Can a human being really remain neutral?

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who,
in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

Dante Alighieri


(photograph of Carl Lutz, Swiss Ambassador to Hungry, as seen from the cellar
where he and those he protected waited out the battle of the Soviets over the Nazi occupation)

I promise, really I do…..
I’ll get back to my focus on what I took away this week when watching our friend the
Wee Flea but first—- I have to share this story.

It’s a story I saw day before yesterday and it begged me to stop and
read further.

I did and I was glad that I did.

The story is a story with a back story….
and I believe it will be beneficial for us to first read the
back story in order to fully understand the front story….
of which is an end story…. which is really just a story about humankind.

How’s that for a story about a story??!!

I would think that most of us who know any little something about nations,
countries, Europe wars, etc, knows that that tiny land locked country of Switzerland
is and has always been known for being fiercely neutral.

It has watches and clocks.
It has the Alps and skiing.
It has snow and the Matterhorn.
It has Heidi and cows.
It has chocolate.
It also has neutrality.

As in it maintains a fierce state of neutrality.

The words ‘fiercely neutral’ almost rings of an oxymoron…..
because when one thinks of the word and notion of being neutral and of neutrality,
one would naturally think nonchalant, laid back or indifferent…
not seemingly to care one way or another as to what’s going on around
say, in the neighboring countries.

Think of it like “we’re neutral, we’re not getting involved with that…”
sort of mindset.

Switzerland is globally recognized as a Neutral Nation.

Meaning Switzerland doed not engage in wars nor will it get involved.
Despite having a military requirement that all young Swiss males serve two years in
the Swiss Army.

My husband has a life long Swiss friend who has shared his tales of committal to a
military inscription as a young man. He marvels that I would love to have had his
Government issued Swiss army blanket as those original blankets now command a
pretty penny.

According to a story on the BBC Travel section, the Swiss have not always been
a neutral nation. I found this to be quite interesting.

Their past, it turns out, might actually appear to be a bit more unsavory than
gallant as they started out not so much as indifferent as they did fortuitous mercenaries.

According to Merriam Webster a mercenary is of a person,
or the behavior of said person, which is primarily concerned with making money
at the expense of ethics.

That doesn’t sound too much like someone interested in being a
humanitarian or neutral now does it??

And even currently found on the Swiss government’s website it states that not only is
the nation to focus on the country’s humanitarian bent
(think Red Cross on flag for a reason)
it lists some of the rules: The country must refrain from engaging in war,
not allow belligerent states to use its territory and not supply mercenary troops to belligerent states….

Hummmmm…..

According to Billie Cohen the author of the article,
even the way the country is set up seems like the epitome of peaceful
coexistence. Politically it’s a direct democracy;
culturally it recognises four language groups;
and as you crisscross the cantons, you feel like you’re visiting four countries:
Italy (in Ticino), Germany (in Zurich), France (in Geneva)
and a unique descendant of the Roman Empire (in Grisons).

I’ll let you click on the link below for the full story of Switzerland’s neutrality
as it is rather interesting but suffice it to say that being a mercenary nation
became no longer advantageous nor profitable as the Swiss were militarily routed
by both the French and Venetian forces in 1515.

Selling out then to France, as acting bodyguards to the King, became the path of least resistance and least painful….that was until a certain French Revolution
rolled around, as heads were also rolling, so thus a rethinking,
or more like a redo or makeover, was in the works.

Neutrality it would be.

But then the World Wars happened, and that reputation was sorely tested,
especially during WWII when Switzerland controversially bought Jewish gold from Nazi Germany and refused Jewish refugees.
“From a Swiss perspective, [neutrality] was successful in so far as Switzerland
wasn’t involved in fighting,” Goestchel explained.
“There have been many debates if Switzerland was really neutral,
especially in WWII, but it wasn’t involved in fighting activities.”

( http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20170717-the-country-that-cant-choose-a-side)

And so it helps for us to understand Switzerland as a whole before we can fully
appreciate the story a certain Swiss diplomat…..

