Saturday, December 29, 2018

Good Things That Might Happen in 2019

According to the Media, tiny Luxemburg is to become the first country in the world to make its public transport - free.  That would be a very smart move, worthy to be followed by other small countries with  limited territory and lack of natural resources.
The advantages of such a move are enormous: it would ease congested traffic and make the roads safer,  improve ecology, and above all - improve people's health. 

Cannabis is gradually getting legalized in various parts of the world. It's a positive direction, and it should include as many countries as possible. I'm in favor of legalization of this plant which is said to have the potential of easing the suffering of the sick (cancer/ parkinson patients and others). They say, it is not addictive like alcohol, and not harmful like smoking.

Egypt's president, El-Sisi, has recently launched a rhetorical 'attack' on the overweight in his country and told egyptians they should take better care of themselves. Opposition to his words is loud, invoking poverty, junk food, faulty health care, and the other usual slogans; but his clear voice on the matter is a start, a good one, even though he might do nothing practical about it.
It seems El-Sisi is the right guy  in the right place who might bring about significant changes in his country (including the issues of obesity and the alarming birth rate), setting an example to the other countries in his continent.

Scientific researches  of the last couple of years might give us, in 2019, a clue as to the workings of the human mind. It's quite a mystery when a person who has it all: career, family, money, love,  - takes his own life (recent case in my country), and leaves family and all around him utterly devastated and grieving. We need some more insight into that super computer - the brain- to be able to prevent, perhaps, this kind of tragedy.

Happy 2019!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Bracelet and Yemeni safest place for Jewelery

I've got an old , simple bracelet. It's not gold, but I like it. In fact I like it so much that I've recently decided not to wear it any longer for fear of losing it (It disappeared a while ago, and it reappeared miracoulously  just when I lost all hope of finding it again).

The bracelet was bought many years ago in a little shop , on the edge of the city market. The shop owners, father and son, dealt mainly with jewelery bought from immigrants and inheritance.  It was a popular shop, for one could buy there a real bargain and even get a blessing, style "you should never have to resell it".
The shop no longer exists. 

There's only one more shop of that kind known to me; it's bigger, more expensive, and located in the heart of the city. The owners, two twin brothers, are skillful jewelery makers and... rather shrewd merchants. Part of the items acquired by them are not sold in their original form but undergo some slight transformation that enables the two brothers to demand a higher price.

Anyway, my bracelet,  safely kept now,  has some strange sort of fascination upon me. Hard to explain . There's something about it, something indefinable that appeals to me.Perhaps its simplicity of design, its light weight , its minimal chic as a fashion accessory or all these things together.

Speaking of safety, it's not unusual to see elderly women, especially of yemeni descent, wearing their jewelery (rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces - mostly silver made) on their body, almost all the time. They'll tell you and even argue with you that your body is... the safest place for it, not the hidden safe on the wall.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Buy, Keep, Give away...

People buy things all the time, but before holidays, it becomes madness.  The good news is that the urge to buy  can be controlled just like the urge to overeat.  People, however, seem more interested in controlling things they cannot control, like the weather, for instance.

Those who do not participate in the shopping race will say, 'Hey! what do you need all this stuff for; remember, you'll take nothing with you when you leave this world'. True, though it wasn't entirely so in antiquity, and that reminds me of the archeological museum in Heraklion (Crete greek island).

entrance to the Archeological Museum in Heraklion (2016)

Heraklion has one of the finest archeological museums in Europe (it's a Must when visiting the island). At the museum, my attention was caught by the display of a great variety of personal belongings and tools found in people's graves. Also decorations and worship figurines. The ancient Cretans actually believed they'll need all this stuff in afterlife, and demanded to be burried with them.

miniature works of ivory, gold, semiprecious stones




Back to our modern times .
Over the years, following decluttering, many accumulated items will be discarded, donated, sold   by the owners or their heirs ( the latter will usually concentrate first on what can be turned into some profit: house, art, jewelery).

Apropo heirs - Inheritance might cause them a lot of 'headache' about what to keep and what to give away or sell . Some inherit "overloaded" houses, others, houses with few possessions. In both cases they have doubts as to what to keep and what to dispose of.
I think perhaps parents can make it easy for them by leaving clear instructions or...clear houses.

A friend of mine  whom I've always known as a dedicated daughter, discarded or sold after her mother's passing, even items that had sentimental value.
That was not like her at all and, I was rather surprised (she had also offered me some items).  When I asked her why, she blamed it on pressure from what she called ,'her insensitive husband', who favored only space and money.  I believed her, and yet, I was disappointed in her. 

I thought it was not fair to the memory of her Mom (single mother, divorced after only five years of marriage) who worked  hard  to achieve all those things left behind .

Wednesday, December 5, 2018



We met at a summer course, and  became friends despite the big age gap beteen us.  She was older and wiser than me, married to an english born gentleman, mother to two charming  teenagers .
A few years later, I left town, and that was it;  we completely lost touch.

 In  March of this year (the month is significant to the story), I happened to be in her neighborhood, and I noticed that their modest  one level house had been replaced by an elegant 2-storey building. I stood near the gate for a while not knowing what to do with myself as I felt the need to talk to somebody. Luckily, a woman came out of the building. I approached her , introduced myself , told her that  many years ago, I knew the owners of the place, and  added that I would appreciate if she could give me some information.

She seemed reluctant to talk to me; however, she uttered three short but valuable sentences. She said : 'she had never met the old couple'; 'she believed they were not alive at the time of the house's sale'; 'her family bought the house from the grandchildren' .
I thanked her and went away.

Back home, I googled the city cemetery list to find out age and date of death. The wife, 85 years old, died in March 2011; the husband, 90, a month later. Well then, I said to myself: they had reached a respectable age... and was about to light candles in their memory.

Something was bothering me, though. The woman said her family had bought the house from the grandchildren; What about the two children, where were they? I decided to 'dig' things further. Browsing, I came upon a family tree, and....deep, uncontrollable, sadness overcame me. Both children were gone long before the parents: the daughter at 32, the son at 41.   Instead of two candles, I lighted four.(We're  celebrating Hannuka feast this week, and I'm lighting candles , so this has brought back to me the sad memory).

That's the  horrific side of longevity; parents might get predeceased by one or more of their children. In our society, it happens quite often as life expectancy has increased during the last decades, but so has the number of accidents and diseases that kill the young ones. It has happened in my family too.

I suppose  what has kept the above mentioned couple alive for so many years after the two tragedies, are the grandchildren. 
However, I know that in some cases, bereaved  parents find no consolation  in grandchildren; in other cases  grandchildren find it hard to cope with this unnatural situation of parent(s) dead and grandparent(s) alive,  and estrange themselves from the latter. 

Tragic from any angle one looks at it.  Life is certainly not all wine and roses.

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