First Thanksgiving - 1621

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks – for His kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.”

In often acknowledging the “providence of almighty God”, our founding fathers left to posterity, a literal mountain of quoted words that recognized the guiding hand of God upon our nation.

The faith of their convictions came straight from the Judeo-Christian Bible. From 1620, until the  creation of public schools mid-eighteenth century,  Colonial children and later, American children  were taught at home or in church schools. Although, it is a little known fact today, the Bible was the child’s first elementary reader for the more than 200 years, before McGuffey’s Reader, written in 1836 came into use.  Between 1836 and 1960, 120 million copies were sold.  But most American children still continued to be instructed from the Bible, in church, at home, and in public schools.

Certainly, it is sobering that those earlier generations of America’s children knew God’s word better than is typical of today’s adults. By the words from the Good Book, those earlier Americans were sustained through perilous times. This made them a law abiding, God fearing, undivided, industrious people, and made our country great and good.  Other religions were  welcomed to our shores and  benefited as well by the generosity of the Christian mind.  Back then, no one would have dared to publicly attack the Christianity that laid the foundation for the greatness and goodness of  our country and made it a beacon to the world.

Now, our country is regressing because too many Americans have little or no comprehension of scripture, and haplessly, lack spiritual tools with which to face today’s problems that have been largely created by the secular mind. Oh, how far off track we’ve wandered since prayer was banned from public schools in 1962 by the Supreme Court. It was that court that was flipped from conservative to liberal by the only American president who ever ran for and was elected to, third and fourth terms.

In so doing, Franklin Roosevelt, who became president in 1933, ignored the sagacious words of George Washington, our first president.   In his final farwell address Washington cautioned  that more than two terms as president was reverting back to the rule of European monarchs from which our forebearers fled.  Alas for America!  Roosevelt, who died a few months into his fourth term is the only president ever to break Washington’s two-term precedent.  Because of Roosevelt we now have a court system that more and more is operating amok because of liberal judges consistently over-turning the will of local majorities as expressed at the polls.  Will the Supreme Court overrule Obamacare?  Or will the secular mind egregiously rule against the Constitution that the  conservative court of Roosevelt’s first term, judiciously protected?

Roosevelt’s Supreme Court prayer ban altered America’s course in history. With the Bible no longer allowed in public schools, each generation raised, since, has become more secular than the one before. This explains why the occupiers are content to spend their days contributing in public to the downfall of our once great country. They can’t roll up their sleeves and be constructive, because they don’t know how.  Their anger is amiss — as long as it is not  directed towards the liberal politicians and judges — who are complying with the long cherished anti-Christian goal of remaking America into an atheist country.

The misguided efforts of secularists – when completed – will cause to be removed, the restraining force from the law of our land, which many believe will occur when God’s obedient followers (the one true church) are removed instaneously from the world, and transposed to a far better realm for safe keeping, during the seven terrible years of tribulation that will end life on earth as has been known for six thousand years.  As Biblically prophesied (hundreds of times throughout the Bible) most end time prophecies have already occurred just as prophesied, with many now swiftly playing out on world stage), triggered by a maniacal mind that is determined not to relinquish its ill gained lock on the American psyche. Of course, those who have not read and studied the Bible in depth, haven’t a clue of what lies ahead.

How can the wise not bemoan that the awesome knowledge of the Bible continues to be stolen from so many young minds? Just think of how God’s eternal presence has been lessened in the mind’s of those unschooled in scripture! No longer do Court House lawns display the Ten Commandments that school children could once recite, that made Americans want to be good. Essential knowledge has been taken out of public domain, and the entire country suffers.

Today, from many of our leaders, we hear disingenuous, vacuous words rift with distortions, and void of fairness for conservatives.  The liberal words fall far short of the preemience that once rang in the halls of Congress when Godly words sustained Americans through perilous times.  Today, those leaders rely not upon God, but upon limited suppositions common to scripturally, unschooled minds.

Of secular importance, much to do was made this week, over sparing  two turkeys slated for the White House table.  Did anyone hear of any Thanksgiving Proclamation from the president?

Vocabulary words are, again, high lighted and left to be looked up in the dictionary by those desiring  the definitions.

Today’s post will end with some famous, prayerful words of  greats and unknowns from the past.  Remember, that it is in loving and embracing such words through which comes the real power of prayer.


“May the grace of Christ our Saviour,

And  the Father’s boundless love,

With the Holy Spirit’s favour,

Rest upon us from above.”

—John Newton


“The grace of God the Father and the peace of

our Lord Jesus Christ, through the fellowship

 of the Holy Spirit, dwell with us for ever.”

—John Calvin


“Go forth into the world in peace;

be of good courage;

hold fast that which is good;

render to no man evil for evil;

strengthen the fainthearted;

support the weak’ help the afflicted’ honour all men;

love and serve the Lord,

rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the

Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be

upon you, and remain with you for ever.”

—The Proposed Prayer Book, 1928


“Go in peace; and may the blessing of God

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit rest

on you and remain with you, this day

(night) and forevermore”

—Author unknown


” The Lord is not my servant, I am His. 

Let my prayers reflect this.”

—Author unknown


“Lord, give us faith that right

makes might.”

—Abraham Lincoln


“Keep us, Lord, so awake in the duties

of our callings that we may sleep in Thy

 peace and wake in Thy glory.”

—John Donne


“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts

are open, all desires known, and from whom

no secrets are his:  Cleanse the thoughts of

our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily

magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ

our Lord.  Amen.

—Book of Common Prayer”


“O God, help us not to despise or opose

what we do not understand.”

—William Penn


“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy

on me, a sinner.”

—The Jesus Prayer,

“The Eastern orthodox Church teaches that

 this prayer is to be said many times regularly

during the day.”


“Lord, make me see your glory in every




“Jesus, strengthen my desire to work and

speak and think for you.”

—John Wesley

 First Thanksgiving - 1621

“And therefore, I, William Bradford

(by the grace of God to-day,

And the franchise of this good people),

governor of Plymouth, say —

Through virtue of vested power —

ye shall gather with one accord,

And hold in the month of November,

thanksgiving unto the Lord”.

—The First Thanksgiving Day, 1621, Stanza 2



Friday, November 22, 1963, began like any other day. Because it was drizzly, I wore my new, blue raincoat. As I drove to the elementary school where I was a first year teacher, I heard a peculiar flapping sound outside the door. Not until I had reached my school and parked, did I realize that part of my new raincoat belt had been caught outside. I remember the sinking feeling when I saw it wet and battered. I remember thinking, “Well, it’s done. I’m not going to think about it anymore.” That’s how my day began. The end would be a lot worse.

I remember nothing more until the afternoon recess, which I spent at my desk, grading papers. When I heard the end of recess bell, I headed for the teacher’s lounge, knowing I had just enough time to make the round and return to my classroom door in time to see my students come down the hall.

As I stepped into the empty teacher’s lounge, I saw on the table, the Ft. Wayne, Indiana newspaper. The headlines trumpeted the warm reception President and Mrs. Kennedy were enjoying in Texas. I was not a Kennedy fan. My thought was, “big deal!” Then, I checked my mail cubicle and hurried from the lounge.

On the way back, one of the second grade teachers was standing outside her classroom door, waiting for her students. As I approached, she called my name and said, “Did you hear that President Kennedy got shot?” To my mind came several political jokes from previous elections that had started with similar questions. I had fallen for both. This time, bemused, I said, “Alright, Vida, I’ll bite. What’s the punch line?” “It’s no joke,” she said. “He was shot during a parade in Dallas; that’s all I know.” After a stunned reaction, I continued on to my room.

On Fridays, following last recess, my class had religious education. The teacher for this class always took my students straight from coming in off the playground, down the steps and outside to a trailer that served as an extra classroom. On that day, however, she was late so I directed my students to take their seats where they waited with their coats on. In a few minutes she appeared at the door and motioned me out into the hall, where she apologized for being late. Then she told me she had just heard on radio that the president had died in a Dallas hospital. I was stunned and could find no words. We shared a brief moment of silence.

I did not continue to grade papers in my free time, as I normally would have done. I sat at my desk recalling how only minutes earlier, I had made the trip to the teacher’s lounge and the day had still been normal. I yearned to be back in that frame of time.  I recalled thinking, “big deal!” upon entering the lounge at seeing the headlines, and regretted allowing the thought.  I recalled my battered belt of the day’s beginning, and thought how inconsequential it now seemed.

