In Memory of My Dad #23

You might think that with a family the size of the one I grew up in, we would eat anything that was put in front of us.  Not so.  Although we were avid partakers of our own favorite dishes, we had several idiosyncrasies that were unique to us alone. 

Steak was expensive, and I don’t remember eating much of it growing up.  But if we were lucky enough to have pork chops or something like that, you could bet that the fat was trimmed from the meat and it was cooked well done. 

Eggs were another thing that were fried well done.  It was difficult to fix eggs for us kids, because we wanted them fried really hard.

Mama used a heavy iron spatula and a cast iron skillet to fix breakfast in, and she cooked the eggs to the point that any nutritional value at all was cooked out.  They were black, tough, lacy edged, rubber-looking eggs, but man they were tasty.  You had to have a sharp knife to eat them and I had the debatable honor of being the only person at Briggs School to have broken a tooth on a fried egg.  I still like to eat eggs that way occasionally.

Once I went hunting with a favorite uncle of mine that had no children of his own, so I really took up with him because he talked to me like I was an adult instead of being only seven years old.  I think Ol’ Skeet was the favorite uncle of most of my siblings.  At times, my brother Leon will start a story with, “You remember when Skeet and Dude…..?” and then he’ll launch into an escapade from some long forgotten past.  Dude was another of my favorites, but that’s another story.

Anyway, we hunted all that day up on Badger Flats, I don’t remember what we were hunting.  I guess anything that stuck its head out of that shinnery brush.   When it came time to leave, Skeet blew long and hard on his horn to call in his dogs.  The horn was made from the horn of a cow or a bull that no longer had any use for the horns. 

The dogs all came to the sound of the horn except one of Skeet’s favorite hounds, Rock or Drum or something like that.  He allowed as how that was all right because we would come back the next day and pick the dog up.

Early the next morning Uncle Skeet, my dad, and I embarked on a quest for the wayward hound.  After looking unsuccessfully for the dog all morning, we arrived at a friend’s house, a long way back in the hills.  These hospitable folks invited us to dinner, which was what they used to call the noon meal.

Guess what was on the menu?  A huge platter of wide-eyed greasy, soft cooked eggs nestled on a platter of thick pink slabs of ham.  Great gobs of fat hung obscenely to the corners of the ham.  The crowning insult was a huge bowl of cream gravy that resembled wall paper paste.  I felt my stomach do a little turn at that point, not unlike the butterflies that you get when the teacher calls you to the blackboard and you haven’t been paying attention in math class.  Sort of a churning sensation that scares a seven-year old mind.

As the diners started passing the food around, a fat hen walked in the kitchen door.  There was no screen door and the chicken flew up onto the table and started pecking at the biscuits that were sitting by my elbow. 

I was unaccustomed to chickens walking about on the table, and it shocked me somewhat to see this happen.  The diners thought nothing of this and continued to eat.  Both Skeet and Daddy, living by the code of the hills, bravely placed food upon their plates and began to partake of the vittles.

I, being a weak-stomached child, did the only thing I could under the circumstances.  My breakfast came up the same way that it went down, in the most unpleasant way imaginable.

Daddy immediately grabbed me up, and Uncle Skeet started to castigate him for bringing a child out so soon after having the chicken pox.  (Daddy and Skeet could think fast on their feet when they had to, especially when faced with eating almost raw eggs and fatty undercooked meat.)  He told his friends he was sorry that his son caused so much trouble, and for them to stop in the next time they were down our way.

The search for the lost hound was over for the day.  Skeet congratulated me on the way home for my performance, and Daddy bought me an Eskimo pie for my trouble.

We got the old ’40 Ford pickup to about 35 miles per hour on our way home—-after all, we didn’t want to be late for supper.

story written by Bob Briggs

 

Eggs!!

I peeked into the chicken feeder to see how low the chickens were getting on feed, and just take a looky-look at what I discovered.

 

Yup, eggs.  In the feeder.  Our very first crop, if that’s what you call it.  I had been checking for eggs daily, but foolish me, was looking in the nesting boxes, not in the chicken feeder.

It’s a good thing I have this handy little egg basket. 

Since there were four eggs, I assumed they might be from one hen, and have possibly been sitting in a the summer heat for a few days, so my niece and I did the egg freshness test.

When you put the egg in a bowl of water, if it sinks quickly and lies on its side, it is good to eat.  If it ever floats, it needs to be discarded.  If it sits on the bottom of the bowl, but stands up on one end, it is not as fresh, but is still safe to eat. 

