| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Life in transition

Posted on 03 April 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Dear buyers-of-my-house: Soon it will be yours. I walk around – actually, I jog from room to room every day – seeing, as if for the first time, all of its contents, from the furniture to the smallest artifacts. I see 20 years of the imprint of a retired couple – not just ANY retired couple – but now, half of THIS retired couple.

I leave you with exotic sunsets, filtering through trees, reflecting in moving waters, unmatched by any I’ve seen in the most remote corners of the world. I leave you with walls that cannot talk, but, if they could, would reveal the most sacred of life lessons, secrets of living a life of contentment and joy. I leave you with seeds of compromise and balance, and realistic expectations.

I leave you with a kitchen I would like to take with me – highly utilized and productive— the alternate hub of my life. Perhaps, the scents of eggplant and kale, and mushrooms and apple, and cookies are still lingering in the air. (I cook healthy!) And the two stovetops that visitors always wondered about as in … “Why Two?” We bought it that way! And neither was neglected.

And the actual hub of my life — the office (second bedroom) with its built-in 12 ft. desk, the surface of which is hardly visible, suffocated with files and papers and 21st Century technical gadgets and built-in draws and cabinets — and TV nook. Lord! How will I ever sort it all out – and dump most of it? And you will, no doubt, choose to remove it all from the walls!

And the lush, languorous, full-bodied orchids that I attached to a tree in the back, bursting with color and sensuality in May and November, lasting for months, visitors agape at it prodigious splendor…

Of course, the view, wide unobstructed water, ducks, fairway and trees, Anhinga and Ibis in flight, meditative moments stolen from a busy life – the aha moment as you walk through the door and view the lightness that infuses the house, even in gloomy weather.

I will take some of my many hundreds of elephants from the walls, floors, jewelry cases, clothing and show cabinets – my very good luck elephants. But which ones will I “let go?” I will leave one for you to transfer the “good luck” it had given us for so many years.

Every life has its phases, and I am looking forward to the next in mine. I leave you with a happy house filled with brightness and energy, and the fluidity of new experiences. May it continue to exude the joy and love that has emanated from it all these years, for you, as it has for us.

Yours for a smooth closing.

Emily

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: What do you do when you’re bored?

Posted on 06 March 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I was sitting in the big chair getting a pedicure at the Vietnamese Nail Salon on a school holiday.

The 10-year-old son of the salon owner wandered aimlessly around the salon, closely watched by his mother and grandmother, and other working relatives. The young boy was friendly and alert, and everything about him signaled “smart.” He stopped by my chair and we exchanged a few words about his vacation and school.

And then, without any warning, he looked up at me and asked, “What do you do when you’re bored?”

Somehow, from that childish stance, I sensed a really thoughtful and serious mind; although, I had to ask him to repeat the question to give myself time to construct an age-appropriate response. And then, no! My response was un-tethered to age. I merely blurted out the unvarnished truth as if I were on a podium giving a lecture.

Bored?” I repeated “I’m never bored.”

How come?” he asked, with genuine curiosity.

Because I love my own company, and I have so many thoughts running through my head that I can seem to be doing nothing, but I am thinking all the time.”

He scrunched up his nose and leaned closer to me. “Yes, but what do you DO when you have nothing to do?”

The “thinking” part was too abstract.

Well,” I felt I owed him something more concrete. “I read, I write, I listen to music and REALLY listen, I love to invent new recipes from leftover food, I ….”

My voice trailed as he jumped up and ran to one of the back rooms of the salon, leaving me thinking seriously about “boredom.” I didn’t want to tell him that I have occasionally felt considerably more bored in the company of some people than when I am alone.

Within a few minutes, he returned with a few sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 white typing paper, which he evidently retrieved from a printer. He squatted easily at a site close to my chair and began to fold a sheet of paper very purposefully. He looked up at me quizzically.

Origami! “ he stated, “You know what that is?”

I nodded affirmatively, watching him construct – all with folds — a perfectlysquare paper box about 2” in depth with a tidy reinforced rim around it.

