residents of Perry Street, circa 1957 – 2009. No copying, in whole, part or translation including screen shot, permitted without signed written permission from the author. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for respecting the true story.

littlebarefeetblog.com

That Old Head Game.

[ formerly titled “Notions Of Love.” ]

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Love can be a head game.

We never really escape filling in the blanks for those to whom we’re attracted, with traits we’re hoping to find. The biggest surprise is that the other person almost never possesses them.

I’ve done it, every time.

When the other person fills in those blanks for us, either deliberately or by expression, we either disregard them or choose to deny.
No; she can’t really be a narcissist.
No; he can’t really be needy.

I thought she was smart, cute, and talented but she insists she’s tedious, demanding, and starkly self centered. I thought he was strong, sexy, and self possessed but he insists he is arthritic, obsessive, and oppressed by a need to please.

If this pandemic doesn’t kill us, something will. I just want to know another, anticipate a time when I can feel free to be with another once again, and pray he’ll see the whole world like I do.

Is prayer a head game, too?

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© 9/26/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying in whole or part, including translation and screen shot, without written request signed by the author. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for respecting original material. Don’t be a thief.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Trigger of Tragedy.

For so many, this has been a week of gutting loss.

When truly terrible things happen to other humans, everyone processes the reality. Some are able to remain detached, almost reflective or even cerebral. Others personalize. But, whether subliminal or literal, from its affect there is no true escape. How can any not be reminded of the fragility of every breath, when another’s is snuffed out?

To the traumatized, tragic events throw us back to our most recent assaulting experiences – however brief, however private. Even if identities are unknown, we seek them as if, in the naming, we can meld to them our own sensate responses, giving these place.

None of this is comprehended by the critical mind. One has to know with the tactile sense, or the auditory, held in deep subconscious. If memories of being stalked, or abused, are stored these emerge with a vengeance even at the news of ill befalling the vulnerable. Our wounded selves must make sense through the senses.

I once knew someone whose behavior patterns were self sabotaging, reckless, even life threatening. To this day, every time a vehicle matching in description the one this person drove is involved in a collision, my entire body endures multiple emotions in rapid succession: shock; panic; fear; uncertainty; obsession; compulsion; relief. This response is ingrained, trained by a period of years.

Humans are wired to relive every unresolved experience which has threatened health and welfare. And, resolution is slow to realize. When another’s life is taken at the hands of a trusted partner, particularly inside the haven of home, the feeling of personal threat returns with a force beyond mere empathy. In the grip of such reaction, grief is not proprietary; it becomes the domain of all who have ever felt anything.

Yes. Tragedy triggers. We must give ourselves permission to not only grieve but accept that, in our grief, we are far from alone. We have become a part of a collective of loss.

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© 8/30/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line.

littlebarefeetblog.com

I Didn’t Believe It.

A few years ago, a friend said “You can’t believe ‘mainstream media.’ They are owned, their message controlled.”

I considered the flawless graphics. The seamless edits. The impeccable delivery, coming from major news outlets. No; I didn’t believe what my friend said.

[ Having been lured, by at least two men – each with exquisite taste in both clothes and furnishings – and, who’d turned out to be sociopathic, somehow, I never even bothered to correlate, or take a lesson then, either – false equivalencies, notwithstanding. ]

By contrast, what my friend offered as a source of trustworthy information was kitschy. Glitzy. Overdone, and sensationalist. Surely, such a presentation had to be suspect, its content not worthy of a second look. So, I didn’t look. I didn’t believe it.

But, there were publications, my friend persisted, by first hand observers with credentials. I viewed the books, read the authors names – authors unfamiliar to me, their book jackets embossed with outsized, gaudy fonts. Shades of Scientology. More delusional grandeur. I passed; again, I didn’t believe it.

Still, my friend would not be moved. There were videos.

Wearily, I turned to see: more of same. Punchy anthems. Animated, attention grabbing cartoons, peppered with inflammatory symbology. From bad to worse, I wasn’t just offput; this was repugnant. Not only did I not believe it, I. would. not.

Fast forward. Beyond all the sleek, sophisticated, state of the art imaging – and, equally subliminal messaging.

[ Decades earlier, I’d trained in graphic design and product promotion. Surely, I knew the strategies, the tactics, the money trail following that which had earned top commercial attention? Again, a major gap, an absence of neurotransmission critical to direct correlation. ]

Something about a virus, coming across from countries far away and threatening everything I called real and sustainable. Matters of literal life and death became the order of the day and, with these, a paradigm shift in, yes; belief.

Today, I am living proof that what one recognizes as familiar, what is trusted because it presents convincingly, and what is ubiquitous by its very repeating appearance can be, in fact, a manipulation so insidious as to be capable of capturing even those in possession of respectably high intelligence. The only prerequisite is susceptibility. To being primed, if you will. Groomed.

[ Is one rendered susceptible? If so, by what means? By first being starved, until hungry and, parched, ready to absorb anything? ]

This evening, I viewed a news feature story on, yes; a major news outlet. This time, I sat from a very different perspective. The narrator was portraying an animal product about which I was very familiar. But, the product was being systematically maligned, point by point until, climaxing with a close up of a horse’s head, it was summarily dismissed and rejected.

The only problem with this story was that I was living proof of its contradiction. I had been consuming a prescribed form of the illustrated product – formulated for humans – for several months and, in fact, had never felt better. My metabolism had been jump started; fat had melted off; my digestion had improved, my skin was clear, and the lower back pain greeting me after sleep was as gone as the sugar cravings which had plagued me for years.

Yet, this product was being described as having poisoned people. To the unsuspecting (yes: susceptible) listener, the word “poison” would be a powerful deterrent, possibly even affect-ively arousing so much fear so as to block any discernment.

Discernment. Discernment would have permitted noticing that the pharmaceutical grade of the product, prescribed for actual humans, was being de-emphasized – though such very much did exist. Discernment would have revealed that only two alleged cases of adverse effect had even been cited, and that anonymously (masked by, yes; sleek, sophisticated camera work and the edgiest of computer graphics), almost to the level of heresay. Taken in totality, the story was an obvious slam, a near slander of a medication which had won the Nobel Prize many decades before, used continuously thereafter across the globe against life threatening disease.

Yes. Disease. And, now, mountains of real world data (the kind involving actual people, en masse, not controlled comparison trials which allow equal numbers, part of a placebo group, to risk losing their lives at the hand of a sugar pill) for many, many months had proved that lives were being saved from the pervasive, current threat using this same wonderful substance in the same kind of repurposed form that so many other similar preparations had been found to effectively function for years.

Suddenly, I’d come face to face with a tectonic shift. That shift was happening in my own mind. I was perceiving that which was being put before me with an entirely new perspective. I’d like to call this enlightenment, were it not for the shadow cast. That shadow is hereby indicted, responsible for the gross misleading of incredibly large numbers of people, huddled masses waiting to be fed, accepting as nourishment only poison.

Believe it.

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© 8/28/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, however unknown by any reader, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. You will respect original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com

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The Unqualified.

Hello, Readers.

