Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Day In The Park

I post this every year a about this, so if you check in here regularly, this will be a repeat.  I just keep posting it because ir speaks to my heart,  I rather suspect it does so because except for some occasions of editorial license, it actually happened.  It is published in my 2005 chapbook, Christmas Eyes.  The photo below was taken early the morning the events o the story transpired/

Please enjoy this small fragment of my life in that small, friendly nation called The Netherlands,

A Day In The Park

For Lianne and Joël
With love


It is the fifth day of the twelfth month of the first year of the new millennium in this small country, best known for windmills, wooden shoes, dikes and tulips.  The otherwise sleepy village is awake with the sounds of festive celebration.  An impromptu carnival has erupted at the foot of the town's tallest hill, where children of all ages ride makeshift sleds at frantic speeds down the freshly fallen mantle of white, enjoying the rareness of the moment.  The adults among them know full well how special this day is given the usual mildness of the winter, and the location of the village some 25 kilometers west of Amsterdam.  They are far enough inland to have snow, yet close enough to the North Sea to be affected by the spiraling downdraft of the remnants of the Gulf Stream as it snakes its way back to its birthplace in the South Atlantic.

The hill is one of only a handful of such natural forest ripples in the otherwise flat landscape, a small park at the easternmost edge of the village.  Majestic and proud it stands, an island of nature rising above the ravages of time; untouched by the machinations of civil engineering so necessary in the diminutive coastal nation in which the vast majority of real estate lay below sea level, and much of which has, in fact been reclaimed from the sea.

The topography of park is similar throughout:  compact stances of old growth forest punctuated by thin walking trails and narrow paved roadways.  These rolling vistas are among the oldest…and highest in all of the western part of the country.

There is a small windmill there next to the bridge that reaches over the canal at the entrance to the park.  At one time the structure had seen service as a tool in the vast national system of drainage and water control, but now serves as little more than window dressing; a silent sentry, guarding the eastern most entrance to the park.  Behind the windmill (to the left as you face the park entrance) there is an animal park – not quite a zoo, but more like a petting zoo with deer, ducks, geese, goats, and other ‘dieren,’ as the local residents call them, you can feed and pet.

There is a small street on either side of the canal, each of which is lined end to end with the most beautiful array of chestnut trees.  On the eastern side there is a quaint row of single dwelling houses – a rarity in a nation in which most families live in multiple family dwellings, some with thatched roofs.  On the western side of the canal, is the park, a small pond, a medium sized grazing field immediately adjacent to the road, from which numerous paths lead into the ‘forest’.

It is the site of many adventures throughout the year.

In the more temperate seasons, one can hike in the woods, taking time if desired to observe nature at it most beautiful.  There are flora and fauna here found nowhere else in the nation, much less the world.  Even a casual observer can see the more commonplace inhabitants of any small copse of woodland.  Rabbits and blackbirds; the variety unique to this area, with the cobalt blue and white wing markings are plentiful.  The small zoo has reindeer roaming free behind a box-wire fence, but if you are very fortunate, now and then you also see a wild one scurry off into the woods.

Trails are lined with wild blackberries in the spring and crab apples in the late summer.  In the autumn of each year, a small circus calls the field on the west side of the canal home, and in early October, you can easily spend a day dancing in the crisp fall air, rolling in graceful waves of fallen leaves and collecting chestnuts at the feet of the parallel ranks of chestnut trees lining either side of the two lane paved road.

Take a mid-summer stroll down the spider-web thin walking trails woven throughout the dense thickets, and you can see honeybees buzzing lazily about their business.  If you were still enough, and alert enough, you might even be treated to the soft flit and momentary pause of a hummingbird, treating itself to a sip of nectar from the bright orange trumpet horns of honeysuckle growing along the way.

This is a magical place for the young…and young-at-heart!  You can build a secret hiding place from the fallen branches of towering pines, or storm the castle you imagine standing high atop the park’s tallest hill.  You can climb trees so tall they seemed to scrape the sky, or play hide and seek behind the hunter green and bayberry red of wild holly.  You might even imagine that you can hear the soft tinkle of the bells attached to the twin-horned hats worn by the small, elfish people legends say dwelt within the brightly colored toadstools that lay hidden in the shadows of the bountiful oak trees in the deepest part of the forest.

