Social and Political Commentary

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Our way of life

... what is our way of life?

by Carol Nelson

I miss the Queen Mum sometimes, in her English frock and color co-ordinated hat, looking as though she were on her way to the races at Ascot, smiling sweetly. Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth, appeared on my telly after the first bombings in London since the I.R.A., another case of an imperial country being retaliated against. She looked more fragile than I remember her. Right away I noticed her hair was white! When had this happened to us?

The queen spoke in a firm, yet passionless way, assuring her subjects and viewers that "Nothing will change OUR way of living." Our? And how could a mere queen make such an impossible assurance?

Then, I watched two cooking shows on P.B.S. The first one was "Chef To Royalty." I winced at the preciousness involved in the preparation of every morsel intended for royal tastebuds, alone. Surely this was not an example of "our" way of living. Not the Brit's, not yours, not mine.

The second cooking program was Julia's. Julia Child: tall, ungainly, and charming, went about unceremoniously dropping utensils; making naked chickens dance; and patting the posteriors of suckling pigs, ready for roasting. American, and funny, but not really representative of our way of living either. What is our way of life?

Sometimes we are excessive, and I think often we are wasteful. Maybe even a little greedy? Have we forgotten the Great Depression, the bread lines and deprivation? Some of us have never had these experiences. Most do not have the slightest idea of what it is to do without.

The victims of hurricane Katrina, and other all too common tragedies, know that life has a way of changing, whether we want it to or not. After 50 or more years of life how can we believe our lives will not be affected or changed? Isn't life itself change?

March 3, 2006

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