All of this—this particular story, makes me wonder….
It makes me wonder as to how is it that I can still be amazed??
How can there continue being tales of such goodness and quiet heroism that just
seem to keep popping up out of the blue during a time of such horrendous darkness?

Just when you’re pretty certain you’ve read or heard all there is in the way of
the positives during the World’s greatest time of negative…
something else is uncovered, unearthed and brought to light…

One of those still hidden, yet rare tiny gems.

And so is the story of Carl Lutz.

Mr Lutz was a Swiss diplomat who had served his diplomatic time in the 1930s
in Palestine.
(Remember Israel was not yet a nation…that was after the war in 1948)
He was up and transferred to Budapest in 1942—a rather precarious time
for a transfer during what was shaping up to be a full blown European war.

Upon Lutz’s arrival it became most apparent quite quickly that Hungary’s Jews were in
grave peril and Mr. Lutz realized that in his position,
that of a lone diplomat in a country that no longer had an American or British embassy,
it rested upon him and a handful of others to do something drastic.

Dubbed Switzerland’s Schindler, Lutz got to work.

As one of a few remaining diplomates Lutz was to act as “diplomat” for those
countries no longer represented in Hungry. He was to represent the interests of those countries who had removed their staffs due to the war.
So Lutz went about the task to create a slew of protective passports under the guise of various countries….and not for just individuals, as he had lead German authorities
to believe, but rather passports to entire families.

He also fudged his number counting hoping that the Germans would not notice.

For those Jewish families and individuals who he could not spirit out of the country,
he found and created 76 safe houses and places that he could hide them away—
away from the Nazis seeking to deport all of Hungry’s Jews to the Death Camps.

It is estimated that Lutz saved the lives of 62,000 people.

“It is the largest civilian rescue operation of the Second World War,” says Charlotte Schallié.

Other diplomates still living in Budapest did the same. Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish envoy did his share to assist the Jews. But it was Lutz who made the decision to use
his own Embassy as a safe house.

After the war, when he finally returned home to Switzerland, it was not to a
hero’s welcome as one would imagine. Instead Lutz returned across the border alone.
There was no congratulations from his colleagues or Government but rather a
stinging rap on the knuckles, a reprimand for overstepping his boundaries and
for being what was thought to be careless and foolhardy.

Yet Lutz’s selflessness and humanitarian bravery has not gone totally unnoticed.

Over the years Lutz was awarded honors from Israel, Hungry, The UK, The United States
and slowly even Switzerland has made a few memorials to one of their own who
when push came to shove chose to take a stand rather than to stand by in neutral
watching thousands of men, woman and children being sent to certain death.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42400765

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.
Would that you were either cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Revelation 3:15-16

Cookie’s on the move

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it; it’s only good for wallowing in.”
― Katherine Mansfield

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Not a permeant move mind you, just a few days sabbatical.
Wait.
If it’s a working trip for one of us, can it still be a sabbatical for the other one of us?
The one whose already retired, the one who is tagging along looking for a little bit of inspiration from new sights and new sounds?

I feel as if Cookie was born to move.
As in, I have bags, I will travel, sort of move.
Not the whole pack up your world and move.
Nothing so drastic.
Little movement verses big movement.
Of course I blame it all on the adoption.

A baby born, knowing it is pre-destined for the “home”– certainly came pre-destined with a packed bag.
(and speaking of Philomena—not necessarily the movie, as I purposely chose not to see it but I am currently reading the book—It is proving to be the sort of book I must put down on an almost chapter by chapter basis as it is hard to imagine such took place in the country of my family’s roots, Ireland—plus as an adopted individual, it certainly makes one think. . .but we love Dame Judi Dench–of course we do. We’ll have a post on such at a later date. . .but today it is on to bigger and better things—things like moving on. . . and things like Texas—BIG)

My take on being adopted is that one is to make the most of a hard wired tendency.
No regrets.
If folks say I gotta move, than move I shall!
What was that song. . .”all my bag are packed, I’m ready to go, I’m standing here outside your door, I hate to wake you up to say good-bye. . . yada yada yada, I’m leaving on a jet plane. . . yada, yada, yada”—you get it, right?. . .

