About Charlie Hudson

Off with my combat boots and onto writing best describes Charlie my two careers. Born in Pine Bluff, Ark., and raised in Louisiana, I count myself as a military veteran, wife, mother, freelance writer, and author. What was intended to be a quick two years in the Army became a 22-year career instead, and somehow in the process, I discovered that I was an inadvertent pioneer by serving in several positions that had previously been held only by men. By the time I was in Desert Storm and later Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, women in leadership assignments was more widely accepted. My love of writing never left me though whether it is a short article that highlights an animal rescue group, penning the stories of a female police detective in the Florida Keys, or presenting issues about aging that Baby Boomers need to address, or working on a corporate proposal. When my husband, Hugh, also retired from the Army, we relocated to South Florida where we can both enjoy the underwater world in dive sites all around Key Largo. We do break away though to still travel, and especially visit the Washington, D.C. area where son Dustin is a professional dancer and lives with his wife, Samantha.

Supporting Local Restaurants…..

I don’t intend to get into politics. We are as is being said, in “uncharted waters” (or whatever term you prefer), yet some of the restrictions set out are simply not sustainable. As more hard data becomes available rather than mostly modeling, decisions as to focused solutions will hopefully come about in the next week or two.

In the meantime, small businesses considered non-essential will see some financial assistance with passage of the economic bill yesterday. Help will not be immediate of course, which goes back to the point of the mantra of having three-to-six months of savings set aside to carry one through emergencies. Many, of course, do not have that various reasons.

In the case of a barber shop being closed, there’s nothing we can do to help them. With our local restaurants, we can, and are doing carry-out to reflect at least the same rate as we usually do, and a little more. Less than two weeks ago, when I had one of those lunch out five days in a row in addition to the standing Wed and Fri Happy Hours, Hubby joked about me having lunch out more than anyone he knew. In general though, I do have lunch out at least once and often twice a week, so there is no reason not to do that now. Fridays nights have always been pizza night for us and Hubby’s favorite is Papa Johns. Under the circumstances, he said we would use one of the family-owned places instead until they are all able to re-open for regular business. I was especially glad to see the governor here is allowing those restaurants with their liquor license to sell beer and wine to go. (The usual laws pertaining to it being bagged and no open containers in the vehicle still apply). After all, when we dine out, we always order a bottle of wine or beer. I am also glad we’re in a position to be able to do this for at least a while.

 

Juggling Like Everyone……

Parenting is rarely easy for people who live in the real world. Having been a single parent with no live-in help for almost six years, (age four months to just after son’s 6th birthday), I completely empathize with all parents trying to cope with the extended release from schools. Aside from so many families where both parents work which means one might have to take off, the work from home if possible comes with its own complications. Not every family can arrange dual office space to be productive plus have somewhere for the kids to be. As much as I applaud schools who are able to have distance learning, not every parent is equipped to help with it. These are the moments when the parent who chose to home school rather than go into the external workplace does have an advantage.

We are about three generations removed from when stay-at-home moms was the norm and there were only  three TV channels – four if you happened to be somewhere with PBS – so  kids in general weren’t routinely entertained by TV and of course there were no computers at the time. Going back to doing things the old-fashioned way has some good points, but it’s definitely an adjustment for those who don’t have much, if any, experience in what that means. On the other hand, families that do have plenty of electronics can access a variety of virtual “travel” and other tools they might not otherwise “get around to”.

When I spoke to the kids yesterday, I did recommend they keep a journal. None of us knows how long this will go on and not only is it extreme disruption to so much routine, there may be long-term impacts we can’t anticipate. Recording one’s raw thoughts at this time could be valuable for later. Granddaughter is at the age where she is likely to remember little of what is happening and might want to know more about it when she gets older.

Other Crisis…….

Serious musings alert. There are many unknowns the first time any generation faces a crisis. For those of us of a certain age, the 1960s were when lots of parents/grandparents weren’t certain the country would survive. The Vietnam War brought protests to a scale they had not previously experienced. There were riots with huge swaths of cities ablaze, assassinations, the ever-present Cold War and nuclear arms build-up. If we took the time to listen to our grandparents, they told of struggles during the Great Depression and impact of World War II.

