Final Farewell

Below is a post from my father, the author of the blog This Is Me. I have been asked to put this on Meander With Me on behalf of him and the rest of our family.

This is me. On the morning of Saint Patrick’s Day, a lady named Gallagher was welcomed into Heaven. It is my sad obligation to inform you that my Mother, Mary Alice Gallagher Kaufman, “slipped the surly bounds of earth and touched the face of God”. About two weeks shy of her 90th birthday, Mom began to experience problems which led us to believe that she had suffered a stroke. After moving to Hanover Pennsylvania to live with my sister Barb, her condition degraded precipitously over the course of four or five weeks. An M.R.I. showed that Mom had developed a brain tumor. Mom had insisted long ago that she should never be kept alive with tubes and machines. As her condition did not allow for aggressive treatment, and in keeping with her wishes, nature was allowed to take its course. We were privileged to be able to spend several weekends with her while she was cognizant of what was going on around her. She was able to sit with us and enjoy the conversation and laughter, while delighting in a glass of wine and the fire softly burning in the fireplace. A great mind has been stilled, and a feisty lady is no more. On behalf of the family, I wish to thank all of the faithful readers of “Meander With Me”. You made her happy, and for that you have our gratitude. For my siblings, Bonnie Thomen, Jack Kaufman, Barb Boyer, Bev Kaufman, and Bette Rolli, I am making this final farewell in “Meander With Me”. In sadness, Carl Kaufman


A New Chapter

This was not in my plans. I still have so much to do and it pains me as I struggle with new challenges in my daily life. Thank you for your kind words. My family is helping me to periodically check this website and I am looking forward to the day I can continue my work. I miss you all.

Temporary Absence

I am moving to Hanover, Pennsylvania, and will be back on line as soon as I can. I will miss you.

Facts, Just Facts

Tomorrow, shortly before three in the afternoon, I plan on entering the door of my audiologist, a Bonnie J. Laurie. I have high hopes of eventually regaining at least enough of my once keen sense of hearing so I might never again have another evening such as the one I spent last evening. I spent the entire time at the home of a best friend sharing supper with her and another friend or hers. Both of them speak in low voices, but unwilling to keep asking them to repeat what had just been said, I was forced to guess. I left knowing I had understood little of what had been said. If hearing aids don’t alter the situation, I’ll find myself declining future invitations to suppers and the like. I’ll find myself slowly but surely becoming self-ostracized from the outside world. I’m not complaining: merely stating a fact. I’ve a good long run of it, as the saying goes.
In spite of the ever so slight depression I am in at the moment, I am delighted, joyful, elated and thankful to have another Halloween behind me and especially this year. Although I tried most valiantly to ignore the aftermath of my shingles attack, it hasn’t been easy. I depended a great deal on television for diversion, only to find almost all channels—including the History Channel—dedicated to the occult, the paranormal and the supernatural. Big Foot striding across an open space in broad daylight and obviously a man in an ape costume, keeps me puzzled as to how anyone can believe it to be anything but a hoax. I like a good ghost story as much as anybody I know, but let’s keep fact and fiction separated in our minds.
If that wasn’t enough to give me pause to consider how little I have in common with many people I meet, both in actual life and on the Internet, I came to the realization just the past week that I’ve had all I can take of over-religious zealots with “forked tongues”. With one side of their mouths they claim to believe in and love God: with the other side they take it upon themselves to be “God, Judge and Jury” of their fellow human beings, mainly homosexuals.
A few thousand years ago, some Semetic tribesmen, ignorant of all things concerning how the brain operates, condemned anyone who dared to be attracted to someone of the same sex, to be stoned to death. Because of a few scriptures in a book called a Bible, we are faced with those who, as I said, plays at being God, Judge and Jury. If such are assured of either eternal life in heaven or eternal life here on earth, I’m thankful I’m going to be … just plain dead after I’m dead.

Even though I know I got off easy with the case of shingles I had, and, even the after effects are not all that bad, I sure didn’t need the upsetting past three days I’ve had. Last evening I received an email from my oldest son suggesting something I had already decided to do: keep on with Meander With Me, even if it isn’t an every day post, but keep it light, interesting, and—these are my words—fun to read. Well, before I do that, I have to get over a past, three day’s upset. I’ve used astericks in place of names, but here is a copy of a letter now sitting in my mailbox for pickup later on in the day. I believe it is self-explanatory. I’m worndering, how would “you” handle this situation if face with it?

