What Would Martha Do?

Monday I had the pleasure of seeing my old friend, Martha.

We hadn’t crossed paths for a couple of months.  It was my usual bus driving day and she was my first pickup.  Driving the Help of Ojai big bus is no big deal except when you have to go to Martha’s house located in the East End on an unpaved road whose trees tend to scrape the top of the vehicle as you navigate around the other obstacles planted purely as a test of your driving skills.

As usual, Martha was waiting for me.  Never late, she gives herself extra time due to vision problems and the natural course of things that are too generously packaged with the aging process.

Hi Martha, I said.   Good to see you.  Do you need the lift?

No, I can probably make it up the steps.  The use of the word “probably” gave me the opening I needed.

 Martha, let’s use the lift so that you don’t fall on me and break my leg.


So Martha, what’s new?

Today’s my birthday.

Really.  How old are you?


Merely breathing long enough to reach the age of 98 is reason enough to be impressed.  My first thoughts after “Wow” focused on what it might be like if I ever got that far down this mortal coil.  Which body parts will still function?  Where will I spend my time?  What will I remember?

And then I refocused on Martha.  The lady who until just recently was an active library foundation board member.  Who, until a couple of years ago, drove her car wherever and whenever she pleased.  Who, though never fearful of speaking her mind, still has the grace to not speak badly of others.

Our conversation that morning ranged from the weather to the now departed pedestrian safety signs on Ojai Avenue, and then to the latest in audio books.   I began to tell Martha about my brother’s common interest in audio books but she politely reminded me that I had told her that story a year ago.

Dropping her off at the day’s physician of her choice, I wished her a very, very happy birthday.

Finishing my shift, I headed back up the hill, cleaned up and had  a yummy calorie laden brunch with Sweetie.  I then belched, parked my fanny in front of the computer and began to read the web version of the NY Times.

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s face stared out at me.  As we all know by now, Akin, a Tea Party favorite who decries all  abortion save that caused by a marauding orangutan, famously declared that women who had been raped could easily prevent conception by automatically shutting down one or more vital organs.  As so ably displayed by Mr. Akins who regularly shuts down his brain more often than not.

Chastised by members of his own Republican party, Mr. Akins was urged to drop out of his Senate contest with Democrat Claire McCaskill.  Giving it a whole thirty seconds of thought, Akins instead appeared on every conservative right-wing talk show with the exception of the one hosted by Benito Mussolini and reiterated his stand, albeit with an apology for having used the wrong words in explaining how he felt about rape victims.

He declared his intention to continue his mission, undoubtedly decreed by god, to bring the rotten scum of this country (including some members of his own party) to its knees.  To the embarrassment of his party leaders, he has the audacity to highlight the abortion issue so prominently displayed in the GOP party platform prepared for the upcoming Tampa convention.  Why the nerve of Mr. Akin to publicly wave that flag when so many of his fellow party nominees (including the Mitt) are trying to hide under it.  Coupled with the possibility that this debacle could turn the tide of the Missouri election to the Democrats probably was only an afterthought in urging that Akin fall on his sword.

My thoughts wandered back to my 98-year-old friend.  Somehow I thought she might, just this once, break her long-standing rule of never speaking badly of others.  Somehow I thought that, just this once, Martha might echo these lines written by Mr. Akin for the August 20 edition of the Onion.

You see, what I said was, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” But what I meant to say was, “I am a worthless, moronic sack of shit and an utterly irredeemable human being who needs to shut up and go away forever.”

But, somehow,  I think Martha will just laugh her way to 99.

6 Responses to “What Would Martha Do?”

  1. 1 Anne Shrage August 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    In this instance, I am sure Martha would vent..She has storng opinions when aroused by moronic politicians,


  2. 2 John Mason August 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Happy Birthday Martha and keep Fred on the road for a long time!


  3. 3 leila August 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    The utter shock is a realization that some people “of power” really believe this party line.


  4. 4 Aryna August 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I love that Martha remembered what you told her a year ago and you didn’t remember you had told her. She told me a couple of days ago that she and her sister ( a youth at 96, 18 months her junior) still had their minds. I wasn’t in a bit of doubt, but you’ve just re-enforced it!


  5. 5 Pearl August 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    You and Martha should run for congress against the Idiocracy Party.


  6. 6 K September 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Too bad you had to spoil a beatiful story and mention an illiterate politican.


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