This means my generation might not have fully understood the 1960s, yet most of us were changed in different ways by immense cultural shifts that occurred. We entered then into  uncertainty of the 1970s which for a variety of reasons took us to a point of the period that became known as American Malaise; gas shortages, high inflation, and the terrible taking of the American Embassy in Iran where fifty-two were held hostage for more than a year. (The movie Argo in an excellent treatment of some who escaped initial capture and isn’t even too over-the-top). The era of President Ronald Reagan brought a remarkable time with a revived economy and an ultimate end to the Cold War. On the other hand, new dangers arose. Desert Storm also brought a much-needed boost to the U.S. military, which I won’t go into in this post.

For Generation X, (those not personally touched by Desert Storm), the horrors of 9/11 was the equivalent of our parents/grandparents’ Pearl Harbor and their first impact of a world-changing event. There have of course been regional natural disasters of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., tens of thousands have been through.

For Millennials and Generation Z, the Corona Virus pandemic may, however, be their first major-scale crisis. Perspective is important. Let us hope the current turmoil ends soon, but also work with our younger generations to assure them we have dealt with crisis before.

A New Experience For Sure…..

The advantage of modern medicine compared to the 1918 Influenza (Spanish Flu) pandemic which lasted two years, is treatments are being worked as is a vaccine. While I completely agree with fast-tracking, that is a relative term. The expression, “the cure was worse than the disease”, exists for a reason. Despite wanting to get something out and available, adverse side effects must be avoided.

Setting aside the medical aspects, the economic impact is going to be far-reaching and difficult for so many. Even though disaster funds have always been part of a recovery, they are very much after the fact and generally bogged down in red tape. How someone manages with no pay for perhaps as much as eight weeks is especially unsettling. Then there will be the inevitable scams that arise in similar situations and of course we’ve already seen the absurd hoarding aspect.

With all that said, for every kindness and consideration that is being shown, I hope we spread those stories. Who hasn’t teared up at the clips of Italians opening their windows and doors to share the beauty of opera within the neighborhoods? Even if we can’t be creative like that, let us keep an eye out for good ideas others are coming up with and support them either with action if practical or by letting people know about them. I’ll be talking to the kids today about their situation. Living in a 1,000 (basically) square foot condo with an active five-year-old will be challenging. They do have the advantage of their weather entering true spring and lots of nearby outdoor areas. Since they both work for businesses that have been shut down for at least a few weeks, they will have plenty of family time. I suspect trading off so each parent can have a little “me time” might turn out to be just as important.

About The Latest Gap….

Ah, the ripple effect of things. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I’m involved in a lot of community work between writing for the local paper and other. Let us just say the past few days has been a bit of a scramble with the impact of rescheduling and trying to decide about rescheduling events. There was also a personal situation (nothing bad) we had to deal with that became more complicated than necessary. It all worked out, but took extra effort to do so. In other words, I have fallen behind with a post. While neither Hubby nor I have any health issues to make us vulnerable to the situation, we do of course sympathize with those who do. Like most people, we hope things stabilize as soon as possible. When that will be is of course unknown at this point.

Our trip to see the kids in the D.C. area will have to be rescheduled and we’re waiting to hear if the proposed June date for the performance is a “go”. That will actually work better for us than a possible May one, but we’ll adjust to whatever. The April scuba gathering has been cancelled and I haven’t checked yet to see what the refund situation is as trying to plan for something in 2021 tends to be a little out of my usual time horizon.

Aside from the health impact, I feel the most keenly for the economic hit, not on the stock market as that always eventually recovers. Employees suddenly out of work is a different matter. Even with the government stepping in to help, that is never a quick process. Plus, disaster funds are available, but in general, only certain parts of the country will be affected for any given disaster. This obviously has a much wider impact. We shall all have to see how this plays out.

Truth and Belief…..

