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Paradise in America? Not so much

So here's the thing... Things have changed people. And if you're sitting there with a Starbucks double latte mocha in hand at your desk reading this on your big wide-ass monitor that got you to this blog site at flying DLS or fios speed playing this video (excellent, BTW... from Phil Collin's farewell tour in Paris in 2004).... Consider yourself lucky. Our country's economy has truly changed what is real for so many Americans.

I remember when my beloved father was alive... I was a V.P. for a NYSE company and I had just had one of my infamous battles with the company about something so big & important (so it seemed at the time)... and I shared with daddy a fear of... one of these days pushing the envelope so far I'd be fired and without a job. I'll never forget his reply... "Pfft... This is America. You'd snap back and get another job. Do you ever see anyone starving to death HERE where we live? Have you ever seen anyone starving to death? Of course not! So relax a bit..." he said.

Fast forward my life through a job layoff, a divorce, a foreclosure and personal bankruptcy... a few years later... kids going off to college, starting new jobs/business, getting a new home... all that... and oh, the many nights so very alone running the numbers... and figuring out calendar dates when a mortgage payment might hit the bank account a day before the pay check goes in... or how I'm going to pull off a decent enough Christmas party outfit... etc. I never was starving, but I sure can write you a tale of suffering that "seems so bad"... but I have been lucky, for I have never been starving. Maybe I had to wait a week to buy groceries (still today), but there was always something to eat.... stilll cheese in the fridge. At least I always had food and a roof and a car.

People are starving out there. They really are. OK OK... yea, there are a lot of people who DON'T TRY... but I'll bet you a huge percentage really are down & out due to circumstances. I'm one of the people everyone yells at because I give the loose change and a few bucks to a panhandler. You never know who is an angel. You never know if you really make a difference in the tiniest ways.

I was driving home from the grocery store this evening. I had carefully shopped for the week (and I can do it for the three of us for a little over $100 a week now)... and with my bigass car filled with packages, I drove behind the grocery store to hit the service road... a short cut. Behind there are the big dumpsters the stores use. I saw a family there... a skinny man standing in the dumpster passing thrown-out food to his partner. There were flies all over the place. They were pulling together some food for themselves. And I drove away.... remembering what daddy once said,... how different things are today.

And that makes me very sad. This great wonderful country where opportunities are supposed to exist for each of us... today, not so much. And faith is becoming lost. And many of us are frightened. And our teenagers didn't see the high times we did in the 80s and 90s... and they don't remember times better than these.

And my son, who is getting his associates degree in a month and a half... is pondering "why bother" to get the Bachelor's degree.... doesn't seem to make much a difference any more or have value in the marketplace. Sigh.

And yet... we still have so many choices and resources around us. We just need to put things in perspective.

I dunno... I'm sitting here blogging... sad, but still hopeful. And I guess that's all for today.


doreenmary said...

P.S. On a lighter note... I'd "do" Phil Collins.

mavis sidebottom said...

eww thats just sick

Roger D. Curry said...

True statistic: 260 million pounds of food are thrown away in America every day.

Very true statement: I wouldn't "do" Phil Collins.


Jilly said...

last week at my Wed. prayer shawl meeting, one lady i've never met showed up for the first time in about 3-4 months. she spends most days taking other people, who are in various forms of assisted living and abandoned by family, to the Dr for free while caring for her slowly dying husband. she crochets to keep her sane and does about 20 hats and 2-3 baby blanekts or 2-3 shawls a week. We were having a nice chat and talking about how great it is that the two of us finally get to meet when someone came in and told her that she'd got a flat. she broke down and cried b/c she didn't have $.75 to fill the tire at the exxon up the road. Bernie madoff stole their life savings. They lost all their money and their house (they got to keep the car) and now they're living on pennies and government handouts and this woman still does for everyone else but she was at the end of her rope. it hurt her to admit how bad it was for them, but there was nothing else she could do.

without a beat all the ladies in our group got out our change purses and handed over what loose they had to her without making a big fuss. I got the feeling she'd turn away bills, but change was acceptable. we prayed things would be better, and she told us that they were already better this year than last year (they lived on their daughter's sofa last year, so to have an apartment this year was a blessing). i know it isn't my place to judge madoff, but I know there's a special place in hell with his name on it. Even though it isn't up to me, I'm not sure he can repent enough.

you're right, you need to do good things when you can because even if it's a little, it feels good not being the one asking, and i know that if i were in the position of asking, i'd be thankful that someone was able/willing to help out. Many people who have (especially those who have a lot) forget that in seconds they could have nothing at all and should perhaps back off the judgment of people who are poor.