The Odds Are In Our Favor

This past week has been outstanding weather wise. I have fallen in love with fall. Whenever the temperatures are in the seventies and the days are sunny, I am in love again. On Friday morning I awoke early and dressed for a chilly day. My Lions club was staining a park playground called Fort Frankfort. The weather called for sixty , but it was in the fifties when I dressed in layers for the day. Thank God I layered. By eight-thirty I was peeling and by nine I was in my tee shirt. The following day I dressed lighter and the weather was what I expected the day before. We had a strong wind and the temp didn’t get to be sixty until almost noon. I wished I had my yesterday clothes. Friday we had a total of seven volunteers and Saturday we signed in three times as many. The job went faster and we were putting on finishing touches by eleven.

Frankfort is a successful little town because of it’s volunteers. Fort Frankfort was funded and built by the hands of volunteers. For the past forty years we have run a successful Craft Fair every Labor Day weekend all managed and staffed by volunteers. The craft fair peaked at a half million visitors in 2019, in 2020 it peaked at zero. The volunteers got a surprise week end off.

The activity of the weekend took my mind off of the fruitless rioting of communist inspired mobs in and around the country. Chicago continues to log forty-plus shooting injuries every week-end with at least ten shots connecting and killing the target. We often challenge the daily Iraq war death tolls. Our police force can be defunded just because they are not working very hard at reducing the senseless shootings. I really don’t blame them. Any attempt by them to interfere with gang activities would no doubt raise a huge outcry from the political stem of government. I would rather we defund the Aldermen and the city Administration than the police. The police often stop bullets, Alderman do not stop anything except hands extended with cash.

The headlines today are exposing Trump’s tax returns, and I am not surprised that he is being found to be within his legal rights to take lawful deductions. I suspected as much, but the communist party needs to make big news about nothing. The next announcement will be made by the Attorney General’s office to report findings of the Durham investigation.

I just wish the government would begin doing what we elect them to do and that is to govern the country. Instead they talk themselves into believing that their sole role is to oversee the President’ s activities. In the meantime they themselves are guilty as sin on may matters but deny any involvement or wrong doing. They are the classical cartoon of the fox guarding the hen house.

I propose that we initiate a new law forbidding politicians to get involved with anything outside of writing laws that will better the country, repealing laws that do not work, and improving laws that do. Instead we have laws which have never been used being resurrected to take advantage of a situation that might resemble the original situation that the law was originally written for two hundred years ago. Who in the hell remembers all the vague old laws?

I am all in favor of improving our immigration laws. We have ignored the laws for so many years that we have created a crisis condition in the country. I normally wouldn’t care, but in the past five years I have become acquainted with a number of fine people who came into this country for the purpose of making a better life for themselves. If they had only arrived five years ago, I would still be taking a hard line on them friends or not. They have however been residing here for well over twenty years. They brought toddlers with them. These kids have gone to our schools, their parents have worked for our companies or for us, and have been model citizens. They do not pay taxes, they do not vote, they do not have social security numbers, and therefore they don’t get any of the fringe benefits we accuse them of taking from us. Within their group however is a larger faction that are using counterfeit or stolen SSN’s and can and do use every benefit it can get for them. Many of these people make less than the declared poverty level salary and thus file income tax forms to get a giant bonus tax return every year. Of course the newer immigrants all play that system that gets them the bennies.

How are we to deal with this matter? Do we get tough and deport twenty plus million citizens? I don’t think so, although the laws they are living under say we should be doing that.

In the mean-time we have one party of government pandering for open borders and free passage between countries such that the border areas would be inhabited by a of blend of people from several countries. For instance, Mexicans living on the U.S. side to get jobs, and Americans living on the Mexican side to take advantage of a lower cost of living, no taxes, etc. What no one is thinking about is how long this happy arrangement would work before the blended area extends so far into the country that neither Mexico or the United States of America exists any more.

What this stupid open border policy leaves out is mention of people crossing through Mexico and Canada to take advantage of the lack of borders. At the same time those people landing at airports coming from South America, Europe, Asia, are held to the immigration rules of years ago. The whole thing is a giant quagmire that will only get messier as the Leftists gain more power. When will they realize that the people will rise against them? The odds are that three hundred and forty million people railing against the five hundred and thirty five will prevail.

COVID-19 Conquers

It is sad to say that the virus has succeeded in killing some long established customs of our community. The infamous Frankfort Fall Festival is dead. Ranked number three craft fair in the country, the Fest has been a Frankfort Tradition for nearly forty years. Over 250,000 visitors come through during Labor Day weekend. Three hundred crafters from all across America come to display and sell their creations. The evenings are filled with carnival rides and music at the entertainment venue. The whole town buzzes with excitement. The Frankfort Chamber announced this week after holding off as long as it could that they are cancelling the fest. Illinois is not far enough along in the Covid battle to allow large crowds to have some fun.

