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.

They All Served With Honor


Anyone who knows me is aware that genealogy and family history are my passion. I am more familiar with my long deceased relatives than the majority of my living relatives. After researching and studying their lives, they become very real to me, and it makes me aware of the way I was raised and how I think originated.

With all of the drama going on over Civil War monuments lately, I thought I would take a look back at the men who served in the Civil War, and the women who kept the family alive while they were gone. There are dozens of men in my various family lines that served, on both sides.

One family, on my father side of the family, had twelve children when the war broke out. Four of their sons were grown men, three with wives and young children, the other one was still single. In-between the boys, they had four daughters who were at, or reaching, marrying age.

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for the mother of those boys to watch them march off to war. Grown men or not, they were her boys. I can only imagine how painful it was for those four girls to watch their brothers and, probably sweethearts, march away. Without technology like we have today, without the ability to send letters, as many folks back then were uneducated and could barely write their names, the inability to know how their sons were doing must have been maddening.

Of those four boys, none returned home. One died at Gettysburg, two died at Shiloh, and one died in a prison camp from dysentery and starvation. They left three widows and six children between them. The sisters? Each of them died of old age, single and without children.

After the Civil War, so many men of marriageable age were dead or dying, that there simply were not enough men to marry. Not unless they married someone who was a widower with a bunch of children already, or someone younger than they were. With all the single women and widows after the war, men could be rather picky. A few came home to their sweethearts, married, had families, and life went on as they planned. But not for these four sisters. They spend their lives being the spinster aunts in the family, taking care of their parents and their nieces and nephews.

By today’s standards, it isn’t a problem for a woman to be single all her life. But, back then, when there were no jobs or careers for women outside of teaching and nursing, most women were a burden on their families, and became the built in nanny and cook for more than one family member.

The brothers were all Union soldiers. They didn’t die majestic, heroic deaths. They were simple foot soldiers who were doing their duty for their country. They didn’t have opinions on slavery one way or the other, their grandfather was a slave owner who emancipated his slaves, all three of them, when he died. They were just men, farmers, no better, no worse than any other soldier.

In Shiloh National Park, there is a statue to the men who died in that horrific battle. It recognizes the men who died there. It is a beautiful piece of art. Right near it is one for the men who died in the same battle, only they died for their country, the Southern Confederate Army is recognized with another beautiful piece of art, a statue of brothers in arms. Should one be torn down, should both?

By deleting the statues that recognize the men who served and died for the Confederate Army, we are negating the men who fought and died for the Union. It takes two sides to have a battle, without one side, it makes no sense to honor the other side. Those statues represent the men in my family who died there. One, the two Union brothers, the other, their cousins.

The Uncle of the boys who marched off to war was a Southern sympathizer. He had no slaves, but he, like his sister, had a large family. Off to war his sons went, one after the other. Of the three sons he sent to war, they left behind three widows and seven children. One of them born shortly after his father was killed at Shiloh. The eldest son died at Bull Run, the third, when Sherman marched through Georgia. He was on his way home, wounded and unable to fight with one arm. The Union Army took him prisoner, he died of blood poisoning.

Within that same family, were five daughters. Two of the five girls never married, and died of old age as spinsters, according to census records. The three women who married lived long lives too. One, however, with a permanently “crippled” husband, according to census records, and the two other women married much older men with children whose wives had died during or shortly after the Civil War.

Two families, out of a dozen or more, in my family lines whose sons fought and died, leaving an entire generation bereft and mourning for their lost dreams, lives, and loves. This is what the Civil War did to regular families who were called to do their duty. Farmers, merchants, millers, builders, just people.

Unlike the romantic version of the Civil War in movies like Gone With The Wind and such, it was a messy, horrific, loud, frightening, bloody, uncivil nightmare. Most of the men who died were not much beyond boyhood. But they stood, fought, and died. They deserve to be honored, no matter which side they fought on, because this was the American Civil War. And the true enemy was the politicians and the very few slave owners who were too greedy to see a better way.

As much as you may not like it, the Civil War was not fought just to free the slaves, it was fought over money, power, and unending politics that tore the nation apart. The issue of slavery was just the cheery on top of the mess.

