2730 Words


2730 words. That is all he wrote. 2730 words define his poetry and deepest thoughts. So few, yet they say so much. How can it be?

There are fewer words in an obituary, even fewer on a tombstone, summing up most of our lives. We don’t know how the person buried under the soil felt, or what they thought, or what engaged them. And when those that knew them are gone too, all is lost.

It is beyond sad so few of us leave behind any written legacy for our loved ones. A quote, a thought, a story, a remembrance, to hand down from generation to generation sharing and telling the future what the past was all about.

Each of us has a story, lived a life seen only from our perspective. We know things no one else knows, and we share only what is acceptable, easy, and gentle. The hard truth, the pain, the rage, all of those are buried as deep as a coffin, shame.

2730 words are the legacy of my son. Something to share, no matter how painful, with all those who loved him, and all those who will never meet him in this life. It was an honor to put his words together for those who will come after.

Enough Already


Okay snowflakes and crybullies, enough is enough. It is one thing to protest, you have that right, it is totally different to riot because that crosses the line to illegal activities.

Those windows you broke, the businesses you looted, the cars you destroyed, those belong to someone who works hard for a living. Many of them may have voted for your candidate. In fact, most of them probably did seeing as the areas being looted are in the most liberal cities in the country. How does that help your ’cause’?

All Americans who have been on the opposite side of the results of an election have been disappointed and upset by being on the losing side. But I have yet to see Conservatives tearing up the town to protest their loss. It seems that the majority of them are either too busy working or too busy taking care of family and helping in the community to go out and break things. If they do protest it is by voting or writing a letter to their congressional representatives. It is a futile thing to keep expecting a different outcome from behaving the same way over and over.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr must be turning in his grave to see how people “protest” these days. Dragging a man out of his car and beating him just because he is white and may have voted for Trump, beating a girl at high school because someone in her family voted for Trump (she wasn’t even old enough to vote), beating a 70 some odd man because he shouted All Lives matter and the black woman next to him didn’t like it, all of those are acts of violence. Dr. King was as anti violence as anyone could get. He helped change the world for Black and White people, and this is how you treat his legacy? Really?

To be clear, according to my DNA, I am a multi-race person. I have light skin, light eyes, and silver hair, but I am not just white. Likewise, if you are an American for more than one or two generations, you are probably as mixed race as I am. So that will make you just like me and me just like you. Get over the race thing, it is immature and self defeating. No one respects a bully, and that is what calling everyone racists is doing, bullying.

Get over yourselves all you millennial snowflakes who melt and swoon at the drop of the use a perfectly decent word. When you grow up and leave your protected safe place at university, you will have to go out into the big bad world and work. Guess what, your boss isn’t going to give a rap about how someone micro insulted you. Put on your big boy or girl britches and grow the hell up. The whole micro aggression thing used to be solved easily on the playground around the age of six. “Sticks and stones may break my bones… or it bounces off of me and sticks to you…” Holy cats people, have you really been so wrapped in cotton wool and protected by your helicopter parents that you can’t cope with someone saying something without taking it as an insult or becoming a sobbing mess?

I have noticed, however, that the most easily offended snowflake or crybully is often the first to start screaming invectives and socially unacceptable verbiage as soon as they have two or more bullies at their back. Having a conversation is not allowed due to their allergy to their self perceived micro aggression. Instead, they start throwing things and becoming unmanufactured in the most vicious way possible. Then they whine about racists, sexists, homophobic, people who don’t understand them. Well gee whiz, Wally, get a grip, no one is required to agree with or understand your snit fit.

I am old, to most of you snowflakes, ancient. I don’t agree one whit with the whole concept of safe places, binky, and blanket nonsense that you demand like a bunch of spoiled two year old brats. If you are considered an adult, act like one. Otherwise, go to your safe place and suck your thumb until you can act like one. Enough enough, it is time to get over yourselves.

It Isn’t Personal


I know that all my liberal friends are in deep mourning – and in one of several stages of grief – shock, denial, anger – at the moment. I am sorry you are taking this so personally, because it isn’t a personal attack on you, it simply is what it is.

