Living in Society Social Commentary Writing

Independence Day 2019

Flags at Oakland Cemetery -2012

Happy Independence Day… reluctantly.

I’ve not been a fan of the Independence Day holiday since military service. It’s not that I paid much attention to it previously. As a military officer I had time to reflect on the meaning of independence while stationed far from home among strangers.

People celebrate the Declaration of Independence and its grievances against the King of England. I don’t mind. While I’m as glad as anyone Elizabeth is not our queen, and Prince Charles will never be our king, Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas was an affront to human society. 284 years later the damage had been done and the founders were formalizing a relationship with the King as the hegemony of natives had been diminished by disease and warfare.

Few things point out the advancement of pre-Columbian society, and what was lost, as much as the recent book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann.

The premise of Mann’s book is there were societies in the Americas that were as sophisticated as any on the globe. They endured for multiple millennia, coming and going over time before Columbus arrived, cultures unknown to Europeans. The Declaration of Independence was an insider deal among participants who had no standing to occupy and exploit the Americas. Yet they did.

It was not unusual for Americans to side with natives at the time of independence, especially when compared to living under English rule. I side with Frederick Douglass who said,

Your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.

If I celebrate anything this day it is the renewed opportunity to get along with neighbors and friends, something I believe is critical to healing our broken Democracy. While we may not agree about the meaning of Independence Day, it is better to find common ground every way we can. We’ll need that in the Anthropocene Age.

~ Written for Blog for Iowa

Living in Society

Marianne Williamson Close to Home

Marianne Williamson addressing a gathering at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 10, 2019.

About 11:15 a.m. I left the garden and drove Ely Blacktop to 76th Street and headed West to Cedar Hall on the main campus of Kirkwood Community College where presidential candidate Marianne Williamson joined State Senator Rob Hogg in a “climate conversation.”

Since I would be returning to the garden after the event, I wore my overalls and mud-caked gardening shoes.

I joined a number of students and staff, along with local members of environmental groups in a large operating theater-style classroom. By the time we got started more than 40 people had joined us.

I attended partly because the venue was close to home, partly to support Senator Hogg’s efforts to engage presidential candidates about climate change, and partly to see if Williamson’s campaign is, as some have called it, a “joke.”

Marianne Williamson taking questions at Kirkwood Community College, June 10, 2019.

Williamson’s campaign is not a joke. Why anyone would criticize a woman who is successful in her own right, by objective standards such as having written four number one New York Times best selling books, had me curious. She made it to the first two Democratic National Committee presidential debates, although just barely achieving one percent support in three separate national polls to qualify. She’s dead serious about her platform and as confident as any of the other 23 presidential candidates. With great optimism she said, “If you’re going to run for president, you might just win.”

The main news out of the event was Williamson did not support a separate DNC debate on the topic of climate change. The reason, she said, was “because there is no competing with Jay Inslee.” Williamson also said the topic cannot be separated from the broader problems in the United States. She made a point. Advocates for addressing the deleterious effects of the climate crisis cannot separate this one issue into a silo separate from other important matters like health care, education and national defense and expect to resolve them.

State Senator Rob Hogg explaining why the Iowa caucuses are first in the nation. “We do it right,” he said.

Williamson made a strong case for slowing our relationship with Saudi Arabia. She said as president she would immediately stop arms sales to the kingdom and end United States support for the war in Yemen, a conflict she said was immoral.

She also weighed in on nuclear disarmament, asking why we need 100 aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs when dropping ten of them could end life as we know it? It was refreshing to hear a candidate raise the issue without prompting.

Dave Bradley at Blog for Iowa wrote Williamson was positioned in the third tier of candidates, among those “who truly have little chance and are often running to push some ideas or philosophy.”

Marianne Williamson has been finding her way all her adult life. Win or lose, the time spent with her this afternoon was memorable for her determination to assert her solutions her way. As Hogg referred to her speech in Cedar Rapids yesterday, it is the “politics of love” and quite different from the offerings of other candidates.

Neighborhood Network News recorded this event. The YouTube video can be viewed here.

To learn more about Marianne Williamson follow this link to her website.