You say trip, adventure, business— I say I’m gain and I’m there!
Bags packed, camera ready. . .passport finally with the correct name—what a fiasco—you must read one of my very first posts—-“Goose chases, passports and the times in which we live” from Feb. 28, 2013. . .that is the story of my life encased in a nutshell–a nutshell of a comedy of divine errors.
So yep, I’m good to go!
This coming from a Miss Homebody. . .

This world is indeed wide and wonderful, and yes, wherever I may roam, my thoughts do return to precious things such a family, friends and home—but I am always up for a road trip. . .just let me know when you’re ready. . .and I’ll start packing!!
Oh and you should know, that I keep my passport on the ready.
I keep a $100 and 100 euros tucked inside on the ready because one just never knows when one needs to make a quick getaway. . .

Next stop—the Lone Star State
Stay tuned . . .

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Updates and Unsundries—

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My heart was hot within me,
While I was musing the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue:
“Lord, make me to know my end
And what is the extent of my days;
Let me know how transient I am.
“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;
Surely every man at his best is a mere breath.
“Surely every man walks about as a phantom;
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
“And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in You.

Psalm 39: 3-7

In case you’re wondering, unsunderies are not sun dried undies, but rather a collection of mismatched odds and ends of this and that’s… pretty applicable to my life’s hodge podge of what makes me, me….but more about such later…

First let me comment on a few things—

If you read my post “Symbolism,” (my story of the Holy Trinity) you may have noticed that I accidentally had two of the same shots or artwork. There were to be 4 of the framed pieces which I had previously “created”… so I’ve gone back in, edited, and fixed that little faux pas, deleting the duplicate and adding the piece sadly overlooked, which was really one of the ones I most enjoyed working on more so then the others—oh well.

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IT CAME!! THE PASSPORT CAME!!
If you’ve not read the post dated from February 28th, “Goose chases, Passports and the times in which we live”—may I, first, recommended that earlier post for your reading pleasure as it is the story of my life and one of the funnier posts—unless you like the “Rome, Wine and a bit of Incontinence” post which is also my life in a nutshell. And yes, I can’t help that I am a woman of a certain age…..

I had gone to our county Court House, once I’d gotten all of my “crap” finally together (that’s how I was feeling after having scoured the world for all of these identifying documents). I was so happy. I drove up to our brand new and newly renovated court house, parked in the fancy schmancy new parking deck, walked into the main lobby of this beautiful new building (if a new court house can be beautiful) only to be greeted by the deputy sheriffs and the eerily similar airport security system.

I dump all of my belongings into the plastic bin and send it through the scanner as I sashay my way through the metal detector. At least the deputy sheriffs are friendlier than the TSA folks, no offense to any TSA folks reading this, but it seems to be an important part of the TSA secret club rules, do not smile, do not be friendly lest they detect any weakness.

I kindly ask the officer on which floor might I find the passport office. He replies in the same kind manor “second floor”—with a smile I might add which is more than I can ever say for TSA, but there I go digressing. I head to the elevator and up I go. I follow a sign to the big new wooden double doors. As I open the doors, I enter into a large waiting area that is empty. There are 3 ticket type booth windows in front of me with only one woman behind the far left window.

Naturally gravitating to the window with the person verses the windows with no one (does that not make sense to you? Go to a window with a person verses two empty windows? I thought so but I was wrong). I tentatively approach asking if this is where I need to be for a passport. Without looking up (why do they never look up) she barks “last window on the left”—this as I finally see the sign by her window “traffic citations.” I make my way down to the last empty window and just awkwardly stand there thinking she’s going to come down to this window. I hear her bark again, “press the bell” as I spy a doorbell looking ringer by the window. Now why would I need to press the bell, doesn’t she know I’m here?

