Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Southern Expressions

I have mentioned many times my southern roots. Southern expressions abounded and hanging out at my grandparents' general store was a lesson in those.  Neighbors did not come in to just shop. There was a checker board, and in the cold winter, a wood stove in the middle that everyone huddled around. There were soda cases where you could reach in and grab a cold Coke, Pepsi or Yoo-Hoo. All the sodas were 6 oz. With your Coke you could get a 2 cent bag of peanuts and poue then in. The sodas were self serve.  

There was a round wheel of cheese and for 5 cents you had something to eat with a 5 cents sleeve of crackers. Baloney was also available by the slice. Dessert was a Moon Pie. 

Everyone came together at the store; both blacks and whites. They talked about the weather, crops and who was sick and not at church last Sunday. All the news. Before leaving, most got a nickle bag of loose candy to take home to the kids.  

Saturday afternoon during the summer my grandfather always had baseball on the radio. During the World Series many came in to just sit, have a soda, talk and listen to the games. A fall tradition. I still remember the sound of the bat hitting the ball; as only radio could relay it.  "And away it goes - It's a base hit."

My grandparents treated everyone equally; same prices and same credit. The credit expression was "Put it on the book" and my grandparents would list the items under the neighbors name in a big green leader book. Accounts were settled in the fall when crops were harvested and sold. How my grandparents were able to do that, I have no clue.   

Growing up, I was unaware of my southern accent. Everyone talked that way. I did know that some of the expression were priceless. "I reckon" it was a wonderful place and time to grow up.  

My Grandparents' store - Now the Town Hall


Monday, November 12, 2018

Robyn Alice McCutcheon - An American Hero

Robyn Alice McCutcheon

A Transgender American Diplomat Who Does Not Exist

By: Robyn Alice McCutcheon

Source: Huffpost 11/10/2018

I was at Lake Issykul, a pristine mountain lake in Kyrgyzstan, when the current occupant of our White House deemed that responding to climate change is a bum deal for America and pulled us out of the Paris Agreement. All around me I could see snow-capped mountains with glaciers melting at ever accelerating rates. The countries I’ve lived in for five of the past 10 years are looking at a desert future when those glaciers are gone, perhaps before the end of this century.

You see, I’m a Foreign Service officer with the Department of State and covered the environment, science, technology and health portfolio for Central Asia from a base in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital on the northern steppe. For three years, in 2014 to 2017, one of my priorities was to convince the countries of Central Asia to join the Paris Agreement and push for significant nationally determined contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was my job. In one morning, my work of three years went poof.

When I sat at those negotiating tables as a U.S. diplomat, no one on the other side knew I was transgender. Why would they?

But it’s OK. No need to worry about my three years of effort. I woke this past Sunday morning to find that the same administration that decided climate change does not exist has also decided that I and a million or more other Americans do not exist. Poof, we’re gone also.

Are you surprised to learn that America has diplomats who are transgender? You shouldn’t be. We’re in every branch and every level of the government. In my 14 years with State, I’ve served at our embassies in Moscow, Astana, Bucharest and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, not to mention on the Russia Desk in Washington and in our bureau that oversees day-to-day implementation of our nuclear arms treaties with Russia. I’ve supported high-level visits with foreign leaders, advanced U.S. policy, participated in bilateral and multilateral negotiations, and reported back to Washington on the issues of the day in the countries where I’ve served.

When I sat at those negotiating tables as a U.S. diplomat, no one on the other side knew I was transgender. Why would they? I look like, behave like and in fact am a middle-aged American woman born during Eisenhower’s first administration. I was there just to do the job of representing this country that I love. But I guess that if I don’t exist, those negotiations never took place either?

... (read the whole article written by Robyn)  

She Concludes:

So what is a transgender U.S. diplomat to do when she wakes one fine Sunday morning in October to find that she does not exist? Time to call it quits, I suppose. Fortunately for those who would see me erased, I am about to retire. We still have mandatory retirement for age in the Foreign Service, and I’m about to hit that magic date.

Where then? I think I’ll return to Central Asia. The people there seem to think I’m real. Together we’ll sit by Lake Issykul and contemplate the soon-to-be-erased glaciers and the disappearing America that once was a beacon of hope in this world.

See also an interview: The Heroines of My Life


An American Hero - Thank you for your service.