Guilt and Other Irritations

Guilt is the hair shirt I put on almost daily.  A hair shirt is a coarse garment intended to be worn next to the skin, keeping the wearer in a state of discomfort and constant awareness of the shirt’s presence.  So, what do I feel guilty about, you ask?  Well, that changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour, but here’s some of the main ideas from recent days.

The most prevalent guilt I deal with lately is over 4 very  significant people in my life that have pretty much ‘blown up’ their lives.  At least for now, anyway.  Some of these folks I’ve known for a long time.  Some for only a couple of years.

Oh – something I don’t think I’ve shared before – I’m an ordained minister of a non-denominational church and have been for 9 years.  I have chosen not to have a church because I would rather work independently as the need arises.  I do weddings, funerals, and I counsel with people.  Notice I didn’t say I counsel people – I counsel WITH people.  They know what they need, they just need help finding what they already know.

Anyway, back to the guilt.  Each of us has to walk our own path.  We all have to fall to learn and get back up and move on.  Yet, I feel guilty.  Might I have saved someone from a fall or made it softer?  Could I have taught them one more thing that may have done the job without another fall?  Sigh…  I believe, however, that it all works the way it must to build that person into what he/she will become.  Still, I don the hair shirt over it now and then.

Then there’s the FAMILY guilt.  I’m going to just lay it out there, because they never read my stuff anyway.  I don’t like my mom nor my sister nor any of their ‘people’ that live a mere 3 hours away.  The last visit two weeks ago was abusive and hurt me badly.  I will not go back.  But, hair shirt BIG time.  I feel guilty because I still cannot make them like me after over 60 years of trying.  Yeah, this time I let it go, but I find myself feeling guilty for letting it go!!!!  Weird, huh?  My little family here loves me unconditionally, and when I put on that hair shirt, I let them help me take it off.

Let’s see.  There’s community guilt.  I see trash on the side of the road when I’m driving somewhere and think, “I should stop and pick that up.”  I  see statistics about youth that can’t pass reading tests and think about the tutoring I used to do.  I see the potholes on my county road and consider running for county commissioner.  Guilt everywhere!!!

My yard needs raking, the walls need painting, the budget needs doing – sheesh!  I don’t have enough hair shirts!!!

So, on to other irritants.  There are two things that really irritate me to no end.  The first one:  BIGOTS.  I grew up with them in Mississippi.  You probably know them as Rednecks, Good Old Boys, and such.  They are really good folks and loyal to the end.  Unless you are not white.  I never knew my biological dad, but I figure he was not a bigot because I was the only one I knew that WASN’T.  I liked everyone.  Hugged everyone.  Ate with everyone.  Drank after everyone.  I grew up during forced desegregation and busing.  I just did not get any of it.  One of my best friends was black, but we couldn’t spend the night with one another.  When I became an officer in the military, I finally divorced my first husband because his prejudice was so offensive to my fellow black officers.  Bigotry is a nasty, hateful, dangerous thing that destroys individuals, relationships, and nations.  It hurts my soul, and I will not tolerate it.

The second thing that irritates me is people who believe they are entitled.  All Americans believe they are entitled, especially in times of disaster.  They look to the government to bail them out when hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, or earthquakes occur.  And then complain about the taxes it takes to pay for all of it.  They live in the areas where these things are KNOWN to happen, and don’t buy the insurance either!  Then sob over ‘losing everything.’  Boo Hoo.  Well, Jo says stiff upper lip and start helping yourselves and your neighbors like our ancestors did.  Be better prepared to begin with.  Screw waiting for the government teat!!!

Speaking of the government teat.  I was behind an overweight woman at a discount food store yesterday.  She was rude and aggressive with the check-out lady, ensuring her that the WIC coupons were her daughter and granddaughter’s coupons.  The daughter and the baby couldn’t come out because the baby was sick, so she (the rude woman) was doing the shopping.  So this well-fed woman was spending government money and being rude to this hard-working lady to get food for a welfare baby.  Pissed me off that she felt so entitled and so ugly about it!  You know, she could have explained it nicely and it could have been so much more pleasant.  Frankly, I would have been embarrassed to have needed WIC.  Embarrassed that my daughter had gotten herself in this fix to begin with.  Now, these girls walk around bragging about their ‘baby daddy.’

