Is The Screaming Over?


I thought, probably naively, that once the election in 2016 was over, people would go back to being regular Americans and life would go on. That’s how it usually worked all my life. Not this time, politics became a war cry for the party who lost the run for president. And everything went to hell in a hand basket for those of us who wanted to move on and improve our lives and the lives of all Americans.

Here we stand, two years later, further divided by political angst and anger stemming from that loss to the elitist left. The rest of us keep having to defend ourselves from the hatred spewed loud and long in words and actions. Doesn’t matter if we are the most descent people on earth. Doesn’t matter if we didn’t even vote for President Trump, all that matters is that we are not part of the minority of people who loved Hillary Clinton. Even the Bernie voters either had to get on the liberal hate wagon or suffer a constant barrage of anger and threats.

Quite honestly, I don’t understand that sort of rhetoric. It seems as if the haters of President Trump will do anything to find a way to twist everything he says. In spite of the fact that he has done everything he promised to do for and in behalf of all American citizens, the left refuses to believe he has done anything worthwhile. The desperation in behavior is shocking in its vehement verbiage. And not only do they blame him for every bad thing in their personal lives, they blame every conservative as well. As if each of us had the time to bother with such things. Most of us are busy trying to pay our bills and take care of our responsibilities.

But, if you didn’t know better, it would seem that every single white man, young or old, is a born terrorist determined to decimate every liberal man or woman in the country. Which is, quite frankly, nonsense. If you listen only to leftist propaganda, every white person in the United States of America is a racist, homophobic, violent, gun toting, vicious, hate spewing, killer. When the truth is, the majority of white people, by far, don’t give a rats pattootie about skin color, who someone sleeps with, or how someone lives their life. We do have guns, to protect ourselves and our families. But so do many people of color. The white people I know don’t spew hatred nor do they want to kill anyone. However, they will defend their rights given by law and the Constitution of the United States by standing firm on their beliefs.

But, because they don’t bow to the wishes of the leftists, and refuse to give into fear of the mob, that somehow makes them evil and corrupt. Corrupt is the governments, local and state wide that are ripping off the very people who voted for them and allowing crime to infiltrate their cities to the point that hundreds are killed in their slums and poverty ridden areas every year. They don’t care, because they already got their millions through selling their souls to those who would illegally gain through the corruption. Most of those local governments are run by democrats. Go figure. Kind of sad for those who voted them in.

Because conservatives live the letter of the law, do their best to be honest and straightforward in their beliefs and wishes for themselves and the country, we somehow are seen as greedy and self serving. Really? See the above paragraph for the meaning of greed and self serving. Strangely enough, conservatives would rather avoid an argument and simply get on with living. But we are often faced with out right hatred from groups such as Antifa and the Hollywierd leftists who support things that we do not. You all know what they are, I don’t need to give you a list. Just because we disagree, doesn’t mean we want to be enemies.

America was founded in the belief that everyone has a right to believe as they wish. Over the centuries, even the most down trodden among us, the enslave, the indentured, women, and children have gained equality and freedom. The poorest can evolve to be the wealthy in our society. (For example, Oprah Winfrey who climbed from poverty to unimaginable wealth in her lifetime. And my personal favorite, Madam C.J. Walker and uneducated daughter of slaves who was the first black millionaire.) All they have to do is work hard and believe in themselves. Now, it seems, it is evil to be wealthy, unless you are a person of color or a female of liberal persuasion. Anyone else who is wealthy must be evil, because they had all the advantages. Unless, of course, they didn’t, like the founder of the Walmart stores. But he was a white man, so he is a natural born horror story according to the left.

All of the suppositions about conservatives is starting to wear on conservatives. Without fact checking, reading history, or using logic against the arguments of the left, folks are buying into the rhetoric. I am so tired of being accused of things I don’t believe, never have or would do, all because I want our country to be run on constitutional law as it was intended to be from the beginning. I am tired of fake innuendo and accusation being used against the truth: Conservatives want everyone to have a part of the American Dream as long as they are citizens of our country. I am tired of having to defend myself from idiotic comments and downright lies and I am really, really tired of having to walk away from decades old friendships because I will not back down from my beliefs, which are, by the way, backed by facts, not emotional knee jerk responses.

