The Seasons of Mississippi


We live in Mississippi right at the top of the state. We get four seasons, only not as distinctly divided as folks up north. We have spring, sort of. Meaning it will warm up to the mid 70’s, trees and flowers will bloom, then it will rain and rain and rain making the world a mud pit, followed by heat. Lots and lots and lots of heat, which, with the rain, makes everything humid, sticky, and the mosquitoes are very happy.

The summer has arrived. So spring lasted all of four weeks between the middle of March until the middle of April, and sometimes a bonus week just to confuse things even more. With summer, nature is a bit more accommodating. It stays hot, from mid April right on through until the end of October. Sometimes we even get a bonus week or two into November. Because, well, it is Mississippi and she does what she wants to do.

Along comes fall. It is still hot, cooling down to all of 80 degrees or so, at night. This last for about two weeks. The leaves turn yellowish, then brown, then they all fall down (rumor has it that is why it is called fall). This happens within a week of cooler weather, sometimes it all happens within a day, if the wind blows. The leaves around here are not used to wind, it scares them right off the trees. Within two weeks, the trees are bare, the grass is brown, and all the flowers, except for the vastly confused azalea in the corner of yards, die. The wind blows harder, and it rains and rains and rains until the cold gets here from up north or back west. Then it is winter.

It stays cold, it keeps raining leaving everything floating in a pit of mud until a miracle happens. It ices over and it snows. For one day, maybe two or three on a bad winter. All the natives freak out, rush around buying out the grocery stores and filling all their extra fuel cans while driving like completely out of control children. By the time they get home and put everything away, the snow is melting and it starts to rain again. If the sun comes out, people act like they have no clue what the big yellow ball floating in the sky is supposed to do or why it is there. Everyone becomes hermits except between six and nine AM. and four and six PM. when they rush between home and work or work and home. It is winter, and it might, gasp, get down to freezing by dark.

Then we are back to spring and rain. The whole process starts all over again. This is in Mississippi, where everything but summer is pretty mild compared to most of the country. Summer is our own special version of hell on earth. I don’t know why we get punished, but we do. Every. Single. Year. I can only imagine how folks from here would cope in places like Minnesota where there are two seasons, winter and June. Or how they would cope with some place like Florida where the climate is pretty much the same all year long – only with bugs the size of Volkswagen Beatles, and mosquitoes the size of B52 bombers. I say we are spoiled, and some folks have lived here so long they actually love the summer heat.

If you must come to Mississippi, do it in the two weeks of spring before the rain and after the winter mud. It is a beautiful place for those few days. Really. Just watch out for the tornadoes.

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How Do You Do It?


My friend asked me, “How do you do it?” “Do what?” I replied. “Keep your marriage growing.” “Ah, well, its different for everyone. I can tell you what works for us, but it might not work for you.” She thought about it for a minute, “So tell me anyway. I want to know, maybe it will give me inspiration so we can make it as a couple for 47 years too.” I asked her to give me a few days to think about it. I am not a marriage counselor, I am certainly not a shrink. I’m just a quickly aging female who isn’t willing to sit down and shut up when others don’t want to hear my opinion. And, as my dear friend Bryan said, patience is not one of my attributes. He knows me far too well.

So, here we go. Stop here if you do not want unsolicited advice from a great grandmother.

I can tell you that there are hundreds of books for sale that will tell you their version of the truth. Most of them, however, will simply add to the confusion. At the end of the day, it is up to the couple, whatever that looks like, to find their own path. But they MUST find it together if they want marriage to work.

The first lesson is to Know Thy Self. No I am not quoting the scriptures to you, I am seriously saying, you have to know yourself before you can learn to love another. What you like, what you need, what you want in a lover, spouse, and the best friend you will ever have. And most of us poor saps haven’t a clue before the age of thirty. By then, of course, most of us are committed, and we love the person we chose to live our lives with. Sometimes deeply, sometimes conveniently, but we are committed.

Lesson Two, Keep your business between the two of you, and/or a professional counselor.

As you grow you change, sometimes in the most profound ways, sometimes superficially, but we all change. With change can come distance between us and the love of our lives. That leads to frustration, miscommunication, downright anger, and feelings of isolation. Now here is where most people, male and female, make a huge mistake. They take it to the gossip mill. Instead of going to their spouse or partner (I will use spouse to make typing easy) and talking things through, they go to their best pal, coworker, or family member if your a guy. A woman goes to her best friend, the ladies at the nail salon, or, heaven help all of them, their mother or sister for advice.

