The timeless beauty of a New England covered bridge is a comforting image on a wintry Sunday. Old but solid, offering safe passage to the other side, these bridges take us back to earlier times when you could count on good things to stay the same for a while.
I am an optimist by nature, who can drop into pessimism pretty regularly these days. There is a lot to worry about. Here it is mid-February, 2006, and I wanted to know, as I woke up this morning, that there are still some good things around.
I scanned the news and found, surprisingly, many positive things that had not changed. The Stones are still rocking, an African Americans makes another new mark, New Orleans still lives through food and the Mardi Gras, and the stock market is rising. What a deal!
Stones head for the beach – One million people attended a free Rolling Stones concert in South America! Rock and roll entered all our lives in the Sixties, changing the world for the better, shaking up conventions, freeing people to more diverse and outrageous. Decades later these guys are alive and well, playing to a throng of fans in Brazil, a place where it is still ok to be outrageous. The Reuters story was headlined,
Veteran rock group the Rolling Stones treated 1 million delirious fans to a rock ‘n’ roll spectacle with a free show on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach on Saturday night in what was one of the biggest rock concerts ever.
Speed skater wins – Shani Davis made Olympic history by winning a speedskating gold medal. Davis is an African American kid, raised in Chicago’s Southside, who did not choose a standard athlete’s sport. He has reminded us all that hard work and having a dream is the best recipe for success, no matter what path we choose. Quoting the Reuters headline,
Shani Davis made history on Saturday by becoming the first black male to win an individual gold medal at a Winter Olympics when he cruised to victory in the speedskating 1,000 meters.
Why not Mardi Gras?! Lots of people have questioned this decision, but they are having Mardi Gras in New Orleans again. What better way to celebrate being alive, to come back with something identifying the area, and to bring in money and workers to a struggling city. Despite all his managerial shortcomings, I applaud Mayor Nagin’s unflagging optimism for his city. That optimism is an essential leadership quality in New Orlean’s unique circumstances. Reuters headlined the story this way,
Mardi Gras parades began rolling in New Orleans on Saturday, a symbol for many of both the city’s proud commitment to its singular heritage and the deep uncertainties that cloud its recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
Delicious news – New Orleans’ Paul Prudhomme is still cooking in spite of Hurricane Katrina. A basic of security and comfort, food is something upon which we all must be able to count for safe passage to another day. One of our favorite chefs, the man epitomizes the spirit of his home town: he is indefatigable. He writes about it in this US News and World Report story headlined,
Hurricane Katrina would not have stopped my mother from cooking. I grew up on a farm in the Central Louisiana town of Opelousas. We lived in the last house before the swamp. Mom ran a household with 13 children and no electricity. Of course, there was no refrigerator. And when storms and floods struck, as they did every year or two, the fields and crops might be ripped up, the roof might fly off the barn. But she and my father would make repairs, plant more crops, and put dinner on the table. And it was always delicious.
Counting on a good thing to stay the same for a while – the new Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke is going with the trend signaled by a rising stock market. The bond market is signaling recession, but Bernanke is optimistic. It is hard for leaders to get good press these days, but he is managing to consistently do just that. The retirement of our greenback grandfather, Alan Greenspan, could have been very bad news. However, his successor appears to have been almost universally welcomed. The US News and World Report story is summarized as,
It has been less than a month since he replaced Alan Greenspan as the nation’s chief central banker, but Ben Bernanke already faces a conundrum: Should the newly installed Federal Reserve Board chairman listen to the bond market, which is signaling that the economy could soon slip into recession? Or should he heed the stock market, where the Dow Jones industrial average climbed back above 11,000?
News junkies like me sometimes struggle with negative attitudes. We face daunting mountains of items to worry or be angry about. But, by coming at it from another angle every now and then, we are reminded that – Thank Goodness, some things never change.
My “creative post” today at Southwest Blogger is about farming.