Bits and Pieces
Soldiers, student athletes source of pride
I took another bike ride today while the sun was shining and sparkling as only it can in autumn. The leaves finally turned to orange, brown, gold, and yellow in what seemed a matter of a few days. You had to really watch this unfolding spectacle daily or you would miss it.
The winds whipped up one day soon after the leaves turned, and now most are carpeting lawns awaiting the annual raking of leaves. I miss the days of my childhood, when it was still possible to burn leaves. That pungent fragrance is such a strong reminder of my childhood when days were spent in delight jumping into piles of leaves and making outlines of imaginary houses which were soon swept away by the wind.
It also marked the last days of autumn when darkness came early and hayrack rides, bonfires and weenie roasts were simple pleasures.
Last week was full of cloudy days and a light mist that fell throughout the day creating an excuse for early evenings, "jammies," a cup of tea, the favorite comforter, and a mystery. Rainy days are perfect weather for mysteries -- it's even fun to re-read Sherlock Holmes and imagine you are skulking through the foggy town of London with him as he pursues his archrival Moriarity.
On a recent Sunday, we drove into the country to Rhonda and David Tuggle's annual pig roast. On that exquisite autumn day, tables were placed outside, and friends and neighbors gathered to eat roast pork and potluck dishes while catching up on neighborhood gossip before retreating inside for another long winter.
We had an interesting conversation with Elva Kindred's grandson-in-law Marshall Goodman, who just returned from a year in Iraq. He is stationed at Fort Riley now and hoping he won't soon be recalled, as he is just getting acquainted with his son Caleb, who was born while he was gone.
We questioned Marshall about his time in Iraq and what he thought of our presence there. His insights were interesting and made palpable just how difficult and dangerous a job our troops have in trying to restore order in Iraq -- a job that Marshall estimated could take 50 years to complete. We thank him for putting his life on the line -- and on hold -- for us and his country. And in the meantime we wait and watch the faces on the news of those who won't be coming home.
By the time you read this column the election will be over, and either George W. Bush will reclaim the White House or John Kerry will be the newcomer who fills that difficult, lofty position. Whoever resides in the White House will now be asked to fulfill the promises of his campaign and hopefully mend the fences between red and blue states.
I believe that in the hearts of many of us ordinary people is the hope that our president will now find a way to bring our troops home and once again focus on our own domestic issues.
We also hope he and his cabinet will carefully examine what our role is now in the rest of the world without the rhetoric of the campaign, which was so focused on creating fear among us. We know the truth is neither candidate can ensure we will always be safe.
Hopefully a sense of reality will again prevail after the weeks leading up to the election, which were filled with vicious character assassinations in the media of both candidates. I feel that such goings on insult our intelligence and miss the mark, considering that most of us had made up our minds long before the final weeks of the campaigns.
The following quote from Anna Quindlen from Newsweek Oct 4, 2004, sums up my sentiments. She states: "How historic could it be if two presidential candidates were brave enough to reach across the divide and say the people deserve better?"
I think both missed a unique opportunity to do just that. At any rate, both candidates spent millions attacking each other in ads that were mostly dismissed as exaggerations and often silenced by a click of the remote.
Hopefully it is now over, barring a recount at which time this writer will definitely take a furlough from newspapers, television and any coffee group that even mentions politics. Enough already.
Congratulations are in order to our school athletes who have shown themselves to be winners, whether running for a touchdown, racing through the countryside, spiking a volleyball, or dribbling a soccer ball down the field. Whether they have returned each time with a victory or a trophy is second only to the enthusiasm, commitment and energy they have put into each of their individual endeavors.
To be congratulated as well are our band members, cheerleaders, flag corps and dance team, not forgetting to mention their coaches as well as the person who hides behind the costume of the Eudora Cardinal.
This issue and the last issue of The Eudora News featured several photos of many of these athletes, who bring us out as a community to cheer our young people on and to share in the thrill or the agony.
We are proud of all of you.