FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Pancakes and Politics


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by Dave Markwell

I am not a political guy. I don’t follow much international news besides the stuff that makes the Today Show. I, probably like many other folks, am largely consumed by my own daily battles. I don’t pay much attention to what others are up to. As I strayed from my staple TV channels this morning into CNN territory, I was struck by the revolutions occurring in the Middle East, specifically Libya. It is a sad situation. Watching the presumably have-nots fight for a larger piece of pie and some true ownership of the country that is built on their backs is intriguing. Throughout history, most change in political structure is spawned by the haves having too much and not sharing with the people upon whom they rely. Understanding my own lack of understanding and that this is a terrific over-simplification of a complex issue, the core of it, I believe, IS simple; people want fairness.

Fairness is perhaps more nebulous and complicated than I think it should be. As children we are taught this principle in very elementary terms and motivated with a carrot or a stick, whichever the situation requires. I was not unfamiliar with the stick. Our most basic understanding of fairness includes sharing, taking turns and expressing some grace in doing both. I’m not sure how these rules translate to the minefield of global politics, but it seems like they shouldn’t be that hard. Greed, I think, is probably a tough foe, though. As I sit on my old cheap couch armchair quarterbacking, I sincerely wish for good and just outcomes that serve the right people. Whoever they are.

In circumstances such as these, the contemplation of issues beyond my scope of knowledge and in most cases, interest, confounds and puzzles me and makes me really appreciate that they aren’t my problems while not denying the global responsibility we all have to ensure some appropriate level of human rights in this world we share as citizens and stewards. If they call, I will answer. But since I don’t foresee my phone ringing any time soon with anyone looking for my opinion, I will just go about my day.

It is a nice day. It snowed last night and the world outside my door looks cleaner. Snow has a wonderful way of masking the depressing griminess of winter. Dust and mud and bare trees create a landscape borderline uninhabitable and somewhat apocalyptic. I need green grass and colorful blooms and sunshine. These are alive and make me alive, too. But I’ll take snow over rain, at least for a couple of days, until it gets ugly, too.

This morning I will take a break from thinking the important thoughts about situations that aren’t mine and enjoy the fact that they aren’t, except at the gas pump. I will watch “Handy Manny” as my little girl incessantly chirps “I’m hungry”. I will make pancakes and maple sausage. I will keep looking out the window at the winterscape and feel pretty good. Unlike much of my life, snow is tidy. Much un-tidiness occupies my time, so I’m taking a break. I’m going to sit and drink my coffee and remain, for as long as I can, unburdened by the wolves at my door. I will put my head in the sand and play pretend. I will take a few minutes and pretend that I don’t have to remove the warm blanket from my lap and do something. This will only work as long as my patience for the endless stream of the “I’m hungry”s endures. Which, as it turns out, is not that long.

Well, it was good while it lasted and as usual it didn’t last long enough. But, it never does and maybe that’s why it’s important to recognize when it’s here and enjoy it no matter how long it lasts. A brief moment of peace within the eye of the hurricane is very welcome. It is tranquil and liberating, centering and grounding and necessary. And I’ll take all of them I can get.

But for now this moment is over…my daughter needs “attention and a quesadilla”. I hope the rest of the day is as simple as tickling a seven year old and melting some cheese.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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