Out of nowhere a voice bellows “JUST A MINUTE!” Things are suddenly not going as I would have hoped. My happiness in the delivering of all my painfully sought after vital information, suddenly and rapidly wanes. Finally another woman appears. She is not smiling. I’m getting use to that.

I begin my tale. In mid sentence she stops me and flatly asks, “do you have the correct form?” “Well, I’m not sure, but the last Passport agent I spoke with told me to use this form and include the cover letter (that was in the woman’s hand explaining the entire situation). If I called again—“They’d tell you something else” –she finishes my sentence for me.

“Do you have a photo or do I need to take one”. “oooo, she would have taken the picture” I muse silently. “ I have a picture, thank you.” I didn’t tell her how I’d gone to a photographer in town twice for a passport picture—the first picture had bad hair. I had to have a redo—not much better, but it would have to do.

She tells me to write a big check, raise my right hand and solemnly swear that I am who I am—my Lord, hasn’t that what I’ve been trying to do all these months gathering all my myriad of vital statistics?! I hand over everything and let out a huge sigh—it’s now in the hands of the Passport gods…….

Fast forward…THE PASSPORT CAME and I am now me on all of my major identifying documents!!!—but now there is an impending wedding to plan so all travel trips across the pond are temporarily on hold until further notice—more on weddings later……..
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Ok, so now let’s move on…

I went back to the orthopedic office last week. The ankle is still swollen, still hurts, my good leg is now hurting having to drag around this 50 pound (no not really, maybe 100 lb) dead weight air-boot cast—they took new x-rays.
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about see the post “Pinestraw, the drainage hole, the ER and the broken Cookie”)

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(a little less swollen, a little less black and blue—but painful to stand on and terribly weak, it’s the one on the left)

The doctor comes in, tells me things look in alignment and come back in 3 weeks. “What?!” I scream in my head. “That’s it?!”
Impatiently I ask “but what about the tendons and ligaments”—that’s what I’m more worried about, the bone, I know, will heal, it’s those more important rubber bands inside that hold everything together. He assures me things will heal. Time, it just needs time.

He tells me I need to give it time and all I’m hearing is that “Julie, you’re losing time.” Just sitting, resting, healing…hopefully healing. Wait, rest, heal– I hope.
But Scarlet, we won’t worry about it today, for that, my dear, is for another day. I need to go put up my leg. And speaking of… this whole “rest” concept is so foreign to me but I’m working on it.

I read a wonderful post the other day on the blog Following the Shepherd, found on nonfatlatte.wordpress.com —Blessings in the Thorn—sometimes—no actually, all of the time, we’ve got to stop fighting our “thorns” and instead, we need to find the blessings within the thorn! So I am now tasked with the job of finding the blessings in my new 50 lbs leg, forced to slow down to almost a complete stop, but yet, I must quit fighting this forced rest business. I do want my ankle to heal properly. As a friend keeps reminding me, “you know at our age, bones don’t heal like they once did.” “Eat Tums,” she tells me. “Calcium you know.” “Are you kidding me?!” Tums, really Sophie?! Lordy—or as my grandmother use to say “Lawdy!”

My husband came home form work early Wednesday in order to clean out the gutters. He also thought it really important to put in a new pipe for drainage, doing away with the infamous hole I stepped in. Really? Now he wants to clean gutters? With all of the rain we’ve had and all of the expected rain this weekend, he said it was urgent. Was it urgent that he dig out that drainage hole before we cleaned the gutters!!? Hummm…. Seems we didn’t need that little hole after all, as a tree root was blocking the gutter. Really? Now there is a nice new pipe. Humm… All as I was balancing the 20 ft ladder, up against the house, with him perched atop digging out wet goop, dropping it down on my head—me and my one good leg. Really? Suppose he has any sense of guilt as he sees me hobbling to and fro like a weeble wobble? Really.