At this point, everything gets confused and every opinion will muddle things up even more. There is nothing that will strain an already difficult situation than for a woman to say to a man (or whomever), “Well My Mother Said…” The immediate response is generally, “You told your MOTHER?” It works the same from the other direction. There is a reason why “mother in law” is a dirty phrase in nearly every culture in the world. Because I can guarantee no one can stick their nose in and stir things up like a mother in law. Sure we all need someone to talk to. I suggest making it a professional who doesn’t have a personal interest in your life. Someone who isn’t going to take sides and pony up excuses instead of practical advice.

Lesson Three, Always put each other first. I can hear the shocked gasps from here.

Before children, before parents, before extended family, before friends, before jobs, before church, before Friday night poker games that have been ongoing since high school, your spouse comes first. Why? Well exactly who do you expect to spend the rest of your life with other than your spouse? One day the kids will grow up and leave home, hopefully. Your friends will drift away, your family will die and leave this mortal coil, and you two will be sitting across from one another, all alone, on your phones, ignoring each other. Okay, maybe not on the phone, but you will still have nothing to talk about if you don’t start building memories and adventures today.

Lesson Four, Kiss the Girl, or Guy. For no reason other than they still ring your bell. Go on, kiss her, in front of the kids, or anyone else standing there. Whisper loving words, or even silly words, in his ear. Make a promise for mind blowing love making, later. Make eye contact across the room, then smile, yes, that smile. Remember what made you want him or her in your arms and hang on to that memory as tight as you can for the times when it seems like one or both of you have lost interest. Take home flowers for her just because, or cook her a special meal, or give him a back rub while he complains about work. Do the little things that require physical contact. Fix his tie, smooth his jacket, hold her jacket for her, smooth a wayward lock of hair into place. Find any excuse to touch. Hold hands, Every. Where. You. Go. If that attraction fades away completely, you are in deep trouble and the further you drift, the harder it is to find each other again. Of course, there are couples that are destined to separate and divorce. It takes two in the endeavor, and if one is unwilling or unable to take part. The marriage will drift into the doldrums of the family court system.

Lesson Five, Dance in the Kitchen. My husband has two left feet, no sense of rhythm, and doesn’t understand the art of dance, At. All. But when I get upset or down, he puts on our favorite slow song, and we dance in the kitchen. Really, he just holds me and we sway to the music, but it is how we dance. I know this is his way of comforting me, he knows after I settle down, I will tell him what is hurting me. We are communicating love, comfort, and compassion without words. Maybe you won’t dance in the kitchen, maybe you will go out and shoot at tin cans, or make pizza together, or go for a walk, but each couple needs to find their comfort mechanism. That one thing they only do together that brings them close to one another, communicating without words. It’s a good thing.

Lesson Six, Take private time for romance. A weekend at the hotel down the road is good enough, if you don’t want to get too far from the kids. Why? Because every couple, admit it or not, need the excitement of a romantic get away. Give the hotel number to the sitter, turn off you phones, better yet, leave them in the car or at home. Spend the time alone, on a honeymoon, or if your having issues, as a marriage get away to talk things through. Romance is vital, VITAL to a lasting marriage. Once, my husband took me to Paris, France (We lived in London at the time.) and he kissed me in the rain, on top of the Eiffel Tower. It wasn’t an all out, I want to bed you right now, kind of kiss, it was a, soft, romantic, I love you, I’m glad I found you, kind of kiss. One that used to make ladies in a movie audience swoon. Now that is romantic. For me. For you, I have no idea what constitutes romantic, but make sure it stays alive between you all your lives.

Lesson Seven, Words Mean Things. Don’t say it unless you mean it. Even in the heat of a knock down drag out screaming argument, Don’t Say It unless you mean it. Because you can’t take back the hurt and shock of whatever it is, and once said, it has meaning that can resonate for years. Just don’t do it, words hurt more than a sharp sword. The damage can be fatal to a relationship. Dead and buried isn’t how most people want their marriage to end. Sometimes it is necessary, especially if there is infidelity or violence in the relationship. Being angry does not give a person the right to try to destroy another person with vicious words, lies, and gossip. Anger is not communication. Words mean things, good and bad. Be kind or Don’t say it.

Lesson Eight, Be gracious, be noble. When we first got married the Mr. and I would argue over stupid things. If I turned out right, I would gloat and rub it in that I was right. If I lost, I would pout and resent him. Talk about twisted. Be gracious in apologizing if you are wrong. Be noble in accepting that apology. Even if you insist you are right, be gracious and let it go, unless you love screaming at him or subjecting her to the silent treatment. Be noble, be willing to be wrong, be willing to apologize. Let go of the need to always control things, to always know everything. Men and women see things from a totally different point of view. I am five feet three inches tall. My husband is six feet one inch tall. I do not see the world from his perspective, nor does he see it from mine. Not unless we are willing to trade perspectives. I climb on a ladder, he sits in a chair, but come on, who always has that available? So we accept that each of us sees something differently, and we nobly, with grace, let it go. (Unless I get into a stubborn mode. You would think I would know better by now.)