Okay, that’s enough hair shirts and other irritants for today.  I think I’ll have some coffee, watch the birds outside my window, and play mahjohng.  Talk to you later, friends and family.

My Best New Year’s Ever

It’s that time and everyone expects a “wise woman” to say something – well, you know – WISE.  Oh, I got all kinds of stuff, but you’ve heard it all, I’m sure.  But I think I’ll just share the memory of my favorite New Year’s Eve with you.

It was the eve of the new millineum.   Milleneum.  However you spell it.  I was in San Antonio, Texas where I lived at the time.  I had just gone and retrieved my daughter from a treatment center that they assured me that she belonged, but she had turned 18 on that day (yep, she’s a tax write-off baby!).  So, I drove over an hour, helped her sign herself out, and brought my girl home.

San Antonio, like everywhere else, was going NUTS over the year 2000 coming in.  There was no parking to be had anywhere on the Riverwalk or anywhere else near anything.  Fireworks were going off and revelers freely walked the streets all over the place.  So my daughter and I, with a full tank of gas, drove loop 410 around the downtown area for a couple of hours around midnight, watching fireworks.  If you pulled over to watch, law enforcement yelled at you with bullhorns!  It. Was. Fabulous!!!!  She had the time of her life on her 18th birthday, laughing, oooing and ahhhing, and greeting the year 2000.  And I was with her.

Best New Year’s ever.

Becoming Wise – Again

Crap.

That’s a nice word for SHIT.

Most of us have have had those “character building” times that everyone says we will be better for afterwards.  Sometimes those times come one after another after another after another until we lay bleeding on the ground looking up pleading with our God as we know him to please work on someone else’s character for a little while.

2017 has been like that for me.  And the last month of it was the the  most glorious “lesson” of all.  It was the perfect storm of several events that left me unable to eat.  Or bathe.  At 63, this past week, I found myself standing in my beloved woods with tears streaming down my face, sure that all that I believed I had done in my life had failed.

Wisdom doesn’t doesn’t come cheap, people.  Be careful what you ask for.  When I was but 32 and the single mother of 3 very dysfunctional children under the age of 10, I cried out to my God at the time for the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.  I figured I would wake up with it automatically, you know?  HA!  It has been a path of thorns for 31 years.  But yeah, I got the roses too.

I know that I will gain wisdom from this storm, too.  That is the only thing that is taking me through.  One of the few mottos I allow myself is ” Don’t just do something, SIT THERE.”  To me that means, Don’t got shopping. Don’t scream and yell at someone.  Don’t run away.  Don’t have a nervous breakdown.  Don’t call everyone and gossip over it.  Just sit with it.  Hold it.  Cry over it.  Be angry with it.  Write about it.  BE with it.  A Christian writer I like, Barbara Johnson once said, “Remember, the Bible said, it came to PASS.  It didn’t come to STAY.”  That brings me comfort.

So, for the new year of 2018, let things pass.  Get on with it.  Take the wisdom from it and leave the rest.

I HATE Christmas!!!!

There, I said it!!!

I know, bah humbug and all that.  I’m not saying whether I’m I’m a Christian or not because that is irrelevant to CHRISTMAS nowadays.  When you see Santa Claus next to skeletons in October, it just loses something, ya know?

In 1980ish, when I was a young Air Force officer, I first saw Christmas stuff being offered next to Thanksgiving displays.  I wrote an article for the base paper about it.  The base commander himself called me in to instruct me on why that article would not be appearing in the paper, something about allowing the base merchants to maximize sales or something to that effect.  And so it began, 35 years or so ago.

It starts ramping up in October to buy, buy, buy for Christmas.  Toy departments replace the garden department, even though the growing season isn’t half over where I live.  Christmas trees are out.  Christmas carols are already being played after Halloween until you are SICK of them!  All for the almighty dollar.  Reminds me  of Jesus and the money changers.  And almost nowhere in all this do you see manger scenes – just Santa and stockings and trees with gifts under them.  I thought this was all supposed to be about a Christ child or something.  My 80-year-old dad, a staunch Christian, just returned from a 3-day road trip, Christmas-ing with family and friends all over the place.  You know, eating and exchanging gifts at different places.  What does that have to do with the birth of a savior is what I want to know.  So much travel, money and exhaustion?  Unwanted gifts, white lies and overeating?  In my little family of three adults, we each got one another one gift of something we knew each other would truly appreciate.  For example, I really like the long lighters you use to light bonfires for burning brush.  I got two in awesome neon colors that bend every way you can imagine!  A more thoughtful gift I never received!  Who needs diamonds or fancy appliances or expensive cars you pay for over months and years?  I will never get a bill for those lighters and will think of my husband every time I gleefully burn another brush pile on our property.