Earth Day – 2019

Earthrise by Bill Anders, Dec. 24, 1968

A thin haze dimmed reflected light from the moon. Thin enough to allow dots of starlight to penetrate the atmosphere and with moonlight illuminate the neighborhood.

The haze was just enough to know it was there.

I moved trays of kale, broccoli and parsley seedlings from the garage to a pallet near the driveway in the hazed light of a waxing gibbous moon.

Today is the 50th Earth Day.

Earth Day is less about a view of night’s starry presence than it is about seeing Earth as a whole. Few times in our history has a photo of Earth made such a difference in so many lives as Earthrise taken by astronaut Bill Anders. It sparked the movement that brought us Earth Day which continues to this day.

We humans have not been the best stewards of Earth since April 22, 1970.

Early Years

Vague notions of ascendancy were taught by our grade school teachers. In the seventh grade I was segregated from neighborhood friends to join a college-bound group of peers in a special classroom. I entered the National Honor Society in high school and when I graduated in 1970 had no clue what I wanted to be. I knew I was college bound, not because I wanted that, but because the nuns said I should be. That I finished college at all was miraculous. I felt a sense of relief as President Nixon appeared to heed a shared need to do something about the environment. When he created the Clean Air Act (1970), and then the Clean Water Act (1972) I felt Earth Day had done its job.

Military Service

When I left Iowa in 1976 for basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. I had little idea of what being a military officer meant. I knew the Vietnam War was over and I wanted to serve as my father had. The context was a paternal grandfather went to prison for draft evasion during World War II. Given a choice, I would serve. Among other things, military service taught me the environmental cost of war.

The environment has long been a silent casualty of war and armed conflict. From the contamination of land and the destruction of forests to the plunder of natural resources and the collapse of management systems, the environmental consequences of war are often widespread and devastating. ~ Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general

Oil consumption and related carbon emissions are significant contributing factors to degradation of our atmosphere. The use of depleted uranium in military ordnance, notably during the 1991 Gulf War, created a complex array of environmental problems including introduction of carcinogens into the environment. We destroyed Iraqi infrastructure, including water and sewer systems, and contaminated surrounding ecosystems. The use of defoliant Agent Orange in Vietnam created sickness among soldiers and decimated biodiversity in the country’s tropical rain forests. We should include potential use of nuclear weapons which studies have shown, in a limited nuclear war, could create a nuclear winter making 2 billion people food insecure.

Awareness of the military’s environmental problems is a lesson learned.


I worked 25 years in the transportation business, including an 18-month stint with Amoco Oil Company in Chicago. What goes almost unnoticed as part of background noise in modern society is the amount of fossil fuels burned by trucking, railroad and ocean-going transport vehicles. When I was maintenance director for a large trucking firm, I spent $25 million per year purchasing diesel fuel for our vehicles. That doesn’t count fuel burned by our affiliate companies which used independent contractors who fueled their own semi-tractor trailers. The fundamental dynamic during this period was I needed a job to support our family and given what I perceived as a lack of opportunity after college and military service I took what I could find, staying there for most of my professional career. I traded the environment for financial security. My main concerns were job performance and getting ahead. The nuns in grade school didn’t adequately prepare me for this kind of worklife. Environmental issues were off the table.


When I left transportation ten years ago the climate crisis became more real.

In 2013 I participated in The Climate Reality Project conference in Chicago, taught by former Vice President Al Gore. It made a difference to learn the science of climate change and in the following months I began presenting the information learned in public speaking, in letters and articles in the newspaper and in my daily life.

We entered a period of politicization of everything. Facts ceased to matter. Income inequality worsened and the U.S. government seemed owned by the richest people. The scientific facts about climate change became a political choice: do you or don’t you believe the science of climate change?

Climate change is real and is impacting our lives now. Even banks are seeing how it can impact their business. From an open letter from the Governor of Bank of England Mark Carney, Governor of Banque de France François Villeroy de Galhau and Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial Services Frank Elderson:

The catastrophic effects of climate change are already visible around the world. From blistering heatwaves in North America to typhoons in south-east Asia and droughts in Africa and Australia, no country or community is immune. These events damage infrastructure and private property, negatively affect health, decrease productivity and destroy wealth. And they are extremely costly: insured losses have risen five-fold in the past three decades. The enormous human and financial costs of climate change are having a devastating effect on our collective well being.

