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.

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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.

A Blank Page


There is something about a blank page that bugs me. It doesn’t matter if it is on my computer screen or a real piece of paper, it screams out for something, anything, to be written or drawn on it to make it unique.

When my kids were little, paper was a way to keep them entertained for all of two minutes while I made a bathroom stop. A notebook and pencil in my purse or diaper bag was a must to hold off boredom in places like restaurants and church. As they got older, we used paper and pencils to write words, and draw pictures to go with them. Sometimes, if we were in an appropriate, and sometimes not appropriate, place we would make paper airplanes, or fans, or anything we could by folding paper. It was a useful tool.

Then, when my kids were teenagers, before we all had text messaging, they left me notes on the fridge, the front door, in my car, and sometimes, on me, to remind me of things they needed or places they needed to be. I did the same for them and for my husband. Notes became an every day way of communicating in a busy teenage household.

But always, through the years, writing down my life was a part of my daily routine. I filled pages of paper in journals telling my story. Then I started writing down imaginary stories, always trying to write something that would teach, lead, or entertain others. I wrote letters, by hand, and notes saying Thank You, or You Are Invited To An Event, to others. I wrote love letters to my husband, and letters of appreciation and admonition to my children and grandchildren. I wrote the histories of my ancestors, and reams of papers for college courses.

Today, I still write every day. Sometimes it is just a blog, sometimes I work on a book or a short story, sometimes I just write an email, a response on social media, or to my elected officials. Like reading every day, writing is as much a part of my life as breathing. I can’t imagine being unable to do either.

So, today, when I was faced with a blank page, I thought about how important it is to write things down. Because once you are gone, and your children are gone, who will remember what you said, how you though, or the feelings that filled your life? This is your chance to put down the words that mean something to you. This is your time to tell your own story, opine on your ideas and dreams, and your time to say what you really think about any and every subject that comes to mind.

Every personal story is important. Without personal accounts of events, real history will be lost to the ages. All that will be left is what the professional politicians had to say, or the media of the day had to say, not what every day people had to say about a moment in time. Daily grind events are just as important as life changing events. And in the future, some many times great grandchild will sit in wonder reading what you really thought, did, or felt in your life. It will amaze, thrill, and surprise them with the turn of every page. Write it down. Inquiring minds will want to know.

A blank page is an opportunity. Don’t waste it.

Where is Walter when we need him?


When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, we had one main news source, and his name was Walter Cronkite. He was solid, and everyone knew he was trustworthy. The nightly news was a cornerstone of American culture. Times, as they say, have changed.

I pretty much loathe the people who “read” the news today. With twenty four hour news station, the broadcasters are desperate to fill hours without being boring. So they opine, gossip, argue, posture – anything for an audience. The talking heads no longer report, they tell us how we should think and what we should do. And the crazy thing is, weak minded, lazy people follow right along nodding their heads and moving their mouths in sync with the talking heads. No one thinks for themselves any longer.

Today, I was driving in my car, and a song came on the radio that tells the true story of the “news reporters” and how they see the world. It’s by the Eagles. Dirty Laundry. You can listen on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KOzJ7gNb7Y Holy Cats! Did they ever get it right!

“Bubble headed bleach blond…” “Kick them when they’re up, kick them when they’re down…. crap is king, we need dirty laundry…..” Go on people, have a listen. The Eagles were ahead of their times, prophetic, even.

There are no longer news stations, there are only talking heads and vicious agendas designed to destroy, divide, and decimate people. Can’t trust any of them to tell you the whole truth, and they feast on the sorrow, hurt, and misfortune of everyone. Then make it even worse by twisting the knife in the back of the suffering.

If you want to know the truth, think for yourself, research, and turn off the talking head who are the “wanna be” famous. Trust me, they aren’t even in the same category as Walter was.  Where are the Walters of today when we need them most?

Please Stop.


Last week, a man fulfilled horrific plans he had made over more than a few months. He stockpiled weapons, ammunition, and bomb making materials, holed up in a hotel room, and opened fire on a crowd below him who were doing nothing more than enjoying a concert. He killed 59 people, injured hundreds of others, and like the coward he was, he killed himself rather than face his crimes against humanity. Most mass killers are like that, cowards at heart who die rather than face their charges.

Seeing all of the sadness, the horror, the pain, the deep unending need to know why will overwhelm everyone who is touched by this madman and his desire to kill. How do I know this is what they are feeling? Let me tell you.

On a cold winter’s day in January 1996, my son was murdered along with his friend Ralph. It was and is a very painful event in our lives. After 20 years it is as much a part of who we are as our names. One learns to live with and through the pain, but it is ever present. A man shot my son and Ralph. I don’t blame the gun, it is just a tool, I blame the man who pulled the trigger.

For all of you who are on your high horse about how bad guns are, just stop. Stop making this about YOU and your political agenda. Stop talking, just stop. Take a minute out of your IMPERSONAL outrage, and allow those who are directly involved to talk. Listen to them. Just stop and listen! They will want to tell you about how wonderful their loved one was. How they lived, what they thought, how much they are loved. They don’t give a flying damn about your politics right now. It isn’t about YOU, or gun control, or where you were, or how oppressed you feel, or any of that.

This is about human beings who were living and laughing and having a great time up until a bullet took their lives.

So just shut up, stop talking, stop arguing, stop all of this crap that has nothing to do with the LOSS OF A LIFE of someone’s son, wife, husband, mom, dad, daughter, child, friend. Stop making about you. By all that is holy and loved in your life, have some compassion, gentleness, and love. At least let them bury their dead, mourn them, and get used to the new emptiness in their lives.

