Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for December, 2006

New Year’s Eve And To resolve or not to resolve

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Years ago, I gave up on New Year’s resolutions.  They just aren’t me.  Within two weeks,  the list of broken resolutions is much longer than the ones still resolved.  So several years ago, I decided that I would find two pieces of prose or poetry to use each and every day for the next year to help me become as Tim calls it a more highly evolved organism. So this year on my way to self-actualization I have decided to share with you the poem and essay I have chosen.  I believe that if I read these pieces periodically and keep them in my consciousness there is no way that 2007 won’t be a stellar year.  The first piece was sent to me in a Christmas card by a dear friend. She didn’t know the source of the poem.   She said that it is often attributed to Mother Theresa. In a google search of this first stanza “people ar often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway, I found that Words of Wisdom was written by Hindi poet, Om Vashishth. Go here, to read the entire poem.  Interestingly, the last stanza which is the most potent was left off of my friend’s version.  Things are often between us and God.

The second piece that I am going to read and reread this year is Dr. Martin Luther King’s essay  The World House.  Throughout 2006, I have had several people that I admire and believe in their counsel refer to this essay when we have had conversations.  Obviously, I didn’t choose it, it has chosen me.  I cannot think of a better way to end war then to negotiate from a position of peace.  And his thoughts on how to end poverty should be the action plan for all of us who want to make the world a better place.

So there is one resolution that I have this year and that is to live each day like it is the last one I have.  And if that is so I need to make sure that I thank my friends and family for being a part of my life, to share my thoughts and ideas with them, and to make sure that they know that I love and appreciate them.

Happy New Year to all of my friends and family!

Here’s to a prosperous 2007.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 31st, 2006 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Cleveland

Christmas Eve

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Many Christmas Eves ago, in fact, more than I care to admit I, along with my friend Susie, was chosen to play a duet for the Christmas Eve Pageant at our church. I was only seven, and so was she. We were the youngest choir members ever chosen to play the xylophone duet of “Silent Night” to end  the yearly candlight service. 

At dress rehearsal, the choir director handed out Angel wings and white robes as well as all of the other costumes to the participants.  Susie and I received angel wings,  but no robes.  We looked at each other until Susie summoned the courage to ask for our robes.  Mrs. Berry in her usual brusque manner said that there weren’t enough robes to go around, and we could wear white dresses with the wings. It would be okay because we were separate from the rest of the choir of angels.  Susie had a white dress, so she quickly said okay and walked out the door.

I wasn’t so lucky.  That year had been an incredibly hard year for the Shearer family. My dad had only had three days a week of work that fall, and there was talk of a strike if something didn’t come together soon.  Farming was never a great money maker on a small farm like we had, so I had no idea where I would find the money for the fabric to make a white dress in two days or if my grandmother could even make it in that time frame.  As it turned out, I didn’t have a chance.  My grandmother had made me a beautiful pale peach dress for Easter that year, and she and my mother decided that if she embellished the angel’s wings, I would look just beautiful as an angel.  My words of protest meant nothing to the two women because they thought they had solved the problem.  They didn’t know Mrs. Berry the way I knew Mrs. Berry.  She was a great choir director, but when she said something she meant for you to follow the instructions.

Chrismas Eve I trudged my way to church dressed in my peach dress embellished with enhanced angel wings and a xylophone under my arm sure that Mrs. Berry would go ballistic at what my grandmother had done to the angel’s wings.  We never got that far. Instead, the peach dress was entirely unacceptable attire for an angelic choir.  She told me in no uncertain terms that angels wear white, and what in the world was I doing in a peach dress.  My question to her was “How do you know angels wear only white?”  She asked me in a very firm tone “What did you say, Miss Shearer?”  I repeated the question giving her enough time for her to think of a rejoinder.  With her usual way with words, she simply said that they just did.  I said,  “Are you sure because I’m not so sure.  I believe that not all of God’s children are white so why should all of his angels wear white?  Her eyes widened, she sputtered, she hemmed and she hawed and shouted “Places everyone.  You too Miss Shearer but try to stay out of the spotlight.  Let Susie take the lead, and you play the  second  part. 

