Social Media Journals- Part 2

July 19 2012

 

Corporations are not people. Moreover, by the legal way a corporation is set up, its only motive is profit. ….. and the sole purpose of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders, in any manner possible. If that means shipping jobs overseas to save money, they will. If it means buying the cheapest goods from other countries to make their goods, they will. It means advertising in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc. for workers who WILL work for whatever the corporations want to pay, they will. Corporations have that legal responsibility to their shareholders and doing the “right” thing does not matter to them. Do some corporations give to charity? Yes. But it is a fraction of their profits. Google the decadent salaries and bonuses of the top officers in the top corporations. Is anyone really worth THAT kind of money? Now consider the workers at the bottom of the chain. Consider a local corporation in this county whose workers haven’t had a raise in 12 years. One of the reasons is that the Hispanic workers who comprise a large portion of that work force are satisfied with what they make. Large Corporations want to take over the political works of this country, and by and large have already succeeded. Congressmen and Senators don’t make a move without considering whether or not what they do is in the interest of their BIG money contributors. and most of those are Mega corporations. We are WELL on the way in this country to having what we know as the “middle class” eliminated. Corporations don’t want a “healthy” middle class. They want the elite who run things and they want the “worker drones” at the bottom of the chain. They don’t want a well educated, pro benefit, politically strong Middle Class. They are getting their way, and I am not sure that at this point they are stoppable by any means the American people have at hand.

 

July 26 2012

 

Grandfather and the Honey Bees

The last time I ever saw and spoke with my Grandfather in 1992, he was 98 years old. His mind was ravaged by Dementia and his kidneys were failing. Yet, all he could talk about that day were his bees. He wasn’t making much sense about anything else, but for some reason that day he had the bees on his mind. You see, he had been a beekeeper almost all of his life, and he was worried about them. Very worried.

As far back as I can remember there were always bee hives surrounding his old two storied clapboard house. They were not out in some distant field somewhere. They were within feet of the front porch, resting on large flat rocks that Grandpa had brought down behind a mule from near the top of “Johnny” Mountain which loomed tall just across Uncle Lark’s corn field straight out in front of the home place.

They were neat little white painted wooden boxes, with another one of the flat rocks on top. It was simplicity in design beyond today’s comprehension, but workable nonetheless. I used to be mesmerized as a child watching these tireless workers fly in and out, and in and out of the little hole cut in the bottom of the wooden box, which served as their one entrance and exit from the hive. I could watch them for hours on end and never tire of the wonderment of their movements and the soliloquy of their buzzing symphony.

They would zip around my head as I sat on the front porch swing, and I once made the mistake of swatting one of them when he got too close. Not only did I get a sting from the bee, but a lecture from Grandpa. “They won’t hurt you, if you don’t hurt them first” he said. “They’re our helpers, and you just gotta let ‘em be” I had to take this advice literally, coming from a man who more often than not would rob a hive of bees wearing no extra clothing except for a heavy pair of leather gloves. He talked to them as he took out the honey, telling them he was leaving enough for them to “eat” during the winter.  He talked and hummed all the while he was working with them, like a Momma soothing a baby….

 

But late that afternoon in 1992 he was worried about them.

 

“Will you take care of the bees this year?” he asked “I just don’t think I will be up to it”

“And mind you, don’t swat and kill none of them, we need them every one”

“Sure Grandpa” I answered. “I’ll take care of them”

Those bees were long gone, they had been since the tornado in 1973, or shortly thereafter, but I told him I would care for them.  I hope he was comforted somewhat by that “little white lie” he seemed to be, anyway.

 

Now we are looking at the very real prospect that something is going wrong with our Honey bees. The populations are disappearing, and with them the possibility of apple and peach trees that don’t get pollinated, corn fields and soy bean crops that may be lost, and perennials that may not bloom again. How important these creatures, who we hardly ever notice unless they sting us, really are to our society. If they were all to disappear today, would humanity survive?

There are few things which I remember so well, as the sweet taste of the fresh harvested honeycomb, and how the honey would drip from the edges of my mouth when I bit into it. I would hate for my grandchildren and their grandchildren to never have that chance.

I personally feel like I have let my Grandpa down because when I spoke with him that day in 1992, I thought it was just the ramblings of an errant mind, and I didn’t think anymore about it.

But Grandpa knew how important these insects were. “They’re our helpers, we need them everyone” he had said.

We certainly do, and all of us had better realize it before it’s too late.

 

 

August 5 2012

 

The things we really need are pitifully few compared to the things we think we want. I now want so much less…but I need so much more. And my enemy Monster Eater time keeps taking big chunks out of my ability to secure these needs. I am beginning to doubt myself considerably for the long haul and think I need to begin sprinting.

 

August 22 2012

 

Ok…all you folks who work at fast food restaurants at the windows….the phrase is: “Sorry you had to wait” NOT “Sorry ABOUT your wait… (Weight??) The first time someone said this to me…I thought they musta’ noticed my big belly going through Wendy’s to get ANOTHER large Frosty. Well….after losing some of the belly I belatedly realized they were trying to apologize for their untimeliness in getting me my “fast” food, after only a 15 minute weight. I really got the message one day when a little lady brought my bag of Chicken out to the truck and says: “Sorry about your weight…” and I said in return: “Well. I’m sorry that you’re short!” After she glared at me and stomped off I figured I would quit trying to get the point across in a “comedic” way. In any case…if you’ve had this phrase used on you, well just tell the person…”hey, I ain’t THAT heavy.”

