We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
One of the many things missed by many so-called "cosmopolitan sophisticates" (actually self-absorbed reality avoiders) is that the deepest pleasures in life are in giving, not taking, and creating the appreciation for giving in our children.
We had a full day scheduled for today, as do most families on weekends. Each year for the past eight or so the boys and I have brought new toys to the breakfast at Camp Pendleton (about a half-hour north of us) paid for by Congressman Issa, whose foundation pays for many such charitable works throughout North County San Diego. We usually go at about 11AM but would need to go at 7:30AM in order to make it to Gavin's basketball game at 11AM. I asked Gavin if he wanted to skip the toy collection breakfast today, so he wouldn't be tired for the game due to the earlier wakeup. Gavin immediately replied, "But, then poor kids will not have as many toys for the Holidays." Out of the mouth of babes (actually a just a month short of 9-years old) comes the core wisdom we take pleasure is seeing in our children.
So, arriving early, Congressman Issa marveled at how both boys have grown over the years he has known them.
Then we joined another family with whom we've sat for the past 5-years, whose son Eugene also had a basketball game today, so they arrived early, and for the same reason -- to make sure that kids less fortunate had new toys for Christmas.
Off to basketball, Gavin arrived just as the game began, and his increasing skills were soon evident. (We practice together every chance we get, especially right now on strengthening his dribbling with his non-dominant hand.) (below) -
The next activity, even though (for us fortunate San Diegans) it was
chilly at 50-degrees and windy, with intermittent rain, was the annual
Encinitas Holiday Parade. (Yes, it used to be called the Christmas
Parade, but participation has widened since, religious symbols are
freely included, and no one gripes.) As Encinitas has become the center
of life along the North County San Diego coast, so has our parade grown
in numbers and fancy floats.
Gavin's Cub Scout Pack was announced as the longest existing one in
the area, for over 25-years extolling at collecting many tens of
thousands of pounds of foods for the needy, for example. Jason, who is
now in Boy Scouts is an alumnus of the Cub Scout Pack who returns to
help the younger Cub Scouts and serve as an example of Scout character,
was honored to be the flag bearer for the Pack in the parade.
Here's a close-up of Gavin, as the other boys sparkling with holiday
lights and having the fun of riding their scooters and bikes at will
down a 4-lane main road in town without worry of traffic.
Giving, caring for others in need, is a key character trait we build
in our children. Almost every parent devotes themself to building their
children's character, give freely of themselves and all they have to do
so. Not only are we rewarded, and not only are our children rewarded
with fruitful lives, but our rich and civil society requires building
such character. The takers of this world not only don't realize what
they are missing but are actually degrading the very richness of society
from which they expect endless materialistic pleasures.
Love Scouts, wish the program had been stronger here in my town. We had an active Cub Scout group, Boy Scouts were unfortunately fractured into 3 different troops, none of which were particularly strong.
As a first year college student, I was one of the thousands of Red Cross volunteers helping refugees in the camps set up at Camp Pendleton when Saigon fell in 1975. Because the need for help was so huge, they put out an alert for volunteers at all the Southern California colleges, and many students responded and were helping when all the refugees started streaming in. Marines and volunteers were working 24/7 to get the camps built and to provide the refugees with food, shelter and their other needs. So I have a lot of memories of the place, although I know it's huge.