Posts tagged ‘Life Preservers’

Keep Your Hands Clean

Don’t let these odd times damage your point of view. There are lots of good people out there. There are people trying to figure out COVID-19. There are people trying to manage policies and next steps. There are people concerned about their loved ones. And we are all human, each and every one.

Yes, some people will horde. Some people will try to take advantage. Some people will do anything for profit. But remember that acts of craziness get attention—because they shock and surprise, because they are not normal.

One thought:  Manufacturing and distribution systems (and employee shifts for shelf-stocking) run on data from normal, everyday shopping habits, not the habits of people who were all told at the same time that they have to stay home for two weeks. Changes in group behaviors, even when we are trying to do our best, can be misinterpreted or misrepresented.

Look at your family. Look at your neighbors and friends. You are good people.

I believe that most people are good. I believe people want to help. I believe that human beings, as a vast majority, are brave and funny and kind.

Here is one example. Last night, KDKA news showcased Rocco’s Pizzeria in Youngwood, PA. They are making and giving away free lunches for kids. The owner, Rocco Pifferetti, says he promises to do it for two weeks, longer if he can. (The Trib Live website is keeping a list of other restaurants doing the same.)

I suspect that donations to these wonderful humans would be welcome.

Crisis situations are going to provide an interesting view of the world. Remember to look through your own eyes. Keep your head. Keep your heart. And keep your hands clean.

Seussquote

March 18, 2020 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

St. Patrick’s Day, 2020

With a last name like Schmidt, you probably wouldn’t expect me to be Irish, but my mother was Irish. We have always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and, in the past 10 years or so, the annual gathering included me, my mom and dad, and my uncle and aunt (Mom’s also-Irish sister). We’d all wear green, put on leprechaun hats, and cook up something like shepherd’s pie or corned beef. Then we’d sing some special songs and raise a glass to our Irish relations and ancestors. The mixture of tradition and shenanigans made it one of my favorite days of the year.

As happens in life, sometimes you do a thing, and you don’t know that you are doing it for the last time. I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with Mom on March 17, 2019. In July, she passed away.

In January of this year, I saw an advertisement that the traditional Irish band The Chieftains was going to be in Pittsburgh in March. I cannot claim to be an expert, but I have an album or two that I like. It was called a good-bye tour, so I thought it might be my last chance to see them. And I thought of St. Patrick’s Day and how March was going to be a tough milestone. And, in that moment of jumbled sentiment, I bought tickets.

When the day of the concert arrived (March 9), I considered whether I should go. I had some concerns about germs. I had greater concerns about a previous occasion when I bought tickets to a (potentially) similar performance that turned out to be excruciating. And, beneath it all, I was experiencing the inertia that often threatens to overwhelm me these days when I anticipate going anywhere that requires makeup, bra, and shoes.

But I’d paid for the ticket and invited a friend, so I went. I went expecting to see three old Irish guys sitting on a stage with a flute, a tin whistle, and a drum.

The three guys were there all right (and they are phenomenal), but they were not alone on stage. There were also tap dancers, Irish step dancers, and The Pilatzke Brothers (a mix of Irish step, tap, crazy legs, and boyish abandon). There was a pipes and drum band. There were singers. There were fiddle players, a harpist, a guitar and accordion player, and, for the second half of the concert, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Talk about your bells and whistles. It was quite an extravaganza and one of the best musical shows I have ever seen/heard anywhere. All the adjectives feel trite, but it was superb, inspiring, moving, wondrous, magical.

There were jigs and good humor a’plenty. There was laughing, toe-tapping, and clapping. There were also ballads. Oh the ballads. When they played the sweeping melodies of the slow songs—haunting, beautiful, magnificent—I was done in. Had I been alone, I would have wept. Not for grief or longing or sadness or regret (although there was a bit of all of that). Not for joy or beauty or love (although there was a bit of all of that).

I wanted to weep for being. 

It’s not the prettiest of analogies, but:  If you ever had an old furnace with a re-usable metal filter and if you ever removed that filter and took it outside and turned the hose on full blast and blew all the gunk away . . . and in the end, the filter is sunlight-glinting clean and it can function again . . . it was kind of like that.

Live music, when it’s really good, it’s physical. It creates and transfers an energy, like an ancient Ley line from performer to audience, that vibrates every cell. It lifted me. It carried me. It was metamorphic.

We humans need music. We need music like we need air and water. (It’s a life preserver.)

So, this St. Patrick’s Day, take in some music. Blast your stereo, buy the tickets, support some local musicians, or just encourage your descendants to sing and play and stomp their feet.

To Rebecca Douglas, my great, great, great grandmother; to the Crokers and the Yochums and the McNallys; to the Maloneys; to the Daughertys. To Aunt Mitz. To Mom.

To you all, Sláinte.

 

Video:  One of the Chieftains (Matt Molloy) playing Easter Snow.

March 13, 2020 at 5:05 pm 2 comments


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