Category Archives: Thoughts

Scattering Love

                   It’s not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you’ve lived.
Helen Walton

I was thinking about my childhood the other day and trying to remember how far back my memories went. I settled on somewhere between four and five years old but there were only a handful that were clear to me. That bothered me, especially when I took what was then and applied it to now.

Making memories with the people you love or care about is one of life’s greatest gifts. Some of the times we’ve laughed most were with our children and grandchildren, especially during their early years, when everything is on the table, learning is a daily adventure, innocent words  are a sound byte and your sense of wonder sometimes equals theirs. Those are memories that we’ll keep with us forever. Unfortunately, it’s all one-sided. Because in those early years it’s not anything they’ll remember. Influenced, yes. But all the things that were said or laughed about until there were tears in our eyes will not be a definitive memory for them.

That shouldn’t bother me because it’s just another cycle of life, but it does. I remember things that we did with our children and now our grandchildren that were special moments, and though we can relay the stories, it’s not the same as being there in our mutual minds. I sit and have conversations now with our grandchildren, play games, tell stories, laugh at the silliest things, hold them if they cry and sit back and wonder if they’ll remember any of it.

I’ve always understood this but I suppose as I’ve gotten older, Helen Walton’s quote has taken on a different meaning. You want those you love to remember every last laugh and cuddle and hand holding because you know that time of innocence, like life, is so short. Eight or nine comes too quick and soon they’re moving on. Parents will always be more invested in the lives of their children/grandchildren than the other way around. That’s just the way it is. It’s not a matter of loving or caring, it’s just the emotional investment that begins long before they open their eyes and never goes away.

So selfishly you want them to remember it all. Every amazing moment. Big and small. Hoping that you’ve scattered enough love and joy into their lives that one day they may laugh at something silly for no reason at all. You may not know it or even be there. But if it brought them happiness, then maybe something in their two year old lives stuck, and you’ve scattered enough.

And maybe, just maybe, the shade of a memory will not only be yours.

 

Saying Goodbye To 41 And A Generation

It may be historically premature to judge the greatness of a whole generation, but indisputably, there are common traits that cannot be denied. It is a generation that, by and large, made no demands of homage from those who followed and prospered economically, politically, and culturally because of its sacrifices. It is a generation of towering achievement and modest demeanor, a legacy of their formative years when they were participants in and witness to sacrifices of the highest order. They know how many of the best of their generation didn’t make it to their early twenties, how many brilliant scientists, teachers, spiritual and business leaders, politicians and artists were lost in the ravages of the greatest war the world has seen.
Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation.

This is not about politics. History will determine the legacy of George H W Bush. The truth is, being President of this great country comes with the understanding that you will never please everyone. You will always have your critics. You will never walk away unscathed. There will be people who detest you for reasons they can’t possibly understand. You will make decisions that may infuriate half the country. You will be loved and fiercely hated.
The truth is, very few people know what it’s like to hold that office. The journalists, correspondents, senators, congressmen; none of them really know what it’s like. It’s a world with great power and even greater isolation.

But that’s the political side. You choose your color and walk the path your beliefs take you.

As I watched the things that were said about President Bush these last few days, I was struck by how different our landscape has changed in the last 25 years. Politics has always been a dirty game but the last 25 years has seen it taken to new levels. It has become more about “ME” than what’s best for our country, and it extends well beyond the last two years.

President Bush came from a different time. He’s the last President we had that didn’t require on the job training. His resume spoke for itself. But more than that, he came from a time when people did whatever they had to do for their country, and asked for nothing in return. He came from a time when integrity and loyalty mattered. Like all of us, he wasn’t perfect, but he gave us something we haven’t seen since he left office; a connection to our history and all the things that make this country great.

We’ve moved away from some of the qualities this office should possess.

The generation of President Bush, of my parents, of those who gave so much, is quickly coming an end. There was a time when integrity, loyalty, decency, sacrifice, patriotism, humility and kindness all meant something. We’ve lost that over the last 25 years and I’m afraid it won’t be seen again.