Along with the Fall Festival, the Frankfort Lions decided not to hold its annual Wurst Fest which is the kick-off event for the Fest. Also over forty years old, this tradition of the Lions raffle and the German themed evening of fun, food, and beer will not take place this year. What this means to the Lions is a totally new way to serve the community. Lions relied on their annual raffle to generate funds that would carry them through the year doing good things. Now, we scramble to think of safe ways to raise money. It will be an interesting time for sure.

The Lions Club will have to rethink charities like school scholarships. Three years ago we raised the dollar amount being awarded to graduating seniors from Lincoln Way East High School, and now we are in a spot where we will be scrambling. Our three times a year food distribution for families in need is also in trouble. Vision screening for kids has been on hold since the virus hit. Adult vision and hearing screenings have been placed on hold statewide until COVID disappears. Our efforts to expand services to visually impaired people are in jeopardy. In short we don’t know what we are doing at this time. Since we have not met for the past three months except via Zoom we are still adjusting and brainstorming forward. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery will be welcomed.

Meanwhile my garden weeds are in full force, and the wabbits are vigorously eating their way through things not weeds. Since the Liberals have chosen to take Elmer Fudd’s shotgun away from him his Wabbit fighting strategy must change. Maybe he’ll resort to something more humane like chemical warfare. Elmer is another tradition being forced to change because his actions are not condoned by communists who want to control everything we, say, eat, breathe, and do.

It is my opinion that China is openly at war with the world. Even if they were as surprised as we were by the virus, they are using this catastrophe to benefit their ideology. Hopefully, their actions will backfire on them and the USA will learn that it cannot fight wars in a global economy. Who in their right mind will fight when the very tools of war are dependent upon their enemies? Maybe that is the point, but it sounds like suicide to me.

Americans are not good fighting wars that don’t have visible targets to shoot at. We are in a quandary about how to use our skill and weaponry to shoot a microscopic enemy. We can’t see it so we think it isn’t a threat or a real fight. In this age of right now gratification where everything has to be delivered in this instant, and where we have to be entertained now we are unable to cope with fighting long term bugs like COVID-19

Getting back to COVID-19, Frankfort Township in which I live has doubled new cases of the virus within the past week. So much for opening the door and giving us the idea that things are safer now. They are safer, but not to the extent that we should forget all common sense and live as though the virus doesn’t exist.

I am at a loss to make any sense out of this post. I’ll be ahead if I just stop right here.

Day 55-SIP-New Milestone

Yes, I accomplished a new goal. I took ride on my trusty two wheel convertible and lasted for seven miles without awakening my sciatic nerve. I must admit that even though the nerve did not fully awaken it did begin to send signals of uneasiness. For those who don’t know why I’m concerned about my sciatic nerve it is because it runs from the back through the ass and down to my knees. Ever try pedaling a bike when so much of the engine is hurting? Let me advise you, don’t.

We are three days away from the point when we who live in zone five can plant flowers without worrying about a frost. Except that this year I am not going to trust that date at all. The weather in general has been too cold. I can testify to that after experiencing the bike ride. I often tell the story about how my wife Barb and I waited patiently to get started in the garden and planted annuals on May 15. That year we had a killing frost on May 30. If you are a gambler like I am give it a try, and be prepared to cover your plants when the temp is predicted to drop into the thirties.

This year, I am redesigning my yard by transplanting perennials and redistributing them to where annuals used to be. The reason is that I have way too many beds dedicated to annuals, (because I love the colors and huge spreading masses of flowers) and I cannot maintain it anymore. Well, let’s just change that to I don’t want to maintain it anymore. I’m getting too old and lazy. With COVID-19 closing businesses I can’t even count on getting fresh plants from the nursery’s even though I need to get some to fill spaces. The alternative to this is to let the garden go natural, except I abhor out of place native perennials, and I would spend my summer-in-place pulling weeds by the bushel.

Lobelia With Rabbit Barrier

Today, my Lions club announced on Facebook that it is officially cancelling their annual fund raising WURST FEST. This would have been our fortieth anniversary, but in the interest of the community health and safety we are giving it up. The event has been our largest fund raiser of the year and fuels our service projects through the year. Until COVID-19 is dead we will replace this crowd attracting event with a more simple fund raiser.

Also on the Lions front, the club held it’s first meeting since February using ZOOM. It went well and we are pleased. The attendance was about half (27) of what it would have been (48) if it were live. We usually use our Community Center for the meetings but it is closed, and the President’s and Governor’s guidelines are to keep meetings to less than ten, to use social distancing and to wear masks. The last thing we want is to infect each other then go out into the community to infect others and the next thing we know the Lions are responsible for shutting down the entire town. That works against our creed which is to serve.

