I've been getting letters lately asking my opinion.
Who would want my opinion, you ask? You'd be surprised. I was. Opinion on what? You'd be surprised by that, too. I was.
All kinds of people want to know what I think. They are usually bright and creative individuals who want to weigh their own views against that of someone who thinks carefully about things. Then they come to me. They include Doctors of Nasal Passages and Doctors of Divinity. Men and women of ill repute. Politicians and pastors. Midwives. Others.
I have often thought I should hang out my shingle. You know, a sign over my door with large block letters: FREE ADVICE - NO CHARGE. I realized quickly that would be rather stupid since FREE ADVICE by definition means NO CHARGE. In the end I dispensed with the idea of a sign about offering advice. I remember how much I had given my children in their formative years and how much of perfectly good, common sense advice was left unused. My suspicion is that there was no way they could use the large amount of advice coming from both parents, so they simply listened to their mother’s contribution and ignored mine. (In retrospect, that seems to have been a wise decision.)
So I held on to my advice for some years, in hopes of one day giving it to some deserving person. I toyed with the idea of sharing some of it with my grandchildren, but as they grew older I realized they were doing quite well without it, so I threw it all away. Someday it may be discovered, like the Dead Sea scrolls hidden away in those caves in the Holy Land - only mine will be uncovered by archaeologists digging down through the old Springdale garbage dump. Not quite the Holy Land, but close enough.
But back to the present. The people wanting my view on things these days are mostly from the good old Yew-nited States. Whenever he was exasperated by some situation or other, my father was given to saying with great feeling, “Awful goin’ on in the States!” The situation in question might have nothing whatsoever to do with the aforementioned States, but this was his automatic and iconic response to whatever was happening.
I don’t know what his reaction might be today to the goings-on in those same United States, a la Donald Trump et al. I have a feeling his sermons might echo the words of good Pope Francis regarding Trump’s claim that he is a Christian.
Because I have had a few words to say since this process started in the US, I’ve had a few emails agreeing wholeheartedly with me about Brother Trump - and more than my share of nasty letters from below the border. Some are simply calling me names while others are absolutely certain that Trump will definitely be the next president, “so you can go do you-know-what with yourself.” Apart from that suggestion being physically impossible, you have to admit that it’s uncalled for - even from a Republican.
Lately, however, people have been asking for my advice, which generally goes something like this: “For whom would you vote for president?” And “Who do you think would make the best president?” I have no choice but to respond to these pleas for help, although I know it will not bring me any more love from the lower 48.
I would love to see her in that great leadership role. Perhaps it’s only when compared to the Republican bunch, but she looks really good.
Author and humorist Ed Smith's column began appearing in the Downhomer in 1988. A retired educator, he has written many books, including five collections of his columns. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.