July 31, 2021- Stopping by one of my favourite local eateries, this morning, I received the jarring news that the owner of the establishment had come close to death, while I was away. He has recovered somewhat, but was still in an upset frame of mind when I saw him briefly.
There is a shortage of those willing to work, in our community, as elsewhere across the country. Some blame the recovery checks sent out earlier this year. Others point to the continued unemployment benefits being distributed. Having had to collect such benefits, on a few occasions in the past, I find that hard to fathom. Besides, the satisfaction of a job well done far outweighs the dubious bliss of lazing about in bed all day-but maybe that’s just my upbringing talking.
July, and the second journey back East this year, have come to an end. I won’t be leaving the Southwest again this year, barring a family emergency. The cost of the unexpected, but necessary, first trip, in May, and a freely-made investment in an enterprise that has turned out to be a money sink, have used the amount that I budgeted for a European visit, slated for this Fall. I don’t begrudge the entrepreneurs who asked for my contribution, but it is obvious that they did not think the whole thing through, thus their requests for continued donations-which I am refusing. Sometimes, the best thing one can do for another is to let him/her hit rock bottom.
I will make shorter journeys, in the months ahead: A memorial hike, on the Navajo Nation, is tentatively slated for mid-August; a visit to southern California is in the works for mid-September and I plan to spend 1-2 weeks in New Mexico, in mid-October, visiting and re-visiting some favourite parts of the Land of Enchantment. As COVID has pushed everything backward, 2022 looks to be busy enough: Spending time with friends and family in the Deep South, in February-early March; Trans-Canada and across the northern tier of the U.S., in May-early June and the postponed European visit, in October- mid-November. 2023-25 will bring other peregrinations, as well.
One of the most overused cliches in our culture is: “The more you give, the more you get.” I’ve found that usually comes from those who sit back and watch others get taken for a ride. At any rate, I am not buying into the cynicism and the chortling. No one person can be expected to raise others up, in perpetuity, It takes a community tide to lift all boats.