My One Time, Good Friend, ****, October 19, 2009
I will make this short and simple. If you and ******* did not intend to mend a broken friendship, just why did the two or you stop by? As much as I was truly delighted to see the two of you and genuinely happy to think we could, once again, be the friends we once were, I am sitting here at my computer vainly trying to compose myself. What I sincerely hoped was a gesture of friendship, turned out be just another attempt by ******* to once again, get me to produce a book that, if I ever had it in my possession, had been returned to your home.
When it comes to a book on the life of Kathryn Hepburn, I would not have had the slightest interest in its content. I’ve never been interested in reading biographies of movie stars, and never will. I do remember coming to your house one evening and being told to put whatever it was I had borrowed with other articles lying on a stool, or some other piece of furniture several steps into the room and to the left of the doorway. For all I remember, I may have taken the book home and returned it unread. The accusation of having borrowed a book and failing to return it, will trouble me for as long as I live. Had I borrowed the book and not returned it, it would still be sitting on the kitchen table. Never, not once in my entire life has anybody—until now—accused me of failing to return something I borrowed.
It saddens me to write this: it has become quite clear to me that *******—if not both of you—will continue to believe I borrowed a treasured book with irreplaceable clippings in it and did not return them. I am now convinced that I will be forever harassed on the subject. I don’t need the aggravation. ******* has succeeded in convincing me that it is best that I sever—without any malice whatsoever on my part—any and all possible future friendship between you, ******* and me. I am willing to talk the matter over at any time—with you and you only.
I once suggested a slight change in one of her poems and she took offense. I learned early on to back off.
I think it best for my state of mind if I “back off” permanently.

It’s been a faily rough past few weeks which may be prompting me to come to a decision: it is time for me to give up blogging and stick with those things dearest to my heart while there is yet time: get my two books of poetry printed by a publisher who can provide both a semi-hard cover and good quality paper, finish my autobiography, add to the true farm stories I think worth the telling, edit the few short fiction stories I’ve written, work on my autobiography and finish my incursion into the minds of the early Semites who wrote the Old Testament. How anybody can actually believe the Creator of this universe had anything to do with writing the Old Testament is beyond my understanding. Most people I meet appear to think I’m still pretty “hep” for someone who will start her ninetieth year of life before this year is over.
An hour or so ago, I finished watching a “documentary” movie of the life and times of Charles Darwin. As I sat in my lounge chair, pondering over what I had seen and heard, I could not help thinking what a truly fortunate old woman I am. I am absolutely and utterly free of any and all belief in the super-natural and the paranormal. I’ve come to the conclusion, that’s a wonderful way to live.
Just not sure at this time what to do. Mary


Not having kept a daily journal—which I’ve often regretted not doing so, I have to rely on memory. While my memory is still in good shape, recalling the date on which some particular event occurred, or even the year, gives way at times to guess work.
Back, say 1957 or 58, and with nothing to go on other than a question ricochetting about in my mind, ‘If it’s true, why didn’t Paul preach it’, and an idea I had concerning how all llife forms first came into existence, I eagerly read an article I discovered in a scientific magazine from the shelves of a local library an article that so closely resembled my thoughts, I bought a copy of the magazine, which I promptly mislaid and never found.
My idea was this: Every species of animal life originated from but one source, a “sea of universal “soup” containing what I chose to call molecules—I was and I still am woefully ignorant of all things scientic. What was to become a horse became a horse. What was to become a zebra, became a zebra and so on.
Following that line of reasoning, it made sense to me to conclude that homo sapiens also evolved from a more primitive form, but nevertheless, were destined to become what we are today … a species with thumbs which give us the ability to preform intricate tasks and the only species with the ability to think, to imagine the impossible and to believe in the improbable—but, back to the original subject matter.
This morning I decided to search for either the article I read back in the later 1950s or its counterpart. All I could recall were the words, ‘primordial soup’. The author of the article suggested that, if there was viable life somewhere in the universe other than on earth, life would likely resemble lifeforms on earth because of life originating from what was commonly called “primordial soup”. Well, I found such a site and I’ve taken the liberty of lifting a few words from the work I believe I read those many years ago:
August 7th, 2009 (PhysOrg.com) — In 1953, Stanley Miller filled two flasks with chemicals assumed to be present on the primitive Earth, connected the flasks with rubber tubes and introduced some electrical sparks as a stand-in for lightning. The now famous experiment showed what amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, could easily be generated from this primordial stew. But despite that seminal experiment, neither he nor others were able to take the next step: that of showing how life’s code could come from such humble beginnings.
Mr. Miller did not claim to have discovered some long-hidden truth, but did go on to suggest that all life had its beginning from a single source, and he wasn’t referring to that source as God.
Nothing pleases as does a bit of vindication, because those very thoughts were my thoughts back in the latter 1950s, and still are. This may be true: up until the present time, scientists have not been able to create “life”. Is their failure to do so, proof they never will? Perhaps not in the years yet allotted me, nor during the lifetime of anyone reading this, but don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose, that they never will.

