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Almost Angels, Chapter 6

Ben

Yes, we still celebrate that semi-heathen holiday of Christmas, in 2518.
We probably look at it a bit differently than they did in the 20th and 21st century, but hell, it is too much fun to not have Christmas! Even our children are too smart to believe in the fat old elf. They are too well informed, too aware, to believe in that nonsense. And yes, religion has almost become a strange ritual we read about. We still find tiny pools of civilization that fall back on those old myths. I suppose they are searching for something, although why, I have no clue. It has always been that way in the world though. People need a god, or something of that sort to hold onto, to protect them, to lean on because they have not enough confidence in themselves. So be it.

But anyway, I was studying my new assignment just after the Christmas holiday, a new thing for me. I had gotten into some trouble for not knowing my topic. It had settled me down. I was still a maverick (ancient term, had to look up its meaning), but now I would be an informed maverick.

My next assignment was to be a heroic character of the late 18th century, -one of the founding fathers of the old United States of America. His name was Benjamin Franklin. As I sat and read and watched old documentaries of this old man, a character slightly ahead of his time emerged, stepped out into the light and looked around. You know, I think I like this guy. I decided to step into his life about the same time of the year as I am not enjoying, but of the year 1732, the night before the first day of 1733, and three days after he had published the first edition of his celebrated Poor Richard’s Almanac.

I reported back to my duty station on the evening of the Dec 31st. It had been a bit of a lonely holiday. Misha had only been there a few days of it. Her mother was not well, and she kept flitting back from our place, near Vail, Colorado, to a small village in New Zealand every few hours. She finally just kissed me, said she was sorry, and left for a week. So it was okay to go back to work on New Years Eve. Wouldn’t have been much of a party anyway.

I set my time on my computer for the address given for Franklin’s shop, for 11 PM. I wanted just a short bit of time to take a look at what he was doing before I met him, so a bit of night-time scouting. It took me an hour to get into these ridiculous clothes of this period. It was easy to understand why everyone of this period seemed so cranky all the time. So I signaled the controller I was ready, and he just disappeared and the room with it. I don’t care how many times you do this, it is rather disconcerting. I had gotten to closing my eyes as I departed.

This time when I opened my eyes there was, about six feet in front of me, stood a stocky gentlemen, with long hair, looking quite shocked at my sudden arrival.

He spoke, “And who, or rather what are you, good Sir? And what are you doing in my place of business at this odd hour?”

OMG. What to do now? What is he doing here is a better question. But I can’t ask that, no. Well, hell, he was Benjamin Franklin, wasn’t he? One of the most unusual men of the century – brilliant writer, thinker, inventor. Ok, I am going to get into deep shit for this. This isn’t going to be a tear in the fabric of time, this is going to be a gigantic rip.

“Mr. Franklin, I presume?”

“Yes, I am Benjamin Franklin. And who are you, Sir?”

“Well, a name would be of no use to you, as I really do not exist in your time. I am a friend though, and I came here to meet you, personally.”

“Came from where?”

“Came from when, would be the better question. Because the where would be meaningless to you at this point.”

“What do you mean, came from when? I am not much for religion, per se. I do believe in God, but not much in spirits, or such the like.”

“Mr. Franklin, Sir, sit down there. Okay, Sir, I am from the year 2518 A.D.”

He smiled and his look at me said You are daft, but instead he politely said, “Of course you are. I was wondering what century you are from. I see fashion has not advanced to any great degree.”

“Sir,” I felt strange calling a man about my own age sir, “Sir, I can see you don’t quite believe me. In order for our discourse to advance, you must.”

I stood up from the bench I had been sitting upon. “Here, Sir, shake my hand.”

I extended my hand to him and he immediately reached to grasp it. Instead, his hand passed through mine. I saw the look of realization pass through his face.

“What is your purpose here? Am I about to die?”

