the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tea and Valentines

I was driving with Sophia today down the streets of LA when I noticed a couple, both in their late-sixties, on a street corner.  They were waving flags.   They seemed as comfortable with each other as any long-married couple.   The woman, her hair still as blonde as in her Beach Boys California youth, was draped in an American flag.

“You should take a photo of them for Instagram,” she suggested. Ever since she found out about Instagram, she has been both amused and annoyed at my habit of taking photos in public.

“I’m driving,” I said. “I can’t take a photo.”

“Sure you can. Go slow,” she announced as she grabbed the steering wheel. “I got the wheel.”

“Are you crazy?” I uttered, as the car weaved. “I can get a ticket for this!”

The streetlight turned red, and I pressed on the brake to stop the car.  I reached in my pocket for my iPhone.  The case got caught on my belt, so I removed the phone from the case.   The car windows were grimy with beach dust, so I pressed the button to open the driver’s window.  It whirled down.

Sophia waved to the couple at the corner.

“Hey, over here!” she yelled.

“Don’t call them.” I said. “They might not want their photo taken.”

Sophia laughed.

“They are standing on the corner dressed in American flags and waving flags, and you are worried that they don’t want their photo taken?”

The couple responded to Sophia’s plea, and they waved. The woman’s wave was reminiscent of a beauty pageant, as if she was still Miss West Covina riding a float in the 1969 Rose Bowl Parade.

I politely took their photo.

“Thank you!” I said.

“Who are they?” asked Sophia.

“I have no idea.”

The streetlight went green, and I turned left. As I rounded the corner, I was able to read a handwritten sign previously hidden from view.

Save America.  Join the TEA PARTY!

“Oh my God. I just said “thank you” to members of the TEA PARTY!” I said, speeding away.

If you aren’t familiar with the Tea Party movement in America, you should read —


It is now 9PM. I lost interest in whatever political point I was trying to make.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. A day to think about love.

And as much as I hate to admit it, what could be more romantic than an older couple standing on a street corner together, misusing the American flag for some insane political cause?

How many years have you been together, Tea Party couple?  Forty years?

In a year, my divorce with Sophia will be finalized.  We didn’t make it to forty years.  I’m alright with that, but I still envy the staying power of your love for each other.

More power to you, Crazy Tea Party couple.  Continue loving each other.   May that love soon grow a hundred-fold, even a thousand-fold, changing you from within, until you dream of draping that red, white, and blue blanket of compassion over us all.


Happy Valentine’s Day.



  1. erykah

    Happy V Day Neil <3

  2. Twenty Four At Heart

    Staying together doesn’t always mean being HAPPY together.
    Tea Party – hmmmph!
    Don’t even get me started!

  3. sweetney

    Funny and lovely, just like you.

  4. kenju

    I’m sorry you didn’t make it to 40, Neil, but 24 at heart is right – being together doesn’t mean you would be happy. Nevertheless, I wish you both a Happy Valentine’s Day.

  5. Heather

    Happy Valentine’s Day, friend.

    Tea is tea. Love is love. Friends are friends. Only sometimes can they mix. 😉

  6. the muskrat

    I love tea and valentines. Both are improved with sugar!

  7. Dana

    Nicely done, Neil. Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  8. Josette at Halushki

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Neil!

    Love doesn’t fit neatly defined into perfect boxes. The scene in the car, the scene outside the car, the lovely writing you created from both, all = love. It will not be denied.

    Smooches. XXOO

  9. Megan

    Happy Valentine’s Day. xo

  10. Nance

    Surely it hasn’t escaped you that, despite your marriage ending, the love you and S. share is ongoing. She shows interest in and supports your writing, and, holy crap! you trust her with your life as she takes the wheel of the car and you goof around with a camera instead.

    I feel like that’s enough insanity, though, don’t you? Don’t lets go to the dogs entirely and try joining the teapartiers as marriage recovery now. No one needs that. Even for a good blogpost idea.

  11. Pearl

    “…if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with…”

    Happy Commercialized Romance Day, Neil! 🙂

  12. snozma

    Try to remember that: Whenever you see some couple engaged in some crazy ass political or religious activity that this could very well be the hobby uniting them together in love forever.

    Here’s love to you–you really are one of a kind. In a sea of imitative mediocrity you somehow manage to fit in and stand out all at the same time.

  13. AnnieH

    I don’t see a ring on the gentleman…perhaps not married? Could be you and Sophia in 30 more years… How’s that for a pretty tea party?! Love ya, Happy belated Valentines to you and yours :>)

  14. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    Maybe it’s their first date. They divorced their Obama-lovin’, Democrat-supportin’, pro-choice and pro-gay partners.

  15. Alexandra

    So wonderfully different, like you.

    I have been enjoying your posts, your pictures, your tweets:

    So special and apart from everything else online for me.

    Thank you, for that.

    Something fresh and unexpected for my brain, that isn’t an assault: thank you.

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