Sunday, January 17, 2010
Lately I have been reading about this man. His name was Daniel Boone, and he has become an almost mythical figure from American history. There were legends about him even in his own lifetime, but the bare truth of his accomplishments makes a story more compelling than any fiction.
If you will indulge me, I would like to share a few facts about this man's life. I think there is a lesson the old "Long Rifle" can teach us... even today.
By all accounts he wasn't tall [Probably he stood about 5 feet 5]... His voice was said to be distractingly soft. It was said that there was nothing about him physically that would leave a lasting impression.
At 34 years of age, he was deeply in debt and failing as a farmer. His whole life had seemed like an uneventful failure. It was at this time they say he actually gave up. He decided to pay his debts, pack up his family, and head for a land to the west he heard about called, "'Kaintuck."
It is a historical fact that with his bare hands he cut a road through the wilderness to allow others access to the lush western spaces beyond Appalachia. He established a town called "Boonesborough" and fought man, beast and nature to preserve it... until the area was populated and secure. He was, interestingly, a professing Christian who had been raised in the Quaker faith. His brother and he became Baptists later, and that same brother served as a preacher to the community he had founded.
He served the colonies as a militia officer during the American revolution. In 1778 he was captured by the Shawnee Indians who adopted him into their tribe, giving him the name Sheltowee (which apparently meant "The Big Turtle").
In his writings he claimed to hate all violence and bloodshed. It is worth noting that he was famously sympathetic to the plight of the tribal indians of his time, even though he had lost two sons in frontier indian wars.
At the age of 70 he got tired of the crowds and moved to the St. Louis, Missouri, area seeking "elbow room." It was in many ways a second career for him as a town builder. Remember... this was at age SEVENTY!
In 1820 at the age of 86 he died.
Now consider this. This man had left the Carolinas, and failure, and never looked back. Facing complete uncertainty he marched west and into history. He helped in no small way to mold and establish a part of our nation.
So... what would have happened if Daniel Boone had been a successful farmer?
Now... I don't know about anyone else, but this story kind of amazes me. I mean it really makes me think. If we could see the "big picture" of our lives I suspect we would very possibly find that our "failures" were often the catalysts that pointed us toward a new and great beginning.
I find that encouraging, don't you? Whether we've had a disappointment in business, a physical setback, a significant human loss or a even a failed marriage [Ouch!]... in all probability God Himself may very well be opening up a new world of possibility to us. What a wonderful thought!
Thank God for creating a universe that has made room for all manner of second chances! [...and third and fourth and fifth and... you get the point... LOL]
In any case... I tip my hat to the old frontiersman's example...
Thanks for livin' it large, Dan'l!
"Many heroic actions and chivalrous adventures are related of me which exist only in the regions of fancy. With me the world has taken great liberties, and yet I have been but a common man."
"I can't say as I ever was lost,
but I was bewildered once for three days."
A friend and I were recently discussing the merits, and differing value of TV's 2 great monster families... and, perhaps ill-advisedly, I promised to blog on the subject.
SO HERE WE GO, KIDS: The Question:
"Which was the better show, 'The Munsters' or 'The Addams Family,' and more importantly, WHY?"
Well FIRST, here are some of the distinct differences between the two seemingly similar shows, which, interstingly, both lasted two seasons ... and even had their original runs the EXACT same two years [1964-1966] way back when I was just a babe and a toddler.
While both shows sort of... mocked the family unit that was seen on typical sitcoms at the time, they did so in two different ways. "The Munsters" basically replaced each member of the stereotypical TV family unit with characters from horror movies, but these characters still maintained their very human roles, though their "monstrous" qualities usually played into the storyline.
"The Addams Family" was similar, in respect to mocking the family unit, but the dynamic of the family was less typical. Instead of them trying to be the same as everyone else-- to blend in-- they in fact celebrated their eccentricities... really flew their "Freak Flags," so to speak.
For these reasons, the shows attracted [and still attract] different kinds of viewers. In fact I must say... I discovered a LOT of opinion on this important issue all over the internet!
For example, one blogger maintains that the shows attract different and opposing demographics altogether. "The Munsters," according to this fella, attract forthright, honest, ingenuous, engaging and open-minded viewers! In fact, this guy even went as far to say that these Munster's viewers seem to have had happier childhoods. [Huh??] He further believes that lovers of "The Addams Family" are "left-of-center, culturally elitist, college-educated, somewhat counter-culture and strident in their opinons."
Wow! I would love to see the that guy's "research." :P
Well, in any case... which show did you prefer?
For me it was a surprisingly difficult choice, but I guess-- if pressed-- I would say I lean slightly toward Herman and Lily Munster and family.
Now don't get me wrong... The Addamses did have some cool stuff going for them! I mean, that individualistic streak is cool in its way, to be sure... how could it not warm my old beatnick heart?
And... I gotta say this: I really like the positive depiction of marital love-- I'm talking about how Gomez is always presented as so incredibly and visibly HOT for his wife, Morticia. Seriously! Check out how he is constantly fondling her and calling her those Spanish pet names! Honestly... they are easily the most passionate married couple in all of classic TV... by far.
Also... I really like Lurch and Cousin It. Those were great touches... That "You Raaaaang?" thing is totally awesome!
But frankly, at the same time... those 2 kids leave me bitterly cold! I mean, they are just WAY too creepy for me. You have to admit, Eddie and Marylin Munster [ooh lah lah ] were never actually creepy.
And this serves to bring us to the really big difference between the two families: The Munsters were basically a funny and nice Monster family, really kind of like a comic book or a cartoon, while the Addamses had this very real and sometimes genuinely disturbing streak of actual creepiness.
For example, I remember once, while watching at a friend's house in high school back in the early '80s, kind of doing a double-take at this scene of Morticia whipping Gomez [and I mean fully clothed of course but with an actual leather horse whip!] and of course Gomez is really getting off on it! My friend and I were like: HUH??? [And I distinctly remember this, by the way... I haven't seen it in years but I am dang sure it's on the DVD!]
Now THAT is some stuff you never saw on I LOVE LUCY...
So, in a way I can see why the Addamses seem to be more popular in almost all of these internet discussions. I mean, they have this... "edge," you know? Sort of like all these adult cartoons nowadays.
Still... I choose the Munsters because the whole premise on that show was that these folks were actually a nice, well-meaning, and functioning family, no matter how creepy they looked.
I kind of like that premise. There's actually a moral there, I think.
Also, the sheer decadence of the Addamses can actually be TOO real sometimes, especially when you consider that they were actually played as idle rich tycoons who daily made a killing on the Stock Market... [remember Gomez watching his ticker tapes with glee all the time?]
Frankly, there is just something so real about THAT, that it is truly uncomfortable to me!
Now the Munsters, on the other hand, were presented as a working class family [remember Herman with his lunch-pail and hard-helmet?] and also as honest immigrants from a foreign country [Transylvania] who loved the USA and believed whole-heartedly in honesty and fair play. By the end of each episode, they had usually won their creeped-out neighbors and co-workers over with their winsome generosity and good-hearted nature.
To be really honest about it all, though, I think what really pulled me over to the Munster side were two incidental things: the theme song and the cool cars. That song was cool. It's actually been covered by many Surf bands through the ages, recently by Los Straitjackets. And who could forget Grandpa's roadster "Drag-ula?" If you need to put "street cred" on the Munster side, the cars on that show were designed by George "batmobile" Barris himself, and they still attract crowds today. [I saw the actual "Munster Koach" in Tucson once about three years ago... cooler than a polar bear's toenail!]
So those are my thoughts.
Please, feel free to chime in.