Archive for February 8th, 2023

It’s not always bad news…

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged, the polarizing 2020 Presidential campaigns were being waged and merely living in America was becoming a gloomy prospect, I attempted to mitigate the dread surrounding us by focusing on the many joys and delights we could still enjoy, hopefully lifting spirits and soothing the soul. While carefully researched, every essay in this collection includes personal reactions that supplement and enhance the factual content. The result in interesting reflections and an affirmation that we can be positive and find joy in the most difficult of times.

I especially need these affirmations right now, as many of you know, since I lost my wife to cancer in December. I hope you enjoy them- my book info is at the end.

Reason #3- Museums

To some, a trip to a museum is an invitation to take a nap.  How can a recreated bedroom from the 19th century possibly be interesting?  Native American artifacts?  Seen them.  An actual Union Army uniform from the Civil War?  Ho-hum.

Well, that’s some people.  Not us.

As we traveled the country, one of the perks is to visit museums in different regions, often displaying items from the history of that specific area.  My late wife, Nadyne, was especially interested in historical museums and I very much enjoyed art and natural history.  In either case, we felt a special connection to nature and the past that we would not have enjoyed otherwise. 

There is a peculiar feeling one can experience if they see or touch an item that is centuries old.  One can imagine the people who may have made it, used it, painted it, wore it, lived in it or wrote about it, and realize they were not much different from us today.  Enter a building marked, “Washington slept here,” and one can feel the goose bumps thinking about occupying the same space now that the Father of our Country did in the 1700s.  When I see a fossil or meteorite, I am in awe of the pure age of it.

When I was a kid, I vividly remember visiting two museums that filled me with awe and wonder.  One was the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, which was filled with fossils, both loose and those rebuilt into complete skeletons, complete collections of insects and rocks, and dioramas of people and settings all through the ages, from cavemen to present day.  The other was the J. Paul Getty Museum, an extraordinary museum of classic and contemporary art.  Both gave me feelings of belonging to the human race and connected me with the past that reading books could never duplicate.

Around the country, local museums proudly display artifacts found in the area or were donated by significant families with regional ties.  Sometimes a visitor center can double as a museum, such as the Dry Falls Visitor Center in Washington State near the Grand Coulee Dam.  Displayed there are Native American artifacts and fossils from the Columbia River, and amazing exhibits and depictions of the massive ice age floods that shaped the region.  In Wyoming and Colorado there are a variety of rural museums that highlight the struggles of the westward migration and the corresponding Native American ways of life. 

In New England, you can’t drive 10 minutes without seeing a museum focusing on the War of Independence or the Civil War.  Up and down the East Coast, from Florida to Maine are maritime museums and scattered around the countryside are aviation and space museums.  Across the South and East are those specializing in Black history, and they can be found in nearly every major city in America.  Musicians and entertainers have whole industries based on preserving their past, and on-site filming locations for movies and television shows, often featuring their stars, have become popular destinations.

Last, no matter the sport you can find a historical center for it, and perhaps even a Hall of Fame.  My preference is baseball, e.g., Cooperstown, N.Y., but I understand that you can also find my 808 three-game series in the U.S. Bowling Congress Hall of Fame.

All are fascinating, so, yes, museums made us happy.  I don’t think we ever got bored visiting them.


I’ll end this segment with an oft-heard and paraphrased quote by writer and philosopher George Santayana, who once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

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