I was sitting on a country porch, not a person in sight, like when I was a child, making no demands of nature, just five senses and a pinch of patience, open to the great whatever…and aw, there, the wonderfully random way a butterfly flies, watching a mockingbird chase a crow away from its claimed tree, listening to the sudden baritone battle of frogs, feeling warm, realizing the air had calmed, then oooh, the joy of a little breeze, bringing that fresh cut grass smell. Age 60, but might as well be me at 6. It was Easter Sunday, and I felt blessed to have ever known this in childhood, and to have it again, for a morning, and know that though life has changed me, it hasn’t changed this part of me. And I wondered…
…I wondered if there are any children being raised like I was, to be phoneless, TVless, gadgetless, able to spend hours of solitude in the outdoors without thinking of it as something to endure.
I wondered if children still daydream. You don’t order up a daydream, it’s just a little snack of a miracle, requiring time, quiet, solitude, and neither interruptions nor demands. I’ve stared at bumblebees on clover flowers, and then off went my mind, not to connect dots but to just go playfully among the brain dots.
Of all the things that came in the package of me, I’ve wished to be taller, less moody, more confident in a room of strangers, but one thing I’ve never wished to trade was my mind. It sometimes forgets that 7 x 5 = 35, it gets overwhelmed when the to-do list is longer than 3, but at its best, my mind is a wanderer and wonderer, sees links between unlinked things, taking note of trivia that turns out to not be trivia, seeing the uncommon in the common, a mind that loves the toolbox of words. Sometimes I feel like a Billy Shoemaker sized jockey aboard a great horse, not whipping for speed, but clinging to reins and mane and stirrups. And that mind, came from my childhood. Who would I be, and what kind of mind would I have, if I’d been a child of these times…
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I wonder if we’re running out of people who can read War and Peace. Most of us haven’t, but it’s nice to know that somewhere in our population, we have those kinds of people, because we need them. What will America be like, when I’m old, when the doctors caring for old bodies have the attention span of a tweet?
Speaking of youngsters, I wonder if our grandparents were as alarmed at our generation as we are of the newest litter of adults. I hear it everywhere, No work ethic, They don’t seem to care about anything, Pride, Ethics, Modesty, and then I think back on what a drop off we must have seemed to the WWI and WWII generation…so, there’s always that…
Who’d Uh Thunk
There was a time when America made a great deal of sense to me. It wasn’t the same old thing as it had been for my grandparents, but the changes were mostly scientific and technological.
Not in my wildest dreams, did I think a phone could do what they now do, but what has really caught me off guard is the change in people and society.
We seem so petty. So highly offended. We march to end hangnails and protest the unfairness of blisters. Rather than becoming more of one thing, we seem to be splintering into ever smaller demographics of minority.
There seems to be a national rebellion against common sense, allowed by, and often led by, people who benefitted from being raised with common sense.
Americans have gotten soft. I never thought I’d see that. Last month I shook a man’s hand and it felt like sandpaper, and I thought Still Made In America! Quantity unknown, but thank God Almighty, there’s at least one still.
This America we’ve become is way bigger than me. As for doing anything to make it better, looks like the least I can do is hold my ground, keep my own counsel, stay true to true, that I can do.
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On A Lighter Note
I appreciate being alive. Randomly open up a history book and it’s clear that there were worse times to be alive and plenty worse nations to call home. America is still such a youngster of a nation, and bless our hearts, we still have that do-good do-right idealism of youth.
When I was a kid, stuck in the sticks on a farm, my father a small church pastor, I often wondered what it would be like to be a Kennedy, born into wealth and power. Now, knowing what I know about money and power, makes me just want to kneel right here, right now, and ask forgiveness for being a knucklehead of a kid. There is complexity and imperfection in every childhood, but grace of God that I had what I had, was planted where I was planted, given this and deprived of that, it all amazingly seems to work for the eventual good, and blessed are we, who are at peace with who we turned out to be, and would wish to wear no shoes but the Goldilocks pair He made just for us.
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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where you can count on common sense, with two shakes of creativity thrown in.
Other Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page. Uncle P can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.