According to the WordPress.com stats, my blog hasn’t had any hits since August 20th. An internal bug rendered my Privately set posts vulnerable, and I can’t even know if the site itself has closed all traffic to my pieces.

So, it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. Too busy searching and viewing video testimonials, from scientists and doctors and other health authorities, trying to both maintain safe distance from threat and to forewarn those I love.

But, now, we have to confront another force.

I’ll call this The Travesty of Integrity.

An article popped up, today, at MSN’s Firefox set of recommended reads. The title appears in the attached graphic. Did I read the piece? Nope. Call it revulsion; not, at all, interested. Not interested in finding out how to get the job for which somebody else is more qualified.

Why?

To my mind, we have entered a new low in social responsibility. Disengenuity; false representation; masquerading. Call it what you will. People are not not only attempting to fake out potential employers, but actually ENCOURAGING the action?

This reminds me of a phase of early childhood development called “pretending.” Very young children learn to mimic roles they observe being played out around them. They “play doctor”, “teacher”……..”superhero”.

And, among children, this is considered by psychologists to be normal. Helps form identity, and identification with adult roles regarded as responsible or achievable.

NOW — individuals are being taught how to skip all the steps taken beyond that phase and actually seek a job interview, expecting to contribute equally alongside those who have spent the hours, days, weeks, months, and years becoming either fully credible authorities or skilled at a high level.

Do we WANT a society led by charlatans?

Will we survive, ruled by them?

Because, that is what will happen. This generation of unqualified pretenders may one day hold our very lives in their hands.

Mark that.

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© 8/22/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for respecting original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The God Favorite.

God won’t be reading this.

He’s too busy watching over his chosen few.

You know the type. Always “blessed”. Always proclaiming their countless blessings, to the world, specifically on social media.

Invariably, such blessings only qualify if they can be held in the hand, like, okay, say, the handle to the double doors of a converted Southern plantation, or the reins of a willing horse.

Sometimes, natural disaster strikes. Theirs is the only house spared. Another burst of thanksgiving, to the God who cares about them the most.

Being bailed out after stupid decision making, like surviving food poisoning after refusing to wash bagged big agra lettuce or successfully pooping after 48 hours of bareback riding? These, while qualified, rarely get any airtime; one mustn’t embarrass the God of All Creation, lest He be miffed and withhold future cloudbursts.

Somebody who loved so many and deigned to love me, too, provided what I’ve concluded is the meaning of being blessed by a God who is no respecter of persons. That person was Mammy Sweet, and she was my grandmother.

Mammy stayed home. She didn’t own a car. She didn’t have a driver’s license. While she was still able, she walked to Sunday morning meeting – down the block, left, then down the short hill to the church we all called the assembly hall because, English and Plymouth Brethren, the real church was the body of Christ according to Scripture.

When she wasn’t dressed for Sunday all day, she’d be up with the sun to put on her support hose, sturdy shoes, a cotton apron over her cotton shift, and be about the house and garden. There were rows and rows of vegetables to plant, harvest, can, and eat; there were roses and peonies to feed the bees, a plum and pear tree, and countless perennials close growing both near the trees and through the rock gardens out front. In winter, there was bread to bake, and rugs to braid, and clothes to alter or sew from scratch.

After a full day in sunlight, rest was defined by the rocker, near the phone, where she regularly called the family or wrote letters or prayed.

In her world, blessing was defined in small moments, undeclared and unobserved by anyone, recognized in silent smiles as the sun set through the criss crossing silken curtains. I like to think that, because she bloomed where she was planted, living a life of worship and work, she was blessed with length of days. In turn, those days provided the blessing for all who knew her, for every hour of her 98 plus years on the earth.

It didn’t matter who else knew. Her God saw, and was well pleased.

She read the Word, and held it in her heart.

Chosen? Maybe.

Favored?

Only God knows.

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© 7/30/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Be blessed, and know it. God isn’t just your Show And Tell story.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Serendipkitty.

The drive south was almost welcomed, seeing as there still weren’t many places this pandemic-resistant girl could plant herself outside of home, sweet home. Thermograms were yearly, non-invasive, worth both the money and time. After assuming all the positions, and a nice chat with thermographer Judy, RN, about whatsoever was true and what wasn’t and how many friends had turned their backs, she reached into the Altoid box to present compensation. No small horror: was her recently replaced credit card truly missing??

Now, how many hours of brain wracking would it take to haul back and retrieve the last time that wretched piece of plastic had escaped her grasp?

With some meuwing and striving, she pinpointed: June 9. The drug store drive through – and, the skinny sack, with its new migraine autoinjector, package insert and, of course, those famous last words of the dispensing teller: “Card’s in the bag.”

(But, hadn’t she needed that package insert last week, only to come up empty?!)

Now, the required call to the bank, for a check of recent transactions. All familiar; all well. She’d be home in an hour, time enough to turn the house upside down.

Rifling through the receipt box for the umpteenth time, she was sure this exercise would be further futility until, two parts determination binding with equal parts go for broke, there it was: the drug store bag. Eagerly, she squeezed the base and popped open its mouth.

What emerged provoked a moment of delight powerful enough to obliterate the Delta variant.

No. It wasn’t the credit card. That, she would find in the kitchen, only moments hence, wrapped in, yep, the clear plastic pouch housing one cumbersome freezer pack used to keep the migraine injector frigid. No. This?

This was her precious – and, three week long lost – Kitty Mask.

The pandemic had created one fashion statement, and this had been it. Her Bonnie-made kitty mask – the favorite, with its silly smiling cartoon cats, bright sunlit liner, and yellow ear beads.

As if propelled, in only seconds she bounded toward the kitchen, honing in on the sack holding the credit card, too.

Ya hadda live in that house. Ya hadda get that everyone coped in their own way, and most never let on how dreary and even despondent life had made them. This was a two-fer. What was lost had been found – twice.

Carry on, little birds. May all your trips south be as bountiful.

Me-ouuw.

Grandma Made by Bonnie Garren Matthews

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© 7/19/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.

You Will Want This.

You will want this information. Much of it will surprise you. You will be immensely grateful that the three gentlemen provided it for your viewing, and you should note that the man appearing in the middle is a credentialed PhD, the man on his left is an engineer, and the bearded, white-haired man on his RIGHT is Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of mRNA vaccine technology and RNA transfection.

The link to their video interview, shared below in this post, does not travel with a preview. Trust me. I’ve viewed it in its entirety, and it is neither corrupted nor profane nor obscene nor vulgar nor violent.

Please click on it, and be sure you are seated comfortably, as the discussion is intense and runs over two hours. I recommend that you spend three sessions, devoting one hour apiece, to the presentation.

Thank you for visiting this blog. It is my earnest desire that I present what my own investigation has unearthed for the purpose of thoroughly educating my readers in matters related to their health, welfare, and safety. And, now, I give you How To Save The World, in Three Easy Steps:

https://odysee.com/@BretWeinstein:f/how-to-save-the-world%2C-in-three-easy:0?r=2uraDXFN4uRNBYuABwmnmjrecGZNXDsX

Having a Log In Problem at WORDPRESS.COM?

