Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

Michiana Chronicler

Jeanette Saddler Taylor lives a retiring life in South 
Bend.

Ways to Connect

The stage lights are extinguished; the main player has exited through the curtain and the bit players are standing around wondering, “What next?”. Aphrodite has died.

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

OK, Look—Whoops! This is radio. So, OK, listen. Well, maybe you don’t care to listen, I’m going to speak about books meaningful to me, so if this isn’t of interest to you, you have five minutes to go and do something else until something that does interest you comes along.

Holly Heyser

Occasionally, it’s like I’ve been dropped on my head and lost clear reason—in those times I decide to delve into my backlog of “well-this-looks-pretty-good” recipes and cook something more involved than my go-to Ramen noodles. The weather being cooler, the pandemic raging so that stay-at-home is the order of the day, and the major eating season looming over us, I had one of those culinary days not so long ago.

Elaine Thompson / AP File Photo

“Jeanette, you’re just a glutton for punishment,” my Mother would say to me when I had doggedly persisted in what she perceived as self-destructive behavior. That pronouncement came back to me as I, possibly once again in self-destructive mode, watched all eight nights of the political conventions in August. Not only were the “festivities” long, but I was compelled to stay up for the post-game commentary as well. Sometimes, like when you pass an accident on the highway, there’s no looking away. And, since these bug-eyed binges were cocktail fueled, my sleep-deprivation was compounded.

Paul Costello

“Hey, y'all, watch this!” When you hear someone yell that at a gathering, you can be pretty sure that an ambulance soon will be needed. Julia Reed wrote that and it’s that kind of Southern humor that makes me laugh aloud and look forward to more of her observations. While reading a recent issue of Garden and Gun magazine—OK, calm yourself, that is a real magazine and probably is not at all what you imagine—there was an article, as there often is, by Julia Reed.

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

“Once you’ve bought a novel in your pajamas, there’s no turning back.” So says a character in the novel “The Overstory,” as he drives a forklift in a fulfillment center. Well, in this time of social distancing, that ship sailed weeks ago. Sadly, sitting on the couch, in front of the television, sometimes, well often, in my pajamas, things have been ordered that amaze me.

Joyous greetings! Seems like a strange sentiment in these troubled times, but it also seemed odd when expressed by women in France, Germany, England and yes, the United States as they wrote letters to one another in the mid-1800’s. They communicated and offered support as they labored, sometimes from prisons, for human rights for women, enfranchisement among their issues. So again, “joyous greetings,” because thanks to them, we have the vote.

Generally speaking, I go from the general to the particular in these rants, but this time, I would like to begin with the particular. I think that it will become the general though, because that’s the nature of human experience.

For a long time, and for reasons unknown to myself, I have had pity for Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. Sure, she’s had a privileged life, and doesn’t seem to need pity, but for many years she has been the sole survivor of her nuclear family. It seems a lonely place. The cheese stands alone.

Oh Lord help me! There’s no sugar-coating the situation, I’m a blurter! If I hadn’t been quite sure that this is a bad thing, one look at our Dear Leader plunges me into the depths of despair over my situation. This blurting business is not a good thing: raucous laughter, streams of invective and unkind opinions really are best kept internalized.

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

If you are a reader of either the books or newspaper column by Miss Manners, you may have noted that she uses a question and answer format: etiquette questions from readers: answers from Miss Manners. She prefaces her answers with the salutation, “Gentle Reader.”

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

Mostly, people hate change. Sure, there is the occasional insurrectionist who wants to overthrow the existing government, but generally, the bulk of people just go along, thinking something along the lines of “Better the Devil that I know.”

Thus, it is with great interest, and maybe a little skepticism, that we on my block are looking at the coming of the “new house.” It’s not enough that our little enclave is currently undergoing the gutting/renovation of one of the existing homes on the block, but now this, on the previously vacant corner lot.

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

When you were a child, do you remember any place that you saw in your big ol’ geography book that captured your imagination? Other than those cowboys with the bolas, the section on Brazil held little interest for me, so I surreptitiously paged back to look again at the post and lintel standing stones in England, the pictures of olive trees in Greece and the lone little picture of Lhasa in Tibet. These were the places that I wanted to know more about and maybe even see.

Let’s talk about talking. From early on in our lives, it’s a topic with which we all are fairly conversant, so there must be a lot to say. And maybe that’s the problem. As my friend, Patsy, once said, “You spend two years trying to teach a kid to talk, and the next 18 years, trying to get him to shut up.” As a society, we are pretty verbose, aren’t we?

Maybe you remember Andy Rooney, an essayist and commentator on CBS’s 60 Minutes? There is no way that I can compete with his voluminous eyebrows, but I often feel akin to his grumpiness. He didn’t have that Eeyore kind of hangdog grumpiness. You know, the “I don’t know, but I don’t think that’s right . . . “ style.  Nooo, Rooney had a fire-in-the-belly, I’m-so-irritated kind of grumpiness that almost made his eyebrows flap in the stout wind generated by his ire. That’s my brand too: a fueled grumpiness. The kind that is fierce, judgmental and self-righteous.

