It’s probably not in the cards

Published 6:12 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Vietnam, the rural people, when American units passed them on the streets or in the village, kept their eyes down or looked the other way and offered no greetings. “They just wanted us to go home.” Here was a sign of vanity of “nation building.” What nation has ever been built from outside?

I received an e-mail this week pointing out that I forgot to mention the 40th Anniversary at Kent State that left four students dead. I was reminded seeing this from a front-page article in the Star Tribune last week and meant to mention it this week. The e-mail helped. For the most part I have stopped watching TV and even avoid listening to the radio.

The Star Tribune did have a good reminder of what happened in Kent State.

This too was a result of the Viet Nam “conflict.” It will always be difficult to look back at Kent State without recalling the pain this inflicted on students, soldiers and families—a dark moment.

The other day I got a hold of Denny Blaser, who too got to be on the rioting end of the situation following Martin Luther King’s assassination. Denny was serving his remaining six months in Washington D.C. after serving a year in Vietnam.

The riots were the result of the assassination of Martin Luther King. Denny was stationed there at the time, and they were issued live ammunition.

Rioters, he said, had to be off the streets by 7 p.m. Martin Luther King was one of the first to challenge what the United States was doing in Vietnam and justifiably so. Denny said the entire capital was shut down for a week. Denny ‘s response “God Almighty I made it through Vietnam and now this.”

I remember thinking they would be calling home soldiers back from Vietnam to fight back home. In a roundabout way they were.

Lately I ran across a couple of Wendell Berry books in the house that have been hiding.

One was filled with essays, one was titled, “What are People For?” where he, Wendell, describes Wallace Stegner who Wendell so appreciated as a student with other prominent writers. He also sites another essay “The Book and the Great Community” where Stegner said “Thought is neither instant nor noisy…It thrives best in solitude, in quiet, and in the company of the past, the great community of recorded human experience.

That recorded experience is essential whether one hopes to re-assert some aspect of it, or attack it.”

Wendell tells the reader that “teacher evaluation” is a hopeless business.

He says, “there is, thank God, no teacher-meter, and there never is going to be one. As a result Wendell became a regional writer settled in Kentucky.

Page Smith of The Christian Science Monitor speaking, on behalf of Wendell Barry, “He is … the prophetic American voice of our day.”

Of course this was said 20 years ago before some of you were born. I still believe it. However, I am not the most knowledgeable reader around, but it does give me an escape from Mello, the dog, who gets no satisfaction from a book, especially the one on how to parent a dog that I have misplaced, and I believe Mello is aware of this.

Echo and Ptolmy are doing their best to protect their lives from Mello. Echo is often feeling safer than Ptolmy.  Echo often blocks Mello’s way out of the back room, so I am called upon to step in and move Echo on.

Most of the time she is compliant.

Jeanne and I debuted Mello at the fairgrounds last Sunday, where she performed well. Of course she was the only dog on the grounds at the time. She seems to enjoy traveling in the car or walking at the college or the ballpark, but getting her into the car is not always easy.

Thank goodness I have another part-time job that gives me some time away from our animal farm. It isn’t bad when Jeanne is here and hopefully she will soon be here until the next session if this one ever ends.

Then it will be door knocking again.

I’ll probably have to stay home and keep an eye on Mello. I think any chance of her being in a dog show is not in the cards.