Can’t We All Just Get Along

I just spent a great weekend with my son and grandchildren over the Memorial Day holiday.   What fun we had!  But while we were having our version of fun, up in Myrtle Beach that wasn’t the case … at least for an element of it.  I’m sure there were many people up there having fun with no problems.

I wrote recently about Bike Week here and the invasion of Harley Davidson owners and enthusiasts.I’m sure there were probably some fights that the police had to deal with and a few arrests, as well.  But no one died.

This was not the case with Black Bike Weekend over the Memorial Day holiday.  I first became aware that there was an issue when I received an email asking, “What the heck is going on down there?  What will this mean to Myrtle Beach tourism?”  Then I received a few more along those lines.  And I began to think about the people who were there to have a good time, but got caught up in the violence that occurred.  Why do a few always seem to ruin it for the many? For the uninformed, three people were shot and killed.

For any of you reading this, I’ll give you a little geography here.  Black Bike Week is sponsored by Atlantic Beach, a black community with 334 residents according to the 2010 census.  It’s area is .2 square miles.  And it sits right between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. So all the visitors coming for this bike event stay at hotels in Myrtle Beach or N. Myrtle Beach.  And all of those communities benefit financially from this event.  Or so it may seem.  They haven’t released the economic information yet.  Quite often, the costs associated with all the police etc., that need to be on duty, outweigh the profits.  We shall see.

I’ve read some of the comments on the local news sites and everyone seems to have an opinion on what should be done.  I, myself, don’t know what needs to be done other than I think Atlantic Beach needs to end their Bike Week.  Or change when they have it.  I’m sure there are many participants who enjoy the camaraderie and should be able to continue.  But, it shouldn’t be Atlantic Beach holding it.  Heck, they can’t even control their own city officials.

Some others commented that this is why everyone needs to carry a gun.  Really?  When I watched the video of what was going on when this occurred, the streets were filled with people.  I’m sure the bad guys all had their guns, but mixing in the good guys would have given us a “Gunfight at the OK Corral”.  How many more people would have been killed in the crossfire?  Do we really want to go back to the Wild West days?  I know a few gun proponents who are just waiting for their opportunity to be the next Wyatt Earp.  Where exactly are we headed?  And do we really want to go in that direction?  I don’t know.  I know I don’t.

This takes me back to my original thought … why can a few thugs ruin it for everyone?  Why can’t we get serious abut dealing with this problem instead of turning it into, yet another, political argument?

Myrtle Beach will survive because it’s a great place for a family vacation.  Violence like this can happen anywhere, even in your own community and Santa Barbara.

It’s Not All About Me

A couple of things have come to my attention this week that got me to thinking. Why do some people go through life thinking it’s all about them?  If we all felt that “it’s all about me”, what kind of life would we have?  No one would attempt to do right by anyone else.  We’d all just be standing around waiting for the good stuff to happen to us.

I say this because I’ve seen over the past year or so, people who air their dirty laundry on websites like Facebook, etc.  Are they so smug that they think everyone who reads their posts agrees with them?  And I don’t know if there are stats, but it seems women do it more than men.  Maybe it’s because we women tend to talk to our friends about our personal issues more than men.  And of course, the women who do this always have their cheerleaders replying with “Go Girl”, “Right on, Girl”, etc.  There appears to be a lot of male bashing going on right now.

Which brings me to my next point — I didn’t burn my bra in the 70’s so women of younger generations would feel so superior to men that they feel the need to tell their husbands/boyfriends/bosses/whomever, when it was time for them to go to the bathroom.  We burned our bras because women were getting into the workforce and deserved the opportunity to pursue any career they wanted without being confronted with “women don’t do this kind of work”  or “you’ll get pregnant and then quit to take care of babies”.  And by and large, we’ve been successful.  Wages still need to be equalized, but it will happen.  Perhaps this superior attitude has developed because of the types of shows on television where men are portrayed as being bumbling idiots.

