Everybody loves me ’cause I’m spring? You bet!
Yesterday was a beautiful sunny Sunday, just perfect for an outing to celebrate the fact that I, along with millions of other people, still have affordable health insurance that provides good coverage.
And where did Clif and I go? Why to Lucky Garden in Hallowell, of course. I was feeling extraordinarily lucky. And grateful.
Lucky’s was full of people, and the atmosphere was lively, even festive. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one who was relieved by the turn of events on Friday? At any rate, the food on the buffet was hot and fresh, and Clif and I had very tasty meals.
When we came out, we stood on the deck and took pictures of the Kennebec River. The ice chunks are gone. Surely spring can’t be far away?
After that, it was on to Falmouth, just outside Freeport (home of L.L. Bean) to check out the Goodwill. We had heard that it was an extra special Goodwill because it is an affluent part of Maine. Well, maybe we just hit it on an off day, but the Falmouth Goodwill is no better than Augusta’s Goodwill.
However, all was not lost. Next to Goodwill is The Book Review, one of those special bookstores that makes you want to come back again and again. As soon as we entered, I was smitten. First of all, there is that lovely smell of books. Second, there are dark wooden shelves. Third, the many comfortable chairs tucked here and there. And, finally, and most important, the books themselves, a wonderful selection that would appeal to a wide variety of readers.
I headed right toward the children’s section. While I do read novels written for adults, it seems to me that I really do prefer middle reader and young adult books. Clif and I discussed this on the way home.
“The storylines are cleaner, more direct,” he said. “Middle reader and YA books often have a clarity that’s lacking in adult books.”
Clif is right. As a reader, I place great value on clarity of writing and clean storylines. Or maybe it’s just a case of arrested development. Whatever the reason, I know I’m not alone. Many adults, especially women, like middle reader and young adult novels, and my own Maya and the Book of Everything is developing quite a following among adults.
Naturally, I bought some books at The Book Review.
Last night, I read The Penderwicks, a middle reader book, in one greedy gulp. It’s a gentle, almost old-fashioned story of four sisters and the misadventures they have on their summer vacation in the Berkshires. There are dark threads woven in—the mother has died of cancer, and Rosalind, the eldest, reflects on how she doesn’t have time or energy to nurture plants when she is so busy nurturing her sisters. (I’m paraphrasing. Jeanne Birdsall phrases it much more eloquently.) The ending is satisfying—happy, even—but realistic, too. The children don’t get everything they want.
There are several more books in the series, and I intend to read every one of them.
And when I’m back in the Falmouth area, I will definitely go to The Book Review.
Last night, I went to bed at about 11:30 p.m., and I slept straight through until nearly 8:00 a.m. without waking up once. Now for younger folks, this might not sound like much of an achievement. It might even sound a little boring.
But as I have, ahem, reached a certain age, a full night’s sleep often eludes me.
And why did I sleep so well last night? It wasn’t because of medication—I didn’t even take a Benadryl.
Could it be because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not repealed, and I still have affordable health insurance, at least for the moment? (With the Republican plan, it was estimated that we’d have to pay over 50 percent of our income for my health insurance. There was no way we could afford this, even if we cut out all our simple pleasures.)
Ever since Trump was elected president, I have been worrying about my health care. Simply put, I did not have a Plan B if health insurance jumped to over 50 percent of our income. And this past few weeks, when the drumbeat for repealing the ACA grew ever louder, I have been worrying even more.
But it seems the Republicans are a house divided—the proposed replacement bill was too drastic for the moderates and not draconian enough for the radicals. Hence, not enough votes to repeal the current ACA. President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill, and as Ryan noted, the ACA is the law of the land for the foreseeable future.
No wonder I slept so well!
Now, if only the Republicans would work with the Democrats to fix what is wrong with the ACA. I know some people whose insurance premiums, while not technically unaffordable, are too expensive and will not cover certain tests. The ACA was a start, not the finish, and with proper amending, these problems could be fixed.
But at least the Affordable Care Act wasn’t ditched, and maybe, just maybe, it will someday be put to rights so that the ACA benefits all who need it.
I can hope.
All right. It’s the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, which certainly includes Maine. And here is what it looked like this morning at the little house in the big woods.
Blog friends in warmer climes, eat your hearts out.
But somehow, despite the snow, I do have spring in my heart this morning.
Maybe it’s because of the weekend, where we had this
Happy spring to all!
Forty years ago today, two very impractical and disorganized people got married in a little chapel in Vassalboro, Maine. I’m sure many in attendance wondered if the marriage would last four years, never mind forty. I’m referring to Clif and me, of course, and wonder of wonders, the marriage has lasted.
Why have we stayed together so long when many marriages fail? If I had the answer to that, I’d write a bestseller and make tons of money. Alas, I don’t have a definitive answer.
There are some glimmers, though. Along with being impractical and disorganized—alas, we are still both that way—we are also creative and persistent. At first glance, those two traits might seem like a consolation prize, but in our marriage, at least, they count for a lot. We both value the creative life and the sizzle it brings to all that we do. Clif’s creativity falls more to the visual and graphics, where mine is words and story. It’s a great combination that we have employed many times over these forty years.
We both love opening up our home to friends and family, to gather around the table to eat and talk. In our younger days, we had large gatherings, and the little house in the big woods was often filled with people.
Now that we are, ahem, more mature, and have slowed down, our gatherings are smaller and much simpler. But as Clif noted today, it’s better to get together here rather than at a restaurant. There are no time pressures, and we can talk as long as we want. In the winter, we enjoy our good-sized dining room, and in the summer our patio.
Politically, we are in perfect accord. Again, this might not sound like much, but to us it’s of vital importance. We were left-leaning liberals when we met, and forty years later, we are still that way.
We both love movies, books, plays, lectures, and art. Biking. The outdoors. Our children and our friends. Going and out and having a good time. Staying in and having a good time.
And maybe those above-mentioned things are enough, that we have such a strong common core that it compensates for being impractical and disorganized.
All I know is this: The cherry on the marriage sundae is that after forty years of being together, Clif and I are still good friends. For that, we are oh so grateful.
Here’s a collage Clif put together of our forty years of marriage.