I don’t get all the emotional reaction to any of this. It isn’t as if it is some sort of personal insult to all the people who voted for Clinton and lost out. Opposite sides voted, one had to win, ergo, one had to lose. I don’t understand the investment of deep emotions over something which we, individually, have no control.

This isn’t about emotion, it is about politics. Period. Had Trump lost I would have been disappointed, but my life would go on and I would keep fighting to keep America free. I wouldn’t start destroying other people’s property or break down into a sobbing mess.

Just because the candidate I voted for won, doesn’t mean he is going to get a free pass, he will be watched very carefully by his supporters, and, I hope, by all Americans.

So, do your grieving, take a deep breath, grab a drink of something soothing, have a good cry, and when you are ready, join the rest of us in making a difference in the world around us.

Insanity in Florida June 12, 2016


So, once again a prediction I made several years ago has happened. It was only a matter of time before gay hating Muslim terrorists decided to make an example of them to the rest of the world. Apparently, a proud moment for the backward third world creeps who hate everyone from women to gays to anyone who doesn’t bow down to their insanity. I can’t even drum up enough mad to be outraged, it was just a matter of time.
 
The people in this country KNOW we are hated, we KNOW that we are targets, we KNOW that killing us means that they get to heaven. They LIVE the assassin creed founded over two thousand years ago in the middle east and do NOT expect to live, to do so would be failure.
 
Yet, the club filled with rainbow people is NOT guarded by someone with a weapon, and no one inside was allowed to carry a weapon (I mean a gun people, not drugs, booze, or mind bending substances), so this indoctrinated, hate filled, evil person walked right in and started killing. He was out numbered, but no one even THOUGHT to try to gang up on him and stop him. They just saw a gun and some crazy guy shouting in Arabic, and ran screaming.
 
All it would have taken is one guy with a gun, a group willing to attack him from behind, someone smacking him over the head with a bottle of whiskey… a chair… or knifing him with a pocket knife.
 
ONE person could have stopped this madness, but now, instead, all those families and loved ones of the deceased will mourn, and all those who are injured will have months, years, even life to deal with the results of this act.
 
ONE person did this, ONE person could have stopped him. Just ONE.

“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”


“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people my age tend to simply stop. They stop doing fun things, they stop being involved, they stop thinking and growing intellectually. They just stop. Then they sit about and complain about how boring life is, how hard it is to do things they used to do, how much they wish they had done such and such before they got too old. They are failing to thrive in the late years of their lives. And there is no excuse for that- period.

I know, things are a bit harder to do when knees hurt,backs don’t want to bend, and the body gets tired much easier than it did at the age of forty. We all have to slow down,but that doesn’t mean we have to stop. It may take longer, but there is no reason not to at least try.

Years ago there was a movie entitled Cocoon followed by another, Cocoon Returns. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest watching them at least once. It starred a lot of “stars” who were getting quite elderly. All stuck in a nursing home, waiting to die, fussing at one another, etc. Until things change due to a visit from the aliens. Look, I know it is really a sappy story, but what I loved about it was the willingness of almost all of the elderly folks to embrace that which was different. If their youth didn’t return, their joy for life certainly did. And, at the end of the day, their inaction became action, and their lives infinitely better.

Another movie I loved was Driving Miss Daisy, a stellar performance by one and all. Again, another character that defies the tendency to just sit down and stop. Fried Green Tomatoes is a fantastic film. Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy were great together and the flashback between Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson is equally dynamic. At the end of the day, we are still not sure which woman Jessica Tandy was as the elderly friend of Kathy Bates. Ambiguity saturates the film, while turning Katy Bates’ character from a meek doormat into a woman filled with confidence. And, of course, the character played by Shirley Mclaine in Steel Magnolias is just like I want to be when I get old.

I see many older folks off and doing things all over the world. They travel, explore, serve missions of compassion – regardless of sore knees and aching backs. They move, act, and they live every minute of every day. That is what I want to do too.

When our youngest son went off to college, my husband and I decided to work our way around the world. Eight years later, we finally returned to the US. As we were raising our granddaughter, she went right along with us. We lived in London, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, and only came back to the US due to health issues and the awful Socialized Medical care in NZ. We traveled all over each region and were enriched many times over by our experiences.