The authors call for an orderly transition to a low-carbon economy. “The stakes are undoubtedly high,” the authors wrote. “But the commitment of all actors in the financial system to act on these recommendations will help avoid a climate-driven ‘Minsky moment’ – the term we use to refer to a sudden collapse in asset prices.” In other words, the climate change bubble could burst.

The Future

Less than 24 hours remain in this 50th Earth Day, a brief moment in Earth history. Whatever humans do, the earth will be fine. It’s human life and society that’s at risk. My takeaway from 50 years of considering Anders’ image of Earth against a background of the immensity of space is the same as when I first saw it: we humans are all in this together. It is going to take more than Earth Day to bring political will to act on climate.


Flooding in Late Winter

Cedar River on March 15, 2019

The amount of snow and ice melt in the Midwest is monumental.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued disaster proclamations for 41 counties because of flooding (Click on the map to see details).

News photographs show Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska, home of the U.S. Strategic Command, is one third underwater with at least 30 buildings damaged.

Where did all the water come from?

Warmer atmosphere held more water vapor which was dumped on Iowa and surrounding states in the form of snow and rain during recent polar vortex events. Wild swings in temperature, sometimes as much as 70 degrees in less than 24 hours, combined with rain quickly melted the snow. Because of deep frost in the soil, there was nowhere for the water to go but downstream. Iowa is used to spring flooding, but not like this.

Climate change created conditions for this flooding, both by enabling a warmer atmosphere to hold more moisture, and through warming in the arctic, which destabilized the trade winds and made the polar vortex. It has been depressing to live through this winter. The damage we see on our small lot in rural Iowa is minuscule compared to the bigger picture.

Last week, Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project trained another 2,000 leaders in mitigating the effects of climate change. News media cover climate change now more than in recent years because viewers and readers experience its effects every day. Climate change is real, it is happening now and we hope it’s not too late to find the political will to do something about it.

The state is watching how our governor and other politicians react to this iteration of flooding.

Home Life Writing

Used Book Sale and Other Necessities

Sign for the Book Sale at the Solon Public library

Yesterday was the annual used book sale at our library.

In addition to clearing the stacks of unpopular or outdated books, the community donates books, media and labor to manage the sale.

Each item is reasonably priced and this year’s proceeds were about $800. That’s a lot of $0.50 and $1.00 books.

I spent ten bucks on ten past issues of the Wapsipinicon Almanac, three large format picture books about Yellowstone National Park, the Vietnam War, and the Marx Brothers, one fiction book, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and a book of poetry, Songs of a Sourdough by Robert W. Service. I spent part of the afternoon reading Service’s poetry about the Yukon. First published in 1907, the copy I got is more than 100 years old. Thoughts of surviving bitter cold, wolves, pine trees, bonfires to stay warm, dog sleds, and the gibbous moon roamed my consciousness for the rest of the day.

It is doubtful I needed more books. The measure of a person’s library is less about reading or having read every book in it. A personal library is more a reminder of what we don’t know. I don’t feel guilty having more books than time to read them. I’m lucky to have a stable home life and the space to fit in a few more books after a used book sale in town. The house hasn’t exploded… yet.

I’ve been buying clothing this year. In 2018 I spent $281, and this year I already spent $150. T-shirts, jeans, socks and underwear, along with a few sweatshirts and woven shirts make up my wardrobe. For funerals and weddings I keep one pair of dress slacks, a good shirt, some neckties, two pair of shined shoes from when I worked in the Chicago Loop in 1991, and a blue blazer. Judging from what people wear to funerals and memorial services, I could get by with a decent pair of jeans, a woven shirt and a newer pair of sneakers.

There was a gift of four t-shirts and a sweatshirt from my spouse. The t-shirts are for the shepherdess to imprint next time she silk screens an image from the farm. I missed out last year because most of my shirts already had something printed on them.

The big 2018 expense was a pair of steel-toed boots to wear on my shifts at the home, farm and auto supply store. Last week, after my shift, I bought a new overcoat using my employee discount.

Me: I need a new coat.
Cashier: You really do.
Me: I know… big grease stains, broken snaps and zipper… it’s disreputable.
Cashier: Oh my!
Me: It will be my first Carhartt… this is Walls. Well I do have a pair of Carhartt bib overalls.
Cashier: Every man has those.

