From first dance to last bomb
As the bride and groom danced for the first time as man and wife it dawned on me. Whether it lasts for 15 years or only 15 minutes, love is the most wonderful aspect of being human. Don’t look for any heretofore untold message in this column. Greater minds than mine have dedicated volumes to the subject of love with only mixed success. But watching that slow dance, made me want to at least take a stab at it.Although love is fun with a partner, it also makes a wonderful spectator sport. For that, there is no better venue then a wedding. Watching the newlyweds whisper and touch hands. Seeing the pride and hope in the faces of their parents. Raising a glass as the best man struggles to keep his composure while he toasts a brother he adores and respects. It would have choked me up even if there wasn’t an open bar.This is the summer for weddings for my mate and me. Between May and October, we will have attended four or five. Though each couple and family will be different, the celebrations will be much the same. We will all come together to rejoice in the commitment and hope for the best. Jews will marry gentiles, Irish will wed agnostics, and some old guys will walk away from the altar with a new young wife. What they all will have in common is that from the first dance all things are possible. It has always been my contention that just because a smart guy says something doesn’t make it true. But one expression that broaches little debate is “Love conquers all.” A lesser known second phrase of that quote is “Let us surrender to love” – Virgil. I’m guessing that half of all marriages didn’t end in divorce in Virgil’s time, so perhaps he was waxing a little optimistic. Maybe if he were around today, he’d amend it to “Love conquers all, for awhile.” Be that as it may, the last thing on anyone’s mind at the bar or the buffet is the possibility of the relationship not enduring. As a teenager, I laughed at that song by John Lennon, “All you need is love.” I thought it sentimental and trite. It was my teenaged opinion that though love was pretty nice, especially if you got some from Peggy O’Malley, there were more important things in the world – like having an older brother who would buy you Playboy magazines. I’ve since outgrown that belief.Whether it is the passion and promise of a couple in love, the unconditional devotion of a parent and child, or the basic understanding and acceptance of human diversity, John Lennon’s words ring with a simplistic truth. Call it unsophisticated, naive, or the ravings of a ”60s burnout, but in my opinion, what this country needs now, more than anything, is love and compassion. Just as individuals differ in their capacity to show kindness and humanity, it seems so do nations and cultures. This country is suffering from a serious lack-of-love dry spell (a condition which many mountain males are quite familiar with). Perhaps it is because I’m at the age where I’m finally paying attention, but since the ”60s I’ve never seen this nation so polarized. We cannot debate without name calling. We don’t disagree over philosophies as much as we denounce the morals and intellect of our challengers. Like a bull in a china shop, we have reduced the rest of the world into either “for us” or “against us” categories. Some might argue that 9/11 changed the world. Almost as tragic as the lives lost has been the spreading of mistrustful suspicion and rejection of human kinship. I see much too little compassion in our government’s polices and practices. It seems we waste too much energy propagating an “us vs. them” agenda nationally and abroad. This heavy-handed foreign policy has done little but exacerbate the dangerous global situation.The world is unsettled and unsafe. Hatreds older than memories continue to fester. With so little in shared religion, history and values, the search for any common ground can seem daunting. But as Virgil and Lennon will attest there are some basic creature needs, desires and human truths. Declarations like, “Love conquers all,” “All you need is love,” “Don’t straddle electric fences” (the last one is mine) are cross-cultural certainties. Although so much separates the various creeds and cultures, we have a fair amount in common: the desire to protect our lands, love our families; the pleasure of watching newlyweds dance; and, of course, the joy of an open bar.Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA radio, and read in several mountain publications. He can be reached at email@example.com
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More base areas open means more space for guests to disperse upon, even if those base area openings don’t translate into more actual terrain openings.