Monday, November 23, 2015

A lesson in fear ~ my column from Sunday's paper

NOTE: I used a piece of one of my posts last week in this column.

Fear is an interesting emotion. Most of the things I’ve feared in my life never happened. They were figments of my imagination.

Fear sometimes caused me to say and do things I regretted after the threat of danger had passed.

When I was a kid, the closest dentist was in the town of Cordova. The town was about eight miles away from our house and was situated near the banks of the Warrior River.

I HATED going to Cordova. It wasn’t just going to the dentist; it was because I was afraid of riding over the old bridge into town.

The steel structure had a wooden roadbed. Over the years, the bridge deteriorated and the ends of some of the boards broke off and fell into the river. The bolts fastening the wood to the structure had worked loose and rattled when cars or trucks drove over it.

My mother always drove slowly across that bridge. We had a 1957 Buick which weighed just slightly less than one of the Great Pyramids, and she always feared it was too heavy for the ancient structure.

Even driving slowly, the clattering sound of the wood on steel was almost deafening.

A few times, I conjured up enough courage to look out the windows as we crossed that bridge. In places, you could see through the missing ends of boards all the way to the water 40 feet below.

To say it made me uneasy would have been an understatement. In fact, my rear end almost chewed holes in the upholstery during those infrequent dentist trips. It was enough to make me brush my teeth with more diligence.

It wasn’t the bridge itself I feared, but images I conjured up of us plunging into the depths of the river and being trapped in the back seat as the ink-black water rushed in through the cracks and slowly turned the passenger compartment into an aquarium. By the time we arrived at the dentist’s office, I was usually exhausted. Fear does that to you.

Facebook is a blessing and a curse. I love looking at Facebook on special holidays when people are sharing pictures of the family and kids.

But during election time the posts on Facebook often get mean spirited. I try to keep my views on politics, religion and hot-button topics to myself because I prefer not to add to the noise.

Some of the things I saw on Facebook after the Paris attack and the subsequent backlash about America accepting Syrian refugees looked almost like headlines from the National Enquirer.

People are filled with fear and the thing that concerns me is we’re letting a handful of terrorists rule our thinking and our lives.

The only real thing these savages can do is to instill fear. This is their weapon of mass disruption. If they can make us fearful, have they not already won the battle?

Autumn berries


  1. Not won, but a minor victory for sure.

  2. I've had to conquer my fear of flying so visiting my son and his family would be possible. Fear can take the life right out of living. I have even made myself look out the window!

  3. I am not afraid of the Syrian immigrants. Where I live I will never see them if I so choose. But I do see the need to be careful about who comes here to live. By the way are you sure that old Buick weighed less the a Great Pyramid? They were solid vehicles.

  4. How true your words are. Fear can create a mob mentality which can lead to abuse, rape and murder. People need to calm down and not let fear be their motivation. Fear can also bring anger and prejudice. One would wish this way of thinking would have eased off in the many centuries we have been active on this planet but I do not believe it has otherwise we would not see people being hurt (a woman in Toronto was attacked because she was wearing her traditional headdress).

  5. From an adult perspective it's hard to believe some of the things we feared when we were children, One of my greatest fears as a child was falling through the spaces in the planks on a wooden jetty into the water below. Not only irrational but totally impossible.

    Ms Soup

  6. I can understand your terror as a child. You make a very wise point about the terrorists too.

  7. I agree with you about the terrorists winning if the instill fear in us.... regardless of what may or may not happen we have to live our lives... this is a really good article Rick :-)

  8. You are right - we cannot live in fear.

  9. Hi Rick..Loved your description of the bridge and your car going over it. Those old cars weighed a ton and I often wonder how there weren't more bridges collapsing. I don't like big bridges. I always have the same fear of falling through to the murky waters below. Great post and yes, fear is a weapon of mass disruption!! Good one.

  10. Greetings, yes I do believe those old Buick did weight that much, as my grandparents had one and it was solid. I do not like FB as so much drama and it feels empty. But as you stated fear is usually never what we think it is really about, but I feel an unknowing allows us to think thoughts that as you said may never come true. But if they did happen, now that would be scary...
    But I choose to take pleasure and enjoy my days and life with no fear. I believe once you conquer fear you can really enjoy life! I could just see you riding it that old car being afraid, as that is exactly why you probably have good teeth. Fear can also be a good thing to keep us from things that will ultimately cause us harm. It is what we are afraid of that needs to be challenged! Great Post!

  11. I find it puzzling that so many Americans call themselves Christians while rejecting the words of Jesus. "I was cold and you gave me a coat. I was hungry and you gave me food. I was homeless and you took me in." These people who would slam the door on women and children refuges should spend more time reading the New Testament.

  12. Anonymous12:57 PM

    I think it was President Roosevelt who said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

  13. Dear Rick, we seem to be living now in a political culture of hatred for those who differ from us in some way. A darkness is creeping over our land. All of us need to write postings like yours that let some light in. Peace.

  14. Lots of truth here...
    Loved that 57 buick!!! Weight pretty correct!...
    Happy Thanksgiving week.

  15. Excellent point. It's becoming really difficult not to get 'caught up' while on FB.
    ... all the same, I became caught up in your story of crossing that olden bridge! Sure brought back memories when I first moved to the Tampa/St. Pete metro and had to use the ill-fated Sunshine Skyway span each week. Goosebumps.


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