We buried much more than a former president today. We buried the best part of our past. A generation of selfless dignity that won’t be seen again.

 

Venting A Bit

Just a few miscellaneous venting thoughts to get back into the flow.

Comedy

I love going to good comedy shows and by good comedy I mean shows that are topical, creative and don’t need to throw out F words every few seconds, just because. I’m not a prude and I don’t mind a word here and there but if you’re really good, you can make people laugh using non explicit language.
The other thing I don’t understand is people who go to comedy shows and never laugh. They just sit there with a blank expression on their faces staring at the stage. I don’t get it. They  know where they are, who the comedians will be, and have a pretty good idea about what he or she might be speaking about. Everyone else is laughing hysterically and some people just sit there blankly. Can they be laughing internally? Nah, I don’t think so. I just don’t know why they bother to go. It’s a conundrum.

Disasters and Reporting

I never understand why reporters will cover a hurricane for 5-6 days before it gets there and leave a day later? Isn’t the story of recovery more important than scenes of weather people standing on sunny beaches days before the event or in 90 degree winds as it’s happening? Do we really need to see that to know how bad the conditions are?

MIssing

I read an article this past week that made me use some interesting words. There was a family who went into a corn maze in West Jordan, Utah. When they were done they all went home, except for one three year old boy who they forgot in the maze and didn’t realize he was missing until the next morning. The. Next. Morning.
People found him crying and upset at about 7:30 at night and while he could tell them the names of his brother, he couldn’t tell them his own name. So the authorities held him overnight and waited until someone came for him the next day. Sure enough some adults and ten children showed up to “claim him.”
How does that happen? How do you get into a car or put your children to bed at night and not notice a three year old is missing?

The Creep From Hollywood

The news has been filled with stories this past week about the sleaze bag who abused, raped, intimidated and tried to control women as part of his role as a movie maker/ studio head. I won’t use his name but you know who I mean. The guy’s a sick creep but what makes me just as sick is all the popular A List actors and actresses who have come out in the last week, covering their butts and providing statements that claim they never knew this was going on and how disgusted they are. What a joke. Hollywood is a fantasyland town that lives in gossip. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. But money, fame, status and careers trump decency. Everyone knew what this guy was doing but he made lots of people money, and had the power to make careers and also end careers. So they stayed silent. Turned away. In part because of money and in part because others in power have done the same thing for decades. So please don’t insult our intelligence by telling us you didn’t know. Please don’t say you’re disgusted and give an Oscar this past year to someone who has a history of sexual abuse and intimidation. That town and the people in it are detached from reality. They’re a joke. But the problem extends beyond Hollywood, into corporate America and other parts of life. Power and money are a toxic combination.
Where are the Hollywood telethons, documentaries, or expose stories on the abuse of women in the workplace? That’s something we’ll never see, in part because that town won’t reveal it’s own sins and in part because the press won’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. Sad.

 

More Summer Thoughts

I keep thinking in snippets this summer, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me these days. My attention span is limited and though I sometimes try to loosen the strings on it, it just keeps coming back. So anyway, here are a few thoughts.

Burgers

When was the fifteen dollar burger born and where the hell have I been hiding? Come on. It’s a slap of chop meat, after all. But I guess if you put it on a brioche roll with caramelized onions and aioli mayo, it begins to market itself. it sounds higher end, like a dive with tablecloths. This burger craze started about ten years ago when the market fell out and people wanted alternative places to go for dinner that were reasonably priced. But as with everything else, people always try to push the envelope to see just how much the public will tolerate. And it appears, at least with burgers, the carnivores are willing to pay the price. But it’s still a slab of chop meat on a roll dressed up for a cheap photo shoot date.

Home For Mom

Joan Lunden does commercials for a place called A Home For Mom. It’s a senior care referral service. As I watched the commercial, I began wondering what happened to Dad. Is there a different commercial for him? I never saw one. Do we not think Dad is going to need a place or do we figure he”ll figure it out on his own? That’s a scary thought. Statistics tell us that women live longer than men but to blatantly toss dad to the side of the road on these commercials is a bit harsh, don’t you think? I wonder what 75 year old Dad is thinking as he’s sitting across from Mom and finishing his second bowl of chocolate, chocolate chunk caramel ice cream and this commercial comes on. Just wondering.