 

August 23 2012

 

I now have the cleanest squirrel in the State of Georgia living in the tree in my front yard. The bold little feller is a permanent resident of the Ivy encased Elm tree that stands on the West side of the house providing much needed evening shade. I water my plants regularly and refresh the water in the birdbaths every day or so, and I use a hose pipe with a “sweeper” nozzle so I can get out to the farthest reaches of my postage stamp size yard. I was over next to the fence, just fixing to quit when the “dirty” little squirrel climbed down off his limb onto the top of one of my birdhouses. Seeing that he needed a bath, I screwed the nozzle to “high” which produces the strongest stream of water possible. Pointed the hose in his direction and let go of the crimp in the hose pipe I had been holding. Now, I’ve seen squirrels make some amazing moves…they are quite acrobatic creatures, but when that stream of water hit that little bushy tailed rodent he did a double back flip with three and a half turns straight UP onto the limb above his head. It took him two more seconds to get back up to his home base…where he sat chattering and shaking like a wet dog. Well. Now he’s clean and I ain’t seen him trying to rob the poor finches today…..

 

September 10 2012

 

Songs without Music and a melody without words. Yesterday I had both and they were sort of unexpected. We went to Church and my daughter Kirsten was scheduled to sing a solo. She told me it was a new song and it was one she really liked, and it had spoke to her immediately when she first heard it. When she came up to the front and looked back to the sound engineer for the track to start, he shook his head…”nothing there” he said. My daughter kind of had that look on her face which said “this is not good” but…as things go, the CD wouldn’t work and she undertook to sing the song acapella. She started out on key and her voice built as she sang the song…I was able to listen closely to the words of the song “Blessing” more than I would have normally been able to…there was no music, no melody to get in the way of the beautiful lyrics and the story they told. It was a blessing. Later…we went to my niece Shanna’s house for dinner. Her little daughter Jenna, who has Down’s syndrome, met me at the door and I went into the living room and started to play with her. I haven’t been around her as much as I should have and I was a little worried about communicating with her…but we got right on, started playing with the big mega “stacking” blocks. I started to sing a song just for the heck of it…I think it was “Unchained Melody” She looked at me and just stared and then she got a funny little look and took me by the hand and led me back to her little room. She pointed at her CD player and turned it on so that the music played and then pointed at me. She was telling me “look this is where my music comes from” From then on the rest of the time I was around her I could feel the communications coming from her through her eyes. The melody coming from her heart. No words had to be said; no lyrics had to be written. I know it must be hard to have that music in your heart without a way to speak it…how frustrating it must be at times when you know what you want to say but cannot say it…, you know what you want to share but other people cannot receive your sharing. So….the song without the music was a blessing…and so was the little girl’s music from her heart without the words. Both meant so much to me.

 

September 15 2012

 

Death and Fear…

I’m afraid of heights. I also don’t like flying. I don’t like big crowds and speaking in front of a group of people terrifies me. It’s funny how things that are simple and basic to some people make other people’s knees turn to jelly.

I don’t know where a lot of these fears came from. Some of them have just developed over the years. Some are fears we all have always harbored. I have always been afraid of death. I never even wanted to think about it until the last few years. It’s a subject that most of us definitely want to avoid. I think sometimes we feel like if we talk about it, it might jinx us and we will end up on the “mortar board” at some funeral home before the days out. Also, it’s a pretty depressing subject to broach. Nobody wants to be depressed, so nobody talks about it. I can’t remember the first time I thought about it, and was scared. I think it was when I was about four years old. Really, it’s true. As a little kid when I should have been thinking about playing cowboys and Indians, I was mulling over the great unknown. It’s been a bummer over the years.

Lately, I have come to the conclusion that by talking about death maybe we can make it less scary. I am not as afraid of it as I used to be. It’s not the little kid fear of going to hell and burning up in a blazing fire type fear anymore. It’s more of just an apprehension of something unknown. It’s a disappointment that I might not be around to see my loved ones complete most of their journey that they have started. It’s the conversations and contact with my family and friends that I don’t want to give up. The touches and looks of people you love, and who love you. Most of all, it turns out that it’s a selfish thing. Imagine that. I have so many selfish reasons for living that I don’t want to die and give them all up.

I don’t want to give up the beautiful sunny days like the ones we had this past week. I don’t want to give up the good books that I enjoy reading every day. I don’t want to give up the glorious music I listen to every night.

But, it’s not what we want that we get, is it?

There are so many theories and theological thesis about what happens to us after we die. It’s hard to pin one down and stick with it. One thing that I can assure you though is that it will be different from any of them. I don’t think that man has been given the knowledge, through any type of religion or science of what really happens. I am a Christian and believe Jesus lived, but I know that some people may not be the same as me.

It may be that we just have peace. Peace would be nice; I’ll take that over some of what I’ve heard over the years.

I’ve seen a lot of people going through unbelievable suffering, or who no longer know who or what they are who would take peace too. There was a little old lady who was “rooming” next to my Mother at the nursing home a couple of years ago who was there one day and gone the next. She was in bad shape. She was ready for a rest, and she got it. I think if you could have broken through the wall of her senility she would have told you she was ready. A lot of times people outlive the desire to live, and when they do that, they are ready for peace. I am sure she wasn’t scared of it. Maybe welcomed it.

As long as we have the desire, then we should “keep on truckin’” as we used to say back in the 70’s. It’s when we lose the desire, due to things that are happening to us physically, that it becomes a hardship to keep on keeping on.

So, I guess as my perspective has changed from that little shivering four year old kid, who shouldn’t have even known what death was, to the more knowledgeable but equally unknowing 66 year old that I am now am. I still have my desire to live and hope that I keep it for a long, long time to come. I hope all of you do also. But, when we are ready for peace, I hope we find it and that it turns out to be better than we ever imagined.

 

 

September 17 2012

 

Deep thoughts from a shallow mind…..

I got to thinking. What is fulfillment? What does it mean? How do we get it? God in Heaven it is SO TOUGH. And then, I thought some more.