And, of course, if it gets cold enough, in the winter you can skate along the canal and over the small pond at the edge of the tree line.

But this day is a special, festive day that would have been festive anyway, but which is made all the more so for the appearance of the predawn snowfall.  While it is all new and exciting to the children, it is all the more so for the adults, because none of them could remember a day in their lifetimes when snow had come on Sinterklaas day!

The day is special because it is the eve of ‘Sinterklaas Dag’.  Sometime during the coming night, when, at least in theory, the children are sleeping, Sinterklaas, Saint Nikolas, or simply ‘de Sint - the Saint’ assisted by his ‘Swaarte Piet – Black Peter’ helpers, will arrive.  Children throughout the country will leave small wooden shoes outside their bedroom doors, hopeful that in the morning they will be filled to overflowing with ‘snoepjes’ and ‘peppernoten’.  There is great anticipation of the brightly colored presents, each with the traditional poem attached.

But, all that happens later.  Tomorrow will be a national holiday – no school or work, but today it’s snowing!  No school or work!  For now, there is the park, and the snow, and the brisk morning air, and the promise of a steaming mug of marshmallow covered hot cocoa when you get home.


Her name is Leanne.  She is ten years old.  Her brother, Joël is eight, but for only four more days, he is quick to point out.  Their blond hair and pale blue eyes seem somehow out of place when standing next to the mother with the fiery red hair and sea green eyes.  It is four o’clock, and she can’t sleep.  After what seems an eternity to her, she climbs out of bed to relieve her heavy bladder, but can’t resist first peeking through the curtained window at the foot of her bed.

She is jolted fully awake at the sight of the nickel sized flakes of snow drifting lazily to the earth below.  Already there is a coating of wet, heavy snow, 12 to 15 centimeters deep, covering the ground, and weighing down the tops of the big juniper trees guarding the entrance to their small front garden.  Forgetting about her slippers and robe, and the bladder that had so rudely awakened her, she darts through the door and down the short hall to her brother’s room, singing as she runs, “it’s snowing, its snowing, tra-la-la-la-la-la!”

All around the small village the scene is oft repeated as the sound of excited voices is heard through the muffled dreams of their parents, and tiny feet dance with frantic jubilation in home after home after home.  Snow in this tiny land is rare, and tends to disappear quickly on the warm ground below.  If you are going to do anything at all, you have to act with haste.

Speed is the order of the day.  Mama rouses the children, while Papa starts breakfast.  Mama supervises the warm dressing while Papa loads the sleds into the boot.  Everyone piles into the car and hurries to be the first to arrive at the sledding hills.  Late comers will be disappointed, for the snow will wear down quickly.  By time the sun first peers sleepily over the eastern horizon, the hills will be filled with the happy sound of children laughing, sleds swooshing, and parents huddling together in hushed whispers at the foot of the sled paths.

Small fires start popping up in the picnic pits located around the base of the hills.  Children stop by for a warming break between frantic dashes up and down the hills, while their parents stand around, engaged in meaningless conversation and tossing occasional glances towards the colorful bundles of energy rocketing gleefully down the graceful slopes.

It is, as has been noted, truly a festive, carnival atmosphere! 

The little blond haired girl slides down the hill on her small steel railed sled while her brother and mother speed past on the blue plastic snow-sail.  Blue and green eyes flash while belligerent strands of yellow and red hair wave riotously from under their stocking caps and scarves.

From the bottom of the hill, where they look to see who has had the longest ride, they ease off the sleds, roll in the snow and giggle, only to run to the top of the hill and try again.  Other children are off to the side making castles of packed snow from which they will launch blinding arrays of round, white missiles.  Still others, older, but not quite adults, lie on their backs side by side, rapidly waving their legs and arms to leave the impression that an angel alighted in that spot.

As is the custom in the whole of the country, most of the people involved in the impromptu festival have brought hot beverages and snacks along, and very soon steaming cups of coffee, cider, hot cocoa, holiday tea and spiced wine are passed among the circles of people huddling cozily around the fires, while large, cottony flakes of snow float lazily from puffy, steel-gray skies, dotting the hats and mittens of the children at play, and sparkling in the soft morning light like the luster of a thousand, million diamonds.  And if someone had suggested, however in jest it may be, that if you listen closely you could hear the far off tinkle of sleigh bells, no one would have argued the point.

