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Happy Near-Holidays

By admin Published: December 23, 2008

The bride and I are taking a breather from work and so far, so good. Interesting road adventures, including the airport security agent who, when I unthinkingly handed her my boarding pass upside down, declared, "I'm not going to stand on my head to read it!" And the lady on the plane who kept asking if there would be food. (There wasn't, and price of drinks ranged from $1 for coffee or tea to $2 for a 12-oz. soft drink to $7 for beer. And the bride and I had carefully calculated our luggage contents to keep our baggage charges to a minimum. The world may be enjoying gas at $1.50 a gallon or less but this airline was still living in $4-gallon-land.)

But the trip went smoothly and we have had a chance to complete our holiday prep and even catch up on some reading. The bride is filling gaps in her Karen Kingsbury collection. I read some good pulp (Robert Bloch's "Spiderweb," breezy way to pass airplane time) and am now making my way through "Nixonland," by Rick Perlstein. Refound my love of literature in a college class this fall but still am drawn to the reading of history.

"Nixonland" looks at the way America and its politics changed from 1964 to 1972, with Nixon seeing the change and using it to his advantage. Perlstein says the book's protagonist is not Nixon but the American voter who shifted from LBJ in '64 to Nixon in '72 because in each case to do otherwise was"to court civilizational chaos." Nixonland, in Perlstein's view, "is the America where two separate and irreconcilable sets of apocalyptic fears coexist in the minds of two separate and irreconcilable groups of Americans." One group consisted of Nixon's enemies, who believed that his values could spell America's ends; the other group "trusted him as their savior."

I'm a little more than 10 percent done with the very large book, with much to come, and it's all the more interesting because I lived through (and paid attention to politics in) the years on which it focuses.

But, to get back to the point in the headline of this post, I hope you are all moving ever closer to celebration and good cheer for the days to come.

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