By Ray Knapp
Not halfway gone, but you know this will be a year to remember, thanks in no small part to President Donald J. Trump. The news media for, and against him, gave him an A+ rating for his tweets. All they have to do is keep-up as he writes tomorrow’s headlines, tweeting at a furious pace, and about multiple issues during all hours of the day and night. Additionally, he astonishes the world, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, or not, (Kim Jung-Un has proven slippery as an eel.) Additionally Trump has threatened to slap tariffs and trade embargoes on our biggest trading partners.
Democrats call some of Trump’s moves crazy, while the Republicans reply: Yes, crazy like a fox. Sometimes I flip a coin to see which side I agree with. It is definitely hard to be in the middle, or even slightly left or right – as both sides are adamant that if you’re not 100 percent with them, then you are against them.
After my wife watches Hollywood Entertainment (or is it just E-News?) I watch a little local news, CNN and Fox. And there are many issues. Wars are raging in the Middle East and parts of Africa. Terrorism of one sort or another is wreaking havoc around the globe.
Painting a grim picture of a world gone mad, the news media details assassins driving trucks into crowds; mass shooting at schools; violent street gangs often shooting police, or one another. If there is a slow news day, the media turns to Mother Nature who is always coughing up violent storms, floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes.
Fortunately, I can turn off the TV; walk out on the porch; smell the new mown lawn; see the flowers blooming; survey the surrounding mountains, and thank the Lord for living in the Valley Beautiful, where – for the most part, life is good, free of worry and cares and you don’t have to drive for miles to have a good time.
For instance, I went up to Flag Pond on the 12th of the month to the Ruritan’s 33rd Ramp Festival. I noticed things are changing on the south end of the county with all kinds of construction going on for the new Rocky Fork State Park. One thing that hadn’t changed was the festival. Ramps still had that odor that takes a little getting used to – but still tasted great in the fried potatoes. The people were still laid-back and friendly; the friends I knew from when I lived there 10 years ago were older, but still hard at work keeping the festival running smoothly. The Unicoi High School Bluegrass Band was playing as I left to deliver a bunch of to-go dinners. After all my gabbing there wasn’t time to stay and listen.
On the 19th, I had to check out Unicoi’s Strawberry Festival. The festival was great, with excellent music; booths selling about anything you can think of; Scott’s famous strawberries for sale everywhere; generally topping some shortcake. A beauty pageant got things started – with girls dressed like princesses and all looking beautiful as Meghan Markel, whose wedding to Prince Harry was showing on TV as I departed home for the festival. I left before seeing who won, to watch my grandson, Dusty Baucom, in a children’s fishing contest at Rock Creek Park – I couldn’t miss that.
In between the two festivals I managed to squeeze in two church services on Mother’s Day; one at Grace United Methodist at 8:45 in the morning, then drove-up the road a piece and attended Unicoi Baptist’s 11 a.m. service. When you’re preaching from the same Book, it’s hard to tell who is a Baptist, or a Methodist. It didn’t matter; I was among friends, and for a change – listening to Good News.
A hundred years ago, in 1918, my father was a soldier returning home at the end of WWI. Unfortunately that wasn’t the war that ended all wars. Soldiers, from here, are in harm’s way today. Maybe you have relatives in one of nature’s destructive paths. Preachers are saying its end times. I don’t know, but I’m sure we will remember 2018.