DEAR FELLOW BLOGGERS:

HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE VISITED your OWN BLOG – WITHOUT SIGNING IN – and, NOTICED THAT the HEADER APPEARS AS IF YOU ARE SIGNED IN?

HOW MANY OF YOU LOG OUT, AFTER HAVING BEEN LOGGED IN DRAFTING A PIECE, AND DISCOVER THAT THE HOMEPAGE STILL APPEARS WITH THE HEADER ACROSS THE TOP – AS IF YOU ARE S.T.I.L.L. SIGNED IN?

HOW MANY OF YOU have asked the Happiness Engineers for Help with this, only to be told that you are still Signed In (even when you know you have signed out??)

How many of you have set some of your entries to Private, only to discover that, when you are LOGGED OUT of the SITE, and you visit as a guest just to check, your Private posts are still accessible in totality when you click on “continue reading”?

These are all problems which, on my site, have been ongoing.

One Happiness Engineer claimed that my Cache still had me Signed in, and that this is why – even though I was Signed Out – it appeared as if I was signed in when I visited a few minutes/hours later.

Does any of that make any logical sense, from a security standpoint?

Please feel free to comment liberally, below this post, IF you ARE a WordPress blogger and have experienced anything like this. If you are NOT a WordPress blogger, and are just an obsessive troll exploiting the opportunity to spout off about prophesying Israel’s Messiah, do NOT comment as I will NOT Approve your comment and nobody will ever see it.

Thank you!!

Ruth Ann Scanzillo, author littlebarefeetblog.com

Killer Papers.

I could always smell it.

I just couldn’t find it.

Early on, hits from exotic places like United Arab Emirates, or Hong Kong, or South Africa fed my sad, yea hapless, ego. I thought people from all over the world were reading my stuff. What a dork.

Only in recent months would an old former colleague (he’s both) reveal how easy it was to fake a location online. South Africa was more than likely Wattsburg, PA and the reason for the hits?

Killer Papers.

How many college students were paying ghost writers to rip off everything I’d created from scratch since July 2014?

WordPress couldn’t protect my work. Nobody could. I’d likely been parsed out until there was nothing left. Only WordPress, ironically enough, had the time stamped evidence of the date of origination of my essays and poems. Would they show up in court? Whom would they send?

The pandemic was exhausting. The vaccine roll out, excruciating. The psychological horrors, mind devolving. Was it cognitive decline, or all of the above?

Killers, all.

Where are the royalties? Will my self published series’ tell the tale?

Or, has everybody already long since forgotten the story?

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© 7/11/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, the actual originator of the above, whose stories are all hers and whose name appears above this line. All the good people are gone.

littlebarefeetblog.com

“I Believe In Science.”

Hardly anything in this life is more worthy of celebration than news of human healing. Who could possibly argue?

Hearing that a beloved young woman – beleaguered by protracted physical symptoms – has finally received both a diagnosis and effective treatment, I am moved to speak.

What will I say? That I’m grateful she has found a qualified diagnostician? That the prescription she’s taking is working? That her symptoms are finally receding?

ALL of the above.

Yes. I believe in science. Science – the discipline involving the harnessing of nature’s evidence and applying critical methods to what it can tell us about the physical world and the sustenance of life within it.

What are the roots of the scientific inquiry? Humans want to know about that which occurs over which we creatures seem to have no dominion. Hence, the study of physics, astronomy, geology, biology, physiology, ecology, and the first of humankind’s actions upon the latter, chemistry.

What I do know, to which historical documentation will attest, is that the advent of human healing practices dates back to early homo sapiens and their counterparts, Neanderthals. Things which arise from the earth itself, plant and mineral material, were among the first of what came to be known as human medicines.

Investigate the culture of Native Americans, and others across the globe; the evidence is virtually everywhere. Plant salves, poultices, oils, and powders. These were the first medicines. In some tribes, such formulations were the domain of shamans or gurus or other healers by name, those who made it their life purpose to prepare and provide the healing treatments.

“Modern” medicine, with its study of bio-chemistry and use of man-made technologies (leading to bio-chemical engineering), has reached a broad capacity to diagnose multiple human ills. But, the medicines formulated still contain fundamental features always present since time immemorial: plant and mineral derived material. The stuff of the earth, itself.

Controversies rage over the comparative value between pharmacologically prepared vs. naturally formulated offerings. Yet, whether one chooses to ingest a solid caplet or capsule, or a powder, or a solution; whether one injects, or swallows, or topically applies; the source of any one of such choices is the root of all science: earth’s basic elements, and the manner in which they interact molecularly.

Science is the study of that which occurs, naturally, and how humankind gathers all the evidence thereof toward practical use. As such, I believe in science – wholeheartedly, in all its manifestations, because I, as a creature, cannot deny it.

Yes. As a study, science is pure – the examination of the expressions of life itself. But, when the scientist ceases to be in service of health, wellness, and all forms of life sustenance and becomes a tool in the hands of the experimental, great and fearful caution need be taken. The manipulations which can occur within the scientific experiment can reveal nefarious motives. Moral compromise. Falsified data. Misleading conclusion. The list grows.

Ask any chemist. Harnessing molecules and creating new ways to bind them has birthed a man made world. Enter humankind, and its propensity toward greed, covetousness, and corruption. To what end will intellectual curiosity bend minds otherwise committed to the service of the quality of life?

I will never deny science. What I will challenge is human motive in its service. To that end, if I must, and in the interests of both self preservation and community protection, I will defy the scientist.

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© 6/15/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying in part or whole, including translation, permitted. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for being the good person.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Late Boomer.

Duct cleaning was the real world equivalent of a colonoscopy.

Beyond fundamental purging of the crud adhered to household infrastructure, what mattered in the end (npi) was all the unfinished business unearthed in the process.

I’d purchased the old farmhouse in ’89, at the ripening age of 32. Among my phase of the Boomer generation, this was considered respectably progressive; most single girls were renting in townhouse complexes held up by select, emerging studs. I was the girl with other things to do.

Like, build a creative life.

And, toward that particular endeavor, such construction yielded the acquisition of: things.

It only took three decades. In that time, I’d managed to retain eighteen throw pillows, four keyboards, seven hundred ninety eight gig check stubs, one Koehler beer bottle, George Foreman mini grill, Jack Lalane Juicer, Oster food processor, Skinny bullet, Cuisinart countertop, two rotary phones, seventeen curio boxes, six hat carriers, five unmatched end tables (from Sundance), ten lamps, three sofas, fourteen area rugs(half off, shipped direct), and each piece of clothing ever handmade by Mum or purchased from Newport News catalog. Everything was a potential theater prop. Every issue of The International Musician, Suzuki journal, CD sample, 8.5 x 11 page of sheet music, and idea scrawled empty envelope ever hewn, molded, collated, or conceived. Hard copy was the hallmark of my people; we had history, because we made history.

But, post-pandemic, it was time to get this hoard in order.

Duct cleaning services only ask for the simplest compliance: make every warm air vent and cold air return accessible. Large expanding hoses, I dimly remembered from well over a decade past, needed to be attached to each and then run outside through a noisy compressor the size of a pediatric hot air balloon in the shape of a human stomach. A couple hours hence, and the digestive system of the old Saraceno homestead would be purged.

