What’s Next?

Well, as of today, bars not serving food will once again be closed down through July.

Little by little we are being locked down … again.  So far just the pubs, brewery’s and bars that do not serve food or do not primarily serve as restaurants will close.

BIG SIGH

I hardly watch the news anymore because it pains me to see history being methodically erased as monuments are torn down and names being changed so as not to offend someone, somewhere.

monument

History is history folks.  It is what it is.  We can’t change what happened hundreds of years ago and just because Christopher Columbus landed on this continent, not North America mind you, does not mean his discovery of this world never happened.  It did. Slavery much to our dismay happened.  In the book Centennial by James Michener, you will read about the morphing of this country.  Bad things happened, but out of those bad things, people survived and changed.  We grew strong as a country.  Change has been slow and in some instances unfair, but it has and will continue to change.  Erasing it fixes nothing.

This came to me when my brother emailed me his memories of my sister.  His memories were far different than mine which didn’t surprise me because that was a realization Diana and I had come to those years we lived together taking care of our parents.  The reality is, yes our lives were like a car wreck.  Just as bystanders and eyewitnesses in an accident will tell a different tale, so we would in telling our own story.  We all saw and experienced things differently.  The one thread of commonality which held us together as children and gave us strength was our love and bond for one another.  Our sanity through our love for one another is what preserved us. Out of our trials we grew stronger together.

The past… or history, I might add, is not unlike the news or our childhood, it is and will always be colored by the opinion of the day or our perception.

I hope someone has sense enough to squirrel away something, somewhere to remember it by.

Us four

That’s all I have to say about that.

Changing Black – MLK

October 18, 2017 (Original start date was March 2016)

I’ve not written or posted an original work in quite some time, but a question I found on Quora (footnoted) this morning, triggered me to complete something I’d started 10 months ago, so here it is.

Rev John Walker and Dr. Martin Luther King. What comes to mind?

I had to look the former one up, because I really had nothing on him, other than a quote.  It was the latter,  however that I drew my inspiration from.

Rev. John Walker, on the other hand could be a person of interest for our modern times.

The other day, I was perusing Facebook and came across a comment made by someone I do not know regarding a link from a person I do know that had shared from someone else he knows.  You know how those things go. It’s social media.

All in all it resulted in a chain of connections that took me to comments for the “shared” item. One comment in particular caught my eye because it was negative about a positive post. Curious, I clicked on that person’s name thinking there might be something there to clue me as to why this person was so defensive.

As I scroll down his page, I didn’t have far to go before I realize this person lives on the dark side of the moon. How sad I thought.

Mostly I saw pictures that depict one injustice after another and really that’s all there was. There was the cheering for someone who pulls out a gun and shoots a purse snatcher,  I guess that could be good if not a bit excessive? Another for some presumed injustice that did not appear to be anything more that a person being pushed around as they maneuvered through a crowd, which could happen to anyone.

The picture that really caught my eye though, was an old one of two people hung. A mother and son to be exact. Below the picture there was the caption explaining why they were hung, which was totally unjust. The two people were black and it appeared that that was essentially their only crime. It was 1911. It was horrible and sad.

I immediately became defensive.

Yes, those things happened. I hate them too.  These injustices happened to blacks, but it happened to whites as well. Unfortunately, blacks were more frequently targeted and today more focused on. This world is not fair by any stretch of the imagination. They happened and it was abhorrent.

In the words of Rev. John Walker, “God does not look at our past and present. He looks at our hearts and our future.”

My father would often defend his use of certain words that were common in his day. It was there nature of speech, but not necessarily their opinion. My father and his father of the 1800’s spoke that way. I know from what my father says, “your grandfather employed blacks and treated them decently”. But what was decent in those days?

It is history but it is not nor does it have to be your history. I had a hard time communicating that to blacks I worked with. They have a difficult time letting go of the past and any overtures of kindness are met with disdain or as being condescending. We need to learn to accept that’s how it was. Somewhere along the way all of us must recognize the past as past and the past cannot be changed. We can’t “fix” that, there are no do overs of he past except in Hollywood. We can only change what’s ahead of us and how we think and behave is the only thing we have any control of.

Those were my thoughts.