I’m sure Jesus did not mean for us to get up at 4 a.m. to get Black Friday sale specials in His name.  Or eat until we are in a stupor.  Or have gift lists that include mail men and our beauty operators and people we don’t like just to keep up appearances.  We have been led astray by the ‘money changers’ and are worse for it.  When poor, my kids and I made our gifts for the ones we loved.  I often still do.  I paint gourds I grow on our land, and people love them!  They BUY those things in ‘unique’ stores for obscene prices!  And these are gifts from my heart, made special for each person I give them to.  A TRUE gift.  When I do give something to my awesome mail lady, Linda, I put a very personal note in with it about how her service this year meant so much to me.  THAT’S a gift, people.

A gift is a way to honor someone, to show them what they MEAN to you.  The Wise Men wanted to honor the Christ Child, to show what He meant to them.  Remind yourselves for next year what the gift-giving is really about.  Scale back and don’t let the money changers fool you into giving them your money beginning in October and November.  Or buying Christmas trees and ornaments you don’t need just to show you are in THEIR spirit.  Do things the way that feels right to YOU and your little family.  Kids don’t need 10 kinds of toys.  I like to give a book, then sit right down and read it to them.  Suddenly, they all drop the fancy toys and listen avidly to the story! I don’t know if it’s the story or the attention they get from Aunt Jo but, for a few minutes, it beats all the expensive toys their parents tore their hair out trying to find.

Along those same lines, in August, you cannot buy a swimsuit, but you can buy a coat.  I just don’t understand that.  I live in an area that is still in the 90’s in August, sometimes even 100 degrees!  We don’t need coats until maybe December!  What’s the hurry to rush one season out and another one in?  Mother Nature knows what our bodies need at any one time, NOT the retailers!  Same with all this ‘natural food’ kick.  If you actually read the labels, maybe the ingredients start out natural, but THEN they still add stuff to keep the shelf life longer.  You want natural?  Grow it yourself, or go to a farmer’s market or a produce section of your grocer.  It won’t cost you as much either.

Anyway, enough for tonight.  As always, please leave comments and input for discussion.  It adds to the fun!

 

Travel Discoveries

So, I took a few days for myself, unsure where I was going to go.  Found myself going back to a place I was stationed 40 years ago on the gulf coast.  I hadn’t seen the ocean in 14 years, and seemed to need to see something bigger than my small world.  Yep, the ocean sure fits the bill!  Of course, the first day there it was cloudy, drizzly, extremely windy, and cold.  Not my idea of a sunny beach.  Mother Nature has her humor.  Then my favorite hat blew away.  I slipped on the beach rocks and bruised myself.  But the pelicans and sandpipers were funny.  No, really!  They looked at me like, “Got food?”  Giggle!!!

On the way there, my car – all by itself mind you, slipped into the grassy median.  My phone had just died from overuse of the GPS, so I couldn’t call the tow service.  A nice young fellow and his girlfriend stopped to help but, before they could, a local county officer stopped, lights and all.  Picture it.  Midnight.  Car in median.  Gotta be a drunk, right?  Got my disabled veteran’s hat on, though, and I’m a 63-year-old lady, so he gives me the benefit of a doubt.  But, that said, he gives me the field sobriety test.  How embarrassing.  Decides I’m okay and calls a towing service that I tell him I’m willing to pay cash for.  Now for the nice part.  Officer lets me sit in warm car.  His name is William by the way.  After I get warm, I watch Brandon from the tow service work his magic.  When I ask him how much I owe, he politely declines and says that it is a courtesy job since there was no accident.  The local groups do this on rotation!  Not a delay I would ask for, however….  Thanks William and Brandon!