All our eggs aced the test.

 

They are quite tiny.  But the chickens are only 4 months old, and I’m hoping as they mature a little more, the eggs will increase in size. 

Despite their size, they made a good breakfast. 

With a taste nothing like store-bought eggs.  Much richer.  I was a bit leery at first, wondering if it’s safe to eat the first eggs, but we did anyway, and we didn’t even get salmonella or botulism or anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Memory of my Dad #22

Momma’s older brother had a lot of cowboy in him.

He worked for a large rancher east of Tahlequah, and I can still remember him riding up to the house at Briggs.  I remember the stories that he  used to tell us kids also, especially when he got in his cups.  That seemed pretty often in those days.

He also owned the only .10 gauge double-barreled shotgun I ever saw.  The .10 gauge is a very serious weapon indeed.

Speaking of serious weapons, I received an invitation to the Illinois River Militia and Garden Club meeting later this month at the club’s heavy weapons and bomb range on a deserted gravel road on the upper Illinois river.

Membership in the club is so secretive that no list of members is believed to exist, and the club’s president is not known.  Members communicate with each other by using code names, like Mr. Green, Mr. Black, Mr. White, just like in the movie “Reservoir Dogs.”  Meetings are shrouded in secrecy and conducted in total darkness.  Many of the members are prominent women around town that are known for their beauty.  “Loose lips will be dealt with accordingly,” says a club member.  “Privacy is our dominant domain.  That is all you need to know and all you will ever need to know….”

But I digress.

As a boy I heard many stories designed to scare the bejesus out of a young boy.  None scared me the way that the panther’s scream did.  The panther, or “paint her”  always stood ready to leap upon the back of a man carrying meat, or upon a woman entering a shed or just a kid out late in the evening.  I know now that the panther was just a plain cougar or mountain lion.  There probably weren’t even any left in this country during the early ’50s.  Anyway this story has no date—just a long time ago.

My uncle located a turkey roost one day while riding fence in the Copeland bottoms.  Knowing that his family needed meat, he decided to injun up on the roost about sundown.

He rode up to the fence and tied his horse about a half mile away so that the horse would not frighten the birds, and went on foot the rest of the way.  About dark, he heard the turkeys coming in to their sleeping place.  He waited for the moon to rise so that he could skylight the birds against the moon.  The birds took a long time getting settled and they were blending into the foliage when my uncle got the birds lined up and emptied both barrels.  Six turkeys fell groundward.

The turkeys probably weighed 12 to 15 pounds each, and the gun was big and cumbersome, so it took him a while to make it back to his horse.  That’s when he heard the panther scream.  It sounded as if it were coming from the brush right behind him.  The scream has been described as a woman in fright or pain and to say that it curdled the blood of my uncle would be an understatement.  Right away he knew what the panther was after so he dropped one of the turkeys.

He had gone but a short distance when he heard the panther scream once again.  Another turkey was dropped and my uncle was able to pick up a little speed because of his lightened load.  The next time the panther squalled it was off to one side of him and so another turkey was dropped.

The man had no more shells for the gun, and the gun’s weight would make it a poor choice of a weapon, even as a club and the panther’s screams were getting closer all the time.

And now the screams became louder, more pronounced, nearer as he dropped the last turkey just a few feet from where his horse was tied.  The horse was plunging and rearing against the reins, but thank goodness by now he was mounted and the horse was tearing a hole in the wind as my uncle whipped him into a flat-out run getting home.

After hearing this story—and it always seemed to be told after dark—-I lay in bed and wondered what would have happened if the man had a mile to walk instead of a half mile, or what would have happened if he had shot four or five turkeys instead of six.

I can never look at a mounted cougar in a museum without thinking of this story.  It’s too bad the taxidermist couldn’t have captured the scream also.  The mere thought of it lent wings to my feet many times on some of my late night forays.

story by R.L. Briggs  1943-2011

Dem Dry Lands

My vegetable patch is green, luscious, fruitful, and multiplying.

I mean, the garden in my dreams.  Of course.

It’s difficult at best to grow a garden, or anything green, in a drought.

We’ve morphed into a barren desert land.

The horses search for anything green and tender, including the bottommost leaves of the trees, leaving all our trees looking a little bit top-heavy. 

We’re having a hot, dry summer in my area.