But I was in my forty’s when we did that. Now I am sixty, and it is going to become more difficult to do some of the things we did. So, we chose other things to do so we could travel. A cruise or four, a road trip across the US, and our big adventure this year is to travel across country by train. I don’t hike for miles any longer, but I sure can sit and enjoy the view from the train.

So there is no excuse not to thrive, people. Just get up, take a few steps, find a hobby that fulfills you, volunteer as a surrogate grandmother to rock babies at the hospital. Volunteer at the schools or libraries to help kids with their reading skills. Go help out a nursing home if you have a talent like playing the piano. There are a multitude of things you can do to overcome the lack of inertia and sedentary inaction. For me, being with my grandchildren is one of my greatest motivators. I write, I hang out on social media sites, I keep up with friends and work on my family history, and I am planning on taking art lessons. I have always wanted to learn how to paint. That will be so much fun!

So, you are old, so what? Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. Just because your body is starting to creak and moan, it doesn’t mean your brain isn’t functioning. (Unless you have a serious condition, of course.) With all the medical miracles out today, most of us will live well into our eighties or nineties.

I have a friend who is ninety-eight. For the several decades, she has traveled the world following the performances of the operas of Wagner. All on her own, she would jump on a plane and off she would go to Italy, France, Germany, or any place in the world that the operas were being performed. What an amazing lady

who just kept on going like an Eveready Battery. She is running down now, but she is still in control of her life and decided to go home until the end of her days. It is heartbreaking, but at the same time, what a life she has had! Even now, she keeps busy with doing her family history and chatting with her friends and family.

Even if you are homebound, unable to walk, unable to drive, so what? There are a million things you can do to keep your brain healthy and busy. Never just stop and wait to die. We all have a finite amount of time here in this life. I could spend it worrying about death, or I can just get on with living while I am still here.

The more we let inaction rule our lives, the less likely we are to live a long life. Not just because our bodies need to move to function well, but because our brains atrophy at an alarming rate. Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. But it is only you that can take that first step. I can’t wait to become a feisty old woman who says exactly what she wants to say about everything.

Come on people, get up, find a cause, reason, purpose, or passion to fill your life. Go on!

 

Somewhere Out There


Out there, somewhere, in all the documents, papers, and stories of humanity, is information concerning one Thomas Napoleon Vandenburg, born in 1814 in either Germany or Holland, and died – according to lore – in 1864 in an insane asylum in Tennessee. We know he married a woman named Elizabeth, had three sons, all of which are easily documented, and the descendants of those three sons are scattered world wide. That’s it, that is all we have about this man who is my direct descendant.

Oh, I know, he is long dead, and that the stories about him died with his children or grandchildren. No one who knew him still walks the earth. But it bothers me that a man who was a father, husband, and no doubt, friend is simply erased as if he was unimportant in the formation of our family line. To me, he isn’t just a name and date on a piece of paper, he is part of who I am from the smallest part of DNA to, perhaps, how I look and act. It is a connection that becomes more important the longer I can’t find an answer.

As most genealogy enthusiasts know, there is always the one brick wall that makes us keep on pounding away. So many things can cause a brick wall. A name change, a spelling change, someone just decides to drop out of sight and moves on with a new life. All of that was much easier the further back one goes in history in the United States and other wilderness areas that became dumping grounds for criminals and religious fanatics. That very combination of rebelliousness was ripe for anarchy. Wars added to the losses, and sometimes, the soldier joined up using a fake name and disappeared into the chaos of history ending in a nameless grave somewhere on a nameless piece of land.

Disease, insanity, grueling hard scrabble lives, starvation, and wanderlust added their share of ghosts and lost men and women who became vague names in some old Bible or land document. There are thousands of ways a man could die in the past that would be cured with a simple pill today. The greed for gold alone took thousands of men from their families into the gold fields of California. A multitude of them were never heard from again. Some simply slipped away, some died horrific deaths, some drank themselves to death, and some managed to make it home, or bring their families to them to start a new life.

