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Gross National Happiness

Being able to see the wonders of nature, such as these jellyfish at the Monterey Aquarium makes me quite happy. What makes you happy? — Photo by Pat Bean

          “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi

          One of my Christmas gifts this year was a Table Talk game featuring prominent women on one side of a card and a question on the other side. It’s not as much of a game as it is a conversation ice breaker.

           One person pulls a card from the boxed deck, reads what it says, and then everyone, in turn, answers the question. It’s a way of getting to know people better.

          For example, one question in an earlier Table Talk version I own, asks if you were to lose your sight or your hearing, which sense would you keep.

Eyes, I responded, without even thinking. I’m a very visual person and can’t imagine not being able to see Mother Nature’s many wonders. The next person, who is daily inspired by music, said she would keep her ears.

          I was gobsmacked by the answer. Although there was no right or wrong answer to the question, I had thought everyone would have wanted to keep their sight. To hear a different answer stretched my own understanding of people’s differences.

          Meanwhile, I’ve been using my newest Table Talk deck that focuses on women of achievement as a journaling prompt to better explore my own thoughts. This morning I pulled out the card featuring Shirley Temple Black, who was a child star in the 1930s and ‘40s, and as an adult served as a U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

I had an immediate answer to the question the card posed: If you were to be an ambassador, what country would you choose to represent?

 Bhutan, I thought, because its government’s goal is Gross National Happiness.

          While I wondered if that really works, I hoped so. It would be nice to know there was one country where success was measured by a happy population. I’m not sure anyone in America is happy right now.

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

Screaming on the Inside

Wood storks, egrets, roseate spoonbill and white ibis all different yet getting along. Why can’t Americans. —
Photo by Pat Bean

          This is the fourth day in a row that I have sat down in front of my computer screen to write a blog, one about something insignificant that readers might find meaningful or amusing. I usually feel I’ve achieved that goal if my words give me my own aha moment, or bring a smile to my own face.

          But each time I tried to put light-hearted words together this week, I couldn’t find any. Instead, I would go back to perusing the news, which quickly had my insides screaming in agony.

          How did we become such a divided country, so full of angry people who can no longer tell truth from lies, or who can but won’t accept it because they don’t like it?

          Why do I see facts differently from some of my own friends and family?

          How can Americans put aside differences and work together — even if they never will see eye-to-eye?  Writing this, I think of the words my granddaughter and her wife spoke at their wedding: “You be you and I’ll be me.” It works for them. Why can’t it work for this country’s population?

          Michel Montaigne, a 16th century French philosopher wrote: “Men are tarnished with the opinions they have of things and not by things themselves.” I think this translates to what is going on in America today.

          Frankly, I’ve always thought our country works best when one party has the presidency and the other party has control of Congress. It forces the opposing forces to work together, mitigating extremes in either direction. Anyone who thinks they deserve to get their way in everything every time is a selfish, spoiled child with no empathy for others.

          OK. Perhaps this is enough ranting so that the next time I sit in front of my computer screen with a blank page in front of me, I will be able to write something insignificant and amusing. I dang well hope so.

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

Good-Bye 2020

A Few of Story Circle Network’s Writing Sisters during conference in Austin, Texas

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips.” (I dedicate this blog to my writing sisters.)

Sisters of My Heart, If Not My Blood

I’ve belonged to Story Circle Network for 11 years now. It’s an international writing organization that supports female writers in many ways, like giving me the voice I needed to publish my book, Travels With Maggie.

I met a half dozen of the women in my circle at an SCN writing conference held in Austin, Texas back in 2010, when I was still traveling around the country in my small RV. Over the past decade these same women have become the sisters I never had.

SCN members range from prolific writers like Susan Wittig Albert, who founded the organization, to women who are trying to get published, to women who write only for themselves. Most feel the same about writing as I do: To write is as important as to breathe.

The prompt for my writing circle this month was the question: How has Covid changed your life during the past year?

I answered that question in my previous post, noting that because I was retired, didn’t lose my income and was already nesting, the changes to my life were few.

While I’m still puzzling over what to write for the circle, others in the group responded immediately. The piece submitted by Nancilynn Saylor, whose memory of hugs I hold dear from attending five SCN writing conferences with her, delighted me so much that I wanted to share it with others.

So, here goes.

End of the Line

By Nancilynn Saylor

A cold snort from old man winter

Today, does not deter

This aging woman holding

Her broom. No

Quite the contrary

She props the front door open with

Deliberation, determined to finish

Her task with

No dust pan needed.

Each speck and loathsome particle

Sails with precision across threshold into the blustery abyss.