Our average rainfall is about 19 inches and as of June 6, we had received 0.68 inches of rain this year, making it the driest start to a  year on record since 1892.  1892!!  That’s a long time ago.  We’ve had the most days over 100 degrees since 1953.  We are shattering records in this unpleasant summer season.

But one thing I know, this too shall pass.  Soon enough we will be cursing the biting winds of old man winter.

Two positives to this negative weather pattern:  1)  nary a mosquito have I seen this summer and 2) I have not had to mow the grass yet.  I have a few horses and chickens to thank for that as well.

We’ve been getting some intermittent showers the last few weeks, and it has been refreshing.  And irony of all ironies, before the evidence of drought, my husband and a friend began a part-time business hanging rain gutter and have had a great start.  People are buying rain gutter in a drought!  So our next stop is Alaska to sell ice to the Eskimos.  I shall insert a small advertisement here:  Let me know if you’re in the market for gutter.  I can hook you up.

But seriously, mankind has great faith.  We, as humankind, are a resilient people.  A people who have seen trials and blessings, who have spent time on both the mountaintop and in the valley, who have experienced the harvests and the famines of life.  Throughout it all, we hang tough.  

And look for the life among all the dying.

Robert Frost said it best,

In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. 
It goes on.

I pray life is treating you good and you’re able to see the positive in your negative situation today.

God Bless.

 

 

 

 

Newness

See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  Isaiah 43:19

I awoke before my  husband.  Unusual?  More unusual than a flying armadillo.   Rather than rolling over and falling back to sleep, I groaned out of bed and crept through the dark house.  I laced up my tennis shoes and decided to greet the day with a walk. 

I was more than a little astonished to discover the sun does not rise before 5:45.  In fact, everything was still slumbering.  The horses, the birds, the sun, even the chickens.  But I do know  One who never sleeps or slumbers, no matter the time of day or night, this one is vigilant and waiting to hear from me, so He and I spent some time together.  And he put on quite a show. 

The morning was dark, but the moon was full, round and bright.  The eastern sky slowly began to lighten to a light blue.  I walked my driveway path that runs in front of my house from one gate to the next and then I turned around, back and forth, back and forth.  The sticks that lay before me on the dark path frightened me at first, until I realized they were just sticks laying in the dark and not the creepy snakes of which I first imagined. 

The chickens still slept in their coop, the horses stood as dark statues out in the pasture.  The whole world was quiet.  And dark. 

There is a sense of peace to arise before everyone else, to observe the whole day awaken, to experience the firsts. 

As the sun inched its  light upward, the world began to stir, slowly but then more increasingly.

Two birds sat on barbed wire; silhouetted against the early dark sky that began as deep blue, then transformed to light blue, pink, orange, red and then back to light blue as the sun found its place.

The birds in the trees began their morning songs, a few peaceful tweets soon turned into a cacophony of chatter and cheeps.

The chickens finally decided to make their morning debut with clucks of Good Mornings escaping into the air.

I walked my driveway observing the new day, thanking God for all things new.  Thanking Him for the opportunity to witness Him in action, as He brings forth each new day, each new breath, each new life.

He makes all things new.

The most miraculous of all perhaps being new life.  The little fingers.  The little toes.  The sweet pink lips.

Jason and I are on a new journey.  A journey of new life.  Of little fingers, little toes, and sweet pink lips.  We are bringing a new life into this world.

Partnering with God in the creation and witness of a miracle.

By His grace and mercy, we will hold this new baby in our arms come January. 

Jason is thrilled.  I for one, have been wrought with an array of emotions, predominately disbelief, shock and fear.   But I know whom I have believed, and I trust in the One who makes all things new.  It is in his working.  It is his timing and his plan.  I also understand the love and the blessing that this new creation is going to rock my world with is unfathomable.

If I may, I ask one thing of you.  When and if you think of us, would you speak a prayer on our behalf.   It would mean the world to us and our new blessing.

Blessings to you,

Angel

In Memory of my Dad #21

Written by Bob Briggs on July 29, 1995 before computers had really taken over the world and everyone carried one in their hip pocket.

Computers will lie to you.  Computers never apologize for their mistakes either.  Believe me they make plenty of them.

I just recently got my finances straightened out with Sports Illustrated.  I did it by cancelling my subscription.  I still get letters all the time offering me a free video or a free sweatshirt with the name of my favorite NFL team emblazoned across the front.  I can even take the E-Z payments plan, $4.49 for four months.

