Monday, February 9, 2015

The Battle of the Signs

Election season is always a bit crazy in Missouri. This 2006 election season proved to be one of those especially whacky and cantankerous election years. Due to the push to pass an Amendment to our state constitution, which would permit human cloning, the battle of the “Vote No” vs. “Vote yes” on Human Cloning began.  The stakes were high as such an amendment, would constitutionally protect human cloning.

 Our signs for a NO Vote would be defaced or removed in the dark of night by the opponents we faced. Night after night, the sign thieves would come and remove the signs. Some even resorted to defacing property in their nightly raids.

 Throughout the month of October the battle raged. By the end of the month it had become a fact of nightly attacks upon our private property an especially our signs. Obviously the sign raiders didn’t know it is not nice to fool Mother Nature or little old Irish ladies on a “Mission for God.”

 On the morning of October 30th, I had had enough of being Mrs. Nice old lady who patiently takes in and puts out her signs everyday to protect them.

I decided to take some action. Stealing myself for the battle ahead, I laid my battle plan carefully. With a glint in my eye, I set off on a shopping trip, which I must say I enjoyed much more than I usually do shopping trips. First stop was at Wal-mart’s toy department. I spent considerable time carefully wheeling around the department searching for the perfect ammunition. From there, it was on to the grocery store. Wheeling through the aisle on the handicap cart, I quickly assembled my remaining arsenal of weapons. A large jar of honey, motor oil and black trash bags.

 This night the raiders were going to pay for their crimes!  I carefully painted the edges of my signs with the honey to make them nice and sticky. Then I cut up and laid down the trash bags, dribbled more honey and motor oil on them and covered them with leaves, also duly baptized with honey and motor oil.

 When night fell I was ready and waiting for the battle to begin. Dressed in my finest Annie Oakley attire, armed with my cap gun, a spotlight and a primed garden hose, I nestled down in my bunker to wait for the enemy. Hours went by while I warmed myself with thoughts of the sweet victory I was about to undertake. It was a fire fueled inside of me with a resolve General Custer would have been proud of.

 Three hours later, my resolve was still hot, but the cold and chill was setting into my old bones. I was beginning to think the raiders were not going to engage the battle on my street this particular night. Then, just as I was preparing to give up and surrender my battle station for the night, the eerie light of car headlights began to glow softly on my honey/oil coated signs. The enemy had arrived!

 Suddenly, from the driveway, two large dark figures sneaking across my yard came into view! Holding my fire and waiting for the perfect moment, my heart was racing! As providence would have it, both of the enemy combatants reached their designated sign targets at precisely the same moment! As they reached out to kidnap and trash my signs, I hit the button on my floodlight! With cap gun blazing and my walker to steady my aim, I gave out a battle cry that any Marine Sergeant would surely have approved!

 Viva La Christo! I yelled at the top of my lungs!  POP!

 Take that you rascals! POP!

 Viva the Un-born! POP!

 Down with Sign killers! POP!

 This is for trying to fool little old ladies! POP!

 By this time, the miscreants were staring me dead in the eye! All 5 foot 2 inches of me, dressed to fight for the unborn. Proudly welding my cap gun and walker like a pro. And in about the same instant, the enemy realized they were covered with goo! With slips and slides on the slick trash bags, they quickly began their retreat. Scrambling back toward their car, with leaves and honey and motor oil flying, they threw themselves into the car and sped off into the dark Missouri night!

 
I did feel a bit concerned that they ignored my offer for some water to wash off their wounds before fleeing, but such is life, in the Battle for Justice! I hope they slept well, I know I sure did.

Copyright 2006

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Brother My Friend. Vietnam Memorial

As I approach the wall, in the early morning light, the sky is gently showering everything with dew. Here at the break of day's new dawning, I come much like Mary to visit the empty tomb. I come not with spices but with my heart wanting to speak to you once again. Today I come to meet with my brother, my friend. I know deep within me that we are still kindred in spirit, together and yet apart.

We have shared the days of our childhood and we have felt the sting of death. Yet, for all of this, nothing can really ever separate us.not even a broken heart. William.my sweet William.how I long to see you once again. Can you hear me? Do you see me as I search for your beloved name? Many years have passed since I last spoke with you and beheld your dear sweet face. Yet it seems like only yesterday that I stood beside your open grave.

 Brother, teacher, companion and friend,how the memories do ebb and flow. Can you see me? Do you hear me as I search for your beloved name? Suddenly, as though from a lighthouse.a tiny ray of sun seems to point out your beloved name.Billy.dearest brother, I know that you still watch over me.

