Yeah, you can tell the photo above was taken with my cheap Walmart cell phone. Not the best, but you get the idea.
I’d like to wish my readers, friends, whoever, a fine holiday season. It’s none of my business which deity you worship, if any. But I do wish you all a chance to get together with people you care about. I hope you do something, celebrate anything.
Us? We’ll be fine. On this season it’s easy for me to reflect on how lucky we are. There is no war or fighting in my immediate vicinity. We are well fed. We are relatively healthy. We are not choking on the burning remnants of our forests. Each of our material needs are met, we can travel where we like at will.
In short, we are blessed. Our living standard is much higher than our ancestors, we live charmed lives.
The tragedy is that so many are unhappy. Pissed off.
I can see it, although I try to stay out of the ditch as much as possible.
Here in Greater Appalachia many die of overdoses, or they let their lives swirl down the bottle.
There’s a real lack of meaning in a lot of people’s lives. Many in the past could say “I’m a miner.” “I’m a steel worker.” Et cetera. There are those who say that everyone should go to college, prepare themselves for the modern, technological age.
Here’s the problem. A lot of people don’t want higher education, they want to work in the sun, build things with their own sweat and effort. They want to punch in, punch out. At the end of the day they want to go home, crack open a beer and watch TV. They don’t want to be plugged in 24/7, they don’t want to be on creative committees or spend 16 years in school.
These people are being left behind, and their livelihoods are being erased by the machines and the pursuit of the almighty dollar.
It’s tough to feel good about yourself when someone asks you “what do you do” and your only response is an uncomfortable silence.
So people retreat into silence and a bottle of pills, or a case of beer. They are the walking wounded of our age, mixed in with another group that is silent, unseen.
I’m speaking of our combat veterans, and here in Appalachia there are many.
Some are quiet. Some are not. They range in era from the Second World War to our most recent conflicts. Men, women. The lucky ones have families, others have driven them away.
It’s impossible to generalize about this group, although there are those who try.
All of us have murder in our hearts, but our combat veterans have seen the real thing up close.
Don’t let the past ruin all of your days. Especially Christmas. So if you fit in this category and happen to be reading this, go to the VA. Sooner, rather than later. It helps. I know.
Me? I count myself as lucky this Christmas of 2019, along with my family.
I wish each of you good fortune and cheer as well.
Wishing ain’t good enough, though.
If your situation is bad, make a plan to change things around in the new year. Even if the plan is poorly executed and half-realized, it’s a start in the right direction.
Like my buddy the Colonel always says, “Just put one foot in front of the other.”
In 2020, just keep putting your feet down. If you don’t quit, you’ll at least get to a different, maybe better, place.
Now go make a plan.