When I worked in the Loop I quickly wore out the pants in my suits. I picked styles where I could get multiple pairs of matching slacks. I don’t need fancy work clothes at the home, farm and auto supply store where the main issue is the quality of Wrangler jeans purchased on discount for less than $20. The denim must be of an inferior quality because holes show up in unexpected places after washing. Too, the radio and box cutter wear a hole just below my belt line on the left side. I asked the Wrangler sales representative about this at a recent trade show. He didn’t have any good answers except to buy more expensive jeans. I didn’t mention my low wages.

Food, shelter and clothing are traditional basic needs. Add potable water, clean air and sanitation and that’s still really basic. A good night’s sleep? Needed, but optional. Without these things, the need for survival dominates our daily lives. Education, healthcare, transportation and internet access are basic needs according to Wikipedia, but seriously, while important, those are extra when it comes to survival.

A lot of people would have us return to life as basic survival. For our family, years of hard work made us financially stable and built a foundation so we don’t often worry about survival. As long as there are used book sales and employee discounts at the home, farm and auto supply store we’ll be alright. Knowing a bunch of farmers and a good auto mechanic helps.

Wolves are mentioned in the history of Lincoln County, Minnesota where my grandmother was born. Wolves can be an issue, but mostly one read about in books about the Yukon… or Iowa and Minnesota at the time of settlement. As we live our modern lives it is important to remember there were once wolves, even if their meaning is lost for want of an education. Education is a salve for our worries. That’s part of why library used book sales remain important.

Living in Society

Zach Wahls Solon Listening Post

Snow Tracks

SOLON, Iowa — Snow began to fall about 10 a.m., an hour before the scheduled legislative listening post with our State Senator Zach Wahls. By the time I got to the community center, about three inches of fluff was on the ground. We live in Iowa. We began on time.

It was a small gathering, affording everyone who wanted to ask questions or discuss issues adequate time. On points where there was disagreement — resolving opioid addiction and boat motor size on Lake Macbride — the topics advanced in a civil and straightforward manner. Credit to the senator for the way he moderated those conversations.

The mix of party affiliation of locals appeared to be half Republican and half Democratic. Of the people I knew, there was a retired firefighter, a chiropractor and the school board president. As is usually the case, several people from outside the district attended with their own agenda. By now, we’re used to that. The Center for Rural Affairs was a co-host of the event and had a display with literature available.

My question was about discussion of female genital mutilation in the legislature and news media. Senator Wahls said he hadn’t read a bill on the subject, and that no one he knew was in favor of the procedure. After the listening post I found both the Senate and House have versions of a bill making it a felony to perform genital mutilation or transport a minor out of state for the procedure. (Bill numbers are HF63, HF299, HSB115 and SF212).

Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Lynda Waddington, who won an award on Friday for her editorial writing, laid out expectations for the legislature in a recent column:

  • Send a strong message that female genital mutilation will not be tolerated.
  • Give prosecutors the tools and resources to bring perpetrators to justice.
  • Signal to state prosecutors that this practice is a crime that must be prosecuted.
  • Provide education and outreach to at-risk communities and professionals likely to encounter girls at risk.
  • Include measures to specifically prevent girls being trafficked across state lines for such procedures.

“A federal judge said it is up to the states whether or not girls undergo female genital mutilation,” Waddington wrote. “Iowa lawmakers must make a statewide ban on this unnecessary and heinous practice their first priority.”

That’s why I felt it necessary to raise it with Wahls. The issue was known last session but a bill did not advance out of committee. Read Lynda’s article at the link for more background about why Iowa is even talking about female genital mutilation.

We covered a lot of topics in an hour. It was time well spent.

Tim Brown, president of the Solon School board, attended. Brown is an engaging conversationalist with a wealth of knowledge about what’s going on in the community. He was interested in the legislature’s plans regarding school funding. Wahls recapped the bills on which he expects to vote, maybe as soon as next week. There is plenty of ink out there with details, including James Q. Lynch’s Cedar Rapids Gazette story from this morning’s newspaper.

