An Eternal Debt

June 2, 2010

This past weekend I was able to go camping in Yosemite National Park.  It was fantastic, I encountered the world’s laziest squirrel, a billion water falls and families from across the globe.  This all proved one thing, it is some of the most prime real estate you will ever come across.  The scenic views were enough to make you forget that you smelled like campfire and were tired from hiking all day.  Why then is this not for sale?  Our government is in debt, crazy debt, so much debt that it would cost every American $44,000 and change to pay off the debt.  We could make a big chuck by carving up the park, certainly more than the $20 entry fee brings in.

It’s not for sale because it can’t be.  Someone a long time ago, a century or so, thought it would be a good idea if some places were preserved for the enjoyment of all.  I guess that someone got a hold of Teddy and he made it so.  If not for his foresight we would be unable to experience the incredible sights, sounds and smells of one of the most incredible places on earth.  It turns out that there are millions of places and things across this country that should be left for our children and their children to experience.  What would your childhood have been without being able to go to a park, or go to the beach, or seeing where our country was founded.  Maybe you didn’t do some of those things, but it think it’s great that I can still go and see where Ben Franklin fought for the turkey to represent America.

So you obviously can’t preserve thousands of acres of pristine wilderness or donate Harry Truman’s bowling pins, but you can do something.  America has a rash.  Namely, that rash is Starbucks.  Well, Starbucks, McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.  Those who know me may be surprised to read that statement, given my propensity for all things chicken quesadilla.  But it really is an issue.  There is nothing wrong with any of these stores inherently, except Starbucks.  They are really just places to go and pick up a quick snack, or a familiar meal that you know will be the same in Juneau or Jacksonville.  The problem is that there are millions of restaurants and bars that produce far superior food and promote a sense of community.  My hometown has a restaurant called the Flying Pig.  It’s quickly become a a favorite place for food and spirits.  A recent trip created encounters with more than half of the city council, the mayor, countless high school friends, neighbors, business men etc.  I don’t come from a big town, so this is to be expected somewhat, but there are other places in town that someone can grab a beverage and appetizer.  Something is lost in those other places.  They are chain restaurants and provide plenty of atmosphere and quality. But they will be there in 50 years and will only represent the corporate change that has occurred over time.  The Flying Pig is a place that draws friends and family together and will only continue because people have made a conscious effort to preserve a truly remarkable place that goes far beyond being just an eatery.  Please don’t let me fool you, it’s no Yosemite, but it is a place that people can share with their friends or even children recalling the good times that were had by all.

To recap, we were given a gift by generations who have come before us.  Whether a national park or a cathedral more than 500 years old.  Go visit them.  In the mean time, patronize a local spot.  A place that isn’t backed by a corporation that opens a new restaurant every 4 hours. These are the places that could be gone in a generation, leaving you to explain what made them so special.  Become a regular, bring a friend, and make sure that it’s here for years to come.

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One Response to “An Eternal Debt”

  1. Brett Goda said

    A lot of heart in this post… and I totally agree with you on visiting some of the great treasures that were left behind for the generations to come. Hopefully I can come with you on the next trip.

    Look at our generation over the past ten years and what have we left future generations… a 10 trillion debt, an incomprehensible oil spill, and given all our technology wild fires are destroying our countryside…

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