Saturday, January 21, 2017

Donald Trump is NOT my President

It's time to finally turn the page into a New Year.

L. Brent Goates
Since my last entry much has transpired. Chief among the events in my life was the passing of my father, L. Brent Goates, on November 20th. It was surprising how many of his contemporaries and others seemed to pass during this holiday season. On the way to the cemetery in the mortuary limo, Patsy observed that it seemed so many people were dying, and she asserted most people seemed to die over the holidays. I challenged that statement, observing that people die every day. A brother-in-law, quick on the draw with Siri, queried, "What day do most people die?" The immediate response was a graph showing that Christmas Day, December 25th, is the number one day of the year on which people die. Who knew?

Dad lived a long and productive life. It seemed so appropriate that he died the week of Thanksgiving. We planned the funeral events for the Saturday following Thanksgiving, and providentially all our children and grandchildren except one family were in attendance. The night before the funeral, November 25th, we had a visitation for friends and family on what would have been my Mother's 91st birthday were she still living. Our missing family was sending a missionary off to Mexico and simply couldn't be in two places at once.

Dad's passing lifted a burden from my shoulders that was unexpected. He was the last of his generation on both sides of the family to pass on, and I felt all the uncertainty of his situation resolve in an instant upon his death as they rolled the gurney carrying his body down the sidewalk to the waiting mortuary van. It was the end of an era. I was so happy for him I could hardly contain my exuberance. Some people may not understand that emotion, but it arises from my certain faith in a life after death and a reunion with all his loved ones on the other side. Coupled with that I felt the moniker of "Skipper" that had attached to me in my childhood by my Grandfather had finally been erased. The release was tangible and welcomed.

He had reached a point in his existence where living became a burden for him. His body was slowly deteriorating day by day and the dilution of his physical, mental and emotional energy was palpable. Finding the exit door to mortality had seemed so elusive. He kept asking me, "Does everyone have to go through this? Why is it so hard?" Of course, those are rhetorical questions no one can answer except those who pass through the portal, and once they are gone it's impossible for them to tell their tale.

Despite his demise, because he lingered so long we had ample opportunities to discuss everything and to say our farewells until we were fully satisfied. I miss him a lot. I find myself reaching for the phone to talk to him, then realize he isn't here any more. But I rejoice in his escape from his decrepit physical frame. He and we were blessed that he maintained his sense of humor and his quick wit right to the end, an outcome for which he prayed continuously.

Just before his passing the Cubs triumphed in the World Series. Later the Utes would fade to number 21 in the final college football standings after losing to Washington, so in that one case things DID get worse.

And then the improbable election of Donald J. Trump happened. He received no help from me, and neither did Hillary Clinton. I've heard so many say since then, "Donald Trump is NOT my President." However, I am not one of those people. I was as gracious and accepting of Barack Obama when he was first elected and then re-elected as I knew how to be, but surprisingly I have not had such magnanimous feelings for Trump. Why? I guess it's because no one can predict with any accuracy where we're headed from here. On the one hand I believe his agenda more closely resembles mine, but on the other hand at least I knew what we were getting with Obama. After eight long years, the Republic survived, an outcome many doubted when he first took office. That's what leads me to hope we just might survive Donald J. Trump too. America is resilient, if nothing else.

On the day of our 47th wedding anniversary, December 19th, Packsize held its annual Christmas party. We're actually more politically correct than that, so it's now called a "holiday celebration." Because of the conflict in our calendar, I excused myself and took Patsy on a date to celebrate our anniversary. When we returned home later that night I was surprised (shocked, more accurately!) to learn that I had been voted "Person of the Year" at Packsize by my peers. It was a humbling recognition. My first reaction was to wonder if we had somehow lowered our standards as a company.

Donald J. Trump, 45th POTUS
I watched the inaugural in part on Friday, January 20th. "The most important election of our lifetimes" had mercifully come to a conclusion. I was mostly underwhelmed with Trump's inaugural address, seeming as it did a compilation of his campaign stump speeches with little or no substance I could discern in it. I remain convinced that our political system in this country is beyond help. Time will tell if it can be rescued, but don't hold your breath. I plan to look to inspired Church leaders and the scriptures for guidance from here on in. There won't be any political saviors anytime soon, though we all seem to cling to that hope. I'm still turned off by the media coverage, and the harder I seek to avoid political coverage the more pervasive it seems to be.

I can't conclude without a passing tribute to God for the prodigious amounts of snowfall that have landed in our front yard this year. In the thirty years we've lived in Pine Valley at 7333 feet above sea level, we have never seen so much snow so early in the winter as we have experienced this year. It culminated two weeks ago with snow each day and mechanical failures in the equipment owned by the man who plows our road. The snow kept piling up, drifting in, and once I got out one morning I could not get back in for over a week. Patsy remained behind snowbound in the house, and I camped out night after night at my father's home in Salt Lake. Finally, we secured the help of a local excavator with a robust 4x4 front loader who was able to scoop out the road so we could be reunited. This is the first year I have heard the term "atmospheric river," and I can validate it's a "real thing".

Any discussion about snow at our house is always a conversation against self-preservation. If I express gratitude for all the snow, I am expressing hope in the coming summer when we so desperately need the water from the reservoirs so we can drink and water our livestock. On the other hand moving this amount of snow around and navigating through it can be challenging (and expensive).

So those snow events led to the purchase of another gas-guzzling SUV with more clearance, more power and 4x4 muscle than my environmentally friendly Prius. I kept the Prius and now I have a 4Runner to bail me out on the dicey snow days.

We begin 2017 with hearts filled with hope and happiness for what the future may hold this year. For me at least, it is the beginning of a new era as we embark on an exciting and unknown future.

And like it or not if you live in America, Donald J. Trump most certainly is your President.