I didn’t have the heart to tell my students that President Kennedy was shot and now dead. Nor did any of them indicate when they returned to the room that they had heard. Thus, I sent them to their buses still innocent of the world’s evil. That evening, my sister told me my niece, in first grade, had come home from her school, terrified. “Someone had killed the president”, said my niece, “and maybe was going to kill us too!”

Like most Americans, we spent the three day weekend glued to the television, immersed in the oppressive gloom that permeated our nation. By the time I’d arrived home from school, on that Friday afternoon, bit by bit, information on the assassin was rapidly pouring forth.  First – how in fleeing the scene he had killed a bystander, then a police officer by the last name of Tripett; his apprehension in a theatre; his name Lee Harvey Oswald; his alias – O. H. Lee; his date and year of birth: October 18th, 1939, which I curiously noted, made him just one day older than me.

Throughout the evening we continued to get snippets of information about Lee Harvey Oswald.  We learned he was a dissident who had once left the United States to live in Russia; that he had returned to America with a Russian wife and had since engaged in anti-American activities. As this news broke I recalled reading about Oswald leaving America for Russia, several years earlier when I was living and working in Washington, D. C. Then, we watched, over and over, in astonishment and horror as Oswald, himself, was gunned down in a Dallas police station by a Dallas night club owner named Jack Ruby.

This was not the America we had known. Television was still a new medium and that weekend, it presented gripping news scenes to the still innocent American psyche. We were mesmerized by ceremonial trappings of our fallen leader. Images were etched in our minds: long lines of mourners waiting to pass the closed casket that lay in state in the rotunda of the U S Capitol; the veiled, stoic face of Jackie Kennedy, clothed in black;  the obedient salute of the child Americans had come to know as John-John;  Jackie, at the end of a pew in a Catholic church,”genuflecting” (I learned a new word). 

I can still hear the cadenced, haunting drums as the funeral procession passed on Pennsylvania Avenue, where a few years earlier, my own feet had daily trod. I can still see the spirited horse, Black Jack, boots turned in the stirrups — as symbol of a fallen leader. I remember holding my breath as the accompanying soldier strained, intermittently, to control the rearing horse that had no rider. I shall always remember that is was a long, dismal weekend.

I heard many times afterwards, although not in recent years, people say that life was never the same afterwards, and that America lost her innocence with President Kennedy’s death. I’m not so sure about that innocence part. That we were seared by this experience is undeniable. But for American children, the seeds for loss of innocence had already been sown by enforcement of the 1962 Supreme Court decision to ban prayer in public schools.

The prayer ban began a new era in our country that continues to this day. It is the era of schools not teaching children to police themselves; it is the era of legislating immorality; the era of stepping up the pace in transforming the brave new world of our pilgrim forefathers from a Christian to a secular nation. As the old guard of WWII days continues to fade away, it is for us to conjecture: What comes next? And where do we go from here?

My memories of the above on the day John Kennedy was killed was written two decades ago. I probably would have written pretty much the same if left until today.  That’s how graphic the entire three day weekend was to me and I’m sure, was to many, many others, as well.

ocabulary words
for your children are high lighted but not listed below as in previous posts.  Have the child or children look up the words before reading the above.   To keep tedium at bay  and to not dispel the importance of developing respect for the dictionary, let several take turns finding and informing others around the table of what the words mean and how they are pronounced.  Include yourself in taking turns if you have just one child.

Don’t let yourself feel children can be too young to develop the dictionary habit.  Even if they are not yet reading, they can still absorb the importance of knowing the meaning of words, and they will learn from the experience. Check to see if there are any words not highlighted that they did not know.

The poem for this post is Walt Whitman’s, “Oh, Captain! My Captain! This poem is about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know about today, but the poem is found in high school literature books for many decades after the Civil War. I can remember my high school English teacher assigning my class to memorize one of the three verses to recite for the next day’s assignment. I chose the first verse and still remember reciting it for my teachers and classmates.   It is a good poem to recite to self or others.

Explain to the children that the use of “ship” refers to America, and “the fearful trip” refers to the Civil War. Walt Whitman lived in Washington, D. C., during the Civil War, and volunteered his service as a nurse in hospitals for wounded soldiers.

Suggestions: encourage your children to learn more about Whitman – one of America’s finest poets – and his poem, for discussion at the dinner table.



O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up — for you the flag is flung — for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’s wreaths — for you the shores a-crowding;

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head!

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;

From fearful trip the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

But I, with mournful read,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.


I remember the day the desk came down the lane, brought home in a farm truck by my father and a brother.   It had been purchased from the estate auction of an elderly gentleman – for five dollars – certainly, a small sum for even 60 years ago.  The desk’s massive size would have attracted few buyers, but our thirteen room house was easily accommodating.

Actually, it was a double desk that had once been shared in a law office by the old gent and his partner.  Each half had its own bank of drawers.  Running from end to end at the top, dividing and connecting the two desks, was a level area for holding stacks of papers.  From either side of the level part, the rest of the desk top sloped downward towards the banks of drawers and the attorneys.

It was an impressive and beautiful desk, constructed from mahagony wood and unlike any desk  I’ve ever seen – before or since. It had to be dissembled, to get it inside the house, and was reassembled in a room that we had always called the every day living room. In one corner of this room was  Dad’s roll top-desk with the  many slats on the roll top that made the chore of dusting it a real doozy. In another corner was an ancient and narrow day bed, which had belonged to a long  dead ancestor from another era. Between it and the roll top, the old attorney desk was reassembled.

Then, we children swarmed around to explore its fourteen drawers. Several of the drawers had small wooden partitions – not chintzy wooden, partitions – but  solid and well constructed like other wooden furniture of its day.

There was something particularly fascinating about the desk. One of the top drawers was locked. Someone exclaimed, “Dad! This drawer is locked! Can you open it?” “Yes, yes,” we chorused, “oh, Dad, do open it!” But, Dad ‘s reply was: “Not today”.  For him, the auction had already taken the morning and part of the afternoon; chores and other farm matters more loudly beckoned.

We eagerly reminded him the next morning, but he was too busy that day……too busy the next……and so on….and after awhile we turned our minds entirely to other things and the locked drawer was forgotten.


Years went by as one by one all of us kids left home. Then, one summer day, we were all back for a weekend.   After dinner, we lingered at the table amidst cheerful banter.  Someone mentioned the desk. “Dad, did you ever find out what was in that drawer?” “Nope!” Now, if you knew my Dad as we did, you’d understand why he had never opened the drawer. Most certainly, he was not your ordinary fellow. But on that day — he knew, and we knew — that we would wait no longer.  Unspoken mutiny was at hand.

The mood discerned, one brother  jumped up, scurried from the room and returned shortly, with a screwdriver and a small saw with a very thin blade. We rose together – Mom, Dad and kids – to follow him into the “Desk Room” by which the room had been called since the day that the desk had come down the lane.  At last, the long ago desired moment was at hand!

We crowded around the drawer, astutely attentive as this brother tinkered at the lock with the screwdriver. But, after some effort of no results, plan two was implemented; sawing right through the lock. Drawing closer, we approvingly watched the saw fly in and out, all the while relishing the moment that had finally come.  As we watched, our imaginations took flight and we began conjuring up what possible treasures might be waiting within.  Oh, the excitement!


“A locked drawer!” exclaimed one of us.  “It has to be something special. “Yes!  Perhaps of value!”   exclaimed another.  We began to guess:  “Securities?” “Stocks?”  “Letters?”  “Abe Lincoln’s signature?”  “Jewelry?”  “Gold?”  “Old stamps?” “A rare book?”  “Money?”  “YES!” blurted one of us.  “Maybe, confederate money!”   All agreed with much enthusiasm.   Certainly, confederate money was feasible; for during the Civil War many in our neck of the woods, even one of our own ancestors, had sympathsized with the south.

After a few more minutes of conjuring, the saw cut cleanly through the lock. Excitement mounted!  Spell bound, with hushed breath and eager eyes, we leaned closer, savoring the long awaited moment to see what lay within the drawer.  It   was opened.  At last – at long last –  we saw inside, and as we stood and beheld in quiet disbelief we could only marvel and wonder.   Who would — why would — anyone — lock an empty drawer?

