IT’S HAPPENING ALL OVER AGAIN

Whoa. I just read an article by that one time monologist, George Will. In his latest triumph of sardonic humor over common sense. He talks about Donald Trump as someone who will bring our country down. His reasons are that white people have to vote at a 65% rate for a Republican to have a shot at winning the presidency. His tour de farce implies that with white people becoming less that a majority in this country, we will be overrun by the barbarians of different colors.

Oh, does this sound so familiar to anyone who has knowledge of our past history. This has been going on forever. It did not start with the Revolutionary War. It has been there from the beginning. Remember when Roger Williams bolted to Rhode Island to form his own kind of Puritan religion. How about when we were inundated by Irish Catholics in the 1830’s and 40’s. One million of them destroyed out country with their worship of the non-Protestant God and their allegiance to the Pope.

How about the African Americans after the Civil War. Weren’t they going to overrun the country and take over all of the plantations and towns in the South? How about the late 1800’s and the Jews and other Eastern Europeans. Even the German Jews who came decades earlier were concerned that this “unwashed” set of people would destroy what the German Jews had created in this country and practice a barbaric kind of Judaism with a different language (Yiddish). All of this while one million Germans were allowed into the country.

We were blessed with the anti-immigration phobia in the 1920’s. Since we did not want to get involved in another war, we should not let immigrants from Europe into our land. Then came other assorted “different” people from Cuba in the 1960’s escaping from Castro and his minions. Soon we were involved in a Far Eastern war to defend people who really didn’t look. like “us.” After Vietnam, we allowed those who escaped the country to settle here including the Hmong tribesmen who were our allies in Vietnam.

We have had millions of Mexican people enter our country legally in the last part of the twentieth century. We have accepted Haitians, Ethiopians, Sudanese (remember the lost boys), Japanese, Chinese, Russian Jews, and oh, so many others. Did it destroy our country? Actually it made us stronger as we moved into the twenty first century. Now George Will is worried about our new demography. George, that’s the way it has always been. Did you know that the NFL is majority African American and that your beloved baseball is now 35% Spanish? How about the NBA? Have you been relegated to watching only hockey and even there African Americans and African Canadians are making headway?

George, go back to sleep for a while. Maybe you should look at the movie, “Sleeper,” and see how things change over a long period of time. Hooray for Yu Darvish, Yasiel Puig, Manu Ginobli, and that former rugby player who punts for one of the NFL teams

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THREE WEEKS IN ADULT DISNEYWORLD

 

This place is amazing. The people here all seem to come from other places (except for the locals, who seem to be in the minority now). The talent in Sun City is amazing. Few people want to talk about what they did for a living before they came here. Just a couple of examples should suffice. There are a couple of big time generals- two and three star, a person who was in charge of grants for AT&T, big time school people artists, and lots of business owners. I find myself hesitating to tell anyone what I did for fear that they will say, “Aha,” and go about their business.

The place is rife with clubs. There are no restrictions on clubs that you can start. Some, like the woodworking shop, will not allow you in until you have taken 12 sessions on safety. There are trips galore. Each community within Sun City (we are in Garden Walk), was built at a different time over the past 20 years. They each have their own bylaws and have their own events. There are introductory events galore. You can be welcomed by the entire Sun City, own community, the men’s clubs of Sun City, your religious organization, your state group, your interest group and many more. By the time everybody has greeted you and you have taken Sun City 101, it will probably take a year. I met a man at the gym who has never gone to one of the gym orientations and has lived here for 8 years. What’s with that?

The main topics of conversation are food, restaurants and health. We have gotten so many suggestions about restaurants, that I am full just thinking about it. Last night we went to a Far Eastern fusion buffet and it was not as good as Hong Kong Ruby back in Harrisburg. We also went to the theater and saw Soul program which was really wonderful. Would you believe I knew the words to most of the songs.

On a professional level, we have already been to one school board meeting in Beaufort County. That is where we live. It was very instructive. They have 11 members of the school board. Carol and I were very impressed with the way the board was run and the discussions. We introduced ourselves to a number of board members and to the school supe. He seemed like a good guy and knowledgeable.

Carol and I had copious office supplies. We had, after all, two offices in our home. Carol wanted to give the stuff to a needy school in the area. One of our neighbors volunteers in one of the schools (people here a big time volunteers) and agreed to take Carol to a local elementary school. When Carol came back she was quite upset. The school secretary was very appreciative of the supplies. The secretary asked if there was any paper in the supplies. Carol told her there wasn’t. Carol asked who needed the paper. The woman replied that teachers had paper, but that the children mostly needed it because they were too poor to buy it for themselves. There were so many questions that Carol would have wanted to ask, but didn’t.

