Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November 22, 2016

Was it 1964? Yes, the year I was a freshmen in high school. We were all gathered in the gym in school to watch a circus act. I'm not really sure that is what was going on but I do remember it was my friend's birthday. To this day, I always remember to wish her a "Happy Birthday". She passed away about a month ago but I still noted on Facebook my birthday recognition of her day. This day stuck in my mind, not because of her birth date, but because this was the day when John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.

The principal walked into the gym and in a very low voice, delivered the news. I can still remember watching the older kids begin to weep. A very somber group was filing out of the gym and to the buses waiting to take us home. The next days were spent watching the new president get sworn in and the funeral for the one before him.  I remember John John and his salute to his father as the cassion carrying the president went by. Jackie, stoic, stood with one hand in Caroline's and one in John Junior's.
Again another November 22 and the two memories. Cathy's birthday and the anniversary of JFK's assignation. I pause for both memories.

This day we headed for the casino.  While the husband sat at the blackjack tables, I sat at the bar and sipped on a hot chocolate. The poker slot machine is buried into the counter top. Three other people sat at the bar busily sipping their beers while feeding the slot machines with quarters. I am not one to part with my money in the slots. My visit to the casinos are purely to accompany the husband who likes to play "twenty-0ne". I people watch and talk to the bartender who watches the flat screen TV mounted on the wall above the rows of bottles of liquor.
No sound emits from that TV. Close captioned lines of speech march across the bottom of the screen. Usually the TV is set to a sports station. Tonight I wasn't much interested in TV or conversation so I sat with my cell phone and surfed the web.
Two hours passed quickly, which is our usual time spent at this casino. My phone beeped a message alert from the husband.  "Are you hungry?"

The pit boss had compted our meal. We agreed to meet at Locos, the Mexican cafĂ© in the casino. I wandered over to take my place in the line that was quickly forming. Soon I was seated and munching on chips and salsa while waiting on the husband. I looked around the room at the other patrons. Though the place looked busy, it was a slow night, one of many lately for this casino. The unemployment rate here is the highest in the nation. Layoffs have steadily increased for the past three years. Those that still have a job have taken a huge pay cut; sometimes even 50 percent of their pay has been cleaved.
We wait and we watch for any signs that will signal the oil industry is in a recovery mode. This election, the candidate promised the coal fields will once again become productive and the oil fields will recover from this slump. Politicians and their empty promises! We all know the coal fields are not returning. The environment is in serious need of attention and the pollution caused by coal has caused those fields to be abandoned as a source of energy.
Oil is a flooded market driving the cost of a barrel into the low forties. Supply and demand has set the price of oil so low that producing it here in the USA is at a loss for the major oil companies. Tankers are sitting offshore full of oil waiting to be delivered to refineries.  This slump is much deeper then the one in the late eighties. 
I watch as "For Rent" signs decorate the road ways and the subdivisions. People are trying to rent their homes to avoid foreclosure. Savings have evaporated and people are moving out of town. The husband predicts that in the following school year end, a drastic increase of people leaving will again leave more homes empty.
We wait and we watch and are thankful that we managed to save some money; our house and vehicles are paid in full. The car I just purchased was a low mileage second hand vehicle. I refused to buy a new car. That money can be used to live on for another two years. Caution is my middle name. I've been down this road before. We, the husband and I, have watched the volatility of this industry and know how to play safe.

Happy Birthday Cathy and a sad nod to JFK. You both are missed this day.

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