I know many black people who have ancestors who were slaves. None of them feel angry or slighted with me that several of my many times great grandfathers owned slaves. I had nothing to do with that. Most of them are more interested in learning where their people came from in Africa, than who owned them as slaves. It is time to learn to deal with the past as the past instead of using it as an excuse to throw tantrums and act out like toddlers who are told they can’t have what they want.

My family lost men in every war, conflict, or action since they first set foot on the shores of America. More of my relatives fought tribal wars and took slaves from the losers of the conflicts between tribes. Today, I have two nephews in the military. My father, son, brother, brother in law, and many uncles, cousins, grandfathers, and even a few wives have fought for this country. It is an honor to come from a family of patriots. I want all of them honored, recognized, and accepted for the sacrifices they made for their side of the conflict – sacrifices made based on their knowledge and conscience, and patriotism.

God Bless them all.

The Meaning of Words


A great man once said, “Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.” John Adam

Millions of words pour across our various screens on a daily basis. Those spouting those words want to use them to make a point, twist a narrative, further an agenda, plan a plot, confuse, obfuscate, and force their ideas on the gullible, bored, uneducated, fearful, and unsuspecting people who are easily led, fed, and incapable of forming an opinion with out the say so of the media and/or organizations they depend on to do their thinking for them. After all, they are a product of their sum schooling for the past thirty years, and unless they had parents and leaders who taught them to think and make decisions for themselves, they are indoctrinated in group think.

The only meaning words have for them are what their cadre of group think controllers tell them, regardless of the traditional and long accepted definition stated in hundreds of dictionaries and documents world wide. And, because they have never been allowed to, in anyway, to take a different stand and learn to think outside group think, they simply don’t bother to learn the real meaning of the words that flood their screens.

Within my generation, many words have been forced into a new meaning, sometimes representing exactly the opposite of the original root definition. Most are found in the youthful desperation to use slang that only represents their generation. However, the word “bad” no matter how much they might have wanted it, does not mean ‘good.’ Likewise, the word ‘sick’ does not denote in any historical or linguistic manner, something that is outstanding or amazing. But beyond the childish inversion of words to create new slang, group think is demanding we all change the meaning of words and thoughts to only meet the group think criteria. It is demanded that we all fall in lock step with their agenda, and spout their linguistic liturgy propaganda. Then we are to go out and force it on the rest of the world.

In the Declaration of Independence, one of the most highly canonized ideals of the development of a free state, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Let us deconstruct the original meaning behind that statement and compare it to the group think of today’s propagandists.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…” “We hold”, meaning the people of the young country that wants to be independent of the tyrants of the British Empire. We, Us, The People. However, group think propagandists would have you believe the word, “we” means only the rich white men who were representing their particular group of planters and industrialists. The pronoun “we,” used plurally, refers to multiple people in the traditional meaning. Today, it is used to delineate between groups, turning the use of the word “we” into a them and us definition. The group think agenda has tried to twist the definition into a negative connotation. “Hold” is the verb that tells what ‘we’ is doing. We hold, meaning in this instance, we believe. “We,” know, that the following statement is correct. We, the people, believe this to be true. That was the original meaning, today, the entire verb phrase is dismissed as unimportant. Because one is not allowed to believe on their own, they must obfuscate every meaning in the name of group think.

“…truths to be self-evident,:… Truth, a simple, straightforward word that historically means being honest, saying what is verifiable, without exception, in accordance with fact and reality. A simple concept, that is now, completely without meaning. Truth is what each group think agenda wants it to be. It is no longer based of verifiable facts and reality, it is, instead based on an emotional behavior that is acceptable within the propaganda of the group think manifesto. It is one of the first dynamic words to actually become meaningless within my generation. No longer is stating something as truthful based on facts and realism something people can depend on to remain static. It is fluid to the point of meaningless evaporation. There is no truth, according to most group think propaganda, accept what we tell you is truth. Anything other than what we tell you is a lie, a misspoken, or a misunderstood definition of our version of the truth. Truth is now fluid, ever changing, non static words based on emotion and utterly controlled by the agenda masters.

