Ability is Great; Attitude is Greater

Right now, this minute, immediately, you should read a piece on the Manchester, NH, mayoral election.  It’s on Manchester Ink Links—which also publishes this column weekly—and it looks at that election from the perspective of a 20-something woman.  I’ll wait for you to read it.  I’ll just be riffing for a paragraph or two, then continue when you get back.  Here’s the link:  https://manchesterinklink.com/reflections-one-year-later-from-hillary-clintons-loss-to-joyce-craigs-big-win/.  Go read.

It’s been a quiet morning, here in the Tiny White Box, although at first a very cold one.  When Sam (is a dog) and I went out for our morning walk at 7:30 or so, I was bundled—t-shirt, flannel, down vest, parka, watch cap and gloves.  By the time we’d walked a mile, I’d taken off the outer layers and gloves, and had the practical problem of carrying them while holding Sam’s leash.  I suppose I could have jettisoned them beside the path and picked them up on our way back, but November happens to be the month out-of-state pickup trucks appear in Pittsburg, carrying men with rifles, each of them hoping to kill a deer.  It’s not that I don’t trust humanity, but who knows how some New Jerseyite with a thermos of Irish coffee will interpret a pile of clothes?  I’d hate for a “UFO-ologist” to assume I’d been taken off for alien probing and grab the remains.

Sam (is a dog) will remain leashed for the month for the same reason—not UFO’s but men with rifles and a taste for meat.  Real hunters, of course, don’t take a shot at a deer until they’ve got it recognizably in their sights, but phony ones, who fire at rustling in the bushes or at nothing at all, have rifles just as powerful.  Sam doesn’t understand, of course, but he likes life, so I’ll keep him safe.

All done with the reading?  Good, wasn’t it?  Positive?  Astute readers—and those who know me—may have picked up that its author is my daughter, Rebecca Howard, whobegins with her perspective on the 2016 election—a cancerous blow from her perspective—then leads to the hope she finds in the election of a woman Democrat in New Hampshire’s largest city.  As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Becca is a better writer than I (although not as funny), and her progressive politics and feminism inform all she does.

I’ve got three daughters, Becca, Meri and Libby, all in their 20’s and all remarkable.

I’m proud of each of my daughters and all of them, not just for their writing abilities, although they’re all very good writers.  I’m proud of them for their good looks, and even more for their recognition that beauty is fleeting.  I’m proud of them for their sense of unity as sisters—although this last is more apparent over time than at any given moment, when each seems to harbor resentments toward at least one of the others.  I have lots of reasons for pride in them, but the biggest one by far is the hardest to quantify.

Becca, Meri and Libby Howard are optimists.  Tomorrow will be better if, and only if, we work hard today to make it so.  The “only if” sounds uncertain, I know, but it’s the certainty of “Tomorrow WILL be better if . . .” that matters.  Their mother and I may not have been able to make a marriage sustain, but we both did great jobs in instilling hope in our daughters, and for that we can take great pride.

The world is filled with folks who are very smart, but who accomplish little, people who are very strong, yet move little, and humans who are very charismatic, but change little.  I honestly believe, and believe it with every fiber of my being, that attitude accomplishes more than ability.

Of course, I would think that.  I’m kind of an optimist too.


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