Elaine Carlson will provide weekly columns to the Beat.

Swedish and Italian – A Great Combination?

A Short Story by Elaine Carlson

"Can we assume this will be another Ponzi Scheme?"

"Yes you can," I say. "And I am glad you and Greg are coming."

I had that conversation two weeks ago. Why, oh why, did I ever think it would be a good idea to look into our family's history?

It is difficult for me to keep my cool when someone (actually everybody in our family) says something they think is absolutely hilarious. These statements started when I announced that my mother's great-great grandmother was a Ponzi. . ..

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A Writer's Prompt?

By Elaine Carlson

The novel looks interesting – it opens with a woman attorney relaxing in front of a pool. Soon she will go on trial for charges of murdering her husband and desecrating his corpse. I hope as well as being an attorney she has a good attorney.

It is logical to think that if as alleged she hated her husband enough to kill him she could have thought mistreating his body after he is dead would be a wonderful thing to do.

I suspect the prosecution filed that desecration charge to pave the way for plea bargaining.

Also they could be trying to be prepared if their case for murder falls apart. If they have some, but not overwhelming, proof she is guilty of First Degree Murder they would be glad to be able to "at least get her on something."

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"Love Welled Up In Us"

"Love Welled Up In Us"
A Book Review by Elaine Carlson

The Deputy Sheriff Louis Stolz had a mission and was all set to go to the Kalalau Valley on the island of Kaua'l in Hawaii.

Before he set out, Stolz scribbled a note to William O. Smith, the president of the board of health."I will hurry up things as fast as possible," Stolz wrote, "and report progress as it occurs."

Smith received no reports. By midnight the next day Louis Stolz was dead [The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai, by John Tayman, 2006 Scribner, page 12].

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The Challenges of Being Heard

A Memoir by Elaine Carlson

"Don't be so irresponsible," he said. "You could die."

I was jolted out of my quiet reserve while exercising when I heard Arthur scolding his friend Carl.

"I know you are old but still," he said. "I am sure you would like to add at least several more years to your life."

Quickly I could see Carl just sitting there doing nothing so I knew he had stopped doing what his friend was concerned could kill him.

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Pursuing Family History

A Short Story by Elaine Carlson

 "So you learned one of our ancestors survived the Black Plague," Tony says. "That's not as remarkable as you seem to think. The fatalities from the Bubonic Plague were never one hundred percent."

"Well if that ancestor had died," I say. "A hundred percent in his village would have died."

"And we wouldn't be here," he says. "Do we really gain anything by knowing about him?"

He started to laugh. Tony is my brother and I almost can't stand him. Three months ago I started to do genealogy research. Right away he told me I will be wasting my time "looking into all that stuff."

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A Memorable Medical Office Visit

By Elaine Carlson

"Thanks for coming to [name of the medical practice] today for your office visit."

I got that message two days after my appointment. I look further and see their question, "How likely is it you would recommend us to a family member or a friend?"

I almost laughed. I sure had an "I can't believe they sent this" experience.

I was a little self-conscious as I signed in at 1:37 PM because my appointment was for 1:30 PM. I tried to reassure myself that I wasn't all that late. I went to the waiting room.

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Getting Some Protection

Reflections by Elaine Carlson

Recently I got my second Covid 19 Booster. I booked my appointment on the NM Department of Health website. They let me decide when I would get the shot (I choose 2:30 PM on a Friday) but not where I would go. They sent me to HMS (Hidalgo Medical Services).

When I got off the bus I realized there were big buildings on both sides of the street. HMS certainly looked like a medical center you could expect to see in Los Angeles or Chicago. Or maybe in Albuquerque or Las Cruces. But what is it doing here in Silver City?

I went through the big door on the corner and I was happy to learn I was at the right entrance. I was also happy the NM DOH assigned me to HMS. They were very good to me. As soon as their employee called out my name and told me to go to Room 135 she and others saw I was disabled.

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"What Do You Call A ….? "

By Elaine Carlson 

"A male fox is called a dog ["Foxy Facts, Gaspard the Fox]" And "... a female fox is a vixen, 

"but there is no equivalent term for a female goldfish [Bryan A. Garner, "Grammar and Usage," The Chicago Manual of Style, 5-11 pg 51]."

Garner suggests there is a way to compensate for that lack of an "equivalent term." He tells his readers, "If gender is to be indicated, descriptive adjectives such as male and female may be needed if there is no gender-specific term."

I don't care that there is not a term for a female goldfish. What I really would like to know is how to refer to a female cat. I think everybody (or at least the vast majority of people in the United States) knows the term for a female dog. But what is the "equivalent term" for a female cat?

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