From Crystal Nacht to Barack Obama - From Despair to Hope

It's a New Day
It's been 70 years since Crystal Nacht, the horrific night in Germany when the Holocaust began in full force. Windows were smashed, businesses destroyed, and buildings were burned to the ground. Jews were arrested for simply being Jews. No one could have imagined that the terror of that night would pale in comparison to the terror of the next few years. Gas chambers? Husbands and wives seperated? Children, even infants, shot in front of their mothers? Unimaginable. Or, so we thought. 150 years ago, blacks were slaves in this country. Sold to the highest bidder like cattle or pigs at an auction. They were then "owned" and forced to work hard, manual labor. If, after working for hours in the hot sun, they wanted to rest, or get a drink of water, they were whipped by their "owners" for their laziness.

Eight years ago, Joe Lieberman, a Jewish man, ran for Vice President. And last week, a black man, Barack Obama, was elected to the highest office in this land, and by extension, to the highest office on earth. A black family will be moving into the White House - a house that slaves helped to build. Blacks and Jews share a lot. They share the history of slavery. They share a deep knowledge of what prejudice means. They share the experience of what hatred feels like, looks like, smells like, sounds like, tastes like. And now - along with all the peoples of the earth - they share something else... hope. As so succinctly sings, "It's a New Day." And, although we must never forget the devastation that hatred and prejudice bring, let us rejoice at the strength of the human spirit to rebound and transcend. Together let us offer a rousing, gospel-inspired song to the gods for bringing us to this brand new day in history. "Free at last, free at last, thank G-d almighty, we are free at last!" Amen brothers and sisters!

Like Steven Tyler, I'm Back in the Saddle Again
I'm back in Denver at my mom and dad's house. Today was my first day of a two-week stay. I helped my mom get to her doctor's appointment, to her office to get some work done, to the florist to order flowers for her office's upcoming annual holiday party, and to dinner at Panera Bread. She ate chicken noodle soup and a tuna salad sandwich. Seeing her eat is a blessing in itself, because she hasn't had much of an appetite lately. Even in her weakened state, she is so full of life and love and incredible insights. She is committed to being fully engaged in life. It is hard for her to accept that she needs help, but she is doing her best. My being here clearly makes a difference for her, and her being makes a difference for me. So, here's a toast to parents everywhere - may they be blessed with love, laughter, good health, appreciation, and, most importantly, with the closeness of those they hold dear.

Somehow Getting By Without Me...
My son, Ethan, called today and told me that his girlfriend, Paige, is doing something tonight that I never do. "Clean the house?" I asked. "No, but close!" he said. "She's making dinner! Chicken, corn, mashed potatoes, and all the trimmings!" Some kids sure know how to make a mom feel like crap! So I'm wondering, should I feel badly about this or should I send Paige a 'thank you' card and ask her what her culinary availability is on a weekly basis? Maybe I should insist that, even though Ethan is only 16 and a junior in high school, and Paige is 17 and a senior, they get married straight away and move in with us so I can have one thing I've always dreamed of - a full-time chef! And, would it really be so wrong for me to inquire into her house cleaning abilities? I'm in somewhat of a quandry. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
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