That’s great,” I said. “What will you do with that?”

Instantly, his mother, who was “doing” my fingernails, pulled several bills from her pocket and tossed them into the box, sending her son directly to the cash register to perform a familiar task, as they conversed easily in their high-pitched Vietnamese language.

He returned to my chair, told me his name and then felt obligated to add that it wasn’t his actual Vietnamese name, which he pronounced for me, and which I couldn’t repeat if my life had depended on it. He had no trouble pronouncing my name. We chatted about school and his favorite subject, math, and some things he could do when he felt bored.

He is one of the “dream” kids, not born here, but who will grow up to be one of our national treasures if he is allowed to remain in this country and become a citizen. And he is not likely ever to be bored.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: A yellow car for Valentine’s Day

Posted on 06 February 2014 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen, M.A.

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I am ready – ripe-ready – for a new car. This will probably be my last car. I keep them for 10 years or more, and the actuarial tables — well, you know – they are not in my favor.

So I walk into the showroom(s) up and down Federal Highway. It isn’t that I don’t know what I want.

It seems – that it doesn’t exist – YET.

Good afternoon,” say the smiling salespeople, ready to pounce. “How can I help you today?”

Sheepishly and simply, I say: “I want a yellow car.

They smile in a kind of patronizing yet disbelieving way, and repeat, “You want a yellow car? “

Yes.”

ANY yellow car?”

Well – not exactly. It must be 4 doors, with a decent size trunk (no hatchback), get good gas mileage and be either new or have been driven no more than 8,000 miles.”

The puzzled look turns into a frown, and before they begin to sputter, I add, “Oh! And it must be somewhere close to the $20,000 category.”

MUST it be yellow?”

That’s the idea!”

My now 10-year-old plus car is Silver. My husband admonished me long ago, when we were shopping for it, that yellow is a bad color for resale, that it’s a kid-color and “For heaven sake – why not just buy a N.Y.C. cab?” My response was, “Hurumph!” And reluctantly, I succumbed.

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love (it’s almost Valentine’s Day, you know) my Silver car. But it’s NOT YELLOW – and it’s time for a new one, and, since my husband’s recent demise, there’s no one around to dissuade me from getting yellow.

So far, there is no end to this ongoing story, but I tell it in light of the inevitability of the arrival of yet another of Valentine’s Day. I’ve written about the holiday for the past 20- plus years – in as many permutations as I could dredge up: the romance, the humor, the gifts, the original heart-palpitating times, the sturdy long-time reliable love, the disappointments and acceptances, the effects of technology and social media on love, the love for children and grandchildren, the love of fellow humans and ways to volunteer to show that love — and so much more. But this time, it’s a tribute to love of self.

Irrational as it is, and I cannot even articulate a reason for my “krazy kraving,” a yellow car is something I want. I cannot be accused of requiring instant gratification, since I’ve wanted one for over 10 years.

Obviously, this lack of gratification has not interfered with my life nor has it caused me any pain, but, by golly – why shouldn’t I have it as long as I can pay for it!

And thus, my Valentine’s message for 2014 is congruent with my personal life philosophy (well a piece of it anyway): “Every day I try to do something for somebody else and something for myself.”

I’m counting on a yellow car – from me — for Valentine’s day.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Sounds for sore eyes

Posted on 05 December 2013 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I am an avid reader – with tired eyes. These searchlights have served me well over many years – and they still work for me. Dimly, it’s true, but certainly adequately for everyday activities. I do not have an eye disease. And my sight is close to 20-20. What I have is end-of-thed a y – w h e n – I – l o v e – t o – cuddle-with-a-book blurs. This is even after two cataract surgeries and no real diagnosis from my Ophthalmologist … just an admonition about too much time at the computer, plus a simple treatment plan: Live with it. His unspoken language translated into: “You’re lucky after all these years that it’s no worse. Be grateful.” And gratitude is what I’m all about.