“No Sir, not for a good while. My purpose is simply to suggest direction for you. You will soon stand in very important places, and I think it wise to let you know this. Few have little time in life to prepare themselves for important work. I cannot do anything that changes history myself, that can have disastrous results on the future. I am probably going to get in trouble over this anyway, but, here goes.”

“What do you mean, you cannot do anything to change history? And when am I going to die, if you are privy to that?”

I laughed, “Sir, I am not going to tell you that. It really would not be good for you to know right now. I will tell you though, that you should continue simply as you are at the moment. Fame will follow you, but you can not let it change you. Be the same man that you are, and always trust your judgment.”

“What may I call you, Sir?”

I smiled. “My friends call me Jamie.”

Franklin shifted back in the chair he was sitting in and threw his leg over the padded arm and leaned back, a smirk crossed his lips.

“Well, Jamie, what can you tell me about us in, what did you say, 2518? What are we going to be then?”

“What would you like to know?”

“This country, America. What will it be like? Will we cross the mountains to the west?”

“Let me show you, Ben, if I may be so familiar.”

“Please do. You know my death date, I suppose that grants you leniency.“

I turned my ring sideways and pulled up a holographic map of the United States in the 21st Century. He gasped and leaned forward, his face almost white in the glow of the hologram.

“Please, please! Explain! What am I seeing? And how do you do this?”

“This is what we call a hologram. It is just a projection. The map is what the country you call America will be like 250 years from your time. You can see the boundaries of the states, and the cities. I, likewise, am a projection of this same nature. My basic job is to record history as it is happening, so that the future will have it archived. History has been written usually by the victors or the wealthy powerful elements. I usually never allow anyone to see me this well, or to know my purpose.”

Franklin pulled his leg almost absent mindedly back in front of him. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.

“Good God, my friend, this is so hard to absorb! Nor do I think I can for some time to come. But if what you say is true, then, Oh My! What a future! It is so exciting!”

“Yes, Sir, exciting. But know you this, it doesn’t happen without blood being spilt, lives being lost. The very fabric of the country’s existence being rent from end to end sometimes. It will experience adversity, contention from within but, if history remains true, will prevail. And you, Sir, will play a huge part in it.”

Out side I heard a cock crow, and then small street noises.

“Ben, this is all I have time for at the moment. With your permission, Sir, I will show up in your life from time to time. It may be two years, or 20. But you will see me again. Goodbye, Mr. Franklin, it has been my honor.” I touched my ring.

The next day I spent reading Ben Franklin’s history, knowing full well that what I was doing was playing with fire. Still, it was a worthy effort. I had not been discovered yet, so there was evidently no tears in time. At about 11 PM I set my computer for Mr. Franklin’s residence. I watched from outside for almost an hour, he was alone in his study/laboratory. Finally, I projected into his room.

“Oh My God, Man, can you not announce yourself? I shall die of heart failure!”

“Good evening, Mr. Franklin.” It was easier this time to address him thus, as he was a man in his late forties at present time.

“Ah, good evening Jamie. If my memory serves me well…”

“It does, Sir. I have been following in your progress. You have been a busy man. How is your health, Sir?”

“It seems, young man, that you would know that better than I. However, I am well, with some exception. I have suffered a bout with gout, but at present, it is at rest. But enough of that. I want to know more of what we are to accomplish as a country, I would like to see more of the future. What you showed me the first visit has cost me many hours of sleep. I have conversed with men who have been over the mountains, to the great river Ohio. I have read materials from the French and Spanish and their endeavors. How did we attain these lands? Was it war?”

“Ben, I can’t tell you how any of this happens, that would endanger time and history. But I came more prepared this time, to show you achievements that have been made. But first, are we alone? Is there any chance of discovery?”

“No, we are free this evening. My family is away.”

