Childhood Honesty Meets Labor Day

When you’re a little kid, at least when I was, your experience of the world around you was, unbeknownst to you, driven at times by mixture of fact and ignorance, served on a plate of absolute honesty. When I was wrong about something I was capable of being wrong on a massive scale. Having arrived at these moments honestly, they’re all okay with me 

Example. My friends and I called each other douchebag way before I had any idea what a douchebag was. When I found out, I was mortified!

Which brings me to today’s holiday, Labor Day. When I was a kid, I was aware of no reason to alter my view that labor day was the day all mother’s tried to have their children. It was their goal. Made all the sense in the world to me.

So, here’s to childhood, and here’s to labor day!

Relationships & Acceptance

For any relationship of any kind to be healthy and flourish, you have to be able to be yourself – safely – with the other person. This means, acceptance. Accepting someone for who they are is as loving (and reassuring) as it gets.

Yes, there us compromise in any relationship. One likes Crest, the other, Colgate. Fine. Get both. One likes the toilet paper coming over the top of the roll, the other from underneath the roll. Fine, whoever puts the toilet paper on the roller puts it the way they like it.

Giving up parts of who you are is another story altogether. If someone asked me to stop reading, or, “For the love of God, Peter, spare us all and please stop writing!” Well, that’s not going to happen.

Remember, you love someone because they are who they are. 

And yes, there are difficult and dangerous realities some must content with.If someone is an active alcoholic or addict (I repeat myself), accepting the presence of that reality does not mean you support its presence. It does mean you can say, if you are not going to take care of you, then I need to disengage from you, as long as that destruction is present. Though it may be hard to see and digest at the time, it is the most loving choice. 

Taking care of yourself is not an act of disloyalty to anyone else.

Dusty stones: Notes on my mother’s suicide

30 Years Ago Today.

Peter S. Kahrmann - Est. 1953

On this day my mother ended her life in 1992.

What do I say? I watch the words hit the page this morning and I know if I charted the distance between them and the pulverizing impact of her suicide it would take more than a millennium to cross the divide.

The facts of it all sit like dusty stones – cold, and hauntingly still. It was the second time in the span of a year that she talked of ending her life. We had intervened the first time, and, for the moment, succeeded, at what I wonder. It only delayed the inevitable and in the days after her death, I would learn from her oldest friends that she had been talking about suicide since I was a boy. What had it been like for my father? I can’t imagine.

She called me Sunday August 9 to…

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The Healthiest Word

The woman asked me, “Why do you tell people you love them?”

I’d just said, “Love you, brother,” to the man who bagged up some groceries for me. The man always greets me with a smile and a good to see you. I said, “Because that’s how I feel.”
     “But you don’t even know him.” She sounded appalled.
     “I don’t have to know somebody to feel loving towards them.”
     “Nobody ever really feels loving towards someone, unless they know them.”
     “I don’t know what to tell you.”
     “I mean I know when I like somebody, or, sometimes, you know, sometimes you know straight away you don’t like someone.”
     “Hold up.”
     Her head tilts. The movement asks, “What?”
     “How is it knowing you like or don’t like someone without knowing them works, and feeling loving towards someone you don’t know makes no sense to you?”

“It’s two different things.”

He knew the healthiest word and said it. “Okay.”

Two hours later, they were out for a walk. A neighbor down the street had a box of puppies out front so they could get some sun. He watched her face light up with joy when she saw the puppies, hurrying over to get a closer look.

“Honey, look! We can adopt one, she said so. Look at them. Don’t you just love them?!”

He knew the healthiest word, so he smiled and said it. “Okay.”

Books Read 2021

Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-DownesPanter-Downes, Mollie
The Prime Minister, Volume 1Trollope, Anthony
The Prime Minister, Volume 2Trollope, Anthony
The Duke’s Children (Palliser, #6)Trollope, Anthony
Rachel RayTrollope, Anthony
The Macdermots of BallycloranTrollope, Anthony
Ayala’s AngelTrollope, Anthony
Lucky JimAmis, Kingsley
The Corner That Held ThemWarner, Sylvia Townsend
The Rise of Silas LaphamHowells, William Dean
Education of Henry Adams. TheAdams, Henry
Lolly WillowesWarner, Sylvia Townsend
Pudd’nhead WilsonTwain, Mark
The NewcomesThackeray, William Makepeace
Their Wedding JourneyHowells, William Dean
The Groote Park MurderCrofts, Freeman Wills
A Hazard of New FortunesHowells, William Dean
The Ponson CaseCrofts, Freeman Wills
The CaskCrofts, Freeman Wills
Their Silver Wedding JourneyHowells, William Dean
Mystery in the ChannelCrofts, Freeman Wills
Indian SummerHowells, William Dean
The Hog’s Back Mystery (Inspector French #10)Crofts, Freeman Wills
William Dean Howells: A Writer’s LifeGoodman, Susan E.
The Middle Temple MurderFletcher, J.S.
The Mystery of the Hushing PoolFletcher, J.S.
The Middle of ThingsFletcher, J.S.
The Rayner-Slade AmalgamationFletcher, J.S.
The Orange-Yellow DiamondFletcher, J.S.
Scarhaven KeepFletcher, J.S.
Old New York: Four NovellasWharton, Edith
The TouchstoneWharton, Edith
Madame de TreymesWharton, Edith
In the Mayor’s ParlourFletcher, J.S.
Psmith, Journalist (Psmith, #3)Wodehouse, P.G.
A Chance AcquaintanceHowells, William Dean
Snow (St. John Strafford, #1)Banville, John