It is the end of 2009. We all have much to remember and perhaps even more to forget. Being of writers, we tend to immortalize, critique and serialize people, events and things that inspired or moved us. I’m no different and I have some notable farewells with a point.
Goodbye to Innocence: In PA, a string nine arsons on Dec 27 left residents in a PA town shaken and frightened. Two people died in their house when it burned down. Seven buildings and four cars burned. One man on camera said he now had to lock his house and the police were encouraging a light be left on inside, to give the appearance of a person being home. This new requirement of having to lock his house, seemed to shake this man’s faith more than the arsons. For this man, the violence was the end of his innocence and his faith in mankind.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t lock my house, my car, my gate, my jewelry box….either I never had faith or innocence or I’m just not willing to be tested. Gives me pause and makes me sad to see my cynicism rewarded. And sadder that I didn’t realize there was such adult innocence left in the world.
Goodbye to Good Taste: A truly good restaurant has closed. Okay, that bit of news isn’t rocking the Earth on its axis but it does signal something significant. This restaurant is less than two miles from me and is was the only fine dining eatery in Mint Hill. My town has been a mecca for fast food (BK, MickyD, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Dunkin Donut, Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, Bojangles, KY Fried, Taco Bell, Subway, Showmars, BBQ (replacing Quizno’s) but not a fine dining restaurant among those. We do have a place called Jimmie’s which is sit down family food and very good…and a Shomars which is also sit down (pizza, sandwiches, quick food). But it wasn’t until three years ago when Mamma’s Italian Pizza and Pasta opened that we had a real taste of Italy, serving pastas and steaks, seafood and killer desserts. Eating in was like going to NYC, being in the movie Moonstruck, listening to Dino sing “That’s Amore,” drinking really great table wine and swallowing your tongue while consuming killer Tiramisu. And on top of all this home-made authentic Italian food and true Sicilian pizza, they — delivered!!
Now they are closed. I saw the sign on the door, saying due to circumstances they had to close before the holidays. I blame my town for apathy and inattention. I’m angry and sad. We – Mint Hill – let a family slip away, a business die, a personal non-franchise eatery go the way of memory. I’m sad. No wonder we are all fat — we’d rather have fast food than good food, good company and good taste. It is an eye-opener for me.
Goodbye to Hero Worship: When I was a kid, I looked to my dad as my personal hero. I also admired John Wayne (still do). And I looked up to dancers in the ballet, football players (Dolphins one and all in the 60’s), even astronauts. But I think that was before the world went crazy and we rewarded unfaithfulness, domestic violence, pedophilia, fraud, extortion, duplicity, and embezzlement with hyperbole, reality television, tongue-in-cheek news reporting and old fashioned rationalizing. Gone are the idols, the heroes from tv or movies or sports or government who are worth our lofty respect. Even the military has tarnished its own with gang members, radicalism, cultists, war mongers, skin heads and the lost. It’s a shame too because there are many in the military who should earn our respect and could be held up as role models. But The Age of the Hero seems dead. I miss it – and them -already.
The first decade of the 21st century is closing. There is much to regret in the world, much that is shameful and forgettable. And yet…
…a child’s smile can warm my heart, a song can lift my soul, a sunset can warm my blood, a moonrise can inspire chills. A good friend can make me laugh and cry (both delightfully), a sister can evoke dialogue, a husband can still surprise after 20 years, a dinner can become a picnic or a champagne event, a present can inspire wonder and giggles. Therefore, I guess it is true: we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for the sake of Auld Lang Syne.
I hope to give, inspire, laugh, and love more. If we can reclaim innocence and squelch apathy; if heroes can be reborn, then I’m out to help those who believe the world might become a better place. Join me?
Cheers to you and best wishes for a brighter, happier 2010!