Today, it is rare that someone can simply disappear. We have documentation from the second we are born until the day we are buried or cremated at the end of our lives. Millions of tons of paper and ink are outlaid on each person born in a modern society. And now, with social media, computer hackers, and everything available electronically, we are even less likely to be able to disappear. Eventually, someone, somewhere, will recognize the missing person or discover when and where he or she died. I abhor the modern world of constant surveillance and intrusion, yet still wish that our ancestors had been a bit more organized and determined to keep records straight.

However, as I beat against that brick wall that is Thomas Napoleon Vandenburg’s history, I know in my heart that he is happy that someone cares enough to search for him from so far in the future. One day I will find him, and when I do I will do my Happy Dance and know that all the late nights, road trips, digging around in ragged paperwork and frustration was worth it. His story will be written again, and we will be able to move on to the men and women who brought him into this world. I know he’s out there, somewhere. Hang on Thomas, I am searching as hard as I can.

Brown Eyed Boy


arron_6yrs“Well, hello little man,” The new mother said when she first held her baby boy. He looked at her with his big brown eyes and cried. She cuddled him close and told him not to cry because she would always hold her brown eyed boy in her arms.

“Look at you, you’re walking!” The mommy said as her brown eyed boy took his first steps across the room on his own. He looked at her and smiled a drooling smile as he took his first steps away from her.

“Hurry! We’re late! You don’t want to miss the bus on the first day of school” she said, as she rushed him out the door and down the street to the bus stop. The big yellow bus pulled up and he climbed on with all the other children in his neighborhood. His mommy stood on the curb and smiled at him as the bus moved away. He didn’t see her cry as her brown eyed boy took his first ride away from her.

“Here’s your uniform, you need to change so we can get to the meeting on time. Tonight, you get to move up from a Bear Cub to Webelos in scouting” his mother said, as she rushed from one task to another. When he walked across that bridge to move up to his next rank, she applauded and smiled while he grinned with pride at his accomplishment. He didn’t see her cry as her brown eyed boy took one more step toward the future.

“What have you done!” The mother whispered in a quiet voice, as he was rolled into the emergency room. “We won!” He shouted as they gave him medicine so they could set his collar bone. He didn’t see her cry as he drifted off. But he knew she was right there by his side. She prayed for her brown eyed boy.

“Where have you been!” His mother shouted at him when he stumbled in at daybreak. He knew she had been waiting up for him all night, afraid he wouldn’t come home, afraid he was hurt. “Mom, we were out night fishing. Don’t worry, I’m almost a teenager I can take care of myself. Then he wandered off to bed. He didn’t see his mom cry in relief he was fine, and in sorrow that her brown eyed was one step further away.

“What is this?” His mother asked. He knew she knew what it was as he tried to think of an excuse or a reason he had it in his room. “It’s just pot mom. It isn’t going to hurt me.” He said it with a tone of contempt for her. She threw it away, and he was punished, but it didn’t bother him ’cause he knew where to get more. She knew he knew, and when he left she cried at the dullness and sullenness in the brown eyes of her boy.

“Get Out!” His mother shouted in anger and frustration. “Live by our rules, or live somewhere else.” He grabbed his pack, threw on his boots, and stomped out of the house. He was tired of being treated like a kid, and he would show her that he didn’t need her at all. He didn’t hear the painful sobbing of his mother as her brown eyed boy walked away in rage.

“Mom! It’s a girl.” He sang down the phone in joy when his baby was born. He was overjoyed and so was she. When she got to the hospital, he hugged his mommy tight and whispered, “I never knew, I never knew, how much a parent loves their child until now.” He had tears in his eyes as he held his daughter in his arms. “Well, hello there, little angel baby.” She looked at him with wise brown eyes, and sighed with content.

“Hey Mom! Merry Christmas!” he shouted over the popping phone line! He was, he said, doing great. He had a great woman, a beautiful daughter, a good job, and that is really all a man needed to be happy. “Mom….. Mom…. I’m losing you. I love you,” he shouted just before the line dropped the call. He didn’t hear her say “I love you, too, or see her cry because he missed it, and she deeply missed her brown eyed boy.

“He’s dead! He’s dead!” came over the phone in the deepest part of the night. His mother and father rushed back home to find it was true. It was… it was – inexplicably painful, horrific in every moment of pain. She went to the morgue to identify him. When she started to leave him, she turned back, and gently closed his eyes. He didn’t see her cry as she walked away from him, knowing she wouldn’t see her brown eyed boy until she joined him on the other side one day.

