Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016: So Long, Good Luck, and Goodbye

What type of year was 2016?

Well, it was the type of year when a Presidential candidate accused another Presidential candidate of not being "well equipped" to be President if you know what I mean.  Then, that Presidential candidate assured us that he had the tools to be President if you know what I mean.

Of course, the candidate was Donald Trump.

This was one of the 843 different attempts to derail the Trump candidacy. All of them failed.

Including a recent one with stirring calls to be "Hamilton Electors" and to vote one's conscience and not vote for Trump because he is really icky and gross.  (Incidentally, it was interesting to see all of the sudden expertise in "The Federalist Papers" by our liberal friends).  Like all of the others, it failed and it cost Hillary Clinton four electoral votes.

What type of President will Trump be?  Who knows?  If he has some good luck, he may turn out to be better than some people fear. Or he could be the sum of all our fears. We'll just have to wait and see

Ah, yes, Hillary Clinton. She was the "Her" in the "I'm With Her" slogan. She would have become President if all of those pesky voters did what they were supposed to and voted for her. 

So long, Hillary. 

2016 was the type of year in which we found out that Batman didn't like Superman. I thought they were Super Friends. 

Captain American and Iron Man didn't like each other either. They blocked each other on Facebook over the election.

There were a lot of terrorist attacks in 2016 committed by, (now brace yourself because this might be a surprise) radical Islamic extremists.  One attack, at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida killed 49 people and wounded 53 more.

In the Good Things Come To People Who Wait Department But This is Ridiculous: The Chicago Cubs won The World Series for the first time since 1908. Cleveland won its first championship, in anything, since 1964 when Lebron James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Championship.

Bob Dylan won The Nobel Prize for Literature. I heard it "The Hugh Hewitt Show".

Hugh Hewitt"Jonah Goldberg, breaking news. Bob Dylan has just won The Nobel Prize for Literature."

Jonah Goldberg"Holy crap!"

2016 was the year we said goodbye to David Bowie, Doris Roberts, Glenn Frey, Prince, Muhammad Ali and Garry Shandling.

Last, but not least was our old pal, Leonard Cohen.  When word reached him early in 2016 that a former girl friend was dying, he wrote these words:

"Well Marianne, it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine
"And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey.
 "Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road."

That is a good wish for 2017. Endless love and I'll see you down the road.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

As Far As Gatlinburg

You are not a Southerner unless you have vacationed in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at least 400 times.

That is a conservative estimate. You may be a Quasi-Southerner or a Pseudo-Yankee, at best, with 400 visits.

Everybody I know who has ancestors that were either Southern Baptist/Non-Instrumental Church of Christ missionaries or moonshiners, has waited in line, sometimes up to an hour, to eat pancakes at the Pancake Pantry in downtown Gatlinburg. The Pancake Pantry, hallowed be thy name.

We had been married for over a year when our friends, Bill and Dianne Wade, suggested we meet them for a long weekend in Gatlinburg. To save money, we decided to share a hotel room at a Mom & Pop Inn. 

When we arrived, we met up with the Wades and together we went walking the "Strip" (the main road) in Gatlinburg.

It was a Friday afternoon and there were a ton of people milling around Gatlinburg. Milling around Gatlinburg is mainly walking around to various shops. Some of the shops sell t-shirts, some sell crafts and nick-knacks. Some sell chocolate. My favorite one being "the Bust of Dolly Parton", which was the bust (shoulder to head) of Dolly Parton. Freud would have a field day with those who bought this item.

Soon, our attention was drawn away from the souvenirs by a teenage couple having an argument in the middle of the road.  I couldn't quite make out what the argument was over, but it was one of the worst I have seen in public.

What made it one of the worse was the young man grabbed the girl's chin and slapped the girl. There was a big hand print on the side of the girl's face. I had never seen a man hit a woman before and I haven't seen it since.

Over the years, I've thought about this couple. What would make him do something so nasty in front of a whole town of tourists? Maybe life has given him a slap or two. At least I hope so.  Maybe he's found Jesus and he replays that scene in his mind as part of his Youthful Embarrassment Reel and has asked for forgiveness.   At least I hope so.

That evening, we went with the Wades to a fancy restaurant: Ruby Tuesday's.  This Ruby Tuesday's had two stories and we were walking up the stairs to our table when this fellow stumbles down going the opposite direction. He's in full 1987 redneck attire: trucker hat, jeans, and a black "Bocephus" t-shirt.

He stopped us and said, "Hey! Would y'all wanna go drinkin' with me?"

Bill is a Southern Baptist minister.

Instead of going all Gospel Holy-Ghost on the guy, Bill said the nicest thing. "We appreciate it, but we've had this dinner planned for a long time."  That seemed to satisfy the man and he went out into the Gatlinburg night.

We made it back to the motel room. It was kind of chilly and Dianne turned on the heater. We turned out the light.

I woke up at 2:30 in the morning. I had sweat running down my face. My wife said, "I'm about to have a heat stroke." I didn't want to wake up Bill and Dianne, so I decided not to turn on the light to turn off the heater. Instead, I decided to open the window.

As I opened the window, Bill turned on the light on their side of the room. His t-shirt was sopping wet from sweating. He turned off the heater. Dianne was sound asleep and was not in the least bit over heated.

I was thinking about that 1987 visit. I thought about the time my wife and I went back in 1988. Then when we took our son there in 1993 and 1994. We returned with a teenager in 2007. What made me think about it was the fire.

You've seen it on the news. There was a wildfire in Gatlinburg which killed 15 people. Hillbilly Golf, one of the first things you see when you arrive in Gatlinburg, was hit, but it survived. Some places were not so lucky. Downtown Gatlinburg survived. I'm not too sure of the Mom and Pop Inn we stayed at.

Gatlinburg is one of those big old friendly tourist destinations. I have a lot of wonderful memories about this tacky little town.

Sure, it is great to travel all over the world. If you have, you are blessed. Some can only go as far as Gatlinburg, and that's okay, too.

Especially if you like pancakes.