I don’t know about you, but this weather thingy has got me all discombobulated. We’ve been bamboozled out of a decent winter and I’m kind of flabbergasted by the whole thing. It’s like I’ve been gobsmacked. (Yeah, yeah I know many of you are saying, “Don, you always look dazed and confused, so what’s the big deal? Things are just a little cattywampus these days that’s all chill out, dude.”)
But dang-it-all, what has Old Man Winter gone and done to us?
Give me just a second and I’ll tell you what he’s done, he gone and messed things up: virtually no snow in our neck of the woods this winter; record warm weather followed by a week or two of zero degree temperature and howling, gusting winds; oh yeah and don’t forget our weekly ice storms. What the heck? It’s not only making it hard to plan on things like sending your kids to school and confusing me, it is also messing with Mother Nature (and you never want to fool around and upset her). The other week I counted like 10 robins in the yard that had grass which was sort of greenish.
In January, the sure sign of spring was at hand – skunks were getting flattened on the sides of the road and stinking ripely. Trees have been budding; the maple syrup sap is running like a water faucet; geese and ducks and swans are pairing up getting ready to make little geese and ducks and swans – and this all before March 1!
I just don’t get it.
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Last week I recounted my experiences with my son the day after the Michigan State University shootings. I put on my Dad britches, cinched up my Dad belt, put on my Dad face and sternly lectured parents and their parenting ways. I wrote of how we have let hate into our lives and how I try to not even use the word “hate” in my life.
“We have lost teaching ‘respect.’ We, and therefore our children, don’t respect ourselves and therefore don’t respect anybody else, let alone respect the sanctity of life. Life is cheap and can be tossed aside.
I am no priest (though the thought – very fleetingly – passed through my brain once to be one), but I think we – Americans – have let hate into our lives and that has led to the point where some feel nothing. No hope. No other means of love. No way out save to hurt others,” wrote I, then.
From that I received a couple of reader responses.
“Dear Don, I read your recent “Trying to figure it all out column” in the Clarkston News, even though I am no longer in Clarkston, and I guess I too was triggered by people saying “I hate” as it brought back memories of my years in the Village of Clarkston. Many years ago, when I was a young man of 55 or 60, I said I hated Clarkston after the Village council had done something even more foolish than normal. I don’t recall what they did, but I’m sure it was the wrong thing to do. Being young and naïve, I made the comment while talking to a Clarkston News reporter who promptly quoted me in an article.
I said it, I took responsibility for it, and some have tried to use it against me ever since. Such is the nature of hate and why a moment or two of contemplation should follow any such thought, with a simultaneous no guns until the hatred passes. — Cory Johnston, Lake Orion”
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From Steve Something-or-Other from Somewhere Around Clarkston:
“Don, Thank you so much for your subject column in the Feb. 22 edition of the Clarkston News! Our children’s attitudes and ability to deal with one another comes from what they’re subjected to and taught by their parents! We must not abdicate that responsibility to any other entity. Life has never been, is not now, nor ever will be ‘fair.’ It can sometimes be difficult and then…it will pass. No matter what is happening in anyone’s life, there is simply no justification to take out our frustration on someone else…EVER! Mental health starts in the home and we ignore that reality at our peril! — Steve”
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From my very own Aunt Janice:
“Loved this, Don. Agree whole-heartedly. I too try to not say or encourage ‘Hate.’ To even hear one of the kids say it hurts my heart and I quickly re-route their thinking. It’’s a powerful word and leaves a path of destruction.” (I think this is the first time she’s ever called me “Don.” That’s my dad’s name, in the family they usually call me “Donald Patrick” or “DP.”
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And Christopher Lewis simply chimed in, “Perfectly said! Well written, Don.”
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Thank you everyone who responded (there are more which I didn’t have room for). I think we are all on the same page, we must lead our children by example and also teach them how to handle life’s downs as well as life’s highs (because no one likes a sore winner.) If you have ideas or solutions, send them my way. (And, if you know what’s up with the weather, let me know that, too!)
Send your comments to DontRushDon@gmail.com