If I have ever done or said a kind word to someone when they needed it, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever given good advice to my children, whether by pure accident, as would be the case most of the time or by chance of experience then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever kissed my wife, and she was satisfied that she had married the right man, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever sung a song that brought out an honest emotion, or written a word that sparked a thought in someone’s mind, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever fed a hungry animal, albeit a bird, cat, dog, squirrel, or any other living thing that God has created, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever thought a thought that was pure enough for God to appreciate, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever cooked food for loved ones, or strangers that they enjoyed or that made them happy, then I am fulfilled.

If I ever told a joke that got an HONEST laugh, then I am fulfilled.

I have seen the Ocean on both sides of this wonderful country and walked in the sands and didn’t do it until I was 16 years old. It was so wonderful, so I am fulfilled.

I have stood besides ruins of a culture over 2500 years old, and I am fulfilled.

I have touched the skin and felt the warmth of every person who I have loved the most on this Earth, and have been fulfilled.

I have eaten my Grandmother’s suppers, and have been filled and fulfilled.

I have listened to my Grandfather play the banjo and sing.

I have found an arrowhead in a field, and thought about the people who once populated this land, and was genuinely sorry for what they had to go through, and I am fulfilled.

I have seen a Golden Eagle in flight.

I have listened to the Beatles, Elvis, Mahalia Jackson, Percy Faith, Perry Como, Rod Stewart, Johnny Mathis, The Blues Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, Ray Boltz, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Laura Fabian, Eva Cassidy, Judy Garland, Jerry Lee Lewis, Clint Black, The Everly Brothers, and on and on. God I love music so much. I will miss it one of these days.

I have watched Meteors pour from the sky at such a rate that no one could have counted them.

I have seen an eclipse of the Sun and the Moon, and have seen a Comet in the Eastern sky during the early morning.

I have caught the tears of my children and grandchildren and tasted them. I have touched them when their skin was so soft and delicate that my whiskers made little red spots.

I have played my guitar to the UTTERMOST fulfillment in my younger days, and oh what a catharsis it has been for me. Bless the person who invented it.

I have eaten wild onions and smoked rabbit tobacco. I hated them both but it was a matter of fulfillment.

I have given money to many a homeless person, and have never told a soul.

I have been in the middle of Storms of Nature and Storms of life that I did not think I would ever survive, but I did. And I have been fulfilled.

And the list could go on and on forever.

I have loved this life, and the souls of the people that our creator has chose to populate the bodies of the ones I love. I love it still every day. I want it still every day. I am afraid of it still every day.

I have witnessed things every day that I could not have imagined when I was a child.

I have seen the wonderful side of mankind first hand, but have seen his terrible wrath on film and video, and in person. But strangely that also is fulfillment still.

I know that those who cannot do the things I have named above lack something which they can never, ever find. And they will NEVER be fulfilled.

I don’t know what will happen on the day I leave this earth. But I have been fulfilled.

 

 

October 2, 2012

 

Someone passed out of memory today….
My Grandmother Stewart lived to be 100 years old, and she often told me that she would be “alive” until she passed out of memory, meaning that as long as someone who knew her remembered her…then her memory would live one and she would continue in some measure to “live.” So, therefore, somewhere someone passed out of memory today and “died” completely. The last person who remembered them passed away. They became a part of History and no longer a part of the community of life.

My Grandmother stills does live, because there are many of us living who remember her, all that she did for us…how much she loved us. How she cared for us, comforted us. She has great-grandchildren who will be alive for MANY years to come who will carry on her memory. That’s what I am trying to do with my little Grandchildren, with hope that someday, somehow, long after I am gone that I will still live in their minds and hearts, and that those memories are good, genuine and loving like those of my Grandmother are to me. And one day, when I do pass into History…it will be all good; it will be alright…it will be peace eternal.

 

 

November 12 2012

 

After tomorrow I am going back to reading my books instead of checking Facebook. I am going to take my walks during “News time” I am going to start taking more pictures again…fill up my birdfeeders and watch the squirrels “rob” them and not begrudge them a single seed. I am going to cook some new recipes I have been looking at and pay more attention to my Lab. maybe throw her ball a dozen extra times a day. I am going to say I am sorry to anybody out there in this “virtual” world I have angered or hurt your feelings…it was not intentional. There is a lot of life out there…out from behind these electronic gizmos. I did not use to need these things to be happy. I am posting a little placard where I can see it every day that is gonna say “You only live once…do not waste the time you have left” I am so imperfect…and yet I am loved. What more could one ask?

 

November 11 2012

 

THANK YOU VETERANS

My Dad was always the consummate “veteran” After serving in the Navy from 1945-52 he developed a lot of “Navy” habits. I can remember many times of waking up in my very early grade school years to “Hit the deck, hit the deck” What is the deck, and why…do I want to hit it, I thought? It seemed rather strange back then, but now as I look back through nostalgic eyes, it was rather natural. Having only been out of the service for a few years back in those days, Dad still had the “Navy” in his blood. He just wanted me and my brother to experience some of the rigors of “boot camp” which he had gone through, so he was simply running his own “mini” version with us.

There were also those many, many “Navy” stories. The knockdown drag out fights with fellow ship mates over some trivial slight magnified by being in close quarters out on the Ocean for so long. Then there were the memories of the horrors of death and starvation in a post War Korea, and in China, with human beings literally freezing to death in the streets. The many slick trades of cigarettes for goods…like the set of painted porcelain dragon china which hung in Mom and Dad’s kitchen for so long. The earlier memories of the last days of World War II, first being a gunner’s mate on the ship’s huge guns, then moving on to the 115 degree boiler room and advancing in rank. I was regaled by all these tales more than once, and in retrospect I was enthralled by the listening. There were so many more of them, and they filled my childhood with wonder and awe at the things which went on in the big World.