Lesson Nine, It’s Okay To Cry. Nothing makes me cry faster than seeing a strong man cry. Because, ladies especially, for a strong man to cry, he has to break social expectations and give in to emotions. Men do NOT like that. They want to see a problem, analyze it, and fix it. If it is something they can’t fix, it confuses and frustrates them. It emasculates them in the deepest part of their foundation. We lost our son. It was horrific, sad, shocking to know a 21 year old was dead. Just gone. His life over. My beloved husband couldn’t fix it. He slid into shock, then into rage, then into a deep, long lasting depression. I got angry, got things done, buried our boy, and picked up the pieces of our life because that what a woman does, even while crying her eyes out. It wasn’t until my husband broke down and cried that I knew there would be a chance for our marriage to survive. He couldn’t fix it, he had to learn to accept the pain, the loss, the sorrow, and still go on living. It has made him a more tender, loving man. So, fellas, its okay to cry. The strongest of men are those who will allow themselves to cry in sorrow and in joy.

Lesson Ten, Nobody is perfect. No, you aren’t. Because if you were perfect, you wouldn’t need to be here struggling on earth. (Okay, there was a God pitch there, deal with it.) Both people in a relationship are flawed human beings. We say stupid things, do stupid things, hurt each other unknowingly and make mistakes. It isn’t a mistake to forsake your marriage vows, or try to maim one another, those are choices designed to end a marriage. Period. A mistake is making an inappropriate joke, telling your spouse something that will hurt them, and being so obtuse not to know. Imperfect means forgetting to say I love you when your spouse needs it. Imperfect is missing the cues she sends out that she is in need of a little tender loving care, and imperfect is to expect a man to catch those cues when they need explicit information to know how to act. (Note to females: Most guys only need to be told the parameters once, with an example, and careful instructions. From then on they will only need to be reminded with a code word.) Imperfect is to expect a man to understand female emotions, and imperfect is to expect a woman to understand that a man needs to FIX things instead of simply understanding and listening. But both come close to perfection when they try to see things as they really are and not through a cloud of emotion.

There is a lot more, small things, significant things that make a marriage work. Sometimes it requires judicial use of blinders, and a boat load of forgiveness. Sometimes it requires a huge sense of humor, and sometimes a hard line drawn in the sand. But, give it time, and most things can be sorted out. Two things are unforgivable: Physical or emotional violence, and infidelity. Either one is a deal breaker, and it can and will end a marriage.

To all my friends who are reaching the breaking point, breathe, look at your spouse, some where, deep inside both of you are the two people who fell in love once upon a time. Dig them out, dust them off, and let them rediscover each other in the older, wiser version of you.

And, that my friend, is how the Mr. and I manage to stay married after all these years.

Despicable VS Decency


I have always maintained that politicians are in it for themselves and their pocketbooks. The people they are supposed to represent are simply an inconvenient part of the deal to go to Washington D.C. to make money for themselves and their cronies. Sitting on important committees is the main goal, because that is how they meet the movers and shakers with whom they make backroom deals for power. The longer they are in office, the less the people they represent matter and the more power has a hold on them. Those who are already corrupted become even more corrupt over the years and anyone who got into the game with an honest desire to help their state or country becomes more corrupt the longer they hold power.

Those backroom deals are their life blood, they are supposed to win every race, fulfill every deal, pocket money and power for the people who pull their strings. If they don’t, they lose what power they have, and money stops flowing into their hands. They will do anything, destroy anyone, climb over anyone in their way, just to keep their deals. Power and money are deeply addictive things, there is never enough of either for politicians and their backers.

The average American wants a good job, a place to live to call their own, and a safe, decent place in which to raise their children. They want their kids to have a good education, and to retire some day with a way to live comfortably. They want fewer taxes, less intervention from Big Brother Government, and to pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness. They want their Constitutional Rights, including freedom to bear arms, worship as they wish, the right to free speech and a vote as a citizen of the United States of America. All are concepts we took for granted since the founding of our country until the 1970’s or there about. Something we no longer have because the leftists have spent the past forty plus years slowly and methodically taking those rights away from citizens under the guise of equality, fairness, and social adjustments in the way we live our lives.

