Benny's World

Monday, July 03, 2017

Another 4th of July Brings Memories of Elizabeth Edwards

Yesterday I opened my personal e-mail account, and it was from 123greetings, reminding me to send a card to Elizabeth Edwards on July 3rd, since it is her birthday.  I've long forgotten how I set up that alert since Elizabeth hasn't been been with us in nearly 7 years.

I met Elizabeth via her spouse's political blogs.  She was likely the first political spouse to be active in the blogosphere.   She and John were way ahead of their time, setting up podcasts, discussions every month about the lastest hot buttons in Congress or places where John was going to promote candidates running for Congress.  They also served as vehicle for John to talk about fighting for those in poverty.

Podcasts are now common place; I've often wondered why or how they surged in the past couple of years they've mushroomed, with Ezra Klein at Vox; David Axelrod, former consultant to both John Edwards and Barack Obama in their various campaigns for the presidency; and others who have internet shows that are recorded as podcasts.  The difference between 2005 and now is that one can see the time stamps better when wishing to replay a particular segment.

I don't have copies anymore of the Edwards' podcasts as they were stored on iTunes, and one day, I decided to sweep them out as I didn't have a lot of space on my iTunes for my phone, and second, the mp3 had already morphed into mp4, so it wasn't easy to listen to them anymore.

Recently though, someone on Facebook posted this in memorium video compiled by Elizabeth's high school friends.    It's a lovely tribute to her.   I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did, even though it's just a tad sad that's she's not here on earth, having fun with her children, and now grandchild Wade.  (Wade is Cate's son, born last summer).

Elizabeth A. Edwards - In Memoriam from Tom Barry on Vimeo.

I'm reminded as well that the inspiration of this blog, Benny, my cat, is gone as well. Assisted by our vet, he went to Rainbow Bridge on December 9th, a little over 6 years when Elizabeth died. At the time, I could not pen a post about his passing because it was too painful. I still feel tender about it.

I also lost my brother 3 years ago.  Another death that I'm still processing. 

Elton John's first hit on the airwaves was "Your Song" and the best lyric from it is "How wonderful life is while you're in the world."

 Both Elizabeth and Benny were wonderful beings to have known. My brother was the most adventuresome and he had a great life.  I miss him too. I hear music all of the time that keeps him on my shoulders, just there are pictures of Benny in my office.

4th of July also brings another year of life for me. But it's not just about me. Happy birthday to all of us in the US.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten

Dear BW Readers,

Today is Elizabeth Edwards' b-day. She would have been 63. I always remember because EE and I are exactly 10 years and 1 day apart in age.

Enlisted some ideas for this post, and most everyone seems to think that the SCOTUS ruling which upheld the constitutional aspects of Affordable Patients Care Act (aka Obamacare) would make her proud. I think while she applauded the decision, she would have said, "this is progress, but Medicaid provisions were not upheld by the SC", thus she would be pushing for Medicaid reform--and possibly the push for a public option. To me, she was the modern day equivalent of Eleanor Roosevelt.

In keeping with the theme of progress, I went to Facebook and looked at Elizabeth's wall. Her sister, Nancy Anania, posted a picture that spoke volumes of how Elizabeth conducted her life, especially in the final years.

According to Nancy, this marker was installed last week at the Raleigh Cemetery. As EE wished, she is buried next to Wade. Wade has a unique marker to find him, but this one seemed very appropriate as it is inscribed with some verses from one of her favorite poems, mentioned in her last book, Resilience.

In remembering Elizabeth, I think about how Amy Goodale made a YT that is no longer available, in 2006, that was fabulous. It was set to the music of "I'm Every Woman" and it was photoblog of Elizabeth in different places when she was on the campaign trail for JRE when he was a VP candidate. (was that a long time ago or what?) But also, I wrote here to wish her happy birthday in 2006. She read my post and made a comment. She seemed content at the time, being at the beach place.

Elizabeth was good about that--"that" meaning she paid attention to her blogger supporters, even though it was for John's causes. JRE did not know how to type, only communicate. She was much better in explaining complicated subjects, especially in their podcasts.

