Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, April 10, 2017

the spirit lives on

 I was a proud member of a " group " on Facebook for quite a while. This group grew in size until it had over 1600 members. The expressed purpose of the group was to reconnect with those persons that shared a common heritage. It was associated with a certain geographic location now know as the Hamptons. We shared old photographs and old memories. It was, and still is, a great bunch of folks. But, and it seems there is always a but, trouble loomed. Apparently I became the trouble. There were some in the group whose feathers got ruffled by my comments and opinions. They began to complain to the administrators. The administrators tried to respond to these complaints in a fair and impartial way. At one point it was decided that me posting a link to this blog wasn't an appropriate use of the site. After a short kerfuffle it was decided I could post that link as long as I " warned " folks that it contained political opinions. So, I dutifully complied with that restriction. Time passed and I did post a link, with a warning attached that stated it did contain a political opinion. To my surprise it was removed ! Well, another kerfuffle followed and it was again decided I could post that link, with warning. As most of you know by now I just decided to leave that fine group and start one of my own. I figured it wasn't exactly fair of me to insist I be able to post my link if it offends some folks. So, that's the end of that story. A new one has begun with many joining my group and I am overwhelmed by the support I am receiving. I feel a bit like Sally Field at that awards show, " they like me, they really like me. "
 I was thinking about all of this and wondering just what happened. I believe the group just grew too large. I think you just can't have that many folks together without some conflict arising. It's human nature. Everyone feels they are right and that is natural and normal. We all have a need to feel important, like we matter in the big scheme of things. That is why we form little groups, cliques they are called. Birds of a feather and all that. I'm thinking that is what happened with that first group, we grew too large. It really was no ones fault, it was bound to happen. I believe many rushed to join that group, wanting to a part of a cultural perception. Those in the group wishing to be identified as a " Bonacker " when they really had no understanding of that lifestyle beyond perceptions. It is true that perceptions are reality to one the one perceiving it. It is equally true that perception isn't necessarily true. I don't write any of this to slight anyone but as a means of explanation. And yes, it is my perception of things. I do recall when being called a Bonacker wasn't a status symbol. Being a Bonacker wasn't something, like a country club with exclusive members, it was a way of life. A life you had to be born into, other folks were either upstreeters or from away. That is the way it was.
 It's funny because I never considered myself a Bonacker, not in the truest sense. I never fished commercially and it is that working the water that is at the heart of a Bonacker. I knew a bunch of them by virtue of living b'low the bridge. My grandfather Bennett was certainly a Bonacker although he died before my time. I have Bonacker blood in my veins. Being labeled a Bonacker expanded beyond that little group, those b'low the bridge, over the years. With expansion however comes a thinning out. In this case, a thinning out of culture and heritage. The little close knit group, like a family, started to disappear. Their values and traditions begin to change. It wasn't long before there was conflict. The upstreeters and those from away won out in the end. The almighty dollar triumphs once again. The Bonackers have lost their land, their livelihood and their heritage. Bonackers have become a tourist attraction ! Like a sideshow, folks come to see the " Bonackers " and try to learn their cute little dialect and eat the local cuisine. Oh, how fashionable it all is. Sad is what it is in my opinion. Damn sad state of affairs. But I'm told over and over I shouldn't judge. I shouldn't speak of such things. The thing is where I grew up, b'low the bridge, a man spoke his mind. Others might not agree, they might even call you a damn fool, but that wasn't important. What was important was speaking your mind clearly, bluntly some would say. Direct and honest is how I would describe it. B'low the bridge we lived what those upstreeters thought of as a hardscrabble life and they weren't far off the mark. Politics and scheming didn't fit into out neighborhood. It was the politicians and schemers that killed the Bonackers just as sure as the sun rises. Government regulations and the quest for the dollar.
 Well, I started my little group of " Bonackers " those from B'low the bridge. No one is excluded from this group. The days of defining a Bonacker by his occupation and where he lived has long since passed. All that remains now is the spirit. That spirit does live in many folks. It is the same spirit that formed America. Strong independence and the willingness to state your mind. The willingness to stand your ground and not cave in to political pressure. Firm and fair I would say. We can disagree without offense. We can fight among ourselves. We do share one thing in common, a love of the truth. I am the sole administrator of this group, someone has to be I suppose, although I don't believe I'll do much administering. Let the chips fall where they may. My idea is like being back home, back in the Bonac of my youth. I said what I wanted to say and dealt with the consequences. If I didn't like someone or what they were saying, I just ignored them , unless they wanted to make it personal. In that case, there is gonna be a fight ! I do hope that folks in this group will remember that you are in " POLITE " company. If you're a Bonacker you know exactly what that means. Should things get out of hand, and I don't believe they will, I guess I could just, what do they say, take the site down ? Only time will tell.