Annie sends her love!
About a half a million years ago, I use to spend Saturday mornings at Georgetown Prep...the elite Maryland school filling the headlines these days. An old beau was the Assistant Headmaster/English teacher/Swim Coach. Swim meets were held on Saturdays, and I was often enlisted to time swimmers in their individual lanes. I spent many hours at this school...sports events, social events with the faculty...a visit to my old beau's office. It is a beautiful school.
One of my memories centered around a swim meet. I was sitting in the bleachers, after the meet, waiting for my old beau to finish up with his team in the locker room. Back then I would have been around twenty two...and could have been mistaken for sixteen. On that Saturday morning, I was, indeed, mistaken for a "student". An affable young fellow...a student...approached me and sat down for a chat. He was well into the top ten on his list of openers when he spied the Assistant Headmaster/Disciplinarian coming our way. He put two and two together and by the time Mr. Headmaster was taking my hand to help me down the bleachers...well...he was babbling about having to be somewhere and making a hasty exit. Imagine...caught in the act of making a move on the Headmaster's girl...by the Headmaster himself. Pretty benign goings on compared to what we are hearing these days.
I write this on this last day of summer. Perhaps a metaphor is in order. Every day an old memory is laid waste by ugliness. Places and institutions that I grew up with have become vestiges of their former selves. The ruins have left me reeling. Summer is, indeed, over.
Because I am home with Annie, I spend a lot of time watching news unfold in real time. Natural disasters, shootings, political vitriol...I'm there. And I'm tired of it. The ugliness that has seeped to the surface in America has become too much for me. But, as a citizen, I am obligated to be informed. I can't just stick my head in the sand and pretend all is well.
I always knew that there was a seedy underbelly in this great country of ours. When I was a teenager, on a family trip south to Florida, I saw a billboard that denounced "Negroes, Catholics and Jews" sponsored by the local KKK. It terrified me. I have seen, with my own eyes, a burning cross surrounded by men/women wearing white hooded robes. That was in the 1970's, in a field not ten miles from this very house... a field that is now a strip mall with no knowledge of it's sordid past.
The ugly that once lay beneath the surface is now, in some cases, brought out into the sunlight to be nurtured and encouraged. In some cases exposure is welcome. In some cases it shouldn't be. It should be used as good to dismantle backward thinking and push us toward enlightenment. Exposure is a double edged sword.
I don't know what has provoked me to write this today. They are just my thoughts as they pop into my head. Not meant to scorn or admonish. Mostly just looking for something to hang on to as those with power lay waste to the rules I grew up with not so long ago.
I feel adrift these days. I'm a worrier. I see a lot of good out there that is often overshadowed by the not so good. When I was growing up, a lie was a lie. What is it today?
I plan on doing something fun this weekend to get me out of this funk! A walk in the woods is in order. And maybe a sunset.
Enjoy the day,
P.S. I often recall that horrendous billboard I saw as a teen...especially when I am in the company of two of my dearest friends. We are the personification of all that that hateful sign was against...an African American, a Jew and a Catholic...good friends. As for those that hold any sort of affinity for the ignorant sentiment expressed in those four foot letters...you lose.