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When I first began this blog business, I didn’t know what to expect or think. Those of you, who know me, know that I don’t “do” facebook—none of that social media business for me. My small rebellion to a world gone mad I suppose…what with instant this and that, tweets, facebook, “immediate” just seems to be the name of the game. But a blog, that’s different, isn’t it? I’m more or less musing and offering encouragement, a little southern insight, while people can choose to muse along or not, right? At their leisure, right?

I think this is a good transition for a “retired” educator…you know how we teachers like to “muse.”
Just like in the classroom, people can choose to listen or not 🙂
Today 106 people have decided to “follow” me on my blog of “musing.” That may not sound like a lot, but to me it is 106 new friends in my life. I started all of this on February 25th, today is May 6th—I am honored that other people from all over the world care to hear and/ or see what a 53 year old woman down in Georgia may have to share. That’s nice. Very nice.

I know some of my friends prefer my posts about food, while others the travel tales…upsetting the apple cart, I then go and throw in a bit of the dramatic– to much of their dismay— but as a teacher, it was/ it is, important to me that I let my kids (and others) know that whatever trials, or thorns (thank you nonfatlatte) that they are experiencing– someone else knows and understands the same pain, the same frustration, the same sorrow…we are never ever truly alone. My kids always needed/ need to know that and it was/ is important that I let them know we all have our share of burdens as well as joy. Teenagers especially can feel isolated as they navigate this thing called Life—it was my job to help light the way…as I still feel that is my job.

It’s also nice sharing with other people “out there” who are on the same or similar journey—despite countries of origin, language, age, sex, the one thing I know to be true is that we are all more alike than we are different—just as I stated in the beginning of my blog—on the first post as to “why a blog”—it is the similarities that bind mankind, it’s all in how we decide to look at things.

God’s grace is sufficient—that is something I am also discovering—and that is blessing enough. May He continue blessing you, as you are blessing me.

Well I think that’s it for all of the sundries for now. Life—living, loving and learning—that’s what it’s all about. One step at a time and just knowing God is always a step or 10 ahead—thank goodness!

Goose chases, passports and the times in which we live

Ok so I don’t know whether to scream in frustration, cry in frustration or to laugh in resignation.  I think I’ve figured out the entire root of my troubles. I can trace it back, all the way back, to the day I was born.  The first red flag.  I was born then immediately put up for adoption (and that story is for another day).  A wonderful couple was matched up with this new little bundle of joy and was to soon become a family.

My father (the one adopting me) tells of how on the night before they were to pick-up their new daughter, they were out eating with another couple.  The other couple wanted to know what my (soon to be) parents were going to name their new child.  My dad tells them that his mother’s name is Julia and that his mother-n-law’s name is Mary.  The other couple exclaims “that’s it!!!–you name her Mary Julia, but call her Julie.”   “Great idea.”  Who said that???  The rest is history.

That is the second beginning of all of my troubles, and remember, the first was the whole being born thing.

Life rocks along pretty well until it’s time to start school.  On the first day of school teachers start calling roll and are looking for “Mary.”  “Who’s that?!” I wonder– “my name is Julie.” “That Mary girl has my same last name”.  And so the story goes on and on, all the way through college.  I think I’m Julie but legally, I’m Mary.  Ok, I can live with that little piece of confusion.  I’ll just correct all the first day roll callers.

One day a nice boy asks me to marry him. I’m going to get married!  YAY!  Julie is to pick up a new last name.  And like all good southern girls of the day, who love things monogramed, I will be Julie, Maiden Name, New last name—the best of both worlds—–or so I thought.  Has anyone figured out yet where all of this is going ??!!

Once I’m married Social Security says I need to update my name on my card so I can still get paid at work and match up with who I say I am and so the Tax man, no doubt, can find me.  Ok.  I can fix that.  I’ll go stand in a very long line, wait and wait for my number to be called and change my old name to my new name.

But for some reason, a reason I do not know or recall, my driver’s license is still using my “legal” name.  Ok, no problem, it’s just one of my now many names, it has a picture, I’m good to go.

