Saturday, April 10, 2021

Magic and the Lucky Ones by Liz Flaherty

...the magic's in the music and the music's in me...

I was one of the lucky ones. 

In the 1960s, there was a group called the Lovin' Spoonful. Some of them are still around, still singing--I think they even use the group name...but in the 60s, when they recorded and performed a string of hits that most of my generation can still sing along with, they were...well, magic. Their first hit was "Do You Believe in Magic?" and I think it planted a seed that has grown, so that those of us who were "the lucky ones" still believe. In the magic and the music and in our fellow human beings.

The Magic Room

Last night, in a storefront on Broadway in Peru, there was some magic going on. Dusty baker / author / all round good guy Joe DeRozier threw "a bit of a party," with a gathering of downtown business owners, some writers, and a whole bunch of people who came to laugh, talk, visit with each other, and encourage.

Sarah Luginbill

It was magic, and those of us who participated are so thankful to Joe and to all of you. 

Photo by Sarah Luginbill

Speaking of magic...

It's all around us in the spring, isn't it? It's windblown, of course. Often wet. But it's green and it smells good and little people play baseball and shout "hey, batter, batter..." and adults gather on bleachers and find common ground where they hadn't realized it existed. It does exist, all the time, in the love for the players on the field and the playground and sitting over there somewhere with their eyes and thumbs glued to their phones. 

There's magic in stories you hear. I heard one the other day at DeRozier's that's not mine to share and it's not time to share it anyway, but I'm so much richer for having heard it. I told Kathy Bunker I worked with her mother-in-law at American Stationery and once Juanita relined a coat for me because I couldn't buy a new one. The sharing of the actions of a good heart are always good stories. Kathy was glad to hear it and I was glad to talk about an old friend and a job that was a good memory. 

There's more magic in stories you tell. Hearing about the ones they've lost helps people as they grieve, whether it's at a funeral home viewing, a celebration of life, or years later when you reconnect with someone while pumping gas into your cars. Telling someone when your kid has done good or funny things (thanks, Kim Eaton), thanking them for services they provide or favors they've done, telling them they've helped you make it through a day.

My husband plays music with a couple of other guys, Denny and Gary. They are young in spirit, but they've been playing music for...a while. It was magical when they came together, because Duane was in the first band Denny ever played in before the Three Old Guys came together and Gary was in the last. Kind of serendipitous, don't you think?

Duane Flaherty, Denny See, Gary Gillund

I'm late getting this posted today. Something else magical is your support of this column. Someone last night said, "Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's even better." I think maybe he was giving me too much credit, but he also gave me a truly magic moment. A really lovin' spoonful of good feeling. Thanks to him and to all of you. I hope you're all the lucky ones. 

Have a great week. Support local business when you can. Be nice to somebody.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Everybody's welcome... by Liz Flaherty

Is it on your calendar? There's going to be a "Bit of a Party!" at 65 N. Broadway; Peru, IN 46970 at 6:00 PM on April 9. With thanks to Donut Joe DeRozier for hosting us, the lineup looks like this:

Signing and selling books will be:

Liz Flaherty - Window Over the Sink .
Debby Myers - Vex and Valor.
Sherry West - It’s Raining Cats! It’s Raining Dogs! It’s Raining Bats! And Pollywogs!
Caryn Suarez - Living Crazy Like Fly.
Joe DeRozier - Heck, I Don't Know...I Just Make Donuts.


Businesses represented will be:
The Wine Works - Jason McKeever Dreams to Reality/Aroma - Sandra Tossou Oasis Serenity Therapeutic Massage & Spa - Shannah Hight Boho-Chic Hair Boutique - Emily Hopper Anita's Boutique - Anita Day

Dirty Paws Pet Grooming and Pet Store - Michael Graves 6th Street Coffee -
Kreig Adkins
Gallery 15 & Studios - Sarah Luginbill

It should be a lot of fun! We hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Words. Right Here in River City! by Liz Flaherty

I will try not to be sesquipedalian when I write the column today. Only showoffs are, you know...oh, and people who know more and better words than I do. Ones who walk down corridors instead of hallways, have fevered brows instead of sweaty foreheads, and suffer from plantar fasciitis instead of sore feet.  