Even as into this post my words now flow, I can’t but smile at that memory from half my life ago.   Long after that anticlimactic moment of quiet disbelief;  long after sensing life and time had capriciously played a joke on us,  I ask:  was not our anticipation worth something?  Was it not  a bit of spice added to life – in this case, the wonderment and the waiting – that makes life more than just palatable? More fun, more intriguing, more memorable?  More than just normal?  In my book, indeed, it was all of these.  In the bargain  I had more to remember and as well, a story to tell.


Alas! I found several dictionary words with word discriptions so altered from my youth as to require looking into older versions of Webster’s for descriptions  to better fit the use of several of today’s vocabulary words — as follows:

astutesharp; eagle-eyed; critically examing or discerning   (Noah Webster’s The American dictionary of the English Language – 1847 edition) Also: shrewdly discerning and sagacious; acute; wily  (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1960).  Both older versions supplied the familiar definitions of my youth; but not Webster’s New World Dictionary, 1994,  which offered a honed down, secular version — craft, cunning, having or showing a clever or shrewd mind; cunning; crafty; wily — nothing else).

feasible – possible; within reason (Webster’s, 1994)

conjuring (conjure) — calling to mind (one of  numerous meanings from Webster’s 1994, but the only one appropriate to my use); from Webster’s Collegiate, 1960 – to implore or beseech with earnestness or solemnity; to use one’s imagination, to make come or go, evoke); from Webster’s 1847 – to affect in some manner, by magic arts, as by invoking the Supreme Being, or by the use of certain words, characters, or ceremonies, to engage supernatural influence; as, to conjure up evil spirits, or to conjure down a tempest; to conjure the stars, enjoining (ordering or directing with urgency) or imploring solemnly.

savoring (savor) – enjoying with appreciation (Webster’s 1994);  delighting in (Webster’s, 1960);  – many other definitions given in both editions

capriciously (caprice, capricious); impulsively, impishly, preceeding from some whim or fancy, apt to change suddenly, etc.,  (Webster’s, 1960)

palatable 1) pleasant or acceptable to the taste; fit to be eaten or drunk  2) acceptable to the mind (Webster’s 1994)

Exactly when revisions of Webster’s Dictionary began a secular course, I do not know.  But, I do find dismay in seeing the subtle removing of references to divinity and in other altering of meanings, including aforementioned narrowing and limiting of definitions.  After all, we’re supposed to hand the younger generations  — if not more,  at the least — not less.  Why should quality in anything pertaining to mind be diminished?


The beautiful fall day when I left home in southern Indiana to drive to northern Indiana — to begin my first year as a public school teacher — my mother walked out to the car with me. In her parting words was a message that has gone with me  lo —through out these many years.  I’ve treasured the memory as I’ve  treasured the words. Whether they imparted the best instruction I ever received or not, one thing is certain: they have gone with me throughout my entire life. It just took her putting them into words to make me realize that is exactly what she had done in the raising of my siblings and me.


I hear your thoughts:  WHAT WERE THE WORDS?


“Make the most of the magic moments”, my Latin and English school teacher mother told me. She explained there would be moments in the classroom for teaching valuable lessons that have nothing to do with what is being taught.  Here it is in Latin: carpe momentum — seize the moment!


As I drove down the lane, my reflecting upon her words softened the dreaded impact of  leaving home, of leaving behind a childhood fortified by magic moments. As stated in previous posts most of the growing up years —  for much of my generation  — was during lean decades of our country’s long, slow recovery from the 1929 depression. By experience, however, I knew that growing up poor was no deterrent of magic moments.


Several years ago, I had a pleasant conversation with a sibling of how much we loved summer thunderstorms, because of Mom.  Mom loved hearing the crashes of thunder – so did we. She loved the flashes of lightning – so did we. She loved the sudden change in the atmosphere — so did we. How could we not, but have appreciated and loved an event of nature – though scary to some – for us, was made exciting and invigorating?


Originating in our minds in one magical first moment was delight in crashing and flashing in the upper regions.  So it was in many ways throughout our youths — because our minds were ever being shaped by her through  countless examples, instructions and words, always honorable.  To this day, I welcome summer thunderstorms, but of course not the more violent ones. Magic moments do have their limits!


Limits or no, many times magic moments proved useful in my classroom. About twenty years ago, I did a stint of substitute teaching in local schools. One morning I was called to teach art. Students in the first class were reasonably behaved considering a sub was on hand — except for one lad who kept vying for attention. I soon learned that his father was stationed at the nearby, now defunct, Fort Harrison – aha, the magic moment – and a needed one, too!


Art could just wait!  Seizing the magic moment, I responded with how much I admired the posture of those in the military –how pleasing and professional they were in appearance, and how fortunate for him to have in his father so accessible an example – that he might be reminded just by seeing his father – to stand straight and not slouch while sitting – and in that way, he too could be an example.  To see him beam and hear his brief response that revealed a young lad’s admiration for his father was an unexpected morning’s gift – and another magic moment – to point out that good posture was all part of giving some action of self to make the world a better place, and that it wasn’t a gift that was purchased by money.


Then ensued a brief discussion with the class on other ways that individuals could give to others – not with physical gifts – but from the heart.  They came up with, “sharing my book with someone who forgot theirs”, “giving someone a pat on the back who looks unhappy”, “not ignoring a new student, etc.  I challenged, “what about giving your quietness if you finish the lesson first, so that others will have the same quiet that you had?  In your own ways, you can give in making the world more pleasant for yourself and for others.”


The students from that art class are now grown, and some with children of their own.  Do any remember those long ago moments spent pondering the realm of thoughtfulness?  More importantly, in what ways might they have gained from it?  Did they leave the room with minds expanded in the invisible activity of thought?


Two magic moments — not missed — allowed art class to continue without further issue. Thanks, Mom, and thanks and thanks, and many thanks!


For her — gone ten years, now — and other mothers:


“Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is far above rubies.”  Proverbs 30:10


“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”  Proverbs 30:25


“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”  Proverbs 30:26


“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.   Henry Ward Beecher


The great academy, a mother’s knee.”   Thomas Carlyle


“What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the coffin.”  Henry Ward Beecher

“The peace she put into my heart I shall carry all my life and share with others.”  ed.

Vocabulary words:

lo – look!  see!:  now mainly in lo and behold! (Webster’s New World Dictionary, pub. 1994)

lo – look; see; behold; observe.  This word is used to excite particular attention in a hearer (or reader) to some object of sight or subject of discourse.  (Noah Webster’s The American dictionary of the English Language – 1847 edition)

stint a specified period of time spent doing something – see Webster’s for additional meanings

vying that vies, that competes

beam – a radiant look, smile, etc. – see  Webster’s for additional meanings.

defunct – no longer living or existing

Today’s ending poem came to mind as I was finishing this post.  Once again, it is an untitled verse from Emily Dickinson (1830-1866), and has always been one of my favorites for the beautiful message it imparts:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

—Emily Dickinson



Be kind to thy father,

For when thou were young,

Who loved thee so fondly as he?

He caught the first accents that

Fell from thy tongue,

And joined in thy innocent glee.

~ Margaret Courtney (1822-1862)


Margaret Courtney’s words aptly convey the Christian reverence for fathers that once prevailed in America. This reverence was foundational for harmony in family and society. Sad to say, evolving aspects of modern living has swept aside the old ways that made America good and great.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) demanded that the Ten Commandments chiseled in stone be removed from county courthouse yards, where they once stood to remind us to obey scripture.

The women’s movement replaced the age-old masculine and feminine roles with an end-of-the-ages unisex role that has coarsened and cheapened our way of life, and turned America’s children into latch key kids.

The will of the people has been eroded and overturned by liberal politicians disregarding our Constitution for their gain, and by secular judges who in ruling, follow their own desires – not the scripture that protects “We the People” from flawed thinking.

Since the early 1960’s, public schools have deprived the young of the wisdom of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Our children are being taught to accept ways that are contrary to the wisdom of the world’s ancient Holy Book. We will continue to be secularly driven towards anarchy and eventual servitude to globalist leaders as long as we mistakenly choose to tolerate such flagrant distortions of truth and the consequent liberal theft of our foundational knowledge and basic freedoms.