“…to be self-evident:…” Self-evident. Meaning, in the time honored definition of the word, it is an adverb that means evidence without exterior proof because it is something that is traditionally known, or the facts presented before one is clear in its meaning. It is evident to one and all, the adverb that answers to the noun “truth,” the plural pronoun, “we,” and the verb, “hold.” We, each of us, believe, understand, accept, promote, the truth of this statement, to be obvious in its meaning. It is clearly stated and the definition as transparent as window glass. However, today’s opaque use of words muddies the meaning as much as possible. Because, after all, no one should ever use the word “self” to describe understanding. There is no “self” when it comes to propagandizing language. There is no clarity of definition because if there were, people would begin to question the status quo and standards of the group. That would be a disaster for those who employ the machine to mold minds into fearful followers of the ending of independent thought. There is no self in modern thinking patterns.

“…that all men are created equal…” Now there is a conundrum. “All Men…” How dare they not mention women as equals to men. According to the propagandists, this statement proves that the authors, of the Declaration of Independence, were obvious misogynists who dismissed women as unimportant and useless. Of course, the traditional use of the phrase refers to mankind. Men, women, children, all mankind. That is not good enough for the groups who want to be offended and angry that women are not given a particular specialness within the confines of the statement. Now the use of the word, “men,” a common plural noun for the singular noun, “man,” is an insult to womankind. Because, according to the modern group mind, all men, every last one of them, must be a groveling apologist for their sex – at fault every thing that has gone wrong in the development of mankind, and are required to scramble away with heads bowed in submission when any female is present. If they don’t they are criminal or evil. Unless, of course, they are fulfilling part of the group think violent agenda. There is no longer “all men” because the divisiveness of group think and mind control propaganda machine whole heartedly believes in divide and conquer methods to maintain power over those under their hidden agenda.

“…that they are endowed by their Creator…” Another slippery slope of word use. The use of this phrase, in its original format, infers that mankind is a creation of not only biological means, but is also a creation of a higher being, a Christian based religious belief in an almighty God. Conventional beliefs of many who founded the country of America were based in Christianity. Unlike now, it was an intrinsic part of their lifestyle and belief system. So, regardless of how one is biologically created, we were all spiritually created by God. It was, literally, the reason many of the earliest Europeans came to the Americas. Here they could worship as they desire, without interference from governmental powers.

Today, however, anyone who still believes in customary Christian traditions, is ridiculed and demeaned by the rudderless, angry people who feel judged by those with a deeply held belief system outside of group think. While they will deny it, they are as deeply entrenched in a belief system as any religious group, only their belief is based on unending perceived persecution by those who hold different things sacred. Group think is designed to promote discontent and inequality. By promoting inequality as a sinful, predetermined behavior by religious people, the group think propaganda continually maintains a fearful under current of misunderstanding and hatred. Since, at one point in time, some people did not undertake their mind control agenda, then all who believe in God are naturally trying to enslave or deny equality to everyone else. An absolute misdirection of epic proportions is achieved by reversing the meaning of the phrase, “created equal,” and labels all who understand and believe in the originators meaning of the phrase as racist, homophobic, anti everything the group think propaganda promotes. One again, filtering truth through emotionally charged propaganda creates a false narrative of rage, fear, and destruction of the original meaning of the phrase.

“…with certain unalienable rights…” Unalienable rights, what an interesting choice of words. These rights are nontransferable from one person to another. It is a right each individual has, something that is certainly incompatible with group think. Individualism is discouraged in mind controlled group think. The authors of the Declaration of Independence, however, saw the rights of the individual over the rights of the government as the very cornerstone of freedom of thought and action. Certain rights belong to everyone. Rights that are part of thinking for one’s self, for making decisions for one’s self,

and for believing for one’s self. No one can take that right from anyone else, but in today’s society one freely gives up that independence to slavishly follow group think so they might be part of a whole, instead of wholly their own person. Many modern arm chair judges of history point to slavery as the denial of those rights. Perhaps, however, the traditional use of slavery was ended by the American people over a hundred years ago, and it was limited to begin with in America. Today, however, people are enslaved by a systematic denial of individualism through social, governmental, and propaganda of the group think status quo. We must do as we are told or face rejection by peers, incarceration by the government control and programs, or bombardment from the fearful group think organizations for being independent thinkers. Our rights are in more danger today than they ever were under original slavers. After generations fighting for freedom for all people in our country, those radicals who have nothing better to do than spew hatred would bring back segregation and racial divisiveness to our country. Once again, the meaning of words, originally written to decry oppression, are being defined as oppressive in modern propaganda.

