Report from Louisiana: Loose Thoughts

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Loose thoughts this week from Northwest Louisiana:

Apollo 1 Memorial: It’s been fifty years since Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White died in a flash fire that engulfed their capsule during a routine training mission and as she has each year, Grissom’s widow, Betty, was in Florida at the annual memorial service. This story in the New York Times records the very humble beginnings of this memorial ceremony back to when it was just two space buffs showing up at Pad 34. Now, finally, the Apollo 1 astronauts have a tribute exhibit at Kennedy Space Center and the memorial ceremony is a pretty big deal.

I found this article timely as I’ve just completed a unit on the Apollo 13 story with my sophomores.  As a baby boomer, America’s race to the moon enthralled me. I read everything I can on it and am currently re-reading The Right Stuff for probably the third time. I want to instill the history, drama, and American pride in my students when we do this unit. It’s hard in some ways for them to understand how exciting this period of our history was.

Politics: Can’t even go there right now. Let me just say this: when Obama got elected to his first term I was incensed, horrified, and rabidly vocal about the danger I believed he brought to our country and about what I perceived as his weakness and inexperience as a leader. I was chastised by liberal friends and family for not supporting the newly elected president because after all, that’s the process – the peaceful transfer of power. “He may not have been your choice but now you have a duty to support him.” Well, no, I don’t. I still blogged and railed against his policies and practices.

And now I have to listen to these petulant people whine and carry on about Trump? Why are they not supporting “our president”? Why was that duty of support assigned to only me?

The hypocrisy slays me and I can’t bear it. I’m on a politics boycott right now.

Mardi Gras: And so, on a lighter note, it’s Mardi Gras season in Louisiana and we are neck deep in king cakes, crawfish, and plastic colored beads from China.  We are lighting fire pits and charcoal grills along the bayous, drinking beer in the streets, and dancing to brass bands.  There might be a lot of problems in the country, and there are plenty in Louisiana, but for the next several weeks we are going to have a big party and pretend like they don’t exist! It’s a great time to come visit from the frozen north!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.