Dennis Delaney

Commentator

Dennis Delaney is a former Republican State Senator.

They usually come in from the east, up high, one at a time, like a tribe of aliens insinuating itself on campus, faster and faster, hearts pumping and cool fresh air streaming over their faces. Some smile. Others concentrate. But many just seem to affect an above-it-all casual look. Once in a while velocity meets gravity. Gravity wins and the brio of youth takes a tumble.

They are the campus skateboarders on what the French smartly describe as “une planche a roulettes,” a board on little wheels.

Delaney: Soaring

Dec 1, 2014

As you rise swiftly into the air, you feel the wind slipping below you, and you ride that wind higher and higher. Those simple words describe soaring, and it’s what happens on an aircraft with no engine – also known as a glider.
 

Recently a friend of mine invited me to go soaring, with him as pilot and me as passenger; both of us wearing parachutes. Our flight took us over the incredibly beautiful desert and mountains of southern New Mexico.

October is here. Foliage blazes and leaf peepers invade. All over the state chicken pie suppers abound – they are so good - and they put their unique culinary signature on our cozy autumn evenings. Many Vermonters can be seen stacking cordwood in strategic places around the house.
 

I don’t know what the following story says about me but it really doesn’t matter. What I did just popped out of some restless instinct. I acted quickly, without thinking. I did what I felt I should, split second. It was a rescue –not really the heroic sort, like jumping into a lake and pulling a struggling child ashore – but frankly I’m proud of it and would do it again. In fact I did do it again about a week later but on a different road, in the country, with no traffic.

Most Vermonters remember the famous Russian exile that lived among us for many years - in Cavendish to be precise. Although a recluse, he was sometimes seen at the local town meeting, casual but attentive. His name was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and he was both victim and chronicler of the bleakness and inhumanity of Soviet Communism.

When I was a boy, newspapers were important to almost all of us, and remained so. Even after television arrived on the scene, we got our news from the daily paper. As a young teenager I even did some empirical research on the omnipresence of the daily paper – though I didn’t think of it as research at the time.
 

You see, I was a paper boy. I had a route and delivered to just about every home on the route. Almost everyone had a subscription.

November 11 is Veterans Day, once called Armistice Day because it was originally set aside to commemorate the end of World War I.

In part because Veterans Day comes at an austere time of the year, weather wise, there are few public displays of deference to veterans associated with it. Unlike Memorial Day on the threshold of summer, Veterans Day is quiet, like the season, and invites reflection.

Soon after graduate school I accepted a post in an Islamic university in the deepest heart of Muslim Africa. Kano, Nigeria is a city in the southern reaches of the Sahara desert, a city that’s more than 1000 years old.

Sometimes it seems like a dream to think that I actually lived and thrived in such an awesome place. I knew an Islam that was steadfastly pious but also one that was welcoming to my wife and myself, even though we were Westerners, and therefore outsiders.

If people around the world were asked to name one symbol that defines the American nation, most would reply “The Statue of Liberty”. That statue faces outward to the world from New York harbor.

These days, if someone says to you “Fathers’ Day is just around the corner,” you might have to look around more than one corner – since it seems like there just aren’t as many fathers around for kids these days as there used to be.

A few weeks ago, while engaged in a true 21st Century activity - waiting for a connecting flight in an airport - I picked up a New York Times at a kiosk. A front page color photo, above the fold, caught my eye. The photo was a hard-focus look at what we humans often do to children. It stunned me – and left a memory I don’t want but can’t seem to let go of.

http://www.vpr.net/audio/programs/56/2013/01/Delaney-0108-New Session.mp3

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