Degrees of separation?

When I arrived at the gym this morning, the skyscaper buildings around the complex were shrouded in fog or low clouds.  I asked pool pal Gwen, who lives on the fifteenth floor  of one of the buildings if she could see the ground from her condo.  She said no, and not only that, she couldn’t see the lights across the way in another building. It’s eerie, she shared, but it doesn’t bother me. I intend to hibernate with a book this afternoon.

Gwen, in her 80s and never married, is a former U. S. State Department employee who had an amazing career traveling the world as a single woman. (Think of Sigourney Weaver in the film, A Year of Living Dangerously.)

Most of the older women who belonged to the gym when I first joined have moved from their condos around the area and live in one of the retirement facilities nearby.  Some of them are quite gaga according to Karen our instructor who taught water aerobics at one of the facilities for a while.

Most of my former pool pals were wives of high ranking soldiers or State department officials, and most were or are widows. Karen is the former, the widow of a retired Navy guy who died with a brain tumor a couple of years ago. (Most of these husbands died in their sixties or early seventies.)

The main topic of discussion around the pool this morning concerned the 106-year old woman who danced with Mr. Obama this past week. One of the gals knows someone who knows someone who knows the older woman and apparently, the old gal who danced with Obama volunteers in several places, one of them a school. I suppose the moral of this vignette is, “It ain’t over till its over.”


Living in and around Washington DC for the past 56 years, I have met any number of famous or almost famous people as well as someone who knows someone. Like a small town, the tittle-tattle flies and you hear one thing or another which eventually makes news you will never read on social media.

I was reminded of this again when Brother Dunstan, our friend the Benedictine priest came to visit last Sunday.  With Kathy here, the conversation gravitated toward a discussion of the untimely death of Justice Scalia. We had all watched the Mass for the Dead, son Paul Scalia gracefully led at the Basilica last Saturday.  And, we had all cried through the beautiful service because

No man is an island, entire in himself,

Each is a part of the continent a piece of the main…

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…  ~John Donne

Brother D. told us he knew Paul Scalia and Kathy shared that she had met Justice Scalia many times because he loved and often attended the Tridentine Mass offered at a Catholic church here in Washington D.C. (The Tridentine Mass is the Roman Mass celebrated from 1570 until 1962).

Another indirect connection I had to Justice Scalia was though a friend whose son married one of Scalia’s daughters.


Kathy provided yet another example of how we are all connected in one way or another when she told us about the day she was having lunch in one of the fancy downtown restaurants and Donald Trump and his wife (at the time) had a loud fight in the vestibule.  Apparently the wife took off her very expensive wedding ring and threw it at ‘The Donald.’




31 thoughts on “Degrees of separation?

  1. I think it’s so true about the degrees of separation. It’s even smaller here in Hawaii. It seems we’re all connected in some way through relatives or high school classmates. This was very interesting, but I confess the bit about Trump was a gem.


  2. I think people worry too much about Trump. Even though I don’t think he could beat Hillary, it’s more about the old adage, “the office makes the man” (or woman). His bluster would cool down as he would have to worry more about the Republicans than the Democrats. They would not give him a free pass because of their inherent disdain for him. I honestly think Hillary is more likely to be militaristic than Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I for one think the next president will have to be more militaristic, not less. Walk tall and carry a big stick, said TR. Biden says O has a big stick, but one has to actually use it.

      Isolationism is not my style. I know first hand war is hell, well, maybe second hand, but have lived around military folks all my life, and know they are wonderful people and our first line of defense. Some people just don’t get that the best defense is often an offensive move. Putin knows this, sadly.

      And maybe Hillary can beat Trump, maybe not. Her fate rests in the hands of the FBI.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree wholeheartedly. I only made the point because there is so much talk about how he is unpredictable and likely to start something up. Hillary is more of likely to engage in something militarily to prove how tough a woman can be. Remember Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher. Both kickass leaders and I think Hillary is from that same mold. For that reason I would be OK with her as President.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, my daughter and granddaughters are voting for Rubio in the primary next week. If he doesn’t get the nomination they tell me they won’t vote for Hillary, and you know what that means…Trump. Looks like many youngsters feel the same way.

        I read that Trumps father immigrated from Germany, I think Prussia. Wonder if he inherited the militaristic gene?


  3. Interesting reflections here thinking about degrees of separation in people’s connections made through life. Guess people are people wherever they live, whatever their station in life, whether governmental figures or those public-crowned celebrities from other walks of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First, I don’t presume David still remembers us, but I shant forget him. I’m sorry he’s forgetting more, but I am glad he was reminded that he;s sober. Soon we both will have 32 years….but never catch up to David.


  5. What an interesting group of friends you have!
    I too was delighted by the 106-year-old woman who danced with the president. I can’t imagine living that long (72 now), much less dancing in the White House at that age.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The little 106 yr. old lady was just having a great time dancing with both the president and Michelle. I can’t imagine living that long or having that much energy. Bless her heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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