Dad never lost his allegiance to his flag and country by one iota as he got old. Though he hated War, and told me that many times, he always respected the people who were serving their country. One of my favorite photos of him is of him standing there holding an American flag and looking wistfully out at the camera…perhaps thinking about those days that he fought for his country, watched some of his friends and ship mates die for their country, and came back home a changed man.

I want to thank all of you Veterans today for YOUR service. I too have always been against War, but never have I ever had anything but respect for the human beings who have to stare death and hardship directly in the eye in service to our country. Thank you, and bless you.

 

 

November 2012

 

Some try to fan the flames while others try to quench them. In the meantime some stand and watch….and go for popcorn.

 

November 15 2012

 

It’s going to be an Old Fashioned Christmas this year….everyone is getting a paper bag filled with penny candies, oranges, apples, peppermint candy and nuts…..I used to enjoy these when I was a kid, but I suppose that was a “lifetime” ago. I remember sitting at the foot of a Christmas tree which was just a spruce that my Grandparents had cut down, and opening a few presents…but I still loved that ol’ “brown bag” of goodies that the “Old Zion” Baptist Church used to give all the kids. Christmas seems to be so much more complicated nowadays, what with “Black Friday” and all the emphasis on shopping and gifting. I always enjoy the “kick off” being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and watching “Miracle on 34th St.” NOT, Halloween and “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” We can’t seem to see the forest for the trees anymore… As for me, I’ll take good health this year….and oh…a brown paper bag of goodies…that’s about it.

 

November 27 2016

 

I keep hoping to wake up some morning and see on the news that at some place in the world, people have broken out in spontaneous and highly contagious love.

 

I spent some time earlier looking at some things under high magnification. What appears ordinary when viewed with the naked eye is extraordinary under magnification. I went to take my dogs out and the stars were coming out and looked gorgeous. What is obscured by the light of day is beautified by the quiet calm of night. I truly wonder if the nature of existence stretches to infinity in both directions. We think we know so much when we actually know very little

 

Dec 3 2012

 

It’s sad sometimes to be so ordinary when society dictates we must be exceptional or we are irrelevant. I think I would rather be ordinary and be me then to be “important” and compromise. I suppose I am turning into the prototypical “crotchety old man” so if I write something you disagree with…just feel free to express yourself. I think no matter if you say black. some, people will say white…just cause. I don’t know if it’s the nature of our society…or the nature of this medium. Believe it or not, I do love all humanity as fellow journeyers on a small common ship called Earth…some more than others mind you, but. with empathy if not always with understanding for ALL.

 

 

Dec 3 2012

 

Inside each of us there are two people. There is the “public” us, the us we show to everyone around us…the things we want people to see, the things we think people want to see, the things we think will get us ahead, the things that will make us accepted. Then there is the “private” us, the us who keeps things secret, which reflects who we really are, the us we share with nobody. The things which perhaps others around us could never accept, or would accept with malice. We all have two, no matter what we may think. I believe the more of the private “us” we can share, the more spiritually and mentally healthy we will be. It’s hard though, and I believe for many it can never be totally and completely done.

 

 

 

 

Dec 31 2012

 

The universe is a place of opposition. Because there is light we must have darkness. Because there is love there must be hate. For every good thing there is an opposing bad thing. It is the immutable law of existence and can’t be changed…only mitigated. Fight on the right side people..

 

Dec 18 2012

 

 

Every time I scroll through now I see another photo of one of the poor little children who were so senselessly murdered. It doesn’t get any easier not to cry, not to care. I can’t imagine those parents, those families what they are being forced to endure through no fault of their own. No words exist which could ever fully comfort them. No amount of money or worldly goods will bring back their lost joy. Don’t we owe it to them to at least try…at the very least try as a country to do better? To be better? It is time for us as a country to quit pointing fingers…but instead to join hands and dream some solutions into reality. , so that as we continue to look at the photos of those babies over the coming years we don’t get a whispered question from them….”why haven’t you done something yet?” Is the blood if children not enough to move us to act? If it’s not…then perhaps we really are beyond help.

 

Dec 3 2012

 

 

Inside each of us there are two people. There is the “public” us, the us we show to everyone around us…the things we want people to see, the things we think people want to see, the things we think will get us ahead, the things that will make us accepted. Then there is the “private” us, the us who keeps things secret, which reflects who we really are, the us we share with nobody. The things which perhaps others around us could never accept, or would accept with malice. We all have two, no matter what we may think. I believe the more of the private “us” we can share, the more spiritually and mentally healthy we will be. It’s hard though, and I believe for many it can never be totally and completely done.

 

It’s sad sometimes to be so ordinary when society dictates we must be exceptional or we are irrelevant. I think I would rather be ordinary and be me then to be “important” and compromise. I suppose I am turning into the prototypical “crotchety old man” so if I write something you disagree with…just feel free to express yourself. I think no matter if you say black. some people will say white…just cause. I don’t know if it’s the nature of our society..or the nature of this medium. Believe it or not, I do love all humanity as fellow journeyers on a small common ship called Earth…some more than others mind you, but. with empathy if not always with understanding for ALL.

 

November 27 2012

 

spent some time earlier looking at some things under high magnification. What appears ordinary when viewed with the naked eye is extraordinary under magnification. I went to take my dogs out and the stars were coming out and looked gorgeous. What is obscured by the light of day is beautified by the quiet calm of night. I truly wonder if the nature of existence stretches to infinity in both directions. We think we know so much when we actually know very little.