Well, I made it to my coastal destination.  Went to a Super 8 hotel across the coastline highway.  Get ready for this one, folks.  I always thought cash was good for anything, right?  I learned differently at this Super 8.  The room was $80.  When I whipped out the cash, she looked at it and paused and said, “Oh, there’s a $60 deposit if you pay with cash.” WTF???!!!  A deposit on CASH???!!!  You heard it here, people.  When I asked her why, she said it was because they didn’t have my credit card on file.  No kidding.  Sure enough, the next morning when I was checking out, she said to wait while she checked my room – I guess to make sure this 63-year-old woman didn’t trash it with wild parties – then gave me my $60 deposit back.  Amazing…  As I was checking out, the girl and I talked.  She shared that she had never taken a trip alone and thought it sounded fun.  She also said she had never eaten a meal alone except at home.  Wow.  I told her to try it sometimes.  Each bite tastes different when you are not distracted by conversation with someone.  You get to watch what is going on around you as well.  If it’s somewhere I go often, I take my kindle to read, but mostly, I try to just experience the food and the surroundings and the people interacting.  I’ve gotten to do this around the world, and am now doing it in different parts of my state.  Very cool.

Spent the day visiting my old base and an aquarium.  Walked the beach in the sunshine this time.   For lunch, I ate at a popular restaurant called Landry’s, right on the gulf.  I love seafood and Landry’s is a part of a large family of restaurants like Saltgrass and many others across the nation.  The greeter, Jasmine, was very personable.  My assigned waiter, who was so NOT personable that I don’t even remember is name, was the worst part of the meal.  I knew I wanted a seafood platter.  However, the shrimp came stuffed with some kind of seafood stuffing.  I don’t want stuffing in my seafood – kind of overpowers the shrimp ya’ know?  He looked down at me like I was a heathen!  Too bad, I thought.  I’m the customer, do it MY way numb nuts.  Then, he brought the salad with the blue cheese dressing on the side.  BTW – I did seem to pass some test when I ordered blue cheese dressing instead of ranch.  Hmmm.  Of course, there wasn’t near enough of it in that tiny little shot glass-sized cup of it.  Now, about salads.  Remember when they came without all those pieces of cores in them?  Those bitter chunks you cut out at home and throw away or give to your rabbit?  The ones that show up in bagged salads now and you have to pick out before you eat it?  Yep, I picked out 8 of them in the bowl of salad he brought.  When he returned to take the salad away, I pointed them out and he said “uh huh” and started to leave and I asked if he heard me.  He said he did.  And. Kept. Walking.  No concern whatsoever.  He was WAY too concerned with the larger party behind me that obviously going to provide him a larger tip than a single somewhat elder lady.  Believe me, I made sure he got what he deserved.  I also intend to let Landry’s know about the salad problem.

Started back home.  Stopped for the night in a different town and stayed in a much nicer hotel called American Inn and Suites.  A nice attendant named Mingo made my stay very pleasant.  The room was only $65, and Mingo had a good laugh at my story about the deposit on cash I had to pay at the other place.  Had a delicious meal at a Red Lobster, and a sweet lady named Mindy provided excellent service!

Well, there you are.  My two days of travel just before Christmas.  I saw some things, learned, did, came home and am settled in with my tiny family and two dogs.  I sincerely hope your Christmas is whatever you want it to be – nothing more and nothing less.  Peace be in your Spirit until we talk again.

Phrases That Amuse Me

 

Phrases that Amuse Me

 

More than happy.  “I’d be more than happy to help.”  Hmm.  I don’t know what “more than happy” looks like, but I can hardly wait to see it!  Does she twirl and giggle?  Does his eyes roll back in his head in rapture?  Wow.

Down the tubes.  “He’ going down the tubes.”  What tubes?!  Where are they?  I don’t want to go down ‘em!  Where do they go to?  Is he alright?  Should we pull him out?

Boy, she got his goat that time!  She did?  I didn’t know he had a goat.  How many does he have?  Where does he keep ‘em?

I’m just killing time until my  next appointment.   Holy S___!  I didn’t know you kill Time!   If you do that, does that mean we won’t get any older?  Does that mean I won’t have to pay my next car payment?

I’m so mad I can’t see straight!  Wow.  So, does that mean you’re seeing crooked?  What does THAT look like?