But all too soon, the ambient warmth of the ground beneath them begins to exert its authority over snowfall and celebrants alike.  Much too quickly for anyone’s liking, the sun begins poking pencil thin beams of light through the canopy of clouds.  Almost as abruptly as it had begun, the revelry comes to an abrupt, if unwanted end.  One by one the sleds and their riders begin to make their way, however reluctantly, to the relative warmth of their cars and dry confines of their homes.

Much to their mutual displeasure, the disappointed children quietly tuck the last strands of blond hair beneath their caps, recover their sleds, and trudge wearily but unwillingly behind their equally weary red haired mother.  The first to arrive this morning before Sinterklaas, these three are the last to leave.  Protests to the contrary aside, they are both fast asleep before their mother’s automobile passes beyond the windmill standing silent sentry at the entrance to the park.

voor Lianne en Joël
en Sinterklaas

Hoofdstuk 1

Het is de vijfde dag van de twaalfde maand van het eerste jaar van het nieuwe millennium in dit kleine landje, het best bekend om zijn molens, klompen, dijken en tulpen.  Het anders slaperige stadje is wakker van de geluiden van  feestelijkheden..Een geïmproviseerd festijn is ontstaan aan de voet van de grootste heuvel van de stad, waar kinderen van alle leeftijden slee rijden met een enorme snelheid naar beneden over de vers gevallen witte mantel, genietend van het speciale moment.  De volwassenen onder hen weten hoe speciaal deze dag is omdat normaal de winter mild is, en de locatie van het dorp ongeveer 25 kilometer ten westen van Amsterdam.  Ze zitten ver genoeg in het binnenland om sneeuw te hebben, maar ook dichtbij de Noordzee om beïnvloed te zijn door de neerwaartse spiraal die overblijft van  de Golf stroom die terugglijdt naar zijn geboorteplaats in de Zuid Atlantische Oceaan.

De heuvel is een van de enige van een handvol natuurlijke rimpelingen in het anders platte landschap, een klein park aan de meest oostelijke rand van het dorp. Majestueus en trots staat het, een eiland van natuurlijke verhoging boven de verwoesting van tijd; onaangeraakt door de machines van beschaafde bouwkunde, om de zo nodig in dit miniatuur  kustland, waar de meerderheid van huizen beneden het zeeniveau liggen, en waar veel is teruggenomen door de zee.

Een park ziet er altijd hetzelfde uit: bomen staan altijd op dezelfde manier, in een oud bos, geaccentueerd door smalle wandelpaden en geasfalteerde wegen.. Dat soort vergezichten zijn oud en de hoogste vergezichten in het westen van het land.

Er staat een kleine windmolen, daar, naast de brug die over het kanaal spant bij de ingang van het park. Ooit diende dit bouwwerk als hulp voor het nationale drainage systeem en de controle over het water, nu is het niet veel meer dan een versiering; een stille wachter, die het oostelijk deel van het park bewaakt. Achter de windmolen (aan de linkerkant , kijkend naar de ingang van het park) is een dierenpark – niet echt een dierentuin, maar meer een kinderboerderij met herten, eenden, ganzen, geiten en andere ‘dieren’, zoals de locale bevolking ze noemt, je kan ze voeren en aaien.

Aan elke kant van het kanaal is een kleine straat, elk afgezoomd door de prachtigste kastanjebomen. Aan de oostzijde staat een gemoedelijk serietje vrijstaande woonhuizen – een zeldzaamheid in een land waar meeste families in rijtjeshuizen leven sommige met strooien daken.  Aan de westelijke kant van het kanaal is het park, een kleine vijver, een middelgroot grasveld gelijk naast de weg, vanwaar ontelbare paden leiden naar het "woud".

Er spelen zich vele avonturen af door het jaar heen.

