One of my readers has announced that he is giving up ranting.
I cautioned him against such rash action. There is so much to rant about these days.
Also, he’s such a talented ranter. I know, because occasionally I’ve been a target of his ranting.
I once overheard a rant to remember.
I had walked through a couple of backyards to visit a neighbor. But as I approached, I paused.
He was standing behind an idling lawn mower, a push model. And, as they say in Surry County, he was “laying out that mower to a fare-thee-well!”
The words “she” and “her” were frequently heard, as he vigorously and angrily shook his finger at the lawnmower.
I gathered that he and his sweet wife had had a misunderstanding, which they rarely did, as they were a very devoted couple.
I quickly retreated and approached from another direction, whistling and singing so as not to embarrass him in the midst of what appeared to be an exceptionally satisfying rant. We went inside, and within moments whatever tension had arisen between the two vanished as they addressed each other with terms of endearment.
Frequent rants are not recommended. They not only lose their effectiveness, but they also can contribute to a divisive relationship. But an occasional rant is better than on-going brooding or sullen sulking that could lead to violence.
Rants are best confined to paper or directed at lawnmowers, trash cans or other inanimate targets.
The $20 bill woman
It’s time, says a nonprofit group, Women on 20s, for a woman to break the monopoly of men on U.S. paper currency. The group is hoping to replace Andrew Jackson’s image on the $20 bill with a photo of an outstanding American woman. The group hopes to achieve the goal by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the amendment giving women the right to vote.
The group’s website provides a ballot listing 15 prominent women as candidates. No, Sarah Palin is not among ’em.
At the moment, I’m favoring Rosa Parks, with Eleanor Roosevelt as runner-up.
There are many kinds of courage. But Rosa Parks’ was unique. Imagine the courage it took for a lone black woman on a December day in 1955 to defy almost a century of Southern subservience by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man.
Her moment in history launched the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
For more than seven months, we’ve had a dining room window view of the renovation of the house next door.
Lingering over morning coffee, we have watched the various crews come and go. We’ve marveled at the skill of the heavy equipment operators. We’ve exchanged pleasantries with the two men who bought the house for speculation.
The house next door was the home of the Frank Smith family, including daughter Betty, when we bought this adjoining acre more than a half-century ago. The Smiths, now deceased, were loving, caring and helpful. They became a part of our family. I can’t recall a single disagreement between us.
Now, after seven months of change and expansion of the house, we await the arrival of our new neighbors. They will buy a house that has almost doubled in value because of the renovations. We do so with the normal anxiety that homeowners awaiting new neighbors feel.
Will there be children? We love children.
Will there be cats, a threat to our birds? Will there be barking dogs?
Will there be late-night partying? We treasure our solitude and the sounds of nature.
Will they be “neighborly,” but not too neighborly?
Will they complain about sweeping up their half of the magnolia leaves from the tree a bird planted on the line between the two houses?
I’m sure that whoever buys the house will have expectations of us as well.
Time was when being neighborly was being comfortable enough to go next door to borrow a cup of sugar. Today, it’s more likely to be asking the neighbors to be on the lookout for prowlers on the premises when you’re out of town.
There is a time-worn path of slate stones that Frank Smith laid between the two houses decades ago. I hope we will enjoy many more years of use from it.
Food for thought
As the pace of electioneering picks up, I am reminded of what George Burns once said: “Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.”
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