Au Revoir

Auf Wiedersehen

Adiós

Adieu,

Ciao

Sayonara

Then, remembering a phrase from her long ago youth:

“Make like a shepherd and get the flock out of here!”

She wiped her hands together, then slammed the door

Firmly against the jamb.

The scent of black-eyed peas simmering on the stove,

Enticed her back to the kitchen.

Good riddance,2020!

           Nancilynn is a Texas girl who knows that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck for the coming year. I had mine. Did you?

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

It Is What It Is

I’m going to take more time to smell the flowers in 2021. How about you? — Art by Pat Bean

          “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you have been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.” – Christine Caine

          The New Year is almost upon us. Most people I know are loudly exclaiming Thank Gawd!  And who wouldn’t be glad to leave Covid and malicious, undemocratic politics in the rear-view mirror. That’s not to say we will be free of both in upcoming months, but at least we’ve gotten down the road a bit.

          While I haven’t been affected as badly by Covid as most because I’m retired, and didn’t lose my job and income, I am in that vulnerable 80 plus age group that dies from the disease more often than others. So, fear and common sense has curtailed loving hugs, daily drop-ins from friends stopping by for a chat and perhaps a cup of coffee or a night cap, and my annual excursions to visit my scattered family or travel for pleasure.  

          I’ve mostly stayed home, ordering everything I need from Walmart or Amazon, which has left my wandering feet a bit claustrophobic – and foaming at the mouth over the daily political shenanigans that come with the morning news. It’s distressing enough to curdle my cream-laced coffee.

          Being a stay-at-home, however, has changed my life a bit. I’m reading more, have organized all my drawers and closet, and have spent at least 30 minutes a day journaling my thoughts, and finally restarted work on my memoir. I’ve also streamed a few more movies on my Kindle (I don’t own a TV) and I ‘ve communicated more via text, email, zoom or letters with family and friends.

          Patricia Summitt, women’s basketball coach who died in 2016, summed up an attitude that I now claim as my own. “It is what it is. But it will be what you make it.”

          And since research has shown that people who look at life with a positive respective live longer than pessimists, I’m going to continue believing that silver linings do exist.

That said, I’m looking forward to the New Year as a glass half full and not half empty.

          In 2019, my word for the new year was Kindness. To that in 2020, I added the word, Respect. I’m taking both of those words as mottos to live by with me into 2021, plus adding the exclamation: Dammit, Just Do It. Whether it be answering the writing muse immediately when it calls, making my bed when I first get up, or calling a friend when I think about her, there’s no reason for me to add it to an already too-long to-do list, I’m just going to do it.

          So, what’s your New Year’s Resolution?

  Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

One-of-a-Kind Hook Up

Elegant Trogon — Wikimedia Photo

Pages from my Journal

          “To wake alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest things in the world.” – Freya Stark (I felt like that many times during my RV-ing years.)

          I had planned a road trip from Ogden, Utah, to Texas that included a side trip to Sierra Vista, Arizona, where I had engaged a birding guide to help me find an Elegant Trogon, a bird which I had failed to see on my own on three earlier trips.

The carefully-timed, two-week holiday had been planned so I could attend school graduation ceremonies for some of my grandkids as well as hunt for birds.

Three days before the trip, after three years of serious looking, I suddenly found and bought the RV of my dreams, one I would live and travel in full time after my rapidly approaching retirement. The 21-foot, Class C, RV had a Winnebago home perched on a Volkswagen chassis with a spunky 6-cylinder engine.

The purchase necessitated rapid changes to my traveling plans that includedcanceling motel reservations and researching and making reservations at RV parks along the way.  

I didn’t take possession of the RV until the evening before my trip, Friends came over to help me christen it with a few drinks. I named her Gypsy Lee, the first name for the wanderer in my soul, and the second for my grandfather’s last name and my middle name. My mother had told me I inherited her father’s traveling itch.

What with packing and stocking the RV the next day, I got a late travel start, and made it only to Lake Powell before I needed to camp for the night.

I was going to spend it at Wahweap Marina Campground, but when I said I wasn’t going to hook up because I needed an early start (and because I was somewhat intimidated about my first hookup), the kindly campground attendant suggested I go six miles back up the road and camp on the beach at Lone Rock Beach as it would be cheaper.

The overnight fee at Lone Rock was just $6, but I paid only $3 because of my senior citizen’s pass. “Don’t get stuck in the sand,” the gate attendant said, after I paid him.

I didn’t – but I almost did, which taught me my first lesson about driving an RV: Make sure everything is secured before operating vehicle. When I had gunned Gypsy Lee to get her past a sandy stretch that had been created during the night, my cupboards flew open and a bunch of items fell out.