This poor soul’s whole FB page was dedicated to focusing on wrongs committed by whites and yes, he is black. This tidbit was not shared for its historical value so much as a reminder to hate. To not forget. Why else dwell on it?

It broke my heart to say the least. It’s no wonder progress toward equality stagnates.

I thought of the big hoopla that was made last year about “OscarsSoWhite” **and how of late we see things going backward rather than forward.  Why is that?

I know many wonderful blacks who I consider friends, but I’ve also met some very racist blacks who blame everyone but themselves for why there is racism. Could Hollywood be part of the problem?

For instance:

I still find the portrayal of the southern white person as bigoted or as one friend in California says when she tells me she hates, “hics” (she never said rednecks).   This she says, staring at me blankly for several seconds after I’d stated that “everyone has prejudices”, as though she were guilty of none.  She finally states that her prejudice is “hics”. (she’s very white).  Her response was like that of the person who believes soap opera’s are real.  I suppose this was intended as noble of her. (BTW, the white supremacist leader is from Boston, not the south.)

A policeman, might have a different perception of race, according to what he is subjected to and faces in his day to day work “place”. (See my footnote.)

Hollywood creates stereotypes and I think sometimes our impressions of certain races is based on these. When I lived in the south my perception of blacks, whites or Hispanics was different than it is in California.

In California, Hispanics actually speak English and blacks are pleasant and friendly, whites are superficial and everyone’s a health nut. In Alabama, Hispanics don’t speak English, blacks are angry and antagonistic, whites are generally working hard to change their public persona. Both states have lots of homeless.  I had a white friend terrified to open her mouth in California for fear her accent would cause people to be ugly to her assuming that if she was from the south then she must be one of those bigots, which is the farthest thing from the truth. Fortunately, no one did this.

If racism is to be overcome, the barriers need to fall on both sides. It isn’t something only whites are responsible for accomplishing.

This mentality does not only plague blacks, it plagues everyone. It plagues the poor, the rich, the sick, the Hispanic, the Asian, the gay or any other group out there that can be slighted.  It seems that the more politically correct we try to become the more cause there is to be offended. There will always be slights. It’s a given because of our humanness.

Have I experienced racism? Sure.

Ironically, it was when I lived in California not Alabama that prejudice smacked me in the face. When I was 20, I dated this young man from a upper class family in La Jolla. He took me to his home to meet his parents, thinking nothing of it. They were cordial, but later he would break up with me because his parents didn’t want him marrying or dating an Hispanic. I guess it was like him mixing with the help. Was I hurt? I was chagrined, yes. Angry to tell the truth, at him for not having balls enough to stick up for himself or me. I guess you have to care to do that.

Was it permanent? NO! I got over it. Did it ruin the rest of life? Hell no!  Did I look for slights everywhere I went? NO! Why should I?

As anyone who’s been following my blog knows, I’m originally from Alabama, but I really didn’t grow up there or live there for long and what memories I have are positive. There were no racial events to tar my memory, other than being called a “yankee” because of my accent. In fact, the kids I went to school with loved me. I was a novelty. My “white” cousins were proud to say they were related. My mother however, was not fond of it and very aware of her swarthy complexion, but that was her. I never noticed anyone singling her or me out. She was more self conscious of them being white than they were of her being Hispanic.

At 60, I moved “back home” and I will admit, I was self conscious at first, but I needn’t have been because I was received well.

Blacks in general would however focus on my ethnicity more than whites did as if it was supposed to cause me problems, but it never did. Sadly, I noticed how so many of them kept bringing up the past and were unwilling to let it go or forgive and in so doing found an affront everywhere in anything anyone said. Some admitted this was a problem.

My dad used to say “if you believe you’re different, you’ll be treated accordingly”.  It was the best advice he ever gave me.

In my many years of living, I’ve gotten along in life not holding onto the race card, not wanting to call attention to my difference and treating others the same.

Staying angry and blaming this generation for the mistakes of past generations does nothing to help us get past the past.  We need to embrace our differences and be willing to accept and laugh at ourselves. (Ecclesiastes 7: 9) .  ” Do not hurry yourself in your spirit to become offended, for the taking of offense is what rests in the bosom of the stupid ones.”

