1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Home-Grown Sentiment from Southern Illinois: 'Hurt Not the Oil and the Wine'

Sentiment from a Southern Illinois Oil Field Worker
Whenever SAM and I visit Southern Illinois, we do our best to boost its economy by purchasing some local products. The last time that SAM went up there for work, he came home with wine and apples...

and the shirt pictured above. One of the oil field workers he has known for years now has a little side business selling shirts with some home-grown sentiments like the one pictured. They're fairly popular in certain circles. I wonder if the Oil-Drop Lady (that's what SAM calls her) on this American Petroleum Institute commercial would like it? SAM wishes that someone would hire him to make a commercial. He says he would be the perfect Gas-Bubble Man. I have to agree with him.

I heard on the news this weekend that Larry Hagman, the actor who played J. R. Ewing on the hit TV show Dallas way back in the 1980s, has died. He created a character that people loved to hate, and it's no surprise that this character's slimy behavior was associated with his powerful position as head of an oil company. For some reason, over the years the term "oil business" has become synonymous with corruption and greed. Why, though? The United States' oil and gas industry employs tens of thousands of hard-working people, and the pay is pretty darn good in most cases. These people actually produce something useful. It's valuable, oh-so-necessary to our current standard of living, and marketed worldwide. Remember when one of the most important measures of America's wealth (GDP) was based on the goods and services she produced herself? I do.

Now it seems that our economy is driven by what we consume, mostly products from other countries. You might have noticed just how crazy it is this time of year in the department stores and shopping malls. Black Friday crept back to Thursday this year and interrupted the usually peaceful celebration of Thanksgiving. Workers at stores like Wal-Mart and Target were rightfully upset that they couldn't be at home with their friends and loved ones on a truly American holiday. They had to go to work so consumers could do what they do best. Consume. On Thanksgiving.

I feel a little guilty myself of participating in the consumptive madness. We went out for dinner (gasp!) instead of cooking and eating at home. No shopping was involved, just eating at a local, Pensacola favorite--the Angus Steak House and Restaurant. It was lip-smackin' good! We thanked the server for working on a holiday and gave her a big tip.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Graceful Living on the Gulf Coast: Expect the Unexpected

SAM with lucky redfish (it's not a keeper/outside of legal "slot size," so released) on 11-11-2012, Pensacola Beach Pier
It seems that no matter where you go these days, you are subjected to someone else's taste in music, usually not to your liking. Restaurants, shops, and workplaces want to hurry you along, stir you into a buying frenzy, or lull you into complacency with your lot in life. I usually tune out the tunes I hear. Lately, though, I've been hearing a song played at work that gives me a lot to think about: Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying.

It certainly does not lull me into complacency with my lot in life or anything else for that matter. It's reminding me to notice things--expect the unexpected.

When you live near the sea (or maybe it's when you've lived for more than a few decades), you get used to having marvelous, unexpected things happen. The wind picks up, and the waves crash with increasing intensity and frequency. Life is charged with possibility.

Body of electric ray (?) found on beach near Destin, 11-3-2012
It's been happening a lot lately for some reason--the unexpected, I mean. Most of it has been good, and that's even more unexpected. What have we done to deserve it? Absolutely nothing. Can we expect it (the "good") to continue? Of course not. Life is nothing if not full of grace, even in death....

Several years ago, on a day not unlike Veteran's Day 2012, SAM, son, and I went to Pensacola Beach, expecting to have a sun-and-fun-filled day on the water, kayaking and relaxing on the sand. The wind and waves had kicked up a notch more than we expected. Kayaking in the Gulf was not an option so we relaxed on the beach and watched some adventurous souls venture into the chilly and choppy sea. There were rays of some sort darting to and fro in the water, and some people on the beach were following their progress.

Not more than an hour had passed when we heard some commotion happening nearby. Apparently, some swimmer was in trouble. People were yelling, ambulance sirens announced the arrival of emergency responders, and presently the body of a young man was dragged onto the beach from the crashing surf. We stayed where we were, not wanting to get in the way of some form of help arriving every few minutes from the parking lot nearby. A group of young men fell to their knees and began to pray. What was happening? We talked to some other people nearby who had ventured close to the tragic scene and then returned to their beach blankets, all of them with a stunned look on their faces. Apparently, a young man visiting the beach with a group from a local Christian college had a sudden heart attack and collapsed in the water. We all watched as a helicopter swooped down, creating a sudden, unnatural sandstorm. It collected the body of the young man along with a couple of his companions and disappeared in a cloud of noise and sand.

We could learn nothing more than speculation from the people we encountered as we walked toward the water's edge. The rays were still swimming back and forth along the beach, seemingly more agitated than before, and the swimmers were all beached. No one seemed eager to take a chance on meeting with something else dangerous or unexpected in the water.

The young man who was airlifted to a nearby hospital was never revived, we later found out. We have often wondered what could have happened to him. Finding the body of an electric ray (at least that's what we think it was) on the beach last weekend brought to mind the young man's demise. Somehow the connection of rays and a young man's sudden death made sense. Really? Death makes no sense. Neither does the wind, nor do the waves. Grace is nothing if not full of life, even in death.