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    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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    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?

    The Other Side Of The Street

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    The Wide Awakes

    I met an old man one day, sitting outside a tiny barbershop in a town not much bigger than a postage stamp and barely worth twice as much. He was escaping the brutal summer heat in the shade and smoking a hand rolled cigarette, watching the traffic, what there was of it, struggle past. I happened to be walking from the gas station to the general store to grab a cold soda, this town being too small to have yet received one of the convenience stores found in every other part of the world. I was just passing through. My AC had given out 50 miles back, I was hot, tired, thirsty and just needed gas so I could get to where I was going, which was, I thought at the time, important.

    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.
    Dear America,

    You're 234 years old today, and in some ways you are showing your age I am sorry to say. The heart of your existence is us, the people who live within you and struggle to keep you alive. I am sorry to give you this prognosis but you're in serious danger of dying.

    There are many people who no longer remember how you were born, or more importantly, WHY you were born and as much as it pains me to say this, those of us who remember the why and how are dwindling in numbers. Too many people say your time has passed, that you're evil and always have been. Those, of course, are the blindly ignorant among us. Unfortunately those are also the people who are, by and large, in the main stream media and academia. They teach our children and bombard your people with these blasphemous thoughts, and frankly, Ma'am, many of us are worried.

    But don't you worry Dear Lady. You may not remember this, but back when you were born it wasn't due to a large group of people demanding your birth, but a small, tireless, dedicated group of Patriots who didn't know you would grow up to have such an impact on the world, but knew they wanted The Freedom you promised nonetheless. Sure, there were those who stood against those men, but your time had come, and your birth would not be denied.

    There are those who say your time has passed, but I don't believe that for a moment. You're timeless, and your promise of Liberty Unbound has drawn men from around the globe since before you were born. You may be getting a tad long in the tooth, as they say, but you're just as attractive as ever, maybe even more so given the condition of so many others these days.

    So don't you fret Mi'lady. Even though there are some here who don't remember your greatness, why or how you were born, there are more than enough of us still here, ready to fight in your defense, refusing to let you, and all you stand for, die.

    Your light has shown brightly for all who craved Liberty for over 200 years, Reagans shining city on a hill still shines, though somewhat dimmer in this age, but given the time we will wipe away the grime which has covered that shine and dimmed it, so that future generations will once again proclaim this land the greatest on the Earth.

    Just know this.....if you do pass into the dustbin of history, a mere footnote in a scholarly tome gathering dust on a bookshelf somewhere, it won't be because we let you go gently into that goodnight, we will, I promise, rage against the dying of the light, and we'll take a good many of those rotten socialist sumbitches with us.

    God Bless You Dear. We love you, Your Patriots