America I Hardly Knew Ya: Oh What Has Become of Our Country?

“Oh what has become of our good old country?” that’s what the stranger asked of me.  “Once it seemed we thought alike, now it seems all we do is fight.”

“Oh, ho, ho, why you asking me? I’d think the answer is clear to see.”

The stranger then continued, “The nuttiness of Trump is very much on display, the glory that was America seems to have gone far away.  I’ve been terribly downcast and fearful for our land The people have forgotten how united we once did stand . I’m thinking back to the good old quiet days. They have gone so very far away.”

He looked about my age but something told me he was much younger. It is probably just that the years have been hard on him.  We sat there on the bench in the Common. I’m not sure why I decided to sit there. Perhaps it was because I was early for my appointment and the air had a spring-like feeling I thought as I was sitting down of an expression I heard in Japan, “If winter’s here can spring be far behind.” It always surprised me how I can remember where I first heard expressions that I treasure; or, how a scent in the air can bring back dormant memories.

I saw him approaching me. He walked slowly looking neither left or right. He stood straight, his head bent slightly forward and his right hand softly stroking his chin as if pondering some great mystery. I would have bet he hadn’t even seen me sitting on the bench and had almost walked past when he made a sharp left as if a command in his head said “to the left flank march.” He sat down about four feet away from me to the left.

I nodded saying, “it sometimes feels that way.”

“Did you serve?” he asked.  I said I did. “So did I,” he said. He lifted up his sleeve. On his arm in big black block letters was written KHE SAHN.

“Semper Fi,” I said.

“You in Nam?

“No, missed it. After my time. My cousin was there in Khe Sahn – Captain Jimmy Ambrose .”

“Didn’t have the pleasure.”

“Did you ever get to Camp Carroll?’

“No – knew some who did.”

“It was named after Jimmy Carroll. Lived across the hall from me in Basic School. A really nice guy. Earned his tuition for Notre Dame travelling in the summers with the circus doing those high dives from a high ladder into small pools.”

He shrugged showing little interest. His mind was on something else. “What do you think?” he said.

“About what?”

“The country we wore the uniform for?”

“Pretty much the same as you. Never seen it so divided thanks to Trump demonizing others — making it appear like the Democrats aren’t good Americans.”

He shook his head in agreement. “There’s gonna be lots of blood an the streets before this is over. Trump is the worst thing that ever could happen to America. Guaranteed his right wingers will be beating up Democrats which will bring out the anarchists and all bloody hell will break loose. Don’t see no other way especially with those Christians who think God sent Trump to restore America to its great past.- guess that’s when we had slaves.”

“I hope you are wrong,”I said.

He stood up, “I’m not.”

He started walking away, stopped and turned. “You Irish?”

I nodded.

“Happy Saint Patrick’s Day”

“Happy Saint Patrick’s Day” I said back.









8 replies on “America I Hardly Knew Ya: Oh What Has Become of Our Country?”

  1. Matt :

    Did you see him on The Common when BLM brownshirts were chasing, terrorizing and tearing the American Flag from Grandmother Connolly.

    For that was her last name .

    Were you there for that massive Dem promised violence shit show the last time your peaceful warriors descended en masse in self righteous thuggery to display their political intolerance ; to let numerical might . the Athenians .. Trump even a little loathsome Right Wing group’s Constitutional Free Speech

    Probably Not.

    I was. On my bicycle , leaning , holding the brow of the hill overloooking the Gazebo and the Walkpath . People naturally assume I am a Detective usually . In a way I earned my Gold Badge in the CZ when I was 18 ..but I Regress . Just kidding . When an old man unfurled a flag in the Lefty hornet swarm below me things got very buzzzyyy . Blood lust was wafting in the warm air and the young bicycle cops enfillading in and out of the mob in a control relax and go off tai chi dance came banging back over with the Foot Soldiers whistles keening and wedge committed to pull the poor bastard to safety. My crowd on the Hill I was babysitting got all excited and wanted to move down to it and there was a coalescing pattern of the willing. But when Someone . DAD. Stays relaxed and unconcerned leaning quietly on his bike. . WELLLLLL ..A lot were looking at me in funny ways. And they calmed down. Those young cops were very very ballsy. I did my part . Where were you ?

    No balance or understanding in your piece . Usual bitter Donnie did it Screed .

  2. Afterthought: Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all! (Yes, that includes President Trump and his colleen, Melania.)

  3. Please, if we’re talking about failure to accept the results of an election, look no further than the right’s hatred of Obama. They didn’t even refer to him as President Obama. Instead, it was always “Barack Obama.” And as I recall it, a leader of the crackpot birther movement was your boy, Donald J. Trump.

    As for the economy, please again. Obama lifted the nation out of a disastrous, GOP-inspired recession and followed that up with 75 straight months of job growth. Members of the Trump Cult still capable of counting without help from the Oval Office will have to concede that their chubby champion has a way to go to match the Democratic president. If the Cult is right, growth will continue through 2020 and beyond, right? I fear that too many cheeseburgers, too much tee time and too much cable TV are leading us down the road to another recession. We’ll see ….

  4. GOK is 100% correct. Sour grapes from the Dems. We have the strongest economy in history. Lowest unemployment rates and more jobs than ever. The U S and NATO spending $300 billion more on defense. Energy independence, better trade deals and better judges. Thank God crooked Hillary isn’t in office. 2. No Dems are being beaten up by Trump supporters. The Left engages in violence against Trump’s people. See the kid at Berkeley. Are the Dems good Americans? Do they support infanticide and late term abortion? Is that evidence of their goodness?

    1. The economy is humming along but wage growth is stagnant. Trump is helping corporations and wealthy donors, not the common citizen.

  5. The failure of the two major parties to nominate non-deplorable Presidential candidates brought us to the 2016 election. Both candidates were tied for dead last in terms of desirability.

    The country lucked out by getting new, non-entrenched blood into office. ***Otherwise, we would have seen the horrible Clintons continue their horrible ways.*** That’s yuge.

    The big news isn’t what Trump says or does. Instead, the following constitute the big news: the gross overreaction to his winning the election, the abject failure of the Left to accept the results of the election, the horror they feel at not having a Dem as President to continue the Obama-Dem Utopia, the knee-jerk objections to all things Trump, and the engaging in fake news and other efforts in order to bring down Trump and his Presidency.

    Trump may speak and write poorly, at least at times, but his performance in office is largely one of progress.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all present at Matt’s blog: Readers, writers, historians, authors and friends of our host!

  6. Matt..

    Well done.
    Would have gone to Nam BUT went headfirst off a bridge south of San Francisco
    and not Canada.

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