No longer are we encouraged to excel, it makes it unfair to those who don’t or won’t have the self determination to do so. Therefore we must all fall to the lowest common denominator. No longer are we allowed to think for ourselves and form our own opinion and ideas. In fact, with common core forced into every level of education, our children are actively discouraged in their desire to standout or think critically among their peers. The outcome is making our young adults and children into fearful, inept, indoctrinated zombies to the system. The very things that made America stand out as a world leader in science, technology, art, music, intellect, and inventions are squashed in all children before they get out of elementary school. If Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and their generation were being educated today, there would not be Apple or Microsoft, because they wouldn’t have the stepped outside the acceptable lines and developed their products. That would be the job of the government, after all.

This past week we saw, the world saw, the way in which politicians will go to any lengths to maintain power and control the country for their wants. We saw how bitter losers of the last election are desperate to hang on to their control rather than allow a man who, by everyone’s definition, is a brilliant judge who lives by the laws of the Constitution become a Supreme Court Justice. They tried desperately to destroy a descent, honest, faithful husband and father, by refusing to follow the standards and rules of generations in the choice of a Supreme Court nominee. Instead of following the process, they used despicable, dishonest, disgusting methods to try and undermine a good man rather than lose yet more control to the opposite side. It was horrific to see a man have to try to defend a negative in front of his wife, parents, and, worse, his children.

The Senator who started this entire debacle, Diane Feinstein the senior Democratic Senator from California, purposely withheld information from the Committee to use as a last ditch effort to derail Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination and approval for Supreme Court Justice. In doing so, she exposed not only Mr. Kavanaugh to ridicule, she also exposed Dr. Ford to the world as a slightly mad, angry woman who is obviously is in the control of the Democratic Socialists who will do anything to regain control of the country. Dr. Ford is now despised and held in contempt by any reasonable, thinking people not under the same control of the party of hatred.

There is no proof of the allegations, there are no corroborating witnesses, and there isn’t anything more than her non-specific, vague, recollection of a drunken teenage party in which she claims someone tried to sexually abuse and/or rape her. Suddenly, according to the leftists, an accusation is equal to proof, therefore the accused is automatically guilty of said accusations. There is no due process, no investigation needed, if a woman accuses a man, he should automatically admit wrong doing and pay the consequences of the accusation. Facts don’t matter, nothing matters but the word of a drunken woman thirty years after the supposed event happened. Thanks to the lies and what many consider criminal behavior of Diane Feinstein, Dr. Ford, and the Democratic Party, the rights of women have been set back three generations because now the real victims of sexual assault and rape will have an even harder time convicting those who are sexual predators.

Regular Americans, unless indoctrinated by the leftist education and the leftist government of past years, are watching the whole abomination of the actions of Diane Feinstein and her cronies in horror. Men and boys are now victim of a witch hunt that marks each and everyone of them as predators, no matter how circumspect they are in their behavior. If this keeps up, men will simply stop asking women out, and if they have needs will go to a professional sex worker rather than take a chance on being accused of something they did not do.

I find it profoundly embarrassing that Senators of our great country are willing to squabble like a bunch of idiots over how much a seventeen year old boy drank thirty years ago. The fact that they are willing to stoop to digging around in a High School yearbook and trying to make sexual innuendo out of what some teenager wrote in it thirty plus years ago is disgusting. I am horrified they are doing this in front of the world stage, and still expect to be treated with deference and dignity. They are becoming the laughing stock of the world.

I, for one, believe Mr. Kavanaugh is innocent of the charges, he has proof of where he was and what he was doing that long ago summer, unlike his accuser who can’t even remember when and where the incident took place. I think Dr. Ford was, and is, a patsy for the desperate leftists. Shame on her, and shame on them. May God Bless him, and anyone in the Senate with an ounce of common sense will stand firm and vote for Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court Justice. And once he is on the court, I hope he continues to be a fair, descent, protector of our Constitutional Laws. Should he not be confirmed, I hope he sues everyone involved into the ground for defamation of character and anything else he can. But, he won’t do that. He is too descent a man.

Ten Minutes to Eternity


I love my husband. More than I did when I fell in, first lust, then love, with him forty-eight years ago. We were so young, headstrong, and sure of ourselves. We didn’t think about how getting married a year after we met would impact our lives, our families, or our future. We wanted to be together. And back then, even in the midst of the hippie free love era, we didn’t want to give in to the urges we had, we wanted to be a permanent couple. We wanted to belong to each other. So we ran away to elope on a hot June day. But no one would marry a nineteen year old boy and a sixteen year old girl. I ended up living with his parents while he lived in an apartment until my parents sent the papers for us to legally marry.

It was a warm, sunny, Sunday afternoon in August of 1971 when we married at a small church in Mill Valley, California. The reverend wasn’t happy about marrying two young people, but we made it clear if he didn’t we would find someone who would. Between Sunday services, we met at the church along with his parents, brothers, a friend of mine, and the reverend. In a span of about ten minutes, we were joined together as husband and wife. It was peaceful, and the only music was provided by the nesting sparrows outside the refectory.