Mid term elections are next week. I hope that once they are over, the screaming will stop. But it won’t if the left doesn’t get its way. Like all two year old children who are told no, they will continue having tantrums if they don’t get what they want. And it will get worse, because they can’t accept the fact that folks are fed up with their whining and lies. People get tired of being denigrated when they have done nothing wrong. If however, they win, they will be like a bunch of teenage mean girls, and go out of their way to destroy that which Conservative people hold dear – our country. Will the right march and destroy things? Doubtful. Will they threaten and call for death of the leftist leaders? Not likely. Will we lie down and let the left destroy us? Of course not. We will keep on doing what we have always done. The right thing, for the right reasons, at the right time.

God Bless America, we are going to need it.

Advertisements

All You Need Is More Than Love


I saw a sticker on a car that said, “All You Need Is Love.” It was printed with a tie-dye design, with lettering circa 1970’s. A very nostalgic, Magic Mushroom, vibe was attached to the meme like design. At first glance, it is a neat saying. But like most bumper sticker/meme tag lines, it falls down when logic is applied.

First of all, to whom or what does the “you” in the incomplete sentence apply? Me? People? Dogs? Aliens? What kind of love is needed? Is it needed, or wanted, and how will it change anything? Exactly what is the expected outcome of the love? How will it change or complete the life of the “you” mentioned in the blurb? I don’t know about most people, but I need a lot more than love in my life to exist, survive, be at peace, and live a healthy life.

To begin with, I need all the basics of survival. I need air, water, food, and shelter. Without those, love isn’t going to do me a bit of good. It won’t replace the need to breathe, and it sure won’t give me the moisture I need to replace what my body has to have to live. Water is one of those things that is more important that love. I can’t live without food either. Love won’t replace the energy I need to do things like walk and hunt for food and water. I can do without shelter as long as it isn’t too hot or cold. But if the weather changes, I need a place to get warm, and a fire will trump love in a contest of survival.

Love is a luxury when it comes to survival in the harsh reality of life. Before love became a “thing” everyone strives for, people came together who were compatible to survive together. A woman looked for a man who was strong, capable of protecting and hunting for the survival of the woman and offspring. It didn’t matter if he was sensitive and understanding, it didn’t matter if he was as ugly as a mud fence. It didn’t matter how well spoken, or how well dressed he was, what mattered was if he could do his share of work for the family. A man looked for a woman who could gather or grow food, medicine, and herbs that she would use to feed the family. She needed to know how to help dress out the animals he killed, build a fire and keep it going, cook, and take care of the illnesses that might come along. She didn’t have to be sexy, pretty, or wear the hottest new clothes. She needed to know how to nurture the family and the man who helped provide for her. They bonded by surviving and bearing children together. They took care of each other, and love wasn’t even a word in their vocabulary.

Love was a luxury between men and women who mated with each other via marriage and ceremony right up until the twentieth century. Only once survival wasn’t tied to living from hand to mouth, hunting and gathering, did love become part of the lexicon for couples. Oh, yes, it was bandied about for centuries, but when it came right down to it, survival was always more important. Women married successful men or married into successful families, men married for social advantages, and often for money. Love was for mistresses and lovers, not the spouse. Fidelity was a fluid commodity, often something that applied legally, but not morally, throughout many societies.

Then along came modern love. No longer did men and women need to marry or mate for survival, Movies, books, advertisements, media all made love a glowing part of finding a spouse or mate. Linked to that love was romance and sexual attraction. Suddenly the way a woman looked was more important than how she acted and what she could do. Men needed not only to be successful, they needed to be handsome, well built, and oh, my, sexy. When the two of them met, they had to be eye-crossing sexually attracted to one another. Then boom, love was in the air. That trend has continued since.

However, human beings cannot survive on love alone. We still must work together as a couple, whatever that looks like, to have air, food, water, and shelter today just as we have from the beginning of time. The way we get those may have changed, but we still have to support our partner and they have to support us in those endeavors. Many people still marry for protection, many join each other to maintain a healthy way of life. Some people marry because they are lonely, some because it is expected. At the end of the day, love is still a luxury, even a necessity, but everyone needs much more to survive and thrive.

This is one of my favorite love songs, from Fiddler on the Roof, Do You Love Me? Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSF8l_Yh_gY

How Weird Is That?