The neighboring school district, Jasper County, is truly rural and very poor. They do not do well on any measure. A gentleman that I met, who was a well-known reading expert had volunteered (no dough involved) to help with a reading program. He never heard back from the administration. For some reason that wasn’t too unfamiliar. Rural school districts and rural people are always suspicious of outsiders who look like Greeks bearing gifts. It took Carol and me a year or two to convince our scholarship school districts that we were on the level and were just there to help the kids. I have a feeling that Carol and I will try to go over to Jasper County and see what we can do. Our rural creds are pretty good.

About 15 years ago, I was asked by Professor Charlie Greenawalt of Millersville University to write a segment of a book on new trends in education. My chapter was on rural education, of course. Charlie called me a couple of months ago and asked if I could write a chapter on how state control of education was formed in the U.S. I agreed and have already made some headway. I will be using the facilities of the branch campus of the University of South Carolina here in Bluffton. Carol and I went over to it the other day and got the layout and will be looking to join and make use of the online data bases.

It’s a bit strange trying to get used to the climate (real hot) and a different pace of life. People here say that the pace is slower. I am not sure of that. Their complaints are that service people and others, professionals included are really laid back and have a different view of scheduled events. If that is true, I have not seen it. I have a feeling that the complaints come as a result of people hurrying up to get to wherever they are going- mostly to jump on the rides and get to the next stand with the boardwalk fries and hot dogs.

SOME TIDBITS ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA

Tomorrow will be two weeks since we moved to South Carolina. We are still paying two mortgages and utility bills until we sell our home in Harrisburg. Yes, it is worrisome, but South Carolina has more than made up for it with its ambiance and quality of life. Yes, it is blasted hot right now and if you stay out to long without a covering of SPF 50 or a white bedsheet (no, not those people with the hoods) you can really get burnt.

This part of South Carolina is certainly different from many of the rural areas. It is a gathering place for retirees and avid golfers. You can’t drive any distance without coming across a golf course or two. The place that we live in has three golf courses. I have not had the guts or time to go out and hit a few. I am not really a golfer, but I love the scenery.

The landscaping and architecture of the place, both Bluffton and Hilton Head is really amazing and also mystifying. There are no open shopping areas. Unless you have a clever GPS system or have lived here a while, you will not be able to find Lowe’s, Best Buy, Steinmart, PetCo or anything else. The shopping areas are hidden from the roads by trees and other greenery. Yes, there are cutouts that have small signs that tell who what’s there, but you can’t really read them following the speed limit. You really have to have gone there before, or having a talking GPS.

Our experience getting our car registration, which is not a cursory 36 bucks, but rather a tax based on the blue book cost of the car, was very pleasant. I did have my credit card with me, so payment was easy. The driver’s license was something else again. The DMV was constantly packed. As with the deli counter and bakery, you had to take a number. For some reason (later found it was my blended bifocals, I could not read the third column in the eye test. I got a clearance from my Eye Doctor, then found out that it had to be on a certain form. When I went back to fill out the form, the nice lady asked me to take the eye test again. I did pass it this time. When Carol came in the next day, she got the person who had failed me the first time and told Carol that she had failed the eye test. Carol had not taken the test. When she took it, she then passed it and got her license. However, the lady behind the counter really did not believe her.

Many of the people down here come from elsewhere, even from the South. It seems to be the landing place for Northeast people (some are snowbirds who live here half the time) and people from Georgia, Florida, Alabama and other Southern states. They seem to congregate here among the retirement villages and the plush Hilton Head Island. Yup, plenty of really good restaurants, style stores and the regulars. Walmart has also found a haven here. For those old timers who are looking for low cost items and those who cannot afford other stores, Walmart is a place that is constantly crowded. They are also building new stores, along with Krogers and Publix.

The overwhelming people that we have met, excluding the retirees, are pleasant, helpful and slow to burn. They are also slow on the uptake. The nature of the weather and the sociology put no pressure on service folks to do anything quickly or on time. We have been warned by our friends not to expect speedy service at any level. Actually, we have not yet had that experience. The utility companies have been quick to send me a bill, even if it’s only for gas at $1.45.

Now, driving is a different story. My grandchildren and children believe that I am a really slow driver. I disagree with them. I don’t just follow the speed limit. I do drive a bit above. However, down here and especially in Sun City, the speed limits are really low. How about 15 to 35 miles per hour. The major problem for me is the ubiquitous golf carts. There are thousands of them here in Sun City. They seem to believe that they have the right of way, whether on the roads or in the parking lots. Outside, in the real world, there is very little distance between you and the person behind you. I believe that the distance is about half what it was in Harrisburg. The passing lane seems to function properly, but when a person is that close to you on a highway, one would expect them to pass you at some point. No, they don’t . They just follow you until either you and they get off the road.

