Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Duck Dynasty Controversy

Phil Robertson said some things a little differently than I might have said them but the First Amendment said he could say them any way he chose and so it’s done. The comments about gay folks, in particular were mighty graphic, but isn’t that considered an “alternative” lifestyle?  Phil thinks they’re all going to hell anyway but he thinks straight folks will too unless we follow the tenets of the New Testament. I’ve got enough trouble judging me most days and if there’s a judgment coming down the only one I’m really and I mean really concerned about…is mine. But, I do keep my sexual stuff where it belongs, in the twilight zone. I wish I had some sexual stuff to write about but if you’re looking for titillation you’re reading in the wrong place. I will say I enjoy the ladies on FOX NEWS but there are those who find Wolf Blitzer attractive. But I digress.  

Let’s look at an important issue Phil raised, that of the black “experience”, something I know nothing about because I’m white and have to look at it through white eyes. My white eyes saw the signs, the raggedy clothes, the walking on the side of the road for lack of a car, the looks of despair, confusion hate and envy, of the blacks in the sixties. Also the look that asked, “Why us?”  And I know that people my age remember and do grieve for those people, now mostly gone. But I cannot get inside those heads. Those that made do as humans but were seen as less than. Since then we have seen progress. A person would be a fool to not admit to that. The questions we need to ask now are “What do we want from each other, where do we go from here and how can we play together on team human?”  I think we want more than anything to be accepted and respected for who we are as humans.

Assuming I am right, we must get along. I don’t take exception to Robertson’s comments about his experience with blacks in dirt poor Louisiana, in the sixties. He wasn’t going home to television after a day in the fields…seeing riots in L.A., Chicago and Memphis. From what I read, he was as poor as the blacks with whom he worked. If one wants to judge the man with regard to race relations find out what he’s been doing since he got a television set.  And no, he probably didn’t have a newspaper either. He saw blacks through his personal prism. The media is putting way too much importance into what Phil Robertson said in the GQ interview but we’re smart enough to see that stuff sells.

Those of us who live in the south, blacks and whites, have come a long way, overcome a lot of “stuff” and we’re still at it. Still trying to like each other enough to give and take where it counts.  Still trying to get beyond the rhetoric of the race baiters and find a way to make our collective experiences work. Education as I’ve said before is the key to getting along with and respecting others. I’ve seen it.

I see it in a basketball coach name James Lundsford who takes young men (black and white) at GMC and insists they be on time, make good grades, respect each other, even referees (difficult task) and extols the virtues that will lead to success in life. This man’s “successes” are everywhere! I see it in Burt Williams, who takes college football players and students from all walks of life, and molds them into a unit capable of playing in a national championship football game. Their successes are based on a common team goal.

As we sit here on Christmas day with a new year approaching, my wish for each of us is to become part of a larger team, team human. When we do we will go a lot farther toward the goal of solving our many societal problems, the least of which is skin color.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I met a nice lady at a tennis function over at Reynolds Plantation the other day. She said, “Hey, you’re the guy that writes about dogs!” Some folks don’t like dogs but the older I get the more I enjoy the company of a dog or watching birds. Most folks are too busy for that I suppose; After all, the fantasy world of TV and internet is very alluring. But, if you like feeling missed when you leave home for a while a dog is your best bet. Not many folks will look for you like a dog with its nose to the floor, checking out every corner of the house. Plus, when’s the last time your wife wagged her tail and barked when you came home? Well, some will bark I suppose but a dog’s bark is different. Also, it takes a lot to rile a dog up when he’s just hanging out or resting. I believe they ponder the worth of getting upset over little things and decide it’s just not worth the trouble. 

On the subject of birds, a lot of them mate for life, something humans don’t do much of anymore. Of course most of our birds’ lives are not very long with a mating season dependent upon weather and food supply Now I don’t know if two male birds mate for life or two females, but isn’t that interesting? Yes, we can learn a lot from dogs and birds.. My mother and I were sitting on the porch one day watching some mocking birds flying around a bird bath. She said, “Could you imagine a world with no birds?” I couldn’t. But, as I’ve said before, animals were blessed in the Garden so there must be something special about them and it was a dove used by Noah that found dry land. Here’s a true story about a bird I came across at the beach one day. 

