Family Reunion

Summer finally showed up. It’s been raining for days and days, not really getting up to 80 degrees throughout the month of June and half of July. Monday and Tuesday even included some pretty nasty storms that knocked out power. I lost power myself on Tuesday, although only for a few hours. Some people hadn’t had power since the night before. Friday, the thunder was loud enough that it felt like a small earthquake. Houses shook all over the city. That was a weird one. Earlier that day, however, it was oppressively hot and humid (gotta have the combination). So was yesterday. When we had our family reunion at the park. Miserable and fun at the same time. I took pictures, of course, but it’s family, and they haven’t seen them yet, so sorry, nothing here.

2015-07-04 Family Fourth_0062b01
Timing is everything.

The 4th was a Saturday this year. That means I didn’t get a day off that week. Sure, I have a floating holiday to do with as I please, giving me 3 weeks vacation this year (whoo hoo – ya’ll over there in Europe are jealous, aren’t you?). Fifteen days of my very own, three of which I bought, well, four, actually, if you count my ArtsWave membership, plus holidays. Which are about impossible to get off unless you ask early. And often. The 4th was at my father’s house, watching the displays of others who’d driven to Tennessee or further to get the good stuff. Much cheaper than getting our own. We had our own, of course, but still…

For vacation, well, I did get to take more than a week off for the family vacation to Myrtle Beach, so that was nice. Didn’t get to spend as much time with the whole family as when we were in Daytona, which made me a little sad, but still, it was Myrtle Beach and not here. Work was, predictably, a nightmare when I returned. We were already overloaded; my co-workers did what they could, of course, but there’s only so much a body can do with their own work, much less someone else’s. Been in recovery mode ever since.

So much has happened in the world, although I’ve not been a part of it lately. The ESPY awards were on, with an apparent focus on cancer. Lauren Hill’s parents accepted her award for best moment of the year, that November evening when she went out on the court for the first time as a Mt. St. Joseph basketball player. Not the last time. She made sure of that. I was so proud of her parents. I bet she would have been, too. And Devon Still…oh man, if you weren’t at least sniffling a little, trying not to cry, you’re not human. The audience was a wreck. With Lauren Hill, it was a little different. The audience was still very moved, but she was an adult. There’s something about a sick child that hits every caregiving gene we have. Just about no one wants to see a child suffering. There are some sick bastards out there who do, sadly, but they aren’t the majority, not by a long shot.

And of course there’s Caitlyn Jenner, with the Arthur Ashe award for courage. I’m still a bit torn on that one. On the one hand, coming out like that, becoming her true self, that took tremendous courage. I can’t even imagine the amount of strength of character it took. Her family supports her, too, and I know that helps. Actually, you know what? I think I’ve just decided where I stand on this. Not that it matters one way or the other; I’m not on the committee who decides who gets what award, but I suppose I’m just telling myself.

As Army Behavioral Specialist, Joey Vicente says, what if her speech saved a life? I should listen to my own arguments. Not sure if it’s something I believed from a previous life, or what. Probably something to do with my own past biases. No one’s perfect, after all, wouldn’t be human. Caitlyn Jenner is a hero. Period. and whomever ESPN chooses to honor with which awards, well, that’s their prerogative. The fact that it was so well advertised for a solid month points to a bit of courage on the part of ESPN and their majority shareholder, Disney. Can’t help but think Walt’s spinning in his grave or freezer or whatever.* He wasn’t a fan of those light in the loafers, as they may have said back then. The concept that gender and sexuality are not the same thing was probably beyond him. Neither here nor there. Disney is now firmly in the human rights support camp.

The Confederate battle flag came down. The SC statehouse flew that on public grounds for a long time. That flag may represent heritage to some, but to many others, it represents segregation, separation, slavery, white supremacy, Jim Crow, inequality, lack of justice, and only being counted as 3/5 of a person. An awful lot of people use it to represent exactly that. Far as I’m concerned, this recent protest says it all. I’m not saying that Confederate memorials should be torn down, rather that as a symbol of division, one of the worst in our nation’s short history, it doesn’t belong on the state capitol grounds. Keep the memorials. Keep the state flags that were inspired by, in part at least, that flag. That’s part of our history. Choose carefully, with thought and reflection, how best to display it. The speed with which southern politicians, republicans in particular, acted to comply tells me an awful lot of them were looking for a way to separate themselves from that flag, to get it off the grounds. There wasn’t much fight in them. Not for that.

It’s been a long summer, and it’s only half over. Back-to-school sales are beginning, though, and the days are growing shorter. This summer will end, and all the controversies will be buried by other controversies, real and manufactured, in time. Right now, though, I’ll just keep away from the news. I have enough stress in my life.


*Yes, I know good old Walt isn’t actually frozen.


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