Not Sure if I Feel Old, or Invigorated


I’ll warn you that I’m in a sentimental mood.

I haven’t blogged for more than two weeks, for two reasons,

1.) I’ve been writing a lot for school which makes for less motivation to write for fun. (My first term is going very well, thanks for asking.)

2.)Politics has me down, and I am really not motivated to write about that. Between the commercials, and telephone calls I’m already getting, I wish I could wake up in December and skip this whole election season.

Saturday, I took a break from studying and news watching to volunteer for my daughter’s high school band‘s annual march-a-thon. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to volunteer very much during the school year, I consented to the job they have the hardest time filling, marching alongside the band for the whole route. Everyone told me I was crazy for doing it, but hey, someone’s got to.

Photo: Scott Yarberry, Yarberry Photography

First of all let me fill you in on the high school marching band in my town. The Allen Escadrille is the largest marching band in the country with over 800 (yes, 800) members including the color guard and drill team. Every year they hold a march-a-thon to raise funds for their spring trip, and march 10 miles in August in TexasYee haw, and God bless America.

Confession…

I LOVED every minute of it.

For as little personal musical experience and talent as I have, I still consider myself a band geek, so I thoroughly enjoyed marching alongside the kids, listening to them play and living a bit vicariously through them. 10 miles, and they spent every bit of it playing music and performing these little marching chants and laughing and being silly. People from town line the parade route to cheer them on and spray them down with hoses to cool them off. It’s an event with a lot of joy and great energy. (It didn’t hurt that it was only in the 80s and overcast. The joy probably wears off around mile 4 when it’s 110 degrees out.)

Photo: Scott Yarberry, Yarberry Photography

Another confession…

I’m really kind of a jerk when it comes to my tolerance of teenaged shenanigans. I’d rather have peace and quiet, which tend to be in short supply when a group of teenagers get together. I feel badly that I feel that way, but I do.

Today was a different story. Maybe because the march-a-thon is all about them. Maybe I was in band geek heaven so I was feeling in a particularly generous mood. Who knows? I just marched alongside them and soaked in the fun and free spirited vibe they were giving off.

Midway through the march-a-thon the kids get loaded up onto buses (23 of them) and travel across town to do the second half of the march. I happened to be the only adult aside from the bus driver on my bus, and I did my best to be inconspicuous.

The music was turned up and the kids were dancing in their seats and singing. I smiled to myself as I watched, remembering my own high school days (mostly) fondly. Remembering when I could be silly with my friends and sing at the top of my lungs in public without anyone looking at me like I was crazy (or at least not caring if they thought I was crazy). Watching the looks on their faces as they sang the un-edited versions of the song on the radio, that tiny bit of rebellion giving them an extra twinkle in their eyes…especially when Enrique Ingelsias’s “Tonight I’m Loving You” came on. (If you don’t know the real lyrics, I’ll let you discover them on YouTube or Google.)

Next up was the song “We Are Young” by the band fun., and the whole bus erupted into singing. Just unrestrained, unselfconscious singing. The girls and the boys both singing that anthem to youth and wild behavior, and I couldn’t help but sit there and think about how little they understand the freedom they have being the age they are. Youth, as they say, is wasted on the young.

But, as I’m writing this, I surely do hope that every one of those kids on the bus carry the sentiment of the refrain of that song with them tonight, and every day and night for as long as they can.

And I hope that just a little bit of that rubbed off on me.

As a post script to this story, let me say that while I felt fantastic for the whole 10 mile march and from basking in youthful exuberance, I got home and dutifully sat down for about an hour to study. After which time I got up, or should I say, tried to get up from the couch. Every muscle was sore and tight…ah well, forty is a far cry from sixteen I guess, at least physically. All I can say is, thank goodness for Advil and warm soaks…but I’ll be back to volunteer next year, you can count on it.

To Chik-fil-A or To Not Chik-fil-A, That Is the Question


VS.

A friend e-mailed me today asking if The Passionate Moderate was going to wade in to the Chik-fil-A conversation. I had been mulling it over, but her e-mail really got me thinking about it more. To be honest, I had been pretty ambivalent about the whole controversy, mostly because I never eat at Chik-fil-A anyway so my reasons for not doing so are irrelevant.

As you may know from my previous posts, I am very much in favor of marriage equality. My poor daughter who is all about gay rights is also a Chik-fil-A lover and has decided that she can’t patronize the restaurant any more because it isn’t in line with her most strongly held beliefs. I’m really proud of her for taking a stand, especially because it’s been so hard for her. Giving up Chik-fil-A is really a sacrifice.

That said, I’m not jumping on the boycott bandwagon.

Here’s why…

First of all, I’m not entirely happy with the snarky tone this boycott has taken. It’s all gotten a bit sanctimonious if you ask me. The owners of Chik-fil-A have the right to their opinion, and each of us has a right, as consumers, to voice our opinions through our dollars. If we like a company‘s product, and/or philosophy we buy it; if we don’t we don’t. More on that in a minute.

Secondly, most free-standing Chik-fil-A restaurants have independent operators who may or may not share the founder’s views on gay rights and marriage equality. I kind of hate the idea that someone who is brave enough to start a business risks failing because of issues outside of their control. Yes, yes, I know what you’re about to say. They should research the company they are signing on with, and that’s life. True, but I still don’t like it. I know that one of the owners a Chik-fil-A in my super conservative part of the world is in fact quite liberal. A tough situation.

The biggest reason I have for not necessarily jumping of the anti-Chik-fil-A train can be summed up in this great Gene Wilder meme posted on Facebook  earlier this week:

There it is in a nutshell.

In the highly consumer driven culture of the United States we buy a wide variety of products from many countries. We invest in companies we may not know a thing about. We do support the oil-rich and women’s rights poor countries of the Middle East. We buy cheaper products from China which has an awful human rights record, and on and on it goes. Where does your food come from? Where do your clothes come from? What companies do you invest in and what is their record domestically and/or around the world? It’s funny how we can ignore some  human rights abuses and we get so fired up over others. Dare I even mention our own government and what may or may not go on behind closed doors… torture, covert missions, lobbying, and not to mention how our tax dollars are spent?. How many examples do I need to give to make the point? We can make moral decisions in just about every area in our lives; to actually think about it is daunting. It boils down to the proverb our moms always told us, “Pick your battles”.

So I guess what I’m saying is that a boycott like this always seems a bit hypocritical to me. We can get super self-righteous over one issue while ignoring a mountain of issues behind us,  and while we should take stands for what we believe it and seek to shed light on the issues that concern us, maybe we do it in a spirit of meekness that acknowledges we are only making a tiny difference but that we hope that all of us making our tiny differences together will turn into a world changing force for good.

So if you’re moved to give up Chik-fil-A and take a stand. Good for you. Let people know why you’re doing what you’re doing and then let it go. They will either make their own change or not based on what moves them. And, if you’re really feeling the stress of not eating there anymore there are fantastic fake Chik-fil-A chicken recipes on Pinterest.

(The secret is in the pickle juice!)

Let me know what you think in the comments. Have you decided to take your business elsewhere or are you supporting Chik-fil-A? What other issues have you taken a stand on? We’d all love to know, and don’t forget to like or share this article!