“Very well. First of all, this is what we use to light our homes and businesses.” I had glanced around and notice the room was lighted by four large candles sitting in a glass and metal lantern type devices. I showed him light bulbs of different types, then fixtures, and great spotlights that threw beams of light for great distances. I showed him scenes of homes where the room was as light as day itself. Then I showed him lasers. I explained they were all cousins to each other. I knew he had experimented with lightening, and had proved that lightening was electricity. I told him these were only a few things that were done with his new discovery.

He turned and looked at me for what seemed like half a minute. “Ah-ha! Electricity! I knew it! I knew it! This is most gratifying! I had no idea how important it would be. I felt that it meant something at the time, but this is….” his voice trailed off. Then he smiled and exclaimed, “But how? Oh, never mind, it will have to be invented in due course, right?”

I smiled and nodded. I proceeded to show him bits of history: early aircraft, automobiles, trains. Then some more modern technology. I spent about 3 hours that evening explaining the world that was to come, the world he would never see for himself. I finished about 2 in the morning, then we sat and visited. In was such an astute man, wise far beyond his years, he seemed almost naturally to see the proper course in almost every situation. I felt more secure in what I was doing. I made a promise to myself to never go beyond the limits of what was correct to tell him. At the close of the evening he automatically reached for my hand, then laughed when he couldn’t grasp it.

I went back over the next few days and visited him about every 10 or 15
years of his life. He was always overjoyed to see me and as responsibility was heaped on his shoulders, especially after the beginning of the birth pains of the Revolution, he would ask if he was acting in the best manner. Of course, I could not advise him.

After the treaty with Great Britain was signed, he came home from France. France had become his home, the people loved him. I visited him there on occasion. When he left it was almost as if the village outside of Paris was having a funeral for a favorite dignitary, he was so revered.

The last time I saw him was just before his death in 1790. Late one night I appeared to him, expecting to find him asleep. He wasn’t.

“Ah, Jamie, lad. I was just thinking of you.”

“How are you, Ben?”

“Ah, well. I am on my way out of this life, my young friend. I know this.
But I am well with it. I have had such a rich part of my life given to me, much of it in the glimpses you have given me. But I am ready to step through that curtain that separates us from life, and see what the next great adventure brings. My body has given out on me and I am in constant pain. It is time to give it up and I am willing. One of the worst parts is I can’t enjoy the ladies anymore. That is reason enough to die!” He laughed, then seemed to choke, and coughed into his handkerchief.

“Jamie, you don’t seem to have aged a day since the first time I saw you. Then we were about the same age. How long as it been in your life that you have spent with me?”

I smiled at him, “Ben, it has been only about a week.”

He smiled weakly, “What a marvelous thing.” There was a stirring in the next room. He lifted his head. “Thank you, Jamie, and goodbye. What you have given me bears no price. Remember me, please.”

“Mr. Franklin, the entire world will remember you and your efforts for centuries. Go rest now. It is for sure I will never forget you.”

There was a voice outside, “Mr. Franklin! Are you alright? I thought I heard voices.“

“Oh, yes, I am alright. You probably just heard an angel, coming to keep me company.”

As he faded from sight, and I returned to my own time, I did it with tears running down my cheeks. I had experienced greatness.

Sherman’s final answer to Hood

General Sherman’s last letter to General Hood was brief and as follows!

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I found these discourses interesting and revealing. It is my fervent wish that people of our era, might be able to discourse as clearly and concisely as they. Without the need for name-calling and the need to debase their adversary.

 

 

More Sherman-Hood letters

A continuation of the remarks between these two adversaries, concerning the fate of the City of
Atlanta, Georgia, September 1864

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his almighty Aid in defense of Justice and Right.

Respectfully, your obedient  Servant, J.B. Hood, General, Commanding

Due to the length of General Hoods letter, I will conclude this blog with just it.  General Sherman’s reply will follow.

