Friday, June 30, 2023

Modern Meanderings in the Fire’s Light – The Burning Platform - By Doug “Uncola” Lynn

 For the most part, I’ve lost interest in the news.  Ukraine war?  Don’t care. Lost submarine? Yawn. Pride Month? Good luck with that. Canadian wildfires? So what.  Russian civil war?  Whatever. Elections? Been there, done that.

I believe it was French Philosopher Voltaire who defined “cynicism” as armor against despair, but, honestly, it’s not that. On the contrary, I am enjoying life more than ever and my days are meaningful and well-spent.

One year ago, I wrote about helping a former business associate by driving a dumptruck a few days a week.  In that moderately metaphorical article, entitled “Building Roads While the World Wilts”, I described my perception of America’s remaining attributes, particularly, out here in the “fringe” and mentioned how people “here on the edge seem to be ignoring The Borg”, then wondered…. “For how long?”

Now an entire year has gone by… and in spite of all the new headlines… very little has changed in my world. So far.

But if a Russian nuke goes “boom”, things will surely get drastic and dire pretty quick, right? Or if the stock and bond markets catastrophically sink or the internet goes dark, these events won’t be ignored anywhere – even in rural America and flyover country.

Moreover, what happens when cash disappears and all transactions become exclusively digital?

It’s probably just a matter of time.

Regardless, I’ve had some good days and nights with family, friends, business partners, coworkers, and new acquaintances this summer … around fires… out on the water… in a volunteering capacity, and on the job.  Yes, I’m helping out with the dumptruck again this summer, but in an even more limited capacity; and, once again, to acquire something I want.

After all, working hard is the American way; for some of us, that is.

Raised in a small and isolated rural town, I grew up surrounded by industrious, hard-working families. My closest neighbors included the county veterinarian, the hardware store owner, lumber yard owner, and the publisher of our local paper.  Additionally, some of my friends and relatives lived on farms, ranches, and acreages, all of them with livestock, and I helped them when asked.

In a similar fashion, the dumptruck town reminds me of where I grew up, albeit slightly smaller, not nearly as picturesque, and minus the Camelot charm.  The dumptruck town is, in fact, a plain little community of nearly 2,000+ people situated on the intersection of two highways 15 miles south of a 30,000+ population city.

The Plain Little Town is quite industrious, however.  It is a busy place, indeed, and a very tight-knit community. The folks there do business locally with each other and they work to serve their town’s interests first and foremost. Like in my hometown, many of the family businesses in the Plain Little Community go back generations and the modern descendants of the early founders and entrepreneurs still do business with each other … in lieu of collaborating with other companies located elsewhere.

Like the beloved village of my youth, and consistent with a typical Ayn Rand novel, most of the businesses in the Plain Little Town include a family surname in the company name. Although the names are primarily of Anglo, Irish, German, and Italian descent, the family names have stayed relevant through several successive generations; mainly because the respective families are proud of their vocations and their growth and accomplishments through the decades.

Since I first became aware of the Plain Little Town after I moved into the area many years ago, I watched the businesses there expand and modernize as they have grown to serve customers in larger and larger concentric circles throughout the region.

The excavation company for whom I help by driving the dumptruck began in the 1940s as a small plumbing business. The company has since installed thousands of septic tanks throughout the entire state while serving the plumbing needs of as many households in the region.

When working at any respective locations in, or near, the Plain Little Town, most of the local employees will patronize the downtown grocery store-turned-caterer for lunch.  The locals consistently order their food from there because it is delicious and healthy; much of it provided by nearby farms, orchards, and local dairies.

The grocery store/caterer has had the same surname in its signage for decades because the founder’s descendants continue to take pride in their profession. When the family decided to build a new cold storage unit on a portion of their parking lot, it was yours truly who helped to haul away the old concrete and dirt before back-hauling in new rock for the new foundation.

The local car dealer has the family surname in its company’s name, too, and the business has grown to sell more cars than its competitors located in the surrounding larger cities. When this car dealer needed to add a new “quick-lube” center last summer, the main dumptruck I drive was used again there.  Subsequently, when I rode by that car dealership last winter, I saw several plumbing trucks parked outside. The drivers of those trucks were, obviously, installing the fixtures in the new facility and it was no surprise to see the same name on those plumbing trucks as was on the dumptruck I used for the new building’s excavation.