After the formal part of the meeting, a group of us discussed a variety of topics, including the fact that the school board election will be combined with other elections in November. Two seats are up. Since our school district straddles counties, there will be an additional election cost to the board for about 20 homes in the Solon Community School District located in Linn County. Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert has not released detailed election plans according to Brown.

Even though the turnout was light, it was good to circle up with Senator Wahls on a snowy day in Solon before the first funnel.

Environment Writing

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse on Jan. 20, 2019. Photo Credit – Van Allen Observatories, Iowa City, Iowa.

Refracted light creating a reddish-orange hue on the moon’s surface looked pretty cool last night.

It was an event to remember, one that transcended daily life. It drew many of us together with a shared experience.

In the eclipse it was easy to imagine and literally see the vast emptiness of the universe. It reminded us of how reliant we are on our only home with its thin layer of atmosphere. No human hand played a role in the astronomical phenomenon except to warn us, as astronomers have since ancient times, it was coming.

Lunar Eclipse Taken with Mobile Device

The event had a long name: super blood wolf lunar eclipse. I don’t need or want a name, just memory of the image enlarged on my retina with a pair of unsteady binoculars.

After sunset the sky was as clear as it gets. The full moon illuminated everything in bright, silvery light. A few years ago I would jog on the lake trail in such light. As the eclipse progressed, the landscape darkened. The moon moved above the house so I went out to the driveway to see it. It was below freezing and I returned inside several times to warm up.

Witnessing the lunar eclipse lacked profundity, it being a function of celestial mechanics. If I was inclined to howl, that’s on me and my humanity. The experience asks the question why can’t we get along when we have so much in common? No answer was forthcoming.

I thought of Juliet’s speech to Romeo:

Although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract tonight.
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say “It lightens.”

I cling to the shared experience even if my view is blurred by an intervening atmosphere, inadequate lenses, and less than perfect eyesight. If the shared experience serves a human purpose, I’ll assimilate it, becoming the eclipse. Maybe it could transcend physics to help sustain our lives in a turbulent world.

Environment Living in Society Sustainability

Day to Day Politics

2018 Top Instagram Photos

Last June I broke publicly from our state representative Bobby Kaufmann and endorsed Democratic candidate Jodi Clemens for House District 73 in a letter to the editor of the Solon Economist.

With a circulation of less than 1,000 weekly copies, I’m not sure my endorsement was widely read.

I went on to post three additional pieces critical of Kaufmann before the midterm elections. I am confident he saw the ones in the local newspaper. He won the election without breaking a sweat.

Today’s question is whether I should drive to town to attend his town hall meeting. The 88th Iowa General Assembly convenes tomorrow.

Yesterday I emailed Kaufmann my priorities for the session, mentioning three things:

  • The legislature should support ways farmers can produce more revenue per acre.
  • I questioned the need for more tax relief and encouraged him to find a permanent solution to the back fill problem Republicans created in 2013 when they altered property taxes for farmers and corporations.
  • I reminded him of our local issue of keeping the restriction on larger horsepower boat motors on Lake Macbride during boating season.

Of everything on my political wish list, these three things seem possible yet also insufficient. The better way to impact the legislature would have been for Clemens to have won the election. We came up short. It’s time to accept the results and move on.

In a Sept. 24, 2016 opinion piece in the Cedar Rapids Gazette I articulated what is most important in society: follow the golden rule, nuclear abolition, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Under President Trump, none of these is going well in our government. My work continues regardless of who my elected officials might be. Politics by its nature will almost always disappoint and party affiliation of our leaders does nothing to change the primacy of these focal points for action.

I’m left wondering why I would attend today’s town hall meeting when there is other, more important work to do.

The legislative agenda is being set by Republicans. If Democrats were in charge, it would be much different. I don’t accept the mental construct that the opposition party should resist the party in power as an end goal for the Iowa legislature. Likewise the idea we are “holding elected officials accountable” by constantly calling and emailing them is off the mark. I’ve been in Senator Chuck Grassley’s D.C. office when such calls came in and the impact was a tick mark in a pro or con column on a tally sheet to be read by staff. Grassley gets his legislative feedback directly from Iowans in his annual tour around the state, and from the Washington, D.C. community of which he has long been a part. So it is with with local representatives. That’s a case for showing up today, although not a strong one.