Thanks, Larry

 

 

 

 

 

The Fall of Atlanta, Sept 1, 1864

In my research for my soon to be released Historical Novel, After Bloody Shiloh, I discovered many interesting stories and articles that I would like to share with you. One of these concerned the disposition of the population of Atlanta,  Georgia, after it fell to the Union Army, commanded by General William T. Sherman. It created a bit of contriversy , as you may well imagine. I will let the correspondence between General Sherman and General John Bell Hood, and the Civil governers of Atlanta, do my talking. This first blog is short and is mostly just General Sherman

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Basically General Sherman’s reasoning was he couldn’t leave Atlanta,

to function as normal, He had been the commander of both Memphis, TN and

Vicksburg, Mississippi, after the Southern Forces  had been defeated there. He, in his mind, simply must totally defeat the Confederate forces, in order to bring the Civil War to an end. Since Atlanta, was a huge manufacturing and supply center it must be totally shut it down.  And this is where it got interesting. Atlanta, boasted a population of 10,000 souls, but because it had become a hospital city by the time it fell it had doubled in population to 20,000. What to do with all those people.   These excerpts are from the memoirs of General Sherman and are given exactly as he told the story. The letters you will read are copies that he had kept in his possession.

Hormone Dialogues

I am a normal man, with normal intelligence and normal drives. I have always thought that I was aware of most things around me. I am a combat vet, that alone will teach you to be aware. But, it has taken me until the age of almost Seventy-Five to become aware of the greatest discourse in the world.

It is a discourse as old as humanity itself, The Hormone Dialogues!

In about 2001 or 2002, my lovely wife and partner and I took a little drive down to Mustang Island, off the coast of Corpus Christie, TX. It was rutting season for the species known as Homo-Sapien. The herds had gathered here, the males to attract the females and to fight for the leadership of the herds. The females were here, at their seductive best, each posturing to show off their best attributes.

Two lines of automobiles lined the beach, barely twenty feet apart, the males were on one side, the females on the other. The young males danced the dance of strength and agility, to show the females that their off-spring would be strong and healthy, they tried not to spend a lot of time with showing intelligence, it isn’t a breeding point. The females, postured and pranced so the males would recognize a lively mate, and a body that would be fun to create offspring with. If one looked closely, one could almost see the mist of hormones that mixed and mingled between the two rows of automobiles, whipping the two parties into a mating frenzy.

Wait, does that sound two harsh?

To explain this rather caustic expression of young love, ugh, that is the word that is used for it isn’t it. Well, I am not going to use it, and some of my female readers may become angry at me, because of it. I will risk that, and try to put things in the proper perspective.

I met my first “attraction” in 1956, on our Senior trip, I fell in (_____), so as to not offend anyone. we were friendly, we rode together on the bus, I was enamored, my scrawny little chest swelled and presented all my best assets, I did everything but flap my wings and crow. Two days later she couldn’t even see me, she met Frankie (she had only known him for the four years in high school) but suddenly there he was, and I wasn’t. (I always wondered, if he had crowed.)

My trip was ruined, I went home dejected, and morose, for a least three or four days. It wasn’t too long before I met another chick__! Oops, I mean, another young lady. she was younger than I and less experienced, so I was able to impress her more easily. I strutted, and I clucked, and I circled and puffed out my chest, I even flapped my wings and crowed, and hallelujah, she fell under my spell, she was a fine specimen, all the finer attributes to keep my attraction to her. Life was good. But enough of that.

I want to change my direction, let’s talk about attraction and how the different sides go about it. The male is primarily a visual predator, no scratch that, much to harsh, just put that word out of your mind. The male in his hunt for his mate, at first relies primarily on visual observation. he spots the young female, no he doesn’t look into her eyes, and fall in , (we won’t use that word). He looks at whatever part of her body he is most attracted to, legs, breasts, buttocks, a pretty face is nice, and hair, although for breeding purposes it isn’t necessary, it makes for a nice package.

