Friday, September 11, 2020


The sweater was red and gold plaid, one of the warmest I owned at the time, and I wore it on September third, the year I turned sixteen.  I remember this because it was the second date I had with The Songwriter, and I was besotted in that unique way that teenage girls can be; we remember everything.  

There aren't many roads for a serious relationship to travel at that age; we still had so much living to do, so much life to discover.  So we became best friends instead.  We'd  go out on dates, then call each other up when those dates were over to run down to the all night record store together.  That was when the fun really happened.  We'd talk and laugh, neither of us realizing that the foundation for a happy marriage was being built right before our eyes. 

 So of course, I remember that sweater.  I think I even still have it somewhere.  It reminds me of many things: love, and history - youth, and the passing of time.  It also leads me back to the sort of autumns we used to know.  For today, I cannot even imagine wearing the warmest sweater in my wardrobe on the third day of September.

The old fable tells us if you put a frog into boiling water, he will, understandably, jump out.  But if you make him comfortable in a tepid pot, you can slowly turn up the heat until he boils to death.  Now, I have no intention of testing that theory, but it's a pretty apt metaphor for the situation in which we sit today.

I'm not all that old, but I can remember many September mornings on the first day of school when we lined up wearing new corduroy and wool.  Crisp air flowed in through open windows as we slept, we'd wake in the night with our noses cold.  Winter meant at least one or two good snowfalls, and Easter mornings were chilly and bright.  We only ran the air-conditioner occasionally in summertime; if the thermometer hit ninety, we were shocked.  If we'd suddenly been placed in the year 2020, like our friend the frog, we'd have looked for a way to jump out.  If we'd been shown the future, photographs like the one above from California this week, the horror would have been overwhelming, the fear paralyzing.

The disasters have increased slowly, hubris turning up the heat in incremental amounts.  The hundred-year floods coming every decade, then nearly every year.  Cataclysmic hurricanes no longer rare.  We have lost so much time in the past three and a half years as we've watched this administration gleefully rip up every regulation placed by its predecessor as roadblocks to disaster.  Beginning with his decision to lead the nation out of the Paris climate accord, the man in the White House has done more to roll back and weaken every environmental law than any president in history.  We have been hobbled by ignorance, idiocy, and arrogance to such an extent it is difficult to visualize breaking free of those ancient, calamitous chains.

Like "awesome", the word "devastating" has become so overused in the current parlance it seems to have lost all coherent meaning.  There is such a roster of issues in our country at present that meet the requirements for that definition - from the shameless bating of racists, to the 200,000 Americans lost in this pandemic, the severity of which the current president chose to lie about and ridicule even as he knew better.  It is difficult to imagine a more appropriate image for our current state than the chilling photo taken this week of the Golden Gate Bridge, its beauty obscured by the flames of a modern-day hell.

I doubt I'll live to see another autumn like the ones we used to know.  Perhaps none of us will.  But maybe, just maybe, it doesn't have to get worse.  Maybe, just maybe, there are enough people left who can see the seriousness of this next election and will choose for the children coming up behind us, children who deserve to live in a better world than this, children who will remember sweaters. 

Please go to to make certain you are registered to vote.  
Make a plan for how you're going to do it, and vote as early as your state allows.


  1. A beautifully written post Pamela about such a terrible sign of the times. The one thing in the whole piece which is so beautiful is the meeting of the Sonwriter and the way your marriage has been so happy. I have had two very happy marriages - one 39 years and the next 23 years and I count myself so very lucky. We see pictures of the dreadful fires on our TV screens and our hearts go out to all affected by them.

  2. A beautifully written post Pamela about such a terribly serious subject. We see the pictures on our television screens and they are dreadful. How I feel for you all.

  3. Thank you so much, Pamela....sadly, I must concur on every point stated. Heaven help us! VOTE BLUE!!!

  4. I'm in Northern California, and it's absolutely awful here. The fires are one thing, the understanding that they bring, that climate change is terrible, is even worse. It's good to hear from you. I'm not a sentimental person, but love and community are the only things that help.

  5. Hi. This is so beautifully stated. An immense grief for our nation and the world has been with me the past few days. We have our vote and vote we will as soon as those ballots are received. We also have prayer and we will be praying. Thank you for your voice. I have missed your wonderful blogs that lift my spirit. xoxox Mary

  6. Hi Pamela. I want to thank you for this post,your words are always well colored and thoughtful, and they make me feel connected.In these times it has been so easy to give in to the saddness and dread that flows silently under everything. I am much more conscious now of the need, the responsibility
    ,to stay above it and focus on hope and the realtime work that we will soon be able to take up to set ourselves right again. That will be the joy that comes to carry us forward.We have the power of our vote and the awesome power of our hearts.The most important choice of our lifetime. I will not let the monster in the White House write his warped story for my life. Keep up the encouraging words, Pamela. It really matters!

  7. Hi Pamela! Your eloquence and humanity keep me sane.
    For any readers that would like to help supply food for the displaced and relinquished dogs and cats of the Oregon and northern California fires, The FIDO pet food bank in Portland is doing incredible work. Their volunteers are literally out night and day taking food to people living in their cars or tents, and to shelters who have taken rescued and relinquished dogs in. They have gone from being an area resource to a regional one. Anyone can donate at
    Stay safe!

  8. Your words always captivate me. Thanks for all you share.

  9. Wonderful post, everything so aptly said. Four almost 4 years, every day has brought new horror. It's so important to vote this monster out!

    On another note, I always love your references to "The Songwriter". What a charming beginning to your happy marriage.

  10. Just stopping by after a very long time away from viewing your blog, Pamela. Always so many good thoughts to be found here ....


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