Monday, June 28, 2010

A Disappearing Way of Life

Tried not to write about the oil spill again, but what can one do? For most of us it simply means seafood will cost more at the grocery store, but for the people of the Gulf it is potentially the end of a way of life. A disaster made worse because of our country’s seeming lack of a coordinated effort to help the Gulf states out.

I’ve watched Mike Huckabee so much lately I’m beginning to sound like an Arkansas hick, but he’s had a lot on his show about different ways to clean the mess up — once it’s stopped.

What’s frustrating is there seems to be no one saying, “Yes, that’s what we need to do, so let’s do it!” It’s beginning to look like we have finally gotten into something we can’t fix, no matter how many lawyers are involved.

Oh sure, we can throw money at the folks at the beach, but they’re going to want their lives back and I just don’t have a lot of confidence that’s going to happen.

I grew up in Panama City, lived in “The Cove” near Watson Bayou, and for many of you, that would be akin to living on the lake in these parts. It is a way of life for young and old.

At 12 I was fishing with bacon bait off the docks in the bayou. I always had to take my younger brother along because he wasn’t afraid to take the fish off the hook. We enjoyed fishing with bacon because every kind of fish in the bayou ate it, and you never knew what was going to be on the other end of the line until it came out of the water. Besides, I didn’t want to chop up the fish we’d caught and use them, they’d already had a bad day.

At 12 we experimented with all sorts of water sports in the bay. I remember rigging a bedspread for a sail and hoisting it on a raft made by Ernie Mahaffey, who was smart enough to know better, then floating out in the bay for a good 30 seconds before sinking. We were the Wright Brothers on water.

Ernie played the trombone two doors down the street and back in the days before air conditioning he would serenade the neighborhood until somebody hollered long and loud. His mom would then abruptly end practice.

He’s so rich today he has to give his money away, but I know for a fact that he couldn’t play the trombone or sail more than 30 seconds with a bedspread. We didn’t have much sense at that age.

When we got older and could use the boats, we’d always find Pam Ward sunbathing on her dock in the bayou. Ol’ Mike Walker never missed a chance to spray her as we pulled him near the dock. We were crazy at 15, but the bayou showed us something new each time we visited her.

Sometimes it would be one of those huge manta rays swimming along the bottom by the dock or a blow fish or blue crab daring you to stick your hand deep enough to rile them up.

Once in a while, when swimming, you’d get a friendly reminder that you couldn’t breathe under water. There’s grass down there, you know, reeds and such, with all manner of wildlife hiding and waiting patiently for something edible to swim by.

Sunfish reflect the sun from beneath the water in a ballet of sorts as they swim in the shallows. I suppose one of the things I learned from the bayou was that a lot of those creatures just want to be left alone and hang out with other things that look like them and wait for food. In that way, I guess they’re a lot like us with the exception of we’re not on each others’ food chain. Or are we? Yes, a way of life seems to be leaking away and I’ll sure miss it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Victoria's Secret Comes to France?

I’ve been paying closer attention to the news lately, something I usually avoid because listening to the talking heads usually makes my head hurt. There’s also the fact that most of the news these days is more about opinion and less about news. I sometimes get the feeling people are being misinformed, misidentified or both... something that can happen just about anywhere. Take that mess over in Korea (please). Did you know that South Korea used to send money to North Korea to keep those people from starving to death! I suppose the Christian president of South Korea felt it his duty to support the poorer people of the North. The people of North Korea were misinformed about the source of the money so their leaders put it into the development of nukes and well, here we are. I recall a war we had between the north and south and it seems both sides were misinformed. According to a reliable source, (Rhett Butler, circa 1936) the North thought it could win in a few weeks and so did the South. The Koreans have been at it for sixty years, even though they’re all Koreans. You’d think that would help them get along, although it didn’t do much for us Americans back in 1860. You have to wonder if the two Koreas remember what the war is about, since most of the people who had all the information leading to the “conflict” are probably watching from somewhere in the clouds. Now there’s so much misinformation flying around about who did what and when, no one knows the truth. And there’s no language barrier! They all speak Korean, and still can’t get along! I’ll say this, if Hillary can keep up with all of it, she deserves somebody better than Bill.

There’s also a “war” going on here at home between MSNBC, CNN and FNC. The sad thing is that the folks in charge of these outlets think we’re not smart enough to see it. Easy to see how we could be misinformed on news issues listening to three different takes on every story that crosses the “wire”. It makes you wonder who’s out there keeping us informed as to the truth and not just trying to sell us on an opinion. Picking a network to watch is like buying a pre-owned (usually used) car. You know the guy bouncing out to greet you (Mr. news anchor) wants to sell his car at his price (the story) and convince you that your car (the other anchor’s opinion) will never get you anywhere. If you don’t stay informed you’re liable to buy any old junk. I try to stay informed by listening to my wife, who knows everything and has my best interest at heart. The other day she was watching Venus in the French Open and hollered at me from the living room. “Honey, come in here, you gotta see this! I think she’s wearing a nighty on the court!” I’m not much of a French Open fan but I am into fashion so I immediately tuned in. What I saw was indeed a fashion statement. The problem was Venus looked like she’d slept late and decided to wear what she had worn to bed to the tennis match, forgetting to check the mirror before putting on her tennis shoes. At first glance (a long one)it appeared she had forgotten another important item that would go under the nightie, but a closer look revealed a skin colored pair of tennis panties molded to fit her derriere. While we’re on fashion here I might as well add that the outfit clashed dramatically with the clay of Roland Garros, but that’s just me. I recovered quickly and said, “yes, well it looks like she might have a problem reaching for those overheads for sure, dear.” Victoria’s Secret comes to France? You be the judge.