Thursday, December 27, 2007

Americans "Get" It

After my little hiatus visiting my hometown this past Christmas, I was wondering what I'd be writing about when I first returned. A number of things crossed my mind today, current events topping the list. But I'm not going to let go of Christmas just yet.

I took my nasty habit of smoking cigarettes outdoors, as I always do, while I was staying in the house in which I was raised. I could see the tree limbs that were no longer there because I'd sawed them off this summer. I could see the sidewalk I'd shoveled that hasn't been there in about 2 decades. I could see my friends playing in these snowy streets -- instead of being at home with their families as they actually were. When I go home, I go back in time. And then I snuff my smoke and return to the present, where my own family is presenting me with the latest buzz of who's calling and where we are off to next.

I truly enjoy these returns to my roots, even though I cannot tolerate any form of travel. But along the way I notice the people along the way. And when I was "home", it wasn't only in my head that my world returned to the normal I grew up with, it was still in the people all around me.

Yes, everyone was busy with holiday shopping; of course I hated being in traffic or at a mall. But I found myself in a land where it was still "Christmas". Not "Happy Holidays" and all that, but the real deal -- a land where "Happy Holidays" is spoken, but "Merry Christmas" is heard.

Since I've been back 'home', there have been many of the usual readjustment headaches, but I most notice the contrast. I've returned to the land of "Happy Holidays"; and I've been struggling to get back into my shell. I've still got a smile on my face for knowing better, though.

I worked behind the scenes with the usual upkeep of this not-yet-born site, and I'd had a number of topics run through my head. But the theme I took away from the past week is that Americans "get" it. I've seen it in everything around me this past week. I saw it in the newspapers, I hear it on the radio. My (natural-born) pessimism which was forefront months ago has been lifted.

Americans "get" Hillary. Americans "get" Guliani. Americans "get" Romney. Americans "get" Ron Paul. Americans, no matter where they are from or are now, "get" it. I once again feel the pride and joy I felt when my oldest nephew joined the proud ranks of American soldiers and volunteered for a tour in Iraq -- and returned safely.

But reading a story on Michael Yon's website probably most affected me today, even in light of other passing events -- that of a soldier thanking Americans for his sacrifices and service. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus; and I would do so well as to measure up to him.

And for the moment I can relax, smile, and believe that Americans will elect our new president in just under a year -- a president who will be a reflection of the real America, no matter the outcome.

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