Thoughts on the War Against the Silent Enemy

Staying home, the six foot rule and hand washing are apparently causing viral doubling times to lengthen. Seattle looks better.

Vaccines are perhaps months away. Chloroquine seems a current hope to stem the tide. It is being provided by much of the pharma world. Hopefully controlled studies will demonstrate high efficacy while it is now used with high hopes. We know the drug’s risks from years of experience. l suspect at least 99 other meds or so worldwide are being tested. By the grace of God, perhaps one drug or a cocktail of drugs will prove highly effective.

These are uncertain times that we all hope will shorten. Thanks to the courageous front-liners and those in the rear who remain vigilant and careful. Please let us not profiteer or politicize this difficult worldwide crisis. This is about hanging together so that we will not “hang” separately.

Isolation and Connection, the Dichotomy in Our Crisis

My prayer for those of you who are over 60 and/or with underlying conditions, home-bound and alone, is that, you connect to new and old friends as well as family in this period of isolation. To that same population that is home with loved ones, let’s treasure each other. Let’s slow down. Let’s listen to one another. Let’s put others first. Let’s try to minimize our exposure to media reports of the essentials in our crisis.

To all of us, let’s listen or look carefully when we hear or see headline material, particularly for the qualifiers could or may. This is a period of uncertainty not certainty. We all need to learn to live with that uncertainty, now. Easier said than done.

There is no question this IS a crisis. There is no question in my mind we SHOULD take proper health precautions as defined by our leaders.

In the face of this uncertainty, may God bless and keep you, your family and dear friends through this continuing crisis. If you doubt his existence and demand living proof, ask yourself a question: Have I ever seen a friend or relative with a serious problem like addiction or impending divorce transformed and renewed by accepting that their Maker is in control?


No spectator sports. No beach. No audiences on late night talk shows. No infrequent hand washing.

We can write. I have a writers’ group that did meet at my house weekly. It still does “meet” but in cell-phonia. Cell-phonia, not cyberspace, because three of its six members are in their 80s. To me how they can write so delightfully is a wonder in itself. In my 80s I may well have a problem turning on my computer let alone learning about Zoom. Amongst the others, one member is 61, another is 78 and I am 74.

Life has a different flavor for us. Each day is even more valuable than it was pre-Covid-19. Our time together is precious. We have already lost one member months ago unrelated to the viral crisis.

We largely look back in our group, frequently to sweeter times. Not infrequently we harken back to heartbreak. Often it’s our years of travel that we ponder.

One member was an officer in Nam, a café owner in the Sierras and is a warm and amiable sort. His storytelling is right out of a fast-paced novel and his writing is sometimes pure, stand-up comedy. One American-born woman lived in Spain for years and loved bullfighting. She writes beautifully each week. When not doing our readings, we share the good times of our long lives. It’s a rare treat, particularly with such a diverse group.

May you be blessed in this time of crisis with meaningful connections to others helping to overcome the isolation of this worldwide tragedy.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

Americans Wired Differently

The US Congress for days has struggled with a massive bill of over one trillion dollars to help resolve the pandemic and economic crisis. They want to act timely and well, but they are wired differently.

Democrats and Republicans generally see the world through different lenses. The lenses can change over time in individuals, as both Reagan and Trump have demonstrated. They were both young Democrats.

However you slice the pie time is of the essence. In addition it needs to be thoughtful legislation. Compromise has been part of the process since our founding fathers. Adams and Jefferson made it clear civil conflict is part of the process of American democracy. Those two were fierce in their differences.

I think this will get done today because I believe at the core of these congressman is an understanding place where they each appreciate the demands of the present moment. May God bless their efforts.

Italy for the Artist Then and the Caregiver Now

It was about the turn of this century. My spouse, Kristine, and daughter, Courtney, a college junior, met in Florence, where Courtney was taking her junior year abroad. Kris flew a beautiful business class flight on BOAC because her younger brother was kind enough to gift her air miles. I have never flown first or business class in my life, but, was thrilled that she had such comfortable accommodations.

In Florence the beauty of the Renaissance was in full bloom. Kristine, a professional artist, was stunned by Michelangelo’s David. She thought the two profiles evoked two different sides of the great, Jewish monarch’s personality.

He of course was complex as his great triumphs and failure with Bathsheba revealed. But he was much loved by God as the inspired words of Scriptures reveals (Acts 13-22, King James Version) “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”

In Rome, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Kristine was astounded by the power of Michelangelo’s Pieta, the dead body of Jesus held in Mary’s lap. It was that eternal sculpture gracing the eternal city.

In those days without What’s App, etc. I basically tracked their progress by following our credit card debits online. Now so, so much has changed in these 20 years.

For the Italian people residing in that beautiful, historic land the Covid-19 is rampant. May the progress of that horrid virus be set in reverse via science, by the grace of God, in that ancient land and for all of humanity.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

Impactful Drama

Moviehouses are empty as I write this locked down in SoCal. It was 1962. I was seventeen and still searching for my own identity. I saw a film one of my life’s mentors highly recommended. He was my high school English teacher in my senior year, a WWII vet, a complete character and a man of enormous enthusiasm named Elvin Albaum. He said the film included extraordinary performances particularly by George C. Scott.

There I found myself in the darkness of the theater at least two or three times watching a black and white film about a pool hustler entitled The Hustler. It was about the maturing of a young pool hustler who learned the inordinate value of loving the right woman and how you earned your daily bread. It was all dramatically and powerfully portrayed.

I found the love of my life at 32 and my most meaningful work at 40. The compelling impact of that movie may well have set me on that path. With those critical steps behind me I then learned my most important lesson, the richness and depth of being loved by God.

An Antique Mandolin

On the wall of our living room by a large picture window hangs a well-crafted mandolin. It has a blond wood on the top surface and a variegated pattern of dark and light wood on the remainder of the instrument.

I can play it because it is an eight-stringed instrument equivalent to a four-stringed guitar. It’s melodies were first played by my spouse Krisitine’s paternal grandfather, who she never met.

He left Germany because of 19th century warfare as well as the peace and prosperity of the U.S. He also played a beautiful violin that hangs in our second floor hallway. I would love to learn it’s intricacies despite my arthritic thumbs.

Kris’ mom died in 2001 and her father in 2003. When our family went to Albany-Troy in about 2004 to bury Kris’ parents’ ashes in a family plot the clock seemed to move in reverse. We saw the rental property her great granddad maintained and a lot of turn of the 19th to 20th century architecture. It was a surreal journey into yesterday along the northern reaches of the Hudson River. A melody of that different time drifted through my mind, Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin.

Today, in this time of international crisis, it’s good to look at our relics and envision sunny days at the park’s gazebo as the band played on.

Enemy of the Eldery and Fragile

It is a sad time. It will pass but we are in the middle of a deeply troubling, worldwide conflict with an invisible enemy.

The enemy at its worst has a predilection for the elderly and disabled. It is aided and abetted by the dictatorial country of its origin that will not allow a thorough investigation by organizations like the CDC.

My prayer for our superb medical establishment is for their safety at the front lines and their creativity at the rear of the hand to hand combat. My prayer for each of you is that the Lord will bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you.

The Lighter Side of the Viral Crisis

Despite the nationwide run on toilet paper, Dr. Fauci assures us the paper is not a cure for Covid-19. Neither is it true that if you are in a line of six, awaiting the restroom on a commercial flight, that, the “small cave,” where it is hard to even turn around, will be squeaky clean.

If you are over 65 like me where the virus has a higher fatality rate, think of it this way: If you die you won’t have to deal with Alzheimer’s, next year’s taxes or overdosing on cheddar popcorn.