It is left for us old folk who were raised in Christian America to convey to younger generations the old ways that made America good and great. It is for us to lead the way back to normal thinking and normal living in order to help younger generations recapture the best of what life should offer, and what American life should be. This is a commentary from the editor of


“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” ~ (Colossians 3:21)


Of our father in heaven: ” He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” ~ Psalm 91:4


“A child tells in the street what its father says at home.”   ~ The Talmud


“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) Congregationalist clergyman, reformer, author, orator, and brother to Harriett Beecher Stowe who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”


“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.”   ~ Ruth E. Renkel   ~ No birthdate or any other information found on Renkel

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” ~ Jim Valvano (1946-1993) multi-talented, rare master of his own destiny, champion basketball player and champion college basketball coach


“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ‘We’re not raising grass’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’”   ~ Harmon ‘Killer’ Killebrew (1936-2011) — baseball slugger for Minnesota Twins. ~ “He’d shake your hand and share a smile. Then he’d hit the ball a mile.  That’s Killer.” — a loyal fan.   ~ “He was one of the nicest, most generous individuals to ever walk the earth,” — Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.


“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”   ~ Clarence Budington Kelland (1881-1964) — prolific American writer, major contributor (1920-1950s)  to “Saturday Evening Post”, and screen writer


“I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.”   ~ Sidney Poitier, born February 20, 1927, actor, director, Academy Award for best male performance, “Lilies of the Field”, 1963 (a make your heart feel good, movie)


“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” ~ Charles Wadsworth, (1814-1882) charismatic Presbyterian minister — and “dear friend” of reclusive Amherst, Massachusetts poet, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ~  Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer and humorist


“He that will have his son have respect for him and his orders, must himself have a great reverence for his son.”   ~ John Locke (1632-1704), English philosopher and physician


Locke is known, both, as the Father of Liberalism and as an Enlightenment thinker. Though raised in a Christian household, Locke became a major investor in the English slave-trade, and was involved in supervising the American colonial systems of servitude. Thomas Jefferson was influenced by his writings. Locke’s statement on “reverence” is a remembered teaching from his Christian youth.

Unfortunately, the Age of Enlightenment that began in Europe, began crossing the ocean in the late eighteen hundreds. We have, since, been ill time-warped by secular thought into Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” (published 1932) of a future world in which everything is secularly micro-mismanaged.  ~ commentary — editor


“One father is more than a hundred school-masters.”  ~ George Herbert (1593-1632), English clergyman & metaphysical poet


“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.” (Solomon – Proverbs 20:7)


“It is a wise father that knows his own child”.   ~ Shakespeare (1564-1616) “The Merchant of Venice”. Act II, Sc. 2, Line 83


“We need to restore fatherhood to its rightful place of honor.”   ~ James Dobson and Gary L. Bauer ~ Dobson, born April 21, 1936, is an American evangelical Christian author, psychologist, and founder of Focus on the Family. ~ Bauer, born May 4, 1946, a former presidential candidate, is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families


“It may be hard on some fathers not to have a son, but it is much harder on a boy not to have a father.”   ~ Sara D. Gilbert


“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father”. ~ Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)


Fifth Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” ~ Exodus 20:12


“But, if any (man) provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. ~ I Timothy 5:8 KJV


“Directly after God in heaven comes a Papa.”  ~ Amadeus Mozart as a boy.



It matters not that Time has shed

His thawless snow upon your head,

For he maintains, with wondrous art,

Perpetual summer in your heart.

~ William Hamilton Hayne (1856-1929)


Here’s hoping many fathers had happy times on their day — this past Sunday. The quotes here, I fancy, will be remembered and reread next year, everywhere – by, or to fathers, and preferably by a family member or by family members taking turns.  ~ editor


Jim Valvano spoke at the inaugural ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards) – 55 days prior to his death:  click here.


When I was five, my father began to accumulate a dairy herd for our farm. The cows were purchased a few at a time from other farms around our county, and brought home by Dad in his stock truck. They were then given names that began with the same letter of the former owner’s last name: Lena, Lana, and Lucille – I remember – came from Mr. Lane. But, lo – these many years, the other farmer’s names have slipped my memory. Of the cows acquired from them, only Beauty, Blanche, Blackie, Ruby, Sally and Sadie do I recall.


Warmly, however, I do recall the great affection my family held for our milk cows. We came to know them so well during morning and evening milking times.  Wonderfully placid were those gentle creatures. With pleasure, oft did I lean against a milk cow to press my cheek against the warmth of a furry side. No other animal on the farm gave me such a sense of heartfelt contentment and inner harmony.


Enjoyment was found in accompanying my older sisters to the pasture to bring the cows to the barn at milking time;  in helping to shut the 20 stanchions after each cow went right to her place in the barn; and in scooping feed into the long troughs that flanked the center aisle between the two rows of cows.  My initial walk between the two long rows of heads was a little scary, but on that day I learned how dependably docile cows are. Well, there were exceptions. For whatever reason, known only to Beauty, she let me and my younger brothers know she held no love for us. We just knew enough not to be caught in the barnyard alone with Beauty.


Early on, Dad, Mom, and my oldest sister milked the cows by hand – until my father bought a milking machine. Then the entire chore became my sister’s. Dutifully, she milked the cows mornings and evenings, during her last two years of high school.


Our farm was never without cats and a dog or two. A grain farm draws plenty of mice and rats.  Cats – helpful and essential in keeping down the unwanted intruders – surely earned their keep.  The most cats and kittens we ever had at one time was 17.


At milking time, the cow barn was exactly where the cats wanted to be to not miss their daily portions of milk. In their impatience to be fed, they were often at bovine hooves. Sometimes a raised hoof was unintentionally set down on a tail or paw of a too rambunctiously impatient, too trusting ….. feline. Then there would be a flurry of action:  bared claws and flailing paws accompanied by emphatic meows of vocal protest that I always likened to, “Oooowwwww! Get off, you big lummox!” The cow’s split-second reaction invariably released the trapped tail or paw whereas the cat invariably made a rocket-like exit from the barn.  As you might imagine this scene was oft played out, usually with just bruised extremities.  Less often the result was one less feline in the barn.


Any time my prankster oldest brother was helping with the stripping – finishing up to get what milk the machine missed – we three younger ones stayed out of reach should he try to squirt milk on our bare legs. What he thought fun, was no fun for us! But, the cats loved to have milk squirted their way and would even stand on their hind legs if it would help to catch more milk in their mouths. That sort of squirting, we loved to see.


The evening and morning milk was placed in dairy cans and set out front to be picked up every morning by a dairy truck. In looking back through the decades, I marvel that the milk could usually be counted on not to spoil, although, once in a while it did! Then the truck that hauled it off would bring it back, and the sour milk would then be fed to the hogs – thus not all was lost!


Some milk – as needed – would be set aside for our household, brought to the kitchen, strained, poured into a crock and allowed to set in the pantry until the cream had risen to the top. That I’d, now, throw out a carton of milk that had set overnight on the counter, seems a concern that was absent then.


A handy kitchen tool, called a skimmer, was used to skim the risen cream from off the top. The skimmer was full of holes to insure getting only the cream. For me it was a child’s delight to slide that tool beneath the cream to lift it up to put into a pitcher. Cream straight from the cows was rich, and thick enough to heap in a spoon. That’s not the way cream is viewed today.


The process of today’s homogenization breaks the cream up so fine that it doesn’t rise. Additionally – over the years – cream has continued to be thinned by the dairy manufacturing plants to meet the needs of our country’s increasing population in lieu – I suppose – of shrinking numbers of dairy farmers and to help keep down rising costs. How times change! Rich, thick cream back then was a valued farm commodity for the table as well as for sales. Higher grades of cream garnered greater profit for the farmer.  We didn’t worry about getting fat from cream and all the fried foods that found their way to tables back then.  Farm life kept us too active for pounds to accumulate!


Alas, after a few years in the dairy business, a new cow infected the herd with Bangs Disease caused by the Brucellosis bacterium, and our farm was out of the dairy business. The loss was financial and emotional as the  cows – as required by Federal law – had to be destroyed. Bangs Disease – known as Undulant Fever in humans –is a much lessened problem, today.


Afterwards, for a number of years, we kept one milk cow – Rusty, off-spring of Ruby – for family consumption. But, eventually, the milk and cream quit coming up from the barn; for a while was delivered in cartons by a milk man; and finally, was purchased at our village grocery store. I recall, as I type, the different times in following years that I heard my father, with dismay, say – after he had opened a new carton of cream and poured some into his coffee – “oh, my, they’ve thinned the cream, again”!