Well, not so fast.

The constipation of thirty plus years was compacted. Furthermore, like most artists, I’d re-designed the floor layout as many times as the visual landscape warranted, which was frequently, and with no regard for anything as life sustaining as air flow. And the cellar, become the catch all for 25 years in K-12 vocal /general /instrumental and dramatic music, held enough foamboard, posterboard, cardboard, laminate, and plastic binned handhelds to start a very smelly bonfire at a summer camp.

Speaking of fire, I’d spent the two full hours and nineteen minutes ensconced in the attic loft contemplating how many minutes it might take to evacuate my four most precious treasures in the event of such an alarm. From there, I could hear the two cleaning guys at the back mud room doorway as they wrapped up their afternoon.

Then, it happened. That moment, in every Woody Allen film, where the frame falls away and the viewer – exposed – becomes the central character. From my perch on the landing of the loft, I heard one say to the other:

“This place is a mess.”

Down the back stairway I pummeled, ready for confrontation. Had they finished, and was I not so sorry about the cluttered entryway and the prohibiting things. What was the condition of the ducts. Genuinely surprised, I stared as the one who denied making any judgment declared that neither the ducts nor the vents were caked in soot. What, then, had caused the overwhelming dust bunny convention in virtually every room of the house?

My collection of, you guessed it: things.

Paper and cardboard, to be exact. The stuff of all conflagration. The cause of the problem was the problem. Shit, effectively begetting shit.

In spite of the questionable integrity of the first floor wiring, the Nutone heat lamp timer on the bathroom wall still worked. If I set it to its maximum 15 minutes, I could start at the south end of the kitchen and work my way north. The white washed Pier I country house bench, wedding gift from Lisa in ’93, would be the first suffocation rescue; what remained would take the rest of my life.

Faintly, in the distance of my inevitable future, I could almost feel it:

Boom.

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© 6/10/2021 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, permitted. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for respecting the transparencies of original writers.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Owner.

We live in prophetic times.

You think you are free to speak? Think, again.

This blog post will include two video links. Both of them represent presentations I recorded and subsequently uploaded to YouTube for broadcast on my channel to which, if you are a regular subscriber to this blog, you have already been introduced.

For each of these I received “Strikes.” According to the Tube’s algorithms, the content of each violated both their Community Standards and their Medical Standards, for the former suspect of containing “scam, deceptive practices, or spam” (imagine that!) and, the latter, information related to health and wellness which could “cause harm”.

In both cases, I was stunned – and, chilled, by memories of Nazi tyranny and similar types of oppression employing subversive surveillance.

In both cases, I was offered the option to Appeal and, in both cases, my submitted Appeals were rejected. At this point, due to the second Strike, I am forbidden from posting, commenting or uploading any content to my channel for one week.

Here are three URL links to the videos which were stricken from my channel; the second (a mere 47 second intro clip) contains no cover image, so it appears only as a link with no accompanying image. I have edited them not at all, merely recorded them on my phone for re-upload via Bluetooth. The audio/video quality is poor, but their content can be absorbed. Please turn your Volume up, or wear a headset for better audio transmission. After viewing, feel free to comment as to the nature of their content in the Comment option below this post. Thank you.

Protect American rights.

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And, next: the following INTRO clip about Dr Kuhn’s Copper masks (click the link):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/z3mgheBvCLkG/

And, FINALLY, the REST of the video covering Dr. Kuhn’s Masks, as well as my covid protocol.

Thank you for viewing these videos, and for preparing your commentary for entry below the post. You don’t have to have a WordPress account to comment; just choose the email address option, or other options as they appear below the Comment block. Thanks, again !!!

© 5/19/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo littlebarefeetblog.com

The Retriever.

Nero loved to chase the stick.

And, she was born in the backseat of a junked car. Go figure.

Markings of a Shepherd, but with a butt bigger than her face and ears that just wanted to flop over, we knew nothing of her heritage and, for much of her life, didn’t care. She was high energy, outspoken, wriggly, affectionate, and loved.

But, the retriever in her was locked and loaded.

I never knew which part she craved most. Was it the running, or the catch? Clearly, her ancestors went for the birds; the higher and faster the stick flew, the more she scrambled to tumble over herself at the capture. Whichever, this dog ran tirelessly after her “prey.”

Retrieval. For this aging Boomer, the singular challenge. In my case, not chasing a prototype mallard, mine is the ever ephemeral: thought.

The choicest fowl to fly across my firmament most often appears on the cusp of sleep. A kernel, a title, for the next essay. The whole piece, were I awake enough to log on and begin, would write itself; yet, if I do not rise up, feel for the crayon, and scribble the two at most three words into my bedside book, by morning…….flown.

Why, however, does the mind retrieve everything else instead?

Why will it totally recall seeing, even hearing the idea as well as the very position of my body at that moment, without re-sending the bird across my sky? Because, once flown….gone?

Last week, due to ongoing migraine plus my mother’s history with brain cancer I had my once every decade brain MRI. The radiologist was thorough; no lesions, no evidence of stroke, just those pesky, chronic microvascular ischemic “hot spots” in my white matter. The neurologist, fielding my pile of questions, insisted vascular constriction as a cause, said provocateurs being pain meds, the summatriptan I’d taken for over twenty years, and the headaches themselves along with several other indicators most of which did not appear on my health profile. My BP was generally below normal; I never smoked; I wasn’t obese. Yes; I’d had mildly elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and one month with an A1C of 5.8. But, mostly, my vessels were just sick of being squeezed, and several of the most remote were caving.

Dad, a multi-decade marathoner, had always loved to quote author Jim Fixx:

” Running opens up new avenues of blood vessels!”, he’d crow, after a hot shower upon return from four hours on the open road.

Fortunately, there was hope; for every death, a theoretical regeneration. All I need do was get up off my spreading rear and move.

The same likely not said for the elusive thoughts which had traveled each now defunct pathway. Nero had also succumbed — to a flipped stomach, a horrible way for a dog to die and caused, sure enough, by running on a full belly. The retriever in her, ever at war with the digestive system of whichever breed(s) populated the rest of her DNA.

In our beloved Nero’s memory I’d resolve to get up, and run. Run, for the blood, the vessels, the mind, and every thought which elected to gain entry.

Chasing the stick was in my genes, too.

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© 5/05/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. No copying, in whole, part, or by translation, permitted. Thanks for being the honorable person.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Is Anybody ASKING ??

THIS IS A RE-UPLOAD OF THE SAME VIDEO WHICH FIRST APPEARED HERE. I had to circumvent a GLITCH which caused the audio>video to go out of sync. The content remains the same, with the occasional additional subtitled caption, for further clarity.

*IF VIEWING ON A SMART PHONE, PLEASE TAP the “CC” in the upper RIGHT AREA of the opening frame. THIS activates CAPTIONS, an ESSENTIAL, CLARIFYING ELEMENT in this presentation. Thank you!

RuthAnnTALKS …..because, nobody else will ?

© 4/24/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo

Feel free to visit Ruth Ann Scanzillo’s Music and Musings, at YouTube, for more yammering home.

littlebarefeetblog.com

“Erietown.”

