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Midcentury



It is a scorcher here today. As is appropriate for the weather, I am going with the coolest options available. A short sleeve, white seersucker button-down shirt paired with pale yellow Bermuda shorts and a patchwork madras belt. The fabric or pattern of a belt doesn't really impact the breathability of an outfit. Yet the fabric, color and pattern can help nudge the outfit in the right seasonal direction. A madras or seersucker belt isn't "cooler" than a leather belt, but they certainly firmly root an outfit in summer.


To me, this is such a midcentury look. What does that mean exactly? Well, everybody has different ideas. To me, all the pieces as well as the fit specifically feel just so midcentury American. It is a feel, an essence. It is wispy, somewhere out there. I was then thinking of midcentury America, what it was, and what came within and before. What does an outfit like this mean, and say to us today?


Today, June 6th, 77 years ago, 1000s of troops landed on Omaha beach, Normandy. I look at those photos, read about the horrors of what those brave soldiers walked, ran and swam bravely toward and how quickly their lives were lost and it is hard to imagine approaching them. It's hard to fathom.


I drive through town, and along the water. The windows are down and I look at the people living lives of frivolity. Frivolity, anti-history and anti-dignity. I think about the world we inhabit today compared to the world of then. I think about how much strength was lost, how many innocent fires were extinguished and what kind of bravery, courage and strength abounded in the generation who fought against the Pit of Evil Nazi Regime. And then I am back in the present. We live here, today, in a silly world, so many decades later.


I think about how many lives were lost in the first half of the 20th century. I meditate on the 100 million people who died when including all of the numbers of total lives lost in the entirety of World War 1 and World War 2. It takes your breath away. Makes your heat ache. Such sadness. Such evil. Such destruction. Hellish. I am not sure we have ever wrapped our minds around it.


I am not sure I have the linguistic capability to fully grasp it, I am not sure any of us do. So much evil was there in the world and so much sacrifice was required to fight it. The price that was paid by so many was so high. Where does that leave us? What can be done today by us? I think we can aspire to live as Good men and be a force for Good in this world. Maybe it isn't much. Or maybe it is everything? I am not sure.


We are born in our time and we can't change that. I read a commentary once that said, had Noach been born in the time of Avraham he would have been even more righteous. But, because he was born in such a wicked time, he could only become so righteous. What does that mean for us? There are many answers and none simple. What I know is that we can do our best, with the help of God, to strive to be strong men, try to be Good men so that God willing, our children may, one day live in a world not full of evil nor triviality, but a world that is Good.