 

November 20 2012

 

Back when I was in fifth grade…I remember Mrs. Ponder was my teacher. I remember her as being pretty severe. I remember being in her class one day, and I sat next to my friend “Barbecue” He had a little magazine that was kind of a “girlie” thing and was looking at it. Somebody on the other side of me wanted to see it, and just as I was passing it….Mrs. Ponder walked in. I was caught red handed AND red faced. You can try to explain your way out of something like that…but as a 5th grade boy there ain’t no way. So I had to go see Ms. Ethel….that wasn’t a good year for me because I misbehaved in class a lot of other times too. Most of the time Mrs. Ponder made us write long hand on sheets of ruled notebook paper: “I will not misbehave in class” 500 times. You may think it that it’s not much…but just try it out sometime. Mind numbing and wrist rubbing monotony. Now. I have said that to say this: When it comes to FB I am going to write 500 times…”I will not comment on political posts” “I will not comment on political posts” “I will not…..heck….I don’t think I can do it. I think I am going to go hunt me up some notebook paper now….

 

November 15 2012

 

It’s going to be an Old Fashioned Christmas this year….everyone is getting a paper bag filled with penny candies, oranges, apples, peppermint candy and nuts…..I used to enjoy these when I was a kid, but I suppose that was a “lifetime” ago. I remember sitting at the foot of a Christmas tree which was just a spruce that my Grandparents had cut down, and opening a few presents…but I still loved that ol’ “brown bag” of goodies that the “Old Zion” Baptist Church used to give all the kids. Christmas seems to be so much more complicated nowadays, what with “Black Friday” and all the emphasis on shopping and gifting. I always enjoy the “kick off” being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and watching “Miracle on 34th St.” NOT, Halloween and “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” We can’t seem to see the forest for the trees anymore… As for me, I’ll take good health this year….and oh…a brown paper bag of goodies…that’s about it.

 

November 11 2012

 

My Dad was always the consummate “veteran” After serving in the Navy from 1945-52 he developed a lot of “Navy” habits. I can remember many times of waking up in my very early grade school years to “Hit the deck, hit the deck” What is the deck, and why…do I want to hit it, I thought? It seemed rather strange back then, but now as I look back through nostalgic eyes, it was rather natural. Having only been out of the service for a few years back in those days, Dad still had the “Navy” in his blood. He just wanted me and my brother to experience some of the rigors of “boot camp” which he had gone through, so he was simply running his own “mini” version with us.

There were also those many, many “Navy” stories. The knockdown drag out fights with fellow ship mates over some trivial slight magnified by being in close quarters out on the Ocean for so long. Then there were the memories of the horrors of death and starvation in a post War Korea, and in China, with human beings literally freezing to death in the streets. The many slick trades of cigarettes for goods…like the set of painted porcelain dragon china which hung in Mom and Dad’s kitchen for so long. The earlier memories of the last days of World War II, first being a gunner’s mate on the ship’s huge guns, then moving on to the 115 degree boiler room and advancing in rank. I was regaled by all these tales more than once, and in retrospect I was enthralled by the listening. There were so many more of them, and they filled my childhood with wonder and awe at the things which went on in the big World.

Dad never lost his allegiance to his flag and country by one iota as he got old. Though he hated War, and told me that many times, he always respected the people who were serving their country. One of my favorite photos of him is of him standing there holding an American flag and looking wistfully out at the camera…perhaps thinking about those days that he fought for his country, watched some of his friends and ship mates die for their country, and came back home a changed man.

I want to thank all of you Veterans today for YOUR service. I too have always been against War, but never have I ever had anything but respect for the human beings who have to stare death and hardship directly in the eye in service to our country. Thank you, and bless you.

 

 

October 2 2012,

 

Someone passed out of memory today….
My Grandmother Stewart lived to be 100 years old, and she often told me that she would be “alive” until she passed out of memory, meaning that as long as someone who knew her remembered her…then her memory would live one and she would continue in some measure to “live.” So, therefore, somewhere someone passed out of memory today and “died” completely. The last person who remembered them passed away. They became a part of History and no longer a part of the community of life.

My Grandmother stills does live, because there are many of us living who remember her, all that she did for us…how much she loved us. How she cared for us, comforted us. She has great-grandchildren who will be alive for MANY years to come who will carry on her memory. That’s what I am trying to do with my little Grandchildren, with hope that someday, somehow, long after I am gone that I will still live in their minds and hearts, and that those memories are good, genuine and loving like those of my Grandmother are to me. And one day, when I do pass into History…it will be all good; it will be alright…it will be peace eternal.

 

September 17, 2012

 

Deep thoughts from a shallow mind…..

I got to thinking. What is fulfillment? What does it mean? How do we get it? God in Heaven it is SO TOUGH. And then, I thought some more.

If I have ever done or said a kind word to someone when they needed it, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever given good advice to my children, whether by pure accident, as would be the case most of the time or by chance of experience then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever kissed my wife, and she was satisfied that she had married the right man, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever sung a song that brought out an honest emotion, or written a word that sparked a thought in someone’s mind, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever fed a hungry animal, albeit a bird, cat, dog, squirrel, or any other living thing that God has created, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever thought a thought that was pure enough for God to appreciate, then I am fulfilled.

If I have ever cooked food for loved ones, or strangers that they enjoyed or that made them happy, then I am fulfilled.

If I ever told a joke that got an HONEST laugh, then I am fulfilled.

I have seen the Ocean on both sides of this wonderful country and walked in the sands and didn’t do it until I was 16 years old. It was so wonderful, so I am fulfilled.

I have stood besides ruins of a culture over 2500 years old, and I am fulfilled.

I have touched the skin and felt the warmth of every person who I have loved the most on this Earth, and have been fulfilled.

I have eaten my Grandmother’s suppers, and have been filled and fulfilled.

I have listened to my Grandfather play the banjo and sing.

I have found an arrowhead in a field, and thought about the people who once populated this land, and was genuinely sorry for what they had to go through, and I am fulfilled.

I have seen a Golden Eagle in flight.