 Can you feel the mist that is falling? Do you see how the dew drops look just like teardrops as I caress your beloved name? I counted 16 teardrops falling.one for each letter and character in your name. Do you remember bat-light, butterflies and fishing in the rain? Do you remember how you taught me to fish and then threw them all back into the lake again? You said: "We should never waste God's beauty or abuse the bounty of his land".

 Do you fish the lakes of heaven, still teaching the little ones? Do you walk the fields with Jesus and. OH! Do you still sing slightly out of tune? Here in the misty morning sunrise.I feel close to you once again. I can almost hear you singing."Halleluiah! To Christ our King!" Best of all, sweet William.it sounds perfectly in tune. William, my sweet William.I shall always love you so. Billy, dearest brother.it is time for me to go. I know now, deep in my heart, that you are well and happy. Now not even 16 teardrops falling can take away my joy for you. "Vaya Con Dios," until we meet again.

Copyright 1990

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Help Save the Children

Help us raise money for these orphans in Nigeria who's parents were murdered by the Boko Haram



http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/please-help-the-orphans-in-igbo-land-nigeria-/302014

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Love Thy Enemies as I have loved You


 My father was a Marine and he served in the Pacific during World War II. For the most part, dad rarely spoke about the war. Like most soldiers who served, the subject was one with too many painful memories. Dad generally would keep the subject light and entertaining whenever he did speak about the war. There was one story though, that my father loved to tell my brothers and I whenever we would ask about the war. It was a story dear to his heart.
 
During the winding down of the war against Japan, dad was serving in the Pacific theater. One night he drew night patrol and was assigned to scout for enemy troop movements in the rough jungle terrain. He had just climbed a tree to conceal himself, when seemingly out of nowhere the entire area beneath the tree was filled with enemy Japanese soldiers. Dad found himself trapped in the treetop for hours on end, as the enemy decided to camp right beneath the tree.


Barely able to breath, for fear of giving away his position, dad said he spent the time praying for God’s protection and asking God to help him. Every prayer he had ever learned, swirled through his mind and heart, as he waited silently in that treetop. He prayed that he would not be discovered, and as time went on he began to pray for the enemy soldiers beneath the tree. He said he could see, in his minds eye, our family back home and he imagined these soldiers were missing their loved ones too.



Up close, the enemy soldiers looked very much like the men in his unit. While their physical appearance was not American, and he could not understand their language, he knew from observing them that they were Gods children too. Men caught up in a war, which had brought them all to serve their country. Each one standing for what they thought was right, according to their upbringing and nationality. Like him, they were ordinary men with families and friends in a country far away. Men who might never see their loved ones again should they perish in the jungles of war. As he prayed and watched them, they sat relaxed around the jungle clearing, laughing and sharing letters and photos from back home, the same as my father and his fellow soldiers did when not on alert.


As night began to give way to the first light of the morning, my father accepted that in the end, he would probably not be returning home. The odds were stacked against him and he knew he could not remain motionless and undetected for much longer. Having made his peace with God, my dad began his final silent prayer. He prayed for the men beneath the tree and their families. He prayed for courage for the necessity, which might mean he must fire upon and kill his enemy. And for forgiveness also, as my father never took Gods commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” lightly.


 Just as my father gave the outcome over to Our Father in Heaven and made the sign of the cross, an enemy soldier spotted his hiding place in the treetop. As my father signed himself with the cross, their eye’s locked upon one another in the instance of war and the struggle to survive. To my dad’s utter amazement, the enemy soldier silently made the sign of the cross on his own forehead, and put his finger to his lips as if to say; “Be still my brother. I shall not betray you.” Almost in that very instant, the enemy soldiers began to move out as silently and as quickly as they had arrived. My dad never ceased Thanking God for his protection on that day. And dad always remembered to pray for his brother in Christ whose name dad never knew.


Copyright: 2006 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Out of the mouth's of Babe's

Several years ago a friend of mine had a baby. It was their second child. Their 3 year old little girl kept asking if she could be alone with her baby brother. Finally the parents agreed as she kept asking day after day. To be safe they left the baby monitor on so they could hear what was going on in the baby's room. All of a sudden they heard the little girl say "Now tell me what Jesus looks like. You just came from him but I am old and I forgot."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa was a Cowboy

Christmas approaches swiftly again this year. The memories of Christmas on the Plains of Nebraska, in the 1950’s flit’s through my mind. One such cherished memory is of a Blizzard, which struck a few days before Christmas, in 1955.

 Early one morning that particular Christmas week, we awoke to the sight of blowing and heavy falling snow. It arrived with such force the farmyard became almost invisible. Immediately, Dad called us all together to detail the job ahead. The animals needed feeding and the cows needed milking. Even though most townspeople could safely snuggle in their beds to wait out the storm, as a farm family, we had duties to care for the livestock even in a blinding snowstorm. Dad carefully tied us all together, using rope so that we could reach the safety of the barn for the task at hand. Admonishing us to watch out for one another and stay close, we began our morning with a seriousness born of life and survival on the plains in winter. Even as children, we were aware of the dangers of getting lost in a blizzard. People were known to die of the cold within a few feet of their own front door. The winds swooped in with nothing to hold them back and drifts quickly became a blind mass of whiteout on the once flat and clear landscape. 