I was happy I was still playing the duet, but Susie would have none of it.  She said that it was me who knew our cues, not her. All she did was follow me.  I had to remain the lead.  I was sure that I would never sing another note in the choir but we certainly didn’t have time to argue.  So, the finale went on as practiced, and we received great applause.  After the pageant, there was a small reception in the church hall and Susie and I received a lot of praise and good wishes for our performance.  I thought that I should make peace with Mrs. Berry since it was Christmas Eve.  So I went up to her and asked her if I could speak to her for a few minutes.  I apoligized for being cheeky, but my parents just didn’t have the money to buy me a white dress and I so wanted to play in the pageant that I didn’t have the nerve to call her and tell her that I couldn’t be an angel because I had nothing white to wear.

Just then, my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Dye arrived on the scene hearing my words about angels wearing white.  I will never forget her words that night because this is what she said to me ” Why, honey, whoever told you that angels only wear white.  They wear every color of the rainbow and even colors that we humans can’t even imagine.  Don’t ever limit yourself by thinking that things are always black and white.  How dull ife would be!  Angels wear only white, indeed!  After she walked away, Mrs. Berry looked down at me, smiled and said,  I think next year we will have angels wearing all the colors of the rainbow, what do you think?

What do I think? I know that God’s angels wear more than white and I know that they walk among us and come to us when they are most needed.  Mrs. Dye was my angel that night.  Fifty years later,  I still believe that angels are there for us when we most need them.  And if we followed those prophetic words they sang Peace on Earth Goodwill toward Men what a better place this world would be.

Merry Christmas!   

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 24th, 2006 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Cleveland

Fond Memories of Favorite Christmas Movies

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Last night at the blogger meetup at The Town Fryer, the conversation turned to our favorite movies and shows that we just couldn’t miss watching during the holiday season and whether the necessity of this act would be considered a tradition or a ritual.  For some reason last night, I listened to the conversation, but didn’t offer much of an opinion.  Maybe because when I watch my favorite movie, I consider it more of a memory or reminiscence of a time long past.  For years, my favorite movie was White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Allen.  This movie was released in 1954 and it was the first movie that my parents took me to see.  I was four years old and I loved every moment of it.  I wanted a red velvet dress and a white muff just like the women in the movie.  I wanted a sleigh ride with bells and snow and songs and laughter and all the trimmings of that movie.  I still remember the feeling of looking up at that screen with the actors bigger than life.  I remember my father singing the songs on the way home with my mother prompting him when he was stuck on the words.  A great memory probably a bit polished after all these years, but when I sit down with my cup of cocoa to watch that movie all of those warm, fuzzy feelings will be right there with me. 

And then in 1983, a new movie came into my life, A Christmas Story. This was the year that Tim and Maureen (Mo) entered my life and in fact, watching that movie together was probably one of our first “official” dates.  There we were sitting in a darkened movie house with Maureen between us laughing until tears ran down our cheeks.  What person alive today who has Christmas memories can’t relate to at least one scene from this movie as being right out of one of their own Christmas childhood memories.  Now, when we all watch that movie together I remember that first Christmas season together, and that little girl with the beautiful smile telling her father that “Maybe, Dolores would like something to drink?” Tim never had a chance with the two women in his life having decided that we were all meant to be together.

And then in 1985, Katie entered the picture and  when she was two Christmas TV shows became our focus.  Mo’s favorite had always been Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, but Katie was having none of that.  When she came on the scene, Frosty the Snowman and How the Grinch Stole Christmas took center stage.  In fact, Katie named our dog Oatmeal because she heard it on Frosty the Snowman.  None of us knew that until years later long after the dog received her name.  Katie is our quiet one, never revealing herself until she is ready to do so.

And then came, It’s a Wonderful Life. Mo discovered it one Christmas and it became her focus for the holiday movie.  Katie moaned and groaned but always gave in if her sister promised to watch Christmas Vacation later.  So then there had to be egg nog for the first movie and Katie insisted on hot chocolate for the second movie, and we would settle down for a long winter’s night of movie watching.

So, tradition, ritual, I don’t know about that.  What I do know is that movies for me are about reminiscing and creating new memories each and every year.  So here’s to conversations and movie watching with family and friends and creating new and treasured Christmas memories to remember throughout your life and beyond. 

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 21st, 2006 at 1:24 pm

Burning River Brass + Pilgrim Congregational Church = WOW!

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Last night, my friend Christine and I attended our first Burning River Brass concert at the incredible Pilgrim Congregational Church.  I have been to other events at the church, but I am sad to say I had never attended a concert presented by Arts Renaissance Tremont until last night .  They have been offering this incredible music for sixteen years, and I haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity.  The acoustics and the space were a perfect meld with the ensemble.  One selection was better than the next! Visit BRB’s website to see the concert schedule.

