Take a Knee

I’ve hesitated to chime in on all the commotion about NFL players not standing to honor our flag during the National Anthem because I think it’s just stupid. The clearest definition I’ve heard about why Kapernick started this was to protest black oppression. I’ve heard all kinds of discussions that support those who choose to kneel and I can only respond with a mess of opinions of my own.

First, I believe the vast majority of those who think kneeling for our national anthem are not of my generation. I’m old. When I was in school, the first thing we did as a class, to begin each day, was put our hands over our hearts, face the flag, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Second, my first career encompassed 27 years in the United States Navy. When leaving a ship in port the last thing a sailor does is salute the flag. Upon return, saluting the flag is the first thing they do. On all US bases world-wide colors are observed twice a day: 0800 and Sunset.

No where in any of my activities that relate or refer to a flag was I required to kneel. Nope. When in uniform, and I heard the national anthem, I saluted the flag. When in civilian clothing, I placed my hand over my heart just they way I was taught.

For the naysayers out there, perhaps you view all this repetition as a form of brainwashing. I agree. Taken to the extreme, I believe all forms of teaching involve a bit of brainwashing to drive a point home. I know that for me to retain pretty much anything requires repetition. Lots and lots of repetition.

I think those folks who kneel for the anthem didn’t have the kind of education, and/or exposure that I had as a child or in the military. And you know what? It’s OK. We have that right, correct? Laws have changed over the years to the point where we don’t have to participate in any kind of ceremony to which we object, for any reason. It’s kind of like going back to live in a commune during the 70’s when pretty much everything was just plain OK. So I’ve heard.

The NFL can kneel all they want, to protest … to protest … what was it they’re protesting? … oh, ya … they are protesting President Trump’s comments about them kneeling for the National Anthem. By gosh, they’re going to show him, aren’t then?

Huh. I don’t think Kapernick had that in mind when he took a knee, but that seems to be what it’s about now.

Funny how things change.

 

A 50’s Kid

I grew up with two older brothers who picked on me unmercifully, all the time. Because of this I learned very early that we’re not all created equal. It was pointed out to me fairly regularly that I was different. There were obscure references as to how I was different, but the references changed so I tended to either ignore them, or I simply believed them, taking them at face value. For instance, the reason my name is Jerrie, I was told, is because I was supposed to be a girl. That actually makes sense. I can see Mom, dealing with two boys 5 and 7, praying that I would be a girl. I was OK with that. And it justified my desire to wear dresses to school once in a while.
As I grew older it became apparent to me that I’m really not all that different. It was just the normal sibling rivalry which I always won because I was the baby. I always got my way so everything was right with the world. Topping that off in later years, I learned that my older brothers were named after a pair of mules our Dad used to have. I’m sure that’s not true, but it’s a good story and explains why they were named Gee and Haw.
Having said all that, I think I turned out pretty normal, as did my brothers. All of that was made possible, I believe, because of the strength we had as a family.
During those formative years, our parents were friends with a family who visited on a regular basis. I do not know the basis of the friendship, and I’m pretty sure we weren’t related in any way, but it seems like they visited on a regular basis, even more than relatives, and we saw our relatives pretty often. Normally they showed up when it was time for lunch. Perhaps that was it. Mom was a great cook.
This family had a young boy who I think was my age and we had a great deal of fun playing whenever they visited. Many years later it was revealed to me that my friend was mentally handicapped. I didn’t notice. I just remember that we had a lot of fun and I have absolutely no recollection of him being different from me. I think about that once in a while, and wonder why that was.
A recent discussion I had with a good friend revealed the answer to me – it just wasn’t important. It just didn’t matter. We had fun and that was what mattered. I do not recall anyone in our family ever commenting on this friend’s diminished abilities. Therefore, there was no predisposition for me to think of him that way.
I’m not relating all this in an effort to point out how special I think I am because I really don’t feel that way. I’m just your average 50’s kid. There are lots of us out here running around in public, unsupervised, and I don’t think I’m all that much different from any of them.
Another part of my growing up involved my best friend, Jimmy. We went through 12 years of school together as best friends. I went on numerous camping trips with him and his family, and he went on numerous outings with me and my family. We ran around together all the time and he’s the one who taught me to dance to Rock and Roll music in the eighth grade, 1957. I have nothing except great memories of growing up with Jimmy.
After graduating from High school, we went our separate ways. I joined the Navy and he went to college, I believe, got married and had a couple of daughters. After that he declared that he was actually a gay person. What a surprise to me. All that time we spent together, for all those years, and I didn’t have a clue. Apparently he didn’t either since he got married and had a family.
I guess the point of all this is that we are who we are. Sometimes it takes a while to figure that out. The fact that life takes us, and our friends, in surprising directions isn’t, in the end, really an issue. It’s how we deal with it “in the moment”.  How we do that is pretty much the result of good parenting.
That, and I wasn’t exposed to a lot of graphic detail about issues like that throughout my childhood. Maybe I was just sheltered and very naive. Maybe I was exposed to those prejudices but they weren’t significant enough to impact my behavior. Maybe it’s because our entertainment consisted of the family gathered around the radio listening to Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, The Whistler, and during Christmas, The Cinnamon Bear. Or, we stood around the piano singing while Mom played.
Who knows?
Maybe I’m really living in a matrix and all my memories are manufactured.
Whatever the reason, I’m content with them as they are. I just wish my Kids, and their Kids, could have had that same experience. But, you know? They are content in their own version of happiness, making their own memories, and they’re going to be just fine.

