Every year about this time, nostalgia creeps in and I harken back — for whatever the reasons — to consider once again the list of things I miss the most.
Of course, it may sound impractical or not even noteworthy, but there’s something about the cool morning air when summer heads toward autumn — and one steps livelier — that creates an image of days long past.
While I’ve not slowed down in my daily routine, nor succumbed to being a couch potato and sleeping the evening away, I find myself becoming reinvigorated; thankful I’m still capable of remembering how things used to be, along with their importance. Call it enlightening.
And, no matter how preposterous and ostensibly annoying it has become, people still have an enthusiastic obsession for lists, even if the majority of them don’t contain an ounce of substance. It’s as if lists dominate every waking moment of our daily lives.
Granted, some of our avid readers may even find my continuing list outrageous, too; however, curiosity will win out in the end and you’ll find yourselves reading this year’s list. Whether you agree or not, remains a mystery.
Because this is the third installment in a continuing series, let’s briefly look back at the last two years, just in case your memories need refreshing.
(1) Customer service; (2) Men with manners; (3) Rotary dial phones; (4) Conservative-minded Democrats; (5) Courteous drivers; (6) “The Tonight Show” starring Johnny Carson; (7) ABC “Monday Night Football” with Don Meredith, Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford; (8) Conservative-minded Republicans (9) Catalogs and (10) The Disco Era.
Now, without further ado, that continuing list of things I miss most.
(11) Thanksgiving dinners without football.
Gone are the days when families actually gathered around the dinner table to give thanks, reminisce and enjoy one another’s company. Gone are the days when long after dinner was finished, we still found ourselves still sitting at the table, enjoying one cup of coffee after another while discussing issues relevant to the day. Some important, some not. Gone are the days envisioned by Norman Rockwell’s paintings, and gone are the days when music turned festive, reminding us of the approaching holiday season.
All replaced by what? Football and the scurrying of hoards of people (lemmings), heading for the den and the infernal television set, hoping they didn’t miss the kickoff.
And, yes, I enjoy a good football game now and then, just not on Thanksgiving Day. There are more important matters that demand our undivided attention. It’s called family.
(12) Taxation with representation.
In the mid-18th century, our Forefathers had a grievance with Great Britain that became one of the major causes of the American Revolution: Taxation without representation.
Today, the same issue of taxation without representation has returned to the forefront because the majority of our elected officials — be they Democrat or Republican — find themselves more concerned about their own agendas, while ignoring the wishes of the American people. The ongoing Syrian conflict, however, seemed to momentarily change this. For how long of course depends on those agendas.
Politicians’ meager attempts at trying to convince us that “they know what’s best” is insulting, to say the least. Perhaps, it’s time to throw some tea in the Boston Harbor again. Or better yet, get out and vote in the upcoming 2014 mid-term elections and see if that wakes ’em up.
In other words, “Don’t Tread on Us.”
13) Richard Nixon.
While Nixon’s name may come as a shock to many readers, I have several reasons to include the 37th President of the United States on this list; notwithstanding he was my commander in chief for three years, but rather for his political insight, foreign policy expertise and patriotism.
In 1953, Nixon warned that Iran was the most dangerous nation in the Middle East, but yet today, there are those (members of the current administration) who are viewing Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rowhani, as a moderate. Rowhani, a moderate?
Fact: any nation controlled by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is undeniably dangerous and must not be trusted. Rowhani (the moderate), is nothing more than a Khamenei puppet, and one who’s undoubtedly kept on a short leash at all times.
In 1972, Nixon opened diplomatic relations with China, and in 1973, ended America’s involvement in Vietnam, calling it “Peace with Honor.”
Additionally, he brought the POWs home from Vietnam, and today, those soldiers still call Nixon, “a hero,” because he refused to forget them. General Charles Boyd, the only Vietnam POW to receive four stars said, “There is no diminution for our affection for Richard Nixon. For us, he was the guy that stuck with us.” Patriotism is the word that defines Nixon’s action.
And, with regard to our current sitting president’s “You didn’t build it” comment, I’m reminded of what Nixon said about our country and its people, and how it refutes Obama’s remarks. “We must always remember,” Nixon said, “that America is a great nation today not because of what government did for people but because of what people did for themselves and for one another.”
During my lifetime, Nixon’s foreign policy expertise remains unsurpassed. He continually warned us about communism, and while the old Soviet Union no longer exists, there remains that air of distrust with Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
Aside from the Syrian conflict, I’ve always had the feeling that Putin (a former KGB officer) would love to return to the old Soviet ways. He’s a true communist at heart. According to journalist Peggy Noonan, “A serious foreign-policy intellectual said recently that Putin’s problem is that he’s a Russian leader in search of a Nixon, a U.S. president he can really negotiate with, a stone player who can talk strategy and the needs of his nation, someone with whom he can thrash it through and work it out.”
When it comes to foreign policy today, politicians of Nixon’s caliber and magnitude are almost non-existent, which is why he is on this list. Little wonder why I miss Richard Nixon.
In looking back at this year’s list, I’m sure once again some of you will question my sanity (those who disagree), while others (those in agreement) will check for grey hairs.
However, because we live in an era of instant everything, it’s nice to slow down for just a few moments and reflect on those things we’ve missed and shared together today.
Until next year around the same time, be well, and if by some remote chance there’s something you miss, don’t hesitate to let me know.
Larry French lives in Butler. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and teaches composition and literature at East Tennessee State University and Northeast State Community College. You may reach him at FrenchL@etsu.edu.