Sense of humor essential in getting through the good and the bad times

At last, at the age of 95, I am about to become a member of the GGM club. I am going to be a GREAT grandmother for the first time.

I think I am almost the only person in the Commons who does not have at least one great-grandchild. Some have quite an impressive number. Now I can brag at the dinner table with the best of them.

Thanks to the magic of Skype, I will be able to see the infant very soon after he arrives in June, although he will be in New York City with his parents, Bob and Lauren, and I will be in Happy Valley. Actually we don’t know the sex yet, but newspaper policy uses “he” rather than “he/she.”

I have not been fortunate enough to see my three grandchildren as newborns (although, I did see them shortly afterward), so this will be a special treat. I will have to pretend that I am holding him.

I lived through most of the 20th century. He will, hopefully, live through the 21st. What will the world be like for him?  The way things are going now, it will always be rough sailing most of the time. There will be good times and bad times and what I especially wish for his protection is a sense of humor.

It is virtually impossible to find any good news in what happened in Massachusetts last week. Ted Kennedy had held one of the two Senate seats from that blue state for 46 years until his death in August of last year.

Last week in an election to fill Sen. Kennedy’s seat, the voters of Massachusetts elected Scott Brown, a Republican. The voters were mad and chose a relatively unknown candidate over the state attorney general, Martha Coakley. A hundred years or so ago, Theodore Roosevelt made a comment that probably explains the vote: “When people have lost their money, they strike out unthinkingly, like a wounded snake, at whoever is most prominent in the line of vision.”

When I was a little girl my Republican mother told me I should always vote a straight party ticket. Otherwise, she said, the two party system would not survive. Maybe that was good advice in 1925, but in 2010, I think vicious partisanship may destroy our representative system of government.

The really bad news is that his election makes 41 Republicans in the Senate, giving them the power to say “No” to everything they don’t like, which is everything the Democrats want to do.

I find it interesting but confusing that Barack Obama was elected by an overwhelming majority on a platform which included change and the development of universal health care. But he can’t change much with a one vote majority in the minority party in the Senate which allows them to force a filibuster to kill any bill. Figure that one out!

But there is a good little spot to that election – well, kind of good.  According to a Cosmopolitan story on the Web, Scott posed nude for the centerfold of said magazine. He was 22. And in a speech right after his election, he said that his two beautiful daughters were available.

Could it be that we are about to have a senator with a sense of humor? Of course, it is a little gross, but I can’t help sort of liking him.

It is very difficult to find any good news in the horrible situation in Haiti which has caused suffering we cannot ever imagine.

The good news in this story is the immediate and tremendous help that has flowed into Haiti from countries all over the world.

When my friend the doctor heard about it, her first reaction was, “How soon can I catch a plane for Port-au-Prince?”

Dr. Mercedes Cameron has given her skill and compassion to several other disasters, and spent several months in Haiti in 2005 working with the sick and starving.

She spent a week in Port-au-Prince this time and the stories she has brought are tragic. But the human kindness that she and thousands of others showed is definitely good news for the human race.

My great-grandbaby will have good news and bad news, but I hope he can laugh through it all.


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