2017 Life Logs, Day 273: Happy Birthday to Heather
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2017
Weather: Cool and Rainy; High 60, Low 47 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
Happy birthday to my beautiful and brilliant daughter, Heather Martin Handley Goldstone. Since I am her mother, I figure I have the right to brag! She had hoped to go camping with Jed and boys tonight for her birthday celebration, but the weather today was damp and cool. Smartly, they opted for an evening at home. I got a text from Jonah this afternoon saying I was ‘aloud’ to come over for homemade pizza and a family game night. He was in the car with Heather on the way to a soccer game off-Cape and Heather asked him to text me with the invitation. I loved the ‘aloud’ part added by Jonah. I graciously accepted the invitation and we had a nice evening together. Sam is playing drums in the school band this year and Ollie is interested in learning to play the violin, so they gave an after-dinner performance. Sam is good on the drums, but I can see that we are going to have to fix up the basement so he can practice downstairs! And it was quite impressive the way Ollie kept the beat on the violin. Jonah is in the chorus this year, but he didn’t get to showcase his musical talents as the music did not invite singing along. Jonah’s shining moment today was on the soccer field as he scored the only point of the game. It rained during the entire game, and at one point there was even thunder and the kids had to leave the field momentarily, but Heather said not one kid complained. Heather got one birthday surprise, a Facebook ‘Happy Birthday’ message from her brother. At some point before dinner, I checked my phone and saw that I had a couple of emails from Justin. How could this be? But when I read the first email I saw that Justin was in town today and found available internet. It is only a temporary source, but it gave him a chance to check his email, send some messages, and post a short message on his Facebook page. It was great to hear from him that things are still going along okay. I spent most of my day searching the internet for different items I want to purchase to send to Puerto Rico to help them keep things going along okay, and I was quite relieved to see that Facebook post confirming all is well for now.
I spent the rest of my day stewing about the situation in Puerto Rico. The mayor of San Juan is not the only person who is “mad as hell.” When I saw President Trump’s early morning tweets, my blood was boiling. I literally could not believe that anyone, especially not the President of the United States of America, would say that the people of Puerto Rico need to do more to help themselves. I just don’t know how any person that cares even one whit about human life could say such a thing. I know directly from Justin that since there has been absolutely no way to communicate, the people that live in his area know nothing about what is happening on the rest of the island. They are left in the dark without electricity and without information. Being totally cut off from any kind of communication is very scary. The people of Puerto Rico were just beginning to recover from Hurricane Irma when they were battered by Hurricane Maria, so naturally they are frightened. They are having to drink water out of streams and springs. They have no source of power and no way to communicate. They have very little cash and you can’t buy anything without it. The ATM’s aren’t working. There is only one bank open in Justin’s town and it allows only people with an account to withdraw only $100 a day because right now the bank has no way of getting additional cash. The people of Rincon spent full-time the first few days after Maria using machetes and anything that would cut to clear the trees from the roads. They are now working together to try and clean up their properties and Justin says that is resulting in many injuries. Right now, if you can get to town the drug stores do have some medical supplies, but there is the fear that infections will develop from the cuts and antibiotics won’t be available. The people have been doing this clean-up in the sweltering heat. Do more to help themselves? Let’s see President Trump and Melania put on waders and go house to house to see if people are safe, to see if they have water to drink, to see if they have food, to see if they need medical assistance. That is what the Mayor of San Juan did non-stop for days after the storm. The past couple of days she has been fighting the bureaucracy to try and get supplies that have just been sitting on the docks in San Juan distributed to the people across the island. I am frustrated beyond belief that our government has been dragging, dragging, dragging its feet in getting help to the people of Puerto Rico. And I am deeply ashamed that the President of the United States would berate the Mayor of San Juan and the people of Puerto Rico. So, Mr. President, take back your words. Beg for forgiveness and get things moving. When the Mayor of San Juan says that she cannot fathom that the greatest nation on earth cannot figure out how to get help out to the people on an island that is only 100 miles across and 35 miles wide, I have to agree with her. Our military is the best in the world at rebuilding nations. They know how to do this. But for whatever reason, in this case our government has not had the will to put its full force behind this effort. And who do you blame other than our leadership? I agree with Lin-Manuel Miranda, an American whose parents moved to New York City from Puerto Rico before their son was born. But they still have family in Puerto Rico. After Miranda read Trump’s early morning tweets, his message to Donald Trump was, “You’re going straight to hell.” Miranda is a wildly successful Pulitzer-Prize winning Broadway composer and lyricist who doesn’t mince words. Just wish I had thought to say it first.