Reader, be warned! This is perhaps my “soap box” column for this month, especially as we approach Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving holiday is historically very popular and one that most folks eagerly await. The food, the family, gathering of friends and the joy that a celebration can bring all make for an exciting holiday. When you ask most people about the holidays and which ones they really like, the reply is always, “Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.”
It is healthy to take some around time Thanksgiving to contemplate exactly what one is most thankful for. Every living person has something to be thankful for, however there are those that do not realize this. The world is certainly not all puppies, daisies, butterflies and roses, especially these days. Our world is in a state of conflict filled with anger, hatred and all sorts of negative energy. Not to piss on the parade, but this is just how it is.
This year I want to state and state emphatically that I am most thankful for Galveston Island! That’s correct, little old Galveston Island and all it represents and entails. No matter how you look at it, the “glorious sandbar in the Gulf” is way more than just another dot on a map. Galveston is an unrivaled collection of people, places and things and it has always been this.
We hear people say, “I love Galveston because it has a free spirit…be what you want to be…live your life…so accepting,” etc. Well, yes and no. Galveston is a great open city and welcoming to all; however, it is not without some hiccups. Wherever people live, there will always be differences of opinions and moral and social issues to deal with. Galveston is not perfect, but having been around a bit and having lived in all sorts of communities around the country, I’ll choose and keep little old Galveston!
Recently I was out with friends at Lucky Lounge watching our Astros on the television. A friend snapped a photo of me smiling with a Bud Light in my hand. It’s a nice picture and I like it well enough to put it on my Facebook page. The photo was well received and garnered over 186 likes and messages. I looked over list of folks that commented or “liked” and was amazed at the variety of differences among all the commenters. Friends from long ago, co-workers in other states, family and so many others. I must admit that it was very touching, and I felt blessed to have encountered so many people.
Of all responses, there was one that, as Dolly Parton would say, “Burned my ass like a three-foot flame!” I grew-up on a small town in Southeast Texas. I won’t name it because it already has an unjust reputation and misunderstanding. It was and is a great town filled with great people with a few exceptions.
One of exceptions was bully that attended school with me from grade one through twelve. I will call him Billy. Billy was not interested in the academics and therefore spent his time bullying the other kids and making mischief. He was thrilled at being a true bully.
I lost track of dear old Billy until some 40 years later when the internet and monstrous Facebook brought us all “together” again. A few years back Billy sent a request and, with trepidation, I accepted. For the most part he was OK; however, a look at his page indicated he had not changed. His posts contained Confederate flags, Trump crap, anti-vaxxer memes and, of course, images of firearms and pro-Christian Right things. Yes, it seems, and I was told, dear bully Billy had found Jesus along the way. Regardless, he was still a bully and mean. The only difference now is that he could justify all this negativity with his “religion” had he had found.
The morning after my posting of the innocent pic, came a message, “Boo, Bud light…a drag queen beer!” Note, he was too stupid to know the difference between a drag queen and a transsexual. I hesitated to respond, as I knew any comment would start some dialogue in which I did not wish to engage. After mulling it over, I responded to him, “Grow up!” That evening I returned home and sure enough, “I am a grown man Sir.” Right, still a misinformed bully! I did not respond.
There are other examples where fellow humans, some thought to be educated, are actually stupid in their beliefs and actions. Friends with advanced degrees that are anti-vaxxers, friends that love to spew out that “Donald Trump is sent by God” and others that champion right wing, pseudo-Christian attitudes and beliefs. It is sad.
Back to being thankful for Galveston and Thanksgiving. Galveston is a cornucopia of all peoples. I have so many different types of friends that, for the most part, all interact with each other and get along. They are millionaires, professionals, black, white, gay, straight, trans, young, old, homeless and even meth heads. Galveston does welcome and embrace its melting pot citizenry, all of it. This is what makes the place special and desirable. Galvestonians are close and represent all walks of life. It’s not Utopia, but we do try!
This Thanksgiving, gather with friends and family or whoever you chose and enjoy the day. Remember to pause and be thankful…for something! I know I will.