Farmers and ranchers today would be lost without their Apples or their Macintoshs, or is that the same company?  Anyway they would be lost without their computers. 

Long ago city dwellers sought out the quiet peaceful life that was offered here in Cherokee county.  Soon the city streets were clogged with people driving to where?  At any time of the day you can sit at any red light in town, and you never have the road all to yourself. 

A photographer recently told me that the population of Tahlequah was 10,000 people.  Hell, there’s that may cars parked at Wal-mart on any given day.

But to get back to computers, I never thought that a computer would replace the hired man.  I’m sure my dad felt the same way about the jet age overtaking the automobile.  He figured that the horseless carriage was merely an invention to take an afternoon drive in at the then unheard of speed of 40 MPH.

How does this new contraption work?  It’s a mystery to me.

You can’t keep a computer in the barn because the chicken would roost on it, and you know what happens when chickens roost.  So it will have to sit in your living room right next to your VCR and CD player.

I know nothing of computers except that you shovel in a lot of info, press a button and out comes your answer in a  few seconds.  The computer has put more people out of work than the welfare program.

My main connection here in Hulbert with a computer is that it calls me a liar saying that I didn’t pay for my subscription.  After sending in copies of my cancelled check, I did get a manager to say he was sorry for the inconvenience but nary a word from the computer.

Say the gentleman farmer wants to go to the coast for some deep-sea fishing, so he starts feeding the computer.  The calf that he has been fattening up must have cow-cake kicked out to it morning and night.  The birds must be fed along with the chickens.  Milk must be left out for the barn cats.  The horses must be curried and combed.  The cow must be fed.  The electricity must be turned off except to the deep freeze.

And so he takes off for the coast where the waves are whitecapping and the big marlin are jumping and the flounder are fighting to get hold of his line and are begging to be broiled according to his guide.  Just a couple of days for doing nothing except lying back and watching his troubles roll past like floaters on the Illinois. 

But what happens when he returns Monday morning?

Something has gone wrong.

He notices a smell like rotting meat when he goes to put his founder in the deep freeze.  The machine is silent, no reassuring hum.  Melted ice cream sloshes around the quail that he was saving for Sunday cooking.  The horse is staring at a can of Puss ‘n Boots atop a 50 pound block of salt.  The calf is trying to decided what to do with the small bit of birdseed.  At least the barn cats have a curry comb to play with.

It must have been the laundry list that was entered into the computer, how else do you explain the cat moving into the master bedroom and delivering a litter of kittens?  How else do you explain the laundry ending up in the tool shed?

Further investigation reveals the birds screaming at a bale of hay while the tomcat tries to chew some cottonseed cake.

The gentleman farmer mourns for the good old days before computers when Charlie or Ted worked the farm from first light until dusk taking care of the animals.

But that was before they were retired to the nursing homes and Social Security.  He can imagine what kind of homecoming he would have had if he’d have left Charlie in charge.  The cow would have been milked and the eggs gathered.  The parakeet would probably have escaped into the woods, but Charlie would have been anticipating an owl/parakeet mixture or at least a crow/parakeet dabbling.

The cats would have been chasing mice out in the barn as all cats should and the horses would have been muzzling hay in the confines of the barn.  The calf might have been overfed—but just by a little.  Besides the vet only charges $25 as a special favor to his cousin Charlie.

Maybe we should all become a little more computer friendly. 

Or at least buy flounder at the grocery store.

Country Troubles

Somedays the  J&A Chicken Ranch has more excitement than my feeble heart can handle.

This beautiful breezy morning I am waiting for the water well repair man as we have no water coursing through our pipes.  The precious commodity, the life blood, the toilet flusher has seized for reasons unknown to me, but hopefully not beyond the scope of knowledge of the water well man.  In today’s America, one does not realize how fortunate and blessed we are until one does not have running water.  It is taken for granted, assumed that at the turn of a faucet, we can clean our bodies, brush our teeth, water our plants, or rinse our dishes.  No less humble does one become than having to relieve themself outside in the middle of the night, saving that one last toilet flush for the inevitable morning poop.  Forgive me, but as is life.  But yea for the man who can repair the problem and I only hope he arrives before my bowel movement decides to. 

