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However ...

by Liz Flaherty


Here in North Central Nowhere, abandoned railroad tracks are being adopted by environmental groups and — through lots of hard work and much begging for funds — being turned into beautiful walking trails. In theory, this is very nice, but occasionally these trails meander across Joe Blows pasture, and hes not a bit crazy about people, dogs, and other strangers making familiar on his property. Thinking about this made me think about other things, and first thing you know ... well, you know how it goes.

I like Rails to Trails. Walking is my favorite form of exercise — okay, its the only form Ill even consider and I love doing it where there are no potholes, no traffic, and not a lot of hills. Or no hills. Yes, no hills is even better. I like the cute little bridges and the well-kept surface and am impressed with the care and time given by the Rails to Trails leadership.

However ...

I dont want one of those trails sprawling across my property. I dont want in the middle of my very own three acres — a wide strip of land free-for-the-asking to everyone who cares to walk along it. Or drink on it. Or smoke funny cigarettes on it. Or do other things that I consider immoral and that might be illegal as well. I dont want some stranger getting hurt on it and then deciding Im liable because that trail is, after all, in the middle of my three acres.

I voted for ... well, who I voted for ... in the last election. I made my choices based on how the candidates felt about things that matter most to me. Education. Equality for everyone. Social programs. Some of my candidates won; most of them didnt.


The ones who did win have many qualities that make them qualified to lead. Most of them genuinely care about their constituency. Although I do it grudgingly, I support them in their efforts.

However ...

Those winners could learn many valuable things from the losers, if they would take the time to listen and stop wasting all their Crayola-power on drawing party lines. Those also-rans would give themselves big points in books that matter if they would share their considerable knowledge rather than whine about why they lost the election.

I do not like the war in Iraq. I dont think we belong there after all this time and I want our men and women to come home. All of them. And I want them to come home healthy and take care of their families and play softball in the park and go to work every day.


This does not lessen my support of and respect for those who are serving in Iraq, or, for that matter, serving anywhere else in the line of duty. I still have a yellow ribbon on my car and another one tied close around my heart.

I am going to, regardless of the ACLUs viewpoint on the subject and the law, pray wherever I please. If that happens to be in a school building, so be it. My conversations with God are none of their business.


I dont want anyone, including the ACLU or even my pastor, telling me that I must pray when I dont want to.

I am horrified that abortion as a means of birth control is legal. It makes me want to throw up when I think of all the people who want babies and cant have them while other people toss them away at will. Im doubly horrified that my teenage daughter, if I had one, could get an abortion without my knowledge, especially since she couldnt even get stitches for a cut if I wasnt around to say its okay.


There are circumstances when abortion is the only viable alternative, though I dont want to be the one who makes that determination. And if my daughter has been raped and doesnt want to face me with it, I want someone to give her whatever care she needs whether I know about it or not.

Do you see a pattern here? I certainly hope you do, or Im going to feel pretty silly about typing however ... all those times.

There is more than one side to almost any situation, and while Im not advocating that everyone walk the fence — it could get crowded up here — I do think it would be a good idea if everyone would once in a while just shut up and listen. Its not necessary to change your mind, only to show respect for opinions other than your own. And for those who have those opinions.

Ive heard this respect referred to — rather snottily sometimes — as political correctness, and I suppose thats what it is, but its also just downright polite. And I dont know about you, but that works for me.

Married for thirty-some years to Duane, her own personal hero, and mother of three and grandmother of six, Liz Flaherty has written a column from her Window Over the Sink off and on for over ten years.  She hopes you enjoy her essays.  You can email her at

©2005 Liz Flaherty for SeniorWomenWeb
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