The Ultimate Test Question



Please explain:  (Hint:  Be sure you understand the meaning of each word, before you write your answer.)

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”  Thomas Jefferson


I shall await your responses.

The Act of Kneeling


The flaming hot topic of the week!  Despicable, disrespectful, disgusting, degrading.  Perhaps to some whom haven’t been inside a church in decades, but to those of us who have, kneeling is the antithesis of defiance. In Luke 22:39-41, Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives: Then, he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed….


Theologian Fr. Seraphim noted kneeling has been one of the “Most potent weapons against pride” for over two thousand years.  He concluded: “To this day, find a humble person, and you will find a person who kneels, regularly and consistently.”


Now folks will continue to disparage every person who fails to stand when the National Anthem is played.  But if the non-standing were dishonoring the American flag and the US military, wouldn’t they have chosen an ostentatious demonstration of disrespect  rather than kneeling?

Believe I’m no fan of professional sports.  I object to the outrageously high ticket prices, merchandise, and salaries.  I resent that TV weekend programming revolves around games.  Yet, hundreds of thousands of Americans avidly support their teams.  So, I, too,  am a protester, Mr. President,  but it has nothing to do with Oh, say can you see.  And with all due respect, sir, perhaps you should try kneeling.





On Wednesday, the 2017-2018, school year commences in our district.  For the next 9.5 months, I’ll receive phone calls and emails from parents and students who complain about homework.

“My kid has to do 25 math problems every night.  Don’t you understand he plays club soccer?”

“Why do I have to conjugate every Spanish verb and use it in a sentence?  I already know how to do it.”


“Really?  You expect my child to read to me every night and require me to initial it happened?  I work full-time and have other responsibilities when I get home.  Ludicrous!”

“Why do we have homework anyway?  It’s such a waste of my free time.  Let’s just stop this silliness.  After all, I’m gifted; I get the message the first time.  I’m not in need of mindless repetition.”


Since I’ve served as a school board member for 17 years, I’ve heard every argument against homework imaginable.  Even in some of my professional journals, I’ve read about the adverse effects of homework.  However, today, it became inimitably clear why school has homework.  Lord, it was a revelation!  Preparation for life.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to a casino for dinner and gambling.  True, I do enjoy wagering occasionally.  Yet, I declined.  I had to do homework.  The kitchen floor desperately needed mopped after the monsoon.  My yard’s grass, thanks to the monsoon, would be a foot tall, if I didn’t mow. The swimming pool needed cleaned and nuked with chemicals because of the monsoon.  I had to do homework.


In fact, this past week I’ve been consumed with homework. The condensation drain on an air conditioner clogged and sent water over my floor.  The patio door handle jammed and had to be replaced.  One of my dogs had poopy butt and had to be bathed.  Washing and ironing needed my attention.

And today is Sunday–a day of rest.  The Sunday crossword awaits my participation. But first, I must pay the electric and the water bills, clean out the refrigerator, dump the trash in the garbage cans for early Monday pick-up, and…ad infinitum.

Based on my epiphany about homework, the next complaint which comes across my radar screen will be answered:  Suck it up, dude.  Welcome to life.


You Saved My Life. No, You Saved Mine



14041809-Three-arrow-road-signs-with-the-words-Win-Lose-and-Tie-to-represent-results-of-a-game-or-competition-Stock-Photo.jpgWhile in my early 20’s, I took a graduate school course in educational philosophy and discovered I was an existentialist–make every decision as if it is your last decision.  I embraced that idea, and thus, I never looked back with “would have, could have, or should have.”  Further, I don’t suffer from “buyer’s remorse.”  Once I make a reasoned decision, I don’t dwell on it.  It’s the proverbial water over the dam, regardless of the outcome.

In 1983, I made the biggest decision of my life to date.  I gave up my dream job, I forsook my rising political career, I left my family, and I followed my spouse to his fledgling company 2,500 miles across country.  Now, my decision was not painless; I found myself far away from friends and my career.  Admittedly, for a while, I suffered from depression.  I had no job and no friends; my spouse worked 10-12 hours a day.  I had no reason to get out of bed until noon.  I didn’t shower for days at a time.  My dog didn’t care I smelled in our tiny condo, and my spouse was too tired to care.

