Saturday, August 28, 2010

Clearing the Dust

Blow the dust off the clock. Your watches are behind the times. Throw open the heavy curtains which are so dear to you -- you do not even suspect that the day has already dawned outside. Alexander Solzehnitsyn

There’s a thick layer of dust over nearly every surface in my home. While more pressing matters have captured my attention of late, today I suddenly realized that I’m tired of dust. Today is going to be the day I attack the dust. Well, first I’m distracted a bit by this post, which is probably the lamest I’ve written in a while.

However, I suppose the dust is a metaphor – a parable in the making.

While there are always pressing matters and I am prone to distraction, there are times when the dust must be cleared before the shine can be revealed.

And like the lyrics from Jerome Kern's Pick Yourself Up, which was composed for the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Swing Time (1936),

Nothing’s impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off,
Start all over again. 

Don’t lose your confidence if you slip,
Be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off,
Start all over again.

Happy Saturday Dear Gentle Friends.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Place Matters: Looking for Mitford

The review pretty much hit the nail on the head:
Mix one part All Creatures Great and Small with two parts Lake Wobegon, sprinkle a little Anne of Green Gables and get: Mitford, the pinnacle of provincial life, where homespun wisdom, guarded tradition, and principled faith are the precepts of good living.
These days Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford is on my car’s CD player each morning as I drive to work. I long for a place like Mitford. Small town. Southern. People care about each other. Know about each other. Not too much drama. Peaceful.

Oh well, this is fiction and I am only on the first book of the series. We will see if I stick with it beyond the first. But, I can see why it captured my attention as I explore my longing for what I call a sense of place – a place where I belong.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation offers a straightforward approach, calling sense of place:
Those things that add up to a feeling that a community is a special place, distinct from anywhere else.
In writing the blog this morning, I discovered that The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a This Place Matters Community Challenge now through Sept. 15 where you can pick a community and vote to support the community. The winner gets $25,000. 

I am throwing my support behind Orion, Illinois and its attempt to save Main Street. The folks of Orion say:
Our small community of Orion is "Rural America at its Finest!" Volunteers with Main Street Orion work tirelessly to avoid the fate suffered by other surrounding communities empty storefronts, shuttered homes, devalued properties, crumbling infrastructure, and shrinking population. Can it happen in Orion, too? Yes, and it has, to some extent.
The way the challenge works is communities "rally as many people around the grassroots issues of preservation in our communities as possible. This means that unlike a traditional voting-contest, participants are allowed to align themselves with one organization, one time throughout the Challenge and recruit as many people as possible to do the same."
Here's how to help Orion. Join me and see if we can help them out. After all, it's the neighborly thing to do.

And I’ll let you know when I get to my Mitford.
Happy Saturday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mr. Obama and the Ceremonial Gulf Coast Vacation

Don’t get me wrong. I applaud President Obama’s mini-vacation trip to Panama City Beach, Florida, USA. But when I read, according to the New York Times, that the trip was scheduled to last a mere 27 hours and that after a quick three-day fundraising trip, the First Family would be taking a 10-day vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, I wondered, “what if?”

What if the Obama family had decided to stay in Florida longer? Wouldn’t that have really set the tone for Gulf Coast tourism recovery?

Y’all regulars know I’m a Yellow-Dog Democrat with Alabama roots, but I am looking for President Obama to step up to the plate in a grander way. Yes, it is a beginning, but as they say in the South, “It’s a day late and a dollar short.” Hey, I even wondered why didn’t Mr. Obama’s Press Secretary Bobby Gibbs, a native of Auburn, Alabama, tell the planners that surely they could have come up with a day or two more activities besides miniature golf and a dip in the water? Well, what do I know about how Washington operates? Anyway, Gibbs seems a little on the outs right now. But I’ll betcha he visited PC when he was growing up.

Of course, I am a bit prejudiced when it comes to the Panhandle since that’s where my family took vacations back when you could run barefoot out of your beachside motel room on to the prettiest, white sandy beaches. Maybe the Redneck Riviera pales in comparison to the French Riviera. Since I’ve never been there, can’t say for sure. But I sure enough love this area.

I do know that there’re enough activities to fill a few more hours than 27. Just take PC alone. The Obamas could have boated over to the remote Shell Island (watching out for sunburn), gone go-carting, golfed for real, and shopped the beach-front souvenir shops.

Later, they could have motorcaded over to Destin, self-dubbed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” and President Obama could have gone deep-sea fishing while Mrs. Obama and Sasha hit Silver Sands Factory Stores outlet mall, whose tagline is “the nation’s largest designer outlet center.” Since this was family time, they would have had to skip the bar scene, which has duly earned its reputation as a spring break mecca.

When you are president, you just naturally can’t do anything right it seems. What’s that expression? Some attribute it to Abraham Lincoln and others to John Lydgate. You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Happy Sunday!