I have listened to the Beatles, Elvis, Mahalia Jackson, Percy Faith, Perry Como, Rod Stewart, Johnny Mathis, The Blues Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, Ray Boltz, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Laura Fabian, Eva Cassidy, Judy Garland, Jerry Lee Lewis, Clint Black, The Everly Brothers, and on and on. God I love music so much. I will miss it one of these days.

I have watched Meteors pour from the sky at such a rate that no one could have counted them.

I have seen an eclipse of the Sun and the Moon, and have seen a Comet in the Eastern sky during the early morning.

I have caught the tears of my children and grandchildren and tasted them. I have touched them when their skin was so soft and delicate that my whiskers made little red spots.

I have played my guitar to the UTTERMOST fulfillment in my younger days, and oh what a catharsis it has been for me. Bless the person who invented it.

I have eaten wild onions and smoked rabbit tobacco. I hated them both but it was a matter of fulfillment.

I have given money to many a homeless person, and have never told a soul.

I have been in the middle of Storms of Nature and Storms of life that I did not think I would ever survive, but I did. And I have been fulfilled.

And the list could go on and on forever.

I have loved this life, and the souls of the people that our creator has chose to populate the bodies of the ones I love. I love it still every day. I want it still every day. I am afraid of it still every day.

I have witnessed things every day that I could not have imagined when I was a child.

I have seen the wonderful side of mankind first hand, but have seen his terrible wrath on film and video, and in person. But strangely that also is fulfillment still.

I know that those who cannot do the things I have named above lack something which they can never, ever find. And they will NEVER be fulfilled.

I don’t know what will happen on the day I leave this earth. But I have been fulfilled.

 

 

September 15 2012

 

I’m afraid of heights. I also don’t like flying. I don’t like big crowds and speaking in front of a group of people terrifies me. Funny how things that are simple and basic to some people make other peoples knees turn to jelly.

I don’t know where a lot of these fears came from. Some of them have just developed over the years. Some fears we have always harbored. I have always been afraid of death. I never even wanted to think about it until the last few years. It’s a subject that most of us definitely want to avoid. I think sometimes we feel like if we talk about it, it might jinx us and we will end up on the “mortar board” at some funeral home before the days out. Also, it’s a pretty depressing subject to broach. Nobody wants to be depressed, so nobody talks about it. I can’t remember the first time I thought about it, and was scared. I think it was when I was about four years old. Really, it’s true. As a little kid when I should have been thinking about playing cowboys and Indians, I was mulling over the great unknown. It’s been a bummer over the years.

Lately, I have come to the conclusion that by talking about death maybe we can make it less scary. I am not as afraid of it as I used to be. It’s not the little kid fear of going to hell and burning up in a blazing fire type fear anymore. It’s more of just an apprehension of something unknown. It’s a disappointment that I might not be around to see my loved ones complete most of their journey that they have started. It’s the conversations and contact with my family and friends that I don’t want to give up. The touches and looks of people you love, and who love you. Most of all, it turns out that it’s a selfish thing. Imagine that. I have so many selfish reasons for living that I don’t want to die and give them all up.

I don’t want to give up the beautiful sunny days like the one we had this past week. I don’t want to give up the good books that I enjoy reading every day. I don’t want to give up the glorious music I listen to every night.

But, it’s not what we want that we get is it?

There are so many theories and theological thesis about what happens to us after we die. It’s hard to pin one down and stick with it. One thing that I can assure you though is that it will be different from any of them. I don’t think that man has been given the knowledge, through any type of religion or science of what really happens. I am a Christian and believe he lived, but some people may not be the same as me. It may be that we just have peace. Peace would be nice; I’ll take that over some of what I’ve heard over the years.

I’ve seen a lot of people going through unbelievable suffering, or who no longer know who or what they are who would take peace too. There was a little old lady who was “rooming” next to my Mother at the nursing home a couple of years ago who was there one day and gone the next. She was in bad shape. She was ready for a rest, and she got it. I think if you could have broken through the wall of her senility she would have told you she was. A lot of times people outlive the desire to live, and when they do that, they are ready for peace. I am sure she wasn’t scared of it. Maybe welcomed it.

As long as we have the desire, then we should “keep on truckin’” as we used to say back in the 70’s. It’s when we lose the desire, due to things that are happening to us physically, that it becomes a hardship to keep on keeping on.

So, I guess as my perspective has changed from that little shivering four year old kid, who shouldn’t have even known what death was, to the more knowledgeable but equally unknowing 61 year old that I am now am. I still have my desire to live and hope that I keep it for a long, long time to come. I hope all of you do also. But, when we are ready for peace, I hope we find it and that it turns out to be better than we ever imagined.

 

 

August 23, 2012

 

I now have the cleanest squirrel in the State of Georgia living in the tree in my front yard. The bold little feller is a permanent resident of the Ivy encased Elm tree that stands on the West side of the house providing much needed evening shade. I water my plants regularly and refresh the water in the birdbaths every day or so, and I use a hose pipe with a “sweeper” nozzle so I can get out to the farthest reaches of my postage stamp size yard. I was over next to the fence, just fixing to quit when the “dirty” little squirrel climbed down off his limb onto the top of one of my birdhouses. Seeing that he needed a bath, I screwed the nozzle to “high” which produces the strongest stream of water possible. Pointed the hose in his direction and let go of the crimp in the hose pipe I had been holding. Now..I’ve seen squirrels make some amazing moves…they are quite acrobatic creatures, but when that stream of water hit that little bushy tailed rodent he did a double back flip with three and a half turns straight UP onto the limb above his head. It took him two more seconds to get back up to his home base…where he sat chattering and shaking like a wet dog. Well..now he’s clean and I ain’t seen him trying to rob the poor finches today…..

 

July 26 2012

 

The last time I ever saw and spoke with my Grandfather in 1992, he was 98 years old. His mind was ravaged by Dementia and his kidneys were failing. Yet, all he could talk about that day were his bees. He wasn’t making much sense about anything else, but for some reason that day he had the bees on his mind. You see, he had been a beekeeper almost all of his life, and he was worried about them. Very worried.