I also think of the last time I saw her, in April 2010, when Amy, Richard, Betty, and I went to her outlet store down the street from her house, and she had indicated in an e-mail that things had changed for her. In private, She and I spoke about her condition, and the medications were being changed because her cancer had spread further, and the condition was worse. But always, she wanted to fight. However, I think she knew this fight would be the hardest, and it was. She didn't lose the fight as much as the cancer army outmaneuvered her medications.

I've come to appreciate Elizabeth more and more. And I suspect, that despite what was testified at JRE's trial and other "sources" of late, which I will not lend credibility to, Elizabeth will continue to be remembered as a treasure for all of us, but mostly in the fight for our democracy.

From my 2005 b-day post, here's a pic I still like:

Yes, EE is gone, but not forgotten. Here's some music from Ken Burns' Civil War series, and done beautifully. EE would appreciate this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nuns On The Bus: Iowa

As in my last post, I promised to post a linky or two related to the journey of Nuns on the Bus, led by Sister Simone Campbell.  They are attracting some lookers in paying attention to the horrific budget plan of Congressman Paul Ryan.

I agree with the sisters when they say that personal responsibility is important, but in context of community needs, which is left out.

Go Sisters!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

JRE and the Work for Economic Fairness Goes On

Dear BW readers,

I have not blogged here in a very long time. Part of it had to do with Elizabeth Edwards' passing, and frankly, I was annoyed with JRE because of the affair with his paramour. I understand that he has to have some kind of relationship because of their child, Quinn, but it bugged me when I found out that both Quinn and her mother were invited to Thanksgiving Dinner last year at JRE's house. I can't imagine what that experience was like for Emma Claire and Jack. Cate is a grown up, but must have been awkward.

Then JRE's trial. It was a side show, more about the details of his tawdry affair than about whether or not he used the money for political reasons than hiding his personal indiscretions. He had good attorneys though as they elicited a lot of discrepancies in the Youngs' testimony versus the book The Politician and also what they told the grand jury. It became clear that JRE never saw the money and the Youngs extorted most of it to pay for their million dollar house. The Youngs should have never been given immunity for their law breaking activities, but that was the stupidity of the DOJ. As we all know now, the jury didn't buy it, the trial ended in one acquittal and the other counts resulted in a mistrial. Finally, the DOJ gave up the hunt to try it again.

In admitting his sins, he said he still wanted to do some service for kids in poverty stricken areas. I don't think he intends to run for public office again--I think he knows his career in that area is finished. But I think in working with Cate for the Elizabeth Edwards foundation, he could do some good work and start redeeming himself. I also hope he can do some pro-bono work for those who cannot afford an attorney.

One of the reasons I got involved with the Edwards campaign was JRE's vision of economic fairness. The Republican congress is totally against it, and it shows in Paul Ryan's budget plan to get rid of financial reforms, cut taxes for those who least need it, and cut deeply into social programs who those need them the most. On Sunday evening, a group of nuns are taking a bus across the Midwest to protest the Ryan plan. The name of the campaign is Nuns on the Bus and it is spearheaded by Sister Simone Campbell. I have made some inquiries with some other former Edwards bloggers, especially those in Iowa, to see if they can cover this campaign as citizen journalists. It is a good use of their faith to speak up for the poor. Reverend Al Sharpton and Sojourners are likely to cover this too, and I will follow the newspapers for coverage as they are traveling to towns that are too far for me to travel. On their website, they do have a link to a donation form, and if you have a couple bucks, you can tip their jar. One of their stops will be in front of Paul Ryan's office in Wisconsin.

I thank our Sisters for sticking up for the working poor and our seniors who need to keep their health plan in order to survive. The Nuns on the Bus are the spark plug for me to blog again.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Knotted Scarf: Remembering the Passing of Elizabeth Edwards

Today is the anniversary of Elizabeth Edwards passing. It's been somber for many of us, although I managed to stay busy. Likely Elizabeth would have preferred that I or anyone be productive than dwell on her death.

Still, it is time to pause a little and think about her.

I bet she would have been proud of Cate and Trevor's wedding. Courtesy of one of Cate's guests, Bill Spiegel, here's a link to a picture he snapped of Cate and Trevor cutting their wedding cake. Note: you must be a FB friend of EE's to view it. I was and still am.

The Elizabeth Edwards Foundation (EEF) website is seeing some legs.

