Tag: 2020 November Group Writing

Member Post

 

There are many days open this month. I especially encourage new members and those who have not posted in a while to join in this month’s Group Writing theme, “‘Tis the Season.” I really do not want to break out the bears or disco music. Help make Ricochet merry and bright this season. Stop by […]

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Thanks for Friends and Family

 

As we enter the American winter holiday season, from Thanksgiving through New Years Day, thoughts turn to friends and family. Even for those bereft or apart from those who love or especially like them, the days on the calendar occasion strong emotional responses. Just ask a bartender about their business later on Thanksgiving and Christmas days. So it is fitting to pause, reflect, and give thanks for friends and family.

Family:

‘Twas the Season in West Germany

 

I experienced Christmas 1987 through 1989 in West Germany, in the heart of Bavaria, serving as a young Air Defense Artillery officer in the Army Reagan rebuilt. This was just before the influx of disillusioned East Germans and other relatively lawless former Warsaw Pact people, corrupted by the poison of living compromised lives under communism. West Germans were rule-followers. Ordnung muss sein! There must be order! The affirmative answer to “is everything alright?” “Alles ist in Ordnung.”

Everything is in order. One result was that private and public spaces were clean, neat, in order. At the same time, we and the British Army of the Rhine (by its name still an occupying force) had our boots firmly on the backs of a people who had shown a particular penchant for mass violence against others. So, I got to experience German culture and society at its best. I remember two German traditions and an American military tradition.

Slowing Down

 

Over time, I’ve been nagged by an annoying thought and it just won’t go away. I’ve tried to ignore it, discount it, and ridicule it, but it is persistent. The other evening, I was walking from one room to another, and noticed my gait—slow and gentle. And there was the truth: I was slowing down, undeniably, and in some ways, disturbingly.

Now you have to understand that most of my life I have put a high value in doing things—almost anything—quickly. I might not be the smartest person, but I was fast and efficient and could run circles around many people. I took pride is this talent for a long time. Finally, I began to notice that I was striving to do things quickly that just were not all that important; they certainly did not demand my meeting a deadline. I also realized that trying to do everything at warp speed was causing me a great deal of stress, but I was the only one who seemed to care about this ability. So, I made a concerted effort to slow myself down. I realized how valuable this goal was when one day, I had rushed home from a work-out and had another obligation to fulfill—not one I was particularly interested in. I decided I simply was not going to rush, but instead took my time. Out of curiosity, I checked the clock when I was ready to leave, and was astounded to realize that I had showered and changed in record time! It wasn’t possible! But, in fact, I discovered when I was simply attentive to what I was doing, timeliness would often take care of itself.

Thanks for Excellence

 

November 2020 offered two shining public examples of humans “being best:” one on a racecourse in Turkey, the other racing up from Cape Canaveral to meet the International Space Station. Formula 1 went racing in Turkey on Sunday, November 15, in the rain. The unworldly talent, Lewis Hamilton, started in sixth position and stayed there for much of the race. Then the unexpected happened, as might have been expected.

Closer to home, in all the ground clutter of Democrats trying to steal our republic, you might not have noticed that Space X Crew Dragon roared off the launch pad with four astronauts aboard on November 16. We can be thankful for the individuals and entire systems that produce such amazing achievements while noting that they are gravely endangered by the global leftist movement, to which they at least pay lip service.

Space history:

Group Writing: Giving Thanks, a Refusal to Budge

 

CornucopiaWell, here we go. A post in which I fully expect to be excoriated as a “Pollyanna.” As a person who refuses to acknowledge the Truth. A disbeliever in the “science” of what we (Conservatives) face at this particular crossroads. A deluded fool. And some sort of wrong-headed political animal who has no right to speak because, actually, She can’t even vote, so who cares what She thinks, anyway. Been there. Done that. And, frankly, it barely registers anymore.

So, being too oblivious, pig-headed, and determined (thanks, genetic inheritance) to do otherwise, I persist.

Here’s the thing.

Thanks for RAF Cadet Memorial Service, 8 November 2020

 

I was very pleasantly surprised Sunday morning in Mesa, AZ. The Royal Air Force Cadet memorial service was held as it has been for the past three decades or so at the Mesa Cemetery. I bore witness to this as I feared it would be another remembrance cast aside on the pyre of our fearful reaction to a middling pandemic. Not so. While people wore the city council mandated face masks, the mayor of Mesa was there to speak, as he had in the preceding years. This annual memorial service is held the Sunday before Remembrance Day, our Veterans Day, and calls to mind the special relationship between our two countries and the service and sacrifice of those who have served.

The air filled with the sound of bagpipes and bugles blew clear and true. Prayers, poems, and remembrances were offered. The roll of the honored dead was read. Mayor Giles spoke brief and appropriate words, as did the honorary British consul for Arizona. I thought the best remarks were offered by the young Royal Air Force officer, on assignment at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. More on that in a bit, but first the event in pictures:

“Horn” of Plenty

 

The setting is Oxford, 1936. A gently smiling man is pouring a veritable cornucopia of gold into the academic caps of ecstatic scientists and medical researchers, equivalent to about 50 million dollars in today’s money. This is flashy philanthropy, big time, in a reserved and proper England far closer to the times and attitudes of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs than to our own. The horn of plenty is the cartoon’s visual joke: it’s a squeeze-bulb horn, the kind we use on bicycles, but back then it was an old-fashioned symbol of early motoring. For the square-jawed, middle-aged benefactor is multimillionaire British auto tycoon William Morris, soon to be ennobled as Lord Nuffield. Morris was no aristocrat. A former mechanic who founded an industrial empire, he didn’t inherit that money. He earned every shilling of it.

Member Post

 

Expressing gratitude, being thankful, giving thanks, is a matter of mental and moral hygiene. We all have an opportunity to do ourselves and each other some good. It is as simple as signing up for this month’s group writing theme: “Cornucopia of Thanks.” Follow the link and pick a day. It will do your heart […]

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A Cornucopia of Thanks Songs

 

 gramophone cornucopiaIn keeping with the approaching season, I offer an early post, a playlist of songs about thanks. Turn that frown upside down and let your toes start tapping through the madness of the moment. Feel free to add to the list in the comment section.

We start with a 1942 song from Holiday Inn. Bing Crosby sings “I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For.”

Ты будешь моим другом?: Thanksgiving for Unlikely Musical Friends

 

The world of classical music, no matter the age, is not one that we think of as full of friendship. And with good reason; the tales of divas, rivalry, and compositional disputes are far more rife than any about peaceful partners and easily co-written sonatas. But when, once in a blue moon, a deep and abiding musical friendship occurs, then it almost always produces beauty that we can be thankful for. 

On the face of it, Mstislav Rostropovich and Benjamin Britten were unlikely candidates to be friends. There was a fourteen year age gap between the two men (Britten, born in 1913, was the elder), they came from entirely different, indeed opposing, societies, and knew nothing of each other up to the moment of meeting. In fact, right up until Dmitri Shostakovitch offered to set up a meeting, the Soviet cellist thought that Britten was centuries dead, a contemporary of Purcell. 

Member Post

 

From turkeys wearing pilgrim hats to pictures of Pilgrims and Native Americans having a feast together, Thanksgiving has many symbols. One of them is the cornucopia. “What’s a cornucopia?” you may ask. Well, most of the pictures we see of them look something like this: Preview Open

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Member Post

 

Hey you! Yes, you. Each month, Ricochet members like you share a few thoughts, a bit of knowledge or creativity, playing off a theme. Sometimes it is no more than a concluding line or a throw-away to shoe horn their post into the theme. We are very casual about that. The whole point is for […]

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