On the bright side of things,it may be true that this climate and lifestyle is good for me. All of my vitals are lower than they were in Harrisburg, even though my cookie injections have increased.

TRUMP, THE SELF MADE MAN

It’s something that has bugged me forever. I listen to very successful people crow about how they were self-made entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, ballplayers and so on. Their words are like scratching on a blackboard with your nails. It hurts to the end of my nerve fibers.

Our latest “I made it with no one’s help,” is Donald Trump. He has been a real estate mogul for quite a number of years. He talks about making 200,000 dollars in the 1970’s and actually getting along with that amount of money. He does not talk (recently) about his father Fred Trump. Mr. Trump, the senior, was the originator of the building of middle class apartments that were mostly rent controlled. He was in business with the U.S. government in building these edifices in New York City. Although he made a bunch of dough doing it, he had no feeling about building high rise luxury apartments or office buildings or gambling casinos.

His son, on the other hand, has never been one to look at real estate as a way of solving some social problems. He was straight on with making money and putting his name, in large letters, on everything that he built. Luckily for him dad left him with a bunch of dough and a flourishing real estate business.

So it is with many folks who made it “On their Own.” They never seem to remember that there were people along the way who helped them in one way or another. As I watch “Sharktank,” or “The Profit,” I am reminded when I hear that these were all people who made it on their own, that there are nameless people who lent them money, encouraged them, or outright help start the business. This is kind of like Steve Jobs taking credit for everything and never mentioning Steve Wozniak who began to work with Jobs and actually invented the Apple computer.

BOXES, BOXES AND MORE BOXES

 

Yes, we are down in Bluffton, South Carolina. We were surprised that our three cats did as well as they did coming down. Hardly any meowing for an 11 hour trip the second day. Our movers did their job well, unloaded our meager store of furniture and then our 50 boxes of “stuff.” Who would have ever imagined that we would have accumulated such a treasure trove over a nine year period in our condo?

Even our new garage groaned with the weight of the boxes and their friends-ladders, bridge chairs and table, plastic storage bins, multitudinous pictures, two cars and a partridge in a pear tree. Since this is Saturday and we arrived and settled on Monday, you would think that we were finished unboxing. That is certainly not true. Where will be store the various trinkets, such as election pins, phony Rolex watches, a box of 146 Jewish baseball players and enough polo shirts to give out to all of the fans at a Washington Nationals baseball game.

First of all, where is our can opener, out knives, our dish dryer, our dishwashing powder, Carol’s beautiful red purse, her new hard drive for her new Mac Pro Computer and jet dry? They could not have been left in our old home. We called our kids and they confirmed that was impossible. I called the movers and they said that there was nothing left on the truck. What would we eat, if there was no can opener?

The cats seemed anxious to help. They nuzzled us and skulked between every item on the floor and on the counters in the kitchen. They were of no help. It took us three days to figure out where to put their food, water and poop box. We are still discussing it.

By Thursday, we were ready for deliveries from the great beyond. A chest of drawers arrived from a consignment store that we had seen the last time were down. The two twin beds arrived with no bed frames. The person who sold us the beds insisted that he had not made a mistake that we had asked for gliders, not wheels. What the heck is a glider (other than a powerless plane)? He told us that he could not deliver the real frames because he had no one to do it. We told him that was not our problem. He complained loudly to us and we eventually settled that he would drive the 36 minutes to get to us and do it on his day off. Fie on him.

The Best Buy guys delivered our mammoth TV. Carol thought that I wanted it and I thought that she did. We compromised and had them set it up. It is so big that we don’t have a piece of furniture to set it on. We will not do the wall thing. A new chest of drawers is coming that will hold its ponderous weight. It is so complicated that when the cable guy came on Friday it took him about 40 minutes to tell me how to turn it on without synchronizing the signal ( or something like that). I was going to tell all of you that it is 100 inches large (measuring diagonally) and it is 10K. However since they do not have one that big and they do not broadcast in 10k, I will not do it.

Our friends and new neighbors have been incredibly helpful. I was sent to the recycle place about a mile from where we live. It is straight out of a Mice and Men movie set. There is a real old guy, chewing tobacco, setting near a small shark surrounded by the largest bunch of crap that I have ever seen. There a many signs that say OPEN and CLOSED. I have no idea what those signs meant. The gentleman told me to get out of the way of other cars and throw my collapsed boxes over the fence, take my house garbage and throw it over another fence and drive around the fence to another place to get rid of my plastic things. I accomplished all of that and then felt a certain sense of satisfaction.

