Monday, September 30, 2013

Time to Play the Ant

It was just a beautiful weekend, weather-wise. Nice blue skies, warm but still a little crisp in the air. Great New England early fall weather. The kind of days you'd like to go out for a hike, get a bike ride in or maybe just go watch a high school football game. Saturday would have been ideal for walking around downtown Salem, mixing it up with the tourists who are now streaming in by the busload.

So, where was I while we had such great weather? Jim was in his back yard. I knew I had to cut the lawn. The damned weeds are still growing. I also took a look at all the patio furniture and knew that had to be put away.

I hate to put the backyard table and chairs away. That to me is definitely a harbinger of winter.

Well, I put aside any thoughts of enjoying the weather in any recreational manner and got down to preparing the yard for the coming season. I emptied the shed, pulled the snowblower out and got it to the garage. I refilled the shed with all the summer things, got the yard-vac by the door ready for the freakin' leaves. Yeah, a stack of lawn bags near by.

The lawn got cut. Probably won't be the last time. Stacked some wood over by the wood stove. Ok, so it felt good to have this stuff done. The shed is packed just right, summer stuff to the back and in the loft, tools I'll need for the fall right by the door. I'm ready.

Still, it would have been nice to goof off. Maybe take a ride to the north see some foliage. Go pick a few apples, carve a pumpkin, hell I don't know. How the hell did I get to be an ant, anyway? The damned grasshoppers seem to be having way more fun!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sometimes You Can Go Home

I cut the lawn at my parent's house in Lynn, yesterday. We've been trying to sell the old homestead now that both of my parents are gone. We actually rented the place out for a while, however, we thought we had a buyer recently so the tenents moved on. The renters were great people and kept the place looking good. They did shoveling during the winter and cut the lawn throughout the summer. You can say, I had it easy as a landlord.

Anyway, the buyers backed out, the tenents moved on and Jim finds himself cutting the lawn he was quite familiar with 40 someodd years ago. Actually, I don't mind cutting grass - too much. It gives me a chance to really listen to those voices in my head.

Funny thing happened as I mowed the old family estate. I was, all of a sudden, transformed into that 17 year old kid who cut the grass Saturday mornings as part of my family chores. When I was in high school, my old man gave me two things I had to do during the summer cut the grass and take care of the pool.

I suppose there were plenty of times that mowing the lawn seemed like a heavy burden. As fall approached, I do remember not being able to head out to the football game at Manning Bowl until the lawn was cut. Yeah, it sucked being in the back yard and listening to the crowd at the Bowl. The old Manning Bowl was great for crowd noises. We heard them pretty well at the house and we were a couple of miles down Western Ave. I bet you don't get that same effect from Manning Field. That's too bad, another Lynn memory lost to Father Time.

As I was cutting the grass yesterday, there was a moment when in my mind I looked up at the patio and there was my father sitting there having a beer, smiling as I labored over his yard. It was good to see him again even though I was thinking it might be nice for him to pick up a damned rake and lend a hand. It's kinda cool how you can picture things that haven't been for decades. Just up and down that yard, maybe for one of the last times ever, life as a teenager and a son came flooding back to me. Hey, it was one of those moments, what can I say.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Try to Remember

Twelve years have past and what was true then is true today. It was a day that changed America. It changed the way we travel, it made changes in the way we gather, it made changes in the way we think. 9/11 was a horrible murderous act of terror brought to our doorstep. It set in motion a war to hunt down the architects of the crime and it provided the fear that would allow the country to let itself be led into another war. 9/11 is a day to be remembered. It's a day we can't forget.

On this day, twelve years later, there are many memorials, many remembrances, more stories are written, individuals post their thoughts on twitter. One can imagine that it will be like this every year for many years to come.

There were many posts making the rounds on Facebook today linking 9/11/2001 to 9/11/2012. These posts were making the case that the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are in some way similar to the tragic events in Bengazi last year. Yes, they are indeed both terrorist attacks. The assault on the consulate that left four men dead including an American ambassador was a premeditated act of terror carried out by Islamic extremists. That is without doubt exactly how to describe the attacks of 9/11. The 9/11 we remember from twelve years ago.

9/11 has become a term over the past dozen years. When you say 9/11, people know exactly what your talking about. That's why I think it is wrong to try to attach Bengazi to this term. Bengazi has a strong political undertone to it. There are many who want to put blame for Bengazi in the lap of the President. Or, they want to hold Hillary Clinton personally responsibile. This is differnt than 9/11. Tragically, 9/11 brought the country together. There was overall support for President Bush's decision to take the fight to Afghanistan. Bengazi separates the country. Bengazi, in a way, shows us where we are today, twelve years later.

There are those screaming for President Obama to be impeached over what happened in Bengazi. This, after Senate investigations reveal a tragic event but no specific wrong-doing that led to the attack. Bad things can happen in bad countries. Ronald Reagan found this out when he left a company of marines in a barracks in Beirut. However, there are those who just want to accuse. And, there are media outlets that will continue to fuel this debate, insisting the President and the State Department did something to cause the attack.

So, we can remember Bengazi. It should not be forgotten for the tragedy that it is. However, I'll remember 9/11 as 9/11 and how different it made the whole country feel.