A bright future

I ran into Kenny McMillan Saturday afternoon. He and I were best friends in high school and it was really good to see him. Kenny’s family is one of the most prominent in town (the Parkers—Parker Ford and Parker Real Estate, the Williams—Williams Furniture and Clover Hill Dairy and the McMillans—McMillan’s Country Basket Supermarket and McMillan Bros. Funeral Home) and being Kenny’s friend got me my first job as a bagger at Country Basket.

We talked for awhile and he told me that the family had decided to shut the business down in a couple of months because of changes taking place which do not make the future look good. He said that people are really starting to follow the government guidelines for healthy living and are eating foods that you would not even have known existed ten or even five years ago.

I guess I can understand that. It takes a lot of money to carry inventory and now there are expanded items and brands in almost all food categories—low fat, no fat, low sugar, no sugar, low salt, no salt, low carb, no GMO, lactose-free, gluten-free, organic, no wheat, free-range poultry, grass fed beef. Not only does it cost a great deal for the inventory it also is expensive to expand shelf space to hold the new products.

I told Kenny that working at the Country Basket was an important start for me and that I was sorry to hear about the closing especially since Jeannie and I never liked shopping at Mayer’s Market. Kenny stopped me and said that Country Basket isn’t closing; Country Basket is doing very well. The family had decided to close McMillan Bros. Funeral Home because with the government endorsed and mandated life style and dietary changes people are never going to die.

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Remember, not all

“Oh no, look, It’s coming down” and the world watched as Gustave Eiffel’s tower which had stood in Paris since 1887 crumbled into a pile of twisted metal that looked like the pictures of the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. And there could have been no greater shock until at the sound of an explosion the cameras swung around to show a massive black cloud rising above the Louvre Museum which had held priceless antiquities and art masterpieces from around the world.
“Oh, my god, they’ve done it”, and the new live images showed a destroyed Big Ben and Parliament Building in London and smoke rising above the rubble that was once St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The shock of seeing these world landmarks come down was greeted with sighs and comforting statements that they were only buildings and that few people had died or were injured and then a shopping mall in Des Moines and theatres in Buffalo, San Antonio, Portland, Tampa, Milwaukee and Atlanta were hit with bombs and gunfire killing 3000 people and vegetables were poisoned at supermarkets throughout the American south killing thousands.
The countries which had been attacked shuddered and the citizens waited in fear until finally the people had had enough and started to stir. As the level of the people’s anger rose those who had been taught well jumped up as one and in a mighty voice screamed out, “not all Muslims are terrorists”.

Next time

“We’ve decided to drive after the trouble we had getting a flight out for Thanksgiving” Aunt Ruthie said when I asked when we could expect her and Uncle Dan for their Christmas visit.
Their Thanksgiving flight was late, you see, because the inbound flight from St. Louis was late because the inbound flight from Milwaukee was late because a storm in the Pacific Northwest had delayed the inbound flight from Portland or someplace and you have to understand and the airline did say, “we apologize for any inconvenience.”
We should not have to understand anything. We pay good money to be transported by air and then have to put up with delays with lame explanations and lies and extra service fees for baggage and crowded planes and no leg room (unless you pay a little extra for an additional two inches) and overbooked flights (“I’m sorry, we’re not going to be able to get you out on the 10:30 flight because it was overbooked but we can get you out at 4:15 on a flight with a 3 hour layover in Albuquerque…”) and we just shrug and say okay because even though we’ll arrive about ten to twelve hours late at least we’ll get out and what else are you going to do?
But then I guess we’ve decided that it’s all about going a thousand miles per hour and isn’t it modern and ever so glamorous and we want to go fast but it takes forever to get through security and it would have almost been faster to drive like Aunt Ruthie and flying is just a miserable way to travel.
“Next time try the train” said the Southern Pacific Railroad’s roadside billboard of the 1930s. And the trains ran on time and they were comfortable and they ran in all types of weather and we let them go because, you know, flying is so very fast and so very modern.

Giving back

It’s probably been twenty years since I first heard the phrase, “give back to the community.” Over and over and over again we hear people say it or read a company press release which says that ABC Corporation “wants to give back to the community”.
All of these people and companies giving back and the communities which are the targets of all of this giving back just keep getting worse and more violent. Maybe if everyone just stopped going for that warm and fuzzy feeling and started to look at what works to make things better we would actually have improved communities and a healthier nation. But that wouldn’t focus on the give back giver and that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?