November 3, 2010

Redemption in Panama... Is Oprah The New Jesus?

It's election day in the USA but  here in Panama, it's raining so when the phone rings, I'm nestled snugly  into my sofa.  It's my brother Nicholas in California, calling to make sure we  sent in our absentee ballots on time.

UH oh.
OH Boy.
Ummm . Okay.  It seems we kind of screwed that one up this year.

Without actually scolding, my responsible brother gently and firmly lets me know we have committed the unforgivable by giving away our precious votes to the Tea Party.   But, practically in the same breath, all is not lost.   He brightly explains (as he hits ENTER on his keyboard ) there is still time for me to single-handedly redeem my family from spending eternity in Hades by picking up the phone to  make some "Get Out and  Vote"  calls using, of course,  the link that now and already awaits me via his email.

My brother is, of course, is correct.  Although I'm an Independent, left on some issues, surprisingly right on others, I am still registered as a Democrat,  something I did in order to vote in the primaries -- which of course never counted since I was voting in Florida, where your votes magically disappear like socks in the dryer.  I am, after all, a Ballard.

And Ballards vote. Ballards come from a long line of active Democrats -- that's "active" with a capital "A."  My  internalized parental and grand-parental values were rapidly surfacing, taking on the form of  painful contrition.  And guilt will kill you.

Also,  I'm pretty sure I felt the earth moving under my house as my ancestors began to squirm in their graves.

So, while I definitely wanted to remain in my now form fitting  spot on the couch, that wasn't going to happen; the guilt was now gnawing away at my lazy, easy day.

But was it the guilt alone that propelled me out of my comfort zone? Loyalty to my brother and our family ideals?  Maybe it was my good old higher power calling me into action -- that faint  voice of right and reason that I sometimes refer to as Uncle Jesus' Holy Spirit.

Or, perhaps, just maybe it was the voice of Oprah Winfrey herself!

Let's face it. Haven't most of us over the past 25 years been minding the messages of Oprah?  Oprah leading us to meditate, eat /pray/love;  dump the dieting; follow the mother ship (whatever that is); dive into the vortex (whatever that is); and oh yeah, above all, Vote!

Maybe it was Oprah herself calling to me all the way from Chicago. Chicago, city of my birth; home of Hull House and the great Jane Addams, alongside whom my grandparents worked and where they became directors after her death. of my parents' alma mater, the then matchless University of Chicago, and home of the progressive Hyde Park area, where my grandparents, and later Barack Obama himself resided, before he moved to the White House.

Whatever it was that pulled me into action, it worked.
I did the good deed.
I dialed. I persuaded. I left creative and cajoling messages, forgoing of course the provided internet Script.
And ... I began to feel better.  I felt redeemed.
I had single-handedly brought the future of my children (and their children) away from the arms of hell and closer to heaven's embrace by my earnest campaigning efforts.

All this got me to thinking:
It's probably forgivable to disobey Jesus once in a while because, you know,  Jesus is a pretty forgiving guy.
But it's not okay to go against Oprah.
Let's face it. If you cross Oprah, you probably go straight to hell.
Is Oprah the new Jesus?
I don't know.
As of this writing, the ballots haven't been counted.

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News About The Boys

Mrs. Bliss told us there is a caterpillar here that is pink and fuzzy, and, if you touch it, its fur will stick in your skin and sting you! This happened to her daughter, Aylana. It was very painful and they had to pull the fibers out using tape! There are also scorpions and snakes, but I think there are more poisonous snakes in Florida.

William is busy, busy. In the morning he does his home schooling (Dad is his teacher!). Then, around 9:00 he rushes happily off to the local, Catholic, Spanish-only school where he audits the 4th grade! He's been doing some skim boarding but we are seriously missing the skating. Surfing looms in the near future. For a change we finally have kids on our street to play with, (not to mention dogs and roosters, snakes, toads, etc.) and it is wonderful making new friends. Still, William really misses his friends and family back in Sarasota. It's wonderful to get messages from the folks back home.

We send a special "Hello How Are Ya?" back to Nolen, Max, Connor, Emily W. and Teah!

Larry is Mr. Handy! Between homeschooling and making repairs on the house, he is never without something to do. And we have gone from never seeing him, to having him around all the time. Hmmmmmm.....

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