After a few required signatures, photos, and a handshake from the reverend, we all went back to his parent’s house. They were, naturally, not in a party mood, so the Mr. and I changed into our jeans and boots, jumped on the Harley and headed down Miller Avenue to the local Jack in the Box burger joint for a meal. We rode over the Camino into Corte Madera and back along the back roads to Mill Valley. Later, we drove into San Francisco to the Hyatt for our wedding night. And that is all I have to say about that, other than we were both very happy, very in love, and very compatible. It was a beautiful day.

The next day we loaded up the Harley with our camping gear and headed to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to do some panning for gold for our honeymoon. It was a blissful few days, filled with laughter and the joy of knowing we were meant to be together forever. Eventually, we had to go back to the real world and face life as new adults. School, work, scrambling for money, paying bills, all that went with that set us apart from our friends our age. At the same time, we still had fun just being a young couple in love.

Years rolled by, children came, struggles came and went, we lost our oldest son, and we gained our first grandchild followed by more. Like all couples, we had our years of falling out of love and getting lost in the minutia of life, but we always found our way back to each other. And here we are, forty-eight years later, still married, still in love, and we still have that spark that brought us together all those years ago.

I love my husband. More than I ever thought I would. I don’t know where the years went so fast, but I know we lived every last one of them together. God willing, we will have untold years ahead. Who knew a ten minute ceremony would lead to eternity?

Again? Really? This Is Getting SO Predictable.


Yet another idiotic meme was posted on social media today. One that, once again, compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler. A blatant attempt to sway weak minded, perpetually offended, left leaning, uneducated people that the legally elected President of the United States is evil. She attempted to defend her stance by repeating the usual nonsense about his personality and his behavior, and that he was obviously mentally ill. I responded with this.

T (the person who eagerly posted the meme), stop a minute. So he (President Trump) doesn’t meet your standards for polite language, and he is rough edged, What makes him fake if that is true? It seems to me that people who say what they mean and mean what they say are often viewed as harsh or outspoken and use less of the polite passive aggressive verbiage than those who are just spewing rhetoric.

What makes you think he is crazy and needs evaluation? The propaganda you read and the hate that you spread without proof, from non medical anti Trump advocates, or do you have a medical degree that would give you the right to attest to that statement?

If you read something other than propaganda from the hate Trump crowd, you would know that he DID have a mental evaluation when he had his last physical. Guess what, it showed that he was perfectly normal and he has no mental issues at all. That tells me it is the folks who hate him who really have the mental issues. They are so filled with ire they can’t be bothered to actually think for themselves, read something beyond propaganda, and take a step back to see just how much he HAS done since he has been in office.

In fact, he has managed, despite Congress doing their best to stop him with their stalling, to accomplish almost all he promised to the REST of us. Those who want someone who isn’t a professional lying politician to make American great again. Heaven knows the Obummer managed to make the world laugh at us long and loud.

All of the nonsense you have spewed thus far, my friend, is pure propaganda repeated over and over and over by the leftist media and hard line haters. Truth doesn’t matter to any of them, only getting that cow Killary in office matters. It doesn’t matter that she is a criminal and hates all of us deplorable underlings.

Look, T, you simply need to take a minute to stop hating and see all the good that has happened for most of America since he took office. Starting with more folks working than ever before and more freedom returning to our lives. Stop hating, learn for yourself. Don’t be a cog in the hate machine. Be an independent individual. It takes courage, but you are smart enough and talented enough to do it.

Typically, all I got in response from T and her cadre of perpetually angry and offended, hate filled, so called friends, was personal insults, unexciting verbosity, and repetitive vomiting of the standard “we hate Trump” hits. It makes my eyes cross with boredom, kind of like listening to the same five notes of a screeching diva aria.

I can’t believe people are so afraid to think outside of the prison of the liberal progressive thought box and socially acceptable actions. It is as if they have a list of what is and is not the right thing to say and do when they hear the word Trump. Someone says that the job market is booming thanks to his tax cuts, and the leftist run to their menu and pick a response for column A for feeling offended, column B for knowing they are superior to all the facts, and C what names to call anyone who says, “Good! More jobs for the under employed, minorities, and legal immigrants.”

It all starts to blend together in an unending “wawawawa” like the teachers in the Peanuts cartoons. I see more and more Constitutionally Conservatives rolling their eyes and refusing to engage in such petty nonsense. The odd thing is, when Conservatives stop talking, responding, or arguing with such people, the leftist actually think they won the debate or changed someone’s mind to come over to the dark side. Those folks actually do not understand civil discourse, irony, or common facts. They don’t care what the facts say, they hoist themselves on their emotion filled self righteousness and expect the world to bow down to them.