But my list of “Books I Want To Read” reaches to China and, although I do not have an eye disease, my frustration level was registering “dangerous” until I discovered Books On Tape.

And so, reluctantly, I have bartered my NPR radio station in favor of listening to a good book. I do my reading-listening in the car and, although I probably don’t average more than 2 hours a day in the car, if that much, it’s start and stop doing various household chores, volunteering, some business meetings and keeping up with social engagements; so, it’s not unusual for me to spend a couple of weeks with a 17-disk book. (Most of them have far fewer disks.) And I come right back to my place without missing a beat each time I turn on the ignition. And, no, I don’t lose interest. In fact, I love red lights. They increase my listening time.

I find myself engaged with more non-fiction than I had been before: biographies, memoirs and lots of political and trendy stuff, all from my local library. I recently went on a jag to find out as much as I could about our president and took out six books on Obama – three from the right and three from the left, and came away from that experience with a well balanced synthesis – but – you’ll get no politics in this column.

My taste in fiction is for good literature and, sometimes, I feel the need to buy a book I’ve heard, just to underline some of the powerful or poetic language, and to make notes. All of which has not prevented me from engaging in the actual cuddle with a real book. Thus far, I have resisted eBooks. I know. I know. Some of you love ‘em. But when I travel, I only take skinny books, and I hate reading on a screen. It’s bad enough that I have to read on a computer screen.

So this is a recommendation for your Christmas list for book lovers with sore eyes, book lovers who spend lots of car time or book lovers who simply can’t get enough reading time and might listen in the car (or doing laundry or cooking), or for someone who is fed up with the fare on TV and would like to knit or sew or do a craft project while listening to a good book.

And have a Merry Christmas!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Life on the wane

Posted on 03 October 2013 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen M.S., M.A.

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

 Should I write about the woman sentenced to 20 years in prison for having shot in the air at her abusive husband?

Should I write about Syria, Iran and Russia and the U.N.’s attempt at showing new “muscle?”

Should I write about Ted Cruz, Obamacare, the debt ceiling and the government shutdown?

None of the above, while I am sitting in the hospital ICU watching my 87-year-old husband fight for life, and with a mind more lucid than it’s ever been, making his own quality of life decisions.

Yesterday, it was hospice care. This morning, he was dictating his obituary until he took a last-ditch test that, surprising to everyone concerned, indicated that he would actually be able to ingest some food and that he, therefore, had a chance of some kind of recovery.

He is now infused with hope. HOPE is good, even when it denies reality.

Illness in old age carries with it the extra burden of existential questioning about the value of life, the probing of one’s belief system, and the actual challenge that calls for the decisiveness of action or the passiveness of inaction. When is enough, too much? When does a person let go and accept the inevitable; when does he or she fight, struggle and submit to a mountain of indignities, probings, heroic measures that can never return him/ her to full youthful vigor, but MAY POSSIBLY keep him breathing and alert to pleasant physical surroundings and the warmth and caring of those who love him?

It helps to realize that other people have been faced with these kinds of conundrums for ages and, until it happens to YOU, there are no resolves that are binding.

So we go for the “one day at a time” model that seems to work, even as days turn to weeks and months. This gives us time to count blessings, probe each other’s minds, reminisce, look at old family pictures and mostly sharpen our sense of humor. Laughing has been the best medicine for both of us – laughter and total honesty about all aspects of the situation.

And then there are the tender moments that only many years of marriage (59) and the prospect of “an end” can elicit – different indeed from the passionate erotica of “new love.”

And when my husband assures me not only of his love, but of his conviction that I have been a perfect wife for him – adding, “Even better than Rita Hayworth or Marilyn Monroe,” I know I have done much better even than having my hands enshrined in The Hollywood Walk Of Fame at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

And the beat goes on.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Communications 101

Posted on 05 September 2013 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Hieroglyphics, quills, couriers, Pony Express, Gutenberg’s printer, U.S. Mail, telephone, e-mail, social media and, finally smartphones, texting and who knows what in the next five minutes. Oh, how our ability to remain in contact with each other has evolved. We are currently at what one might call the most sophisticated era of human communication and, yet, our abundance of choices has in a way confounded us with obstacles. Whenever people have so many options, it becomes evident that one size does not fit all and, with people personalizing their preferences, the door is opened for missed connections or over-connections.

