America- from 2014

I hope that America can continue to be the wonderful, diverse, and unfettered country it has been in the past.

We have stood for personal liberty more than any country in the world. People can do things in America that would get you killed in some other parts of the world. Probably quite a few things actually.

It’s a quandary which I cannot quite get to balance out in my thinking. We stand for personal liberty here, but in some parts of the world the members of the groups we are allowing those personal liberties, are trying to impose a system which offers very little, if any, liberty.

How does that help us? I mean, I know we are the USA and we are supposed to be better than everyone else and all, but what is it getting us?

I saw a video of some of our Navy boys getting chased around and threatened in Turkey. I didn’t hear that those Turks got punished. Try chasing a bunch of Turkish Navy guys around in the U.S., and see where it gets you. There is no equity there.

I saw that they allowed a Muslim service in the National Cathedral, and I guess it had to be approved by the Episcopal Board who is over the Cathedral, and it was probably a good will gesture to reach out to American Muslims, and in some sense I applaud it. This is in Washington D.C. our capital city. And then I think that those Muslims could go to Mecca, but the Episcopalians never can. So, there’s no balance there.

I could go on, but my point is made. This is America, the land of Liberty. I have researched my genealogy and I don’t have any ancestors who are recent immigrants. I have several who fought in the Revolutionary War, and many who fought in the “Civil” War. I’m as American as you can get, unless one is a NA…and I have some of that blood line too. I don’t say that to elevate myself, because I am personally not much of anything. I say that because I want there to be a free America around for my descendants, and I fear the direction we unwittingly go sometimes. I am neither a Democratic or a Republican anymore. I am an American looking for someone good to lead this country. I don’t think any of the ones in Washington under either party name qualify.

What I think, from looking at this last election is that we have got to start demanding more from our so called representatives. We sent a sorry bunch, out of a sorry field of candidates. Now that they are there, they won’t do what they promised. Thomas Jefferson said that “the people should never fear the government, but that the government should fear the people” His words, not mine. Our government does not fear us because we go back to watching our TV shows and ball games two weeks after “the election” instead of raising hell about what we want them to do. Instead, they are going to argue about who has what power and how they use it.

I think they need to pass some laws. Do something even if it ain’t right, like my Daddy used to say. I don’t care if I personally disagree with every last thing they do…but just do…something…that at least makes somebody happy. If it turns out to be a bad idea, history has proven that anything done can be undone.

Thankful

I’ve noticed a lot of folks are doing the daily thanks in November for the good things in their lives. I think it’s a really good thing, and I wanted to take a chance to give thanks for the wonderful things which I have experienced in my life. I haven’t been doing it daily, so this is my “one time” thing.

I’m very thankful for my family…my wife, children, grandchildren. My Mom and Dad, my brother. (And all of my other loved ones who are connected to the ones I have just named. I could name them all, but they know who they are! ) I believe my one major goal in life, starting way back when I was a teenager, was to have a family and to do the very best I could to be a good Father. I could have chosen baseball, or golf, or music, or a career of some other sort to be my main life goal…but I had a different scenario in mind. I am thankful for being able to experience so many fulfilling things through my wonderful, supportive family.

I give thanks, or course, for all of the other things most everyone else does. Life and a chance to live it. Living in a great country, where we at least still have the freedom to come and go as we like and to do many things people in other countries can’t do. Thankful that folks can still go to Church and worship where they want, when they want. Thankful for modern medicine, it saved my life. Thankful for advances in technology, which allows me to communicate with you! Thankful for so, so many little things: running water, books, refrigeration, friends, classmates, prescriptions, underwear, automobiles, you name it, and I’m probably thankful for it.

I am thankful for music and the influence it has had on my life. I haven’t been a “commercial” success like I thought I wanted to be, but I have enjoyed the love of music just for the sake of its beauty and the satisfaction it gives me to “make” it and to listen to it. Thankful for guitars too!