Church, Pigs, and Heritage

I didn’t do anything today except go to church. It surprised a lot of people. It’s good we went because Pastor’s birthday was November 1st, All Saints Day, so we got cake. We were actually late for the service because we stopped at Safeway on the way and got the cake. It had raspberry jam in the middle. Very good.

After church, we brought Diane’s Mom, Jean, home with us, just like a normal Sunday. It’s a good day to spend with family. Diane whipped up a terrific lunch of broccoli, carrots (for her), mashed potatoes, applesauce, and pieces of dead pig. We have no idea how long the pig has been dead because the pieces were frozen together so well that she had to use our portable jaws of life to pry them apart so she could fry them. They did, I will add, look a lot like pork chops. Tasted like them, too.

Diane also baked a terrific cherry crunch pie, our favorite from Marie Callender’s. It’s frozen, like the pig parts, and will last pretty much forever. We don’t have them often, but as soon as it’s baked, she buys another one just to have it ready for the next time we decide to have one. Marie also makes a pretty good lemon meringue.

I’m curious about that last word, meringue. I honestly don’t know how something spelled like that can be pronounced like mə-rangor meˈʁɛ̃ɡ, depending on your nationality. I guess that falls in the category with why me, and most people I know, call Washington Worshington. In know, it’s a pretty minor difference, but I’ve discovered that some Worshingtonians take exception to my pronunciation of their favorite state. Funny how things like that come creeping out of the woodwork, like all the sudden naming conventions for some sports teams are totally unacceptable.

Take the Worshington Redskins, for example. Since that’s a double whammy from me, I wonder if it is, in fact, technically correct, kinda like a double negative. You know, like saying, “I ain’t no idiot!” or, more grammatically correct, “I am not no idiot!”

In my humble opinion, I think the ACLU need for everyone to be politically correct in all things is getting out of hand. The Redskins? Really? I heard one Native American on the news say that referring to her as a Redskin was the same as using the “N” word for an African-American. All my life the Redskins were a football team. I don’t believe I actually connected the name to ‘real’ Native Americans until someone complained about it.

Here’s another one that kinda frosts me … African-American. Native American, I get. They were here first, I think, and Columbus thought he’d landed in India. So, those he me when he got off the boat really aren’t Indians. If he had known where he was, he would have called them New Worldians. But African-Americans, to me, is an odd naming convention. If we are going to begin adding our nationality to what we are as Americans, I must be a European American. That’s because I only know what half my heritage is. There could possibly be some African in there somewhere that would make me, say, an Afro-Euro American. Then there’s gotta be Canadian-American, South American-American, Russian-American, Australian-American, Japanese-American, Chinese-American, and oh ya, Indian-American. Love that last one.

Actually, using the African-American naming convention, all of us have only one of seven choices for picking our nationality, based on where we were born.

  • Africans
  • Antarcticans
  • Asians
  • Australians
  • Europeans
  • North Americans
  • South Americans

If you find it necessary to qualify your continent, based on heritage, then I guess I’m a European-North American. But, most forms ask us about Nationality, not Heritage.

I’m getting used the name changes, slowly, and honestly do not have a problem with most of the hoopla surrounding it. It just seems, to me, that too much effort is being devoted to making it all a big deal. I’ve, personally, got more important things to worry about. If you’re offended, I’m sorry, and you have permission to call me absolutely anything you want. If you do that, don’t expect a reaction from me if your intent is to offend me, it’s a wasted effort. I’m a honky, whitey, haole, whatever. It’s not going to affect me or how I act. Honest. I’ll still do dumb things and might even reinforce whatever pet name with which you wish to anoint me.

Wow! I have no idea where that soap box came from?

OK – I understand why people, all of them, have a tribal need, if you will, to identify with their heritage. That’s fine. I think I’ll start putting down Oregonian-North American on forms that ask for race. One of my brothers is Nebraskan-North American, and another is Wyomingan-North American. I’m the only one in my family who married a woman of the same race as me. Diane is also an Oregonian-North American.

This is just getting stupid and I cannot find a safe way to extract myself from this topic other than to just quit. I regret going down that rabbit hole, and mean no offense to rabbits by using that term.

And, I apologize to all the pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys of the world because at some point in my life I will consume some of you and/or your offspring. I really don’t think you care about it, but there it is.

I must quit.