Learning from the Past

St augustine1

So much for a part time job.  What had started out as an interest in being a tour guide in St. Augustine has turned into that and more.

First, the technical side of being a Red Train Tour Guide.  As I’ve previously written, the City test for tour guides was successfully taken over a month or so ago. Since then I’ve been learning to properly drive extended shuttle vans and also buses. The buses have been my nemeses, especially learning how to back and “off-set park” and to parallel park the buggers. A recent test was not completely satisfactory, especially since the standards were that of driving an 18 wheel tractor trailer – something I will not be doing and haven’t even been in one! So, training continues. In the meantime I drive an assortment of shuttle vans throughout St. Augustine. If nothing else it hones my tour guide narrative and whets my curiosity for learning more and more about what it is I’m driving by every day.

Secondly, the intellectual side of being a tour guide is, for me, the most interesting.  One morsel of information often leads to half-dozen more questions – at least. 450 years of a city’s history reveals a lot about human behavior and that there really is “nothing new under the sun”. Considering all of the strife, turmoil, wars, deprivation and human failings that occurred in this small area of Florida, it is nothing short of a miracle that this city of St. Augustine survived. It is becoming more and more clear that what would become the United States of America was only possible when the emphasis was on being united. Progress in becoming this very unique nation came about only when ethnic, religious, racial and economic differences became secondary to being American.

Are we becoming again a hyphenated society? If we are, then all of the sacrifices of our ancestors were for naught. Looking back may be our guide for going forward.

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