Things to read...

If time is short, I'd suggest reading at LEAST The Prologue and Legend of The Pinto Bean Posts!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Founding Father's Day


4 of a kind and one wild card

Well yesterday after uploading the daily ramblings, I set off in search of my campsite. Thankfully, I had the trusty Garminator with me, so of course it immediately tried to get me lost. I've learned to just ignore any suggestions it makes about U-turns, as they never seem to get me anywhere (funny how that happens...) Eventually I got on the correct road to where the camp SHOULD be, but of course, the GPS Hijinks weren't over yet. It proudly announced that I'd arrived at my destination, which apparently was a sheer rock face. While I have a lot of confidence in the Bean, I'm not THAT confident. I continued on for a few more miles of desparate U-turn pleadings before I finally got to the camp. Take that, Garmin! From there it didn't take too long to set up camp and launch my evening offensive against the local wildlife. I've deployed a pretty decent tactic where I put RTD on a ten foot lead and clip him to the door. Most of the bugs go to feast on him, and I go on relatively unmbothered. Human ingenuity strikes again! Sorry furball...

As the evening wore on, I engined up myself some campbell's soup and settled in with my tasty beverages. It wasn't long before one of the other campers came over and invited me to dine with them. Fresh hot dogs you say? Don't mind if I do! Well after a beer or two, I'd discovered that he was a contractor from California. Well we then got to talking about immigration, and its' effect here. I, like so many people, come from a long line of immigrants so I tend not to be too xenophobic in my views. I remember back when I was in basic training we were being questioned about our family's past military history. They asked if anyone had family that fought in the Gulf War, then Viet Nam, Korea, and finally WWII. At that I immediately raised my hand. The drill sergeant asked who they were with, 101st Airborne? 82nd Airborne? Under Patton? Nope! I told them he was with the wehrmacht in Germany. I then did pushups. I did a lot of pushups. Hey they never specified which side of history... Anyhow, after chatting a bit, we agreed that immigration is indeed a good thing provided there is some sort of regulation in place. So many people these days claim the the USA is past it's prime, and that there is nothing left to gain here. We hear on the radio how unemployment continues to rise, with no end in sight.

My question I pose to people to consider is this; if the US is so bad off, why do we still have so many migrants coming here to work. Perhaps it's time for people to realize that when you are hungry, there is no job "too low" for you. When I was finishing high school, my dad was finishing nursing school, and there was no significant income to our household. To make ends meet we cleaned churches on the weekends for the meager income it provided. By "we" I mean mostly "he". I, being the little a**hole teenager that I was spent most of the time complaining about it, and wondering aloud why we didn't just get welfare. Later in life I can look back and realize that there is almost always a way to make ends meet. It may involve doing jobs you feel are "beneath" you, but in the end the possibility is there. We must remember that we are a nation built by laborers. Our Founding Fathers weren't all some privileded class that arrived into a nation that was ready made. These were people that, while being politicians, were also workers. Where would we be now as a country if the first Americans said "Hey I'm not plowing fields" or "I'm too well trained for backbreaking labor". I have to think that we would not be where we are today.

I think the inspiration for that little diatribe came from my tour today. I spent the morning touring the Mount Rushmore national memorial, a tribute to this country's forefathers. I must admit I was not ready for the scale of the four figures, solemnly set into the mountainside of the Black Hills. To give you an idea, the eye of one of these men is about the size of a seated man. As you drive up the winding road, you will first catch glimpses of Washinton and Jefferson in profile, looking out through the trees. As you continue on up the hill, you will begin to see all four as they await your arrival at the monument. I was glad to see that the only fee was a one time charge of $10.00 and it's good for a year.