To a creative, idea theft is the ultimate violation.

When I was a server for DENNY’S, Inc, the ubiquitous family restaurant chain, my District Manager took a proposal I presented at a store meeting and unveiled it as his own, District wide, in Willoughby, Ohio.

During a stint as judge for a student instrumental music competition, I made what I thought was an astute comment as we on the panel discussed prior to meeting with the proctor to hand over our decision. When the proctor appeared, another member of the panel took the words right out of my mouth, offering them to the proctor.

The real clincher came during my two decades as elementary music teacher. I wore theatrical costumes, self devised, every day; every lesson had a theme, and my get up with props served that objective. The kids were enrapt, mouths agape; never once did I ever need to raise my voice in discipline.

Soon, young women began appearing in my classroom. They were elementary ed students from the nearby college in the county, sent to observe my work. Eagerly, they soaked up everything I ever did. What I didn’t realize was that they were just as eagerly reporting back – to their methods instructor.

It would be a good five years hence, and a forced move to a different site, for me to realize what had unfolded. A young student teacher asked if she could present a lesson to my music class for credit. I obliged. When she entered my room in full snorkel and flippers, my heart fell to my feet. Later, I would discover that her “mentor” was a woman at the very same institution which had sent its young to my original classroom. Apparently, this woman had scrambled to establish herself all the way to a doctorate in education, publishing and hosting workshops specifically targeting integrating music into the classroom. And, to my mind and heart, she’d done it riding on the back of my singular efforts of the previous five years, possibly others as well.

Of course, in every case as outlined, no credit was ever given to the source.

During the first year or so of my foray into the world of blogging, I was pretty much oblivious of skulking and lurking pirates. By the time my folly was realized, hundreds of chapters of my life had been disclosed at this, my writer’s site. How many times could my words have been parsed out? Maybe thousands?

Granted, my story is as unique as anyone’s. But, one aspect stands out: every observation always came from the lens of one who was both born, raised, and ever lived in one place: Erie, Pennsylvania.

We all dream of great accolade. I think it’s part of our natural egoism, borne in the part of our brain which drives survival. We want not just to be alive, but productively so and, then, once we’ve worked our fingers to the bone and our hearts to their core, we hope that at least one person we have come to respect notices. We want our efforts to seal our social security on the planet.

But, just now, after having read a piece about Evangelicals and the covid vaccine, I noted its author: Connie Schultz. Googling her, I was stunned to see that she’d published a novel for which the Pulitzer Prize had been awarded. The title about took my breath: “The Daughters of Erietown”.

Sure. She came from Ashtabula, and her town in the novel is fictitiously attributed to Ohio. But, everybody who has grown up and lived here knows that, for decades, all the local news and weathermen had one, affectionate moniker for our city: “Erietown”.

So, nobody around here is fooled.

As for whether my exhaustive efforts as an amateur writer have been compromised, I am certainly powerless to argue the point. In a couple weeks: birthday 64. Nope; never met nor married a politician. I have yet to gather my chapters into a novel. Perhaps, by now, doing so will be moot. Everybody else consistently gets there first, whether by hook or by crook, and my name will have never come up in the conversation.

But, if you’re reading this now and you have been following since the fall of 2014, go buy the book. Read it. Let me know if you see anything familiar. Or, not. Write me off as a jealous sniveler who cannot take action, on her own behalf, to promote her own work up to the speed of those not otherwise sporting the big “L” on their foreheads.

Meantime, you know what I’ll be doing. Plugging away, like Erma Bombeck, from my sofa in the livingroom of my house on Poplar Street. Maybe something I say will have raised a thought, pricked a conscience, hit a nerve, touched a heart.

Or, not. That part is up to our ever-lovin’ Creator, who makes all things new every morning.

Now, there’s an idea nobody can steal.

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© 4/11/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights, yes, she’s going there, those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Sharing by blog link, exclusively; no copying, in whole or part including translation, permitted without signed permission. Thank you for being less ambitious and more good.

littlebarefeetblog.com

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The Carrier.

CHAPTER 46.

The fresh zucchini had endured that suctioned sealer long enough. Removing both small tubes from the fridge shelf, she noted that each had become a bit moist and rubberized, more like the consistency of a full water balloon. Yet the touch to the tongue revealing no revolting after taste, she peeled, sliced lengthwise, lay each “finger” in a drizzle of olive oil, and set the pan about slow frying.

As the oil peppered its flesh, she added a liberal dress of herbs and spices. Oregano leaf. Basil. Smoked Paprika. Then, Onion powder and, finally, Celery Seed. Inhaling the chemistry, satisfied she covered the pan, and reduced the heat to just enough for smolder; then, removing a palm sized chunk of Goat Cheese from its bin, she scooped out a couple generous swaths. This would coat the bottom of the dish, she decided, to melt later.

Just in case the squash might be a tad overripe she tossed a few drops of apple cider vinegar in the mix, to kill any aggressive pestilence. There were dishes in the sink and, motivation to wash them always at the mercy of aversion, she rationalized a bit of extra time for frying and soaped up around a third of these, letting the saucepan sizzle for about four more minutes. Zucchini was usually baked, anyway; extra time in the pan wouldn’t kill anything except the part she wouldn’t want disturbing her delicate gut flora.

Minutes later, ladling the now limpid legs onto her trusty Corningware plate with its molded handle, she took a flat knife and spread the Goat cheese up and over and around the entire mixture of zucchini and herbs, watching it melt and meld into the meal.

Eating this little dinner, she smiled. It was so good. Zucchini was, after all, naturally tasteless – the perfect vehicle for the reason she cooked like this in the first place. Really, cuisine was about flavor, nutrients and a texture carrier. Who wanted to melt cheese on a plate, then douse it with leaves of plant? Spreading everything that had both pungence and palatability across one generic summer squash meant that she could taste the divine yet give her teeth a reason to crunch.

She still had her teeth, all of them but one, in fact, and being able to chew voraciously meant that she was still quite alive enough to live in her own house and use a fork. Good enough reason for one bland vegetable to carry everything else worth loving, while she still had breath.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 4/10/21. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Sharing by blog link, exclusively; no copying, in whole or part including translation, permitted. Thanks for being the honorable person.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Show Up And Play.

Nightmares.

Some are so soul crushing that the relief which occurs upon waking is akin to epiphany.

I’d found myself back in the cello section of the Erie Philharmonic. (That alone, to those who know the history, was already a foreboding dream marker.) Herewith, the scene unfolding.

First, the orchestra was performing in the pit not of the spacious and soon to be reborn Warner Theatre/Erie, PA but of Grover Cleveland Elementary School, a site never before graced by this orchestra (although the Erie Chamber Orchestra would find its way there a year or so before its own demise). Further, my position in the cello section was outside last desk (which had almost never been my seat) and the cellist sitting inside was a student, the only private student who had left my studio during my actively performing years and who, during this scene, was no longer my student. Given this arrangement, the dream concert would likely have been a Jr Phil “side by side” performance, no doubt inspired by photos posted on Facebook which I’d just perused before retiring to bed the night before.

