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Reflection, Empathy, Sympathy: Look at What You Have

Denise Addis wanted to write about refrigerators, but the events of the past week have made her look at her own situation with a bit more softness.

Spring has arrived and could not have endured a more arduous journey in getting here. Numerous storms, 'freakteen' inches of snow and a tomb of ice all behind us now as we welcome the most welcomed season of all and, unfortunately, the most volatile.

With a year behind us that includes a Gulf oil spill crisis, an earthquake so powerful it nudged the earth off its axis in Chile, others that killed hundreds of thousands in Haiti, Iceland and now Japan, one has to wonder what is our planet telling us and what lies ahead? Or beneath?

And all the while, as the Earth forcibly shows us, actually grabs us by the throat and throws us up against the wall and screams in our face that it is, indeed, the Earth itself who is in charge here, political unrest and violence continue around the globe and Charlie Sheen desperately wants us to care that he doesn’t care anymore. 

Wouldn't it be great ... warning to the realists, idealistic moment coming in 3, 2–if the powers that be, that those who wage war, those who deny their citizens basic human rights, would just wake up and say, "life is short, security is fleeting, worship who you want, live where you can afford, marry who you want, forget that civil war we had 50 years ago, it is all in the past, let’s share the land." For if the events of the past year alone have taught us nothing, it taught us that it can all be gone tomorrow. As quickly as a bump in the ocean floor can send a wave that washes over decades of growth, progress and generations of people, and then recede as if it none of it was ever there, it can all be gone tomorrow. 

Live for today, and take joy in what you have now. No amount of campaigning, no candidate, no president, prime minister, dictator, army, no overthrowing of any government, no battle can prevent what our planet may have in store for us. End idealistic moment and return to reality.

My plan this week was to write about our refrigerator repair man who has now blown us off two Saturdays in a row now, with no explanation. Ten hours devoted to waiting for the man who most surely has the Maytag Repair Man rolling over in his grave with his failure to live up to the standards of one of TV's most beloved commercial characters. But how can I do this now? Anything trite, anything trivial, anything, in my opinion less than just being happy that I am sitting here, writing in my warm home, on my comfy couch, with my fuzzy warm blanket, while my son sleeps, while Jim keeps trying to talk to me while I am writing, would be wrong.

So, this week, I have been working very hard to be grateful, and if I figure if we have a house, an apartment, a friend, a cat, a goldfish, a relative, a car, a bike, a hot meal, a warm place to sleep or a chair to sit on, then we all have something for which to be thankful. And, corny as it may sound, I am thankful to be here in Morristown with you.

The most catastrophic event I have endured in Morristown was the day my former neighbor barbecued in his jockey shorts. Lucky, right? I did not think so at the time but, as towns go, as life goes, I think we do OK here in Morristown. The region seems somewhat immune from severe weather, though I remember our little earthquake, do you? I often complain about the general inconveniences of town, but spring is about to break loose in Morristown and for that I am thankful. 

And when the trees blossom on South Street and when the parks turn green and the tree-lined streets are bursting with color, and when families crowd around outside the when the weather turns warmer, it is all a welcoming sight. And while I am so very fortunate to be able to share my thoughts with you each week, this week I have only one thought, and it has been a constant every time I turn on the computer or the TV… What are they going to do?  How are they ever going to recover from this?  They, of course, are the people of Japan. 

So, while people around the globe are living nightmares, I hope this week you have extra hugs for your kids, your dog, your best friend and in the days ahead, please get out there and enjoy springtime in Morristown. Be happy we are not on radiation lock down and find a bench on the Green for your lunch hour, take a walk down South Street when the trees bloom, take in the spring time in Morristown. Go sit outside at the and enjoy a crispy salad, they have a great one. Throw a Frisbee, ride a bike, walk the trails at Loantaka. If Charlie Sheen appears on your television, tweet to him that indeed he is a winner. Hopefully, that will make him disappear. Let’s give this man the confidence he needs to shut up, once and for all.  Though I have not seen him as much this week, maybe it takes a tsunami and the devastation of a nation to make some people realize how irrelevant they are in the grand scheme of things.

Consider making your reservations for restaurant week in Morristown, it starts April 4. It is called "Think Global, Dine Local" and there are so many restaurants offering deals and price fixed menus that cap at $30 or other specials, participating restaurants will include places like , The Brick Oven, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , –I am seriously only naming a few on the list. So start your diet now so you can justify this indulgence and get out there and enjoy Morristown, enjoy life, it is fleeting. 

Animal lovers, on the 20th, you can check out at the .  It includes trained dogs, cats, geese and clowns. I think I may have to go see this–if nothing else, I could really use a laugh and, you know, cats and clowns? I mean, come on, how can you not laugh at a cat being juggled by a clown? And trained geese? Really? I shunned circuses long ago because I am not a fan of elephants on a leash or whips, but this sounds a little more civilized. 

Also, is in town at the theater on the 24th. Do you know I have been told that I look like Lily Tomlin probably 100 times in my life, if not more? And it is always the same thing: “Hey, Denise, you look just like Lily Tomlin, have you ever been told that?” And when I would say "yes" with minimal enthusiasm, the back-pedaling is always the same: "Come on, she is really funny." Not really pretty, she is really funny. So, so what, I look like Lily Tomlin, if Jim doesn’t care that I look like a woman who could be my granny, then I don’t care. But she is funny. So laughs are available at the theater if you are in need.

So that is the week I have had, I am sure it is similar to all of yours. It is humbling to see others suffer and when you can do nothing about it, the only thing to do is appreciate what you have and make the best of all good things while you have them. 

And in an effort to do so, today I do not even remotely care that there was a Ford F-250 Super Duty taking up four spots in my office parking lot. I am sure the driver was late to work from, I don’t know, drowning kittens, and he did not realize how selfish an act this was. So today, I won’t dwell on that at all. I won’t even mention it, it’s like it never happened. I am not even a little annoyed.

Wishing everyone a warm and happy start to spring time.

Dw. Dunphy March 19, 2011 at 01:18 PM
This is a great column, Denise, and thank you for it. The big problem with those who wage the wars is that, in many cases, they've moved past the reasons why they're even having the fight. The fight itself has become the reason to have it. I know several people who prefer the fight over the intended aim over which the fight begins. The cynic in me can't rise above the belief that this is the biggest problem we face. If winning the battle is meaningless, and one finds their justification in maintaining their prejudices, anger and grudges, how could you ever negotiate with that?
Denise Addis March 20, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Our inner cynics agree. It can't be easy to put the gun down when it was born in your hand even if the reason you carry it is already in the history books. Well said.

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