We need to stop being so adversarial, men and women.  While my husband was alive, sometimes I was right and sometimes he was right.  There was and is a lot of compromise in a relationship.  If one person in that relationship believes “it’s all about me”, then the relationship will fail.  And this would include your relationship with your friends and children, as well.  It’s never “all about you”.  Have a pity party and get over it.

Relaxing to the Rumble of the Harleys

The weather has finally become nice enough to sit outside on my porch to relax, read, and otherwise enjoy spring before the hot, humid summer comes upon us.  But first we must get through Myrtle Beach Bike week.

Actually, we have two bike weeks every spring and fall here along the Grand Strand. First we have an invasion of Harley Davidson enthusiasts and then Black Bike Week, whose riders prefer what I think are called “sport bikes” … the Suzuki, Yamaha type bikes.  We tend to get more of the Harleys down here at the tail end of the Grand Strand because many of them like to hang out here in Murrells Inlet.  We have a couple of biker bars here … the Beaver Bar and Suck, Bang, Blow.  Black Bike Week riders tend to congregate more in Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach.

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The first time I encountered Bike Week was when I was thinking of moving from California to South Carolina or Georgia.  My daughter was with me as we came through North Myrtle Beach.  I remember thinking that people in the south were really into riding motorcycles because they were parked everywhere.  Then we came into Myrtle Beach, where we planned to spend the night.  Holy Cow!  Driving down Ocean Blvd. among all the Harleys and noise made us decide to keep on going south.  We were in the midst of a motorcycle parade, (not  real one) many of them vroom, vrooming! And the sidewalks were lined with people (young and old) in the appropriate garb, watching.  I remember giving thumbs up to some of the more interesting spectators … the guys with their red, white, and blue bandannas on their heads with their leather vests and big bellies hanging out of those vests. It wasn’t until we got to Georgetown that things quieted down enough that we felt we could get a nights sleep.

Since moving here, I have developed a fondness for them.  They aren’t all Hell’s Angels. They are a mixture of many types and professions of people.   I have discovered that there seems to be a dress code … leather, leather, leather.  Chains, red, white and blue bandannas, and  more chains.  We can’t forget — tattoos!  And the women are never too old to be biker chicks!

Unfortunately, since South Carolina is a no-helmet state, we usually have a fatality or two. Mix the bikes with cars, and the riders with alcohol and bad things happen.  But all in all, they seem to be having good times.  Their bikes are colorful and some of the custom ones are downright fascinating to see.

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100_2789 (640x264)Bikers bring a lot to the economy here and for that we need to appreciate them … and put up with their noise.  The restaurants are more crowded but really none of this compares to the invasion of tourists over the summer.  The only thing tourists over the summer do not bring is the rumble.  When you live in a tourist area, you have to take the bad with the good.  That’s what I have to keep telling myself when my concentration on my book keeps getting interrupted by the rumble!  Actually, I really kind of envy the fun they are having!

 

 

 

Grit

I just read a story on NPR about grit …  (http://www.npr.org/2014/03/17/290089998/does-teaching-kids-to-get-gritty-help-them-get-ahead?)  It was shared by a friend on Facebook.  I wasn’t sure what the term “gritty” meant in the context of this article.   Getting gritty meant applying yourself while attempting something that didn’t come easily to you.  There are some schools adopting a “new” concept based on a new idea of Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania.  After reading it, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my son and daughter recently.

We were discussing this very thing, as we have several times in the past.  I guess we revisit this issue on occasion because I come from a generation where we weren’t raised to expect  praise for everything we did.   And my children are from a generation who believe all children should be rewarded for participation … period.

I have felt that children know when they haven’t done well or done their best.  They know when they’ve been slackers.  Does it make them feel good about themselves when we praise them for their effort, when they know they haven’t put forth much effort?  Does it make them feel like a fraud?

The reason for this revisited conversation … my granddaughter was a participant in her Regional Spelling Bee. She won her school bee and therefore, was the school representative.  She is a naturally good speller.  She was a self taught reader when she was four.  Words come easily to her.  But, because of that, she gets lolled into thinking she doesn’t need to put forth the effort to study for these kinds of events.

