By Paul Hogan

I want to share my thoughts of self-survival and how I intend to make July a no-stress, no-threat to  my sanity time.

My reality testing is that I choose not to compare myself to the well-dressed actors on TV commercials. These actors with their Hollywood good looks and Hollywood smiles; in their perfect settings; with their perfect families and perfect friends is not reality.   They are being paid to sell things – implying that I will be happy if I buy their products even if I have to go into debt.  This year I choose not to fall for their sale pitches.

It is the same with all the summer activities. I finally realize that I can’t do everything. I don’t want to be busy every night and every weekend with get-togethers, parties, movies, holiday lights etc., etc. I will choose to do a few things with those I care about, but I am going to keep my daily habits and routines. I’m going to try very hard to “keep it simple.”  I refuse to buy into the commercialization of the season. I choose to live gratefully one day at a time. No dragging the past into the present day. As it has been said, that despite our best efforts, we cannot make the past better.  And worrying about the future is waste of my time as tomorrow will bring its own unknown challenges. I will live in today, grateful for the gifts of life, health and family.

100 years ago, in December 1918, people were elated at the prospect of the first peacetime Christmas in five years. World War I had ended just weeks before. There was hope for ongoing peace even though it was a grieving time for the personal loss of loved ones as millions had died, not only in the war but also in the great influenza epidemic of 1918.

After all of that – was a lesson learned? Because of that Great War three empires fell, society was about to undergo dramatic changes including the women’s and labor movements. Following the war was the excess of the roaring 20s, the Depression, the violence of prohibition and the dirty 30s. Then after all of that in 1940 another World War began. In the years to come we fought in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.  We are fighting an ongoing war on terror internationally and at home. It seems we now have an epidemic of gun violence on our home front.  Even churches and schools are not immune.

As I write this article, I look out my office window overlooking South Broadway. This street which is home to car lots, rundown motels and, when mentioned, some people immediately say or think of prostitution.  I grew up a few blocks from my office.  At that time South Broadway was a part of the North/South US Highway 81 which ran through Kansas, Nebraska and at least South Dakota.  It was a busy trafficway filled with trucks and autos. There were service stations, grocery stores, small businesses, ice cream stores, restaurants, even some residential homes. There was a boarding house for “professional women” who worked in the downtown offices and the buses to transport them along with other working folks and students. 

Today it’s much different with interstate highways and bypasses. We still have car lots, a few restaurants, most but not all of the motels remain and, yes, there are “working girls.”

President George W. Bush, reminisced about how his father, who was the son of a US Senator, served as a World War II Navy pilot and who survived a crash landing at sea that killed his two crew members. Then after the war his father graduated from college. He then moved his small family from back east to Odessa, Texas which was a west Texas oil boom town.  George W recalls how his father, George H.W., his mother, Barbara, and their young family shared housing and a bathroom with prostitutes. Now as a side note, I’m not sharing my South Broadway office building with some of my South Broadway “citizens of the night” … yet.

Even though it’s not Christmas time, sometimes “Peace On Earth and Goodwill to Men” seems to be empty words. I think all we can do, all I can do is to live with peace and goodwill in my heart and in my personal life. So what will yours be this fall, very Merry Sane or Insane Christmas?  God bless you and yours!