I am thankful for growing up in the small town of Trion, Georgia. I am so thankful that I went to school with the people who were my classmates. That small group are like brothers and sisters to me. All of us went through so many things together. Butt whooping’s, schoolyard fights, proms, dances, football season, band, term papers, tests, Ms. Roberts, Mr. West, playing basketball in the old gym, eating at the “Y”, having plays in the old theatre, fishing in the river, sneaking out of class, loving each other, and hating each other (sometimes, but not for long) Living in a small town meant being able to walk from one side of it to the other without having to take food and water to survive. It meant spending the night at your best friend’s house so much that their parents threatened to claim you on their tax returns. It meant playing “pick up” baseball every day during the summer, and “choose up” football every day during the winter. It meant watching the river flood our beloved school to the point of uselessness. It meant the Skating rink, and the one theatre in the Country were all the places you had to go for “proper” entertainment. It meant knowing which guys had the most “bad ass” cars in town. I’m thankful I got to play baseball and then golf. I had two or three of the best coaches a boy could have in Dugan Peace, Jesse Emory, and J.W. Greenwood. J.W. taught me that it’s better to be lucky than good any day. Ha! It was good, and I am thankful for all of it.

I am thankful I got to go to college for five years, and although I didn’t finish, the knowledge I received has served me well. I went to both West Georgia College and the University of Georgia. I am thankful I met my future wife there, and very thankful she decided she wanted to spend time with me. (And still is!) I am not proud that I didn’t graduate. It’s been a thorn which I and nobody else, put in my side and has stayed there for almost 40 years now. But, I am thankful it still pricks me at times when I start something and I am tempted not to finish it. It has helped me finish a lot of things I would have not have, otherwise. It helped me to encourage all of my children to finish…which they all did pretty much on their own without much help from me at all!

I’m thankful I took Typing II in High School instead of Shop. I made a lot of money typing College papers for other people, and learned about as much from that as I did from my classes. It also helped tremendously my ability to edit for incorrect grammar and spelling. Makes it easy to write these epistles on Facebook too!

I am also thankful for some of the things which I have experienced in life, for which others may think to be a little odd. I experienced the death of my first child, and though it was heart wrenching, I am thankful for her, and the fact that she lived and she was ours…mine and Paula’s. She paved the way for our other children and a deeper appreciation of them for me, than I might have otherwise had. I looked at them many times and thought of her and was extremely thankful that I had three other chances to be a Father. (For as I have previously said…I think it’s my purpose in life) Her death prepared me at a very young age for the realities of life, that bad things happen and you must overcome them lest they overcome you. I am thankful that even after 43 years I can still sit here and have tears fill my eyes when I think of her. It proves to me I’m still human.

I am thankful I had some hard, manual labor jobs at the beginning of my working career. They made me determined to look for better ways to make a living. They (along with my wife) shook me out of a rut I was in and might have stayed in, and gave me impetus to go on to better things. I am thankful that I eventually found some very good people for whom I enjoyed working. I am thankful for the people I worked with, both good and bad. The good ones confirmed my philosophy that there ARE more good people than bad in this world, and the bad ones helped build my character to withstand and persevere against things which are wrong, and to have some ethics in life. I am thankful for the very hard and nerve wracking battles I had against unethical peers, who only cared for themselves and not others…who only cared for the numbers and not the people, and I am thankful that most of the time I won…though not always, and sometimes at a heavy cost.

I am thankful that I have had enough financial resources to live life at a “good” level, though never at a “super-secure” level. (I am not anywhere near rich…and never will be) It has taught me that envy is never a good quality. It has taught me that some of the things I coveted turned out to be unnecessary, and that the wealthiest people are not always the happiest. It has taught me that I should have paid better attention in “Economics 101” at West Georgia. It has taught me to be innovative in order to survive, and to try and help others who have even less. (And there are many, many of those out there, believe me…I feel blessed for what I have in comparison to a lot of people in this country and in this world)

Finally, I will end up by saying I am thankful that our Creator has allowed me to enjoy all these things and allows me to continue to be here and enjoy them. Thank you God.