As far back as I can remember there were always bee hives surrounding his old two storied clapboard house. They were not out in some distant field somewhere. They were within feet of the front porch, resting on large flat rocks that Grandpa had brought down behind a mule from near the top of “Johnny” Mountain which loomed tall just across Uncle Lark’s corn field straight out in front of the home place.

They were neat little white painted wooden boxes, with another one of the flat rocks on top. Simplicity in design beyond today’s comprehension, but workable nonetheless. I used to be mesmerized as a child watching these tireless workers fly in and out, and in and out of the little hole cut in the bottom of the wooden box, which served as their one entrance and exit from the hive. I could watch them for hours on end and never tire of the wonderment of their movements and the soliloquy of their buzzing symphony.

They would zip around my head as I sat on the front porch swing, and I once made the mistake of swatting one of them when he got too close. Not only did I get a sting from the bee, but a lecture from Grandpa. “They won’t hurt you, if you don’t hurt them first” he said. “They’re out helpers, and you gotta let ‘em be” I had to take this advice literally, coming from a man who more often than not would rob a hive of bees wearing no extra clothing besides a heavy pair of leather gloves. He talked to them as he took out the honey, telling them he was leaving enough for them to survive the winter. Talked and hummed all the while.

But late that afternoon in 1992 he was worried about them.

“Will you take care of the bees this year?” he asked “I just don’t think I will be up to it”

“And mind you, don’t swat none of them, we need them every one”

“Sure Grandpa” I answered. “I’ll take care of them”

Now we are looking at the very real prospect that something is very wrong with our Honey bees. The populations are disappearing, and with them the possibility of apple and peach trees that don’t get pollinated, corn fields and soy bean crops that may be lost, perennials that may not bloom again. How important these creatures, who we hardly ever notice, unless they sting us, really are to our society. If they were all to disappear today, would humanity survive? We may find out unless the energies of our government and scientist hone in on what it is exactly that is making them disappear.

I remember nothing so well as the sweet taste of the fresh harvested honeycomb, and how the honey would drip from the edges of my mouth when I bit into it. I would hate for my grandchildren and their grandchildren to never have that chance. I personally feel like I have let my Grandpa down because when I spoke with him that day in 1992, I thought it was just the ramblings of an errant mind, and I didn’t think anymore about it.

But Grandpa knew how important these insects were. “They’re our helpers, we need them everyone” he had said.

We certainly do, and all of us had better realize it before it’s too late.

 

 

July 4 2012,

 

 

Many things happen…bad things happen to good people and vice-versa. Sickness strikes, accidents happen, children die. You hear..it’s part of God’s plan. I think God’s plan is this: He gave man free will and the things which happen in this world, in our lives and the lives of others is a direct consequence of the free will God has given us. Does God know what is going to happen to people? I think perhaps God chooses NOT to know…because if he did know and took steps to intervene, then it would not be free will. I know this may be a paradox of a sort, but consider that God DOES choose to forget our sins when he forgives them. Not just forgives…but FORGETS sin which is forgiven. I don’t think then, that it is stretching the belief too far to suppose that in giving human beings free will God has chosen (for the most part) NOT to know what is going to happen in our lives and the consequences which may befall others due to OUR choices. Consider the little 8 and 13 year old boys who were just killed recently by a drunken boat driver. Would God have chosen to let those boys die? I think it was a consequence of the free will of the drunken driver which caused the outcome of the untimely death of these two children. I believe God knows when he will END the days of our free will. Until then I think God’s plan is to give us free choice to do either bad…or hopefully good.

 

April 13 2014,

 

All the Master’s I have won.

Sitting here watching the Masters, I like to remember back to my High School years and all of the times which I won that tournament. It was many times, as I remember….
I switched from baseball to golf after I had a knee injury while playing baseball. Old Doc Clemens wanted me to walk…even while I still had a cast on my injured left knee. My Dad liked golf, so he bought me a set of “Kroyden” golf clubs from one of the supervisors he knew at the mill. It was minus a 3 iron…which had gotten wrapped around a tree. Thinking back, I guess that’s why he got them so cheaply. The guy was giving up the sport. I still have the nine iron from that set. I used it for years and years around the greens. I chipped a lot of balls in the hole with that club. I won the Masters a couple of times with it.
I had a hole in one on number four at the Trion golf course once. It was, however, a two. I was playing with old friend of mine Steve Hammonds. I lined up that five iron and took a mighty first swing…..and…whiffed the ball. Totally missed it. I tried to play it off as a practice swing, but Hammond wouldn’t let me. I changed clubs to a four iron and swung a little more gently and the ball took one hop and bounced right into the hole. “Hole in one” I yelled. “No, said Steve…it’s a two” Ah well, at least it was a birdie. The only hole in one in all my years of playing and it would have to be a two!
Being a solitary soul, I played many rounds alone. Those were the “majors” for me. I can’t tell you all the amazing shots which I made, all of the commentary from the announcers. (I didn’t know who they were back then…but they later turned into the voices of Pat Summerall and Ken Venturi) I made up all the acceptance speeches, held all of the “loving” cups with my name engraved into them. I won the “grand slam” many times over.
The golf course was my home away from home. I worked at the “pro shop” for a couple of years and learned a lot of neat new words from all of the older golfers, as the shop was just off of the first tee at Trion…with the river running right next to the fairway on the right. My friend Michael Brown and I dove into that muddy mess after a lot of tournaments and felt in the “gunk” with our hands, often coming up with dozens of balls which had found their way into the “wet” I mowed around the roughs and sloughs. (Lamar would NEVER trust me to mow the fairways or the greens) I caddied for the guys from Ware Shoals S.C., when they came down for their yearly match with the Trion supervisors. They paid better, especially as a caddy AND a player, I knew the course well.
My best tournament I ever played (with the exceptions of those imaginary ones) was in my senior year at Trion High. There was a fall tournament…a “Jaycees” tournament for the youth of the community. It was divided by age and I was in the “fourteen and over” group. I played excellent and consistent during this 27 hole day long affair. I had three 37’s for 111. Three over par. Some of the best golf I have ever played. The air was crisp and leaves were already starting to turn. The sun was gorgeous and temperature just loomed in the 70’s. The golf course was in immaculate condition. As I walked up onto the old clubhouse steps after my last round I just knew that I was going to finally get that trophy I wanted do badly. It would make up for losing the Region tournament low medalist by hitting my ball inside a 55 gallon trash can. I knew I could beat all the kids around town with my score. I hadn’t counted on an outsider from Savannah coming up and playing and shooting a final round 33 to post a 108 and win our age group. His Daddy Tommy had been pro at the Trion golf course some years back. Kid’s name was Andy Bean. He did go on to win a lot of money on the PGA tour…but that wasn’t any consolation to me at the time.
I haven’t played a round of golf since about 2004 or 2005. I think about playing from time to time but just don’t get out there and do it. Perhaps I’ll go play a round by myself someday soon just to get back into the “swing” of it. I can hear Pat Summerall’s voice now….”and Bowers chips the ball into the hole on the 18th, winning the 1975 Masters” Ahh the memories..both real and imagined.

