Starting tonight on PBS (Sunday, September 28) and throughout the upcoming week is Ken Burns’ new miniseries on the National Parks. I am a huge Ken Burns fan. I know I didn’t properly understand the Civil War until his series on it (despite reading Gone With the Wind five times; wait, maybe that was the reason I didn’t understand it so well); nor did I have much of a clue about WWII before his The War. This despite a keen interest in history and reasonably decent grades in school. And my Dad was a navy lieutenant stationed on a submarine in the South Pacific during the latter years of WWII!
Now it’s the National Parks turn . . . and the timing is perfect in that it demonstrates that government can and does do some things well, like create and maintain these amazing nature preserves for which I, at least, am intensely grateful. So put that in your pipes and smoke it, Right Wing nut jobs. If it was up to you, all of these places would be strip malls or trailer parks or theme parks. . . . You get my drift.
I have only been to three National Parks in my life: the Grand Canyon, Acadia and, of course, the Smokies, which I know very well, having spent seven summers on the Qualla Boundary, adjacent to the park. I would love to go to all of them, but first we must wait for Buddy, our aged Golden Retriever, to shuffle off this mortal coil.
A piece of advice for prospective dog owners: get your dog used to being boarded so you can leave them occasionally. For most of his life, Buddy was left with relatives, but then my sister in law got divorced and my daughter moved to Montreal and my son broke his femur (really, he didn’t need to go to such extremes just to get out of dog-sitting) and Buddy is way too old and coddled (not to mention addled) to be boarded at this stage, so, bottom line: he goes, we go. Which means the National Parks, never mind Greece, are on hold at present.