Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Frenchies

Time magazine this week announced its 100 Most Influential People in the World. Once more, I am not amongst them.  I suppose I should have expected it; one doesn’t really get noticed working from one’s basement.

This year, Time selected a Nigerian movie star, an Australian mining magnate, a Russian politician, a couple of actors, a bunch of fashion mavens and a slew of industrialists. Notable by their absences are bicyclist Lance Armstrong and Bladerunner Oscar Pistorius, both men whose feats electrified the world not that long ago and then were accused and deemed guilty of serious wrongdoings. We are merciless with our heroes.

Also not listed were a few people I know personally and find deserving.They are worthy of notice, and so in the grand tradition of Michael Scott’s Dundee Awards, I have created the Frenchies and with this blog announce the First Annual Frenchy Awards for Commendable People with Whom I Am Acquainted (the FACPWIAA).

My friend A, who is a theatre wardrobe mistress traveling the US, was on a bus recently in some Western city, Tucson or Austin I think, when she found herself surrounded by a bunch of drunks. A is petite, read tiny, and the situation was getting threatening. The bus driver stopped the vehicle and told the drunks to behave. They didn’t. He threw them off. Many of them were young and brawny; there was only one of him, rather oldish and stooped, according to A. A small victory for common courtesy, and the Unconditional Valor Frenchy for bravery.

O, whom I met some months ago, like me came to the US at a young age. She’s a writer of gentle and moving tales, a busy woman with a full life and a houseful of rescue dogs she fosters until a new home can be found for them.  Last we spoke, there were six dogs and three cats. Though there are occasional donations, O cares for these discarded companions in her home and from her own pocket. She writes a blog, and is hereby awarded the Kindness Towards Four-Legged Friends Frenchy.

J is the nurse who for the past six months has been administering my Tuesday-morning chemotherapy. She’s Valkyrie-like, from central Pennsylvania, and she has the dark sense of humor I appreciate, as well as sure and gentle hands. I also like that she doesn’t sugarcoat facts, and her directness has been a boon when compared to the general evasiveness I’ve encountered from other medical people during this two-year adventure. I should probably establish a special Frenchy Award for compassionate medical people (and an anti-Frenchy for the really inept ones) but I’m too lazy. J gets the Caring Hands Frenchy award.

Some years ago, M established a writers’ group that meets weekly and has nurtured the talents of authors young and old. It’s not an easy task, somewhat akin to herding feral cats. On any given Wednesday night, two dozen novelists and writers of short- and medium-length fiction meet to critique each other’s works. There’s good stuff, medium stuff, and once in a very rare while, what I unkindly consider to be some really vile stuff, but that’s just me. M has provided a truly valuable service to this area’s creativity, and done so with humor, patience and conviction.  He gets the Frenchy Award for Sustaining Local Arts and here is a shameless plug for his Arlington Writers Group,

T repairs computers for a living and for the past three years has been taking discarded machines, upgrading them, and through international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) sending them to schools in developing countries. At last count, he has sent 310 laptops abroad.  Now he is swamped, and has requested anonymity since he cannot take in any more computers, as he lives in a cramped one-bedroom apartment already chockfull of screens, keyboards, tablets, cables, and the occasional first generation Kindle and iPad. T gets the well-deserved Technology Frenchy.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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