Saturday, January 17, 2009

Proud to Be an American

I hate to sound like a Lee Greenwood song, but today I'm definitely Proud to Be an American.

I'm watching the news coverage of Obama's train ride to DC and looking at the crowds that have braved the cold to come out and see it pass makes me very proud. People are lining the route, just wanting to get a glimpse of the man who will become President in a couple of days. Obama is obliging, by waving from the back of the train. I wonder how the secret service likes that.

The arrival by train began with Harrison in 1841 and ended with Eisenhower in 1953. Obama has revived the tradition as a salute to Abraham Lincoln.

The thing I love about it is that it gives more Americans an opportunity to have their moment with Obama. I think that's important for any president - to "connect" with as many people as possible. It gives people a sense that they're part of something and I think that's a critical ingredient in making things work.

My family still talks about Clinton's campaign bus driving through Barlow on Highway 60. Bobby Clark was a little guy at the time and they all went out to see them and wave as they went by. There's something significant about  the person who's going to be leading the country seeing your little part of it. That he has witnessed there are real people living in this place makes it seem more real that he cares.

Although I'm not anywhere near the train route, I'm thrilled for the folks who are getting to see it. I'm sure there are some folks in those crowds who were not Obama supporters and it's encouraging to see people coming together.

I know things are awful in this country right now in some ways. But I hope for just a short while we can celebrate what's right with our nation as we have yet another peaceful transition of power. The great achievement of our democracy is not that our forefathers came together and created a new nation and elected George Washington as the first president. The real moment when they knew it was successful was when Adams became the second president. Now another George, who has been most gracious during this transition, will hand over to Barack Obama. That, truly, is democracy in action. And I'm proud to be an American.
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Preparations with a side of Oriental Chicken Salad

On a whim tonight Greg and I went to Wichita for dinner. It was good to just run down there and have some fun.

I spent the day trying to get some MHA things organized and taken care of. And, of course, thinking about what I need to do at home before my surgery.

It's supposed to be really nice tomorrow so it will be a good day to get the car cleaned out and take care of a few outdoor things. Unfortunately, I can't lift much of anything so poor Greg is left doing much of the dirty work.

I'm doing my best to not get too freaked out about the whole thing. That's easier said than done. People cutting me open has never been high on my "to do" list. And it's not just the cutting, but the news they deliver afterwards. I'm starting to think of "benign" as one of the best words in the entire English language. I hope I get to hear it shortly after coming to in recovery.

I'm trying to get all my ducks in a row. I've done all that paperwork you're supposed to do that all of us put off until there's some reason to do it. When I started look at beneficiaries on my life insurance and other such things, I discovered one of them still had my mom on it. She has been gone since 2001 so I was way behind on that. I suppose it would have gone to my only brother still living since that's my closest kin, but it's all such a process if it's not spelled out. So, now it's all spelled out on all the appropriate forms in all the appropriate places.

I also did a living will and Durable Power of Attorney. Well, more accurately, Trish did them and I signed them. Trish was so very kind to jump right on getting those done for me when I asked what I needed to do. She has been wonderful.

You always imagine you'll do such things in a serious setting, with the appropriate gravity they demand. We were sitting at Applebees, waiting on our food, Trish with her notary seal out, me signing forms as quickly as I could. I guess I never thought much about the circumstances under which I would sign a piece of paper saying don't keep me alive by artificial means, but I'm fairly certain that Oriental Chicken Salad was never involved.
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