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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.
Rainy Days and Mondays

October 13, 2005

Those are words from a song by Karen Carpenter, heard in my mind today as it
is a rainy day, in a series of rainy days up and down the east coast;
pouring buckets and wrecking havoc in the city.

Fall is falling; winter is arriving.

It has been a dismal few weeks on the east coast, a time when nature pushes
us to become introspective and to think our deep internal thoughts, to
wrestle with the dark sides of our selves and souls.

I love the cool, deep winds that blow through the season and I adore
watching the leaves change and am exhilarated by the rush of warm wind mixed
with overtones of cool. Here in upstate New York, a few people still gather
leaves into a pile and burn them as my father did when I was a child. What
rushes back through those smells are the few moments of my childhood I truly
treasure, standing on the back steps with the unique wet woody smell of
burning leaves wafting up to me while my father stood watch over them down
by the drive, a cigarette inevitably either in his mouth or in his hand, an
L&M. He looked content at those times, almost happy and available to me.

Personally, at this moment in my life, I would rather not be going to France
tomorrow and would rather stay close to the little cottage in the country to
watch the water in the creek flow by, darkly muddy now, stirred up by the
rain and much higher than normal.

This little time of being home has been good for my soul, giving me a chance
to connect with a place I love and to experience a bit of the American
east/mid-west thing called fall, leading up to Halloween, taken very
seriously in Columbia County, not far from Rip Van Winkle's home.

I will be gone for fifteen days. When I return, the trees will be more
barren and the time will be neigh for the trick and treaters of Halloween
and for the ghosts that haunt this part of the world, including the headless
horseman of pre-Revolutionary lore.

It is the time of changes, the moving into the season of holidays; of
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Hanukah and in this world of ours we
are having to make room on calendars for the holidays of at least a half
dozen other religions, including Islam, which are now part of the fabric of
this place that is America.

When I went to Catholic school, my 8th grade teacher, Sister Anne, assured
us we would be, if we weren't already, persecuted for being Catholic. I
recall being startled and wondered what she was talking about. I couldn't
think of an instance I had experienced anything resembling persecution and
I don't think I ever have for being Catholic.

Years later I recalled the story to my friend Bill Epperson, who told me had
we grown up together in his small southern town, he would not have been
allowed to have been my friend. I again recall being startled. He let me
know that where he grew up, Catholics were shunned.

That wasn't ALL that long ago and helped me realize then and remember now
the complex set of things that have come together in making the United
States. From the WASPS to the WOPS, from white to black, and every color in
between with worshipers from every religion in the world, the masses have
come to America by land, sea and air to create this odd hodge podge of a
nation both envied and hated by so many and where envy and hate have mixed
in the making of the country.

This odd country is quite unlike any other place on earth, one that will be
tested hard in the years to come as we must work to overcome the blistering
prejudices and emotions which have colored our past, evidenced by incidents
we tend to forget while focusing on the seminal white protestant experiences
that were central to the formation of the first thirteen states.