I live at Skyline Gateway, an apartment complex of 250 units. People are moving in and out daily. It’s hard to keep track some days. My dogs love little kids, so I take them out frequently.
One morning an adorable whirlwind of a little blond girl comes running over waving and yelling, “Hi, what’s your name? I’m Sadie and I’m 4 years old. That’s my sister Maddie and she’s 6 years old. That’s my Mom on the phone over there and she’s 27. How old are you?”
I smiled at her, stuck out my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Sara and I’m 105.” Her eyeballs started spinning as her brain was trying to add all the way to one hundred and five.
Then she screamed to her Mom. “Mom, that lady over there is a 105.”
I think they heard her in Sedona, a couple hundred miles away.
© 2017 by Sara Fryd
Driving through Northern Arizona from Albuquerque to San Bernardino to have breakfast with my friend Shoshana that I met at La Verne Law School. So excited that I leave at 4 am when it’s black out and one can see the shooting stars and those that are still only flickering. A couple of hours fly by down I-40 and I’m near the Painted Desert signs and light is coming up all around, so I pull off at Highway 77 to the State Park.
It’s pink, peach, mauve, ivory, and palest of yellows, tans, mochas. The colors are overwhelming, remembered when one closes their eyes to sleep or writes poetry about such momentous events. I pull the car over and wander out to stare at such bounty saying a silent prayer of gratefulness to the Almighty. How did I get so lucky to be here in this moment in time?
Looking down at my shoes I remember from college geology class that most of Northern Arizona was once under water and seashells are everywhere. I am positively enthralled at what I see. Seashells, lots of seashells near my feet. I reach down grabbing several handfuls laying them gently in the bottom of my purse. Off I go to meet my best friend and bring her a present of seashells. I can’t remember if I ever told her about the Grand Canyon being carved out by the waters of an ocean.
A couple of hours later I pull into a Denny’s and Shoshana is already at the table inside. I start chattering as I always do when I see her or hear her voice. I tell her about the stars, the colors of the desert (she hates cactus), and of course the seashells. She feigns interest, smiling as I reach into the bottom of my purse and place a handful of shells in the middle of the table. She bursts out laughing, shaking her head.
I respond with, “What?”
“One certainly can tell you’re a poet,” says my friend.
“What do you mean,” I ask?
“Don’t get upset,” says Shoshana. “Those are pistachio shells, not seashells.”
All rights reserved. ©2017 by Sara Fryd
My friend died Saturday last. This was the last email I received from her.
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Shoshana Anne Simon <email@example.com>
To: “Fryd, Sara” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2017 3:00 PM
Subject: Sea Shells in the Desert
Ever since you found shells in the desert and we may have mis-identified them as pistachios, something about that whole transaction has bothered me.
It took a while to notice
A world so filled with pain
To look around and truly see
The bitterness of rain
I looked around, I wondered
Where do they find a meal?
How do they really feel?
What happened to our country?
Full of dreams that one could fly
You remind yourself in whispers
but for the grace of God, go I
Then keep on walking by.
You turn your head, but
Pretend that you don’t see
Get in your fancy four wheel drive
And plant another tree.
Cross yourself with fingers
Palms confessing all your sins
Beg the Lord’s forgiveness,
Then journal all your wins.
Ralph Lauren flowered linens
Martha Stewart tablecloths
Ellen Tracy in the closet
Laura Ashley covered walls
You light a little candle
Throw a penny on a plate
Gently in staccato,
Please God I need your grace
Before it is too late.*
*Twenty years ago I was walking in downtown Los Angeles with my son’s girlfriend and she slapped a gentle soul who had his hand out. I remember thinking I was glad they had not married or had children.
The Lady Plumber – Irena Sendler
|The Lady Plumber. . . . (email I received this morning)
Remember this lady? Irena Sendler
Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98) Warsaw, Poland During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids. Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.
The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.
During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi’s broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out, In a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard.
After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted. In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming. Later another politician,Barack Obama, won for his work as a community organizer for ACORN. In MEMORIAM – 65 YEARS LATER I’m doing my small part by forwarding this message. I hope you’ll consider doing the same. It is now more than 65 years since the Second World War in Europe ended.
This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, In memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, mostly Lutherans and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated ! Now, more than ever, with Iran , and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be ‘a myth’, It’s imperative to make sure the world never forgets, Because there are others who would like to do it again. This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide !
Jean-François Millet, French, 1814–1875
It’s tough becoming greater than the sum of your beliefs and history. I write to teach myself to be more than my beliefs, to sort out my feelings so they make sense to me. Unlike time or life, memories don’t come in a pre-conceived order. I’ve been asked “what kind of writer are you” and “why do you write,” so many times and until now I didn’t have an answer. I’m an emotional writer. I write when I wish to heal, to remember, to feel, to cry, to be joyful, to gain courage, to share. And since humans leave most of their memories to their subconscious to handle; that’s where mine have been in their little jack-in-the-boxes of time slots. I turn and turn the handle churning my memories like one making butter. When through my writing I stop editing myself, the memories pop up without my having to spend a lot of time thinking about them. So forgive me for the lack of order of chronological time. None of these poems or stories are in the order of my lived life. They are in the order that memories brought them to me. They arrived as I found them, ready to share them with you.
Lashon Hara (the Hebrew term for defamatory speech or gossip)*
They stood under the southern live oak,
Who had heard every story told under her canopy of branches with leaves,
Living amongst these exterior walls for more than forty years.
Three angry women from various lives
Who daily congregate in the shade of the oak
To pick apart strangers as sporting game.
Without comprehending other’s lives or their own.
More than fifty years have vanished,
There they are, as if in a high school bathroom
Openly denying access
To those that are not members of the “in crowd.”
I stare at my wise beloved oak
That makes the world right, answering a multitude of questions.
The lowest branch holding a fledgling cooper hawk
Tearing apart its recently caught prey.
I smile and keep walking with my lesson for the day.
Nature is so truthful, so honest it hurts
Watching a species rip apart another for the hunger of survival
Unlike humans who rip each other apart for nothing more than sport.
*the halakhic term for derogatory speech (true speech for a wrongful purpose i.e. gossip)
All rights reserved. ©2016 by Sara Fryd