There are so many issues confronting citizens who try to keep abreast of what's going on that it's dizzying.Take what's going on in the Executive Mansion, for example. The 44th President managed to do something last Thursday that no other inhabitant of the Oval Office had ever done before.
I've been drawn to San Francisco ever since I first laid eyes on the place in the 1950s. Some family friends moved there and would send postcards or letters containing Polaroid snapshots. The place just called to me.
Tying up loose ends is always difficult, isn't it? Humans wish to project some sense of permanency - some evidence proving that we once actually mattered - into our existence. We are mortal, and we know it, yet we throw up obstacles to prevent us confronting the abyss yawing before us. We will all die, and that scares us. We don't know how to deal with the fact that we - all of us - will perish.
The older I get the more I feel that a good bit of information I've spent a lifetime accumulating may border on the insignificant. I hope I'm wrong, as it's a terrible thing to contemplate having expended enormous effort and priceless, irreplaceable time in the pursuit of knowledge which doesn't matter. But it's important to me, especially in winter, to know that the hot water won't reach the shower head until I've sung the horn line introduction to Sam and Dave's 1967 "Soul Man."
Every once in a blue moon a television commercial will appear which actually causes me to stop and pay attention. One which does so features United States Marines in dress uniform, executing a rifle drill. As the recruiting message is heard, the line of Marines is shown extending through treasured, prominent American landmarks, from sea to shining sea. The commercial ends as the picture goes to black, with only the loud clack of rifles being handled continuing, thus signifying eternal vigilance by this proud Corps.
Well, we've survived the great blizzards of 2011. The sky is blue, the temperature is rising, little buds have appeared on the end of tree branches, and Monday is Valentine's Day. Things are looking up.
After a while, unemployment starts messing with your mind. Akin, perhaps, to a tide encroaching upon one's solidly built sand castle, it takes you through several stages. At first the impressive edifice seems impervious to watery invasion; after all, its construction benefited from one's extensive experience from building sand castles. Angular moats surrounding the castle deflect momentum of the onrushing waves, dissipating the sea's destructive might. The seaward wall, bulwarked with evenly spaced towers, withstands the first few encounters with surf. Inside the walls, the castle proper seems secure and unfazed by the seaside assault.
There's a scene in the epic World War II film, "Saving Private Ryan," that always gets me. The Tom Hanks character, Capt. Miller, at D-Day plus three, having endured 45 of his men killed and 90 wounded knocking out Nazi artillery pieces, has been summoned to company headquarters, away from the action, for reassignment. While awaiting orders, the battle-weary captain takes in the surroundings. Nearby, a soldier casually shaves with water heated over a fire, while a companion chows down on a freshly made Dagwood-style sandwich.
I'm amazed each Christmas at how the whole world comes to a halt of sorts. Virtually every educated, civilized person aware of the calendar and in possession of modern communication devices knows that on this day Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, agnostics and atheists all know Jesus, whose followers claim him to be the Son of God, Savior, the propitiation for the sins of the world.
The executive director of the Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation visited the Floyd Street library last week. A guest of Newton County Friends of the Library, Craig Amason presented an interesting overview of ongoing preservation efforts at Andalusia, Connor's home just north of Milledgeville. More fascinating were his insightful comments regarding one of Georgia's truly amazing authors.