I have friends whose sole mode of communication is texting. I rarely text, and, therefore, often forget to check for text messages. This morning, I found one that had an urgency that defied its origin. Why didn’t she CALL me with that message? Because “she” is so totally into text messaging that the possibility of using a telephone had eluded her. I, on the other hand, have so adapted to hourly e-mailing that I lose sight of the fact that some people I know routinely open their emails less frequently even than once a week. So much for the written word.

As for the spoken word, I am somewhat telephone averse. I use it only when I have no other option or when I need to transmit a specific message and over and out. I reserve telephone “visits” for those people outside the geography of visiting availability. I often make a telephone date ahead of time and am prepared to “sit on the phone,” an activity for which I have very little patience except in such cases.

Also, I note that smartphone users have a tendency to react to every signal they get like Pavlov’s dog. They get notified of a text message and – boom! – immediate response. In the middle of a social event when their email signal rings – oops, their eyes focus in like headlights. Granted, some of it is business related, but tell me — puleeze! — how did so many businesses flourish BEFORE they could connect 24/7?

Then there’s Facebook and Twitter and the like, and the competition for more and more “likes” and “friends,” and the inane postings about minute-by-minute activities … good for PhD theses on motivation, addiction and emotional neediness, as well as effectiveness of its marketing component.

OK. So here’s my case. If you call me on my cell when I’m out of the house, I’m not likely to rush to answer you unless we are meeting that day and I anticipate a possible emergency change of plans. Text me, and it’s Russian Roulette as to when I respond. E-mail me when I’m out of the house, and, if I happen to have a very l-o-on- g red light, I may check the message. Yes, you’ll get me on my cell phone if I am out of town, and you’ll surely get the real me on my house phone (unless I’m checking caller I.D. and avoiding you deliberately – ah, but why would I? (If you’re reading this column, I’m loving you) or my home computer, which is your best bet.

What? You don’t want to reach me by any method?

Is that a definite — or can we talk?

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: It’s back to school time

Posted on 31 July 2013 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Where did the summer go? It gets shorter every year. All around me are the signs, the marketing, the reminders, the reach for dollars in the name of our kids. It’s back to school time.

I was thinking of that theme tonight while watching the 60 Minutes interview with Bill Gates, the famous Harvard dropout I reflected on the many ways we learn that have nothing to do with school. When our official book learning curriculum comes to a halt, life learning takes its place and self motivation is the engine that really defines the learning curve. Life learning is the school from which we graduate only on the day we are interred.

Alas, that our impoverished world has not produced more Bill Gates. Those of us not so blessed must rely on the creativity of teachers, most of whom are in unimaginative physical settings and must, therefore, in their own small territory, devise ways to keep 21st Century kids from thumbing their way through classes on their smart phones.

I’m hoping that among my readers each of you has had at least one memorable teacher who has sparked an interest in a subject otherwise “dead” to you.

For me, it was Mr. Sayles, my high school English teacher in my senior year, who spent months using as his teaching tool not any book or video. The New York Times was his text. All our lessons had sprung from its content. I remember especially his emphasis on the Book Review section, as we pawed through it for a few weeks, talking about the content page by page. I realize now why on Sunday mornings, as I dive into my Times, I separate the sections – placing the Book Review at the bottom, savoring it for the last and best read, and taking weekly notes regarding my own future reading.

What a dull subject Geography was for me until I was assigned to Miss Martin’s class when we studied the Caribbean countries (at a time when my most distant travel was from Brooklyn to The Bronx, and when I had no hope of ever expanding that horizon). She didn’t have us memorize facts about climate, history, natural resources, politics and history. Instead, my group was assigned to plan a virtual trip to Puerto Rico having to choose a travel agent, transportation (I’d never been on a plane), hotel, sights and finances to the point where we took a class trip to an airport.