The word sesquipedalian came from a word-of-the-day email I get from Merriam-Webster. I forget a lot of the words, and never use some of them, but then there are those that are just 

Sesquipedalian--see? I keep repeating it in the hope that I'll remember it--means either having many syllables or using long words. I like it a lot, and when I say it, I think of Robert Preston singing "Ya Got Trouble" in The Music Man. There's a rhythm to it. A cadence. Measurement. 
I love words, but their pronunciation is often a mystery to me. If I have to read aloud from the Bible in church, I look up audio pronunciations of things like koinonia so that I will sound as if I actually know what I'm talking about. (Yeah, I know the Lord knows better, but He has infinite patience.)

I was in my 40s before I knew that Aloysius was actually Allo-wishes. I'm not sure I have it straight yet that epitome is e-pit-o-mee but Jerome is Je-rome. Isn't it? Or is Je-rome really Jer-e-mee? Which brings me to my son's name, which is Jeremy. Should we have spelled it J-e-r-o-m-e? I hope not, because I don't even like how that looks. Perhaps this is the underlying reason we call him Jock and always have.

I was also in my 40s before I learned to spell weird and diminutive. Not knowing how to spell them had never stopped me from using them in print, but it should have. 

Words become buzzwords. I'd never used the word efficacy in my whole life--I had to look it up to be certain of its meaning and I'm still confused--and yet it's suddenly in the news all the time. Do you remember when someone realized that harassment was a real thing and the word became what had to have been the most-used of that particular year? Only the pronunciation got changed. I still blink when someone says HARassment instead of harASSment. Did they do that so that the very fitting word ass wouldn't be stressed when they talked about it?

Etymology is the study of words and their origins. This is a word I'm really not too crazy about, because I get it confused with entomology, which is the study of bugs.

I do have favorites, though. I love the word serendipity, because it feels good when I say it. I like juxtaposition, although it sounds goofy when I say it. I like compassion, tolerance, joy, kindness, gathering. I like when words sound like themselves, like rain or gentle or laughter.

I like that I get to write this column every week and that you are kind enough to read it. There's another good word: appreciation

Got any favorites? Or ones you don't like? I hope you share them with us. Have a great week. Use good words. Be nice to somebody.


The #businessoftheweek is Gallery 15 & Studios. The gallery is beautiful and welcoming. It is a place to appreciate and enjoy art and music as well as learn from artist Sarah Luginbill and musician Ron Luginbill. There are paintings displayed that will complement any d├ęcor and, more importantly, find comfortable places in any heart.

Stop in or call to see what's going on. Arrange for lessons or just go in and sit a while and absorb. You'll feel better for having done so.

Gallery 15 & Studios
15 E. Main
Peru, IN 46970
(765) 469-9730

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Splintered by Time by Liz Flaherty #WindowOvertheSink

If you didn't know your age, how old would you be? I've thought about that off and on for a couple of weeks now. The question (for me) came from the lyrics of a song I don't remember by a group I don't remember that I heard...somewhere. Sometime. 

At the age I am now, recent memories are little pieces of the whole. Instead of wide swathes of color, they've become like a kaleidoscope. Always colorful, always beautiful, but never quite the same. When I was trying to come up with something profound and metaphoric, I thought of jelly beans, but they are always smooth. But my friend Marietta Snow used to bring stained glass candy to work. The flavors were separate, but if they hadn't been, the candy would have looked like this. 

That's the way memories are now. They have sharp edges and sometimes they are hazy. Splintered by time.

So, if I didn't know my age, I'd go back to when memories were large and complete and as smooth as jelly beans. Not sure what age that would be, but I know I'd like it.

I love women's clothing right now. The designers seem to have realized that many of us are not tiny, built like hourglasses, or 17. But, still...

I guess I'd go back to an age when clothes were more fun because they fit better.

I'm bewildered by the fact that five of the Magnificent Seven--our grandkids--are adults. One of the others has a driver's license and a job. Even the seventh one is a year or two into double digits. I think his mother tries pushing down on his head to slow his growth, but he's going to pass her up pretty soon.

Hmmm...if I were just 20 years younger than I actually am, they'd be little again. Maybe I'd do that.

The past five years have been pretty rife with loss and heartbreak, so I guess I could just be five years younger. That would work, wouldn't it?

I cared about all the wrong things when I was in high school. I was probably smart enough, but I wanted to be popular. I'm sure if I were 16 again, I wouldn't care as much about being popular, but I'd work harder at being smart. I'd be nicer, too. I wouldn't leave such a trail of things I need to apologize for.

If I were in my 40s, nothing would hurt and I could set down on the floor and actually get up without the help of a sturdy chair or a strong hand. The full-blown wrinkles that I'm melting into would be only harbinger lines denoting character. 