Ok now, lets take the male of the species first, I know, I know, it is supposed to be ladies first, but look at it this way, I am saving the best for last, “grin”. what does the male do to attract the female? lets try dressing, no, this not for the GQ- Playboy bachelor. this for the everyday guy on the street, the dude at the bar. This may be a short paragraph. Answer, maybe a tightly fitted shirt, with probably bare arms, and open at the neck, to show his manly chest. I’m stumped, anything I missed ladies. God I hope you don’t say buckle his belt below his butt, and leave his boxers showing, please don’t say that. Most of the ladies I have spoken to, don’t seem to mind as long as he is wearing something neat and clean, and he doesn’t smell bad. Oops, those last two words go into another category, so just forget them. Now, if the lady is a career woman and working uptown, she may just pay attention to what kind of suit he is wearing, and is that Rolex real. But that doesn’t have anything to do with attraction from dress. that is attraction that he might be able to keep her in good style. So with the guys, as long as you keep it simple, you are probably in good standing, providing the other ninety things that the female may look for is right. What, you say, the other how many things. Guys, we may never know for sure.

A few short words about the aforementioned smell. throughout the history of mankind, perfumers have tried to create smells that enhance the attraction of the opposite gender. Some of them do and some of them don’t. they are as complex as the individuals that smell them, yes smell them not wear them. So be very careful, what may smell good to you might not smell good to that new male or female you might be interested in right now, test ’em before you wear ’em. I also believe that the smell of a clean healthy body, is the most attractive, however, that being said, I have heard others say the opposite, so I suppose to each his own, what ever discourse is the most stimulative.

OK, the female dressing situation. We must limit this somewhat, this supposed to be 2500 words or less, we could do 5000 on this alone.

First, what attracts the guy to the girl clothes wise. It depends, if it is to take her to have dinner with his folks, or if it is 2AM and the bar is closing. See, I told you this was complex.

I like most men, have grown up being an avid girl watcher. So based on about 60 years of experience, i have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what the female body is adorned with. I hear a loud clamor. OK, so you say, “come on man, you know you like to see those short skirts, or those tight jeans”! Well, maybe, as long as the girl looks good in them, if the girl has half a sack of sand hanging over the top of the tight jeans, or if too much is showing beneath those shorts, or skirt, naw, change into something a little more comfortable, maybe hide a pound of flesh, and show me some personality, or a creative character.. Ok you say, “cleavage, that is what will get him”! Maybe if the too-toos are firm, well defined, and lend well to being displayed like ripe cantaloupes at the produce counter, at Kroger. But, like any other asset, they too must be a tasteful,( I didn’t really say that did I?) part of the entire package. Remember, I have participated in the Renaissance Festival world for twenty-five years, I have seen lots of cleavage. And a lot of it made me cringe.

I watch young girls especially, try to display way to much skin for the amount of experience they have in life. And it concerns me. Who has told them this is the way to attract the right kind of male counterparts. Shorts so short as to leave part of the buttocks bare, and so low in front as to reveal Pubic Hair, if they have any. You will see them in public places, usually in clusters of three or four. They will be talking among themselves, and looking around, while striking poses that the body wouldn’t naturally get into unless they were models, being paid a hundred dollar per hour to look that way. And seemingly looking as they are totally unaware of the whole thing. I always wonder, how many hours they had to spend to perfect these actions, and what better things they might have been doing instead.

Young ladies, it isn’t necessary, the guys will love you anyway, just sit down and smile, and pretend to be interested in them, that’s all it takes. Get a good education, be smart, be capable, keep yourself fit, and healthy, guys will be swarming over you. I am afraid to speak on dressing any more than this, I don’t want an angry mob of ladies beating down my door.

Ok, change of subject, ladies what is it with this fad of talking about three inches in front of your tonsils, especially the word “Yeah”. It seemed to start sometime about fifteen, maybe twenty years ago. It could be longer, get much past that I probably had too many hormones of my own to notice. Girls have beautiful voices of their own, and just talking to a young lady about everyday things, was always a turn -on for me. That didn’t have to gag themselves while talking to make their voices sound sexy.