I slipped further into the depression abyss and wild thoughts danced through my mind.  My local Ohio celebrity status was reduced to zero.  No one in Scottsdale, Arizona, knew my name.  Until….

I ventured to the condo complex pool.  A much younger woman than I sat alone among the snowbird, winter visitors.  We conversed; Julie, too, had moved from a small town in North Dakota to follow her spouse.  She, too, had no friends, nor family.  She, too, was a nobody like me.

Julie and I became fast friends; we shared secrets; we shared advice.  She nannied for me when my eldest was born.  When she and her family moved back to North Dakota 26 years ago,  I missed her.  I’d often wished we could at least chat about her sub zero weather as I picked lemons.

Last week, Julie and her husband came to Phoenix.  When they arrived at my front door, she and I hugged and cried, “Sue, you saved my life.”

“No, Julie, you saved mine.”

Tie game.





Friday from Hell

When I worked full-time, I rejoiced on TGIF. I reveled in a weekend of fun and foolishness.  However, Friday, March 24th was deplorable.


First, I was awakened by the sound of heaving.  (One of my dogs, an inherited Heinz, burrows herself every night under the blanket.)  I leaped from the bed, threw back the cover, only to witness her vomit a disgusting mess of grass and yellow bile on the sheet and mattress cover.  I looked at the clock–5:50 AM.  Really?

After sentencing the soiled linens to the washer, I went to make a cup of coffee.  Damn! Out of K cups!  Remembering my grandmother’s advice to never leave home without donning clean underwear, I got dressed, semi-combed my bed hair, and drove to the Golden Arch’s drive through.  “One small cup of coffee, please with cream.

“That will be $1.08 at the first window.”

As I reached in my purse to retrieve the money, I remembered my wallet was on my kitchen table.  I scoured the bottom of my purse for errant change–67 cents.  Now what?  Fortunately, I don’t store my credit cards in may wallet, so I offered the clerk a charge card.  Her face was filled with disgust as she swiped my card.  I imagined her thinking, “Dumb old broad, driving a nice car, without $1.08 in cash.  She must not own a hairbrush either.”


Wait! It gets worse.  The mail comes with my credit card bill.  I peruse it and quickly realize my account has been compromised.  Immediately, I phoned.  “Enter your zip code, enter the last four digits of your credit card number. Press one for….Press two…. ”  What?  I need to talk to someone; no choices dealt with my issues.

Two hours after this mayhem began, I finally talked to Amber, and my compromised card was cancelled.  But March Madness didn’t end.


My house phone rang once, then stopped.  Again and again.  Once.  Then, nothing.  The house phone screen message, “Line in use.”  I can’t deal with this; I destined in end up in the emergency room on a Friday night.  I’ll suffer a full-blown heart attack, die on the gurney, while all the drunk, car-accident victims are ushered into ICU.  My cell phone quickly connected me to the cable phone service, and Frantesa answered.


Swiftly, my Friday from hell vanished.  When I explained my problem, she offered help.  “What’s your first name?”


“Miss Sue, let me reset your modem.  Are you physically able to unplug this and that?”

What?  I’ve not lost all the cards in my deck…yet.  “Certainly.”

“This will take a few moments.  Since you said you’re older than me, do you have any words of advice for me?”

What?  I’m trying to get my phone fixed.  She persisted.  “Frantesa, you are 29-years old.  Vote.  Pay attention to local, state, and national issues.”

“We’re not allowed to discuss politics with customers.  Come on, give me some to improve my life.”

What?  Now, I’m a shrink?  “Frantesa, your goal in life is to be remembered for what you gave, not what you had.

“Wow, Miss Sue, those are powerful words.  I do give, but not enough.  I’m sorry I can’t resolve your phone problem.  A technician will be by tomorrow morning.”

NEVER in my long history had this cable company scheduled promptly.  “By the way, Miss Sue, I flagged your account.  You’ll receive a $10 credit, and I will receive an urgent message when your problem is fixed.”

The technician arrived three minutes ahead of schedule Saturday morning and within another five minutes, my phone problem vanished.  Even in light of the vitriolic hate currently spread across America, our country is brimming with wonderful people who give, regardless of what they have.  Frantesa, thank you.