How could I have known at the time that I would someday wind up on the streets of Kathmandu, among other exotic locations? My interest in travel was sparked by that early experience.

I’ll save my tirade in the cause of greater support for creative teachers. I can only begin to imagine the many changes in knowledge delivery that have taken place since “my day” and will continue with the accelerated swiftness of our technological age. And, as a one-time parent of school age kids, I know how you can’t wait for the school year to begin!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The debate’s the thing

Posted on 04 July 2013 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

Ya gotta love a country that can produce – within the remnants of Guttenberg print, as well as modern day social media – - columns, blogs and Letters to the Editor excoriating Edward Snowdens whistleblowing as being a danger to the country, and, in equal space, lauding the man for being a patriot, with digital news outlets relentlessly redundant in offering passionate opinions – on both sides and in between. If this isn’t a metaphor for what is “right” (as opposed to “wrong”) about our country, I cannot imagine a better one.

Personally, I have been hoping for such a national debate for quite a while. The obvious fear of a “slippery slope” is on everyone’s mind, a legitimate concern as we study how dictatorial governments usurp power sometimes so gradually as to leave a naïve constituency in shock as it realizes how powerless it has become. This can happen as a result of evil intent – or benign inefficiency .

The other side of that coin is the existential threat we face from clusters of irrational enemies requiring our use of sophisticated surveillance to thwart major disasters. And, alas, there is no official set of rules we can apply to define the boundaries, or to identify standards. Many who express passion on one side or the other are privileged to only partial information. So whistle blowers, watchdogs and defenders of our national security haggle over several versions of the truth, which we, the people, are charged with sorting out. And, just as an aside, it is ironical, though not too surprising, to note the incongruous lineup of allies as the progressive left and the libertarian right cuddle up to each other.

How is it possible to measure the effects of what Snowden did? We will never accurately be able to assess damage and we will never accurately be able to assess the degree to which some parts of our privacy may be restored as a result of his disclosures.

What actually happens to Snowden is a distraction – albeit Hollywood style – from the debate concerning the balance between security and privacy.

The nanosecond speed with which people trumpet to the world the fact that they are about to go to the john, order a Scotch or dance naked makes one wonder about privacy as a priority.

We are a country suffering from dysphoria, dissonance, disaffection, discord, disenchantment, disgruntlement, distrust, disillusionment, dispiritedness and dysfunction. And, if there’s anything we know how to do, it is to “dis” one another.

But here’s the bottom line: It is healthy that we ARE having this debate out in the open. It need not be vitriolic or accusatory. Hopefully, it will settle into more transparency balanced with an understanding and acceptance of the necessary secret measures our government must take in the name of security.

And so here’s to another Happy Birthday to our very flawed, but nonetheless better than any other, country on the planet.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: The dumbest thing I ever did

Posted on 06 June 2013 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

You all must know those “parlor games” people play, as in “Ok, let’s go around the room, everyone, and tell us ‘Who would you like to BE in your next life?’ … or ‘What was the scariest time of your life?’ … or ‘Tell us about your first kiss.’

Well, when they came to ‘What was the dumbest thing you ever did?’ I was hit with a sudden case of déjà vous and I realized that I’d never told anyone this story before.

It was 1992. I was leading two lives and they were definitely fighting each other. On the one hand, I was the perfect housewife, hovering mother of two grown sons, creator of dazzling parties for the right people, country club robot – golf, tennis, luncheons the right clothes.

On the other hand, I was an empty nester, looking for something more meaningful to me. Women of my generation were not scrambling to go back to work, especially if their husbands’ income was sufficient for their preferred lifestyle. Such an act might suggest a need to supplement that income and “how would that look?” Subtle, but I “got” it.