Ok, back to the Young males, I say young, cause nobody seems to be interested in the old ones. What happened with you young men, that made you decide that you need to look as if you were pulled from a dumpster, to think that made you look sexy. # 1, gym shoes for every occasion. Hair, if combed, combed in the strangest manner, or cut in an even stranger manner. Yeah, how about a spiked Mohawk, yeah, how about a spiked Mohawk, I would say it again but it doesn’t sound any better, wouldn’t look any better either. Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s the fashion of the times, it being an individual, it is being me, unlike anyone else. Ok, then how come I will see fifty of you at a concert. Oh, somebody told them that too, huh! Maybe you should check your fashion adviser.

But all these, things we have spoke of in this narrative, are things we notice at arms length. What happens when we are no longer at arms length? What happens when we are a boy and girl and we are alone? When we sit down to talk, what do we say to that opposite, sitting across on the other chair, across the table looking dreamily at you with soft alluring eyes, wait a minute slow down. What do we say, ” hey babe, me and some of the dudes knocked some heads to gather this afternoon, hey wanna go somewhere and make out.” Maybe, it might work! But if it does are you sure this is the mate, you want to rear your offspring. Probably not, unless you would like to see her on the six o’clock news on Channel 2 under the headlines, “Woman drives into Mississippi River with her 6 children”. We must learn to be selective in our hormone dialogues. Remember we are thinking beings, we are not “allegedly” of the baser groups of animals, although there may be some conjecture about this.

Females of our species, you do have the guiding hand, so I place the mantle of leadership on you. don’t waste your time, strutting and preening like any one of the bird or animal world. use your intelligence to select the proper mate, one that when the testosterone no longer rules your mate, that you will still have your mate. Remember, if you base it all on the more hormonal of your instincts, your relationships might well wind up like some of the more popular stars of our world, a certain Kim K. comes to mind, but there are many others that would leave you dazed and confused trying to keep up with the tangle of their love-life. If that is what you want to call it. Of course you may well want that, and crave that excitement in your life, if so, then far be me to stand in your way. Then the hormone dialogues may well turn into “The Hormone Discourses,” and you will have an album to carry through your life.

Up until now, we have focused on the young members of our species, both male and female. We have began in this manner because life begins with the young, and the creative force is for the most part, kept in their jurisdiction. And however the dance of love is danced, and however the game of love is played, the future of our world is in their hands. As older members of our species, we may advise, and teach, and try not to look back at the past, at the perhaps sometimes foolishness of our own dialogues, with perspective mates. we must understand these are powerful forces, that humans must deal with in their lives. And because of the complexities of our minds, the search for mates, is a bit different in all of us. And well it should be. It would be sheer madness, if we all wanted the same female, or the same male. However if that was the case, we wouldn’t be burdened with over-population at this point.

But what happens when we age, what happens when we grow old. What happens when those Hormone dialogues cease to be chatter, and slow to an occasional word, then maybe stop forever. Does life end at that point, Nay, I say it just begins. suddenly you are free. Free to use that most powerful of your resources, your brain. No more toxic hormones to cloud your thoughts, no more overpowering urges to distract you from creative tasks. A new you is born, hopefully you have kept your body healthy and strong, to aid you in all these new tasks, now you are free to enjoy life, as probably you may never have thought possible. You may find yourself looking at your mate in a total new light. He or she may have transformed into a intelligent, caring individual, that fans a new flame of love in your heart, that is not fed by the fuel of the Hormone Dialogues.

