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OPINION | BRENDA LOOPER: Good vibrations

by Brenda Looper | June 23, 2021 at 3:04 a.m.
Brenda Looper

The heat has not been kind to me, not that I'm all that kind to it. Between grocery mishaps, phishing texts and emails and a badly overgrown yard, I'm more than a little cranky.

But ...

There is kindness out there, from the Facebook friend who happily took some unwanted grocery items off my hands and gave me warm fuzzies at the same time, to the countless people who've let me know I'm not alone in my frustration at what has become of our world, especially at the hands of zero-sum politics.

We don't need people who complain all the time or expect special treatment just because they exist. We don't need those who adhere to the rules or their own principles only when it's convenient for or helps them. We certainly don't need people who harass others for doing the right thing (how is this a thing???) by, for example, getting vaccinated and/or continuing to wear a mask for the protection of themselves and others who are unable to be vaccinated or are immunocompromised.

We need some positivity, so let's make another foray to the light side.

• Stephanie Perkins of North Carolina threw her grandma, known as G-Ma, a 90th birthday party at Reynolda Gardens recently, according to the Good News Network, complete with a pink tutu, plastic crown, throne, cake and cookies with her face on them, and a custom T-shirt that said "It took me 90 years to look this good!"

Perkins said the family hadn't been able to see G-Ma much during the quarantine and pandemic, and wanted to make her birthday really special with a princess party.

G-Ma loved the party, photographer Melissa Denny said. "We had the best time, talking, laughing, dancing--G-Ma was a great sport and down for anything. What an amazing opportunity to spend time with a sweet, 90-year-old wonderful lady, making memories, and having fun celebrating her milestone birthday."

If I make it to 90, I wouldn't mind a princess party, but my tutu must be purple, please.

• Twyanna Williams, 65, graduated, finally, from Philadelphia's South Philadelphia High School earlier this month, through the city's Educational Options Program. Even better, she graduated as valedictorian. She told "Today": "I was so ecstatic and excited and couldn't believe that I did that. I made it that far? I was really excited. It was exciting for me and I felt important. I felt special."

Williams hopes to inspire others like her; she dropped out of school at 15 to get a job to help her mother, who was in the middle of a divorce. Now a retired grandmother of four, she took advantage of the education program during the pandemic to finally finish what she had started long ago.

"I would like for the whole world to know that it's never too late to go back to school, no matter what age you drop out," she said. "It's never too late. It is important. Education is very important."

People like Williams inspire me every day to be better. Maybe I'll actually get some gardening done this year.

• Border collie-red heeler mix Tilly was ejected from the vehicle he was traveling in with his family in Idaho earlier this month when it collided with another vehicle, and the back window broke out. Tilly, mostly unharmed, took off in the confusion, and the family and others searched for him in vain for hours; upon their return home, his family created a Facebook post to try to find him. The post eventually reached the California-based grandmother of sheep farmers less than a couple of miles from the accident site, reported the Idaho Spokesman-Review. Grandma told the brothers to keep an eye out for Tilly.

One of the farmers called for his dog, but it was instead Tilly, trying to do what border collies do naturally. Tilly's family said he tries to herd all the time at home, but with people. Tilly didn't do so well with the sheep; some of them escaped a fence.

After two days, Tilly was taken back home to get all the love and cuddles he could possibly want.

Having been around a border collie mix, I can attest to the tendency to try to herd. It doesn't work well with cranky cats.

• Those of us who wrestle with earworms on a daily basis may be getting help with our long-term memory, according to a study published online earlier this month in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

"Scientists have known for some time that music evokes autobiographical memories, and that those are among the emotional experiences with music that people cherish most," said Petr Janata, University of California-Davis professor of psychology and co-author on the study.

"What hasn't been understood to date is how those memories form in the first place and how they become so durable, such that just hearing a bit of a song can trigger vivid remembering."

The research is ongoing, reports Science Daily, and the authors say they hope it "could eventually lead to the development of nonpharmaceutical, music-based interventions to help people suffering from dementia and other neurological disorders to better remember events, people and daily tasks."

If I can just remember what I came in this room to get, I'll be happy.

Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at Email her at

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