The dreary October morning heated up a bit when I started chipping about how Columbus Day was a fraud.
I was part of an early morning radio team and in what I thought was harmless chat suggested that if we were going to observe Columbus we should also make accommodation for Leif Erikson or even nameless Chinese sailors who may also have reached the continent before Columbus. I also took offense to the idea that native Americans were "discovered" since they had been here a while. The switchboard almost blew up. The program manager liked it.
Years later when doing a couple of documentary programs for Discovery and TLC we profiled how the Taino people of Hispaniola were ultimately slaughtered and savaged by the "discovering" forces of Christopher "Christ on his Shoulders" Columbus. The Taino were good, trusting people who were exterminated by the representatives of the "advanced" European Court civilizations.
I think Indigenous People Day is a marvelous idea and centuries over due. It can't make up for historic offenses but it can begin to educate succeeding generations.
But I think we should also have an "Explorers Day," celebrating the courage, daring, intelligence and effort of those who have pushed the boundaries. For the sake of this discussion I nominate those who were Americans and those who's efforts touched or opened knowledge about our continent and our life.
Here's a partial list, a conversation starter. Add your own nominees.
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, John Glen, Christopher Columbus, Leif Erikson, Magellan, Balboa, Jim Bridger, Richard Byrd, Lewis and Clark, Adriaen Block, Robert Ballard, Cabrillo, Jonas Salk, Watson and Crick, Bell, Edison, and
you get the idea. A day to celebrate the accomplishment of intellect and courage as well as exploration of the planet and life we inhabit.
HANGING A BOOK
Dear friends John and Deanna Schleeter of Indianapolis
provide this next account. The Indianapolis Museum of Art has opened an exhibition by British sculptor Richard Wentworth-False Ceiling.
It is a striking presence in the Efroymson entrance Pavillion.
Thanks to John and Deanna's efforts a copy of my first novel THE SANIBEL ARCANUM hangs there.
As most authors will tell you, there are always extra copies of your books someplace. That someplace for me included John and Deanna's garage. Amongst their distribution efforts is the IMA. I am grateful.
See you down the trail.