Once I got everything back in order, I drove on to Sierra Vista, and checked into an RV campground, where I had to make my first motorhome hookup to electricity, water and sewer. The first two took only a minute, the last left me perplexed. My sewer hose connection didn’t fit the park’s sewer connection.

I went to the office, pleading ignorance, admitting it was my first hook up, and asking for help. They had just the thing: A gadget that filled the gap between the two differing connections. If I remember right it cost about $10.

With that in hand, I made my first hook up – and was quite proud of myself. I woke early the next morning and was picked up by the birding guide for our day’s outing. It went better than planned, I not only got the elegant trogon for my life list, I added another dozen as well.  

As for that gadget, I had bought, I never had to use it again. For nine years, every one of the campgrounds I stayed at had hookups compatible with my RV.  

X Marks the Spot

X Marks the Spot — By Richard Sheppard

          “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” – Katherine Hepburn

          “Never ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

          Half a lifetime ago, an artist friend gave me a large abstract painting after I fell in love with it. I call it “X Marks the Spot,” and today it sits above my dining room table where it frequently catches my eye.

          It means many things to me. First it reminds me of a special friend who is no longer alive. His name was Richard Sheppard , and he was a unique individual who always colored outside the lines. He was there for me during a heartbreak period when I was feeling quite sorry for myself.

Richard took about 15 minutes of me wallowing in pity before he started rolling around on the floor chanting “pitty-Pat, pitty-Pat, pitty-Pat!  I stopped whining and started laughing, and then with his urging, I began to reflect on all the positive things I then had going in my life.

It began a pattern that has followed me ever since. Whenever I get down in the dumps, I ask myself how many women in the world would exchange places with me. And when the answer is millions, I stop feeling sorry for myself and get on with my quite good, if not perfect, life.

And just looking at that painting each day reminds me to be thankful for life itself.

The painting, with its colorful hues of olives, persimmon, ocher and raspberry reds, also reminds me of my two rafting journeys through the Grand Canyon, where I not only observed similar colors but cliff walls scarred with marks similar to the Xes in the painting.

 Since those outdoor adventures are at the top of my list of amazing days, reliving them in my mind gives me a boost more powerful than any energy drink.

Finally, as I look at this painting, I ask myself which X represents me this day. Sometimes it’s one of the larger reds and some days it’s one of the smaller, less brilliant colored Xes. Fanciful, I know. But fun.

 And who in the heck doesn’t need a bit of fun in their lives these days?

Bean Pat: To blogger Julie whose art blog is always fun. https://journalartz.wordpress.com/  

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining   

        

Snake River, Wyoming, 2007

The difference between a fairy tale and a river trip: The fairy tale begins “once upon a time,” while the river trip tale begins” “No shit! There I was …”

         I came across the above words in one of my journals this morning.

          I wrote it in the late 1980s, shortly after spending a week paddling down the Salmon River through The River of No Return Wilderness Area. It was an exciting white-water adventure in which each day ended with our group sitting around a campfire discussing present and past float trips.

          I knew all the stories would get bigger with each telling, including my own.

          My first rafting trip took place in 1983, a pleasant outing in a friend’s raft on a stretch of the Snake River between Hagerman and Bliss in Southern Idaho.

Within a month, I had my own five-person raft and could be found on the water with friends many summer weekends. I didn’t miss a summer of rafting for nearly 25 years.

Thinking about those rafting adventures this morning, facing another week of isolation from people I love, brought me immense pleasure. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing I’m a journal keeper. Since our memories are so inclined to tall tales with each passing year, my journal entries, written immediately following an event, are more truthful than my scattered brain..

While the taller tales make for more interesting conversations, it’s best I think to stick to reality and truth. I just wish our political leaders understood this.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

The Covid Tree

My friends, Robert and Karla’s Christmas Tree made me smile.

          “A sense of humor is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” – Hugh Sidey

The Ornaments Say It All

          If ever we needed a bit of laughter in our lives, it’s certainly these days.  And my good friends Robert and Karla understand this quite well.

          I had barely walked into their St. George, Utah, home last week, when I suddenly burst out laughing. They had already put up their Christmas tree, and it screamed Covid.

          But it was still beautiful, even with its toilet paper, masks and hand sanitizer ornaments. The icing was the toilet paper garland that had been carefully wrapped around the tree.

          The next three days at their home was full of love with enough laughter to make my whole outlook on life brighter — and a much needed, break for me from the chaos of today’s world.