I woke up very early this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. What woke me was a dream I was having. I was teaching a class of first year college students (do they still call them freshmen?) and we were discussing who the real protagonist in Romeo and Juliet was. I had a list on the board, The fathers, the prince, Romeo, etc., ending with the Friar. After a minute everyone got a wrong answer so I told them it was the Friar and launched into a dissection of the history of England, the anti-Catholic sentiment of the age and how Shakespeare used his plays to promote the propaganda of first the Queen and then the King of England against the Catholic church. I won’t go into the entire lesson, it is one that I taught several times during my teaching days.
 
One way I kept younger kids, meaning teenagers, awake was to compare the feud between the families to modern day gang wars and how the warring factions of the government today were much like the war between the King of England who was also the head of the Church of England and the Catholic Church in other countries and the Catholic Kings. The kids ate it up with a spoon.
 
After waking up, I lay in bed contemplating Romeo and Juliet and other Shakespeare plays where the bias was blatant if one knew the history of the era in which it was written. Personally, I like the comedies best because he used outright parody of the pomposity of the gentry versus the vitality of the commoners to poke fun at everyone from royalty to the servants, merchants, and country bumpkins. He walked a close line between mocking and sneering and lecturing against the unpopular ideals of the King and his Lords.
 
What I find interesting is that after all this time, I remember all the details of the lesson, history, and play and could stand up in front of a classroom and give it again with a few peeks at the play to get my quotes right. How weird is that? No really, I wonder how weird it is.
 
Anyway, now I have Shakespeare on my mind. And I really, really miss teaching.

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.

A Childhood Memory


When I was a little kid, my family went to a parade. It was wonderful. All the men marching in step, the tanks rolling by, all the armor, jeeps, and first and foremost, the flag flying high over everything. I remember the sky was bright blue, making the colors of the flag stand out, each color brilliant and fresh. A band marched by, playing loud and proud. When they passed us, they were playing Grand Old Flag. It was all so exciting. My mother kept us kids under control, but the entire crowd was cheering, like they were welcoming heroes home. It was the Fourth of July and we were in Germany in the early 1960’s. Somewhere among those marching men was my father.

I was too young to recognize the importance of that post WWII and post Korea moment. I grew up in the military, I thought everyone’s dad marched in long lines and wore a uniform if they were American. It was normal. All the kids I knew, except for the few locals in our area, had dads who wore uniforms. The women and children in our house area waited for dads and husbands to come home from “the field” just like we did. And everywhere we went, from the school to the doctor’s building, there was a flag with the same bright colors flying above it. It was normal.

When my dad left the military, I was shocked to see buildings without the flag, people without uniforms of any kind, and complete disrespect for any sort of organization. It was hard to become a civilian, I missed the comfort of normal. I missed the feeling of security I had always had, even in the midst of the cold war that could send us on a bus or train with one bag for our whole family at a moment’s notice. I was never unsure, I was never alone, as long as there was a man in a uniform like my dad wore.

One day, I was at school very early for some reason. I was wandering around waiting for school to open when I saw the janitor come out of the building. He unfolded a flag, and pulled it up the flagpole. There, against the bright blue sky, the colors of my flag unfurled. As the wind caught it, the flag waved proudly above the land around it. In my mind I heard Grand Old Flag, as the janitor stepped back and saluted with all the dignity and honor of a soldier. Tears came to my eyes, because to me, he no longer wore a gray shirt and pants of a janitor, he wore a uniform of a soldier, and I knew as long as there were men who had served, men who knew the value of freedom and sacrifice, we would be safe.

Today life is very different in our country. But still, men and women serve to protect what is ours, and our freedom. No matter what politics you hold, no matter what lifestyle you profess, no matter where you live, the military protects you. The flag some spit on, burn, and trample still flies proudly from front porches, flag poles, and buildings. Be it against smoke from a riot, storms, or skies of bright blue, the flag still watches over our land and our people. The little girl in my past and the old woman I am today salute them. In memory of all those who have served to protect our homeland from the Revolutionary Founders through today, Thank You and God Bless America.

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.