These family-owned companies have earned their reputations.  Their last names are on their businesses because their promises are as good as those who make them. They have earned the ability to serve their community… and each other.

Through the years, the car dealer, grocery store owner, and my former business associate (who owns the dumptrucks), have purchased surrounding lands and developed entire neighborhoods which now contain scores of modern homes; new constructions predominately built by local contractors from the Plain Little Town.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to haul a freshly-excavated load of old concrete to a new location where I had not been before. The proposed dump spot was within the Plain Little Town’s city limits and the guy in the excavator gave me directions.  He said:   “Cross the bridge on the old highway and look for the abandoned legion hall. Back down the drive and around to the clearing and then wait for Cameron. I’ll have him meet you over there and he can show you where to dump”.

So I found the place and backed in from the old highway, down a slight hill, through a couple of narrow tree-lined curves, past a few narrow open metal gates, and onto an old dirt path that led into what appeared to be a scene from a Mad Max movie.

There were old dilapidated buildings, semi-trailers… including a silver fuel tanker that was burnt completely black, broken-down abandoned vehicles, piles of old tires, and pretty much everything else including a few kitchen sinks.

Cameron was one of the grunts I worked with last summer who has since been promoted.  He’s a handsome and polite young guy in his early twenties and when he appeared in one of the company’s four-wheel-drive trucks, he told me they’ve been developing the location since early spring.  It had been used as a junkyard for many years, but now it was being developed by the car dealer, grocery store owner, and my business associate who owned the excavation company that we both were working for that day.

As we stood under the early-morning sun, I marveled at the apocalyptical scene and said to him:  “We’re kind of lucky, ya know?”  He asked “why” and I replied:  “Because no young kid ever looked up to his Dad and said: ‘Hey Dad, when I grow up, I want to work in a CUBICLE!’“  He laughed and then we backed the dumptruck up for another three-quarters-mile to where the concrete was to be dumped.  Cameron said after the area was loaded with the old concrete from the various road projects, they were going to have it all ground up on location and used in the development of the property.

A short time later, after a few more runs, I figured out a way to drive in forward and turn around at the dump location.  Overall, I’ll just say it was a blast driving that dumptruck down the old dirt path and dumping concrete all day long.  Although it was a grindfest, and slightly dangerous, it was pretty darn fun.

While I drove in and out through the gates, I thought about my friend who owned the company.  He was the perfect guy to restore and develop that area.  If he needed to lay some rock into the low-lying and muddy segments along the dirt path, no problem, he had dumptrucks for that.  When they were ready to tear down the old buildings and dispose of all of the junk, before moving the land to accommodate future homes, it would be quite doable – because his trucks, trailers, excavators, dozers, and end-loaders were ready to go.

My friend’s family business earns money while serving the needs of the community. The family has worked very hard through the years and they have acquired the means and reputation to make positive change.

Of course, this is the American Way as I observe it most everywhere I go.  Recently, I spent some time in a resort area where family-owned marinas have sold and maintained boats for generations; where developers and contractors have built amazing communities; and where local grocery stores, restaurants, and businesses still thrive.

The generations before us are gone. But we, the living, remain.  And some of America still works… in sublime and astonishing ways.

Soon, we, too, will be gone.  And for what did we live?

There are people all over America whose promises can still be trusted, and whose actions benefit others.  These folks work hard every day – even as magicians like Klaus Schwab, and other wizards in the World Economic Forum, seek to conjure deception in order to dominate and control mankind.

Admittedly, and although I hate to be a pessimist, I don’t believe the financially-elite parasites can be stopped. They have the financial means, the power, and, most importantly, the time each day to secretly knit together their new world order.

Most diligent Americans have no genuine understanding of the political machinations behind the headlines. They are too busy at work to speculate anyway; even as the fire shines on us all.

Like fire, technology can warm and burn depending upon who harnesses its power.  Yet the sun still shines and the spirit of liberty will never be extinguished… especially in the darkest of times.

Happy Birthday, America.  Another year has gone by and you still have your moments.