Making a Difference

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

I am sitting in the quiet warmth of my living room wondering why over one million people would choose to stand in 14 degree weather for 12 hours wearing very silly hats. Oh, there they are in a close-up shot with host Steve Harvey of “Family Feud,” shouting their personal New Year’s resolutions! One is resolved to finish grad school. Another to be a lawyer. That’s nice. I guess. Another vows to pay off her credit cards, while the next five questioned just want to spread Love and World Peace. Sort of like a Miss Universe Pageant.
OK, here comes a young man to the mic who says he will absolutely spend more time with his family in the New Year. Awwww. Now, I would be lying if I didn’t say that is exactly what I want to hear from my children and grandchildren.
This long holiday weekend has been rather lonely, even while being in the company of others for an hour or so each day since we left South Carolina last Friday. I have felt a sad, depressing wave of aloneness wash over me every now and then, like right now.
Could be that I am struggling with the desire to leave my Christmas decorations up year round. Or at least until Easter. It has just struck me that having these beautiful reminders of the birth of Christ surrounding us until the calendar says it is time to celebrate His resurrection is perfectly reasonable!
I will submit to allowing Bill to remove the 10 wreaths and yards and yards of garland as well as the white twinkle lights from the front of our home, but that’s as far as it goes! Actually, I believe I understand those folks who leave their lights up year round; I always thought they were lazy hillbillies, but now understand and am ashamed of those judgements.
There is much to be ashamed of in retrospect, and I am not necessarily the guilty one. Yes, I am quick to criticize: People who wear flip flops outdoors in February, boys and men who allow their underwear to billow out above their jeans which hang around their knees, football players who become famous for an act of grave disrespect and are considered for the cover of Time magazines’ Man of the Year cover, and Time magazine for choosing the cover that they did. Rethinking this, perhaps I am not really feeling apologetic for any of those criticisms.
I find fault, too, with the garbage that Hollywood passes off as “art,” when only a few years ago it would have been labeled pornography, or just plain “filth.” From the 30 minutes of previews I was bombarded by while waiting on “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (an example of good moviemaking), I concluded that: Today’s movies are designed to display such gory horror, to create such abject fear in the viewer, generating enough terror to scare the living daylights out of a generation fed on creepy, blood-soaked television and film. The producers of the blockbusters for 2018 will continue to exploit the dystopian settings and violent plots that have long been the killing fields of the video games which turn children into teeth-gritting, savage warriors.
I am disgusted, too, by those “expressive” multi-media artists whose works are shown in galleries and museums and as cityscapes, protected by the constitutional amendment giving them “free speech.” They are applauded for their “courage,” while I see only efforts to revile the beauty of God, man and nature. I also see RED when I discover that government funds are often awarded to these ‘artistic’ projects which show a distain for all that is decent, even holy.
Thankfully, my mind was dragged from the gutter of this blue funk by Bill’s quick thinking. “I’m going to get another cup of coffee, pull a chair up and watch the parade.”
So the next two hours were spent in front of our television this morning, January 1, 2018. The Hallmark Channel, which has been a godsend this holiday season with its tasteful romantic family films, offered a delightfully informative and pleasing narration of The Rose Parade.
From what I discerned early on, the Pasadena folks in charge decided to encourage float makers to build their often wildly creative entries around the theme of “Service to Others,” with the catch phrase “Be Kind” as the motivation for their work. As Old blue eyes Frank Sinatra would croon, “Now ain’t that a kick in the pants!”
As entry after entry featuring fabulous floral displays crossed the screen, my spirits were visibly lifted; I mean Hope with a capital “H” lit on my shoulder like one of the automated butterflies made from a million flower petals! They each had “riders” or marchers who gave back selflessly to their country and to their communities; from military veterans, active duty servicemen and women, first responders to adults and teens who gave hours and hours of service in animal rescue (think miniature horses), in hospital clinics, raising monies for tornado and hurricane relief, manning ecological projects, and giving themselves to other areas where kindness and decency and just plain goodness were the biggest show in town!
One float featured the portraits of 20 people whose donated organs had saved countless lives. Several entries were dedicated to lives lost in the defense of our nation. One mother rode with her deceased son’s canine companion whom she had adopted after her son was killed in action. Makes you think.
I felt moved to search out ways to better serve my own community. Wow. If a televised parade can create a desire to serve in an old retired teacher like myself, I can only imagine . . . Today, no longer wondering what has become of the human race, I was inspired.
Good Stuff.




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