In het gematigd seizoen kan men door het bos wandelen, desgewenst de tijd nemend om de natuur te aanschouwen wanneer zij op haar mooist is.  Hier komt men flora en fauna tegen zoals nergens elders in het land, nergens elders in de wereld. Zelfs de niet al te oplettende toeschouwer kan de bewoners opmerken in het kreupelhout van het omenland. Konijnen en merels; de unieke varieteit van dit gebied, met het kobaltblauw en de vele witte markeringen op de vleugels.  In de kleine dierentuin lopen de rendieren vrij rond achter een hek, maar als je geluk hebt zie je er zo nu en dan ook één in het wild, wegrennen naar het bos.

Paden zijn gemarkeerd met braamstruiken in de lente en wilde appels in de late zomer. Elk jaar in de herfst bezet een klein circus het veld aan de westzijde van het kanaal en vroeg in oktober kun je met gemak een dag dansend spenderen in de frisse herfstlucht, rollen door elegante golven van vallende bladeren en kastanjes verzamelen, liggend aan de voet van de kastanjebomen, die aan elke kant staan van de geasfalteerde tweebaans weg.

Wandel hartje zomer op de smalle paden door de gewoven spinnenwebben en zie de honingbijen zich lui zoemend aan hun taak kwijten. Als je stil en alert genoeg bent kun je zelfs verrast worden door het zachte gefladder van een kolibrie, die zichzelf tegoed doet aan een teugje honing uit de helder oranje trompetbloemen van de kamperfoelie langs de weg.

Dit is een betoverende plek voor hen die jong zijn...en jong van hart zijn!  Je kan een geheime schuilplaats bouwen van de afgevallen takken van hoge pijnbomen, of het kasteel bestormen die je zo voor je ziet bovenop de hoogste heuvel in het park. Je kan bomen beklimmen die zo hoog lijken dat ze de wolken lijken aan te raken, of verstoppertje spelen achter de groene en rode hulststruiken. Je kan je zelfs inbeelden het zachte geklingel van belletjes horen, belletjes die vastzitten aan dde tweehoornige hoedjes, gedragen door de kleine elfjes. Deze worden beschreven in de legendes, ze verblijven in de helder gekleurde paddestoelen die in de schaduw van de eikenbomen staan, diep in het bos.

En natuurlijk, als het koud genoeg wordt, kan je over het kanaal schaatsen en op de vijver, aan de rand van de bomenlijn.

Maar deze dag is een speciale, feestelijke dag, het zou al sowieso een feestelijke dag zijn, maar nu nog meer, aan de vooravond van de sneeuwval.  Terwijl het allemaal nieuw en opwindend is voor de kinderen, des te meer is het voor de volwassenen, want niemand kon zich herinneren dat het ooit sneeuwde op Sinterklaas!

Het is een speciale dag, want het is de vooravond van "Sinterklaas Dag". Ergens in de komende nacht zal, wanneer theoretisch de kinderen behoren te slapen, Sinterklaas, Sint Nicolaas, of eenvoudigweg "de Sint", geassisteerd door zijn hulpen, de Zwarte Pieten, arriveren. Kinderen door het hele land zetten hun kleine klompen buiten de slaapkamerdeur, hopend dat die in de ochtend gevuld zullen zijn met snoep en pepernoten. Grote verwachtingen zijn er over de kleurrijk ingepakte cadeaus, elk vergezeld met een traditioneel gedicht.

Maar dat zal allemaal later komen. Morgen is het eerst een nationale feestdag ?  Geen school, geen werk, maart vandaag sneeuwt het! Geen school, geen werk!  Nu is er alleen maar het park, en de sneeuw, en de frisse ochtendlucht, en de belofte van een hete kop chocolademelk als je thuiskomt.

Hoofdstuk 2

Haar naam is Lianne. Tien jaar oud. Haar broer, Joël, is acht, maar dat verandert over een paar dagen, en dat maakt hij wel duidelijk.  Hun blonde haren en lichtblauwe ogen lijken op de een of andere manier niet te kloppen als ze naast hun moeder staan met haar vurige rode haren en zeegroene ogen.  Het is 4 uur, Lianne kan niet slapen. Na wat een eeuwigheid leek klimt ze uit bed om naar de WC te gaan, maar ze kan het niet weerstaan even door de gordijnen te koekeloeren aan het voeteneind van haar bed.

