My Mom is a patriot. I am too. To say that to some connotes a certain partisanship that is not intended. I’m mostly a radical anti-racist with a lingering idealism that I can’t seem to shake. No side of any coin should dangle patriotism as a banner unshared. It belittles the word and the intent.
I only know this country, with its original sin of slavery still smoldering, and I am not naive to the things we have done on our path to the present. Holidays and the things they represent are the best hopes and ideals we can muster. Our flag as an image remains true to its symbolism, it is we human-Americans who fall short.
I recently got an email from my mother (my siblings too) that I, initially, took as a scolding. She mentioned that she’d appreciate hearing from us on the American holidays, and it is with this post, that I wish her a happy Fourth of July, and join her in her wish for the day to be acknowledged for more than a hot dog and a mattress sale. For the promise that this celebration makes, the promise that has a ways to go for some of our citizens, as I have a ways to go on many fronts myself. Independence is freedom, and when we continue in that promise we raise that flag.
Our flag, the united flag, The American flag. One people. One Mom, hopefully keeping cool in New Jersey, had to remind me. I’m glad she did.
I was lucky growing up. I didn’t have any major allergies. I had a hyper-active gag-reflex and couldn’t swallow pills, so every medicine I took had to be liquified, but other than a constrictive esophagus or larynx (which people mispronounce as larnyx, which cracks me up), I didn’t suffer much grief medicinally or dietarily.
My best friend’s mom had a severe nut allergy, which I was aware of, from an early age, but paid very little attention to, and she is still striving and surviving. I don’t remember ever having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich over at their house, but I don’t remember having to be hosed down if I had one at my house and came over to visit. I vaguely remember holiday walnuts, and nut crackers, and being pissed-off after all that work when the walnut tasted like shit.
Maybe I am mis-remembering, like a politician, but I think we just went about our business and she avoided nuts. I have heard from a few teacher friends of mine that nuts are banned from entire campuses. Meaning a ziplock bag full of pistachio’s, in your sack lunch, is banned. This makes sense in pre-school and some grade school, but at a high school?
I’m a jerk who doesn’t know how bad, and how rapid, and how life threatening such an allergy is, so forgive my ignorance and insensitivity, but banning a nut from the entire campus seems like an over-play. Especially when some schools have metal detectors at their entrances.
Allergies are nothing to trifle with and I know things can go bad in a hurry, and I know schools should be safe havens of learning, but the beach is a beautiful place and we have to teach kids to avoid stepping on jellyfish and needles, let’s just be sure that someday we’re teaching them to take care of themselves. Like my friend’s mom, who learned the hard way, once, but managed to keep her life nut free, since.