Nothing to fear but…..
by And the White Lion Roars!
Good morning, and Happy Memorial Day. Thank you to all the men and women in uniform who have given your lives in service to your country, and to your families, who sacrifice again and again in going on without you. I’ll jump the line here and ask my first question: when someone is referred to as “a true patriot, ” what does that mean? I most often hear that phrase uttered by conservatives, about other conservatives who see the world, and the US, as they do. But, as a liberal, I love this country. I, too, honor those who serve, and believe that our veterans deserve much better from this government than they get. When I die, will anyone refer to me as a true patriot?
This has been an eventful week, indeed, and I’ve got some questions, possibly in homage to my old blog, questionevrthing.blogspot.com. First question, we all hear people say to whiners (well, about whiners-not usually TO them,) “Awwwwww, grow a pair!” The question roaring from me is, Grow a pair of WHAT? If one sees the hand signals of the people who say that, the person generally cups his or her genital area as if to indicate that what the whiner needs is to grow some testicles. Some actually say, “Grow a pair of balls.” But I look at my life, and the people around me, both male and female, and in my experience, women are much less likely to be whiners when life gets hard. Perhaps my opinion is shaded by men in my life who are not problem solvers, and expect their wives to be the “fixers,” but from now on when I hear, “Grow a pair,” I’m going to assume they are speaking of breasts. Or ovaries.
I want to get a 4X4 magnetic yellow sticker for my car that says, “Hit me. No kids here.” On Saturday I was running some errands (more to come on that one) and on the way home I saw two different vehicles with those “Baby On Board” stickers. One of them was a giant SUV that would survive any accident, while any vehicle she hit would be obliterated. The other one was driving like a maniac. I couldn’t believe that person would drive like that with a “Baby on Board!” Sooooooo, you don”t want me to hit your car with your baby in it, but you can flip the car by weaving in and out of traffic at above-the-limit speeds without hurting your precious cargo? I’m sorry, but, A. Not practicing what one preaches is among my pettest of peeves, and assuming that your baby’s life is more valuable than the other lives you are putting at risk with your careless, dangerous driving is also WAYYYYYYYY up there.
I alluded earlier to this week having been quite eventful, and two of the big ones were my uncle dying, and my wallet being lost/stolen. I’ll start with my uncle’s death because it came earlier, and led to some of the reflections that came after my wallet disappeared. He was eighty-three, and had been very ill for the last few years. He was a sweet man, my mother’s brother, and we all looked forward to seeing him the once a year visits had come down to, at our family reunion, the nearest weekend to June 13, my maternal grandmother’s birthday. He was regular army, and when the movie “Saving Private Ryan” came out, we were visiting my grandmother’s hospital at the same time. I’ll never forget his reaction to the movie-it was as if this veteran of the Korean war was thrown back to his days in country, he was so disturbed by the realistic scenes in the movie. But he was often referred to as a “true patriot,” and that was the biggest part of his identity, apart from his great love of family. He will be missed. It was Thursday when he died, and my mom took it pretty hard, so after work on Friday I went to hang out with Mom and Dad for a bit to let Mom talk, and comfort her as best I could. I’ve mentioned that Mom and I are from different universes in our outlooks, and since I don’t bother expressing my views to her, I usually just let her do most of the talking, and the “conversation” usually goes in all kinds of directions, Friday was no exception. One of the topics that arose was walking our dogs. Now, right after 911 I adopted a border collie mix who was orphaned in that attack. I was living in a house with no fenced in yard, so I had to walk him A LOT to keep that border collie energy from becoming destructive. We were living in a small town in Illinois at the time, and I would get up at 3:30 every morning and walk him about three miles before the world even new it was morning. I never worried about it, and only once did I ever feel at risk, and that dog’s protectiveness of me (which eventually took his life) kept me safe even then. Even from 2009 to 2013 when we lived on a very busy thoroughfare in Fort Worth, and now, in a quiet sub-division in a Fort Worth bedroom community, I get up and walk the dogs when it is still dark, though not as far. Mom is an old lady who watches Fox news, and is afraid that rapists and terrorists lurk in every dark corner, and she said to me, “I still don’t see how on earth you walk every day when it is dark.” She said that she is even nervous walking her dogs around her own neighborhood, a very white enclave in which she has lived pretty crime free since 1989 (there were some incidents of kids knocking down their mailbox a few times, until they built a brick one.) I said that my opinion is that if you live in fear, you are not living. Then on Saturday I was at the grocery store, and my wallet disappeared. I retraced my steps, checked with the cashier who had just helped me, reported it to customer service and left my contact information, etc, and cried and cried and cried. My grocery money was in the wallet, along with both my important ID’s and one credit card. I left the store and hoped for a phone call, and in the meantime submitted a police report and fraud alerts to all three credit bureaus. A friend helped us out with grocery money, and still no phone call. On Sunday I called Mom after the time that I knew she would be heading to Alabama for my uncle’s funeral, and told her the story of the missing wallet. I said that in this case I guessed the person who found it chose not to do the right thing and contact me. She said that people don’t usually do the right thing. I completely disagree with that, but I wasn’t going to argue with her. But here’s the thing it would seem that she could look at; I have been walking in the dark for thirteen years, and no one has ever accosted me. Doesn’t that say something good about people? In talking to friends about the missing wallet, I’ve had numerous stories shared of lost wallets, etc, and people who found and returned them, contents intact. My wallet disappeared on Saturday afternoon of a holiday weekend, and while my address is on my driver’s license, my phone number is nowhere inside. It is entirely possible that I will receive a package in the mail with my wallet. I believe that my belief in the better nature of people has been rewarded through the years, and while my mom only believes what she sees on Fox News, that everyone she sees on the streets is dangerous, immoral and bad, her belief in the deviant nature of man has not been rewarded in any way. So, is it time to rethink how we see our fellow man? If my wallet is returned, with the money in it, will that help? Probably not in Mom’s case. But even if the wallet is not returned, or if it comes back to me with the money gone, on the whole, my experience supports that people are basically good, and can usually be trusted to do the right thing.