Thursday, January 15

Drones, mothers and deaths

A couple of paragraphs I read recently made me think about the world around me.  And then there was some sad news more personal and closer to home.

"The drone and surveillance program, like much of counterterrorism today, are driven principally by two phenomena: on the one hand, previously unthinkable terrorist threats, and on the other, equally unanticipated technological developments. These twin factors have motivated and enabled security agencies to undertake measures that were once impossible--and to do so in secret, without the awareness, much less approval of the people on whose behalf they act."  (David Cole, Must Counterterrorism Cancel Democracy, The New York Review of Books, January 5, 2015. Pg 26.)

Thirteen years after 9/11, much thinking is looking back. At 9/11, I, and most Americans, did not care what the security agencies did with or without our approval. We only wanted to strike back. We did not ask to be consulted then; why now complain?
 
"When my mom picked me up at the airport from my LaGuardia flight, she was wearing a designer coat she got on eBay. It was too tight, and it made her look like she was hunchback. She hadn't been washing her hair, and she had a pronounced bald spot . It was Thanksgiving, in 2009." (Amie Barrodale, My Mother's Apartment, Harper's, December, 2014.Pg. 38.)

My mom never picked me up at any airport nor bought clothes on eBay. As she got older she was fastidious about her hair and had it done almost weekly. Amie has written ten short stories, all revolving around her mother. 

Closer to home, my brother-in-law, Edward Cooper, died January 8 in Florida early in the morning. A few hours later his sister, Bertha Cooper Westbury McMillan, died in Georgetown, S.C., where she was born and lived all of her life. 

At my marriage to Mary Cooper in 1954, Edward walked his sister down the aisle and gave her in marriage; Bertha and Mary were always close as sisters ought to be. I visited Bertha and her husband Harold, in December 2014.



Thursday, January 1

A new baby for the New Year

Yesterday, when I blogged ending the year I had no idea 2014 was not really over for me or my family. It held one more wonderful surprise. One that was not expected until some time in January. At 8:58 last night my granddaughter-in-law, Rondalyn, gave birth to Steven Francis Archibald and made me a great-grandfather. His father, Steven, text-ed to tell us the newest member of our family weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 22 1/2 inches long. This is a most happy and delicious moment in his parents life - and my life -  and was made even happier this morning when I learned the baby's name. At the request of his parents, we are not putting any pictures on social websites at this time. They will make that family decision at some future date.

I plan to travel to the Charleston area on the weekend to get a first look at our first great-grandchild. It will be an exciting time. This newest member of our family will find himself loved by all and prayerfully blessed by the Lord.

Wednesday, December 31

The New Year Cometh

Today is the last day of the old year, 2014. It had its bright moments and flashes of sorrow. In many ways it was like so many other years that preceded it.

And then tomorrow, like always, the New Year will come and bring with it fresh experiences, joys, laughter; maybe good health, maybe not. The world around us will spin for better or worse and be a reminder of how insignificant we - you and I as individuals - truly are. I read recently there are more stars than grains of sand in the world. That is some hard math and not for the mathematically challenged who have trouble balancing a checkbook.

Hopefully, we will stay in touch with family and our old friends and make a new one or two. (I anticipate being a Great Grandfather in January, and this fills my heart with joy.) We will visit some new places, look at new movies, listen to new songs, read good books, taste new food and drinks. In short, live the good life we have been blessed with. We will have to be prepared for some bad news and deal with it as best we can, whether it affects us as individuals, family or nation.

Being old in years does not bother me. I am 83 now and thankful for the life lived and anticipated.  I am a bit slower than at the beginning of 2014. I know it and so do some of my family. For years I visited a son in Washington area and always stayed with he and his wife at their four story townhouse. After a trip this year, they recognized the difficulty I was having with the stairs and he put me up in a nearby hotel on my next visit. No talk about getting old, just silent recognition of what long life brings.

My wife Joyce joins me in wishing all who see this message a Happy New Year. We will walk through it together, the good and the tough, and hope you all will do the same.  

Saturday, December 20

Christmas message

Christmas is the time of the year when families and friends gather to celebrate the Birth of Christ,

 give thanks for all the blessings of this life and remember those who have been of service to us this past year. 

It is also a time to ask God's blessing on the men and women who serve our country around the world and especially those who will be separated from love ones at this special time.


And to all who see this blog, "Merry Christmas" and may good things happen to you in 2015.
Part of a festival of lights at Hilton Head.
A child exults with joy.

Have a Merry Christmas!




Saturday, November 29

Cables, splitters and football

Exterior cable box with 3 splitters and multiple cables.
It was a 'no football' Thanksgiving due to cable failure, but the Hargray repair man showed up as promised on Black Friday. While elsewhere shoppers were pushing and shoving - and a few throwing punches - things turned out better at our house. (Women fought over a Barbie doll and it took police to break it up. In England, two men fought over a TV in a Tesco grocery store and the TV was dropped  - a third man picked it up and walked off with it.

On the home front, the TV cable failure was attributed to a bad splitter and, perhaps, too many unused cables and connections. Three of the latter were in play. Since we have two TVs hooked up to cable at present the other cables were tied off and voila the tubes were back to working as usual. 

Today it will be Carolina and Clemson and later Notre Dame and Southern California.

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Friday, November 28

No football

Yesterday, Thanksgiving 2014, for only the second time in 54 years, I did not see any NFL football.  The first time I was in Taian, China, where the NFL runs a slow second to the NBA. The Chinese are very big on American basketball and follow certain players and their careers like a high school freshman chasing his first puppy love. Yesterday, my cable service went kaput and 24 hours later I am waiting for the Hargray repair man to show up at my house "between 1 and 5 pm."

Back in 1960, it was the Packers and Lions who were the game of the day. This custom of many years ended when Vince Lombardi notified the league the Packers did not want to do this any longer. It was hard on any team which usually played the previous Sunday and had to suit up again on Thursday. This cut the recovery time for injuries incurred on the previous Sunday, and Lombardi felt doing this every year was unfair to his players and fans. So the league began shuffling other teams into the turkey day festivities.
Football on Thanksgiving has been a regular occurrence since the league's inception in 1920. Currently, three NFL games are played every Thanksgiving. The first two are hosted by the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, with one team from each conference playing either team on a rotating basis; a third game, with no fixed opponents, has been played annually since 2006. With six teams now playing each Thanksgiving many more players have less time to recover from injuries suffered the previous Sunday. (The league also started a regular Thursday night game in 2006. So much for the league's professed "concerns" about player safety.)
Notwithstanding the lack of NFL action in my life yesterday, today I am the same cheerful, friendly, clear thinking, pure in body and soul heterosexual male I have always been.

Monday, November 24

Quotes worth remembering

Down through our nation's history men have uttered memorable phrases which remain with us throughout our lives, e.g. "Give me liberty or give me death,"  "Walk softly but carry a big stick," "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country," "I am not a crook," "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," "It's the economy stupid," "Yes we can." Most of these came from politicians, but others have made memorable contributions as well. Consider this "Notable Quote " from Steve  Martin, actor and comedian, found in The Island Packet, Bluffton, SC, on November 24, 2014: "I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline-powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff too."
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