Volledig wakker was ze plots! Ze zag de sneeuwvlokken zo groot als een euro zachtjes naar de aarde vallen. Er lag al een tapijt van natte, maar zware sneeuw, zo'n 12 tot 15 centimeter dik, op de grond, maar ook op de takken van de jeneverbessen langs de kant van de kleine voortuin.  Ze vergat haar sandalen en haar ochtendjas, ze vergat de WC, ze snelde naar de slaapkamer deur en ging door de kleine gang naar de kamer van haar broer. Ze rende en zong: "Het sneeuwt, het sneeuwt, tra-la-la-la!"

Overal in het kleine dorp gebeurt hetzelfde, als het geluid van opgewonden stemmetjes doordringt door de gedemptheid van de dromen van hun ouders. Kleine voetjes dansen met plezier, huis na huis. Sneeuw in dit kleine landje is zeldzaam, en verdwijnt snel van de te warme grond.  Als je er iets mee wilt zal je snel moeten zijn.

Snelheid is het devies van de dag. Moeder helpt haar kinderen, terwijl vader het ontbijt maakt. Moeder zorgt voor de warme kleding, terwijl vader de sleeën in de boot legt. Laatkomers zullen teleurgesteld zijn, want de sneeuw zal snel weer weggesmolten zijn. Als de zon langzaam en slaperig boven de oostelijke horizon verschijnt zijn de heuvels gevuld met geluiden van gelukkige en lachende kinderen, zwiepende sleeën, en ouders dichtbij elkaar, fluisterend aan de voet van de slee paden.

Kleine vuren worden aangelegd op de picknick plaatsen die rond de heuvels liggen. Kinderen stoppen daar om zich even te warmen, hun wilde tochten op en neer de heuvels onderbrekend, terwijl hun ouders daar staan. Verwikkeld in zinloze gesprekken en zo nu en dan een blik werpend op de kleurrijke meute van energie dat zomaar de gracieuse hellingen afglijdt.

Het is, zoals eerder opgemerkt, een waarlijk feestelijke sfeer!

Het kleine blonde meisje glijdt naar beneden op haar kleine stalen slee, terwijl haar broer en moeder snel voorbijgaan op de blauwe plastic slee. Blauwe en groene ogen glanzen terwijl ongehoorzame lokken van geel en rood haar onder de wollen mutsen en sjaals uitkomen.

Aangekomen aan de voet van de heuvel, waar ze kijken wie er het langst over deed glijden ze van hun slee, rollen in de sneeuw en giechelen, maar dan wel om onmiddellijk weer de heuvel te beklimmen en nog eens te gaan. Andere kinderen zijn aan de kant bezig kastelen te bouwen van sneeuw, van waaraf zij een salvo van ronde witte kogels zullen afvuren.  Weer anderen, ouder maar nog niet volwassen, liggen op hun rug, naast elkaar, heel snel hun armen en benen bewegend, om de impressie achter te laten dat daar een engel is geweest

Zoals het gewoon is in het hele land hebben de meeste mensen die naar dit geïmproviseerde festival zijn gekomen warme dranken en hapjes meegenomen. Al heel snel worden kokende mokken koffie, cider, hete chocola, thee en Bisschopswijn rondgedeeld in de kring van mensen die zich hebben verzameld rond de kampvuren. Ondertussen dwarrelen grote katoenachtige vlokken sneeuw naar beneden uit dikke staalgrijze wolken, ze vallen op de petten en mutsen van de kinderen die spelen, en ze glinsteren in het ochtendlicht, als de glans van duizend, een miljoen diamanten. Als iemand, misschien als scherts, had gezegd dat je de slee bellen van de Kerstman kon horen, ik denk dat niemand dat zou betwisten.

Maar, veel te vroeg begint de warmte van de aarde al de sneeuw en de feestvierders te overwinnen. Veel te snel begint de zon met vlijmscherpe stralen de wolken te doorbreken. Zo abrupt als het begon, zo plots en ongewenst is de feestvreugde weer voorbij. Één na één gaan de sleeën en hun berijders weer hun eigen weg, met tegenzin, naar de relatieve warmte in hun auto en de droogte van hun huizen.