All of that is fine, that is until 9/11.  After 9/11 everything changes.  Everything changes for everyone.  We suddenly realize our lives will never be the same as we knew them to be.  The Government has decided it must now do a better job of identifying people. It must know who is or who isn’t a citizen.  I still don’t think they have this part down quite yet but I suppose it’s just a work in progress, kind of like the Budget…. but I digress.

The Government tells me via the DOT and Social Security that I need to have all legal documents match.  Ok.  I can do this.  I can take time off from work and go to the Social Security Office and wait in a long line, again.  I can wait and wait for my number to be called and change my name–again.

Whew!  Glad I got that over with!!!

Then the Pope dies.  John Paul II.  I am devastated.  And yes, I sincerely was (still am) a huge fan of JPII.  My passport…where is my passport??!!  AGH! It’s expired!!! AGH!!! I want to go to Italy for the funeral!!!  I need to get a new one!!!  However I can’t get one in time!! AGH!!!  But I still need to renew it.  So I do.

“What name do I use?” I muse to myself.  Well I still go by Julie, Maiden name, Last Name so there you go.  And a few weeks later, the Passport arrives…Julia (? hum), Maiden name, Last Name.  OK. That works. Good.  I can now go to Italy to pay my respects.  And I do.

And then a couple of years later my aunt wants to go to Paris.  And we do.  And then my husband wants to go to Vermont.  And we start to– but Delta says “hold up”!  The TSA agent at the gate states “Do you know your name with Delta, which is on your ticket, does not match your license?”  “Oh sure..see I go by Julie.  The other name is just my legal name….”  “Well I can’t let you go through this gate until both ticket and license match.”  “Are You kidding??!”  TSA agents don’t ever kid I discovered.  I tell my husband to go on to the gate and I’ll go back to the counter and get things fixed right up.  When is anything fixed right up at the airport??!!

I stand in a long line, staring back and forth at my watch.  Finally I get up to the desk.  “That will be $350 to issue a new ticket mam” I’m told.  “WHAT!!??”  My phone starts ringing, it’s my husband telling me Security says he has a knife in his bag.  I packed the bag, there’s no knife, “tell them that’s just my straightening iron”– but he is insistent and his voice is getting higher…something about jail.  I have to hang up, I have to figure out this $350 thing!!

I feel tears stinging at my eyes.  Finally a different nice Delta lady tells me it’s going to be OK.  She issues me a new ticket.  I dash to the TSA man.  This time he let’s me pass.  I see my husband. He’s looking very pale.  He’s putting his belt back on and slipping on his shoes.  He starts screaming in that “we’re in public so I can’t scream too loud but I need to scream voice”.  Seems our son who last had the bag had put a pocket knife in the side panel when he was driving back from a Spring Break fishing trip. Who knew??!!  But luckily the panic and horror on my husband’s face signaled to Security that he truly was as surprised as they were. They kept the knife, but let me take my husband.  Don’t know if that was too wise at that very moment, but again, I digress.

Then I retired and my aunt and I wanted to go back to Europe.  Remember the license, the passport, as well as for my name with Delta now, do not match.  But I’m going to Europe, heck yeah!  Surrrre you are.

We’re at the airport and I have to get Delta to issue me my ticket at the desk as I can’t do it on-line because I have so many names—but I’m still me and my pictures are obviously me so I don’t understand, what’s the big deal.  The agent is so nice and issues me my ticket and I’m good to go….or so I think.  There’s another one of those pesky TSA agents.  Do they ever smile??  She looks at my passport and my ticket.  “Why don’t these match?”  “Well you see, they do but Julie is the name I go by.  “It’s a nick name and we don’t honor nick names”  “Oh no it’s not, it’s the name I go by”  “Is it your legal name?  “Well, not exactly, but it is my name!”  “Let me see your license”   Long pause and held breath.  “What’s this name?”  “Oh that’s my maiden name”  more long pause and not breathing.  She finally waves us through. Thank God!! Europe here I come…….

