2019-03-16 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

By Howard ‘Mac’ McDonald

This land is your land. This land is my land. It’s too bad that so many members of the younger generation know so little about it.

An article in the Endeavor News pointed out how most schools are failing miserably in teaching geography. Even when families go on long car rides, mom and dad will be plugged into music or smart phones while the kids are watching videos or playing with their own electronic devices.

Gone is the day when families would watch the scenery and learn about our country while talking with each other and bonding. The kids might emerge with strong thumbs, but they miss the beauty of our great land.

We are raising a generation of geeks and weaklings. Wake up, parents.

There will be plenty of green all around on St. Patrick’s Day. I was really surprised to learn that it is not paid much attention on the Emerald Isle.

Green beer, corned beef and cabbage are Irish-American traditions, but they are not that popular in the old country.

Even though I am of Scottish descent, on St. Patrick’s Day I wear my green, eat corned beef and cabbage, and drink green beer.

I can come up with a pretty good Irish brogue. If I see you in the morning, you will get a pretty good Irish greeting, “Top of the morn’ to you.”

The Irish have a very rich tradition of helping to build this great country of ours.

Rainfall in Arizona is boom or bust. When we were living in Pennsylvania’s Land of the Endless Mountains, I always enjoyed the changing of the seasons. We don’t get much of that here.

On a rainy day in Emporium I could often be found puttering around outside, just like a kid.

Shirley would usually interrupt whatever I was doing and shout out the doorway, “There’s nothing you can do about it, so get in out of the rain.”

I was wondering why I was getting wet.

Rain is a necessary part of March to make things grow and provide the stuff we drink and use on Saturday night for bathing.

I remember the old galvanized wash tub set up in the kitchen, where my brother and I were scrubbed pink by our not-so-gentle mother. “You could plant potatoes behind those ears,” she would tell me.

That old tub was barely big enough to hold both of us. When we were through, she would give that little old ragamuffin dog of hers the same treatment. Usually when old Rex spotted that tub, he would go hide, but she would always find him.

I was staring at the moon early this evening and it reminded me of the love songs that have been written about that giant orb.

When Kate Smith sang, “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain,” we could picture that big silver disc topping the horizon. Life was so much simpler then. Now, most romantic songs are about someone who is backdooring or is on the way to Divorce Court.

From Lovers’ Lane, as the only light available from the moon is responsible for more marriage proposals than any other body in our galaxy.

The Farmer’s Almanac still gives the signs when certain things are to be planted by the phases of the moon. My father was a firm believer in planting by the signs. Usually his vegetable garden was a great success.

Dad used a hotbed. That’s a wooden frame with good soil in it, covered with windows. The glass lets the sunlight in and keeps old Jack Frost from nipping these fragile new plants.

The moon has a great influence on the oceans. Its gravity pulls on the waters, causing tides. Since ancient times, man has watched these tides along the seashores.

We have all come in contact with someone who’s not wrapped too tightly. We might call him a “lunatic.”

Everyone remembers Neil Armstrong’s famous declaration when he was the first man to set foot on the lunar surface in 1969: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”

I was at the Federal Building in Pittsburgh and saw the moon rocks on display. They looked like rocks from Mother Earth to me.

Gus the Pennsylvania Lottery groundhog disappeared from the commercials a few years ago.

The next groundhog we need to get rid of is Punxsutawney Phil.

I can’t remember the last time he got it right on how long winter was going to last. From what they tell me back home, he sure missed his forecast this year.

The amount of partying that goes on the night before his big show might have something to do with his errors. He was probably fogged up from the breath of his handlers. Booze breath is as bad as secondhand smoke.

With March Madness going on, the politicians have to take a back seat. Like I have said before, this country thrives on sports and everything else is pushed to the back burner.

I remember when Michael Jordan retired. There were 34 wars going on in this world, but all of the headlines were about MJ. It’s too bad America can’t get that interested in what is happening in the real world.

There was an article in VFW Magazine titled, “IED Hunting in Afghanistan.”

It told of the equipment they use to find roadside bombs and how they neutralize these dangerous weapons.

One of the other stories was about Fire Support Base Mary Ann and the bloody battle that took place there. In one hour of fighting, we had 30 troops killed.

These fire support bases were a death trap to our troops. They were set right in the middle of enemy territory where our troops were always outnumbered.

The war in Vietnam was the beginning of the deterioration of our leaders. It has been carried over into this marathon War on Terrorism. We are fighting under the rules of the enemy.

Colorado became a state back in 1850. I wonder how those early leaders would feel about the state now that people can while away the hours getting stoned and basically just checking out.

The state didn’t have much money back then. Spanish was the spoken language and there were gunfights in the streets.

About the only thing that has changed is the economics. The sale of legal pot is generating revenue. Also, back in the day there were no breast implants and men usually did not hold hands in public.

Times are always changing and all of the complaining in the world is not going to change that.

Keep on smiling and keep your powder dry.

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