Good Times and Getting Over It

Looking around my dinner table tonight I see a nurse, an author, a teacher, a farmer, a nanny and a body builder breaking bread together.  The farmer had just lost a barn to fire, one was Japanese WWII survivor, another a Nigerian prince engaged to my daughter and then there is my wife and me, married over 30 years. We all have our war stories to mix with “please pass the carrots” and now in comes dessert to “Happy Birthday!”  I think to myself – where else but America? And when else but now.

We got the bad guy – bin Laden. We should declare victory, create a modern equivalent to the Marshall Plan to help rebuild what was destroyed in the process of our vengeance. Bring our troops home and show the world that America can get over it; it is time to move on. We need to measure our greatness in our ability to forgive and forget. Tell this to the pilots of Southeast Airlines flight who refused to fly the two imams to a conference on discrimination (I bet those two are well paid speakers at next year’s conference – say “thank you” to the nice pilots).

I need Norman Rockwell to paint the scene that is in my dining room so people see that we can get over ourselves.  It wasn’t that long ago my wife wasn’t speaking to me (or maybe it was me to her) and we got over it.  Phil is making plans for a new barn. He is going to have to do it on his own because the kid who launched the errant bottle rocket into it causing the fire has no resources (a.k.a. insurance). I look at my daughter’s fiancé (it’s his birthday), her real prince, knowing his parents lived in what was once Biafra. Our other guest as a young girl survived the end of WWII fleeing from Korea into Japan and then to the USA. It wasn’t that long ago that Rochester would have served dinner while the conversation centered on the yellow peril. My wife drives a Toyota and I’m looking forward to some tan grandkids. And all of us at the table, we are all Americans.

My point being we get over whatever it was that set us off in the first place if we are given the chance, if we allow ourselves to be together. Proximity dispels mystery and fear, it doesn’t mean you will like everyone, just that you might not be fearful. When Yoko spoke to the children at school she told them they didn’t have to like everyone, but they did have to show their “elegance” by being polite. It was that elegance that could spread peace. That and just getting over ourselves.

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