We can’t help what previous generations did, but we can help what this one does.

How do we change conditioning and antagonism?  Globally, it seems overwhelming and I don’t really have a good answer.

What I do know is, feeding on bitterness and hate gets us nowhere. I wanted to say something positive to that young man who thought so negatively, but I didn’t know what I could say that would not be construed as a racist attack, so I left it alone and blogged instead. Will he see this? Probably not.

A person has to want a healthy diet. (Proverbs 14:29) vs29 ..”He that is slow to anger is abundant in discernment, but one that is impatient is exalting foolishness.”

I can only recommend myself and offer suggestions. So, if we want change, change what is in your power to change. YOU.

Change yourself and you will change the world one person at a time. I like the term, “Pay it Forward”, what you give out comes back.

Martin Luther King was in the process of changing black in America. Because he was a Christian and a Baptist minister, he is best known for using nonviolent civil disobedience to achieve civil rights.

“In 1959, he published a short book called The Measure of A Man, which contained his sermons “What is Man?” and “The Dimensions of a Complete Life”. The sermons argued for man’s need for God’s love and criticized the racial injustices of Western civilization.”(Wiki quote)

On October 14, 1964 he became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent methods for combating racial inequality. Later posthumously he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Unfortunately Mr. King was assassinated on April 4th in Tennessee.  Unfortunately it resulted in a wave of riots. I wonder what Mr. King would have thought about that?  Justifiable anger? Absolutely!  This was a good, just and fair man. He was making headway on behalf of blacks. There’s been no one like him since.

The new Black leaders like , Sharpton and Jackson spew hatred and retaliation, keeping alive the sad past of whites against black. Malcolm X and other more radical black leaders, who were present at the “I Have a Dream” speech and march, condemned the speech along with the rest of the march. Instead they keep stirring the pot, fomenting violence and hate. They do not foster a peaceful resolution.

White Supremacists, like Richard Spencer go on to stoke the fire even further as if blacks are the problem. NO, NO, NO!!!

Rioting and destruction in black neighborhoods are the new norm and have now become the new mantra and any excuse will trigger it. Blacks don’t even have to be in the right. If anyone of color is killed, accidentally or deliberately, blacks will wreak havoc, sometimes destroying their own neighborhoods and looting their own people.

In the presidential citation Mr. King received, there is a statement that I believe can still be true.

“Martin Luther King, Jr., was the conscience of his generation. He gazed upon the great wall of segregation and saw that the power of love could bring it down. From the pain and exhaustion of his fight to fulfill the promises of our founding fathers for our humblest citizens, he wrung his eloquent statement of his dream for America. He made our nation stronger because he made it better. His dream sustains us yet.”

We all have that dream. We, all of us can make this dream come true.

Martin Luther King believed in God and he believed the Bible, which still says it best.

(Colossians 3:14) 14: “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

Love covers all.

**https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Americas-great-racial-diversity-poorly-represented-on-movies-video-games-and-television?

Post script:  I got this email from my sister just after I posted this, totally unaware of what was transpiring in Florida. I thought it pertinent to my blog.  Please pray for the folks in Gainesville.

Dear —

Well, it is another exciting week in Gainesville…remember I told you about that white supremist, Richard Spencer?   He tried to come to Gainesville and was denied then when he filed a lawsuit the University had to allow it….but then we had the storms.    So, he is now scheduled to speak tomorrow at 2:00 at the Phillips Center.    The Phillips Center is within walking distance from me.  Since Tuesday there have been swarms of State Troopers along 34th Street.   Again, within walking distance from me is a hotel…the parking lot is full of State Trooper vehicles and today on my way home I noticed that cars going into the hotel were being checked.   The governor has already declared a State of Emergency for Alachua County.   That puts the National Guard on ready so there isn’t time lost in getting them involved if need be.

The University has set very strict rules as to what can be carried into the auditorium and one item that is banned is bottled water, but also no bicycles within a designated perimeter around the auditorium.   Today when I walked to Winn Dixie there were several helicopters flying circles overhead.   So, I guess they are as ready as possible.

At work Tuesday, one of the male therapist said he is going to accompany his friend who is a young reporter for the local TV station.   His friend is really nervous about this, but also Brad told me that Antifa has been keeping very silent about whether they will attend.   Partly because the FBI is monitoring them so they aren’t communicating as much.  

