Remembering ‘vanishing’ America

Porter at Kakistocracy has a very evocative post titled In Memoriam, consisting of images of the ‘old America’. Don’t miss it.

The many beautiful photos show what a rich and yes, ‘diverse’ life we had in this America in the pre-multicultural days. Those pictures are very much in keeping with the theme of my old blog; I think the inspiration I have lost since then is due to the lack of that anchor in the past. It’s easy to lose one’s moorings in this bizarro world in which we live. We need the past; without that to hold onto, we are amnesiacs.

There are always the cynics who say ‘you can’t live in the past; you can’t turn the clock back’, but without some image and some ideal to which we can look for inspiration, it’s hard to want to go on with this existential struggle we find ourselves in.

Maybe we can never have our (and yes, I said our) America back, not the America that existed in those photos, and in the memories of those who were alive then, but it’s an image we can cherish, imperfect though it was. All is not lost, although it may seem so at times.

America as it was, the real America, the old America, lives as long as there are those of us who were part of it still here, and as long as there are some who still honor what that country was. America, as Walt Whitman said, is you and me.

 

‘So God made a Cajun’

A nice video tribute to the ‘Cajun Navy’, a volunteer group who tirelessly rescued people in urgent need of rescuing after the severe flooding in Louisiana.

I will add my own tribute to the Cajun Navy and to the Cajun people in general, of whom I have very fond memories from my past residence in South Louisiana. My experience of the Cajuns is that they are a warm, down-to-earth, unpretentious folk who are wonderful neighbors and good company. A happy part of my childhood was spent in that part of the country.

Cajuns are as human as the rest of us, with their share of frailties but in many ways we could follow their example. For one thing, this spirit of voluntarism, of neighbor helping neighbor (without relying on the Nannystate government to come and rescue them) is born of the bond of kinship and culture that makes the Cajuns such a unique people. They are also, by inclination, upbeat and good-natured, with ‘joie de vivre‘ an essential part of their approach to life. They are resourceful and ‘can-do’ people, which is part of their colonist/pioneer heritage. They are the hardy descendants of French settlers of what is now Nova Scotia, and later settlers of what became Louisiana. Surviving in a harsh environment and poor conditions made them a strong and tenacious breed — as were many of our own settler/colonist ancestors. But their relative isolation for much of their history (until the recent demographic shifts) have enabled them to preserve much of their distinctive way of life. God bless the Cajun people and all the other (non-Cajun) volunteers who have done such courageous work during the floods.