Kathy and I are hanging out in an enclave in Southwest Florida called Gasparilla Island.For years it has been a playground of the very rich without a desire to be famous. The Duponts and others made this one of many stops for the winter with the centerpiece being the Gasparilla Inn, which is more like a mini Greenbriar than a quaint roadside rest. The long abandoned tracks are still in town, a poignant reminder of long gone Pullmans shuttling swells and hoppers carrying phosphate to the mainland.
We went to mass on Palm Sunday in an oversized chapel that normally held about 150 but was bursting at the seams during Spring Break. The grandmas were in Lily or J McGlaughlin and Grandpa in his faded Nantucket reds with the requisite Guccis or Topsiders with no socks. Nothing gaudy but well kept. Old money has a classy way of telling you they are doing just fine without shoving it down your throat. As the Passion was read I couldn’t help but think about a guy named Jesus who came from a poor background but had made His way over the centuries into folks of all types of bank accounts.
We were not alone that Sunday morn as many other churches were packed with their denominations. All WASP but nice to see people going to church. Not for the religion per se but the upholding of traditions. On the streets you can see the denizens saying hello to one another with air kisses and bro hugs. Kind of like the gathering of the clan. There are no Bentleys or Maseratis. The chariot of choice is a golf cart that is neither fancy nor tricked out. They are four to six passenger models and are festooned with an occasional faded country or college flag and the basic color is rust. The driving age is 14 but no one is watching if the young’uns cruise around the block or further.
You feel that time is standing still and the causeway could be the drawbridge over the moat. Nothing bad happens here in Camelot. If we were threatened someone would just close the gates and life would go on. One has to feel that way about America as we watch the news and word of massacre in Belgium. 9/11 was horrific but we have been spared turmoil for the most part. Maybe it is heightened security but could be it is the Atlantic Ocean that keeps the mayhem makers at bay.
Easter is the sign of new life in a year. The flowers’ shoots pop through the earth with colors that break the grayness of a long winter. Jesus is risen and so are our spirits. You feel revitalized and that first really warm day brings a spirit of renewal. Hey,we made it through another one and clear sailing is ahead. Politics and war be damned.We are just going to kick back and enjoy this one….for now.
Looking out over the Gulf Of Mexico you wish we could just freeze this in time. Ain’t gonna happen. Times change and whether you consider it good or bad, it still happens. The beauty of living in the Land of the Free is that we can do whatever we want. And that too is its tragic flaw. I want you to say whatever you want as long as it’s not hateful or inciting riots. I want you to practice freedom of religion as long as it is my religion. I want you to feel comfortable in bearing arms lest your home be invaded but that right kills kids either on purpose or by accident.
Our spirit of creativity and discovery has let genies out of the bottle and they can never be put back. The Internet has been a boon to many people but it has also become a tool of terror. We don’t want our privacy to be violated and yet we splay our innermost thoughts and our sex lives for all to see on Facebook. Look at the absurdity and quite frankly the depravity of Hulk Hogan being awarded $115 million for some webpage showing him having sex with his best friend’s wife. Sick on all counts.
Computers are being amped up to where their capability doubles every two or three years. Artificial Intelligence(AI) can now beat humans at highly intuitive games. We can replace any organ or bone in our bodies and if we can’t find a decent transplant we can always recreate one by 3D printing. As a matter of fact we can replicate 3D printers themselves by producing clone after clone and on and on. I wonder if it will work on our souls. Can we devise a way to convey feeling such as elation and heartbreak? Don’t say no without thinking about it first.
Long story short is that places like Gasparilla, the Hamptons and La Jolla are not going anywhere physically any time soon. Nor are the Fergusons, south sides of Chicago nor the barrios of LA. As evenly as the people with it good want it to go on forever, the people with bad are praying it will stop. Where we are today is that everyone has their own agenda and history tells us that can’t be good.
How the hell we are going to pull this all together is a mystery to me? I can rant and rave and hope that someone on either side wakes up and takes the reins before this wonderful wagon goes careening off the cliff. You say, why can’t you be optimistic? I say, give me a reason. I say go beyond this and saying that’s a great idea TTG but I am busy. Politics, corporate behavior and our basic morality needs a long introspection and 200 year plus overhaul. Maybe those 3D printers might do the trick.
It’s Easter and the flowers are growing but we need to weed the beds and put in a lot of fertilizer if this years crop is going to make it. We have to feel the warmth of the sunshine not only on our faces but in our hearts. This all may sound corny but I feel it more than ever. If you think it is going to get better all on its own, think again. Happy Easter.
Ted The Great
Americans buy more than 700 million marshmallow peeps during the Easter holiday, which makes Peeps the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
The exchange of eggs for Easter dates back to a springtime custom older than Easter itself in which eggs were given as a symbol of rebirth in many cultures.
Eastern Catholics celebrate mass differently that the rest of us. Not Eastern Orthodox but Eastern United States. They don’t hold hands during the Our Father. The handshake of peace is tepid at best. One guy in a church in NYC told me,”I don’t do that crap.” They leave right after communion and will cut you off in the parking lot while leaving, if you get in their path. Outta my way asshole! Pax Vobiscum.