The interesting thing is that our pastor Sunday said that the pastors in Gainesville have gotten together and asked their parishioners not to attend even if they plan to express disfavor.  Pastors very rarely actually tell their parishioners what to do…unless they are in a cult.    However, the pastors will be coming together in various locations in town to hold prayer meetings during  the guys speech.   Today in my women’s Bible study group we also prayed over our city/county for protection, but also that this man’s message is diffused peacefully.   

The positive thing is that our local news has given our pastor and the local churches more attention than to this man.     So, tomorrow at 2:00 eastern please pray for us.    I will let you know how the day goes.

Love you, 

 

Cousin Jack

Here it is the wee hours of the morning and I can’t sleep. I seldom have that problem any more but here it is.

I got to thinkin’ about cousin Jack.

Cousin Jack was an old farm boy from Alabama. Actually, his real name was Israel but we all called him Jack. He spent most of his youth in the army, retired Air Force, so the first time I remembered meeting him, he was already an adult with a family and all. (pic on left) I think I was in my twenties then, with two girls of my own.

I remember Jack hoisting my little city girls up on the fence to watch the hog that had just given birth to a whole bunch of piglets scrambling for a teat. His two boys were older and like their dad, loved riding the girls around the farm on their four wheeler’s.

Jack was older than I but halfway in age between daddy and me. All I know is that he was actually  daddy’s first cousin which made him my second cousin but we were still cousins.

I didn’t see him again for a good many years.  What I learned about him though was that he was hard working and enterprising.  I remember daddy driving us through his land on what seemed like miles of corn fields. It was amazing to see row upon row of fresh corn. That was all his, daddy said. What I remember was that he was always accumulatin’, but mostly land and cows.  I would later add to my opinion of his persona, “hot tempered and opinionated”, after all he was a southerner. A redneck through and through.

It seemed that Jack took a dislikin’ to my Uncle Tracy for “some reason” and felt compelled to compete.  If Uncle Tracy bought a parcel of land, Jack would out do him. If cousin Bill bought a bunch of cattle or more land, he’d out do him. (Cousin Bill was uncle Tracy’s son in law).

You see my great grandma had 12 kids and out of those only 8 or 9 of them lived. I could be wrong on that. But Uncle Tracy and my grandpa were from the same litter, only grandpa was on the older end of the scale and Uncle Tracy was closer to Daddy’s age. Cousin Jacks Poppa was Pervie also near the bottom rung and I heard tell his momma was mean as hell, but I don’t remember her. The pic below shows some of them.

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Back: Grandpa Orlie, Uncle’s: Tracy, Fitzhugh, Pervie – Front: Aunt’s: Ada, Omie, great grandma, and Vergie

How one family could have kids on opposite ends of the social spectrum, is beyond me. I can only guess the younger ones benefited from the older ones working by getting more education, therefore more advantages. One thing for sure, they were all a hard working bunch. Uncle Fitzhugh also had a Jack who would move to Texas; his sons were younger and fully educated and classier.

Cousin Jack was decent folk, steady and far brighter than he let on to be. Being in the military he got to see the world and was well traveled, but daddy doesn’t know how he survived being so bull headed as he was and all, but he did. Calling him bull headed, well that was like the pot callin’ the kettle black, as if dad could talk.

When I visited Daddy once, Jack noticed the tires on my car were going bald, so he sent me to this tire place in town. Beings as I was from Colorado, I was a bit shy on going to a business I didn’t know for fear of being taken advantage of.  For one, I am a woman and…two, considered a “Yankee” to boot.

He tells me to tell them that “Jack B of Walnut Grove” sent me.  He says, “They know me there”. “They know I got a big mouth and if they don’t treat you right, the whole damn county’ll hear about it!” They gave me a great deal and I was in and out in no time.

Daddy said, that’s how he was. He had a big mouth and at times could be downright offensive, but one thing for sure, if he likes you, he likes you and you couldn’t ask for a more honest dealin’ man around. You always knew where you stood with him.

