One of my favorite local characters was a man who operated an auto repair shop out of an old two-pump service station.
His place of business was decorated with a wild assortment of hand-painted signs, all reading “Buy Made in the U.S.A Only.”
He made a memorable impression on me because he was carrying on his campaign back in the 1980s before words like "outsourcing" became a part of our vocabulary.
The old service station was torn down many years ago, but every time I drive past the corner where it stood, I think of the man who never quit preaching his sermon about the importance of buying American products.
It’s easy today to remember the man as someone who saw the future and knew it was going to be ugly. I’ll never know what happened in this man’s life to cause him to embark on his mission, but I’ve never forgotten him or his message.
He didn’t live to see his predictions come true. He passed away before our jobs went to other countries, so he didn’t know how sorry some of us would be that we didn’t listen or act on his beliefs.
Like this old gentlemen, there are many people we often consider to be eccentric but who, in fact, turn out to be right on target. They are like the prophets of old. They see us going in the wrong direction and try to warn us to turn around. But, like people in every age, we don't listen.
Yet, using your voice to warn others, even if they don’t listen, is a heck of a lot better than remaining silent for fear others will laugh and think you’re crazy.
Another friend of mine who happens to be a minister has been spending his annual vacation for the last 15 or 16 years making a one-man pilgrimage to the office of the United Nations where he holds a prayer vigil.
Every so often, someone will ask him if he doesn’t consider this a waste of his time. His answer is always the same. “Maybe not,” he says with a smile. “Maybe not."
I know a lot of other people who believe the world may soon end with a loud bang but think there is nothing at all they can do about it. They decide they might as well relax and make the best of a bad situation.
In the same sense, some people want to leave the world a better place than they found it. Others want to do all they can to make the future better for their children and their children’s children. Still others just want to live as well as they can for as long as they can.
We are indeed fortunate that there are so many among us who want to use their talents, skills and knowledge to make life better for as many as they can.
As our national political environment becomes uglier, many reveal themselves as the cruel, evil creatures they are. They see ideas that would make the poor wallow in their poverty as attractive options, and they profess to despise anyone who thinks otherwise.
Our country needs all the help it can get from those who are seeking peace and healing, so that it can become whole again.
I suspect that a great many have become so sickened by the behavior of some of our political leaders that they won’t bother going to the polls. There is no one they can trust. Many insist that it doesn’t matter which candidate gets their vote. The well has been poisoned beyond recovery.
Someone may be walking around with solutions to many of our problems, even though a lot of people have decided he’s a lunatic.
Hopefully, he’ll wander into my neighborhood. If he does, he needs to know, I’m all ears.
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or sending her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.