Back in the eighties, I frequented a health food store that, one day, had a new yogurt in stock called Brown Cow. On top was a layer of cream – obviously, not homogenized. I was delighted! Every time I stopped by, I bought Brown Cow yogurt. One day, there was no Brown Cow in the cooler, nor was there the next time. I asked Tom, the proprietor, if he was still stocking Brown Cow. He told me, “No, because most customers who took the top off the eight ounce containers while still in his store, wanted to know what that stuff was on top.” More accurately, he said they would say, “Oooooooh! What is THAT!!?”


Sadly, I acknowledged that in a lot of ways, the old way was passing. The good end to this story; however, is eventually, I did find Brown Cow yogurt again – in another store that still carries it. So, to this day, a bit of the farm is still with me!


Seven vocabulary words; a cow poem for children by Robert Louis Stevenson; and a so true to life cow poem by Robert William Service will end today’s post.


placid – undisturbed, tranquill, calm, quiet

stanchion – a restraining device fitted loosely around the neck of a cow to confine it to its stall.

docile – easy to manage

bovine – pertaining to oxen and cows, or the quadrupeds of the bovine genus

skimmer – any utensil used in skimming liquids

feline –any animal of the cat family

lieu – in place of, instead




The friendly cow all red and white,

I love with all my heart:

She gives me cream with all her might,

To eat with apple-tart.


She wanders lowing here and there,

And yet she cannot stray,

All in the pleasant open air,

The pleasant light of day.


And blown by all the winds that pass

And wet with all the showers,

She walks among the meadow grass

And eats the meadow flowers.


Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850 – 1894





I love to watch my seven cows

In meads of buttercups abrowse,

With guilded knees;

But even more I love to see

Them chew the cud so tranquilly

In twilight ease.


Each is the image of content

From fragrant hours in clover spent,

‘Mid leaf and bud;

As up and down without a pause

Mechanically move their jaws

To chew the cud.


Friend, there’s a hope for me and you:

Let us resolve to chew and chew

With molars strong;

The man who learns to masticate,

With patience may control his fate

His life prolong.


In salivation is salvation:

So if some silly little nation

Should bathe in blood,

Let’s take a lesson from the cow,

And learn in life’s long gloaming how

To chew the cud.


Robert William Service (1874-1958)


Two marriages ─ and going in ─ one could say today’s title was fit for both. We know the outcome of the first. We’ve faith the second will endure.


Fourteen years have come and gone, since the world was stunned by Princess Diana’s August 31st,  1997 death.  A whole new generation is growing up with no personal memory of the automobile accident that took  Diana’s life.   My thoughts of Diana, back then, appeared in my family newsletter, published in October, 1997.  A few of those thoughts appear here along with some green font up-to-date thoughts.


I wondered if at least four factors did not doom, from the beginning, the storybook marriage of  Diana Spencer and Prince Charles:


First: the divorce of Diana’s parents that was not without considerable animosity after her mother left  for life in Australia with another man — for the excitement she wanted that was not found on a landed country estate.  Diana was six when her mother flew the coop.  To  young Diana’s emotional state of having her world turned topsey-turvey  add the sense of abandonment. As the subconscious is greatly impressed by examples and experiences, did Diana draw upon flawed examples when her own marriage began to flounder?


As they were growing up, Diana and her younger brother, Charles ─ now 9th Earl Spencer ─ assured each other that divorce in their adult lives would be no option.   Sadly, emotional scars can trump childhood dreams and plans;  fortunately,  however, Diana was a devoted and caring mother.  In this mix, perhaps she provided the right balance for her two sons.


Second, Diana was ill prepared to be a princess.  As Lady Diana Spencer and a descendant of Charles II, Diana was not a commoner, but lacked training pertaining to the life and expectations of a member of the royal family.  She was barely 20; certainly naive compared to 29 year old Kathryn Middleton whose  recent marriage to Prince William followed an eight year courtship and the support of a royal family, wiser from previous experience; and the support of her own intact family.   Charles was 12 years Diana’s senior.  Their whirlwind courtship was less than a year.


Third, Charles was hard pressed to understand Diana’s dismay that he could still continue a friendship with and still give gifts to  a previous love.  The relationship was a jolting reality that Diana could not forgive and Charles could not, did not transcend.


Fourth, cause and effect:  the emotional baggage Diana took into the marriage, combined with the disappointment of #3, led to eating disorders, suicide attempts, frequents bouts of tears, tiffs with family members and friends, extra marital affairs, divorce, striking out on her own, and a last ride in a Mercedes ─ careening out of control through a Paris tunnel.


For Diana, as is common for humans,  the turbulent divorce of her parents, the cause and effect of flawed thinking, a lack of essential knowledge and who knows what else, led to disastrous consequences.  For Diana, that thinking  included  inability to overcome  anger and resentment at, both, Charles and over zealous photographers.  In her own distress,  Diana may have unknowingly set up the fatal accident.  One can’t help but remember Princess Grace who maintained grace, graciousness, and dignity even though she knew her husband was unfaithful.


Will the Royal Family survive? I believe it will.  Diana stood firm on her desire that Prince William and Prince Harry experience the common life along with becoming learned and comfortable with the trappings of royalty.    By time of her death, they were well on their way to becoming fine young men and that they seemed to have done.   Credit, especially, Diana for straining against royal tradition in holding firm to her ideas of raising well rounded sons.


Considering that Prince Charles was trained to be  prim and proper, unemotional, bound to ceremony, and in other ways set in rigid ways of royalty, I can imagined he was much bewildered by the animosity that rose between the two.


Additionally, Diana’s  independence, strong will, sense of style, smile, charitable acts and immense popularity and rapport with the British subjects made her the focus of the press, while Charles and the royal family were pushed out of the limelight to which they were accustomed,  and out of favor with the public ─ to which they were not accustomed.   As Diana captured and continue to hold attention, along with her love/hate relationship with photographers, the royal family  at the time of her death, had already been manuerved into a precarious situation.


During the week long coverage of Diana’s death and in facing a hostile public and a media with guns turned on them, the discomfort of the royal family, particularly of Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth ─ must have been emotionally excruciating.  But, in death,  it would appear that Diana provided them with the only way out.  The very public friction between Diana and Charles came to an unexpected end.


In just  weeks after her death, Charles appeared to be more relaxed, more comfortable in public and more his former, personable self.  In all appearances, it seemed  he had benefitted by ─ was even embracing ─the common touch and examples Diana brought to royalty.


Prince William and Prince Harry, appear well grounded and much capable of working their way through the cruel loss of their mother, and in finding continued growth under their father’s care.  Bitter experiences, in the hands of wisdom, can produce favorably – not just for those personally involved ─ but for the observers as well.  But, each must make the individual choice whether to profit or suffer by each  unwanted impact thrust upon life.


Prince William, with his Diana-like appeal, looks, and touch with the common folk has the capability to become a much beloved monarch. Diana’s breath of fresh air influence on future British rulers may well be her lasting legacy and her most important contribution to England.


Fast forward, now, to May 6, 2011 and the Story Book Marriage of Prince William and Katherine Middleton.  Times have changed.   Unlike Prince Charles who  by royal protocol was denied marriage to the love of his youth, Prince William was given the freedom of choice.   In their lengthy courtship, Prince William and Kate have established a firm bond and Kate has been given adequate opportunity to adapt to the royal family and to royal duties.   From a middle class family, the former Kate Middleton brings class, dignity, and a common sense maturity that I’m certain will allow her to conduct herself well upon the embarked royal path.


One can not – not marvel – at how promising the future looks for William and Kate.  Together, they’ve cast a marvelous sense of honor and duty to the royal household, which certainly gives reason for  Olde England to be merry again!


Diana, upon her death,  delivered to Charles two young lads who were emotionally capable of heads-up working their way through their grieveous loss.  In this manner, she  successfully brought them through to their teen-age years for Prince Charles to provide the finishing touches ─ and that he has done ─ I believe very well.  With that and with the future of William and Kate in mind, I close this post with faith that the words of Shakespeare’s storied king will hang true: “All is well ended” ─ Act V, Scene III, Line 336 from “All’s Well that Ends Well”.