When I first began dating J-Dub, I would ride with him to tend to his cattle.  At the beginning of the trip, he would inquire, “Are you brush broke?”  At first I didn’t know what that meant, but quickly learned when you are miles and miles from modern conveniences, there will come a time when you have to squat in the brush and piss in the pastures or you’re going to be very, very uncomfortable for a very, very long time.  Yes, I am very brush broke.

I slept in a bit this morning but knew I needed to let my fourteen dear chickens out of their coop.  Not until you’ve watched fourteen chickens come out of a coop, do you understand the true meaning of the phrase “cooped up”.  The chickens have a coop that was an old metal garden shed with a sliding door.  It sits in a side yard, up against the edge of the backyard fence, but not in the back yard.  Surrounding the shed is a chicken pen, enclosed with chicken wire, and covered mostly over the top with protective wire.   I keep the sliding door to the coop opened enough so they can come and go freely into the pen to get fresh air or take a dirt bath or something equally chickenish.  Each morning, as early as possible, I open the door to the pen and let the chickens run out so they can free range around the yard and pasture.  Our back yard and our two dogs, Drew Miller and Grace, are enclosed directly behind the chicken coop and pen.  Never have the dogs and chickens come into direct contact.  I fear it would not be a pretty sight.

When the chickens eye me coming their way, they get so excited.  They know freedom is in sight.  They will run to the corner of the pen, clucking and bocking, eager to get out.  This morning, before I was about to open the door, I heard a commotion.  It sounded like chicken feet on metal and I assumed a chicken was inside the shed, trying to jump on the metal nesting boxes as they sometimes do.  With their chicken claws slipping and sliding and feathers flapping to maintain balance, it sometimes makes quite a ruckus.  The next thing I heard was a terrible sound like nothing I had heard before.  It was the sound of a chicken in distress.  The clucking was rapid and high-pitched.  I then noticed out of my peripheral vision, the dogs were agitated. Through a crack in the gate of the backyard, I saw 3 streaks of black running past, back and forth.  First a black  chicken, followed by Drew Miller, followed by Grace.  My first thoughts went something like this: Is there a chicken in the backyard?  how did a chicken get in the back yard?  There is no way possible that is one of my chickens.  It must be somebody else’s chicken in my backyard.  Mine are all right here in the pen.  With my hand on the door to the chicken pen, ready to push it open, I glanced over and did  a quick headcount.  1-2-3-4……  1-2-3-4-5……, 1-2-3-4 I began adding quickly:  4 Barred Plymouth Rocks + 5 Buff Orpingtons + 4 Black Australorpes = 13 total chickens.  THERE’S A CHICKEN MISSING!  And it is presently in grave danger.  Immediately I began screaming NO DREW!  NO GRACE!  and with ninja like skills I flung open the backyard gate, grabbed Drew Miller by the collar and tried to get the whole party to settle down.  The dogs were having no part of calming themselves, so I drug Drew Miller by his collar over to where his leash hangs, put it on him as he jerked about, acting a fool, and I tied him to a post.  He is the dangerous dog.  He is the porcupine attacker, skunk killer, possum murderer.  He loves the kill.  Grace, a heeler, doesn’t want to hurt the chickens, she just wants to herd the chickens as she slinks down, belly close to the ground, haunches shaking, eyes fixated.  She doesn’t even wear a collar or has never experienced a leash.  She is right by your side most all the time and if she wanders too far, a quick command draws her back to her spot.   So there we were in the backyard:  Drew Miller and the blue leash wrapping  tighter and tighter around a post, a chicken petrified yet unscathed, Grace slinking beside me towards the chicken and me a little afraid to try to pick up this chicken who just might turn into a fighting, pecking, scratching defender.  The little black chicken was behind the dog’s water dish.  I gave her some time and space to see if she could find her way out of the gate on her own.  I thought of trying to corral her out, but decided that might agitate her even more.  As I reached down, she hunkered close to the ground, terrified, but allowed me to pick her up, hold her to my bosom, caress her little back.  Her feathers were hard and stiff where Drew’s slobber had already dried on them.  He obviously had his mouth clamped on her at some point. 

It was a close call. Perhaps even a miracle.  I think I’ll call her Lucky.

I still don’t know how in the world she managed to get into the back yard.  I walked through the pen and the coop looking for holes.  I can only figure that she flew out the small opening in the roof, walked across the wire roof of the pen, walked across the roof of the coop, which was the commotion of chicken feet on metal that I heard, and flew over the fence into the backyard.  