It Is An Obsession


Genealogy started out as a hobby 40 some odd years ago. I got into it because my mother had always been involved in it for all of my childhood. Back when she started working on her family lines in the late 1950’s, it was a great deal harder to get information past her parent’s and grandparent’s generations, even with access to a family bible or other sources within the area. It took hard work digging through various libraries and court houses to find documentation to prove information was truthful. Letters had to be written and sent off to all sorts of people while following possible leads, and it took weeks, sometimes months, to get anything back. Most leads were dead ends, leading my mother right back to where she started. It was a long hard slog to get things sorted and the needed documentation to back it up.

It got easier with the advent of the computer age. Contacting the right people and various governmental departments became as easy as sending an email. It still took weeks to get information back, but it eventually found its way into the mailbox. Then along came sites designed just for genealogy buffs. It all started with the LDS Church and their site and spread from there. Eventually the grandmother of all sites, Ancestry.com, became available for a price, and people flocked to join. But just because it was on line didn’t mean it was always correct information. In fact, it just became harder to sort the truth from the gossip.

Here’s the deal, without documentation from or concerning the people you are researching, all you have is family lore, gossip, and something your twice removed second cousin’s half sister’s dad once said, to follow. Dates, name spellings, even names themselves are often wrong. And once it is taken as family history gospel, it just keeps getting repeated over and over, even if it is wrong. Documentation consists of things like birth, death, or marriage certificates. Baptismal documents, tax roles, census rolls, personal letters written to and by the people you are researching, even things like pay stubs can give information that will lead to the right information. All government documents are also gold to genealogists who are seeking the truth. Anything else is simply family stories that are unproven and will remain so until there is documentation to prove it.

I was fortunate to travel and live abroad. More than one weekend was spent following the family history trail. In England, I was able to visit one of the traditional family houses belonging to my mother’s family lines. Valence House, as it is now called, is in Debenham, England. It used to belong to the Bonham family, one of which immigrated to the young country called America in the 1600’s. The rest of the family stayed in England. It was a thrill to walk into a building where my ancestors walked. When I told the docent that I was an American relation, he pulled out the charts he had, I pulled out the charts I had and we found our connection. He practically did a Happy Dance, then took myself and my family into the rooms that were off limits to the public. It was amazing to stand in the library/study of Thomas Bonham and realize the deep connection I felt to the room. My biggest regret was that during our stay in England, I didn’t get to go to the Stanway House in the countryside where other relatives lived.

When I tell that story today, believe it or not, I actually have “cousins” who question its validity. Yeah, it shocks me too. Why would I lie about something so vitally important? I have found that some people simply cannot admit they might have something wrong in their information as well. By heavens, they are right and EVERYONE else is wrong. Even if we have documentation that proves them wrong Some people simply always have to be right. Kind of sad, that. Of course, when one becomes addicted to a hobby, no one wants to have to go back to the beginning and start all over. But I know I have on many occasions.

With today’s access to information, it is so much easier to get our hands on documents, photos, and to exchange all sorts of information. DNA has changed the way a lot of people look at genealogy. It used to be something only the old folks and the spinster aunties bothered with, if anyone did at all. Now even the younger hip generations are finding an interest in where they came from and who they are. While DNA is an overview of a person’s history, the details are in the documents that follow the family history. For instance, I know that my DNA says I have English, Irish, Scandinavian, African, Jewish, American Indian, and several other types of people in my blood lines. I am also 4% Neanderthal, and more of my family comes from Northern Europe than anywhere else. All of that is interesting, but it still doesn’t tell me who those people are as individuals. For that, I have to dig through a lot of information and then document it all to prove that it is MY family line.

My mother laughs at me when I whine. She had to do all of this by hand on her own while I have access to millions of records and people. But we agree on one thing, no one gets into our site on Ancestry. I am willing to give information on a case by case basis. Why? I got so tired of people simply data mining my site, without so much as a thank you. I got tired of people wanting to argue with me about information, even when I could patently prove that information with all the documents under the sun. I got tired of working so hard, and people saying, “Well, when you get it all figured out, I would love a copy.” But, they sure aren’t willing to do any of the work themselves. So, my mother and I agreed to share carefully, one name or connection at a time. It used to bug me when people were like that, but one person too many finally pushed that annoyance button one time too many. Ask me nicely, as the private sites on Ancestry say, and I might help you out.

Having vented all that, I am still addicted to my hobby. And I still have to go back and start all over on certain family lines all the time. It is frustrating, it is exciting, it is amazing, and it is always interesting to dig around in the past to find dusty documents and stories about the people who make up my family history. One word of advice, if you want your future generations to know about you, write a journal, send letters, or, today, write a blog so they know your words, thoughts, and feelings about everything. Cut and dried documentation is a good thing, but knowing you personally takes something more.