Serious musing alert. I can’t begin to count the number of “King Arthur” movies that have been made. My favorite continues to be “Excalibur” with by the way, a young Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, and a little known Liam Nessom. Setting that aside, there are multiple passages about the importance of truth. In the beginning Uthur Pendragon persuades Merlin to deceive Igraine after he has killed her husband the king. In exchange, Merlin takes the infant Arthur. As Uthur rages against the bargain he made, Merlin tells him he is not “the one”, as his betrayal of others have left him untrustworthy and indeed Uthur is killed in revenge in the next scene. Fast forward years when Arthur draws the sword Excalibur from the stone. Some of the same men who killed Uthur refuse to accept him and challenge Patrick Stewart’s character to join them. “I saw what I saw,” he says. “The boy drew the sword. If a boy has been chosen, the boy is the king.” In later scenes, Merlin is either cryptic or plain spoken about why truth is important. “When truth dies, so does part of man,” (or something like that) is one comment.

The point to this post is how often we say, “truth” when it is often instead perception/perspective or belief. I’ve discussed this subject before and what brings it to mind now is the on-going divisiveness in so much of our societies about so very many topics. As I have also previously mentioned, if one makes decisions based on that, convincing someone their “truth” is in actuality their belief and perhaps not “true” in the larger sense is not likely to occur. This is not quite the same as “cognitive dissonance” which involves holding conflicting beliefs (sure, smoking can cause cancer, but that won’t happen to me). There are often times when a situation occurs and the truth may never be known. Two or more people are involved in an incident where there is no visual or audio record of what was done or said. The “he said, she said” is all that is available and thus belief comes into play if choice must be made about which version to accept. Most of us have a tendency to want to trust our own judgement and are reluctant to admit otherwise. In fact, the great Carl Sagan once wrote (although I don’t know the exact source) “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.  We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.  The bamboozle has captured us.  It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken.”

 

 

Invasive or Adapted Species…..

One of my cousins lives in Texas and she and her husband go on a cruise about every year. They sometimes leave out of Fort Lauderdale and will usually spend the night there before flying out the next morning. Since they dock in the morning, I try to go up and have  lunch and a catch-up talk. Back when we set this up for yesterday, my calendar wasn’t nearly as jammed as it turned out to be. Anyway, I went up and couldn’t spend as long as before, but we did get about 2.5 hours together. They were on what I think is referred to as the Western Caribbean itinerary and no, they weren’t concerned about germs. They did say there was plenty of had sanitizers available on the ship. I’m going blank on which cruise line although it was one of the smaller ships. That’s a relative term since at a 2,500 capacity, I know numerous towns with a smaller population.

At some point we were talking about invasive species we have like the terrible python above ground and the destructive lionfish underwater. That led to wondering about iguanas which as it turns out are not native to Florida. They have adapted well though and aren’t really considered “invasive” in the sense of being harmful. Well, except when they get into chomping up favorite plants and things like that. My cousins mentioned monkeys on St Kitts. Again, they were originally brought to the island and now flourish with the same kind of issue if how much food they consume begins to impact farmers. The brown tree snake was something guarded against in Hawaii as it decimates bird populations when it takes hold. That was a case where they were able to train dogs to detect them around ships and airports which were the most likely points of entrance.

Plants are the same as with some species that adapt to a new environment while adding benefit rather than harm. Many Asian fruits are now being grown here such as dragon fruit which so far seems to welcome.

Cosmetics and Me…..

First, I apologize to everyone who makes a living in the cosmetic industry since I contribute very little to their financial stability. I was not always this way of course. For those who are of an age and grew up in the Deep South, one would no more consider leaving the house without make-up than one who go out with their hair in curlers. (Not sure how many other regions that applied to). There were certain religious groups that prohibited cosmetics, cutting hair, etc.,.but of all the restrictions in being raised Southern Baptist, those were not among them. As an aside, I worked when I was in college, mostly at the local Rexall drugstore behind the fountain. The senior sales lady (lovely woman) told me and the younger sales lady that if we never did anything else, to be sure and start using moisturizer. With my budget, that was Noxzema for a long time, but I was faithful in application.