“Nana, can I play my daddy video again?” Her little voice asked. “Of course,” and she put the video on.” She didn’t she her Nana cry as she walked down the hall, knowing her brown eyed girl was getting to know her daddy the only way she could. She didn’t see her smile as her Nana stood still and listened – remembering her brown eyed boy.

Finding A Way Home


 

Finding A Way Home

 

There is a homeless Vet who sits at the off ramp from I240 and Getwell. He is there everyday, rain or shine. I don’t normally stop and give money to homeless people (I do a lot of donating to shelters etc.) especially if I am alone. But one day I was prompted to do so by that annoying little voice that always expects me to do the right thing. All I had on me was a ten dollar bill.

 

I prevaricated, then motioned him over before the light turned green and handed it to him. He looked down, saw the amount, and tried to give it back! I just shook my head and told him to share what he could with those that had less and pay it forward. I still see him every time I am down that way, and if I have some cash, I will give it to him. But even if all I do is wave, he waves back.

 

Some days he looks like he is doing better, cleaned up, not so hungry, not drunk, some days he looks like he hasn’t slept in a week or two and needs some TLC. The point is, none of us know when that might be us sitting at that corner. Most of us are only a few paychecks away from being homeless in today’s financial quagmire. All we can do is work hard, pray hard, stay focused, love those who love us, and do our best.

 

Sometimes the hardest things seem beyond our best coping skills, but later, on down the road, you will wonder how you managed to overcome and move forward. One day, that Vet won’t be at his corner ever again. He will either find a way to fix himself, or he will give up and become one of the millions who die of sorrow every year. Either way, until he disappears, I will continue to offer what spare cash I have, and at the very least, acknowledge him as another human soul who simply wants to find a way home.

 

“Stop blaming guns and start teaching the value of human life.”


Addy-Combs-9-24-2012-profileThe sign said, “Stop blaming guns and start teaching the value of human life.” Made me think about all the death of young people perpetrated by young people in Chicago and other gang infested cities. As we all know, the majority of people being killed are in black on black crimes. We also know that there are more abortions among black females that there are in any other race in America. This causes their religious leaders and communities to lament the loss of the next generation.

Here’s the thing, if kids in the gang culture are taught that being a man means shooting and killing anyone who might have insulted them, come into their territory, or impugned their manhood, they are taught to take a gun to even the score, Then what is the value of human life? If girls in the gang culture are taught that if they get pregnant sleeping around, prostituting themselves, or because they are careless, they are taught to kill their babies by aborting them, then what is the value of human life? And that is why there is a huge decline in black Americans throughout a large portion of American cities.

Along with that particular culture and race, are the rest of the kids who fall into the violence and uninhibited behavior of the gang cultures. The value of life of a human is treated as unimportant as a sneeze. Not even the gangs themselves mourn the loss of a member for long. In too many gang cultures, it is simply the way it is. So, if people are going to die from violence or drug use, why bother to care about them? Again, girls are taught that abortion is a form of birth control and that tissue is not a human being – even though it does have human DNA – so getting rid of it is no more important than blowing one’s nose.

Even among those who are affluent, or not part of gang culture, the idea that human life is valuable is laughed at. The exception being those who are religious who do not practice their religion as a reason to make war and kill others who do not believe as they do. However, those who are raised in a secular society without a moral platform based in caring about their fellow mankind, simply do not see a reason to care beyond their particular circle. Kids sit in front of a screen “playing” violent games where killing is the main focus of a game, numbing them even more to the value of human beings.

Guns, Thank God, are part of American culture, and a means to protect one’s property, self, or family. They are also there to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. Weapons, however, that are used to murder and injure others can be anything from a gun to something as simple as a belt used to strangle someone. It is not the weapon that kills all on it own, it is a person deciding to take a life for some implied slight, because a child would ruin their plans, or because someone has gone mentally ill.