However, Carol had asked that I pick up some foodstuffs at the local Publix, which I could not find. Fortunately Bartolo, our GPS system with a slight Spanish accent, was on the ball. We had made friends with the manager of the Publix who also suffers from Gluten intolerance. He was happy to show me around the store and tell me which things was gluten free (they have a large green GF on them). He also introduced me to the pharmacist who is going to take care of our prescriptions.

Carol and I were really tired last night. I spent the evening, until 9:30 fooling around with Mr. Mammoth (the TV set) and Carol read in bed. We have been going to sleep about 8 or 9 o’clock every night, except for Thursday when we watched some people talking at each other on a stage in Cleveland. I am still not sure exactly what was going on, but the audience seemed to enjoy it.

It is now Saturday morning in Sun City, SC (it really is sunny here all of the time). We have a play date with our friends at the pool at twelve. Carol has just informed me that her arms are tired. I informed her that all of me was tired. I have already lost 5 lbs. just being here. What a joy, unpacking boxes, losing weight and being tired- a perfect combination.

TRAVELS WITH THE BOYS

Although our house sale fell through, we were determined to move. We had the movers contracted. We had gotten rid of almost all of our furniture except for our bed, a rocking chair, a glider, two beach chairs, a desk and an armoire. That’s it. We have been restricted to our house till the movers came Friday morning and a surprise appearance from our son and daughter.

What a joy that was!! They helped us keep our spirits up, helped to clean up and arranged for a picnic on our living room floor. We ordered from a long time favorite place-Christopher and when we went to pick it up, Chris gave me a hug and did not charge me. What a class guy. He promised that he would come down in ten years and open a restaurant in Sun City.

We had set up our van so that it looked like a police car with bars across there the second row of seats would be. We hoped that it would restrain the cats on our way down to Sun City. Actually what happened was even better?

After packing the car and saying goodbye to our children, we headed on down the road to a pet friendly Days Inn in Roanoke, Virginia. It took us about five hours. The nice part was that the three cats were in their carriers with some towels from home and a pheromone spray that calms them. Two of the cats were fine. However, Mr. P.S. yodeled as we thought he would. However, we turned the radio up so that we could not hear him. We always listen to certain stations, among which is Escape on Sirius XM. It is going off the air on August 13. Why is it that my favorites, like the doo-wop channel, seem to leave too soon?

The drive was uneventful and we managed to stop at Wendy’s and each went into the place to order our food separately so that we could keep the car, and the air conditioning going. It was hot as all blazes.

We got up early so that we could eat the usual motel food and get on our way. Only one small problem. There were only two cats in evidence. Mr. Boo Radley had secreted himself between the bed and the wall. There was only space enough for a hand and arm to reach through. We were up a creek. We could not move the bed. It was attached to the wall. Here’s where brains come in. Carol retrieved a hanger from the closer and wiggled it in the space behind the bed. She reached far enough to hit Mr. Boo on the rump and grab his tail. She pulled it hard enough so that he got scared and rushed towards the other end of hole. I was there waiting with arms outstretched and hands akimbo waiting to grab him. I grabbed hold of his harness (yes, we thought of everything) and pulled him out against his will and claws. I put him in his carrier and he was fine.

We got on the road and tooled down route 81 to route 77. When we got to Charlotte, N.C. traffic began to pick up. This continued on rte. 26 in Columbia, S.C. and rte. 95. As we were 35 miles from out exit 8 on rte. 95, the heavens opened up with torrential rains, but the traffic started to move quickly. We got to the Candlewood Suites in Bluffton, just around the corner from our new home by 5:30, about 9 hours (instead of the 6.5 we had calculated). We were dead tired, but we managed to go out to eat at Outback Steakhouse with our friends.

The evening was uneventful. The cats were very comfortable here in this room (with no hidden places). They slept on our bed and elsewhere and did not bother us at all. We got up this morning and explored the area, found a great deli to eat breakfast in and had a good time talking with the new owners. We spied a Publix Super Market and bought a few things for tomorrow. We had dinner with our friends and laughed through it.

Tomorrow is the big day- a walkthrough our new home, a settlement, a car registration for our new place, so that we can get in through the gates, back to get the cats and deposit them in the master bathroom and wait for our furniture and such to arrive. This is a brand new adventure for us. We will get settled and then try to get in touch with the local campus of University of South Carolina, the local School Districts and finally an appointment with the State Superintendent of Education (if a certain friend of mine has called her).