I have mentioned before when I entered the Army, it was as the Women’s Army Corps was being phased out. As WACs, 90%-plus served in administrative positions (Nurses were in the Army Nurse Corps) and make-up was expected – understated of course – only pale pink and beige nail polish. Once we were transferred into the mainstream Army though, and in my case being in the field of maintenance, make-up on the job became sort of a hassle, especially when we had Physical Fitness Training (PT) early three mornings a week. Make-up is not practical for warm-up exercises, then a run. So, three days a week would mean carrying the stuff with me, applying it after showering and then depending on what I was doing, I was outside or in an office with no air conditioning most of the day. Not to mention also wearing camouflage. Applying only moisturizer and lip balm was a lot easier. By the time I went back into more administrative jobs (switched back and forth for many years), it had just become a habit not to bother with it.

Yes, I do keep a few basics on hand for when I have to have a new head shot done, but that isn’t often. Now, in all fairness, every time I have a candid photo put on Facebook, I do see how “stark” I look compared to those who are more inclined to make the effort. Then again, I think about how much time I save and decide it’s a better choice for me.

 

Stirring More Memories…..

I did an interview last month for the first time in a while. It’s a niche magazine someone referred me to. (http://voyagemia.com/interview/meet-charlie-charlotte-hudson-charlie-hudson-writes-homestead/?fbclid=IwAR1wsIV1PChdlwrK9DzTU61B5f8KBczTM6zlfwnnGAlrCzXxtO89jR9YQTI)

Yes, I know it’s a long link, but I didn’t do a  shortcut. Anyway, they had a couple of interesting questions about did good luck play a part in my careers and did I encounter bad luck? As I said to them, I think everyone has a mix of both. (I won’t go into the tragedy part most of us face at some point or the other). As I have posted before, the path I wound up on in the Army was certainly not one I expected. Had I not been the first female officer assigned to my unit in Germany, I would not have been placed in the position that I was; a position that then led to other “female firsts”. For a time, I thought I wasn’t performing to the level I should have been and come to find out, I was beating everyone’s expectations. To be clear that was, “Yes, she makes a lot of mistakes, but never the same one twice.” It wasn’t that I had been put into the higher level position in order to “try” me; it was they simply weren’t sure what to do with me. The lessons I learned there provided a stronger foundation for what I would go on to do later. On the “bad luck” side, in my very next assignment, I was once again placed in a difficult position and three of my four senior officers were quite frankly enough to cause me to want to resign as soon as my service obligation was over. My direct boss was fortunately the exception. Within about four months though, the other three left in the normal way these things happen and all three that came in were the opposite side of the coin. While one was a bit of a screamer, I was used to that. They were all the kind of officers one could look up to and learn from.

A Week of Back to Backs….

This is one of those weeks when I won’t say scheduling got away from me, but not everything was on the calendar at the time we set up an artist reception for tonight. That will of course be followed by dinner with friends. Yes, the afternoon meeting for tomorrow was also on the schedule. What wasn’t was the short event last evening and the dinner, then Celtic Group performance at the theatre tomorrow night and attending the City Eco Fair Saturday afternoon. Granted, the performance and the Eco Fair were on someone’s calendar; I just didn’t realize we would be adding them to ours.

Both things will be enjoyable; having them all run so close together is not my preference though. The first week of March and the first week of April will be similar. Sigh! This is what happens when one is involved with multiple groups. Everyone has their own events and if one wishes to have individuals from Group X support one we are involved with, it is only reasonable for that group to expect us to then support their event. A high degree of mathematical ability is not required to figure how quickly it adds up. Throw in the events to cover for the newspaper and the count increases. At least for me this week it was only one. Hubby just got tagged though to do an extra photo shoot tomorrow which of course now means we have to juggle transportation to keep from winding up with having two cars at the theatre. It’s manageable, although inconvenient. There is also the matter of me wearing my theatre clothes to the meeting tomorrow afternoon as I won’t be coming home in between events and I don’t wish to carry a change of clothes. Ah well, at this point there is certainly no way we find ourselves running the risk of getting bored.