With each of us bundled in coats, boots and mittens we struggled through the blinding snow out to the barnyard. Slowly feeling our way along the fence posts, we had to shout to keep track of one another as we struggled against nature to reach our goal. After several hours of working with the animals and securing them in the barn, we struggled back through the still swirling snow. As we reached our final goal of the house, Mom was waiting with Hot Cocoa and a warm fire burning in the kitchen stove for us to warm ourselves up again.

 

The rest of the morning we spent snuggled in the warm kitchen, making Christmas breads and cookies for the coming Christmas celebration. Covered with flour and sneaking bites of cookie dough kept we children occupied, while Dad kept watch over the weather conditions.

 

By early afternoon, the snow had stopped and it became apparent we would not be going anywhere soon. The snowdrifts were several feet deep and the road was buried. We knew it could be days before the snowplows came our way from the County Works Dept.  With the visibility improved my Dad bundled up to set out in pursuit of any stranded travelers he might assist. We lived about a mile from a main highway and anyone who might have been stranded would soon succumb to the cold. Firing up the old “John Deer” tractor, Dad left to pursue his goal of checking the roads for possible victims of the Fury of the storm.

 

By dusk, Mom was visibly worried and we children became quiet. We joined our hands in prayer and quietly huddled together praying our Daddy would safely make it home. As darkness began to fall in earnest, we suddenly heard the sound of our “Old John Deer” slowly making its way back into the yard. With a collective sigh of relief, we all ran to the front porch to usher Dad back into the warmth. Much to our surprise the first person through the door was a stranger. Dad introduced the man as Chuck. Dad explained that just about dark he had decided to give up the search, when he had spotted a Pick-up truck buried in the snow bank along the old highway exit road.

 

For the rest of Christmas week Chuck worked along side all of us and proved himself a friend in deed and in word. Chuck, we soon learned, was an itinerate Cowboy. He had been traveling from Texas to begin a job on the McGinley ranch, a few miles farther east from us. The next morning, when he entered the barn to help out with chores, our newest horse Toni suddenly began banging the stall and whinnying. Toni immediately greeted Chuck with a friendly but insistent nudge at Chucks pockets.

 Much to every ones surprise, Toni and Chuck already knew one another. Chuck had worked on the King ranch in Texas when Toni was there as a colt. Chuck had saddle broke him and taught him to cut cattle when Toni was just a young colt in Texas.

 Dad had not used Toni much as yet. Toni had proved a bit skitterish when we first brought him home. Dad was still working with him to gentle him out. Chuck immediately showed us that Toni was a pro with the right stuff. Chuck and Toni were a team in Texas and soon Toni warmed up to us all. Chuck showed us all the special things, which made Toni the champion cattle horse he was.

 First and foremost, Toni loved Cotton cake. Cotton cake, which Chuck always had in his pocket brought out the best in Toni from then on. Within a day, Dad and the rest of us could get Toni to do all we asked of him. Toni was now a real part of our family farm team… thanks to a stranger named Chuck.

As Christmas week progressed, the roads were still impassable with no sign of the snowplows in sight. The phone lines were still down and we had no way to communicate with the outside world. We were so looking forward to the Christmas Pageant at St Elizabeth’s Parish followed by Christmas Eve mass. My brother Billy was supposed to be a Wiseman in the Play, and I was suppose to be an angel.  There was no way we could get to town in all that snow. Fearing Christmas would be canceled; we children grew quiet and somber. We began to fuss that even Santa could not get to our house this particular year. Our Letters had never been delivered to him because of the snowstorm.
 
  On the day before Christmas Eve Chuck, our newfound guest came up with a plan. A plan that would make Santa and his reindeer proud. Chuck went out to the barn and saddled up Toni. He admonished us all, not to give up. He would set off for town and guide the snowplows to our farm to clear the roads. Dad was a bit hesitant, but Chuck assured him that he and Toni had traveled many miles together in Texas dust storms and could get through the snow on the plains of Nebraska. Dad warmed to the idea eventually, and saddled up our faithful old mare, ”Lady”, to make sure Chuck and Toni did not get lost. Dad knew the plains and the land well, even when it was buried in snow.

 With a cheerful wave they set off, loping belly deep through the snow drifts. Later that day, the sound of snow plows brought smiles of joy and relief to our faces. With Chuck and Toni leading the way, the plows cleared our roads and made it possible for us to get to town the following day. Chuck was able to get his truck out of the snow bank and be on his way to his new job.

