Be of good cheer
Seriously, I mean that. Be of good cheer.
I’m sure some of you want to know why you should be. After all, with the election steal fight still in doubt, with Dr. Grinch telling people to cancel Christmas, with economic news not looking so fantastic for anyone besides the rich, asking “Why the hell should I be of good cheer?” is understandable.
Life is what you make of it, if you’re of the fighting mindset. If you aren’t, it’s going to be what someone else makes of it for you. Choose your poison.
Let me tell you the brief version of my life. I wasn’t very likeable as a kid. I got beat up a lot. It wasn’t until high school, of all places, that things started to change. I made a (very few) friends, and I started to figure myself out just a bit. The thing that really set me off is when, as a kid from “the wrong side of the tracks” I was told by a guidance counselor to give up my idea of going to college and just get a job in a factory like a good boy.
That sort of pissed me off. I was taught that, in America, you could be what you wanted to be, and it was possible, through hard work, to rise as far as you wanted to go. My parents were solid West Virginia stock, forged by the Great Depression and World War II, and there was no quit in them. It took me a while, but I found that that trait bred true.
It took 11 years, but that pissed off kid learned who he was, learned to like that person, learned to make and keep friends, and graduated from college, first job and fiancee in hand. It wasn’t a smooth, even process, and there were setbacks and failures. But I was motivated and I had learned to be a fighter. Life isn’t going to give you anything other than pain and failure if you don’t go in swinging with attitude.
I retired at the top of the IT food chain, as Director of Information Technology at a university. Work in a factory my ass. Nothing wrong with that, my son does it for a living and he likes it. But it was not my way. Not my dream.
Each of us can do the same, changing the course of our life and doing it right now. The secret is that you actually have to do stuff. As the hippies used to say, “Fly your freak flag!” If the election steal is getting to you, do something concrete, even if it’s a little thing. Around here, folks still have their Trump signs in the yard, still have their Trump flags flying and still wear Trump stickers on their vehicles. As a matter of fact, I’m seeing some new signs and flags popping up. It’s a heck of a thing.
Get ready for hard times. Learn some skills. Start looking at a garden, even a small one, in the spring. I’ve turned loose some of my carefully hoarded cash, buying ammo (finally found some subsonic 300BLK, at the now utterly reasonable price of $1.05/round), magazines and some more reloading gear. I bought yet another ham radio and the things that I feel need to go with that. I’m rebuilding the ham shack, which was just finished in June, to accommodate new needs. Then there is firewood, Christmas (the cats broke the tree, but with a scavenged steel rod and some JB Weld, I think I may have a saved Christmas), neighbors who need a hand, and project after project around the house to do. Keeping busy gets things done, gets and keeps you ready for what comes your way and keeps your mind off the troublesome issues you can do nothing to address.
Talk to your friends. Buck up those that need a lift, and let others lift you up. I found out this week that, if the Boogaloo starts, the local headquarters will be my barbershop. I needed a haircut, and when I pulled up the parking lot was full of pickup trucks. Figuring I was in for a wait, I walked in and no one was getting a haircut. Instead Newsmax was on TV and the group was critiquing the reporting and discussing their thoughts on the election and how to deal with the various possible outcomes.
Mrs. Freeholder had to call and ask if I was coming home. I hated to leave, because it felt good to be in the company of my fellows. And not a mask in sight.
Celebrate the holidays. Though some of our family have become Covid cowards, the rest of us are gathering both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to exchange gifts and enjoy each other’s company. Some of the neighbors are coming over to eat-I’m grilling steaks this year. Decorate your yard, and let people see you aren’t hiding. Santa is in his blow-up deer stand and the lights are on the trees and bushes. For me, it’s another redneck Christmas. I’m good with that.
So, enjoy your life, because it isn’t over, even if the media tells you so and some of our fellows want to believe the sky has fallen. Do what you can to be ready. Keep yourself occupied.
Go forth and do things.