Eclipse

I think the eclipse thing was interesting and if you were in certain parts of the country when it was full it must have been a cool experience. But I saw people interviewed who drove fourteen hours for the two minute blackout and estimated it would take them twenty hours to get home. I saw others who were crying at the experience. There were people who planned their trips and marriages around this, paid lots of money for hotel rooms, endured standstill traffic jams and didn’t get to see much because it was cloudy. I don’t know what to say about these people. I hope you’re not one of them but if you are I don’t know what to say about you people. If you really want to be entertained and don’t mind traveling. I can take you to the beach in New Jersey one day. There are sights and people there that will entertain you for hours. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Scouts Of America

Apparently there’s a feud brewing between the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It seems the Girl Scouts are upset because the Boy Scouts are trying to turn the tide on decreasing membership and decided to recruit girls for their organization. The Girl Scouts, of course were not amused. They referred to it as a “covert campaign” that was “reckless and unsettling.” The Boy Scouts argue that many millennial parents prefer their children be in the same organization and some girls have petitioned to join the ranks of the boys. Now I don’t know about you but I would never go to war against a woman. Men just aren’t properly equipped emotionally or intellectually to even be on the same dance floor as women so what makes anyone think this little battle will end up on the positive side of the ledger for the boys. That being said, it’s hard to argue for gender inclusion on one side of the coin but not on the other. I’m looking forward to a fun ten rounds, though I predict the knockout will come in round one.

Billie Jean

I was listening to Michael Jackson sing his hit song on the radio the other day and two lines reminded me of our politicians and those who blindly follow along.

And mother always told me be careful who you love
and be careful what you do ’cause the lie becomes the truth.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend. I’ll be working on my thoughts.

 

Random Thoughts

I know I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks, but summer is like that for me. My mind tends to go on vacation because it’s not being paid enough to stay and play. Still, I’ve been thinking and reading about things during those times where I force my brain to function and I thought I’d share them with you before I forget what I was planning on writing, which seems to happen with some frequency these days. I know most of you can relate.

So here it goes…

People Watching

While I’ve always enjoyed people watching, (and sometimes eavesdropping), trying to figure out       who these people are, what they’re doing and what kind of relationship they’re in; I’ve found that it’s infinitely more enjoyable to people watch when you’re having ice cream. The whole experience gets taken up several notches and because ice cream is such a pleasant experience I tend not to be as harsh in my assessments even when big doses of harsh are warranted.
That being said, I sometimes shake my head at how scary crazy some of these people are and when I see them walk away and get into the driver’s seat of a car I seriously consider giving up my car or moving to a place where horses or golf carts with a max speed of 15 MPH are the only form of transportation.

Easy A’s

I read recently that nearly half of this country’s 2016 graduating class are A students even though their average SAT scores fell from 1026 to 1002. However, grade inflation is not only on the rise in high schools. Apparently the most popular grade in colleges nationwide is an A. In fact, close to 50% of all college grades given are A’s, very different from two decades ago when the average GPA at a four-year college was 3.11.
I wonder what happens when these young people enter the work force and realize they have to work much harder to keep their jobs then they did to maintain their grades. The system is not doing them any favors.

Value

I also read recently that a Dad’s value in 2017 has risen to $26,125, a 28% increase from six years ago when it was $20, 415.
Of course before you men out there get a little puffy in the chest as you sometimes do, take note that a mothers value totaled a record $67, 619.
Interesting how the most important job a person can have is recognized and analyzed and calculated but not paid out. The work force, however, has very different standards and values associated with a woman’s unequal worth to men.
The inequities are shameful.