Inflation and Fair Wages

In recent days, we have seen the right and left wars on Cost of living. It got me to thinking. There are always going to be different levels of reimbursement for services rendered, or goods delivered. That is all well and good, we can deal with that. It encourages personal development, and higher goal setting. Then as of late, there has been a deep drop in the cost of fuel. They claim it was caused by oversupply and lower usage. It had not evolved much more than a few weeks into it, when big oil started screaming, it was going to necessitate massive lay-off and huge cut backs. They claimed that Oil must be over $50 per barrel for them to be able to operate above board.(I hate using that word regarding big oil, I doubt they have ever been above board). Anyway, in some research on another project, I was reminded in 1973, before the oil embargo, oil was $3.00 per barrel,(that’s right, 3, that is no typo). In 1974, after the embargo, it jumped to the outrageous, economy shattering, bankrupting price of $12. per barrel.(Nope that’s no typo either). And now it must be $50+, why? Inflation, that’s why. And who started that inflation, was the people at “Jack-in-the-Box wanting $2.75 per hour, or was it the farmer wanting, XXX number of dollars for his produce or goods, or was it the manufacturer wanting huge prices for his product. Nope, you see, they all have competitors, to force them to stay in a reasonable price range. But what happens, when energy costs soar, employees can’t function, manufacturing goes up, the farmer needs twice as much energy to farm those fields. In short,  energy controls all those things, not even mentioning the transportation by plane train and semi-truck. It wasn’t long in the transportation field, when fuel prices went up, a separate surcharge was added to the bills, above the normal transportation costs. Who do you think swallowed that, nope it wasn’t the trucker, or the warehouse, or the manufacturer, it was you, the consumer. Congratulations, you get to pay that bill. . Big oil, is a victim of this as well, the higher costs it created, came back in a higher price it must pay for drilling and exploration costs, that is one reason it can’t live under $50 a barrel. We also must examine the division of wealth, the salaries of upper management, have grown to a preposterous level. the Gods on Olympus should have lived so good. I believe that the people that make the decisions for a company or a government even, should be rewarded for those services. But there must be limits. When the balance of wealth reaches a certain point, someone is going to suffer for it, and it won’t be the guy at the top. This distribution of Wealth, should be inclusive of all the business world, not just big oil. Look at the CEO’s of Walmart.  Inflation, is literally the extra profit, that big business wants to place on the consumer, to absorb whatever shortfalls might occur in his day to day affairs. It is alone, the Cancer that eats at our economy, and our daily lives In it’s youth, it was discussed at length, that was back when the balloon was small enough to be seen, now that balloon has grown to such size, that it is not noticeable, it has been painted with pictures of our world, the green fields, the skylines of cities, purple mountain majesties, blue skies. Literally, it can no longer be seen, as it now envelopes our very existence. It is not talked about any longer. Our fight for higher wages, is but a futile effort to preserve the plight of the daily worker. It isn’t an answer. Can we role back that inflation, it’s hard to believe possible. The Confederate States of America, in 1864, was living in a highly inflated world, when the Civil War ended. That ended their inflation, I don’t think we want to take that route. I would invite your answers, or solutions, but don’t wait too long.!

Honor

My children, I feel to leave you with a message that is dear to my heart. It is about ones honor. I can only voice this with a voice of the past, before the time you were born and your parents, and maybe your grandparents even, were born. A mans honor – especially a mans, since men transacted most of the business and did most of the governing – was sacred.

To imply that a mans word was no good was a fighting offense. To imply that a mans character was flawed was a fighting offense. I can remember a time when I was about twelve years old I was at my grandfather’s home when two men drove up to his yard fence in a pickup truck. One of the men exited the truck and told my grandfather that his cattle were in his(the man’s) field. My grandfather replied in his Mississippi drawl that he was indeed sorry, and would be happy to pay damages and would get them out immediately. The man was not happy with that and said outright that he believed my grandfather had turned them in on purpose.

With that, my grandfather pulled an ax from a block of wood and vaulted the fence and was headed for the man. The man immediately jumped in his truck and backed away. My grandfather was 68 at that time. He died that next spring May 13, 1953. I so miss him and his influence. His father had fought all the way through the Civil War. To grandfather, honor was foremost, to never be doubted, and to be defended at all costs.

