Friday, July 7, 2017

A Little Piece of Heaven Here at Home - published July 7-8 2017

Did you know that in these politically turbulent times, you can enjoy yourself and leave politics behind? Here’s a fun list of things to do.

The Myers family had a tree cut down. It had been hit by lightning and was a menace with low-hanging branches. No sooner had the tree company arrived than so did the children. How fascinated they were — Bella, Tucker, and Zeke to name a few — as they parked their bikes and stared upward to see how the job was done.

Adults, too, can recapture the sense of wonder of children.

Speaking of trees, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is featuring an exhibit, “Wild,” by National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols. The centerpiece is a giant image of a redwood tree dominating the Great Stair Hall. The exhibit will be there throughout the summer.

Nichols fashioned the enormous image by stitching together multiple shots, originally shown in the magazine. But at the museum they were made into banners 60 feet high, higher than a five-story building. What a sight for everyone, especially the grandchildren.

View the museum’s website at to see when guests can go for free.

Retire your smart phone for a couple of days. It wasn’t so long ago that technology hadn’t developed these amazing devices. Rely on your five senses to guide you as we did as children.

Is there anything more soothing than listening to the sound of the rain pattering on the roof at night? “Be in the moment,” as the sages say, and let your mind wander free.

Who remembers sitting on the front porch chatting with neighbors? Perhaps a white wicker table held a bowl of cherries and an endless pitcher of lemonade.

What have you always wanted to do but never found the time? Burdick’s News Stand in Hatboro offers dozens of newspapers and cigars. It has a real soda fountain. Sit on a stool at the counter and order ice cream or a milk shake. If you’re lucky, Carl, one of the owners, will tell you when the latest car shows are coming to town.

Scott Sherman of Willow Grove finally tried a hoagie from Silvio’s in Hatboro. A native Philadelphian who claimed he knew the best places for hoagies and pizza, he was “wowed” by the “nice hard roll and the tasty tuna fish with American cheese” and the trimmings.

Sherman, a veteran bird watcher, sits on his front porch with a view of his four squirrel-proof bird feeders. What would the birds do without him? Cardinals, blue jays, tiny chickadees, and the elusive gold finch add joy to his life.

Freda and Bernie Samuels of Warrington love nothing more than reading the daily newspapers. Two at last count. Although papers are found online, there is nothing, they say, like holding the paper in your hand, underlining things to do and tearing out sections to send to your friends.

Freda, in her early 90s, has health problems, but she just resumed the sequel to her memoir she wrote when she was a younger 89.

Who writes letters anymore? Or postcards. “Thinking of you” is something I often write to members of New Directions, the support group I founded 33 years ago for people and families affected by mental illness.

How good they feel that someone — me! — has thought about them after all these years.

Although some people regard the state of our beloved America as a national tragedy, David Kime had a real tragedy strike home. Kime, a visual artist whose works have been featured in various magazines, and who writes a magazine of his own, fell into a deep depression when his Fairless Hills apartment suite burned down.

His works of art, his masks made of papier-mache, his hundreds of poems, and his photographs of his deceased parents all burned to a crisp, as if they had never existed.

After mourning his losses, Kime rose like a phoenix and began writing again. “After the Fire Poems” is a collection of new poetry he will read at the New Directions’ Fifth Arts Festival, to be held Aug. 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Willow Grove Giant supermarket at 350 York Road. Is that David typing up his poetry now?

Join us. Bring your own work, or sit and listen. Carnegie Hall it’s not, but it’s a little piece of heaven here at home.

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Ruth Z. Deming, a therapist in private practice, is founder/director of New Directions Support Group in Abington, now in its 33rd year. Visit

1 comment:

  1. Very good posts. Wonderful ideas to occupy people, to inspire or re-inspire them and to divert their/our tormented focus on all the negative things going on in the country/world.