Yes, Why?

Yesterday, in an attempt to prod myself out of the lethargy I seem to have acquired during my battle with walking pneumonia, and the toll in energy spent during my wonderful, but tiring trip to Pennsylvania and the annual family reunion, I visited several blogs hoping for some inspiration. One in particular caught my attention, and I’ve taken the liberty of lifting a few words that caused me to cogitate. I love using that word because it was the word that first stirred me “awake”, that caused me to first question all religious theology.
Now I dislike using another’s words in any of my own writing, but in this case I don’t have much choice if I wish to make a point clear. Verbatim, and understand, these are not my words: but if God caused his Son to be born a perfect man, and his life course counterbalances that of the only other perfect man, Adam, and thus can buy back, or redeem, what Adam lost … you must admit there is some internal logic there, and not just some gooey “God died for us to show how much he loves us.” Moreover, if god wants us in heaven, as all religions believe— except for Jehovah’s Witnesses—why didn’t he put us there in the first place, for crying out loud?
Now I hereby concede that that is one beautifully, thought-out question and, my hat’s off to the author. The question deserves some serious consideration, that is, until a bit of logical thinking is brought into play. Remember, Jehovah—God—is omniscient as well as omnipotent. Using the same reasoning my fellow-blogger used, I’ll ask: if God—Jehovah—first intended for Adam and Eve and their offspring to live on earth forever—just like Jehovah Witnesses believe they will, after something called Armageddon takes place, then, Why, for crying out loud, did God—Jehovah—plant that “forbidden apple tree” in the Garden of Eden knowing full well that both Eve and Adam were going to disobey orders? Why, for crying out loud, didn’t God—Jehovah—simply cut that “walking, talking snake, Satan” off at the knees before he had a chance to “talk”, first Eve, then, through Eve, Adam into sinning? Why, for crying out loud, would God—Jehovah–go through all that b…s…, about sin and the shedding of blood to atone for sin—both human and animal—when, in the long run, humans, that is, certain humans, are still going to live on the earth forever. Sure puzzles the hell out of me.