They say that man is mighty,

He governs land and sea,

He wields a mighty scepter

O’er lesser powers that be;


But a mightier power and stronger

Man from his throne has hurled

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world

William Ross Wallace, 1819-1881, American poet


“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis


“When I had my baby it was quite an event, although not an entirely blessed one. I had a twenty-two hour labor, a near cesarean, a doctor who had an allergy attack from my perfume, and a big, big baby. They don’t call it labor for nothing.” Pia Zadora – movie actress


“I never thought you should be rewarded for the greatest privilege of life.” Mary Roper Cohen, after being crowned 1958 mother of the year


“Spoil your husband, but don’t spoil your children.”      Louise Sevier Giddings-Currey ─ 1961 mother of the year


“My mother usually somehow managed, at eleven, to sit down in the red rocking chair by the window to read aloud to us. Here was the very doorsill to complete enchantment for she was as seemingly as lost as we—in whatever she was reading.  Smells of our approaching dinner filled our noses from stew pans or baking dishes; while my mother’s voice brought trooping into our kitchen all those with whom we rejoiced or suffered, admired or feared, loved or hated.”   Mary Ellen Chase, 1887-1973, American educator, teacher and writer


There was a place in childhood, that I remember well,

And there a voice of sweetest tone, bright fairy tales did tell,

And gentle words, and fond embrace, were given with joy to me,

When I was in that happy place upon my mother’s knee.

Samuel Lover, 1797-1868, Irish songwriter, novelist, painter of portraits


The Reading Mother

I had a Mother who read me things

That wholesome life to a child’s heart brings –

Stories that stir with an upward touch.

Oh that every Mother were such!


You may have tangible wealth untold,

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be—

I had a mother who read to me.

Strickland Gillian, 1869-1954, journalist, humorist, writer, poet


“As is the mother, so is her daughter.”   (Ezekiel 16:44)


“Mothers of daughters are daughters of mothers and have remained so, in circles joined in circles, since time began.”   Signe Hammer, born early 1940’s.  Daughters and Mothers/Mothers and Daughters


And now so well I know her that I know

The graciousness of her will always grow

Like daybreak in my spirit, and will be

Through all my life a radiant mystery.

Amelia Josephine Burr, 1878-1968, American poet


“Mother—that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries.” T. Dewitt Talmage, 1832-1902, Presbyterian Minister


“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” Charles R. Swindoll, 1934, Evangelical Christian pastor, author, educator, radio preacher


Before a day was over,

Home comes the rover,

For mother’s kiss – sweeter this

Than any other thing!

William Allingham, 1826-1889, Irish poet


“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.” Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-1887, Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, speaker


“Mothers hold their children’s hands a short while, but their hearts forever.” Author Unknown


Who ran to help me when I fell

And would some pretty story tell,

Or kiss the place to make it well?

My mother.

Ann Taylor


“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” Stevie Wonder, American musician


“My mother said to me, “If you become a soldier you’ll be a general; if you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope.” Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish artist


“I want a girl, just like the girl that married dear old Dad.”   Harry Von Tilzer, 1872-1946, song writer, composed the tune in 1911


“Yesterday morning after our weekly visit to the library, my daughter, now two and a half, spotted a group of three-and-four year olds lining up outside the building across the street and asked to follow them. Kate has been talking of nothing but nursery school ever since. Already I miss her.” Barbara Hustedt Crook, former editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine, radio announcer, co-writer of a musical


Mother tells me “Happy Dreams!” and takes away the light,

An’ leaves me lying all alone an’ seeing’ things at night.

Eugene Field, 1850-1895, American poet, known as “The Children’s Poet”


Now in my memory comes my mother,

As she used to in years agone,

To regard the daring dreamers

Ere she left them till the dawn.

Coates Kinney, 1826-1904, American lawyer, journalist, poet


“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me but I think she enjoyed it.” Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), 1835-1910, American author and humorist


“People have asked me if I ever spanked Jack when he was a boy. I suppose it is part of the mystique surrounding the presidency that anyone who occupies the office is endowed with qualities that are extraordinary and he must have passed through childhood in a glow of virtue. I can state that this was not the case with Jack, nor was it with Bobby or Teddy or any of the others, and whenever they needed it they got a good old-fashioned spanking, which I believe is one of the most effective means of instruction.” Rose Kennedy, 1890-1995


“Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process!” John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, 35th U. S. President


“It is better to bind your children to you by respect and gentleness, than by fear.” Author Unknown


“As Mother has said so often, “Remember, wherever you are and whatever you do, someone always sees you.” Marian Anderson, 1897-1993, African-American contralto, one of most celebrated 20th century singers.


“Train up a child in the way that he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6


“The bearing and training of a child is woman’s wisdom.” Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1809-1892, English Poet Laureate


“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”   Washington Irving, 1783—1859, American writer, historian, essayist


“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” George Washington, 1731/32—1799


“The mothers of brave men must themselves be brave.”  Mary Ball Washington, (1708—1789), mother of George Washington


“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln, 1809—1865, 16th U. S. President


“She was to me all that a mother could be, and I yield to none in admiration for her character, love of her virtues, and veneration for her memory.” Robert E. Lee, 1807—1870, on his mother-in-law, Mary Custis, 1788—1853; Mary Custis was  a great granddaughter of Martha Washington.


“As I approached the door about nine O’clock in the evening, I heard my mother engaged in prayer. During her prayer she referred to me, her son away God only knew where, and asked that he might be preserved in health to return and comfort her in her old age. At the conclusion of the prayer I quietly raised the latch and entered. I will not attempt to describe the scene that followed….” President James Garfield, describing his return from a youthful job as a canal bargeman. 1831—1881, 20th U. S. President


“Start over”.   Response of the mother in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, to daughter Francie’s question as the book ends.   Francie – in 1912 is age 11. She and her younger brother, are dutifully taking turns reading from the Bible each evening at the kitchen table – an on going activity throughout the book. In the last paragraph of the last page, Francie reads the last verse of the last book of the New Testament. She looks up at her mother and says; “we’ve finished, Mama. Now what shall we read?” Mama says, “start over!”


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a wonderful book to read, especially to your children. Skip this book ─ gyp yourself and your kids. The movie of same title, made in 1945, surely must have pleased author, Jean Smith, for it was well done.  As usual, for a first book, Smith relied upon her experiences of growing up in Brooklyn, N. Y.  The book was a huge hit when published in 1943, especially in the Brooklyn neighborhood where many still lived who knew Smith during her growing up years.


This concludes other people’s quotes on mothers. It’s not hard for me to see that times have really changed a lot since prayer was banned in public school by the Supreme Court in 1962. Even though Godless public schools continue moving our country away from prayer ─ prayer will always be a POWERFUL way of making positive affirmations.  Prayer is the ultimate success principle for the subconscious, but that’s not something the secular mind wants us to know.  Doesn’t it makes better sense to form positive thoughts in our minds than to form the devil’s words of resentments and other negative thoughts?  Forming the habit to squelch bad thinking is a gift we give ourselves.


I could not end this Mother’s Day post without tacking on my own experiences of having a mother who read to her children. As farm children in the still great depression era, seldom were we further than a mile from home. Through her stories our mother took us around the world, at times, to ancient inhabitants like those in The Odyssey and The Illiad by Homer. With  help of  marvelous characters that marched out of those pages and into our lives, she made us want to be good.


Then, the country was in a long, slow recovery and like other farm families, we lived frugally. But mother’s stories made us feel rich as kings  ─ as so adroitly conveyed by Strickland Gillilan in, “richer than I you can never be, I had a mother who read to me”.


Princess Di and new bride Kate have been moved to later in the week.





April brought many reader’s comments – lovely comments ─ to help dispel April’s chill.   I much appreciated the ones that were sincerely written from the heart.  For this post, I selected and edited some that best lent themselves to easy/quick replies. Regretfully, time did not allow more than appears here. I thought readers would enjoy seeing what others said.  Each comment addressed is followed by the post from which it was written:


Hazel: “Insightful article. I wish everyone could write like you. I have bookmarked your site…..” {The Night of the Sonic boom}.



Thanks, Hazel. You’re a doll! I’m glad you will be coming back. I must say and am glad to say my writing has improved over the decades. I’ve found “delete”, “cut”, and “paste” to be wonderful helpers in stream-lining writing.   I’m, also, a bear when it comes to superfluous words. If they detract – OUT they go!   That means lots of honing before publishing.


Raymond: “Whoa! This weblog is fantastic. I love studying your articles”. {The Timeless Principle Behind Susan Boyle’s Success}


Thanks, Raymond. As a long time Master Key student, I’ve accumulated enough to share in regards to how thought processing can be beautifully honed, and how the subconscious picks up on it, and benefits from it.  In that way our lives change for the better. “The Timeless Principle …” post is just a forerunner of what will appear in future postings. All across the board, quality counts!


