Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Walking in my dad‘s shoes

George Foster - June 23rd, 2008
This year, for the first time, I spent Father’s Day without my dad.
Maybe the holiday heightened my sense of loss, but it seemed that the national media converged more than usual around memorialized fathers.
First, we heard over and over how TV political moderator Tim Russert is no longer here for his son or to honor his own father. No conversation of Russert’s rise to political prominence is complete without the well-documented inspiration from his dad - Big Russ, a sanitation worker from Buffalo.
Tiger Woods surely had his father in mind when he heroically won the U.S. Open on one leg after recent knee surgery. Earl Woods was Tiger’s golf mentor and closest friend before passing away a couple of years ago. My dad loved golf and was in awe of the Tiger Woods phenomenon. He would have been thrilled to watch Tiger’s unlikely win of another major tournament over Father’s Day weekend.
On the other hand, active military fathers (and mothers) seem to be largely forgotten of late in our nervous breakdown over housing foreclosures and high gasoline prices. What about the thousands of families stricken by the casualties of fathers caught in the crossfire of violence in the Middle East? The number of fatherless children suffering as a result of these military ventures must be staggering.
Unlike me, my dad was never preachy. It was his example that spoke volumes to the rest of us. He was always in a good mood, ready to drop everything and lend a helping hand. I never heard of anyone who didn’t like him. My father is greatly missed.
He loyally worked for Buick Motors in Flint for 44 years, rarely missed a day of work, and purchased only GM vehicles. He even gave two fingers to the GM cause, the result of a malfunctioning stamp machine. The accident occurred before unionization - a time when Buick policy rewarded maimed employees with a few hundred dollars.
My father was also a dedicated UAW union man, sitting with the original Flint strikers during the most important union walk out in American history in1936. It is difficult now to imagine an era of autoworkers being paid 37 cents an hour. Walking the picket line for a nickel raise could get you killed in those days. My father and others like him played an important part in guaranteeing a living wage and improved safety conditions for American workers today.
My father’s faithfulness to his marriage never weak-ened as he and my mother spent 68 loving and active years together. Family was most important for him - he felt no shame when bragging about us to perfect strangers. Dad reveled to be able to live his retirement years in Northern Michigan, where he spent much of his childhood. He loved to repeat the stories of our family history here, filled with tales of youthful daredevil deeds, dancehall fights, and frequent jail time for a couple of uncles.
No one messed with my father. Pound for pound he was physically the strongest person I have ever known. Yet, it is his strength of character that I remember most.
Since I have inherited some of his clothes, I can literally feel his sturdy presence. His fleece vests keep me warm against life’s cold blasts of arctic wind. I sense my father’s Buick belt buckle holding it all together when my responsibilities seem a little overwhelming. I often walk with one of his many pairs of New Balance running shoes to guide me. Dad never ran from anything, but New Balance shoes are made in the U.S. and besides, he preferred substance over style.
Ironically, I have never been able to wear my father’s clothes before - as an adult my sizes have been larger. I attribute the mysteriously good fit of my new wardrobe to a higher power suggesting that I need to be more like my dad.
I don’t really need his clothes, though, because I know my father will always be with me. In his own way, he is still nearby, showing me how to walk in the right path.

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