13 July 2017

The Most Amazing Mansion Photo Yet: See What You Have Done In Two Days

Soap, Shampoo, Body Wash

It was just a couple of days ago that I asked one of the Mansion staffers if there was anything in particular that the Mansion residents needed. I ask all the time.

Two of them took me aside and told me that many of the residents run out of money in the middle of the month with the small accounts they have. They run out of soap, shampoo or body wash. They had no way of really cleaning themselves.

People who labored for 40 and 50 years and saved every penny to retire safely couldn't afford to buy soap while the average U.S.Congressmen or women average $750,000 a year in income. It just boggles the mind.

But today is not a time to argue but to celebrate. Packages came quickly from all over the country.

And so quickly. Tuesday, I ran out to Rite-Aid with Maria and we bought some emergency supplies.

I posted a message about it on the blog. That was just a few days ago, the staff took me down into the basement storage area to show me what today's mail and delivery trucks (and a puzzled postman) brought. They took over a special cabinet to store the stuff, and more is on the way.

Some of the soap and shampoo and body wash has already been distributed ("everybody here smells sweet today," one of the residents told me. Everyone asked me to pass along deep thanks.)

In one sense, this is the most important photograph I have ever taken at the Mansion. It embodies the mission and the way in which we can really help these people. We can't change the realities of life or aging, but we will try to fill the holes in their existence,whenever we can.

We have come together in a fractured world to form a community whose only purpose is to do good in a time when doing good seems strangely out of fashion, and where mercy cries out for a place in our lives.

Mercy lives in the Army Of Good.I love how we use technology to do good rather than to argue. I sometimes think of all the good that big Twitter account in Washington could do it if was devoted to helping people, just one every day.

I had no idea this soap and shampoo stuff was a monthly problem for so many people there, their monthly allowances are small and sometimes, they run out of their medicines before the end of the month. They don't usually tell anyone, they simply do without for a few days or weeks.

I am amazed at all of this soap, shampoo and body wash – good stuff – that arrived in so short a time. The residents should have their soap, body wash and shampoo for months to come, and I will keep an eye on it.

The Mansion staff was incredulous, and also very happy to be able to distribute these essential items. This is a human dignity issue and whenever I need to feel good and  hopeful about the world, I will go down into the basement and open up this cabinet. Many thanks, the Army of Good is sporting a halo tonight.

Other good things were happening at the Mansion today. Their cat Summer was spayed and in residence. Connie is healing up. Two staffers went to Wal-Mart to spend $100 on the residents who had no money to buy new clothes or shoes ( no need to send clothes, thanks, or shoes). Tonight, they have their new clothes and shoes (all paid for).

I ordered an overbed table for Jane, so she can paint in her wheelchair.  The table cost $149, people can donate by sending a check to P.O.Box 205. Cambridge, N.Y., 12816 or via Paypal Friends and Family, jon@bedlamfarm.com. If you send money, please mark it for the Mansion or the Overbed for Jane.

And everybody in the Mansion has soap and shampoo for some months to come.

What a sweet day. Gus and Red both came with me today, Gus is close (a few weeks) to doing regular therapy work.

I have an updated list of residents, for those who wish to write them at this address: 11 S. Mansion Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Jean, Ellen, Mary, Gerry, Sylvie, Jane, Diane, Alice, Jean, Madeline, Joan, Allan, William, John K., Helen, Connie, Robert, Shirley, Alanna, Charlotte, Barbara, Peggie, Dorothy, Art, John R., Brenda, Bruce, John Z.

Art appreciates corresponding with people of faith, or people interested in spirituality. Connie could use some paperback mysteries.

May a million cherubs swoop down from the sky to kiss your cheeks and shower you with blessings.

Posted in General

Gus, Red, Dognapped By The Mansion Staff


I barely made it through the front door today when the Mansion staff came out of their offices and snatched both of my therapy dogs. Mandi and Morgan grabbed Gus and loved him to death on the stairs, and Monique grabbed Red, hugged and petted and brushed him.

They told me to go do something,  there was no way they were giving up the dogs, and I did, I visited some of the residents without any dog (somehow, they were not as thrilled to see me as they are when Red or Gus are with me) and then pried Red away, they took Gus upstairs and he disappeared.

I had to stand at the staircase and bellow before they gave up Gus. They do love dogs there, for sure. I got yelled at by the residents for not having Red with me. Sometimes, I do wish I was a dog, but barring that, I am so lucky to have dogs that people love. That is the point of them.

Next time, I'll just charge through the door and run down the hallway.

Posted in General

At The Mansion, Summer Is Healing. She Has A Home And A Happy Ending

Summer Has A Permanent Home

Summer the former stay was spayed yesterday (thanks to the Army Of Good) and has all of her shots, she has a spot under a desk in the Mansion office, she is recovering nicely. She was a bit out of it today. Summer has a permanent home at the Mansion, she has all of her shots and clearances and everyone at the Mansion has agreed to keep her.

She spends her days on the porch (there is a lovely small house for her with food and water bowls that are always filled) and roaming the beautiful grounds of the Mansion. At night, she comes inside and chooses a different room to sleep in almost every night.

Summer is very happy, and Summer is very lucky.  And much loved and cosseted. She and Red studiously ignore one another, Red is not a dog for making trouble.

Posted in General

Connie Is Out Of Paperback Mysteries

Out Of Mysteries

Connie is doing well, healing quickly, walking several times a day, studying patterns for a return to knitting. She rarely, if ever, asks for anything, but when I asked her today if she needs anything (she was cuddling with Gus and Red) she said she was running out of mysteries. I asked  her what kind of mysteries, and she said any kind of mysteries.

She prefers paperbacks because they take up less of her space, which is jammed with baskets of donated yarn. If you have any used paperback mysteries, she would appreciate getting them, you can mail her c/o Connie, The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Connie is a voracious reader of mysteries, she devours them.

Posted in General

Parable. I Came Across This Foot Today

I Love This Foot

I was taking Gus out to the backyard with Red and Fate to run the dogs a bit – with border collies, this is good to do two or three times a day. I stopped short, and nearly held my breath when I looked down, I saw this foot. It was a beautiful foot.

I know this foot, I said, I love this foot. This is a worthy foot, deserving of massage and admiration and the best sneakers and shoes. In movie theaters, I often rub this foot, it is special to me.
This is Maria's foot, I would know it anywhere, it is a beautiful foot, a natural work of art. Look at the arch, the lines, the toes.

It is a graceful foot. My wife is a woods fairy, really, she walks around barefoot for most of the year, except in bitter cold and snow, I have no doubt she would walk around naked if she could, and it would be okay with me.

I stopped to admire this wonderful foot, this thing of grace, and wondered why it was out there, she must have been walking on the wet grass and then walked on the slate stones on the way to her studio.

I knew I had to take a photo of this foot. I love this foot, I came across it today.

And what a pleasant surprise to come across in like that, right in the middle of the day.

Posted in General