Burning River Brass began its career right here in Cleveland at the church where they return each year to take part in an incredible event.  The place was filled with others there to hear the music and take part in a holiday celebration.  This brass ensemble started out as a group of friends who enjoyed playing their instruments, and now, is a nationally touring troupe.

If you missed the concert last night, you still have an opportunity to hear Burning River Brass because they are in town all week.   And you also have another opportunity to support another local agency that brings great music at an affordable price to our community–a freewill offering.  Become a member of  Arts Renaissance Tremont and  add it to your list of local organizations you supported this Christmas Season.  

Step back, take a deep breath and find the time to experience a Burning River concert.  It just might be the best present you give yourself this holiday season.   

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 19th, 2006 at 9:21 am

The City Mission, a Local Agency That Does a Lot of Good

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The City Mission is a local agency fueled by local participation.  This agency was born in Cleveland during the early 1900’s and has grown in capacity and scope, but to me, until a few weeks ago it was a relatively unknown quantity. George set up a tour and an interview at The City Mission; go here to listen to the interview.  We decided in hindsight that we should have recorded  the tour as well.  I am sure that it won’t be our last visit to a City Mission facility, so we will correct that the next time. 

Now here I am in the present thinking of this bible verse that I read this morning for the Third Sunday of Advent:

“The person who has two tunics is to share with those who have none.” Luke 3:11

And so, Tim and I will spend our afternoon culling our closets of the things that are more than we need so that we can deliver them to The City Misssion later.   They do not accept furniture and bulky items, but they do accept clothes for women, men, teenagers, children and infants as well as toiletries and baby necessities.

I felt that I should share my thoughts with you so that in this season of giving you would have the opportunity to add The City Mission to your list of charities.  Many of us make a resolution to support local businesses at Christmas, but we should probably add our support for local charities to that list.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 17th, 2006 at 11:12 am

Hopkins Airport has the opportunity to Market our Region to the World

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The question is, will it?

I received this email from my friend, Barbara Siss Oney early this morning.

Regional Businesses could deliver up to $6 million to Hopkins

A group of leading businesses across the region have come together to offer Hopkins a unique high-tech marketing solution for our community that has the potential to deliver up to $6 million annually to the airport.

To be considered, we had to submit a bid to the Ad-Sales Concession RFP. We know we cannot win that bid since, for example, we have not sold “advertising in airports for five years”. The airport has full controll over the decision process with no oversight from our public officials. At the same time, we have individuals in the decision-making process who only have knowledge of and experience with the “traditional” out of market ad-sales companies.

We are NOT asking that they forego contracting with one of the traditional ad-sales companies. Only hold out space for a community communication system that would help us promote everything NEO.

Hopkins is a city-owned facility. That means it belongs to the public, you and me. If you feel this has merit, we ask that you share your opinion with the airport, the city and your City Council Representative so the airport is able to make a well informed decision. Simply “Forward” this page and copy in the emails below.You should be able to add your comments to the top of the forwarded document.

Thank you.

Harvey Hopson, Concessions Manager:

Ricky D. Smith, Director of Port Control:

Mark Hogan, Chief of Business Management:

Robert Evans, Chief of Capital Programs:

Ricky Smith reports directly to Mayor Jackson:

Go here to find your City Council Representative:

It appears that we in Cleveland again have a unique opportunity to change the face of advertising in airports. Right now, the model used focuses on nationally and internationally entities for the bulk of the advertising with an attitude of what’s left over is what is offered to regional companies and what is used for marketing the region.The Digital Airport Initiative would offer an alternative to the typical way of advertising.

The Digial Airport Initiative has a vision of using the advertising opportunities at the Airport to promote or region as a destination for people and businesses. Given the vast number of travellers that pass through our airport, the possibilities are almost mind-boggling. The use of interactive advertising devices will promote our region as being on the cutting edge of the 21st century.

Timing is critical to promote this initiative of being worthy of consideration for the dollars now being appropriated. The Request For Proposal chosen will be in place for the next TEN YEARS! Yes, ladies and gentlemen the winner of the competition oversees advertising and the revenues from it for the next decade. As DAI suggests, why not carve out a place for a regional company that can market our region effectively to the thousands of people who walk through our airport every day? Right now, a international company from France holds the contract and for all intents and purposes seems to be the frontrunner for this time as well due to their stature and ability to negotiate good prices with the big hitters and the overreaching presence they have in our other national airports.

