2 responses to “Excerpt from Tom Titus’ Memoir”

  1. Stanley Buck

    It’s a crowded cafeteria; but I smear a little quiche on the front of my shirt, get up slowly, ignore the social surroundings, and shuffle along for a few steps while staring vacantly into space. Ah, that’s it, the real me; I’m “acting my age” just like my elders had always wanted me to do. At 80 years old I still strive to please by living up to the stereotype. Little did they all know that I had struck gold.

    The gold in my pocket is, Blackberries In July by Dr. Tom A. Titus, strong medicine that tastes good. His themes are an outline for life. He proclaims the natural loveliness surrounding us on Earth, plants and animals; and how we rudely “extract” the life from the earth for a few trinkets, and the wretched excess that goes with it. He is correct. We take rather than give, and ultimately it kills us and ruins our quality of life, and it’s all provoked by a shared pipe-dream that “more is better.”

    That theme reminds me of the 1970s movie “They Might be Giants” where George C. Scott says,…”I think if God is dead he laughed himself to death. Because, you see, we live in Eden. Genesis has got it all wrong——we never left the Garden. Look about you. This is paradise. It’s hard to find, I’ll grant you, but it is here. Under our feet, beneath the surface, all around us is everything we want. The earth is shining under the soot. We are all fools.”
    (During the big temper tantrum of the 1960s and 1970s people of the counterculture told us that “God is dead,” and Scott referred to that in the film.)

    Dr. Titus finds the good and worth in nature; and not only does he honor it, he teaches it to others. Also, he reminds us that, ” …nearly all of us are products of an extraction-based past that has ravaged the earth.” Yet, he realizes that we must forgive, and we must compromise, and he sees a dilemma. I share his values and his concerns.

    He eloquently, and warmly, shows us the worth in human values that go with simple surroundings and moderation. He makes you feel the truth, not just hear it, and that’s the most important part.

    Now that I’ve had my say, I guess I’ll shuffle on down to that cafeteria and get my senior discount on a cup of coffee. LOL

  2. Tom A. Titus

    Dear Stanley,
    Thank you for your erudite comments on Blackberries in July! As a member of the so-called “sandwich generation” I have had the disconcerting experience of watching inter-generational anger play out in two directions, both as what you refer to as the “temper tantrum of the 60s and 70s” by my generation against their elders, and now the anger from Millenials and Gen-Xers against the Boomers.
    None of this intergenerational strife strikes me as very productive. Perhaps it contributes in some way to generational unity and serves to push the social machinery forward. But it strikes me as rife with self-righteous historical hindsight, destructively divisive, and ultimately counterproductive to the future of humans on this green earth. There is never a shortage of things to be angry about (so much outrage, so little time!), and always a self-imposed dearth of positive experiences that might bring us together.
    When I taught my biology class this summer, I gave my students two assignments in which they spent solitary time on our field trips then wrote introspectively about the experiences. The evening before the first exercise I read to them the excerpt from “Chanterelle Forest” on this page. Much of their writing was beautiful, and I was humbled by what they had to say——their honesty, their values, and their hope for the future. Now here before me are your kind remarks coming from the generation ahead. All of this gives me some hope that the connection to Place engendered in Blackberries in July can help to heal us and pave the way for a brighter, more sensible future. I am grateful for your words.
    Thank you.

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