     I was scared to death!  Man, you look pretty good for a Zombie!  Where’d they bury you – I’ll put flowers on your grave.

      I laughed my ass off!  Really?  Let me see?  Oh, you glued it back on.  Shoot, I wanted to see what you looked like without that big ol’ ass of yours.

     I got a bone to pick with you.  See, I saved it from our fried chicken dinner last night.  No, not the wish bone, it hasn’t got any meat on it.  I got the thigh bone, man.  Lot of meat to pick off.

     Don’t look now, but…  Of course they’re going to look now…!

     She can run circles around the other writers on her team.  Doesn’t she get dizzy?  Don’t THEY get dizzy?  Isn’t it a waste of time for her to do that?

     Time is on my side.  Why is time on YOUR side?  Why isn’t it on MY side?  Who made you the time keeper?

     She’s a force of nature.  OMG!  What force is she?  A tornado?  Flood?  Hurricane?  Fire?  What if I don’t want her force?

     He fell for her – hard!  Oh no!  Did he fall down the stairs?  Off a cliff?  Did he break anything?  Is he alright?  Did she help him up?

Dead as a doornail.  Yep, that’s pretty dead alrighty alrighty.

And my all time favorite:

The door is ajar.  No, the door is a door.  The door is NOT a jar.

 

Hope you had some good laughs.  It’s good for the Spirit.

Disease, Illness & Other Character Defects

Disease, Illness and Other Character Defects

 

What?  You don’t agree that a disease is a character defect?  How about, say, an addictive gambler?  Or a sex addict?  Perhaps a compulsive overeater?  Now, I don’t mean those folks who can do those activities once or twice and leave them alone.  I mean those individuals who do them to the point of losing everything – family, jobs, health, etc.  We already know about the alcoholics and drug addicts.  We probably accept those as diseases.  Probably.  Maybe.  At least in public.  Lurking inside though, do we really believe it or do we secretly harbor the thought that they are truly just defective characters who could do better if they just wanted to?

If we think about it, we ALL have an addictive something or other in ourselves, however.  That one thing we MUST do/have in our lives.  Maybe we overeat, even hide food.  We have it in our car, desk, bedroom.  Perhaps it’s money.  We revel in the fact we have credit cards of all types.  Cash in our pockets at all times to buy what we want whenever we want.    Or clothes.  LOTS of clothes.  The latest and best.  Or cars – the newest every year.  Or a good-looking body that we are proud to show off, working out all the time, going to the gym or salon to make look better than our friends.  Or a social life to be proud of.  Or a life of philanthropy (look it up if you don’t know what that means) that we are proud to get awards for.  We work ourselves to exhaustion and to the point of nearly – often succeeding – losing family and finances – to keep these addictions of ours fed.  Are these any different than the ones listed in the first paragraph?  Do Ponzi schemes ring any bells?  People who defraud their own friends to keep their addiction to these lifestyles going?

No, I think it might be more than just a character defect, folks.  I believe addiction to something, whether a drug or a behavior, is a DISEASE, and needs to be treated as such.  If you have one to any of these – or one I missed listing – reach out.  To me, to a trusted friend who might understand, to a pastor, a physician.  But reach out.  There are 12-step programs for pretty much all of these.  The freedom and peace are awesome.  Trust me – I am one of them.

Now, illness as a character defect.  GRIN!  You know what’s coming!  We all know the ones – they whine about every little ache and pain.  The give you a litany of their latest doctor’s visit, treatment, medication changes.  On and on and on.  You cross the street to miss them.  When they call, you put the phone down and just occasionally say, “Oh really?” while they drone on.  And on.  And on.  Yeah, I have one of those too.

For people like this, the character defect isn’t the illness, it is that they let the illness become everything.  Without it, they have no identity, no purpose.  They use it to manipulate their world, their family, their friends, their doctors, their environment, even themselves.  If they were suddenly completely healthy, they would be completely at a loss for a very long time about their lives.  It is who they are, for now.

That is physical illness.  There are other illnesses that are more difficult for us human beings to accept.  Mental retardation for instance.  I know, I know.  We aren’t supposed to use that word anymore.  But it is a true description of people whose brain is less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one’s age.  Check your dictionary.  It took on negative connotations several years ago, but so did the word ‘gay.’  Is it a character defect?  Most will automatically say no.  You might definitely say it is a problem with the brain, brush your hands off, and are done with it.  I agree, so enough said.