“I walked passed a large rock and there he was, hanging with wings askew, watching his family and friends as they chased bread tossed by screaming children further down the beach. He was a big one, wings spanning a foot but obviously worn out from his lifelong struggle to touch the clouds and provide for his family. As he lay there, his head began to droop, making it difficult to see the sky and he would throw it back occasionally for what might be the last time he ever saw a cloud. I’m sure he was hoping people would simply walk on by and not gawk but let him pass away in peace. Usually they go off somewhere to do that but it was a long fly across the jetty and probably too much for the old bird. From the look of him he’d been flying the waters of the bay for years and no doubt missed those days. I suppose he felt at home there on the rock above the sand but I had this feeling he was wishing he could have soared on high one last time, feeling the wind lift and turn his tired old body as he watched from a safe distance those below playing on the beach. As I got closer, I noticed him cock his head to the side to get a better look. I paid little attention, not wanting to embarrass the old fellow but I think I caught a nod, maybe a wink as he seemed to say, “You too will see a day such as this my human friend.” 

What else may he have been thinking? Memories of catching a piece of bread while flying three to forty feet off the ground or diving into the water, catching a fish only he could see and then flying out? Perhaps the families he had raised? They don’t abandon their young you know. Yes, we can learn a lot from birds. So he laid there, hours to go, wings splayed about, hanging off a rock. He was after all, just a seagull”

 Stories of abused animals and birds are seen frequently these days and you wonder why. Could it be we’re seeing the best of us in most of them?    

Monday, December 2, 2013

Last week I found myself in a room full of strangers at what I believe was my fifty some odd high school disunion. The most dysfunctional function I’ve ever attended. I wandered in around 6:15, the buffet had started at 5:30 but I wasn’t in much of a hurry. I knew that a huge dose of reality was waiting for me, the reality I see in the mirror through that pupil behind the bag I’ve noticed when prying my eyes open to shave at 6:30. I’ve considered a face lift but am afraid I’d end up looking like you know who (insert any name you please), without his wife’s money. 
The menu wasn’t much, roast beef or baked chicken, some salad, potatoes and rolls. Things we would find easy to spear so as not to get any dribbles on our clothes. No gravy, thank goodness. It was old folks’ food designed to keep us healthy until the next major event in our lives, which could come at any time. We used to eat fried chicken. Not anymore. And the “menu” of life seems to be missing several other “items”, but we’re not going there. The conversation around the tables was health care and who needed what and when the surgery was taking place. I felt healthy when I walked in but as the evening progressed my swagger became a stagger as I realized I looked pretty much like everyone else.
And I was fairly sure who I was but had no idea about who the others were because the names on the tags were too small to see, even with my trusty Dollar Store 2.5 reading glasses. Picture a hundred or so seniors, still able to get around, trying to get close enough to one another to see a darn name tag and you get the idea. Thank goodness pomade went out last year. I found myself sitting with an accountant, (who found himself to be the most interesting person he had ever known), and his wife, who looked like she had heard every story he’d ever told and was thankful he still went to work every day because he had become the most boring person she had ever known.  He was a guest so I was relieved in knowing I didn’t have to know him. But, he’s convinced that I’m convinced he is someone with whom a schmuck like me should appreciate spending time, so he keeps on talking about numbers and figures and whatever else it is they do. I got the feeling he drank a lot. “My wife and I are excellent skeet shooters!” He said. And I’m thinking; you’d better be “Sport”, from the looks she’s giving you she’s going to swing that barrel too far to the left one day and bingo, you’ve shot your last skeet.”  He got up to get a drink and I threw some roast beef on a roll and escaped to wander and wonder if there might be one living soul in that room I could recognize or anyone who could recognize me. 
I found “Bubba”, the one person who actually looked somewhat as he had in school (he still had hair) and like a drowning man reaching for a life buoy, I latched on to this poor fellow. “Bubba, it’s me, Sonny!” He gave me the same look I give myself in the morning mirror like, “what happened to you”?  Then he asked, “Seen anyone else from our class?” I had no idea. We exchanged niceties but I got the feeling we wouldn’t be “teeing it up” anytime soon. So, I wandered about a room full of fat bald “uncles” and women who looked like “aunts”. There was also the thought that remembering me might not be such a good thing, for if they did, would it be a good memory or one they had tried to forget until jarred by this encounter with a stranger. 
Also, it is indeed a strange thing to have to ask someone if they remember you, or being ask by others if you remember them. You hear and say, “Yes” but looks on faces tell a different story. We are not always remembered by someone whom we had placed at the top of our list and that just might be a good thing.