In his generation and the generations before him, a man could affirm a contract with the shake of a hand, and a word of honor. handshake
To break that oath would so devalue you, that it could well ruin your life. We can remember from our history books the duel between our third Vice President of these United States Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Burr killed Hamilton, and was never tried for it. It was accepted. Now I am not saying that should be a standard, far from it. I was only using it as an illustration.
The point I am trying to make is that without a sense of honor, people are liable to do or act in anyway they see fit. I can remember seeing young men going around with their trousers belted below their buttocks because they can. Because they deem it a fashion statement. It doesn’t make any difference that they can barely walk, much less do any manual labor. They emulate the criminal element of society. It is an absence of personal honor.

It used to be that if a person was insulted or if a member of his family was insulted, it was considered acceptable to punch the insulting person in the nose. Now if one is to do that he risks imprisonment, a smudge on his record, that might render him unacceptable for employment, or for a list of other rights he might have. So, as a result, we are forced into a world of litigation in overcrowded courts, with a criminal justice system that is about as fair as the kangaroo courts of older times. So, depending on how great the offense, people will resort to the shadows for retribution. That is and can be far worse than a poke in the nose, and lead to an even worse turn of events for them and the families of both sides.

Now let’s go back to the disciplinary history that I feel has created all this. I went to school with an old man teacher from 4th thru 7th grades. If you were disobedient or unruly, you were brought up before class and had to lay across his lap. He might or might not use the paddle that lay on his desk always for the first offense. But somehow, lying there staring down at the floor with all the other students watching, was a humbling and thought-provoking experience. If it did turn into a spanking, well, I don’t ever remember anyone going back for seconds. And the only scars seemed to on your pride. This teacher, R.I.P., Mr. J.W. England was much beloved teacher by ALL of his students. He boarded with us for two years during the school week. On Friday, when school closed, he walked fourteen miles back to his home. And on Monday morning, he walked fourteen miles back to start the weekly classes. He was in his late 60’s. I learned a lot about honor from him. Teachers now, if they touch a child for an disciplinary purpose, most usually lose their jobs and the right to teach. And because young people know this, they have no respect for the teachers and feel they can behave as they wish. If you have no respect, you have no honor.

I was in a popular store the other day and as I stood in line to pay for my purchases I observed a child of six or seven taking things off the shelf and throwing them in the floor. The mother simply ignored the situation. When she finished her transaction, she simply took the child and left, leaving all the goods on the floor. She obviously had no respect. Without respect, there is no honor.

I would be the last to say that it is a good thing for children to be disciplined in a manner that would harm them. But they do need, and often in their own way, beg for it.

Our behavior as children is a small thing in itself. But as children we grow up and when we grow up with that lack of respect and without a sense of personal honor it effects everyone. It is not just a family thing or a community thing, it becomes a national disrespect and sometimes even broader. And when these unruly children grow up and become leaders or legislators or judges or business leaders or whatever they become, then maybe it turns into the world we are now experiencing. I am an old man, I remember a different kind of society where the “ME” person was looked down on, and the outlaw was not revered. Where the selfish were a subject for shaking of heads and avoidance. President John Kennedy once uttered these famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” We could do well to paraphrase those words into other aspects of our life, maybe using instead of country, try using friends, family, community, neighbors. I know that the people of the world, our country, our community, haven’t changed. Not really. They have just been taught wrong. They have forgotten the basic precepts of humanity. Honor has been forgotten, respect is misused and corrupted.

Yeah, you may say just I’m an old man, rambling on. Well, maybe. But tell me where am I wrong. What makes you think that our present state of affairs are better? Tell me your definition of honor. And don’t think I will accept excuses, ’cause I won’t. I have known honorable men, and I have observed the template that created them. I have seen that other template being used as well, and I have seen some of the examples of its creation as well. I may ask you to explain the differences and quantify their properties. But at the end of my rant I will humble myself, and beg on bended knee, that you give my thoughts consideration. We have had many things on our Mother Earth go extinct – plants, animals, fish, civilizations, cultures. I don’t want our world to follow because we have forgotten what it is to have
HONOR!!