Little guys on his shoulders 2015.06.10

Morenci native Jim Whitehouse writes a weekly column for other newspapers and thought Morenci readers would find this one interest


My beloved wife Marsha and I took a quick trip down to Florida to see our children and grandchildren. It was a single-melt trip for Marsha and a double-melt trip for me. Both of our hearts melted in the presence of the grandchildren and my entire body melted because it was summer in Florida.

On the plane ride home, there was a rude woman seated behind me with a Yorkie dog. (When I told my pal Dr. Ciderman about it, he asked if it was in a Terrier Carrier. It was.)

I’ve been told by a number of people who actually like tiny little dogs that not all such dogs are yippy. Well, I’m here to tell you that this particularly Yorkshire Terrier was a yippy little dog. It yipped nonstop from Fort Lauderdale to Detroit, including all the time on the ground. That amounted to about 3-1/2 hours of agony for the passengers on the plane, and judging by the distressed nature of the yipping, 3-1/2 hours of cruelty to the dog.

One may ask if it is possible to be too cruel to a yippy dog, but after a good night’s rest and time to reflect, the answer is clearly "yes." 

There was another little dog on the plane that never made a peep. It was some kind of black dog with curly hair—a poodle mix, perhaps. The kind owner told me as we waited for our luggage that she had drugged the dog so it would sleep.

Normally, I don’t see things in such day-and-night terms as “rude” and “kind.” I’m always looking for the dusk and dawn of things, trying to be more tolerant. 

For example, the other day I was sitting in a rocking chair, reading on my front porch. Several cars came by with windows down and stereos blasting loudly enough to shake my house, my peace, my stomach, my brain, my ears and my faith in the essential goodness of mankind.

“The drivers are just young, and lacking confidence, so they’re driving around shouting ‘Look at me, Mom!’” the little guy on my right shoulder told me. “They’ll outgrow it.”

“No, they are rude!” said the little guy on my left shoulder.

I listened to both arguments and made my decision. “They’re just young, lacking in confidence and rude!”

Yesterday, I received a nice letter from a dear friend in my hometown in the Deep South, Michigan’s southernmost town. Morenci is a wonderful little town of 2,000 good people, where never is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.

In her letter, my friend told me of an upcoming millage election to support the district library. She wanted my financial support to aid in the effort to spread the word about all of the many, many programs and resources of the library. I remember the library fondly from my boyhood, when it was just a place to borrow books and do research for school papers. Now, it offers so much more than that—classes, programs for all age groups, computer access and pages and pages of other benefits. It is clearly the nerve center of the community, as is true of most libraries.

I can honestly say I’ve never cast anything other than a “Yes” vote for a library or school millage, and I’m sure I’ll do that until the day I attain thermal equilibrium with my environment. Libraries and schools are essential to the entire community. Every single person in a town benefits in so many ways. Good schools and good libraries make good people who make good communities.

So when my friend asked me for support for the millage proposal in a town I haven’t lived in for many decades, I in turn asked the little guys on my shoulders what I should do.

“What? Are you stupid or something?” said the belligerent little guy on my left shoulder. “Of course you’ll support it, you idiot.”

“Go for it!” urged the little guy on my right shoulder.

I sent a check.