Whisper

During one of people watching moments, I sat and listened at a parent yelling at their children for not doing something they were told to do. The children did not seem at all fazed by this public outburst and I was reminded of something I heard a while back. Don’t yell at your children. Get real close to them and whisper. It’s much scarier.
Why parents don’t follow that simple rule is beyond me. But i don’t really mind. It makes people watching much more enjoyable.

Tipping

I always tip fairly. Whenever we go out to eat I almost never tip less than 20%, sometimes more.  You’d have to drop a meal in my lap and a bowl of soup on my head to give you less and even then, I’d feel bad short-changing  someone. Having been a server before, I understand how tough a job it is.
But it seems everywhere I go now there is a tip jar on the counter. People want tips for simply taking my money, giving me change or a piece of paper to sign a credit card slip. What’s they all about? I can’t get a loaf of bread at the bakery with a tip jar staring at me. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t put something in, now I tend not to notice them anymore. I keep waiting to find a jar at the doctor’s office or a bank. I might lose it then.

Education?

Finally, (no cheering please), there is a school district in Texas that approved by a 6-0 vote to allow corporal punishment by way of a paddle when students misbehaves at school. Of course parents have to opt in or out of the policy at the beginning of the school year. In addition to Texas, seven other states allow for corporal punishment, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
I don’t think I need to comment on this item. The information speaks for itself. You are free to form your own opinions and comment as you like.

Well, that just about wore me out. I think I’ll go get my beauty rest and try to recover with an ice cream cone.

See you soon!

 

Remembering

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, January 10, 1946

We sometimes have a tendency to glamorize war in books and movies. Those who have been there understand it’s much worse than anything that’s been filmed or written. It never captures the brutality or long-lasting consequences.

Last fall I had an opportunity to visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. When we were planning a trip to NC/Va, I came across this town and wondered why The D-Day Memorial would be placed in a small farming town of a little over six thousand people in Central Virginia. In 1940, just before World War II, Bedford numbered less than four thousand residents.

During the Battle of D-Day, Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, were among the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches of Normandy. Nineteen boys from rural Bedford were killed in the first few minutes of landing. Another three boys were killed shortly after. In all, 22 young men from Bedford lost their lives, giving this small community the distinction of having the highest number of casualties, per capita, of anywhere in the country.

           

The story of this town and those that were lost is told in a book titled, The Bedford Boys. In many ways, the town of Bedford died on D-Day. The story of the boys that were lost, how if affected their families and the town itself is a reminder that war, though sometimes necessary, has consequences that can last for generations. It’s a book that should be read by all Americans.

Today is a day we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the freedoms we enjoy. Please remember them and their families.

God Bless them all.

It’s the Soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It’s the Soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech

It’s the Soldier, not the politicians,
who ensures our right to LIfe, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It’s the Soldier who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

We live in the land of the free
Only because of the brave.
God Bless Our Military
Unknown


A Language Apart

We want to be loved; failing that, admired; failing that, feared;
failing that, hated and despised. We want to stir up some sort
of feelings in others. Our soul abhors a vacuum. At all costs
it longs for contact.
 Hjalmar Soderberg, Doctor Glas, 1905

I read these words six months ago at the beginning of a book titled, One Of Us, by Asne Seierstad. It relates the true story of a man, whose name I won’t mention, who killed seventy-seven people in Norway on July 22, 2011. Eight people were killed by a bomb outside of the Prime Minister’s office in Oslo and sixty-nine more were killed by guns at a youth camp on the wooded island of Utoya. Most of those killed on the island were teenager members of the country’s governing Labour Party.

It was, in the same breath, one of the best and most compelling books I’ve ever read, and one of the most disturbing.

I write these words because every time there is another act of terrorism or violence anywhere in the world, I feel as we all do; angry and helpless. There are no words that can explain the acts committed or the mindset behind them.

Terrorism has its own language; one no rational human being can begin to understand.

The only thing we can do is offer our thoughts and prayers for the loss of so many. For the loss of so much promise and potential; for the lives that have changed; for those taken and those that remain.

Hatred is an irrational and powerful enemy and not exclusive to specific parts of the world. It lives where you live.

Believing otherwise is foolish.