Tegen hun zin stoppen de teleurgestelde kinderen stil hun laatste blonde haren weer onder hun muts, vinden hun slee terug en sjouwen moe maar onwillig achter hun evenzo vermoeide roodharige moeder.  Ze waren de eersten deze ochtend voor Sinterklaas, ze zijn de laatste die weggaan. Afgezien van hun onwil, ze waren alle twee diep in slaap, voordat hun moeders auto de windmolen passeerde, die nog steeds als wacht stond naast de ingang van het park.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where Were You?

The morning alarm, preset to the local Grand Rapids, Michigan Public Broadcast Station (PBS), was airing National Public Radio’s (NPR) morning news feed, Morning Edition.  It was a little later than usual for me because I didn’t have to open my store that day.
NPR was plodding along with their pre-recorded feed, and I was none the wiser that anything of import had happened.  Neither the local PBS or NPR thought the events unfolding on Manhattan Island merited interrupting the canned feed.  I don’t know what NPR’s excuse was, but the local PBS blamed it on having a contractual agreement with NPR to not interrupt their feed.  If memory serves (and honestly, it doesn’t always) NPR DID tell me that the President was going to be in Florida visiting an elementary school, a point they would emphasize later in their ‘objective, unbiased,’ editorialized reports following the incident.
I was in my car driving to my store when I got the first hint that anything was happening.  A Grand Rapids Country Music station informed me that they were getting reports out of New York of a major event, and would interrupt their programming as soon as they knew more. 
Running score Country Music Radio 1 – NPR 0
I arrived at my store – I have no idea of the exact time – and began my usual morning managerial procedures, when the manager of an adjacent store called out to me.  Perhaps I should clarify that I managed a custom film processing lab that was physically located inside of a copy shop.  My bosses leases the space from the copy shop which was, itself, located in a strip mall off of the first westbound exit from the interstate that ran from Lansing Michigan to Grand Rapids.
My crew were finishing off the morning newborn packages when the copy shop manager called me.  He had a TV in his office, and as I walked back to see what the commotion was all about, I couldn’t help but notice that everyone in his store – customers and staff alike – was gathered around the static laced 21 inch screen.
I arrived just in time to see the second aircraft plunge through the second tower.  Once the initial round of gasps and ‘Oh my God’ had passed, we all stood slack-jawed, glued in place, staring in shock as the network replayed the loop of the impact over and over again for the now silent audience.
Silent, except for the hum or machines warming up in the background, and the occasional choked sob from the crowd watching the surreal drama unfolding before our grief stricken, and for the most part, tear stained eyes.  Then the unthinkable became the absurdly unthinkable as we watch the tower slowly crumble into a cloud of debris, dust and smoke, live and in static filled color by Technicolor on national television.
Morning Edition was winding down on NPR, its listeners outside of the Big Apple blissfully unaware that the world as we knew it had suddenly changed.
In this one, singular moment, America changed.  The invulnerable giant that was the United States of America had been brought to its knees by an act of terrorism.  We who were beyond touch suddenly shared the same sense of night sweats and uncertain fear as had our cousins across the pond sixty years earlier, under the impending threat of the Nazi U2 blitzkrieg.  If New York City wasn’t safe, where could we hide?
I tried calling my wife in Europe to tell her I was okay, but the satellites had been shut down to all but government and military feeds.  It would be the next day before either of us could get through.
Another aircraft went down in Pennsylvania, missing its intended target thanks to the bravery of a rebellious group of airline passengers who agreed, in effect, ‘not on our watch!’
Another aircraft struck the Pentagon in the wing where my brother would have been working had he not been diverted to Dulles National by his bosses during his drive into work.
A war was waged because of this day – a war fought for the right reasons, but against, it turns out, the wrong enemy.
And America changed.  A flood of patriotism this nation hadn’t seen since World War II flooded every level of the nation.  A sense of national pride and unity – a sense of purpose – a focus on a single enemy – swept and seeped into every crack and corner of a populace still stinging from Viet Nam.  It would be short lived, but it was there.  For a while, once again, America stood together, arm in arm, one nation; one nation under God.
And the question that saturated the memory of Americans in the years following the tragic events of November 22, 1963, once again danced on the lips of Americans.  Country Music icon Alan Jackson probably said it best when he penned the words, “Where were you whenthe world stopped turning?  Country Music 2 – NPR 0.
Where were you?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Chick-Fil-A debacle - or what happens when news organizations create rather than report the story

