It’s another “new” year and a time for reflection and projection. Every morning when I open my eyes to the new day I am amazed. I am amazed that I have actually woken up to the new day any new day. Turning 70 on Friday the 8th has had a profound affect on how I wake up. I know, I am dancing on the edge of a new life, let alone a new day. I grew up in an ever changing world, I was born shortly after America won its very last war, TV was in its infancy with two sometimes three channels, space flight was moving from Science Fiction to Science Fact, real war had given way to “Cold War” and the fear of commies living under every rock has given way to fear of anybody different who doesn’t have to live under a rock. All they have to be is “different.”
My mind is going. Parts of my history is a blur. Sometimes I can peg my own history with historical events like the Andrea Doria sinking in 1956. I was so fascinated by it I made a scrap book that contained of all the articles from the SF Chronicle, Call Bulletin and Examiner. I was 10. When President Eisenhower visited San Francisco I asked my mom to mail my work of art to him at his hotel. (I don’t think she did.) I really don’t know why I thought that the president would want to have this carefully organized scrap book of an Italian liner’s sinking. I just did. Looking back on it, maybe I knew all along that Ike was going to be the last real Republican to hold that office and he, like the honorable man he was and visiting my City at the time, needed a picture book on the Andrea Doria. Even in a home of die hard Democrats, Ike at the time represented the progressive party of Lincoln before Nixon and later the neocons took over. Then the GOP became something unrecognizable.
Other points of history also defined my own history, my last day of participating in the 30 day spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius was also the day Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Since we were in the silence of the retreat we couldn’t talk about it. I was living on an Indian Reservation in central Washington teaching Nez Perce kids when Robert Kennedy was killed. I remember vividly attending the 42nd Academy Awards where the first (and only) X-Rated movie won for best picture. I also met John Wayne and his toupee. Of course there were other events such as the moon landing, various earthquakes and El Niño storms that are part of my mental Rolodex.
Over the years I’ve travelled the world, met some interesting people and even interviewed them for videos I created. I lived in different parts of the globe and viewed America from a distance. I’ve come to realize that this is a good country, not great, but good. I figure I would call it good because when you call it great then that presupposes there’s no more work to be done. Good is a comparative adjective. Great is a superlative adjective and although Trump uses superlatives willy nilly, it doesn’t mean it is. But he has to use superlatives maybe because he doesn’t want to look weak. In Genesis when God looked on his creation, he proclaimed it good . In other words it is up to us to make creation better. So like creation, this country needs more work.
But the most important historical events that are seared into my brain are my marriage, the birth of my children, my hit and miss tries at fathering two step children along with my own, the joy of watching a grand baby enter this world and my opportunity for a “do-over” as a grandparent. Even if my brain turns completely into jello, I will have these living, breathing reminders of a life well spent.
and so it goes…