I am surrounded in the realization that there really are no accidents.
Even though while tidying up on Saturday I zigged when my vacuum zagged and put me on the couch for nearly twenty four hours before I could move again, the time served me well.
I read the newspaper cover to cover, clipped coupons, cut out articles I wanted to keep my hands on, and managed to watch back to back (ba dump ba) John Wayne movies.
Inquiring minds wanna know, how many of you read the latest news out of the Library of Congress about a minor (major) detail of the Declaration of Independence?
Anytime we get a feel for the mindset behind the man of one of our forefathers we must be grateful, but this little tidbit of admission is simply astounding. The American public, at first glance, were considered to be merely subjects (reverting back to the days physically and emotionally captured under the spell of the King of England, no doubt, hard to escape olde allegiances like that -- bringing to mind the proverb "song a sparrow learns in youth is its song for life"...).
But upon serious second thought, Thomas Jefferson changed the defining text to say "citizens."
Just looking at the printed "digitally enhanced" rough draft, showing the manuscript itself, the actual penmanship of the man widely recognized as the father of our Declaration, gives me goosebumps. I mean, the guy actually wrote on this historic document -- along with the reality of the many hands of Americans who somehow managed to keep it -- is still here in black and white (or green) is simply amazing.
Normally, the document is kept under a "130-pound oxygen-free safe" -- outside of it's protective custody for the first time in fifteen years, this magical moment is only made possible through the latest hyperspectral imaging of digital technology. Unbelieveable.
But oh what Thomas must be thinking nowadays, woe is me...
This morning's news brought immediate anguish as the Federal Government makes widely known of it's intention to sue Arizona for real, over the SB1070 Immigration legislation; all the while, illegals have resorted back to other methods of entry, as in coming by boat -- whereas one of San Diego's own beach cities, Encinitas (just a hop skip and a jump from my backyard) landed a boatload of fifteen illegals, washed up with the Coast Guard waiting for them.
Thank goodness our declaration made the change, no?
Another article in Saturday's Union-Tribune included a two page spread on the immigrants who join our armed forces legally, and await citizenship while serving our country. Still having to wait years to be able to say the pledge of allegiance for the first time as a bonafide citizen, the military welcomes men and women of honor, and offers an opportunity to be all that they can be in more ways than one.
What a difference in stories.
These people not only wanted to come to America for a better life for themselves, and their families, but they did so by giving something of themselves to America first -- in strength of courage, commitment, and character, they asked what they could do for the country they wished to belong to before demanding anything else.
The thing is, an occasion like this one, here in San Diego harbour (aboard the USS Midway Museum -- note to Chris and remembering one of my best days ever!), the celebration was ripe for a President to sail in on eagle's wings to lend his gracious thanks and praise for immigrants of this stature --raising awareness to an avenue of citizenship hardly ever mentioned, let alone gain the elevated attention of the Commander in Chief. How easily a paradigm shift could have been made -- for those who come joyfully and honorably through proper channels such a this. (But that didn't happen, did it.)
Friday's Naturalization Ceremony was a dream come true for 300 people, birthed in nearly 50 different countries! Maglan Laizer was one of them -- his hometown a village in Aruscha, Tanzania, and son of a Masai tribesman. Before coming to America, he helped kill a lion as part of a "coming of age" process; I guess, after that, going through the rigorous routine of becoming a member of our fine military and venturing down the path of naturalization, is child's play.
Thank you, Maglan; I realize I don't know you, but in this moment I wish I did.
My brother, Chris, as briefly mentioned earlier, is the most patriotic kid in America -- I say kid, for with his downs syndrome he will remain a kid at heart forever; he's practiced being a kid for 49 years now, and counting. Did I mention he is my big brother? Always the older and the wiser; my mind keeps wandering back to him for he is really to blame for me watching the John Wayne marathon...
If it weren't for him, I never would have let the channel surfing hold up on Operation Pacific -- a movie he mentioned to me for the first time while visiting just two weeks ago. No accidents there, no sir ree.
I teased him, thinking he had it confused with something else... all the while I had no idea John Wayne was even in a submarine movie -- and he teased me back like as if he knew I really was being the idiot -- and we moved on...
Yes so cut to the chase...long story short... who is the idiot now...
And it was actually pretty good! Never would I have imagined myself getting sucked in, but Wayne, Submarines, and Hollywood oh my -- did I.
Uncanny the similarities in the personal relationship between the Duke and his wife; with her going off and ranting in one scene... "[how you] don't need a girl, Duke, you don't need anyone" (and just picture Patricia Neal, in every bit of raspy-ness and divine upstaging you can muster) -- change a letter or two, and you've got me fussing and moaning like a conversation of recent days...but I digress.
The other movie I couldn't keep my eyes off of was "The Wings of Eagles" -- a classic tale of the life and times a real officer and a gentleman, Frank "Spig" Wead. This was no accident either, for what happens to old Spig was a fall down the stairs, upending his naval career (for awhile, anyway) and he lands on a hospital bed for months -- having a slim chance to none for full recovery, unable to walk, and subject to neck and back surgery for decades. Half the movie, Spig is laying out flat on his stomach -- only able to move a pencil -- in which he begins to churn out books and movies made for Saturday afternoons...
This movie had everything you could ever want in a patriotic Fourth of July John Wayne weekend extravaganza -- roses and romance, coming back from paralysis to save the fleet in WWII, in the meantime plenty of wanton shots of scotch, with the bonus of a strong willed wife (played by Maureen O'Hara, whom I adore) moving on to have her own career in posh San Francisco (a picture worth a thousand words if you ask me ...long before feminists ruined it for women... just sayin'...but save for another day...)
Okay, so in between the movies we would get little soundbites of nostalgia. The one that really brought the aha moment was when I realized John Wayne had never actually been in the military; and apparently, one of the Duke's life regrets.
But after watching his magnificence for a day, one would have thought he had never been anything else.
Today, days after celebrating our country's 234 years, I have surrounded myself with the thought that nothing is by chance, really; the serendipity of life bringing our attention to exactly what we need to hear, see and do in any given moment is around us at all times -- it speaks to us if we stop to listen long enough. While even those moments, with angels unaware, we are restricted from doing anything of importance at all, while laid up on our back perhaps, without direction or ability to move a thing, it remains true and constant.
As I pour over the clippings and pictures of my mind over the last few days, I have a wish.
I am just hoping Maglan Laizer, with his wife and daughter by his side, not only celebrates his new beginnings here in America -- having proven to be of sound mind, firm footing and exemplary character (just what America needs and is looking for in a new citizen, never a subject) -- but that he uses his liberty wisely(referring obviously to his new-found American Liberty with a capital "L" -- as well as, his everyday "time off" in nav-speak); perhaps spending it watching the good stuff... like an entire afternoon of John Wayne...back to back to back to back...
It will lift him up when he is down, it will fill him up when he is empty, and it will stir deep inside the American Spirit he now recognizes to be his very own.
Make it a Good Day, G
funny side note...as the story goes round and round and the world gets smaller and smaller...one of Spig Wead's daughters, Doris, married a guy named Bill Copley. For San Diegans, the Copley's are the founders of the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper -- a family of hometown legacy and pride. She didn't marry the John Birch side (James); she married the other Copley's son, William -- an avantgarde artist, who hung out with actors and Hollywood elite while living in Santa Monica -- a man who, oddly enough, was also a member of the Communist party.