The three birds flew through the cloudy skies of northern California due north on that brisk January morning. The three friends; a Crow, a Pigeon and a Blue Jay, would have made a strange picture had anyone with a camera and telephoto lens had the mind to snap a shot. Much higher in altitude, hundreds of Canadian Geese flew in perfect V formation in exactly the opposite direction.
“Hey,” squawked the crow, “there is another group of Canadians flying the wrong way. Why do you suppose they are so confused?” He tried to point upwards with his right wing, but in doing so banked quickly to the left ramming the pigeon.
The Southwest flight from Phoenix landed in Sacramento on-time that Thursday night; a welcome end to a long and hot trip as witnessed by the sweat stains on the collar of Brad Smith’s white button down shirt. Why do I ever wear long sleeves to Arizona? Because his boss thinks it’s more professional than wearing a polo shirt, even though it was 102 degrees by 9:00 am this morning, and his last sales call ended at 6:15 that evening (with a resounding and fully anticipate NO!) Clearly rejection is professional when wearing a damp and smelly long sleeve shirt Brad thought as the plane landed.
The mechanical lady’s voice coming from the speaker on the air conditioned shuttle told Brad that he was headed toward the main terminal. Rather than go straight to his car parked on the 5th level, which was normal, he was headed downstairs to retrieve his suitcase from the lower level. The jogging gear Brad packed but did not use rendered his overhead bin sized suitcase too small, so he used the bigger one; ( note to Brad – stop pretending you will ever exercise while traveling when all hotels that you stay at have a bar). The shuttle stopped when Brad wasn’t paying attention and he bumped the lady next to him.
Billy, Eddie and John were like most 14 year old boys: endlessly hungry and dirty in the same moment, exhibiting the attention span equivalent to a sub-atomic particle and in possession of the inquisitive nature of the scientist who discovered it. They were ‘good boys’, a description often assigned by their mothers in the small Nebraska community where they lived. When they were bad, they would say so as well. Today, the three sat in Eddie’s garage throwing a tennis ball Billy had found in his sister’s gym bag. Billy had a knack for finding things in obvious places. In this game, they threw the ball to one another as quickly as they could, but each had to catch the ball one handed. Making the other guy’s hand hurt when he caught the tennis ball was always the ultimate goal of the game, but they only kept score by the number of times you missed a ball that should have been caught. Arguments over whether a ball was catchable were often and loud, a secondary benefit of playing this particular game.
Once upon a time, in a land not very far away there was a small town, nestled in brown rolling hills and oak trees, inhabited with mostly happy people who got along with each other and with neighboring cities. Gardens were planted, golf was played, churches attended, businesses thrived, and many a feast was eaten; that is until the day of the great let down. On that day the banks, money changers, manipulators, and Federal Regulators let everyone down: and so the Great Recession began. Every town had lived through recessions in the past, but nothing had been seen in decades like the Great Recession. Where once flowers had grown on the land between the lanes of traffic now stood people with cardboard signs asking for work or food. Stores, restaurants and shops all over the land closed their doors, leaving many people without a way to care for their family. When people could not pay their mortgage, the same banks from the great let down threw the people to the street. Families cried, asking their leaders for help.