But, why not carve out a piece of the pie to a regional group of businesses who have a vested interest in promoting our region as a destination for living, working, and prospering? If you too agree that we face a time of great opportunity at the airport for marketing and advertising, contact the people suggested in the email Barbara sent. Tell them that we are ready for Cleveland to drive the train rather than hopping on and being taken for a ride for ten years.

We need to take action now so that we can take advantage of an ooportunity that won’t come again for another ten years. Do we really have ten years to “wait and see”.

The following quote comes directly from the DAI wiki.

DAI delivers to the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport a powerful regional voice that it could not institute, manage or afford on its own. It is a voice that only the region can provide, one that no outside entity can deliver. In the final analysis, DAI will provide an important tool to our region for the area’s on-going economic growth and prosperity. This revenue-generating solution provides a win-win-win for the airport, the city and the region.

Go Here to learn more:

 So, Clevelanders, what do we want– “white bread” advertising at our airport, or do we want our airport to represent our rich ethnic heritage? The decision is ours no matter what the implication of more behind the scenes negotiating might suggest. If we each do our small part, the collective wisdom of those parts cannot be denied.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 11th, 2006 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Cleveland

Is Scott Wolstein the pot calling the kettle black?

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Today in the Plain Dealer I read an editorial by Joe Frolik that indicated that Scott Wolstein said that a new convention center for downtown Cleveland should be rethought because it isn’t a matter of “build it and they will come” like the movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. I have paraphrased the quote but go here to read the entire column.

The following commentary is my own opinion and in no way reflects the opinion of the rest of my family concerning the movie Field of Dreams. About Scott Wolstein, I didn’t ask them because my daughters would probably say Scott who? and my husband would agree with me.  But Mr. Wolstein’s comment to Mr. Frolik made me reflect on a movie that I have no qualms in telling anyone I HATED!  Kevin Costner is not a favorite actor of mine and I usually avoid his movies, but my husband and daughters LOVE this movie.  So periodically I am subjected to it, just like I am often subjected to quotes by business leaders that seem to make little if any sense.

I say this about the “build it and they will come” comment concerning the building of a new convention center downtown because, although I agree with it on the surface concerning this push for a convention center, I found it incredibly ironic that Mr. Wolstein said it.  He is the man pushing for a multi-million soccer/retail complex in the Northfield/Macedonia area that would be massively subsidized by public dollars.  Redhorse at Psychobilly Democrat did a good job of disseminating the projected revenues derived from over 1 million visitors a year.  Read the post here.

But when I reflected on the movie vs. reality, there was one glaring difference– Ray Kinsella’s family faced bankruptcy and loss of their farm if his dream of a baseball field on the back forty didn’t come true. No such possibility  for either the convention center or the Northfield/Macedonia soccer/retail lifestyle center due to the heavily public-subsidized dollars that would be included in the ventures.  If only, reality was more like the movies.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 10th, 2006 at 9:03 pm

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

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Today the holiday season officially started in the Ferris household.  We attended our friend’s Holiday Open House.  She holds it the first Saturday of December each year, and I use it as my offical start to the Christmas season.  She or her roommate graciously greet each guest and are sure to introduce them to people as they walk through their home with the new arrivals. It just really feels me with the Christmas Spirit to see such joy and goodwill on the faces and in the actions of these two wonderful people.

Besides, the incredible food her friends and she provide she usually serves up a very unique punch as well as great coffee. But, the piece de resistance  is her list of words.  She is a citation reader for John Wylie and Son who own Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Each year since 1991 and maybe as early as 1989 she has compiled a list of her favorite words.  Over the years, she has had slang, foreign ,and new words that have been added to the English language on her list.  This year the word that caught people’s eye was “politocracy”. It actually made the list a few years ago, but many people had the hope that we had not replaced one “politicracy” with another.   Having talked to many of our newly elected officials, I am fairly certain we haven’t, but as I have said before, it is our obligation as citizens to make sure that it doesn’t become one.  This year’s list was rather short and had more foreign words than usual. Is this an indication that we are becoming a more global community?  Is the world truly becoming flatter? And, for the life of me I can’t remember one word.  It must have been that last glass of “unique” punch.

So, I know that Timothy Ferris will be so excited tomorrow when I want to decorate for the holidays.  He will have a huge list of other things that we should be doing, but he can do that, and I will mull over how to make the house look festive. After all, life is all about compromise.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 2nd, 2006 at 9:41 pm