Back to banging my head against today’s brick wall, I know that there is a document somewhere about that guy. No one lives to be 86 without someone knowing something about them. Really, genealogy is an obsession.

Going to School with Mrs. Graham


When I started school, it was in a small country school in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. The school had grades one through eight in four classrooms. Two ages per class. In mine, there were both first and second grade students. Mrs. Graham was our teacher. She also taught many of my cousins, and my sister. She was wonderful and we all adored her.

Mrs. Graham was probably in her early forties when I was in her class. She taught until she was into her seventies. Three generations from the families in that area passed through her capable hands, learning to read, write, do math, science, art, and history. She was firm, fair, and dedicated to teaching all those little mush headed kids the basics of education. After two years in her class, you could do all those important skills, and spell too.

She didn’t have fancy computers, loads of resources, and special papers to hand out for homework, the only homework we ever had was learning the spelling list for the week. She didn’t have pretty cut outs and things to make bulletin boards with reminders, handouts for kids to take home to parents, or expensive products to teach with. She had a chalkboard, Big Chief tablets, pencils, crayons, a few pair of scissors, and an old beat up mimeograph machine that never quite had enough ink. But we all learned anyway.

What she did have, however, were parents that taught us to respect Mrs. Graham, or they would be all over us about it. I never heard one student talk back to her, smart off to her, or disrespect her in any way. None of us would if we didn’t want our parents to know and make sure we never did it again. What she did have was an innate ability to understand how children learned, and how to ignite our imagination through stories, ideas, and a firm belief that each and every one of us was brilliant in one way or another. What she did have, was a vast store of knowledge that she was willing and able to impart to all of us, even the rowdy boys who were more interested in rough housing than learning their spelling words. What she had was the support of the parents, the admiration of the other teachers and the administration, and the love of her students.

She wouldn’t recognize the modern classroom today. She wouldn’t understand how students can get away with literally doing nothing and still move on to the next level. She wouldn’t understand teaching a child to pass an exam instead of teaching children to learn the basics of reading, math, history, and science as a platform for the building of an educated mind. She wouldn’t understand the focus on feelings instead of a focus on encouraging each student through a purpose driven agenda designed to help them learn to help themselves learn. She wouldn’t understand the disrespect students, parents, and the administration have for the teachers who are down in the trenches working with hateful, angry, bored students every day. Teachers like Mrs. Graham are a phenomenon of the past.

Back when education meant that children were truly learning, it wasn’t uncommon for a young man or woman still in their teens to be teaching an entire community of students in a one room school with children from ages six to seventeen. By the time those children were ready to go to High School, they were proficient in all the basics, plus they could speak, read, and write in either Greek or Latin, or both. They were familiar with and could quote great works of literature, they understood complex mathematics and science theories and practices. They knew the history of their town, state, and country along with world history from the ancient ages to the present. Today, most High School students can barely read, write, or have the skills needed to pass the state exam required for graduation. Students are less intelligent, capable, or determined to excel in their studies. It isn’t just an inner city issue, or a poor issue, it is endemic throughout ever socio-economic level within in every type of community. More children are falling to the lowest common denominator of sloth, failure, and self aggrandizing entitlement than ever before. And no one cares enough to stop the fall, because today, we no longer have teachers like Mrs. Graham. We no longer have teachers, parents, and administrators who see teaching as more than a babysitting service provided for their children, because teachers are no longer allowed to teach, they only facilitate the process of regurgitative education. The students pass the state exam and promptly forget what they learned. They don’t build on a solid foundation of the basics, they simply pass through the system and wonder why life is so hard for them when they graduate or quit school as soon as they are old enough.

Teachers go into teaching knowing that it will be a thankless profession with poor pay. Some go in all shiny and new, ready to make a difference in the lives of their students, and run right into that wall of the lowest common denominator. Many, within a year or two, are so beaten down and exhausted they end up walking away from the profession. It is easier to deal with rude people as a waitress than to put their hearts into a profession where they are insulted and belittled by everyone on a daily basis. The only real losers in the modern education models of today are the generations of students who will waste twelve years in a system that will teach them nothing of value.