          Bean Pat: To my friends Robert and Karla and their dog Bentley from me and my dog Scamp for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

I ‘m thankful for trees, just any old tree. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

          In all my 81 years I’ve never lived through a year like this one. Covid and hateful politics have turned America upside down. I’m ready to get off the Merry-Go-Round and live in a kinder world where people can disagree but still work together to try and make life better for all. The sooner people realize no one can have everything they want, the quicker this can happen.

          Is this even possible?  I’m not hopeful, but I’m still going to think of my glass as half full and not half empty. Thinking about all my many blessings and the little things that fill my days with joy actually makes this easy.

          So here goes: In no particular order, my annual Thanksgiving blog listing 100 things I’m thankful for.

          1: It begins with my large family of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all their spouses and partners that I so dearly love, and who in return make me feel loved. I spent half my life searching for love, sometimes in the wrong places, before realizing it was around me all the time.

          2: My canine companion Scamp, who has now been with me for 17 months. I’ve always owned dogs but never had one as challenging as him. He was supposed to be a small Schnauzer-mix, eight months old and female when I adopted him from a shelter. He turned out to be a 42-pound Siberian Husky-Shih Tzu mix, male and most likely much younger than advertised – and he wasn’t house broken. He’s been a challenge from the first but has kept my life interesting and I would hate to think of life now without him.

          3: Tucson sunrises and sunsets. I see the sunrise from my bedroom window, sometimes before I get out of bed, and I try to make time to watch the usually awesome sunsets from my living room balcony.

          4: My friend Jean’s chocolate chip cookies.

          5: A nightly hot bath that always relaxes this old broad’s body so she can sleep better at night. It was the only thing I missed when I was living on the road in a small RV that had only a tiny, cramped shower.

          6: Books. As long as I can buy a book I want when I want it, I’ll never feel poor, or lonely.

          7: My journals, 50 years of them, some of which I’ve finally begun rereading for the first time. The early ones are missing months and are sketchy, but the ones I write today allow me to have long conversations with myself and many of the authors I read.

          8: The New York Times: As a longtime journalist, it’s been sad watching one newspaper after another fold, including The Dallas Times Herald, which I grew up reading, and The Houston Post, which I was a stringer for during my early journalism years. Just as sad has been watching some media take sides on issues and slanting the news instead of just reporting the facts. I feel the NY Times still exhibits the values I, and the publications I worked for, had during my 37-year journalism career.

          9: A soft bed with clean, sweet smelling sheets to crawl into every night.

          10: My pain doctor, who gives me a steroid shot in my back every four or five months that allows me to keep trekking up and down three flights of stairs at least six times a day. Advil helps, too.

          11:  Social Security.

          12: America, with all its faults, because it still is the land of the free.

          13: Birds, whose fascinating lives fuel a late-blooming passion within me to see them and learn about them, even if it’s just watching their behaviors from my third-floor balconies.

          14: Soft blankets to snuggle beneath when it’s chilly.

          15: My female role models: Anne Richards, Margaret Mead, Molly Ivins, Maya Angelou, Helen Reddy, Ellen Goodman, Susan Wittig Albert, Susan B. Anthony, Pearl Buck, Nelly Bly, Osa Johnson, Barbara Jordan, Amelia Earhart and all the other women I knew or read about who never let gender get in the way of their goals.

          16: Rainbows after storms.

          17: Daisies and gardenias, and all the other species of flowers. 

          18. Comfortable shoes.

          19: Aspen trees in the fall, and live oaks, and sycamores and well, just any old tree.

          20: Road trips with just me and my dog.

          21: Chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, brownies, chocolate milk shakes. OK, anything chocolate.

22: A stormy day with a good book and a comfortable chair.

23: Surprises.

24: My morning cream-laced coffee.

25: Friends, who enrich my live in many ways.

26: Daily telephone chats with my oldest son, D. C. And the less frequent calls from my other children as well.

27: A Jack and Coke nightcap.

28: That I still have a zest for life, and learning.

29: Story Circle Network, my support group of wonderful women who helped me find my voice, write my book Travels with Maggie, and actually get it published.

30: The Internet, which while sometimes annoying, brings the world to my fingertips, lets my see my great-grandchildren as they grow up, and helps me find answers to my million and one questions.

31: My friend Jean’s dog Dusty, because she’s my dog Scamp’s best friend.

32: Smiles and laughter. Anytime, anyplace.

33: My granddaughter Shanna and her wife Dawn, who moved to Tucson to be near me, and who enrich my life.

34: People who wear masks out of respect for other people’s safety as well as their own.

35. Hand sanitizer. Who would have thought we would ever be thankful for this item?

36: Grocery delivery so I don’t have to go inside stores in this age of Covid, but also because someone else carries the weight up my three flights of stairs.

