Month: December 2019

A Long, Hard Look by Lois Hewitt

WARNING:  if you are easily offended, you may not want to read any further.  Depending on how badly this goes, it may be my last post.

Lately, I have been taking a long, hard look at life.  In fact, the last few years, that is all I have done.  I have tried to maintain a sunny outlook on it all, but lately I cannot muster up the strength to do that anymore.  The untold story starts way back….

I was raised by my father after my parents divorced in my youth.   My dad was a gentle giant to most, at 6 ft. 6 in and around 300 lbs.  He did have a heart of gold.  But he was unequipped to raise an insecure, needy daughter.  He did his best and he did teach me some valuable lessons.  Lessons I still use today.

Dad drank hard and he played hard.  Never missed a day’s work due to drinking, heck I do not remember him ever calling sick.  When he was diagnosed with cancer, he did not even miss a day. I am rather a wimp myself and do use sick days.

He taught me to drive before the legal age, so that I could drive him home from the bar.  I was never afraid being a young girl sitting alone at the bar doing my homework for he was never far and no one dared mess with me.  He was my protector.  And that job he excelled at.

He taught me about guns.  He was an excellent Skeet and Trap shooter.  From an early age, I knew the ABSOLUTE truth about guns.  You don’t mess with them.  They are NOT toys and you NEVER EVER point on at someone unless you mean to shoot them.  I knew from a young age, that is not something you never touched.  I would carry his shotguns for him when he was at tournaments, but gun safety was always key.  He also taught me the foolish things Hollywood did with guns was not reality.  I never once picked up his .38 just to pretend.  The cavalier attitude today about guns absolutely surprises me.  There were guns all over the house, some loaded.  I knew if someone tried to do us harm, who would be the victor.  All this talk about guns today, I think if more people had my healthy fear of them, you would see a lot of this unnecessary carnage disappear.

He taught me about cars.  Cars are as dangerous as guns.  Cars kill and maim people.  He would have kicked my butt today if he ever saw me trying to talk on a phone, watch a movie (I’ve seen it) or any other activity other than driving.  I still drive with both hands on the wheel.  I use my turn signal, even coming out of my driveway.  I strongly remember those things he taught me.  When I was young, living in a small town with no transportation, I wanted a bicycle so I could go to friend’s houses.  He told me that he would get me one when he wanted me to get killed.  He said where we lived was full of dangerous hills and curves, that riding a bike on those roads was suicide.  I was mad at him for a long time, but now I understand that he was teaching me about vehicular respect.  Car or bike, no difference.  Both are dangerous and you cannot be distracted using either one.  The things I see today that people do while driving is so out of control.

He taught me about money.  This is a lesson I never fully learned.  After the divorce, money was really tight.  My father only had an eighth grade education, because he had to work to support his family after his father passed away (as did his other siblings).  He was a stellar mechanic, one of the best.  He could fix anything.  We never called a repair man, Dad knew how things worked.  Things got really tight when foreign cars started pouring into America during the 1970s.  He went from full time to part time work.  He was devastated, but optimistic that is was only temporary.  I remember the day we went to the local grocery store and bought a few items.  The woman in front of us was buying steaks, wine, cookies, chips, and other food I would have died for.  She paid with food stamps.  The balance of the bill was paid with a $100 bill.  Dad had $20 to his name at the time and never flinched even when I asked him why we could not have steaks.  We followed the woman out to her new Japanese car and I realize now that Dad’s heart broke a little.  Granted I did not know the lady or her situation, but I knew ours at the time and it was one I did not understand.

He taught me about politics.  In middle school, I remember we were learning about JFK.  I came home and asked Dad about him.  I was unprepared for the answer.  He had a deep dislike for the entire Kennedy family.  He hated their politics.  We discussed it for a while and I felt I understood his stand.  The next day at school, I quickly learned that my family might have been in the minority.  Dad still respected the man, after all he was the President of the United States but he did not necessary adhere to his politics.  This is a subject I have skirted because, frankly, I am afraid of the backlash.  Here goes…I was born a Republican and that is where I stayed even after my youth.  I have always respected the Office of the President, even if I did not agree with them.  This absolute intolerance for our current President is one of the most outrageous things I have ever seen in my life.  Total disrespect and it is something I truly cannot understand.  Don’t comment back all the things wrong.  I understand the situation.  I also know he was elected by the people and he deserves, at a minimum, the respect the office presents.  The other thing Dad taught me is that everyone has their right to their opinions.  Politics is not a subject to be discussed.

