Michael Mayo is a columnist for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. For many years, Mayo wrote “Mayo on the Side;” an opinion column that dealt with political issues.
A couple of years ago Mayo, perhaps foreseeing the election of Donald Trump, ended “Mayo on the Side” and began “The Eat Beat;” a restaurant review column.
I don’t blame him. No matter how bad the restaurant is, it cannot be as depressing as the political situation is today. A column about restaurants is always fun to read, especially when it is written by a writer as talented as Mike Mayo (or Rick Karlin). I used to write book reviews; and I can tell you that no matter how bad the book was I always managed to find something interesting or inspirational about my topic, which is more than I can say about my political columns.
2018 ended the way it began: with a lying narcissist in the White House, doing his best to destroy everything that we hold dear, at home or abroad. How can we criticize other countries for their political choices when we ourselves elected a man who is totally unfit to hold the most powerful office in the world? Though Donald Trump’s misgovernment inspired a “Blue Wave” that carried the Democratic Party to control of the House of Representatives, his base remains strong here in Florida where Ron Desantis, a Trump devotee, was elected governor.
We also lost a few fine people who we admired, including John McCain and Stephen Hawking. Readers of this column know of my affection for Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul.” Her passing was a sad event, though it was gratifying to see the love that she inspired in so many people, and her music survives to entertain and inspire us.
For me the saddest event of 2018 was the passing of my Mother, ten days before Christmas at the age of 88. Like my late partner, Michael Greenspan, my Mom suffered from dementia; in her case Alzheimer’s disease. Delia Monteagudo was not a celebrity like Franklin, Burt Reynolds or George H. W. Bush. Like most people, she will only be remembered by those who loved her.
But I think that she did a lot, considering her limitations and the world she lived in. She and my father, who died in 1991, sacrificed a lot when they took their two children and left Cuba in search of freedom. Though Dad and I never reconciled; I grew close to my Mom during the 27 years of her widowhood. Like many people, Mom believed that death was not THE END but the door to a new plane of existence where she would be reunited with her departed loved ones like my Dad and her own parents. Though I am not so sure, I truly hope that she was right.
All in all, 2018 has ended and good riddance. We hope that 2019 will be a better year, if only because one branch of Congress will no longer be controlled by Trump acolytes. But life goes on; and as a wise man (Pitbull) once said, any day one spends above ground (or not turned to ashes) is a good day.
Though I still have my down days, I try to remain upbeat by staying busy, reading good books, and enjoying all that South Florida has to offer (as long as climate change does not destroy it) while in the company of my friends and loved ones. And I will continue to write this column, doing my best to celebrate good and inspiring people, places and things in this often frustrating world of ours.