What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Letter #156... Dear Mr. President... A 'Yellow Book' for your Birthday.

Dear Mr. President,

I need my own ‘yellow book’ and at this point I think you could use one too. In fact the whole world needs a ‘yellow book’. So right about now you’re probably thinking what the heck is a ‘yellow book’?

Before I explain, let me say that I think you’ve had just about enough of my letters. Sometimes I harangue, cajole, implore, beg, encourage, and yes, sometimes criticize something that you’ve done or failed to do, or something I’d like you to do. I post my letters on my blog at Washboardexpress.com, and then on Facebook, where I’m  ‘friends’ of numerous groups and hundreds of people. I often get comments from people agreeing with me, and occasionally those that don’t.

Each day I read volumes of political sites with endless opinions, some of which I respond to with vigor and enthusiasm, my mighty pen is my sword. But I’m tired. Tired of the discourse, tired of the senseless acts of violence like the massacre in Colorado, tired of people in politics being too afraid to speak the truth about the need for gun control, tired of feeling disgusted that Clinton’s assault weapon ban was allowed to expire. I’m tired of the assault on women’s reproductive rights, and mindless drones that are incapable of thinking for themselves. I’m just plain tired of everything. I simply cannot sustain the fire in the belly that I’ve had for four years… After my son died on April 7th, and I lost that piece of myself, so many of the things I thought to be important, aren’t. Right now I think it’s time for me to let it go, to stop fighting my invisible war, and find my own ‘yellow book’.

Asleep with her 'Yellow Book'
My daughter and her family are renting a place in Lake Tahoe this week for their vacation. They left last Friday, July 20th, on my granddaughter Gwendolyn’s 4th Birthday. That’s the day she found it… she found the ‘yellow book’, after carrying it around for quite some time, she wanted to take it to bed. My daughter asked her why she liked the ‘yellow book’, but she didn’t know why, she just did. Something about it gave her comfort, something about it made smile and made her happy, but only being four, she didn’t know how to express it, she just knew she liked it.  

The ‘yellow book’ doesn’t have any stories in it, and not the kind of pictures that a small girl would be interested in… in fact most of us would have never given it a second look. Most of us have given up on our ‘yellow books’… we have, after all, we have Google and Yahoo, and any number of apps on our phones that can provide whatever information we want or need.

As you’ve probably guessed by now Mr. President… The ‘yellow book’ as Gwendolyn calls it, is actually the South Lake Tahoe Yellow Pages. The fact that something so uninteresting, so inconsequential, and so mundane to the rest of us, actually brought her joy… is a gift to the rest of us. That’s what’s missing in our lives… the pure joy of everyday things, little things, silly things, even stupid things. Something to embrace, to bring a smile to our faces, something to take our minds off of the myriad of things we cannot change and cannot control… and something to take to bed in hopes of sweet dreams and better days ahead.

It’s not often that we can learn something so vital from a four year old, but then again, when you look around and really ‘see’ things, the very best things are all around us every day… a smile, a wagging tail, a door held opened, the sound of giggles from the other room, the hand you hold tight, and the kiss good night.

Happiness is a 'Yellow Book'
Those are the things that keep us going, those are the things that bring us joy, and those are the things that matter most. Those are the things that my sweet granddaughter taught me when she embraced the ‘yellow book’. 

I’ll write occasionally and continue to support you in any way I can, but this old Granny is done trying to convince the rest of the world what I have always known… you’re a good man, a good President, and this country is lucky to have you on the side of ordinary people like me, and for that I’m immensely grateful.

Since your birthday is almost here, my heartfelt wish for you on your 51st birthday is that you have the opportunity to find your own ‘yellow book’… and that it brings the same sense of joy and happiness that it brought to my sweet Gwendolyn on her 4th birthday.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers
Your Gadfly Granny