Then there is a very sensitive area called mental illness.  Oh no, you say.  Oh yes say I.  This one is very, very controversial.  Schizophrenia, Depression.  Suicidal behaviors.  PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).  Anxiety Disorder.  Agoraphobia.  Mass Murderers.  Serial Killers.  Child Molesters.  Self-Mutilators.  Narcissism.  The list is long and varied.  Are these character defects?  Or true illnesses?  Political correctness demands that we say they are illnesses.  We would agree with that on some of those like schizophrenia.  But child molesters?  This would be a mental illness called pedophilia.  Mass murderers and serial killers are sometimes diagnosed as schizophrenic and addicts combined.  Abusers are often diagnosed Narcissistic.  Mentally ill.  Or character defects?  I personally believe it’s an illness.  MRIs of the brains of such people are very, very different that those who do not have these illnesses.  In addition, I cannot imagine ‘healthy’ human beings doing these things by choice.  SOMETHING isn’t working correctly in their brains, and studies have already shown that the use of the right medications make their illness manageable.  So, no, not a character defect.  An illness.  Once again, if you are one of these, reach out and get what you need to behave in a healthy way.  If you have someone in your life that needs this help, get it for them.  Contact me or someone you trust.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I have turned in my own son when he became dangerous, because I didn’t want to be the mom of the man who became the headlines.

Sheesh – this blog became WAY too heavy!  But, it needed saying so, as a famous man once said from his cross, “It is done.”

Until next time.

 

The Circle of Life?

The Circle of Life!

(Cue the music from Lion King)

 

     Disasters everywhere!  Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, global warming!  WTF???  Have we completely ruined our Mother Earth and she is shaking us off like a dog shakes off fleas??!!

Well, that part IS possible.  However, part of it is a natural process that has gone on for millions of years according to scientists.  Sure, it’s to have million-dollar homes burned in California.  Earthquakes hurt people who are stupid enough to build right on faults, knowing they are doing it – true gamblers if there ever were some.  And oh, those residents in paradise areas that must put up with such tedious hurricanes.  But my heart really goes out to anyone of you who decides to reside in ‘tornado alley.’  What a nightmare you all chose – literally.  I was stationed there for 3 years in the military and it was horrible!  Sirens in the middle of the night, diving for the storm closet, scared out of your skin under a mattress!

This was especially troublesome when I was pregnant with two small children.  And had to pee.

Back to the circle of life thing.  All of these things we call disasters have been happening since earth’s creation.  Think about our own bodies.  We slough off old skin to grow new and even bathe and scrub to move that along and so does the earth – in the form of wildfires and floods.  We stretch and creak and jump around and have bowel movement and pass gas to feel better, more rejuvenated and so does the earth – thus we have earthquakes and volcano eruptions!  Sometimes we have temper tantrums or rages or crying jags to cleanse our emotions and our bodies of negative chemicals that have built up – as does Mother Earth – and she has tornadoes and hurricanes.

Our earth must cleanse and rejuvenate to continue to be healthy, just like any other living thing.  Animals and plant life must all obey that same cycle or it will stagnate.  This has always been so.  These are not new events.  They are not inconveniences that have been suddenly created by man’s destructive presence, although our current increased pace of negative impact has sped things up a bit.  No, these cycles of higher numbers of disasters in a short span of time have happened multiple times in Earth’s long history.  I am not into spitting out those statistics because it bores me.  Look it up, because I don’t spoon-feed adults who can do it for themselves (I already did).

Although we can blame a lot of the world’s problems on our governments, this isn’t one of them because it is too big an inconvenience for them too!  (giggle)  Messes with them big time – screws up their budget, makes them look incompetent, takes them away from their posh surroundings to go visit the disaster areas and look sorry and lie about how they are going to help, yada yada yada.