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

Often in these minutes, I relate light-hearted things. Not so much today. In the cold of the New Year, refugees are on my mind.

Eileen Fisher

“I wonder if I could do that?” Maybe you have had that thought when you have heard or read of some challenge that someone else has embraced. Well, I have. About this time last year I read Ann Patchett’s op/ed in the not-yet-failed New York Times concerning her going for a year without making clothing purchases: and not just clothing purchases, but anything that she deemed to be unneeded items.

 

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Larry Taylor

Vices versus virtues: sounds like a sports team rivalry, doesn’t it?

Here we are in the heart of sunshiney, joyous summer. Here we are in the heart of hot, oppressively humid summer. If ever there was a conflicted season, summer is it. For me, at least, it definitely is a love/hate relationship.

Summers bring longer lightness--that translates to a lightness of spirit. Early morning birdsong, breakfasts on the screened porch, evening drinks on the screened porch, occasional naps on the chaise lounge on the screened porch: a freedom of attitude that gives one permission to lull, be languid, and luxuriate in life.

“Sometimes you have a little trouble taking ‘no’ for an answer, don’t you?” That’s what Larry, my beloved, has said to me in the past when I have been, well, having trouble taking “no” for an answer.

Trippin'

May 11, 2018
Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

Oh good, you’re here. Please come and sit down so that I can show you the 2713 (According to mathematician Larry, that’s a prime number.) pictures that I took on my recent trip. What? This is radio, and you can’t see them and thus are spared from this “opportunity.” Well then, a thousand words, give or take, will have to suffice.

“My little body is aweary of this great world.” Portia blurts that out early on in “The Merchant of Venice,” and it’s one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes. Being something of a blurter myself, I empathize with both her method of expression and her sentiment. Frankly, I’m disgusted with having to be in this mood though. Here it is spring; life should be full of beauty and promise, but my mood is one of a great big whine: a spring-slump.

“Well, it's Groundhog Day... again.” Yes, you guessed it: as well as being a fact today, it’s also a quote from the movie, Groundhog Day. Apparently, many folks watch this movie every year. Larry’s and my friends, Linda and Joe, do. And, when they learned that we had never seen it—apparently some of the last people in America to be in that predicament—they  generously lent it to us. So, in the name of research for this Michiana Chronicle, we, along with our also-still-living-in-a-cave friend, Patsy, sat down for our maiden voyage.

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

“Awww. Did you see that? Look!” Kathleen said to her daughter who was driving and trying very hard NOT to look at what Kathleen was showing her. That something was a critter alongside the road. That critter was not being cute or taking a nap; that critter had tangled with a vehicle and now was displaying its innards.

SIPA USA / PA Images

“Attention must be paid to such a person.” So said Linda Loman, wife of Willie, in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” but it’s applicable in other places too, don’t you think?

As schools begin the academic year and the shank of the summer road-trip season ends, I look at my faithful steed with happy memories. (Do you name your cars? Larry and I do; I think that it has more than a little to do with America’s love affair with the automobile.  Hence, we plaster our attached garages onto the front of our homes and, in essence, keep our cars in the house with us. That being so, why wouldn’t we name our cars?)  The Pod, our green Prius, habitually provides adventures both quick and lengthy, and we do love and pamper it like a family member.

Lying

Jun 23, 2017

“Liar, Liar, pants on fire!” Certainly you never shouted that as a child. You just heard other, naughty, less-well-brought-up children sing-songing it. Then, as a very cool adolescent, you never called anyone a “Lying sack of . . . “ Substitute “excrement” as a fill-in here, as I’m not sure that I am allowed to say the real word on the radio, but I’m betting that you’ve heard it and can mentally do the fill-in.

The Basque Museum and Cultural Center

He cautioned me back when I was a spritely youth. The he? My much-respected Daddy.  The caution: “Jeanette, possessions are very confining. Pretty soon, you don’t own them, they own you.” Although warned, nevertheless, I persisted and blithely spent the next boo-coo, bijillion years of my life filling my space with “stuff.”

Sarah McGee / Flickr

Not so very long ago, I came across a quote from the playwright, John Guare, “Writing is another kind of performance. You get to play all the parts,” he said. Sounded like just the ticket, so, as they say, I’m gonna write/tell/perform a little story for you here.

Going Home

Jan 6, 2017
Christopher Manson

“Over the river and through the wood, to grandfather’s house we go,” so says the 120-year-old song. (Although I always thought that it was Grandmother’s house, but I seem to have got that wrong—more about that later.) Given the song’s New England roots, its age, and the mental pictures of folks in horse drawn sleighs, it’s amazing that it continues to work here in fly-over land in the 21st century. Turns out that here in the Midwest, there still are rivers and woods and grandfathers too, for that matter. And, trucking off to visit folks for the holidays happens as well.

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