37: Scamp’s no-pull harness, because he’s a strong mutt,

38: Card and board games with friends.

39: Moisturize,

40: The Catalina Mountains, my outdoor backdrop.

41:  Art and Music that bring joy to my eyes and ears.

42: That I’m a writer because it keeps my observations skills sharp, and gives purpose to my days.

43: Hot tubs.

44: The helicopter ride I recently took over the Grand Canyon to help celebrate my dear friend Kim’s birthday.

45: The sweet-tasting naval oranges that came with my latest grocery order

46: My dog’s new groomer.

47: My Kindle and my computer. Still not that fond of a smart phone.

48: My daughter-in-law Cindi, who took on the job of being my guardian angel.

49: Scented candles.

50: A new tye-dye T-shirt.

51: People who are kind

52: Our National Parks, Refuges and Forests.

53: Washers and Dryers and all the other appliances that make life easier with time left over to read.

54: Electricity for all those appliances and reading lamps.

55: Vaccines that have rid the world of many diseases – with hopefully a new one on the horizon.

56: Audible books.

57: That I paid off my car this year.

58:  Morning walks with Scamp.

59: That I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.

60: Happy hours with friends.

61: A good haircut,

62: Favorite televisions programs: Survivor, Amazing Race, Sunday Morning, PBS Mysteries and my latest, The Pack.

63:  A hot cup of Lemon-Ginger tea.

64. People who read my blog, or buy my book Travels with Maggie.

65: A snail-mail letter from my good friend Charlie.

66: When I’m able to solve a computer glitch all by myself.

67: A good manicure.

68:  Finally realizing what a strong, good but feisty woman I had for a mother.

69: That my great-grandson Junior liked the Doctor Doolittle books I liked when I was his age.

70: That some of my family likes to hang my paintings on their walls.

71: Air conditioning.

72: Wolf Brand Chili, a quick meal on a day when I don’t feel like cooking.

73: That I had a job I loved all my working days.

74: That I finally gave up all notions that I could be perfect, and that I’ve finally learned to give myself credit for all the things I do and stopped beating up on myself for all the things I didn’t do.

75: My rubber tree plant on my balcony that has survived for at least 25 years.

76: The smell of a desert landscape after a heavy rain.

77: My travel memories of the Galapagos, Africa, Japan and many more big and small adventures.

78: That I can still travel.

79: Making new friends.

80: The Sonoran Desert in which I now live.

81: Wayne Dyer’s book Your Erroneous Zones, which set me on a whole new way of thinking back in the 1970s.

82: That I have a nice, safe place to live.

83: Clean water to drink.

84: That I live an independent life and can still take care of myself.

85: Nice neighbors.

86: Watching the stars through my bedroom windows at night.

87: Tasty soup made from leftovers.

88: Paintings that I love hanging on my walls.

89: Weekend pancake breakfasts with my friend Jean, and our dogs Dusty and Scamp, who always get a pancake, too.

90: A Zoom meeting with my friend Kim in Utah.

91: Colorful stationary.

92: Cajun food.

93:  A freshly cleaned apartment – and car.

94:  Temperatures below 100 degrees, which are rare during Tucson’s summer.

95: My brother Robert, who sees the world different from me, which makes our connection something we have both had to work on, which makes it even sweeter.

96: A good movie that makes me both laugh and cry, ditto for a book.

97: Days when Scamp lets me sleep past 5:30 a.m. before demanding his walk.

98: My recent view of the Colorado River from the old Navajo Bridge, just before it enters the Grand Canyon, and memories of floating beneath this bridge twice.

99. Arriving safe at friends Robert and Karla’s home in St, George, Utah, after a nine-hour drive from Tucson and being welcomed with love, hugs and a Jack and Coke.

100. Having Thanksgiving with friends who treat me like family.

It’s World Kindness day

Just aa it took many tiles to create this mural, so it will take many acts of kindness to create a better world. — Photo of St. Louis Zoo aviary mural by Pat Bean

“Together we can change the world, just one random act of kindness at a time.” – Ron Hall.

I noted in my journal this morning that it was Friday the 13th, but I didn’t know until I opened my email that November 13 is also World Kindness Day.

          What a great idea, was my first thought. When did this happen was my second? I’ve been aware in recent years that something is being celebrated every day of the year, but this was a new one for me.

          With a little research, I learned that the day had been designated 22 years ago by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of nations’ kindness NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and is now celebrated in numerous countries, including the United States.

          My third thought was that every day should be World Kindness Day.

          Bean Pat: Check out this CNN post on ways to be kind. https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/13/health/world-kindness-day-acts-wellness/index.html

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.