Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Our nation is a little bit divided.
Well, let me rephrase that, if you’ll indulge me for a minute. Tom and Jerry were a little divided. The Red Sox and Yankees are a little divided. Our nation, on the other hand, is split down the middle, with a gaping canal filled with fire and demons and screaming monkey-otters climbing out of the abyss and forcing us all further to the left and right to avoid ever...
But I digress.
We’re pretty split these days. Honest discourse over genuine issues has often been replaced by fiery rhetoric and political cheerleading. We rarely talk with others who might hold different opinions than us, as much as we yell, demean or marginalize. It seems sometimes that we should just go ahead and call ourselves the States of America, because “United” left town a long time ago — taking with it any semblance of compromise, decorum and humility.
So, yeah, it pretty much stinks out there in a lot of ways. But if you look past the rants and raves of career politicans trying to stir up a base for their next elections, and turn down the volume on the over-opinionated gasbags filling the airwaves and blogosphere in order to boost their own numbers, you might just find that there’s still plenty to like in this wild, wooly world of ours.
Granted, what makes one person happy might not do the same for someone else. But if we each take a moment to take a look around and spend a little time appreciating the good, as opposed to waking up in the morning just looking for something, or someone, to hate, we might just find ourselves a little happier. And if we find ourselves a little happier, heck, we might just find ourselves being a little nicer to one another in the process.
I’ll start, and I’ll just focus on all the good that is right here.
• This is a wonderful, giving community. I’ve harped on this numerous times in this column over the years, but the generosity displayed by the people in this community causes me to shake my head in near-disbelief several times each year. I’m not just talking about financial contributions to a person or organization with a need — though that is always impressive, as well. What amazes me time after time is the effort and selflesness of people to chip in wherever and whenever they can.
Look in our Calendar or Continuing Events section every week and it can steal your breath when you consider how many people are volunteering their time or services each and every day. A local woman, Heidi Lentowski, has been organizing an effort the past few years to show appreciation to our local law enforcement. The Night to Shine event at the Ocean View Church of Christ is one of the most inspiring events one can imagine. Families losing their homes to fire, or facing illness, or losing a pet... this community rallies. Every single time. I’m proud to live here.
• Have you seen the ocean? Giant puddle of water to the east. It’s awesome, and it’s right down the road. There’s some inland water, as well. Again, pretty special place we have here.
• Cupola Park in Millsboro is an awfully great place to spend some time on a pretty day. If you haven’t enjoyed it yet, do. Or check out an event there.
• There is something about watching civilian cars and trucks barrel into one of our local volunteer fire company buildings when an alarm sounds that makes you want to stand up and cheer. Or, maybe that’s just me. I’m a bit of a dork regarding these kinds of things.
But it takes a special person to volunteer their time, risk their lives and abandon their warm, safe homes to rush off into some unknown situation to try to save the life or property of someone they have most likely never even met. It sounds cliché, but these men and women are heroes. Plain and simple.
• Fall is truly the best time of the year. The weather is nice, when we’re not ducking hurricanes or nor’easters. There are festivals and events to take in with the family every single weekend. The pace has slowed down a little bit, and you can usually make a left-hand turn. Yeah, I’ll take three more seasons like this one, please.
• The restaurants here don’t take a back seat to any community, especially when you take into account our small population for eight months a year and the cost of getting a top-shelf meal.
• The Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek is a magical place, and it’s not nearly finished yet. The aesthetic wonder of what is being created over there is enough to steal your breath, and the promise of another place where one can go to walk around and clear his or her head is invaluable.
• Add James Farm, the Assawoman Wildlife Area and the Assawoman Canal Trail to natural local spots to get away from everything.
• Again, the people. Our publisher, Susan Lyons, likes to say that people make the paper, and she’s right. People also make a community what it is, and this community is filled with people who care, no matter their political affiliations.