By Marsha M. Brown
Not many of us have won the lottery…or have tons of money but what we do have is a mind and a body and a spirit. Our minds? Maybe they aren’t as sharp as they used to be and sometimes, we forget things like where we put our keys and our glasses; our bodies? maybe they are weaker and bent over and quite frankly some of us wouldn’t make it a block without huffing and puffing and practically keeling over, but we have a spirit that is undeniably steadfast! And if we have an iota of patriotism inside of us…it should be true blue American!
I stay in touch with the news each day and from various outlets. I care about what people do and think and say. I care about what they stand for and against. And there is no question that much of what I (we all) see is shocking, disheartening and unbelievable in this day and time. Sometimes I listen to the news and shake my head side-to-side and I wonder…what the heck?
Historically, rude people called other people names if they didn’t look like them or love like them or worship like them; terrible names, whether it was about their race, sexual orientation, nationality…whatever, the words were mean and nasty and hurtful. And when I’d hear it, I felt bad for them, more so than for the people they directed their slurs to. I felt bad they might have been raised to be cruel, thoughtless and downright obnoxious or that they might not have had the kind of parents that I had who taught me to love everybody, not to make fun of anybody and to stand up for the underdog whenever I could.
Years ago, my sweetie pie Billy and I went out of town for an appointment and we stopped at a fast food restaurant for lunch. It so happened that another family was sitting a few booths away from us where that side of the eatery was relatively empty. Just about the time we opened our burger wrappers, we heard low volume humming as a young employee came close by sweeping the tile floor. He was dragging a wash bucket and mop behind him as he continued to happily hum to himself while he worked. He appeared to be in his early 20’s and had some obvious physical challenges in that his body was a bit twisted; he had a pronounced limp and a swagger when he walked.
The other family, starting with the youngest, began to make fun of the fast food employee. He sneered and giggled and pointed at him. At first, I expected the boy’s parents to put a stop to it, call him down and remind him to show his manners…but they didn’t and a few moments later another of his siblings chimed in. Apparently, the young man with the broom and twisted body was also funny to his brother as well. ☹ The laughter became louder as if to make the attendant a spectacle and I was becoming more aggravated by the second wondering why the parents weren’t putting a stop to their kid’s bad behavior. Then…the unthinkable…the parents joined in and sneered and smirked and poked fun at the hard-working young man. What was he doing during all of this? Honestly, he appeared to ignore it altogether as if he was used to it and he just continued to sweep and prep the floor to mop.
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Okay, I thought to myself “Bar the door Katie!” I couldn’t hold it back any longer and I rose from my seat, and as discreetly as I could, I looked the parents straight in their eyes and told them how ashamed I was of all of them. How could they? Didn’t they have enough decency to respect the challenges this young man faced every day? Or appreciate that he was in his workplace doing his job? Was their heart black? I wondered. I didn’t raise my voice to avoid a scene or cuss but not because I didn’t feel like it…I thought to myself, how could you treat anyone that?
The young man had a disability yes and his body looked a little different, but his spirit was outstanding. He was happy and proud to wear the uniform of the fast food restaurant that employed him and to be a part of life…just like the rest of us. My sweet Billy? His face told the tale. You see, his little sister had Down Syndrome and she had died when she was six years old. She was a beautiful little girl and Billy loved her dearly and this incident reminded him of some of the attitudes he had witnessed towards her. Maybe my attitude should have been to leave it alone and not say a word, but I couldn’t…it was just plain wrong. That young man deserved to be stood up for and I felt good doing it…I felt good about reminding those parents that their kid’s attitude was a reflection on them…and that their own attitude was a reflection on their parents. The end result? The family as a whole appeared frozen and just stared down at the table as if what I had said resonated (hopefully); the mocking antagonism ceased and the young man momentarily stopped what he was doing…just long enough to lock eyes with me and he smiled ear to ear. Then…he continued to sweep and mop.
We aren’t perfect…none of us. Sometimes we say and do stupid things and as a free nation because of our veterans, their sacrifice and their fight to ensure that we maintain our freedoms, we can agree to disagree. It’s okay to protest peacefully, it’s okay that we don’t all see eye-to-eye on our choice of politicians, processes of law, the environment etc. but there should be lines that even the worst of us don’t cross. We are better than that…aren’t we?
Personally, I’m disappointed and disagree that some of our monuments and statues have been desecrated and destroyed…its history people! Like it or not…our history doesn’t change because a visual image or reminder is removed from sight. Goodness gracious! What if people who disagreed with the Vietnam War wanted The Wall to be dismantled?
Like the family at the fast food…actions speak louder than words. No matter what we believe or who we believe in…can we just get a grip?
Question. Is it appealing, attractive or enticing to want to be like those who bully our kids at school? Bully work associates and/or intimidate people who have different political views? Give me a break! When will we ever learn that sugar draws flies…not vinegar? In my opinion…displaying and promoting bad attitudes, aggression and over the top behavior is in poor judgement and just plain asinine!
We are an incredible nation of good people who, for the most part, care about each other. We have much to give to each other that isn’t of a monetary nature…but rather of ourselves. We all have a purpose and we are the ingredients of a master plan and a masterpiece. Together we can accomplish so many things…t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r, I said. Let’s “do it to it” and calm down…think straight and act like responsible, reasonable human beings.
Let’s stop for a minute and think about what we can do for others…especially our deserving veterans who are homebound. Can we make them a meal; visit them; sit and just let them talk? Can we take them for an afternoon ride to get them out of the house; can we take them to their church and sit with them in worship? Can we? Think about it and consider a plan to reach out to our veterans and others whom you know are alone, lonely or who have limited mobility. We all need each other in this world, and we all have much we can give to each other at no cost except for our time.
God bless you and everyone who’s good to you! If you’re a veteran or know of one who needs help, we have awesome men and women in our local Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950; American Legion Post 26 and Marine Corps League Outer Banks Detachment that care deeply and are willing to help their ‘brothers and sisters’. Also, Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer @ (252) 475-5604 and the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council members too are standing by. I am a Council member and veteran advocate and your opinions, suggestions and ideas to further help our veterans matters to me. I invite you to call my cell: (252) 202-2058 or write to me at [email protected] – I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud! Love each other and remember too that we, as Americans, are the ‘cream of the crop’ and…that the ‘cream always rises to the top’! Stay tuned!