The country is definitely feeling the effects of the shut down. Our unemployment rate is nearly that of the great depression in the thirties. I was born at the very end of that one, and maybe I’ll be buried at the end of this one. What a history. Yet the time between has been among the greatest experienced by the planet. I wouldn’t want to live in any other timespan. I have seen so much development during my lifetime I don’t think a greater period of positive development will come along for many years to come.

I have always thought it would be cool to be so advanced that countries get to the point where they held virtual wars instead of real hard-fought wars. Think about that, it would be computer against computer, programmer against programmer, and gamers against gamers. No one would die of the injuries inflicted on line, and the winner ends up owning the loser.

Over 1 million Reddit users waged a virtual war to create this bizarre work of art with 16 million pixels

I think I’ve had too much coffee.

Day 31-Quarantine-Conventions

For three years I registered for the Lions District Convention. Peg was still with me and my philosophy was that if she was well enough I would go. Since the convention is located within twenty miles of home I planned to go for the main day, attend meetings and the dinner. Peg was never getting better, so I never went. I forfeited the registration and dinner fees. This year was different. Peg had passed, and I had no excuse to not go. I registered for all three days, and booked a hotel room at considerable expense. Then, I told myself why not attend all the conventions, go to the State also, I registered. The flyer came for the Lions USA/CANADA Leadership Forum in Louisville, Kentucky. This was another meeting I wanted to attend all three of those years, but they were too far away, and needed several days. I opted out of all of them, until this year.

You know the rest of the story, all of them are cancelled. Today was supposed to be day one of the District Convention. They aren’t even having a virtual meeting to elect officers. I will spend this  weekend the same way I have spent all the previous weekends, hunkered down in my palatial home wondering in which room to spend the day.

Yesterday, the President announced his phased plan to restart the economy. Good luck with that. I don’t think I will be too quick to respond to entering crowded restaurants and venues after the last six weeks of brainwashing to keep a distance. In fact, it’ll be a very long time before I am convinced it is safe enough for me to gamble outside. That is what it will be, a gamble. Each time I come within a foot of another human I will be wondering if the corona jumped the space and landed on me. Maybe I’ll zip myself into one of those big plastic balls and enter society that way. Or I’ll attach my feet to roller blades, and roll through crowds faster that the corona can leap. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll stay at home and not gamble with any of it. The next few years may be my end of life experience. Not such a bad one when I think about it, but nevertheless not such a good one either.

Day 23-Quarantine-Group Meetings

This week I had opportunity to participate in three group meetings by phone. All three were different and I learned a lot from each, mostly how to operate an online video meeting. This afternoon was probably the most interesting because it was the most attended with eighteen participants, and because it was a support group for the visually impaired, not everyone had video. The service is called ZOOM. I have to admit it is a far cry better than the one I used when I was still working twenty years ago. I guess there has been some advancement in the past two decades.

Why am I attending a support group for the visually impaired? Several reasons: 1.) I am a Lion and we are Knights of the Blind as commissioned by Helen Keller (blind, deaf, and mute) in nineteen twenty-five. 2.) As a Lion, I want to understand the hardships that visually impaired people encounter.

There are many things that sighted people take for granted. Like being able to get into a car and to drive someplace, read a menu at a restaurant, or social isolation. What I was surprised to learn from this group is that they all sound as frustrated as I am about having the stay in place. One would think that blind people would be stuck at home most of the time, but they are not. Many spoke about not being able to get out to the store, or to church. Vision impaired people have trouble finding transportation, but somehow manage to find rides when they want them or need them. Most have recruited support systems for themselves.

This meeting was semi-formal in that the leader opened with an uplifting prayer and started the conversation. After that it became a friendly banter between people just as any group of friends would have. The group leader announced that they will hold a ZOOM meeting every week at the same time until such time as the COVID-19 is dead.

The second meeting I attended was a Lions Club Board meeting. I recommend we do this on a continuum since we finished a pretty complete agenda in thirty-five minutes. The third meeting was a Lions training session. The leader conducted a Power Point slide show with lecture while the attendees all showed at the side of the screen. During the question answer period attendees clicked on a icon of a raised hand so the moderator could give him the floor. This also worked good because it cut out people talking over one another. This meeting also lasted forty minutes.

One great thing that COVID-19 is doing is forcing us to use the technology that is available to us. This evening, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday, parishes all across the country will conduct video services.

I plan on opening a personal ZOOM account for my own use so I can gather all my grandkids together from three states for a face time phone chat on Easter Sunday.

Easter was always a huge celebration for my family. I have fond memories of my mother cooking and baking for the Easter morning breakfast, and the family gathering that followed. My wives Barbara, and Peggy celebrated the holy day similarly even though one was of Polish descent and the other Irish. Only the foods varied. My daughter and daughters-in-law have continued the tradition within our family. Now that we are a thousand miles apart it is difficult if not impossible to carry on the tradition as a combined family. That is why I am hoping the ZOOM service can allow us to gather as a group once again.

 

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