Mrs. Graham most definitely would not understand that at all.

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.

You Must Think You Are So Smart.


Someone posted on social media a foul mouthed rant filled with profanity by some immature teenager about President Trump. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about today, since the world is filled with horrific things, not the least of which was the latest news of the death of children and adults at a high school in Florida. My deepest sympathy to those who lost a loved one. In all of the horror, a silly, under educated child ranted about how much she hated President Trump. How, may I ask is that going to make a difference to those who are suffering today? It won’t. But maybe she feels better and thinks she is something special for knowing how to use naughty words in front of the entire world. Too bad all she did was let the world know just how uneducated she really is. I responded on social media that people would take her more seriously if she understood civil discourse and had the vocabulary and ability to form a cogent argument for her rant. One person responded to my comment by saying this, “You must think you are so smart.” Several responses occurred to me immediately.

First, what did my intellectual ability have to do with the topic at hand? The comment was a non-sequiter. So, I shrugged at that behavior.

Second, I figured he didn’t like the fact that I used words like cogent. Maybe it was too intellectual for him to comprehend without use of a dictionary. So, I shrugged at that thought.

Third, I decided he deserved a response, after all, it must have taken him a whole minute of his valuable time to come up with that brilliant analysis of my comment. So, I wrote back and thanked him for noticing that I am, indeed, quite smart.

Then I started to deconstruct his sentence, as I often do when I am a bit bored. It is the ingrained English teacher buried deep in my soul that causes the need to take apart idiotic comments. Generally they are in what is commonly referred to as “memes,” but you find them in comments made by people who have hubris issues, or who are simply unable to think things through to a logical conclusion.

“You must think you are so smart.”

Actually, sir, I don’t. There is no “must” about how I think, or what I think. I simply think, something I am sure that is uncommon in your circle of life. I don’t “think” I am smart, I know I am. Assuming, of course, you are referring to the common use of the word “smart” to mean that I am intelligent. If so, then I agree with your assessment of my intellectual capability. I am indeed smart.

According to all the exams I took at various ages throughout my life, I am considered to be somewhere in the genius level of the scale. However, when one adds in life experience, and common sense, I am even brighter than the exams tout. So, of course I am smart. Most people are, if they simply allow themselves to think, read, learn, ponder, study, and use their brains rather than their emotions to contemplate reality and life. Even if one tends to use emotion as the litmus test for intellectual ability, at some point reality must make an appearance so said person might be able to walk and talk at the same time. So yes, I am indeed smart. I don’t think I am, I know I am, and that sir is the difference between us.

Yes, I realize that you were trying in your own way to insult me. Sorry, you failed. I found it amusing, if somewhat confusing, that you would stop the flow of the discussion to throw in an insult based on your dislike of my comment. Then, it occurred to me that you probably didn’t have the ability to respond with an argument that would reply to my questions about civil discourse without the use of profanity. Because, sir, you simply do not have the ability to use a vocabulary that isn’t beyond the common vernacular of what passes for an education today. In short, sir, you cannot form a response that isn’t profanity laden or insulting, lacking in any form of debate or sense. It would be emotionally laden and strident with hysteria and anger instead. How dare someone ask you, or expect you, to speak without using foul, substandard language when trying to debate a topic. Well, I did, and I do. Because, I simply refuse to believe that humanity has fallen so far that they cannot carry on a civil conversation with those who may think, or believe, differently.

However, let us return to the profoundly inept sentence you worked so hard to display. The word “smart” has more than one meaning. So, if you meant to use it in another manner, such as in how well dressed I tend to be, then again, you are quite wrong. I don’t think I dress smartly. Although, according other people I do clean up quite well, I prefer to dress comfortably. That generally means jeans and shirts of various styles and fabric. I wear them with either sandals, boots, or shoes, depending on where and what I am doing and the time of year in which I am wearing them. So, generally, I am dressed neatly, with clean clothes, but not of the highest fashion or newest styles. So, in that I am not smart when I leave the house. Because, sir, I am smart enough to know what I like to wear.

So, I thank you for noticing that I am smart. And though you wanted to insult me, you amused me on a gloomy winter day. All the while I was writing this, I was smiling to myself. Why? Because I knew it would baffle you, annoy you, and you would take ages to understand that you made a complete fool of yourself. Oops.