So I went half way and took a job freelancing for a local newspaper in Westchester County where I lived. And that was kind of fun. It didn’t interfere with my “other” life. I could go on most assignments on my own time and never missed a deadline.

I had always been somewhat of a political junkie, and if you don’t remember 1992, allow me to massage your memory. It was just another political year with the usual cast of many characters vying for the big job: Jerry Brown, Bob Kerry, Bill Clinton, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Tsongas and a couple of other folks long forgotten, but at the time, people who actually thought they could be leaders of the world. And Westchester County, commuter distance from New York City, was pocketed with big money folks who were always anxious to give bucks for a touch of fame – if not something even more substantial than that.

Candidates and their surrogates … wives, mothers, sisters, etc. were on the trail speaking for their “man” at wealthy homes all over the county raising campaign money. And at various times, my editor would ask me to interview some of those very dull people, which I reluctantly did, happy only to see my byline – anywhere!

On this particular day, I was scheduled to play in a tennis tournament when my editor called. I sighed and made a face, invisible of course, across telephone lines. “Who is it THIS time?” I asked.

Her voice barely came through as I heard her mumble an unfamiliar name. “Listen, Sandy,” I said. “No one ever even heard of her. It’s really a waste of time and, besides, I’m on my way to play in a tennis tournament. Sorry.”

Sandy was uncanny in her ability to smell a story, and she was usually very tenacious. But this time, she capitulated. “Yeah,” she said. “I guess you’re right … another nobody. Good luck in your tournament.”

And that’s how I never got to interview the person “no one ever heard of” … Hillary Clinton.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Random Thoughts

Posted on 02 May 2013 by L.Moore

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I begin this column again. I have started it four times, ditching each “start” as “unfocused,” which is a major writing no-no. I did not want to do that. But–know what? Today, I’m gonna! And if I call this Random Thoughts, then voila! I don’t HAVE to be focused!

I am a political junkie, and I really love writing about politics. But I “got the word” from the powers that be, that “politics” is out for me. Thing is, that I am always pulled to the middle in political debates. But the fact that I am pulled from the left seems to be somewhat disturbing. And probably that’s what brings on my “writer’s block.” I’m just saying . I’m okay with it. I just need to vent every 10 years or so.

But I guess it’s okay for me to comment on all the media folks who spring into mindless action and verbiage in order to get a scoop and espouse an opinion.

Here again, it pains me when people “opine” ( I stole that from Bill O’Reilly) about stuff they don’t know, the Boston Marathon tragedy being only one case-in-point. Yes, we all want transparency in government and, yes, we all want maximum security. But what if – what if – they were mutually exclusive. What if we had to make the choice of one over the other ? Talk about a Sophie’s Choice. And therein lies so much of our discontent. There is so much – so very much — that we don’t know (A) because it is unknowable and (B) because we are concentrating on our daily lives and are not prone to checking out archives and documents. And even relying on those who do those things for a living, we are left with questions of interpretation and bias and we still don’t know! There is so much we don’t know.

But randomly speaking and changing the focus, I landed at the new Deerfield pier Saturday night, first time since its renovation. I am a northern neighbor (Boca) and don’t get here often enough. Infused with the local vigor and the feeling of being part of an endless “feelgood place,” we strolled the sidewalks and the beach and the pier itself, anticipating the completion of its yet unfinished eatery. We could have been on the French Riviera and would not have felt as energized. And how lucky we are to be living on the fringe of a non- stop happening. And then, we had a special treat! On the beach in front of the Wyndham Hotel, we witnessed a real LIVE wedding, complete with gorgeous white-gowned bride, handsome groom and guests who shed their shoes (the ladies, that is) as they walked down the carpeted aisle covering the sand. Debbie and Tommy –whoever they are, exchanged vows as people have been doing for thousands of years, witnessed by a covey of strangers and passersby. In view of all the world’s angst and our racer-pace of innovation, it is heartening to think that some things never change.

And finally … mothers … past, present and future – you are the glue of the world. Have a good SPECIAL one!

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