Tomorrow, you will get out of bed and go on with your daily routine. Your lives aren’t changed forever, your normal is still the same. You can go on your merry way, doing your own thing, whatever it may be. But some of those families will be burying their loved one. Some will wait minute by minute to see if they need to make funeral arraignments, or plans for a long recovery for a wounded family member, some of them will weep in sorrow and deepest despair. And the weeping will go on for the rest of their lives.

In unexpected moments, a memory will come to them that will bring them to their knees in pain. Or someone will laugh, and they are sure it was the one the lost, or they will see someone in a crowd that looks like him or her, and the pain will wash over them in waves of agony. And it will go on.

While you, in your self contained world, will natter on about political this, and demanding that because a mad man killed a bunch of people in Las Vegas, Nevada in October of 2017. Meanwhile, the urgency of the event will fade for you, become part of the history of your life, and lose its meaningfulness in furthering your agenda. Other people will die in other events, and for a few days that will grab your attention, but it will fade. And life goes on.

For those who lost someone in that horrific blood bath, it will never fade. Never. They will remember each and every second of the moment they knew they had lost someone. It will take conscious effort to remember to breathe, move, even speak at times. It will never end.

With time, they will learn to live through and with the pain and loss, if they are fortunate to have others to uphold and help them. Some will give in and stop living, some will end it all. Some will find a reason to live and some will simply survive until they can take a breath or a step without feeling like they are going to break into a million pieces like shattered glass.

I know this, because I have been in their shoes and walked that mile. If you haven’t, then shut up, sit down and listen to those who have been there. You are not qualified to know how we feel, what we think, and where our hearts and minds dwell.

Just stop, stop, stop….please.

Already? Really?


1. Jimmy Kimmil is NOT a police officer, nor is he a politician or law maker. He is NOT my conscience, I can do that all on my own. So why would anyone bother to listen to a late night host of a boring TV show? What is he to you lot, the second coming of the Savior? Not to mention, okay I will mention, that he has a hate America agenda led by his ignorance of both history and law and his sick adoration of the Clinton cow and her cronies.

2. It sure as hell didn’t take long for politicos who hate President Trump to start screaming about gun laws. Why? Because they will never let a good disaster go to waste so they can further their agenda. How about we take time to mourn and give the families a chance to mourn before you all make their loved one’s death a political football?

3. I will never give up my guns, tazer, or any other form of protection. I am highly trained with a great deal of ability when it comes to guns. I won’t miss anyone who tries to hurt me or mine, I won’t travel into a city, or on long trips without a form of protection and you won’t get that law changed no matter what you think. There are more of us who want that freedom of protection than those who want to enslave us within a wall of hate. Besides, there are other ways to commit murder. Anything can be a weapon, from your elbow to the nearest large, heavy object. Get real people.

4. WE DON’T KNOW why the successful, very wealthy, guy decided to kill people. He wasn’t crazy, crazy folks wouldn’t plan so carefully. So back off the bullshit and give the authorities time to figure out the truth. Until then, it is only gossip and speculation on why and what happened.

5. The LAWS of the states where he bought the guns cleared him to buy them. So forcing a change on the federal level won’t change a thing, except make it very profitable for gun runners and criminals to buy and sell weapons.

6. If he didn’t have guns, he had a plan B according to what was found in the houses, he was going to blow people up instead. So stop blaming guns, and start letting the cops do their job before becoming all holier than thou and political about something so painful and horrific.

Armchair politico PAOL people drive me nuts! Where the hell did you ability to be logical go, up in smoke? PAOL means perpetually aggrieved and offended liberals.

Family Reunion


Last weekend, I took my mother to a family reunion down in Texas. I hadn’t been to an event like that as an adult. I knew three people in the entire room, one was my mother. I felt odd, awkward, out of place, and strange. As a mature female of over 60, it was like being back in junior high where everyone else had gone to school together forever and I was the new kid. Awkward.

So, I sucked up my shyness and talked about genealogy, family history, and said hello a lot. I also smiled a lot and I ate far too much good food. It is no wonder all of my family tends toward the round shape, the good cooking gene runs in the family line.

As a child, I grew up away from my parent’s home town. We lived all over the place with the military, and as an adult my husband and I both wanted to be on the move. So I don’t really understand knowing all about one’s cousins, aunts, uncles, and extended family. I know my dead relatives better than the living because I am a family history addict. I am a bit like the odd duck in the family.

They grew up together, or at least with knowledge of one another. And that was a great thing to see. My memories of my grandparents are strong, and real, but these cousins are from different places than my branch of the tree. Still, you could see the solidarity, love, and strength in knowing their family was there in any time of need.

My mother loved every minute, she had looked forward to the event for months and could hardly wait to get there and meet everyone. She kept telling me that she couldn’t belove we were blood relatives to so many people. Of all of her generation, in her family line, she is the only one left. Her parents had two daughters, and my aunt passed away long ago.

Another interesting thing was how the faces looked like faces I knew as a child. The same nose, eyes, mouth, laugh, hairline, walk, and even the way they stood reminded me of other long gone family. Funny how DNA directs how one looks and moves. Strong blood lines tend to breed true. This one certainly does.

I am thankful I went. It was good to see my cousins, two of the few, from my youth that I actually remember. I am thankful that family is so important to our extended family of cousins that they have this reunion every year. I am thankful that I was able to visit the graves of my great great grandfather and grandmother who started our family lines in Texas and Oklahoma.

Maybe next time, I won’t feel so disconnected and awkward. And, perhaps, I will know more than three people in the room.