Speaking of the government’s role in disasters, it ticks me off that everyone expects the government to bail them out when they’ve been ‘inconvenienced by a disaster.  Especially when they are in an area where they KNOW one is likely to happen.  Face it, if you live near an ocean, you are going to eventually be affected by a hurricane somehow.  If you live near any body of water anywhere in the world, you are going to affected by flooding.  If you live near a fault line anywhere in the world, you will someday be affected by earthquake activity.  If you live in tornado alley, you will someday be affected by a tornado.  If you live in areas that are currently at risk for wildfires, be prepared to be affected by wildfires.

Don’t wait for it to happen to get yourselves protected by insurance or to secure your valuables and important things.  If things begin to even LOOK dicey, get your things out early.  I don’t want to see you the news later sobbing that, “I’ve lost everything, even my family’s photos!  We didn’t have insurance!”  If you had money to go out to eat or to movies or to smoke or whatever, you had enough for insurance.  You need to prioritize, especially if you choose to live in one of these potential disaster areas.  As for me?  I choose not to live in one of them, and I have insurance anyway.

About that dog shaking off its fleas?  That may happen one day if we keep mistreating Mother Earth.  But the natural disasters cleansing the earth right now, it’s probably further away than you think.  Um – unless Korea blows us away.  GRIN!

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

Recently, I found 60 lost people.  Their ages ranged from newborn to 88.  They were all in a remote section of piney woods, quite a ways off the beaten path and had no food, water, or electricity.

The only good thing about their situation is that they didn’t need food, water or electricity.  You see, they didn’t these things because they were all buried in a cemetery in the middle of nowhere.  Off of a small two-land state road, one takes a bumpy black-topped county road.  Off of that is an overgrown trail that you would miss unless, like me, you look for these things and wonder where they go.  I like to see where trails and small roads go and, when I have a little time on my hands, I venture down one.  I figured this one led to a hunting camp.  As I slowly crawled along, I saw a power line clearing, and a meadow or two.  Then there was an abandoned utility company mobile office, almost totally covered with vines and small trees.  Where the “trail” ended, I moved forward enough to turn around, and THERE IT WAS.

Perfectly enclosed by a chain-link fence, was about a quarter-acre cemetery.  No name is erected for this solemn place, no chains on the gate.  The oldest marker is for a doctor; his is a Woodsmen of the World statue and he died in 1919.  The last burial was in 2016 and his only marker is the little foil and plastic name tag the funeral home sticks in the ground when they drop the casket in.  He had barely been covered and the gravel/dirt mixture was caved in so badly that the casket was nearly showing.

As for the other 58 graves, the plastic flowers were so faded you could no longer determine the original colors.  Small trees grew out of some of the resting places of others.  The saddest one of all was a handmade piece of concrete shaped in an oval that had the simple word “baby” scratched into it.  There were 6 veterans there:  2 from WW II, 2 from the Korean war, and 2 from the Viet Nam war.  One of them from the Korean war was only 20 years old and died in Korea, literally shot to pieces in Korea.  He was a local boy.  No one else in his family is buried there.

Someone seems to come every few weeks to mow, but not do any trimming.  No one changes the flowers, obviously.  Or keeps the living bushes trimmed.  Although some of the head stones proudly list several children, it is apparent they do not come visit.  Many of those markers are very expensive, in different colors of marble.  The caskets inside must also reflect the same high dollar show of “love.”  Probably the clothing and jewelry the residents inside are wearing reflect the same values.

For the most part, these burials occurred in the last 30 years.  Where are their people?  A great deal of money went into seeing these folks off in the manner that is considered appropriate nowadays.  So why doesn’t anyone come visit?  Change the flowers on holidays or something?  Put little flags on the veterans’ graves?  I, for one, will take care of that one, and have cleaned theirs.  The one that was caving in has been filled and leveled.  I am searching for family for some of the veterans to at least get permission to care for them.

My point in all this?  You’ve read my opinions on green burials.  This lost cemetery is a solid example of why.  There are 60 bodies pumped full of embalming fluid, laid out in steel caskets, taking up prime ground that can be used for someone that has nothing, and no one cares to come visit them anyway.  The money wasted to put them there could have done something worthy for their rural community (probably tens of thousands of dollars over all).  And no one comes to visit.  Why not a swing in a park?  Or a water fountain in city hall?  Or a tree downtown?  (With plaques of course with their name on it.)  Not a grave in the middle of nowhere.  That no one comes to visit.  That will slowly poison its environment.