Everything Isn’t Awful

We took a break on Saturday – almost the first seriously cool autumn day – after the Daughter Unit finished prepping at her real estate broker’s office for a property showing on Sunday afternoon. She was home by afternoon, and that was when I told her that the Catholic parish beyond the green belt behind our house was having their fall festival. All morning, I had listened to the sounds of a live band or music on the public address system, and I could look out the kitchen window and see the pavilions set up in the parking lot, and the crowds of people moving from booth to booth. St. H—‘s has staged their yearly event regularly, and we have checked it out frequently: many of our close neighbors attend services there regularly. To our amusement when we heard about this – as well as the amusement of that friend who reported it to us, the parish priest there once preached a sermon on the topic of adapting to new circumstances and specifically mentioned our rooster, Larry Bird, whose crowing the priest could hear across the green belt. Country people, the priest said – who had brought their ways with them to the suburb and yet adapted … he got a whole sermon out of it, and our friends realized that it was Larry that he heard, and she knew very well that the Daughter Unit and I are confirmed suburbanites with a taste for fresh eggs and a back yard just barely large enough to indulge a few live chickens.

Anyway, we decided to put Wee Jamie in the stroller and walk by the shortest way; up to the top of the neighborhood and through the small extension, which was being built when we moved in, twenty-five years ago. We paused to admire the classic 1950s sedan owned by one of the residents there; an Air Force veteran like myself. He had purchased and driven that sedan from Colorado a few years ago, and then lovingly restored it to better-than-original condition. That afternoon, it was parked on the street for all to appreciate. Them we pushed the stroller along a rough path beaten across a corner of the green belt to St. H—‘s. People like to let their dogs off the leash in the green belt meadow. Sometimes we see people riding ATVs around the green belt, and now and again there is a game of football or baseball going on there.

We walked around to the front of the parish hall. There were some small vendors inside the main room, mostly selling handmade stuff and religious memorabilia. A side room had the items for a silent auction – nothing that either of us were interested in bidding for. Outside, on a small scrap of tended lawn there was an autumn-themed nook of haybales, pillows, fall foliage and cushions for the purpose of picture-taking. In the parking lot to the east of the main church and parish hall, they had set up the usual sorts of game and food booths, with the center given over to tables and chairs set up under a series of small pavilions. The food booths – tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, paletas (ice cream and popsicles) were the usual kind of festival food, managed by volunteers from the parish. They were were doing a booming business, as it was a little after noon. There was a good crowd of adults, teenagers and small children, some of them in Halloween costumes. It seemed as if the most popular game booth was the ducking booth – Duck the Deacon, although the kids were most interested in the fishing booth. We walked around for a bit, said ‘hi’ to a couple of neighbors that we knew, and then walked back through the green belt and the neighborhood.

Being a Saturday and a pleasant day, we saw people outside. We stopped to talk to one, who was setting up Halloween lawn decorations, somewhat assisted by his toddler-aged daughter. Poor child – she is a magnet for every possible cold, fever and rash that small children can attract. We admired the very elaborate Halloween decorations that two other neighbors have put in their yards, waved to a third, driving past in his pickup truck. Yet another neighbor family were hosting a gathering at their house, which had spilled out of the party space in their garage and into chairs in the driveway, for the street by their house was lined with vehicles on both sides.

It was all very pleasant, prosaic, even – but oddly satisfactory, almost like our road trip to Kingsland in June. A nice fall day, neighbors out doing ordinary tasks in their yards, the blue sky overhead, a cool breeze rustling the leaves about to turn all colors, and the music from St. H—‘s faint in the background. The quiet, unspectacular pleasures of a suburban life – all the more precious for what one reads and sees on line, of violent protests, urban crime, and governmental malfeasance. There are still nice things in life – everything isn’t awful.


17 thoughts on “Everything Isn’t Awful”

  1. At this point, one has to think, even as someone who urged extreme caution 20 months ago, that if not for the internet everything would be completely normal like that everywhere, and some epidemiologists might have noted an unusually bad flu season last year…

  2. UK Office of National Statistics — looking at total age-adjusted mortality, which avoids all the issues about dying “with” Covid versus “from” Covid:


    “All over the world, populations have been locked up, have become fearful, and none of it can be justified. Looking at the UK, the overall death rate for 2020 is not unprecedented, and some of the increase in the death rate is likely the result of an incomprehensibly bad covid policy.”