The views expressed in this story are not necessarily those of management or any of its affiliates.
Make certain you read that first paragraph correctly.  This is commentary.  Social commentary, to be exact, with a mix of political commentary thrown in for seasoning.  It is me expressing my opinion.  It is an observation – my observation, not to put too fine a point on it – of the recent media circus surrounding willful deception on the part of the media in reporting the Chick-Fil-A non-story.  I’m not articulating the views of, Google, Microsoft Word (with which I wrote the article) or any other entity either expressed or implied.  Okay.  We clear on that?  Ready?  Here it goes.
The Chick-Fil-A story as originally reported by CNN is a fabrication created by a liberal media determined to use whatever means and tools at its disposal, to distract American voters from realizing how badly President Obama and his administration have mishandled pretty much everything in their reach, since being elected in 2008.  Let’s face it honestly and objectively: if you’re busy being caught up in the Chick-Fil-A story, you’re not focusing on things like the national unemployment rate (8.2%), the nation’s abysmal economic growth (1.2%) the fact that America is still waiting for Obama’s FIRST budget (almost four years into his presidency), the drastically increased number of Americans now on some sort of Federal subsidy (food stamps, etc.) or Washington’s out of control spending.  We’re too busy debating a comment from a private business owner that he never actually made!
That’s right.  You read that correctly.  Dan Cathy NEVER said as much as a single negative word in his interview with Baptist Press (original story here) about the LGBT lifestyle or its participants.  That is an out of context extrapolation of a marginally related implication, itself not part of Baptist Press’s interview or Mr. Cathy’s response. 
Read it for yourself.  What follows is the exact, word for word transcription of the part of the interview that has polarized Americans to the point that mayors of large American cities are taking idiotic stands on the non-existent issue, and rallies are being planned around the county to both boycott and support Chick-Fil-A over a comment Owner Dan Cathy never gave as an answer to a question he was never asked. Here it is:
“The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation ( The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners.
It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.
"That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries," Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.
"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.
"We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that," Cathy emphasized.”
"We intend to stay the course," he said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."*
Dan Cathy was NOT asked his opinion or stand with regard to the LGBT lifestyle choice, from either s personal or professional point of view.
Dan Cathy did not mention the LGBT lifestyle choice in his answer to the questions given during his interview.
In fact, ALL Mr. Cathy DID do was agree to assertion that he was trying to run his company according to Biblical principles, as he understands them, and that he, as an individual, espouses the Biblical definition of marriage, which is between a man and a woman.
The topic of the LGBT lifestyle was NEVER mentioned in any of the questions or answers.  I can’t emphasize that enough.  It simply was not part of the discussion.
Not, that is, until CNN got ahold of the transcript, saw the words, “"Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position. "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit.”, lifted them from the context of the interview, and extrapolated them into an anti-homosexual attack that was never part of the story.
Now, I have to ask myself – why would a respect news agency intentionally skew a story like this, intentionally creating a firestorm response to an issue that did not exist?  Was it just a slow day in Atlanta, the location of CNN’s world headquarters? When did the mission statement at CNN change from ‘report’ the news to ‘dude – POTUS is looking bad – Americans are starting to notice – get busy and distract them even if you have to fabricate it.  Find a hot-button topic that liberals will blindly follow without questioning, and if you can, find a way to pin the blame on ‘Dubya’.”
That’s exactly what’s going on here, my friends – all but the ‘blame it on Dubya’ part.  Guess they were in too much of a hurry.
Make no mistake.  The plan is working.  While we are all busy chasing media fabricated bunny trails, we’re not focusing on America’s real problems.
And when that’s happening, our nation is still tanking.
Is there an issue to debate somewhere in here about the GLBT lifestyle/Biblical lifestyle?  Perhaps, but boys and girls, this ain’t it.
Shame on you CNN, and shame on ALL the local and national outlets who picked up this assemblage of smoke and mirrors and ran with it without bothering to check the facts. Perhaps CNN actually stands for Contrived National News.
*( quotations taken from an article originally published in Baptist Press, posted on Jul 16, 2012 | by K. Allan Blume/Biblical Recorder.  ©2012 Baptist Press and the Southern Baptist Convention, all rights reserved.)