It’s Columbus Day

Columbus, Columbus, we’re making it great.
Columbus, Columbus, the star of the state.
Co-luuummmmbus! Co-luuummmmbus!
Everyone’s proud, gonna shout it out loud for Columbus!
We’re making it great!
In the early 80’s, this was the civic slogan for Columbus, Ohio, the closest major city to where I grew up. This particular ad campaign has stuck with me for many years. I would say that the marketing folks hit the nail on the head when they came up with this little ditty. The tune was so infectious that I’ll NEVER be able to get it out of my head. At least until I get Alzheimer’s. In the meantime (until I’m afflicted with Alzheimer’s, that is) I’ll be happy to sing you this tune, but only if you buy me a beer.
So. It’s Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus “discovered” the New World in 1492. He originally set sail on August 3, 1492, but had trouble with the ships and stopped at the Canary Islands for a month. He traveled with three ships: The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. An exact replica of the Santa Maria hangs out on the Scioto River in Downtown Columbus.
Can you believe that Europeans thought the world was flat? And that it ended somewhere in the Atlantic? I wonder where they thought the world began? I mean, if it has an ending point it must have a beginning point, right? And did Columbus himself also believe that the world was flat? Was he on a quest to prove them wrong or was it a suicide mission? A plan to take many other sailors and the King of Spain’s money with him over the edge of the world? Columbus was Italian but had to borrow money from Spain because the Italians said “no” (I was pretty disappointed to learn that the Italian word for “no” is “no”. I was really hoping for something more exotic. Never mind.)
So, yay, Columbus! You “discovered” America! It wasn’t the Native Americans. No. And it wasn’t the Nordic people who came years before you. It was you. You da man (don’t mind my sarcasm). However, you DO deserve all the credit for proving to the Europeans that the world is not flat. I can totally see Columbus and his crew hitting that island in the Carribean, jumping off their ships and singing that 1980’s civic jingle I posted above, complete with “jazz-hands” and a bit of tap dancing. In the sand. On the beach.
Myself, I don’t want to explore new worlds. I don’t want to go where no other person has gone before. I’d like to be contained in a safe little world where happy music plays and kids are healthy all the time. An era where kids don’t want to be “Mr. Bungle”.
Sorry, had to share. But when I think of an idyllic world, this is the era that my mind turns to. An era where I would wear a dress fluffed with tulle under the apron I wore to make meat and potatoes for dinner. Where I’d wear my strand of pearls to scrub the toilets. Where I’d have a martini waiting for my man when he walked through the door at the end of his long day. The kids would be perfectly behaved. My hair would be perfectly coiffed. My house would be perfectly clean. And, thanks to the black and white aspect of my perfect world, nobody could tell that my hair was really red and that I was covered in freckles. And no one would see how pale my sick son truly is.
No, cancer has no place in my perfect world. Especially cancer striking children. That doesn’t happen, does it? Cancer only affects the elderly. In fact, my Aunt Jean’s best friend’s brother knew someone in their neighborhood who had a cousin (twice removed) who had cancer. But you can’t talk about it. You can only whisper the word *cancer*. If you say it out loud, you might contract it. And then you, too, will be terribly pale.
I don’t want to hear from you if you are going to criticize me for choosing the 1950’s for my idyllic world. I just want normal. I just want my son to be well and both of my children to be confident in who they are. I want them to feel that I value them. Treasure them. Adore them. Are proud of them. Love them. No matter what.
And, of course, to not be anything like Mr. Bungle.

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