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Opinion: Tis the season

The Christmas season has begun in earnest. Seeing houses decorated with lights and inflatables brings a smile to my face. I have to be careful to mind my driving as I ogle the pretty lights, you should too.

I dislike it when Christmas starts too early. Although this year it is excusable as people desperately need something to bring joy to their lives. I pray the number of new COVID-19 cases didn’t soar for the people who chose to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

My mother QuoVada would say she was hungry for a member of her family she hadn’t seen for a while.

My older brother, Brian Hill is the only one of my immediate family to leave the San Joaquin Valley. He attended Cal State Hayward on a football scholarship. Except to visit, he never really came home again. The Vietnam war shattered my nuclear family.

My eldest brother Rocky enlisted in the Army after he got his draft notice. By enlisting, he said he had a better chance of choosing his field of study. He learned electronics and repaired helicopter radios. After a few months, in country, my family received a tremendous blessing. The solider who managed the enlisted men’s bar went home and Rocky got his job. He spent the rest of his time in Vietnam managing the EM club, tending bar. Meanwhile, Brian received his draft notice too. Since the military no longer sends brothers to the same conflict Brian was sent to Korea.

As he was safely ensconced in Korea, Rocky extended his tour of Vietnam to keep his little brother safe. By the grace of God, my mother’s sons were spared the path where too many young American lost their lives.

After he came home, Brian said the real power in the Army laid with the clerk-typists. It is the clerk typiest that determines if a solider got his pay and many other functions in the day-to-day running of the Army. It was a bad idea to get on the wrong side of the company clerk-typist, he said.

The summer school class where Brian learned to type turned out to be the best class he ever took. It probably saved his life.

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I’ve always marveled at the path not taken.

In the world where so many things are possible, I would like a computer program to show me the path not travelled. Had I stayed home from the party where I met my husband, would we have found each other anyway?

What was once science fiction is now science fact. Fifty years from now, if mankind has managed to not eradicate itself, what wonders will they enjoy.

For example, when personal computers came out, Fred and I took a class at the adult school held on the Dr. Duane Furman campus. After the class we decided that computers were fun, but it was basically an expensive toy we could live without. We were mostly wrong.

I remember my first personal computer. It was a huge cabinet with no hard drive. The operating system had to be loaded from a 5 1/4 inch floppy disc every time it was turned on.

Since that time, we have had several home computers. Each one lasted about five years before it became not worth fixing.

Usually an upgrade costs less than the repairs. When electronics stores have a blow-out sale on PCs you can be all but certain a new model is on its way. The stores have to sell their stock on hand to ready the shelves for the newest model.

My “path not taken,” software would show the user what would have happened to them if they took the other path. Who knows, in 50 years that may be an option.

Jason Moore sings a song titled “If Heaven Weren’t So Far Away.”

The lyrics are in part “If Heaven weren’t so far away, he’d pack up the kids and go for a day.” He then goes on to sing about fishing with his grandpa and memories of the other people who have died. Like his cousin John that didn’t make it home from Vietnam. And three girls from his high school class killed in a car crash.

The song touches me as there are so many people, with which I would like to have one last conversation.

I’d tell my mother she was right. It no longer matters about what, she was right and I was wrong.

Be safe dear readers. Have faith as this too will pass.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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