Let’s try to appreciate our differences in 2016

By Peter Weinberger

With so much negativity in the world in 2015, it’s easy to feel frustrated, afraid and even intimidated when listening to a constant barrage of bad news. Even our political process has served to exclude and alienate those who make our country great.

Clearly, many Amercians are in a mood to build walls, not tear them down. But, once in awhile, I am reminded in a small way of the importance of not judging a person by first impressions.

This past week, I was out shooting an aerial video with my drone of the Christmas decorations on homes around Claremont. I’ve become accustomed to people asking me questions while flying. Most embrace what I am doing and are curious about how my drone works, while others are convinced there’s something sinister about taking photos with my three-pound quadcopter.

So when I launched my drone in the evening hours and hovered over a beautifully-decorated home, I was surprised when the owner exited his house, stating, “What are you doing here?” I figured someone who fully decorates their home for Christmas would be used to people stopping and photographing their fine work.

During our conversation, I noticed this homeowner had a Middle-Eastern or Indian accent. He had moved his family (and decorations) to Claremont recently and had never even heard of the Claremont COURIER. At this point, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

What I received was a giant dose of holiday cheer from someone who was really excited I chose their home to photograph. Before I knew it, more family members emerged to see the drone, watching with curiosity as it flew around the neighborhood. The group soon huddled around me to see the live images on my iPad. I barely knew these people, but felt I was among friends.

After about 10 minutes of shooting, I was abruptly asked to stop. I figured someone was going to raise an issue or concern at some point.

But it turns out, there were more Christmas decorations in their backyard not plugged in yet, so they wanted me to land my copter and reshoot the display. I was more than happy to do so, and I was also reminded of the generosity and goodwill of my fellow Claremonters.

You can find our holiday home decorations video on the COURIER website or Facebook page. Thank you all for your support this year. We wouldn’t be here without you. Happy holidays from all of us at the Claremont COURIER.




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