It’s what we do…

Sorry. The mind is filled with the unraveling of Greece and Puerto Rico this 4th of July morning.

It didn’t start that way. It actually started with thoughts of childhood Shoreham – many years ago – where patriotism and being a happy little boy – and part of a community’s simple and joyful and completely inclusive annual celebration of itself was all red white and blue, and marching bands composed of neighborhood members you had no idea played anything, let alone snare drums and fifes and trombones and could march in cadence. And trikes and bikes with paper mâché streamers woven in the wheel spokes – with all “dressed up for the occasion” proud and determined children feeling the first heart pumping surges of patriotism and community specialness – confirmed a hundred different ways that day…that weekend – in running races and swimming and sailing races, and community base-ball games…and endless picnics and in glorious fireworks that Frank Ghias produced year after year . Especially the final “bombs bursting in air” climax, after which you and your exhausted and happy family would walk home in the dark – taking turns holding hands with Mom and Dad. Filled with the belief that your life was blessed indeed – and that the grand celebration of the happiest day of the year would go on forever.

And it did for a while longer. And when it stopped being a holiday and started becoming an “event” – as things do over time – the suspicion that maybe all was not entirely right in Mudville after all, started seeping into the wonderfulness of it all.

Suspicions that are hard to suppress these days filled with race conflicts that keep getting worse not better…and Presidential assassination lists and drone strikes that lack any pretense of honor – along with the adoption of a “war mindset” that seems more committed to starting and dragging out wars – than ending them so they can be properly celebrated.

It’s hard to look at Greece and Puerto Rico financial defaults this morning without acknowledging the economic frailty of our universe, and our own country’s role in creating the environment where economics – from world level to personal levels – and knowing how quickly things seem to change for the worse, and how close to the edge we have allowed ourselves to get by not stopping the rulers of the universe from destroying our nest…by allowing them to take risk upon risk where now most every aspect of our lives…seems threatening,  precarious, and maybe too late to fix or do anything about.

And its hard to be proud of our adult performance as children of Shoreham in insuring the childhood certainties that it would all go on forever, because we were good and righteous and confident – and that no matter what happened we could prevail and make things right. Because that’s who we were. And because that’s what we expected of each other. And because that’s what you just did as children growing up in a country filled with the Shorehams we were raised in.

“It’s what we do…” my mother would say when she did something to help someone who needed help…or embraced a cause to make things better…or stood up and was counted when she believed that an issue of social justice – or one of simple fairness – or one of human kindness, needed her support.

“It’s what we do…” she said

We really need to come through on this people.



JMBurke – July 4th 2015


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