When I wake each day I don’t think about politics until I read the newspapers. As humans we are attracted to conflict and there’s plenty of it recounted in news media. Republicans have been a long time coming to power. Now that they have it, they are remaking the state in their eyes, changing long-standing policy. That’s the nature of political power. The longer conservative Republicans maintain control of government the harder it becomes for Democrats to undo policy changes. With two more years under Republican hegemony it seems unlikely there is any going back to what used to be.


Snow stopped falling overnight. The driveway needs clearing then there’s community organizing work for the coming year. Our infrastructure needs maintenance and if we don’t do it, no one will. Isn’t that always the case?

It reduces to a simple maxim that guides me through life: there is no other, just the one of which we are all a part. That perspective gets lost in today’s political culture. Working to improve our culture is as important as anything else we do. Such work starts at home where I expect I will spend the day.

Home Life

Build the Fire House

Firefighter Gear

I encourage readers to contribute financially to the fund to build a new fire station.

During my four years as a Big Grove Township Trustee, where part of our work was to manage the Solon Tri-Township Fire Department, it became clear the need for a new facility is real.

The current property tax levy will not cover the expense of building a new fire station along with everything else in the budget. Because the service is not managed by the city, exclusive use of city funds would be inappropriate. Management falls to the Solon Tri-Township Emergency Response Agency whose minutes are published regularly in the Economist.

Set funding issues aside and the need is there. When the current facility is ready for deployment on a call, equipment is crowded everywhere, potentially delaying response time. Additional space would make it easier for our firefighters to respond. Training is a crucial part of managing volunteer firefighters and the proposed enhancements to training facilities would serve that purpose.

At the Dec. 12 agency meeting, Chief Siddell reported 428 calls had been made in 2018, 50 more than they have ever made in one year. The combination of a growing need for emergency response and a volunteer fire department makes it important we provide what resources we can to support the effort.

Contributing to the capital fund to build the new fire station is a pragmatic way to do that. Any contribution would be welcome.

Find the campaign at

~ Published in the Jan. 10 edition of the Solon Economist

Living in Society Social Commentary

Christmas is Coming

Christmas Lights

It’s been seven weeks since the end of apple season, now two weeks until Christmas. The glow has come off holiday seasons.

It’s not that I’ve become all grinchy, hidden away in a darkened lair while neighbors illuminate their homes in festive lights. I don’t know what it is but last year we didn’t even open the holiday decoration boxes and this year likely won’t either. It makes the clean up easier and there are no young children and few family members with whom to share our traditions. People turn inward this time of year and so shall we.

We make home made chili on Christmas eve and serve it with cornbread. There are special recipes and sparkling apple cider. Christmas day we’ll fix a dinner with elements of what we had for Thanksgiving — sweet potatoes, wild rice, farm vegetables, a relish plate, and a source of protein. There will be leftovers. It will be tasty and traditional.

I know what to do to make it through the holidays — contact friends and relatives and plan for next year. Write a budget, get organized for tax season, plan the garden. The world starts shutting down Christmas eve and there will be time for a long winter’s nap… or two. Time to spend writing along with restlessness and resting for what’s next in 2019… a long walk on the lake trail.

My disconnect from Christmas began with military service. The first year in Germany, no one even knew I was there except for the battalion commander’s secretary and my family. Without a telephone, before the time of personal computers, I spent the holiday alone and that broke me from family traditions. By the time New Year’s came, other officers realized I was there and tried to include me. It felt ersatz and futile.

There was a resurgence of Christmas spirit with some joyful times when we married. Even in our decoration-less home with just the two of us the day is special. That will be enough. We’ll miss having our daughter with us and will think of her as Christmas day turns to night. One year she worked the park’s fireworks display as families gathered on streets of make-believe. Someone has to make holiday memories for night visitors.

Today I return for a shift at the home, farm and auto supply store. With five days off work I’m getting cabin fever and that will dissipate as morning turns to afternoon. Socialization at work is a main reason to stay in the work force while I can. Soon the Christmas merchandise will go on clearance with bargains to be had. I might bring something home. Who knows whether our holiday lights will even work after so long in storage. I might even use them again this year because hope remains. It’s the season of hope.