 

June 30, 2012

AMERICA: WHAT WENT WRONG?

Once upon a time, the measures served a purpose. Their usefulness today, in assessing the current and future state of Americans at work in a global economy, operating without restraints, is doubtful.

For the middle class, there are more relevant measures. For example: What is the rate at which new jobs that pay middle-class wages-upwards of $20,000 a year-are being created? What is the rate at which such jobs are being eliminated?

How much of your weekly paycheck is being transferred to wealthy investors in the form of interest payments on the national debt? What percentage of your paycheck do you have left over after deductions for Social Security and federal, state, and local taxes? How does that percentage compare with, say, the percentage retained by persons earning more than $100,000 a year? What is the rate of job loss attributable to unrestrained imports?

How much of your paycheck is going for health-care costs? What is the percentage of the work force that will receive a guaranteed annual pension?

In the pages that follow, you will find the answers, or at least partial answers, to these and many other questions. But mostly you will find a disturbing picture of American economic life at the close of the twentieth century.

You might think of what is happening in the economy-and thereby to you and your family-in terms of a professional hockey game, a sport renowned for its physical violence. Imagine how the game would be played if the old rules were repealed, if the referees were removed.

That, in essence, is what is happening to the American economy. Someone changed the rules. And there is no referee. Which means there is no one looking after the interests of the middle class.

They are the forgotten Americans.

 

June 27, 2012

 

Well…when at first you don’t succeed getting something posted try two more times….but it’s worth trying again:

I noticed that Mrs. Nellie McWhorter has died. Besides my Mom and Dad she is the person in Trion of whom I have the longest memories. I remember her from when we lived up on sixth street back in the early 1950’s. She was always so nice to the little crazy boy next door. She let me hunt lightning bugs in her back yard, and even gave me a jar to put them in. She told me “Make sure and let them out in the morning, so they don’t die” I had fun with those little bugs that night. Bet I had a hundred of them in that jar! She also would let me play in their driveway with my little old “tootsie” toy cars. The neighbors ALWAYS had a better driveway to play in! She never had a cross word that I can remember. I know that her husband passed away fairly early and left her a widow. I remember seeing her out and about back in the 1970’s after we moved back to Trion, and was surprised she know my name…Back 10 or more years ago she started driving her little blue Ford sedan down to Trade Day and selling knick knacks and fried pies to make a little money to make it through the month on. A lot of elderly people did and are doing that. I got to renew my friendship with her, because I loved the pies and I hate I didn’t know who to ask what had happened to her. I have been missing her, and now know we will continue to miss her. It happens quite often with that group of older folks, one of whom I am fast becoming, who come down to set up and make a few little dollars. RIP Mrs. Nellie…you will be missed.

 

June 22 2012

 

Misunderstanding is almost always caused by a lack of information.Deep thoughts from a shallow mind…

 

June 20, 2012

 

 Yesterday’s Trade Day at Summerville had to set a record for the most people I have EVER seen set up and selling. TONS of people! The problem was that there were NOT nearly as many people buying! Dealers were buying from each other…but the number of people coming in to just buy things was VERY low. Dealers had piles and piles of “STUFF” on their tables…a lot of it very similar in nature. It’s the American curse. We have bought and bought things which we “thought” we just had to have and now, when people are out of jobs, low on money, can’t get loans, etc., they are having to sell this unnecessary “stuff” to try and get some money. Problem is, that of all the things which people brought to sell, 90% of it probably went back home with them. There are “thrift” stores popping up all over the place to sell the “stuff” that people finally get tired of hauling around themselves and trying to sell. There are “estate” and yard sales by the dozens every weekend during the “good weather” months. All this leads me to conclude that there is something very basic and fundamental wrong in this country. We have succumbed to the dogma of “consumerism” with the TV blaring out at us to continually “buy this and buy that” newest product until we really believe we cannot do without what they are telling us we need. We have reached a very dangerous crossroad in America where something basic must change if we are to survive as a country. Americans must attend to their NEEDS and NOT their WANTS. It will cause a shift in the way things are done, not only in the manufacturing sector of the country, but possibly even in the way this country if actually governed. Will we do it? Probably not. We will probably all just continue to drag our “stuff” we don’t want to the flea markets, or have a yard sale, or default on our storage building rentals and let the “storage wars” guys buy it out. That might be the easiest and best idea…at least then it would be THEIR problem!

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