John Lamb set the bar this morning over at Hispanic Nashville for defining what the American dream means to him, as well as offering some simple yet important advice that could help us all learn to listen and learn from each other. He chose just one picture, so I am following suit:
(photo from Professor Falken)
When I was a kid, I remember marveling at the size of the Hoover Dam. I got to visit the dam, and took a tour with my family. I was horrified to learn how many men died during construction. I was too young to shift the importance of that project to how many LIVED during that construction project, how many men found the American Dream while harnessing the power of the Colorado river. They worked hard, sacrificed, and by doing so received a fair wage with which they could feed their families. Some of these men were spared further humiliation of bread lines and shelters by a project paid for and benefiting the commons. You, me, and our neighbors. No one is born an American. Being American is too important to be determined by an accident of birth. Rather, the true American embraces the idea that all are welcome to participate in the pursuit of the American Dream, with the understanding that it is reached by our collective effort, and no man enjoys an elevated status over another. It is that very pursuit that makes us American.
I have no poem to offer, just this:
I am grateful to be here, and thankful that you are with me.
I understand that my future is dependent upon yours.
I will embrace our differences rather than fear them.
This experience is made more valuable by the fact that is a shared one.
John has details regarding the American Dream Breakfast over at his site.
As a former restaurant/bar owner, I can sympathize with the proprietor of McDains Restaurant in Pennsylvania. He just implemented a new policy at his place….banning kids under 6 years of age-no exceptions. His complaint centers on the fact that some young children just cannot be controlled by their parents, particularly their volume level. He feels it is incredibly rude to bring unruly children to a public restaurant, and I kind of agree with his decision. Recently, we enjoyed a vacation as a family, and of course that meant many meals out. Breakfast for the four of us averaged 40 dollars. Dinner? Twice that. To pay those prices and have your meal outing ruined by spoiled kids is a double whammy, as they say. I remember back when I was a server, and I’d be appalled at what some parents will allow a child to do, then not feel obliged to leave a nice tip. Some just trash the place, especially the area around them. Food all over the floor. I didn’t mind the clean-up, except that it takes extra time and I might miss out on a good party that will tip appropriately.
I’m not sure how you enforce the somewhat arbitrary age limit though. Kids don’t carry I.D.
What do you think? Does this owner have the right to do this?
Edit: I’d be all over a restaurant that banned cell phone conversations. I HATE to hear some self-important asswipe yakking on and on at the next table.
I remember the day I found you, or perhaps more accurately, when we found each other. You were all ears and feet and boundless energy. The lady at the shelter handed me some forms, which I could hardly fill out because I was so enthralled watching you. When I brought you home, you looked around, wagged that stump of a tail, and stretched out on the floor. You were HOME. We had a fenced acre lot and it took you about 6 minutes to mark every tree inside the fence. You and the kids grew up together in that yard, I remember laughing at the way you would stay glued to Nog’s heels if he was outside. Back then, you were allowed in the house, and your favorite activity seemed to be to find the most comfortable looking person in the house and weasel your way into their spot. I can’t count the times you wound up in my chair while I was relegated to the floor.
When we moved to Tennessee, you endured a hellish car ride from West Georgia to Nashville. You never liked being in a car. The entire farm was yours from day one. You knew every inch of it in no time at all. You hunted rabbit, squirrel, and various other Tennessee wildlife. I don’t think we saw a squirrel from 2002 until 2007, when you must have decided they could roam freely on your property once again. You loved to swim in the pond and creeks, and I could spend hours watching you unsuccessfully try and catch the small fish with your teeth. Worst fisher ever.
You were my friend, and I relied on you to watch our property when were away or while we slept. Your deep, ominous bark would always alert me to approaching cars. You protected the whole family, and I loved you for that and countless other things, buddy. When cancer ate away ate your muscle and left you weak, you still dutifully followed me around while I mowed or puttered in the barn. A few weeks ago, when a pack of coyotes crossed a little too close to our house, you dragged yourself up and let loose with that bark again, and they scattered back into the hollow. That made me grin.
I made the painful decision to put you down to rest myself. There was no way I was going to make you endure a car ride only to wind up at a terrifying vet’s office for your final journey. Instead, the Primary Wife and kids spent a nice day with you, said their goodbyes, and you and I went on our last walk into the woods together. My good friend James put it nicely as “walking you across the bridge”. It was perhaps the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I felt you deserved to rest and in the end, I was at peace about it. I love you, Rocky. You will be missed forever.