    “… As can be seen from the ONS statistics above, the [UK] mortality rate is very slightly higher than in 2009 and is lower than in 2008. No reference or academic study is needed to point out that there was no health crisis in the UK in either 2008 nor 2009. Indeed, these were considered perfectly normal years.”

  3. Lovely. I went apple picking with the Mrs. a few weekends ago (tis the season around here) and had many of the same thoughts.

  4. Javelinas ate my wife’s new plants that she planted in pots on the front porch. Javelinas will eat anything that does not have thorns. Last spring and early summer we had lots of bunnies eating our back lawn, one of the very few in Tucson. None have appeared the last two weeks. The coyotes, and presumable the bobcats, are fat and content. No mountain lions this year. One walked past my wife last year while she was weeding in the front yard. She did not notice it until she turned around and it was 10 feet away, ignoring her fortunately. Coyotes poop on the driveway, no doubt to tease the dog. Life in the foothills.

  5. No, not everything is awful. For all the crap that humans give themselves, the season is still beautiful, and we all (y’all, you people) are part of the global 1%. History and basic math tell us that.

  6. Alas, like I predicted, TX legislators have sold us out like everywhere else and would never pass vaxx mandate ban:
    “Bills intended to block any Texas entity, including hospitals and private businesses, from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees failed to pass the Texas Legislature before lawmakers adjourned the third special legislative session early Tuesday morning.
    Signs that the legislation was in trouble came early as business groups spoke out against the proposals. Even though the issue had been added to the session agenda as a late priority by Gov. Greg Abbott, the House’s version of the bill was unable to muster enough support to be voted out of committee. The Senate’s proposal pushed by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, was quickly pushed out of committee but did not have the votes for approval by the whole chamber.”
    Note this didn’t get nearly the attention that Abbott’s EO did…

  7. And there is another small miracle from which to take joy – this evening, when we put the dogs out at twilight for their last romp and piss in the garden – we saw some fireflies.
    Which I had always assumed were a spring-time thing. But there was a lot of rain earlier this month, and the grass has grown thick and lush … and there they were tonight. Fireflies – little brief sparks of pale lightning, flitting around in the garden.

  8. I read the bad news about incomes and inflation, like this, but we are in a reasonably sane state, outside the city of Tucson and it seems we are safe from all but the worst outcomes. Our Christmas shopping is done and packages mailed off to children and grandchildren. Gas prices are up 50% since Biden but were lower than CA before. We will go back to CA for Christmas and have to buy some gas but I have figured out that we can make it from Mission Viejo to AZ on one tank.

    At my age I am reassured that I won’t have to live through the crash but I do worry a bit as my mother lived to 103. The crash is coming, however. Just not tomorrow.

  9. we live in a very sensible state, florida, the local fishwrap is apoplectic over every word desantis says, dim buld former crist running mate compared him to maduro, because he allows parents to make health choices,

  10. This was a lovely reminder of what life is really like – underneath (or above) all the drama of the storms that pass and leave us where/what we are/were.
    On the one hand, the whole world seems changed: speech at school boards is insurrectionist? (Do they realize that relation between the community, local school boards, etc. in smaller areas are what has kept any respect for public education going past its sell-by date?) I just keep feeling like an old fogey talking about the good old days. They didn’t seem good then (the 70’s for god’s sake). But what was under everything was. If we don’t all die from fetanyl or the next Chinese virus, I hope the world you describe will calmly and firmly reassert itself.

  11. I have a baby shower tomorrow at work, so life goes on.

    I noticed that when I went to Amazon for diapers, simple enough that even I can manage, that they were out of several sizes and the only newborn Pampers were more than $2 each for small packages. Even I know newborns go through a lot of diapers. Got them on EBay for about $0.38 for a much bigger package. Shipping is a little longer but the baby is still six weeks out. I will miss the birthing person.

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