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Jack with my grandson Jack – It tickled him to when my little guy jumped on the Kodiak

After I moved there I found that to be true. People either loved him or hated him and that would all depend on what kind of person you were or how you’d dealt with him or one of his kin and/or friends.  That’s what happened to Uncle Tracy. You see Uncle Tracy  had taken advantage of daddy once a long time ago and basically absconded with over 360 acres of good timber land, leaving daddy with only 20 acres. Daddy and grandpa got like $5,000 for all of it, perhaps less.   Truth is, it was grandpa’s and daddy’s temper that interfered with their judgment that lost the land, none the less they all blamed Tracy for taking advantage of a known flaw in their personalities. Daddy never forgot that and of course Jack didn’t either. Loyal.

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“Our former dam and creek” that daddy always wanted to build a house nearby.
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Tracy cleared the trees and put in cattle but the land goes as far as you can see.

Jack, like us, started out land poor.  I don’t know how but there was quite a bit of land in the family and each started out with a chunk of it. I used to tell people we owned the town. My husband didn’t believe me until his first visit and he spotted a street named after us. Actually, there were several but that’s all we had. No money. Just land.

Now Jack was different. He may have looked like a hick, but he was sharp. He not only gained more land adding thousands of acres but he had hundreds of cattle, pigs, llamas and for a time raised corn to boot. So, he did right well for himself. He also knew how to handle money, and he knew how to save and multiply it. He put his boys through college and they too did well as engineers and accountants.

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Jack and his truck & tractor.

Daddy liked him because he said, he wasn’t uppity, he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, that was how he was. He did get in Dad’s face at times and was always bugging dad to get his affairs in order and take care of us kids, but daddy wouldn’t listen. Jack was trying to look out for us to no avail. I respected him for that.

That’s why, when he popped off spit firin’ mad at some politician or some injustice, callin’ them names ya hadn’t oughta repeat, ya let him go because it was “his way”. One thing for sure, there was never a doubt in your mind about what he thought. There were times you’d cringe at the stuff that came out of his mouth. The more I was around him, the more I could see right through his prattle as he’d spew.  I was to discover that it was just talk. There was a heart of gold in there. Half the time I think he was just tryin’ to get folks riled and he did it well. He didn’t mince words and he could get ya to thinkin’.

One day, I’m at work and one of my coworkers tells me he’s dead, killed in a wreck or maybe daddy called and told me, I don’t remember. For sure it was my coworker that told me how. Some big trucker fell asleep or was drunk and went over to the other side. Her husband was on his motorcycle and saw it. Saw Jack. Jack had been decapitated. Killed on the spot. He died in 2007 at the age of 73. His obit states:

“Mr. — was retired from the U.S. Air Force and the United States Department of Agriculture. He entered the military at the age of 17. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces as a Ranger when they occupied Germany after World War II. He also served in the Korean War and saw combat duty during the Vietnam War. At present, Mr. — was a cattle farmer.” 

Daddy missed him most. A lot in fact. He was his best friend. But even he said, “sometimes Jack could be an ass hole” and I said “yeah… but he was our ass hole.”

What made me think of Jack is the elections comin’ up. Yeah, we got a couple of them.

The thing of it is,  there are people in life like Jack. They can be a bit hard to take sometime, because it’s all out there for the whole world to see, flawed and imperfect. Even so, I never heard him demean a woman like daddy would and did.  He was a good man. I never heard him say an unkind thing about someone based on color alone so much as work ethics and it was a sorry thing if they were one and the same, regardless. He didn’t pick and choose. You work hard, you get treated fairly. Period.

Daddy said that sometimes he was harder on his boys. I believe it. My boys got to work the farm once one summer and one liked him, the other didn’t so much. He treated them as his own. My sweet nerd was not at all the out door type, so he didn’t quite toe the line and farming is hard. Manual labor was not up his alley but it was good for him. He learned and never held it against Jack. For all his abrasive ways, when the chips were down, Jack was a good fair person and could always be counted on to give you the shirt off his back to help you.

Despite daddy’s ill treatment of us kids, I took care of him when he was sick and Jack liked that. He liked me and yes, I liked him too. I wish he could have been around when daddy passed away,  but he’d been gone nearly four years by then. It would have been nice to get his advice on a few things.

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“Tell them Jack sent you!”