It is the failure to teach our children that human beings are valuable that worries me the most. Are we a raising generation of people who are so selfish and self absorbed that they cannot see the value in others? Are our children remaining childishly concerned about only themselves? Do they find the suffering of others unimportant, and will they simply ignore the loss of life because it isn’t happening to someone they know? Do they know how to love others? Or are we raising a bunch of pack animals who only bond together to mate, commit violence against other packs, and keep their numbers under control by killing off the weakest of the children?

It worries me that so many kids today, and in many cases, their parents, have no manners, no sense of a moral boundary, and no understanding of the value of human life. Our information sources, books, entertainment, and education makes it clear that human beings are the scourge of the earth. Except, naturally, their generation. They are so self absorbed that many of them simply do not recognize they are no different than the kid standing next to them. They are both humans. They are both valuable. They are our future, God help us.

Rambling thoughts on self protection.


I am tired, depressed, and worried. Tired, because I didn’t sleep much last night. Spent most of my time praying and thinking. Depressed, because my heart is filled with sorrow and a feeling of failure. Worried, because those who are cowards and expect someone else to protect them are pushing to take away our right to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves.

You can kill anyone with just about anything that has a blade, or that is heavy enough to land a killing blow. Anything from an ashtray to a sledge-hammer can land such a blow. So, how long will it be until only the criminals and the government have weapons. If we defend ourselves with knives, will they be removed from our hands? What about baseball bats? What if we learn self-defense and fight off our attackers (if they don’t shoot us with their gun first), will we be going to jail like the make people do in England?

How long, I wonder, before we are not allowed to defend ourselves or our property at all. How long until it becomes a crime to speak up or stand up for yourself? Do people actually believe that if we remove guns and weapons from the hands of the law-abiding that the world will suddenly turn into a nice, happy, place with fairies and flowers everywhere? Take away those things we use to protect ourselves from the criminals and the criminals will do what they want.

This is the United States of America, or it used to be. Changing the constitution takes a three quarters vote from the entire Congress. So the second Declaration_Committeeamendment will stand. Local governments will do what they think best for their town  or city, county, or state. So the stupid “celebrities” who are “twittering” garbage like changing the constitution haven’t a hope of doing anything but making themselves look even more moronic than usual.

Besides, If I get rid of my gun, will they get rid of theirs or make their body guards get rid of the guns they carry? Didn’t think so. They NEED a gun because they are targeted for being famous. Shrug . . . that’s what they asked for, that’s what they get.

I don’t advocate violence when it can be avoided or stopped by working things out. However, when dealing with someone hurting innocents, I cannot sit and watch it happen without trying to stop it. I don’t have to use a gun to do that, it is always the last option. But, if someone starts shooting, you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

What amazes me, and really bothers me, are the number of people who say that something else should be done because fighting back is wrong. So, if you see someone being raped or beaten, do you just stand there and take photos with your phone, or do you step in and try to stop what is happening? Calling the cops is the thing to do, but they could be minutes or hours away. So what do you do?

You might get hurt. It isn’t any of your business, you don’t know that person, so why should you bother? If you were the victim, would you want people to just walk on by and ignore your need for help? When did Americans turn into a bunch of selfish, uncaring, unsympathetic, cowards?

It used to be that when someone saw a bad accident, they stopped to help. Now people stop to take videos with their cell phones to put up on YouTube. They see everything from the point of view of a video. I guess that makes it unreal, less urgent, and the further away they are from the reality, the less they give a damn.

Compassion is no longer considered an important quality in a person. Children are taught to be nice to everyone, to accept everyone, even if they are bad or mean. To ignore things they don’t like or are uncomfortable with rather than make a scene. But Compassion is no longer taught. True compassion, not the “let’s make nice” fake compassion taught to kids today.

Don’t think for yourself either. Not supposed to do that. The young teacher killed in Sandy Hook, CT. hid her kids in a closet. Bet you that it is against the rules to put the kids in a closet. But she had the courage to think outside of the box and saved all those kids. One put all her kids in the bathroom and refused to come out until the cops opened the door with a key. Bet you arent’ supposed to do that either, but she did. What great examples of courage and compassion.

So, I am tired, depressed, and deeply worried about the people who have given up and given in to the cowards way out of things. I guess I will just need to suck it up, stand up, speak up, and do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right time.