Author: LindaLee

Midday Matinee – “It’s all in my head”

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. “It’s all in my head, Nana,” said my granddaughter. This wasn’t an abstract psychological statement. It was her discovering how to float on her back. Monday night I watched her in the pool with her Dad and then at her swimming lesson. This was the first time this fearless little girl learned that she could float on her back. She was proud but not cocky about this at all. At her age 4½, she assumes that she will learn something new every day. Her analysis of floating was that if she tried to look at her feet she would not float but if she looked at the ceiling she would float. Therefore she concluded, it was all in her head. A month ago she didn’t even want to put her face in the water. She now moves through the water successfully if not beautifully. I swam competitively, taught swimming, and was a lifeguard during college. I taught my Dad to swim when he was 50 at the college pool. He was terrified of the water and unbelievably proud of learning to swim. He had conquered a life long fear. We lived on a lake when my kids were growing up. I doubt that they even remember not knowing how to...

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Midday Matinee – A Good Guide

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. My recent dog sledding trip was masterfully orchestrated by our guide, Doug. So many things went well because of him that it got me to thinking about the true value of having a competent and caring guide. We began with a “sled talk” that gave us basic safety information and a short course on driving the sled. Since both my sister and I are skiers the leaning to turn was already second nature. The dogs follow three basic directional commands the acronym for which is H.O.G. Haw is left, On bye is straight ahead and Gee is right. The political parallels are too funny. Maybe we need to teach the country to Haw because “Gee” or GOP hasn’t done much for the average American. The sled has two brakes, one the driver can stand on to slow the sled down – think of hurtling downhill at an uncomfortably fast speed – and another that digs two spikes into the snow and is accompanied by “Whoa” meaning stopping now as in right now. Initially both of us had problems tailgating Doug. Good things tickets weren’t issued because my sister only weighs 100 pounds and her standing with both feet on the moving brake didn’t slow us down enough. Doug gave...

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Midday Matinee – No News is News

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I left for the north woods and a dog sledding trip on Friday. I turned my cell off and left my computer behind. No news meant just that no news. I missed the BPI crew but whatever happened in the world at large happened without my attention to it. I assume Egypt is still is some sort of delicate balance. I’m guessing we are still engaged in wars in Iraq (winding down) and Afghanistan. I’m assuming that the Super Bowl fans all eventually made it into Dallas in spite of ice and snow. I’m assuming, since I’ve plugged in again, that JanF and other Packer fans are happy and that those who were either anti-Packer fans or pro-Steeler fans are unhappy. I am assuming that the Republicans are still intent on pillaging the middle class. While all the news was happening without me, I was in a little slice of heaven on earth. My sister and I share a late December birthday. She was just 59 and I was 64. We decided to take a dog sledding trip to celebrate our birthdays. We were lucky enough to pick the best winter weekend weather so far this season. Highs in the high 20s, low 30s and lows in the mid...

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Midday Matinee – Cowboy Boots

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Between Nebraska and Jefferson City, Missouri there are lots of billboards for boot shops. There are so many a traveler can’t help but notice them. I wondered if somehow I had missed a major cultural clue. You may remember that a few weeks ago I drove to Jeff City to see my cousin Susan sworn in as a Missouri State Representative. Up until that drive I had naively thought of cowboy boots as western wear – functional footwear for people who rode horses and rode the range. Silly me. Cowboy boots are country footwear and apparently quite fashionable when worn with suits. Did you, like me, have a picture in your mind of the Marlboro man? Forget that man. I saw several men in the State Capitol wearing boots and suits. I talked this over with my cousin. We both love shoes and notice them wherever we are. “What is with the cowboy boots?” I asked. I mentioned the billboards and the surprising (to me) number of her fellow legislators who were booted up. She explained the different parts of Missouri to me and that if the men had been wearing regular black dress shoes, their constituents might have thought they looked too much like a lawyer or a banker. The cowboy...

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Morning Feature: Rural America, Part 2 – Farming

To understand rural Americans, you have to understand their connection to the land. And it starts with farming. (More) Yesterday I introduced some differences in urban and rural American attitudes. Today I’ll focus on farming. Last week as I was taking pictures of the road signs several people stopped and got out of their trucks to offer help if needed and to tell me not to drive on a dirt road when it was 50 degrees and snow was melting. It is slippery, and unless you’re a teenager practicing off road driving, it’s not a good idea. I grew up in the suburbs. My aunt and uncle lived on a farm in rural Nebraska which one of my cousins farms today. It is a century farm, having been in the family for over 100 years. It was where my family went on vacations. I am not the product of rural America but a frequent enough visitor to have gained a bit of a feel for the rural lifestyle and values. When speaking with urban Freds remember that some of them have rural roots so this discussion isn’t designed to have you put on a pair of Carharts and a John Deere cap and head for the hills. I think the land is the first point of connection between our progressive values and rural America. There are progressives in rural...

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