Raise your hand if you could use a little good news. I thought so. The last couple of weeks have not been pleasant. At least not in terms of our elected officials. No need to go into the specifics of who was right and who was wrong. From impeachment hearings to State of the Union shenanigans to a less-than-perfect Iowa Caucus count, suffice it to say all were ugly shows that, alas, played to a worldwide audience. Like family matters, it’s always better to settle differences with some modicum of privacy rather than involve the neighbors.
Given those recent events, I thought it might be a good idea to report on some of the nicer things that actually happened during the last fortnight or so. For example, football fans were treated to an exciting Super Bowl. No doubt Chiefs’ supporters enjoyed the outcome more than 49er backers, but for audience members with no dog in the hunt, it was a good end to the pigskin season.
In other news, it’s been reported that the FDA has approved the first peanut allergy drug. Being a daily consumer of peanut butter for most of my life (Mom made me a PB&J for lunch every day in Kindergarten, which I transported in my Long Ranger lunchbox – that still sits on my bookshelf), I couldn’t imagine life without that staple. This has to be welcome news for any and all who suffer from that particular challenge, especially kids who have never tasted the delights of a Reese’s Cup.
Also, the great state of Minnesota is apparently paying homeowners to forget about seeding their lawns with grass this year. Instead, it’s encouraging folks to plant bee-friendly wildflowers. Bumblebees, it seems, are relying more and more on urban and suburban pollination pit stops. All that white clover in your yard? To rework the lyrics from Frozen, “Let it grow, let it grow.”
Here’s a stat that’s hard to believe, but pleasant to contemplate nonetheless. According to a Gallup Poll, more Americans went to the library than to the movies last year. (The downside to that is some of them checked out the very books I was seeking to read. But I’m not complaining.) And it’s not just young readers nor old ones. That massive middle group is wearing out their check-out card too.
There’s news that plant-based plastics might be able to be reused many, many times. Scientists are working on ways to do what scientists do – convert plastics back to their original chemical structure so that recycled bottles, for example, can be made from old bottles and still be good as new.
Continuing in the realm of research, there is an ultra-absorbent product that apparently can pull a whole bunch of water out of thin air. We’re talking about drinkable water here, which could lead to arid places around the world having sufficient aqua to sip.
And then there’s the story about first-responders pushing a family’s out-of-gas van all the way down a long road to a gas station. And paying for the gas. Or those guys who sell bracelets made from plastic they’ve pulled out of the ocean hitting the 8 million-pound mark. How about that classroom of kids all chipping in to buy one of their teachers a new pair of shoes because the original pair was stolen?
In a story near and dear to my heart, an actor named Bill Hayes will soon be feted on the TV show Days of Our Lives. For 50 years, he has brought the character Doug Williams to life. My dad met Bill when both visited the same college the same weekend as high school seniors, found out they liked to sing, and remained the best of friends for more than 70 years until Dad passed away. There’s a special storyline that the show’s writers have crafted for “Doug” to reminisce about those five decades.
But his TV Doug story is the tip of the iceberg. Bill Hayes has been on network TV longer than anyone alive. He began in 1948, was a member of the ground-breaking Your Show of Shows cast, and appeared on countless other programs. He also recorded a million-selling record called “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.” Fans of Days especially will no doubt enjoy the well-deserved tribute to a great actor/singer and fine gentleman.
Oh, two more things. As I write this, my son will become a father any minute. And my daughter adds to her family in a month. So, to tell you the truth, I could care less what’s going on in Washington.
©MMXX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer