The Imaginary Book
Gimme some love
Warning Will Robinson!
Feel free to post comments, rants, or even personal attacks. It simply shows your wish for taunting if you do the latter.
You can say anything you want here. But if you get stupid I reserve the right to point it out, call you lots of inventive names and laugh like hell.
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Blogs I Like
Note: "right" either means this blogger is correct or that they lean right. I know what I mean by it. How do you take it?
- RG in The Low Country!(Right)
- Mackers World(Right)
- Ric and Georgina at Release The Hounds!(Right)
- RN at Dead Republican Presidents!
- Kat, sometimes in pajamas!
- Madtom at ThisFuckingWar! (Right)
- Michael J. Totten sets things straight!(Right)
- Maxedoutmama is a research Goddess!(Right)
- Andrightlyso! smacks on idiots!(Right)
- Where's Your Brain?(Right)
- Warm'n'fuzzy conserva-puppies>(Right)
- Crymeariverbend2 has a gnarly truth stick!(Right)
- Jeffrey at IBC is HQ for Iraqi bloggings(Right)
- The Sandmonkey cuts through the APU!(Right)
- The Lone Ranger
A Man of Rare Integrity! (Right)
- Out of the Ashes(Right)
- Tazmedic(Right) (Read the archives!)
- Amandarin(Right) (A clever friend from the other side of the street)
- Literal Lunacy
A Most Beloved Friend!
The Other Side Of The Street
(for NY Libs)
The name say it all
See? I told you I had a liberal friend!!!
Dear Kos Kids,
You folks seem to be under the impression that conservatives hate everyone who isn't a rich white guy or his subservient wife. You think we hate gays, black people, brown people, yellow people, poor people, muslim people, buddhist people, yaddita yaddita yaddita and the list goes on. You couldn't be more wrong.
What we hate is an ideology that wants more government control. What we hate are people who believe it's absolutely ok for government to force a social conscience on us by law while yelling about some bogey man priest who wants to put a moral conscience on you by law. The fact that your hypocrisy knows no bounds also annoys us so I guess we hate your hypocrisy too. What we hate is the idea that government is going to run our lives and that we must seek their approval and permission to do virtually anything but create a child we are then free to murder before it's born. We hate the idea you hold that we are not capable of providing for ourselves and must have government watching over our shoulder constantly. We hate the idea of our hard earned money being confiscated by threat of imprisonment or worse only to watch it being handed over to those whose only qualifications for receiving it is that they have failed to provide for themselves and their families.
We hate the idea of being forced to join a union who then spends our dues money taken from us by force on politicians we wouldn't even piss on if they were aflame. We hate the fact that your racism is seen as kindness, while our realism is seen as racism. We hate that you're so blindingly ignorant, stupid and obtuse that you believe "diversity" is a good thing, never realizing that diversity only means different, not better or worse. We hate your unrealistic view of the world, seeking a false equality based on nothing more than existence without merit. We hate that no matter how many times we calmly explain the precepts of Natural Law, Liberty and Free Market Capitalism you're only retort is "Oh yeah? You're a racist/bigot/hateful/misogynist."
We hate the fact that you always take humanity out of the equation when discussing civilization, and constantly attempt to take away our rights of self defense. We hate that you wish upon all of us a system devoid of reward for merit. We hate your support of race baiters who bring nothing but trouble and divisiveness. We hate your misogyny and we hate how you see the world through the lens of race, class and sexual orientation. We hate that you cannot grasp that if you do not, yourself, possess a right you cannot give that right to the government. But we hate, most of all, your hate of us, Liberty, Natural Law and Free Market Capitalism.
But enough about hate. Let's talk about what we love.
We love the idea that a man (or woman, I know how you love to latch onto one little point and beat it like a red headed stepchild, so let's be clear on that point) living in Liberty and making decisions based upon their desires and accepting personal responsibility for themselves, and dealing with the rewards or consequences of those decisions can better not only their life, but that of their family, friends and community. We love the idea of personal choice, of being able to decide who we should assist with the fruits of our labors, if anyone. A great many of us are Christians. Not the gay bashing sort of westboro, but loving kind people who believe it is our PERSONAL DUTY to act charitably. We love being charitable. Let me say that again. WE love being charitable. We don't believe what the government does is charity. We know it is theft.
We love the idea that a man can take the fruits of his labor, create a business and offer a superior product or service and become wealthy, thus allowing him to live without the worries of being able to provide for those he loves. We also love being able to provide for those we love. We love not being dependent upon a government check or program. We love succeeding on our own merit and abilities, without having some program give us something we haven't earned based upon the color of our skin, where we were born or who we love. We love the idea of true equality, where each have what they have earned, not what was stolen for them in the name of compassion. We love compassion. We love the idea of allowing people to earn their own way, reaping rewards or suffering consequences for their choices, thus teaching down through the generations the better choices which lead to success instead of the worse choices which lead to failure.
We love the idea of Liberty. We love it so much, and think it's such a neato keen concept that we want all of us to live in a society that affords everyone the absolute greatest amount of Liberty possible, even the gay people, black people, brown people etc. etc. etc. We love the idea of people being religious or not, as they see fit, as long as their religion doesn't force us to act or not act as we see fit. We love the fact that we live in a country which allegedly gives us the right to keep and bear arms, because we love personal responsibility and we love the fact that everyone has the natural right under natural law to defend their life and property from those who would steal them from us. We love the idea that we were born with certain inalienable rights, and they cannot be taken from us unless we allow it to happen.
So on that note know this. Your ideals of an all powerful, all intrusive and all controlling government is something else we hate, because it goes against all we love. Your ideals which we hate so deeply will not win out against us and our ideals we love so dearly. Because evil never wins. And what you advocate is evil. It is the idea of dragging down the successful who have earned it in a vain attempt to raise up those who have not, and that never works because simply spreading around the wealth will never teach those who fail how to succeed. The best teacher for that is failure. I know, I know, that sounds like it makes no sense but if you think about it not only does it make sense but it's exactly what all living things have been doing throughout the entire history of existence. The creatures that learned how to care for themselves and survive are still here, those that did not, aren't.
So keep pushing your evil ideology of failure and theft. It's been said the Tree of Liberty must occasionally be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants alike, and us patriots have had just about enough of your tyrannical ways and that tree is looking a mite thirsty.
Sincerely, Kender MacGowan
I have been thinking a lot about John Derbyshire's Taki column that got him booted from National Review. I've also been having some conversations on the column and race in America, both in person and via the Internet. In this time when screaming "racism" at every turn as a means to stifle one's opponent has become commonplace, my rule of thumb is to demand that the accusers "Show Me The Racism."
I defy anyone to show me the racism in Derbyshire's column, or even a single lie or an instance of where he was dead wrong. The fact that the left threw Derbyshire under the bus is to be expected. The fact that the right did it so easily is a terrifying reality of life in America today, as it proves you are not allowed to point out uncomfortable truths. The right's willingness to look no further than the tone and accept the charge of Derbyshire's racism is proof positive that no matter the talk on the right about seeking the truth when it comes to being called names, and wrongly being called those names, those on the right are just as weak willed as always.
Of course, no discussion on racism in America would be complete without asking why the left is so ready to yell racism and shut down the dialogue. The short answer is the left has a vested interest in identity politics, of playing groups against each other and keeping Blacks on the modern plantation of welfare, food stamps and government housing. It equals control and virtually guarantees votes for the side promising to punish the rich and give to the poor.
You will notice we hear the left scream "KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER" when it comes to immigration, but the same hue and cry is singularly absent from the welfare system, where it is exceedingly hard for someone to get welfare if dad is present. Let the father leave, however, and the deadbeat dad laws kick in with program after program to help the single mother and her offspring while the state does everything in its power, up to and including taking away the father’s ability to make a living, to punish the man for leaving and not supporting those children. The schism in chasing the father away so the kids may have a roof and food is fodder for another whole series of columns, and I digress.
The racism one sees in America is not from the right in some column on a website whose very description reads:
We at Taki’s Magazine take our politics like we take life—lightly. We believe political labels such as conservative and liberal are as outdated as flared trousers and Nazis. Ideology is a false god, a secular religion that seeks vainly to create a paradise on Earth. Our only ideology is to be against the junk culture foisted upon us and mirages of a new world order. Think of us what you will, but read us. Our writers are never boring.
It is seen from the left, who push identity politics, dividing groups by various demographics, promising to punish those who have in order to reward those who don't, and shutting down the dialogue for fear of the exposure which would surely have those most harmed by their policies running from them in droves. The left's position on race is one of "you're not as capable, so somebody owes you," and THAT is racism defined.
So far nobody has been able to show me definitive proof of racism in Derbyshire's column outside of Derbyshire's own admittance to being a racist, albeit a mild and tolerant racist. So even though the words came from a self-proclaimed mild and tolerant racist, there was nothing wrong in his column: no lies, half-truths, fabrications or indeed anything outside of facts. In case it escapes you--and no matter what the left claims--facts are simply facts and cannot be racist.
Derbyshire's column, instead of getting him fired and blackballed, should have opened up a dialogue on the underlying causes of those higher crime rates and lower test scores. Until we can leave the knee-jerk rhetoric behind and stop yelling "RACIST" at anyone who speaks to these issues, we will never be able to have an honest discussion on the subject and that is the saddest truth to come from this whole debacle.
Amazon (paperback and Kindle
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You can also search iTunes for "Kender MacGowan" (I don't have iTunes so I can't get the link) and if you have a favorite online retailer that doesn't carry them email me here with the site info and I will try to get on that site.
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Plus it's on the apple store and all those sites for books on your phones and all....Smashwords has it in just about every ebook format. My twitter is @kender1 and here's facebook:
Kender on Facebook
Thanks for stopping by.....
There's a lot of insanity in the world today, but I have heard of little as insane as a story I heard today. There's a woman living hand to mouth at the age of 43, barely able to scrape along financially, with a man who is a little older than her, missing most of his teeth and with a 4th grade education. This man is racist, barely able to read, and scrapes along at what ever labor jobs he can find.
At one time she showed real promise, was successful and owned a nice house and lived a life of relative ease and comfort. Sure, she smoked quite a bit of weed, but that, she claimed, was to balance out her bi-polar disorder and beat back her anxiety. For him it's always been the same story since he was a child, doing whatever he could to survive, conning people, working at what he could manage to get, but always just struggling along, always waiting for the next big score.
She was raised in a liberal household, and lived her life as the quintessential liberal, hedonistic, always living for today with a belief system mostly based in feelings. She comes form a good family, full of successful people, a family of people who choose their mates wisely, seeking out those with similar education and goals to further the lives they have each built in their quest for the American Dream. Even given all of this she had a void in her heart. She felt something was missing.
He was raised in a trailer park, beaten as a child, on his own at a young age when his single mother threw him out into the world. He learned on the streets to each his own and if he could take it, it was his own. He learned to trust nobody but himself, and barely able to read, he learned to be crafty, manipulative, wily. On his own, without family that would care for him, he spent his life doing what he could to make his way, and no matter what he tried the shyster ways he couldn't escape would always lead him to do something to bring his world crashing down around his head.
They hooked up in a moment when she was weak and lonely, which is always the way of the liberal, as they have nothing greater than themselves to believe in, and he quickly manipulated his way into her life completely. Even though she realized he wasn't right for her, and made attempts to leave him, he always manipulated her into staying through fear and pity, so she stayed with him. Partially because of his manipulation, partly in fear that, at her age, he might be her last shot to fill the void she had in her heart. What she thought the void was from is not, in fact, what caused the void. What causes the void is a life led with only her immediate needs considered, and never considering what she was building, what life she was leading, what value she contributed to society.
Instead of leading a life worth living, instead of building up a life of worth and value first, she meandered along, and at the age of 43 thinks she found the thing to fill the void, but instead she has simply brought more suffering and want into her life, and taken a path which virtually assures she will live hand to mouth for years, causing others to suffer from her selfishness, weakness and neediness, including the one person on the planet who is supposed to count on her to give her a life of value.
For you see, these two have brought a child into the world. I feel sorry for that kid. Forty three years old with a newborn, money almost non-existent, prospects the same. She'll be raised in the feast or famine style the man can provide, with a woman unsuited to be a mother, who only wanted a child so late to try to fill the void in her soul.
The void in your soul cannot be filled from without, only from within, and the saddest part of this story is now there's an innocent child, brought into the world to a mentally unstable woman and a mentally stunted man, and she will be raised up in this dysfunctional way, someday to be unleashed upon some poor, unsuspecting man to carry on the hollow, pathetic ways which are the only way she'll ever know, ever see, ever live.
Will be the hue and cry from e'ery leftist lip
They could not wait for election day
To enact their evil cheating way
Voter fraud The dish of the day
As liberty has faltered
They take up The battle cry
As supplications to God fly
Good patriots will walk the line
As liberty does falter
The cards are stacked against us lads
The battle's been foretold
We will see, with Gods pure grace
Many enemy dead and cold
And liberty wont falter
Within our breast pounds freedoms beat
Stronger than the demons heat
Ahead lie glorious timeless feats
As Liberty cannot falter
Never doubt your destiny
Nameless even tho you be
As the one to save our liberty
For Freedom shall not falter
Strike up the band, your courage beats
Within your hearts existence free
For those who fear us surely flee
Against the onslaught of Liberty
As they know we will not falter
Raise up the flag, the stars and stripes
Old Glory and the cross
We're here to wrest our Liberty
From those to whom life is dross
Any price we'll gladly pay
Any hardship night or day
The outcome's certain just one way
As Liberty won't falter
Scream your hatred, steal the vote
Upon a darkened wall is wrote
When freedom with a snarl woke
LIBERTY DID NOT FALTER
The battle was bloody and many died
Brought on by years of deceptions and lies
And in many graves brave men do lie
BUT LIBERTY DID NOT FALTER
And when we buried our honored dead
Built cairns on hallowed ground
Sometimes at night across the tombs
Came a hollow haunting sound
Bemoaning in the whispered breeze
Across the marker stones
Was one sure phrase to chill the spine
You never fought alone
We had your backs true patriots
From japan out to Gibraltar
Your served us well as soldiers should
So Freedom Didn't Falter.
I'm an American
I bleed Red, White and Blue
It don't matter if my skin is black, white, yellow or brown
You think you know me?
I'm an American
I don't need your welfare
I can do it on my own like my forefathers
You think YOU know ME?
I'm an American
I am generous to my friends, and death to my enemies
YOU think YOU know ME???
I am an AMERICAN
Born in the fires of Revolution, I eat tyranny and bring Liberty
You THINK you know me...
I am an American
Your best friend, your worst enemy
You think I'm weak?
You think I'm done?
You think I've lost?
You think you've won?
Then you DON'T know me...
I AM AN AMERICAN!!!
Oh penny dear penny
what have you done
A life full of lies
most spent on the run
Stealing buildings and stuff
from a hero of war
Leaving us all to wonder
what the hell you're good for
Spreading lies of debauchery,
your mouth full of deceit
When the truth comes a-callin'
you'd best be fast on your feet
Cuz you can't hide from the law,
a long arm justice has
You're a cheap lying whore
who's all ass and no class
Why? Several reasons. California has a large Hispanic population, and frankly the GOP cannot win without their support. Al Ramirez brings the support of the Hispanic community. The GOP, as has been pointed out ad nauseum, must also appeal to voters under 50. Al Ramirez is under 50 and will appeal to the demographic. Even though he is under 50 Al Ramirez is just the kind of American Success story the California Republican Party (CRP) should be backing in this race. But more about Al Ramirez and his success story later. The final thing the GOP need to do well here in California is to win in Los Angeles County.
That's a hard thing to do, for several reasons. The county is largely Hispanic for one thing, and Hispanics tend, for some reason, to vote democrat when the vote is for a person and conservative when the vote is for an issue. Witness the last election. Even though democrats stormed Sacramento handily, the propositions on the ballot went heavily in favor of the conservative wishes. The Hispanic vote had a lot to do with that, just like it had a lot to do with Prop. 8 a couple of years back.
As I said earlier, Al Ramirez is the American Success Story. Frank DeMartini over at RedState has worked with Mr. Ramirez and has a great article on this as well here and you can read more about the accomplishments of Al Ramirez here.
Al Ramirez brings is the right person at the right time in the right place. I for one would like to see the CRP throw their weight behind him so we can take back the 36th District and turn this state around.
Follow Al Ramirez on twitter and facebook.
But today wasn't just any day
He showered and shaved with shaky old hands
And went to the bed where it lay
A uniform worn by the passage of years
Slightly faded, lay in all its glory
The ribbons upon it were starting to fade
But to him it told quite a story
He was a kid in June '44
Storming a beach head in france
When the fighting was done he put down his gun
While a french girl taught him to dance
A few short years later he fought in the snow
And become one of the Chosin Few
He thinks on those days when the weather is cold
And winter is breaking anew
He fought them in Nam as the monsoons poured down
While the media at home slurred his name
Never doubting his mission he had no regrets
He retired without any shame
Today he will ride down the main street of town
As the folks on the sidewalk all cheer
Tomorrow they'll not recognize him at all
It happens like this every year
But he doesn't care he knows what he did
In all of those far away lands
And he smiles as he buttons his uniform up
With his heroic, shaky old hands
I can still feel the wet football in my hands as the rain poured down and I hiked the ball to C.B. Blocking Chris McPhee to keep him off of C.B. as my little brother ran a slant pattern, outrunning chris's little brother kenneth to catch the ball and head for the endzone, which was actually anything beyond the white concrete gutter that ran across our road. I could feel the lateness of the afternoon, knowing we could play until the street lights came on, and life seemed content, our jobs of being children were secured, for now.
Then we grew up. Now I have a son of my own, his life very unlike mine. Always in constant contact with authority figures via his cell phone. His days planned out sometimes, with play dates and errands to be run with his mother. His childhood less of a child hood and more of a controlled schedule, much like a celebrity or political figure of some importance. Our children now are too valauble to be left to their own devices I guess. Or are we too fearful of our lack of parenting skills, the same lack of parenting skills our parents were sure they lacked, to let our precious snowflakes live a life of their choosing, hoping that between their natural intelligence and and those few skills we have imparted and the warnings we have given them over their few short years that they can make decent enough decisions to survive on their own without us hovering overhead, constantly getting updates as to where they are, who they're with and what time will they be back and do they need a ride?
Why have we become so fearful of our world, so unsure of our kids abilities to make good choices that we simply feel we aren't being a good parent unless we are there to stop them from making a mistake?
Mistakes are how we learn. We learned how to build ramps to jump bikes by learning which design worked and which didn't and yes, sometimes we got hurt. But nobody sued. We learned how to climb trees by climbing trees, and yes sometimes we got hurt, but nobody sued. We learned how to settle our differences, sometimes by fighting, and yes sometimes we got hurt, but nobody sued.
We learned a lot growing up. By dealing with each other and learning the skills which help you get along in the rel world. We learned the art of compromise, and when that failed we learned the art of persuasion. When that failed we learned the last resort was fighting. But always, after the fight, friends made up, agreements were reached and we moved on as friends once again.
How I long for those halcyon days of youth, unfettered by workaday concerns to be passed along to my son. So he would know a childhood unencumbered by such worldy issues as border security, taxes, islam. Instead he is indoctrinated in PCBS, multicultural claptrap and taught untruths and slanted lies. His chil;dhood is being stolen from him by an ideology (or is it idiotology?) that states critical thinking is a hate crime, all cultures are equal and making judgments against anyone other than "rich white men" will not be tolerated.
The carefree days of my youth are long gone, replaced with the sure knowledge that those in power are usurping our children, indoctrinating them into this new world order think, against the wishes of the vast hordes of American Patriots who understand it was not thievery or imperialism that got us here but unfettered liberty. That free men working to better their own lives will raise up the community. That all boats rise together.
I fear someday one of those memories about his youth will manifest in my sons head when the weather changes just for a moment, transporting him back to cherished memories and I wonder what he will feel in that millisecond.
Will it bring a smile to his face? Or will the fear mongering indoctrination of lurking disaster and class warfare bring a worried frown to his forehead as he digests those memories and what they meant to him then, and what they mean now?
My memories of then were pure childhood bliss. In context of years gone by that's how they should have been, and our children today know less of the freedom of being a child running free in a reasonably safe world because we know more of the dangers of living in a world full of dangers. Those dangers were always there, but we were trusted to not go with strangers, not to commit crimes and to be a good kid. It didnt always work out, because youth is for learning boundries. Childrens boundries today are too confining, and they learn precious little of the skills which would let them grow into functioning adults capable of muddling their way through life.
We do our children a disservice by clinging so tightly. We are creating a generation of offspring who are incapable of making good decisions or following a moral path simply because it is the right thing to do. They are told "do whatever feels good" and when things fall apart they are told "it's not your fault."
We are failing our children by refusing to stand against those who push this claptrap. Confront them and their only argument is "you're racist/hateful/ignorant/hate children" and a whole host of other labels those who cannot think logically attempt to place on those of us who realize life is a dangerous place, nobody gets out alive and sometimes bad luck happens.
Let the chips fall where they may. Let the consequences be meted out in justice. Let those who can succeed, succeed and let those who fail, fail. It is the way of life.
Down the other path is assured ruin as the formerly free citizens of this great country become nothing more than animals in a zoo, unable to fend for themselves and dependent on their masters in D.C.
As for me my kid can stay out until the street lights come on, climb trees, build forts and crash his bike on a ramp which proved to be structurally unsound, for only then will he learn
Liberty will always trump well meaning servitude. Liberty leads to greatness and freedom unhinged and success for those who produce. Well meaning servitude leads to despair, destruction and dependency on a hand that might not always be so benevolent.
So which for you?
I know my choice, and am willing to fight for it. Are those so enamored with servitude willing, or even capable, of fighting for their beliefs?
I'd wager they aren't.
Built in grandeur in the days of yore
Once a stately manse of wealth
It's been beaten by the harsh sea shore
Once it shone as such a treasure
Time has torn the shine away
Now the treasure of the cottage
Sits safely in the walls these days
For within those tattered walls
So badly in need of painters aid
Sit rocking slowly, two old lovers
Their debt to men and God full paid
They raised good children, saved the country
Paid their taxes and their dues
She sits knitting in her rocker
He sits painting his own muse
They steal glances and caresses
Sweet nothings flit between their lips
His knee aches from cold in winter
She has trouble with her hips
Time is chasing these old lovers
Aches and pains they constant bear
She brings him coffee every morning
Every night he'd brush her hair
The kids come round at Christmas time
To offer seasons greeting up
In memory of long lost friends
A toast they offer in a cup
To better times when health we had
When clothing fit us like a glove
When Easter offered our salvation
And all we needed was our love
Someday soon the pair will pass
And in some, memories will fade
But God will not forget this couple
Nor the cottage of love they made
Love is timeless, manifested
In art, or cottages or lives
Few know love makes God smile
And causes angels wistful sighs
Love cures all, and love is power
Love can make you truly see
Even if it's only living
In an old worn cottage by the sea
I hope so.
If the powers that be in D.C. have forgotten who owns and runs this country (which seems to be the case) perhaps some pols swinging from lampposts or dragged through the streets behind pickup trucks might serve to remind them. They refuse to listen to us, overstep their Constitutional bounds at will and now have become so brazen that even stealing the private accounts of the citizenry is not outside of their consideration.
Hopefully something so brazen and illegal will cause those who still support them to stand up and finally join the ranks of those who have said "enough."
As for me I only have one thing to say. Keep your powder dry.
in the edges of my mind
I want to scream
the vile lies you glibly spouted,
crocodile tears falling
from your quivering
you, the heartless harpy
of the trailer park
genetically destined to
it's in your injun blood
your hedonistic blackened heart
will lead you places
which make that blackened heart
glow in shame
exposing the shallow life you lead
drop a stone down your bottomless heart
so you can hear the echoes
and the missing notes
of emotional connections
your hollow heart
wallow in your never ending
spiral of destruction
which your goddess
has set you on
as she sits high
in her throne
As she salivates
at your death
proving once again
the path of least resistance
only leads to hell
in the edges of my mind
float words I want to scream
anchored by rage,
May a long life you lead
May many years be yours
May many moons shine down
Upon your upturned
tear stained cheeks
May clarity strike
in your final moments
Your mistakes laid bare
may Gods judgment
so many others
in the edges of my mind float words I want to scream at you
The mourners gathered slowly
Through the February rain
Toward a lonely casket
To be laid at rest today
A hero of this country
Had sacrificed his life
Defending his brave brothers
Surrounded by the strife
A grenade had rolled amongst them
Without a second thought
He yelled out one last warning
And dove onto the spot
His body took the impact
Shredded, thrown into the sky
While Marines all dove for cover
As they knew their brother died
They tried their best to save him
A hero to them all
Now he rests at God's right hand
In the Grace of Kingdoms Hall
He left behind a grieving wife
And a son he'd never seen
A Hero to his country
At the age of just nineteen
He squinted at me with his light blue eyes against the brightness of the July sky, tipped his hat and with a smile emerging from the wrinkles said "Howdy son, bit warm today aint it?" "Yessir it is" I replied while wiping the sweat rolling down my forehead. "Sit down a bit, if ya aint in a hurry. It feels good in the shade here when the breeze comes along." So I sat down next to the old man, remembering my grandmothers words about being kind to your elders, figuring I would hang around for a couple of minutes, exchange a few inanities about the weather and be on my self-important way.
A couple of minutes of silence followed, not really awkward, but more like he was thinking about what to say. Finally I said "nice lil town ya got here." "Yep" he muttered "but I remember when it was small and quiet." "Small?" I asked and he chuckled. "When I was a youngster, a little younger than you, this barber shop was the post office, the community center and the police station, that being on account of Harry, the barber, also being our duly elected sheriff. Of course, I don't think Harry ever arrested anyone in all the years he was sheriff." I nodded at the information, wondering what else to ask, finally settling on a question I was sure would make short work of this conversation that was taking my precious time. "So you've lived here all your life?" I asked, certain a simple "a-yep" would follow and I could excuse myself and go on my way.
"Pretty much" he said quietly, pausing for a moment and he looked over at me. "Pretty much. Course I did go off for double you double you two, was gone six years. When I come home the whole world had changed." I could hear in his voice a wistfulness and found myself asking "What changed?" as I realized I didn't have anywhere that important to be. "Lots" he said, "ya had to be there to understand it, I guess." "We left here boys off on a great adventure, and come home men praying we could forget the bad we saw."
His eyes took on a faraway look and I realized he wasn't looking into the distance, he was looking into the past. "We lost Albert, my cousin, and the Davis boys in France. Albert died on the beach, and the Davis boys, well, they almost made it to Germany. Charley Sassel, I heard, died in the battle of the bulge and Harry's oldest son, Harry Jr, died in Italy. I got shot 3 times, mostly they just winged me." His eyes refocused on the present, and me, as he said "but we knew why we were fighting."
His eyes squinted and he got a harder look, his jaw firming up and through lips growing taut with anger he growled "too many people today seem too willing to let it all go. Albert, Harry Jr., Charley....all them other boys buried all over the place, and you folks today don't seem to care." He turned his head away and spit, looking back toward me his words came at me like a machine gun "Ya think there aint evil in the world? That it's all just a matter of perspective? That maybe if ya play nice enough folks wont wanna kill ya? What if we'd had folks around like that back in dubya dubya two? Demanding we come home, that it wasn't worth fightin' for? We'd be speaking German and the world would be damned short of jews is what. What kind of idiot demands their military surrender the field and slink home a loser?"
When he quit talking I felt a shame growing in me. I had stood and protested against the war. I demanded our boys come home, never thinking about the fact that I was asking them to surrender their Honor along with the field of battle. Never once considering what it would have meant to those who came before, or to those who gave their lives in their belief that our Freedom is worth fighting for. Suddenly I heard a man shouting from the gas station and I realized he was shouting at me. "Is this your car?" he yelled, while pointing at my old beater parked at the gas pump. "Yeah" I yelled back. "Can ya move it?" he yelled, sounding more pleading than angry. Realizing I was taking up one of his gas pumps I yelled back a yeah and turned back to the old man. He was sitting staring off into the distance. "I'll be right back, gotta move my car." I muttered as I jumped up. His hand grabbed mine and the strength in those leathered old fingers surprised me as he looked up and said "Don't forget what I told ya son. Them boys didn't wanna die, but they knew they didn't wanna live if living meant they'd lose their freedom. I think too many of you young folks today have forgotten that." "Yessir" I said, the earnestness in my voice surprising me. "I'll be right back" I said, as I slipped his grasp and jogged over to move my car.
I wasn't gone two minutes, but when I got back the old man wasn't there. Knowing he couldn't' have made it to any of the other places in sight that fast I headed into the barber shop to continue our conversation. It was the quintessential old barber shop. It smelled of barbacide and cheap aftershave and was spotless. Old magazines were strewn across the small tables between the chairs that lined the wall and the barber was sitting in his only barber chair. The barber was an old man, almost as old as the fellow I was talking to outside, and he was engaged in a discussion about baseball with yet another old fellow. They looked up as I walked in and the barber smiled and stood up from the barber chair he was sitting in, asking "What'll it be young fellow?" in a cheery voice. I looked around and didn't see my companion from outside. "Did a guy just come in here from outside?" I asked in a mostly confused voice. "Uuummm, yep" replied the barber with a bit of confusion in his voice. "That'd be you" he stated more as a question than a fact. "No" I blurted out "I mean an old guy." The barber looked toward the other man, then back my way and slowly said "nope, you're the only one who's walked in all day, 'cept me and the sarge of course" as he nodded at the old man sitting across from the barber chair. Certain I missed the old guy as he walked away and wanting to continue the conversation I decided to go looking for him. There were only about 6 other places in this town he could have been, maybe at the convenience store I figured, so I said "uumm, ok then, never mind. You guys have a good day."
As I turned for the door I saw a picture high up on the wall. It caught my eye because it was the barber, the old guy he was arguing with and the fellow I was talking to outside and it couldn't have been more than a couple of years old, showing the three of them standing in front of the barber shop. I pointed to the picture and asked "Do you guys know that guy?" The barber looked at me with a wariness I knew well. It was the same look you give a panhandler as they lay their sob story on you. Disbelief mixed with scrutiny. "Yeah" he said slowly. Then with a tone that bordered on distrust he asked "Do YOU know him?' "I was just sitting outside talking to him. I want to talk to him some more. What he said really made me think." I said as I looked from one man to the other, their looks of confusion growing by the moment. Suddenly the old man stood up, much faster than I would have thought he could move and yelled, "I don't know what kind of joke you're playing son, and I know you look at me and see an old man, but by God I can still whup a youngster when they need it." By now his face was turning red and he took a step toward me "THAT" he yelled as he pointed at the picture "is John Singleton and he's been dead more'n a year and I should smack your mouth for playing such a stupid game. He was a hero to this country and a better man than you. Now get the hell outta here afore I whup you all the way up to Mable's honey stand."
"Whoa whoa whoa" I said as I backed up and placed my hands up in front of me. "I swear to you I was talking to him a few minutes ago. He-he told me about Harry Jr, and-and, ummm, the Davis boys and his cousin who died in France. I swear I'm not making this up." The old man backed away now, and the barber reached into a cabinet and pulled out a bottle of scotch, took a swig and passed it to the old man. The old man took a gulp and held out the scotch bottle to me and asked if I wanted a drink. Realizing what had just transpired I took the bottle with a trembling hand and had a good pull myself.
"John always was one for a joke" the barber said as he took the bottle and set it into the cabinet. I stared for a long moment at the old guys and muttered "have a good day guys" and walked slowly from the barber shop to my car. The drive home is still a blur in my mind, as I had a lot to think about and still to this day I am not sure if it really happened, or if it was a product of an overheated mind.
I no longer protest against the troops, for that is what I was doing I realized. I wasn't protesting the war...I was protesting the troops. I don't know why I was either. I'd like to think it was because I really didn't want my fellow citizens killed for what I considered a war for oil. In all honesty I think I may have been protesting simply because they were better men. Better men whose actions shone a light on my hollowness and fear. I know now that these better men have sacrificed so much so I could stand on a street corner and say what idiots they were.
Now I know who the real idiot was.