Speaking of the EEF, CEO Cate Edwards put out a call on Elizabeth's Facebook wall for folks to share quotes or other thoughts. Iddybud posted a lovely poem by WS Merwin entitled "Rain Light". Nancy Anania, Elizabeth's sister, was open with her feelings when she posted, "My beautiful sister, you know how much I miss you." Yours truly posted a pic of Elizabeth and the two younger ones when Elizabeth was voted Role Mother of the Year by Glamour.

In another part of FB, Dem Debbi, a former JREG blogger, posted the pic of Elizabeth when she learned her cancer had returned and many of the DU'ers contributed money for dozens of pink roses (still my favorite pic, I remember posting it at the DU when the campaign sent it to me) in support of her continuing on in the 2008 campaign.

BW Readers, I also bring your attention to One America Rising, which wove a photo blog tribute to Elizabeth.

I will conclude with a couple of thoughts which may to tie these bloggers to the anniversary of her passing. One of them is by Cate Edwards, who penned an article that was published in Self magazine this afternoon:

There are things quintessentially Elizabeth that will always remind me of her. Some of them are grating (a constant flow of grammatical corrections). Some of them gracious (the constant claim that friends and family--not herself--are to thank for her own strength). Some of them are ill-advised (putting together meals comprised only of 100-calorie snacks). Some of them are good advice (to put together the biggest dream you can for yourself, then go one bigger). Some of them are passing (her idea to buy a bush hog and cut her own path in our backyard). Some of them are lasting (her idea to be herself, regardless, and forge her own path in life). But every Momism that I took for granted during her life has served as a welcome reminder of her every single day during the last year. Some days they make me smile or laugh out loud. Some days they are more burdened with the sadness of losing her. And while I hope that the former overtake the latter as the years roll on, I am glad to know that a year will never pass-- or even a day--when my mom is not with me.

The other is by Elizabeth herself, from Saving Graces. The context is a scarf she received from Christine Lavin (one of my favorite folk singers)in the mail:

Christine had taken it on her tour and had asked the women in the audience to make a little knot tie or knit a little. ...That scarf was everything I believed in. It was a gesture--not a difficult gesture--but a thoughtful one. ...It was pulling people in because you do believe in the grace a community gives each of us. ...This scarf is Christine's gift at the same time that it is the gift of all of those women whose names I will never know. And it is, also at the same time, something I can literally can wrap myself and something I can figuratively myself,, this huge community of people, spread out among the towns she toured--people who were pulling for me and who believed in the strength of that tiny knot they tied." (pages 333-4).

Indeed we were all part of her fabric. And she of ours.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

To Cate Edwards and Trevor Upham

Cate and Trevor got it together.

To them, I hope they have a great honeymoon. Hope it was a great party after the wedding. I do seems easy. To Mr. Benny, I said "Absolutely" rather than "yes." I stand by it.

I know you are private folks, but Edwardians on this blog follow what you will do in light in your late mom's story.

We all are in support of a great lifetime together.

Here's song by Desiree:


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We Knew

I am using an expression that Elizabeth Edwards would say today but slightly altered: we knew. Her comment was about Wade, you know.

Yesterday, I received e-mails about a WaPO article regarding what John Edwards could teach our POTUS. I am a bit incensed that Chris Cillzza got the memo 4 years later, but it's easy for a progressive political journalist to look back, rather than taking a position at the time. I've visited and told many liberal bloggers that they looked at who could raise money over what was bold and right for all of us. They have conceded privately that JRE was right. But I hear this "but if" meaning JRE's personal trials were revealed in the media. Chickens because of what happened in the 80's by a popular Colorado guy.

Elizabeth knew something of John's problems at the time, but she was willing to go on the campaign. She has been criticized for knowing them. How could any one be nasty towards a person who would later have her illness re-occur? Peeps like Taylor Marsh, who still touts Hillary Clinton as the possible nominee because she was the first viable woman Dem nominee in an election year that was open to anyone?

This blog is about Elizabeth Edwards and JRE's ideas. I am not ashamed to say that we knew what was right for all of us. And I am a Liberal but independent like Bernie Sanders.

Thanks Chris for acknowledging JRE, but you are 4 years too late. We knew all along. So your next job is to help Elizabeth Warren, as her ideas are many like JRE's. -End the Game (thanks Montana Maven for this reminder)

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