Twelve hundred miles he’d flown, from somewhere far away he’d never been. Steered north and west, finding his direction from the sun and the force that guides a compass needle. Flown until he saw the shape of humpbacked hills, the lines of little houses and the chimneys, heard the clanking towers, smelled the soup and coal dust.
You know you are old when a summary of a stuipid story about a kid and a pidgeon tugs at the ol’ heart-strings.
I stand loving America, aware that I often fall short of what that love should mean. When I say I love America I mean I love certain shared values and founding ideals like the rule of law and equality before it, liberty, and self-determination, and what people have done to achieve them. I love the values as lofty as the right to speak and worship and as humble as the right to raise a family and work and live as I see fit. I love it knowing that these ideals are more aspirational than descriptive, more a to-do list than a resume. They are what Lincoln called “unfinished work” and “the great task remaining before us.”
I happen to be that sort of middle-aged-softie who is deeply moved by our National Anthem.
…but, when I stand for the National Anthem, I do not judge those who do NOT stand (even if they are in the row behind me talking loudly). I love America all the more for its ensuring their right to a freedom of expression; An America where they should never be forced to declare their adoration for the State as a precursor to watching some random sporting event.
In 1979, my mom and dad, and their friends the Hollisters, started a long-time tradition of chartering bare-boat sailboats in the Caribbean.
As I’ve been working my way through things I kept from the house, I recently got to scanning this cruising permit which my father had always kept framed on the wall near his work bench.
To all whom these presents may come
know all men that by
the powers vested in me by the Government
of the Virgin Islands
Master of the Vessel Kona Kai
with his gallant crew of 4
is entitled peacefully to cruise and enjoy
the waters, beaches and reefs
of these blessed islands
from the 18 day of Nov 1979
to the 25 day of Nov 1979
Cursive or not, the benefits of writing by hand extend beyond childhood. For adults, typing may be a fast and efficient alternative to longhand, but that very efficiency may diminish our ability to process new information. Not only do we learn letters better when we commit them to memory through writing, memory and learning ability in general may benefit.
As you look back on the year that has just past, do you feel as though you spent another 12 months merely existing instead of truly living? Do you often go to bed at night with an anxious, sinking feeling that you wasted away another precious day of your limited time here on earth? One of my all-time favorite old books addressed this very concern better than anything else I’ve ever read.
~ Arnold Bennett
104 years old, still readable, and totally apropos of our lives today.
Here’s a shot my dad took in 1968 when they were at Niagara Falls for their honeymoon. I have two galleries coming soon; the rest of their honeymoon photos, and the photos from our (Tracy and I) trip to Niagara Falls in 2011.