Stupid chicken.  I hope she learned a lesson.  The next time she tries to escape, she better hope I’m squatting in the yard.

In Memory of My Dad #20

written on March 25, 1995

Recently I traveled to west and south Texas on “holiday” as my Scottish friend Jody Taylor calls it.  Actually it was more of a couple of days off work and more of a “spring break”. 

I took highway 33 out of Sapulpa, Oklahoma intending to take the “blue highways” that William Least Heat Moon describes in his novel which was called by that same name.  The first thing I noticed was that the small highways today are colored in black, at least they are on my road Atlas.  On the older maps the two lane roads were always colored blue, so my trip started off on a horse of a different color but I swore not to let the little stuff bother me.

I used up all of highway 33 that I could before changing my route to travel south to Binger, Oklahoma, childhood home of former major leaguer Johnny Bench.  I stopped at a three calendar cafe for some chicken fried steak and cream gravy—no low cal diets for this ol’ fat boy during this jaunt.  I usually rate cafes by the number of calendars they have hanging on their walls—the most I’ve ever seen gracing a cafe wall was five, but I’m sure there’s a seven calendar cafe out there that serves biscuits that will melt in your mouth.

Anyway, after I left Binger, I took highway 152 which I recognized from my old traveling pipeline days and I knew this would take me fairly close to Pampa, Texas where I would pick up my two daughters Joley and Angel.

Angel is a sophomore at Clarendon City College located there in Pampa and she decided to go on Spring Break with me.  Joley, who is two years older and has the responsibility of taking care of her Golden Retriever “Mo” and hubby John, told one to take care of the other and she loaded up to embark on the trip with us.

I realized something while traveling with my daughters down the open highways of Texas.  Even though we are tied together by the blood coursing through our veins, the similarities stop right there when it comes to environments and preferences.

I am a product of the Illinois River and the Baronfork Creek, of cane breaks and oak groves.  I’m a product of marshes and mud, of muskrats and perch.  I’m happiest scrunching my toes in the sunbaked sand of the riverbed and listening to the chatter of the red-winged blackbirds.

Jo and Angel are products of sidewalks and buildings, of potted fig trees and the manicured grass of city parks.  The only time they enjoy being outside is when they are standing outside of the video store about to rent a movie while six lanes of traffic noisily pass on the streets.  They are most at home in a thermostatically controlled air-conditioned house where the outside lights come on automatically.

“So what of it,” say both Joley and Angel, “plenty of people have grown up without the companionship of raccoons and otters.  And a lot of great people never heard of a red-winged blackbird.”

I suspect the reason that we want our children to share the experiences of our childhoods is because of the memories that constitute many of the important lessons that we learned early.  I learned patience waiting on a fish to bite, respect from watching a wall of rain move in on our house at Briggs, Oklahoma, humility from listening to the thunder so strong, it shook the panes of glass from the window sills.

Maybe I’m just nostalgic for my own childhood, or maybe it’s just wanting to be included in the generation that my daughters belong to now.  Still, I have the uneasy feeling that the further we move from the everyday workings of the earth, the less we know of the values that have carried us through centuries of living.  Perhaps Kahil Gibran was right when he said, “your children do not dwell in the same house you live in….you can only visit them in your dreams.”

 

grannie and dad

R.L. Briggs
1943-2011

One Judge

The Casey Anthony Trial.  Yes, I’m going to go there. 

On Tuesday, the world reeled at the verdict of Not Guilty to the most severe charges towards Casey Anthony.  Today  sentencing was handed down and Casey Anthony will be free in merely six days, the world reeled again.  Although I did not watch the entire courtroom proceedings, for about the last two weeks I have been completely obsessed with this case so deeply that the couch has been stuck to my butt and the TV has been glued to my eye sockets.  It’s almost to the point of embarrassment.  The result of my obsession is piles of laundry and jiggly thighs.  Um,the jiggly thighs can also be contributed to a bag of cherry sours.  But whatever. 

I’m not going to give my opinion on whether Casey is guilty or innocent, primarily because my opinion does not matter, nor did it ever.    But I am going to give my opinion on the hoopla surrounding this case.  And then I’m going to get all preachy on you, because sometimes it overcomes me.  So if you don’t feel like hearing a sermon today, from someone unqualified to give one, you might want to click on over to a less opinionated website. 

I’ll pause while you decide.