Well, we see what that brought to us when our then president bowed to the will of every single anti American leader in the world. Now we have even more people trying to use our country and its people for their gain. Sundering our generosity as a nation and as a people, we have become the laughing stock of the world, expected to apologize for our strength, our ability, and our business acumen. I would say that they still want to be in our schools, but with the way the leftists have taken over all the liberal arts universities, that is no longer so, as we drop further behind in educational prowess every year.

So, to T, and to the few progressives I bother to speak to any longer: Just because I refuse to engage in this unending, whining, round robin argument it does not mean you won the battle. If anything it means I no longer feel you have a grip on reality and nothing I say will bring you back from the abyss of ignorance and hate that permeates your lives. I love you, I care about you, but I am no longer going to let you be the negative in my world. I will go around, ignore, climb over, stand above, adapt and overcome your incessant complaining and hatred toward a hard working American. A man whom you hate because he is successful and makes the lot of you look idiotic in your constant propaganda laden, unthinking lemming-like devotion to lies, distortions, and venomous tautology concerning his presidency. In short, no one is listening and we are all moving on.

The Music Goes On


This is a story told to me by my mother Jean Bonham Vandenburg

HOW THE MUSIC STARTED IN THE BONHAM FAMILY

O. C. Bonham played the fiddle. He met another musician, Clarence Rodgers, who also played the fiddle or violin. In fact he was a music teacher for Atoka schools and private students too. Mr. Clarence Rodgers was an accomplished Classically trained musician and was well known as a brilliant music teacher. Mr Bonham was a widower, who had four children by his first wife. Ida New. Two of them survived,Minnie Lee and Zed.

Minnie was very good on the organ and piano. She was a good vocalist too. Mr Rodgers taught her the piano and she played in church. Minnie eventually married and became the mother of five children, who grew to be talented a singers in church as well. Mr Bonham married again to Lydia New Trimmer and had two children, Oran Carl and Collie. Although Carl, as Oran Carl came to be known, survived, Collie died when a very young child. Clarence Rodgers taught Carl to play the guitar and other instruments. Mr Bonham, Mr. Gene Warren, the principal of Harmony School, Clarence Rodgers, Carl, and his friend Hardy Wilkins would gather at the Bonham house and play music during the winter when crops were harvested and laid by.

O C Bonham married later in life to Novella Burlison and they had had five children. Clearance Rodgers taught the oldest son, Orville, to play the fiddle too. His children are part of the Bonham Bluegrass family. Sara Ann, Glen, and Virgil all were talented. Their big brother, Carl, taught Ollie and Glen to play the guitar.

Carl liked ballads and the music of early Country and Western singers such as Jimmie Rodgers. His friend, Hardy, was a good musician who played for dances at the outside dance floor in Stringtown, Oklahoma that was made famous when the infamous criminals, Bonnie and Clyde had a shoot out where they killed a deputy and wounded the sheriff. Carl and Hardy were will known in the area and played for dances held in homes throughout Atoka County. His daughter can remember going to someones house and they would move all the furniture  out of one room so that could have room to dance. When the little kids and babies got sleepy the parents would lay them on the beds to sleep. When the movie, Gone With The Wind, came out, Carl and Hardy played during the intermission every night. Carl was a good singer and, thanks to Clarence Rodgers, a good musician, When Carl was first learning to play, if he missed a cord or made a mistake, Clarence would smack Carl with his fiddle bow.

The daughters of Carl and his wife, Thelma Bolling Bonham, also learned to sing at an early age. Jeannie Bonham Vandenburg and Jackie Bonham Hand, sang on a radio show that was recorded live from the Mamie Johnson school in Atoka every Sunday. They, and the teachers from Harmony decided to have a show at Harmony School to help buy new basketball uniforms, Jean and Jackie and the other students organized the show and it was a big hit in the community. It helped to get the much needed uniforms.

Jean married Eddie Vandenburg when he came back from the Korean War, He was an outstanding natural musician. Later, when he went back into the Army, Eddie and Jean were stationed many places where they always became involved with country music. They entertained at the military clubs and civilian clubs near by. They were asked to record and go on tour, but being a soldier came first so they had to let the opportunity pass. Both Jean and Eddie were song writers, and Jean continues to write today. They were both raised to sing traditional Country Music. Eddie passed away a few years ago, but Jean is still invited to sing at various venues where she performs now and then. If you get a chance to hear Miss Jean you are in for a real treat. She has had many years experience and has performed with many talented bands and fronted for many rising stars. She has some great stories to tell about the places and people she and Eddie have met.

