Like birds of a certain feather

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Honey locust leaflets blanketing a car's roof. Photo: JH.

Monday, November 7, 2022. Sitting here at my desk on Sunday night after a mainly cloudy day, it was dark at 5:10 PM. Probably because for the last three days (in early November/mid autumn) it’s felt like summer ending.  Then of course we had to set our clocks back an hour Sunday night. So now it’s November on our way to winter, but the flowering plants I put out there on the terrace every Summer are still in. And the terrace door is open.

It’s 73 degrees, as it was also on Saturday and forecast for today and for the 50,000 marathoners that descended upon all five boroughs. A lot of the trees have begun to shed, carpeting the sidewalks and roadway. But there’s still a lot of green branches in full all around.

Cheering on the nearly 50,000 New York City Marathoners from the corner of 90th and Fifth.

Running south along Fifth Avenue before the final two-mile stretch in Central Park.

New York is definitely busier these days. It had been quiet for so long that some wondered if it would ever get back. But you can tell by the weekday traffic all over town and often well into the evening. And the bikes, the delivery versions which are  everywhere morning, noon and night, and now electric and fast and follow no rules. And the scooters, manned (and womanned) by all kinds, all ages and all intents. All of that is now in the streets, all together like birds of a certain feather.

Creative Living: it’s all in the cards. The woman in the mask sitting at table with her hands folded overlooking a small bottle of water and seven neat piles of poker chips is Jane Stanton Hitchcock.

You may know Jane by her books, particularly the most recent — Bluff, which is about just that — having to do with major family money.  The book was inspired, which is the pleasant word for it, by a personal experience where someone in an apparently legal-looking business manner absconded with a small fortune from among others, Jane’s (now late) mother. Jane’s outrage at, and curiosity of the “illegal” activity caused her to investigate and learn just how that happened. “Bluff” — it’s a tale of Whoa!!

I tell you all this because the chips on the table in the photo illustrate the path the author moved onto some time ago. To me, it looks as if she’s taken on the game with the chips on her side of the table as therapeutic. She loves the challenge — that’s her nature. But there’s something more to it because she took up this game with the intention of getting good enough to play at the table. And now she does, and as you can see by the numbers, she does very well.

Surely there’s another book in it. Maybe a movie. Maybe a series; the woman holding the cards at the table. Jane is in some ways a very glamorous girl. She grew up just around the corner from where I live now and across the street from Brearley which she attended. She now lives in Washington with Jim Hoagland, a political columnist/journalist with the Washington Post. What smart, hot looking actress wouldn’t want to play that role in a series? An honest to God heroine. The Hollywood version of course.

Jane’s cutie Chloe is all in!

This past Saturday on my way over to Citarella, I passed a single line of  people casually dressed waiting to get into a building that used to be a restaurant … long ago, but in my lifetime. I was curious as to why they were waiting to “get in” on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but then I realized: they were waiting to vote! There was something mentally refreshing about seeing them.

However, since this current campaign is up for votes, on both sides of the aisle, I have been besieged with requests for a donation from candidates all over the country to contribute to their campaigns for all kinds of political roles in their communities and including the higher offices. From both sides of the aisle. All from candidates from states where I have no knowledge or relations or relationship.

This is a first, at least in my experience. They’ve been coming in daily for the past six or eight weeks, sometimes 10 or 20 messages a day. I’ve never given a thought to elections in the other states; they are what they are. I can remember elections from back when I was a kid and  the grown-ups sometimes talked about it. My father who was in no way a politician or rich man talked passionately with my uncle Harold about who was going to be President, Ike or Adlai.

I was too young to know what they were talking about with so much intense (loud) interest. Only that one liked Harry Truman and the other liked Ronald Reagan. Not Ronald Reagan. He was still striving for stardom in Hollywood. But that type.

I remember my father yelling his side of the conversation. If he didn’t like a particular politician, he had no use for them even as people. This was not a well thought out point of view but still a popular one for most of us in our thinking about politicians. But if he did like a particular politician, he gave that person space to even do unlikeable things. Then he’d excuse the person with the classic observation that “everybody does it….” (whatever it might be).

I volunteered in a total of seven campaigns, local and national, back when I was in my 20s and 30s. In retrospect, it was entirely sincere in wanting to contribute something as a citizen. I enjoyed all of them. I especially enjoyed the door-to-door visits. It was interesting and informative on many levels. This was especially true in the neighborhoods of ordinary working people whose issues were very important to their state of mind.

People are generally suspicious of all politicians, and generally assume they’ve got their hand in the till. Although they do make exceptions for certain people. However, that can change on a dime. Jack Kennedy during the time just before his visit to Dallas was not doing well in his national popularity (which was why that trip to Dallas was scheduled). But after Dallas the name became legend and very often admirable.

Whatever the outcome of today’s election, we can only hope for the best for all of us in our lives. I do not respond (by making a contribution or communicating) with people from any states and can’t help wondering what provoked the “onslaught” of requests for $$$$. But their requests, presented with a variety of content to their messages always end asking for the donation.

I wondered why they even communicated with someone who lives here in New York. Although I can see that the internet once again has given candidates a much larger audience to request donations. It also gets their name “out there,” which is at least half the battle in any campaign. Another demonstration on how much “smaller” our world has become.

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