2013, wow! What a year! A lot went on in almost every place on the planet and we all got to read about it, watch it and even travel there. Being alive and knowing we are alive is a uniquely human experience as far as I can tell. If people were not here there would be no record of the majesty of life itself.
Unfortunately there are a lot of bad things that happen to people, places and things and most of the time there is nothing any human can do about. I remember when I was a kid and I dreamed that people would invent ways to manage the weather. Of course I was ten so with my imagination I thought we could make it rain make it snow and stop the terrible storms. Bring water to the Sahara and American deserts too. I was a reader of the Encyclopedia and recall reading about the deaths of 250,000 Chinese in the Yellow River floods of centuries ago. I thought humans could fix that and Americans in particular. Yes, I know, the dreams of a little person are usually not practical. But, they are dreams and here, in America, I was able to do that along with any other human being.
Dreams that America would grow greater, that I was in a land of freedom where people fought against tyranny and won. I watched the sit-ins as a young boy and even then I understood why. People had to force others out to allow freedom to come in. I related to the struggle of blacks for equal rights and equal opportunity. I believed in American exceptionalism. We were the place people from everywhere else wanted to come. They wanted to experience what I already knew. And as I grew older I watched as America changed to become a better place for all. I watched the riots in Chicago during the democrat convention and failed to connect them to the American treaties we had in the SEATO world of containment of the communists. But those riots were helpful politically as I found out later. Nixon swept to a huge defeat of the democrats and the left. Of course he made his errors and resigned, but that too was a testament to America's greatness. No dictator's son given power when the old tyrant croaked. No we did it painlessly and without violence or threat of violence.
The fact that I went to work at 13 was not lost on my future political leanings either. Working that summer for 50 cents an hour to buy my school clothes was a big lesson. I found that I could actually work and get paid! I did buy my clothes and coming from a family of six kids, my parents got a big break that year. I decide I liked money and I knew I would have to work for it. No one gave me anything I didn't work for. I also helped around the house to take some of the burdens from the shoulders of my folks. I was also a kid that stayed out of trouble. I liked school too. I grew up off You Bet Road in the boonies and there was no one to play with. School was a haven and I loved to learn. A good combination for a mind full of mush at the time.
All those early years taught me a lot. When I moved away and eventually became a hotel manager at age 22, I learned a lot more. 45 employees, a business that was failing which through hard work, 16 hour days and lots of pressure I turned it into a money maker. Sure there were defeats but overall I learned way more than I would have from books. I also became friends with many people there. I had friends of every color and from all parts of the world. They were just like me except they started off in a much more difficult circumstance. But we worked side by side and I grew to understand they wanted the same things I did. They wanted to work, they wanted to raise the families, they wanted to be free.
When I returned from that experience of five years away, I started out from the bottom again. I dug ditches, I hauled hods, I brought the blocks for the foundations on steep side hills here. I framed houses and did all the rest. I made seven dollars an hour! 1976. By the end of 1977 though I had built and moved into my first home on Annie Drive in Alta Sierra. I was proud. It was also the first taste of the changes coming to California and America. Rules and regulations stated snowballing the place. It got worse and worse. I will continue this travel into the past on a future post.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!