Written to be read and critiqued in my Thursday Morningside Writers Group

According to the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary installed in my computer, there are eleven different definitions given for the word commandment, including the word, law. Those who believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God, and believe the Bible specifically declares homosexuality to be a sin, homosexuality—to this day—must be forbidden. Although the Bible states that sex between two men is an abomination, it fails, as far as I can determine, to mention anything about lesbianism. Perhaps, because early Semitic fathers chose husbands for their daughters, and because daughters were kept confined under strict supervision until safely married, Moses did not question God’s possible oversight. Perhaps God did not find sex between two women to be as objectional as that between two men. If that is the case, I wonder why? I think I know why, but modesty causes me to refrain from reading such thoughts in mixed company. Although it is apparent to me that love—and not lust—between two of the same sex stirs them to seek legal protection called marriange—enjoyed by heterosexual couples—there are those who do not.
Fundamental Christians apparently deem the Constitution of the United States of America to be badly in need of rewriting. The constitution of the United States of America does not spell out in incontestable detail what constitutes marriage. The document does not define the state of matrimony to be solely a legal commitment between a man and a woman. When I made my entrance into the world, the Constitution did not uphold, or give women any status whatsoever at the voting booth: it took an amendment to rectify that particular injustice. Before I die, I’d like to see another amendment added to the Constitution. It is time to stop penalizing love! Just because two men, or two women, find themselves in love with each other, marriage between them in no way jeopardizes the “holy” state of matrimony for heterosexuals. It is time to remove the stigma imposed upon those who love someone of the same sex. It is time each and every American be granted equal rights.
When it comes to the Bible—and especially the Old Testament—the scriptures found in Leviticus, Chapter 18, verse 22, and Chapter 20, verse 13, troubles me. To the person who uses the Bible as proof that God censures love between two people of the same sex—and therefore such unions must be forever outlawed—I have a question. By what criterion do you safely eliminate other commandments—or laws—just as simple to understand as those concerning homosexuality, but with which you do not agree and therefore, do not obey?
I claim this in the defense of marriage between both homosexuals and lesbians: although many of them are willing and eager to care for homeless children, they obviously do not seek abortions, which should please those who deem the act akin to the murder of a viable human being, nor do they contribute to the over-population of the earth!
If God is the Loving Father Jesus preached, perhaps, sometime after the Bible was printed and too late to amend the many abominable laws found in it, God had a change of heart. I like to think that God, if he exists, softened his heart toward those who love someone of the same sex. I like to think that God regrets all such harsh commandments as those against homosexuality and would have retracted—if he could—such commandments found in the Old Testament as the stoning to death of brides who do not produce proof of their virginity on their wedding night. One of the worst, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” was a primary factor in the horrible persecution and death of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and even children during the centuries religion held sway over Europe, centuries now known as the Dark Ages.
I cannot, nor am I interested in trying to prove that God does not exist, but I sometimes grow weary of those who try to prove to me he does. I will add this much to the subject: no God of mine could possibly have caused to be written much of what I read when I read the Bible, including the scriptures condemning homosexuality.

I believe the human brain to be the only brain in a living body capable of imagination. That may explain its ability to imagine the impossible and believe in the improbable.

A Brief Hello:

Beginning sometime around the first of July, an x-ray of my lungs gave me cause to all but come to a serious slow-down, or at least I am going to blame that on my temporary absence from Meander With Me. The second x-ray proved all to be well. The problem seems to have been caused by pneumonia, not a cancerous lesion. I did get my book of poetry, Butterflies and Bumblebees edited and ready for self-publishing, but little else.
On the 28th of this month, next Tuesday, I am heading northward to Bird In Hand, Pennsylvania for our annual family reunion. I will do my darndest to get back to my blogsite after returning, but for now, I am going to share a copy of my reply to a friend who sent me an email featuring Bob Cosby and a few of his thoughts on keeping the United States of America a strong and forceful force in the world. I think the following is self-explanatory.
Dear Friend, Neither you or Bob Cosby stepped on my toes. With few exceptions, I agreed with everything Bob Cosby said. One exception concerns the pledge of allegiance. I agree it should be repeated in the schools, Congress, Senate and anywhere people are gathered in a public building funded by taxpayers, but … I pledged allegiance to the flag every school day during my pre-highschool years and was never forced to say something of which I had no knowledge, and which cannot be proven. The lack of two words, “Under God” did not cause me to want to give up my citizenship to this country and leave for another.
The original Pledge of Allegiance did not contain the words “under God” and should never have been added. Strange, so many people always seem to know just what God is thinking at all times, and so certain God has chosen the United States of America as his own special project to look after. Let’s see: at one time the Romans ruled the known world for … goodness, can’t remember just how many hundreds of years, but it was for a hell of a long time. How did they do so all on their own … or, was America’s God looking out for the Romans during those years? Come to think of it, England did right well for a considerable length of time. Was America’s God looking out for England, and then switched his allegiance to America after we won the Revolutionary War?
According to most Christians, this country has been under God’s protection since 1776. That is just a little over two hundred years, not near as long as either the Romans or the English were “top dog”. How do we know that God isn’t going to change his mind again? How does anybody know that God hasn’t already started to withdraw his protection of America, and is now behind the influx of darker-skinned, Spanish-speaking people from the South. I predict that if something drastic isn’t done, it won’t take much more than another hundred years or so before America is a Spanish-speaking country. If God is behind the influx of Spanish-speaking people, how do we stop God from doing what seems to be in the process of happening right now? Perhaps God is tired of war and has decided on a more subtle method of changing his allegiance from America to that of Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries? Can anybody prove otherwise? Can anybody picture this—the Pledge of Allegiance spoken in Spanish and instead of “Under God”, the pledge reads—under God’s Vicar On Earth—the Pope? That requires the addition of just three more words and what was accomplished once, could be repeated, no?
Just musing, Mary