The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Hot Springs High School fully integrated in fall of 1968.

NThe playing of Dixie at Trojan sports events was suddenly verboten. When I think about it today, during the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, it seems odd that a high school was still singing the unofficial anthem of the Confederate States of America in 1968. Then again, this is the South.

I recall the first year of integration went better than anticipated in the beautiful new school. The one African American that joined our T-Stepper ranks assimilated well. If HSHS integration were so successful, why is my memory soundtrack to cruising Central Avenue the next year The Band’s The Night They Drive Old Dixie Down?

Mercedes Benz

I’ve never seen anything wrong with owning things, nice things, the nicest of things. I’m surprised I’m not one of those preaching the prosperity gospel whose worship anthem might as well be one of Janis Joplin’s last recorded tracks, Mercedes Benz.

MAn excess of things becomes a slowing burden when what you own no longer fits into the home you own. Downsizing is a problem because I only buy things I really, really like. I try to encourage my efforts by recalling Anne Ortland’s “giving to others” thought, reading minimalists, and watching hoarders. The happy medium for me resides somewhere along the scale that ranges from the Minimalists to The Wolf of Wall Street. I will surely find it!

What’s weighing you down?

Let It Be

Rising above other amazing “L” songs on my iPhone like Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, Big Daddy Weave’s Let It Rise, The Doors Light my Fire and Of Monsters and Men’s Little Talks is this Beatles favorite.

LLet It Be means to stop disturbing or interfering with something but to just allow it to follow its natural course.

Let It Be seems really good advice to follow. It’s advice I am comfortable following right up until a Pearl Harbor-ish surprise attack. Just as the U.S. watched as Japan arose in its expansionism efforts and entered World War II after the attack on its Pacific fleet, I remind myself that I, too, must have boundaries that if crossed will draw me into battle.

What are your personal boundaries?

Keep On the Sunny Side

KMedia psychology introduced me to positive psychologists like Martin E. P. Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In their intro to the January 2000 issue of the American Psychologists they indicate that positive traits like hope, courage, happiness, flow, and, yes, optimism, are what enable folks to emerge unscathed from life’s difficulties.

Recorded by the Carter Family in 1928, Keep On the Sunny Side seems to hint that while there are dark days in life, optimism is a choice that we can embrace even in those dark times. Does optimism help? On healing from a 2004 severely broken ankle, my doctor said my upbeat attitude contributed to my remarkable recovery.

What positive traits line your life?