Friday, January 20, 2017
Turning the Page
I took this photo yesterday while walking around Sandpoint on sidewalks where the ice had been cleared. In my lifetime, this stately structure has served as the community post office, the library and a title company.
More than ten years ago, my mother signed a contract inside this building when she sold a plot of the family farm to Litehouse, Inc. I accompanied her that day, which probably is the last time I set foot inside.
I've always considered this landmark as a beautiful, iconic building. It is located on North Second Avenue in downtown Sandpoint across from the present hospital and just kitty corner from the old hospital overlooking Sandpoint where I was born in 1947.
A great story associated with the notable local structure came one day decades ago when high school students transported books from the "old library" to the new library when the latter opened on Division Street in West Sandpoint.
It seemed like a neat thing to do at the time, especially for the students involved, and I'm sure that remains a permanent fixture in the memories of all who participated in an historic and meaningful community event.
Speaking of books and historic events, today we turn the page in our country's history. While I have not looked forward to the chapter which is about to begin, the page will turn today.
We know not what will transpire. Some of our population are extremely hopeful while a plurality of millions, like me, are cringing and feeling very sad that the Obama era is ending.
I have greatly admired President Obama and his wife Michelle. I thank him for his service and for ever present positive outlook and the steady hand with which he has assumed his duties as President, especially while meeting with resistance virtually every step of the way.
I am not looking forward to a President Trump because throughout my lifetime I have judged my leaders on their character, their general decency, how they treat people and if their principles and values generally reflect my own beliefs.
Through my adult life, my votes for President have gone to each party.
After months and months of observation and hoping for the best, it has been nearly impossible for me to feel any connection with Donald Trump.
That said, he will be inaugurated today, and he will be our President.
I will accept that, begrudgingly.
As a patriotic American who has always loved our country's traditions and its core values, I plan to watch the inauguration this morning and will continue to search for reasons to conjure up a glimmer of acceptance toward this new President.
At times like this in my past life---especially while teaching---I have always been reminded that it is important to cling to what you know and to what you believe, especially in darker moments.
Whenever challenges beyond my control came along during my teaching career, I would eventually realize that rather than struggling against unknowns, my wisest approach was simply to go into my classroom, shut the door to outside interferences and teach the children to the best of my ability.
That approach usually diminished distractions and most often proved productive.
Yesterday afternoon, after completing my chores at the barn, I walked out to our road to see if it was safe for walking after warm temperatures throughout the day had melted most of the killer ice we had seen in the morning.
I found that if I planned my steps carefully, the road was relatively safe. While walking back toward our driveway, my friend, neighbor and classmate Gary Finney drove by and stopped to visit.
Gary and I differ politically, but we respect each other and can carry on a fun conversation, even when it's peppered with politics.
During yesterday's conversation, we both agreed that we've been very fortunate to have good lives and that through it all, the most important influences in our lives, as simple country folk, have always been family and community.
That brief conversation reminded me of the basic credo which I follow: treat other people, treat the animals and treat the earth as you wish be treated yourself, and generally all will turn out well.
That approach is not quite like shutting the door to the outside world but still it's a comforting and simple way to sustain oneself in times of frustration and uncertainty.
And, the best part about all this: tomorrow morning and for many mornings after, when Donald Trump is our President, my buddy Liam, comes wiggling up to me with his overflowing Border Collie basket of love AND the ZAGS will still be the only undefeated team in the country.
When the page turns in our nation today, we will still find reasons to smile, and that is vitally important.
God Bless America. And, thank you President Obama.