First off, I completely blame the media and social networking for the brouhaha that has shrouded this case.   Fifty years ago, if a mother was accused of killing her child, very few people would even be aware of the outcome.  Perhaps a newspaper or two would report THE FACTS and life would go on.  Instead we have reporters, lawyers, journalists, and a sundry of others coloring the case and the opinions of us all.

As the verdict was rendered Tuesday, and as the sentencing was announced today, I was one of the million Americans online with facebook and twitter reading the comments of friends and strangers alike, and quite frankly I am appalled at the HATE and poison that has been spewed out over social media networks.  I believe people should have an opinion, it’s a first amendment right, but to know the thoughts that some people think is a little too much for me.  Not only the insults towards the defendant but also comments addressed to the jurors  have almost sickened me.  One twitter I read said Casey Anthony deserves to be raped.  Many others call her names and are hoping terrible, unspeakable acts upon her and also to the 12 who served on the jury.  The judge even spoke of a threat to a juror to be fileted, salted, and fed to the pirahnas.

On the other hand, I’ve also read something that said, “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’  I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.”  In case you don’t know, those were the words of Jesus.

In The Message, it goes on to read in Matthew Chapter 5, verse 22 “The simple moral fact is that words kill.”

Are we glorifying God with our opinions concerning this case?  Do we please Him when we tweet the things we do about one of His children?  After all, she is His child as much as I am.  As much as we don’t want it to be true, He loves her.  His love is unconditional, thankfully.  He died for her as much as He died for me.  And you.  My sin is no different from hers. Perhaps the only difference is that I know a Savior, and prayerfully we should desire Casey Anthony to know Him as well.  For that is our hope.

Yes, a child is dead and no one is being punished for it.  Yet.  But there will come a day when all will stand before the judgment seat of God and answer to Him.  Including me.  Including you.  And if Jesus himself said being angry at another is the same as murder, I suggest we all reflect on our words and actions and ask forgiveness. 

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.”  And if I may be so bold as to put this verse in 2011 terms, “Let my tweets and facebook statuses be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”

As Christians we are called to love one another.  In Luke Chapter 6 Jesus tells us: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Let’s be merciful with our words.

If you want to turn your emotions into something good, you can go to http://change.org and sign a petition to get Caylee’s law enacted.  This law will make it a federal offense if a parent/guardian does not report a missing child in a timely manner.

Now let’s love one another today.

Angel

Why I Blog

I began blogging in November 2008 for reasons unexplainable.  It first began as a place to journal my unprivate thoughts and to catalogue my days.

I blogged six days in November of 2008 and then didn’t blog again until January of 2009.  After that it was hit and miss for a season or two. 

It’s hard to blog and I believe anyone who has attempted to be consistent with a blog can attest to that fact.  Some days you succumb to the evil angel at your shoulder who tempts you with napping and sitcom watching instead of writing.  Heaven knows I do.  Succumb is my middle name.

My blog has evolved from short little paragraphs of how I spent my day to longer narratives of jibberish.  These days, I feel more free to write my innermost feelings.  I have a pretty good idea of who my audience is.  And I can take chances a bit more.  Blogging is a type of medium for me.  Somedays it’s therapy when I feel my life is sucking.  It’s a way of remembering stories that have happened to me and to others.  It’s a way to express my feelings and my opinions.  And I’d like to think  it’s a form of entertainment or at least brings a smile to someone once in a blue moon.

One of the best parts of blogging, however, is getting to know my readers better.  Especially the ones I’ve never met.  Take Lenore for example.  Lenore is a blogging buddy who blogs over at http://lenorediane.com

She’s got two adorable sons, a devoted husband, and is an excellent writer.  But the main thing about Lenore is she hearts Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  Especially Phish Food.

Now me and ice cream don’t have a love affair so much.  I’m more of a Sara Lee pound cake kind of kid.  I have never to my recollection sampled any flavor of Ben & Jerry’s.  So when I read about Lenore loving on her Ben & Jerry’s, I decided to try some.  On a scale of one to 10, I found the flavor I chose to be about a 7.  I commented on her post and told her about my experience and that I’d have to try another flavor before I completely knocked the whole B & J experience.

And then, lo and behold, I received a card from my friend Lenore with a coupon for a free pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream included along with a sweet note.  It made my day. 

So go over to http://lenorediane.com/2011/07/01/the-lovin-spoonfuls/ and read about her obsession with Phish Food and show her some love on my behalf.

And tell me, what flavor should I purchase with my free coupon?