Last year, she lost her school spelling bee because she didn’t prepare  and was very disappointed.  So this year, she studied for her school bee and was successful.  But, I think she was feeling, once again, that she was good enough to not to have to put forth additional effort, and as a result, she lost.  Once again, she was disappointed — in the result and herself, I think.  I really hope she is able to take this important and valuable lesson and run with it.  If there is something you want, you need to apply yourself.  You can’t leave it to chance.

Which takes me back to the premise of the NPR article — do people who have to put forth effort become more successful than those who have the natural ability or intelligence?  It depends on what that natural ability is.  If it requires artistic or athletic ability, you can’t teach that. But, I do believe people who put forth the effort, will achieve some  success.  I think they learn to handle their setbacks better.  If you get knocked down, you need to learn how to get back up.  If things always go your way, without effort on your part, what happens when things suddenly don’t go right?  I’ve seen this with family members who as adults are confronted with their first failure in life. They never really recover.  It just takes the wind out of their sails.

If we want to raise strong, confident children, we need to have them learn disappointment throughout their formative years.  The idea that schools need to teach “grit” is amazing.  Do your children the favor of letting them fail. Let them be disappointed.  Let them learn that life is seldom fair.  That oftentimes the least worthy is the one who gets the reward.  It is what it is.  If they learn these lessons, they will be able to stand on their own two feet as adults. And isn’t that what our job as a parent is all about?

 

What Fun!

I’m a little late getting this posted after debarking from my cruise.  But, I had a detour out of state for a couple of days.  Life can’t all be fun and games, even when you are retired. There were 12 of us who went on this cruise — all from the same neighborhood, except one.

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We had a great time. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate for most of it.  Not that it impacted it greatly, but we did have to consider it. We left out of Charleston on a 5 night Carnival cruise to the Bahamas.

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We’ve been to the Bahamas before, had a fantastic time at Atlantis on Paradise Island and had planned to do it again. But the price of this excursion had gone up dramatically and with the prediction of rain and storms, we didn’t want to spend our money and not get the benefit of it.  As it turned out, the weather was fine and we could have done it, although I’m not sure we were prepared to spend all that money on it.  So we shopped around town, then had a few beers to rest up for our walk back onto the ship!  All in all, I would say we had a good time in the port of Nassau.

 We went to Freeport as well.

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While there we took a trip to a beach where we spent the afternoon and had a good time there.  The water was actually warmer than the air.  There were quite a number of college age kids who went on this tour too. It was interesting talking to them.  They were having a really good time before having to take on the serious business of earning a livelihood.  Actually, a much better time than Jim and I.  Made me want to be a kid again and party with gay abandon!  It was all you could eat and drink.  I think drinking was more of their emphasis!  Back on the ship, there were more good times.

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Who had the bigger belly, Jim or Joe?

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Taking a rest from all the Motown music dancing. The band was a real favorite of everyone.  They did an excellent job!

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And of course, some of Jim’s hijinks.  I kept laughing so hard while taking this photo, I had trouble keeping the camera steady.  He wanted one of us to take off our bra so he could hang it on her finger and take a picture of it.  But, there were lots of elementary age kids on the ship who stayed up quite late and I wouldn’t do it.  Party Pooper!!  Someone had to be an adult in this crowd!  But, you have to admit, it would have been a funny picture, right?

Some had good luck with the slot machines, but I was not one of them.  One of these days I’m going to get lucky … with gambling, that is.  I still think I might win Powerball, don’t you?

The next morning we were back in Charleston and making our way back home.  We all agreed that it was a lot of fun and there were a few who wanted to schedule a meeting to plan when we were going to take our next one.  But, Jim and I have a road trip planned this summer.  I haven’t been further into New England than Connecticut and I want to head up there for a look see.  I want to stop in Washington, D.C. and go to the Smithsonian along the way.  And then, onto Boston. Seeing the Boston Pops concert on the Charles River on the 4th of July is on my bucket list, but I don’t think it will work out this trip though.  So … there’s always next year.

The pool here is open now and the parties will be starting up for the summer. There will be lots of good times to look forward to here in Murrells Inlet.  I have no intention of sitting back and watching life pass me by without being actively involved!