Karen: “Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for your provided information.” {Britain’s Got Talent – Susan Boyle}



Thanks, Karen.  You’ve put a smile on my face, but credit Susan Boyle for being such a swell subject.



Swtor: “Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your site is very cool.” {Thanks for the Messages}


Thanks, Swtor. You are certainly welcome. “Cool” is such a lovely compliment!


Wynajem: “Hey, very cool blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I am happy to find numerous useful information here.”  {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks, Wynajem. Here’s my goal:  To keep the posting useful, informative, upbeat, entertaining, constructive and worthwhile so that you will enjoy coming back often ….. or even better, regularly.


Sirus: “Keep the faith, my Internet friend. You are a first-class writer and deserve to be heard.” {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks, Sirus. I love that: “keep the faith” ….. all of us …. and do well – all part of the Master Key message – and scriptural, too! Corral those thoughts! Make them march, and do well – all of us!  Out with humdrum!  In with zest!


Dijeta: “Thank you for information. Your site is good.” {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks, Dijeta: Good information can come easily; sometimes not. If it is not handed to us and we want it, we hunt for it. That can make it more precious by far – when we finally find it. But, in “Night of the Sonic Boom”, no hunting was necessary. It was handed to me in the still of the night. Then it sat on hold for decades!


Cloud Server: I have wanted to write something like this on my webpage and this has given me an idea. Cheers. {Thanks for the Messages}


Thanks, Cloud Server. I presume you meant responding to comments on your webpage. I can tell you that it is certainly an enjoyable activity, perhaps it will end up being an occasional post.


Marcelino: “I’m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you might have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the difficulty is something that not enough persons are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled throughout this in my search for one thing referring to this.” {An August Cat Saga}


Thanks, Marcelino. Gracious! I believe you’ve made my day. Nothing is so gratifying, I think, as to know a good difference has been made and one’s efforts are approved. If making a good difference was not a big part of this blog, I’d have no reason to continue.  If a difference had not been made for one struggling mother cat and four kittens, there would have been no celebratory story.


Willard: “I delight in this post. God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye!” {The Timeless Principle Behind Susan Boyle’s Success}


Thanks, Willard! YOU are tops!  God bless you, too.  And may your nice days be many!


Jc Laurie: “I just started reading and I’m glad I did. You’re an excellent blogger, one of the most effective that I’ve seen. This weblog surely has some info on subjects that I just wasn’t aware of. Thanks for bringing it to light.” {How I Finally April Fooled Dad}


Thanks Jc ….. you’re surely welcomed. I, too, am glad you “just started reading…” Come back often! There are wonderful topics ahead, just begging to be set into words.


Fotografia: “Just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog post.” {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks, Fotografia. That’s music to my ears – knowing you’ve enjoyed the browsing.  Your comment makes me want to do better, even.  That’s the ticket – everyone helping each other up the ladder.


Bea: “Pretty nice post! I just stumbled upon and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around …. I hope you write again very soon.” {An August Cat Saga}


Thanks, Bea. I shall endeavor to write more consistently, more often, and “again very soon”.  Please!  Surf here often!


Jammie: “ This is one awesome blog. Great!” {February Celebrates Births of Three Great Presidents}


Thanks, Jammie: You have me smiling from ear to ear! I loved writing about February’s three greats and I loved reading your comment.


Reddington: “You are a very smart individual!” {Responding to Responses to My Post”}


Thanks Red: As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I couldn’t help but chuckle in seeing your generous words.  I’m positive that I’ve had many on-line conversations with computer techs who must surely think that I’m dumber than a box of rocks.   …….. I’d much rather chat with you!


Tedkirke: “Wow, incredible weblog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? You make it look easy.” {Thanks for the Messages}


Thanks, Tedkirke. This is my first website. My first post on this site was back on December 18, 2010. It sure wasn’t so easy acquiring the blog know-how, but I am enjoying the blogging.  My posts are a combination of my personal experiences, my penchant for researching interesting topics, and especially, my desire to contribute constructively to younger generations some of what I acquired from the generation above me. That’s what each generation is supposed to do!


Most of all, my posts are reflective of my being home schooled in World Literature prior to first grade.  {Bells & Whistles – my 1st post}  I don’t believe that my mother, who taught high school Latin and English, could have gotten her kids off to a better start.  For any parent who feels ill prepared in that area, I suggest this wonderful book by former Secretary of Education, William Bennett:  circa 1990”s –  “The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories.”


Telegrafi: Thank you for the sensible critique. I’m very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there. {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks, Telegrafi. I think I’m safe to say on this blog, that “sensible” came from the adults in my youth who made sure I learned scripture from the Judeo-Christian Bible. To share “sensible” freely is scriptural: “give and ye shall receive”. In my book sensible that is shared freely beats money shared freely because sensible – if respected – will always stay with us, but money goes! “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke: 6:38 – King James Bible)


Alba: “Outstanding blog post, I look forward to reading more.” {An August Cat Saga}


Thanks, Alba. I’ll endeavor to make your returning worth while. I’m aiming at more frequent and more consistent postings, and I’m committed to quality. Like ‘sensible’, it stands on the firm ground of scripture.


Camilla: “Each bird loves to hear himself sing.” {How I Finally April Fooled Dad}


What a lovely phrase, Camilla! Yes, I guess I was a bird that day, loving the experience of April fooling dad for the first and only time ever! Even though Dad looked chagrinned at this new experience of being April fooled by one of his kids, the memory makes me want to break out in cheerful chirps!


Catalog: “Wow! I found this place on Yahoo poking around for something else entirely, and now I’m going to need to go back and go through all the old material. So much for free time today! I think this is a really good site. You definitely have a fabulous grasp of the subject matter and explain it great.” {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks, Cat: Love your compliment. I shall gaily allow myself to think your free time was well used. Indeed, in poking around on the internet one never knows what one might find! I found a great site yesterday on End Time Bible Prophecy: Generous and informative!


Dominacja: “Hey – nice website, seems a pretty overnice document you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but thinking to change one of them over to a structure same to yours as an experiment run.” {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks, Dominacja. Blue Host is my website host. The theme is Atahualpa, and WordPress is my blogging platform. Scroll all the way down, and you will see WordPress and Atahualpa.


Markowe: “I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.” {The Night of the Sonic Boom}


Thanks Markowe: I appreciate your kind words and am glad you like the layout. Credit for the layout, though, goes to WordPress and the Atahualpa theme. WP has many themes to choose from and you can download more than one. Hopefully, one day, I’ll know enough to get into customizing.


Tammy: “I appreciate your wordpress design, wherever did you get a hold of it from? Thank you in advance!” {Thanks for the Messages}


Thanks, Tammy: I’m glad you like the design. For more information, visit, the source of my Atahualpa theme and which provides server space for the files that make up my website.


Imbrogno: “I enjoyed reading your blog & I must congratulate you …. This is a work of art!” {How I Finally April Fooled Dad}


Thanks, Imbrogno. But, really, Art didn’t contribute one bit …. Ha, ha, just kidding!  I very much appreciate your compliment.


Spikes: I would just like to let you know how much I learn from your website Bookmarked book! Be back fast for some more good articles! {Britain’s Got Talent – Susan Boyle}


Thanks, Spikes: I shall return at least once before the weeks out. I was able to see the British Royal wedding last week and thought it top notch all across the board. My next post will center on contrasting Di and Kate.


Jack K: Susan Boyle’s now so famous she gets to have her waxwork in the famous Madam Tussauds – we have a lot to blame Simon Cowell for apparently …. LOL! {Britain’s Got Talent – Susan Boyle}


Thanks, Jack. You are so right! LOL, for real! My, oh, my ….. did Simon ever pour on the sarcasm, but Susan stood her ground like an iron battle ship. At that point – with that knowing gleam in her eye – she won me over BIG TIME! Collectively, around the world, me thinks viewers must surely have then been thinking: Yeaaaaah, Susan! How many times had she already been through it? First the taunts … then the awe! Indeed, yeaaaaah, Susan! A MORE beautiful example of how to graciously get past those dreaded moments does not immediately come to mind – if there IS one!


Nanhai-tensteps: “hooray; your writings are theater and much missed! {Thanks for the Messages}


Thanks, Nanhai-tensteps. You make me feel pleased as punch! I think I shall take a break and do a nifty two-step. I will try to post oftener.