He taught me about sex…sort of.  He always said there are three things you do not talk about:  sex, politics and religion.  He explained what it was that teenage boys wanted and left it at that.  But later on he also taught me that what two consensual adults do is their business.  I did not always listen to this advice, especially if I thought I could get a laugh out of someone, but today I understand what he was saying.  Today, we are spoonfed constantly sex on all levels.  Maybe it is too much information today.

He taught me respect.  I never called his friends anything but Mr. or Mrs.  I never sassed back to an adult (I did rebel about in my later teenage years and for that I am terribly full of remorse).  I learned to respect people, their things and their time.  Today, respect is a bad word almost.  We are losing that for the likes of “all people for themselves”.  You are not as important as I am, so you need to get out of my way.  There are some people that you do not even try to engage with, even if you are trying to assist them.  Dad respected all people.  He was literally and figuratively colorblind.  Respect was a big deal when I was growing up.  It was not an automatic thing you received, you had to earn it.  It could also be lost and then you would have to re-earn it.  In my youth, there was no respect participation award.

You get the picture.  He taught me some hard and fast rules.  Rules I live by today.  Today I see those rules being pushed aside.  I see people who are so easily offended by the smallest things.  I used to be thin-skinned (as he called it) and every infraction cut me to the bone.  I felt that it was always personal.  So I understand, but I also ended up having to “grow a pair” because the constant pain and insecurity took its toll on me.  I literally got tired and am still recovering.  It was once I learned that not every infraction aimed at me was about me. That is a very self-centered view by the way.  Some people are just plain nasty, some are having a rough time and some have problems I cannot see.  So I learned to turn the channel, put down the book, or unfollow someone who seems offensive.  I do not write nasty comments to people from the safety of my house.  I hate that we are all so quick to call others idiots or racist or other derogatory terms.  It is really easy to play God sitting alone in front of a computer screen, but that surely does not make it right.

He taught me that religion was ok.  My Dad was not an overly religious man, but when I became a Christian in my mid teens, he was supportive.  He saw that it was making me a better person.  During those times, it was still okay to be a Christian.  Today, it is a totally different story.  This country was founded on religious differences, yet today Christianity is the least tolerated.  Yes, there have been some really bad examples of “Christian” people in our past.  People who abused their power and did terrible things.  I cannot deny that, but I have a profound and deep love for Jesus.  I know for a fact I would not be here today if it were not for Him.  Does that make me weak?  Does that make me like a mindless sheep?  I, personally, do not think so.  I think that my faith makes me stronger than if I did not have it.  It makes me more empathetic and it also makes me hurt more when I see man’s inhumanity to man.

He taught me to think before I act.  I remember when I had family come back from fighting in the Vietnam War.  Bodies badly broken and spirits broken as well.  They went off to fight a war because they felt it was their duty.  They did it wonderfully and paid a very high price for it.  They came back to the land they were protecting and were spit upon.  They were called names and hated.  War is never good, especially when the objectives are not clear.  But many men and women gave the ultimate cost for the rights we hold dear today and yet we showed them so little respect.  Today, you hear “thank you for your service” all the time, but do we as civilians understand what that sacrifice meant?  No, I do not think so.  How many people think Memorial Day and Veterans Days are just long weekends?  We need to think before we act.  Get the whole story.  Today, it is so easy to just hear a sniglet of a partial conversation and think that is the entire story. That is just not the case, most things run much deeper than we think.

If we are going to base our lives on what the Kardashians (sp?) think, or other informers or whatever they are called, we are guaranteed to get only half a story.  The Internet is full of half stories, rewritten stories and speculation.  We need to stop following and start looking at things for ourselves.  This is a very unsettled world we live in and every single infraction causes it to tilt a little more until one day it completely tips.

So friends, now you know the truth.  I am a Republican, a devoted Christian, and am pro-gun.  I do not care who you sleep with.  I do not care about your politics because you have the RIGHT to your opinion.  If these facts make it so we cannot be friends any longer, I apologize.

I had a job once where when of my coworkers was constantly bashing another coworker.  It make me extremely uncomfortable but I never said anything figuring it was okay because I was not agreeing with them.  Turns out my silence was taken as an affirmation of the terrible things being said.  I learned a lesson then.  You can skirt an issue for a while, but you truly have to pick a side eventually.  So goodbye to those who will loath me because of my stand.  I will not beat you over the head with my views any longer than this blog is.  I am sorry that you cannot do that one thing you claim to want to do…coexist.  To those who are still okay with me, thank you.

Please do not comment back with an argument. I only wanted to clear some air that has been weighing heavy on me.  I am not looking for a fight.  My Dad never looked for a fight, some went looking for him but he never went looking himself.