Small Wonders: People like you and me

August 12, 2011|By Patrick Caneday

Did you see it? Did you watch the world tumble hopelessly into the abyss last week?

When the greed and selfishness of your power brokers slammed headlong into the greed and selfishness of mine? When spoiled, selfish bureaucrats with better healthcare and retirement funds than you and I could ever dream about argued about what we, “the American People,” wanted; each side refusing to compromise in their quest to portray themselves as our guardians.

Did you see it?

Just when we thought the dust had settled, others chimed in telling the world that our credit was no longer good here; the same suits that not long ago told us something called a “mortgage-backed security” was AAA, good as gold, told us that America was not. 


So a bunch of people with bags of money cried “Sell!” and numbers on an index on a lighted board in a fancy building went lower. The world trembled with fear. Then others with vacation homes and savings accounts said “Buy!” Those numbers went up, and we all took one step back from the cliff we were about to throw ourselves from.

Then it happened again the next day.

Yet we are still here. Wondering, waiting, shaking. Bags packed and ready to panic when they tell us to.

It can be hard to find things to be upbeat about; week in and week out to shine a light on something good when all that we're given seems so bad. So very bad.

So I turned to the only place I know for answers.


I cried out into that virtual gathering place of “friends” looking for something hopeful, and the reply was instant.


The beloved princess? The Roman goddess? No. The swimmer.

Did you see it? Behind all those other headlines, news alerts and fire drills?

At the age of 61, in the prime of her life and in better shape than ever, distance swimmer Diana Nyad set out to swim from Cuba to Florida, stopping briefly only to eat.

That’s 103 miles if you didn't know. I didn't. That's a long drive; it's an eternal swim.

“When I walk up on those shores of Florida, I want to prove to the AARP crowd that it's not too late to go back and write that book or adopt that child,” Diana said before diving in.

I think she underestimated the crowd. She proved something to more than early bird diners and bocce ball players.

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