They were parents of five children and who are also musicians and vocalists. The girls enjoy singing in church. Karron is a writer and was a choir director and, the youngest, Rebecca and her husband, David Barrington, often sing and direct musical events in their church, Eddie Vandenburg Jr. is good musician and a collector of music instruments. Some of Eddie and Jean’s grandchildren and great grandchildren also have interests in music.

With each generation, the music goes on in the Bonham family.

Happy Holy Day


This weekend is a Holy weekend for Christians. Today, Friday, is a Holy Day for Jewish people. Blessings of the Passover to all of my Jewish friends and family, and Blessings for a spiritual and joyous Easter to my Christian friends and family. And to those who enjoy the secular Easter celebrations of egg hunts and baskets, I hope you have a lot of fun too.

There are people who get very testy about how one celebrates these Holy days, or in some cases, don’t. I don’t understand that sort of attitude. As a religious Christian, I look on this Holy day called Easter that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a commemoration of the greatest day in the events of human history. Everyone knows the story, I need not go into it here, but to me, it is a Holy, and sacred day. That is me.

However, there are millions of people who see it from the perspective of a non religious, or non practicing Christian, or no religious background. In America, and a few other countries, it is a commercial holiday that is third in the most money spent on candy and other gifts during the calendar year. Only Christmas and Valentine’s Day initiate more spending than Easter. I don’t mind that. If that is what Easter means to them, so be it. At least they are spending time with family or friends and having a joyous day. I don’t understand the folks who think they have to be holier than thou and judgmental about how or when non religious people celebrate.

I could go into a long dissertation on the history of Passover, the Roman gods and goddesses, the budding Christian faith in the years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the way the Romans meshed all religions together, and on and on and on, but my point is, we all have the right in the United States of America, to believe and celebrate any Holy day or not as we, individually, see fit. Insisting that one way is the only way to acknowledge the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ goes against the very teachings of the man himself. In Matthew 7:1-2, the Bible says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” King James Version.

 

Everyone is judgmental on something at some point everyday. Humans tend to be tenacious on things that mean a lot to them. It is human nature, and we are warned over and over in all scriptures to stop judging others. We don’t. Then we get mad when we think others are judging us, or worse, assume they are judging us because they hold a differing opinion. Stop doing that. Disagreeing doesn’t mean either one is specifically wrong on a given topic. It means folks see things from differing perspectives. Take a moment out of your hubris and determination that you are superior and that your definition is the be all end all of definitions, breathe, and allow others to express themselves. You don’t have to agree, or even agree to disagree, you just need to give them space to talk themselves into a corner. Then, using facts, logic, history, and persuasion, state your purpose without heat, emotions, or hubris. And walk away. It isn’t easy, people, but it does work.

 

To all my family and friends, have a blessed Holy day, for whatever reason you celebrate. Secular, religious, Jewish, or Christian, all that matters is that you love one another, have compassion for others, and let joy find you as you celebrate the day.

The Daily Grind


Most of us get out of bed, go to work doing what we must, or if we are fortunate, what we want for a living. At the end of the day we go home, out to dinner, indulge in our hobby or spend time with family and friends, then we go to bed and do it all over again the next day. Our weekends, or days off, differ only in that we have a different routine for those days. We march or shuffle along in our individual brain cloud, day after day, until we are old. People call it the daily grind.

But, sometimes, we trip or stumble and fall out of step with our routine. The majority of us will jump right back into our normal shuffled march quickly forgetting that we were, for a brief moment, out of time, and that we had a moment to see the world from a different perspective. However, some of us see the opportunity being out of step gives us. We see the world, the grind, as a limiting agent and take that stumble or trip up as a chance to explore our world and change our daily grind into something more interesting. A person might discover an unknown truth about themselves, or idea that enriches their lives. They might meet someone they would never have known if they hadn’t stumbled or tripped. They could, if they wanted, find a new direction to travel, even if they still have a daily grind.

For some, however, a trip or stumble sends them wandering, lost and confused, across a barren world, filled with obstacles that baffle and discombobulate them, creating stress and strife. It takes them longer than most to get back into the daily routine, or to find another purpose, but they eventually do, or they stay lost and confused.

Many people, and this is sad to me, will turn their backs on change, preferring to live in their same old boring world, day in and day out, until all they have to look forward to is old age, illness, and death. I don’t understand not taking the road less traveled, or taking the opportunity to climb a new mountain to discover what is on the other side. Life is an adventure. Even the daily grind can be disrupted and interesting in itself, if you bother to look up instead of down at your feet.