Then there was the whole trying to get through the airport in Berlin when we were suppose to fly home. Another debacle I’m just too tired now to relay and you’re too tired to read….Just imagine all of the above  but it happens all in German.   As soon as I finally got on that plan I swore I’d get this passport thing straightened out once and for all!!!!  Righhhht……..

I call the Passport folks and begin my tale of names blaming all of it on my father.  As if that helps.  They tell me I need certified copies of this and that, sworn affidavits form 3 different people who have known me by all my names, more money, the correct forms, etc……

I look for birth certificates, high school diplomas, college diplomas, tax stubs, pay checks….AGH!!  Why don’t any of these match!!!???  Panic is sinking in as I’m beginning to realize I will never travel or leave this country again.  I call my aunt in Florida.  She has my baptismal record.  Good!  “Certify you know me and send it my way.”  I call the Passport folks again.  This time the nice lady tells me I just need a birth certificate, a marriage license and my drivers license, more money, a letter of explanation and I’m good to go.  Great!!  Now where is that marriage license……..

Fast forward to today.

I was married in Atlanta.  No problem.  Bet my license is there.  I look on line and I can go downtown to the Probate court and purchase a certified copy.  I haven’t been to downtown Atlanta in 30 years so I call my oldest and dearest friend who lives in Atlanta.  I tell her we have an adventure but she has to drive.  She’s in.  Off we go to the Probate Court.

Did you know you have to pass through security just like at the airport?  I began to panic about my whole name thing when I remembered this wasn’t the airport.  Whew!!  We make our way up to the proper office where I sign in.  Seems there are lots of folks wanting firearm permits. Go figure. That makes me a little nervous but then I remember I just want a marriage license.

The clerk calls my name.  I tell her what I need, give her my name, wedding date and proceed to wait as she scans the records.  Nothing.  She has nothing.  What!!??  Here’s my husband’s name, try that.  Nothing.  “WE’VE BEEN MARRIED 30 YEARS, WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE’S NOTHING??!!”  At this my friend quips “guess you aren’t really married.”  At which all the clerks behind the counter start laughing.  I’m not laughing.

And then I remember.  I tell the clerk that I remember we had our blood test in Talladega, Alabama.  “TALLADEGA, ALABAMA?! my friend shrieks.  “What in the world for, Why?!”  I remind her that I am not married to a man who is a planner.  When he realized that we needed a blood test and the wedding was looming, he found  the closest place within driving distance, where we could wait for immediate results without having to go to Vegas –downtown Talledega.  Had we gotten the license there as well??!!

The Clerk told me to call the county office there in Talladega where I could probably find the help I needed —I needed more than help at this moment–a strong shot of liquor was sounding pretty good.  Once back outside I call my husband telling him I have no idea where our license could be–was it in Talladega?  “Talladega, why would it be there?” he asks a little confused.  I explain the whole blood test story hoping to trigger his obviously failing memory.  “Yeah, we got the blood tests there but we got the license in the county of Georgia I was living in at the time.” “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??!!”  “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THIS WHEN I TOLD YOU I WAS GOING TO DOWNTOWN ATLANTA TO GET OUR LICENSE??!!”  He quietly states that it appears as if I am blaming him for this goose chase of a trip.  He assumed I knew what I was talking about when I told him I was off to Atlanta to get our marriage license.  Now he tells me he thinks I know what I’m talking about….damn straight!!  AAAGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

A now very long story short, I called the county office where I now thought my elusive license to be hiding and BINGO!!  Tomorrow I will pay $10, bring home a license, gather all of my other identifying information, write a check for $110 and send it off to the Passport Office.  I will light candles, have a novena said, and offer my oldest child all for a Passport, a Drivers license and a Social Security card to match.

And now the Pope retires and I don’t have a working passport.  Perhaps by the time we have the Conclave and our new Pope—I will be able to go pay my respects.  I will go.