I’d taught at Grover Cleveland School for twelve of the twenty five in total dedicated to related arts, public education. My seat as outside last desk in that pit put me very near the spot of the place where, twelve years earlier, in full view of an auditorium filled to capacity with young children and their teachers, I’d flown from the stage edge to smash to the floor, breaking my hip and sacra.

Now, in that very place, the orchestra sat in dress rehearsal. My former student was sustaining sound on one note noticeably beyond cue of the conductor’s baton, affectionately known by seasoned professionals as “the stick”. Watching the stick had been something to which I’d been absolutely loyal for nearly 30 years. This was a feature of my own contribution to the ensemble which I’d been sure established my value within it.

I gave my former student a sidelong glance of teacherly disapproval.

Suddenly, the dream scene changed. The conductor was at my elbow, leaning across me, lavishing the student with praise – and, ignoring me. This conductor, that is, none other than the Maestro to whom I’d been most devoted, the one and only Eiji Oue who, as a Bernstein protege, had filled our hall every concert for five glorious years.

I looked up at Eiji – bewildered, frustrated, and sad. Then, I spoke. “Maestro, do you…….should I just leave the orchestra?” With snide condescension, almost irritated by the question, he responded.

His reply was affirmative. I don’t remember what he said.

Rehearsal having ended, audience had begun filing in. Standing up, preparing to buck the encroaching crowd, I spied my younger brother already seated in the auditorium. I called out to him, declaring that I was being eliminated from the orchestra. He gave me a challenging look, the kind he presents when he’s about to wordlessly act. Then, he turned, and ushered his couple boys out of the row.

I looked over the throng, beginning to feel the panic. Was I carrying my cello in its case up the steep aisle toward the foyer? Once there, the space resembled the inside of a local parking garage near the Warner, all cement, with painted steel rails. I had to find my brother; he’d transported me to the event. Didn’t his truck have my housekeys in it?!

My brother, because this was a dream, could not be found.

I returned to the inside of the auditorium, which was filling fast. Heading down the aisle was a strange young woman with long, thick, honey colored hair, carrying a cello case. Reaching the last desk, she began unpacking her cello. Her face was one common to my dreams, clearly identifiable but totally unrecognizable by me. I called to her. Refusing to look at me, but with a knowing smirk, she continued setting up her instrument.

That fast, I’d been replaced for the performance by a sub willing to “show up and play”, the moniker for those whose entire performing lives are dictated by a willingness to wait for a call at any moment, said calls tabulated and reviewed and documented for income tax purposes.

I turned. I looked back over the audience. I looked back at her. The room was closing in. I spoke to a woman near. I’d been eliminated from the orchestra after three decades. She looked back at me, as one looks at a sad stranger. I looked around the room. I stood. The sounds in the room increased in volume around me to a maddening pitch. I woke up.

Eyes opening, sticky from sleep, I felt the weighted blanket hugging my hips. The bedroom chair, dimly seen, the bathroom doorway, the music room through the bedroom door with my cello laying on its side by the piano… I’d returned to the haven of my own reality. I was intact.

Most dreams linger, their images gradually fading as we move through time. This one was different. This time, with a clarity as yet never experienced, I knew something.

No one other person, however importantly perceived, however grand in sphere of influence, however innately capable, determines another’s value.

No single moment within time determines destiny.

None, perhaps, except epiphany.

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© 4/8/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Sharing permitted via blog link, exclusively; no copying, in part or whole including translation, permitted. Thank you for being a good person.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Percy and The Road To The Cross.

The Roman schola carried all the way from the television to the kitchen.

I’d just made a tasty pasta dish with real Italian pipe rigate, yellow bell pepper, Gulf shrimp, honeyed goat cheese, uncured Sunday bacon, organic shredded parm from the block, broccoli florets and peas, plus my liberal mix of herbs and spices and olive oil, and was privately pleased to be having my Good Friday dinner in virtual attendance at the Vatican mass.

But, standing in the doorway leading from the kitchen, gathering my plateful, Viva paper towel, fork, and milk glass of water, what I actually heard was one voice – in my head.

Percy Pickering had brought his entire family to the States from England, the year I was in 6th grade. One of their first stops was to my town, to spend an afternoon and have supper at our house. There was Percy, bald, big boned and portly, with full lips sporting a bright blood blister and eyes a twinkle; Peg, his wife, redhair braided against her head and straight backed; Margaret, also redhaired but auburn and worldly wise, comfortably settled in the cushions of the wingbacked chair; carrot topped Peter, bright eyed and big and giggly; and, Paul, lean, turtlenecked, quiet like his mother, just one year older than I. They’d come because Percy, a minister of the Gospel and Bible scholar, had chosen to leave his employ in the UK and become a traveling “laborer” in America for the Assembly of the Plymouth Brethren.

Mum had the full spread ready. Maple dining room table open, with the leaf, linen cloth and napkins, the good English China. Turkey roll, ham, creamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, sweet potato casserole, individual fruit filled Jello salads each with their dollop of mayonnaise and two pies, Cool Whip cherry and pumpkin. We would learn many things that evening, not the least of which was that the English never mixed fruits into Jello or made pie out of pumpkin.

The Pickerings became beloved by our family. Mum had been so taken by those of her own ilk, and Percy reminded faintly of her father, Henry, also a Bible scholar and Englishman.

But, unlike Henry, Percy could sing.

His voice was a bright, bell tenor and, from the podium in the grand Crawford Hall Auditorium of the Eastern Bible Conference held at Grove City College, he would lead the whole congregation ably in the hymns of invitation which he chose every time he was slated to preach.

And, preach he did. Percy was also a magnificent orator. His sermon was as much a dramatic soliloquy as it was the most persuasive sales pitch for salvation ever before heard. He would reach a peak of both volume and intensity, clutching his Bible under one arm and hoisting that immense voice with the breadth of a chest bursting with a passion for Christ, then drop to a stage whisper. As we all opened our white lyric booklets to search for the closing hymn, he would plead for souls to come to Jesus, reciting the text of the opening verse with imploring, personalized tones, his eyes alight with the certain promise of eternal rapture. And, then, he would sing.

The entire collective of the fellowship of the Plymouth Brethren knew the tunes. These were hymns carried down for generations, supported only by a single pianist at the baby grand in the corner. But, Percy would sing them full on, the words of Fanny Crosby and others carried by his spun tenor.

Over the years which would follow, up to a death from brain cancer (his likely caused by shrapnel from the second World War), and through Mum’s passing from the same, at my most remote, flailing moments when I’d chance to pull out Choice Hymns of the Faith, the only voice I would ever hear would be Percy Pickering’s.

And now, from across the endless universe, there it came again.

I hadn’t attended a Good Friday service for years, but had played many in the denominations across Christendom as cellist for the annual string quartet. Tonight, alone during the pandemic, I sought some semblance of familiar piety, some ritual to carry me. The Vatican was enacting Jesus’ road to Calvary. The Pope stood, head bowed, reading the prompts in Italian, children speaking at each station of the Cross. As I set my dinner plate onto the Tv table and opened my cloth lap napkin, Jesus had stumbled for the third time.