 Early Christmas Eve night, before we went to town, the front door of our little farmhouse opened with a bang! In came Santa to pay us a personal visit. In his bag were all the very toys we children had lamented that Santa would not bring this year. Even if he could have made it through the snow, we were sure he would not have gotten our Christmas list. This particular year though, Santa was wearing cowboy boots, and seemed to have a very distinct “Texas” drawl when he exclaimed; “HO HO HO! Merry Christmas Ya’all!” 
Copyright 2000

 

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Christmas Doll


During the Christmas season of 1958, my family was going through some pretty rough times. It had been a very difficult couple of years for my parents. In 1955, polio had rocked our world, followed by the loss of my fathers business and our family farm.

 

In the late summer of 1956, our little family farm, as well as my fathers furniture business, had been sold at auction to pay off my family’s considerable debts. My father had never blinked nor considered the cost, which would be necessary for me to overcome the crippling effects of polio. In order for me to learn to walk once again, my Dad totally neglected the farm and his business. He never left my side throughout all the months of my recuperation. And he never flinched at spending every spare dime we had, to find the medical help available to help me regain my ability to walk again. Unfortunately, this lead to our losing all the temporal things, which we owned, with the exception of the clothes on our back.

 

Looking back, I can still see my fathers unwavering faith, as we all stood on the grounds of our little farm for the auction to begin. My mother was understandably beside herself. Of course she was worried to death about where we would live and how we would survive, but I was devastated, when she burst into tears and lamented that it was all my fault for getting polio. My dad quickly picked me up into his arms and said: “Margaret, we can always find another job, and another home, but we could never replace our Christy.” 

 

And so our journey began. We had always been a farm family nestled in the familiar sand hills of Nebraska. With no money to start over, my dad’s family scraped together the money for us to move to Texas, where a Marine buddy of my fathers, had a furniture store. MR. King had offered my dad the position of manager for his store and a small house for us to live in. After a year in Texas, we moved back home as my mother hated Texas and all it stood for. Mom was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Once again, with the help of family and Mr. King, we scraped up the money to make the journey back home to our roots.

 

By the time Christmas rolled around, once again in 1958, it didn’t look like we would have a big celebration that year either. Mom worked scrubbing floors to scrape up extra money for our Christmas dinner. That was one thing my mother missed the most…the Christmas table loaded with all the tradition Christmas foods. No matter what else might come our way, she was determined we would have a wonderful meal to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.

 

Even a modest Christmas celebration that year, was almost entirely out of the question. Of course, children never seem to give up their dreams nor understand that Santa can’t always provide the things we want. But I, in my child’s mind, had no doubt that Santa could do anything, no matter how bad things may look. I just knew he would bring me a doll for Christmas. Not just any doll, mind you. He was going to bring me a grown up lady doll, dressed in a formal gown with a tiara and high heels.

 

As the weeks of Advent arrived,I sat down and wrote a note to Santa. I had decided that even though he had stopped coming by our house, because we were so poor, maybe, just maybe he would have an extra lady doll which he could drop off for me that year. My note of course explained that it was ok, if he could not bring me a new lady doll, but if he could spare a watch for my sister Peg, a sling shot for my brother Bill and maybe a nice fire truck for my little brother, I would be very happy with that. And most of all, if he couldn’t do that, could he please just leave my mommy a note, and let her know that it would be ok and that God still loved us?

 

That Christmas morning, we all gathered around the tree as usual before Mass. Wonder of wonders, besides our stocking stuffed with oranges and apples, each of us had a gift carefully wrapped and placed beneath the tree. Billy’s gift was a slingshot, Mikey a fire truck, and Peg a watch. And wonder of wonders, I received the most beautiful lady doll I had ever envisioned. The best gift of all was for my Mom. It was a beautiful Christmas card, which exclaimed God loved her and all of us.

 

Years later, I would learn that one of the woman my mother worked for, had found my mother in tears one day. Mom, had my note in her hand and was sobbing about the fact, there was no way she could provide the gifts I had requested. Lila wasn’t wealthy either. She and her husband Frank lived in the back of their little shoe shop. Lila took the time to remake and old doll, which had belonged to her daughter. She had lovingly sewed an elegant silk dress out of one of her own dresses. How she managed to find the Tiara, I do not know. But the doll was more beautiful than any in the toy stores that I have ever seen. The slingshot, was one Frank made by hand. Peg’s watch had belonged to Lila, a gift from her first husband who had died in World War II before she married Frank. The fire truck had belonged to Frank’s son when he was a child. Frank had repainted it for Mike. The best gift of all of course, was the beautiful card to my Mom, which assured us of God’s love.