Rubin: “I enjoy what you may have done in this article. I enjoy the section in which you mention you are doing this to supply back. Nonetheless I’d personally imagine through all the comments that this is doing the job for you too.”  {Bells and Whistles}


Thanks, Rubin: You sure got that right! I’ve still a lot of supplying back … to do …. am enjoying it immensely, and am delighting in those whose comments are supplying back to me! Bells and Whistles – both ways! Can’t beat it! As I said of my mother, in that first post on December 18, 2010, “I’m positive she is looking down (from heaven) with a serene smile and an approving eye”. Do come back, and often!


Carry: “I really love reading these blogs. It helps one to learn more of all things around… And gives one confidence.. “ {Killed a King: Killed by a King}


Thanks, Carry: I think you are probably referring to the two blogs on Susan Boyle, which have made a hit, here. I’m very happy about that. I’m hoping you loved reading about kings of England. I love passing on the interest of British history that my mother gave to me. As Mom said, “you can’t make up stories that beat real life English historical happenings.”


Thus, life goes on – passed from one generation to the next. Fie on us if we drop the ball in any way that needs continuing down! It grieves me that in some ways the ball DID get dropped starting at the end of the sixties. Lately, though, it appears as if people are starting to pick it up. Just as it would be a great travesty for our youngest generation to inherit a crippling national debt, it would be a great travesty to let these young folks inherit an impoverished spiritual mind. It doesn’t have to be.


Darrell: “This is a pretty good blog and I am surprised that there isn’t a members section….”  {Thanks for the Messages}


Thanks, Darrell: I like your suggestion. Actually, I’ve been pretty slow on the extras. In “Please Bear with me is My Plea” that I posted on December 21, 2010, I wrote, “as in no way am I tech savvy.” But, I’m getting there. I appreciated your information on a members section. You are among several that have informed me of different things I might add. In time, I shall — at least hope to.


Someone asked if I was on linkedin. No, not that or any other professional network – appears I’m still in the dark ages!  But, give me time. I learned to type on a manual typewriter. By technology back then, our brains were not wired for today’s technology which makes a world of difference and makes for us – laborious learning.  Sweat!  Sweat!  Get my picture?

I received from several readers that the pictures from my site did not load well on their computers or other similar problems. I don’t know why that is and wish it wasn’t. I did speak with a WordPress tech person and was told – after he checked my site – that it wasn’t caused by either WP or my site. Perhaps someone reading this could offer possible causes. The tech guy did suggest it may be a browser issue which would require adjusting security settings on those computers that are having trouble in loading. He said to click Tools then options. I’m not sure what next, however, for at that point someone was knocking at the front door.


Koha: Hello there, I found your site by the use of Google while looking for a comparable topic, your site came up, and it seems good. I’ve bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks.  {Thanks for the Messages}


Thanks, Koha. You’re not alone in having found my site through Google. Traffic, here, is picking up – but, I think, mainly ─ from those who are sharing that my blog exists.  I’ve been told that it is important to post regularly –two or three times a week, at least – in order to get much noticed by Google.  Only once, have I found my site through Google.  I’m not sure how others have.


Originally, I envisioned this site for both parents homeschooling their children and for parents who send their children to public or parochial schools. As laid out in my first post, “Bells and Whistles”, it was not to be a site with curricula for the day’s school work, but the extras that more and more have fallen by the wayside from various causes.

In these early months, it appears my posts have found appeal for some from the last several, publicly educated generations of American students. In that period of time, the foundation of our educational system has been gradually transformed from spiritual to secular. The appreciation I’ve received at pleasures me greatly and gives even greater impetus for producing a substantial blog. I’m optimistic. Time will tell.

This concludes today’s post. Although it took me a lot longer than I thought it would, I enjoyed every minute of it.  I’ve no doubt that it will prove to be of intrinsic value to the conservative mind.

As mentioned somewhere in one of my above responses, my next post, will be in analyzing and contrasting Princes Di and royal bride – Kate – newest member of British Royalty. Until then: Bye, bye!

Today’s vocabulary words and brief descriptions:

superfluous – not needed, unnecessary; irrelevant
circa – about; used before an approximate date or figure
chagrin – to cause to feel chagrin; embarrass and annoy; mortify
gaily – in a gay manner; happily, merrily
penchant – to incline; a strong liking or fondness; inclination
impetus – the force with which a body moves against resistance,
intrinsic – belonging to the real nature of a thing


Before television, April Fools Day was a day to have some fun in catching others unaware.  The fun was especially in trying to fool Mom and Dad, who never failed to “get us”.  It was their day’s first priority, and since they were up first they had time to prepare for April Fooling us kids.

My earliest memory of being fooled is being told my shoelace was untied.  By the time I was five, Dad could no longer fool me on that one.   One morning my mother was ready with a new and good April Fools.  We lived on a farm, where the fences – everyone’s fences − were held together by bailing wire.  Well, that was said with tongue in cheek, though it bears a certain amount of truth. This was in the nineteen forties when impact of the 1929 depression still kept money scare for farmers – at least in my neck of the woods.  Consequently, the cows were always getting out through weak places in farm fences patched with bailing wire.  Then we’d all fly into action to get them back into the barnyard.  Then Dad would use more bailing wire to mend the fence. 

On one particular morning, my mother came to the foot of the stairs and called up those familiar words, “Kids, get up!  The cows are out!”  Within the moment, we were fairly tumbling down stairs finishing pulling on clothes and buttoning up.   There stood mother, serenely smiling and saying, “April Fool”.  She was able to spring that one on us for several years; it was easy.   “The cows are out”, was a call for reflexes –first – before the brain could get a start. 

Daddy loved to fool us.  One April Fool’s morning three of us kids were up before Carolyn.  Dad was trying to think of a good one for her.  Finally, he said, “I know!  When she comes through the door, I’ll grab her and say, “Why, this girl has the measles!  Well, my two brothers and I couldn’t wait for Carolyn to get up.  We thought it was a swell April Fools.  

When she came in, Dad was standing by the kitchen pump at the wash up sink, and he grabbed her and said, “Why this girl …… why this girl …. and the three of us waited and wondered:  “Why doesn’t he say it?”  Finally, Dad said, “Why this girl ….. really does have the measles!”  And she did!  Guess that April Fools joke was on Dad, instead.

I was at the end of my childhood before I got an April Fool’s on Dad, one morning after breakfast.  My brothers had already gone down the lane to catch the bus to school.  I was 18 and in my first year at a nearby junior college.  That semester I had all my classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  April Fool was on a Tuesday or a Thursday.

Mother had started out the kitchen door with a coal bucket of ashes.  The dump truck was stuck in the mud in the horse barnlot to the left,  and the stock truck was to the right at the foot of the yard.  Dad was sitting at the table, shaking tobacco into a tabacco paper.  He told my mother to take the ashes down and pour them under the wheels of the truck because it was stuck in the mud.

I did not think she quite understood so watched out the window to see which way she would go.  Sure enough, she turned right on the sidewalk towards the lane, which is where the stock truck was parked.  I had been sitting in a chair trying to think of a good April Fools joke for Dad.  The previous fall, an older sister had bought a used television for our family – our first, which is why no one had April Fooled anyone.  Already, because of that television, our way of life was changing.

So, when Mother turned in the wrong direction, she created the perfect April Fool to pull on Dad!  After about 15 seconds I said, “Dad, she didn’t understand you.  She’s going the wrong way.”  He said, “Tell her”.  I went to the screen door.  It was a pretty day and the inside door was open.  I said, “Uh oh!  He said, “WHAT?  “I said,  “She’s pouring the ashes out in the yard!”  Dad got up so fast, he almost knocked over the chair.  Then he took several quick steps and as he was going through the door to the porch, he was yelling, “Hey, hey, hey!  What are you doing?”

Half way down the yard was Mother.  Bucket in hand, she turned, serenly, to look at him.  By this time I was so tickled, I could barely squeeze out, “April Fool’s, Dad!”  He didn’t say a word.  Just gave me a chagrined look, went back in, sat down and finished rolling his cigarette.  The memory is rather dear to me for several reasons.  First, it is the only time I was ever able to get an April Fools on Dad.  Plus, he and Mom, who had yearly fooled us kids – unbeknownst to each other set it all up for me– beautifully. 

That was the end of April Fool fun for my family.  Television changed the way we used our minds and our time.  Instead of playing games, playing cards, or reading, in the evening, we watched television.  I wonder what all the rest of my life would have been like if television had never come along.