We’d never been taught that Jesus had fallen, at all. We’d come to believe that Peter had helped him carry the cross. Again, I heard Percy’s voice. I’d heard his singing voice, in the kitchen doorway, his imploring altar call, over the entire Roman schola. Now, he would assert his Savior’s sacrifice, declaring himself a priest according to the book of Hebrews, confident in the Gospel of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Roman soldiers, let alone their schola, could not carry that Cross.

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© 4/3/2021 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. No copying, in part or whole, including translation, permitted. Sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for respecting the truth.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The School of Opinion.

The parent of one of my newest students sent me a video, the other day. I could tell, as soon as I saw the opening frame – a collage of syringes, masked faces, vaguely magnified documents, and a Bible verse in quotes – that this would be no stuffy, scholarly presentation. I was in for a treat.

I viewed the video.

Gradually, my opinion formed.

My plan was to express said opinion – gently, with care, being sure to avoid offending her potentially sensitive sensibilities. She was, after all, mother to two young boys, their grandmother also in house; I, childless and socially isolated, had no business confronting one defending such sacred ground.

What I wasn’t prepared to discover was that this earnest parent was herself a certified science professional. Undergraduate degree in Biology, Masters in Forensic Sciences, she’d worked as assistant to countless autopsies and now as microbiologist for a water testing laboratory. Plus, she’d spent many recent hours researching immunology. Here was a fully actualized American woman – and, I had been graced to become her child’s teacher.

This would require the employment of a tactical strategy.

I’d begin with a line of questioning. Questioning was indirect. Asking was different from telling. Asking presumed she had the answer I was seeking. I’d ask her about many things.

Question #1: The video opened with images of a female, twitching and contorting and barely able to walk, allegedly just three days from a first vaccine inoculation. (I would come to read of two similar anecdotes, in a YouTube comment thread.)

Whence had this clip been obtained, and who had the name and station of the patient, let alone which inoculation during which year? Why were we, the viewers, only privileged to view a disturbing display, without any captioned identifiers?

Question #2: : Its voice over that of one whose inflections suggested minimal education, the next narrative presented a make shift clinical experiment. We were able to view moving images, distinguish a cotton swab from a longer nasal swab, and observe an extracted clump of fibers one of which seemed to be moving of its own volition, another at the end of a tweezer. The narrator claimed to have obtained the nasal swab, by signing up for a covid test and then driving away with it.

But, whence the conclusions drawn by the demonstration? Didn’t static electricity allow synthetic fibers to adhere, even to each other? The claim that these were “alive” suited a sensationalist intent, but what of any further testing on said fibers?

Question #3: Similar fibers were shown to protrude from a close up of a man’s hand. Called Morgellon fibers, by another interviewee, these were said to be of unknown, inorganic origin. Finally extracting the fibers from the man’s hand, a piece of flesh was seen attached.

The narrator declared that these were coming out of her body, as well. But, she had refused to insert the nasal swab. Whence were such fibers appearing to extrude from her body? And, did these match those found at the tip of the inspected nasal swab?

Question #4: The image of a woman submitting to the much longer, original nasal swab, inserted by a technician, came next. We saw more than one such test administration, with a discussion of the direction the swab took to penetrate into the facial sinus and accompanying graphics illustrating the vacant space between the forehead facial bone and the brain. Then, we viewed a close up of tiny dark squares of “confetti” sprinkled on a swab tip. These were described as nanoparticles, and declared to be purposely included in the nasal swab.

We never saw evidence that these particles were visible attached to a nasal swab from a labeled test kit. We saw them in a close up of what appeared to be a cotton swab – and, on the tip of a human finger.

Additionally, we were TOLD the purpose and the function of these nanoparticles. By whom? A medical authority? A speculator?

Question #5: In the next scene, we viewed a close up photo of a tiny translucent square attached to a swab rod. A different narrator declared this to be a “holographic chip” containing the synthesized element, technetium. Wiki says this is used as a tracer, in diagnostic media. The claim was one of outrage; why were we being “tracked”?

The video was two hours long. Addressing every point of observation as it appeared would have taken a doctoral dissertation. Neither I, as a solitary being, nor the mother of two young children would be entertaining each other at this level anytime soon.

But, this was before her credentials became known to me. Somehow, now, I was adrift – unable to defend against established authority. Was this just my trigger, or had I just careened headlong into the age old battle between opinion and fact, between belief and proof?

Perhaps I had.

At this point in my life, I’d become wary of most everyone. Americans, in particular, had taken to social media with the fervor of Romans at a weekly forum. The one gaping hole in the fabric of our collective discourse was an acute absence of verifiable fact. The Emperor at Large had repeated so many declarative statements representing his personally held belief and intent so many times, much of the public had accepted them as truth simply by virtue of their raw frequency. We had, in effect, been schooled by opinion. Now, we were facing life and death decision making, and even those of us inclined to investigate ad nauseum were discovering entirely too many dead ends in a maze of monstrous proportions.

What remained before us, staring us down unblinking, was a clear crossroads; either a relatively safe mediating vaccine in two or three formulations was finally being provided us, or a massive fraud had been perpetrated and was continuing against our entire populace, one intended to wipe out 80% of our citizenry. And, even the most educated, prudent, conscientious, and intellectually capable among us could not discern which represented the truth.

This left me contemplating. Like my Christian forebears, I resisted wholehearted acceptance of nefarious or bleak reality. I sought hopefulness, because it was embedded in the nuclei of my cells.

Could there be a third scenario?

Could all of these other-worldly claims of fibers and particles and holograms all be real, and intended, but for purposes which were actually benevolent?

Suppose the nanoparticles and fibers, electrically or magnetically charged, the holograms carrying technetium, possessing properties unknown to those outside of scientific circles, were [ merely ] being introduced – riding a vaccine, as vehicle – to provide a universal mechanism for “reading” the body’s systems? One scientific paper stated as much, that the cardiovascular system could be monitored in this manner. Perhaps this technology was part of something as benign as tracking the ever-mutating virus itself, as it moved both through the nasal passages and the organs of the body? Perhaps even the vaccines were being tracked, in this manner?

I haven’t yet presented these questions to the woman, both scholar and mother, who sent me the video. I present them to you, instead. Even my local allergist cannot answer every question I pose; does this mean he is practicing avoidance, as some co-conspirator, either willingly or otherwise?

Fear drives both resistance and speculation. It feeds interpolation and, worse, conflation; taking bits of inherent truth, but connecting them incorrectly, often leads to drawing errant conclusion.

That is deadly.

But, courage allows us to take a different tack, permitting new thought. I choose to lay hold of hope, in both productive and constructive progress as well as the soul of humankind. Instead of concluding that we are all heading for the slaughter, I will determine to allow this hope to permeate every avenue of my thought, even as my blood flows to the furthest reaches of my brain and body.

Such is self healing. That being my opinion.

May we lead one another through.

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*Readers: here is the video, in question. Form your own opinion.

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© 3/18/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose ideas are hers and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole or part including translation, permitted without written permission of the author. Sharing permitted via blog link, exclusively; let’s all help each other. Thank you for being a good person.

littlebarefeetblog.com

My Christmas Card List.

