I took this photograph outside of Berlin, Ohio which boasts the largest Amish Community in the world and when I saw the buggy coming towards me, I was reminded of the recent electrical black-out that much of Ohio experienced a few weeks ago as a result of a violent, unexpected storm. The storm happened during the hottest week in the year and for days many Ohioans, including I, were out of power. It was absolutely miserable and I admit, I was one of those people dialing AEP to find out when the power would be restored. But when I passed this gentlemen and his buggy a question went through my head that made me laugh - "How many Amish complained to AEP about their power being out." And of course, the answer is none.
When I was very young, I was terrified of large bodies of water including swimming pools. Part of my fear came from the fact that my mother was scared of water and always preached to me how I could easily drown if I wasn't careful around water. She was so terrified of water that even standing on a beach, far away from the shore, was extremely difficult for her. So, she passed that fear on to me at a very early age. It is very difficult to fear water if you want to be active and involved in organizations. For instance, I joined the boy scouts and when we went to summer camp, I would stand on the pool deck and simply watch as the other scouts had fun splashing about in the pool. For a ten year old it is a difficult thing not to be able to join in on the fun. But my fear of water kept me firmly planted safely away from the water. I was told at the end of the camp, that if I did not learn how to swim that future summer camp participation would be difficult and in fact, I would never be able to successfully progress as a scout because swimming was required. And so when I left summer camp that year, I thought I might never return. But then fate intervened.
The noted psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, once wrote, "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." I ran across this quote a few days ago when I was having a conversation with a close friend. And as I thought about the quote I realized that the "beautiful people" Dr. Ross referred to are rare.
1976 was a year of change - both good and bad. The Steelers beat Dallas in the Superbowl - I lost money on that game. The Naval Academy accepted its first female class - somewhat appropriate that it happened in 1976, but still way too late. And Babara Jordan, yes, Barbara Jordan, gave a historic speech when delivering the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, becoming the first African American to deliver a keynote address for either party.