Soap Box

Slow down and enjoy the holidays
11/29/2018

To the editor,

Christmas is coming fast, but try to slow down. Before you know it, Christmas will be over.

Most of us live our lives in a hurry. We hurry to finish school, hurry through meals, hurry through the work week and hurry into retirement. In a twinkle of an eye, we have hurried through our lives. The clock cannot be reset. The past is in the past and you can’t change yesterday. You can relish, rejoice or regret about yesterday but you can’t change the past. Actually you might not want to, or you might tweak a few days if you could, but you can’t.

If you could, you might have spent an extra hour at the lake or an extra day on vacation. You might have given an extra hour to passing ball with your kids or staying an extra hour to help mom clean up the kitchen. You might retract some words that came out of your mouth in a moment of frustration. The scenarios are numerous when we look back.

We can only look ahead.

Take the focus off spending lots of money. Consider drawing names if you have a large group that gathers. Why try to buy for everybody? Some of the people you buy for may be strapped for cash. They might be able to buy one or two gifts with a limited budget but they can’t buy for 10 or 20 people. Even if you are blessed with cash, consider others who want to give but are limited. Plan a way that all can enjoy.

Take the focus off eating. Do you really want to start the New Year 10 pounds heavier? Nobody needs five different kinds of pies and cakes. The more you have to eat in your refrigerator the more you will eat. Do your loved ones need diabetes? Don’t add to their problem. Make some good food and make it as healthy as possible. However, take the time to enjoy what you made and try to  enjoy it with people who are meaningful to you.

Try to focus on who and what Christmas is all about. A humble family giving birth to a baby in Bethlehem. This season focus on what and who are important before the season is over and take an extra moment to enjoy.

– Glenn Mollette, via e-mail

Firewood
11/21/2018

Before dawn
Butch and I
head up to Beaver Meadows
to cut the dead wood timber.
Like a visual prayer,
the old tree is a silent paradox,
passive yet formative in its stature.
It is the noble condition
of a last surrender,
as the chainsaw hums
through decades in minutes.
Suddenly that moment of teetering.
Like a mysterious celebration
of defiance,
the old log resists,
just for a moment...
before the inevitable fall,
and the return
of a less holy silence.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio

Gobble up a veggie Thanksgiving
11/21/2018

To the editor,

While President Trump is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us can exercise that same presidential power by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving observance.

And here are some other good reasons:

• You can brag about pardoning a turkey – like Trump (or not).

• You will stay awake for your favorite football game.

• Your sensible vegetarian kid won’t have to boycott the family dinner.

• Plant-based holiday roasts don’t have to carry government warning labels.

• You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family out of the hospital.

• Your body will appreciate a holiday from the fat, cholesterol and hormones.

• You won’t sweat the environment-and food resources-devastation guilt trip.

• You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

Seriously, this Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free, plant-based feast.

Our own dinner will feature a store-bought plant-based holiday roast, mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. An internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” is getting us more recipes than we could possibly use.

– Dante Gomez, Durango

Raining on the Trump parade
11/21/2018

To the editor,

It sure was nice that Trump and family went on a nice vacation to Paris on our dime. He was also going to pay respects to all the fallen in WWI.

It was raining so he could not walk with world leaders in the streets or visit the thousands of graves some 50 miles away... but it sure is funny, all the other nations went along with General Kelly to show their respects 100 years after the war ended.

I guess Trump was mad it was raining on his parade.

The president then flew home Sunday and went into his bunker at the White House. Monday he was recovering from a hard day’s work and didn’t even have time to go the Arlington Cemetery or the tomb of the unknow soldier. I’m sure the vets who voted for him liked that.

Trump says he cares about the military. Yeah – the VA is still all messed up, and he is in command. What a joke. He doesn’t talk about it and when asked he says he is working on it. When was the last time he ever went into a VA hospital? Ask a vet.

I guess you’ll find it somewhere in the more than 5,000 lies he has told the public and his GOP supporters. The president might even tell the Forest Service how to manage the forest after he solves the California fires.

– Bob Battani, veteran, Durango

Don't turn backs on homeless
11/21/2018

To the editor,

If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. I would substitute “city” for “man” in the above Harry Potter  quote. Look at us! Many of us are turning our heads from the homeless and “building a wall,” outside of which the homeless are allowed to live.

I have lived in Durango only two years, coming from Chicago, where it is relatively hopeless to help the homeless. However, Durango is very small and there are very few homeless people here. We should step out of our cars and ask them how we can help, rather than ignore them. Sure, some are taking advantage, but most are probably not.

I looked up online (msn) how I could find a place to stay in Durango if I were homeless. There were only three entries that showed up, whereas there were eight entries for homeless pets. Come on, gang!

One candidate for sheriff stated that the homeless might be taken care of by “nonprofits.” Are not governments “nonprofits?”

My point being, this is a moral battle, not one to be overseen by the ACLU. We should and could take care of the few homeless people here. Give them some credit for liking Durango! Morality is more important than legality!

– Bonnie Dudley, Durango