When Mum found out she was terminally ill, I remember her smile of resignation as she looked from one to the other of us, sitting there on the front porch, together, nearly all of us in the family. It was almost apologetic, as if somehow she’d disappointed each of us by not getting the “good” diagnosis. That was Mum, always determined to do the right thing, the acceptable thing, the thing which was expected.

But, then she set about, to plan, as plan she would whenever anything presented to be addressed. With a noticeable sense of urgency, her ability to verbally communicate rapidly deteriorating, she insisted on finding [managing to get me to find] her box of Christmas cards. In methodical if repetitive silence, she flipped through them all, searching for names and their addresses. Since organized thought was diminishing with the tumor’s encroachment, this was a trying task. She enlisted me, yet again, haltingly explaining that she needed to “let everybody know.” I would compose a letter, to copy and send out to everyone on her list. These were the people who meant the most, who would care to know; these were those whom she loved.

Most everyone I knew who still sent out Christmas cards did so dutifully; there were endless, extended family and both present and former coworkers, that end of year stock taking of those still considered part of the relevant realm. But, to Mum, the list was precious; these were her dearest friends.

In her world, actually spending time with others just for fun had to take a back seat to the needs of the family. Dad had his shop; he could never leave his haircuts. There was no time in a given year to travel – except for that one week in August, south of town to the college campus about 90 minutes away where everybody on her Christmas card list would convene for seven full days of heavenly Christian fellowship.

These were people she’d known, together with all the cousins out east, since childhood. They’d kept in touch every year, for the entirety of their lives. Most had married, raising children who would represent inter-familial connections from within the fellowship. They were all joined at the heart.

Or, at least, Mum thought they were. She carried them all in her mind, as she sat every day at the sewing machine, revisiting any number of brief encounters across the whole of her life. Her thoughts devoted to every detail of a vivid recall, so each person would materialize in her memory. It was inside her head that she would sustain her relationships with each of them, tucking her favorites into their own corners for reference as they came into the frame of her story.

I’d sat, perusing the list we’d gathered. Many of them were totally unknown to me; surely, I had never met these, at all. Some were familiar, among the few ministers who would visit yearly with their wives; still others just names I’d heard spoken over the phone, in conversation with a sister or two. Mostly, had we ever actually seen these people cross the threshold of the front stoop, our house would have been filled every week to flowing with the glow and glitter of live laughter, of real life interchange. I was certain, sitting there next to Mum in the chair beside her bed, that they’d all have felt her love just as much as she did without them present in the room.

But, they hadn’t been, and they weren’t, and now she was about to die without them. She would send my letter, and some would call. Most would send cards, and set reminders to order flowers. But, she would know them, well, as well they ever could have been known, with a kind of devotion unseen and unspoken. And, every Christmas thereafter, maybe she would occur to them, and they would finally know.

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I was the second born, the love child of a reunion marriage. Often, I’ve been known to declare myself the embodiment of both my parents’ strongest and weakest traits. Among these, I bear Mum’s willingness to love from afar, her inability to materialize relationships, her life of wistful imaginings. If you are on my Friend list, I carry you in my heart. Whether we live or whether we die, you will have been loved, if only by me.

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© 3/11/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for respecting, in whole and part, the entirety of this story – by leaving its contents intact and untranslated. Sharing permitted via blog link, exclusively. Thanks, again.

The Exceptional Stranger.

The gurney is hard, the fluorescence above it humming. Nubbing legs dangle over the side of the frame, an IV port pinching the tender skin on top of my hand every time I forget not to move it. A single, nearly square corkboard on the wall beside holds a smattering of 9×12 memos, one of them hot pink. I stare at that one, mesmerized. How many among this newest crop of strangers will have seen their memo, that day, and would they be ready for the moment of my death?

The half hour preceding, high drama. Arrival, gasping with terror, the creeping itch encircling my face and crawling between my bosom, around, under my arms and across my back, and then the rear of the tongue rising to meet the pharynx, daring to close entirely, heart racing, skin clamming, the lights, lights so icy bright, the smell, always the smell of sterility.

These are the minutes over which nobody has any control. The roughly twenty odd ones after the puncture of Epinephrin and IV push of Benadryl, during which our father, Time, the only sure indicator of ongoing life vs. cardiovascular collapse. And, after four of these in one year, again left alone by strangers in the ER bay to ponder the outcome, mind attached to body gradually succumbs to the antidote of semi-coma.

Strangers. At the moment of theoretical death.

This is the realm of the anaphylactic.

Unlike those stricken with terminal illness or even massive stroke, the anaphylactic cannot feature the luxury of familiar faces, phone calls, cards and letters, even bedside caregivers who’ll call us by our name. If we’re lucky as well as fastidious, we’ll carry with us the proper packet of antihistamine or the Epi-pen, provided we are also completely able and willing to inspect every ingredient contained in every appetizer, entree, salad, and dessert offered by anyone beyond the scope of our own, protected kitchens.

Were we to be anybody outside of our actual selves, we might observe the scene at the neighboring table on a Friday evening – server, hunched over the menu, squeezing a pencil, forehead pinching, corners of the mouth twitching neurolinguistically to mask cursing annoyance, fixated guest rattling on about oils and additives next to a bewildered date mentally reviling why he’d been so determined to know this woman.

We’d not have been able to enjoy our own meal, what with the server hastening off to the chef’s lair to consult, report back, consult again, report back, smile assuredly, take the order, bring the order, take it back, the date leaning in toward the anxious female, arms folded across the table’s edge, eyes sucking into his head behind a smile stretched to its breaking point.

We might have left the restaurant with a social checklist ticking across our own foreheads. We’d have recognized the woman from having seen her on the various pages, she with her dubious references to multiple former lives. We’d have concluded many things. Clearly a narcissist, judging by the texture of her dark hair and the angle of her nose the spoiled daughter of he who sold back room numbers, she would just have to be spending everyone else’s time in public grasping for singular attention. Yes; siphoning the entire room of its last particle of energy, in her own mind she would be exceptional.

Exceptionality. The curse of the oblivious.

Cosmopolitan life renders a certain mass anonymity. When merely dozens are displaced by hundreds of thousands, that which is distinguishing fades from immediate view. Blending is both habit and practice; that which doesn’t easily finds enough of its own kind to forge new criteria for acceptability. By contrast, in small towns anything or anyone who is unavoidably different can become quickly pigeonholed, marked, recognized, and not in a good way. Traits borne by these are subconsciously dismissed as, ultimately, forms of weakness. Exceptionality becomes a force which both pulls and pushes, and that against itself.

The coronavirus has at once rendered every civilized center, regardless of size, homologous. All are flanked according to appropriate distance, masks obviating familiarity, no one a stand out by either class or station.

All, that is, except we anaphylactics. Our fears are inextricably distinguishing. Virus, or vaccine; we face the threat, of death, whether we do or we don’t. Statistically a tiny minority, exceptionality neither our excuse nor our defense, we remain the stranger.

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© 2/26/21 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 without written permission from the author. Sharing permitted by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for your respect.

littlebarefeetblog.com