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A big hello to all you readers of my column in the “big” machine magazine of our industry that we love so much! Here in my little corner of the publication, as we end the holiday season and begin a new year, I was thinking of all the turmoil “we the people” are and have been going through. I’m talking about the continued wars and rumors of wars, the immigrant situations on all our borders, the impeachment situation being beat to death around Washington, gun situations, opioid news, the death of our children in the prime of life for all kinds of reasons, the downgrade of religious thoughts, etc.
It makes my heart so very heavy every time I read in the morning paper or hear the stories on the news about all the terrible things that happened while we were all sleeping. I could just throw in the towel! The negatives indeed always seem to outweigh any good news out there.
Just about each day when this happens, my mind usually runs to thoughts about the Declaration of Independence, to the short statement that spells out “the pursuit of happiness.” You bet, the pursuit of happiness!
What does it mean exactly? Well, many of you reading today will no doubt remember an incident that happened in Los Angeles back in about 1991 when four LAPD officers stopped Rodney King’s auto for fleeing and evading (night time). When pulled from his car, he was brutality beaten by the police.
Fast forward, and the four were charged and found not guilty for their actions. This sparked, within hours, the 1992 LA riots — a terrible time! At one point, King is quoted as saying (and it is on his burial stone today): “Can we all just get along?”
Now, fast forward to today. Why can’t we all get along? With a deep wonder in my heart, I do want to know. I’m just a 75-year-old guy, born and raised on a cotton farm in Venus, Texas. I would like to know — in this great country of ours, which continues to be ours to keep, improve or destroy — why can’t we all try to work and understand our neighbors and get along for the good of the country and world we all get to live in?
The American Ideal
Sticking with the theme of getting along, the pursuit of happiness fits into the King phrase awfully well, in my opinion. I feel it is a de facto expression of the American ideal. It states freedom from tyranny, freedom to live life as one chooses and freedom simply to be happy. Happiness is explicitly mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Quite a statement, I believe!
So, my good friends, as we start the new year for this old world and the country we live in, let us all think and re-think the condition and state of affairs that we find ourselves in as a people. Please read what I pronounce to you in the following remarks. Much of it is serious and much of it (written by yours indeed) actually caused a smile to come to my face as I read it. Let me know what you think of my approach to “Can we all just get along?” I appreciate your thoughts.
I wish to extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, male or female, filthy rich, broke, white and of color, and those who don’t speak English or don’t speak it well. I welcome all good folks with good intentions from outside the United States to “come on in” through our welcome gates the correct and positive way. I welcome newborns, people skinny as a rail, folks who can’t sing a lick, people who are just passing through, just woke up or, in fact, just got out of jail.
I don’t really care or worry if you are more Lutheran than Luther, more Presbyterian than Pastor Dave, more Catholic than the Pope or haven’t even been in a church since ‘ole Buck was a heifer! I even welcome all folks who don’t like “organized religion.” I even extend a warm welcome to folks who are more than 40 but not even close to being grown up yet, or to teenagers who grow up too damn fast! (Excuse me, Lord.)
I also want to welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, Starbucks latte-sippers, junk-food eaters and folks who stay up really late at night! Folks who blow all their rent money in the casinos of Las Vegas are welcome, too.
Folks who are woodcutters, diamond cutters, pipe threaders, run Gruvlok machines, road salespeople, contractors, competitors, coal miners, gold miners or shipbuilders — I welcome you. All misunderstood folks, people who work too hard, can’t spell (like me) or folks who can use a prayer right now, please come! If you are among the people who get lost in traffic and take a wrong turn, and you wind up at my door, it is great to have you.
We can get along with not too much effort if we all do what Thomas Jefferson and others meant when framing our Declaration of Independence: by talking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are rights that all folks living in these United States have granted to them, due to living in, working in, if possible, and supporting the laws of our land — the laws of the United States.
I sure hope you all have enjoyed another break in plumbing, mechanical, HVAC and PVF news for half an hour or so to find out what’s on my mind. Living in, loving, supporting, sharing, protecting and working in this wonderful country of ours is always on my mind. I hope it shows as I have tried to display in my writing.
Happy New Year to you all! I thank the Good Lord above for your friendship. Take care and let’s catch up when we can. God Bless!
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