“…among these are life…” We have a right to life. Once, it meant everyone had a right to life. We had a right to grow, learn, work, become strong, and live a long life. Everyone, man, woman, and child, had a right to live. It is a phrase that could not be more transparent in meaning. Yes, lives were taken that should not have been taken though violence, through anger. But those lives were still allowed until they lost that right by committing horrors against other human beings. Today, however, this phrase is denied by group think. If a child is created, and one of the creators of that life doesn’t want it, it is allowed to be thrown away, destroyed, torn asunder for the pure selfish desire of the creators of that life. We no longer have a right to live if we do not bow to the group think of what is acceptable thought and behavior according to their purpose. There is no rights except their rights. We are not allowed to be different, and if we are, we are automatically the enemy. There is no right to life. Not now.

.”..liberty…” Liberty, a noun that means, according to Dictionary.com, “freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice. It is manifest in the Declaration of Independence that the authors were indeed and in spirit writing to these meanings of the word liberty. It was a fine, strong stance that the independent minded young American nation took against tyranny. It is something that the United States has fought for since the Revolutionary War. It is something that made this country a beacon of hope for those downtrodden and defenseless peoples of other countries. It was something that made them leave all behind and make the often perilous journey from their traditional homeland to America. Liberty, freedom from control, independence from tyranny were the burning desires of thousands who came to America. They wanted this freedom for their posterity, they wanted to become Americans in every sense of the word. It was with pride that they presented their children with the hope of liberty. Today, however, the meaning of liberty has become as undermined as the meaning of truth. While liberty means freedom, it also means responsibility within the laws of the land. We are free to bear arms, but we are not free to arbitrarily murder people. We are free to say what we think, but we are not free to slander with lies or misinformation. We are free to live as we want, but we are not free to force others to do so as slaves, cults, or through intimidation. We have freedom to move where we might, but we do not have freedom to take over a property that does not belong to us. We are free to drive, but we are not free to steal a car. With liberty, comes great responsibility. Responsibility that many fear because that means they will have to make decisions for themselves. It is much easier to simply let others think for them and tell them how to live, and exactly what freedoms they can indulge in without consequences. As a group think organization, they can go en-mass and destroy property, hurt others, deny freedom to those who believe differently without consequence. Freedom means destroying anything and anyone one disagrees with, at any time, with what the group think organization says they can. Liberty has become the inverse of what the originators of the Declaration of Independence meant when they wrote it. Yet, every last group think perpetrator of violence screams that it is his or her right to do so because they pursue liberty for pseudo tyranny.

“…pursuit of happiness,,,,” Pursuit, a noun, meaning to quest for something in an effort to attain a particular thing. It isn’t a guarantee of happiness, it is the opportunity to search for happiness. And happiness is a state of contentment, joy, pleasure, or satisfaction in life. Again, the authors of the document in question used clear language to describe the end results of a quest for life and liberty. Happiness. There is no guarantee that everyone will find what ever means happiness to them. But, they are free to search for it, free to find it, and free to enjoy it, as long as it doesn’t preempt another from happiness in their lives. It seems very clear to most people. But, in modern group think, one does not pursue happiness, they believe they should be guaranteed it without the cost and effort of pursuing their version of happiness. It must be delivered to them, free of charge, without end, upon demand. If they are not happy, then it is up to everyone else to see that they are. Like a petulant child with a new toy, if it isn’t exactly what he or she wants, it is tossed away with disdain and the unending caterwauling for happiness continues until they obtain the next toy. The word pursuit in the phrase is thrown to the wayside with impunity. Happiness is a right, not the pursuit of said happiness, according to the modern interpretation of this phrase in the Declaration of Independence.

Denis Waitley once stated, “It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” If we gain something without earning it, it is meaningless. Something that we strive for, something we sacrifice for, something we gain by perseverance means more than anything simply handed to us by the powers that be. Pursuing that which we most desire, be it education, knowledge, freedom, independence, and yes, happiness can only be done if we are free from control by those who would own our thoughts, actions, and ability. Either we learn to use words clearly and with courage, meaning exactly what we say, or we become no more than a pawn in the act, as John Adams said, “of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society.”