December 17, 2016, Prescott-
I regard myself as a progressive. There is only one way to real progress, though, in my view. That is, for everyone to roll up their sleeves, get a given job done, and not be concerned with WHO ELSE is on the team, or in the relay line, so long as each person is carrying his or her weight.
I was on a team, this morning, whose collective task was to empty a storage yard of holiday wreaths. We had about a thousand wreaths, most of which were in boxes of six. Our team, of ten men and one woman, loaded the boxes and loose wreaths onto any of three trucks. The trucks then brought their loads up to a staging area, in Prescott Memorial Cemetery, where others took the wreaths and placed them at each of a thousand or so gravesites, as part of Wreaths Across America, which honours our departed veterans, each Christmas season. The team members did not stop for a minute, until the job was done. Yes, it was cold(18-25 F), but so was shoveling snow, back in Saugus, Deerfield and Bangor, in my earlier days. As the project director said, when we first gathered for assignments, the men and women whose graves we honoured did not flinch, for convenience’s sake.
I left the site, after our job was finished, and went over to another place, where 45 women, men and children were putting Christmas baskets and backpacks together, for homeless veterans and disadvantaged families. My jobs were to sort donated groceries into food types, sort empty backpacks into piles, by colour and size, and then help fill twenty backpacks, with donated clothing, safety implements, toiletries and stationery. Once again, each of us worked with the others, across lines of ideology, gender and age, with no regard for differences.
These two events, no doubt, had their counterparts, by the thousands, across the country, and around the world. We do them, as part of our community loves, on a daily basis, some of us more than others, but each according to his/her own talents and time allowances.
I went to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, last night, in our very comfortable, and inexpensive, Picture Show Theater. The plot told of a young woman who grows up, a de facto orphan, learning the self-reliance and self-discipline that such a state of affairs imparts. She trusts few, having been abandoned by her father, and betrayed by two competing groups of tyrants. The rest is up to anyone, wishing to see the film, to find out for themselves.
I have had to go it alone, several times, in life and I’m sure this will happen again. Being “rogue”, however, doesn’t mean that one should lose sight of the greater challenge facing humanity. We are here, I believe, to care for one another with enormous passion. My opus, gladly engaged, is caring for others with an ever-decreasing regard for my own comfort. Yes, my “job”, in the eyes of family members, is to take care of myself, and I have that one down, pretty well. That said, people and their chronic issues will not go away by themselves. Progress means that the problems of society are to be remediated systematically, or not at all. It means we do this together, and get over our differences.