Friday, December 28, 2018
An Uncommon Departure
Leaving town by airplane, train, or driving are common.
Nearly half a century ago, August 18, 1972, my wife Jane and I set sail on our 46-foot home-built and designed dream boat from the far western end of the Great Lakes in Minnesota.
Selling everything, we only packed our boat with essentials, bicycles, books and tools.
It would be ten years before we acquired another motor vehicle.
We were going where the wind blew, when the spirit moved us, and the price was right; fishing and foraging as we went.
This adventure was a glorious lark and would turn out to be the very best years of our lives.
On our maiden voyage, we sailed the Great Lakes to Buffalo, the Erie Canal to the Hudson River, and south to NYC. It was blowing and snowing October 20th when we tied up at the ship museum dock in lower Manhattan. Someone was obviously telling us something. Turn south to Florida...we did.
Back in Wisconsin we had been looked upon as radical misfits. In Florida, on the other hand, we stood out as straight arrows. Everything is relative (where there is a will there is a relative).
Thus began a life long adventuresome adventure that generated four books.
Our dear friend Professor Skip Koloski had this to say, “anyone that criticizes you has never had an original thought in their entire lives.”
John Grimsrud, December 28, 2018
Becoming by Michelle Obama
FIVE STARS +++++
This book is an autobiographical look at a united and supportive family committed to making the world a better place.
This excellent and uplifting story is worthy of more than five stars.
Focused determination coupled with active community involvement climbing the ladder one rung at a time propelled Michelle to the top of corporate success.
Reading the narrative of paths chosen and directions taken is inspirational.
Excerpts from Becoming by Michelle Obama
Barack was the only candidate capable of delivering real change. Barack wanted to get American troops out of Iraq. He wanted to roll back the tax cuts George W. Bush had pushed through for the super-wealthy.
If I’d learned anything from the ugliness of the campaign, from the myriad ways people had sought to write me off as angry or unbecoming, it was that public judgment sweeps in to fill any void. If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others. I wasn’t interested in slotting myself into a passive role, waiting for Barack’s team to give me direction. After coming through the crucible of the last year, I knew that I would never allow myself to get that banged up again.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve,” the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, had declared to a reporter a year earlier, laying out his party’s goals, “is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” It was that simple. The Republican Congress was devoted to Barack”s failure above all else. It seemed they weren’t prioritizing the governance of the country or the fact that people needed jobs. Their own power came first.
The public radio program This American Life had devoted two hours to telling the stories of students and staff from William R. Harper Senior High School in Englewood, a neighborhood on the South Side. [of Chicago] In the previous year, twenty-nine of the school’s current and recent students had been shot, eight of them fatally. These numbers were astonishing to me and my staff, but the sad fact is that urban schools around the country were contending with epidemic levels of gun violence.
Congress appeared determined to block any measure that could help keep guns out of the wrong hands, with legislators more interested in collecting campaign donations from the National Rifle Association than they were in protecting kids. Politics was a mess, I said. On this front, I had nothing terribly uplifting or encouraging to say. I went on, though, to make a different pitch, one that came directly from my South Side self. Use school, I said.
I’ve never been a fan of politics, and my experience over the last ten years has done little to change that.
North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek
This is the story of a one of a kind super athlete. Scott is focused, self-motivated, and driven to extremes.
This is my second book by Scott Jurek, and it proved to be a classic. We both came from the same motivating Duluth/Superior area and were driven by intensive and compulsive drives to excel and surpass our environment. I departed in 1972 before Scott was born, but totally understand his needs to act. John M. Grimsrud, author.
Excerpts from North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail:
Nobody expected a twenty-five-year-old from Minnesota to show up and win the Western States 100, first try. Nobody expected a sea-level Seattleite to win the Hardrock Hundred, and certainly nobody expected a stagnant forty-something to run the Appalachian Trail in record time. Nobody; except the man in the ring. I thought about that Roosevelt quote printed on my 1999 Western States race guide: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I wasn’t becoming more powerful, not at all. Instead I was being stripped down not only of fat, muscle, and nerve but also of my mental toughness. I was losing it, but maybe that’s what I needed to do.