Once you park you walk through a promenade flanked on either side with the flags and names of the fifty states the currently comprise the US. Ultimately this hall opens into a large viewing area where you can see the efforts of Mr. Borglum proudly staring out over the hills. They are built in such a manner that their faces are in sun most of the day, and shadows really bring out the relief. While this are provides an excellent picture opportunity, I saw a trail that went closer to the monument, so off I went. The trail ultimately leads to the base of the hill, with many little alcoves set out for more pictures. There are also little placards detailing the achievements of the past presidents. The trail finally leads back around to the sculptor's house, where there is still more history on the building of the monument. One thing I never knew was that there is a hall partially carved into the back of Lincoln's head that was supposed to hold national records. Sadly it was never finished due to funding, but the doorway still exists! Another thing I noticed was that this was the first monument I'd been to where the predominant language I heard from the spectators was English. I noticed this while in D.C. and inquired as to why. My friend there said that this has been an ever increasing phenomenon with the strengthening of the euro to the dollar. How ironic is it that Europeans are more readily able to afford to see the US historical sites than Americans? Or perhaps many Americans don't care? Or maybe we are all too busy touring European historical sites and causing the locals to question where all the Europeans went? Any which way, I'll take this moment to thank all those who've been donating for at least giving me the opportunity to see them. I hope the writing/ramblings have been worthwhile!

Now I'm heading to Sturgis and Devil's Tower, and finally up into Montana, so until then...


Malem said...

"there is almost always a way to make ends meet. It may involve doing jobs you feel are "beneath" you, but in the end the possibility is there. We must remember that we are a nation built by laborers."... AMEN!! Needless to say, I agree 100% with that statement. I have a college degree (history) and I currently have a job that pays decently (govt.), but with the rapid rise in the cost of living... I'd go take a part-time job cleaning toilets if it would help me keep the things that are most important to me; the roof over my head and pets I adore.

People need to realize that while the labor may not be 'glamorous', the money you earn is every bit as good as the money earned in a more 'glamorous' job. Try telling that to most people these days though...

BTW.. if you and RTD plan on coming down south on I-5 (or possibly from the east on I-80)through Sacramento, CA... let me know. Dinner and beverages are on me (& treats for RTD too!).


Anonymous said...

Did you forget to mention somebody? No pitter patter of four little feet there with you?


TheBronze said...

I was lucky enough to get to see Mt. Rushmore courtesy of Uncle Sam. I must say, it was a lot more impressive than I thought it would be.

In a word...AWESOME! The Museum (if you call it that) was outstanding.

I never thought I'd ever get to see it, but I'm sure glad I did.

Be safe on your journey, Daniel.

Crazy Horse, on the other hand, was a big let-down. Not impressive at all, IMHO.

Miss Em said...

Hello Dan,

Many years ago when I was #2 on an 18-wheeler team, the tractor decided to have a major radiator blow-out which would take about 3 days to get a replacement from Denver. After having the tractor towed to the shop, and while we were getting a hotel room that was when the Lady behind the desk offered us the use of her car and told us to go up to Mt. Rushmore which was only a couple of hours away. What an awesome sight we had. We wondered around for several hours.

The next day while checking on the tractor the mechanic who owned the shop loaned us one of his PU trucks and told us to go see the undergound Caves in the area and provided us with a map and a couple of discount tickets. It was rather chilly down at the bottom of all those stairs and the trip up seemed a lot longer than the trip down.
When we took the PU truck back that evening he said to keep it until our tractor was ready. So the next day we visited Sturgis We just missed the main event with all of the Bikers--but a few were still around. After lunch we went out to the 'Spirit Mountain' and climb all over it as well as I left a prayer written on paper and wrapped in a ribbon tied to one of the 'Scared Prayer Trees' for my dad who had died recently. When we got back to the hotel the Lady asked us how did we like the sites. We told her they were great and I truly enjoyed the Climb we did on 'Spirit Mountain'. She got really upset and said that this was the time that all the rattle-snakes are heading for the dens on the 'Mountain'. I guess the 'Spirits' on the 'Mountain' were keeping an eye on us that day.

The next morning we went to check on the tractor and return the PU truck and discovered that the tractor was being buttoned-up and the bill was being made out so that ended our sight-seeing trip in Sturgis, S.D. and the beginning of our continued journey East to deliver all of that Military Household freight that was still on the back of our double-drop trailer.

Thanks for the story about Sturgis for it brought back some nice memories especially of the people there.