Maybe I would be 28 instead of the 48 I was when my first book was published. That was such a fun year, but if I'd been 28, my mom would have been alive to see it.

My friend Nan Reinhardt wrote about this a few weeks ago and ended up with the same conclusion I have. 

When I was younger, I looked better in my clothes, but could never afford to buy the ones I wanted. Nor did I go anyplace to wear them. 

I wouldn't change anything about my grandkids, including how fast they have grown up. Like my daughter-in-law, I'm all about pushing down on Eamon's head, but that's because then I get to hug him even if he does roll his eyes.

The last five years? I'd love to have not lost my brothers and my mother-in-law, to have not struggled with day-to-day things that were...a struggle. But what else would have changed if those losses and those conflicts hadn't been there? Different isn't always better. 

While I wish I'd been better at being in high school, no one could pay me enough money to go through that time of my life again.

My 40s were...yeah, probably my favorite time ever. But they were only meant to last 10 years. 

So, that conclusion? If I didn't know how old I was, I'd still be 70. My grands would still be growing up too fast. The regrets would still be there--potholes in life's road. But I've loved people my whole life, and been loved. And had a great time.

The memories may be shards of color now instead of big sheets of it, but they're just as bright. I apologize if I tell you about them more than once, but thank you for listening. 

How about you? What age would you be? 

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody.


City Tire of Peru is this week's business of the week. In business on Main Street since the 1980s, their service and the friendliness with which it's rendered is a highlight of the town. With my tendency to run over nails, I get to visit them even when my tires are new! Stop in or give them a call.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

No Limits by Liz Flaherty #WindowOvertheSink

Just because it's pretty.
This morning, as part of my Facebook scroll, I read this: "In a society that has you counting money, calories, pounds and steps, be a rebel and count your blessings instead." It's a nice thought. 

I guess. 

But are we really that limited? As someone who's been on one diet or another most of my adult life, I'm always going to "count calories." As an only-fair-weather walker, I think it's fun to wear my Fitbit and keep track of my steps. I have enough money to eat, have shelter and health care, and donate some, so counting it isn't part of my regimen, but if I had a lot of it or thought I needed to, I probably would. When I had a cash drawer at work, I counted it all the time and liked working with money. (Although I never got all that good at it. Sigh.)

Even then, I manage to count my blessings every day.

Politics are limited now. Have you noticed? My father--and my siblings can correct me if I'm mistaken on this--always voted for party. My mom didn't. I never have, although my votes have nearly always leaned a certain way. Bipartisanship didn't used to be an anomaly--elected officials were able to think and act beyond the limitations of the party and give consideration to the needs of their constituencies. Do they tell us that they are limited by the logos on their hats when they're running for office and I just never catch on? 

There is a meme--how did I ever write without Facebook?--that says the opinions of entertainers and athletes are valueless. Another one that seems to indicate if you've never watched certain TV shows, you must be a better person than someone who does. There are ones who say if you're cautious, you're living in fear. Others that insist if you believe in science, you can't be a Christian. Or that if you're a Christian, you can't believe in science. 

I suppose that's what the term "cancel culture" really means, isn't it? It's not so much about a publisher stopping the printing of six books out of a children's author's 46-book catalogue. Or taking Confederate flags and statues out of statehouses. It's not about stopping organized prayer in schools--I'm here to tell you can pray anywhere you like; you just can't insist everyone else do it with you. 

Once again, I have no answers to this. Personally, I don't think anyone else does, either, because one of the first skills we give up is the one of listening without preconceived judgment. Yeah, me, too.

But it's so important that we stop this limiting of each other and ourselves, isn't it? So go ahead. Count those calories, steps, and money if you want to--it's a piece of cake to count your blessings at the same time. While you're there, watch whatever you like and turn off what you don't. Pray when and where and how you please. 

Have a great week. Be nice to somebody. 

Oh, and while you're out,   Get up, get dressed, and get DeRozier's!

Business of the week is DeRozier's Bakery. Not only are Joe DeRozier's pastries worth an extra turn around the block if you're counting those calories and steps I mentioned above, Joe is one of the kindest and most generous people around. A conversation at the table in his back room is a great way to start the day. He's an entrepreneur, an extraordinary donut-maker, and a gifted storyteller. 

The bakery phone number is (765) 473-6688 and the Facebook page is Stop in for a donut, some conversation, and a copy of Heck, I Don't Know... I Just Make Donuts. He'll even sign it for you!

Thank you, Joe.