Return to Iowa

Return to Iowa

Yesterday, the mariner and his mate returned from cross-country visits with their children. It is good to see them; we see them seldom and one can see how they have changed. We cannot help but notice they have taken charge of their lives and evidence of apron strings is long gone. Still, their lives are interesting to observe, frequently stirring moments in our own memories of taking life in hand. We shall gather again this winter.

While visiting the son, two events occurred worth mentioning to readers. First, the republicans, perhaps the mariner should say Fox News, held their first debate. It was a sad affair with little of consequence emerging from the event. Four years between National elections is long enough for the mariner to forget that politicians don’t have debates. In fact, the art of avoiding answers to any question no matter how direct has been mastered by politicians. It is not a debate. Were the politicians sixteen years old, we may be able to call them debutantes – it is more a cotillion than anything else. Will it forever be that the electorate votes for personality rather than content? As the mariner has mentioned in the past, citizens get what they vote for. It is interesting that the inquisitors from Fox News posed questions based solely in conservative ideology and right-wing divisive issues. Not one question was posed in a liberal context to be countered by candidates. Where has the primary season gone? What is the US missing that we cannot match the British campaign season virtually untarnished by money and lasts but a few months rather than a few years?

The second event was the passing of The Daily Show. Jon Stewart’s last broadcast was August 6, 2015. Millions of viewers will miss him, including the mariner. It was frequently mentioned by associates that he helped us survive the craziness and incompetence of politics and news broadcasting. Yet, despite his claim that he presented “fake news,” his show became a source of truth, fact and accountability that was not adhered to by those he admonished. Jon Stewart is a man of moral strength and emotional sensitivity – a leader in our times. The mariner wishes Jon the best in his next adventure.

Also within the scope of our vacation visitation, are some experiences that may be of use to the reader. For example, driving time quickly becomes the major pastime as we drive about from one event to another. We later realized that each day should have one major event to which the family is committed. The challenge arises when there is an event during the day and an evening dinner or a secondary activity. Driving about to collect and discharge members of the family and arriving at various venues morning, noon, and night quickly transitions into a chauffeuring experience – a busman’s holiday so to speak.

Another experience is walking. Not that walking is difficult; it is that what one member considers a quick jaunt through the park may be another family member’s trip to Mount Everest. The disparate response to many different events is something to be considered. For example, Grandpa and little Becky may not respond in kind after a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Taking a horseback ride may be fun to the teenagers but a fearful nightmare for Mom. Walking all day through a forty-acre garden may be a pleasant experience but everyone will know it is not pleasant for 18-month old Johnny. The reader gets the point.

Our coterie of family members is small and dividing the group by age, fitness, interest and time would have been difficult. Nevertheless, consider simultaneous events, e.g., send Mom et al to the gardens while the adventurous ride horses. This divides driving among different groups – somewhat preventing the driving vacation.

To top off the vacation, the mariner and his mate spent the last two days driving over 1,000 miles back to their small Iowa town.

Ancient Mariner


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