Stumbles and trip ups may make us fall down, and getting up might be harder than expected. The struggle makes us stronger, so we are less likely to fall down again, at least not for the same reason. Our perspective is changed from being so far down we have to work hard to stand on an even keel again. Lying there can give one a different idea of how people in that position live and see their world, but at the end of the day one can stew in their misery or find a way to crawl out of it and move forward toward a better place in life.

I stumble regularly. One thing I have learned is that I need to grab the opportunity to change myself, my world, my direction, or my ideas. I think we all need to look at the obstacles in our lives as something to overcome, or at least climb on, to see the better world ahead. I want to die having a grand adventure, even if it is only managing to get from my rocking chair to the mail box and back every day. There might be something really interesting in that box, or not, but I won’t know unless I take a chance on stumbling.

New Normal Nonsense


Over the past few years I have heard a phrase used often that, when deconstructed, makes no sense at all. The phrase is, “the new normal.” How can something “new” be normal? It isn’t remotely normal, and although, over time, it might become part of your lifestyle, it isn’t normal when it first begins.

The situation might be considered a new beginning, a new type, a new way of doing something, a new event, a new expectancy, a new thought, a new passion, and new meaning, but it isn’t anything near normal when it is NEW.

Normal. What does that mean? Normal to whom or what? My normal isn’t your normal, and we don’t really have a normal. We have a routine, a way of managing our day and life. Not one day is exactly the same as another, so how can you judge something to be normal? Lets say we have an hour long commute every single day, going to the same part of town, to the same building or workplace, the same position or office, five days a week. Most of us, will not have the same exact experience on any of those five days. The only normal part of that commute is the direction and destination in which we are going. Something different will happen, a random event, an accident, a slow down, something weird in the car next to you or on the train near to you will happen. You might miss your train, the exit, or someone may cut you off causing an accident. Maybe you will have a flat or your car won’t start. On the train or bus, a conversation might start up that you join, or most likely, you over hear and that will set your thoughts off in an original direction. Sure we get to work, but it wasn’t a standard, exactly the same, normal every day thing. It was a day. different, strange, boring, amazing, but it was A DAY,

No job is ever normal either. So you stand in the same spot, doing the same job, but the assembly line fails, someone doesn’t turn up, or is late. Gossip goes up and down the grapevine, someone is having a bad day and takes it out on someone else, everything goes to hell in a manner of seconds when someone throws a spanner in the works. It is a day, but it isn’t exactly the same ever single work day. It isn’t the Old Normal, therefore, how can there be a new normal?

What you have is a change in your life. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. You learn to adapt to or overcome that change in your life. Because if life was always normal, it would be static. A static life is a stagnant life, and that is not normal, in fact, it is harmful, debilitating, depressing, and demoralizing. Human beings are meant to change, sometimes on a daily basis. Those that can’t get left behind as everyone around them moves forward with their lives. The only people who can’t or don’t naturally change daily are those with disabilities, and they do change only more slowly. It isn’t in us to always remain the same. If it was, we would always be children, never maturing beyond being totally dependent on parents and caregivers. It is within our DNA to try to grow up and away from our parents into adults who can take care of ourselves. That growth, while in one way is normal, it is also individual and therefore there is no correct or normal way to reach maturity. It is simply an individual effort that changes daily.

Stop already with the New Normal nonsense. No one is normal, we are all unique with unique moments and events in our lives. Our singular way of coping with those events makes us different from one another, and it also makes us interesting to others around us. There is no Old Normal, there is no New Normal, there is only change and how we cope with those changes in our lives.

You Can’t Have It Both Ways.


Everyone is yammering on about how an 18 year old shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.
They can go to war and protect your country, but not own a gun.
They can vote but they can’t buy a gun.
They can drive a car but they can’t own a gun.
They can marry and divorce, but can’t own a gun.
They can pay bills and make money, but they can’t own a gun.
They can buy pot, tobacco products and beer in some states, but can’t own a gun.
They can be fathers, but they can’t own a gun.
They can run a business, work in dangerous jobs, but they can’t own a gun.
They can save a life, but they can’t own a gun.
They can provide for an entire family, but they can’t own a gun.
They are considered adults, but they can;t own a gun.

Okay. You want them to remain children. So no more military, no more voting, no more marriage or divorce without parental consent, no more driving cars, no more smokes or booze, no more pot either, no more responsibility for being a daddy, no more working, no more being a man. Nope. They must remain children under the care of the uncaring government.

The leftists can’t have it both ways. Either they are adults, with all the rights of an adult, or they are children. What we need are police and federal officials who are willing to do their damned jobs. Most departments say that they “protect and serve” the people. Bull. Not in Florida. There they run away and serve themselves. That young man was sick, for a long time. No one did their job, had they done so, 17 people would be alive. Unless, of course, he blew them up or ran them down with a car. If someone is determined to kill, they will find a way.